Recently in gear Category

When the Canon EOS 7D was released in September last year, I was excited. I rushed out to buy one and quickly sold my 50D. I managed to get my hands on one almost immediately upon retail availability.

After a few weeks of shooting and testing, I began to wonder whether or not there was a problem with the body, since a large percentage of images captured with the camera and various L-series lenses were "soft". Initial reports from a handful of other users on various online forums suggested that at least some 7D bodies were experiencing erratic autofocus. Almost immediately, most of these reports were chalked up to "user error" or "ignorance" in the face of a new and revamped camera which required a higher level of user education and skill to operate effectively.

I attributed my own experiences to user error as well, and continued to work with the camera. As months went by, I found I wasn't using the camera much, since I couldn't depend on the results, and when I needed to shoot, I was reaching for my 5D Mark II instead. When I checked back for updates on the situation, I found many examples of sharp, critically in-focus shots from other 7D bodies and users. And a few reports of others still having problems with theirs.

I took the 7D to the Zoo a few weeks back and shot over 300 frames. Of those, less than 10 were what I considered critically in-focus and sharp. This is shooting relatively stationary high-contrast subjects from various distances. Even looking through the viewfinder, it seemed as though the AF system was locking on to random points as opposed to the single, center AF point that it was confirming it had focused on.

Enough being enough, I decided to call Canon Canada Service. Not surprisingly, they'd never heard of anyone reporting any AF problems with a 7D. Unsurprisingly, given the situation with the 1D Mark III and its AF problems. Even so, they suggested I bring the camera in for service.

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A while back, I decided it was a good idea to buy some studio style gear.  In my online travels, a brand that kept coming up over and over again was Elinchrom.  Not only for the quality and durability of their lighting products, but also the huge range of modifiers that are available, including the massive 6.3 foot Octa light.

One of Elinchrom's entry level kits is their D-Lite line, designed for digital output control in 1/10 stop increments over their 5 stop range from ~12Ws up to 200Ws (D-Lite 2s) .  The To-Go kit comes with 2 D-Lite monolights (self-contained units which require power) in either 200Ws or 400Ws versions, plus a couple of light stands, two softboxes and carrying cases.  They're designed to be portable (though require AC power) and durable but still light weight. 

In comparison to typical hotshoe strobes or flashes, which carry about a 50Ws output, monolights typically have an edge in recycling time, more granular output adjustment and maximum power output which is important when using larger modifiers...

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Announced about a month ago, Canon's new EOS 7D digital SLR hopefully represents a bit of a technological come back in the high-end digital SLR marketplace. 

Though there are a number of great camera makers out there, Nikon and Canon always seem to be the most popular and talked about brands.  Even though I'm a satisfied and happy Canon shooter, there are a number of compelling reasons to shoot Nikon today; the diversity of models, ergnomics, features, and fact that lenses from years and years ago still work on all of their bodies.

That being said, cameras are first and foremost tools in an artist's toolbox.  As long as your tools can provide a functional baseline to meet all of your creative needs, any extras are just gravy.  In this respect, even though Nikon might offer some features that Canon doesn't or vice-versa, both are capable of capturing undoubtedly high quality, high resolution images with gorgeous colour, contrast and sharpness. 

As much as I've found a new love for the creative and artistic side of photography, I've also found a new love for photographic technology!  As my brother so aptly noted, good thing I'm not into drugs, or my addictive personality and buying habits would have long since killed me. ;)

I was lucky enough to be able to pick one up this weekend, without having pre-ordered.  Vistek, Henrys, Downtown Camera all claimed they were sold out and only had units allocated to pre-order left over, with a 3-4 week ETA.

Aden Camera on the other hand, had about 10 on the shelf at both locations, and were offering a free SanDisk Extreme III 16GB compact flash card with the purchase (which is $150+).

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