How to start using the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II film scanner

Many people rave about the image quality and features of the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II film scanner, but just because¬†it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s easy¬†to¬†start using ‚ÄĒ especially if your goal is to make the highest resolution scans possible. I had trouble figuring it out myself, so wrote this post to clearly explain everything to you¬†‚ÄĒ and save you the trouble. Continue reading How to start using the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II film scanner

The Canon FTb SLR: My new camera (from 1971)

Wish you could afford one of those amazing full-frame mirrorless cameras with a fast, juicy lens? You know what I’m talking about. Yeah. The Sony a7R III. Compact, easy to transport. Big, lush sensor. Creamy glass. Quick operation. Improved battery life. That’s the dream, right?

But… It’s expensive. Too pricy for you and me. Right? Maybe not.

On a recent episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast, co-host Marco Arment was talking about the Sony a7R III he had recently purchased, and was rightfully gushing about its performance and the beautiful images it made. He went on to explain how this kind of camera is prohibitively expensive. Continue reading The Canon FTb SLR: My new camera (from 1971)

Hands-on Review of the Canon 7D Mark II

There are lots of reviews of the Canon 7D Mark II¬†that lean heavily into its specs, but that’s not what you’ll find here. I shoot photos and videos primarily to indulge my interests. It’s a hobby, and I make purchases largely based on emotion. These are the primary forces that drove¬†me to buy¬†this beefy camera.

After years of looking at images from other photographers, I found that always appreciated and desired the punchiness of photos shot with pro-level Canon DSLRs, Canon L-series lenses, and high-end Canon flashes. I wanted to use these creative tools myself, so I grabbed them. Continue reading Hands-on Review of the Canon 7D Mark II

The best film scanners in 2018

It would be nice to tell you “Hey, this specific film scanner is the very best one you can buy in 2018. No doubt about it.” However, this isn’t possible. People have different needs. In order to determine the best film scanner for you, we’ve got to figure it out first.

Let’s take a journey¬†through this buying process, all the way from “What’s the cheapest thing I can get?” to figuring out the best product that suits your needs. Continue reading The best film scanners in 2018

Youth is Restored to My 2011 Camera: Hands-on Review of the Eye-Fi Mobi

If you were instructed to visit an electronics store and purchase a smartphone that didn’t have the ability to shoot HD video, you would have a tough time. This feature was only found on select high-end phones a few years ago, but now it’s nearly universal. The same rule now applies to digital cameras and built-in Wi-Fi. If you’re a manufacturer and you’re releasing a new camera in 2014 that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you’re taking a big risk.

Continue reading Youth is Restored to My 2011 Camera: Hands-on Review of the Eye-Fi Mobi

Pancake Too Thick? Hands-On with the Olympus BCL-1580 “Cr√™pe” Lens

As much as I love my Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, I wish it was even smaller. This is the story of modern photo gear: we’ve got amazing cameras built into our mobile phones, now we just need amazing lenses that are somehow miraculously compact. Recently, the Olympus BCL-1580 came to my attention. It’s compatible with my trusty (and discontinued) Panasonic GH2, and it’s only $50. Plus, it’s drastically smaller than my 20mm f/1.7. Game on! I needed to try this thing. Pancake schmancake. I’ve been wanting a “cr√™pe” lens, and it seemed like it was finally here.

Continue reading Pancake Too Thick? Hands-On with the Olympus BCL-1580 “Cr√™pe” Lens

Riding the GIMP: My Photoshop-Free RAW Workflow

I committed to shooting strictly in Manual Mode at the beginning of the year, because I could see an improvement¬†in the image quality of my photos, and I felt more of a bond and sense of ownership over my work (you can read about this process in this post). In order to push the quality of my work further, I knew the natural thing to do was to start shooting in the RAW format, however, my ancient copy of Photoshop CS3 was incapable of processing these files. I didn’t own post-production software that allowed me to shoot in this mode.

Continue reading Riding the GIMP: My Photoshop-Free RAW Workflow

Hands-On Review of the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for NEX

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens on a NEX 5 mirrorless camera. I only had access to this camera and lens for a short period of time, but it was long enough to get a basic feel for it. I figured I’d share my thoughts and a few pictures I snapped.

Continue reading Hands-On Review of the Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for NEX

Beware of Dusty Lens Caps

Cleaning a lens may seem like a pretty cut-and-dry operation, but when you start researching for the best information on how to do it properly, you can uncover lots of contradictory advice. It quickly becomes a game of deciding which information source you trust more, even when you’re not actually familiar with any of them.

Continue reading Beware of Dusty Lens Caps

Hands-On Review of the Singh-Ray Vari-ND Filter

To kick off this review, I’d first like to provide a quick lesson about ND filters. Basically, an ND filter acts like tinted sunglasses for your lens. They dim the amount of light that comes in, so you can open up your aperture when shooting in bright sunlight. Shooting with a maxed out f-stop in a bright environment lets you achieve creamy, blurred backgrounds by selectively focusing on your subject. You can also shoot longer exposures than you would have otherwise. Without the tinted filter in front of your lens, employing these techniques would leave you with overexposed images. That’s why ND filters are a great creative tool for both video and stills.

Continue reading Hands-On Review of the Singh-Ray Vari-ND Filter