Long Term Review: Nikon 40mm f2.8G AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR

This is not a test lens that was loaned to us. This lens, a standard DX-format normal lens, is something I purchased. The Nikon 40mm f2.8G AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor Lens was announced around the time I was working on the Sigma 70mm macro lens review.  While it was a fine lens, it was not in my budget. After reading all the specs, looking at demos, and considering the price, this lens became an easy decision. I had no idea, however, that this lens would become one of my all-time favorites. Continue reading…

Review: Nikon 85mm f1.8 G

Nikon recently updated their 85mm f1.8 lens to the current G version: something it was in need of for a while. 85mm lenses are primarily used as portrait focal lengths are are preferred by many because it allows them to work up close to their subject and still not suffer from distortion. We’ve reviewed many 85mm lenses on this site, and the staff are in agreement that they’re amongst some of our favorite focal lengths.

But how does the new Nikon budget level portrait focal length do? After testing it out against the Canon 85mm f1.8 and showing off a couple of image samples, our conclusions may shock you.

Continue reading…

Review: Fujifilm X10

Back around Photo Plus, we had Hands On time with the Fujifilm X10 while shooting a party. Even after the release of various powerful point and shoots, the Fuji X10 is still quite a powerful little camera and one that seems to offer lots of promise. We’ve finally had the time to finish up our review after quite a bit of testing.

In a nutshell, it is a highly underrated point and shoot that can stand toe to toe with some of the larger sensor DSLR cameras despite having some quirks.

Continue reading…

Please Welcome Andy Hendriksen to the Staff of The Phoblographer

Editor’s Intro:

Today, I’m extremely excited to bring a new face to the staff of The Phoblographer. When Andy Hendriksen applied to be a staffer, the entire staff was wow’d immediately by him. He’s a fantastic photographer that I personally believe puts many natural light shooters to shame, he’s an audio technician, and he can write.
Plus: he’s friendly. Andy has been writing for us for a little while now as a test and two weeks ago I sent him an email telling him that I believe in him, love his work and want to work even closer. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve also learned more about Andy’s personality via his emails and his input on decisions made by the entire staff.
Andy, I feel, is a force to be reckoned with. His knowledge is immense. Not only is the technical part of his brain highly stimulated but the artistic side blossoms and his eyes have a knack for knowing what is a kick ass photo and what’s not.
With that said, myself and the rest of the staff are happy to have Andy on-board and he takes over the Lead Reviewer position and helps you all to make better decisions about the products you’d love to use.

Andy’s Bio:

Andy has been taking photographs since he was a kid, but only recently, after moving to Los Angeles, did he realize his love for street photography. Andy is a dedicated Nikon shooter, with a love for all things tech and media related. During the day, Andy is an audio and broadcast engineer, a guitarist, and a coffee aficionado.
 You can find more of Andy’s work on his personal blog, along with his photography on 500px.

Contact Andy at: andyhendriksen[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

A Fuji X100 Shooter’s Thoughts on the Leica M9

Leica, the king of hand-built precision German cameras, has long been viewed as the ultimate camera for many of us. The Leica M was a camera to shoot for. One we all hoped at some point we could earn. Whether it was a classic M2 film camera, or a newer digital M, the Leica M has the pedigree, style, and the feeling that simply couldn’t be matched by anything else. The legendary Leica glass, the unique rangefinder focusing system, the all-manual control; it seemed so tactile and real. For years I dreamed of shooting with a Leica M9, and finally I was able to. For a week.

Be sure to check out our editor-in-chief’s review of the Leica M9.

Continue reading…

Olympus Announces EM5 (OMD): We Fondle

Yes, the rumors have been true for the most part. Olympus has finally decided to let the cat out of the bag with the new OMD (or OM-D) modernly coined the EM5 (or EM-5). Pitched to me as their new professional Micro Four Thirds camera, the reps stated that the system is now complete with both consumer products and professional products. Additionally, new lenses and accessories were also announced.

We got some fondling time with the camera; and our thoughts aren’t everything you might think they would be.

Update: B&H Photo and Amazon has it available for Pre-Order

Black (body only)

Power Battery Holder

FL-600R flash

EM-5 with kit lens (Amazon is body only in silver and Black with kit lens)

EM-5 in silver with 12-50mm

Weatherproof Four Thirds lens adapter

Continue reading…

Review: Rokinon 8mm f3.5 Fisheye (For Nikon)

rokinon lenses

I was extremely pleased with the Rokinon 85mm f1.4 and to this day still believe that it is one of the best lenses I’ve tested. So when the new 8mm f3.5 fisheye was announced, I was pleasantly surprised to test it out. Being an all manual lens and coupled with the Nikon D5100’s electronic rangefinder abilities, I thought to myself that this lens has to perform exceptionally well.

And then the testing began…

Continue reading…

Taking Environmental Portraits

Trainer
Trainer

Trainer

Some of the best pictures I think I’ve ever taken are of people in their own environment. Whether it’s an athlete in their element, a musician performing for the crowd, a trainer in the gym, or even a newborn that’s only a couple of days old snuggling up in some blankets. These types of images are powerful.

These types of images aren’t terribly hard to create. Click on through to learn a couple of my tips and tricks on creating these fascinating images.

Continue reading…

Long Term Comparison Review: Nikon D5100 vs Canon T3i

We finished reviewing the Nikon D5100 and after using that camera and it’s main competitor, the Canon T3i, for a long time it is now time for a full on comparison review. Though I’ve personally purchased the D5100, it is because I’m already fully invested into Canon’s system and I need to build up a Nikon system in order to review more products for this site.

With that said, which one is right for you: The Canon T3i or Nikon D5100?

Continue reading…

Upgrading Your Micro Four Thirds Camera System

You’ve got a micro four thirds camera, and you want to move up to something better. Luckily, there are ways to move up in the system without having to completely switch to whole nother camera system. That saves you lots of money and time when it comes to selling and buying lenses. Like many of you reading this, I’m invested in the Micro four thirds camera system and so are many of my friends. We all started out with one camera and one lens and then moved on up depending on our own specific needs and wants.

This guide will assess the needs of those wanting to stay in a budget, shoot video, shoot stills, use the cameras as flair and for those that want to make the absolute best of the system.

Continue reading…

Spending Two Weeks with Kodak Ektar and Portra

Portra 160 35mm

Not long ago, Kodak got in touch with me and wanted me to try out their latest Portra films: 160 and 400 in 35mm. At Photo Plus, I was also given a roll of Ektar to play with. Admittedly, I’ve mainly been a user of Portra 400, Tri-X 400, Fuji Pro 400, and Ilford XP2. However, I decided to give it a shot and reawaken the excitement that comes with not knowing what your image looks like until it comes back from the lab.

A giant thank you goes out to Nathan Blaney for letting me use his Canon 1N for this post. Blaney is a wonderful photographer, and you should take the time to look through his site.

Continue reading…

Battle of the High End Portrait Lenses: Canon 85mm f1.2 L vs Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX

Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f1.4 1/640th iso 125

Previously we did a quick test with the Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX and the Canon 85mm f1.2 L. Before that, we compared the Sigma lens against the more affordable option in Canon’s lineup, the 85mm f1.8. Eventually, I was able to bring the two lenses out into Central Park for a quick portrait session with Kathy. The results? You may be surprised.

Continue reading…

EXCLUSIVE Hands On Review: Shooting a Party with the Fuji X10

At Photo Plus Expo 2011, we got our first hands on experience with the newly announced Fuji X10. Marketed to the world as a point and shoot with phenomenal image quality due to a larger sensor while maintaining stunning good looks the on the outside, the Fujifilm X100 gives design cues to the Fujifilm X10, but targeted at a different price point.

On the second night of Photo Plus, I attended a party (one of many) where after a couple of rounds, I tried out the X10 with a flash mounted on it. Shooting all JPEGs and with the only intention being to have fun, did the Fujifilm X10 surprise me?

Continue reading…

Combined Review: Olympus E-PM1

The Olympus EPM1 (or E-PM1 and EPM-1) is a camera that is seemingly targeted towards those that don’t know much about the technical aspects about photography or in some cases, not much about it at all. With this statement said, this isn’t a camera for myself or anyone on my staff—we’re all very experienced. When this camera ended up at my doorstep, I was challenged on how I could do it justice. And then…it hit me.

Today I am publishing a very special review. As many veteran photogs know, there are those of us who lean more towards the technical side of things and those that sway more towards the creative side. To do this review, I called up my friend Belinda Heiman to assist in this. She’s a growing photographer that leans more towards the creative side of things and has just restarted her business with the creation of her Facebook and Twitter pages. As a result, this review will be done from two different points of views: mine and hers. It will focus mostly on using the camera as this audience will be very happy with the image quality in general.

Continue reading…

Ten Ways to Take Better Photos Without Spending More Money

No matter what your photography knowledge level or equipment are, you can take better photos today than you did yesterday without spending a dime. Every one of my suggestions can be applied whether you’ve had professional training or not, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a $100 point-and-shoot or an expensive DSLR. Geared primarily towards amateur hobbyists, perhaps those of you with more experience can get some ideas as well. Here are some suggestions that are independent of gear.

Continue reading…

Review: Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro

I have a deep passion for macro photography. When I got into DSLR photography, I bought the 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro to multitask as my zoom and my macro lens. Lately though, I wanted a more specialized lens for macro photography. With the 70-300mm I have to zoom lens all the to the widest focal length, then switch to macro mode, etc. With the Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro, I don’t have to do that. This is why I chose to test it out. So does it make the cut for my photography?

Continue reading…

Tips on Shooting Landscapes from a Wedding Photographer

I have a confession to make: I believe that I can’t shoot a landscape to save my life. It’s just not my strength. I’m a weddings, event, engagement, portrait and street photographer. Plus, I live in NYC and we don’t have wonderful rolling hills the way other states do. However, on my recent trip to Toronto, Canada, I stepped outside of my hotel room at the magic hour of the day and snapped what I believed to be the best landscape images I’ve ever shot. The way I did it though was by imagining a bride and groom in the scene. So how can you combine the two art forms to create something beautiful?

Oh, before you go on ranting that these images are terrible, I’m not saying that they’re amazing. I’m saying they’re the best I’ve done so far using my particular method.

Continue reading…