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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Canon EF 200-400mm F/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Lens Preview


Canon announced the development of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens over two years ago. Ever since then, I have been longing for the release of this lens. When the official announcement finally came right after the midnight hour of May 13, 2013, I immediately placed my order even though the weight and price are higher than I have expected - 7.98 pounds and $11,799. My equipment supplier informed me I am in the top 5 of the waiting list and as soon as the first shipment arrives, the lens will be shipped out to me without delay.
I am a wildlife photographer and have been using Canon equipment for almost twenty five years. My subjects range from tiny Hummingbirds to Blue Whales, the largest animal on Planet Earth, ever. Over the decades, I have used and owned many 'L' series prime, zoom and Super Telephoto lenses. When the Series II versions of the Super Telephoto lenses came out in 2011, I refrained from upgrading until I have a chance to use the EF 200-400mm lens. Generally I am not overly excited by any new piece of Canon equipment, the EOS-1D X camera was the last exception but this new lens carries all the promise of a zoom lens with a built-in extender, all packed into a Super Telephoto lens barrel. I cannot emphasis the advantages of having a top quality super telephoto zoom lens. For years, I have suffered through missed opportunity when using prime telephoto lens on wildlife. Once the animal comes too close, there is a mad scramble to back up or try and grab another camera with a shorter focal length. Inevitably, I would end up missing crucial shots.
The EF 200-400mm is a large but manageable lens. It measures 5 inch in diameter and 14.4 inch in length without the lens hood. The front and rear lens elements are fluorine-coated to repel water, dust and dirt. When used with the Canon EOS-1D X camera, it will make cleaning much easier out in the field. It has a built-in 1.4x extender (see bulge in photo) specifically designed for the lens and three IS modes, like all the other Series II Super Telephoto lenses. Mode 1 is for stationary subjects. Mode 2 is for panning subjects, like bird in flight. Mode 3 is available only on Series II super telephoto lenses. In Mode 3, IS sound can be detected when the shutter release is half-pressed, but the image is not stabilized until the precise moment when the shot is taken. When I use an IS equipped lens, I always leave the IS on and set to Mode 1. To be honest, most of the time, I find there is a difference without a distinction between Mode 1 and 2. After panning for so many fast moving wildlife shots over the years, I have developed a rather good technique for myself already.
Up to now, no Canon Super Telephoto lens comes in a zoom. Adding a built-in 1.4x extender and a fixed f/4 aperture over the entire zoom range is a game changer for me. By the way, the minimum focusing distance over the entire zoom range is only 6.6 feet. Although this lens is revolutionary for a 'L' design, Canon actually experimented with the FDn 1200mm f/5.6 lens with a built-in 1.4x extender back in 1984 during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
To say the EF 200-400mm lens' zoom range is flexible is an understatement. In addition to the built-in 1.4x extender, the lens also accepts the EF 1.4x and 2.0x III extenders. This means it can have a possible zoom range of 200mm to 1,792mm, when used with a combination of full frame, APS-H and APS-C cameras. EOS-5D Mk III and the EOS-1 bodies will allow AF down to f/8. Auto-focusing with apertures smaller than f/8 is not possible but this lens is well designed for that with FTM (full time manual) focusing built-in. This immense focal length range encourages creativity and open up many possibilities for long lens photography.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my EF 200-400mm lens and have a few wildlife photo shoots coming up this summer, including Svalbard, Alaska and Africa. It should deliver photos with excellent image quality providing I have good luck with the wildlife sightings. Once I have given this lens a good workout in the field, I will write a detailed review of it as soon as possible.

Licenses of Stock Photography


It is easy to buy photos from Stock Photography Sites. But the buyer needs to be aware of certain licenses which are necessary to know when going for buying photos online.
In Stock Photography, along with the photos certain rights are also sold. The buyer needs to be aware of all these rights in order to make the right choice of license it requires to buy.
The types of licenses used while buying Stock Photographs are:-
1. Royalty Free License 
2. Rights Managed License 
3. Extended / Enhanced License

1. Royalty Free License:-
Royalty Free License is always referred to as RF. This is the most commonly used and affordable license for Stock Photography. Royalty Free licenses are the ones where in the buyer can use the image several times without paying for the image every time he uses. Instead he just needs to pay the license amount and the photo charge once and get done with the payment. The disadvantage of Royalty Free License is that these photos can be purchased by many buyers and are non exclusive. Royalty Free images are sold by file size. A high resolution version of an image with a large file size (such as 60 MB) would cost more than the low resolution version of the same image with a small file size (such as 1 MB).
2. Rights Managed License:-
Rights Managed License is referred to as RM. Rights Managed Licenses are those where the buyer needs to pay for every use of the photo. Also, the buyer has to pay according to the usage of the image. Each usage is calculated separately and an image is sold for a 'single use'. A Rights Managed License gives exclusive, time-limited use of a stock image. Right Managed Licenses also include Model Release agreement. Even though Rights managed images are expensive to license, they offer protection against brand dilution and allow for larger print runs.
3. Extended / Enhanced License:-
Some Stock Photography companies allow you to purchase an Extended or Enhanced license that extends the permitted uses of a previously licensed work. The license extended is usually the Royalty Free License. Extended licenses give you the permission to "extend" upon the uses granted in the original license. These uses may include increasing the number of copies showing the image, use it for resale purposes, or allow for other methods of distribution and use. Uses vary from company to company, so be sure to read the licensing agreement in detail.
Where an image is intended to be used extensively across multiple media for instance, a Royalty Free image may well be much more cost effective, or if an image is to be associated with a premium brand a Rights Managed image would probably be more appropriate.

Model and Photographer Trust - You Need It For Professional Photography


Do you want to make more money in your photography business? Do you shoot people? If you do, let me tell a little story I heard from an acquaintance of mine. It's one about; trust. You see, if you want to get the best models or have your customers truly help you get that perfect shot, then you need to develop a strong rapport - and ultimately a trusting bond. Why you ask? Well, if you model or customer knows that you will do great work, they will loosen up, be at ease, and their smiles will be real and not fake. By doing this you get the best work, and thus, your portfolio of great work grows and grows, along with referrals too.
About the worst thing you can do is be unprofessional, moody, perturbed or uninterested. This brings immediate skepticism to your client who may not be confident that you are out to do your best work. This brings with it a negative connotation and preconception, meaning they will be actively looking for flaws in your work, even if those flaws are actually their own or their own image which you perfectly captured. See that point? And if even if you hadn't considered this the prior, you need to be thinking here now that I've brought it to your attention.
Arguing with a client gets you nowhere, simply because; "a person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still," meaning you've alienated your client even if you think you've won an argument. When there is trust on the other hand your client, especially your models and human involved pictures will turn out even better. I have a feeling the same is true if you are shooting animals and pets for your clients, if those pets trust you, and inherently like you, your job will be so much easier and those pictures will make those pet owners proud and your bank account swell.
If you are shooting glamor shots and you want to shoot the best models, you have to show them that your portfolio is filled with people you've made to look absolutely stunning. When they see that, they trust you, they follow your instructions and they work with you, in total confidence. This again means you get the best shots and your work will speak for itself bringing you where you need to be to move your professional photography business forward. Please consider all this and think on it.
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