Thursday, December 31, 2009

How tough is your lens?

Boredom is dangerous, because a bored photographer decided to try smashing his (already non-functioning) Canon lens to see how fragile the lens is. Amazingly, the lens is one tough cookie! Kids, do not try this at home…

Friday, December 18, 2009

The video DSLR race is on!

Dan Chung ( spent a night shooting at the Singapore Turf club using a pre-production Canon Eos1D Mk 4. The footage was all shot at 720p/60 and then slowed to 23.98 fps in post, with colours left ungraded and editing done in Final Cut Pro. Pretty impressive stuff with the 60fps and clean footage!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Will I buy your camera after watching your TVC?

If you buy a Porsche 911 Turbo, you wouldn't use it only to buy groceries from the supermarket, would you? It is a fantastic machine to drive around in, so you'd probably enjoy the handling experience or the sheer acceleration (under safe conditions) or on the track!

If that was so easy to understand, why is it that many top honchos in multi-national companies fail to realize that television commercials are the best way to stir your emotions, or to set the fire in your loins burning? Why do some companies make TV commercials which do little more than communicate their product advantages? The combination of sound and vision is a lethal weapon in creating emotions that would bring consumers to your product, no matter how rational they are or how resistant they want to be. Leave your specifications to the print advertisement! I want to be stirred by your television commercial... entertain me!

Leica just did.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM


If you are dissatisfied with your kit lens and desire something better without spending too much money, Sigma's new 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM can be an interesting proposition for you. This new lens cover a useful range for general purpose photography, and the maximum aperture is larger than the typical kit lenses, making this a nice upgrade lens. In addition, Sigma has fitted some nice tech goodies such as Optical Stabilizer and Aspherical glass elements to ensure sharp images (in theory). The Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) should see the Sigma delivering silent, high-speed autofocus.

With a filter size of 72mm however, buying new filters will not be a cheap affair. In the past, photographers sometimes found their third-party lenses incompatible with their new SLRs because of electronics issues. There's no assurance that the Sigma will be fully compatible with future Canon, Nikon, Sony or Pentax DSLR bodies, but there're programs currently by third-party manufacturers to re-chip the lenses to work with the latest cameras.

How to achieve HDR images – easily and for free!


Free and easy HDR photography? It's possible!

If you’ve always wondered how to achieve those wonderful HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, we have the answer for you! HDR images are easy to make with the right tools. You’d just have to capture the range of tones with (at least) three images – one properly exposed, one over-exposed and one under-exposed. Needless to say, you’d need all images to be in perfect registration, so a steady tripod is a must! You can then use a HDR software to merge and combine all the photos into one image that extracts the maximum details from the highlights and shadows.

The tricky part is the HDR software – most of the good ones are not free. Despair not! We found the QTPFSGUI (we kid you not… that’s the name of the software!) pretty decent and powerful, and best of all – it’s free of charge! If you like it enough, you can be nice and donate some money to the developers who worked hard at bringing you something so nice for free.

Without further ado, here’s the link to the tutorial for using QTPFSGUI…

And you can download QTPFSGUI here!

HDR photos credit of John Nyberg (Denmark)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In pictures: 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster

During the early hours of December 3 1984, a gas leak at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India killed more than 4,000 people in the first few hours. The poisonous gas swept through the town, and death tolls crept up to more than 15,000 dead within the next few years. 25 years later, the Bhopal disaster is still the world’s worst industrial accident ever, and thousands of people are still suffering from the sickness and deficiency caused by the contamination.

Time magazine interview with Annie Leibovitz

As one of the most famous and prolific photographers today, Annie Leibovitz is no stranger to controversies and criticisms. Her recent financial crisis and troubles with lawsuits made Leibovitz an easy target for even more flak, but there is no taking away her genius in making iconic photos of her subjects. With a huge and successful body of work, Annie Leibovitz had always put tremendous pressure on herself to excel and push the envelope even further. Here's a short interview by Time magazine with Annie Leibovitz...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

30 great gift ideas for photographers


With the festive season around the corner, there’s no need to tear your hair out just because you can’t find the right gift for your photo-fanatic friends! I’ve assembled a list of photography-related gifts for you to choose from, ranging from under US$50 to US$200. So if your loved ones are having problems choosing your gift, just point them to this blog thread!

Great gifts up to US$50

Gary Fong Lightsphere Universal Inverted Dome (US$50)
Fits onto most flash heads via a universal mount, the Gary Fong Lightsphere delivers a dose of well-balanced bounce easily. There’re many bounce systems for on-camera flashes, but the Gary Fong system is supposedly one of the best around.

Joby Gorillapod Flexible Mini-Tripod (US$22)
If you have a compact camera and you want a flexible mini-tripod, this is one of the best choices. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the most robust and flexible mini tripods. Also works great if you want to mount your flash and trigger it wirelessly off the camera for directional lighting. You can wrap the bendy legs on branches or railings.

Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable NiMH Batteries with Charger (US$30)
Go green! Stop throwing expendable batteries into the landfills! The Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable NiMH batteries present cost-savings advantage while delivering a unique advantage – they maintain their stored energy for a long time unlike other rechargeables, so your Eneloop batteries are always ready for action!