Saturday, May 29, 2010

Canon 300mm f/4L IS using 2x TC and 1.4x TC - Unboxing and Comparison Video

Here's a newly unboxed Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS. It is ultra sharp and a real alternative to the Canon EF 100-400mm lens. Why did we choose the 300mm f/4L vs. the 100-400mm? Mainly because of the extra sharp goodness and the extra speed. In most real life situations with good light, the comparisons wouldn't matter. But when it comes using two stacked extenders like the example below, the extra sharpness of a prime vs. a zoom truly does matter.

How does this matter for a video application? You can take astrophotography shots and video with this type of equipment:

  1. Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS [ Purchase link ]
  2. Canon 7D DSLR 1.6x crop sensor [ Purchase link ]
  3. 1.4x TC (teleconverter) [ Purchase link ]
  4. 2x TC (teleconverter) [ Purchase link ]
  5. Equals = 1344mm realized focal length
Here's our 300mm f/4L IS stacked with 1.4x and 2x TCs.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta organizes Canon video files

Adobe Photoshop LR3

One of the great things about beta releases is that you can use the software for free and get to see upcoming features. Today I would like to highlight Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (LR3) Beta from Adobe Labs.

For professionals that use video DSLR cameras for photography and video, this digital workflow tool will help you organize your photography and video files with great ease. This should greatly increase your efficiency and giving you more time to spend on shooting and attracting new clients!

By adding the same search and keyword capabilities to video as you would on your photos, you can now easily find raw video files and tag them appropriately.

I also want to highlight one more pleasant feature on LR3 Beta. It's noise reduction capabilities is far better than what it was on LR 1.x and 2.x. Check out the sample below.

While LR3 isn't available for sale yet, you can purchase a retail version of LR2 and upgrade later.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Canon EF 2x Extender II and Canon 1.4x II Extender - Unboxing and Comparison Video

What are lens extenders?

A teleconverter or otherwise called in the Canon world as an extender, is an inexpensive lens that attaches and increases any compatible fixed or zoom lens. The 2x extender will make your 200mm lens into 400mm. The 1.4x extender will make it 280mm.

In this particular video, we are unboxing the Canon EF 2x II extender and the 1.4x II extender. For a list of lenses that's compatible with these extenders, please see the information on our compatibility charts link.

Why should filmmakers care about these types of lenses?

If you ever need to have supertelephoto capabilities on the go without the additional weight and cost, this is the best option. Note that you will also need to multiply your aperture settings. For instance, a f/2.8 lens will become a f/5.6 lens if you use a 2x extender.

What are good examples of extender use? The 2x extender makes great moon shots. Some filmmakers use the 1.4x extender with Canon's EF 70-200mm L class lenses to have extra reach and there's hardly any loss in sharpness. It makes the maximum length of 200mm into 280mm (200mm x 1.4). Wildlife photography and filmmaking is a great example of when extenders could come handy.

To purchase the Canon 1.4x II extender, click here with free shipping.

To purchase the Canon 2x II extender, click here with free shipping.

Questions or thoughts? Join us on the forums.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cheap camera stabilizer for 7D and 550D / T2i - Zacuto alternative

A cheap alternative to Zacuto

Sometime ago I visited Hidalgo St in the Quiapo area of Manila to look for studio equipment. Hidalgo St is known to be the Philippines premier location to buy camera equipment wholesale. You can find some great deals on lighting, umbrellas, flash units, and other camera accessories manufactured directly from China. You can even find antique camera gear here.

In one of the shops, I found a shoulder mounted video camera stabilizer.

This is not one of those popular Zacuto rigs that cost $500+. Since I didn't bring my monopod or tripod on this trip, I wanted to test out this cheap $40 plastic stabilizer.

I put on a Canon 7D camera w/ battery grip and used a Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens. For me, this is a relatively heavy setup. I was naturally concerned if the plastic rig would hold up that much weight, so I made sure the 7D's strap was on my neck. After figuring out how to screw the camera on, I was set to go.


I was frankly impressed with the results. I brought back the video files and it was SHOCKING. I was able to get usable shots with this cheap old $40 shoulder stabilizer. An example of how reliable this was can be found here:

I'm not saying the build quality of this plastic stabilizer is sexy like the Zacuto shooter. But it is light, small, cheap, and can stabilize your shots very well. For me, that's practical. One thing of note, you want to use the included strap to tie it to the other side of your body or you will start feeling the imbalance of the weight.

I tried to find this product on B&H and it wasn't on stock, but I did find it on Amazon. You can try this out for yourself...heck it's cheap enough:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Canon setups new research and development HQ in USA

Canon is setting up a new research and development facility in the United States, according to Fujio Mitarai, the current chairman of Canon.  

"We will continue with research and development in Japan, but we want to drive our business diversification by developing new technologies in the U.S., which attracts brains from around the world," said Mitarai.

The move allows Canon to hire researchers in the United States, the home country of the world's most innovative companies like Google, Apple, and others.

"If it's true, it's a wise move.  I'll name off three reasons why.  First, the United States is Canon's biggest market by geography.  They have a great reputation in the film and photography segments and good brand recognition.  Second, it brings a lot of goodwill politically as Canon creates more jobs in the country.  Third, it brings them closer to their consumer and hopefully will bring faster and more rapid enhancements in their product line such as firmware updates in Canon's EOS DSLR cameras.  They will be in for a culture shock, Americans are quick to find opportunities in the products they love, but it's going to be good for Canon if they adjust well," said Don Sausa, a Canon USA CPS photographer.

Questions or thoughts? Join us on the forums.