BL Blog

Gear Talk

What do Meditation and Macro Photography Have in Common?

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Macro photography is much like a meditation practice: there must be a willingness to experiment outside your comfort zone, practiced patience, and a dedication to learning. The genre has been a popular niche for decades and now with easier accessibility to the tools it takes to create this kind of photo, there are a few ideas it is best to understand first. With its popularity there is a lot of technical information available that can be difficult to understand when you are first starting out. Whether you are shooting detailed still lives or capturing your environment in a new perspective, there are certain things to consider that will aid in your success and help you avoid defeating frustration. Understanding the most important questions to ask yourself and why its important to know the answers before you even pick up your camera is the first step. Let’s take a closer look at the best tools of the trade, tips, and tricks to get started in macro photography.

(more…)

All New Underwater Housing Fleet for Rent – Plus New Sound Blimps

BL News Gear Talk

BorrowLenses.com has received a whole new fleet of underwater housing units and brand new sound blimps from AquaTech! Underwater housing units allow you to shoot photos and video up to 33′ under water while the sound blimps reduce shutter sounds by up to 90%. So whether you’re doing ethereal, watery fashion shoots, capturing athletes in strong surf, or being as inconspicuous as possible at a special event, we’ll have you (and your gear) covered with AquaTech. (more…)

A Review of Fuji’s X-trans CMOS II Sensor and X-mount Lenses

Gear Talk

David Kingham is a landscape photographer with years of experience and a known track record of going great lengths to capture spectacular landscapes. He is constantly searching for the ideal camera and lens combo to facilitate longer travel with more energy when he arrives. Find out how Fuji’s new mirror-less line of cameras and interchangeable X-mount lenses tested for his needs.

(more…)

Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

Gear Talk

The Panasonic GH4 is an amazing little camera. I’ve been putting it through its paces from the moment I got my hands on one, and just like any gearhead, have been reading practically every review and comment about it on the internet.

What can I say? It’s an addiction. I confess.

One thing that stood out to me in all the signal and noise out there was that this camera isn’t a great performer at high ISO. My initial quick tests bore that out; at ISO 800, the footage is pretty noisy and by 1600, it’s unusable for a lot of work.

But what I wanted to know was something a bit more subtle. I wanted to know if I could shoot at night, in a place like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and still walk away with usable footage?

(more…)

Why the Sony RX100 III Point & Shoot is a Vacation Must-Have

Gear Talk

Do you agonize over sacrificing quality in favor of comfort when packing camera gear for vacation? I tossed my hefty Nikon D800 aside and rented the Sony RX100 III from BorrowLenses.com for vacation. I wasn’t going to shoot much so if the camera sucked then no harm, no foul.

The camera definitely didn’t suck. Sony’s third iteration of an already well-regarded model opened my eyes to just how far point and shoots have come. (more…)

Part 2: Basic Steps and Lessons of Using Tilt/Shift Function

Gear Talk

This is part 2 of a series on tilt-shift lenses. Be sure to also check out part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your PhotographyJohn Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog


(more…)

Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

Gear Talk

John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog. Here is his advice on whether tilt-shift lenses are worth it for photographers.


(more…)

Prime Lens Basics and Why You Should Ditch Zoom Lens Photography

Gear Talk

Prime lenses are a not-so-secret weapon favored for their fast apertures, crisp detail, and creamy bokeh.  They differ from the more commercially popular zoom lenses because of their ability to better maximize available light and separate foreground from background with aesthetically pleasing crispness.  They also possess the power to be a catalyst for creativity since they force the shooter to be more physically involved in their compositions.

50mm f/1.8 used in two different ways.

What is a Prime Lens?   (more…)

Freelance Filmmaker Uses BL Gear for Documentary Project

Gear Talk

Jason Aron is an avid freelance filmmaker and customer of BorrowLenses. In 2013 he raised over $50,000 for the production of a documentary film project entitled Back in Time. The film that is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015 examines the Back to the Future franchise and its cultural relevance. Aron made a 3-week journey from Santa Monica, California to Maui, Hawaii capturing the scenes for his movie with gear he rented from BL. Check out what Jason had to say about the BL gear he used while filming Back in Time.

(more…)

Bird Photography Advice from Nature Photographer David Bernstein

Gear Talk Photographers Tips & Tricks

As the weather gets warmer and daylight hours are lengthened, those who have been stuck inside for the long winter months are ready to begin exploring the great outdoors once again with camera in tow.  I caught up with local wildlife photographer David Bernstein to answer a few questions regarding his experiences. Bernstein started out using a humble Rebel series camera and over time grew into being what he calls a “photo-naturalist”, taking pictures of landscapes and creatures large and small. He especially loves photographing birds and has graciously shared a few tips for those of us looking to brush up on our skills or begin a new photographic hobby. (more…)

Nikon D4s: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

Gear Talk

Court Leve is a sports, wedding, portrait, and pet photographer. His work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Powder, Ski, Skiing, Freeskier, Parade Magazine, ForbesLife Mountain Time, Spirit Magazine, Southwest Art, and more. He is a regular contributor to the BL Blog.


Nikon D4s: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review
by Court Leve

Like most new iterations of Nikon’s pro bodies, the D4s is yet another leap forward in imaging. In my case, coming from a D3s to a D4s ,the improvements are quite noticeable. If you are a current D4 user, the differences will be more subtle but still noteworthy especially for those shooting video.  (more…)

BorrowLenses Takes a Ride with the Freefly MōVI M5

Gear Talk

One of our video gurus, Javi, drew the long straw to be the first one to play with our new Freefly MōVI M5. Here’s his quick attempt at stirring up envy: (more…)

The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Gear Talk

Of all the things that photographers argue about in our secret monthly meetings, sensor size and its impact on our work is perhaps one of the most heated topics that can come up. From the true “bigger is better” snobs (“Sensors? Bah! 8X10 film is where it’s at!”) to the ones who prize portability above all (“Micro-Four-Thirds rules!”), the debate between advocates of MFT, APS-C, and full-frame sensors often reaches religious fervor.

Contentious topics related to sensor size include resolution, high-ISO performance, and dynamic range, but the quality and characteristic of bokeh, or out-of-focus backgrounds, is perhaps the most fiercely contentious. While there’s no contest that the bigger sensors can clearly produce much smoother and, well, blurier (not a word, I know), it’s also an unfair statement that the smaller sensors like the ones in Olympus and Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds cameras can’t produce good bokeh. (more…)

The Beginner Videographer’s Guide to Frequency Blocks

Gear Talk

Wireless mics are an essential part of documentary filmmaking. The mics are small and easily hidden from view and the wires are minimal. If you’ve seen a reality show (if so, my condolences), sometimes you get a peek at the metal mound protruding out of the backs of people’s clothes. Those are lavaliers and they are handy. They are used often by wedding videographers since shotgun mics aren’t super awesome at picking up the vows from clear across a church. You don’t see them as often in movies because people have to actually wear them (and that is distracting) but for sit-down interviews, or most TV applications, they’re great. If you’re just starting to get into any of these fields, read up on frequency blocks – you’ll impress (if mildly) your sound tech. (more…)

The Elegant Simplicity of Building a MyPublisher Photo Album

Gear Talk

For professionals and hobbyists alike, photo books are usually on our to-do list and get postponed because they’re often expensive, take time to build, and the quality is unpredictable. They are worth making because they can be awesome keepsakes or portfolios. There is something about the tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a real book. Swiping on an iPad just isn’t the same. I am on the hunt for a great photo book company. Here are my personal observations after trying out MyPublisher. (more…)