Monthly Archives: March 2016

SLR Cameras What Is A Single Lens Reflex

The hottest thing in the digital camera market is undoubtedly the digital SLR, which is better known as a dSLR. While dSLRs are flying off dealer shelves, many new users are confused about the terminology. Most people know that SLR stands for “single lens reflex.” Since nearly all SLRs accept interchangeable lenses, it would appear they should be known as multiple lens reflex (MLR) cameras.

If you want to understand how the SLR received it’s name, you have to dip into the history of the camera. Early cameras were similar to the view cameras used today. The photographer looked through the lens, focused, composed and then inserted a single film plate behind the optics to make an image. While the entire process was crude by modern standards, the photographer enjoyed great control, since he looked directly through the actual imaging lens to compose the shot.

While this was fine for still life, portraits and landscapes, this process did not lend itself to action photography. These early cameras could only record a single image at a time. Which is why you have never seen a motor-driven view camera.

Realizing the need to offer sequences of exposures, camera makers begin to experiment with various roll-film designs. With a roll of film in the camera, the photographer could fire off numerous images without reloading. Although this improved throughput dramatically, it caused another problem. The roll of film had to pass closely behind the camera’s optics, which meant that the photographer could no longer look through the camera lens to compose and focus.

Rangefinder cameras appear to keep things in focus

The lower-end, consumer roll-film cameras generally used an inexpensive “fixed-focus” lens, so a simple viewfinder was sufficient. Better quality optics, however, require the lens to be focused, and since the photographer could not look through the lens with a roll-film camera, this was a major problem. One of the first solutions to this problem was the Rangefinder — a type of camera that offered a distance measuring scale in the viewfinder. By determining the range from the viewfinder, the photographer could then adjust the focus to match — usually with very good results.

Twin Lens Reflex cameras offer another solution

While the rangefinder type cameras worked well, the camera industry is always evolving. A second method of allowing the photographer to focus and compose appeared in the “Twin-Lens Reflex” cameras. These cameras used two identical lenses, arranged one on top of the other in the manner of an over-and-under shotgun. The film winds past the lower lens, while the photographer can focus through the upper lens. The twin-lens cameras were fairly bulky, so designers added a mirror and ground glass to the top of the camera, hence the term “reflex.

Now the user could hold the camera at waist level and look down at the ground glass which previewed the image via the mirror behind the upper lens. As the user adjusted the focus on the upper lens, a gear mechanism moved the lower “taking lens” to match.

While both rangefinders and twin-lens reflex cameras offered a credible way to focus and preview a shot, neither allowed the photographer to actually look through the lens. This sometimes made exact composition difficult.

SLRs take cameras another step forward

In their quest to allow users to see through the actual “taking” lens, camera makers turned to the periscope — a simple device using two mirrors placed at opposite angles to bend the light path. Periscopes are easy to understand — any kid can construct one from a couple of mirrors and some scrap wood.

In a camera, the lower mirror is placed at a 45 degree angle directly behind the lens. Light striking the mirror is projected upwards to a ground glass. While a second mirror would show the image on the ground glass to the user, it would not appear right, because mirrors tend to reverse things. So camera designers added a prism arrangement that corrects the reversed image. When you peer through the viewfinder on a SLR, you look through a prism, which displays the image on a ground glass, which displays the projected image from the mirror located behind the lens.

There is just one problem. If you have been paying attention, you have no-doubt realized that the lower mirror blocks the light path to the film (or digital sensor as the case may be.) Now the photographer can look though the lens, but the image cannot be projected on to the filmplane.

So the camera designers had to add another wrinkle. They had to move that mirror. Just long enough to make an exposure, since when the mirror moved, the photographer could no longer see anything through the lens. So they designed the “instant-return” mirror. At the instant of exposure, the mirror flies upward, the shutter fires and the mirror snaps back down. It is a incredible feat, when you consider that instant return mirrors have to flip up and back in a heartbeat, over and over for the life of the camera.

Once the instant return mirror was perfected, photographers could once again design their images by looking through the lens. Unlike the twin lens reflex, this new breed of camera needed only one lens to focus and shoot with. So they became known as… you guessed it…. Single-Lens Reflex cameras.

Five Tips For Choosing a Digital Camera

1) The Budget. For most people this is the most important consideration when choosing a digital camera. There is no point looking at the top of the range professional digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras when your budget is only 200 $. So first you should decide how much can you spend on a digital camera and narrow your choices down to that.

2) The Usage. You need to consider how often will you use the camera as well as how are you going to use it. A big DSLR will be better for high- quality photos and it has more options for different photography techniques. A light and compact camera will be easier to carry around thus making it more convenient for travel photography. A point and shoot compact camera will be great for family album photography and kids.

3) Your experience. This is a key factor when choosing a digital camera. It is important to understand that a simple point and shoot camera in the hands of beginner will produce better photos than top of the range DSLR. I know so many people who have bought DSLR’s only to find out that they are too complicated, too big and the pictures are not that better than from a good compact camera. So if you are a beginner go for a point and shoot camera or a compact camera. For amateurs there are entry level DSLR’s and for professionals there are professional cameras. It’s that simple.

4) Your favorite subjects for photography. Think about your favorite subject you like to take pictures of. If you like landscapes than you should look for a camera that has wide angle lens. For portrait photography look for the camera that has the lens with the widest aperture (the f numbers on the lens) and for sports and animal photography go for a camera that has a telephoto lens. If you can’t decide than buy a DSLR or a compact camera with super zoom lens.

5) The features. We already looked at the lenses, but there are so many other features of digital cameras. The biggest mistake you can make is to look at the sensor resolution and to go for the biggest number of mega pixels. Wile the resolution is important it is definitely not the most important feature of a digital camera. Creative controls are one of the key features you should look at when choosing a digital camera. Different scene modes are all nice, but you really should look for a manual control options on your camera. Find out what accessories the camera has. A simple point and shoot camera will not have any, but an entry level DSLR will have changeable lenses, flashes, light filters and others. Some compact cameras will have the option of additional flash and wide angle or tele adapters for the lens.

These are my five tips for choosing a digital camera, but before you buy a camera you should do your homework. Read about digital cameras, the internet is a great resource of finding information on any digital camera. Don’t be shy; if necessary ask questions in the forums about specific camera brand and model. And if you decide to buy your camera on the internet, go to a real shop and try out the camera. And most importantly have fun and good luck on finding the right camera for you.

Interchangeable Lens Now Featured in Compact Cameras

Owning a digital camera today is very convenient. Many people prefer the small and compact units because of their light weight and the fact that they’re simple and easy to operate.

However, there may be some of you who wish you could use extra lenses on your small and compact digital cameras to enhance your experience in photography whether it’s just a hobby or something you’re taking seriously. If you think that changing lenses is not possible, the truth is it’s now possible these days. A common perception is that only the digital sensory lens reflex (DSLR) type can accommodate add-on lenses but these days, even the point and shoot can use them.

Several camera manufacturers have already released interchangeable lens models. These include Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Minolta.

Compared to the DSLR units, the lens mount for compact cameras is smaller but can be used with adapters from the larger mount. They may also lack the so called mirror boxes and through-the-lens viewfinders but nevertheless, they can provide you with top quality images and even videos although in smaller sizes.

The downside is the weight of these additional viewfinder accessories which can even be heavier than the compact camera itself. Ordinary users may not go for this but those serious in photography would not mind this at all.

There are some brands worth considering if you’re looking to buy this camera. They may be a bit pricey but they can be at par with the real DSLR camera.

The Sony Alpha NEX-5 is the first interchangeable lens compact camera of Sony with the capabilities of a DSLR unit but at a more affordable price. Although it lacks a built-in flash, it can give you top quality photos and videos. It can also accept both SD and Memory Stick cards.

The Olympus Pen E-P2 boasts of a unique and sturdy design, an eye-level electronic viewfinder (EVF) and some fun features you can experiment with. But it is quite expensive than a regular DSLR unit especially when you buy the kit that comes with zoom or prime lens and does not have a built-in flash.

The Samsung NX10 is very easy to use although not that at par with its close competitors in terms of capturing quality images. It boasts of a user friendly interface with a great menu system. Some features you may like are its 3-inch LCD screen, solid body and built in flash. The price is also something worth considering.

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GF2 camera is now considered the smallest camera that features interchangeable lens and a built-in flash strobe that is a pop-up type. This single-lens direct view model, which is yet to be released in January next year, accommodates additional lens that can also be used with other digital cameras of the same brand.

Panasonic’s predecessor, the Lumix DMC-GF1, remains to be a good choice as well. With its high definition video quality, simple controls, pop-up flash and interchangeable lens, having this camera unit can satisfy new and even experienced photographers who want to avoid the real DSLR type of camera.

Choosing a Digital Camera DSLs Compacts Or Bridge Cameras

Choosing a digital camera is a lot easier when you consider the three types of digital cameras: the digital SLR, the bridge (or prosumer) and the point-and-shoot or (compact automatic). This article introduces you to the advantages and disadvantages of each, so that you can narrow your choices down to the type of camera you want.

Digital Single Lens Reflexes (DSLRs)

Digital SLRs (DSLRs) were almost exclusively used by professional photographers until recently when the prices started to come down. Prices have come down considerably over the years for an entry level DSLR like the popular Canon Rebel. However, just remember that when you get a DSLR you also have to buy lenses to use. Some do, however, come with a basic starter lens or kit lens. If you want to take telephoto pictures, you can’t just push a button to zoom, you need a telephoto lens. These come in all sorts of sizes to fit the photographer’s needs. Many photographers also buy quality used equipment to keep costs down.

One of the great benefits of DSLRs is that you can get telephoto lenses that will let you take a close up of a bird on the top of a tree and you’ll never be able to tell from the picture that the bird was so far away. And they’re fast! So you’ll never have the problem of missing an action shot because your camera took too long to record the picture.

DSLRs also work with accessories like external flashes and filters to give you more options when shooting. DSLRs are great for taking action pictures in low light situations where a flash isn’t allowed or won’t reach.

Because of their large sensors, you can increase ISO to get pictures in low light while still having a high shutter speed to capture action. With other types of cameras you can’t do this because they have smaller sensors and end up producing pictures with unsightly graininess called digital noise. Digital noise can often be removed with software but with the DSLR you never have this problem.

These days, the main disadvantage of a DSLR is the higher price tag when you compare it to other types of cameras. It’s a nice camera to upgrade to if you discover you really love taking pictures and want to advance. Most people just start out with the camera body and a kit lens and then add more specialized lenses as they go.

Point & Shoot Digital Cameras (also called compact or automatic cameras)

Digital compacts or points and shoots are the most popular cameras in the Western world and for good reason. A compact is so easy to pack around and can take such good quality shots that many a pro with an expensive DSLR and a bag of big lenses has a small compact tucked in a pocket. (Pocket size compact digital cameras are often called subcompacts).

As mentioned above, compacts biggest benefits is their small and compact size. Unlike DSLRs which usually require a small bag of camera gear (if you have a couple of lenses) these cameras can go virtually anywhere.

And while you can just point and shoot with these cameras, many have all sorts of modes from which to choose, and plus some also give you some manual controls, such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority. And if your camera has an optical zoom, you can also get some great telephoto pictures too!

Bridge Cameras

These digital cameras are designed to bridge the gap between DSLRs and compact (or point and shoot) cameras. Bridge cameras are also called prosumer cameras because they are often used by both professionals and consumers. Bridge cameras almost always have higher price tags than compact cameras but are less than most DSLRs (as you don’t have to buy extra lenses with bridge cameras).

Bridge cameras have larger sensors and offer more mega pixels than most compacts. With bridge cameras you can increase ISO more than on a compact but not nearly as high as with a DSLR. If you don’t need to get action shots in places without good lighting, this may never be an issue.

Many bridge cameras let you get better indoor pictures by having hot shoes that work with an external flash. Bridge cameras also have movie mode and allow you to compose shots on the LCD. Many are super zooms. This means they have optical zoom ranges of 10x to 20x. Plus bridge cameras often have as many manual controls as DSLR cameras.

Once you decide what type of camera you want (DSLR, bridge or compact), selecting a camera will be a lot less confusing. So no matter what type of digital camera you get, take time to learn how to use your camera and you’ll be sure to start taking some great pictures.

Choose DSLR Or Point and Shoot Camera

Before I became a professional photographer, I did not have much knowledge of cameras and their accessories. I mostly used point and shoot camera to take photos and set everything to auto for simplified operation. I thought my pictures were okay for most occasions until the day I received my order of Canon 20D. Though that camera is a product of year 2004, it is still a very useful tool for me today.

There are huge differences between the little point and shoot cameras and DSLRs. I’m just highlighting some key differences.

1. Image quality.
DSLRs have much better images quality over the point and shoot camera. I’ve owned Sony P-1, Canon PowerShot SD400, and Canon SD870. All of these little guys capture good images only to some extend. When compare an images side by side with ones taken from my Canon 20D, you will notice the differences. Photos are much sharper from Canon 20D. The other DSLR I have also produce awesome image qualities especially the pro level cameras.

2. Responsiveness & Performance.
Point and shoot cameras are not designed to be fast and responsive. Lots of time, the images were taken a couple of seconds after the shutter was pressed. This increases the chances of missing important moments. It is especially true for candid shots. Most of the recent DSLRs can start and operate instantly. Shutter lags are only one tenth of a second or better.
There is no comparison of continuous shooting capability between DSLRs and point and shoot camera. While pro level DSLR, such as Canon 1D series can records up to 10 images per second, most of point and shoot cameras struggle to get 2 or less images in a second. There is no substitute of using DSLRs in a sports event.

3. Interchangeable lens
All the point of shoot camera has only one build in lens; thus limiting its ability to shoot at varying focal length. Although some of the DSLR like point and shoot camera can reach 10x zoom, drawbacks of the image quality and performance cannot be overcome. Large lens selections are available for DSLRs of all major camera brands. You can choose the lens to suit your needs. You may buy budget line lens at beginning, and gradually switch to more expensive lens when your skills improve and shooting style change. At the time of camera upgrade, the lens you’ve accumulated in years are still useable.

4. Easy of use
This is the area that point and shoot camera may have the upper hand. Complex menu setting and control system can easily scare camera novices away. My mom was never a fan of my DSLRs, and thought they were not designed for seniors like her. She is much happier with the little Canon SD400 for its simplicity. Only a click of a button, she got the image taken.

5. Cost and weight
When you have a better product, you normally expect to pay more. This is true too when it comes to camera. DSLRs are generally much better built with better components and software. While price range of majority of the point and shoot cameras is between $100-$500, DSLRs can cost up to $8000 for the top pro model. My workhorse Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon 1Ds Mark I Cost $8000 when they were first released. When added with pro lens, flashes, and other accessories, the equipment cost can reach $15,000-20,000 easily. Pro level cameras are definitely not someone’s toy. Their hefty price tag can only be justified if they are put to commercial use to make money for their owners. With the sagging economy, plenty of photographers are struggle just to recover their equipment investment.

My camera bag weights about 30-40 lbs when fully loaded with camera and lens. Carrying that bag around should for several hours wear me out quickly. Some of the point and shoot camera, such as Sony TX series can easily slip into your shirt pocket.

I hope that I’ve summarized the major differences between DSLR and point and shoot cameras. Which one to purchase will be determined by how you want to use it. If you have specific questions regarding a model, please feel free to drop me an email. I will do my best to answer your questions when I’m free. You can also look at the images on my website to get some feel about what pro camera can create.

The Best Rated Digital Cameras May Surprise You

The digital camera world is one that photographers are very familiar with, and many will know about the best digital cameras. In this day and time, technology is advancing daily, and cameras are becoming more and more powerful. Currently, there are three cameras which are said by many to be the most popular, powerful, and rated digital cameras.

Firstly, there is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. As you can probably guess, being the top rated camera, it comes with a pricey tag. Nonetheless, this is true. The camera goes for around $700, but buyers do get their “bang for the buck”. First of all, the camera is very compact. This is something many buyers look for, as it is easy to carry around with them. The camera, though not as good as some of the DSLR, can take amazing pictures with great detail and quality. It consists of 14-45mm lens, one of the best in the market. It also has an extremely fast focusing speed of 0.40 seconds. Aside from its specs, the camera has a very unique and pleasant look and style.

Next is the Canon PowerShot SX110IS. It is much cheaper than the previous Panasonic, but still a magnificent camera. The PowerShot is more of a personal use, family oriented camera and is almost about a third of the Panasonic camera, at around $230. It consists of a 10x zoom lens and has quite a compact build to it. Even with its compact size, it still has very good zoom quality. Though it is only 9 megapixels, it will give photo takers the detail they want, just like a 14 or 15 megapixel camera would. The camera also has features including auto white balance, making it great for indoor photo taking. It is a great camera for beginners, whether you are taking pictures as a hobby, or for a soon-to-come profession.

Last, but not least, is the Pentax Optio W60 at a price of approximately $280. Even though a bit pricier than then Canon Powershot above, many say it is not as good. Though, the Pentax has a few benefits that do not come with other cameras. Firstly, the Pentax is a water proof camera. Now, many will think that water proof cameras do not take good quality photos. The Pentax proves that theory wrong. With 10.1 megapixels, the Pentax takes pictures of great quality. Pictures taken with the Pentax are sharp, demonstrate good color. The camera has a very good shutter lag, and is very responsive. To be specific, its shutter lag is approximately 5 frames per second. This camera is great for all around use, so in other words, a great camera for a first!

LEICA S2 Camera Test Amazing Value For

Functionality

The LEICA S2 camera is surprisingly functional. Leica Camera involved professional photographers in designing the user-friendly camera body, which includes only what you need. That’s refreshing because especially top-class cameras tend to have a lot of bells and whistles that actually are more in your way, instead of adding value.

Ergonomics

Important functions that you will use often, like shutter speed and ISO value, can be reached through just a few (ergonomically smart designed) buttons and control wheels on the S2 camera. Save reading the massive manual for a rainy Sunday, and start shooting pictures! Warning: you’ll be addicted for life in less than 15 minutes…

Screens

The LEICA S2 camera body includes two efficient screens. The top one is an efficient color display that shows you the current settings such as the exposure mode, aperture setting and shutter speed. A major eye-catcher is of course the huge and bright color LCD screen, protected by a strong and scratch-free layer of sapphire glass.

Navigation

One control wheel and 4 buttons are your navigation tools for a menu that is being displayed on the LCD. The wheel is used to scroll through (and select items from) the menu of the S2 camera, while the 4 buttons have flexible functions depending on the current menu mode. Using the various functions becomes a routine over time.

Speed

Speed is another benefit of the LEICA S2 camera. Considering the file size of 37.5 megapixel photos, previewing recorded images is easy as they show up on the screen very fast. The same applies to zooming into pictures to check their quality on a detailed level, thanks to the huge processing power of this DSLR camera.

Comfort

Real-life testing fulfills professional photographer’s expectations, based on the ergonomic design of the S2 camera. It’s a very comfortable and, with 1.4 kg (including battery) relatively light device. It feels really great in your hands. Personally I have not seen another medium-sized, digital single-lens reflex camera with that same ‘wow’ factor.

Flexibility

The LEICA S2 camera has a weatherproof camera body that makes it possible to shoot under challenging conditions. Really practical is the large eyepiece with its interchangeable focusing screen. The camera’s viewfinder also shows you the most important settings in light green color on the bottom of the image.

Resolution

A large image sensor of 45 x 30 mm (3:1 ratio) creates pictures of 7504 x 4984 pixels – that’s a resolution of almost 37.5 megapixels. This should be a perfect format for many high-resolution print purposes and keep the S2 camera up-to-date and widely usable for many years. The average file sizes are between 30 and 50 MB.

Quality

More important of course, is the quality of images. An outside photo shoot (using Leica’s SUMMARIT-S 70 mm F/2.5 ASPH lens) unveils the real secret of this magic box: the optical performance. I have never seen such crystal-clear, distortion-free, contrast-rich and colorful images than those taken with a LEICA S2 camera.

Editing

The great thing of this device is that post-processing pictures often isn’t necessary. If you still would like to edit photos, the Adobe-compatible DNG files (the S2 camera doesn’t produce RAW files) include a lot of detailed image data. You can easily adjust things like exposure and saturation of the pictures that you’ve taken.

Investment

If you buy a LEICA S2 camera, it is an investment. The sales price is not exactly on the low end. However, when you consider its high usability and impressive optical performance, resulting in stunning colors, great focus, amazing sharpness and correct tonality, you have a magic tool in your hands with a LEICA S2 camera.

Best DSLR Camera Bag for Traveling and Hiking

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I really like my DSLR and would never go back to a compact camera. DSLR cameras have so many advantages. First of all, you can see what you’re taking through a real viewfinder. Being able to change lenses, to hold the camera steady and to feel it in your hands makes using a DSLR a pure joy.

I’ve tried so many bags until I found one that I really like: Tamrac 5788 Evolution. This is my go to bag for travel and hiking.

Although not very stylish, this bag is so nicely made. The quality is great and the zippers slide easily (big deal for me). It has two different compartments: one for the camera and lenses and one for other items, such as snacks or even a light jacket.

The best thing about this camera bag: it provides three-way access to the gear and it can also be used as a backpack or as a sling bag. Need to change the lens quickly? No problem, just slide the bag and grab the lens. No need to put the bag on the ground. I love this feature.

Here are a few pros and cons.

Pros:

– It’s very well-made and roomy

– Well padded – keeps my equipment protected

– Converts from backpack to sling very easy for quick gear access

– It’s very comfortable and does not throw off your center of balance

– You can easily attach a tripod

Cons:

– It’s pretty heavy on its own

– I wish it was a little more stylish. It does scream camera from a distance.

– No room for a water bottle. I guess you can put a small one in the top compartment but I prefer using it for other things.

– It’s a little expensive for a backpack

This bag is for serious amateur photographers and hobbyists who like bringing the camera with them most of the time when they travel. I wouldn’t say that professional photographers would be satisfied with this bag. I know they like to carry way more equipment. A camera body with three lenses and a flash would probably not be enough for them.

Keep in mind, this is a pretty heavy and big camera bag. If you are looking for camera bag that only holds a DSLR with 1 or 2 lenses, there are other options.

I am confident that you will not be disappointed in this bag. Give it a try.