Thinking about going LED? This book tells you what you need to know

Lighting is crucial for photographers. That isn’t true just for our photographs, it’s also true for our studios and every location where we work on or look at images. Until recently, more light has also meant more power – and more cost. With the recent awareness of the impact power consumption is having on our environment, and climbing power prices, alternative lighting technologies have come to the fore. CFLs have been flogged as a great idea for the cost-conscious, but they suffer from mediocre light quality, anathema to photographers.

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ONTRION: Bigger batteries for your power-hungry smartphone

Samsung EB-L1D71BAThe Achilles heel of smartphones as an all-around tool for photographers is their universally mediocre battery life.

Making fine-tuning your autofocus a cinch with Datacolor’s SpyderLensCal

Before using the LensCal, I found tweaking the AF on my camera & lens combos (by setting the camera to adjust its AF +/- for each lens in its fine tuning menu) such a hassle that I usually just sent suspect lenses back to Nikon for calibration. That’s expensive and time consuming, so I decided to give the LensCal a try. We used it on both of my recent Texas trips and Alaska trips, with great results. Several participants found at least one lens combo that needed tweaking, and the ones that didn’t gained some extra confidence that their AF was focusing properly. I was excited enough to write an article for Datacolor on the topic, where you can learn how to do it yourself!.

Nikon D4 vs. Nikon D800: How much resolution is enough?

_djc9483Despite cranking up the resolution of digital cameras from 1-2MP to 15-25MP, there is still plenty of discussion about each new milestone in high-resolution digital photography. While I’m the first to applaud the nearly unbelievable resolving power of the 36MP Nikon D800, I think a lot of photographers think they need much more resolution than they do. I had a really graphic example of what a truly clean 16MP image can resolve yesterday when out photographing Alaskan Brown Bears on my photo safari…. Read more »

Nikon D4: First impressions–Hands-on

Nikon D4 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)I knew when I first shot with an early Nikon D4 at CES in January that it would be an amazing camera. After spending some time shooting with a production model over the weekend, I’m definitely a believer. The Nikon D4 is a no-compromise beast of a DSLR, capable of shooting 10fps at ISOs up into the six-digit range. It tips the scales at a hefty 3 lbs., and will empty your wallet of $6K. It’s not the resolution champion, as we all know the Nikon D800 is, but for many of us who shoot action or wildlife, it’s 16MP of clean, sharp images is plenty. Read more »

Superzoom faceoff: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS versus Nikon Coolpix S9300

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera (Black)[NOTE: If you're looking for the Sigma 50-500mm lens review, click here. Sorry about that]

As impressive as improvements have been across the board in point and shoot cameras over the last few years, none have made greater strides than the superzooms. Formerly more of a novelty and avoided by anyone serious about performance or image quality, new models are finally worth serious consideration for anyone needing to isolate subjects with a small, light camera. For this project I borrowed a Nikon Coolpix S9300 and a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS and carried both around for a few weeks as my point and shoot camera. I knew that neither would live up to the speed or image quality of my personal favorite point and shoot, the Canon PowerShot S100, but of course that isn’t the point. These models have amazing zoom ranges, and actually cost less. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found… Read more »

Think Tank Airport TakeOff: Finally a rolling photo backpack that works!

Like most nature photographers, I’ve used photo backpacks for most of my life. They’re great for getting around, working from vehicles, and fitting into small planes. But lugging them through airports or conference centers – especially when combined with other luggage – is hard work, and doesn’t get any easier with age. A roller bag that doubles as a backpack is the obvious solution, but there hasn’t been one that is compact enough to fit nicely in an overhead or on a vehicle seat, until now … Read more »

Learning to use Nikon Flashes: Book Review of Nikon’s CLS

Product DetailsEach generation of Nikon flash systems has become more powerful and flexible, but also more complex. Understanding how the latest version, dubbed Creative Lighting System (CLS) works, and how to make the most of it, can be a daunting task, especially since each Nikon flash unit has slightly different controls, and works in a slightly different way. Fortunately, Mike Hagen’s new book, The Nikon Creative Lighting System, provides an easy-to-read, soup-to-nuts, dissection of CLS and specific, detailed instructions on how to use it with just about every model of Nikon flash – both on and off camera.

Nikon D800 Field Test and Review: Super results from a super sensor

Nikon D800 SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)I’ve been fortunate enough to get to spend some time with a production model Nikon D800 this week (thanks Adam!) and put it through its paces – shooting sports, scenics, and EDLs. The first thing I noticed about the D800 is that it is one solid camera, almost exactly the same size and weight as the Nikon D700, at 2.2 lbs. Many of the control updates from the D7000 and the D4 have been included, giving the camera a more contemporary design than the D700 which was Nikon’s previous high-end “small-bodied” DSLR... Read more »

Ultimate Photo Accessories, including headlamps, aka “dork lights”

Okay, they’re not really called “dork lights.” They’re headlamps, but it’s hard to deny that they make you look a bit like a dork. However, they’re invaluable, so for my contribution to Chris Gampat’s piece on the B&H blog on the most interesting and useful accessory in my camera bag, the choice was a no brainer. You can read his full post, including some other great recommendations, and when you’re convinced you can buy yourself the cat’s meow of photographers’ headlamps, the Petzl Zipka Plus 2, for $44 at Amazon – it features a retractable cord, multiple brightness levels, and both white and red LEDs for regular and night vision use.