Due to a rapidly increasing amount of questions via email and social media I’ll be doing a weekly or biweekly Q&A on CaptureLandscapes. To mix things up some will be done Live on Facebook or Instagram (the video will be shared here later) and others will be written, like this one. While I do accept questions via Social Media I prefer that you reply to one of our newsletters with your question. This makes it easier for me to see it and you’re more likely to get a reply.

In today’s Q&A I answer question related to camera gear and optimizing images for display on Social Media:

Q: I’m a reader of your newsletter, which has given me much inspiration and a lot of valuable tips. Very nice for a beginner such as myself.

I was wondering if you can help me with a recommendation of a new lens. I’m going to Lofoten this easter and I’ve been considering an 8mm fisheye. I have a 10-20mm already but was considering to get a prime wide-angle as well. I use the Canon 760D.

– Stefanie

A: Hi Stefanie!

First of all, I’m happy that you’ve found the newsletter to be valuable!

Choosing a new lens is never easy and there are several factors to consider. You say you already have a 10-20mm, am I correct in assuming that you use this lens a lot? The 10mm on your lens is the same as a 15mm on a full frame camera, which is still an ultra wide-angle lens (I didn’t have wider than 16mm for years!).

So what you should consider is if you need the two extra mm. Are you going to use it? Personally, I’m not a big fan of fisheye lenses. The fisheye effect is not an effect that I enjoy on my photography so I would have continued to use the 10-20mm or alternatively upgraded to a better wide angle. (I don’t know what 10-20mm you have so it might already be the best option). For me, one of the deciding factors when I want a new wide angle is its widest aperture. A 10-20mm is perfect for night photography and during the night you want to have the largest (lowest f number) aperture possible.

Is there a specific reason you want to use a prime lens? While they have their benefits they certainly also have their limitations. I used a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 for my night photography for a long time but chose to upgrade to the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 and being able to zoom in and out was one of the main reasons I upgraded!

Good luck on finding a new lens and I hope you get some great shots in Northern Norway!

Q: I’ve seen that you’ve become a proud owner of a Fujifilm X-T2. I have the X-T10 (though I’ll probably upgrade to the XT-2 in the future). 

I’m very unsure of which filter system I should purchase. I’m thinking that it’s best to go straight for the square filter systems such as LEE and NiSi. The challenge is that my main lens (XT 10-24mm) has a diameter of 72mm and I’ll have to use a system such as the LEE 100mm. My other lenses have smaller diameters and for them, I would need to use the LEE Seven5 system. It gets a little complicated with two systems, not to mention pricy. As I understand, NiSi systems only work for lenses larger than a diameter larger than 67mm.

I mainly use my 10-24mm for landscape photography so it’s probably wise to choose filters that fit this lens (?). Fujis’ prime lenses have smaller diameters I think.

Do you have any suggestions?

– Hans Gunnar

A: Hi Hans Gunnar,

You are right that I recently purchased the Fujifilm X-T2. So far I’m really enjoying this tiny camera.

What you describe is a very common problem which you’ll encounter regardless of the systems and brands you choose to use. Since the different lenses have different diameters we rely on using step-up rings for the filters (just make sure that the filter is always larger than the lens).

NiSi’s V5 Holder Kit only includes 67, 72 and 77mm adapters but you’re able to purchase different adapter rings as well. You can find rings for more or less any diameter between 62mm and 49mm. LEE also sells adapter rings separately and I think you can one down to 52mm (I’m not 100% sure what their smallest adapter for the regular 100mm system is).

It’s only when the lens becomes too big for a 100mm system that you need to purchase another system. For example, my Nikon 14-24mm that I mentioned in the previous question, is too large for the 100mm system. It requires 150mm filters and they can’t be used in a 100mm system holder. To use these I need to use another system. It’s not ideal to travel around with two systems but for now, that’s how it is.

Q: How do you export your images for Instagram/web? I export out of Photoshop in  PNG and JPEG at 1920×1028. I use the save for web feature so it converts my images to 8 bit and sRGB. I typically use the PNG files because they seem to maintain more quality even though they’re larger file sizes. However, my images in general get destroyed by compression. My images are actually very sharp (believe it or not) but lose almost all sharpness when I upload to IG, as well as shadows getting noisy.  

– Alex

A: Hi Alex,

To be quite honest I don’t have any fancy or unique method to export my images for Instagram or web but I’ll take you through my workflow:

  1. After I’m done processing an image I open the Raya Pro Panel in Photoshop and choose Sharpen for Web. Typically, I use 1200px on the long side but having an exact size isn’t crucial here. I think Facebook actually prefers 1920px on the long edge.
  2. I check that the sharpening looks good and make some small adjustments if needed.
  3. Next, I use the Save for Web feature and save the image both locally on my computer and in a Dropbox folder.
  4. I download the image from my dropbox folder onto my phone
  5. Before posting to Instagram I open the image in Snapseed and make any final adjustments (this normally involves brightening and sharpening)

As you can see, I’m not that picky regarding what file and size that I export in. The reason your images look less sharp on your phone is most likely due to the differences between your phone and computer. The images simply don’t look exactly the same on the different devices. That’s why I open my images in Snapseed to add a little brightness, contrast and sharpness. Hopefully, that’s all that you need to do to get the images looking as sharp as they are!

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