5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

The post 5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

After buying a new camera we all start planning for our next lens, which can replace or complement the kit lens. This is when the real confusion starts, you have to choose one out of the so many options available in the market. If you are a Canon APS-C camera user and looking for a wide-angle lens, the Canon EF-S 10-18MM f/4.5-5.6 IS STM could be an ideal choice. I have been using this lens for almost a year now, so I thought of sharing my experience and views with you all. Let me share 5 reasons why I believe that Canon 10-18mm lens is a must-have wide-angle lens.

Canon-10-18mm-lens

1. Ultra-wide angle of view

If you are or have used the 18-55mm kit lens on your Canon APS-C body, there might have been situations when you wanted to go wider than 18mm. This is when having the Canon 10-18mm lens in your camera bag can help you click frames as wide as 10mm (P.S. do apply the crop factor).

Canon-10-18mm-lens

Imagine you are at a rock concert or an event and you wish to capture the entire stage in a frame. Or imagine yourself looking at a beautiful landscape with beautiful clouds and the sun is setting. This is when using the 10-18mm lens can help you capture ultra-wide angle shots even from a short distance.

2. Ideal for Vlogging

With companies such as Canon also focusing on video features, more and more people are adapting to the vlogging culture. Isn’t it fun to capture moments and experiences when you are traveling and at the same time show your surroundings in a single frame?

5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

I have been personally using the Canon 10-18mm lens on my Canon M50 to record almost all my vlogs for the past year, and have never had a second thought about it. The only situation where this lens can struggle is in low light conditions as f/4.5 is the widest it can go, which might introduce noise. But then, at $300, you can hardly find such a wide focal length that matches your requirements.

3. Features Image Stabilization

There are very few lenses (as far as I am aware) that feature Image Stabilization, and are priced under $300. This lens is equipped with a 4-stop optical image stabilizer which comes in handy while clicking photos in low light conditions. In practical scenarios, I have managed to get a sharp and stable shot handheld at 1/2th sec using 10mm focal length. So even if it is an f/4.5-5.6 lens, you can let in more light using a slower shutter speed in low light situations.

5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens

But you must be careful while clicking images at such a slow shutter speed, especially when there are elements in motion in your frame. I usually use it while clicking photos of monuments/buildings or creative images like light trails.

4. Use it for close-up shots

You may be thinking, “why would I want to click macro shots using a 10-18mm focal length?”

Well, this is not the ideal focal length range for macro photography, but that is where the fun starts. If you wish to capture something different and with a unique perspective, you can get some amazing close-up shots.

Canon-10-18mm-lens

In the sample macro shot shared above, you can see that I was able to get close to the insect and at the same time capture wide frame with shallow depth of field. Isn’t that a unique perspective in itself?

5. Ideal for Street Photography

I believe there is no particular focal length that can be termed as perfect for street photography. Every photographer has their own way of capturing photos while traveling. Some may like ultra-wide, some may prefer a standard focal length, and some may go for a 50mm or 85mm lens.

Canon-10-18mm-lens

I tried clicking candid street photos while roaming in my city and to my interest, the 10-18mm focal length range impressed me for the sole reason that I could capture more elements in my frame. If I had shot this photo shared above at 24mm or 35mm focal length, I would either had to move a few steps back or capture only a part of this beautiful moment.

What are your views about the Canon EF-S 10-18MM f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens? Feel free to comment below.

 

canon-10-18mm-lens

The post 5 Reasons Why the Canon 10-18mm is a Must-Have Wide-Angle Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid

The post 5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

We are fortunate enough to be able to capture photos in digital format and edit them later using multiple software. You can adjust exposure, white balance and replace the background with only a few clicks. Being able to edit our photos as per our requirement is a great power – but we must not overuse it. In this article, I share 5 photo editing mistakes which I have made in my initial days as a photographer. I hope that some of you photography enthusiasts will benefit from my learning over the years.

1. Selective coloring

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The image on the left looks more professional and is an ideal portrait, while the image in the right looks very unprofessional.

Sometimes we get so obsessed with a particular element in our frame that we desperately want to highlight it. One of the options that you might opt for is selective coloring, and it can easily go wrong. This is a technique where you keep a selective part of the image colored, making the remainder of the image black and white.

As a beginner, you might be super excited while working on your first few selective-colored images. And you should be.

However, if you wish to step up your photography game and make your images look more professional, avoid using selective coloring.

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

I would suggest you work on your perspective and composition if you wish to highlight a particular object or color in the frame. Try to frame that highlighting subject in a manner that it stands out in the frame.

If not, you can selectively boost the exposure or saturation in editing without applying the selective coloring method.

2. Overuse of HDR technique

Of the 5 photo editing mistakes I list, if there is an award for the most overused editing technique, it must go to the HDR effect. I must admit that during the first two years, I used to click multiple exposures of almost everything. Then later, I used to merge those exposures to get the HDR effect, thinking I was such a cool photographer.

You must understand the actual meaning of HDR, which is High Dynamic Range. Use it only when you feel that the camera is not able to capture the dynamic range of the scene the way you see it with your eyes. All you have to do is capture 3, 6, or 9 frames of different exposures and later merge them using apps such as Adobe Lightroom.

Image: This is an over-processed HDR image.

This is an over-processed HDR image.

There are few apps which allow you to get the HDR effect using a single photo, but that is simply a gimmick which you must use carefully.

3. Over-saturation

We all come across photos with vibrant and attractive colors, especially on photo-sharing apps such as Instagram. Trying to gain similar results, you might be boosting the saturation level way too far. Over-saturation in your photos can make a well-composed frame look average because you boosted the colors way too much.

Image: The image on the right has way too much saturation, as can be clearly seen on the face.

The image on the right has way too much saturation, as can be clearly seen on the face.

While editing a photo for 3-5 minutes or more, it’s difficult to tell if the photo is well-saturated or over-saturated. Here is a quick tip that I follow that may help you as well: After your final edit is complete, take a 2-minute break from the screen. Now come back to your device and see if the saturation level works or is too much. Trust me; this practice is going to help you a lot if you edit a single photo for more than 4-5 minutes.

4. Converting to ‘Black & White’ when not required

Simply taking the saturation slider all the way to ‘-100’ does not make any image look good in monochrome. If I am converting any image black and white in editing, I check if the frame has contrast in it. If not, I try and avoid converting that image to monochrome.

Image: The colors in the image on the left are much more appealing as compared to the monochrome ima...

The colors in the image on the left are much more appealing as compared to the monochrome image on the right.

Even if a scene has good contrast, check if any prominent colors might complement the colored image. Your frame might have a beautiful and colorful sunset, but because you are used to converting any image into monochrome, you might make a wrong decision.

Be patient and analyze the image. If you feel the colors are not that appealing or the image has high contrast, go ahead and convert it to black and white.

5. Overuse of vignetting effect

The use of the vignetting effect in editing is a personal preference. I have seen many beginners use strong vignetting effects, especially in portraits. I love using a vignetting effect in photos where I want emphasis on a particular subject – but not in every image.

Try and avoid using this effect on photos such as landscapes, or try to keep it subtle so that the overall beauty of the frame does not get destroyed.

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The image on the right does not look good because of the overuse of the vignetting effect.

Have you been making any of these 5 photo editing mistakes? Or if you wish to add any editing mistake to the list, feel free to comment below.

 

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The post 5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid

The post 5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

We are fortunate enough to be able to capture photos in digital format and edit them later using multiple software. You can adjust exposure, white balance and replace the background with only a few clicks. Being able to edit our photos as per our requirement is a great power – but we must not overuse it. In this article, I share 5 photo editing mistakes which I have made in my initial days as a photographer. I hope that some of you photography enthusiasts will benefit from my learning over the years.

1. Selective coloring

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The image on the left looks more professional and is an ideal portrait, while the image in the right looks very unprofessional.

Sometimes we get so obsessed with a particular element in our frame that we desperately want to highlight it. One of the options that you might opt for is selective coloring, and it can easily go wrong. This is a technique where you keep a selective part of the image colored, making the remainder of the image black and white.

As a beginner, you might be super excited while working on your first few selective-colored images. And you should be.

However, if you wish to step up your photography game and make your images look more professional, avoid using selective coloring.

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

I would suggest you work on your perspective and composition if you wish to highlight a particular object or color in the frame. Try to frame that highlighting subject in a manner that it stands out in the frame.

If not, you can selectively boost the exposure or saturation in editing without applying the selective coloring method.

2. Overuse of HDR technique

Of the 5 photo editing mistakes I list, if there is an award for the most overused editing technique, it must go to the HDR effect. I must admit that during the first two years, I used to click multiple exposures of almost everything. Then later, I used to merge those exposures to get the HDR effect, thinking I was such a cool photographer.

You must understand the actual meaning of HDR, which is High Dynamic Range. Use it only when you feel that the camera is not able to capture the dynamic range of the scene the way you see it with your eyes. All you have to do is capture 3, 6, or 9 frames of different exposures and later merge them using apps such as Adobe Lightroom.

Image: This is an over-processed HDR image.

This is an over-processed HDR image.

There are few apps which allow you to get the HDR effect using a single photo, but that is simply a gimmick which you must use carefully.

3. Over-saturation

We all come across photos with vibrant and attractive colors, especially on photo-sharing apps such as Instagram. Trying to gain similar results, you might be boosting the saturation level way too far. Over-saturation in your photos can make a well-composed frame look average because you boosted the colors way too much.

Image: The image on the right has way too much saturation, as can be clearly seen on the face.

The image on the right has way too much saturation, as can be clearly seen on the face.

While editing a photo for 3-5 minutes or more, it’s difficult to tell if the photo is well-saturated or over-saturated. Here is a quick tip that I follow that may help you as well: After your final edit is complete, take a 2-minute break from the screen. Now come back to your device and see if the saturation level works or is too much. Trust me; this practice is going to help you a lot if you edit a single photo for more than 4-5 minutes.

4. Converting to ‘Black & White’ when not required

Simply taking the saturation slider all the way to ‘-100’ does not make any image look good in monochrome. If I am converting any image black and white in editing, I check if the frame has contrast in it. If not, I try and avoid converting that image to monochrome.

Image: The colors in the image on the left are much more appealing as compared to the monochrome ima...

The colors in the image on the left are much more appealing as compared to the monochrome image on the right.

Even if a scene has good contrast, check if any prominent colors might complement the colored image. Your frame might have a beautiful and colorful sunset, but because you are used to converting any image into monochrome, you might make a wrong decision.

Be patient and analyze the image. If you feel the colors are not that appealing or the image has high contrast, go ahead and convert it to black and white.

5. Overuse of vignetting effect

The use of the vignetting effect in editing is a personal preference. I have seen many beginners use strong vignetting effects, especially in portraits. I love using a vignetting effect in photos where I want emphasis on a particular subject – but not in every image.

Try and avoid using this effect on photos such as landscapes, or try to keep it subtle so that the overall beauty of the frame does not get destroyed.

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The image on the right does not look good because of the overuse of the vignetting effect.

Have you been making any of these 5 photo editing mistakes? Or if you wish to add any editing mistake to the list, feel free to comment below.

 

5-Photo-Editing-Mistakes

The post 5 Photo Editing Mistakes Every Beginner Must Avoid appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera

The post Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Recently, I came across a very interesting and unique film camera, the Ilford HP5 Plus Single Use Film Camera. As the name says, this is a single-use disposable film camera that comes pre-loaded with Ilford ISO 400 HP5 film.

This is a medium-contrast black and white film which instantly made me purchase this $10 camera and give it a try. That’s not all; it also features a built-in flash and a large enough viewfinder.

ilford-hp5-plus-film-camera

Being a film camera, it offers a total of 27 exposures, after which the camera becomes disposable. As you would expect at this price, it is a solid plastic body. However, the coolest thing about this Ilford camera is its ‘white & green’ design, which looks quite trendy and classy. Not sure about you, but I did not dispose of the camera and have kept it with me for its design.

While I was clicking photos with this camera on the streets, at least 10 people approached me to know more about this camera.

Ease of use

The ergonomics of this camera is just like any 35mm film camera back in the days, but a lot lighter. At the top, it displays the number of remaining exposures, and next to it is the shutter release button. Interestingly, in order to trigger the flash, you have to press the button placed below the flash. Is the flash powerful enough? Well, it is decent enough for the price that we pay for this film camera.

The viewfinder is actually good in terms of visibility. Also, if you are a DSLR camera user, do keep in mind that there is a slight difference in what you see through the viewfinder and what the film captures. So you must compose your frame accordingly as the viewfinder sits above the film/lens. In case you plan to purchase this camera, kindly be cautious with the lens, as it can easily attract fingerprints or dust.

Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera

Image quality

Before I share my views about the image quality out of this $10 single-use camera, I must admit my expectations were very low. But surprisingly the images came out pretty well while doing street photography, with high contrast and good exposure control. The moment I saw the first print, I was excited to see the film-like monochrome look. For me, the grains were just what I would expect out of Ilford ISO 400 film. Nothing more, nothing less.

Obviously, we cannot compare the results out of this disposal camera with an SLR camera, but for me, it can get the job done when the situation demands. Just for fun, I might buy this single-use camera again instead of using film in my SLR camera.

Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera

Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camerailford-hp5-plus-film-camera

I am not much aware about how to develop the film, so I had a hard time finding a good color lab in my locality. But I guess it depends on the region. If you do have multiple lab options nearby, that’s awesome.

Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera

ilford-hp5-plus-film-camera

Conclusion

If you are enthusiastic about testing cool camera gadgets, you must give this camera a try. There might be times when you do not want to carry your SLR, or are not technically sound with camera settings. This is when the Ilford HP5 single use camera can help you capture decent images. I would love to know what you guys feel about this cool camera? How did you like the image quality?

 

ilford-hp5-plus-film-camera

The post Street Photography with $10 Ilford HP5 Film Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens

The post Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Helios 44M-4 58mm f/2 lens is probably one of the most mass-produced camera lenses in the world. I was lucky enough to find the M42 screw-mount version of this Helios lens in a nearby camera store. Using an ‘M42 to EF’ adapter I was able to use this 58mm f/2 lens on my Canon APS-C camera body.

After using this manual lens for more than 3 months now, I envy its build quality. The Helios 58mm f/2 lens is built like a tank and you can literally smash an onion with it. But that is not the reason I bought this lens. Its swirly bokeh effect is the only reason I have been scouting this lens for the past few months.

This lens has always been famous for the swirly bokeh effect that it produces as you move towards the edges of the image. So if you position your subject at the center, the lens produces what is also known as a ‘Cat Eye’ Bokeh effect. I hope the photos shown will help you understand this better.

Optical Performance

This is not one of those sharp lenses you would get nowadays, but it is not that bad either. Being an f/2 manual lens and at 58mm on an APS-C sensor, means that you will have to be patient while focusing. The depth of field is narrow, but once you have the subject in focus, you get magical photos. The swirly bokeh if used properly, can completely transform the look of your images.

The highlights are a bit on a higher side, but again it has its own charm if it suits your taste of photography. I had to boost the contrast and saturation during the editing process to suit my style of photos.

However, if you are buying this lens, it has to be for its swirly bokeh superpower and not to achieve the sharpest or punchy images. Thanks to Photoshop and Lightroom, we can later adjust the sliders as per the need.

Thanks to mirrorless camera technology, using the ‘focus assist’ feature, I can easily focus on a manual focus lens. Trust me – it saves a lot of time. And if you are short tempered, then you must make use of this feature if possible. The photos that you see in this article are all clicked using a Canon M50 mirrorless camera. Thank god, someone invented this technology.

Aperture Ring

As you must be aware that the aperture value of the manual focus lenses is adjusted using the physical ring on the lens. One of the few issues I had with this lens was the ring being too smooth. The slightest touch on the ring can make it rotate to a different aperture value. During this shoot, I was unaware of the fact that my aperture value had moved from f/2 to f/4, and I shot around 20 images until I realized.

Conclusion

As a digital photographer, being able to capture such dreamy images with a $30 lens is in itself unbelievable. The Helios 58mm f/2 lens was ideally mass produced for Zenit cameras, but the fact that you can still use it on a modern digital camera is amazing. I am very impressed with the results and the bokeh effect this lens allowed me to capture at f/2. Though this lens is not easily available online, you can check a few websites to find one in used mint condition.

Photoshoot with 30-Year-old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens

The post Photoshoot with 30-Year-Old HELIOS 44M-4 58mm f/2 Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

RAW vs JPEG Format Editing in Lightroom

The post RAW vs JPEG Format Editing in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

As a photographer, you have most likely heard or read discussions about RAW vs JPEG file formats. It is said that a RAW file consists of a lot more data and details as compared to a JPEG file. How about we conduct a few experiments and talk about why one file format is better than the other?

If you are someone who mostly edits in Lightroom CC, get ready to know some shocking reasons why you must avoid using JPEG files. Going forward in this article I am sharing a few experiments that I conducted using the JPEG and RAW files of the same shot. I am sure that by the end you will be convinced to always edit using the RAW file format.

Experiment 1

Adjusting Highlights and Whites

The left image shows the jpeg file, while the right image shows the RAW file.

In this first experiment, I am going to import a JPEG file as well as a RAW version of the same frame in Lightroom. You can see these in the image above. You will notice that the sky in this frame is overexposed and the details are not visible because I exposed for the foreground. In this test, I am going to bring down the highlights as well as the whites all the way to -100 and see what happens with both JPEG and RAW files.

The left jpeg image has struggled to retrieve the highlights, while the RAW file on the right has retrieved the highlights well.

Surprising, isn’t it? If you look at the sky in both the JPEG and RAW files, you can see the difference quite clearly.

The details of the clouds in the JPEG (left) file become ruined when I reduced the highlights and whites to recover the details. Whereas, the RAW file (right) does an excellent job in recovering the details in the sky – even though it was completely overexposed.

This experiment concludes that if you wish to recover the highlights in a photo, RAW files achieve much better results. The JPEG file would fail at recovering details from highlights and whites.

Experiment 2

Detail and Sharpness

The JPEG image on the left is soft, while the RAW file on the right is sharp.

In this experiment, for reference purposes, I again placed the JPEG file on the left and the RAW file on the right. In the image above, I have a 1:1 zoom in Lightroom CC to show you something very interesting. Look at the difference in the sharpness and details on the face of the person. The difference is quite shocking. One would conclude that these are two different shots, with the left one being softer. However, that is not the case here. This is the same shot but just in different file formats.

Next time if you are shooting portraits or events, you know that shooting in RAW can help you preserve far more details than the JPEG file. I usually shoot in RAW and JPEG. Then I use the RAW file to edit my photos while using the JPEG files for reference or shortlisting purposes only.

Experiment 3

White Balance Adjustment

Experimenting with White Balance, I moved the slider to the warmer end of the White Balance scale. The JPEG image on the left, has lost detail and is flat, while the RAW file on the right, is far more usable.

In this last experiment, I wanted to check if adjusting the white balance does make any difference. You may have heard that a RAW file allows you to later adjust the white balance as per your desire? But how different is it from JPEG? Let’s find out in this experiment.

Here I moved the temperature slider all the way to the warmer side in both the RAW and the JPEG files. Interestingly, the JPEG file (left in the image above) was almost unusable for me. At this stage, the sky was almost flat and lacked contrast. Whereas, the RAW file with the same exposure had so much information stored that at this stage the elements in the frame had details and contrast.

Conclusion

The above experiments demonstrated a few key reasons why I always prefer using a RAW file in Lightroom to ensure my final image has maximum details. My advice here would be to shoot in RAW and JPEG to be on the safe side. If you wish to make a quick edit or directly use the image for social media, go with JPEGs. If you wish to edit the same image seriously, use the RAW file.

I hope next time you import an image to Lightroom, these experiments will encourage you to shoot and edit in RAW format.

Feel free to share your views in the comment section.

The post RAW vs JPEG Format Editing in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review

The post Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

The 24-70mm is undoubtedly one of the most desired lenses because of obvious reasons. The focal length range in a single lens enables you to capture multiple genres of photography such as street, landscape, portraits, and travel.

Recently, I got my hands on the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens, and I have been using it for more than a month now. I also made a comparison with the Canon variant, which I talk about at the end along with sample images.

This lens is available in both Canon and Nikon mounts designed for FX and EF format cameras. It can also be mounted on DX/EF-S bodies.

Build quality and ergonomics

Talking about the construction of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2, it consists of 17 elements in 12 groups and 9 rounded diaphragm blades. This lens has moisture-resistant construction, and the front element has fluorine coating which protects against dust, dirt, and smearing.

The moment I held the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2, my first impression was that this lens feels premium. With the new SP series, Tamron has revised the design of their professional lenses and made them more sturdy. The AF/MF and VC ON/OFF switches are of superior quality, and the rubber grips for focus and focal length adjustment feel comfortable.

One thing that impresses me on this Tamron lens is the placement of the focal length ring. I have been used to the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which features the focal length ring placed near to the camera. Whereas, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 lens has it placed near to the front element. After using both the lenses, I feel that the focal length ring placement is much more user-friendly on the Tamron lens.

In regards to technology advancements, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 lens is compatible with TAP-in Console (to be purchased separately) for fine-tuning focus adjustments and also to update the lens firmware.

Focus speed and accuracy

The lens features an Ultrasonic Silent Drive auto-focus motor which is designed to provide quick and accurate focusing performance. After using the lens for a month, I feel the focus is precise and swift, even with fast moving subjects. As a street and travel photographer, my priority is to nail the focus, and this lens compliments my camera very well.

I also took the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for a spin in low light conditions, and I was happy to see how fast it locked the focus. Even in continuous focus mode, it hardly hunted for focus. Overall, this lens is a charmer in the focus speed and accuracy department.

After using the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for almost 3 years, the Tamron lens did not make me feel that I was using a slower lens. It was almost the same experience for me. With the closest focusing distance of 1.25ft or 15inches (same as the Canon variant), I was also able to shoot some close up shots.

Sharpness and Image Quality

There is one highlighting feature in this Tamron zoom lens which the Canon variant is missing, and that is VC (Vibration Compensation) or Image Stabilization. VC helps in minimizing the camera shake by up to 5 stops, which can be effective in low light conditions.

The VC on this lens helped me shoot at slower shutter speeds such as 1/10th -1/15th sec and lower ISO values without introducing shake in the images. Practically, I was able to achieve 3.5-4 stops of Image Stabilization performance with this lens, which I could not from my Canon variant.

Canon vs Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

From f/2.8 to f/4 the Canon is slightly sharper at the center and has better contrast performance. But as I tested, these lenses at f/4 and narrower, both started generating similar results in terms of sharpness and contrast.

Overall, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens scores better in terms of image quality. Whereas, for me, the Tamron is a winner considering its price-to-quality ratio and the build quality.

LEFT: Shot at 1/15th sec with VC OFF. RIGHT: Shot at 1/15th sec with VC ON

Conclusion

At a good price point, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens seems like a great choice for travel, street, wedding, and even landscape photography. The image quality is superior, and the focus speed and accuracy is spot on. If you are looking for a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which is slightly cheaper than the Canon//Nikon variant but still performs very well, this could be an ideal choice.

The post Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Review: Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens for Canon – At just US$50 could this be the most affordable “nifty fifty”?

The post Review: Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens for Canon – At just US$50 could this be the most affordable “nifty fifty”? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

The 50mm f/1.8 lens, or as we call it, the ‘Nifty Fifty,’ is one of the most widely used lenses in the market. This is usually the first lens a modern digital camera owner desires to purchase after the kit lenses.

The reasons why this is the most popular lens are fairly simple – the first being affordability, and the second, the ability to produce pleasing bokeh.

In terms of affordability, the Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens is ideally the cheapest Nifty Fifty. Priced at less than US$50, this is less than half of the Canon variant and works on APS-C as well as full-frame cameras.

However, the Yongnuo lens for Nikon costs around US$70 as it includes the focus motor. I recently bought one for my Canon 5D Mark iii, so I thought of sharing my views about this lens.

Build quality and ergonomics

The Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens looks exactly like the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (discontinued version). The plastic used in the Yongnuo lens feels a bit cheaper though. Surprisingly, the rubber grip is smooth, and the ‘AF and MF’ switch is similar to Canon.

The construction of the lens consists of 6 elements in 5 groups and has 7 diaphragm blades – the same as the Canon variant. This Yongnuo lens is light to carry as it weighs only 120g – 40g lighter than its competitor. Overall the lens looks and feels good at this price point.

Focus speed and accuracy

I have been using this for almost a month now, during the day as well as night time. The focus speed is a bit slow as the lens hunts for focus, especially in low light conditions. If you are shooting stationary subjects, then it is fine, but if you want to nail the focus swiftly, then you might be disappointed.

Though the focus speed is not that fast, the accuracy is fairly good. It takes time to focus but when it does the focus is accurate. I would not recommend this lens for video shooters as it messes a lot with the focus. However, if you are a hobbyist and casually shoot portraits or still objects, this lens can do the job.

Sharpness and Image Quality

Before clicking photos using the Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8, I had much less expectation from this lens. To my surprise, this lens produced amazing sharpness and image quality. I did not compare it side by side with its competitor lens, but I am sure it is on par with it.

The few image samples that you see are all shot at an event during the sunset/evening time. The images are tad sharp, and the colors also look natural. I had done a test on vignetting performance, and at f/4 it was almost gone. This lens worked for me when I was shooting stationary subjects as well as when shooting performing artists at an event.

For me, the bokeh shape was a bit unpleasant at f/1.8, and I’m not sure exactly why. I used this lens at f/2.8 and achieved sharp and crisp images with minimum vignetting and shallow depth of field effect.

Conclusion

This lens by Yongnuo is for someone who has just started with photography or has a tight budget but still wants to achieve the f/1.8 look at 50mm. The focus speed is something that might irritate you, but once it focuses the image quality is quite impressive. I would suggest this lens to someone who shoots still subjects or portraits without much movement. If you are a wedding, event or a professional portrait photographer, you might be disappointed.

Have you used this lens? What are your thoughts?

The post Review: Yongnuo 50mm f/1.8 lens for Canon – At just US$50 could this be the most affordable “nifty fifty”? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

How to Edit Silhouette Photos in Lightroom

The post How to Edit Silhouette Photos in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

Clicking silhouette photos is in itself a different kind of experience. Unlike photos where the subject is exposed correctly, here the subject appears completely dark.

However, there must be situations when you are not able to capture a proper silhouette image in-camera. The reasons could be anything from incorrect exposure settings to the insufficient dynamic range in the frame.

Even if you can capture a proper silhouette, chances are the colors might not be as saturated as you desire. Using Lightroom, we can get a proper silhouette with the required saturation.

Achieve ideal contrast

As I mentioned earlier, there can be silhouette images which might not have your subject appear as pitch black. Now to make your subject appear black and preserve details in the backdrop, you need to make a few changes in Lightroom.

As you can see in the photo above, I tried my best to capture a silhouette while maintaining details in the background. You can see the boat clearly, and the clothes are still visible. I have opened this image in Lightroom and made few adjustments, after which I was able to achieve a perfect silhouette.

If you refer to the toolbar on the image above, all I did was adjust the shadows and blacks. Usually while working on I silhouette, I always play with the shadows first and then blacks if needed.

In this situation, I was able to make the subject appear completely dark within seconds. However, this silhouette still lacks saturation, right? Let’s work on that too and make it a perfect silhouette.

Enhancing colors

You might make a colorful silhouette or convert it to monochrome, depending on what you like. If you plan to keep it colored, you might have to enhance the colors present in your frame. You can do this in Lightroom, and it is uncomplicated.

Primarily you have to play with four sliders: Vibrance, Saturation, Temperature, and Tint. Vibrance and Saturation allow you to boost all the color tones in the image whereas Temperature and Tint allow you to adjust the color tones ranging from blue to yellow or green to pink.

Using these four sliders, you can get your desired combination of color tones and vividness. As you can see in the two images shared above, the first one had cooler tones while the second had warmer feel to it.

If you wish to go a step forward and make fine adjustments to each color in the frame, you can use the HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) slider. Let me take another example at the above image does not have multiple primary colors.

As you see in the comparison above, the image on the right looks much more punchy and vibrant. If I wanted something like the image on the left, I could have simply adjusted the vibrance and saturation. However, I knew that I could achieve more by adjusting the HSL sliders. You can increase/decrease hue, saturation, and luminance of a particular color without affecting other colors in the image. This is the primary reason to use HSL sliders.

In this scenario, I enhanced the saturation of the majority of colors as per my need and reduced where I felt the need. If I had merely increased the saturation from the basic saturation slider, all the colors would have been affected equally. Whereas now using the saturation slider under the HSL toolbar, I can individually adjust the saturation as well as hue and luminance.

So next time if you try to click a silhouette and feel the in-camera file is not perfect, Lightroom is there to take care of it. Just follow these few steps, and I am sure you can achieve your desired results.

Feel free to share your views or silhouette images in the comment below.

The post How to Edit Silhouette Photos in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

5 Secret Tips to Take Sharp Photos Using Any Camera

The post 5 Secret Tips to Take Sharp Photos Using Any Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

How to take sharp photos is one of the most common issues a beginner photographer faces. In order to suggest a few important tips, I went back a few years and recalled the issues I used to come across.

Here are five tips I learned over the years to ensure I always take sharp photos using any camera.

1. Select Maximum AF Points

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Every digital camera has a certain number of focus points, which are used by the camera to lock focus. By default, you can either allow the camera to use all the focus points or reduce them to a specific number such as 11, 9 or even one point.

I make sure that I am making use of all the focus points, to minimize the use of ‘focus and recompose.’ Keeping all the focus points active ensures that you get to use the entire focusing area on the sensor. Whereas, reducing the active focus points makes you focus and recompose the frame, resulting in soft focus.

2. 1-point AF

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In the majority of situations, using single-point autofocus can help you nail the focus. Because if you allow the camera to lock focus as per its functionality automatically, there are chances that the focus might go off.

Assume you are taking a portrait, and in order to achieve crisp focus, you wish to focus on the eye of the subject. While using autofocus point selection, chances are, the camera might focus on the nose or the lips. The reason this happens is the camera does not know that you want to want to focus on the eye specifically.

Now by using the single-point autofocus feature, you can manually select the point where your eye is in the frame. Doing so, allows you to get the accurate focus on the eye, without any hit and trial method.

3. Back Button focus technique

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There are some situations when you try to focus on a subject and the camera takes some time before you can fully press the shutter release button. Alternatively, when you want to take photos in Burst Mode the camera misses focussing on a few shots. You can eliminate these issues and achieve accurate focus by using the back button focus method.

The Back Button focus technique allows you to assign a button placed on the rear side of your camera to focus, and the shutter release button when pressed fully, captures the image.

While using this technique, you will realize that on pressing the shutter release button halfway, nothing happens. This is because another button using your thumb is now controlling the focusing.

4. Use of Shutter Priority

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If you are a wildlife, action or sports photographer, there might have been instances where you were not able to freeze the motion of your subject. Moreover, if you shoot in low-lighting conditions, you might have encountered shake in your photos.

In any of the above situations, I make sure that I am using my camera on Shutter Priority mode. The basic rule that I start with is using the shutter speed 1/2x of the focal length. For example, while shooting at 50mm, I ensure that I start shooting by using 1/100 sec (1/2×50 = 1/100). In the worst situations, I reduce the shutter speed by 1-2 stops if my lens supports Image Stabilization.

Using the Shutter Priority mode ensures that your camera is using a specific shutter speed that results in no or minimum shake in the image. If you wish to freeze the motion of a moving subject, you can dial a fast shutter speed like 1/2000 sec and let the camera do the remaining math.

5. Take backup shots

The last important tip to get sharp photos would be to take a few backup shots during your shoot. Imagine if you are doing a commercial shoot and when you return to your editing desk you realize that the subject is out of focus or the image is not sharp.

Make sure that after clicking the desired photo, you take a few extra photos of the same frame. These backup photos reduce the risk and increase the possibility of getting sharp photos.

In the past 8-9 years, these five tips have helped me to nail focus in almost any situation and deliver quality work to my clients.

Do you have other tips? Do share your views in the comment below.

The post 5 Secret Tips to Take Sharp Photos Using Any Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kunal Malhotra.

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