Tripods are indispensable, and new, exotic materials and construction make them better, lighter and stronger than ever
We’ve said it before and we‚’ll say it again: If you‚’re looking to improve your photography, the single most useful tool you can use is a tripod. As photo gear goes, tripods fall somewhere between a sandbag and lens-cleaning tissue on the "cool equipment" scale. Compared to exotic optics, advanced filters and new ubertech SLRs, what‚’s less sexy than three sticks connected to a hinged plate? And yet the tripod remains the device that’s most likely to have an immediate, positive impact on your imagery.
Novoflex offers camera supports that are both reliable and attractively designed
When it comes to most photographic accessories, the emphasis is often on functionality, yet not far behind that is the matter of style. So while we photographers want tools that help us to create great images, we also appreciate having products that make us look good while we’re doing it. Novoflex definitely knows how to put style into common photographic gear.
The Olympus EVOLT E-330 is the first D-SLR to offer a tilting TTL monitor and an optical TTL viewfinder
Anyone who knows me knows that I love the little digital cameras with the flip-out or tilting LCDs. Because these LCDs are "live" meaning they see what’s coming through the lens, they can be used as handy viewfinders for new shooting angles.
Wireless is a great way to go for using flash with macro shots
Recently, I had the chance to work with Nikon’s new wireless close-up flash kit. The R1C1 breaks new ground, offering ease and convenience in close-up flash that we’ve never had before. The kit includes an SU-800 flash controller, two SB-R200 flash heads and a mounting bracket to fit the front of a lens (a macro, for example).
Increase the focal length of your telephoto lenses
A teleconverter offers photographers the means to shoot at increased telephoto focal lengths without buying a completely new lens. With 400mm and higher lenses costing thousands of dollars, an optical accessory that delivers an increased focal length at a fraction of the cost has its obvious appeal.
OP's photo vehicle demonstrates ways to customize an SUV for photographic use
When our publisher, Steve Werner, directed us to outfit a vehicle that would demonstrate how one could use a four-wheel-drive SUV specifically for photography, it sounded intriguing, but what could we get together that would work in the field? And could we do it all-digital to reflect the keen interest our readers have in digital?
A new D-SLR with pro-level resolution and features in a durable body
Whenever a new camera hits the market, there’s an inevitable flood of information and misinformation surrounding the launch. In the case of the Nikon D200, the Internet rumor mills were fueled with all sorts of speculation about the camera’s specifications and capabilities, mostly centered around the image sensor. Would Nikon introduce its first model with a full-frame image sensor? The answer is no. The D200 is built with a Dx-sized sensor just like all other Nikon digital SLRs, but to focus exclusively on that is to miss the forest for the trees. Like the pricier D2x, which debuted in the spring of 2005, the D200 is built with refinements and technology that question the need for the full-frame sensor in the first place.
A well-featured digital SLR drops the price for a full-frame sensor
The new Canon EOS 5D has a lot of photographers talking. What do you get with this $3,300 camera? Is the full frame worth it? How about the 12.8 megapixels? After shooting with this camera in the field, I have a few answers. First, I appreciate the way the camera handles. While the EOS 1D and 1Ds Mark II cameras offer superb image quality, they’re also big and heavy. They’re sturdy and durable, to be sure, but their size isn’t for everyone. The EOS 5D is a more manageable field camera. It’s just a bit larger than the EOS 20D, measuring 6x4.4x3 inches and weighing 28.6 ounces
Lugging around a weighty pack loaded with equipment isn’t the ideal way to experience nature, and hiking long treks with it on your back or shoulders can lead to injury. You don’t want to leave gear behind, but you definitely don’t want to risk ruining the day or your health with a cumbersome load. I’ve limited my equipment to include only the necessities, and zoom lenses have become an essential part of my gear.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, with so many good books being published and winter vacations approaching, we think it’s quite the season for book reading, too. If you’d like to lay off the eggnog and candied yams and indulge your senses in something with a little more sustenance and a lot less fat, there’s quite an array of books from which to choose.
Put some distance between you and your macro subject
Close-ups are my favorite part of nature photography. I say that not because I love bugs more than waterfowl or flower parts more than rocky landscapes. I love close-ups because they can connect me with nature anywhere, anytime. I can shoot close-ups of spiders building webs outside my backdoor or of orchids in Peru, of flowering weeds outside of my office or lichens on the rocks of Arches National Park. With close-up gear, I’m good to go whenever I want, wherever I am.I was excited to get a sample of Tokina’s new 100mm ƒ/2.8 macro lens (officially named the AT-X M100 AF Pro D). At 2.9x3.7 inches and 19 ounces, this compact lens offers film and full-frame digital cameras 1:1 at 12 inches. For small-format digital SLRs, you get an equivalent of 150-160mm (still at the fast ƒ/2.8) and more distance to 1:1. The lens includes a newly engineered multi-coating to minimize reflections when using a digital camera’s sensor (which has a shiny protective surface).
Impressive black-and-white prints are within your grasp
This past summer, some friends of mine bought a new condo in Southern California, although they must have promised their first born to the mortgage company with prices the way they are. The condo was a sizable step up from their rental apartment, and in addition to a lot more square footage of floor space, it has a lot more wall space than the former residence (along with a second full bath and a balcony). Suddenly, the collection of wall art that had filled the old place barely made a dent on the walls at the new one. I should have suspected there were ulterior motives when I found myself invited over for a big dinner (with plenty of good wine). Somewhere between grilled salmon and crème brûlée, the innocent question was posed, "So, Chris, do you have any prints of your photographs you could give us for the walls?" I don’t sell them, so why not give them away?
A compilation of our favorite gear, gadgets and accessories
Technology—you can’t stop it, you can only hope to contain it. In the past year, a range of new products has crossed the threshold of the Outdoor Photographer editorial offices. Of that collection, we’ve chosen our favorites and assembled them into this guide. The list of gear ranges from camera bags to color management, software to memory cards, and although it wasn’t easy, we’ve done our best to narrow down the selection to some essential items that we think will help your photography.
Expand your image-making possibilities with a wide-angle lens
Wide-open spaces. One of the best ways to capture this feeling is by using a wide-angle lens. The first time I used a wide-angle, I couldn't put it down. I suddenly was offered a unique way of photographing a scene beyond what a standard focal-length lens could provide. Its versatility allowed me to shoot images in tight spaces as well as compose expansive landscapes.