Despite persistent poverty and a lagging economy, most Cubans retain a relentless zest for life, as demonstrated in the colorful photographs of David Alan Harvey. Harvey, given an opportunity that is denied to most Americans, freely roamed the island for more than a year. What he saw and photographed has resulted in Cuba (National Geographic Books, $50), a glossy, 252-page book released last month.
An extreme closeup of recently completed facial stitches, the charred remains of a fatal building fire...no, it’s not a surreal new trend in photography—just the visually compelling, and somewhat gruesome, images from the evidence photography file at your local courthouse.
We first sounded our X-ray danger alarm in a June ’98 article describing film damage by the powerful new X-ray machines used by airport security to examine checked baggage (“X-Ray Warning,” page 30). Thanks to PIMA (Photographic & Imaging Manufacturers Association, Inc.) and its executive vice-president, Tom Dufficy, we had full information and sample pictures of the photographic damage. POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY also designed the warning image pictured at right to accompany the article. While retaining the copyright, we offered the design free to any organization that wished to use it to warn photographers of the danger.
Got young kids milling about the house, caught in that limbo between summer and Christmas? It’s never too early to hook ’em on photography, and the latest crop of innovative photo toys can help. Photoco’s Photo Fun! is a multipurpose photo kit available in themes like vacations, birthdays, families, sports, and other subjects dear to kids. Each kit contains a dozen or so photo tools, toys, and activities (but no camera!) geared to children from 6 to 14.
In Henry Horenstein’s new book, Creatures, the images speak—volumes—for themselves. The noted photographer chose to present the 73 black-and-white pictures without text, letting the readers draw their own conclusions from the sometimes humorous, often haunting, shots of wildlife.
Photographer Berenice Abbott, famed for her pictures of big buildings, also shot tiny bubbles. Known as New York’s premier skyscraper photographer earlier in the century, Abbott later invented a kind of macrophotography called Super Sight and was hired at age 60 as a science photographer for MIT.
Use your animal instincts! This month's winners answer the call of the wild.
“Your Best Shot” Entry Rules: You may send up to 20 of your best shots (transparencies or prints no larger than 8x12) along with a daytime phone number and any pertinent technical data (such as camera, lens, exposure, film, filters, tripod) to “Your Best Shot,” POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, P.O. Box 1247, Teaneck, NJ 07666.
Just when you think you've seen everything, Pentax comes up with a brighter idea.
WHAT’S NEW AT A GLANCE
A VERY BRIGHT DIAL
Shiftable would be happier
And a color-matched lens
When a new SLR appears, apparently destined to succeed a previous model, I first cast a critical eye on its new features and shortly thereafter begin searching for items on the older model that are absent from the new one. Recent vanishing acts on newer U.S. models have included lighted LCD panels, audible signals, and wireless remote controls.
Does your camera have an Achilles' heel? Flip it and see.
Turn your SLR upside down. What do you see? Certainly a tripod socket, hopefully well centered below the lensmount, thus allowing a tripod-mounted SLR to be panned easily. T'wasn’t always so, as some owners of older SLRs can tell you. Principally to avoid vital gearing and other mechanics located at the bottom of the camera, tripod sockets sometimes had to be located off center.
Florence McCall shows the superb versatility of medium-format.
Born to be outdoors
The warmth, humor, and communicative ability of Flo McCall’s images are clearly seen in the many different directions she takes in her photography. Whether depicting her subject in a needlesharp, sepia-toned image or in a heavily cropped, brightly colored, slightly blurry photo, McCall is very much in charge of her medium.
There’s more to being a wedding photographer than just being able to take good pictures. It also means creating a professional business environment, targeting your market, determining a price structure, promoting your business, monitoring finances, and using the selling techniques that will help you book the wedding. In the first part of the book, Monteith gives specific advice on these and other crucial business and financial matters; her words of wisdom should get you started in the right direction.
s digital cameras get better and cheaper, and photographers start using digital storage cards as well as film, the timeless question still remains: where are going to store all your photographs after you take ? Slide and negative sleeves are useless, and the old box approach is out of the question (although it d be funny if someone invented a digital storage sys- chat looked like a shoebox).
It’s early morning at the Wong Tai Sin Buddhist Temple. Scores of worshipers, mostly older men and women, crowd the quiet courtyard, some on their knees in prayer. Near the altar, several gigantic, colorful censers, jammed with small rods of incense called joss sticks, send clouds of pungent smoke across the temple grounds.
Silver finish is in, and budget-priced compact Maxxum SLRs and lenses have it!
Canon, Minolta, and Nikon have been tempting topdollar buyers with mouthwatering new EOS-3, Maxxum 9, and Nikon F100 cameras. But the less well heeled and not-so-super-feature-starved camera hungry among us may be feeling like forgotten poor relations.
What's worse than, having to shoot your sister's wedding? Being delegated to dispose of the dear departed's cameras.
If you’re the primary photo enthusiast or most hard-bitten photo bug in your family, you probably have discovered by now that there are certain, ahem, obligations associated with your elevated position. Merely by pursuing your picture-taking passion, not in quest of fame or glory, you have somehow acquired the shining silver-halide mantle of chief camera expert and omniscient photo guru.
We gave you a teaser on Minolta’s newest APS minicamera, the Vectis 2000, in our September 1999 issue, and now' it’s time to put it through its paces in a full point-and-shoot test. To recap, the 2000 is a very svelte, quite tiny aluminum-bodied camera about the size and shape of a “personal bath bar.”
Mr. Goto is at it again. The irrepressible inventor (and head of the Goko Camera Company Limited of Japan) has put the finishing touches on a neato accessory for the Goko closeup cameras we reported on last spring (April ’99, page 34, to be exact).
Looking for a good point-and-shoot? We map out the top picks among compact cameras, both 35mm and APS.
35mm PRECISION SINGLE FOCAL LENGTH
35mm GENERAL PURPOSE ZOOMS
35mm SUPER ZOOMS
APS PRECISION SINGLE FOCAL LENGTH
APS CULT MODELS
APS GENERAL-PURPOSE ZOOMS
We’ve done something a little different with our point-and-shoot camera charts this year. For one thing, we have simplified them by eliminating unnecessary detail and repetition. For another, we have standardized classifications for both 35mm and APS models, making comparisons between formats much more meaningful.
Medium-format nature photography? It's not the contradiction you may think it is!
Are you looking for a way to recharge your creative juices, get better results when you blow up an image to a large print size, see the fine detail in every shot you take? Look no further than a simple equipment switch: a step up to medium format. As an adjunct to our 35mm equipment, we’ve always kept a variety of medium-format cameras and lenses on hand when the situation calls for it.
My friends and I talk photography constantly. One pro told me, as we discussed lighting, “A photographer’s best friend is a guy named Phil (sic)!” While this may seem, to some, a poor pun at best, it really started my brain gears spinning. Not only is the comment apropos to taking pictures in a studio setting, but it’s germane to augmenting natural light as well.
Jill Enfield fells how you can use liquid emulsion to produce unique photographic works of art.
Tips for using liquid emulsions
Precoat hard surfaces
Make a drying tent
While it may surprise many of today’s photographers, emulsions weren’t always available in dry form, precoated on film and printing paper. Pioneers in the early days of photography had to “coat their own.” And many felt that the pure technique of photography was compromised when “do it yourself” was almost universally replaced with precoated plates, films, and papers.
Now you can turn your computer and inkjet printer into a creative print shop!
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a homemade greeting card? If you think of a grainy clip-art image printed on a folded piece of computer paper, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Yesterday’s computer-created cards were merely the successor to crayons and construction paper.
While the China 8th International Photographic Art Exhibition was open to entrants worldwide, by far the Chinese photographers’ work really shined. The 10-member international jury selected 36 medal-winning photographs from 14,414 entries, which arrived from 62 countries and regions.
I enjoyed the August ’99 “SLR” column, “Do you really need a new camera or just want it?” (page 20). I am thinking of buying the new Nikon N60 with the new Nikon 28-105mm lens, or possibly the 24-120mm lens that has gotten such good ratings. (Or buying the new Canon Rebel camera with a 28-105mm lens.)
For versatility with ultrafine detail, 35mm won't do the trick.
Magic! That's how medium-format transparencies appear to 35mm aficionados who’ve never before shot them and enjoyed the view. Granted, a larger 4x5 camera provides superior detail, and a smaller 35mm offers more convenience. But medium format combines the very best of each, spanning the vast picture-taking-ability chasm between Marc Muench’s spectacular climber, at right, and the frozen-in-time basketball players, shot by Doug Pensinger, at left.
Is there life after 35mm? You bet! Some shooters feel that real photography only begins with 2¼ Check out our complete roundup of MF cameras and see why!
What’s new in medium-format? In a word: autofocus. Since Fuji’s bevy of autofocusing GA 645 cameras arrived a few years back, Pentax and Contax have climbed on board the AF bandwagon, and as already reported in these pages, Mamiya is soon to follow.
The Contax 645: It’s posh and pricey, but does the world’s second medium-format AF SLR perform like a real pro?
QUICK GUIDE TO WHAT'S IMPORTANT
FEATURES AT A GLANCE
TEST RESULTS FROM OUR LAB
Flash plus preflash
The Contax 645, the first rollfilm camera to hear the illustrious Contax name, is a remarkable machine, conceived and designed from a clean sheet of blueprint paper, by a company with vast experience in 35mm SLRs but no previous track record in medium-format SLRs.
The six Carl Zeiss lenses tested in conjunction with our Contax 645 report are the 35mm f/3.5 Distagon, 45mm f/2.8 Distagon, 80mm f/2 Planar, 120mm f/4 ApoMakro-Planar, 140mm f/2.8 Sonnar, and 210mm f/4 Sonnar—all T* lenses designed by Zeiss in Germany and made in Japan by Kyocera.
Our fetching platinum blond November ’49 cover model looks like she’s having fun in die woods that are ablaze with fall color, but it’s really an ingenious studio setup. Actually, the leaves are between two panes of glass behind her. The blue “sky” was produced by projecting a 6000K arc light through a blue filter.
Looking for a low-cost flashmeterr Consider the Samigon, imported by Argraph. It’s the only one we know of at about $100 that takes either reflective or incident readings and has a 270-degree rotating head. With LED readouts in 1/3 stops, 9-stop aperture and 7-stop filmspeed ranges, a battery check, and auto off, it looks and is claimed to handle like a more expensive meter. It’s of average size (6x2½x1 inches) and lightweight (3.3 ounces), and is bundled with a case and strap. It uses a 9-volt battery (not included). No, it doesn’t make ambient readings. (Argraph, 111 Asia Place, Carlstadt, NJ 07072; 201-939-7722)
28-105mm f/4-5.6 SMCP-FA zoom
Pentax 35mm AF SLR owners have new optical options: an internal-focusing 28-105mm f/4-5.6 SMCP-FA zoom and a 35mm f/2 AL SMCP-FA wideangle. The silver-finish zoom ($455, list) is a constant 2⅞ inches deep, weighs 11 ounces, takes 62mm filters, and has a 19-inch close-focusing distance (0.18X). Its stablemate, the 35mm f/2 ($499), features aspheric lens elements (as the AL designation indicates), weighs a very reasonable 7 ounces, and focuses down to 1 foot (0.17X). A flower-shaped lenshood is included, with a special window that allows finger access to rotate an optional polarizing filter. Filter size? 49mm. Pentax claims outstanding image resolution, even at f/2. (Pentax Corp., 35 Inverness Dr. E., Englewood, CO 80155; 303-799-8000; www.pentax.com)
Eclipse Optic Cleaning System
Traditionally, “Just Out” features only new products, but we’re bending the rules a little for this one, because the company is giving out free samples (small ones) to introduce a new product name and package. Meet Eclipse Optic Cleaning System, a renamed and repackaged incarnation of Crystal Clear Optic Cleaner. A lenscleaning liquid from Photographic Solutions that’s been around for years, Eclipse leaves no residue, swirls, or streaks (yes, we’ve tried it), and is now available in 2-ounce dropper bottles ($8). POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY readers who want to try Eclipse are invited to send $1 in U.S. postage stamps for a free, single-application sample. (Photographic Solutions, 12707 Cranston Way, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532; www.photosol.com)
Pro 7b location generator pack
Photographers who shoot in the studio and on location often have two sets of lights: smaller battery-powered heads for remote shooting and bigger, mains-fed units for studio work. Profoto, the Swedish lighting company (imported by Mamiya America), thinks it has a better idea. Its Pro 7b location generator pack is powered by a lead-acid rechargeable battery that promises 250 fullpower (1200 watt-second) pops per charge. Because the 7b uses the same lampheads, connecting cords, reflectors, and umbrellas as the larger Pro 7 studio lighting powerpack, it means less equipment for you to buy, store, and maintain. With a Guide Number of 460 (at ISO 100), the 7b ($4,850, list, including battery' and charger) also accepts a new, lightweight, convection-cooled head designed especially for it. The 7b has a 7-stop power range that’s adjustable in 1/3 stops for two lampheads that can be symmetrically or asymmetrically configured. Its battery' features a multivoltage charger for international use (6hour charge time), with an optional attachment for charging from automobile cigarette lighters. Weight? Twenty-four pounds for generator and battery pack. (Mamiya America, 8 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523; 914-347-33Ó0; www.mamiya.com)
Safari Bean Bag system
When it comes to beanbag camera supports, you wouldn’t think there’s much room for improvement, right? Not when it’s the Safari Bean Bag system by The Vested Interest. The system is modular, including a beanbag made of heavy, waterrepellent nylon pack cloth ($35) plus an 8¼x4-inch aluminum plate called the Big Foot ($45). An adapter on the Big Foot attaches to the tripod mount of any camera or large telephoto lens, while its flat “foot” attaches securely to the Safari Bag using the beanie’s quick-release strap-and-buckle system (see photo). The system is said to provide beanbag stability, portability, and economy with the added convenience of consolidating camera rig and beanbag into a single unit. The bag is double stitched to prevent busted seams, measures 11x7x3 inches, and is available in a variety of colors. Big Foot weighs a little more than 1 pound, and comes with its own carrying case. (The Vested Interest, 1425 Century Ln., Suite 100, Carrollton, TX 75006; 972-245-4256; www.vestedinterest.com)
Most of the photos I take are outdoors. Since I like the effect that a polarizing filter gives, I want to leave the filter on the camera at all times. Is there any downside to this, for example, when shooting indoors? If not, should I take off my UV filter or leave it on?
ALABAMA A Century of Photography: Selections from the Collection; through Dec. 7. William Wegman: Fashion Photographs; through Jan. 9. Birmingham Museum of Art; 2000 8th Ave. N., Birmingham 35203; 205-254-2565. ARIZONA Lynn Davis: Africa; through Dec. 5. Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, 1030 N. Olive Rd., Tucson 85721; 520-621-7668.
Not everyone travels the New York subway to Brooklyn with a Russian Horizon 202 panoramic camera loaded with Agfapan 25, but Oscar Abolafia does. So what could be more fitting than photographing two Russian musicians entertaining passengers by playing the theme from Dr. Zhivago?