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Fisheye On The Cheap

14th March 2021

A few years ago I upgraded from a Sony NEX7 to the newer Alpha 6000.

The A6000 became my everyday walk around camera. But I didn’t want to let the NEX7 collect dust, nor did I want to spend a lot more investing in more glass.

The one drawback is that this lens is manual aperture control and manual focus but I decided that I could live with these limitations.


 

So I started looking for an inexpensive lens. My preference was to go wide so I did a little looking around and found an affordable 8mm fisheye. I’m a fan of the way the images are elegantly distorted by lens’ curvature. The lens adds lots of interest to common everyday scenery and subjects.

The lens I chose is the 8mm Rokinon fisheye for about $300.

When the 8mm lens is coupled on the camera’s APS-C sensor it is equivalent to a 12mm full frame lens.

To use the lens, I set the camera to Auto ISO and using the manual exposure mode (M) rotate the aperture ring on the lens to a specific aperture (f/stop) and dial the shutter speed until the exposure indicator is centered.


Measuring about 3″ long and weighing just a few ounces, it is miniscule compared to the two other DSLR fisheyes in my equipment stable. The Rokinon 8mm has a well-marked aperture ring, smooth focus ring, a small built-in sunshade and lens cap that total covers the outer lens surface. I am very happy that when mounted, my fisheye camera is very compact and easy to carry.

 

The important question is how does this inexpensive fisheye perform?

I’ve taken hundreds of photos with the 8mm. I’ve found that the images are tack sharp. The resolution of the NEX-7 is 24MP and with this lens I’ve made several 16″ x 20″ enlargements including three below.


roaming through the cypress groves in the Everglades

amazed at the super bloom in Death Valley

viewing part of Mammoth Hot Spring in Yellowstone

a very wide view of the front porch on our house

The compact size of this camera/lens combination makes it a great way to have a tag along camera and use it for the wide views without having to change lenses.

For many excursions, I carrythree cameras: this fisheye combo, a second with a long lens telephoto (80-400mm) for wildlife and a third with a medium zoom (24mm to 200mm) – all without breaking my back with the weight. In the case of the 8mm fisheye lens, I have a winner at a very decent price.

Having done a little looking around, I know that there are other inexpensive fisheye lenses available for all of the major brand cameras. If you too like the interesting effects that the come from the ultra curved lens surface you’ll be able to find a fisheye to add to your camera bag.

Full Frame Mirrorless

Although I have been a longtime user of mirrorless cameras, I’ve been sitting on the fence about moving to a full-frame model. What was holding me back was my reluctance to make a sizable investment for a new set of lenses.


This past February while attending the Wedding & Portrait Professional Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Sony introduced a new camera – the Alpha 7 III. In case you’re curious about it, see my previous article about the WPPI Expo here.

A couple of features of the 24 megapixel A7 III caught my attention. First was the camera’s autofocus system. Using 693 phase detection AF points focusing was fast and accurate. Second the camera’s Eye AF which identifies and tracks the subject’s eye as the focus point. Third was its high continuous shooting speed – up to 10 frames per second. And forth was the comfortably adjustable LCD screen. And I saw that the A7 III had dual SD card slots. I spent about 30 minutes inspecting the camera and bouncing questions off of Sony rep Dave Rhodes. I left the expo with a very positive opinion about Sony’s brand new model.

After returning home from WPPI, I pre-ordered the camera with a 28-70mm lens. Along with it I ordered an accessory that would allow me to use my collection of Canon lenses with this new model. This device is the Metabones Smart Adapter.


Last week Sony released the first batch of A7 IIIs and my order arrives by courier, but due to my workload I wait a few days to open it. When I finally free up some time I find that the package contains the body, lens, USB charging cord, shoulder strap and instruction manual. Strike 1 on Sony. I see that the package does not have a battery charger. Instead I have to use a USB cord to connect to the camera body to charge the battery.

Now I think that I’m ready to take a few shots so I attach the lens, insert the battery and a blank SD card and turn on the camera. Strike 2 on Sony. The battery is not charged so I cannot power on the camera. Disappointed, I unwrap the USB charging cord only to find that there isn’t an A/C adapter for the cord. Strike 3 on Sony. It would be nice for Sony to al least supply an A/C adapter for the USB cord.

After striking out, I have to take a break. I hunt around for an A/C adapter and then proceed to charge the battery (in camera) for a couple of hours. After the battery is charged, I head outdoors to take a few shots.


my first photo with the A7 III

still – landscape

close up autofocus

action autofocus

high speed frame rate

auto white balance
While there isn’t anything remarkable about the photos, I want to see the camera shoot still, close auto focus (branch), action (runner), high frame rate (duck) and auto white balance (indoor).


I’m right-handed. The camera grip feels solid. Overall the body is compact without miniature features. The electronic viewfinder is bright and crisp. The LCD screen is adjustable making it easy to compose your shots whether they are overhead or low to the ground..



convenient and customizable control

the A7 III next to my Canon 6D
I like this camera’s dedicated exposure adjustment dial. A control wheel on the rear and another on the front are useful for changing exposure combinations. There are four buttons that let you customize the settings to your preferences. For those in a hurry to share photos, one of the controls lets you send images to a smartphone by Wi-Fi. And compared to my other full-frame DSLRs, the A7 III is noticeably smaller and lighter.



To be honest, I would not have purchased the A7 III had not the Metabones adapter been available.

This accessory allows me to use my full-frame Canon lenses with Sony full-frame FE-mount bodies including the A7 III. Having read dozens of reviews of the Metabones adapter beforehand, I was convinced that it was the only way for me to afford a new A7 III without having to buy a new set of lenses.


the A7 III, Metabones adapter and a Canon E-mount lens.

the A7 III with the Canon 24-105mm F/4L lens attached.

As part of checking out this new camera, I tested all of the Canon lenses in my collection with the A7 III using the Metabones adapter.

I was pleasantly surprised. The adapter worked with all of my lenses. Additionally the lens information (ID, shutter speed, f-stop, focal length) was transferred to the images’ EXIF data (two lenses were incorrectly identified).

Below are images made using those respective lenses.



135mm F/2L

35mm F/2

75-300 F/4-5.6 @75mm


75-300 F/4-5.6 @300mm

24-105mm F/4L @24mm

24-105mm F/4L @105mm


50mm F/1.4

8-15mm F/4L Fisheye @8mm

8-15mm F/4L Fisheye @15mm


17-40mm F/4L @17mm

17-40mm F/4L @40mm

85mm F/2


100mm F/2.8 macro

Sigma 20mm F/2

24mm F/3.5L TS-E


100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L @100mm

100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L @400mm

All of these photos were taken from a distance of about eight feet except for the two 100-400mm photos which were taken from a distance of about 16 feet. In short, the Metabones adapter lets you use Canon EF-lenses on Sony FE-mount bodies.

Sony E-mount lenses (designed for the smaller APS-C size sensor) can be used on the A7 III. My E-mount 18-200mm lens worked perfectly. However using an E-mount lens reduces the image resolution from 4000 x 6000 pixels to 2624 x 3936 pixels.


 
 

One neat feature that I am going to use for portraits is coined Eye AF. Long ago I was taught that for portraits it is important to focus on the subject’s eye. With Eye AF activated, the camera identifies the subject’s eye and makes it the main focusing point even if the subject moves. Eye AF worked well with the several subjects that I photographed.

I should mention that there’s an app on my iPhone that lets me grab images from the A7 III. The app is called PlayMemories Mobile and lets me download the images (JPGs only, not the raw ARWs) from the SD card to my iPhone. Having used the app with other Sony cameras previously, I’ve found it to be easy and very reliable.

I should also mention that PlayMemories Mobile also lets me record location information for the images. Using the smartphone’s GPS capabilities, the app sends the location coordinates via Bluetooth to the camera as it is capturing the images onto the SD card. Again, in my short time using this feature, it worked reliably. Bravo Sony.

I use the classic version of Lightroom to perform most of my image editing. To be exact, I’m now using Lightroom 6.14 but it’s my understanding that Adobe will not be making any further upgrades to this version. Therefore it’s unfortunate that I am unable to edit the raw ARW files with my copy of Lightroom without performing an extra step. Luckily I’ve found a way to fool Lightroom into believing that the camera’s raw ARW files were created with the previous generation Sony A7 II camera. Still this “fix” is an inconvenience before editing with Lightroom.

Despite my initial frustration (lack of a charger, uncharged battery, etc) out of the box, I remain very positive about its impressive features and performance. Having spent a few hours “playing” with this new mirrorless, I’ve used only several of the features that first attracted me to this camera. There are many more that I plan to become familiar with and use. Additionally, there are a large set of features that should be of interest to the movie enthusiasts. Admittedly, I’m not deep into moviemaking so I will cede the reviews on this aspect of the camera to other photographers.

In the mean time, if you’d like to learn more about this new model, Sony has an extensive description of the Alpha 7 III features here.

The suggested retail price of the A7 III is $2000 for the body or $2200 for the body with 28-70mm lens and is now available.
 
 

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 



 
 

Sony Alpha 7 III

23rd March 2018

The Newest High Performance Mirrorless


As the cold winter weather wares on me, I look forward to escaping for a few days. My destination is the Wedding & Portrait Professional International Conference and Expo in warm (usually) Las Vegas. There photographers can attend any of several hundred seminars, classes, workshops covering the gamut of the photography world. I especially like the expo where I can seek out the makers of new equipment and accessories. And so for this article, you’ll see that I stopped at Sony to have a look at their upcoming A7 III mirrorless camera.

Sony is the leading maker of mirrorless cameras. Early on I was attracted to Sony’s NEX series owing to their compact size and weight. I now own three of Sony’s mirrorless APS-C sensor models. For the past two years, my walk-around “goto” is the Sony Alpha 6000 with which I’ve taken many tens of thousands of pix.

I’ve been holding off upgrading to a full frame, but Sony has been dangling some impressive features in their newer models. The A7 III is Sony’s latest iteration of full-framers and I had some hands-on at the WPPI Expo.


Pick up the camera and it’s lightweight (compared to full-frame DSLR) but solid. The body is made from a magnesium alloy and is sealed to keep out dirt and moisture. The handgrip is comfortable (I’m right handed) as I tested it with the 24-105mm G lens. I cozied up to the bright, crisp viewfinder. Although I was in a lower light indoor setting, the speed of autofocus seemed to be very snappy. I counted four customizable buttons – a plus for fast working in the field. There are also two convenient dials for changing shutter speed or aperture and a welcomed dedicated dial for exposure adjustment.

Among the A7 III’s impressive features are:

 

  • 24.2 MP full frame sensor with ISO from 100-51200
  • Bright 2.3MP electronic viewfinder
  • Advanced AF with 693 phase detection and 425 contrast points
  • “Eye AF” detects and focuses on subject’s eye
  • continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second
  • in camera 5-axis image stabilization
  • high capacity battery provides 700 shots per charge
  • dual SD card slots supports high speed UHS-II
  • tilting LCD screen with touch-screen capability
  • high resolution 4K HDR video

  •  

    At the WPPI Expo, Sony rep David Rhodes demonstrated a new feature for me. Using your finger tip, you can use the touch screen to instantly change the focus point. The LCD screen also tilts up and down for easier viewing from different angles. While I wasn’t able to try it, the A7 III is capable of shooting 10 frames per second while maintaining autofocus.


    In the past, some critics pointed to the dearth of lenses for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras. Sony has been rapidly developing and introducing new lenses and now has a decent stable of prime and zoom lenses – I counted about two dozen lenses.

    Additionally, Sigma recently announced the support the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. While they are not yet available, Sigma will be producing the following prime lenses for Sony E-mount cameras:

    14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art
    20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    70mm F2.8 DG MACRO Art
    85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
    135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art


     

    The A7 III is on target for release about mid-April. The suggested price is $2200 with a 28-70mm lens. For more information and detailed specifications, please visit Sony A7 III.

    For more information about the upcoming Sigma lenses, please visit Sigma.


    After my hands-on test and after talking to the Sony rep David Rhodes, I’ve decided to pre-order the A7 III. The two features that pushed my decision are the speedy and more accurate autofocus, the 10 fps shooting capability and the availability of a larger selection of lenses. I look forward to its arrival – I’m told in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I’ll have a review of the new equipment in the near future.

    Note from April 10, 2018: I just received delivery of the A7 III that I preordered a couple of weeks ago. I hope to have a review shortly.

     
     

    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     

    WPPI 2016

    28th March 2016

    The Wedding & Portrait Photography International Conference and Expo

    Can you guess who the target audience is for this convention?

    For those professionals who want to enhance their skills – posing, lighting, equipment, marketing – the WPPI is a week-long “university” taught by experts. This year’s WPPI took place March 3rd through March 10th at the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas. WPPI organized more than 250 classes and seminars for 13,000 anxious attendees. These classes were taught by 175 instructors including notables such as Joe McNally, Tamara Lackey, Lindsay Adler, Roberto Valenzuela, Bambi Cantrell, Hanson Fong, Kevin Kabota, Jerry Ghionis and Gary Fong to name a few.

    In addition to the conference, the expo highlighted 270 exhibitors showed the newest cameras, lenses, equipment, lighting, accessories, supplies, marketing material and services. All of the major camera manufacturers will set up booths to demonstrate their latest equipment.

    Following is a look at those items that caught my attention at the this year’s WPPI a couple of weeks ago.


    Presentations and Seminars

    There were many opportunities for everyone to learn new posing and lighting techniques right on the expo floor. All of the camera makers and many vendors were holding demonstrations conducted by well-known photographer/educators.






    DXO One

    This small unit is a camera that works in conjunction with an iPhone. With a large 20mp 1″ sensor and f/1.8 lens you attach it to your iPhone to control settings. It also works “off-phone” if you want a small, lightweight camera. Though small, it can capture RAW images too. I found it very straight-forward to use and the images were quite good considering the convention hall lighting.

    Suggested price is $499. For more information please visit DXO



    MagMod

    MagMod makes a set of accessories to improve the quality of light from your flash unit. These include a snoot to narrow the light to a beam, a sphere to diffuse and soften the light and a bounce that reflects the light output and avoid harsh shadows, gel which add various colors to the light and grid to focus the light.

    What is unique about these accessories is that become part of your flash unit using a magnet for instant attachment. Price for the complete set is $235.

    For more information please visit MagMod



    RL Handscrafts

    I received two demos at this booth. One was for their Derringer above left for carrying from 1 to 3 cameras. You wear the strap on both shoulders with wide padded straps that relieve pressure points and back. The straps are adjustable for easy access to any of the cameras. Price is $485.

    For carrying two cameras, the Clydesdale above right can help you more easily carry your equipment. The strap attaches solidly to the camera’s tripod socket. RL makes several styles differing in weight, padding, air holes for easier breathing, color. Prices start at $205 to $425 for the deluxe version.
    For more information please visit RL Handcrafts



    Sony G Master Lenses

    Sony is the undisputed leader of mirrorless cameras. They have been rapidly adding lenses to support their highly acclaimed full-frame models: A7R II and A7S II cameras.

    Three of Sony’s new lenses made it to WPPI for demoing. These are the 85mm f/1.4 GM, 70-200mm f/2.8 OSS and 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. Prices are $1800, $2900 and $2200 respectively. For the 70-200mm lens, Sony is also releasing 1.4X and 2.0X teleconverters. Sony claims a higher resolution of the G series lenses compared to others and superior auto focus performance.

    For more information please visit Sony



    Spider Holster

    Spider makes a holster with a unique locking-clamping device for conveniently carrying your camera at your waist. The holster is adjustable and is worn like a belt to either side. The clamping device is solid and easily slides into the holster for hands-free carriage. Price for the Spider Pro holster is $135.

    The company also has a variety of heavy duty hand straps that come in a variety of colors. All are made of durable material, attach to the camera with a tripod plate and include a removable wrist strap. Price for the black model is $65 and $75 for other colors.

    For more information please visit Spider.


    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     

    Sony A7 II

    22nd March 2015

    New Full Frame Mirrorless

    I’ve been using several of Sony’s mirrorless cameras for three years or so. The three models that I regularly use are the NEX5, NEX7 and A6000 each with an APS-C size sensor. All three are compact and lightweight. Both the NEX7 and A6000 have viewfinders – a necessary feature that I expect in an advanced camera.

    The A6000 has been my “go-to” camera for the past year. The quality of the images match up to those from the Canon 7D and Nikon D90 but with the added convenience of a noticeably smaller piece of hardware.

    With this previous experience with mirrorless equipment, I went to the Sony booth at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo to have a look at the new full-frame Alpha 7 II.




    The A7II has a full size 24MP sensor in a body that weighs a mere 21 ounces. This compares to the Canon 5D MkIII at 33 ounces or the Nikon D800 at 35 ounces. The physical size of these three cameras are (W x H x D) A7II is 5″ x 3-7/8″ x 2-3/8″ Canon 5D MkIII 6″ x 4.6″ x 3″ Nikon D800 5.7″ x 4.8″ x 3.2″

    The A7II shares many of the same features of the A6000 including sweep panorama shooting mode, built in HDR, on board wifi connectivity, electronic viewfinder displays real time adjustments and tilting LCD screen. Unfortunately the A7II does not have a built-in flash as does the A6000. However the A7II records 4K video, sports fast “hybrid” autofocus and 5-axis image stabilization and 5fps still capture.

    As far as lenses are concerned, Sony’s mirrorless versions (designated as FE-mount) do not share the same size and weight savings as the A7II body. But given that the body is about a pound less and considerably smaller in size, I felt that the weight savings would be a definite advantage for the type of shooting that I do in the field.

    Sony also announced the release of these three lenses for full frame mirrorless:





    The Sony rep also mentioned an upcoming 28mm f/2 lens that will also accept a 16mm fisheye converter and a 21mm ultra wide angle converter.

    The suggested price is $2000 and is available about May 1st. For more information about the A7II, please visit Sony.

    The bottom line – if you’re looking for a camera that provides the high resolution that only the mid-size format were able to deliver, the Canon 5DS (and 5DSR) has now lowered the entry price by thousands of dollars.

     
     
     
    Written by Arnie Lee
     
     


    Am I Equipped Right?

    30th September 2014

    Like many other dedicated photographers, I’ve somehow accumulated a sizable stash of photo equipment over the years. I’ve also gained a lot of experience knowing what equipment I’ll need for a particular type of shooting.

    My last two assignments were a combination of travel and outdoor shoots. My aging back and wobbly knees beg me to travel as lightly as possible for two reasons: a) to minimize the size and weight of the load that I carry and b) to reduce the amount of time I need to get ready for any given shot.

    Since I don’t like carrying camera bags or backpacks, I rarely carry extra lenses. On hikes, it’s a chore for me to search for the right lens and change it on the fly, especially if wildlife is the subject matter. It’s far faster for me to slide the desired camera/lens setup on its shoulder strap up to my eye and be ready to shoot in a few seconds.

    After these two recent assignments, I’ve zeroed in on a reasonable set of cameras and lenses to use when traveling long and far. I based my choice on the range of the lenses that I typically use: a very wide angle, a medium range telephoto zoom and a long range telephoto zoom.

    For several years, I’ve come to rely on Sony’s NEX series of mirrorless cameras. Not only are they compact and lightweight, but they have several features that I appreciate such as the electronic viewfinder which instantly previews your exposure adjustments and a mode that captures in-camera panoramas. One drawback of these mirrorless cameras is that there isn’t a long telephoto lens available. For this I have to stick with a full-frame Nikon DSLR.



    Here’s the short list that I’ve found works well for me:

    For very wideangle, I use a Sony NEX7 with a manual focus Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

    For the medium telephoto, I use a Sony A6000 with a Sony 18-200mm lens.

    For the long telelphoto, I use a Nikon D600 with a Nikon 80-400mm lens.

    As you can see, the Nikon DLSR setup is monstrous next to other two cameras. But lugging this heavyweight around is the price I have to pay for the lens’ long reach.



    The NEX7 is a very a very capable camera. I like its large 24mp APC-C sensor, excellent electronic viewfinder and brightly lit tilting LCD.

    The 8mm Rokinon lens is about 1/4th as large as my expensive fisheye lens for Canon DLSRs. Using the Rokinon lens I have to manually focus and set the exposure so it’s less convenient than the Canon setup. But the savings in bulk is a major plus for me.

    Below are a few photos using this setup. The extra wide angle lets me record everything in front of me. I especially like how the fisheye exaggeratingly bends the horizon.



    The A6000, Sony’s successor to the NEX7 is also mirrorless. Feature wise it is very similar to the NEX7 except that it has a superior autofocusing mechanism. This enables high speed captures at frames rates up to 11fps.

    When not traveling, the A6000/18-200mm setup is my everyday camera. With a large zoom range I have a wide angle to medium telephoto in a single lens.

    When traveling, it becomes my primary camera with the other two cameras reserved for special points of view. Below are a few examples that illustrate the versatility of the 18-200mm lenss.



    The Nikon D600 is a full-frame DLSR with a 24mp sensor. It weighs in at two pounds which is twice as much as the A6000.

    The Nikon 80-400mm zoom lens weighs just under three pounds making this setup a combined five pounds. Although this is hefty to carry, the lens lock (prevents the zoom from unintentionally sliding) keeps it secure while carrying it with a shoulder strap.

    This long telephoto comes off of my shoulder mostly for the long distance shots such as these below.



    So there you have it, my equipment of choice for outdoor photography. Of course, not everyone has the same preferences or requirements in the field as myself so this set up may not work universally. But for me being properly equipped has proved to be an ideal way for me to work comfortably, quickly and efficiently.
     
     
    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     
     
     


    What a View

    27th August 2014

    Wide Angle to the Extreme

    It’s eye-catching when I see a photo that “bends” the horizon.

    This bend comes from the camera’s lens. Use a very wide angle lens and you’ll see the curved “barrel” distortion on the images. One well-known type of wide angle lenses is the fisheye. These lenses typically have a field of view approaching 180 degrees – allowing you to capture the entire scene in front of the camera.

    Until recently, fisheye lenses were expensive. I have one that cost well over $1500. But when I was looking for an ultra-wide angle for my Sony equipment, I found an inexpensive lens made by Rokinon. With its $300 price tag, I was a little skeptical of the quality of images from such a low cost lens but decided to try it regardless.

    Here’s a short gallery of some of the scenes that I captured during my first outing with the lens a few weeks ago.
     
     



    This is an 8mm f/2.8 fisheye. I wanted an ultra-wide angle for an extra Sony Nex7 mirrorless camera.

    The Nex7 is very compact and lightweight. The Rokinon 8mm fisheye is also surprisingly compact.


    The Sony Nex7/Rokinon 8mm setup is only about 1/3 the size of my Canon 6D with a Canon 8-15mm fisheye – a true space and weight saver.

    One of the first images that I recorded with the new lens was in the Tetons. I especially like the curved horizon.



    Here in Yellowstone you can see that the bridge rail curves upwards. The lens does not support the camera’s autofocus feature.

    However an 8mm lens has a very wide depth of field which makes focusing less critical as you can see in this image taken at Mono Lake.



    At Grand Canyon, the bend in the horizon is amazingly scenic. The lens does not support autoexposure so I set the camera shooting mode to manual, set the lens aperture to f/8 and adjusted to the proper shutter speed.


    In both of these photos, you can see that the exposure for both a shaded and sunny scene were correct. Neither the manual focus nor the manual exposure requirements of this lens is a concern.



    At Monument Valley I took advantage of the lens’ extreme wide view. Here I was able to take in a 180-degree view to photograph this huge monument within a single image.


    The fisheye excels for those of you who like shooting portraits that include the vast surroundings.



    At Mesa Verde, we encountered another “tight squeeze”. However, we were able to capture this with the lens’ wide view.


    In Rocky Mountain National Park, the lens took in not only the winter’s left over snow but the billowing overhead July clouds.

    What about the sharpness?

    Here I’ve enlarged a small section of one of the above images. You can clearly see the detail in the face, the lettering of the cap and the tufa formations in the background.

    I found the sharpness of this inexpensive lens to be very acceptable.


    After my short time with this lens, I am no longer skeptical of it’s quality. The images are tack sharp with very good color reproduction. If you’re on the lookout for an ultra-wide, include this lens in your search.

    The Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 fisheye is also available for other camera models as well: Fuji, Samsung and Canon M mount. Other similar versions with a maximum f/3.5 aperture are available for Canon, Nikon, Sony A mount, Pentax and Olympus 4/3.
     
     
    Written by: Arnie Lee
     
     


     
     
     
     

    Stop Lens Cap Loss

    Honestly, I’m not a big fan of lens caps. In the field, I don’t want to remove the cap, put it in a pocket for safe keeping and then be get prepared to shoot. Nor do I want to dig it out of my pocket and put it back onto the lens.

    Instead I’ve made it a habit of buying a good quality UV filter for each of my lenses. The filter is to protects the lens front surface from dirt, grime and scratches. I feel a lot more comfortable cleaning the surface of the filter repeatedly rather than the surface of the lens itself. To be fair, this is my preferred way of shooting and I know that not everyone subscribes to this way of working.

    So how did we get into this round-about discussion about lens caps?

    At the PhotoPlus Expo last month as part of my reporting I received a Press Kit from show management. Inside were a few sample accessories courtesy of the exhibitors.

    One was these gifts was the Hufa S, a lens cap holder. Last week I took a few minutes to look at this product.

    This small and clever accessory is made of hard plastic that’s fully covered with a soft rubberized material. The Hufa easily attaches to your camera strap without having to disassemble the entire setup. Instead the strap slips through the slots and is ready to use in seconds.

    WHen you remove your cap from the lens, you simply slip it beneath the large clip. The clip places enough pressure to hold the cap regardless of its size.

    Here you can see how the Hufa S attaches to the camera strap.

    You can adjust the position of the Hufa S further up or down along the strap so that it won’t interfere with your handling of the camera.

     


    There are actually two models: the Hufa and the Hufa S. The Hufa attaches to wide camera straps that are often found on camera bags. The “S” model shown here is for the narrower camera straps. Each model is available in three different colors: black, red and white. They are affordably priced at $10 each.

    If you’re interested in buying one, please visit Hufa Holder.

     

     

    Written by: Arnie Lee

     

     


     

     

     

     

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    Traveling Light

    05th February 2011

    A Vote for the Backpack Camera Case

    Here in Michigan, it’s been bitterly cold with plenty of snow. A blizzard earlier this week closed virtually all of the schools and municipal services and curtailed most of the business at retail stores as well. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m looking forward to a few days away from the blustery northern winter to shoot birds in the warmth and sun of the Everglades.

    Since most of my expeditions last only four or five days at a time, when flying I travel light. By carefully selecting the appropriate equipment for a given assignment, it all fits snugly into my backpack camera case. This along with my trusty rollerboard suitcase means that I rarely have to check my luggage for an airline flight, saving me the trouble of waiting at the baggage claim.

    To photograph the birds, I decided on the Canon 7D. Its excellent autofocus system works well with the long 100-400 telephoto. While it doesn’t have the resolution of the 5D MkII, it’s smaller and lighter and also accepts the 10-22mm lens, one of my favorites. I’ll bring along the 2X TeleExtender in case I need the extra reach.

    For a second camera, I’m taking the new Sony Alpha 55. I’ve already put it through six weeks of testing and will use this assignment to complete my review of a very innovative camera. I’m also toting the waterproof Olympus 6020. It may come in handy in Florida’s watery environment.


    this is the equipment that I selected for shooting birds in the Everglades

    all of the equipment fits neatly into the large, padded compartment including the notebook computer

    Here’s the list of equipment that fits inside:

    • Lowepro Fastpack camera backpack
    • Canon 7D camera
    • Canon 100-400mm lens
    • Canon 2X TeleExtender
    • Canon 10-22mm lens
    • Sony Alpha 55 camera
    • Sony 18-250mm lens
    • Olympus 6020 waterproof camera
    • Canon SX210 camera
    • GisTEQ GPS
    • GorillaPod
    • notebook computer
    • several battery chargers

    When fully loaded, this backpack weighs about 40 pounds. It’s heavy but this backpack has wide, padded straps that cushion the weight. The upper compartment has room for a few magazines, an iPad and a some snacks – especially important on a long flight. Conveniently, the backpack fits beneath the passenger seat so that I can get to any of its contents without having to reach into the aircraft’s overhead compartment.

    When I arrive at the hotel, I’ll remove the notebook computer and other non-photographic items. The backpack will then serve as a field camera case. I can comfortably take photos while wearing the backpack. If I swing one of the straps off of my arm, I can access the zippered compartment e.g. to get another lens.

    I’ve been using the Lowepro for more than two years. This represents more than 100,000 miles of air travel and at no time has any of my equipment been damaged. The ballistic nylon outer surface looks almost new. I’ve also owned the Kata and Tamrac backpacks, but the Lowepro has held up the best.

    I have another day of rest before I fly out of this Arctic look-alike. I hope there are some birds left in Florida for me to shoot.

    Written by Arnie Lee