April 02, 2011

How to Protect Your DSLR Camera Lens From Dust, Mold and Scratches

If you're looking for ways to protect your expensive lens investment for your DSLR camera, then you're on the right place. In this article, I will explore some ways that you can protect your lens from dust, mold and scratches. The first way to protect your lens is to use the included lens hood that comes with your lens when you buy it. The second way is to use a filter that you can screw on the front of the lens. And the final way is just to simply following good procedure of keeping your lens clean after every use and moving it out of harmful environment. By the end of this article, you would have the ability to choose which way is the best way for you to protect your lens given your preference.

The first way that we'll look at is to use a lens hood. Not all lenses come with a lens hood. The cheapest lens usually don't come with one. However, if your lens comes with one, you can put it on whenever you are shooting with that lens to protect it from bump and scratches. The advantages of using your lens hood is that it is cheap (because most comes with the lens itself) and convenient. When you are done shooting, just put the lens hood in reverse position and you are good to go. The downside of using a lens hood is that it extends the lens dimension. This is definitely a downside when you are trying to shoot discreetly as people will immediately notice your camera by the size of your lens.

The second way is to use a screw in filter. This is usually the most preferred method of protection that is used by many photographers. A filter is convenient to use because it does not add dimension to the lens and it saves you from removing it every time after use. A filter will not become a problem when you are trying to shoot discreetly. There are some downside of using filters though. A good filter can be expensive to buy and it decreases image sharpness. If you try to buy a less expensive filter, then it will decrease image sharpness more. Make sure you spend enough money to get a good filter as because your image quality won't suffer as much.

The third and the best way is to follow a good lens cleaning practice. You need to be disciplined to do this. First, you'll need to clean the lens after every use. Use a soft tips lens cleaner or a micro fiber cloth to clean the front element of the lens. Do not forget to clean the lens connector (the part that connects your lens with your DSLR) as well. Doing this will ensure your lens to be in top tip condition every time. Another thing that you need to pay attention to is to keep your lens out of nature's harm. These are humid and sandy environment. If you have to bring your lens to such environment, make sure you bring enough protection to cover your lens. A weather resistant camera bag, or even a zipper plastic bag will do. This way your lens will be free of scratch, mold and dust.

In this article, you have learned three ways to protect your lens. First, we discussed protecting your lens using a lens hood. Second, we discussed using a lens filter and the importance of buying a good quality filter. And last, we discussed some best practices to follow when cleaning your lens and keeping it out of nature's harms. Now you should be able to pick any of the methods that suits your photography needs and protect your lens better.


A Picture On Your Page: Photographers Need To Put Their Portraits on Their Websites!

I was inspired yesterday by a fellow blogger/photographers post regarding going in front of the lens to have her own portrait done. So I thought I'd share a little pet peeve of mine that I talk about in my workshops for photographers.

Why don't photographers put a picture of themselves on their own website? Seriously!

We who are people photographers are dependent on people valuing... photography. We ask them to hire us and pay us money to take their pictures. We want them to buy prints from us to display in their homes, offices, purses and wallets. It is implied by the very nature of our jobs as photographers that we value the power of pictures. So what does it say to a potential client who goes to your website, looks on your about or bio page and finds no picture of the photographer?

What they find instead is a bunch a text about the photographer or the studio. They may even see a picture... of somebody the photographer has photographed. Cute as that person and their adorable little kid is, it's still not the photographer.

I don't get it. I really don't. Okay, I understand all of the "reasons" we can come up with to not get this done... "I don't have anybody to take MY picture", "I'm a photographer. I'm more comfortable behind the camera instead of in front of it", "I'm trying to lose weight first"... really?

So here's the three reasons I think it is really, really important for photographers to have their own picture on their website:

1. We believe in photography. We don't just love taking pictures, we understand why pictures are important for people in their lives. Because of that, we lead by example and show potential clients what we want them to do.

2. A picture is worth a thousand words... literally. You can have all the text in the world on your bio page but if you put your picture on there, you let potential clients get to know you. They are going to take that first step towards feeling like they know you. As portrait and wedding photographers, an important part of our success is building relationships with clients and potential clients. They need to trust us and they start that process with the information they get about us... and a picture tells them a whole bunch about who this person is on this anonymous website they've just navigated to.

3. We need to understand how our clients feel in front of the camera. We're no more perfect than they are in terms of how we feel about ourselves and they need to see us putting ourselves out there like we are asking them to do. That way, you can honestly say you know how they feel when it comes time to overcoming objections to why now isn't a good time to get their pictures done.

So there you have it! Photographers, go find a photographer friend to do your business portrait for you. If you don't have a photographer friend, go find one. Look up some photographers in your area and call or email them and propose a portrait session swap to do each others portraits. Don't wait until you're the perfect weight or feel great about your hair, skin, smile, nose, butt, thighs... whatever! It will never be the perfect time....

I take that back. NOW is the perfect time... go get it done and let your personality shine through!!


April 01, 2011

Canon EOS 60D 18.0 MP Digital SLR Camera Review

Canon has released several high quality DSLR camera bodies over the last 5 years including the EOS 30D, 40D, 50D, Rebel T2i and the EOS 7D. The key improvements have been related to the 1) the size of the sensor, 2) the frame rate during the shooting mode and 3) the number of frames which the processor can save in one burst.
Both the Rebel T2i and the EOS 7D have an 18MP sensor. The EOS 60D not only has an 18MP sensor, but it also has video capability.

So how does this latest model compare to previously released camera bodies?

1) 18.0 - megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor - those remote bird shots can now be cropped even more without losing image quality. This is a big advantage compared to the older Canon models 50D (15.1MP), 40D (10.1MP) or 30D (8.2MP).

2) Full 1080p HD video capture with NTSC or PAL frame rates of 24p, 25p or 30p (50p or 60p at 720p HD and SD). This is the first of the Canon top end DSLR's to feature video capturing capability. In combination with a good telephoto lens this can be a key advantage provided the equipment will be mounted on a solid tripod.

3) In camera RAW processing. This new feature is maybe nice to have but most professional photographers will continue to prefer to do the RAW image processing on the computer.

4) Price - 25% cheaper than the Canon EOS 50D.


1) Partial Weather Sealing - only the Canon 1-series bodies are weather sealed. The 60D has the same level of weather sealing as the 50D but slightly less than the 7D. Better not to get your 60D wet!

2) Slower Frame Rate - the processor can only shoot up to 5.3 fps, in bursts of up to 58 JPEGs - somewhat slower than the Canon 50D, which has 6.3 fps with bursts of up to 90 JPEG's, a definite disadvantage when shooting birds in flight.

3) The 60D does not have the magnesium alloy chassis and does not feel as solid as its predecessor the 50D. This for me is a definite downgrade in the quality of the camera, and I don't understand Canon's reason to sacrifice cost in this way.

The Canon EOS 60D 18.0 MP Digital SLR Camera offers some advantages over the Canon EOS 50D but also some disadvantages.
I guess it all depends whether you really want video capability in your DSLR. If not then it may be better to wait for the "70D".

Glass, Glass, and More Glass

If you're the proud owner of an amazing point and shoot style camera, this article might only be of informational value to you. But if you've got either a film or digital SLR camera you've already been confronted with the sometimes dizzying array of lens choices. Do you want ultra-wide angle, super fast action, or detailed macro prime glass? What does all of that even mean?

Well lens choices all come down to what you really want to take pictures of, because each lens has various features that are better for one type of photo or another. So what are the biggest features and things to look out for? Well, to answer that I'll try to organize everything by not feature, but by type of photography.


A good walk-around lens is something you will use the most, and want to have with you in almost all scenarios. It's the lens that you will want to take with you if you aren't really sure what you'll be shooting, and it should always have a nice wide end and a decent telephoto end. Some like 18mm-55mm, 24mm-70mm, even 28mm-105mm (If you noticed that these designations are very canon-esque, it's because I shoot with a Canon. But you can get ranges close to them no matter what brand you own).

Another thing to look for in an all-purpose lens is the maximum aperture of the lens, or the f-stop. For a good walk-around lens you can get away with maximum aperture of f/4, or even f/2.8 if you want something a little faster in low-light situations. But really, you probably want need something much faster than that for a general, walk-around type of lens.

Action and Sports

This type of photography is a combination of both great telephoto range, as well as a camera body with decent frames/second. You want to be able to capture the action and freeze it in the frame, but you also want to be able to reach up real close to the action and see it in life-size. So you'll be looking for the telephoto ranges like 100mm-300mm, or even the prime lens lengths like 300mm or 500mm. This will get you in real close on the action, and depending on the frames/second your body can shoot, will keep the action frozen in mid-stride.

Another big thing the sports photographers like is a low f-stop. With the longer lengths you're typically going to lose some stops, so you want to be able to have the lowest f-stop throughout the range of the lens. The higher priced lenses will allow you to shoot at the same f-stop throughout the range of the lens.


Macro lenses are all about close focusing capability, and large depth of field. Since you're working in such small, exaggerated proportions you need to be able to focus on things that are really close to the front of the lens. Most lenses have minimum focusing distances, where you can't focus on something if it's closer than a foot or so. But the actual specialized "macro" lenses will allow much closer focal distances, as well as large f-stops which will maximize how much of the scene you can keep in focus, even with the exaggerated distances of up-close photography.

For lenses that are specifically designed for macro photography you always want to look for the designation "Macro" somewhere on the lens body itself. There are even special prime lenses designed primarily for macro photography, in various focal lengths like 60mm, 90mm, and 120mm. These lenses give superior sharpness due to their fixed or "prime" focal lengths.


A good portrait lens is typically defined by it's ability to produce a nice soft "bokeh", or a blurry background. This is achieved by the low f-stops of the lens, like f/1.2 or f/1.8. Though too small for many of the various uses, it can excel in the portrait realm because of the soft blurriness of the background that it can produce. Many of the most popular portrait lenses are also prime lenses, and especially popular is the 50mm and 85mm ranges. These produce very life-like images that approximate the focal length of the eye.

Though I haven't covered every type of photography out there, these are some of the features and things to be looking for when you want to shop around for a new lens. First and foremost, after setting yourself a budget, ask yourself what kind of photos are you wanting to take with the lens. That will narrow down your options and ultimately help you pick the best lens for the right type of photographs you want to take!

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