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From the “You don’t need a $10,000 camera” department…

Cool Stuff

Here’s something to remind you that you don’t need thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to do something truly captivating. David HJ. Lindberg’s video of running through mud puddles (below) was shot with a Canon T21 and a 50mm f/1.8 lens.

The Beauty of Mud (4000 fps) from David HJ. Lindberg on Vimeo.

We really have gotten to the point where ingenuity, perseverance and creativity don’t need to be accompanied by tons of money. The photo gear that David used (T2i and 50mm f/1.8) can be rented for about $60 for three days from BorrowLenses. We also have the T2i for sale for just $450, if you want to buy it. Bottom-line: You’re not really limited by gear anymore – just grab your camera and lens and get out there!

One Fisheye to Rule Them All!

Gear Talk

After spending some quality time with Canon’s newest L-series lens, the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, we can safely say it is the undisputed king of the fishes. It’s so versatile that it replaces at least five other lenses: the Sigma 8mm, Peleng’s 8mm, Tokina’s 10-17mm, Canon’s own 15mm and the Zenitar 16mm. It covers the same focal length as all five of these lenses (for the most part) while being sharper across the zoom range, delivering crisp, contrasty images that are to be expected from a lens bearing Canon’s lofty “L” designation. With this lens in your bag, there’s little reason to consider another fisheye lens, regardless of what camera body you are using. (more…)

Tip of the week: Making sense of PocketWizards, Part II

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Every Thursday, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

In Part I of this series, we talked about the standard types of PocketWizards, covering the Plus II and Multimax triggers. Now, we’ll tackle the newer, more complex types of PocketWizards, called the ControlTL series.

About the ControlTL series

ControlTL stands for “Control The Light”, and it’s PocketWizard’s way of giving photographers even greater power over their lighting setup. There are several items that make up the system, from triggers designed specifically for studio flashes like the Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 lights, to small flash-specific triggers like the Nikon SB-900 and Canon 580EXII.


Weekly Recap – November 7, 2011

Gear Talk

Welcome to the Weekly Recap. Today’s post recaps new and newsworthy items related to photography from around the web for the week ending on November 6, 2011.

  1. In case you missed it, Canon made its Hollywood debut last week. Lots of hoopla and a $20,000 camera in EF (standard Canon lens mount) and PL-mount version. Martin Scorcese and Vince LaForet both made appearances.
  2. Not to be outdone, outspoken and brash CEO Jim Jannard of RED trumped their introduction with his own – a $10,000 RED Scarlet-X that shoots 4K resolution at up to 30p.
  3. Of course, Canon added a very Jobsian “One more thing” nugget at the end of its presentation, announcing an HDDSLR that would capture 4K footage at 24fps in MotionJPEG.
  4. Lawsuits against photographers filed by angry clients isn’t exactly old news, but this one takes the cake. Actually, this guy wants his photographer to pay for his cake. And the rest of his wedding, apparently, so he can restage the whole thing SIX years later. After he’s been separated from his wife. It was enough for Anderson Cooper to add him to the Ridiculist.
  5. What is it these days with the law and photographers? First there’s the guy above, suing for $48,000. Then, an Oakland cop fires a rubber bullet at a photographer. And somewhere along the way, a Milwaukee photojournalist was arrested while covering an Occupy Milwaukee protest. Photography is not a crime, people!
  6. At least the folks in New Hampshire have it right. A judge there dropped wiretapping charges against a man for recording a police officer during a traffic stop.
  7. Going back to new gear releases, Panasonic unveiled the GX1, it’s newest Micro 4/3 camera. The category continues to grow…
  8. Our friends at DPS have a list of their top 10 photographic accessories, as presented by their readers.
  9. The folks at DIYPhotography have a rundown of the latest, greatest, most cutting edge camera flash technology – from 150 years ago.
  10. And finally, because everyone who shoots Canon knows that white lenses are better than black, one photographer painted his sub-$100 50mm f/1.8 lens white, with a red ring. Presenting: the 50mm f/1.8L (not really ‘L) lens.

And… fight!

Gear Talk
RED vs Canon

RED vs Canon

Canon says hello to Hollywood.

For a few years now, Hollywood has had a burgeoning love affair with Canon’s EOS HDDSLRs, using them in productions ranging from Transformers to Captain America to TV shows like House. Now, Canon is making its formal entrance bid into Hollywood with the $20,000 Cinema EOS C300. Check out Canon’s new site dedicated to all things Cinema EOS.

More importantly, check out our friend Vincent Laforet’s post on his newest video, Mobius, shot with the C300. There’s an awesome behind the scens video, both embedded here for your viewing pleasure.

Mobius from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.


Mobius :: Behind The Scenes from Blake Whitman on Vimeo.

The camera looks pretty impressive and the video, if Mobius is any indication, is of excellent quality. The Super35 sensor is a 4K sensor, but captures a 1080p file, and Canon has a DSLR concept that can capture 24fps in the MotionJPEG codec at 4K resolution.

Yeah, we’re salivating.

3 hours later, RED unveiled new specs, pricing and availability of their answer to the C300, the Scarlet-X.

And what a coup – the Scarlet-X is all grown up. 5K at 12fps (that’s 14 megapixel stills at 12 frames per second) and 4K at up to 30fps, incredible dynamic range and a price that starts at $10,000. A fully equipped package, ready to shoot, minus lenses, is $14,000. It has the same sensor as it’s big brother, the EPIC; the difference in the two – besides the price – is the processing power in the camera’s brain; the EPIC can handle higher frames per second at higher resolutions because of it.

Um, wow.

Since canon announced the C300 before RED put their announcement out, we’ve yet to hear what Canon’s reps think of the Scarlet-X. Either way, as the folks at Pixiq say, “The battle for amateur filmmakers is about to commence, and things are are about to get properly interesting…”

Tip of the week: Using a gimbal head

Tips & Tricks

Every Thursday, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

Canon 1D MK IV on a Wimberley gimbal head

Canon 1D MK IV on a Wimberley gimbal head

One of the questions we get quite often from our customers is about photographing wildlife using long lenses. Here at, we carry a wide variety of those lenses, like Canon’s 500mm, 600mm and 800mm lenses, as well as Nikon’s flagship 500mm and 600mm lenses.

These are large lenses and can weight in excess of 10lbs, making hand-holding them incredibly impractical. A tripod is very important to have, but so is having the right kind of tripod head. A regular ballhead would work fine if your subject was stationary for the most part, but wildlife – particularly birds – aren’t known for staying still. Ballheads also pose a threat to your delicate lens as their heavy front elements have been known to cause the entire setup (lens, tripod, ballhead) to pitch forward if the tension is released too quickly.

The best solution? Say hello to our littler friend, the gimbal head. Made by vendors such as Custom Brackets and Wimberley, these heads allow you to mount large lenses in a way that makes them almost weightless and lets you move the lens in a free and easy manner using just your fingertips.


Weekly Recap – October 24, 2011

BL News

Welcome to the Weekly Recap. Today’s post recaps new and newsworthy items related to photography from around the web for the week ending on October 23.

  1. Petapixel is reporting that “A couple of scenes in “The Avengers” were shot with the iPhone 4. We’re pissed. We’ve been training on our RED, for heaven’s sake! Now we have to do iPhone training?
  2. From the “I want it now” department, the Canon 1Dx replaces the 1D Mark IV and 1Ds Mark III.
  3. Sony halts production of the NEX-7 and Reflex Alpha 65 due to the floods in Thailand. Looks like the D800 announcement might be called off because of that too.
  4. Got motion blur in your images? The next version of Photoshop might be able to fix that for you. Adobe releases more details on a deblurring tool demoed at Adobe Max 2011.
  5. Need more megapixels? How’s 200? Go behind the scenes of a vintage Ferrari shoot with the Hasselblad H4D-200MS.
  6. Canon makes changes to its Canon Professional Services program. It’s now easier to become a member.
  7. Getty images is getting sued for using the pine-tree-shaped car air fresheners in some of their stock images. Looks like a judge agreed with the air freshener company, because Getty just lost a round in that case.
  8. There’s a new fund to honor the memory of fallen photojournalist Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libya this year. Donate to the fund at Democracy in Action.
  9. A couple of weeks ago, Olympus’ CEO was fired. Now, it looks like the scandal goes deeper. Corruption! Fraud! Embezzlement! All the makings of a TV movie.
  10. New Hero! Everyone’s favorite action sports camera, the GoPro Hero, is now available in a new iteration, the HD Hero 2. Now Jeb Corliss has to do his wingsuit thing all over again with the new cameras.

Weekly Recap – October 17, 2011

BL News
The FaceBook App for iPad.

The FaceBook App for iPad. Image courtesy

Welcome to the Weekly Recap. Today’s post recaps new and newsworthy items related to photography from around the web for the week ending on October 16.

  1. Facebook releases iPad app: Why should photographers care? Well, apparently, it makes your photos bigger. And bigger, as they say, is better.
  2. Thailand floods, Nikon affected: The floods in Thailand have reached Nikon’s factories there, the company says. Price hikes on Nikon products to follow, rumors say.
  3. Everyone – including 500px – has an app: Just a few days ago, a third-party company released an iPhone app for, the popular photo sharing site. Now, the company has its own app for the iPad.
  4. Ouch: This is why everyone needs to wear a GoPro. Yes, we know. It’s textbook schadenfreude. 
  5. New Canon and Nikon cameras soon: From the “We’ll believe it when we see it,” category.
  6. And we ask again: Fuji, will it focus? Fuji announces pricing and availability of the “Baby X100″.
  7. More from the “Want it!” category: One camera plate to rule them all.
  8. Film is going away. Again. Really, this time: Chalk this under the “Haven’t we heard this before?” department? For the record, I still shoot some film. 
  9. Kickstarter, part 1: Not just for cool iPhone and iPod accessories, Kickstarter can also fund some awesome photographic projects. National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig goes to Chernobyl on a crowdfunded budget.
  10. Kickstarter, part 2: They asked for $20,000. They got just under half a million. Here come the Cineskates. 

Tip of the week: An adaptable camera system

Tips & Tricks
A Zeiss CP.2 lens on an Olympus E-P2

A Zeiss CP.2 lens on an Olympus E-P2

Every Thursday, we will post a photography-related tip here. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at [email protected]

Today we’re going to talk about a video camera called the Panasonic AG AF100. The AF100 is from a family of products that adhere to the Micro Four-Thirds standard. So far, Olympus and Panasonic are the two manufacturers making cameras for this standard, but a number of other manufacturers have also signed on to produce add-ons for it. Sigma, Carl Zeiss, Lensbaby and Voigtlander, all venerable manufacturers, have signed on to make lenses for it. (more…)

Best Wide Angle for a Crop Sensor Camera

BL News

At we get a lot of phone calls from potential customers with questions regarding which gear to use for certain types of photography. Of those calls, one of the most prominent is “What is the best wide angle lens to rent for landscapes?” The answer is there are plenty of great lenses to choose from, but which lens is best depends heavily on which camera body you are using. When we ask people what camera they have, the majority respond that they are shooting with a crop-sensor body, and this affects lens selection in a significant way. Crop sensor bodies from Canon include the 10-60D, Rebel series and 7D. On the Nikon side there are the D4/5/6/7/8/90, D7000 and D300 series.