Home Entertainment Speaker Buying Guide

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There are a few things to take into consideration when shopping for speakers. First and foremost, you need to consider the size of your space. For the most part, large spaces require large speakers, and inversely, smaller spaces are best served with smaller speakers. Speakers too small for a room can sound tinny and diminutive is a cavernous space, while speakers too big for a room can will overwhelm the space. Other things to take into consideration is the type of system you want to put together, your personal taste, and budget.

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JBL Arena 125C 5.5″ 2-Way Passive Center Loudspeaker

Before making any decisions on the speakers you’re going to purchase, you first need to determine what you want out of a speaker system. Are you looking to put together a multi-channel home theater system, complete with a receiver capable of decoding object-based surround sound technology like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X? Perhaps, you want a small stereo system, or even a soundbar. Regardless of what kind of system you’re looking to put together, the good news is that there is an ideal solution for you, and hopefully this guide will help you in the decision-making process.

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Things We Love: Reflectors

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

digital cameras best photo sharing

If I had to recommend one accessory to photographers getting started with portraits, it would be a reflector, over and over and over. Cheap—especially by photo-gear standards—and extremely versatile, reflectors are matched only by gaffer tape on the scale of photographic utility. Depending upon your needs, they come in all shapes and sizes, from hulking 5 x7-foot behemoths to dainty 1-foot-diameter discs.

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A well-placed reflector can go a long way, improving the quality of a photograph. Collapsible reflectors offer the added benefit of flexibility, allowing you, or an assistant, to carefully bend and bounce light onto your subject with precision. The creative possibilities offered by a bright window working in tandem with a reflector or two never ceases to amaze. On the other hand, if you prefer shooting in remote locations, packing a few reflectors is much more convenient than hauling a lighting kit to the top of a mountain or the middle of the tundra.

Many portable reflectors use a flexible metal frame with a translucent fabric as a base support along with multiple sleeves (silver, gold, etc.) that can be used to cover and change the character of the light being bounced. This translucent material can be used not only to bounce light but also as a diffuser to reduce harsh outdoor lighting when positioned between your model and the sun. In studio, these sets are equally useful for bouncing or diffusing light sources, as well as shaping or blocking ambient light.

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Things We Love: Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Am I alone in having such strong tactile preferences that they guide purchase decisions for me? In the world of threaded cable releases, one—the Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release—stands alone, not for its diverse functionality or plethora of technological capabilities—they all do the exact same thing—but simply because of the way it feels.

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Nikon AR-3 Threaded Cable Release

Growing up, before I was a photographer, Dad was the family shooter and he had a cable release for his Leica. It worked well enough, and, knowing Dad, it was, if not a made-in-Germany piece of precision engineering, an actual Leica-branded cable release that cost a lot more than the competitions’. However, I never remember the actuation of the mechanism feeling good to my fingers.

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Gepe Metal Weave Covered Cable Release with Disc-Lock – 20″

For years, with my Nikon N6006, I used a generic release. Those years were OK, but, you know, the generic cable release didn’t make my annual summary of “things that felt good.”

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Things We Love: The Sony a9

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After working with a combination of the Sony a7R II and a7S II for years, switching out as the scenario dictated, I was surprised by how well the a9 managed to replace both of them as the most used camera in my arsenal. When I first reviewed the a9, when it was released, I was impressed with its performance, but a sports camera isn’t exactly the primary thing on my list when most of my photos are of food and the other half of my work is video. However, after using it for a bit, I was convinced that this was a must-have due to the vast number of improvements over the older models.

There were two main enhancements that sold me: the battery and the viewfinder. These gave me two “finally!” moments during shooting. The first was that I could go out for a day on a single battery without any worry that I would have some juice left at the end of the day, and the second was that this viewfinder was among the sharpest and clearest I had every used (I still think the Leica SL takes the crown here). These two simple-sounding ideas really made the a9 a go-to camera for me, and with the huge boost to low-light performance with the 24MP Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor, it could even keep up with the a7S II for video.

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Regarding video, I made a choice to replace my a7S II, which was made easier by the fact that I still have an a7R II and a6500 to rely on for video jobs. The a9 was a better choice for having in my bag at all times and shooting quicker video, where I don’t necessarily need to use S-Log and all the supporting gear that may require. Shooting neutral and then applying a slight grade later on is perfectly acceptable for on-the-fly shooting, and the a9 made it easier for me to focus on that ability rather than lament the lack of a picture profile. And, it still has super-sharp UHD 4K video, thanks to down-sampling of the full sensor—and the stacked architecture means the a9 has the least rolling shutter of any of Sony’s full-frame models.

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Things We Love: Kodak Tri-X Black-and-White Film

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In the 78 years that Kodak Tri-X has been in existence, there have been finer-grained or faster films available, as well as films with more exposure latitude, better contrast, and even better tonality—but none of them have the signature look and the history of Tri-X.

Tri-X was originally released in 1940 as a 4 x 5″ sheet film, followed by 35mm and 120 roll film versions, in 1954. It wasn’t long before the name Tri-X became synonymous with black-and-white photography. Despite the industry-wide downsizing of analog film production in recent years, Tri-X continues to be available in a range of formats that include 35m and 120 rolls, and 4 x 5, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10″ sheets. It’s even available as 8mm and 16mm motion-picture reversal film.

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digital cameras best photo sharing

I was first introduced to Tri-X in high school and, when I began my career in photography, I typically carried two camera bodies—one loaded with Kodachrome and the other with Tri-X. Between the two, I was covered, regardless of what or where I was working.

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Things We Love: Using Classic Lenses on Modern Digital Cameras

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Although I’ll always be a film photography enthusiast, one of the things I love about digital cameras is the ability to create a more classic look by adapting vintage glass to DSLR and mirrorless models. Shooting with the optics of yesteryear opens you up to a world of alternatives, some of which are no longer made and, some of which, in my opinion, rival their modern counterparts. While there are modern lenses that offer advantages and improvements, photography isn’t always about maximum sharpness, intense contrast, super saturated colors, and perfectly controlled halation and flares. Sometimes, you want a look that has the edge taken off and doesn’t scream “digital.”

One of my favorite lenses to adapt is Canon’s FD 35mm f/2 SSC, which was made from March 1973 through April 1976. It features a concave front element, but what makes this lens truly unique is its design utilizes radioactive thorium elements to increase the refractive index while maintaining low dispersion. Not only is it very sharp, even wide open, but it renders images with a warmer color balance. Another personal favorite is the Meyer Optik Görlitz Primoplan 58mm f/1.9, an M42 lens that was manufactured in East Germany between 1952 and 1959. Although 58mm is an unusual focal length, its 14 aperture blades create some unique bokeh and its outdated coating renders lower contrast images with a timeless quality.

Above Photograph Canon 5D; ISO 400; 1/125 sec.; Nikon Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/3.5 @ f/5.6

Photographs © John-Paul Palescondolo

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Zeiss Expands Loxia Lineup with 25mm f/2.4 Lens

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Balancing image quality, speed, and size, Zeiss’s Loxia line for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras has enormous appeal for shooters who work with still photography and cinema. Today, that series is growing to a total of five lenses, with the announcement of the Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Lens. With the Loxia lineup ranging from 21mm to 85mm, the new 25mm fills a small gap in Zeiss’s wide-angle offerings, providing a perspective with appeal for landscape and architectural photographers, as well as street shooters. Another way to bridge this gap is with its aperture, which sits right in between its two nearest companions and offers decent speed at f/2.4. This lens also shares many distinct characteristics with the other Loxia offerings, including an all-manual design, metal construction, and a de-clickable aperture ring, making it a great addition to an existing set.

The Loxia name of this series refers to a genus of birds referred to as crossbills, which have specialized beaks that can effectively extract seeds from pine cones. This is a fitting description, because the lenses are specialized and highly effective tools. A very distinct characteristic of this line is that they all have matching external diameters, filter threads, and aperture designs, making it very easy to swap between them during a shoot. They are designed to be quite compact, as well, as indicated by their shared 52mm filter thread, making it easy to carry multiple lenses at a time without feeling weighed down.

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Leica Reveals Q “Snow” Digital Camera, Styled in White and Silver

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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In tune with the winter sports season, Leica has unveiled a white, Snow Edition of its Q (Typ 116) full-frame compact digital camera. Designed in partnership with gold medal-winning snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov, the special-edition camera takes the interior components of the Q camera and packages them in a stylish white exterior with matching accessories. This model will be limited to 300 units worldwide, with each individual camera featuring its exclusive serial number engraved on its hot shoe.

As the name implies, the “Snow” edition is built with white cowhide leather around its entire body, for a clean and timeless design. Most of the external metal components feature a silver-anodized finish, including the top plate, bottom plate, and control dials, lending the camera a more polished appearance. Completing the look is an included neck strap and a soft carrying case, both made of white leather, to match.

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On the inside, everything is the same as in the regular Q (Typ 116), including the 24.2 MP full-frame sensor and Maestro II processor. Also the same is the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH lens provided with the camera—this particular version is styled in silver with red lettering and is paired with a silver lens hood. The Q “Snow” offers integrated Wi-Fi for easy media sharing, as well as touchscreen controls, and is an outstanding choice for street and landscape photographers.

Excited about this special-edition camera? Let us know what you think by posting in the Comments section, below.

digital cameras best photo sharing

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California Dreaming with the Sony a7R III

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Less than a year after releasing the action-oriented a9, Sony has followed up with a resolution powerhouse in the a7R III camera. As heir to the wildly popular a7R II, the new camera is aimed at still shooters looking to capture extremely detailed images. To test how well it performs, I took the a7R III with me to Los Angeles to capture the city and surrounding landscape. I paired it with the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Lens and B+W’s 82mm Circular Polarizer MRC Filter, with the aim of squeezing as much of the California “winter” into my memory cards as possible to get through the next two months back home in New York.

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Things We Love: The Sony a7R II

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After a long time denying my eventual acceptance of mirrorless cameras, early in 2017 I finally made the switch. No, this isn’t an article about why I switched from so-and-so to so-and-so.Tthis, rather, is about why I have grown to accept—to love—the Sony a7R II for what it is and what it allows me to do. I never felt at a loss with other camera systems, nor do I feel an especially strong kinship to mirrorless over a DSLR (I do still miss my optical viewfinder), but once I eliminated the pettiness between comparing mirrors to mirrorless, I grew to appreciate a new kind of camera for some of the other assets it provides.

Adapted Rangefinder Lenses

It’s true, maybe an unfortunate truth, but one of the things I love most about my Sony a7R II is its ability to accept rangefinder lenses using a lens adapter. Grumble all you want, tell me how much better Sony’s native lenses are… I won’t disagree. And after you’ve had your say, I’ll be happy to continue shooting with my tiny, slow, not-very-close-focusing, manual focus only, outdated, and inferior lenses. And I’ll love it.

Customization

The second thing I love, which is a bit of a love-hate position, is the customization options on the Sony a7R II. I love this because I can customize essentially all the buttons on the a7R II to do exactly what I want… which is very little. I have multiple buttons assigned to control the same thing (Manual Focus Assist) and intentionally leave other buttons unassigned to do absolutely nothing. I know you can assign buttons on other cameras to do a variety of things, as well, but I have never really felt compelled to change up, say, a Nikon or a Canon. I struggled with the stock layout of the Sony quite a bit, and have subsequently assigned new functions to nearly every single button, so now the layout feels very intuitive for me.

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