10 Tips for Photographing Wide-Angle Landscapes

A wide-angle lens is considered an essential piece of gear for any landscape photographer because it gives you a perspective that you cannot achieve with any other lens. You’ll not only be able to photograph grand vistas, but you’ll see lines in a different way, and emphasize subjects by getting super close.

So if you haven’t tried one yet, borrow or rent a wide angle lens and get ready to make images with a different flavour using these tips.

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What is a wide-angle lens?

Camera lenses are defined by comparison to the field of view that the eye naturally sees – which is 50mm on a full frame camera or 35mm on a crop sensor camera. This is known as a normal focal length. Any wider than that is a considered wide-angle.

My favourite wide-angle lens is in the 10-20mm range on my crop sensor camera, or 16-35mm on a full frame camera.

When to use a wide-angle lens

Many people think the purpose of a wide-angle lens is to photograph grand vistas and get a lot in the frame. While that is one purpose for a wide-angle lens, its real power is in using its perspective to emphasize objects that are very close to you and de-emphasizing objects that are farther away.

1. Emphasize a foreground element

Wide-angle lenses allow you to get really close to something in the foreground, which will emphasize it and make it look larger and more important than the background elements. A wide lens has a way of changing the relative size of the objects in the frame, so that things that are closer to the lens appear larger, and things in the background appear smaller proportionally.

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Try using a low angle and getting very close to your main subject. By close, I mean inches away. You’ll be surprised when you look through the viewfinder and discover that objects don’t appear quite so close through the lens.

2. Photograph your subject and its environment

My favourite way to use the lens is to get very close to my main subject so it is large in the frame, as mentioned above, but also include other elements in its environment in the frame. This is a great way to create a story-telling image that provides context for the main subject.

3. Get everything in focus

Another great power of a wide-angle lens is its ability to have incredible depth of field. You can get everything from two feet away to infinity in focus. Of course, this depends on the exact lens and the aperture you choose, but all wide-angle lenses have a greater ability to get more in focus than a telephoto lens (which is excellent at shallow depth of field by blurring the background). You’d be hard pressed to blur the background with a wide-angle lens.

You can use a hyperfocal distance calculator to figure out exactly what will be in focus for your lens at the aperture you choose. But generally speaking, if you focus on something close to you and use a small aperture like f/18, everything from front to back will be in focus.

4. Watch out for distractions

Since wide-angle lenses include a lot in the frame, you’ll need to be extra vigilant to make sure there are no distractions. Everything that is in the frame should have a purpose.

Check your composition to make sure there is nothing in the foreground that you didn’t notice, since objects just inches away from you will be in the frame. As well, check the background to make sure there you haven’t included something unintentional.

Ideally, your composition should clearly show what the main subject is, what the supporting elements are using an interesting graphic design, and not include anything else. Simplify the composition as much as possible.

Because the frame contains such a wide field of view, it will have a lot in it, so it is especially important that the main subject is obvious.

5. Keep the camera level

Wide-angle lenses are notorious for displaying distortion around the edges. Anything with straight lines at the edges of the frame will appear to lean inwards. To avoid or minimize distortion, keep the camera level with the ground and don’t angle it up or down.

6. Angle your camera upwards

On the other hand, you can use this distortion to your advantage! Just make sure it is intentional and you are using it to emphasize something. For example, by angling the camera upwards you can emphasize the sky, and any clouds in it will appear to point towards the center of the frame.

7. Angle your camera downwards

Similarly, if you angle your camera downwards you can emphasize leading lines on the ground and create a perspective that really draws the viewer in.

8. Make images in close quarters

Whenever you are in an enclosed space, making images with impact can become difficult, since you cannot get far enough away from your subject. If you are in a tight situation, a wide-angle lens is a necessity!

9. Beware of polarizing filters

You may already know that polarizing filters can darken skies, emphasize clouds, and saturate colours when you are photographing in a 90 degree angle to the sun. If you are photographing with the sun directly in front of you or behind you, the filter does not have this affect.

With a wide-angle lens, you may find that part of the scene in the frame is at a 90 degree angle and is affected by the polarizing filter, and the other side is not. When this happens, it is better not to use the polarizing filter at all (it will give you an uneven sky which is darker on one side).

10. Manage uneven light

When photographing landscapes with a wide-angle lens you’ll frequently encounter varying amounts of light in the frame. Often the sky in the background is much brighter than your foreground. When this happens, you can use a graduated neutral density filter to darken the top portion of your image and even out the exposure.

A wide-angle lens is often the favourite lens in the kit for landscape photographers and with these tips it may become your favourite lens too.

One of the many amazing wide-angle lenses at Camera Craft is the Sigma 10-20mm EX DC f/3.5. Which is on sale currently until the end of next month!

Credit to article by Anne McKinnell

Exposure compensation: What it is and how to use it

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Pretty much every camera you can buy right now has an exposure compensation option. It's very simple to use and it can be useful across many situations, saving you time in post production and allowing you to get the shot you want with less hassle. 

Here, we run through everything you need to know about exposure compensation.

What is exposure compensation?

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Exposure compensation is a quick and easy way to bias how your camera responds so that every shot you take ends up with the exposure compensation shift of your choosing. This bias can be set to achieve either more or less exposure than usual, and the result is an image that is either slightly brighter or darker than would otherwise be the case.

How exposure compensation works

 The marker in the middle of the exposure value scale is set to 0, which indicates that the aperture and shutter speed should provide an appropriate exposure based on the metering pattern in use. As you adjust exposure compensation, this marker moves either left or right, depending on whether you've chosen to apply positive or negative exposure compensation

The marker in the middle of the exposure value scale is set to 0, which indicates that the aperture and shutter speed should provide an appropriate exposure based on the metering pattern in use. As you adjust exposure compensation, this marker moves either left or right, depending on whether you've chosen to apply positive or negative exposure compensation

Exposure compensation works taking what your camera deems to be the correct exposure (based on the metering mode of your choice) and then simply adjusting either the shutter speed or the aperture to apply the change you want to make.

The default metering option is Matrix or Evaluative, and this looks at the whole scene and attempts to provide the best balance for everything in it. You can, however, also use exposure compensation when your camera is set to a different metering pattern such as center-weighted or spot metering.

You have complete control over whether this exposure compensation has the effect of letting in more light through to the sensor or less of it, and this is known as applying positive and negative exposure compensation respectively.

You also have control over how much compensation is applied. So, you can choose to have just a slight shift towards overexposure, a dramatic shift towards underexposure, a moderate shift in either direction, or any other combination. 

Most cameras allow you to apply exposure compensation in 1/3EV stops, which gives you fine control over the adjustment, and you will typically have a range of -3EV to +3EV to play with. This means that you can carry on adjusting exposure compensation down to -3EV below and +3EV above what your camera deems to be the correct exposure in a given situation. Some cameras allow you to adjust this in either 1/3EV or 1/2EV stops, and many now give you a broader range of -5EV to +5EV to work with too.

So, let’s say you’re shooting in the Aperture Priority mode and your camera deems that the right exposure for a particular scene at an aperture of f/5.6 is 1/100sec. If you apply -1/3EV exposure compensation, your camera will retain the same aperture (as this is what you have chosen to control by being in the Aperture Priority mode), but it will decrease the shutter speed by 1/3EV stop, which brings it down from 1/100sec to 1/80sec. 

If you applied -2/3EV of exposure compensation this would change to 1/60sec, and if you applied -1EV then it would fall to 1/50sec, as 1/50sec is one full EV stop of exposure less than the 1/100sec setting, which is where you started. 

It works the same way for aperture when using the Shutter Priority mode. Here, using -1/3EV of exposure compensation would result in the camera using a smaller aperture rather than a shorter shutter speed in order to achieve the same goal. After all, you've chosen to control the shutter speed by using the Shutter Priority mode, and here, you would go from f/5.6 to f/6.3. 

Similarly, -2/3EV stops of exposure compensation would bring this down to f/7.1 and -1EV stop would bring it down again to f/8. Don’t worry about remembering these figures, as the camera does all the work here.

To read the full article click the link!

10 features you should look out for on your next camera

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Need to update you existing camera? Or perhaps you're buying your very first one? It's nice to think that if you pay a certain sum of money you'll get a camera that ticks the same boxes as cheaper models, but this isn't always the case. 

Here are 10 features to look out for that can make a difference to the way you shoot and the ease with which you can capture and output your masterpieces.

1. In-camera Raw processing

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While you may prefer to process your images on a computer, it's still well worth having in-camera Raw processing to hand.

This feature allows you to quickly make alternative, print-ready versions of your images as soon as you've captured them, tweaking white balance or fixing minor exposure issues, or perhaps creating black-and-white options.

Combined with in-camera Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can quickly resize your edited versions and send them out to your social spaces, which makes it particularly useful if you're on the move and nowhere near a computer. It's something that many cameras now have, but it's typically missed out from cheaper cameras and even the odd mid-range model.

2. Illuminated buttons and ports

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Having a top-plate LCD screen that lights up is now common on enthusiast-level DSLRs and certain mirrorless cameras, but some are now starting to offer illuminated buttons and memory card slots.

These are great when working in low light as they help save you time and fumbling around for that zoom or menu button, or when you need to replace a memory card. Right now it's confined to pricier models and less mainstream cameras, but it's something we expect will slowly filter through more accessible options.

3. Silent shutter

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Most mirrorless cameras offer electronic shutters that can be used to shoot silently, and the feature is now starting to crop up on DSLRs such as Nikon's D850 and certain Pentax models (when using live view). Unlike "quiet" shutters on DSLRs, which have never actually been that quiet, these let you shoot without attracting any attention to yourself. 

This is a good one to check if you ever need to be discreet, perhaps if you plan on shooting at weddings or other events, particularly as it's not a universal feature in mirrorless bodies. It's also great for street photographers and anyone shooting live subjects that may be disturbed by the sound of a mechanical shutter, such as wildlife.

4. UHS-II support

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Manufacturers may no longer have a huge number of megapixels as their main focus for their latest cameras, but this figure does still continue to rise. This is also true of burst rates, which dictate how quickly a camera can capture images at a constant speed. 

Because of this, it's worth knowing that your camera can support a memory card that will keep up with such a high volume of information for as long as possible. Otherwise, you may find it stops you short in the middle of a burst of images, or simply when capturing many images in the single-shot mode at once.

UHS-II cards offer maximum transfer speeds that are up to three times as fast as UHS-I cards, and a camera that supports these will be better equipped at keeping up with this stream of information. Bear in mind that if your camera has two cards slots, UHS-II may only be supported in one of them.

5. 100% viewfinder coverage

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If you're buying a DSLR this is definitely one to think about: do you want the whole scene in the viewfinder or the scene with the peripheries cut away? Well, the latter is what you get with most entry-level cameras, although you even find it on some mid-range and full-frame models. 

What you want to be looking for is a camera whose viewfinder offers 100% coverage, and you can check this in the specs on the camera manufacturer's website. This will ensure that you can frame with precision, rather than need to crop away details afterwards.

You generally won't be able to find this on the cheapest DSLRs, so if money is tight you'll generally have to settle for around 95% or 98%. That said, if you're not tied to any one system, take a look at what Pentax DSLRs are available within your budget, as even cheaper models can sometimes offer 100% coverage.

To read the full article click the link!

14 portrait photography tips you'll never want to forget

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Portrait photography tips can run the gamut from simple tweaks to your camera settings to the seemingly impossible task of getting children to stay still.

Although many photographers upgrade to a decent DSLR or mirrorless camera to give them more control when they take family portraits or pictures of friends, getting great shots of people is always a challenge.

The difference between amateur and professional portraits can be vast. So we've compiled this list of 14 of the most important portrait photography tips for any photographer to know.

We'll start off with the basics on aperture, shutter speed and lens choice, then move on to focusing and photo composition techniques, before showing you how to use natural light and reflectors to dramatically improve your results.

We'll start off with the basics on aperture, shutter speed and lens choice, then move on to focusing and photo composition techniques, before showing you how to use natural light and reflectors to dramatically improve your results.

We'll then discuss some of the more advanced portrait photography tips, such as the benefits of using flashguns and other accessories when shooting portraits.

Whether you're taking portraits of your friends or you've been commissioned to photograph a family, and whether you're shooting in a pristine studio or outside in your local park, the helpful advice below will help you become a better portrait photographer.

1. When to use Exposure Compensation

Your camera's metering system plays a vital role in picture-taking. It works out how much light should enter the camera to make a correct exposure. It's very clever, but it's not completely foolproof. The problem with metering is that it takes an average reading – either of the entire frame or part of it, depending on which metering mode you're in – and this reading is assumed to be a midtone, or in other words, halfway between white and black.

More often than not this assumption comes out right, but a metering system can struggle when a frame is dominated by areas of extreme brightness or darkness.

When shooting portraits, light skin tones can easily trick the camera into underexposing the shot. You'll notice this more when shooting full-face photos or when there's lots of white in the scene - brides at weddings are a prime example.

This can be quickly corrected though with your camera's Exposure Compensation controls. To begin with, try dialling in up to +1 stop of positive Exposure Compensation to lighten up people's faces. Review your shots, and if you feel you they need to be lightened further, increase this further.

2. Aperture advice

    Fast lenses are ideal for portraits. The difference between f/2.8 (left) and f/5.6 (right) doesn't seem much, but the wider aperture blurs background detail much more effectively

 

Fast lenses are ideal for portraits. The difference between f/2.8 (left) and f/5.6 (right) doesn't seem much, but the wider aperture blurs background detail much more effectively

When shooting portraits, it's best to set a wide aperture (around f/2.8-f/5.6) to capture a shallow depth of field, so the background behind your subject is nicely blurred, making them stand out better.

 If the model's face is slightly side-on to the camera, a wide aperture may blur one of the eyes. This can look a little strange, so consider stopping down to f/5.6 to keep both eyes sharp

If the model's face is slightly side-on to the camera, a wide aperture may blur one of the eyes. This can look a little strange, so consider stopping down to f/5.6 to keep both eyes sharp

Shoot in Aperture Priority mode to control depth of field; in this mode your DSLR will helpfully set the shutter speed for a correct exposure.

Specialist portrait lenses tend to have even wider maximum apertures (from f/1.4 to f/2.8) in order to blur backgrounds further.

3. Shutter speed settings

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When setting shutter speed, factor in your lens's focal length otherwise camera-shake (and blurred results) will become an issue.

As a general rule, make sure your shutter speed is higher than your effective focal length. For example, at 200mm use a 1/250 sec shutter speed or faster.

This also means you can get away with slower shutter speeds when using a wide-angle lens - such as 1/20sec with an 18mm focal length.

While it won't help if your subject is moving around quickly, don't forget to use your camera's anti-shake system. While some camera systems have this built-in around the sensor, of camera systems prefer to have the system in the lens - the benefit being that you can see the effect in the viewfinder.

Not every lens will feature this technology though, but if you have it - use it. You'll be able to shoot handheld at much lower shutter speeds than you would otherwise normally be able to do and still come away with pin-sharp shots.

4. Increase your ISO

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People move around a lot as they're photographed, not to mention blink and constantly change their facial expressions - and there's nothing worse than a photo of somebody half-blinking or gurning instead of smiling!

To avoid these problems, and to prevent motion blur appearing, you'll need to use a fast shutter speed.

This will also help to ensure sharp shots and avoid camera-shake because more often than not you'll be shooting portraits handheld.

While in Aperture Priority mode and maintaining a wide aperture, to increase your shutter speed simply increase your ISO (from ISO100 to ISO400, say).

In low light (indoors and outside), you may need to increase it to ISO1,600, 3,200 or even 6,400. A little grain is infinitely better than a blurry, useless photo.

5. Lens choice

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Your choice of lens has a big impact on your portrait photos. For portraits with visual impact a wide-angle lens is a must. Shooting from a low angle will make your subject taller than they actually are. This is a great technique for fooling the eye and changing the perspective of objects and people. However, be careful not to go too close, as you might see some distortion, which isn't flattering at all! To add even more drama to a wide-angle shot, simply try tilting the camera to an angle.

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When using a medium telephoto such as 85mm or 105mm, the model is still the main subject in the scene, but the background plays an important part in the image - the steps in the shot above appear out of focus and act as another point of interest. Always pay attention to what's going on in the background.

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A telephoto lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8 is one of the best tools for creating stunning portraits. Enabling you to zoom in closer to focus more on your subject, you can then reduce the amount of background and foreground distractions on display.

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The Tamron 100-400mm

Tamron Canada has been on fire lately – releasing one stellar lens after another. I’ve been a big fan of Tamron since the first SP 24-70 F/2.8 Di VC lens – it was a game changer that let me capture images I couldn’t with any other lens in that focal range. Thankfully, the tradition continues with the latest SP 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD.

The 100-400 VC’s barrel is primarily magnesium, and the build quality feels very good, but it manages to come in as the lightest lens in the class at 40oz/1.11 kilos (about half the weight of the 150-600 G2 lens). The lens itself is fairly compact at 7.8”/199mm (the 150-600 G2 is 260mm). It’s actually a few millimeters longer than the Canon, but has a slimmer profile (about 8mm less in diameter) which results in a very common 67mm front filter thread.

Tamron’s current design language is decades more modern looking than their older lenses from 3 years ago and older, with a sleek “slightly-shinier-than-matte” finish and an understated platinum looking accent ring near the lens mount.

There is a focus distance window with markings in both feet and meters, and also a zoom lock (only locks in the 100mm position). The lens barrel does extend during zooming, but the damping/weight of the zoom action in my review copy was pretty much perfect. For those who care about such things, the lens zooms in the “Nikon” not “Canon” direction. The manual focus ring is nice and wide and moves easily, though without a lot of feel to it. You won’t mistake it for a Zeiss MF ring, but it gets the job down. The MF ring is closest to the camera, with the zoom ring further towards the end of the lens.

One area that I complained about the Sigma 100-400 Contemporary lens was that it didn’t come with a tripod collar. For many shooters this a key piece of equipment. The Tamron 100-400 VC doesn’t come with a tripod collar either, but at least it is designed to work with one, though the A035TM tripod mount is an additional cost accessory. This is clearly an area where Tamron has elected to keep the cost of the lens down. Some shooters that don’t use a tripod collar will undoubtedly appreciate not having to pay for something they won’t use.

The 100-400 VC employs two switches on the barrel, both with a high-quality feel and three rather than two switch positions. The AF/MF switch has a focus limiter in between these two positions. You will be able to tweak the focus limiter distance in the Tap In Console (an additional accessory, though you may find it a throw-in with some retailers). The second switch is for the VC (Vibration Compensation), and has two different VC modes along with the OFF position available. You will also be able to make minor customizations with the VC behavior in the Tap In.

The 100-400 VC sports a moisture resistant body, complete with a rear gasket at the lens mount, internal seals, and a fluorine coating on the front element. All in all, this is a very nicely built lens that strikes a nice compromise between build quality and weight savings. The build quality and functionality belies the relatively affordable price.

The 100-400 VC has an optical formula of 17 elements in 11 groups, and, while I was surprised at how well the Sigma did in my earlier comparison, my expectations had grown as a result. I had high expectations for this lens. Fortunately the Tamron delivers, and in my head to head tests the image quality produced by it is just as good as that of the much more expensive Canon. The A035 delivers a very strong maximum magnification figure of nearly 0.28x, which is very handy for shooting macro-ish shots with an amazing working distance of right under 1.5 meters.

The perfect benchmark for the Tamron lens would be the Sigma 100-400mm Contemporary lens, but I didn’t have it on hand. What I did have, however, was the same lens that I benchmarked the Sigma against – my copy of the Canon 100-400L II. It’s an excellent lens, though in a completely different price bracket. Can the Tamron 100-400 VC punch above its weight like the Sigma did? The short answer is, “yes!” Check out this video segment where I break it all down in detail.

A very impressive performance in terms of resolution and contrast. Images are crisp, detailed, and the lens produces excellent contrast even with the aperture wide open. I also saw consistently strong performance across the focal range, with an excellent performance at the perhaps most important focal length of 400mm.

All in all this is a lot of lens for the money. It is very, very close to the first party options in performance while offering up exceptional value. Many photographers cannot afford the pricey first party lenses in this class, but the Tamron 100-400 VC is much more attainable. For those wanting better reach and image quality than the “consumer grade” kit zooms, the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is a breath of fresh air.  An added bonus is the USD focus system, which is fast, quiet, and provides tracking ability near that of the first party options.  You have to accept very few compromises with this lens, and that makes it an easy lens to recommend.

Pros:

  • Excellent image quality that rivals that of the first party lenses
  • Good compromise between weight and quality in the build
  • Weather sealed design
  • USD autofocus system is accurate, quiet, and fast enough to track action
  • VC system works as effectively as first party systems
  • Good magnification value and doesn’t focus breathe
  • Good bokeh quality
  • Chromatic aberrations near non-existent
  • Great performance to price ratio
  • Tap In Console compatibility
  • Excellent warranty

Cons:

  • Tripod collar must be purchased separately
  • Flare resistance good but not exceptional

How to Use a Polarizing Filter

A polarizing filter is one of the most essential tools in a landscape photographer’s bag. It is typically the first filter landscape photographers buy to instantly improve their pictures by adding vividness and contrast to them. In this article, we will go through detailed information on polarizing filters, what they do, why they are important and why you should consider using them for your landscape photography.

1) Why Use a Polarizing Filter?

One of the biggest frustrations when shooting landscapes has to do with lack of color. Due to the fact that sunlight gets bounced all over atmosphere and objects present in a landscape, eventually making its way into your camera at specific angles, many photographs end up looking bland and lifeless. A quick way to reduce such reflections is to use a polarizing filter. Once attached to the front of a lens and rotated to a particular angle, it is capable of cutting out most of the reflected light in a scene, instantly enhancing resulting photographs by increasing color saturation and contrast. When photographing distant subjects such as mountains, a polarizing filter can also help in reducing atmospheric haze. So if you are wondering how some photographers manage to get rich colors in their photographs, particularly when it comes to the sky, foliage and distant subjects, you will find that in many cases, they heavily rely on polarizing filters. Although color can certainly be added to photographs in post-processing, the effect of a polarizing filter cannot be fully replicated in software, especially when it comes to reducing reflections and haze in a scene, making the filter indispensable for landscape photography.

Most lenses are designed to have a screw-on filter thread in the front part of the lens, allowing one to mount any matching size filter. Such lenses can accommodate a circular polarizing filter, also known as a “circular polarizer”. A circular polarizer is very easy to use and once it is attached to the front of the lens, it can be rotated either clockwise or counter-clockwise to increase or decrease the effect of polarization. Polarization can vary greatly depending on the celestial position of the sun, so it is important to understand that both time of the day and time of the year can impact the amount of polarization one can obtain from a polarizing filter.

2) Maximum Degree of Polarization

The maximum degree of polarization occurs in a circular band 90° from the sun, so it is relatively easy to pinpoint exactly where the sky will appear at its darkest in your photographs. A simple trick is to form a pistol with your index and thumb fingers, then point your index finger straight at the sun. Now rotate your thumb clockwise or counter-clockwise (while keeping your index finger directed at the sun). The parts of the sky where your thumb points towards are going to have the maximum degree of polarization, as they are at the right angle from the sun. This means that when the sun is directly overhead close to the zenith, the sky will be polarized horizontally, making the sky appear more or less even in all directions. Take a look at the below photograph taken at high noon:

On the other hand, when the sun is closer to the horizon at sunrise and sunset times, the sky will be polarized mostly vertically. This can present problems when photographing landscapes with a wide-angle lens, since the more polarized areas of the sky will be visible in the frame, as shown below:

With the sun rising from the left of the frame, it is very clear that the right side of the sky in the image is where the maximum degree of polarization is, making that particular part of the sky much darker compared to the left. Such situations are commonly encountered when photographing landscapes at the golden hour, so one must be careful when using a polarizing filter, especially when shooting with a wide-angle lens. In some cases, it might be helpful to switch to a telephoto lens and concentrate on a much smaller area of the scene, effectively concealing the uneven sky.

Here is a more extreme example of the same problem appearing at sunset:

Due to my proximity to the Morning Glory hot spring in Yellowstone National Park and lack of an ultra wide-angle lens, I had to shoot a panorama at 24mm focal length, composed of several vertical frames. Once the panorama was stitched in Lightroom, the problem with the polarization in the sky became very apparent. Here, one can clearly see that the center of the sky is where the maximum degree of polarization is – both left and right sides of the frame look much brighter in comparison. This is because the sun was setting on the right side of the frame, which means that the darkest part of the sky would have been vertical, as seen here.

Gradient skies can be very difficult to deal with in post-processing, so one must be very careful when using polarizing filters close to sunrise and sunset times, especially when using wide-angle lenses. In many cases, cutting the amount of sky captured in a scene and rotating the polarizing filter to reduce its effect can prove to be effective, as seen below. However, in some cases where re-framing is not desired, it might be better to remove the polarizing filter completely to avoid capturing gradient skies.

3) Handling of Unnaturally Dark Sky

When your camera is pointed towards the part of the sky that has the maximum degree of polarization and the circular polarizing filter is at its strongest point, the sky might appear unnaturally dark in images, making it look very fake. In such situations, rotating the filter further and thus reducing the effect of the polarizing filter can take care of the problem, creating not only a brighter sky, but also addressing the potential of having a gradient sky in the photograph. Take a look at the two images below:

I captured the first image with the polarizing filter rotated to yield the maximum polarizing effect, which unnaturally darkened the sky and made it appear uneven. To take care of the problem, all I had to do was rotate the filter until the sky returned to a much brighter state. As you can see, the photograph on the right looks much better in comparison and with just a single turn, I was able to address the issue without having to remove the filter.

4) Reflection Reduction

One of the main reasons why photographers use polarizing filters, is to reduce reflections in a scene. Reflections are everywhere around us and they are very common in nature. Aside from common water reflections originating from ponds and lakes, we might be dealing with window reflections or perhaps even tiny reflections of light bouncing off vegetation or rocks surrounding waterfalls. In such situations, using a polarizing filter can help dramatically reduce reflections, even potentially adding contrast and saturation to the image.

As you can see, the pond was reflecting the sky and the trees in the background into my camera. By using a polarizing filter, I was not just able to cut down most of the reflections from the pond, but also reduce the micro reflections coming from the surrounding grass the scene, which changed the appearance and the color of the glass in the resulting photograph. Such effects can never be replicated in post-processing software.

5) Haze and Contrast Reduction

One of the main reasons why I personally take a polarizing filter everywhere I go, is because I often rely on it to reduce haze in my images. Haze is something we landscape photographers have to deal with very often, so being able to use a polarizing filter in such situations helps quite a bit during post-processing, since we can take it one step further and reduce haze even more through various “dehaze” and contrast adjustment tools in software. Some haze is relatively easy to deal with in post, but when there is a lot of it, a circular polarizing filter can definitely help.

6) Disadvantages

Unfortunately, polarizing filters do come with a set of disadvantages and problems. Here are a few other things you be aware of:

  • Polarizing filters can mess up the sky: as explained in sections #2 and #3, using a polarizing filter on a wide-angle lens near sunrise and sunset times can potentially make your sky appear gradient and uneven. The same goes for panoramas – be extra careful when shooting panoramas, as you could end up with a sky that is very difficult to fix in post-processing.
  • Polarizing filters require more time to set up and use: when taking pictures with a polarizing filter, one has to pay a bit more attention to the picture taking process, since circular polarizers require adjustment each time framing changes significantly, as the effect of the polarizing filter varies greatly depending on the position of the sun and the direction of the camera. Also, sometimes it is hard to see changes in the viewfinder when rotating circular polarizing filters, especially when using cameras with smaller viewfinders.
  • Polarizing filters rob light: one of the main disadvantages of polarizing filters, is that they reduce the amount of light entering your lens. Some filters are worse than others in this regard, but in general, you can expect polarizing filters to decrease your exposure time by 2-3 stops. Highest quality B+W filters typically block very little light between 1-1.5 stops, but some older and poor quality polarizing filters can bring your shutter speed down by 3+ stops, which is significant. For this reason alone, polarizing filters should be used sparingly, only when they are needed.
  • High quality polarizing filters are expensive: depending on the size of the filter, the quality of glass, multi-resistant coatings and brand, high-quality polarizing filters can be quite expensive, especially if you want to buy a polarizer for each filter size you have. Instead of buying many different size filters, my recommendation would be to buy one filter (pick the largest filter thread size you have) and for all other lenses you have, get much cheaper step-up rings. This way, you can easily use the same filter on different lenses. It might take more time to set up in the field, but you won’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to get CPL filters on all your lenses.
  • Polarizing filters can add more ghosting and flare to images: since it is another piece of glass in front of your lens, there is always a potential to see more ghosting and flare in your photographs, especially when using a cheap quality polarizing filter. Additionally, you must always make sure to keep both your lens front element and your polarizing filter clean, as dust particles and other debris could add to more internal reflections, reducing both contrast and image quality of your photographs.
  • Polarizing filters can add vignetting: when using polarizing filters with some wide-angle lenses, you might see noticeable vignetting in the corners of the frame. To avoid vignetting issues, we recommend not to stack filters and only buy “slim” or “nano” type polarizing filters, which are much thinner compared to full-size polarizing filters (please note that some thinner filters can make it difficult to use lens caps).

7) Conclusion

Overall, a circular polarizer is a must-have tool in a photographer’s bag, especially when photographing landscapes. As you can see, a circular polarizer is not just something that can help enhance the color of the sky – it is a much more versatile tool that can reduce reflections and haze, and effectively boost both colors and contrast in your images. A polarizing filter is not something you want to leave on your lenses at all times though, since it can rob between 1-3 stops of light and it can potentially make the sky look unevenly gradient when using wide-angle lenses. High-quality circular polarizing filters can also be rather expensive to buy and can take some time to get used to. However, those are small disadvantages compared to the benefits they bring…

To Read the Full Article please click the following link.

Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 review: Affordable tele-zoom

Tamron introduced the second generation (G2) of its popular 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC lens in September 2016, bringing a new look to match that of more recent SP optics, along with improved weather sealing. Inside, Tamron updated the construction of the lens with 21 elements arranged in 13 groups, and there are 3 low-dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberration. In addition, the front element of the G2 optic has a fluorine coating to help repel dirt.Thanks to the new construction, the G2 lens’s minimum focusing distance is 2.2m (86.6 in), improved from 2.7m (106.3 in) with the original lens. However, at 260.2 x 108.4 mm (10.24 x 4.27 in) and 2.01 kg (70.9 oz), it’s a little bigger and heavier than the G1 optic, which measures 105.6 x 257.8 (4.16 x 10.15 in) and weighs 1.95 kg (68.78 oz).

Key Specifications:

  • Full-frame format
  • Available in Canon, Nikon, and Sony (A) mounts
  • Maximum aperture: f/5 – f/6.3
  • 2.2m minimum focus distance
  • 21 elements in 13 groups
  • 3 low-dispersion elements
  • 9-blade circular diaphragm
  • 95mm filter thread
  • Weight: 1.95 kg (68.78 oz)

High-quality fast and long telephoto lenses are expensive to develop and manufacture, so they command a high price. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, for example, retails for over $12,000, while the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM costs in excess of $11,000. So naturally there have to be a few compromises to make a long lens more affordable. With a launch price of $1,400, the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 represents good value, delivering good sharpness across the frame, plus distortion and vignetting that are well-controlled for its intended use — photographing wildlife and sport.

To Read the Full Article, click this link!

How to photograph the International Space Station

Capturing the orbiting laboratory makes for an exercise in precision timing.

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Have you ever watched the International Space Station (ISS) soar over your city? If not, you’re in for a treat. 

It orbits Earth every 90 minutes – so, 16 times every 24 hours – and its mighty solar panels are very bright when viewed just after sunset or just before sunrise. Its those solar panels reflecting sunlight that make the spacecraft visible from the Earth's surface; once you’ve seen it, you’ll always notice it streaking across the night sky as a very bright, constant white light.

Home to around six astronauts at any one time, the 109x73m, 480,000kg laboratory takes about four minutes to cross the sky. Take a well-timed long exposure photograph and it’s possible to capture its orbital path 400km above.

Equipment

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Getting a close-up shot of the ISS is tricky – even when using a telescope. Instead, aim to take a long exposure that captures its orbital trail across the night sky. That means you’ll need to open the shutter for between 30 seconds and a few minutes, so you’ll need a camera that allows manual control over exposure.

A wide-angle lens will also be useful, not only to capture as much sky as possible, but also to get something in the foreground. You’ll also need a tripod for keeping the camera completely still during the long exposure.

If you’re not sure of the cardinal points for where you are, a compass, or the compass app on a smartphone, will also be useful. The ISS always appears in the west and crosses the sky to sink in the east – most visibly near sunset or sunrise – so you’ll need to position your camera carefully.

How to plan an ISS photograph

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Since Earth is rotating from west to east, and the ISS is orbiting diagonally from south-west to north-east, its path appears to shift north. It takes about four minutes to cross the sky, although depending on exactly when you see it, the ISS can fade quickly.

Because of this, taking a photograph of the ISS requires patience and careful planning down to the second. The next time it flies over your location may be a few weeks away, or it may be tonight. 

Visit the Heaven’s Above website for a detailed list of ISS flybys near you (they can be seen for about 100 miles either side of the orbital path), and sign up for NASA’s Spot The Station service, which will email you a schedule of flybys happening the next day. NASA will, however, only let you know about flybys that will be visible to you directly overhead.

Read more: How to create a moonstack

It will usually be visible from where you are after sunset for ten days in a row, after which you’ll likely have to wait a couple months for its return to the morning sky. And so it continues. It's always transiting, but in daylight, so it's invisible. 

On any one day, however, the ISS may be visible twice or even three times in a row, each 90 minutes apart, though only one sighting will be overhead. The others will be lower, nearer the horizons.

Useful ISS apps

There are also a host of apps that follow the ISS in real-time, such as ISS Spotter for the iPhone and ISS Detector for Android. These apps use the same prediction engine to make calculations specific to your GPS position.

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Planetarium apps such as Star Walk 2 and Sky Guide will also send you alerts of ISS flybys occurring in five minutes’ time at your location. That’s not much warning, but if you’ve already got your camera mounted on a tripod and ready to go, it’s enough to get into your back garden to fire off a few shots (realistically, a maximum of two).

Once you know which crossing you’re going to try for, check the weather forecast and plan to visit a wide-open landscape, such as a park or open field. If it’s got a view low to the western horizon, you will see the ISS as soon as it rises.

Taking the shot

The ISS is only visible in the few hours before sunrise or after sunset. About 10 minutes before the scheduled flyby you’re planning on photographing, go outside with your camera on a tripod, preferably with a wide-angle lens that has its focus set to infinity, and put it in its manual exposure mode.

Take some 30-second test exposures on ISO 400, with the aperture at around f/4. As soon as you see the ISS rising above the western horizon, open the shutter. 

When the shot is complete and you've captured an ISS trail, swivel the camera and do the same again. With any luck, the ISS will drop into the camera’s field of view. If you have a very wide-angle lens, try exposures of a minute or longer, but adjust the aperture to prevent overexposing the image. It takes some practice, with the biggest variables being the brightness of the sky (ie how soon after sunset the transit takes place) and the amount of moonlight.

Read more: How and when to photograph the moon

If you see the ISS just after sunset (or just before sunrise), it will likely remain blazingly bright right across the sky. If you see it again 90 minutes later on its second pass, the sun will have sunk further, and its rays will only catch the solar panels until the ISS is perhaps third of the way across the night sky. As it enters Earth’s shadow it fades very quickly.

Photographing satellites

Although the ISS is the only spacecraft with humans onboard, there are other satellites orbiting Earth that can be photographed.

For now, the most popular and visually arresting are Iridium satellites. A vast network of hundreds of communications satellites launched in the late 1990s, they often glint dramatically – and very predictably. Rising and falling in brightness over about 15 seconds, they can be very, very bright, so an exquisitely-timed long exposure photograph can capture a unique diamond shape in the night sky.

Sadly, this generation of ageing satellites are currently being replaced and de-orbited, and by mid-2019 Iridium flares will be gone from the night sky. If you want to catch one, the rules are the same for photographing the ISS. The GoSatWatch (iOS) and Heaven's Above (Android) apps provide the crucial countdown. 

Credit to Jamie Carter and Digital Camera World

Tips from Camera Craft on How to Buy a Camera

General tips

  • There is no spec that tells you which camera is best. And few specs can be taken at face value.
  • Resolution ("megapixels") doesn't matter unless you're a pro or already understand why. Sensor size, autofocus system and image-stabilization system are among the features that do.
  • Don't get hung up on making sure you've got the "best" or newest in a particular class. The truth is, one camera rarely beats the rest on all four major criteria -- photo quality, performance, features and design. And last-year's (or even the year before's) models tend to be perfectly fine as well as a lot cheaper.
  • Try before you buy. Make sure it fits comfortably in your hand and that it's not so big or heavy that you'll prefer to leave it at home. It should provide quick access to the most commonly used functions, and menus should be simply structured, logical and easy to learn. Touchscreen models can allow for greater functionality, but can also be frustrating if the controls and menus are poorly organized.

Why get a camera when you've got one in your phone?

  • Many cameras have or support real zoom lenses which cover a much bigger range than the computational zoom used by some dual-lens phone cameras. (That's when they combine information from the two different focal-length cameras to provide a photo that's better than what you'd get with digital zoom, but not as good as true optical zoom.)
  • Despite all the advances in phone cameras -- and phone marketing -- they still can't match the quality, speed or control of a good dedicated camera. So some people like to use a separate camera for special events.
  • Not every phone has a good camera and not every phone with a good camera is a great phone. You might want both.

Top considerations

Interchangeable or fixed lens?

Interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs) are dSLRs or mirrorless models. The advantages of an ILC over a fixed lens model is:

  • You can always buy a better lens to improve photo quality and performance.
  • If you need a wider or narrower angle of view, you can always get another lens to cover it.
  • You can get a faster (i.e., wider maximum aperture) lens if you need better low-light performance.

Fixed-lens cameras come in two flavors: bridge cameras (the ones that look like dSLRs and have really long lenses) and compacts (formerly point-and-shoots, which for the most part have been replaced by phones). The advantages of a fixed-lens camera over an ILC:

  • The compacts tend to be much smaller.
  • The bridge cameras tend to cover a zoom range that would be prohibitively expensive and/or heavy in a standalone lens.
  • Swapping lenses on an ILC can be a pain.
  • Frequently, the kit lenses that ship with ILCs frequently aren't as high quality or wide-aperture as the fixed lenses.
  • Many people never buy a second lens, anyway.

To read the full article click here.

From SooToday's Spotlight: How one simple philosophy has kept a local business going for over 6 decades

Serving the people of Sault Ste. Marie for over 60 years, Camera Craft has a clear picture about what its customers expect. And it’s oh-so-good for you.

A strong emphasis on the buying experience, that’s the secret ingredient Camera Craft is stocking in surplus for its customers. Their level of service is one that only a specialty shop can offer and one that only experience can dictate.

With over six decades serving Sault Ste. Marie it’s safe to say that Camera Craft has history in the community. But when you ask what history means to their store,
they’ll tell you the word is in no way synonymous with what is old.

“We’re old school but we’re always up-to- date,” explains the family. “We’ve kept up with the technical changes throughout the years and have done so with the belief that the customer always comes first.”

Camera Craft has lived photography in a way that only a few specialty shops can boast about. They’ve seen the landscape transform from Polaroid instant film, to the first point and shoot auto-focus, to the digital era and advanced DSLRs.

Their rich history with all things photographic runs deep.

Because of their experience Camera Craft has an understanding that when entering the world of advancing technology the buying process can seem intimidating
whether you’re the family photographer or a budding visual artist.

The world of pixels, lenses, aperture, filters, flashes and tripods are enough to make most people shudder.

That’s why according to Camera Craft, the experience for the customer is so important.

To read the rest of the article, click this link.

How to understand everything written on your camera's memory card

Memory cards are straightforward in use: you just pop them in your camera, format them and you’re off. Trying to make sense of their various figures and symbols, however, is another story.

The situation has become more problematic in recent years as more advanced cards have been inscribed with new terminology to indicate certain aspects of their performance. 

More basic cards are thankfully free of many terms, but as cameras get more advanced it becomes even more important to understand whether you’re actually using the right card to do its capabilities justice. Fail to do so and you can end up having your camera's burst depth cut short or your video recording interrupted, and lots of hanging around waiting for images to be recorded.

To help clear everything up, we’re going to run through all the symbols currently used on common SD-type cards and explain what each one means.

1. Brand

This is the easy one: the manufacturer of the card. The most common names you will see here are Sandisk and Lexar, although Kingston, Transcend, Samsung, Toshiba and others are also commonly available. You may even have one from the same manufacturer as your camera.

Most people will have a card from one of the first two brands as these are the most popular, but there are perfectly good cards from the others that are often cheaper. As with hard drives, memory cards are typically only made by a handful of companies and simply rebadged by others.

Some brands are known for providing particularly good warranties or image-recovery software with their cards as standard, so you may want to factor these issues in if choosing between brands. Your best bet is to check the manufacturer's website for full details as to what you get with each.

2. Position in range

This indicates where in a manufacturer's lineup a card sits. Not all manufacturers have these different classes, but those that do give you a quick idea as to what kind of performance you should be able to expect from a card.

Sandisk, for example, currently has Ultra, Ultra Plus, Extreme, Extreme Plus and Extreme Pro classes for its SD-type memory cards, as well as a more basic one that bears no particular designation. As you step up a class you are likely to see improved transfer speeds (more on this later), and more advanced cards may offer things like protection from water and freezing temperatures too. Naturally, this will be reflected in the asking price.

3. Capacity

All memory cards have a capacity that should be clearly indicated on the card itself. This could be as little as 4GB or 8GB (and even less for older SD cards), or as much as 512GB (at the time of writing). Larger 1TB and 2TB cards will at some point be available too, but frankly, even 512GB is way beyond most people's needs. 

The larger the card the more images and videos you can squeeze on it, although quite what you end up in practice depends on a number of factors. Whether you shoot JPEG images or Raw files, for example, together with what level of compression you use, whether you shoot high-resolution videos and how the camera records these among other things. 

Most people tend to go for a card that’s about 16-64GB in size, and these are now very affordable. From the perspective of security it's a good idea to have a number of smaller cards rather than a single large one, but the convenience of being able to fit weeks' worth of shoots or video footage onto a single, high-capacity card makes these tempting.

4. Type

Currently, all SD-type cards fall into one of three camps: SD, SDHC and SDXC. They are all the same shape and size, but the type will be indicated clearly on its front.

SD (Secure Digital) cards are still in existence, but there is not much demand for them anymore as they do not offer the kinds of capacities and transfer speeds to do today’s cameras justice. Even if you do manage to find one, you’ll get considerably better value going for an SDHC or SDXC card, so they're best avoided.

SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards are those that have a capacity between 4-32GB (inclusive). As they get larger in size they double in capacity: so, you can either go for a 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB card. If you find an SDHC card with any other capacity – 21GB, for example – you probably need to start shopping elsewhere.

SDXC (Secure Digital Extra Capacity) cards are those that offer anything above this. These are currently 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB cards, but soon this will increase to even greater capacities. 

Most of today's cameras that take SD media support SD, SDHC and SDXC cards, but older cameras that only support SD cards won't work with SDHC or SDXC cards, and cameras that only support SD and SDHC varieties will not accept SDXC cards. 

5. Speed

This is where things start to get a little confusing.

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Most cards have one or more of their transfer speeds written in either MB/s (megabytes per second) or with an 'x' to show this as a factor. This tells you how quickly the card can operate – more on this in a second.

The card below is one of a handful that has both. These figures mean exactly the same thing, but it can become confusing when trying to compare cards that aren't marked with both. This card is a good example of how you do just that; a speed of 150MB/s is equal to 1000x, as a speed of 150kb is equal to 1x. So, a card with a 45MB/s rating is the same as 300x, 90MB/s is the same as 600x and so on.

5. Speed

This is where things start to get a little confusing.

Most cards have one or more of their transfer speeds written in either MB/s (megabytes per second) or with an 'x' to show this as a factor. This tells you how quickly the card can operate – more on this in a second.

The card below is one of a handful that has both. These figures mean exactly the same thing, but it can become confusing when trying to compare cards that aren't marked with both. This card is a good example of how you do just that; a speed of 150MB/s is equal to 1000x, as a speed of 150kb is equal to 1x. So, a card with a 45MB/s rating is the same as 300x, 90MB/s is the same as 600x and so on.

This is particularly useful to note if you shoot with a modern camera with a high-resolution sensor, especially

This is particularly useful to note if you shoot with a modern camera with a high-resolution sensor, especially if you capture bursts of images in one go. You may find with slower cards that you can't shoot images consecutively for as long a period (known as burst depth) or that you're just having to wait around for your camera to clear these to the card.ively for as long a period (known as burst depth) or that you're just having to wait around for your camera to clear these to the card.

6. Speed Class

For some time now, SDHC and SDXC cards have been marked with a figure inside an almost-complete circle. These figures are either 2, 4, 6, or 10, and they refer to the Speed Class of the card.

What this figure tells you is the minimum sustained write speed of the card in MB/s. In other words, this is how quickly the card guarantees to have information written to it continuously. This is useful for those capturing videos, where data needs to be recorded to the card without any interruption for prolonged periods of time.

A Speed Class 2 card guarantees a minimum sustained write speed of 2MB/s, a Speed Class 4 card guarantees a minimum sustained write speed of 4MB/s, and so on. Bear in mind that this is the minimum guaranteed speed, not the set constant speed.

These figures don't sound very good in comparison with those mentioned earlier, but video is recorded in a different way to still images and the demands are not quite the same. But which do you need? The SD Association reckons that a card with a Class 4 rating is good enough for Full HD video, but that you should ideally opt for a Class 6 or Class 10 card. This does also depends on frame rate, however, with higher frame rates requiring faster cards. When you start to shoot 4K video you need something more capable – more on this in a second.

7. UHS speed class

There are currently two UHS speed classes: UHS Speed Class 1 and UHS Speed Class 3. The way this is written on a card is with the number 1 or 3 inside the letter U.

This one is fairly easy to understand: UHS Speed Class 1 cards have a minimum write speed of 10MB/s, while UHS Speed Class 3 ups this to 30MB/s. Again, this is one for those capturing video, who need to know their footage will be recorded steadily and without issues.

These are only found on SDHC and SDXC cards, rather than older SD types. You can still use these cards in older cameras that don't support the UHS standard, but you won't realise the same speed benefits. 

8. UHS Bus IF product family

Not to be confused with the U1 and U3 markings described above, there are currently three UHS Bus IF categories: UHS-I, UHS-II and UHS-III. On the card, these are simply marked with a Roman numeral. 

This figure relates to the card's 'bus interface', which plays a crucial role in determining transfer speeds. UHS-I cards have a maximum bus speed of 104MB/s, while UHS-II cards have a maximum bus speed of 312MB/s. UHS-III cards, meanwhile, double this to 624MB/s, but they are not available yet.

Why is this important? A faster card will help your camera to have a longer burst depth and will write images in less time. As such, this factor is particularly important for sports, action or wildlife photographers. 

It will also mean you can transfer images and videos from the card to a computer in less time, providing you're using a card reader that supports this technology. Right now, it's a particular concern to those shooting VR and 360degree footage, or for any other data-intensive recording.

HS-II and UHS-III cards are easily recognisable for their two rows of contacts on the rear side, whereas UHS-I cards only have one.

To make sure you will benefit from UHS-I, UHS-II or UHS-III cards, you should check your cameras specification list. Next to the type of memory card your camera supports, it will usually state whether support is provided for one or more of the UHS formats. Bear in mind that cameras designed with two card slots may not support UHS equally in each. As a general rule, the primary slot will be the more capable one, although some are now equally matched.

These cards are backwards compatible, which means that UHS-III and UHS-II cards can be used in devices that only support UHS-I (or don't even support UHS at all). You just won't get the same speed benefits of them in these. 

9. Video Speed Class

Right now, there are five Video Speed Classes: V6, V10, V30, V60 and V90. Much like Speed Class described above, each figure corresponds with a minimum sustained write speed in MB/s. So, the V6 card has a minimum sustained write speed of 6MB/s, the V10 has a 10MB/s speed and so on.

This relatively recently designation was designed to keep up with the demands of video capture on modern cameras. Again, which one you need depends on exactly how it is you're shooting video, but the SD Association recommends V6, V10 and V30 cards for Full HD video; V30 and V60 for 4K video; and V60 and V90 for 8K video. That's not to say you can't use a V90 card for Full HD video, just that it's not required to do so. Essentially, the rule is that higher-rated cards are designed for higher-resolution video footage.

What about CompactFlash cards?

CompactFlash cards don't have the same UHS and video designations as SDHC and SDXC cards, but things like capacity and speed are typically marked in the same way. They do, however, sometimes have a couple of icons that you won't find on SD-type media.

One of these is UDMA. This stands for Ultra Direct Memory Access, a technology that has been used by CompactFlash cards for some time now. This tends to have a number next to it, and this guides you on the performance of the card. The most recent types offer UDMA mode 7, simply written as UDMA 7, which has a rating of 166MB/s. The older UDMA mode 6 has a rating of 133 MB/s, although it's quite common to just see UDMA with no figure next to it.

The other icon exclusive to CompactFlash cards is the Video Performance Guarantee (VPG) speed, which shows a number inside a small clapper board icon. Although this appears slightly different to the Video Speed Class marking on SDXC cards, the principle is the same: the number simply tells you the minimum sustained write speed in MB/s.

The best thing to do ...

... is to see what your camera's manufacturer recommends you use with your camera, as it knows your specific model better than anyone else. This will be in the manual, often detailed with the exactly same icons that you see on the card itself.

 

The FujiGuys Guides to Understanding Aperture and Shutter Speed

We thought we'd share these great blog posts from the FujiGuys for your learning pleasure, enjoy!

Understanding apertures

Apertures do so much more than simply let light into your Fujifilm X Series camera. Watch this tutorial to find out how changing the aperture on your XF and XC lenses can affect every photograph you take.
Understanding shutter speeds

Varying the shutter speed on your Fujifilm X Series camera can have a striking effect on how your photographs come out. In this tutorial we explain how changing the shutter speed changes the look of an image and the other factors you need to consider when altering shutter speed settings.

Article credits to:

https://fujifilm-blog.com/2017/10/31/quick-techniques-understanding-shutter-speeds/

https://fujifilm-blog.com/2017/10/31/quick-techniques-understanding-shutter-speeds/

The Best Mirrorless Camera

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After 70 hours of research and testing over two years, we think if you’re looking to buy a mirrorless camera with pro-level performance alongside image quality that bests most DSLRs, the Fujifilm X-T2 is the camera to get.

With a street price approaching $2,000 bundled with a lens, buying the X-T2 is a significant investment in your photography. But what you receive in return is a rugged, weather-sealed camera; best-in-class viewfinder; 4K video capability; and a sensor that delivers impressively clean, detailed, and color-accurate images even at its highest ISO settings. All this in a retro-styled body with a well-designed layout of buttons and dials for fast, intuitive operation.

In addition to the 40 hours we spent poring over reviews and test results for 13 different models in the previous version of this guide, we spent another 30 hours of research, including several days of real-world shooting with the X-T2 alongside our previous pick, the Fujifilm X-T1. As a result, the X-T2 is now our pick for the best mirrorless camera in the $1,000-plus range.

At this price, great image quality below ISO 3,200 is a given in a camera at this level, as is the ability to change camera settings and shooting controls without diving into onscreen menus. And because these high-end models are aimed at working pros as well as serious hobbyists, you can expect durable, metal camera bodies that can stand up to daily abuse from the elements.

What sets the X-T2 apart is its ability to deliver impressively detailed images even at ISO 51,200, a whopping 325-point AF system, 4K video shooting, a clever dual-hinged rear screen that offers the practical benefits of a fold-out articulating screen but with less bulk, and access to a fantastic and ever-growing lineup of XF prime and zoom lenses. On top of all this is Fuji’s impressive track record of improving camera features and functionality via ongoing firmware updates. So there’s a very good chance that your X-T2 will become an even more capable camera over your time of ownership.

The Fujifilm X-T1 was our top pick in a previous version of this guide. Its follow-up, the X-T2 bests it with a faster and customizable autofocus system, a higher-resolution sensor that excels at the top of its ISO range, dual SD-card slots, and 4K video. If these features aren’t relevant to your style of photography, however, the X-T1 remains a formidable camera. Image quality is still among the best of any APS-C mirrorless camera, its all-metal body can stand up to daily abuse, and paired with one of Fuji’s growing body of weather-sealed lenses, you can take the X-T1 out shooting in any conditions. And with a current price significantly lower than our top pick, the X-T1 saves you enough cash to add an extra lens to your kit.

Using the same highly regarded 24-megapixel sensor seen in Fuji’s X-Pro2, the X-T2 delivers outstanding image quality even at its highest ISO settings. The X-T2 can capture images at up to 8 fps in continuous autofocus mode—faster than most DSLRs—aided by Fuji’s most advanced AF system to date. A new dual-hinged rear screen gives you a wide range of viewing angles when not using the viewfinder, and 4K video along with a mic input make this the first X-series camera with appeal to video shooters. This weather-sealed all-metal camera body performs flawlessly in rough conditions, and the logically arranged dials and buttons make changing camera settings fast and intuitive. Dual SD-card slots give you the choice of either extended shooting capacity or real-time backups. Not to be overlooked is that buying into Fuji’s X-system gives you access to some truly outstanding lenses.

Article Credit to: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-mirrorless-camera/

How to Choose Binoculars

For All Your Binocular Needs

When shopping for binoculars, you’ll discover wide price ranges on similar-looking styles. Understanding binocular specs, such as magnification, objective lens diameter and exit pupil will help you narrow down which pair works best for your needs.

Binocular Size

Binoculars come in a variety of sizes (defined by the objective lens size) for various outdoor pursuits. Here's a quick comparison.

Full-Size (common specs: 7 x 50 M, 10 x 50, 12 x 60, 20 x 60...)

Best for serious wildlife viewing and for use on boats. Full-size binoculars capture more light and perform better in low-light situations. They usually provide steadier images and a wider field of view, so they're great for bird watching, but they're too big and heavy for backpacking.

Mid-Size (common specs: 7 x 35, 8 x 42, 10 x 42...)

Best all-around choice for wildlife and sports use. While a bit heavy for backpacking, these binoculars balance moderate size and above-average light transmission.

Compact (common specs: 6 x 21, 8 x 25, 10 x 26...)

Best for daytime outdoor activities. These are the lightest, smallest binoculars for backpacking, but they’re less comfortable during extended periods of use.

Binocular Magnification Power

Binoculars are identified by 2 numbers. The numbers on binoculars show magnification power and lens diameter.

Example: 7 x 35 binoculars have a magnification power of 7.

A magnification power of 7 means that an object will appear 7 times closer than it would to your unassisted eye. For example, if you view a deer that stands 200 yards away from you through 7x binoculars, it will appear as though it were 28.6 yards away (200 divided by 7).

Be aware that binoculars with magnification powers greater than 10 amplify the movements of your hands, making steady viewing difficult.

Binocular Objective Lens Diameter

The second number used in binocular identification refers to the diameter (in millimeters) of the objective lenses (those farther from your eyes; those closer to the "object" being viewed).

Example: 7 x 35 binoculars have objective lenses measuring 35mm.

The diameter of the objective lenses largely determines how much light your binoculars can gather. If you have 2 binoculars with exactly the same specifications except for objective lens diameter, those with the larger diameter objective lenses will capture more light. More light means a brighter view, particularly in low-light conditions.

Binocular Exit Pupil

Exit pupil is a number that indicates how bright an object will appear when viewed in low-light situations. A higher number means brighter images. A large exit pupil also makes it easier to maintain a full image of an object if your hands move or shake.

Exit pupil size (measured in millimeters) is calculated by dividing the diameter of the objective lenses by the magnification number.

Example: For 7 x 35 binoculars, 35 divided by 7 equals an exit pupil diameter of 5mm.

In very dim light, our pupils can widen up to 7mm. If your binoculars have an exit pupil size of less than 7, then they are restricting the light available to your eyes. 7 x 50 binoculars offer an exit pupil size of 7.1mm—a good choice for nighttime viewing.

For low-light situations (dawn, dusk, within dense tree cover or while observing the night sky), models with a high exit pupil number (about 5mm or higher) are good options.

For daylight viewing, exit pupil size is less important. In bright light, human pupils narrow to roughly 2mm. All binoculars offer exit pupils that size or larger.

Binocular Eye Relief

This is the distance between each eyepiece and your eyes while the whole field of view is visible. Long eye relief increases comfort by allowing you to hold the binoculars away from your face.

The eye-relief spec is most useful if you wear glasses. Most manufacturers recommend that glasses wearers should roll down the rubber eyepiece collars before viewing; some exceptions do exist.

Tip: If you wear glasses, look for eye relief of 11mm or more.

Binocular Field of View

This spec tells you the width of the area (usually in feet) that you can view at a glance, 1,000 yards from where you stand. A wide field of view is best to find and identify objects such as birds. Usually a higher magnification power results in a narrower field of view.

Binocular Focus

Almost all binoculars feature a central focusing wheel that focuses both barrels on the binoculars at the same time. They also typically include a diopter adjustment ring that focuses one barrel independently of the other. This allows you to compensate for differences in vision between your two eyes.

The diopter ring is usually located on either the left or right barrel near the eyepiece.

Binocular Lens Coatings

Some of the light that passes through the lenses in binoculars is reflected away. This reflection reduces the amount of light passing through the lenses and causes the image to appear dark. To reduce reflection and ensure clear, sharp images, coatings are applied. Fully multicoated lenses reduce the most reflection and increase light transmission.

Waterproof and Weather-Resistant Binoculars

If you’ll be using your binoculars aboard a boat or on land during a rainy day, you’ll want to consider waterproof or weather-resistant binoculars.

Waterproof binoculars typically use O-rings to create a seal to prevent moisture from entering. Waterproof binoculars also prevent dust or small debris from getting in.

Weather-resistant binoculars are not fully waterproof. They are designed to protect against light rain but not submersion.

Fogproof Binoculars

Binoculars can be prone to fogging up when you move them between different temperatures, such as from the cold outdoors to the warmth of your home. Fogging is not only annoying, but can also be potentially damaging if moisture gets trapped inside.

To counter fog, binocular makers have developed methods for replacing the air inside the optical barrels with inert gas that has no moisture content and therefore won’t condense. This protects against fogging up of the internal lens surfaces, not the exterior ones.

Feel free to call or stop by to talk to our knowledgeable staff for all of your binocular needs.

Credit to: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/binoculars.html

Summer Holidays are on their way.....

Explore and adventure with a camera that can take the punishment of family fun.

Ideal for every kind of adventure, whether outdoors, indoors or underwater, the FinePix XP120 is a tough, rugged camera that goes along on all your family’s adventures. Waterproof to 65ft/20m, shockproof up to 5.8 ft./1.75m, freezeproof to 14°F -10°C and sealed against dust or sand, this camera takes all the action you can dish out. The XP120 has wireless controls that let you shoot through your smartphone, print on the instax SHARE™ Printer and transfer images to a mobile device easily. New cinemagraph feature adds action to your photos. 10fps high speed shooting and Full HD 1080p video let you capture every moment of fun

Effective Pixels 16.4M BSI-CMOS
Optical Zoom 5x
Wide Angle @ 28mm
LCD Monitor 3 Inches
Sensitivity ISO6400
Optical Image Stabilization

Tough enough to shoot in all situations

Integrates four rugged protection features: waterproof to 65ft/20m, freezeproof to 14°F/-10°C, shockproof to withstand drops from up to 5.8ft/1.75m, and dustproof to keep out sand and other foreign particles. The camera is suitable for a variety of outdoor scenes.

High-performance Fujinon Zoom Lens

The widest setting of 28mm on the high-performance, versatile Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens is perfectly suited to close up action shots and beautiful natural scenes. Clear portraits are easy using the 5x optical zoom and you can get even closer using the 10x Intelligent Digital Zoom.

High-resolution 16.4 megapixel sensor & continuous shooting mode

Thanks to the 16.4 megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor, even dark scenes can be captured in bright clarity. The camera automatically adjusts shooting settings according to the scene, and features 10.0 frames per second high-speed continuous shooting.

Large 3-inch 920K-dot LCD monitor

Despite a larger 3-inch high-definition 920K-dot LCD monitor, the camera manages to maintain its compactness with a weight of approx. 203g***.

New Cinemagraph Mode

The FinePix XP120 offers the all-new Cinemagraph mode, producing still images with moving elements. Moving elements make a stark contrast against the rest of the still image, where it looks as if time has been frozen, accentuating your intended theme effectively to capture people's attention.

New instax SHARE for Easy Prints and Instant Sharing

The camera supports direct Wireless transfer of images to the instax SHARE printer for instant printout and sharing on the spot. Enjoy instax prints at parties or on vacations, and share them with your family and friends instantly.

Yet Another Post About My Issues With UV Filters

Yes, I’m sick of filter articles, too. But I come today not to educate you, but to mock others. Because yes, people continue to try to save a few bucks by putting a cheap filter in front of their $1,000 lens. And also because they buy what they think are good filters off of Fleabay or some used place and these filters aren’t what they think. This can particularly happen when you purchase a brand that makes different filters of differing quality.

How bad can it be, you ask? Well, today we’ll show you. Because someone had a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens that had been nice and sharp and then returned it because it suddenly got soft. They were kind enough to return it with their protective filter in place.

So the first thing we did, as we always do, was put the lens on OLAF, which is simply an array of collimated 5-micron pinholes. A good lens should show and an array of small dots or circles. But this lens showed an array of glaring star flare thingies.

Read More

Best In Glass

 

Head down to Camera Craft to find the latest deals that Canon is offering in it's Best In Glass sales event.  

Amazing pricing on DSLR, point and shoot, and the Selphy products.

ESO 80D 18-135Kit
was: $2,399.99/ now: $1699.00
Save $700.00

ESO 7D Mark II 18-135Kit
was: $2,749.99/ now: $2,299.99
Save $450.00

ESO T6s 18-135mm
was: $1549.99/ now: $1099.99
Save $450.00

ESO T6 18-55 IS Kit
was: 699.99/ now: $499.99
Save $200

and many more.....

It's time for Spring Cleaning!

Camera Craft is ready to help you out will all your Camera Spring Cleaning needs.

From Cleaning kits to paper, screen cleaners, sensors, air dusters, start your season off right and ensure that all your gear is ready to go.

 

 

Air duster, also known as canned air or compressed air, is a product used for cleaning or dusting electronic equipment and other sensitive devices that cannot be cleaned using water. ... Despite the name "canned air", the cans actually contain gases that are compressable into liquids.

AlturaCleaningPapers.jpg
 

Apply a few drops of lens cleaning solution to a lens tissue or cleaning cloth. Using a circular motion, gently remove oil, fingerprints, and grime from the lens surface, working from the center outward.

 

A lens pen is a great additions to your bag for quickly and safely removing smudges from your lens.  Lens pens also have a retractable brush perfect for removing dust.

 

Sensor cleaning tends to be a little bit more of a delicate process and we have all of the supplies available at camera craft for those that wish to ensure there are not dust spots on their sensors that can impact on image quality.

 

This products are specifically designed for crop frame camera 1.6x  as well as for full frame 1.0x

 

 

Sensor cleaning supplies for full frame cameras.

 

Stop in and see us for all your camera cleaning needs.

 

We also even carry lights make specifically for the job of sensor cleaning to ensure you can see any small dust aspects on your sensor.

 

Micro finger cloths are also a must for every camera bag for quick cleaning jobs and ensuring that your LCD stays free of dust and fingerprints and the occasional nose print.

Get Those Prints....

Photos from your cell phone and low resolution photos may look great on your monitor at “screen resolution”(72 ppi or pixels per inch), put printing these images is likely to pose an issue.

The small file sizemake forfast downloads and is easy to share online and you can get a lot of images on a memory card, but photos taken on a camera’s ‘basic’ or ‘low’ quality settings don’t cut it when you want professional quality images for print publication. 

A resolution of 300 ppi is considered the minimum quality standard for printing photos.

If you are shooting for print output, capture your images at the highest quality setting your camera offers: High, Best, Fine.

This captures the shot using the lowest compression ratio or no compression at all.

Compression is how much of the potential information in an image file is discarded to keep file size down. 

You can always re-sample down (from more resolution to less) but if you interpolate up, you lose information and lose image quality.

Saving a photo in .jpg format allows you to choose a compression level, depending on whether better quality image or smaller file size is more important for your purposes.

Shooting at high resolution may also give you the option of cropping and enlarging a portion of your image later, retaining enough data for a quality print, even after tossing some pixels to the cutting room floor. 

You won’t get as many images on your camera’s memory card shooting at high-res but you can keep your creative options open by archiving your ‘keepers’ on CD or a back-up drive.

The industry standard resolution for quality photo output is 300 ppi. However, you may be able to get away with a ppi as low as 200 if the image is not too finely detailed, if it will be printed on low quality paper such as newsprint, or if it will be viewed from a distance.

 


 

The following formula can help you calculate:

 

    1    How large a print you can make from a digital image with a given set of pixel dimensions and a given resolution (ppi)

    2    What resolution a digital print will have printed at given output dimensions from a file with given pixel dimensions

    3    What dimensions–in pixels–your digital image will have captured at given dimensions in inches and at a given resolution

 

 

THE FORMULA:

Divide each dimension of your digital image (in pixels) by the print resolution desired (in pixels per inch). This will give you the largest print size (in inches) you can generate at that resolution.

 

Example: (1500 pixels / 300 ppi) x (2100 pixels / 300 ppi) = 5″ x 7″.

 

To capture an image of this physical size at this resolution, you would need a 3 megapixel (MP) camera:

1500 pixels x 2100 pixels = 3,150,000 pixels or approximately 3 megapixels

 

A 1 megapixel camera will yield a 3 x 5″ print at 300 pixels per inch (ppi)

(3″ x 300 pixels) x (5″ x 300 pixels) = 900 x 1500 pixels = 1,350,000 pixels or approximately 1 megapixels

 

A 2 MP camera will give you a ‘print quality’ 4 x 6″, a 3 MP camera, a 5 x 7″… and it would take a 7 MP camera to shoot an 8 x 10″ print quality image.

 

Show your sweetheart that you love them by giving a gift that keeps on giving...

What better way to let your sweetheart know what you love and support them then by feeding their passion for photography this Valentines Day.

We carry a extensive selection of Nikon, Canon and Fuji and all the gear and gadgets to go with them.

The perfect zero calorie treats for the love of your life, from film and developing supplies to the newest technology in digital photography.

Stop in an pull up a chair, let us know what your love one likes to photograph, what gear they already own and we can help you pick out the perfect gift to add to their arsenal.

 
 
 

Looking for the gift of learning, we offer both private or group seminars that can be tailored to what your interested in.

Lighting, stands, tripods, filters, bags, reflectors, flashes and a wide selections of lenses.

Can't decide what to get, we also offer gift certificates.

At Camera Craft we offer the knowledge and support to get the most out of your purchase and support our customers even after the purchase.

Show your loved one how much you care by getting them a gift you know they will love!