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 Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Oben BC-139 Ball Head
Just Posted: Oben BC-139 Ball Head Review
 
Add the Oben BC-139 to your short list. It is a great ball head with a great price.
Post Date: 2/18/2014 10:07:55 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, February 17, 2014
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D DSLR Camera
Specifications and product images (including comparisons of both) have been added to the Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D Review page.
 
Perhaps most relevant is the Canon EOS Rebel T5 vs. T3 comparison.
 
And perhaps most interesting, as suggested by commenter "SLClick", is the Canon EOS Rebel T5 vs. T2i comparison. "I loved the T5 from the moment I saw it. When it was called a T2i." [SLClick] These cameras are very similar from a specifications perspective.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 2/17/2014 8:18:22 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, February 10, 2014
ExpoImaging Rogue Flash Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit
Just posted: ExpoImaging Rogue Flash Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit Review
 
Learn why you need gel filters for your flash and learn how this kit can take your flash photography to another level.
Post Date: 2/10/2014 8:48:23 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, February 07, 2014
A Large Spoonful of Candy
In the Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter review, I included a photo of a large spoonful of tiny balls of candy. I thought you might appreciate knowing more about this image, so I'll share the recipe:
 
1. Clamp a melon-baller (my large "spoon") over a clean black back-painted glass surface using a Delta Clamp and fill it until overflowing with cookie/cake sprinkles (the tiny balls of candy).
 
2. Tripod-mount a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens attached to a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR in manual mode with settings of 1/160, f/16 and ISO 100.
 
3. Mount a Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter to the 5D III and configure a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash as a slave.
 
4. Attach a Rogue FlashBender Softbox XL to the 600EX-RT.
 
5. While handholding the flash and softbox, trigger the image capture using a Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote.
 
The result is this image. While the reflection created by the Rogue Softbox is not as smooth as those delivered by more expensive softboxes, the reflection is not bad. One might think that a cloudy sky was the source the reflection.
 
Overall, I like the bright candy colors in this otherwise monochromatic scene. Images like this are easy to create with the right gear available.
Post Date: 2/7/2014 9:14:27 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens
Just posted: Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens Review
 
From image quality and build quality perspectives, there are few lenses that compare to the Zeiss 135mm.
Post Date: 2/5/2014 7:34:56 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, February 03, 2014
Canon Speedlite Selfie
Well, the flashes did not take their own picture, but they at least self-lit this one. You may recognize the above image from the recently-posted Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash review. I thought you might want to know a little more about the somewhat unusual image.
 
This shows 6 Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash units lighting themselves. The flashes were triggered from a Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter mounted on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR with settings of ISO 100, f/11 and 1/200. I used a Sigma 24-105mm f/4.0 DG OS HSM Art Lens set to 57mm.
 
The six flash units are in their included shoe stands and their heads are angled to -7 degrees (slightly downward). The flashes are sitting on a black back-painted glass desk surface. I am standing on a stool with my feet just under the glass table top and leaning forward until the center AF point was centered in the reflection of the lens. Yes, reflections of me in the glass were an issue. I partly resolved this problem by wrapping a black fleece jacket around my legs.
 
You would not believe how well this setup lights up dust and other imperfections in the glass. I microfiber-cloth-dusted immediately before and a couple of times during this shoot. But the strong angled light across the black surface still found lots of dust and made it glow. Photoshop's Dust and Scratches noise filter quickly removed most of the dust problem. I used the history brush to restore details that were removed with the dust (including the flash names).
 
Here is another similar image: Speedlite Art
Post Date: 2/3/2014 8:33:33 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, January 31, 2014
Canon Speedlite 90EX Flash
Just posted: Canon Speedlite 90EX Flash Review
 
With the just posted Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash and Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT reviews, I guess that I could deem this Canon Speedlite week. Today's review covers Canon's smallest, lightest and least expensive flash – the 90EX.
 
While it was introduced and advertised with the Canon EOS M, the 90EX flash is compatible with all Canon EOS DSLRs. The 90EX has very low power output, but its optical wireless remote control capabilities are a huge value.
 
Read the full review to learn more about this great little device.
 
For great deals on the 90EX, check out the white box version at B&H ($99.00) or this eBay auction ($65.89).
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/31/2014 8:38:03 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, January 30, 2014
Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT
Just posted: Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT Review
 
If you read the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash Review, you are already familiar with the ST-E3-RT. Basically, extract the 600EX-RT's radio wireless system, LCD, switch panel and foot, and put them in a housing just large enough to hold those parts and two AA batteries. What you have is an ST-E3-RT.
 
The ST-E3-RT is a great addition to a radio wireless flash kit. For an instant kit, get the Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter & 2 Speedlite 600EX-RT Kit at B&H for $1,119.95 with free shipping. Basically, you are buying an ST-E3-RT and getting two 600EX-RT Speedlites for $416.48 each.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/30/2014 8:36:23 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens
You better get a tissue and, if you are in public, rest your chin on your hand to avoid the embarrassment of being seen with your mouth wide open, because the image quality of the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens is jaw-dropping and drool-worthy.
 
You will now find image quality, flare, distortion and vignetting test results along with specs, measurements and eye candy available on the Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZE Lens review page. Results in all of the tests are best-in-class.
 
Let B&H satisfy the Zeiss 135mm craving I'm sure that you now have.
Post Date: 1/29/2014 8:59:40 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Sunwayfoto-Panoramic-Setup
by Sean Setters
 
Those of you who have been following the site will know that I recently upgraded everything relating to support – new tripod (Induro 8X CT314), ballhead (Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1), and Arca-Swiss style plates and clamps. But doing so left me with a bit of a problem.
 
For the past few months I had been thoroughly enjoying shooting panoramic images with my Manfrotto 303plus Panoramic Head and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens. However, shooting panos was cumbersome (at best). Using the panoramic head meant changing out my regular ballhead every time I wanted to shoot panos. If I wanted to be able to shoot normal images and panos in the same outing, I had to bring tools to do the replacement in the field. And the 303plus was no picnic travel with; it was heavy, bulky, and just plain awkward to lug around because of its shape.
 
But now let me step back just a bit. Why do you need a specialized head just to capture panoramic images? Couldn't you just rotate the camera on the tripod and get the same results?
 
Well, not exactly. The issue with trying to create panoramic images with a standard head is that the images don't stitch together very well. Because you aren't rotating the camera & lens around its nodal point, you get parallax errors which make stitching significantly more challenging and time consuming. Basically, things simply don't line up.
 
A panoramic head allows you to move the camera so that the pivoting occurs over the lens's nodal point thereby elminiating parallax errors and leading to easier (and less time consuming) stitching. If time is money, then a panoramic setup is worth its weight in gold.
 
After some research, I found a few products that, once assembled, would replicate the functionality of the 303plus head while giving me several other benefits:
 
The new pano rig...

  • Simply clamps into my existing ballhead using an Arca-Style plate. No more changing out heads everytime I want to do a pano.
  • Is smaller, lighter and less bulky than the 303plus (largely due to my camera's newly installed L-bracket).
  • Is cheaper than most pre-fabricated pano heads.
  • Is faster to level through a simple ballhead adjustment. The 303plus required leveling the setup by adjusting tripod's legs.

If you're keeping score, that's a win-win-win-win.

Manfrotto 303plus vs Sunwayfoto Pano Setup

Components of the new setup:

  1. Sunwayfoto DP-60 60mm QR Plate [$23.00]
  2. Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Indexing Rotator [$119.00]
  3. Kirk QRC-1.75 Quick Release Clamp [$55.00]
  4. Sunwayfoto DPG-210 Multi-Purpose Rail [$49.00]
  5. Sunwayfoto DDB-53 Bidirectional Clamp [$59.00]

Thats a solid panoramic setup for $305.00 (and significantly cheaper than many pre-made pano rigs). If you don't already have an L-bracket, then you'll only be able to shoot in landscape orientation. The L-bracket gives you the option to use a portrait orientation for more vertical real estate in your pano. One limitation of this setup is that you can't shoot 360-degree spherical panoramas with it; but for standard panoramas, it works very well.
 
Keep in mind that there are options for swapping several of the components above. I originally purchased the Kirk QRC-1.75 Quick Release Clamp to use in my BlackRapid to Arca-Swiss Plate conversion, but found that the longer tension screw handle allowed the clamp to fit perfectly on the Sunwayfoto DDP-64M Indexing Rotator. If I were buying the compenents again, I'd probably pick up a Sunwayfoto Discal Clamp 64mm With Long Handle instead. You can also purchase a longer rail if you want to shoot with a larger lens. However, make sure that your ballhead can support the weight of a moderately heavy camera/lens combination in an offset position. You can even forgo getting the Indexing Rotator & QR plate and simply rotate the rail/bi-directional clamp via your ballhead's panning base for an especially inexpensive setup. That said, I prefer using the Indexing Rotator for easy, consistent capture.
 
All in all, I'm really happy with my new pano setup. The Sunwayfoto products seem well-made and durable. A few days ago I created a 360-degree panorama in a local business, The Lamp & Lighthouse (click image to view a larger version):

The Lamp and Lighthouse Panoramic Image

I shot the panarama above using a 5D Mark III and the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens. I corrected the lens distortion with PTLens (although some distortion still exists), stitched the pano using Hugin and polished it up in Photoshop CC.
 
Tip: When leveling your setup, ignore the bubble levels on your gear. Depending on design tolerances, bubble levels can be anywhere from "pretty close" to "completely useless." Use your camera's built-in electronic level for the best results.

Post Date: 1/28/2014 7:39:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, January 27, 2014
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash Selfie (Self Lit)
Just posted: Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash Review
 
I've been using Canon's newest flash system for over a year and can easily say that it is their best ever. The radio wireless control along with other improvements make the 600EX-RT a very solid upgrade from any EX flash kit including those utilizing the Canon Speedlite 580EX II.
 
B&H has the Speedlite 600EX-RT in stock. Buy the two flash plus transmitter kit and save over $100.00.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/27/2014 10:43:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, January 10, 2014
Canon Flash
Adding to the photography gear comparison tools available on the site is the new Flash Product Images page.
 
Here you will find images of many recent Canon flashes and flash transmitters along with the ability to visibly compare them with any other included model (similar to the Lens Product Images page). Access to this tool is, as usual, found on the main tools page and from within individual flash reviews.
 
Please note that some of the older images in this tool were not captured to the precision of my current standards, so there may be a very slight size difference in size and/or alignment accuracy shown in some comparisons. The feature differences are quite clear.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/10/2014 9:02:05 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, January 06, 2014
Canon Flash Comparison
The latest addition to the site is the Flash Specifications Comparison tool.
 
Use this tool to compare any recent Canon flash model to any other recent Canon flash model. Use the comparisons to assist your purchase decision-making process. Share flash comparisons with your friends and forums. Or just compare flashes for the fun of it.
 
For a specific example, I'll preload a comparison that I am looking at right now: the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash compared to the Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash.
 
You will find a link to this tool under the "Tools" menu option, on the Tools page and in the individual Flash Reviews.
 
As always, let us know if you see any errors/omissions or have ideas for improving the tool.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/6/2014 11:32:18 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Lens Sample Picture
A handful of sample pictures have been added to the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Lens Review.
Post Date: 12/31/2013 8:24:08 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, December 30, 2013
 Monday, December 23, 2013
Camera Lens
The Lens Product Images Comparison Tool and Big Lens Product Images Comparison Tool have been updated to show up to three lenses at the same time.
 
This unique tool is very simple to use. Select up to three of the hundreds of lenses in our database and select the size you want the images displayed at. Then drag your mouse over the lens setting options (just above the lens images) to see the similarities and differences in the selected lenses.
Post Date: 12/23/2013 10:15:29 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
The Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE Lens
Just posted: Zeiss 50mm f/2.0 Makro-Planar T* ZE Lens Review
 
The Zeiss 50 f/2 delivers the sharpest 50mm f/2 images of any near-50mm lens I've used to date. And the build quality of this lens is equally impressive.
Post Date: 12/23/2013 8:55:46 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Think Tank Photo My 2nd Brain 15
Just Posted: Think Tank Photo My 2nd Brain 15 Review
 
A product named "Brain", sent by "Brian" and reviewed by "Bryan". Hopefully you will find the review considerably less confusing.
Post Date: 12/18/2013 8:19:36 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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