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This is The Digital Story Podcast #762, Oct. 27, 2020. Today's theme is "The Rules We Follow (but not sure why)." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

I'm having more conversations than ever about photography, and I think part of the reason is that we're all cooped up and not going to conferences and workshops. One of the things that I've picked up on are some classic self-imposed rules about photography. So I picked a few of my favorites to discuss for today's show.

The Rules We Follow (but not sure why)

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Like practically everything in photography, there are no perfect right and wrongs. Yet, many of us, myself included, find ourselves constrained by rules that should or should not always apply to our work. I thought I would explore a few of these today. And I'm curious if any of these apply to you.

  • The subject should never go in the middle of the frame.
  • I keep the original aspect ratio when cropping.
  • I don't use high ISOs because there is too much noise.
  • I only shoot natural light because flash looks artificial.
  • Program mode is for rookies only.

I comment on each of these in today's podcast.

Fujifilm to improve X-T3 AF performance with new firmware, bringing it more in line with X-T4

You can read the entire article here on DP Review.

In addition to announcing a camera, lens and more, Fujifilm has also revealed it will soon release a free firmware update for its X-T3 that will improve autofocus performance and more.

The firmware update will go live on October 28, according to Fujifilm's press release. The improvements should see autofocus speeds more than double, taking focus times drop from 0.06 seconds to 0.02 seconds, bringing the X-T3's autofocus performance more in line with the X-T4.

Fujifilm says it's also improved the algorithm for predicting subject movements, which should result in a >90% 'hit rate.' The Face Tracking and Eye AF algorithm has also been re-written to double the tracking performance in continuous shooting modes.

Other improvements include the ability to use AF in low light levels down to -7EV with the new Fujinon XF 50mm F1.0 R WR lens, a new 'Focus Limiter' feature for setting pre-determined focus ranges, the ability to change the size of Single AF points while recording video and improvements that make it possible for third-party programs to read the ratings applied to pictures in-camera.

The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing

If you want to learn more about looking and sounding great for your next online interaction, then I think you'll very much enjoy my online workshop, The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing.

This 1-hour deep dive focuses on the three major areas of successful online interaction: Audio, Video, and Environment. During the course, I walk you through a variety of techniques that range from using gear that you already have, to improving your chops through a few inexpensive purchases.

The course is available on our Nimble Photographer Workshop Page for $14.95.

I have tons of great tips and techniques waiting for you there. If you want to get serious about how you appear during online meetings, classes, interviews, and family interactions, then you definitely will want to watch this course.

Halide gets a major update with upgraded RAW processing and new pricing

You can read the entire article here on The Verge.

Halide has launched a new version of its popular iPhone camera app, now dubbed Halide Mark II, and it comes with a lot of new features. Those include a redesign, upgraded RAW processing, and a new pricing model.

Halide says Mark II features a "bottom-up redesign" with the goal of staying out of your way. All of the photo controls should now be within your thumb's reach, no matter what model of iPhone you're using the app with. There's a new typeface, and even the preview of the last shot you took that sits in the bottom-left corner of your screen matches the curvature of your iPhone's screen. It's all meant to feel familiar to people who use Apple's default camera every day -- but as always, Halide packs in a ton of advanced photography tricks.

The new Mark II version of the app can now capture both RAW and the iPhone's computationally processed photos at the same time through a feature Halide calls Coverage. Most photo filter and social media apps don't accept RAW images, but the benefit of RAW is that you get a photo without any processing applied that you can edit later. The benefit of Coverage means you get two images when you take one photo -- one you can post right away, and one you can edit later. Coverage will be off by default, however.

Mark II also gains a new Instant RAW feature, which "intelligently" develops a single RAW image through a 17-step process without you having to adjust sliders or levels yourself. "Instant RAW can work as a midpoint between a completely unedited RAW and a totally processed JPEG," Halide said in today's announcement blog. The company tells The Verge an Instant RAW image will look different than the JPG you might get from an image with Apple's Smart HDR processing applied. Halide's processing approach was modeled after how film photography develops, the company says. (You can still send your RAW images to other apps like Darkroom for more thorough editing if you want.)

If you've already paid for Halide, you get Mark II for free as well as a year-long subscription with all of the perks that includes. If you're a new Halide user, you have a couple of options. You can pay once for the app, which costs $30 at launch and $36 at some point in the future. Halide says it plans to raise that one-time price as new features are added to the app.

Updates and Such

The Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop Begins Its Second Week

Our sold out Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment this week.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community. Soon, I will announce our next event. If you want to be a part of this, keep your eye peeled.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Why I Like Step Up Rings

Some photo accessories that never go out of style. For example, I have a stash of filters that I started collecting decades ago, many of which come in handy to this day.

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My lenses over the years, however, have turned-over many times. When I shot Contax, 55mm and 67mm were the standard filter diameters. Then I switched to Canon, which favored 58mm and 77mm. Micro Four Thirds played small ball with much smaller rings, not to mention all of the vintage optics I have. Yet, I've maintained the same collection of filters as always. How could that be?

Step-up rings.

I have quite a collection of them, and they cost hardly anything. Yet when I have a filter or lens hood that I want to use, but the diameter is wrong, I always have a step-up or step-down ring that makes the whole thing work.

This is particular cost effective with large diameter polarizers that are expensive. I can repurpose my excellent 77mm multicoated circular on a 72mm lens no problem, thanks to, yes, a 72mm > 77mm step up ring. As long as I have those little beauties, nothing goes to waste in my filter box.

One other point that I want to make is that I have a few different camera kits. One of the things that I prefer is to have what I need in each kit without having to borrow from the other. Filters and lens hoods are at the top of that list. Nothing worse than need a neutral density optic and remembering that it's in the other bag.

Step up rings make this possible. I can utilize all my filters all the time regardless of their diameter. It's so efficient.

I've made some good investments over the years. But one of the most cost effective have been my collection of step up rings. Lenses may come and go. But rings are forever.

How to Get Started with Film Photography (eBook)

This 57-page eBook ($5.99) in universal PDF format provides an excellent introduction to film photography. Along with an abundance of illustrations, you'll learn how to:

  • Find the right camera for you
  • Choose the best film for your kind of photography
  • Discover the lenses that you should add to your kit
  • Learn the ins and outs of film processing
  • Find out how to develop B&W film at home
  • Master basic shooting techniques
  • See how to care for your gear
  • And more!

You can read How to Get Started with Film Photography on your computer, smartphone, tablet, and practically any other electronic device that displays PDFs. So you can always have it with you for reference.

Get up to speed quickly with film photography and start making beautiful images. Download How to Get Started with Film Photography today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The October Square Print Sale in partnership with Aperture, brings together a selection of over 120 images by international photographic artists. These are signed or estate-stamped 6"x6" museum-quality prints for $100.

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When you visit the site, you'll see photographers you recognize and images that you're familiar with. The difference is that you can hang these on your walls and enjoy day after day.

I have three Magnum prints hanging in my studio. I bought two one year and the third image the following. They are grouped together by the staircase, so I see them every time I walk up to the recording room. And everyday they make me smile.

Personally, I very much like have photographs on the walls. There's a mix of my stuff and those by famous artists. The Square Print Sale gives you an affordable opportunity to bring some photography history into your home or workplace as well.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #761, Oct. 20, 2020. Today's theme is "Imagine Large Sensor Computational Photography." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

If you followed last week's Apple Event, then you're probably familiar with the term ProRAW, a new format that Apple will be making available on iPhone 12. Among other things, ProRAW attempts to blend computational photography with the benefits of RAW. And it got me thinking: what a shame to waste such a brilliant idea on a small sensor camera. I explain why in today's TDS Photography Podcast.

Imagine Large Sensor Computational Photography

I recently published a piece on Medium.com titled, "The Case Against Full Frame." The point of the article was that the major camera manufacturers are relying on the brute force of a large sensor while smartphones are using machine learning to advance their cause. In other words: brains vs brawn.

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But what if we could have both? We saw a glimmer of that with Olympus in the E-M1 Mark III and the E-M1X - combining computational photographer with a larger sensor. Aside from the specific processors and engines, we would need software to make it all hang together. And the ProRAW format seems like a reasonable bow to tie everything up.

The thing about RAW, as we all know, is that it's rather dull on its own. Yes, we can apply profiles in Lightroom and Capture One Pro that give us a more palatable starting place. But what if we could go beyond those simple profiles to computational versions that presented us with initial images that knocked our socks off?

Plus, have the added benefit of being able to adjust those initial presentations with non-destructive tools? That would be a workflow that I would be very interested in.

Remember George Bernard Shaw's quote that "youth is wasted on the young." I'm starting to understand what he meant now. But to put it into photography terms, machine learning is wasted on the small. Why do we have to choose between smarts and muscle?

While you ponder that, let me tell you a bit more about Pro RAW.

"ProRAW gives you all the standard RAW information, along with the Apple image pipeline data. So you can get a head start on editing, with noise reduction and multiframe exposure adjustments already in place -- and have more time to tweak color and white balance."

"Get a head start on editing" is really the beauty of this for mobile photographers. Many of us shoot with both an interchangeable lens cameras and an iPhone. But the workflows are much different.

For my Olympus PEN-F for example, I shoot in RAW+Jpeg, use the Jpegs when I nail it, and go to the RAWs if the photo needs a bit more work. On my phone, I rarely shoot in RAW because I have to use a different camera app and the workflow isn't as smooth. Plus, editing RAW files on the phone isn't that fun.

With Apple ProRAW, I don't have to start from scratch with my mobile RAW files. I can enjoy the magic of computational photography, then tweak the results to my personal tastes without compromising the file. This is something that I would love to see expand beyond iPhone photography.

So how do we get there?

I think we need to ask for it. We need to let camera manufacturers know that we want similar benefits that smartphone users currently enjoy. I don't think we can leave it up to them. Because to this point, they just haven't been reading the memo.

Fujifilm Announces the X-S10

You can read the entire article here on DP Review.

When you first catch a glimpse of the Fujifilm X-S10, your first thought might be 'this is a Fujifilm?' With a deep grip, more pronounced viewfinder 'hump' and a big dial that adjusts your shooting mode rather than the shutter speed, the X-S10 is something of a departure in design from previous midrange and high-end X-series cameras.

The company describes the X-S10 as a cross between the X-T30 and the X-H1: You get the guts from the former and the design and in-body image stabilization feature (in a new miniaturized form) from the latter. The camera is targeted toward users who may have Canon Rebels or lower-end Nikon DSLRs who want something a little more 'familiar' than a typical Fujifilm camera. And, with a price of $999 for the body - $100 more than the X-T30 - it's not necessarily out of reach for that audience.

  • 26MP X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • On-sensor phase detection
  • 3", 1.04M-dot fully articulating touchscreen
  • 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 30 fps burst shooting with crop (up to 20 fps without)
  • DCI and UHD 4K capture at up to 30p with F-Log support
  • External mic and headphone sockets
  • 325 shots per charge using LCD
  • USB Power Delivery support
  • Single UHS-I card slot
  • Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

The X-S10 is very much a blend of the X-T30 and X-T4 in terms of specs. You get the same sensor, processor and performance of the X-T4, but with things like the EVF resolution and single, slower SD card slot on par with the X-T30.

In terms of pricing, the X-S10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens is available for pre-order now for $1,399 and should ship on Nov. 19. That's a pretty good deal for what looks like a terrific camera for serious enthusiasts.

The New Donation Kit for Carefree Shipping of Found Film Cameras

We have more time around the house than ever. And you finally dove into that bedroom closet that's been begging for some organization.

If you found a film camera that you're no longer using, our new Donation Kit makes it easy to pack and ship. Just visit the Contact Form on thenimblephotographer.com, click the box next to Donating a Film Camera, and let me know what you have. In your note, be sure to include your shipping address.

If it's a camera we can use for the shop, I'll send you a Donation Kit that includes a USPS Priority Mail shipping box and prepaid label. All you have to do is tape it up, insert the camera, and add the label. USPS will pick up your shipment from the front door of your house during their regular mail delivery. It's that simple!

Your donation help get analog gear in the hands of aspiring fine art photographers, and the proceeds help support this podcast.

Updates and Such

The Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop Begins this Week

Our sold out Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop begins with its first assignment this week.

I've created a new space called DerrickStoryOnline to support our virtual and physical workshops. Those who signed up for the Eastern Sierra event will have permanent access to this growing community. Soon, I will announce our next event. If you want to be a part of this, keep your eye peeled.

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts! If you want to learn more about our Patreon supporters and their community, visit our Inner Circle page.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Podcast Player is Fixed: For those of you with updated Safari browsers, you may have noticed error messages of late. Well, we fixed the problem!

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Apple ProRAW - The Best of Both Worlds

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As interested as I am in iPhone 12, ProRAW is what really caught my eye during the last Apple Event. There's a key phrase in Apple's description that I think sums it up well:

"ProRAW gives you all the standard RAW information, along with the Apple image pipeline data. So you can get a head start on editing, with noise reduction and multiframe exposure adjustments already in place -- and have more time to tweak color and white balance."

"Get a head start on editing" is really the beauty of this for mobile photographers. Many of us shoot with both an interchangeable lens cameras and an iPhone. But the workflows are much different.

For my Olympus PEN-F for example, I shoot in RAW+Jpeg, use the Jpegs when I nail it, and go to the RAWs if the photo needs a bit more work. On my phone, I rarely shoot in RAW because I have to use a different camera app and the workflow isn't as smooth. Plus, editing RAW files on the phone isn't that fun.

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With Apple ProRAW, I don't have to start from scratch with my mobile RAW files. I can enjoy the magic of computational photography, then tweak the results to my personal tastes without compromising the file. This is something that I would love to see expand beyond iPhone photography.

The catch is, you'll need a new iPhone to use it. I won't be able to tap ProRAW from my perfectly capable iPhone X (a device that I'm quite fond of). If I were to upgrade, being the photographer that I am, I would certainly opt for the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the 65mm telephoto and the Sensor-shift OIS for the 26mm camera. That bad boy will cost $1,399 with 512GB of memory. Whoa. I truly am buying a camera system, aren't I?

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We're not exactly sure when ProRAW will be released. We do know that it won't be on the iPhone 12 as shipped. So there will be some waiting time. That's not really a huge problem since there are plenty of other features to explore and learn in the meantime.

So I think I'm going to wait and see how things shake out. I'm not shooting as much right now anyway because of the pandemic. I'm totally in love with my Fujifilm X100V when I do get out. And as I said earlier, I'm still quite enamored with my iPhone X.

But I am very enthusiastic about Apple ProRAW. And I know there will be a day when it will be my go-to format for mobile photography.

When I talk about camera manufacturers paying attention to what's happening in the smartphone space, this is the kind of stuff I'm referring to. Imagine having ProRAW on your favorite digital camera? That would be sweet. Stay tuned.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Film-Photography-Cover.jpg

This 57-page eBook in universal PDF format provides an excellent introduction to film photography. Along with an abundance of illustrations, you'll learn how to:

  • Find the right camera for you
  • Choose the best film for your kind of photography
  • Discover the lenses that you should add to your kit
  • Learn the ins and outs of film processing
  • Find out how to develop B&W film at home
  • Master basic shooting techniques
  • See how to care for your gear
  • And more!

You can read How to Get Started with Film Photography on your computer, smartphone, tablet, and practically any other electronic device that displays PDFs. So you can always have it with you for reference.

Film-Photography-Cameras.jpg

Film-Photography-Processing.jpg

Get up to speed quickly with film photography and start making beautiful images. Download How to Get Started with Film Photography today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #760, Oct. 13, 2020. Today's theme is "5 Things Photographers Wonder About and Sometimes Debate." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Sometimes it's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off, or just ask random questions. For example, are generic camera batteries as good as the ones offered by the manufacturers at twice the price? Or what do I use if I don't like Lightroom? Well for today, I'm here for you. And I have thoughts on these and more in today's TDS Photography Podcast. I hope you enjoy the show.

5 Things Photographers Wonder About and Sometimes Debate

I think at one time or another, many of us have had at least one of these questions bouncing around in our heads. Today, we're going to get them out on the table.

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  • Are Generic Batteries OK to Use and as Good as Those Sold by the Manufacturers at Twice the Price?
  • Should I Use Protection Filters or Not? -
  • Do I Really Need a Tripod? -
  • Do I Need a Full Frame Camera to be a Professional Photographer? -
  • What Do I Do If I Don't Like Lightroom? -

The answers to these in today's podcast.

A Big Misstep for Micro Four Thirds: Panasonic G100 Review

You can read the entire article here on the Phoblographer.

The Panasonic G100 has good but not great build qualities. For a camera that costs $747.99, I was expecting a little more. The Panasonic G100 does not feel as nice as the Olympus E-M10 IV. It falls quite short of the Fujifilm X-T200 and is behind the Sony a6100 and Nikon Z50: all of which have similar price points. The plastic body feels just okay. The texture on the grip feels pretty cheap. All of the dials are plastic, and a few of the buttons feel mushy when pressed. The on/off switch honestly feels like it might break. I'm sure the camera will stand up to a few bumps and bangs, but it doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in me.

Not surprisingly, the Panasonic G100 does not have weather sealing. No weather sealing means you cannot take this camera out into the snow or rain, and the sensor will be more prone to becoming dirty with dust. When a camera doesn't have built-in dust removing features (like the Panasonic G100), dust on the sensor will quickly become a problem. If you're careful with the G100, it should last a while.

I think Panasonic had good intentions with the Panasonic G100, but they missed the mark. The camera will appeal to vloggers because of its small size and weight. The fully articulating screen is nice too, and that's great for both stills and video. The sensor can produce excellent images, and a lot can be done with the RAW files. The colors are pleasant, and you'll find there's plenty of dynamic range. But, there are too many shortcomings. It appears Panasonic thought a higher resolution EVF and LCD would be better than IBIS. To keep the cost down, they could have had either one, but not both. They made the wrong choice. I love the EVF and LCD, but removing IBIS was a mistake.

Panasonic Lumix G100 is capable of producing splendid images, but the autofocus performance, lack of IBIS, and mediocre battery life really harm this camera. At $747.99 (with a kit lens), it's priced a little high. In this price bracket, there are better options out there that perform better in almost every area for hybrid shooters.

How to Get Started with Film Photography (eBook)

This 57-page eBook in universal PDF format provides an excellent introduction to film photography. Along with an abundance of illustrations, you'll learn how to:

  • Find the right camera for you
  • Choose the best film for your kind of photography
  • Discover the lenses that you should add to your kit
  • Learn the ins and outs of film processing
  • Find out how to develop B&W film at home
  • Master basic shooting techniques
  • See how to care for your gear
  • And more!
  • >/ul>

    You can read How to Get Started with Film Photography on your computer, smartphone, tablet, and practically any other electronic device that displays PDFs. So you can always have it with you for reference.

    Get up to speed quickly with film photography and start making beautiful images. Download How to Get Started with Film Photography today!

    Updates and Such

    Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

    B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

    Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

    And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

    See you next week!

    Product Links and Comments

    There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

    You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

IMG_6869.jpeg

Whether I'm scouting a location, checking the accuracy of my camera's exposure system, or working with a vintage film camera, there are moments when I need to measure ambient lighting with a separate device. I've been using the free version of Luma Light Meter on my iPhone X. But there are a variety of competing apps that are also quite good. You can see a nice overview of them here.

One of the situations when I really appreciate this option is when I have my camera mounted on a tripod. Once it's all set up and locked down, I can walk around the scene with iPhone in hand and measure different elements. I can then check those meter readings against my camera's output, and make adjustments if necessary. And I can do all of this without having to reposition and recompose.

And for those who shoot film with vintage cameras, a phone light meter is a must. First, it comes in handy for checking what the aging cell in the camera is seeing. And second, there are a lot of cool cameras that don't have functioning light meters.

Yes, you could operate off the Sunny 16 rule. But believe me, my iPhone is far more accurate.

Smartphones are great for taking photos. But they're also an excellent accessory for our interchangeable lens cameras as well. Add a light meter app to your device and don't forget to use it when the situation calls for it.

How to Watch Photos for macOS Catalina and iPadOS

Learn everything you need to know about Photos for the Mac and iPad by checking out my latest course on LinkedIn Learning and on lynda.com. This course is perfect for Mac and iPad based photographers who shoot with iPhone, Mirrorless, and DSLR cameras. It covers both photography and movies. And if I say so myself, it's a lot of fun.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #759, Oct. 6, 2020. Today's theme is "Should You Create a Photography Budget?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Photography gear should not be an impulse buy, especially when that decision sends a $2,500 charge to your credit card. By the same token, new gear helps keep us motivated and creating new images. So how do we balance the two forces? My argument is an approved photography budget. And I'll explain why on today's TDS podcast.

Should You Create a Photography Budget?

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After the first week of shooting with the Nikon Z5 mirrorless camera with its 24-50mm lens, I started asking myself, "where can I reasonably come up with the $1,700 to buy this kit?"

I was so impressed with the images I was making from the Eastern Sierra and Lake Tahoe with the camera. It wasn't too heavy, the compact 24-50mm lens was performing beyond my expectation, and I had lots of Nikon glass that I could use with an adapter. I was so very, very tempted.

Fast forward three weeks later - I boxed up the Nikon Z5 and attached the shipping label to return it to B&H Photo who had let me use it for a month. By this point, I was OK sending it back. I didn't want to, but it was the right decision.

Why? Because that $1,700 plus another $400 for accessories was not in my 2020 photography budget. In fact, we're only in October, and I have less than $700 left to spend. So back to New York the Z5 goes.

Even though on one level I hate them, I'm a big fan of budgets. I have an overall monthly for the business, a break-out budget specifically for gear, and I create budgets for trips as well. Well, I did anyway until 6 months ago.

My photography budget protects me from me. I know how easily a new camera or lens can turn my head. So easily, in fact, that I usually have to create a pros and cons list in addition to a budget to reach a sound decision.

Earlier this year, I wanted the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. It was $1,800 then. Now you can get one for $1,400. That's still twice as much as my remaining $700.

And I can't justify it because my Mark II is still an amazing camera and I'm currently without photo assignments. I also wanted (and still covet) the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens. It's now available for $549. If it's still at that price in late November, I may go for it.

The point that I'm trying to make is that photography budgets bring rational conversations to gear acquisition. And now is the time to start working on yours for 2021.

My is based off the dollar amount that I anticipate I'll have available for investing in new equipment. So that forces me to look at overall projected income and expenses.

Once I have that number, I reduce it by one-third to keep me from accidentally over-spending since other expenses tend to rise unexpectedly.

One tip that I have for married photographers is to complete your analysis well ahead of time, then have it pre-approved by your partner. So now you only have to have one potentially difficult conversation instead of many spread out through the year.

And finally, create a separate gear account and start funding it right way. That allows you to take advantage of programs like Payboo by B&H that saves you paying sales tax and interest if you pay off the purchase by the next billing cycle.

My new camera for the year was the Fujifilm X100V. And I love it as much today as that moment back in March when I first laid hands on it.

I hope I do equally well with my decision making in 2021.

Panasonic Doesn't Expect Olympus Owners to Switch To Its Products

You can read the entire article here on PetaPixel.

In the wake of Olympus' finalized deal with Japan Industrial Partners to assume control of the company's imaging business, Panasonic apparently isn't very hopeful that many of Olympus' Micro Four Thirds photographers will make the jump over to Panasonic camera equipment.

Panasonic has for years seen its positioning of MFT as complementary to that of Olympus, rather than as a direct competitor. While Olympus excels at image quality and technological advancements in still image capture, Panasonic has spent the lion's share of its energy in video capture.

Panasonic expanded out of the MFT market with its S series of cameras which both diversified and bolstered its camera line, while Olympus remained set in its ways with a recommitment to MFT. It's possible to see that refusal to expand as a reason for Olympus needing to bow out of the imaging market entirely, but Panasonic has repeatedly informed us that it does not intend to abandon MFT. And while Panasonic has released several full-frame cameras since its last flagship MFT body, the company will still to this day strongly throw its support behind the format if asked.

I'm curious. Olympus shooters, does this resonate for you? Or are you giving Panasonic a second look?

The Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop

I'm thrilled to announce the Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop on November 6-7, 2020.

This event will be unlike others that you may have read about or even attended yourself. We are taking the popular components of the TDS physical workshops and digitizing them. Here are a few examples.

  • The Opportunity to Share Your Photos with Me and the Class - Even though the live event begins on Friday, Nov. 6, You will receive lesson tutorials on Oct. 21 and 28, then have time to go outside and practice these techniques. If you wish, you can share your favorite images from the practice sessions to be incorporated in the workshop.
  • Small Group for a More Personal Experience - Even though it's an online event, class size is limited to 15 to ensure you have ample opportunities to get your questions answered (by me and other class members).
  • Ongoing Conversations Beyond the Event Itself - I'm setting up a page online that will feature content from our event with the ability for ongoing conversations among class members.

Even though I'm using the Eastern Sierra as a backdrop for my tutorials, your photography and contributions to this workshop could be from anywhere in the world. In other words, it's all about the photography, not the specific location.

Since this is our first online event of this type, the tuition is only $150. Seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Sign up today by visiting the Online Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop page at theNimblePhotographer.com.

The New Donation Kit for Carefree Shipping of Found Film Cameras

We have more time around the house than ever. And you finally dove into that bedroom closet that's been begging for some organization.

If you found a film camera that you're no longer using, our new Donation Kit makes it easy to pack and ship. Just visit the Contact Form on thenimblephotographer.com, click the box next to Donating a Film Camera, and let me know what you have. In your note, be sure to include your shipping address.

If it's a camera we can use for the shop, I'll send you a Donation Kit that includes a USPS Priority Mail shipping box and prepaid label. All you have to do is tape it up, insert the camera, and add the label. USPS will pick up your shipment from the front door of your house during their regular mail delivery. It's that simple!

Your donation help get analog gear in the hands of aspiring fine art photographers, and the proceeds help support this podcast.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. (The Digital Story is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.) And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

Affiliate Links - The links to some products in this podcast contain an affiliate code that credits The Digital Story for any purchases made from B&H Photo and Amazon via that click-through. Depending on the purchase, we may receive some financial compensation.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Nikon has joined other camera manufacturers in creating free software to enable selected cameras as webcams. The timing couldn't be better as work online continues to dominate the business landscape. The Nikon Z5 with 24-50mm Lens at $1,696 is relatively affordable in the full frame mirrorless category. I decided to take it for a spin with the new Webcam Utility for the Mac.

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It's easy to get started with the software. Basically, you download a disk image and install it. That's it. I restarted the Mac just to make sure everything was clean, then fired up the camera and QuickTime for a test.

The Webcam Utility works behind the scenes. You don't have to launch an app or do anything special to enable it once installed. Instead, your Nikon camera appears as an option for Skype, Zoom, etc. It was also available in QuickTime, which it doesn't officially support.

I made a test movie and the audio and visual were out of sync. I wasn't too worried because this wasn't the intended use for the Webcam Utility. And to be honest, I was just happy to see a picture.

I moved to Skype and opened preferences. As promised, the Nikon Webcam Utility was an available option.

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I made a few test calls and everything looked and sounded great. You need to use a separate audio source with this kit, not the mics on the Z5, which is fine. I tapped my normal mic setup and used the Nikon for video only. All was good.

One of the questions that I had was how well would the relatively slow f/4-6.3 24-50mm zoom work for this application. My normal rig is an Olympus PEN-F with 17mm f/1.8 lens. But because the Nikon Z5 can handle high ISOs, the slower lens wasn't an issue, and the picture was quite good.

I bring this up because webcammers can order the basic kit and call it a day. Mount the Z5 to a small tripod, attach the included USB cable to the computer, load the software, and start broadcasting. Simple.

The Nikon Webcam Utility is available for Mac and Windows computers. And the Nikon Z5 with 24-50mm Lens is an excellent all-around camera that also works well as a webcam. Well done Nikon!

The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing

If you want to learn more about looking and sounding great for your next online interaction, then I think you'll very much enjoy my online workshop, The Essential Steps to Impressive Video Conferencing.

This 1-hour deep dive focuses on the three major areas of successful online interaction: Audio, Video, and Environment. During the course, I walk you through a variety of techniques that range from using gear that you already have, to improving your chops through a few inexpensive purchases.

The course is available on our Nimble Photographer Workshop Page for $14.95.

I have tons of great tips and techniques waiting for you there. If you want to get serious about how you appear during online meetings, classes, interviews, and family interactions, then you definitely will want to watch this course.

Product Links and Comments

There are product links in this article that contain affiliate tags. In some cases, depending on the product, The Digital Story may receive compensation if you purchase a product via one of those links. There is no additional cost to you.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.