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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.
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  • 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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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Adobe hacked, Cloud services for your photos, and How to Brighten Teeth - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Adobe Hacked - Recently, attackers removed from Adobe servers certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders. What does this mean for Adobe customers and Cloud-based services in general?

Story #2 - Cloud Services for Your Photos - Interesting topic in light the Adobe hacked story. After lots of testing, I'm still of the belief that the best backup system is the one you set-up and forget about.

I share my experiences with Apple's Photo Stream, EverPix, and Dropbox's latest feature, automated backup of your iPhoto library.

Story #3 - Tooth Brightening in Post Production - Brightening someone's smile is one of the nice things that you can do for your subjects during image editing. For best results, a light touch is required. In the third story I share my tips for an attractive, natural smile.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (37 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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Top shelf mirrorless cameras are tempting enthusiasts to set down their DSLRs and take notice. We've heard a lot about the Olympus OM-D E-M1, Panasonic GH3, and Sony NEX-7. Great cameras indeed, but pricy too. The E-M1 lists for $1,399 without lens, the GH3 is selling for $1,298 sans glass, and the NEX-7 is available for $1,098, body only.

If those numbers are a bit rich for your budget, here are three CSCs that have plenty of star power, but without the big price tags. They offer excellent performance and options, and cost hundreds less than the flagship models.

GX7s_back_slant_LCD_2_700.jpg

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

Panasonic pulled out all of the stops with the DMC-GX7, featuring a 16 MP Digital Live MOS sensor that sells for $898.

Highlight features include a 3" 1,040k-dot tilting touchscreen LCD and a 90 degree tilting 2,764k-dot EVF, all within a sleek body. Unlike most of the other G-series cameras, the GX7 includes in-body image stabilization instead of relying solely on optical IS. And we love that it has both built-in wireless and NFC connectivity. Its handsome good looks add the finishing touch to a very complete package.

Based on its design and specs, I think it's one of the most tempting Panasonics to date.

Samsung NX 300 top.jpg

Samsung NX300

The Samsung NX300 gets you a lot of resolution (and functionality) for the money. The 20.3 MP APS-C sensor delivers the goods in practically any lighting condition. The kit, which includes a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, is selling for $799. For that reasonable price, you get more pixels than the Micro Four Thirds bodies from Olympus and Panasonic. plus a sharp, stabilized zoom lens.

I was very impressed with the image quality of the NX300. The tilting LCD adds flexibility while composing the shots. The downside is that there isn't an electronic viewfinder as with the GX7. The WiFi is easy to use and allows for both remote camera control and file transfer. But the real kicker with the NX300 is its Smart Mode that provides options similar to traditional scene modes, but on steriods. Be sure to try Beauty Face and Light Trace.

sony-nex-5t-front.jpg

Sony Alpha NEX-5T

Sony makes two basic flavors of their Alpha line of Compact System Cameras. A handsome lower priced model is the Alpha NEX-5T that houses a 16.1MP APS-C Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and sells for $548.

The NEX-5T includes lots of goodies such as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, continuous shooting rate of 10 fps, tilting 3" 921.6k-dot LCD, plus fast autofocusing and high ISO performance. And if you've never experienced Sony's sweep panorama, you're in for a treat.

As with the Samsung NX300, there's no electronic viewfinder. But unlike the NX300, Sony managed to squeeze a pop-up flash into this very compact body.

Bottom Line

Among these three, I find the Panasonic GX7 the most tempting of the bunch, and it's also the most expensive (but still less than flagship counterparts). I like the tilting LCD and EVF, plus with built-in image stabilization, there's a huge catalog of lenses from Panasonic, Olympus, and independents that will perform well on this camera body.

But if you want a slightly larger sensor and save even more money, both the Samsung and the Sony are excellent options. You'll have to compose solely on the LCD, but these cameras are feature rich and provide outstanding image quality.

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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.

Canon 70D Top View

Many enthusiast photographers wrestle with the decision whether or not to get a kit lens when purchasing a new DSLR. I think this consideration becomes even more important with the new Canon EOS 70D. Why? Because the STM lenses perform noticeably better than standard EF-S zooms on the 70D. At the top of the list is how quietly the STM lenses focus.

Today on Photo Help Desk, Craig asked if he should invest in the Canon 18-135mm STM when purchasing his new Canon 70D. His issue was that he already owns excellent glass that covers the same focal range.

Our response on Photo Help Desk was that we think the investment is a good idea, based on three reasons. So, our short answer is "yes;" add the 18-135mm STM to the kit. If you're interested in why we think this is a good idea, check out our response at Photo Help Desk. We cover this, and many other interesting topics, there every day.


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


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