David Noton and Joe Cornish discuss grad filters

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:

B+W 77mm 502 Grey Grad 25%
Cokin A 120 Gradual Grey 1
Cokin A 122 Gradual Blue 1
Cokin A 123 Gradual Blue 2
Cokin A 124 Gradual Tobacco T1
Cokin A 151 Fog 2
Cokin A 198 Gradual Sunset 2
Cokin P 120 Gradual Grey 1
Cokin P 121 Gradual Grey 2
Cokin P 122 Gradual Blue 1
Cokin P 123 Gradual Blue 2
Cokin P 124 Gradual Tobacco 1
Cokin P 125 Gradual Tobacco 2
Cokin P 198 Gradual Sunset 2
Cokin P 665 Gradual Fluo R2 red
Cromatek G210 Dark Green Graduated Filter
Cromatek G211 Light Yellow Graduated Filter
Cromatek G212 Dark Yellow Graduated Filter
Cromatek G215 Light Sepia Graduated Filter
Hitech Yellow 3 Grad 100 System 94mm
Hoyarex 527 Gradual Y2
Hoyarex 521 Gradual G2
Hoyarex 522 Gradual B2
Hoyarex 523 Gradual T2
Hoyarex 524 Gradual M2
Hoyarex 525 Gradual P2
Hoyarex 526 Gradual E2
Lee 100×150 Pop Red Grad Hard
Tiffen 77mm sunrise grad
Tiffen 77mm blue grad
Unbranded 84mm ND Grad 0.3
Unbranded 84mm Cool Blue Grad 0.3
Unbranded 75mm Square red grad
Unbranded 75mm Square Green Grad
Unbranded 75mm Square blue grad


Why Hoyarex filters are often scratched

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.
scratched Hoyarex filter
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. Hoyarex filter case scuffs filter

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. tissue placed in Hoyarex filter case

View the entire range of Hoyarex filters here


Hoyarex Skylight 1B filter

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.
Hoyarex Skylight 1B 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.
Hoyarex filter in to Holder
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. skylight filter pink tint

Using the filter in the back slot near the lens means there still another slot free for a special effect filter when you want to add a graduated effect, sepia tone or spot for example.  Hoyarex holder screwed on lens  Photographyattic has the Hoyarex 011 Skylight 1B glass filter for sale here


Reskin a Praktica for £1

Praktica with wood veneerYes 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.

Praktica being reskinned

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.

Praktica display camera

If you prefer a high quality leather version check out this great article on recovering a Praktica MTL3.


Why use a right angle finder?

right-angle-finderUnless 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.


6 reasons why you should use a lens hood

Rubber collapsible lens hood

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!

View all kinds of Lens hoods for sale


How to Photograph the Moon

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 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.  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.

See article on the Blood Moon


Stepping rings save you money

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.

Hoya stepping ring 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.

PhotographyAttic has a range of rings covering threads from 30.5mm right up to 77mm:  Lens Stepping Rings for sale


Where to sell you camera equipment?

Sell to dealer

harrison-cameras 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.

eBay is the most successful online auction site

eBay is the most successful online auction site

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.

If you don’t know how much your item is worth check out our tips on finding out how much your camera is worth


Tips to find out how much your camera is worth?

Is your old 35mm camera worth much?

Is your old 35mm camera worth much?

You may have a camera or accessory you want to sell and don’t know how much it’s worth.

If you’ve inherited the equipment and don’t know what you have in front of you, use Google to search. Look for any identifying features on the item. If it’s a camera it will have a make and a model number. These are usually enough to help you track down the item.

When searching Google switch to search by images. This is the quickest way to pinpoint your gear. When you find a photo that looks like your item open and view the web page. look for descriptive words that tie in with what you have. Sometimes there are different versions of the same product. The Vivitar 283 flash, for example, has been made in three different countries. Leica, for example, had many variations of the same camera differentiated by the serial number.

When you find the exact description of your item switch to eBay. Search items for sale using the description you’ve researched. Then click on Show Only > Completed Listings to get an idea what your item has sold for recently.

Now you’re ready to sell see our article of selling tips