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Gadgets Photography Reviews

Review: Mastering the Nikon D600 by Darrell Young

Mastering-the-Nikon-D600_250pxIf you follow our website, you may remember that I really liked Darrell’s book on the D800. I have now purchased a D600, and read the new Mastering the Nikon D600 with a certain sense of déjà vu. the  D600 book is also a real winner! 

One of the things most people do when they get a new camera is… run out and take photos. Darrell is careful to point out that the first thing you should do is setup the camera to make sure it is going to function they way you want. Chapter 1 covers basic camera setup, and is a few minutes well spent going over the chapter with your camera in hand. Darrell then launches into all the menus of the camera… the playback menu, shooting menu, custom setting menu, and setup menu.

There is some real substance in every chapter, but I particularly like the explanations and depth in the shooting menu. Nikon has created user setting with U1 and U2 settings on the mode dial, and they can be tailored to your particular shooting needs. Also, a discussion of the D600’s ability to shoot smaller images than the native 24.2 megapixels… FX settings for shooting at 13.6 megapixels, or even 6.0 megapixels. This is something the D800 doesn’t do, and I’m happy that my D600 does. Are you shooting some images for eBay? You might well want to choose the small DX setting of a 2.6 megapixel image. Darrell points out that you’ll get the best images from the native sensor setting, but for special applications, you have the tools in your belt to shoot smaller images.

camera menusEver wanted to do time-lapse photography because you didn’t have an expensive intervalometer? Well, just flip to page 144 in the book and read all about how to do it with the D600 with no accessories required.

The retouch menu is geared for folks who want to create as much as possible “in camera” and minimize computer editing. There are a number of pretty cool editing effects available in the D600, and I still am a fan for certain images of the miniature effect. Follow the directions and you can make a cool image. Did you know you can even compare frames side by side to see the retouch filter effects? Yep. 

The “my menu” is something that is a boon to photographers – different from user settings, it allows you to store frequently used settings in a special menu section so you don’t have to wade through page after page of items – the shooting menu is vast! Darrell talks about using the my menu to the fullest in chapter 7. On my D600 in my menu, I have set up the top two items to be clean image sensor and virtual horizon. Have you ever tried the virtual horizon? It is most usable when the camera is mounted on a tripod, and the virtual horizon shows you which directions to move the camera to make it level. I loved my old Nikon F5 – great film camera, but Nikon decided to make the hot shoe tilt down 15 degrees, thus foiling any attempts to use a bubble level with it. So you can imagine how much I use this feature when shooting architecture.

Yes, there are more chapters covering metering, histograms, white balance, and autofocus modes and use. There are brief discussions on live view and a little more in depth discussion of the movie modes of the D600. Finally, one of the all-time greatest assets to a photographer is covered, in the chapter on using Nikon speedlights. Indeed, as Darrell says, “Light is a Photographer’s Friend!”…

The age of digital has made our tool sets so much greater than ever they were in film days. With the introduction of the Nikon D600, pros and amateurs alike have a tool that simply begs to make images. The perfect compliment for the D600 is Mastering the Nikon D600 by Darrell Young. Once again, Darrell has hit a home run. For a list price of $40, although quite a bit less on Amazon, you can have the ultimate reference work for your new camera. I highly recommend this book to you, Nikon D600 owner!

Mastering the Nikon D600
by Darrell Young
Rocky Nook / Nikonians Press
ISBN 978-1937538194 (pbk.)
Available on Amazon.comfor about $23,Kindle edition about $17.

Categories
apps Digital Lifestyles Gadgets iOS SDK iPad Reviews Workflow

(Review) ASKetch for the iPad

OK, I’m still playing with my iPad and loving it, and I found another software App that is a lot of fun. ASKetch by Andrew Kern is supposed to work with finger motions and strokes alone, and not be used with a stylus or pen tool.

I’ll tell you what it is supposed to do (and it does it very well). Let’s look at ASKetch as Mr. Kern meant it to be.

First, I’ll quote:

ASKetch is a simple black & white procedural sketching program for drawing with your fingers. It is designed from the ground up to take advantage of the multi-touch interface of the iPad and the iPhone, allowing you to forget about the tools and concentrate on your art. It stays out of your way so you can simply draw. It is perfect for both beginners and advanced artists; from figure drawing to cartoons to abstract masterpieces; easy to pick up and hard to put down.

Absolutely true.

Get on your iPad and run to the App store and read all about it, bearing in mind that it is NOT optimized for a stylus,, but sometimes I use one anyway when I want a very thin line and less shading. You have to use a stylus that is optimized for the iPad. Wacom makes one, and so does several other companies.  They’re priced from $13 to $30 on Amazon. The Wacom one is the most expensive of the choices at $30; but so far all that I have tried have worked properly.

But your finger does it as well. The controls are brought up by a two finger tap on the blank page of the app. The first line below is the normal “drawing page” which has five squares visible, and the drawing line (extreme left) active. The second line below is when the eraser is active.

Beginning with the pen tools facing to the left you will get a hard line; if you stroke across the pen tool to the left you will switch from a hard line to a soft, furry tone and the pen will face to the right as it appears in the second line of tools.. The rest of both lines of tools are pretty self-explanatory. There are some more subtitles so read all the instructions and see the demo video. But below is the short form.

Now, let’s draw a little bit. I’m using it for gesture drawing which is a kind of rapid sketching where the artist is supposed to capture the “feel” and proportions of a model or figure and do it in less than 15 seconds. Here’s some examples. Some of these are drawn with just a finger tip, and some are done with a stylus even though Mr. Kern wants you to work just with finger tips‚Äîand yes, you do get better tonality when you use only your finger.

Sketching with Fingers vs. Stylus

I said I wasn’t going to tell you, but here I am doing it. The drawing on the left was done strictly with the fingertip, and the drawing on the right was done with a Wacom Bamboo Stylus..

Here’s another drawing done with fingertips…

…particularly rolling the finger in the hair areas.

Now here’s one more drawing…

…remember each drawing is saved automatically into the total set of drawings each time you go to the saved area (the two mountains square) and select a new blank page. This drawing was done with my fingertip in less than 15 seconds. Its intent is to capture the essence and proportions of the figure.

Remember, the square that looks like two mountains hides the strip of saved images and gives you access to a new blank page each time you go to it. Once you have images saved into the sketchbook, all you have to do is hold a finger down on an image for a few seconds and this window will appear.

Saving the image selected into the photo album allows it to be reselected and emailed where-ever you want to send it.

Here’s three more sketches that Mr. Kern supplied me that I think are really worth showing that give you a look at what the App can do in the way of toning.

 

Read all the instructions to get all the strengths of the App under control because I have only touched on the surface of its possibilities; but I’m having so much fun I had to share the joy, and hope you’ll take a look at the app. Check ASKetch out on the App store for the iPad.

 

ASKetch by Andrew Kern

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad

$1.99

Website & Support: http://akernsoft.com/ASKetch/index.php

Categories
apps Gadgets iPad Workflow

(Review) Genius Scan: A Scanner App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

OK, I admit from the start that I am in love with my iPad2; but it is the availability of Apps for it that make it such a part of my current life.  I just encountered a new App that I think is going to be extremely useful in the future.  It’s an App called Genius Scan from Grizzly Labs that is intended for use on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

In short, it uses the back facing camera of the iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) to take an image that can be corrected and then mailed—that’s in the free version. In the paid (Genius Scan+ version @ $2.99) you can add mailing to Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. Well, you can switch to the front camera too if you want to send a picture of yourself, but it is the use of the rear camera that seems to me to make it so useful.

Take a picture with the camera button which appears once the App is selected, and the resulting picture can then be squared up and enhanced as color or black and white, and saved to a camera roll spot inside the iPad or mailed as a Pdf. Or .jpg.

Since I am always interested in the educational uses that my students might use, I am fascinated by the possibility of the student taking a picture of the whiteboards that are used in classrooms and saving the pictures or sending them as Pdf’s or .jpgs by mail so that they could be studied later.

Some fifty years ago I had a math class in which the professor wrote equations with his right hand and erased behind himself with his left hand.  The frustration that I felt as I tried to follow and master the equations could have been avoided if I could have taken pictures as he wrote.  I can see the usage for this App in student hands today. And more…recipes can be copied; menus, receipts, and sharing class notes—all of these are possible and easily done.

There’s much more that can or could be said, but my own recommendation is for you to check out Genius Scan (and Genius Scan+) at Apple’s App store and see if a version of the App won’t be of use to you. Grizzly Labs has grabbed my attention with this App.

 

Get it:

Genius Scan (free version) at the AppStore

 Genius Scan+ differs from Genius Scan with no ads and upload to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs. 

Genius Scan Website 

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Reviews

I’m Loving My Magpul iPhone Field Case!

DigitalAppleJuice.com is a great place to talk about all things Apple. And, digital imaging. And how you create artwork in the digital age. And… well, you get the point. So I decided to devote a few paragraphs to a new product I found for the iPhone.

Photo by Britt Stokes

I recently ordered some items from a retailer in California. While on their website, a new item caught my eye – a Magpul brand case for my iPhone 3G (they also make a case for the iPhone 4). I was intrigued… Magpul is famous in the military community for making tough, reliable products. I decided to try one out.

I had been carrying my phone in a disappointing “carbon” case from the Apple store… two piece slip-over design to protect the back and front edges (around the glass) of the iPhone. This set me back $34.95. Within two weeks of getting it, the “chrome” topstrap was already broken. Your mileage may vary, but I was pretty disappointed.

So yesterday I got my package from the brown truck of happiness… and there was my new Magpul phone case. I immediately threw the old case in the trash, and slipped my phone it the new case. It fits perfectly. Really. No slop, no soft rubbery-stuff to start loosening up in a few days. The military-grade synthetic rubber cushions the phone. It has button covers for the volume control and top control switch (on-off). The camera lens has a nice little window, the headphone jack is easily accessed, and the ring/mute button is uncovered. The standard Apple charger I use at my bedside clicked right into place.

Photo by Britt Stokes

Today I realized that carrying the phone in my pocket is easier with this new case – the old case was very slick, and shifted around in my pocket constantly. Also, it was so slick on the sides that I dropped the phone a few times. The new Magpul case is tactile enough to be very easy to hold, and has a few strategically placed ridges on the sides and back to aid in grip.

The case colors available are black, flat dark earth, olive drab green, foliage, orange and pink. And now, for the very best part… the case is designed and manufactured in the USA, and suggested retail price is just $9.95.

All in all, I think I’m in love.

You can see more at www.magpul.com under Miscellaneous Accessories  or go directly to the product page. I bought mine at www.botachtactical.com, or find it at other merchants.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Workflow

HD Flip Into Action

A Review of the Flip Slide HD by Eron Howell

Flip into action, shoot your quick video, flip it up to utube or share with a friend on the easy to use Flip Slide HD, 16 GB, video Camera. Yes, the new Flip HD video camcorder is easy to use, has good HD quality for such a small camera, but has some serious drawbacks.

When shooting your video you have little to no controls, very few settings, so it’s basically a point and shoot camera. It can shoot up to 4 hours of HD quality video. The literature says 4 hours “continuously”, however it often goes into “freeze” mode and stops recording, then loses segments.

Flip support did tell me how to unfreeze the camera by holding the power button for 10 seconds, but they didn’t say I’d lose video and I did. After freezing up several other times, another call to tech support revealed a reset button that you insert a pin into, this worked much better.

With 4 hours of continuous shooting, you’d think the camera would not have to be recharged during that time but, I had to recharge the battery during the middle of shooting.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Photography Workflow

Awesome Iphone Real World Application

[vimeo clip_id=”15091562″]

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Video from an iphone attached to a weather balloon that rose into the
upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.

Visit www.brooklynspaceprogram.org for all the info.

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Photography

Review: Lens Baby Control Freak

Serendipity” is the way to describe a recent interaction between myself and a colleague of mine. It produced several interesting photographic days for me.
You know:

ser·en·dip·i·ty [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.

I had just written to Britt Stokes to comment upon the Lensbaby article that he had written and his response was to inform me that he had just dropped my name to the Marketing Manager of the Lensbaby company to suggest that I might enjoy reviewing one of their specialty lenses. He knew me too well; of course I would enjoy it.

Categories
Gadgets Software Workflow

Enjoy Your HD Media on Your Iphone and Computer with Libox

Ran across a new app for both your computer and iPhone that will allow you to share and experience all high quality media for free! That means: no price tags and no limits on how much HD media users can share with friends and family. I love this, as many of my media sharing apps put limits on how much I can upload and how large my files can be. Freedom is great, especially when it’s free!

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets

iBroadway App for the iPhone

Broadway Goes Mobile!

Wicked, Chicago, Lion King, Mamma Mia! Whether you live in the city or just visiting, we’re all suckers for a little Broadway action! I’ve been amazed at seeing the mile long lines just waiting to get discounted tickets to one of these shows. Now, you can get reviews, showtimes, dates, ticket prices and even discounts in seconds with this handy app.  Check out the following press release for details and a link to your copy of iBroadway.

Zumobi Launches The iBroadway App for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Zumobi, in a partnership with Art Meets Commerce (AMC), a leading producer of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, to launch the iBroadway App for the iPhone and iPod touch. With the hit Broadway musical, FELA! as a launch sponsor, the iBroadway App expands the famed theater district’s reach and provides exposure for Broadway’s premium sponsors across the mobile platform. The iBroadway app promotes the music and drama of Broadway while engaging with fans everywhere at anytime.

iBroadway, users now have information about new and favorite Broadway shows at their fingertips.

Categories
Featured Gadgets Media Software

Ironman Central by Zumobi

Have a little thing for the “Man in Red”? Wait no longer, die hard Marvel fans, with a little help from Zumobi, there’s an APP for that!

Although there are members of my household, dying to get their hands on this bad boy, I have not yet had the pleasure of testing it out. However, I was able to get a little sneak peak into the highly anticipated game and we are definitely looking forward to it’s release. Here’s what Zumobi has to say about it…

Marvel Launches Iron Man Central, the New iPhone and iPod Touch Application on The Zumobi Network

[slidepress gallery=’zumobi-ironman’]

Zumobi, a leading mobile media company, and Marvel Entertainment recently announced the launch of Iron Man Central, the official Iron Man application for the iPhone and iPod touch. In anticipation of the biggest movie release of the year, IRON MAN 2, the Iron Man Central app provides fans new and old with an immersive experience into the world of the Super Hero everyone’s talking about.

“The first IRON MAN film was extremely successful due to the incredibly loyal and passionate fan base. In anticipation of IRON MAN 2, we wanted to bring additional content to Iron Man fans and moviegoers, and could think of no better way than to bring it to a mobile app,” said Ira Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group. “We believe this app gives users an even more complete Iron Man experience by delivering news, videos and exclusive wallpapers, as well as special character profiles. And if you want to find show times for IRON MAN 2, this app will do that for you, as well.”

Using Iron Man Central, fans have access to all things Iron Man from his origin, to current news, exclusive wallpapers, video content, direct links to Iron Man content on iTunes and more. With a stunning user interface modeled after the hologram interface inside Iron Man’s suit, fans discovering Iron Man Central will be blown away by ease of use and navigation. The app also allows fans to purchase movie tickets through the app itself, so no fan misses a single showing of IRON MAN 2. The app also arrives with two free wallpapers and additional wallpapers are $.99.

Iron Man Central seamlessly integrates with users’ e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts, allowing them to share exciting new Iron Man content with friends and family.

“Marvel is a forward-looking organization that is well positioned to take advantage of the amazing new possibilities available in the mobile channel,” said Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi. “By combining Marvel’s bold and unique visuals with the iconic character of Iron Man and Zumobi’s content-rich app format, we have the opportunity to offer moviegoers and fans an extension of the film experience. We’re thrilled to expand the Zumobi Network’s entertainment channel with this highly valuable property.”

Iron Man Central is available for free on Apple’s App Store and as a part of The Zumobi Network, the leading publishing partner for top media companies. It can be downloaded HERE.

Categories
Featured Gadgets Photography

Digital Camera Infrared Conversion- Part 2

I recently wrote about my newly converted Nikon D200 body. I have since been on a trip to Acapulco, Mexico, and have shot over 1,500 images with the new body. Here are my impressions so far.

First, this conversion by Isaac Szabo uses an excellent filter (the infrared filter replaces the high-pass filter over the sensor inside the camera). The infrared images are wonderful, far better than any I got with my previously converted SLR. There is more color in evident in some of the images. With Isaac’s provided Photoshop action, the red and blue channels are swapped making very interesting images that retain the infrared look, but with more conventional looking skies in many cases. The action also has provided an excellent black and white conversion as well, you just have to activate the layer.

Skin tones are rendered very nicely. I shot a lot of candid portraits that look great. I shot most of my images at ISO 200 and got hand-holdable exposures, where I almost always had to shoot at ISO 500 to ISO 800 on my old conversion. The D200 has great characteristics to start with, and its current price point on the used market makes it a perfect infrared conversion choice… 10 megapixels makes a great 13×19 or larger print!

I recommend Isaac’s conversion… look at my images, and the images on his website. Then, decide which camera you want to convert, and start making infrared images!

[slidepress gallery=’infrared-sm’]




Want to see these images bigger?  Click here. Its worth the bandwidth…

Categories
Featured Gadgets Software

Evernote for your iPad

Okay Mac addicts, if you’re still debating the necessity of Apple’s new iPad, I know how you feel. Heart telling you “GO GET IT”, head asking “DO YOU REALLY NEED THIS?”

Well, playing for the heart team, Evernote, has given you just one more reason the iPad can be handy for just about everyone. Here is what the iPad and Evernote, together, can to do keep your life organized on the go…

Evernote for the iPad