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 Monday, July 24, 2017
Adorama has the BlackRapid RS-L Sport Extreme Sport Strap available for $39.99 with free shipping. Regularly $73.95.
I use a right-handed version of this strap that's been converted for Arca-style plates. [Sean]
Product Highlights
  • Designed for left-handed photographers
  • Holds SLR camera with lens attached
  • Under arm safety tether
  • FR-3 fastener couples to connector-2
  • BRAD MOD secures the strap during action shots
Post Date: 7/24/2017 10:26:13 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 just showed up and it is time to set up the camera for use. Following are the 27 steps I took to make an out-of-the-box Canon EOS Rebel SL2 ready for use.
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged LP-E17 battery available, you can continue to the battery-required steps without a wait.
  2. While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box. This is a good time to install the neck strap.
  3. Download and install the Canon Solution Disk software on your computer to get support for the latest camera(s). Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility, Photostitch and Lens Registration Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
  4. Insert the battery (after charging completes, unless you can't wait).
  5. Power the camera on.
  6. The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and Set button to update this information.
  7. Insert a memory card (don't forget to format the card via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  8. Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv or M (some modes provide only a small subset of available menu options).
  9. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
  10. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: set to RAW (I highly recommend a RAW workflow)
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Off/Disable (I highly recommend this setting)
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses – all can be applied in DPP)
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness Strength set to "1" (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that most-accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows on the camera LCD. I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post, but "Low" is also a good choice)
  18. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  19. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  20. Tools Menu, Tab 3: Beep: Disable
  21. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom Functions: C.Fn I:ISO expansion: On
  22. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom Functions: C.Fn I:Exposure comp. auto cancel: Disable
  23. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Copyright information: Enter author's name: [your name]
  24. Display Level Menu: Menu guide: Standard (required to gain access to My Menu)
  25. Display Level Menu: Mode guide: Disable (novices may appreciate this setting enabled)
  26. Display Level Menu: Feature guide: Disabled (novices may appreciate this setting enabled)
  27. My Menu: Add the first tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring what time it is), Sensor cleaning, Expo.comp./AEB
I of course make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
To copy this configuration would mean that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot - including shooting in RAW-only format. My setup is ideal for me, but keep in mind that your needs may differ. The best use of this list may be for tweaking of your own setup.
If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state (unless you request otherwise). Your list will ensure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
More Information
Canon EOS Rebel SL2
The very inexpensive Canon EOS Rebel SL2 is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/24/2017 9:15:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Image quality results from the Sony a7R II have been added to the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens page.
I like what I see.
The Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Posted to: Sony News
Post Date: 7/24/2017 7:22:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Davis & Sanford ProVista Airlift Tripod with FM18 Fluid Head available for $99.95 with free shipping. Regularly $179.95.
Note: The same tripod/ball head bundled with a dolly is only $20.00 more.
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time or when inventory is exhausted, B&H has the Tokina 12-28mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX Lens for Canon available for $199.00 with free shipping. Regularly $449.00.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/24/2017 5:16:28 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Sunday, July 23, 2017
Canon released new versions of its freely included software at the end of last month primarily to add compatibility with its newly released cameras. However, Canon EOS 5Ds R owners will likely appreciate the "...function for reducing color moiré" added to DPP.
Changes for Digital Photo Professional 4.6.30:
  • Supports EOS 6D Mark II, EOS Kiss X9 / EOS REBEL SL2 / EOS 200D, EOS-1D, EOS-1Ds.
  • Adds a function for reducing color moiré.
  • Supports the EOS 5D Mark IV Canon Log specification.
EOS MOVIE Utility 1.7:
  • Supports EOS 6D Mark II.
  • Supports the EOS 5D Mark IV Canon Log specification.
Changes to EOS Utility 3.6.30, Picture Style Editor 1.18.30:
  • Supports EOS 6D Mark II, EOS Kiss X9 / EOS REBEL SL2 / EOS 200D.
Download: Digital Photo Professional 4.6.30, EOS MOVIE Utility 1.7, EOS Utility 3.6.30 & Picture Style Editor 1.18.30
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/23/2017 4:36:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, July 22, 2017
Through this weekend, Adorama has the 3 Legged Thing Albert Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod System with AirHed 360 Ball Head available for $339.99 with free shipping. Regularly $499.99.
Use coupon code AMTMF50J17 at to get a $200.00 discount on top of the $250.00 mail-in rebate for the following gear bundled with the Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Wireless Inkjet Printer:
Note: The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM deal requires a different promo code, AMTMF207K17.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/22/2017 8:16:40 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
On August 21st, 2017, over much of North America, the moon is going to cover the big fireball, creating a spectacular site (weather conditions permitting of course). Start preparing now – photographing the sun is not difficult and likely is affordable to you.
Read through the Solar Eclipse Photography Tips posts and don't miss the Meade Glass White Light Solar Filter review to learn how this image was created.
This image is moderately cropped from a 1200mm full frame capture.
A larger version of this image is available on, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px.
Post Date: 7/22/2017 7:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, July 21, 2017
For a limited time, Adorama has the G-Technology G-Drive Pro 2TB External Hard Drive available for $199.99 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $269.95.
Product Highlights
  • Holds 2TB
  • Ultra-fast, high-performance Thunderbolt interface technology
  • Faster than USB 3.0 FireWire and eSATA
  • 480MB/s sustained transfer rates, 7200 RPM
  • Dual Thunderbolt ports
  • Time Machine Compatible, plug-and-play setup on Mac OS
  • All-aluminum case for ultimate durability
  • Kensington Slot for added security
Along with the image quality test results I shared previously, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens page.
This inexpensive lens is still looking good, from both an image quality perspective and a stylish one. From a size standpoint, let's put things in perspective.
The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/21/2017 7:25:06 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
B&H has the Tokina AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX Lens for Canon/Nikon available for $599.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $799.00.
Product Highlights
  • Aperture Range: f/2 to f/22
  • One Plastic-Molded Aspherical Element
  • Two Glass-Molded Aspherical SD Elements
  • Two Super Low Dispersion Elements
  • Multi-Layer Anti-Reflection Coating
  • Internal Focus; One-Touch Focus Clutch
  • Nine-Blade Diaphragm
Post Date: 7/21/2017 6:23:44 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Genaray LED-7100T 312 LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light available for $151.20 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $189.00.
Product Highlights
  • Genaray Professional Series LED Light
  • 3200-5600K Adjustable Color Temperature
  • Up to 1400 Lux Brightness at 3 ft
  • 100-10% Flicker Free Brightness Dimmer
  • Smooth, Stepless Color/Brightness Dials
  • Dual Sony L Series Battery Mount
  • Hot-Swappable
  • Batteries, Charger, AC Adapter Included
  • Magnetic, Snap-On Diffuser Included
  • Ball Head and Carry Case Included
 Thursday, July 20, 2017
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Glidecam Ultra-Shot available for $299.00 with free shipping. Regularly $499.00.
Product Highlights
  • Load Capacity: 20 lb
  • Maximum Height: 63.6"
  • Closed Length: 23"
  • Sections: 5
  • Weight: 6 lb
  • T6-6061 Aluminum Monopod with Flip Locks
  • Tilting Back-and-Forth Head
  • 6" Offset Quick Release Plate
  • Positionable Motocross Grips
  • Two 1/4"-20 Screws
Post Date: 7/20/2017 5:35:39 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
As I mentioned earlier this week, I recently renovated an old workshop to serve as my new photography studio. Above you can see a 360-degree view of the studio. Note that the middle of the panorama shows the back wall of the studio while the edges show the curtain-covered french doors opposite the back wall.
Below are some organizational tools and techniques I used for optimizing the space.
Black Light Portrait July 2017

Always Available 12' Background Support Crossbar
If you look closely at the panorama atop this post, you'll notice a 12' 4-section background support bar held up by the side walls. I purchased the support bar several years ago and it has served me well for larger backdrop needs. I had originally intended on hanging hooks from the rafters to hang the background support, but upon measuring the space, I realized that wasn't necessary. The walls of the studio are slightly less than 12' (3.66m), so it was relatively easy to add a couple of nails to the top of the walls to keep the background pole in place, while still being able to take the pole down when it's needed for on-location work.
Having the 12' background support semi-permanently installed has the benefits of freeing up storage space that would otherwise have been required for the collapsed set of poles while reducing setup time when the background support bar is actually needed.
For the shot above, I used (6) black lights to photograph Alexis in front of an 84x52" tapestry.

Snowboard Rack for Lightstands

Surfboard/Snowboard Rack for Light Stands/Tripods/Monopods
Want a great way store your light stands, tripods and monopods? Get a surfboard/snowboard rack! With 16" arms and a support rating of 100 lbs. (45.4kg), the surfboard rack can store a lot of gear neatly and efficiently.
Just how much lighting and photography gear can you support with a surfboard/snowboard rack? Well, right now, mine is holding:
(9) Light stands (of various sizes and weights)
(2) 40" Extension Arms
(2) Monopods (1 alloy, 1 carbon fiber)
(1) Avenger D600 Mini Boom
(1) Alloy Tripod
(1) Manfrotto 173B Mini Boom Arm
The above gear totals approximately 93 lbs (42.2kg).

Pegboard Organizer for Photography Gear

Pegboard for Misc. Supplies
I tried to make use of previously installed organizational items when possible, and the pegboard installed by the previous owner worked great for storing miscellaneous items such as the following:
A pegboard hooks variety pack was all I needed to transform this otherwise unutilized area behind my post-processing computer's monitors into a convenient storage solution for often-used gear.

Bungee Straps Securing Shelf

Ball Bungees Keep Gear In Check
After placing a few soft boxes/octa boxes on one shelf and umbrellas on another, I quickly realized I needed something to contain the items while leaving them quickly accessible. My solution was to wrap a ball bungee around the top portion of shelf section and a no-damage hair elastic band to the bottom portion of the shelf. With the two fitted together, the gear stays in place yet can be accessed very easily.
Parting Thoughts
Optimizing your gear storage will help you get the most out of your studio space, whether it's a small room, a garage or a large commercial workspace. By utilizing techniques similar to the ones outlined above, you can maximize floor space while simultaneously allowing for quick access to often-needed tools and supplies.
Post Date: 7/20/2017 12:40:41 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
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