June 27, 2012
review: Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens
At the same time that I photographed Anelisa for the review of the Nikon 28mm f/1.8 AF-S lens, I had the brand-new Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens (B&H) on my other camera body. For every place that I photographed Anelisa with the 28mm f/1.8 lens, I also shot similar images with the 85mm f/1.8 lens. In a way, these two lenses complement each other, if you like working with a dual prime lens setup. A nice wide-angle view with the one lens, while the 85mm is a sweet portrait lens.
Wanting to show off the shallow depth-of-field, I shot at f/1.8 or f/2.0 throughout this photo session.
I have to remark that in terms of the bokeh alone, this new f/1.8G lens is a superb upgrade to the previous f/1.8D version. The D series lens had harsh bokeh. The G series lens has smoother bokeh. In fact, doing various test shots in my garden the next day, I couldn’t distinguish between the bokeh of the Nikon 85mm f1.4G (B&H) and the new 85mm f/1.8G lens. Couple that with autofocus that is faster than the f/1.8D and that this new lens is very sharp wide open, the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G lens (B&H) is an excellent choice for the more budget-minded photographer.
June 25, 2012
review: Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G lens
To test out the new Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G lens (B&H), I met up with Anelisa in Brooklyn to try my hand at some environmental portraiture. With such a wide field-of-view, you inevitably have to include the background.
I wanted to show the effect of the shallow depth-of-field of this lens, so I shot at f/1.8 or f/2.0 throughout. When you use a fast (i.e., wide aperture) wide-angle lens, and have sufficient distance between your subject and the background, that shallow depth of field can be used to great effect. It can be tricky though, since wide-angle lenses tend to show a lot of depth-of-field unless we’re specific in how we use them.
June 7, 2012
behind the scenes video: using the Canon Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites
In my review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, I raved about the ease of use of the new speedlite by Canon that has built-in radio transmitters. The same with my subsequent review: Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter and Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite - this system is going to have a huge impact.
The behind-the-scenes video clip as I set every thing up, is of the photo session with Molly K where I used the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (B&H) and ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H) during an actual shoot. You can actually hear the thought-process.
June 6, 2012
review: Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter and Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites
In my review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, I’ve already raved about the ease of use of the new speedlite – thanks to a menu system that you can follow without having to decipher it via a manual), but mostly because of the built-in radio control of the flash. This elevates the Canon 600EX-RT to a new level. As mentioned in my review, I really think this flashgun will change things in the photo industry. It’s huge.
I’ve only now been able to get hold of the ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H), to use with the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites, and I am just as impressed.
The main advantages of this controller, is that you can change the flashes’ output directly from your camera. No need to run to and fro between your speedlights to change a flash’ output. And of course, The Big Thing about the new flash system, is the built-in radio control. You’re not limited by line-of-sight anymore, or compelled to buy radio slaves. It is obvious that Canon has done their homework on this puppy. While it is a complex flash system, the Canon ST-E3-RT isn’t a complicated device to use.
To test this system, I used three Canon 600EX-RT speedlites (B&H) and a ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter (B&H) in a photo-shoot. As always, there’s a description of how I used this in the photo session … but more interestingly, a behind-the-scenes video clip of how the Canon 600EX-RT speedlites were set up for this photo shoot.
Filed under: Canon
— Tags: Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite
, Canon flash photography tips
, Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
, Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT review
, Canon ST-E3-RX review
, flash photography tips Canon
, review Canon ST-E3-RX
— Neil vN @ 5:52 pm
May 29, 2012
review: Impact Quikbox Softbox (24 x 24″)
My favorite diffuser / modifier for off-camera flash, is the Lastolite Ezybox 24×24 for speed lights. It features a lot on the Tangents blog, as well as my book, off-camera flash photography. It’s easy to use and super-easy to set up. And in its original configuration, folds up to a surprisingly small bundle.
The good news for photographers who have been curious about the Lastolite Ezybox, is that Impact now makes a softbox – the Impact Quikbox 24×24 softbox (B&H), which is virtually identical, at a lower price.
May 24, 2012
LED video lights for photography – Sabre Pro Lighting
For the past few months, I’ve been testing out a new LED video light at weddings I’ve photographed and workshops I’ve presented.
The LED lights, made by Sabre Professional Lighting, are individually crafted. Made with aluminum, the guy who makes them, has told me that they are essentially waterproof and near indestructible. Well, I didn’t drown the one I had, or bang it around, but it certainly seems tough enough.
He makes them in different configurations, as seen on his website’s order form – different sizes and different color temperatures. They can even have a remote control knob for the power. This way, if you have your light up on a monopod, you can turn the brightness up or down, without pulling the light down to eye-level again to adjust it.
The main advantage for me with this unit, is the brightness. The LED panels I’ve used so far, have all been much lower intensity than the Lowel ID-Light, for example. The Sabre Lighting unit is comparable in brightness to the Lowel ID-Light. The actual brightness will depend on the configuration you settle on. But it is much brighter than the LitePanels LED light I’ve been using.
May 1, 2012
review: Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Summary: Right off the bat, let me say it – this speedlite, the Canon 600EX-RT (B&H), is going to change the industry. Nothing is going to be the same again.
A speedlite that has radio transmitters built in, has been anticipated for quite some time now. It just makes sense. So it was just a matter of time before one of the big camera manufacturers did this … and Canon is the first. And they didn’t drop the ball on the rest of the speedlite’s features, or with the functionality of this piece of gear. It’s easy to use, with an obvious menu – even for a complex flashgun like this.
Before the Canon 600EX-RT, we had various options how we could trigger our Canon Speedlites, but right now our option is clear – it’s the the Canon 600EX-RT (B&H)
I’ve also now added the review of the Canon ST-E3-RT and Canon 600EX-RT speedlites.
About the photo at the top …
April 22, 2012
Nikon D4 / Nikon D800 time-lapse photography – review
The highly anticipated Nikon D4 (B&H) and Nikon D800 (B&H) are loaded with features, and both cameras offer exceptional image quality. Hidden in the list of camera specs, is an item which is of specialized interest – Time-Lapse Photography. So if a photographer doesn’t have a specific interest in this, they are most likely just going to gloss over this – but this is quite a powerful feature.
With Time-Lapse photography, as with video, it just looks much more interesting if the camera moves as well. With movies too, the cinematography and how the camera moves, make all the difference. Last year some time, I stumbled on the Time-Lapse photography by MindRelic. The movement of the camera as the city scenes unfolded, blew my mind. This was done via a motorized dolly – specifically, the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly. So of course, with no prior interest in Time-Lapse photography, I immediately bought a Stage Zero dolly. It all just looked that cool.
But then the winter approached and it was just too cold to venture outside at night to try out Time-Lapse photography. So the dolly lay dormant, still boxed, in my office. Until my Nikon D4 cameras arrived a few days ago!
April 19, 2012
review: Canon PowerShot G1 X
A good all-around walk-about camera is something I’ve been looking for, for a while now. The Fuji X100 is arguably the most desirable of the compact cameras on the market right now, but only has a fixed lens … and some auto-focus issues in low light. But there are a number of other serious compact cameras on the market now.
As I mentioned in my recent review of the Fuji X10, this year is going to be an exciting year with all the major D-SLR releases from Canon and Nikon, as well as some high-spec mirror-less cameras. The Canon G1 X (B&H) and the Fuji X-Pro-1 (B&H) and Sony’s two cameras, the Sony NEX-5N (B&H) and Sony NEX-7 (B&H), all looks really good options for photographers who are serious about their photography, but want more compact options.
I’ve had a loaner Canon G1 X (B&H) for the past few weeks, to see how I like it. What interested me most about the G1X is that the sensor size is just smaller than the Canon’s APS-C sensor. The larger sensor promises better image quality.
But a camera is quite often more than the sum of the parts – it should have a feel that appeals to the photographer.
« Newer Posts
March 29, 2012
initial impressions: Canon EOS 5D Mark III – high-ISO noise performance
I have to confess something first – whenever an important camera is announced, I have just a cursory interest in the specification sheet. The difference between 40 AF sensors and 70 AF sensors … you know, that’s just a number on the paper. It never really tells you how the camera performs. And with the announcement of the details of the Canon 5D Mark III (B&H), there were a number of websites eager to list the detailed specs. Yay! Well, not really.
There might be some interest in the nomenclature, but what does it really mean that the 5D Mark II has the DIGIC 4 processor, but there’s a new DIGIC 5+ on the 5D Mark III. Those are just names to me. I can’t get excited about it, or even feign interest in the actual name. I’m much more interested in how the camera will actually perform. You can name it anything you want … but does the camera deliver?
Details for the photo at the top:
camera settings: 1/160 @ f2.8 @ 6400 ISO
Canon 5D Mark III (B&H); Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (B&H) at 170mm
There is real excitement about the Canon 5D Mark III (B&H), since everyone is curious if it is that much of an improvement over the 5D Mark II. I have to say, I really think it is. It’s a massive improvement. The AF is more responsive. The camera *feels* better in my hands. The controls are better laid out … although the right forefinger still does too much work, stretching here and there, all over the top plate.
— Older Posts »