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The new Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ zoom is a truly fun optic.

The motorized zooming feature can be controlled with an "easy to grip" ring on the lens barrel, of via the Olympus Share iOS app (as I did in this video). The optic automatically extends when you turn on the camera, and retracts when you power down. This provides a nifty compact camera experience, even though this is a serious interchangeable lens system model.

For even more fun, however, you might want to invest in the Auto Open Lens Cap that reveals the front optic on powering up, and protects it when you turn off the camera.

Add it all up, and you have a 28mm-84mm (equivalent) zoom that is less than an inch long and weighs only 3.2 ounces, can be controlled remotely with your mobile phone, and accepts a nifty auto lens cap accessory.

What's not to like?


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This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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One of the strengths of the Micro Four Thirds system is its substantial catalog of lenses. Olympus has added a dash of fun, and provides some help in choosing the right optic, with its Lens Selector Guide.

olympus-lens-selector.jpg

Choose the category you're interested in, such as portraits or macro, and the camera body you're using. The selector presents you with its recommendations, complete with images captured with those lenses.

The Olympus Lens Selector is quite handsome and well implemented. A great way to spend a coffee break.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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I just read a post on Pop Photo about the X-Rite ColorTRUE Mobile App. The goal is for photographers to be able to calibrate their iPad screens for presentations. My question is: "how necessary is calibration for your mobile device?"

iOS 7 Photo Apps on an iPad

For years, we've been publishing our images on web pages for the world to see. We prepare them as best possible. But once they hit someone else's monitor, we have no control over their calibration, luminance, or resolution. During this period, photography has grown in popularity.

The iPad and its kin present us with another opportunity to share our work. I know for a fact that all of my mobile devices and computer monitors are not in absolute sync when it comes to color and tone. In a perfect world, I would love for everything to match.

But the fact of the matter is, my images look good on each individual device. Overall, the color, contrast, and sharpness are pleasing to the eye. Plus, I'm showing images in a variety of lighting conditions (mobile device!); there's no way I can calibrate for all of those scenarios. So, for 95 percent of my sharing, this uncalibrated workflow will have to suffice.

I understand that there are photographers who need precise color representation on their mobile devices. And maybe they have more control over the ambient lighting conditions. For them, the X-Rite ColorTRUE solution might help.

I'm curious to hear if you feel the need to color calibrate your iPad? If you want to share your thoughts on this, please visit our TDS Facebook page where this story will be posted. You can leave a comment there.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: 5 Steps to Restore Old, Faded Photos; The Story of Two Lenses (and how they invigorated cameras I wasn't using); and Flickr Redesign in the Works - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Calumet Photographic closes U.S. stores (DP Review)
In other news, Looks like we have a Flickr redesign coming within a few weeks. My favorite part of this is that the intrusive Yahoo nav bar will be eliminated. (PetaPixel).
And finally, Michael Reichmann posted an essay on The Luminous Landscape titled, Why the Camera Industry is in The Dumper And What Can be Done About It. He cites buyer fatigue among the reasons. It's an interesting ready whether you agree with his points or not. (The Luminous Landscape).

Story #2 - 5 Steps to Restore Old Faded Photos

before-and-after-family.jpg That's me sitting on the couch with a camera. My sister looks pretty bored, and my Mom doesn't seem to be in a portrait mood.

Both Aperture and Lightroom have the image editing tools to breath new life into the scans of your faded family photos. Here's a quick overview.

  • Remove Cast with Temperature and Tint
  • Improve Contrast
  • Add Vibrancy
  • Fix Blotches with the Retouch Brush
  • Increase Definition and Sharpness

For more detail about these adjustments, see my article, How to Restore Old Photos in Aperture.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Mikkel Aaland - Travel Photography: Seaside Road Trip Setting the Stage. This week's featured artist is veteran photographer Mikkel Aaland. I picked this title because Mikkel knows travel (I spent a week in Iceland with him), and we're coming in to the time of year where many of us have trips planned.

You can watch Mikkel in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other photography titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - The Story of Two Lenses (and how they invigorated cameras I wasn't using).

Virtual Camera Club News

Workshop News: The Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop is scheduled for August 22-24, 2014. And the dates are set for the Fall Color with Safari West Workshop, October 24-26, 2014. You can learn about them both, plus request a reservation form by visiting the TDS Workshops Page and using the "Send Me Info" box.

Lowepro Pro Roller x-200 Giveaway: Follow Derrick_Story on Twitter, TheDigitalStory on Facebook, or DerrickStory on Instagram, then by March 31, 2014, send an email to: derrick@thedigitalstory.com with the Subject line: Roller Giveaway and your name and social network addition in the body of the email. Please include your shipping address.

Photo Assignment for March 2014 is HDR.

If you haven't done so already, please post a review for The Digital Story Podcast in iTunes.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until August!

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Pentax 50mm is a Sharp Shooter

Pentax K-5 with 50mm

The Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8 lens is a handsomely designed, moderately priced, fast prime.

I had read conflicting reports about its performance. Pop Photo gave it high marks, while the folks at SLRgear.com were lukewarm about the optic. I needed a fast, versatile lens for my Pentax K-5 that I use around the studio. So when the 50mm went on sale for $182, I jumped at the chance to buy it.

After a few days of shooting, I'm leaning more toward the Pop Photo results. So much so, that I'm wondering if SLRgear got a bad version of the optic for testing. I'm primarily shooting between f/1.8 and f/2.8 here at the studio.

Dibs the Cat - Pentax 50mm
Portrait at f/1.8 with Pentax 50mm. Photos by Derrick Story.

I do think the lens is a bit sharper at f/2.8 than wide open. But that doesn't mean that it isn't crisp at f/1.8, and the artistic effect of the focus falloff is wonderful.

Dibs Looking Off
Portrait at f/2.8 with Pentax 50mm.

If I were going to complain about anything with the Pentax 50mm, it wouldn't be image quality. It would be the grinding sound of the AF motor. It's not a problem here at the studio shooting product shots. But I wouldn't want it at an intimate marriage ceremony. In those situations, switch to manual focus, which is quite nice on this lens.

The Bottom Line

If you own a Pentax K-mount body, you probably will love adding the 50mm to your camera bag. It's light, good-looking, and provides excellent image quality. Just don't shoot in AF mode in quiet settings.


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The Pentax 50mm f/1.8 lens has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

No photo library is complete without old, color-shifted family portraits. You can breath some life into these pictures by using the image editing tools in Aperture.

before-and-after-family.jpg That's me sitting on the couch with a camera. My sister looks pretty bored, and my Mom doesn't seem to be in a portrait mood.

Here are the basic steps I follow to work on an old photo:

basic-restoration-adjustments.jpg

  • Remove Cast with Temperature and Tint - I use the eye dropper in the White Balance brick and click on a neutral area with Temperature and Tint selected. This helps remove some of the color cast.
  • Improve Contrast - using the Exposure brick along with the Highlights & Shadows brick, I work on the exposure. I find the Mid Contrast slider very helpful with old photos.
  • Add Vibrancy - Once you've pulled the colors and exposure into a better place, restore some of the life with the Vibrancy slider. It will protect skin tones much better than the Saturation control.
  • Attack Shadow Noise - These adjustments will almost always increase noise in the shadows. I use the Skin Smoothing brush on noisy areas. It works great.
  • Tone Down Pesky Remaining Color Shifts - If you still have more color shift than you want, try using the Color brick and selecting an area with the eyedropper. Then you can adjust the hue and bump up the brightness. This is a nice finishing touch for color work.

fine-tuning-adjustments.jpg

  • Fix Blotches with the Retouch Brush - Weird spots seem to appear during this recovery process. Use the Retouch brush to knock down those imperfections.
  • Increase Definition and Sharpness - The Definition slider is an excellent helper with old photos. I usually move the slider pretty far to the right, then add some Edge Sharpening too.

Your old photo is still going to look its age. That's OK. But by experimenting with these tools, you can wash away some of the years, improving the appearance of your historical document.

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about using these tools in Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Nimbleosity T-Shirt

As we turn the corner from Winter to Spring here in the States, The Nimble Photographer breaks out some new goodies in the spirit of the season.

The Nimbleosity T-Shirt ($17.50) wicks moisture away from the body. Perfect for a day hike, bike ride, or Sunday afternoon stroll. Double-needle hemmed bottom, sleeves, collar, and arms. Only weighs 3.7 ounces and designed with 100 percent high performance poly fabric.

The Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($12.95) is crafted by Wenger. This handsome 26-ounce "clean water" bottle is perfect for an afternoon hike, bike ride, or as a companion while running errands in the car.

water-bottle-backpack.jpg

The Walking Man logo is printed on the front in black, and Wenger is printed on the back. The matte finish for the bottle is charcoal gray. Kit includes D-Ring attachment.

The Microfiber Cleaning Cloth ($2.50) keeps those sunglasses and camera filters free of grime and smudges.

This cloth features our Spring 2014 Walking Man with "I have a high nimbleosity rating" circling him. Vinyl pouch included. Cloth measures 6" x 6". And if that wasn't good enough, free shipping for this item.

While you're in the store, you may want to check out our popular Walking Man Cap, limited edition shoulder bag, and variety of T-Shirts.

Microfiber Cloth.jpg


These products have a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter


olympus-fisheye-front.jpg

Nothing shakes up a composition like a fisheye lens. And for Micro Four Thirds shooters, the Olympus 9mm Fisheye Body Cap lens ($99) is an affordable way to have some real fun.

First of all, it's really about the size of a standard camera body cap. So you don't need much room in your camera bag to add this dash of spice. I've been using the Olympus 15mm Body Cap lens ($49) on a PEN E-PM2 body ($323) as a super compact backup camera. And it's been truly handy (and very compact).

But the 9mm is more than just an emergency lens. It has two aspherical elements, 140 degree field of view, and three manual focus settings (including a close-up mode that allows you to shoot at 7.9").

Twin Townhouses

There's no AF, and no lens communication with the camera. I shoot in Aperture Priority mode (using the f/8 constant aperture). There's also no lens metadata sent with the picture, although I doubt you'll forget which lens you used when you look at the image.

Personally, I really like high-value tools that bring something unique to my camera bag. And when I'm in the mood for fun fisheye effect, I know I'll always have this little gem with me.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The 9mm fisheye lens has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

custom-drive-icons.jpg

I like custom icons for my internal and external hard drives. They make it easy to quickly identify which is which on my desktop.

The problem is, that when you reformat a hard drive, your custom icon will be replaced with a generic version. Not only are the generics not as attractive, but there's no visual distinction among the various units.

Fortunately, it's easy to preserve your custom icon. Before you reformat the drive, use the Get Info command (CMD-I). In the upper left corner, you'll see the icon for your hard drive. Click on it once to highlight it, the go to Edit>Copy to save it to the clipboard.

Go ahead and reformat the drive as normal. (Make sure it's backed-up first!) Then use the Get Info command again, click on the generic drive icon, and choose Paste. You'll have your custom icon once again.

If you want to save your custom hard drive icons for future use, Open Preview (the app) and choose File>New from Clipboard. The entire family of icons will be pasted and you can save them as an .icns file. That way you'll never lose them.

hard-drive-custom-icon.jpg

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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW Grand Prize; From the Screening Room: Ben Long: Shooting and Processing HDR; and on the Workshops Update: Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop Open for Business - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Getty and Flickr to cease partnership (DP Review) Even though the 6-year partnership ends, "Your status as a contributor to Getty Images is unchanged by this news. Your current agreement with Getty Images remains the same and agreements will NOT be terminated by us as a result of this change, no matter how few images you have on gettyimages.com."

panasonic-gh4-mic.jpg

In other news, Ultra-high def Panasonic GH4 ships this May at a price enthusiasts can justify - $1,700 body alone and $3,300 with camera and interface unit together, which adds 4K HD-SDI output with timecode, XLR audio, and DC power, as well as a stereo levels display and physical levels controls. Should ship in May. (Imaging-Resource).

And finally, iOS 7.1: The changes we love (and the ones we don't) Includes HDR auto, the camera automatically detects when an image might be improved by HDR, and shoots in that format. (Macworld Magazine).

Story #2 - Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW Grand Prize

This is a sweepstakes for podcast listeners only. The goal is to bring you into our family of social network sites, so you can stay better informed about what's going on in our virtual camera club community. (Lots of TDS news isn't covered in the weekly show.)

Participation is easy. All you have to do is join one or more of our social network sites, and let me know which one(s) via email. Here are your choices:

lowepro-pro-roller-x200-open.jpg

If you're already a member of all three social sites, send the email and say so. Be sure to include your shipping address.

Twenty-five randomly selected participants will receive the brand new "I have a high nimbleosity rating" microfiber camera cleaning cloth. One participant will receive the Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW camera bag.

Only rules are that your email has to be date stamped before March 31, 2014, and if these sort of things are not allowed where you live, then I can't change that. In other words, void where prohibited.

I hope you toss your hat in the ring. I can't wait to send out those cool Nimble microfibers, and of course the Pro Roller X200.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Ben Long: Shooting and Processing HDR. This week's featured artist is expert photographer and all around great guy, Ben Long. Ben shows you the ins and outs of High Dynamic Range Photography in this week's title.

You can watch Ben in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com/thedigitalstory. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other photography titles, plus every other topic in the library.

Story #4 - Workshops Update - The Sonoma Coast Photography Workshop is scheduled for August 22-24, 2014. And let me tell you why this is such a wonderful event for enthusiast photographers.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for March 2014 is HDR.

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (31 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until August!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.