What to know about the latest digital sensors, ISO and image quality
by Mike Stensvold
Nikon shook up the D-SLR industry late in 2007 with the announcement that its new D3 model provided ISO settings as high as 25,600. Now, Nikon’s D700 and Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II also go up there, Canon’s EOS 50D has a top ISO setting of 12,800, and a dozen current D-SLRs have settings of at least 6400.
Casio’s Exilim EX-F1 and Exilim EX-FH20 break the speed barrier
by Adam Crawford
Capturing photos at five frames per second is pretty fast. Pro SLR models can do about twice that at the top end. Then Casio released the EX-F1, with burst speeds up to 60 fps, and followed up with the higher-resolution EX-FH20, with a burst rate of up to 40 fps, making even professional SLRs seem kind of slow. But there’s a lot more to these zoom-lens cameras than mere speed.
Optics are the best that they have ever been, and it’s all thanks to digital
by Dave Willis
From fixed-focal-length prime lenses to wide-angle to telephoto zooms, modern lenses use a complex combination of high-end glass, unique materials and chemical cocktails capable of producing optics with incredible power. Digital optical design has advanced so much that zooms now can extend up to an incredible 15x range, while wide-angles produce images with almost no distortion.
by Kim Castleberry
Let’s separate some fact from fiction when it comes to memory-card speed. High-speed memory cards save big digital images fast: True. The higher the speed rating, the faster your camera will write images to the card: Maybe. Using a memory card with a “write” speed rating faster than what your camera supports doesn’t increase how quickly your images are processed and stored. Not only does the card have a maximum speed rating, but so does your camera. When combined, it’s the slower of the two write speeds that determines your maximum throughput.
Protect your gear and carry it in comfort with the latest trends & technology in bag design
by Jon Sienkiewicz
Camera-bag makers never run out of new ideas, and that’s fortunate because the way we shoot—and the gear we carry—is changing in the digital age. Twenty-first-century travel restrictions, coupled with an increasing amount of gear (film photographers didn’t need laptops) have spurred a gradual evolution of the traditional camera pack. Popular trends currently lean toward comfortable but roomy backpacks and camera bags that don’t look like camera bags.
Master high dynamic range imaging to enhance tonal range or create hyperrealistic effects
by Jack Howard
High dynamic range (HDR) imaging is one of the most exciting and inspiring (and misunderstood and maligned) recent technological developments in digital photography. At its simplest, HDR is nothing more than a series of field and postproduction techniques to increase the overall range of luminance values captured and reproduced in a scene. HDR imaging techniques can eradicate clipping, minimize noise and pull up exceptional detail and color throughout an increased luminance range. Depending on your vision, the HDR process can produce subtle and photorealistic results or extreme surrealistic images that blur the line between “photo” and “graphic.”
by Michael Guncheon
In my last column, I tackled a question about shutter lag. The reader was frustrated with his camera and how the shutter-release button caused problems. “When I take pictures, it seems I have to press pretty far on the shutter button to get the camera to take a picture. Because of this, I have noticed that my having to press the shutter down so far seems to add movement to the picture and this shows up as blur.”
by Adam Crawford
Depending on how we want to use an image, we often need to create new copies at different resolutions. You might be making your image smaller for use on the web or increasing the resolution to make a larger print.
Tips for getting pro results from inkjet printers and papers
by Jon Canfield
Nothing gives a photograph more impact than a high-quality print. Printing today is easier than ever, with a number of options available for lab-quality prints on a wide variety of media types, but selecting the right printer, paper and ink type for your needs is more complicated. The good news is that it’s hard to go wrong with any of the major printers as long as you choose the one that’s most suited for your type of work.
Four specialty apps that will make your portraits impress
by Adam Crawford
Retouching a portrait usually takes several steps in Photoshop to make a well-exposed image effectively stand out. Pros use techniques like cloning, burning and dodging; various filters; and localized color enhancements with layer masks to get a stunning portrait. It’s a fine art that takes a lot of practice. Luckily for those who want great results without the learning curve, these applications will give your portraits a professional look quickly and easily. And when you need to do some elaborate masking, we’ve got a plug-in for that, too.
With HD video now available in D-SLRs, we take a look at the best affordable programs for producing video portfolios of images, movies and multimedia projects
by Dave Willis
Now that professional still cameras are evolving to provide high-quality, high-definition video capture, the line between photography and video is blurring even further. Movies are called motion pictures, after all, and thanks to the ease and popularity of posting video online with sites like YouTube, photographers now have an extra outlet for showcasing and sharing their images and portfolios. With that in mind, here’s a selection of easily approachable, cost-effective and yet very capable editing programs to get you started in the world of video.