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It’s been years since Canon updated their 50mm f1.8 lens. The first version had a metal mount, the second version went cheaper on the build, and the new STM version includes a brand new motor, seven aperture blades, a metal mount and what otherwise seems to be the same plasticky build quality of version two. At the same time, the lens is also just a bit over $100–and it remains to be one of the best bang for your buck lenses that you can possibly get your hands on.

As of the publishing of this post, we’ve spent most of the past weekend with the lens. And so far, it’s proving to be quite the great offering.

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All images by Ken Hermann. Used with permission.

Hollywood has been known to many as a place to go in order to pursue one’s dreams to become a star. But for many, it doesn’t seem to work out. Those people often fall off and do other jobs. They’re the focus of photographer Ken Hermann‘s project called Hollywood Characters. He is the winner of the Hasselblad Masters 2012 for his City Surfer work and has a book out now collecting some of his work.

Hollywood Characters is subtitled as being “The dead-end of the American dream.”

According to the series description:

“Amongst the bustling crowds and chic boutiques on the streets of Los Angeles are a cast of costumed characters, waiting for curious passersby to take a photo.The street characters make a living by letting themselves being photographed together with the thousands of tourists who visit the Boulevard each day and pay them a tip them to take a shot.

Some of the Street characters does a really good job acting as look-alikes and they actually look a lot like some of the big Hollywood stars while others just look like silly grownups in poor and dirty carnival costumes.

Most of the street characters have one thing in common though. They are, or once were, pursuing the American dream of becoming someone special and famous. It is this struggle mixed with the childish fantasy world ken Hermann finds interesting to portrait.”

The project started when he became fascinated by the good look-alikes and the bad ones. Spending time observing them, he found that sometimes a person just needs to have a funny or crazy attitude to be successful. But in this project, Ken tried to show off who the real person was behind the disguise.

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Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

The Canon 5Ds and 5DsR are two of the hottest cameras on the market right now for the reason that they’ve got lots of megapixels–lots and lots of them. The folks over at DigitalRev got a chance to play with them and seemed to figure that with this many megapixels, you’re probably going to be shooting mostly in the studio. The alternative is that it’s for enthusiasts with way too much money to burn and that just like to pixel peep and do nothing else with their lives.

Kai and the crew set up a special situation in the studio involving a water balloon bursting with a Broncolor light. They did the shoot over and over again until they got really great photos–and for the most part this would be really tough to do but it could have been made simpler if they used Triggertrap’s Sound trigger along with the flash attachment.

The video is after the jump.

Via ISO 1200

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 review lead image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 6.3

A while back, Fujifilm announced that they’d be updating the X-T1 with a brand new firmware update that significantly boosts the autofocus performance. The Fujifilm X-T1 doesn’t have terrible focusing performance to begin with, but now they’re stating that it’s much better than it was before. The new firmware 4.00 includes new wide and tracking methods as well as performance boosts to single AF point focusing.

For portrait photographers, the camera will now have an Eye Detection focusing option too.

The full details are after the jump, and you can download the firmware right here.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Kodak Ektachrome (11 of 15)

For the film photographers amongst us, you may have shot color film in very low lighting or in very dark situations, gotten the roll back and realized that it looked terrible. Indeed, it looks nothing like the images that you produce when there is ample light available in the scene. For this reason, digital photography can be far superior when it comes to shooting in dark situations. We put emphasis on the word can there for a reason for. Digital photography is far simpler to do in the low light situations than color film photography–but that’s also for a very good reason.

We explore why after the jump.

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Before we begin this article, let’s make this clear: never call yourself a natural light photographer. But beyond that, know the basics. Portraiture is hard enough but actually make the most of natural lighting is really a skill. It isn’t as simple as going out there and just shooting. Indeed, knowing how to use natural light in the best ways has to do with actually knowing how to look at light and judge how it will appear in an image.

Though we always tell folks to learn how to use a flash, here’s how to make the most of what you have if all you have is natural light.

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