BL Spotlight with Graphic Designer and Photographer Joshua Fortuna

BL Spotlight with Graphic Designer and Photographer Joshua Fortuna

Triple threat graphic designer, photographer, and videographer Joshua Fortuna has created quite the Instagram following over the past few years for his unique combination of mediums. His hand-drawn designs atop common objects, such as his daily consumption of coffee and lay-flat camera equipment, has kept his followers engaged and showing their appreciation of his identifiable design aesthetic.

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – July Edition

Latest Gear at BorrowLenses – July Edition

Canon finally has an affordable 4K camera, Tokina’s got some cool Cine zooms for you, and we have the latest addition to the Leica family. It’s that time of the month again folks: here’s the July edition of all the fresh new gear at BorrowLenses! Hive Lighting Wasp Plasma PAR Light Kit Plasma lighting is catching on big-time these days. These kits from Hive Lighting draw relatively little power and, according to Hive, output the equivalent of 400–4,000 watt HMI lamps. Best of all, they have adjustable color temperatures and intensity, giving you a range of between 4,600K to 7,000K. Depending on the accessories you mount, they can put out a blistering 5,000 foot-candles of power at 10 feet. Doing the math, that’s… let’s see… carry the one… a lot of f-stops. Really. The Wasp Par kit comes with one par light, 4 lenses to give you a variety of lighting options, a set of scrims and barn doors. SmallHD Sidewider EVF We recently got the SmallHD 502 monitor into our inventory, and this flip-out frame and loupe is the perfect compliment to that monitor. It mounts – somewhat counterintuitively at first – sideways to the frame, which actually allows you to place the monitor parallel to your camera and gives you more of a run-and-gun-style add-on, which documentary filmmakers will appreciate. Interestingly, unlike other EVF/loupes, this one moves the monitor away from in front of your face, providing you with better situational awareness of your environment. The unit rents with the EVF loupe, a diopter assembly that lets you adjust it from –2 to +4, and a carrying...
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...
Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

The holiday season is in full swing and for many of us it is a time to spend with friends and family, some of whom we may not get to see often. Is it great to have that group shot of long lost friends or 3 generations of family in one frame? YES! But why not test your skills this year at telling a photographic story. Follow these simple steps to communicate just how beautiful, exciting, or sentimental your time was spent over the holidays. Doing so just might jog those memories ever more clearly in the years to come and leave you with something to always cherish. The Checklist A good way to start is by considering what your story or angle will be before you even pick up a camera. Plan ahead the shots which will be most critical, whether they are portraits or wide angle landscapes, that best tell your story. Having a loosely memorized shot list will increase your chances of capturing those key moments as they arise, since there will be many distractions while you shoot. Follow the Same Rules as Writing Whether you are blogging, sharing on social media, making a scrapbook, or submitting for publication your viewers will need to understand the context of your pictures. As you shoot, remember the who, what, when, where, and why. Your goal is to explain to viewers the reasons for your subject’s actions. Variety is the Spice of Life To tell a bigger more compelling story, shoot the subject or event from a range of viewpoints. Understanding beforehand how you would like your photographs to be read...
A Review of Fuji’s X-trans CMOS II Sensor and X-mount Lenses

A Review of Fuji’s X-trans CMOS II Sensor and X-mount Lenses

David Kingham is a landscape photographer with years of experience and a known track record of going great lengths to capture spectacular landscapes. He is constantly searching for the ideal camera and lens combo to facilitate longer travel with more energy when he arrives. Find out how Fuji’s new mirror-less line of cameras and interchangeable X-mount lenses tested for his needs. As a landscape photographer that hikes a considerable amount I am always looking for ways to lighten my load on and off the trail. After switching to full frame DSLRs years ago, I had never considered the Fuji system due to the cropped (APS-C) sensor. Despite being convinced I’d never go back to a crop sensors, I couldn’t help my curiosity after hearing so many great reviews coming from Fuji converts. Borrowlenses.com was kind enough to send me the following bodies and lenses to review: Fuji X-T1  Fuji X-E2  Fuji 14mm f/2.8 Fuji 10-24 f/4 Fuji 18-55  Fuji 55-200 Fuji 18mm f/2 Zeiss Touit f/2.8 Note: All images are jpegs straight from the camera unless otherwise noted.   X-T1           I immediately fell in love with the Fuji X-T1 camera after using it for just a few minutes. I was first taken by the ergonomics of the camera: small, light, and the grips are placed perfectly to where I never feel uncomfortable holding it. The multitude of dials allow the user quick access to adjust settings, and I was especially taken by the feature of having the ISO and shutter speed as dials. I’ve never shot with a rangefinder, but I now know why most...
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...
Fuji X-T1: First Impressions

Fuji X-T1: First Impressions

One of the most eagerly awaited cameras of the year arrived earlier this month, and I took some time to put it through its paces. A more detailed review will follow, but I’ve worked with it long enough to put forth a few first impressions. The tl;dr version of it is this: the Fuji X-T1 is the best camera Fuji has ever made, and is the best mirrorless camera on the market. In my personal opinion, anyway. I’ve been a Fuji fan since the X100s came out, and eventually started using the X-E1 and X-E2 as my primary stills cameras (with a D800E for specific projects requiring high megapixel images and the Canon 5D MKIII for video). When the X-T1 was first announced, I looked at the images leaking onto the web and my first impression was, “WTF??” Looking at it, you can see that it kind of harkens back to retro SLR cameras. To me, it looks a bit like a blunt-top version of the Fuji STX series of film SLRs, and at least at first, it wasn’t something that caught my attention the way the rangefinder aesthetic of the previous X cameras did. Then I got one in my hands and my first thought was, “uhhh… what…?” On the one hand, this is most definitely a Fuji camera. It has loads of dials means you rarely have to drop into a menu once you set it up right. There’s a nice, firm heft to it that we’re used to with the X-E and X-Pro series. It’s small and light despite feeling dense. It is, in other words,...
New Gear: The Fuji X-E1 Is Here

New Gear: The Fuji X-E1 Is Here

The Fuji X-Pro1 has been in our inventory for some time now, and we’re pleased to add its newer sibling, the X-E1, to our rental offerings. This younger, lighter, and smaller version of the X-Pro1 ditches a few features of the critically acclaimed (and very successful) X-Pro1, while adding a few welcome ones. Read on to find out what you need to know about the Fuji X-E1. First things first – the X-E1 is, as I just said, lighter and smaller than the X-Pro1. By weight, it’s about 25-30% lighter, but by size, the difference isn’t as drastic as I thought it would be when I bought mine (yes, I bought one not too long before we started carrying the X-E1 – figures!). The X-E1 is shorter than the X-Pro1, and while the difference isn’t great, folks with large hands will notice the difference. The X-E1 is also thinner than the X-Pro1, but again, not by much. The button layouts have also changed a bit. Fuji has relocated the playback button to the left of the display, but otherwise, everything on the back is about where it was on the X-Pro1. The X-E1 also retains the dual dials of the Pro, as well as the assignable “Fn” button on top. Besides the size and button layout, there are some other key differences between the bodies, so let me sum them up. The X-E1 doesn’t have an Optical Viewfinder (OLF). Unlike the X-Pro1, which has a “hybrid” viewfinder that can be switched from OVF to Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) mode, the X-E1 just has an EVF. It is a higher-resolution EVF...
New Gear: The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster

New Gear: The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster

Not too long ago, following the release of Fuji’s most recent firmware update for its X lineup of cameras, I posted an article about extending the Fuji system with Leica lenses using the Fuji X mount to Leica M mount adapter. Indeed, this adapter, along with the Leica 90mm Summarit f/2.5 lens, is my standard portrait setup today. Recently, however, we got in yet another adapter for the Fuji X-mount, and this one’s a total doozy.   The Metabones Nikon to Fuji Speedbooster does for Nikon lenses (including the “G” lenses, which don’t have a manual aperture ring) what the M to X-mount adapter does for Leica lenses – it lets you put them onto Fuji’s X-series cameras, including the X-Pro1, which we rent. Now, if that’s all it did, I’d be pretty pleased as punch that we had added it to our inventory. But adapting the lens is only part of the equation here. First, the adapter works for a much wider variety of lenses. Traditionally, Nikon’s “D” series lenses have been the most easily adapted lenses for other systems, as they have a manual aperture ring and therefore can be used in aperture-priority mode on almost all the mirrorless cameras out there, with adapters. The “G” lenses, however, don’t have aperture rings, so they’re not as easy to adapt. The Metabones adapter gets around this limitation by offering its own aperture ring that maneuvers the tiny iris lever inside the G lens to change the aperture. The aperture ring has an 8-f-stop range ring, with half-stop markings. I have to wonder how accurate this is; what if...