Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – August Edition

Nikon has Irish twins, Sigma goes wide and fast (and so does Olympus), and Sony decides to get Macro on us. It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the August edition of all the fresh, new gear at BorrowLenses! Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens and Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens Nikon’s old 500mm and 600mm f/4 lenses were excellent bits of glass (though calling them “bits” is an understatement). But what’s good can always be improved and Nikon has done just that with this pair. By incorporating flourite elements into the design, they’ve made them between 20% and 25% lighter, which makes these two the lightest lenses in their focal length/aperture in the world. Nikon has also incorporated magnesium into the the barrel for more weight savings and has improved the Vibration Reduction, giving you a total of 4 stops of VR. There’s also a Sport VR mode specifically for stabilizing the lenses through tracking objects that move unpredictably and rapidly. In addition, the Autofocus performance of the lenses has also improved. This, combined with an electromagnetic diaphragm, is intended to provide superior focus and exposure stability when tracking those aforementioned fast-moving objects. Obviously, I’ll, um, need to test all these. For, say, a week. With a Nikon D4s and a gimbal head on a nice, heavy-duty tripod. BL West Coast: I’ll pick this order up next weekend, mmkay? Better make it two weeks. You know, for thoroughness. Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Micro Four Thirds shooters often have to suffer the false impression that wide-angle lenses aren’t really available on the platform...
Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Leverage Multiple Camera Platforms with Adapters

Recently, I completed a shoot for an article written by our own Alex Huff for 500px’s ISO blog. For it, I returned to my trusty old 5D Mark II and an even older lens: a Nikon 100mm f/2.8 AiS lens that’s at least 30 years old. For me, the results were well past what I’d expected from the setup. To marry that Nikon lens to my 5D Mark II, I used this Nikon G lens to Canon adapter. I added a lens hood I own to the setup to avoid some glare I was getting off an overhead light and this is what it looked like: As I said, the results were well past what I’d expected. Turns out, that lens was superb on my 5D and the shot of model Xela Gaerlan (below) that ended up on the blog is one of my favorites. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve used a Nikon lens on my 5D. In fact, I wrote about this a couple of years ago. Moreover, I’ve also written in the past about using multiple lens types on Micro 4/3 cameras too. When I looked at my shooting kit now, however, I felt like it was time to visit the topic once more, especially given how much the adapter market has evolved. I own a 5D Mark II and a Sony a7S. When it comes to lenses, however, I own one Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (which I never use) and five Nikon-mount lenses. I had a Canon 24–70 at some point, but it’s lying at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay near the...
Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – May Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – May Edition

The pace of gear releases in our industry seems to be constantly increasing these days. Every month, we have new photo or video gear coming into our offices so we thought we’d start putting together a roundup of everything new we have available to rent. Here’s what’s come in during the last month or so: Profoto B2 AirTTL Location Kit   Profoto gear just keeps getting better and better. The guys over at Resource Mag Online have put up a nice video review that you can check out here, but here’s the short and sweet: It’s Profoto’s legendary quality meets portability meets TTL metering for Canon and Nikon shooters. You can, of course, also hook up your standard PocketWizards for manual triggering as well. This is a fantastic light for location shooting when you want a bit more power than a standard speedlight. Elinchrom 800W/s D-Lite RX4 Monolight Kit   Since we’re on the subject of lighting, the guys at Elinchrom haven’t been standing still either. We now have one of their newest lights in stock, and it’s available as a kit that comes with light stands, small softboxes, and the Skyport SPEED transmitter for triggering these flashes. We love these lights, and you can pair them with Elinchrom’s legendary Deep Octa or 6′ Light Bank for some incredible lighting. Fuji XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Lens Fuji keeps making waves with their incredible line of X-series cameras and lenses, but this particular one is really the one Fuji shooters have been waiting for. The equivalent of a 24-82.5mm lens on a full-frame camera, this zoom is weather-sealed...
The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Of all the things that photographers argue about in our secret monthly meetings, sensor size and its impact on our work is perhaps one of the most heated topics that can come up. From the true “bigger is better” snobs (“Sensors? Bah! 8X10 film is where it’s at!”) to the ones who prize portability above all (“Micro-Four-Thirds rules!”), the debate between advocates of MFT, APS-C, and full-frame sensors often reaches religious fervor. Contentious topics related to sensor size include resolution, high-ISO performance, and dynamic range, but the quality and characteristic of bokeh, or out-of-focus backgrounds, is perhaps the most fiercely contentious. While there’s no contest that the bigger sensors can clearly produce much smoother and, well, blurier (not a word, I know), it’s also an unfair statement that the smaller sensors like the ones in Olympus and Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds cameras can’t produce good bokeh. The Prerequisites Now, before you get into this article, if you have questions about what crop sensors are, how they work, etc., you want to read a few of these articles: Tip of the Week: Understanding Sensor Crop Factors, Part 1 Transitioning from Point-and-Shoot to DSLR: Understanding Full Frame vs Crop Frame Sensors Best Wide Angle for a Crop Sensor Camera These articles will give you a good understanding of what crop sensors are, and what using a crop sensor camera implies, for the most part. In this article, we’re going to drill down to one specific thing. We will take a look at just how the size of your camera’s sensor affects the bokeh characteristics of your image. To do this, we devised a pretty...
Intro to Light Painting with Olympus Trailblazer Jamie MacDonald

Intro to Light Painting with Olympus Trailblazer Jamie MacDonald

Jamie MacDonald is an Olympus Trailblazer who shoots nature and wildlife in the Mid-Michigan area exclusively with the Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera systems. He is also a contributor for Small Camera Big Picture. Light painted photography is one of his passions and he is currently working on a new light painting tool to make the job easier for beginners. Check out his tips below for creating a successful light painted photo. Intro to Light Painting by Jamie MacDonald As photographers we know that our craft is all about light. We long for the golden hours of morning and evening, the blue hour of twilight, and some of us make our own with strobes and Speedlights. But there is a subset of photographers out there who choose not use light to highlight our subjects but, rather, to make light the subject itself. This is what happens when light becomes the scene. What does it take to start light painting? It really takes nothing more than your camera, a source of light, and your imagination. Let’s start off with the gear. Below is a general recommendation for the gear needed to begin light painting: A camera capable of shooting in manual mode. If you’re an extreme beginner, don’t worry – shooting in manual is easy for this! A tripod or some other way to make sure your camera is stable during the exposure. A cable release for your camera. If you do NOT have one, don’t worry. I have a trick for you to use that will work just fine. A light source. What kind? Pretty much anything that makes...