Tip of the Week: In-Camera Panos with Fuji

Tip of the Week: In-Camera Panos with Fuji

Making panoramic images is one of my favorite things to do, and I tend to go to some lengths to make them. My tool of choice is usually something along the lines of a Canon 45mm TS-E lens, and I use a technique I described in a previous Tip of the Week piece, “Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos.” That technique takes some time, thought, and setup, and I don’t always have time to do it right. Sometimes, I want to create a panoramic image quickly and easily. The usual thing to do, then, is to use a wide-angle lens and simply crop the center out. This is a good idea, but unless you’re using a 20+MP camera, you’re going to end up with something pretty small (on the order of something like a 3-4MP image). There’s a better option. I’ve been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the X100 for some time now, and both cameras have what they call a “Motion Panorama” setting. With a bit of practice, you can use this sweep panorama with great effectiveness. First, hit the “Drive” button on your Fuji camera. On the X-Pro1, this is a dedicated button, but is part of the 4-way rocker on the X100. Once you do so, scroll down to the “Motion Panorama” mode. Once you’re in the Motion Panorama mode, hit the “OK” button on the back of your Fuji. You will then see a screen that looks like the one in the image below. In our example, we left the lens cap on so that the guides on the screen stand out, but...

Product Update: D800 and D4 Lock-Up Fix

News has been circulating today about a newly identified bug with the Nikon D4 and D800 that may negatively impact photographers employing certain settings. To give you a deeper insight to the problem, a short term fix and a likely long term solution our resident technical expert and repair manager Michio Fukuda  has the following to report:   The Bug Nikon’s newly released D4’s and D800’s have had an alarming number of complaints regarding an intermittent issue causing the bodies to lock up under normal user conditions. Nikon has officially addressed the issue, in a recent conversation with PDN (Photo District News) on 5.3.2012,  and DPReview has since confirmed this bug.  The problem encountered again and again is that the body will become completely unresponsive until the battery is removed and re-installed, but should return to good working order once this is done.   The Fix Nikon stated that the issue is present for only a small users who have ‘Highlights’ and ‘RGB Histogram’ display options turned on.  They also communicated that they are in the process of developing the permanent fix and have instructed users on a temporary fix for the interim. The temporary “band-aid” fix is to turn off the ‘Highlights’ and ‘RGB Histogram’ display options in the ‘Playback Display Option’s sub-menu of  the ‘Playback’ menu.   Here is the step by step process to implement the temporary fix:   Step 1 – Press the menu button.   Step 2 – Scroll down to “Playback display options” and press the center button on the directional pad to access that menu.   Step 3 – Once inside the playback menu, scroll down to “highlights” and “RGB histogram”.   Step 4 – Deselect the “highlights” and “RGB...
Use ND Filters to Blur Motion

Use ND Filters to Blur Motion

The use of various filters – physical ones, not the ones in Photoshop – is something that waxes and wanes with time. Back in the film days, filters were an indispensable part of the landscape photographer’s toolkit. With the advent of digital photography and technologies like HDR, the use of filters, especially graduated and colored filters, has fallen off quite a bit. As is wont to happen, what’s old is slowly becoming new again. Of late, there’s been a resurgence in the use of certain filters, to the point where Schneider, one of the leading companies that makes these filters, is back-ordered on a number of them. What is an ND filter, and why do I want to use one? But let’s backtrack and talk about what an ND filter is, exactly. In simple terms, an ND – or Neutral Density – filter is a dark piece of glass or resin that cuts down the amount of light coming into your camera. It does so without, hopefully, affecting the white balance of your image, or adding a color cast (though as you’ll see later, this isn’t always the case). Now, why would you use an ND filter? Well, there are a number of reasons for that. Here’s an excerpt from a previous post… One thing that confuses a lot of photographers is that in the video world, shutter speed is no longer something you can use to control your exposure – at least, not without additional consequences. When shooting video, your shutter speed needs to be fixed at either 1/50th of a second (if you’re shooting video at 24fps)...
Op-Ed: Gear Doesn’t Matter – Except When It Does

Op-Ed: Gear Doesn’t Matter – Except When It Does

Please note: this article is a personal opinion and does not reflect the views of BorrowLenses.com. All thoughts and images are my own. Introduction If you follow any part of the photographic blogosphere, you’ve heard folks repeat this mantra over and over and over again: “Gear doesn’t matter.” The basic premise of that dictum is as follows: making great pictures is about the photographer, not the camera or the lens or any other piece of gear. A good photographer can make a great image with a point-and-shoot that an amateur armed with a Nikon D4 and an 85mm f/1.4 lens can’t match. I’ve personally repeated the “It’s not the camera that takes the picture” mantra to new photographers myself because I know it to be true, and because it helps allay the fears many photographers have when buying their first DSLR, for example. I’ve also made some images, like the one shown here of Highway 130 in the San Francisco Bay Area, that I still like. It was taken with a Canon Rebel XTi and an 18–55mm kit lens. So, yes, at a basic level, you can make great images with very basic gear. For newcomers, especially, this is a good sermon to preach. The catch You knew there was going to be one, right? Before I tell you what that catch is, let me say this again, this time in bold and italic typeface: You don’t need expensive gear to get started in photography. Even a point-and-shoot will work. Use basic gear to learn the basics of photography before you start eyeing big gear. Ok. Here’s that catch: Gear...
Tip of the Week: Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos

Tip of the Week: Use a Tilt-Shift Lens for Panoramic Photos

Every week, 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 blog@borrowlenses.com. There are many ways to create panoramic images. You can start with a really wide-angle lens, then simply crop down to a long, narrow band to create a “faux” panorama. You can also use the built-in panoramic functions of cameras like Sony’s NEX and Alpha series, as well as Fuji’s X100 and X-Pro1. You can also simply take a series of pictures and stitch them together in Photoshop, or, if you’re really into panoramic photography, you could rent a pano-head from us, like the ones from Nodal Ninja. Today, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite ways to create panoramas. All of the methods above have some shortcomings that make it a bit harder to create good panos. Using a wide-angle lens and cropping, for example, leaves me with a lower-resolution file than I’d like. The built-in pano features in some cameras is neat, and I do use them (as shown in Figure 1), but they’re also relatively low-res JPEGs. Pano heads are great for this sort of work, but you have to find the “nodal point” of each lens you want to use, and that takes quite a bit of work. Tilt-shift lenses are a great alternative for creating panoramic images. Traditionally, these are used by architectural and landscape photographers to avoid distortion or...