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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Artisan Obscura is another one of the companies jumping into the pool of elegant and beautifully designed accessories for cameras. The company was started in 2013 after being an idea in 2012;, but they had more than just manufacturing pieces of art for cameras in mind. They’ve partnered with a non-profit company in their local Denver area to find a way to give back to the community.

“We utilize responsibly sourced wood and keep our footprint small, which isn’t that difficult as our products are small enough that we can get about 30+ soft shutter buttons out of a 1″x8″ block of wood!” is what the company states on their website. Yes, all of their soft shutter releases and hot shoe covers have a bit of swag, but they also carry with them a fine sense of elegance and craftsmanship.

Think about it: how many of you could easily take a piece of wood and turn it into a beautiful button with smooth texture, a nice feel overall, and how many of them could you make by hand each day?

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Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 10.01.25 AM

A 0.3MP camera is all the rage in the latest DigitalRev TV video, where they quite literally review a Barbie Doll.

No, we’re not kidding.

Kai introduces a Barbie Doll with a little DigitalRev TV shirt on and shows us how to push her buttons in just the right way. When you lift its shirt up, you see an LCD screen and the camera is on the upper portion of her back.

So how does it perform? Kai recommends buying it over a Leica M because of the quick focusing, stealth and the fact that folks may just think you’re plain crazy. But it sucks for selfies. Check out the video after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (1 of 25)ISO 4001-15 sec at f - 2.8

We’ve got the Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR lens in for review right now. When the lens was first announced, we syndicated photographer David Kai Piper’s blog post about it. Now that we’ve got it in we’re putting it through its paces.

So far: I personally am not a major fan of the way it feels. To be fair though, I say this about every single zoom lens. I’m very much a prime lens shooter and this feels like a big, chunky, Campbell’s Soup beefy type of lens that most other folks may digg if they’re into the cow. It’s a bit heavy to use with the X Pro 1, though it still feels balanced. What’s great about this lens though is that it’s got a full aperture ring like the company’s other higher end zoom optics.

As far as the image quality goes, we haven’t seen anything like this. This lens makes photos from the older sensor sing with details and quality. The bokeh could be smoother, but we’ve also only spent a number of hours with the lens as of the writing of this piece.

More product feature images and sample images are after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss Rokinon Sigma 85mm f1.4 three way comparison (1 of 3)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 3.5

So you’ve got a portrait lens, now what? You want to take portraits, right? You can go right ahead, point your camera and spiffy new optic towards your subject and hope for the best, but you’re not that type of photographer. You want to step it up more. You want to create a photo that makes someone say, “Wow.”

First off, it’s time to get inspired. Then, you’ll need to understand the lens.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II first impressions product photos (10 of 10)ISO 1001-30 sec at f - 4.5

There have been stories going around and whispers of a large sensor compact camera from Olympus coming soon for a while now, but 43rumors has reason to believe that the camera is going to be much like the Ricoh GR. While this seems a bit unlikely, it’s still very interesting due to the fact that these reports have been going around for a while now and Panasonic launched one with the LX100. While that camera had a zoom lens, it only makes sense that Olympus would try to release something with a solid, fixed prime lens.

The reports state that this upcoming camera will be very much like the old Olympus Trip film camera–if it does indeed exist and comes out. This makes quite a bit of sense as Olympus has tried to create digital versions of their historically successful cameras like the Pen and the OM series.

While the Ricoh GR has an APS-C sensor, we believe that the company may instead opt for a Four Thirds sensor with retro ergonomics and maybe with one of their current lenses already attached. Their 12mm f2, 17mm f1.7, and 25mm f1.8 are all quite small and on the OMD camera make for an awesome compact package. It’s bound to be loaded with art filters and have a couple of accessories to make it look even sexier as a complete package plus include WiFi transmission to make it a better travel camera.

If it is indeed real, Fujifilm and Panasonic may have a major contender to look out for.

Nikon G series primes.

Nikon G series primes.

Your kit lens really isn’t that bad, but photographers who pick up a DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and who want to become serious about the craft should stick to a bare minimum. This post isn’t really about gear more so than it is about what you gain from the minimal load out of your kit.

It’s been said many times, over and over again, but it has to be said from the perspective of what you gain from limiting yourself creatively. You open yourself and your imagery up to lots of possibilities.

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