Sony RX10: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

Sony RX10: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

Court Leve is a sports, wedding, portrait, and pet photographer. His work has been published in National Geographic Adventure, Powder, Ski, Skiing, Freeskier, Parade Magazine, ForbesLife Mountain Time, Spirit Magazine, Southwest Art, and more. He is a regular contributor to the BL Blog. Sony RX10: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review by Court Leve Coming from a background in SLR cameras, and owning a number of point-and-shoots over the years, it was interesting to have a chance to use the new Sony RX10. It’s the first ‘bridge’ camera that I’ve used and I was somewhat skeptical about how it would perform. In short, this camera is very impressive and makes for a great all-around camera and an excellent choice as a travel camera. The RX10 is easy to use in either full automatic or manual modes. The design is simple to navigate with the most commonly used controls quickly accessible without having to dive into menus. If you have used the RX100, the RX10 will be a short learning curve. Even if this line of camera is new to you, it will still be a pretty quick study with shutter speed, aperture and ISO controls in logical places. Even when I needed to navigate the menu system it was very straightforward. I used the camera in a number of different situations ranging from a conference in extremely low light, landscape images, portraits, and on my recent trip to Cabo, Mexico. For my trip, I brought my RX100 along with my Nikon D800 with a number of lenses but I wound up only using the RX10 while traveling. The size, weight,...
The Nikon Df: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

The Nikon Df: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review

Jay Cassario is a wedding, engagement, and portrait photographer with additional passion for landscape and star photography, which has earned him publications by National Geographic. He is a regular contributor to SLR Lounge in addition to the BL Blog. The Nikon Df: Thoughts, Test Shots, and Quick Review by Jay Cassario The Nikon Df is a very unique camera. With its vintage look and highly praised sensor, it had a lot of photographers drooling over it before it even hit the shelves. It also had its critics ripping it apart. It can’t be fairly compared to the D800 or the D4 – it’s not meant to be a D800 or D4. Call it a “hipster” camera if you want but there is a lot more to it than just a pretty retro exterior. The Df takes you back to the film days of the 70’s and buried underneath all of those fancy dials is one of the greatest sensors ever produced by Nikon. The sensor used in the Df is the same FX-format CMOS sensor with EXPEED 3 engine that is in the flagship D4 but at about half the price (as of this writing). While it lacks some of the features of the D4, the Df’s combination of exceptional image quality, industry leading low-light capabilities, and vintage looks makes it a special camera that not only takes amazing photos but leaves you feeling a little more like a true photographer, however romantic that may sound, with every click of the shutter. Disclaimer: I shoot both Canon and Nikon but I won’t be making any comparisons to the Canon bodies I own. I actually sold my...
Photography Lessons of 2013 Plus 20 Inspiring Photographs

Photography Lessons of 2013 Plus 20 Inspiring Photographs

Congratulations on one more trip around the sun as a photographer! Shots were taken, lessons were learned – both good and bad. Here are 16 words of wisdom from working photographers along with a favorite shot they took this year. May they inspire you to form a great New Year’s Resolution for your work flow in 2014! “No matter how gloomy it looks, it pays to be on location at sunrise or sunset. For this image, it was grey and completely cloudy, looking like it was going to rain. At the perfect moment, however, a gap appeared in the clouds, letting in two minutes of glorious red sunrise light. Just as quickly as it came, the light disappeared and then it began to pour!” – Ian Plant “2013 was a big year for me. I moved to Los Angeles and had to start all over again. Within the first couple of months, I have been connecting with local creative professionals and have already shot for the December issue of LA Fashion magazine and photographed a couple of personal projects. The main lesson I have learned is to not be afraid of big changes. Staying positive, staying pro-active, seeking opportunities, and making connections is key to success. The harder I work, the luckier I get”. – Julia Kuzmenko McKim “In 2013, I learned a valuable lesson not only about my photography but about myself. No matter who you are, you can help make a difference. This year, I have been leading workshops for The Giving Lens. We work with non-profit organizations in foreign countries in a variety of ways. At the end...
Top 5 Photography Posts on the BorrowLenses Blog

Top 5 Photography Posts on the BorrowLenses Blog

It’s listicle season and we’re celebrating, too, with our top 5 most popular blog posts of 2013! Each one provides a different tip to help make you a better photographer. We hope these tips will help you reach your goals in the coming year! Want more? Visit the blog every week for great advice, tricks, and even special offers on photography, videography, lighting, and more. You can also find great content on our social media pages: Facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and...
BorrowLenses Year in Review: The Cameras of 2013

BorrowLenses Year in Review: The Cameras of 2013

2013 is a record year for new camera models at BorrowLenses.com, which means having the biggest selection of models we’ve ever had. There is something for every kind of photographer, from mirrorless pocket cameras to huge 60+ megapixel medium format DLSRs. We selected a bunch of our favorites from this bountiful season. Discover what’s available for exploration in our year-in-review. Mirrorless/MFT/Compact Panasonic’s GX7 boasts in-body stabilization and Light Speed AF all inside a super stylish design with a comfortable rubber grip. Other notable features include an impressive action-stopping 1/8000th of a second shutter ability and flash syncing at 1/320th of a second and a DSLR-esque twin-dial control system. The fully 90 degree tilting viewfinder is also a welcome feature. The GX7 has this crazy 40 FPS mode when using the electronic shutter. However, to use it you are limited to reduced-resolution JPEGs but it’s still a fun option to have. Autofocus on the GX7 is blazingly fast. AF locks onto the subject immediately even in low light where manual focus is often the only option. Continuous AF, however, still tends to hunt around as one would expect with no phase-detect sensors. Overall, the GX7 is comfortable, cool looking, and accommodates a vast array of MFT-mount lenses that are very fast. Pairs well with: Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 Lumix G Vario Zoom Lens Fuji’s X100 set the gold standard for retro design when it first came out. Since then it has continued that tradition, packing increasingly advanced technology into the classically designed mirrorless cameras that take their cues more from rangefinders of yesterday than anything else. The success to the X100 is the “s” variant of...
5 Important Photography Business Tips to Start the Year Off Right

5 Important Photography Business Tips to Start the Year Off Right

The holidays are prime season for getting new cameras and lenses. It is also when photographers take stock of their images as well as their income and expenses. Here are 5 important recourses for any business-minded photographer, whether you’re a seasoned shooter looking to hone your business skills or a complete novice who wants to get a jump start on organizing their future. • Never Shoot for Free In this interview with freelance photographer Court Leve, you’ll discover how important it is to find financial value in your work as well as artistic value. • Register Your Gear Insuring your camera equipment is essential but did you know you can also register it for free? Register your serials online with Lenstag and it will send out indexed alerts in the unfortunate event that your gear gets stolen. • Prepare for Taxes One of the less celebrated rewards of owning your own business is having to file taxes for it. Fortunately, there is a lot of online help! • Manage Your Time In the Nutritional Facts of Photography, Jay Cassario breaks down how much time you can expect to spend on each task as a freelance photographer. • Update Your Site SmugMug share some of the rules to a successful website no matter who you used to host your images. We hope these tips will help you reach your goals in the coming year! Want more? Visit the blog every week for great advice, tricks, and even special offers on photography, videography, lighting, and more! Cover Image: “Jump!” by John Loo is licensed under CC...
9 Carry On Friendly Photo and Video Accessories for Holiday Plane Travel

9 Carry On Friendly Photo and Video Accessories for Holiday Plane Travel

Plane travel can be a source of anxiety for photographers. Checking bags isn’t safe for most gear and being able to skip the baggage claim carousels is always a bonus anyway – especially around the holidays. There are a lot of small items to shoot with, including high-quality mirrorless cameras, tiny lenses, and small flash gear. However, it is sometimes hard to skimp on support systems, lighting, and storage in order to save space. Rolling bags, tripods, and light stands all tend to be a pain to try and take on a plane. Here are 9 items that you should be able to take on board with you without having to sacrifice your shooting needs. I say “should” because the TSA is a fickle fish – what flies at one airport may not fly at another and, as always, different carriers will be more strict than others. These are my personal favorite items that I have air traveled with for trade shows, overseas vacations, and for smaller gigs without incident (so far!) on both large airliners and regional jets. AlienBees LS1100 Backlight Stand   This little light stand fits into almost any bag – collapsed it is under a foot and a half and extends up to 3 feet. Don’t pack this for lighting portraits of basketball players but for family get-togethers (especially if everyone is sitting around the couch) it is perfect. Think Tank Airport International V2.0 Rolling Camera Bag  This bag is specifically designed to adhere to TSA standards. It combines the soft give of a fabric body (good for inevitable overstuffing) with the protection of a hard...
10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect

10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect

Architect-turned-photographer John Cooper has spent the last year converting his three decades of building experience into high quality architectural images.  Despite already having the knowledge of a registered architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, Cooper has learned a lot through trial and error after changing roles and capturing the structures he once helped to create. Here are his 10 pieces of advice for aspiring architectural photographers. 10 Tips for Better Architectural Photographs from a Former Architect Architectural photography should be a prerequisite for all photographers. It covers all of the basics of available-light shooting in one subject matter. Understanding these principles, and heeding some of these extra bits of advice, will improve all of your photography – not just architectural photography! 1. Obtain permission to be on location. I totally agree with our legal right to photograph public spaces but things are different in actual practice. At 4:30 in the morning it is much easier to show a permission slip/pass than to discuss the Constitution. 2. Shoot only in “blue” and “golden” hours. It may seem restrictive (and it took me a long time to be convinced) but the quality of light really is just better during these early morning and early evening hours. The blue hour is the hour preceding sunrise and the one following sunset while the golden hour is the first and last hour of sunlight in a day. Check the times throughout the year to find out when it is optimal to take advantage of these magical hours. 3. Scout your location and check a few problem questions off a list: What is the...
First Impressions and Sample Photos from the Panasonic GX7 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera

First Impressions and Sample Photos from the Panasonic GX7 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera

Panasonic’s GX7 boasts in-body stabilization, up to 40 FPS using an electronic shutter, and Light Speed AF all inside a super stylish design with a comfortable rubber grip. One of BL’s biggest micro four thirds enthusiasts took it out for a spin – check out the results below, along with some personal observations on performance and features. First, the facts: • Sensor: 16.84MP Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop) MOS Sensor • File Format: JPEG, MPO, RAW • Video: 1080p HD • ISO Range: 200-25600 (Extended Mode: 125-25600) • AF Points: 23 • Ports: USB 2.0 • Flash: Hot Shoe, Built-In • FPS: Up to 10 (except when using the electronic shutter feature for 40 FPS) • Live View • WiFi • Weight: 14.18oz Other notable features include an impressive action-stopping 1/8000th of a second shutter ability and flash syncing at 1/320th of a second and a DSLR-esque twin-dial control system. The fully 90 degree tilting viewfinder is also a welcome feature. Manual focus is super easy with the GX7. You can touch the area on the screen where you want to zoom in for manual focus assist. There’s peaking as well. The touch screen is capacitive (responds to your touch). Besides the ability to change key settings while shooting, you can review images by swiping through them with the flick of a finger. As mentioned above, the GX7 has this crazy 40 FPS mode when using the electronic shutter. However, to use it you are limited to reduced-resolution JPEGs but it’s still a fun option to have. As silly as it may look, tilting the EVF to point the...
Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images

Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images

Court Leve, a well-known and respected photographer in Northern California, reviews Nikon’s D610 DSLR. Find out how it compares not only to its immediate predecessor, the D600, but also to the D800, D300s, D700, and D3s. The D600 was famously fraught with controversy surrounding its oil and dust build-up issues and many believe the D610 is a smoke n mirrors release put in place to prevent a formal D600 recall. Find out if the D610 is a true upgrade or merely a less expensive substitute for other full frames on the market. Nikon D610 Review with Sample Images by Court Leve Nikon’s D610 is an updated version of their D600 and includes a couple of internal improvements: • Increase in frame rate from 5.5 to 6 FPS • Installation of an improved shutter mechanism, replacing the version on the D600 that apparently was the point of much contention with regards to oil or dust on the sensor. To any Nikon DSLR shooter, the D610 will feel familiar and I was able to get it up and running without referring to the manual. The dials, buttons, and menus are all easy to navigate, are intuitive, and clearly marked. Here is how it compares to other Nikon cameras: • The D610 is considerably smaller than a D800 and a touch smaller than the D300s. • The shutter is notably quieter on the D610 compared to the D3s, D700, and D800. • Controls are the same as on other D-series cameras with the exception of the center button on playback. Instead of being able to zoom in quickly for a more detailed view, it toggles to...