Pauleth Ip Pauleth Ip

All articles by Pauleth Ip

 

Back to School: The Best Cameras, Lenses, and More for 2019

As the summer holidays are beginning to wind down here in the United States, many students are beginning to gather supplies and other essentials in preparation for the upcoming school year. With the Fall semester rapidly approaching, we’ve put this roundup together for all of the photography enthusiasts out there so that they can start putting together their Back-To-School Photography Kit for the new school year....
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Review: Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 (Perfect for Frequent Flyers)

For photographers that fly to different locations for assignments on a regular basis, the last thing that any of us would want to do is to have to check the bag that’s carrying all of our expensive camera gear prior to boarding our flights. While you can always use a hard case to transport your equipment, they stick out like a sore thumb to opportunists with sticky fingers amongst a sea of traditional luggage that you may as well just launch a signal flare advertising that you’re carrying a lot of valuables. Enter the Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 which aims to quell our equipment transportation woes. We’ve been putting the Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 to the test for the last few months, head on after the jump to see how it fared....
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First Impressions: Sony a7R IV (The 61MP Full Frame Beast)

Sony announced the brand new Sony a7R IV today in New York City and we got to spend some quick hands-on time with it during the press launch event. Slated to be released later this year in September, the A7RIV features a new 61MP sensor, the largest currently available in a Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Camera, and Sony claims to have improved the weather sealing as well. As such they’re targeting it very much to the professional market–and this is evident in the $3,500 price tag. Beyond this, the new Sony a7R IV has 567 autofocus points that cover 99.7% of the image area vertically and 74% horizontally....
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Review: LaCie 2big RAID (the Answer to a Photographer’s Storage Woes)

One of the things that working photographers have to deal with on a regular basis is the constant need for more storage, thanks to raw files ballooning in size in recent years as a result of the seemingly neverending megapixel war that camera manufacturers have been on since the industry made the shift from analog to digital. Many photographers end up moving files onto cheap external hard drives as a quick fix to make room on their computers, which inevitably end up getting tossed into a drawer or cabinet. Most of these external hard drives are generally poorly organized, never properly maintained, and lack any sort of redundancy in the event of hardware failure. This is why RAID storage solutions like the LaCie 2big RAID have become go-to options for many creatives with demanding workloads that require large storage footprints....
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First Impressions: Lenovo Yoga A940 All-In-One Desktop for Creatives

When Microsoft first announced the Surface Studio back in October 2016, it was met with significant fanfare and interest amongst creatives thanks to its innovative design, along with the fact that it addressed a lot of the requirements that a lot of creatives felt weren’t being met by their Apple desktops and laptops. Fast forward to today, Microsoft has since released version 2 of the Surface Studio while a number of other PC manufacturers have introduced their own takes on the Surface Studio concept as well, Lenovo’s Yoga A940 All-In-One desktop is one of them. We got to spend some hands-on time with the Lenovo Yoga A940 last week here in New York City while we were attending Pepcom’s Digital Experience! East technology media event, and think that it’s certainly worthy of consideration for photographers and other creatives in the market for a new computer that can tackle their many creative needs....
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First Impressions: Amber Personal Hybrid Cloud Storage Device

We discovered the Amber One and Amber Plus AI-powered hybrid cloud storage devices from LatticeWork–which are designed more or less as personal storage clouds that can be of huge use for photographers. As far as startups go in the increasingly crowded hybrid cloud storage market space, LatticeWork has arguably one of the more celebrated pedigrees with its founder being a former director as well as one of the co-founders of Marvell Technology Group. For those not familiar with Marvell, their technologies are crucial in powering many of today’s leading-edge computers, networking equipment, and mobile devices. With ever-increasing amounts of images and videos being captured on a daily basis by photographers, videographers, and the layperson alike, Amber aims to provide a hybrid cloud storage solution that’s simple to set up and easy to manage, while leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence to help keep everything organized....
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Review: Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System (That Extra Pop We Need)

Any photographers that have experience shooting through objects like prisms, crystals, and mirrors to create unique effects in-camera will tell you that the results are often unpredictable. The process of using these optical modifiers can also be rather bothersome since you have to hold your camera with one hand while manipulating these modifiers in the other. Lensbaby’s OMNI Creative filter System aims to simplify this user experience and make creating these in-camera effects a less complicated and more manageable affair. Being announced today, the new system uses prisms, and your lens’ filter mount system to give photographers the ability to create some cool in-camera effects....
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Essentials: TACS AVL II Rustic Brown Edition Timepiece

Having been a watch guy for as long as I can remember, probably even longer than I’ve had an interest in photography, thanks largely to the hours upon hours I’ve spent assisting my aunt that worked in the horology industry during my youth admiring countless timepieces, changing watch straps, and tinkering with watch movements, I almost never leave home without first putting on a timepiece around my wrist to this day. Call it a habit, or maybe I’m just old fashioned, but despite having a smartphone with me at all times that not only tells time along with being able to perform a myriad of other functions, being able to tell time at the flick of a wrist will always be faster than having to pull my phone out of my pocket. When Tokyo based boutique watchmaker TACS reached out to us to see if we’d be interested in checking out one of the new Rustic Brown Edition of their AVL II timepieces, the watch nerd and the photographer in me were more than happy to oblige. TACS is an acronym for Taste, Attractive, Creative, and Sense, and the AVL II Rustic Brown Edition surely check all of those boxes....
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Software Review: Nik Collection 2 by DxO (Now with More Presets!)

DxO is releasing version 2 of their ever popular Nik Collection today, a year after the French company first released their own version of the much-loved of image editing plugins suite after acquiring the previously orphaned codebase from Google. With Nik Collection 2, DxO is including over 40 new creative presets along with support for high DPI displays on Windows. In a move that will surely please many photographers wanting to move away from Adobe and their subscription software model, DxO is bundling DxO PhotoLab 2 Essential Edition, their French company’s own standalone Raw Converter, with the newly updated Nik Collection 2. We got a chance to test drive Nik Collection 2 before it’s public release to see how the updated plugins suite fared....
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Review: Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Canon EF Mount)

When Tamron released the original version of their SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD high-speed ultra-wide angle zoom back in 2015, we praised it for its sharpness, color rendition, and versatility, but felt that there were some areas that Tamron could improve upon. Enter the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron’s 2nd generation refresh of the same lens that we had reviewed some four years ago which incorporates a number of improvements upon the well-received original. A pair of MPUs (Micro-Processing Unit) along with a VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism resides within the SP 15-30mm f2.8 G2 and work in tandem to ensure snappy autofocus performance while maintaining image stabilization. According to Tamron, the 2nd generation lens also features an optics design that incorporates an XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) lens element along with multiple LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to minimize distortions and lateral chromatic aberrations that tend to appear when shooting with wide angle glass. Tamron’s improved the already durable Fluorine Coating on the front element while introducing a number of additional coatings to help improve the optical quality of the updated lens, including the newly developed AX (Anti-reflection eXpand) Coating that’s designed to dramatically reduce flaring and ghosting. the eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular Dependency) and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings which help maintain clarity and sharpness especially towards the periphery of your frame. We got to spend some time with the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 to evaluate whether this updated offering from Tamron lives up to the company’s touted improvements....
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Review: Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E Mount)

Up until Sony announced the A6400 back in January of this year, some have speculated that the Japanese Mirrorless camera manufacturer had all but abandoned their Crop Sensor line to focus on their ever popular Full Frame cameras. Coupled with the fact that the last time Sony released an APS-C lens was almost exactly a year before the A6400’s announcement when the company introduced the variable aperture 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens, it’s not exactly hard to see why people concerned for the life of Sony’s APS-C camera line. With lineup being alive and well, at least for the immediate future, it’s good to see third-party lens manufacturers continuing their support for the system as well, such is the case with the Sigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens. This is sigma’s third lens designed with Sony’s Crop Sensor E Mount cameras in mind. They previously released a 16mm f1.4 lens and a 30mm f1.4 lens, both under the Contemporary line and now marketed as a trio of sorts. The Sigma 56mm f1.4 has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 84mm when factoring in the 1.5x crop factor that Sony’s E Mount APS-C cameras have. For those keeping track, Sigma basically designed this lens with portrait photographers in mind, as many tend to gravitate towards the 85mm focal length. A Micro Four-Thirds version of this lens is also available for photographers shooting with M43 cameras....
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Our 15 Favorite Pieces of Gear for Travel Photography in Summer 2019

Photographers that plan on taking a vacation in Summer 2019 will be happy to know that there has never been a better time to look at the market. Not only are there tons of innovative and great cameras out there, but there are also lots of great accessories. Best of all, these items are bound to not take up a lot of space or break your back while being hauled through an airport. So if you’re a photographer looking to vacation in Iceland, the Virgin Islands, Italy or even somewhere more local, we’ve gone through our reviews index to figure out what items are best for you. Here are some of our current favorite gear that you may want to consider taking with you on your next trip....
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First Impressions: Fujifilm GFX 100 (And Why It Needed IBIS)

Last week, Fujifilm invited us to a top secret briefing on the west side of Manhattan where they unveiled the long-awaited addition to the company’s Medium Format Mirrorless camera lineup: the Fujifilm GFX 100. We had seen renderings of the GFX100 before and even got to fondle a mockup of it in Las Vegas during WPPI, but this is the first time that we got to spend some hands-on time with the genuine article itself, albeit in pre-production but near-final trim. The star of the Medium Format GFX 100 show is the brand new 102 MP sensor that is not only backside illuminated but also stabilized. In fact, it’s the first medium format digital camera to have image stabilization on the sensor....
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Review: Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 (Sony FE)

During last year’s PhotoPlus Expo, Viltrox announced that they have begun designing and manufacturing their own camera lenses. Up until that point, the Chinese company was known principally as a manufacturer of photography accessories as well as lens adapters. As we had already reviewed the ultrawide Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH lens previously, the focus of this review will instead be on the other lens that Viltrox announced during PPE: the portrait-centric Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 for Sony FE Mount. Housed within a brass body, the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 feels sturdily built in hand. While you can adjust the aperture of the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 using your camera’s aperture dial, focusing is a completely manual affair. Aggressively priced at just under US$300, the Viltrox  PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 for Sony Full Frame Mirrorless is certainly worthy of consideration for any portrait photographers on a budget. Read on to find out how well the freshman lens maker fared....
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Camera Review: Fujifilm X-T30 (Honey, Fuji Shrunk the X-T3!)

While most of the digital imaging industry has been concentrating their efforts on introducing Full Frame Mirrorless cameras for the better part of the past year, photographers that prefer lighter and more compact Crop Sensor bodies got some new hotness of their very own to lust after in the form of the Fujifilm X-T3 and the Sony A6400. Both flagship APS-C cameras have proven to be massively popular for consumers to professionals alike, but what if you wanted the same level of performance but in an even svelter and more condensed package? As luck would have it, the engineers over at Fujifilm managed to answer that question with the X-T30, the company’s latest compact Crop Sensor Mirrorless camera. Fujifilm managed to incorporate almost all of the best of breed innovations found within the X-T3 into the XT30 while bringing both the size and the cost down. After spending a few short hours with the pre-production sample during the top-secret press briefing when the X-T30 first launched, Fujifilm was kind enough to provide a final production model of the camera to us so that we can evaluate in comprehensively in typical Phoblographer fashion....
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Review: Gravity Backdrops Custom Hand-Painted Backdrops

Any photographer that’s spent time in a studio have undoubtedly photographed their subject in front of seamless paper and possibly even a cyclorama. When we look at some of the most iconic portraits throughout history, however, like those captured by contemporary greats like Annie Leibovitz and Mark Seliger or late legends like Irving Penn, you will often find that the subject(s) are placed in front of hand-painted canvas backdrops, lending a timeless, painterly look to the images. In fact, the backdrop that Penn used in many of his portraits was prominently displayed at his namesake centennial exhibit held at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art back in 2017. For a long time, these hand-painted backdrops were quite prohibitively priced, out of reach for most photographers. So costly were these backdrops, in fact, that there are specialty rental houses that specialize in renting them out to photo shoots and other productions, but even the rental fees could add up to quite a large sum of money. This is where Europe based backdrop studio Gravity Backdrops comes in, effectively disrupting the existing backdrop business model by offering hand-painted backdrops that match the quality of those available from storied backdrop studios but at a fraction of the cost. In fact, some of the backdrops from Gravity actually costs less to own than it would cost to rent similar backdrops from a rental house. We recently had the opportunity to test out some of Gravity Backdrops’ custom offerings, head on after the jump for our review....
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Photographer David James on Capturing the Set of the Star Wars Movies

“…earlier in my career turned down the original Star Wars’ movie…” explains Motion Picture Stills Photographer David James. “George Lucas and I talked about that many years later, he actually admired me for making that decision.” David James–who was tasked to capture the behind the scenes happenings on both Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.  While being a movie stills photographer is a pretty difficult job, it becomes even more of a challenge when it happens to be on the sets of space operas that take place “in a galaxy far, far away,” where every minute detail is shrouded in secrecy until all is revealed on premiere day. Aside from over a half a century in the industry, David helped found the Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers (SMPSP), serving as one of the organization’s past presidents, and was bestowed the Still Photographer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Camera Operators in 2011. In time for Star Wars Day, we talked to David about his experiences working on the sets of both Star Wars sequels, how he entered the world of still photography, his experiences working on some of the most prominent Hollywood blockbusters, and what fuels his creative impulse....
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We Updated Our Sony A9 Review After Testing Firmware Update 5.0

Taking a page out of Fujifilm’s books, Sony released a major firmware update for their flagship A9 last week that brings the camera’s firmware to version 5.0. This new firmware update leverages the company’s latest developments into Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and object recognition and adds Real-Time Tracking (first seen in the Sony A6400) along with automatic Eye Autofocus to improve upon the already unparalleled performance of the Sony A9. Even before this update was introduced, the Sony A9 was already one of the most capable cameras on the market, but Firmware 5.0 takes everything great about the camera and makes the process of photography even more seamless and second nature. Aim at your subject, release the shutter, and the A9 takes care of the rest. Some may argue that this is “cheating,” but if you’re a professional sports or wildlife photographer, the Sony A9 is simply the most powerful camera you can have in your arsenal at the moment....
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Review: Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S (Nikon Z Mount)

During our testing with the Nikon z series of cameras, perhaps our favorite lens was the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 S. It can be argued that a camera system is only as good as the lenses available, and this is especially true when launching a brand new camera system–as is the case with the Nikon Z Mount series. One of three lenses that were announced at the launch of Nikon’s brand new Z Mount, the Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 S covers a popular focal length used by many photographers–suitable for street, landscapes, portraits, and a lot of other genres. Nikon was kind enough to send us a copy of the lens along with the brand new Z6 and Z7 cameras, and we put it through an exhaustive numbers of tests to see how well the lens performed....
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Review: Sony a6400 (The Sony a9 with an APS-C Sensor)

Up until recently, Sony’s focus seemed to rest with their Full Frame mirrorless cameras, but the Japanese consumer electronics giant reaffirmed their commitment towards APS-C cameras when they announced the A6400 back in January of this year. Featuring the company’s latest advancements in autofocus technologies, the Sony A6400 is positioned interestingly between the existing A6300 and crop sensor flagship A6500. It’s not quite the halo product some were hoping for, but it is certainly no slouch by any measure. While the A6400 shares the same 24.2 megapixel sensor found in the now 2+ years old A6500, it eschews the in body image stabilization that made the A6500 popular but makes up for it in terms of overall performance (“world’s fastest autofocus” with just 0.02 seconds delay, 11 FPS continuous shooting with AF & AE tracking when using the mechanical shutter, enhanced Real-time Eye AF, as well as the newly introduced Real-time Tracking and Real-time Animal Eye AF) as well as a lower price point of just under US$900 (body only). Much to the delight of video shooters everywhere, the A6400 is capable of recording 4K HDR videos as well as time-lapse in camera. Vloggers and selfie addicts will be happy to learn that the tiltable, flip up touch screen is capable of facing forwards. While we only got to spend a precious few hours with the Sony A6400 back in San Diego during the launch event, we received our review unit recently and go to evaluate it more thoroughly on our own terms. Find out how it fared after the jump....
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Review: Sony 135mm F1.8 G Master (Sony FE Mount)

Announced earlier this year at the end of February, the Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master is the 9th lens to join the ranks of Sony’s premium G Master lineup. Sony created the 135mm f1.8 G Master with portrait photographers in mind first and foremost, as many portrait photographers gravitate toward the 135mm focal length due to the fact that subjects appear true to life with little to no discernible distortions. Since we only got to spend a few short hours with the lens during the top-secret media launch which took place on a particularly snowy February afternoon, we were excited to get our review unit in so that we can put the 135mm G Master through its paces in typical Phoblographer manner....
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An Introduction to Shooting Portraits in Natural Light

Photographing portraits using natural light as the sole light source have become such a rage lately that some photographers have branded themselves as “Natural Light Only Photographers.” While you can certainly create some stunning images with the proper use of only natural light, understanding how light behaves and being able to harness light in all of its forms, natural or otherwise, will help shape you into a better, more complete photographer....
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Review: Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 Lens (Nikon F Mount)

The Tokina Opera 50mm f1.4 is the first lens that the Japanese lens manufacturer is launching as part of their newly introduced Opera premium lens lineup, designed with the latest high-resolution Full Frame DSLRs in mind. We had the opportunity to spend some time with the Canon EF mount version of the lens in Germany during last year’s Photokina, and came away quite impressed. In some respects, what Tokina has created with the Opera line feels like a direct response to Sigma’s highly regarded Art series, both in terms of performance as well as price. Tokina was kind enough to send over a review unit of the Opera 50mm, this time in Nikon F mount, for us to evaluate the lens in an independent and exhaustive manner that The Phoblographer is known for. Curious to see how the Tokina Opera 50mm f1.4 fared during our tests? Read on after the break to find out....
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Review: Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH (Sony FE)

Up until now, Viltrox was known primarily for their camera accessories and lens adapters, so our interests were piqued when we were first introduced to the Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH lens during PhotoPlus last year. After spending some brief time with the fully manual ultra-wide angle lens on the convention floor, we came away intrigued and were eager to get a review sample in for testing. With their 20mm f1.8, Viltrox is offering Sony mirrorless shooters a value proposition in the form of an affordable ultra-wide housed within a metal body that is both well built and produces excellent images. Read on to find out how well the freshman lens maker fared....
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Creating Stunning Portraits Using Beautiful Golden Hour Light

For the uninitiated, Golden Hour describes the short, fleeting period of time just after the sun had risen or immediately before it is about to set. During this momentary window, the sun appears very close to the horizon and produces a quality of available light that tends to be beautifully diffused and typically embodies a warmer tone than usual. Portrait photographers, particularly those that rely heavily on natural light, often prefer to photograph their subjects during these ephemeral minutes because of the beautiful quality the light imparts onto their subjects. We have a wealth of tutorials here on The Phoblographer that cover topics such as portrait subject posing as well as how to best interact with your subjects to bring out the expressions you’re looking for, but for the purposes of this particular tutorial, we are going to focus specifically on the challenges that you will likely come across when photographing portraits during Golden Hour and what you can do to combat them....
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First Impressions: Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S (with Sample Images!)

While we were in Las Vegas for WPPI this year, we got the exclusive opportunity to spend some hands-on time photographing with Nikon’s brand new Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S prototype lens. Designed for Nikon’s mirrorless Z Mount, the Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S is a compact and lightweight ultra-wide-angle lens with a maximum constant aperture of f4 throughout the zoom range that features built-in filter threads up front, allowing photographers to attach lens filters without the need to rely on expensive and often clunky third-party filter systems. With a lens design consisting of 14 elements in 12 groups, the Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S includes 4 ED glass and 4 aspherical lens elements to take full advantage of the high resolving power of the Nikon Z7, while the Nano Crystal Coated elements help reduce ghosting and flaring when compositions include light sources within the frame. The front lens element is also fluorine-coated, making it water and oil repellent. Head on after the jump for everything you need to know about the Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S, as well as sample images shot with the lens along with our First Impressions....
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First Impressions: Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Canon EF)

It’s always exciting when we get to spend some hands-on time with lenses that are still under development, and we got to do just that when we met with Tamron last week at WPPI. One of the three new lenses that Tamron showed off at WPPI, the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD was the only one of the trio with a functional prototype available. The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 is a lightweight and compact variable aperture zoom lens that covers most of the focal lengths popular for portraiture work. In fact, these focal lengths (35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, and 150mm) are clearly marked on the lens barrel itself, giving you an idea as to who Tamron’s intended market for the lens is. Keep reading after the jump for all the available details on the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD, as well as image samples and our first impressions....
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First Impressions: Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 S Lens (Nikon Z Mount)

When Nikon first introduced the Z mount last year, one of the lenses that launched alongside the Z6 and Z7 was the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f4 S zoom lens. While it was compact and weather sealed, a maximum constant aperture of f4 just doesn’t let in enough light, which is where the brand new Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 S comes in. The 24-70mm f2.8 S was amongst the lenses on display at Nikon’s booth at this year’s WPPI, so we jumped at the chance to play with it while we were on the show floor. With a lens design consisting of 17 elements in 15 groups (the f4 consisted of 14 elements in 11 groups by comparison), the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 S is understandably larger than its predecessor. Everything you need to know about the Nikkor Z 24-70 f2.8 S, including sample images shot with the lens along with our First Impressions, can be found after the jump....
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Sample Image Gallery: Portraits Shot on the Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master

The Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master was just announced at the end of last month, and in case you missed it, you can read all about the lens in our First Impressions article where we got to test it out in a variety of situations. A production review unit of the 135mm G Master is en route to us, so please stay tuned for our upcoming full review. While we were in Las Vegas for WPPI last week, we got to spend some more time with the brand new Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master lens (mated to a Sony A7RIII). Here are some of the images that we captured using the lens while we were on the WPPI show floor....
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Review: Nikon 50mm f1.8 Z S (Nikon Z Mount)

Almost every photographer has had a “Nifty Fifty” in their arsenal at some point during their career, due to the popularity of the versatile 50mm focal length, suitable for portraiture, landscapes, street, and many other genres of photography. With this in mind, it made all the sense in the world that Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f1.8 S was one of the three lenses that Nikon introduced during their launch of the brand new Z Mount camera system. Nikon was kind enough to send us a copy of the lens along with the brand new Z6 and Z7 cameras to review, so we naturally put it through its paces of test how well the lens performed....
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First Impressions: Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master (Sony FE)

On a particularly snowy New York City day last week, Sony debuted their latest Full Frame E Mount lens in a top secret media briefing: the Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master FE. The Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master FE is the 31st lens overall in Sony’s first party Full Frame E Mount lens lineup, and the 9th one to join the elite ranks of Sony’s Premium G Master line.  Featuring dust and moisture resistant construction, lightweight magnesium alloy body, an optics design that includes Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion), ED, and XA (Extreme Aspherical) lens elements paired with an 11 blade circular aperture, the Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master FE promises to be a beast of a lens that’s not only suitable for portraiture work, but macro and sports as well. We got to spend a few hours with the Sony 135mm G Master, our First Impressions, Tech Specs, as well as a whole lot of image samples can be found after the jump....
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Review: Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S (Nikon Z Mount)

It can be argued that a camera system is only as good as the lenses available, and this is especially true when launching a brand new camera system, as is the case with the Nikon Z Mount series. One of three lenses that were announced at the launch of Nikon’s brand new Z Mount, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f4 S was the only zoom lens of the trio, covering a zoom range that is popular among photographers that specialize in landscape, street, and portrait photography. Nikon was kind enough to send us a copy of the lens along with the brand new Z6 and Z7 cameras, and we put it through an exhaustive battery of tests to see how well the lens performed....
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These Two Pro Photographers Share Their Tips on Posing Couples

One of the common challenges that many portrait photographers will face at one point or another during their careers is how to best pose their subjects to showcase their best light during a photoshoot. When photographing couples, things get even more difficulty because now you’ve got to worry about not one, but two subjects. We recently had the opportunity to speak with New Jersey-based wedding photographer Vanessa Joy as well as Cincinnati-based wedding and portrait photographer Tracie Maglosky and the seasoned veterans generously shared some valuable insight into photographing and posing couples with us. Vanessa is perhaps best known for her wedding photography education work on top of being one of Profoto’s Legend of Light, and Tracie is one of Olympus’s Visionaries and a Profoto Legend of Light as well....
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First Impressions: Fujifilm X-T30 (Look What They Did to the JoyStick)

While most of the digital imaging industry has been focusing heavily on full frame mirrorless cameras as of late, Fujifilm has remained firmly committed to their crop sensor mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras–and that’s evident with the Fujifilm X-T30. The company has built up a very loyal following thanks in large part to the excellent build quality, well thought out ergonomics, and overall refined user experience that is core to every Fujifilm camera’s DNA. The fact that Fujifilm has managed to incorporate some of the latest digital imaging innovations into their cameras while keeping them very competitively priced further sweetens the pot. With the newly announced Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm incorporated a lot of the advancements found within the much-loved X-T3 that was released last year and crammed them into an even more compact camera body. The XT-30 shares the same 26.1 MP 4th generation X-Trans APS-C CMOS 4 sensor as well as the 4th generation Quad-Core X-Processor 4 CPU as the top of the line X-T3....
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First Impressions: Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR (A $399.95 Beast)

In addition to introducing the brand new Fujifilm X-T30, Fujifilm also showcased the new Fujifilm XF 16mm f2.8 R WR, a fast aperture ultrawide angle lens that is so compact and lightweight that you can fit it inside one of the pockets in your pants. With 10 lens elements arranged into 8 groups (2 of which are aspherical), the Fuji XF 16mm f2.8 is designed to take advantage of the increased resolving power of Fujifilm’s own 4th generation 26.1 MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor and promises to produce images with edge-to-edge sharpness. We had the opportunity to personally fondle the lens, and here’s what we think so far....
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The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-200mm f3.5-6.3 Has a Staggering 16.6x Zoom

Are you a photographer that prefers to travel without getting weighed down by bulky gear? If you’re a Micro Four Thirds shooter, Olympus’s new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f3.5-6.3 super telephoto zoom lens may be the only lens you’ll need to pack on your next trip. Featuring a 16.6x Zoom, the highest magnification currently available in an Interchangeable Mirrorless Lens. Covering a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 24-400mm, the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-200mm f3.5-6.3 is dustproof and splashproof, capable of withstanding most inclement weather conditions you may encounter, especially when paired with a weather sealed Olympus OM-D camera body....
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The Noob Photographer’s Introduction to HSL Adjustments

One of the reasons why many professional photographers opt to shoot in RAW as opposed to JPEG is the versatility that RAW files offer during post-processing. RAW files are unprocessed images that contain all of the data your camera sensor is capable of capturing, whereas JPEGs are compressed files that have already been processed by your camera and contain significantly less information for you to work with during post. While you can certainly manipulate JPEGs in post-production, the wealth of data stored within each RAW file gives you significantly more freedom when processing your images. RAW editors give you near limitless possibilities to fine-tune the White Balance, Exposure, HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Lightness/Luminance), as well as a myriad of other values, allowing you to create a final image that matches your unique aesthetic and vision. In this tutorial, we will be focusing solely on HSL adjustments....
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First Impressions: Sony A6400 (with Tons of Image Samples)

At their headquarters in San Diego, the Sony A6400 was unveiled–the company’s latest APS-C Mirrorless camera. Situated between the Sony A6300 and A6500 Crop Sensor cameras, Sony is incorporating quite a lot of cutting edge technology into their brand new A6400. The Sony A6400 features company’s latest generation 24.2 megapixel BIONZ X image processor with enhanced skin tone reproduction, as well as a tiltable flip up touch screen capable of facing forward that clearly indicates that Sony designed the camera with the vlogging crowd in mind. According to the statements made at the press conference, the Sony A6400 is capable of achieving a blazingly fast autofocus speed of 0.02 seconds, shoot continuously at 11 FPS with AF & AE tracking using the mechanical shutter, and features enhanced Real-time Eye AF, newly developed Real-time Tracking, as well as Real-time Eye AF for animal subjects. For the video shooters out there, the A6400 can record 4K HDR videos as well as time lapse recordings....
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Review: Nikon Z6 (The Better of Nikon’s Two Initial Mirrorless Cameras)

When Nikon first announced the Z6, we were certainly hoping for a camera system that would blow us away. Instead, what we got was a camera system that felt half-baked at best. Coming into the mirrorless marketplace five years later than the competition, you would expect Nikon to avoid pitfalls that have plagued competing camera manufacturers, but the reality is they seem to be making a lot of the same mistakes. Nikon got quite a bit right with the Z6, and it is certainly a decent enough entry-level interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, but wow us it most definitely did not....
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Please Stop Calling Yourself a Natural Light Photographer and Learn How to Light

If someone gave me a dollar for every time that I’ve heard someone say “I’m a natural light photographer,” there would be enough extra money in my bank account that I can probably afford to take off three months out of each year to just travel for the fun of it. To the uninitiated, the proclamation that one only shoots in natural light may sound like a badge of honor, but to most working professional photographers, this concept is confounding at best, and downright ridiculous at worst. Be that as it may, there is a growing legion of photographers that have embraced this “natural light only” mantra, due either to their inexperience with utilizing lighting equipment, or out of some misguided notion that the “natural light look” is somehow superior. What if I were to tell you that all light, natural or otherwise, behaves identically regardless of the source, provided that you are photographing someone on planet Earth? If you understand principles of lighting and how it behaves, you can make artificial light sources look like natural light, and turn day into night, or vice versa. Being able to shoot 24 hours a day means that I can adapt to the needs of my clients as well as challenges posed by mother nature, which translates to more billable hours and more income. Sounds a lot better than only being able to photograph client work while the sun’s out, doesn’t it?...
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Review: Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash (Godox AD200)

For photographers that need to shoot on location, lugging around heavy monolights with massive battery packs can be quite a hassle, especially if you’re working with a skeleton crew or running solo. This is where the Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash comes in, delivering 200 watt-seconds of light output in a compact package barely larger than a conventional speedlight. While you won’t be overpowering direct sunlight with the Flashpoint eVOLV 200 anytime soon, it is a great strobe for any photographer that is looking for a versatile, portable flash. For those that may not be aware, Flashpoint is actually one of Adorama’s in house brands, with Chinese lighting equipment manufacturer Godox being the OEM. The Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash is also sold under the Godox brand as the Godox AD200....
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Review: SKB iSeries 2011-7 Waterproof Utility Case

One of the challenges of being a commercial photographer that travels frequently from assignment to assignment is that we often find ourselves having to travel with some rather expensive equipment. Nothing stings more than arriving at a job only to discover that your equipment had been damaged while in transit, leaving you with the stress of unexpected financial burden as well as the possibility of affecting your ability to fulfill your job commitments. To give themselves some peace of mind, many photographers opt to transport their equipment using hard cases similar to those used by the military. Molded from ultra high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin, the SKB iSeries 2011-7 Waterproof Utility Case meet the requirements set forth by multiple US military standards, and features a submersible, water and dust tight design which is resistant to impact and corrosion damage. Designed with photographers in mind, SKB has outfitted the iSeries 2011-7 with a Think Tank designed lid organizer, as well as a nicely padded interior with plenty of velcro dividers to help keep the contents of the case secure. SKB was kind enough to send one of the iSeries 2011-7 cases over to us for an extended field test. You can learn about all of the case’s features as well as how it fared during our field test after the jump....
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If Portrait Mode Is So Great, Why Have Samsung and Huawei Used DSLR Photos?

As the old adage goes, “The best camera is the one that you have one you,” which is why so many of us photographers carry our cameras with us wherever we go. If you have purchased or upgraded your smartphone within the last couple of years, or have watched any of the keynote announcements for the current generation of flagship smartphones on the market, you will have undoubtedly noticed the significant efforts that the smartphone industry is focusing on the camera capabilities of their wares. One of the most popular trend among smartphone manufacturers at the moment is the ability to simulate the look that conventional cameras can achieve when photographing using wide aperture lenses. With size being a major limiting factor for smartphone camera sensors and optics, and the fact that we all must obey the laws of physics, smartphone manufacturers have resorted to computational photography algorithms to mimic the abilities of conventional DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. Some manufacturers have even gone as far as to claim that the camera(s) on board their smartphones are capable of producing images that match or rival the quality of those captured using conventional DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras. The Samsung A8 Star is one such device with the computational photography smarts that claim to be able to achieve this caliber of results, and Samsung even has image samples on the A8 Star’s official Malaysian product page demonstrating the phone’s “Portrait Mode” to simulate creamy bokeh traditionally only achievable when shooting with wide open lenses on a regular camera. Problem is, the image was actually taken with a conventional camera, and worst yet, Samsung replaced the background in the image as well. Busted!...
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Review: Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Pro TTL Battery Powered Monolight (Sony TTL)

The Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Pro TTL Battery Powered Monolight is an improved version of the already excellent Flashpoint XPLOR 600 that we had reviewed just over two years ago. While Flashpoint may be a relatively new player in the professional grade camera lighting equipment market compared to established European brands like Broncolor, Elinchrom, and Profoto, they have been developing and releasing new products at a rapid pace, putting the old guard on notice with competitively priced products as well as offering support to camera systems that didn’t necessarily get the same level of love from the European brands. For those that may not be aware, Flashpoint is actually one of Adorama’s in house brands, with Chinese lighting equipment manufacturer Godox being the OEM, and the Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Pro can also be found under the Godox brand as the Godox WITSTRO AD600 Pro....
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Compress Your Images Without Compromising Quality with Squoosh

Images on the web have been increasing in size throughout the years, and the displays we are viewing these images on have followed suit accordingly. High resolution desktop monitors and large mobile phone displays have become the norm, but unless you’re paying for the fastest internet plan, chances are these large images online will still take a second to load. This is where the recently launched browser utility Squoosh comes in. An open sourced project created by the fine folks over at Google Chrome Labs, Squoosh promises to “make images smaller using best-in-class codecs, right in the browser.”...
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Seven Reasons Flash Is Superior to Natural Light for Portrait Photography

With the number of portrait photographers proclaiming that they only shoot in natural light perplexingly on the rise, one begs to question why someone wouldn’t want to have full control over how they lit their portrait subjects. This is something that photographer Craig Beckta addressed in his latest video, where he shares the seven reasons why he believes flash is better for portraits than natural light....
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Review: Sony 24mm F1.4 G Master (Sony FE Mount)

Announced back in September of this year, the Sony 24mm f1.4 G Master is the latest entry joining Sony’s premium G Master lens lineup. At press time, it also happen to be the lightest and most compact G Master lens as well, barely tipping the scales at a mere 15.7 oz (445 g). Exceptionally sharp from corner to corner even when shooting wide open thanks to a pair of extreme aspherical glass elements, the Sony 24mm f1.4 G Master is also capable of producing some truly dreamy bokeh courtesy of its circular aperture design that incorporates 11 blades. This combination makes this lens one of the most versatile wide angle native lenses available for Sony E mount, with lots to love for landscape shooters, astrophotographers, street shooters, and environmental portraitists alike. Since we only got to spend a few hours with the 24mm G Master in San Francisco back when it was first unveiled during a behind closed doors media briefing, we were excited to finally get our review unit in so that we can put the lens through more exhaustive testing on our own terms....
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Comparing the Dynamic Range of the Sony A7 III, Canon EOS R, Fujifilm XT-3, and Nkon Z7

When we look back at 2018 in the future, we will remember this year as the year that the photography industry moved full steam into the mirrorless world. Never before have we had so many compelling mirrorless camera options on the market at the same time, with the Sony A7III being the first one to be announced back in February of this year at WPPI, followed by the Nikon Z7, Canon EOS R, and the Fujifilm XT-3 being announced within mere days of one another later on during the summer. Photographer Michael Andrew recently did a comparison of the dynamic range between these four mirrorless cameras in his latest video, which you can view after the jump....
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The New Capture One 12 Introduces UI Enhancements, Plugins, and More

Earlier today, Phase One announced the release of Capture One 12, a major version update to the company’s RAW conversion, image editing, and asset management software. With the release of version 12, Capture One’s user interface has been completely overhauled while maintaining the program’s high degree of customizability, including a brand new menu system as well as a keyboard shortcut manager. Additionally, Capture One 12 also introduces three new masking tools for added creative possibilities when processing RAW files: Luma Range (Luminosity) Masking, Linear Gradient Masking, and Radial Gradient Masking. Another enhancement introduced with Capture One 12 is a new Capture One Plugins ecosystem, allowing third party developers to expand the functionalities of Capture One. Fujifilm support was first introduced with Capture One 11.3, and with Capture One 12, Fujifilm support is further enhanced with the introduction of Fujifilm Film Simulations support....
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First Impressions: Nikon Z6 (A More Affordable, Lower Resolution Z7)

When Nikon first announced that they were finally entering the Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Mirrorless camera market with the Z6 and Z7 back in August of this year, only the 45.7MP Z7 was initially available. From a business standpoint, it certainly made sense that Nikon would want to release the top end Z7 first as demand for the brand new camera system would surely skyrocket, especially since Nikon was playing catchup when it comes to Mirrorless. Fast forward to today, three months after initial announcement, the Z6 is finally available. With a more modest resolution of 24.5MP and a lower autofocus point count of 273, but boasting faster frame rates (12 FPS in the Z6 vs 9 FPS  in the Z7) and double the ISO sensitivity (a maximum of 51,200, expandable to 204,800 in the Z6 vs a maximum of 25,600, expandable to 102,400 in the Z7), pricing for the Nikon Z6 is also much more reasonable, coming in at only US $1995.95 compared to the Z7’s US $3,399.95. Nikon recently invited us down to Florida to test out the brand new Nikon Z6 in a variety of different conditions, and our experiences so far have been fairly positive. Despite having a lower resolution and autofocus points, the Z6 may actually be the Mirrorless camera that will suit the needs of more photographers when compared to the Z7, especially if you’ve already got a good selection of F mount lenses and are looking to stay with Nikon while moving into the Mirrorless world....
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