All articles by Chris Gampat
Five Fast Focusing 50mm Lenses For Mirrorless Cameras
One of the most popular lens focal lengths out there is the 50mm–but they’re sometimes worthless if they can’t focus quickly. Whether you’re a professional or hobbyist photographer, there isn’t a reason why you wouldn’t want to have a fast focusing 50. Foodies can rest assured knowing that their 50mm lens will lock focus quickly onto dinner. When you’re capturing your corgi running around and doing corgi things, you’ll know that the image you snap will be bound to get you some karma points on Reddit.
Working with off-camera lighting is a lot easier than most people think. But one thing that many people don’t understand is a very simple concept about lighting: when shooting portraits, it’s often best to make your subject face the light source to deliver a flattering image. Why?
One of the biggest problems that everyone faces in portraiture is making chins look good. Peter Hurley and other photographers tell you to direct portrait subjects to push their neck out just a bit. That works all the time, but another trick that also works well is making sure that the positioning of the chin is at the right elevation to begin with. This trick is a bit more complicated and requires you to “see light” so to speak.
For a very long time, Olympus’ fastest primes were only available at f1.8; but with the recent introduction of the Olympus 25mm f1.2 PRO lens they’ve broken that previous standard. It’s one of the company’s highest end lenses and will most likely be purchased by professionals and high end enthusiasts. With an f1.2 aperture, the equivalent depth of field in full frame terms if around f2.4 though it still has the light capturing abilities of f1.2.
For many years as a photographer, I’ve had one trick that has made all my product photography shine. Companies lease our product images and on social platforms or messaging boards, our product images are often used to showcase a lens or camera looking sexy. We wrote a while back about how we do product photos, but something that continues to be an issue with many photographers even today is whether or not you should have a new camera, an old camera, a full frame sensor, a Four Thirds sensor or an APS-C Sensor.
This is not going to be a popular opinion. However, in the course of starting a discussion, sometimes it is helpful to speak from a dissenting position. I want to talk about street photography.
There’s an image on the LooksLikeFilm Facebook group that has been creating quite a bit of interest. The photo is by photographer Sarah Bocculucci–she’s a birth photographer and has been studying photography since high school and became really interested in it once her career as a professional dancer came to an end because of injuries. “I love all types of photography and have recently taken film photography up again- talk about humbling.” Sarah states.
A fairly long time ago, photographer Zack Arias shared a video on sensor sizes and how the full frame vs APS-C sensor debate is pretty much useless. Instead, he pushes the idea that the “Moron behind the camera” is much more important. Today, more than anything else, that’s so important. Photographers are able to create awesome images with just an an iPhone camera. The sensor size won’t necessarily matter–but what will instead is the creative vision of the photographer or the knowledge that they have.
For many years, photographers have documented the homeless in an effort to get people to pay attention to exactly what’s going on in the world outside of their bubble. The intentions are usually valiant, but sometimes it doesn’t work out very well for various reasons. In addition to that, there are also loads of ethical issues that need to be addressed beforehand.
Award-winning photographer and best-selling Camera+ app entrepreneur Lisa Bettany started her first photography business without a camera. After a tragic figure skating accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, she borrowed a friend’s DSLR and she began exploring photography as a creative outlet.
If you were to tell me that I would honestly fall in love with a Canon lens like the Canon 11-24mm f4 L USM earlier this year, I would’ve told you that I’ve had my heart broken by the company many times in the past few years since the Canon 5D Mk III came out. But when I had the chance to play with the Canon 11-24mm f4 L USM, I was rather excited by its output.
The idea behind the Fotr app isn’t really a new one; but it is one of the latest options out there that takes the conveniences of digital photography and tries to apply film-analog ideas to it. No, we’re not talking about vintage looking filters, we’re talking about taking your images and not being able to see them until after a development process has taken place. That’s part of the excitement of film–and as I type this article up I’ve got at least seven rolls on my desk that I need to take to Lomography for developing.
One of the debates that so many photographers have with themselves when trying to evolve is whether or not they should work with constant lighting or flash. They’re both used by professional photographers often, and they’re both capable of delivering beautiful images. But they’re also both very different not only in the look that they can deliver, but the way that they are used. For what it’s worth too, the cost differences can be vast.
Technology is touting these days that it’s all trying to disrupt the industry and that Photographers will need to change their game. But is that true?
Street Photography isn’t simple and instead is something that requires a number of incredible parallel factors to all line up accordingly–and when cameras start to do nothing else but constantly log life at a higher resolution, it will require human elements beyond algorithms scrubbing for “Good images” to actually have someone call themselves an artist. The art form has obviously become more and more popular with Instagram, EyeEm and VSCO becoming a norm for photographers and people who just like taking pictures. Everyone has the potential to become a fantastic street photographer; but not everyone has the affinity, devotion, and understanding of the art to truly make it work.
Autofocusing with cameras is one of the biggest features that are always kept in mind when someone makes a purchase. Unfortunately though, not everyone knows how to take the best advantage of what their camera offers them. In truth, if you’ve got a camera from 2011 and afterward, you pretty much have everything you’ll need to accomplish most everyday tasks when it comes to autofocusing on your subject. Whether you’re photographing your pets running around like maniacs or photographing a subject in the dimly lit dark, your camera can handle most instances if you just use it correctly.
In Street Photography, photographers can use the new Fujifilm X-T2’s tilting LCD screen with ease to get the images they want to capture.
If you’ve ever used a Tokina lens, you’ll know that they’ve always been the even more affordable option that always performs with great image quality–and the Tokina 24-70mm f2.8 Pro recently was rated by DXO Mark’s as being not too far behind what Canon offers. In my review published last year, I felt that the Tokina lens delivers better color than the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L II USM, and while DXOMark thinks that the Canon version is sharper, it probably is.
I was truly impressed by what I saw while scouring Instagram to show you ten mostly monochrome street photographers to inspire you this month. The thing that excited me most was just how many people are making work like this, and how diverse and interesting street photography really is.
K Hris (as he goes by) is a self-employed photograph from Germany. He shoots on both digital and film of which he taught himself. Chris (his first name) describes himself as a lover of black and white. Hence why he pitched his series Monochrome to us. The series is a collection of dark impressions of the massive southern Alps.
In situations where you want to get a bokeh like effect to a significantly weaker degree than what an actual lens will give you, you can rely on the adjustment brush in Lightroom. To do this, all you need to do is create a custom brush setting with the sharpness and clarity all the way down. Then you brush it onto the areas that you want out of focus.
If you’re an adventurer or a photographer that get outside often, there are a number of wonderful lenses that you can get your hands on to create compelling images in the elements. Many photographers tend to go for wide angle lenses, and these tend to give them images that convey how they feel about the vast expanse before them when out hiking. But otherwise, they’re used by street photographers in the rain or sometimes even for certain types of portraits.
Photography inherently is all about seeing: we talk about seeing the light, the creative vision, etc.–but this is all typically based on someone having 20/20 vision. But what if you don’t?
If you’ve noticed something about the price points of cameras, you’ll realize that they’re only becoming more and more expensive. That’s because of a number of factors including the slow crush of most point and shoots from phones and exactly what they’re capable of doing. Add onto that the fact that the prosumer market is growing and willing to spend a lot more money to get the image quality that they want, and you’ll now get what we wanted in some ways or another: the camera and high end photography industry is now something only available to the rich and those that truly want to spend the money to create something inspired by their creative passion.
We are photographers; and in many ways we always want to have moments recorded in life. But so is everyone else. We as a society love to sit there and take photo after photo of something that we’re looking at in life. In fact, studies have shown that when people take pictures, they can describe certain details from events and moments in greater detail. But when they immediately then go and share them on social media platforms, the moments kind of fade out of memory.
So how does a photographer become more famous? As I state many times in my workshop, you often need to put your work out there and pitch yourself to various outlets. When photographers try to pitch themselves, they often just do a massive, widespread pitch. Many times, it’s the same pitch over and over again instead of being tailored to the specific people. This honestly makes no sense.
If you’re reading this piece, you should know that the title isn’t clickbait; instead it’s what you essentially hear when everyone thinks that they’re an expert these days in the photography world. It’s been a problem that we’ve been going through for a long time and relates to how marketing and consumerism makes it seem like you need the latest and greatest camera to take the best photos. It makes you think that the iPhone 7 Plus can replace your DSLR and kill your need for a camera. But it also relates to some other absolute total myths about quality.
If you wanted to go for a premium point and shoot camera of some sort, then the best of the best is easily awarded to the Sony RX1r II and the Leica Q. With their full frame sensors and fast aperture lenses, they’re bound to be appreciated by many photographers. Both of them have been out for a while now, and with the price differences not too far apart from one another you’re obviously curious about which one you should get. For some, the answer is clear: you prefer a higher megapixel sensor and the 35mm field of view. Others however want to go for the 28mm f1.7 lens and don’t want to fill their hard drives up.
Photographing cosplayers at Comic Con and other conventions leans two different ways: capturing people on the floor and then trying to create images that stand out from all the rest. Most photographers that take pride in their portraits often try to do something that looks good off the main floor where everyone else is. The great thing about comic con is that pretty much everyone is alright with you taking their picture. It’s even better when you ask someone–let alone less creepy!
The completely awesome experimentation that Lensbaby products allow photographers is really awesome, and today the company is giving you to best of many worlds with the Trio 28. It’s a 28mm f3.5 fixed aperture lens that gives you three different view styles. You get Twist, Velvet and Sweet. Twist is designed to emulate the company’s Twist 60 lens that is a nod to Petzval optics. The Velvet is soft, and the sweet is sharp. The Lensbaby Trio 28 has manual focus too. On full frame cameras, Lensbaby is saying that it will produce subtle vignetting.
For years, street fashion has become a bigger and bigger trend. Lots of photographers on Instagram do it for likes and genuinely enjoy doing it. It seems fairly simple too: find a subject, talk with them, shoot the image, get likes. Look up the #streetfashion photography hashtag and you’ll see lots of those photos everywhere. The original was Bill Cunningham, and then the Sartorialist made it cool again. Then everyone started doing it.
When Peak Design announced their new updates to the Everyday Bag lineup, I was incredibly cautious. Sure, we’re a news website and we’ll report on it–but there was a major problem that I had with the Everyday Messenger bag. Then the review unit request came in and I called in the Peak Design Everyday Tote. “There’s no way they can screw up a tote bag.” I thought to myself knowing just how much work goes into their products. But indeed, very few manufacturers have made totes targeted at photographers.
Take a look at the lead image for this story: what do you think it was shot with? It’s a photo I use often here on the site. That photograph was shot with Kodak Portra with a Bronica ETRS. No editing was done. It looks like it could have been done with a modern full frame camera or some other digital camera, right? To be honest, I could have done it with 35mm, Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, etc. What really mattered what the lighting and the situation because the further truth is that the laws of exposure don’t change.
Photographer Nils Karlson is a 41 year old creative living in Germany. “I started photography in my late 3’s, almost a decade after I got a glaucoma diagnosis, which affects my eyesight – my right eye is useless for photography, so I adapted and became left-eyed.” His journey started with messing around with digital photography then moved to 35mm slide film. Eventually, he got into the square format with 120 film–and those are part of his series “Earth Stands Still.”
I’m about to say something that is going to be very unpopular with many of you, but will make a whole load of sense to those of you experienced enough to truly realize what I’m saying. CMOS sensors in cameras these days are all good. The ones in phones, dedicated cameras, etc. They work and they’re all highly capable of delivering beautiful results. I’d guarantee you that if you put the output from a Sony camera and a Canon camera side by side, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell which is which. Why? They’re all so perfect. Because of this, I honestly really miss the CCD sensor–the unique look that it was able to deliver rendered images to resemble chrome film and gave us beautiful flaws that could easily be embraced by the most crafty amongst us. Indeed, the “bad results” truly brought out those of us that could make lemonade out of a pile of lemons.
When it comes to cleaning your camera sensor, the truth is that many photographers are very scared and don’t know how to do it. There are options like the Rocket Blower, the Arctic Butterfly and very recently Dexter’s Vac-o-matic was sent to us for review. From the folks over at Dexter’s camera, the Vac-matic is a low power vacuum designed to clean your camera’s sensor by using a soft tip.
There are two different styles of product photography: lifestyle and the stagnant plain background. For years, both have challenged many people. Lifestyle product photography will always be more complicated while the plain background is more studio style in a controlled environment. But perhaps one of the simplest and most fun way of actually doing the stagnant, plain jane background type of photography is with the Foldio 360. As a super portable, app connected option, the Foldio 360 makes product photography really, really fun.
Anyone can take a portrait photo, but making your image stand out from all the rest of the #instafamous photographers requires a bit more effort on your part that will eventually become common and a part of your routine portrait efforts. Most experienced portrait photographers know this already and chances are that if you are one of those people, you already have the necessary people skills to do this.
One day last year, my uncle gave me a gift that rekindled my interest in 35mm film photography–the Nikon N2020. My delight to hear him say “It has a motor focus” was followed by a chuckle of appreciation. Ever since I was a young boy, he knew how much I loved playing with new toys and this wasn’t really any sort of exception. The Hexar AF is the camera that turned that kindle into a raging, fiery passion; but the N2020 has quite a bit going for it that makes it wonderful in some ways. Quirky, fun, reliable, and compact–I can tell why so many people genuinely loved this camera.
The kit lens. Usually known as the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6. Practically everyone either uses one, or did at some point.
If you’re an iPhone 7 Plus owner, then you got a really great treat today from Adobe. Today, the company announced that they will now offer more support for the iPhone 7. Specifically though, they’re saying that they now support the iPhone 7 Plus dual lens camera. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, you should know that what happens is the phone uses a slightly longer than normal lens and the wide angle lens to create simulated bokeh. It’s not bad to be honest; but the cooler thing is that you now can do it and create DNG RAW files when you use Adobe Lightroom for iOS.
Recently, Zeiss Ambassador Greg Watermann got the chance to shoot with the new Zeiss 135mm f2 Milvus lens. In order to test it, he decided to try his hand at something he hasn’t ever done: cosplay. Here’s where a lot of photographers would sit there flabbergasted because they don’t know where to stat. But Greg took to Instagram and decided to collaborate with actress Tahnee Harrison. It ended up working out and being much more straight forward than one would think.
The latest news from DXO Mark rates the Olympus Pen-F as one of the best Micro Four Thirds sensors overall but extremely well when it comes to high ISO results. This seems to make a lot of sense as the sensor and the camera overall are designed to cater to the street photographer. When paired with a fast aperture lens, it’s bound to also help to keep the need to raise the ISOs down.
“To make matter even worse, photographic images are posted online for free – essentially rendering its value to zero…”
Photographer Chantal Routhier was recently named one of Canada’s Top 30 Inspiring Wedding Photographers for two years in a row. Part of this for sure come from her special creative vision that’s evident in her “Science Fiction Fantasy” photo. Her work has been featured in a number of publications. She describes her work as fun, bright and modern.
Last weekend at Photo London I had the chance to attend a lecture with Sebastião Salgado. Leo Johnson interviewed the 71-year old photographer about his life and work. In the Q&A that followed a young student, probably around 21 years old, asked what he would recommend a young photographer to start his career today.
If you look at the work of some of the master portrait photographers, you’ll notice that much of their work tries to keep the use of color very minimal. Why? Portraiture is a type of photography that involves putting an emphasis on a person or thing and when the colors in the scene are very complicated, the scene can be distracting to the viewer. In fact, specific films were developed to create better skin tones and colors for portraiture. Some of the best from Fujifilm were Astia and Fujifilm Pro400H.
One of the questions that has been typed very often into our search engine bar is whether or not professional photographers use TTL flash. It’s easy to see how this can become confusing as many photographers out there speak about only shooting in manual all the time. Considering that TTL metering is essentially the same as shooting in auto mode or P (for profressional, or Program) mode, then it would just make sense that you shouldn’t use it because no professional shoots in auto, right?
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 has been out for a little while now in it’s not so beautiful gray and black color scheme. But now, you can score the camera in pure white–a custom color available only from Urban Outfitters. It’s got the same 95mm f14 lens as the original and overall shoots incredibly flattering images of people due to the large exposure area.
Like anything else in life, this photograph is not free. If I chose to allow someone to use it without paying me, that’s one thing.