Daylight Savings Time is Here: Don’t Forget to Change Your Camera’s Clock

Daylight Savings Time is Here: Don’t Forget to Change Your Camera’s Clock

Set time and date manually

Unlike your computers, tablets, and smartphones, the clock in your camera doesn’t typically do the “Spring forward, Fall back” routine required to keep its clock accurate. If you don’t go in manually to change the time and date on you camera, the EXIF data it stamps your files with will have an inaccurate time/date stamp.

While it’s not the end of the world if your photos show a time that’s an hour off, having your clock accurate is always a good thing. Knowing the exact time an image was taken can help you if you want to replicate the exact atmospheric conditions in a landscape shot at a later time, for example.  Having accurate timestamps is especially important if you’re doing any kind of geo-tagging of your images using a GPS tracker or your iPhone to record a GPS track file and apply it to your DSLR photos in Lightroom or Aperture.

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Shooting Fast Action with a D800E

Shooting Fast Action with a D800E

Nikon D800E

When you think of fast-action photography, the D800E isn’t exactly the first camera that comes to mind – and with good reason. At a top speed of 4 frames per second and a buffer that will fill up pretty quickly with those massive 36MP files, it’s not a camera that lends itself to that kind of photography easily.

If you’re in a pinch, however, and need to be able to use the D800E (or the D800) for a bit of fast-action work, there are a few things you can do to get a bit more performance out of this camera.

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Kodak’s First Canon-based DSLR: A 1.3 Megapixel Slice of Photographic History

Kodak’s First Canon-based DSLR: A 1.3 Megapixel Slice of Photographic History

©Fred Larson for the San Francisco Chronicle

©Fred Larson for the San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle ran this photo on the front page of the paper the day after the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1995. The picture shows Jerry Rice, whose 10 catches for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns tied his own record for most touchdown receptions in a Super Bowl and the 49ers became the 1st team to win 5 Super Bowls. However, that wasn’t the only remarkable event of Super Bowl XXIX. The above picture was shot on Kodak’s very first Canon-based digital SLR–a 1.3 megapixel, no-LCD, nearly 4-pound behemoth that cost around $16,000. The image above was the first taken on this camera and published in an American newspaper. read more…

Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

I was recently inspired by a recent series of portraits by our very own Alex Huff. Titled “Chiaroscuro Portraiture,” it features these gorgeous close-up portraits of the men and women in her life, each one of which is a study in how to render the interplay between light and shadow.

Alex takes these images in front of a grey background, and through a combination of getting in close to her subjects and using one light, sends what little you might see of that grey to almost pitch black. I began to think of what I could do if I didn’t have a backdrop to shoot against, if I needed to make a portrait in a relatively brightly-lit area. In theory, it could be done; a basic understanding of the Inverse-Square Law reveals that much.

But what if all you had was a basic modifier and a couple of speedlights, not a big studio strobe? Could you still do it? I had to give it a try. read more…

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it.

The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer.

Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D

I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review.

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Metabones Canon EF to Sony NEX Speed Booster Adds Full Frame Versatility in the Crop Sensor Video World

Metabones Canon EF to Sony NEX Speed Booster Adds Full Frame Versatility in the Crop Sensor Video World

Make No Bones About It: the Metabones Adapter is Kind of Amazing

The Metabones Canon EF to Sony NEX Speed Booster allows you to mount any Canon EF-mount lens onto compatible Sony NEX E-mount cameras, such as the Sony FS-700Sony FS-100, or Sony Alpha NEX- 7. What makes this simple adapter anything but simple is its ability to increase your maximum aperture and make your lens 0.71x wider! Think of this adapter as being the opposite of a teleconverter. A teleconverter expands the image being projected onto your camera’s sensor, giving us a telephoto crop but also losing light in the process. Teleconverters are popular among nature and outdoor sports photographers who need the extra reach and don’t mind losing a little light to get it.  The Metabones Speed Booster, conversely, narrows the image being projected onto the sensor. The image then fills the cropped sensor similarly to how the lens would fill a full frame sensor. The resulting image is still slightly cropped, but less so than if you were just shooting with the crop sensor alone and no adapter. read more…

Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

David Kingham is a lanscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He field-tested some of our fisheye lenses to see which one is most suitable for this kind of work. If you’re interested in astrophotography and landscapes, check out Kingham’s findings below (reprinted here with permission):

Fisheye Lenses for Night Photography
by David Kingham

Sigma 15mm 2.8 vs Nikon 16mm 2.8

I’ve been looking to add a fisheye to my arsenal of night photography lenses, but I was never able to locate solid information on what the best lens is for my style of night photography, specifically. I knew I needed to do my own testing to know for sure. I received the Sigma 15mm 2.8 and Nikon 16mm 2.8 from BorrowLenses.com and I needed to go someplace spectacular to test them out–what better place than Canyonlands National Park?

©David Kingham

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Our Take and Test Footage on the Canon 1D C DSLR with 4K Video

Our Take and Test Footage on the Canon 1D C DSLR with 4K Video

Blog1Dc©AlexHuff-1

Canon has added yet another camera to their cinema line, the 1D C.  This addition gives professional and novice filmmakers alike a formidable number of shooting choices, not to mention access to a wide variety of cine-lenses. It is also a very sports-friendly camera, shooting at 14 FPS for up to 400,000 cycles with its newly-designed shutter and carbon fiber blades. But what really stands out about this camera–especially when compared to the established C300 and the new C100 and C500? read more…

Quick Tip on Blending Two Photos in Time Bracketing

Quick Tip on Blending Two Photos in Time Bracketing

Photographer Marc Muench took a compelling photo while out in Death Valley National Park. The sun is setting and it appears as if the night is rolling in at hyper speed, allowing the stars and clouds to shine through the still-bright sky. This image is, indeed, a composite but not so much a composite of completely different images–it is more of a composite of time. This simple technique is what Muench likes to call “Time Bracketing”.

Take a picture from 1 position at 2 different times of day for a great effect. ©Marc Muench

Take a picture from 1 position at 2 different times of day for a great effect. ©Marc Muench

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Powerful Portrait Inspiration With Steve McCurry’s iPad App

Powerful Portrait Inspiration With Steve McCurry’s iPad App

Steve McCurry is one of the most prolific photographers alive today. His photograph for National Geographic’s June 1985 cover of Sharbat Gula (also know as the “Afghan Girl”) is one of the most recognizable portraits in history, and his imagery has graced NatGeo’s pages many, many times since.

McCurry has repeatedly proven himself an absolute master of the portrait. His street portraiture, especially, carries tremendous impact. He has an uncanny ability to capture his subjects’ essence, distilling it in a split-second into an image that can range from haunting to exciting and everything in-between.

Steve McCurry iPad App

Steve McCurry iPad App

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The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Puts the Microscopic Within Reach

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Puts the Microscopic Within Reach

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens is one of BorrowLenses.com’s most unique lenses. The MP-E is more than a macro lens–it is a portable microscope with the ability to fill an entire 35mm frame with the texture of something as small as a grain of rice. Floating internal lens elements keep the resolution sharp throughout the range of focus at 1x, life-size, to 5x magnification, or 5 times life-size.

65MPE6AlexHuff

Shoot at 1x (life-size) to 5x magnification, or 5 times life-size.

The Canon MP-E 65mm’s magnification essentially begins where other macro lenses, such as Canon’s 100mm, end. The focus distance range is very small–only 41mm at 5x–but this allows for tremendous detail of very small objects, including the tips of pens or the eyes of a butterfly. Since this is a dedicated macro lens, it cannot focus more than a few centimeters away from the front element. This is not your ordinary 65mm lens and to properly shoot with it you will need a couple of tools.

This lens is manual-focus only and you will need to use a macro rail or similar form of support.

Jim Goldstein’s star trail photos on an iPad, left at 1x (life size) and right at 5x.

What You Need to Shoot

Macro Rails

This lens is manual-focus only and you will need to use a macro rail, such as our StackShot Extended Macro Rail or our Mini Novoflex Focusing Rack. These provide essential support to prevent blur from lens shake (which is very noticeable at higher magnifications) and allows for micro adjustments in distance to and from your diminutive subject.

This lens is manual-focus only and you will need to use a macro rail or similar form of support.

This lens is manual-focus only and you will need to use a macro rail or similar form of support.

Macro Ring Lights

The effective aperture is going to be much smaller than what is displayed on your camera due to the extreme magnification of the lens. Keep this in mind when calculating your exposure–your aperture needs to be multiplied by the magnification, plus 1, that you are using. For example, if you are shooting a penny at 5x magnification at f/13, you are effectively shooting at f/78 (f stop x (magnification + 1).

As you can see in this picture of the penny, even with a 1 second exposure and an LED lamp, there is not a lot of light on the subject. Also, when hovering over a very small subject, you tend to cast a shadow on an already dark scene. A macro ring light is essential for combating these very small apertures. This lens is compatible with our Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Ringlite Flash.

With a 1 second exposure and an LED lamp, there is still not enough light on the subject--you need a Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Ringlite Flash or similar.

With a 1 second exposure and an LED lamp, there is still not enough light on the subject–you need a Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Ringlite Flash or similar.

Patience for the Little Things

This is not a lens for the impatient! It may take several micro adjustments and a steady gaze to get your subject sharp but the rewards are as great as the details the Canon MP-E  provides. Check out a few of our images taken with this lens below, shot between 2x and 4x magnification:

65MPE1AlexHuff

A carnation – © Alex Huff

65MPE2AlexHuff

A cigar – © Alex Huff

65MPE3AlexHuff

Butterfly wings – © Alex Huff

Other Macro Options

Canon’s 65mm MP-E is in a class of its own but there are other fantastic macro lenses to try out, especially if you are looking to just play around and don’t really want to commit to rails and macro lights–yet. Here are some of our recommended lenses:

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro USM
This is a 1:1 macro lens so you can still reproduce small items at life-size magnification. The Hybrid IS makes this lens a little easier to hand-hold than the MP-E and also doubles as a fantastic portrait lens.

Nikon 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR IF-ED Micro
Another 1:1 magnification lens and also very sharp. The Vibration Reduction is helpful when hand-holding and it is also a great portrait lens. It is the favorite go-to lens for The Furrtographer for capturing both animal portraits and extreme close ups of their interesting features.

Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Comparable to the Canon EF 100mm for its 1:1 magnification and portraiture use but also employs a double-floating element design similar to the MP-E.

Penxtax 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro
Much like the others above only this lens has 6 weather seals–very helpful when photographing bugs and flowers outside in all conditions. This lens also has a quick shift feature that allows you to alternate between manual and auto focus very easily.

Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro ASPH/MEGA O.I.S.
This lens is for the micro four thirds fans out there. It is the 35mm-equivalent of a 90mm lens on a full frame camera but still shoots at 1:1 and allows you to focus as close at 6″ from your subject. The Optical Image Stabilization helps with hand-holding and still doubles as a fine portrait lens.

There are many more great macro lenses to try out on our site!

Show Us What You Got

It’s a small world out there and we’d like to see how you capture it! Did you get interesting results from one of these (or other) macro/micro lenses? Feel free to share your images in the comments below.

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