Friday, September 25, 2009

My Review of Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD-IF Autofocus Zoom Lens for Nikon AF - U.S.A. Warranty

Originally submitted at Adorama

Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD-IF Autofocus Zoom Lens for Nikon AF - U.S.A. Warranty

Simply a Great Lens at a Great Price

By RMPossible from Bothell, WA on 9/25/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Has Aperture Ring, Sharp Focus, Well designed, Lightweight

Cons: Not as Wide as Others

Best Uses: Night Photography, Landscape Photography, General Use

Describe Yourself: Semi-Professional

This is a great lens for anyone who wants to have an f/2.8 zoom that is very sharp and has good color and Contrast. Images are very good and they do pop! CA is well controlled and it is at its best from F/4 on; though f/2.8 is quite nice.
Is it as good as the Nikon, not quite; however, is the Nikon $1000+ better? Not in my estimation. Its focus is not as slow as many complain. Why Tamron has not adopted the newer motor tech, I can't understand.
To its credit, this lens is significantly lighter than the Nikon lens and will be a real asset to people who do alot of walking with their camera.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update on Saturday Morning.

Sunrise is at 7:02am.  We will be going to Gas Works Park in the Seattle area for this coming Saturday morning to see what we can find there to take pictures of.  If you would like to join us, we will be there at around 6:20am.  Should be a fine morning for taking pictures.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Come Join me on Saturday Morning!

I am going to be out in the Seattle area taking pictures in the wee hours of the morning.  I am hoping that a friend of mine will be there as well as we seek to take some nice pictures somewhere in the general Seattle area.  I put the location in this Blog Friday night.  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Using Filters to Protect Your Lens?

When you buy a new camera with a lens or a new lens and you are buying it from a local shop, they will ask you to buy a UV filter.  Often the more experienced and jaded photographer will tell you that this is just a ripoff and you don't need the filter.  Yet the salesperson will tell you the story about the time the lens was in a sand storm - dropped or pooped on by a bird and the filter saved the lens!  Better to lose a $30 piece of glass rather than a lens worth hundreds.  So what is the truth?  Answer: they both have a point.

For a person who is buying their first DSLR, a protective filter is probably a good idea. Especially of Children's fingerprints are an issue! :-)  But, it should not be a UV filter.  The digital sensors on your camera are already protected with a UV blocking filter!  If you feel that a protective filter is needed get one of the clear filters that is designed for digital cameras.  They are specially coated and are designed to minimize flair and ghosting.  And don't get the cheapest.  I use B+W filters when I do need one.  They are not cheap, but they are not going to affect my pictures as much as that $20 un-coated filter from some no name company. 

On the other hand, even a great filter has the potential of affecting the image.  After all, it is an additional piece of glass added to a lens that was not originally designed for it.  Thus many of the pickier Pros don't even use them.  As protection to dropping, a good rigid lens hood will do as good a job - if not better - as a protective filter.  However, many of these same pros use Circular Polarizer(CPL) filters a lot and they can doubles as additional protection anyway.  So, barring your lens getting licked by your 5 year old, you lens is probably protected just fine by your rigid lens hood.

In the middle of this is the reality that in extreme situations (think a wind storm in a desert), many pros will use a filter.  It just makes sense to protect your gear in extreme situations!

So the answer is clear as mud, right?  Don't sweat it.  When you buy that first camera, get the filter, but make the sales person really happy with you and tell them you want a good clear multi-coated filter designed for DSLRs.  Yes it will cost more, but it will be the right piece of equipment!  At the same time, get a CPL and you will be thanking me later when the water looks real and hte glare is all but gone... (more on this in another article).  And yes, as time goes along, the Protective filter will be used less and less as you learn to care for your equipment properly.  So, don't sweat it and let the "experts" argue the nuances of the issue.  Do what is necessary for you to enjoy your photography!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why I follow Photo Tech

I am a techie in my heart.  I have owned PCs since the early 80's... yes I am that old!  I have always been fascinated about what technology can do for mere humans such as I.  When I got involved in Digital Photography about 9 years ago, after dumping all my Olympus SLR gear in the mid 80's, I went after the tech in the same way I have gone after learning computers and MIDI gear, etc.

Boy was I surprised by the responses I got from folks on forums where I thought I could ask questions.  Here is what I would read at just about any question asked, "Man you are wasting time asking questions like that... go take pictures and stop wasting time here."  So, this article is my reply to him from me and on behalf of the newby who is reading this and getting the same response.

"Dude, go take pictures yourself and take your sanctimonious attitude with you!"  People visit online to get information to learn how to use there equipment from experienced people!  For Pete's sake folks, help those asking questions and stop being elitist jerks.

Now to those who do answer questions, thanks for sharing.  I am a better photographer for it.  You have inspired me to get better.

Ahhhhhhh, now that that is off my mind, here is why I follow the tech. We can do a lot more with photography today than we could in the pre scanner film days.  Heck, if you can afford it, you can get medium format digital quality on a DSLR that was unthinkable a few years ago.  Heck, the 14-25MP arena used to be unthinkable as recently as 6 or 7 years ago.  So, I want to use every tool available to me to follow my main mantra:

"I want to share in a photograph what I see, not just what is there"  Photography is every bit an art form as is painting or sculpting.  So, I want to be as much about creating a piece of art as I want to take a picture.  To do this, I take a lot of pictures AND I am always learning more about the tools available to me.  It is that simple.  So, you elitist, purist louts out there that  poo poo my using live view, dis in-camera HDR and insist that Image Stabilization is just a cover up for bad technique, I quote Bill the Cat, "Ack, ack, ack".

(The New Tech I have learned from  folks on the forusms)

My Review of Pro-Optic Multi-Coated 2x Tele-Converter for Nikon Autofocus SLR Cameras. (As Reviewed in Shutterbug Magazine - January 2008 - Page 26)

Originally submitted at Adorama

Pro-Optic Multi-Coated 2x Tele-Converter for Nikon Autofocus SLR Cameras. (As Reviewed in Shutterbug Magazine - January 2008 - Page 26)

Very good performance, awesome price!

By RMPossible from Seattle, WA on 9/18/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Very Bright for a 2x, Lightweight, Easy To Use

Cons: Less Sharp

Best Uses: Landscape Photography, Traveling, Everyday use, Wildlife

Describe Yourself: Semi-Professional

This is as good as any 2x aftermarket TC. I have used it on a Nikon 300 f/4 taking pictures of Eagles and it still handled AF at a wide open aperture. It is less sharp and the contrast and saturation is reduced, though acceptable. The only TC that I have used that is sharper is the Nikon, but it is dimmer. I wouldn't use it for Macro photography as the contrast would be a bit weak. Otherwise it is a great bargain!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The First 10(Really 11) Part 3

Tip 4: Keep the lens shade on! It protects your lens & minimizes flair. If your lens doesn't have one, get one. Almost every lens available now comes with a hard plastic lens hood.  This is a much more prefered way of protecting your lens. If you are new to the DSLR world, go ahead and get the protective filter for the lens, but understand things like flair and diffraction(fancy word for unwanted light bouncing around) will cause issues with a number of images.  I only use filters when they are absolutely needed, otherwise I keep the lens hood on with no filters.  It is the best protection taht your lens will ever have regardless of whether or not you use a protective filter.
Tip 3:Get the right bag 4 u. I have 2, one for days and one that hold everything for longer trips. A good bag is important.  With compact cameras it is rather easy as their cases are small and rather inexpensive.  However, the DSLRs have very expensive lenses.  Get one that fits your gear and then some.  Otherwise it is too small.  Also make sure it is well padded and flexible enough to keep your gear safe!
I like backpacks.  This is one item that I would encourage not buying via the internet.  Go to a good Camera Store and try them out.  I like backpack style as well as Shoulder Sling types, but you may not.  Kind of like shoes mine probably won't fit you!
Tip 2: Get a great tripod! This is not the area to scrimp. Buy the best you can afford. Then USE it! I have a lot to say about Tripods in another post to come; suffice it to say that I consider a tripod as important to a good photograph as a good lens. Spend accordingly!
Tip 1: Have FUN! Its ok to be serious about photography, but enjoy it. you are shooting wonderful places, people and/or things! This is one of those, "well duh" things.  But I have seen people get way to serious about this stuff and yet it is a fantastic vocation whether professional or hobbyist... Keep it fun and in perspective and you will be ok!

The First 10(Really 11) Part 2

Tip 8: Learn to use the camera in manual mode. It helps you slow down and gives you better creative control. On Compact cameras, we are usd to shooting them in their auto and scene modes, but as you mature in your skills, you will want to have better control!  I would suggest shooting in Aperture preferred mode as much as possible if you don't have a manual mode.  On virtually all DSLRs, you can shoot manual.  This is the best if your allow your self to learn to do it. I shoot about 30% in Aperture mode and 60% in Manual mode.  I do shoot a bit in Shutter preferred mode when I go for Birds in flight, but that is not my strength!  Notice, no Auto or P mode.  I need to slow down.... and probably so do you.  The A mode is very instructive on Depth of Field issues.  Learn the difference between f/2.8 and f/11.. both can work but the results are quite different!

Tip 7: Use the net to learn. Joe McNalley is on Youtube for Nikon nuts for example. A great way to learn your gear.  There are all kinds of resources.  Both Nikon and Canon have video instruction and there are hundreds of sites such as this one where people are very happy to help.  Why not use it... its free!

Tip 6: Put the camera away every once in awhile. It is a good thing to not use your camera from time to time. I once met a bird watcher who gave up his camera because he said he was only seeing the world through a viewfinder.  His point is well taken. Photography is about seeing a subject and showing it in such a way that it says what you want it to say!  Some times you just need to put down the camera and see what is right in front of you.

Tip 5: Find your favorite focal length with you favorite zoom. Then get a good fast Prime lens at that focal length....  One should attribute ideas to their source. Tip 5 is adapted from a  recent issue of Shutterbug Magazine. Shooting with a Prime lens is still the pinnacle of quality.  Find out what you love to photograph and figure out what focal length you use most and get the one or two primes that support your shooting.  This of course is for DSLR users mostly. Its true of film as well.  Even with compacts, if your interest is to upgrade in the future, then keep in mind what your favorite focal length is!

Next, the final Four

The First 10(Really 11) Part 1

My top ten tips for beginners would be more accurately entitled "Top 10 tips that you often don't hear." Nothing about composition here.  It has often been my thought that there are things that don't often get said or are too obvious that they never get emphasized.  So my very first list was to embark on this list.  Since I am now expanding on these, let me break the list into manageable parts.
Tip 10: Read your camera manual. You won't understand it all, that's ok, but you will be aware of what it can do.  Seems simple right!  But most people have yet to open the manual when they first open the package.  A new camera is so exciting to get and yet, a bit of reading can help you avoid all sorts of goofs and disasters!  Particularly on the entry level cameras that have extensive menus... There is no substitute for knowing the manual... 
Tip 9: Keep the lens clean. Dust on the lens causes fuzzy images. Have a clean micro-fiber cloth with you always!  Next to camera movement (use a tripod as much as you can!), a dirty lens will ruin the sharpness of a lens or the filter. Clean it often.  I use a blower when I can and will then use a microfiber cloth.  This will clean all but the most extreme situations.

Tip 9(a): I wanted to add this to tip 9, but it became to lengthy for Twitter. Micro-fiber cloths are reusable. Wash them. Rinse them in hot water after the wash to remove all the leftover soap. This is really important, the soap you wash them in can smear your lens.  In fact, I don't even wash mine in soap any mere.  I rinse them in the hottest water I can, then soak them in boiling water for about ten minutes.  After that I rinse them out again and let them air dry.
These may seem insignificant, but believe me, you can improve your photography by just keeping your lens clean and knowing how to use your camera.

Next: Tips 8-5

Welcome to my little Blog!

Over the last few months, I have been posting a number of lists about photography on Twitter.  The response has been quite good and it is now time to expand on some of those topics.  Sooooo... in the spirit of my Top Ten list thing, here are the Top Ten Reasons for this Blog.

10. Photography is fun and I don't want people to lose out!
9.   Photography is easier than one thinks. Sure there are hard things for those who want to do them, but a lot of photography is quite easy.
8.  I try to keep it short. I have seen a lot of books and blogs on photography that could have been contained in a few paragraphs.  I will try not to pad things.
7.  It is very apparent that people new to photography - let alone the not so new - would benefit from brief and to the point help given here,
6.  I like to write and this is a chance to keep those skills alive while sharing worthwhile things
5.  I like to share my knowledge
4.  I like to Learn, so I hope you will share with me your hints, tips and all things photo-wise
3.  I try to limit platitudes and things that are commonly known.

2.  Everything here has been tested by me or someone that I know and trust!
1.  I want to encourage photographers to constantly grow in knowledge as a way or enhancing their talent!

Folks, this is all about taking pictures, it is not about being gear-heads, nor is it about becoming headcases... it is about getting you out where your creativity can take over; where equipment and knowledge are assets and not hindrances to your picture taking!  Taking pictures is what it it all about!