The Trusty Spotmatic

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 30, 2012

The trusty Spotmatic, I still have it, still love it

Nowadays it’s all about the acronyms, many of which I confess I’m still puzzling through and learning about, but in the beginning – my beginning – there was only one: SLR. A friend loaned a camera, its name long forgotten, that introduced me to apertures and shutter speeds, and I got The Itch to own one myself. Soon afterwards the trusty Spotmatic came into my life, and I learned to love the little match-needle in the viewfinder, the silky focusing, the reassuring soft click of the aperture ring. Advancing film rubbed a little callus that formed on the inside of my right thumb, I tried to learn patience waiting for the lab to return my film and when patience grew short I taught myself to load Paterson reels and performed the darkroom rites myself.  

The Power of Adobe's Lightroom

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 29, 2012

If I had to pick out a single piece of photography equipment or software that has made the biggest positive impact on photographic workflow, it would be Adobe Lightroom. The ability to perform edits on raw files provides the power and flexibility necessary to fix the inevitable exposure problems associated with landscape photography, where the photographer cannot control the light of his subject. Lightroom, when combined with the superb dynamic range of a camera like the Pentax K-5, provides the tools necessary to rectify those situations when the camera sees the light quite differently from the naked eye. It allows the boring, flat image on the left to be transformed into the image on the right:

Click to enlarge

Insect Portraits w/ Sigma 28-80mm II Macro

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 28, 2012

What if I told you that you could take remarkable nature photos outside of the so-called “Golden Hours” that bracket sunrise and sunset?  That you could take great shots with pleasing color and manageable dynamic range, requiring very minimal post processing, and that these shots could be taken under the harsh midday sun?  And what if I told you that you didn’t need to travel to faraway lands or lug around a bag full of expensive equipment to grab great wildlife photos?  Best yet, I’d tell you that there’s a dramatic new world waiting to be captured in pictures - a world of life and death struggles, of predators and prey, of great beautiful creatures with delicate wings of gauze and fierce venomous monsters with many eyes, and this world is waiting for you right outside your backdoor.  

Pentax Sees the Real World

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 28, 2012

The old hymn says once I was blind and now I see, and with Pentax in your hand, you can see the world as never before. Whether shooting Senior Proms, bucking bulls at the rodeo, or a newborn's first night home, the discreet choice of sport for high speed, and soft flash allows you to be discreet, and assured of getting the shot right first time every time.

One-Point-Three Makes All the Difference

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 28, 2012

This post isn't sexy. It isn't overly informative. And it most certainly isn't technical. Probably the best that can be said about it is that it won't take too much of your precious time. So why bother?

What I hope is that in a simple yet significant way it helps a few like-minded photographers find what they're looking for from their gear bag: a bigger and better view of every... single... shot they take.

Let me start by saying that I am on – I'll resentfully acknowledge – a perpetual search. Unfortunately for me, I seek the resolution of a contradiction. An oxymoron. Technology did this to me, I say. But if I'm honest, it's probably a lack of simple contentment with what physics offers us. I want the biggest view in the smallest package. I want to look through my viewfinder and see IMAX. But in my hand, I want to carry a camera the size of a matchbox. James Bond has one of these, of course. But I, unfortunately, do not.

Having begun with a decent cropped sensor dslr, I ditched it as soon as I could for a full-frame unit with 24 whopping megapixels to play with. The view through the finder was stunning. Medium-format junkies, be damned. My 35 mill DSLR showed me the world on big-screen. Except... the other edge of the sword: I was carrying a bag of bricks around.

Ever unsatisfied, I looked to Pentax. In particular, it's limited prime pancakes promised to deliver my other desire: a small, well-made, fine functioning photography system. So I jumped ship. It was quite lovely and satisfying, offering a high-quality yet compact camera experience. Except... that viewfinder. It's great and all. But perhaps, couldn't it be a little larger? I didn't want full-frame for the lenses or depth of field or format of the images it took, apparently. I wanted full-frame  because of the huge view of my subjects in the little window I held my eye up to.

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