Roberts Raw!
Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Greenwood


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. "Auto" is more than a bad four letter word! It's the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to affect our final image. We'll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$125
When:March 3rd, 2015 - March 24th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Strange Brew Coffee house -Greenwood
4800 W. Smith Valley Road
Greenwood, IN 46142
Register Today


Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Jennifer Hall: 4 Week Fundamentals of Photography - Broad Ripple


This 4 week class is meant to get you started in understanding your camera. "Auto" is more than a bad four letter word! It's the wrong mode setting for you. Learn all about shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how we can change them to affect our final image. We'll teach you how to quickly find the exposure information for the photo you are about to take. Topics covered also include auto-focus, white balance and how to stop getting blurry pictures in low light. To get started in photography and learn the fundamentals, this is the course for you. Required equipment: DSLR camera.

Presented ByJennifer Hall
Cost:$125
When:March 3rd, 2015 - March 24th, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Dunkin Doughnuts - 86th Street
1216 West 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Register Today


Derek

Sigma's Global Vision Gets Wider with 24mm f/1.4 ART


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Sigma today has added another fast prime to it's ever-growing collection of incredibly well-regarded ART lenses. The 50mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 have both met with nothing but rave reviews for build quality, performance, and optical quality, and we've got a lot of faith this newest entry is going to keep that up. To that end, continuing to widen things up, we have the new 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A. Like its siblings it's a beefcake of a prime, certainly not one of the compact ones of yore. The 3.6" length and 77mm filter aren't too terrible though by modern lens standards, and while 23.5oz sounds quite hefty it does speak well of the amount of glass to be found inside the lens.

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A promise which is indeed followed through on by the specs, with 15 elements in 11 groups making up the optical formula. To go crazy, 9 of those elements are specialty glass (2 aspherical elements, 3 FLD low-dispersion elements, and 4 SLD low-dispersion elements.) We don't have any empirical testing on it yet, but the MTF charts from Sigma look promising:

401_mtfchartIt will of course be compatible with Sigma's USB dock for fine tuning your AF performance for your camera and style. In Canon and Nikon mounts, availability and price TBD. Check out more on our site:

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

 



Derek

Nikon Looks to the Stars with World's First Full-Frame DSLR for Astrophotography


d810a

File this under "Cool, but pretty darn niche," but Nikon has announced a new astrophotography camera based on the D810, and dubbed reasonably the D810A. It's the first astro-specific camera we've had since Canon discontinued the 60Da, and the first of its kind to bring full-frame to the table. Unless you spend a lot of time looking at the stars this isn't going to be a camera for you, because while there are a lot of fine tweaks to earn it that "A" most of them won't matter for general shooting, and one of the main ones will actually make the camera less than ideal for anything other than long-exposure night shots. That change being the biggest part, a modification to the IR filter letting more of the IR spectrum (656nm) needed for astro-photography in (at the cost of probably adding a pervasive red tint to normal old daylight photos where you don't need that extended range). Other changes include manual shutter speeds all the way up to 900 seconds (15 minutes) before you have to break out the bulb mode and a virtual preview for long exposures to help you get your composition and focus right. Before you spend 15 minutes on the shot.

Nikon provides this table to break down the difference between the D810 and the D810A, but the big take-away is still that unless you're just shooting stars, you just want the regular model. If stars are your thing though, this is going to be the ticket.

CapturFiles-20150241_1002

The D810A will be available in May, but Nikon doesn't have any pricing yet so stay tuned. If you're interested regardless of the future cost, check it out on our site:

Nikon D810A



Marc

Being Flexible...


Most photographers worth their beans know that unless you are shooting video, LED panels aren't going to provide you with enough light to shoot the kinds of still frames you can when you use Speedlights, or large studio heads. It's a given. Regardless of that fact photographers will admit that LED panels aren't going away which is why when the folks over at Roberts Camera called and asked if I'd like to play with some of these new Wescott Flex panels I said "Yea lets give them a shot". (See what I did there?)

xflex-led-westcott-daylight-3_2(Photo from Robert's Camera's Website)

First off I'll say as usual that I wasn't paid by Roberts or Westcott for this review and that I'm doing it for the sheer pleasure of being able to play with the newest toys first. With that said, I'll continue with the fact that the biggest issue I have with LED panels is that in my humble opinion they aren't bright enough. Simple as that. Sure, you are using a much slower shutter speed when shooting video (1/30th or 1/60th) as opposed to stills where you are all the way up to 1/8000th depending on the situation, but that's besides the point. The point is that a LED panel doesn't need to be crazy bright unless you're outside shooting where normally a reflector takes the place of a LED panel. When shooting video the LED panels can be great for just throwing some fill in, but they are nowhere near as portable as a good speedlight or reflector. Despite what you may think, a good set of LED panels can be heavy and cumbersome. NO, they are not heavy and cumbersome like a 500watt halogen, but they are still relatively bulky and you end up needing to sort out a way to transport all this stuff to and from location. Between the bulkyness and the brightness, those are some big problems for every day use on the go yea? Not so with the Westcott Flex.

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The Flex is only 5mm thin, and it's totally flexible. That means that it can be clipped or clamped to just about anything, as seen above and in the video below. I don't have a Gorilla pod, but I'd imagine that a gorilla pod adapted to mount a flex on it would be incredible. Not as a gorilla pod would normally be used mind you, but with the bendy flexy legs made to attach to the Flex unit, so that you can still mount it anywhere but you keep the flexibility of your flex panel. Put it in your backpack with your laptop and take it with you. Simple as that. Forget needing a carrying case or having to worry about the bulbs breaking or ect. There is a protective coating over the Flex that protects it from most things; including water. It's weatherproof rating is for lack of a better term more like Splash proof meaning that you wouldn't want to use it in a pool or run it through the dishwasher to clean it but I wouldn't worry about it if I was outside filming with it and it started to rain a bit. It goes from 5% power to 100% power which in total is 1900 lumens at a little over 3 feet. To put that into perspective, you see that florescent light you are more than likely sitting near? That's only 800 lumens. Not kidding.

JohnScottSigma

(Nikon D4s, 400ISO, Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art, 1/100th@F6.3. Nikon SB900 set to iTTL with a blue gel for the background tirggered by a Nikon SU-800 on the camera. Main light was the Wescott Flex using the 1/4 stop diffuser that comes with the kit).

Don't believe me on the brightness? Check out this video version of this blog which also illustrates how bright the Wescott Flex Actually is!

Shot with a Nikon D4s and a Sigma 35mmF1.4 Art. Camera controlled by the CamRanger for filming. Audio is only ok, for whatever reason my Rode Shotgun wasn't in its normal case so I decided to film without it.

So yea. I was shocked when I turned it on for the first time too. I have a great photo of my Shannon Grimacing when I turned it on for the first time to take a portrait of her to see how bright it actually was. I promised not to post it, which is why I can only recount the tale and reassure you it is quite the photo demonstrating brightness. The photos in this post however also describe how bright the Flex is considering the background light was a speedlight! That's right, the main light in the photos was the Wescott Flex, and the supporting light was a speedlight Speedlights! I also managed to keep the shots below 400ISO the whole time depending on what effect I wanted to achieve. (See the same shot above with different settings HERE). If I had to pick one and only one thing that you should be aware of if you are considering buying a Westcott Flex, it would be that the unit still requires some sort of household power. You can get away with using a Westcott Encore unit however, or other battery pack with a 12 volt outlet so it's not a big deal. The kit also comes with a waterproof 16' extension to the cables also giving you a lot more roaming around space. Until however there is a battery solution though, you will need to use the Encore or other outlet based power solution.

So the punchline is that the flex is a LED panel is here to stay, and in all honesty the first panel I'd consider adding to my kit. It's a beautiful piece of tech, and if you shoot video the fact that it's daylight balanced already should be a real selling point. If you're shooting video and want to snap some stills I feel like the Flex is finally to a point where photographers can consider just snapping away as they aren't going to need to crank their ISO into unheard of territory in order to get the shot at a reasonable quality. That's huge for newspaper folks who have to shoot still AND video on a regular basis.

If you're interested in a Westcott Flex follow the link to Roberts Camera here in Indy. (They also sell the Encore) Call, email or just go visit they are good people.

Otherwise, more soon.

 



Derek

Canon Brings the Resolution with New EOS 5DS Twins


20150205_hiRes_eos5dsr_combo

Well, we've all heard the rumors so we knew it was coming, and today's the day for it. Canon has come clean with the EOS 5DS and the EOS 5DS R, two megaliths of resolution with 50 megapixel full-frame sensors. Of course, you can't just more than double the resolution of a sensor without any consequences, and in this case the big thing to note is the 5DS twins are not gunning to be low light kings, their native ISO range is down to 100-6400 compared to the 100-25,600 range of the EOS 5D Mark III they build on. To that end, the 5D Mark III is going to remain in the line-up as the low-light choice, while the 5DS twins are best thought of as studio and landscape variants for people with more specific needs. Other than the ISO thing, Canon has done an admirable job keeping the compromises to a minimum in these new bodies. Dual DIGIC 6 processors will keep them humming along at 5 frames per second despite their currently-record-breaking resolution, although even on a UDMA7 card you'll see that top out at about 14 frames. There's still only so fast you can move 50mp worth of data after all. And, to make your decision between them and the 5D Mark III even harder, both sport the same stellar AF system debuted in the EOS 7D Mark II, with a 61-point AF system containing 49 high-accuracy cross-type points married to a 150,000 pixel 252-zone metering system.

Other than the giant bullet point of the sensor, the twins have only a few new features to offer over predecessors. Mostly small tweaks. There's a new customizable quick control screen for getting to settings you use often faster, and they are the first Canon's to offer time lapse video controls right in the camera (with programmable intervals from 1 second all the way up to just 1 second shy of 100 hours!).

The difference between the 5DS and the 5DS R is the same place Nikon was a few years ago with the D800 and the D800E. They are the same camera except the 5DS R effectively negates its antialiasing filter to maximize the possible resolution with the usual caveat of increased moire (but hey, thanks to Nikon breaking the ground here Lightroom has already provided a moire slider for years now, so, once it adds support for these you'll be good to go, right?).

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Oh, and hey, to go along with them Canon has also announced a shiny new EF 11-24MM F/4L USM super-wide angle lens. Didn't we just mention landscape photographers as an ideal market for these twins? Guess Canon thinks so too...

EOS 5DS

EOS 5DS R

EF 11-24MM F/4L USM



Derek

Olympus Announces OM-D E-M5 Mark II


E-M5MarkII_BLK_M1240_BLK_splashproof

Presumably looking to make a splash Olympus has announced the successor to their popular OM-D E-M5 today, uncreatively named the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. There's a note here that I should always spell it out as "Mark II" and not contract it. So, there you have it. It's the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Take note of that and make sure to get the hyphens all in the right place, there'll be a quiz later and the ridicule of your peers if you get it wrong.

Moving on.

E-M5MarkII_BLK_front

The OM-D line continues to be Olympus' pro-oriented line of 4/3 mirrorless bodies. They still sport the same 4/3 size 4:3 aspect ratio 2x crop factor sensors Olympus cameras have since they went digital, and still uses the smaller m4/3 mount that's probably the best supported mirrorless mount on the market.

CapturFiles-20150235_1202

And this is just the Olympus line-up. Panasonic, Sigma, and Lensbaby all also support this same mount

On paper most of the specs of the E-M5 Mark II don't differ much from the original. It's still a 16 megapixel LIVEMOS sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, weather-sealing, built-in wifi, yadda yadda. I suppose I could be boring and dwell on the fact that the rear display is now a vari-tilt model

E-M5MarkII_BLK_back_LCD-180_backside_tilt-low_M14-150-2_BLK

But, you'd probably rather hear about how the all-new 16mp sensor in this model can utilize that 5-axis image stabilization system to enable a 40mp high resolution mode, wouldn't you?

Yeah, I thought so...

Olympus seem to have taken a page straight out of Hasselblad's playbook and are using controlled sensor shifting and multiple exposures to yield a higher resolution picture without the consequences of squeezing more pixels onto the same chip (increased noise, decreased dynamic range, etc).  Unlike the Hassy it won't cost you $36,000 to play with this feature (though, I suppose, 40mp also isn't 200mp... let's just stop comparing apples to oranges now then...)

Other sensor improvements include dragging the native ISO range down to the curiously labeled "approx" 100, and still up at 25,600 on the top end. The shutter speed also gets a bump up to the proper 1/8000 and not the slightly less "ticks every box" 1/4000 of the original. It has received a minor bump from 9 to 10 frames per second, and a major bump in being able to shoot at the speed forever in RAW (subject to the card), and not just for 11-17 shots.

Oh, yeah, and remember how awesome the AF system was on the original? Well, it's got over double the points now, coming in at 81 areas and not 35.

Basically, the Mark II is a beast of a camera, especially for the $1,099.99 it's going to cost when it lands (body only in black or silver.) Hit the jump for more pretty pretty pictures, or the link below to go read more on our site and get your preorders in.

OM-D E-M5 Mark II

read more



Emily Cullar

New month. New prices. New savings.


Having money is pretty great. Buying really cool gadgets is great. What's a good combination of those two great things? Buying really cool gadgets for less, so you end up with more money than previously expected.

That's why I'm bringing a handful of good deals and price drops to your attention. This is by no means a thorough list of the great deals on Roberts website; that would be a ridiculously long blog post. Feel free to browse the website or call us during business hours if you need help finding the right deal.

Highlights in price drops

The Canon EOS-1D X Body has dropped $800 from $6799 to $5999. $800 can buy you a lot of things. You can buy 800 gold fish and start your own carnival event. Or, you could put that $800 toward purchasing the holy trinity of lenses: the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USMEF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM. (Bonus: Check out the mail in rebates on those lenses!)

The Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED has dropped it's $249 price tag to a very affordable $149. With that extra $100 in your pocket, you might want to think about picking up a bag. After all, you only have two hands and at least one of them should be holding a camera.

Highlights in instant savings news

If you're looking for a little extra light in your life (and are seeking something Canon compatible), the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT has a $50 instant savings this month.

Fuji rebates have returned! If you are interested in a mirrorless compact camera, the X-T1 and X-E2 are on sale through February, along with numerous compatible lenses. If you're more in the mood for a Fuji digital camera, the X30 and XQ1 are also on sale.

February also starts off with a $100 rebate on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and E-PL7, and a $200 rebate on Olympus OM-D E-m5 models. If you pick up a E-M1, E-M5, E-M10, E-P5, or E-PL7 this month, make sure to check out some of the compatible lenses. Many Olympus lenses will have a discount is purchased with one of these select camera bodies.

The Canon Powershot ELPH 340 HS now has a rebate of $50, lowering the price to $149.99.

Aquatech's Sensory Gloves are useful in the current winter weather and are now $10 off until March 31.

Panasonic is offering the Lumix DMC-GM1, DMC-GM5, DMC-GX7, and DMC-GH3 cameras with a $100 rebate.

 



Mark Wikkerink

Used Buying Guide: Canon 5D Mark II


If you are looking for a camera that is new to you, consider purchasing a Canon 5D Mark II. It is an excellent camera for shooting both photos and HD videos, and with all the features it has, it is a great bargain for those on a budget!

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The Canon 5D Mark II was introduced in 2008, and it immediately changed the photography world for the better. The reason? This camera was the first full frame DSLR to be able to shoot 1080P HD video.

Having such a large sensor (24×36mm) with the ability to record high quality video allowed many photographers (and cinematographers) to create dynamic, compelling footage using their existing canon EF mount lenses. Because of the large sensor, the camera operator can create footage that has very shallow depth of field using Canon prime lenses with large apertures.

Regardless of whether you are a photographer or cinematographer, the Canon 5d Mark II is a great camera to own – I know, I own one! It has a high megapixel count (21.1), 3.9 frames per second, a large 3.0 inch LCD screen, and 9 auto focus points.

There are a few downsides to this camera though, and if you can't live without these, check out the 5D Mark III, Canon 7D Mark II, or even the Canon-1D X

The biggest downside to the Canon 5D Mark II is while the 9 auto focus points do a good job, they aren't particularly amazing. In the successor to this camera, the 5D Mark III, Canon upgraded the auto focus system to include 61 auto focus points, 41 of those being cross type points. The 9 point system in the 5D Mark II was carried over from the original 5D, and while it performs well for portraits, landscape, weddings, or studio work, if you are a sports or action photographer, a more recent camera might be a better fit for you.

The other downside to the Canon 5D Mark II vs newer cameras is the low light performance. While it was greatly enhanced from the original 5D, newer Canon cameras have pushed the standard even higher, and can shoot at up 204,800 ISO, or higher!

Buying a used Canon 5D Mark II is a great idea for photographers who are just starting out but want something that will last a few years, and has most of the bells and whistles of the current crop of cameras. This camera is one of the best cameras for a portrait photographers, and you are getting a great camera for a low price!

At Used Photo Pro, we offer an 180 day warranty on all of our products (except those rated F or As-Is), as well as a 14 day exchange/return policy.

buy-used-5d-mark-ii

 



Walt Kuhn

Announcing a new class with Walt Kuhn: Free* Nikon D3100,3200,3300/D5100,5200,5300/D7100 Camera class


If you purchased your Nikon D3200/D3300/D5100/D5200/D7100 begin the process of learning how to use the camera to it's fullest. Learn what the buttons and dials on the camera do. You paid good money for your camera now let us teach you how to use it. Free to anyone who purchased a Nikon D3100/D3200/D5100/D5200/D7100 from Roberts. $30 to anyone who did not purchase the camera at Roberts.

Presented ByWalt Kuhn
Cost:$0
When:February 23rd, 2015 - February 23rd, 2015
Times:6-8pm
Where:Roberts Camera - Downtown
220 East St. Clair Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Register Today