Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 70 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buying guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates. Most recent update: November 20, 2019.

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The Best Closeup Photography Equipment

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

There are several ways to do closeup photography. Closeup filters, extension tubes, and macro lenses are the most commonly used options. The best gear for you depends on your preferences, how you want to work, the subjects you are after, how much stuff you want to carry, and how much you want to spend. I cover your best options.

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Get Sharper Images By Using The Best Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

A lot of photographers have discovered their almost sharp lens was actually a very sharp lens once they tweaked the micro-adjustment settings. You will get sharper images if you adjust the settings for your specific camera and lens combinations. You do this using the micro-adjustment settings in the camera menu along with a lens calibration tool which you can buy or make yourself.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series – Overpriced Camera Phone Lenses

The ads started showing up on FaceBook all the time. They talk about wonderful lenses that will turn your smart phone into a camera that is better than a DSLR costing thousands of dollars. They brag about German engineering, a NASA optical formula, or the testing that proves their lenses are better than expensive lenses from Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, or Canon. The names of the companies change on a regular basis, but the scam is the same. Sad to say, a lot of people actually fall for this nonsense.

Continue reading

Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 70 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buying guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates. Most recent update: November 20, 2019.

Continue reading

The Best Closeup Photography Equipment

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

There are several ways to do closeup photography. Closeup filters, extension tubes, and macro lenses are the most commonly used options. The best gear for you depends on your preferences, how you want to work, the subjects you are after, how much stuff you want to carry, and how much you want to spend. I cover your best options.

Posted Nov. 19, 2017. Updated and re-posted November 15, 2018. Updated Nov. 11, 2019.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series – Overpriced Camera Phone Lenses

The ads show up on FaceBook all the time. They talk about wonderful lenses that will turn your smart phone into a camera that is better than a DSLR costing thousands of dollars. They brag about German engineering, a NASA optical formula, or the testing that proves their lenses are better than expensive lenses from Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, or Canon. The names of the companies change on a regular basis, but the scam is the same. Sad to say, a lot of people actually fall for this nonsense.

Posted Sep. 12, 2017. Updated and re-posted November 15, 2018. Updated December 14, 2018.

Continue reading

Get Sharper Images By Using The Best Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

A lot of photographers have discovered their almost sharp lens was actually a very sharp lens once they tweaked the micro-adjustment settings. You will get sharper images if you adjust the settings for your specific camera and lens combinations. You do this using the micro-adjustment settings in the camera menu along with a lens calibration tool which you can buy or make yourself.

Continue reading

Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 70 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buying guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” of articles recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates in November and December. Most recent update: December 30, 2018.

Continue reading

Favorite Photo, September 15

Chinese telephoto lens on an iPhone SE. September 15, 2017.

I am afraid my favorite photo for September 15 is not very exciting, but the story is interesting. I was doing a series of articles about cheaply made, very poor quality Chinese smart phone lenses that were flooding into the United States and being sold for outrageous prices.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off! Part Three

This is pretty much the same kind of rip off I have written about before. Take a cheap smart phone lens that people can buy at Amazon for $16.99 or less, jack up the price to $56, make outrageous claims, and see how may people you can sucker into buying the item at the higher price. They even used the same “questionable” technologist who has multiple identities.

Posted Oct. 17, 2016. Revised and re-posted June 3, 2018.

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On A Really Tight Budget? How About a DSLR and Two Lenses for $389.99?

Some of the refurbished camera gear at the Canon web site.

It was early December when I received a Facebook message from a friend whose granddaughter in college wanted to take a digital photography class starting in January. My friend wanted to give her a camera and lens as a Christmas gift. His budget was around $400 and he had no idea what to get her. After pricing camera gear he was in sticker shock and asked for my advice. He found a point and shoot camera in his price range and wondered if that would work.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off! Part Twelve. Lens Comparison Test Three: “Shoot the Moon”

 

Side by side comparison test: Chinese lens vs telephoto lens and teleconverter on a DSLR.

Almost every day I see ads for the same plastic, cheaply made Chinese lens, and the ad often uses the same faked photo of an impressive picture of the moon (see examples below). I decided to do a “shoot the moon” comparison test. As you will see in the results that follow, it is impossible for this Chinese lens to take the moon shot used in these ads.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series, Part Eleven. The Same Lousy Lens With Many Different Names

HD Zoom Pro Lens Ad

Don’t get ripped off. The quality of this lens is so bad and the reputation of the company is so awful that the people who market this lens have to keep coming up with new names for the lens and new web sites to sell it. So far I have found 16 different names for this lens and it is sold with the same fake information on dozens of web sites. Continue reading

Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

I get lots of photo questions and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone shopping for a photographer.

Here is my list of “best of the best” of articles recommending the best photo gear, software, books, DVDs, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more.

Originally posted Nov. 1, 2017. Most recent update: Dec. 20, 2017.

Continue reading

Get Sharper Images By Using The Best Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

Lens Calibration Tools

A lot of photographers have discovered their almost sharp lens was actually a very sharp lens once they tweaked the micro-adjustment settings. You will get sharper images if you adjust the settings for your specific camera and lens combinations. You do this using the micro-adjustment settings in the camera menu along with a lens calibration tool which you can buy or make yourself.

Continue reading

The Best Closeup Photography Equipment

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

Forget-Me-Nots, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve, Michigan

There are several ways to do closeup photography. Closeup filters, extension tubes, and macro lenses are the most commonly used options. The best gear for you depends on your preferences, how you want to work, the subjects you are after, how much stuff you want to carry, and how much you want to spend. I cover your best options.

Posted Nov. 19, 2017. Updated Dec. 6, 2017.

Continue reading

Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

I get lots of photo questions and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone shopping for a photographer.

Here is my list of “best of the best” of articles recommending the best photo gear, software, books, DVDs, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more.

Originally posted Nov. 1, 2017. Most recent update: April 7, 2018.

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The Chinese Lens Rip Off! Part Nine. Comparison Test Two: 8-18X Telephoto Phone Lens vs 12X Telephoto Phone Lens

8-18X telephoto lens on an iPhone SE.

If you haven’t done so already, read this article first: Don’t get ripped off! Part Seven. Comparison Test One: Telephoto Phone Lens vs DLSR and Zoom Lens. It will explain the background and methodology behind this comparison test.

I purchased the 8-18X telephoto lens to check it out. Like the lens in Comparison Test One, it is another Chinese lens for smart phones. The ads for this lens say this lens is amazingly sharp. It is being sold for $59.99. That is an outrageous price of course. I found one on Amazon for less than $12. I knew when I bought it that it would not be worth $12. I had read other online reviews for this lens which point out how bad it is, but I wanted to see for myself.

Posted Sep. 22, 2017. Revised and expanded Dec. 12, 2017.

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