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55% of dPS Readers Will Have a New Camera in the next Year

Last month we asked our readers whether they were planning on buying a new camera? Just over 28,000 readers responded and the results are now in!

New camera poll

Looks like 55% of our readers will have a new camera in their camera bag in the next 12 months!

If you are one of them – which one will it be?

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

55% of dPS Readers Will Have a New Camera in the next Year

HandlePod Camera Stabilisation System [REVIEW]

You can’t judge a book by its cover, it’s true! Sometimes our first impressions can be ‘off the mark’ as mine was when I first saw this new little creation, The HandlePod. We get a bit of gear through dPS to review (disclaimer : provided at no cost for the review) and some of it is really very bad, whilst other things are very simple, yet functional and super handy – as can be said for this little guy.

HandlePod on Amazon – $29.95

HandlePod is $29.95 (With free shipping if you’re in the US of A) and is so SO versatile! You can put your compact or smaller dSLR on it and use the HandlePod to hold your camera still on a wall / pole / table for a lower light shot (Say in a massive, typically dark cathedral with an awesome ceiling that you want to photograph You can use the included elastic / bungee cord to strap it to pretty much anything (Including a 3 year old when he holds still enough… no three year old was harmed in the testing of this product, honest!) You can use the HandlePod as a handle for your Sony Action Cam or GoPro to hand hold and film stuff… You can get a good idea of what people are doing with HandlePod via this link.

If you can’t take a full size or travel tripod out with you when you go for a walk / holiday / shoot / dinner, etc, you could always find a spot for The HandlePod in your bag / big pocket / hand? The HandlePod is pretty small when folder over on itself, not a whole lot longer than my iPhone, a little bit wider and maybe an inch and a half deep… (Would you believe I can’t find ANY of the 5 or so rulers in our house!) …it isn’t very big, and that’s what makes it very appealing!

I didn’t have an actual shoot to take HandlePod on, so I attached my very new (fresh out of the box TODAY) Sony RX 100 onto it via the 1/4-20 built in and strapped it to the nearest upright, which as you can see above was a nice tree thingy… The HandlePod attached to anything I took it near, and I do mean anything…..! (I won’t post the picture of the HandlePod attached to my head, but yes – it happened!)

I typically take any one of my 3LeggedThing tripods with me when I need a sturdy working platform, but there are time when you’re either not allowed or it’s just not practical to (concert? fancy dinner?) take a full sized tripod, and this is the perfect chance to slip the HandlePod in your bag / pocket / camera bag and take it along.

There’s not a lot to say about the HandlePod – I initially though that it wouldn’t suit me for anything – I was happily wrong, it’s a great addition to my camera bag. For Photographers that don’t use tripods, but would like to potentially capture a behind the scenes of themselves working – strap HandlePod to a tree / post / person / car – etc. The HandlePod easily takes all of my smaller point of view / action cameras – the GoPro and the Sony Action Can sitting on it easily. The Sony a55 SLT sat on it nicely, and I felt quite comfortable attaching it to a pole four feet above the ground, too. I will admit, I didn’t attach my week old Canon 5DMKIII to it – maybe as I get less precious.

Here’s what the HandlePod looks like when sat beside an iPhone 4… Just for comparison

There’s only one change I’d like to see for the HandlePod, and though after a few uses, I felt comfortable with the elastic strap idea, and it does work just fine, I can’t help wonder if a long, somehow able to wind up velcro strap would make the user feel more secure?

I want to break down my score this time – because the unit is built well, it’s light and compact by comparison to my smallest tripod (A Brian from 3LeggedThing) and goes right into all the bags I have, including my thinkTankPhoto Retrospective 5 which is quite small!

So, build / size etc… 9 stars BUT, for not always feeling totally comfortable just with the thin elastic attachment strap, I’ll take off another star – so, all in all Eight stars from a possible Eleven. (Very good!)

I’ll leave you with some potential usage situations! Fun! –Sime

And one last one, if you happen to be near a cool old rusty gate!

Get your HandlePod on Amazon for $29.95.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

HandlePod Camera Stabilisation System [REVIEW]

Night Photography — 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

Night Photography – 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

Photography is like painting with light on a photosensitive canvas. How about painting something in the absence of adequate amount of light? Sounds challenging right! Humans have always been doing challenging tasks, and shooting in night no more remains a challenge now. While fighting with challenges occurring in low light situations as in night, photographers have discovered a lot of ways to have optimal exposure even at night. An old adage says, “problems are opportunities” that is why we call them challenges and not obstacles. Despite many challenges in night photography, there are certain “effects” those can be obtained only in night photography. Let us talk about few challenges one has to encounter while shooting at night.

  1. Camera Shakes

    Due to the low ambient light, the camera goes for a slower shutter-speed. This increases chances of movement in the scene thereby causing blur. As even a small shake of the camera can produce noticeable blur while long exposure. There are two things you can do to avoid blur. First you must use a tripod. Second you can use a shutter release cable. This allows the shutter to be pressed without causing even the lowest possible vibration to the camera.

  2. Noise (ISO)

    The low ambient light also necessitates the use of high ISO. But high ISO induces noise in the shot and also results in loss of detail. Again two things come to the rescue. Shoot at a lower ISO. This requires you to go for a slower shutter-speed and thus warrants the use of a tripod. Another thing you can do it to invest in a high-end camera body (almost always the latest. This by no means is practical, but the newest cameras almost always have better low-light/high-ISO performance.

  3. Shadows

    To have the subject lit, we use artificial lights or flash lights, and a possible negative impact of this can be a shadow of subject behind it. Such situations require some expert lighting skills. Almost always to know the right use of flash and use multiple sources of light if possible. For a stationary subject you can try shooting the same scene multiple times with lighting from different angles and then merge the shots to get a final. This way the shadows will be less noticeable around the subject.

  4. Improper Focus

    Attaining the right focus is another challenge in low-light situations. To overcome this challenge of improper focusing, you can use manual focus. Focus-assist lights can help in this situation but their reach is limited. You may want to use a artificial light to focus and then lock the focus. Once you are ready for the shot, you can switch off the light.

  5. Under Exposure

    Under-exposure due to low-light is caused mainly because of two factors:

    1. The camera hitting its limits within the exposure triangle: The camera tries its best to get the right exposure. But sometimes it can just max out its limits. For example a camera with a max shutter-speed of 30sec limited to ISO1600 combined with a lens of f/3.5 scene will underexpose a scene that requires a larger aperture, slower shutter-speed or a higher ISO. This forces you to go into manual exposure.
    2. Human error in exposure when in full-manual mode: If your camera is under-exposing because of the reason above and you have chosen to go full manual; you may just nail the shot given that you are able to dial in the right settings and go with the bulb-mode. This allows you to surpass the camera’s exposure limits and keep the shutter open as long as required. But the right result will depend on quite some experimentation and your particular preference of exposure/image-feel.
  6. White Balance

    The camera automatically adjusts and compensates for the light temperature. Most of the times white balance of the camera is set to auto by default, and it gives good results. But during night, the temperature of light varies a lot depending on the light source. Your best bet is to shoot RAW so that you can correct white-balance post-shoot.

Always shoot in RAW during night, as this offers control over various factors in the image data during post processing. This gives you a second chance to correct the mistakes that occur while night shoot.

9 Creative Shots You Can Take At Night

The results from night photography are so beautiful because there are some effects that can only be achieved during the night. These effects are not visible to bare eyes and can only be had with a camera.

  1. Car headlights (long exposure – motion capture): Go to a height from where you can see a busy road and shoot the moving car lights at a slow shutter-speed (possibly in the range of several second for the light to travel the path and a smaller aperture for a greater depth-of-field).

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  2. Neon lights: Shoot stationary or moving neon lights and catch some interesting effects.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  3. Fireworks: During the night, the camera has the ability to see beyond the limits of the human eyes. Given that you get a good exposure, the fireworks will look way different in photographs than they would to the human eye.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  4. Star trails: This takes painstakingly long times and patience and demands hours of patience. But the creative satisfaction you enjoy is second to none.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  5. Bokeh: Background lights during night, can be kept out of focus by keeping a wide aperture. And this creates beautiful the bokeh effect.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  6. Night portraits with moon in the shot: Try to shoot portraits with moon in the shot. You can get some great silhouettes and unusual, interesting tones in the scene.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  7. Moonlit Landscape and buildings: Shoot buildings and landscape scenes under moon light and have a refreshing and cooling emotional appeal in your shots.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  8. Photograph the Moon: Photograph moon itself is very interesting. You will need a good telephoto or astro lens for this.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

  9. Try light painting: Light painting is done at long exposure (slow shutter-speed or in the bulb mode) by moving the source of light to painting the scene. Due to the high intensity of the light source, it is captured by the camera while the person or object used to move the light source is no captured.

    Night Photography - 6 Challenges & 9 Awesome Effects

Night photography remains challenging but an extremely creative realm of photography and very satisfying. Much of the challenge comes due to the absence of light. And it is due to the ambient light and longer shutter-speeds that you get all these awesomely creative results.