Canon, Nikon, and Sony News for Jul 2015

 Friday, July 31, 2015
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Review.
 
When the distances get long and/or the subjects get small, this is my go-to lens.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/31/2015 12:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, July 30, 2015
From Canon USA:
 
MELVILLE N.Y., July 30, 2015 - Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today has introduced the Company's first multi-purpose camera, the new ME20F-SH, which delivers exceptionally high sensitivity to capture Full HD video with a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux1 (at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000). Nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries are just some of the ME20F-SH's many possible usage applications. With the ability to capture color video in extreme low-light conditions and its simplistic and versatile design, the ME-20F-SH Multi-purpose Camera can be easily incorporated into existing infrastructures and systems to provide high-quality video capture even where subjects might not be seen with the naked eye.
 
Canon's new multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor for Full HD video use that was originally developed by the Company in 20132. Its compact, modular body design allows easy custom configurations for diverse usage scenarios. While capturing video in extreme low-light conditions often requires the use of infrared illumination (a technique that only yields video in black and white), the ME20F-SH camera achieves impressive high-sensitivity performance enabling the capture of color Full HD video with reduced noise in low-light conditions without the need for infrared illumination.
 
Ultra-High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor Enables Color Video Capture in Extreme Low-Light Conditions
The ME20F-SH camera's CMOS sensor has pixels measuring 19 µm square3, which is more than 5.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in select top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras4. Furthermore, the sensor's pixels and readout circuitry make use of Canon proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity on subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux. This multi-purpose camera allows users to discern subjects under even some of the dimmest lighting conditions, such as environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky. Furthermore, similar to Canon's Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH camera includes Canon Log and Wide DR, which make possible a wide dynamic range, delivering high-image-quality video results across a range of illumination environments, from low- to brightly lit conditions.
 
Canon's Diverse Interchangeable EF Lens Lineup Enables Wide Range of Imaging Possibilities
The new ME20F-SH employs the same EF mount (Cinema Lock type) as Canon's SLR cameras and Cinema EOS System-series of professional digital cameras, allowing users to make use of the Company's extensive lineup of interchangeable EF lenses5. By letting users select the ideal lens based on their shooting or application requirements, taking into consideration such factors as angle of view and level of brightness, this multi-purpose camera facilitates a wide spectrum of imaging possibilities.
 
Supports various standard video-recording interfaces
Employing output-only 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI terminals, Canon's ME20F-SH camera enables users working on location to output video via a single cable to a variety of peripheral equipment, including external recorders and monitors. Equipped with a f2.5mm stereo mini-jack and a round 8-pin jack for RS-422, the multipurpose camera is capable of connecting with Canon's RC-V100 Remote Controller (released in June 2014; sold separately)6. By allowing users to operate the camera or change settings from a remote location, the camera facilitates video capture from inaccessible locations as well as fixed-point surveillance. Furthermore, a f3.5mm stereo mini-jack allows the camera to connect with an external microphone, enabling users working on location to output audio and video signals to connected peripheral equipment.
 
The Canon ME20F-SH is expected to be available in December 2015 at a suggested retail price of $30,000.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/30/2015 6:38:35 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Review.
 
Another fantastic all-around-performing lens.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/29/2015 9:53:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
From Nikon:
 
July 28, 2015 – TOKYO – Today, Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce that the total production of NIKKOR lenses(1) for Nikon interchangeable lens cameras reached the ninety-five million milestone in mid-July 2015.
 
Nikon continues to introduce new NIKKOR lenses utilizing cutting-edge technologies cultivated over its long history, including their legendary Nano Crystal Coat. Acting as a powerful anti-reflection coating, the Nano Crystal Coat is built to significantly reduce instances of ghosting and flare. NIKKOR lens technologies combine Phase Fresnel (PF) elements with a superior chromatic aberration capability making lenses smaller and lighter. Additionally, incorporating fluorite lens elements has allowed telephoto lenses to be much more compact than in the past. NIKKOR lenses now feature a fluorine coat that help repel a variety of contaminants such as dust, dirt, water, oils and grease.
 
In January 2015, Nikon introduced the new AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR; the world’s lightest 300mm full-frame fixed focal length AF lens(2). Compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras, this new telephoto lens incorporates Phase Fresnel (PF) optical technology to help correct chromatic aberration and reduce the overall size and weight of the lens, making it portable and useful for fulfilling one’s photographic vision.
 
Additionally, Nikon recently announced the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, two new FX-format super-telephoto lenses. Each boasts a maximum aperture of f/4, offering photographers the ability to fill the frame and create dramatic separation between subject and background. With the incorporation of two fluorite lens elements, the NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR are the lightest lenses in their respective classes(3). Furthermore, Nikon also released the versatile AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR lens, offering a high-performance, 5x zoom range for Nikon DX-format camera users. This lens incorporates the latest optical design technologies in addition to Nikon's highly durable fluorine coat.
 
1) Interchangeable lenses for Nikon SLR cameras and Nikon 1 Advanced Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses.
 
2) Among 300mm fixed focal length (prime) autofocus lenses compatible with FX-format digital SLR cameras and available as of announcement in Jan 6, 2015. Statement based on Nikon research.
 
3) AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR: Among 500mm fixed focal length (prime) autofocus lenses with a maximum aperture of f/4 compatible with digital SLR cameras equipped with a full-size image sensor and available as of announcement in July 2, 2015. AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR : Among 600mm fixed focal length (prime) autofocus lenses compatible with digital SLR cameras equipped with a full-size image sensor and available as of announcement in, July 2, 2015. Both statements are based on Nikon research.

 
B&H carries Nikon Nikkor lenses.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 7/29/2015 7:33:52 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From PhotoPlus Expo:
 
Register now and join everyone in the industry for the photography event of the year at Javits Center in New York City!
 
Experience over 100 educational seminars, Master Classes, Photo Walks and the largest display of new products and creative solutions to touch, try and compare from over 200 exhibitors.
 
New for 2015
 
  • 4 Days of Education
  • All the Latest Products
  • New Speakers & Seminars
  • Young Adult Pass (17-25 years old)
Save up to 30% on all conference passes when you become a PHOTO+ Member (WPPI, PhotoServe.com).
 
Register Now
Post Date: 7/29/2015 7:25:36 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Review.
 
There is more than one reason why this lens is "Super".
 
B&H has the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/28/2015 6:57:57 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, July 27, 2015
by Sean Setters
 
In this day and age, Facebook is as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola (and maybe even more so). As such, I'm guessing that most of our site visitors have Facebook accounts. With that in mind, I thought I would share some things to keep in mind when making your profile cover photo.
 
First of all, the cover photo is that wide, panoramic-looking image that adorns the top of a user's profile. As a photographer, this space offers a great opportunity to show off your skills and/or creativity. But to create an image with the greatest impact, you need to understand the following:
 
1) The Facebook cover photo’s dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels.
Utilizing the space accordingly means having to keep that [uncommon] aspect ratio in mind. I strongly suggest uploading your cover photo at a resolution of 2048 x 768px so that it looks best when someone clicks on the image to view it full screen.
 
2) The image is blocked in several areas, either by the profile picture or by the user’s name or miscellaneous buttons.
Understanding where those visual blockages occur can help with deciding on your image's composition. We've designed a handy Photoshop CS5 (and later) template to help you out with that.
 
3) Facebook darkens the bottom part of your cover photo with a gradient.
Not only is a substantial amount of the bottom part of the image blocked by various buttons, but you'll notice that the bottom part of your cover photo image is darkened. Be sure to keep this in mind when choosing your image framing as this darkening can further de-emphasize this part of the image.
 
4) Only the bottom half of your cover image will be seen when someone loads your profile on a computer.
When someone clicks on your profile, only the bottom half of the cover photo is visible. The full cover photo is only displayed if the user scrolls up. Update: In Fall 2017, Facebook rolled out an update that displayes the entire cover photo when viewing user profiles. (thanks Rich!)
 
5) Your cover photo will look completely different on mobile devices as only the center part of your cover photo will be displayed.
If you care about how your image will look on mobile devices (and you probably should), then you must keep in mind that mobile devices will display only the middle-part of your image (just how much of the "middle-part" shows depends on the device's orientation and resolution).
 
Here's what you'll see when opening the Cover Photo Template:
 
Facebook Cover Photo Template TDP on Load

How to use the template:
 
  1. Crop your image using a ratio of 851 by 315. Downsize the image to 2048 pixels wide. Otherwise, simply import your photo at 100% resolution and downsize/position the image for optimal framing. If you import at 100%, you'll need to crop your cover photo before exporting it for use (851x315 ratio)
  2. Place the image in the layer group named "Place 2048px Cover Photo Here" and position the image so that it snaps into an upper corner of the template.
  3. If you'd like to watermark your image, place your watermark just above your cover photo layer and position it for optimal visibility, taking into account the areas of the image which will be covered by various elements.
  4. Use the template to preview how your cover photo will look on the initial load, full monitor and various mobile screens.
  5. If you imported a 2048px resolution image and you're happy with it, you can simply upload it to Facebook using the small camera icon at the top/left of your profile picture. If you imported a larger image, you'll need to turn off the overlay group layer and crop the image using an 851x315 ratio selection box and save the image for uploading.
You can toggle the visibility of the smartphone and initial view guide layer group to see your entire cover photo in all its glory. You can also get rid of the PS guides by pressing CONTROL+H for a much cleaner view.
 
Bonus Tip: The guides can be used to create a continuous cover photo where your image continues through your profile picture (like the one at the top of this post). In order to get it right, you'll need to do the following:
 
  1. Make a square selection on your cover photo layer that encompasses the part of the image that is covered by the profile picture.
  2. I'm not quite sure why, but to get it to line up just right on Facebook, you'll need to move the selection down by pressing the down arrow twice.
  3. Edit --> Crop
  4. Make the Overlay Group Layer invisible and save your new profile picture.
  5. When updating your profile picture on Facebook, be sure to set the Zoom/Crop to none. Otherwise, Facebook will default to a zoom/crop that does not include the white area at the bottom of the image.
Did I miss any good tips/considerations when making a cover photo? Let us know in the comments.
Post Date: 7/27/2015 8:51:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Post Date: 7/27/2015 8:01:21 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Canon has released its financial results for the second quarter of 2015. We suggest checking out the easy-to-understand, graphically-enhanced Presentation Material.
 
Relevant Article:
Canon cuts outlook as weak camera sales hit second-quarter profit
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/27/2015 7:34:01 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
For a limited time, B&H has the Lensbaby Special Edition Spark 50mm f/2 Lens for Canon/Nikon available for $59.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $129.95.
 
If you've ever wanted to experiment with a Lensbaby lens, this looks like a great opportunity to pick one up inexpensively. In fact, I'm adding one to my cart right now. [Sean]
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 50mm Lens with f/2 Aperture
  • Sweet Spot Selective Focus Lens
  • Nine Selectable Bokeh Shapes
  • f/2.8, f/4, and f/5.6 Aperture Discs
Category: Lensbaby Deals
Post Date: 7/27/2015 6:45:51 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, July 24, 2015
24th Jul 2015 – RØDE Microphones is extremely proud to announce its acquisition of legendary audio technology manufacturer, Aphex.
 
RØDE founder and Managing Director, Peter Freedman, today announced the purchase of the US based company, well known for its range of audio signal processing equipment that features various proprietary technologies including the iconic “Aural Exciter”.
 
Founded in the mid-1970s, Aphex (then known as Aphex Systems) has since become one of the music and broadcast industries’ most revered brands, contributing to nearly every commercially successful record for decades. Today, Aphex products and technologies are used in a wide range of applications for music, film, video, theatre, gaming and communications.
 
The company’s legendary “Exciter” technology was inducted into the TEC “TECnology” Hall of Fame in 2013, in recognition of its contribution to improving decades of music and voice for countless artists, albums, movies, TV and radio shows around the world.
 
Aphex is regarded as an innovation leader, holding numerous patents, and licensing to a wide range of brands around the world. With its expertise in manufacturing, RØDE Microphones’ acquisition of Aphex heralds a giant leap for both companies.
 
“Growing up in professional audio as I did, I have always had incredible respect for Aphex.” commented Mr Freedman. “They’ve always been the best in the business at enhancing the recorded audio experience, and that is as true today as it was when the company was founded forty years ago”.
 
“I am so excited about creating the next chapter in the Aphex story, bringing the company’s game-changing technology to a wider audience, and improving the audio of hundreds of thousands of artists, engineers and content creators around the globe”.
 
Aphex will continue to trade as usual.
 
B&H carries Rode microphones.
Category: Rode News
Post Date: 7/24/2015 8:16:08 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
eBay (via GetItDigital) has the Nikon D750 DSLR Camera available for $1,539.99 with free shipping. Compare at $1,996.95 after $300.00 instant savings.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and therefore would not qualify for a Nikon USA warranty or repair service.
Posted to: Nikon News
Category: Nikon Deals
Post Date: 7/24/2015 8:03:46 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, July 23, 2015
From Canon USA:
 
Hunger Games Co-star to Join Hutcherson's Short Film, "The Rusted," Inspired by a Consumer Trailer
 
MELVILLE, N.Y., July 23, 2015 - Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging, announced today that "The Hunger Games" actress Jena Malone has signed on to co-star with Josh Hutcherson in a short film for Canon's Project Imagination: The Trailer, a consumer contest helmed by Ron Howard. Josh Hutcherson and Ron Howard have selected the winning trailer, "Tainted Water" created by Mark Mukherje, a college student from South Florida, to act as the inspiration for the film, "The Rusted," which will go into production this week.
 
"The Rusted" is a psychological thriller, a new genre for Josh Hutcherson, written and directed by Kat Candler ("Hellion") and tells the story of a brother and sister who begin renovating their childhood home into a recording studio, when strange happenings force them to face memories of the past.
 
"Being part of Canon's Project Imagination and working with Ron, Kat and now Jena have really allowed me to express my passion for storytelling," said Josh Hutcherson. "I'm excited to bring the vision to life as a producer on the project and acting opposite a dear friend."
 
"When Josh presented me with the script, I thought it would be fun to do something different together like a psychological thriller and it's hard to pass up a project with Ron Howard behind it," said Jena Malone. "I also love that the film is part of this very cool, creative experiment tapping into consumers to inspire and elevate our imaginations."
 
Project Imagination: The Trailer is the third iteration of Project Imagination, Canon's ongoing initiative to empower creativity in everyone. The program, which launched in February 2015, also marked Ron Howard's third time partnering with Canon, a brand that aligns with his conviction that people's everyday lives are visually and cinematically worth recording, bringing high quality and ease to photo and video capture with Canon cameras and lenses. Consumers of all skill levels were invited to create and submit 60-second trailers and entry level participants could utilize Canon's Trailer Editor tool which is still available for consumer's use at imagination.usa.canon.com.
Posted to: Canon News
Category: Canon USA News
Post Date: 7/23/2015 12:30:41 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Canon USA:
 
Video Creator Kits Introduced to Help Vloggers Jumpstart Great Online Video Shooting Right Out of the Box
 
MELVILLE, N.Y., July 23, 2015 - Two stars in a universe of online talent, YouTube content creators iJustine (www.youtube.com/iJustine) and DevinSuperTramp, have helped define a new method of storytelling through online video. With so many young vloggers following their example and creating their own innovative content, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, unveils new, specialized Video Creator Kits including a Canon DSLR camera and lens, an external microphone, and a 32GB SD card. These specially-packaged Video Creator Kits provide the vlogging superstars of tomorrow with the tools they need to shoot and share high-quality, compelling stories.
 
Special guest appearances by iJustine and DevinSuperTramp will take place during VidCon 2015 in booth #1311 on the Main floor of Hall B at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, July 23-25, 2015.
 
The Video Creator Kits are available for pre-order and are currently scheduled to start shipping in early August in three options:
 
  • EOS 70D Video Creator Kit: includes EOS 70D camera & EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens, an external microphone and 32GB SD card
  • EOS Rebel T6i Video Creator Kit: includes EOS Rebel T6i camera & EF-S 18-55mm IS STM lens, an external microphone and 32GB SD card
  • EOS Rebel T5i Video Creator Kit: includes EOS Rebel T5i camera & EF-S 18-55mm IS STM lens, an external microphone and 32GB SD card
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the EOS Rebel 70D Video Creator Kit, the EOS Rebel T6i Video Creator Kit, and EOS Rebel T5i Video Creator Kit are $1,649.00*, $999.99* and $899.99*, respectively.
 
To arm tomorrow's video storytellers with tips and tricks that can help develop their talent, Canon will host special sessions in its booth. iJustine (Justine Ezarik), author and vlogger, will speak on how she started vlogging and offer advice to those looking to create video content. iJustine's sessions will be held:
 
  • Thursday, July 23 from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM PDT
  • Friday, July 24 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM PDT
  • Saturday, July 25 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT
Also, DevinSuperTramp (Devin Graham), filmmaker and vlogger, will premiere his "Life in a Bubble in 4K" video created with the Canon XC10 4K Camcorder on Thursday, July 23 from 3:30 PM to 4:00 PM PDT, and share his inspiration, challenges, and creative process for making the film.
 
All sessions at the Canon booth will be open to all VidCon show attendees.
 
Visitors to the Canon booth will also have a chance to create their own 15-second "One Take" video entitled, "Why I Want to Be a YouTube Star" using Canon products.
 
For those with a Creator or Industry Badge for the show, the Canon Creator Working Lounge in room #203 of the convention center will feature DevinSuperTramp along with other filmmakers and Canon technical experts. Devin will be speaking from 4:15 PM to - 5:00 PM PDT on Thursday about his new film, "Life in a Bubble in 4K" and talk about shooting in 4K for posting to YouTube. Canon will also have a "Touch & Try" counter in booth # 2001.
 
For additional information on Canon's participation at the show visit Canon's Vidcon page at: usa.canon.com/vidcon2015
 
* Prices, specifications, and availability are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.
 
B&H has the Canon Video Creator Kits available for preorder.
 
Note from Sean: Unfortunately, you don't really get a discount when purchasing these kits (although the box does look fancy). Let's take a look at the 70D Video Kit, specifically.
 
The Canon 70D Video Kit costs $1,649.00 and contains:
 
  • Canon EOS 70D DSLR with Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM ($1,299.00 after $250.00 mail-in rebate)
  • Rode VideoMic Go ($81.47)
  • SanDisk 32GB SDHC ($14.49)
In other words, with the current rebates in place, the components of the 70D Video Creator Kit can be purchased for $1,394.96. Even if the Video Creator Kit was eligible for the same $250.00 rebate (which does not appear to be the case), the kit would still be a little more than $4.00 more expensive than buying the components individually.
 
Our advice? If you're interested in these kits, buy the individual components now while the instant rebates are live.
Posted to: Canon News
Category: Canon USA News
Post Date: 7/23/2015 8:54:58 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens Review.
 
You probably already guessed this, but the 100-400 L II is another of my favorite lenses.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/23/2015 7:45:49 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Wednesday, July 22, 2015
From PocketWizard:
 
New distribution channel allows LPA Design a closer connection with the photographer.
 
South Burlington, VT – As the wireless market and the photo industry as a whole continues to become more competitive and challenging, LPA Design, manufacturers of PocketWizard Photo Products, has realized the need to get closer to the photographer and has started selling direct to USA dealers. This change in distribution only affects the US market. LPA Design continues to rely on their network of global distributors and dealers throughout the world. “As we transition to our new sales and marketing approach, we are excited by the possibilities of working more directly with our Dealers and building closer relationships with the community of PocketWizard photographers. We’re exploring the means to hear and respond to our customers in a more direct and informative way. We’ve already heard some comments and suggestions, and are making changes that will offer a range of mutual long term benefits. We’ve had a great partnership with the MAC Group over the past 14 years, as they’ve been integral in building the PocketWizard brand in the US market. We wish them continued success in the future,” commented Heather Ambrose, Marketing Manager at LPA Design.
 
To spearhead our direct to dealer initiative, we have engaged the services of Lorenzo Gasperini of Inovanti, LLC to represent LPA Design / PocketWizard as our National Sales Manager. Lorenzo has a deep history with PocketWizard which started back in 1994 when he encountered PocketWizard and later joined Bogen Photo (Manfrotto USA) and LPA Design as the first US distributor. In 2000 Lorenzo joined the MAC Group and as the National Marketing Manager he inspired new products, markets and partnerships that lead to significant growth and success for the brand. In 2008 Lorenzo was paramount in building the PocketWizard brand internationally as the International Sales and Marketing Manager. In addition to his responsibilities with PocketWizard, Lorenzo (Inovanti) also works with the Sekonic light meter division and Syrp motion and linear control devices. Lorenzo has a tremendous amount of knowledge in the photographic and video market and will be an asset to the PocketWizard Sales and Marketing Team once again. PocketWizard looks forward to continuing toward a closer and stronger alliance with all their US dealers in an effort to strengthen their USA-built brand.
 
B&H carries PocketWizard products.
Post Date: 7/22/2015 12:11:44 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sure, telephoto lenses are great for wildlife, sports and many other uses, but they are also great for flowers! I've had my eye on a small field of wildflowers and, after spending a large number of contiguous hours of work putting the Lens MTF Comparison tool into place, I gave myself the freedom to go after some summer color in the form of flower pics.
 
I knew that making an image worth sharing from this field was going to be a challenge. The location was not well-suited for a grand landscape image incorporating the flower color in the foreground. The flowers were beautiful, but they were intermixed with other vegetation, were very random in position and most were imperfect including a random state of bloom (some were well-beyond peak).
 
I was biking to this location (2 cars - 4 drivers = a problem) and, since I wasn't sure what the best opportunity was going to be, I put lenses ranging from 16 to 300mm in focal length along with a Canon EOS 5Ds R in a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro backpack and was on my way. After riding past and then walking back along the edge of the field, I found few standout subjects calling for emphasis. Sometimes, flowers look best when blurred out of focus, becoming blobs of color and this was what I determined the case to be for much of this field.
 
This pair of cosmos did appear to be a cut above the rest and I focused on them for a period of time. By using a 300mm telephoto focal length with a relatively short focus distance, a nice blur was created, making full use of the imperfect blooms in the background.
 
While simply setting up such a blur is easy and can be good enough, taking the shot to the next level requires some attention to detail. In this case, I oriented the tripod-mounted camera and lens so that the background of the in-focus flower was only green, making the flower pop. This perspective also placed a complementary same-color cosmos just out of focus with a matching pair more-strongly blurred above. An intermittent light breeze made this alignment a bit more challenging, but ... patience was the answer to that issue.
 
I used manual focus aided by the 5Ds R's 16x Live View, allowing precise focusing on the center of the flower (preventing AF from picking the petals just in front). While an f/5.6 aperture would have given an even stronger background blur and would also have created a nice image, I opted for f/8 in this case. F/8 kept more of the flower in focus and reduced vignetting to even out the background brightness. Lighting is courtesy of a bright cloudy sky.
 
Then, right on cue, the bee landed on my primary subject. I was shooting the scene in vertical orientation at that moment (creating a nearly identical image), but I wanted to post the horizontal format picture as it fits better on computer monitors. So, I simply copied the bee out of the vertical photo and pasted it into this one.
 
Go get some summer color (in your photos, not your skin). Mount your telephoto lens and go flower hunting!
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 7/22/2015 11:05:13 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
Watch as Ryan Connolly explains the basics to using a shotgun microphone to get the cleanest audio possible.
 
B&H carries boompoles and the Rode NTG3 microphone.
 
Here are the other videos in this series:
 
Post Date: 7/22/2015 6:46:55 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, July 21, 2015
It is with great pleasure that I announce the latest addition to the site's tools: Lens MTF Comparison
 
Required Reading: To get the most out of these beautiful charts and to learn about MTF measurements, please take some time to read through the Lens MTF Help page.
 
Many prime lens results are immediately available in the MTF tool and many additions are planned, including zoom lenses. We'll announce the additions as they become available. Aperture tests in addition to wide open are also expected to be included at some point.
 
These MTF charts are made available under agreement with my friend Roger Cicala and his crew at Olaf Optical Testing with support provided by LensRentals.com. Go rent a lens!
Post Date: 7/21/2015 7:29:21 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Monday, July 20, 2015
From Adobe:
 
Lightroom for mobile Android 1.2 now available
 
Tonight we’re announcing the immediate availability of Lightroom version 1.2 for Android phones and tablets.
 
  • Edit images faster by copying image adjustments and pasting them onto another photo
  • Crop the perfect photo with a re-designed experience on your Android device that enables you to quickly adjust, align and auto-straighten.
  • Easily find your favorite images! The new Segmented view in Collections give you a different way to view and engage with your photos.
  • Raw file support for the Panasonic Lumix CM1 Communication Camera
Version 1.2 also includes fixes for bugs and other issues identified by customers, including:
 
  • Screen occasionally went blank after changing the orientation from landscape to portrait.
  • Lightroom could crash when customers tap the sign-in button.
  • Fixed issue that could cause crashes when scrolling through a large collection and changing the device orientation from portrait to landscape (or vice versa).
  • Hardware back button was not closing any contextual menus.
  • Slow performance when swiping from image to image.
  • Copying or moving an image into a different collection was not working correctly. Please note that this issue only occurred on certain Samsung tablets.
  • Lightroom sometimes caused automated logouts.
  • Edits not visible when sharing photos to certain 3rd party apps and services.
  • Crash occurred when occasionally navigating from grid view to collections view.
Visit the Google Play store and download Lightroom mobile.
 
Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan (USD$9.99 per month) includes Lightroom CC across desktop, web and mobile, Photoshop CC and Photoshop Mix (for iPhone and iPad).
Category: Adobe News
Post Date: 7/20/2015 12:32:18 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
 
Often we see a location, capture the image, post-process and move on. After that, being in the same location can feel a bit like, "...been there, done that." But shooting the same location multiple times - if given the opportunity - can be very beneficial.
 
Last year was my first experience visiting Oak Island, NC. I brought [what I would consider] a small photography kit and captured many worthwhile images while on vacation. While planning a return trip this year, however, the recent shark attacks in North Carolina (and Oak Island in particular) meant that I was less than eager to enjoy even modestly deep water off the beach this year. In other words, I knew I'd have more time to devote to other endeavors.
 
Therefore, taking advantage of the photographic opportunities the island had to offer became an even higher-than-usual priority for my vacation. I packed substantially more gear this time around and I challenged myself to create at least one image I was proud of each day. On image in particular that I wanted to capture was a long exposure of the Oak Island pier similar to the shot in IR that I took last year, but this time using a traditional (but very strong) ND filter. I purchased a Rocolax 15-stop ND filter in anticipation of shooting the pier again this year.
 
Fast forward to yesterday - my first full day in Oak Island this year - and I was out the door soon after sunrise. Why not before sunrise? Because the position of the rising sun meant that it wouldn't be a subject included in any of the pier compositions I wanted to capture (Oak Island faces south meaning I would have had to have been in the water to capture the pier with the rising sun). What was important, though, was that I shoot early (soon after sunrise) in order to get the low-on-the-horizon sunlight that I wanted for illuminating the pier.
 
My experience shooting the pier the previous year meant that I could plan [almost] everything about the image capture so that my time and attention could be utilized in the most productive way possible. I knew where to park, how to access the area under the pier and exactly how much time would be required traveling from the front door of the beach house to the shooting location. And, using time of optimal illumination was especially important in this instance because my exposures would be measured in minutes, not seconds.
 
For all intents and purposes, I was able to capture the image I wanted (plus another framing) without a hitch. The only thing I didn't take into consideration was the tide level (high tide) which meant that I had to position myself closer to the beach with the end result that the pier was not as tall in the foreground of this image compared to last year's image.
 
After processing the image I realized that being able to shoot the same location, one year apart, was a really great experience. Some of the benefits include:
 
  • Familiarity with a location means that you can better plan your shots, pack the right gear and optimize your time while capturing images.
  • Challenging yourself to capture the same location in different ways is a great creative exercise.
  • Shooting the same location periodically - with a good amount of time between attempts - can help illustrate how your photography is growing/evolving over time.
In the end, I was happy with how the shot turned out. It looks very similar to the shot I had in my head meaning that all my planning and recent experience in long exposure photography paid off. I'm roughly 95% happy with the image; and that nagging 5% should provide ample incentive to shoot the pier yet again with another year of photographic experience under my belt.
Post Date: 7/20/2015 8:11:51 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Image quality results from the EOS 5Ds R have been added to the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens Review.
 
This is another of my favorite lenses. Not ony for the amazingly wide angles it provides, but for the solid image quality at those wide angles.
 
B&H has the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 7/20/2015 7:36:37 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the Vimeo Blog:
 
If you work with multiple cameras, you’ve probably run into the same issue we have. Our battery charging situation is out of control. Taking some inspiration from Vimeo Award-winner and vid-blogging extraordinaire Casey Neistat, we set out to build a battery charging station to add a little zen to the Vimeo Production studio.
 
Shopping List
 
Post Date: 7/20/2015 6:42:42 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, July 17, 2015
by Sean Setters
 
I've been doing a fair amount of long exposure images lately as I've been testing out my latest filter acquisition, the ROCOLAX 77mm 15-stop ND. Unfortunately, light leakage through the viewfinder spoiled many of my early test shots. The best way to get rid of the light leakage is, of course, the often overlooked accessory that Canon includes free with your camera – the Canon Eyepiece Cover. I say "overlooked" because many people never notice the handy little tool attached to their OEM camera straps (or realize its function).
 
The problem, though, is that I do not use the 5D Mark III's camera strap (instead I use a BlackRapid strap modified for Arca-style plates). Not using the OEM strap means I had no convenient way to keep the small, seemingly easy to lose Canon Eyepiece Cover with me.
 
At first I considered finding a place in my main camera bag for the eyepiece cover, but I realized that I often use my smaller camera bag when shooting these types of shots. That means I'd need to remember to transfer the eyepiece cover every time I intended on shooting long exposures while using the smaller bag (and knowing myself, I would forget it 90% of the time).
 
The second thing I considered was storing the eyepiece cover in my tripod bag. That made a bit more sense as I'm always using the tripod when shooting long exposures. However, I realized that I don't always take the tripod bag with me on long exposure outings (especially around town). I sometimes simply set up my camera on the tripod (with a remote timer attached) and simply put the compacted-down setup in my car. That way I'm ready to hit the ground running as soon as I get to the location (all I have to do is extend the tripod legs). So storing the eyepiece cover in the tripod bag wouldn't work.
 
Keeping the eyepiece cover with the tripod – not the tripod bag – seemed to be ideal. I tried to search for a small bag to attach to my tripod. However, I didn't find anything specifically designed to be strapped to a pole. I reasoned that I could use a bag designed for a belt loop and simply find a strap to fit around the tripod leg, but that seemed like a lot of work (and added bulk / expense) just to keep the small rubber eyepiece cover with me. And depending on the size of the bag, it might make storing the tripod in my tripod bag more difficult as there isn't much "wiggle room" in the bag as it is.
 
While looking at the Canon Eyepiece Cover in my hand, I realized that the eyepiece cover's design held the solution to my problem. It was designed to fit on the thin part of the OEM strap, so I should simply strap it to my tripod with a strap something similar in size. And as luck would have it, I had the perfect strap sitting in a tool drawer – a thin hook & loop cable tie.
 
I had to cut a little bit off the edge of a cable tie in order for it to fit in the eyepiece cover's slots and then cut it to a length that fit well around the tripod leg. Once cut to size, the eyepiece cover fits perfectly around the tripod leg. The cable tie proved to be the best possible solution for my needs as it keeps the eyepiece cover on the tripod at all times (extremely convenient) while also remaining low in profile (not bulky). And if the eyepiece cover molds to the curve of the tripod over time, that's ok – it'll stretch to fit the eyepiece just fine.
 
Here's what my setup looks like:
 
Canon Eyepiece Cover and Timer Remote Solution: Cable Ties

As you can see by the picture above, I'm also using cable ties in another way. I realized that cable ties could also be used to attach my TC-80N3 Timer Remote firmly to the tripod as well. Up until now, I typically used the center pole's weight hook to keep the timer from dangling from the camera (instead it would dangle from the cord a short distance from the timer). But in windy conditions, the constant swaying movement of the timer could lead to softness in the long exposure images. To counteract this, I would sometimes physically hold the timer to keep it from swaying (not an optimal solution to the problem). The timer cable already had a tie attached to it; all I needed to do was add one more cable tie around the tripod leg to complete the windproof setup.
 
Of course, cable ties are also extremely handy for their intended purpose, too, which is why I had them within arm's reach when looking for a solution.
 
Have you used cable ties to creatively solve a photographic need of your own? Let us know in the comments.
 
Update: Site visitor John has suggested an even cheaper, practical solution – attach a piece of gaffer tape to the camera dome and use it to cover the viewfinder when needed. Keep in mind, though, that long-term use of gaffer tape can leave a sticky residue on the surface of whatever it's stuck to (even though it's designed to be removed cleanly under normal use). I'd suggest replacing the tape periodically to avoid this.
Post Date: 7/17/2015 8:11:05 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, July 16, 2015
From Sigma:
 
Sigma Corporation Announces Pricing and Availability of 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art Lens
 
Market’s first F2 full-frame zoom available in late July for $999
 
RONKONKOMA, NY — July 16, 2015 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens and camera manufacturer, today announced that the new Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art lens will become available in late July for the street price of $999.
 
The 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art lens is the market’s first full-frame zoom that allows photographers to carry one fast aperture lens that can do the work of three popular fixed focal length lenses – the 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. It includes an optimized autofocus (AF) algorithm for smooth, fast, and accurate focusing, a manual focus (MF) override functionality, and is made of Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) reducing its size and weight.
 
Built upon the impressive versatility offered by Sigma’s 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art lens, the new 24-35mm continues the Art line tradition of top optical performance that’s comparable to Sigma’s 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art and 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art. It offers optimized lens power distribution, and minimizes spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature. The Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art lens also features a video-friendly, inner focusing system that eliminates front-lens rotation, enhancing the lens' stability as well as a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures a silent, high-speed AF function.
 
“The combination of fast, constant aperture and zoom versatility will make this lens exceptionally popular for photographers who crave the convenience of wide angle zooms, paired with the performance of fast, wide primes,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “The Art lenses have raised the bar for total imaging performance, and this lens is going to make a lot of photographers very happy.”
 
As with all new lenses under the Global Vision categories, every 24-35mm will be tested using Sigma’s own modulation transfer function (MTF) measuring system, “A1,” in the company’s factory in Japan. It is compatible with Sigma’s USB DOCK, which allows photographers to update the lens’ firmware, adjust focus points and customize full-time MF function settings by using Sigma's Optimization Pro software. Sigma’s exclusive Mount Conversion Service, which enables users to easily convert the lens’ camera mount between supported versions, is also available for a fee. The lens will be available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts.
 
The Sigma 24-35mm F2 DG HSM Art lens will also feature:
 
  • Large-diameter, aspherical lens elements, which require advanced technologies to produce, one “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass, and seven Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass elements with two aspherical lenses. The advanced optics and optimized lens power distribution minimizes spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature, resulting in outstanding optical performance
  • A video-friendly, inner focusing system that eliminates front-lens rotation, enhancing the lens' stability and allowing use of circular polarizing filters
  • A Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. Smoother AF is achieved when the this AF algorithm is optimized
  • Full-time MF by rotating the focus ring of the lens while auto focusing
  • A nine-blade, rounded diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image
  • Specifications: Lens construction containing 18 elements in 13 groups; a weight of 33.2 ounces; a diameter and length of 3.4 inches by 4.8 inches, respectively; a minimum aperture of F16; and angle of view (35mm) of 84.1° to 63.4°; minimum focusing distance of 11 inches; and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4
Preorder the Sigma 24-35mm Art Lens
 
B&H is accepting Sigma 24-35mm Art Lens preorders.
Category: Sigma News
Post Date: 7/16/2015 9:19:40 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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