Nicky Bay’s Review of the Venus Optics 15mm Wide Angle Macro Lens

[Editor’s note: we recently covered the announcement of this lens and shared a hands on review, but this one provides a more in-depth look at it. Many of you will remember Nicky from his spectacular UV macros of arthropods]

Venus Optics sent me an early pre-production copy of the Venus Optics LAOWA 15mm f/4 1:1 Wide Angle Macro, the world’s first ultra-wide angle macro lens capable of magnification up to 1:1, and I have been dabbling with it in the past week to publish a first look for this one-of-its-kind lens.


Wide angle macro photography is a rarely explored genre of macro photography, largely due to the lack of readily available equipment or accessories to allow one to focus up close with a wide-angle lens. It is also a difficult beast to tame due to the short working distance. Composition and lighting can be very different from mainstream macro photography but once you get the hang of it, the resulting perspectives can be mind-blowing and very well worth it.

[Read more…]

First Hands-On Review of the Nikon D810A


Nikon’s dedicated astrophotography camera isn’t planned to start shipping until next week, but Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand was lucky enough to get his hands on a D810A for a review.

The review includes high ISO noise comparisons between the D800E, D810, D810A and D3s, and covers some of the camera’s new astro-oriented features.

Göran also shares sample images of daylight photos and tests how well this camera performs, despite Nikon’s recommendation not to use it for ‘general photography’.

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B&H Go On a Photographic Journey with the Behemoth Canon 1200mm Lens

Source: B&H

Source: B&H

B&H has released a new, in-depth review of the legendary Canon EF 1200mm lens, and while you most likely won’t be able to afford the $180,000 price tag, it makes for a great read.

Todd Vorenkamp was lucky enough to take the beast of a lens out for several shoots and survived to share some of the advantage, disadvantages and random trivia about this rare lens.

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Aerial Photography Without A Drone – Hands On Review of the Seaport Digital MegaMast

aerial photography without a drone hands on review of the seaport digital megamast

The single biggest challenge I face as a photographer is finding ways to create images that are noticeably different than everyone else’s.

The vast majority of photographs that have ever been taken (or ever will be) are captured from about 5 feet above the ground – eye height for the average human.

One different perspective that I find particularly interesting is overhead and aerial photography.

There are several (very complicated and expensive) ways to get a camera overhead, but I recently had the opportunity to review a product that makes taking overhead and aerial style photos very easy – and the results are spectacular.

Hit the link to continue reading my hands on review of the Seaport Digital MegaMast. (If you do decide to get one, use code mega10 on checkout to get 10% off during the following week)

[Read more…]

Xiaomi Yi Action Camera First Reviews and How It Compares to the GoPro


We recently reported the announcement of Xiaomi’s $64 new action camera, and we’re now bringing you the first hands-on reviews and GoPro comparisons.

Two Chinese reviews, one by pcpop comparing the Yi Action Camera to the flagship GoPro 4 Black and the cheap SJ4000, and another by Geekpark comparing it to the GoPro 3 and 4 Black editions, reveal new details regarding the highly anticipated new kid on the block.

Other than sharing new specs and features, the reviews include video, contrast and low-light shooting comparisons.

One of the concerns with such a cheap camera is that cheap often comes at a cost. Does the low price indicate low quality?

Overall the camera seems to give a rather impressive bang for the buck, but will it work in crowded spaces?


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Samyang 135mm F/2 Compared To The Canon 135mm F/2


The newly announced Samyang 135mm f/2 has caused quite a bit of excitement with its wide aperture and modest ($550) price tag.

Now that all the specs have been revealed, it’s time to see how the lens compares to Canon’s version of the 135mm f/2 (@ $1,049.00 – almost double the price) .

A head-to-head comparison, conducted by South Korean blog Gear for Image, brings first results of the new portrait lens. Facing Canon’s superb lens, the Samyang has its work cut out.

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How To Photograph Darth Vader With The Spiffy Gear Light Blaster

I have had a Spiffy Gear Light Blaster in my camera bag for a while now, but it wasn’t until recently that I came up with a concept that I though was cool enough to really unlock the creative potential of the Blaster.

The concept that I came up with was to photograph Darth Vader with the Light Blaster, and in this article I am going to share exactly how I used the Spiffy Gear Light Blaster to create this series of photos.

spiffy gear light blaster review how to use the light blaster to photograph darth vader jp danko toronto commercial photographer

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eMotimo TB3 Review for Time Lapse Photography

I have a big and complicated time lapse film project on the horizon, and one of the new pieces of gear I recently picked up was an eMotimo TB3 Black robotic panoramic head.

I have created my fair share of time lapse films in the past. However, for this project I really wanted to step up my game by adding some killer dynamic time lapse sequences.

That is where the eMotimo TB3 comes in. The eMotimo TB3 is basically a robotic panoramic head that allows a time lapse film maker / photographer to make pan and tilt moves (two axis) while filming a time lapse photography sequence.

eMotimo TB3 Review - Setup

(The eMotimo TB3 head can also be added to a robotic dolly to produce pan, tilt and push / pull moves – three axis control.)

The resulting time lapse video sequences can be pretty mind boggling – and that sense of dynamic motion is exactly what I wanted to add to my work.

[Read more…]

Using a Collapsible Backdrop On Location – Product Review

Portrait on Black Using a Collapsible Disk (by udijw)Some time ago, I was contacted by B&H to do a review on Impact’s Collapsible Background (Black and White 5′ X 7′).

I love using collapsible backdrops on location as they give me some freedom with regards to choosing a background. While I prefer working with existing walls / plants / fences to crate appealing backgrounds, this is not always possible. And this is where the collapsible comes in handy. [Read more…]