I personally use the Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo, a combination neutral ND and circular polarizing filter, shown above. The filter can help you get unique and beautiful portraits when combined with strobes. [Sean]
The first thing to keep in mind when purchasing a wide-angle zoom lens is, "What is my intended use for this lens?" If the answer involves capturing action – like dancing at a wedding reception – then your decision is an easy one.
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens' one-stop aperture advantage will allow you to use a shutter speed that's twice as fast as the other lenses at identical ISOs. Another way to look at it is that using an f/4 aperture to stop action would require doubling the ISO to achieve the same shutter speed obtained using an f/2.8 aperture. Considering that many wedding receptions are held in low light venues, using an f/2.8 aperture is the only way to freeze action and keep high ISO noise at bay without compromising the image quality with detail-robbing noise removal.
There are three drawbacks to the 16-35mm f/2.8L II, though – price, lack of image stabilization and an 82mm front filter thread. Of course, that last "drawback" may not be an issue if you have other lenses requiring 82mm filters (allowing for the ease of filter sharing), but the 77mm filter size is certainly more common and more likely already part of one's kit.
If shooting architecture, real estate, landscapes, cityscapes (or anything else with a "scapes" on the end), the other two wide-angle zoom options can be easily employed while minimizing the investment required to create such imagery.
If you don't require an f/2.8 maximum aperture and price is not a primary factor, get the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens. Benefits of the 16-35 f/4L IS include a slightly wider focal length, 77mm filter threads, image stabilization and enhanced fluorine lens coatings for top notch image quality. The 16-35 f/4L IS will allow you to use shutter speeds 4-stops slower to capture sharp images of static subjects while hand-holding the camera, thereby making tripod use less of a necessity (great for backpacking adventures).
So why would you choose the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM over the other two options? The primary reason is price. However, rebate can affect the price comparison significantly. With the current instant rebates in place, the 17-40mm f/4L is only $250.00 less expensive than its 16-35 f/4L IS counterpart. Many will appreciate the 16-35 f/4L IS's benefits for the difference in price.
But again, if money is really tight, the 17-40mm f/4L is still an excellent option. One can easily give up image stabilization if using a tripod, and if shooting at f/8, you won't likely notice a sharpness difference between the two lenses at their widest focal lengths (though the 17-40L does exhibit more CA). Another benefit of the 17-40L is a slightly longer focal range, sacrificing 1mm on the wide end but gaining 5mm on the long end.
If size/weight is the ultimate deciding factor, the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM is the smallest and lightest with the 16-35mm lenses being very similar to one another in those regards. However, the EF 17-40 f/4L's lens hood is so big that it will take up significantly more space when affixed to the lens (reversed) compared to the EF 16-35 f/4L with its hood.
If image quality wide open is the ultimate deciding factor, the oldest lens of the bunch – the EF 17-40 f/4L USM – easily falls short of the other options. Take a look at the corner results of the 17-40 f/4L vs. 16-35 f/4L IS tested on the EOS 5Ds R at f/4 with the lenses set to their widest focal lengths. Of course a wide zoom lens isn't always used at its widest focal length and the IQ difference lessens at longer focal lengths, but... I feel that a wide-angle zooms are primarily purchased for their widest focal length capability, thereby making the widest focal length comparison most significant.
When comparing the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM to the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, differences in sharpness become much more nuanced when the lenses are compared at their widest common aperture of f/4 at 16mm. The 16-35 f/4L IS is definitely better in the corners, but not by a huge degree. When both lenses are compared wide open, the IQ chasm is greater as the f/2.8's stopped-down advantage disappears (the same is true for the 35mm results as well).
Of course, there are other factors that can impact image quality besides sharpness including distortion, flare and vignetting. Use the site's Comparison Tools to fully compare these lenses.
Reikan has released FoCal 2.2, an update to its automated focus tuning software for Canon and Nikon dSLRs.
FoCal 2.2 adds support for Canon 80D and 1DX Mark II cameras as well as new features to allow more direct comparison of camera and lens performance with other FoCal users.
Directly compare “Peak” quality values. FoCal users have been uploading their results for over 4 years and FoCal 2.2 makes it easier to compare this data. For example during a Focus Calibration the peak sharpness figure can be directly compared against that same figure from other users. There will always be some variation of lens sharpness between different copies but this feature provides a clear indication if something is really amiss.
Other enhancements include faster image processing with a speed up of more than 40 times! This reduces the overall time for a complete calibration as a significant part of the process now takes very little time.
FoCal 2.2 builds upon last months 2.1 release for the Nikon D5/D500 cameras and means FoCal is fully up to date with the very latest Canon and Nikon dSLRs.
According to the Egami Blog, Canon has filed the patent for an EF 28-560mm f/2.8-5.6L USM optical formula. Considering the specs of the lens, "IS" would likely be included (though not precisely specified).
While some of these tips may seem a little obvious, they're all worth considering if interested in investing in a gimbal stabilizer system. Note that the video author's tip for using a quick release doesn't mention that a completely enclosed QR system – like the Manfrotto RC2 – would be best to ensure quick setup/breakdown without the need for rebalancing. With an Arca-style QR system, it's difficult to get the plate identically positioned when mounting. And when it comes to stabilizers, "close" won't usually cut it. [Sean]
Plane rides are often a means to an end, but this one was so much more. Flying in a float plane over the Shelikof Strait and along the remote southeast coast of Katmai National Park was ... breathtaking. And those breathtaking sights were very photo-worthy, but not without complications.
Airplane windows are not designed with photography in mind and there is some non-optical glass between the camera and the subject. Reflections, uneven contrast reduction and color toning (mostly in the sky in this frame) were among the complications. After an initial attempt at cleaning up the image, I revisited it a number of times over the nearly 1 year that has passed since this flight. The incredible scene was worth the extra effort that went into post processing, but ... I'm still not sure I have this right.
What do you think?
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Having an idea is one thing. Having the tools to make it happen is amazing. Watch YouTuber, ScottDW, unlock his creativity on the set of ‘High School Dance Battle –Gym Class Disaster!’ with the help of his Canon EOS 80D video creator kit.
CR-2 connector-2 a smooth swivel with a positive lock to ensure the safety of the camera and lens
BRAD MOD secures the strap during action shots
Ballistic nylon with Cordura nylon
1.0" bomb proof nylon webbing
Duraflex acetal bomb proof nylon used in connectors
Note from Sean: This is my all-time favorite camera strap. If my camera's not on a tripod, it's likely attached to one of these. The strap makes carrying the camera for long periods of time almost effortless.
If you use Arca-style plates and clamps, be sure to check out my post on converting the BR strap for use with Arca-style plates.