Prime Lens Portrait Shootout: 24mm vs 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm vs 135mm


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Photographer Julia Trotti made this 7-minute video that shows how your choice of focal length affects your results in portrait photography.

Trotti photographed the same model using her Canon 5D Mark III and every prime lens she owns: a Sigma 24mm f/1.4, Canon 35mm f/1.4, Canon 50mm f/1.2, Canon 85mm f/1.2, and Canon 135mm f/2. The photos were the enhanced with her $25 Aspen Lightroom Preset.

For her first test, Trotti used each lens while she and her model stayed in the same spots.

The second series was of full-body shots in

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NASA’s Starshade is a Flag for Blocking Starlight in Space Photo Shoots


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Photographers use tools called flags to block and control light. NASA has detailed a new technology called a starshade that’s essentially a gigantic flag in space for doing photo shoots with space telescopes.

“Although starshades have never flown in space, they hold the potential to enable groundbreaking observations of planets beyond our solar system, including pictures of planets as small as Earth,” NASA writes.

A starshade mission would involve two spacecraft working together with extreme precision. One would be a space telescope (the camera) that can hunt for and photograph planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. The

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Canon: Here’s Why RF Lenses Can Be Better Than EF Lenses


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Canon made this 4.5-minute video explaining the technology of its new RF lens mount for full-frame mirrorless cameras and its strengths over conventional (e.g. EF) lens mounts.

“[W]hat makes these lenses so outstanding?” Canon writes. “This video introduces the innovative features of RF lenses that open up new possibilities in photographic expression.”

Canon says that RF lenses are superior to conventional lenses when it comes to minimizing aberrations caused by refraction, especially at the outer edges of photos.

If the “back focus” distance between a lens’ rear element and the camera’s sensor is too far, the

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This is Why Macs Are Slower Than PCs


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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If you’re in the market for a desktop computer or laptop to do some serious photography work on, you might want to watch this 10-minute video first. Tech presenter Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips explains why the thermals of Apple’s Mac products generally make them perform slower than rival PC equivalents on the market.

In 2018, Apple’s new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro caused a stir when reviewers found that heat issues caused major slowdowns that brought performance down to the level of lower-tier models. Apple then responded by saying that the CPU throttling was being caused by a software bug

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Photographers Get Lowballed Because They Love Their Jobs: Study


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Photographers have been speaking out in recent years about getting asked to do work for little or no money. A new research study is now suggesting that photographers get lowballed because they love their jobs.

Professor Aaron Kay and Ph.D student Jay Kim at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business recently published a paper titled, “Understanding Contemporary Forms of Exploitation: Attributions of Passion Serve to Legitimize the Poor Treatment of Workers,” in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. What the researchers found was that people feel like it’s more acceptable to exploit workers who are passionate about what

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Less Than 1% of People Can Ace This Color Test


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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How do you think your perception of color stacks up against the general public? If you’re a photographer, have your eyes been trained to perceive color better than the average person? Here’s a short and sweet test that can help you find out.

The UK-based vision care company Lenstore has created an online test of 10 questions that challenges your ability to differentiate between shades of color. It’s a challenging test: of the thousands of people tested early on, less than 1% were able to achieve a perfect score of 10 out of 10. The average score was 6 out

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Why I Am Staying with APS-C


This post is by Bob Locher from PetaPixel


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After a many year hiatus, I returned to photography as an avocation. In years past, I had been a semi-pro, using primarily Leica gear and film, of course at full frame. In those days the only significant half frame camera was the Olympus, which in spite of the smaller but more useful format gave a good account of itself. It did not hurt that Olympus glass was at that time some of the best coming from Japan, especially for snappy contrast.

In any case, I got burned out. I was working in the photographic hardware manufacturing industry and got to

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This is What a Sunset Looks Like from Space


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst shot this photo from the International Space Station showing what a sunset on Earth looks like from high above in space.

The photo shows a long stretch of clouds bathed in red and orange sunlight as the shadow of nighttime follows close behind.

Gerst returned to Earth on December 20th, 2018, after spending 362 days in space, the most of any active ESA

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This Tree’s Leaves Look Like Bokeh


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Want to plant a tree fit for a photographer? Check out the Rising Sun Redbud. At certain times of the year, its leaves look like a bokeh explosion.

Sean Kintz was in the leafy Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta when he came across the tree above and was impressed by how the leaf pattern makes it look out of focus.

After consulting with a tree-savvy friend, he learned that it’s a Rising Sun Redbud, a specific variety of eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), the state tree of Oklahoma.

Photo by woodleywonderworks/Flickr and licensed under CC BY 2.0
Photo by woodleywonderworks/Flickr

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How Google’s Handheld Multi-Frame Super-Resolution Tech Works


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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Since there are physical limits to how large sensors can be in smartphones, companies like Google have been pushing heavily into computational photography, the use of digital rather than optical processes to improve the capabilities of a camera. Here’s a 3-minute video that explains how Google’s super-resolution technology works.

“Compared to DSLR cameras, smartphone cameras have smaller sensors, which limits their spatial resolution; smaller apertures, which limits their light gathering ability; and smaller pixels, which reduces their signal-to-noise ratio,” the Google researchers write in the paper behind the video. “The use of color filter arrays (CFAs) requires demosaicing, which further

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Here’s a SpaceX Starlink Satellite Train Caught on Camera in the Night Sky


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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If you were shooting astrophotography over the past couple of nights and noticed a strange line of bright dots traveling across the sky, you might have spotted SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. That’s what Marco Langbroek caught on camera yesterday in the video above.

SpaceX’s Starlink is a project to put a constellation of 12,000 satellites in three orbital shells around Earth by the mid-2020s. The low-cost, high-performance satellite bus would be used for a new space-based Internet system.

Yesterday SpaceX launched the first 60 operational satellites, and Langbroek caught the “train” of satellites passing over the city of Leiden in The

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How to Tell if Your Nikon Battery is Fake


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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B&H informed customers this week that it recently sold a batch of “subpar” Nikon batteries and is now sending out free replacements. Nikon is now confirmed that the “subpar” batteries were counterfeit and is advising photographers on how to check their own batteries.

“It has come to our attention that we unfortunately received a subpar batch of Nikon EN-EL15b rechargeable lithium-ion batteries,” B&H wrote in an email to affected customers. “Since it is impossible for us to ascertain which of our customers received from the affected batch, we will be replacing all of these batteries sent to our customers regardless

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Street Photography Compositions with the Ricoh GR III


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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At first glance, all we see is a dinky point-n-shoot camera; not much to it. It slips inside my front pocket, I mean, how powerful can it be? Well, photographers shouldn’t be fooled by its size and minimalism; like many of our subjects in the street. The Ricoh GR III is called a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for a reason.

Most serious street photographers have similar things in common. They search for lighting, colors, story, composition, they study the masters, they analyze their own photos and learn from them, and they practice even when they don’t feel like it (ok,

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How I Manage My Data as a Pro Photographer


This post is by Marsel van Oosten from PetaPixel


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When I first started in photography, there was no method to my data management madness. When shooting on location, I downloaded my cards onto my laptop and upon my return home I copied everything onto my computer. Every now and then I would make a backup on an external hard drive that I kept in my office.

Editor’s note: Marsel van Oosten is the reigning Wildlife Photographer of the Year and an ambassador for LaCie.

It obviously didn’t take long for my computer’s hard drive to fill up, so I moved everything to another external drive. The capacity of

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Street Photography Through Time: A Photo Per Year from 1838 to 2019


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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YouTuber Guy Jones created this 20-minute video that offers a brief history of street photography. It’s a slideshow of 182 photos — one photo for every year between 1838 and 2019.

The video starts in 1838 because that’s when photography pioneer Louis Daguerre shot his famous photo of Boulevard du Temple in Paris, which is considered to be the first photo ever to show a human being.

Set to music of each time period, the video shows how the world transformed horse-drawn carriages in black-and-white images in the 1800s to modern cars in color photos the 1900s.

(via Guy

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This Documentary Film Exposes How People Cheat at Instagram


This post is by Michael Zhang from PetaPixel


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#followme is a new documentary film about Instagram released on Instagram. The 49-minute film aims to expose the “lawless economics of Instagram,” diving into the “shocking” world beneath the surface of a photo-sharing social network that’s home to 1 billion active users.

Created by the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO, the free-to-watch film was launched this week on Instagram TV but can also be watched as a vertical YouTube video above.

Photographer Sara Melotti wrote about the sneaky world of gaming Instagram back in 2017, covering everything from buying phony activity to joining collective “pods” to gain reach, and Melotti appears

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Scientific Errors in Those Nat Geo Milky Way Photos


This post is by Adrien Mauduit from PetaPixel


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The night sky offers an unlimited source of markers (e.g. stars, constellations, Milky Way, etc.) that never lie about the time of year and location in the world you shot a night sky picture from. You don’t even need to be a professional astronomer or to double-check RAW files to prove it.

Tools like Stellarium or the StarWalk app can help you verify your point within seconds.

National Geographic is at the center of a manipulated photo controversy this week over an article featuring photos by photographer Beth Moon. Moon gave this statement in response:

I am late

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Rediscovering the Orotone


This post is by Peter O’Donnell from PetaPixel


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The modern orotone can be created in a number of ways, the most popular using a coating of liquid emulsion on a glass plate with a gelatine base. This method produces some excellent results with a minimum of effort.

Embush’s Gate. 4×5 glass plate orotone, Ilford FP4, 2 sec, f16. Peter O’Donnell, 2018

Rollei produces an excellent product and an equally comprehensive set of instructions.

Rollei Black Magic is a light-sensitive silver. It can be spread on the most surfaces.

I went about it a little differently…

When it comes to learning a new process, I can be a bit

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5 Modifiers for Photographers on the Move


This post is by Jake Hicks from PetaPixel


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A little while ago I was teaching one of my lighting workshops and one of the attendees was looking to implement some of the set-ups I was sharing into his workflow. Seems simple enough right? Well, it turns out this photographer was a Formula 1 trackside shooter that needed to get portraits of drivers and crew.

As you may well imagine, there is limited time to set up a photo shoot in a busy pit-lane on race-day, so he was after lighting modifiers that would be suitable for his slightly more ‘run-and-gun’ portraits.

When most of us are looking at

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Lens Filters and Landscape Photos


This post is by Ole Henrik Skjelstad from PetaPixel


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In this article, I’ll discuss how I use lens filters in my landscape photography. Chiefly I use filters when I want to smooth the water in a waterfall, shoot long exposures, or balance the light in a scene.

Full disclosure: I am an ambassador for several photography brands, including NiSi, whose filters are discussed in this article.

How water should look in an image is subject to endless discussions and depends on one’s personal preferences. I prefer smooth water…. or water with some textures which demands exposures at around 1/4s.

Water in motion creates wind, which means that foliage

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