Thought you’d like to see what I did with the instructions for “lemon fizz” in February 2005’s “You Can Do It!” (Shot with a Canon EOS 20D.) Even though I’m on the other side of the earth, I read POP PHOTO, and love it...except for the ads, which remind me that I’m paying too much for my gear.
BROWSING THROUGH HIS E-MAIL recently, Brian L. Robinson saw a message from a travel company. Typical junk e-mail, he figured, and prepared to delete it. But it was for discount airfare from the U.K. to Australia, and as an expat Aussie teaching in London, Robinson, on a whim, double-clicked to open the message.
A SHOW-BIZ PHOTOGRAPHER WHO shoots everything from lavishly produced ensemble pics of celebrities to off-the-cuff backstage moments at the Oscars, Art Streiber was asked by TVGuide to capture the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond in their last hurrah at the close of the series.
SCREEN GEM We at POP PHOTO know what you’ve been secretly, obsessively craving for months: a portable photo/video player with a big screen and a high pixel count. Well, Creative Labs has done something about it. The new Zen Vision ($399 street) sports a 3.7-inch LCD with 640×480-pixel resolution. It also packs a 30GB hard drive and CompactFlash slot into a Cracker Jack-box-sized package (4.9×2.9×0.8 inches). The Zen Vision plays a slew of video formats, including MPEG-1, -2, -4, Windows Media Video (WMV), Motion JPEG, and AVI, as well as MP3, WMA, and WAV audio formats. Photo viewing is limited to JPEG, though, and there's no zoom function. This might irk power shooters, who will prefer the Epson P-2000 ($500 street) for its TIFF and RAW photo viewi1ng, best-in-class LCD, and ability to copy files from the hard drive to a memory card. But, as an all-around media player, the Zen Vision’s intuitive user interface and powerful content-management software easily beat the Epson. And the easily replaceable Li-ion battery (which Creative rates for up to 13 hours of audio and 4.5 hours of video) makes it a strong competitor against Apple's iPod, which can’t play video...yet. (Creative Labs, Inc.; www.creative.com; 800-998-1000)
Creative Labs, Inc.
HOLD IT Isn’t it annoying when you want to shift your graduated neutral-density filter higher up on the frame, but your screw-on filter won’t let you do it? Thankfully, rectangular filters make this possible. And if you’re shopping for adjustable filters, check out Cokin’s new Z-PRO series. The Z-PRO filter holder ($46 street) attaches to an adapter ring screwed into the threads on the front of the lens. It’s completely modular, so it can be used with the 1.6mm-thick filters favored by photographers, or the 4mm-thick filters suited to video. To avoid vignetting on wider-angle lenses, you can mount the holder backwards (with the adapter ring in the first filter slot), and place the filter where the adapter ring normally sits. (OmegaSatter; www.cokin.com; 410-374-3250)
Creative Labs, Inc.
’PUTER PORTER Looking for a bag for your 17-inch Apple PowerBook? Photo backpacks are nice, but most can’t handle more than a 15inch laptop. RoadWired’s new Skooba satchel ($68 street) is here to save the day! It protects laptops up to 17 inches with square air pockets that reportedly provide more protection than regular foam padding. The main compartment has enough room for your computer, a DSLR body, and a couple of lenses. (You’ll probably want to cover them with a camera or lens wrap if they’re all placed together.) The front pouch holds chargers, wires, and other gear. And a slim, zippered pouch on the back is perfect for a copy of POP PHOTO. Rounding off the package is a mesh pouch for a water bottle and attachment points for RoadWired’s Rivet Micro-Clips, which can hold a compact camera or cell phone. Skooba satchels come in black with pink or blue trim, gray with orange trim, olive with red trim (pictured), or tan with black trim. (Tenba/Road Wired; www.roadwired.com; 914-347-3300)
Creative Labs, Inc.
SUN SCREEN Though LCD screens on cameras keep getting better, they still can’t stand up to sunlight. Sure, you can cup your hand over the back of your camera. Or you can buy a real screen cover, such as Delkin Devices’ eFilm Pop-Up Shade. These rugged plastic covers come sized and shaped to fit most DSLRs and many compacts. For cameras such as Nikon’s D70s, the shades fit the slots for the camera’s clip-on screen cover. Own a Canon EOS 20D (shown), or other camera without a clip-on cover? The shades attach to the camera’s viewfinder cover, or stick to the body with an adhesive pad. eFilm Pop-Up Shades are available now direct from Delkin and from photo retailers at prices ranging from $24.95 to $44.95 (list) depending on camera model. See Delkin’s web site for a full list. (Delkin Devices; www.delkin.com; 800-637-8087)
Creative Labs, Inc.
WARM IT UP Do your portraits look a bit cold? You can adjust the color in T Photoshop after you shoot. But a custom white balance helps to get it right in the camera. With Expoimaging’s new ExpoCap, you can make a slightly warmed custom 1 white balance in a snap. Just place the cap on the front of your lens, and follow the ( directions in your camera's manual to create a custom white balance. It takes only a couple of minutes, and can save you lots of image editing. The ExpoCap is available now in 58mm ($50 street), 67mm ($60), and 77mm ($70) sizes. (Expolmaging Inc.; www.expoimaqinq.net; 408-778-2040)
THE RULES “Your Best Shot” Entry Rules: To enter, send prints, transparencies, or CD-ROM to “Your Best Shot,” POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGING, P.O. BOX 1247, Teaneck, NJ 07666, or e-mail your best shots to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATERFALLS, STREAMS, AND ocean waves—flowing water is nature’s most common dynamic element, providing photographers nearly everywhere with a ready motif, both expressive and challenging. Here are 10 tips to help you launch your exploration.
YOSEMITE, YELLOWSTONE, KENAI Fjords, and.. .Pennsylvania?! Granted, it's less well-known and not as grand, but the Keystone State is a great nature photography destination. And for those short on time and living near the east coast, it can be very convenient.
BLESSED ARE THE CITY OR suburban dwellers who can visit a well-stocked camera store and actually handle the DSLRs that ads and test reports praise so lavishly. Which camera has the brightest and highest magnification viewfinder? How much of each do you lose in a small, light, low-priced camera with a mirror prism instead of an all-glass one?
THERE ARE LOTS OF BEAUTIFUL things to photograph in the fall: crisp, colorful leaves; red, glistening apples; and bright, waxy pumpkins. Too bad all that pretty autumn light can make your pictures way too contrasty. While some contrast gives your shots needed snap, too-bright highlights can leave your pictures with ugly blank spots that print stark white.
THE PROBLEM A good action grab shot, but...the photographer’s vantage point leaves the diver blending into the rocks in the background, creating a flat appearance. The bald area, top left, and background clutter, don’t help. WHAT NOW We cloned some foliage to cover background rocks and the bald sky area.
EVEN IF YOU do most of your printing at home, there's nothing like the feeling of picking up a stack of prints at a minilab and thumbing through them at every stoplight on the way home. And even if you do most of your shooting with an 8-megapixel camera in RAW mode, you might still want small prints to stick on your fridge or hand off to the friends who are always bugging you for pictures.
FASHIONS COME AND GO, AND NO camera company knows that better than Olympus-official sponsor of Manhattan’s Fashion Week. The fickle fashion industry may have influenced the company’s decision to shelve the flat-top design of the Evolt E-300 ($620 street, body only, reviewed November 2004) and dress its replacement, the new Evolt E-500 DSLR ($699 street, body only) more traditionally.
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS a semi-pro 8.2MP DSLR with a pro 16.7MP DSLR? Only Canon could answer that riddle, and has with the new 12.8MP EOS 5D ($3,299, body only). Built like the 8.2MP EOS 20D ($1,300 street), but sporting a 12.8MP (effective) CMOS sensor that’s the same physical size as the one in the EOS 1Ds Mark II ($7,500), the EOS 5D is in a class of its own.
PENTAX SAYS THAT A digital SLR can never be too light or too simple. The new *ist DL comes in even lighter and simpler than the *ist DS, which was already a record-setter in both categories. And at $750 street with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Pentax lens (and $650 body only), the *ist DL comes in extremely light on the wallet.
THIN IS IN. SO ARE BIG LCDS. Last year, Sony made a splash setting the big-LCD trend with the sleek and snappy DSC-T1. Without an optical viewfinder, this style of camera-small enough to fit into a sports jacket or purse and chic enough to dispel the snapshooting geek image-has become a must-have for those whose idea of a party goes beyond blowing out the candles.
SOME SAY CONVERGENCE IS DEAD, but that’s bunk. Try to find a compact digital camera that can’t create a video file. And most digital video cameras can give you stills. In fact, the JVC GZ-MC500U ($1,600 street) does it at 5MP. And that’s in addition to its day job of making DVD-resolution videos while being one of the smallest three-chip camcorders around.
TAMRAC'S SMALLEST ROLLER BAG, and perhaps the most compact roller bag with a laptop compartment, the 13.5×13.5×10.5-inch CyberPro Flyer is designed for photographers who like to travel light. We were able to roll it down an airplane aisle with plenty of clearance on both sides.
CALUMET’S TRAVELITE MONOLIGHTS have a reputation as solidly built, well-priced strobes, and, though designed for location use (they mate with Calumet’s Travel-Pak portable batteries), we've seen them double as resident studio-lighting systems, too.
IN ITS NINE PREVIOUS INCARNAtions, Paint Shop Pro was produced by a company called Jasc. Paint Shop Pro X (Version 10) is the first version released since Jase was acquired by Corel. But the takeover hasn’t drastically changed the program, and that’s good news.
IS THERE A MORE COMPACT (OR cuter) TTL flash than Sunpak’s PZ40X II? If there is, we haven’t seen it. Its predecessor, the PZ40X I, is among the company’s best-sellers, because, at $125 (street), it’s one of the least expensive, (almost) full-featured TTL flashes.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: After a six-year absence from the high-speed pro macro market, Tokina jumps back in with this 100mm f/2.8 AT-X. Unlike its predecessor, the 90mm f/2.5 AT-X, the newcomer is a true macro lens (focusing to 1:1 )-a clear improvement over the defunct 90mm that focused only to half-lifesize.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Sigma’s second-generation 17-35mm f/2.8-4 EX AF features dramatically improved close-up performance (maximum magnification ratios go from 1:11.5 to 1:4.4). It also boasts an advanced ring-type HSM AF motor, one noticeably quieter than Sigma’s previous micro-type; you can now manually touch up focus while working in AF.
TO GET ULTRASHARP, ULTRA-realistic photos, you might try a fast shutter speed and stable tripod. But what if realism seems a little too...boring? What if you’re in the mood for surrealism instead? This would call for an opposite approach: a long shutter speed and an unstable camera support: a car, a scooter, or even your pet terrier!
IN REAL ESTATE,A GREAT PICTURE CAN BE WORTH THOUSAND$
IN TODAY'S SIZZLING REAL estate market, chances of scoring that big sale can nosedive when sellers use the unflattering property photos taken by photo-unsawy real estate agents. Don’t miss your shot at a great sale. If you don’t like the agent’s pictures, improve your chances of getting more interest and a higher selling price by taking your own amazing photographs.
YOUR PHOTOS CAN APPEAR on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Many of your coworkers boast a Pulitzer Prize (or two). And you’ve just come home from your latest trip, traveling with the president of the United States onboard Air Force One.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST BARGAIN IN DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY? HANDS DOWN, IT’S HOME PRINTERS. Less than $100 gets one that turns out color prints to rival those from a minilab. So who needs to spend nearly $500 for a desktop photo printer? Photographers with serious ambitions for their prints might, for many of the same reasons they choose an SLR or DSLR over a compact camera— improved image quality, greater control, faster speed, as well as expanded creative options.
WANT TO SHOOT LIKE A CHAMP? 10 REASONS YOU NEED A HANDHELD METER IN YOUR CORNER
Your camera has three meter patterns, a movable spotmeter, 10 different exposure modes, automatic through-the-lens flash exposure, and custom autobracketing. Do you really need a separate handheld exposure meter? You do. In fact, you need it more than ever.
Totally tubular This summer, I took a trip to the desert areas in the Eastern Sierra region. I was concerned about the effect of heat on my slide film, so I went to a home improvement store and bought a section of foam pipe insulation with built-in adhesive.
Zoom dust I was recently told that the dust I see on the inside elements of my 100-400mm IS Canon lens was sucked into the lens when it was pushed and pulled. Is this true? J. HOLMES LANSDALE, PA Yes, but it’s tough to do this, unless you zoomed the lens in and out when it was off the camera in a dusty environment.
THE GUIDE NUMBER SYSTEM is an old one, used for fully manual flash units. So what use is it today? Actually, it’s pretty useful. First, a history of Guide Number: in the era known as “Back Then,” there was no such thing as autoflash. When your electronic flash (or flashbulb) fired, it just pumped out as much light as it could.
VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN PHOtographer An-My Lê's book, Small Wars, encompasses three projects: "Viêt Nam," images from trips to the land of her birth; "Small Wars," pictures of Vietnam War reenactments in America; and "29 Palms," pictures of soldiers training in California for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.