Photography and Video

Cameras, camcorders, and photography advice.

What lens should I buy my daughter for her camera?

Episode 1391

Becky from Panama City, CA
Canon EF 50mm F1.8

Becky's daughter wants to be a professional photographer and wants to know what to get her that is affordable. She currently uses a Canon Rebel XT with interchangeable lenses. Leo says that getting her a prime lens like an EF 50mm F1.8 is great because it's fast and sees roughly what the eye sees. It will also train her to shoot and compose images professionally. It's great for portraits and street photography. It's also very good in low light.

What's an alternative to Photoshop on Creative Cloud?

Episode 1390

Rita from Hisperia, CA
Adobe Photoshop Elements

Rita bought a subscription to Adobe Photoshop, but she doesn't want to renew it. Is there an alternative she can use that doesn't require a subscription? Leo says that Adobe Photoshop Elements will give her about 80% of everything Adobe Creative Cloud has. It's only about $80. For most people it's good enough and she doesn't have to renew it every year or month.

Chris Marquardt on Photography

Episode 1385

Chris Marquardt

Chris says that the last Sunday in April is World Pinhole Day, which is the simplest way to take a picture. You just need a light tight box with a pinhole in it. Something light sensitive. No Lens. It's called Camera Obscura and today is the day we celebrate it. People make pinhole cameras from anything, including beer cans. The hole gives you a special property ... everything is equally sharp and unsharp at the same time. That gives it a bit of a dreamy look. Everything is also in focus. Solography is photography that uses a pinhole camera to take a picture of the sun.

Is there a security camera that doesn't rely on Wi-Fi?

Episode 1383

Tom from Mesquite, TX
Xiaomi Yi Cam

Tom has a neighbor who uses a security camera for his apartment, but they don't have internet access to monitor it. How can he create a local recording option to an SD card? Leo says that's going to be a challenge, having to collect SD cards every day. A closed circuit TV option may be a better choice, but setting up a local Wi-Fi network and recording to a computer will also work. He'll just have the cameras join an adhoc network and record to an old PC. Or he can buy several SD card based security cameras and stick them everywhere.

Could I use a Chromebook to digitize old videos?

Episode 1382

Mike from Los Angeles, CA
Dell XPS 13

Mike wants to get a Chromebook. Can he use it to digitize video? Leo says no. It's just a browser and keeps everything in the cloud. As such, it can't do specialized applications like video conversion, because it doesn't have the hardware and software to do it. Chromebooks don't have a lot of storage, either. So what he'll want is a regular PC like a Windows or Mac. He'll also need a Firewire converter. The best laptop makers are Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, and Acer. Those are the top five.