Wide Non-Fisheye Lens – Types, Benefits, Examples

If you ever needed a wide-angle lens or generally wanted to capture an ultra-wide-angle, you’ve probably went with a wide lens with the fisheye effect, especially if you needed to do some outdoor photography.

But is that the only way that wide-angle photography could be done?

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How To Pick the Best Camera For Your Photography Needs

What is a good camera for me?

Everyone might have a different answer to this question. At  the end of the day, the best camera is subject to someone’s photography needs. Sometimes you don’t need to buy the most expensive one just to take that simple shot. And of course, you can’t just use your point and shoot if you want to be a wildlife photographer. Indeed, it depends on how and what you are going to use it for.

pick-the-best-camera-for-your-photography-needs-mainImage courtesy of Pixabay.com

Here is a look at some of the camera choices to get you familiarized before you visit the store.

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Review: The Flip Mino HD Video Camera

I really like the Flip video cameras. I reviewed the original Flip Mino back in June and recommended it for anyone who wanted to shoot more than a couple of minutes of video at a time or who wanted to reserve the space on their camera’s memory card just for pictures. The Flip Mino is a handy, compact, easy to use video recorder. And the Flip Mino HD (Amazon) is virtually identical in every way except one—it records 720p HD video.

Everything I liked about the Flip Mino I like about the Flip Mino HD. The body and controls are identical. You can’t even tell them apart visually except for the “HD” logo on the back. They operate exactly the same and feel exactly the same in my hand. Everything I wrote in my earlier review about the Flip Mino applies to the HD version. So let’s get on to video quality.

The video and sound quality are quite good. Video is recorded in H.264 format at 30 frames per second. Audio is recorded in AAC format at 44.1 kHz. The average bitrate is about 9 Mbps which lets the Flip store about 60 minutes of video on its internal 4 GB memory.

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The Canon Selphy: A portable photo printer in a bucket

In a what?

It’s so weird, I don’t know how I missed it when it came out. I was out buying ink today when I stumbled across the Selphy. Somehow, those wacky guys over at Canon had the brilliant idea that portable photo printers ought to come in bucket form.

The Selphy CP770 (Amazon) is a playful little 4×6 dye-sublimation photo printer that comes in a plastic bucket big enough for its accessories, paper, and cables. The printer itself becomes the “lid” of the bucket and latches on with two large green plastic clamps. And you carry it around by the handle. On the bucket.

CNET Editors gives it a “very good” rating citing excellent photo quality, fast printing, and ease of use.

I’m still a little boggled. And yet I am intrigued. Would you dare bring this to a corporate or any other kind of “serious” environment? You’d have a hard time getting anyone to take you seriously. But, whip out this fruit tart of a photo printer at a child’s birthday party or family social gathering and fire off some 4×6’s at grandma and I predict you’d be the hero of the moment.

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Review: Nikon D90 first impressions

On semi-impulse I bought a Nikon D90 kit last Thursday from Amazon after nearly four years with my trusty D70. I sat down with the manual over the weekend and got to know it a little better. There are plenty of great in-depth reviews of the D90 out there with tech comparisons and sample photos. This is not one of those. I’m just going to give you my first impressions of the D90, especially things about it that made me smile, from the perspective of a D70 upgrader:

  • Live view! Giant LCD! 6.7x image review zoom! Awesome. The D70 screen looks like a postage stamp now.
  • It is perceptibly faster and lighter.
  • I turned on the viewfinder grid, turned off the focus beep, and switched to selected area for focus because that’s how I roll.
  • The default image processing settings are fairly neutral and true to life. In Flickr terms: boring. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but I’m not particularly interested in absolute truth, photographically speaking. I prefer my photos to have a little more pop so I adjusted the default to Vivid which boosts both the contrast and saturation.

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The making of a “simple” snapshot: a photo essay in four frames

Last night, as she tucked our son into bed, my lovely and talented wife came into the office in search of the camera. Our conversation went something like this:

Wife: “Where’s the camera? I need to take a picture of your son. How do you get this thing off the tripod?”

Tripod head

Me: “Wait a second. You’re going to need some light.”
Wife: “This is supposed to just be a quick snapshot.”
Me: “Do you want a blurry mess or do you want to be able to see what’s in the photo?” (Set flash to TTL BL, +1 EV, on-camera, oriented to bounce off ceiling and adjacent wall. Camera set to ISO 200, P mode, +0.7 EV)

SB-800 Speedlight

Me: “Oops, you’re going to need some film.”
Wife: Grrr.

Flash memory

Me: “There you go.”
Wife: *Click!*
Me: “Hey, presto!”

Snapshot

Scene and composition: The Lovely and Talented Wife
Camera setup: Me

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Review of the Think Tank belt system

This guest article was written by Lane Hartwell, a San Francisco-based freelance photographer whose images appear in Wired News, San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and Diablo Magazine. You can follow Lane’s photography on Flickr.com and view her portfolio at fetching.net.

Think Tank beltThink Tank Photo is a Bay Area based company making making bags and belt systems for cameras and lenses. I saw a belt system on a pro shooter several months ago and watching her work with it, I was convinced it was the way to go. If you saw a carpenter walk around with a bag or backpack and take it off every time he needed a different tool, you’d buy him a toolbelt. The think tank belt system is a tool belt for photographers. I’ve been using the Think Tank belt system for several months now and thought it was about time for a review.

Like most photographers, I’m in search of the perfect bag. I own 3; The Lowepro Slingshot 200, the Lowepro Rover, and a Domke shoulder bag. Each are great for specific uses;

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How camera lenses are made

From the markings on the barrels, these appear to be lenses made by JML Optical. It shows how painstaking it is to make high quality lenses. I thought it was interesting to see the strange mix of high-tech (vacuum chambers and electron beams) and low-tech (wooden sticks and plastic cups) manufacturing methods used in the production of one lens.

via kottke.org

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Ice Cold Photography

npsmall.jpg I spent this past weekend in Chicago and, as you may know, it was FREEZING in Chicago this past weekend. But since a mere 6 months ago I was living in Alaska I know that extreme cold doesn’t mean I can’t take my camera out and I now have some lovely photos of very cold Chicago dwellers. For those of you that have never yet ventured out with your camera at 25 below but think you might be brave enough this winter here are a few tips:

Use A UV Filter
They are a hell of a lot cheaper to replace than a lens. Extreme cold makes glass more brittle, last winter I was out shooting at -30F, put my camera down, gently, and the UV filter simply shattered. But it cost ten bucks to replace so I didn’t have to be too worried!

Get A Good Camera Bag and Heat It!
A decent camera bag is a worthwhile investment anyway but especially if you do a lot of outdoor photography. In the cold it’ll offer some protection by itself and you can make it even better by padding around the camera with hand or foot warmers (they cost about $2 at sports stores).

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DSLRs, sensor dust, and NASA

If you haven’t seen these photos from a recent Shuttle mission you should definitely check them out. Spectacular. But, me being who I am, I couldn’t help but notice the sensor dust defects in the fifth photo. You can tell it’s dust on the sensor because it shows up again in the same places on the seventh photo which is also shot at a high f-stop (where sensor spots are more likely to appear) (and you can tell it’s a high f-stop because everything in the frame is in sharp focus.).

NASA dust

I should probably get out more.

I can’t wait until it’s feasible for private citizens to go on Earth orbit “safaris.” I’ll definitely make sure my sensor is clean before hand. 😉

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