Essays / s /

Your Next Prime

Have you ever asked yourself, what's the best focal length for your first or your next prime lens? In case you are just starting with photography with zoom lenses only and never set a focal length consciously Adobe Lightroom may be able to tell you.

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Battle of the Nifty Fifties

This year, the Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 II, also called the Nifty Fifty celebrate it's 25th Birthday. Yes, that's right: this lens was released back in December 1990 and is the second oldest lens that is still in production (more on the oldest Canon lenses on Yet it still dominates the list of the most popular Canon lenses, and for good reasons: It's cheap, it's fast, it's small and lightweight, and it offers good performance for the price, which makes it the first prime lens for most Canon owners.

But of course, being such an old lens does have its downsides so Canon has just released the successor of the old Nifty Fifty: The new Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 STM.

Side viewsLeft: The old nifty fifty: Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8II - Right: the new nifty fifty: Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 STM

Ever since my wife fell in love with the old Nifty Fifty, I started to miss it in my own camera bag, so I've been looking for an alternative therefore. I had the chance to test the EF 50mm 1:1.4 USM, but didn't feel that it was worth the extra price: there's no ring USM - just an USM motor. It also has very plasticky feeling and wasn't as fantastic optically at more than tripled price.

A great alternative would be the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens. But while it may be a fantastic lens, it's even more expensive and as a hobbist photographer I'm not really dependent on its great performance. Also I wanted a lightweight, always-in-my-bag lens, and the Sigma is very heavy.

In the end I was very happy to hear news of the updated EF 50mm 1:1.8 STM and yesterday it arrived in my hands.

So here is my comparison of the old Nifty Fifty versus the new one: is it worth the higher price? Should you buy it if you already have the old version? Should you buy the STM version, or is the old version still a good choice?

It is said that both lenses contain the same optical formula with the same number of optical elements. However the test results show much more differences than expected.

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A Surprising Discovery

We always kept an old Contax SLR with a standard zoom and non-spectacular Yashica lense attached to it on a shelf in our living room as nice decoration object, which we got from my photography enthusiastic father-in-law, who unfortunately died way too early from cancer several years ago. Two days ago my wife reminded me that there is another camera stored away in our cellar and this made me curious. When I found it and I saw the lense I couldn't believe what I was holding in my hand.

Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85 C/Y

All the time there was a Carl Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85 C/Y in excellent condition in my cellar. Yes, this means 85 mm at f/1.4 combined with Carl Zeiss quality made in Germany! A bokeh monster!

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Copyright, Licenses and Terms of Services

The legal implications, when you upload an image to an internet service.

Imagine that a couple of weeks ago you've uploaded a photo to a social internet service. A nice photo that you are proud of and that you just want to show to your followers as usual. However right now you are browsing an art print shop and you see... your photo as the most popular print and on sale as canvas print for $499. Does this makes you upset? Do you want to call an Lawyer to sue these bastards? Now what, if I tell you that the shop could have done nothing wrong from a legal perspective and that they could be perfectly fine making big money with your work?

I am constantly amazed on the lack of knowledge of the terms of services of a internet service users are using. In case you didn't dare to read the terms of services yet and do not care what happens to your content that you are uploading to a site and in case you do not want to know what to look for in the terms of services and their implications, this article will be too boring for you. Feel free to continue uploading your content to any service as usual. But please do not start complaining like these crybabies that uploaded their images under a common CC license to Flickr without ever reading and understanding a license.

Before I begin let's clarify that I am not a lawyer and no expert in copyright law. Further more there isn't something like an international copyright law. These regulations differ from country to country. The points below are my own understanding of the status quo.

Further more I am referring to Facebook and its terms of service (ToS) as a role model example here. Facebook isn't the only black sheep on the net, but after reading this article you hopefully get some hints on what to look for in the jungle of a site's ToS.

Ready, for some boring stuff? OK, let's go.

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The Story Behind "Too Old to Drive"

This is a tutorial that I wrote for an upcoming tutorials book by

The Picture

Canon EOS 550D with Magic Lantern firmware, Sigma 8-16 mm @ 8 mm, 4 Exposures (1/125s, 1/800s, 1/50s, 1/3200s), f/7.1, ISO 100

Bodie is a ghost town north of Mono Lake in California and unlike many other artificial and touristic ghost towns Bodie remains unchanged in its current state and is allowed to decay through natural forces over time. For sure that is one of the reasons for Bodie’s popularity and a must see, when you tour through California like we did in May 2013.

I am pretty sure that most of you have already seen the one or other picture from Bodie, maybe even of this 1937 Chevrolet coupe. Despite the sheer amount of subjects in Bodie this is one of the most interesting for sure.

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