Tag: camera

Ask The Desk: My Camera Equipment

Ask The Desk Header

Andy Welfle best known for his pencil blog, Woodclinched, recently asked about my camera set-up. Its not something I normally talk about here but a lot of jobs require capturing images so I thought this was as good time to cover my hardware.

I actually use four different cameras depending on my circumstances. These have been accumulated over several years so don’t ever think you need to go out and buy four set-ups to get decent shots. Any one of these is a good place to start.

Canon T1i

My largest rig is kept mostly in my home office and is used for a good deal of the posts on the blog and for the shop. It is made up of:

Canon is up to a T5i version of the camera body, adding more, bigger, faster, and perks like built-in filters. Prior to inheriting the T1i from a friend (its on long-term loan) I’d been using a Canon Rebel XTi that I’d used for over 100K images before the light meter went out on it. It could probably be repaired, I just haven’t gotten around to it.

If you are considering the purchase of a dSLR, spend more money on the lens than the camera. And skip the kit lens. The Sigma lens I use almost exclusively. It works great is low light and built-in macro was just what I wanted. Its not the fastest auto focus lens in the world but my pens and inks don’t tend to run off that often. Sadly, its no longer in production, the closest alternative would probably be this 17-70mm f/2.8-4. If it ever came to it,  I’d probably end up replacing it with two different lenses — one macro lens and then a good quality standard zoom. I also use a stock Canon  EF 50mm lens f1.8 (that used to be sold with film cameras) as a great low light portrait lens and those can be snagged for about $125 new but can easily be found secondhand for less.

Olympus Pen E-P3

My travel kit is a smaller, less obtrusive set-up. This is a good quality camera for getting shots at antique shops, fairs, and general life stuff:

  • Olympus Pen E-P3
  • with a 17mm f2.8 pancake lens
  • and the stock 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens

The only downside of the Olympus Pen is that I do not currently have a macro lens for it. There is currently only one macro lens available for the micro 4/3s mount and its quite expensive. Its hard to get good pictures of pens and other small items without one. I almost exclusively use the pancake lens because it will basically let me shoot in the dark. The image quality is excellent and great for everyday photography. There are of course some digital dirt at higher ISOs but what I lose in image quality, I make up for in portability and low profile handling. This camera is far less intrusive for people than a long lens dSLR.

Canon S90

I also keep a camera stashed at work for quick shots. It’s a Canon Powershot S90 (the newest version of this camera is now the S100). It also gets called into service when traveling or is just kept at the bottom of my bag. Its a great camera for its size and includes a macro feature for capturing close-up shots of pen nibs.

And the last camera is the one I always have with me, my iPhone. The lens quality on mobile phone cameras continue to improve so this is often a perfectly acceptable option. My iPhone 4s has an 8MP camera which is just slightly below the 10MP in my S90 though without the option for white balance adjustment, exposure compensation or shooting in RAW format. But still.. and there are some great, reasonably priced photo editing apps that can get me from shooting the photo to posting on Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or even the blog without ever having to sit down in front of my computer.

I use Aperture for the Mac for image processing and post full sized image to Flickr. I ted to shoot in RAW most often.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about my photos or camera equipment. I am, by no means, a pro but I can certainly give you any advice I have gleaned over many years of trial and error.

App Love: PicFrame

PicFrame for iOS

I thought I would share a favorite app today. I discovered PicFrame for iOS awhile back which is a great way to do a grid of photos to post on Instagram, Flickr or Facebook. The app costs $0.99 and works on iPhone or iPad. Its quite flexible with an assortment of grids to choose from and then you can pull the frames to reshape them as needed. You can round corners, add filters and change the width and color or pattern of the borders too. The iOS app also includes the ability to add labels — there are default looks or you can get in there and choose font, font color and label color. Its a pretty powerful app for under a $1.

PicFrame for Mac

What I like even better is the Mac version of the app that let’s you drag a photo from iPhoto, right into a frame and then export at various sizes for blogs, Flickr, Facebook, etc. The Mac app is also $0.99. There are no image editing options or labels in the desktop version of the app. Since you can import photos from iPhoto or other image editing software, you won’t need the image editing features but I do wish they’d add the labels to the Mac version.

tompkins haul

This is a PicFrame collage I made with the desktop version of the app. I used the default borders and the photos were straight from my iPhone via iPhoto. The images are some of the goodies my friends bought while traveling in Japan. I must go office supply foraging there SOON!

Link Love: TWSBI Future Releases, Inks, Notebooks and Bag Check


Pens and Pencils:

A sample of Mont Blanc Toffee Brown from IvanR via Instagram
A sample of Mont Blanc Toffee Brown from IvanR via Instagram



Flora Chang has released some of her whimsical designs as exclusive covers fr iPhone 5 and iPads through Redbubble
Flora Chang has released some of her whimsical designs as exclusive covers for iPhone 5 and iPads through her very own Redbubble Shop.


VSCO Camera App

Sample Images by Pugly Pixel

I don’t post much about iPhone apps as there are 100s of places to get recommendations and lists out there on the web. Occasionally, though, something crosses my path that seems good but not-so-well-known so I thought I’d share one such find. The app is called VSCOCam by Visual Supply Co. and it costs a whopping 99¢. It is a much more subtle camera adjustment app than Instagram or Hipstamatic with simple tools to adjust the intensity of the effect as well.

Photography Apps for your iPhone

Wired 20.06 photo app article

The newest issue of Wired (June 2012, AKA 20.06) arrived in the mail this weekend and I immediately scoured the “Our Guide to Photography in the Instagram Age” article (this content is so fresh, its not even up on the Wired web site yet but I’ll link to the article as soon as it does).

Photo Editing Apps: Wired 20.06

What I can do though is provide a list of the favorite camera/photography apps featured in the special section that also included some short reviews of various mobile phones based on the quality of their cameras as well as recommendations for higher-end cameras too. So, here goes:

Recommended by Cole Rise who created several of the most frequently used Instagram filters:

Recommended by Doctor Popular of Objective Scenes:

And just to throw in my two cents, here are a few of my favorites:

Also mentioned in the article was a company called Taplayer that has created several apps that utilize a Kodak Brownie-like look as well as TtV (through the viewfinder)-style filters.

Go forth and phone-agraph!

Grid Lens is yet another iPhone camera app. It lets you create a gird of images while snapping with you iPhone. Its a nice alternative to the lo-fi photo apps cluttering the iTunes store. Lovely interface and on sale for $0.99.

(via iTunes App Store)