BorrowLenses Street Photography Package Shoot Off: Leica, Fuji, and Nikon V1 Reviewed

BorrowLenses Street Photography Package Shoot Off: Leica, Fuji, and Nikon V1 Reviewed

Save time while also saving money with our new Photography and Videography Packages. Packages are a convenient way to rent a group of items with 1 click, whether it be a collection of prime lenses or various parts needed for a successful studio lighting setup. Our Street Photography Packages feature mirrorless bodies for their lightweight and inconspicuous (while still stylish) design–great for on-the-go candid shooting. Ben Revzin of ShouldIGetIt.com took three of our Street Photography Packages for a spin to see which set was the most, well, street savvy! See his results in the video review below. The packages reviewed: Street Photography (Compact) Essentials Package – Leica Street Photography (Compact) Essentials Package – Fuji Street Photography (Compact) Essentials Package – Nikon For more reviews on mirrorless systems, be sure to check out Sohail Mamdani’s Op-Ed on the Fuji X100s and his Leica Diary...
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. 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. 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. 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...
The Leica Diary, Part V – Final Thoughts

The Leica Diary, Part V – Final Thoughts

This is Part V of a series. The previous four parts are listed below: The Leica Diary, Part 1: Introduction The Leica Diary, Part II – Coming To Grips The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus The Leica Diary, Part IV – An Unexpected Thing or Two 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.  What we have here, folks, is a classic case of a photographer trying to mold himself into the image of his camera gear. The Leica is the classic street photographer’s camera; therefore, my thinking went, in order to truly use it and get the hang of it, I MUST shoot on the street. Occasionally, that resulted in a decent image. The portrait below of my friend and colleague, Ben Salomon, was taken with the M9. Every so often, I’d come across an image I’d like. But more often than not, my efforts would be a wash. But this was a really amazing camera. Surely, the fault lay with me if I couldn’t get good images out of it. Well, yeah, kinda. The fault was with me – to a point. The trap that I fell into was allowing the Leica to dictate not just the my technique, but also my style and genre. Since it was supposed to be a great street camera, I...
The Leica Diary, Part IV – An Unexpected Thing or Two

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

This is Part IV of a series. The previous three parts are listed below: The Leica Diary, Part 1: Introduction The Leica Diary, Part II – Coming To Grips The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus 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.  The first unexpected thing… Then I was introduced to the Leica 16-18-21 lens. Okay, here’s the deal. Leica has really only made two zoom lenses that I know of, and of those two, this one is the only one still in production. And, to be fair, this isn’t a zoom lens like we imagine it to be. Canon and Nikon both make a 16-35mm zoom, for example. On those lenses, you can zoom seamlessly through the entire focal length range. I’m fairly sure I have images shot at 19mm, 23mm, 29mm, and other focal ranges in my library that were shot with the Nikon 16-35mm lens. The Leica’s zoom lens, however, is more like three prime lenses bundled into a zoom lens. The zoom ring doesn’t turn seamless. Instead, as you can see in the image above, there are three “click” stops at 16mm, 18mm, and 21mm. When you shoot, you shoot at one of those three focal ranges. Now, this lens, when you rent it from us, comes with a neat little accessory. Since the Leica’s built-in...
The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

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.  Take a look at the image below. It’s a bit hard to capture the view through a Leica’s viewfinder, but see that slightly bright rectangle near the top-left of the circle? That’s your focusing aid. Now, see how the part of the poster that’s in that rectangle is doubled?  Well, on a Leica, you adjust the focus ring of the lens till the two images merge into one. That’s the first way to focus a Leica, and when you’re at a wide-open aperture like f/2.5, it’s the surest way to gain critical focus. But that’s not how zone focusing works. Google defines zone focusing as “A way to focus that utilizes the depth of field scale rather than the actual distance from camera to subject. Zone focusing is most useful for candid, street photography.” To understand this, let’s take a look at the lens barrel of a Leica. In the image below, you’ll see that there are a number of markings...