Canon and Sony News for Dec 2014 (Page 3)

 Thursday, December 4, 2014

While the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is without a doubt an awesome bird photography camera, the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens is near the bottom of my bird photography lens list. Don't take me wrong – the 24 STM is a great little lens (a great bargain), but making a bird large enough in the 24mm frame to be relevant requires a very short subject distance or a short subject distance and a very large bird.
 
But, as this image proves (to me at least), the 24mm focal length can capture birds under ideal conditions. These ideal conditions with a wild bird in them come very infrequently, but ... one came to me this week. Here is the story:
 
I was outside giving the 24 STM lens a workout prior to wrapping up its review. We had a light snow followed by freezing rain overnight and warming air temps created a dense fog. Dense fog means low contrast which means evaluating lens image quality performance is compromised. But, these conditions can make for moody images and I was searching for something interesting.
 
After exploring the yard and surroundings, I came to like this lightly snow-and-ice-covered spruce tree best. I honed in on the set of branches shown in this image, working on placing the lines of branches and needles into an interesting composition. Still, I was looking at an only average image. It needed something.
 
Then my daughter walked out of the house announcing "I have a cardinal!" The unfortunate bird had made a navigational error and impacted a window of the house. Brittany had rescued the bird from the shrubbery.
 
In this part of the world, at this time of the year, no other bird is as beautifully colored as the cardinal and perhaps no other subject can make a snowy image pop more perfectly than a cardinal. As the bird gathered its wits, I placed it on the ideal branch in my composition and captured some images of it – from any distance I desired.
 
I knew that I wanted the cardinal large in the frame. Large in the 24mm frame meant moving in close, which also helped reduce the amount of background showing in the modestly-wide 24mm angle of view (on an APS-C/1.6x DSLR). Being close enough to the bird for the ideal large-in-the-frame composition meant that I had to be very careful to not make one part of the bird (such as the wing) look unusually large in relation to the rest of the bird (perspective distortion). A slightly forward-of-the-bird position seemed to work the best and the spruce branches provide leading lines to draw a viewer's eye to the bird (in case the color contrast was not enough). The bird was not completely still and capturing the right head position (looking slightly toward the camera) required good timing.
 
To have this ideal subject show up and cooperate for a few minutes at this exact time was divine. The cardinal flew away, apparently unharmed, not long after this picture was captured.


A larger version of this image is available on Google+, Flickr and Facebook.

Post Date: 12/4/2014 11:46:15 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

From DxO:

December 4, 2014 – DxO announces the immediate availability of DxO OpticsPro v10.1, the latest update to its imageprocessing software of reference for all demanding photographers. DxO OpticsPro v10.1 is now compatible with Lightroom and other third-party software’s star ranking systems, has improved the speed at which it displays its visual presets in Windows, and has enriched its DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint plugins.

This update also allows DxO OpticsPro 10 to support the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and PowerShot G7 X, the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition, the Panasonic Lumix DMC- ZS40, and the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Also available, DxO FilmPack v5.0.1 and DxO ViewPoint 2.5.1 support these same cameras as well (except for the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition, the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus for DxO FilmPack v5.0.1).

Based on a rigorous scientific calibration of photographic equipment in DxO’s laboratories, DxO OpticsPro 10 offers the most powerful tools for automatically processing RAW and JPEG images: revolutionary PRIME denoising technology, DxO Smart Lighting intelligent exposure optimization, and DxO ClearView elimination of haze. Its many controls allow photographers to adapt the processing to their own tastes so as to bring out the best in their photos in just a few clicks.

DxO OpticsPro v10.1 is available in two editions, ESSENTIAL and ELITE, for Mac and PC.

B&H carrries DxO Optics Pro 10.

Posted to: Canon News, Nikon News, Sony News   Category: DxO News
Post Date: 12/4/2014 9:05:16 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, December 3, 2014

For a limited time, DigitalRev has the Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 Di II LD Macro Lens available for $359.00. Compare at $524.00.

Note: When purchased by US customers, items sold by DigitalRev are considered grey market.

Post Date: 12/3/2014 1:36:50 PM CT   Posted By: Sean

From the Canon Professional Network:

"In an in-depth interview with CPN, Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle took time out of the post-production of his latest film with director Ron Howard, In the Heart of the Sea, to explain how he came to the moving image and how Canon's cameras have played a recurring role in his creative development throughout his illustrious career…"
The video interview spans almost half an hour and has been pretty interesting thus far (I'm about 10 minutes into it). [Sean]

Post Date: 12/3/2014 12:23:28 PM CT   Posted By: Sean

Did you know you can change the standard Lightroom 5.x splash screen to make it completely your own? And it's easier than you think!

Directions:

1) Create a JPEG or a PNG image no larger than 900 x 600 pixels (WxH). If you'd like, you can our sample splash screen.

The Digital Picture.com Splash Screen in PS CC

2) Place the image in the Lightroom 5 Spash Screen folder (if the folder does not already exist, create it):

  • Windows – Users/[username]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Lightroom/Splash Screen
  • Mac – Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Splash Screen

3) Start the Lightroom 5 application and enjoy your new custom splash screen!

Before:

Lightroom 5 Splash Screen

After:

Lightroom 5 with The-Digital-Picture.com Splash Screen

This is a great idea for anyone who shows photos to clients in Lightroom. It's also a great tip for anyone who wants to impress their photography friends. :-)

Adobe offers Photoshop CC & Lightroom 5 for $9.99 per month.

Posted to: Canon News, Nikon News, Sony News   
Post Date: 12/3/2014 11:52:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

B&H has updated the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM's availability status with, "Item available for preorder and will ship beginning Fri, Dec 12." (thanks Emory)

Posted to: Canon News   
Post Date: 12/3/2014 6:50:06 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

From Canon:

Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced that Canon, a world-leader in imaging solutions, has joined the family of Rugby World Cup 2015 official sponsors. The deal represents the first time that Canon has partnered with rugby’s showcase event, underscoring the strength and appeal of the Rugby World Cup brand in the global sponsorship marketplace.

RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Canon to the Rugby World Cup family as an official sponsor for the first time. This exciting deal with a global leader in imaging further underscores the prestige of the Rugby World Cup brand in the global marketplace as we look forward to what promises to be a very special and record-breaking England 2015 tournament (held between September 18 and October 31, 2015).”

James Leipnik, Chief of Communication, Canon Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We are thrilled to extend our long history of involvement in the world’s best sporting events by supporting the Rugby World Cup for the first time. Images play a vital role in bringing the emotions and action of global sports to fans that are not able to experience the events in person.”

Leipnik added: “Our participation presents us with exciting opportunities to support professional photographers and fans with our imaging expertise, as they capture and share world class rugby moments throughout the tournament.”

During Rugby World Cup 2015, Canon will be undertaking a range of activities as an official sponsor, including providing print and copying solutions used by the tournament organisers.

Canon will also be working with Rugby World Cup Limited to deliver a range of image-related initiatives to enhance the spectator experience during the tournament. The Canon Professional Services (CPS) team will be on-site sharing their imaging expertise and helping professional photographers to get the perfect shot throughout the tournament. The dedicated team of CPS technicians at Rugby World Cup 2015 will provide accredited professional photographers with advice, essential maintenance services, equipment loans and help with minor equipment repairs.

Canon’s support of Rugby World Cup 2015 represents a further boost to the commercial programme – the announcement of Canon’s sponsorship follows the appointment of Heineken, Land Rover, Société Générale, DHL, Emirates and MasterCard as Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners, Gilbert as Official Ball Supplier, Canterbury of New Zealand as Official Sportswear Supplier, Clifford Chance as Official Law Firm, EY as Business Advisor and Sportfolio as Master Licensee.

Posted to: Canon News   
Post Date: 12/3/2014 6:17:24 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, December 2, 2014

If you use your photography equipment long enough, you will undoubtedly be put into a situation that compromises an upcoming planned shoot. Accidental drops and water submersion are two likely scenarios that can leave you without a camera and/or lens when you may need it most.

That's why Canon is highlighting their Canon Professional Services (CPS) in this series of promotional videos, "Support Matters." In each case, CPS stepped up to the plate when a photographer/videographer needed them most.

On a personal note, both Bryan and I are CPS members and we have called them on several occasions. In every case, we found a friendly, knowledgeable, helpful person on the other end of the line. CPS has earned a great reputation among professional photographers and this series is a good demonstration as to why.

Check out the entire video series on http://supportmatters.pro.usa.canon.com/.

Posted to: Canon News   Category: Canon Professional Services
Post Date: 12/2/2014 11:46:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

By Sean Setters

When it comes to Canon lenses, newer is always better. We know that Canon doesn't typically release a lens update unless it can improve upon performance, build quality or features. It's the natural evolution of technology that we all benefit from in the long run.

But are there times when buying an older / used lens makes sense? I think so – and that's why I recently purchased a used Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Tilt-Shift Lens. More on that later.

Here are some of the reasons why you might consider and older, used lens in place of a new one:

  1. Budget Constraints - Canon isn't in the habit of releasing new, better lenses at prices below their predecessors. Sometimes the increase is minimal; in other cases, the difference in price can be substantial. A new lens debuting at a significant premium over its predecessor can actually drive up the price of the older lens on the used market. However, the predecessor can [usually] still be purchased for significantly less than the retail price of a newly released lens.
  2. Limited Intended Use - I consider some lenses to be "special use" lenses, meaning I won't be reaching for them on a regular basis. If I don't plan on using the lens often, I'm more likely to make compromises on the purchase. Slightly lower IQ, more distortion, or lack of "IS" are often tradeoffs that may be tolerable if I won't be using the lens regularly.
  3. New Lens Features Unneeded - A good example of this is when Canon releases a new lens with the addition of built-in image stabilization. A couple of years ago I picked up a used EF 300mm f/4 L USM (non-IS) for around $500.00. As I wanted the lens to photograph sports, I reasoned that the image stabilization would have minimal benefit when using action stopping shutter speeds in broad daylight. I've been using the lens for two years now and it's worked very well for its intended use. If making the same purchase today, assuming you could pick up a used EF 300mm f/4 L USM for the same price, you'd save $850.00 over the after-rebate price of the IS model.
  4. Wide Aperture Performance Not a Priority - Most new lenses released by Canon display a noticeable improvement in wide-open image quality over their predecessor. But when it comes to the image quality at f/5.6 and f/8, the differences are usually much less discernible. If you don't plan on using a lens in low ambient conditions, you might find it easier to compromise wide-open image quality in the older lens.
So why did I choose to purchase a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L that was originally released in 1991 (although mine was manufactured in 2004) over the undoubtedly better (and significantly newer) TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II? It's a combination of the reasons listed above.

First, I don't really plan on using the TS-E very often. Yes, I'll do a few real estate jobs with it, but it's never going to be a lens I'm reaching for on a daily basis. Also, because this lens will be used primarily for architecture, I'll be using narrow apertures more often than not making wide aperture image quality less of a priority. One relatively significant compromise I made by purchasing the older model lens was losing the ability to do tilt and shift adjustments independently of one another. By that, I mean that I can only shift at a perpendicular angle to my shift (whereas you can perform both adjustments independently of one another in the new model). But considering I picked up the lens for $620.00 and in excellent condition, the relatively small concessions I made ended up saving me $1,379.00 over the retail price of the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II. That's no small chunk of change and the extra money in my pocket makes my concessions that much easier to live with.

Risks of Buying Used

There are always risks involved with buying used products. You may not be able to obtain satisfactory answers to questions such as, "How well was the item cared for by its previous owner(s)?" or "Is there a deficiency in the lens that is undiscernible by the product pictures shown?"

eBay is a great venue for purchasing used gear. However, dealing with personal sales on eBay can be challenging when/if you are unsatisfied with purchase. It's best to only bid on items from sellers with high positive feedback ratings. If the seller has a liberal return policy, that's certainly a plus. While most of my dealings on eBay have been very positive, be warned – there will always be more risk in purchasing used products on eBay compared to buying new/retail ones.

You can also check out B&H's Used Department. You may not save as much as you would bidding on eBay, but B&H does offer a 90-day warranty on most of their used products, meaning there is significantly less risk involved with the purchase.

Another risk to consider when purchasing older lenses is that Canon may not be able to service your lens if it breaks. And even if they can fix it, how much will the out-of-warranty service repair bill eat into your initial purchase savings?

With all things considered, though, purchasing an older model /used lens can make a lot of sense under the right circumstances – and may end up saving you a bundle in the process.

Posted to: Canon News, Nikon News, Sony News   
Post Date: 12/2/2014 10:06:38 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

From the B&H YouTube Channel:

Andy Mann's presentation covers his crooked path to professional photography, examining how digital storytelling is evolving, and sharing stories and images from some of his recent assignments to Fiji, Greenland, Russia, & Africa.

His show is part misadventure and part miracle. It’s a self-evaluation and a unique window into the modern age of storytelling. For more info on Andy's work check our his website: http://www.andymann.com

Post Date: 12/2/2014 6:59:01 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

From the Profoto YouTube Channel:

Are you famous? If so, you probably had your portrait taken by Mark Seliger. If not, you have most definitely seen his iconic portraits. Perhaps it was the one of Kurt Cobain, Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie or P Diddy, to name just a few examples.

We recently had the privilege of meeting this master of portrait photography. The meeting resulted in five unique videos, in which Seliger shares his thoughts on lighting and portrait photography.

This particular video was shot during a shoot with rockstar Lenny Kravitz. In this, Seliger talks about the friendship between a photographer and a musician, and how the two hit the streets for some classy on-location portraits.

B&H carries Profoto gear.

Post Date: 12/2/2014 6:39:50 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, December 1, 2014

The historic Inner Harbor seaport is a showcase of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. While I was looking for interesting and creative photos in general on a day trip to this location, my ultimate goal for was to come away with a picture that captured the spirit of Inner Harbor in a single frame. Since I had only the latter part of the day to shoot, I was targeting sunset and the blue hour for that photo.
 
My afternoon scouting showed that the west side of the harbor offered my favorite view, one that included the most photogenic landmark buildings including the National Aquarium and Baltimore's World Trade Center. From the selected vantage point, the Hard Rock Cafe and Phillips signs also stood out and all of the colorful lights reflected in the water.
 
Not all waterfront is harbor, so the Lightship Chesapeake and the USS Torsk submarine docked in the background helped depict this waterfront properly as such. Of course, what finishes off the capture of the spirit of Baltimore's Inner Harbor better than a boat aptly named Inner Harbor Spirit docked in the foreground?
 
After selecting the specific location I wanted for my key photo, I captured a variety of photos using various lenses and focal lengths (there was no getting closer happening here). The scene shown in this sample picture was my favorite and I have it captured at various times during sunset including some with nicely pink clouds in the sky. The image shown here was captured just before total darkness. At that time, a 30 second exposure allowed a smooth motion blur of the very calm harbor, an f/16 aperture caused the lights to show a starburst effect without imparting a too-severe amount of softening of the image (due to diffraction) and the combination of 30 seconds and f/16 allowed a deep blue sky color to be retained.
 
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens is a nice lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is of course an awesome camera. This photo is basically as-shot. Based on the Standard Picture Style (in DPP), I cloned out a few paint tiny imperfections on the ship and reduced the brightness of the Hard Rock Cafe sign, Phillips sign and the side of the aquarium using an HDR technique that utilized a darker exposure showing through the primary exposure at those positions in the frame.


A larger version of this image is available on Google+, Facebook and Flickr.

 
Camera and Lens Settings
24mm  f/16.0  30s
ISO 100
5760 x 3840px
Post Date: 12/1/2014 10:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

"How well does the Canon EOS 7D Mark II perform when shooting birds in flight?" has quickly become a frequently asked question. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II, especially because of its high performance AF system, high density imaging sensor, fast frame rate and modest-for-what-you-get price, is quickly finding favor with bird photographers. And, one of the biggest challenges faced by bird photographers is maintaining focus on birds in flight. Thus, the question is getting asked.
 
I had the privilege of spending the larger part of a day shooting bald eagles below the Conowingo Dam in northern Maryland with the 7D II this week. My goal was to discern how well this AF system could track the often-erratic movement of these beautiful birds in flight (and to hopefully come away with some nice images).
 
The day's moderate-to-heavy cloud cover eliminated any harsh shadow issues, but made the sky a white canvas (white sky is OK, but is not my favorite) and provided low light to further challenge the AF system. The bottom line is that I'm really impressed with my success rate from this day.
 
I was using the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens with and without a Canon EF 1.4x III Extender behind it. Tracking these fast and erratic-moving birds with such a narrow angle of view was quite challenging, but when I kept the selected center AF point or one of the 4 neighboring AF points (based on the AF area I was using) on or even close to the bird I was tracking, most of the images were properly focused. Especially impressive was the ability of this camera to maintain focus on the birds even with backgrounds that the birds visually blended into and even more impressive was this camera's ability to maintain focus on the birds even with high contrasting backgrounds including electrical line towers and bare tree branches against a bright sky. I was using the AF Case 2 to instruct the camera to be slow to leave a tracked subject due to obstacles.
 
This camera is a great choice for bird photography. The consensus that I'm hearing from the other photographers frequenting Conowingo Dam is that their 7D Mark II experiences mirror my own.
 
After catching its dinner, this eagle in the above picture flew directly toward the camera. I began tracking and shooting at 10 fps. I have numerous good images of this eagle, but this was the most-frame-filling that did not cut off any significant amount of the bird. This image is essentially right out of the camera. I extended the canvas slightly to the bottom, added the extreme tip of the two bottom-most feathers and removed imperfections from a couple of other feathers. I changed the Picture Style to Standard (in DPP), changed saturation to "1", white balance to "Cloudy" and added a touch of noise reduction.
 
I have added a 10 fps burst example of flying eagles (a juvenile chasing an adult with a fish) to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Review. The wing positioning shown in this series of images will assure you that 10 fps is definitely not too fast and at times, I needed a frame between the neighboring frames – such as at the moment the eagles grabbed a fish in the water.


A larger version of this image is available on Google+, Facebook and Flickr.

Posted to: Canon News   Category: Photo Tips and Stories
Post Date: 12/1/2014 8:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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