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 / Photography
Popular Photography

Popular Photography April 2015

Popular Photography brings you step-by-step secrets of the pros for taking their most amazing shots. You’ll discover the best equipment at the best prices, get comprehensive comparative reports on cameras, lenses, film, digital equipment, printers, scanners, software, accessories and so much more. Get Popular Photography digital magazine subscription today.

United States
Bonnier Corporation
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2 min.
sitting pretty

Chances are you have read this magazine before, so you probably noticed immediately that something has changed on this page: my portrait. Like many photographers, I’m a whole lot more comfortable behind a camera than in front of one, and I don’t submit to being photographed, especially in a formal way, very often. I’ll miss my old headshot, which our senior editor Peter Kolonia took in a small photo studio at our offices in New York. But after some five and a half years (who’s counting?), it seemed time for a change. So when Peter Hurley, probably the top headshot photographer in the country (as well as a super studio and environmental portrait shooter), told me he wanted to take a new “official” photo for me, I jumped at the chance. After…

1 min.
polar vortex

This looks like a summery scene, but it was actually shot on January 1, 2015, at the annual Polar Plunge in Lake George, New York. Online editor Stan Horaczek used Canon’s new 400mm f/4 DO IS II telephoto lens to capture swimmers as they jumped into—and quickly jumped out of—the frigid water and into the 18-degree air. He shot wide open at f/4 to give the scene some depth at 1/1600 sec and ISO 400. He didn’t need a tripod thanks to the reduced weight of the lens afforded by its clever optical design. See our full test on page 77.…

1 min.
primo prime

WE WANT THIS NO QUESTION about it: Sigma’s superb 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens from last year is a tough act to follow. Yet here comes the 24mm f/1.4 DG, whose wide 84.1-degree angle of view makes it perfect for landscape, event, and street photographers. Its fast maximum aperture is a boon to anyone shooting in low light or looking for a shallow depth of field. This full-framer comes in Canon, Nikon, and Sigma (and, later this year, Sony A) mounts; on APS-C-size sensors, it scales up to about 39mm (Canon) or 36mm (the others). Comprised of 15 elements in 11 groups, the lens includes FLD and SLD low-dispersion glass to fight chromatic aberration and distortion, as well as two aspherical elements for sharpness when shooting wide open. Given how well…

1 min.
cut in size

WE FOUND a lot to love in Samsung’s flagship NX1 when we tested the interchangeable-lens compact in our February 2015 issue. So we’re looking forward to checking out the new, smaller NX500, which has the same backside-illuminated APS-C-size 28.2MP sensor, fast DRIMe V processor, and hybrid autofocus system with 205 phase detection AF points on the image sensor. Like its predecessor, the NX500 captures 4K video and regular 1080p HD. But this new ILC does make a few concessions to its reduced size and status in Samsung’s lineup: ISO tops out at 25,600 (rather than 51,600) and the burst rate reaches 9 frames per second with continuous autofocus—terrific, but not as awesome as the NX1’s 15 fps speed. But the NX500 costs $2,000 less, so why quibble? Samsung NX500 $800, street, with…

1 min.
easy wider

THE WIDEST F/4 zoom in Canon’s lens lineup, this full-framer extends the focal range all the way down to 11mm (scaling up to about 18mm on APS-C-format EOS bodies). On full-frame cameras, its angle of view tops 126 degrees on the wide end of the range. Among the 16 elements in 11 groups in this lens are four distortion-fighting aspherical elements, and it carries extensive coating to guard against ghosting, flare, and fingerprints. The petal-shaped hood is built in. Like all of Canon’s L-series glass, the lens is rugged, with extensive weather- and dust-sealing. But unlike Canon’s recent (and less pricey) 16–35mm f/4L, this new lens lacks image stabilization. Canon EF 11–24mm f/4L USM $2,999, street usa.canon.com…

1 min.
tele vision

ROKINON KEEPS adding to its impressive line of affordable manual-focus lenses made for DSLRs and ILCs from a host of camera makers. Its latest entry, a fast full-frame telephoto 135mm f/2, comes in Canon ED, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds (Olympus and Panasonic), Nikon F, Pentax K, Samsung NX, and Sony A and E mounts. Manual-only optics like this hold special appeal for video shooters used to pulling focus by hand. Rokinon capitalized on this by also releasing a cinema version, a 135mm T2.2 Cine DS with de-clicked aperture control, calibration in T-stops, and other special features. But traditional photographers can save 50 bucks with the standard version, itself a bargain given the focal length and fast maximum aperture. Rokinon 135mm f/2 ED UMC $549, street rokinon.com…