The Fuji X-E1 – Some thoughts and impressions

March 13, 2013 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Last year, not long after it came out, I bought a Fuji X100 because I was intrigued by the promise of a small, rangefinder-like camera with a fixed 35mm lens. I liked the idea of being forced to shoot with a specific field of view; I loved the look and feel of the camera; and it’s hard to beat Fuji’s lens and image quality. What was easy to beat, at the time, was the X100′s autofocus and clumsy menu system. These issues were so frustrating that I sold the camera not long after I bought it. I came to mildly regret this decision as Fuji released firmware updates that addressed many of the issues that had bothered me, but didn’t think seriously about returning to the camera. But with the release of the Fuji X-E1, I couldn’t resist giving Fuji another chance. Here are some of my impressions and thoughts about Fuji’s latest mirrorless camera.

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Now Available: Lynda training for the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III

November 9, 2012 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Features 

If you’re the lucky own of a Nikon D800 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and you’d like to know more about how to use either camera, then you’ll want to check out my two latest Lynda.com courses. Both classes walk you through all the critical features and operations of each camera, and are designed to work in concert with my Foundations of Photography series. Note that the 5D Mark III class is also ideally suited for users of the 5D Mark II. Click here if you’re a 5D user or click here if you’re a D800 user.

Now Shipping: Complete Digital Photography, 7th Edition

July 16, 2012 by · 18 Comments
Filed under: General 

The seventh, and latest, edition of this site’s namesake book is now available. The newest version of Complete Digital Photography features full updating for Photoshop CS6, the latest version of Camera Raw, and new sections on composition, low light shooting, printing, and workflow. For the most part, the book maintains the organization of the last edition, with a few new sections and a few others eliminated. In addition to the included step-by-step post-production tutorials included in the book, many additional tutorials are included on the companion web pages. Order your copy now!

Camera-Specific Training at Lynda.com

February 27, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Features 

There’s a lot to know to be a capable photographer. Exposure theory, lighting, composition. On top of all that, there are all those buttons and dials on your camera. To help you understand exactly how your camera works, you might want to check out one of my camera-specific courses at Lynda.com. These courses will work you through all of the features of their respective cameras, and help you understand those features in the context of larger photographic theories. Courses are now available for the Canon EOS60D, the Nikon D7000, the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100.

An Easy Way to Try Out Micro Four Thirds

May 2, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Features 

If you’re not already familiar with Micro Four Thirds, you should be. A standard camera spec that offers a nearly perfect compromise between the size of a high-end point-and-shoot, and the image quality and shooting flexibility of an SLR, Micro Four Thirds might be the perfect companion for your SLR, or high-end point-and-shoot. (You can learn all about Micro Four Thirds – what it is and why you should care – here. The best way to find out if Micro Four Thirds is right for you is to try it, and that’s now easier than ever thanks to Borrowlenses.com, which now rents Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. Check out their offerings, rent a camera, and see if Micro Four Thirds is right for you.

Revisited: Do you need a full-frame sensor?

March 29, 2010 by · 12 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Five years ago, I wrote this piece on whether you should buy a full-frame or cropped sensor digital camera. At the time, cameras with a full-frame sensor were substantially more expensive than cropped-sensor cameras, and a lot of people believed that, eventually, cropped-sensor cameras would be phased out and replaced by more affordable full-frame cameras. Five years later, we’ve seen that that’s not going to happen, but the question remains: do you need full-frame or is a cropped sensor camera okay?

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Panasonic Electronic Viewfinder for the GF1

December 8, 2009 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

While the Panasonic GF-1 Micro Four Thirds camera is a great option for SLR or point-and-shoot users, photographers who are used to an optical viewfinder – especially those shooters coming from an SLR – might find themselves frustrated by the camera’s LCD-only viewfinder. For these users, Panasonic has created a clip-on electronic viewfinder that serves as a credible replacement for a quality optical viewfinder, though with a few caveats.

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Panasonic DMC-GF1

December 1, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: General, Reviews 

Panasonic’s DMC-GF1 marks the company’s first release of a compact Micro Four Thirds camera, and a direct competitor to Olympus’ E-P1. Offering SLR quality and power in a package that’s close to point-and-shoot size, the GF1 (and Olympus’ E-P1) defines an entirely new class of camera. Bridging the market between high-end point-and-shoots, and SLRs, the camera will appeal to beginning shooters who want to expand their capabilities, and high-end shooters who want a second camera that’s easy to carry. Read my Panasonic GF1 Review.

Should You Buy an Olympus E-P1 or Panasonic GF1?

November 27, 2009 by · 16 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

It’s been a while since an entirely new niche of digital camera has come along, but with the release of the Olympus E-P1 and the Panasonic DMC-GF1, that’s what we have. These "Micro Four Thirds" cameras represent the first significantly new class of camera since, possibly, Canon’s D30 SLR in 2000. With their small size, interchangeable lenses, and sensors that are larger than what you’ll find in a point-and-shoot, they offer a new option for SLR shooters who want a smaller second camera, but don’t want to give up too much image quality. Conversely, for point-and-shooters who are ready to move on, but don’t want to hassle with the weight of an SLR, a Micro Four Thirds camera might be just the ticket. But which of these two cameras is right for you?

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Choosing A Starter Camera

November 20, 2009 by · 16 Comments
Filed under: Features 
Canon PowerShot SX120 IS

If you’re looking to buy a starter digital camera – either for yourself or as a gift – then you might be surprised to find that your options are fairly limited. Now, I know what you’re thinking: "Are you crazy?! Every time I go into Best Buy there’re huge piles of little point-and-shoot digital cameras!" While this is true, there are very few of those that I would consider a "starter" camera. "Starter" implies that this first camera will be a start – that you’re looking for a camera that will be a jumping off point, and that you (or your gift-ee) might want to learn from this camera, and one day move on to something more advanced. Here’s what you should buy, and why.

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Should you upgrade from a Canon 5D to a 5D Mark II? Part II

January 28, 2009 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

It says a lot about the Canon EOS 5D that, years after its debut, the release of a successor does not necessarily compel 5D users to upgrade, even though the new model packs 21 megapixels, improved high ISO performance, and burst speed, high-def video, and more. The fact is, the original 5D is a great camera, and many users are coming to realize that they may have all the pixels they need for the type of output they do. However, the 5D Mark II’s improved noise performance and interface changes are good enough that, depending on what and how you shoot, the cost of an upgrade might be worth it. And, while you don’t need 21 megapixels for every shot, the ability to print large, and crop tight, can be welcome in many situations. In Part 1, I looked at the interface and physical changes between the 5D and the 5D Mark II. Now it’s time to discuss image quality.

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Should you upgrade from a Canon 5D to a 5D Mark II? Part I

December 15, 2008 by · 33 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

As a friend pointed out a few months ago, it used to be that you bought a camera that you liked, and you used it for years and years, if not the rest of your life. While you might change films regularly, and experiment with new processing techniques, once you’d chosen a camera, it was a tool that you committed to for the long haul. Like me, my friend has been shooting with a 5D for years, and we were discussing how, if we had to use that camera and only that camera for the rest of our lives, we’d actually be content, and would not be limited in our ability to create great images. (At least, not limited by our camera choice.) Then Canon released the 5D Mark II.

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Canon Rebel XSi

July 18, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Canon Rebel XSi

Canon has positioned their new Rebel XSi at the “entry-level” end of their product line. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to divide digital cameras into “entry-level” and “mid-range” and “high-end.” In the early days, there was a single distinguishing feature that made it simple to tell what market a camera was aimed at: the image quality of an entry-level camera was markedly different from a high-end, “pro” level camera. Those days are now long gone, and ‚Äì just as with entry-level and pro-level film cameras ‚Äì you can now shoot high-end image quality with an entry-level camera. Canon’s Rebel XSi marks the high end of Canon’s low end, and the new model offers important changes over its predecessor, the Rebel XTi.

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Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder

March 11, 2008 by · 43 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 
Leica M8

Over the last few years, the digital camera market has been sliced into fine slivers. There are cheap, not-so-cheap, and expensive point-and-shoots; a full spectrum of SLRs from $600 all the way up to $8,000; and stratospherically priced medium-format digital backs, owned by a precious few.

Sitting on its own, outside the realm of the point-and-shoots and SLRs is the Leica M8, a rangefinder camera based on the traditional M-series Leica body. Priced at roughly $5,500 for the body only – with Leica-branded lenses starting at around $1,500 for a 35 or 50mm lens – the M8 sits in the same price category as heavy hitting SLRs like the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D3.

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Nikon D-300

March 7, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 
Nikon D300

If you’ve been shopping for a mid-range digital SLR, it’s a safe bet to say you’ve probably been considering the Nikon D-300. The latest rev of Nikon’s mid-range camera, the D-300 offers some impressive changes from it’s predecessor, the D-200. As with previous Nikon models, no other camera comes close to Nikon when it comes to feature list, and the D-300 backs up its features with improved image quality.

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Canon EOS 40D

February 27, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 
Canon EOS 40D

Following close enough on the heals of the EOS 30D to be annoying to anyone who bought that camera, the new Canon EOS 40D takes a strong place in the middle of Canon’s digital SLR line-up. As with most of the upgrades that have happened over the last few months, the 40D now offers Live View, which lets you use the camera’s LCD screen as a viewfinder, but this is just one of several significant changes to the camera.

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Wet Camera Pilaf

January 25, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Uncle Ben

Reader panzeriv88 sends in a very interesting tip that might help in the stormy, wet months of winter. If you end up with a submerged camera, don’t give up all hope. If you’re careful and take quick action, it might be possible to dry the camera without damaging it. Read on for details.

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Canon PowerShot G9

December 19, 2007 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 
Canon PowerShot G9

Canon’s G-series of high-end point-and-shoot cameras have long offered pro level features in a well-designed point-and-shoot body. Unfortunately, for serious shooters, or SLR shooters looking for a second camera, the last few models have been disappointing due to their lack of raw support.

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Specialty Lenses

November 30, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Features 

In the digital age, it’s easy to get so caught up in cool post-production effects and techniques that you forget about what can be done in-camera with the right lens. If you’re a long-time film shooter, then you’re possibly well-trafficked in the realm of specialized lenses, but if you’re new to digital SLRs, then you may know what is possible to achieve inside your camera, with a simple lens change.

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Nikon Compressed Raw Format – Lossy or Lossless?

October 15, 2007 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Features 
Nikon

Like most digital SLRs, Nikon’s family of digital SLRs offer the ability to shoot in raw mode. However, Nikon’s raw offerings provide a twist, in the form of compressed raw. The promise of compressed raw files, of course, is that they take up less space and allow you to store more images on your card. Data compression algorithms fall into two categories: lossy techniques, which degrade the quality of your image; and lossless techniques, which reduce file size without affecting image quality. Nikon users often ask whether the compressed raw format is lossless or lossy, so I decided to look into the question

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