Let There Be Light – The Truth About Crop Sensors and Lenses

I consider myself a photography geek. I love the technical side of photography. Learning about how lenses work, the reasons why aperture, shutter speed and ISO contrbute what they do to image quality, different sensor designs, the technical differences between full-frame vs. crop sensor, etc. etc.

And more than seven years into this full-time journey, I thought I had heard most of the explanations about why cameras work they way they do. I get it. I can explain it. Even as new technology is released, I revel in doing deep dives into that too.

Of course, I should state that none of this helps the artistic expression in my photography nor will reading this article help your artistic expression. But it does lay the groundwork for quick decisions about how to possibly achieve a specific artistic effect. For example, to get that creamy bokeh, I know I need to do x, y, z. So, to be clear, knowing how your camera works isn’t the be all and end all of being a good photographer. But it will get you part way down that road.

That said, I find it fascinating when I run across a technical fact that I didn’t know. That’s what this post is today.

Continue reading “Let There Be Light – The Truth About Crop Sensors and Lenses”

I Can See Clearly Now

If you are reading this on the day it is released, then I am or will have been in surgery for a cataract today. It’s the ultimate irony for a photographer to lose their vision, but also a reality for many of us who are older. In my case, it is doubly frustrating. Other eye issues I’ve had since 2014 mean that the eye being operated on today is my only “good” eye.

I’m titling this in the hope that this will be the outcome. Of course, every surgeon has to apprise you of the risks, which even for routine, production line surgery like this are still somewhat frightening. Bleeding, swelling, damage to other eye structures, infection, reaction to the materials that the new lens is made of, and on and on. But it is “routine” surgery, sometimes even performed with the aid of computer guided instruments. Hope that computer doesn’t have a crash today.

Continue reading “I Can See Clearly Now”

How Many Lenses are Enough?

A bit of a different approach this week. Instead of a written blog, a video blog or vlog.

Many of us analyse, assess and re-assess the decision about which camera to buy. Not sure we apply the same level of introspection to lenses. Yet some lenses can cost as much and more than the camera body they are attached to.

I realized recently that my lens collection needed a thorough look. Some of the factors I considered at the time of purchase have changed or are no longer relevant. Especially true as you get older.

This vlog is about my introspective look through my lenses. And the decisions that resulted. Let me know if you find this helpful and I’ll do more of these types of introspective looks in the future.

Also, I would really appreciate it if you would consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. It is free to do so, although it requires a Google account. My goal is 100 subscribers, after which time our friends at Google will allow me to configure the channel exactly as would like. I guess that’s an incentive to try harder when starting out. I won’t bother you for anything else. Promise.

Pure Filtered Photos

Lee Starter KitOver the past year, I decided to include filters in my camera kit.  I took them on several trips and even on local outings, determined to take the time to use them properly.  I started out with the standard collection of screw-on filters – a polarizer, a variable neutral density filter and a graduated neutral density filter.  I quickly discovered the pros and cons of these types of filters and expanded my kit to include a square-format drop-in filter system.  This consisted of a lens adapter, filter holder and a variety of 100mm square filters.

It’s been an interesting experience that I thought was worth sharing.  Here’s what I’ve learned.

Continue reading “Pure Filtered Photos”

Scene Compression Uncompressed

I read a lot of blogs, follow a lot of YouTube channels and subscribe to many “handy tips” postings that come into my mailbox daily.  One such recent posting was from Tim Grey, a respected Photoshop expert and professional photographer.

Grey Learning

Viewers had posted questions about the long standing belief that as you use lenses of longer and longer focal length, and compare the same scene shot through these different lenses, the apparent separation between foreground and background diminishes with focal length.  In fact, this has been a long accepted “generality”, passed on from photographer to photographer, that scene “compression” occurs with telephoto lenses.  But as with many things, the details get somewhat “blurry” (pardon the pun) and the specifics of the effect are often not explained. Continue reading “Scene Compression Uncompressed”

And So The Battle Begins

As most of you know already, Nikon launched its full-frame mirrorless cameras on Aug 23/18, revealing two models that will appeal to both pros and hobbyists alike.  Priced respectively for those markets, the pro model will be available in September and the consumer model in November.

This isn’t a review of that equipment.  You can get a very good overview of the offering in the great article by M. Zhang from Petapixel.Nikon Mirrorless

What struck me as I watched the launch was just how hard Nikon was struggling to differentiate this product from the offerings already out there.  Perhaps it was the English translation, but “redefine possibilities” and “new light…to pioneer the future” left a lot to be desired as to why I would buy this camera over any other. Continue reading “And So The Battle Begins”

The Myth of Fast Lenses

Since I took up photography full-time 3 years ago, I’m much more informed about equipment and techniques.  There are some well-rehearsed lines in this industry:  photography is about shaping the light; remember to work the shot; don’t take pictures – make pictures.  And on and on.

Many of those tomes are also around gear – usually put out by manufacturers I think.  As an example, fast lenses (those with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger) are always better than other lenses.  Better for low light capture, better for managing depth of field, better for autofocus performance.  Always buy the fastest lens you can afford.

SaleWhenever I venture to purchase a new lens, I’m typically presented with the fastest lens first – the advanced option.  But the more I’ve shot, the more I’ve come to question this equipment mantra.  Most of the time, you DON’T need the fastest lens.  Here’s why. Continue reading “The Myth of Fast Lenses”

Brand Name Equipment or Not?

The airwaves and Internet are full of opinions on the value of brand name equipment for photographers.  There are opinions on cameras and lenses, lighting, accessories to support both brand names and competitors.  There are even opinions on small niche providers who build products to make a photographer’s life easier (bags, stands, organizing systems, even online services).  And of course, lots of stories on saving money by making due with what’s on location or in the environment around you.  You don’t always need to buy.  So how do you choose when it comes time for a new investment in gear? Gear Reviews Continue reading “Brand Name Equipment or Not?”