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TechHive just posted my field test of the rugged Pentax K-30 DSLR with the new 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens. I used this camera in various conditions for nearly two months, before reluctantly sending it back to Pentax.

Its billboard feature is the weather resistant body and lens. If you use the 18-135mm (27-202mm equivalent), you would rarely have to change glass in the field. This makes the K-30 a good choice for backpackers, snow boarders, and other outdoor photographers.

rolex_big_boats.jpg I tested the K-30 while shooting the Rolex Big Boats challenge in San Francisco Bay from an outboard circling the event.

But the K-30 includes a host of other features that aren't included on many DSLRs in its price range (less than $1,100 with the zoom lens):

  • Built-in HDR: The K-30 comes with four levels of in-camera HDR processing, ranging from subtle recovery of highlights and shadows to exaggerated HDR effects.
  • Multiple exposure: Another in-camera special effect is multiple exposure, which lets you combine up to nine frames into a single final image.
  • AA batteries: The K-30 ships with a respectably strong lithium power cell. But the battery chamber is also designed to hold four AA batteries. All you need to make the switch is an inexpensive adapter. Then, in the menu, you can select the type of AA battery you want to use (lithium, nickel-metal hydride, or alkaline). It's a great feature if you like to go on extended adventures away from power outlets.
  • Raw/Fx button: Located on the left side of the camera, the Raw/Fx button allows you to switch quickly to Raw format for the next shot. So when you see a composition that might require a little extra work, you can go from JPEG to Raw with just the press of a button. You can also set this button to remain in Raw mode until you toggle it off.

You get all of this, plus terrific image quality, for for $1,080 with the 18-135mm zoom lens. It's a solid camera at a great price.

Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.

A great way to shake things up photographically is with an ultra wide lens. I recently had a chance to experiment with the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 UMC fisheye lensfor micro four thirds on my Olympus OM-D. Samyang makes this lens in various mounts, so they most likely have one for your camera too.

samyang_fisheye_view.jpg Super wide perspective with the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye lens for micro four thirds.

The micro four thirds version is a manual focusing 7.5mm chunk of glass. That works out to 15mm in full frame terms -- very nice. The manual focusing isn't really an issue with the Samyang, because almost everything is in focus anyway. But I did go through the motions of picking a spot and turning the ring. The maximum aperture of 3.5 seemed like enough for indoor and out, especially with the high ISO capability of today's cameras.

standard_12mm_view.jpg Same view at 12mm with the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom.

The Samyang lens sells for $299 USand is available widely. If you need to broaden your visual horizons, you might want to take a look.

Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

A sign of the times. DP Review just launched Connect, a site dedicated to mobile photography technology, culture, and community.


The top nav bar covers a broad array of topics: news, reviews, features, phones, cameras, tablets, apps and forums. The site looks good on my Mac and on the 3rd Gen iPad, but is a little hard to read on the iPhone 4S.

There's plenty of information right now, even at launch. Looks like a good site for Nimble Photographers to add to their reading list.

You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.

Tired of fumbling with your lenses when trying to change them on the go? The Lowepro Lens Exchange Case 100 AWprovides you with a convenient system for securely changing and protecting your glass.

Lowepro Lens Exchange 100 AW


The Lens Exchange attaches to your belt or goes over your shoulder with its included strap. You can open the case with one hand to reveal its contents and an open compartment.

Remove the lens from your camera and place it in the open compartment. Take the other lens from the case and mount it on your DSLR. Close the case with one hand and get back to work.

It's truly ingenious. Lowepro has also included side pouches for your lens cap and small accessories. If the climate turns bad, pull out the patented All Weather Cover to protect your gear.

The Lowepro Lens Exchange Case 100 AW accommodates most mid-range zoom lenses. It's available for $45 USfrom Amazon.

And if you need a home for your 70-200mm zoom, take a look at the Lens Exchange Case 200 AWthat's just as clever.

Find great deals at the TDS Photography Store on Amazon.

Recent releases of Aperture and Lightroom make it a great time to revisit the individual strengths of each application. We're talking cream of the crop here, but they do offer different features. Which one is right for you? Listen in on today's Special Edition podcast, "Aperture vs Lightroom," and discover the answer.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (37 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.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Panorama is the Oct. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31, 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 -- You can win an Epson R2000 from Red River Paper during their 15 Year Anniversary Celebration.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Special this month, order one SizzlPix and get the second one for 50%. Put "TDS" in the comments field of your order.

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.

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SizzlPix Winners Gallery

Each month the team over at SizzlPix choose a SizzlPix Pick of the Month from our Photo Assignment participants. I thought it would be fun to share the winning images from the last few galleries.

March 2012 - Eyes


Brian Reynolds

April 2012 - Macro


Ruth Cooper

May 2012 - Action


Mike Worthington

June 2012 - Signs


Gerry Legere

July 2012 - Hot


Ryan Wilson

Aug 2012 - Street Scene


Sergio Burani

Current Monthly Photo Assignment

Panorama is the Oct. 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31, 2012.

Thanks everyone for participating! And congrats to all of our winners.

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

The Sleek Magnus iPad Stand

I discovered the Magnus iPad stand when riffling through my gift bag after speaking at the Mac Expo 2012 on Saturday. Created by Ten 1 Design, the Magnus is machine-crafted from pure aluminum. It's elegant and infused with the Apple aesthetic.


It supports an iPad 2 or 3rd Gen iPad in landscape position. It does so securely by "clicking-in" via magnets. From the front, it looks as though your iPad is suspended in air. But when you work on your device, it's very stable.

You can also position the iPad in portrait mode, but without the stability of the magnets to hold it in place. Neither I, nor Ten 1 Design, recommend using the stand this way.

You can purchase the Magnus directly from Ten 1 Design for $49.95 US. It's contemporary sculpture for your iPad.

You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.

OM-D Firmware 1.5 Quiets Camera Hum

The latest firmware update (V 1.5) for the Olympus OM-D E-M5quiets its humming sound when you're not actually taking a picture.

After the update, the camera is very quite while powered up. When you press the shutter button to take a picture, the image stabilization system kicks in, and you'll hear the familiar hum as long as the shutter button is pressed halfway or full. It's a good solution.

om-d_firmware_update.jpg The Olympus Camera Updater is an easy way to upload new firmware.

Logic would say that this change would also have a slight improvement on battery life, even though that isn't stated in the documentation. Another benefit of firmware V 1.5 is improved 5-axis stabilization when using OM lenses with an adapter, even in movie mode. This enhances a big advantage of the OM-D, which is image stabilization for any lens you put on the camera.

The firmware is easy to apply. Just use the camera updater app. In my initial testing, everything is working great.

Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories. has just released Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), the updated, comprehensive video training for Apple's professional photo management application.

Aperture 3-3 lynda

This title includes more than 8 hours of tutorials, divided into short movies that focus on specific techniques. As you watch a movie, you can practice on your own computer, as many times as you want, until you've mastered each move.

We've updated many of the previous tutorials from the original Aperture 3 Essential Training to reflect the changes in the application. Additionally, we've added an entirely new chapter titled, "What's New in Aperture 3.3," that features instruction on the functionality that's been incorporated since the app's initial release. Two of those movies, "Taking advantage of Retina display Macs," and "Understanding the unified library for iPhoto and Aperture," are available for free viewing.

New Aperture Movies

We will continue to publish new training for Aperture and iPhoto. In fact, we're already planning to record additional movies later this Fall.

In the meantime, take a look at Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012). It will help you keep pace with the evolution of this excellent photo management and editing application.

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Easy Photo Attachments in iOS 6

Tap and Hold

Attaching photos to email just got a lot easier in iOS 6. Now you have the option to add images while you're in the Mail client. You no longer have to start with the picture in the Camera Roll.

So, if you're typing a note and decide to add a picture to it, no problem. The process is essentially the same on both the iPad and iPhone. Here's how it works.

On your iPad or iPhone, tap and hold anywhere in the body of the message. You'll get the familiar "Select/Select All" popup. On the iPhone, there will also be an arrow pointing to the right. Tap it to reveal, "Insert Photo or Video." On the iPad, there's enough real estate to display this from the start.

Tap and Hold iPad

Tap "Insert Photo or Video" and a new popup appears with all of the available photos on the device. Choose the one you want, then tap the Use button. The image will be attached.

On the iPhone, you'll see another screen after you tap the Send button asking you what size the image(s) should be. On the iPad, the attachment size is listed in the right corner of the CC field. If you tap on it, you can reveal the Image Size options for your photo.

This is a terrific improvement for photographers.

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