Sunday, September 25, 2022
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A Review of the Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 Lens


Viltrox has established themselves as a company producing extremely affordable lenses that nonetheless offer good image quality and respectable performance. For Sony, Fujifilm, and Nikon mirrorless APS-C shooters, the AF 13mm f/1.4 lens offers an appealing combination of a wide focal lens and wide maximum aperture, and this excellent video review takes a look at the lens and the sort of performance and image quality you can expect from it in usage. 

Coming to you from GxAce, this excellent video review takes a look at the Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 lens for Sony, Nikon, and Fujifilm APS-C cameras. At just $429, the AF 13mm f/1.4 is impressively affordable, though it still offers a nice range of features, including:

  • Two high refractive index lens elements and two aspherical elements for reduced distortion and improved sharpness
  • Four ED low dispersion elements for reduced chromatic aberrations and improved color reproduction
  • STM motor for quick and quiet autofocus for use in both photos and video
  • Weight: 420 g (E mount, X mount), 455 g (Z mount)
  • Dust-proof construction

Altogether, the AF 13mm f/1.4 looks like another great entry from Viltrox, useful for a wide range of applications. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

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We Review the Godox Lux Junior: This New Flash Works With All Cameras


Looking for a competitively priced compact flash that will fit in your pocket and work with your Fujifilm X-T4, your Sony Alpha, and your Leica M6? Check out our review. 

You’re in luck. The new Godox Lux Junior is a new retro flash that works with all digital camera systems and even with film cameras. Not only that, the Lux Junior looks like it’s stepped out of the swinging 60s, so it will be sure to be a hit 

One Flash To Rule Them All?

This may sound like a dream come true for many photographers, but there’s good and bad news.  

The good news is that the Lux Junior can be used with pretty much every camera, as it uses a single pin to fire the flash. The bad news is that this single pin means the flash cannot read the settings from your cameras; in other words, you can’t use it in TTL mode.  

This differentiates it among other flashes on the market, including its Godox stablemates.

For example, take Godox’s range of hot shoe speedlights, such as the V860 III. With this flash, a letter after the model denotes which system it’s compatible with: F for Fuji, C for Canon, N for Nikon, S for Sony, and O for Olympus and Panasonic. Each brand has different pins and software that communicate with the cameras and operate in TTL mode. 

Although there’s no TTL, don’t be fooled. The Lux Junior packs a mighty powerful punch and is very capable of producing fantastic results, especially for something so small and competitively priced. 

Specs at a Glance

  • Light and compact 
  • Measurements: 3 x 2.8 x 2″ (74 x 50 x 72 mm)  
  • Weighs 4.5 oz (130 g)   
  • Fixed 28mm flash focal length
  • GN12 (ISO100)
  • Outputs light at Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) of 6,000 K ± 200 K
  • Powered by two AAA batteries 
  • Compatible with Fujifilm, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony Digital cameras
  • Works with film cameras via hot shoe or cable sync cord 
  • Manual mode from full power down to 1/64 power 
  • Automatic mode 

What’s in the Box?

Like other Godox products, the Lux Junior is attractively branded and presented. Inside the box ,you’ll find:  

  • Lux Junior flash
  • Storage bag
  • Sync cord trigger cable
  • Manual in Mandarin and English

First Impressions

First impressions of the flash itself were positive. Small and light, it can fit in your pocket and weighs just 4.5 oz (130 g). It has a nice clickable dial on the back to control flash output in manual mode. 

The top of the flash has a nice texture, though, of course, it’s entirely made of plastic. The storage bag is a nice touch for keeping it protected from scratches. The sync cord seems quite short at first, but it was comfortably long enough to work on both my Contax G1 and Nikon FM3A film cameras. 

As with other Godox products, I find the text in the manual to be quite small. Perhaps it’s my advancing years and declining eyesight, but I wish they’d make the text a bit bigger. Luckily for me, they also publish a PDF copy of the manual online so I can enlarge the text and read it comfortably.

With a positive first impression, I was keen to put it into action. The first step was putting 2 AAA batteries in, but this turned out to be a little tougher than expected. I felt like I had to be a little rougher than I would’ve liked just to get the cover off.  

Once the batteries were loaded up, we were away. I switched the flash to manual mode and pressed the test button a few times. I then mounted the Lux Junior on my Fujifilm X-T4 and started to take some test shots.

Flash recycle times varied depending on how new the batteries were and what power of flash I was using, but generally, it was almost instant. The battery life was also pretty good, but I’d advise having a couple of spare AAAs on hand. 

Flash Dials, Manual Mode, and Automatic Mode

There are two dials on the back of the Lux Junior flash: an inner dial and an outer dial. 

The outer dial controls the flash power in manual mode. Switch the flash to M and you’re away. Control the flash output by rotating the dial, which has a nice click to it. You can change the flash output to seven values, ranging from full power to 1/64 power. 

It’s quick and easy to shoot in manual mode: take a test shot, review the results, then dial the power up or down depending on the results. I did this by guessing combinations of flash power and aperture that would look good, but if you’re a more technical photographer, help is at hand. 

The inner dial of the flash is effectively just a cheat sheet of light values so you can work out combinations of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, distance, and flash power. You can spin this inner dial a million different ways, but it has no effect on the flash output. 

The automatic mode intrigued me: remember that this is not a TTL flash. As it turns out, there is a tiny light sensor on the front of the flash that changes the flash output depending on ambient light. You can test this by firing the test button, then covering the light sensor and firing the test button again. As you can see in my video, you’ll notice the difference. 

The user guide lists some default values for ISO, aperture, and distance, though I just winged it. Auto mode is not terribly sophisticated, but at the same time, it worked fairly well in my test shots.

Using the Lux Junior on film cameras 

There are two ways you can use the Lux Junior with film cameras, either on the hot shoe as with digital or with the sync cable that comes in the box. I tried both with great results. 

Of course, with film, you’re not getting the instant feedback of digital, so I was worried about how my roll of Kodak 200 would turn out. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few shots that were underexposed, but the rest looked great. I also took some shots with the help of my Sekonic light meter, and they turned out perfectly. 

Although it was fun, with the cost of film rising, I’d prefer to stick with my Contax TLA140 on the G1 next time.  

S1 and S2 Optical Modes

The Lux Junior has a couple of nifty tricks up its sleeve. On one side of the flash, there are S1 and S2 settings to trigger other Godox flashes. 

Using S1 will fire the Lux Junior in response to another manual or TTL flash. Using S2, the flash will respond similarly, but ignore the initial flash. 

Is This the Best Photography Accessory You Can Buy for $69?

I think it is. I thoroughly enjoyed using the Godox Lux Junior flash. It’s light and compact and can fit in your pocket. Despite its small size, the flash packs a powerful punch. I had consistently good results in both manual and automatic mode. 

If you like your flashes even more retro-looking that this, also check out Godox’s other new flash: the cool-looking Lux Senior, which retails for $119. 
 

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Is This Fujifilm’s Most Anticipated Lens?


Fujifilm has recently announced the new and highly anticipated XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR. This lens is an update to the popular 56mm f/1.2 R lens, which has been a favorite of Fujifilm X users since it was announced in early 2014. But how much improvement can we see? Have the criticisms of the original lens been addressed? This fantastic video gives real-world insight. 

Coming to you from Kevin Mullins, a wedding photographer and Fujifilm guru based in the UK, this video looks at some real-world images made using the newly released XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR lens. The 56mm f/1.2 lens has, for a long time, been a staple in the camera bags of Fujifilm users everywhere. Kevin has addressed any long-standing groans that some users had with the original 56mm lens and lets us know if it’s worth the upgrade (spoiler alert: I’ll be replacing my trusty 56mm with the new version as soon as I can). 

Until recently, and right through the rise of the X mount, Kevin has been a Fujifilm ambassador. He has influenced many wedding photographers to switch to the brand, so if anybody can give us an opinion worthy of our time, it’s him. 

Kevin talks more about how he has used the lens in his work recently, but if you want to see the technical specifications of the new lens, here they are.

  • 56mm focal length (35mm equivalent: 85mm
  • Max aperture f/1.2
  • 11 diaphragm blades for a nearly perfectly circular aperture for particularly clean edges along highlights with minimal aberrations and particularly nice bokeh
  • 13 elements in 8 groups
  • Two aspherical elements and one ED element
  • High-refractive technology
  • Minimum focusing distance of 50 cm
  • Dust- and moisture-sealing
  • Fluorine coating

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Easily Create Dramatic Portraits on a Budget


We photographers love gear. If you’re like me, you probably have a corner (or a basement) filled with modifiers, filters, lenses, lights, and more. The truth is that we don’t need a ton of expensive gear to create dramatic results, and in my latest video, I will show you how to create a Rembrant-style portraits using one off-brand flash in a small modifier.

For this tutorial, I used a Yongnuo Speedlite for Canon cameras, a Yongnuo transmitter, and a Joe McNally 24″ Ezybox. I used the white rear wall of my studio as a backdrop, and since I was a few feet in front of it, the white wall was rendered gray in the photos without having to use a gray paper backdrop. In the tutorial, I also demonstrate how simply turning your subject’s head either to the left or to the right will create a completely different look, without having to move the modifier. 

When I was a beginner, I remember feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of learning how to create portraits with studio lighting. The amount of modifiers, strobes, continuous lights, mounting systems, and other options was very confusing, so I opted to use an off camera flash and experiment with that before diving into any expensive strobes. I think that many of us get started this way, so chances are you have at least some of this equipment lying in your gear graveyard just ready to be experimented with. I hope you enjoy the video!

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Easily Isolate Your Layers in Photoshop


Working in Photoshop with multiple layers and then trying to navigate to those layers to make tweaks to your edits can sometimes be time-consuming and at times also very annoying if you have forgotten to name the layer. In this quick tutorial, we’ll show you a couple of methods to quickly and easily navigate to the layer you want to isolate and edit without using the scroll wheel. 

I mentioned naming the layers in my introduction, if you don’t already do this can I suggest you do it’s good practice, in general, to get into the habit of naming layers and groups, firstly for your own sanity and secondly, especially for shortcuts like this. The image shown has a total of 44 layers which isn’t too much but it can still be time-consuming to wade through for individual edits and tweaks.

Method 1

Go to the select menu and choose Isolate layers and the current layer you are on, be that a group or individual layer will only be displayed in your layers panel. This method will isolate the current layer you are on. Use this in conjunction with method 3 and a wider choice of layer selections are available.

select via menu

isolate layers via menu 0If you select a group, all the layers within that group will be displayed. Make your adjustments from here and then go to Select > Isolate layers again in the menu and uncheck the tab. Alternatively, you can click the light switch on the layers panel to reveal all of your hidden layers.red switch 0

Method 2

A shortcut for quick navigation through your layers is a right-click on your image. This will display in a hierarchical system and some of the layers below the current layer you are on. By selecting any one of the named layers in the drop-down, photoshop will automatically navigate to that layer. Right-clicking again on the image will show the layers below the one you have currently selected. You can of course simply use the scroll bar to the right of the layers panel, but if you have accumulated a lot of layers in your edit, this will speed up your workflow.quick navigation

Method 3

Above the layers panel is a selection function, the default for this is Kind. Select this drop-down menu and select an option from here. For the example below I chose Name and in the input field typed curves, which resulted in the curves layers being displayed. From here I could edit the curves layers throughout my document and see the results on the entire image.name curves

Other options are available depending on how you have named your layers or the edits you have applied and it’s a very useful feature to start getting to grips with if you don’t already use it. I’ve included some of the other selection methods below to let you see how versatile and time-saving this method can be. Again your selection can be turned off via the red light switch button.selection methods

Conclusion

I hope you have found this quick tutorial helpful as it can really speed up your workflow and not just with multilayered documents. It saves time and scrolling even with 10-12 layers. Give it a try if you don’t already use it and remember to get into the practice of naming your layers if you do use it as trying to remember what layers 12 or 22 are can just be as annoying using this method or not.

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Are These the Most Absurd Photography Purchases You’ve Ever Seen?


Photography might well be the most gear-intensive pastime on the planet, which means that while there is some incredible gear available for purchase, there are also plenty of duds to waste your money on. Are these some of the worst photography purchases you’ve seen?

I’m not an impulsive buyer by any stretch of the imagination. When I get an inkling that I want something, I tend to go through a pattern of extensive research followed by even more intensive vacillating. So when I finally get to the stage where I’m ready to lay down my hard-earned cash, I’m generally confident that I won’t soon get a case of buyer’s regret. However, I have made some horrible purchases over the years. I think my worst was buying a camera bag that could hold my entire range of lenses. It had more pockets and nooks than an underground tunnel network. But as soon as I got it, I knew I’d stuffed up. After I’d put all my gear in, I could barely stumble out the door because it was so heavy. And why on earth would I need every lens on a day trip? I’ve made a few other embarrassing purchases that I’d rather not own up to, as well.

And that brings us to this great video by Henry Turner, in which he shares seven of his most absurd photography purchases. It’s important to note that at the outset, Turner is at pains to say that it’s an entirely subjective list that may differ for everyone. One of the most interesting purchases he speaks of is ND grad filters. The reason he says it was a terrible purchase is that you can do the exact same job in post-production, or in-camera through bracketing. It’s a hot topic these days with all the AI advancements suggesting the day might come when photography is little more than data manipulation on software. He has a few other good ones too. Give the video a look and let me know some of your worst photography purchases over the years.

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Photographing Talent: Some Helpful Tips


Yes, the video says it’s for posing women, but it works for everyone. It’s for posing, it’s for comfort levels, and it will help you run a more successful set. Here are three of my tips for helping models have a more successful photoshoot. 

5 Tips to Help You Have a More Successful Photoshoot

  1. Less lights, more comfort: I’m a fan of c-stands and lights everywhere. It looks like a higher production and helps my ego, but truthfully, for a newer model or subject, it could be overwhelming. Here’s why: once in a while, place yourself in their position and see if their point of view is intimidating or not. Since many of your clients are less experienced with being on set, imagine how intimidating all of those lights and stands can be. Don’t need something? Leave it out. 

    The same goes with people. You don’t have to surround your models with hair, makeup, wardrobe, assistant, their friend, etc. Have them all sit comfortably to the side. They can still watch, but out of the eyeline of the model. Watch and see how comfortable she/he is after you clear the path!
     

  2. You’re paid for your opinions: That means you should give them and not hold back. Holding back to spare feelings is actually putting more value on your own comfort versus their development. It’s OK to say: “that’s not a good angle for you, try this instead” or “that’s not your best angle. Try moving your head to this position and it looks so much better!” 

    You’re paid for your opinions and your expertise. Share them boldly but kindly. 
     

  3. They are human: Here’s something crazy. Sometimes, we forget that the subject is another human being and they are a guest in our space. How would you treat your houseguest? You’d treat them like a king or queen, right?

    When the model arrives and is “trapped” in glam, take the time to sit with them and connect. Talk about what’s happening in culture, on the news, the traffic to the studio, or even what else they’ve done. Connect with them. This helps them feel comfortable quicker, which helps you get better photographs sooner in the shoot. 

Check out the video to see all the tips that I think will help you have a more successful photo shoot. 

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review (2022)

Camera Capable of High Performance That Covers All the Bases!

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The EOS 5D Mark IV is Canon’s best-selling full-frame EOS camera, and it has a 30.4-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor together with the highly sought-after Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Amateurs are now able to shoot footage that is on par with that generated by experts since quick and precise AF is now achievable for capturing 4K video as well.

EOS-5D-Mark-IV-Review-2022

Those who wish to use their cameras to produce movies also have access to the professional-grade Canon Log codec that is included in the package. This firmware upgrade might potentially increase the dynamic range by up to 800%, providing you with around 12 stops of latitude even while working in low-light circumstances.

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EOS 5D Mark IV Kit (EF 24 – 105 IS II USM) (Specifications)

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  • 30.4MP Full-frame CMOS Sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 4K Movie Shooting (25 / 30p) with 4K Frame Grab
  • Canon Log Capability
EOS-5D-Mark-IV-Review-2022

EOS EOS 5D Mark IV: SGD $3,018

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Canon EOS 6D Mark II Review (2022)

Canon-EOS-6D-Mark-II

Full-frame DSLR features in a portable, lightweight design!

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Your images are capable of reaching new heights with the help of the EOS 6D Mark II, which is a full-frame DSLR camera that is both powerful and compact. Within Canon’s lineup of EOS full-frame DSLR cameras, this model is the one that has the lowest overall weight. Because it has a 26.2-megapixel image sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, and a Vari-angle touch panel LCD display, it enables you to take excellent images and vidEOS with a touch-operated autofocus that is rapid and accurate, as well as from a range of angles.

EOS-6D-Mark-II-Review-2022

The 5-axis image stabilization technology that is included into the camera is referred to as Movie digital IS. This technology helps to lessen the impacts of camera wobble while shooting handheld video, which is especially helpful when recording in resolutions as high as Full HD 60p / 50p.

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EOS 6D Mark II Kit (EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM) (Specifications)

  • 26.2MP Full-frame CMOS Sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 45-point all cross-type AF; up to 6.5fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 100 – 40000 (expandable to 102400)
  • GPS, Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth low energy
EOS-6D-Mark-II-Review-2022

EOS 6D Mark II: SGD $3,018

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Canon EOS 1500D Review (2022)

With its high quality of 24.1% megapixels, your photos are sure to shine!

EOS-1500D-Review-2022

This DSLR camera offers users of all skill levels a real DSLR shooting experience by way of its 24.1 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor as well as its optical viewfinder. This enables users to capture breath-taking stills as well as moving film with the camera. The combination of a wide grip and a fast and accurate autofocus (AF) system makes it easy to keep one’s hand stable while shooting. Sharing your vidEOS and photos on the internet is a simple when you have Wi-Fi and NFC integrated right in to your device.

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EOS 1500D Kit (EF S18-55 IS II) (Specifications)

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  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor & DIGIC 4+ image processor
  • 9-point AF with 1 centre cross-type AF point
  • Standard ISO 100 – 6400 (expandable to 12800)
  • Wi-Fi / NFC supported

EOS-1500D-Review-2022

EOS 1500D: SGD $3,018

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