I enjoyed the landscape photographs on pages 56-65 in the April ’88 issue, but the message I got was that you can't take good landscape photos without a large-format camera. Everyone of those photos was taken with a large-format camera and none with a 35mm.
It’s been nearly a decade since St. Louis photographer Lewis Portnoy sent us this incredible Kodachrome 64 transparency, proving conclusively that giant extraterrestrial bugs infest Monument Valley in Arizona. He's long since given up complaining about not receiving our erudite explanation of how it got there
The world's architectural heritage provides unlimited possibilities for travel photographers. Everywhere you go here and abroad, you’ll find churches, skyscrapers, government buildings, and historic homes aplenty to capture your eye.
New zoom lenses too often resemble optical junk food more than solid fare for better pictures. "Give us wider ratios; faster, more compact, and lighter zooms at better prices" is the clamor from the marketplace—and if that's what's demanded, that's what the lens designers must make, whether or not they think these qualities produce better zooms.
F/64 Photographic Workshop Group 1988, Morro Bay. “Alaska, A Viewpoint Workshop,” Sept. 16-18. Group visits the picturesque ice fields, mountain ranges, and glaciers of Alaska's "last frontier." The long twilight hours provide infinite shooting opportunities.
Presenting the very first winners in POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY'S new ongoing picture contest
We asked for it, and boy did we get it! After digging out from under a deluge of more than 500 entries for our inaugural “Your Best Shot" photo contest, we finally have three glorious prizewinners— and some splendid runners-up, to whom we have awarded an Honorable Mention (HM).
How would you like to make a customized SLR to meet your own shooting needs, or even commission someone to make a useful photo gadget that's unavailable in any camera store? Though I can't help you assemble your own camera body—no matter how much I’d like to combine the best features of different SLRs in one—there are a number of accessories that you can make yourself for very little cost to make photography easier.
They're really hooked on it now. Follow their techniques and improve your own shots
"I never leave home without it." No, it’s not a credit-card ad but professional photographers talking about their most highly touted optical tools—zoom lenses. Although pros were slow to accept zoom lenses for their 35mm SLRs when they first appeared back in '63, now most self-proclaimed purists of the single focal length lens make sure they have at least one of these range-expanding lenses in their bags.
Our resident optical maven gives you his views on choosing and using them
Zoom lens mechanics
“Single-touch” or twin zoom/focus rings?
Continuous or interrupted focusing into the macro range?
Does the front ring rotate?
What about lens hoods?
Better pictures with zoom lenses
LONG TELE ZOOMS
Autofocusing SLRs—the best accessories for zoom lenses!
Zoom lenses add a lot of fun and flexibility to 35mm SLR photography. The excitement begins right in the camera store, with your eye at the finder, as you run through the whole range of focal lengths. Zoom in for tight, narrow-angled takes, then shift back for broader views.
Is the lens' appearance acceptable? Examine the lens carefully. If it's new, it should be pristine and the interior glass clear of any debris. If you're after a used lens, look for dents and scratches on metal and glass surfaces (especially edges), damaged front accessory threads and screws, and worn lens barrels.
Psssst—want to know the least expensive way to enhance your SLR's picture-taking potential?
What’s around in used zooms? Here are 11 good ones we found.
MORE ON USED ZOOMS
Pre-owned AF zooms
One of the most exciting things you can do with a 35mm single-lens-reflex camera is to hang a zoom lens on the front of it. However, if the zoom of your dreams happens to be made by one of the leading camera makers or even one of the betterknown independent-lens manufacturers, acquiring it brand new can be a fairly expensive proposition.
Here are your most-often-asked questions about zoom lenses and our (usually) succinct answers
1 Are zoom lenses as sharp as those of fixed focal length?
2 Which zoom lenses provide the best optical performance?
3 How do macro zooms compare to macro lenses of fixed focal length?
4 Do variable-aperture zoom lenses cause exposure problems with through-the-lens (TTL) autoexposure and manual modes? If I work with a separate handheld lightmeter, how do I know when and by how much the aperture has shifted?
5 Do zooms with high zoom ratios (such as wide-to-long telephoto zooms) perform as well as those with smaller zoom ratios?
6 Which is better, a one-touch or two-touch zoom lens?
7 Are zoom lenses more prone to flare than lenses of fixed focal length? Does multicoating help?
8 What’s the longest hand-holdable zoom lens?
9 What’s the best way to focus a zoom lens?
10 What’s the difference between the terms “zoom” and “variable focal length”?
11 Why are there no really fast zoom lenses? The f/2.8 setting seems to be the maximum aperture limit.
12 Why does the TTL meter of my SLR sometimes indicate different exposures for zoom lenses and nonzoom lenses, even at the same focal length?
13 Is it true that zoom lenses make parallel lines in a subject bow inward or outward?
14 Why don’t zoom lenses focus as close as fixed focal length lenses?
You can't make general statements about all zoom lenses vs. all lenses of fixed focal length. In terms of resolution, some zooms are as sharp and as good as fixed focal length lenses. However, the finest fixed focal length lenses made today give better optical contrast and are superior to the best zoom lenses.
Superzoom and digital camcorders, a future still-video point 'n' shooter, and piggyback video lighting are the main events
Video to Go
CHICAGO—Twice a year, the consumer electronics industry sets up its huge tent for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and lets a hundred thousand or so people into the circus to see the latest in toys and treats with a technological bent. Though it took a good deal of shoe leather to plod through the endless corridors of frog-shaped telephones, postnuclear video games, and overamped car stereos, our intrepid editors gave their all in hunting down the latest in video, electronic still photography, and other assorted goodies that are near and dear to the hearts of the motion and still photographic cabal.
If you’ve ever wondered what POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY looked like back in 1915, here’s your first and last chance!
Last year, this magazine proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary, proclaiming with great fanfare its month of inception as May 1937 and reprinting the first cover to prove it. But last week we received a plain brown package from Ray Falconer of Ponca City, OK.
Batteries are getting better all the time. Here's an overview of what is coming.
Coming: paper electrolyte
Use as directed: twist!
It seems that batteries are getting to be almost as much a part of photography as film. They have continually gained in efficiency and dependability over the years. Today we not only have good batterries but many new batteries that are specifically designed for certain photographic applications.
If you’ve been out of school for a while, you may not be aware that the look of textbooks has undergone radical changes. Gone are the stodgy charts and tables and much unconvincing artwork. Photography is now the illustrative medium. Much of it is in color, and lots of it is spread throughout the text.
Editorial markets cover everything from fillers for daily newspapers to splashy magazine covers and illustrative photographs for articles in travel magazines. The subject matter that sells in this market encompasses an area as wide as your interests and travels, as narrow as the specialized field a magazine may cover.
The embarrassment of riches that twinkle at you from behind the camera-store counter is one of the main problems with buying a good used zoom lens. There have been literally thousands of zoom lenses sold over the last decades with brand names that run into the dozens.
Can a dentist really make a spectacular 8x10 view camera?
Richard Phillips is a dentist who also makes view cameras. If his dentistry is any where as good as his new compact 8x10 field camera, patients should be pounding down his office door. The Phillips 8x10 Compact is a trim, affordable ($998) folding view camera that is a rakish combination of clear basswood and aircraft-grade aluminum, beautifully accented with inlaid cherry-wood strips.
A long-overdue gripe session about the deficiencies of depth-of-field scales
What about autofocus?
DEPTH OF FIELD FOR CLOSE SHOOTING
Cora Wright Kennedy
For a long time. I’ve been doing a slow burn about inadequate or totally absent depth-of-field scales on manual-focusing, interchangeable lenses for 35mm SLRs. That doesn't mean I brood on the matter. Like most other people, I’m too busy with the joy of taking pictures to be distracted by my peeves.
Often l use a polarizing filter to enhance a blue sky. Recently, I got back slides in which only a portion of the sky was made bluer. I didn't see this in the viewfinder before shooting the scene. Was the filter turned at the wrong angle? Randy Reeves, Searcy, AR Polarization is not equal across the entire expanse of the sky.