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 / Photography
Popular Photography

Popular Photography May 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.
editor’s letter

Back to School Producing this month’s cover story, “Do the Basics Better” (page 54), turned out to be a blast—and it took the input not just of our entire editorial team but also that of a whole bunch of eager art school students. It all started when we were working out how to present a compendium of photo tips in a single story. It struck us that all photographers, from beginners to top professionals, face many of the same challenges. How do you shoot with a steady hand? How do you balance your exposure? Or keep your shot from being ruined by ugly mixed light? These are the essential skills of photography. They sound basic, but even experienced shooters may find there’s a better way. To demonstrate some of these techniques, we decided…

1 min.
road warrior

ELINCHROM has improved upon its near-perfect—but soon to be discontinued—Quadra Hybrid location strobe with the Quadra ELB 400. With recycle times up to 20 percent faster, increased power range (6.9 stops, up from 6.6), better battery capacity (350 fullpower pops up from 320), a brighter modeling light (20 watts, up from 15), and more rugged build, the ELB 400 is improved on every front. A battery rescue feature that can revive a seemingly dead cell and an intuitive OLED control display were unexpected perks. The ELB 400 includes tools usually found on flagship speedlights: stroboscopic, sequence, and delayed firing. What sold us? The full Skyport wireless radio firing system and convenient pop-open power ports. Like the Hybrid Quadra, it’s available in standard and shortflash-duration (“Action”) versions. ELINCHROM QUADRA ELB 400 424 Ws maximum…

2 min.
big step

WITH A SPOT near the top of Nikon’s APS-C-format DSLR line-up (just below the aging D300s), the new D7200 could turn out to be its best midrange model yet. It offers a handful of key upgrades over its predecessor, the D7100. While the 24.2MP sensor offers only a slight uptick in pixel count, Nikon removed the optical low-pass filter in a bid to eke out more resolution. Its new Expeed 4 image processor got a big boost, letting you capture 27 12-bit or 18 14-bit RAW files, or 100 JPEGs at 6 frames per sec, before the buffer fills. Nikon also updated its 51-point autofocus system and claims that it will work even in light as dim as –3 EV. And built-in NFC and Wi-Fi will get you connected to…

2 min.
alpha bets

WHEN SONY launched its Alpha a7 line of full-frame ILCs in late 2013, it promoted adaptors to use lenses from other systems. But those adaptors may start gathering dust as Sony keeps bringing out more FE glass— including four appealing new lenses, three primes, and a zoom due out this spring and summer. The 28mm f/2 is the widest of the primes, and is also the least costly: $450 for a fast, compact model that seems tailor-made for street photography. At the other end of the price spectrum at $1,600, is another street shooter’s dream, a collaboration with Zeiss—a 35mm f/1.4 Distagon T* ZA. The other two fall in between. For more flexibility, there’s a 24–240mm f/3.5–6.3 OSS with on-board image stabilization. And here comes the system’s first mid-tele macro lens,…

3 min.
low-key bags

BACKPACKS TEND to get most of the attention these days, but many photographers, especially those carrying smaller cameras, still prefer a discreet shoulder bag. Here are some of the latest models. Vanguard Havana 21 $40 This safari-style bag is the littlest in a line that includes backpacks and messengers. But for an ILC or small DSLR, plus a lens and flash, this size is just fine. It even has an inside pocket for a 7-inch tablet. Pull out the camera-holder insert to use the bag sans gear. Tenba Switch 7 $80 It looks like plain black faux-leather, but this little bag (the smallest of three in Tenba’s Switch line) can be used with different fabric covers ($18 each) to change the look. These come in colors and patterns ranging from flamingo pink…

1 min.
hot dog

HAVING RETIRED from his career in information technology years ago, Ramon Rosario, 70, began experimenting with photography in 2008. His subjects of choice quickly became his adorable dogs, one of whom stars in this classic shot. With a goal of capturing his black-coated pup Gigi against a black background, Rosario built the backdrop in his garage at home in Lancaster, California. He shot with a Nikon D800 and Tamron SP 28–75mm f/2.8 XR Di lens, using a Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 watt-seconds strobe as the light source. The shoot itself only took 10 minutes— Rosario talked to Gigi nonstop and waved a treat in the direction he wanted her to look to keep her attention focused for this professionallooking image. NEXT PHOTO CHALLENGE In “Shoot in the Rain” (page 48), photographer Art…