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 Wednesday, April 12, 2017
With a Canon EOS 77D (nearly the same as the Canon EOS Rebel T7i) in my hands, it is time to set up the camera for use. How do I set up a 77D for use? Following are the 27 steps I took to get started with a brand new 77D or T7i.
 
  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 a good time to install the neck strap.
  3. Download and install the Canon 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. Insert the battery (after charging completes).
  5. Power the camera on.
  6. The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and Set button to update this information.
  7. Insert a memory card (don't forget to format the card via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  8. Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv or M (some modes provide only a small subset of available menu options).
  9. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
  10. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: set RAW to "RAW"
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Off (highly recommended)
  13. 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)
  14. 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.)
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  16. 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)
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
  18. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  19. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  20. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Show, Flicker detection: Show
  21. Tools Menu, Tab 3: Beep: Disable
  22. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom Functions: C.Fn I:ISO expansion: On
  23. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom Functions: C.Fn I:Exposure comp. auto cancel: Disable
  24. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Copyright information: Enter author's name: [your name]
  25. Display Level Menu: Mode guide: Disable
  26. Display Level Menu: Feature guide: Disable
  27. 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 make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
 
Using this camera configuration means that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot – including shooting in RAW-only format. While this setup works ideally for me, your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup preferences.
 
Cameras continue to become more complex and if you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, it is a very good idea to keep an up-to-date list such as this one. If your camera goes off to a service visit, it will be returned in a reset-to-factory state (unless you request otherwise). Your list will ensure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
 
More Information
 
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Canon EOS 77D
 
The Canon EOS 77D is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
 
The Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D is also available at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/12/2017 9:33:17 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Just posted: Tamron TAP-in Console Review.
 
If there are compatible Tamron lenses in your kit, acquisition of a TAP-In is worth considering.
 
The Tamron TAP-in Console is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Post Date: 4/12/2017 8:07:49 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, April 10, 2017
Just posted: Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review.
 
Tamron has delivered impressively with this G2.
 
The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon |Adorama (B&H and Adorama are shipping after the holiday break).
Post Date: 4/10/2017 8:27:36 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, April 7, 2017
Image quality (results from 3 cameras), vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements, standard product images and eye candy have been added to the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens page.
 
The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens is in stock at B&H (Nikon mount coming soon).
Post Date: 4/7/2017 7:59:52 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, April 6, 2017
Expectations for the just-announced: Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens.
 
This is an interesting little lens with many niceties. Check it out.
 
The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens is available for preorder at B&H, Amazon and Adorama.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/6/2017 12:00:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, April 3, 2017
One of the lens aspects I always test thoroughly is autofocus accuracy with consistency being especially important as consistency can be calibrated into accuracy if necessary. And, I generally dread testing 3rd party lens AF accuracy because ... historically, many of these lenses have performed poorly in this regard. It is highly frustrating to spend weeks evaluating a lens and have the AF results reveal a flaw large enough to make people no longer interested in it.
 
As I shared recently, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens shows impressive sharpness even at its widest aperture. But of course, that sharpness can only be realized if the lens is focused accurately and most of us rely on AF for that task. And, with the relatively shallow depth of field this lens can produce at 200mm and f/2.8, that aspect becomes even more critical.
 
While I'm not completely finished with this lens evaluation, I have some good news to report. The image shared in this post is a collage of 100% crops taken from 15 consecutive 200mm, f/2.8 autofocused images, each captured with the lens initially de-focused. If I hadn't told you, you might have thought that I simply copied and pasted a single image to create this graphic, but those are indeed 15 different images. That's impressive. And, I have a variety of similar tests showing similar results.
 
I had a track meet to photograph last week and ... I really wanted to see how this lens would perform in that role. The Tamron 70-200 made it into my hands just as I was leaving and, (I don't recommend doing this, but I couldn't help myself) without any prior testing, I mounted the lens on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and went out the door. I shot the meet solely with this lens. The results from about 1,000 images captured were not perfect (they never are), but they showed this lens' AF system performing quite well. That I photographed this event in low light, including heavy cloud cover and light rain with a post-sunset ending, gives the results added value.
 
I often notice peripheral AF points not performing as well as the center AF point when using third party lenses, so I have also been testing those. While the peripheral AF performance is again not as good, it is only very slightly less so, delivering a significant majority of in-focus images, including at the mentioned track meet and even in the very low light levels at that event. A high percentage of the results from a portrait session with this lens, including tightly-framed head shots and utilizing only peripheral AF points, were correctly focused.
 
So, I'm quite impressed with the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens' AF performance.
 
At this point, this lens is looking like a bargain: B&H has the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens in stock (Nikon mount in stock soon).
Post Date: 4/3/2017 8:23:30 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Image quality results have been added to the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens Review.
 
I think that you are going to like what you see here. Check out the Tamron G2 vs. Canon IS II comparison.
 
B&H has the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens in stock (Nikon mount coming very soon).
Post Date: 3/29/2017 9:28:07 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, March 27, 2017
Find out in the just posted Zeiss 135mm f/2 Milvus Lens Review.
 
B&H has the LENS in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/27/2017 9:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, March 24, 2017
B&H currently lists the expected availability of the new Canon EOS M6 as Thu, Mar 30th.
 
With that date rapidly approaching (less than a week away), it seemed logical to get our expectations loaded on the Canon EOS M6 Review page, so ... we did just that.
 
What are the differences between the EOS M6 and the EOS M5? We list those differences right at the top of the M6 page – and the list is short. So short that much of the M6 page is the same or nearly the same as the M5 page. And, a short list of differences is very good in this case. If you are familiar with one of these cameras, you just need to read the mentioned differences list to be familiar with both.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/24/2017 8:09:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements, standard product images and eye candy have been added to the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Milvus Lens Review page.
 
I'm not surprised by the image quality results – this lens has the heart of the Zeiss 135mm f/2.0 Classic Lens and that lens was similarly impressive.
 
Here is the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Milvus Lens compared to the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens.
 
B&H has the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Milvus Lens in stock.
 
Looking for a bargain? The Zeiss 135mm f/2 Classic Lens is just that after a $623.00 instant savings at B&H (plus get a 4% B&H reward).
Post Date: 3/22/2017 8:04:29 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Just posted: Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Review.
 
Learn how this great looking lens from a market newcomer performs.
 
B&H has the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens in stock.
Post Date: 3/21/2017 8:06:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, March 17, 2017
New on the site is the Canon Extreme Lens Recommendations page.
 
Because ... sometimes your portfolio needs a boost and an extreme lens can make that happen.
 
Let me know what I got wrong? And, what extremes did I miss?
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/17/2017 8:14:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Just posted: Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens Review.
 
Find out how well this big, beautiful lens performs!
 
The Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sports Lens is in stock at: B&H | Amazon | Adorama
 
BTW, the tripod shown here is a Really Right Stuff TP-243 Ground-Level Tripod. It is a compact, rock solid support that does not flinch at even lenses bigger than this one.
 
The tripod head is a Wimberley Tripod Head II. It is ideal for lenses such as this one.
Post Date: 3/14/2017 8:05:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, March 13, 2017
Image quality, vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens Review page.
 
A full review of this lens is coming soon. Note that the upper right corner shown in the image quality tool is sharper than the other three corners.
 
Amazon has the Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Lens in stock. This lens will be arriving at B&H and Adorama soon.
Post Date: 3/13/2017 7:59:31 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, March 9, 2017
If you are considering the purchase of the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens or the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, you are likely a discerning photographer pursuing sports action or wildlife.
 
While there are other uses for these lenses, these are by far the most commonly photographed subjects with these focal lengths. While no one will consider these lenses inexpensive, no one will consider the image quality they deliver to be anything short of stellar and image quality is not a differentiator here. Those who know what they want, want these lenses. While having both of these big whites in the kit would be perfect, most of us cannot afford or justify the purchase of both. Thus, the question of "Which one?" arises.
 
The obvious (and only) difference in the names of these lenses is the focal length number. These lenses were announced at the same time, arrived on my doorstep on the same delivery, appear very similar and indeed share the same overall design concepts and construction materials. Those wanting as much reach as possible will of course want the 600mm option.
 
But, sometimes a selected focal length can be too long. A too-narrow angle of view may make it too hard to quickly find a subject in the viewfinder, hard to keep a subject in the frame (especially if it is in-motion) and, if framed too tightly, important parts of a scene may be cropped from the frame. Because APS-C-format cameras have smaller imaging sensors and therefore use a smaller portion of the image circle provided by these lenses, they "see" an angle of view equivalent to a 1.6x longer lens on a full frame body. Thus, on an APS-C body, these lenses frame a scene similar to a 800mm and 960mm lens on a full frame body and at these angles of view, "too long" comes more frequently.
 
Similarly, a focal length can be too short. Too short is usually the result of not being able to get close enough to a subject. Reasons for this situation include physical barriers (a fence, a body of water), subjects that are not more closely approachable (wildlife tends to be uncomfortable with us nearby) and safety (dangerous wildlife, unsafe proximity to race cars). Too short usually results in an image being cropped with a lower resolution image remaining.
 
Another focal length related tip to consider is that, the longer the focal length, the longer the time span a moving subject is likely to remain in near-ideal framing. Without a zoom range available to quickly fine tune framing, prime lens-captured images often require cropping in post processing. However, the longer focal length lens has a narrower angle of view, which requires you to be farther from the subject for optimal framing and at that longer distance, an approaching or departing subject changes size in the frame at a slower rate. That means more images can be captured within the period of time with optimal framing. For the same reason, a larger physical area can be ideally-covered by the longer focal length – such as a larger portion of a soccer or football field. While the difference between 500mm and 600mm is not dramatic in this regard, the 600mm lens has an advantage.
 
Another benefit provided by a longer focal length is greater-enlarged background details, meaning that a longer focal length can create a stronger background blur. The 600mm lens can create a stronger separation of a subject from its background than the 500mm lens can. Most of us love an extremely blurred background and the longer focal length makes it easier to produce (though both of these lenses rank very highly for this purpose).
 
A longer focal length means a longer camera-to-subject distance and with more atmosphere placed between a lens and its subject, there is an increased likelihood that heat waves will cause image distortion. The longer working distance required by the longer focal length also provides more opportunity for obstructions, such as tree branches to get between the lens and, for example, a wildlife subject. The longer subject distance also delivers a slightly more-compressed perspective, creating a slightly different look to the subject (not necessary a benefit to either lens specifically).
 
Although focal length is typically my first priority for choosing a lens, it is not always the most important. In this lens comparison, there is a substantial size, weight and price differential that can sometimes be more important than the differences already discussed.
 
The site's lens specifications comparison tool has a detailed comparison between these lenses, but here is a quick look:
 
ModelSize w/o HoodWeight
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens5.75 x 15.08" (146 x 383mm)112.6 oz (3190g)
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens6.61 x 17.64" (168 x 448mm)138.4 oz (3920g)
 
Let's talk about weight first because weight matters. Neither of these lenses are light, but if lighter weight is important, the 500 gains in favor. One question to ask yourself regarding the weight difference is: How far will the lens be carried? If not going far beyond the parking lot, the weight difference may not be a highly relevant factor. If regularly hiking for several miles, the 500 might be a better choice, even if more reach may sometimes be needed (perhaps carry a Canon EF 1.4x III Extender). Another factor to consider is how strong you are. A large-framed powerlifter may have no problem carrying and handholding the 600 all day long, but a small-framed thin person will not likely find that task doable.
 
How old are you? How old do you want to become? How do you want to feel when you get that old? Safe to say is that all of us are getting older and also safe to say is that most of us reach a maximum strength point somewhere far prior to reaching the age we hope to survive until. And, how we feel at the end goal date is partially conditional on how we treat our bodies during the younger years. Just because you can handhold a 600mm f/4 lens for long periods of time now does not mean that you should do this and the strain placed on our bodies now may be long-lasting. If you are not able to use a lens support most of the time, the 500mm option is going to be the better option for most.
 
Size also matters, but when lenses get this big, the size differences don't seem to matter so much. Smaller is better, but neither is close to what I would consider small. You will likely find the biggest size difference to be in the volume of comments generated on the sidelines and the case size required by the lens. That said, I frequently carry the 600 with me on airplanes (in the USA), typically using the MindShift Gear FirstLight 40L and always as carry-on. With the 500, a modestly smaller case can be used or slightly more can be included in the same case.
 
The size difference between these lenses is apparent in the product comparison image accompanying this post. See the same comparison with the lens hoods on here (and also compare these lenses to other models).
 
The 500mm focal length is 83% as long as 600mm and the similarity factor for a majority of the above-discussed differences is about the same. One exception is the price factor, with that one dropping to just below the 80% mark. While neither lens is inexpensive, the 500 costs considerably less than the 600 and that factor alone will be the basis for this decision for some. That quality lenses typically hold their value well means that overall cost of ownership is not as bad as it first appears.
 
Recommendations
 
Most often, I recommend the 600mm lens for full frame bodies and the 500mm lens for APS-C bodies, though there are some exceptions.
 
If photographing big field sports such as soccer, the 600mm lens is my choice for a full frame camera and I would rather have the 500mm lens on an APS-C body.
 
Those photographing small birds will likely find the 600 preferable in front of any camera.
 
Those needing to handhold the lens with any frequency probably should select the 500mm option.
 
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Sample Picture
 
The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is one of the most important and most used lenses in my kit (primarily composed of full frame cameras). Many of my favorite images can be attributed to this lens, from irreplaceable memories of the kids playing soccer to captures of incredible wildlife in the mountains. The weight of this lens is a definite downside and I have more-than-once become worn out from carrying it, but ... the results are worth every bit of the effort.
 
To Learn More About These Lenses
 
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Review
Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Review
 
Better Yet, Add One of These Lenses to Your Kit
 
Get the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens at: B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Get the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens at: B&H | Adorama | Amazon
 
Add One to Your Kit Temporarily
 
What are you doing this weekend? Spend some time getting to know and having fun with these big white lenses without the large price tag. Try renting! Lensrentals.com has the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens and Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens ready to ship to your doorstep.
Post Date: 3/9/2017 7:30:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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