Tag Archives: gear

Review: Domke “Ledger” Shoulder Bag

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Most photographers have a dirty little secret: a closet full of camera bags. That’s because no single bag can meet every possible need for carrying your gear. Backpacks are great, but they can be awkward to work out of and don’t fit into tight spaces easily. Roller bags are perfect for airports and carrying lots of gear, but they are cumbersome to use for street photography. Shoulder bags are easy to work out of, but they can get really heavy if you pack a lot of gear. Belt packs are really nice, but you can’t carry everything in them as they quickly get overloaded.

I’ve used just about every style of bag, and most of the time I end up using some combination of backpacks and roller bags, depending on how I’m traveling and what I’m packing. The one style I don’t typically use is the shoulder bag; for me, I usually have too much stuff to comfortably carry one for extended periods of time. However, when Tiffen USA contacted me about testing one of the Next Generation Domke shoulder bags, I thought it might be a nice way to pack a mirrorless kit. Continue reading Review: Domke “Ledger” Shoulder Bag

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Solved: Image Stabilization with the Fujinon 18-55 OIS lens

Earlier this year, I posted about using image stabilization with the Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS Fujinon lens. Actually, I posted about how turning OIS on ended up creating softer images than hand-holding at moderate to fast shutter speeds. It’s frustrating to me because I really like the overall sharpness and versatility of this lens, but I was at the point where I’d only turn stabilization (IS) on when I was shooting at very low shutter speeds (slower than 1/60s).

Today I got a message from a friend asking if I’d tried setting stabilization to Mode 2, as he’d heard this might solve the softness issue we were both seeing with the Fuji 18-55mm lens.

Huh? I had to plead ignorance on that one. I knew there were two stabilization (IS) modes with the Fujifilm X-T1, but I didn’t think they’d cause any major differences in sharpness. Why? Here’s what the manual says about the two image stabilization options: Continue reading Solved: Image Stabilization with the Fujinon 18-55 OIS lens

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The Sensor Plane Photography Podcast #9

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A trip to South Texas for birding means packing big glass and using the right settings. In today’s episode, I review the Think Tank Photo Airport Security 2.0 roller bag, and share my tips for getting sharp shots of small birds. I also share some of my images from this year’s South Texas Birding Experience photo safari.

For an audio-only version of this episode (MP3 format), click here.


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Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T1: First Impressions

The Fujifilm X-T1 is a mirrorless camera with DSLR features (Image courtesy of Fujifim).
The Fujifilm X-T1 is a mirrorless camera with DSLR features (Image courtesy of Fujifim).

Well, I decided I’d see what the hub-bub was all about with regard to the Fujifilm X-series cameras. I’ve known for some time that these cameras have a great sensor (16MP, APS-C, no AA filter), but the ergonomics and performance made me hesitate. The biggest flaws with the Fujifilm X-system have been related to focusing speed and lag. Now, with the introduction of the Fujifilm X-T1, most of those issues are gone.

The X-T1 is more DSLR-like in design than the other Fujifilm bodies, making it a little less compact than say, the X-E2. However, it’s weather-sealed, has an articulating LCD, and the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is huge. Moreover, the autofocus performance is said to be faster than the X-E2, which was considerably better than the previous generations of Fujifilm cameras (X-E1, X-Pro1). The X-T1 shoots at 8fps, and has a nice built-in grip.

So I put in an order with B&H Photo (I buy all my own gear) and got a nice Fujifilm kit. Here’s me unboxing it with my first impressions:

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Short answer: the build quality of the X-T1 and lenses is nothing short of dreamy. Silky smooth focus ring action and metal barrel construction. It’s really nice to handle! Moreover,  the size of this kit is totally manageable. My ThinkTank bags just swallow this kit up!

Now that the battery has charged, I’ve had a few hours to play with the camera. I had to run firmware updates on most of the lenses. Here’s the link to Fujifilm’s lens firmware page for reference. Continue reading Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T1: First Impressions

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Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.
Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.

When you go out to photograph landscapes, what’s the first lens you reach for? For many of us, it’s a midrange (24-70mm) or wide (16-35mm) zoom lens. Those lenses are great, but there are lots of times when a longer focal length is ideal, even in wide-open spaces. By using something like a 70-200mm zoom, you can make some really compelling images.

Why should you use a telephoto zoom for landscape photography?

  • Telephoto lenses help you isolate the subject and cut out distracting elements from the scene, especially empty foreground space.
  • Telephoto lenses create subject isolation by softening backgrounds, especially when used with wide apertures.
  • Telephoto lenses compress the scene, enhancing the look of layers in a landscape and adding depth.

With all these creative benefits, it’s no wonder that my 70-200mm lens is something I find very enjoyable to use on my landscape photography trips.

Here are some more landscape images I captured with my 70-200mm lens: Continue reading Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

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