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 Thursday, March 2, 2017
We recently spoke with a high-level Canon representative about the benefits of using image stabilization when high shutter speeds are being utilized to stop fast action. While the information below should not be considered official Canon guidelines, they do represent the experiences of a person who has had a substantial amount of experience with Canon lenses and their IS systems.
 
Question: Is there a shutter speed above which image stabilization should be turned off? Should IS be turned off when shooting action under bright light with short shutter speeds, perhaps 1/1600 – 1/2500 using a 400 f/2.8L IS II or 600 f/4L IS II, as the benefits of stabilization may be reduced substantially?
 
Answer:
It's definitely true that there's a point, as shutter speeds get progressively faster, that the shake-prevention qualities of Image Stabilization really have little or no added effect. In other words, if you take a 600mm f/4L IS lens, mount it on a monopod (definitely NOT a totally stable platform, obviously!), and shoot at 1/8000th of a second, it's absolutely arguable that I.S. has no direct benefit in terms of minimizing camera shake. I think we can agree that with or without I.S., most users could get consistently shake-free pictures with that monopod-mounted 600 at 1/8000th of a second.
 
Turning I.S. off in situations like that (maybe not at 1/8000th, but perhaps at 1/2000th or thereabouts) will save a small amount of camera battery power... probably a minor consideration to most users, but perhaps a bit more relevant to someone working with a camera like an EOS Rebel or the new EOS 77D, which have smaller batteries with less capacity than, say, an EOS-1D X Mark II. Definitely a potential consideration for anyone shooting with a mirrorless camera like an EOS M5, which *always* have less battery life per charge, since they use more power-hungry LCD monitors or electronic viewfinders.
 
For sports, action, wildlife and so on, keep in mind the potential benefits of a more stable image in your viewfinder. Even if your shutter speed pretty much precludes any problems with camera shake, if I.S. is active and set to Mode 1 or Mode 2, you see a steadier, more stable view in your finder when working on a monopod or a gimbal-type tripod mount. This can be beneficial in a number of ways, from subtle benefits in frame-to-frame composition when following moving subjects, to being able to keep an AF point solidly upon a detailed area of a moving subject.
 
For those who consider the effect of visible stabilization during shooting to be an annoyance (for instance, it may seem to delay rapid lens movements to follow a moving subject), there is Mode 3 on lenses like the 400/2.8 II or 600/4 II. This is a specialized I.S. mode that does provide the shake-prevention effects, but ONLY when the shutter button is **fully** depressed, and a shot is actually being taken. Otherwise, at all other times, the effect of I.S. is disabled, although stabilization detection is continually taking place between shots, and the lens's moveable stabilization optical elements are held in a non-locked, "ready" position. In other words, in Mode 3, you don't SEE the effect of stabilization, but it still is there when you actually shoot each picture.
 
Here's one that never gets discussed among sports, action and wildlife shooters, but which our engineers HAVE said is a benefit of Image Stabilization, even at the fastest shutter speeds. Because Canon's I.S. is optical, if you do have your stabilization set to Mode 1 or 2, where it's continually active, the viewfinder isn't the only place where a steady, stabilized image is seen. The FOCUSING SYSTEM also gets the same benefit of a clean, steady and stabilized look at the subject, too. This matters, especially during fast, high-speed sequences, and even more so if/when you're shooting subjects that are (a) moving aggressively, and (b) may not have tons of detail, contrast and texture to them. The AF point or points being used must see some detail, and during a fast, AI Servo AF sequence, have less than 1/10th of a second in cameras like an EOS 7D Mark II, or certainly an EOS-1D X model, to read the subject between each frame. By using I.S., regardless of how fast the actual shutter speed is, the AF system gets a cleaner, steadier look at the subject during that interval between each frame, and is more likely to be able to read subject detail and provide continuous AF where most or all frames in a sequence are sharp (in terms of FOCUS).
 
I know there's a body of thought out there among some sports shooters that since they're already at fast shutter speeds, I.S. isn't needed, but they should contemplate what I just said. And, there's a body of thought that I.S. being active can slow down AF... I've directly asked our leading engineers that, and been told emphatically that this is NOT true, regardless of anecdotal "evidence" some shooters may feel they've experienced.
 
Bottom line, my basic suggestion would be to leave it on, unless you absolutely have deliberate reasons for not doing so. Consider the above points; remember the potential impact of Mode 2 (panning mode, so to speak) and Mode 3 (stabilization, but without visible effects in the viewfinder); and we do still suggest turning I.S. off if you know you'll be mounted to a completely rigid, locked-down position.
Question: Extending your engineering discussion … I understand the benefit of IS to the AF system. What about when the subject is moving rapidly and IS is trying to hold the image still? It seems to me that the AF system would be better having the exact subject framing present at the moment it is making its decision. And, isn’t the addition of Mode 3 supporting this concept?
 
Answer:
Like I said, if you have distinct reasons for shutting I.S. off, go for it. But, in the VAST majority of action-type situations, especially with human-subjects (football and similar sports), the likelihood the movement would be SO sudden that what I.S. projects into the viewfinder and the subject's actual composition at the same time or an instant later would be extremely different is probably pretty slim. At least, in my experience. Might be a little different for someone photographing small birds in flight with a big lens, from relatively close distances.
 
The addition of Mode 3 *might* bring some benefits if and when you feel this difference in what you see vs. what you shoot is happening, but it's not the sole reason for its existence.
 
Most of the time, I'm very comfortable to suggest using I.S. Mode 1 or 2, even at fast shutter speeds, and with nearly all moving subjects. But I repeat, if for whatever reasons you feel it's hindering your ability to compose in real time, either switching to Mode 3, or turning I.S. off completely, remain options as well.
So, there you have it. Even when using shutter speeds fast enough to negate camera shake, leaving image stabilization "On" is generally a good idea. If nothing else, it's providing a stable viewfinder scene for you and the AF system, allowing for easier tracking of moving subjects.
Post Date: 3/2/2017 8:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Nikon:
 
Changes from Firmware Version 14.001 to 14.002
 
Fixed the following issues:
 
  • Zoom (angle of illumination) did not function as expected at low temperatures.
  • When AF ONLY (AF assist illumination activated, flash function canceled) was selected for Custom (Custom menu) > AF (AF-assist illumination/canceling flash function), pressing the shutter-release button halfway after restarting the standby timer or after turning on the camera would not activate the AF-assist illuminator.
Updating the Flash Unit Firmware
 
  1. Create a folder on the computer hard disk and name it as desired.
  2. Download F-SB5000-V14002W.exe to the folder created in Step 1.
  3. Run F-SB5000-V14002W.exe to extract the following file to a folder named “SB5000Update”:
    • SB500014002.bin (the flash unit firmware)
  4. Using a card slot or card reader, copy “SB500014002.bin” to a memory card that has been formatted in the camera.
  5. Insert the memory card in the camera. If the camera allows you to select one slot as the primary slot and the other as the secondary slot, insert the card into the slot currently selected as the primary slot. Otherwise insert the card into Slot 1.
  6. Attach the SB-5000 to the camera and turn on the camera and flash unit.
  7. Press the camera MENU button, select Firmware version > Update in the SETUP MENU, and follow the on-screen instructions to perform the firmware update.
  8. Once the update is complete, turn off the camera and flash unit and remove the memory card.
  9. Turn on the camera and flash unit and confirm that the firmware has been updated to the new version.
Download: Nikon SB-5000 Firmware v.14.002
 
B&H carries the Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/2/2017 5:55:11 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens for Nikon in stock with free expedited shipping.
 
The Canon mount version of the lens is available for preorder and listed as "Coming Soon."
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/2/2017 5:48:40 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, March 1, 2017
The Canon Store has the Refurbished Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens in stock.
 
Several other popular lenses are also in stock.
 
In Stock Refurbished Lenses
 
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
  • Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro USM
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
  • ...and more!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/1/2017 4:03:40 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality, vignetting and distortion test results from the Canon EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens page.
 
Definitely follow (minimally) that first link. I think you will like what you see.
 
We do not yet have the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II Lens tested on the 5Ds R but will have the Sigma results from the 1Ds III soon to make this direct comparison possible. However, the Canon 500mm f/4L IS II and the Canon 600mm f/4L IS II perform similarly and the Sigma 500mm f4 Sports vs. Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II Lens comparison is available now.
 
B&H has the Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens in stock (Nikon F mount is on backorder).
Post Date: 3/1/2017 7:32:44 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Image via greatamericaneclipse.com
 
In just a few short months, the United States will be treated to a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, an event which hasn't been witnessed by the citizens of the US mainland in 38 years.
 
In other words, mark your calendars and start planning / preparing for your solar eclipse viewing now.
 
On August 21, assuming fair weather and an unobstructed view of the sky, those residing in or traveling to the pathway above will enjoy an experience of a lifetime (click to download a larger image).
 
Due to the fact that the total eclipse pathway will traverse the central part of the US from the Northwest to the Southeast, a large percentage of the US population lives within a day's travel to a total eclipse viewing point.
 
Of course, finding a hotel in one of the larger cities placed along the total eclipse pathway will be more challenging as the August event draws near, so start making your reservations now to avoid accommodation issues.
 
You'll likely also want to stock up on your solar eclipse viewing/photography supplies. With that in mind, B&H has created a special Solar Eclipse 2017 page with gear specific the rare event.
 
The Canon Digital Learning Center has been publishing articles on the upcoming event and will continue add more articles in the months ahead. Here's what they have posted so far:
 
If you miss the opportunity to see and/or photograph the August 21 solar eclipse, you'll have to wait another seven years for the next opportunity to roll around (April 8, 2024). Our advice is to try and view this rare event from a total eclipse vantage point if you can; assuming clear conditions, you will never forget the awe-inspiring scene.
Post Date: 3/1/2017 6:23:14 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Put a large specimen of one of my favorite animals in front of my favorite tree trunks in front of my favorite leaves and ... an image I like is shaping up nicely. The leaves are from Idaho maples in the peak of their fall color. The tree trunks are aspens and their white color makes most images look better. Of course, a large bull elk makes practically any photo look good.
 
What is the easiest way to create panorama image? Crop a wide aspect ratio from a single image. While successfully capturing multiple images and seamlessly stitching them together can create a higher resolution image, it is easier just to use a wider angle lens and crop them to the desired aspect ratio. Using the cropping method also avoids issues with subjects in motion (waves, clouds, people, animals, etc.). Especially if a very resolution camera is used (one of the 5D Mark IV's upgrades was resolution), there can still be plenty of resolution for large output remaining after cropping.
 
In the example shared here, the "wider angle lens" was due to a focal length limitation at the time of capture. I was stalking the elk, didn't have an extender with me and the bull was walking towards the woods (the moment was not going to last). The cropping technique is often useful in helping to mentally justify the result.
 
I'll save the argument as to whether or not the angle of view from a 600mm lens covers a wide enough view of an area to qualify for the definition of "panorama" for another day, but the wide aspect ratio is at least in the spirit of these images.
 
A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
600mm  f/4.0  1/1000s
ISO 800
5772 x 2574px
Post Date: 2/28/2017 7:03:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Nikon has issued firmware updates for the D3400 and D5600 to address the following:
 
  • Fixed an issue that resulted in unreliable connections between the camera and the iOS 10.2 version of the SnapBridge app.
Download:
Nikon D3400 Firmware v.1.11
Nikon D5600 Firmware v.1.01
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 2/28/2017 5:35:36 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, February 27, 2017
Just posted: Canon EOS M5 Review.
 
Easily the best "M" so far!
 
B&H has the Canon EOS M5 in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 2/27/2017 7:33:23 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
LensRentals recently disassembled a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and found three aspheric elements (unusual for a telephoto zoom) and uniquely designed AF system.
 
From LensRentals Blog:
As part of that Holy Quest, we wanted to take a look inside the FE 70-200 f/2.8, because, well, that’s what we do. They’ve been in such short supply, though, we just haven’t been able to take one apart. But a customer was kind enough to drop one of ours, jamming the focusing system. We decided the opportunity to do a repair/teardown was too good to pass up.
 
It’s not the first time we’ve made a bad decision, and it probably won’t be the last. It ended up being the longest and most complex (6 hours) teardown we’ve ever done. If you’re interested, read along and come feast your eyes on one of the oddest lenses we’ve ever looked into. But it’s going to be a fairly long read. (Poof! There went 90% of the blog viewers.)
 
I’ll warn you now, I’m going to use words like different, odd, and weird when describing the inside of this lens, especially in the second part of this two-part teardown. Don’t misread that to mean I’m saying ‘bad’ because I’m not. Sony is the one manufacturer these days that’s trying all kinds of new and different things. I love that. Sometimes new things are better, sometimes not. But it does make them different.
See the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Teardown (Part 1) on the LensRentals Blog.
 
Update: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Teardown (Part 2) was posted this morning.
 
B&H carries the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens.
Posted to: Sony News
Post Date: 2/27/2017 6:31:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, February 24, 2017
Just Posted: RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform Review.
 
Several years ago, I [Sean] attached my DSLR to a single high-power suction cup mount and photographed myself driving my 2004 Ford Mustang GT. It was winter, and I neglected to take into consideration how the cold weather would affect the suction cup's holding strength. Once I parked the car to remove the mount, the suction cup fell over in my hand. It had apparently lost suction at the precise moment my car had stopped moving.
 
I never attempted the single suction cup method of attching my DSLR to an automobile again.
 
For years I have been searching for a better alternative for mounting a DSLR to a moving vehicle, and I the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform is the best solution I've found. With four magents capable of holding 50 lbs (22.7 kg) apiece anchoring the RigMount X4 in place, my mind is at ease while creating images like the example shown above.
 
B&H has the RigWheels RigMount X4 Magnetic Camera Platform in stock with free expedited shipping.
Post Date: 2/24/2017 9:20:21 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
Lightroom tips and tricks in 60 seconds or less from longtime Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde.
 
B&H carries Adobe Photography Plan subscriptions.
Post Date: 2/24/2017 5:36:42 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, February 22, 2017
From Sony:
 
World’s fastest SD Card for writing speeds up to 299MB/s, for burst mode shooting and 4K video with DSLR
 
Sony has applied years of experience in professional media to expand the current high performance memory card line up with an ultra-fast speed model that will maximise your camera performance. Introducing the world’s fastest SD card, the SF-G series is the perfect accompaniment for your high-performance DSLR or mirrorless camera, offering up to 299MB/s write speeds, contributing to longer high-speed continuous burst mode shooting for high-resolution images with cameras supporting UHS-II.
 
Available in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB storage capacity, this memory card’s blazing-fast write speed also allows for a shorter buffer clearing time, making sure you will never miss those life-changing moments or shots.
 
A Sony developed algorithm prevents loss of speed in data writing even after repeating burst shooting, and contributes to the camera’s speed of burst shooting – this is an SD card you can rely on.
 
Another brilliant feature of this SD card is the ultra-fast read speed of up to 300MB/s. Paired with a memory card reader, the cards can transfer large volumes and file sizes to a computer very quickly, contributing to a more efficient workflow for professionals.
 
“As the continuous shooting of higher-resolution images and adoption of 4K video with DSLR and mirrorless camera increases, the inherent need for larger, faster and more reliable cards becomes apparent. Thanks to the SF-G series, we continue to show our commitment to providing a full range of extremely high performance media devices to professional photographers and enthusiasts, maximising their camera performances” said Romain Rousseau, European Product Marketing Manager.
 
The perfect back-up
 
Sony’s SD products are highly reliable and durable and offer such features as water proofing and anti-static protection which help keep your precious contents safe. But when you are out all day shooting fast with time at a premium, accidental deletion of images can happen. With Sony’s free downloadable File rescue software, you can quickly recover deleted images or videos, including RAW images and 4K XAVC-S video files.
 
MRW-S1, the fastest card reader for SF-G series
 
In conjunction with SF-G series, Sony is introducing a new memory card reader, model MRW-S1, the perfect solution to drastically improve workflow efficiency after shooting by quickly transferring large data from SF-G series SD cards to a PC. This compact card reader offers an in-built SuperSpeed USB (USB3.1 Gen.1) standard A port for cable-free PC connection, so that your files can be copied faster than copying through the SD slot on a PC.
 
The new SF-G series SD cards will be available in stores in March 2017 and the MRW-S1 card reader will be available in stores in April 2017.
Category: Sony News
Post Date: 2/22/2017 1:31:10 PM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the DJI YouTube Channel:
 
The only true winter round – a classic Rally Sweden will be characterised by frozen roads lined with snow banks, low temperatures and the iconic Colin's Crest jump. Driven in ice cold Sweden and Norway, WRC's winter festival puts drivers, cars and the DJI crew to the ultimate winter test.
 
Multicopter operations were conducted by professional pilots in coordination with manned aircraft pilots and authorities. Relevant permissions were obtained prior to filming, and filming was conducted in compliance with local regulations. Please always fly responsibly and follow the local regulations.
 
B&H carries DJI drones.
Post Date: 2/22/2017 10:19:29 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
The snow line usually marks the elevation above which there is snow, often forming snow-capped mountains. On this morning, the snow line was below the mountain top.
 
I had just spent two hours in the tractor cab taking care of snow removal duties and was then able to concentrate on capturing some fresh snow images. My studio overlooks a valley and a small mountain ridge. The snow came with a strong wind from the opposite side of that ridge and above the ground line, the windswept trees remained bare while the lower elevation trees, protected by the mountain, were heavily snow-laden. The snow/no-snow line was strong and I was drawn to the contrast.
 
The mountain was roughly 1,500 yards (1,500m) away and I could see over a mile (1.6 km) of it in width. This meant that the primary interest for me was strongly horizontal. I could photograph using a wide angle focal length and crop the top and bottom off to get just the strong line of bare trees over the snow line, I could capture multiple frames at a longer focal length to later stitch into a panoramic image or I could go with a telephoto focal length and frame tightly. I chose the telephoto lens option and began isolating specific areas of mountain.
 
My lens choice was the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens and mounted it to the being-reviewed Canon EOS M5 via the EF-EOS M Adapter.
 
The storm was clearing and periodically, the sun was shining through breaks in the clouds. The areas of snow in the direct sunlight became especially bright and the partial illumination created additional interest within the already interesting scene. When available, the partially lit portions of the scene were my focus.
 
Often, photographing scenes this far away results in details being strongly affected by heat waves, but on this crisp, clear morning, the M5 behind the 100-400 L II delivered very sharp image quality, even at this distance. Notice that photographing subjects from very long distances always results in a compressed look with less perception of depth (trees farther away appear similarly-sized as closer trees). This attribute can be good or bad depending on the scene, how the composition comes together and the viewer's taste.
 
While the circular polarizer filter was not making a noticeable effect, I had it mounted in case blue sky opened up and I note its use for those questioning the exposure settings.
 
A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
182mm  f/5.6  1/500s
ISO 100
6000 x 4000px
Post Date: 2/22/2017 8:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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