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 Thursday, June 15, 2017

 
From the TamronVids YouTube Channel:
 
Watch the process of Tamron’s industry-leading 3-business day repair service. Tamron USA took dramatic steps to increase the number of repair technicians that work on photographic lenses as well as customer service staff. Internal systems were changed to accommodate the inspection of lenses received by noon of each day and route the lenses to the proper technician for expert repair. Repaired lenses are then given top priority in the distribution center to ensure the product is on its way back to the customer within the established guidelines.
 
B&H carries Tamron lenses.
Category: Tamron News
Post Date: 6/15/2017 12:07:12 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, June 14, 2017
B&H has the DJI Spark Quadcopter (Alpine White) in stock with free expedited shipping.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 2-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera
  • 12MP Still Photos / 1080p/30 Video
  • Gesture and TapFly Control
  • FlightAutonomy with Obstacle Detection
  • Subject Tracking from Various Angles
  • GPS- & Vision Position-Based Navigation
  • Top Speed of 31 mph in Sport Mode
  • Up to 16 Minutes Flying Time
  • Up to 1.2 Mile Control Range
  • Control, Edit, Share with DJI GO Ap
Post Date: 6/14/2017 7:45:31 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Just posted: Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens Review.
 
This one should get some traction.
 
The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama. A free Sigma UV Filter ($69.95 value) is currently included.
Post Date: 6/14/2017 9:38:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Tuesday, June 13, 2017
B&H is stating that the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art Lens will be available for preorder at 1:00am (ET) Thursday, June 22.
Category: Preorders
Post Date: 6/13/2017 6:17:42 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
 
Several years ago when I was first exploring the wonderful world of off-camera flash, radio triggering options were very limited with rudimentary capabilities. It's amazing how much the radio triggering market has changed since then.
 
Now, in addition to the basic triggers of ye olden days, we have radio triggers that can remotely adjust the power levels of compatible flashes or even adjust power levels automatically via TTL technology. In other words, there has never been a better time to explore what radio-triggered off-camera flashes can do for your photography.
 
If your current flashes support radio triggering – like the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT – then you don't need anything else. However, if your flashes or studio strobes don't feature radio triggering, or if you need to incorporate non-radio enabled flashes into your radio flash setup, then radio flash triggers will be worth looking into. And on that note, there are a few things to consider when arriving at your preferred choice of radio trigger.
 
Type of Connection
 
First, it's important to understand how these radio triggers connect to our shoe mount flashes (and possibly studio strobes). Radio triggers primarily connect to compatible flashes in one of two ways, either by a cable connection or via a hot shoe (and most of those triggers featuring a hot shoe can also trigger via a cable connection).
 
The most common type of sync port found on shoe-mount flashes is a PC terminal. These sync ports have been an industry standard for decades, but... they are not my personal favorite type of connection. First of all, PC cables are not very robust (easily damaged) and they sometimes disconnect from the socket when a flash is handled with the cord attached (though locking PC compatible ports mitigate this issue).
 
Impact Sync Cord Male Mini 3.5mm to Male PC 1ft


A select few flashes feature a 3.5mm (1/8") miniphone sync port, which is very convenient as it's the same sync port that's featured on almost every radio trigger with inexpensive 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male cables being easy to find.
 
A far simpler solution, however, for triggering a shoe-mount flash is to use the flash's mounting foot. Many newer radio triggers feature a built-in hot shoe that your off-camera shoe-mount flash simply slides into. In my opinion, this is the best triggering solution as it eliminates the need for cables which can easily be lost, damaged or simply not long enough (or inconveniently too long) for a specific application.
 
Transmitter/Receiver or Transceiver
 
In addition to the type of connection a radio trigger features, it's important to understand whether a specific triggering system is built on separate transmitters and receivers or if a single device can act as both, i.e. is a transceiver. In regards to the separate transmitter/receiver systems (such as Vello FreeWave LR, Radiopopper Nano), a significant pitfall is that is that a single transmitter failure (without a spare transmitter to fall back on) will render all of your receivers completely useless. Alternately, a single device failure in a transceiver setup (such as the PocketWizard Plus/FlexTT* or Cactus V6) means that you only lose the ability to trigger one flash, not the entire group, as any of the devices can act as a transmitter.
 
In some cases, a company may even produce radio receivers that are completely compatible with camera brand master flashes or transmitters, thereby allowing the use of older (non radio enabled) flashes to be used in an otherwise radio-enabled setup.
 
Range
 
One of the primary advantages of radio triggering technology is that it eliminates the line-of-sight requirements for trigging off-camera flashes as well as boosting the range even if line-of-sight positioning of flashes is possible.
 
For instance, Canon Speedlite's optical flash triggering system has an advertised range of 32.8 ft (10m) outdoors and 49.2 ft (15m) indoors. And technically speaking, line-of-sight isn't always required indoors if surfaces are available for the master flash's transmission to bounce off of in order to communicate with slave flashes.
 
Now contrast the previously mentioned optical triggering range with that of typical radio triggers advertising anywhere from 300 ft (91.4m) to 1,600 ft (487.68m).
 
Suffice it to say, most photographers will never need to trigger an off-camera flash from 300+ ft away, but... it's nice to know that your flash will fire when you need to position it in a location that exceeds the capabilities of optical triggering.
 
Brand Longevity and Backward Compatibility
 
Another thing to consider when shopping for radio triggers is the likelihood of the brand remaining in the radio triggering market for the foreseeable future and whether or not they have displayed a commitment to backwards compatibility with previous generation devices. One example, PocketWizard, has been producing flash triggers for more than 15 years with newly released products always being backwards compatible in terms of radio frequency.
 
Basic / Advanced Triggers
 
In regards to radio flash triggers, there are basic triggers and advanced triggers. Basic triggers transmit/receive only one highly relevant piece of information – FIRE! Because they are relatively easy to design and manufacture, there are a wide range of companies that produce these very-easy-on-the-budget triggers. While most of the triggers will work as intended most of the time, you may experience or occasional misfires and you'll likely forego high build quality with flash triggers at the lowest tier pricing level. Examples of basic triggers include the PocketWizard PlusX, Radiopopper Nano, and Yongnuo RF-603C.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, advanced triggers provide a myriad of features that make them more versatile and/or more convenient for those working in a professional (or semi-professional) atmosphere. Some advanced triggers are capable of:
 
  • Flash power levels adjusted automatically via TTL communication
  • Remote manual flash power adjustments
  • Rear curtain sync
  • High speed sync
  • Seamless communication with camera branded flashes
  • Upgradeable firmware
  • Multiple channels to avoid interference
Not all advanced triggers feature all of the capabilities listed above, but most offer at least some of them. The extra features of advanced triggers compared to basic triggers come at a higher cost, of course, but the price differential translates to significantly increased convenience and versatility. Examples of advanced flash triggers include the PocketWizard FlexTT*, Phottix Laso, Cactus V6 and Yongnuo YNE3-RX .
 
Which radio trigger is right for you?
 
If you're just exploring off-camera flash for the first time, it's probably a good idea to invest in a set of basic triggers. Why? Because all of the extra features afforded by advanced triggers can complicate the off-camera flash learning process. Basic triggers require manual flash power adjustments and therefore simplify the "cause and effect" learning process. Once basic lighting principles have been conquered, the value of the advanced triggers' full feature set can be fully appreciated.
 
Then again, nearly all advanced radio triggers can replicate the functionality of basic triggers. So if you're ready to jump down the rabbit hole, but still inexperienced with off-camera flash, you can invest in an advanced flash trigger system and use them as basic triggers until you're ready to explore the augmented feature set.
 
Other Photography Lighting 101 Posts
 
Post Date: 6/13/2017 1:22:13 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Manfrotto:
 
Performance, Quality & Comfort, Redefined
 
Upper Saddle River, N.J. (June 13, 2017) – Manfrotto, a leading global innovator and manufacturer of premium photo, video and lighting support products and accessories, has launched the new Pro Light Bumblebee bags - perfect for professional and amateur photographers and videographers who work outdoors and want a reliable carrying solution. With this collection, users can stay comfortable in the harshest of conditions despite high temperatures, extreme cold or high humidity.
 
The new Pro Light Bumblebee family is an exceptional assortment of high-performance camera backpacks and messenger bags which perfectly embody Manfrotto’s Italian heritage. This family introduces Manfrotto’s unique-to-the-market breathable harness system that greatly reduces photography gear fatigue, allowing image makers to cover more ground and locate the best spots for the perfect shots.
 
Inside, the bags’ innovative designs safeguard the latest professional equipment options. The renowned Camera Protection System (CPS) dividers take extra care of camera bodies and lenses. They are fully adjustable and built to distribute weight evenly and avoid tension to the body.
 
The new Manfrotto Bumblebee backpacks are designed to take stress and heat off the shoulders, neck and lower back and feature Manfrotto’s state-of-the-art AirSupport breathable harness and back panel, adjustable sternum support, shaped hip and waist support systems. A side handle helps users put the pack on or take it off, while elastic side pockets keep water bottles outside the critical gear zone.
 
The removable Manfrotto CPS insert safeguards equipment right at the heart of the pack and keeps it organized with the efficiency of a portable studio:
 
  • The Bumblebee-230 PL backpack protects a gripped DSLR with a 70-200/2.8 lens attached and 10 additional lenses or an attached 400/2.8 with five additional lenses. In video configuration, it protects a disassembled modular camcorder like the Canon C100 with numerous lenses & accessories. It also fits a 17” laptop in its own padded compartment.
  • The Bumblebee-130 PL backpack keeps a high-end CSC or a DSLR safe with a 70-200/2.8 lens attached and eight additional lenses or an unattached 400/2.8 with three additional lenses. In video configuration, it protects disassembled modular camcorders like a SONY FS-5. It also fits a 15” laptop in its own padded compartment.
The entire internal space is padded to protect camera gear but can be also configured to accommodate accessories and personal gear as well. The main zipper comes with four pullers, which can be divided by a stopper into a top and lower compartment. Just open the top zipper for rapid access to frequently used contents from above.
 
A smart NeverLose tripod connection secures both longer and shorter tripods on the side of the pack. The connection straps are stitched in the side pocket and can be tucked away when not in use for a tidier appearance and to prevent straps getting lost.
 
The bigger Bumblebee-230 PL also features a lens pouch located in the waist belt. When not in use, the pouch can be flattened by tightening the webbing strap. (This feature is not available in Bumblebee-130 PL.)
 
Manfrotto’s new Bumblebee Messengers have significantly raised the bar for their category: a combination of flawless design and reliable performance, they meet all the needs of demanding professionals who travel light and fast. Like the backpacks, the messengers’ body-gripping fit and 3-point AirSupport harness system is breathable and perfect for prolonged outdoor use. The length of the strap can be rapidly adjusted using the EasyGrip buckle.
 
Despite their compact size, they hold a substantial amount of professional gear:
 
  • The Bumblebee M-30 PL Messenger protects a DSLR with a 70-200mm/2.8 lens attached and three additional lenses, a handheld gimbal (such as a DJI Osmo) and a 15” laptop in their own padded compartments, with all the necessary accessories.
  • The Bumblebee M-10 PL Messenger keeps a CSC/DSLR safe with a 24-70/4 lens attached and two additional lenses (including 70-200/2.8) and a handheld gimbal (such as a DJI Osmo) and a 13” laptop in their own padded compartments, with all the necessary accessories. It can also carry a full set DJI Mavic plus the Osmo gimbal camera.
These bags introduce the XtraSecure handheld gimbal-carrying solution - a stretchable band that holds the gimbal’s moving parts so it can be taken out quickly. The area can also be used as a traditional lens compartment if there is no gimbal in the bag.
 
Manfrotto’s Bumblebee Messengers feature a secure silent quick-access flap. When shooting in quiet environments (e.g. during a ceremony), apply the NoiseFree Velcro silencer to keep a low profile. The broad front organizer keeps everything on hand. There are two bungee cord straps to hang a small tripod, monopod or selfie pole, which are also protected by the front flap. The Bumblebee Messengers can hold a gripped DSLR body when you take out the laptop from its compartment.
 
All the bags of the Bumblebee collection come with a DuoFace sun/rain cover to protect from rain, reflect sunlight and keep the gear cool and dry all day long.
 
Key features:
 
  • Breathable design - comfortable carrying solutions for professional and amateur outdoor photography
  • Super lightweight construction - carry more lenses and stay comfortable even with prolonged use
  • High-performance materials - rip-stop fabric and the Manfrotto Protection System safeguard equipment
The following models are now available nationwide (links below go to B&H):
 
Category: Manfrotto News
Post Date: 6/13/2017 12:04:04 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
From HDRsoft:
 
Photomatix Pro Version 6 adds a new rendering style option, corrects perspective problems, and gives more control over color.
 
Brighton, United Kingdom – HDRsoft announces the release of Photomatix Pro version 6. The latest version of their software application that helps photography pros and enthusiasts create HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos in a large range of styles, from realistic to artistic.
 
Key benefits in the new release include:
 
  • More style choice for realistic results. A new HDR rendering method called Tone Balancer adds more options and presets for realistic looking results. It is well-suited to real estate and natural style landscapes.
  • Refining with more control over color. With the new interactive brush tool, users can make color changes to just parts of the image, by painting over those areas. They can also fine-tune the saturation, hue, and brightness of individual colors in a photo. This control is especially useful for removing color casts and enhancing skies and other image features. Images can also be cropped to easily remove distractions or to improve their composition.
  • Avoiding overdoing it. For a more realistic look, users can blend an original photo with the rendered image, either globally or by using a brush to select specific areas.
  • Removing distortion from your photos. A new distortion correction tool makes it easy to straighten photos that aren't level and fix perspective issues where lines don't look parallel when they should. These are particularly helpful features for architectural and landscape photographers.
  • A more intuitive workflow. Whether working with a single image, or a bracketed set of photos, a more intuitive workflow makes it easier to load and choose images and proceed through to editing.
Photomatix Pro merges photographs taken at different exposure levels into a single HDR image with options for automatically aligning hand-held photos and for removing ghosts or visual artifacts when moving objects are present in the scene. Merged images can then be adjusted with a range of precise controls and settings or with one-click presets. Photographers can quickly get the look they desire from natural-looking results to painterly images, from surreal and dreamy photos to ultra-realistic images with increased details.
 
Photomatix Pro can also be used to enhance a single photo to boost its shadows and enhance its highlights. The program includes a plugin for Adobe Lightroom for users who want to integrate Photomatix Pro into their Lightroom workflow.
 
"What's unique about Photomatix Pro is the full range of styles it offers to render HDR photos, and version 6 makes this even better," said Geraldine Joffre, HDRsoft Managing Director. "Unlike other apps which rely on one HDR rendering algorithm, Photomatix comes with several. Each algorithm can give an entirely different look with enhancing tones and details or fusing multiple exposures together. Photographers will find it useful to have several alternatives for processing HDR photos as things change with different subjects or lighting conditions."
 
AVAILABILITY
 
Photomatix Pro 6 is available now for $99 USD for a single-user license. Customers who purchased Photomatix Pro 5 will receive a free upgrade. Earlier versions of Photomatix Pro can be upgraded for $29 USD.
 
B&H carries HDRsoft Photomatix Pro 6.
Post Date: 6/13/2017 7:32:43 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Nikon:
 
Changes from Version 1.0.2 to 1.0.3
 
  • Image files on the desktop or in other locations can now be copied into the KeyMission 360/170 Utility Folder list and Thumbnail list via drag and drop.
  • Fixed the following issues:
    • Folders added in Windows Explorer or other applications while the KeyMission 360/170 Utility was running would not appear in the KeyMission 360/170 Utility Folder list.
    • Attempting to save files after adding background tracks using the Add background track option would cause French and Russian versions of KeyMission 360/170 Utility to display an error.
    • The Camera tab would remain grayed out if the user, after establishing a connection to the camera, then ended and restarted the connection.
    • Movies to which effects were applied using the Effects option in the edit menu would not playback smoothly if the user did not first exit the Edit tab.
    • The controls in the Camera and Local tabs could not be used if the connection to the camera was terminated while a movie was being re-recorded.
Download: KeyMission 360/170 Utility Firmware v.1.0.3
 
B&H carries Nikon KeyMission action cameras.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 6/13/2017 6:16:52 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Saturday, June 10, 2017
When a unique weather pattern arrived with numerous little rain storms showing on the radar, it seemed like a good time to go trail running with the lightweight Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens. After photographing some distant storms from a high vantage point, I took a direct hit from one of them. But, that was good news. Rain storms make rainbows and this one delivered superbly.
 
Also delivering superbly was the Sigma 100-400. While a telephoto zoom may not seem like a first choice for landscape photography, this focal length range is excellent for that purpose (and many others of course). And, using a telephoto lens for rainbow photography is often a good idea.
 
It was a good night for a run with the camera. In addition to some intense rainbow images, I brought home a large number of nice dramatic sky images including at sunset – and got some exercise.
 
A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 6/10/2017 7:15:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, June 9, 2017
Image quality (results from 5Ds R, 1Ds III and 7D II included), vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens page.
 
I expected better from this lens. It has the same optical design as its predecessor, but ... it is not performing quite as well as the Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Classic Lens I owned and loved for years. Typically, if we think a lens is not performing optimally, we test another copy. But, this is the third copy of this lens we have tested and this one has the most-equal corner performance – it is the best of the three.
 
Here are some comparisons:
 
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus compared to Classic Lens
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus compared to Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus compared to Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus compared to Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus compared to Irix 15mm f/2.4 Lens
 
The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Post Date: 6/9/2017 7:04:14 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the Tested YouTube Channel:
 
Sean works on a quick project to improve our camera lens storage using the shop's Universal Laser Systems laser cutter. This custom Pelican Case storage topper helps label our gear and protect the breakout foam from wearing down over use!
 
B&H carries Pelican cases.
Post Date: 6/9/2017 5:39:32 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom YouTube Channel:
 
Lightroom tips and tricks in 60 seconds or less from longtime Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde.
 
B&H carries Adobe Photography Plan subscriptions.
Post Date: 6/9/2017 5:27:49 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, June 8, 2017
Image quality (results from 5Ds R, 1Ds III and 7D II included), vignetting, flare and distortion test results along with specs, measurements and standard product images have been added to the Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens page.
 
Is the Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens worth over 3x the price of the Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens? That is a question I wanted to answer. Here is the Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 vs. Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens image quality comparison. There are more differences, but ... let me know what you think in the comments.
 
Here are some other comparisons:
 
Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 compared to Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Lens
Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 compared to Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 compared to Irix 15mm f/2.4 Lens
 
The Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama.
Post Date: 6/8/2017 7:15:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
So. Burlington, VT – June 7, 2017: LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, the global leader in reliable wireless control of cameras, flash lighting and light meters, announces today a new update to its ControlTL firmware for Nikon MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios. Firmware version 3.900 for Nikon includes compatibility with the Nikon D5, D500, D7200 and D5500 DSLR cameras as well as compatibility with the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight.
 
Any current owner of the MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 for Nikon can easily install this version via USB and update for free using the PocketWizard Utility.
 
With Nikon firmware version 3.9, Nikon FlexTT5 radios can now have custom IDs installed. Please contact us at info@pocketwizard.com if you are interested in having Custom IDs installed on your Nikon FlexTT5s. The new Nikon firmware also addresses minor bug fixes including improved HyperSync and Auto FP / High Speed Sync performance with the D750.
 
For the complete release notes, please click here.
 
To update your MiniTT1 or FlexTT5 to firmware version 3.9, click here.
 
B&H carries the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio triggers.
Post Date: 6/8/2017 6:14:34 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, June 7, 2017
The release of the Sony a9 introduced yet another intriguing option in the pro sports photography market. As such, you may be curious as to how Sony's first sports-oriented mirrorless full frame camera stacks up against Canon's top-of-the-line full frame DSLR, the EOS-1D X Mark II.
 
Let's first take a look at some of the high level features where the two cameras differ to see how they contrast with one another:
 
Canon EOS-1D X IISony a9
Resolution20.2 MP24.2 MP
Image Processor(s)Dual DIGIC 6+BIONZ X
AF TypeTTL secondary image-forming phase-difference detection system with AF-dedicated CMOS sensorFast Hybrid AF(phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
AF Points61 points (Cross-type AF points: Max. 41 points)693 points (phase-detection AF)
AF Working RangeEV -3 – 18EV -3 – 20
MeteringApprox. 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, 216-zone metering1200-zone evaluative metering
Metering RangeEV 0 – 20EV -3 – 20
Shutter Speed30 - 1/8000Mechanical Shutter: 30 - 1/8000, Electronic Shutter: 30 - 1/32000
LCD3.2" (8.11cm) Clear View LCD II, approx. 1620K dotsTilt type 2.95" (3.0-type) TFT drive, approx. 1440K dots
Continuous Shooting (Max Frame Rate)14fps. with full AF / AE trackingAUTO/Electronic Shutter: High max. 20 fps; Mechanical Shutter: High Max. 5 fps
Wirelessn/aWi-Fi, NFC & Bluetooth
GPSBuilt-inCan be synchronized with connected mobile devices
Memory Card SlotsCF Card (Type I; compatible with UDMA 7 CF cards) & CFast Card (CFast 2.0 supported)Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo/Memory Stick PRO Duo (High Speed) & SD/SDHC/SDXC
Battery LifeApprox. 1210 (at 23°C, AE 50%, FE 50%) 1020 (at 0°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)Approx. Approx. 480 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 650 shots (LCD monitor)
Size6.22 x 6.6 x 3.25" (158.0 x 167.6 x 82.6mm)5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5" (126.9 x 95.6 x 63.0mm)
Weight53.97 oz (1530g)23.7 oz (673g)

By specifications alone, the Sony a9 seems to one-up the Canon 1D X II in almost every major spec category (differences in memory card formats aside). However, the specifications only tell a part of the story; other factors must be considered before deciding between these two cameras.
 
Size, Weight and Battery Life
 
As indicated by the table above, the Sony a9 is smaller and lighter than the Canon 1D X II. And as also evidenced by the table above, a downside to the smaller body is the inability to house a large battery. In other words, you can likely shoot more than twice as many images with the [significantly larger] 1D X II before the battery is exhausted. Adding a battery grip to the a9 doubles battery capacity and adds the extremely useful vertical control buttons, but inevitably reduces the size and weight advantages of the camera.
 
Native Lens Lineup
 
Consider that the EOS-1D X II is Canon's 11th 1-series digital SLR, the long-standing camera maker has had plenty of time to fill out its product line with a wide variety of lenses ideal for sports photography. Aside from the general purposes lenses sometimes used for sports photography, Canon telephoto (and telephoto zoom) lenses often used for sports photography include:
 
Compare the lens selection above to the Sony E-mount lenses available now with a focal length of 300mm or greater:
 
Sony likely has several long telephoto lenses currently in development. However, it's very difficult [i.e., impossible] to take great sports images with lenses that are simply unavailable. For the meantime, Canon likely has a lens to cover your sports needs, no matter what sport you're photographing.
 
Of course, you can use non-native lenses with the Sony a9 when adapters are thrown into the mix. However, expect the AF performance of adapted lenses to be negatively impacted.
 
Viewfinders
 
Viewfinder implementations differ significantly between the Canon 1D X II and the Sony a9, where the Canon body offers a traditional optical viewfinder (with customizable overlays) and the Sony body features an electronic viewfinder. Each type of viewfinder has benefits and drawbacks compared to the other (such as an EVF's elimination of viewfinder blackout times), and Bryan shared his thoughts on the advantages/disadvantages of electronic/optical viewfinders in his article, "Comparing Electronic Viewfinders to Optical Viewfinders" . Be sure to check out the preceeding information to determine which of these systems you may prefer.
 
Durability & Reliability
 
With Canon's tendency to be relatively conservative regarding its 1-series updates, it's safe to say that you can expect their top-of-the-line series to perform reliably in the field, with robust weather sealing keeping the camera operational in adverse conditions.
 
Indeed, the a9 isn't Sony's first foray into the full frame digital camera market. However, it is the first camera Sony has designed specifically for sports photography and the rigors that pursuit entails. The Sony a9 may prove to be as reliable as the 1D X II, but... the first iteration of a company's product line is rarely as refined a competitor's benefitting from many more years of experience in design and manufacture.
 
While we didn't stress test the camera, the Sony a9 with its magnesium alloy frame and weather sealing is designed for the rigors that professionals encounter. Three hours of clay dust created at a dirt track sprint car race turned the camera red, but this issue was completely mitigated by an air blower.
 
Autofocus Performance
 
Based on our tests, the Sony a9 focuses in extremely low light, similar to the 1D X II. Focus accuracy in One Shot mode/ AF-S single focus lock is also very similar between the cameras, although the 1D X II is noticeably faster in One Shot AF mode as the a9 defocuses before focusing again even when the subject has not moved. With subjects moving at a constant rate of speed, the a9 does an excellent job of tracking subjects. However, from our experience, the 1D X II tends to track erratic subjects better and maintains subject tracking as those subjects get closer to the camera.
 
Of course, it's impossible to perform a complete, exhaustive, apples-to-apples comparison between the two cameras' AF systems because conditions are never precisely repeatable. It's possible that either camera’s AF performance could be situationally improved by adjusting the focusing parameters from the default settings.
 
Customer Support
 
Canon is widely recognized as having an excellent support system, including (not not limited to) Canon Professional Services, the division which specifically caters to those who make a living with their imaging gear. The support we have received from Canon USA and Canon Professional Services has over the years has been very good. Canon USA's Customer Service Technicians have been eager to help and knowledgeable when we have needed phone support, and our experience with Canon's repair department (in the few times we've needed a repair) has been equally satisfying.
 
On the other hand, Sony is still in the building process when it comes to customer support for their E-mount camera system. As such, they don't necessarily have a reputation for exemplary customer service [yet]. And that reputation (or lack thereof) is seemingly appropriate, at least considering our own [minimal] experience with Sony Support.
 
Price
 
At the time of this comparison, the Sony a9's MSRP is 25% lower than the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II's MSRP, and that translates to a not-so-insignificant savings. If you're ready for the Sony a9 ecosystem, that savings will certainly be appreciated. For a more versatile, similar-to-a-1D-X-II setup, you may wish to use some of the savings to pick up the Sony VG-C3EM Vertical Grip and an extra battery for increased shooting time and better handling with larger lenses.
 
Unfortunately, your savings experienced by purchasing a Sony a9 may be negated as your lens kit grows, as comparable Sony lenses tend to be more expensive than their Canon counterparts. Check out the Sony a9 vs. Canon EOS 1D X II vs. Nikon D5 price comparison table near the end of the a9 review.
 
Wrap-Up
 
So which pro sports camera body is best for your needs? Well, if you're planning on making a living shooting sports imagery in the very near future, or you've already invested heavily in a Canon system, the EOS-1D X Mark II would likely be the best choice.
 
However, if you're a semi pro or enthusiast sports shooter, and you haven't already invested heavily in a particular camera system, the Sony a9 shows obvious potential and is definitely worth considering if its current lens lineup is appropriate for your needs.
 
Suggested Retailers
 
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II – B&H | Amazon | Adorama | Wex Photographic
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Post Date: 6/7/2017 9:30:05 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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