Category Archives: For Beginners

Basic info for beginners. What you need to know but don’t also know to ask.

Film types from years back, and years ahead…

RentalINSTAXWhat kind of film formats are there?

Historically they have been many, far too many to talk about here.  Right now (mid year 2015), the current films are 35mm, 120 and maybe APS then the instant formats like Fuji Instax, Instax Wide and Instax Mini.  Impossible is making film for Polaroid SX-70, 600 cameras and Spectra type.  The old peel apart film is mostly gone. So here is what is still around.

35mm_canister35mm looks like this, the film has sprocket holes cut into both sides and running the length of the film.  Usually it is very easy to load the newer camera, the older ones the film has to be wound onto a take up spindle, while the back was open.


120_film120 film, also called medium format looks like this to the right.  The only thing protecting the film is a paper cover.  the film had to loaded on a spindle in the camera in the light and advanced to a point.  Not the easiest to load, unless you know how to load and where to stop the film.  Some models require you to slip the film under a roller for it to work properly.


aps_filmAPS (Advanced Photo System) ain’t so advanced, and Kodak just left it to rot on the dust heap of technology.  It was a great system with potential.  The film looks like this and the cameras were easy load, one way only, no mistakes.  This film is almost all gone now, and no film manufacturer has started making it again.  the only stock are left overs and are mostly out of date now.


Then there were the other formats that you can no longer buy film for…110, 118, 126, 127, 616, 818, 620, 220 and disk.  These are various shapes and sizes, and dimensions of what was available in the past.

Psx-70olaroid film has been replaced by Impossible Film, and it fits into most integral pack film cameras.  These are the films where the picture comes out the front and develops while you watch it.  No pealing apart the picture, no shaking.  The nice thing about integral film is the film pack has the film, and batteries built right in.  So every time you change film packs, you get fresh batteries.

So whether your camera is an SX-70, a 600, Time Zero, Impulse, a Talker, a Captiva or Spectra, then most likely you can use it with the Impossible film.  If your not sure, stop in or call us 864-583-6835

We now make T-shirts

t-shirtAs we are always trying to improve our offerings, and since we are printers of photographs…We recently added the ability to print full 4 color photographs onto T-shirts.

We are stocking white and black T’s, or we can order in just about any color T’s you are looking for.

We can use your photos or designs or let our graphics artist design one to your specifications.

DogTshirtFavorite picture, graphics, childs drawing, you name it – we can print it.  Stop in or call for more info 864-583-6835

5 Things You Should Know About Rechargeable Batteries

1 – Rechargeable Batteries Don’t Last Forever

Rechargeable batteries are a great, but like all things, they have a useful life.   There are several factors that effect a batteries long term performance.  The age of the battery, the number of charge/discharge cycles, and the storage conditions.  I’ve heard that if your battery lasts more than 30 months, then consider yourself lucky.  Chemically the Lithium-ion looses its ability to hold a charge over time.  High temperature storage conditions will accelerate the aging process, so store your batteries charged and in a cool dry place.  The more times it has been used the more likely it will lose the ability to hold a charge, exacerbated by storing the battery in a nearly or completely discharged state.  Lithium-ion batteries should be stored charged.  So charge them before  you put them back in the camera and store away.

2 – Recycle them when your done

Lithium-ion batteries are dangerous.  Lithium-ion is a nasty heavy metal liquid that is caustic and if still holding a charge can be flammable and potentially explosive.  Never burn, puncture or attempt to take them apart because the danger from burns, both chemical or fire is a real possibility.  You can bring them to us or call 1-877-2RECYCLE to dispose of old batteries.

3 – Be Careful What you Buy

You get what you pay for.  Buying the cheapest battery does not guarantee the best battery.  We measure the effective life of a battery by the MaH rating.  So if you camera is using a 1250 MaH battery and you find a good deal on one that is 850 MaH you are only getting a third of the rating, but the the life of the battery may be less than half.  Plus some no name brands may not charge in your camera charger.  Several major manufacturers use an embedded “chip” in their batteries to make sure that only their charger and battery will work together.  .

4 – Be careful How You Store

Never leave them out of the camera, unless the protective contact cap is covering the exposed contact terminals.  Never put a lithium battery in your pocket or purse, even if it is drained, it will become very hot in seconds if it is shorted out by keys or other metal objects.  Storage is a very necessary concern when you travel. the FAA and Homeland Security will not allow you to carry uncover batteries, or excessive numbers of Lithium-Ion batteries when you travel by air.  Check out these two websites for more info:


5 – When It Comes To Batteries, We Can Help

We sell our Promaster Brand Lithium-ion batteries inside of travel boxes.  So they are ready to go when you are.  These batteries are made to meet or exceed the OEM batteries that come with your camera.  We believe in them so much, we warrant them for their useful life.  We will replace them if they ever fail to work or hold a charge.  If it fails, give us the old battery for recycling and we will replace it.  No receipt necessary.

Stop in or see our website for more info, or to buy a new battery.

When Good Camera Cards Go Bad –

Memory_Card_High_Speed_SD_Performance_2pk_102612 copyProtecting Your Images from Corruption

Camera cards are trusted to hold and protect our precious photos but, in order to do this well, we need to do a few things to make sure they can do their job.

Impatience Incorporates Errors:  Your digital camera media can be corrupted if the camera is turned off before the image is finished being written to the card. A similar error can occur is a camera card is removed from the camera or from a computer’s media drive before the data has finished writing. Make sure that the ‘read’ light is no longer flashing on your media drive and select the ‘Safely Eject Media’ option on your toolbar.  You may then safely eject the card when prompted.

Dead Batteries Can Corrupt:  If your digital camera ‘dies’ due to exhausted battery power, you can corrupt your digital camera card and possibly damage the card and the images stored on it. If the flashing red light is signaling that you are about to lose battery power, play it safe and power down. It’s better to protect the images you already have rather than continuing to push for one more shot, which could cost you everything on the card.

Keep Them Covered:  It’s amazing how poorly we treat our digital media sometimes. We keep cards in our jacket or pants pockets, in our handbags, briefcases or in drawers, leaving them to be jostled and in contact with dust and other contaminants. It doesn’t take but a second to store your card soundly. Consider our selection of inexpensive quality card case options including anti-static and waterproof designs:

Format Regularly:  If you’ve never formatted your memory card in your camera, then you are just asking for trouble.  Regularly formatting the card will help keep the cards charged, and remove the excessive trash that can accumulate.  What trash?  There are folders that the camera creates, but does not delete when you erase pictures, also excessive quantities of empty or used folders slows the camera down as it wants to access them and keep track, using the memory in a most inefficient way.  Download your cards, back them up, verify the backup then format your card.  It will “erase” the files and folders and reset the card.  Don’t forget that if you accidentally format the card we may be able to get most of your pictures back.  Call us if you have questions or need a data recovery 864-583-6835


The Whole Numbers

The first time I started using a digital camera I was taken back a bit by the odd numbers where the shutter and aperture values were supposed to be.  My Olympus camera had whole stops listed and half stop clicks.  But I never knew the number at the half click, never needed it.  Now I’m using this “new” camera and everything is different, even the combinations of the aperture, shutter and ISO.

If you are starting out with a digital SLR then this is all normal and the numbers are mostly meaningless. So here it is old school Style:

50mm f1.8 lens

50mm f1.8 lens

One photography unit is a “stop.” That is one whole change in ISO, aperture or shutter. So in ISO that is a unit change from 100ISO to 200ISO; the larger number means the camera is getting more sensitive to light. Aperture: from f5.6 to f 8.0 is one stop; the larger the number the greater the expansion of the depth of field of the focus; this is a fractional number so the bigger number is actually a smaller hole letting in less light. Shutter: from 250 to 500 is one stop, the larger the number the faster the shutter, stopping more action, and letting in less light.

Generally when you get the camera it is factory set to 1/3 stop increments.  This is great for accuracy when manually exposing or for learning what is going on in Program.  But when asked to set the exposure 1 stop high or low, I was at a loss to know which was which.  Many of my beginner photographers don’t know what is what.  So I’ve compiled the list of whole numbers.  Not every lens with have this range, or as many of these, it all depends upon the particulars of your lenses.

Aperture Shutter ISO
f 1.0 1 25
f 1.4 2 50
f 2.0 4 100
f 2.8 8 200
f 4.0 15 400
f 5.6 30 800
f 8.0 60 1600
f 11 125 3200
f 16 250 6400
f 22 500 12800
f 32 1000 25600
f 45 2000 51200
 f 90 4000 102400

Shutters are all fractions, so 250 is actually 1/250.


Iso is not fractional so the larger the number the more sensitive the camera is to light.


Now, why would it matter if you have to change your meter in a full 1-stop increment?  Photography is a skill and has a language all of its own.  Being able to understand what other photographers will make you a more capable photographer because you can talk in their language.

New Rental Items

This just in…

RentalINSTAXWe’ve added several new items to our rental stable.  So now, more than ever, you can try it before you buy it.

Fuji Instax Camera.

This is the neat little camera that takes wallet sizes prints that develop while you watch.  Small sized, but carries 10 shots in each pack of film.  Photos develop in about 2 minutes.  We sell the twin packs of film, so you get 20 shots per  twin pack.  Plus there are party prints with fun colored borders.  A small deposit is required for the rental, which is returned when the camera is returned.  Film is extra. Or, you could try the…

Fast prints from your phone, instantly

Fast prints from your phone, instantly

Fuji Instax Printer

Connect this little printer using WiFi to your cell phone, then take and print photos anywhere!  Uses the same Instax Mini film as in the Instax Mini camera.  Great for parties and receptions.  Battery operated so you can walk around and use your phone as the WiFI hotspot.  Because it is on your smart phone, you can edit the pictures and add captions, graphics and other fun things.  Choose white border or color borders for your prints, film is extra.

As with all our rentals, if you buy the same product within 30 days of renting it, the rental fee can be credited towards your purchase.  Call us today to book a rental or if you have any questions.  864-583-6835

New Tamron Prime Lenses

Tamron has shown their 35mm and 45mm prime lenses.  Click here for Tamron Page.  These lenses are fast f1.8 aperture and have a lot of features  photographers are looking for like:

  • Vibration compensation
  • Ultrasonic silent drive
  • LD and XLD glass
  • eBAND adn BBAR coatings
  • Circular aperture
  • Moisture resistant construction

Brefily why I like these features in a lens…

Tamron F012_Hubbard 4Vibration control allows the lens to remove the photographers movements and vibration from the photos.  Resuklting in sharper images, especially if you are a bit “high strung” like myself.  Ultrasonic silent drive lets you shoot silently and you get less of the distracting lens noise when shooting movies.  LD and XLD glass allow the lens to move the wavelengths of light through the lens with more accuracy and when combined with the eBAND and BBAR coatings; they all ensure that the images will be sharper and very accurate.  Moisture resistant construction lets you take that lens with you without worry about condensation or foggy conditions.

I really like the circular aperture that gives a nice bokeh.  Sharp where is is needed and soft where you want it.

Click here for Tamron Page that will show you  both lenses and explain the concept.

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:


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.


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.