Slices of Life: The Blog of Urbin Photography

Observations by Photographer Mark Urbin

Canon announces the 5D Mark III full frame DSLR

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR

ISO up to 25600, full HD video and a magnesium alloy body.

Yes, I want one. ūüôā

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Gear, Photography | Leave a comment

Film Camera spotted in the Wild

An actual Film Camera spotted in the wild! The person with the camera was taking a photography class, and some of her assignments required an actual film camera to be used.

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Gear, Photography | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10-megapixel camera for under $200

Wow. ¬†It’s amazing to me how fast this technology has matured over the past few years.

Canon is selling the Canon PowerShot SD770 for $174, and that includes free shipping. You can pay more if you want it faster.  

Before you hang up your DSLR, remember that handheld have a much smaller image capture space. You just can’t grab as many photons as you can with a ¬†DSLR.¬†

Still, that’s a lot of megapixils to work with.

January 14, 2009 Posted by | Gear | , , | Leave a comment

Digital Picture Frames

One of the hot items this Christmas is digital picture frames.  I’ve been looking at various models, bought several and returned a couple.  

First, what not to buy. Omnitech digital picture frames.  Omnitech is a Staples brand name.  Don’t let the low price suck you in like it did me.  The quality is absolute dreck!  Very low resolution pictures.  Here is a tip, if the resolution of the screen isn’t printed on the box somewhere, it’s probably safe to assume that it sucks.

I found two models that I’m happy with.  The first is an HP 10.4″ model.  The resolution is 800×600, it has a remote, support for music files, movies, CF/SD cards…all the usual stuff.  A bit pricy, Amazon has it for $165, but then you are paying for the brand name and the perceived level of quality. It will show your digital photographs off quite nicely though.  It also has different colored mats that can be swapped out to match your room’s color scheme.

The other model I like is the Smartparts OptiPix Pro 10.4″ digital picture frame, which Amazon has for $99.99.  According to data on the box, the resolution is 640×480.  I’ve got it set next to the 800×600 HP, loaded with same pictures, and I can’t see $65 worth of difference between them. 

Bottom line, if you want a decent digital picture frame, be prepared to spend at least $100, and while it’s probably safe going with a well know brand name like HP, it may not be the best buy available.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Gear, Photography | , | Leave a comment

That’s a bummer…

I am really fond of the Microsoft PhotoInfo tool.  It was quick to load, easy to use, and did a lot of useful stuff.

It seems that it isn’t compatable with IE7. ¬†Drat and damn. ¬†I just switched to a new and faster desktop for the express purpose of better digitial photography work flow and and one of my favorite Q&D tools doesn’t work on it.

I’m open to suggestions on replacement tools. ¬†I’ll also try uninstalling IE7. ¬†I use Firefox and Chrome pretty much exclusively anyway.

Update: I’ve found the replacement for it. The Microsoft “Pro Photo Tool.” ¬†Many of the same features, but you have to launch the app and then load the photos. ¬†Easier for batch work, but I liked being able to quickly right click photos and update them.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Gear, software | , , | Leave a comment

Canon 50D review

Roland has got his hands on a 50D and has written a review.

It’s good stuff and and I want one. ¬†Feel free to hit the tip jar. ¬†There are probably good prices for the 40D now also (Amazon has it for under a grand).

Here are some of the highlights.

  • Noise reduction¬†and expanded¬†sensitivity up to ISO 12800
  • Support of UDMA cards for faster writing of image files
  • 3‚Ä≥ LCD display with VGA resolution 640√ó480×3=921,600pixels
  • A a new auto shooting mode called¬†Creative Auto shooting mode
  • Improved Auto ISO
When I do pick one up, I’ll need some larger CF cards. ¬†

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Gear | , , , | Leave a comment

Improvised monopod for a timer shot


Improvised monopod, originally uploaded by Eclipse Pics (‚ąÜncient).

I had a mini tripod with me, but this post actually was a bit higher and was in a perfect spot to catch the better half and I with some great Yosemite High Country views in the background.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Gear, How To, Yosemite | , , , | Leave a comment

Why lens filters are important

Why lens filters are important, originally uploaded by Eclipse Pics (‚ąÜncient).

That cracked glass isn’t my Canon 28-135mm IS USM lens. It’s the Ultraviolet filter. I was scrambling over some rocks and slipped. That filter cracked through a camera case, and the lens cap.
The filter did its job. It protected the lens. I removed the cracked glass from the filter. The mounting is still stuck on the lens. I either have to cut it off or send the whole thing to Canon.
That lens has seen a lot of travel and dusty hiking, so perhaps some Canon TLC is called for.

August 3, 2008 Posted by | Gear, Yosemite | , , , | 1 Comment


My main camera is a Canon 20D DLSR. This is an 8.2 Megapixel camera that has a 1.6 modifier compared to a full 35mm frame camera.
I’ve had for over three years, have shot thousands of pictures, and it is still going strong.¬† The current model in its line is the Canon 40D.

I have the following lenses for it:

I use a single flash, a Canon 580EX. With that I have two accessories, a Canon Off-Camera TTL Flash cable and a Sto-Fen OMEY Omni-Bounce Diffuser.

The Off-Camera Flash cable allows you to provide light from different angles. This is useful to eliminate deep shadows. The Diffuser is a great, yet simple, bit of technology. It is a cap of opaque plastic that fits over the flash and provides a light source that softens harsh shadows. Combine the two with some good natural light and you can pull off some good single photographer portraits/head shots.

My “pocket” Camera is a Nikon Coolpix S6.

I also have a couple of tripods of various sizes and a monopod.

July 14, 2008 Posted by | Gear | , , , , | 1 Comment