Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New videos for everyone to enjoy (and learn from)

In the last couple of weeks, there have been numerous videos posted online with me either presenting (at B&H Photo in New York) or being interviewed. These videos are FREE and will hopefully be educational and entertaining for you.

Here are four of the most recent videos posted to YouTube... (You can click on any of the video images to take you to the respective video.)

B&H Photo Event Space - Photographing Wildlife


B&H Photo Event Space - Creative Event Photography


This Week in PHOTO - Exciting New Gear from Canon and Fuji


This Week in PHOTO - Why You Be Trippin? (Smart travel habits for photographers)

I hope you enjoy the videos. If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions, please feel free to leave comments here on the blog.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hands on with the new Canon EOS R camera!

My last blog post gave my impressions of the newly announced Canon EOS R camera, Canon's first full frame mirrorless camera. That blog post was written based on all the camera specs and without me having a chance to play with the camera in my own hands.



I have now had a chance to get my hands on the EOS R and wanted to follow up my previous blog with some more information and real-world thoughts.

And, as many of you know, I hate writing a review of a product based on specs. I really prefer to get the camera in my hands and see how it performs in a real world scenario. I don't shoot specs, I take photos! With that said, I want to let you all know that my first thoughts on this camera, written last Friday, mostly remain intact.

But now that I have had a chance to play with the camera, here are my thoughts:



THE CAMERA BODY

* Unlike other mirrorless cameras that I have played with, the Canon EOS R feels more substantial, much like that of a traditional DSLR. This is both good and bad. The build quality seems to be excellent, but this also means that the camera is not that much smaller or lighter than a Canon 5D Mark IV.

* Unlike many smaller cameras, the EOS R actually felt good in my hands. It was weighted nicely and had plenty of room for my rather large hands to get around the camera's grip.

* FINALLY Canon has included a UHS-II SD card slot in this new camera. I have no idea what took them so long to adopt this technology, as it was missing in the Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 7D Mark II and other higher-end cameras. Nikon and other cameras have had these higher-speed card slots for more than 5 years.



* The EOS R has a full sized hot shoe and will work with all my existing flashes. The camera has a synch speed of 1/200 sec, much like it's predecessors.

THE USER INTERFACE





* This camera is VERY customizable! The user can customize just about every button and dial on the camera (and new lenses) to suit their individual needs. I set the lens ring to control the ISO, the top dial to control aperture and the thumb wheel to control exposure compensation. I really liked this setup and felt that it mimicked my Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV pretty well.

* There is a touch bar on the back of the camera which sounds really cool, but I found that it was too slow to use for changing something like ISO. (It is possible that the sensitivity can be changed, but I am not sure about that). It was also in a slightly tough spot to manipulate when the camera was up to my eye.



* The LCD display on the top of the camera was very easy to read, even in low light. I like this display much better than what is on the current DSLR cameras.

* I always shoot using back button focusing, and found that the AF-On button was in a very tough spot. I kept having to hunt and search for it. This would take some getting used to.



* On the spec sheet this new camera shows more than 5000 focus points, which really excited me. In actual use, I found it hard to position the focus point on the new camera. I could point anywhere on the screen to move the focus point, but I would prefer to move the focal point while the camera is up to my face and I am shooting. I also found out that all the 5000+ points are not available when using Servo focus. This is a big disappointment for me since I use servo focus so often when shooting moving subjects. 

* The electronic viewfinder is excellent! When looking through the electronic viewfinder, I could hardly tell that it was a digital representation and not through the lens.



THE NEW LENSES

* I really love the control ring on the new lenses, and found it immediately useful. As stated before, I chose to manipulate the ISO with the control ring and found that much easier than finding the ISO button at the top of the DSLR cameras. I was a bit confused when I turned the control ring for the first time and nothing happened. It turns out that I had to hit the shutter button halfway down for the control ring to enable. This may a good thing since I don't want to arbitrarily set the ISO with a turn of the dial without meaning to do so.

* I did try the new Canon RF 24-105mm lens and the new Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens for the EF Mount and found them to be very sharp. Not being much of a mirrorless camera expert, I had always heard that the advantage of mirrorless cameras was the reduced size and weight. But just like the camera body, I was surprised that the lenses for the new RF mount were not much lighter than the L series lenses I use today. They are definitely weighted better than the standard EF mount lenses with the weight being evening distributed front to back. This was my biggest complaint of the older Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens which was so front heavy that I found it awkward to use.



* I am very happy that Canon has designed a low cost lens adapter so that I can use all my other Canon lenses with this new EOS R.

Actually, there are three different choice adaptors:

* A low cost standard adaptor
* An adaptor with a control wheel
* An adaptor with a rear filter option



I tried the adaptor with the control ring (in combination with my Canon 70-200 2.8 II lens) and found the same image quality, focusing speed and sensitivity as using my L series lenses on my DSLR cameras (with the added benefit of the control ring).


OVERALL IMPRESSION

After playing with the Canon EOS R for a little while, here are my thoughts:

* I am very excited that Canon has created the new RF mount system. It has been about 30 years since the Canon mount system has been changed and I think that this new mount will allow for some really cool new lenses in the future.

* As I stated in my last blog post, this is definitely not a camera designed for professional photographers like myself. Here is why:

- The camera only has one card slot
- The weather sealing is not as robust as the bigger DSLR cameras I use today
- The EOS R can only shoot at 5fps in servo focus mode. Definitely not good enough for the Olympics!
- The battery life is very limited (430 shots per battery)
- The small buttons are hard to reach in come cases

* I do feel that this could be an excellent camera for the non-professional photographer. It has a ton of features, great customization, excellent lens options (with the adaptor), and offers the same great sensor found in the Canon 5D Mark IV for $800 less than the 5D.

* Unlike switching from a Canon 5D Mark III to a Mark IV or even switching from the Canon 5D series to the Canon 1D series, this new R system is very different. I could not grab this new camera and go shoot an event the same day. This new camera is so different that I would need at least a couple days of shooting to get used to the new button layout, menu changes, focal point movement and more. And...I welcome the chance to spend that time with the R.

* Even though I do not shoot a lot of video with my Canon cameras, this camera has some impressive video features and should be very useful for all those videographers out there.

* Last week's event was not a camera introduction from Canon, I believe that it was the introduction of the future of Canon's camera lineup. I think that the R is just the first of many new cameras coming from the company. As I said in my last blog post, I am exited to see what comes next. I am assuming that some time in the next 18 months (before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo) we will see a new high-end mirrorless camera using this new system.

I would like to thank Calvin, my Canon Pro Rep, for taking the time to meet up with me and show me the new system. As a proud CPS member, I rely so heavily on Calvin and the other pro reps to keep me informed, service my equipment, and answer my technical questions. Kudos to him and the team!


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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mirrorless cameras are coming out in droves! My first impression of the Canon EOS R

It seems like the last couple of weeks has been mirrorless mania with big announcements from Nikon, Canon and even Fujifilm. People have been asking me if and when I would switch to a mirrorless camera, and up until this point, I really have not seen the need to do so. For the type of photography that I do (a little bit of everything from events to portraits, to sports and wildlife), I still feel that the DSLR cameras are a better choice.

In the last couple of weeks, I have seen a ton of hype about the new Nikon Z series cameras and all day yesterday my inbox was flooded with information about the new Canon EOS R mirrorless camera announcement.



Yesterday was a big day for Canon, with the announcement of their first full frame mirrorless camera, and I see this as a tease for what is coming in the future. When I say that this is a tease, I don't mean that these cameras are not good. I am saying that the cameras may be amazing for other people, but for me being a professional photographer, I need a little more to make the jump.

Here is what I see as major improvements with the new EOS R camera:

* It has the same 30MP sensor as the Canon 5D Mark IV in a smaller camera body.
* It has more than 5000 focal points, which I really want.
* The smaller size and weight of the camera and new lenses would be welcome, especially when traveling.
* Canon has come up with a control ring on the lens which can be customized. A very cool idea!
* The new RF lens mount allows for faster focusing and more communications between camera and lens.
* Shooting events, I welcome the ability to shoot with no shutter noise at all.

Here is why I won't make the switch just yet:

* The camera only has one memory card slot. This is a deal breaker for me. I ALWAYS shoot RAW images to both card slots in my Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5 D Mark IV cameras. I am capturing images for paying clients, and I need to know that I have their images safely on the memory cards. Spending 12 years in the memory card business, I know what can go wrong with the cards. And even though I am using ProGrade Digital cards and readers now, which are the highest quality, I still don't want to rely on only one card to store my photos.

* The Canon EOS R cameras are not weather sealed like the bigger DSLR cameras I use today. That may not matter for event photography here in Northern California, but it definitely could be an issue when I teach wildlife photography in Costa Rica.

* The interface of most mirrorless cameras is vastly different from what I am used to. Since the cameras are smaller, there is less room for buttons and dials. And I use those buttons and dials on my cameras all the time and do not want to be hunting through menus on a screen to change a setting.

* The EOS R can capture up to 8 frames per second, which is great, but I am used to the Canon 1 D X Mark II which captures 14 fps.

* People are excited that the new EOS R uses the familiar LP-E6N battery. But this battery only provides enough power to take 430 shots (according to the specs). I am used to having a larger battery that will let me shoot thousands of images per charge.

I am excited to see that both Canon and Nikon have jumped into the full frame mirrorless camera race. Up until this point, Sony has been making the most noise in this space, with other companies like Fujifilm and Olympus holding their own as well. But it was only a matter of time before the big guys got into the game.

Now the big question for me is: What is next from Canon?

Here is what I am hoping for:

* A professional grade camera with two memory card slots
* Proper weather sealing in the camera and lenses
* Even better ISO sensitivity, giving me cleaner images at high ISO
* A camera that can capture 18 frames per second (or in that range)
* A larger battery for prolonged shooting
* A really good image through the viewfinder. Most of the mirrorless cameras I have played with so far do not provide a great digital representation through the eyepiece. (I have heard that the EOS R has this, but will not know for another couple of days when I get to play with one.)

My fingers are crossed, and hope to see a higher-end pro version announced next.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A shout out to teachers!

It is that time of year when all the kids are going back to school. And what a fitting time to give a shout out to all those hard working teachers out there who are doing their best to inspire our kids. They work so hard and invest so much of their time, all for mediocre pay. But what they do can change the future for their students. Heck, I was one of those kids. I had numerous teachers take me under their wings and create the spark that would change my future.

I went to an elementary school back in the 70s that actually had Super 8 video cameras in a lab, and let us students create our own films. I created a stop motion animated film about dolphins. It was simple, but I think back to that film often. My teacher, without even telling me, entered it into a nationwide contest and I won my own video camera. I will never forget Ms. Folz.

Over the last 8 years I have received many emails from teachers who like to use my blog as a teaching tool.  This ranges from high school students who are interested in learning photography, to elementary school kids who are learning about the world.



Our good friend, Andrea has her students read the blog every week, and I even video conferenced them from the Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea in February. I am not sure who was more excited, them seeing me at the Olympics, or me seeing the excitement on their faces. Andrea not only uses the blog to educate the kids about the Olympics, wildlife, foreign lands, and other worldly things, but she even uses it to teach math. When I posted the images of all the Canon equipment at the Olympics, she created an assignment to see if the kids could determine the value of all the lenses and cameras. (Being a teacher, she also isn't afraid to let me know of any typos I have in my blog posts. And that is much appreciated too.)

This week I received a bunch of photos from Laura (my sister-in-law) and her classroom in Sacramento where she is using images from my recent trip to Africa to teach the kids language arts.





I video conferenced with their class the other day and took questions from the students. They asked about many of the animals in Africa and were most interested in the hippos. 


Here is a photo of my wife and her twin sister in her sister's 6th grade classroom in San Diego (when they did their best to fool the kids with my wife going in and teaching the kids to see if they would know that it was not Michelle). Michelle loves sharing the blog with her students as well.

I have visited numerous high schools to present at their career days, done show-and-tells at elementary schools, and will be doing a keynote speech at a university in Washington in October. I feel so lucky to be able to share photos and stories from all over the world, and to know that maybe it is affecting others. 

If you are a teacher using the blog, or know someone who is, let me know about it. Maybe I can video conference with your / their class too. 

And don't forget to thank the teachers in your life.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Our last day, and what a day of photography it was!

We woke up at our customary 5:30am time, ate breakfast and bundled up for the cold morning game drive. It was our last full day in Botswana and we hoped for one last productive day of photography in this amazing country.

Our first sighting was a large pack of elephant.


We watched (and photographed of course) as this one elephant sprayed itself with dirt.


This is not an uncommon sight, as the elephants can actually get sunburned. They cover themselves with dirt to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun.


As you may know by now, I am sucker for the baby animals and loved photographing these large females with the youngsters.




Then it was time to motion pan these elephants...



How can you not love these little ones?


One of the things that I teach the guests when on safari, is to shoot wide shots to include the environment. I loved the trees and cloudy sky behind the herd and felt that it would make a nice composition.


We saw these animals running through the water, one after another. I followed this one as it jammed through the marsh.


Once I knew that I had a nice "safe shot" of these guys running across the frame, I decided to slow the shutter speed down again and try for one last motion pan shot, and I am glad that I did. I changed the camera settings to ISO 100 and f/22 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/25 sec. As I was panning along with this guy, he jumped over a puddle and I was thrilled to capture him mid jump.

Our last stop was to another water hole occupied with hippo. Steve (our guide) said that it was safe to get outside the vehicle.


A couple of us got down on the ground and shot images low to the water, which created much more dynamic images than shooting high over these beasts.


I was laying down on the dirt and had the Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 100-400mm lens resting on a rock in front of me.  It was so awesome to photograph these active hippo at their level!


Those are some teeth!


This hippo looks a little nicer than the last one.


I saw this one hippo flipping his head around and trained my camera on him, hoping for more action. Just as I moved my camera and locked focus on this hippo, it flipped it's head high and splashed the water in a nice arc.


Steve and I were shooting side-by-side on the dirt, about 60 feet from the hippos when this one decided to charge forwards at us. I shot off 4 or 5 images before I bolted to my feet and prepared to jump back in the vehicle. This was the last shot I took before I chickened out. I stepped onto the vehicle, looked down and saw Steve still laying down shooting. He told us that the hippo would not charge us since we were not invading their space in the water. But, hey, I didn't know that, and this shot was good enough for me. :)

I hope you all enjoyed the blogs from this 5 week trip to Africa.

We have a bunch more trips coming up (most are sold out, but we have more coming that are not announced yet). Come with us to see all this for yourself!


__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________

Monday, August 13, 2018

Botswana Photo Tour - Our second to last day on safari

After being in Africa for almost 5 weeks, we were in the final days of our trip. But the best was yet to come...


Our morning started with us stalking this cheetah as it moved through the brush near our camp. I just love the look of these cats and could photograph them all day. But this cat had other things in mind and gave us the slip pretty quickly.


Even though we had seen many zebra on our trip(s), this group was near the edge of the road, with a nice background and in really nice light, so we stopped for some photos.


Once we got back to our campsite, I decided to convert one of the zebra shots into a high key black & white photo. I used SilverEfex Pro for the conversion and really like this. I will likely print this and hang it in my office.


We saw these two wart hogs and I laughed at their manes. I don't remember ever seeing hogs with this much hair. I don't know why, but this reminded me a little of Donald Trump's hair.


We went back to our camp for lunch, and while there, we heard some elephants nearby. I walked around the back of my tent and saw some elephants grazing. A couple of us ran back, grabbed our cameras and took some photos. We walked pretty close to them, but not too close.


After lunch, we were back in the vehicle for another game drive. We saw a couple of large groups of African buffalo. At one point, I saw these three standing close together and quickly shot off a handful of photos. I laughed as I was looking through the camera, as the proximity of the three buffalo look like one really large animal.


This is one of my favorite photos from my African safaris, partly because of the image itself and partly because of the story behind the photo. Let me explain.

As many of you know, I love taking motion pan photos (setting a slow shutter speed and moving the lens at the same speed as the moving subject). We were driving up to a water hole when our guide, Steve, spotted a large group of hippo on the shoreline. Knowing their behavior, he told us that they would spook and all run for the water when we drove up close to them. Before he continued driving, I encouraged everyone to change their cameras to shutter priority with a shutter speed in the area of 1/40 sec.

Steve drove up to the hippos at a pretty good pace, and as expected, they started running for the water. They were moving quickly as Steve did his best to get us close for the shot. We had to wait for him to hit the brakes and stop the vehicle completely before trying to pan with the animals. I think we had no more than 5 seconds to grab our shots of the last hippos entering the water.

I was able to pan at the right speed to get the middle hippo tack sharp with motion everywhere else. As you can see from the image, the slow shutter shows the movement of the water really well. It was a great challenge with a nice resulting image too.


We saw some more hippos in the another nearby pool, and I loved this one with LOTS of ox peckers on it's back.


One of the hippo lifted it's head high and splashed water into the air. I thought that this would be one of my favorite hippo action shots, but I did not know what was in store for me the next day.


The sun was setting, and we headed back towards our campsite. We drove up to these Lilac-breasted rollers who were warming themselves in the last minutes of sunset.


With colors like this, we could never get tired of photographing these little beauties.


The sun was almost completely down when we saw this herd in the distance. The animals had just run across the plains and kicked up some dust. This created a great environment for a back lit silhouette shot.


I was hoping for a nice sunset, and looking for an elephant or good tree to put in the foreground. Well...the sunset was not as vibrant as I had hoped it would be, and we didn't find a great foreground subject. Then I realized that we had the best foreground subjects in our vehicle. I asked each of the guests to hop out and let me get a silhouette shot of each of them. This was a shot of Pat wearing his trademark outback safari hat. And so another day had come and gone, with only one left before we flew home. But it was an epic one. Stay tuned!

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________