Optimizing and Balancing ISO and Noise
Aug14

Optimizing and Balancing ISO and Noise

It’s no secret that all lenses have a “sweet spot” aperture that produces maximum image quality. I like Sean McHugh’s take on this: A lens’ “sweet spot” increases for successively narrower apertures, reaching maximum for intermediate apertures, and declines for very narrow apertures. Depending on the lens, this is typically between f/8 and f/16 on a full frame or APS-C sized sensor but is independent of the number of megapixels. There...

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Macro Photography with Extension Tubes

Look for a related post on using Close-Up Filters next month on Learning Digital Photography. Want to get closer than close-up filter will allow? Stage II up the macro-focusing ladder is accomplished by adding an extension tube (or two) to your existing lens. Extension tubes provide the additional separation between your lens and imaging chip that’s required for close-up photography. You might think of it as an alternative to the more...

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Using Manual or Custom White Balance
Mar07

Using Manual or Custom White Balance

There will come a time when none of your camera’s preset white balance settings will work and that’s when you need to use the Manual option. Sure, it’s a little more labor intensive but after you try it once, you’ll be amazed how well it works under difficult and mixed lighting conditions such as indoor exhibits, conventions centers, and museums. Start by photographing a sheet of white paper under the lighting conditions you...

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Dealing with Shutter Lag

Sometimes when making a candid photograph your subject stays right where you hoped they would be but occasionally something or someone steps into the scene blocking your chance of capturing the moment, all because of shutter lag.  Shutter lag occurs with all kinds of cameras, including film or digital, but can be more of a problem with digicams because of the delay resulting from the charging the imaging chip and then transmission of...

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What’s the Best Camera?
Jan12

What’s the Best Camera?

A day does not go buy without me receiving an e-mail, Tweet or Facebook post asking what camera the writer should buy? That can be a tough question to answer because for openers there’s the budget aspect that’s part of any purchasing decision and then there’s whole “what kind of pictures do you (want to) make question too. It’s similar to asking what kind of car someone should buy? For some the answer might be a Jaguar or a Corvette...

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2011 Camera of the Year
Dec29

2011 Camera of the Year

As digital imaging goes mainstream, digital cameras have become more homogenous, with manufacturers slavishly copying others more innovative ideas. During 2011 I got to test many different SLRs and mirrorless interchangeable cameras and some of them were quite good, especially the Nikon J1. For those companies who’ve taken the extra step of producing clever and exiting cameras, I would like to present the “Ernie” award for digital...

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What’s in Your Filter Wallet?
Dec21

What’s in Your Filter Wallet?

Photographers seem to be of two minds about filters: Purists don’t like them because they abhor anything coming between reality and the captured image. Filter fans worry less about resolution charts and just like to have fun with their photography, which regular readers know is one of the mottoes of this blog. When buying filters there is one overriding concern that should be followed: Don’t put a $19.95 filter on a $1,000 lens. You...

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