Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: Digital single-lens reflex camera

Digital SLR cameras explained: 10 things every new photographer must know

On our Understanding Your DSLR Camera course we explain all of these things so it is good to find them in one place and available for all those poor people who don’t live in Oxford and so can’t attend our courses. This comes from Digital Camera World

Digital SLR cameras are the preferred tool of most professional photographers and they’re the first choice of camera for enthusiast photographers for decades, but what is a digital SLR, how do they work and why are they so popular? Our head of testing, Angela Nicholson explains all you need to know.

Digital_SLR_cameras_explained

Digital SLR cameras explained: 1. Why Single Lens Reflex?

The name single lens reflex camera seems rather odd today, but there was a time when twin lens reflex (TLR) cameras were very popular – there are still one or two models on sale today.

The two lenses of an TLR have the same focal length and their focusing mechanisms are linked, but they are used for two different tasks.

The ‘viewing lens’ is used for focusing while the photographer looks in the waist-level viewfinder, while the ‘taking lens’ sits in front of the film, ready for exposure in a separate chamber.

The word ‘reflex’ in the name stems from the fact that TLR and SLR cameras have a reflex mirror, essentially a mirror at 45 degrees, that reflects light from the lens into the viewfinder.

In a TLR the mirror is fixed and the scene is visible in the viewfinder throughout the exposure.

In a digital SLR camera, however, the mirror flips up during exposure to allow the light to reach the film or sensor, this blanks out the viewfinder for the duration of the exposure.

See the rest here

Advertisements

Architecture Photography: A Quick Guide to Shooting Building Exteriors

Following on from this post about The Taj Mahal this article is well presented with lots of ideas and techniques and considerations of what lenses you should use to achieve a special view.

Camera Sensor Cleaning Techniques

From those very clever people at Cambridge in Colour a useful tutorial on how to clean the sensor on your camera. You may be aware of spots appearing in areas of clear tone in your pictures, areas like blue sky, these are almost always caused by dust on the sensor. This in depth article explains how to resolve the issue and explains about use of brushes, blowers and other stuff.

“If you’re using an SLR camera, you’ll eventually encounter spots in your photos due to a dirty camera sensor. If it hasn’t happened yet, don’t worry — it will. When it does, you’ll need to know if what you’re seeing is indeed from sensor dust, or is instead the result of a dirty viewfinder, mirror or lens. Most importantly though, you’ll need to know how to clean the sensor, and how to minimize the risk of this happening again.”



Nikon D3300 vs D5300: which DSLR should you choose?

Nikon_D3300_vs_D5300

Buying an entry-level DSLR from Nikon is not as straightforward as it sounds. Should aspiring enthusiast photographers stepping up from a compact go for the most basic DSLR in the range (the Nikon D3300) or pay a bit more for a camera with a few more features, namely the Nikon D5300? If you’re agonising over this choice, read on for enlightenment…

The Nikon D3300, announced at the CES show in January 2014, boasts a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter to enable more detailed, sharper shots (more on this later).

Another key improvement from the D3200 is an expanded ISO range (up to 25,600) and faster continuous shooting of up to 5 frames per second.

Meanwhile the Nikon D5300, announced last October, also has a 24.2Mp sensor without an optical low-pass filter, expanded ISO range of 25,600, 5fps continuous shooting mode and so on… see the problem?

The main areas where it trumps the Nikon D3300 are more AF options, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and a flip-out, ‘vari-angle’ screen. Oh and the rear LCD has a few more pixels…

That said, there is obviously the crucial difference of price. The Nikon D3300 price tag for the body plus a compact 18-55mm VR lens stands at around £500 ($645), while the Nikon D5300 with the same lens will set you back about £150 more.

So the fundamental question we need to answer is whether the differences between the Nikon D330 vs D5300 that really justify the D5300′s extra spend…

Want to know more read here

Photography Courses for 2014

We have our new schedule for the coming year, we are currently writing a couple of new courses, one on art photography, but these will not be ready for the new term. We have all the usual favourites from Understanding Your Digital SLR Camera, Composition In Photography, Portraiture, Flash, Lightroom, Photoshop,

you can see the full list here

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Evening Class £85 Start Dates: 21.01.2014; 05.03.2014

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Saturday Morning Class £85 Start Date: 9.11.2013; 08.03.2014

1 Day Understanding Your DSLR Camera £95 Dates, 27.10.2013; 26.01.2014; 23.02.2014; 30.03.2014; 27.04.2014

Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera £85 Start Date: 5.03.2014

Intermediate Photography £97 Start Date: 24.02.2014

Flash Photography £85 Start date 29.01.2014

Understanding Lightroom £85 Start Date: 27.02.2014

Introduction to Photoshop and PS Elements £97 Start Date: 18.02.2014

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures £85 Start Date: 4.03.2014

Portrait Photography £85 Start Date: 27.01.2014

IMG_2146

 

9 Essential Tips to Conquer Available Light Photography

Natural light is the gift to photographers that we must never take for granted. When I am asked for one piece of advice I would give it is always find the light and then look for a subject. When I am travelling with my camera, as I am now, currently I am in Cambodia, I always move towards the light, put me in a market, a temple, a bar, in the jungle, wherever it doesn’t matter the thing I look for is the light. My great friend David Constantine always gets up at 5.30 when he is travelling just to be out when the light first arrives, you may remember his remarkable portraits taken from his wheel chair. If he can get his act together at first light so should we all when photography is out aim.

Here Jason Little writing on Lighstalking makes some very valid points about using natural light.

In some instances, we set the challenges for ourselves: to complete a 365 project, to refine our panning technique, to shoot portraits of strangers. Generally speaking, accomplishing these goals simply requires healthy doses of discipline, patience, and courage. Other times, challenges arise as a matter of circumstance; there is no shortage of things that could possibly go wrong or get in the way of getting the perfect shot. One of the obstacles that so often rears its ugly head is that of having to shoot in low light.

Here are the first of Jason’s tips

Available light photography (also referred to as low light photography) really is exactly what it sounds like: taking photographs using nothing but whatever light source is present at the moment (which is why there are some who will argue that shooting in the midday sun also constitutes available light photography; but for the sake of this discussion, I am on the side of those who define available light as low light).
You are bound to find yourself in a situation where the use of flash is prohibited or when you are out and about with just your camera, no extraneous gear; you cannot, in good conscience, pass up a shot due to any manner of external limitation. In fact, I am willing to bet that you will grow to appreciate the allure of available light photography, so long as you stick with it and learn some techniques to help you overcome the trepidation associated with using your camera in less than ideal environments. Thus, I present to those who may be feeling a bit apprehensive, a series of practical tips that you can hopefully call upon the next time a low light photography opportunity presents itself.
Use a fast lens. A fast lens is one with a larger aperture such as f/1.4; it is important to allow as much light as possible to hit the camera’s sensor and large apertures help accomplish this.
Use a prime lens. Prime lenses are typically faster than zoom lenses and tend to exhibit less flare, which is a significant consideration when shooting into the light.
Boost your ISO. Most DSLRs produce great results at ISO 3200 and many can easily do the same at ISO 6400 and higher. Don’t be afraid of a little noise; you can either deal with it in post or…just forget about it. A truly great shot will command attention and no one will even care about the amount of noise present, if they even notice it at all.

Read the rest of his tips here

Laos

Olympus Stylus 1

b967bd7b-89dd-494c-be76-a650aeff64ed

From Photography Monthly we have a review of the new Olympus

Big camera handling meets compact size, the premium Olympus Stylus 1 is said to be the first of its kind.

There is a lot of choice in the “compact” camera market right now but nothing that combines a larger high quality sensor with a versatile zoom range and full manual control yet remains truly pocketable. Olympus engineers were determined the Stylus 1 would stand out for its excellent quality. Of course they applied the same high standards to the compact design. The Stylus 1 is a genuinely portable, slim, ‘anytime anywhere’ camera with the manual controls, eye-to-the-viewfinder stability and picture quality to satisfy the most discerning photographers, be they compact enthusiasts or D-SLR owners looking for a more compact, second camera.

A larger 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor heads an impressive list of credentials that includes a new and versatile, ultra-slim, constant-aperture 1:2.8 10.7x (28-300mm*) high-power i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens and a high-performance TruePic VI image processor. A premium high-definition electronic viewfinder, Fast AF and shoot-and-share WiFi round off a persuasive semi-pro package.

The Stylus 1 is available in classic black for £549.99, from late November 2013.

The Stylus 1 at a glance

Ambitious photographers demand excellentpicture quality. One look at the Stylus 1 spec sheet and you know you’ve found it. Despite a casing depth of just 52mm, it has a brand new 28-300mm* high-power i.ZUIKO DIGTAL lens that offers a constant 1:2.8 aperturefrom wide to telephoto shots, with a 10.7x optical zoom. Olympus designed this lens to work seamlessly with its large-format BSI CMOS sensor, as well as the TruePic VI image processor that is already familiar to users of its high-end OM-D E-M5 system camera. Other tried-and-tested OM-D features include the rock-solid handling and grip that comes from the D-SLR-style casing and layout. For accurate and professional framing, there is the large,1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder, Fast AF for near-instant, precision focusing via touch screen and built-in WiFi for real-time smartphone access– likewise all OM-D-proven. The Stylus 1 has superb dynamic range and low-light capability, plus the same Hybrid Control Ring for manual or digital control of key settings that has proved so successful on the Olympus XZ series.

Want to read more?

If you need more technical information then DP Review is the place to go

This is their astute opening to the review

The rapid collapse of the compact camera market has pushed all the major manufacturers to look for new markets – to create reasons for people to still need a ‘real’ camera as well as a smartphone. At one end of the spectrum, this has meant attempts at ‘social’ cameras, such as Canon’s PowerShot N but, more interesting to us, it’s meant much more capable, higher-end cameras, such as Sony’s Cyber-shot RX100. The latest example is Olympus’s range-topping Stylus 1.

It’s probably the most capable compact the company has made – a feature-packed, flexible camera with a lot of direct control and the longest zoom range we can remember seeing on a camera with a 1/1.7″-type sensor. In terms of styling, it’s been modeled on the company’s excellent OM-D E-M5, but in concept it’s perhaps closer to being a super XZ-2 – the company’s erstwhile top-end enthusiast model.

DANIELLA ZALCMAN . PHOTOGRAPHER

From L1GHTB1TES

52

New York + London 52, 2013
Our lives are surrounded, flooded by images. All of these images have an impact on us, but only a few of them register consciously and give you that ‘aha’ sensation. Daniella’s New York + London did just that to me: there’s some playful immediacy about them, you’re drawn into a game of trying to guess where they were taken. At the same time, many of them take you floating above these cities, showing you the world from a dreamy, lonely, god-like perspective.
GL: How did you discover your method of digital double exposure?
DZ: I basically had no experience with double exposures before this project, outside of accidental composites in my film photography. A few weeks before I moved to London I stumbled across the Image Blender app and thought it was kind of fun, and so when I came up with the idea for New York + London it just clicked.
daniella zalcmann ny:lnd 1All of the photos for my New York + London project were taken very casually — in New York, they were taken with a twinge of nostalgia as I was preparing to pack up and move, and London they were taken through the eyes of a tourist, essentially, in my new home. None of the images were taken with composites or specific pairings in mind — that all happened organically. For this specific double exposure, the New York photo was taken while on an assignment for the Wall Street Journal on the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, and the London image was taken just around the corner from my flat in Pimlico.
GL: With street and documentary photography we all have our methods of being (almost) always ready to take a picture. How would you compare your own attitudes and strategies when you’re shooting film, digital or on a smartphone?
DZ: My attitudes differ pretty dramatically depending on whether I’m working with film, a DSLR, or an iPhone. With medium format film I’m slow and thoughtful, with my DSLR I’m a little trigger-happy. The iPhone is somewhere in between — because it’s such an informal medium, I tend not to overthink framing and composition, which can be surprisingly freeing.
18My phone is almost always in my hand. It’s a horrible habit (born of spending many years as a spot news photojournalist in New York City and always being on call in the event of… pretty much anything), but it means I’m always ready. For New York + London I was a little less in street photography hunting mode because so many of these images are architectural and, thankfully, buildings are a little more forgiving than people.

 

Want to read more? Go Here

Photography Courses for 2014

We have our new schedule for the coming year, we are currently writing a couple of new courses, one on art photography, but these will not be ready for the new term. We have all the usual favourites from Understanding Your Digital SLR Camera, Composition In Photography, Portraiture, Flash, Lightroom, Photoshop,

you can see the full list here

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Evening Class £85 Start Dates: 21.01.2014;  05.03.2014

Understanding Your DSLR Camera Saturday Morning Class £85 Start Date: 9.11.2013;   08.03.2014

1 Day Understanding Your DSLR Camera £95 Dates, 27.10.2013; 26.01.2014; 23.02.2014; 30.03.2014; 27.04.2014

Understanding Your Digital Compact Camera £85 Start Date: 5.03.2014

Intermediate Photography £97 Start Date: 24.02.2014

Flash Photography £85 Start date 29.01.2014

Understanding Lightroom £85 Start Date: 27.02.2014

Introduction to Photoshop and PS Elements £97 Start Date: 18.02.2014

Composition In Photography – Seeing Pictures £85 Start Date: 4.03.2014

Portrait Photography £85 Start Date: 27.01.2014

Laos

Nikon introduces new DX-format DSLR D5300

From Professional Photographer magazine we hear about a new Nikon DSLR

On sale on 14 November, the D5300 is an upper entry-level DSLR. The camera’s 24.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor is specifically designed with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF) – the result being more detail and texture in images. Photos can be shared fast with its inbuilt Wi-Fi function which connects the camera directly to a smartphone or tablet, and the GPS function adds geo-tags to pictures in-camera. “This new model is bursting with impressive features, from the high ISO (12,800) capability for low light shooting, to the powerful new EXPEED 4 image processing engine, and large vari-angle screen for a unique view,” says Simon Iddon, senior product manager at Nikon. “Built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to share stunning images with friends and family, plus you can have some fun by tracking your route thanks to the camera’s GPS functionality. Ultimately, the Nikon D5300 is a pleasure to use and raises the standard of images we share.”

D5300_RD_18_55_frt34l

The body only will cost £729.99 and the D5300 kit with 18-55mm VR lens, £829.99

FEATURES LISTED BY NIKON INCLUDE:Built-in Wi-Fi
Photos can be sent directly from the camera to any iOS or Android smart device – after you’ve downloaded the free wireless mobile utility – ready for easy upload to social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The Wi-Fii function also makes it possible to control the camera remotely using a connected smart device, plus you can preview the scene you’re shooting on the smart device’s screen.Built-in GPS
The D5300’s built-in GPS integrates with the in-camera Wi-Fi function. Images can be geo-tagged simply, without using any external adapters, by logging location information such as latitude, longitude, and altitude in the image’s EXIF data. The GPS logger function works when the camera is turned off, so you can continue to keep track of your route when you’re not taking pictures. Nikon’s View NX 2 software can help create travel on social networking or photo-sharing sites that support GPS.Image quality
At the core of the D5300 is a 24.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor that has been designed without an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) to make the most of every megapixel, to render exactly what the lens sees.High ISO light sensitivity (up to 12,800, extendable to 25,600 equivalent) combined with Nikon’s new image processing engine, EXPEED 4, allows for better photos and movies when shooting in low light. The 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor sends data to the scene recognition system, enabling optimum auto exposure, AF and auto white balance. It has continuous shooting speeds of up to five frames-per-second and a 39-point AF system, which has nine cross-type sensors in the centre……MORE FROM PP

intro-001

The always excellent DP Review site has a pre-view of this new camera

Tis the season for iterative updates, apparently. The D5300, Nikon’s second new DSLR in as many weeks comes less than a year after the announcement of its predecessor, the D5200, and while it doesn’t represent a massive upgrade to the older camera it is improved in some meaningful ways.

As Nikon’s ‘advanced beginner’ DSLR, the D5300 takes the D5200’s place between the entry-level D3200 and the enthusiast-targeted D7100 in the company’s APS-C lineup. The D5300 offers 24MP resolution (like its APS-C stablemates), an articulated rear LCD and more physical controls than the D3200, but without the twin-dial interface and professional grade AF system of the decidedly higher market (and much more customizable) D7100.

Both visually and ergonomically the D5300 is a near-clone of its predecessor (it’s fractionally lighter and a tiny bit smaller), but under the hood it is a stronger camera in a couple of important ways. The D5300’s 24MP sensor lacks an anti-aliasing sensor, which – if our experience with the D7100 and D800E is any guide – should give it the edge in terms of resolution over the D5200. We’d expect the difference to be subtle (especially with a kit zoom attached), but it’s always nice to see improvements to critical image quality potential, especially in mid-range models.

The D5300 also offers a beefed-up video mode, which is now capable of true 1080/60p HD video. This, plus the slightly enlarged (3.2in compared to 3in) fully-articulated 1.04 million-dot LCD screen should mean that the D5300 is attractive to videographers as well as stills photographers. Easy to miss, but useful features include built-in Wi-Fi and GPS – both firsts for Nikon’s DSLR lineup. Battery life gets a boost too – according to CIPA figures the D5300 offers an endurance of 600 shots, compared to 500 from the D5200. Remember though that this figure does not take features like Wi-Fi or GPS into account, and we’d expect both to have an impact on battery life.

READ MORE FROM DPR HERE

Nikon have their seasonal cash back offers when you buy new gear

Nikon UK is launching a bumper Christmas promotion, offering cashback on a huge amount of products including selected D-SLR cameras, selected lenses and speedlights, selected Nikon 1 cameras, as well as the EDG binocular range.The promotion is limited to one claim per person per product and will run from 16 October 2013 – 26 January 2014 (inclusive) and all claims must be received by 28 February 2014 in order to qualify. Details here