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Samsung NX300 Pros and Cons

The Samsung NX300 with 18-55mm OIS lens ($625 US) provides a legitimate alternative to the Sony NX and Olympus OM-D series. It's large APS-C sensor, sharp kit lens, and plethora of intelligent controls are worth investigating if you're thinking about a new Compact System Camera.

In my review of the NX300 for TechHive titled, Samsung NX300 review: Shoot like a pro, share like a teenager, I talk about its excellent image quality, intelligent WiFi integration, and creative Smart Modes. Bottom line, it stacks up like this:

Pros

  • Large APS-C sensor with excellent high ISO performance
  • High quality 18-55mm OIS kit lens (recommended over the non-stabilized 20-50mm kit lens)
  • Built-in WiFi with companion Android and iOS apps
  • Creative controls such as Smart Mode and Smart Filters
  • Excellent manual focusing
  • Excellent value for compact system camera with APS-C sensor ($625 with OIS zoom)

Cons

  • LCD-only composition, No accessory viewfinder option
  • Lack of built-in flash
  • In-camera battery charging unless you buy accessory charger

Bottom Line

Legitimate competitor to mirrorless cameras from Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony.

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Nimble Photographer Logo

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

Sony a7 Mirrorless Camera

With the announcement of the Sony a7 full frame mirrorless camera, could an Olympus model be far behind?

Here's my thinking. Olympus already uses sensors designed by Sony for the OM-D series. Plus, Sony actually has a sizable investment in the company. And Olympus has hinted that full frame is on their radar.

The difficulty, of course, will be lenses. Sony will manage to get a few full frame lenses out the door in 2013, but their roadmap doesn't really fill out until 2014-15. Olympus would have some serious decisions to make concerning glass if they decided to go the full frame route.

And finally, there's that large capital investment to launch such a product line. Sony has vast resources. Olympus, well, not so much.

And despite all of this, I could see an Olympus full frame camera in the future. Because the other thing that Olympus and Sony share is creativity. Maybe it will be an OM-D alpha-1...

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PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Pentax's crazy K-3 DSLR, The Nimble Photographer lives, Easy hair light for portraits - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Impressive Pentax K-3 DSLR ($1,295) brings new innovation to the DSLR world. At the top of the feature list is the anti-aliasing simulator that applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the subpixel level during image exposure, generating the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical anti-aliasing filter. And it's adjustable. Plus you get:

  • Brand-new sensor with approximately 24 effective megapixels and a new imaging engine
  • AF module with 27 auto focus points
  • High-speed continuous shooting with a maximum speed of approximately 8.3 images per second
  • In-body image stabilization
  • 3.2-inch LCD monitor with approximately 1,037,000 dots
  • Dustproof, weather-resistant body construction perfect for outdoor shooting
  • Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility
  • USB 3.0 interface

What don't you get? There's no built-in WiFi and the LCD does not have touchscreen capability.

Story #2 - The Nimble Photographer Lives! What started as a fun idea into 2010 has now become a full-blown website and community. Today is the debut of thenimblephotographer.com.

I Am WiFi Enabled

The site features a Journal with comments, a store for Nimble photographer gear, Walkabout for photo sharing, Fit Kits to take you inside the nimble photographer camera bag configurations, and believe it or not, more. I tell you all about it in the second segment of today's show.

Story #3 - Easy Hair Light for Portraits - Adding a highlight to the hair gives that professional touch to portraits. But controlling the amount of light is not always easy. After lots of experimentation with just about every technique available, I have settled on a handy variable controlled LED light for hair lights. You can see an example of this technique here. I explain in the third segment of today's show.

Listen to the Podcast

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.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The October 2013 photo assignment is "My House is My Castle."

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

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 save 20% at check out.

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The Nimble Photographer Sets Up Camp

The Nimble Photographer

It started with a YouTube video in 2010, and has gained momentum ever since. Now The Nimble Photographer has set up camp with a website that features a journal, photos, store, and a variety of gear configurations for those who subscribe to the motto: "Take only pictures; leave only footsteps."

The Journal entries are personal notes from a wandering photographer, but you can leave comments on topics of interest to you. Photos are displayed in the Walkabout section where my latest Instagram and Flicker pictures appear.

Walking Man Hat

The Nimble Store is a first for me. But I've had a blast creating T-Shirts such as I'm WiFi Enabled, a custom cap with an embroidered Walking Man icon, and a limited edition messenger bag. At this time we can only ship to U.S. addresses. But I hope to expand in the future as I find a way to reduce overseas shipping costs.

And finally, on the Fit Kits page, I display a variety of packing configurations that have a high nimbleosity rating. After you've had a chance to view the different kits, you might want to share a photo of your Nimble Photographer tools. Use the Contact Form to send me a link to the photo, or send it to me via thenimblephotographer@gmail.com.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you, and hearing about yours.


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

FujiFilm X20 Camera Top View

When I walk out the door for a morning walk, the camera that I slide in my front pocket is the Fujifilm X20 compact camera. Why? Aside from its terrific image quality and handsome good looks, it's the optical viewfinder.

Angled morning light is great for photography. But it's hard on LCD screens. And I need a compact camera that allows me to comfortably compose the picture outdoors. The optical viewfinder for the X20 is perfect for these conditions.

Two Tress in Shilo "Two Trees in Shilo" - Fujifilm X20, ISO 200, f/4, RAW - Photo by Derrick Story.

Fujifilm's viewfinder zooms with the lens so I have a relatively accurate field of view. Plus its readouts keep me apprised of the current camera settings. It's not as accurate as the framing with a DSLR. But then again, the X20 fits in my front pants pocket and only weights 12 ounces.

I'm lucky that I get to use different cameras for different situations. And when I need a pocketable compact for a morning hike, the Fujifilm X20 is definitely my first choice.


Flickr Essential Training 2013 - I explore the entire Flickr universe, mobile and computer, in my lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and take a look.

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Tripods for Mirrorless Cameras

Today on Photo Help Desk, bureau chief Jeremy Verinsky recommends a variety of tripods for mirrorless cameras. If you want to travel light, but steady, these selections have a high nimbleosity rating.


PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

Canon 70D Live View

Have I noticed an improvement in autofocusing, both in terms of speed and accuracy, after a couple weeks of shooting with the new Canon EOS 70D camera? The short answer is yes.

The highlights can be summarized in just a few points.

  • Live View focusing for stills and video is faster and more accurate.
  • Since Live View is on par with optical AF, I'm using it far more, especially in the studio.
  • I haven't noticed any downside to using Dual Pixel AF.

If you want to see an excellent report on Dual Pixel AF accuracy, take a look at Dual Pixel AF vs. Conventional AF accuracy at DP Review. It's a terrific deep dive into the AF system on the Canon 70D.

Bottom line is this: Canon delivers a top notch AF system in an affordable DSLR body $1,200 US. Live View focusing is further enhanced by the 70D's Vari-angle 3-inch touch screen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots. And the system works great with practically any existing EF or EF-S lens.

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PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

Often when we shoot portraits, we find ourselves with a series of images that require minor adjustments. In Aperture, you can work on one of those photos, then apply those edits to remaining shots in the series. And you even have control over which edits are applied, and which are not.

This tutorial is from my Portrait Retouching with Aperture training on lynda.com. I walk you through the batch processing step by step, so you can apply this technique right now.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, take a look at Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture. Also, visit our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Aperture Workshop Coming on Nov. 16 and 17, 2013

Want to learn Aperture in a hands on environment? My next Aperture workshop will be Nov. 16 and 17 in Santa Rosa, CA. We'll review all of the basics, plus work on portraiture (including a live model shoot), product photography, and more. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more information and a reservation form.

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Canon Speedlite 270EX II Flash

The one flash that I always have stashed in my camera bag is the Canon 270EX II Speedlite Flash ($149) because it is one of my most versatile photo accessories.

This pocket-sized wonder weighs just a bit over 5 ounces, yet can help me light a variety of scenes. Here are its highlights:

  • Bounce Head - This is a rarity in pocket flashes. The head can be angled upward for bounce flash. I often attach a white business card to the head for a bounce/fill portrait.
  • Manual Zoom Head - Coverage can be switched between normal and telephoto.
  • Slave Capability - Not only will the 270EX II fire wirelessly from my Canon 70D, it can function in an A/B configuration. The 270 EXII is programmed as Group A, just set the other Canon flash to Group B, and you can control the ratios between them.
  • flash-menu.jpg

  • Flash Exposure Compensation - From the Flash menu on your Canon camera, you have 3 stops flash exposure compensation for over and under control.
  • Flash Release Function - You can trigger the camera wirelessly from the flash via a 2-second delay. Very handy when you don't have a helper to hold the flash for you.

The Canon 270EX II Speedlite Flash includes a soft case that also holds a mini flash stand with mounting socket in the bottom. It only requires 2 AA batteries. And I never leave home without it.

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PhotoHelpDesk.com is a down-to-earth resource for curious minded photographers. Submit your questions, and we'll post an answer.

pentax-k3-models.jpg

Forget having to choose between anti-aliasing or non-anti-aliasing models for your high end DSLR. Pentax just announced the Pentax K-3 ($1,296) that features a ground-breaking anti-aliasing simulator.

Pentax writes: "The simulator applies microscopic vibrations to the image sensor unit at the subpixel level during image exposure, generating the same level of moiré-reduction effect as an optical anti-aliasing filter. Unlike an optical anti-aliasing filter that always creates the identical result, this innovative simulator allows the user not only to switch the anti-aliasing filter effect on and off, but also to adjust the level of the effect. This allows the user to set the ideal effect for a particular scene or subject."

Additionally, the K-3 offers:

  • 23.35MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Newly designed SAFOX 11 AF module with 27 auto focus points
  • Full HD 1080i/p video recording
  • 3.2" 1,037k-Dot LCD monitor
  • Optical 0.95x Mag. pentaprism viewfinder
  • Continuous shooting up to 8.3 fps
  • In-Camera Shake Reduction Stabilization
  • Dual SD memory card slots
  • Weather-Sealed Magnesium Alloy body

The K-3 doesn't have built-in WiFi, but Pentax did develop the FLU card: "This SDHC memory card offers wireless LAN connection to a compatible smartphone. Via a designated Web browser, the user can inspect a live-view image, release the K-3's shutter, shift the AF sensor point, and check images recorded on the card using the smartphone screen." We'll see how this approach compares once I've had a chance to test it.

Overall, this camera looks like a winner. I've used the Pentax K-2 extensively, and this model improves upon what I considered one of the best APS-C DSLRs available. I'll try to get my hands on a K-3 for testing.

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