Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit 2 is Now Available

Recently, I had the fine pleasure of meeting the nice folks at Lensbaby. I’ve always have been interested in their system am I am looking to get one someday. The Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit 2 has pushed me a step closer to that purchase with these new aperture designs. Essentially, it allows you to get shaped bokeh. I am a great lover of bokeh and I find these designs created and submitted by photographers during the Lensbaby “Get Appy” contest, to be awe-inspiring. Take a look at some of the samples.

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Hands On Review: Pearstone Freewave C2 Wireless Shutter Releases

Wireless remote triggers are something that can be a major convenience to most photographers. Landscape shooters, wedding photographers in tricky situations, and portrait photographers going for a different angle may all want to make great use of these items. The Pearstone RW-C2 Freewaves are an affordable solution to most other brands and will appeal to all photographers looking for similar units. This review tests the units for Canon.

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Review: Memorex SlimDrive Portable Hard Disk Drive 500GB

Every now and again, I’m sent random but potentially cool products for review. The 500GB Memorex Slimdriveappeared on my front stoop a couple of weeks ago and I began the testing. After getting through packaging that reminded me of trying to pry an elevator door open with your bare hands combined with examining a man’s prostate, the kit comprised of a simple but elegant hard drive with a very small USB cable.

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Optimal Primes: How NYCC Made Me Love My 50mm

I’ve already explained how a 50mm F/1.8 lens has changed my shooting after years of using zoom lenses, but after New York Comic-Con a little while back, I feel the need to expand upon it. On my first day at the con, I shot cosplayers with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USMlens because I felt I needed the wide angle to get the best shots on the crowded floor. The second day, I used my 50mm F/1.8. The difference was night and day, both in how I shot and how the pictures turned out.

This posting was originally written by Will Greenwald

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Hands On: The Frio

The Frio, the world’s first truly universal cold-shoe was on display at the Orbis booth at Photo Plus Expo. It’s a very simple product meant to be able to hold not only every flash as I discovered but also shotgun microphones. I’ll be requesting a review unit to test in studio with my Canon speedlites, but it seems to be promising right now as a product. It seems to be a really ideal item for studio and wedding photographers that need to mount their strobes all over the place and may sometimes not carry the foot mounts for their flashes. Being so small, it can easily fit into any pocket of your camera bag.

Just a quick intro: in order to mount your flash or microphone on the Frio all you’ll need to do it slip it in. For extra support and protection you can turn your locking wheels but you don’t really have it. In order to get the unit out of the Frio you’ll need to depress the back hump and slide it out. It can actually be a bit complicated but this works well for safety reasons. This also means that you’ll be able to mount a unit in all sorts of weird directions: perfect for boom microphones, wireless flashes, etc. The bottom allows you to screw the Frio onto any tripod, light stand, etc. I tried this together with the Orbis and my flash and the combination worked really lovely together.

What will really impress me is how this thing works on a gorillapod and other random accessories I’ve got in my bag. Take a look at this very quick gallery.

So How Good is the Optical Stabilization on the Sigma 70-200mm F/2.8 APO DS HSM OS?

Besides having the longest name ever, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSMfor Canon mount is now in for review. The other night I was playing with it on my Canon 5D Mk II. Since I heard a bit of commotion outside my house, I decided to do a bit of spy work to see what was going on. So I went up to my attic and took a bit of a peep of what was going on all the way across the street.

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MacBook Air is Available for Pre-Order

The Apple MacBook Air is very hot right now (may actually pick one up myself.) If you’re in the market for a small, sexy, light, and reliable laptop, the new MacBook Air is actually available for Preorder.

11.6 Inch 64 GB = B&H ($998.95) Amazon($994)

11.6 Inch 128 GB = B&H ($1,198.95) Amazon($1,294)

13.3 Inch 128 GB = B&H ($1,298.95) Amazon($1,294)

13.3 Inch 256 GB = B&H ($1,598.95) Amazon($1,594)

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Gary Fong Announces Lens Lock Accessories

Expanding its GearGuard line of products past the Bag Lock and Body Lock (no, not dance moves), Gary Fong Inc. has announced the Lens Lock, an accessory for preventing lens theft. The Lens Lock replaces the lens’ back cap and latches onto the bayonet mount with teeth, making itself unremovable according to the company. To provide further security, an optional cable can attach to the lock and keep the lens securely connected to another object, like a bike’s cable lock.

The Lens Lock is available for Canon and Nikon lenses, and retails for $30. The cable with combination lock is an additional $10.

Ever Dance with a 50mm Lens in the Dim Morning Light?

Exposure 20 Aperture f/16.0 Focal Length 50 mm ISO Speed 200 Exposure Bias 0 EV

The Acquisition of my much loved lens was initially inspired by the post “Why Everyone Needs an 85mm Lens.” by Chris Gampat. I desired a little more reach and on my camera, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AFwhich is an FX lens was effectively a 75mm lens.  Not long after this, another photographer noted that I would be “owned”, or dominated by the 50 mm lens, and after about a week of use I was “Owned” and the Nikon 50mm replaced all others as my favorite lens.

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Sigma's 85mm F/1.4 Lens Gets $899 Street Price

Sigma has announced pricing and availability for its 85mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM lens. The bright portrait lens will be available with a suggested retail price of $1,400 and an approximate street price of $899. On an APS-C camera, the lens has the equivalent focal length of 127.5mm, making its F/1.4 aperture quite an impressive feat. For APS-C cameras, the lens comes with a hood extension to reduce outside light.

The Minolta 50mm AF f/1.7, a Love Story

 

Through the lens

 

Let me be clear, in my entire kit of six lenses and a Maxxum Htsi-Plus body, the 50mm is the only lens I ever paid for. The 50mm sits at the front of the group comprised of 28-80mm AF f/3.5-5.6, 28mm AF f/2.8, 35-70mm AF f/4, 135mm AF f/2.8, and a 70-210mm AF f/4. A very special thanks goes out to my dad for the middle three lenses and to Gevon Servo for the 70-210mm. The 50mm cost me $139 at B&H, and it is quite possibly the best $139 I ever spent.

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Nifty At 50: How A 50mm F1.8 Prime Lens Changed My Shooting

I have a confession to make. I’m not a professional photographer; I’m a consumer electronics journalist who covers digital cameras. While I’m an expert at the inner workings of digital cameras, when it comes to framing the scene, taking the shot, and masking it all look perfect I’m still an amateur. For the last few years, I’ve been shooting with the kit lens that came with my Canon Rebel XTi. It’s a useful lens, but my reliance upon it has kept me from understanding just how valuable a prime lens with quality glass can be. Continue reading…

Lensbaby Announces Nikon Lens Tilt-Shift Adapters For Micro Four Thirds And Sony Alpha NEX Cameras

Lensbaby just announced its Composer lens and Tilt Transformer adapter for Micro Four Thirds and Sony Alpha NEX digital cameras. The adapter doesn’t work with Micro Four Thirds/NEX lenses, though; instead, the Tilt Transformer allows the use of Nikon mount lenses on the smaller cameras, while the Composer is its own dedicated lens for use with the Tilt Transformer. The device is designed for tilt-shift focus, creating small areas of focus in a picture while filling the rest of the frame with bokeh.

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Quick Sample with the Bokeh Master’s Kit

The other night was Snapshots and I brought along the Bokeh Master’s Kit. Currently in the process of reviewing the kit, this is the only photo I took that I actually considered to be decent. Don’t blame this on the Bokeh master’s kit though, I was using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 IIwhich is a lens known to be very soft wide open. Unfortunately, in order to get the shaped bokeh (in this case the hearts that you see in the background, the user needs to shoot wide open on the Canon EOS 7D (Will is currently borrowing my Canon EOS 5D Mark IIand L lenses). My Canon EF 85mm f/1.8would have been too long for this shot, as the effective focal length would have been 136mm.

The filter put on the lens was the heart-shaped one, which delivered otherwise very lovely results in terms of the out of focus lights. Granted, it has done much better before. More to come later on!

Zeiss Announces New 35mm F1.4 Lens

Today, Zeiss announced their new 35mm F/1.4 Distagon lens for Canon and Nikon mounts. The new lens features a minimum aperture of f/16, 11 elements in 9 groups, and a focusing range of approximately one foot to infinity. This now completed Zeiss’s line of prime lenses in a 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.4. The lens will be available later this year for a bank-busting $1,843 USD. Press release is after the jump.

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Field Review: Sigma 70-300 DG Macro (Day 3)

If you have read Canon 1D Mk IV (Day 8) and have seen the shots from the this review, well the shots of the soccer game here may give you a bit of De Ja Vue. I was also in the park that day testing out the Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 SLD DG Macro Lens. It was a nice day, there was a good breeze, not too hot. I had Recently got the the lens and this was one of my first big outings with it.

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Field Review: Gary Fong Puffer (Day 2)

When light gets the best of you and there is not enough of it to to properly illuminate a shot, a flash is needed. Only having a pop-up flash, it is what is used. The light it gives is a little harsh, but when a Gary Fong Puffer is placed in front of it, that all changes. Looking Like Darth Dukus’s Ship from Star Wars the Phantom Menace, the Gary Fong Puffer, when placed on the hot shoe of your camera adjust the quality of the light coming off your pop up flash, spreading it out, giving it better coverage and a better look to the light as seen in my self-portrait post.

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Field Review: EasyTag and Sigma 70-300mm DG (Day 2)

It was a dog day of summer, somewhere between 95 and 100 degrees on July 24, 2010. Scott Kelby’s Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk, which could almost be considered a photographer’s holiday, was at hand. A bright, sunny, and brutal day for photography. Two of the things I carried while trying to keep the load light were the EasyTag GPS Device and Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro.

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