7 Sites Like SmugMug – Paid and Free Options

When it comes to online image hosting and portfolio building, sites like SmugMug are tough to beat. For professional photographers, the convenience and opportunity that come with these platforms can be indispensable.

Earning money from your work means being able to store and share it with the world. Social media can be great for exposure, but lossless storage and sharing is something that the likes of Facebook and Instagram just can’t offer.

If you’re taking your photography seriously, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

If you’ve tried SmugMug and are looking for alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find our favorite sites that offer similar services and features. We’ve considered a ton of factors including price, convenience, availability, and much more.

Looking for a SmugMug Alternative? Think About This First

The good news is that there’s a ton of SmugMug alternatives out there if you know where to look. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons which we’ll dive into a little further down this page.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the main things to consider when searching for alternatives online. Check them out.

Which Features Do You Actually Need?

One of the great things about SmugMug is the number of tools it gives you as a photographer. You get access to stellar online photo storage, a portfolio site builder, and great commerce tools, to name a few.

Thing is, these are only worthwhile if you’re actually using them on a regular basis. If your main reason for using SmugMug is for photo storage, for example, you can almost certainly find cheaper alternatives online.


With this in mind, it’s worth thinking about how much you’re willing to spend per month on sites like this. It all comes down to how often you use them and how much they’re benefitting you as a photographer.

Using them constantly and actually making money through sales, etc? You can probably justify the cost of sites like SmugMug.

Just starting out and money is tight? This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it, but proceed with caution.


SmugMug works on Android phones, iPhones, Macs, and PCs. Can you say the same of the alternative you’re considering? It sounds obvious, but it can be easy to overlook if you’re not careful.

Make sure that any SmugMug alternative you consider will work with your current setup. The last thing you want to do is interrupt your workflow with a silly mistake like this – trust us.

Ease of Use

One thing many SmugMug customers praise is how easy it is to navigate and use the site. Make sure that any alternative you consider won’t cause you headaches down the line.

This works both ways too – if you’re looking for some coder-friendly, in-depth features that SmugMug just doesn’t offer, it’s worth keeping an eye out for these tools during your search. It all comes down to the type of site you’re looking to build and your level of experience with this kind of work.

Sites Like SmugMug – Our Recommendations

Right, let’s get into it! The list below contains some of our favorite SmugMug alternatives in 2021. Some come with fully fledged features suites that are on par with SmugMug. Others offer a more minimalist approach that can save you money.

We’ve compared online reviews, feature sets, price, and availability to find the suggestions made below. Read on to find the best option for you!

22 Slides 22 slides screenshot

Cost: 30-day free trial then $10/month

Link: here

First up is the refreshingly simple 22 Slides. This is a portfolio website builder that’s dedicated to being easy-to-use yet powerful in the hands of the right photographer. You get a good impression of 22 Slides the moment you look at their ‘pricing’ page.

They offer one payment plan – $10 a month with absolutely 0 upsells or extra gimmicks to be found anywhere. This no-nonsense approach can be found throughout the 22 Slides platform.

It’s lean yet powerful throughout. Customers can easily build unique portfolio websites, integrate commerce tools, master their site’s SEO and much more. If you’re looking to set up your professional site as a photographer, this is a fantastic option in our opinion.

The site builder and cloud storage on offer here are exactly what most people will be looking for. Over 200 servers worldwide for speedy load times? Check. Flawless Flickr and Instagram integration? Double check.

Free custom domains, coding tools, and flexible pricing features? Check, check check. The list goes on. Long story short, 22 Slides is a phenomenal, no-nonsense SmugMug alternative in 2021. Check it out.


  • Super simple pricing structure
  • Powerful, lean site builder
  • All the tools most photographers will need


  • No smartphone app

Format format screenshot

Cost: 14-day free trial then $7, $15, or $25 a month

Link: here

The tagline used by Format is ‘where photographers get serious’ and for the most part, we agree with them. The platform comes with a slew of tools that make it easy to set up a site and start showcasing your work.

In some cases, this can be all a good photographer needs to start earning money through their images. The templates on offer here deserve praise in our opinion. Their award-winning design makes it effortless to build sites that are beautiful, easy-to-navigate, and effective.

Users will be able to upload their images at full resolution and showcase them in a number of convenient ways. The client gallery feature will be especially useful to headshot or real estate photographers who need a place to store and organize their individual clients’ shots.

Format starts at just $7 a month, but you’ll have to pay significantly more if you want access to the full suite of features. This basic payment tier only grants access to the platform’s ‘starter’ templates, for example.


  • Great portfolio tools including client galleries
  • Award-winning templates
  • Convenient hosting options


  • A three-tiered pricing structure that limits access to customers who pay less

Adobe Portfolioadobe portfolio

Cost: $10 for Portfolio tools or $50 a month for the entire Adobe suite

Link: here

Adobe has been an industry-leader in the world of photography and software editing for quite some time now. Their Portfolio platform is designed to add one more tool to their already substantial suite of creative online tools.

The primary purpose here is to help creatives set up a site, set their pricing, and start selling to customers. There’s a ton of beautiful templates to choose from that are designed from the ground up to showcase your work in all its glory.

If you’re already a Creative Cloud subscriber, you’ll be able to access Adobe’s portfolio tools for no extra cost. This of course is only worthwhile if you’re already subscribed for other tools, but it’s worth mentioning.

With killer features like Lightroom integration, password protection, image hosting, and much more, Adobe Portfolio is another great alternative to SmugMug, especially if you’re already using Adobe’s other programs.


  • Great templates
  • Optimized for practically any device
  • Free for Creative Cloud subscribers


  • $50+ for Adobe’s entire suite might be too expensive for some

Pic-Timepic time screenshot

Cost: Free (with 15% commission on sales) or $17, $34, or $50 a month

Link: here

If you’ve built up a collection of high-quality work but are just starting out professionally, Pic-Time might be a great option. Unlike the other platforms discussed so far, it’s possible to build and maintain a site on Pic-Time without paying a monthly subscription.

Instead, the site takes a 15% commission on any sales made through your galleries. Once you start earning as a photographer, this might be a bit of a steep cut. If you’re a newcomer to the profession, though, this could help you cut costs early on.

The platform comes with plenty of templates to choose from and most of the pro-grade tools you’d expect. It’s easy to set prices, tweak SEO, automate commerce functions, and much more.

We’re big fans of the simplicity and convenience on offer here.


  • A great free option for beginners
  • Commission-free paid options for pros
  • Lovely templates and powerful tools


  • Not suber robust for self-coding fans

Zenfoliozenfolio screenshot

Cost: $4-$10 a month

Link: here

Another SmugMug alternative that’s worth considering is Zenfolio. Like the other options listed on this page, it makes it super easy to start showcasing your work to the world. Expect convenient templates, simple selling tools, and hosting that should be more than enough than most people.

In general, we found the site builder to be pretty easy to use. If you’re used to the in-depth, power-user features of platforms like WordPress, you might find Zenfolio a little too simple. For most people, however, you should find it refreshingly easy to build what you’re looking for.

This platform has done a great job of cross-device optimization. Once your site is up and running, it will look just as good whether you’re viewing it on a Mac, PC, smartphone, or tablet.

The pricing here is particularly compelling – you can get started for as little as $4 a month!


  • Pretty affordable for most people
  • Great cross-device optimization
  • Easy to use


  • Not great for power-users


Cost: Free, or $8-$18 a month

Link: here

We’ll cut right to the chase here – this isn’t the option for you if you want to build a portfolio website. If the main appeal to you with SmugMug was the file hosting, however, Dropbox might just be a welcome alternative.

It’s one of the world’s leading cloud-based file storage solutions (as if you didn’t know that already). It comes with a surprising number of tools that make it really easy to share your files with other people.

The platform has put a lot of effort in recent years into their collaborative tools. They’re designed to help people come together virtually and interact with files online. When sharing or tweaking content with a client, this might be more than enough for your needs.

Dropbox can be used for free, but if you want to take advantage of higher storage volumes, you’ll need to subscribe.


  • No-nonsense file storage
  • A surprising number of collaboration tools
  • Access your files anywhere


  • No site building or portfolio features

Squarespace squarespace

Cost: $10-$30 a month

Link: here

If you haven’t heard of Squarespace before, where have you been the past ten years? The platform has reached legendary status in the world of website building and online commerce.

There are plenty of photographer-focused templates on offer here that make it really easy to share your work with the world. If you’re more technically minded, Squarespace also makes it possible to tweak things to your heart’s content.

Coding, SEO adjustments, HTML changes, and much more are all just a few clicks away. Keep in mind that Squarespace is built to be an excellent website builder, but it’s not a purpose built photography tool like some of the other options on this page.

There are premium plans available for more intensive image hosting, but the switch from sites like SmugMug might take a little getting used to for some people. In general, though, this is a fast, convenient way to build a photography website with impact.


  • Loads of high-quality templates
  • Plenty of more in-depth tools
  • Super intuitive


  • Not perfect for high-volume image hosting

Sites Like SmugMug – Verdict

We hope you’ve found the recommendations on this page helpful. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits all approach here. We recommend taking advantage of a few free trials before pulling the trigger. A huge amount of your decision-making process should come from actually using the tools described on this page.

Until you’ve tried them for yourself, it can be hard to know which will be a good fit. Consider your requirements, budget, and experience level and try to choose a platform that fits.

Whichever option you choose, we hope it serves you well for many years to come!

When it comes to online image hosting and portfolio building, sites like SmugMug are tough to beat. For professional photographers, the convenience and opportunity that come with these platforms can be indispensable.

Earning money from your work means being able to store and share it with the world. Social media can be great for exposure, but lossless storage and sharing is something that the likes of Facebook and Instagram just can’t offer.

If you’re taking your photography seriously, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

If you’ve tried SmugMug and are looking for alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet to find our favorite sites that offer similar services and features. We’ve considered a ton of factors including price, convenience, availability, and much more.

15+ Indoor Macro Photography Ideas

Looking for indoor macro photography ideas? We don’t blame you. Macro work gets you up close and personal with the intricate details of the world around us. Take the dullest of subjects and it instantly becomes fascinating when viewed through a macro lens.

There’s just so much the human eye can’t perceive alone. A photographer with even a little skill and the right equipment can produce shots that stay with their viewers for years to come.

Thing is, a ton of macro photography takes place outdoors. This makes sense, as nature is teeming with incredible macro subjects. If you’d rather stay indoors, however, the suggestions on this page will be right up your street. Read on to spark your creativity.

How to Take Macro Pictures

Whether you’re at home or outside, it’s important to make sure you’re doing things properly. Check out our micro guide and tips below.

Use the Right Lens

For your photography to be ‘true’ macro, you’ll need to be using a lens that offers a 1:1 reproduction ratio. If it’s advertised as a macro product, it will be 1:1 out of the box. In short, this means that an object that’s 1 inch long on your viewfinder will also be 1 inch long in your final image.

Make sure it’s a true macro lens before shooting.

Confused? Check out our in-depth guide here.

Get the Lighting Right

As with every photography genre, it’s critical that you make good use of your available light. When shooting indoors, you might have less sunlight in your environment than is ideal. This means relying on artificial light sources instead.

Pay close attention to the lamps and overhead lights in any room you’re using for photos. Consider picking up some basic lighting equipment if you plan on doing a lot of shooting at home.

Use the Right Settings

Your shutter speed and aperture are perhaps the most important settings to think about when taking macro photos indoors. They impact the amount of light that enters your lens and also affect how long you’ll have to wait before you get the perfect shot.

Be prepared for a degree of trial and error when working. As you move from subject to subject and room to room, you’ll likely have to tweak things from time to time.

The more you practice, the easier it will become to make adjustments on the fly.

Keep Things Steady

A tripod is basically a must-have when taking macro photographs. Unless you have the steadiest hand in the world, consider picking one up for your shoots. The less you have to worry about camera shake and resulting image noise, the better.

Macro photography can be a finicky business at the best of times – keeping things steady with a tripod gives you one less thing to worry about.

These tripods are perfect for macro photography.

On a Budget?

The good news here is that macro lenses are relatively affordable when compared to most other lens types. If you’re looking to really pinch pennies, however, there’s a cheaper option out there for those willing to tolerate a lower-quality image.

Extension tubes can be a budget friendly alternative to macro lenses that produce reasonable results if you know what you’re doing. We discuss the pros and cons of these accessories vs a traditional lens here.

Indoor Macro Photography Ideas

The list below is far from exhaustive. It’s designed as a jumping-off point to help spark your creativity. Check out our suggestions and see what new subjects you can think of along the way!

The great thing about macro photography is that basically anything can become interesting once viewed up-close. In particular, look out for the following when finding your own subjects:

  • Textures
  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Patterns
  • Dynamics (moving VS still subjects)
  • Size

When looking at a potential subject, see if you can find one or more of the above-mentioned aspects that interest you. If you can, it’s time to get shooting!


macro photograph of a pet's nose

Our furry (or scaly!) friends can be wonderful macro subjects. Think about which parts of your pet you’d like to capture. Their textured little nose? Their intricate scales? Their paws? The world really is your oyster here – if you’ll pardon the pun.

Remember that pets can be a little frustrating to capture at first as they tend to move around more than you’d like them to. Practice by finding ways to keep your pet still when working. Treats and a little patience can work wonders!

Fruits, Vegetables

macro photograph of pomegrate

Macro images reveal just how fascinating fruits and vegetables can be. Look out for rough, bumpy textures and spectacular colors. With certain fruits, cutting them open first can be a great way to get the shots you need.

When going for a certain color palette, choose fruit and veg that compliments your theme. Check out our specific suggestions below:

  • Pomegranates (the spiky top and the ruby-red seeds)
  • Avocado skin
  • Apple cores
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Dragon fruit
  • Blood oranges
  • Raspberries

Food in General

macro photo of tortilla chips


While fruit and veg can provide some truly unique textures for your macro shots, don’t be tricked into overlooking the rest of your pantry. There’s a ton of intrigue to be found throughout your whole kitchen.

A great ‘game’ you can play when taking macro photos is to try and mislead your viewer. How can you capture an image that makes people go ‘wait, what am I looking at?’? This is half the magic of macro photography – the ability to make the mundane magical.

House Plants

macro photo of leaf

Plants and their beautiful foliage are timeless classics of the macro photography genre. If you’ve got indoor plants in your home, it’s well worth putting them under your macro lens. As with outdoor plants, look for specific textures, lines, and shapes that catch your eye.

Is it worth including part of the plant pot? Which focus point will look just perfect? Answer questions like these when working and you’ll be well on your way to a killer image.

Textiles and Furniture

macro photo of woven fabric

What looks like a simple couch or cushion can become valleys of texture and curiosity through a macro lens. Take a moment to look at the different furniture pieces and textiles throughout your house. Don’t just rely on your eyes here.

Running your fingers over things can be super helpful too – it makes it easier to identify the awesome bumps and creases that only become visible through your camera.

Unique House Features

macro photo of drops on a window

Got funky wallpaper in your house? Do certain areas have hairline cracks or crevices that are hard to notice? This kind of feature can be perfect for macro photography. Showcase the weird and wonderful parts of your home and get creative with how you capture them.

Your chosen focal point and angle can be just as important as the object itself. Don’t be afraid to play around until you get things just right. One of the great things about taking macro photographs at home is that you have the luxury of time on your side.

Get to know your house on a whole new level with macro photography!


photograph of plant in a vase

The colors, patterns, and textures that come with vases can be excellent photography subjects. For clear glass vases, it might be a good idea to put some flowers in there too. The obscured roots and leaves through glass can make for some incredible shots if you know what you’re doing.

For colored and patterned vases, try to find spots that really pique your interest. If your eye is drawn there, chances are it’s the right spot to focus on.


macro photo of food coloring in water

We’ve dedicated a few paragraphs below to water-specific examples. Water can provide a phenomenal canvas for the home photographer. The only limit here is your creativity. We outline a few ideas below that use water in all its forms. Check them out.


A well-timed shot of a water droplet can be truly breathtaking. Be prepared, though – you’ll need a little patience to get the shot you’re looking for. Play around with your aperture, shutter speed, and exposure and try to maintain sharpness on this fascinating moving subject.

Definitely use a tripod if you’re trying to take photos of a moving object.


The snaking wisps that rise from a cup of coffee, the enticing mist that hangs over a gloriously hot bath – steam is an excellent choice for a stunning indoor macro image. Composition will be especially important here.

Think about what else you’d like to include in your frame. The rim of our aforementioned coffee cup? Some other source for the steam? Consider how you’d like your viewers to perceive your final photo.

Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are another great one and are far less dynamic than steam or falling water droplets. They’re especially interesting when beginning to melt at room temperature. Look through your camera lens and search for spots on your ice cubes where cracks and droplets are beginning to show.

Can you create the impression of a vast iceberg from within your kitchen? Macro photography makes it possible.

Add Oil or Dyes

It’s amazing what a little olive oil or food coloring can accomplish. Fill a transparent dish or container with water and then drop in a little food coloring or similar dyeing agent. Gently swirl the mixture and capture the result in all its glory.

Plenty of bright light will help for this scenario. The specific viscosity of your mixture will determine how quickly you have to take your image. Experiment, and have fun with it!


macro photo of smoke

The snaking tendrils of smoke from a fire or candle can be rendered jaw-dropping with a little macro magic. Make sure that any smoke-related photography takes place in a well-ventilated room and with an abundance of caution.

Direct lighting in an otherwise dark room can work well when taking photos of smoke. No one knows your home better than you so feel free to play around with different lighting states until you find what works.


close up photo of a fork

Cutlery may appear perfectly pedestrian to the untrained eye but point a macro lens at it, and a whole world of stories emerges. Fingerprints, micro-scratches, and small dents can add dazzling texture to this otherwise mundane photography subject.

Overhead lighting can help reveal many of these imperfections when working.


macro photo of a sweater

Fling open your wardrobe and have a root around for your next masterpiece! Sequins, intricate stitching, and woven patterns can all be great for macro shots. Think about which angles will work best for each piece.

Top-down? Parallel to the surface of your shirt? It’s up to you!


macro photograph of a ring

There’s a reason that most promotional jewelry photos are taken with a macro lens – the level of detail you get is hard to beat. Choose a few special pieces and dive into their intricate details. You might be amazed by how much you can capture with a little patience.

If you’re looking to learn more about photographing your rings, earrings, and other accessories, check out our guide here.


macro photograph of toys

Lego soldiers, plastic bricks, and any number of other toys can produce a stunning macro photograph. Think about the stories you can tell with your images. Does your chosen toy have a mucky fingerprint on it? Perhaps it’s been scuffed up by your kids. In the world of photography, this is a chance to capture more than just an object, but a memory too.

If your kids are particularly patient, you could even experiment with including their hands in the frame too.

Indoor Macro Photography Ideas – Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found the suggestions on this page helpful. Remember that they’re just here as jumping-off points. If you think you can come up with better ideas, that’s great! The more you experiment and tinker with your photography gear, the better photographer you become.

Don’t forget to look for interesting textures, colors, and shapes that catch your eye. If you find it fascinating, chances are your viewer will too. Whatever subject you choose, we hope you have fun capturing it. Happy clicking!

How To Buy A Used DSLR Camera: Know Your Stuff

Buying a used camera is one of the best ways to save money if you know what to look out for. To the untrained eye, however, it’s also one of the fastest ways to throw money at a dud. We’re not suggesting that second-hand DSLR/ SLR cameras aren’t worth it — far from it.

It’s just that spending a little time getting to know which red flags you should watch for can pay dividends.

Thinking of buying a used DLSR/ SLR? You’ve come to the right place. This buyer’s guide will run you through our top tips to avoid disappointment. Take it from us photography nerds; you’ll be glad you did your research.

Check the ‘Mileage’ When Buying a Used DSLR Camera

If you were buying a used car, you’d immediately want to know about its mileage, wear and tear, and other signs of overuse, right? The same is true when buying a used camera. The less a second-hand camera has been put through its paces, the better your chances that it will work as advertised.

As long as it hasn’t been sat unprotected in a dusty garage, that is.

Buy From Non-Professionals if Possible

As a general rule of thumb, buying a used camera from a professional might not be the best way to go. While they have probably maintained the device fairly well, they’re also far more likely to have pushed the camera to its limits.

Someone who received a DSLR camera as a gift, never used it, and is trying to sell it on is an ideal candidate for someone to buy from.

Check the Shutter Count of the DSLR Camera

The shutter count of a used DSLR will tell you how many times the camera has taken a photo. In short, the shutter of a DSLR camera is a moving part that is more vulnerable to wear and tear. One of the best ways to check the shutter count of used cameras is to:

  1. Take a photo with the unit
  2. Upload it to a site like this
  3. Check the shutter actuation/ count that can be found in the file’s EXIF data

Be sure to check this figure against the “expected shutter life” of the camera in question. This can usually be found with a quick Google search or by checking the manufacturer’s website.

Look for External Damage on the Used Camera

This one is obvious but it’s your first tool for finding a used DSLR that’s not worth the money. Look for scratches, cracks and tears on the camera body of any DSLR you consider. In particular, make sure you check that the LCD screen and viewfinder is working as advertised.

Spot Dead Pixels on the Sensor

It’s worth bringing a bright torch with you when buying a used DSLR. Shining a light on a second-hand camera’s sensor can help identify scratches, unwanted marks and even dead pixels. If the seller will let you, another great way to assess used cameras is as follows:

  1. Cover the camera lens with its cap
  2. Switch to manual settings and turn off noise reduction
  3. Take a variety of shots using the full range of the camera’s ISO and shutter speeds
  4. Assess the photos for white, blue, green or red spots

If the images are pure black, you’re good to go in this regard. If you see these spots, you should proceed with caution. A few damaged pixels can be repaired or perhaps even overlooked. Lots of damage can seriously undermine the performance of a DSLR camera.

Check the Lens of the Used Camera

The lens and the lens mount are two of the most important things to focus on when picking up a used camera. You can waste a lot of money if you buy a camera with a poorly damaged lens. Check for the following for added peace of mind:

  • Fungus that has grown on the lens
  • Scratches, dust damage and other marks
  • How many lenses the previous owner used. This will tell you how much work the lens mount has been put through
  • Cracks and other severe damage
  • How well it still performs by taking a few test shots

Look for Sensor and Chamber Dust

Dust is a massive camera killer and is a big factor to look out for when picking up a used model. Built up dust can even wreak havoc on the external LCD screen, so definitely check inside the lens chamber and around the sensor for excessive amounts of dust.

A little build up is basically unavoidable, but steer clear of models that are absolutely caked in the stuff.

Other Used Camera Buying Tips

Checking for ‘mileage’ related damage is one of the most important things to consider when picking up a used camera. That said, there are plenty of other things to think about to get some much needed peace of mind.

Buy From a Trusted Seller

When buying a used DSLR, proceed with caution if you don’t know much about the seller. Try to find options from people with plenty of positive buyer reviews online. Buying from someone you know personally can be even better, but we appreciate that this isn’t always possible.

Look at their track record for selling second-hand DSLR cameras. Some less scrupulous sellers will shift high volumes of cheap, unrelated products first to build up positive reviews. They’ll then pivot to selling more expensive items like cameras.

Check out their review history and make sure positive reviews specifically mention cameras.

Buy Last Year’s Model if Applicable

Waiting for a product refresh can be a great way to save some money and still get an excellent camera. Sometimes, the main updates just pertain to the camera body and perhaps a slight image processing bump.

Either way, you can save a ton of money if you strike while the iron is hot.

For example, you can guarantee that prices for the Canon EOS 90D will go down the moment Canon releases an updated model. If you have your eye on a specific model and an update is released that you can go without, you may even be able to pick up the older iteration in a brand new condition.

Take Some Test Shots for Yourself

Don’t be shy about taking some test shots with any used camera you consider. If a buyer is hesitant to let you try before you buy, this is usually a huge red flag. Take a few shots in a couple of different lighting environments and look at the results for yourself. The resulting image quality will tell you a lot about whether to move forward.

Reference the results you can see against the description given by the seller and your own personal requirements.

Check Old Reviews and Descriptions

Doing a little research about the specific model you’re looking at can pay off — big time. Checking out old product descriptions and reviews online can give you a fairly good impression of how the camera is supposed to perform when fully functional.

This isn’t a foolproof approach by any means, but it can help filter out more obvious duds. For example, if you read up on a specific camera and learn that it was highly regarded as having “lightning fast” autofocus, but then notice that the seller’s model takes forever to focus in, that tells you something.

Test the Autofocus

You’d be amazed how much the autofocus capabilities of a camera can degrade over time. When you do some test shots, pay attention to how long it takes for things to come into focus. Also try some basic movements and introduce new subjects into the frame to test how well the af system adapts to changes.

If things don’t feel right, consider looking elsewhere.

Think About Accessories

Remember that sometimes a killer deal can fall apart when you look a little closer. Double-check with the seller what specific items you’re getting for your money. Are you getting just the camera body, or will there be a number of lenses, straps and other bits of gear thrown in for good measure?

It’s important to mention that this discussion goes both ways — don’t waste money on a “deal” with tons of accessories that you don’t actually need.

Get a Warranty if You Can

This is another big reason to buy through a reputable seller. Most used cameras come with expired or voided warranties, but a good seller/ store will usually honor the sale with a guarantee of their own. Choosing options that come with some form of protection like this can remove most of the anxiety that comes with buying second-hand.

If it comes with a warranty, you can get it repaired or reimbursed.

Used SLR/ DSLR Cameras — Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Safe to Buy a Used DSLR?

In short, yes. The long answer is that it’s important to go into any sale with the knowledge you need to spot a dud. If you buy from a trusted seller, you can usually rely on the camera you buy. This is especially true if it comes with a refurbished warranty.

Is There Still a Market for Old SLR Cameras?

Yes, but it’s much smaller than it used to be. The older film format is far from dead, but it’s tiny in comparison to more modern options. It’s still possible to find hidden gems, but proceed with extra caution when considering older SLRs. Where possible, look for the big names from the era like Leica and Hasselblad. They rarely produced cameras that weren’t worth the money.

Are Classic Cameras Worth any Money?

It depends completely on the vintage, remaining performance and external condition. That said, a highly sought after, mint condition classic camera can easily sell for more than $5000. If you know what to look out for, keep your eyes peeled and you might just strike oil.

Are Film Cameras Making a Comeback?

While they’re unlikely to regain their prominence from yesteryear, film has enjoyed a resurgence similar to that of vinyl records. Some manufacturers like Fujifilm are even producing film cameras in 2021. For this reason, a market for film cameras persists today.

Whatu0027s Considered a High Shutter Count?

Most fairly recent DSLRs are rated for at least 100,000 shots, with more pro-grade models capable of much higher numbers. Your best bet, especially when considering older SLR models, is to look for user manuals and manufacturer guidance online. Shutter count maximums can vary significantly from camera to camera. For this reason, it’s important to be as specific as possible before spending any money.

How do you Check a Camerau0027s Shutter Count?

Most cameras store this information within the EXIF data of every photo they capture. There are plenty of websites online that can parse this data for you and give you an accurate figure for how many photos a camera has taken.

Final Thoughts

What should you do if you’re not an experienced photographer? How are you supposed to check for wear and tear on a device that you don’t understand that well? Our advice is to choose a reputable seller that offers its own second-hand or refurbished warranty on its products.

This way, your purchase will be much closer to buying something that’s brand new. If anything goes wrong, you’ll have legal access to repairs, replacements or refunds.

In general, picking from recognized brands with strong reputations is the best way to go. Names like Sony, Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm all have cameras from the past several years that still perform exceptionally well.

Use the information outlined in this guide to find a product that’s right for you. The more you know about potential red flags before looking at a camera, the easier it will be to avoid disappointment. Whichever camera you choose, we hope it serves you well!

Best Nikon Lenses for Landscapes (Our Favorites Picks and Reviews)

Over the past several years, Nikon has maintained a formidable reputation in the world of interchangeable lenses and camera systems. The Nikkor line in particular remains a firm favorite of photographers around the world. This begs the question – what are the best Nikon lenses for landscapes?

There’s a mountain of choice out there when it comes to the lens you choose for your camera. While this is far from a bad thing, it can make choosing a new accessory a bit overwhelming. That’s where we come in.

This page contains our top picks for the best Nikon lenses available in 2021. We also touch on what to look out for when picking a landscape photography lens and how to make sure a specific product will fit with your setup.

Ready to become a Nikon lens pro? Great – let’s get started.

Nikon Mount Types

When shopping for any new lens, it’s important to make sure it will be compatible with your camera. The last thing you want to do is splash out hundreds on a shiny new product only to realize that it won’t play nicely with your gear.

We outline the most common Nikon mounting types below to help you stay savvy when shopping.


If you’re using a Nikon DSLR or more traditional film camera, this is likely the mount you’ll be using. The bayonet-style system was first introduced by Nikon in 1958 and remains one of their most common mounts for DSLR lenses.

If you’re unsure which lenses will use this system, check out Nikon’s helpful guide here.


First introduced in 2018, the Z-mount system is compatible with more modern mirrorless lenses. If your camera is a more recent mirrorless Nikon product, this is almost certainly the system to look for.

Amazon ConfirmedFit

Most of our lens recommendations on this page provide links to affordable Amazon listings for your convenience. For added peace of mind, make sure you use the handy ConfirmedFit feature to verify that a given lens will work with your gear.

It can be found at the top of most listings and can save you a ton of time with unnecessary returns.

Best Nikon Lenses for Landscapes

The selection below contains some of our favorite Nikon landscape lenses. We’ve covered a broad range of potential use cases and budgets so there’s something for almost everyone here.

If you’re unsure what you should be looking out for with this kind of lens, be sure to check out our buyer’s guide further down this page.

How We’ve Picked This List

Photography Focus is dedicated to providing product reviews and comparisons that are genuinely helpful. We’ve assessed the following when making these recommendations:

  • Landscape lens suitability and performance
  • Online reception, reviews, and comparisons
  • Price
  • Reliability
  • Durability
  • Compatibility

If it’s on this page, we truly believe it’s worth your time.

Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

At the top of the list is this stunning zoom lens. With a focal length range of 24-70mm, you’ll have plenty of ‘wiggle room’ to adjust your setup when taking landscape photos. Overall, this thing delivers exceptional levels of optical performance for the price.

It should serve you very well for landscape photography. One thing in particular that stands out to us is its impressive low-light performance. Even when shooting outdoors later in the day, your images should still look great.

Something that can let lenses like this down, especially when it comes to landscape shots, is edge-to-edge sharpness. Fortunately, Nikon has done a great job of tackling this issue with this lens. Your photos will be razor-sharp throughout every single pixel, even in low light.

In our opinion, this lens offers a fantastic blend of performance, versatility, and affordability. It gets a huge thumbs up from us.


  • Very versatile for landscape photography
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Great low-light results
  • Nice zoom range


  • Not ideal for those on a budget

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (New, White box)

If your landscape photography work captures dynamic subjects like wildlife or sports, then this Nikkor lens is definitely worth considering. It offers a zoom range of 70-200mm and impressive optical performance across a broad spectrum of lighting conditions.

Nikon’s anti-aberration and distortion technologies are in full force with this lens. A combination of high-performance coatings and a great optical design means that your photos will deliver the results you need far more consistently.

This landscape lens can handle practically anything that you throw at it. Its autofocus performance deserves special praise too. It’s super quick, surprisingly versatile, and operates very quietly for when you’re at sporting events or capturing skittish wildlife.

While it might not be the cheapest Nikon lens around, it’s definitely one of our favorites for landscape photography.


  • Great for moving landscape subjects
  • Superior anti-aberration design
  • Super speedy autofocus
  • Killer dynamic range


  • Not the best for super close-up shots

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5 Zoom Lens

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Right off the bat, the super wide angle of this lens means it takes fantastic landscape photos. You’ll have tons of room to fit your subject(s) into frame. It gets to almost fish-eye levels of reach. While this won’t be ideal for everyone, it could be exactly what your nature shoots need.

We love how versatile this lens is. Despite its substantial FOV, it can still focus sharply on subjects as close as 0.8ft. This makes it a great contender for the best Nikon lens for landscapes out there in 2021, especially if you’re always making adjustments on the fly.

Whether you’re shooting landscape nature photos, capturing city skylines, or jumping around to a different subject every second, this option is unlikely to let you down. The speed, dynamic range, and overall optical performance of this product are all excellent in our opinion.

Check it out if you haven’t already.


  • Super wide angle for sweeping landscapes
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • Fast autofocus
  • A versatile lens


  • The almost fish-eye look won’t be for everyone

Nikon Lens Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 ED

Nikon Lens Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, Black

This is another Nikon lens that offers a super wide FOV. If you’re the right kind of photographer, the level of versatility this brings can be a Godsend. Something we noticed almost immediately when researching this lens is how bright it is.

Nikon has clearly put a lot of effort into delivering the results you should expect when investing in premium camera equipment. Their “nano-crystal” coating, anti-flare technologies, and overall design mean that your landscape photos will consistently look great, even in low light.

For an ultra-wide product, this thing is exceptionally sharp from the centre of the frame through to every edge. This is quite the achievement when you consider how much you can fit into frame when shooting with this thing.

If your main goal is to take better landscape photos, we strongly recommend this Nikon lens.


  • Super bright, gorgeous results
  • Exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Awesome for landscapes


  • Perhaps a touch too expensive

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 Ultra-Wide

NIKON NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Ultra-Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras

If you liked the two lenses above but are using a mirrorless Nikon camera, you’ll definitely want to check out this Z-mount option. It offers the mirrorless portability you love without compromising on optical performance. We’re huge fans of this one.

If you already have a ton of gear to bring with you for your landscape shoots, you won’t notice much difference if you add this lens. It can collapse down to just 3.5 inches when not in use for ultra-portability. If you need consistently strong results, this accessory is unlikely to let you down.

A 14-30mm zoom range, fixed f/4 aperture, and impressive optical design all work in tandem to deliver outstanding results with great levels of consistency. While it’s not the cheapest lens around, it’s well worth it in our opinion.


  • Excellent landscape and video performance
  • Super compact and lightweight
  • Fully compatible with Z-mount cameras


  • The FOV may be a bit too wide for some tastes

Sigma 14-24mm F/2.8 DG HSM

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM, Black (212955) for Nikon

For decades now, Sigma has maintained an excellent reputation in the world of interchangeable lenses. This Nikon compatible wide angle lens certainly does the family name proud. We’ll level with you – it ain’t cheap. That said, we think it more than earns its price tag.

If you like to use creative bokeh effects when taking landscape photos, this lens might just be for you. Its impressive 9-blade rounded diaphragm makes it trivial to achieve the attractive blurred backgrounds you’re looking for.

A ton of landscape photography takes place outdoors. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that any lens you consider can sufficiently stand up to the elements. Fortunately, this Sigma lens comes with some very impressive weatherproofing that’s significantly better than the industry standard.

Dust, water, and other debris should be no match for this product. If you can afford this option, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by its levels of precision or optical performance.


  • Excellent bokeh results
  • Sigma’s trademark quality
  • Strong weatherproof design


  • It’s heavier than some users will like

Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 G ED

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Next up is an option that still offers a comfortably wide angle while remaining versatile enough to also take “normal looking” photos. If the ultra wide angle options mentioned above aren’t for you, this 16-35mm lens might be more your speed.

In our opinion it gets a lot of things right. 17 elements in 12 groups work tirelessly to deliver the results you’ll need for your landscape photography. If you don’t know already, Nikon is reaching legendary status when it comes to their anti-shake technologies.

The “VR II image stabilization” on this lens does a fantastic job of keeping your photos razor sharp. Even in poor lighting conditions, this thing performs surprisingly well. Color accuracy, stability, and overall performance are handled very well by this lens.


  • Exceptional sharpness
  • Great low-light performance
  • Solid anti-vibration technology


  • The build quality is okay but should be better

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/2.5-5.6

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

This is a solid budget option for those who need a great landscape Nikon lens that won’t break the bank. It might not deliver the pro-level results that some photographers need, but it’s no slouch either. Expect great sharpness, a responsive autofocus, and reasonable levels of vibration reduction.

Color correction and anti-ghosting are also handled very well here. Even in more affordable lenses like this one, Nikon does a spectacular job of delivering on their promises. For most landscape photographers, this option will be more than enough in our opinion.

The 16-85mm zoom range gives users plenty of versatility to adjust their shots on the fly. For nature shoots in particular, this should come in handy.


  • Great price
  • Still performs very well
  • Perfect for most landscape scenarios
  • Decent zoom range


  • Autofocus could be faster

More: Best macro lens for Nikon

How to Find the Best Landscape Nikon Lens – Our Buyer’s Guide

We believe the lens recommendations on this page represent fantastic value for money. That said, it doesn’t hurt to get clued up on the basics. This section will run you through some things to keep in mind when shopping on your own.

Your Requirements

One of the first things you should ask yourself is what you actually need your lens to achieve for you. The clearer you are about what you expect from your Nikon landscape lens, the easier it will be to make the right decision.

While more premium options can be great for the pros, you might not be able to take advantage of their features if you’re a newbie.


Once you’ve got an idea of what you expect from your new lens, it’s time to establish a rough budget. Deciding your max spend before looking at your options can be a great way to immediately filter out products that aren’t for you.

You can find great lenses as low as $500 but it’s important to remember that most accessories in this category will run you somewhere between $750-$1200. While cheaper options can certainly be enticing, they’re usually a recipe for disappointment in our opinion.

Stabilization (Vibration Reduction)

Most Nikon lenses come with pretty great image stabilization, but it’s always worth double checking. The longer-than-average exposure times for many landscape photos means that you’ll need a lens that will reduce image noise that results from camera shake.

If you haven’t already, we strongly recommend picking up a decent tripod to use when taking photos. It can really elevate your photography game by keeping everything nice and stable.


A huge chunk of landscape photography takes place outdoors. For this reason, it’s definitely worth double-checking that any lens you consider can stand up to the elements. Water, dust, and dirt resistance are all a must in our opinion.

The last thing you want is your lens to break down on you after just a few months because it isn’t adequately protected!


How much gear are you already carrying with you when taking photos? Do you have space for a big new lens or will something more portable be necessary? Answering questions like this can make it much easier to find the right lens.

If portability is a priority for you, it’s worth looking into Nikon’s line of mirrorless cameras. They’re considerably lighter and smaller than most DSLRs.

Wide Angle Options

We like to recommend wide-angle lenses for most landscape scenarios. They give users a ton of room to fit everything into frame. Just make sure that the specific products you look at offer good edge-to-edge sharpness.

This means that your entire photo will be in focus without unwanted distortion or blur. Some lenses can disappoint in this category so it’s definitely worth making sure. The products recommended on this page all deliver great edge-to-edge sharpness.


We know this seems obvious, but it trips plenty of people up. Make sure that any new lens you buy is fully compatible with your existing camera. With Nikon lenses, you’ll likely be working with either a Z-mount (mirrorless cameras) or F-mount (DSLRs).

Best Nikon Lenses for Landscapes – Final Thoughts

The best landscape lens will look a little different for everyone. It all depends on the type of photographer you are and the subjects you like to capture. That said, we believe our list above contains something for almost everyone.

Check whether your camera uses an F-mount or Z-mount before purchasing to avoid disappointment.

Take the time to think about your specific requirements and you’ll have a great new shooter in no time. Whichever lens you choose, we hope it helps you take amazing landscapes!

Capture One Vs Photoshop and Lightroom: Which is better?

When it comes down to image editing, two programs have taken the lead over the years. These programs are Capture One and Photoshop, which each have their own following.

However when it comes to Capture One vs Photoshop, which image editing software is actually best? We take an honest look at each one to determine which one comes out on top!

Capture One Vs Photoshop: Compared

General functionality


Both programs undoubtedly have their benefits in the area of functionality. However, when comparing Photoshop to Capture One Pro, we think Photoshop still beats Capture One’s functionality.

When it comes to imagine manipulation overall, Photoshop definitely provides the better product. Image stitching, HDR, retouching and comprehensive RAW image adjustments all belong on the list of functionality.

Another big plus of Photoshop is how well the this program incorporates a raster and vectors, which can be invaluable for advertisement campaign designs to even architectural designs.

On top of that, Adobe also provides tools for video editing and three dimensional printing. So, the point for overall functionality and versatility goes to Adobe.


One of the biggest difference between both programs is the interface. When you put the interface of Capture One next to Adobe, it is immediately clear that each software took a completely different approach. Evidently, this causes photographers to have a preference for one program over the other.

The interface of Capture One is mainly situated on the right-hand side, where you select your imported photographs. One the left, you can choose your adjustments for images. Evidently, this breaks up the interface. For some users, this can be a little easier in terms of finding things, while others do not like it. In short, it really is a personal preference.

Adobe on the other hand, provide a special module where you can browse through all the settings, which means you do not have to change tabs. On the left, you will find your history, making it easy to make jumps in the editing history if you need to do so.

Both interfaces require a little experimentation to master. However, we do find that Adobe does have an interface that is a bit friendlier than its rival. Since you can browse settings through one simple module and not have to mess around with tabs, beginners tend to find what they need a little easier.

Evidently, some users will prefer the divided settings interface of Capture One. If you are a beginner, it is best to find a tutorial on Capture One so you get a little familiar with the interface before you start editing images.


Which is more beginner friendly?

When it comes to suitability for beginners, we always look at presets. Presets are easy to implement and enable you to transform images in minimal time.

We are excited to report that both Adobe Photoshop and Capture One score well when it comes to presets. Adobe Photoshop does have a little more than Capture One Pro, and this is something to take into consideration.

While Adobe Photoshop has more presets, there are other factors to think about when it comes to suitability for beginners. However, Adobe Photoshop wins this part of the argument.

Another interesting feature for beginners is the presence of tutorials. While you would not expect this from an image editing software, Adobe Photoshop has an excellent range of tutorials available.

Raw image processing

We already touched upon the subject of Raw image processing, but we have not gone into too much detail. However, it is important that we do, as Raw images determine the quality of your photo editing results.

Earlier on, we mentioned that Capture One does add a little more saturation and contrast to the uploaded Raw files. This is something that Adobe does not do, and you could argue that the photographs on Capture One Pro look better for it.

At the end of the day, we do think both programs score the same where image processing is concerned. While photos on Capture One might look better than on Photoshop or Lightroom originally, these Raw images are subjected to color adjustments and other setting changes that makes the original Raw upload a little less important.

Both uploads are decent for the both softwares, it just looks a little bit different before editing. This is what it comes down to.


When you take loads of photos and upload your Raw image selection , you want to have a comprehensive overview of all your photos in a convenient location. Both Capture One and Adobe Photoshop has its organization features, but there are some differences.

Comparing Capture One’s organization tools to Adobe Photoshop, we concluded that Capture One is more suitable for a larger image collection. Capture One divides your photographs into sessions, which means you can organise them into individual collections, by occasion, time, or even person.

In Lightroom, photos are uploaded into a catalogue, which does have multiple collections within that one catalogue.

One of the features that makes the Capture One Pro better at organizing is the keyword search feature. As long as you save your images with the appropriate meta tags, it is so easy to find the right images in Capture Pro.

Custom color profiles

capture one vs photoshop and lightroom

Photographers looking for image editing software are always looking for the best color profiles. Those who use Capture One often claim that the photographs automatically look compared to Adobe Lightroom. But we wonder if this is actually the case?

Our research has shown that there is a difference between Capture One and Adobe Lightroom, but the difference may surprise you. The actual difference between Adobe and Capture One is that the latter has individual color profiles for each camera. As a result, the photographs on your screen will be close to those on your camera preview.

When you upload photographs in Adobe Lightroom, the program uses a neutral color profile to display your photos. In conclusion, each editing software has a different starting point.

So, which is best? If you are looking for neutrality in your images, more specifically with more muted colors, then Adobe wins the argument in Lightroom vs Capture One. However, if you like vibrant results with few adjustments needed, Capture One wins the fight with Lightroom.

Color Adjustments


When it comes to color adjustment options, Capture One Pro provides the better option. When you use Adobe Lightroom, you only get the basic hue saturation luminance panel with RGB adjustments.

The Capture One Pro adds additional options such as mid-tones, highlight adjustments and even shadows. With the Capture One Pro, it is also much easier to get rid of any skin redness in photographs, providing much better and more flattering image results.

Camera Support

Both Capture One Pro and Adobe Lightroom provide good compatibility for a variety of cameras, this goes from hobby to professional cameras. However, we did find a minor difference that could be crucial for the RAW files of some photographers.

Adobe Lightroom provides the quickest updates for compatibility with the newest cameras. So, if you tend to keep your photo equipment up-to-date with the latest models, then you must have the appropriate support for that RAW image selection. In these cases, the Adobe Lightroom is the way to go.

However, this does not mean that Capture One has nothing to offer when it comes to camera compatibility. The program does offer support for more than four hundred and fifty cameras at the moment, so it is still a solid choice for photographers.

An interesting feature of Capture One’s software is the tethered capture implementation. Within this framework, you can gain access to composition mode, allowing you to automatically replace the last image taken.

Evidently, this saves a lot of space in terms of hard drive space. Where camera functionality and compatibility is concerned, this is a very useful feature and might convince some users to make the switch to Capture One.

More adjustments

We already discussed some of the general adjustments that can be made with Lightroom and with the Capture One Pro. But what about local adjustments? Is one superior over the other?

Comparing both Capture One Pro and Lightroom, they both provide similar local adjustment features. But, one is more convenient than the other. Capture One’s local adjustments are easily done on multiple layers without making any changes.

If you want to use Lightroom for local adjustments, you need to switch back to Photoshop to get your multiple layers and local adjustments. Evidently, this makes precise adjustments much more difficult in Adobe Photoshop than in the Capture One Pro software.


In a world where everyone is connected to one another in one way or the other, connectivity has become all the more important for software programs. While there is some connectivity for Capture One’s software, Adobe provides connectivity that is second to none.

With Adobe, you have the option to store your files directly on the creative cloud, ensuring you never lose a project again. Using the creative cloud also saves in portable storage, as you can access your photographs everywhere at anytime.

To access the creative cloud, you need the creative cloud photography subscription. However, you will not have to pay extra for Lightroom, as this is included in the package.


As the later versions were released, Adobe Photoshop made the decision to offer its software to users on a subscription basis. Obviously, not all users like that decisions, but it did provide a major benefit. While the overall software package was a major investment for beginners without the subscription, the subscription option did make the software affordable for everyone.

Capture One also works with a subscription, but it is a little more expensive than Adobe. However, Capture One does do something Lightroom does not, more specifically give its users the option to purchase the software package fully without needing a subscription moving forward.

In other words, Lightroom and Capture One Pro actually score the same when it comes to price. While Lightroom does not offer the option to purchase the full suite, the subscription is cheaper than Capture One Pro. However, Capture One Pro does compensate for that by allowing users to buy the latest version without needing any more subscriptions moving forward.

We do need to mention that Photoshop offers Photoshop Elements. While it does not provide the full Lightroom functionality, it does deliver a standalone application for photo editing for half the price of Capture One Pro. Still, Capture One Pro does provide the better option for the price, as the suite is not toned down upon purchase for its users.


The Verdict

Adobe Photoshop has been around for a long time and is still somewhat ahead of the Capture One Pro. With that being said, the Capture One Pro is catching up fast, and is even rivalling Adobe Photoshop in many different areas.

But, if we would have to pick one at the moment, it would still be the latest version of Photoshop.

Photoshop provides a lot of interesting features and is still a staple in the image editing industry. This does not solely apply to hobby photographers, but also workplaces such as magazine publishers and more.

As the software has been around for quite some time, and is known by most, you will find that the learning curve is not as steep because of the multitude of tutorials and help to find online.

Of course, Capture One is catching up in that regard, so Adobe should not rest on its laurels and continue to develop its product to keep on providing the best software for editing images.

The reason why we choose Adobe Photoshop is its mobile compatibility, creative cloud platforms, friendlier interface, and overall better connectivity.

However, if Capture One becomes better at these things too, we might have to revise our opinion on the better image editing program. So, the coming years will be extremely interesting to witness, as this decision was not an easy one to make.

How to make a pinhole camera and why they’re so cool

Pinhole cameras are a fascinating concept and make for a great craft project you can do at home using regular materials. Pinhole cameras work by passing light through a very small aperture into a light-proof box. The light passes through the aperture and projects an upside-down image on the back of the box.

How does a pinhole camera work? (camera obscura)

A pinhole camera works through the camera obscura effect, which is a naturally observed phenomenon. It’s most notably seen during partial solar eclipses, where you can see crescent-shaped shadows on the ground in a thickly shaded area.

Essentially, the light is being blocked by the tree cover, letting very little pass through, and an inverted image is projected on the ground.

This was extrapolated by early scientists to safely look at solar eclipses. As you know, solar eclipses are extremely dangerous to look at with the naked eye. This is because you can’t look at the sun directly with the naked eye anyway!

Just because the sun is partially blocked, the light does not become any less intense, so thinking the light is less and looking directly at an eclipse can do serious damage to the eyes.

Most early uses of the camera obscura effect were done by using a dark room with a curtain. By opening the curtain very slightly, the amount of light let in could be controlled and the image could be observed on the wall opposite the curtain.

This post from Reddit is a great example of a camera obscura in action:


Interestingly enough, camera obscuras have unlimited depth of field, which means everything will always be in focus.

You can either project the image on a translucent screen for viewing, or you can put a film in the box and manually expose it by opening and closing the shutter.

How to make a basic pinhole camera

It’s super easy to make a basic pinhole camera. In fact, it’s so easy and fun to do that an entire business idea was born out of it called the Pop Up Pinhole Company! They started out as a Kickstarter project.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A cardboard box
  • Electrical tape
  • A 2 x 2 inch square of aluminum you can cut out of a soda can

What to do:

  1. First off, take a good look at the box and use electrical tape to seal off any areas where there are small gaps or tears. You need to make sure no light can get in! Keep one side open as you still have to install the shutter.
  2. Next, choose a point to make your shutter. Ideally, it should be somewhere in the middle of the box.
  3. Cut out a small (1 x 1 inches is fine) square from the box where your shutter will go.
  4. Use a pin to prick a hole in the piece of aluminum, and use some sandpaper to smooth the the pinprick down.
  5. Stick the aluminum square behind the square you cut out: glue will give the strongest bond, but you can certainly use electrical tape to secure it as well.
  6. Finally, use electrical tape to make a shutter flap on top of the pinhole.
  7. At this point, you can either cut out the wall directly behind the pinhole and stick some tracing paper on it to see a projection of the image, or you can use some film and open-close the shutter to take photographs.

More pinhole camera tutorials

When to use pinhole cameras

Now that modern cameras are so accessible and in everyone’s pockets, pinhole cameras have become more of something just for fun!

Here are some interesting use cases for pinhole cameras:

  • Viewing solar eclipses: solar eclipses are incredibly dangerous to look at directly(the sun is dangerous to look at directly anyway!). Using a camera obscura, you can safely view a solar eclipse. For a solar eclipse, you’ll have to modify the design a bit by using a separate bit of paper for projecting the light. This is because you can’t hold the camera up to the sun and look at the back of the camera at the same time!
  • Fun projects with kids on weekends: chances are you’ve got boxes lying around so if the kids are bored, this is a great craft idea to do and kill some time on a dull weekend!
  • Teaching people about refraction and cameras: Pinhole cameras do a great job of demonstrating how light and cameras work. What better way to explain the concept than to demonstrate it?

To pinholes and beyond

The laws of light and refraction work in really fascinating ways! The pinhole camera forms the basis for modern photography. It’s amazing how far cameras have come since then.

The very first cameras were adaptations of the pinhole camera, as they were essentially a box where light came in from a tiny aperture on one side and was projected onto a piece of photographic paper on the other side.

Modern cameras are built on the same principles, but they’re a lot more advanced, of course! From mirrorless cameras, SLR cameras, to tiny action cameras, they all rely on light coming through a very small hole(called the aperture) and projecting upside-down on a point behind it.

In the old days, film cameras would capture the light on photographic film which was coated with chemicals that reacted with light.

Digital cameras capture the image on a light-sensitive sensor which immediately processes and saves the image through complex software!

More buying guides