Category Archives Photo Gear

Welcome to my “13th annual Holiday Gear Guide.”

To be listed here, the gifts have to be: (1) products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to); and (2) if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend was loose with money.

Also, to make things easy, we added direct links to all the products I picked so you don’t have to wonder if you’re getting the exact right one. (Note: Depending on the product, clicking on the links below will take you to the manufacturer’s website; if the product is available at B&H Photo or Amazon, then clicking on the link will take you to those websites.)

As is my sacred Gonzo tradition for more than a tenth of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

  • Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.
  • Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.
  • Cha-ching: Stuff you buy for the Berkshire CEO or Russian oligarch on your holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.

So, without further ado, I present to you my “13th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gift Guide of Love (of love?).”

STOCKING STUFFERS

 

Powerextra Dual Battery Charger for Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR Cameras

Erik Kuna turned me on to this puppy, and I have to say it’s awesome and has worked like a charm. It charges two regular-sized Canon, Nikon, or Sony camera batteries simultaneously; it connects to USB; it’s super small (since it charges the batteries upright rather than on their side) so it takes up less room in your camera bag; and it’s very lightweight. And not only that, each charger comes with two Powerextra replacement batteries (for the camera brands listed above and more)! I’ve used these batteries extensively, and I can’t tell one bit of difference between the brand name ones that cost 5x as much. The person you give this to will think you spent a bunch, so extra love points for you.

Price: It’s a ridiculous deal starting at around $27

Canon: $26.99 (link)

Nikon: $31.99 (link)

Sony: $55.99 (link)

 

New Think Tank Photo Emergency Rain Covers

These brand-new, very compact, lightweight rain covers are an amazing deal for the money. They fit easily in your camera bag but can be a lifesaver if you get caught out in the elements (or the photographer on your holiday list sometimes wants to shoot in inclement weather). They’ll super dig these new easy-to-use, quick-to-deploy covers from the same people who make the Hydrophobia line of professional-level rain covers.

Price: They come in two sizes

Medium (fits up to a 70–200mm lens): $39.75 (link)

Small (fits up to a 24–70mm lens): $34.75 (link)

 

Awesome Custom Business Cards for Photographers from MOO

Okay, there are two ways you can go on this one (gift card or Plan B), but MOO cards are a favorite with photographers around the world, mainly because they’ll let you print a different image on every card (or you can have the same image on all the cards, five images that repeat in a stack of 50—you get the idea). Anyway, if you can get hold of, say, 10 of their images at high-res, you could get them a set of 50 cards with their images on one side (you’d get 10 cards each of each image), and their contact info and stuff on the other side. You’ll be a superstar for getting either the gift card, or being sneaky and doing the work yourself. This is a can’t-miss stocking stuffer.

Price: 50 cards starting at $19.99 (link)

 

Rick Sammon’s Wonderful Book, The Route 66 Photo Road Trip: How to Eat, Stay, Play, and Shoot Like a Pro

This isn’t a tutorial book (though Rick does have a few tutorials in there); it’s a really fun road trip book where you can enjoy the images, Rick’s great stories, road trip tips, and the experience of getting your kicks on Route 66. It’s just a really awesome read and would make a wonderful stocking stuffer.

Price: $13.36 at Amazon (link)

 

Indigo Marble Protective Camera Wrap

I use one of these when I don’t want to take a camera bag with me, or I want to take a small camera bag just big enough for a lens or two. I fold it around my camera body and put it in my carry-on luggage. It comes in two sizes: 15″ and 19″ (I use the larger one).

Price: Starting at $50.78 (link)

 

Spider Camera Holster SpiderPro Hand Strap

I’ve never been a big fan of camera hand straps—until now. The SpiderPro Hand strap has a great design, is very secure, and most importantly—a comfortable feel in your hand. Plus, an extra five points because it just looks cool when you’re holding your camera with it on. The photographer on your list will dig it.

Price: $65 (link)

 

Haida 10-Stop Slim PRO II Screw-On MC Neutral Density (ND) 3.0 Filter

I’ve been using Haida’s filter holder system for about two years now, and for the quality and price, I don’t think you can beat ’em, but if you’re an on-the-go travel photographer, you’ll probably find it more convenient to use a simple screw-on ND filter than using their bracket system. For my recent trip to Austria and Germany, I bought this Slim PROII (77mm to fit my lenses), and I was tickled at how well it works. Best thing about the Haida ND filters? They don’t mess with your image’s color. It’s a killer deal for $62.10, well, for the 77mm size. Your price may be lower for smaller-sized lenses, or higher for bigger lenses (but 77mm is probably as big a lens as the photographer on your list will have).

Price: $62.10 for the 77mm (link)

 

Platypod Ultra

This is the Platypod Ultra’s second year on the list, and while this thing was blowing up last year, this year it’s vying for the hottest photography accessory on the planet. It’s a tripod replacement (that doesn’t need legs), it’s super-lightweight (3.2 oz.), and fits in your pocket. You screw a small ballhead onto it, and it holds your camera steady as a rock so you can place it where tripods either aren’t allowed (which sadly is pretty much everywhere these days) or where they can’t fit. Everybody wants a Platypod Ultra.

Price: $59; Splurge a little and get them the bundle with the Multi Accessory Kit for $79 (it’s awesome) (link)


GREAT VALUE GEAR

 

 

Think Tank Photo Airport Roller Derby

I love this camera bag on a level that’s, well, unhealthy (let’s just leave it at that). Yes, it holds a ridiculous amount of stuff; there’s a pocket for everything (including your laptop and your iPad); a built-in cable lock so it doesn’t wander off; a tripod holder; and I could go on and on, but what’s ridiculously awesome is simply its four wheels. I can literally roll it through the airport using nothing but my pinky. If I push too hard, it rolls ahead of me. If the photographer on your gift list is tired of dragging a heavy rolling bag behind them, this one will glide right beside them. Get them this one; they’ll be your friend for life.

Price: $399.75 (link)

 

B&H Gift Card

This is always the perfect gift because B&H Photo is the greatest camera store in the world, and whatever the photographer on your gift list wants, B&H will have it in stock and ready to ship. They’re the magical unicorn of camera stores. Get your photographer a gift card from here, and they’ll follow you anywhere.

Price: Starting at $25 (link)

 

Westcott Rapid Box Switch Octa-L 48″ Softbox (Large)

If your giftee uses both flash and strobes, or they use different brands of strobes, they don’t have to keep switching softboxes every time they change lights. Westcott made a new set of softboxes that let you use the same softbox for flash or strobes, or different brands of strobes, by just changing the adapter at the end of the softbox. It’s really pretty brilliant (can’t believe somebody didn’t think of this before); but what makes this really awesome are the Rapid Boxes themselves. I love, love, love them (they’re so fast and easy to set up—like 60 seconds from start to finish), and I’ve been hooked on them since the first time I used one. This new “Switch” makes ’em that much better, and the price for such a nice big octa is hard to beat.

Price: $289.90 (link)

 

Gravity Backdrops

These beautifully hand-painted backdrops are turning the industry on its ear because they’re priced so far below their competitors, and their quality is spot-on. I have four of these now, and I’m using them so often, I don’t want to shoot on anything else. These are giving photographers access to a level of backdrops that were once out of reach for so many people; you can now buy these backdrops at around the same price we used to rent them just for the weekend. They’ll even custom-make whatever you want, without the crazy price. Can’t recommend these enough (and you’ll be a hero to the photographer on your gift list).

Price: Based on size, but figure around $350 or so (link)

 

WD 250GB My Passport Wireless SSD External Portable Drive with Built-In Wi-Fi

This one is for backing up your images on the road when you don’t have your laptop with you. You just plug your SD card right into the unit itself (it has its own built-in card reader) and it uploads your images (it does a smart upload, only uploading new photos that aren’t already on the drive). What’s nice is that once your images are on the drive, you can transfer ones you want to edit right to your phone or tablet using its built-in Wi-Fi (you don’t need an internet connection—it makes its own private network). It’s surprisingly easy to use, and a great solution for photographers who want a mobile editing and backup strategy for their DSLR or mirrorless images. I used mine on my last trip, and now it’s part of my workflow.

Price: $191.99 for 250GB (link)

Note: There are 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB options but they’re priced too high—stick with this one.

 

A Fine Art or Xpozer Print from Bay Photo

Go with either Bay Photo’s Xpozer system (the same system we use in The Gallery at KelbyOne) or go ahead and get a Fine Art, mounted print. Either way, if you get a gift card for the photographer on your list, make the amount so they can get one of their images printed large, or if you’re giving one of your own prints as a gift, go large—you can’t go wrong. Prints have a real value, well beyond their cost, and the impact they have is remarkable. Want to give somebody a really memorable gift that’s more than just a product? This is it (and you can do it without breaking the bank).

Price:

24×36″ Print with Xpozer System: $99 (link)

24×36″ Fine Art Print w/Gatorfoam: $153.20 (link)


CHA-CHING

 

Tamron SP 15–30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens

I took this ultra-wide lens with me on my last trip and I was super impressed. It’s a killer lens at a killer price. Sharp, crisp, great Vibration Compensation (VC), and a big improvement over its already popular predecessor. Give this to someone you love (or somebody you want to love).

Price: $1,299

For Canon (link)

For Nikon (link)

 

DJI Mavic Air Fly More Combo

It’s so small, so portable, so easy to fly, and takes such great photos and videos. They’ll lose their mind when they unwrap this one. Everybody wants a drone, and this one is probably the best deal, dollar for dollar, feature for feature, and while there are other drone makers out there, everybody wants a DJI. After giving this as a gift, you won’t be able to get rid of them.

Price: $899.99 for the Fly More Combo (it’s what you want to get them); $699.99 for the DJI Mavic Air by itself  (link)

 

The weekender Camera Bag from compagnon

This is an absolutely beautifully crafted all-leather camera bag from Germany, and it’s really something to behold. It just screams luxury, and while it’s not inexpensive, it looks like it would cost a lot more than it does. What I love about it is that it’s large enough that you can use it for a weekend trip where your clothes and your camera are in the same bag. Very well designed; it’ll fit in the overhead, and the leather is just so luscious! Give it to somebody you really want to impress. Note: There’s a smaller version called “the little weekender” that’s small and less expensive, too.

Price: $675 (link)

 

Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera Body

I had this camera for a full month, and really put it through its paces—from the American West to Rome to Hawaii to Austria—and I fell in love with it. When I had to return it to Canon, it broke my heart (and now I’m trying to get Canon to sell me that loaner). I don’t know what DSLR your Canon-shooting gift-lister has, but they’ll sure love this one (and there’s a lot to love!).

Price: $2,299 (link)

 

TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II Camera-Inspired Watch

This one is a little pricier, but it’s actually a great value for what you’re getting (and for the right person, it will be priceless). This camera-inspired watch is just brilliant. My daughter saw the beautiful wooden box the watch comes in sitting on my desk and couldn’t resist opening it. She saw the watch and said, “Oh my gosh, it looks like a camera.” The beautifully crafted timepiece is more gorgeous in real life than it appears in the pictures, and the back of the watch is almost as stunning as the front. Beautifully designed from top to bottom. It will put the biggest smile on your photographer’s face, and the presentation in the wooden box, coupled with the craftsmanship of the watch itself will make them think you spent a fortune.

Price: $550 (link)

 

Profoto B1 X 500 AirTTL Portable Off-Camera Flash

This is the latest version of a strobe that created its own genre of portable studio lights. It’s a battery-powered strobe without the power pack (the battery is built right in to the unit itself). The quality of Profoto lights is legendary, and once I started using Profoto gear, I totally got what all the fuss is about and why all the top pros are using their gear. If you give somebody this gift, they’ll follow you around like a puppy for the rest of your life, so be very choosy to whom you give this.

Price: $2,095 (link)

 

STUFF FROM US

My Latest Lightroom Books

I have two different books for two different levels of Lightroom users. If the photographers on your wish list are fairly new to Lightroom and want to learn it from the ground up, then get them my The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers. It’s the bestselling Lightroom book ever. If they’ve been using Lightroom for a while now and they want a reference they can go to quickly to find out how to do whatever it is they’re trying to do right now, then get them my How Do I Do That In Lightroom Classic? book. The first edition was reprinted seven times, and this is the latest edition based on the new version of Lightroom, so they’ll find it really helpful.

Price:

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers: $33.99 (link)

How Do I Do That In Lightroom Classic?: $13.99 (link)

 

Photoshop World Conference 2019 Gift Certificate

Want to blow their minds and give them an experience they’ll be talking about for years? Give the photographer on your gift list a Full Conference Pass to the three-day Photoshop World Conference 2019, early next summer in Orlando, Florida, or late summer in Las Vegas at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Get the pass now and get the Early-Bird special, and they’ll save an extra $100 if they’re a KelbyOne Pro member. You’ll make a true friend for life—maybe longer.

Price: Early-Bird KelbyOne Pro Member: $599 (link)

 

A One-Year KelbyOne Pro Membership

You’ve heard again and again (or maybe you’re already a member and you know firsthand) about all the incredible online courses, the magazines, the online community, the Webcasts, and the discounts, and now you can share all that with a photographer you super dig. It’s only $199 for a full year, with full access to everything! They’ll devote the rest of their natural life to letting you know how thoughtful, caring, and generous you were to change their life in such a meaningful way. Okay, that’s perhaps a best-case scenario, but I will tell you that I think they’ll love you (and so will I).

Price: $199 (link)

A One-Year KelbyOne Plus Membership

If they love online training, we have a special membership level that just focuses on the online classes themselves, and it goes for just $9.99 a month. Give ’em a 12-month membership and they’ll love you all year.

Price: $9.99/month (link)


Well, there ya have it folks. Remember, it’s not how many gifts you get. It’s about how many gifts you get me! ;-)

Happy Holidays!

-Scott

This is our third year with a “Video shot during the photo walk” category, and Canon USA (our awesome sponsor) has once again come up with an amazing package for the winner of this category. The Video Category winner receives:

The Canon Video Creator Kit (seen above). The kit includes a Canon EOS 80D Body; a Canon 18-135mm lens;Canon Power Zoom Adapter; RODE VideoMic Go; a 32G SD Card, and all the other goodies (battery, charger, strap, etc.).

High-five to our friend Rob Altman of Canon USA for his vision and support for our video category — Canon has been our main sponsor for a number of years now, and they are an absolutely AWESOME sponsor. Big thanks to everyone at Canon USA who helps make this annual event happen.

OK, let’s get right to it — we’ll start with the winner, and then I’m going to share a few other videos that, while they didn’t win any prizes, I thought they deserved an honorable mention.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Winner: Three Blind Men & an Elephant Productions
Photo Walk: New York City Highline

NOTE: I think they did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of a Photo Walk. Very well done! :)

And now for our Honorable Mentions
(other videos that while they aren’t prize winners, still deserve some recognition):

Honorable Mention (and best documentary): Hesham
Photo Walk: El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt

Honorable Mention: Roberto Pisco
Photo Walk: Innsbruck, Austria

Honorable Mention (and best cinematography): @chknss
Photo Walk: San Antonio, Chile

Honorable Mention: Ronan Colin
Photo Walk: Miami, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Jerus Oritz
Photo Walk: Bantayan, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: CJ Estrada
Photo Walk: Cebu City, Philippines 

Honorable Mention: Beth Meckly
Photo Walk: Jacksonville, Florida USA

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Calcutta, India

Honorable Mention: Avishek Das
Photo Walk: Albay, Philippines

Thanks for letting me share all of these with you; congrats once again to our prize winner Stefan, and a big, big thanks to the 2017 Worldwide Photo Walk Official Sponsor, Canon USA, for making this video category a reality. :)

Check back Friday Morning for the big reveal of the Grand Prize Winner and Top 10 Finalist!

All my best,

-Scott

 

If you shoot long exposure photography with your DSLR, this tip is for you, because one of the things you have to deal with (especially with exposures longer than 1-minute) is “light leak.” That’s light that enters your camera through your viewfinder during long exposures and it can totally mess up your shot. So, you need a way to cover that viewfinder completely, and that’s the tip — you probably didn’t realize that you already have an accessory that’s actually made for that very thing — covering your viewfinder to keep out any extraneous light. 

Now that you know you probably have this “eyepiece cover,” where do you find it? They come with most DSLRs, but if you’re a Canon user start by looking on your camera strap. See that little rubber piece attached to it that you never knew what it was for? That’s it — that’s your eyepiece cover. (well, it’s there on most Canon camera straps). You just pop off the viewfinder cover (on mine, you just press up from the bottom and it pops off), and then you take that part of your camera strap and just slide it right over your viewfinder opening (you don’t take it off the strap — this will make more sense when you try it yourself). When you’re done with the shot; pop off the rubber cover; snap the eyepiece cover back on, and you’re done. That’s it — it’s always with you, and takes just 5-seconds to use. 

Here (below) is a great youtube video from ZY Productions that shows how this cover works (and I have it set to start right where he shows how it’s done). This will help a lot.

Note: Some high-end DSLRs, like my Canon 1Dx, and the Nikon D3, D4, and so on, have an “eyepiece shutter” which is a level you engage and it literally covers the viewfinder for you. 

Nikon Users: Your accessory for covering the eyepiece on your DSLR is called the Nikon DK-5 Eyepiece Shield (shown above), and it’s probably still in the box from when you bought your camera, but if you can’t find yours, you can pick up a replacement from B&H Photo — they’re only $3.50

Sony shooters or any camera brand the doesn’t have a custom-made eyepiece cover: you can use a piece of gaffers tape (which is what I did before I learned this tip). I just wrapped a long piece of gaffer’s tape around my tripod’s leg (above where they expand and collapse), and then when I need a piece to cover my viewfinder, I would just tear a little piece from that leg, and boom — done. 

Hope you found that helpful. :)

We’re less than a month away from the Worldwide Photo Walk
There are nearly 800 walks in cities all over the world – if you haven’t signed up to join a free photo walk near you (it’s Saturday, October 6, 2018), then head over to worldwidephotowalk.com and click the “Find a Walk” button. Lots of fun, awesome prizes, and a chance to make friends and make some cool pictures. 

Have a great weekend, everybody – I’ll catch ya here on Monday. :)

Best, 

-Scott

I’m back from Hawaii(I know, tough life) — Canon had us out there for the launch of their EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera, and we were able to broadcast a live episode of ‘The Grid’ that morning after the announcement.

There are already reviews all over the Web about the new camera, both from those who have actually shot the camera (mostly very positive) and those from those who are judging it strictly on specs (mostly very negative). On the day of the launch, between ‘The Grid,’ and some Facebook live stuff we did, we had nearly 2,000 questions and comments — so today I thought I’d answer some of those questions that I’m getting again and again, in a Q&A format. Here we go:

Q. What was the vibe from the other journalists at the launch?
A. When we’re all sitting around the bar, far out of Canon’s earshot, everyone I talked to there liked the camera quite a bit. I think a lot of folks were pleasantly surprised (myself included). In this group were, of course, some serious tech nerds who had their “I wish Canon had added this…” or “Why doesn’t it have that…” but none of it was major missing stuff. One thing everybody seemed to be in love with across the board were the new RF-mount lenses. I didn’t hear anything but serious love for them.

Q. But what about the harsh reviews online?
A. You mean, the ones from people who have never touched the camera; never taken a shot with it, never seen a print from it, and never even held it up to their eye? Just like with any other camera release (Canon or otherwise), I pretty much ignore those. I did get in-person reviews from two top pros I really respect; two working professionals who shot the camera in multiple situations; had prints made, and actually know what it can do. My friends and colleagues Lindsay Alder and Joel Grimes both had great things to share with me about shooting with the camera, and killer images to back it up. That speaks way more to me than some tech nerd pixel-peepers comparing a list of features and specs. The image quality we see with our eyes will always beat the results of pixels measured on some oscilloscope. Lab tests can’t measure a quality — that certain something that makes an image look “just so.” The combination of this camera, with these RF lenses, has its own look, and it’s beautiful.

Q. So which is more important, how the specs look on paper, or how the images from the camera look?
A. You tell me. :)

Q. The lens control ring. Gimmick or gold?
A. Absolute gold! When I heard about it (in a training class shortly after the launch), I thought it sounded really cool. Once you use it, you’ll fall in love with it. It’s highly customizable, so I assigned mine to exposure compensation, and I gotta tell you, it’s way better than it sounds.

Q. This is a mirrorless camera, so it’s smaller and lighter, right?
A. It’s a little smaller, a little lighter, but once you put a decent lens on it, it weighs about the same as a DSLR. I don’t think this camera was about being small and light at all. I think it’s about starting an evolution of where Canon is going in the future, and this is the first step of a long journey.

I know that for some folks, smaller and lighter is the most important feature any mirrorless can bring, but I don’t think that’s how Canon sees the future of Mirrorless. In the big picture, I think they see it replacing mirror-based cameras altogether at some point (just my opinion) and while smaller and lighter may be a side benefit, in some of their bodies; I don’t think that’s where their focus is. In short: I think you’re going to see big ol’ cameras going mirrorless in the near future.

Q. But I wanted something really small and lightweight. 
A. If that’s your main concern, then get the Canon Rebel SL2 DSLR. It’s doesn’t even weigh 1-pound, yet it has 24-megapixels; it has a touchscreen, and it’s got a full tilt and a flip-out screen; it has an external microphone input, built-in flash, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth built-in; it shoots 5-frames-per second, and it’s only $550. It’s why I crack up when people tell me “they switched to Mirrorless because they wanted a small, lightweight body” and then they buy a camera that costs five times as much and weighs 50% more than the SL2, and when you add a decent lens to their $3,000 body it virtually weighs the same as a big DSLR anyway.

Q. Wow, you’re making a pretty good case for the Rebel SR2. Should I get one? 
A. Hell, no! I mean, “It’s probably a great beginner camera, with a lot of features you wouldn’t expect to get on a $550 super small, super lightweight DSLR.” There, that’s better. But don’t get it. It’s not for you.

Q. How does the new EOS R feel? 
A. Just like a DSLR. How a camera feels in your hands is really important to me, and it feels better than I was expecting. They crushed it on the ergonomics.

Q. What about the build? 
A. Really, really good. I think it’s a magnesium alloy body, and it feels like you could drop it, pick it back up, and keep shooting without missing a beat. Really solid feel. Fairly weather sealed, too.

Q. How many cards slots does it have?
A. One. It’s an SD slot, but it also supports the UHS-II SD cards.

Q. How can they call it a pro-body if it only has one card slot?
A. I asked Canon that question live on the air. Their answer was “It’s not a pro body.” They said it was aimed at serious amateur shooters, so it’s essentially a consumer body (which is one reason why it only has one slot) — their pro body is the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, and yes it has two slots. That being said, a lot of pros will wind up shooting with this body.

Q. But I can’t live with just one card slot?
A. You do realize that most of the cameras Nikon, Sony and Canon all make only have one card slot? I’m just curious, what did you do before cameras had two cards slots? Did you just not shoot back then? (by the way, the Sony mirrorless just got two card slots about a year ago — it wasn’t born with two.

Q. But everybody’s talking about the one card slot thing. It started with Nikon’s Z7 mirrorless when we learned it had just one card shot, now Canon’s mirrorless, too. I think I need to get on board with this ‘slot shaming’ thing, right?
A. Or, maybe you need to buy better quality memory cards. I shoot on Lexar memory cards, and in my entire career I’ve only had three cards go bad total (none of them SD, and only one a Lexar), and I was able to recover the images from all three cards. People used to be concerned about dynamic range, and megapixels, and how the images looked, and stuff like that, but now it appears the only measure of whether a camera is good or not, is whether it has two card slots. This is a weird time we live in.

Q. Why do you think Canon went with SD cards instead of something faster like Nikon did with the XQD cards?
A. I’m not certain, but I for one am glad they didn’t go the XQD route, strictly because of price. You can get a 1000-speed Lexar 32GB SD card for around $27 a card (B&H has them two for $54.99). If you want a 32GB XQD card, just one will run you around $90 (B&H). Ouch!

Q. The touchpad (above with arrows) on the back of the camera: Gimmick or Gold?
A. They struck gold again with this one. You can assign so many things to it (up to three), it really is incredibly handy. Anytime I can keep from searching under a menu for something, it’s a win. It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Q. Are there other features that stand out to you?
A. They told us it’s important to turn off the camera before changing lenses. Why is it so important? Because when you do that, a little door comes down and blocks the sensor from getting dust and junk in it. Don’t know why it’s taken all this time for someone to come up with that, but it’s pretty clever. Also, it’s fairly weather-sealed (at the level of a 6D Mark II, not the level of a 1Dx, but still). Also, the viewfinder is very crisp. I’m still an optical guy, but this is the best I’ve seen, and you can really control what you choose to see and how it’s displayed.

Q. Is there in-body Image Stabilization?
A. There is not. I asked Canon about it (also during that live poolside episode of The Grid), and they said they made the decision not to because while in-body works fine for wide angle shots, it doesn’t work nearly as well for long lenses, so they kept it in the lenses instead.

Q. I can’t believe that this camera doesn’t have every single feature I ever wanted it a full-frame mirrorless camera. Why would I buy it?
A. Maybe it’s not for you. Not every new camera that comes out has a feature set that was aimed squarely at you. That’s why camera companies make more than one camera body, with different features, for different people. If this camera’s not for you, it’s not the end of the world — you just probably need to look at a different camera.

Q. What are your seven favorite features?
A. They are [in no particular order]:

(1) the flip-out touch-screen (my 5D Mark IV doesn’t have that)
(2) the customizable control ring on the lenses (and the fact that you can get an adapter so you can have a control ring for your existing EF Canon lenses)
(3) the RF mount and the lenses made for it
(4) the directional touchpad on the back
(5) the amazing level of customization — you can configure the buttons and knobs in so many ways — making it feel like it was made just for you.
(6) You can set your focus point with your eye still on the viewfinder by just touching the touchscreen with your fingers (kind of like you’d do in Live View mode, but while your eye is still on the viewfinder). You can have it work with half the screen (which is what I set mine to), or you can use the full screen.
(7) A ridiculous number of auto-focus points. Not 500. 5,000+

Q. What do you wish were different?
A. I wish it shot more frames per second (I know, I’m the only one talking about this, but only because everyone else is so busy ‘Slot Shaming’). It’s got the best Electronic Viewfinder I’ve seen (and I’ve tried quite a few), but I still prefer optical viewfinders. That will change one day, and I’m going to work on getting used to this one (and I’m sure I will), but it’ll take me some time. I haven’t tested the low noise capabilities yet, but with a similar sensor to the 5D Mark IV, I imagine it won’t be noticeably better (I could be wrong, but haven’t read anything raving about lower noise, so I’m guessing no). So, I would have loved one of the features to be 1Dx-style low noise. It’s like the latest cameras from Sony, and Nikon — they all have something missing; some Achilles heel, that keeps it from being the perfect camera for everyone on earth, but in reality, it’s really all about what matters to you. For example, I don’t use my DSLR to shoot video, so whether it has this kind of 4K or some video fps rating or whatever, it simply doesn’t matter to me, but for some folks, that’s all that matters.

Q. Are the new RF-mount lenses as good as people are saying?
A. They are very sharp and crisp, all the way to the edges, but I think focusing on the sharpness is missing what makes these lenses so special. The combination of this body with these lenses create images that have a certain something. It’s hard to define, but I really like what I see. This is the kind of stuff you can’t measure on a spec sheet — how the images from the camera and lenses really look.

Q. Is there a loss of quality if you use the Adapter to use your existing Canon EF lenses?
A. Nope — no loss of quality at all. No losing stops of light either (been asked that a bunch).

Q. How much is the Adapter ring?
A. The one that lets you use EF lenses is $99 I believe. There are two other adapters available — one that lets you drop in filters like a variable ND filter or a Circular Polarizer, but those don’t ship until Feb. 2019.

Q. What about the batteries, and battery life.
A. Thankfully, they went with the same batteries many Canon cameras already use (like the 5Ds, and the 70D, 80D, etc.), and you get around 370 shots per battery. You can get a battery grip for a 2nd battery.

Q. How much is it?
A. $2,299 for the body.

Q. When does it ship?
A. Sometime in October of this year. One of the lenses ships as well, and the Adapter ring that lets you use the EF lenses, too.

Q. Are you getting one?
A. I have a loaner unit now, but if this past few days of shooting with it are any indication, I will have to get one when it ships next month, but this isn’t just a camera. It’s a new system, and a big step into the future for Canon and I really like where it’s going. Plus, the price is right. The new RF lenses are insane — Canon’s optics are brilliant, the new features of the camera are really compelling, and I love the images I’m seeing from it. That right there is really all that matters. The rest of the features may make using the camera more fun, or easier, or speed my workflow, and that’s all good, but at the end of the day, it’s the images — not the feature specs — that really matter. I saw some incredible images from this camera, and I took a few decent ones myself. I hope to have some to share after this week’s trip.

Q. What if I use a different brand of Mirrorless camera. Should I write defensive things in the comments? Should I mention how it missing some feature that’s a deal-breaker for me? Should I do some light slot shaming while I’m at it?
A. You don’t have to defend your choice of camera. Canon releasing a new camera shouldn’t threaten you. It doesn’t make a judgment about the camera brand you chose; it doesn’t make your current obsolete, or effect you and your camera choice in any way. Your camera is still just as good today as it was last week, and if this isn’t the camera for you, for whatever reason, lots of companies make different model cameras for a reason — not every camera is for everybody. I’m celebrating this new camera as a win for the future of photography. This is a birth of a new system, and Canon coming out with this, pushes Sony and Nikon and the whole industry to keep innovating and competing, and in the end…we all win. Our cameras get better, we get new innovative features like we’re seeing in the EOS R, and a rising tide raises all ships. Canon just helped raise the tide a bit more, and I’m digging the results.

Q. So, is this going to be your new camera?
A. I’m thinking this is my new camera. I have a loaner unit now, but if this past few days of shooting with it are any indication, I will have to get one when it ships next month, but this isn’t just a camera. It’s a new system, and a big step into the future for Canon and I really like where it’s going. I’m taking the EOS R with me this week to shoot landscapes out West (in the Golden Triangle), and then to Rome with me the following week, and then to Austria right after that. I got to shoot with it out in Maui, and so far it’s pretty darn close to a perfect travel camera.

The images look very much like the images look from my 5D Mark IV (they share a similar sensor), which I love, but it has some features my 5D Mark IV doesn’t have, like a full flip-out touchscreen, which I fell in love with while using it mounted on my Platypod this week in Hawaii. Also, the control ring and touchpad on the back, along with a ridiculous level of customization of dials and buttons (more on this later). Plus, the price is so right. Lower than I was expecting.

The new RF lenses are insane — Canon’s optics are brilliant, the new features of the camera are really compelling, and I love the images I’m seeing from it. That right there is really all that matters. The rest of the features may make using the camera more fun, or easier, or speed my workflow, and that’s all good, but at the end of the day, it’s the images — not the feature specs — that really matter. I saw some incredible images from this camera, and I took a few decent ones myself. I hope to have some to share after this week’s trip.

Q. Bottom line?
A. It’s a dang good camera for the money. Dang good! You’ll see what I mean when it ships. It’s way better than you’re hearing from people who haven’t shot it, seen a print from it, or even touched it.

Hope you found that helpful.

I’m off to Vegas, to the Mirage (a planning trip for Photoshop World 2019), and then I’m off shooting landscapes in Utah and Arizona.

Here’s to a week full of opportunities and great possibilities. :-)

Best,

-Scott

Aloha from Maui, Hawaii — I’m here at Canon’s launch event for their just-announced EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless camera. I got a chance to get my hands on the new camera, and I have to say, Canon did a kick-butt job on this big-time Mirrorless. 

Get The Scoop Live on The Grid and Ask Canon’s Tech Gurus Yourself
Before we get to the tech specs — today you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly to Canon’s photo and video gurus, along with YouTube sensation Devin Supertramp, and Fashion Photographer Lindsay Adler, as we’re broadcasting The Grid live from Maui, Hawaii today at 4 PM ET (kelbyone.com/thegrid or facebook.com/skelby) -These guys have the answers, and we’ll be taking your questions live – see you at 4PM EDT today!

OK, onto to my first impressions:
The camera specs are found all over the Web (here’s a link to Canon’s EOS R official spec sheet), but here are the features that stood out to me:

30.3-megapixels

5,655 AF points (read that one again, out loud)

They nailed the ergonomics, and the overall feel (and grip) feels great! It feels like a DSLR even without the battery grip. They crushed it on the ergo side, and everybody at the event was talking about how great the camera feels in your hand.

Touch Bar in the back is very clever, and it’s customizable. You can assign what you want it to controls (like your ISO for example), but you can have it control more than one thing. Really slick when you try it.

Full articulating touch screen, up/down, flips out, the whole 9-yards

The very small size of their just announced 24-105mm is worth nothing (more on new lenses in a minute)

It has 4K video at 30-fps, and 1080p HD at 60 fps, but the one that stood out to me was the 720p HD at 120 fps for super slow-mo.

There’s a $99 mount adapter so you can use your existing Canon EF or EF-S lenses.

Only one card slot, but at least it’s SD (SD cards are probably the lowest priced cards out there).

It takes the super popular, ubiquitous LP-E6N or E6 Canon battery (thank, goodness!), and you can get a battery grip for it, to add a 2nd battery. About 370-ish shots per battery.

My first impressions of the Electronic Viewfinder
Way, way better than I was expecting. I’m not a fan of Electronic Viewfinders at all, but this one might make me change my mind. Really well done. 

But at the end of the day, features are just features 
It’s like describing a guitar by telling you what kind of pick-ups it has and what type of wood the fretboard is made from. What really matters is this — how to do the images look? I got a chance to play with one, and see the images right from a pre-release model of the camera, including large prints (so it’s not a full production unit yet, and will still be tweaked, enhanced and such), and they are just beautiful! Vivid. Crisp. Rockin! I also saw some 4K Video Devin shot and it looked absolutely stunning. At the end of the day, how the images look — that’s what it’s all about. 

Pricing: 
I think they killed it on the pricing – $2,299. 

Anticipated Ship Date:
The body ships in October 2018  

They launched some nice new lenses for their new Mirrorless R-mount as well – smaller, lighter, very fast! 
But, I think their new control ring feature is show stealer!!! Such a clever idea for adding controls right to the lenses themselves, and you even buy an adapter to add a control ring to your existing EF lens. This is really slick! OK, on to the new RF Lenses:

> 28-70mm f/2 ($2,999) ships in December 2018

> 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM ($1,099), December 2018

> 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM ($499) December 2018

> 50mm f/1.2L L USM ($2,299) October 2018

> Mount Adapter for the EF-EOS R ($99) October 2018

Pretty serious-level lenses. 

Lighter big lenses, too!
Another big announcement was the release of two big EF lenses (for sports and wildlife shooters), that are about 2lbs lighter than previous models, making them the lightest weight lenses of their kind. The crowd here dug ’em!

Lots more to share later today on our “Live from Hawaii” edition of The Grid. See you then – 4 pm EDT today! 

Best, 

-Scott

P.S. I also saw (though not covered in today’s launch event) Canon introduced a new EL-100 flash (Speedlight). 24mm coverage. Optical wireless. Mode dial driven. Very small, and simple. $199.99 – ships October 2018

It’s #TravelTuesday again! Doesn’t it come around quick? It seems like only a week since the last one! Well, here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means the reigns are passed on to me, Dave Williams, to share something about Photoshop, photography, travel, and life. Today, I’m going to tackle a thing that us photographers are faced with over and over and over again. It’s “that question,” which comes at you constantly from all angles. You know the one:

“What camera shall I get?”

Well, basically, there is no right answer! There’s that old adage thrown around pretty much daily: the best camera you can have is the one in your pocket. If anyone asks you which camera to get, feel free to direct them right here!

The best advice, really, is this: buy the camera that you can afford!

Getting a new camera for yourself or as a gift for a loved one getting into photography is quite an overwhelming and potentially daunting experience. Every camera out there claims, in one way or another, to be the best one. Every shop wants you to buy from them. Every salesperson seems to know best and wants to upsell whatever they have in stock. It can all be a bit too much, particularly when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Well, here’s what you’re looking for!

  •  Manual mode – This allows you to take complete control of the camera. It isn’t something a beginner will necessarily want to do from the outset, but it absolutely is something to work up to. And, having that feature there will mean you won’t have to splash out on another camera when you get to it.
  • ISO – The ISO is the sensitivity to light. Look for a camera that performs well at about ISO 1600 so that you can produce clean images in low light.
  • Autofocus – A decent, fast autofocus system can make the difference between getting the shot or not, particulary in fast-paced situations.
  • Megapixels – It’s not all about the megapixels, but the more the merrier, right? If you want to print your shots, which I suggest you do, the megapixels matter. The more megapixels, the bigger you can print.
  • RAW – A camera that shoots in RAW format will make for a far better experience in editing the photos in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom because every bit of data that makes the image is stored in detail rather than being compressed in the JPEG format.
  • Ergonomics – Obviously, this is an important factor. The look and feel of a camera can be just as important as your clothing style. If it doesn’t suit you, will you be encouraged to use it? Similarly, the size and weight will be a consideration for how often it gets used, too.

So, all that considered, how about brands? Well, if you ask a photographer which camera to buy, you’ll likely get a response encouraging you to buy their brand. #TeamNikon right here will push you towards a Nikon, whereas if you ask Scott you’ll probably be told all about #TeamCanon, or Glyn Dewis may persuade you to join #TeamSony. Photographers are aggressively true to their brand, on the whole. The reason is quite practical in that if you start off using a brand, you are stuck with that brand’s glass and accessories, which is a very expensive thing to switch from. It’s all masked by a fued of commitment and alliegance to the brand! Right now the top three brands are Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

So, what about the type of camera? 

  • DSLR – This means Digital Single Lens Reflex. Which translates to “it has moving parts and you can look through it.” The image from the lens is reflected on a mirror to the viewfinder, and when you hit the shutter release button, the mirror quickly flips out of the way and the shutter curtain shoots across the sensor to let the light create an image. They’re generally big, heavy, and pretty delicate. They are also the best option in terms of accessories and lenses because they’ve been around for so long and are essentially the grandchildren of film cameras.
  • Mirrorless – These cameras are becoming very popular because they also have interchangeable lenses, but they’re smaller and have far fewer moving parts. They perform differently and they mostly have cropped sensors, meaning smaller images.
  • Point and shoot – These are far smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more or less completely automatic. It might be what you need, though!

Where shall I buy it?

The best place is a proper camera store like B&H in New York or London Camera Exchange in London. You’ll find a good variety of kits, and some pretty sound advice because the people who work in camera stores tend to love photography and know what they’re talking about. Amazon comes in next, but mostly because there’s so much on offer at good prices.

Does that answer the question? Probably not, because there isn’t really an answer, but hopefully it’s enough to steer you in the right direction.

Much love

Dave

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