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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make Your Panos Match Up

Wide-Angle Panoramas • See The Sharpness Get • The Most From A Lens And Camera • ND Filters • Sensor Cleaning • Missing Arches

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
When taking landscape or macro images that entail a camera on a tripod and an unmoving subject, I highly recommend using the Live View feature on your DSLR if you have it. Couple that with a loupe (I use one made by Hoodman, www.hoodmanusa.com) to critically view the LCD screen in the bright light. Use the magnification function on the LCD to check focus up to 10X.

In our quest for sharpness, we purchase special lenses, use lower ISOs and work from tripods. It's important to also make sure we're seeing the best image the camera offers.

Get The Most From A Lens And Camera
Recently, I was cruising www.canonrumors.com, and at the top of the page were two links to articles by Roger Cicala of LensRentals.com. I recommend "How to Test a Lens" (www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/how-to-test-a-lens/) and "This Lens is Soft" (www.canonrumors.com/tech-articles/this-lens-is-soft-and-other-myths/) to anyone interested in obtaining the best sharpness and quality from a camera/lens combination.

Roger handles hundreds of lenses at a rental agency, and has to check them before sending them out and again when they come back. His simple approach and information on testing camera/lens combinations will give photographers a better understanding of why they don't always achieve the results they expect. You don't need to be a Canon user to understand what Roger is saying, so everyone, check this out.

ND Filters For All Occasions
Q I recently purchased a Canon EOS 7D with two Canon L-series lenses. Can you recommend a neutral-density filter that won't diminish the quality I can achieve with these lenses?
E. Torch
Via the Internet

A There are many situations where you'll need an ND filter, and you shouldn't be afraid to add a quality piece of glass to your high-end "L" lenses. If you were to buy just one, I'd say a three-stop ND filter would cover most situations to slow down water, allow people to move in the frame or any other long-exposure effect. If you're looking for an extended effect or work in extremely bright conditions, add a 5-stop model. Lower-quality ND filters, such as the square acrylics, cause focus problems at higher focal lengths. For the best range, I use a very expensive, high-quality Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter (www.singh-ray.com) that ranges from 3 stops to 8 stops, but even it won't work beyond about 250mm on my 100-400mm zoom. Also, choose a filter large enough so that it doesn't vignette with wide-angle lenses; that is, get one larger than your largest front element and use step-up ring adapters to fit smaller lenses. My filters are 77mm and fit all my 77mm, 72mm, 67mm and 62mm lenses with step-up adapters.

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