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Want a compact camera that you can take anywhere, even 40' underwater? I put the Olympus TG-1 iHSthrough a grueling test during an 8-day trip to Maui, and have published my findings on TechHive in the article titled, Field Test: Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS.

Black Rock, Maui Skin diving at Black Rock in Maui with the Olympus TG-1

I loved the image quality, built-in GPS, fast f/2.0 lens (at the wide end), 4X optical zoom, 12 MPs of resolution, fast handling, light weight, all weather construction, clean menus, and pretty LCD screen. I think the TG-1 is a good value at $369 USand will serve adventurers well for years.

On the downside, the TG-1 doesn't shoot RAW and the LCD is still hard to see in certain lighting conditions underwater (the latter may be just the way it is with any LCD camera).

Check out my full report of the TG-1 iHS on TechHive. This is a terrific camera.


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About the only way you can get a spare Olympus-branded battery for the OM-D E-M5 is to buy a second body. So those of us who need a second cell, or who like to shoot with the Power Grip that holds another battery, are forced to look elsewhere for the time being.

I've tried the Power Tech 2-Pack Battery And Charger Kitthat sells for $24.95.

The kit includes two BLN-1 batteries, a portable charger, and a handful of other goodies. The charger has swing-out electrical prongs so you don't need a separate power cable to plug it into the wall. It also comes with a two-prong European adapter, and a car outlet adapter.

The batteries seem to last about 2/3 as long as the OEM Olympus batteries. I put the Power Tech cell in the OM-D body, then use the original Olympus BLN-1 in the power grip. In the menu, I instruct the camera to use the Power Grip battery first. I do this because it's much easier to change batteries from the grip than having to remove the grip to get to the one in the camera body. Basically, the Power Tech unit become my backup battery if I drain the Olympus unit.

The catch to all of this is that you can only charge the Power Tech batteries in the supplied charger. They are not compatible with your OEM Olympus charger. The bad news is that the Nimble Photographer doesn't like carrying two battery chargers. The good news is that they don't take up much room, plus I can charge two batteries at once.

I don't consider this a long term solution. But for the moment, I'm happy to have 3 batteries for my OM-D, and with a cash outlay of only $25.


Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

Not all terrific cameras get the spotlight they deserve. The Pentax K-30 is a good example. It's the most affordable weather-sealed DSLR (body only at $846), captures Raw in the DNG format, includes sensor-based image stabilization so any lens you put on is stabilized, plus has a raft of cool features, including HDR and multiple exposure. I share my initial impressions as I prepare to write a formal review of this camera.

I then talk a bit about the recent rash of spam that has attacked our site. And I conclude with a brief wrap up of the Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop. Join me for this week's episode!

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (34 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Street Scene is the August 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is August 30, 2012.

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Looking for Raw support for a new Sony DSC-RX100or Canon EOS Rebel T4idigital camera? Through Adobe Labs, Lightroom 4.2 Release Candidate (as well as ACR 7.2) is available with Raw support for the following models.

  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i
  • Canon EOS M
  • Fuji FinePix F800EXR
  • Leaf Credo 40
  • Leaf Credo 60
  • Nikon 1 J2
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ200
  • Panasonic DMC-G5
  • Panasonic DMC-LX7
  • Pentax K-30
  • Sony DSC-RX100

The Lightroom 4.2 release candidate is available as a free download for Lightroom 4 customers, and the Photoshop Camera Raw 7.2 release candidate is available for Photoshop CS6 customers. Both are available for Mac and Windows.

Apple also supports the Canon T4i with Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.14.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


One argument to shoot Raw+Jpeg for your landscape work is the built-in distortion correction feature that we're seeing on many current DSLRs. When turned on, the camera corrects for barrel or pincushion distortion. That's the good news. Unfortunately that doesn't work for Raw files, only your Jpegs.

Fort Ross Road Corrected Distortion correction turned on in a Pentax K-30 with 18-135mm zoom.

I was part of a group that visited Ft. Ross in N. California during the recent TDS Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop. I used the opportunity to field test the new Pentax K-30 with 18-135mm Lensfor landscape shooting. I turned on Distortion Correction and shot Raw+Jpeg so I could compare the results.

Fort Ross Road Not Corrected Raw image from a Pentax K-30 with 18-135mm zoom.

Indeed, with Distortion Correction turned on, the Jpegs showed a clean horizon line (top image). The Raw file displayed distortion (bottom image) that would need to be corrected in post production.

For online posting and quick turnaround jobs, you may want to shoot Raw+Jpeg in this situation, so you can post the corrected files right away. Later, for your printing and other more detailed work, clean up the Raw files for maximum quality and control.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


Alyssa Jayne

A combination of beautiful North Coast scenery and the fantastic Alyssa Jayne teamed up for a fun day of shooting at the the TDS Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop.

"It's hard to make my final selections," commented Scott Loftesness during the afternoon lab session. "There are so many good ones."

Day two will focus on landscape. We'll see what the North Coast provides for us...

Alyssa Up in the Air One of the day's assignments was to create a photo for a "pretend" Sprite soda commercial.


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It's Super Zoom Week!

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Been thinking about getting an all-in-one super zoom digital camera? Well, this is your lucky week. Pentax, Olympus, Nikon, and Canon all announced new models.

What type of photographer is the super zoom designed for? Someone who wants extended focal length topping out with long telephoto, but in a reasonably sized body. There's no messing around with interchangeable lenses. The kit you buy is the kit you use.

The Pentax X-5 ($279) features a 22.3-580mm zoom on a 16 MP body. It's powered by 2 rechargable AA batteries.

The Olympus SP-820UZ iHS ($329) sports a crazy 22.4 - 896mm zoom lens on a 14MP body. It also uses AA batteries.

The Canon PowerShot SX500 IS ($329) uses a 24-720mm zoom on a 16MP body.

And finally, the Nikon COOLPIX P7700 ($499) is designed for those who want reach, but like to shoot in low light. Its 28-200mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.0. The P7700 sports a 12MP body that can capture images at a fast 8 fps.

If you're looking for a lot of reach in a small package, one of these super zooms might do it for you.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Andriod Meets Nikon

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The Nikon COOLPIX S800c digital camera ($349 US) doesn't have cellular (although how cool would that be), but it is Android powered with WiFi connectivity. (Hey, watch out for that zoom lens while using the touchscreen...)

The generous 3.5" rear OLED touch screen is big enough to take advantage of a boatload of apps available in Google Play. You're still going to have to duck in to a Starbucks (or maybe this is the time to get MyFi) to connect to the Internet. But once you do, you can process and share your images directly from the camera.

One of the many photo apps available in Google Play is Instagram. Can you imagine the leg up you'd have shooting with a 16 MP, 10X optical zoom, ISO 25-3200 Nikon camera?

Not fair!


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What's the biggest drawback to being the Nimble Photographer on photo assignment? Perception. If I show up with anything less than a big gun, will clients and participants take me seriously? I explore this phenomenon in the first segment of the show.

I then start laying the ground work for my trip to Germany in September to cover Photokina and Oktoberfest. If you're not all that familiar with Photokina, I provide some good context to help bring you up to speed.

And finally, I have a personal story that involves my iPhone. I know the best camera is the one you have with you, but I never expected this. And there's more... in this week's TDS podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (29 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Street Scene is the August 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is August 30, 2012.

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 -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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Making the Case for Live View

OM-D LCD

One of my favorite features on the Canon EOS 60D and the Olympus OM-D E-M5is live view. I'm discovering how effective composing on non-fixed-back LCDs can be for certain types of shots. It's ironic that we're used to this method for our camera phones and point and shoots, but seem to forget about it when picking up the DSLR.

I was so used to looking through the viewfinder that I would forget entirely about composing on the LCD. I'm over that now, and I'm using live view for about a third of my shooting. Some of the most common situations include:

  • Crowd shots where I hold the camera overhead.
  • Close up photography at weird angles.
  • Product shots in the studio.
  • Candids when I don't want to make people self conscious (holding the camera at my waist).

Big Crowd from Overhead By finding a good position and holding the camera over my head, I was able to compose this shot. Photo by Derrick Story.

Live view has really helped me with product photography. I move the camera around the subject at different angles until I find just the look I want. If I have enough light on the subject, I can capture the photo right on the spot. If you haven't done so already, try it.

Thanks to the addition of video recording with DSLRs, we're seeing more articulated LCDs than ever before. If you have one, try experimenting with live view for your still photography too. You might see the world in a slightly different way.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!