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Welcome to My Monthly Newsletter - April, 2012
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Canon 1D MKIV and 5D MKIII

Over the last two years, I’ve been watching carefully the steps Canon has taken upgrading their product line. With the introduction of the new 1D X, I quickly learned that Auto Focus at f/8 is not possible unlike previous Pro bodies. For example, you cannot longer use a 500mm f/4 L lens with a 2X teleconverter or the 600mm f/4 L lens and the 800mm f/5.6 L lens with a 1.4x.

Canon decided to take this approach with the introduction of their new and more advanced AF System. The 1D X was introduced to replace the much loved 1D MKIV and the 1Ds MKIII Pro bodies. But where does that leave nature and bird photographers? Well, that will depend on where you live.

If you live here in Florida, using a full frame body like the 1D X with a 500mm lens attached to a 1.4x Teleconverter almost full time, you should not have much of a problem. Why? Simply because the birds can be more “accessible” if you will. But what if you live in Wisconsin? You’ll find yourself cropping heavily to gain some “reach”

I’ve decided to invest over $8,900 this month and upgrade my current bodies. My main body will now be the Canon 1D MKIV which is a 1.3 crop factor body. This body will be dedicated to bird photography while the new 5D MKIII with its new advanced Auto Focus system (similar to the 1D X) will become my secondary body and primary body for landscapes photography.

I fear Canon may soon drop the much loved 1.3 crop factor bodies in the Pro line. If that’s the case, it may be the last chance to own such Pro bodies like the 1D MKIV.

With that said, my 35th Birthday also influence with the upgrade <smile>. So, Happy Birthday to me!

 

Florida's Birding & Photo Fest 2012

Florida's Birding & Photo Fest 2012

The Florida Birding & Photo Fest is upon us. Make sure to check out this great event. Lot's of information shared and equipment reviews available for everyone!

See you there!!

Great Egret with Nesting Material - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Great Egret with Nesting Material - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L with 1.4x II @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,

with flash and Better Beamer, Hand-held

WoodStork with Nesting Material - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Wood Stork with Nesting Material - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L with 1.4x II @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,

with flash and Better Beamer, Hand-held

Spoonbill Returning to Nest - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Spoonbill Returning to Nest - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L with 1.4x II @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,

with flash and Better Beamer, Hand-held

Great Egret in Flight - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Great Egret in Flight - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, Canon 70-200mm f/4 L with 1.4x II @ f/8, 1/1500 sec, ISO 400, Manual exposure,
with flash and Better Beamer, Hand-held

Great Egret Eye Contact, Central Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Great Egret Eye Contact, Central Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 5D MKII, Canon 800mm L @ f/8, 1/2500 sec, ISO 400, 580EX II with Better Beamer
Nik, Manual exposure, Induro CT414 Tripod

Click here to Register

Nikon D800

Nikon D4

If you have been leaving under a rock for the last 4 months <smile>, Nikon introduced two new exciting bodies. First and the much talked Nikon D800 with a staggering 36megapixels stepping into the Medium Format territory and the lighting fast D4.

If you have been following the sensor technology over the last 5 years, you are probably aware how difficult it has been for camera manufactures to keep NOISE under control either with Full Frame and APS-C (a.k.a cropped) sensors. Not to mention the constant battle increasing Dynamic Range.

The Nikon D800 sensor scored very high under DxO Labs test which is great news for Nikon users. Owning a body with that many pixels doesn’t come without challenges. You want to make sure you get the best out of the sensor or you will get disappointing results.

If you are planning to purchase this body, here are few things to keep in mind

  • Improving Optical Performance:

Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11. When you need more depth of field, don’t just immediately stop the lens all the way down; instead, look for the aperture that offers the best balance between sharpness and depth of field. In the examples on this page, you can see the grid lose definition as aperture is stopped down past f/11. . Source: Nikon USA

  • Because of the large resolution the sensor delivers, having the “right” lens is critical. Here are some of the recommended lenses to enhance sharpness:

  • AF-S NIKKOR 14–24 mm f/2.8G ED
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 24–70 mm f/2.8G ED
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 70–200 mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 16–35 mm f/4G ED VR
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 24–120 mm f/4G ED VR
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 200–400 mm f/4G ED VR II
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 24 mm f/1.4G ED
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 35 mm f/1.4G
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 85 mm f/1.4G
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 200 mm f/2G ED VR II
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 300 mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8G ED VR
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 500 mm f/4G ED VR
  •    AF-S NIKKOR 600 mm f/4G ED VR
  •    AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60 mm f/2.8G ED
  •    AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Another important thing to remember is how to manage such large RAW files. If you shoot like I do (hundreds of images per session) you can easily fill a 2 TB hard drive. But, what if you don’t need such high resolution? Will this body be ideal for Bird Photography? Am I going to print school-bus size images? There are still many questions out there!

Read all about each camera by following these links from Dpreview.

D800 & D800E - Dpreview Hands-on review

D4 - Dpreview hands-on review

There is no question in my mind that this body will satisfy many and I can wait to see the “real” field results and images. Perhaps, I’ll adopt this body and few lenses for my landscape photography in the near future.  However, educate yourself before purchasing this amazing body!


Sandhill Crane with Colt, S.W. Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D MKIV, Canon 800mm L with 1.4x III @ f/8, 1/500 sec, ISO 800,
Manual exposure, Induro CT414 Tripod


Sandhill Crane with Colt, S.W. Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D MKIV, Canon 800mm L with 1.4x III @ f/8, 1/500 sec, ISO 800,
Manual exposure, Induro CT414 Tripod


Sandhill Crane feeding Colt, S.W. Florida - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 1D MKIV, Canon 800mm L with 1.4x III @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 800,
Manual exposure, Induro CT414 Tripod

Eckla Multi Rolly Gear Cart

GHO Owlet - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
GHO Owlet - Maxis Gamez, All Rights Reserved
Canon 7D, 800mm IS, @ f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO 800, 580EX II with Better Beamer,
Manual exposure, NIK Software, Induro CT414 Tripod

One of the most challenging subjects to photograph using fill flash are owls due to their large eyes. Preventing red eye is critical but like everything else, there is a trick to that...

Few things to keep in mind:

  • Pay attention at your flash beam. If you notice the beam going above your subject, take the time and lower your flash bracket.
  • Take your time and set your flash manually.
  • Check your histogram and make sure you aren't blowing out the highlights.
  • Cloudy days play a huge roll as the light will be even and flat.
  • Use your Better Beamer
  • Your images should never look over-flashed. You want your images to look as natural as possible.

During my St. Augustine Birds & More Workshop I will be talking in detail everything I do when I use my flash. I highly recommend the workshop to those looking to master once and for all your speedlight!

Join me!

Everglades National Park with Deborah Sandidge, Jan 21-22, 2012 San Diego Birds & More - Feb 27-30, 2012 Bird Photography Tour with Tim Grey - Feb 22-26, 2012 Spoonbills & More Boat Trip - March, 2012 Burrowing Owls - March 31-April 1, 2012 St. Augustine Bids & Landscapes - April, 2012 Florida Coastline - May, 2012 Florida Shorebirds - May, 2012