Top 5 reasons to consider buying a mirrorless camera

Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras have come a long way since they first hit the market. From lackluster electronic viewfinders to a limited variety of native lenses, there were plenty of reasons why it wasn’t thought to be viable for professional photographers to use on the job. However, the times have changed and the technology has changed along with it. Mirrorless cameras are increasingly becoming more relevant in the professional arena of photography with better sensors, higher resolution and improved autofocusing. Both Nikon and Canon, the biggest brands in the industry, have added mirrorless cameras to their product lines.

So what does this mean for the professional photographer? It means they have more options and more versatility in the tools they can use to get a great shot. Here are five main reasons why mirrorless cameras are now a viable option for professional photographers to use.
1.  It’s significantly lighter than the average DSLR camera. Traveling photographers will appreciate a slim, compact mirrorless camera body to carry around easily when on-the-go. Who wants to haul a 5 pound bag of gear worth thousands of dollars with them (on top of your usual luggage) through an international airport? Without the need to protect a mirror inside, mirrorless cameras are able to cut down on the bulk. “It's a versatile and capable option for those who want the flexibility of a DSLR system without the extra weight,” said Michael Reese, an Atlanta-based photographer, of the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera series. “Sometimes having less camera in the way leads me to capture a higher number of better images.”  However, if you appreciate the feel of a DSLR, there are also mirrorless cameras with DSLR-styled bodies like the Sony A7R.

2. The smaller size of a mirrorless camera maintains a lower profile for street photography. Just about all mirrorless camera brands have a small, vintage rangefinder-styled model. These are ideal for street photographers who want the feel of a rangefinder without the Leica digital rangefinder price. People are less likely to notice a photographer with a smaller camera versus the bulky DSLR that screams, “I’m a professional!” With the inconspicuous Fuji X-E1, a photographer can take high-resolution street photos at 16-megapixels without drawing too much attention to themselves.

3. Electronic viewfinders (EVF) show the image exactly the way it will be captured. No need to look back at the image in the screen after the shutter snaps like with other cameras. Mirrorless cameras show the exposure as it is being created. Like to shoot in black and white? See the black and white image live in camera and make the right adjustments before pressing the shutter button. It’s easy to see how the EVF feature of mirrorless cameras can save you time in post-production later.

4. Shoot Full HD quality video with fast and accurate autofocus tracking. Continuous focus tracking is good for taking photos of moving subjects, but essential for shooting video. Take advantage of the video capabilities of a mirrorless camera to shoot Full HD video clips at 60 frames per second with an Olympus OM-D E-M5. There is even an autofocus mode available in video mode that detects faces and prioritizes a specific eye to focus on.

5. You don’t have to give up your DSLR lenses. With the right lens adapter, continue using your current DSLR lenses ­­– with the added ability to use lenses from all the other brands that exist. Have some older vintage lenses in your collection? Those, too, can be used with mirrorless cameras when you find the right adapter. Finding adapters for your DSLR camera to work with other lenses can be difficult and costly. But with mirrorless, a larger variety of lenses are at your disposal. This is one of the biggest advantages of having a shorter distance between the sensor and the lens.

So not only can a mirrorless be useful to get shots one normally wouldn’t be able to with a DSLR camera, but it can also cut down the amount of work needed in post-production and save time. Photographers of all experience levels should consider adding a mirrorless camera to their collection of camera gear. We have a great selection of used mirrorless cameras for you to shop and if you have any questions, feel free to call us at 1-800-342-5534.

Top 10 tips for how to take care of your camera gear

Your camera is your partner in photography and you love it. How else will you take amazing photos of the view from your favorite hiking trail? That’s why it‘s important to take good care of your camera equipment at all times. We put together our top ten tips for making sure your camera stays in good shape.
Tip #1: Keep your camera clean. Dirt can cause serious damage to your gear. Be sure to clean your equipment thoroughly with a soft cloth after every shoot and avoid grimy surfaces.
Tip #2: When you are not taking photos, keep you camera in a bag or case. This protects it from getting wet, scratched, being knocked over or any number of potential accidents. Don’t have a bag yet? We have a wide selection of camera bags and cases.
Tip #3: Use your camera regularly. Just like it’s essential to drive a car regularly in order to keep it working well, it is crucial to use your camera gear regularly. Leaving your gear sitting for an extended period of time can lead to issues like dust build-up and mold growth in humid places. This shouldn’t be a challenge for the photography lovers out there – we know how hard it is to put your camera down.
Tip #4: Always use lens caps on the front and back of your lenses. It is easy to scratch your lens, therefore you should always have lens caps handy for when you’re not taking photos or changing lenses frequently.
Tip #5: Keep your camera safe with a strap and battery grip. Sometimes even that rubberized grip can slip right out of your hands. Use a camera strap to help catch your camera if you do drop it for any reason. Also, add a battery grip to help you keep a steady hold on your camera when shooting in portrait orientation. Not only will you gain an easily accessible shutter button, but also some added battery life.
Tip #6: Place silica gel packets in your camera bag when it’s humid. Humidity and camera gear don’t mix very well, especially in the heat. Silica gel packets will keep your gear dry in humid weather, preventing fungus and mold from growing.
Tip #7: Protect your lens with a UV filter. Placing a good UV filter on the front of your lens can protect the glass from potential scratches and shattering. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way in preventing large repair fees for fixing a broken lens.
Tip #8: Keep your camera out of the water. We know your camera is an extension of your hand and we totally understand the desire to take it everywhere with you. But don’t ruin it by getting it wet. Water damage is the worst kind and highly expensive to fix. Use specially designed waterproof cases if you really want to take portraits of dolphins or a rain cover for rainy days.
Tip #9: Insure your camera gear. We suggest adding your camera gear to your home owners’ or renters’ insurance policy. You invested a lot of time and money into that gear of yours. Protect your investment and be sure you can replace it if the worst happens.
Tip #10: Don’t attempt to clean your sensor. Not unless you are equipped with the right tools. Finding specks and dust in your photos is not fun. However, don’t rush to blow into your camera. Your breath may be fresh, but it can damage the coating on your sensor and your lenses for that matter too. Always use a sensor swab or static charged brush for dry cleaning your sensor.
Keep these ten most important tips in mind when handling your camera equipment and it will definitely last. But if something unfortunate does befall your precious gear, don’t be shy! Feel free to ask us questions anytime and we can also repair your gear. Have more crucial safety tips in mind? Share with us below in the comments.

Preserving Heritage Photographs & Going With A Pro

Quick Review

In previous posts we talked about the basics of storing old photographs and documents, preparing your workspace, why create digital images of old printed photos, and a few of the tools you will need.


If all of this sounds daunting to you, and you have the cash, consider delivering your heritage photos to a professional photograph conservator. Keep in mind that converting photographs to digital format takes time, and can be expensive. Be wary of quick-turn-around places. Suppose you have a few concerns about handing over your photographs to someone else. How do you know they know what they are doing and have the right equipment? How can you be sure your images will be carefully taken care of, and no damage will be done by neglect or accident?

Resolving Trust Issues

I recommend a couple different ways to find a trust-worthy company. The one you choose should have…

·       Proper training
·       Good equipment
·       Lots of experience
·       What their specialty is
·       Positive recommendations from customers
·       Instructions for how to properly ship and handle your items
·       Explanations of how they ensure quality work

Go to the American Institute for Conservation and click on the Find a Conservator link. You can also find a list of private companies that do archival work at the Regional Alliance for Preservation. You could also do an internet search using terms like…

·       Conservation
·       Digitization
·       Preservation
·       Family papers
·       Family photos

You Said Jazz Concert? I Thought You Said Jazz Dance!

Also keep in mind that equally trained and experienced professionals may disagree in their methods and their results for what is best. Different professionals may have very different results in image appearance. Some may alter/restore images a great deal so the digital image has modern coloring and every mark and flaw removed. Others keep discolorations and photo wear and tear as part of the photograph’s story. They may feel that removing the look of age from a photo is not wanted.

Before you embark on this journey of finding the right professional conservator for your projects, know what you are wanting for each image. Communicate every detail of what you want and take nothing for granted. This phrase has been heard at our house a time or two; “I can’t read your mind, honey. Use your words and be clear.” Wink. You will want to know and agree beforehand what procedure will be used, what the cost is and what the timeline to completion is. Make sure you see treatment report documents after completion.

Test Pilot

Not quite sure you have found the right professional to help you? Try them out by sending one object to work on. If you like their process and their result, then you can feel comfortable sending more work their way.

All this while keeping in mind our goals:

·       Goal I: Create beautiful original or restored digital images.
·       Goal II: Preserve original images and keepsakes in the best way possible.

Now you know some guidelines for hiring a professional conservator. Let's say, however, you’ve decided you want to do this yourself. The next post is for you.

Next Post: The Do-It-Yourself-ers

Previous Posts in Series:
Going Digital (link coming soon)

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out,, or look for her on

Lightroom & Book Making: Auto Layout

Series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Post 37

Making Your Picks

We are in the Book making section of Lightroom. 

Last post we talked about Book Settings. Here we are covering the Auto Layout section. 

In Preset, check out your options:

Left Blank, Right One Photo, Caption
Left Blank, Right One Photo
One Photo Per Page

Under Preset you see two buttons, Auto Layout and Clear Layout.

Once you have selected your preset choice, you can click the Auto Layout button, and Lightroom automatically fills the pages with the images from your collection, in the order you have them in the filmstrip. If you have done all the set-up work and your images are all in the order you want, then this can be the quickest book design work you have ever done. (Make sure you prepare and include the front and back covers as images, in first and last place, respectively.) 

Start over any time by clicking Clear Layout.

If you prefer to customize your pages a little more than that, then we are going to go back to Presets and select Edit Auto Layout Preset…

And the magic we can do customizing with our Auto Layout options will be explored in the next post.

Next Post: Lightroom & Book Making: Customizing Auto Layout Presets

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on

Going Digital With Old Photographs

Post 3

I heard you want to become a photo preservation expert, or maybe just preservation savvy. Great! This and future posts will show you a few things you will want to know.

The basic goals of preserving older photographs are:

·      Goal I: Create beautiful original or restored digital images.

·      Goal II: Preserve original images and keepsakes in the best way possible.

Why Go Digital?

Digital images are easy to share, move and store in multiple places. Images that are shared are enjoyed! Digital images can be saved on different computers, hard drives, clouds, and servers.

CDs and DVDs

You didn’t mention storage on CDs or DVDs, you may be thinking. You are right. As I write this post, CDs and DVDs are going the way of 8-tracks, laser discs, videos and VCRs. Computers are being made without the large disc drives. Why? CDs and DVDs are more and more limited in the amount of space they hold. They also get damaged and broken easily. Even if you are storing them properly, the discs are deteriorating and will eventually be unusable. The official term is "disc rot". I am personally working right now to move all my images saved on disc to various hard drives and cloud management systems. I recommend you do the same.

Digital Copies in Many Places

Whether you want privacy or sharing and enjoying with as many people as possible, digital images stored in many different places are less likely to be lost. Paper and other materials will eventually deteriorate, so creating a digital image provides a way for potentially greater longevity. It is an important part of the preservation of the photograph and of history. Keep digital copies of the same image in different places. That way you always have a back-up somewhere.

How To Go Digital

There are many different ways to get your photographs into digital format. How you do it will get you different results. Some methods are better than others for specific situations. If you have lots of loose photographs you want to make digital, investing in a quality scanner is a really good idea. If you have an image that is behind glass and you don’t want to or are unable to remove the image from the glass, taking a picture with your digital camera may be the best way to get what you need. (Side note* Be careful with the flash. More information on how to take these kinds of pictures in future posts.) If you have an image that needs delicate handling, taking a photograph of it may also be the best method to preserving the original image.

Photocopies Are Like Fingernails On A Chalkboard

The quality of the scanner is important. That is partly why making photocopies is not recommended for pictures. Photocopy scanners are not set up for fine detail. If you choose to make photocopies, you lose detail and resolution (clarity of the image). Not to mention you end up with another deteriorating paper, the printed photocopy is usually on low-quality high-acid-content paper and the ink colors don’t match the original image. If you have a photocopier handy, I DO recommend photocopying the backs of old pictures that have been written on. 

If you do have a scanner, scan the backs of the photographs after scanning the front. The handwriting and the information written on the backs of these pictures are just as important a part of the image preservation process.

Feeling overwhelmed and thinking you may not want to do this yourself? See the next post on what to look for in a professional conservator.

Next Post: Preserving Heritage Photographs &  Going With A Pro

Previous Posts in Series:

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out,, or look for her on