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 Tuesday, April 4, 2017
by Sean Setters
 
From a technical standpoint, any lens from 8mm to 800mm can be used to photograph people, meaning that every lens could be classified as a "portrait lens." But just because a lens can be used as a portrait lens does not necessarily mean that it should be utilized as such for general portraiture. There are two primary characteristics which make some lenses ideally suited for capturing flattering images of people. Let's explore those characteristics in more detail to determine why they're so beneficial to portraiture.
 
Medium Telephoto Focal Length (or Focal Length Range)
 
Typically speaking, lenses with a medium telephoto focal length (or focal length range) tend to work best for general portraiture. While the ideal range can vary with personal preference, generally speaking a lens featuring a focal length in the 85 - 135mm range on a full-frame camera (55 - 85mm on a 1.6x crop sensor camera) will provide a compressed view which mitigates or eliminates the foils of perspective distortion.
 
Why is perspective distortion a problem in portrait photography? Because when using a relatively wide focal length, combined with a close working distance, facial features nearest to the camera – typically noses – become enlarged in the frame.
 
Bad Portrait Perspective

Understandably, few subjects appreciate the look of a disproportionately large, prominent nose in their portraits. A longer focal length is the key to keeping facial features flatteringly proportional. Of course, shorter focal lengths (35 - 50mm, especially) can be used for more loosely framed subjects where the background becomes a more meaningful compositional element in the image, just as longer focal lengths can be employed for increased working distances, narrower angles of view and even flatter perspectives. However, it's tough to go wrong with a focal length in the 85 - 135mm range when general portraiture is your primary agenda.
 
Wide Aperture
 
Another key element prized by portrait photographers is a very wide aperture – in the f/1.2 to f/2.8 range – allowing for subject isolation via shallow depth of field (DOF). Of course, the wider the aperture, the shallower the DOF. With background elements unrecognizably blurred, distractions can be eliminated and viewers' eyes can be drawn precisely to the subject.
 
Sigma 85mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Sample Image

However, a shallow depth of field isn't the only benefit that a very wide aperture brings to the table as far portraiture is concerned. Another big benefit of wide aperture use is that faster shutter speeds can be utilized to freeze subject motion thereby allowing sharp details to be captured.
 
Portrait Lens Recommendations
 
I considered listing several lens recommendations in this section, but really there's no need. We already have that covered in our Portrait Lens Recommendations section (at least as far as Canon shooters are concerned). For Nikon shooters, check out the Portrait Recommendations and substitute a comparably-spec'd Nikon (or Nikon-mount) lens.
 
Wrap Up
 
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, any lens can be used to record photography's most important subjects, people. However, lenses with a medium telephoto focal length (or zoom lenses that encompass such focal lengths) coupled with a wide aperture can aid in capturing flattering imagery that can make your friends, family, or clients look their best.
 
Did I miss something important? What do you look for in a portrait lens that we didn't cover?
Post Date: 4/4/2017 9:40:43 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Shutterbug Mag YouTube Channel:
 
Shutterbug photographer Jordan Matter shares five great tips on how to shoot stunning portraits at night with very little gear.
Post Date: 4/4/2017 7:00:06 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Adorama has the Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag (Small, Cordura Black) available for $59.95 with free shipping. Regularly $149.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Internal slash pocket against the back wall of the bag provides a slightly padded
  • Double-reinforced, adjustable straps
  • Holds DSLR Kit(2 Lenses)
  • Made of Cordura
B&H has select Benro Aluminum Tripods on sale today with free shipping. Each tripod comes with a short center column, spiked and rubber feet and a carrying case. See below for more information.
 
Benro Tripod Deals
 
Benro TMA18A Series 1 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod - $69.95 (Reg. $139.95)
 
  • Load Capacity: 17.6 lb
  • Max Height: 56.9"
  • Min Height: 11.8"
  • Folded Length: 19.5"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 3.2 lb
  • One Leg Converts to Monopod
Benro TMA18AB1 Series 1 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod with B1 Ball Head - $99.95 (Reg. $234.95)
 
  • Load Capacity: 17.6 lb
  • Max Height: 60.6"
  • Min Height: 15.6"
  • Folded Length: 23.2"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.1 lb
  • One Leg Converts to Monopod
  • Arca-Type Compatible Ball Head, QR Plate
Benro TMA28AB2 Series 2 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod with B2 Ball Head - $129.95 (Reg. $259.95)
 
  • Load Capacity: 30.9 lb
  • Max Height: 65.2"
  • Min Height: 16.3"
  • Folded Length: 24.6"
  • Leg Sections: 4
  • Weight: 4.9 lb
  • One Leg Converts to Monopod
  • Arca-Type Compatible Ball Head, QR Plate
Benro TMA37ALHD3 Series 3 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod with HD3 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head - $179.95 (Reg. $274.95)
 
  • Load Capacity: 26.5 lb
  • Max Height: 75.6"
  • Min Height: 21.3"
  • Folded Length: 31.9"
  • Leg Sections: 3
  • Weight: 7.3 lb
  • Pan/Tilt Head with Snap-In QR Plate
Benro TMA47ALB4 Series 4 Mach3 Aluminum Tripod with B4 Ball Head - $219.95 (Reg. $359.95)
 
  • Load Capacity: 44.1 lb
  • Max Height: 75.4"
  • Min Height: 20.7"
  • Folded Length: 31.5"
  • Leg Sections: 3
  • Weight: 8.7 lb
  • Arca-Type Compatible Ball Head, QR Plate
Post Date: 4/4/2017 5:37:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, April 3, 2017
Right now, you can get Formatt-Hitech UV, Circular Polarizing & ND Filters for 50% off at B&H.
Post Date: 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the 3DR Smart Battery for Solo Quadcopter available for $69.99 with free shipping. Regularly $149.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 14.8V LiPo Flight Battery
  • 5200 mAh Capacity
  • LED Charge Indicators
  • Specifically for Solo Quadcopter
Post Date: 4/3/2017 10:10:20 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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
Expired: Amazon has the Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR Camera available for $2,699.00. Cmopare at $3,499.00.
 
Note: This is an astonishing deal sold directly from Amazon, meaning that the purchase qualifies for a full 1-year Canon USA warranty. They also have a lower-than-normal price on the 5Ds R – $3,499.00 compared to $3,699.00.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/3/2017 7:19:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Drobo 5N 5-Bay NAS Storage Array with Gigabit Ethernet available for $339.95 with free shipping. Regularly $479.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 5-Bay Desktop HD NAS Enclosure
  • Holds 5x 3.5" SATA HDDs (not included)
  • Holds 1x mSATA SSD (not included)
  • Gigabit Ethernet Port, Cable Included
  • Mixed Drive Size Utilization
  • Thin Provisioning
  • Hot Swappable
  • BeyondRAID Features
  • Drobo Apps
  • Mac and Windows Compatible
Post Date: 4/3/2017 5:22:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Bolt CBP-C1 Compact Battery Pack for Canon available for $44.95 with free shipping. Regularly $74.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Extends Portable Flash Capacity
  • Up to 595 Flashes Per Charge
  • Fast Recycle Times Up to 1.24 Sec
  • Thermal Switch Prevents Overheating
  • Option of Using 4 or 8 AA Batteries
  • Alkaline, Lithium or Ni-MH Batteries
Compatible Flashes
 
Canon: Speedlite 600EX-RT, 600EX II-RT, 580EX, 580EX II, 550EX, 540EZ, 430EZ, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX
Bolt: VX-710N, VX-710C, VX-760N, VX-760C
Nissin: Di700 for Canon, Di866 for Canon, Di866 Mark II for Canon, MG8000 for Canon
 
Note: The Nikon version of this battery pack is also reduced.
 Sunday, April 2, 2017
Canon has extended its previous instant and mail-in rebate programs (which expired April 1) through April 29 with a few minor (almost all positive) changes. The EOS 5D Mark IV, 77D, Rebel T7i, EOS M5 kit instant rebates that went live during the previous rebate period are now officially part of the normal rebate programs and share the same April 29 expiration date. There is one small change, though. The EOS 77D + EF-S 18-55 IS STM kit no longer qualifies for a $150.00 rebate. Instead, the 77D + lens kits bundled with the EF-S 55-250mm IS STM now officially qualify for the $150.00 instant rebate (though B&H is not listing the rebate just yet).
 
Canon April Instant Rebate Notes
 
Many lenses qualify for a mail-in rebate if you purchase more than one qualifying lens. If planning to fill multiple spots in your kit, be sure to check out the mail-in rebates to see if you can save even more with your purchase.
 
Canon Instant Rebates
 
ModelRebate AmountAuthorized Retailers
Canon EOS-1D X Buy$700.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 5Ds Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 5Ds R Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Buy$150.00 - $200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Buy$300.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 6D Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Buy$300.00 - $500.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 80D Buy$100.00 - $600.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 70D Buy$300.00 - $550.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS 77D Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T6s / 760D Buy$150.00 - $300.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D Buy$150.00 - $350.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T5i / 700D Buy$200.00 - $400.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D Buy$100.00 - $250.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D Buy$150.00 - $350.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D Buy$150.00 - $350.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS M5 Buy$180.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS M3 Buy$250.00 - $400.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EOS M10 Buy$150.00 - $170.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Buy$20.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens Buy$300.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens Buy$100.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens Buy$80.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens Buy$100.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens Buy$100.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens Buy$200.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens Buy$80.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens Buy$50.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens Buy$20.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens Buy$70.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens Buy$70.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens Buy$70.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens Buy$150.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens Buy$100.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT Flash Buy$100.00  B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 4/2/2017 7:04:05 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, April 1, 2017
From Breakthrough Photography:
 
New Depolarizing Filter from Breakthrough Photography Enhances Glare for Artistic Imagery
 
April 1, 2017 – San Francisco, CA – To expand the creative possibilities of today's photography professionals, Breakthrough Photography is proud to introduce the world's first depolarization filter, the X4 with variable Glare Enhancing Technology (GET). Based on the company's ultra high quality circular polarizer filters, the X4 Depolarizer includes existing Breakthrough Photography brand technologies such as SCHOTT B270 optical glass, MRC16, and nanotec nano coatings paired with an all new titanium-brass alloy knurled frame for the ultimate in handling, durability, corrosion resistence and jam prevention.
 
Glare Enhancing Technology
 
For the first time ever, photographers now have the ability to increase visible glare for the ultimate in creative expression. Through the use of triple laminated SCHOTT glass elements with split prism microparticle film, Breakthrough Photography's patented Glare Enhancing Technology allows photographers to not only increase existing visible glare in a scene, but select the precise amount of additional glare desired.
 
Breakthrough Photography X4 Depolarizer Filter Example

“We took all that we learned from the success of the X4 ND and CPL filters and made it our mission to bring something unique to the market. At the core of the X4 Depolarizer lies our internally developed patent-pending, American-made microparticle film, specially designed to refract unpolarized light through each layer to augment glare. And we’ve even designed the X4 Depolarizer to meet the needs of professional cinematographers, too, who want to bring a unique look to their film projects.” said founder and photographer Graham Clark.
 
“We’re really excited to bring the X4 Depolarizer to the photography community on Kickstarter first. We’ll be offering a one-time launch sale price of up to $50 off, in limited quantities,” says Clark. “If this Kickstarter campaign proves successful, the X4 Depolarizer will be available for purchase on Amazon Prime, B&H and Adorama directly following the Kickstarter campaign.”
 
X4 Depolarizer Key Features
 
  • Critically sharp SCHOTT B270 Optical Glass
  • American-made Split Prism Microparticle Film
  • Nanotec Nano Coating layers repels elements
  • Rugged, Ultra-slim, Weather-sealed Titanium-Brass Alloy Traction Frame
  • 25 Year Support
X4 Depolarizer Size & Retail Pricing:
 
  • 39mm, 46mm, 49mm, 52mm, 58mm, 62mm for $149
  • 67mm and 72mm for $159
  • 77mm for $169
  • 82mm for $179
  • 95mm for $209
  • 105mm for $229
You can order the BreakThrough Photography X4 Depolarizer via Kickstarter.
Post Date: 4/1/2017 6:15:04 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, March 31, 2017
by Sean Setters
 
A week ago, the wispy clouds drew my attention as I walked outside to water my garden plants. With sunset soon approaching, I decided to grab the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, a tripod and a selection of lenses with the hope of catching some sunset and/or blue hour shots in downtown Savannah, GA. I specifically chose the crop sensor 7D II because a) the crop sensor lenses are smaller allowing for a wider range of focal lengths to be carried in a small backpack and b) I didn't necessarily need the benefit of the 5D III's high ISO performance for sunset imagery.
 
My original plan was to capture a sunset behind a silhouette of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. After heading across the Savannah River to one of my favorite locations for photographing River Street, I realized that scene I had imagined was impossible to capture from the location I had in mind. And, unfortunately, there wasn't another easily accessible location on Hutchinson Island that would provide the angle I needed (without obstructions) to capture the sun behind the bridge. If I had taken the time to research the sun's position in relation to my intended shooting location, I would have realized that my imagined shot was not possible. Regardless, I decided to regroup and see what I could do with the beautiful sunset occurring before my eyes.
 
As the sun sank just below the horizon, the sky became striped with vibrant colors. Using a couple of cranes and the stacks of a building under construction to anchor the image, I chose a verticle framing and, using the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM and the 7D II set to HDR mode, captured the dramatic skies the sunset had created.
 
In post processing, I blurred the water in the bottom of the resulting HDR JPEG image to simulate a longer exposure, increased contrast a bit and increased saturation/vibrance to further enhance the colors in the sky.
 
Sometimes, things work out just as you plan them; other times, they don't. Always be prepared to go with a "plan B" option, even if your backup plan is created completely on the fly. By grabbing your camera and heading out the door when conditions look favorable, you'll likely find yourself with a myriad of options to frame in your viewfinder. And don't forget, having a go-bag ready can make heading out the door that much easier.
Post Date: 3/31/2017 7:35:18 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Canon Imaging Plaza YouTube Channel:
 
“Walking In The Air” was shot using the ultra-wide angle lens EF16-35mm f/2.8L III USM. The advanced aperture F2.8, ultra-wide angle zoom lens is popular with professionals and highly skilled enthusiasts. Enjoy the scenery of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach in Australia.
 
B&H carries the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM (review).
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/31/2017 7:31:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
In this video by Kodak Moments UK, Kodak pranks unsuspecting UK residents by pretending to accidentally wipe their smart phones' data. Why? To prove how important it is to print out important images.
 
Of course, off-site backup storage solutions offer similar (if not better) short term security for your images, but... a high quality printed image on archival paper can last for generations and can easily be enjoyed by those within close proximity.
 
B&H carries photo printers and archival paper.
Post Date: 3/31/2017 7:15:39 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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