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 Monday, May 22, 2017
B&H has the Vello Ringbox available for $59.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $79.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Diffuses Flash into Ring-Shaped Light
  • Compatible with Most DSLRs and Flashes
  • Attaches to Lens and Flash Head
  • Collapses Down to 8"
  • Magnetic Rod Setup
  • Weighs 1 lb
  • Zippered Carrying Bag Included
Post Date: 5/22/2017 3:13:09 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
From DJI:
 
New Procedure Requires Login After Update; Password Reset Available
 
DJI will soon introduce a new application activation process for international customers. This new step, to take effect at the end of next week, ensures you will use the correct set of geospatial information and flight functions for your aircraft, as determined by your geographical location and user profile. All existing flight safety limitations, such as geofencing boundaries and altitude limits, remain the same.
 
Even if you have registered when activating your aircraft upon purchase, you will have to log in once when you update the new version of DJI GO or GO 4 App. If you have forgotten your password since your initial login, you can reset it using a function within the DJI GO and DJI GO 4 apps.
 
You will need a data connection to the Internet for your smartphone or tablet when you log in, in order to verify the account information and activate the updated software or firmware. If this activation process is not performed, the aircraft will not have access to the correct geospatial information and flight functions for that region, and its operations will be restricted if you update the upcoming firmware: Live camera streaming will be disabled, and flight will be limited to a 50-meter (164-foot) radius up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.
 
The feature applies to all aircraft (except standalone A3 and N3) that have been upgraded to the latest firmware or when using future versions of the DJI GO and GO 4 apps.
 
DJI encourages pilots to always follow applicable laws and regulations in the countries where they operate, and provides information about these regulations on its FlySafe website at flysafe.dji.com.
Category: DJI News
Post Date: 5/22/2017 2:49:47 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
 
Off-camera flash and light modifier solutions for studio photography can range from relatively inexpensive to I-need-to-take-out-a-second-mortgage expensive. With more of us able to afford the lower end of that spectrum, it's nice to know that you can get very good studio results with economical gear.
 
A couple of weeks ago I posted an image demonstrating how inexpensive LED lights could be used for creative portraiture. Today we'll be looking at another example of this technique along with an in-depth look at the gear necessary to produce similar images.
 
Let's take a look at the gear I used for a portrait session this weekend aside from the 5D Mark III, 85L II & 580EX speedlite flash (you could easily substitute any camera body, wide aperture telephoto prime and shoe mount flash for similar results) along with some links to gear which will provide comparable results and/or functionality at a fraction of the cost.
 
Lighting & Background Gear Used & Budget Alternatives
 
ItemGear Utilized
Cost
Comparable
Budget Item Cost
Photoflex Umbrella with Adjustable Frame (45")$36.95$14.95
Flash Radio Trigger & Receiver$129.90$29.00
Umbrella Swivel$17.99$21.95
Impact Collapsible Background - 5 x 7' (Black/White)$69.99$69.99
(3) Light Stands$357.00$98.85
Impact 40" Extension Grip Arm$29.95$29.95
Impact Super Clamp with T-Handle$19.95$19.95
Lastolite Magnetic Background Support$82.88$82.88
LED String Lights$19.99$19.99
Total$764.60$387.51

Note that I didn't link to specific versions of some of the gear due to unavailability (some are discontinued or not available at B&H), and I didn't list the white foam core board I used as a reflector (very low cost). Also note that the "budget version" umbrella swivel is slightly more than I paid for my version several years ago and prices are always subject to change.
 
As for the setup, one light stand and the background holder were supporting the collapsible background while another light stand with an extension arm and super clamp were holding the LED string lights in place. As for the main lighting on the subject, the flash was placed camera left and reflected into the white umbrella. The subject's fiancée held a white foam core board camera right to provide a degree of fill light.
 
Hunter Portrait Front Bokeh 2

Now let's consider the equipment I used to support the background and LED lights. Technically speaking, they weren't really necessary (though they certainly did make shooting more convenient). If we were to prop up the collapsible background in another way (maybe lean it against a wall or prop it up by boxes?), we could eliminate one of the light stands and the magnetic background support. And if we simply held the LED lights in front of the lens (or otherwise supported them with a DIY solution), then we could eliminate another light stand, the extension arm and the super clamp from the equation. With the aforementioned gear excluded, the investment cost would drop to $188.83.
 
But how about that background? Is it strictly necessary? While extremely convenient (and highly recommended), you could use a large piece of black fabric, black paper or otherwise shoot in an indoor location with more distance between the subject and the background (leaving the background unlit and, therefore, black at the camera's max flash sync speed). Therefore, if you have a substitute for the background, you can shave off another $69.99, for a total of $118.84.
 
If your DSLR features a master pop-up flash and your off-camera flash features built-in wireless (optical) communication, you can deduct another $29.00 for a ridiculously low final cost of $89.84.
 
That's right; assuming you have a camera, wide aperture telephoto prime and shoe mount flash already in your kit, you could theoretically create shots very similar to the examples above for less than $100.00, or to put it another way, less than the MSRP of Canon's least expensive lens. Of course, more expensive gear typically equates to higher quality and/or added convenience, but... for those on a budget, high quality portraiture is likely well within reach.
Post Date: 5/22/2017 12:11:05 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality results have been added to the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens page.
 
I have been anxiously awaiting these results. While Canon already makes a phenomenal 100-400mm lens, the Sigma weighs less and costs FAR less.
 
Especially considering the price differential, I think you will find the Sigma 100-400mm vs. Canon 100-400mm image quality comparison very interesting. Be sure to compare the Sigma to the many other telephoto zoom lenses we've tested.
 
Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Post Date: 5/22/2017 9:55:30 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
B&H has the Interfit Strobies Pro-Flash 360 W/s Kit with Battery available for $349.99 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $499.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Recycle Time @ Full Power: 4.5 Sec.
  • Full to 1/128 Power Flash Variability
  • Guide Number: 262'
  • Color Temperature: 5,600K
  • Vertical and Horizontal Rotating Head
  • Battery Pack: 450 Flashes @ Full Power
  • Flash Cable, Charger, Carry Pouch
  • Shoulder Strap, Mini Flash Stand
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Lenovo 14" ThinkPad X1 Yoga Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Notebook available for $1,149.00 with free shipping. Regularly $1,399.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5-6200U Dual-Core
  • 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM | 256GB M.2 SSD
  • 14" 1920 x 1080 IPS Touchscreen
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • MicroSD Card Reader
  • USB 3.0 | Mini DP | HDMI
  • 802.11ac | Bluetooth 4.1
  • 360° Hinge | Fingerprint Reader
  • ThinkPad Pen Pro Included
  • Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
Post Date: 5/22/2017 5:12:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Tiffen 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter available for $79.99 with free shipping after $20.00 mail-in rebate. Regularly $149.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Provides 2 to 8 Stops of Light Control
  • Rotating Ring to Choose Degree of ND
  • Eliminates Buying Many ND Filters
  • Use to Create Blurs/Special Effects
  • Use with Film or Digital
  • Wide Outer Ring Reduces Vignetting
  • Black Aluminum Filter Ring
  • ColorCore Glass
  • Made in the USA
Post Date: 5/22/2017 5:06:06 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Sunday, May 21, 2017

 
From the Anya Anti YouTube Channel:
 
Today I want to show how to make a creative bokeh background for your indoor photoshoots out of studio paper backdrop. Also a little making of My Universe photo. Let me know if you have any questions!
 
B&H carries black background paper.
Post Date: 5/21/2017 2:10:03 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, May 20, 2017
What is the best bear photography lens? The best bear photography lens is the one you have immediately available when the bear shows up. I know, that was a trick question, but the point is, an available lens is much better than no lens and I was very happy to have had even the cheap Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens available when this bear showed up. While this lens is near the bottom of my list of bear photography lens recommendation list, when this bear presented itself, the 18-55 mounted to a Canon EOS 77D was what I had immediately available.
 
I am not going to be the only one finding the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens most-available and there are a number of reasons for this. My reason was because I was evaluating the lens at the time. I'm a bit unique in that situation, but for some, the EF-S 18-55 will be available because it is what they can afford. For others (children for example), it will be all that they are trusted with. And for others, it will be the most expensive lens able to be risked for a lens-dangerous, perhaps even sacrificial, task. With the extremely small size and weight of this lens, the EF-S 18-55 will sometimes be simply what is acceptable to carry for long periods of time.
 
I had been watching the bridal wreath spirea go into full bloom and feeling the need to incorporate them into an image. While they are beautiful alone, they work even better as a background to another strong element. For example, I was thinking that a cardinal would look great sitting on one of the branches. A mother black bear being that subject never entered my mind, but ... I think it works here.
 
I have been encountering bears at an increased rate and have photographed many of them, but never before have I used a focal length as wide as 55mm. However, with the bear sitting at a stone table amidst the flowers (with some petals also sticking to her), a wide-aspect crop from that focal length worked well. She appears to be waiting for her waiter.
 
Do you keep cameras at-ready for whatever opportunities arise? If not, consider doing so. Having an always-ready camera can more-rapidly increase your portfolio. Having more cameras in your kit makes having a ready-to-use camera nearby easier and adding another capable DSLR to your kit does not cost that much. We are always happy to help you make the camera, lens and accessory selection that is right for you.
 
A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
55mm  f/5.6  1/80s
ISO 3200
4940 x 2320px
Post Date: 5/20/2017 6:15:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, May 19, 2017
Think Tank Photo has the Airport TakeOff V2.0 Rolling Backpack in stock.
 
Key Features
 
  • Integrated backpack straps with comfortable shoulder harness and back panel padding
  • Holds up to a 400mm f/2.8, two standard bodies and other assorted lenses
  • Large front pocket fits up to a 17” laptop* and a 10” table
Post Date: 5/19/2017 9:17:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Nikon:
 
Nikon Corporation (Kazuo Ushida, President, Tokyo) announced today the reorganization of its corporate structure as outlined below, scheduled for June 29, 2017.
 
The Core Technology Division is to be closed, establishing the Research & Development Division and the Production Technology Division
 
Nikon has decided to close the Core Technology Division and establish the Research & Development Division which dedicates to research and development, and the Production Technology Division which integrates the functions of group production strategy planning and production technology development, etc.
 
With this change, Nikon reorganizes the corporate structure in a way that clarifies functions and responsibilities in order to revitalize the group-wide research and development structure and enhance the efficiency of the production system.
 
Establishing the Healthcare Business Unit
 
Nikon is integrating the Medical Business Development Division and Microscope Solutions Business Unit, to establish a new Healthcare Business Unit. This will enable the company to integrate/optimize organizations and functions rapidly, creating business synergy.
 
Nikon will boost existing businesses and accelerate creation/nurturing of new businesses in the healthcare, medical and biological fields, which are anticipated to grow in the future.
 
Closing the Business Support Division
 
To optimize group-common functions regarding procurement, engineering and logistics, as well as quality- and environmental-management, Nikon has decided to close the Business Support Division and relocate each function formerly handled by it.
 
New organization
 
Nikon New Business Organization

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 5/19/2017 8:15:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through this weekend, B&H has the AURAY Pro ID Windshield with Nameplate for Station ID (4 sizes) available for $59.00 with free shipping. Regularly $99.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 360° Protection
  • Open-Cell Foam Matrix Technology
  • 25mm Simulated Rabbit Fur Covering
  • Reduces Wind Noise by up to 40 dB
Through this weekend, B&H has the TAMA MS20 Tabletop Microphone Stand available for $19.99 with free shipping. Regularly $49.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Adjustable Height from 9 to 15"
  • Round Base with Aluminum Pipe
  • Helps Prevent Scattered Reflection
Post Date: 5/19/2017 5:13:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, May 18, 2017
by Sean Setters
 
While a bare flash can work well in certain situations, more often than not, obtaining the best results will require shaping, restricting or coloring the light coming from your flash (whether it be the shoe-mount or studio variety).
 
Let's look at our Top 10 Light Modifiers to explore all the great possibilities available for crafting the perfect light.
 
Impact 5 in 1 Collapsible Circular Reflector with Handles 42in

1. Collapsible Reflector
 
Collapsible reflectors come in a variety of shapes, sizes and surfaces, and are used to reflect a light source (sun, Speedlite or studio flash) onto your subject. Simple, convenient, inexpensive and easy to pack are hallmarks that have made collapsible reflectors ubiquitous in the photography industry. Popular reflective surface options include white, silver and gold (including combinations of those surfaces).
 
Don't have a collapsible reflector but need something in a pinch? Use a piece of white foam core board or a suspended bed sheet for near-similar results.
 
Westcott 7 Foot Parabolic Umbrella Bundle

2. Umbrella
 
Like collapsible reflectors, umbrellas also come in a variety of shapes (really), sizes and reflective surfaces. The most common umbrellas are white (which can be used in reflected or shoot-through orientation) ranging in size from 43 - 60", though larger and smaller versions can easily be found. Umbrella surfaces mirror those found in collapsible reflectors, mainly the aforementioned white, silver & gold, and oftentimes umbrellas come with a fixed or removable black backing to prevent light spillage (of course, limiting the umbrella's use to reflective orientation only with the black backing in place). Some black backed umbrellas are compatible with removable front diffusion panels for even, softbox-like light quality (more on that later). Mimicking the shape of the sun, a traditional umbrella produces a natural looking round catchlight in the subject's eye(s) unless the umbrella spokes are are clearly discernable (especially a possibility when shooting closer headshots). An umbrella makes a great outdoor flash modifier, with one caveat. Be sure to heavily sandbag your light stands when using umbrellas outside. The umbrella's round, concave shape means that a slight breeze can easily cause your rig to topple over if not properly secured.
 
Surprising to some is that photographic umbrellas can vary significantly in shape. For instance, parabolic umbrellas are deeper than traditional ones and tend to be more efficient at bouncing light with the tradeoff of a more focused projection. Some umbrellas can be made square by adjusting segments of their support frame while other umbrellas feature a rectangular design that makes them better suited for shooting in locations with low ceilings.
 
Considering how inexpensive most umbrellas are, and how easily they can dramatically improve the light falling on your subject, there's little reason not to have one (or several) in your lighting toolkit.
 
Impact Luxbanx Large Rectangular Softbox 36 x 48in

3. Softbox
 
Generally speaking, a softbox is a rectangular, box shaped light modifier with one (or more) diffusion panels covering the face of it. A softbox is typically affixed to a light via a proprietary speed ring, so be sure to select a compatible model when purchasing your softbox. Because of the diffusion panel(s), softboxes generally produce a very even lighting over the entire surface of the front diffusion panel. Softboxes work especially well in studio conditions because they produce a very soft yet directional light (especially when fitted with an optional grid). A rectangular or square softbox creates a catchlight in the subject's eyes that is reminiscent of a window pane, though the catchlight of a softbox + grid combination may appear conspicuously artificial.
 
Not all softboxes are rectangular. A subset of softboxes, called octaboxes (or octagonal softboxes), are more rounded with 8 sides instead of 4. These particular softboxes provide the benefits of traditional softboxes (less light spill) with the round(ish) shape benefits of an umbrella.
 
Standard Reflector and Beauty Dish

4. Standard Reflector/Beauty Dish
 
A standard reflector is a relatively small, metal, silver-lined, narrow bowl-shaped device that is generally included in a studio light kit. Standard reflectors feature a port for simultaneous use with umbrellas (somewhat limiting spill). When used without an umbrella, the standard reflector produces a hard (clearly defined), somewhat harsh quality of light (similar to sunlight on a clear day). While this type of light may not be optimal for most main light portrait needs, the standard reflector can provide a great on-location rim light or background light.
 
On the other end of the studio light reflector spectrum, a beauty dish is a special type of reflector designed specifically for portraiture which produces a circular shaped, semi-hard quality of light with soft edges. Typical beauty dishes are wide bowl shaped reflectors ranging in size from 16-28" (the most common sizes being 20-22"), are silver or white lined and are optimally used relatively close to the subject (a distance between 1x and 1.5x the diameter of the dish). Prices for beauty dishes vary widely, and my particular favorite – the Mola Demi – is not inexpensive, but having owned and used one for several years (with Opal Diffusion Glass), I can say without hesitation that it is a great investment.
 
Vello Ringbox Ringflash Adapter

5. Ring Light
 
A ring light is, as the name suggests, a circular shaped light that is more often than not used with the camera lens shooting through the middle of it. Ring lights can either be specifically designed studio lights, macro lights or ring light modifiers.
 
Because the light is positioned around the lens, a ring light produces a very flat, non-directional type of lighting. If used as a main light, it's generally more flattering than an accessory hot shoe flash pointed straight at your subject, but it really shines (pun intended) as an "invisible" fill light when used with other light sources. By "invisible," that is to say that the fill light doesn't leave tell-tale shadows that indicate its use aside from a subject-shaped shadow (halo) around your subject with an unlit background close behind your subject. Note that a ring light does produce a rather conspicous circular catchlight in the subject's eye(s).
 
ExpoImaging Rogue Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit

6. Color Gel
 
Color gels can be used to change the color of your flash to a) match the ambient light or b) add a creative color to your image. The former, referred to as "color correction" gels, allow you to calibrate your flash's light output with the color of the ambient light, thereby making simple global color corrections seamless in post processing. Otherwise, if the color of your flash's output does not match the ambient, obtaining correct color balance in post processing can be a tricky and time consuming task (and sometimes, nearly impossible).
 
The latter group, "creative" gels, allows you to change background colors or add interesting color to your subject lighting. Using color through the use of gels is a great way to differentiate your work from other photographers, and considering the low cost of color gels (both color correction and creative), every flash wielding photographer should have a myriad of gels in their lighting kit.
 
Vello 1 4in Honeycomb Grid for Portable Flash

7. Grid
 
A grid is simply a set of tube-like structures affixed to the front of a flash (as demonstrated above) or otherwise attached to the front of another light modifier (such as a softbox). The purpose of a grid is to restrict the light output to a smaller area, allowing for more finite control over the light's spread. Grids with circular tubes like the one shown above will produce a round spotlight with moderately soft edges and work great as subject-to-background separation tools when directed at the background (especially when combined with colored gels). Grids are also great for hair/special emphasis lights when reducing light spillage is a priority.
 
Impact Snoot for Select Impact Bowens S Mount Strobes

8. Snoot
 
Like a grid, a snoot is designed to restrict a light's output to a smaller area. However, unlike a grid, the edges of the light pattern projected by a snoot will have a hard edge. Uses for snoots mirror uses for grids, with the the hard edge being the main differentiator.
 
Flag Gobo and Cuculoris Cookie

9. Flag/Gobo & Cuculoris/Cookie
 
A flag (or gobo) is simply a device (typically black) that blocks light from hitting a certain area of your composition. Flags come in variety of shapes and sizes and commonly feature an arm that is designed to be held by a grip head and/or grip arm making positioning with a light stand an easy task.
 
Don't have a professional gobo handy? Try using a creatively mounted piece of black foam core board.
 
A cuculoris/cookie is a special type of flag which has a pattern cut out of it. When placed in front of a light source, a cookie will create a decorative shadow pattern on surfaces and/or subjects in the path of the light. Cookies are often used to simulate light filtering through window panes or foliage, but abstract patterns are very common as well.
 
Spiffy Gear Light Blaster Strobe Based Projector

10. Projector (Light Blaster)
 
With a lens attached to the front, the Spiffy Gear Light Blaster is able project a scene printed on transparent film onto a surface. The creative possibilities for devices such as these are endless, yet using them effectively takes a bit of know-how. For instance, if using the Light Blaster to project a scene onto the background, optimal results can only be obtained if the light hitting your subject is restricted from hitting the background (using some of the other tools listed above and careful positioning). See our full review for more details on the Light Blaster.
 
You can also find old carousel slide projectors on eBay for similar results, without the ability to vary the light output (unless ND filters are used).
 
So there you have it, our list of the Top 10 Light Modifiers for Off-Camera Flashes & Studio Lights. Did we miss something important? Sound off in the comments.
Post Date: 5/18/2017 11:15:16 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Update: The I AM NIKON Blog is live again.
 
The I AM NIKON Blog page has been suspended (see screenshot above). Going to the site results in a page that lists the possible reasons for the suspension:
 
  • This is a new domain name and you have not yet validated your contact details.
  • This domain has recently been modified or transferred and you have not yet validated your contact details.
  • An annual validation email was sent to your contact details but you have not responded.
As the blog has been active for quite some time, that basically rules out the first possible reason. My guess is that someone at Nikon forgot to respond to the annual validation email. :-) [Sean]
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 5/18/2017 11:09:21 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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