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...
Tip of the Week: Behold the Frankencam!

Tip of the Week: Behold the Frankencam!

The practice of swapping lenses between platforms via adapters isn’t something new. Back in October 2011, for example, we wrote about using Canon, Nikon, and Leica lenses with Micro 4/3 cameras. Similarly, you can use an adapter to mount Nikon lenses onto Canon cameras, but until recently, this was limited to a smaller subset of Nikon lenses. The “D” lenses from Nikon, the ones with manual aperture rings like the Nikon 35mm f/2, could be used via an adapter on Canon cameras. You could manipulate the aperture manually on the lens, and set the shutter speed on your camera. DSLR video shooters quickly took to these lenses for this very reason. However, Nikon’s “G” class of lenses couldn’t be used with those adapters as there was no way to control the aperture on them as they lacked a manual aperture ring. The aperture was controlled electronically from the camera itself, and Canon cameras could not communicate with the lens in order to do so. Enter the Nikon G Lens to Canon Camera adapter. This ingenious little device allows not only the mounting of a Nikon lens to a Canon camera (like the older adapter we carry for “D” lenses), but also lets you mount a “G” lens onto your Canon body – and gives you a way to control the lens’ aperture mechanically. If you look at the adapter itself, there are two blue tabs attached to it. Once the lens is attached to the adapter, those blue tabs move a small lever on the lens itself that opens and closes the aperture. Looking through the viewfinder on your...
The BigmOS: A Review Of Sigma’s Stabilized 50-500mm Lens

The BigmOS: A Review Of Sigma’s Stabilized 50-500mm Lens

Introduction BorrowLenses.com has carried the non-stablized version of the Sigma 50-500 for some time now. That lens, nicknamed the “Bigma” has been something of a cult favorite, despite its many failings. We recently introduced what I consider to be its older, more grown-up sibling, the Sigma 50-500mm lens with Optical Stablization, to our inventory as well. I took the Canon version of this lens, nicknamed the “BigmOS”, out for a spin to put it through a few paces. Let’s get this out of the way immediately: when you use a lens like the Sigma 50–500mm f/4.5–6.3 APO DG OS HSM (there’s a mouthful for you), you really do have to keep your expectations in check. If you can remember that any lens with a 10x zoom factor is going to compromise quality and adjust the bar accordingly, you’ll walk away with some pretty decent images. On the surface, the idea of having a lens that goes from a pretty standard 50mm focal length all the way out to 500mm might seem like a wonderful thing. Why on earth would you carry that big, heavy, 500mm f/4 lens out to your first wildlife photography trip when you can have this thing and hand-hold it, at least for a while? That’s a question we get asked quite often with this lens, and the answer to it can be summed up in one word: quality. When you have a lens with as many moving lens elements (the individual pieces of glass inside the lens’ barrel), you are going to see a fair amount of quality loss. Prime lenses like the 500mm f/4 from...
Finally! A new full-frame camera from Nikon

Finally! A new full-frame camera from Nikon

Nikon just announced the D4, and it looks like a doozy, not just an updated version of the D3s. Loads of new features – expanded ISO, clean HDMI out, MUCH better HD video options (1080p at 30, 24 and 25fps). Most importantly, it’ll be the first full-frame sensor camera with full HD capability since the Canon 5D MarkII (the 1Dx isn’t due out till March 2012). A couple of other points of interest. The D4 has an RGB metering sensor, first introduced with the Nikon D7000. The difference here is that besides being an updated version of the D7000’s sensor, the D4’s metering sensor has 91,000 pixels to the D7000’s 2016. Framerate has be upped to 11fps in Continuous High, from 9fps in the D3s. ISO is expandable to 204800. The 91k pixel RGB sensor also features face recognition. You can now record 1080p video in three formats: Full-frame, DX crop and an even smaller crop that uses just 1920×1080 pixels on the sensor. Lots more stuff too, including a headphone jack for monitoring audio, a levels indicator and more. That 1Dx needs to hit the market sooner rather than later, because Nikon has upped the ante with this extremely capable HDDSLR, finally challenging Canon in the video realm. Check out the press release for more details. Here are the specs. UPDATES: Here’s a roundup of D4-related pieces from around the web. Nikon’s James Banfield goes through the video functions of the D4 on DSLR News Shooter. Just in time for the D4, Sony announced a range of XQD cards for the D4. ISO1200 has a lead on a low light video...
How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Black and white photography is one of the oldest forms of photography; yet its popularity seems to have been on the uptick of late. With plugins like Alien Skin’s Exposure and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, digital photographers now have some amazing tools at their disposal to create black and white images of varying types. But the problem with shooting for black and white is knowing what will look good as a monochrome image. It can take photographers years to look at a scene and know what it will look like when rendered in monochrome. The old adage of “If it doesn’t look good, just convert it to B&W and call it art,” doesn’t hold very true. Rather, the axiom “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)” is much more accurate. You have to know what will stand out as a black and white image, and that’s what this week’s tip is about. Most – if not all – digital cameras out there have a black-and-white or monochrome setting. For example, my 5D Mark II has a Monochrome setting under the Picture Styles menu, as does my Olympus Micro-Four-Thirds camera. Simply select this setting and shoot. Your subject – whether it’s a portrait or a landscape or a street scene – will be recorded as a black-and-white image. Furthermore, if you want to see what an image will look like in B&W when you adjust your exposure, switch to Live-View on your camera. If you have a smaller, Micro-Four-Thirds or Sony NEX camera, this is what you use anyway to take your shots. You’ll get a live preview of what a B&W image...