Archivi categoria: photogear

Why Gear Doesn’t Matter: The Short Answer and The Long Answer

Before smartphones were the “inferior” format, before point and shoots, before the APS-C vs full-frame debate, there was large format vs 35mm. If the history of photography has taught us anything, it should be that gear really, in fact, does NOT matter.

If you’re like us, you’re pretty sick of people asking and answering “the gear question.” A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of blog posts, editorials, and in-depth breakdowns about why gear does or does not matter. But in this video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography actually offers a fresh and refreshing perspective on the question.

Instead of focusing on quality, he focuses on capability. Just like 35mm film revolutionized photography because the increase in convenience and portability made the loss of quality over large format totally worth it, the smartphone is revolutionized photography because of its connectivity.

What Forbes is getting at, ultimately, is that quality is always going to take a back seat. It took a back seat to portability and convenience with 35mm film, it took a back seat to connectivity and interaction with the advent of the smartphone, and it will always take a back seat to the thing that really matters: does this image speak to you?

The medium should not matter. There are advantages, disadvantages, and limitations to every type of camera you pick up—be it a digital medium format camera, an analog large format camera, or that phone in your pocket. Your responsibility is to make the most of the gear you have and build your skill as a photographer to the point where you can make great images on whatever light-proof box is placed in your hands.

This argument, in all its nuanced glory, is described much better by Ted in the video up top than we can do justice in this summary, so we definitely suggest you carve out 12 minutes of your time today to listen to what he has to say.

What Lens Should I Buy? This Video Breaks Down All Your Options

“What lens should I buy?” It’s one of the most common gear questions that pops up in the PetaPixel inbox, and while there is no one-size-fits-all answer, photographer Peter McKinnon does a great job of explaining what’s out there and what you need to know to decide on your next lens in this informative video.

The video is titled, appropriately enough, “What LENS should YOU BUY?!”, and it tackles the problem in a very systematic way. First, Pete explains the three questions you need to ask yourself before making any lens purchase:

  1. Do I want a lens for photos or video?
  2. What’s my subject?
  3. What’s my budget?

Then he takes you, step by step, through basically all of your focal length options (explaining compression along the way), talks through aperture options, and dives into what lenses suit what styles of photography best.

The video is 14 minutes worth of advice that beginners in particular will benefit from greatly—a basic breakdown of what lenses are most commonly used for what style of photography, and which options are going to give you the best bang for your buck when you start out. It’s a great resource worth sharing with your favorite photography novice.

So check out the final video up top, and then give Peter’s rapidly-growing YouTube channel a follow if you like these kinds of tips and tutorials.

MyGearVault: Input, Organize, and Insure All Your Gear in a Single App

Even though everybody knows how important it is to insure their photography gear, few people ever get organized enough to actually do it. It’s just too much of a pain in the rear… well, it was. A new app called MyGearVault makes organizing and insuring your gear so easy, you’re out of excuses.

The free app was created by Jared Polin (AKA FroKnowsPhoto), but it’s entirely separate from his podcasting and YouTube empire. Polin simply created it to solve a problem he found increasingly onerous the more gear he acquired: how the heck was he supposed to keep track of, organize, and insure his massive collection of photography gear?

MyGearVault was his comprehensive solution. The free app helps you easily catalog your entire collection of gear and, if you’re interested, even connects you with insurance professionals so you can purchase both liability and inland marine protection—that second one covers you in case your gear is stolen… no need to create a GoFundMe and ask other photographers to help you recoup your loss.

Here’s a quick intro to the app, how it came to be and how it works:

As you can see, the interface is extremely useful. The “Input” interface lets you add in serial numbers, receipt photographs, and other identifying details. “Organize” lets you sort all of that gear into categories and “kits” while it automatically tallies up how much your gear is worth (new… used prices are tricky), so you know how much insurance you really need to be buying.

Finally, “Protect” is two-tier. Tier one lets you mark your gear as “stolen” and tracks your serial number. So if someone registers that stolen serial later in their own vault, you’ll know and can figure out how they came to own your stolen camera or lens. Tier two lets you buy insurance through verified top-tier insurers.

The tagline is “Input, Organize, Protect” and the app lives up to its promise.

Polin gave us a demo over Skype last week, and we have to say, we were impressed by his team’s attention to detail. It’s not just that the app worked seamlessly throughout the demo—not, by any means, common when it come to live demos like this… everything that can go wrong usually does—but we were left with next to no questions.

They seem to have thought of everything: inputing and organizing your gear is fast, easy, and intuitive; and getting an insurance quote through the app takes only a few taps. The app really does come off as a “one-stop-shop” of sorts for organizing and protecting your photography investment.

Even if you don’t want to purchase insurance through MyGearVault, the app will help you out. Your gear list with all pertinent information can be exported as a CSV file that you can use to buy insurance elsewhere.

The app is officially live in the iTunes app store (Android version in the works) starting today. To download it for yourself click here. And if you want to find out more about the app and how it works, the MyGearVault YouTube channel already features a bunch of tutorial videos that dive deeper into all of the app’s many features.

See Some of the Most Incredible and Rare Nikon Gear in the World Up Close

One of the most amazing camera shops in all of the world is London’s Grays of Westminster. The place is absolutely iconic—it has its own coat of arms for crying out loud! It also houses one of the most incredible collections of rare Nikon gear in the world. Now you get to see it up close.

On a recent trip to London, photographer Matt Granger popped in to see the store and somehow managed to turn his impromptu video into a 35 minute tour during which he got to hold some of the rarest Nikon gear in existence, meet founder Gray Levett himself, and just generally geek out.

This trip was totally unscheduled, which makes it all the more incredible that the Grays staff broke out all of this incredible gear for him to look at, try out, and touch.

nikongear_feat

actionnikon_1

nikonlens

fundus

If you love old camera gear—whether or not you’re a Nikon guy—this tour and his conversation with Levett will transport you to photo nerd heaven… if only for a moment. Check out the full tour up top and let us know which bit of gear shown is your personal favorite in the comments.

(via Nikon Rumors)

The Cokin Riviera Classic is a Retro Tripod that Matches Your Retro Camera

retrotripod_feat

Cokin’s new Riviera Classic tripod is a long time coming. It was only a matter of time before the “retro” craze hit the tripod market, leading to the Riviera Classic’s tagline: “A modern tripod for retro cameras… and visa versa.”

Inspired by old camera design, the Riviera Classic combines leather, wood, and aluminum into a beautiful final product Cokin has dubbed both “timeless” and “sturdy.”

“Riviera Classic is the tripod that was missing to affirm the neo retro look of current cameras,” says the company. “Every details have been carefully thought, right down to the tightening dials of the Riviera Classic, inspired by the ones found on retro cameras.”

Those dials are made of knurled aluminum, and they complement the leather-clad brushed aluminum legs, and an Iroko wood handle hand-crafted by Atelier Farol at La Rochelle, France. This tripod is part stabilizing mechanism… part hipster collectors item. Take a look:

cokin-riviera_classic-outside

cokin-riviera_classic-section_cap

cokin-riviera_classic-section_focus

cokin-riviera_classic-dial

cokin-riviera_classic-head_focus

cokin-riviera_classic-head

cokin-riviera_classic-view-02

cokin-riviera_classic-wooden-handle

The tripod extends to a max operating height of 63 inches from a folded height of just 23.6 inches. It weighs 3.4 lbs but can carry up to 11 lbs and, of course, it comes in a retro-inspired soft pouch carrying case made of leather and hessian fabric.

cokin-riviera_classic-case

Created in collaboration with tripod maker Slik, neither company has revealed a price tag for the Riviera Classic just yet. But if you want to learn more about the tripod and keep an eye out for an official ship date/price, you can do that at this link.

The Dangers of Photography Addiction

gearflatlay

Photography is dangerous. Just editing a photo and getting OK results is enough to get you hooked.

Then you get an entry-level DSLR. And a cheap 50mm lens and play with depth of field. And you need a tripod. And an extra battery. And memory cards. And a zoom lens. And a remote. And a flash.

Then you try a friend’s mid-level camera. Then you get a mid-level camera. And now you think what’s really holding you back are your lenses. You start looking at good glass and realize there is no sense investing in lenses that don’t work on full frame cameras, just in case you make the jump.

You make the jump. You’ve got a full frame camera. An ultra-wide zoom, a slew of fast primes, and a 70-200 f/2.8. You’ve tried the cheap primes and the mid primes and now you’ve got the expensive primes. You’ve upgraded your tripod. You have multiple flashes and umbrellas and soft boxes. You have 8 batteries and a wallet of memory cards.

Your files are bigger so you need a new computer with an SSD, lots of RAM, and several external drives. You look into RAID arrays. You move up to a 27-inch monitor with wide color gamut. You need an Adobe CC subscription. And you experiment with other apps. You buy some LR presets. You need a website so you pay for SmugMug. You need to develop a backup strategy so you buy more drives and backup software. You subscribe to Backblaze. You toy with setting up a 12-bay NAS. You realize you could work faster with a pen tablet, so you buy a small Wacom. Weeks later you look into a medium or large one. You debate getting a Cintiq.

You are now an expert in bags and own several. A fun, casual bag for a camera and two lenses; a classic Domke F-2 for working out of; a big roller case for big jobs and flights; a backpack for hiking and other trips; a messenger bag for your basic kit plus your laptop. You also have a tripod case, a case for your LED lights, a case for your background kit, a metal case for audio gear, a bag for your extension cords, and soft bags for your accessories. You’re an expert on straps. You’ve tried a dozen. Now you only use Peak Design Slide straps.

You are a regular on classified sites and Facebook groups. The amount of selling and trading you’ve done is depressing. At least twice a year you think of dumping your whole kit to move to another system. Your insane friend sold his VW Golf to move to Leica. You thought he was crazy. Now you don’t even know anymore.

Everything is out of control. After trying various stupid attachments, you’ve now got MagMods on your flashes, and you get all the attachments and gel colors. You have wallets and little cases for your batteries and cards. You have a mountain of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries and have tried all the brands and now you’ll only use the black Eneloops. You have six chargers for those and four for your camera batteries.

And now… you realize your big DSLR is a bit heavy, especially for personal and family work. So you look at mirrorless systems. You fall in love. You buy one. Now you have three prime lenses for it, all new cards and batteries and chargers and cables and grips and straps and bags. You have two completely different camera systems. You buy Pocket Wizards because the other system you have is proprietary.

You think about buying studio strobes. Another rabbit hole. You buy a GoPro and smartphone accessories and other experimental stuff. You start researching drones.

You’re now in for $25k. Maybe 30.

And you’re never happy because you notice a bit of noise at high ISO or when pulling up the shadows. You lust after rumours of a new camera with a better sensor. It come out and you’re disappointed.

You hang out at a friend’s studio and play with his Hasselblad. Medium format. Your eyes go glossy. You shake your head and snap out of it. Maybe someday.

You spend much of your life editing and deciding what to shoot next. You experiment with landscape, headshots, family shoots, wedding, babies, maternity, fashion, still life, HDR, pets, cars, and more. Each time you need more gear and you need to learn new skills and editing techniques. You get prints, make books, and print on canvas. You talk to other photographers about how different it is to see your work in print. You think about a gallery show.

For a brief period, you put away all your digital gear, buy a rangefinder film camera and a few primes, stock up on film, and shoot only film. You build a darkroom in your bathroom. You study all the greats. You do street photography. You scan your images in and start looking at better scanners. Finally, you realize the cost is ridiculously insane and you fall back in love with your digital cameras.

It gets to the point where you don’t want to take your camera to family functions or other events because you just want to experience it and have fun and not always be shooting. You are both obsessed with it and don’t want to do it at the same time.

You get a great shot and you fully realize it in the edit. It’s the best thing you’ve done this year. You are so excited. You share it out. People love it. You get that buzz. You’re pumped. You realize you’ve put in this time and money and it’s been worth it because you can shoot consistently and you have a great portfolio and you have a stack of family photo books and all these great memories captured.

Then you notice a bit of noise in a shadow area you pulled up. And you start thinking about your next camera and lens…

Afterword

Since it was originally published, my post seems to have spoken to lots of fellow photographers. Photography often starts as a hobby and quickly gets out of hand; it can be expensive, but of course it doesn’t have to be. If people are happy with their kit, I think that is awesome. Sometimes I am happy, too. But I also love staying on top of technology and seeing what’s next.

For all my purchasing, I’ve tried to be mostly level-headed about it, attempting only to buy gear that I know can help me create better images or work faster. I do a lot of research and testing, and only buy when I know it will fill a void.

Of course, I think some folks believe gear will magically make their photos better. It won’t. However, once you ramp up your skills and techniques, and gain experience, gear can make your photos better because you are able to leverage the benefits of that new gear.

My “journey” has been over 12 years, and every piece of equipment has been paid for by my photography. It has changed from a hobby into a lucrative part-time career. I don’t mind being called a gearhead, but I’m not a collector: all of my gear is put to good use!


About the Author: Matt Corkum is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Halifax, NS, Canada. You can find more of his work on his website or by following him on Instagram. The original post was also published here.

7 Tips That Will Help You Extend Your Camera’s Battery Life

We’ve all heard or read those tips for getting the most out of your smartphone’s limited battery life, but what about us photographers? How do you make sure you’re squeezing every last shot out of your DSLR or mirrorless camera? This video will tell you.

These 7 tips were put together by the folks over at SLR Lounge, and they might sound familiar. That’s because some of them are very similar to what you might do on your smartphone. Whether it’s turning off wireless connection settings, or turning down your LCD’s brightness, chances are good you’ve done at least a few of these with your phone.

airplanemodecamera

That’s not to say that all 7 cross over. So check out the video up top and jot down the short list below for the next time you find yourself down to the last few photos on a busy shooting day:

  1. Turn off all of your camera’s wireless connections
  2. Turn off stabilization
  3. Turn off automatic sensor cleaning
  4. Turn off image review (and stop chimping)
  5. Turn down your LCD screen’s brightness
  6. Turn off your camera between shots
  7. Replace batteries that are dying faster than they should be

That’s it! Check out the video up top or head over to SLR Lounge to see the tips in action and find out how to modify some of these settings on your camera brand.