Leica Special Editions

2/26/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

We are not currently carrying the Leica Special Edition models, but they can be viewed on Leica's website HERE.

Gary Fong Light Accessories Part II

2/25/2010 2 Comments A+ a-

The Gary Fong products work better than a naked bounce flash because they extend the bounced area, intensify the light, and even out the reflected light. Using one of these makes your subject pop while eliminating harsh shadows.

 Natural Light

Left: Direct Flash, Right: Regular Bounce Flash

Lightsphere II: Clear - Left: w/o Dome, Right: w/ Dome

Lightsphere II: Frosted -  Left: w/o Dome, Right: w/ Dome

Shot w/ the Whale Tail

Click HERE For more information on Gary Fong and the line of products.  Click HERE to shop KEH Camera's selection of Gary Fong products.

Gary Fong Light Accessories Part I

2/24/2010 4 Comments A+ a-

The Gary Fong Lightsphere has been a favorite accessory amongst wedding photographers and photojournalists since its inception in 2004. Gary Fong being a wedding photographer himself found an inventive and effective way to deal with the harsh and unflattering shadows created by on camera strobes, both pop-up and hot shoe.

There is now a plethora of Fong products to choose from based on your needs as a photographer, The Whale Tail, Lightsphere I, II (Clear or Frosted) and the Puffer to name a few. I’ve tested several Fong products in the field namely the Lightspheres and The Whale Tail.

The Whale Tail upon inspection looks like a basic light modifier but it is one of the more complex of all Fong products. Its super powers include high modulation, the ability to accept colored gels, compartmental bounce cards and a creative mounting system. The Whale Tail is seemingly the most versatile of the Fong products I’ve tested.

The Lightsphere products have inverted domes that snap into place, which creates the softening effect we photographers crave. The inverted dome can be shot on or off the Sphere. If you use the Sphere with the dome on it intensifies the light a bit more, dome off is going to give you a softer light as more light escapes the dome bouncing off the ceiling.
Product: Lightsphere II- Clear, with snap-on inverted dome.

The Fong Spheres were ideally designed for wedding and journalist photographers but they perform pretty well shooting basic table top also. I suggest you tap into your creative powers when using the Gary Fong products, which in my opinion are useful and must have tools in any gadget bag.

Table top example shots:
Left: direct flash, right: w/ Lightsphere II
Left: direct flash, right: w/ Lightsphere II

Tip: When shooting a wedding or event it would be a good idea to observe the ceiling color and distance. Ideally you want a white or close to white ceiling to bounce off of, a dark colored ceiling isn’t going to reflect much light if any. If you have the convenience to take a couple of sample images, do it. Play around with the positioning of your bounce flash to get the desired effect you want.
~ Michael Reese

IS and VR Lenses

2/23/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

First things first... what is IS & VR? IS is image stabilization in Canon lenses, and VR is vibration reduction in Nikon lenses. Some other brands also produce similar lenses, such as Sigma with OS, optical stabilizer. These functions help to reduce blur from camera shake. When using this function, you can acheive sharper images when hand holding your camera and shooting at slower speeds. Since it's not always possbile to use a tripod, this function comes in handy in many situations including lower light settings, such as shooting indoors, or when trying to capture something that is moving, such as sports or wildlife.
Why not always leave the IS/VR ON? Because it doesn't always work to your advantage. If you are shooting in one of the conditions mentioned above, keep it on. If your camera is on a tripod (especially with a higher speed or using a remote release), and there isn't any vibration to reduce, the lens will still continue to look for one. In this searching process the motor inside the lens is virbrating or jiggling. Because of this, you may end up with a shaky and unsharp result.

*Note that some of the newer lenses being produced, such as Canons third generation IS lenses do not need to be turned off when tripod mounted. They have made them to be able to detect if it is completely stationary, and the function will turn itself off.
Now, what about when the lens is not in use? There's two sides to the argument, just like most things. Some photographers recommend keeping it on, so that in a split moment you can grab the lens, not have to think about turning it on, and shoot. The other side to that is while it may take a fraction of a second longer to turn it on, and you'll need to remember to turn it on, you are better protecting the mechanics of the lens if the function is turned off when not in use. This is especially pertinent when on the move, becaue when on, the function is most vulnerable. If the lens is in your camera bag and is being jostled around, it is less likely to (simply put) brake, if the function is off.

Because a lens does not have a battery, it relies on the camera bodys battery. Having the IS and VR functions on will use slightly extra batter power. So, another reason to consider paying attention to when the function is on vs. off instead of constantly leaving it on.

G9 Franiec Lens Ring

2/18/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

If you happen to purchase one of the Franiec lens rings for the Canon G9, (shown here- it's all back vs. the Canon's stock ring which has a silver stripe around it), be aware that there's a slight trick to getting them on properly.
The ring must be mounted with the small bayonet flange facing up. Be gentle, and let it click into place. If it's forced on, the only way to remove it is to cut it off. This seems to be a common problem, as we've seen many of these that have been forced on.

Shooting TTV: When Old Meets New

2/17/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Shooting "Real" TTV: You may be wondering what to do with your old film cameras that may or may not be in working condition. An interesting way to combine old and new technology is to shoot through the viewfinder, or TTV. One of the most common cameras being used for this technique is the Kodak Duaflex, but any camera with a large waist level type viewfinder will do.
The Duaflex has a convex viewfinder which creates a nice edge effect.In addition to the Duaflex, you will need a digital SLR with a macro lens. A lens with an extension tube or a close up filter would also work. In order to keep most of the light out and avoid glare on the viewfinder, you will also need material to build a shade which you will shoot the viewfinder through. I used cardboard and duct tape that I spray painted black. To determine the height of the box, focus the SLR and lens you are using on the viewfinder so that it fills as much of the shot as possible and measure the distance between the SLR camera and the top of the Duaflex (or other viewfinder model).

My finished product looked like this:
The images have a vintage feel with the immediacy that comes with using digital technology. This technique is also nice for creating texture and a different look without using Photoshop.

Shooting "Fake" TTV: You can also create this effect in Photoshop if you take one shot TTV on a white background to use as a "filter", or download a pre-made TTV filter.Once you have the TTV image, pick any image you would like to transform. Open both images in Photoshop. Select "all" in your TTV image and copy your selection. Now click on your regular image and paste the TTV image into this image (I resized my image to more closely match the TTV image). You will not be able to see through the pasted TTV shot until you select the layer with the TTV image and switch the drop down menu from normal to multiply. Now you can choose to manipulate the opacity until the desired effect is produced. I also selected my background layer and adjusted the brightness a little higher since the TTV layer darkened the original layer.
Either way you do it, this process produces a fun effect that is rapidly growing in popularity!

~Christina Hodgen

Repurposing Old Lens Cases

2/16/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

A simple way to add some vintage style to your life with items you already have laying around or can find super cheap.
Use an old lens case as a plant or flower vase holder for the office or home.
Use them to organize office supplies.
Use one to leave a note or treat in for someone (a la message in a bottle or special delivery style).
Use an old filter case to hold your memory cards, or other small items. (Also a good case to put jewelry in when traveling).

The possibilities are endless!

Digital Pinhole

2/15/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

An experiment shooting digital pinhole:

Toy cats as the test subjects.

A homemade pinhole cap (with filter glued on the front so dust would not get inside the lens mount and reach the sensor).
Shot straight from the camera using pinhole cap.
Shot using pinhole cap and a fisheye adapter screwed into the filter (that's glued on the cap).

Instead of making the area of view wider with the fisheye adapter, it made it much smaller as if looking through a doors peep-hole.

The softness was an interesting outcome.  Aren't pinhole images supposed to have a huge depth of field where everything is in focus? Research indicates this is what happens when the element of digital is introduced to pinhole photography, and diffraction is the culprit.

For more on the diffraction/pinhole/digital issue, refer HERE and HERE.

An Inside Peek

2/11/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Since many of our customers have never seen our facility, here is a tiny peek inside KEH Camera:
KEH Camera Lobby
KEH Camera Warehouse

Digital Troubleshooting Sensors & CCDs

2/10/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

If you're having an issue with your (straight out of the camera) digital images, it may be one of the following things:
Dust on your sensor... If you see little specks on your images, probably in the same areas, it's most likely dust. This is very common, and pretty easy to fix. There's a few options to clean your sensor including: by the cameras "sensor clean" in the menu, by store bought kits, or by a professional repair shop. This will only occur on a digital SLR, happens often, and is mostly preventable. For tips to keep this mess out of your life, refer HERE and HERE.
This is an example image from a bad CCD. This can happen in both point & shoot digital cameras and digital SLRs. This is especially a common issue in many of the older p&s. This is an extreme case of bad CCD, but they sometimes go out gradually and you may have your actual taken image with some minor lines or discoloration through it. This is not an easy problem to fix, and is not an issue for home repair. If you have this problem, you will need to send that camera out to a repair shop, or in some cases may be under warranty through the distributor.

Camera Resource Books

2/08/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

We are constantly researching camera equipment that comes into KEH, and refer to certain sources on a regular basis. If you're interested in learning more about cameras, specifically pre-digital ones, we recommend these books:
McKeown's is a massive price guide to antique and classic cameras. It covers over 40,000 cameras with over 10,000 photos. It has an easy to follow layout and covers the make & model of a camera, the approximate years of production, a bit of important history on the item, and a price range for what the item is worth, depending on its condition.
Hansen's Complete Illustrated Guide To Cameras is fully illustrated & indexed and includes detailed descriptions with listings of different versions and variations. Both volumes also include yearly production charts of 35mm cameras from 1936-2002. These books are ideal for camera stores, schools, collectors, & the photo enthusiast.
Click HERE to shop KEH Camera's selection of reference books and magazines.

Keeping Things Clean

2/04/2010 3 Comments A+ a-

An important part of camera & lens maintenance is to keep them clean. Below are a few cleaning tool options including a fabric lens cloth, a disposable lens cloth, & a lens brush. The last two items you probably already have in your home  (an eraser and a Q-tip).
Sometimes the contacts on your camera and/or lens get dirty...you may not see anything, but it can cause connectivity problems so that your camera may not recognize your lens. An easy way to clear this up is to rub the contacts with an eraser. You can also do this on battery contacts, charger contacts, or anywhere else that you see those little metal spots. If you are rubbing contacts inside the lens mount of the camera, be very careful not to get any eraser crumbs inside the camera, they could get under the mirror and get stuck on your sensor which will cause spots on your images. You can also rub the contacts with a Q-tip that has some Windex on it.

For cameras or grips that use AA or AAA batteries, and has been stored for a length of time, it may have corroded batteries. In this case, an eraser or Windex may not do the trick. You can use regular white vinegar on a q-tip and rub it on the corroded areas.

To clean your lens glass, a lens cloth works fine for minor marks like a finger smudge. For more intense jobs, first blow the glass element off (with canned air or a bulb blower) so that there is no harsh particles like sand or dust on it- it could scratch the glass during the next step if it's not first removed. Then, take a Q-tip with some Windex on the tip and gently wipe the glass in a circular motion, and then dry it with the other dry end of the Q-tip.

Windex may also be used on the camera body & the outside of the lens itself if there are scuffs or dirt, but prevention is also key!

Smoking near your equipment and storing it in smoky places is also a big no-no. The smoke gets in to all the little nooks and crannies and can not be removed. In addition to a smell, and possible internal damage, smoke leaves a brown coating on equipment that is very hard to get off.

Protecting your equipment will help in keeping it working better and for longer, as well as to retain it's value come trade-in time!

If you have a dirty sensor, you can take either of these approaches: 1) send it to our Repair Center for a professional clean, or 2) purchase an at-home sensor cleaning kit available HERE. Our Repair Center also offers preventive maintenance on all 35mm, digital SLR cameras & camcorders. The preventive maintenance includes: cleaning inside & outside of the body, replacing light seals, checking all functions (including meter, lens, circuitry, etc.) make any minor calibrations, & we will also clean the sensor on digital cameras.