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 Monday, November 24, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera
The full Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review is now available.
 
This is an awesome camera – especially for the price. I decided to add a 7D II to my kit (replacing a 70D), so I expect to be adding more details to the review as time goes on, including more AI Servo AF experiences.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/24/2014 8:02:52 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, November 20, 2014
Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
Image quality results have been added to the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Review page.
 
If you are like me, the 24-105mm STM vs. L lens comparison is the one you are most interested in. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/20/2014 11:27:25 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
Image quality results have been added to the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens Review page.
 
My expectation was for this lens to be a great bargain – similar to the nearly-identical Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens. If I directly compare these two lenses on the same camera body (with a very low sharpness setting), my initial impressions are that my expectations have been realized. You will see more distortion in the 24 (the barrel variety), but these two lenses are otherwise more similar than different in this comparison. That is a lot of image quality for a nicely-built pocket lens costing only $149.00.
 
Order your Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens now at B&H.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/19/2014 8:46:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sigma 18-300mm DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary Lens
Image quality, vignetting and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary Lens Review page. More (on-camera) product images will be added within the next day or so).
 
B&H has the new Sigma 18-300mm DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary Lens in stock.
 
Looking for a great deal on a superzoom lens? There is a $200.00 instant rebate available on the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Lens. Regularly $549.00, this lens is currently only $349.00 at B&H.
Post Date: 11/18/2014 8:45:47 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, November 13, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II's Wide Area AF
The large percentage of the viewfinder covered by Canon EOS 7D Mark II AF system is a big deal, at least when shooting in AI Servo AF mode and when there is no time to recompose after focusing. The image shared with this post shows such an example.
 
The horse gallops toward the camera at perhaps 40-45 mph. I want the rider to be in focus, but the horse's ears and mane strongly compete for the top AF point's attention as the animal quickly moves up and down. Having an AF point so close to the border of the frame allows me to (better) avoid the AF point's attention moving from the rider to the horse.
 
Good examples of situations requiring a wide-positioned AF point include any sports that involve running (track, baseball, soccer, football, field hockey, etc.). When a person is running fast, they lean forward and the head leads the lean. If the subject's eyes are not in focus, the shot is likely a throw-away. To keep the runner's eyes in focus requires an AF point placed on them and at the oft-desired near-frame-filling distances, an AF point positioned close to the frame edge is required. The 7D II has you covered here.
 
Cameras with a lower percentage of the viewfinder covered by AF points require similar subjects to be captured from a longer distance and/or with a wider focal length, meaning cropping is required to achieve the same desired frame-filling result. Cropping of course reduces final image resolution. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II's wide area AF system has you covered in these situations, allowing you to fully utilize its 20.2 MP sensor – this capability is a big deal.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/13/2014 8:25:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II Lens
I have loaded my expectations (including observations from a short hands-on time with this lens) onto the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens Review page. I think that you and I are going to like what this lens delivers.
 
B&H is taking Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II Lens preorders.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/12/2014 7:33:20 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
I have loaded an MTF chart comparison onto the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens Review page. Compare the 100-400 L II's MTF charts to those of the 100-400 L, 70-300 L and 400 f/5.6 L. With-extender charts for the new lens are included.
 
Again, B&H is accepting Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens preorders and I recommend preordering early if you want this lens anytime soon. Adorama and Amazon are also accepting preorders.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/11/2014 10:32:03 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, November 10, 2014
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
I share my expectations along with specifications and product images on the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens Review page.
 
I can't wait for this lens!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/10/2014 9:47:58 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon 7D Mark II Anti Flicker Mode Example
If you have ever photographed under flickering lights, such as the sodium vapor lamps especially common at sporting venues, you know what a problem that type of lighting can cause. One image is bright and the next is significantly underexposed with a completely different color cast. The bigger problem occurs when using fast/short action-stopping shutter speeds under these lights.
 
In the top half of the included image are 8 consecutive frames captured from the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in 10 fps burst with a 1/1000 second shutter speed. The subject is a white wall and the lights are fluorescent tubes (I had to go all the way to my basement to find these). All images were identically custom white balanced from the center of an optimally-timed image. What you see is the frame capture frequency synching with the light flicker's frequency to cause a different result in almost every frame.
 
The killer problem for post processing is that the entire frame is not evenly affected. Correcting this issue is a post processing nightmare. The cause of this problem is that, at fast/short shutter speeds, the flicker happens while the shutter curtain is not fully open.
 
Because the shutter opens and closes only in the up and down directions (with camera horizontally oriented), the area affected runs through the frame in the long direction regardless of the camera's orientation during capture. When the flicker-effected area is fully contained within the frame, the amount of area affected is narrower at faster shutter speeds and wider with longer shutter speeds.
 
At significantly longer shutter speeds, the effect from the flickering lights is better averaged in the exposures. At 1/25 second, a reference image I captured during the same test looks very nice.
 
In this 7D II light flicker test, I shot at 1/500, 1/1000 (shown in the example) and 1/2000 seconds. The 1/500 second test showed approximately 2/3 of the frame severely affected at most, but the 10 frames captured around the most-effected frame had various amounts of one frame edge strongly affected. As you would expect, the 1/2000 second test showed an even narrower band of the flicker's effect running through the image (a smaller slit of fast-moving shutter opening being used), but ... I'm guessing that there are not many venues with flickering-type lighting strong enough to allow use of this shutter speed at a reasonable ISO setting. The 1/500 and 1/1000 settings are more real world settings.
 
The bottom set of results show off the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's awesome new Anti-flicker mode. The only difference in the capture of the second set of images was that Anti-flicker mode was enabled. These were a random selection of 8 consecutive frames, but the results from all Anti-flicker mode enabled frames were identical regardless of shutter speed tested. I'm not going to say that these results are perfectly-evenly lit, but ... they are dramatically better than the normal captures and you will not see the less-than-perfectly-even lighting in most real world photos without a solid, light-colored background running through the frame.
 
When enabled (the default is disabled), Flicker Mode adjusts the shutter release timing very slightly so that the dim cycle of the lighting is avoided. In single shot mode, the shutter release lag time is matched to the light flicker cycle's maximum output. In continuous shooting mode, the shutter lag and the frame rate are both altered for peak light output capture. In my tests above, the frame rate was reduced by 1-2 fps and shutter lag can be affected, making the camera feel slightly less responsive.
 
The 7D II is able to work with light flicker occurring at 100Hz and 120Hz frequencies. When such flicker is detected but flicker mode is not enabled, a flashing FLICKER warning shows in the viewfinder. The FLICKER warning shows solid when a flicker is detected and the camera’s setting is enabled. Flicker detection has been working very well for me. From my own basement to an indoor sports venue to a trade show floor, I've seen the flashing "FLICKER" warning.
 
Since the viewfinder's metering system is required for flicker detection, this feature is not available in Live View mode (due to the mirror being locked up). The mirror lockup feature is also disabled when Anti-flicker mode is enabled. The owner's manual indicates that Flicker mode is not going to work perfectly in all environments.
 
In the test I shared in this post, flicker avoidance was perfect 100% of the time. I shot a soccer match at an indoor sporting venue with a complicated economy lighting system. In that shoot, the Anti-flicker mode was successful about 98% of the time in the about-350 images I captured. The post processing work required for this shoot was exponentially lighter than any of my many prior shoots at this venue. Sean's experience shooting an NCAA Division 1 football game under the lights was very good, but perhaps not as good as my 98% experience.
 
Canon's new Anti-flicker mode is a game changer – it is going to save the day for some events. This feature alone is going to be worth the price of the camera for some photographers.
 
Want a Canon EOS 7D Mark II? Get it at B&H.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/10/2014 8:06:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, November 07, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
I completed the frame rate testing for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II review and thought I'd share a little of what I learned, and perhaps bring a smile to your face.
 
To test the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's 10 fps drive mode and 31 RAW file buffer specs, I configured the camera to use ISO 100, a 1/8000 shutter speed (no waiting for the shutter operation), a wide open aperture (no time lost due to aperture blades closing) and manual focus was selected. The lens cap remained on (insuring a black file) and a freshly-formatted fast memory card was loaded.
 
Using a Sony 32GB Class 10 UHS-I (SF32UX) SDHC Card (Max. Read/Write Speed: 94/45 MB/s), the 7D II captured 30 frames in 2.9 seconds to match the rated drive speed and come within 1 frame of the rated buffer depth. After .3 seconds, two additional frames were captured .27 seconds apart and then a repeating pattern of two similarly spaced frames were captured every .5 seconds.
 
Put a Lexar 64GB Professional 1066x UDMA 7 Compact Flash Card (Max. Read/Write Speed: 160/155 MB/s) in the slot and the 7D II captured between 46 and 49 frames in 4.7 seconds (or less) to again match the rated speed but far exceed the rated buffer depth. With this Lexar card installed, two additional frames were captured .1 second apart every .2 seconds for a post-buffer-filled performance of 14 frames in 2.27 seconds or about 5.7 fps. This rate is faster than some cameras shoot with an empty buffer and I'm guessing that this rate continues until the card is filled.
 
A fast memory card definitely makes a difference with this camera. Note that there are faster SD cards available than the Sony I tested with and that I'm not saying that CF cards are faster than SD cards in general, but the speed of the card does matter.
 
For your listening pleasure (should make you smile):
 
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Burst Mode
 
Get your 7D II at B&H.
 
Note that, by request, I have added results from the Canon EOS 1D IV to the 7D Mark II noise comparison that was posted yesterday.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/7/2014 7:50:15 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, November 06, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II High ISO Noise and Image Quality
Turn off all of the settings that hide a camera's base image quality (and potentially destroy image details) and you get a better idea of the image quality a camera is natively capable of. Direct comparisons between DSLR models are also better made under these conditions.
 
I have added an in-depth look at high ISO noise and related image quality to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review. Scroll down and click on the color block image to see the complete set of test results – or go directly comparison page:
 
Canon EOS 7D Mark II ISO Noise and Image Quality Comparisons
 
I don't know if I can stake the claim that these comparisons are exhaustive, but I can definitely say that they have been exhausting to create and analyze. The good news is that the 7D Mark II's image quality is exceeding my expectations. I don't think that anyone will argue with me if I declare the 7D Mark II to have the best Canon APS-C image quality ever seen. And that of course says a lot.
 
At this moment, B&H has the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens available in stock and I expect the body-only version to be available soon though it is under solid demand (preorder for earliest delivery).
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/6/2014 12:46:22 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
My Canon EOS 7D Mark II arrived this week – WOO HOO! I will have lots of information to share about this camera in the very near future, but I kept notes as I unpacked and configured the "Baby 1D X" to the perfect (for me) setup. Following are the 30 (OK, there were initially 30, but I've tweaked the list slightly) steps I take to make an out-of-the-box 7D II ready for use.
 
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged 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. For me, this is primarily the camera, the neck strap and the Canon Solution Disk.
  3. Install Canon Solution Disk software 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. Attach the neck strap.
  5. Insert the battery (after charging completes).
  6. Power the camera on.
  7. The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and the Set button to update this information. The GPS feature, if enabled, should take care of precise date/time maintenance going forward.
  8. Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  9. Set the camera's mode to one other than fully auto (the GreenSquare+ mode only provides a small subset of available menu options), C1, C2 or C3 (Custom modes do not retain settings for use in other modes).
  10. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "–"
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Beep: Disable
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Disable/off
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses – all can be applied in DPP)
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed range: 100-H2(51200)
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Picture Style: Neutral with sharpness set to "1" (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows on the camera LCD. I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  20. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
  21. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Anti-flicker shoot: Enable
  22. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
  23. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus (same reason)
  24. AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
  25. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (flash portions of images that are overexposed)
  26. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  28. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): 1X
  29. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  30. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Enable
  31. Custom Functions, Tab 3: Custom Controls: Set: Playback; Multicontroller: Direct AF point selection; AF area select lever: Direct AF area selection
  32. Custom Functions, Tab 4: Default erase option: [Erase] selected
  33. My Menu: Add tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for determining what time it is), Sensor cleaning
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. While my setup works great for me (and Sean's setup is nearly identical), your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup.
 
If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an update-to-date list such as this is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state. Your list will insure that you do not miss an important setting while putting the camera back into service.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens in stock and I expect the body-only version to be available soon (preorder for earliest delivery).
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/5/2014 8:51:05 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Review page.
 
Canon EF-M lenses are compatible only with the compact Canon EOS M MILCs (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras). The 55-200 IS STM is the telephoto lens option in the "M" lineup (though others are available via the EF to EF-M adapter). This lens has good image quality with a very small size and light weight.
 
Please note: Like the T5i, T4i and 70D, the EOS M has image sharpness dialed up (by Canon) in-camera. Even though the EF-M lens test results shown use our standard sharpness setting of "1", you will see the sharpness difference when comparing against EOS 60D-based lens test results. The increased sharpness comes directly at the expense of increased high ISO noise and can be adjusted to taste. Still, this is a good lens.
 
Canon USA is not currently importing this lens. My suggestion is to order your EF-M 11-22mm IS STM Lens from DigitalRev.
 
Special thanks to John S for loaning us this lens!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/4/2014 7:40:30 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, November 03, 2014
Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens Review page.
 
Canon EF-M lenses are compatible only with the compact Canon EOS M MILCs (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras). The results from the 11-22 are very good – this lens will be a great addition to any "M" kit.
 
Please note: Like the T5i, T4i and 70D, the EOS M has image sharpness set higher in-camera. Even though the EF-M lens test results shown use our standard sharpness setting of "1", you will see the sharpness difference when comparing against EOS 60D-based lens test results. The increased sharpness comes directly at the expense of increased high ISO noise. Still, this is a good lens.
 
Canon USA is not currently importing this lens. My suggestion is to order your EF-M 11-22mm IS STM Lens from DigitalRev.
 
Special thanks to John S for loaning us this lens!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 11/3/2014 10:04:58 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Nikon 20mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor Lens
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Nikon 20mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor Lens Review page.
 
B&H has the new Nikon 20mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor Lens in stock.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 10/29/2014 8:37:31 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens Review page has been updated with my expectations for this lens. The bottom line is that I expect the EF-S 24 to become one of Canon's most popular lenses in a very short period of time.
 
This is a lens that everyone can afford. B&H is accepting preorders with expected availability listed as November 2014.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 10/28/2014 7:52:13 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, October 27, 2014
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
I have loaded the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review page with my expectations for this highly-anticipated, feature-packed DSLR camera model.
 
B&H is accepting preorders for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II with availability currently slated for October 30th.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 10/27/2014 8:06:07 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM Lens
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and product images have been added to the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM Lens Review page.
 
B&H has the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM Lens in stock.
Post Date: 10/22/2014 8:10:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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