Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

Reviewing the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 and Nikon 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lenses for Night Sky Landscape Photography

David Kingham is a lanscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He field-tested some of our fisheye lenses to see which one is most suitable for this kind of work. If you’re interested in astrophotography and landscapes, check out Kingham’s findings below (reprinted here with permission): Fisheye Lenses for Night Photography by David Kingham Sigma 15mm 2.8 vs Nikon 16mm 2.8 I’ve been looking to add a fisheye to my arsenal of night photography lenses, but I was never able to locate solid information on what the best lens is for my style of night photography, specifically. I knew I needed to do my own testing to know for sure. I received the Sigma 15mm 2.8 and Nikon 16mm 2.8 from BorrowLenses.com and I needed to go someplace spectacular to test them out–what better place than Canyonlands National Park? I first tested the Sigma and tried setting the focus manually to infinity and taking a shot only to be disappointed to see blurry stars on the LCD. I then used Live View to set my focus on a bright star and, even though the focus was set well before infinity, it was now razor sharp. Not ideal, but I have the same problem on my Rokinon lenses, so I can get used to this. I switched over to the Nikon, which feels solidly constructed compared to the Sigma and is smaller and lighter as well. Another positive about the Nikon is that it hard stops at infinity. This means no guessing on your focus–just spin it until it stops and you have no worries. Sounds like the Nikon is the clear...
Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Holiday events have a way of filling a room. Being tasked with running a party photo booth for friends and family can be daunting, especially if your budget isn’t big and your space isn’t, either. We put together a simple, fun photo booth using portable items that you can rent from BorrowLenses.com. There are various ways to make a booth–some even more simple than this, many more complex. This is just how we did it and you can improve/build upon it. If you do create a booth, feel free to share links to your fun party pictures in the comments below and tell us how you made it! Our Backdrop: We purchased a lightweight wood dowel and stapled garland to it. It is light enough to still be able to hang with gaffer’s tape and not ruin your hosts’ walls. Of course, we have backdrops and backdrop stands for rent. But they take up quite a bit of space. Equipment Used: 3 Nikon SB-910s: 1 main, 1 fill, 1 back light. 3 SD-9 Compact Battery Packs for Nikon: extra battery power for the flashes. D800, using the popup flash as a commander (info box below for other flash-triggering options) Photoflex OctoDome Extra Small Kit: comes with a speedring, flash mount, and multiclamp. Manfrotto lightstand for the Photoflex OctoDome. AlienBees LS1100 backlight stand and multiclamp for the back light. Justin Clamp for the fill light (bouncing off a reflector). Pocket Wizard Plus II and TT5 (info box below for other shutter-triggering options). Pocket Wizard motor cord for Nikon. Tripod and ballhead for camera. 35mm lens or something with a range like 24-120mm, allowing...
5 Things I Learned at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference

5 Things I Learned at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference

Last week we had a great time at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference. As an event partner and sponsor we had a chance to meet a lot of great photographers in attendance. The conference had a great energy to it. With photographers being so active and social on Google+ it was rather effortless to pick up conversations in person with photographers of all stripes and experience levels. It was for this reason alone that attending was an amazing experience. Beyond meeting with great photographers there was a lot of great information shared amongst attendees and speakers alike. The 5 takeaways that I came back with that all photographers on Google+ could stand to benefit from included: 1. Focus on Community The community on Google+ feels like the Flickr photography community of old. There is a constant flow of photos with many photographers you’ll find familiar and many more that will likely be new to you. It’s a great time to explore and network with photographers of all backgrounds, experience levels and expertises. In fact there are numerous sub-communities on Google+ focusing on various photography niches. Google+ makes it super easy and fast to find information in alignment with your photographic and non-photographic interests. What made the Google+ Photographer’s Conference so special is the fact that this virtual community became tangible. If you follow someone on Google+ it was all the reason you needed to introduce yourself. It was great to be able to pick up conversations previously confined to posts and comments. Getting out to talk and photograph with your compatriots from abroad made for an extremely special time. 2....
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: Our Top 5 Sites for Photographic Inspiration

Tip of the Week: Our Top 5 Sites for Photographic Inspiration

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. This week’s tip is about inspiration. One of the keys to becoming a better photographer is to look at the work of other photographers. Before the internet (and there are some of us who remember those dark and ancient times), this meant buying or borrowing heavy and expensive printed books. No more. Now, inspiration is at your fingertips. Here are the top 5 sites we go to (in no particular order) for inspiration when we’re in need of it. 500px.com: One thing to know about 500px is that if you sign up, put only your best work on it. Unlike other photo sharing websites, 500px is a haven for excellent photography. No one’s going to come and knock on your door with an angry scowl if you post pictures of your breakfast, but this site isn’t the place for that kind of thing. The team that runs 500px is made up of folks who live and breathe photography, and the community that posts there is just as passionate. Posted images are big by default and clicking on them brings them up even larger in a “lightbox” that sits atop the current page. Tablet and smartphone users will like the fact that the site is very mobile-friendly and there’s even a dedicated app for browsing images on the...