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.
I’m packing the big guns and heading down to south Texas for my annual South Texas Birding Photo Safari! This year, I’ll be bringing five clients to shoot with me in the private ranch blinds. While birding does require long focal lengths, the good news is that there are lots of good options for people who don’t want to fork over several month’s pay for a part-time lens.
If you use Nikon DX format bodies, the Nikkor 80-400mm AFS G VRII lens is amazingly sharp, and very easy to hand-hold. If you are considering a trip like this as a special occasion, consider renting a lens (and even a body) from a company like LensRentals or BorrowLenses. Weekly rentals are reasonably priced, especially when considering the purchase price of a new lens.
Oh, and Texas? I’m already planning to return next year. If you’d like to join me, sign up over at my workshops page so you get early notifications. These trips fill up fast!
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:
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!
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.
I recently converted my Nikon 1 V1 mirrorless camera to “super-color” infrared. I’ve been having fun with the camera, but I did notice that wider shots seemed very soft in the corners. According to the team at Life Pixel, wide-angle lenses are notoriously problematic with infrared cameras. Lens distortions tend to be exaggerated and softness is common. The primary culprit, it seems, is the fancy optical coatings on your lenses, which help reduce distortion and aberrations. The coatings are optimized for visible light, not IR wavelengths.