Category Archives: Photo Resources

Canon 5D Mark III partial teardown

Canon 5D Mark III partial teardown

After playing with the Canon 5D Mark III for the last few weeks, we’ve safely concluded that this is easily one of the best cameras to come out in years. Still, we’re always down to learn more. Our friends at are giving us our first look at the camera’s guts, revealing it’s intelligent compact construction, and the powerful Digic 5+ image processor.

Follow the link for their version of this.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

What is F-stop?

Dylan Bennett explains a lens’s aperture rating or f-stop. Even if you get this stuff or even if you don’t you’ll find something of interest in this video which is well made.

I don’t fully get the math but I know how to use lenses and I get that there’s math involved in talking about the relationship between focal length, iris size and the amount of light getting let in at various iris sizes. If you watch it until the end Dylan will share a nice trick for understanding how to calculate a range of f-stops from the numbers 1 and 1.4.

Here’s another take on it at wikipedia with enough information to make your eyes stop down to f/44.

Aperture also affects depth of field as Dylan says, check out this image that demonstrates it:

plane DOF 2

Note that the image on the left has the largest aperture (f/2.8) and the image on the right the smallest aperture (f/32). Note that more of the plane is blurred with the larger apertures and more of the plane is in focus with the smaller apertures. The images on the left have shallower depth of field, the images on the right have greater depth of field.

[via PetaPixel]

Canon PowerShot S100 firmware update

Canon has released a firmware update for its popular Canon PowerShot S100 compact camera.

As a Canon DSLR user I’m not unfamiliar with updating firmware and I went to their site (which has been and remains awful), chose my operating system from their pull down menu (Mac OS X v. 10.7) and downloaded both a folder full of PDF instructions in various languages and a zipped file that contained the firmware update.

I noticed that the zipped file was called which gave me pause but I’d chosen my OS from the pull down so I figured someone had forgotten to rename the file.

I went through the motions to install the update but could not get my camera to recognize it. I tried this four times with no luck. I emailed Canon telling them about this problem and got an email back telling me that the firmware update won’t be available for Mac OS until Mid-March.

Three things:

1. The site made no mention of this as it should have. It does now although still allows choosing Mac OS and downloading the file which is stupid.

2. How hard is it to release the firmware update for all OS’s on the same day?

3. More to the point, how hard is it to make an installer for the Mac? My word, Canon has been in business selling cameras to Mac users for many years, why are they so slow to realize that a significant number of people who bought the S100 are Mac users?

The fact that Canon is still treating the Mac as an afterthought gives me pause in buying more Canon camera equipment. I’ve made a serious commitment to Canon but Canon has not made a serious commitment to me.

The good news is that this firmware update isn’t all that important to me; if we are to believe their release notes it’s all about HD video, not about still photography. The S100 remains a great camera but Canon as a company has fallen short.

How to buy a camera

Everything you need to know about buying a camera

Vlad Savov has really done a great job of laying out the pieces of this puzzle you need to think about and in what order.

Ultimately, the number one lesson in photography is that there are always tradeoffs. If you want the best possible image quality, you’ll need specialized and bulky equipment. Should portability be your highest priority, you’ll simply have to accept that some photos and creative ideas will be beyond your reach.

In other words, there is no one camera that’s perfect. This is why I use three: iPhone 4S, Canon S100 (and S95) and Canon 5D (at some point upgraded to the next Canon 5X). Each has its place.


Framing Getty Abstraction prints

Richard at work framing Getty show

My friend Gary Sharp is visiting for Thanksgiving and he caught me doing some framing of prints for an upcoming show I’ve got.

For those who do their own framing, I found out the hard way that using acrylite (acrylic) for the glazing of large prints (23.5″ squares) can be problematic: the acrylic bowed just a bit and when I was working on the back of the frames I scratched numerous pieces as I moved the frames around on my work table. Given this I’ve decided to switch the glazing on these larger pieces to glass which I’m buying from a local frame shop to avoid the long distance shipping from the place I buy my frames from. Glass is certainly more fragile and a bit heavier but it makes for a sturdier package once it’s all together, one doesn’t have to give recipients special cleaning instructions, and the glare seems close to the same.

Gary caught me checking the surface of a newly glazed matted print before it gets put into its frame.

Can the iPhone 4S replace a “real” digital camera?

Can the iPhone 4S replace a “real” digital camera?

Great in-depth investigation.

As one with an iPhone 4S, a Canon PowerShot S100 and a Canon 5D and some nice lenses, I can attest that the iPhone 4S does not replace the other cameras fully but it does eat into the point and shoot space. and the fact that one can post to various social spaces directly from it makes it a heck of a lot of fun to use (as was the iPhone 4). The 4S camera is spectacular but the lack of image controls, a real viewfinder, interchangeable lenses and more make it inappropriate for high end photo work.

Still, when Gary, Anne and I go to New York this weekend I’ll be carrying the iPhone 4S and the Canon Powershot S100 but no 5D.

For my work at the Getty Center or my portfolio work for Joy Brown I’d never consider anything but the 5D.

[via Edward]

B&H Photo app

B&H Photo has a free iPhone app that’s quite good and if nothing else allows you to check out your wish list(s) while browsing around the store, instead of printing them out as I usually do.

Tip: consider making wish lists of things you buy often, like ink and paper for for your printer. That way you’re not searching all the time for things. I have four wishlists:

Stuff I want (camera gear)
Stuff I have (camera gear
Ink and Paper
Other stuff (other electronics)

I now have access to these lists on my iPhone. Useful and no doubt useful for B&H too.

B&H Photo app in iTunes

When is sharing a photograph stealing?

That famous space shuttle photo: When is sharing stealing?

Stefanie Gordon took a picture of the Space Shuttle taking off from a commercial airliner. No doubt some of you have seen the image. She tweeted it to friends with Twitter when she landed and didn’t think much more about it.

By the time she was out of the airport she was getting congratulatory messages about the image from people she’d never met. The image went viral in a matter of minutes and has been viewed over a million times.

The linked to piece above discusses the legal technicalities of taking pictures, sharing them and having them lifted by third parties you don’t know who see them on the web. Fascinating stuff and well thought out. Bottom line:

The mere act of taking a photograph means the photographer holds the copyright for that picture. Sharing it on a social media site does nothing to limit or reduce that fundamental right.

[via Coudal Partners]

Lens comparison test – full vs cropped frame

5Dmk2/7D lens comparison test from Mike Collins on Vimeo.

This is a short test with the tripod in the same spot switching between prime lenses to show how the crop affects the 7D. The subject, ace stand in Chris Clement, was roughly five feet from the camera. This isn’t meant to be an aesthetic test to show the difference in image quality between the two cameras. It’s a down and dirty field guide for myself and the other shooters we work with so we can quickly figure what lens we want to use on each camera.

We go from 20mm all the way to 100mm with a Lensbaby composer thrown in at the very end.

This is quite useful and for all who fog over when they hear someone attempt to explain what a smaller sensor does to the image a lens projects onto the back of the camera, this excellent video should help.

[via PetaPixel]

Vowl Meet Vowl, a very small app that displays random…


Vowl is a free Macintosh application from stevenf (Panic) that given a tag or list of tags will display a random flickr slideshow in a window on your computer. Simple, clean, well designed and fun.

If you click on an image you go directly to that image on flickr.

If this becomes popular it will hopefully push people on flickr to use tags more effectively. Most flickr users have little idea of the power of tags, both within the flickr universe and with apps like Vowl, outside it.