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Photo Equipment Reviews & Articles

Read reviews of the latest wildlife and nature photography equipment. Our camera equipment reviews cover lenses to accessories and everything in-between.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: New Lenses In A Digital Age

The latest designs bring true wide-angle capability and more to the digital format

You've no doubt seen or heard about new "designed for digital" lenses that are optimized for better performance with digital image sensors. If you’re like most people, though, you’re not quite sure what that means—just what makes a lens that’s "designed for digital"? We’ll cover the details and show you how the new lenses have helped overcome some of the challenges once posed by a switch to digital, and how these advanced optics can improve your images.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Canon PowerShot G6

A rotating, live LCD and 7.1 megapixels make this an ideal field camera

The talk of digital for outdoor photographers is heavily oriented toward D-SLRs. Yet when I teach classes around the country, I hear many photographers admitting to loving the little advanced compact cameras for their size and capabilities. Canon‚’s latest model in this group is another G-series camera, the PowerShot G6. It offers a smart design with an SLR-style grip, a 7.1-megapixel sensor and all the photographic controls you’d expect in a digital SLR, but in a far more compact package.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Canon EF 70-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6

Great quality in a small package

A perfect test of the new Canon EF 70-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens came while photographing seabirds on a foggy morning in Morro Bay, California. Bobbing around in a small kayak, I used the lens with its Image Stabilizer technology and composed dozens of sharp images during those early-morning hours. A kayak is no place for a tripod, and with the lens mounted on a handheld Canon EOS 20D, the resulting photos were remarkably crisp. The 70-300mm was easy to handle since it’s a mere 3.9 inches long and weighs just 25.4 ounces. Despite its performing at an equivalent 35mm focal length of nearly 500mm (112-480mm), the lens compensated for both body vibration and the unpredictable movement of the boat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Gadget Bag: Light In The Field

Flash units and accessories can make a difference in your outdoor photography

Electronic flash helps provide a photographer greater control over the lighting of a subject. It can supply just the right amount of fill light to illuminate the foreground of a landscape, and it can bring out the details and color of a flower photographed with a macro lens. Regardless of the subject, a flash provides the ability to control and shape light to suit your vision of the scene. Whether it’s a dedicated TTL flash, ring light or wireless slave, these small portable "suns" that we stuff in our camera bags can make a world of difference.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Canon EOS 20D

A new digital SLR offers strong sensor performance

The megapixel wars have most people thinking that sensor size is everything. In our experience at OP and PCPhoto magazines,we’ve learned that while sensor size is important, other elements go into a quality image, especially if sizable enlargements are desired from the file.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Tamron SP AF200-500mm Di LD (IF)

Enjoy super-telephoto focal lengths at an affordable price

The Tamron SP AF200-500mm ƒ/5.6-6.3 Di LD (IF) lens is the kind of optic that excites many of us, especially if we’re shooting digitally. That’s because a focal length range that typically has been fairly costly to add to a camera bag becomes incredibly affordable with this lens. It’s also a boon when used with a digital SLR, where the magnification factor boosts the apparent focal length to 760mm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

2004 Holiday Book Guide

OP's annual selection of books to inform and inspire every photographer

With so many captivating photography books published every year, winter is an ideal time to catch up on some reading. Bring yourself up to speed on the latest in digital technology with Peter Burian’s new book. Find inspiration in Art Wolfe’s latest remarkable collection of photographs. Or learn about the surprising efforts of oil companies to protect the environment in Passions and Patience, or the fascinating social behavior of wolves in Wolves of the World.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Gadget Bag: Cleaning Accessories

How to keep your camera and lenses clean for best performance

Although many of us who shoot outdoors do so alone, we all have one constant companion—dirt. Ever present, it accumulates on our photo gear, degrading the quality of our images and interfering with the operation of our cameras. We’ll show you the trouble spots and the tools you need to fight back.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 Filters

Unlock your creativity with these powerful plug-ins

Wouldn't it be nice not to have to rely on in-camera techniques to produce all of your creative photographs. Lately, I've been using the new nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 collection of 75 filters, which works with any plug-in-compatible photo application. When I'm shooting, I take pictures that I might not normally take because I know I can enhance them with a nik filter or filters.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Sigma 80-400mm OS Zoom

Sigma enters the image-steadying realm with its affordable OS zoom

One of the outstanding technological advancements for nature photographers has been the use of lens technology that reduces the effect of camera movement on image quality. Camera movement or "shake" during exposure is a leading cause of a lack of sharpness in photos. Now, Sigma has introduced its Optical Stabilizer, or OS, in a high-quality, APO-design, affordable telephoto zoom: the 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 EX. The lens is available in Canon, Sigma and Nikon mounts.

Monday, November 1, 2004

OP Editors' Picks 2004

New technologies mean exceptional gear for photographers

This is an exciting time to be a photographer. Whether or not you’re interested in digital, the explosion of the technology has reinvigorated the photo industry like no other in a very long time. Products just get better for everyone.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Gadget Bag: Macro Anywhere

Expand your possibilities of capturing the smaller world

One of close-up photography’s great attributes is its ability to draw attention to the beauty of nature’s smallest creations. By using a close-up lens, extension tube or macro lens, we delve into a world that, although small, is as stunning and complex as any expansive landscape.

Monday, November 1, 2004

HP Designjet 130

Create posters of your favorite images without leaving home

The HP Designjet 130 printer provides outdoor photographers the ability to produce poster-sized prints at home. For those of us who have a desire to make prints that are markedly larger than 8x10 inches, Hewlett-Packard has made a 2400 dpi printer that delivers large-sized prints that are comparable to what we’ve become accustomed to via a traditional lab.

Friday, October 1, 2004

8-Megapixel Cameras For The Outdoor Photographer

The new 8-megapixel cameras offer tremendous versatility and impressive image quality together in one handy, lightweight package. With their wide range of built-in focal lengths and system capabilities, they’re a real alternative to lugging a heavy and expensive SLR or D-SLR system.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Gadget Bag: What A View!

Viewing accessories such as LCD hoods and magnifiers can vastly improve your photographic experience

One of the most significant benefits of shooting with a digital camera is being able to view your images immediately on the camera’s LCD screen. You can determine in seconds if you got the shot you wanted. If not, you can see whether the exposure or focus was off and quickly correct it in time to take the shot again. You also can use the LCD to make changes to settings such as white balance, as well as control other functions of the camera.

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