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My Switch to Medium Format

Adam Lerner September 27, 2012 Comments Off

With Nikon’s D800 at a whopping 36 megapixels, why on earth did I opt for a medium format digital camera? I’ve been a Nikon shooter for years and have a bunch of professional Nikon glass and speedlites so adding a D800 to the mix seems a no brainer – or is it? There are many reasons. Bigger chip, bigger sensor. More real estate and bigger pixels. Insanely shallow depth of field. Full 16-bit color depth. Insane dynamic range and detail. To name a few. Oh, and I’m not abandoning 35mm – I’m holding steady to my D3s for everything else I won’t shoot on the Hassy.

Read the full blog post about my switch to Hasselblad here.

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Screen Shot 2012 09 27 at Sep 27 2.37.47 PM 300x187 My Switch to Medium Format

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Canon T4i / 650D Review

Jared Polin July 17, 2012 Comments Off

The Canon T4i / 650D continues the line of fantastic, feature packed entry level cameras for beginners. When it comes to reviewing entry level cameras you have to look at them not as a pro but as a beginner. With that said this is a solid solid camera even though it is slightly more expensive than its Nikon counterpart.

I tested out this camera with the 18-55 Kit lens both for stills and video. You all know my feelings on kit lenses at this point but for those who don’t, I am not really a fan. I think they are a waste of money right off the bat and there are other better options out there. The thing is most new photographers do not know this so we can not hold it against them for purchasing the kit lenses. I started that way, I had kit lenses until I knew better.

7594441492 b63796a405 Canon T4i / 650D Review

Click Here to see all the full res sample images form this review.

The kit lens is fine, its nothing special, it will capture the moments well enough for the everyday shooter. Its fine for video though you will hear the autofocus motors moving if you choose to not shoot manual. What I will say is the sooner you graduate from kit lenses and understand how important better glass is the better off you will be.

The T4i handled very well, I loved the touch screen option for setting the camera, previewing images as well as zooming in on them. It was much more responsive then I had ever imagined and it left me wanting the same option on my Nikon D4.
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Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens Review

Jared Polin July 14, 2012 Comments Off

As you guys know I like my Nikon Glass but I have been very harsh on certain lenses. Well this lens will not be an exception to that rule. Nikon decided to update their 24-85mm lens with VR and not the best VR, just the basic VR.

This lens has KIT written all over it though. The reason I say that is I would not put this lens on any current full frame camera on the market. The reason being is this is not a pro lens and most people with FX bodies like D700, D800, D3, D3s, D3x and D4 are looking for pro quality.

Another reason I say its a kit lens is its the perfect range to sell with an affordably priced entry level FX DSLR that does not currently exist.

Sure this lens will take ok pictures if all you are looking for are snap shots. But like I said about this is not for a PRO or anyone who is getting paid for their photography. I know this sounds harsh but at $600 you are pretty much buying the original lens and paying another $300 for VR to be added.

As you can see from the sample images below there is a ton of vignetting around the edges. That is something that you do not get on the top of the line lenses. You will also notice that when shooting at 24 the lines are not straight and than at 85 they again are not straight and bow out the opposite direction.

I hear people say that they like smaller lenses like this because they are lighter and easier to walk around with. I think that is a joke and I don’t buy into that. I personally do not buy lenses based on how much weight they have. I buy them based on will they give me the best image possible. If your looking to travel light than don’t take your full frame camera.

In the end this is not a lens that I would purchase for an FX body and for that matter its to expensive for a DX body. But if you are interested in this lens or any other Nikon Lens you can check out AllensCamera.com or call 215.547.2841.

7566077920 2785ac4afa Nikon 24 85mm VR Lens Review

Click Here to see the FULL RES images.

Screen shot 2012 07 13 at 6.57.59 PM Nikon 24 85mm VR Lens Review

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Canon 40mm 2.8 Pancake Lens Review

Jared Polin July 8, 2012 Comments Off

There seems to be this trend to move towards thinner and smaller lenses known as Pancake lenses. Canon put out a 40mm 2.8 Prime lens that I picked up at AllensCamera to play with and review. I have been using this lens on the Canon T4i and have come to a simple conclusion.

This lens is a $200 no questions asked winner. The reason I say its no questions asked is the fact that its very inexpensive for what you get. The build quality is top of the line from the metal mount to the feel in your hands. With that said this is a very very small and light weight lens, thus the pancake design.

Canon tries to market this as a discreet lens for when you don’t want people to know your taking pictures. I think thats a marketing joke and not something I would ever promote a lens for.

7525190258 c844e0a34b Canon 40mm 2.8 Pancake Lens Review

Click Here to see the full set of images.

This lens is fast focusing, sharp all the way through and very very light. Sometimes you may think its to light and small. For example when you are shooting video its not out of the question that your finger finds its way into your frame while trying to focus the very very thin focusing ring.
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Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Tripod Review

Jared Polin June 10, 2012 Comments Off

When the Nivelo 245BK from Vanguard landed on my doorstep I was thinking what in the world would I do with such a small tripod? This is truly a very small and compact metal tripod that does not seem like it would server a huge purpose. I was actually wrong, there is a nice place in my bag or car for a tripod just like this.

Not only is it small and made out of metal it has some very interesting features to make setting it up and breaking it down easier. You have this four twist locking system for each leg that allows you to either extend each of the four sections or just one section at a time. This is a really nice feature that I would like to see added to some of the pro tripods.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a tripod that I would put my Nikon D4 on but this is perfect for smaller entry DSLR cameras as well as point and shoots. Just like there is not one bag to rule them all there is not one tripod to rule them all. Sometimes have a few different options will allow you to take the right tripod for you wherever you are going.

For example I recently went to Florida and wanted to travel light with a small tripod to use to hold the Nikon D3200 while it was filming. I used the Nivelo while I was near the pool with the D3200 and 24-70 2.8. I was not worried that it would one fall in the pool or two tip over. A quick tip for tripods is make sure that the lens lines up with one of the legs to that it does not tip over.

Who is this tripod for? If you do a lot of hiking, trekking or traveling where you can only take what you can pack, carry or attach to your bag than this could be a nice option for you. This is not an inexpensive tripod at $150, but it really does hold up its end of the deal by giving you the ability to still take a tripod into places where you may not have been able to before.

For more information on Vanguard Tripods please CLICK HERE. If you would like to pick up any product that Vanguard offers please check out AllensCamera.com .

Screen shot 2012 06 10 at 11.13.07 PM 300x224 Vanguard Nivelo 245BK Tripod Review

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Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod Review

Jared Polin May 24, 2012 Comments Off

I cam across the Vanguard Tripods when I was at CES this year in Las Vegas. I asked for a few tripods to test out and the Alta Pro 263 AT was one of them. This metal tripod is only $149.99 for the legs and a quality head will be anywhere from $60-$100.

With that said for $250 to get a solid well built quality tripod you can not go wrong. A lot of people cheap out on a tripod and spend $100-$150 for one of those plastic not very good tripods. This is a tripod you buy once and you should have it for 10+ years without issues.

I use this tripod with my Nikon D4 for both still images and video. I even travel with this tripod as its not terribly to heavy.

The bottom line it is built very well, easy to use and full of great features and functions. Be sure to check out AllensCamera.com to pick up this or other Vanguard Products.

Screen shot 2012 05 24 at 2.26.40 PM Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod Review

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Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AFS Review

Jared Polin May 23, 2012 Comments Off

Today I got my hands on the NEW Nikon 28mm 1.8G AFS Lens with Nano coating. This was a surprise announcement from Nikon a few months back and I have to say its a very interesting lens. This lens is designed for FX camera but being that it is an AFS it will work on ALL DX camera bodies. Though I will say I think it performs much better on the full frame sensor.

7259250682 84c33f5752 Nikon 28mm f/1.8G AFS Review

Click Here to see the full res images.

This lens feels very light but it still feels well built. You have one switch on the side that allows you to go from AF to M. There is a simple large focus ring and pretty much not much more on the lens. One very important feature of this lens is that it has Nano Coating. Nano coating is a special coating on the lens elements that pretty much negates all lens flair. You can honestly point it right at the sun or a bright light and never see any issues with flaring.

At $699.99 this is a pro lens geared toward that professional photographer who is looking for a light fast aperture lens in their bag. This honestly is not a portrait lens but it is great for photo journalistic work. If you are looking to crush the background of a photo, dial down to 1.8 fill the grame with your subject and boom, the background butters away.

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Nikon 28mm F1.8G Lens

Jared Polin April 19, 2012 Comments Off

New NIKKOR Lens is the Latest Addition to Popular Series of FX-format f/1.8 Prime Lenses

28 1p8 300x224 Nikon 28mm F1.8G Lens
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Nikon D3200 Preview

Jared Polin April 19, 2012 Comments Off

The Nikon D3200 on paper looks to be an AMAZING beginner camera with a ton of advanced features.

First lets start with the NEW 24.2 megapixel sensor. I am not a big fan of such a large sensor in a beginner camera. This is going to make the RAW files HUGE even though they are compressed and only 12 bit. The ISO range is 100-6400 expandable to 12,800 which again is insane.

The video features seem to be pretty extensive. It will shoot full hd 1080P at 24/30 FPS but you also have the ability to shoot at 60FPS at 720. You do have manual exposure controls during video recording. One item I over looked before I made the video is the fact that it does have a microphone input jack. That is an amazing feature to have if you are looking to do interviews or capture better audio than from the built in microphone. I look at this to be a substantial addition to an entry level camera.

Overal this is a very feature packet beginner camera. If you already own a D3100 do not upgrade to the D3200, it is not the best step forward for your photography. But if you are new to the DSLR game the D3200 would be a great place to start. Like I always say, good glass is important so adding on a Nikon 35 1.8 would be advised.

I may pick one of these cameras up to create a shooting guide for all the people who will be stepping into a DSLR for the first time. It is possible that this camera could serve as a third angle for when I am recording interviews or photo shoots.

Did you see the Spreecast about the Nikon D3200 and 28 1.8?

D3200 ambience 300x225 Nikon D3200 Preview
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Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX OS Review

Jared Polin April 16, 2012 Comments Off

Sigma recently announced their new 50-150 2.8 OS lens for both Nikon and Canon cropped sensor cameras. This is a very interesting range, it is similar to what you would find on a full frame camera if you were to use a 70-200 2.8.

CLICK HERE to download sample RAW FILES captured with the Sigma 50-150 2.8 OS (165 megs)

7086050485 fec0055cb4 z Sigma 50 150mm f/2.8 EX OS Review

Click Here to see the rest of the full res images.

On a Canon cropped sensor camera this lens would be a 80-240mm 2.8 and on the Nikon it would be a 75-225 2.8. What this means is you have an amazing range for everything from sports to portraits.

Here is a statement new photographers make to me all the time, “im going to go full frame soon” or “Im getting a full frame camera in a few years”. What they are trying to say is they think they should not pick up cropped sensor lenses. I think that is the wrong mentality. Yes you should be picking up lenses that will serve you well for a long time. But you should not pass up a great cropped sensor lens because one day you may end up with a full frame camera.
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