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Oh Cr op!

Issue 5: May 2011

Competition!! Check the editors letter for details

Jonathan Woods

Landscape photography

Chi’s Challenge

Cross Processing Sports Photography

By Russell Ede

Reviews

Tamron 17-50mm

Cover image by Jade Cleaver


Annabelle Latter: www.flickr.com/photos/annabellelatter


In Oh Crop! this month..

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Chi’s Challege As always, Chi’s back with another challenge, this month it’s on cross processing

Photography Masterclass This month Russell Ede talks about sports photography and tells you how it’s done! ‘How to’ Tips and examples of good landscape photography, written Jonathan Woods.

Playing with Smoke! Chi gets his insense out and shares his knowledge on smoke photography with some stunning examples.

A Different World Phil Cohn talks aboubt macro photography and what you need to get it right.

Lens Review Jade Tuplin reviews her new purchase: the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

So this month has been a tough month for most of us due to the massive amounts of c/w we’ve all had... but we’re proud to bring you yet another issue of Oh Crop! In this month’s issue we have our resident writer Jonathan Woods discuss techniques into how to take landscape photos. We have the President of Reading Photo Soc discuss sports photography and I teach you how to take smoke photos. You may notice that we don’t have a reader profile this month, this is because in June we’ll be have a special issue so stay tuned for that!! A final point I’d like to make is there will be a competition for Oh Crop! readers... Send us portrait photos and the best of will be placed as the cover of our June Special. So get taking photos!!

Chi

Contributors: Chi Lau Danielle Starr Annabelle Latter Russell Ede Jonathan Woods Phil Cohn Jade Tuplin Find us on Facebook! Just search for “Oh Crop! Magazine” And if you have any questions, comments or photos you’d like to share please send them to chi.lauphotography@hotmail.co.uk

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Chi’s Challenge:

Cross processing

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Written by Chi Lau and Jonathan Woods

ross processing has been known to the photography world since at least the 1960s but what is it? Cross processing can turn an ordinary image into one with a more retro look to it. It can transform a whole photo. Many photographers love the effect it gives however there are some who do not go anywhere near it. It may look difficult to achieve but it is very simple to do, especially in the digital age with editing software such as Photoshop and Paintshop Pro. Jonathan Woods explains the film side of Cross Processing (because I don’t know how to!).

Cross processing with film is quite easy to accomplish, however the results are usually an acquired taste. With film, you have slide and print film, that being positive and negative. These are correctly developed in E6 and C41 chemicals respectively. However, due to the way the films record the light incident on them, developing them in the opposing chemicals achieves a film which looks like it’s opposite; Slide film looks negative, print film looks positive. Once you developed your film, it’s then really a matter of taste! This is an image taken on a roll of Provia 100F, developed in C41

chems. The first is a positive scan, and that’s how the film now looks when holding it. The more normal looking shot is scanned as negative so that the positive is achieved. So as Jon says it is about using the write chemicals and film to create the affects it gives. Now we move on to the digital part! This is very simple. So simple that you’d be crazy if you didn’t get it, especially with diagrams to show you what to do! Firstly go to your favourite editing software and upload your photo. Now find out where your “curves” button/tab is and click on it. Under the tab you will see the letters “RGB” click it and go to the “Red” channel now drag the left side down and the right side up (as shown in the diagram) until you get a “S” shape... kinda! Do this with the green one only leave the left hand roughly where it is and the right hand higher up slightly. As for the blue one, lift the outer left handle up slightly and the outer right hand down. Then move the left and right side handles as shown in the blue channel diagram. Click ok and it should create a cross processed image. It must be noted that not all photos are designed for that cross process look. Try taking photos of inanimate objects like


Bach Tran: www.flickr.com/photos/hns_voralberg

a car or a bicycle as they can sometimes be very effective. Also it is entirely up to you whether you wish to do the curves straight on to the photo OR create an adjustment layer. Either one is fine so just go for it. A final point I can make, which goes for everything in the photography world, is to experiment a little. Play around with each channel and photo and make each one unique. Try and keep to what the diagrams show because otherwise you risk turning the photo into a non cross processed look/ photo but other than that go experiment with your photos!

Jonathan Woods: www.flickr.com/photos/woodsy2k

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Photography Masterclass sports photography

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Words and photography by Russell Ede www.flickr.com/russellede

ports Photography comes down to speed, simple as. Though admittedly this is a case of extremes, most sports require fast time-freezing photography, but equally at the other end of the scale you can find panning and long exposures equally useful. That said, one of the most common mistakes I’ve noticed whilst going through Sports Photography with people, is that they treat every sport the same and they just don’t know the sport. Take the time to learn about the sport (ask

a supporter if unsure), if you know what to expect then you can really keep the success rate high; and also take 5 minutes to watch a bit of the action, this will let you get an eye for your subject. Speed? So, speed. In most sports, this is easily achievable by simply using the widest aperture available (a f/2.8 zoom lens really comes in handy here), the narrow depth of field is actually surprisingly helpful. As I’ll explain later on when looking at a few examples, most sports (even team sports) come

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down to one-on-one action, so the narrow depth of field really allows you to make the action stand out. Typical shutter speeds in sports photography begin at 1/250s for most sports, and can get as fast as you need to stop the action. However, whilst this is fine outdoors where these kinds of shutter speeds are easily achievable in overcast weather with just a small increase in ISO, indoors this is rarely possible, and here’s the catch: use of flash photography is banned by most sports’ governing


bodies and sports hall lighting is traditionally very white, harsh and whilst bright, normally too high up to be useful for your camera. The other problem is that, indoor sports tend to be faster paced than their outdoor equivalents, so slowing the shutter speed isn’t an option. The only option is to up the ISO, modern dSLR cameras can handle high ISO well, and sports photos tend not to need that sharpness that is often found in most branches of photography, using ISO 1250-2500 will now tend to yield more than acceptable results especially when reduced in resolution.

So, when isn’t it appropriate to go for the fastest shutter speed possible? Running is the classic example, in this case, aim for around 1/8s and do a panning shot (for those that don’t know panning is when you press the shutter button and follow the subject as they go past – Editor Chi) following the runner, the blurred background and distortions really give the impression of fast motion and convey the situation far better than a static photo of someone mid-stride! This can also be used with ball sports if you want to follow the ball past players to show an effective kick, pass or similar! However, slow tripod mounted static shots can also be effective in sports such as field events like discus, where 1-2s exposure times will give a sense of momentum through the trail of it passing through the frame.

through the frame as it’ll naturally be where the action is taking place. The other thing to take advantage of is that team sports all have directional action, so you can frame photographs to suit, e.g. a person kicking a ball into an open section of the frame rather than squashed in the edge of a frame. Looking then at individual sports, i.e. golf, archery, and even some team sports where single player action takes place, there is also a clear focus, the individual. This means trying to capture their emotions, so headshots can be useful, but only if you can identify that it is a sports scene! Also capturing a sharp full portrait is important here, this will often give the viewer a clear idea as to what is taking place, i.e. a golfer in full swing, a fly-half crouched ready to kick. Slow shutter speeds during the active moments can make really brilliant dynamic photo and really capture the small moments of motion present in these situations.

Summary The main issue to be wary of when undertaking sports photography is that it’s fast, very fast; so remember that your shutter speed should take priority over almost everything else, even risking a loss of quality from ISO enhancements, and remember, unless you know it’s specifically allowed, never use flash. Fortunately, unless you’re covering a multi-sport event, then it is generally a one lens affair, telephoto for outdoors, standard What am I shooting? Another issue to consider when for indoors. And remember, know looking at sports is what are you shooting? Again, I like to divide things into two categories, team and individual sports. Team sports all involve some sort of object, i.e. ball, puck, baton; and this gives a natural focus for any image, use the AI focusing modes on your camera to track this object Page | 7


Ryan Taylor: www.ryantaylorphoto.zenphoto.com, to learn about balloon photography check his blog at www. photoboothguy.blogspot.com


‘How to’:

Landscape Photography

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Words and photography by Jonathan Woods: www.flickr.com/photos/woodsy2k

veryone secretly loves a good cliché(“I don’t!” – Editor Chi. Be it a phrase or a photo, we love them. A classic may be: ‘Nothing in life worth having is easy to achieve’, or something to that effect. Its cliché, but it’s true. The same can be said about landscape photography. Are good landscapes easy to get? Not at all. Are they worth putting the effort in to really nail them? Absolutely. Being a keen landscape photographer, I know what it’s like to look at someone’s work thinking, why can’t I do that? When in reality the answer is, I can do that... I just need two things; practice and good light. So let’s jump straight in with the one question that we are here to answer; what makes a good landscape? The short answer to which is simple: good composition

and good light. Great, let’s all go out and take some good compositions in some good light! But hold on a moment... What is a good composition? What defines what works and what doesn’t? Furthermore, what is good light? Why is it different from bad light? What even is bad light?! - These are the questions we really need to answer in order to get to the bottom of things. Let’s first tackle composition. Simply put, composition is distilling down what you see in front of you into key elements, and then positioning yourself such that they sit where you want them in the frame. Easy. But what if you are unable to move; say you are on the edge of a cliff for example? This is where focal length comes into play. Try not to think of focal length as how ‘zoomed in’ you

are. Instead, try and consider it a way of excluding elements you don’t want in the frame. As for what these elements are depends on the scene, but generally there should be three things you try and find: • Foreground interest Something to start the image off. Rocks in the water of a seascape, for example. • Lead in lines - Something that naturally draws the eye from the foreground to the focal point. • Focal point - Somewhere or something interesting for the eye to remain fixed upon in order to admire the rest of the image. Now, these are not set in stone rules. In fact, there are no ‘Rules’ in photography, only guidelines. The amount of attention you pay to these depends on the type of photography you do. Landscapes


are fantastic because rules can be broken, or rather ignored, if required. Now, try not worry too much if you find yourself at a location, and elements are hard to come by. This is for two reasons. Firstly, what these elements are is ambiguous. An example being that foreground interest may be a long rock that fills a good part of the frame, or it could be some reeds in the water of a shot across a loch, or even just a difference in texture; Sand on a beach is a great one for this. I saw a great photo recently by Nichola Shaw of Portsmouth Photo Soc, where the foreground was herself! It then had a great lead in line where water met sand, leading to a perfect focal point of the sun setting on the horizon. Secondly, it is not absolutely essential to have every single one of these elements in the frame to still capture a great photograph. As said, rules are there to be bent a little. So far, I have been a bit vague, so I shall summarise this section as best I can. A photo needs a focal point. As with the previous aspects, this can be anything.

The sun setting, a castle on a hill, a distant prominent mountain. Anything. So long as stands out, holds the eye and sits nicely in the frame. As for this last point, there was a great review on the rule of thirds in an earlier issue (Please read issue 1 for more on the rule of thirds - Editor Chi), well worth a read! The lead in line should be a natural conduit through the image. This can be a pathway, an area of clear contrast of texture or brightness, or even something as simple as a line on the side of a road. In general it should stand out from the rest of the textures and shapes in the image, but most importantly, it should not lead out of the image. If the eye starts on the foreground, and is lead to the side and out of the frame, you’ll find yourself hunting the image for a focal point. This is generally a sign of poor composition, so be aware of this!

Let us now consider what good light is. Frustratingly, this is also quite ambiguous, as good light is dependent on the scene and mood you are trying to capture. For example, a moody and brooding cloudy sky over a harsh and barren landscape can work really well, as the light suited

“Landscapes are

fantastic because rules can be broken, or rather ignored�

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the scene. Equally, it may be that prefect warm golden light bathing the side of a mountain at sunset or sunrise, or perhaps beams of golden sunlight through mist amongst trees. The beauty of landscapes is therefore about choosing what light works best with what scene. Generally speaking though the hour after sunrise, and the hour before sunset, known as the golden hours are the best to shoot in. The light is warm, flattering to textures, and


provides shadows and contrast that you can use as part of your composition. In short, I suppose the only way to describe good light is, is that it should make you stop for a moment just to appreciate it and take it in (See issue 3 of Oh Crop! for more on times of day – editor Chi). Bad light on the other hand is quite easy to diagnose. Bad light is what ruins all your hard work in getting a good composition! Generally speaking, bad light is what you find at midday, when the sun is at its highest. It tends to be harsh and bright; it desaturates colours and removes contrast from flat scenes. It is oddly difficult to try and explain what is good and what is bad in landscape photography. A lot can be attributed to personal taste, but fundamentally a good landscape is well composed. Combine a good composition with good light and you are onto a very good thing. I suppose the best advice I can give is this: do two things. Look at other people’s work you admire, and try and figure out what it is about

it you like. Is it the lighting? Is it the composition? Is it the textures and shadows or even the lines in the image? If you like an image, there will be a reason why. If you can figure out what this is, you’ll know to look for it in your own work. At the same time, be critical of your own work. If you can figure out what it is you don’t like with your own image, this will most certainly be remembered when next out and about looking for the next composition. I suppose in reality, then, it’s almost impossible to say with any certainty what is

starts with where you point your camera, so consider what is in your viewfinder. If you don’t like what you see, don’t fire the frame! But crucially, if you can figure out at the time what it is you don’t like about what you see, that’s when you know you are improving. Your eye is developing, and you are being critical. Now all it takes is what was said at the very beginning; Practice and good light. Most crucial of all however, and I consider this the only stead fast rule of photography - Keep taking photos!

Fundamentally a good “ landscape is well composed”

good and what is bad. There are general rules to follow, which will get you started on the right road but ultimately, it’s down to the individual to decide what they like, what they don’t, and most importantly, why? If your eye is lost in an image, it probably needs a focal point. If it’s struggling to start in the image, perhaps better foreground is required. This is where it’s up to you. It all Page | 12


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Amanda Bunce: www.flcikr.com/photos/amanda-bunce


Playing with Smoke...

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his tutorial is something different. I only tried it myself not long ago and while my successes haven’t been great, the photos still came out better than expected! This month I will try and teach you smoke photography and it will be in two parts; the actual photo taking and post production editing. Smoke photography is challenging as it requires you to be in near pitch black conditions so focusing and other things can

Words and photography by Chi Lau: www.flickr.com/photos/chibear89

be an issue (more on that later). But the final result is great! So let’s start on the set up. For this tutorial you will need the following: • Black card - big enough to cover up the background as the smoke floats up into the air. You will only need one but you can have more if you want to cover up more of the background; I used 3. • Incense candles – You can use other smoke giving objects

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like cigarettes but why use that when incense candles smell really nice? • A powerful torch – you will need a powerful torch as a weaker one won’t light up the smoke as much. • Flash gun – only if you can set it up as off camera remote flash as facing the smoke and card head on will not get the desired effect. • Tripod – without the tripod it would be near impossible to get


card. If you have more than one cover up the sides as I have did. Make sure that the card is Camera settings: • You may need to increase secure and won’t knock over the incense candle causing a ISO to ensure that you have a mess all over your T-shirt and fast enough shutter speed so that you get a non blurred wisp dining room table, because that would be stupid... It never of smoke but don’t go too high happened to me mind you! Now as the noise will ruin the beauty place the tripod in front of the of the smoke. • Shutter speed needs to be incense candle and autofocus on the tip of the incense candle; around 1/160 to 1/200 to freeze the movement but you may the very tip of it. Take a photo to make sure you have it all in focus have to go slower. • Aperture should be around and then switch it to manual so f/8 as you want as much in focus that the focusing is locked. The set up is now complete... as possible. a good shot.

Place the incense candle in the centre and cover up the background with the black

Now for some fun! Light the incense candle and wait for it to get going a little. Page | 17

Get the torch and place is next to the candle and aim it up towards the smoke. Turn off the lights and ensure there’s no stray light. Now take photos! Simple really. If the smoke goes up in a straight line it is because the air is too still. Try tapping the candle or very gently blowing at the smoke. This will create some amazing effects and as long as you have the right lighting it should be a great result. The best bit is that the incense candle lasts a long time so you will have plenty of time to experiment, just make sure you’re in a well ventilated area. Make sure you check it on your computer every once in a while to make sure you got the settings and focus right.


Post production editing: This is the really fun part! You have two options; you can either invert the photo (black turns into white and vice versa) or keep it as it is (black background). Personally I prefer inverting the colours but it is entirely up to you, I will discuss both. Firstly keeping it as it means all you have to do is add colour. To do that you can either “colourise” it or change the “hue/saturation”. Both are as affective as each other. However inverting the photo first creates a cooler looking photo, in my opinion, as you get to see more of the detail and the colours stand out more. To do this click either “negative image” or “invert” (depending on your choice of software and they should be located under the “image” tab). Once you have inverted your photo just

do the colour changing steps as above and you will have an inverted photo as shown. As always experiment. Tap the candle, move the torch and aim it at different angles, gently blow towards the smoke, even in post editing you can go crazy! That’s the beauty of it. For example you can change different parts of the smoke to different colours using the “selection” tool. Use the freehand selection tool to avoid making it look too set up; by using the freehand selection tool you can make it seem like

the colours flow rather than using a rectangle selection tool which would clearly place borders. I hope you enjoy taking smoke photos because I definitely did! I experimented a lot before I got these photos and there are definitely photos of smoke photography that are better than mine. So it’s all about experimenting until you get the right combination of lighting and shutter speed to generate a detailed wisp of smoke that is frozen in action.


Abdullah Bin Hussain: www.flcikr.com/photos/abhsnaps


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A different World

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herever you are when you are reading this, you will be surrounded with interesting photo opportunities. This might be hard to believe if you are living in, say, a small flat. At first, it might not appear that there is a lot that would make a particularly exciting picture. A book? A computer? An insect? Hardly the stuff that amazing photos are made from. This is where macro photography can turn the mundane into the beautiful. By enlarging things that are normally overlooked or unseen by the human eye, macro photography can show us the detail of an insect’s eyes, the convergence of the rows of keys on a keyboard as they disappear into the blurry background of a photo, or the vertigo that could be experienced looking down from the top of a book. Macro photography transports us into a world where everything is familiar, but nothing is normal.

all words and photographY by Phil COHN www.flickr.com/photos/50058629@N04

they disconnect the lens from the camera body. This means making friends with the manual focus mode. They can also only be operated under the manual setting on your camera, so no relying on auto mode for quick shots! Finally, the ability to control aperture is sacrificed, as is the level of light falling on the sensor.

The second way to take macro photographs is via a macro lens. These usually come with full autofocus capabilities, and function just like a normal lens, except they take photos closer up. Macro lenses can also be very expensive, costing anywhere from £90 to £1000. If macros lenses are too expensive for you then consider looking into other cheaper non macro lenses such as a telephoto lens that is capable of 1:2 ratio macro (a Sigma 70-300mm costs around £160). While this isn’t “true” 1:1 ratio macro it is still a Macro photography can be great starting point and a lot accomplished in several ways. cheaper than macro lenses. The first (and cheapest) is to use a set of macro tubes, which Close-up filters are another of the more commonly used are metal tubes which can be fitted between the lens and your methods. This is simply a filter that screws onto the end of a camera body. This enlarges the regular lens. They typically cost size of the image projection on around £20 to £30, and have the sensor by moving the lens further away from it. They can be the advantage of enabling auto focusing at a much lower stacked upon one another too, which enables them to achieve price. Much of the fine detail different levels of magnification. can be lost, however, and the camera may have trouble auto Although they are cheap (I focusing if too many filters are got mine for around £10), they stacked. Another way of taking come with their downsides. macros photos is by something The first is that they remove the known as “reverse lens macro”... autofocus ability of lenses, as Page | 23

This is exactly as it sounds! You take the lens off the body and flip it round so that the front end of the lens is touching the camera body. You then hold it in place and move back and forth trying to get the subject in focus. However it is important to be very careful when doing this, especially in windy conditions, as it could result in dust and other stuff you don’t want getting into your camera and messing it up. There are many other methods out there, but they would require much more space than a magazine article to cover. Macro photography requires much patience and experimentation. With tubes and reverse lens macro, pictures usually need to be taken either in bright sunlight, with a long exposure or with an external flash to make sure enough light falls on the centre. Taking pictures of moving subjects such as insects can also be tricky, as it requires constant refocusing as well as quick reflexes to keep up with it. It is best to wait until it is not windy for this reason, as it can be very hard to take a photo of something when it is being blown about by the wind. Don’t be afraid to crouch or even lie down when taking macro photos either – looking like an idiot is temporary, but the photos you produce will last forever. Hopefully you haven’t been put off macro by the challenges involved in taking macro photos, and if you don’t own any macro equipment, I


Jade Tuplin: www.flcikr.com/photos/jadetuplin


TAmROn 17-50mm f/2.8

All words and photos by Jade Tuplin: www.flickr.com/ photos/jadetuplin

Jade Tuplin, a great photographer that has been featured in Oh Crop! many times, reviews her new purchase, the Tamrom 17-50mm f/2.8.

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his lens is pretty much an upgrade from the Canon kit lens 18-55mm f/3.55.6. I bought the lens as an upgrade as I felt that I had wore the lens out and it didn’t cope in well in low lighting conditions due to its minimum aperture. I realized that I may need an upgrade after using Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 (See Issue 2 for the review of the 50mm); I was so impressed at how it performed and especially with its large aperture. I wanted to buy a lens which incorporated a larger aperture but was not a prime lens like the 50mm (which means it has a set focal length). After looking around for a while I eventually settled on Tamron’s 17-50mm f/2.8. At only £315 it was a heck of a lot cheaper than the Canon alternative (Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 costs around £900). It also had a similar focal range compared to my Canon kit lens couple with the larger aperture I had wanted. So I ordered it online and the wait began… I couldn’t wait for it to arrive! As soon as it arrived I got out my ‘trusty’ Canon 1000D and popped it on. I was really impressed! The picture quality was amazing and the photos looked beautiful. The focus was impeccable, the only downside to autofocus was that it was extremely noisy and

this lens at a wedding I was photographing. The first dance was just coming on and I had decided to use the Tamron 17-50mm instead of my 60D kit lens due to the aperture size difference. I don’t know if the lens was having a bad day or if it was my camera but it wouldn’t focus on the bride and groom! I panicked the, what should I do?! So I switched to manual When using the lens in the daytime I really notice how fast focus and took it from there. My problem was that it was taking it shoots, the picture quality is far too long to focus or that great, but sometimes the focus it wouldn’t even focus at all, is off slightly. Using the lens in however reverting to manual the evening also shows off the capabilities of the f/2.8 aperture. was fine! It shoots almost as fast as it does The lens itself looks plain and in the daytime light. simple, coming from a girl’s point of view. I like the way it feels too, However I was a little it feels very sturdy in my hands. unimpressed while using almost distracting compared to my kit lens. Aesthetics wise it looked great and made me feel like I was a professional (oh I dream). Compared to the kit lens the build quality is clear, it feels robust and strong. It is also bigger and heavier than the kit lens; however I feel that this adds to the quality for me, personally.

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One element that took me by surprise was zooming; with the Canon kit lens I am so used to rotating anti clockwise to zoom, however with the Tamron I have to rotate clockwise. Even though I’ve had the lens for a good few weeks I still find myself rotating the lens the wrong way!! Despite what happened at the

wedding I am incredibly happy that I purchased this lens! Its picture quality is amazing, even though the focusing can be quite distracting and noisy on auto-focus. On autofocus bokeh

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is apparent, but sometimes a little too much. Overall if you are looking to upgrade from a kit lens but can’t afford the Canon equivalent then at £315 this is definitely the lens to buy!


Back cover photograph by Chi Lau - www.flickr.com/photos/chibear89

Oh Crop! Issue 5  

Oh Crop! Magazine May Issue

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