Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gigapixel Photography

Gigapixel technology has only existed within the last few years, but it is expanding exponentially. So, what is it? A gigapixel image consists of one billion pixels, which is 1000 times the size of a 1 megapixel image. Typically the size ratio for a 1 gigapixel image is 44,000 x 22,000 pixels in size. It is created digitally by stitching together hundreds, or in some cases thousands of single images taken in a specific sequence to create one huge mosaic that you can easily zoom into to see intricate details. Gigapan Systems created mechanized cradles made to fit compact cameras and DSLR's that allow you to easily create your own gigapixel images. Just mount your camera, input the top left corner and bottom right corner of the panoramic area that you are photographing, and the system starts taking photos in rows and columns to then be stitched together by their software.

An example of a record breaking gigapixel photographer is Jeffrey Martin from 360cities.net. In Manchester City at the FA Cup final, he wanted to be a part of history and create the first ever 360 degree panoramic photograph of the Wenbley Stadium. His tools were a Canon DSLR and a custom designed, programmable, robotic tripod head that allowed him to take a few hundred shots in a complete circle. The process of transferring and creating the final 10 gigapixel image took a computer packing 192 gigabytes of RAM and 24 CPU cores.

But why would the world need such high resolution photos? Art curators were some of the first to see the purpose of gigapixel technology in their field. The Google Art Project was launched in February of 2011 to showcase some of the most famous works of art in the world, in detail like no one has seen them before (except for in person of course). The site allows you to explore and study masterpieces such as Van Gogh's Starry Night, right down to the individual brush strokes.

This technology has also been used for advancements in many other fields such as medical, astrological, analytic purposes in surveillance, and also by visual effects artists. The military has even started to use gigapixel photos to pinpoint close-up and detailed GPS tags around the world. This is a rapidly growing trend that will eventually lead to future advancements in digital information storage upgrades. NASA, in conjunction with Gigapan Systems, is currently offering an uploading and storage service for these large photographs so that they can be viewed online and zoomed in to see all the tiny details. According to their studies, it has grown from around 1500 images in 2008 to 45,000 by 2010 which amounts to about 25 terapixels!

Ready to see some of these amazing shots?
Paris 26 Gigapixels
Yosemite 17 Gigapixels
Harlem 13 Gigapixels
Dresden 26 Gigapixels
Shanghai Skyline 272 Gigapixels (yes, 272!)


- Mollie Clark

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leica M 40mm F2.8 Elmarit-C Lens



Leica 40 F2.8 Elmarit-C (M mount)- Produced in 1973 with a very compact design for use with the Leica CL. Comes in a bayonet mount only, rangefinder manual focus. The production numbers on this lens were at approximately 400 and were never officially sold to the general public. Has a rarity classification of R9 (on a scale of 1-10, R9= "Almost Unique" with R10 being "The Impossible"). BGN grade, $1,950. Find it here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Selling Your Equipment to KEH

Why Sell Your Camera Equipment to KEH?

1.  It's simple- Get a quote, send it to us, and then we'll inspect it and offer you a final amount. If you accept, we'll send you a check. If not, we'll send it back to you.

2.  Saves you time- Instead of worrying about trying to sell your equipment through a service like Craig's List, you won't have to set appointments with strangers in person only to have your transaction fall through.

3.  Trusted reputation- You are dealing with a company that has been buying and selling cameras since 1979 and has a solid reputation. You can trust that when you send your gear to us that your equipment is in good professional hands.

4.  Customer service- If you have any issues during the process, you have a staff of knowledgeable customer service representatives ready to help.


Ways to Sell to KEH

There are several ways to sell your item to KEH.
1.  By phone-  770-333-4220 or 1-800-342-5534
2.  Through email- purchasing@keh.com
3.  In person- You can find us at a variety of live buying events nationwide (see our road schedule here) or if you're local you can make an appointment and come by our location in Smyrna, GA (right outside of Atlanta).
4.  Online- using the Online Quote Wizard found at www.keh.com

(If you are not very familiar with photographic equipment, then we would recommend that you call or email our purchasing department so that we can walk through the quote process with you.)


Selling to KEH Online

For those of you who prefer to get a quote online, this is the article for you! We are going to break down each step of the process in the following article to make sure that your quote is as accurate as possible, and to make the process both understandable and simple.

(Note to iPad or smartphone users: At the end of the online quote process, you will need to print off the online quote form for inclusion in your shipment, so we recommend using a computer that has printing capabilities.)

1.  Be sure to have your equipment in front of you. 
* You will need to closely inspect your camera, lens and/or accessories to correctly match it up with our product descriptions, to inspect the item's condition for grading, and to input the items serial numbers. Going by memory alone can often lead to inaccurate item selection and/or inaccurate grading.

2.  Go to www.KEH.com

3.  Click on the “Sell Your Gear” tab near the top of the page.


4.  Select your item.

First, select your item's category from the drop-down menu.
If you are unsure what category your item falls under, please call us on our toll free number (1-800-342-5534) and we will be happy to assist you.
Next, select the Brand.
(This menu and those following will change according to your selection on the previous drop-down menu.)

Then, select the Class.

Camera Class:
“Camera Bodies” means you have a camera body without a lens. (In most cases, the lenses will be quoted separately).

"Camera Outfit" means you have both a camera body and a lens. (This option will be chosen most often with digital SLRs that originally came in "kits". An example of this is a Canon Rebel XT that comes with a 18-55mm lens.)

"Point and Shoots" are compact cameras without a detachable lens.

Lens Class:
If your item is a lens, you will need to choose between fixed focal length and zoom.

You also need to determine if your lens is a Non-Manufacturer lens (Non-Mfg). If your lens is the same brand as the camera brand it mounts to, then it would either be under "Fixed Focal" or "Zoom Lenses". For example, a Canon or Nikon lens falls under this category. If your lens is made from another company, but fits onto a Canon or Nikon body, then it would be a Non-Manufacturer lens. Examples of these brands are: Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar, and Quantary.

Finally, select the product.

(Note that if you do not see your item listed, KEH may not be looking to purchase it. The item may also be new enough that we have not had one in our inventory yet, so if you do not see your item listed, or are confused about which item to pick, please call or email our purchasing department. Do not select a similar item as this could lead to unnecessary shipping costs for you if we are not actually purchasing it.)

There are many similar descriptions in the product drop-down menu, so read through them carefully to be sure that you are selecting the correct one. A small mistake in selection could affect your online quote significantly.

Cameras- Black vs. Chrome
Many cameras come in either black or chrome as you will see in your drop-down menu. This can be confusing since some cameras can have a chrome body and a black leather grip. What the drop-down menu is asking is what color the body is.
 This camera is chrome

 This camera is black

Lenses- (selecting the correct one)
If your item is a lens, you will need to know the focal length, aperture, filter size, and whether it is an auto or manual focus lens in order to make the correct selection. 

For further assistance in understanding where to find your lens details (such as the focal length, aperture, filter size, and determining if it's a fixed or zoom, and auto-focus or manual focus lens), watch the video clip below.


(Note that the aperture is the number after the colon. So a lens that reads 1:2 is an F2 lens and not an F1.2 lens.)

The filter size is denoted by this symbol:

5. Choose the Grade

After selecting your product, click continue to go to the next screen where you can choose the condition or grade of your item. Judging the wear of your item may be difficult if you are unfamiliar with our grading system.

Here's an explanation of our grades:
LN-
"Like New Minus" Extremely slight wear only seen upon very close inspection. Box and accessories usually not included. Glass perfect.
EX+
"Excellent Plus" Exceptionally nice. May have slight wear on finish but visible only under close inspection. Glass very clean.
EX
"Excellent" Shows moderate wear. May have small dents and/or dings and slight finish wear. Glass may have slight marks and/or blemishes that will not affect picture quality.
BGN
"Bargain" Shows more than average wear. May have dents, dings and/or brassing and finish loss. Glass may have marks and/or blemishes that should not affect picture quality.
UG
"Ugly" Very rough looking. Multiple impressions in metal, excessive finish loss and brassing. Glass will have marks, fungus and/or haze which will affect picture quality.
AI
"As-Is" Usually to be used for parts only. All equipment sold in As-Is category carries no warranty nor return privileges. The equipment most likely doesn't work and may have missing pieces. Defects will include, but are not limited to the problems listed on the description.


All grades are based on cosmetic condition and mean that the item is in full working order (except for AI). Something to understand is that this is a grading system we have created. It may not match another company's grading system, such as Shutterbug, B&H, or others. Thus, it cannot be compared to the standards of other places. For example, a camera in excellent condition with us may mean something completely different than another company's excellent. This is why it is important to fully read our descriptions when purchasing or selling. It's also important to grade honestly. This ensures the most accurate quoted amount so that you can have an estimate that will more closely match the final amount offered. If your equipment is not in "mint condition", then we will not pay you for a mint condition piece- we thoroughly check each and every piece for working condition, needed repairs, and cosmetic grade as it applies to our grading system and standards.

Sometimes signs of wear are obvious, and sometimes it's much more subtle and requires a closer look. Watch the video clip below to see specific areas to look for more subtle wear that can factor into the grade.



6.  View Your Online Quote

After selecting the grade of your item, click continue to view your online quote which is generated based on your responses.

*Note that this quote will not necessarily be the final price offered for your item. If you accept the online quote, you will then need to send your item to KEH for an inspection by one of our technicians, after which you will receive your final quote. The findings of the inspection may increase or decrease your initial online quote.

If you have another item to add, click “Add Item” and repeat the process explained above.

Once you have all of your items added, you can click “Reject Quote,” “Save Quote,” or “Accept Quote.”

By clicking “Reject Quote,” you are letting us know before you leave the website that our offered price was not sufficient.

By clicking “Save Quote,” it will allow you, if you are registered on KEH.com, to save the quote for later evaluation. Note that you can only save one quote at a time.

Finally, you can click “Accept Quote” to proceed.


7.  Registration and Contact Information

This next screen gives you the choice of registering with KEH.com or skipping registration.

Registering will save your information to our system so that you do not have to enter it every time you wish to sell or buy with KEH.


8.  Additional Information on Items

After you have entered your contact information, you will come to the KEH Quote Form- Additional Information page. 

Here, you can add in the serial numbers of the items and any notes that you would like to share about the them. 

You again have the three options on this page: Reject Quote, Save Quote and Submit Quote. Hit Submit Quote to complete the process.


9.  Print and Sign Online Quote Page

After clicking Submit Quote, you will see the finalized online quote page. 

This is the web page that you need to print, sign, and include with your equipment. It is recommended that you print two copies, one to include with the equipment and one for your own records.


10.  Packing Tips, UPS Estimate, and Confirmation Email

Hit the Continue Button and you will be taken to one last page. 

This page will have links on it for Packing Tips, a link to the UPS Website so that you can get a shipping cost estimate, and the option to start a new quote, or return to our home page. This last step will finalize your transaction and you will be sent a confirmation email to the address you provided. The email will have packing tips, the list of the items you had quoted, the KEH mailing address, and payment information. This email can also be included with the equipment if the other print-out fails.  


11.  Packing and Shipping
   
Now you simply need to send your equipment to KEH. Be sure to read our Packing Tips section in the confirmation email and follow the directions. Camera equipment can be heavy and shift in route to us. No matter if you are a state away or across the country, poorly packaged equipment can cause damage.

Watch this video clip for the basics of how to correctly pack and ship your item:



Additional packing tips:
Before sending the equipment in, it's best to remove any stickers or grime from the equipment. If you are sending in a digital camera, don't forget to include the battery and charger!

Acceptable packing materials include: packing peanuts, bubble wrap, Ziplock baggies, and newspaper or packing paper. Unacceptable materials include clothing items and sticky bakers wrap or tape put directly on an item.


12.  Payment

Once KEH has received your equipment, it will be processed in a first come first serve order. This could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on our current volume. KEH has a staff of trained technicians to inspect your equipment. After the technicians evaluate the equipment and determine the condition of your items, a KEH buyer will contact you about your equipment and give you the final quote, explaining how KEH arrived at the quoted price. If you accept the final quote, payment arrangements will then be made at that time. Payment from KEH can be made by check, PayPal, or you can apply the amount towards a trade. (If we can not make you an offer on all or part of the equipment, KEH will return the equipment to you at our expense.)


We hope that this helps you successfully complete our online quote process, but if you still have any questions, please feel free to contact our purchasing department at 1-800-342-5534, or by email at purchasing@keh.com.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Final Reminder: KEH Call for Entries

This is your final reminder to submit your best photos to the KEH Photography Calendar Contest. We will be publishing chosen images in our first annual 2012 KEH Photography Calendar, as well as on the blog. Winning entrants will receive great worldwide promotion and a copy of the calendar. This is a great opportunity to get your images seen both by other photographers and industry leaders. We have three great judges on board ready to look at your work! Entries on due on this coming Monday, June 27. Get all of the entry details here.

Camera Brand Game: Missing Vowels

Here's another brain game for you... figure out the photographic brand names by filling in all of the missing vowels (A, E, I, O, U). Answers will be posted next Friday in the "Roundups" post.

1. NKNS
2. ZSS
3. CNN
4. TKN
5. GFA
6. TMRN
7. BRNC
8. SGM
9. MMY
10. RLL
11. KDK
12. KNC
12. LC
13. MNLT
14. PLRD
15. RGS


Have a great weekend!


Update: Answers can be found HERE.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview: KEH Camera Founder King Grant Jr.

We're starting a new series on the blog called “Questions for King” where you, our readers, can pose questions to King Grant Jr., the Founder and CEO of KEH. To kick it off, we sat down with King to ask him about the founding and growth of the company.

How did you first get involved with photography, and how did that lead to you starting KEH?

I started taking pictures on my own in the late 60s and early 70s as a hobby, mostly pictures of my kids growing up or photographs from family trips. I also had a dark room in my home where I would develop and print my own work.

Then, in the early 70s, I sold a consumer finance business and needed a hobby while I was looking for my next business opportunity, so I started collecting cameras. I had become interested in collecting because I had found that one of my first cameras, which was a Retina 3C, had become a collectible. That fascinated me and so I started going by camera stores to see what they had traded in, looking mainly for Leicas, early cameras, and other collectibles. I eventually had a whole room in my house filled up with cameras— I would offer to show them to guests when they came by, but strangely enough not many people were interested!

My hobby of collecting continued until one Sunday I went to church and the preacher said he was going to talk about idols. And I said to myself, “That sounds sort of dull.” However, the more he talked about what an idol was, the more it started sounding like my camera collection. He defined an idol as anything that comes between you and God, or you and your family. And I knew I had spent an inordinate amount of time looking for cameras, and that it had come between me and my family, so I decided based on that conviction to sell my cameras.

I placed a series of ads in Shutterbug Magazine and ended up selling the cameras to about 400 people. I  kept all of the names, addresses, and records of what people had bought because I thought that might be valuable information someday.

About four years later, after leaving another business, I once again needed something to do. So, I prayed and asked the Lord if I could just buy cameras and turn around and sell them. I felt like the answer was, “That’s fine, but just don’t keep any of them.” So I started the business and it grew and grew until one day I turned around and it looked like I was in the camera business!

How did you decide on the name “KEH”?

I was on vacation with my kids and I engaged them about what we should name the business. They had been sort of pooh-poohing the whole idea so I asked them what they thought about using the first letter of each of their names – King, Eleanor, and Hugh – thinking this would get them more excited. We first came up with HEK (“heck”) but that didn’t sound very good, so we ended up with KEH. They still didn’t care much for it, but that was how we got the name.

Tell me about the growth of the business. What did that look like?

The business started with me buying and selling cameras through Shutterbug ads, using a personal office I had had prior to the camera business. At that time, the business was being run under my personal name “King Grant,” but then after six months we switched over to the name KEH Camera Brokers, which was in 1979.

The next major step in the business’ history was acquiring a company called Atlanta Photo Supply, which gave us our first storefront location. We soon-after moved into a larger building that was about 12,000 square feet and was one of the largest stores in Atlanta at that time. The store was successful but because we were primarily a mail-order business, we would often have someone buying an item on the phone while someone else was trying to buy it at the counter. So given that situation and the increasing success we were having with mail-order, we decided to just be entirely mail-order. We haven’t had a storefront since then, although we do allow people who wish to sell to us, or people with items for repair, to come directly to our offices as a convenience to them.

The next major transition in the business was moving on to the Internet. We had our first website in 1996, which listed products for sale but still required you to order by phone. And then in December of 1999 we went live with a new website that allowed for direct purchasing through the web.

What have you enjoyed the most about starting and running KEH?

Well, I’ve enjoyed watching the company grow, I’ve enjoyed dealing with many customers for as long as 30 years, I’ve enjoyed watching those customers grow in their photography skills and success, and I’ve enjoyed being part of an industry that has such a strong creative dynamic to it. Most importantly though, I have enjoyed seeing our employees grow and prosper.

What’s been the most challenging part about starting and running KEH?

Maintaining an organized and controlled system in the midst of increased growth was definitely one of our biggest challenges. As many people in the camera business could probably attest to, when you start small and only have a handful of employees it is fairly simple. However, with more growth comes more complexity, more people, and more infrastructure, and this makes maintaining organization, efficiency, and profits more of a challenge. Becoming computerized helped, but the business is still many times more complex than someone looking in from the outside would think.

What kind of advice might you have for someone thinking of starting a company?

They ought to find something that they enjoy, try to become an expert in that particular field, and be determined to know more about it than anyone else. They should then try to break the components of their business down to their simplest parts so they can create an organized and automated system that will essentially run itself. Once they get their business organized around a concept that works for them, they should apply their resources toward growing it as fast as they can manage it, and as fast as their resources will allow.  Also, they should try and keep their valuable employees by seeing to it that they make good money.

Thanks for your time King.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nikon Coolpix 995

The Nikon Coolpix 995 is certainly not a new camera model, but maintains a place in digital camera history. It was released in 2001 and is a mere 3.34 megapixels. It was however, regarded as one of the the best digital cameras in its price range during the camera's manufacturing time frame. But what is so special about them now? The design of these cameras has made them a top choice for... coin photography! The swivel style body allows you to rotate the lens and LCD screen separate from each other, which provides comfortable viewing  in a range of shooting positions. The swivel design also allowed a larger lens to be fit into the camera with a wide telephoto range and notable macro capabilities. These cameras were also a top choice for attaching to microscopes and telescopes.

The 995 has all of the typical shooting modes including Auto, Manual, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority, and includes a pop-up flash. When these cameras were released, they ran around $600! Currently, you can pick one up for under $50. Find them in-stock at KEH.com.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Things Techs See

Oh, the life of being a camera technician. We have gotten all kinds of stuff that comes in with peoples equipment when they send it in for evaluation to be sold. Sometimes it's funny stuff, and sometimes it's down-right odd. Here's a few stories of things that the technicians here at KEH have seen come through...

* Memory cards often come in with "interesting" things on them... and lets just leave it at that.

* We've seen equipment sent in that instead of being properly packed in bubble wrap and packing peanuts, it was packaged in: t-shirts, hats, socks, diapers, and other personal clothing items. We've also seen other "inventive" packaging materials such as dead leaves being used.

* One time a guy thought it amusing to use "Danger: Molecular Biohazard" stickers on his wrapped camera equipment. Yeah, that's not so funny.

* Sometimes camera straps are sewn together- these are impossible to get off without ruining the straps, and they must be cut. It's a mix of kind of funny and irritating when it's a subtle sew and the tech goes through the process of undoing the strap just to find out that it won't come off due to a sneaky hidden stitch.

* Occasionally things get dangerous. We see broken glass often, usually it's just from broken filters, but it has been lens glass and ground glass before. It's both heartbreaking and scary for the tech who has to try and clean up tiny shards without getting cut. One of the most memorable scary incidents was probably the person that left a six hook fishing lure in amongst the styrofoam pellets. Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty situation for that technician.

* Over the years there's been quite a variety of very cool Swiss Army knives, usually found in the back pockets of camera bags.

* Someone once thought it would be a good idea to reuse a box that had previously contained kitty litter to send their equipment to us. You can imagine the grit that made it's way into each piece.

* We've seen horrifying packing jobs with tape.... tape stuck directly on to the front and rear lens elements when a cap wasn't available to "protect" the glass- this does the opposite of protect, it ruins it. Tape mummies- when people mummify their items in tape, often wrapping very tightly. This affords very little protection to the equipment, and makes unwrapping them a very painstaking process.

* A few years ago a customer sent in their digital equipment, along with a receipt from when they bought it, which was fairly early in the age of digital cameras, around 1998. A few of us were shocked to learn that they had paid in the neighborhood of $300 for a memory card...a 256mb memory card! We sure have come a long way.

* We have, on a few occasions, gotten cameras that have been "bedazzled".

* Oh, and lets not forget about the contraband that was left and found in a medium format back.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Basic Flash Guide

There are so many different ways to use a flash, so today we're showing visuals for the less experienced readers in this area. Using a flash does not need to be a daunting task. Just like riding a bike, practice makes perfect. The best thing to do if you are starting out with using flash, is to do a test shoot and try out the different positions below after reading about them. This way, you can put two and two together and take it from there.

There are many different types of flashes which range in function and price. Usually, the more complex or feature rich they are, the more expensive they become. You can however, get the same great results from older models which are more cost effective than newer ones. Other options include manual, auto, or TTL flashes.

First, lets familiarize ourselves with a few definitions...

On-camera flash: Your flash unit is attached to the camera. This may be a built-in flash, either exposed or a pop-up, or it may be an external flash unit that is attached to the camera's hot shoe.

Off-camera flash: The flash unit is not attached to the camera. It may be attached to an off-camera shoe cord, on a bracket, or on a stand controlled by a slave or transmitter/receiver unit.

External flash: a flash unit that is not built in to the camera and can be used as an off-camera flash, also sometimes referred to as a standalone flash.

Speedlight: Nikon's name for their external flash units.

Speedlite: Canon's name for their external flash units.

Strobe: The term is used interchangeably these days to refer to both off-camera flash photography (with an external flash unit or studio lights), and to the larger studio lights that flash (vs. a hot light or modeling light).

Strobist: A technique or person who uses small off-camera flash units (Speedlights/ Speedlites).

Fill flash: A flash that is used to fill in the shadows of a subject. Typically used outdoors to aid in the control of the background and foreground exposures.

Bounce flash: When the top part of an external flash unit is pointed away from the subject and aimed at a flat surface, usually a ceiling or wall. The flash "bounces" off of the surface and back onto the subject diffusing the light.


Why would you want to use an external flash? It eliminates read eye, allows control of the light direction and amount of light, increases flash range, can offer a more natural or more dramatic effect, and typically has a faster recycle time.

When looking at the examples below, an important thing to pay attention to is how the light and shadows look and change based on the different positions or adjustments.

Shot indoors in natural window light, no flash

Shot using the built-in on camera flash, or "pop-up" flash

Flash is on-camera and bounced off the ceiling

Flash is off-camera and direct

Flash is off-camera, on a stand with umbrella

Shot using 2 off-camera flash units, one at right, one at left. One is in an umbrella, and the other has a Gary Fong Diffuser attached.

Shot outdoors in natural light

Outdoors with pop-up flash

Shot with an external flash, off camera, and used as a fill flash

A few tips:
* Learn how to shoot in manual mode (Flash and camera).
* Bounce is better (Bounce flash off: Ceilings, walls or flat reflector. It not only reflects the light but also diffuses it by scattering over a wider area.)
* Larger the light source the softer the light will be (Light spreads out with a diffuser or soft-box etc) a cloudy day is natures ultimate soft-box.
* Shoot in the shade on sunny days. Sunny days cast harsh shadows and cause people to make funny faces (squint or close eyes in bright sun). The sides of buildings or trees make great shady areas. Or make your own shade by using a large piece of cardboard or poster board. Don't forget to use your flash as a fill-in to give your subject some pop.
* Practice lighting techniques with objects and people to see which you like better.
* Shadows Create Volume. Lighting from the side, above or below creates longer shadows, which in turn creates a sense of volume.
* Use a flash outdoors on harshly lit days. I know it sounds odd, to use a flash when it's bright and sunny out and there's plenty of light, but this will lighten shadows on your subjects face and while keeping the background at a correct exposure.
* All light has color, even if it looks “white”. This is referred to as color temperature. Our brain is very good at adjusting our perception so we do not notice the change. The camera sensor and/or film may record color casts where our eyes did not see any. For example, on a sunny day the shade of a tree will have a blue cast. Learn and practice setting your white balance manually in each situation.

Ready for something a little more advanced in off-camera lighting/strobist techniques? Here are a few articles to check out: Strobist part 1, Strobist part 2, Jumping Off For Dramatic Lighting. You can also see our other lighting articles here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Photos of the Month

This months theme is "things".

(Since we're consistently doing these posts once a month, it's only fitting to change the name of "photo of the week" to "photos of the month". All images were submitted to the KEH Flickr group pool.)

treasures
Treasures, by: Jordan Parks

Hooping
Hooping, by: Mike Gulley

Untitled, by: Rachel Carrier
Portland Horses
Portland Horses, by: Herb G.

Cabazon Dinosaurs
Cabazon Dinosaurs, by: markogonzalez

Lights
Lights, by: LostNClueless
Lights in a Row
Lights in a Row, by: John/ HamWithCam

the bikes at night
The bikes at night, by: Jessica/ Jealex3

Party Car
Party Car, by: Jussi Hellsten

The heat rising from my radiator would be trapped behind the drapes, and I would be cold.
The heat rising from my radiator would be trapped behind the drapes, and I would be cold, by: Nina Perlman








Next months theme is "people" (color photos only). Submit your photo here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pentax Firsts + Brief History of Auto-Focus

Some "first" facts about Pentax (founded in 1919)...


1. First Japanese Single Lens Reflex camera (camera: Asahiflex I, 1952)
2. First production camera with instant return mirror (camera: AsahiFlex IIB, 1954)
3. First TTL (through the lens) metering system (camera: P, 1964)
4. First 35mm SLR using aperture priority auto exposure (camera: ES, 1971)
5. First 35mm SLR using a pentaprism (camera: Asahi Pentax AP, 1957)
6. First 35mm SLR with a built-in flash
7. First auto-focus 35mm SLR camera (camera: ME-F, 1981)*
8. First lenses with multiple-layer coatings (Super Multi Coating; 7 layers)
9. First point and shoot camera with a zoom lens (camera: IQZoom 70, 1986)
10. First weather-resistant zoom point and shoot (camera: IQZoom 90WR, 1991)
11. First SLR to automatically select proper program (camera: ZX-10, 1996)
12. First medium format SLR with auto-focus (camera: 645N, 1997)


* You may have noticed #7 above. Well, there has been some confusion on the web recently about the start of auto-focus cameras. Some people think the first one was Minolta, while some think it was Canon. It actually depends on what type of auto-focus camera you are referring to. Originally, Leica patented the first auto-focus technologies, but didn't actually mass produce an AF camera until much, much later. The first mass-produced AF camera was a point and shoot, a Konica C35 AF, released in 1977. The first SLR AF was the Polaroid SX-70 OneStep. The first 35mm SLR was the Pentax ME-F (it used a motorized lens on a camera body that included focus sensors). Nikon then released their first AF camera (F3AF) a few years later. In 1985, Minolta released a new AF system, which was the first SLR to have integrated auto-focusing (the AF sensors and drive motor were housed in the camera body). Minolta's first AF camera was the Maxxum 7000. The same year, Canon also released their own AF system. This system housed the AF motor in the lenses instead of the body. The first AF camera for Canon was the T80 (this camera was only made for one year and the compatible lenses had it's own AC mount designation which is not compatible with the EOS system).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Online Photography Magazines

There are so many great resources for learning about photography on the web (and we often link to these in our weekly "links this week" posts), but what about resources for perusing other photographers work online and for submitting your own work to? Here's our list of top online photography magazines to do just that.


* Lens Culture
* 1000 Words Photography Magazine
* F-Stop Magazine
* Ahorn Magazine
* LPV Magazine
* 01 Magazine
* burn Magazine
* Deep Sleep
* Fraction Magazine
* Pictory
* SeeSaw Magazine
* Unless You Will
* Ilovethatphoto Photography Magazine
* Blur Magazine 
* Visura Magazine 
* Seven by Five


(note: this list does not include photography "blogs" or magazines that are both online and in print.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Understanding In-Camera Metering

One of the most challenging things to do in photography is to transition from being an amateur to an advanced amateur or a professional. Understanding in-camera metering helps to make this transition smoother. The following information will be given with a Digital SLR in mind for the user.

In today's digital landscape, the 3 most common types of in-camera metering the user can select is: Spot, Center-weighted, and Evaluative/ Multi-zone/Matrix metering. Each metering type is available so the user can select the most appropriate one depending on the location and lighting conditions. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each metering type will help the user to set up your shot correctly and get the best exposure.


Spot Metering
Spot metering only takes the subject of the scene into consideration, and usually no more than 5% of the scene. Typically, spot metering is selected when your meter can be fooled by a strong back light or a very dark background. This selection enables the camera to measure a very small area of the scene. The result many times can be over-exposure or under-exposure of everything except the subject. That is why Spot metering is not used as your primary metering but only for specific exposure situations as mentioned previously. One tool to help the user be more accurate with Spot metering is to use the AEL (auto exposure lock). Locking in your reading reduces the chance of a bad exposure if you need to recompose your shot.

Center-weighted average metering
Center-weighted metering concentrates on the central part of the scene (typically 60 to 80% of the viewfinder area). Your camera will evaluate the light levels of the entire frame but will place much more weight in the center of the image. The result is that the focal point is the more ideally exposed without dramatically over-exposing or under-exposing the edges of the frame.

Multi-zone metering
Another common name for this type if metering is Matrix metering. This type of metering measures the light intensity in several zones in the scene, then combines the results to find the setting for the best exposure. The type of factors taken into consideration in multi-zone metering are: autofocus points, distance to the subject, areas in or out of focus, colors in the scene, and backlighting. Typically the multi-zone system will expose most correctly in the area of the auto focus point. The concept behind multi-zone metering is to reduce the need for manual exposure compensation.


Reading the Meter Scale:
What a metering scale in a DSLR viewfinder may look like
You typically want your scale to read 0 for a correct exposure (there are some exceptions to this). If the metering marker is on the negative side of the scale, then you are underexposing your image which means there is not enough light. If your marker is on the positive side of the scale, then you are overexposing your image which means there is too much light.
Photos above: Left- an underexposed image which would read on the negative ( -) side of the scale. Center- exposed at 0 for a correct exposure. Right- an overexposed image which would read on the positive (+) side of the scale.

 
Exposure compensation
Some cameras include a manual exposure compensation feature to adjust for less-than-optimal exposure situations. Commonly, the adjustments are available in third or half stop increments. Usually the exposure can be adjusted up to 2 or 3 stops in either the positive or negative direction.


So why is metering correctly so important? The correct exposure is always the best whether you are shooting digital or film. By underexposing or overexposing you are loosing important information and details. You can also only adjust an image so much during the editing/printing stages. If a picture is seriously under or over exposed, no amount of manipulation can totally fix it. Plus, having a good exposure to start with will also save lots of time during editing!


Miss our article on hand-held light meters? Check it out here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two Special Hasselblad Lenses

These two Hasselblad lenses were made for NASA and the Apollo missions, and are extremely rare. A number of cameras of various types were carried on each Apollo mission to allow the crew to make scientific observations and to record the mission for posterity. Still and motion pictures were made of most space craft maneuvers and crew lunar surface activities. 

The command module Hasselblad electric camera was normally fitted with an 80mm f2.8 Zeiss Planar lens, but a bayonet-mount 250mm f5.6 lens was used for long-distance Earth/Moon photos. A 105mm f4.3 Zeiss UV Sonnar was also provided on these missions for an ultraviolet photography experiment.
250mm f5.6 C SuperAchromat Sonnar Lens-  The initial request for this lens came from the U.S. space program and has a different optical formula than the normal 250mm lens. This lens has one quartz flourite element and no T* multicoating. It is primarily used for photography of terrain and distant objects, and produces a 3X magnification over the standard 80mm lens. The relatively narrow view of this lens necessitates careful aiming of the camera to ensure that the desired scene is photographed. The lens focuses from 8.5 feet to infinity, with the focus ring moving past infinity to provide maximum flexibility in focusing and to compensate for changes in temperature. The lens also has a built-in shutter with speeds from 1 second to 1/500 second. This lens had low production numbers, estimated at less than 500. We have one with an exterior cosmetic grade of EX+ and a glass grade of BGN, in-stock, $3,799. Update: reduced to $3,650.

105mm f4.3 C UV Sonnar-  This is a very rare and special lens with quartz and fluorite elements used to transmit UV light to the film. Initially developed for the US Space Program, this was the most expensive Hasselblad item made at the time. The elements in the UV-Sonnar 105 are not made of glass because the ultraviolet radiation is limited in glass. Thus, the f4.3 was made of  i.a. quartz, which increased production costs. This lens focuses from 6 feet to infinity and has a Synchro-Compur shutter with speeds from 1 second to 1/500 second, with a wavelength range of 215-700 millimicrons. There were very few produced, an estimated 100 "C" lenses over the 15 year period. We have one with an exterior cosmetic grade of EX+ and a glass grade of BGN, in-stock, $7,699. Update: reduced to $7,499.


* Both lenses are available on KEH.com here


- Kim Anchors

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Repurposing Medium Format Film Spools

What do you do with all of those film spools once you've shot the film that comes on them (if you develop your own film that is)? My guess is, you probably throw them away. Well, if you're in the mind set of reusing/recycling/repurposing items, then today's post is for you. We have come up with a few ideas for things to make/do with them.

1. Make a faux flower...

Reminds me of Wisteria

The How-To


Supplies:
  • film spools (about 6)
  • Small flowerpot
  • Dry foam (for bottom of flower pot)
  • Artificial plant stem of your choice—try to make sure the leaves match well with the shape of the flower
  • Grapevine wire
  • Green covered florist wire
  • Ribbon of your choice-for color of flower
  • Moss
  • Hot glue gun/ glue sticks
Step One:
  Use the florist wire to wrap each film spool. Leave enough wire to be able to use it to attach it to the stem later. Don’t worry about how it looks, because you’re about to cover it with ribbon.

Step Two:
   Wrap each wired film spool with your ribbon. Make sure to glue at the start and the end of the ribbon; also, maybe a few spots of glue in between.

Step Three:
   Bend your stem so that it’s arched over at the top. Start attaching each spool at the top of the arch, going down, by wrapping the wire around the stem. Try not to use a lot of wire because it could build up and start looking a bit strange. Just cut off the leftover wire. Use the grapevine wire for extra support. You can wrap the entire stem with grapevine wire if you need to.

Step Four:
  Place foam in the bottom of your flowerpot. Insert your stem in the middle and make sure it is stable.

Step Five:
Cover your foam with moss by gluing it down with your hot glue gun. The moss will probably add some much needed support as well. You can use it to take up space left in between the pot and the foam. Build up a good bit right around the base of the stem too.



2. Make some desk-top holders (a picture frame, a pencil holder). These are easy and fun crafts to make with kids...

The How-To

Supplies (picture frame): 
  • Plain picture frame
  • Used film
  • Film spools (maybe two or three)
  • Hot glue gun/ glue sticks 
Step One:
Cover the entire frame with the film using the glue gun. Create folds using both sides of the film.

Step Two:
   Decide where you want to place the film spools. Glue film around spool and then glue to frame. Use a little extra film so you can create some folds from the film glued to the spool. 



Supplies (pencil holder):
  • Eighteen film spools
  • Used film (two rolls)
  • CD (you don’t need anymore)
  • Glue gun/glue sticks
Step One:
   Glue first set of nine film spools standing up in a circle on the CD. Leave a space in between each spool.

Step Two:
    Weave film in and out of the spools. Glue at the start and finish of the circle.

Step Three:
     Glue next set of nine spools standing up directly on top of the first set.

Step Four:
    Repeat step two.


3. Other ideas for things to make:
  • A Necklace
  • A Keychain
  • Place card holders

4. Create a stacking game out of them 

Do you have any other ideas? Share by leaving a comment.


- Melanie Payne

Monday, June 6, 2011

Photo Contest Judges Announced & Updates!

We are very excited to announce our judges for the KEH Photography Calendar Contest! We have three great ones, all which add their own areas of expertise to the mix.

Brett Abbott- Abbott is the new photography curator at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA). In this new position, Abbott is “responsible for the High’s growing collection of more than 4,000 prints, with notable examples of every photographic genre and process as well as many of the masters in the field". Before coming to the High, he served as associate curator in the department of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In addition to Abbott's knowledge of the history of photography, he has also earned two Lucie Awards. The most recent was acquired in 2010 for Curator/Exhibition of the Year for his organization of the exhibition and its related publication “Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties,” the Getty’s highest-attended photography exhibition to date. In 2007, Abbott also received the Lucie Award for Curator/Exhibition of the Year for “Edward Weston: Enduring Vision”. In addition to working at the High and the Getty Museum, he has also held roles at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Williams College Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

You can read more about Abbott here and here.

Will Crockett- In addition to being a commercial photographer, Crockett also plays multiple roles as an author, consultant, and photo educator. He is a leader in photography training content and educational resources, and is the driving force behind ShootSmarter.com, Fridayphotoschool.com, video4photo.com, and also develops photo training content for the US Military via the Pentagon. With more than 29 years in the industry, some of Crockett's commercial clients include Boeing, Cadbury, Hewlett-Packard, United Airlines, and TIME Magazine.

Check out Will's website here.

Gary Bogdon- Bogdon is a top sports, travel, and advertising photographer. He has numerous books and awards under his belt including awards from World Press Photo, ADDY Awards, Society of Newspaper Design, National Headliner Award, and The National Press Photographers Association. Bogdon's work was also recently included in the Sports Illustrated Photos of the Year. Some of his clients include A&E (for Ice Road Truckers), Disney, Nike, Rolex, Adidas, Marriott, and Tommy Hilfiger. In addition to his advertising photography, Bogdon also regularly shoots on assignment for Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Golf Digest, and Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine.

Check out Gary's website here.

For all of the information on the contest and how to enter, click here. Update: the deadline has been extended until Monday, June 27th. But don't waste time, submit your photos now and tell your friends to do so also. This is a great opportunity to get your images seen not only  throughout the photography industry, but throughout the world. It's free to enter, so be sure take advantage of this opportunity! 

KEH on Twitter and LinkedIn

That's right, we have joined Twitter! We will be posting a few times a day to keep you up to date on company information (including exclusive updates about the most coveted equipment when it's first available for sale), new blog posts, and important industry news. So go ahead and follow us today!



We have also created a company profile on LinkedIn. If you are a LinkedIn user, you can follow KEH on there as well!

KEH.com on LinkedIn

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photography as Public Art

There are many options as to how a photographer would exhibit his or her work, including the traditional approach, which for years has been to mat, frame and hang on a wall. This is probably the most familiar solution when one wants to display a photograph but there are many other exciting and innovative ways photography is being viewed. Public Art is one of the alternative exhibition approaches a photographer can take. Public photography is all around us – for example, one simply needs to look at the numerous ads that occupy space on billboards. Photography as public art uses some of the same materials and techniques as billboard companies, as many times the final product has to (at least temporarily) be weatherproof. For years, public art was understood in the traditional sense to consist of metal and concrete sculptures, but advances in printing has now made it possible to mount photographs on almost anything.
"Art in Motion", temporary public art on Marta buses, Atlanta, GA. © Michael Reese.
Photographs can be etched onto glass, metal, or stone creating works of art that can last a lifetime. In the past, photographers were also limited to the size at which they could make a print, but this limitation is a thing of the past. Technologically, you can print as large as you desire and scale is an important aspect when using photography as public art. In the art world, photography as public art is a hot commodity as many new buildings, airports, transportation agencies and countless others are using this medium as a form of creative expression.
"Domestic Passports", Permanent Collection at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. © Michael Reese.
There are several approaches one can take in getting commissioned for photographic public art pieces. The first and most important is by contacting your local arts and culture bureau. Most mid-large size cities have them and this is where many organizations come looking for art and artists. A local (Atlanta, GA) example of these would be The Office Of Cultural Affairs and The Fulton County Arts Council. If you are interested in getting commissions through either of these, you must register and upload images to their databases. This is crucial because this literally puts your work on the radar for clients looking to hire you to do public art. It’s beneficial to have clear and concise artist statements that support your work, as the statements are many times posted alongside your work for the public to read. As a photographer, it would be a good idea to look at this as if you’re having a gallery show and provide the same documentation (resume, bio etc.) to the arts organizations. This all helps your chances in getting commissioned or winning grants to fund your work. Funding is especially important in this respect because creating photographs as public art can be quite costly.
"In Yo' Face", Temporary Public Installation, Castleberry Hill Arts District, Atlanta, GA. © Michael Reese and Fahamu Pecou.
Photographs created for public art are predominantly created through digital means these days, although some artists still use traditional darkroom techniques. When creating a piece, in particular one of extreme scale, it would be beneficial to have a solid understanding of an image editing program like Photoshop and its limitless possibilities. Once the work is created and ready to send to a printer it is best to have small scale test prints done to test for color, sharpness, contrast, etc. Basically, it’s the same rules that apply when doing traditional photography but the stakes are higher due to the printing costs. After proofing and final printing, comes the installation. The installation process is the last important step and will require a knowledge of the materials, or hiring someone who is familiar with them and how to properly install them. There are many benefits to creating a public art piece including that your work is more accessable to the public and typically has a larger viewing audience. Another great benefit is the possibility to get commissioned to do others!

Resources:
www.callforentry.org
Public Art by the Book, by Barbara Goldstein
The Artist's Guide to Public Art: How to Find and Win Commissions, by Lynn Basa

© Michael Reese 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Camera to Print Aspect Ratios

You probably have come across the issue of aspect ratios before, even if you were unfamiliar with the effect and what was happening. Aspect ratio is the relationship between the width and the height of an image. With having different sizes of digital cameras these days, it's much more common than it was with 35mm film to notice this problem. You will see cropping happening if you print your photos, whether at home or by a lab. What happens is that standard print sizes have stayed the same, but they don't always match the dimensions of your digital images. 

The most common ratios in digital cameras are 3:2, 4:3, and 5:4. There is however other ones such as 16:9 (modern HD TVs have this ratio), and 1:1 (square image). The first number represents the width of an image, and the second number (after the colon) represents the height. These numbers are not specific measurements, but the relationship between the two.

Some digital cameras, along with 35mm film, have an aspect ratio of  3:2 (also sometimes referred to 1:1.5 ). This proportion will make a 4x6 print without any cropping. This ratio is often referred to as the "golden rectangle" since most people prefer how this ratio frames their images. Other digital cameras may have a ratio of 5:4 which will produce an 8x10 image without cropping, but if printed at 4x6 or 5x7 will incur some cropped areas of the original image. The newer 4/3 cameras on the market (such as Olympus) produce a... 4:3 ratio! 

To figure out the ratios of print sizes, just flip the numbers so that the width is the first dimension, and then reduce the numbers down to their lowest value. So, 4x6= 3:2, 5x7= 7:5, 8x10= 5:4. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a 3:2 image for example, the larger the print, the more of the image you are loosing with the crop. A 3:2 image will produce a 4x6", 5x7.5", and a 8x12" image. So a 3:2 image printed at 4x6 will loose nothing. A 3:2 in a 5x7 will loose a small amount on the sides (a 1/2 inch). A 3:2 printed to an 8x10 will loose four times what you lost on the sides of the 5x7 print (2 inches).

Some of the Panasonic point and shoot digital cameras actually let you choose which ratio you want to shoot in (above). But this is not a standard choice for most cameras, whether is be a point and shoot or SLR.

So, what can you do to combat this ratio and cropping problem? There's a few solutions.
* You can loosely frame your images during the shooting process so that no matter what size you decide to print, you won't be loosing any important information in your crop.
* You can determine your favorite print size and purchase a camera that produces an image with that ratio, or vise versa, only print specific print sizes that match the ratio of your cameras image.

If you are printing your images yourself, then you have the ability to make the crop selection yourself. If you send your images out to be printed however, you should remember to crop to the print size you want before sending your images off to ensure that the crop goes where you want it to go. To make sure you have a proper ratio crop, you will need to have photo editing software that either allows you to input a crop ratio, or where you can turn on the rulers and a grid to follow while you digitally crop the image.




While you, the photographer, may now understand crop ratios, this is a much harder thing to explain to clients who want to order prints. Something I find genius is the way that myCapture shows the crop selection options during their print ordering process. myCapture is the service that many newspapers are using on their sites for readers to purchase photos that they have seen in the newspaper. As you can see above, they show which areas will be cropped out with which cropping selection. In addition, they offer a white border option so that the image isn't cropped at all... but with this you will see a white border if your 5x7 print is framed with a 5x7 frame. The times when you may want to choose a white border option is if you will be putting the photos in an album, a free floating type frame, or having a custom mat made for your image and frame. In these cases, a standard print size isn't usually as necessary.