This gallery contains 11 photos.
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Croton Creative Workshop Fall 2012
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Croton Creative Workshop Fall 2012
This gallery contains 23 photos.
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Vintage Glass
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Vintage Glass We went to the Java Hafla at Birdies in Westminster last night, and the hostess asked that I bring my camera along. I took it as an opportunity … Continue reading
Interested in using your smartphone or tablet as an advanced remote trigger for your camera? Check out Triggertrap. Depending on your phone and your camera, it allows you to set up a number of different triggering options. It works with over 270 camera models from Sony, Nikon, Canon and more, and there are versions for iOS and Android devices. Very slick.
Sony shooter Maurizio Piraccini has made color profiles for every Sony (and Minolta) interchangeable-lens digital camera made, and they’re available for free download from his web site. Photoclubalpha provides some good background and “how to” advice for using color profiles as well. Note that Maurizio’s profiles are designed to work with raw files, not JPEGs, the idea being to mimic available camera creative settings.
This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Sigma Lenses
Sigma have really decided to step up their game. According to an article today on photoclubalpha.com, Sigma will be streamlining their product line by bringing all lenses to their former “EX” standard. Additionally, they have made significant changes to their QC and standards testing. Graham Armitage of Sigma, UK, made the announcement at Photokina.
“Our greatest breakthrough is in MTF testing. We no longer use the Zeiss MTF equipment we have used in the past. It was too limited in resolution and could not provide data to match today’s sensors. Each test used to take at least half an hour, so we would pull a lens from the production run at random, and test that. We have always tested actual production lenses but only one in every so many.
“Now we have built our own MTF testing system, based on the 46 megapixel Foveon Merrill sensor used in the latest cameras. This allows a much better MTF test and we can put a lens through in just five minutes. As a result, we have started testing all the lenses produced, not just a sample. In future any Sigma lens you buy will have been MTF tested and certified.”
Another very interesting item concerns “re-chipping” of lenses. All future lenses will be compatible with a special USB dock, and will allow firmware upgrading in the field.
“It does more than just upgrade the chip”, he continued. “With a PC program, you will be able to change the focusing speed of the lens. All AF systems are a compromise, a balance between speed and accuracy. You will be able to set the lens to suit your working style, increasing the focus speed if you shoot action or improving accuracy if you take subjects like landscapes and portraits.
“All DSLRs have problems with front and back focus. Some cameras offer AF calibration, but not all allow you to have different corrections for each focal length of the zoom lens and for different focusing distances. Using our program, you will be able to calibrate new Sigma lenses for the full range of settings so you don’t get front or back focus at any distance or focal length.
“Not only that, with new telephoto and macro lenses you will also be able to change the distance ranges used by focus limiter switches.”
When queried about the price of the USB dock, the estimate was in the $45 range. This is huge! Being able to fully tweak a lens to mate with your camera and your style of shooting is really exciting and a huge benefit. It further solidifies my decision that any new lens I buy will be a Sigma — unless it’s an old Minolta…
This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Vintage Glass
My second old lens, Minolta Maxxum AF 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5, arrived on schedule today from KEH Camera. There were two versions of the 28-85, and I ordered the original version, which was introduced back in 1985.
While it arrived too late to really make any decent images, I did at least pop the lens on the camera and pop off a few shots. None of them are particularly inspired or particularly good. The image at left is pretty much right out of the camera, with the exception of a little cropping.
As with the 50mm f/1.7, the color and the subjective feel of the image are exactly what I had hoped for: deep, punchy colors with nice, smooth bokeh. If you look closely, you’ll see that this image isn’t completely sharp, except in a very few spots. In this image, I’m shooting at the maximum focal length of the lens (85mm), wide open (f/4.5), and as close to the subject as I could be and still get anything in focus (about 32 inches).
Getting down to the lens itself. My copy is, as mentioned above, from the initial group of 11 Maxxum lenses introduced in 1985. It is built like a small tank, with a completely metal lens barrel and mount. The zoom action is silky smooth, as is the manual focus. KEH rated the lens condition as “Excellent,” and in all of the important aspects, that’s absolutely true. The glass is perfect, and I can’t even see any of the usual dust inside the lens. And, the aperture blades are clean and move freely. The only “not-so-excellent” bit is cosmetic — some discoloration on the rubber zoom ring. I think if I had rated the lens, I might have given it an “Excellent -”.
I’m really looking forward to having some time to play with it over the weekend. Hopefully, I’ll have some “real” pictures to post then.
Recently, people have commented on some of my photographs, wondering how I achieved the punchy, colorful images. Believe it or not, it’s not that difficult, and in this article I’ll tell you all about how I achieve some of my results.
There are basically three parts to the process: Prep, Photo, and Post.
My friend Will posted on Facebook about a new “hobby” that he and his wife are getting into — flat-water kayaking — and he mentioned the boats made by Advanced Elements. So, why am I mentioning this on a blog devoted to things like music-making and photography?
Simple. If you enjoy nature photography, there are wonderful opportunities to photograph from the water, be it a river, a stream, a lake, or even the ocean. Photographer Ian Plant has some beautiful examples on his web site, blog, and ebook Chasing the Light.
What makes the boats from Advanced Elements interesting is that they have an inflatable “frame” with a durable waterproofed cloth cover that gives the boat it’s shape. Deflated, the boats fit into a convenient carrying case that allows for easy storage and transport. They’re also relatively affordable — our local retailer has models prices as low as $240, although the model that catches my eye (pictured above) is closer to $500 (about $100 less on line, according to Will).
There are other manufacturers of inflatable boats, but most look a lot like swimming pool toys, although Coleman manufactures the Sevylor line that are also attractive and affordable. Their Pointer model is very similar to the Advanced Elements model, but about $100 less.
Will also provided me with a link to Inflatable Kayak World, which is a wealth of information about, well, the world of inflatable kayaks.
There’s another great thing about kayaking — it can be great exercise! And that can never hurt.