Do You Know the Reciprocal Rule of Shutter Speeds?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is a great way to get more stable images without worrying about image stabilization from your lens or camera: it’s called the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds. SLR Lounge recently published a video all about it, which is after the jump.

The reciprocal rule of shutter speeds states that:

  • In order to achieve a stable image that is devoid of camera shake, you must shoot at a shutter speed that is the reciprocal of the minimum of the field of view.
  • What does that mean? If you’re using a 100mm lens on a full frame 35mm sensor/film body, then you need to shoot at at least 1/100th to produce an image that contains no camera shake when shooting handheld.
  • If you’re shooting with a 100mm lens on an APS-C sensor that has a 1.5x crop factor, then you need to shoot at 1/150th at a minimum. Here, the crop factor is taking into consideration.
  • If you’re shooting with a 100mm lens on an APS-C sensor that has a 1.6x crop factor, then you need to shoot at 1/160th at a minimum. Here the crop factor is also taken into consideration.
  • Micro Four Thirds shooters need to shoot with a 100mm lens at a minimum of 1/200th because of the crop factor.

The SLR Lounge video below visually demonstrates this idea.

Continue reading…

Review: Panasonic Lumix GX7 (Micro Four Thirds)

GX7 gservo-3417140525

Truthfully, I have never really taken Panasonic digital cameras seriously. Yet, when I was offered this review unit, my curiosity got the best of me. While I heard a lot of good things about the Panasonic GX7, I’ve always had reservations about the Micro Four Thirds. The technology has improved a lot in the recent past, though. So let’s see what Panasonic has done with this camera. Continue reading…

Review: Lomography Micro Four Thirds Experimental Lens Kit

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lomography Micro Four Thirds Lens Kit review product photos (4 of 4)ISO 4001-25 sec at f - 4.5

In recent years, the Lomography company has been trying to do a couple of things to appeal more to the digital crowd. There was the scanner, the Petzval lens, and now there is a set of lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras. No, these aren’t made from glass. In fact, they’re as quirky as most other Lomography products that you’ll get your hands on. But we’d be doing a great injustice to the products if we said that they aren’t fun. In fact, these lenses push the creative edge more than any other Micro Four Thirds product out there.

Continue reading…

Revisiting The Panasonic G1: Is The Micro Four Thirds Old-Timer Still Any Good?

 

 

The Panasonic G1 + 14-45mm kit lens. Oldie but Goldie?

When the Panasonic G1 was introduced in late 2008, it marked the beginning of a completely new camera system called Micro Four Thirds. What set this system apart from most other interchangeable-lens systems of that time was its lack of a swing mirror and optical viewfinder, thus drastically reducing the flange-back-distance (distance from mount to sensor) and making possible a much more compact design of both camera body and lenses. When the Micro Four Thirds system was first introduced to the public, no one had any idea that in a few years from then, mirrorless electronic viewfinder systems would become serious competitors to DSLRs. Rather, it was an interesting idea that Olympus and Panasonic had conceived, but it would remain to be seen if this was more than just a neat gimmick.

Continue reading…

The Golden Spiral: Step Your Photography Composition Game

Careful composition for a cognac ad using the Golden Spiral

When it comes to photography composition, the Golden Spiral is an aesthetically pleasing but often overlooked alternative to the commonly used Rule of Thirds.

When it comes to photography composition, the “Rule of Thirds” is the first rule to come to mind for most photographers. It’s a tried and true method that guarantees visually pleasing results. However, it’s not the be-all end-all when it comes to composition rules. To quote Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, “There is another.” In our latest infographic, we will be covering one such alternative: the Golden Spiral. Sometimes referred to as the Golden Ratio or the Golden Proportion, it’s another effective compositional tool that can help create truly engaging images. It even went by the “Divine Proportion” moniker during the Renaissance. Let’s check it out.

Continue reading…

How to use Positive and Negative Space to Improve Photo Composition

Photo composition and the balance between positive and negative space in your images can alter the tone of the story you’re trying to tell quite dramatically.

Photo composition is one of the very first things what all budding photographers need to get a firm understanding of. You can learn how to shoot in manual mode, but if you never develop the ability to compose a shot, learn about the rule of thirds and other composition skills you’re not going to get far. After a break we have a video that explores the difference between positive and negative space, and why both are so vitally important when it comes to photography and story telling.

Continue reading…

How Do Leading Lines Work in Black and White Photography? (Premium)

Leading lines: they’re one of the first things that every photographer learns about when it comes to shooting images in school. If you learned online and without format training, then you probably studied the rule of thirds first. But when you’re looking at a photo, one of the best ways ro artfully create an image that photographers have traditionally been taught is by using leading lines. Call it a rule that needs to be broken, it’s still a very effective one that when done correctly, can trump pretty much any other rule out there with the exception of using text in an image. For many years, black and white photography was the way to go. But when color came around, things changed quite a bit. So let’s explore leading lines and black and white photography.

What are Leading Lines?

First and foremost, what are leading lines? Well, let’s look at the image above. The main lines in the image are:

  • The shadows of the people on the boardwalk
  • The people casting shadows
  • The horizon that goes inwards to the people
  • The lines and patterns that the birds are making

Why are these leading lines? Well, it’s because those are the areas that are leading a person’s eye around a scene. That’s more or less what leading lines do. Leading lines in photography find a way to take the viewer’s eye and direct it to exactly what the photographer wants someone to look at. Some photographers think about this later on while others are on point and look at it as it happens. Typically, the latter requires a specific creative vision but it can also just come with an understanding of how light works.

Leading lines can be used in conjunction with other compositional methods like working with the rule of thirds for example. They’re an inherent part of geometry–which is what Henri-Cartier Bresson worked with and that a number of other photographers work with every day. And in order to make the most effective, there needs to be a whole lot of contrast. But we’ll get into that deeper later on. As a preface, these days the movement of urban geometry and cityscape photographers tend to work the most with leading lines. They work just fine during the day, but arguably when they tend to come out the most is during the night. At nighttime, there tends to be a whole lot more contrast.

Understanding When Leading Lines are Most Effective

Now, let’s get something straight here: not every image will have leading lines per se. But you can find them in an image through cropping, editing, or even composing in a specific way. The old school photography minded folks out there will think that the image above is absolutely horrible due to the leading line that it cutting the man’s head off. This is why photographers use techniques such as depth of field and decluttering their background. Of course that works when you’re not being candid and quick, but you’d otherwise need to take your time and search for a background that isn’t visually distracting. The old school mentality would call this image a technical failure even though new school techniques would find it acceptable.

This is a problem that can be pretty easily fixed in post-production. The long way of doing this is by creating a mask and lightening up that entire area. But that becomes too tedious and not always fun.

In the example above, I simply created a gradient from the side going into the center and lightened the entire right side of the photo. It still looks pretty natural and the line doesn’t have as big of an effect now because it’s not extending out into the very end of the image. In this case, the leading line effectively worked against us but it can be negated pretty easily if you’re just careful. This satisfies both schools of thought.

Leading lines can also work really well when they’re not there simply because the human eye is designed to look at something and make sense of it. The example above with the roller coaster showcases that pretty well. It goes from tallest, to slightly shorter, to even shorter. It’s using the horizon to make your eye create a sort of triangle.

In Color vs Black and White: The Contrast

Believe it or not, black and white works significantly different when it comes to creating leading lines and working with them vs color. With color, you’ve got various shades of the ROYGBIV spectrum and colors can be used subtly to differentiate one subject from the other. Photographers have been using this technique for years. Here are a few examples:

  • Steve McCurry’s portraits
  • Landscape photography
  • Pretty much almost all of drone photography

Color is more or less easy to work with, but black and white is…well, different. Where color relies on luminance/saturation of colors, black and white photography relies on their tonality more so when it comes to working with leading lines. 

I want you to take a look at this example above. Can you guess which building was a shade of green? If you’re guessing the one all the way at the end, you’d be wrong. Instead instead the building with scaffolding on it. That building was a light shade of green but because of how light that shade is, it tends to blend in with in the white buildings on the right side of the frame. The buildings on the left were more greyish. However, just by looking at this image in black and white, you couldn’t tell.

So how do you use that effectively when it comes to leading lines? For starters, ensure that there is a high degree of contrast in the scene. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What colors are in the scene?
  • Are each of these colors bright or dark?
  • What is the ratio of bright to dark colors in the scene?
  • Do these colors contrast a whole lot if you were to make them monochrome? Further, are there enough bright colors next to dark colors that create contrast and layers?
  • Do those tones end up leading our eyes around the scene in a specific way? How?
  • Is the scene distracting?
  • Should I step forward or move back?

Let’s start out with these.

 Getting the Most Out of Golden Hour Using Only Natural Light

Anthony Thurston Natural Light Golden Hour

Screenshot taken from the video

Right up there with buying a 50mm lens and the rule of thirds, probably one of the most thrown around recommendations in photography is photographing your subjects during golden hour. It is one of the most common times of day to see photographers out looking for images but it also comes with some interesting challenges that newer photographers may struggle with. Continue reading…

Concepts and Better Composition Composing of Landscape Photography

Landscape photography, like any other genre, has its many-what I will call-“unofficial rules”.

There are rules about how to expose a scene using methods such as the zone method developed by Ansel Adams, exposing to the right to get as much detail as you can from the shadows, or even bracketing multiple exposures and creating HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. And then there are rules for composition. The most famous of which-and one you probably learned of first-the Rule of Thirds.

Continue reading…

How to Use Leading Lines in Portraits

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.23.57 AM

Leading lines in photography are some of the best ways to naturally tell the viewer where to look–besides using depth of field, rule of thirds and more. But they’re very important in regards to portraits because of the way that it can make a body specifically look. The folks over at Weekly Imogen talk about specifics like using corners and other lines based on the specifics of the portraiture (such as posing.)

Essentially what they’re saying is to use natural areas but don’t look at your scene in terms of simple emphasis on your subject. Instead, they’re trying to teach you to look at the entire scene. Don’t think that’s important? Consider the fact that simple things that are out of focus can end up bothering viewers because of the way that it looks like they’re coming out of a person’s body.

One of the absolute best ways to teach yourself to look at leading lines is to shoot an image and render it in black and white. Then after this, print the image out and draw the lines out on another sheet of paper. Look at the shape and decide whether it’s interesting or not. This exercise will teach you to see the world in a different way.

The video on using leading lines is after the jump.

Continue reading…

Not Just 85mm! 4 Great Portrait Lenses for the Canon RF System

If you’re seriously looking at the Canon RF camera system, you’re likely considering it for portraiture. It’s fantastic for it! And we’ve reviewed nearly every Canon RF lens, so we’ve got a lot to say. The system is brilliant for portraiture. Better yet, there are tons of fantastic portrait lenses for Canon RF cameras. Whether you’re using the Canon EOS R or the Canon EOS R5, there’s something for you. So we dove into the Reviews Index to get just what you need.

Continue reading…

A Pleasant Surprise. Meyer Optik 58mm F1.9 II Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

I’ve tested several Meyer Optik lenses. And they’ve never been easy to work with. Meyer Optik has also made perplexing decisions, but the 58mm f1.9 II is mostly different. It’s easy to get it sharp wide open. It’s also got beautiful colors in addition to its bokeh. In many ways, it’s my favorite lens from Meyer Optik. But for the price point, I’d expect more. For example, why isn’t this lens weather resistant? And why aren’t there autofocus contacts?

Continue reading…

Sturdy Workhorse, or One Trick Pony? Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

The 24-70mm f2.8 lens is a workhorse, but it’s a bit of a Clydesdale. The zoom mixed with the bright aperture creates a heavy lens that’s difficult to carry around all day. That’s why Sigma (gasp!) shaved four mm off the traditional workhorse wide-to-mid to craft the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8. The Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 DG DN Contemporary is nearly half the weight of the Sony G Master and even Sigma’s own 24-70mm Art series lens. At 16.6 ounces and $900, the E-Mount lens has several advantages before you even take it out of the box.

Continue reading…

Surprising Travel Magic: Tamron 11-20mm F2.8 Di III-A RXD Review

For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.

Crop sensor cameras make telephoto easy — and ultra-wide insanely hard. The Tamron 11-20mm f2.8 Di III-A RXD is the widest f2.8 lens with zoom and autofocus for Sony’s crop-sensor, mirrorless cameras. Finding something close to Tamron’s new lens requires sacrificing zoom capabilities or opting for a narrower aperture: neither of which bodes well for versatility.

Continue reading…

3 Cameras That Will Nail the Shot for Birding Photography

Birding photography is such a great way to have fun with your camera. 

One of the most satisfying things to do is to photograph birds in the wild. And appreciating nature is taken to the next level when photography is involved. These days, we don’t need extremely high-end gear to get better bird photos. Instead, you can do it with a decent lens and a powerful camera. So we dove into the Reviews Index to find the best cameras for birding photography.

Continue reading…

Beautiful and Small! Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM Review

Sacrificing aperture will get you a lot while only spending a little on the Canon RF 70-200mm f4 lens.

The 70-200mm lens is a workhorse, but the optics are also workhorse-sized. The Canon RF 70-200mm f4 L IS USM is the company’s shortest and lightest to hit the category. Tipping the scales at a pound and a half, the lens promises all the zoom range with none of the backaches that come with working with a lens like the three-pound EF 70-200mm f2.8 L USM.

Continue reading…

JP Stones Magnificent Photos Offer a Vital Education to Photographers

All images by JP Stones. Used with permission.

“I started looking for answers to the deeper questions in photography,” explains JP Stones. He adds, “questions I had never really had time to accommodate.” He certainly put the global lockdown to good use. Not content with remaining creatively stationary, Stones has instead developed a deeper relationship with his craft. What’s more impressive is how he communicates his thoughts on photography. For anyone looking to develop their skills in the art form, keep reading. Stones offers one of the most insightful and educational interviews we’ve published.

Continue reading…

Great Sharpness Meets Vibrant Character: Nikon Z 50mm F1.2 S Review

The Nikon Z 50mm f1.2 S is a gorgeous lens — if you don’t mind the Z system autofocus.

When Nikon launched the Z mount, the company promised wider apertures and sharper photos. The Nikon Z 50mm f1.2 S is the fruit of that promise. The lens mixes a blurred-to-oblivion depth of field with a sharpness that’s detailed enough to make out the tiniest eyelash even on the lower resolution Z 6 II.

Continue reading…

Photographer Stefan Panaitescu Has Never Used Photoshop In His Life

We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify!

My name is Panaitescu Stefan, and I never used Photoshop in my life. And I’m not even going to give you time to recover from the shock and keep going with it. More than 90% of the pictures I’ve used on my social media, site, published articles, social media features were jpeg edits. Not until recently (September) did I ever use filters, masks, brushes in my pictures, and even though I am starting to use how to learn them, what I post on the internet are still tweaked jpegs.

Continue reading…

4 Essential Tutorials Using a 35mm Lens to Shoot Great Portraits

There isn’t a thing a 35mm lens can’t do, and it’s great for portrait photography!

Why are 35mm portrait lenses so good at shooting portraits? There are lots of ways to answer that. They’ve become outstanding over the past few years. It’s arguably hard to take bad photos of people with them. One of the best things about 35mm lenses is that you need to keep a distance. They’re fantastic at shooting someone full-body style or doing an environmental portrait of some sort. And if you need a slower shutter speed, they’re typically easy to handhold. Here are some essential tutorials just for you.

Continue reading…