There’s an interesting series of videos appeared that were produced by Lee Filters with conversation between the revered landscape photographers, Joe Cornish and David Noton. Epsiode 2 sees them discussing the changes digital photography has made in capturing the moment, and why they still use graduated filters. It’s not like the usual manufacturer produced media as there’s no mention of Lee filters, and well worth a view.
Here’s a list of current used graduated filters for sale on PhotographyAttic:
The Hoyarex filter system was really good: high quality filters.. Great variety of options in the range. Some glass filters. Solid holder. And a really useful rubber hood. But the Hoyarex System had a big flaw! And that has become evident over the years as more and more filters become scratched.
It’s not due to use either! These scratches occur when the filters are stored in their plastic case. The resin filter catches the edge of the case, which usually bends a bit in the middle. So after being jostled around in a camera bag the rubbing effect causes the resin to mark or scratch.
So here’s a tip to prevent further wear. Buy a packet of lens tissues and wrap one over the filter at the top end that sticks out of the case. Then the filter wont get rubbed. You can use toilet tissue, but a lens tissue is softer and has no fibres that will come off and cause dust problems.
The Hoyarex Skylight 1B filter – cat number 011 – is one of the most valuable filters in the Hoyarex range, yet is often overlooked, because its not a special effect filter.
But this underused filter will do two things to ensure your photography improves.
Firstly, and most importantly, the filter is a lens protector. The Hoyarex system is made so that when a filter is placed in the back slot it removes any possibility of dust reaching the lens. So if the holder is left on with a filter inserted the lens wont get dust falling on the surface or scratches. The skylight is the obvious choice as it has no special effect value. It’s also one of the few filters in the Hoyarex range that’s made from glass so optically very good.
But the filter has another use. A skylight filter has a very slight pink tint that has a warming effect when shooting in hazy days, so landscapes can be photographed with slightly more clarity.
Yes you can give your old Praktica a new lease of life for just one quid.
There’s a growing trend to replace the leather/plastic trims on vintage cameras with fancy new wood veneers, posh patterned leathers or exotic animal skins. All options cost a fair few quid and usually mean you sending off for a mail order deal.
Here’s a way to give your old camera a new look for just one pound. Those who remember Blue Peter will be familiar with sticky back plastic which was used for hundreds of DIY projects. Today high street Pound Stores are selling rolls of self adhesive patterned material for £1, and one option is this wood veneer.
All you need to do is remove the camera’s existing leather/plastic trim, use the trim as a template, cut out the new replacement from your roll, peel off the back and stick it in place. You can cover some books / furniture with the rest.
It won’t give the luxury feel of the leather products, so should not really be considered if you’re still using the camera regularly, but it does make an attractive cover if the camera is to become an ornament.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have chosen a camera with a tilting /hinged screen taking photos from ground level can be very uncomfortable or awkward. The titling screen feature on certain digital cameras allows you to view and compose from a height by looking down on the screen that is angled upwards.
This makes the camera easy to use when shooting flowers and fungi or other similar subjects from ground level.
Many of us don’t have such luxury feature, but there is an option available if your camera has a viewfinder with a slide in eye cup frame. The right angle finder slips over the viewfinder in place of the eye cup and provides an optical path set at 90 degrees. so you look down into the viewfinder. It still means you have to bend down to see, but at least it’s from a more convenient angle.
Many right angle finders also have built in diopter correction so they’re prefect for those of us with glasses. And some even have a built in magnifier going from standard 1x view to a cropped 2x or even 2.5x view. This is great focusing aid as you can be sure your subject is in perfect focus.
Finders are usually sold by the camera manufacturer, but there are also several available from accessory manufacturers. They’re not quite as popular as they used to be but there’s plenty around on eBay and we have several on PhotographyAttic – Right Angle Finders and Viewfinder attachments. You need to choose one that fits your camera’s viewfinder as each brand can be slightly different. Check before buying.
1 The main reason to use a lens hood is it reduces flare when shooting with the sun in front of the camera. Sun rays catch the lens and bounce around the inner elements causing streaks, loss of contrast and blobs on the photo. The hood provides a barrier and as a result your photos will display more contrast.
2 Another less obvious use is to shields the lens’ front element from rain and snow.
3 There’s less chance of damaging the lens as the hood will protect the front of lens from knocks. Rubber ones are the best for this as they absorb the bump.
4 A lens hood is ideal for shooting through glass as it means you can put the lens right up to the glass and blocks out reflections from behind.
5 The hood can also provide a suitable rest / support when shooting through glass without scratching the front of the lens
6 And for the egos among us…adding a hood increases length of the lens to make it look a bit more impressive…but as we like to say – it’s not the size that counts!
The best camera to use to photograph the moon is a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. With this type of camera you usually have the most manual control, allowing you to fine tune focus and exposure to ensure a sharp and bright photo.
The moon photographed with an SLR and telephoto lens
An SLR usually has an interchangeable lens so you can attach a long lens (telephoto) to magnify the moon to make it much bigger in the photo. A standard zoom of 18-55mm that is normally provided with an SLR is not really long enough. You can use a lens like this but you will have to crop the picture dramatically to make it any decent size on your photo. The more you crop the less detail you will have in the moon.
The best thing to do if you want serious pictures is to buy or borrow a longer lens. A 300mm or above is good – Ideally a 1000mm or longer. You can do this using a 500mm with a 2x converter. The teleconverter sits between the camera and lens and doubles (or trebles with a 3x) the lens’ focal length / magnification. With modern digital SLRs the sensor is smaller than film and gives an effective magnification of 1.5x/1.6x too, so the 1000mm becomes 1500mm /1600mm. This is perfect for frame filling photos.
You will also need a tripod or other support for the camera to avoid camera shake if you are using a long lens, and a cable release / remote control to trigger the shutter. If you don’t have a remote release set the camera to the self timer mode and use that. The reason to use a delay or release mechanism is to prevent any hand contact with the camera that could cause vibration and the possibility of camera shake. This will be more apparent when using extreme magnification lenses.
Position you camera on the tripod or mount and set the lens to its longest setting.
Switch the camera to manual focus and adjust focus around the infinity setting so the moon appears sharp. If your camera has live view, switch to that and use the magnifier to help you focus.
You cannot use the camera’s auto exposure mode (P) because it will be fooled by the black surround of the moon which is really bright. A shot taken on auto will result in a bright blob of a moon with no detail. You need to switch to manual (M) or use exposure compensation.
Although it’s night time you don’t need long exposures the moon is as bright as daylight. Set the ISO to 100, and the aperture to f/11 and the shutter speed to 1/500sec and take a test shot.Â Have a look on the LCD preview screen and see how the photo looks. If it’s too bright either increase the shutter speed to 1/1000sec and/or the aperture to f/16. If it’s too dark, reduce the shutter speed to 1/250sec and/or the aperture to f/8. Then take another photo. Repeat this until you have a perfect exposure.
Stepping rings are really useful additions to your filter collection. They are slim rings that have a male thread on one side and a female thread of a different size on the other. They are designed to allow a filter with one diameter be used on a lens with a different diameter.
Stepping rings come in a wide range of sizes
You may, for example, want to use a 55mm thread diameter filter on a lens that has a 52mm thread. A stepping ring is what you need.
Stepping rings are sold in two directions – up and down. The direction is always indicated from the lens. So a step up ring allows a bigger diameter filter to be used on the lens, while a step down ring allows a smaller diameter filter to be used on the lens.
Stepping up is rarely a problem, but stepping down can cause vignetting because the filter may starts to mask the optical path, especially if the stepping increment is steep or if the lens is a wide angle. It’s always safer to step up.
The advantage of using stepping rings is that you are often able to use just one size filter on a range of lenses. especially if you plan carefully.
Say, for example, you have the following three lenses:
A wide angle with a 58mm thread, standard zoom with a 52mm thread and a telephoto lens with a 62mm thread. You could buy a set of 58mm filters to fit straight on the wide angle along with a 52-58mm stepping ring for the standard zoom and a 62-58mm stepping ring for the telephoto.
Harrison Cameras in Sheffield is an example of a great place to trade in your old camera.
You can take to a high street dealer who will give you a trade in valuation. The pawnbroker type shops, offer to buy all kinds of things from Golf clubs to Guitars so they do not have camera specialists in store. As a result it’s a bit of a gamble whether they will over or undervalue your gear. As a rule this kind of shop will offer you the least. Reputable camera dealers, such as Harrisons in Sheffield, will offer more. They usually know what the item is and have a better chance of selling at a higher resale value. But in both cases what you get will usually be about 25-40% of what the selling price is unless you trade in to get a better deal. So if a camera sells for £100 you’re likely to get between £25 and £40. The shop will then put it on show for sale for £80 to £100 and give a 3 to 12 month guarantee.
Advantage to you is you get it off your hands without any hassle, but you may get a minimal amount for it.
Sell to local
Another option is to sell through local classified ad service either online or local paper advert. Use the eBay selling price to get an idea how much to ask.
Advantage you get a good price, disadvantage is you will have to let someone come to your house/workplace to view and you may get messed around.
Sell by Auction
Auction sites like eBay take this aspect out of the equation. You can charge for postage and can send the item to the buyer so there’s no direct contact. The auction route is a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you’ll get far more than you expected other times it will go for less than you hoped.