Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujfilm Instax mini 90 product photos (2 of 7)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 4.0

When Fujifilm first announced their Mini 90 camera, folks everywhere either gawked at the expensive price or looked at it alluringly with lust and heart palpitations. Then we tried it, and actually kind of liked it. It’s totally a hipster camera, but that doesn’t mean that you should sit there and turn your nose away from it. In fact, the Mini 90 has a couple of cool features that will force you to think within a box and put an huge emphasis on unleashing your creative side by getting rid of the technical stuff.

And more than anything, it will be a pricey learning tool.

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Five Films We Urge You to Try (While They’re Still Available)

Felix Lajos Esser The Phoblographer Films and Film Cameras

For decades, silver halide film was the primary photographic medium. With the advance of digital technology, however, the photographic landscape has changed considerably. Today, film is a niche medium, which is why we have seen so many films be discontinued in the past years. There are still those who like to use it, though, and there are good reasons to do so. If you’ve been thinking of giving film photography a try, here’s a list of five films that we urge you to try while they’re still available.

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Review: Phottix Mitros+ Flash (Canon)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Mitros+ product photos (1 of 7)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 5.0

Earlier this year, Phottix announced their brand new Mitros+ flashes that incorporate TTL metering with their Odin transmitter. As the first affordable TTL compliant flash to work with an integrated radio system, we’re positive that many photographers were just as excited as we were. We’ve been testing the flashes for a while and were quite amazed by how well they performed for the price point.

And for what you pay, we only have one big qualm.

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Review: Sony NEX-5T

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The NEX 5 line has been refreshed again, this time to a T. Identical in size and shape to its predecessor the 5R, the 5T comes with NFC for transferring images to your phone. With 16.1MP on an APS-C sensor, the 5T has the same spec sheet as the 5R which means that it will produce the same high quality images. This is my first extended stay with one of the more mid-range NEX cameras, and it’s been swell.

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Shea Evans and Exploring the World of Food

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All images used with the permission of Shea Evans.

Shea Evans is a food culture photographer who captures not only the beauty of food and its ingredients, but also how people’s lives revolve around the delicious things they find on their plate. His eye for shape, color and light helps him to produce arresting photographs that are a treat for the eye as well for the palette. We recently had the opportunity to ask him some questions about how he is able to combine his passion for photography and food.

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Review: Leica M (Typ 240)

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Leica M Typ 240 Review Front Slanted View

When we recently wrote about our first impressions with the Leica M Typ 240, we were pretty smitten with it. So much so in fact that we were almost certain we wouldn’t have much else to say in the final review besides what we said about it in our first impressions article. So what we’ll do is to give you some extra image samples from the camera and various lenses, go a bit more into detail about the overall image quality, as well as take a look at the camera’s video functionality, which makes it stand apart from all the M-mount rangefinder cameras that came before it.

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First Impressions: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Photo Plus Expo 2013 Fujifilm XE2 XQ1 Mini90 Instax product images (18 of 18)ISO 16001-50 sec at f - 2.2

It’s the rise of analog–or at least that’s part of Fujifilm’s marketing campaign with the Instax Mini90. Indeed, the Mini 90 is the highest end camera on the Instax lineup of cameras and its design and functionality is meant to appeal to the retro-conscious and creative folks that want something with a lo-fi aesthetic but with a classic feel.

With that said, The Instax Mini90 is indeed quite a beautiful and interesting camera–but its price point may hinder its success.

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Life in Focus: Scott Markewitz on Shooting Over 400 Magazine Covers

Man road biking, Marin Headlands, California.

All photos by Scott Markewitz, used with permission.

Scott Markewitz has been a photographer with a vision for many years. He has travelled to many places shooting outdoor sports and skiing for a while. In fact, Scott has over 400 magazine covers to his name–which is quite an astonishing feat. So when we asked him what made for a great ski photo, he gave us a simple answer that was brief and to the point since he’s been thinking about it for so many years.

We managed to find some time in Scott’s busy schedule to talk to him about the industry.

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Three Essential Lenses for the Beginning Micro Four Thirds User

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Micro Four Thirds High ISO comparison (4 of 4)ISO 1251-30 sec at f - 5.6

The Micro Four Thirds system is all about great image quality in a small package. That was evident pretty much from the start, when Olympus introduced the legendary E-P1 camera with its minuscule 17mm f2.8 pancake kit lens. When buying a new Micro Four Thirds camera today, you’ll probably end up with one of the kit zooms from Olympus and Panasonic, ranging in focal length between 12mm and 50mm. While these may be a great entry into the system and provide some versatility and image quality, you will at some point want to upgrade to more specialized and higher-end glass. Here’s our list of three essential Micro Four Thirds lenses that provide great image quality and don’t break the bank.

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Review: Topaz Labs Clarity

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Since the introduction of the Clarity slider, it’s become one of my favorite tools for controlling the finer contrast of my images. I’m not the only one as many photographers have discovered how this one control is capable of adding a nice “pop” to photographs. However, when this tool is used with a heavy hand, it not only begins to not unnatural, but it also creates unwanted halos and artifacting.

Enter Topaz Labs Clarity, a software that takes this tool and provides far greater control over clarity, while eliminating that common issues of haloing and artifacting that commonly occur when the control is applied aggressively.

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Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 90 Gets Announced in the US

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A while back, we reported on Fujifilm announced the Instax Mini 90 camera–which is supposed to be targeted at a higher tier of shooters than the regular Instax cameras. Now, they’re announcing it in North America. It adheres to Fujifilm’s infatuation with retro aesthetics. But it also sports some new features such as a double exposure mode and a bulb mode. The lens is a 60mm f12 and they also state that it has a programmable electronic shutter that can shoot at up to 1/400th.

The new INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic will be available nationally in early 2014 with an MSRP of $199.99. INSTAX Mini Film is available now with an MSRP of $19.99. The price is below what we initially were told it would be; but that is still quite pricey for a film camera these days.

Specs are after the jump.


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DxO Launches New Viewpoint 2 Software for Distortion Correction

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DxO Viewpoint was a piece of software intended to fix distortion of images. In fact, that was its main functionality. The technology was created using DxO’s massive database of camera sensors and lenses. The company recently announced an update in the form of Viewpoint 2, and there seem to be a couple of key upgrades that make the software better. For example, there is now an 8 point line tool that lets users fix any convergent line in the image, regardless of its position. Then there is a new “Natural” setting that adjusts the intensity of your editing.

And as usual, you can correct all kinds of distortion problems that the image may have. Plus there are new cropping measures that have been implemented for the creation of the final image.

Viewpoint 2 can function with Adobe Photoshop Elements and Apple Aperture along with Lightroom and Photoshop. With DxO’s introductory pricing (good through October 20, 2013) the software is available for immediate download for $49 after which pricing will be $79.

Our problem with the first version of the software was that it only edited JPEGs. We’re not sure if the new version works with RAWs or not.


Review: Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 (Micro Four Thirds)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 Review images (18 of 33)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 2.8

When we first heard about Olympus’s 12-40mm f2.8, we had some high hopes as the reps told us that the lens is really made of metal and has a very solid build quality. Then we saw it, and were quite impressed. We expressed a lot of interest in the lens and so we asked Olympus for an evaluation copy.

As a Micro Four Thirds user for years, I’ve always been very privy to the standard’s small primes. These lenses truly embrace the smaller form factor that mirrorless cameras were supposed to establish to begin with. But this is the first zoom lens that I ended up really, really liking. The Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 has lived up to and in some ways exceeded my expectations. And if you can justify the price tag to yourself, we recommend that you spring for it immediately.

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Review: Think Tank Turnstyle 20 Sling Bag

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Sling bags have begun to catch on with the world of schlepping photography gear from place to place in recent years. Cyclists and bike messengers have been using this style of bag for literally decades because of its simple and functional design with quick access to your cargo. Think Tank Photo, whom we all know well, is always cooking up new ideas for their product lines and recently launched a new series of sling-style bags (though Think Tank fans will note that this is not their first sling bag, the Sling-O-Matic series came first). The Turnstyle series is a new nimble and low-profile set of bags which you wear diagonally across your bag, or around your waist by attaching the strap to the included waist-pad tucked inside the back panel. Available in three distinct sizes (5/10/20) depending on the amount of gear you want to carry, there are plenty of choices with this new line. We had a chance to review the Turnstyle 20, so head on past the break for our full review.

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Creating the Photograph: Giovanni Gori’s, “The Legend of the Ghost in Love-Part Three”

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Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Giovanni Gori is an Italian professional photographer and post producer. His work is about people: portraiture, fashion, glamour, editorial, advertising and modeling test books for agencies. His pictures have been published in various books, magazines, traveling guides and photography blogs. We found this beautiful photo of his on 500px. What we didn’t know though was that this is actually part of a series, but this photo by itself is strong enough to stand on its own.

We talked to Giovanni about how he created it. Here’s his story.

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The Phoblographer’s Introduction to Softboxes

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Pentax K50 image samples (2 of 10)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 8.0

The first lighting modifier that most folks go for are softboxes. The reason for this is not only because of their popularity, but also because of the quality of light that they can deliver. Softboxes are shaped and designed in a way to deliver what is known as directional light–meaning that the light is also very direct and not scattered and spread around. Because of this, you generally also have more control. On top of this factoid, softboxes also take a harsh light source and through reflection and diffusion, soften it to give a really beautiful look to the image. And they come in all shapes and sizes–but as per the rule, the larger the light source is in relation to the object, the softer the light will be.

Here’s our sort introductory crash course to using softboxes.

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Creating the Photograph: Ian Arneson’s “Black Heart Bride”

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

Ian Arneson is a photographer based in northern Virginia who has an eye for the fantastical. Skilled in the art of photo manipulation, Ian takes concepts that would normally live in the pages of a fantasy novel and gives them life in photographs. We came across his photograph “Black Heart Bride” and we had to know how he did it.

More than anything, learn how Ian totally tricked his own camera.

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RED’s Dragon is Breathing Fire With These Samples From Tom Lowe

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Tom Lowe (of Timescapes and Dreamcore fame) is someone you could call a fan of RED cameras, being a huge advocate of their system and producing some truly jaw-dropping work with their beyond-HD capabilities. Over the past week Tom has been using a prototype RED Dragon camera on location in Sri Lanka to see what it can do with regard to dynamic range. Tom has been sharing his results so far with the RedUser forums, and we’re sharing some of that information with you; head on past the break for more.

Via Gizmodo

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Review: Nikon D5200

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Nikon’s D5200 is targeted at the middle end of the consumer pool–meaning that it will give you more features or is just for a more experienced user. As a previous owner of the Nikon D5100, it’s only natural that I’d review its successor. At its heart, this camera has a 24.1MP ASP-C sized sensor with a 1.5x crop factor–effectively multiplying a focal length. It takes SD cards, has a 95% viewfinder, can shoot at up to 1/4000th, 5fps shooting, 3D color matrix metering, has a maximum ISO output of 6400 natively, and has 39 focusing points.

Seriously, what’s not to love about a camera with this much power?


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Talking with Red Bull Illume Select Dimitrios Kontizas

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Dimitrios’s Entry into the Red Bull Illume Contest

Dimitrios Kontizas is one of 250 lucky photographers in a pool to be awarded the Red Bull Illume. He hails from Greece and is an action sports photographer that takes things to new heights–quite literally. Mr. Kontizas photographs skydivers, gliders, and a heck of a lot more. And he emphasizes the fact that you don’t need the latest and greatest gear to do this. While many other photographers may use something like a Nikon D4 to capture photos, Dimitrios uses a Nikon D5100 and puts more concentration into finding the best locations and athletes.

We chatted with the excellent photographer recently, and here is what he had to say.


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Street Photographer Jamel Shabazz on Documenting a Culture in NYC

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All images shot by Jamel Shabazz. Used with permission.

Jamel Shabazz is one of New York’s most prolific street photographers. Characterized as a fashion shooter, street shooter, portrait shooter, and documentarian, Jamel has been published in galleries, books, magazines, and more all around the world. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY his work in the area earned him a notable spot in the recent documentary, Everybody Street. He even has a documentary about him. Currently, he is putting together a traditional coffee table book of his unpublished black and white images from 1980 to 2010.

We had some time to chat with the street legend about tips, NY life, and developing relationships with your subjects.

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