Thanks for visiting the Art of the Image blog. We've moved over to so this blog is no longer updated, but please feel free to peruse the articles and content here.

When you're finished, please visit us at for all the current blog posts and information. Thanks!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hydrangea: Exploring Olympus OM-D E-M10 Picture Modes with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO

Olympus OM-D E-M10 - Picture Mode 1 - iEnhance
Renee brought home some nice Hydrangeas from work, so I thought they might make a colorful subject for exploring the numerous picture modes on the Olympus OM-D E-M10.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Han Solo Lego Microfighter - Panasonic GX7 + Speedlites + Snoot

Being both a Star Wars AND a Lego fan, it wasn't even like I had a choice of whether or not to buy the Han Solo Lego Microfighter when I saw it in the toy section at my local Walmart.  Besides, I can justify it by using it in a photo shoot, right? :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Nikon D610 Final Verdict: My Review Summary After 2 Weeks of Shooting With The Nikon D610

Sometimes your gut reaction on seeing something go tells you a lot, and I think that was the case with the Nikon D610. I was sad to see it go. Reluctant to say goodbye as I packed it up to ship it back to Nikon.  Did I shed a tear? I'll never tell. :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ella Singing the FROZEN Theme Song - Fuji X-E2 + XF35mm f1.4R + Off-Camera Speedlites (x2)

Ella - Fuji X-E2 + XF35mm f1.4R + Off-Camera Speedlites (x2)
Ella - Fuji X-E2 + XF 35mm f1.4R + Off-Camera Speedlites (x2)

If you have kids, young girls to be specific, you're probably used to a similar scene at your house, and you've probably heard Disney's FROZEN theme song so many times you can sing it in your sleep. :-)

Watching Ella sing it for the one millionth time, I had the thought to grab a camera and light her with some speedlites for a stage-like effect.  Since the Fuij X-E2 is still visiting us here at Art of the Image, I thought I'd let it do the honors.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Change to the Land of M4/3's by Jamie Hansen (Shooting Weddings with M4/3's)

I'll be the first one to admit I'm a rookie. I have only been doing photography as a living for the last 4 years. When I say as a living, I mean I make 95% of my yearly income from photography.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nikon D610 Review: Day 7 - Dominique... a Portrait Session with Speedlite Softboxes

Day 7 with the Nikon D610, and I was scheduled to do some portraits (or modelling shots) with Dominique.  Naturally, I figured it was time to pull out the Speedlite Softboxes. :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fuji X-E2: Un-Boxed & First Impressions

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 35mm f1.4

It's no secret that the X series from Fuji has become incredibly popular in a very short time.  Holding the little Fuji X-E2 in my hands, I can see why.

The X-E2 exemplifies everything that's popular about mirrorless cameras.  It's small, lightweight, and most importantly, it's exquisitely built.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fuji Finepix S1: Un-Boxed and First Impressions

Fuji Finepix S1 Pro 50X Ultrazoom

I've been waiting with anticipation to get my hands on the Fuji Finepix S1 ever since it's announcement earlier this year.  As a happy Canon SX50 owner, the S1 peaked my curiousity, begging the question, would the S1 be worthy of replacing my trusted little SX50 as my 50X ultrazoom?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nikon D610 Review: Day 6 - Keurig: Shooting the World's MOST Popular Coffee Maker (Product Photography with a Single Softbox)

Keurig Coffee Maker - Nikon D610 + 24-85mm kit lens + Softbox
Day 6 of my time shooting with and evaluating the Nikon D610, and it's time to play with softboxes, or more specifically, 1 softbox.  Today I'm going to be doing a product shoot of the Keurig K60 coffee maker.

Plus, I'm going to use continuous lighting instead of a speedlite in a softbox.

The softbox I'm using has 4 sockets for standard household bulbs, and I use daylight balanced CFL bulbs, although you'd be fine with regular old lightbulbs too.  I'm using four 23 watt / 100 watt equivalent CFL bulbs in mine, so that gives me the equivalent of 400 watts of light from regular lightbulbs.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Panasonic GX7 Un-Boxed: First Impressions and Initial Observations of the Panasonic GX7

Panasonic GX7 + 14-42mm Kit Lens

I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I found out that Panasonic was sending me the Panasonic GX7 for review.  It's a camera I've been very interested in for a number of reasons, so as you can imagine, I had that little kid in the candy store feeling when the courier showed up at my door.

Right from the moment I took the box from the courier, I got my first hint at one of the BIG features of the little GX7, it's size.  The box that the GX7 shipped in, along with the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, both in their own original boxes inside the shipping box, was a small one, and it didn't weigh much either.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Canon Would Like to Wish All You Pro Photographers a Big "F" You!

Wow!  It looks like Canon is now in the business of setting up low-cost photo studios to under-cut professional photographers.

Not sure if this is the first, but the one in Calgary featured in the image above offers a portrait studio and print service with prices so ridiculously low that it even undercuts WALMART!

I'm totally flabbergasted!  Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Nikon D610 Review: Day 3 - Power Tools Product Photography With Grid Spots & Off-Camera Speedlites

Nikon D610 + 24-85mm kit lens + Speedlites, Grid Spot, & Reflector

Day 3 with the Nikon D610 and I’m thinking it’s time to shake it up a bit.  I was going to grab a couple of speedlite softboxes, but then I saw my gridspots lying there and thought it would be fun to play with them. 

And, it just so happened the Mrs. had my cordless drill and a couple of other tools lying around after assembling a dresser from Ikea, which gave me an idea.  Why not do some shots with the tools using hard lighting from the grid spots on a couple of speedlites

Let’s have a look at the set-up. (click on any of the photos to see larger version)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nikon D610 + Nikon 50mm f1.8G = Simply STUNNING Image Quality!

Nikon D610 + 50mm f1.8G + Window Light @ f1.8
As I continue with my review of the Nikon D610, I've been shooting as many different situations as possible to thoroughly put the D610 through it's paces, and I'd be remiss if I didn't do a natural light shoot with my favorite Nikon lens, the amazing little Nikon 50mm f1.8G.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nikon D610 Review: Day 2 - Off-Camera Speedlites at the Beachville Museum Pt2

Nikon D610 + 24-85mm Kit Lens + Off-Camera Speedlite - ISO 400

Continuing on with my visit to the Beachville Museum with the Nikon D610 on Day 2 of my Nikon D610 review, it was time for a little bonus fun.  I always love playing around with speedlites because it's more often than not what you don't light that makes an image interesting. :-)

Nikon D610 Review: Day 2 - HIGH ISO at the Beachville Museum (Projector, 1st Baseball Game, Piano & Other Mid-1800's antiques) Pt1

Nikon D610 + 24-85mm Kit Lens - ISO 3200

For my second day with the Nikon D610, I went out to the Beachville Museum where they had everything from antique toys, to an exhibit from the first baseball game, to a recreation of Thomas Taylor's mid-1800's General Store.

More importantly, a lot of the exhibit rooms were very dimly lit, which provided a perfect opportunity to continue my testing of the D610's high ISO abilities.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Nikon D610 Review: Day 1 - Thoughts on the Nikon D610 after 1st Shooting Assignment at the Woodstock Museum

Nikon D610 + Nikon 50mm f1.8G - OOC JPG - 1/250s @ f1.8 ISO 200
Since the Nikon D610 is such a GREAT high ISO camera, I wanted to shoot some interesting locations that would benefit from those abilities.

Here in Oxford County, we’re blessed with several interesting museums to choose from, so I thought I’d check out the Woodstock Museum in downtown Woodstock, Ontario to see what exhibits they had running to test the D610.

Sure enough, they had some interesting stuff. (click on any of the photos to view larger size)

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Best Little Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver for the Price

There are a LOT of wireless flash trigger receiver units out there, and I'm sure a lot of them are pretty good.

What I KNOW is that I've been using these little wireless flash triggers & receivers for years now, and they work GREAT!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nikon D610 Un-Boxed: First Impressions and Initial observations of the Nikon D610

I have to admit, I was pretty excited when Nikon told me the Nikon D610 was on it’s way.  I mean, I’m always excited when I get a new camera to play with here at Art of the Image, but the D610 has a little something special going for it. 

I think it may be the BIGGEST SLEEPER camera out there right now (but more on that later).

When FedEx arrived at the door with the box, it was a little bigger than I was expecting, but then I remembered Nikon had sent the Nikon D610 kit complete with Nikon 24-85mm f3.5 - 4.5 ED VR lens, so naturally it was a little bigger than just the camera would be.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

DX to FX: A Personal Journey by Jon Hillenbrand

Recently I was asked by Matt Ballard from Art of the Image to write an article for his blog about my switch from a smaller sensor size to full frame (36mm x 24mm) sensor size.  I feel this subject has been talked about quite a bit a few years ago and has resurfaced due mainly to the improved noise reduction of current smaller-sensor cameras.  So instead of boring you all with pixel pitch, heat dissipation, megapixel counts and crop factors, I will speak mostly of my own personal journey and say that my transition to a full frame sensor was and continues to be one of the most important things to happen to me as a photographer.  Because all discussions such as these require a frame of reference, first a little about me.

I am a professional photographer and documentary filmmaker with over 17 years of experience.  I am currently employed as the head of photography for a major healthcare company.  In my journey as a photographer and filmmaker, I have been exposed to lots of equipment;  some good, some bad, all a compromise between what I need and how much I have to spend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pentax K-3: A Hands on Review of the Pentax K-3 by JJ Richards (after Up-Grading from the Pentax K-5)

I upgraded to the Pentax K-3 from the K-5 in November of last year, and prior to that I had a K200d, so it was the logical upgrade in sticking with the same manufacturer based on the collection of lenses I have built up over time, however that said, I would have stuck with Pentax as I have been more than happy with each of the cameras I have had over the years.

Most of the photography I do is Landscape photography, with the shooting of local events and bands from time to time, and the K-3 works very well for me in this regard.

Not bashing other brands in any way, but my selection of my first Pentax was after a review of many factors and narrowing it down between a couple of cameras.  When I went and tried the two I was considering, the Pentax just felt better in my hands, and that was my final factor in making a decision.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fuji X-T1 First Impression by Mike Villa

Every so often a camera gets released that the photo community cannot seem to stop talking about. It gets bashed by critics, praised by fanboys, and floods forums faster than a Canon 1DX's single-point focus. As you, dear readers, are well aware of, Fujifilm's new X-T1 is the latest of these hype-mongers. 

Context is everything, and so before we dive into the nitty-gritty of all that is Fuji, I think it's important to establish the perspective that I'm reviewing this camera from. I've been a full-time professional photographer for a little over four years now, and have dabbled in quite a few different areas of photography. For some time my sole income was from shooting weddings and portraits, but over the past year I've moved into more commercial travel photography (shooting mostly as a travel photojournalist for Life Without Limbs), with weddings and lifestyle shoots sprinkled throughout. 

I entered photography as a Canon shooter, but quickly moved to Nikon after going full-time. As my travel increased, I added Leica and Fuji systems to my kit. My workhorse camera is my (mostly) trusty LeicaM9, with my Nikon D800 filling in the gaps left by the rangefinder system. Up until this point (spoiler alert), my Fuji kit based around the X-E1 has mostly been regulated to personal use. Needless to say, the X-T1 going up against some very strong competitors in the fight to find a place in my bag.

One final note before we get into it: I've only had the X-T1 for a week, and being on the tail end of tax season, I haven't had a chance to really put it through its paces. So this will focus more on my first impressions rather than on-location use. But fear not! I'm typing this from a plane that's Hawaii-bound, where I'll be using the Fuji extensively on this shoot over the next two and a half weeks. So come back in a few weeks for my opinion on how it performs in the field.

By this point, I'm sure you've read countless reviews, spec sheets, and forum postings, but as a quick recap: The Fujifilm X-T1 is Fuji's biggest, baddest mirrorless offering to date. It's extremely similar to the Fuji X-E2 in that it uses the same 16 megapixel X-Trans II sensor, hybrid focus system, LCD, and EVF, but everything has been tweaked to be faster, bigger, and better built. The form factor is more DSLR-like than the typical rangefinder-esque design of Fuji's past offerings, but it's not noticeably bigger than them. 

One of the biggest surprises is how deceptively small the X-T1 is. It's just about the same size as the X-E series, but with the "prism" hump sticking out of the middle. It's certainly not small by mirrorless standards, but it's a large step down in size from even an entry level DSLR. As a guy with slightly short, stubby fingers, I've found the X-E series and Leica M9 quite comfortable in my hands, with my fingers falling naturally over the controls. With the viewfinder now centered in the X-T1, everything feels slightly more cramped. There's not quite as much real estate for your hand to sprawl out across the camera. It's not uncomfortable by any means, and all of the controls fall easily at hand (except perhaps the AF-L button), but it takes a minute to adjust to it. It's a very different grip than the rangefinder-style cameras or a traditional DSLR. I have Fuji's handgrip (not to be confused with their battery grip) on preorder, and I would image that all of my handling woes will be solved by it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stormtroopers! Where!!! (a little macro fun with the Canon SX50)

 Bet you haven't seen a Storm Trooper riding a Pachyderm yet today!

With the popularity of the new Lego movie, I thought I'd have a little fun with with the Macro setting on the Canon SX50 and a Lego Storm Trooper. 

You probably knew the SX50 was known to be a great long lens ultrazoom camera, but you may not have known it does a decent job as a macro lens too.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

FUJI X-T1: THE NEW X-FACTOR - An In-Depth Real World Review by Chris Dodkin /

As an existing X Series user (X100, then X-Pro1) I eagerly awaited Fuji's new model. I dreamed of an X-Pro2 perhaps, or a digital version of the classic Fuji MF rangefinders.

As the new year dawned, the rumor sites online were full of clues, so I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas, and the CES show, to get a sneak preview.

I got ten whole minutes in a locked room with the new Fuji model, but that was enough to get me hooked - It was no X-Pro2, nor a medium format X-Trans camera, but I placed my order for the Fuji X-T1 the same day.

When I look back at my CES preview, it strikes me as a similar experience to someone discovering the camera for the first time at a camera store.

You get ten minutes or so to pick up and try the camera, and make up your mind if you like what you see, and if you'll buy it.

And in this respect the X-T1 scores way ahead of it's predecessors.

The first impression is that the camera is smaller than you expect. We're all so accustomed to the size of a DSLR that we automatically assume the X-T1 is built to the same scale. It's not.

As you pick the camera up you get the next impression, this thing is really well built, it's solid and beautifully finished. The rubberized skin grips your fingers, and the dials on the top plate ooze an engineering quality that's been missing from cameras for the last 20 years. Nikon could learn a thing or three from this camera, this is what the Nikon Df should have looked like.

You feel the weight in your hand - even with the grip attached and a hefty lens like the 56mm f/1.2, the whole package is considerably lighter than the Canon 5DII I was used to carrying. Another plus for Fuji.

You click the familiar Fuji power selector to ON, and put the camera up to your eye, and BAMN! You're reaching for your credit card.

The EVF in the X-T1 is a game changer - it's huge, bigger than my reference Canon OVF in fact. And bright, clear, vibrant, and smooth.

It's so good, that I've seen people pick up and use the camera for the first time, and not realize they were using an EVF.

Now if they really stopped to think about it, they'd realize it of course, but the over all user impression is that there's nothing between you and the live scene - and that's a stunning achievement.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why is the Canon T3i 600D Amazon's #1 Best Selling DSLR Digital Camera???

Canon EOS 600D T3i DSLR Digital Camera

I was a little surprised to see that the Canon T3i is Amazon's #1 Best Selling DSLR at the moment.  I mean, it's a little old in the tooth.  There are not one, but TWO updates to it as we're currently on the Canon T5i.

So what gives?  Why is the older, long in the tooth, Canon T3i so popular?

Well, there's one BIG reason, and it's actually fairly obvious if you think about it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SD vs Compact Flash Memory Cards: SD WINS! The End of Compact Flash by 2016

It doesn't seem that long ago that my DSLR digital cameras all took Compact Flash Memory Cards, and I was perfectly content with CF (other than the fact that they were outrageously expensive).

And then SD Memory Cards came along.  I hated them.  They were tiny, way too small, just begging to be dropped and lost.  I swore I'd never switch to SD from CF.

Oh how time changes things. :-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Canon SX50: A View from our Hotel on the 19th Floor of the Sheraton on the Falls - Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

You take the kids to Niagara Falls for a couple of days at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark over March Break.  

As such, your schedule doesn't really permit any time for a photography walk about, not to mention the fact that you're already exhausted from driving, running around all day with the kids, and getting no sleep at night due to over-caffeination. 

So what is a photographer to do?  

Well, luckily you remembered to pack your trusty little Canon SX50, and the view from your hotel room on the 19th floor offers some interesting sights.  Sure, purists will tell you that you can't shoot photos through glass and that your technique is all bad, but hey!  You're having fun, and you actually got some pretty interesting shots.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Canon 70D - A 3 Month Review of the Canon EOS 70D by Gareth Davies

Photo by Gareth Davies

I upgraded to the Canon 70D from my 600D back in December. Most of the photography I do is of rugby games, so the 70D was the ideal choice - the 5D Mark III was too expensive and the 6D is not ideal for sports.

The biggest difference I found with the 70D was the focusing system.  The 19 point all cross type focusing system is wonderful - a big improvement over the 9 point with single cross type on the 600D.

The build quality of the camera is also very good. It's a lot sturdier than the 600D and it's a nice weight.

Since buying the camera I've photographed about 4 rugby games at my local amateur club where I'm really close to the action and a couple of public training sessions at Racing Metro, one of the leading clubs in the French Top 14. I now rarely have issues with the shots being out of focus - most of them are nice and sharp. I set it to use the centre focusing square which gives me the use of the 9 central focusing points. I use the Canon 70-200 f4 IS lens. The camera is really fast to focus and I rarely have problems tracking the players - in an average game I take maybe 700 photos, out of those maybe 5% having focusing issues, but most of these are when it was focused on the wrong player which is mostly down to myself trying to keep up with the play.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Canon 70D Focus Issues - User / Owner Report by Christian at Bonsai MultiMedia

Hi there,

I'm German and have had focus issues with my Canon 70D from the start. I'm one of the notorious testers and posters on one German forum and got a lot of heat for the whole discussion.

In short: The actual phenomenon only occurs under very particular circumstances. It can't be shown with test charts and/or under artificial light. I am able to show it with all of my lenses with apertures of f2.8 or wider.

Circumstances are:

- wide open lens, f1.0 - f2.8 (phenomenon instantly disappears from f3.2 onwards)
- phase AF via viewfinder only (or Quick AF mode in Live View)
- manual selection of the center AF field (instantly disappears when selecting any other field)
- small, distant objects that just fill the frame of the center AF field (at least 5-10m away, rather more).

The result are completely OOF images in the area where the focus should have been. The focus sometimes can be found very close to the camera instead of 100m away where the object was.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Fuji S1 vs Canon SX50: 8 Reasons to Buy the Fuji Finepix S1 OVER the Canon SX50

Fuji has recently announced the new Fuji Finepix S1, their latest ultrazoom digital camera with a 50X zoom lens, making it a competitor to Canon's SX50 Ultrazoom.

I have the Canon SX50, and I love it.  The really unique and really great thing about the little Canon SX50 with it's 50X zoom lens, is that the lens is very good, both at the wide and the long ends of the lens.  This is not the norm for a ultra zoom camera like the SX50.

Normally, an ultrazoom suffers, either at the one extreme or the other.  Some suffer at both ends of the zoom range, and some just aren't very good anywhere as they have poorly performing lenses.

For the price (currently somewhere South of $400), the Canon SX50 is a great bargain.  You don't normally get this kind of performance for this low a price.  As I point out in my Canon SX50 - Six Reasons to Replace Your Long Lens With the Canon SX50 video, you could actually replace your long lens / lenses with the Canon SX50 and save yourself a pile of dough.

And it wouldn't just be money you're saving!  The Canon SX50 is smaller and lighter which makes it a whole lot easier to travel with and just carry around in general.

Which brings us to the Fuji Finepix S1, the new guy on the block.  The one who looks like he's going to muscle out the old guy, and in fact, as I point out in the above video, there are at least 8 reasons why you or I would want the Fuji S1 OVER the Canon SX50.

First off we have the newer 16 megapixel sensor that is in the Fuji S1 versus the 12 megapixel sensor in the Canon SX50.  Four more megapixels in the Fuji S1, and also the promise of better image quality since the S1's new BSI CMOS sensor is newer and promises to perform as good or better than the rest of Fuji's highly rated sensors.

I'm expecting to see better low-light, high ISO performance and greater detail out of the new Fuji S1 sensor in comparison to the Canon SX50 sensor.  Like the SX50, the new Fuji S1 can shoot RAW, which is a HUGE bonus in comparison to other cameras and puts both the SX50 and the S1 in a league of their own with very few others joining them.

Second up is the lens on the Fuji Finepix S1.  The S1 sports a f2.8 - f5.6 lens which is a fair bit faster than the Canon SX50's f3.4 to f6.5 lens and gives the Fuji S1 the advantage, all else being equal.

Now I need to point out that that last bit, the all else being equal part, remains to be seen.  We don't know yet if the Fuji S1 lens will be as good at both the wide and long ends like the Canon SX50 is, but I'm hoping it is.

Third on the list is the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization.  This is notable, especially when we look at how great the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1's 5-axis image stabilization is.  Nothing beats those two, and hopefully the Fuji S1's 5-axis image stabilization is as good as the one in the Olympus cameras.  Regardless, being newer, more current technology, the S1 should beat the SX50 in this area.

Fourth is the Fuji S1's ISO 100 - 12,8000 range vs the Canon SX50's 80 to 6400 ISO range.  Increasing the ISO range in the sensor would seem to indicate that Fuji is more comfortable with shooters using the Fuji S1 at higher ISO settings, and past performance of Fuji's sensor has usually been very good at higher ISO settings in comparison to competitors.

While I wouldn't recommend using either the Fuji S1 or the Canon SX50 at the top end of their ISO ranges, I'd be willing to bet that the S1 will beat the SX50 for high ISO noise by a tidy margin.

Fifth on the list is the LCD screen on the Fuji S1.  It's MUCH nicer than the LCD on the Canon SX50.  The Canon SX50's 2.8 in 461k LCD has always seemed like one of the areas where Canon cheaped out, while the new Fuji S1 sports a 3 in 920k LCD making it obviously far superior in resolution and even slightly larger in terms of physical size.

This also brings up another weakness on the Canon SX50 which will likely be another area that the Fuji S1 beats it handily, and that's the EVF.  The electronic viewfinder on the SX50 is just plain awful, and it wouldn't take much for the Fuji S1 to beat it.  The S1 has a 0.2 in 920k EVF according to the specs which is HUGE jump in resolution in comparison to the SX50's 202k EVF.

Sixth is the video quality of the Fuji S1 which sports 1080 at 60fps in comparison to the SX50's 1080 at 24fps.  Not a huge difference, but an advantage none the less for the Fuji S1.

Seventh is the dust and weather resistant body of the Fuji S1.  This is always a welcome feature to any camera, and especially to an ultrazoom which we're more likely to be using outside just because of the very nature of an ultrazoom, the super long lens.  It's nice not to have to worry about damaging our camera if we're caught in a sudden rain shower, and perhaps even more pertinent, with the long racking motion of an ultrazoom, it's nice that it's dust resistant so that any intrusion of dust particles from the sucking motion of the lenses zooming out is minimized or eliminated.

Finally, the eight point on the list is the Fuji S1's built-in wi-fi.  We don't get that on the Canon SX50, and it's a nice addition to get on the Fuji S1.  A lot of newer cameras have this feature, and I think we're fast approaching the point where all cameras will have it simply to be competitive.

All in all, the Fuji Finepix S1 promises a lot, and I'm quite interested in getting my hands on one and shooting it against my Canon SX50.  Providing the S1's lens is as good or better than the Canon SX50's lens, I think the new S1 will be the winner, and you'll probably be seeing me putting my SX50 up for sale.  :-)

Check out Amazon's BEST price on the Fuji Finepix S1

Check out Amazon's BEST price on the Canon SX50

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 - Unboxed and Initial Impressions

So for Christmas, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 because, well, you know... the best gifts are often the ones you buy yourself.

Click the video above to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 unboxed and my initial observations.

Check BHPhoto's  LOWEST price on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 at

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best NEW Camera of 2013??? Canon 70D Nikon D7100 Olympus E M1 Panasonic GX7 Sony a7 a7R

With 2013 done and gone, the internet has been talking about what was the Best NEW Camera of 2013.

We've got quite a few contenders, but I'll narrow them down to the Canon 70D, Nikon D7100, Olympus E-M1, Panasonic GX7, Sony a7, and the Sony a7r.

So what do you think was the best new camera of 2013?

Click on the video above for my take on it.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3200: 7 reasons to buy the Nikon D3300 OVER the NIkon D3200

1) Size and Weight.  The Nikon D3300 430g, while the Nikon D3200 is 505g.  In other words, the Nikon D3300 is 9% lighter than the Nikon D3200.  It's also smaller, but I don't have the Star Trek technology to quickly tell you the % number. :-)

2) New Kit Lens.  The new kit lens, the Nikon 18-55mm VRII is 30% smaller and 25% lighter, plus it retracts to an even smaller state for storage by pressing a a bottom on the zoom ring.  Kind of reminds me a M4/3'd lens.

3) Optional WiFi.  It has since been brought to my attention that this is my bad. :-)  The Nikon D3200 had optional Wifi too, so don't count this one, just count size and weight as two separate points. :-)

4) Expeed 4.  A newer, more current processing engine in the Nikon D3300 than the Nikon D3200 means it's probably a safe bet that the Nikon D3300 has better image quality and high ISO.

5) No Low Pass Filter.  Seems to be a trend in Nikon cameras lately, which is a good thing because removing the low pass filter makes for a sharper, more detailed image.  Low Pass Filters tend to smudge detail.  Kudos to Nikon for continuing the trend in their entry level DSLR!

6) 25,600 High ISO.  The Nikon D3300 has a new max high ISO of 25,600 while the Nikon D3200 has 12,800.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that the top ISO setting on either camera is usable, but it does likely indicate that the Nikon D3300 is usable at a higher ISO setting than the Nikon D3200, with all else being equal.  In other words, if you were comfortable shooting at ISO 1600 on the Nikon D3200 as your highest ISO setting, then you'll probably be ok with ISO 3200 on the Nikon D3300 (or at least a half stop anyway).

7) 5fps.  The Nikon D3300 can shoot at 5 fps while the Nikon D3200 can shoot at 4fps.

So there you have it.  Seven reasons to buy the Nikon D3300 OVER the Nikon D3200.  Now, the seven reasons may mean nothing to you, and that might mean, for you, saving about $120 by buying the Nikon D3200 is the better choice.

I'm not honestly sure which way I'd go if I was in the market for an entry level Nikon DSLR.  Here's the current price difference at BHPhoto at the time of this writing.

Nikon D3300 with kit lens $646.95 (click the link to see the current price at BH)

Nikon D3200 with kit lens $526.95  (click the link to see the current price at BH)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera - Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom - ONLY $99 + FREE SHIPPING

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 Digital Camera - Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof  Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom

Great deal on the Panasonic TS20 at BHPhoto.

Only $99 + FREE SHIPPING for a Water-/Shock-/Freeze-/Dust-Proof  compact digital camera with an Ultra-Wide 25-100mm zoom!

Great for the kids, at the beach, or around the pool, and at $99 with FREE SHIPPING, pretty hard to beat!

Check out the Panasonic TS20 at!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Impressive Nikon D3300 & NEW AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Lens Announced at CES

Nikon D3300 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Lens

Nikon just announced the Nikon D3300 at CES, the successor to the popular Nikon D3200, and it looks like they've stuffed some new goodies into it, including a new 18-55mm kit lens that Nikon is calling ultra-compact.

Full HD Video at 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p ... check.

24 Megapixels... check.

3.0" 921k-Dot LCD Monitor... check.

11-Point Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor... check.

Continuous Shooting up to 5 fps... check.

Expeed 4 processing engine... check.

ISO 100 - 25,600... check.

Optional wifi with WU-1a wireless adapter... check.

Pretty impressive specs for a DSLR that is ONLY $646.95 MSRP at time of announcement.  Figure you'll be able to get it cheaper than that very shortly, either by rebate or sale, and you've got yourself one heck of a deal. 

I wish my first DSLR, my Nikon D100, was spec'd like this little beauty!!! :-)

Pre-Order your Nikon D3300 at BHPhoto here!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera Announced at CES Available for Pre-Order NOW at BHPhoto

Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera

Just announced at CES, the Fuji Finepix S1 Digital Camera looks pretty impressive!  With a 50X zoom, it looks like it may be a good contender for the Ultra Zoom crown, perhaps even toppling my favorite little Canon SX50!

With a 1200mm zoom equivalent, the Fuji S1 can really reach out and touch someone.  I know, because my Canon SX50 has the same zoom range, and it is CRAZY long!!!

Packed with features like a 16.4 Mp 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor, 3" 920k vari-angle LCD monitor, 5 axis optical image stabilization, built-in wifi, and full HD 1080p @ 60fps, this little camera looks like it's got the goods to deliver amazing photo and video performance.

... and oh yeah!  Dust and weather resistant (proof?) body!  This looks quite promising.  Fuji says the S1 has over 70 dust and weatherproof seals on the body, and weather proofing is always a welcome feature!

I'll be very interested to get my hands on one of these and shoot it against my Canon SX50.  Who knows?  Maybe the SX50 will be going on eBay, and the new Fuji S1 will become my new Ultra Zoom darling. :-)

FUJINON 56mm f/1.2 XF LENS Announced at CES Available for Pre-Order NOW at BHPhoto

Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 XF Lens

Great portrait length, crazy fast at f1.2, the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 XF Lens shows Fuji is REALLY serious about their lens line-up for their X series mirrorless cameras.

With a 35mm equivalent of 85mm, the new Fujinon 56mm f1.2 will be sure to be a favorite of any portrait photographer shooting with the Fuji X series, and the f1.2 aperture just adds icing to the cake. 

Pre-order the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 XF Lens at BHPhoto NOW to make sure you get yours.  These babies will likely be in short supply for some time.

Canon VIXIA HF R52 Full HD Camcorder Announced at CES & Available for Pre-Order NOW at B&H!

Canon VIXIA HF R52 Full HD Camcorder

CES is in full swing, and as always, there's some great new photo and video gear being introduced.  I'll be posting the most interesting stuff that I see, and I'll include pre-order links for you if they're available.

One of the first new pieces of gear that caught my eye from CES is the Canon VIXIA HF R52 Camcorder which looks sweet!  I love my earlier version (HF 200 if memory serves), and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on this new one!

If you're looking for a new camcorder, check out the Canon Vixia HF R52 here at BHPhoto

Sunday, January 5, 2014

DPReview Poll Names Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Camera Of 2013. Here's Why I Disagree.

Sony-a7-Panasonic-GX7-Olympus-E-M1-Fuji-X-E2 Mirrorless Cameras
Sony a7             Panasonic-GX7            Olympus E-M1            Fuji X-E2

So DPReview asked their readers what the best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera of 2013 was, and they responded with an over-whelming vote for the Olympus OM-D E-M1.

The poll showed the Olympus OM-D E-M1 got 34.1% of the vote, and the next closest was the Sony a7R at 21% which is interesting because I would've put the Sony a7R over the Olympus E-M1.

Why you ask?  Well, for two big reasons.  The Sony a7R has a full frame sensor and does better video.  Better image quality and better video quality.  Done deal for me.

But there's more.  The Sony a7 got only 10.3% of the vote, and for me, the Sony a7 wins over BOTH the Olympus E-M1 and the Sony a7R.  It's full frame, does great video, and is a LOT cheaper than it's big a7R brother.

Wait though!  Hold on a sec... there's another contender that I found disproportionately ranked in DPReview's reader poll.  The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 got only 6.8% of the vote, which I found strange because frankly, I'd rank it at least second, if not first place.

The Panasonic GX7 has everything I want in a camera.  It's small and light.  Has great image quality, and even better video quality.  I love the lenses available to the M4/3 system, especially the Olympus 45mm f1.8 which is one of my favorite lenses of all time.  To me, the Panasonic GX7 may be the perfect camera.

Which underlines a very important point.  None of the rankings matter if the camera isn't the right one for you.  Maybe the Fuji X-E2 is more your cup of tea.  Maybe you agree with the poll and the Olympus E-M1 is the best mirrorless for you.  Maybe you're like me and prefer the Panasonic GX7.  Regardless, the important thing is to find the camera that fits best for you!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Best New Camera of 2013? Canon 70D Nikon D7100 Fuji X-E2 Panasonic GX7 Sony a7 Olympus E-M1

The year was 2013.  It was a year of change, it certainly was in the camera industry as well.

We saw a lot of great new entries into the market.

Nikon introduced the Nikon D7100, their shiny new update to the SUPER popular Nikon D7000.

Fuji introduced the Fuji X-E2, a promising update to the much loved Fuji X-E1.

Panasonic rocked the mirrorless world with the Panasonic GX7, a camera so awesome it took a lot of the wind out of the Panasonic flagship's, the Panasonic GH3, sails.

Sony introduced the brothers, the Sony a7 and the Sony a7r, two cameras who made it so hard for photographers to choose between them that many just threw their hands in the air and bought both.

Olympus brought us the Olympus E-M1, the camera many Olympus shooters had been waiting for.

And last but not least, Canon set the DSLR world on fire with their new Canon 70D, a camera revolutionary for it's new Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system.

So which was the best new camera of 2013???

Well, you tell me!  Leave a comment and let us know your vote.

What's that?  You want to know my vote?  But won't that influence yours?  I mean, I don't want to sway you one way or the other now.

Ahhh... OK!  To me, it was a fairly easy choice for the Best New Camera of 2013 crown.  The Canon 70D brought us such revolutionary technology with the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system that I think there's no question the Canon EOS 70D is the Best New Camera of 2013.

The Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system changed video forever, and every manufacturer out there is scrambling to come up with their own version.  At the moment, there really is no other choice for me when it comes to DSLR video.

If I were buying a new camera today, it would be the Canon 70D, simply because I want that Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system.  I shoot a lot of video these days, as much or more than I do photos, and the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system is something I wouldn't be without in a new camera.

That said, I'm really looking forward to Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony catching up and introducing their own version of the Canon Dual-Pixel Hybrid autofocus system!  Come on guys.  Don't leave us hanging. :-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Go WIDE Young Man, Go Wide! (and FAST!) ONLY $449 Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Autofocus Lens

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX Autofocus Lens

When you want to go wide, you need WIDE!  And the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X is a really popular lens for Canon APS-C DSLRs because it's not only WIDE, it's FAST!

This ain't your mother's f5.6 wide angle.  At f2.8, it's as fast as it gets in a zoom.  And the Tokina is highly rated too.  Just check out the ratings at BHPhoto from all the customers who've bought it!

On NOW for ONLY $449 with FREE SHIPPING, but they're not telling me for how long, so get 'em while you can!

$199.99 for the Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras SAVE $160 (44%) + Free Shipping

Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras
BH keeps rolling out the deals!  Any of you need a 70-300mm zoom, you can't beat $199.99!

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS Lens for Nikon Digital Cameras

SAVE $160 (44%) + Free Shipping

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 4 Ways To Be A Better Photographer

Two Warthogs - Canon SX50

1. Practice.  You've heard it before, and I'm reminding you again.  Practice, practice, practice.  Practice makes perfect.  Just like Malcom Gladwell proves in his book Outliers, it's all about the time investment.  10,000 hours baby!  Put the time in, and you will be the best of the best.  

It doesnt matter if you use the best equipment like a Nikon D4 or a Canon 1Dx, or you use a bargain priced Sony NEX-3N or Canon T5i, it's the photographer that makes the photo.  And the skilled photographer, the one who has practiced countless hours and honed their craft, can take a great photo with just about any camera or image making device. 

2. Learn lighting.  Even a single $59 Speedlight used off camera with an inexpensive $40 radio trigger, heck even an old school flash cord, will make all difference in the world to your photo if you know how to light it properly.  

I am constantly amused how many photographers advertise themselves as "natural light" photographers.  Basically they're telling everyone that they don't have a clue how to do lighting, which in effect is saying they aren't really that great a photographer because they haven't taken the time to learn one of the most important aspects of the craft.  

Sure, there are few amazing "natural light" photographers, but they are also the ones who know photography inside and out, are skilled at lighting, and have then chosen to shoot predominantly without artificial lighting.  There are VERY FEW of these photographers out there.  The bulk of photographers who say they shoot with "natural lighting" just don't know how to use artificial lighting, hence they try to make themselves sound artistic by trying to make their ignorance sound like an advantage.

3. Get it right in Camera.  In other words, shoot it properly when you take the picture.  Know your settings.  Know your equipment.  Know your lighting.  Anticipate your subject.  

Poor shooting, and then saying you'll just fix it in post with Photoshop or Lightroom, is lazy and degrades your skills (if you have taken the time to acquire any.  A lot of times when a photo isn't shot right at the time, the photographer did it out of ignorance because they didn't have the skills to begin with.  See #1.)

4. Be prepared.  Extremely critical for the professional photographer, but still very important for the amateur enthusiast photographer, be prepared is a great moto to live by.  There's a reason it's the Scouts' motto! 

Have your gear prepared prior to your shoot, batteries charged, memory cards ready, lenses cleaned, cameras synced.  

If you're going out to shoot a landscape at dawn, know your sunrise times and scope out where your best vantage point is ahead of time. 

If you're going out on an assignment for a tricky client shot, run the scenario through in your head before the big day.  Try setting up a similar shot at home or in your studio and figure out possible problems and solutions ahead of time.