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Gear Talk

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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Powerful Inspiration for Powerful Portraits

Gear Talk

Portrait photography isn’t easy. Anyone can point a camera at a person and make a quick image. If you’re technically accomplished, you can even get your lighting spot-on and make a great-looking photograph.

But the best portraits have an intangible quality to them that sets them apart. They have soul, that most overused yet accurate of words when it comes to describing photography. They speak to an innate part of the subject’s character, allowing the viewer to see not just what that subject looks like, but also what he or she is feeling and thinking.

Brian Smith is one of those photographers who can pull this off, and do so with applomb. He is perhaps one of the most accomplished portrait artists working today, and his portfolio, which drips with celebrities ranging from Anne Hathaway to Richard Branson and then some, attests to that accomplishment.

So it’s always with a lot of eagerness that I look forward to any kind of information – a book, video tutorial, whatever – from an artist like Brian. Fortunately for us, he has delivered a book on the subject of portrait photography, and what a whopper of a book it is.

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Lock it down

Gear Talk
The Induro AT413, an excellent tripod for outdoor shooting.

The Induro AT413, an excellent tripod for outdoor shooting.

This is how the life of a photographer goes sometimes. You’re driving home on Highway 13, right around dusk. You glance off to your left and note that the moon, at an 8% crescent is going to set shortly, and it’s probably going to do so right behind the San Francisco skyline.

So what do you do? Well, if you’re me, you step on it and race for Grizzly Peak Road, a scenic, meandering two-lane stretch of tarmac that winds through the hills above Oakland and Berkeley while offering some spectacular views of the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, Oakland, Berkeley, and sometimes, the Golden Gate Bridge, too.

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The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part IV

Gear Talk

This is Part IV of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…

On this edition of “The Switch”, I took a brief sojourn back to Canonland with the 5D Mark III and a gaggle of Canon lenses.

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Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED Lighting Kit

Gear Talk

One of the newest lighting rigs we have here at BorrowLenses is the Celeb 200 LED from Kino Flo. The Celeb features 100 watts of lustrous, soft white light, which can be programmed to display a range between 2700K to 5500K, without changing the light output.

Get the Scoop on Fashion Photography

Gear Talk

The world of fashion photography is an insular one, and newcomers to this field are often left floundering in more ways than one. From the basics of technique, to simple advice on how to break into the field, working with models, and managing and handling a business, aspiring fashion photographers often lack a decent starting point.

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Wide Without the Weird: Zeiss’ New Low-Distortion 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE for Canon

Gear Talk

The new Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE for Canon is an ultrasharp, full frame lens that controls distortion much better than its other ultrawide peers. Check out our test images to see why.

Controlling Power on a Profoto Pack, Part II

Gear Talk
The Profoto Acute2R 2400

The Profoto Acute2R 2400

Last time, we covered how to control the power on a Profoto pack with a single head attached. In this article, we’ll cover the configurations for two heads.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this piece, these Profoto power packs are a bit… confusing. Profoto is pretty-much the gold standard of the industry, and their Acute2 packs, which we rent, are considered to be the go-to workhorses for many photographers working with Profoto systems – and with good reason.

In Part 1 of this tip, we looked at how to control the output of the Profoto Acute2R 2400 with just one head connected to it. In this part, we’ll look at adding additional heads to the power pack.
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The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part III

Gear Talk

This is Part III of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…

In this part, I’m going to focus on just one thing: Nikon’s external flash system.

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The Switch: Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part II

Gear Talk

I’ve had the D800 for about 2 weeks now, and have shot with it in the studio, out in the Marin Headlands, and a variety of other spots. In this article, I’ll focus on my initial experiences with the Nikon setup, a few of the challenges I faced, and some observations along the way.

The Switch: Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part 0.5

Gear Talk

This is a quick ‘n dirty post that’s part of my “Switch” series. Part 1 of the series can be found here.

I was in the studio, working on a quick lighting test. The subject was a violin positioned on a tall chair, and I was moving in and out, shooting the whole thing, then switching to some detail work. I had two SB-910′s on stands, with gels and, occasionally, a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe on one of them.

The shot you see below was taken with the D800 I currently have for testing, with a Nikon 105mm f/2.8G Micro lens.

The SB-910 shining on it has the aforementioned Lastolite softbox on it, as well as a chocolate gel. There is absolutely no post-production on the shot.

I am really, really liking the tones coming off that Nikon. They are, in a word, luscious.

What blew me away was when I zoomed in at 100% to look at the object in focus, the second knob from the left. Click on the image below to embiggen; the smaller size won’t show you what I’m talking about.

Wow. I mean, yeah, I’m going to have to repeat this experiment with a Canon 5D Mark III and the famed 100mm f/2.8L macro as well, but, well, wow.

I’ve always known that this would a rough experiment. I knew I’d have my preconceptions challenged. I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t be this hard.

The Switch: Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part I

Gear Talk

This is Part I of a series on moving from an all-Canon setup to an all-Nikon setup for four weeks. Will I go back to Canon at the end of four weeks? I have no idea…

The Gear List

The Gear List

“I’m going to check out a bunch of Nikon gear and go shoot with it for four weeks. Then I’ll write a series of articles about it.”

I grinned at Jim Goldstein, BorrowLenses.com’s VP of marketing, and my nominal boss. He stared back at me, first with a blank expression, then with a knowing glint in his eye.

“You’re looking to switch, aren’t you?” he asked. “And you want to use this idea for a series to test the waters on the other side, dontcha?”

He kinda had me there. I’d been eyeing that D800 ever since it was announced, and was eager to give it a try. More importantly, I really was thinking of switching sides. (more…)

BorrowLenses.com iPhone 5 Upgrade Alternative

Cool Stuff Gear Talk

Here at BorrowLenses.com we understand not everyone is impressed enough with the new iPhone 5 to upgrade. For those looking for an alternate upgrade path for their iPhone we’d like to introduce you to our iPhone 5 Upgrade Alternative:

Who needs an iPhone 5 upgrade when you can slap a top of the line CP.2 cinema lens on your iPhone 4. This handy dandy solution knocks out two birds with one stone:
1. No need for a vintage filter app. Enjoy a warm hue, vignetted frame and ample dust spots on a lens adapter magnification screen.
2. Enjoy the optical advantage only the Zeiss CP.2 Super Speed Lens can provide.

Everyone who sees you filming with this bad boy on your iPhone will instantly know you’re a DP on the rise. See some example footage below:

Rent yours today:
Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 50mm/T 1.5 Super Speed EF Mount
iPhone 4 and iPhone EF mount adapter not included.

More images after the jump…
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