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Green Mountain Camera Blog

  • Are All Scans The Same? (NO)

    What's the difference between a dedicated film scanner and some other scanner, like, say, a flatbed scanner?

    Many flatbed scanners now offer film holders, which makes scanning film negatives and slides a simple task for the at-home user. It seems like everyday we have customers asking us about scanning, and which scanner or service is best. It is difficult to sit here and explain the differences between the types of scanners when all that really matters is the end result.

    In an attempt to showcase the quality of a scan from a dedicated film scanner, and that from a high-quality flatbed scanner that offers film holders for scanning negatives and slides, we scanned some Fujifilm Superia 400 color negative print film. We took one frame and scanned it twice. Once on a dedicated Nikon 4000 ED film scanner and again with an Epson V700 flatbed scanner. The first two images are straight out of the scanners using similar, high-quality settings. And, here are the results:

    Scan from Epson V700 Flatbed Scanner

    Scan from Epson V700 Flatbed Scanner

    Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Now, here is a crop taken from the two images. We think it is a good idea to get in close to see what viewing the images at 100% looks like because this is important when making prints. Especially bigger prints.

    Crop of Scan from Epson V700 Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Epson V700 Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    Crop of Scan from Nikon 4000 ED Scanner

    As you can see from the above images, using a dedicated film scanner makes a big difference. Looking at the sky, just above the horizon, the Nikon holds color and density, whereas the Epson does not. There is a big difference in the perception of the grass and leaves. The Nikon keeps a more natural green color, and the Epson scan looks like there was a recent drought. Where we really see a big difference, however, is the 100% crop. The Nikon retains a lot of detail in the sweater, and the Epson doesn't hold any detail.

    Finally, here is the high-quality Nikon scan "jazzed" up and ready for a nice print with a little post-processing:

    Nikon Scan Post Processed

    Nikon Scan Post Processed

    Looking for high-quality scanning of your slides and negatives? Please visit our website by clicking here.

     

  • Canon PIXMA MG6120 Wireless All-In-One Photo Printer On Sale!

    Canon PIXMA MG6120 Wireless All-In-One Photo Printer

    Canon PIXMA MG6120 Photo Printer On Sale Today

    This fully capable Canon wireless all-in-one photo printer goes on sale today through the holidays, and at an incredible price of just $139.99. The PIXMA MG6120 includes these main features:

    • Wireless Printing and Scanning
    • USB, Wireless & Ethernet Interfaces
    • Full HD Movie Printing
    • Six Individual Ink Tank System
    • 4 x 6" Borderless Prints in 20 Seconds
    • Uses Memory Cards/USB Flash/PictBridge
    • Camera Phone Printing
    • Automatic Duplex (Two-Sided) Printing
    • Built-In Image Enhancement Tools
    • Windows & Mac Compatible

    Click here to learn more, or to purchase now!

  • Green Mountain Camera in the News!

    Green Mountain Camera in the News

    Published in Champlain Business Journal November 2010 Issue

    Green Mountain Camera is proud to have an article featured in the November 2010 issue of the Champlain Business Journal. The article focuses on Green Mountain Camera's recent move and expansion into a larger facility. It highlights Green Mountain Camera's central role in providing a comprehensive inventory of new, used, and antique cameras to Vermonters (to view our used inventory, click here). The article also taps into Green Mountain Camera's ambitions for offering more services to its customers, like photo classes. The photograph in the article is of Green Mountain Camera owners Bob Ste. Marie and John Ste. Marie, taken by Jay Austin (photo credit incorrect in Journal).

  • Green Mountain Camera is Moving, New Time-Lapse Video

    Green Mountain Camera is proud to announce it is moving to a new bigger, better location just North of its current home. Green Mountain Camera is currently "chopped up" into two locations: a warehouse and a retail store. The new home of Green Mountain Camera will provide a centralized location with both expanded warehousing and expanded retail space. What does this mean for you, the customer? A much better shopping experience! Our retail customers will have more access to new equipment, and all of the used equipment we warehoused for lack of space in our retail store will now be immediately available for viewing in our retail store. In addition, our online customers can expect even faster ship times as all of our inventory will be available under one roof. So, items that used to take one business day to ship will be available for shipping immediately.

    In anticipation of the move, Jay (an associate at Green Mountain Camera) made this time-lapse video. This video shows the carpenters painting the ceiling and walls of the new retail space. Jay shot the video over many hours and comprised the video from over 600 frames. He also added in a little information about the new location and a picture of the new retail store. We hope you find the video as exciting as we do, and if you have any questions about the move or the equipment used to make the video, or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

  • How to Create a Timelapse Video Using Your Digital SLR Camera

    The above timelapse video was shot using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. It is made up of 99 individual shots that were spaced 5 seconds apart, and sequenced all together to make one timelapse video. The key to the success of making this video was the use of an intervalometer to remotely control the timing of the shots.  There are many intervalometers on the market, and most camera manufacturers have their own, but companies like Nikon and Canon charge over $150. We have found, and sell, a cheaper alternative, and they work great. Plus, they only cost $48.50:

    Remote Intervalometer

    Click picture to purchase intervalometer

    If you are still wondering how this works, we'll tell you. The first thing is to set up your camera on a tripod, a table, or anywhere where the camera will not move. Then, figure out the exposure and focus you want using the camera's manual (M) settings, so that the exposure and focus won't change as you're taking the sequence of pictures. Simply plug the intervalometer into the remote control port on the side of your camera. This is the same port that is used for a remote shutter release. Once the intervalometer is plugged into the camera, you can actually start using it as a remote shutter release. Simply press the center button and it will trigger the camera to take a picture.

    Now, you could sit there and remotely trigger your camera manually every so many seconds, but that would quickly get old and your timing would probably not be very consistent. Plus, it defeats the purpose of having an intervalometer. So, set up your intervalometer:

    1. Set the initial delay (how many seconds before the first picture is taken)
    2. Set the shutter delay (only necessary if using bulb, controls how many seconds the shutter is open)
    3. Set the interval delay (how many seconds in between shots)
    4. Set the interval number (how many shots to be taken)
    5. Press start and watch the magic happen

    Once your intervalometer is going you will probably have to wait for a while, so now would be a good time to get a drink. The above video took a little over 8 minutes to shoot, which actually wasn't so bad. Really cool timelapse videos will be done over several hours.

    Now, once all of the shots have been completed, you aren't done yet, but almost. The final step is to load all of your timelapse pictures on to your computer so that you may compile them into a single video file. For the above video we used Quicktime Pro, and it made things really simple. With Quicktime Pro you simply go to File > Open Image Sequence . . . and choose the first file of the sequence. As long as the files are numbered consecutively Quicktime will automatically be able to compile them into a single video without any more input from you. Then, from there, watch the video. And, you can export the video file for the web or whatever else you want, so the world can see your hard work. There are also a host of other software available that will be able to do the same thing, so choose whatever you like. The best part about timelapse is trying out different subjects and circumstances, so get creative.

    Looking for an intervalometer for your digital SLR camera? Find one here.

  • JUST RELEASED: Canon EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Upgrade

    A new firmware upgrade for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was just released. The new firmware is version 2.0.7, and incorporates the following improvements and fixes:

    1. Fixes a phenomenon in which the aperture exhibits abnormal movement when shooting movies in manual exposure mode and Aperture Priority AE (Av mode) using some Canon lenses (such as macro lenses).
    2. Fixes a phenomenon in which the exposure level shown in the LCD panel differs from what is shown in the viewfinder when shooting still images in manual exposure mode.
    3. Fixes a phenomenon in which the Wireless File Transmitter (WFT-E4 or WFT-E4 II) may not automatically power off when used for FTP transfers.

    These phenomenon only occur with the Version 2.0.4 and Version 2.0.3 firmware.

    The Version 2.0.7 firmware being released this time is for cameras with firmware up to Version 2.0.4. If the camera's firmware is already Version 2.0.7, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

    Click here to download the firmware.

  • Identifying Used Camera Equipment, Part 2 – More Lenses

    Do you have used equipment to sell? Green Mountain Camera is interested in purchasing your used or unused equipment. Find out how to sell your used equipment here.

    In this part of our series of identifying used camera equipment we are tackling a topic that will help a lot of confused people--Nikon lenses.

    Over the years Nikon has made a lot of lenses. In fact, to date, Nikon has manufactured over 50 million lenses. And, with 50 million lenses floating around out there, we come across a lot of used Nikon glass. Most of the used Nikon lenses we see are "classics"--of the manual focus type, and these come in three main varieties. The three main types of Nikon manual focus lenses are pre-AI (often referred to as non-AI), AI, and AI-S.

    This is where most people get confused. What are the differences between a pre-AI, AI, or AI-S Nikon manual focus lens, and how can one tell the difference? Perhaps it is easiest if we first answer the second part of that question. Identifying the difference between the three main types is actually pretty easy, as long as you know what to look for...

    Nikon pre-AI LensNikon AI LensNikon AI-S Lens
    Can you tell the difference between these three lenses that would make the first pre-AI, the second AI, and the third AI-S? Here's a tip: focus on the mounts.

    Nikon pre-AI Lens

    pre-AI

    Nikon AI Lens

    AI

    Nikon AI-S Lens

    AI-S

    In the above photographs are marked the areas of concern. As you can see, the pre-AI lens has a smooth mount surface. The AI and AI-S lenses have ridges of metal (painted black) sticking out from the lens mounts, and with the AI-S lens there is a small, rounded indentation in the mount. In addition, the smallest aperture number on the lens is always colored orange. You may have also noticed that the pre-AI and AI lenses have a notched piece of metal in the shape of an inverse V adjacent to the mount. Really, that is all there is to identifying the differences between the three types of lenses.

    So, now that the differences have been pointed out, what do they do?

    Pre-AI lenses where manufactured from 1959 to 1977. The inverse V looking piece of metal on the top is actually the meter prong. This prong mates with compatible cameras, like a Nikon F with Photomic finder, and as the aperture is changed on the lens, the prong "communicates" the aperture setting to the camera. These lenses were never intended to be called pre-AI from the get-go. In fact, they were referred to, simply as, Nikon F lenses. But, once AI lenses were introduced in 1977, this is how these lenses were referred to by people.

    It's probably a good time to note that it is not appropriate to mount pre-AI lenses on Nikon AF camera bodies (including digital, but excluding the D40, D40x, D60, D3000, D5000) as these lenses may damage the cameras.

    Auto-Indexing (AI) lenses were introduced in 1977, and have an AI ridge for meter coupling--that ridge is the piece of metal stick off the mounts in the above pictures. Having a ridge instead of a prong for meter coupling makes it quicker and cause for less error to mount and unmount lenses. AI lenses, you will notice above, have a second row of aperture values. These values (also called Aperture Direct Readout) can be seen in the viewfinder of compatible cameras, so you know what aperture is being used without taking your eye away from the finder. Nikon began multicoating lenses in 1975, so these lenses are almost all multicoated. Also, Nikon continued to add the metering prong to many of these lenses to maintain meter coupling with older camera models.

    Unlike pre-AI lenses, AI lenses are compatible with almost all Nikon camera bodies after 1977, except for a few of the cheaper AF camera bodies. Also, it is interesting to note, Nikon offered AI conversions for pre-AI lenses. These converted lenses look very similar to AI lenses, and most people can't tell the difference and often refer to them as AI lenses, instead of AI'd (AI'd is the appropriate term). There are also many do-it-yourself lenses out there where individuals converted the lenses themselves. We have even seen lenses where someone super-glued a little plastic tab in the right spot on the aperture dial to couple the meter correctly.

    In 1981 Nikon introduce auto-index shutter (AI-S) lenses. These lenses have the small indentation in the mount of AI-S lenses as seen in the above pictures, and this indentation serves the purpose of indicating that a lens with a linear action diaphragm is mounted. The Nikon FA was the first camera to use this information, and that happened back in 1983. It is interesting to know that no current production cameras use this information. AI-S lenses do feature modifications to allow for more accurate shutter priority and programmed exposures, but only when used with a compatible camera body. Also, AI-S lenses are typically lighter and smaller than the AI or pre-AI lenses. Many individuals attribute this to Nikon's motivation to cut costs rather than innovative construction materials. AI-S mounts typically feature 3 screws rather than 5 (see above pictures).

    This concludes the second part of our series about identifying used equipment. In our next post we will talk about identifying cameras. As there a many different types of cameras, and hundreds of manufacturers, we'll discuss the main camera types like SLR, rangefinder, etc., rather than more specific things like identifying different Leica rangefinders (IIIb vs. IIIf for example).

    Do you have used equipment to sell? Green Mountain Camera is interested in purchasing your used or unused equipment. Find out how to sell your used equipment here.

  • Macro on the Cheap--Why Not?

    If you are interested in this item, you can find it here. We have it for several different camera mounts, too.

    Macro lenses are great, and for many reasons. One of the reasons macro lenses are not great, however, is the price. Dedicated macro lenses are typically expensive. Sigma has some very good, very reasonably priced macros, like the 70mm f/2.8, but that lens is still $500. Zeiss makes an incredible macro, the 100mm f/2, but that bad boy is $1800. So, what are you to do if you want to get close but don't have the budget of a Wall Street banker?

    Here's a good question: Can you afford $9.50? For close-up photography? Of course you can. If you are into photography and are, or are getting, into macro work, you have most likely heard of extension tubes. And, like dedicated macro lenses, there is a lot variety out there for extension tubes. The cheapest ones we have found (that actually work) are $9.50. Yep, that's right...The price for two gallons of milk. Check it out:

    Canon EOS Macro Extension Tube

    An extension tube works by increasing the distance of the lens to the camera body. Think of a projector. When you are looking at a slide, sorry, digital projector being displayed on a wall, and you move the projector back from the wall, the projected image gets larger. The same idea applies to extension tubes. Move the lens farther from the camera body and the projected image on the camera's film, sorry, sensor gets larger. This metal-construction extension tube is made into sections, like this:

    Canon EOS Extension Tube Disassembled

    The different sections screw together and can be used in any combination to increase or decrease magnification. This extension tube is intended for Canon EOS mount lenses and cameras. It is made up of a lens mount, a camera mount, and three sections of varying sizes. Are you wondering if adapter tubes really work? Check it out:

    Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens No Extension

    Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, No Extension

    Same Lens, Same Focal Length (105mm), Lens and Camera Mount of Extension Tube Only

    Same as above, smallest extension ring added

    Same As Above, Smallest Extension Ring Added

    Small and Medium Extension Rings

    Small and Medium Extension Rings

    The Entire Extension Tube

    The Entire Extension Tube

    So, an extension tube really works. For $9.50, why not? Well, there are a couple of things you should know before jumping both feet in. The first, nothing is auto. Autofocus cannot work, auto modes cannot work, and the metering cannot work. In addition, the aperture cannot be stopped down, so if you have a lens (like Canon EOS) that does not have a manual aperture ring that can stop down the aperture, you are forced to use the lens wide open. And, with macro work, that means your depth-of-field is tiny. Also, extension tubes, because you are increasing the distance of the lens to the camera body, decrease the intensity of light falling on the camera's film, sorry, sensor. This means slow shutter speeds become a common reality.

    All of the above mentioned things will be solved by using a dedicated macro lens. There are also some expensive extension tubes that will solve some of those problems--aperture control, autofocus, etc.. But, for $9.50, or 1/100th of the cost for some dedicated macro lenses, why not?

    If you are interested in this item, you can find it here. We have it for several different camera mounts, too.

  • NEW: Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Lens

    Interested in this lens? Check it out here, and contact us for pre-orders! First deliveries are expected in July.

    Announcement copied from Leica:

    Leica Camera presents a new member to the M-Lens family – the Leica Summilux-M 35mm/f1.4 ASPH. In the M-System, the 35 mm lenses are the most popular . The combination of moderate wide angle characteristics paired with natural dimensions makes this focal length versatile.
    The optical design of the Leica Summilux-M 35mm/f1.4 ASPH has been optimised for the use with either the digital Leica M cameras or the traditional analogue cameras for stunning results. In particular, this lens shows its full potential with the Leica M9.

    The Leica Summilux-M 35 mm/f1.4 ASPH is equipped with a Floating Element, which keeps the outstanding imaging performance at a very high level even at close focusing distance. The new patented, rectangular, full-metal lens hood makes the lens more compact than its predecessor.

    The advantages of the Leica Summilux-M are:
    • Outstanding imaging performance even at full open aperture throughout the full focusing range from infinity down to 28.
    • Selective sharpness ability for creative photography due to the large maximum aperture of F1.4.
    • Very good supppression of stray light and reflexes for high-contrast pictures even in back light situations.
    • Very good visibility through the viewfinder due to compact dimensions.
    • High quality, all-metal lens hood.
    • 3-years passport warranty.

    NEW: Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Lens

    Interested in this lens? Check it out here, and contact us for pre-orders! First deliveries are expected in July.

  • Identifying Used Camera Equipment, Part 1 - Lenses

    Looking to sell used equipment? Green Mountain Camera appreciates all used equipment! Please go here to find out how you can turn your used equipment into cash.

    At Green Mountain Camera we love camera equipment, and that's why we are a camera store that still buys, sells, and trades used cameras and equipment. The latest and greatest technology is always fun, but there really is nothing like a classic. And, although we sell a lot of new cameras, we like to think that our core business is dealing with used equipment. Learning about the history of photography in a hands-on way is what keeps us going and gets us excited to come to work in the morning.

    Not everyone gets as excited as us when it comes to camera equipment, however; and we understand. We deal with a lot of individuals who inherit, or are given, equipment, and these individuals just may not be interested. There are also those who love to take photographs, but don't know a lot about the camera equipment they have. And, it can sometimes be difficult when such individuals contact us and try to explain what camera equipment they have, or have inherited, and want to sell or trade. In an attempt to help with this communication, and also educate anyone who is interested, we have created this series of posts. This first post will concentrate on understanding the three main markings that can be found on most any modern lens.

    One of the biggest hurdles in communicating about camera equipment are lenses. For a lot of people, when they look at the markings on the rim of a lens, it is plain gibberish. Here is an example:

    Minolta AF 35-70mm LensI grabbed this lens from our parts/repair bin, which happened to be close by, and it is a great example. There are three main things that are important to us for identifying and evaluating used equipment. The first is probably the most obvious and easiest to find--that is the manufacturer. The manufacturer of a lens is usually prominent and often repeated on the lens in a couple of locations. In addition, people are often familiar with the brand names (Nikon, Canon, Minolta, etc.) to be able to easily identify the manufacturer. In the case of the above lens, it is Minolta.

    The second important factor is the focal length of a lens. Some lenses are fixed focal length (non-zoom) and others are variable focal length (zoom), like this one, and the lens even says "zoom" right on the rim. This lens has a variable focal length of 35-70mm. If it was a fixed focal length it would simply be something like 70mm, with no dash or other number. The smaller the number for indicating focal length, the larger the field-of-view of the lens (simply put: how large of a scene you can fit into your composition), and the larger the number the smaller the field-of-view. Numbers larger than 50mm are typically referred to as telephoto and effectively "magnify" or "brings things closer".

    The third important factor is the maximum aperture. People are often confused by aperture. Why? Because the larger the number, the smaller the aperture, and the smaller the number, the larger the aperture. What is important for a lot of photographers, and certainly for the value of the lens, is the maximum aperture, and, therefore, the smaller number. Like focal lengths, lenses can have either a variable or fixed aperture. The above lens has a variable aperture. The aperture is usually always indicated by a "1:" and then a number. The "1:" indicates a ratio, and that is exactly what an aperture implies. People will often refer to the aperture of a lens by "f/" or "f:", which is essentially short-hand for "f-stop", but indicates the same thing as "1:". Going back to the above lens, the full aperture marking is "1:3.5(22)-4.5". You may be wonder what the "(22)" indicates? This indicates the smallest possible aperture for this lens. Although this is not as important for a lot of photographers, there are many photographers who want greater depth-of-field, and this will certainly be an issue for them.

    Side topic: How does an aperture vary? For a lot of zoom lenses, the aperture is variable. As a zoom lens' focal length is changed, the aperture varies. As the focal length is made more telephoto, the aperture is made smaller (the number becomes larger).  Most of the time, fixed aperture zoom lenses, at least if they have a relatively small fixed aperture, are more valuable.

    There is a another marking on this lens that is not important for its identification and value, but is useful to know. The circle-looking symbol with a diagonal dash through it, and then a number, is the filter size indicator. In this case, it is 49mm, so this lens uses 49mm threaded filters.

    Here is the same lens marked for quick reference:

    Minolta AF 35-70mm Lens MarkedWhat happens if your lens looks like this?

    Nikon AF 70-300mm LensNot to worry. Somewhere on the lens you will be able to find similar markings to the Minolta shown above.

    Nikon AF 70-300mm Lens Marked

    You may have also noticed with both of these lenses that "AF" is indicated. This marking connotes that these are auto focus lenses. In some circumstances, this too can be important for identifying a lens. It is possible that a manufacturer made a manual focus lens and then updated it years later to be auto focus, and maintained all the other same attributes, like focal length, aperture, etc.. So, if known, it is helpful to indicate the lens is auto or manual focus.

    This concludes our first post about identifying used camera equipment. In this post we talked about the three main things to look for about a lens to help identify that particular model. In our next post we will continue with lenses, and talk about Nikon lenses and the different types (pre-AI, AI, AI-S, AF, AF-I, AF-S) and camera compatibilities. We will also discuss how to look at and through a lens to discover its physical condition, which can greatly impact its value. There may be more hiding inside a lens than  you think.

    Looking to sell used equipment? Green Mountain Camera appreciates all used equipment! Please go here to find out how you can turn your used equipment into cash.

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