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Torsten Kathke
Cologne, DE

Articles written by Torsten Kathke

Photography Beyond Zooms: Why Your First Prime Should Be a Fast 35mm

It doesn't always have to be complicated. I remember that when I first started buying lenses to expand beyond a standard zoom, I was completely flummoxed by choice. While choice is a good thing in theory, it can overwhelm in practice. So here's a no-brainer of a choice for your first prime lens after you've kitted yourself out with a DSLR and the typical standard zoom and tele zoom set: pick the best, fast 35mm lens you can buy.

Film Ferrania Opens Online Shop, Takes Pre-Orders

Italy's Film Ferrania, whose halting progress toward reopening as the third (or fourth, if Kodak beats them to the punch) manufacturer able to produce color slide film we've been following, has made another step towards their goal. Their online shop is now open and taking pre-orders for the new Ferrania's first product, a re-engineered version of P30 ISO 80 black and white film in 35mm format.

How Much Camera Do You Need for Your Photography?

How much camera do you need? No, for once I'm not talking about how many cameras. Though my inadvertent collection is growing and for every vintage camera that I sell or give away, it seems two new ones await. Gear Acquisition Syndrome (known also by the unfortunate acronym of GAS) is real and many are afflicted. Don't make fun of us. We're fellow humans. We suffer. Ok. Maybe not that much. I'm wondering instead about how much camera you need. How big, how rugged, how professional-looking does it have to be?

Back to Film: Camera Choices for Sony/Minolta A-Mount

It's 2017, which, if you haven't heard the news, means it's back to film (Yes, I admit I would have said the same for any year, but 2017 really is special in this regard. Read on to find out why). Most of us are living the digital photography lifestyle, however, and though every photographer is a gear hound to some degree, we're loath to overpay on stuff we don't need. Solution? Buy a film body for your existing lenses. In the first of a loose series, let's take a look at the first mount in the alphabet and your options for it. Here are some cool cameras for Sony's A-mount.

Add Functionality to Apple's Photos App with Affinity Extensions

Apple is a company photographers and videographers follow with a mixture of excitement and dread. On the one hand, the Cupertino-based computer and software maker has given us the iPhone and a host of great hardware and applications for editing and sharing imagery. On the other hand, they have discontinued things dear to many, forcing inferior follow-up products on us. As is the case with the premature death of Aperture in favor of Photos. But by integrating Photos with Affinity Photo through extensions, you can restore some functionality to the program.

Your Photography Is Political

We live in times of turmoil. The old fixed orders of the post-World-War-II globe have lately been called into question in new and unexpected ways. People are more engaged in politics than ever before during most of our lifetimes. Photography has always been a very political art form, and not simply in the obvious ways. You may not think that your images are political because they do not showcase political issues. But even if they don't do that, they still say something in the political sphere. As we all struggle to be the best photographers we can be, none of us should forget that, when taking and making images, we always also make statements.

The Jollylook: A Quirky Cardboard Camera for Instant Photography

Have you ever thought: "I have some cardboard lying around, I bet I could make that into an instant camera"? No? Then you're not Oleg Khalip and his team of cardboard camera constructors. They launched the Jollylook, a vintage-folder looking camera on Kickstarter on January 31, and it has already beaten its modest $15,000 goal by over $200,000.

Scanning Film: Options for Archiving and Analog Photographers

Lately I've cottoned to the film beat quite a bit here. I've written about Super 8 and about film stock options for analog photography, about the revival of Ektachrome, and about instant photography. I love it all, but I'm also aware of the fact that we very much live in the twenty-first century. We live on computers and we live online, and if photos don't exist in these spaces, they may as well not exist at all. So what can be done about getting photos taken on film, old or new, into a form fit for such a universe? Let's talk about film scanning.

Fstoppers Reviews the Peak Design Field Pouch

Here at Fstoppers, we will get you information on the newest announcements, the most exciting technological developments, the most jaw-dropping photo shoots. But you're not just on this site for that. You also come here for a host of perspectives on anything that has to do anything with the art of photography and things related. You come here for news, gear, pictures, and stories about how photos are made. And you come here for the little things. We do care about the little things. Here's a review of a little thing, The Peak Design Field Pouch.

Super 8: A Primer for the 21st Century Filmmaker

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, held each January in Las Vegas, is usually a place where new technologies compete for eyes and wallets, where, in a way, the world of the future is presented to us. We can experience this future first hand on the show floor. We can turn on a TV, or click on news links and YouTube videos. We can also read the glossy, picture-laden pages of electronics magazines, and the somewhat less glossy ones of newspapers. These analog news sources are where one of this year's most talked about photography and film-related invention should feel most at home: Super 8 is back.

Kodak Brings Back Ektachrome Slide Film for Photographers and Filmmakers

Kodak announced today that it will bring back Kodak Ektachrome Professional 100 slide film, originally cut from its lineup in 2012. After Kodak's discontinuation of Ektachrome, the only color slide films easily available from a major manufacturer are produced by Fujifilm.

Why You Should Drop That Year-Long Photography Project Now

Hands up, who is doing a year-long photo project in 2017? I see. That's quite a few of you. Commendable. It's a big thing, to commit yourself to do something creative for a whole year. Heck, it's a big thing to commit yourself to doing most anything for a whole year. Imagine committing to eating chia seeds every day for a year, or biking to work, or giving up smoking, or giving up biking or chia seeds. I shudder to think. But you don't have to. It's fine not to. No, that doesn't mean you should slack off and do nothing. Here's the case for smaller, shorter, more concentrated projects. They're just as fulfilling, I promise.

The Film Photographer Who Came In From the Cold

It's winter in the Northern hemisphere. Though it's only been winter for about week – at least if you go by the Old Farmer's Almanac, which I'm certain we all still read religiously – it's been cold for a while. For film photographers, summer is a happy season with enough light, with gorgeous colors, and little worry about malfunctioning equipment. If you're not hanging out in the wettest of jungles or the hottest of deserts, anyway. The cold is less kind to our equipment and our medium. Cameras are susceptible to malfunction, film becomes brittle.

Fstoppers Reviews the Peak Design Everyday Tote

Peak Design is a camera accessory and bag maker that began on Kickstarter, producing the Everyday Messenger bag. They designed the Everyday Messenger in cooperation with photographer Trey Ratcliff, who supposedly had quite a bit of input on its usability. Peak Design recently released three new bag lines following its most recent take to the crowdsourcing site that started it all for them. I supported the campaign and, after a bit of a run-around with a delivery service clearly feeling the pre-Christmas rush, received the Everyday Tote in time for this review.

Safe and Sound? Photographers, Videographers, and the Question of Encryption

If you are a professional filmmaker or photographer working with a regular camera from any of the large makers, there is no simple and reliable way to encrypt your files in camera. To put pressure on camera makers to provide such an option, the Freedom of the Press Foundation released open letters to Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, and Sony requesting that the manufacturers add encryption. The identical letters to five major camera makers were signed each by over 150 journalists, photographers, and filmmakers and sent out on December 14.

Perfectly Normal: One Focal Length for Personal Photography Projects

One may be the loneliest number, but it may also be all you need. Gear is necessary for photography. Gear is a huge part of the fun of photography for many photographers. And having a variety of lenses at our disposal allows us to get shots in all kinds of circumstances. But when you're not out shooting for money, and instead are trying out a slowed-down approach to photography for a personal project, one prime lens may do nicely.

Polaroid Week and the Allure of Instant Photography

This year, October 15 through October 22, was Polaroid Week 2016 (also known, in a somewhat noisier fashion, as 'RoidWeek). On a whim, I decided to join in. Polaroid Week has been going on since 2006, but it has grown in recent years. It is held twice yearly, once in spring and again in fall.

Fstoppers Reviews the Ugreen 2-in-1 Lightning and Micro USB Cable

This is a quick review of something very simple: a charging cable. "A charging cable?" you may wonder. "Now, why would anyone care about that?" Well, the cable reviewed is a special kind of cable: it combines an Apple Lightning connector and a micro-USB connector. That is nothing new, but it is done well here and actually a much more useful thing than you'd expect.