If you shoot stills or video with optics 500mm and longer you already know the pluses and minuses of taking pictures with narrow angle-of-view (AOV) optics. They range from the 'wow' factor to the 'this thing is far too heavy to schlep around all day' factor.
In our last newsletter we covered a number of products designed to lighten your load when heading out the door with photo gear in tow. Based on your feedback (quite positive, thank you!), we decided to poke around the store a bit further to see what other items we carry for light & compact photo trekking. Compact flash guns and small tripods sturdy enough to use without cussing topped the list, so here goes.
Pentax is serious about making top of the line DSLRs. All you have to do to prove it to yourself is pick up the new K-7. The camera body - weatherproofed magnesium-alloy body panels wrapped around a stainless steel chassis - fills the hand with a very solid presence and lacks the polycarbonate feel of many lesser-priced DSLRs. And then you have what can only be described as a serious list of features.
If you've ever flown over the Grand Canyon or Rocky mountains at 35,000 feet, you already know how humbling and enlightening this experience can be. Tall mountains appear small, almost flush to the plains leading up to them. The grandiosity of the Grand Canyon is equally diminished when viewed from high above. The Rockies and Grand Canyon viewed from ground level appear immense and unconquerable, yet from high above these same geological wonders simply blend into the textures and patterns of the overall landscape. As with most things in life, how we see them is often a matter of perspective.
When word got out we were going to have Olympus E-P1 Micro-4/3 samples at our store a day after it was announced, one Olympus fan drove into Manhattan only to find that the Olympus reps had just left. He spotted them up the block and begged to see the camera. According to reliable sources the guy had tears in his eyes as he coddled the camera.
Sony has introduced successors to its original line-up of compact, APS-C format DSLRs. The new cameras – the Sony Alpha A230, A330, and A380 – are all housed in polycarbonate bodies that are smaller and have lower profiles than the cameras they replace.
In an earlier chapter of my life I taught photography part-time at a local community college. One of my co-workers, a fellow named Pietr, whose last name I could never pronounce let alone spell, had a novel way of introducing his Photo 101 students to their cameras. He would start off by having them wander about, focus on things that catch their eye, and before pressing the shutter button, peer over the viewfinder and try to visualize where the borders of the image were based on what they saw in the viewfinder.
In my previous article about in-ear headphones, one model that wasn't explored was the SA6 from Sleek Audio, which is a unique offering from a relatively new contender in the headphone world. What's interesting about the SA6 is that it's a completely modular system, and it has customizable treble and bass response. To my knowledge, this is the only pair of in-ear headphones on the market to offer this feature, and it does so at a pretty reasonable price.
In the age of the digital music download and the pervasive presence of tiny portable MP3 players and earphones as the listening method of choice, Howard Bardach enjoys a unique position as both a proponent and purveyor of the true audiophile tradition among music enthusiasts. The man loves his work, and his enthusiasm for the sound quality and musicality of classic analog gear and recordings borders on the evangelical.
Early in 2008, a friend sent me an email with a link to a YouTube video. The video was a preview of a movie he was producing/directing called "Overnite Shift". I was immediately intrigued by the excellent look of this no-budget movie, and something about the characters piqued my interest. I did however have reservations concerning the audio, which to my ears was problematic. On getting in touch with him, he informed me that most of the film had already been shot, but that he was having issues with the sound person delivering on his commitments. The director and I had previously worked together, so he asked me if I wanted to become involved in the project.
At the heart of the receiver is the surround-sound processor. The most basic surround processors use a Dolby Pro Logic II decoder. Pro Logic II is a "matrix" system that takes an encoded two-channel stereo signal and converts it to a five-channel full bandwidth (range) playback (Left/Center/Right/Left Surround/Right Surround),resulting in a surround experience. Most TV shows are encoded in Dolby Pro Logic II, as are the majority of VHS videos. You can also play DVDs through a Pro Logic II only-receiver because DVD players can synthesize a Pro Logic II signal that mimics a surround soundtrack. The newer Dolby Pro Logic IIx adds the ability of converting stereo or 5.1-channel surround sound for seamless 6.1 or 7.1 playback.
Having squeezed more pixels than most of us actually need into DSLRs in every price range, manufacturers are focusing on incorporating cutting-edge features normally reserved for mid and upper-level DSLRs into their less-pricy consumer DSLRs. Nowhere is this clearer than Canon's 6th generation digital Rebel, the EOS Rebel T1i, which is available as body-only or with a Canon 18-55 IS kit lens.
The Used Department at B&H Photo's NYC Superstore is larger than most camera stores, and much of the used gear we have in stock isn't even on display. We have what must be the most eclectic assortment of used classics, limited edition, and special purpose cameras you're likely to find in one location. But since many of our best, long-time customers live too far to ever stop by and say 'Hi', we thought we'd write about some of the more interesting items we had on hand at the time of this writing.
Back in the mid-70s Nikon made a 6/2.8 fisheye lens that captured a 220° circular image, which is 40° wider than the standard-issue 180° fisheyes manufactured today. Weighing in at 11 lbs, it had a front element the shape and size of a small goldfish bowl (9.3") and all-but-dwarfed the Nikon F hanging off the back of it. You could actually see behind the camera. And it could be had for about $13,500 in 1975 Yankee dollars.
Fast forward 35 years and I find myself palming a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1, a sub-compact bridge camera with a 9.1Mp Super Exmor CMOS sensor (1/2.4"), full-res burst-rates of up to 10 fps, a 20x Sony G-series optically-stabilized zoom lens, and a long list of features you'd expect to find nowadays on bridge-style digicams.
As I prepare for another dive off the Island of Roca Partida, everything is perfect, as it has been the past five days. It is a beautiful day, sea conditions are ideal, and I am thinking about the wonders I will photograph as this amazing trip is coming to an end. I check all my life support equipment and camera gear before boarding the Zodiac (rubber raft type boat).
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