Filters 102

4/28/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Today's post is in continuation with our short series of filter posts.  If you missed Filters 101, click HERE. The filters we are referring to are the traditional filters that screw onto the front of a lens, drop-in, or slide in as gels (not the Photoshopped kind).
  • Haze Filters are more intense versions of UV filters. Like UV filters they cut down on the bluish haze accompanying high altitude, far distances, and over-water shots. They contribute a warming effect, and will sometimes create a yellow cast. Haze is created when light hits small particles in the air. Haze filters are able to cut down on the haze created when light reflects off of larger particles in air, such as droplets of water, dust, and pollution. Although the filter cannot remove these particles completely, it can dramatically decrease their effect in photographs.
  • Fog Filters serve the opposite purpose of Haze filters. When it is desired, these filters will increase the effects of fog or subtly create it where none is present. Fog filters can be used to soften a photograph or add more depth to a boring scene by adding another element to it. In scenes where some fog is already present, this filter will exaggerate, or “thicken”, its effect.
  • Close up filters are used to bring the minimum focusing distance of a lens much closer. These filters are a cheap alternative to macro lenses and offer unique qualities of their own. They come in varying intensities (usually from +1 through +10) and can be combined with one another to achieve desired results. Lower intensities are beneficial on flat objects, while more intense close up filters are better for 3 dimensional objects, as they maintain depth of field without sacrificing much sharpness.
  • Soft focus filters diffuse the light coming into the lens, affecting the overall contrast and sharpness, and subtly blending colors. Their effect appears as a soft glow emitting from bright spots, or as an out-of-focus-blending of less intense colors. Although cutting down on sharpness and contrast, they can help objects in a photograph flow together more easily.
Shot with no filter (above)
Shot with soft focus filter (below)
  • Enhancing filters work mostly in the red spectrum. Their use results in a greater saturation of some browns, oranges, and reds. This filter works by not allowing duller colors to pass through. This effect in itself will lead to a warmer photograph, but most filters also add a slight red tone. This makes the colors in the red spectrum jump out and has a warming effect on objects of other colors. Different versions of enhancing filters are made for enhancing specific colors, such as greenhancing, and bluehancing.
  • Cross screen filters are clear filters that have any given pattern of lines running across them. This effect causes light sources and bright reflections to radiate out along these lines. The most popular version of these is a starburst filter. These filters are commonly used at night, creating streaks of light to fill areas that would normally be dark. When used in daylight, the diffusion of light through these filters will sometimes soften the shot depending on the number and intensity of light sources.
  • Split field filters are a type of close up filter that allow the photographer to focus on an object within inches in the foreground, and keep sharp focus on objects in the background. These filters are essentially a close up filter cut in half. The main challenge of a split field filter is hiding the line created by the filters edge, which often shows up as a blur running across the photograph. Despite the challenges that come with using this filter, they can still be useful. Most SLR camera’s automatic settings don’t allow for the photographer to get the maximum depth of field out of their lens. With reliance on automatic features, a split field filter easily offers the desired effect without the frustration of trying to force your camera to do something that it wasn’t set up to do.
An example of the blurry line created by a split filed filter that should be avoided.

~Andy McCarrick

The EGG Lens

4/26/2010 2 Comments A+ a-

The EGG lens creates a 360 degree image in just one shot. The provided software turns that shot into a 360 deg. panoramic virtual tour with no stitching required. This lens is ideal for Real Estate photography to show virtual tours of homes and other spaces.

After figuring out how to properly use the lens, it was pretty simple. We had great plans of taking virtual tour shots of our entire building, which we did, but then in the software process of it realized that in order to see the actual virtual tours, we would either need to 1) upload not only the image but the program files to a website, or 2) email both the program file and image file. So, unfortunately the blog format prevents us from sharing the actual virtual tours with you, but we've posted some of the still 360 degree shots for your viewing enjoyment.

The KEH lobby.
The purchasing department.
Shelves of bins in the warehouse.
The breakroom.
Test shot.

Click HERE to see KEH Camera's selection of EGG lenses.

Photo Charities

4/23/2010 6 Comments A+ a-

We are a true believer in supporting charities, good causes, good people and the less fortunate. One of the most obvious and easiest ways to contribute is to give money. With the economy being the way that it is, that is quite difficult for most people to do. The next best thing is to give your time. This is something that most of us can do. We have found the following photography related charities, and hope that you will 1) take the time to read about them, 2) forward this on to your photographer friends and, 3) go sign up and get involved!

Flashes of Hope
"Flashes of Hope is a nonprofit organization that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research." Website:

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
"Introduces remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy."  Website:

Think Pink Photography
"Think Pink Photography is a charitable organization, comprised of a network of professional photographers, serving two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause. We celebrate life through complimentary portrait sessions for breast cancer patients, and we support the cause by partnering with the Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation." Website:

Operation: Love Reunited
"The Operation captures the moments of love between a US Military member and their family before or during a deployment, and at the reunion." Website:

Pictures of Hope Foundation
"The Pictures of Hope Foundation is a charitable organization comprised of professional photographers from all over the United States and Canada that provides complimentary, documentary-style photography services to families with a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)." Website:

Celebrating Adoption
"We are a group of photographers who want to share the joy of adoption by celebrating with newly adoptive parents." Website:

The American Child Photographers Charity Guild
"A non-profit, volunteer based organization of child photographers across the nation who have networked together to provide families of desperately ill children complimentary portrait sessions." Website:

In addition to presenting you with a little overview of the charities themselves, we asked a few photographers who are currently involved with one or more of the above charities to explain a little about why they volunteer their time and services.

"As photographers, we all know how hard it is to come by extra money. Making monetary donations is often difficult because our cost of doing business is tied to technology; every spare dollar we have goes to software, computers, or digital equipment enhancements. The reality: what we have the ability to offer goes well beyond the value of the money we have to spare. We have the ability to create images that capture the personality of a individual, capture a memory, or the images that convey a message -any of these can be used for the good of organizations that rely on donations. 
My studio supports Flashes of Hope, and we have been shooting for this organization for five years. We donate our time and skill to give families struggling through the torment of childhood cancer what is all too often the last portrait they have of their child and their family. We do it because it feels good to share our abilities. We do it because we should.

I always suggest to photographers that they should think about some charitable cause that may have meaning to them and their personal lives: starvation, breast cancer, mental illness, childhood diseases, or any other topic that holds a deeper meaning for them. Chances are there is an organization out there that relies on donations to research, support, or reach out for their cause. They should reach out to that organization and become useful. If nothing else, at the end of the day - no matter how good or bad business has been - it is a way they can truly feel good about their self and their business."

- Patrick Williams, PWP Studio:

" I eagerly await my opportunity to help someone with a gift that I have been given. I think it's important to not only embrace the gifts that you are given, but to give back with those same gifts. To give back to those who could really use a wonderful portrait of a chapter in their lives, to mark a break through, strength, love and all the other emotions that encompass that situation. To also give back to a community that will help build your company up and make it strong, I think it is the least we can do to say thank you to these wonderful and beautiful people.

One of the two photography charities that I have personally decided to devote my time to is Think Pink Photography, which offers photography sessions to those strong women who are going through and have overcome breast cancer, a cancer that has affected my family personally. I think that there would be nothing better then giving a woman who is struggling with this cancer a different viewpoint of her situation; a view that she is beautiful, strong and worth the fight. Every woman wants to feel and look beautiful no matter what, and I want to be able to capture that for these beautiful and strong women who are faced with breast cancer.

The second charity that I decided to work with is called Operation Love reunited, which is a charity for those soldiers out there that are fighting for our freedom everyday and their families. To take a portrait of a strong solider and his/her family that they are able to keep with them and take along with them where ever they may find themselves. To give them hope that they will once again be back home with their family, and to give the family the same strength and hope. These are the people who are fighting and giving their lives for our freedom, and this is my way of saying thank you."

- Jillian McGrath:

* UPDATE: There are more charities we have written about since this article and can all be found at Help Portrait and Hearts Apart.

When Camera Shopping

4/22/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

When shopping for a new camera, there's a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Your price range.

2. Desired quality.

3. Preferred brand.

4. Desired functions.

5. What you want to use the camera for.

6. Your photography level (or aspired level).

Knowing these things can help a sales associate assist you in figuring out which camera is the best fit, and if you're choosing one on your own, making a list of these will help keep you on track during your research process.

For any sales or product related inquiries, our Sales Department can be reached at (770) 333-4200.

The Crystal Hasselblad

4/21/2010 2 Comments A+ a-

Sometimes we get really awesome stuff in stock here. A lot of the boutique and novelty items get "lost" in our inventory since that stuff is usually not mentioned in our catalog.  It is always listed on the website, you just have to know where to look.

The Crystal 500CM is just a sculpture, doesn't shoot photos. Completely clear and true to size. A nice shelf piece for Hasselblad collectors.

Click HERE to see the Crystal Hasselblad on the KEH Camera website.

Showing Their Love Permanent Style

4/16/2010 7 Comments A+ a-

Whether you love them or hate them, you have to admit that putting a permanent reminder on your body of your profession or hobby shows some true love and devotion.  We recently went on a search for photography related tattoos and these kind people took a few minutes to tell us about them.

"I do my best not to over-analyze my tattoos, but I really got this one out of my love for the medium. As a full-time freelance photographer, I am constantly working in a digital atmosphere. I love digital, but there will always be something about working with film that's exciting to me. I have been familiar with Polaroid for years, but my first Polaroid Land Camera was gifted to me on my birthday two years ago. Since then, I've been hooked on Polaroids of all different formats, dying or not. I wanted to pay homage to my love of photography, my best friend, and what I consider to be a downright sweet camera body, all at the same time." Photographer: Jessie Barber. Tattoo artist: Scott Santee.

"I turned pro this year and wanted something to mark the event. Also, it was my dad's camera from the 1950's (a Kodak Retina IIc ) & I always remember him using it when I was a kid." Photographer: Jeff Oliver. Tattoo artist: Randy Muller.

"I wanted a pin-up tattoo and I decided that she should be a photographer to mark my own history with film cameras. Like so many photographers, I have mostly gone to a digital format and I felt like my training and skills as a film photographer deserved to be commemorated. The pin-up with a camera seemed like the perfect tattoo to honor my history with film." Photographer/web designer: Alianor Chapman. Tattoo Artist: Tim Orth.

"It is a traditional design of an old press camera (centered on chest), and it has wings coming off of it. Around it says f/8 Be There. Ask any photojournalist and they will be familiar with this famous saying. To me it helps me remember to keep it simple and focus on getting the picture. Don't worry about all your gear and all the technical things. Just be in the moment, in the story and making pictures." Photographer: Raymond McCrea Jones. Tattoo artist: Adam Barton.

"I'm a collector of Polaroid cameras and this is a Polaroid SuperColor OneStep Land Camera". On: Sarah Moran. Tattoo Artist: Dan Catron.

"The tattoo itself is actually a commitment ring. There are few things in life I think are worth committing to for the rest of one's life, but photography is one of those things for me. I got it during my second year at art school as a photography major, and after having been in love with photography for about five years. I had pretty much already decided that I was going to devote my professional life to photography. I wanted a constant reminder of my love and commitment for photography, as well as a way of displaying how photography is a major & permanent part of who I am." Photographer: Jesenia Quijada. Tattoo artist: Unknown.

"The tattoo is of my first real camera, an AE-1 Program, that my mom bought for me when I was a teenager (you will also notice the film is Fuji, which has been my preferred film since the beginning). I had cheapo plastic point and shoots but they couldn't take the shots I wanted. Then I got the AE-1 and within the first month I had taken over 1000 frames! I have no clue how many frames that little camera has shot, it made it through high school and is still working and carried in my car with me wherever I go. I will keep this camera for the rest of my life, one way or another." Photographer: Daniel Miller. Tattoo artist: Lovely Lo.

"Photography for me was one of those hobbies that just totally engulfed me at one point and still hasn't let go. Most of the time I'm pretty functional in social situations, but as soon as you mention Nikon or aperture, the red mist descends and my mind totally shifts to photography. In this sense the aperture blades of a lens' iris made sense as a tattoo. Its presence also serves to remind me why I love photography-- It's saved me from the pits of artistic stagnation more than once." Photographer: Dan Nitzh. Tattoo artist: Unknown.

Click HERE to view more camera tattoos on Flickr.

A Technician's Gear

4/15/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Some tools and things our technicians see and use daily:
Drawers full of items such as test film, sync cords, batteries, tape measures, files, memory cards, film spools, lens & back openers, mini screw drivers, test filters and more.
Markers, brushes, screwdrivers, a penny, tweezers, a loop, scissors and a lens cloth.
More tools.
Glass cleaner and denatured alcohol.
Air Hose.
ZTS Tester to test shutter speeds.
Bookcases full of parts.
Test chargers.
Reference materials (many bookcases and file cabinets full).
Carts of equipment.

If You Drop Your Camera Into Water

4/14/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

If you drop your camera into water, there's a few things you can do to improve your chances of camera survival.

Immediately turn the camera off. Then, take out/off accessories such as the battery, memory card and lens. Lay them out individually to dry. "Dump" any excess water out of the camera if it's full.

Air drying the camera is the best option, but if needed, you can use a hair dryer on a low setting for short amounts of time. The camera will take days to fully dry out on the inside. Do not turn the camera back on until you are positive that it is completely dry on the inside (any leftover water could fry the circuitry).

If you happened to drop the camera in salt water, then after removing the accessories, before drying, rinse the camera in distilled water to remove the salt. *This is if the camera was submerged, and not just if a little sea spray got on it.

Adding silica packs (or rice) nearby your camera, in your camera bag, or put together with the camera body and/or lens in a Ziploc bag will help to absorb any extra moisture.

Obviously, you want to try to never drop it in the first place, so solution: use a strap!

The New Lensbaby Line

4/13/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Lensbaby recently celebrated its 6th birthday and also released a totally revamped line of lenses and accessories in their new Optic Swap System. Here's a quick run-down of the new system.

The lenses come in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and 4/3 mount. The lenses can be used on SLR camera bodies, both film and digital. The three new lenses are: The Muse, The Control Freak, and The Composer. The Muse is a remake of the original Lensbaby, and is focused by bending and squeezing, and then holding into place. It is the most simple and economical of the lenses. The Control Freak is a remake of the 3G, and is focused by compressing and then locking posts into place. It is ideal for macro and tabletop photography. The Composer is all new and built on a ball and socket system for smoother focusing, which is done so by simply tilting the front half of the lens. Because of the ball and socket design, it requires no hand holding or locks to keep it in place. With the three new lenses and a bunch of other accessories, the line also introduced a new concept of varying optics, called the Optic Swap System. The system offers three types of plain optics including single, double, and plastic optics that can be interchanged between lenses. The swapping system also includes three special effect optics including soft focus, pinhole/zone plate, and the fisheye optic.

If you're unfamiliar with Lensbaby, the lenses are known for their "sweet spot of focus". They have a circular field of focus, instead of a planar filed like that of a tilt/shift lens.While similar effects are possible in Photoshop, one of the benefits of using these lenses is the benefit of time. Shooting with a Lensbaby gives you an instant result with no post editing required. These lenses seem to have a very niche group of followers. They are very “hands on”, both in focusing and in choosing your aperture. Aperture holes are pre-cut into small disks that must be inserted manually into the center of the lens. The different optics must also be hand swapped, through a slightly (and at first challenging) process of multiple steps. The new Lensbaby lenses are certainly more advanced and offer more options. They do take some getting used to, and you will probably either love them or hate them.

Click HERE for more information on the Lensbaby website.

The KEH Camera Building

4/12/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Another behind the scenes view of KEH Camera for our customers who have never seen our facility. In case you missed our first sneak peek, be sure to check it out HERE.

KEH Camera Front Door
Layout of KEH Camera Building

Vintage Camera Ads: Spring

4/09/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Spring is finally here!  Here's a few of our favorite vintage Spring themed camera advertisements.

Did You Know?

4/08/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

* Lensbaby recently celebrated 6 years.

* iStockphoto turned 10 yesterday.

* Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5) is launching April 12.

* The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) recently announced that digital magazine issues (that are paid for) will count towards circulation figures.

* Some movies and TV shows (24, Ghost Whisperer, SNL, etc.) are now using digital SLR cameras with movie functions (such as the new Canon EOS-1D Mark IV) to record instead of actual movie cameras? They are more portable, easy to move, requires less lighting on set, and have a larger sensor than video cameras do.

* Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 BETA is available to anyone, so download it and use it until it expires in June.

Hipstamatic iPhone App

4/06/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

The Hipstamatic iPhone app "brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras from the past". By swiping your finger, you can change the lens, flash, or film settings. We had planned on doing a fun post on it for you, but Photojojo beat us to the punch. There's 336 different combinations, and they went through every one.

Check out their Ultimate Hipstamatic Guide, and to learn more and download, visit the official Hipstamatic website.

Tips For Selling Us Your Gear

4/05/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Many of you may sell or trade your gear with us. If so, this post is for you. We've compiled a list of tips that will help to speed up the turnaround time, and to help you get the most money for your gear. On average, the turn around times from the day we receive your equipment, until we give you a purchase or trade amount can be anywhere between 3-5 business days. Times constantly fluctuate depending on multiple factors, but if everyone follows these basic steps, the time frame can easily be shortened.

1. Make sure to already have a quote done before you send the equipment in. This can be done online through our quote wizard, or over the phone or email by one of our purchasers.

2. Answer the quote questions honestly. This ensures the most accurate quoted amount so you can have an estimate that will more closely match the final amount offered. Don't think that by saying your equipment is in "mint condition" that we will pay you for a mint condition piece if it's not.  We thoroughly check each and every piece for working condition, needed repairs and cosmetic grade as it applies to our grading system and standards.

3. Before sending the equipment in remove any stickers from the equipment such as name tags. Clean any really dirty equipment off before sending. Take any straps off and place in the package separately. Remember to include the correct battery and charger for digital cameras, and have the batteries charged when sent in.

4. When packaging, make sure to include your quote paperwork complete with your information, the buyers name, the quote number (also needs to be on the outside of the box), and equipment info. Package your equipment properly and smartly. Don't put sticky products such as tape or sticky baking wrap on a piece of equipment, especially the glass of a lens! We recommend using Ziploc baggies and bubble wrap.

To sell your gear, please contact our Purchasing Department at (770) 333-4220 or (800) 342-5534.