Review: Pentax Q7 SR

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I received word of the Pentax Q7 from Chris Gampat about a month and a half ago. It was the next review unit coming in, and since my time was mostly free, I said I would take the review. The loaner agreement disappeared into the ether of cyberspace, and a package arrived at my door some number of days later. When I opened it, I thought, “Something must be wrong.” What sat on the counter in front of me looked like a scaled-down version of what the camera should have been. Granted, I hadn’t researched the camera beforehand as I like each new review to be a fresh experience. As you can see, I received the black and yellow version, so attributing toylike qualities to it is, I think, warranted. As I came to terms with the camera’s size, I raised my paws and sighed. The Q7, like a newborn kitten, sits comfortably in the palm of my hand. This is not your father’s Pentax, and that, my friends, is a good thing.

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Review: Sigma 30mm f1.4 II (Canon EF)

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Sigma’s 30mm f1.4 has been an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. The lens is first off billed as being optimized for APS-C DSLR cameras. But instead of having an EF-S mount, the lens has an EF mount–which is something that many third party manufacturers do. And then there is the super pleasant surprise: the fact that the lens works exceptionally well on full frame cameras. For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been testing the lens on the Canon 70D and the Canon 5D Mk II. And we’ve had some surprising results.

Even though we’re quite pleased with what we’ve gotten from the lens, it has its faults.

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Review: Chris Martin 2013 Summer Preset Pack for Adobe Lightroom

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Chris Martin 2013 Summer Preset Pack Review Screenshot

A little under a year ago, we reviewed Chris Martin’s Vintage Film Fades preset pack for Lightroom, and we loved the washed-out look of faded film they give to a digital image. For the summer of 2013, Chris updated his preset pack, and added a High Contrast as well as a Light Fade preset to the existing Faded Film preset. Additionally, the Summer 2013 Preset Pack contains variants of each preset that either convert the image to black & white, or give it a colored tint. Accordingly, the usability and the creative spectrum of the presets have improved greatly over the original preset pack. In this review, we take a closer look at Chris Martin’s 2013 Summer Preset Pack for Adobe Lightroom.

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The Basics of Photography: G for Grain

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM5 New York Burlesque Festival photos (9 of 13)ISO 6400

We continue to run down the alphabet of photography terms in our series with G for grain. Grain is something that many film photographers and those with a hankering for the old school love. Many digital folk though tend to hate it, but don’t realize that it is an essential part of photography. Grain is also characterized and switched out interchangeably with noise. Noise is what one sees at higher ISOs on cameras–but there are different types of noise. In fact, what grain would closely refer to would be luminescent noise.

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“Lumiere” is a Tintype Photobooth on Wheels

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Image courtesy of Adrian Whipp & Loren Doyen.

Tintype photography is a lost art. The term “tintype” is a bit of a misnomer as no actual tin is used. The process, which originated in the mid 1800s, entails coating a metal plate, usually iron, in collodion to prepare it for light sensitivity. The coated plated is then dipped in a silver nitrate solution which makes it light-sensitive. The plate is then loaded into the camera, exposed, and taken into the darkroom for processing. The rest of it entails a bit of chemistry, but this is the process by which many photographs were made way back in the day. And it is the process by which Adrian Whipp and Loren Doyen create their portraits in Lumiere, their tintype studio-on-wheels in Austin, Texas.

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Review: Canon T5i (But You Can Call it the T4i Mk II)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon T5i camera review product images (3 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

When we first were briefed on the Canon T5i, we were told that it is nearly the same camera as the T4i. The only differences between the T4i and the T5i are the textured feeling, a 360 degree rotation dial, a new STM lens bundled with it, and a digital zoom in mode movie. But otherwise, Canon kept the camera the exact same.

To be extremely honest here, the T4i wasn’t a bad camera at all. In fact, when we reviewed it we loved it. But we’d be the biggest bunch of lying journalists on the web if we didn’t express our disgust with how lazy someone at Canon must have been to say, “Let’s make it the exact same camera, charge a bit more, and only make some minor changes.”

We understand the Japanese mentality of not wanting to take risks due to cultural stances, and we’re not disappointed in the camera’s performance at all. In fact, there isn’t much bad that we can say about it. But instead, we’re disappointed in Canon’s lack of effort to push the fold.

With that said, this review is going to be a mix of our T4i review and our T5i first impressions along with a couple of new additions from our month of testing it. If you’re just as disgusted as we are though, we encourage you to stop right here and not read on.

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Weekend Humor: Criminals Get More Sophisticated to Achieve Better Mugshots

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Courtesy of the Sydney Living Museum.

Following a report earlier this week about snazzy mugshots from the ’20s, criminals have taken it upon themselves to get sophisticated. The traditional bodega heist has become a far more stylish affair with the common suspects ditching sweatpants and t-shirts in favor of three-piece suits and top hats. Originally an uncomfortable affair, mugshots have become all the rage for up-and-coming criminals in the past several days.

Dennis McGraw was a small-time crook who frequented bodegas for Snickers available under the five-finger discount. He’s never been caught, but that changed when he saw our post on vintage mugshots. “You really inspired me to dress nicely,” McGraw wrote, “Before I usually resorted to my gray hoodie and blue sweatpants, but now I want to steal in style.” He also revealed to us that he went so far as to purchase a replica revolver.

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Cub and Company is a New Luxury Strap Maker With Rugged Design Cues

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It seems that the luxury camera strap arena is building momentum even more–with loads of the companies taking pride in both American manufacturing and designing. And the latest addition to the list is Cub and Company. Created by photographer Joel Chavez out in Long Island, NY, these straps have an alluring vintage appeal to them while maintaining a semi-upscale aesthetic to them that would appeal to would appeal to those looking for something with a youthful edge. We wouldn’t exactly call them hipster, but we’d sure as hell say that they’re for the discerning shooter.

Joel works out of his basement out on the island manufacturing and designing each strap. They’re all made from full grain leather, and waxed linen thread for better durability–which tends to be a very common process amongst the American companies.

Amongst the products on the goods page are a strap designed just for the SX-70,  a wrist straps, a sling strap, normal camera strap, and film holders. Yes: Joel still appeals to the long forgotten part of our identity as photographers. We recommend heading over to their page and taking an oogle at the gorgeous designs.

But you can also hit the jump, if you want.


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Review: Fujifilm X20

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Street photographers rejoice! The Fujifilm X20 is here. With a sleek black exterior, the X20 makes for an excellent companion for anyone who wants to find their shots on the streets. The camera sports a 12MP 2/3″ X-Trans CMOS II sensor and a Fujinon 7.1-28.4mm f/2-2.8 lens, as well as several film modes should you want to give some photos a vintage touch. Admittedly, I am not a compact guy. I like a big rig, but the X20’s retro aesthetic combined with new age tech specs charmed me. I enjoyed my time with the X20, and I’m sad to see it go. Herein lies my review.

 

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Essentials: The Connected Photographer

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Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

There is a brand new workflow that some of the more cutting edge professionals are sticking to these days: and it doesn’t involve spending hours in front of the computer. With the advent of connected camera, Eye-Fi Mobi, and other extremely mobile software, we can create and edit images with loads of amazing looks just by working on the JPEGs that we created pretty much right the first time in the camera. The liberation that this delivers is truly mind blowing if you can embrace it.

And here is our recommended kit.

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The First RAW Images from the Digital Bolex Camcorder Are Live. And They’re Beautiful

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When the digital Bolex was first announced, the filmmaking community was thrilled. They’d be getting a camera with a sensor that isn’t tough to work with in terms of focus pulling and editing due to its Super 16mm size combined with the RAW shooting abilities. The company stated that they were working on it for a while and had to get over lots of design flaws, but the first images from the camera are now live on their blog.

They used vintage glass for the video stills that they pulled. And you can have a look at them for yourself after the jump.

After reading their blog post, the writer stated that he was doing lots of chart tests but that it was nothing that translated cinematically. While the images of a person are better, I still think that they should have made some sort of short film with it to really demonstrate what can be created with the camera.

The RAW stills are after the jump.

Via No Film School 

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Essentials: The Street Photographer With a Strobe

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials for th Strobist Street Photographer (9 of 9)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 3.5

Essentials is a brand new series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend.

Every Street Photographer has their own style, and many prefer to work with natural light. But once you start to work with strobes, you begin to realize just how much different your work can start to look. Taking photos of people candidly in the street already requires some bravery, and we’d be lying to you if we said that adding a strobe into the picture (pun not intended) also didn’t require some major stugots.

In the end though, you’ll be rewarded with not only different photos from everyone else but also with the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve learned a new skill.

Here’s what we recommend.

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6 Apps to Unleash Your Mobile Photography Creativity

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“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams

The connected camera and mobile photography currently represents a major switch in the way that modern photography works. As much as people may say that it is the end of professional photography, they still don’t realize that it’s still all about the creativity in the mind of the person behind the camera. And while some apps are quite good, others allow you to unleash even more creativity than a standard filter. Here are our favorites.


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Review: Samsung Galaxy S4 (Sprint)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy S4 review product photos (2 of 12)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 1.8

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a phone that is extremely capable of doing so much more than most people would ever really expect from a phone. Packed with loads of features, these goodies also include some excellent technology that works in conjunction with the phone’s camera. With a big and bright LCD screen to help you control most of the action, you’ll have loads of fun with this phone’s photography functions as well as its fast processing speeds. But once again, it is a phone–and a phone that can take some damned good photos.

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Review: SLR Magic 23mm f1.7 (Fujifilm X Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer SLR Magic 23mm f1.7 lens fujifilm x pro product photos (7 of 7)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 5.0

At last! The most rangefinder-like of the mirrorless camera systems has a 35mm equivalent lens! We’ve always been a fan of SLR Magic’s lenses here on the Phoblographer and when we received the 23mm f1.7 in the mail, we were super stoked. It renders a near 35mm field of view on the cameras. Though Fujifilm themselves will be releasing one later on from the publishing of this piece, they were beaten to the cake by SLR Magic. We’ve spent a couple of days with this lens since seeing at Photokina, so far and we have to say that this one makes the X Pro 1 feels like the Leica cameras that I was trained on.

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Mother’s Day 2013: 8 Gifts for the Photographer Mom

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC image samples (20 of 36)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 2.8

Mom is the person who brought you into the world. Our mothers have been there to protect us, love us, provide for us, and help us out in many different ways that we can’t count on two fingers. We owe them all a little something–and you should put some thought into it. This isn’t your typical list: the items presented here are carefully curated for the photographer mom or one with a taste for the artistic things in life.

If you’re reading this, you’re bound to find a gift for one of the most important women in your life.


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Creating the Photograph: Stratos Agianoglou’s Noir Portrait

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Photo by Stratos Agianoglou, All images used with permission

Editor’s Note: Creating the Photograph is a new series that we’re starting where we interview photographers all about the photo that they shot and talk to them about how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed onto you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Stratos Agianoglou is an award winning photographer and graphic designer who is the focus of this week’s Creating the Photograph. His work has been published in well respected Design and Photography magazines and portals from around the world such as Desktopography, Photography Week, Fotografos Magazine, Dasein, NewWebPick and more. His work has also been exhibited in Greece, London and New York. His work resembles that of Frank Doorhof but has a mystical feel to it–and with that in mind we asked him to talk to us about how he created the photo above.

Here’s his story. And if you’re interested check out more in our Creating the Photograph series.

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Review: Fujifilm X100s

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X100s product images (1 of 6)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 11

The Fujifilm X100s is the successor to the very highly regarded X100. We had a first impressions experience with the camera during CES 2013, and were pretty impressed with it back then. During our time with the camera, we passed it around during our first NYC meetup and we also tested it on the streets. The X100s deserves tons of praise partially because of the fact that Fujifilm actually listened to their customers. Mix this in with its quiet leaf shutter and a vintage inspired design that will appeal to veterans and you’ve got yourself a winner, right?

For the most part, yes. But nothing is perfect.

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First Impressions: Sony Zeiss 50mm F1.4 (Sony A Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 50mm F1.4 First Impressions product shots (6 of 6)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 5.6

When Sony’s new Zeiss branded 50mm f1.4 lens was announced, we were excited. The Sony Zeiss glass is often amongst some of the best with micro-contrast built in, sharpness, and most of all–autofocusing built in. Then the company announced the crazy price. We were given a chance to fondle the lens, but not put the pre-production sample that we saw a camera to test the image quality yet. From what we saw so far, we’re not sure that it may be worth the price but it does surely show lots of promise.

 

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