Why is an all-in-one zoom right for you?

An all-in-one lens provides an upgrade over your standard kit lens, allowing the user to have a single lens for multiple uses. The flexibility of an all-in-one means you will be carrying less in your bag because they will cover such a large range. Everything from normal wide-angle, to portrait, to long telephoto can be captured with a single lens. When looking for an all-in-one lens, it’s best to plan for how you are wanting to use it, and what your budget is. At Richmond Camera, we stock more than a few options for most brands. Giving the user the best bang for the buck.

For Canon and Nikon user there are many options from multiple brands. Canon and Nikon both make all-in-one lenses that will cover normally from 18-200mm and in some cases out to 300mm. These lenses will start at $649 and go up to just under $1000 for Nikon’s 18-300mm. For someone looking to save some cash, Tamron provided the best bang for the buck over Canon and Nikon. Tamron has three options that start at $249 and go up to $649 for their new 18-400. The 18-400 is currently the longest all-in-one lens on the market. Covering a range of 28-600 after the crop. Unlike most of your branded lenses, the Tamron 18-400 is dust and weather sealed, making it the perfect travel lens, it also provides a 1:2.9 Macro which is fantastic for any non-macro lens, muchless a lens that covers this much range.

With Olympus, they make a 14-150mm lens which is also dust and weather sealed. This lens starts at $599 and covers a range after crop of 28-300mm. Tamron also makes a 14-150mm for Olympus which starts at $399. Fuji currently does not offer an all-in-one that zooms out to 200mm. They do make an excellent 18-135mm that is dust and weather sealed that starts at $899.

This all of these options it can be hard to choose. If you are looking for an affordable upgrade over your kit lenses, the Tamron 18-200mm is an excellent choice. If you are a budding travel photographer and need a bit more of a wide angle with great reach, the Tamron 16-300mm may fit the bill. At 16mm it will provide a 24mm after the crop and will zoom to 300mm or 450mm after the crop. The 16-300mm provides some weather and dust sealing and has a decent macro capability.  If you need the ultimate all-in-one the Tamron 18-400 is the best choice. It provides outstanding image quality for landscapes, macro, wildlife, and portraits. This holiday season if you are looking for a zoom for all occasions, stop in to your local Richmond Camera.

Sunny 16

Sunny 16, is a rule as old as photography itself. It allows you to make a correctly exposed photo based solely on available light. This technique will work on digital and film cameras giving the user a simple but easy means of exposure. This rule will allow you once mastered to shoot and almost any lighting situation with any camera, including those without light meters. As I mentioned in a previous blog post there is no substitute for a good handheld meter. But understanding Sunny 16 will help when that meter is not available. Sunny 16 will breathe new life into vintage film cameras and will help you hone your skills on digital. 
    
Sunny 16 is an aperture based control dependant on ISO and available sunlight. So picture a bright sunny day, little to no cloud cover. In this case, ISO will determine shutter speed. If you start with 100 ISO film your base shutter speed will be a 1/100. If you load 400 ISO speed film your base shutter speed could vary depending on the camera. But you will always try to match ISO and shutter speed. So 400 ISO should match 1/400 shutter speed, if the camera that you are using only has 1/500 use that, if it stops at 1/300 use that. If your camera does not have anything above 1/200 you should not be using 400 ISO film unless the aperture goes to f/22.    

You grab your Kodak Pony from your bag and load a fresh roll of Delta 100. To get a correctly exposed photo the aperture needs to be set at f/16 and the shutter speed at 1/100. This photo will be perfectly exposed. If more shutter speed is needed drop the aperture by one stop to F/11 and this will double the shutter speed to 1/200. If freezing action is key, from f/11 drop down to f/8, and raise the shutter to 1/400. Using the Kodak Pony as an example it has a shutter speed range of 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300. It was not designed for high-speed photography, so a 1/300 shutter speed is its max. Only having 1/320 is not an issue with film being flexible it will overexpose the image by ⅓ of a stop. This will still make a usable photo. 
    
    With bright light taken care of, what happens when the sun starts to fall or it becomes shady/cloudy. With Sunny 16 you start at F/16 when sunny. So as it becomes cloudy with the bright sun you will drop the aperture to f/11 keep the shutter speed at 1/100 and shoot. This will create a correctly exposed photo. Again to get more shutter speed you can drop the aperture by one stop to f/8 then your shutter speed will rise to 1/200. With full cloud cover start at f/8 and with full dark overcast with the gloomiest of gloom looming overhead, set the aperture at F/5.6. The shutter speed will remain at 1/100. Another gauge for Sunny 16 is to look at shadows, distinct shadows start at F/16, soft shadows F/11, shadows that are very light and barely visible F/8, and no shadows what so ever F/5.6. To over or underexpose you would just need to shift either the aperture or shutter one stop. Only change one. At 100 ISO, F/16, and 1/100 shutter to brighten the scene change aperture to f/11, or change the shutter speed to 1/50. To underexpose at 100 ISO, F/16, at 1/100 change the aperture F/22 or change shutter speed to 1/200. 

    For night photography with the Sunny 16 rule, I bend the rules a smidge. I set my shutter speed based on my ISO, so if you are shooting 100 ISO film you would set your shutter speed at 1/10 and set the lens to the widest aperture. That shutter speed is too slow for people but will work with static objects. 400 ISO film would give you a 1/40 shutter speed and 800 ISO would be 1/80. This will allow for any artificial light to fill the frame but will yield hard shadows. 

Sunny 16 Sunny Sun/Cloud Cloudy Full Shade/Cloudy
ISO F/16 F/11 F/8 F/5.6
100 1/100 1/100 1/100 1/100
200 1/200 1/200 1/200 1/200
400 1/400 1/400 1/400 1/400
800 1/800 1/800 1/800 1/800

For bright light, high speed photos start with a Sunny 16 base, this chart only applies if it is a bright sunny day with hard shadows. 

Sunny 16 High Speed
ISO F/16 F/5.6 F/4 F/2.8
100 1/100 1/800 1/1600 1/3200*
200 1/200 1/1600 1/3200* 1/6400*
400 1/400 1/3200* 1/6400* N/A**
800 1/800 1/6400* N/A** N/A**

* This shutter speed is only available on select film cameras
** This shutter speed beyond 1/6400 is only available on select professional models or modern digital camera with electronic shutters. 

Sunny 16 400 ISO f/16 1/500 with a Canon VT 

Bright sunny day with harsh shadows, I could have brightened the shadows by dropping the aperture to f/11

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Sunny 16 400 ISO f/8 1/500 with Olympus Pen-FT
    Aperture was dropped due to bust being in a shadow. 

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Sunny 16 100 ISO f/16 1/100 with Olympus Pen-F

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Sunny 16 100 ISO f/5.6 1/100 with Olympus Pen-F 

Sun setting with some light in the sky, I could have brightened the crane and foreground by dropping the aperture to f/4. 
 

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Why a macro lens should be in your bag.

Why a macro lens should be in your bag. 
When starting out with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera the easy option is to start with a kit lens. This lens will provide you with a basic wide angle and telephoto. It will work in most general photographic situations but can limit your creativity. A macro lens will be sharper, gather more light, and allow for closer focusing. You may ask what about a non-macro prime, yes those are great options. But if you need a combination of reach, detail, and speed a macro is hard to beat. 
Macro lenses traditionally allow for a closer focusing range. This additional range will allow the lens to magnify the scene in most cases to a 1:1. This 1:1 magnification shows detail in a true to life manner. Basically, if you take a picture of a penny at 1:1, at roughly 18mm across it will project an image of the penny on your camera's sensor and the same measurement. This 1:1 magnification will only happen at its closest focusing. There are some lenses that will say macro or will advertise them as a macro capable. Yes, they will provide a closer focusing than a standard lens, but will not provide the magnification of a true macro. 
Another thing that macro lenses do well is gathering light. With your common macro lenses, the aperture at minimum is a F/2.8. If compare the Tamron 90mm macro to the basic Nikon zoom the Tamron allows for 2 stops more light gathering. When shooting sports inside this can be extremely helpful. By allowing more light to come into the camera, the camera can shoot at a faster shutter speed, freezing motion. To get a lens that will allow for a 2.8 aperture at 90mm you will be spending at minimum $650 more.  Another benefit of a 2.8 aperture is BOKEH. This is the blur in the background, creating those dreamy portraits. 
For me, a macro gives flexibility that a standard prime can’t. It allows for close focusing for detail, flowers, bugs, small items. It's great for portraits allowing me to deliver sharp focus and a soft background when needed. At Richmond Camera we carry a  handful of different options for macro lenses, starting at a variety of price points. 

Tamron 90mm 2.8 SP Macrofor Canon and Nikon
This lens offers a true 1:1 focusing range, is weather and dust resistant and comes with a powerful vibration control system to allow for handheld shooting.

Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro
This lens offers a true 1:1 focusing range, is weather and dust resistant and features Canon’s image stabilization. 

Nikon 40mm 2.8g AF-S DX Macro
This lens offers a true 1:1 focusing range, allows for a 6.4-inch close focusing. This lens is the perfect fit for a beginner. 

Fuji Fujifilm 60mm 2.4 Macro
Not a true macro, but offers 0.5x magnification, giving the user a nearly true macro experience. 

Olympus 30mm 3.5 Macro 
Not a true macro, but offers a 14mm focus range that allows for an extremely detailed image of small items. 

Olympus 60mm 2.8 Macro
This lens offers a true 1;1 focusing range, it is dust and weather sealed and gives the user like most professional macro lenses a focus limiter, and a switch for quick 1:1 shooting. 

Here are a few macro samples for your enjoyment. All taken with an Olympus E-M10 with the Olympus 60mm 2.8 Macro.