Product Review: Eye-Fi Pro

When you shoot in the studio as much as I do you learn to hate cords. Power cords, sync cords, extension cords, data cables, all get in the way regularly. It’s not unusual for me to have a sync cord, AC adapter, cable release, USB cable and camera strap all attached to my camera at the same time. I use radio triggers for my strobes regularly, but sometimes a wired sync is necessary. If I’m tethered to the computer, I really need to use an AC adapter to power the camera as it doesn’t shut off automatically. If I use the tethering software I can remotely trigger the camera from the computer but sometimes the cable release is just more efficient. So anytime I’ve got the ability to cut a cord I’m willing to give it a try. (more…)

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Canon Rebel T1i (EOS 500D) Review: Field Test Report

Small and compact, a good choice–if you don’t mind some compromises.

Canon Rebel T1i--front. The Canon Rebel T1i is a neat little DSLR to tool around with. You'll hardly know it's hanging from your neck, owing to the cozy size and heft of the camera/kit lens combo. By the way, look closely at the lens: if it appears that there's no focusing ring, look again--it's an annoyingly very thin knurled ring on the very front of the lens barrel. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.
Canon Rebel T1i–front. The Canon Rebel T1i is a neat little DSLR to tool around with. You’ll hardly know it’s hanging from your neck, owing to the cozy size and heft of the camera/kit lens combo. By the way, look closely at the lens: if it appears that there’s no focusing ring, look again–it’s an annoyingly thin, knurled ring on the very front of the lens barrel. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.



The Rebel has always been Canon’s sleek but inexpensive choice in a digital SLR. That’s true even now. The T1i, while still not the sharpest tack in the bunch, manages to make a point with a solid feel and comprehensive feature set.

Each succeeding Rebel climbs one rung up the ladder, with this latest Rebel offering higher resolution–15.1 MP–and faster processing–Digic 4 (one of those acronyms that has never really caught on as such, but does appear to deliver in principle) on its CMOS chip. Then add a larger LCD and HD video capture (if you go in for that), and the camera becomes even more appealing. Of course, when you include an image-stabilized lens in the package and price it all under $900, there are bound to be some compromises. But are these compromises you can live with? Well, that depends. (more…)

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Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5~4.5G ED Lens Review

A wide zoom when you need it, where you need it.

Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5~4.5G ED. Effectively a 15-36mm zoom (with 1.5X sensor factor), this lens is relatively compact and lightweight. It offers a choice between fully manual and AF with manual override via an onboard switch. And unlike a fisheye or even the 14-24, the front element is not bulbous enough to prevent use of a filter--77mm. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.
Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5~4.5G ED. Effectively a 15-36mm zoom (with 1.5X sensor factor), this lens is relatively compact and lightweight. It offers a choice between fully manual and AF with manual override via an onboard switch. And unlike a fisheye or even the 14-24, the front element is not bulbous enough to prevent use of a filter--77mm. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

Over the years, I’ve become enamored of wide zooms–the wider the better. One of my faves is a Tokina fisheye zoom that I practically take everywhere. But there’s only so much barrel distortion one person can take, and only so far that distortion correction can take an image–when you want to employ it, that is. Sometimes you just want to start out with straight lines wherever you can get them. So, when I heard that Nikon had a new 10-24mm lens, I was on it like an egret on a fish (hey, it’s the first metaphor that popped into my head).

I’d worked with Canon’s EF-S 10-22 mm lens–and simply loved it. At the time, I still had an APS-C Canon, but I was fast moving toward full-frame and knew the lens would not be long for this world if I bought it. So I tested it, and sadly said goodbye. Now that I’m back in the APS-C camp with the Nikon D300–and loving it!–it was time to examine yet another zoom in the ultra-wide dimension (super-wide? potato, potato–you get what I mean).

Making Choices

Okay, I know, this looks an awful lot like another lens from Nikon. But there is a difference. Considering that only a few dollars separates them, it really is a tough call choosing between the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5~4.5G ED and AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED.

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Olympus E-P1 Review: Field Test Report

Peter Burian tests this 12.3 megapixel interchangeable-lens camera with HD Movie mode and a wealth of SLR-style features

The first Olympus Micro Four Thirds system includes the E-P1 camera, two lenses, adapters for other types of lenses and a compact flash unit.
The first Olympus Micro Four Thirds system includes the E-P1 camera, two lenses, adapters for other types of lenses and a compact flash unit.

In their promos for the 12.3 megapixel Olympus E-P1 camera, the company often referred to the heritage provided by their Pen series SLRs first introduced in 1959. That’s understandable, because the Pen models were unusually compact and featured classic styling.

Those qualities also apply to the E-P1, available in a white or silver stainless steel body with silver or black (optional) lenses. That’s where the similarities end however, since the Pen SLRs were small format cameras, taking two photos on a single frame of 35mm film. The E-P1 also accepts interchangeable lenses, but it’s not an SLR nor a small format camera in terms of sensor size. Even so, the new Olympus Micro Four Thirds concept certainly has a great deal of appeal and it should be as successful as the Pen concept was in the 1960’s and 1970’s. (more…)

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Canon PowerShot G10 Review

A 14.7 MP pocket-size point-and-shoot even the pros use.

I don’t know of any point-and-shoot camera that commercial advertising shooters have used more than Canon’s PowerShot G-series. Yes, there are other very capable point-and-shoots out there, but none has garnered the G-series’ rep. As with its predecessors, the G10 remains the flagship in Canon’s point-and-shoot lineup, and as such, this camera proudly carries the colors into the heat of battle.

Canon G10 (front). The compact Canon G10 features an equally compact 5X zoom. Startup is quite fast--fast enough so as not to miss a vital shot. Copyright  ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.
Canon G10 (front). The compact Canon G10 features an equally compact 5X zoom. Start-up is quite fast. Fast enough so as not to miss a vital shot. Copyright ©2009 Jack Neubart. All rights reserved.

The G10 ups the ante in resolution, compared with earlier models in the G-series, delivering 14.7 megapixels (MP). That gives you enough real estate for cropping. Granted, it’s a CCD chip. Chatter on the Net is that the next G will be the G-whiz wunderkind, with a CMOS sensor adding new vitality into this series. (With that said, should you buy the G10 or wait? Well, you’ll need to read further.) (more…)

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Video Review: Reichmann and Resnick’s “Where the #%*! are My Pictures?””

Whirlwind Rainbow, Seljalandfoss, Iceland.   Image Copyright 2009 Joe Decker
Whirlwind Rainbow. Seljalandfoss, Iceland. Selecting the right keywords for this image will be critical to helping me sell this image as stock. Image Copyright 2009 Joe Decker

Several times a year I teach a one-day workshop on optimizing images using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 at the local art league, and in doing so I’m often asked for a good book recommendation for someone learning Lightroom. As I’ve mentioned in my previous review, my usual recommendation has been Martin Evening’s book The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers.

In the process of keeping my eyes open for new resources, I recently purchased and watched “Where the #%*! are My Pictures?”, a three-hour video series by Michael Reichmann and Seth Resnick which focuses on the the file-handling, digital asset management (roughly speaking, the Library module) aspects of Lightroom. I’ll be adding this to my list of top recommendations for Lightroom resources, I think it’s particularly appropriate for folks who have a basic familiarity with Lightroom but are ready to take their understanding up a notch and really make their workflow sing.

The question “Where are my images?” creeps up on most photographers as they continue to work over years. Three years ago I was convinced that that this “digital asset management” thing was quite possibly overkill for me. After all, I knew most of my images and I had everything organized in directories by year and location. How hard could it be for me to find an image someone might want of Death Valley? My first lesson came when I got a request to see all my flower macro work. I spent hours putting together that request. “Where the #%*!…” reinforces that lesson while at the same time showing that the cure for that disease is a lot less imposing than it might seem at first. Good habits and good presets go a long way toward making Lightroom file management easier, and this series does a great job of helping photographers along that path. (more…)

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Book Review: Tell the World You Don’t Suck

Tell the World You Don’t Suck: Modern Marketing for Commercial Photographers by Leslie Burns Dell’Acqua

I’m a big fan of marketing and advertising my business. I really try hard to put my work, my business and my name out there as much as possible. With that said, sometimes I get stuck. Getting stuck in your marketing is no different from getting stuck creatively. It happens to all of us and learning how to break out of that rut and into more productive areas is important for any business owner.  It’s at times like these that books like this one come in very handy indeed.  Sometimes we need a creative kick in the pants, sometimes the foot is more business oriented. (more…)

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Product Review – Wacom Bamboo

As someone who’s been using Photoshop since version 1 I’ve had my share of bad days with a mouse. The occasional forearm and wrist numbness that come with a long session of silhouetting and clipping paths is becoming more and more common. (Those long sessions of Call of Duty don’t help either.) I’ve never been one for the pen/tablet tools though. After all, my abysmal hand skills are one reason I got into photography in the first place. But about a month ago I got an assignment that was going to require some pretty heavy use of layer masks. About the same time I came across a display at the local office supply store of the new Bamboo (Small) Pen Tablet with Pen Only line from Wacom. Wacom is the leading brand when it comes to pen/tablet input systems, they’ve also got the Cintiq line of pen/monitor systems that are a lot of fun. But since I’m not an illustrator, and rarely do heavy retouching or manipulation, the pen systems haven’t held a lot of sway with me. (more…)

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HP LP2475w: First Impressions

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve recently been upgrading my primary digital darkroom machine, and I was happy enough with how cheaply I was able to get a machine that really met my needs that I decided to take a better look at upgrading my monitor.  I’d been using a decent but much older 21″ Dell “Ultrasharp” monitor, and with calibration it was more than good enough for me to get a lot of my work done, but I still felt that something a little bigger might be of value, so I started looking at bigger (24-inch), and perhaps better LCDs for my system. I hoped to find something a little better in gamut size and viewing angle than the (perfectly nice) Dell, but a lot more affordable than the high-end ::amazon(“B0012RZK1Y”, “EIZO”):: monitors in the same size range. I ended up with the  ::amazon(“B001FS1LLI”, “HP LP2475w”)::, and I thought I’d share some of my initial impressions with you here.

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Book review – Food Styling for Photographers

by Linda Bellingham and Jean Ann Bybee

It may be easiest to start with what this book is not. This book, and the lessons within, will not make you a food stylist. This book will not take work away from stylists. We all know there are times when we don’t have the option of working with a professional stylist, whether due to budget, time or logistical constraints. They will not replace the expertise, talents and skills of a professional food stylist.

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