Recently in Photography

  Page 137 of 296 in Photography  

Sigma has released a pair of prime lenses for micro four/thirds cameras, such as the Olympus PENs. I've been testing the 30mm F2.8 EX DN($199 US) because it fits nicely between my Olympus 17mm f/2.8($219) and the longer 45mm f/1.8 telephoto($399).

Sigma 30mm on Olympus E-PL2

The first thing I noticed with the Sigma 30mm is that it's larger than the two Olympus primes. On the E-PL2 body (shown above), it looks great. On the PEN Mini, the Sigma looks a little oversized. Despite its greater diameter, it's still very light (135g / 4.8oz). The metal lens mount is nicely finished. But the lens mechanism inside does move around when not in use. Once you turn the camera on, it engages, eliminating movement until you actually focus. I'm guessing that this is a byproduct of Sigma's new linear focusing system.

Comparison of 45mm 30mm & 17mm Sigma 30mm (center) compared to the Olympus 45mm and 17mm primes.

On the camera, autofocusing is fast and smooth. You can manually focus on the fly using the large knurled ring at the front of the lens. Focusing action is nicely dampened.

Sigma 30mm f-2.8 for Micro Four Thirds

Threads on the front of the lens accept 46mm filters and accessories. A lens hood is not included, but you do get a nice zippered case.

Since the 30mm behaves like a 60mm mild telephoto with the micro four/thirds sensor (crop factor of 2X), you can soften the background when shooting wide open. Overall sharpness of the lens is good. It has decent close-up ability allowing for 1:8.1 magnification at 11.8"

Depth of Field Test at f-2.8 You can soften the background when shooting wide open with the Sigma 30mm.

Bottom Line

The Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DNis an affordable prime lens for micro four/thirds users, especially useful for Olympus PENs because it doesn't have image stabilization built into the lens. It performs best when the camera's firmware is up to date. For example, when I mounted it on my E-PL2 with firmware 1.0, the lens became hyperactive constantly adjusting the aperture with changing lighting conditions, even when locked down in Aperture Priority mode. I would upgrade your camera firmware if you plan on using this lens.

On start up, I also noticed that there's a 1-2 second delay before the lens was ready to shoot. It feels like the lens and camera are establishing communication during this delay. Once everything is ready however, the lens focuses quickly, quietly, and accurately.

I do like having the faster f/2.8 aperture at the 30mm focal length. On the 14-42mm, f/3.5-5.6 Olympus zoom that comes with the PEN cameras, the aperture is f/5.0 at 30mm. So this prime delivers a stop and a half more light at the same focal length.

The lens should also look good on the black version on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 bodythat is due to be released later this month.

Overall, I rate the Sigma 30mm a notch below Olympus prime lenses. But if you want a mild telephoto with a reasonably fast aperture for an affordable price, you'll probably like shooting with this glass. I'm going to keep mine.


Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.


Derrick Story Speaking at SMUGs

smugmug_logo.jpg

Starting this month, I'm available for speaking at SMUGs (SmugMug User Groups). I'm looking forward to meeting with other photographers who share the same passion for making great images and enjoy the process while doing so.

Currently I have five talks available:

  • "Efficient Aperture for Busy Photographers" (Apple's Photo Management Software)
  • What's in My Bag" (How to pack light yet have everything you need)
  • "Getting Started with Macro Photography" (Sometimes, the closer the better)
  • "Compact System Cameras Are Here to Stay" (And they might be right for you)
  • "Flash Photography for Event Photographers" (Lots of fun modifiers for this one)

Plus, Lowepro is also behind this project, which means there will always be gear giveaways at my speaking engagements. How cool is that?

My SmugMug Bio

Derrick Story is a professional photographer, writer, teacher and photography evangelist for Lowepro. He has authored several digital media books, including, The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers and The Digital Photography Companion (O'Reilly Media, publisher).

Derrick is a Senior Contributor for Macworld magazine where he writes a digital photography column, and he's a regular presenter on the popular training site, lynda.com.

Online, Derrick has formed a virtual camera club called The Digital Story that's open to all photography enthusiasts. The site features weekly podcasts, daily posts, training videos, and reader-submitted photos.

How to Contact Me

If you interested in having me speak at your SMUG, my contact information is listed on the TDS Members page. I hope to see you soon!


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


It's exciting to create an image unlike anything you've shot before. That fresh look can lead to a entirely new type of photography. To help jumpstart that process, here are 5 stimulating projects that you can do at home. Each presents its own unique challenge that will add a new dimension to your work. Also, at the end of the podcast, I talk about my latest experiences at Oracle Arena and the $10,000 shot.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 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.


Enter to Win a Nikon 1 with 10-30mm zoom lens by "Liking" Red River Paper Facebook Fan Page.


Monthly Photo Assignment

Macro is the April 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is April 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.




Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,


Are Lens Hoods Worth the Price?

I recently paid $39 for an Olympus LH-40B lens hood for the 45mm f/1.8 primethat I use on my PEN cameras. Even though it's one of my favorite lenses, I debated for quite some time before spending the dollars on what's essentially a plastic tube. The question I've asked myself many times is: are these accessories really worth the price tag?

olympus_lens_hood_web.jpg

The best answer I've come up with so far is: "sometimes."

I've shelled out similar payments for accessory hoods for my Canon 85mm f/1.8, 15-85mm zoom, and other heavily used glass. Why? Because for me, the lens hood serves a few purposes.

First, it helps protect the front objective glass from impact. The plastic bayonet mounted hoods will absorb the shock and possibly detach all together from the lens itself. This could save your larger investment. It's also why I don't use cheaper screw mount hoods. They transfer the impact to the lens itself and have less odds of saving your glass.

Second, lens hoods do help control flare. Stray light hitting the front of your lens or multi-coated protection filter will decrease contrast. A good lens hood, especially the longer ones for telephotos, will eliminate or at least help control this negative effect.

And finally, a lens hood is helpful when working in inclement weather. It helps keep rain drops or snow flakes off the front glass.

Do I buy hoods for every lens I own? I don't - especially if they don't reverse for easy storage in my bag. But for my telephotos and heavy use everyday zooms, I take a deep breath and shell out the bucks. In the end, I believe they help me get the most out of, and protect, my investment.


Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.


A slight shift in weight or change in angle can make a big difference in the final portrait. Since many of the subjects we photograph aren't professional models, they look to us to help them pose.

Leah Tall

I just read an article that covers the basic tips that every photographer should have in mind during a portrait session. In 7 Killer Portrait Tips by Dustin Olsen, he illustrates how to position the subject to render more flattering outcomes. It's a good read, and certainly a post you'll want to bookmark.

In this portrait that I captured of model Leah Gerber, she demonstrates a few of these basic reminders. She's angled her torso for a more pleasing body line, and the hands are partially hidden. Her chin is at a good angle. I've softened the light using photo umbrellas on light stand. The strobes themselves are simple Sunpak flashes with a connecting cord that I often use in the studio.

A final tip that I would add is, that once you've covered the basic elements in a portrait, take a few more minutes to play. Try a different angle, experiment with another lens, and change the composition. You have nothing to lose because you already have the "safe" portraits, but lots to gain if you find that magical pose.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter


It's the question many filmmakers want answered: Is the Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800 best for high-end movie making? The answer, according to Dan Chung in his detailed comparison titled, Video Shootout: Nikon D800 vs Canon 5D Mark III, is: depends on your priorities.

Live View Switch

Dan cites more image detail with the D800, but better moire control with the 5D Mark III. And for his filmmaking, moire control is more important.

If you are debating these two cameras, you should definitely check out Dan's report. He covers everything that you'd want to know.


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


windowbox_cactus.jpg

Like a bear that emerges from hibernation, photographers north of the equator are getting ready to venture outdoors and capture the glory of Spring. The problem is, weather does't always cooperate.

I just read a terrific article on Photo Naturalist titled, A Fun Way To Improve Your Wildflower Photography where author Vic Berardi talks about practicing your close-up technique indoors now to prepare for that next beautiful day outdoors.

I love the idea.

I have a glass window box at the studio that is a terrific stage for plant photography even when the weather is miserable. Vic used a variety of different locations within his house to capture some absolutely beautiful flower shots.

By practicing your technique on potted plants, then reviewing your work on the computer, you can help eliminate unfortunate surprises when working in the field.

Take a look at Vic's article, then consider putting together your own Spring training program.


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


I rarely get rid of old equipment if it's still serviceable. A perfect case in point is when I needed a few graduated filters for an assignment. I dug out my Cokin Graduated Neutral Grey Filterand filter holder with adapter ringsdiscovering they work great with my digital camera.

cokin_filter_on_k5.jpg

Yes, you can achieve the same effect in post processing with Lightroom. But on this day, I was more in a pre-processing mood.


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


Cropped sensor cameras aren't getting as much attention these days as they should. Recent full frame announcements such as the Canon 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 have many shooters thinking that it's full frame or bust. Not too fast there cowboy! Cropped sensor cameras such as the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000, and upcoming Olympus OM-D offer many advantages. And I cover five of those benefits in this week's podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (26 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.

Cropped Sensor Comparison Cropped sensors can provide a more satisfying experience for macro photography. Image on the left captured with a Canon 5D Mark II while the image on the right with a cropped sensor Canon 60D.


Enter to Win a Nikon 1 with 10-30mm zoom lens by "Liking" Red River Paper Facebook Fan Page.


Monthly Photo Assignment

Macro is the April 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is April 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.




Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,


For the Feb. 2012 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters got back to basics and worked with the Rule of Thirds for their compositions. But even within these guidelines, the shots are as unique as the shooters themselves. See for yourself in our gallery, Rule of Thirds. And which one will be the SizzlPix Pick of the Month?

Brandon Doran

Photo by Brandon Doran. "For this shot I wanted to contrast the immensity of the architecture vs. the smallness of a person. It worked out that I could center 3 columns and get the scale I wanted. My vision was to capture a person walking directly in front of the rightmost column so that the person would be in the lower right third of the frame." To see all of the other terrific shots from Feb., visit the Rule of Thirds gallery page.


Participate in This Month's Assignment

The April 2012 assignment is "Macro." Details can be found on the Member Participation page. Deadline is April 30, 2012.

Please follow the instructions carefully for labeling the subject line of the email for your submission. It's easy to lose these in the pile of mail if not labeled correctly. For example, the subject line for this month's assignment should be: "Photo Assignment: April 2012." Also, if you can, please don't strip out the metadata. And feel free to add any IPTC data you wish (These fields in particular: Caption, Credit, Copyright, Byline), I use that for the caption info.

Good luck with your April assignment, and congratulations to all of the fine contributors for February.

SizzlPix Pick of the Month for the Jan. Photo Assignment

Congratulations to Ram Gurung for his Mobile Phone image of NY Times Square. Ram will receive a SizzlPix for his winning image, selected by the good folks at SizzlPix.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Now Available! The Digital Photography Companion. The official guide for The Digital Story Virtual Camera Club.

  • 25 handy and informative tables for quick reference.
  • Metadata listings for every photo in the book
  • Dedicated chapter on making printing easy.
  • Photo management software guide.
  • Many, many inside tips gleaned from years of experience.
  • Comprehensive (214 pages), yet fits easily in camera bag.

Technorati Tags: , ,