Recent Camera and Photography Articles

This page points to all recent articles published on,,, and, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive. 

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Latest Articles (April 16, 2015):                                                        

Another Nikon Early Ship Problem? A number of early purchasers of the 300mm f/4E lens reported issues with VR at lowish shutter speeds (e.g. 1/125 second). I’ve received dozens of reports, and complaints have popped up on in high visibility on a number of Internet fora, as well. Article on

Fujifilm Adds a Prime. Fujifilm today announced the long-awaited 16mm f/1.4 lens for their XF mount cameras. Article on Lens data page.

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Recent Articles:                                                        

April 15, 2015

What’s Up With byThom Books? Many folk don’t realize it, but I’ve been writing Nikon-related books for twenty years now. Article on

Apple Photos Underwhelms. With the recent update of the Macintosh operating system to version 10.10.3, Apple also shipped the final version of their new Photos application. Article on

Finally. Ordered 7/11/2014, shipped 4/14/2015. What product took so long to appear? Article on

April 13, 2015

What’s the Point of Taking a Photograph? I know what your answer is. But what do camera makers think the answer is? Article on

April 10, 2015

Price is the Problem? Maybe everyone is grumpy from calculating their taxes or something, but I keep hearing the same refrain lately: "camera prices are too high." Connected with this thought is always the “the camera companies would sell a lot more product if they lowered their prices.” Article on

NAB Warning. The National Association of Broadcasters convention (NAB) is next week, and the video-related announcements are going to start flying, as this is the place where the true video geeks get their geek on. Indeed, they’re already flying. Updated Article on

April 9, 2015

What’s Coming in Sensors. Everyone seems to want to know what’s happening in the sensor world. Okay, I’ve got a few bits of information for you. Article on

April 8, 2015

Can Your Lens do “Velvet”? Apparently that’s the new need: “lens delivers velvety, glowing, ethereal look at brighter apertures, and beautifully sharp but subtly unique images as you stop down.” Lens data page.

Recent Mystifying Nikon Quotes. I didn’t say it, they did. Article on

April 2, 2015

Does This Answer Your Question? Every time I write about a D300s replacement, I get the inevitable “but Nikon would never do that because the D610 body already sits at that price point.” Okay, sure. Article on

Samyang/Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens Announced. Nikon mount versionMirrorless mount versions.

Nikon Announces J5 Camera. “I am the beauty of speed” has been updated to “I am commanding speed.” Article on sansmirror.comData page for camera.

April 1, 2015

Fujifilm Updates XT-1 Firmware. Article on

The Sony/Olympus Connection. Since I’ve covered this story from its beginnings in the fraud that crippled Olympus a few years back, I suppose it only fair that I continue to cover it.  Article on

The Canikon Fallacy. I’ve seen a lot of reporting that goes something like this: Canon and Nikon have been ignoring the mirrorless market and that’s why their DSLR duopoly is in trouble. Article on

Previous articles can be found in the Articles Index.

Thom's Monthly Teaching Point — Dumb Luck

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I developed this one on my uncalibrated laptop, so it might be a little off in tonality/color.

So you travel to an exotic place and you end up at the hotel and…the view is the wrong direction to get star trails around the point of interest, there’s a fairly bright moon out most of the night, and the weather is moving in and likely to make your work for naught, anyway. 

Heh, heh, heh. When has all that stopped me? 

Most of Patagonia is heated too hot and you don’t have a thermostat you can control, so I tend to sleep with my window open. Why not stick a camera out and see what I get? So I set the camera to do really long exposures at long intervals (I think it was ten minute shots, as the whole goal was to assemble as few star trails shots together to get a full set of trails). 

I can generally sleep through anything, even my camera clicking away at regular intervals, so it wasn’t until morning that I had any idea whether I had captured anything useful. This is the fifth frame in. There are others that are interesting, too. It seems the clouds and stars were dancing against each other all night, and the moon provided plenty of exposure on the peaks. 

Even with film I probably would have tried the experiment, though with only 36 exposures to a roll I probably would have used even longer exposures. But with digital what’s the reason not to? It doesn’t cost anything other than a bit of time to set things up, and a bit more time to evaluate how things turned out. Sometimes you learn interesting things. First thing I learned on these shots was how dirty my sensor was ;~). I noticed a couple of star trails that were interrupted. By what? Dust. The second I noticed was the “energies” in the motion of the stars and clouds. I hadn’t really thought about which direction the clouds were moving relative to the stars. These days I do. 

Is it a great shot? 

No, but it’s a very interesting shot. One that has prompted me to set up my camera for nighttime serenades pretty much any time there’s anything interesting outside my window. Funny thing is, the very best shot I got by playing the dumb luck card (guided by previous experiments and observations, of course) was when I got real sick on a trip and just stayed in bed during the day. But every time I got up to use the bathroom or get some water, I’d double-check the camera and make sure that there was plenty of card space and battery life left and that nothing had gotten disturbed. That 36-hour marathon managed to capture an awesome sunset, a rainbow at sunrise, a full moon overlooking and lighting the scene, and a lot more. 

One of the great things about digital cameras is that you can get feedback far quicker. Don’t know how to expose for the above shot? Wait until it’s dark, then try an exposure. Wrong? Try a different exposure. 

I’m not afraid to experiment. I like it when reality throws me a surprise. I don’t learn if I keep doing the same thing the same way in the same place all the time. 

If you're wondering where the previous Teaching Points went, they're here.

© Thom Hogan 2015 — All Rights Reserved