BL Blog

Gear Talk

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?

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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.

I didn’t expect to write this blog post so I don’t have very many traditional “camera review” photos. What I have, however, will demonstrate how one can get big results from a camera the size of a deck of cards.

Part I: Sample Shots

Night Photography

They’re no National Geographic contenders but considering that I wasn’t expecting anything from laying my camera on the ground with a 15 second exposure, I am impressed. Being somewhere with very little light pollution (Rarotonga in this case) helps.

RX100_BL_Alex_Huff-1
The noise is bad in the clouds but I am really cranking it at ISO 5000.
RX100_BL_Alex_Huff-2  (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


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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.


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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.

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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…)

BorrowLenses’ Favorite Gear Sightings from NAB

Gear Talk

Update: We had a great time at the 2014 NAB Show! Our special is now over and done with (too bad, so sad if you missed it). To cheer yourself up, check out the new gear we’ll be hopefully getting later in the year!

1 more day at the 2014 NAB Show! Stop by our booth #12341 for our NAB Show Special: $250 off video rental orders of $500 or more. Get it before it is gone forever!

Can’t be at the show? Here’s a visual guide to some of the latest things to be excited about this year (all taken with a crappy cell phone camera – oh the irony)! (more…)

BorrowLenses Lighting Resource: Sync Cables

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Strobes are triggered from your camera to fire every time you hit the shutter button in the following ways:

1. Transmitters designed specifically for that strobe that you connect to the camera.

2. Radio transmitters that you connect, usually with small sync cables, to the strobe and to the camera. (more…)

Fuji X-T1: First Impressions

Gear Talk

One of the most eagerly awaited cameras of the year arrived earlier this month, and I took some time to put it through its paces. A more detailed review will follow, but I’ve worked with it long enough to put forth a few first impressions. The tl;dr version of it is this: the Fuji X-T1 is the best camera Fuji has ever made, and is the best mirrorless camera on the market.

In my personal opinion, anyway.

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