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Canon has updated its "nifty 50," and it appears to be a terrific upgrade. The new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens will begin shipping on May 21 for $125. And for that reasonable price, Canon shooters will get what appears to be a quiet, fast, sharp prime optic.

  • EF Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Optimized Lens Coatings
  • STM AF Motor Supports Movie Servo AF
  • Metal Lens Mount
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 14"

In addition to the lens being more compact than its noisy predecessor, it includes a gear-type STM stepping motor designed to provide quick, smooth, and near silent autofocus performance. The STM focusing mechanism also pairs well with EOS cameras featuring the Movie Servo AF mode to enable continuous focusing performance when working in live view.

An optional ES-68 Lens Hood ($28) and E-49 49mm Lens Cap ($9.95) will also be available later this month.

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Back in April, I talked about the Yongnuo 35mm F/2.0 lens on the TDS Photo Podcast. I had paid $120 for this fast prime lens to use on my Canon 5D Mark II. I noted that this optic has a distinct "look" to it that I liked. But at the time, I had no idea how I was going to use it.

Yongnuo-35mm-F2-Lens-Ashley.jpg Test shot of my project manager for the shoot with the Yongnuo 35mm F-2.0 lens on a Canon 5D Mark II. Aperture set to f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/250th of a second. The metadata for this lens reads: "Sigma A 24-105 mm f/4 DG OS HSM," which of course, is totally wrong.

Then, one of my favorite clients went through a branding process to adjust the look of their imagery. Interestingly enough, the new look is influenced by Instagram and real life street photography. When I saw samples of what they were after for our next shoot, I thought immediately of the Yongnuo 35mm optic.

Now it might seem crazy to you that I would rely on a $120 lens for a $1,500 photo shoot. But that's exactly what I did. I set my 5D Mark II to Aperture Priority and locked down the lens to f/2.0. And that's where it stayed for the entire session.

I can't share any of the actual images from the shoot, but I do have this test shot of Ashley, the project manager for the job, that I recorded before the subject arrived. This image gives you a good feel for how the Yongnuo performs on the 5D Mark II when set to f/2.0.

I then processed the image in Aperture 3 and used one of my recipes in DxO FilmPack 5 that's based on Fuji Reala 100. You can save your own settings in FilmPack 5 and recall them when the image calls for it.

The client loves the look of these pictures. At one point, the Marketing Director (who knows a lot about photography) asked me if I was using a "nifty 50" when she saw the Yongnuo. I said no, I bought a $120 Chinese optic for this shoot. We both smiled.

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If you're shooting RAW+Jpeg and upload those images to Photos for OS X, the application typically places the Jpeg forward. You can tell that this is the case via the badge in the lower left corner of the image with a "J" on top. (See second illustration.)

switch-to-raw.jpg In editing mode, you can tell Photos to switch to the RAW file.

Most photographers will want to edit the RAW file in post production. You can tell Photos that you want to work on the RAW by following these steps.

  • Double-click on the thumbnail to enlarge it, then click on the Edit button in the upper right corner.
  • Go to Image > Use RAW as Original.
  • Edit as normally, then click the Done button.

switched-to-raw.jpg

You'll notice that when you go back to thumbnails, the badge will now have an "R" on top instead of a "J", indicating that the RAW is the working image. You can control these badges by going to View > Metadata and turning on and off the ones you want.

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Apple has released Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 6.04 that supports 14 new cameras including the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, but only for 16MP RAWs, not the 40MP High Resolution Shot files.

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The cameras on the following list will now have RAW support in Aperture, iPhoto, and Photos for OS X.

  • Canon EOS 5DS
  • Canon EOS 5DS R
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D / Kiss X8i
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6s / 760D / Kiss 8000D
  • Fujifilm X-A2
  • Hasselblad CFV-50c
  • Hasselblad H5D-50c
  • Leica C (Typ 112)
  • Nikon 1 S2
  • Nikon D7200
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
  • Panasonic LUMIX CM1
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF7
  • Pentax MX-1

I tested the RAW files from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II in Aperture, and they look great.

For most Mac users, the update should have been automatically applied last night. But you can check for yourself by going to App Store > Updates.

Happy to see that Apple is keeping our photo software up to date.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Delicious Monochromes from Your Digital Camera, Shining a Light on the Canon T6 Sensor Issue, Lightroom CC Tip, and One-Step Film Developing (that isn't Polaroid) - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - "Canon T6 Sensor Issue" - Roger Cicla writes, "... 4 of the Canon T6s and 2 of the T6i cameras we received had to be sent back because of a defect in the sensor stack (the layers of filter glass over the sensor). This is out about 10 copies of each; the others were absolutely perfect.

The affected cameras all had a dramatic pattern that at first we thought was oil or dust on top of the sensor glass." (Source: LensRentals.com)

In other news... "Developing your film in one step" Photography startup New55 has released R3 Monobath, a new photochemical that makes developing film a one step process. Monobath films have been used in instant film, which could be a leading reason New55 is working on a monobath developer -- New55's existence is driven by the desire to bring back to life the aesthetic of the no longer produced Polaroid Type 55 film. (Source: Imaging-Resource.com)

warriors-fan-oracle-arena-tds.jpg "Warriors Fan, Oracle Arena" by Derrick Story.

Story #1 - "Delicious Monochromes from Your Digital" - I've talked about film simulation modes in the past, but some cameras allow you to build your own B&W profiles. I was "street shooting" again at Oracle Arena on Sunday, but this time in B&W using my own formula.

On my OM-D E-M10 (with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7), I began by going to Shooting Menu 1 and choosing Picture Mode. I then navigated to the Monotone option, where I could set parameters for Contrast (+1), Sharpness (+1), B&W Filter (Yellow), Picture Tone (Neutral), and Gradation (normal). I then shot in RAW+Jpeg. The results were beautiful!



Story #2 - "National Photography Month" National Photography Month was officially recognized by Congress in 1987. The month-long observance includes photography contests and other activities throughout the country. Rocky Nook is celebrating by offering $35 eBook Bundles on the following topics:

  • Travel Photography
  • Bird Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Beginner Photography
  • Bruce Barnbaum Complete Set
  • Candid Moments Photography

You can learn more by visiting the Rocky Nook web site.

Story #3 - "Reservation Forms Have Been Sent for the TDS Fall Color/Safari West Photo Workshop" - The event begins on the evening of Friday Oct. 23, and it concludes on Sunday Oct. 25th in Sonoma County, CA. If you were on the reserve list, you should have received a reservation form. If not, please contact me. If you want a reservation form, visit TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info form.

Story #4 Lightroom CC Tip - Get to Know the New Filter Brush - I've been using the graduated screen much more since Adobe added the Filter Brush. Once you add the screen, click on Brush (in the same box), click on Erase (at the bottom of the box), and paint away the areas you don't want affected by the screen. This is perfect for buildings and trees that stick up into the sky you want to darken.

Virtual Camera Club News

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (30 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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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If ever there were a trip where you wanted to balance having the photo gear you need, but not too much of it, it would be a visit to Cuba.

cuban-ice-cream-vendor.jpg "Cuban Ice Cream Vendor" by Derrick Story.

In my latest article for lynda.com, What to Pack for a Photo Trip to Cuba: Nine Essentials, I explain what I packed for my recent trip, and how I used it. Some of the items might surprise you...


Nimble Photographer Logo

My camera bag for Cuba had a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Composing an image in a crowd of people is challenge. On one hand, there are lots of different colors and shapes. But I believe that every shot needs some sort of focal point. And in a crowd, it's often the person looking back your way.

riding-the-f-line.jpg "Riding the F Line, San Francisco" by Derrick Story.

This is difficult for some photographers because there are now possibly two people in the mix that know you're taking pictures: you, and the person looking back in your direction.

But the compositions are compelling. While the rest of the world is heading one way, there's a single human that breaks away from the herd. And when that happens, snap the shutter.

children-in-chinatown.jpg "Children in Chinatown" by Derrick Story"

Most of the time, they won't be looking directly at you (although it's great when they do). It's the disruption in the pattern that's important. It's that single yellow flower in a sea of red that breaths life into the image.

So when you're shooting in crowds, look for the person looking back your way. That's usually the shot you'll keep.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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FrankenPod Meets Mirrorless

I feel like the The Most Interesting Man when I say, "I don't shoot with a tripod often, but when I do, I keep it light." And even though I don't have the rugged good looks of the Dos Equis guy, I know what I want when it comes to photography... even if I have to make it myself.

My current rig for high resolution capture is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with its 40MP capture mode, using the new ECG-2 External Metal Grip with built-in Arca Swiss compatible plate.

Olympus-ECG-2-Grip.jpg Olympus OM-D E-M5 II with 17mm f/1.8 lens and ECG-2 grip with built-in Arca Swiss compatible plate. Notice that the grip also provides access to the battery compartment.

I then add a MeFOTO DayTrip Tripod, which is only 9.4" tall when folded, and substitute the Joby Ballhead X, which I think is a great value in Arca Swiss compatible tripod heads. I also like that Bullhead X has a panning function (via a second knob) that's great for panoramas.

mefoto-daytrip-jwith-ballhead-x.jpg MeFOTO DayTrip with Joby Bullhead X. I don't need to bring its adapter plate if I'm using the ECG-2 grip.

When I want to shoot a panorama, HDR, or high resolution shot with the E-M5 II, I simply slide the camera into the Bullhead X, tighten the knob, and start shooting. The tripod, head, and camera bracket weigh less than 3 pounds, are super compact, and very fast and convenient to use.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The FrankenPod has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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When I first read about the YONGNUO YN35mm F/2 lens for Canon, I thought it was a steal for $122. I immediately ordered one and have been having a blast shooting with it.

cat-yongnuo-35mm-f-2.jpg Dibs the Cat - Captured with the YONGNUO YN35mm on a Canon 70D at f/2. The lens definitely has its own look, and an interesting one at that. Photo by Derrick Story.

Then, when I returned to Amazon to copy the URL for the TDS Photo Podcast #477, Amazon had this message posted on the site: "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."

yongnuo-35mm-70d.jpg The YONGNUO YN35mm on a Canon 70D. Works great.

I went over to eBay (the other source for the lens when it was released in the US) and the asking price had jumped to $280. Hmmmm...

As for the lens itself, I think it's fun. The only oddity so far has been that its EXIF identification is: Sigma A 24-105 mm f/4 DG OS HSM and not YONGNUO YN35mm.

I discussed it in more detail on the TDS Podcast, if you're interested. I sure hope it comes back to Amazon at $122. If so, I recommend it. (Not so much at $280 on eBay.)

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Hands On with the Yongnuo 35mm f-2.0 lens for Canon, Olympus Camera Grip ECG-2 with Built-In Arca Swiss Plate, SF Street Shooting Workshop Notes, Compositing Photos on a Tablet - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - "Ricoh unveils Pentax K-3 II with Pixel Shift Resolution mode" - It uses an improved image stabilization system that drives a new Pixel Shift Resolution feature, designed to reduce false color. Retaining its predecessor's 24MP sensor, 27-point AF system, and durable construction, the K-3 II offers sensor-shift IS with a claimed 4.5 stops of shake reduction. Also included are built-in GPS, an improved AF algorithm, gyro-sensor-based panning detection and automatic horizon correction. Something that's no longer included is a built-in flash. The Pentax K-3 II will be available in May for $1099.95. (Source: DP Review)

In other news... "American Photo Magazine Stops Publishing, Readers Switched to Pop Photo" Pop Photo editor-in-chief Miriam Leuchter writes that American Photo has discontinued publication effective immediately, and that existing subscribers will automatically be receiving copies of Popular Photography instead. If the reader is already subscribed to Pop Photo, their two subscriptions will be combined into one longer subscription. In 2015 that American Photo had a total print circulation of 100,000 and audience of 1,092,000. The brand will now live on solely through the American Photo website, which Bonnier says has an average monthly readership of 100,000. (Source: PetaPixel)

yongnuo-35mm-box.jpg

Story #1 - "Hands On with the Yongnuo 35mm f/2.0 lens for Canon" - It's about the size of the Canon 50mm f/1.8, and it was selling on Amazon for $122 (that's what I paid). But when I went to check the Yongnuo 35mm f/2.0 catalog page, it said that it's currently out of stock and "We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock." And on eBay, it's now selling for $280. I provide my hands-on review of this suddenly rare lens in today's first story. 

Story #2 - "SF Street Shooting Workshop Notes" I just returned from spending a few days in San Francisco with 8 fantastic photographers. Here are a few of the takeaways from the experience.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Creating Photo Composites on Smartphones and Tablets with Seán Duggan. Sean uses a variety of apps, including Photoshop Touch.

You can watch Sean in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Sean's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #4 Hands on with the Olympus External Metal Grip ECG-2 for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. This handsome all-metal grip also serves as an Arca Swiss adapter plate. Plus you have access to the battery compartment without removing the ECG-2.

Virtual Camera Club News

News from SizzlPix: For April, We'll make it easy to delight your friends and relatives with SizzlPix of your or their favorite photographs with a Digital Story exclusive! Take a 20 percent discount; 25 percent on 2 or more shipped together. Just put "TDS April" in the comments space on the SizzlPix.com ordering page.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (34 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

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

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

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

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

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