Review: Photogenic Fresnel Lighting Modifier

Photogenic announced a Fresnel lighting modifier a while back. Fresnel modifiers date back to the days of lighthouses: indeed the giant towers would take existing light and use a Fresnel glass to focus the beam of light out onto a specific spot. That’s how the idea of spotlights came about.

Fast forward to modern day and they’ve been modified for commercial photographic use: complete with barn doors that could also prove very useful to videographers. But just how useful is this thick piece of glass?

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Hands On: HoldFast Gear MoneyMaker Camera Harness

The world of camera straps is vast, but can be boring and uninspired. It isn’t often that a strap system stands out, but it seems we’ve found one that does.  When Chris reviewed the HoldFast CameraLeash last month, the quality of the materials and the unique understated styling caught my eye. Now, HoldFast Gear has created something new: it’s called the MoneyMaker, and It’s pretty exciting.

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Sony Presents New α57 SLT Which Does (Almost) All The Thinking For You

Sony today presents the latest model of their Alpha SLT lineup of translucent-mirror interchangeable lens cameras, the α57. Successor to the α55 not only by name, it ups the ante with a bunch of new features that come awfully close to making the photographer obsolete. Besides using the same 16 megapixel sensor as the mirrorless NEX-5n and featuring a new 50p/60p video mode, it comes with a portrait mode that does the framing for you and tracks faces even if they are turned away from the camera. To find out if it still needs a photographer to operate it, read on after the jump.

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The Phoblographer’s List of Alternatives to Purchasing the Canon 5D Mk III and Making Your Camera Live Just a Bit Longer

The Canon 5D Mk III has been announced, and while it is quite the powerhouse there are photographers that wouldn’t necessarily upgrade or go right for it. Indeed, the 5D Mk II is still an excellent purchase. But as photographers, we all have upgrade envy at times. We don’t need to upgrade our cameras though.

We’ve said this mantra many times and we’ll say it again: your lenses and lights will outlive and perform the life of your camera. Besides taking courses, a way to step up is to consider lighting and lenses. Here’s a complete list of products to consider if you’re considering upgrading. Chances are that they won’t break the bank either.

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Creating “Faux-DRs” From Single RAW Files In Lightroom (Or Any Other RAW Software)

In his recent post on HDR photography, Andy mentions the possibility to create HDR images from single RAW files by developing them with different exposure levels. This way, an image with enhanced dynamic range can be achieved from a single exposure — which is handy when you don’t have a tripod with you, or your scene features moving objects. But you still need an HDR software to merge the three files you get from your original RAW image. This made me think: isn’t there an easier way? Why yes, there is. I call it “faux-DR” (from French “faux” = false), and it is a simple technique that can be done with most RAW developing softwares — in this post, I will use Adobe Lightroom exemplary.

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First Impressions: Tamron 60mm f/2 Macro (Nikon F Mount Version)

When presented with the opportunity to test the Tamron 60mm f/2 Macro lens, I jumped on it. I’ve been really interested in finding a good, reasonably fast 85-90mm equivalent for my Nikon D7000, as I’ve been looking for something to use primarily for portraits. The Tamron 60mm seemed like an excellent and affordable solution, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I will be doing a few different write-ups on this lens, and using it in different scenarios, but first I’d like to go over my first impressions and show some sample macro shots.

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Kodak Reported To Increase Film Prices By 15%

Only shortly after announcing the discontinuance of their entire slide film range, Kodak is in the news again. This time, they are reported to increase the prices of all their remaining photographic films by 15%. According to a Kodak spokesman, this price increase is necessary in order “to remain a sustainable, viable business.”

One can only wonder if, in a time where film sales are ever declining, this is a bright move. In effect, it may keep even more people off of buying film, and may drive those that have been using film towards the far more cost-effective digital medium. In the end, Kodak may yet again be shoveling their own grave (or at least that of one of their products.)

Meanwhile, you can still buy plenty of different Kodak films at B&H Photo, even some of their already discontinued flavors.

What do you think about this?

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We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.

Op/Ed What Pentax Got right with the K-01

I’ve been saving every single penny for a new camera. What I want is a second body to go along with my D90 for street photography and events. When Nikon announced their mirrorless camera, it was an option I initially considered, but I was underwhelmed after testing it. The Nikon 1 series looked good on paper, even with the small sensor. When it came to lenses, however, I had some serious issues with it. When Pentax recently announced the K-01 the first thought I had was, “They got it right!” Continue reading…

Fujifilm X100 Limited Edition in Black Shipping Now Marks Mankind’s Finest Hour

The title of this piece may perhaps be a bit overexaggerated, but Fujifilm has just announced that their Limited Edition of the Fuji X100 in black is shipping worldwide to customers now. You can order it from B&H Photo if you’d like. But the main story behind this announcement is the microsite: which is filled with some gorgeous Fuji X100 pornography images.

Only 10,000 will be made.

Review: Opteka Excursion C500 Bag

When I bought my Fuji X100, I found that I needed a smaller bag to carry around while doing street photography. I’ve discussed my main bag on this site before, the Tamrac Rally 5, which is great for when I’m hauling around my entire Nikon D7000 kit along with my Fuji X100, my iPad 2, and more, but is a little big for the X100 alone. The Opteka Excursion C500 was recommend to me by a friend, and it seems to be the perfect solution for me.

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Corel Introduces VideoStudio Pro X5, Adds HTML5 And 50p/60p Support

Corel today introduces the latest iteration of their popular video editing software VideoStudio Pro. In version X5, VideoStudio Pro now supports HTML5 for easier online video embedding, stop-motion recording with Canon DSLRs, 50p/60p video editing and the integration of multi-layered PaintShop Pro graphics into the video. Additionally, VideoStudio Pro X5 now comes with screen recording capabilities and multi-core acceleration for even faster editing and processing.

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Review: Vanguard Heralder 38 Camera Bag

Vanguard isn’t as well known in the photo industry as the likes of Think Tank, ONA, Domke, Lowepro and others; but the tripod manufacturer does indeed make camera bags as well. Around Photo Plus of last year, they showcased their new Heralder camera bag: a case targeted at the urban warrior type of photographer (and a perfect candidate for most of The Phoblographer’s staff.) The Heralder 38 camera bag is at the top of their food chain, but is it good enough for you?

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Whole Slew of Cool Canon Stuff Available for Pre-Order at B&H and Amazon

A whole slew of stuff just became available for pre-order from B&H Photo and Amazon after Canon’s announcement the other day. Take a look, and remember that purchasing using our links helps keep the site alive.

Everything from Amazon over on one convenient page

Canon 5D Mk III

Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter

Canon SR-N3 Release Cable for 600EX-RT Speedlite

Canon SCF-E1 Color Filter Set for 600EX-RT

Canon WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter

Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip for 5D Mark III Camera

SLR Magic Announces New Toy Lenses For NEX, MFT and Pentax Q

Picture by Leo Fok

Picture by Leo Fok

In harsh contrast to their upcoming 50mm T0.95 lens for Leica M-mount, SLR Magic has just announced three new toy lenses for Sony NEX, Micro Four Thirds and Pentax Q. The NEX lens “Bokehmorphic” comes with interchangeable aperture inserts that create custom-shaped bokeh highlights, the new Micro Four Thirds “lens” is a pinhole cap with protection glass and the new Pentax Q offering is an adaption of the 11mm f1.4 toy lens released for Micro Four Thirds a while ago.

Correction: the apertures are built in. Thanks for the catch Andrew!

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Review: Impact One Light Umbrella Kit

Impact is a brand that has been known for creating gear that is extremely capable but at a very affordable price. When the Impact One-Light Umbrella Kit was sent to me for review, I initially thought that it was one heck of a weird kit. I mean you get one lamp, a reflector for said lamp, a stand and a large shoot through umbrella plus a light bulb for a super affordable price.

But is it really worth it?

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Photojojo Starts Selling the Rogue Flash Bender and Diffusion Panel Tomorrow

If you’re a hot-shoe flash user, chances are that you already own the Rogue Flash Benders. In my opinion, they’re one of the best modifiers around due to their flexibility and versatility. Photojojo, aka the site/shop of all things cool and awesome in the photo world, are announcing that they’re selling the benders in their store tomorrow with the diffusion panel and as always, they’ve gone the extra step to show some demonstrations in their really cool and a bit hipsterish ways.

Make no mistake though, the benders aren’t hipsterish. Though I admittedly don’t use them as often as I used to, I swear by the large bender. They’re excellent for event, journalistic or wedding photographers, but I wouldn’t necessarily use them for in-studio portraits. However, they can be turned into a snoot, which can give off an awesome effect if desired.

Head on over to Photojojo and see what they’ve got.