The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He set out to find the best astrophotography and night photography lenses for their price point. Discover why Rokinon lenses may transform how you shoot. The Best Lenses for Night Photography by David Kingham Prime vs Zoom What do you want in a lens for night photography? The most important factor is how much light a lens will let in so that we can shoot at lower ISOs– this means apertures of f/2.8 or greater (f/1.4 being preferred). Most zoom lenses only go to f/2.8 and, while they are perfectly okay for night photography, they are not the ultimate lenses to use. Enter the prime lens! A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens that is designed to have much larger apertures. If you have looked into the major manufacturers’ primes (Nikon, Canon, Zeiss) you may be thinking I’m crazy right now because they are expensive (unless, of course, you rent them)! I went on a search for lenses with the ultimate quality-to-price ratio. Rokinon Lenses In this search I’ve become a huge fan of Rokinon brand lenses. These are also branded under Samyang, ProOptic, and Bower. They are all the same lenses, just with different names. Rokinon seems to be the more common name in the US. The following lenses are relatively cheap compared to the pro-series Nikon or Canon lenses: Rokinon 14mm 2.8 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 24mm 1.4 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 35mm 1.4 (also available in Canon mount) Rokinon 85mm 1.4 BorrowLenses.com has the following Canon cinema lenses available to...
The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift: Freelensing Your Way to a Specialty Lens

While we’ll never condone the wanton destruction of a lens (especially one of ours), sometimes a little home reverse engineering can do wonders–or at least make for a fun weekend project. This is exactly what photographer Jay Cassario did over at Lightshop. He took a $120 lens and converted into a tilt-shift, saving himself about $1,000. Of course, he could have just rented a tilt-shift lens from us but that is not the point! Read all about Jay’s quest to break a lens and have it be reborn into a tilt-shift. FREELENSING – The Poor Man’s Tilt-Shift by Jay Cassario, reprinted with permission. Freelensing is a relatively inexpensive way of getting the similarly unique affect of an expensive tilt-shift lens, where the focus plane is thrown out of whack with the added bonus of natural light leaks. No, this isnt anything new, and the look that an expensive tilt-shift lens gives has been around for a while, but I wanted to share with you my experience with it and how I did it. Yes, I did purchase a brand new Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D lens from B&H only to break it and take it apart the minute I took it out of the box…but that was the reason I purchased it. I had tossed around the idea of spending the money on a tilt-shift lens that would easily cost me over $1000, but after reading about the freelensing technique from Sam Hurd, I figured I would give it a try. At the end of the day, it’s the unique look that I’m going for, so if I could get that by...
BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

BorrowLenses Reviews the Canon Rebel T5i

First, a confession: I’m a Nikon shooter. However, the first digital camera I ever really learned how to use was a Rebel T2i (was a film shooter prior to that). I have had a soft spot for the Rebel series ever since, despite being currently married to a D800. They are fantastic cameras and the T5i is no exception but, to be honest, it just isn’t at all exceptional when compared to its 2012 predecessor, the T4i. In comparison to the T4i, the T5i… Maintains the same 18.0 megapixel CMOS sensor as its predecessor, the T4i. Maintains the same hybrid sensor that allows for that smooth and quiet continuous auto focusing in STM (STepping Motor) lenses. Adds Scene Mode to the modes dial. Also, the mode dial spins all the way around. Small change, but nice. Maintains the exact same LCD menu as in the T4i. Changes how one accesses the different Scene Modes. I feel it is now slightly more difficult on the T5i. On the T4i, you can select HDR Backlight Control, Handheld Night Scene and Night Portrait on the dial itself. On the T5i, the dial must be set to SCN and then you have to navigate between the above-listed scenes using a combination of the Q-button/print button and the scroll wheel. Boo to that. My personal theory for why they set it up this way is that now firmware updates can include new Scene Modes without the dial being considered out-of-date in its labeling. If Scene Modes are your thing then this could prove exciting for you. Maintains the exact same menu, info, and Live...
New Zacuto Stabilization Shoulder-Mount Rigs Available to Rent at BorrowLenses.com

New Zacuto Stabilization Shoulder-Mount Rigs Available to Rent at BorrowLenses.com

Just in time for NAB, BorrowLenses.com now has a whole new fleet of Zacuto products for rent. Zacuto makes high-quality, USA-manufactured videography  and photography accessories and stabilization rigs for pro-level cameras and DSLRs alike. Shoot like a pro for a fraction of the price! Get familiar with our new kits here… Zacuto Scorpion DSLR Shoulder Mount Z-DSP Good for all DSLRs. Highly customizable. Can hold any Electronic Viewfinder. Articulated to conform to the body. Zacuto Canon Cinema Shoulder Mount Rig Good for shoulder-mounted shooting with the Canon C100, C300 and C500. Can be used on either the left or the right shoulder with equal comfort–perfect for ENG-style shooting. Allows use of Canon’s C300 Grip on the Z-grips. Build-in 24″ cable will connect to the C300. Zacuto Fee-N-G DSLR ENG-Style Camera Support Rig Good for all DSLRs. Ideal for handheld run-and-gun shooting. Includes Okii Systems MC1 USB Mini Controller. Built-in kickstand. Zacuto Double Barrel Good for all DSLRs. Adjustable and expandable with dual handles. Follow focus is included for precise focus pulling. Shoulder mount component comes off and can be mounted onto any tripod. Zacuto Bolt Action Shoulder-Mounted DSLR Support System Good for all DSLRs. Height-adjustable baseplate. Works equally well on the right shoulder or the left shoulder. Bolt Action system compatible with all 15mm lightweight accessories. Zacuto FS100/FS700/F3 Shoulder-Mounted Support System Good for in-line, shoulder-mounted shooting with the Sony FS100, FS700, and F3 camcorders. Allows you to use the Zacuto EVF with the EVF Rod Mount. Universal baseplate and a Z-Spacer. Ability to align the camera with matte boxes and follow focus units. Rent all of these items from BorrowLenses.com, plus cameras, lenses, dollies, lighting kits, and more! Do...
Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Interested in car photography? Jim Frenak, lead photographer at FPI Studios, recently shot the new 2014 Chevy Impala for Chevy’s West Coast PR blog. Read about how FPI Studios got the shot by pre-planning with a shot list and employing a couple of popular techniques for capturing a sense of motion. From the original blog post by  Jim Frenak (and edited by Sara Leeper), reprinted with permission: Shooting for GM As we have done many times in the past with GM vehicles, the crew at FPI Studios and I were recently asked to photograph the new 2014 Chevy Impala. The main purpose of these photos is for distribution to all of the media outlets to support any news or editorial stories that are written about the vehicle. Typical of other vehicle shoots, GM was looking for a combination of beauty shots as well as photos of the car in action. They wanted to present the car in an urban setting and a more natural location. It’s very important that the images define the cut-lines and body sculpting that make the new Impala so distinguishable. Then GM threw in one more caveat… Since the Impala that we were shooting was a pre-production car, there were a couple of rules that we had to follow. First, the car could only travel on private or closed roads. If it drove on public roads, we needed to close them down and hire police officers to block traffic. This severely limited the number of possible locations to shoot the car. Second, the car couldn’t be driven from one location to another. For each location change,...