Stay Sharp with This Dynamic Duo

6923-2vertPhotographers know that one of the most important ways to combat blurred photos is to take the shooter’s body movement out of the equation by using a tripod. A tripod provides stability and flexibility, and when you’re out on your summer adventures, you’ll want something that travels light. Consider a monopod/walking stick. Designed to be compact and portable, this trusty accessory can give you a lift as well. Perfectly priced and ready to travel, any monopod is a great choice: Find MonoPods


7099Pair your monopod with a quality shutter release for maximum benefit. By using a wireless release, you can now keep your attention trained on your subject, which is particularly important if it requires conversation and eye contact (read: young kids and distracted teens). A wireless release is small, inexpensive and a must have for your camera bag. Try our ProMaster wireless shutter release, which makes an excellent companion:


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The Must Have Filter

4761One of the most important ways to protect your DSLR lens is by using a high quality protection filter. A digital HGX filter is the perfect partner to keep your lens shielded from dust, dirt, grime and fingerprints. Its colorless design won’t impact your images in any way other than to protect it from the elements. The ProMaster HGX filter features an exclusive REPELLAMAX™ element resistant coating to protect your lens while making sure your images remain tack sharp. Available in multiple sizes for your lens, find your fit here:

Remember…any ProMaster HGX filter purchased in our store also has a no fault, lifetime replacement warranty.  We will replace it with the same or most similar model if it is damaged or unable to be used fro any reason.  Broken, scratched what ever.  just bring us the pieces of the filter and we will replace it right away.


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Beach Photo Quick Tip


Promaster-Rain Jacket for DSLR #6864-Bags and CasesSummer is all about capturing those special vacation moments, and beach photos top the list of trends on today’s Instagram feeds. Photographing waves requires a faster shutter speed to freeze the action of the water and to also combat against possible overexposure that may occur from the strong sun’s reflection. Just make sure you have a rain sleeve or other protective gear if you’re planning on getting close and possibly wet! Consider keeping our ProMaster Rain Jacket tucked in your camera bag for those times when you want to shoot low in the waves: Find Rain Jacket Here.


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iPhone 6 Photo Tip


For those carrying the iPhone 6 as your main digital camera, we have some good news. This latest version includes the ability to manually change the exposure of an image. To use the manual control exposure option, simply touch the area you consider to be the main subject. What is inside the box is what the camera will use as its base determination for exposure. The camera will make the adjustment, and if you feel it needs to be adjusted additionally, you can use the slider bar to adjust the exposure. You can also play with the setting to create a high key effect. It’s a fantastic new feature certain to save many underexposed and overexposed images.

If you have an older IOS or a different phone, you can find a lot of neat APPS that will allow you the same kind of control.

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I have a roll of film, can I still develop and get prints from it?

We get this question quite a bit, so here is the run down…

We still process film.  Anything that is Black and White, or C-41 color we do in store, routinely.  So any 120, 35mm or APS film can be done easily.  Most C-41 color film is processed 3 times a week.  Other formats like: 110, 126, 220, 127 and others we can do, but they are no longer standards and will either take a couple weeks or if they are something different like C-22 we will have to process them as black and white.

Old film, certain black and white or C-22 may require special chemical formulations and will take longer.  We usually accept these as a “Will Call” so once we get enough to make a batch up for processing, we will process it, then call when they are ready for pick up.

There are some film formats like disk, Polaroid instant slide film and some K40 movie formats that we cannot do and probably the only people we know still does it is Dwaynes Photo.

So best answer is mail or bring it in and let us look at it.  We can probably do it!


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June is film Month

35mm film cannistersWe are celebrating “Film Month” this June, in addition to Fathers day.

“Film Month” is our special time of year when the sun is shining, the temperature is just right and it is time for some fun. “Film Month” encompasses all types of film. Color, Black and white and even instant. Yes, instant is still around, even if Polaroid is not. We are going to be covering the different films we carry and what reasons or conditions we would use them for in our cameras.

Instant Film – Polaroid is gone, but we still have the cameras, and the Impossible Project has done just what their name implies -the impossible. They have made instant developing film for Polaroid cameras that don’t need Polaroids chemicals or technology.   The Impossible film is very much like what we had in the “ole” days.  Each pack of film has a fresh battery, so all you have to do is load film and shoot.  There is both color and black and white films, with black or white borders to fit most Polaroid cameras.  Generally speaking, any 600, SX-70 or spectra camera is ready to go once you load the film.  The problem …was the camera put in the closet because they couldn’t get film or because it didn’t work?  Click Here For More About That.  Polaroid cameras are not the only way to get “magical” instant pictures.  Fuji makes magic of their own.

Fuji Instax line of cameras is the modern instant camera.  Smaller and modern looking they are available in several colors and styles.  Who Knew?  The Instax Wide has a wide format and captures quite an area, on a large 4×5-ish picture size.  The Instax Mini pictures are about the size of a wallet photo, the camera is cute and comes in colors.  What I really like is the Instax Share.  The camera phone instant camera!  Actually it is a printer that will WiFi to your phone using an App.  Prints come out in about 30 seconds and develop while you watch.  All controlled by your iPhone or Android.  “Magical!”

Click Here to see the instant film types we stock.

Color Film – So you have your old film camera and you want to load some film for the weekend.  What do you do?  Go down to the local camera store and the guy, or gal, behind the counter will make a suggestion. ;)

First, lets find out what kind of film you need.  Click Here to see what film formats are current.

100 ISO is just for bright sunny days, only.  Use 400 ISO for inside and out and on overcast days.  800, 1600 and 3200 ISO is for low light, but not dark.  Dark is little or no light and film was to have something to see.

We stock 35mm film in 24 and 36 exposures if available, click here to see our selection.  We stock 120 film as well, click here to see our 120 selection.

Black and White Film – Traditional process, black and white film is still alive.  We process every week to 2 weeks, depending upon the type of films that come in.

We stock Fuji Acros and Ilford.  Ilford  has by far the widest selection with ISO ranging from 50, 100, 400, 3200 in several emulsion types (the way the printed film will look).  Fuji is the film I would use for portraits, not necessarily things.

Really Old Film – Really old film, the stuff that looks old, faded paper wrapper, found in a trunk that grandma or great grandma had…This is the stuff we love to get.  Each roll is an adventure.  Not every roll comes out, but every roll is worth processing to see what is there.  Since these are specialty processes, it could take 2 or 3 months for us to have enough to process.  We only mix and process in larger batches because of the chemical mixing involved.

E-6, Ektachrome, Fujichrome we can still have these process, we do not process it in store, so we send it out.

K-14, Kodachrome we will only process as black and white negatives.

C-22 at this time we only do as black and white negatives.

Kodacolor X is actually old film, but a current process, so we do it here and in color.


Not sure hat you have or what you need?  Stop in and let one of our film photography experts help.

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Ilford XP-2 film – Black and White from Color Process Film






Photo by Chris Ford, shot on Ilford XP-2

Drum roll please……..Wow. Ilford has really outdone themselves on this one. XP-2 is a fine, fast and sharp black and white film that yields high contrast negatives and has an extremely wide exposure latitude making it suitable for use in varied lighting conditions. This film also has a monochromatic layer giving it the ability to be processed c-41 alongside color negative films. That’s right. Process right beside your color film in standard c-41 chemicals and it prints black and white. I’m in love with black and white film so I’m very excited to shoot a roll and see how those defined highlights really shine.

This is a new items for us, that we used to carry and have picked up again.  We stock it in 35mm and 120 size.  We also process C-41 film in our store on a regular basis.

Post by Justin

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Photo tip (shooting against sunlight)

file.jpgThe Sun is setting. There’s a nice warm glow above the tree line. Your friends are enjoying some casual conversation. Grab that camera and lets make a memory! Now for this shot specifically, the camera was set at an ISO of 125, at 1/500s and an old analog Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens was mounted to the body. I really loved the shapes that the cascading sunlight brought through the trees so the aperture was wide open at 1.4 to give me a really shallow depth of field. Now when setting up a shot like this your meter is going to say ” Hey, you’re pointed at the sun! Increase your shutter speed!” In this situation, we want our subject exposed as well. So we actually want to meter for our subject. This requires decreasing the shutter and framing your setting sun beside or even behind the subject. There were no clouds in the sky so I didn’t really mind that it was blown out. I just wanted that warm glow. The lens is from the 60’s so it naturally has a yellow tinge that only added positively to the image. Shooting against sunlight can be a great tool for adding mood to your photos and there are several ways to get the effect. Some shooters expose for both sky and and then shoot a separate image and expose their subject. Merging the two images together in post. Whichever technique you’re using, just play around until you get the desired light to create the image you’re looking for.
image by Justin Nix

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Choosing the right film stock

file.jpgWith the recent resurgence of analog photography coming back on the scene, you may be wondering ,”ok, I’ve got this older SLR in my hands but where in the world do I start with choosing the right film?”
In the digital age most of your image style and quality comes from your sensor and your lens. If you’ve got great glass you’re gonna get great results. Think of film in the same way. Some film stocks have higher quality and different looks than others.
Let’s run through exposure specs first. Film comes in different speeds and imulates the digital camera’s ISO with what’s called ASA or American Standards Association. This term has been largely put to rest and is commonly referred to as ISO. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the film is to light. It takes longer to expose film that is ISO 25 than film that is ISO 100. Film with a low ISO number, from 25 to 50, is said to be “slow film” because of the slower shutter speeds required to photograph the scene. On the other end of the spectrum, the higher the film speed, the more grain that is introduced. You will also be able to shoot in lower light. When one is first starting out, I would recommend a nice even 400 film speed. It will be sharp in the daytime and won’t introduce a large amount of grain if your shutter speed has to go down to 1/60s. Now that we’ve got light preferences out of the way, you may be asking yourself why some film stocks are higher in price than others. With film, the amount of grain can play a big role in the sharpness of your image. If you’re new to 35mm, it’s a common trend to start on Kodak Gold 400 or Fuji Superia 400. They can be found in most drug stores and especially at your neighborhood photo center (Spartan Photo Center!) Most cheaper films offer 24 exposures and the higher quality stocks offering 36. Shoot through a roll and see how light reacts to the amount of grain and how accurately  it portrays the colors. So you think you’re ready for pro film?
First let’s analyze what type of subject you’ll be shooting. If we were to shoot a beautiful bride in her white wedding dress, would we want Kodak’s Ektar 100 which specializes in over saturation of oranges and greens? No! That’s designed for landscapes and outdoor settings. We would want to make sure that her skin tones were just right, so we should pick Kodak’s Portra 160 for excellent skin tone representation. Don’t forget about Fuji just yet, they have an incredible line of sharp film stocks such as Provia 100F, Velvia 50 and 100 and the pro 400H. Maybe you love the dramatic, documentary style that black and white film offers. Then it’s onto contrast and shadows. As well as Fuji and Kodak, Ilford offers great versatility in variety and tones. Some of their line includes, the HP5 400(action and available light ), the Delta(exceptional fine grain and sharpness), the PanF+(ideal for portraiture) and many others. Another factor on how your film will look is the processing! When you start getting more familiar with different stocks, you’ll need to know what factors your lab’s scanner plays. The higher the quality of the scanner, the sharper your photo will look. One thing to greatly appreciate is that a professional lab will be consistantly maintaining color management by keeping up with the accuracy of their chemicals. You want your saturated films giving you warm colors and keeping your greens green! So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced shooter, the best advice is to constantly try different varieties and colors. Most of the fun is in the process. Happy shooting and good luck!

Spartan blog post.jpg

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Picture This: Photographing Spring Flowers

Spring is time for macro!

Spring is time for macro!

The month of May means sunny days and flowers in full bloom, but did you know that photographing flowers is often better when the sky is partly cloudy or overcast?  Bright and direct sunlight can sometimes overpower the flowers’ colors, creating a washed out and overexposed effect. 

When it comes to photographing flowers, your unique viewpoint plays an important role your final results.  You stand before a field in full bloom, and while it’s beautiful in your eyes, the ability to translate its majesty through the lens requires a few techniques and a bit of planning.

For example, instead of standing above the flowers, consider getting low and shooting from that vantage point. Don’t shoot right away, but instead, spend a few moments taking in the scenery and contemplating which parts of nature speak loudest.  Photographing from a lower point will allow you to better capture the details in the petals and the center, the small veins in the leaves and the slight change in hue in the bloom. Filling the frame whenever possible will add more grandeur to the image and experimenting with your perspective may lead you to uncover new ways of seeing nature – and sharing it with others.

Finally, consider how much of the background you would like to include in your images as this will affect which aperture you select.  Do you want the flower to fill the frame? If so, choose a large aperture. If you prefer more depth of field and want to include the background, choose a smaller aperture. Experiment with your settings to see how this impacts your overall composition. Which do you prefer? 

So, rush to the field to enjoy the scenery but take your time as you stand in the blooms and have fun with the options in front of you.  This is where your creativity reveals itself!

If you have questions about your camera, it’s use or macro photography call us and we can set up an appointment to teach you more.  864-583-6835


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