A Look at the Weeylite Sprite 20 Light Kit

The Impressively Light Lights for Photo and Video

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:30 PM

If you are new to photography or videography, it is easy to overlook the importance of lighting in producing truly great results. Advances driven by machine learning photography from Apple and Google are seriously reducing the utter necessity of lighting in many situations, but if you are aiming for the best quality video, pushing your live stream into pro territory or leveraging light for artistic photography, lighting gear is your friend. And an affordable set from the maker of Viltrox lenses is a really good way to get started.

The Canon EOS EF-M

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:11 PM

This looks exactly like the sort of exciting compact bodied interchangeable lens camera that I have been hoping to see from Canon. While there may end up being disadvantages to using a full APS-C sized sensor in this body with regards to how small the EF-M lenses can be made, the fact that this camera shares a sensor with the EOS Rebel T4i also makes it a theoretically more capable than most of its peers. Assuming that the production version fixes some of the bugs that the press ran into with the early samples yesterday, I think this could prove to be a camera that any Canon EF system user will be mightily tempted by.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:42 AM

Engadget reports,

C-Mount lenses (commonly used on 16mm film cameras) have already found a bit of new life on Micro Four Thirds cameras thanks to adapters, and it look like the compact lenses are now also found another fan in the form of Japanese camera manufacturer Kenko. It's now showing a new compact camera that will apparently accomodate C-mount lenses directly, and be available in Japan this summer for [yen] 32,000, or about $370 (it's not clear if that includes any lenses).

A new camera line with a not new mount. Intriguing.

Plenoptic is Plenty Intriguing

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:35 AM

Mike Prospero reports on something intriguing from Adobe.

After giving a brief demonstration during the keynote address at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference, Adobe went into more detail about computational photography using plenoptic lenses, a method of taking pictures so that any part of a photo can be brought into focus after the fact.

My camera wants one.

Photo Labeling

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:18 AM

Dennis Powell writes:

The old cliche is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes it is. But experience suggests that most of the time a picture without a few words is not good for much.

So true.

Photo Fun

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:14 AM

I went through the last few years of my photos tonight, gathering some pictures my mom wanted for a project. One of the joys of digital photography is just how easy going through photos can be. It was fun revisiting a lot of happy memories from the past few years.

It is amazing how just a few photos of a given moment or event can bring so many other details back in mind. In many ways, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Getting Organized

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:56 AM

After years of letting my digital photo collection get out of control, I've spent today organizing it. I have a ways to go, but I've managed to at least bring some order to my 60,000+ photos. It feels great to see them in some semblance of order. :)

Photo Milestones

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:33 AM

I put cameras through their paces. My last camera, a Sony DSC-H1 12x superzoom, has taken well over 23,000 pictures in the last two years or so that I've owned it. I made the jump to a Canon DSLR about six months ago, and my EOS 40D has now served up 6,400 images of its own. Even my iPhone has taken 305 pictures during its last year of service. In all, iPhoto catalogues 43,715 photos and 276 movies for me.

I was talking to a friend who spent years as a film photographer and he remarked what a milestone it was to pass 5,000 photos on a camera back in the film era. It is amazing to think just how different things are now. I have a jar of old film that never was developed because of the cost of developing 35mm or APS film (especially the latter). Now, it hardly costs anything to take pictures. I've been taking most of my shots as of late in Raw so that I can submit them to a stock photography seller who said he would try to sell them for me. Assuming my camera lasts just 100,000 shutter cycles with me saving every image in an approximately 10mb Raw file that is then stored on my primary hard disk and an external backup drive (courtesy of Time Machine), I figured the total cost of taking and storing photos comes out to just over a penny a shot. That's with the photos backed up even! Remember how much double prints used to cost?

A penny per shot, camera wear and tear included, and almost all of that very small cost is from the cost of storing the photos. What a marvelous era it is to be a shutterbug! :)

Sony's α is going to be an Α soon.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:46 AM

Wow, Sony is really getting serious with their α (alpha) line of Digital SLRs. I've been predicting as much since they first released the A100 a couple of years ago, but if you are in the market for an SLR, check out the really impressive looking new A300 and A350. Both of them sound almost more exciting than the A700, despite the fact that they are in a lower part of Sony's product line. What a nifty sounding live view AF system — really, you should check these guys out.

When I was trying to decide which DSLR system to jump into last year, I had a really hard time resisting Sony's α (alpha) line. I decided when looking at the A700 that the Canon EOS 40D edged it out by a bit due to its better noise control and faster speed (and I've been very happy with my decision), but it's clear Canon and Nikon have some major competition coming from Sony, so do give them a look if you're shopping for a camera. :)

Question What kind of camera do you “shoot” with? Post your answer below, if you'd like. Right now, I'm dividing my shooting between the Canon, my Sony Cyber-shot H1 (superzoom) and my Apple iPhone (not the best, but I always have it with me). All have their good qualities that help getting the most — and best — pictures possible.

Help me raise $100 (or more) for the Huckabee campaign by giving a Buck for Huck here.

Cleaning up iPhoto

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:41 AM

Back in May of 2004, when I decided it was time to bail out of my messed up Fedora Core desktop and ended up landing in Mac OS X 10.3, I started playing around with iPhoto. After a few months, I embarked on copying thousands of photos from the past few years and putting them into the program. Unfortunately, I had been rather unorganized in this respect previously, and I ended up with a bunch of duplicates and not enough time to manually pick them all out.

Now, you're thinking, “seriously, Tim, what's so hard about finding a few duplicates and removing them?” Not much, if you're talking one trip's worth — although even that took a long time — but it is a major project when you have just short of 12,700 photos in your iPhoto library.

Enter Duplicate Annihilator. While I hated to pay $7.95 for a program that hopefully I'll only need to use once (although I may need to do so again — somehow I managed to bypass iPhoto's duplicate protection and end up with duplicates even on photos taken after I started using iPhoto), I bit the bullet. The program can do a number of checks to find duplicates, however I stuck with the default MD5 checksum method, which seemed pretty safe. After letting it go through my album for a little over two hours, it returned 1580 photos that were duplicates, marking each one as such in the photo's comment area.

I created a new iPhoto Smart Album that displayed only photos with that comment and then went through with a Finder window open to “spot check” to make sure Duplicate Annihilator had indeed only marked photos I could manually find a duplicate of. After I was mostly satifisifed, I used iPhoto to burn the duplicates to CD and then deleted them off of my hard disk. That brings my total library down to 11,112 photos checking in at 8 GB of space (13 movies are also in iPhoto, though I have more from my digicam that I took before iPhoto supported movies and have not yet added into my library).

It is good to try to clean things up, especially now that I've been taking photos at 3-5 megapixels (and hence each picture weighs in at between 850 KB and 2 MB). Until recently, I had been trying to economize on space by taking 1-2 megapixel images when I was just doing routine stuff. However, I have some really special photos I wish were at the highest quality possible, and, of course, there is nothing I can do about that. :( Given that I have close to have half terabyte of storage at my disposal, that seems silly. The practical bottleneck was my old camera's (the DSC-S75) support only for the old non-“Pro” Memory Sticks that only went up to 128 MB in size. Short of constantly swapping sticks, I had to weigh between quality and quantity of photos (even the four 128 MB sticks I own go quickly at that camera's full 3.1 MP quality). When a new Sony digicam went on sale recently, I upgraded (to the DSC-H1) and that allows me to use the newer Memory Stick Pro format. I have a 2GB Memory Stick Pro on order — via Amazon.com for only $129 — and that should clear up this long time annoyance. But, I digress. The long and the short of it is that I want to try to keep a closer eye on my photo organization; I take too many pictures to be messy about it.

Now that I'm organized and ready to go, I think I'll try to post some new shots online. I managed to get some really great bald eagle photos today in Winfield, MO at the Mississippi Lock and Dam No. 25. Maybe I'll post them tonight or tomorrow.