Posts Tagged ‘tripod’

Many people outside of workshop settings often ask me  how I get such sharp, crisp images.  Seriously, they do – and I usually tell them that I just have a really smart camera.  Although that might be true, there is certainly more to it than that.  In a not-so-formal essay, today I will outline some basic tips and techniques that I employ in order to achieve crisp photographs.  You can try them too, if you like.

While in workshop sessions, and people ask me how I get sharp photographs [particularly landscape & architecture shots] this is what I tell them:

  • I tripod mount my camera
  • Attach my cable release
  • I set my camera to the lowest native ISO
  • I close down my aperture approximately 2-3 stops from the widest opening (usually f/5.6-f/8).
  • Compose, meter, and focus the scene
  • Enable mirror lock-up
  • Depress my cable release

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The holiday season is here again, and for many of you that means considering the gift of a camera and/or equipment.  It is unfortunate that the landscape of this industry has changed quite significantly, and not necessarily for the better for retailer or consumer!  The advantages of shopping at a local store are masked as camera manufacturers allow big-box chain stores to break minimum advertised price (MAP) assignments on products.  Additionally, many camera manufacturers seem to have taken a step back as the newer models are built to cheaper specifications, they design products so they are ‘replaceable’, and are entrenched in a never-ending resolution race!  In light of all of this, I have picked out for you the best photo purchases available for the 2008 Holiday Season.  Here are my suggestions for the best photo equipment in four different price categories:

Less than $100

Card reader – the absolute essential for image transfer to the computer. Don’t fuss with the USB cable that comes in the camera box. This is the FASTEST & SAFEST way to transfer your images.

Media Tube – a device exclusively from Promaster that allows one to insert a memory card into the unit and playback images on your HD television in stunning high-definition quality.  Accepts all types of memory cards and allows for slideshow setup with audio capability.

Promaster Media Tube

Promaster Media Tube

Digital Picture Frame
– a great idea especially for relatives who may not be too computer savvy to retrieve photos from e-mail.  Buy them a digital picture frame, load images onto a memory card and set it up for them.  Screens comes in various sizes. Make sure to get one that takes a memory card and doesn’t rely on built-in memory as they operate much faster.  The best brands are Sunpak, eMotion and Digital Foci.

Filters – Every lens should have a UV filter.  You will hear people say having a cheap piece of glass in front of your nice lens cuts down on image quality.  As a working pro, I admit this – it does!  However, I am willing to live with the slight loss in image quality in order to protect the number of $1000+ lenses I own.  Just make sure you purchase a filter that is designed for digital.  They cut down on the glare, and have much better light transmission for a digital sensor than a filter that was designed for film.  Additionally, circular polarizing filters are nice for travel and landscape photography.  Once again, make sure you purchase one for use on a digital camera.   There really is a difference!

Extra Battery – kind of a no-brainer in most situations.  Sure, your camera battery might be rechargeable, but what if your battery dies while you are out for the day.  This way you’ll have a spare one in your bag.

Remote release cable – essential for tripod work when you are shooting landscapes or macro.  Prevents you from having to physically touch the camera to take a picture.  You’d be surprised how much movement your lightest touch can add to the camera!

Less than $500

Panasonic TZ-5 – 9.1mp, 10x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle, image stabilizer, 3″ screen, Leica lens, small package. ’nuff said.  The predecessor to this camera, the TZ-3 was hands down the #1 seller Holiday 2007.  A gorgeous unit.  It does however begin to fail in indoor and lower light situations.  Purse-sized. Buy it here for $225 after Instant Rebate

Panasonic TZ-5

Panasonic TZ-5


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