Category Archives: Articles

The Future Of Cameras

The camera has been a staple of the technology industry since the 19th century. Nowadays, with the huge popularity of smartphones, more people carry and use a camera than ever before. The latest model iPhone – the iPhone 4 – has a 5 megapixel camera, which is more than sufficient for the casual photographer.
As smartphones integrate ever more powerful cameras, what can the traditional camera companies do to compete? While there will always be a market for high-end cameras – specialist devices used by professional photographers – it’s that middle and lower end market which is slipping away from the likes of Kodak, Canon, Olympus, Sony and Nikon.

Artefact has created a concept camera for the smartphone age, called the WVIL. That acronym stands for Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens. As you can see from the photo above, it looks like a normal camera. One obvious difference is that it detaches in two, one part looking very much like a modern day smartphone. Artefact further describes the WVIL as a “new architecture that combines the lens and sensor together into one wireless unit.”

The founders of Artefact, Gavin Kelly and Rob Girling, told me that this concept camera gave them “an opportunity to re-think how to interact with our cameras.” In the video below, you can see how touchscreen technology is used to provide a new way to interact with your photos. It essentially brings the smartphone user experience to the camera.

This isn’t entirely unique, because some high-end cameras – such as the Canon SD3500 – have touchscreen controls. Plus newer digital cameras often have input sensors (e.g. accelerometers, gyroscopes). However, Artefact takes these features a step further, for example by adding apps and social functionality.

Artefact is envisaging new types of software and apps for their camera. Such as software that teaches you better photography by giving you real-time coaching tips. This would use the sensors in the camera, so it knows what you’re doing and can then guide you to use a certain technique or feature if appropriate.

Artefact’s camera is, like the popular smartphones, built on a software platform that uses touchscreen technology. Other types of apps that Artefact foresees include apps that post-process photos, share images and enhance the camera’s functionality.

Finally, this concept brings the social media functionality that smartphones famously have and deposits it into a digital camera. According to Artefact, current digital cameras have limited social functionality.

For power users of photography, having the ability to manipulate and share photos direct from the camera does seem like a compelling feature. The general consumer is already well served currently by apps like Instagram and Foodspotting, so this wouldn’t be so compelling to them.

/via ReadWriteWeb

 

World’s Most Popular Camera: The iPhone

Just surfing around today, I came across a nice info graphic that illustrated how iPhone arguably is, world’s best digital camera. You might be surprised (as I was too) on reading the article’s headline, but you’ll surely agree to the fact after going through the below info graphic. And as they say:

The best camera is the one that’s with you

The evolution of Apple Camera

1

 

Flickr Upload Stats

2

 

Comparing Costs

3

 

What makes it better

4

 

There’s always an “App” for that

5

 

Celebs who use iPhone

 

6

 

PS: Full High Resolution InfoGraphic Here

Life and Luck : How My Camera Saved My Life

This is the story of how stupid and yet how lucky and propitious can a person get. If I’m here writing this story, it is due to sheer luck I had accumulated. I’m not sure whom should I be thanking but I presume that everyone one of you have mattered for me to be alive and share this story, accept my wholehearted thanks. Among many lessons I learnt after this incident, the most important one, trust me, Nothing Is Larger Than Life.


photo credits

The Trek

After cancelling the hike to the magnficient Cerro de la Silla at the last moment, Keno and myself decided that we should go elsewhere. I was very much lured by Pico Cuauhtémoc in Cerro de las Mitras for the challenge and adventure it had in store. It is the highest peak among the Mitras range with an altitude of over 2000 meters above sea level.

We packed our bags with breads, oat biscuits, Gatorades, water bottles and met Keno at a garage on Gonzalitos at 6 in the morning and our hike started at 6:15. It was still dark when we reached the trailhead. Keno was the only person with the flash light and we followed his footsteps. By the time we reached stone bed, the first resting point, Ajit was panting and we were dubious that he would make it. The screes after the stone bed made our lives harder, but it was not too bothering since we had done it before. We passed through the caves, walked along the rocky walls, made many class 4 climbs. Lokesh hurt his knee at one point and gave up. Ajit and Deepa passed at the same point. Shyam and Keno climbed a bit more, till 15 feet class 4 climb and halted their journey. I had crossed all the barriers, vertical climbs, scary ridges and was heading thirstily towards the summit. At the summit were the Holy Cross supported by stones, a tin box containing crumpled notebook to scribble and a book of prayer. I guess many people feel religious after taking such a risk. I scribbled few words, clicked few photographs and without wasting much time there, I started tracing my way back. I confess that I was a tad scared while crossing the ridge and descending that 15 feet class-4 rock, for any mistake there would land me into a wild, rocky abyss of 500 meters. I was almost done with rockier part and was about to enter the forest.

The Great Fall

As I entered the forest following the obscure arrow marks, the most unexpected, unwanted and unforeseen thing happened. I lost my way. Picture this, a vertical gradient containing slippery screes, populated densely with the thorniest cactuses, lonely as a cloud, I was lost in awe. I climbed down a bit, then I climbed up with a hope that I could trace back but to my dismay I couldn’t. Then I followed my instincts, I thought I’ll descend this mountain somehow, whether the route is right or wrong, I’ll just descend!!!

The wicked and pernicious forest deviated me away from the right path. I was screaming my throat out with a hope that the others can hear me, it only made me more thirsty and tired. At one point, as I stepped on the loose screes I lost control and before even I could comprehend what was happening, I was being thrown in the air. Like a ball thrown from mountain top, I was being tossed and turned by the steep gradient of the mountain. The cactuses and stray twigs scratched my hands, but I didn’t realize the slightest pain, I was having an adrenaline rush, I was scared, I was panting. I was rolling down and down and down, like in a trailer of an action movie. I paused at one point, while I was groping for a support and hanged on to some bushes, but they uprooted and I continued my gravity fall. Even though my mind was out of control, just like my body, I quickly hoped that there were no rocks on the way which could potentially crumble my bones off because of the momentum I gained.

photo credits

think I had fell about 40-50m with one or two pauses, before I stopped clinging on to a rock. I relaxed for a while. I thought, foolishly, that this descent would take me down faster than my teammates and I should continue this, for I was not fatally hurt too. As I thought so and had a glimpse below, a sudden sense of fear ran through my nerves and my eyes witnessed the most incredible vista. It was a merciless 500 meter vertical, raw and rocky fall. That piece of rock which I was clinging to, was the last of mother nature’s hand that could have saved me. It was a miracle of miracles. I was still vehemently panting and terrible scared. I thanked all the Gods I could for such a salvage and consciously stopped myself from panicking.
I pondered over what to do next, I searched for some kind of support there. There were few rocks and bushes. After the deracination of few bushes during the fall, I had lost hope on any of them being able to save me, I chose rocks instead. As I tested the strength of them, one of the rock was shaking and it broke and the fragment flew in the air. I was aware that they were shale rocks and are very brittle, I tested every rock thoroughly before making my way towards the left where I found a platform 1.5 feet wide, protruding from a rock.

It was a platform that I had not expected to spend 23 long and miserable hours on. It was made of loose soil, housing few cactuses and plants. The gigantic rock from which the platform had projected out, served as a support for me, so did few of the plants around. I secured myself a safe standing position and shouted for help. For first 10 minutes, I was in despair for not having received any response for my SOS. Shyam was the first to hear me and his response was like a light at the end of tunnel. “I’m loooooooossssssstttttttt. I’m in a dangerous positionnnnnnn, I can’t moveeeeeeeeee. Call for chopperrrrrrrrrr”, I screamed with all the might. It was about 1PM in the noon.

The Eternal Wait

I think they were hearing my words but their response was too feeble for me hear, but I was a lot assuaged and pacified by the very fact of hearing them. I stood there and kept repeating the same phrase until their voice was clear. I had clearly realized the sad, but true fact, that I was left with only two options either Life or Death and if I had to opt for Life, I just had to hold on. I didn’t panic, its hard to believe that in such a state I didn’t panic, but I didn’t. The weather was cold, the mists started spreading in the valley and all I could see was a gigantic, opaque, gray, spatial cover of mist. My fear factor reduced for I could not feel the depth anymore. Their voice started becoming clearer and within few minutes, I could sense that Ajit’s position was just under me but I could not see him. He raised my spirits. Within few minutes I could hear everybody’s voice from my lower left side but nobody were to be seen.

Keno called up rescue at 2PM and it took nearly an hour or so for him to do so. He had to get the number, reach the right people and convey the message. Civil Proteccion, was unable to airlift me due to bad weather and visibility and hence the rescue operation had to be carried out without an aid of chopper. Keno turned out to be the God, the Hero, the Star of the whole episode. He was more tensed than I was thinking of the highly likely dire consequences. Though I didn’t see him from my death bed, I’m sure that this fair skinned guy would have turned red like apple. He made 3-4 trips to the cave that we passed in the morning, which is almost half the way back and he spent the whole night with rescue team looking for me. He has got such courage and endurance that would envy even the rescue team.

While Keno went to the caves to fetch the rescue team, Ajit, Deepa, Shyam and Lokesh kept pinging me every now and then to make sure that I was not falling asleep or not losing hope. By then I was very much calm and relaxed, with utmost care I had rested my bottom on the uneven platform. I held tightly the two plants which served as my securing handle for all the time I spent there. For an impatient guy like me, sitting there for such long duration without doing anything was almost impossible and my darling camera was bored too. So I got her out, loaded her with macro lens and shot those beautiful red-eyed flies which were my only faunal companions. Did some telephotography too, capturing rhthymically patterned buildings of Monterrey, once the cloud cover was lifted. The tender glow of evening was very pleasing and I was getting poetic. At the same time I was annoyed by the fact that the sky was crystal clear and Proteccion Civil were not even thinking of doing an airlift.

photo credits

I heard few voices from down under, without stretching my body, I tried to have a glimpse of who they were. I sighed with relief to see radiant orange attire of the rescue team. It was 8PM when they started ascending in search of me. Keno shouted “We are climbing now maaaan. It may take two hours man for us to find you”. He also asked me to flash the light when I hear their screams. In the meantime, others had left for the cave for an overnight stay, with one of the guides. Next two hours were dark and lonely. I was feeling thirsty, I was hungry, the birds were reaching home, the nightfall had spread all over, I was feeling cold. I was begging all the heavens that it should not rain and there are no scorpions or snakes around. Though I would love to find and photograph them at other times, but with my life sustaining on a 1.5 feet wide space those were the last things I wanted to see.

I screamed “Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo, Holaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Can you hear meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee????, Ajitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Shyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam”. But received no response. The whole city, now fully lit, was looking like a gigantic colorful embroidered carpet. The dim opalescence of the moon was being obscured every now and then by passing clouds. I was silent, calm and cold. At about 11PM I heard the first scream from the forest above. I started flashing the light. In about an hour, the voice started approaching closer though I could not make any sense out of it, I kept flashing the light. I had a moment of self-gratitude for being a photophile, had I not got my camera, they wouldn’t find me till morning. At about 12AM I started seeing their flash lights around me, but not exactly on me, for I was being blocked by a huge rock.

Desperation during night

The rescue team was just above me, I could hear them talk. After a few moments, they left back one guy named Angel. But in that situation, I felt, he didn’t live up to his name. He made me more angry and desperate than pacifying me. Unfortunately he knew only basic English.

Angel: I go down, you and me both go up.
Me: Fine, but when? Cuando?
Angel: Avrita (now)
Me: OK then come
Angel: Wait. Take it easy man, calm down.
Me: Gimme some water. Quiero agua por favour.
Angel: No tengo agua. Sorry

He was flashing his lights around me and I guided him where exactly I was
Me: OK! Are you coming?
Angel: Yes
Me: Then come.
Angel: Wait. Rappel no long. I call my friend
Me: Cuando?
Angel: Avrita. Take it easy man.
Me: OK. Ropa por favour, mui freo (Some clothes please, I’m feeling cold)
Angel: Si. Take it easy man.
Me: I can’t freaking take it easy, I’m shivering here.
Angel: Hold on.

Then he calls his friend and he arrives. Not sure how helpful he was.
Me: Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Are you comin or not?
Angel: Yes I come. You and I go up with me.
Me: OK but come.
Angel: Hold on.
Me: OK

This sort of conversation continued for nearly 2 hours and at about 2AM after I told him I was going to die there not because of thirst or hunger but because of cold, he managed to provide me with a silver space rescue blanket and a florescent lamp. He tied them to a series of rappelling wrap and threw them at me. I covered myself with that which gave me a great relief from the cold mountain winds which were piercing my skin since the nightfall. Then he threw the rappelling wrap again and asked me to secure my body, hands and legs with that so that in case I fall asleep it prevents me from sudden death. He bugged me for next 10 minutes to make sure that I’m secured and I confirmed him. I don’t know how the next couple of hours passed by. I was in deep sleep. I guess I slept for about 3-4 hours.

The Freaky Morning

When I woke up it was 6AM and it was still dark. There was a thick clouding in the valley. I managed to sleep more in bits and pieces. At about 8AM, the sun was out of his home in the east. The scenery in front of me was the most picturesque one. The golden clouds veiled the whole city and looked like an infinite bed of soft cotton. My mind was allured by the dangerous idea of jumping into that but instead I chose to do some photography. A fluttering humming bird also stopped by to see me, but unfortunately I had just changed the telephoto lens so I could just manage a silhouette of the bird. My mind was rambling around innumerable sundries. I also got weird and funny ideas of making a parachute out of the silver rescue blanket and jumping down. I tried to do some mediation, planned to hymn “Gayatri Mantra” 108 times, but stopped at 27.

As I started thinking about my plight, I started feeling hungry. Hungry like a dog. I searched in my pockets and found the wrappers of oat biscuits and chocolates which I remembered eating 24 hours back. I found few tiny remnants of oats which would not even fill ants. Meticulously I put them all in my mouth. I licked the melted, sticky bit of chocolate on the inner walls of Hershey’s wrapper. Just like Tom Hanks does it in Cast Away, I collected few dew drops and licked them. Though they neither satiated my hunger nor quenched my thirst.

The valley gradually was covered by mist as the time passed by. I got the shock of my life at about 10AM. As I packed my camera, since I had nothing else to photograph, I tried to untangle myself from the rappelling wrap which I had secured myself with. I just pulled the wrap a little hard and I was freaked out to see that the other end, which I assumed Angel had tied to something, fell into my hand!!! In other words, I was snoring and sleeping on a 1.5 feet wide precipice at an altitude of 500 meters without bare minimum protection. I thanked all the heavens!!!

The Salvage

At 12:30PM I saw the “11th hour Samaritan”, actually “23rd hour Samaritan”, rappelling down towards me. Dressed in red uniform, clad with helmet and gloves, Fernando asked me to cover my head to protect from possible rolling stones and not to move. He gave me a bottle of water which brought back some energy in me. I was impressed by the way he prepared a make-shift harness using “the” wraps, which had saved me from falling last night!!! He told me that he had devised a different rappelling system, I just have to keep stepping up as the other rescue members pull the rappel.

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That was the most difficult rappelling I’ve done till date. I didn’t have gloves, the way up was totally thorny and stony due to cactuses and screes. I had to pass through the wild cactuses and I was bruised badly on legs and hands. It was about 40 meters climb and we both rappelled in tandem on a double rappel. As the other team members saw my face, they shouted “Pinche Cabrrrrooooon” in chorus. I was thanking each of them wearing a smile of gladness. They said “You’re the luckiest person on this earth” and handed over me some canned tuna fish and lots of water. They asked me to get barrels of beers for them and I gladly agreed. I was saved!!! I was salvaged!!! It was indeed “A Matter Of Life And Luck”

Trek down

They tried for a chopper after rescuing me but their efforts were in vain and hence we had to trek back all the way. We climbed down few Class-4 rocks and reached the place where my team members waited the previous day. One of them showed me the actual location where I was and I got a chill in my spine when I saw that. It was indeed a 500 meter, terribly rocky descent. I thought to myself, nobody on this planet could get as lucky as me. And they also told me that this is the first time they did a rescue operation as difficult and risky as this one.

It took about 3 hours to trek down. As we reached the stone bed, the last resting point I was having a low blood pressure, my hands and face were numb with lack of blood circulation. Even the camera bag had became heavy, I handed over to one of the rescue members and had a slow gait. My legs were becoming heavier with every step. I kept thinking that I’m gonna fall but finally I saw the the Dodge Ram’s of the Proteccion Civil. I went near that and collapsed with control on the ground. There were more men from rescue team and someone handed over a plate full of spaghetti and beef and a bottle of Gatorade.

Keno’s smiling face was the first I saw. He came to me and said “You’re a stupid son of a b#^%h!!!”. He called others, Shyam, Deepa, Ajit and Lokesh in turn came and wished me. I hogged some spaghetti, guzzled down bottles of Gatorade and lied down. I was shivering and shaking like a wet dog. I breathed deep, tried to relax but still kept shivering. There arrived another Dodge Ram of director of Proteccion Civil. He said “You’re very lucky. We’ve been doing this for many many years but not all rescue operations have happy ending”.

Becoming Famous

After this incident we were interviewed by TV Azteca, we were on the news channels, we were on the internet. I got titles like “Gabe Walker”, “Cliff Hanger”, “The Saviour”, “The Lucky Bastard”. Some of my colleagues made cartoons out of me and some made parody of some songs. Most of them listened to my awful story and were glad that I’m back. All my teammates got became famous too for they were on TV. The news also was so distorted that they said Shyam Krishnasway, age 30 was the one who got lost. There were also discussions about making us pay for such operations and the total cost they incurred for such an operation is around 2000 dollars.

Here is the news coverage:

Here is the cartoon

cliffhanger

Thanks to…
Keno for everything he did on that day.
Keno’s parents for all their support in getting the Proteccion Civil to work.
Ajit, Shyam, Lokesh and Deepa for pinging me all through my stay on my death bed and stopping me from falling asleep.
Proteccion Civil and all the members of rescue team for saving me.
Angel for providing me with blanket in the night.
Fernando for coming to me and saving me.
Alberto for helping in getting the contact of Proteccion Civil.
Izkalli, Llerena, Ernesto, Tomas, Cynthia for their support and inquiry.
Everybody for their wishes and blessings which have saved me from the catastrophe.

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Decrypting Horrible Camera and Lens Terminologies

Lately, we all get confused over the zillion *horrible* lens and camera terminologies present in the photography arena out there. Canon, Nikon, Sigma… all have their own lingo when it comes to naming their cameras and lenses. Frankly, when I was a newbie in this phenomenal world of photography, I really got mad over such huge types of cameras and lenses available in the market. How the hell was I supposed to know about all those cryptic lens and camera terminologies? How would I’ve known what does an EFS stand for and what does USM means? But then, I studied *a lot* about all this stuff and with the help of some great friends, I can now safely assume that I’ve attained a slightly better level in understanding of all these terminologies. So this post is all about that. Here we go:

Brand Lenses

Most major camera manufacturers offer their own line of lenses. Such lenses tend to follow the most stringent quality guidelines, and often come with a price premium.

Canon Lenses

Canon lenses use the following terms to indicate features of each lens:

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • f/x.y: Maximum aperture
  • Focus/Mount Type
    • EF: Electronic Focus
    • EF-S: Short-Back Electronic Focus
    • TS: Tilt-Shift
    • TS-E: Tilt-Shift Electronic focus
  • Features
    • IS: Image Stabilization
    • USM: Auto Focus Type: Ultrasonic Motor
    • (Mark) N: Version of lens (Mark II = v2, Mark III = v3, etc., word Mark may not be present)
    • DO: Diffractive Optics
    • L: Luxury series
    • Macro: 1:1 magnification

Examples

  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens
  • Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 L
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM
  • Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Nikon Lenses

Nikon lenses use the following terms to indicate features of each lens:

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • f/x.y: Maximum aperture
  • Lens System
    • DX: Digital, Short Back
    • FX: Full Frame (film or digital)
  • Lens Mount
    • AI: Automatic Indexing mount (includes metering sensor)
    • AI-S: Improved Automatic Indexing mount
  • Focusing System
    • AF: Auto Focus, built into camera
    • AF-S: Auto-Focus Silent (Silent Wave Motor, required for bodies without focus motor)
    • AF-I: Auto-Focus Internal
    • AF-N: Auto-Focus (improved version, rare)
  • Features
    • SWM: Silent Wave Motor
    • N: Nano-Crystal Coating
    • NIC: Nikon Integrated Coating (multicoated lenses)
    • SIC: Super Integrated Coating (multicoated lenses)
    • VR: Vibration Reduction
    • ED: Extra-low Dispersion Glass
    • ASP: Aspherical Lens Element
    • IF: Internal Focusing
    • RD: Rear Focusing
    • Micro: 1:1 magnification
    • G: No aperture ring (automatic aperture only)

Examples

  • Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm VR f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED
  • Nikon AF-I 600mm f/4D IF-ED
  • Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Olympus 4/3 lenses

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • 1:x.y: Maximum aperture
  • Features
    • ED: Extra-low dispersion glass elements
    • SWD: Auto Focus Type: Supersonic Wave Drive Motor
    • N: Version of lens (II = v2, III = v3, etc.)

Pentax lenses

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • f/x.y: Maximum aperture
  • Focus/Mount Type
    • K, M: Manual Focus, Manual/Aperture priority metering
    • AF: Early AF system with AF motor and electronics in lens that works only with ME-F body.
    • A: Manual Focus, supports Shutter priority and Program exposure metering
    • F: Adds Auto Focus to capabilities of A lenses
    • FA: Adds ability to communicate MTF to body to capabilities of F lenses
    • FAJ: Removes aperture ring from capabilities of FA lenses
    • DA: Same capabilities as FAJ, but with reduced imaging circle for digital cameras with APS-C sized sensor
    • DA L: Same capabilities as DA lenses, Lighter construction
    • D FA: Same capabilities as FA lenses, usable on both film and digital cameras
  • Features
    • AL: Aspherical elements
    • ED: Extra-low dispersion glass elements
    • SMC: Super multi coating lens coating
    • PZ: Power Zoom
    • SDM: Auto Focus Type: Supersonic Drive Motor
    • IF: Internal focussing
    • WR: Weather Resistant (when matched with weather resistant
    • Limited: High quality (primes)

Sony/Minolta Lenses

Sony lenses, previously Minolta lenses, have similar features to Nikon and Canon. Their notation is as follows:

  • Common
    • XYZ/x.y: Focal length/Maximum Aperture
  • Lens Mount Type
    • Alpha: ? Type Mount
    • E: E Type Mount
  • Focusing System
    • SSM: In-Lens Super-sonic Motor
    • SAM: In-Lens Micro Motor
  • Features
    • G: Gold Series (highest quality)
    • (D): Distance Encoding (supports ADI feature of some Sony bodies)
    • DT: Digital Technology (optimized for digital cameras)
    • APO: Apochromatic correction using AD elements
    • HS-APO: High-Speed APO
    • AD: Anomalous Dispersion
    • OSS: Optical Steady Shot (E-mount only)
    • T: High-performance Coating

Examples

  • Sony Alpha 70-200/2.8 G
  • Sony Alpha 28-75/2.8 SAM
  • Sony Alpha DT 18-250/3.5-6.3
  • Sony E 18-200/3.5-6.3 OSS
  • Sony Alpha 100/2.8 Macro

Off-Brand Lenses

Many off-brand lens manufacturers make lenses that fit many types of bodies, including Canon, Nikon, etc.

Sigma Lenses

Sigma lenses use the following terms to indicate features of each lens. They differ slightly in how they denote aperture:

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • Fx.y: Maximum aperture
  • Compatible Body Brands
    • Sigma
    • Nikon
    • Canon
    • Minolta/Sony
    • Pentax
    • Kodak (extremely limited)
    • Fujifilm
    • Olympus (limited)
    • Panasonic (very limited)
    • Lecia (very limited)
  • Features
    • HSM: Hyper-Sonic Motor
    • ASP: Aspherical lens element
    • APO: Aphochromatic (low-dispersion) lens element
    • OS: Optical Stabilizer
    • RF: Rear focusing
    • IF: Inner focusing
    • CONV: Teleconverter compatible (APO Teleconverter EX)
    • EX: Professional lens body finishing
    • DG: Supports full-frame cameras
    • DC: Supports cropped-frame cameras (lightweight construction)
    • Macro: 1:1 magnification

Examples

  • Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM
  • Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

Tamron Lenses

Tamron lenses use the following terms to indicate features of each lens. Tamron offers a considerable degree of functional features and lens types, particularly lens types that affect chromatic aberration:

  • Common
    • XYZmm: Focal length
    • F/x.y: Maximum aperture
    • AF: Auto-Focus
  • Compatible Body Brands
    • Nikon
    • Canon
    • Minolta/Sony
    • Pentax
  • Features
    • Lens Elements
      • XR: Extra Refractive Index Glass (lighter, smaller lenses)
      • LD: Low Dispersion (chromatic aberration reduction)
      • XLD: Extra Low Dispersion (advanced chromatic aberration reduction)
      • ASL: Aspherical (improved focal plane convergence)
      • LAH: LD + ASL hybrid lens element
      • AD: Anomalous Dispersion (improved control over chromatic aberration)
      • ADH: AD + ASL hybrid lens element
      • HID: High Index, High Dispersion Glass (minimizes lateral chromatic aberration)
    • Functional Features
      • VC: Vibration Compensation
      • USD: Ultrasonic Silent Drive
      • SP: Super Performance (professional line)
      • IF: Internal Focusing System
      • Di: Digitally Integrated (optimized for use with full-frame digital cameras)
      • Di-II: Digitally Integrated (optimized for use with APS-C digital cameras)
      • ZL: Zoom Lock (prevents undesired zoom lens barrel extension)
      • A/M: Auto-focus/Manual-focus Switch Mechanism
      • FEC: Filter Effect Control (controls filter direction when lens hood attached, i.e. for Polarizing filters)
      • 1:1 Macro: 1:1 Magnification

Examples

  • Tamron SP AF17-35MM F/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF)
  • Tamron AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
  • Tamron SP AF180mm F/3.5 Di LD (IF) 1:1 Macro

Tokina Lenses

Tokina lenses use the following terms to indicate features of each lens:

  • Common
    • VW~XYZmm: Focal length
    • f/x.y: Maximum aperture
    • AF: Auto-Focus
  • Compatible Body Brands
    • Nikon
    • Canon
    • Minolta/Sony
    • Pentax
  • Features
    • AS: Aspherical Optics
    • F&R: Advanced Aspherical Optics
    • SD: Super Low Dispersion
    • HLD: High-Refraction, Low Dispersion
    • MC: Multi-Coating
    • FE: Floating Element System
    • IF: Internal Focus System
    • IRF: Internal Rear Focus System
    • FC: Focus Clutch Mechanism (allows switching between auto & manual focus)
    • One Touch FC: One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism

Again, this is not a complete list. If you find something that should be here, please let me know by dropping in a comment and I’ll definitely add it to the list 🙂

iso

Understanding ISO Settings in Digital Camera

I’ve seen many people scratching their head over one setting in their digital camera, the ISO Settings. For many, it’s a complete alien terminology and they fail to use this setting to the hilt to take photographs. If you also have never been able to decode the ISO Settings, keep reading…

What is ISO ?

The term ISO dates back to the era when cameras with light sensitive films were used. According to wikipedia, the definition of ISO in relation to the light sensitive film is:

Film speed is the measure of a photographic film’s sensitivity to light, determined by sensitometry and measured on various numerical scales, the most recent being the ISO system.

Since we no longer use those cameras, ISO now refers to the sensitivity of your digital camera’s sensor. ISO is measured in following sequence of numbers in your digital camera:

80, 100, 200, 400, 800, etc..

This measuring is directly proportional to how sensitive the image capturing sensor of the digital camera is at that particular instance of time. Obviously, low ISO numbers (80, 100) correspond to less sensitive camera sensor and the higher ones (400, 800) corresponds to high sensitive camera sensor.

How does it affect the picture quality ?

Interestingly, ISO has a direct effect on the quality of the photographs you take. At lower ISO numbers, photographs come out to be clean and crisp (owing to the fact that the camera sensor is less sensitive) and at higher ISO numbers, photographs come out to be grainy (because we have a very high sensitive camera sensor)

However, you have to use the ISO settings in accordance with your Aperture and Shutter Speed settings. A lower ISO (which gives better and clear photographs) require Shutter Speeds and wider Aperture. A high ISO (which gives grainy photographs) gives you freedom to use a high Shutter Speed and a low Aperture value.

When does it matter the most ?

If you mostly shoot in outdoors in bright light, you don’t have to worry about your ISO settings. In fact, you can leave your digital camera in auto mode and let it select the best ISO for the scene. However, if you don’t have plenty of light, you have to tweak your ISO settings.

Let’s take a scenario. You are in a music concert and there is not much lights among the spectators and all the lights are on stage. Now, if you want to take a photograph of your friend standing at some distance from you in the audience, you have to rely upon the ISO settings a lot. Here is what will be happening:

  • You choose a slow (or normal) Shutter Speed and Aperture value and your camera gives a warning that your photograph will come out to be blurred (mostly, a red signal will flash on the LCD screen). That’s indeed true because there isn’t ample amount of light that should fall on the camera sensor.
  • If you increase your Shutter Speed without increasing the ISO, you will have underexposed photographs since the Aperture value is already to it’s maximum (that means, the lens is open as wide as it can to allow maximum possible light).
  • You’re stuck with everything and you can’t take a photograph without tweaking your ISO. That’s when the importance of ISO creeps in. Since you can’t do pretty much with your Shutter Speed and Aperture values, it’s time to levitate your ISO Settings. Remember, by increasing the ISO, we are making the camera sensor more sensitive to the available light. It’s also logical since we don’t have ample amount of light and we have to take the photograph anyhow. But, we have to compromise slightly on the image quality as there will be a small amount of grains involved due to high sensitive camera sensor. But, a grainy photograph is better than no photograph at all. Isn’t it?

What value of ISO is acceptable ?

That really depends on what type of camera sensor you got. If you have a high end DSLR camera, even the 1600 ISO shots will be perfect. But if you have an average level point-and-soot camera, you can only expect nice photographs in a range of 80 to 200 ISO. So, you have to take test shots with every ISO settings to ensure that you decide an optimum level of acceptable ISO with respect to your camera.

Where to use what ISO ?

Situations where you should use a low ISO;

  • If you are outside and there’s plenty of sunlight
  • A room which is brightly lit.
  • Any area having ample amount of light falling on the subject.

Situations where you have to have a high ISO

  • Music concerts
  • Birthday Parties
  • Hotel Interiors
  • Any place having inadequate amount of light

Conclusion

ISO wasn’t so tough to understand. Was it? Well, I’m sure by now you must have a fair idea of what ISO is and what it does. You have to really experiment yourself with your camera for the ISO levels because as stated above, it all depends on the type of camera you have.