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 Monday, April 18, 2016
 Friday, April 15, 2016
The balance of the standard test results, including vignetting, flare and distortion, along with specs, measurements and standard product images, are now available on the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens review page.
 
I expect to have the review of this interetsing lens completed very soon.
 
B&H has the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 4/15/2016 8:05:35 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
I was recently privileged to spend over a week photographing in Middle and North Caicos, Turks and Caicos, British West Indies. Landscape photography was the primary pursuit and I packed an arguably best-available kit for this purpose. Seen in the lead image is my primary pack for this trip, a MindShift Gear BackLight 26L.
 
This pack is well under the carry-on size limitation of many flights and holds a substantial amount of gear along with clothes, water bottles and other items. Though nicely-sized, this backpack is not heavy. It has proven comfortable to carry on easy hikes (such as through airports) and very long, difficult ones (such as over the pure-evil rocks on the cliffs along the Mudjin Harbor coast) alike.
 
In this backpack, I took a pair of Canon EOS 5Ds R cameras (sans grips) as shown mounted to an EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens, a frequently carried combination for me.
 
Across the top of this case are the Gitzo GH3382QD Series 3 Center Ball Head (one of the best ball heads I've used), the Zeiss 28mm f/1.4 Otus Lens (this was a great opportunity to use this lens while reviewing it) and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens, a great landscape lens, especially when handholding.
 
In the smaller sections across the bottom of the case are numerous circular polarizer and neutral density filters, a pile of batteries and misc. other items.
 
Yes, the Zeiss Otus looks a bit big for this pack, but ... the zippers close, even with a 15" laptop in the lid. I actually carried this lens in my personal item pack, but wanted to feature it among the important gear I took with me.
 
My "personal item" carried onto the plane was again a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro. While I had a couple of other lenses, a Canon EOS M3 and some other camera gear in this pack, most of the contents were more support-oriented, including power supplies, chargers, external hard drives, etc.
 
This was a very good trip, featuring some of the most beautiful water and emptiest beaches found anywhere. I hope to share more images from this location soon.
 
Feel free to ask questions in the comments section.
 
Get your MindShift Gear BackLight 26L at B&H or direct from MindShift Gear.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 4/15/2016 7:53:52 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, April 14, 2016
When flying with camera gear, I always carry it on the plane with me. At least the most expensive and highest importance gear goes with me. But, just because I want to carry the gear onto the plane does not prevent the airline from forcing a gate check of a typically-large roller case, even if it falls within dimensional compliance. The scariness of this scenario was reinforced to me recently when I watched gate checked bags sliding down a very long tube, landing with significant force at ground level. So, I take precautions against being forced to turn over a camera case at the gate.
 
The first precaution I often take is using the airline's credit card to buy the flight tickets. This move typically results in priority boarding privileges. United Airlines and American Airlines (my two most-used airlines) charge an annual fee for their cards, but another benefit these cards provide is a certain number of free checked luggage bags on each flight. A flight or two a year generally equalizes the credit card's annual fee.
 
While there are generally a lot of people flying with priority boarding passes, getting in line early within this boarding group has always insured that I can stow my largest case in the overhead storage, avoiding a gate check requirement caused by lack of storage space.
 
Another key to avoid gate checking is knowing the size of the planes that you will be flying on. The smallest plane on your trip is going to be the limiting factor. If flying on a small plane such as a regional jet, this can be a problem (especially if it is the first leg of a multiple flight trip). The isle seat on the side of the plane with the most side-by-side seats may have the largest storage option – under the seat in front of you. In this case, know what size case fits here – a full-size hard or rigid case will often not fit.
 
With large-sized planes booked for all of my commercial airline flights and priority boarding passes in hand, I was comfortable taking a full-size roller bag as my carry-on to Alaska. My choice? The Think Tank Photo Airport Security V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. TTP sent me this case a long time ago, and I have used it with great frequency since, leaving many of my other cases to gather dust.
 
This trip involved a mix of travel (including float planes, various boats and an SUV) and in-the-field use of camera gear. While the Airport Security is not my first choice for backpack-style carry, it provides this option and I carried it full of gear for many miles in the Katmai National Park back country on this trip. The straps work fine. Aside from having a large capacity, including the ability to hold a 600mm f/4 lens with a pro-sized camera body attached (snug fit), this case provides very solid protection for the contents and the build quality was something I had a lot of confidence in.
 
The lead image for this post shows most of the primary items I carried in this pack while traveling. I removed a 15" sleeved laptop and some other odds and ends (including some spare clothes) prior to taking this picture. The laptop fits in the outside pocket or, to save some dimensional space, inside in the shown load configuration.
 
In the case, starting at the top, is the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens mounted to the Canon EOS 5Ds R with a Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip. I talk about my reasoning behind the camera and lens choices here:
 
My Wildlife Lens Selection for Katmai National Park, Alaska
 
My Camera Selection for Katmai National Park, Alaska
 
From left to right across the bottom of the case are the following:
 
The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens was along for my ultra-wide angle needs (didn't end up using it much). The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Lens earned its ticket to travel from its excellent image quality at a wide aperture. Night sky photography its primary intended purpose. The Canon EOS M3 with a Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens mounted made the trip. With Canon EOS Rebel T6i-like image quality, this tiny camera with the 18-55 gave me a very compact general purpose kit to use when I could not (or did not want to) take a full size camera and also provided a backup under the same circumstances. The EOS M3 proved a convenient choice for photographing from commercial airplanes (you do this, right?), from float planes and for a part-day salmon fishing trip.
 
In Lowepro Lens Cases under and beside the M3 are Canon EF 1.4x and 2x III Extenders. While I have no regrets from bringing these, I did not use either on this trip. The 600mm lens was enough, but you never know when a unique situation calls for more reach.
 
An Arca-Swiss Z1 Ball Head is fit into the bottom right divided section of the Airport Security. This head was chosen because ... it is my current favorite – it works great and reliably so. While I don't usually have room for tripods in my carry-on cases, I usually include my primary ball head because of its dense weight. Keeping my checked bag under the 50 lbs. limit is usually a challenge.
 
Numerous circular polarizer and neutral density filters can be seen in the two backpack images shown.
 
My "personal item" carried onto the plane was a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro. This pack is ideal for maximizing the camera gear carried onto the plane and great for lower volume needs on location.
 
Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro Packed
 
Shown in this pack are a pair of 5Ds R bodies, one mounted to the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens (amazing lens, again, see the lens selection link above) and one mounted to the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens, a great handheld landscape lens. The other two lenses shown in this pack are the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. Both are best-available for landscape and other needs.
 
Lots of additional accessories were along in the carry-on packs including well over 1TB of memory cards, many batteries, chargers, power supplies and including power supplies, charges, external hard drives. I always carry an empty water bottle through security and fill it from a water fountain before the flight, insuring adequate hydration for a long period of time.
 
Not seen in the two backpack images are a pair of tripods that were along for this trip. My favorite all-around tripod is the Gitzo GT3542LS. It is an extremely rigid, strong, lightweight, reliable tripod that is easily up to handling the 600mm lens kit. Nested inside the legs of the larger tripod was the Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod with an Acratech GP-s Ball Head mounted (great little head). The second tripod served as backup, permitted use of two simultaneous tripod setups and offered an ultra-lightweight tripod for those times when the full-size option was too much. This little tripod could have handled the 600mm setup if necessary. A pair of empty Lowepro Toploader Pro cases were placed over both ends of the nested tripods with their open lids providing protection for most of the sides of the tripods. Clothing provided the balance of the protection necessary for the tripods.
 
Large lenses are far easier to use on a gimbal mount and the Wimberley Tripod Head II is my first choice. I packed this head in a padded case inside my checked bag.
 
Think Tank Photo Airport Security V 2.0 in the Field
 
The above image shows the Airport Security in action in coastal Katmai National Park. I like to keep my gear clean – The Airport Security can be seen here on The 1 Cheap Accessory that should be in All of Your Camera Bags. I always have these along.
 
My Alaska trip itinerary, in brief, involved a flight to Anchorage, SUV rental, driving to Seward and then Homer and float plane flight to coastal Katmai National Park where I stayed on boats for 4 nights. After flying back to home, a 1/2-day side trip to fish the Kenai River was in order and then on to Denali National Park for a few days. There is very little I'd change in my packs if I were to do this trip again.
 
Have any questions? Ask them in the comments section below!
 
Get your Think Tank Photo Airport Security at B&H or direct from Think Tank Photo.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 4/14/2016 12:04:13 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Just posted: Tokina 14-20mm f/2 AT-X Pro DX Lens Review.
 
Want f/2 at a focal length wider than 18mm? Surprising is that a zoom lens is your only option.
 
B&H has the Tokina 14-20mm f/2 AT-X Pro DX Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 4/13/2016 8:33:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, April 11, 2016
Just posted: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens Review.
 
I expect that we will see more Nano USM lenses coming to Canon's lineup.
 
B&H has the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/11/2016 7:51:45 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R and 1Ds Mark III have been added to the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens page.
 
This lens is looking quite impressive, especially in the periphery, even wide open. Check out the lower three crops, showing mostly numbers from the center, mid and periphery, in the EOS 5Ds R f/1.8 image.
 
Here are some pre-built comparisons to get you started:
 
Tamron 85 f/1.8 VC compared to the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II (at f/2 on 5Ds R)
Tamron 85 f/1.8 VC compared to the Canon 85mm f/1.8
Tamron 85 f/1.8 VC compared to the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG (at f/2)
Tamron 85 f/1.8 VC compared to the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 (at f/2)
 
Results from the 7D Mark II are coming soon.
 
B&H has the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 4/6/2016 11:42:06 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, April 4, 2016
Just posted: Canon EOS 80D Review
 
The feature-packed EOS 80D is a very nice follow-up the very popular EOS 70D and a great general purpose DSLR choice.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 80D in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/4/2016 7:44:14 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, March 30, 2016
As I work through the 80D evaluation, testing this camera's Anti-Flicker Mode was on my to-do list. This technology is such a game-changer for indoor and after-dark outdoor action that I felt compelled to share the test results from the latest EOS model to feature this capability.
 
The top set of images show consecutive frames from an 80D 7 fps burst using a 1/1000 sec shutter speed under fluorescent lights with no flicker avoidance in use. The uneven brightness and white balance shown in these photos represents a daunting post processing challenge.
 
The best solution to the light flicker problem is Canon's Anti-Flicker Mode, available in many of Canon's EOS DSLR cameras, starting with the 7D Mark II. The bottom 8 images show the results of the enabling the Anti-Flicker Mode. My results from shooting an indoor soccer match with the 80D were similarly excellent.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 80D in stock.
Posted to: Canon News,
Post Date: 3/30/2016 10:00:41 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Noise test results have been added to the Canon EOS 80D page.
 
In addition to the standard 80D test results, you will find 7 additional sets of results. The RAW-captured standard results utilize Canon's Digital Photo Professional Standard Picture Style with a sharpness setting of 1 (very low) and no noise reduction. The next two result sets utilize the default Standard Picture Style settings selected in-camera with standard noise reduction also selected, showing RAW vs JPG capture.
 
The MSNR results show the capability of Multi Shot Noise Reduction, also with the default Standard Picture Style and settings selected (JPG capture required). While MSNR shows great improvement (roughly 2 stops), it has limited usefulness in real world shooting. I'll explain more about this in the full review.
 
The next two result sets are labeled "Pushed". These images were created from the same baseline "Standard" results (no noise reduction, very light sharpening), but the brightness was pushed by 1 and 2 stops during post processing, simulating a severe underexposure situation. Similar results were added to the Canon EOS Rebel T6i and Canon EOS 70D tests for comparison purposes.
 
The last pair of results were acquired by underexposing and overexposing the original capture by 2 stops and then adjusting the results in Canon DPP by the same amount. The result is more noise and less noise respectively. The bright colors become muted in the overexposed capture due to blown color channels being darkened; but otherwise, these results show a benefit of ETTR (Exposing to the Right).
 
Here are some comparisons:
 
The next model down: EOS 80D vs. Rebel T6i/T6s)
The predecessor: EOS 80D vs. 70D
The next APS-C model up: EOS 80D vs. 7D Mark II
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 80D in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/29/2016 8:59:04 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, March 24, 2016
Image quality have been added to the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens Review.
 
We should expect this lens to deliver iamge quality similar to the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. Here is the comparison: Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS USM vs IS STM Lens.
 
The 18-135 IS USM is a really nice lens to use - a pleasure to walk around with.
 
B&H has the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens in stock. This lens is also available in the Canon EOS 80D kit, but unusual is that there is no savings over buying the lens and 80D separately.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/24/2016 9:35:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
The balance of our standard test results, including flare, distortion and vignetting, along with specs/measurements are now available on the have been added to the Tokina 14-20mm f/2 AT-X Pro DX Lens page.
 
Completing this review (including the standard product images) is a high priority for me, but ... I admit being distracted by the arrival of the Canon EOS 80D and the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens. Sorry, I might have to finish these two reviews first. :)
 
B&H has the Tokina 14-20mm f/2 AT-X Pro DX Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/24/2016 8:54:14 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Resolution chart results have been added to the Canon EOS 80D page.
 
With a higher pixel count on its sensor, the 80D is expected to outresolve the 70D, and it does. Here is the comparison: 70D vs. 80D. Sharpness remains similar.
 
While the EOS Rebel T6i and T6s share the same megapixel count, these two bodies do not have Dual Pixel AF, so there is likely a difference in their sensors. Still, the results appear the same to me: 80D vs. Rebel T6i.
 
Many more comparisons are available – build your own!
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 80D available for preorder with shipments expected to commence on Fri, Mar 25th.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/23/2016 6:20:36 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, March 21, 2016
With a Canon EOS 80D in my hands, the first task is to setup the camera for my use. Following are the 32 steps I took to make an out-of-the-box 80D ready for use.
 
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged LP-E6/LP-E6N 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 also a good time to grip the camera, taking in the new-camera grippyness that is right up there with new car smell.
  3. Download and install the latest Canon EOS 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. 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.
  8. Insert a memory card (don't forget to format the card via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  9. Set the camera's mode to one other than fully auto (the GreenSquare A+ 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 Settings: ISO Speed range: 100-H(25600), Auto ISO Speed range: 100-6400
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: 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.)
  20. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  21. 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)
  22. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: Grid display: 3x3
  23. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (flash portions of images that are overexposed)
  24. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
  25. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  26. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  27. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Show, Flicker detection: Show
  28. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom shooting mode (C1-C3): Auto update set: Enable (see also: Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
  29. Custom Functions: C.Fn II:Autofocus: AI servo 1st image priority: Focus
  30. Custom Functions: C.Fn II:Autofocus: AI servo 2nd image priority: Focus
  31. Custom Functions: C.Fn II:Autofocus: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Pt only
  32. 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 (back up near the top of the list)
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, 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 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 insure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
 
More Information
 
Canon EOS 80D
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/21/2016 9:19:23 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, March 17, 2016
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R and EOS 7D Mark II have been added to the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens Review.
 
The lens that overshadows this one in optical performance and versatility (and price) is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens. Here is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L vs. f/2.8L IS II Lens comparison.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens in stock with a $100 instant rebate and 4% B&H rewards.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in stock with a $150 instant rebate and 4% B&H rewards.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/17/2016 9:24:25 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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