About Me

Daniil Kulchenko

Hi. I’m Daniil Kulchenko.

I’m a software developer, entrepreneur, and web designer by trade, but a photographer by hobby – I’ve been interested in the art of photography since I was only 10 years old.

My first camera was an Olympus D450 with a whopping 1.2MP and a 64MB SmartMedia card that could take 200 tiny little photos. Since then, I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos on point-and-shoots, DSLRs, and camera phones, and continue to try and push my limits with photography every day.

But I’m always learning, and this blog is a continuation of that – it’s my first photography blog and it’s where I’m hoping to chronicle my journey of visiting some interesting places and taking some interesting photos in the years going forward.

I hope you’ll join me.

Current Gear

Daily Driver

Sony RX100 MIII

Sony RX100 MIII

 

A compact/P&S as a daily driver? No way!

Turns out the best camera you can get is the camera you have with you – much like any shot you take is infinitely better than no shot at all.

A DSLR has a place in everyone’s kit, but would you grab your 10lb camera bag and take it up a mountain on a hike? The nice thing about a compact camera is that you can always have it with you. Particularly if it’s this one.

The RX100M3 is one of the best cameras out there in the market today, capable of taking shots that are at least as good as a DSLR, and coming it at only 290g and less than 2 inches thick. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what The Verge and Engadget think.

If you Google the camera, you’ll find many photographers that have started leaving their DSLRs at home and grabbing their RX100s instead – it’s just way more convenient to not have to carry around the extra weight, leaving you free to take more photos and take your camera to more interesting places.

Anyway, about the camera. It has a 20.1MP 1″ sensor with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens that can do 24-70mm. Power-button-to-photo-ready time’s a little slower than I’d like, at ~1-1.5secs, but shutter lag is completely nonexistent. The shutter clicks the instant you hit the button, and is ready to take another photo immediately.

It has a bunch of goodies like expandable EVF, pop-out flash, rotatable display. For those who like to film video (this guy) it can do 1080p at 60fps or 720p at 120fps (!).

Most importantly, the image quality is fantastic. I shoot exclusively in RAW, and the amount of detail and color reproduction is staggering.

Here’s the full specs. It’s on the expensive side, at $799, but completely worth it if you’re serious into photography and want a second, more portable camera to carry along.

I also carry along 2 extra batteries, and put both the camera and batteries in a portable case.

I also recommend getting a screen protector and a camera grip (the body of the camera is a little too smooth).

($799 camera, $18 extra batteries and charger, $12 screen protector, $6 case)

Camera for planned shoots

Samsung NX20

Samsung NX20

Additional lenses: 50-200mm zoom lens, 20mm pancake, and 10mm fish-eye.

A really great DSLR from Samsung (it’s really a DSLM/ILC/EVIL dressed up as a DSLR); comes with a 18-55mm lens, OIS, and a 20.3MP sensor. Not much to say about this one – it’s a very competent camera and takes great photos. The lens selection is fantastic, very highly rated, and reasonably priced.

This was my previous daily driver and is still what I use for pre-planned shoots where I’m able to pack a larger camera.

Full specs here.

($1099 original retail, no longer available)

Camera for when I don’t have anything else

HTC One M7

HTC One

Not the best camera in the world (only 4MP, though supposedly the equivalent of 8MP on the sensor so there’s double quality pixels? not sure), but when I’m out and about and don’t have a camera on me, it does the job.

The best camera on a smartphone I know of is the iPhone 5S, which has better image quality than the vast majority of <$300 cameras. Nokia smartphones have pretty good cameras as well.

Accessories

Lightweight tripod

Tripod

This is the one I throw in my backpack whenever I go out. It’s absolutely tiny when fully folded and very lightweight, but surprisingly stable for it’s size/weight. Works really well as a general-purpose tripod that’s as portable as a compact camera.

($25 on Amazon)

More stable tripod (for pre-planned shoots)

Larger Tripod

For when you need more stability (e.g. extended timelapses). On the heavier and bulkier side, but much higher and more stable than the lightweight tripod above.

($55 on Amazon)

Software

  • Adobe CC subscription – as a student, this is only $20/month for me, but well worth it for the combination of Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, Lightroom, Premiere, and After Effects
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – best software available for photo management; makes importing, organizing, processing and editing and publishing extremely easy; it alone is worth the CC subscription
  • Adobe Photoshop – the workhorse; Lightroom can only do some basic editing, so if a particular project exceeds its capabilities, it’s just one tap to open the photo in Photoshop to edit
  • Photomatix Pro – for when you want to bust out the HDR, Photomatix is unrivaled, and inexpensive to boot

Services

  • WordPress – (techie incoming) this blog runs on self-hosted WP on its own private VPS on DigitalOcean with CloudFlare providing CDN/caching
  • 500px – for uploading/sharing/selling photos
  • Instagram – for funsies

Wrap-up

That about covers it! I’ll be keeping this page up to date/adding more in the future. In the meantime, check out the rest of the posts on my blog – I’ll be posting more photos and possibly guides/tutorials/articles as time goes by.

– Daniil.