A fast, 85mm prime lens is often a portrait photographer's best friend. The focal length helps to create a flattering perspective (ideal for faces) while the wide aperture aids in separating a subject (or subjects) from the background.
As such, many planning to invest in an 85mm prime will likely consider the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC USD. To assist in the decision making process between these two lenses, we're going to take a look at how they compare.
First off, let's start off with the similarities. Both lenses feature the same focal length and same wide f/1.8 aperture. Both are compatible with full frame cameras as well as APS-C sensor cameras. There, that was easy. Now let's move onto the differences.
The Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM was released in 1992; the Tamron 85mm f/1.8 VC was released earlier this year (2016). The Tamron exhibits more even sharpness from the center of the frame to the corners, where it is noticeably better than the Canon. The IQ difference is significant, especially when factoring in the Canon's rather heavy CA wide open. Distortion is slightly better controlled with the Tamron (but neither is bad) and the third-party lens handles flare a bit better too.
The Tamron also features Vibration Control rated to 3.5 stops of assistance, meaning you can handhold this lens in much lower light compared to the Canon. For many, that additional feature alone would be the deciding factor in choosing the Tamron lens over the Canon offering. Tamron also offers a significantly longer warranty than Canon (6-years vs. 1-year).
So far, it looks like the Tamron is the clear winner of this comparison. But the Canon has three important advantages that should not be overlooked – size/weight, consistently accurate AF and a much lower price.
The Canon is smaller (2.96 x 3.15” vs. 3.36 x 3.9”) and significantly lighter (15.2 oz vs. 26.1 oz). Those packing and traveling with the lens may appreciate the Canon's edge in portability.
As Tamron must reverse engineer Canon's AF algorithms as opposed to having the blueprints at hand, you can expect the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM to focus more consistently with better AI Servo tracking. Note that the Tamron also suffers from focus shift as the aperture is stopped down. To compensate for this behavior, you may need to focus slightly in front of your subject when using narrower apertures.
One way Tamron is dealing with AF issues (including the possibility of incompatibility with future DSLRs) is by copying Sigma's approach of end-user firmware upgrades and AF customizability with the introduction of their TAP-in Console. Purchasing the relatively inexpensive accessory (compatible with recently announced Tamron lenses) will ensure your lens works the best that it possibly can.
Now let's look at prices. At full MSRP, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 acquisition would require only 56% of the investment required to purchase the Tamron. And with the Canon currently qualifying for an instant rebate, you could purchase two of the Canon lenses for the price of the Tamron. For budget-conscious consumers (especially those investing in their first prime lens), the price difference will be the biggest deciding factor.
Some may wonder why I didn't include the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM and the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM in this comparison. From my point of view, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM is a more specialized tool and carries a price tag to reflect its status. If you need its 1-stop aperture advantage, there is nothing else that is comparable. And as far as the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 goes... it's currently listed as "discontinued" at B&H (Canon mount).
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV page has been significantly updated with lots of additional information since last mentioned here.
This camera should be on the streets very soon. B&H is still indicating that the 5D IV body and w/EF 24-70mm f/4L IS Lens kit "Will begin shipping Thu, Sep 8" with the added disclaimer "(Subject to availability)". Adorama is saying "Manufacturer will start shipping this item on 09/08/2016." Amazon is stating "This item will be released on September 8, 2016." September 8th is only two days away – Woo hoo!
The 5D IV kit with the new Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is not scheduled arrive at retailers until October 31st. However, with no savings realized by the kit purchase, my recommendation is to preorder the camera and lens individually. You'll then get both as quickly as possible.
The Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip for the EOS 5D Mark IV is also scheduled to arrive on September 8th. While not inexpensive, the price of this accessory has settled down to the $349.00 price that B&H initially listed. There was apparently some confusion early on as Adorama and Amazon initially priced the BG-E20 at $490.00.
Also scheduled to arrive on September 8th is the Canon WE-1 Wi-Fi Adapter. Because new firmware is necessary for this adapter to work, expect new Canon EOS 5Ds, 5Ds R and 7D Mark II firmware to also become available very soon. We'll share that news as soon as we have it.
Important: Using this site's links to place your preorders provides the support we need to keep this site maintained. Thanks for that!
One of the major differences between a snapshot and a beautifully crafted photo is the lighting. Using only available light limits where and when you can take photos. Adding flash gives you endless creative possibilities no matter where you go or what time of day or night. This lecture will first show you how to use as little as one off-camera Speedlite to control and create stand out photos. Then you'll learn how to use as many as 3 Speedlites to create studio quality masterpieces.
Lens design renovated, and lens now equipped with fluorine coating. A light and compact high-power zoom lens with 15x magnification.
18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (Model B008TS)
Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Shiro Ajisaka; Headquarters: Saitama City), a leading manufacturer of optics for diverse applications, announces launch in the Japanese market of “18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (Model B008TS),” now equipped with fluorine coating and with its external design renovated from “18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (Model B008),” launched in 2010 as a high-power zoom lens exclusively for APS-C format digital SLR cameras.
External design renovated The zoom ring and focus ring using linear-based grid patterns and the brand ring in tungsten silver create an external design with a high-grade feel.
Equipped with fluorine coating to improve user-friendliness for the lens The front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that is water- and oil-repellant. The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture and fingerprints.
Date of Launch: September 8, 2016. The Canon and Nikon mount model will be launched simultaneously (launch only in the Japanese market).
Changes from Firmware Versions “A” 1.00/“B” 1.00 to Versions “A” 1.01/“B” 1.00
Fixed an issue that caused the camera to stop responding if an ML-L3 remote control was used to take pictures in live view with On selected for Image review in the PLAYBACK MENU after red-eye reduction was selected as the flash mode.
Today I'm going to update my "Useful Photography Apps for Android" (circa 2013) to include a few new apps I've come across over the past three years. I'll also be including the apps from my original post so that all of the apps appear in the same post.
All of these apps are designed for use on Android devices. However, if you're using an iOS device, don't worry. Many of the apps listed here have iOS versions, too, or else comparable apps can usually be found in the Apple App Store.
1.Lenstag (Free / $19.00 annually for Lenstag Pro) [iOS version]
Lenstag offers "free, easy theft protection for all your cameras and lenses." Here's how it works:
Take pictures of the items' serial numbers and upload the images to verify ownership.
If your item(s) is/are missing or stolen, Lenstag will create a public webpage with the relevant information (gear/serial numbers) which will be found if anyone searches for the gear online to verify it hasn't been stolen.
Granted, the protection is only helpful if a potential buyer does a preventative, online serial number search, but... it's a free service and can't hurt. Plus having a central location for all your serial numbers is a nice resource to have on hand.
Lenstag also offers free customers access to a standardized model release and a DMCA takedown notice (*.docx files). For $19.00/year, the Lenstag Pro service allows access to many more customizable documents and enables a $500.00 reward benefit if your gear is stolen.
Spectrometers – devices used to analyze the color of light – are expensive. I often need a ballpark figure for the color of ambient light in a scene in order to properly gel my flashes or otherwise determine the closest setting on my variable color LED lights.
While I don't think the app is as precise as the devices I linked to above, it does a good job of giving me the ballpark figure I need to find the right colored gel (or LED light color setting) for a particular scene.
For anyone planning to do night sky photography, this app is for you. The app displays which areas have the least light pollution so you can make the most of your starry night captures. The Pro version gets rid of the ads, features higher resolution maps, cloud overlays and the ability to save your favorite locations. While certainly more expensive than the typical app, I thought it was worth the cost of the Pro upgrade.
Even though I'm a huge fan of Swiss Army knives with their ability to tackle a huge variety of needs, I also enjoy it when a something does just one thing extremely well. And that's exactly how I would describe Exposure Calculator. The app is useful for calculating exposures when ND filters are used. While calculating the exposure required when a 2-stop ND filter is used, the calculation gets more complicated as the filter density goes up. Of course, you could do the calculation in your head as you mount your 10-stop ND, but... why bother?
Note that development on this app has ceased. It may not work with newer devices.
While I have yet to fully utilize the capabilities of the Lightroom app (like editing on-the-go), I usually keep the last wedding I shot synced with Lightroom Mobile so that I can show potential clients the kinds of results they can expect if they wish to hire me.
If you've ever used DOFMaster online, then you will immediately understand the usefulness of this app. Plug in your variables such as camera sensor size, focal length, aperture and subject distance and the app will calculate how much depth-of-field you can expect (total / in front of and behind the subject) and the hyperfocal distance when using those specific variables.
gps4cam allows you to geotag your images using your phone or tablet's GPS. Just start the app, put the mobile device in your pocket (or bag) and head off for your photography adventure. The neat thing about gps4cam is that your phone and your camera's dates and times don't have to be synchronized in order for it to work. The program uses a QR code (the last image captured should be the QR code) to properly synchronize the track log with the times that the images were captured. Download the free gps4cam Desktop Client on the gps4cam website.
While this app's relevance has diminished recently with many newly released Canon DSLRs featuring built-in GPS, there are still quite a few that do not and this app can provide GPS-tagging functionality at a very fair price.
The Photographer's Ephemeris is a fantastic app that can show you where the sun and moon will be in the sky for any specified date, time and location. I often use the app when planning potrait sessions to determine the optimal session time according to the position of the sun in the desired location. It's also incredibly handy for planning landscape photography trips, too.
Be sure to also check out the free web app for easy desktop viewing.
Easy Release - Model Releases is an app I have used many, many times. The app generates model or property releases on your phone. You simply fill in the details (Shoot Name, Location, Date, Subject Info, etc) and a release is automatically generated. Once generated, signatures using the phone's touchscreen are required to complete the process. Once complete, a PDF of the release can be emailed to the Photographer and/or the model/property owner. The releases generated by Easy Release are approved for use by Getty Images, iStockPhoto and Alamy (among others).
There is a good reason why I've listed the Canon Camera Connect app last in this list and why the screenshot above wasn't taken directly from my phone (like the others above). I don't actually have the Canon Camera Connect app installed because none of the Canon DSLRs I use feature built-in Wi-Fi, so I cannot attest to how well it works first-hand. With my W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter on preorder I look forward to adding the capabilities of the Canon Camera Connect app very soon. The two ways I currently control my camera using a mobile device – CamFi and my own DIY battery-operated Wi-Fi router paired with DSLR Controller – require me to have the camera's compatible USB cord on hand as well as requiring another battery to be kept charged.
Using the W-E1 and Canon Camera Connect app with my EOS 7D Mark II should prove to be a simpler, easier-to-pack solution that should provide much (but not all) of the same functionality as the solutions requiring a separate device. If you already own a Wi-Fi enabled Canon DSLR, or else have the W-E1 (when available) and compatible camera, installing the free Canon Camera Connect app is a no-brainer.
Well, those are my selections for the most useful apps for photographers. Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?
The Wilcox Pass Trail is one of the highest-rated trails in Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada). While I have not hiked most of the trails in this park, I have hiked a lot of trails and can say that this is one of my favorites.
The 6.8 mile round trip hike (we stretched it closer to 10 miles) starts just below the tree line and quickly ascends above it into the alpine meadows. From that point on, the views are continuously excellent. The Athabasca Glacier, a significant toe of the Columbia Icefield, is always visible to the west and a multitude of mountain peaks surround the entire area.
If I hike this trail again, I will have a second camera body along as I spent too much time changing lenses. The primary driver for the lens changes were frequent wildlife encounters and telephoto landscape photo ops interspersed with wide angle landscape opportunities. To take advantage of all situations, I was constantly changing between the two lenses I brought.
Yes, another camera body would have added a bit of weight to my kit (the reason I didn't take it), but I probably exerted more energy changing lenses than I would have simply carrying the additional camera body. And, changing lenses at a high altitude often means wind, which often means risk of dust finding its way onto the sensor, leaving spots in the images. Fortunately, the 5Ds R did a great job of avoiding the dust and I had no cloning tasks to add to the post processing of this hike's take home.
I selected this image to share with you because I like how the lines in rock and the clouds point (lead the eye) to Wilcox Peak. As you likely already guessed, the 16-35mm f/4L IS was used to capture it.
Absent from my short gear list above is a tripod and for weight reasons, I was sans tripod on this hike. While the 1/80 second shutter speed may seem easily hand-holdable at 16mm even on a 5Ds R, that was not the case as the wind was very strong. Image stabilization proved quite valuable to me in this situation.
Earlier this year, I posted a Ben Franklin Bridge image and talked about running back and forth between two camera setups during the shoot. At that time, it was requested that I share an image captured by the second camera and ... I am crossing that request off of my to-do list with today's post.
As is often ideal for cityscapes, the timing for this image was such that just a touch of color remained in the sky and the sky brightness balanced nicely with the city lights. With this camera's closer-to-the-bridge perspective, the closest bridge support was emphasized and the broad dark line from the underside of the bridge leads deep into the frame. The river keeps the bottom of the frame somewhat clean (giving the image a foundation) and many of the city's best-known tall buildings are framed between the two in-the-river supports, adding interest to the frame. (full disclosure in case you go here: I removed a small conduit from the center of the bridge support for a cleaner look.)
With good gear and basic skills, this image is not that challenging to capture and as is often the case, being there is the biggest key to success.
Get your creative juices flowing in this fun-filled class meant to educate and inspire! Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler breaks down her creative process and explains how she is able to come up with unique and eye-catching photographs time and time again!
You'll learn how to get creative in-camera without relying on special tools in Photoshop.
Lindsay shows you how to:
Shoot double exposures in camera
How to use mirrors or prisms for abstract effects
Unique lighting techniques
Creative bokeh effects
Plus several other approaches to ignite your creativity!