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One of my favorite compact cameras, the Fujifilm XF10 doesn't have an optical or electronic viewfinder. I compose off the LCD screen. Most of the time this is just fine. But how about those times (can you say bright, sunny day?) when life would be better with a viewfinder? Take a look at this.

finder-on-bottom.jpg Optical viewfinder attached to the bottom of the camera using the tripod socket.

Since the XF10 doesn't have a hot shoe (because it does have a built-in flash), the tripod socket becomes the best non-destructive way to attach a viewfinder. At this point you're probably saying, "But Derrick, it's on the bottom of the camera!" Indeed it is, and it hasn't made a lick of difference to me while shooting.

PC130527.jpg The parts needed for my DIY viewfinder assembly.

In real life, I shoot with the LCD when I can. If I need more, I just attach the optical viewfinder and look through it when needed. Because the top of the XF10 is flat, I can just set it on the table upside down.

PC130521.jpg

For this project, I've repurposed an Olympus VF-1 optical finder that has frame lines for a 34mm lens. But you can use any viewfinder that you can find, as long as it fits in a hot shoe or has a tripod socket. In my case, I attached a cold shoe to the camera's tripod socket, then I just slide the viewfinder in as needed.

For 28mm shots I compose outside of the frame lines. When I have the XF10 set to 35mm focal length, the frame lines are a perfect match. And I to have the LCD right there if I need it for reference.

I wouldn't use this rig for close up work because of parallax, but for general portrait and travel photography, it works great.

Who ever said that the viewfinder had to be on top? And if it does, then just turn the camera upside down and shoot that way.

PC130522.jpg Or, just turn it upside down.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

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It's something that practically all photographers have... somewhere. Yes, the "easy to lose" but really useful remote controller device. And now is the time to find it.

The holiday season is perfect for long exposures of interior decorations (hopefully with a little bokeh for flavor), group shots that you are actually a part of, and weird camera positions where you're on your tiptoes to see what's on the LCD screen. And these all are easier with a remote release.

There are two basic ways to go here. First, dig through the sock drawer and find the IR release designed for your camera, check the battery, then put it in your backpack or wherever you keep your gear. While you're at it, you might want to take a minute to refresh on how to use it and where the settings are. People hate waiting for fumbling photographers.

The second option is to use the mobile app for your camera that always has a remote control feature. Again, now is the time to set it up and practice before you gather a room full of people.

Either way, you want to be ready to go for when the moment strikes. Self-timers are nice, but remote control is a much better look.

Happy Holidays!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #717, Dec. 10, 2019. Today's theme is "It's Time to Stop Worrying About the Photo Industry." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Those who really care about the art of photography and its future have been inundated with doom and gloom in 2019. Rumors about brands going out of business, how smartphones have destroyed our culture, and the lack of innovation that's to blame for our problems. Today, I'm going to look at some of the changes that we've seen in 2019, and try to put this whole thing in perspective. I hope you enjoy the show.

It's Time to Stop Worrying About the Photo Industry

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Let's start out by taking a look at some of the photography broad brush strokes from this year.

  • AI Image Editing - Luminar 4, OnOne, Topaz. It's kind of appealing at first. But if you're not careful, it's like eating raw cookie dough.
  • Mirrorless cameras go full frame - New Canons, Nikons, Panasonic, Sigma. On one level, I'm excited by this because we have new gear to contemplate and discuss. But at the end of the day, I really like what I already have. Personally, my big thrills this year were the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL IIS Aspherical Lens and the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 Mark II for Micro Four Thirds.
  • Smartphones get smarter - Google Pixel 4, iPhone 11 are incredible. But, I'm still doing well with my iPhone X.
  • Film Photography hangs tough - The comeback maybe a bit overblown, but there's still traction there. And I really like my LabBox that enables me to develop a roll of BW film in daylight at the kitchen counter.

So where do we go from here? In all honesty, just keep doing what you're doing and let the marketplace figure it out. There will always be plenty of cameras and lenses for those who enjoy serious photography. It's really not our problem.

Websites and podcasts are hungry for news to report. But that doesn't mean that we have to be distracted by it. I don't think, for example, the Olympus rumor should have ever been published. A news story would have been if Olympus had taken steps to close down its imaging operation. Not the rumor that they may do so some day.

Who really cares if Nikon is #2 or #3? What's important are the products they are creating. And if companies like Skylum want to place all of their bets on AI imaging enhancement, then that's fine. But if their product doesn't meet my needs, then I'm not buying it.

We are so inundated with meaningless information that we sometimes forget that it doesn't have to affect our lives. As we approach 2020, I'm going to enjoy the new products that are released, and the new techniques that are revealed. But I'm not going to worry about the photography industry. It will be just fine.

Skillshare for Photographers

Skillshare-1024.jpg

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. You can take courses in photography, videography, audio production - you name it, they've got it. So whether you're picking up a new skill for your day job, figuring out your next side project, or pursuing a long-time passion, Skillshare has classes for you.

The photography courses are amazing. One that I recommend is "Portrait Photography on the Street: Connecting with Strangers" by Zun Lee, who explores Harlem in New York City and shares his secrets for capturing the essence of a place and its people. His techniques for getting your best shot make this a perfect, quick class to inspire both the novice photographer and the expert to get out and shoot. And this is just one of many top notch titles on Skillshare.

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with this special offer for TDS listeners: Get 2 months free. That's right, Skillshare is offering The Digital Story community 2 months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/tds.

And a big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this show!

Why I Prefer Micro Four Thirds for Product Photography

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II combined with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 II ASPH. lens is an ideal combination for the product photography I do daily for TheFilmCameraShop. I've tried many different setups over the years, and this one has just the right amount of everything.

That being said, my Micro Four Thirds camera saves me a lot of time. First of all, I don't have to use a tripod. This is huge, time wise. Before, when we were shooting full frame (or medium format!), we had to stop down the aperture and focus very precisely because of the shallow depth of field that results from larger sensors and wide apertures. As a result, I had to break out the 3-legged beast.

What's so beautiful about my mirrorless rig is that I can shoot at f/4.5 or so (thanks to the depth of field), raise the ISO to 1600, and lean a bit on the sensor-based image stabilization. This allows me to handhold the camera, saving lots of time while still providing excellent results. The MFT sensor gives me that little bit of extra depth of field that's so important in product photography. I love it. And this is something that I also enjoy with certain types of portrait work as well.

Secondly, the realtime exposure compensation feedback makes it easy to nail the exposure during capture. (Very important for brightly-lit white backgrounds!) As a result, I have virtually no post production time. Again, this is a big deal on busy days. Thanks to the sharpness of the Leica lens and the accuracy or the E-M5 Mark II, the files virtually go from camera to product page.

Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Each camera manufacturer has their particular WiFi app, and some definitely work better than others. But if you really want tap the potential of camera to mobile communication, I would take a look at Cascable 4 as well.

copy-to-ipad.jpg Copying images from an Olympus EM-5 Mark II to an iPad mini using Cascable 4.

With Cascable 4, I can use one app with many different cameras to transfer Jpegs and RAW files, use remote release, remote live view, remote settings adjustment, and more. Currently, it supports 181 cameras including models from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony. I use it for my PEN-F, OM-D EM-5 Mark II, and EM-1 Mark II.

pen-f-live-view.jpg Live View photography with the Olympus PEN-F. I can adjust camera settings and choose focusing areas via my iPad mini.

I use Cascable 4 with both the iPhone X and the iPad mini5, but prefer it on the iPad where I can go right into image editing and sharing via the other tools I have on the tablet. Plus, having the bigger screen is more fun to work with.

Performance depends on the camera and its wireless capabilities. For example, with the Olympus PEN-F, RAW files transfer quickly and Live View is snappy. But with older cameras, such as the Nikon D610 with the WU-1b WiFi adapter, RAW files are out of the question because of the dodgy transfer speed.

This does bring up an interesting option, however. The only thing as bad as the WU-1 WiFi adapter is the Nikon WMU app that limits file download size to 1618 x 1080. That's barely good enough for Instagram. Cascable can improve that.

nikon-D610.jpg Using the second card slot on a Nikon D610 for lower resolution Jpegs that can be transferred wirelessly.

Since the app can read both card slots on many cameras that have them, you could designate Card Slot 2 for Jpegs only, shoot RAW+Jpeg (with RAWs going to Slot 1), then have Cascable read Card Slot 2 for the Jpegs. If I shoot Small/Basic on the Nikon for the Jpegs, then Cascable can actually transfer those (it can't handle the RAWs; the pipe just isn't big enough from the WU-1.) That gives me a much bigger file to work with: 3008 x 2008.

The process is still slow, and I'd be better off just taking the card out of the camera and using Apple's SD card reader. But if you need to go wireless, at least there's an option.

The Bottom Line

Cascable 4 is like having a Swiss Army Knife for wireless communication between camera and mobile device. It has a bounty of tools, great interface, and works with many cameras.

detailed-view.jpg Detail view of images on an Olympus PEN-F.

It's not perfect, of course. Even though it's compatible with many FujiFilm cameras, it doesn't connect with my XF-10, a camera that I love to walk around with. It can't talk to my Pentax KP either. So I can use for my Olympus and Nikon bodies, but not the others. You'll definitely want to check the compatibility list before purchasing. It also gets a little over zealous with the disconnect notices, forcing me to turn them off in Settings.

And even though the basic version is free for the downloading, which I highly recommend, if you want to unlock all of the features with the Pro bundle, it will cost you $29. That's a bit higher than we're used to paying for a mobile app.

That being said, I paid it. And I have no regrets doing so. There are so many cool features that at first go unnoticed, such as automated recipes, neutral density calculator, sharp stars calculator, and geotagging, that it becomes a trusty companion when integrating your camera and mobile device on the road. And compared to the alternatives supplied by the manufacturers, Cascable 4 is a breath of fresh air.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II combined with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 II ASPH. lens is an ideal combination for the product photography I do daily for TheFilmCameraShop. I've tried many different setups over the years, and this one has just the right amount of everything.

PC050429-Etsy-FG-Clock.jpg A Nikon FG Analog Clock for desk or bookshelf. Photographed with my MFT rig and listed in TheFilmCameraShop.

Before I go any further, let me take a couple steps back. When I was a photography apprentice for a professional who graduated from Brooks, we used to spend hours setting up product shots. He taught me about softboxes, reflectors, and the tricks of the trade to create images that clients liked. That was great for then, but it's a luxury that I don't have today.

Now, I run an online shop and must work quickly. I leave a mini-studio permanently set up in the shooting room. Once I finish restoring a product for the shop, I photograph it and list for sale. As quickly as I currently work, it still feels like this phase takes too long. Such is life these days, right?

PC050432-Etsy-FG-Clock.jpg A Nikon FG Analog Clock for desk or bookshelf. Photographed with my MFT rig and listed in TheFilmCameraShop.

That being said, my Micro Four Thirds camera saves me a lot of time. First of all, I don't have to use a tripod. This is huge, time wise. Before, when we were shooting full frame (or medium format!), we had to stop down the aperture and focus very precisely because of the shallow depth of field that results from larger sensors and wide apertures. As a result, I had to break out the 3-legged beast.

What's so beautiful about my mirrorless rig is that I can shoot at f/4.5 or so (thanks to the depth of field), raise the ISO to 1600, and lean a bit on the sensor-based image stabilization. This allows me to handhold the camera, saving lots of time while still providing excellent results. The MFT sensor gives me that little bit of extra depth of field that's so important in product photography. I love it. And this is something that I also enjoy with certain types of portrait work as well.

Secondly, the realtime exposure compensation feedback makes it easy to nail the exposure during capture. (Very important for brightly-lit white backgrounds!) As a result, I have virtually no post production time. Again, this is a big deal on busy days. Thanks to the sharpness of the Leica lens and the accuracy or the E-M5 Mark II, the files virtually go from camera to product page.

When I'm not in the studio, and am wearing my Nimble Photographer hat, I often depend on Micro Four Thirds photography for traveling light. The real savings is realized with the lenses that are so compact and sharp.

But over the last few years, I've come to appreciate this format for online product photography as well. And in this case, it's the bottom line that's enhanced because efficiency is improved.

No doubt Micro Four Thirds photography is awesome for travel. But I've learned that it's darn good for business as well.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

With Photos for macOS, you can easily manage, enhance, and share a large library of images. And thanks to macOS Catalina and iPadOS, the latest version offers a new level of compatibility across devices, aligning the user experience as well the editing and AI-powered organization tools.

photos-catalina-intro.jpg

In this course, Derrick Story takes you on a detailed exploration of this powerful app. Learn how to manage thousands of pictures quickly and easily, and edit and enhance the color, contrast, and compositions of images and video with the built-in editing tools. Derrick also explains how to export images, create slideshows, and prepare photos for printing. Along the way, he highlights the new features that make Photos for macOS Catalina such an important upgrade.

Here are some of the topics covered:

  • What's new in Photos for macOS and iPadOS
  • Creating new Photos libraries
  • The latest Editing Extensions for Photos
  • Importing images
  • Enabling iCloud syncing
  • Backing up a Photos library
  • Organizing images
  • Deleting, removing, and hiding images
  • Editing videos
  • Editing images
  • Working with pictures
  • Exporting images
  • Creating slideshows
  • Printing at home

The thing that I really like about this course, is that I show you the best of both worlds. Some techniques are better on the Mac, while other things, such as editing your videos, are actually better suited for the iPad version of Photos.

And regardless of which way you go, all of your work is automatically backed up to iCloud and shared across all devices. It's really a wonderful workflow. Check out the course intro video.

Get the most from Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS from Photos for macOS Catalina Essential Training by Derrick Story

If you haven't looked at photos for a while, then I think it's time to revisit. And if you are a Photos user, then I think you're really going to like this update.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #716, Dec. 3, 2019. Today's theme is "Why Full Frame Photography Doesn't Have to Be Expensive." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

2019 was certainly the year for the resurgence of full frame photography. Sony, Panasonic, Sigma, Canon, and Nikon all released new big sensor cameras with the latest technology and hefty price tags. But a little further back on the shelf are some very interesting, highly capable cameras at a fraction of the cost. What about them? Are they worth our attention? What if we already own one? Should we keep it or upgrade? I grapple with all of those questions on today's TDS Podcast.

Why Full Frame Photography Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

Ansel Adams had his 4x5 for fine art work and our modern version is the full frame digital camera. The larger sensor helps capture more dynamic range and gives us better control over depth of field.

And if indeed we are using these cameras for our creative endeavors, they don't necessarily have to have the fastest frame rate or feature incredible autofocus. What we do need is excellent image quality. And if possible, at a price we can afford.

I'm going to start by listing the minimum specifications that I think a previous generation full frame camera should have. If you own one already, you can compare these numbers to yours. If one is on your wish list, then I'll share a couple of excellent bargains that not only have those specs, but have proven their value over time.

  • Image Resolution - 20 MP+
  • High ISO Performance - 6400+
  • Continuous Shooting Speed at Full Resolution - 5 fps+
  • Movie Recording - Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 30/25/24 fps+
  • Rear LCD - 3" with 900,000 pixel resolution+

Now, obviously, if you can get more spec for the dollar, then do it. But this configuration will allow you to do serious work in a variety of situations. Unfortunately, my Nikon D700 doesn't make the cut at 12 MP. I love using it for vintage lens testing, but I would hesitate to tap it for a fine art project. Which leads me to a post about the camera you may already have.

What If You Already Own an Aging Gem?

I read an interesting article by David Dowe titled, Ode to my DSLR: Why I Love the Nikon D610 where he writes:

"I want to write this review to share with others what I love about this camera - or, more universally, any older DSLR - and show it's possible to learn and grow with "older" cameras. As well, I want to solidify in my own mind the things I love about the camera. I have also come, through this experience with the D610, to appreciate having and growing with a single, durable, and capable camera body through years of daily use. I've learned to see cameras, rightly or wrongly, as medium-to-long term tools -- a creative partner with whom you grow. Where the more you get to know your camera and it's limitations, the more you get out of it, accomplishing your creative vision with as little resistance as possible. And whatever resistance is there, it becomes a means to push your own creative capabilities to flow like water around a rock in a stream."

The entire piece is excellent, accompanied by exquisite images of his girls growing up with him and their mom. He does flirt with Fuji mirrorless and is tempted by the new Nikons. But in the end he continues to work with his D610, and builds a compelling argument for doing so.

That's great that David has a Nikon D610. But what about a guy like me with an older D700?

Maybe I too should look at these following incredible values that fulfill my basic requirements. Both considerations are new cameras that are still in their original boxes. You can get even better deals on the used market.

Nikon D610

D610-back.jpg

Here's a deal that really caught my eye: A brand new Nikon D610 DSLR with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lens for $897. Then, toss in at no extra charge, a MB-D14 Multi Battery Power Pack, WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter, SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card, Nikon Deluxe DSLR Digital SLR Camera Case (Black), and a downloadable licensed version of Skylum's Luminar 4. Yes, all of that for $897

Specs: 24 MP, 6 fps, base ISO 100-6400 (up to 25,600), HD movie recording, 3.2" 921K dot TFT LCD .

Sony Alpha a7 II

Sony-a7II.jpg

Sony has been updating the Alpha a7 line frequently, and that's good news for early gen bargain hunters. Currently, you can get the Sony Alpha a7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera for $898.

Specs: 24 MP, Continuous shooting up to 5 fps at 24 MP to 50 exposures, ISO: 100 to 25600, HD movie recording, and 3" 1,228,800 dot tilting LCD

So, where does this leave us? The point that I want to make here is that the rate of change with enthusiast cameras has slowed to the point where cameras from 2012 onward are serious tools in the hands of an artist.

And if you currently have access to lenses that you would have to buy all over again in a different mount, then the savings can be tremendous, leaving you with more budget for experiences to capture with these cameras.

Something to think about as we head out of the year of full frame and into whatever is next.

Skillshare for Photographers

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Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. You can take courses in photography, videography, audio production - you name it, they've got it. So whether you're picking up a new skill for your day job, figuring out your next side project, or pursuing a long-time passion, Skillshare has classes for you.

The photography courses are amazing. One that I recommend is "Fundamentals of Portrait Photography: Using Natural Light to Create Drama" by Justin Bridges, a fashion and portrait photographer based in New York City. And this is just one of many top notch titles on Skillshare.

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with this special offer for TDS listeners: Get 2 months free. That's right, Skillshare is offering The Digital Story community 2 months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/tds.

And a big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this show!

Capturing Moments with the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL IIS

In a true convergence of traditional meets modern, the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL IIS Aspherical Lens ($419) combines silky manual focusing with a beautiful optic also featuring a CPU chip for metadata and to assist with mode settings.

I have the Voigtlander mounted on my trusty Nikon D700, and because of the chip, I can shoot in Program, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes, plus record the lens type and complete exposure metadata. And the images are beautiful!

There are variations of this lens, and some of those variations come in different mounts, but I prefer the most current SL IIS because of its luxurious scalloped focusing ring and outstanding optics.

You can easily adapt this optic to mirrorless cameras, although most likely without the benefit of the CPU chip. But on a Nikon DSLR, it is a joy for quiet candids and fine art work. And it's a wonderful value as well at $419.

Our LA Street Photography Experience is Coming this March

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes for creators, entrepreneurs, and curious people everywhere. Get two months of learning for free by visiting www.skillshare.com/tds.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Full frame photography has grabbed many headlines in 2019. And for good reason, it's exciting to mount a top quality prime lens and photograph the world in a completely different way than you can with smaller sensor devices. But the prices have soared to $2,400 and beyond for the privilege.

nikon-d610-kit.jpg

But what if you could snag a highly rated full-frame body for about a third of that, and it included a prime lens, battery grip, and 64GB memory card? That would be sweet, right?

Take a look at the the deal of the year: A brand new Nikon D610 DSLR with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lens for $897. Then, toss in at no extra charge, a MB-D14 Multi Battery Power Pack, WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter, SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card, Nikon Deluxe DSLR Digital SLR Camera Case (Black), and a downloadable licensed version of Skylum's Luminar 4. Yes, all of that for $897

DP Review concluded that, "The Nikon D610 brings full-frame capabilities to a larger audience while retaining most enthusiast-friendly features. Image quality at high ISO sensitivities is very good, and a wealth of customization options enables quick access to most shooting controls. The slight improvements and fixes over the D600 make it a strong competitor in this part of the market," and gave it a Gold Award. (March, 2014)

The Nikon D610 features:

  • 24.3MP FX-Format Sensor and EXPEED 3 Image Processor
  • Multi-CAM 4800 Autofocus Sensor
  • Scene Recognition System and Exposure Metering
  • Full HD 1080p Movie Recording
  • Built-In Pop-Up Flash and i-TTL Support
  • Dual SD card slots
  • 100 percent viewfinder coverage with high magnification
  • 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone inputs
  • Outstanding high ISO performance in both JPEG and Raw files
  • Excellent weather sealing
  • Automated time-lapse function built in
  • HDR capture built in
  • Shutter mechanism has been tested for 150,000 cycles and incorporates a self-diagnostic shutter monitor
  • Sold for $2,000 body only in 2014.

And all of this in a body that is relatively compact for a full frame camera.

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The MB-D14 Multi Battery Power Pack sells for $259, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens is $177 on sale, and the WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter sells for $55. Add those up, and they total $491. And that's not even counting the SanDisk 64 GB card. Subtract those from the $897 price tag, and that means you can get a new full frame camera for just a bit over $400. Use Payboo financing, and you won't even have to pay the sales tax.

If you have a cache of manual focusing Nikon lenses, you can use them as well on the D610. My favorites include the 105mm f/2.5 AI-s, 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, and the 35mm f/2.5 Series E. If you CPU register them on the camera, you will get basic lens metadata as well.

Bottom line is this: you don't have to pay $2,400, $3,000, or more for a top quality full frame digital camera. DSLRs are here to stay, as is the Nikon F mount. If you don't mind a top notch DSLR that was popular 5 years ago, this deal is worthy of your attention.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

If you have a co-worker, friend, or family member who loves photography, and you want to give them a holiday gift, something nice, but without spending more than $50 (and less if you can!), what do you do? How about this... Here's a sure-fire list of ideas that you can get delivered quickly enabling you to show up at the event with treasure in hand.

The recipient will first be impressed by your photography prowess, and second delighted with the item itself. Take a look and see what you think.

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Pedco UltraPod Lightweight Camera Tripod - UltraPods are the best. They are light, compact, yet quite sturdy. And you can easily stash one in any camera bag, purse, or backpack for stabilized picture taking on the go. They're perfect for group shots (that you want to be in), night exposures, long exposures, video recording, and time-lapse photography. And if all of that wasn't good enough, you can get an UltraPod for just $9.95!.

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Tenba Protective Camera Wrap - 16" - These are so clever. Wrap your camera in one and any bag becomes a camera bag. You can stash your camera in a backpack, purse, suitcase... you name it, and it will be safe and accessible. This Tenba wrap features smooth interior lining of water-repellent silicone-coated rip-stop nylon with velcro corners and a soft knit, velcro-compatible fabric that allows it to be rolled, folded, or wrapped into many configurations. This smart camera or lens accessory will only set you back $17.95!.

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Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax, and Other Cameras with Standard Hot Shoe - The cool thing about this flash is that it works on practically any camera that has a hot shoe, so you don't have even know what they shoot with. There are 8 steps of manual power output, making it perfect for off-camera portraits and home studio lighting. There isn't automated flash exposure, but that isn't an issue for many types of photography. And the best part is, this is quality gear for only $26.

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SUNCOO 16" Portable Shooting Tent with LED Light with 4-Color Background - It's easy to set up and use. (So you can keep it folded and stashed in the closet when not needed.) The bright, reflective material on the side walls provides ample light for photographing small to medium size items, and from a variety of angles as well. Perfect for eBay sellers and ETSY creators. It's suitable for both DSLR and smartphone shooting. And you can score this portable, foldable studio for only $49.99!.

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Panasonic Eneloop Power Pack with 10 AAs, 4 AAAs, and Advanced Battery Charger - What photographer (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't need rechargeable batteries? And these are some of the best. Not only do they maintain 70 percent of their charge after 10 years (when not in use), you can recharge these cells up to 2,100 times. They are perfect for flashlights, electronic flashes, camera motor drives, LED lighting, and more. This entire kit will rock anyone's world, and you can get everything for only $42.88!.

This is your opportunity to go beyond "the gift card" into territory once thought far too mysterious for any non-photographer. Have a great holiday season, and enjoy those whom you get to share it with.

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #715, Nov. 26, 2019. Today's theme is "Photographer's Gift Guide - 2019 Edition" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Photographers aren't the easiest bunch to buy for, that is, unless you have a fully-vetted gift guide at your disposal. And that's exactly what I'm going to share with you today - 5 items ranging from affordable to well, slightly more than that, each and every one will be a delightful surprise for the visual artist in your life, even if that person is you.

Photographer's Gift Guide - 2019 Edition

Feeling a little stumped for gift ideas this holiday season? Take a gander at this list.

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  • Nitecore P12 LED Tactical Pocket Flashlight ($42) - Built for durability, the light features an aluminum housing with a Type III hard-anodized black finish that resists scratching and corrosion. It is O-ring sealed to be IPX8-rated submersible to 6.6' and impact-resistant to 5'. A textured diamond pattern is machined into the handle to provide a sure grip, and there is a removable tactical ring that fits on the handle for use with a 'cigar-style' two-handed pistol grip. Using separately sold Nitecore mount and remote switch accessories, it can be used as a weapon light. The light can run on 1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123 li-ion rechargeable, or 2 x CR123 disposable batteries. There is reverse-polarity protection that prevents damage to the light's circuitry if the batteries are put in incorrectly.
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  • Nanlite LumiPad 11 Bi-Color Soft LED Panel ($49) - Handy for use on or off-camera, the LumiPad 11 Bi-Color Soft LED Panel from NanLite is a versatile 6.5 x 4.5 x 1.4" light source with solid control features at a price point that makes it a good choice for both part-time and full-time shooters. Its wide beam spread, and soft output are well-suited for portrait, wedding, group video, and photography, while its thin 1.4" profile allows placement where larger lights can't go. The light has color that's CRI-rated at 95 for accurate rendering and variable from 3200 to 5600K to meet any ambient light challenge or to blend in seamlessly with other fixtures. Light intensity is variable from 0 to 100%, while the fixture's quiet air-cooling is an asset, especially in sound-sensitive situations. The LumiPad 11 is ready for worldwide use via an optional 110-240 VAC power adapter, but it can also run on separately-purchased batteries when mains power is unavailable via its NP-F battery plate.
  • SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 Type-C External SSD ($89) - Designed for saving and editing high-resolution photos and videos, the 500GB Extreme Portable USB 3.1 Type-C External SSD from SanDisk provides users with up to 500GB of storage for their creative content work, as well as a 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 Type-C interface, which is also known as USB 3.1 Gen 2 and delivers read speeds of up to 550 MB/s. Additionally, this SSD is IP-55 rated and features resistance against water, dust, and shock. It can withstand a water flow of up to 30 kPA for 3 minutes, 1500 g of shock, and 5 gRMS of vibration @ 10-2000 Hz. It can also withstand drops of up to 6.5' on a concrete floor and temperature extremes, with operating temperatures ranging from 32 to 113°F and storage temperatures ranging from -4 to 158°F.
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  • FUJIFILM INSTAX SHARE Smartphone Printer SP-2 with Instant Film Kit (Silver) ($94) - The silver FUJIFILM INSTAX SHARE Smartphone Printer SP-2 allows you to print photos shot with a smartphone or tablet using FUJIFILM's free downloadable INSTAX SHARE app for Android and iOS. Each print measures 2.4 x 1.8" with up to 320 dpi resolution and prints in approximately 10 seconds. A reprint button lets you make additional copies. Choose from several templates and filters, and upload your images to social networking sites. The SP-2's battery recharges in approximately 90 minutes. This twin pack of FUJIFILM INSTAX Mini Instant Film contains 20 sheets of instant color film that is compatible for use with the INSTAX Mini series of cameras.
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  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless MFT Digital Camera with 12-32mm and 45-150mm Lenses (Black) ($448) - This is a deal with $550 in savings making it more than half off. Complementing the imaging attributes (16MP sensor with dual stabilization), the camera also incorporates both a 2.76m-dot electronic viewfinder as well as a 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD, which has a tilting design to better enable working from high and low angles. Built-in Wi-Fi is also integrated into the design, which facilitates wireless image transferring and remote camera control from linked smartphones or tablets.
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  • DJI Mavic Mini ($399) -The Mavic Mini from DJI is a compact drone that offers professional-quality results with no restrictions. Thanks to its small size, the Mavic Mini can fly where larger drones are legally not permitted, or where a drone license is required. This freedom of flight is combined with a stabilized 3-axis gimbal and sophisticated flight modes, which can achieve up to 12MP images, 2.7K Quad HD videos, and complex cinematic shots with just a touch in the DJI Fly app.
    Another advantage of the Mavic Mini's size is that it can stay in the air longer. The Mini drone features up to 30 minutes of flight time on a full battery charge. The included controller is designed to work with Android and iOS smartphones, letting you easily fly the drone while maintaining a low-latency HD video feed from the gimbal from up to 2.5 miles away. To help get started, DJI includes a flight tutorial in the DJI Fly app, making the Mavic Mini an ideal drone solution for beginners to professionals alike.

How I Became a 40mm Lens Guy

There's something about 40mms that's just perfect for me. I have a bit more breathing space for composing than I do with a 50mm optic. Yet, it's not too wide like I often experience with 35mm lenses. It's just right for this street photographer kind of guy.

But this revelation didn't come to me overnight. It evolved over years, beginning with a lens that wasn't 40mm at all: the Zeiss Tessar 45mm f/2.8 for my Contax film camera. I wanted this lens because it was a super compact pancake that would travel nicely on my Contax Aria. I loved it from the beginning, even though it wasn't the fastest at f/2.8, or quite as wide as a true 40mm. I still shoot with it today.

You can read the entire article here to see all the optics that I'm currently a fan of.

New Details for Our Upcoming LA Street Photography Experience

This 3-day event on March 13-15 explores classic Los Angeles locations and architecture. Our excursions will take us as far west as Venice Beach, as well as famous movie spots and the back streets of this fascinating Southern California area.

Our HQ will be in a cozy Santa Monica neighborhood, not far from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and the Metro Rail station. From there we'll ride the rail into the heart of LA urban culture, making stops along the way to explore. We will also spend a day photographing Venice Beach with all of its So Cal charm and charisma. What a dream for urban explorers!

You will learn new techniques for safe and effective street photography, how to capture the vibe of great architecture, and enjoy some classic California cuisine along the way.

Olympus Educator, Mike Boening, is our co-instructor. Those of you who have worked with Mike at our SF Street Photography events know how much he brings to the table. Not only is he an official Olympus Educator, he's an accomplished street photographer, and he's going to bring gear for you to test and learn about.

If you want to join Mike and me this coming March, just visit the information and registration page, or go to www.thenimblephotographer.com and click on the Workshops link, or go to the Olympus site - no matter how you get there, Mike and I are looking forward to working with you this coming Spring.

Do You Have a Film Camera that Needs a Good Home?

Over the last year, I've received donations from TDS members who have film cameras that need a good home. What I do is inspect the items, repair and clean as I can, then list them in TheFilmCameraShop where I can find a good home for them. If you're interested in donating, please use the Contact Form on TheNimblePhotographer site. And thanks for you consideration!

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

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