What it’s like to focus a rangefinder

26 04 2011

Rangefinder cameras are cameras that have been fitted with a rangefinder, which allows the photographer to calculate subject distance allowing for sharp photographs. They’re generally small, much like a point and shoot but unlike point and shoots rangefinders have interchangeable lenses. Unlike an SLR or DSLR rangefinders do not have a reflex lens. Instead you look through the viewfinder and have to compensate for the distance between the lens and viewfinder when framing a shot.

To illustrate this point, here is a nifty video that shows how to focus a rangefinder camera.

(via Petapixel)


Medium format explained

25 04 2011

Hasselblad H4D-50 courtesy of Hasselblad.com

That is a Hasselblad H4D-50. One of Hasselblad’s latest digital medium-format cameras. It has an ISO range from 50-800 a shutter speed range from 32 seconds- 1/800 and a 50 megapixel sensor. Sounds pretty good right? It can be yours for just $30,000 plus shipping and handling off the B&H website.

Why the steep price tag? First off, it’s a Hasselblad, one of the best camera manufacturers in the world. Secondly it’s a digital medium format camera with a 50 megapixel sensor. So those two factor into its price.

If you’ve never experienced film photography, or just use point and shoots. Medium format may or may not confuse you.

What is medium format? It goes back to the old days of film photography. Where there is the 35mm and then you have 120 film. There are more but for the sake of the post I’ll use two kinds.

The 120 film is much bigger than 35mm film. The larger negative will result in more surface area for your photo. Photos taken on a medium format will have better color, tone, and detail as compared to a 35mm or a DX sensor. Also, it’ll give you a bigger negative to work with when it comes to enlarging. Enlarging a negative taken from a medium format will have less detail loss as the print size increases. Making it ideal for posters.

Sounds good right? Here’s how you can shoot medium format without dropping $30,000. You may be able to find a medium format point and shoot for cheap on Craigslist, or KEH. All you need to do then is buy some film, 120, and have it processed and scanned onto a CD. Put the CD into your computer, and BAM you have a medium format photo. From there you can manipulate it the same way you could a digital photo.

Getting creative, tabletop studio diy

24 04 2011

Ever want to experiment with lighting but don’t have the cash to afford a sweet lighting setup? Well now you can but in mini form and without leaving your house. It’s a tabletop studio and it’s a really easy and cheap way to play around with lighting. In this video I give an introduction on how to set up a tabletop studio.

DX and FX formats

20 04 2011

In the realm of digital photography there are two kind of sensor formats: DX and FX. What does that mean? It relates to the size of the sensor that’s in your camera. DX sensors are also called “crop sensors” because they’re smaller than an FX which is the digital equalivant of 35mm film.

It affects your camera in two ways. First, it affects the price. DX sensor cameras are much cheaper than an FX. As an example, the Nikon D5000, which is an entry level DSLR, uses a CMOS DX style sensor, and it costs $629.99 USD. Now lets go over to the big boy playground and check out the professional-grade Nikon D3S. This puppy packs in an FX CMOS sensor along with a slew of other features, and totals over 5k.

Bear in mind that there are several distinguishing features between the two cameras that also affects price, such as weather-sealing on the D3s and a 51 point autofocus. So that’s also bumping up the price.

Second it affects how the camera performs. DX sensors tend to not handle higher ISOs very well, with image quality and noise problems due to the smaller sensor. FX sensors, since it’s a bigger, can handle high ISOs with little quality loss. The D3s has an ISO up to 12,800 according to Nikon’s website.

There is also a difference in image quality depending on the sensor. DX are smaller, and can’t fit a lot of data onto the sensor, whereas an FX can cram more detail into its bigger sensor.

I shoot with a Nikon D90 which has a DX sensor in it, and yes it does get noisy in the higher ISOs but software can greatly reduce the effects of noise.

Remember when you received your first DSLR?

18 04 2011

I remember when I bought my D60. I ended up driving all over to find a Best Buy that had one in stock. When I had it in my hands a big smile spread across my face and while it wasn’t as awesome as this video it was something special.