*Another set of this guy’s opinions, or Mirrorless Lens buying guide!

IMG_6052 - Version 2 (1)

As requested from the camera body shopping guide post (thanks Tim and Chris), here are my opinions on the best lenses for the various mirrorless systems.  Keep in mind that I have not shot extensively with all of these lenses, or at least, many of the lenses for systems that aren’t the micro 4/3 system aside from the tire kicking in stores or when getting the chance to shoot friend’s gear, so my opinion is based on minimal use combined with personal intrigue and web based research.  Because I don’t own an X series or Alpha E (NEX, etc) camera body, I have not been able to access many of the lenses on offer for any period of time, but there are a few I have, as well as those that I would certainly look long and hard at if I was invested in these systems.  As for the micro 4/3 lenses, I have those down pretty well.  C’mon in and I’ll lay out my faves…

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*One man’s opinion, or Holiday Shopping guide 2013!

P1060085

The season for the commercialization of spirituality (or, SFTCOS) is upon us and following suit, we have been absolutely bombarded with new offerings in the digital photography department.  Taking the holidays out of it, and looking at it purely from a gear point of view, it is truly an exciting time to be shopping around for the best bang for your (or a loved one’s) buck.

Over the last 4 years that I’ve written this blog, I’ve been asked quite a few questions about which cameras, lenses, systems, et al, are the best.  While I’ve chosen the gear I’ve chosen for my own personal reasons, there are so many others out there that offer their own set of pros and cons, and to put it plainly, there is no universal truth, nor answer to that question.

Come on in and I’ll give my take on which of the newly announced cameras over the last year or so are the most intriguing, interesting, best value or just plain confusing…

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*Moving upward and onward!

backyard shenanigans

don’t worry, there were no kids harmed during the photoshopping of this image.

Hello everyone!  You may have noticed that I’m quietly adding content to the site.  This is being done to try and make a more complete resource for those visiting the site to reference specific tutorial articles or find gear reviews, etc.  The biggest changes are the new “Tutorial” “Review” and “MyGear” pages up at the top of the page.  I will be trying to catalog the more popular tutorials and reviews for easy reference, and the new gear page has allowed me to link certain cameras, lenses and miscellaneous gear that I use to my affiliate links at B&H.  Yup, you read that right.  I’ve finally succumbed to the monetary necessity of trying to make a little coin to keep the site going.  Read on for my reasoning and ever cheesy gratitude…

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*Micro4/3 Holy Trinity: It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion in the ocean.

I’ve had a little time now with the absolutely minascule Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens and I have to say, I have no problem proclaiming that I have a tiny lens. A truly impressive optical feat considering it’s being used on a 17.3mm x13mm 4/3 sensor. Of course, there is the beautiful Olympus 12mm f/2 lens, but at 2.5x the cost, could one be satisfied with the trade offs and savings? Beyond that you have the much ballyhooed 20mm f/1.7 pancake which is amazing in its own right, but for a bit more coin you can get the Panaleica 25mm f/1.4… And then of course, the Oly 45mm f/1.8 which has been universally praised for both quality and price, but the other Panaleica lens, the 45mm f/2.8 macro should certainly get some attention too. Folks, I think we have a few candidates for the micro 4/3 holy trinity.

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*Everything you need to know about digital photography (well, almost). Two years of tips, tricks and various freebies, revisited.

With my blog’s second anniversary coming up, I wanted to thank everyone that has stopped by, commented and added to the content.  It’s been a fun couple of years and has been far more educational for me than I’d ever thought it would have been.  I wanted to make a list of my more popular posts as well as some that can help some of us who may be just stumbling into the fold.  Any of us who have recently acquired a new camera and may be wanting to learn how to use it to its potential, or are looking to build up a few post processing techniques, I’ve compiled some of the more useful and popular posts below…

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*Establishing Hyperfocal distance! You mean like manually focusing?

The hyperfocal distance at a given aperture on any lens will enable the photographer to “know” what will be in focus in the scene without having to re-focus between shots.  Hyperfocal distance is commonly defined as “the closest distance from which a lens can focus that will be acceptably sharp from half that distance through infinity.”  It is a technique which is particularly useful with smaller apertures (as in gaining a deeper depth of field) when shooting anything from street scenes to landscapes where the photographer requires an established area of focus from a fixed distance through infinity so that you don’t need to refocus between shots.  Follow me in and we’ll go over a simple way to determine your hyperfocal distance.

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*A new way to see indeed!

Why do we take pictures?  For the majority of us, I’d guess it falls somewhere into the realm of, enjoyment and/or documentation.  Regardless of the medium, whether it be digital or film, we like to preserve moments and may enjoy trying to do so with some level of artistry.  Isn’t it nice when someone says, “wow, that is cool!” or “how did you get your picture to look like that?”  Simply put, many of us enjoy taking pictures because we like to and it’s nice when that is noticed or appreciated.  Add in a few cool tools and enjoyment can turn into excitement from behind the lens.

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*G-FD’d Up From the Feet Up! (or, how I saved thousands buying FD lenses)

Looking down the barrel…

Recycle, reuse, reshoot.  As long as you don’t mind manually focusing and establishing your exposure, why pay a ton of money when there are so many used, high quality lenses available?  Sure there are many optical and automated benefits to modern lenses, but sometimes, for the money saved, I can deal with the shortcomings of older, out of date lenses.  Using older, “legacy” glass on multiple cameras, either via a proprietary mount or adapter, can provide a fun, reasonably affordable and beneficial experience… Continue reading

*Your Micro 4/3′s camera + your existing lenses = limitless fun.

so much for compact...

so much for compact...

Who cares that Olympus and Panasonic have released relatively few lenses, mainly slow zooms, for the micro 4/3′s cameras?  Adding m4/3 mount adapters to your bag opens up a bevy of hundreds of lenses.  What you gain in variety though, you may loose in automated functionality.  Continue reading

*Which lens for which situation?

different tools for different applications

I like to spend time on flickr.  It is an amazingly diverse community of photographers ranging from absolute novices to consummate professionals.  One of the questions that come up in the gear groups there and in conversation with other photographers quite often is, “which lens should I purchase?”  With interchangeable lens system cameras coming down in price by the day it seems, it is becoming much more accessible to acquire high quality photographic tools.  One of the main benefits to an interchangeable lens camera, is just that, lenses!  Which to choose and why?  C’mon in and we shall discuss.  Before the end of this article, you too will know which lenses will provide you with the best bang for you buck, depending on which buck you choose to bang… Continue reading