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 Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Do you need something soon (camera, lens, battery, memory card, etc.)? Now's the time to add the item to your cart and go through the checkout process at B&H before the superstore closes for the Passover holiday.
 
From B&H:
 
Online Ordering
 
Online ordering will pause during the following holiday observance periods:
 
  • 7:15pm Fri Mar 30 until 8:45pm Sun April 1
  • 7:15pm Thu April 5 until 8:45pm Sat April 7
Shipping
 
Orders placed before 4pm ET Thu Mar 29 will be processed prior to the holiday closing.
Orders placed after this time will be processed when we reopen on Sun April 8.
Category: B&H News
Post Date: 3/27/2018 3:43:31 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality test results have been added to the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Lens Page.
 
A full review of this lens should be available very soon.
 
The tiny, inexpensive Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM Lens is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama | WEX.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/27/2018 7:30:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the Adorama YouTue Channel:
 
David Bergman shows you how to get the best color out of your flash gels.
 
Note: Dark gels (especially red) absorb more light and will deform/melt when the gel is taped directly to the flash head and high/continuous flash pulses are used. If taping a dark gel to the flash head, it's best to use a lower flash power and/or slower paced shooting combined with a higher ISO setting in camera to avoid damaging your gel. [Sean]
Post Date: 3/27/2018 6:31:57 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Nikon:
 
Nikon D5
 
Changes from “C” Firmware Version 1.20 to 1.21:
 
  • Fixed the following issue:
    • The camera sometimes had difficulty focusing on subjects in focus points at the edges of the frame.
Download: Nikon D5 Firmware v.1.21
 


Nikon 1 V2
 
Changes from “A”/“B” Firmware Version 1.21 to “A” Firmware Version 1.22/“B” Firmware Version 1.21:
 
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the camera correctly displaying location data acquired with GP-N100 GPS units.
Download: Nikon 1 V2 Firmware v.1.22A / 1.21B
 


Nikon 1 V3
 
Changes from “C” Firmware Version 1.11 to 1.12:
 
  • Fixed an issue that resulted in Auto power off not functioning as expected with DF-N1000 electronic viewfinders.
Download: Nikon 1 V3 Firmware v.1.12
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/27/2018 5:16:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, March 26, 2018
Just posted: Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Tilt-Shift Macro Lens Review.
 
Like the other two TS-E L lenses simultaneously introduced, the Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Tilt-Shift Macro Lens has been hard to find in stock, but Amazon and eBay have this lens at the moment. Orders are being taken at B&H and Adorama.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/26/2018 8:40:21 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Sunday, March 25, 2018
While the full moon is a great and highly-popular photo subject, I'm just as big of a fan of photographing the small crescent phase.
 
Just after the new moon phase, the moon starts trailing the sun into the western horizon and very soon after the new moon, the brightly-visible shape of the moon is a tiny crescent and it descends into sunset colors. The opposite is also true. Just before the new moon, catch the waning crescent moon on the east horizon just before sunrise.
 
On this day at this time, the moon was 2.4% visible. The night before, I could not locate the .2% moon as it set due to its too-close proximity to the sun. The 7.2%-visible moon also looked great the next night, but the higher the moon is, the farther it is from the greatest likelihood of sunset color.
 
Photographing the moon is easy, but to get the moon in a photograph requires the moon to be visible. For the waxing crescent phase, a clear view of western sky just after sunset, or the eastern sky just before sunrise, is minimally required. Clouds can provide some interest and add color, but they can block the key subject. A clear sky nearly assures a visible moon and a bright orange horizon.
 
While the weather is long-term unpredictable, moon phases are highly predictable. The moon takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds to complete a lunar month. If this subject interests you, set a calendar appointment. If one attempt does not work out, just wait for the next opportunity to come in about a month.
 
A consideration for a moon photograph is the foreground. Moon photos can work well with only sky in them, but in this case, I went for a clean mountain range as the base of the image. Something interesting silhouetted in front of the sky also works very well (consider the depth of field required for this). Artificial lighting can be used to change the silhouette to a fully-lit subject.
 
Which focal length should be used to photograph the moon? That depends on how big you want the moon to be. The longer the focal length, the larger the moon will be rendered in the frame. A 1200mm full frame angle of view renders the moon only about 1/3 of the narrow dimension of the frame. Use wider focal lengths to include more sky color and additional elements in the frame. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens is an excellent choice for this purpose, providing a nice range of focal length options.
 
Remember that lunar photography is not extreme low light photography – the illuminated portion of the moon is in direct sunlight. Avoid overexposing the moon. Balancing the brightness of the sky with the brightness of the moon simply involves timing. Start photographing prior to the optimal time and continue until the lighting is past your desired result.
 
I opted to slightly crop the original capture during post processing, making a minor adjustment the overall balance. From a white balance perspective, I warmed the bottom of the frame, cooled the overall balance and added some saturation to pull out the colors. Overall, this is a simple image to capture and having Venus available (that is not a white dust spec on your screen) was a bonus on this particular evening.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Post Date: 3/25/2018 12:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Saturday, March 24, 2018
Fifty mm lenses are useful for many subjects and one of the great uses for tilt-shift lenses is architecture. From a previous Philadelphia visit, I knew where this focal length would work well with plenty of architecture in the frame.
 
The procedure for capturing this image is a rather standard one for me. Scout the location (already had this step done). Show up before sunset with a pair of cameras, lenses and tripods. Set up both using two significantly different focal lengths (cropping can effectively handle smaller differences in focal length, especially when using a 5Ds or 5Ds R camera) and begin photographing the city using a level-on-both-axes camera and a sharp f/8 aperture as the sun sets.
 
When the lights come on, I adjust the aperture to f/16 to gain the starburst effects from the lights. This aperture is not as sharp as f/8 due to the effects of diffraction, but details remain sharp enough (ideal would be to merge the areas of an f/8 image with the star effects of an f/16 image). Also, soon after the lights come on, I begin capturing an underexposed frame periodically so that I could later use it to pull the brightness of some of the lights down (the gridded triangle roof top was especially bright). I adjust the exposure as necessary as the sky darkens and when there is nearly no color left in the sky, I usually pack up and head home.
 
In the end, I usually archive most of the earlier-captured images as the images captured within the ideal 5 minutes of the blue hour are usually my most-preferred. Usually, the perfect timing exposure is f/16 for 30 seconds at ISO 100.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Post Date: 3/24/2018 8:30:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, March 23, 2018

 
Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom CC has so many features that quickly accessing certain tools can be an issue at times. In this video, Benjamin Warde demonstrates some techniques for making Lightroom's user interface a little less cluttered.
 
B&H carries Adobe Photography Plan subscriptions.
Post Date: 3/23/2018 8:27:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
Want a good laugh to start your Friday morning? Press the "Play" button, sit back and relax while watching what a typical marriage proposal looks like these days.
Post Date: 3/23/2018 5:44:28 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, March 22, 2018
From the Canon Digital Learning Center:
The term “cross-type AF” has been used since the late 1980s in the camera industry, but perhaps not always with supporting information to clearly define what is meant by it. In this article, we’ll attempt to explain more clearly what the term means, and why it remains an advantage in SLR AF systems to this day.
Read the entire article at the Canon Digital Learning Center.
 
Want to know how many cross-type AF points your camera has? Check out our Camera Specifications Comparison Tool to find out!
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/22/2018 1:30:19 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
By Sean Setters
 
Take a look at the picture above and try to guess which color gels were used to create the in-camera effect. Then read on.
 
Backstory
 
Last week, Patrick, a friend of the site, emailed us asking for advice on how to photograph school children, in costume, for an upcoming performance of Peter Pan. Patrick said that he would be photographing about 70 kids and would be creating formal portraits in a gymnasium before the kids' initial performance. He had all the necessary equipment, but he simply wanted some guidance on the lighting setup.
 
During our email exchange where we discussed different ideas and setups, I suggested that Patrick might use 2 CTO (orange) gels on his main light and set his camera's white balance to a very cool Kelvin value to get a warm main light against cool (ambient or ungelled flash) fill and/or background light that might simulate theatrical lighting, the same technique that I described in a post from last year.
 
In the end, Patrick decided to go with a more traditional lighting technique that yielded great results. But the email exchange got me thinking about how opposite colors, like orange and blue, can be used to create intriguing images.
 
With a single (or stacked) CTO gel(s), you can vary the color intensity of the gelled light – even to white – in-camera by how much you shift your camera's white balance to blue (for example, using a low Kelvin white balance setting). That means you may be able to neutralize any color by shifting the white balance opposite direction (that's exactly what Auto White Balance does). But that also means that we can shift the color spectrum of our image to the opposite color of any gel by telling the camera that a neutral color target lit by the gelled light is actually neutral with Custom White Balance.
 
With that in mind, take a look at the image atop this post again. What gel (or gels) were used to create the in-camera color effect?
 
Gelling a Flash to Produce the Opposite Color
 
To test out this idea, I flipped through my collection of color gels until I found one that intrigued me – dark green (not the much lighter Plus Green). I honestly couldn't remember what the opposite of green was on the color spectrum and had to ask Google to help me out. The answer, of course, was red. I set up a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, a couple of Canon Speedlites and a mottled gray background for a self-portrait.
 
The first thing I needed to do was photograph a neutral target using the gel. But instead of gelling the flash, I decided to gel the lens. Why the lens? Because my gel was big enough to cover the front element of the lens I was using and, if I had to illuminate a large [white] color target with multiple lights (for example), it would be easier to gel the lens rather than each individual light. I had never tried gelling a lens before, but it seemed to make sense for this purpose. I photographed a white target that filled the frame, illuminated by a bare Speedlite (very low power), using the green-gelled lens. I then used the image to set a Custom White Balance in-camera.
 
I put a flash grid on a Speedlite and pointed it at the background. A few test shots proved I was on the right track; the illuminated areas of the background were red. Now it was time to tackle the main light. I decided to use a gridded 24" collapsible soft box (similar to this) and positioned the soft box so that its light didn't contaminate the background (camera right, slightly behind me, pointed slightly toward the camera). I attached two gels to this flash, the green gel that I had used to create the custom white balance (in essence, turning the flash's output white) and a full CTO to provide some warmth.
 
As for the fill light, I decided to simply open the curtains on the windows behind the camera and let the daylight ambient light left the shadow areas. I reasoned that the indirect sunlight would be close enough in color to my bare flash that the effect would be similar, and even if they weren't, exact/precise color balance wasn't necessarily the point of this exercise. As long as the result looked interesting and illustrated the concept sufficiently, I was going to be happy. However, a few test shots confirmed that the color of the fill light looked similar to the light on the background, at least as far as this colorblind photographer was concerned. I also know that adding the additional CTO to the main light likely caused a less pronounced difference between its color and that of the background, but I thought the less dramatic color shift would make the image look a little more organic. After it was all said and done, I had a portrait with a red background and a red fill light with a much-less-red-tinted main light – in camera – without using a single red gel. EXIF for the image was f/4, 1/160 sec, ISO 800. In hindsight, I could have easily used a slower shutter speed and a lower ISO, but I was so used to using 1/160 second when using off-camera flashes with radio triggers to kill the ambient that I didn't think to adjust the shutter speed when I actually wanted the ambient to play a supporting role in the lighting.
 
When might this concept come in handy? Well, if you wanted your overall scene to be a certain color, but you didn't have that color gel in our kit, you could use the opposite color to shift your white balance to get similar results. Or, if you simply don't have enough gels for a multiple light setup, you could again shift the color spectrum of all your lights using a gel of the opposite color. This won't likely be a technique that gets you out of a jam, but... it can certainly be a fun technique to experiment with, and thinking about color balance and how to manipulate it in different ways may prove beneficial down the line.
 
B&H sells color gels for flashes.
Post Date: 3/22/2018 11:16:44 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Opteka 12mm f/2.8 Lens in stock with free expedited shipping.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Mounts: Canon EF-M, Nikon CX, Sony E, Fujifilm X, MFT
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • HD Anti-Reflection Coating
  • Manual Focus Operation
  • 9-Blade Diaphragm
Post Date: 3/22/2018 10:02:52 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
The Canon EOS M50 is scheduled to be in stock at B&H, Adorama and the Canon Store on Monday, March 26.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
  • UHD 4K and HD 720p120 Video Recording
  • Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC, Bluetooth
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Extended ISO 51200, 10 fps Shooting
  • Combination 5-Axis Image Stabilization
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 3/22/2018 7:22:41 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, March 21, 2018
From Venus Optics:
 
Featuring a 113° Angle of View, Ultra-fast f/2.8 aperture, close-to-zero distortion, 49mm filter thread & less than 0.5 pounds in weight, this is a perfect ultra-wide option for still & videographers.
 
Anhui China, Mar 21, 2018 – Venus Optics, the camera lenses manufacturer who had previously launched a number of unique Laowa camera lenses, is proud to announce the world’s widest rectilinear f/2.8 lens for mirrorless APS-C cameras, Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero- D.
 
Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D is the third member of the Laowa ‘Zero-D’ line-up and they all feature an excellent control of the optical distortion which is commonly appeared in ultrawide angle lenses. This new lens is an ultra-wide & ultra-fast prime lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of around 13mm. Despite the extreme specifications, Venus Optics has successfully minimized the weight of the lens to less than 0.5 pounds (215g) and 2-inch (53mm) long. This compact and light lens comprises of 15 elements in 10 groups with 2 pcs of aspherical elements and 3 pcs of Extra-low dispersion elements. This optical design successfully minimizes the distortion and chromatic aberrations to its lowest but at the same time, delivers a superb optical performance from corners to corners.
 
The extreme 113° angle of view and ultra-fast f/2.8 aperture allows photographers to create impressive astro-photography shots with ease. It also gives photographers a fast and wide-angle option for landscape photography and low-light shooting. For videographers, the compact size of this lens is friendly to the use of gimbals or even handheld shooting without much of shaking. The lens is designed with a 49mm filter thread which gives additional portability for screw-in filters. It comes with both Sony E, Fuji X & EOS-M mounts.
 
Specifications
 
Focal Length9mm
Max. Aperturef/2.8
Angle of View113°
Format CompatibilityAPS-C
Lens Structure15 elements in 10 groups
Aperture Blades7
Min. Focusing Distance12cm
Max. Magnification01:07.5
Filter Thread49mm
Dimensions60 x 53mm
Weight215g
MountsFuji X, Sony E, Canon EF-M
Availability
 
The Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D is currently available to pre-order at authorized resellers. Recommended Retail Price in US (without tax) is USD $499.00. Pricing may vary in different countries.
 
The first 100 orders will get a set of Laowa 49mm filters for FREE (CPL + UV + ND1000). Shipping is expected to start from early April.
 
B&H carries Venus Optics Laowa lenses.
Post Date: 3/21/2018 7:28:44 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
 
I spent this past Saturday morning at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge with the hopes of photographing a few birds while I was there. Unfortunately, opportunities to photograph my intended subjects were few and far between as it's just past the peak season for waterfowl in the area.
 
Egret Savannah Wildlife Refuge March 17 2018

However, as the image atop this post illustrates, there were definitely other subjects that deserved my attention. It seems that I wasn't the only top-level predator who was interested in the waterfowl.
 
American Alligator Savannah Wildlife Refuge March 17 2018 #2

There were plenty of warnings in the visitor's center that alligators were present in the refuge, but reading a warning doesn't invoke the same heart rate increase as seeing a pair of eyes and a snout just above the water line within 20 feet of you as you walk along a pathway.
 
And that got me thinking. When photographing birds, it's often ideal to photograph them from ground or water level, which means you will likely be positioned near the water's edge and in a rather defenseless, prone position. Unfortunately for us photographers, that's the same area where alligators find their easiest meals.
 
American Alligator Savannah Wildlife Refuge March 17 2018 #3

Of course, it's important to put hazard into context – attacks by American alligators are very rare. Since 2010, there have only been 6 confirmed deaths attributed to the species. However, I'd suggest taking a few precautions to ensure you're not the next unlucky one.
 
American Alligator Range

When you're photographing in a marshy area/wetland within the American alligator's range, here are a few things to keep in mind:
 
  • Avoid the water's edge and especially don't crouch down next to it. An American alligator can sprint at about 11 miles per hour (17.7 kph) for short distances. Alligators don't like chasing after prey, so the farther away from the water's edge you are, the less appealing you'll appear even to a particularly hungry one.
  • Stay alert. You are most vulnerable when looking through the viewfinder, so look around before doing so and try to minimize viewfinder usage as much as possible.
  • Alligators, like crocodiles, often work in teams. If you see one, there's a good chance there's another one (or more) nearby.
  • Alligators are most active from dusk to dawn, so try to avoid traversing alligator-prone areas during those times.
  • If you are attacked by an alligator, make as much noise as possible and fight back by hitting, kicking and poking it in the eyes. Alligators will often release prey and retreat when they cannot easily overpower it. Of course, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Of course, you may find yourself in the same situation as me where the alligators prove to be the most interesting subjects available at the time. By staying away from the water's edge, remaining alert and minimizing use of your viewfinder, you can relatively safely photograph alligators using the same equipment ideal for bird photography; that is, a very long telephoto lens.
Post Date: 3/21/2018 12:25:34 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
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