Microadjustment for Lens and Camera Front/Back Focusing Issues

Microadjustment for Lens and Camera Front/Back Focusing Issues

All lenses and cameras that return to one of our two headquarters are tested and cleaned by our Receiving Team. Sometimes a lens, in particular, will go out on a rental and need to be replaced by another one from our stock because of focusing issues. The majority of these re-tested lenses end up having nothing wrong with them. Here is an explanation for why this happens and how you can dig deeper into the settings of your camera so that you get the most out of not only rental lenses but your own stock of glass as well. Mass Manufacturing and Range of Accuracy All cameras and lenses are manufactured within certain tolerances. This means that a camera or lens is considered in spec if it falls within a certain range of accuracy. Every manufacturer is different. Sometimes a lens that is front or back focusing +/-3 is considered within normal operating quality. Other manufacturers are more stringent. What Is Front/Back Focusing? Front focusing is when the focus falls in front of your intended subject and back focusing is when the focus falls behind your intended subject. Most of the time this is caused by the user. Barring user error, a lens could be tested at -2 and back focusing slightly or tested at +1 and front focusing slightly. Both are considered within the range of normalcy. Cameras compound the issue. Sometimes, a lens can be back focusing slightly and that is not a problem. But if it is mounted on a camera that is also back focusing slightly then you are now shooting outside the range of spec....
5 Resources to Help Protect Your Photography

5 Resources to Help Protect Your Photography

In an ideal world you will not have to use some of these resources to protect yourself against image theft. However, the use of OPP (other people’s photography) is rampant – sometimes out of malice and sometimes because of a simple misunderstanding or lack of research. Here are 5 things to explore to help you protect your work in the first place and what to do if something unlawful happens to it. Copyright Your Work For $55 a batch (as of this writing, updated July 2014), you can have your photographs registered for copyright. Register Yourself as a Photographer For free you can register yourself with PPA so that others can find you when they are interested in duplicating your work. If you are an ASMP member, you can also get into their Find a Photographer database. Additionally, register yourself with the Plus Registry, which is also a great resource for all things licensing related. Keep Your Rights Nearby Know your rights as a photographer without having a lawyer on speed dial. A U.S. attorney has put together a handy printout to refer to if confronted for taking pictures (UK version here). Prepare to Write a Nastigram Sending a DMCA takedown notice is scary. DMCA Info makes it a little less daunting with plenty of info, including a notice template. Where applicable, you can also request items to be removed from Google products, including a subsection requesting the removal of items because of copyright violation. Further protect yourself with a free account on Lenstag, a gear registry that also offers free DMCA and Model Release documents as well as optional...
Working With Magic Lantern RAW Files

Working With Magic Lantern RAW Files

In case you missed it, we started carrying a version of the Canon 5D Mark III modified with the Magic Lantern firmware modification last year. One of the really cool features of this tweaked body is that you can now shoot 1080p video in RAW format. Still shooters know what this means: better control over white balance and a file that stands up to post-processing really well. RAW is still something of a new bag for video shooters working with DSLRs, however, and there are a few things you should know when you start working with RAW files from the 5D Mark III. Making the Magic Lantern RAW File Usable Let’s start with this: The RAW file you get from the 5D isn’t immediately editable. It’s a single file with a .RAW suffix that none of the popular video editors, neither Final Cut nor Premiere, currently recognize without additional plugins like GingerHDR. So you have to modify this file to work with it. The converters for Magic Lantern RAW files essentially do one thing: they take a single RAW file and split it into a sequence of image files in either DNG, TIF, or JPEG files. Your video clip is then available to you as a folder full of hundreds or thousands of single images, each one representing a single frame of footage. That’s not ideal in that you now have a fairly large number of files to manage, but it’s not too difficult to work with them. But first, you have to get to that point where you have those hundreds of files. For this, you have a...
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...
SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website

SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website

  Having a website to showcase your work on, or to allow potential clients to contact you through, is essential. Whether your website is simple and self made, a completely customized WordPress, or a template from SmugMug, there are some basics that all sites need to include in order to be successful. Here are SmugMug’s 9 must-haves for any photography website. SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website reprinted with permission  These days, everyone has a website and we think they’re great. But how do you know exactly what your friends, family and fans are really thinking when they see it? And if you’re a pro making money from your craft: Are you sure that your site is doing everything it can to get you clients and seal the deal? How much business are you losing from silly mistakes? After browsing tons of sites and hearing the advice from our marvelous team of Support Heroes, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best, most effective and appealing website you  possibly can. Period. 1) Your Contact Information Omitting or hiding ways for people to reach you is a grave mistake, one that you may not even know you’re making. Think it through: If someone finds your site and wants to talk with you, how would they do it? If you forget to include your contact information (or hide it several clicks deep), would you expect them to spend more than 5 minutes hunting for it before they give up? Chances are you don’t even have that long before they move on. It’s true that putting your email address...
5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell

5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell

Think your camera is your best friend? Think again. Heed these 5 warnings and better equip yourself with the knowledge needed to walk away with better images! Your camera is a marvel of amazing technology but you still need to use your brain when you shoot. Even if you’re in full Auto mode, don’t assume your camera knows what’s best for you! Here are five common bloopers and how to avoid getting tripped up on your next shoot. Lie #1: It’s Exposed Your camera has several automatic metering modes to help you catch the right amount of light without you needing to whip out the calculator. Are you using the right one? Spot, center-weighted, and multi-zone metering are great for many situations–so be sure you know which one is best for you. For example, you may want to over-expose when shooting in situations like snow to be sure you get that fluffy, clean white stuff you’re used to seeing. No one likes gray snow. Finally, let your artistic creativity be your guide. There’s no shame in flooding your summer portraits with light or even leaving in a bit of flare if you’re going for a sun-soaked, dreamy mood. Similarly, underexposing your shots is your key to super-dramatic clouds, abstract shadows, and gritty street shots. Click here for more info on metering modes and how they affect exposure. Lie #2: It’s in Focus Despite the reassuring “beep-beep!” of your AF system, there’s still a lot that can foil your focus. The most common culprit is motion blur if it’s too dark in the room. As a rule, you want your shutter speed to be...
Three Key Methods For Backing Up Your Photographs

Three Key Methods For Backing Up Your Photographs

Zach Egolf is an IT professional and freelance photographer in the Baltimore area. In this guest post, he explains three methods for backing up your files in preparation for the worst possible scenario. The Importance of Back…Back…Backing Up reprinted with permission by Zach Egolf Wandering into the world of photography without a backup plan is a lot like wandering into…well, just about anything blindfolded!  You might think you know the terrain, how to navigate it, and where you’re going, but the next thing you know you’ve wandered into a forest, caught yourself on some thorn bushes, and lost your pants.  And much like losing your pants in an evil forest, losing your photos can be a frightening ordeal. Think of this scenario: You spend 10 hours shooting the perfect wedding.  The colors are all perfect, the lighting is spot-on, the bride and groom photograph like the two greatest love birds in the world.  You get home to your computer, pull all of the photos off of your memory cards, and then go to bed.  A wedding is a long day, after all, and you want to get your rest so that you can wake up the next morning and start working your magic! The next day comes along and you start to edit the photos.  Two days pass, you’re halfway through the photos and, all of a sudden, a freak storm rolls through town and zaps your house, frying your external hard drives, and wiping out 10 hours worth of photos.  You have nothing to deliver to your clients except the crisp shell of metal and magnets.  You have...
Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

In a world saturated with images, we want our work to stand out. It takes a lot of time, practice, and–sometimes–a little luck to get striking photographs. Here are 10 examples of striking photos we love from photographers working in the field today. We hope the images inspire you and the tips and tricks help you improve your portfolio. Benjamin Von Wong: “Exploring the multiple exposure function on my Nikon D700 unlocked some creative potential never before explored in this fiery shot of pyrotechnician Andrey DAS.” See Von Wong’s full tutorial to find out how this striking image was achieved. Troy Paiva: “There are pops of purple-gelled strobe between each car and through the windshield–snooted red LED in the tail lights and onto the ground too. I also added a few seconds of natural LED on the right trunk-lid edge and bumper, the reflection carefully placed to balance the moonlit reflections on the left side of the trunk. This is a stack of two 4-minute exposures–focused on ∞ for 8-minute star trails, and a 2-minute exposure focused on the tail lights for increased depth-of-field.” See ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ and more striking light-painted work on Lost America. Julia Kuzmenko McKim: “I believe great photography starts with the photographer’s thorough understanding of the main principles of light behavior and the basics of visual arts such as composition, visual balance and color theory. Everything else is just regular tasks and problem solving at each photo shoot: getting great experienced models with flawless skin, the crew of highly skilled creative professionals and the equipment and accessories that will help the photographer to achieve the results he or she...
Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

If you’re just getting started with shooting video with your DSLRs, there’s a better than even chance that you’re not quite used to making smooth movements with your camera. Here’s a quick tip to help you get started with making one of the most basic moves in cinematography: a side-to-side move with the camera locked down on a tripod with a fluid head (like this Manfrotto kit, available from BorrowLenses.com now) meant specifically for video. Gear used Video tripod and fluid head (I used my own, but you can rent a Manfrotto video head and tripod here). I also used my own 15mm rail system, but you can rent one like the Redrock Micro Eyespy from us. This is completely optional. HD-DSLR. I used the Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm lens. A rubber band First, find yourself a rubber band. You want one that’s a bit sturdy, but not so stiff that it has no give at all. Then, set up your tripod and camera and make sure your focal length, exposure, and focus and are all adjusted to your liking. To execute the pan, slip the rubber band around your video head’s handle and pull in the direction you want. Keep a smooth, even pressure on the rubber band, and stop pulling at the end of your pan, allowing the natural tension of the band to bring the pan to an end (or fade it to black in post, as I did here). Here’s a video that lays the technique out. The footage is ungraded (i.e., no post-production techniques have been applied to it as yet). It’s...