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Gear Talk

Understanding Softboxes

Gear Talk

Off-camera strobes and other forms of lighting have become remarkably approachable over the past few years. The knowledge and information that were once the sole province of pros working with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in studios or on location is now all over the internet for the taking.

We carry a fair amount of lighting gear, and given that we cater to the novice as well as the pros, we also answer a number of questions about one particular piece of lighting gear: the softbox. Over the phone, via email, and through our social networking outlets, we respond to queries ranging from the number of stops a box’s diffusion fabric will eat, to “What’s a speedring?”

This article is designed to help you understand the various pieces of a softbox and how it is used with a studio light like the Einstein E640 or the Profoto D4 heads we rent.

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The BorrowLenses.com Holiday Gift Guide

Gear Talk

Welcome to the first ever BorrowLenses.com Holiday Gift Guide. Here, we’ll be listing some of our favorite cameras, lenses, and accessories that you should consider for the photo geek you’re shopping for. We’ll break this list down by category, so you can easily find something for the shutterbug in your life, no matter what their experience level is.

Let’s start with that all-important question – what camera should I rent?

Cameras

We broke this section down by category, from pro-level to the new mirrorless cameras.

Nikon D800Cameras (pro-level)

  • Nikon D800 or D800E
    • It’s received some of the highest ratings ever given to any camera by testing company DxO, and has been universally lauded as having some of the best dynamic range capabilities ever packed into a DSLR, and is competitively priced, too.
  • Others to consider:

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Tilt/Shift: Working With Perspective-Control Lenses, Part 2

Gear Talk
Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E

Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E

This is Part 2 of a series on using Tilt-Shift or Perspective-Control lenses. In this part, we look at the “Tilt” functionality of these unique lenses. Part 1, which covered “shift” functionality, can be found here.

At some point in time, we’ve all seen photos where the subjects – usually views from high-up of cars, buildings, people, etc. – appear to be miniaturized versions of reality. This is perhaps the most the most often-seen result from using tilt-capable lenses like the Nikon 85mm PC-E.

In this part of our series, we’ll explain how this effect is achieved with tilt-shift lenses.

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Sony Delivers Big-time with the Nex-6

Gear Talk
Sony NEX-6

Sony NEX-6

When rumors of the Sony NEX-6 hit the internet, it was a welcome bit of information for fans who wanted something between the high-end NEX-7 and the more consumer-friendly NEX-5N. There was a real need for a camera that added a few more physical controls for advanced amateurs, for example, who are used to dials and switches to quickly change camera settings, or for a camera with tweaks to the user interface, or – a pretty important feature for me – a viewfinder.

Well, Sony has provided all of those features, and then some with the NEX-6. So, naturally, when we received this shiny new toy, I had to take it for a spin.

Now, the really cool lenses – the 16-50mm and the 10-18mm are very much in demand, and all of our copies were checked out when I wanted to take them for a spin, so I settled on the massive 18-200mm lens and the Zeiss-badged 24mm f/1.8 lens. I shot them in a variety of different conditions, and – spoiler alert – I had an absolute blast.

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Op-Ed: Thoughts on Switching

Gear Talk

Last week, I posted Part V of my “Switch” series, which you can find here:

I’ve pretty-much laid out my reasons for switching, but I felt compelled to add some kind of postscript to that series. So, here it is.

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Get the Missing Manual for Light

Gear Talk

 With autumn upon us, daylight hours are fewer and further between. I don’t stop shooting (later sunrises mean I can actually drag myself out of bed at a better hour), but I do take more time to catch up on my reading. Accordingly, I spend some time to put together a list of the best photography books that I want to go through each year and will bring you reviews of the ones I liked the most.

My (virtual) bookshelf is full of titles I’ve read or plan to read for reviewing or for personal edification. Some, like Brian Smith’s book on portraiture, which I reviewed earlier this week, are for personal edification and review. Some, like Light, Science, and Magic, are on there because the subject matter is of interest. And some are on there because I’ll read even an obituary by one of these authors.

Authors like Joe McNally, for example, whose books like Sketching Light and The Moment it Clicks make for fantastic and entertaining reading. Others write books so chock full of information that they become indispensable reference material that I find myself going to pretty often. My friend Syl Arena is an author and teacher who falls into the latter category, and his latest book, Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is something that I think should be more appropriately titled “Light: The Missing Manual”.

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The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part V

Gear Talk

This is the conclusion of a 5-part series on an experimental switch from Canon to Nikon.

I guess the big question on everyone’s mind is, “Did you switch or not?” Well, read on, gentle reader.

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