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 Tuesday, October 20, 2015
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Post Date: 10/20/2015 12:11:37 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Lensbaby Special Edition 50mm f/2 Lens with Creative Apertures
B&H's Deal Zone has been active since this past holiday season. Ever since its introduction I've been continuously amazed at just how great the daily deals can be.
Case in point: I purchased a Lensbaby Spark 50mm f/2 Special Edition Lens with Creative Aperture Set (seen above) for $59.95 in late July via a Deal Zone Daily Deal. The deal was great; the fixed f/5.6 version of the Lensbaby Spark (featured as yesterday's Deal Zone Deal) normally goes for $89.95, is 3-stops slower and is incompatible with the creative aperture kit. The Special Edition lens originally sold for $129.95.
The Lensbaby Spark Special Edition Lens was released in the holiday season of 2014 and B&H used its Deal Zone to clear out unsold inventory as the lens was out of production. The deal sold out relatively quickly.
So why would I want to purchase a lens that's been discontinued? Because the Deal Zone price made the Lensbaby Spark Special Edition purchase infinitely more attractive. At less than $60.00, it's not something I necessarily had to budget for and it looked like a fun item to try out.
The results? The Lensbaby Spark is not the easiest lens to work with. You focus the lens by physically squeezing the lens toward the camera with your fingers and then you have to hold your fingers in place through the shutter's release. It's definitely challenging. But thankfully, the lens even more fun than it is challenging to use. A couple of my favorite shots over the past two months have been captured using the Lensbaby Spark, undoubtedly the cheapest lens I have ever purchased.
Frogs in Grass by Sean Setters

Tall Grass Birds Aperture in Super Color IR

Unfortunately (for us, at least), the B&H Deal Zone isn't limited to photography/DSLR videography equipment; many other types of products get featured as well (today's deal is a prime example – binoculars, anyone?). However, that's why we check the Deal Zone Daily Deal early each morning so that we can let you know when the featured deal looks especially interesting for our site visitors.
By checking our News Feed each morning, you can ensure that you don't miss a great deal before it gets sold out (or expires). And by clicking on the links from the News Feed, you'll be helping to support the site while you take advantage of the savings. I think that's a win-win. [Sean]
Post Date: 10/20/2015 11:51:31 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Photographing with BBB (Backlit Bug Bokeh)
I had somewhat unusual circumstances at a cross country meet I photographed recently. It is not uncommon to find an insect in an outdoor photo, but the gnats were so thick at this event that I was making keep/delete decisions based on the location of the little insects in front of the competitors. A backlit gnat in front of the eye? Trash the image. Surprisingly, in the end, I found the gnats to be a welcome addition to my photos (though not so welcome was that they were biting me).
When photographing typically-late-afternoon cross country events under full sunlight, my preference is to photograph with the sun at my back. I don't have control over the finish line location (where I usually go prior to the first competitor finishing) and this finish line meant that the sun would be in my face. This is my second most-preferred lighting position as I don't have to deal with the partial harsh shadows that side-lighting creates, shading parts of faces and bodies. Back lighting also creates a rim light that adds a positive dimension to the images, sharply separating the subject from the background.
The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens is an incredible lens and is often my first choice for sports. This lens mounted on a Canon EOS 1D X creates a venerable combination, with the ability to create a diffusely-blurred background that make the subject pop.
In this case, also blurred to varying extents were the gnats. Combine backlighting with thick clouds of blurred gnats and the air becomes sparkly, with a slightly magical look. I'm guessing that re-creating this effect artificially would be challenging and ... most will not appreciate a huge release of gnats into the air at public events. So, I'll take the effect when I can get it.
Camera and Lens Settings
400mm  f/2.8  1/1600s
ISO 400
3195 x 4793px
Post Date: 10/20/2015 9:45:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens
Image quality results have been added to the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens Review.
Perhaps the most in-demand comparison is the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC vs. Canon 35mm f/2 IS Lens, this one showing both lenses placed under the microscope of the Canon EOS 5Ds R. The comparison is initialized at f/2, but any apertures can be compared. EOS 1Ds Mark III results are also available, allowing direct comparison with most other lenses in our database including the Sigma 35 Art Lens.
B&H has the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens in stock.
Also just added are standardized product images for the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens.
Lots of great comparisons can be made with these images. I'll get you started.
Post Date: 10/20/2015 9:29:59 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
DJI Phantom 3 Quadcoper
From Reuters:
"The Obama administration said on Monday that it would require drone owners to register their unmanned aircraft as part of an effort to curtail rogue drone flights that pose a danger to commercial aircraft and crowded public venues.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the creation of a task force of private sector and government representatives to craft recommendations for establishing the first ever federal drone registry.
The recommendations are due by Nov. 20, and administration officials hope to have the registry in place before Christmas, when they say that more than 1 million new drones could be given as gifts to new untrained operators. The registration requirements would also apply to drones already in use."
Read the entire article on
Post Date: 10/20/2015 7:41:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Induro AM25 Alloy 8M Aluminum Monopod
B&H has the Induro AM25 Alloy 8M Aluminum Monopod available for $28.00 with free shipping. Regularly $53.00.
Product Highlights
  • Load Capacity: 22 lb
  • Max Height: 57.9"
  • Closed Length: 16"
  • Sections: 5
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
Need a head for your new monopod? The Desmond DMH-01 is an excellent value and when paired with a Neewer Bidirectional Double Quick Release Clamp allows the direction of the Arca-style clamp to be rotated 90-degrees for use with camera-mounted or lens-mounted plates. [Sean]
Post Date: 10/20/2015 7:01:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
DigitalRev cuurently has excellent pricing on various Sigma Global Vision lenses (the 50mm Art lens is an especially good deal). See below for full details.
Sigma Deals at DigitalRev
LensCompare atPrice
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art$949.00$699.00
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art$899.00$729.00
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art$799.00$679.00
Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art$899.00$749.00
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports$1,999.00$1,699.00

Note: When purchased by US customers, items sold by DigitalRev are considered grey market.
Post Date: 10/20/2015 6:42:47 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, October 19, 2015
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX II Lens
eBay (via RobertsDigital - 99.3% Positive Feedback) has the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X PRO DX II Lens available for $349.00 with free shipping. Compare at $449.00 after $30.00 instant savings.
Post Date: 10/19/2015 10:41:31 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS Lens and ... Sometimes Clear Blue Skies are Just Fine
When presented with clear blue skies, I often avoid having significant sky coverage in my frame. But sometimes, blue is beautiful.
With a bright, evenly-colored background, the top of the mountains being hit by the morning sunlight creates a strong, eye-catching line. The strong contrast of the mountain shadow creates a second strong line. Take a great scene and reflect it to get symmetry with the result often being greater than twice as good as the image without a reflection.
The choice of focal length is always very important for composing an image. In this case, the twin peaks of the Maroon Bells were of primary interest to me. A focal length that makes these peaks large in the frame will best emphasize their over 14,000' size. I captured many frames using longer focal lengths, but I also liked seeing the bigger picture. With a mirror-calm water surface large enough to reflect the entire scene, I took advantage of the wider angle focal lengths available in the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens on this morning.
When not to use a circular polarizer filter: at sunrise or sunset, with a wide angle focal length being used and large amounts of blue sky in the frame, it is unlikely that I have a CPL filter mounted on my lens. A CPL filter used with a low sun angle and lots of evenly-toned blue sky in the frame is a perfect recipe for very uneven darkening of the sky, a look that is generally not appreciated.
This is a complicated HDR image based on three differently-exposed source images. Removed from this image was a line of other like-minded photographers.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 10/19/2015 9:37:36 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

From the Phlearn YouTube Channel:
In today's episode, we show you how to stylize a magazine cover in Photoshop!
Note: I tried something very similar to this a few years ago. It was a fun personal project and a great way to help hone my Photoshop skills. [Sean]
Suburban Rapper Magazine February 2012 by Sean Setters

Post Date: 10/19/2015 9:07:31 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens
Vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs and measurements have been added to the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens page.
I hope to have a full review of this lens completed by midweek or early next week at the latest. Stay tuned!
B&H has the Tamron 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens in stock.
Post Date: 10/19/2015 8:08:09 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

From the Elinchrom YouTube Channel:
After 10 years and over 400,000 Skyport units sold, Elinchrom decided to not only raise the bar but also leap way over it with the launch of the EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus HS, (or Skyport HS for short).
The most advanced Skyport ever, it gives Elinchrom users the ability to control and visualize power settings across all their lights directly from the Skyport transmitter plus the ability to shoot at speeds up to 1/8000s in Hi-Sync mode.
EL-Skyport Plus HS Features:
  • Large LCD with unique, real-time display of remote flash power settings
  • Easy access buttons and Digital Dial for fast setup and control
  • 20 Channels*, 4 Groups for Normal and Speed Sync Modes
  • Hi-Sync, up to 1/8000sec with Canon and Nikon cameras
  • Extended working range up to 656ft (200m)
  • AF Illuminator and sure-lock mounting foot
  • USB port for future-proof upgrades
B&H carries Elinchrom products.
Category: Elinchrom News
Post Date: 10/19/2015 6:18:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Lensbaby Spark 50mm f/5.6 Selective Focus Lens
For a limited time, B&H has the Lensbaby Spark 50mm f/5.6 Selective Focus Lens available for $48.95 with free shipping. Regularly $89.95.
Product Highlights
  • 50mm Lens with Fixed f/5.6 Aperture
  • Sweet Spot Selective Focus Lens
  • Multi-coated Optical Glass Doublet
  • Compatible w/ Lensbaby Optic Swap System
  • Compatible w/ Lensbaby 37mm Lenses
  • Focus from 13" to Infinity
  • Manual Focus
Post Date: 10/19/2015 5:18:43 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Sunday, October 18, 2015
Manfrotto MK293A3-D3Q2 Aluminum Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head
For a limited time, B&H has the Manfrotto MK293A3-D3Q2 Aluminum Tripod with 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head available for $109.88 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $179.88.
Product Highlights
  • Load Capacity: 8.8 lb
  • Max Height: 62.1"
  • Min Height: 17.9"
  • Folded Length: 25.4"
  • Leg Sections: 3
  • Weight: 4.4 lb
  • 3-Way Quick Release Head
  • Folding Handles for Compact Packing
 Saturday, October 17, 2015
Lowepro Nova Sport 35L AW Shoulder Bag
Adorama has the Lowepro Nova Sport 35L AW Shoulder Bag available for $14.95 with free shipping. Regularly $39.95.
Post Date: 10/17/2015 7:13:12 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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