5 Things to look for when Buying Second Hand Camera Gear Online
Photography is an expensive hobby. A student once said to me, yes Ingrid, there are three variables which will determine your photography – Light, Time and Money. Well, although I admit you can travel down the rabbit hole of ever improving camera gear, it is still possible to nab some camera gear bargains online if you are well informed and buy second hand. So here’s my top 5 tips on buying second hand camera gear.*Photo credit
Buying Second Hand Camera Gear
1. Purchase from a reputable source.
The big players in the second hand camera gear industry are well established and usually even stand over their resale items with a 6 month warranty. This can go a long way in calming the nerves of a newbie photographer. I’ve bought many lenses in this way from KEH who are a huge online supplier of second hand equipment – everything from camera bags to lenses to lighting equipment. You might pay a little bit more buying a lens in this way but in my opinion that warranty is worth that peace of mind. Funny story – I know about them when I lived in Ireland and when I moved to the US I realized their warehouse is right down the street from where I live here in Smyrna!
2. Still lots of bargains to be had…
if you regularly stalk Craigslist and other online auction and sales sites such as Quicksales where private individuals are selling their stuff . If you are on Facebook (I know, who isn’t?), then you can join some of the specific groups for people buying and selling their second hand gear. Just do a search on Facebook and then request to join the groups that interest you. You can always leave the group when your are finished buying or sell some of your own stuff to buy the next piece of gear!
There are several benefits of buying from an individual. For a start, you can sometimes find some REALLY awesome deals. People start photography and then realize they are no longer interested, or they upgrade their cameras or they just need the cash for something new. When you buy like, this you can usually get a bundle deal of lenses, bodies, filters and bags for a great price. Just beware of add-ons that are unnecessary inflating the price your your gear. Most people will never use color filter sets and just because the piece of plastic ring thing looks fancy – you probably don’t need it.
Secondly, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions to see photos taken with the gear and actual photos of the gear. You can usually tell if a person is being honest or not in these sites and of course you can always look at their account feedback. Sites like Craigslist can be a little more sketchy these days, so as always – use your judgement and don’t put yourself in any questionable scenarios when meeting the seller.
3. Do your research.
When you buy second hand its up to you to do your research. You need to know exactly what it is you are looking for and be prepared to ask lots of questions so that you can be sure that the piece is in as good as shape as possible. I personally, honestly would stay away from buying a camera body 2nd hand unless you are very sure of where it was coming from and its history.
This is especially true for entry level DSLR camera bodies. These aren’t usually built to withstand a lot of wear and tear and one drop could knock something vital way off in how the camera operates. when trying to decipher how much use a camera has gotten look for signs of wear and tear on the strap, where the paint has rubbed off on the grip and on the flash hotshoe.
4. PayPal or CreditCard only
Only deal with sellers who will accept PayPal or Credit Cards. All reputable and honest sellers will do this. If you are been asked to send money orders or wire funds directly to someone’s bank account in some far flung place, then this screams SCAM! Always, always buyer beware
5. If it looks to good to be true, then it probably is.
Use your judgement when you are buying 2nd hand gear online. If you see brand new camera models at knockdown prices then red flags should go up. Also check for fake brand names. If I had a dollar for every Cannon or Nickon lens I saw back in my days of retail…. not to mention the countless variations of plastic imitation lenses. Remember, just because a lens looks awesome – it could be a piece of junk.
So I hope this little guide will help you out! If you have had any experience in buying used equipment online I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: Beginners Photography worked together with Quicksales on this article.
Canon Powershot S95 Review
Recently I spent some time in Florida with my family from Ireland and I had the pleasure of using my Dad’s Canon Powershot S95 compact camera. Although this is now an “older” Point and shoot camera I was so impressed with it I thought I’d do a little review on it. afterall, is it really necessary to buy the absolute latest model of camera since the manufacturers change them every six months or so. Watch the video below and let me know your thoughts on this.
Hey there! This week I’m in sunny…or maybe not so sunny Florida, and I thought I’d take the chance to give you a little hands on review of a camera that my Dad actually brought with him. It’s called the Canon S95, it is a Powershot point and shoot camera.
This camera has been around for a couple of years, so it has actually now been replaced by the S110 but I just thought I would give you a quick overview on this camera because I’m really excited to use it. It’s really nice and then we can do a comparison with the new camera and see what the differences are.
So, the Powershot S95 is a very high spec compact camera. As you can see it’s really small – it fits pretty much on the palm of my hand. I’s a really good little camera for anybody who likes to take photos that are just a little bit more than what they can get with their phone. It is also really good for people who are used to using a digital SLR – if you like to use the manual exposure mode such as Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and even Manual Exposure or even if you are just trying to experiment with your photography a little bit and you want to move a little bit outside of just point and shoot, this would be a great camera for you.
The first thing that you notice on your camera is that it has a really big 3 inch LCD screen. This means that there is no viewfinder on the camera which can be a little bit off putting to some people. But because it so big and it so clear I find that it isn’t a problem to use. You have the mode dial up here just like the digital SLR and you have all the same sort of modes – the P, TV, AV and M and then of course you have a whole bunch of custom modes that you can set for specific types of photography and you can have good fun playing around with those.
The lens is a really bright 2.0 lens. IThat means you can shoot in really low light and you don’t need to use your flash because the aperture can really open up wide and can let in a lot of light at f/2.0 The lens has also a wide angle lens which is great for taking landscapes or group shots and means that you don’t have to zoom way back or move way back. You can just use the wide angle lens
It also has a x3.8 optical zoom lens which is a little on the small side and I think that this is something that they really improved in the newer version of this camera – I think they have got up to 5X optical zoom now which is better. But considering that it has such a compact little body, it is pretty impressive to have the wide angle plus a bit of a zoom there too.
So the one thing that I really love about this little S95 camera is that it really feels nice to use it in your hand. It has a little nice coating at the back that gives a little bit of a grip and it has this little ring that can be fully customized to whatever you want it to be. For example now I have to set to control the ISO because I have been shooting a lot in low light here and we have been using this camera with no flash, so I wanted to push the ISO up and play around with it rather than have to go in and play around the menu. You could also set this dial to control exposure compensation,the one that we talked about in my last video. You can have it set to focus, white balance and if you like that feeling of zooming your digital SLR, this is quite similar to that by using this custom ring function here right at the top. S95 also has a really good movie mode, and it will capture 720p movie in high definition and it is really more than you need if you are just going to watch it on your computer or making your little imovies so it is really – a nice feature to have in a camera. It’s all in one so you don’t have to worry about taking another device with you.
One of the awesome features with this camera if you are used to using a digital SLR is this camera can actually shoot in raw and not just in Jpeg which means that you have full control over all of your exposure settings and your white balance. And if your are used to using your digital SLR shooting in raw then this is a nice compliment to that.
I didn’t want to take by big camera down to the beach with me because you know sand gets everywhere so we just pop this little camera into a ziplock bag and you can take it out and play with it on the beach – and I still have the full editing capability use with this little compact camera.
The main difference between this particular camera and newer models seems to be that they have increased the zoom to 5x optical zoom which is nice and they have changed this LCD screen at the back to a touch screen. Now, I have to be honest I’m not a huge fan of the touchscreen LCD screen because you tend to get finger prints all over it. But you know now with iphones and ipads we are kind of already used to using a touch screen. So it is just a matter of wiping off. They have also included a wireless technology so you can transfer your photos directly from your camera to your printer-if you have a wireless printer.
It also has the new Canon HDS technology which means that is very good for shooting in low light which I already found that this is great for shooting in low light. So, I can only imagine the S110 is even better for that. So all in all I would have to say is that I really love this camera and I’m kind of envious that my dad has it. I might consider getting one the S110′s for just everyday shooting and when I don’t like to carry the DSLR around with me all the time, this would be something that I think would really compliment my kit, and you know there are always times when you just don’t want to bring your DSLR. I will also recommend this for somebody who is interested in getting into photography but just don’t want the full expense of a digital SLR. These cameras are the high end of the compact camera range and think it is around $379 which definitely isn’t cheap but it something that it would be worthwhile as an investment – just to see if you get a feel for manual photography and to be able to control your exposure and play around with some of the settings.
If you have the Canon Powershot S95 or any of the later versions, I would love to hearwhat you have to say about it in the comments below!
Get Creatively unStuck
There comes a time for every photographer when you know the basics, you’re familiar with your camera and you are ready to move to the next step. When this happens you can sometimes get stuck. Stuck not knowing where to go next with your photography.
Have you reached this point where you need another approach to pursue your visual creative process?
Have you thought about what your usual creative process is? – Is it intentional or intuitive?
Do you know where your photography aspirations are leading you?
Have you though which path would you like to take -Portrait or Food Photography, Landscape or Photojournalism?
Or do you just need to get unstuck?
PHOTOGRAPH is a digital quarterly magazine for Creative Photographers from the folks over at Craft and Vision and it will allow you to experience different paths in the magical world of photography. In this issue (number 3), you will be given access to the portfolios of renowned photographers; the likes of Henki Coentjoro and his black and white photography , Dave Delnea’s works from Tunisia and the stunning food photography of commercial photographer Kevin Clark. Also featured in the issue are articles from David Duchemin, John Paul Caponigro, Martin Bailey, Chris Orwig, Younes Bounhar, Jay Goodrich, Piet Van Den Eynde, Nicole S. Young and Al Smith. This introduction to these amazing artists is sure to inspire even the most stuck and creatively challenged photographer.
When you flip through the beautiful pages filled with amazing images you will also learn each photographer’s visual sense, style and their influences unfolded in the question and answer section. You will see that they didn’t start out amazingly creating the images that you see now. Each have their own story to tell but they all have one thing in common- to always bring the camera with them wherever they go.
PHOTOGRAPH will help you reflect on your own visual creative process experience. The featured photographers’ beautiful works will let you see the world from a different perspective. It will inspire and will motivate you to go out and shoot on your own terms and hopefully bring you closer to creating your own style of photography.
Go out and shoot! See the world in different colors and angles! Capture priceless moments. And most importantly DON’T forget to grab a copy of this issue for only $8. Remember that even though you may have your own creative vision we all need inspiration from others and a subscription to the ad free PHOTOGRAPH will take care of this for you every 3 months.
Right now you can get a one year subscription to PHOTOGRAPH for only $24, saving you $8 and guaranteeing inspiration for the year ahead.
Studying these expert photographers is truly a wonderful way to bring your photography to the next level. don’t miss out!
Time-lapse photography made easy
Have you ever had a moment where you are surrounded by the beauty of nature or the bright city
So you take a snapshot of that glorious view because your camera is always with you right? But somehow the photo did not translate what you saw right in that very moment. It’s just kind of, well, blegh…You thought you captured all the elements involved in making a beautiful photograph, but it just wasn’t right. So where did you go wrong?
Most likely you didn’t really do anything wrong. It’s just difficult to represent breathtaking events that transcend time such as the movements of the clouds, sunny to cloudy day, beautiful sunrise or sunset, lovely gray city fog to luminous sparkling city lights, accurately in a single image.
TIMELAPSE an introduction to still photographs in motion by Dave Delnea is an ebook created with all the information, tips and techniques to capture and shoot a Time-Lapse sequence. Time-lapse photography is simply a record of time unfolding in a well-composed, still frame. If you want to learn how to do it, this book will guide you in learning both Still and Time-Lapse Photography that can be great ways for communicating tales of travel and adventures to the world. This ebook will also let you take a peek of Delnea’s beautifully crafted photos over years of travels in which he learned and experimented with time-lapse photographs.
The author breaks down the Time-lapse photography process into 4 very easy steps. He clearly outlines the essential equipment that you will need for time lapse photography, most of which are things that you probably already have in your own kit. He also lists the essential extras needed to capture your very own beautiful time-lapse, but again these are things that you will probably come across everyday. He also adds the not-so-essential extras like the apps that he used in assisting to capture the images .
Framing, Focus and Exposure considerations tips, Exposure & Mechanical Flicker, Post- Production Workflow using Adobe Lightroom and Hosting the image sequence in a video file are also outlined in a manner that is easy to understand even for a beginner photographer. If you purchase you’ll even get a link to Dave’s Lightroom Time-Lapse Preset which is pretty slick.The screenshots of the menu settings that he used are also shown which will help you walk through the settings suited for each situation to capture a time lapse.
The Advance Techniques Bonus at the end of this ebook provides a little teaser of what’s in store after you have learned the basics.This is a fun ebook demonstrating how we can use our existing technology for a type of photography that we might have thought was beyond our reach. The possibilities available to the aspiring photographer today, even on a tight budget, are infinite. As Dave Delnea himself says ”This is a remarkable period in history to be creative.”
The author’s style is light hearted and free spirited with a dust of occasional humour which makes this ebook not only a fun read, but an educational resource to be kept and referred back to again in the future.
You can purchase TimeLapse by Dave Delnea here from Craft and Vision and use the coupon code TIME4 to get it for only $4 until March 22nd at 11.59pm PST Or if you decide to purchase at least 4 other Craft and Vision ebooks in addition to Timelapse , use the code TIME 20 you’ll get 20% off your entire order.
Top 5 DSLR Bags for Women
Owning a DSLR is a bit like having a baby. Well not having a baby exactly but being responsible for it. Like a baby your DSLR usually goes everywhere with you – to the park, the zoo, family functions, Christmas parties etc. etc. It also is of considerable weight and comes with a variety of accessories lenses, filters, memory cards as opposed to diapers, toys and snacks. And like a baby you have to be very careful with it. It must be protected against knocks and falls and all accidental bumps and boo boos.
So if you are a mommy and are already toting around a 1 year old and hate to miss any of those special moments, you also need to take the big DSLR around with you too. As you might know I have two little girls and I love to take pictures so I do a fair amount of lugging! So when I recently got a new DSLR even bigger than the last I set out on a mission to find the perfect bag to accomodate my camera and make it easier to take along on more outings.
What I wanted was different to my other camera bags. I already have the massive camera bag that can hold 2 bodies and 2 lenses, the laptop etc. This time I was searching for an every day bag which main job is to keep the camera safe and protected but it also needed to look cute and not necessarily like a “camera bag”. I did a lot of investigating and got a lot of feedback from you guys and here is a round up of some of the bags that I really liked and my top 5 DSLR bags for women.
Shoot sac – Tote and Shoot
The Tote and Shoot was a very strong contender for my bag of choice. I love the clean design of these bags and they seem practical without being boring. They also have a very unique pocket that lets you access your camera without having to go into the main compartment which I really like. These bags really seem to be in high demand as they have just recently become available again and now come with a messenger strap which I think I would definitely need. The have pretty colors too that are spunky enough to add a little spice to your wardrobe without being over the top. You can find out more here on their website.
When I asked the crowd on Facebook which was their favorite camera bags the Ephanie range seemed to be the favorite. These bags are totally unlike a traditional camera bag and have been designed with the modern lady in mind looking like a high end designer purse. They have such a fab range of colors and styles there is bound to be one to suit you. In fact you might find yourself needing several, depending on what outfit you are wearing! Epiphanie bags are available through Amazon or on the Epiphanie website
The Kelly Moore bags have also been designed to look like fashionable purses but with lots of padding inside. Kelly is a photographer and was frustrated with the lack of choice out there for woman photographers. Her camera bags rrange from huge full kit travel bags such as the Libby to the more compact 2 Sues which I personally LOVE. Kelly Moore are also available on Amazon or check out Kelly’s website for lots of videos demonstrating her products.
These bags have been around for a while and although they are differnt to the traditional camera bags ie black canvas with a lot of velcro, they are more traditional in design than some of the bright colors of the Ephanie and Kelly Moore Bags. They are also very reasonably priced which would make them an affordable gift. Free shipping available from Amazon
These bags are the winners as far as I’m concerned. I LOVE the 3Annnies range of bags which are stylish purses in their own right AND they are made from real leather. The colors are absolutely stunning and the designs are to die for. World renowned photographer Sue Bryce is a big fan of these bags and since they are currently a little out of budget for me I’ve asked Santa for one. You can buy them from the 3Annies Facebook page here
So Santa – I promise I’ve been nice and you know a girl can never have enough shoes or handbags!
What kind of bag do you use? Are you happy with it? Let me know in the comments below!
Would a photo canvas brighten up your world?
What do you do with all those photos you take? Do you carefully edit them and file them away on your hard drive? Perhaps you go to the local drugstore or use an online service and print out bazillions of 6″ x 4″s which then ultimately sit in several (perhaps well organized) shoeboxes. Are you a Facebook Fanatic and share everything with everyone?
The bigger the better
Me? I’m a print girl. Actually I’m not just a print girl. I’m a blow it up big and frame it type of girl. If it’s worth looking at, then you might as well make it big – right? I guess this comes from my background as a print lab owner. For years when I lived in Ireland I had the luxury of cheaper prints and discounted framing at my disposal. At home my walls were always adorned with beautiful 16″ x 20″ fully matted and framed images of my latest trip. These days, as you know, my subjects are just as beautiful but a little more challenging – my 1 and 3 year old. I take so many photos of these little ones but I rarely get around to enlarging, never mind framing these prints. Custom framing is not cheap and neither is making high quality prints – and I have got to be the world’s pickiest printer.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I was approached by Canvas on Demand who offered me a complementary photo canvas in order to do an honest review of their site. Firstly, putting your photos onto canvas is like killing two birds with one stone – a beautiful enlarged photo print that doesn’t even need framing. Secondly, I absolutely love Canvas prints because they truly make your photos into pieces of artwork. I love the gallery wrapped look – the way the canvas is wrapped around the frame. It is really polished and helps to bring life to an otherwise two-dimensional piece. So I agreed to do this review only if it would be fair and honest (have I mentioned that I am picky?) so you can be assured that I put it to the test.
The procedure – How to get your Photos onto Canvas
Fist up I had to choose an image that I would like printed. I have an album of “for framing pics” so it was easy to choose the one I was going to print right away. I choose this shot of my 2 girls and my nephew that I shot this summer.
Full frame images work really well for canvas printing, so crop your picture to eliminate any unnecessary background.
Once I’ve cropped my image to get it the way I’d like it to look, I do any other necessary editing such as blemish removal and exposure adjustments in Photoshop Elements and then save it to my desktop so that I know where it is when I need to upload it.
Then it’s over to the Canvas on Demand website.
The site is clearly laid out and really easy to use. You can see from my video below how you will have your order placed in a matter of minutes.
And here is the finished Print:
I decided to get a 16″ x 20″ Canvas with a 1 1/2″ wrap and a black edge and I am super thrilled with the results.
You can see from the close up detail that it is expertly finished and the reproduction of the colors is spot on. This was my one big concern because like I said before – I am picky about my colors, but they were exactly as they were supposed to be.
The canvas shipped to me in about 3 working days after I placed my order and it arrived expertly packed via FedEx. A simple nail in the wall and voila I can now smile up up my 3 favorite little peeps all day long – definitely brightening up my world
So, if you think you’d like to give Canvas on Demand a whirl, tell ‘em I sent ya and get 20% off your first order by using this link.
Let me know how you get on – I’d love to hear your experiences.
Disclosure: I did receive a 16″x20″ Canvas Print so that I could adequately review this website’s product quality and service. If it hadn’t have been up to scratch you can be sure I would let you guys know.
Nikon Coolpix P510 – A Superzoom Bridge camera
When I was back home in Ireland last month I was lucky enough to get my hands on the new Nikon Coolpix P510. This is a Bridge Camera (not quite a DSLR but bigger than a point and shoot) with a powerful zoom lens.
Click on the video below to here my thoughts on this camera and check out the photos below to give you an idea of the strength of the Optical Zoom lens.
Thanks to my Auntie Jean and Uncle Pete for providing the beautiful garden for my test .
Nikon Coolpix P510
Sample shots of the Nikon P510 Super Zoom
PS You can check out more reviews of the P510 on Amazon.
3 Top Travel Cameras for Amateur Photographers
The following is a guest post from Simon from ViewBug – A very useful article for those of you looking for a good travel camera. Enjoy!
With the arrival of summer, so comes sunny days, outdoor adventures and vacations. Plenty of you are faced with the challenge of picking out a new camera to capture it all. With the amateur photographer in mind, I’ve picked out a three top cameras, each in its own category, all perfect for travel.
This camera is the very latest in Panasonic’s line of “travel zoom” cameras. If you haven’t heard that term, it was coined by Panasonic with its first Lumix DMC in 2006, as describes a compact point-and-shoot with a more powerful lens and zoom. This new category caters to the travel photographer, who needs the portability of a point-and-shoot, but wants the flexibility of a stronger zoom to capture their shots. The main attraction is it packs in a 24mm ultra-wide angle 20x zoom lens into its only 1 inch thick body. This means that you can have an impressive zoom that’s portable enough to stuff in your pocket, making it a very accommodating travel companion. The lens is equipped with Panasonic’s Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization, which is a big help when taking photos at a high zoom level without a tripod. It can take photos up to 14MP and can even record video up to full 1080p HD. On top of these strong main elements, it comes with a wide range of high-tech features, controlled with its 3-inch touch screen. It includes automatic, manual, semi-manual shooting modes, with a whopping 17 scene modes. Highlights include a panorama shot mode, multi-exposure HDR mode and night shot mode. To top it off, the high-speed of this camera also allows for 3D photos to view on any 3D-enabled device. While retailing for $350, it can be found online for around $260.
For any amateur photographer more serious about their travel photography, but not wanting to step all the way up to the costs of a full DSLR, the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS is a fantastic alternative. Not only priced more for the beginner, it is also designed for one, thanks to a great image stabilization and range of automatic shooting modes. It is also smaller than a full DSLR, making it easier for a newbie to adjust to. The fitted lens has a ultra-wide and long 35x zoom lens and 12MP capability, with an upgraded CMOS image sensor and Digic 5 processor from the previous model. And it has you covered for HD video, with 1080p at 24fps. Along with the standard shooting modes, this PowerShot spices things up with creative modes like fish-eye, miniature effect, monochrome, toy camera and super vivid. The 2.7 inch viewfinder can also pop out and rotate for your convenience. And not only is it already cheaper than buying a DLSR and lens, it’s come down from its original price of $530 last October, to around $379 today.
This camera marks Nikon’s first attempt at a rugged point-and-shoot, also making them the last among its major competitors. While late to the category, their first attempt with the Coolpix AW100 was a strong one. The solid design allows this camera to handle 5 foot drops, sink to 33 feet underwater and survive freezing 14F temperatures. It doesn’t slouch in the imaging department, with a 16MP CMOS sensor and full 1080p video capability. While zoom is limited due to its rugged design, it still fits in a 5x optical zoom with Nikkor Ed glass lens. Two cool travel-centric features included is GPS for geo-tagging and an e-compass. And it also comes in a few fun colors, from basic black to blue, orange and green camo. While the blue and camo look cool, they might be a bit easier to lose underwater or out in nature, so I’d personally go with the orange. This camera was first released with a $379 price tag last summer, but can now be picked up online for around $299.
Simon is an amateur photographer and blogger for social photography website Viewbug.com that also specializes in photo contests.
Do you need a Nifty Fifty Lens?
A what you say? Where have you been hiding out!
What is a Nifty Fifty Lens?
The Nifty 50 refers to a 50mm prime lens which is considered a portrait lens on most entry level DLSRs such as the Canon rebel series or the Nikon D3100 or Sony Alpha range.
If you are a beginner photographer and your main subject is your kids you will undoubtedly compare your pictures to those of the pro photographers that you have paid in the past to come and photograph your kiddos.
You want to be able to recreate those same types of photographs with your own DSLR. You can get junior to smile and pose and look super cute but what you you REALLY want to know is how to get that BLURRY background like the pro did. The lovely creamy background where it doesn’t matter whereabouts you shoot, your subject stands out, pin sharp against a soft out-of-focus creamy, dreamy background.
Well over half of my students come to me with this woe – “How to I get a blurry background?”
All about the f stops
As they learn a little bit about shooting out of auto mode they discover the concept of Aperture and learn that by controlling the Aperture, they control the depth of field, hence they have the ability to create a blurry background!
Hurrah! They’ve cracked it. They’ve discovered they key…that is, until they try to shoot at a wide aperture with their camera’s kit lens – i.e. the lens that comes with the camera. No matter how wide the open the aperture – usually f/4, the cannot achieve the blurry backgrounds they dream of. Their photos still look flat compared with those shot by the pro. Sound familiar?
So what gives?
Well, the main big difference between your shots and the Pro’s shots is most likely choice of lens. And that’s where the so-called nifty 50 comes in to play. The nifty 50 is a 50mm Prime lens i.e. it it has a fixed focal length of 50mm and therefore doesn’t zoom. If you want to get closer you gotta move your feet! This focal length of 50 mm is a nice distance for portraiture photography on entry level DSLRS and you’ll often hear it referred to as a portrait lens. But this is not where the secret lies. The best thing about the nifty 50 is that is has an extremely wide open maximum aperture which means it will give you a much blurrier (is that even a word?) background than your standard kit lens.
Consider my fancy slide below:
Most kit lenses can only open the aperture to somewhere between f/3.5 and f/5.6, depending on the focal length in use. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a wide open aperture at all.
Our friendly nifty 50 however comes in 3 versions with a f 1.8, f 1.4 and f 1.2 maximum apertures for most camera brands. These are considerably more open that the kit lens, allowing you to photograph inside in natural light with out the aid of flash, and more importantly for this discussion, rendering a beautiful creamy blurry background.
That’s the key! Use the best lens for the job and you’ll get the results that you are after. The camera is only half the story…
I need to get one!
And the other awesome thing about the nifty 50? It’s probably the cheapest bit of photography gear you’re likely to purchase. Most pros shoot with either the f1.4 or the f1.2 but you can nab a f1.8 (like me!) for about $100. (Be sure to check out your own camera’s compatibility with any lens before you buy)
And trust me, you will blow yourself away with the results. Pin sharp, works in low light with beautify blurry backgrounds. So what are you waiting for? Go grab one today!
P.S. The nifty 50 is such good value that it is one of the only lenses I recommend buying new – your can check it out on Amazon for the best deals.
A new way to carry your camera
This morning has been transformational! Yes – my photography experience has been changed forever. Why you ask? Well of course, I love my camera. I love taking pictures of my kids on the go – at the park, running around, playing outside, but I HATE my itchy, scratchy, not-fun-to-wear camera strap. My DSLR is heavy and having it swinging from my neck is just one more thing that makes me feel more like a mule than a mom ( diaper bag, camera bag, purse, toddler, oh yeah and infant in the Ergo.)
Well today I finally opened up a package sent to me by the innovative team at Custom SLR. These guys make AWESOME stuff to pimp out your camera. They had sent me a C-loop and a Glide Strap to do try out and review. Now I know you can get really nice cushy camera straps and camera strap covers that help with the itchy scratchy stuff but the Glide Strap from does so much more than just look cool. It’s ergonomically designed so that the weight of the camera is evenly distributed over your shoulders and the camera feels like a feather. It also has a super innovate design so that your camera simply slides up and down the strap – hence the “Glide.” It sounds strange but trust me – it’s genius. As I was assembling the strap out of the box I was thinking – em… I don’t see how this is going to work but when I put it on it was a total ah ha moment! Why didn’t I think of that!
But wait – there’s more! The best thing about the kit that I received was the C-loop. This is totally innocent looking little piece of equipment is the key to the ease of use of the strap and what’s revolutionized my photography experience! If you’ve ever traveled with your camera you are faced with a big dilemma. For example, when myself and my hubby went to Florence we were really nervous about having the camera on full view around our necks. It’s so cumbersome and obvious that we’re tourists and I was already trying to watch my pockets and my backpack. If I put the camera in the camera bag, trying to access it at a moments notice on a busy hot street was not easy. I ended up carrying it bandeau style which was good but still difficult to access in order to quickly to snap a shot. Another problem I had was that the lens kept bumping into people as I walked.
Now the C-Loop changes all of that. As you can see from the pictures below it simple attaches your camera strap to your camera by screwing into the tripod thread at the bottom of your camera body. This allows the camera to freely rotate and hangs directly down so no bumping off walls or tourists! Like I said – such a simple idea which works brilliantly.
So I am transformed. Some days it’s easy to take pictures and somedays it’s hard. Make it easier on yourself by getting your gear on and check out the difference that a new way of carrying your camera might make to your photography over at Custom SLR. I’m off out to get some more shots of these kiddos running around on this glorious Fall day. Then I might chat to the hubby about a repeat trip to Italy to get all those shots we missed before
P.S. Check out other reviews of the Creative SLRs’ Glide Strap and C-loop on Amazon