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 Friday, May 15, 2015
Sigma Tripod Foot TS-81
From Sigma:
We are pleased to announce the availability of TRIPOD SOCKET TS-81 that is the optional lens foot which can be attached to the SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Sports. It is compatible with the Arca Swiss quick release plate and the clamp. The deliberately designed length of its rail provides the flexibility to adjust the center of gravity making it balance perfectly, even while zooming or using accessories, such as a tele converter and battery pack. Consideration has been given to the portability and transportation of the lens when Tripod Socket TS-81 is attached. The lens hood can still be reversed and the lens stored in its original padded case, even with the Tripod Socket TS-81 attached. Incorporated into the Tripod Socket are safety stopper screws to prevent the lens from falling. There are 2 sizes of screw holes, 1/4 and 3/8, making it compatible with tripods other than Arca Swiss, too. When it is compared to the supplied tripod socket, it offers more space between the lens and device, and the change of grip has improved the usage as a handle for carrying.
That last line addresses what I think is a significant design problem with the supplied tripod foot on this lens. While the standard foot is robust and low profile, the second joints of my medium-sized fingers do not fit through the low clearance foot, making it very difficult to carry this lens via the tripod foot. For the same reason, it is also difficult to control the lens by the foot while using a monopod or tripod. While I have not yet used the TS-81, I really like the concept. I previously asked for such a foot as a standard feature.
Note that this is not the announcement of a new product; the TS-81 was already announced. Sigma is saying that it is now available. However, we are not finding it available at retailers, even for preorder. We'll let you know when it shows up.
Post Date: 5/15/2015 2:24:24 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Elinchrom BRX 500/500 2-Light To Go Set with Bag
Update: This specific deal appears to have expired. B&H still has a LOT of other Elinchrom gear on sale for up to 50% off, so browse for the item you might be interested in.
Adorama is also featuring excellent Elinchrom deals, including this kit of Digital Style 600RX /1200RX monolights (what I use in my studio). Wish that was all I paid for mine.
Expired: B&H has the Elinchrom BRX 500/500 2-Light To Go Set with Bag on sale for $614.51 off: $799.99. This RF remote portable lighting kit normally sells for $1,414.50.
  • 2x 500Ws Monolights
  • 1x EL Skyport SPEED Radio Transmitter
  • 2x 26 x 26" Softboxes
  • 1x Tube Kit Bag
  • Multi-voltage: 90 - 260 VAC
  • Built-In Skyport Wireless Receiver
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch Control
  • Skyport Software and Firmware Update
B&H has a LOT of other Elinchrom gear on sale for up to 50% off. If there is something you are interested in, now is a great time to do a price check.
Post Date: 5/15/2015 6:43:25 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000/1000 To Go 2 Light Kit
Want powerful portable lighting? B&H has the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000/1000 To Go 2 Light Kit on sale for 50% off. This lighting kits normally sells for $2,999.95 but is on sale for $1,599.95, a $1,400.00 savings.
  • 2x 1,000W/s Flash Heads
  • 1x ProTec Poly Bag
  • 1x EL Skyport SPEED Transmitter
  • 2x Umbrella Reflectors
  • Fan Cooled
  • Fast Recycling, Short Flash Durations
  • Heads Have Multi-voltage Power Supply
Elinchrom makes premium lighting gear. I have used Elinchrom monolights exclusively in my studio for nearly 10 years. The only failure I experienced was when I unbalanced a light stand I was carrying with a monolight hitting the concrete floor very hard, and in that case, I experienced good repair service.
Post Date: 5/15/2015 6:37:24 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, May 14, 2015
Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-105mm f/4L IS Lens
eBay (GetItDigital) has the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-105mm f/4L IS Lens for $2,599.00. Compare at $3,099.00 after $300.00 instant rebate.
Note: This is a direct import model (gray) that may not qualify for a Canon USA warranty. Seller advertises 1 year warranty.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 5/14/2015 12:08:11 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card
Post Date: 5/14/2015 11:31:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter
Want to try out drone-based aerial photography/videography? If so, B&H has a great deal for you. Today only, get the DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter (original version, refurbished condition) on sale for $230.00 off: $349.95 (originally $579.95).
  • 6-channel, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Transmitter
  • Up to 3,280' Line-of-Sight Wi-Fi Range
  • Up to 22 Minutes Flying Time
  • Naza-M V2 Flight Control System
  • GPS-Based Autopilot with Return to Home
  • Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC)
  • Supports Dual Flight Control Modes
  • LED Indicators & Low Voltage Protection
  • Self-Tightening Prop Design
Camera not included: This drone is GoPro-ready (mount included), but the GoPro (or other) camera is not included. The GoPro Hero, the least expensive GoPro model, is $129.99.
Post Date: 5/14/2015 10:59:32 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
A 5-Step Recipe for Bird Photography Success
Cookbooks are filled with successful recipes and successful bird photography is similarly not limited to a single recipe, but here is a recipe that works every time.
1. Start with a great camera and lens.
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens are excellent choices.
2. Find a beautiful bird properly posed against a clean background.
A snowy egret in breeding plumage easily qualifies for this main ingredient. A practically uninterrupted clear blue sky background frame keeps the viewer's eye on the main subject.
3. Time the bird meetup with an early or late day sun at your back.
Lighting is one of the most important ingredients to any photo. Early and late day direct sunlight, generally warm in color and slightly diffused in hardness, is a highly desired source of light. The 5:50 PM light was so warm in this case that I decided to cool the 7D II's AWB (Auto White Balance) choice very noticeably in post processing. Because the sunlight was directing my shadow toward the bird, subject shadows are very minimal.
4. Cue a side or tail wind to ruffle the bird's feathers.
Birds like to face the wind, keeping their feathers in line. When a side or tail wind presents itself, I like to take advantage of it. The ruffled feathers add a character to the image and in this case, the wind pushed the breeding plumage into better view.
5. Carefully time the shutter release
Birds are often constantly moving and timing the shutter release, in conjunction with balanced framing and accurate AF, is a challenge. With the 7D II's wide-set AF points, I was able to select a point that covered the bird's head without recomposing needed. When the bird turned its head to the side, I quickly pressed the shutter release and the 7D II's short shutter lag did not get in the way.
Compared to the effort required for many of my photos, this was a very easy photo to capture. Being at the right place at the right time to apply the recipe was all that was needed.
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.
Camera and Lens Settings
371mm  f/8.0  1/200s
ISO 100
3648 x 5472px
Post Date: 5/14/2015 9:43:45 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Drop-Down List Tip
As the number of lenses with test results available in our database increases, the amount of scrolling necessary to navigate the drop-down list boxes also increases, especially for brands sorting lower in the alphabet. To speed up the lens selection process, after opening the drop-down list, simply press the first letter of the brand name you want to select using the keyboard. The first-sorted option that starts with the typed letter will immediately be selected.
For example, to get to the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Lens in a drop-down list box, click the list box's down arrow to show the list of all lenses tested, then press "z" and finish scrolling to find and select this lens.
Since I know in advance that Zeiss lenses will be at the end of the list, I could also have pressed the "End" key to quickly scroll to this lens. If a Zeiss lens is already selected and a high-in-the-list Canon lens is the selection target, the "Home" or "c" keys will take you there fast.
Try this tip now using the image quality tool.
Post Date: 5/14/2015 8:21:51 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Sigma 150-600mm OS Sports Lens
Image quality results from a second lens copy have been added to the Sigma 150-600mm OS Sports Lens review page (full review coming soon).
The first link shared in this post compares the latest-tested lens ("2") to the prior-tested lens ("1").
B&H has the Sigma 150-600mm OS Sports Lens available for preorder.
Addressing an FAQ: Will the Sigma 150-600mm OS Contemporary Lens Be Tested?
Absolutely. At just over half the price of the Sports model and at about the same price as the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens, the Contemporary lens holds a lot of interest. A great feature is that it can be found in stock.
A retail copy of the Sigma 150-600mm OS Contemporary Lens is scheduled to arrive today. Test results should be available in the near future.
Post Date: 5/13/2015 9:57:26 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera
eBay (via BestStopDeals) has the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera available for $1,299.99 with free shipping. Compare at $1,699.00 after $100.00 instant rebate.
You may also qualify for $25.98 in eBay Bucks with this purchase.
Note: This is likely a grey market item and therefore does not technically qualify for a Canon USA warranty. However, the auction claims "1 YEAR LIMITED CANON USA WARRANTY".
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 5/13/2015 9:39:50 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon USA has posted a firmware update for the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:
Firmware Version 1.0.4 incorporates the following fixes:
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera’s AF function may not operate properly at a focal length of approximately 100mm when used with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in rare instances, the reduction of the flicker effect cannot be achieved when in AI servo AF mode, despite the “Anti-flicker shoot” function being set to “Enable”.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the Picture Style settings may not be applied to the captured image when the camera is set to custom shooting mode C1, C2 or C3.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in very rare cases, the first still image captured in live view mode may not record the correct date and time.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in very rare cases, image noise may appear in JPEG images when brightness or contrast is corrected by the Auto Lighting Optimizer function.
Firmware Version 1.0.4 is for cameras with Firmware Version 1.0.2 or earlier. If the camera's firmware is already Version 1.0.4, it is not necessary to update the firmware.
Firmware version 1.0.4 can be downloaded here.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 5/12/2015 8:52:07 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon Logo
Canon USA has made new software versions available for download. Details on the update are as follows:
Digital Photo Professional 4.2.31
  • Supports EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R.
  • Supports the camera's Auto: White priority function in the "White balance" setting.
  • Supports the new picture style "Fine Detail" (With the exception of EOS M3, this can be applied to images captured by all the supported models.)
  • Adds a Compositing Tool (Only for the 64-bit OS version.)
  • Adds an HDR Tool (Only for the 64-bit OS version.)
EOS Utility 3.2.20
  • Supports EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R
EOS Utility 3.2.20
  • Supports EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R.
  • Supports the camera's Auto: White priority function in the "White balance" setting.
  • Adds [Fine Detail] to [Base Picture Style]. (Only images shot on cameras with [Fine Detail] preset as a Picture Style.)
  • The maximum/minimum tone curve output can now be changed freely.
DPP 4.2.31, EOS Utility 3.2.20 & Picture Style Editor 1.15.20
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Yesterday, Canon celebrated the 25 year anniversary of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens by announcing the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. Many have long been waiting for a new 50mm lens from Canon, and that the lens appeared to be a significant upgrade while retaining essentially the same ultra-small size/weight and the same ultra-low $125.00 USD price tag definitely produced smiles.
Then, "Juck" commented below the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens announcement post that the STM's "MTF chart is identical to the mk II version". At the same time, I was re-sizing and overlaying the STM and II MTF charts in Photoshop and trying to determine if I downloaded one of the wrong charts. The charts were sized differently, but they were showing the same line plots.
I of course could not mentally rest without knowing what was going on, so I asked. In answer to my "Does the new 50mm STM contain the same optics design as the 50mm f/1.8 II?" question, Canon U.S.A.'s extremely knowledgeable Chuck Westfall responded:
"Yes, the optics of the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM are the same as the original EF 50mm f/1.8 and EF 50mm f/1.8 II."
Am I disappointed? Yes. I of course want all new lenses to be optically better than the prior version.
Is using the same optical design in the new lens a bad decision on Canon's part? No, not necessarily. People loved the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, otherwise known as the "Nifty Fifty", because of the decent prime-grade image quality it delivered at a really low price tag – the lowest of all Canon lenses.
The 50mm f/1.8 II left many other upgrades wanting and the 50mm f/1.8 STM addresses many. Here is a list of some differences between these lenses:
  • 7 rounded aperture blades vs. 5 non-rounded (no more pentagonal bokeh)
  • Metal lens mount vs. plastic
  • A much improved manual focus ring
  • STM vs. Micro Motor (should be faster and much quieter)
  • FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing
  • 13.8" (350mm) MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) vs. 17.7" (450mm)
  • 0.21x MM (Maximum Magnification) vs. 0.15x
  • 49mm vs. 52mm filter size (though not really an advantage from my perspective)
  • Narrower f/22 aperture available vs. f/16
While more difficult to specify aside from the metal lens mount, I have to expect the 25-year-newer lens to have better build quality (my original 50mm f/1.8 II broke in half for an unknown reason).
The 50mm f/1.8 is very popular today, and with this list of upgrades coming for the same price, the 50 f/1.8 STM is certain to be at least as popular.
B&H is accepting Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens preorders with shipments expected to start Thu, May 21.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 5/12/2015 12:32:24 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
SanDisk Extreme 256GB U3/UHS-I SDXC Card
Expired: has the SanDisk Extreme 256GB U3/UHS-I SDXC (Up to 80MB/s Read; 60MB/s Write, SDSDXN-256G-G46) for only $101.45. Compare at $159.95.
Select as the seller. Memory cards are too easily counterfeited to trust an unknown source.
While this is a great deal, don't plan on this memory card arriving soon. "Usually ships within 2 to 4 weeks" is the specified expectation.
Post Date: 5/12/2015 11:19:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
LensRentals Logo
Envision celebrating Memorial Day weekend with some awesome photo gear. is making that vision easier to become reality with their "Save 15% On Rentals Arriving May 18-19" deal.
To take advantage of the offer:
  1. Select a May 18th or May 19th arrival date.
  2. Enter the code MDAY15 in the Special Instructions box during checkout.
To support this site through you rental, click on the appropriate product review and then click the Rent button beside the camera/lens you want to rent.
Post Date: 5/12/2015 10:52:26 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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