Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

Announcements

The Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

I just received the new Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens from Irix USA. I’ll do an in-depth review once I have the time to actually use this telephoto macro lens, but my first impressions are the following: The lens is solidly built. It feels cool, heavy, and dense in my hand. 150mm is the perfect focal length for a macro lens, in my opinion. The telephoto perspective really allows you to control the background much better than shorter focal lengths. I absolutely love the fact that the lens has a detachable tripod collar (to make it much easier to go from horizontal to vertical and back) with a built-in Arca Swiss mount. Why don’t other lens manufacturers do this as well considering this is the industry standard?

Specifications:

  • Covers full 35mm frame, for Nikon F, Canon EF, Pentax K mounts
  • Manual focus
  • Weather-sealed construction (Dragonfly finish)
  • 12 elements in 9 groups, 3 ED, 4 HR elements
  • f/2.8 to f/32, 11-blade diaphragm
  • 77mm filter ring
  • 12” (0.345m) minimum focus, 1:1 maximum magnification ratio, focus lock ring
  • 3.9” (135mm) long, 4.5” (87mm) diameter
  • 20.5 ounces (840g) weight
  • Detachable tripod collar with Arca Swiss mount; includes lens hood
  • Black
  • USD$ 595
  • Announced by Irix September 24, 2018

Get yours here on Amazon: Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly Lens

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Essential Photography: Teleconverters for Wildlife

Essential Photography: Teleconverters for Wildlife

Gear Reviews

What are Teleconverters?

A teleconverter is a magnifying lens that fits between the camera body and the effective photography lens. Teleconverters multiply the focal length of the lens giving it essential reach for small wildlife and subjects that are at a considerable distance. For example, a 1.4X teleconverter (also referred to as a tele-extender) multiplies the focal length by 1.4 so a 300mm lens now becomes a 420mm lens. A 2.0X teleconverter would make that same 300mm lens a 600mm. The teleconverter adds a little extra zoom or reach to your lens, without having to crop pixels to get the same effect. Is this awesome or what?

Now The Bad

But there are two fairly significant downsides to using teleconverters. First, using one will come at the cost of overall lens sharpness. The more glass that sits between the imaging sensor and your subject, the less sharpness and resolution you’re going to experience. The 2.0X will be less sharp than the 1.4X (Nikon makes a 1.7X teleconverter, which is a nice compromise).  

A teleconverter can be an essential piece of photography equipment if you shoot small birds on a regular basis. This ringed plover required a 500mm lens plus a 2.0X teleconverter for an effective focal length of 1000mm.

Because the teleconverter extends the lens mount away from the image sensor, it also decreases the amount of light that enters the camera. A 1.4X teleconverter will reduce the maximum aperture of the lens by one full stop while the 2.0X will cost you two stops. So a 300mm f/2.8 lens will become a 420mm f/4 with the 1.4X and a 600mm f/5,6 with the 2.0X. That’s something to consider when you are working in low light environments. You must also consider that not all lenses work with teleconverters and some camera bodies will lose autofocus if your teleconverter pushes your maximum aperture to f/8 and beyond. Check your camera’s manual to be sure. Here are some helpful online guides:

Nikon AF-S Teleconverter Compatibility Chart
Canon Teleconverter Compatibility Guide (scroll down to near the bottom of the page)
Sigma Teleconverter Compatibility Page
Sony 1.4X Teleconverter Compatibility (scroll to bottom)
Sony 2X Teleconverter Compatibility (scroll to bottom)

Where to get yours?

(All links to Amazon)

Canon EF 1.4X Teleconverter
Canon EF 2.0X Teleconverter
Nikon AF-S FX TC-14E III (1.4x) Teleconverter
Nikon AF-S FX TC-17E II (1.7x) Teleconverter
Nikon Auto Focus-S FX TC-20E III (2.0x) Teleconverter
Sony FE 1.4x Teleconverter
Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverter

There is good and bad when it comes to using teleconverters but I believe they are still a vital piece of gear for the serious wildlife photographer. Experience and the specific situation will determine when and when not to use them.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Breakthrough Photography Filters

Breakthrough Photography Filters

Announcements

I just recently ditched my Lee Filter system and adopted Breakthrough Photography Filters as my preferred filter line for landscape and travel photography. The choice was actually pretty simple: Better glass, better coatings, better color fidelity, better build quality, and a 25-year warranty on their filters. Here’s more information:

 

  • WORLDS SHARPEST AND MOST COLOR NEUTRAL NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS: Breakthrough Photography’s X4 ND filter maintain a very well controlled and flat transmission all the way throughout the visible light spectrum and into IR, delivering the worlds most color neutral results.
  • MRC16 OPTICAL COATING: 16 Layer Multi-Resistance Coated to significantly reduce lens flare and ghosting while making the filter Anti-Scratch, Reduce Reflection, Water Repellent, Increase Surface Durability, Oil & Dust Resistant. These attributes are essential for working effectively outdoors. Our proprietary MRC coating is structurally harder than the glass itself and the reduced reflections improve the efficiency since less light is lost. 
  • NANOTEC: In addition to state-of-the-art MRC, their optical engineers developed new nano coating layer technology, called nanotec, from the ground up to repel dirt, water and other elements by beading rather than absorbing and smearing. Set in our workhorse and built to withstand extreme wind, salt water, dust and other abrasive conditions and elements.
  • 25 YEARS SUPPORT: Guaranteed to be free from craftsmanship defects for 25 years. When you activate your 25 Year Ironclad Guarantee online we associate your X4 serial number to you, so any future discussions on this unique filter are tracked, issues recorded and all that stuff which goes into future product design.

At top: The Breakthrough Photography X4 3-stop ND Filter slowing down the motion of the water in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bottom: The finely crafted Breakthrough Photography’s X4 Circular Polarizing Filters with blackened brass frames and traction grooves for easy handling in cold weather or with gloves.

Polarizing Filters

Breakthrough Photography advertises its 4X CPL Circular Polarizer as the “world’s most advanced circular polarizer.” The construction is made from blackened brass (less likely for the filters to stick together) with deepened traction grooves on the rim for an easy grip, even with cold, wet, fingers or gloves (although I’ve been told that these grove may interfere with your lens hood. I don’t use a lens hood so I’ve not experienced this). The glass is SCHOTT Superwhite B270® optical glass with nanotech® and multi-resistant coatings. The best part about these proprietary coatings is that rain and moisture slide right off the surface of the filter. With other filters, you might try to wipe off the rain or splashes and it just get smeared around. I tried it and it’s true! I’m amazed.

Neutral Density Filters

For years I have been using Lee Filters’ Little and Big Stopper ND filters (6- and 10-Stop respectively) for long exposure photography (see tutorial on using ND Filters for Long Exposure Photography). The quality of the Lee glass has never been an issue with me but it’s long been known by landscape photographers that these Lee filters impart an obvious and acknowledged blue color cast to affected images. See the examples above. The Breakthrough Photography 4X ND filters are truly color neutral and the glass and coatings are better than Lee’s. Formatt Hitech pushes the colors toward the cyan while B&W goes reddish-orange. These problems can be fixed in post-production (sometimes relatively easily and sometimes not so much) but why bother with that anymore?

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Think Tank Releases New Photo Protection Concepts

Think Tank Releases New Photo Protection Concepts

Announcements

The Think Tank Photo Emergency Rain Cover for the ultimate in camera protection.

My friends at Think Tank Photo have released two new concepts in camera gear protection. The Emergency Rain Covers, that come in two sizes, are small, lightweight, fast-deploying protective covers you can have on hand when weather conditions change swiftly and you need to protect your bodies and lenses.

The Think Tank Lens Case Duos for lens protection when transporting and traveling.

The Lens Case Duos are protective lens sleeves that can be used both when transporting your lenses in transit and while shooting.  They are available in a range of sizes to fit most DSLR and Mirrorless lenses.

Don’t forget that when you use these special URLs you will receive free gear and free shipping on all orders over $50. You can order below:

Thank Tank Emergency Rain Cover

Lens Case Duos

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.

Canon EOS R Mirrorless SAMPLE IMAGES

Canon EOS R Mirrorless SAMPLE IMAGES

Announcements

On September 5 of this year, Canon announced its highly anticipated Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera to the world and over the past week, I spent some time shooting a production model while traveling to Havana, Cuba. This camera was made for travel and street photography so this was the perfect opportunity to give it a good working over.

The EOS R Mirrorless camera features a brand new RF mount so it’s not compatible with EOS lenses without the Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R that fits between the camera and lens. I used two of the new RF lenses as well as many of my older EOS lenses on this trip. More information and specifications on the Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera can be found here.

I found the camera to be very intuitive to use, especially if you are a Canon shooter already, it fit my hands comfortably, and the image quality was very similar to that found in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which is my current go-to camera body for travel and landscape photography, as well as the occasional wildlife shoot. I thought the ISO performance on the new mirrorless camera to be just a tad better than the 5D Mark IV (see the last of the sample images below captured at 10,800 ISO) but it could be my imagination. It’s certainly a subjective observation at best. The two RF lenses – the Canon Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 L USM and RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM were amazing performers – some of the sharpest Canon lenses I’ve ever used.

This copy of the Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and the lenses were on loan to me for a very limited amount of time so I couldn’t do any technical, objective tests. My subjective observations are positive overall, but I don’t see myself going to an all mirrorless system anytime in the near future. I do believe Canon is heading in the right direction with this inaugural model, however, and I’m excited with the prospect of future R bodies and an expansion of the RF lens line.

Get your Canon EOS R Mirrorless Digital Camera here on Amazon.

“El Malecón” The Havana waterfront at sunrise, Havana, Cuba. Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera with Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L is USM Lens @ 80mm.

“No Left Turn Unstoned” Getting lost in the heart of Havana, Cuba. Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and with Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L is USM Lens @ 42mm.

“La Virgen de la Merced” Church interior in Old Havana. Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens @ 12mm with Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R.

“Life’s Rich Banquet” Old Havana, Cuba. Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens @ 28mm.

“El Contendiente” One of many students in Radames Castillo’s boxing academy, Havana, Cuba. I really pushed the limits of the Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera in this dark working environment. ISO 10,800!

“Ragged Quarters” A Black and White street scene from Havana. Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens @ 50mm.

“La Habana Vieja” Canon EOS R Mirrorless camera and with Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L is USM Lens @ 38mm. I’ve still not completely embraced the Electronic Viewfinder used in mirrorless cameras but I found this to be the best I’ve tried so far. It feels and looks less “virtual” when I peer through the viewfinder.

Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

The Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

After months of speculation and rumors, Canon officially announced today the Canon EOS R, the much anticipated full frame mirrorless camera that will compete with Sony’s full frame mirrorless line and the new Nikon Z6 and Z7. Concurrently, Canon is also unvieling four native RF lenses and the Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R for using EOS lenses on the new RF mount. The Canon EOS R camera body will be available in October 2018 with an estimated retail price of $2,299. The new Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens will also be available in October 2018 while the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 L USMRF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, and RF 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM will all be available in December 2018.

Canon EOS R Specifications

  • 30.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • A New 54mm diameter RF Lens Mount
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30 Video; C-Log & 10-Bit HDMI Out
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Maximum of 5,655 Manually Selectable AF Points
  • 3.69m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.15″ 2.1m-Dot Swivel Touchscreen LCD
  • Expanded ISO 50-102400
  • 8 fps Shooting
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, SD UHS-II Card Slot
  • Multi-Function Bar, Dual Pixel RAW

My (Initial) Take on the Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

I will very likely have my hands on this new camera within a few weeks (through some back-channel contacts) so I’ll be able to offer some hands-on, first-person opinions very soon, as well as some sample images. But for now I’ll simply offer my take on the camera and the system in general.

I believe that technology will lead us all to mirrorless systems in the not-so-distant future considering the many technological advantages to the mirrorless system over DSLRs. I won’t go into all of these advantages here but the larger lens mount and reduced physical distance between the imaging sensor and the lens are literal game-changers when it comes to future lens possibilities. We are seeing some of those possibilities with today’s announcement from Canon. But despite these facts and no matter how my hands-on experience with the Canon EOS R will be in the coming weeks, I will continue to use Canon DSLRs (Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 1DX Mark II) for my photography in the coming months, unless the landscape and the technology drastically change in a hurry.

The two most cited reasons I hear for moving from a DSLR to a mirrorless system is a reduction in weight and size as well as the electronic viewfinder (EVF). I find the weight and size differences to be negligible (the Canon 5D Mark IV is 1.962 lbs vs. the Canon EOS R at 1.455 so we’re basically talking about a half of a pound) and I don’t consider the EVF to be a big advantage at all. With the current technology, I prefer an optical viewfinder. When I use the Canon EOS R in the next couple of weeks, I could change my mind on the EVF, however.

The biggest problem I have with the Canon EOS R is the very limited lens choices (four lenses as of this writing) unless the rumored adapter is used with the current line of EOS EF lenses. This is not an optional solution for me. For example, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is one of the most important lenses I use for wildlife and I just can’t imagine using this lens on the Canon EOS R with an adapter at this point. There certainly is no reduction in weight or size so why make a change at this point? As a professional photographer who needs to consistently produce quality images year-round, I will use the best available tools for the job, period. Right now, the mirrorless option is not the best tool for me but that could change soon. Stayed tuned.

Order your Canon EOS R Mirrorless Digital Camera here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L is USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 is Macro STM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R here on Amazon

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless Camera

Announcements

The Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

After months of speculation and rumors, Canon officially announced today the Canon EOS R, the much anticipated full frame mirrorless camera that will compete with Sony’s full frame mirrorless line and the new Nikon Z6 and Z7. Concurrently, Canon is also unvieling four native RF lenses and the Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R for using EOS lenses on the new RF mount. The Canon EOS R camera body will be available in October 2018 with an estimated retail price of $2,299. The new Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens will also be available in October 2018 while the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 L USMRF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, and RF 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM will all be available in December 2018.

Canon EOS R Specifications

  • 30.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • A New 54mm diameter RF Lens Mount
  • DIGIC 8 Image Processor
  • UHD 4K30 Video; C-Log & 10-Bit HDMI Out
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Maximum of 5,655 Manually Selectable AF Points
  • 3.69m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.15″ 2.1m-Dot Swivel Touchscreen LCD
  • Expanded ISO 50-102400
  • 8 fps Shooting
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, SD UHS-II Card Slot
  • Multi-Function Bar, Dual Pixel RAW

My Take on the Canon EOS R Mirrorless Camera

I will very likely have my hands on this new camera within a few weeks (through some back-channel contacts) so I’ll be able to offer some hands-on, first-person opinions very soon, as well as some sample images. But for now I’ll simply offer my take on the camera and the system in general.

I believe that technology will lead us all to mirrorless systems in the not-so-distant future considering the many technological advantages to the mirrorless system over DSLRs. I won’t go into all of these advantages here but the larger lens mount and reduced physical distance between the imaging sensor and the lens are literal game-changers when it comes to future lens possibilities. We are seeing some of those possibilities with today’s announcement from Canon. But despite these facts and no matter how my hands-on experience with the Canon EOS R will be in the coming weeks, I will continue to use Canon DSLRs (Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 1DX Mark II) for my photography in the coming months, unless the landscape and the technology drastically change in a hurry.

The two most cited reasons I hear for moving from a DSLR to a mirrorless system is a reduction in weight and size as well as the electronic viewfinder (EVF). I find the weight and size differences to be negligible (the Canon 5D Mark IV is 1.962 lbs vs. the Canon EOS R at 1.455 so we’re basically talking about a half of a pound) and I don’t consider the EVF to be a big advantage at all. With the current technology, I prefer an optical viewfinder. When I use the Canon EOS R in the next couple of weeks, I could change my mind on the EVF, however.

The biggest problem I have with the Canon EOS R is the very limited lens choices (four lenses as of this writing) unless the rumored adapter is used with the current line of EOS EF lenses. This is not an optional solution for me. For example, the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is one of the most important lenses I use for wildlife and I just can’t imagine using this lens on the Canon EOS R with an adapter at this point. There certainly is no reduction in weight or size so why make a change at this point? As a professional photographer who needs to consistently produce quality images year-round, I will use the best available tools for the job, period. Right now, the mirrorless option is not the best tool for me but that could change soon. Stayed tuned.

Order your Canon EOS R Mirrorless Digital Camera here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L is USM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 is Macro STM Lens here on Amazon
Order your Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R here on Amazon

My Canon EOS R Mirrorless Cameral Sample Images here

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.