Category Archives for Photography Gear Reviews

Do you need a Nifty Fifty Lens?

nifty 50 lens

 

A what you say?  Where have you been hiding out!

What is a Nifty Fifty Lens?

The Nifty 50 refers to a 50mm prime lens which is considered a portrait lens on most entry level DLSRs such as the Canon rebel series or the Nikon D3100 or Sony Alpha range.

Do I need it? Mollie nifty 50

If you are a beginner photographer and your main subject is your kids you will undoubtedly compare your pictures to those of the pro photographers that you have paid in the past to come and photograph your kiddos.

You want to be able to recreate those same types of photographs with your own DSLR.  You can get junior to smile and pose and look super cute but what you you REALLY want to know is how to get that BLURRY background like the pro did.  The lovely creamy background where it doesn’t matter whereabouts you shoot, your subject stands out, pin sharp against a soft out-of-focus creamy, dreamy background.

Well over half of my students come to me with this woe – “How to I get a blurry background?”

 

All about the f stops

As they learn a little bit about shooting out of auto mode they discover the concept of Aperture and learn that by controlling the Aperture, they control the depth of field, hence they have the ability to create a blurry background!

Nifty 50 aperture shot

Hurrah!  They’ve cracked it.  They’ve discovered they key…that is, until they try to shoot at a wide aperture with their camera’s kit lens – i.e. the lens that comes with the camera.  No matter how wide the open the aperture – usually f/4, the cannot achieve the blurry backgrounds they dream of.  Their photos still look flat compared with those shot by the pro.  Sound familiar?

So what gives?

Well, the main big difference between your shots and the Pro’s shots is most likely choice of lens.  And that’s where the  so-called nifty 50 comes in to play.  The nifty 50 is a 50mm Prime lens i.e. it it has a fixed focal length of 50mm and therefore doesn’t zoom.  If you want to get closer you gotta move your feet! This focal length of  50 mm is a nice distance for portraiture photography on entry level DSLRS and you’ll often hear it referred to as a portrait lens. But this is not where the secret lies.  The best thing about the nifty 50 is that is has an extremely wide open maximum aperture which means it will give you a much blurrier (is that even a word?) background than your standard kit lens.

Consider my fancy slide below:

Aperture slide for nifty 50

Aperture ratings

Most kit lenses can only open the aperture to somewhere between f/3.5 and f/5.6, depending on the focal length in use.  In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a wide open aperture at all.

Our friendly nifty 50 however comes in 3 versions with a f 1.8, f 1.4 and f 1.2 maximum apertures for most camera brands.  These are considerably more open that the kit lens, allowing you to photograph inside in natural light with out the aid of flash, and more  importantly for this discussion, rendering a beautiful creamy blurry background.

That’s the key!  Use the best lens for the job and you’ll get the results that you are after.  The camera is only half the story…

I need to get one!

And the other awesome thing about the nifty 50?  It’s probably the cheapest bit of photography gear you’re likely to purchase.  Most pros shoot with either the f1.4 or the f1.2 but you can nab a f1.8 (like me!) for about $100. (Be sure to check out your own camera’s compatibility with any lens before you buy)

And trust me, you will blow yourself away with the results. Pin sharp, works in low light with beautify blurry backgrounds.  So what are you waiting for? Go grab one today!

Happy Snapping

Ingrid

P.S. The nifty 50 is such good value that it is one of the only lenses I recommend buying new – your can check it out on Amazon for the best deals.

A new way to carry your camera

Glide Strap

Glide Strap

This morning has been transformational!  Yes – my photography experience has been changed forever.  Why you ask?  Well of course, I love my camera. I love taking pictures of my kids on the go – at the park, running around, playing outside, but I HATE my itchy, scratchy, not-fun-to-wear camera strap.  My DSLR is heavy and having it swinging from my neck is just one more thing that makes me feel more like a mule than a mom ( diaper bag, camera bag, purse, toddler, oh yeah and infant in the Ergo.)

Well today I finally opened up a package sent to me by the innovative team at Custom SLR.  These guys make AWESOME stuff to pimp out your camera.  They had sent me a C-loop and a Glide Strap to do try out and review.  Now I know you can get really nice cushy camera straps and camera strap covers that help with the itchy scratchy stuff but the Glide Strap from does so much more than just look cool.  It’s ergonomically designed so that the weight of the camera is evenly distributed over your shoulders and the camera feels like a feather.  It also has a super innovate design so that your camera simply slides up and down the strap – hence the “Glide.”  It sounds strange but trust me – it’s genius. As I was assembling the strap out of the box I was thinking – em…  I don’t see how this is going to work but when I put it on it was a total ah ha moment!  Why didn’t I think of that!

Split Strap

Split Strap

But wait – there’s more!   The best thing about the kit that I received was the C-loop.  This is totally innocent looking little piece of equipment is the key to the ease of use of the strap and what’s revolutionized my photography experience!  If you’ve ever traveled with your camera you are faced with a big dilemma.  For example, when myself and my hubby went to Florence we were really nervous about having the camera on full view around our necks.  It’s so cumbersome and obvious that we’re tourists and I was already trying to watch my pockets and my backpack.  If I put the camera in the camera bag, trying to access it at a moments notice on a busy hot street was not easy. I ended up  carrying it bandeau style which was good but still difficult to access in order to quickly to snap a shot.  Another problem I had was that the lens kept bumping into people as I walked.

C loop

C-Loop

Now the C-Loop changes all of that.  As you can see from the pictures below it simple attaches your camera strap to your camera by screwing into the tripod thread at the bottom of your camera body.  This allows the camera to freely rotate and hangs directly down so no bumping off walls or tourists!  Like I said – such a simple idea which works brilliantly.

So I am transformed.  Some days it’s easy to take pictures and somedays it’s hard.  Make it easier on yourself by getting your gear on and check out the difference that a new way of carrying your camera might make to your photography over at Custom SLR.  I’m off out to get some more shots of these kiddos running around on this glorious Fall day.  Then I might chat to the hubby about a repeat trip to Italy to get all those shots we missed before 😉

Happy Snapping

Ingrid

P.S. Check out other reviews of the Creative SLRs’ Glide Strap and C-loop on Amazon

Do you need a DSLR? – Digital Camera Buying Guide

Digital SLR Buying Guide

Over the last few weeks I’ve been promoting my new online photography course – “Master your DSLR,”  and it was brought to my attention several times that many of you might not be sure what exactly a DSLR is.  For many beginners in photography this is where you take the leap from just taking snapshots to being a little more creative with your photos.  As part of my Digital Camera Buying Guide series let’s look at the “Big Daddy” which is the DSLR.

What exactly is a DSLR?

A DSLR  camera (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) consists of two parts –  a camera body and an interchangeable lens.  The body houses the camera sensor (where the image is made), all the electronics and a mirror system that allows the photographer to see exactly the image that the camera is recording.  This camera body also has the ability to add on additional flash through a hot-shoe on the top of the camera but on most entry level DSLRs there is also a pop up built-in flash unit.

The interchangeable lens is what really makes the difference between an DSLR and and compact camera.  Usually a DSLR will come with a standard “kit” lens which will allow you to take a variety of shots at various focal lengths, from wide angle to telephoto.  If you require additional lenses for a specific purpose, these are purchased separately and they usually don’t come cheap!

There is also a plethora of other accessories that can be used with your DSLR to enhance your photography such as tripods, lens hoods, filters, lighting systems to name a few.

Why choose a DSLR?

If your someone who feels stifled by their Point and Shoot’s lack of creative control or someone who wants to really understand photography then a DSLR is really the only way you are going to learn and will ultimately be what will take your photography to the next level.  The size of the lens alone should be an indication to you of how much better your pictures can potentially be.  The beauty of today’s entry level DSLRS is that you can use them in full auto mode where the camera still does all of the thinking for you, through semi-manual shooting modes where you begin to have creative control, right through to full manual setting where you can control every aspect of the photograph.

One of my pet peeves is to see people wielding these big DSLR cameras only to switch them into Auto mode and use it like a big hefty point and shoot camera.  Why bother?  They are using about 10% of the camera’s functionality and paid a nice price for the privilege.  If this is you I suggest you get out of your comfort zone and start experimenting!  Sure your gonna end up with a few dodgy pics in there along the way, but it’s only with this experimenting that your gonna LEARN anything about photography and eventually you will improve.

Buying a Digital SLR

Buying a DSLR is a considerable investment so it’s important to do your research and find the one that’s going to be best for you.  The two top brands that are always competing head to head are Canon and Nikon.  Personally I’m a Canon girl – always have been always will be I think!) but that’s only because that’s what I started out with.  Nikon are equally as good and in some models boast superior features.

Some things to consider which might help you make your decision:


1. Has anyone in the family/ friends got either a Canon or Nikon.

This is important to consider as you might be able to swap and borrow lenses from them and they might be able to help you out with technical problems

2. What feels good in your hands?

Some say Canons are for girls and Nikons are for boys.  While this is not true, some of the entry level Canon cameras may feel small in a guys hands and where the buttons are etc. will have an effect of the cameras ease of use for you.  So although I’m a great advocate of shopping online, I  also feel that its a good idea to get your hands on a few cameras before you buy.  Ask a  friend or go to a specialty store to get a feel for the different models.  You might be surprised at their weight or by how light they are.  Some people like a lightweight and others want to feel they are getting their money’s worth by the pound!

3. Special deals or twin lens kits.

In some stores you will see cameras bundled as twin lens kits with the standard lens bundled together with an additional zoom lens and sometimes a kit bag, a book, a card etc.  These can be really great deals but this depends on whether or not you really think you’ll need that particular zoom lens. For example, landscapes might be your thing so in that case it might be more prudent for you to invest in a super wide angle lens at some point.  Be aware that just because a lens has a huge focal length – i.e can zoom in really far away, it doesn’t mean its a great lens.  There are lots of factors to consider so only buy what you need for now and buy the best you can afford – it should last you quite a while.

4. Finally, think about factoring in the cost of some education to learn how to work the thing.

There is no point in spending a lot of money on a fancy DSLR only to stick it in Green Auto and to try and learn about photography from the user manual.  You will drive yourself batty!  Buy a book, read a blog, take a course for some direction but put some effort into learning about your camera and you’ll be rewarded with unique photos for the rest of your life!

Happy Snapping!

PS If you feel like your someone who could benefit with a little guidance on using your DSL R to it’s potential, check out www.CameraShyClasses.com for my online courses which will help you do just that!

Thinking of a Bridge Camera? – Nikon P100 Review

What’s a Bridge Camera?

I’m lucky enough to teach a wide variety of students in person and get my hands on so many different cameras.  Lot’s of my students are DSLR users and some people just have a compact camera that they want to get the most from.  But a trend I’ve been beginning to notice is the popularity of the bridge camera.

A bridge camera is not a DSLR  – it doesn’t use the mirror system that a  digital SLR uses, you can’t change the lenses and the sensor size is much smaller –  but it’s not quite a compact either.

Bridge cameras usually have lots more features and mainly lots more controls than you get with the average point and shoot.  The biggest bonus is usually the inclusion of a super dooper telephoto zoom lens.  In the following article I’ve taken one of the very popular bridge cameras by Nikon  – the P100, and reviewed it for you so you an get an ideas of what I mean by a bridge camera and if you’re thinking of buying a new camera, perhaps this is the next step for you.

A closer look at the Nikon P100

As you can see from the picture below, on first look, the Nikon P100 is a really compact little machine.

Nion P100

It weighs in at  a mere 3lbs which means it’s perfect if your going to be traveling or out walking or even dare I say it fit, to into your diaper bag!  It’s packed with really useful features, most of which you’ll find on most bridge cameras but some are unique to the P100.   One of these is the 3 inch vari-angle LCD screen with you can pull out and adjust to suit your shooting position.

The camera comes with a brilliant Lithium ion battery and charger which, by all accounts, really holds it’s charge for a long time.  I’m not really an advocate of buying a spare battery as they can be quite expensive.  Instead I suggest that if you are going on a trip, just take your battery charger with you and charge up every night.  Of course if your climbing in the Himalayas this might not apply…

Lots of Options

As you can see from the image of the mode dial below, the P100 has many of the manual modes you would expect to see from a DSLR camera. 

This means it’s the perfect camera for giving you an introduction to shooting in manual modes and enables you to really get creative with your shots.  For those times when you don’t want to think too much about what your shooting, flip it to one of the 17 scene modes and you’ll be assured of a great result.

26X Optical Zoom Lens

Of course the best thing about the P100 as far as I’m concerned the lens.  Not only do you get a 26mm wide-angle lens which will give you a much wide angle of view than most compact cameras, you also get a whopping 26 x optical zoom lens.   If you wanted this type of magnification on your DSLR you’d have to pay a LOT of money, not to mention tote a massive bag around!  And to have a 26mm wide angle in there as well means that scenery, big group shots or anything where you need to get more of the picture in, is a breeze.
Something which I’m usually not that into as I’m definitely a stills kinda gal is the High Definition 1080i video capabilities of this little camera. It is awesome!  You even get stereo sound.  This really would cut down on the amount of gear you’d need for a big trip.

Who is this camera best suited to?

I would say that this is a great camera for anyone who wants to challenge themselves a little more than what they can do with a simple point and shoot camera.  It is definitely more bulky than a compact but what you get squeezed in there is that massive, high quality zoom lens.  If wildlife, or travel is you thing – then this camera is definitely for you.  Not ready to commit to a DSLR?  Try out this bridge camera for lots of the manual control without the added bulk.  If however you don’t think you’ll ever use the big zoom then maybe this isn’t the camera for you, although truthfully once you get used to a zoom this size it is difficult to adjust to not having one.  I also think this in some ways this camera is ideally suited to females.  The small size and grip might make it a little awkward in a guys hands – perhaps a little too small for them.

So just to give you an idea of what it is exactly I’m talking about when I say BIG zoom we took some pictures to show you what you can achieve without having to move your feet!  Watch for the monument way far in the distance in the first shot.

Zoom 1 Zoom 2

Zoom 3 Zoom 4

As you can see that’s pretty powerful!  The P100 also has the added bonus of an VR or Vibration Reduction – which means that every shot should be steady as a rock – really important when you have a big zoom like this.

Is it all good?

The one negative I see with the this camera is the electronic viewfinder as opposed to an optical viewfinder.  Being a traditionalist I still like to use this type of camera by peeking throughout the viewfinder and the digital display just doesn’t do it for me.  I guess it’s probably because I’m used to a DSLR.  This probably wont make a difference to most of you though because most people are totally comfortable using the LCD screen to frame their shot.

So all in all I would give this camera very definite thumbs up, for the right person.  As I have said many times there’s no camera where one size fits all and it’s important to choose the best camera to suit your own specific needs.

But if you like to travel, nature, birds or just the all round flexibility of having the convenience of a large telephoto zoom in a small package then the Nikon P100 is for you!  Get Free Shipping from ordering here through Amazon.

Happy Snapping

P.S. Still not convinced?  Check out what other consumers have to say about the P100 here.

Buying the Best Tripod for your DSLR

Last week I did something I’ve never done before…I faced the crowds and the stores in search of a bargain.  Well, actually, I was working with a client – helping her choose some new photographic equipment.  Amongst other things she was looking for the best tripod and was totally overwhelmed by the choices available to her.  While shopping with her I could only come to the same conclusion that it is bewildering to even the seasoned photographer when buying a tripod and trying to figure out the best tripod for your needs.  So I decided to put together this short guide in case any of you guys are heading out to shop for this vital accessory.

Best Tripod

Do I really need a tripod?

Anyone who considers themselves a serious photographer really does need a tripod.  I know, I know!  They’re heavy and awkward to lug around but if you REALLY want that shot, that award winning, hang on the wall, amaze your friends shot, then you need to think seriously about using a tripod.  Especially if you are a landscape photographer or shoot in low lighting conditions.  For landscapes shot with a very high f number eg f/22, you absolutely need a tripod to steady your camera.  In low light conditions, its absolutely pointless trying to achieve slow shutter speeds  (anything slower than the focal length of your lens) without a tripod’s help.  Macro photographers will also

drive themselves slowly insane without using a tripod and even in studio portrait shots its always useful to have a safe place to put your camera during takes.  For still lifes, mounting your camera on a tripod allows you to change various settings while keeping the distance/ focal length exactly the same.  This can save a lot of hassle when your trying to get the shot just right.

Budget

Anytime you go shopping for new photographic equipment you know your going to be dropping some (quite a bit of ) cash.  Tripods are definitely not one of the cheapest photographic accessories but there are a wide variety of price points available.  Your budget will dictate several things such as weight, added features, ease of use and functionality.  One thing I will say is however try to extend your budget as much as possible because trying to use a cheap tripod could well put you off photography for life!  For one, you don’t want to put your expensive camera body and lens on a flimsy  – one puff of wind will knock it down- tripod.  Also getting fingers pinched in difficult to maneuver leg hinges will drive you to distraction.  Be prepared to spend a little more than you though you’d have to.

Is the best tripod, the heaviest?

Not necessarily as a heavy tripod that stays in the closet is no good to you compared with a light one that you are more inclined to bring with you!  That being said you need a certain degree of stability – that’s the whole point right?! You can generally choose from Aluminium tripods or Carbon fibre tripods.  My student ended up opting for the carbon fibre version of a Manfrotto she was looking at which was about $200 more than the aluminium one.  She felt that given the amount of traveling she’d be doing with it, and all of the new weight restrictions on airline luggage limits it would be worth it to save the few pounds.

Aluminium tripods are heavier but can still provide decent support.  If you’ll mostly be using your tripod in the same place then these would be fine.  If your buying your tripod online – I highly recommend Amazon, do a weight comparison and physically get out the equivalent weight of bags of sugar or free weights if you have them, to see how heavy 5 lbs really is.

Separate Legs and Ball Head

Entry level tripods are generally a single unit of legs that are permanently attached to the head, which has a removable plate that can be screwed into the base of your camera.  These are cheap and cheerful and can serve the beginner in photography very well.  As you go up through the models of tripods you will notice that the legs and the heads can be purchased separately.  This is to give the photographer more choice in the type of tripod best suited for his needs.

Legs

Check out the type of hinges on your tripod legs.  They need to be able to released and locked quickly and easily (without pinching your fingers!)  I like the quick release hinges as opposed to the screw-type ones as they maneuvered more quickly.  Check and see how high the legs extend without raising the center column and also how low to the ground they go.  This ability is really useful for macro shots, product photography and shooting sweeping landscapes with a great perspective.  Added features here can be the middle column extending out to the side or inverting so that the camera is almost at ground level.  The Manfrotto 055XPROB is an example of legs that have these features.

The Head

The head is the top part of the tripod which holds the camera and allows you to adjust it’s position.  Again, here you have a few choices to make and again it will depend on the majority of the type of photography you shoot.  If you do a lot of architecture and landscape photography a three-way pan head would be suitable for you.  This allows you to fine tune and adjust each axis of the head individually.  Great for precision but a little slow to use.

I much prefer the Ballhead type head.  These are as they sound, like a ball and socket joint which allow you to manuever your camera in any direction quickly, easily and most importantly smoothly.  My student opted for a grip action or joystick grip ball head which is super easier to manipulate and she loves it! Ballhead

Ingrid’s recommendations

As like all things in the photographic world there are so many choices available and each person has a variety of needs I recommend that you do you research before running out and buying a tripod.

  • Think about the things I’ve outlined above
  • Think about the types of photography you’ll mostly be using it for
  • Think about it as an investment
  • And compare several products till you find the right one for you.

A great place to start is by checking out the Manfrotto range.  I’ve been using (and selling) Manfrotto for 10 years and I find them excellent with a great range suitable for the beginner to the seasoned pro.  You can check them out here at Amazon.com.

Happy (steady) snapping!

Fuji Instax Mini 25 Review

Fuji Instax Mini 25

Fuji Instax Mini 25

Return of Film?

Digital is dead hoorah for the return of film! No wait. Sorry.  Only kidding.  Digital photography isn’t going anywhere I’m afraid but for those of you who still crave a little nostalgia, how about the convenience of the old polaroid?  There is still a huge following for instant cameras and you can’t beat the thrill of watching the image appear right before your very eyes, something that us old film users miss from the darkroom days…Anyways, I digress.

Fuji is now the leader when it comes to Instant cameras and it’s latest offering is the cool Instax Mini 25 which takes credit card sized pictures.  The one pictured below is a cool white color, matching perfectly with your MacBook or if you’re very trendy, you can go for the Hello Kitty version for a little extra.

Fun Fun Fun!

The camera is designed for fun usage and even has a little mirror in front to let you take the obligatory self portrait, or one of you and your favorite cuddly toy.

The Instax 25 is super easy to use with 2 chunky shutter buttons for easy picture taking either vertically or horizontally and it weighs hardly anything at all (less than 2 lbs.)  It also has a Landscape setting which means you can take shots that are further away and comes with a detachable close up lens to allow you to shoot close up (of course!)

The camera uses 2 CR Lithium batteries (included) and Instax mini film which is widely available.

Vivid Pics

The pictures are really bright and vibrant and are a really fun way of capturing a party or a special event.  Last week at my sister’s wedding, her friends snapped a poloroid of each couple as they entered the church and then at the reception put them in the guestbook so everyone could write their well wishes alongside their picture.  It’s a wonderful momento of their big day!

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

You can check out the Fuji Instax Mini here on Amazon and if you want to be the cool Auntie at Christmas this year, get your mits on the exclusive Hello Kitty version while they’re still in stock!

Happy Snapping!

Sig

PS Amazon currently has the Fuji Instax Mini 25 as $30 off the RRP (August 2010)

Have you tried Canvas Photo Printing ?

This week I’m eventually getting around to enlarging and framing my daughter’s first year pictures.  Well, I was going to get some of them framed but the cost of getting large format frames has been putting me off.  So for a lot of pictures I’ve opted instead for getting canvas prints from photos from the past year of her life.  The funny thing is this is actually working out really inexpensive!

Canvas Photo Printing

Many people don’t realize that you can get canvas prints from photos that you already have on your hard drive.  Thanks to wonderful digital printing technology , these personalized piece of art can be yours with a few clicks of the mouse. For my prints I’ve opted to use Canvas People . I’m always cautious about getting prints made online – I guess it comes from my background in printing and extremely high standards!  Canvas People are actually giving away a free Canvas print this month so it’s a great way to try out their quality with no risk.

Advantages of Canvas Prints

Go Big!

One of the best things about canvas prints from photos is that you can go really big with your picture without having to worry about  having to buy and hang a big expensive frame.  Canvases are so lightweight that can be hung on virtually any wall.

Pieces of Art

The canvas wraps around the frame, (sometimes known as a gallery wrap) and gives a wonderful professional finish. They have a look of an oil painting and also have a special protective coating to protect from dust and dirt.

Unique and personalized

Canvas prints make wonderful unique and personalized gifts for those hard to buy for people in your life.

Tips for Canvas Photo Printing

  • I think that canvas photo printing works best for extreme close up shots of kids (think big blue eyes popping off the canvas) and landscape or travel photos.  These types of pictures really lend themselves to this format.
  • Make sure your colors are vibrant and rich.  In my experience, Canvas prints tend to make colors look a little less vibrant, so it’s important that your pictures not washed out to begin with.
  • Make sure you upload a high resolution shot.  Going big means you’ll need lots of pixels so make sure your saving your image in the highest quality
  • Crop carefully – as the canvas will wrap around the frame, make sure that you allow for this when uploading your image.  The software that Canvas People use gives you a great visual on where your image will go around the edges.
  • When your enlarging pictures for display on your wall remember that you probably need to get them enlarged bigger than you think you need to.  This is especially true for Canvas Prints because you wont have the added size of a mat and a frame molding in your finished product.
  • Make groups or themes of prints that go together.  Putting together a triptych (3 pics of the same subject) or several picts of the same theme is a great way of displaying your pictures and canvas prints are an idea way to showcase this kind of work.
  • Consider using Black and White/ Sepia for a different feel for your Canvas Prints.  Use a software program such as Photoshop Elements to achieve this look.

I hope I’ve inspired you to try out some Canvas Prints from photos that you have sitting on your hard drive.  Why not check out Canvas People for yourself and get a free canvas print of your own to get you started!

Happy Snapping!

Sig

468 x 60 Seriously

The eternal quest for the best Digital SLR Camera Bag

Digital SLR Camera Bags

Crumpler Digital SLR Camera Bag

So I’ve got the diaperbag, I’ve got the laptop, I’ve got my purse and I’ve got my Digital SLR camera bag.  How on earth am I going to get all of this plus my 18 month old on a transatlantic flight to Ireland this summer?  Well, careful packing will get me so far but the ever changing regulations on baggage allowance are so tight I’ve decided that I’m treating myself to a new digital SLR camera bag from Crumpler.

I’m going all out and going to splurge on the 8 Million Dollar Home bag which has room for a full size Digital SLR, big zoom lens, my laptop and loads more extra space.  I love the Crumpler range of camera bags mainly because they don’t look like a camera bag!  They have a whole variety of shapes and sizes so there’s bound to be one in there to fit your requirements not to mention style.

As the name suggests, the 8 million dollar home does not come cheap but when you’ve spent serious money on your gear it’s worth spending a little extra on a good quality bag to haul it around in.

Plus these bags are really comfortable to wear and if you’ve ever used a bag that’s not comfortable you’ll know what a pain it is – Frustrating and can sometimes put you off taking your camera with you.  Not Good!

Digital SLR Camera Bag

Digital SLR Camera bag

The same can also be said if your DSLR camera bag is difficult to access, to close or just doesn’t have enough room from everything.  These bags have heaps of space and lots of dividers inside so you can customize the interior to suit your needs.  The outside is made of a water resistant Nylon which will be great in the lovely Irish weather!

It looks like I will meet the hand luggage requirements on my flight after all as my new Crumpler digital SLR Camera bag even has room for a few diapers and a sippy cup!

Happy Snapping

sig

PS You can find the complete range of Crumpler Cags here.  They have every size, shape and almost every color!

Check out Digital Frame HQ

Digital Frame HQ

So you’ve figured out how to use your camera.  You know how to make your pictures pretty using Photoshop.  Now what do you do with all your photos? Share them of course!  And where best to share your pictures then in your living room using one of the latest Digital Frames?  I’ve recently discovered a wonderful resource for buying digital frames –  www.digitalframehq.com It really has a wonderful selection of frames at every price point from all the big manufacturers such as Sony, Kodak and Hewlett Packard.

The website is so easy to use  – you can choose your frame based on size, brand or price.  You can check out a really great image of the product your interested in too.

And one of my favorite things about Digital Frame HQ is their Learning Center which is a section of their website devoted to explaining all about their products and how best to use them.  You can find out how to get your images onto your frame,  wireless frames and how to set up your frame.  Pretty cool stuff!

So don’t forget to check Digital Frame HQ here and do your pictures justice and frame those bad boys in a digital frame!

Happy snapping

sig

Canon Powershot S90 Review

One of the coolest things about my job teaching people how to use their cameras, is  that I get to play around with all the latest camera gadgets and gear.   This week I had the pleasure of meeting a new student and she wanted to learn how to use her Canon Powershot S90.  I was so impressed with the camera that I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you guys.

Canon Powershot S90

Canon Powershot S90

Firstly, if you are looking for a camera that’s advanced enough to allow you to shoot in RAW, control your Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, shoot in low light conditions but without the bulk of of a DSLR then the Canon Powershot S90 is the camera for you.

It has a super bright f2.0 lens and a high ISO rating of 3200 which essentially means you can shoot in really low light conditions without having to turn on that nasty flash or worry about motion blur and camera shake.  With such a wide aperture lens you’ll also benefit from a nice shallow depth of field (otherwise known as a blurry background!) in your pictures which is great for stunning portrait shots.

The Canon Powershot s90 is so small and compact it will easily fit into a purse, diaper bag or pocket.   I think that this is a great camera for women as it really does just fit nicely in my hand.  I found it really easy to access all the functions but I could see this as being a problem with bigger man hands though, as the controls are set quite closely together.

It also features a brand new design feature namely the Control Ring on the front of the camera that can be set to control ISO, Focus, exposure or White Balance.  This is something unique to this camera and kinda gives it an old school feel for me.  I like it!

Canon Powershot S90

Canon Powershot S90

One more thing that you can do with the Canon Powershot s90 and that is go diving with it. That’s right  –   the addition of an special underwater casing turns the Powershot S90 into one of the best waterproof digital cameras around allowing you to shoot fantastic shots as you scuba, snorkel or just when your messing about in boats. Because of that bright f2.0 lens it’s a fantastic underwater camera.  That’s one of the main reasons why my student bought it and I can’t wait to see her pictures from her diving trip.

S90 Underwater Casing

S90 Underwater Casing

Overall I was really impressed by the level of features and flexibility packed into the Powershot s90’s compact body.  I would definitely say that this camera is an excellent choice if you want to begin to move out of Auto Mode, without having to make the jump up to a DSLR.  Or if you already have a DSLR and you’re looking for a handy point and shoot camera, you’ll find that the Canon Powershot S90 will not disappoint on features or picture quality.  It’s no wonder that this is the compact camera of choice for many professionals out there.

If you’re on the look out for a new camera you can check out the Canon Powershot S90 here from my friends over at B and H Photo and get free shipping if you are here in the US.  I’m thinking this will be my next buy…


Happy snapping

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P.S. If you already own the Powershot S90 or end up buying it, please comment below and let me know what you think of it.