• Read our review of the Samsung WB350F
  • Photoxels Tutorials - Fireworks
  • View QuickFact Sheet for the Fujifilm X-T1

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How Lenses Are Made

Sat July 5, 2014

We “discovered” this 2011 Discovery Channel video on how lenses are made. (The video refers to “television” lenses and the lenses are from JML Optical.) Though there are lots of marketing videos out there promoting this or that brand lens, they do not really educate much. This video, on the other hand, is more technical and gives an eye-opening explanation of how camera lenses are made, including the all-important electron-beam coating.

It seems to be a very manual endeavor and I wonder if it’s not much more automated these days. Anyways, it is very dependent on the people grinding the glass, polishing it and assembling it to make the finished product. After watching this video, it makes you want to handle your lens with a little bit more care, doesn’t it?

Tutorials, Videos

DIY: Build A $5 DSLR LCD Hood

Fri July 4, 2014

Most digital camera LCDs don’t fare too well in bright sunlight. The image displayed is washed out and it can be quite challenging composing on the LCD. If you have a viewfinder, it helps tremendously. However, when you are filming a movie, you do really depend a lot on the larger image displayed on the LCD. One solution to the washed out LCD in bright sunlight is to purchase an LCD Hood. If you do lots of filming in bright sunlight, the expense is fully justified. But, if you only do it occasionally, you may want to consider the following DIY option.

An LCD Hood is a cover for your DSLR’s LCD to block out the sun’s rays so you can have a clear unwashed view in bright light. Why spend $200 for an LCD hood when you can easily build one for around $5 from items you probably already have lying at home? In this Youtube video, user Knoptop shows how to build one.

From Knoptop

There are other designs out there but we found this one easy to understand and it seems to require less effort and no maths. ;) The one problem you may have is to find a container that is the right size for your LCD.


Shooting Mode Dial: Shutter-Priority AE

Thu July 3, 2014

The (Shooting) Mode Dial is the round dial sitting on the top of your camera, usually on the top right side (viewing from the rear). It has different settings marked on it, such as Auto, PASM, and perhaps C, SCN, etc., depending on your camera. Most beginners leave it on the Auto setting (in the picture above, it’s the iA setting), which tells the camera to go ahead and make all the exposure decisions for you.

Enthusiast photographers may opt to choose one of the other settings, usually one of the PASM settings, giving them more control over the exposure. In this article, we look at the Shutter-Priority AE shooting mode, what it is, why you would want to use it and a couple of practical ways how you can make use of it for more creative photography.

Continue Reading »


Five Ways Canadians Acknowledge the Poignant 1940 Photograph “Wait For Me, Daddy”

Thu July 3, 2014

This video presents “Stories from the Northwest: WWII – The Photo That Almost Wasen’t.”

  • The story behind, “Wait for Me Daddy.”

Wait for Me, Daddy, taken by Claude P. Dettloff, a Vancouver Daily Province photographer. British Columbia Regiment, (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles), marching in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, 1940.

Wait for Me, Daddy, taken by Claude P. Dettloff, a Vancouver Daily Province photographer. British Columbia Regiment, (Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles), marching in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, 1940.

“On October 1, 1940, Dettloff was photographing The British Columbian Regiment march down 8th Street enroute to battle overseas. In a random moment, Dettloff snapped a young boy, Whitey Bernard, escape his mother’s grasp and run towards his father marching off to war. Wait for Me Daddy became an enduring symbol of Canada’s WWII effort. The photo appeared on the cover of Life Magazine, was displayed in every school in BC during the war, was showcased in the Canadian war bond fundraising campaign with Whitey Bernard on tour, is the 2nd most requested photograph in the National Archives and is amongst the 30 most popular photographs in the world.”

The City of New Westminster

More so in this year than in those past years, Canadians will acknowledge the historical significance of this world-famous photograph by partially reproducing Dettloff’s photograph in five ways as follows.

Continue Reading »

Sponsored Post

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Tue July 1, 2014

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Celebrate Independence Day With Creative Fireworks Photography

Tue July 1, 2014

Most of us can shoot good fireworks pictures by simply pointing at the sky and taking a snapshot of the exploding cascade of colors. But after dozens, if not hundreds of such photos, you tire quickly of them. This is when it’s time to get creative with your fireworks photography: instead of simply shooting the fireworks themselves, consider shooting a landscape with fireworks in it.

You can choose recognizable buildings and scenery, or some element that looks interesting at night.

This means that you may have to scout the area ahead of time to find the right perspective and a composition that you like. You need an interesting foreground and/or background, and lots of unobstructed sky space.

When scouting a place, one thing that you may not consider that will ruin all your preparations is that, if it is a public place where a lot of people will congregate to watch the fireworks show, then you may have lots of people standing in front of you when the event starts, perhaps obscuring the scene you have so carefully composed earlier when the place was empty. So, some kind of higher ground may be preferable.


  • With fireworks photography, long exposures are common, and so a sturdy tripod is a must.
  • A small flashlight (or your cellphone plus the light app) can help you see in the dark to experiment and change settings on your camera.
  • Lens cap, a (black) card or hat/cap to put in front of your camera lens when the shutter is open and you are waiting for the next explosion to occur. Or, do as many of us do: use your hand (but do not touch the glass element of your lens for that wil leave a smudge that will get recorded).

Exposure Settings
If you have a point-and-shoot camera, chances are there will be a Fireworks scene mode that you can use. This will usually leave the shutter open for about 3 to 4 seconds.

With an Interchangeable Lens Camera, you have more options in choosing shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Remember that, if you include a scene in your picture, you are then exposing for the scene. You may want to choose a low ISO for the best image quality. This will also give you a longer shutter speed to record more than one fireworks explosion.

One important choice is whether you like to capture the trail and, if so, whether you prefer it to be fat or thin. This is where you decide on whether to use a big (fat trail) or small aperture (thin trail). I prefer to leave the trail out of my fireworks picture completely and expose only for the shimmering colors after the explosion.

I find the explosion itself too bright and it usually results in a big overexposed blob of light in the sky. By waiting just a second or so later after the explosion, I uncover the lens to capture the fully bloomed and falling sparks, then cover the lens and wait for the next explosion. This way, you are still exposing for the scene and capturing interesting fireworks without overexposing your shot.

Continue reading for more tips in our Fireworks Tutorial.


Happy Canada Day / Bonne fête du Canada!: Celebrate & Enjoy Photo Exhibits in the Capital on July 1, 2014

Mon June 30, 2014

This video presents “Happy Canada Day from Google Maps!”


As part of the Canada Day celebration on July 1, 2014, there will be four FREE photo exhibits in Ottawa, the Capital City of Canada.

Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Heroes: Photo Exhibit  / Nos héros olympiques et paralympiques canadiens – exposition de photos 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Arctic Exploring: Photo Exhibit  / Explorons l’Arctique : exposition de photos 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Location is Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa.
  • “See spectacular photos and explore the Arctic through this exhibition featuring the work of scientists in Canada’s Great North.
    • Join them aboard a sailing ship in the Arctic Ocean to discover how they study seabirds, orcas, and other wildlife; and learn why this work is so important.
    • Experience the Arctic like never before!”
  • Presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature in collaboration with Students on Ice and the Canadian Wildlife Service. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Canadian Museum of Nature: FREE general admission to the Museum’s “castle” on Canada Day!
    • Also, at the Canadian Museum of Nature there is the FREE Arctic Up Close: Outdoor Photo Exhibition
      • “Enjoy 10 beautiful photos of beloved Arctic animals, from a muskox pausing to enjoy the flowers to a sleepy walrus chilling on a bed of snow.
      • A leisurely stroll on the museum’s west lawn is a delightful way to encounter Arctic animals up close!”

Photo Exhibit – 2014 Canada Day Challenge  / Exposition de photos : le Défi de la fête du Canada 2014 10 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. 

  • Location is Jacques-Cartier Park, Ottawa.
  • “Using their creativity and imagination, youth from all across Canada took up the challenge to explore Canada’s history, culture, and identity and to discover what makes this country a truly special place.

Continue Reading »


A Beginner’s Guide to RAW File Format

Mon June 30, 2014

If you are just starting out in photography — or if you have used been shooting JPEG exclusively — and wondered just what shooting in RAW means, here’s a primer on it.

Understanding RAW File Format

When you take a picture in JPEG file format with your digital camera, a couple of things happen before the image is even saved to memory card:

  • The image sensor gathers the information from its photosites, converts it from analog to digital, and holds it for further processing. At this stage, the image data captured can be thought of as being “unprocessed” — or, RAW data.
  • If you have specified white balance, sharpening, contrast, saturation, filter effects, etc., these are applied to the RAW data.
  • If you have specified image quality and size, these are also applied to the RAW data.
  • The resulting image is a JPEG image, processed (“in-camera process”), and compressed, which is then written to your memory card.

After you have transferred the image from your memory card to your PC, you may decide to further process it (“post-processing”) in an image editing software, such as Photoshop. Most photographers will usually adjust levels and sharpen the image a bit.

Continue Reading »

Firmware Updates

Fujifilm Firmware Updates for X-Series Cameras

Sat June 28, 2014

Fujifilm has issued a number of firmware updates for their X-Series and fixed-lens cameras:

There are some fixes, support for new lenses and upgrades.

Click through the link for your camera to download the appropriate firmware update. As usual, you would want to read the instructions carefully before an update.

Our Latest Digital Camera Reviews

Samsung WB350F Review

Read our Samsung WB350F ReviewThe Samsung WB350F is a compact travel zoom camera with 21x wide-angle optical zoom, optical image stabilization, and pretty impressive Wi-Fi capabilities. It is elegant and well built, with the option to use control buttons or the touch LCD. Advanced users will appreciate the availability of PASM shooting modes.

[ Read more in our Samsung WB350F Review... ]

Panasonic FZ70 Review

Read our Panasonic FZ70 ReviewThe Panasonic FZ70 is currently the most powerful super zoom with a 60x optical zoom [20-1200mm equiv.]. It is paired with a very effective optical image stabilization that makes hand holding possible. It has also all the manual shooting modes you'd want. Find out if it's the ideal camera for you.

[ Read more in our Panasonic FZ70 Review... ]



Fujifilm X-T1 Review

Read our Fujifilm X-T1 ReviewThe Fujifilm X-T1 is beautiful, weatherproof, tough and inherits the DNA of the X-PRO1 with image quality that rivals and even bests that obtained from some enthusiast and top-end DSLRs. It features a huge and very high resolution OLED EVF, dual view display, focus peak highlight and Digital Split Image assist for manual focusing. It's fast and handles superbly with direct control dials.

[ Read more in our Fujifilm X-T1 Review... ]

Fujifilm X-M1 Review

Read our Fujifilm X-M1 ReviewThe Fujifilm X-M1 targets the beginner photographer desiring to upgrade to a traditional-mirrored DSLR and makes a convincing proposition to switch to a mirrorless DSLR instead. It retains the APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor that garnered high praises from professional photographers who judged its image quality as equivalent to, and even surpassing, that obtained with top-end DSLRs. A Mode Dial gives ready access to AUTO and Scene Modes to beginners while PASM modes and RAW modes are available to advanced users.

[ Read more in our Fujifilm X-M1 Review... ]


View all reviews in our Reviews Matrix


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