BL Blog

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,’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…) iPhone 5 Upgrade Alternative

Cool Stuff Gear Talk

Here at 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…

Sharpness You Can See: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II

Gear Talk

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II at

The much anticipated release of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II has been the source of much discussion and debate. While the lens has some notable differences than the original Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (we’ll cover those at the end) the #1 attribute of note is its sharpness. (more…)

The Leica Diary, Part V – Final Thoughts

Gear Talk

After about four weeks of shooting with the Leica M9 and various lenses, I came to a dismaying conclusion.

I am not a street photographer. I don’t like street photography. I get nervous, am unsure, and take terrible street photos.

And, for most of the time that I had the M9, I was trying to be a street photographer.  (more…)

D600, anyone?

BL News Gear Talk

So if you follow us on Instagram or Twitter, you already know this, but for our RSS subscribers and blog readers out there, here’s a quick heads-up: WE HAZ DA NEW D600!

D600 in stock. Burger not included.

D600 in stock. Burger not included.

So whether you’re looking to buy one and want to try it out first, or you’re just curious to see how Nikon’s new “budget” full-frame camera performs, you need wait no longer. Get your D600 here:

Cool Stuff – Week of September 14, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • You probably saw this already, but dangit, how could we not repost this? A seagull takes off with a GoPro? Genius!
  • The big Photokina photography show is almost on us and the announcements are coming hard and fast. We recommend keeping an eye on our friends at PetaPixel; they’ve got a ton of info about announcements from Sony, Nikon, Hasselblad, and more.
  • And speaking of announcements from Nikon, they’ve made a crazy-cool video to show off the video capabilities of their newly-announced D600.
  • Google Glass is starting to make a splash in all kinds of places, including the world of fashion. Here’s a video from Diane von Furstenberg’s 2013 show in New York, captured via Google Glass.
  • Finally, even though we don’t carry any film gear, it makes our hearts glad to see that the old stalwart Rolleiflex TLR analog camera is still being made today.

And now, for the rundown!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Finding the Photo in the Cruft

Gear Talk
Nikon D800

Nikon D800

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the power of software to bring out something interesting in images that might otherwise be a wash, but wouldn’t you know it, I’m still capable of being amazed.

I’m currently shooting with the Nikon D800 of late as part of an assignment (more to come on that later), and I was up in the hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay Area at night, hoping to get some shots of the brilliantly-lit vista that encompassed San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and parts of the Peninsula area.

Of course, I got up there, and everything was completely fogged in. (more…)

Tilt/Shift: Working With Perspective-Control Lenses, Part 1

Gear Talk
Schneider 50mm on a Canon 5D Mark III

Schneider 50mm on a Canon 5D Mark III

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

Anyone who’s ever shot a building or any other structure from the bottom looking up knows that the bottom-up perspective makes it look like the vertical lines of the building are all converging towards the top. This problem is exaggerated with wider-angle lenses, making many of these lenses unsuitable for certain types of architectural photography, where not having those distortions is key. (more…)

Announcing the Fan Photography Challenge

BL News

Today we’re kicking off our inaugural Fan Photography Challenge on our Facebook page.  Every week from today through the end of October we’ll be running weekly photography contests. By entering you could win as much as $1600 in prizes!

Announcing the Fan Photography Challenge

How It Works
Every Monday, starting today and ending at the end of October, we’ll be announcing a new photography contest theme. You’ll have 1 week to submit your best photo via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For Twitter and Instagram submissions just mention @borrowlenses and include the hashtag #FanChallenge to be automatically entered.  Voting is open during the submission period plus 1 week following. Share your photo with your friends, family and fans and vote once a day to increase your chances of winning. At the conclusion of each themed contest votes will be tallied and a weekly winner will be crowned. Each weekly winner will win a $100 gift certificate and will have their image and web site featured on our Facebook page and blog. Select your best and submit up to one photo per day. In our final week of the fan photography challenge we’ll pull together the top 10 highest vote getters from each theme and include them in our finalists gallery. We’ll reopen voting, with everyone starting at 0 votes, and the highest vote getter will be awarded a $500 gift certificate as the Fan Favorite award. From this same finalists gallery we’ll have a distinguished guest judge select the grand prize winner who will receive a $1000 gift certificate.

Weekly theme winners will receive a $100 gift certificate and bragging rights.
The Fan Favorite Prize winner will receive a $500 gift certificate.
The Grand Prize winner will receive a $1000 gift certificate.
Grand Prize and Fan Favorite Prize winners will be selected on or shortly after November 12th, 2012.

Weekly Photography Contest Themes
Contest themes will include Landscape, Architecture, Portrait, Pets, Street, Travel, and Action.

This Weeks Theme & Schedule
Theme: Landscape Photography
Submission Dates: Monday 9/10 to Sunday 9/16 (Midnight PST)
Voting Dates: Monday 9/10 to Sunday 9/23 (Midnight PST)

How To Enter
Step 1: Like on Facebook
Visit us on Facebook: and click on the “Fan Photo Challenge” tab under our profile photo. If you’re not yet a fan you’ll need to “Like” BorrowLenses fan page to access the contest.

Alternatively submit a photo via Instagram and Twitter. For Twitter and Instagram submissions just mention @borrowlenses and include the hashtag #FanChallenge to be automatically entered.

Step 2: Submit a Photo
Each Monday a new photo contest theme will be opened for submissions. Submit your best photos through Saturday by midnight. To enter you’ll be asked to submit your name and email. Optionally you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Step 3: Vote Daily
Voting is open for a two week period starting the Monday each photo contest theme is opened to submissions.  Votes are limited to once a day per Facebook account. If you’re fortunate enough that more than one of your photos makes it into the top 10 vote count per theme, only your highest-voted photo will be counted.

Step 4: Share & Win
Share your submitted photo(s) with friends, family and fans to vote for your submissions. The photo receiving the highest vote count per photo contest theme will win a $100 gift certificate. The entries receiving the 10 highest vote counts per theme will be eligible to win the $500 Fan Favorite and $1000 Grand Prize awards (both gift certificates)

[learn_more caption=”Terms & Conditions”] Contest Rules
No Purchase Or Payment Necessary To Win 

To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age. company employees and their immediate family members are not eligible. Immediate family includes only spouses, parents and children. will not verify receipt of entries. Incomplete entries are void. is not responsible for entries that are lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, incomprehensible, illegible, damaged, undeliverable or delayed. Participants may submit one photo per day.

Multiple Votes per Person
Each person may vote once per day. Fraudulent or abusive voting will be monitored and omitted.

Prizes & Winner Selection
Grand prize gift certificate is valued at $1000.00,  Fan Favorite prize gift certificate is valued at $500, weekly gift certificate prizes valued at $100. Weekly winners will be selected from the most voted photos of that weeks theme (Fan Favorite) & a curated selection (Staff Favorite). Weekly winners are ineligible from winning other weekly contest. Grand Prize winners will be selected from the 10 images receiving the most votes from each theme by a guest judge. The Fan Favorite winner will be chosen by our Facebook community from the 10 images receiving the most votes from each theme. Winners automatically grant the use of their name and likeness in the promotion of this and other contests, at any time, without any fee or other form of compensation. Winners outside of the U.S.A. accept that we cannot ship rentals outside of the U.S.A as we are a U.S. based company. Non-U.S. winners may use their gift certificates when in the U.S.A. We reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in the event that the original promised prize becomes unavailable.

Inappropriate Content
Obscene, provocative or otherwise questionable content will not be considered. We retain sole discretion as to what constitutes inappropriate content.

Entrants retain copyright to their work and upon submission grant use of their image in relation to the promotion of our photo contest(s), current or future, on our blog, social media web sites and other web properties without any fee or other form of compensation. All photos used to promote this contest are copyrighted by the original photographers.

By entering the contest, entrants agree to have their submitted name displayed on our website and used by us for any purpose, at any time, without any fee or other form of compensation. We reserve the right to disqualify users, without notice, and for any reason. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.[/learn_more]


The Leica Diary, Part IV – An Unexpected Thing or Two

Gear Talk
The M9 with a 50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M lens

The M9 with a 50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M lens

In this part, I’ll look at a couple of unexpected things I ran into when shooting with the Leica.

Most people who shoot with a Leica assume that the lenses available for it, like the 50mm f/2.5 shown above, are primes. And, for the most part, this is true. I’d certainly had no reason to think otherwise.  (more…)

Used Gear Sale

BL News

We revamped our For Sale page and revised pricing on a bunch of recently-added gear from Nikon, Canon, Sony and more! Click HERE to see what we have up! If you have any questions on a specific piece of gear (exact age, actuations, blemishes, etc), feel free to contact us at: [email protected] or call us at: 650-508-3370 and our Customer Service folks will do their best to give you a clear picture of the condition of the item and everything that comes with it.

Hard at Work

BL News

Dragging my carcass out of bed at 4:30am on Labor Day, I hauled myself over to the Marin Headlands to shoot for a piece on Tilt-Shift lenses. To my surprise, I found fellow photographer and VP of Marketing Jim Goldstein already there, hard at work as well.

Cool Stuff – Week of September 1, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

  • We begin this week with this riveting and powerful video on the impact of the world’s most powerful videos. There’s a lot missing from this video, but I think we’ll all agree there’s something to be said for the core message here.
  • Black and white photographers are almost fanatical about their art and craft. Here’s a pretty cool video (in B&W, natch!) that might help explain why.
  • The next vid comes to us from our friends at PetaPixel – have YOU heard of Flam Wenders?
  • Let’s face it, we’re a gear company. And as a gear company, we salivate over new stuff just like everyone else. So we’re stoked to see two new cameras from Canon, the C500 4K video beast, and the original C300’s little sibling, the C100.
  • And finally, because we must – the Leica 1600mm f/5.6. Cost: just over $2 million. Erm, no. We will NOT be carrying this lens for rent.

And now, for the rundown!

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Playing With Canon’s New Big Guns

Gear Talk

Canon’s 1Dx and 600mm f/4L IS II lens have been two of the most sought after (and repeatedly delayed) items in their inventory for the past year or so. Now, Canon is finally shipping them with some regularity, and we took this opportunity to put this new combo through its paces.

I love photographing birds. A few years ago, I started with a Canon 100-400mm lens and a Rebel XTi, and shot from the comfort of my car. Eventually, I moved up to a Canon 1D Mark IV and a 600mm f/4, or a 500mm f/4 lens.

The 1D MKIV/600mm combo became a favorite, and I managed to capture some really cool images with it that are part of my Natural History portfolio.

Humingbird shot with a 1D Mark IV and the Mark I 600mm lens

Humingbird shot with a 1D Mark IV and the Mark I 600mm lens

Of course, since then, Canon has introduced its successor to the 1D MKIV and the 600mm f/4. The 1Dx takes over where the 1D MKIV left off, introducing a bigger sensor and better high-ISO performance, among other things, whereas the new 600mm Mark II comes in at slightly shorter and much lighter than its predecessor.

I took this combo out for a spin to see if it would match up to my old favorites. As with my previous reviews, I focus more on the shooting experience out in the field, rather than lab tests and results. (more…)

The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

Gear Talk

Part I of the Leica Diary can be found here. Part II can be found here.

Zone focus.

Those are the two key words you need to know about focusing with a Leica. If you’ve used a rangefinder before, you already know this; if you haven’t, then read on.

Leica cameras don’t focus like the DSLRs, ILC (Interchangeable Lens Compacts like the Olympus E-P2), or point-and-shoot digitals that we’re all used to. For one, Leica lenses are all manual-focus lenses. For another, unlike most other digital cameras today, you’re not focusing through the lens (TTL). You’re actually using a separate viewfinder to do the framing and focusing for you.  (more…)