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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Create stunning, seamless panoramas with the right photography gadgets
There’s a special allure to panoramic pictures. They force you to move your eyes across the image, even turn your body to take it all in. It’s as if the photographer wants you to take an active part in viewing the landscape, instead of just giving it one static look. Panoramas are special because in the past, you didn’t see them very often, mostly because they were so expensive to produce, requiring specific cameras and processing equipment. With the right gear and software today, however, you can make beautiful panoramas quite easily using regular film or digital cameras.
If you’re in the midst of a transition from film to digital imaging, you’ll soon discover that your trusty 24mm wide-angle isn’t very wide on your D-SLR. In fact, that all-encompassing 24mm now acts like a 36mm normal lens! This, you’re finding out, is due to your image sensor’s smaller size in comparison to 35mm. While this effect offers increased telephoto reach on the long end, it causes trouble for users of wide-angle lenses.
A pro-label Canon lens shines on a compact digital camera
When Canon announced its new 8-megapixel PowerShot Pro1, I pored over the specs and looked forward to working with the camera. It wasn’t the 8 megapixels, impressive as that was, that caught my attention. It was the lens designation—Canon gave the glass its "L" insignia, the company’s pro designation. This was unusual, as Canon has exceptionally high standards for the L-series.
Steady your camera for tracking and photographing fast-moving subjects
Wildlife photographers who use telephoto lenses to capture exciting, razor-sharp images while maintaining a respectful distance from the subject need a stable shooting platform. However, tracking subjects in the field and reacting quickly to animal behavior isn’t easy if your stable platform is a tripod. An image-stabilization or vibration-reduction lens is an alternative for wildlife and action photography, but a budget-conscious photographer might consider a shoulder-mount or "gun-stock" unit.
Modern inkjets offer photographic quality and creative control over the printing process
None of us would have known of Ansel Adams if he had taken his film to the corner drugstore. Although the compositions would remain the same, the brilliant quality of his prints would be missing. The glowing white tones and deep, detailed blacks in his work are a stunning example of getting the best results when you do the printing yourself.
A high-quality super-wide-angle at a moderate price
You can get the focal length of the Tokina AT-X 17 AF Pro lens in a zoom, and sometimes in a similar focal length, so why bother with a single focal length? The answer has two parts: size and quality for the price. The Tokina 17mm ƒ/3.5 lens lists for $810 and has a street price of approximately $400. Zoom lenses that get this wide and are close to this price usually aren’t as sharp as the Tokina in the wider ƒ-stops (stopped down, modern lenses of any major manufacturer at any price are quite remarkable), don’t control flare as well, and exhibit some barrel distortion (bending of straight lines, such as horizons, when near the edge of the frame). After shooting with the AT-X Pro for a while, I found it consistently sharp throughout the ƒ-stop range, with a high degree of flare control, and straight lines stayed straight.
This solid field camera offers a lot for nature photographers
While the big buzz is on digital SLRs today, and for good reason, it’s possible to get a top-quality, full-featured, high-megapixel digital camera with truly professional capabilities for around $1,000 (including lenses that will match pro SLR lenses). A perfect example is the new 8-megapixel Olympus C-8080.
Discover products to help make the most of your photography this season
Summer is here, and with it come many opportunities to create wonderful photographs. Whether planning to visit your local mountains or travel abroad, you may need more than a camera and lens to make those outings a success.
For photographers who carry their gear long distances, saving weight is a real issue. We economize every way we can, leaving spare camera bodies behind or bringing fewer rolls of film. We carry lighter tripods, too, but until recently, there was a limit to how much weight we could save in our camera support. Lightly constructed metal tripods just aren’t stiff enough to provide a sharp image.