Hands On Review: SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 Noktor Lens for Micro Four Thirds

When news of the SLR Magic 12mm f1.6 Hyperprime broke, we announced it on our Facebook page. Our copy literally just came in the door yesterday, here’s a quick video preview of the lens. Note that this lens was primarily developed for videographers and in my conversations with the SLR Magic reps, the lens actually has T-stops and not F-stops. So like the Zeiss 85mm that we had hands on time with, it’s a cinema prime. What are T-stops? We explain it a bit in this article; but they’re f-stops only much more accurate.

Continue reading…

An Analysis of Apple’s iPhone 4S Camera: What We Know So Far

Image from This is My Next’s Liveblog of the Apple Announcement, by far the fastest and best one that didn’t crash.

Today, Apple announced the iPhone 4S. In the world of photography, we mostly care about the camera to help spur on our creative initiatives. The iPhone 4 had an impressive range of features like an f2.4 lens, ISO 80-2000 and 1/1000th shutter speeds. Indeed, after our field test we saw that use of Apple’s iPhone 4 really took off with the amount of apps that came out such as Hisptamatic, Instagram, etc.

Apple proclaimed that they wanted to create a camera that is better than a point and shoot. So, have they? Without having our hands on the product at all, we’re going to do a breakdown the specs.

Continue reading…

Micro Four Thirds Lens Comparison: Olympus 12mm f2 vs. Panasonic 14mm f2.5

Over the past two to three years, the Micro Four Thirds (M43) system has morphed from an uncertain new category into a serious alternative to consumer DSLRs. As this segment grows, manufactures, mainly Olympus and Panasonic, have started to provide users with more lens options, but more importantly, they are producing higher quality lenses. Because of the relatively small sensors size, M43 systems have to deal with a 2x crop factor. Because of this, Olympus and Panasonic have to produce very wide lenses to provide users with a field of view that is similar to what their used to using with SLRs (e.g. 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, etc.). In this review, we are going to compare two M43 wide angle primes, the Olympus 12mm f/2 and the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5.

Continue reading…

Working With Models For The Budding Photographer

Male Model Sitting On Wall

Model Sitting On Wall

Models are interesting creatures. They can very picky and complicated or they can be the complete opposite and need coaching and hand holding the whole way. Every once in a while, you’ll hit the jackpot and get that perfect person that knows exactly how to model while taking whatever suggestion you throw at them (within reason of course).

If you’re just starting with shooting actual models, it can be quite intimidating. You want the model to feel comfortable that you know at least a little bit about what you’re doing while at the same time being able to direct the model to get the shot you’re looking for. Also, you have to do all this while building a relationship with the model so they will let down their “photographic guard” for you. This is what I call it when someone is just posing for you instead of emoting, and it comes across in the picture.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog posting by Travis Lawton, the Lawtographer

Continue reading…

Which One? Olympus EPM1 vs Olympus EP2 Comparison Review

Although is a bit of an out of the ordinary comparison review, it is one that totally makes sense. If you’re an owner of an older Micro Four Thirds product, would you want to upgrade? We compared the EP2 against the EP3 before, but some readers may not be able to justify the EP3‘s expense. That’s not to say it’s not worth it; after reading our review, many readers jumped ship. But the EPM1 (EPM-1 or E-PM1) is a camera that is mostly targeted towards the non-technical user. However, if left in Aperture priority, the camera can do very well in an experienced user’s hands when needing to shoot candid photos.

So if you want a more affordable option, is the Olympus EPM1 worth the plunge if you own an EP2; especially if for $100 more you get the VF2 added on? And if you want, the VF3 works on the EP2 as well.

Continue reading…

Hands On: Sony NEX 7

“If you can’t afford a Leica, this is the one to get.” Those are the words of the Sony Rep that demoed the NEX-7 to me. The other day, I finally got my hands on the extremely coveted Sony NEX-7 (or NEX7 and NEX 7). Though the reviews have already started to come out, I’m still waiting for my units to give them a full run through. However, this camera seemed extremely impressive during the brief time I spent with it as did the 24mm f1.8 lens.

Note that these were pre-production models though.

Continue reading…

Hands On: Sony A77

The other day, I finally got my hands on the extremely coveted Sony A77 camera. Though the reviews have already started to come out, I’m still waiting for my units to give them a full run through. However, this camera seemed extremely impressive during the brief time I spent with it.

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…

Are TIFFs and RAWs Really the Same Thing?

Talk to any old school photographer or those with lots of experience from the film days. They would most likely tell you that scanning their film negatives gives you TIFFs that are essentially the same things as a RAW file. But is it really? I interviewed the legendary Chuck Westfall from Canon USA about this. Here’s what he had to say.

Continue reading…

Photographic Proof That You Should Never Be Afraid of Playing With Lightroom Presets

Original Photo

The other night, I was going through my portfolio and was looking around for images to play with. Then I stumbled upon a bunch of portraits I shot of gorgeous cosplayers and decided to try out some of my favorite Lightroom editing techniques and film renderings. Though I used to be of the school of thought that Lightroom presets are for people that don’t know how to edit, I am now a convert that says that they can teach you even more about editing, and by not playing with them, you’re only limiting yourself. Here are some images that we’ve worked on to show you just that.

PS: I’m aware that all of these images could use even more editing to make them really pop. Retouching does wonders for everyone no matter how gorgeous you are.

Continue reading…

If we reach 2,250 Facebook Followers and 2,000 Twitter Fans in One Week, We Will Give Away Two Canon L Lenses

Hi everyone,

Exactly as how the title states, if we reach 2,250 Facebook fans and 2,000 Twitter followers by October 1st, I will give away my two L lenses listed here in a contest.

Yes: We will ship anywhere in the world at our cost

Yes: It will be a simple contest

So please help us to get some followers and we will generously give away these two lenses.

What To Do When Your Feeling Under The Weather

So you’re sick. You’ve cancelled your meetings and appointments. You’ve stayed home from the office to rest and watch The Price Is Right. You feel terrible and knowing that you’re wasting the day away by just lying in bed isn’t helping. There are some things that photographers can do while feeling under the weather.

Let me reiterate that the absolute best thing for you is to follow your doctor’s orders. If they tell you to stay in bed and rest, then stay in bed and rest. If you feel well enough to turn on your brain a little, here are some suggestions you can easily accomplish. Oh and just so you know, I came up with this post idea and am currently writing it while sick.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog posting by Travis Lawtonthe Lawtographer

Continue reading…

Fun Review: Pixlr-O-Matic for Android Phones

Sometimes we don’t want to bring a point and shoot, mirrorless camera, film camera, or DSLR with us. And at those times, we’ve often been good enough with the results from our phones. Indeed, when we tested the Apple iPhone 4’s camera, it performed very well. While the iPhone users have their fun with Instagram and Hipstamatic, the closest thing that us Android users (whether using HTC Smartphones or others) have had for a while was Retro Camera (which has undergone many changes since our review.) Enter Pixlr-O-Matic for Android: hands down the single app that is killing my battery due to my absolute addiction.

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: Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens for Micro Four Thirds

rokinon lenses

Rokinon is a lens maker that has received a lot of interest as of late, especially with their 85mm f1.4. Though they are the same lenses as Samyang and a couple of other brands, that should not discount the quality of these lenses. The all manual lenses are characterized by a design that harkens back to the old ways of how lenses were built and does so at an affordable price point. According to Rokinon on Facebook, the price will be around $299.00.  So does that mean that their first lens for the Micro Four Thirds system performs admirably as well?

Update: B&H Photo now carries them.

Continue reading…