Recently in Photography

  Page 3 of 345 in Photography  

Olympus has created the camera that many of us were hoping for: The intelligence and speed of the E-M1X in a more compact form factor. Nimble Photographers, meet the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. Listen-in for my thoughts after working with this camera in Costa Rica.

c01_EM1MIII_BLK_Front_O.jpg

The E-M1 Mark III uses the same battery, grip, and of course lenses as the Mark II (yay!), but you get the brawn of the E-M1X including:

  • Up to 7.5 shutter speed steps of compensation.
  • 121-point all cross-type on-chip Phase Detection AF sensor for high-precision focusing.
  • Starry Sky AF delivers revolutionary autofocus performance for astrophotography (and it works handheld as well as on a tripod).
  • Advanced Face/Eye Priority AF tracks and ensures the subject's eye is continuously in focus.
  • Advanced weatherproof construction, resulting in dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof performance.
  • The SSWF (Super Sonic Wave Filter) vibrates the image sensor at a frequency of 30,000 times per second to shake off dust and dirt. The new dust resistant coating recently introduced on the OM-D E-M1X is also used on this model, making it less likely for dust and dirt to stick to the image sensor, reducing spots in images by 90 percent.
  • Long-life shutter unit rated for 400,000 actuations. It offers a high level of reliability that professional photographers can feel comfortable with.
  • OM-D Movie makes handheld 4K/C4K shooting possible due to a powerful image stabilization mode specifically designed for video recording (M-IS1). This offers three levels of performance to allow handheld 4K and Cinema 4K (C4K) high resolution shooting.
  • New image processing engine, TruePic IX paired with a 20.4 MP 4/3" Live MOS sensor.
  • Improved AF algorithms and high resolution, high speed performance allow for features such as Handheld High Res Shot, Live ND (which is truly amazing), Starry Sky AF and improved face/eye priority AF.
  • And much, much more.

c07_EM1MIII_BLK_Top_O.jpg

c04_EM1MIII_BLK_Back_O.jpg

Pricing and Availability

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (black) will be available beginning February 24, 2020. The camera body only will have a suggested retail price of $1,799.99 USD and $2,399.99 CAD. The camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens will have a suggested retail price of $2,499.99 USD and $3,299.99 CAD, and the camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 F4.0 IS PRO Lens will have a suggested retail price of $2,899.99 USD and $3,799.99 CAD.

Stay tuned for a lot more about this camera and the new 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens also announced today. I'll be sharing pictures and field experiences with this gear.

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

Capture Flowing Water with Your iPhone.

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Business Card Flash Modifier.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #725, Feb. 11, 2020. Today's theme is "Why Smaller Sensors Will Make a Comeback." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

2019 was certainly the year of the full frame camera. At great cost to the bottom line, we saw new large sensor offerings from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sigma. Meanwhile, Fujifilm and Olympus doubled-down on their respective APS-C and Micro Four Thirds devices. That seems crazy, doesn't it? Well, maybe not. Because I think, thanks to computational photography, we're going to see the second coming of the smaller sensor. Tune in to find out why.

Why Smaller Sensors Will Make a Comeback

Just a few days ago I found myself on a lovely beach at twilight. I was standing there with a very modern Olympus camera shooting sunset pictures with rolling waves in the foreground.

With low ISO and an astonishing shutter speed of 1/2 second, my handheld shots displayed a lovely softened ocean thanks to the water motion combined with a longish exposure, a colorful sky with a perfectly sharp setting sun, and virtually no noise to contend with.

micro-four-thirds.jpg

How could all of this be possible with a Micro Four Thirds camera housing a sensor that is already many years old? The specific answer was a feature called Live ND, that in-camera composites exposures to replicate the look of a single image taken at a slower shutter speed. The broader answer is computational photography.

For sometime now, photographers have been asking for smartphone features in their interchangeable lens cameras. Now, in 2020, that request is being answered. And the ramifications are tremendous.

If, for example, you didn't need an expensive large sensor beast to photograph handheld in low light, wouldn't you at least be a bit curious? Think about the benefits for travel photographers who didn't need to lug large lenses and tripods all across the planet.

Here are five reasons why I think smaller sensors are going to start a comeback in 2020.

  • MFT and APS-C Are Gigantic Compared to the Sensors in an iPhone - Look at the amazing quality that you can get from that tiny sensor in your iPhone. That is the perfect example of the power of computational photography. Now apply that same computing horsepower to Micro Four Thirds and APS-C.
  • Smaller Sensors Can Be Virtually Noise Free - Remember that old trick in Photoshop where you overlay a series of night exposures and they cancel out the noise in the sky. We can now do that instantly in-camera, and with even better results.
  • Smaller Sensors Mean Smaller Lenses - The biggest drawback for me with large sensor cameras isn't as much the camera as it is the lens required for full coverage. You can reduce both weight and cost with smaller sensor cameras.
  • Practically Any Effect Can Be Digitized In-Camera - You want creamy bokeh, edge to edge sharpness, diffraction reduction? There's an algorithm for that.
  • Tremendous Cost Savings for Photographers - If you don't think prices are going up because of reduced demand thanks to smartphones, then think again. One way to offset those price increases is with smaller, smarter cameras.

And none of this takes into account the amazing things that we can do with our images once they're in the computer. Optical corrections, noise reduction, sampling up, and special effects can be applied to our small sensor photos with high quality results.

On my last trip, I was traveling with a small backpack that would fit in the overhead bin of a bus. I had four professional lenses inside, along with two camera bodies, with an effective range of 14mms wide to 600mms on the telephoto end. I worked from 7am to 9pm, much of it on foot, and my back and shoulder felt as good when I went to bed as when I had awakened.

The camera industry desperately needed something new to reenergize slumping sales. It grasped for full frame. And for some photographers, that's the right call. But it isn't the only high quality option.

We live in a digital age where computing smarts can defy the laws of physics. If you want to carry around a heavy kit, that's your choice. But it's not necessary, and will become even less so as this decade unfolds.

You Want High Quality Wide? The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO

With an effective viewing field of 14mms to 28mms in full frame terms, this relatively compact, fast, zoom is perfect for travel photographers, landscape assignments, and for anyone who has to work in tight quarters.

The Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO measures 3.11" x 4.17" and weighs only 1.17 pounds. Its angle of view is a beautiful 114 degrees to 75 degrees.

It is weather resistant, fast focusing, and beautifully sharp. It's currently available for $1,299, and should supply years of outstanding service.

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

Those of you on the registration list for the Humboldt Redwoods Workshop, keep an eye out for the registration packet that will go out later this week. We have a great event for you, and I'll be working with you to ensure that you are fully prepared to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Plus, we had one seat open up (moved to another workshop), so if you want to join us, hop over to the 2020 Workshops Signup Page and get on the Reserve List.

If you have questions about the other workshops, feel free to drop me a line using the Contact Form on www.thenimblephotographer.com.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

A favorite shot for most outdoor photographers is a beautiful flowing stream captured with a long exposure.

In the past, we needed a tripod and a fair amount of gear to make one of these images. But today's iPhone makes it so much easier. You have two ways to go.

The first is to turn on Live View for your Camera app on the iPhone, and hold the device very steady during the exposure. Then, go to edit mode in your Photos app on the Mac, and choose Long Exposure from the Live View popup menu in the lower right corner. Your image will magically transform.

IMG_4767.jpg

IMG_4749.jpg

The second option is to download the iOS app called Spectre. It specializes in these types of images, and it provides more options for their capture.

Either way, you have to give one of these a try the next time you're around moving water. They are simply mind-blowing!

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Business Card Flash Modifier.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #724, Feb. 4, 2020. Today's theme is "Is DxO PhotoLab 3 the Alternative You've Been Looking For?." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

We spend a fair amount of time talking about Lightroom, Luminar, Capture One, and Photos. But there's another quality image editor out there that should be in the conversation as well: DxO PhotoLab 3. It features powerful tools, digestible interface, and reasonable cost. And we're going to pull back the curtain on this terrific app on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Is DxO PhotoLab 3 the Alternative You've Been Looking For?

photolab3-overview.jpg

I first became a fan of DxO software with OpticsPro for Photos. It's this wonderful editing extension that I use to this day that provides top notch lens corrections within the Photos app.

As a result of this good experience I've been following the French software company, and with the release of PhotoLab 3, decided to get serious about learning it. I can tell you right now, this was time well spent.

PhotoLab 3 is available in two versions: Essential ($129) and Elite ($199). Both are excellent, but you get some additional sophisticated tools with Elite, plus 3 activations (instead of two). So I'm going to focus my comments on the Elite version.

PhotoLab 3 is a complete image organization and editing application. It's PhotoLibrary displays the contents of the hard drive it is pointed too. For photographers who have an organized Finder-based system, this is a perfect match.

But you can also create Project in the PhotoLibrary that allow you to work with images from different sources without disrupting your Finder-based organization. So you can have it both ways. Plus you have star ratings and pick/reject functionality with filtering capability that make it easy to cull your shoots.

But the real fun begins when you click on the Customize tab and have the opportunity to edit your images with PhotoLab's powerful tools. In addition to the usual suspects that you would expect there, here are some of my favorite features.

  • DxO Optics Modules - In many ways, this is the heart of PhotoLab. As you upload RAW files, the app identifies the lenses and cameras used, then asks for permission to download the corresponding modules. These provide outstanding lens corrections that truly improve your pictures.
  • DxO Smart Lighting - Intelligent dynamic range expander that recovers highlight detail and unblocks shadows. You have complete control over its intensity.
  • DxO ClearView Plus - Improves contrast and sharpness of images by removing the effects of atmospheric haze and fog. Again, you have control over how much or little you use.
  • PRIME Noise Reduction - Probably the best in-app noice reduction I've used. It is flat out impressive.
  • Control-Point Technology for Localized Editing - Precise control points give you tremendous control over your corrections.

Other goodies that I really appreciate includes the integration of Nik Collection and FilmPack 5. You can work with the Nik tools from within the PhotoLab environment. It's very convenient.

For those on Macs, there's an Add to Photos button that makes it super easy to send any image within PhotoLab over to your iCloud environment for sharing among your devices and backup. This function works flawlessly, and I love using it while on the road.

Additional features include excellent Metadata display with Keyword functionality, tons of built-in presets, strong compare tools, customizable workspaces, copy and paste corrections, virtual copies, and retouch tools.

I've been using it on my super-nimble 11" MacBook Air travel computer, and it performs like a champ on that machine. Bottom line is this, DxO PhotoLab 3 should be part of any serious photo management conversation. It's outstanding.

TDS Soundbites

We have a new feature that publishes every Wednesday called TDS Soundbites. They are technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

If you haven't checked them out yet, all you have to do is look for the newest Soundbite in the Recent Entries box on thedigitalstory.com, or enter SoundBites in the Search box and click on the Search button.

So far, I've covered in-Camera RAW Processing, Slow-Sync Flash, and Business Card Flash Modifier. And I have a new SoundBite ready to go this Wednesday.

They're perfect for your next coffee break!

The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod - Inner Circle Reviews

Editor's Note: This guest blog post by David Hearne is part of our Inner Circle Reviews program. You can learn more about David at the end of this article.

In the last decade plus, a major trend in photography has been towards high quality but lighter, easier to carry equipment. Our Derrick Story describes it as nimble photography. For nature and landscape photographers, such as myself, a tripod is an essential tool, and to borrow from a popular saying "the best tripod is the one you have with you".

High quality but more compact tripods have evolved right along with our cameras. The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod (3.2 lbs) clearly fits in the category of compact, light weight but stable support for Micro 4/3s and other small cameras.

My impressions are formed by comparison to 2 tripods that I own: a Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber with a Markins base/Arca Swiss Mono Ball (5.5 lbs) and a MeFOTO Roadtrip Classic aluminum with Q1 ball head (3.6 lbs). The Oben 3565 and the MeFOTO Roadtrip are similar tripod systems with very similar performance.

Job 1 for tripods and ball heads is stability. I evaluated stability using my E-M1X mounted with a 40-150mm/2.8 m.Zuiko PRO lens (4 lbs total). Note, the center column was not raised for this evaluation. With camera and lens mounted, the Oben 3565 ball head easily locked the camera in place and maintained framing.

However, with both the Oben and the MePhoto tripod legs pushing down on the camera will flex the fully extended legs. My Gitzo rig is decidedly more stable. By zooming out to 150 mm the deflection can be detected on the LCD at times when pushing the shutter and may generate enough movement to cause a slightly out of focus shot. Collapsing the skinniest leg greatly reduces this flex. To completely eliminate this flex a best tripod practice is to use a 2s shutter release delay, especially on travel tripods. However, the collapsed length (16 in) and lower weight are acceptable trade offs for me and the Oben is easily carried on my hiking daypack. My Gitzo rig is just too heavy and bulky for me to hike with.

The Oben 3565 is indistinguishable from the MeFOTO Roadtrip in several features including the rapid twist locks and working height. Compared to the MeFOTO, the Oben 3565 has some nice touches.

Like the MeFOTO, a bubble level is integrated into the Arca Swiss release plate. Additionally the plate tightening screw also has a level that can be utilized when vertical shooting using the 90 degree slot. The locks for the leg spread positions (3) are spring loaded and legs repositioned more easily than on the MePhoto.

The Oben 3565 comes with an alternate short column which allows a minimum working height of 9.5 inches. The MePhoto short column is a $30 accessory. Finally the Oben has integrated spiked feet. The MePhoto comes with interchangeable spiked feet.

In summary, the Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod ($210) is a quality travel/hiking tripod for micro 4/3s cameras at a very good value price point.

About the Author

David Hearne is a photographer based out of North Carolina. You can visit his website, American Roots Photography, to see his images and learn more about him.

David is also a member of The Digital Story Inner Circle where he gained access to the Oben 3565 Carbon tripod for this review.

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

What makes these events so special? It's the magic blend of fellowship, location, inspiration, and focus. You can actually be single-minded about your craft. I'll take care of everything else.

When I was discussing this on our Patreon site, one Inner Circle member raised a concern about the class presentation on the final day. I'm going to tell you what I say at every workshop. This is not a competition. It is the most supportive creative environment that you will ever share your work with. And no matter your skill level, the floor is yours to discuss your experience and share a few images. I promise you, you will love it.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

oben-tripod.jpg

Editor's Note: This guest blog post by David Hearne is part of our Inner Circle Reviews program. You can learn more about David at the end of this article.

In the last decade plus, a major trend in photography has been towards high quality but lighter, easier to carry equipment. Our Derrick Story describes it as nimble photography. For nature and landscape photographers, such as myself, a tripod is an essential tool, and to borrow from a popular saying "the best tripod is the one you have with you".

High quality but more compact tripods have evolved right along with our cameras. The Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod (3.2 lbs) clearly fits in the category of compact, light weight but stable support for Micro 4/3s and other small cameras.

oben-ball-head.jpg

My impressions are formed by comparison to 2 tripods that I own: a Gitzo 1228 carbon fiber with a Markins base/Arca Swiss Mono Ball (5.5 lbs) and a MeFOTO Roadtrip Classic aluminum with Q1 ball head (3.6 lbs). The Oben 3565 and the MeFOTO Roadtrip are similar tripod systems with very similar performance.

Job 1 for tripods and ball heads is stability. I evaluated stability using my E-M1X mounted with a 40-150mm/2.8 m.Zuiko PRO lens (4 lbs total). Note, the center column was not raised for this evaluation. With camera and lens mounted, the Oben 3565 ball head easily locked the camera in place and maintained framing.

tripod-legs.jpg

However, with both the Oben and the MePhoto tripod legs pushing down on the camera will flex the fully extended legs. My Gitzo rig is decidedly more stable. By zooming out to 150 mm the deflection can be detected on the LCD at times when pushing the shutter and may generate enough movement to cause a slightly out of focus shot. Collapsing the skinniest leg greatly reduces this flex. To completely eliminate this flex a best tripod practice is to use a 2s shutter release delay, especially on travel tripods. However, the collapsed length (16 in) and lower weight are acceptable trade offs for me and the Oben is easily carried on my hiking daypack. My Gitzo rig is just too heavy and bulky for me to hike with.

The Oben 3565 is indistinguishable from the MeFOTO Roadtrip in several features including the rapid twist locks and working height. Compared to the MeFOTO, the Oben 3565 has some nice touches.

oben-feet.jpg

Like the MeFOTO, a bubble level is integrated into the Arca Swiss release plate. Additionally the plate tightening screw also has a level that can be utilized when vertical shooting using the 90 degree slot. The locks for the leg spread positions (3) are spring loaded and legs repositioned more easily than on the MePhoto.

The Oben 3565 comes with an alternate short column which allows a minimum working height of 9.5 inches. The MePhoto short column is a $30 accessory. Finally the Oben has integrated spiked feet. The MePhoto comes with interchangeable spiked feet.

In summary, the Oben CT-3565 Carbon Fiber Tripod ($210) is a quality travel/hiking tripod for micro 4/3s cameras at a very good value price point.

About the Author

David Hearne is a photographer based out of North Carolina. You can visit his website, American Roots Photography, to see his images and learn more about him.

David is also a member of The Digital Story Inner Circle where he gained access to the Oben 3565 Carbon tripod for this review.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

IMG_2195.jpg

I love the look of bounce flash. Using the ceiling as a giant diffuser really creates a mood that I can't get with direct flash.

The only problem is, if you're shooting people, this technique can make their eyes go dark because the flash illumination is coming from directly above. There is an easy solution, however: The business card flash modifier.

You should be carrying photographer business cards with you anyway. When you design yours, make sure that the back is white for jotting notes or for using a a flash modifier.

Point the flash head upward to the ceiling, rubber band the white side your business card to the head so that it diverts some of the light directly toward the subject. Now you have the best of both worlds: soft bounce lighting with a illuminated face of your subject.

For more TDS SoundBites, visit TheDigitalStory, and enter "Soundbites" into the search field at the top of the page. They will magically appear on your device.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Slow Sync Flash.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #723, Jan. 28, 2020. Today's theme is "Is Pro Gear Worth the Premium Price?." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Camera manufacturers build pro gear for the handful of professionals who need its durability for their work, and for bragging rights that create a halo effect for aspiring shooters who want the very best. But for weekend warriors and enthusiasts, is the premium price tag a wise investment? We'll explore this question and more on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Is Pro Gear Worth the Premium Price?

I have made a lot of clients happy over the years using cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D610, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, and the Pentax KP. No one every asked my why I wasn't shooting with a Nikon D5 or Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. And the investment difference was substantial, to say the least.

canon-pro-dslr.jpg

Similar considerations apply to lenses. One of my favorite examples is the Canon EF 70-200mm. You can buy the amazing EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II for $1,299. It is one of the sharpest 70-200s on the planet. Or you could spend $2,100 (when not on sale) for the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III. That extra f/stop cost $800.

Which lens is best for you? Ask yourself these five questions to help you match the proper investment with your photography needs.

  • How much is emotion driving my decision? - I'm putting this one right up front because it's something that most of us are vulnerable to.
  • Do your research - Research can be the anecdote for emotional decisions. Here's an example: The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens is on sale right now for $299. It is compact, amazingly sharp, fast, and affordable. But it isn't weather resistant, and to be honest, isn't as sexy as the PRO model. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens is on sale for $1,049, roughly 3.5 times the price of the f/1.8 version. It is larger, sexier, faster, and weather sealed. Both optics are sharp. But if you take the emotion out of it and let your research determine which is best for you, you could save more than $700.
  • Renting specialized gear instead of buying - Am I a generalist or do I need special gear for niche assignments? You can get top quality gear for general photography at affordable prices. But if you have a specialized area of interest, you will most likely need more budget. Figure out what you are realistically going to shoot. Once you figure that out, maybe it's better to rent specialized gear for those occasions.
  • Consider resale value - I did exceptionally well when I sold my Canon DSLR gear. I kept the original boxes and paperwork for all items. But you should look at the market and try to figure out where it's going when debating about new gear. If you're fairly confident that you will be able to resell it at a good price, you can factor that in to the bottom line cost.
  • Used vs New - One of my favorite lenses, the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. lens was purchased used because I needed it at a time when my budget couldn't accommodate a new version. It has served me well ever since.

Using these five steps, I've been able to meet all of my assignment needs while maintaining a tight budget that I could justify to anyone. It feels good to do business this way.

Speaking of Moving Gear Along

We have had some key contributions for community members lately. They have donated analog gear or older digital gear to The Digital Story. Not only does this prevent needless landfill waste, but it puts creative tools in the hands of those who really appreciate these items.

A warm thanks to Kevin, Mark, and Colin for their recent contributions. And those of you took the time to ship your unused items to me last year, I want to thank you again.

Lady Gaga Criticizes Music Pirates with Pirated Photos. Shutterstock Responds

You can read complete article here on PetaPixel.com.

After Lady Gaga's new song "Stupid Love" leaked onto the Internet and went viral last weekend, the singer called out fans who had listened to the unauthorized release. Problem was, Lady Gaga's Tweet used "pirated" stock photos that had "Shutterstock" watermarks splashed across them, and this unauthorized usage didn't escape the company's notice.

"We hear you!" Shutterstock writes. "We like artists to be paid for their work too. Here's a link to the photographer's work where you can license these quality images."

It turns out the photographer behind the stock photos is children's author Richard Nelson, and he doesn't seem to mind not getting paid for the usage -- in fact, he Tweeted out a non-watermarked version of Lady Gaga's message for the singer to use:

@ladygaga As the photographer of this picture, I've got you.

But from the conversations this incident has sparked online, it seems clear that the vast majority of photographers agree with Shutterstock: copyright is important, but not just for musicians -- it needs to be respected and defended for all artists, including photographers.

Update for the TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season

What makes these events so special? It's the magic blend of fellowship, location, inspiration, and focus. You can actually be single-minded about your craft. I'll take care of everything else.

When I was discussing this on our Patreon site, one Inner Circle member raised a concern about the class presentation on the final day. I'm going to tell you what I say at every workshop. This is not a competition. It is the most supportive creative environment that you will ever share your work with. And no matter your skill level, the floor is yours to discuss your experience and share a few images. I promise you, you will love it.

When you decide which event is best for your, jump over to our 2020 Workshops Signup Page and place a $100 deposit to secure your place. Only participants on the Reserve List who have placed a deposit will be eligible to register for a workshop. If you have questions or need more information, fill out the "Send Me Info!" request form. I'll get back to you asap.

  • LA Street Photography Experience - March 13-15, 2020 - 1 Seat Remaining - This hands-on workshop guides you on an exploration of classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area. Limited to 9 participants and featuring two instructors (Derrick Story and Mike Boening), you will enjoy great photography, food, and friendship with our fellow enthusiasts. Three days, $749. You can place your deposit here.
  • Humboldt Redwoods and Coast Workshop - May 12-14, 2020 - 0 Seats Remaining -- Our home base for this experience is in the hospitable town of Fortuna that's on the banks of the Eel River. From there we explore the magnificent redwood groves of Humboldt County and the rugged coastline of Northern California. This workshop explores three distinct ecosystems in a satisfying 3-day event. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • Lassen Volcanic Park Photo Workshop - July 16-18, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining -- We'll convene at a spacious cabin at Lake Almanor that serves as our HQ. From there we explore the stunning Lassen landscape, peaceful shores of Lake Almanor, and the magnificent mountain night skies. This hands-on photo workshop is limited to 8 participants and is a wonderful blending of experience, camaraderie, and artistry. Limited to just 8 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.
  • The Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop - Oct. 1-3, 2020 - 2 Seats Remaining - Our event is headquartered at the Silver Maple Inn in Bridgeport, CA - gateway to Bodie, Mono Lake, and June Lake. We'll take advantage of the magical morning light to photograph some of the most unique landscape in North America. We'll photograph the sparkling night skies of the Sierra and explore rustic urban environments. Limited to just 9 participants, you can reserve your spot and learn more about this event here.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS - Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

P1240639.jpg

In the world of interchangeable lenses, photographers tend to favor matching brand names, such as Canon for Canon, or well-known optics from companies such as Zeiss, Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma. Outliers, especially from China, don't get as much attention. But that doesn't mean they're not worth investigating every now and then. Such is the case with Yongnuo.

I recently purchased a Yongnuo 40mm f/2.8 AF lens for Nikon F mount ($92). I had read the reviews from a couple years ago when it was first released (Review: The Yongnuo 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens for Nikon is Bad). The basic consensus was that it was a sharp optic with a plastic feel and terrible auto focusing.

I bought it anyway, thinking, "How bad could it be?" I mean, two years later, it's still around and selling.

P1240635.jpg

After perusing a dozen images captured with the lens on a Nikon D610, I agreed with the reviewers on one point: the Yongnuo was indeed sharp. What was no longer correct was its poor auto focusing performance. Very few had bothered to revise their reviews after the firmware update that addressed that very issue (Version 1.02, Dec. 2017). The current lens, or those updated with the latest firmware, should perform just fine on the D610 and other Nikons.

Why Even Bother with this Lens?

At this point you may be thinking, "OK, that's great Derrick. But why do you care so much about a 40mm lens that's made in China for a DSLR?"

If you look at the bloating evolution of many mirrorless cameras, and you revisit some full frame DSLRs, such as the super-affordable Nikon D610, you'll see that there isn't much size and weight difference if you get a light, compact lens on the DSLR.

P1240641.jpg

Plus, I much prefer 40mm lenses to 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. 40mms are neither too wide nor too narrow - just right for an "everyday around the neighborhood" optic. The Yongnuo is compact, light, sharp, and wildly affordable. It has a nice metal mount, digital brains that are upgradable, and looks rather handsome on the D610. And all for that for the price of a polarizer. It's definitely worth exploring.

With an f/2.8 maximum aperture, I can shoot existing light in most situations. The AF isn't for sports photography, but it's fine for everyday life, especially in S Drive mode. And the pictures look very good.

Tips for Success

The optic doesn't ship with a lens hood, but I discovered something interesting. It has threads for a bayonet mounted hood that look familiar. Sure enough, if you own the Nikon G 50mm f/1.8, the hood that comes with that lens, the HB-47, fits perfectly on the 40mm. How smart is that?

P1240637.jpg

Also, I recommend a quality MC filter to protect the data port, front glass, and focusing mechanism. Since it's the same 58mm thread as with the Nikon G 50mm, again, you can repurpose that as well.

In terms of when to use this optic, it's really nice for nimble photography when you want to travel light and compact. You can mount it on a Nikon DSLR, and suddenly the camera fits in places that it never did before. You can stash a zoom or bigger prime lens elsewhere in your bag if you need them.

Good uses included candids, street photography, travel, and around the house. I wouldn't consider the Yongnuo 40mm for sports coverage or inclement outdoor adventure. It really isn't what I would consider a rugged, all weather optic. It's more of a city kid.

Image Quality

In the final analysis, good pictures are the real bottom line. I've only tested the 40mm on a D610, which makes a lot of lenses look good, but the results have been surprisingly wonderful for a sub-$100 optic. Center sharpness is excellent, edge detail is good, and distortion wasn't a problem for me. (If you process your Nikon RAW files in Capture One Pro, they look really good.)

DSC_0661-Yongnuo.jpg Nikon D610 with Yongnuo 40mm, f/6.3, 1/160th, ISO 200.

DSC_0666-Yongnuo.jpg Nikon D610 with Yongnuo 40mm, f/2.8, 1/30th, ISO 1600.

The Bottom Line

Firmware updates are a wonderful thing. In the case of the Yongnuo 40mm f/2.8, it appears that the update back In Dec. 2017 corrected the biggest grip among early reviewers: poor AF performance.

That issue being resolved for most photography situations, we're left with a sharp, inexpensive, prime optic in a focal length that's not being served by Nikon. It's hard to complain about that.

The oddly wonderful Yongnuo 40mm is currently mounted on my D610. I think I'll just leave it there for now.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

IMG_3190-1600.jpg

Good news for existing Fujifilm photographers with a new firmware update for the svelt Fujifilm XF10 compact camera ($449). Version 1.11 addresses the following issues.

  • The phenomenon is fixed that a display of the focused AF area is shifted when enlarging a recorded image by the touch zoom function.
  • The phenomenon is fixed that images are not recorded in the selected step of AE bracketing under a specific shooting condition.
  • Fix of minor bugs.

Hidden in the third item is improved autofocusing performance including the XF10 no longer back-focusing at subject distances less than 10 feet. I applied the firmware update in just a few minutes, and indeed I feel like it's enhanced that camera that I already adore.

To update your firmware, first check your current version by holding down the DISP/BACK button while powering up the camera. I was at version 1.10.

Then download the firmware 1.11 update and read the installation instructions. Essentially, you format a card, add the update to it, then install by holding down the DISP/BACK button while powering up. Make sure you have a charged battery. The update just takes a minute or so.

Now, enjoy improved performance!

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Slow Sync Flash - TDS SoundBites

Outdoors, we typically want our shutter speed as fast as possible when using flash so our camera can better balance the bright ambient lighting with the illuminated subject.

DSCF1764.jpg Slow Sync Flash with a FujiFilm XF10. The camera set the shutter speed to 1/10th of a second, while using flash to freeze the action in the foreground. This was all done automatically in Slow Sync Flash mode. Photo by Derrick Story.

But indoor flash photography is a different animal all together. And many times our cameras will default to 1/60th or 1/125th shutter speed in Program mode, which is just too fast to capture the interior environment for our images.

This is when slow-sync flash is handy, and I explain it in today's TDS Soundbite.

Technology tidbits that are 5 minutes or less. I cover digital photography, audio, mobile computing, smart home, and more.

Previously on TDS SoundBites

In-Camera RAW Processing.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.