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The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Gear Talk

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. (more…)

Intro to Light Painting with Olympus Trailblazer Jamie MacDonald

Tips & Tricks

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. (more…)

The Five Best Lenses For the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Gear Talk

I’ve been playing with the BMPCC (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera) for a few weeks now, and have, after much experimentation, finally narrowed the massive selection available for this camera (especially via adapters of various sorts) down to my 5 essential picks. Here they are, in no particular order… (more…)

Sample Images: Benefits of Shooting Olympus and Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds

Gear Talk

Mirrorless cameras and the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system are gaining in popularity. From Panasonic’s GH3 to the Blackmagic, more and more cameras are coming out in MFT mount. Olympus originally pioneered the Four Thirds system and, along with Panasonic, announced a new Micro Four Thirds standard in 2008. This new system increased in quality while decreasing in bulk. (more…)

Cool Stuff — August 12, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a recurring feature where we post our favorite links, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

Cool Stuff articles are culled from BLFlip, the official Flipboard Magazine of BorrowLenses.com. If you’ve got an iOS or Android device, you can download the Flipboard app for free now. (more…)

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Gear Talk

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot.

High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for:

  • Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage.
  • Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street.
  • Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system.

Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality: (more…)

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Gear Talk

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it.

The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer.

Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D

I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review.

(more…)

Cool Stuff – January 26, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Cool Stuff – January 3, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more. Things have been quiet over the holidays, but there’s still a bunch of neat things around the web.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected]

Tip of the week: How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Tips & Tricks
Nik Silver Efex Pro / Alien Skin Exposure

Nik Silver Efex Pro / Alien Skin Exposure

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]

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.

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Cool Stuff – December 14, 2011

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s cool stuff. If you have something you think should be included, let us know! Email us at [email protected].

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.

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…)