Archive for October, 2017

Video: The story behind Albert Watson’s iconic Steve Jobs portrait

31 Oct

Albert Watson is one of the best, and best-known portraitists in the world, and in this video by Profoto he tells the story behind one of his most iconic shots: THE portrait of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

It’s a photo that you have no doubt seen—be it on the Apple homepage the day Jobs passed, or on the cover of Walter Isaacson’s biography of the tech giant—but the story behind it takes just 2 minutes to tell. Watson explains how he instantly earned Jobs’ cooperation, how he got Jobs to look into the camera with his trademark intensity, and how the portrait came to adorn the Apple website on the day Jobs passed away.

Hear the story from Watson himself in the video above.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Video: The story behind Albert Watson’s iconic Steve Jobs portrait

Posted in Uncategorized


How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

31 Oct

Who doesn’t love a good sunset photo? There’s something about that colorful, ethereal time of day that strikes a cord with just about every person. But as appealing and ordinary as sunsets are, the ability to capture that magical time of day as a photo can be surprisingly difficult.

Sunset Photos

Photo by Martin Genev

Yes, gear and camera settings are important. However, the ability to be in the right place at the right time of day is arguably the most important factor to photographing a sunset. Below, I’ll highlight several tips for planning

Yes, gear and camera settings are important. However, the ability to be in the right place at the right time of day is arguably the most important factor to photographing a sunset. Below, I’ll highlight several tips for planning

Find the best sunset location

How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

If you’re visiting a new town and searching for an ideal sunset spot, your best bet is to do some online searches. Do a Google image search for “[location] sunset” and see what pops up. Better yet, visit stock image sites and enter similar search queries.

In most cases, you’ll see sunset photos taken from one or two popular locations. It might take some digging to find out exactly where those spots are, but once you have the answer, you’ll know where to shoot.

What time is the sunset?

A simple Google search will tell you exactly when sunset happens in the location of your choice. Keep in mind, however, that the hour or so before sunset is the ideal time of day for most photographers, so you’ll want to show up at your chosen sunset location closer to Golden Hour.

To really hone in the ideal times of day to shoot in a new location, the PhotoPills app is a handy tool. It’s packed full of information that can help you plan and execute outdoor photo shoots.

PhotoPills Sunset Planner - How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

Image courtesy of PhotoPills

Camera settings for sunset photos

Your ideal camera settings for shooting a sunset depend on a variety of factors, but generally speaking, these are some rules to go by.

Shoot in RAW

When it comes to shooting the sunset, one of the biggest challenges is making sure your camera captures the same warmth and vibrancy that your eyes are seeing. You can typically make White Balance and Picture Style tweaks in camera (more on those below). But just in case, it’s also a good idea to shoot in RAW to give you greater creative control when you post-process the image.

Set White Balance

Leaving your camera White Balance set to Auto might suffice. However, if the color cast of your image is looking too cool or slightly off, try setting your White Balance to Daylight or Cloudy to warm up your shot.

Shoot in Aperture Priority

What shooting mode you should use is certainly debatable, but Aperture Priority will give you greater control over the depth of field. Shooting with a small aperture (f-step of f/16 or higher) will give you a large depth of field. This is ideal if you want more of your scene in focus.

How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

Keep ISO Low

To avoid excessive noise in your image, maintain the lowest possible ISO for the amount of light you have available. If it happens to be a cloudy sunset or you’re shooting a scene with lots of shadows, you might have to increase your ISO unless you use a tripod.

Composition tips for unique sunset photos

After you’ve got your ideal sunset spot secured, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of sunset image you want to capture.

Keep this in mind: the way that most people photograph a sunset is to whip out their camera at hand, point it directly at the sunset and start snapping away. There’s nothing wrong with capturing the sunset this way, but it doesn’t always make for unique images.

If you’re trying to think outside of the box and get an interesting sunset photo, try some of these tips.

Zoom in

How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

For most spontaneous sunset photographers, the camera at hand is their point and shoot or cell phone. These cameras are usually equipped with wide-angle lenses. Set yourself apart from the crowd by picking an interesting feature and zooming in.

Shoot away from the sun

Instead of shooting directly into the sun, consider pointing your lens in the opposite direction. The bright and often vibrant colors generated by the sunset can make the scene in the opposite direction equally alluring, without having to compensate for shooting directly into bright light.

Wait for Blue Hour

Every photographer has heard about Golden Hour, that magical time of day just before sunset. Lesser known is Blue Hour, that brief time of day that begins roughly 10 minutes after the sun has set (and before it has risen at dawn).

Blue Hour Photography - How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

This image was taken just after sunset during Blue Hour.

The sky isn’t as obviously colorful during Blue Hour as it is during sunset or Golden Hour. However, Blue Hour still offers a window of time when it can be best to shoot cityscapes or landscapes with deep blue tones in the sky. You will almost certainly need a tripod to shoot during Blue Hour as it is significantly darker without the sun. But the lesson here is that many more photo opportunities exist even after sunset.

Over to You

Do you have any tips for shooting sunset photos? Share your photos and tips below!

The post How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on How to Plan and Take Killer Sunset Photos on Your Next Vacation

Posted in Photography


Canon G1 X Mark III pre-production sample gallery

30 Oct

$ (document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({“containerId”:”embeddedSampleGallery_6442077554″,”galleryId”:”6442077554″,”isEmbeddedWidget”:true,”standalone”:false,”selectedImageIndex”:0,”startInCommentsView”:false,”isMobile”:false}) });

The Canon G1 X III isn’t a whole lot bigger than the G5 X, but it hosts a much bigger APS-C sized sensor. Consider its 24-70mm equiv. lens, Dual Pixel AF, built-in EVF and generous dedicated controls and you’ve got a versatile tool that juuuuust fits in your coat pocket. We’ve been shooting with a pre-production model; the JPEG images in this beta gallery have been down-scaled to 90% at Canon’s request.

See our Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III pre-production sample gallery

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Canon G1 X Mark III pre-production sample gallery

Posted in Uncategorized


How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

30 Oct

Do you remember the ransom notes left behind by kidnappers and villains in movies? The notes made up of different letters cut out of magazines? My first encounter with the concept of a ransom note was while watching a movie called Baby’s Day Out. The 1994 movie, aimed at kids, tells the story of a toddler kidnapped by three crooks disguised as photographers (funny, huh?). The kidnappers then leave a ransom note constructed from letters cut from magazines. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging kidnapping here, or any criminality for that matter. But this project does involve building up a photographic library of text, for artistic purposes only!

How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging kidnapping here, or any criminality for that matter. But this project does involve building up a photographic library of text, for artistic purposes only!

We encounter so much written language these days that it is often overlooked as a photographic subject. Written language in any environment is made up of an endless combination of fonts, colors, shapes, and applications. Of course, there are random text generators online, but automated programs won’t add anything to your photographic practice.

By scoping out letters in the field you’ll train your photographic senses to seek out unusual subjects, an invaluable skill for any photographer. By concentrating on an unusual yet familiar subject, you can build up an interesting and varied typographic library. It’s a great way to view the world through the written word.

How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

Some history of the alphabet

The first true alphabet was created roughly four thousand years ago in the land of Canaan. The alphabet, containing between 20-32 individual letters, didn’t contain any vowels so people had to guess what vowel sound followed each consonant based on what the word looked like. Despite this, the system worked and ended up replacing the complex system of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The new alphabet meant that people didn’t need to memorize thousands of different symbols, allowing more people to communicate through the written word. The Greeks added vowels to the alphabet – creating the first alphabet with a letter to represent every sound in a language. From there, the alphabet spread to Italy where it evolved into the Latin alphabet. The English alphabet evolved after the Romans took the Latin language to Anglo-Saxons England, who amalgamated the Latin and runic alphabet.

Some letters are harder to find than others. For the letter Y, I had to get a bit more creative – borrowing the registration from an aircraft overhead.

What you will need

One of the great things about this project is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. You can simply grab your camera and you are good to go! However, there are a few items that you can pack to make your trip a little easier.

Bring along a folded piece of paper and a pen to take a tally of the letters you photograph. This way you won’t have to constantly scroll through the photos you have taken previously to check if you’ve stocked up on a particular letter. This is also useful when tracking numbers or upper and lower-case letters you’ve photographed. To separate the tally of each letter more easily, I use a highlighter. That way you won’t get mixed up or add a mark under the wrong letter.

Scouting for letters

How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

A rusty bus zone sign makes for an unusual addition to your alphabet stockpile.

How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

Like many subjects, once you start looking for something, you become attuned to the sight of it. This honing-in on detail is an invaluable skill for photographers, who often have to decipher both the detail and greater landscape simultaneously.

For starters, try collecting letters to make up a phrase. Then go on to building the whole alphabet. The more variety the better. As an extra challenge, try photographing a different source for each letter or add numbers to the mix.

I found plenty of material from traffic and warning signs alone. You may notice that many signs are made up of eye-catching colors. Red and yellow shades draw attention, so they are commonly used for warnings. By incorporating these bright colors into your collage, you’ll create a very attractive composition. You could even photograph the labels on tins and packets of food. Though if you’re doing this in a supermarket or grocer, be sure to check with the manager first.

Signage, graffiti, names etched into concrete, there is an endless supply of letters for you to photograph. Post your results in the comments below and nobody gets hurt!

The post How to do a Photography Alphabet Project by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on How to do a Photography Alphabet Project

Posted in Photography


Canon EOS M100 shooting experience and gallery

30 Oct

Washington State is known as the Evergreen State, a slogan that is emblazoned on automotive license plates from Seattle to Spokane. New York is the Empire State. Montana is Big Sky Country, and Florida is the Sunshine State.

What about Idaho? Famous Potatoes.

Seems to me there’s a lot more to Idaho than just potatoes. Processed and cropped to taste in Adobe Camera Raw using the Camera Landscape color profile. Great exposure in full automatic mode.
ISO 200 | 1/250 sec | F2.8

While on a recent road trip through Idaho, this topic of state slogans came up with a few traveling companions who happen to live in the state capital, Boise. In all fairness, it does look like there is an updated slogan. “Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations.” Eh. Somehow, it still fails to capture any sense of the awesome beauty that I experienced on my first trip through the north-western part of the state, along the Snake River and Hells Canyon and through the Clearwater Mountains.

The primary reason for this trip was to get some more shooting time in with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. But I also threw the new, beginner-friendly Canon EOS M100 with the 22mm F2 pancake prime into my jacket pocket for capturing some of the lighter moments on the trip.

And given just how much of a thing I have for large-sensor compact cameras with prime lenses, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I really, really enjoyed it.

What Canon got right

Not a bad parking spot. Processed to taste in Adobe Camera Raw using the Camera Neutral profile.
ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F5.6

The most important thing that Canon got right with this camera is that it’s just fun to use. With a good full Auto mode, and an easy switch over to Program Auto or Aperture Priority, it was easy to just yank the M100 out of my pocket, take a quick shot, and put it back in at a moment’s notice. This was especially handy on, say, the top of a mountain with failing post-sunset light.

Despite the fairly serious guts in the M100, which include Canon’s newest 24MP APS-C sensor and Digic 7 processor, the M100 doesn’t feel like too ‘serious’ a camera to use. While it sometimes seemed overkill to take out the 6D II for some photos of late-night photo editing or a trip to the pool hall, the EOS M100 just seems made for such photographic opportunities.

Image processed to taste in-camera using tuned monochrome settings, with increased sharpening and contrast – still another good exposure from full Auto mode.
ISO 6400 | 1/40 sec | F2.8

It’s also true that default sharpening and noise reduction values aren’t really our favorites on Canon’s recent cameras, but if your main purpose is getting better photos than what your cellphone can capture and then uploading to Instagram, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem. Speaking of cellphones, the built-in NFC on the M100 (which the older M10 also has) makes pairing with Android phones an absolute breeze.

And if you find yourself needing to tweak your images, the M100 is one of the few entry-level Canon cameras that allows for in-camera Raw processing, which is a really nice touch. It also makes it easier to find your preferred settings.

Lastly, the tilting touchscreen combines with the excellent Dual Pixel AF to make shooting from the hip a really addictive experience.

Smartphone cameras are steadily improving, but there’s no way my phone could handle this sort of thing. Processed and cropped to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 2000 | 1/60 sec | F2

Things to consider

Of course, there’s also a couple things Canon could improve. I mean, look at this USB port. Just look at it.

What’s wrong with this picture?

First off, that’s a mini USB port, not the far more common micro USB port, so good luck finding a cable should you need to transfer over USB. The bigger issue is that the USB port included on the M100 does not support USB charging – something that’s also true of Canon’s EOS M5 and M6.

These cameras, particularly the tiny M100, practically beg to be travel cameras, at least with the pancake prime. Even if I’m traveling ultra-light, I’ll need a charger for my phone, and being able to share that between the phone and camera means one less power brick to lose. Plus, if I do lose it, a generic USB charger is damned near ubiquitous compared with something that works specifically with Canon’s LP-E12 batteries. And if you already have a bigger Canon kit with its own chargers, do you really want to carry another dedicated charger?

Besides that, I do wish that the M100 came with the M6’s screen mechanism. The fact that the screen only flips up makes shooting top-down difficult, but it’s better than a screen that doesn’t tilt at all, particularly given the M100 lacks a viewfinder. Of course, a more complex screen mechanism would likely mean a bigger physical size, so there’s no free lunch here, I suppose.

Tilt-up screens – great for low angles with pets and kids, lousy for high angles of whatever it is you might be eating. Out-of-camera JPEG in auto mode, cropped to taste.
ISO 200 | 1/250 sec | F5

Lastly, there’s no getting around the limited native lens ecosystem for Canon’s EF-M mount. Seriously, I love the 22mm F2, but it’s the only compact, fast prime they’ve released in five years. The 35mm macro option is great to have, and the 11-22mm wide-angle is of high-quality, but is it too much to ask for a native fast 50mm equivalent? Given the system’s size, packing an extra lens or two isn’t going to be too much of a stretch for people who are into photography, but there just aren’t great options out there right now.

The wrap

This Idaho roadtrip got me thinking. We did, of course, do a lot of serious photography with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, including some portraits with Canon’s gorgeous new 85mm F1.4L IS as well as some off-road action with something called an RZR. For the more serious stuff, the 6D Mark II was far and away the better tool.

But after a full day of shooting, when I’d stumble across some nice light or a casual moment I wanted to capture, I found that having the M100 in my pocket was a godsend, especially if it was my main option while the 6D II’s batteries were charging, or files were backing up, or I simply didn’t want to carry a full-frame DSLR with me out to dinner.

The EOS M100 was great for when I wanted to unwind from using a full-frame DSLR all day, but still have the capability to snag some nice photos. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 4000 | 1/60 sec | F2

For the serious photographer, the M100 doesn’t make much of a case for itself as that user’s only camera. But for someone looking for a fun second camera, or a smartphone user looking to get into more serious photography with an excellent and easy-to-use touchscreen interface (i.e. the camera’s intended audience), the EOS M100, with its updated sensor, processor and autofocus system, is definitely worth a look. And sure, it’s just another ‘entry level’ model, but kind of like Idaho and it’s ‘famous potatoes,’ you may find there’s a lot to like in the M100 when you start exploring it – or better yet, exploring with it.

Sample gallery

$ (document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({“containerId”:”embeddedSampleGallery_1754041899″,”galleryId”:”1754041899″,”isEmbeddedWidget”:true,”standalone”:false,”selectedImageIndex”:0,”startInCommentsView”:false,”isMobile”:false}) });
Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Canon EOS M100 shooting experience and gallery

Posted in Uncategorized


Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

29 Oct

I believe it was Robert Capa who said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” While this is not incorrect nor is it bad advice, the fact remains that there will be times when our feet simply can’t do the zooming for us. To facilitate getting up close and personal without actually being up close and personal, photographers rely on telephoto lenses to bridge the gap between themselves and their subject.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 Contemporary Lens

With each lens I evaluate with every passing year, I am fortunate enough to bear witness to the staggering advances lens manufacturers are making in the world of photographic optics. Today, there are many instances where aftermarket “non-native” third-party camera lenses either meet or even surpass the performance of their more expensive cousins manufactured by their respective camera brand. We now have a high-grade glass without the high-grade price tags. This is especially true when it comes to long range telephotos and fast primes.

So, when the opportunity arose for me to get my hands on one of the newest budget-conscious telephotos, the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens, I lept at the chance. I have a couple of friends who spoke quite favorably of this particular lens, so I had to see it for myself. Take a few minutes, sit back and relax, and let me tell you exactly why the Sigma 100-400mm might be a good choice for you if your bag is missing a good long-range zoom lens.

Build Quality

The main housing of the Sigma 100-400mm lens is made from a solid-feeling hard plastic. Being from the Sigma Contemporary line, it lacks the metallic-feeling TSC (thermally stable composite) construction of their Art series lenses. Even without this type of material, the lens feels incredibly solid in the hand and feels great. The zoom and focus rings are both rubberized and work smoothly.

The Sigma 100-400mm is exceptionally balanced. Overall, for a lens of this size, it feels surprisingly nimble when mounted on my Canon 7D.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Oddly enough, the balance seems to improve when the lens is extended out to its maximum focal length of 400mm. The lens hood included with this lens also offers a great hand-hold which facilitates easy “push/pull” zooming.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

The lens sports a zoom-lock switch which is quite useful for carrying around a telephoto lens. This prevents gravity from slowly extending the lens while hiking or walking. The zoom-lock switch on the Sigma 100-400mm firmly locks the lens into place at its 100mm focal length.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Weather sealing

The folks at Sigma have beefed up the weather sealing of their lenses considerably. As primarily an outdoor and wilderness shooter, I am constantly at the mercy of the elements. The weather sealing of this lens is superb.

Something that I love to see is a visible rubber gasket on the lens bayonet mount. This type of extra assurance and protection against dirt and moisture making their way to my camera’s sensor makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside even when the conditions outside are decidedly not.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

One thing to note on the overall design of the 100-400mm is that it certainly has a lot of external switches. While these switches are each quite actionable and serve a purpose, they also make it difficult to manipulate the various lens functions without looking. With high range zoom lenses such as this such problems aren’t uncommon.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Image Quality


The sharpness of the Sigma 100-400mm is wonderful for the price range of this lens. In fact, I was stunned to see just how crisp the images produced at the maximum apertures actually were. Both at 100mm and 400mm the sharpness was impressive.


Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

400mm at f/9.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

100mm at f/6.3.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

400mm at f/6.3.

There was slight edge softening while at 100mm f/5 and at 400mm f/6.3. The incredible thing about the sharpness, which I feel speaks to the true quality of this lens, was only noticed while I was examining test images for this review at 3:1 magnification. Look closely at these two photos. The first was made at 100mm.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens


The second is the same scene but zoomed to 400mm.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

At 400mm.

Look closely at the left side of the clock tower. Here, let me help you. Below is the same image magnified in post-processing to about 1:1.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

The Same image viewed at 1:1 (100%) in Lightroom.

Yes, those are wasps or some other type of insects swarming around the clock tower! Considering the small size of the insects coupled with the distance, approximately 600 yards, the resolving power of this lens is exceptional.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberrations detected with the Sigma 100-400mm are barely worth mentioning. At 100mm using a relatively wide f/5 aperture, there is a minutely observable purple/magenta fringe in high contrast areas. Other than that, there is nothing remarkable to speak of with this lens.

Autofocus Performance

Fast and responsive is the best description I can give to the 100-400mm Sigma autofocus. The AF performed well and focused locked well while in AI Servo mode on my Canon. The autofocus was quite silent and worked great for not disturbing “temperamental” wildlife.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Can you spot the hiding deer?

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

There she is, A 400mm reach helps out immeasurably.

Optical Stabilization

The point of vibration reduction, sometimes referred to as optical stabilization, is where the Sigma 100-400mm didn’t exactly impress. Not that the OS didn’t work but the overall improvement was not as drastic as I have observed with some other lenses of this type.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

With no stabilization.

Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

With OS1 Mode turned on.

There are two OS modes present on the 100-400mm not including the “Off” mode. They are OS1 and OS2. The OS1 mode is general OS. This serves to reduce multi-directional camera shake and what I generally left the lens set to during my tests. OS2 is geared exclusively towards panning with the 100-400mm and works to reduce single plane vibration.


Sigma offers a USB dock so that firmware and custom modes can be uploaded directly to the lens via computer with the Sigma Optimization utility. That’s where the custom mode switch comes into play. You can customize Autofocus and Optical Stabilization functions within the lens. I have never used the functionality but if you want ultimate control over every aspect of your gear, this is a great option.

The Tripod Collar Conundrum

The common complaint I’ve gathered about the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 is concerning the lens’s tripod collar; there isn’t one. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to some photographers, myself included. Although, it seems to be of more importance to some than others.

Personally, the lack of a tripod ring is not a huge problem for me. The featherlike balance of the lens negates the need for a tripod mount in my opinion. Still, if you plan on using the lens with a smaller, adapted camera body, the weight of the lens could be an issue. If you want a lens with a tripod ring or collar, this might not be the choice for you.

Final Thoughts on the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3

So, what’s the bottom line on the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens?

First of all, the sharpness is outstanding. Even at its widest aperture, the sharpness is exceptional with very little edge softening.

The build quality is more than capable of serving as a “go-to” telephoto for sports and outdoor work and the beefy weather sealing only enhances the workability of this lens.

If you absolutely MUST have the capability of a tripod collar then look elsewhere because the Sigma 100-400mm lens simply doesn’t have one. If you don’t care about that, then for around $ 799 USD, this telephoto from Sigma won’t fail to impress.

The post Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on Review: Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Posted in Photography


Tamron unveils lightweight 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 ultra-telephoto zoom for $800

29 Oct

Tamron just revealed its newest ultra-telephoto zoom. Meet the Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035) for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs—a lens that combines compact, lightweight construction with ‘superior’ image quality and ‘fast and precise AF’, according to Tamron. The lens’ tagline: heavyweight performance in a lightweight lens.

The new lens was revealed this morning, and its claim to fame is its size and weight. At just 39.3 oz., the new 100-400mm lens is the lightest in its class thanks to the use of magnesium allow in ‘key areas’ of the lens barrel. Inside that barrel you’ll find 17 lens elements in 11 groups—including three low dispersion (LD) elements—and Tamron’s high-speed Dual MPU that allows for ‘fast and precise AF’ as well as four stops of stabilization.

Below are some sample photos captured with the new Tamron 100-400 F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD at the racetrack by photographer Takahito Mizutani for Tamron:

$ (document).ready(function() { SampleGalleryV2({“containerId”:”embeddedSampleGallery_8730107360″,”galleryId”:”8730107360″,”isEmbeddedWidget”:true,”standalone”:false,”selectedImageIndex”:0,”startInCommentsView”:false,”isMobile”:false}) });

The Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD will be available starting November 16th, in both Canon and Nikon mounts, for $ 800. To find out more or see more impressive sample photos, read the full press release below or head over to the Tamron website.

Press Release

100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035)

Tamron announces the launch of a new ultra-telephoto zoom lens with fast and precise AF, superior image quality and a lightweight, compact design

October 26, 2017, Commack, New York— Tamron USA, Inc. , announces the launch of a new ultra-telephoto zoom lens, 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035), for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. The Model A035 delivers fast and precise AF performance and consistently powerful VC (Vibration Compensation) 4 stops*1 benefits thanks to the high-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system that is found in the latest Tamron lens models. The advanced optical design of Model A035 includes three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements for aberration reduction and Tamron’s original eBAND Coating for superior anti-reflection performance. At 1,115g (39.3 oz), the new lens is the lightest in its class*2 and features magnesium alloy in key areas of the lens barrel to ensure weight reduction, and improve strength and portability. Model A035 is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4X tele converter and the Tamron TAP-in ConsoleTM that enables lens customizations for focus adjustments, VC mechanism adjustments and more. Additionally, an Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. The new Tamron 100-400mm will be available in both Canon and Nikon mounts on November 16th at $ 799.


1. High-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system delivers quick and highly responsive autofocus performance plus outstanding VC image stabilization

The Dual MPU system includes an MPU dedicated to vibration compensation processing, enhancing the computational capacity of the entire system. An MPU with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processor) provides high-speed digital signal processing and achieves outstanding autofocus performance and vibration compensation, both indispensable for ultra-telephoto photography.

2. Superb image quality in an ultra-telephoto zoom lens

The Model A035 includes three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements for optimal optical design and aberration correction. Lighter weight, increased light transmission and crisp images with excellent contrast are achieved by reducing the number of lens elements while ensuring an appropriate balance with aberration correction. The A035 has minimum object distance (MOD) of 1.5 m (59 in) and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.6 for close-up work.

3. Exclusive eBAND Coating reduces flare and ghosting

The new A035 features Tamron’s eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) Coating, which has an extremely low refractive index and fine multiple-layer coating technology, to achieve outstanding antireflection performance. BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating, with excellent antireflection characteristics, increases light transmission. These coating technologies greatly reduce the ghosting and flare that can occur when subjects are backlit.

4. Lightest weight, 1,115 g (39.3 oz) lens in the ultra-telephoto zoom lens class*, and only 196.5 mm (7.7 in) long

Magnesium alloy is used in key areas of the lens barrel to improve weight reduction, strength and portability. Total length of 196.5 mm (Nikon mount) means a compact size for an ultra-telephoto zoom lens covering up to 400 mm, and the A035 can therefore be easily carried in a standard camera bag. Combined with excellent vibration compensation functions, the compact size enables successful handheld ultra-telephoto photography.

*Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.

5. Optional accessory tripod mount is Arca-Swiss compatible

An Arca-Swiss style tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Designed exclusively for Model A035, it provides quick and secure attachment to a tripod and greater stability. An easy-to-hold grip shape includes an expanded mounting plane, and the use of magnesium helps achieve lighter weight, thereby further facilitating handheld photography.

6. Compatible with tele converters and TAP-in Console

Model A035 is compatible with tele converters designed exclusively for Tamron lenses to achieve 1.4X and 2X the original focal length*. It’s also compatible with Tamron’s TAP-in Console (Model TAP-01), an optional accessory enabling users to update lens firmware and customize the lens settings, including adjustments of focusing positions for autofocusing and the operation modes for the lens’s Vibration Compensation system.

*Use of the 1.4× tele converter results in light reduction of 1 F stop; use of the 2× tele converter results in the loss of 2 F stops

7. Moisture-Resistant construction and fluorine coating for enhanced weather protection

The surface of the front element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The front surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. Also, with active use of the A035 for outdoor photography likely, sealant is used in each of the movable and joining areas of the lens barrel to resist the intrusion of moisture.

8. Electromagnetic diaphragm system now used also for Nikon-mount lenses

An electromagnetic diaphragm system, which has been a standard feature for Canon-mount lenses, is now employed in Nikon-mount lenses*. More precise diaphragm and aperture control is possible because the diaphragm blades are driven and controlled by a built-in motor through electronic pulse signals.

* Available only with cameras compatible with the electromagnetic diaphragm (D5, D4s, D4, D3X, Df, D850?D810, D810A, D800, D800E, D750, D600, D610, D300S, D500, D7500, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100). (As of October, 2017; Tamron)

9. External design places importance on functionality and ease of use

While inheriting the design that makes use of many organic curves and the delicately polished form down to fine details that characterize the SP lens series, the new Model A035 comes with a highly sophisticated design that also places a lot of importance on the lens’s functionality and ease of use, featuring an overall form that faithfully encompasses the internal structures within, a slim Luminous Gold brand ring and the switch shape design.

Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 100–400 mm
Image stabilization Yes
CIPA Image stabilization rating 4 stop(s)
Lens mount Canon EF, Nikon F (FX)
Maximum aperture F4.5–6.3
Minimum aperture F32–45
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Elements 17
Groups 11
Special elements / coatings Three LD elements + eBAND coating
Minimum focus 1.50 m (59.06)
Maximum magnification 0.28×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ring-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Extending front
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale No
Weight 1135 g (2.50 lb)
Diameter 86 mm (3.39)
Length 199 mm (7.83)
Materials Magnesium alloy
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (extending)
Filter thread 67.0 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No
Optional accessories Tripod collar

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Tamron unveils lightweight 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 ultra-telephoto zoom for $800

Posted in Uncategorized


Sony a7R III UHD 4K sample video clips

29 Oct

The Sony a7R Mark III can shoot UHD 4K video at 24 and 30p using the full width of its image sensor or over-sampled footage using a Super 35 crop. We had a quick moment to shoot sample clips while at a Sony-sponsored shooting event earlier this week in New York City. All the clips were shot hand-held, using the camera’s tracking AF function and the new 24-105mm F4 lens.

The first clip was shot in UHD 4K/24p at the camera’s highest bit rate using the full sensor. You’ll notice the tracking jumps off the subject midway through the clip, only to re-acquire toward the very end. You can download the clip here.

The next clip was shot UHD 4K/30p using the Super 35 crop mode (also hand-held, using tracking). In this mode, the camera shoots using a 5176 x 2924 pixel region and down-samples it to produce highly detailed 3840 x 2160 UHD 4K footage. In theory, this footage should look better than the full frame footage. You can download the clip here.

The final clip above was also shot in UHD 4K/30p, but this time Full Frame for the sake of comparison. You can download it here. We’d expect the difference between the quality of the clips to be exaggerated in lower light, where the Super 35 mode is actually using more of the sensor, even though the full frame mode is taking its footage from a more dispersed area.

For more out-of-camera samples, check out our Sony a7R III sample image gallery.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Sony a7R III UHD 4K sample video clips

Posted in Uncategorized


6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

29 Oct

Solo indulgence in any form of creative expression can leave you in a vacuum unless you are completely confident and never lack inspiration. I don’t think I know anyone like that. Being a photographer, whether for a living or as a hobby, is often something people do on their own. Here are 6 reasons you should hang out with other photographers, they’re cool.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

#1 – Build Photography Friendships

If you are interested in photography, meeting other photographers is a great way to make new friends. It’s easier to talk with people who have the same interests as yourself. A conversation about common topics flows more readily and remains more engaging.

One of the greatest advantages of being friends with other photographers is going places together. You can enjoy spending more time taking photos without being harassed that you’re taking too long. Which is what usually happens when you go places with people who don’t have a camera.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

#2 – Enjoy Diversity

Meeting other photographers who have interests in different subjects can lead to fresh inspiration. For example, if you love photographing landscapes and become friends with someone who loves photographing people, you can inspire, encourage and challenge one another. This is a wonderful way to learn and explore different subjects, methods, and styles of photography.

Getting together with photographers who have more or less experience than you brings lots of opportunities to learn, and teach. You will see things differently and use alternative camera settings than other photographers.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

Talking about what you do and how you do it can be a fun learning experience. Spending time making photos with others and sharing your experiences and ways of working will help you become a better photographer.

#3 – Share Experience

If you are new to photography, being around other photographers is one of the best ways to learn more. Naturally, it’s advantageous to read and do courses, but photographing with others and sharing the experience is also valuable.

How you each set your camera, choose what to photograph, how to compose an image and loads of other things can seem overwhelming when you’ve just bought your first camera. Talking about these things with other photographers will teach you more effectively than just reading or doing courses.

Reviewing your photographs with someone you trust will also be encouraging and help you grow in your creative expression. If you only ever look at your photos alone and do not get any feedback on them it’s very easy to stagnate and not develop creatively.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

Having someone more experienced help you choose your best photos and give you constructive feedback can lead to new understanding and different ways of taking photos that you may not think of on your own.

#4 – Collaborate

Collaboration on photographic projects is a lot of fun. Spending time working on the same subject with a common purpose, maybe a gallery show, book or website, with other photographers can really stretch you creatively and help you grow. Each photographer will see things differently and your styles will complement or contrast the other, and add a richer dynamic to your project.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

#5 – Best Friends

I bought my first camera (a Nikkormat FTN) from a friend who wanted to upgrade. We have another friend who loved photography and the three of us would go out often to different places to take photos together. I learned a terrific amount from these two guys and we had a lot of fun together.

We’d also review the photos we’d made on previous excursions.  That usually meant sitting around a slide projector for hours enjoying one another’s photos and planning where to go on our next photography outing.

Over the years I have had photographer friends, some professional, some hobbyists. They’ve been some of my best friends. Now I am married to a photographer and it’s wonderful always having someone to share the experience with, getting constructive informed feedback and continually encouraging one another to do better.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

#6 – Meet Photographers

There are many ways to meet other photographers and make friends. Local meet-up groups, camera clubs, online groups and forums (like the dPS facebook group). I’m sure if you go down to your local camera store and talk with the owner they would know other keen photographers they could introduce you to.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

Concluding Recommendations

One other recommendation I would make is to hang out with other photographers who have a similar way of enjoying photography.

Some people love to go out as much as possible and explore new ways of making great photos. Other people like to spend time discussing equipment and what their next purchase will be. Others still discuss technical details for hours on end.

6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

Finding yourself with people who love the tech side of photography if you’re one who loves to just get out and photograph can be discouraging, so choose your friends carefully. Have fun!

The post 6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers by Kevin Landwer-Johan appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Digital Photography School

Comments Off on 6 Reasons You Should Hang Out With Other Photographers

Posted in Photography


Photo of the week: I Am Legend

29 Oct

At first glance this image seems much akin to “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,” a lonely hiker standing at the edge of a cliff. This is no coincidence as Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings have always been a great inspiration to me. Their striking iconography and atmosphere are unparalleled; however, this image was not taken in Germany, Friedrich’s home country, but in Japan.

Most might not be able to tell, since the fog doesn’t allow for our gaze to wander off into the distance. But some might have heard of the location it was shot before: the isle of Yakushima. It is a small island about 100 kilometers south of the southern most main isle of Japan called Kyushu. Its great expanses of temperate rainforest have since 1993 been part of the UNESCO World Heritage due to their diverse endemic flora and fauna. Some of the island’s Japanese Cedars are up to 7,000 years old.

The forest is often engulfed by clouds hanging in the mountains which reach up to almost 2,000 meters in altitude. To explore the woods was one of my main goals when I travelled to the island earlier this year. Even though it’s the rainiest part in all of Japan I just couldn’t help to go. What awaited me was beyond what I had expected.

It was much like what I had seen in Princess Mononoke—a movie the setting of which was largely inspired by the forests of Yakushima. Actually so much so, that there is now a small part of the forest titled “Mononoke no Mori,” which translates as “Mononoke’s Forest.

For four days I hiked with my friend Philipp Lutz along the Yakushima traverse, witnessing the forest’s and mountain’s beauty. Part of the allure of the place was the fact that it is not very well known in the western landscape photography realms; something which comes as no surprise, given the language barrier and its distance to Europe and the US mainland. Luckily my friend and I do speak some Japanese, so it wasn’t as hard for us to obtain the information we needed to get around.

This specific image was taken on the third day on the island on our way up to Miyanoura-Dake, the highest elevation of the island. Originally we had planned to get up that day, but the islands paths were quite long and winding, offering so many photo opportunities such as this one, that we spent much time just shooting the forest scenery instead of treading on, arriving a day later than anticipated.

Due to the topography of the island the upper slopes of the mountain ranges are almost always engulfed in fog. When we went through the undergrowth for some time we came to a cliff where I almost stumbled down the slope as the path was taking us through the ravine you can see on the right side of the image. The old cedar trees were omnipresent and lend the forest its distinct, primordial character. With this image I tried to combine the aforementioned iconography of “The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” with the island’s unique fauna and mood to forge an atmospheric rendition of what it was like to hike through this one of a kind landscape. It is times like these where I feel like telling people that I am inspired much by landscape painters is more than just a educational phrase to encourage students in my workshops to look beyond photography to find meaningful inspiration. I for myself might not have taken this image had I not looked at so many of Friederich’s works.

This is something with may be lost on the younger generation and the myriads of instagram selfies on cliffs, but the image type is not even a product of out post-modern, self-referential crave for admiration. Instead it is part of a long tradition dating back hundreds of years.

Nicolas Alexander Otto is a semi-professional landscape photographer based out of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. He writes for different online and print media, teaches workshops for several agencies, sells prints and calendars and offers post processing sessions. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

Comments Off on Photo of the week: I Am Legend

Posted in Uncategorized