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Category 'Reviews'

img:A Beginner Guide to Long Exposure Photography by Andrew Leggett
Sep 19, 2017

A Beginner Guide to Long Exposure Photography by Andrew Leggett

A Beginners Guide to Long Exposure Photography  So, you’ve seen pictures of the silky smooth waters and the dreamy skies and you’ve made the decision to try and achieve this style for yourself. It’s time to plan! Before you decide to fly out the front door, some prior preparation is going to be required. What is it that you’re going to shoot? Cityscapes? Seascape? Waterfalls? Have you looked on Streetview for good vantage points or spoken to other photographers in the area? It pays to have a good understanding of the area, as sometimes chasing a shot can be time sensitive! There are phone Apps that can assist in planning for a shoot. PhotoPills would be the most popular App out there, but I have been supporting an Android app called PlanIt! for some time now. PlanIt! currently helps photographers plan for Milky Way Photography, Sunset & Sunrise, Meteor showers and much more! The next major thing is equipment! You will need to have a camera with a manual mode so you can manually control Shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focus. Another crucial piece of equipment are your legs, a nice and sturdy tripod is required to keep your camera locked in the same position over the duration of the shoot. The only items we require now are a remote trigger, and the star of the show, a neutral density filter. In this demonstration I will be shooting a sunset cityscape with the Kenko RealPro ND1000 filter. The ND1000 will provide me with a reduction of 10 stops. This reduction is how I will achieve the soft water and silky skies. Composition Once I arrive at the planned destination, I set the camera up and fire off my first shot in Aperture Priority Mode. I’m not too worried about settings at this stage. I am only interested in how the image is looking on the back of the camera. I’ll move around and take multiple shots from different angles. What I am looking for when I compose my shot is something in the foreground, silky smooth water, some city lights and a silky dreamy sky. As you can see below, my ‘something’ in the foreground is the yellow ladder. Camera Settings and Base Image I’m now happy with how the shot is looking, it’s time to dial in some settings. I’m shooting at about 25mm on my kit Nikon Lens. I...

img:My Experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip lenses - by Mike Gorliak
Sep 13, 2017

My Experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip lenses - by Mike Gorliak

My experience with Kenko REAL PRO Clip Lenses We usually do not use our smartphones to their full extent, as we end up using just the simple camera functions everyone knows. But if you try searching on the Internet, you’ll figure out that nowadays the most popular way of taking photos is shooting with smartphones. It is quite understandable - after all, smartphone cameras have become quite good in recent years. Also, the correct operation of a semiprofessional camera can be much more complicated for beginners than a quick shot with a smartphone camera. As a professional photographer, at the beginning I found rather difficult to face the limitations of a smartphone camera but, after all, I know how to use my camera to get certain pictures. Then I was amazed by Kenko REAL PRO clip lenses, and the more I use these lenses the most I like them. Shot with Kenko REAL PRO CLIP LENS Fish-Eye 180° Smartphones are equipped with a built-in camera and lens, and usually these lenses are supposed to have at least adequate specifications to let you take, under good shooting and lighting conditions, pictures of several genres, especially like flat-lay photos taken right up from a 90°position, or snaps and landscape pictures. In portraits you have to break your head, especially if the photos are to be more than a selfy. As it eventually turns out, smartphone cameras will not be able to replace mirror-reflex or mirrorless cameras for the time being. But at the very least, there are really good alternatives for making smartphone pictures more interesting an also from completely different perspectives like in macro photography, as you can see here: Shot with Kenko REAL PRO Macro 0.65x I have been a professional photographer for ten years and I know how beautiful the photography with a professional camera is – but even with only half of the equipment can be damn hard! If you are going to spend "only" one or two hours on a shooting session, you can still handle it. But then imagine the case you are going somewhere out on a journey with your family, and you want to bring of course your camera equipment with you, but there are also a lot of other necessities to fill up your backpack with, and you will inevitably get annoyed because there won’t be enough space for everything! Shot with...

img:Close-up filters and Extension Tubes for Macro Photography
Jun 29, 2017

Close-up filters and Extension Tubes for Macro Photography

Macro photography is a very interesting shooting technique which photographers of many genres will eventually face. Whether you are shooting still life, flowers, bugs, wedding details, or even portraits you will eventually need to get a little closer for extra magnification. This article we will help you understand the theory and practice of macro photography using close-up filters and Extension Tubes as an alternative to expensive macro specific lenses. Contents 1. Introduction to macro photography theory- Macro lenses- Close-up filters- Extension Tubes 2. Practical Field tests- Equipment and shooting techniques- Testing- Wide angle lens- Telephoto lens 3. Summary Gallery 1. Introduction to macro photography theory The essence of macro photography comes down to the capabilities of the optical system. The most important feature here is the ability to get the largest possible projection of the object onto the sensor of the camera. This is achieved through the large focal length and small focus distance of the lens. Macro lenses Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens Common lenses with long focal length (telephoto lenses) have a rather large close (near) focus distance (hereinafter CFD). And vice versa, lenses with small CFD have a short focal length (wide angle lenses). Therefore, there are special versions of the lenses designed for macro photography - they combine both; a long focal length and small CFD. Such lenses are called macro lenses and usually have a high aperture and a constant (fixed) focal length. Also they could be used in other genres (i.e. in portrait photography). Macro photography The illustration below shows the differences when using a standard lens and a macro lens with small CFD. You can see how the macro lens allows to get closer to the object and thereby increases the macro ratio. The principle of the macro lens Due to the constant focal length (i.e. it is not zoom lens), bigger size and high price, macro lenses are usually purchased by professional photographers who have a specific need for macro photography. If you are an amateur and want to try macro photography for yourself, but are not ready to buy a macro lens, there are other more affordable ways. The remainder of the article will take a closer look at affordable accessories such as close-up filters and Extension Tubes that can extend the capabilities of the lenses you already own. Close-up filters Close-up filter Close-up filters are in fact optical macro-attachments...

img:A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters by Sharyn Hodges
May 9, 2017

A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters by Sharyn Hodges

A Woman's World Captured Through ND Filters There are hundreds of blogs out there telling you how to use a Neutral Density Filter (most of which are very technical), but I will be telling you my thought process of "How I use the RealPro ND100 and the RealPro ND500 filters”. So just to give you some sort of starting point, if you have never heard of a ND filter before, it’s a filter that you attach in front of your camera lens to take creative and dramatic photographs. I am sure you have seen the soft, blurry / smooth water photographs and asked how was this taken. Well, it was most likely taken with a ND filter. There are many different subjects you could photograph using a ND filter such as moving cars, blurring people as they walk across a busy intersection, waterfalls or you could even create dramatic skylines with moving clouds. The possibilities are endless. I use the filter for smoothing out the sea and bringing out the rocks and if I am lucky, to capture moving clouds. A ND filter allows you to control the amount of light you allow into your camera lens when leaving your shutter open for anything between 1 second to 1 minute. If you try and take a photo in the middle of the day with an open shutter for, let's say, five seconds, your photo will come out over exposed (just white). Each RealPro Filter comes in their own individual plastic carry case(as seen above). If you are not using your filter, its best advised to keep your filter in their case. This provides protection from accidents, drops (a common occurrence with me), dust and scratches all which could impact your final image negatively. The RealPro ND filter range are circular and have a simple screw onto the lens thread. Perfect for changing filters quickly. I am not a technical person and there are hundreds of "How should I use my ND Filter" blogs or YouTube videos out there that will give you great advice. I will be telling you how I personally use the filters in my everyday work. I will be talking to you through how I compose a photograph, the thought process and the outcomes. Living along the beautiful coastline of the Garden Route, my hometown of Plettenberg Bay provides the most spectacular photographic opportunities which ranges from...

img:Infrared photography (part II)
Dec 8, 2016

Infrared photography (part II)

Practical part Shooting Now let's talk about shooting techniques. Given that in IR-photography you often have to shoot with a long exposure, the technique will be largely similar to the use of high-density ND-filters. At the beginning you have to set the camera. First switch it to the Manual mode, turn off image stabilization, recording file type set to RAW and fix ISO sensitivity at the minimum value. Also, some people recommend to switch off the noise reduction option. In some cases, these settings may affect negatively the final image, so be sure to check it before shooting. Given that IR-shots often have problems with sharpness, set the aperture to the maximum (but don't forget about diffraction limit for your camera). Now select the composition and firmly fix the camera on a tripod. Next autofocus on the desired object and then set the focus to Manual mode (preferably via the camera menu). If you turn off the autofocus on the lens (by the switch or shifting the focus ring, depending on the lens model), you may accidentally shift the focus position. Then carefully screw the IR-filter on the lens. It is recommended to use the remote control. If not, then set the 2-second time delay. This will prevent the camera shaking. If you shoot with a DSLR camera, you should use Live View mode, because the optical viewfinder will not show anything. In addition, Live View is often able to show the final picture with the option of exposure compensation. However, on the other hand you should be careful with the values of the EV-scale, because the exposure meter may work incorrectly in the IR-range. So before you start shooting, take a few test shots with different exposure steps. To manage exposure, use the shutter speed setting. Unfortunately, there is no calculation chart for the exposure of the ND filters. The fact is that the density of IR-filters from different manufacturers may differ significantly. Camera modification is also important, because the volume of the residual IR-light will depend on the intensity of the IR-cut pre-filter. RAW-processing After shooting you will get (at first glance) a terrible RAW-image in red tones. Now let's consider techniques which will allow you to make a good photo. Original RAW-image after shooting with the IR-filter IR-image after deep processing (colored version) This is probably the most difficult part in IR-photography and there will be a...

img:Infrared photography (part I)
Dec 8, 2016

Infrared photography (part I)

In this review I will try to consider the infrared (IR) photography using IR-filters and specialized spectral cameras. This technique is quite difficult, but we will try to explain it in the most easy way. Contents How it works?Shooting optionsGears options - IR-cut filters - IR cameras LensesPractical part - Shooting RAW-processing - Black-and-white - RAW-processing in the camera - Black-and-white - RAW-processing in photo editors - Automated RAW-processing in Photoshop - Manual RAW-processing in Photoshop/LightroomSummary How it works? Do you know that only a short range of light spectrum between 400-700nm could be seen by the human eyes? Light waves up to the 400nm are called ultraviolet light and the waves over the 700nm - IR-light. Both are not visible by the eyes. Thus, only the visible range of the spectrum is considered as a norm for humans. But sensors of the digital cameras has no such "lack" and originally able to capture a wider range of the spectrum. Therefore, the image from the "naked" sensor would have huge difference from the usual view for our eyes (with a predominance of blue and red colors). For this reason manufacturers of digital cameras set a special pre-filters, which are cutting off unnecessary light beyond the visible range. This is why shots made with usual cameras are so close to perception of our eyes. But if we are not able to see some things it doesn’t mean it doesn't exist. And this is the essence of IR-photography. Using this technique, you can take shots that will be radically different from what we see with our eyes. Shooting options In fact, this is a genre of black-and-white photography, but the brightness here will be determined not only by the amount of light, but also the physical surface temperature. For instance the water will be dark, the foliage heated by the Sun is white and so on. Usual image in the visible spectrum IR-image after deep processing (b&w version) IR-image after deep processing (colored version) Since we are talking about photography, we can make time-lapse footages as well: Invisible Vietnam from Timon on Vimeo. Gears options IR filters Despite that the cameras have built-in pre-filters cutting the IR-light, some small part of invisible IR-light still remains and reaches the sensor. Therefore, in order to "catch" only this small amount of invisible light were developed special IR-filters, which cut off all the light...

img:Using Filters for Sea and Underwater shooting
Nov 29, 2016

Using Filters for Sea and Underwater shooting

My name is Jóse Márquez, I’m 24 years old. I live in Puerto Rico - one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, and thanks to my island, I got the passion for underwater photography Today I want to talk about the equipment that I use when I’m taking underwater photos and the equipment that I use when I’m taking photos out of the water. Underwater/ Water Sports When you are shooting underwater, you need to first think about what you are going to be shooting: surfers, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, coral, models, etc. Depending on what your subject is, this will determine the type of equipment that you are going to use. Surfing: When you are shooting surfers, it is better if you use a fast camera from 6 fps up to 14fps. Why? When you’re shooting surfers or waves the action is extremely fast, so when you got a fast camera it is easier to get the shot that you want because you got more shots from the same wave or surfer. Which Lenses? You got a lot of options when you are shooting surfing; all is going to depend from the vision that you want to deliver to the viewers.If you want to focus on facial expressions or nice sport portraits, a 70-200mm 2.8 is a great option. If you want to focus on the surfer or the wave, but not the complete scenario a 35mm or 50mm is an awesome choice for that type of shot. Nikon D7100 + 50mm 1.8 + Kenko REALPRO C-PL Filter. Nikon D7100 + 50mm 1.8 + Kenko REALPRO C-PL Filter. These types of lenses are going to provide images where the action of the surfer or the waves are the protagonists in the scene. If you want to get the complete scenario and action, you must use a fisheye or wide angle. This is going to provide to the viewers a first person view experience and is going to let you freeze all the action in just one picture. Also, it can let you get the Over and Under pictures, this type of picture is when 50% of the shot is out of the water and the other 50% is underwater. Tokina provides one of the best options in the market, they got the Tokina Fisheye 10-17mm F3.5 and the Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, both lenses have got some...

img:Practical advices about ND filters PART IV
Oct 18, 2016

Practical advices about ND filters PART IV

• Typical situations• Videography• Exposure control• Shooting of the Sun• Choosing the ND filter• Conclusions Videography Exposure control If you are shooting video, for example, with a frame rate of 25 fps, it is recommended to set camera shutter speed to the inverse number of about 1/25 sec. But in sunny weather is almost impossible to fulfill this condition and you'll get overexposure. The only thing you can do is to speed up the shutter speed, but in this case the final video will look jerky. ND filters allow to reach desired light flux for the optimal shutter speed. Shooting of the Sun When the Sun is near the horizon, you also can shoot not only time-lapse, but the usual video. And here you also need to use ND filters to cut an extra light flux. Choosing the ND filter Eventually we considered ND-filter types and main situations in which they can be used and the only thing now that remains is to give recommendations for choosing a right model. If you have sufficient budget and want to seriously go deep into the long exposure, we recommend to use a set of filters. First, you need a filter with a high density level like ND500 or ND1000 with 9 and 10 ND f-stops. Using these filters you can achieve really long exposures. But if you need to slightly adjust the exposure (about 2-5 f-stops), we recommend to use variable ND filter. So, you will have ND filters for different situations. But that's not all. When you need to achieve an extra long exposure, you can make a "sandwich", combining both filters. So that you will get 15-17 f-stops. The only thing you should pay attention to is a quality of variable density filters, because the common problem for a cheap variable ND filters is decrease in sharpness. Choosing the filter you should look for a well known and respectable brands. Kenko presented by 2 models - professional Kenko Variable NDX and for amateur - Kenko PL FADER. Speaking of the more affordable way (which is much interesting for most photographers), I recommend to use filters with fixed ND level or a set of these filters. So, if you are shooting portraits with a fast lens, we recommend to use models between ND4-ND16. It will give you possibility to keep the depth of field even on sunny weather. If you are...

img:Practical advices about ND filters PART III
Oct 17, 2016

Practical advices about ND filters PART III

• Typical situations• Time-lapse• Strong light flux• Smooth dynamics• Blurred motion• Shooting of the Sun Time-lapsePractical advices about ND filters PART III ND filters are often used in time-lapse, so lets consider the typical situations. Strong light flux  In fact, the situation is quite similar to classic photography. Time-lapse is a video made of a large number of serial shots. But there is an additional restriction - to avoid flicker effect you always have to shoot with a maximum aperture, if your lens has automatic aperture control. The fact is that during the serial shooting after each shot the camera sets the aperture into the initial (most opened) position and then closing it to the set value before the next shot. This action is repeating before the each shot. Here is the sample video of serial shooting on F2.8 lens with f/5.6 set: And the point is that the automatic setting cannot close aperture into the identically same position. Every time the f-number will be a little bit different. That means that with every new shot the camera sensor will receive different value of light, so the final images will always be exposured in a different way, that is well seen in dynamics: Therefore, in order to have a constant light flux when shooting time-lapse, it is recommended to set the aperture into the most opened position. That means that you would either have to shoot with very short shutter speed (which is undesirable and this will be considered below), or get an overexposure with a longer shutter speed. That is, if in the classic photography setting the open aperture can be caused only by the situation (portrait photography), in time-lapse you always have to shoot with maximum aperture (unless you have a lens with manual aperture control). Smooth dynamics As we just mentioned, strong light flux and importance of shooting with wide open aperture gives us no choice, but to shoot with a fast shutter speed. However, in this case the final video will turn jerky and unpleasant for viewing. Using ND filters allows us to lower shutter speed and make video smoother. Blurred motion Blurred motion in time-lapse looks as good as in classic photography. But unlike the photos, the footage will look interesting both night and day, because it allows to express the dynamics. This technique is perfect for shooting of moving cars or flows of people....

img:Practical advices about ND filters PART II
Oct 15, 2016

Practical advices about ND filters PART II

PART II Typical situations Photography Strong light flux Accent on the subject of shooting Landscapes and cityscapes Shooting of architecture Blurred motion Lightnings Shooting of the Sun PhotographyNow let’s discuss typical situations in photography where ND filters are in need. Strong light fluxWe have already considered exactly the same situation in the example in PART I. ND is necessary if you have a fast lens, camera with limited shutter speed and want to shoot with maximum aperture (for example, to get deep depth of field). In such conditions, shooting without a filter may cause overexposure. F2.8 1/4000sec. ISO200 without ND filter. F1.3 1/4000sec. ISO200 with ND4 Accent on the subject of shooting This technique is required when there is a motionless subject and moving objects around them. With a slow shutter speed all moving objects will become blurred or even blurry, while the subject will remain sharp. Shooting without ND filters will give you extra light flux with overexposure. Accent on the subject of shooting Accent on the subject of shooting Blurring of moving people makes the image more artistic Blurring of moving people makes the image more artistic Landscapes and cityscapes ND filters are oftenly used in the landscape or cityscapes photography. Long exposure allows to blur the fast moving clouds, ripples on water, a fountain or a waterfall, making shots quite different. Without filter (1/60 sec.) With ND1000 (13 sec.) Without filter (1/1600 sec.) Set of ND8, ND1000 and variable ND filter (30 sec.) Without filter (f/5.6, 1/1250 sec.) Variable ND filter (f/16, 15 sec.) Shooting of architecture If you significantly increase the exposure (15-20 sec.), all moving objects will become invisible. Without filter (1/100 sec.) With ND1000 (10 sec.) Without filter (1/50 sec.) With ND1000 (20 sec.) Without filter (1/8 sec., ISO200) Variable ND Filter (25 sec., ISO100) Blurred motion Car lights shot at slow shutter speed are also look very impressive. Basically this technique is used in night photography when lights are visible, however, light flux can be still strong and ND filter would be required. ND8 (15 sec.) Lightnings It is not easy to shoot lightnings. And the main problem is in difficulty to catch the moment of lightning with a short exposure. ND filters will significantly increase the exposure time and therefore increase the probability of a successful shot. If you're lucky, can get even a few lightnings in one shot. ND8 (10 sec.)...