Cokin’s Graduated ND filters – A Product Review

Hey guys!

Benjamin Von Wong – Montreal Based photographer here! I recently reviewed for you a set of teleconverters, and this time wanted to follow up with a set of Graduated ND filters from Cokin supplied to me during my trip to Africa by the nice fellows over at B&H!

Cokin's Graduated ND filters - A Product Review

As you may probably know, a graduated ND filter is essentially a square plate of glass that darkens the image gradually from top to bottom. What’s fun about the filter set from Cokin is that it comes with various “densities” of darkness that are stackable. What this means is that you have a pretty good control over how big of a change in dark-light transitions that you can do. Additionally, since the filter rests on a ring, you can rotate the filters to manually control the angle of the gradient! [Read more...]

Comparing Teleconverters In Africa

Comparing Teleconverters In Africa

Hey guys!

Benjamin Von Wong – Montreal Based photographer here to talk about a couple neat devices I borrowed from the nice fellows over at B&H for my trip to Africa. I figured that a nice little trip around Namibia would be the perfect opportunity to try out some gear that I had never previously had the use for – Teleconverters! (The Sigma 1.4x DG EX APO and 2x EX DG APO spesifically)

Teleconverters are these great nifty little devices that actually add range to your lenses at the expense of losing some light. Depending on how big of a zoom factor you go for, you losie more light as well as focus speed and overall sharpness – a little more on that later. What does that mean in terms of actual numbers? [Read more...]

The Awesome Stuff @ PMA (per me)

About two days ago I returned from PMA. Aside from the big camera announcements going on the main CES showrooms (the Nikon D4, the Canon G1 X and the Fujifilm X-Pro1) there were a lot of innovation and coolness going on the smaller booths and the PMA venue.

Actually, for me as a photographer/blogger/inventor some of the stuff that was displayed on the smaller booths was more interesting than (I said you could touch it not grab it) touching new camera models.

PMA

The really nice thing about it, is the most often than not, the inventor would stand in their booth in a way that allows direct interaction. The kind of stuff you can’t get on emails. So you get to ask questions, make suggestions and get instant feedback. nice.

Here is a small round up of the stuff that I found cool on PMA/CES, some of it is new, some has been around for a while. Feel free to add more coolness if you’ve seen it. [Read more...]

Igus W1080-B Slider Review And Dollarama Bokeh

Benjamin Von Wong, Montreal Based Photographer here to bring you guys yet another post for DIY photography!

Igus W1080-B Slider Review And Dollarama Bokeh

Recently, I’ve been looking for simple ways to improve the production quality of my Behind the Scene videos and one of the things I noticed that were lacking were some smooth rail pans that you see pretty much in any professional production.  Unfortunately, I did not have the 1000$+ required for a set of real professional sliders such as the Cinevate Pegasus so I began searching for affordable alternatives… which is where I stumbled upon the IGUS Camera Sliders. IGUS is a plastic development company and one of their products just happens to be an oil-free low friction camera slider with various DIY options… even better, they were extremely competitively priced varying between 130-210$ for a 3 foot piece of rail/slider system!

[Read more...]

LensAlign MKII – Lens Caliberation Tool [Gear Review]

LensAlign - Lens Caliberation Tool [Gear Review]Hey guys!

Today, I would like to introduce you to a very interesting product that costs less than a 100$ that will (maybe) change you’re shooting lives – the LensAlign MKII. If you guys are like me and own a body (or more) plus a couple lenses, chances are you’ve experienced focusing problems here and there. At first, you might wonder if you’re just focusing badly, or that something’s just wrong with your shooting technique but after enough repeats you start asking yourself… could it be something else?

If you’re lazy like me, you bring your camera to your nearest Nikon or Canon service center and get told that they don’t take care of lens calibration issues. Or they test it out on the spot and insist that your shot is properly focused or that the difference is negligible. Or perhaps, you’re slightly more independent and find out that most semi-pro bodies have a nifty little tool called MICRO-ADJUSTMENTS that allows you to force your camera to focus slightly forward or backwards through a little software tweak!

From there, you think EUREKA, and either tries building some sort of 45 degree ruler system to attempt and calibrate your system following some forum on the internet only to realize that your results are inconsistent and somewhat unpredictable. There are improvements, but you just can’t quite seem to get things right…

Now if you’re stuck at this step (which I was for the longest time) … read on for THE solution. [Read more...]

Using Dropbox To Manage Projects With Big Files

Using Dropbox To Manage Projects With Big Files

Recently I was involved in a video production for the DIY Lighting Kits that demanded synchronization between a large number of participants. Well, that is usually the case right, you have the photographer (or more than one), the editor, a retoucher sometimes, a sound man,  and a client. It can get even more complex if you have even more stakeholders to the project. how do you sync them all? In this post, I want to share my personal experience with Dropbox a semi-free file synchronization solution. (Here is my personal subscription link, if you sign up through this, both you and I get some extra space)

Before diving into the technical solution a few words about projects. The ability of ad-hock teams to organize like this to meet a project creative goals and deadlines is truly amazing. Only a few years back it was not really possible to work with a scattered team like this unless you were working for a big organization with a pricey network and expensive servers. For me this means freedom. Freedom to hire better craftsmen regardless of their physical location. Freedom to interact faster and on a deeper level with fellow photographers, and freedom to put my efforts into my core business rather than deal with bureaucracy and technicalities. [Read more...]

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques – A Book Review

MikaI’ll be the first to admit, Photoshop and I don’t get along as well as I wish we had. And it’s not because I’m a purist or anything. If possible, I’d try to get the good stuff SOOC (Strait Out Of Camera), but the truth is, almost all my pictures go through some level of retouching. Near the end of the post you can see how this portrait of Mika looked before applying some retouching. (Click for larger view)

Recently I got a copy of Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques (long name, I know). And While I don’t usually review books, let alone Photoshop books, the book helped me make a huge jump in my post-processing, I hope that by sharing my thoughts on it can help others too. [Read more...]

The LensBaby Composer – A Review by Kirk Tuck

I am probably the last person anyone want to hand an “artsy” device to. I shoot quick, have not tolerance for fiddling around and I hate the canned look for most “alternate” processes that are inherent in a camera’s performance profiles. So maybe the owners of this site did the LensBaby people a big disservice and then again, maybe not…..

The LensBaby Composer - A review by Kirk Tuck

[Read more...]