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...
Atomos Shogun First Impressions

Atomos Shogun First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a few tips for folks shooting with the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder. I’ve had some time to put my unit through a few shoots and have some first impressions to share. Look and Feel Some folks have commented on the fact that the Shogun feels a bit cheap in terms of build quality, especially compared to the other big 4K recorder, the Odyssey 7Q. While it’s true that the Shogun definitely has a somewhat plasticky feel to it, I actually appreciated the weight savings. This thing is going to live on top of my Sony A7s, attached either with a shoe-mount ballhead or a magic arm. Add to that the fact that I use a pretty heavy Sony battery with my kit and the weight savings from going with a plastic body are even more appreciated. The plastic doesn’t bother me at all; the unit still feels solid enough for daily use, though I’m not about to subject it to a drop test. Moreover, I love the hard Pelican case that Atomos ship with this thing. It’s got cutouts for everything that comes with the Shogun, along with extra cutouts for more batteries. Features I have to say, I’m impressed with the featureset. The fact that it shoots 4K is enough of a party trick, but Atomos have packed it full of a lot of other features. From peaking and zebras to false color and vectorscopes, the Shogun is a full-featured video monitor that I’ve now come to rely on even when I don’t shoot 4K. I love having the ProRes codec (even...
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

As a landscape photographer who 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.

Gear Spotlight: Is the 24-70mm f/4 IS Canon’s Best General-Purpose Zoom?

Gear Spotlight: Is the 24-70mm f/4 IS Canon’s Best General-Purpose Zoom?

The 24-70mm zoom range is one of the most popular zoom ranges on any camera, and most manufacturers have at least one lens in that category. Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom was getting fairly long in the tooth, and its replacement, the Mark II, has garnered widespread praise and accolades from users and reviewers alike. Lost in all of that was Canon’s 24-70mm f/4L IS zoom, which was released a few months after the f/2.8 version. This odd lens, which is, ostensibly, the replacement for Canon’s similarly long in the tooth 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, came as something of a disappointment. Why, people wondered, did Canon kill the additional 35mm of zoom range from this lens, and why would anyone opt for this lens over the sharper and faster f/2.8 Mark II? Well, I’ve been using this lens for the last few weeks as I work up a series of video articles for you folks, and I’m starting to think that this dark horse of a lens is a hidden gem. Bad figures of speech aside, there’s a lot to like about the Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS lens. Let’s start with the “IS” part. IS stands for Image Stabilization, and the 24-70mm f/4 lens, like many of Canon’s other lenses, has that. What’s unusual is that this is only the second lens in Canon’s lineup to feature the newer “Hybrid IS” system. Most image stabilization systems have the ability to compensate for movement or vibration in an up-down and side-to-side direction. Canon’s Hybrid IS system goes one step further, adding compensation for camera shift in both vertical and horizontal planes....
Op-Ed: My Time With the Fuji X100s

Op-Ed: My Time With the Fuji X100s

It’s been a while since I first got my hands on the Fuji X100s, and in that time, I’ve carried this little thing with me just about everywhere I go (including on my honeymoon). I’ve also gotten a few questions about it that range from my general opinion of the Fuji cameras, to what settings I shoot with. In this Op-Ed, I’ll answer a few of those questions and also put down some of my thoughts about why this camera has turned out to be the sensation that it has. It’s not a full review – for that you’ll have to head over to the one I wrote for Chase Jarvis’ website. First, the questions…. Is the X100s really that much better than the X100? Yes. Yes it is. Really? Yes, really. Why? Well, for starters, it focuses a heck of a lot faster. In fact, it’s one of the quickest-focusing compact cameras out there. I love the X-Trans sensor in it, too; I trust this thing to put out great images with solid dynamic range and color accuracy. Low-light performance is incredible, all the way to ISO 6400. Manual focusing aids like Peaking are a nice touch, and welcome. Okay. What’s your one key favorite feature? Low-light performance. Love it, love it, love it. It’s that good? Yes. Here, look: That’s at ISO 6400, straight out of camera JPEG. Also, that’s shot at 1/8 of a second and is plenty sharp. Leaf shutters for the win. Cool. Would you replace your DSLR with it? Nope. I know some photographers have, or have augmented their Medium-Format systems with a...
The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part V

The Switch – Moving from Canon to Nikon, Part V

This is the conclusion of a 5-part series on an experimental switch from Canon to Nikon. Previously, in the Switch series: Part 1: I talk our marketing VP into letting me go Nikon for a while. Part 1.5: which was mislabeled Part 0.5, in which I gawk at a violin. Part II: The Nikon gets abusive. Part III: CLS starts to look pretty good. Part IV: In which I return to Canon for a spell I guess the big question on everyone’s mind is, “Did you switch or not?” Well, read on, gentle reader. I’ve been a Canon user for the majority of my life. Starting at age 8 with a tiny Canon film point-and-shoot, then to an AE-1 Program, then an A2 film body, followed by a G3 P&S, a Rebel XTi, a 7D and then a 5D Mark II, I’ve owned Canon gear all my life. The Glass I love Canon gear. The glass is varied and plentiful, from a crazy 1:5 Macro  (the MP-E 65mm) to a swift, fast, yet affordable 400mm f/5.6 lens for wildlife, to a fantastic 135mm f/2 portrait lens, Canon has glass for practically every occasion. Nikon, on the other hand, kind of falls behind in terms of having glass that I really do need/use from time to time. The lack of a solid 400mm-range lightweight telephoto is a real bummer, as is the lack of an ultra-wide-angle (17mm) tilt-shift lens. Speaking of the tilt-shift lenses, Nikon really does need to update their PC-E lenses to match Canon’s 17mm and 24mm lenses. The current 24mm PC-E lens from Nikon doesn’t do independent rotation...
The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

The Leica Diary, Part III – Focus

Part I of the Leica Diary can be found here. Part II can be found here. Zone focus. Those are the two key words you need to know about focusing with a Leica. If you’ve used a rangefinder before, you already know this; if you haven’t, then read on. Leica cameras don’t focus like the DSLRs, ILC (Interchangeable Lens Compacts like the Olympus E-P2), or point-and-shoot digitals that we’re all used to. For one, Leica lenses are all manual-focus lenses. For another, unlike most other digital cameras today, you’re not focusing through the lens (TTL). You’re actually using a separate viewfinder to do the framing and focusing for you.  Take a look at the image below. It’s a bit hard to capture the view through a Leica’s viewfinder, but see that slightly bright rectangle near the top-left of the circle? That’s your focusing aid. Now, see how the part of the poster that’s in that rectangle is doubled?  Well, on a Leica, you adjust the focus ring of the lens till the two images merge into one. That’s the first way to focus a Leica, and when you’re at a wide-open aperture like f/2.5, it’s the surest way to gain critical focus. But that’s not how zone focusing works. Google defines zone focusing as “A way to focus that utilizes the depth of field scale rather than the actual distance from camera to subject. Zone focusing is most useful for candid, street photography.” To understand this, let’s take a look at the lens barrel of a Leica. In the image below, you’ll see that there are a number of markings...
Tip of the week: Choosing a photo bag

Tip of the week: Choosing a photo bag

  Welcome to a recurring feature on The Blog @ BorrowLenses.com. 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, 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 (or, more accurately, collection of tips): Choosing a bag to lug your gear around in. Don’t go for the biggest bag you can find. One mistake customers make all the time is to pick the largest bag they can find. The thinking is that you should grab a bag that’ll fit all the gear you might need someday if you ever went on a long photo-heavy trip. Might and if are bad foundations on which to chose something that you’re likely to use on a frequent basis. That kind of thinking is called “Worst-Case Shopping” and is not the best way to chose your bag. This is not the last bag you’ll buy. Photographers who’ve been doing this for a while will attest to this: you will buy more than one camera bag in your lifetime. Actually, if you do it long enough, you’ll end up with more bags than you could possibly need. Your bags will require their own closet. It’s just a fact of photographic life. Don’t skimp on price. Bags, tripods, tripod heads, lenses. These are the things you do NOT skimp or cut corners on. Your bag isnt’ just a container for gear – if it were, you could just as easily carry your stuff in...