Panorama-mania

If your photography needs a little pick-me-up, consider panoramic.

Panoramic views are eye-catching and breathtaking, but they aren’t for every
situation. However, there are many situations that cry out for a panoramic view.
Stadiums, skylines, stages, group portraits, architecture, and nature scenes tend
to be the most popular subjects.

You don’t have to run out and buy more equipment. The camera you have will
work just fine. Instead you can use photo stitching in Photoshop CS3. Its
surprisingly simple and extremely powerful.

Step 1: Taking the pictures
Configure your camera to capture all photos identically, and take the photos in a
sequence. You want to take the photos scanning from side to side staying with
the horizon. Be sure to over lap your images by at least 20 percent.  Avoid
scenes with moving objects.

panoindividual

Step 2: Import
Open Photoshop, click file > Automate > Photomerge. On the left change your
layout to Cylindrical. On the right chose Browse and navigate to your images.
Once you have your images selected click OK and go grab a coffee, order pizza
or whatever you want while you let your computer do all the hard work.

photomerge

photomerge-photos1

Step 3: Edit
All the hard work is done! You should be looking at a rough panoramic. Most, if
not all of the time you are going to have to crop your image. All that is left to do is
edit.

robert_e_lee

Now that you have seen how easy it is to create a panoramic I hope you go out
and play with panoramic yourself!

*This was done in Photoshop CS3, it might be different in any other version or
software.

Please post any questions in the comments section and ill do my best to answer them.

What camera is right for me? Part-3.SLRs

If you have read part 1 and part 2 but didn’t find what your looking for, then your in the right place! Welcome to the exciting and costly world of Digital SLRs! This is by far my favorite camera category.

Two main players in this category have set themselves apart from the rest; Canon and Nikon! When purchasing a DSLR you have to keep in mind one thing…Your not buying a camera, your buying a camera system. I say this because DSLRs don’t have fixed lenses. That means you can swap out a certain lens for another, example; a close range 50mm for inside pictures swapped out with a 80-300mm zoom lens for wildlife pictures. Each manufacturer uses its own mounting system. A Nikon lens would not work on a Canon camera. When you buy a camera and then buy a bunch of lenses, you want to make use of those lenses if you upgrade to a newer camera.

What does SLR mean? Short version: uses a mechanical mirror system and pentaprism to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder on the back of the camera. Read more HERE

When it comes to DSLRs the lens is more important than the Camera body. You can get great photos with a good lens and a lesser body. The versus; a bad lens and a great body will not produce great image quality. Most DSLRs come with a 17-50mm lens. Most of the time the lens that comes with the camera is not worth much. Exception is the new canon 17-50mm IS lens, its not horrible.

We are gonna start with the entry level cameras for both Nikon and Canon.

Canon Rebel XTI (the XSI replaces the XTI and is also a great camera) - The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi offers an unbeatable combination of performance, ease-of-use and value. It has a newly designed 10.1 MP Canon CMOS sensor plus a host of new features including a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, the exclusive EOS Integrated Cleaning System featuring a Self Cleaning Sensor and Canon’s Picture Style technology, all in a lightweight, ergonomic body. The Digital Rebel XTi is proof positive that Canon continues to lead the way with their phenomenal digital SLRs.

  • 2.5 inch LCD
  • 10.1 mega pixels
  • A whole slew of picture settings
  • RAW support

Nikon D80 – For passionate photographers a D-SLR with a 10.2-MP DX-Format CCD, Nikon’s high-resolution Image Processing Engine and 3 fps continuous firing. Typically Nikon has better low light performance. I personally use Canon so I cant say either way.

  • 10.2 megapixel
  • Instant 0.18 sec. start-up with fast 80ms shutter response
  • 2.5 inch LCD
  • 11 Auto focus points

Both of these cameras are designed to be your 1st DSLR. All Canon and Nikon DSLRs take GREAT pictures. In the future ill talk about camera lenses and what you should be looking for.

To compare more cameras a great site to visit is DPreview.

A Great place to rent expensive lenses is lensrental.com

Please post any questions in the comments section and ill do my best to answer them.

What camera is right for me? Part-2.SLR Like

In my last post we reviewed the sub compact class cameras. Now we will take a look into the SLR Like class. SLR Like cameras more resemble a Digital SLR camera. Larger bodies, Lenses, Screens are all things you typically see on these cameras. They normally don’t fit into your pocket which means you might want to invest in a nice neck strap and carrying case. This class is a little more difficult to put your thumb on due to the class being over saturated with cameras.

Canon PowerShot S5 IS – This is canons Flagship camera in this category released in 2007, its still a great camera in today’s standards. They have released a newer version but I haven’t had my hands on it. We will take a closer look at the S5 IS. Like most cameras in this class the Zoom is a big feature. With the longer zoom you will be able to get tighter shoots from a distance.

  • 8 mega pixel resolution
  • Digic III processor (S3 IS was Digic II)
  • 2.5 inch LCD
  • Hot shoe flash connector
  • 36 – 432 mm Zoom – This comes in handy out in the wild when you want to stay out of sight!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 – Though far from perfect, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 shapes up to be the best of the cameras promising 18x-zoom.

  • HUGE 18x optical zoom – 28-504mm
  • 8.3 megapixel
  • Face Detection

Sony DSC-H9 – The H-series cameras incorporate selectable in-camera editing functions so you can spend more time on the field and less time behind a computer. Equipped with Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimizer, originally developed for the Alpha digital SLR system, the camera can analyze captured image data and instantly determine the best exposure and tonality of each picture before JPEG compression.

  • 31-465mm Zoom Lens
  • IS – Image Stabilization – Super Steady Shot
  • 9 point Auto focus
  • ISO 3200 – This will help when taking pictures in low light

The Three of these are class leaders. They were released between 2007-2008 and may have a newer version available.

Stay tuned for — Part 3 – SLRs

Please post any questions in the comments section and ill do my best to answer them.

What camera is right for me? Part-1.Sub Compacts

I get a lot of questions about which camera to choose. With so many options its a good question. The problem is nobody can give you a good answer. When choosing a camera lots of variables much be researched. Lenses, shooting style, body size, video, screen size and the list goes on. Instead of telling you to go out and buy X camera, I’m going to give you a few good options and tell you a little about them.

Lets start with the Sub Compact class. The sub compact camera is one that will fit conveniently into your pocket. Normally they don’t have a lot of range but they are small and most have a decent size screen. When it comes to good quality sub compacts the price is normally a little higher due to fitting in all the good stuff in that small body.

Two GREAT options in this class;

Canon G-9 – This camera has been called a “game changer.” With a slew of options in a small body, it makes a great universal camera to carry in your pocket. It also has the ability to record video. The G-9 was replaced with the G-10, still a good camera but not as good as the G-9. All this means is you will have to do a little search to find the G-9. Amazon, Google, Craigslist ect… More info on the camera HERE

  • 3 inch screen – The G-9 Sports a good size screen.
  • 12.1 Mega pixels with RAW support – Against popular belief its not all about the mega pixels. However 12.1 mega pixels will give you a good sized image. This is important when it comes to making prints.
  • 35-210mm Zoom – This is a great zoom range for a sub compact. This makes the camera very versatile for any occasion.

Panasonic Lumix LX-3 – Designed for easy, creative shooting, the new LX3 comes two years after its predecessor, the LX2, which earned an enthusiastic following among both professional photographers and serious amateurs for its exquisite image rendering, superior operating ease, and unique triple-wide system comprising wide-angle lens, 16:9 CCD and LCD. Panasonic has gone a big step further in the new LX3, upgrading every component to achieve a camera whose performance surpasses that of any compact camera that has come before. Simply put, the LX3 smashes all previous perceptions about the limitations of a digital compact camera, setting a lofty new standard in performance, quality and creative capabilities. – From DPreview.com

  • Also sports a 3 inch LCD
  • 10.1 mega pixels – Not as many mega pixels as the canon. 10.1 mega pixels are more than enough to keep up with the big boys. You will still see stunning prints.
  • 24-60mm Zoom – might be a deal breaker for most. The zoom is good for up close photography but the zoom just wont reach any ind of distance.
  • If you like to use a standard viewfinder you have to purchase it extra.

Ive only reviewed two in the sub compact class. These two seem to be the “Gold Standard” for the class.

In part 2 we will take a look at the SLR Like Class. Part 3 is SLRs.

Please post any questions in the comments section and ill do my best to answer them.