Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Killer iPhone Photography Guest Blog by Clifford Pickett

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Clifford Pickett shows you just how amazing the iPhone can be!

My best friend in New York, Clifford Pickett,  has been blowing everyone away with his amazing iPhone photography, so I asked him if he could join us for a guest blog to share his images and some of his story.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Gear, Sex and Money

by Clifford Pickett

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It’s easy to say it’s not about the gear.

Gear is no different than sex and money, it’s only important when you don’t have it. Maybe in that order too, if you’re a photographer. However, sometimes all of that gear ends up being a distraction. I’m no different, you should see my man cave! And many of you reading this, if your honest with yourself, you can probably relate to what I'm saying. After all, how many times have you been fiddling with gear and missed a shot while your significant other captured it with a cell phone?

I’m not preaching here, I’m leveling with you so please hear me out.

I just spent the past week at the Photo Plus Expo, which I highly recommend to those have never been to one. There were beautiful prints on display, created by amateurs as well as some of the biggest names in the business. They were stunning! These galleries were spread throughout the show, some presented by Canon and Nikon, some by paper manufacturers and others by the event space itself.

Let’s be honest though, that’s not what the show was for – it’s exists to sell you photography products. That’s cool, but noticeably missing underneath many of those beautiful prints were any details about how the photo was made, what camera, what lens, what settings, and more importantly, actually how the photo was made.

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

It makes you ask yourself, "What was Joe McNally thinking when he shot that image and why?". Where was Jay Maisel standing? What was thought process? Which lens did he use? However, this info was often missing, but why? The answer is that these photos stand on their own, so no one really cares what gear they used. The gear was necessary, but It’s not important for the viewer of that image.

Buying a Nikon SB-910 won’t help me shoot like Joe and buying a D5 won’t help me shoot like Jay. It’s all about the image!

Of course, I’m not the first one to say this, I know. But seriously, some of the most amazing images ever made for the past decades were taken with cameras much less sophisticated and capable that what we carry around in our pocket.

It feels like capability has given way to complication. It distract us. It gets in the way. Scientists have proven a direct linear correlation between the number of buttons on a camera and our ability as artists to create a meaningful piece of art. (Just kidding, they haven’t <g>). But what if we only had one camera? One lens? One button?

Apple Challenged Me

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last year, Apple reached out and asked me to give a presentation on photography at their Grand Central Store. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to inspire people to go out and take photos of the fall season.

My first thoughts were to showcase how I use my iPhone as a tool; to navigate, to geocache, to call my girlfriend and explain why I’m not home yet, to determine locations and times of day to shoot, to look up the weather so I can call my girlfriend to explain why I’m not home yet. Then I thought, what if I use my iPhone as a camera? Honestly, never considered it.

It turned out to be the perfect timing as the iPhone 6S came out with a much better camera in it, so I took to trip through New England with my A7R and my iPhone, shooting both. I was using my Sony, but I was also seeing just how far I could push my iPhone as a camera. After reviewing my images, I was shocked just how well the iPhone performed! The results were seriously impressive and were a big hit at the Apple store.

I had a gallery show shortly after and printed several pieces from the iPhone, and people couldn’t believe it. Seriously, they wouldn’t believe it!

I found myself having long conversations with strangers about how capable it is and how much fun it was to shoot, sort of convincing myself while convincing them that it’s not about the gear. It was strange because they weren’t photographers and didn’t care, but they appreciated the enthusiasm. However, I was a photographer and I did care!

Time to put skin in the game

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Over the last year I’ve been having more fun, working lighter and faster, and shooting more. I was thinking about photography in an entire new way, and shooting with with my phone.

No, it doesn’t matter what phone you're using either, so long as it’s the brand new iPhone 7 or the Google pixel phone - ha, ha, just kidding!

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Since my debut with Apple, I’ve shot commercial campaigns, done gallery shows, licensed images around the world and of course even taken pictures of my two cats. The best part though, and the reason why I’m writing this article, is to share how much fun it was!  I want you to know how much I learned about photography by, you know, doing it!

Spoiler Alert

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The pictures you see in this article are not as sharp or clean as those I wouldn’t have taken with my big boy camera, but that's not the point. The point is that the only reason I took those picture at all, was because I was out shooting. I was focusing on what mattered, and not obsessing about noise, depth of field, etc... I was deep into the experience of making a photography and focusing on the light, color, composition, and most importantly – the experience.

I should note that I do spend time in Lightroom to help give my images that professional look, but I don't spend nearly as much time as you might think thanks to my fine-tuned workflow.

Responsibility sucks

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Gear is critical up to a point because we do need a minimum dynamic range, an acceptable noise floor and a reasonable degree of sharpness – but only up to point. After that it's a distraction because rest of what makes a photograph is on us, the photographer.

What I really learned while shooting with the iPhone was how to focus on what really matters. The experience and then color, light, gesture and composition. After that, at the very bottom, just below taxes and my dentist, the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You begin to focus on what’s in front of you, not how to capture it.

So this year, when Apple called again. I left all my gear at home and jumped in the car with nothing but my iPhone and few pair of underwear and my drone – I can’t leave home without that. You can't imagine how great it feels not to have to pack your gear, charge your batteries and struggle with which lenses you’ll bring (only to bring them all anyway).

This experience was stress inducing in a way only a photographer can understand. To stand at the shores of Nova Scotia after a 17 hour drive and find myself looking at an amazing sunrise with just my phone in my pocket. And my underwear. And my drone.

You learn a lot about your camera when it’s always with you

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I have learned about the limitations of using a smaller sensor and fixed lens and how to overcome them. In future articles, if there’s an interest, I’m happy to share tips and techniques, apps and gear that I use to expand the capabilities of the iPhone. iOS Apps like Cortex Cam to stitch 99 photos to instantly to effectively remove noise in low-light situations or Pro Cam 4 to auto-bracket RAW photos to maximize dynamic range and how to stitch photos in perspective to create much higher-resolution images.

A funny thing happens when you start to seriously photograph with your phone. You take it less seriously. So do others. There’s no pressure, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It shouldn’t. There’s much less baggage, literally and figuratively. And how amazing is it to go out and shoot with nothing to carry and no bag to carry it it. I liken it to being a cook and not having to worry about the dishes. It’s all the fun with none of the compromise. 

I won’t be selling my A7R Mark II anytime soon, at least until the next hot camera that comes out that begs for me to buy it!

When I was at my last exhibit, with all of those prints on the wall at the show, I realized how odd it was that none of them were my iPhone shots. I still hadn't let go of the pixel peeping and deep analysis of what type of photo is "good enough" to go on display, but my attitude is definitely changing. It'll also be very interesting to see in a year if I've finally been able to let this go and show the world, in print, what I'm happy to show you here in this blog article.

Join Cliff at the Apple Store in Boston

Copyright Clifford Pickett - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cliff Pickett will be at the Boylston Street Apple Store in Boston Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Feel free to checkout his Instagram page as well as his web site for more info.

If you'd like to join in on a paid online webinar with Cliff, please contact me.

Other articles you might enjoy

Here's some other articles you might enjoy:


If you purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

All of the photos in this article were shot with an iPhone ONLY. Most were the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, October 24, 2016

PhotoPlus 2016 Gadget Report–Day 3

Friday October 21 was my last day at PhotoPlus 2016, but it was a big day with lots of great products. While I can't fit them all here, I thought I'd go over some of the ones that I liked the most for consideration for future blog articles.


Double-locking hook

If you think you know BlackRapid, think again, as they've updated their entire line to include big improvements in comfort and safety. As you can see from the image above, the locking mechanism across the board ensures that your gear can't come out with this double locking system.

Below is the new design for the shoulder straps that allows for better breathing and feels much lighter and comfortable in person:

BlackRapid Breathe Strap Design

Improved fasteners

Everything in the line up is improved and better, so if you've had or heard of issues with their stuff in the past (and I've only heard one which I think was user error), then it's time to look them up again.

Click here to learn more about the new BlackRapid Breathe products.

Mindshift Gear


I've been a long-time fan of ThinkTankPhoto bags so when I heard some of the same great people were going to go off and form a new company with lighter bags for hikers, I supported them on Kickstarter. I was one of the first to get and review the MindShift Gear Rotation 180°, and I still have it to this day, but it's evolving and improving as shown above.


They are also making more sizes and colors than when I last reviewed the MindShift Gear Panorama. As a result, this show was a wake up call for me that this is no longer a company that just makes a couple bags, and that I should start reviewing them more in the near future.

I loved my Digital Holster, so these lighter versions are likely to be where I start...



Photo Oct 21, 1 27 03 PM
The all new 70-200mm from Nikon

I already talked about the new lenses in this article, so check that out if you haven't already.

In addition to the lenses, I spent most of my time talking about the new Action Cameras.


This discussion warrants its own article, so come back later this week for more details. I've got lots of pictures and hopefully some new info so if you are as excited about these very well built cameras as I am then you'll really enjoy this article.



Epson always has the most amazing art display at PhotoPlus, and this year was no different. So many images were breath taking, but on the gear side there wasn't much new news. They did have one of the P20000 beasties which is fun to see as it's as big as a small car!

Tether Tools


I haven't caught on to the tethering fad, but the crowds around the demos by great photographers like Peter Hurley suggest that I'm the exception, and not the rule.

Peter gave an awesome demo using the Flex light panel from Westcott and showed near live results via Lightroom for this very impressive demo of studio photography in 2016.

Check out more about Tether Tools current line up here.



AquaTech is well known for making create underwater housings, but their rain cover looks pretty good so I might be checking that out in the near future. If you've got one and want to share feedback, then leave me a comment here. Please note that comments are approved manually due to massive bot attacks, so you only need to post once and you won't see your comment right away.


Westcott Flex Continuous Light Source was definitely the star of PPE 2016!

It was clear at this show that Westcott wanted to make a big impression with its Flex LED mat products as they were all over the show. Either they are that good or they spent a bunch of money to create that perception, but there's no doubt that they are both very cool and worth giving a closer look. Definitely look for a review of this very promising, but very expensive, continuous light source in the future.

In case it isn't obvious, what makes these so great is that they have a ton of light in a mat that can literally roll up like a blueprint. No more bulky flashes as what you see is what you get, and they don't run hot or take up a lot of space. Perhaps the only down side is that they are so bright that having that much light in your face can be pretty annoying. Videographers are likely to love them and photographers will certainly benefit from them.

Learn more about Flex here.

RapidBox reminds me of my Elinchrom 39" Rotalux Deep OctaBox
in terms of performance, but at much friendlier price

SkyLux LED Lights aren't new, but definitely were a popular choice at several booths at the show

LUMAS Opens New York Gallery with a WhiteWall.com ShowroomIMG_0236

I had a chance to check out the new LUMAS gallery where WhiteWall.com is the as part of a show related event for the media, and let's just say I'm a huge WhiteWall fan now. If you haven't heard of them it's because they are a major fine art print service in Germany, but they are just landing on our shore in the heart of the New York SoHo district.

As a print master, NEC Color Visionary, X-Rite Coloratti, successful eBook author on printing, and the success of my printing series certainly qualifies me as someone who knows a good print when he sees it. After touring other galleries in New York and seeing WhiteWall's best work, I can assure you there's nobody in the US printing business right now has impressed me more than they did.

I'll be talking a lot more about WhiteWall, but in the meantime you can get a discount and learn more about how much I loved my HD Metal print here.

The studio in the basement gave us an opportunity to see everything they make on all of the different media, so if you get a chance then stop by or book an appointment with them as it's very helpful in deciding what you want to do for your next print.

Other print services should take notice that it's time to up your game as no print company in the US that I've seen prints from can touch them, so prepare to lose market share from photographers who care about quality as they switch to a company that I think is the best in the business.


PhotoPlus New York is always a great way to see the best of what everyone in the camera business has to offer, so while it's a bit expensive to get out there it's worth the trip. I had fun getting see what's new and what's coming from my blog partners, so I can't wait to get you some fresh reviews this coming year based on what I've learned.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

NOTE: More gadget reports to come about PhotoPlus very soon!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy these:


If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Comparison: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 1DX Mark II - CORRECTED

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 1DX Mark II
Canon 1D X Mark II (Review)

When the 5D Mark III and 1D X first came out, I bought them both. At the time I was doing quite a bit of commercial shoots  where I needed a proper sports camera and a proper event camera that was lighter weight. Both cameras served me well, but honestly my biggest test with both camera bodies wasn't the paid work - that was easy because it was always a controlled situation with the light I needed. What was really hard were the shots I did for personal pleasure where I had the pressures of the family not wanting to wait for me to take pictures, horrible light - often indoors with lamps or outdoors in the rainy Northwest.

Over the years that I had these cameras, I favored the 1DX for the superior image quality over the 5D Mark III and it's better high ISO performance. I also loved the better control I had over the settings, despite missing creature comforts like the HDR mode found on the 5D Mark III and not the 1DX. In fact, the extra megapixels offered on the 5D Mark III would become a negative as its image was always softer and noisier than the 1D X.

I've sold both of my beloved cameras and have decided that I'm going to limit myself to one DSLR this time around, so the basis of this review is NOT about burst mode performance as the 1DX Mark II has no equal. It's more about every day use and which one would I want in my hands if I were shooting any situation where I wanted the highest probability of getting the shot with an image that will print beautifully at 24x36 - the largest size I often print.

This article isn't about camera price or features, as I was really most interested to see if the extra megapixels resulted in a better image or if the lower resolution would give me a more usable image file.

October 23, 2016 Correction - I made a mistake

In the original article that follows here, it turns out that I made a mistake by not being scientific enough in my comparison. I was hand held and thought I was close enough to make accurate determinations but I was wrong.

To prove to myself the differences between the two I ended up shooting with both cameras again in the exact same position using the same 70-200mm lens at 200mm using camera settings of 1/200 sec at f/4 and ISO 8000 (to show noise) and creating tungsten white balanced 16-bit ProPhoto RGB PSD files from the CR2 files of both that I loaded into Photoshop.

I normalized both files to be the same size as a 1DX Mark II image size (5472x3648 px) which would show the benefits of the greater resolution of the extra megapixels in the 5D Mark IV. With the files normalized and aligned, I created this animated GIF to compare the two images as precisely as possible:

Animated comparison of a 100% crop from a normalized 5472x3648 pixels image

The net result is that I still have a preference for the 1DX Mark II, BUT you can see that my original conclusion below about the lens distortion was inaccurate. This animation more closely represents what you might expect to get if you printed images from both cameras at the same size on the same printer. This type of comparison favors the 5D Mark IV simply for the finer details achieved by the higher resolution image.

It All Started With A Spider

5D Mark IV (Left) 1D X Mark II (Right) at f/5.6
5D Mark IV (Left) 1D X Mark II (Right)
1/200 sec at f/5.6
100% zoom to actual pixels

I was out in my back yard when I spotted a spider, so when I ran in to grab the nearest review camera, I decided that I better get outside again and shoot with the same camera.

These shots were taken about 26 minutes apart - both freehand using the same 24-70mm f/4L IS lens. You can view the original 5DM4 image on the left HERE and the 1DX2 image on the right HERE. Both were shot in manual mode with Auto ISO and a single AF point using the macro range of the 24-70mm f/4L IS lens.

The color difference is due to the auto white balance and auto picture style settings which can easily be normalized in RAW, but my favorite here was easily the 1D X Mark II image for the sharpness of the spider, despite the superior bokeh of the 5D Mark IV. This observation would begin a theme where naturally a higher megapixel camera is going to have less depth of field which results in superior bokeh - unless you normalize the files to the same size (or print them out).

5D Mark IV (Left) 1D X Mark II (Right) at f/9, ISO 25,600
5D Mark IV (Left) 1D X Mark II (Right)
1/200 sec at f/9, ISO 25,600
100% zoom to actual pixels

As I closed down the aperture the ISO naturally climbed resulting in an image where the 1D X Mark II was clearly the better image in my opinion. Click here to view the in-camera JPEG from the 5DM4 and click here (shown right above) to view the same from the 1DX Mark II.

Doing this of course begs the question, would the 1DX2 advantage carry over in a studio where the lighting was excellent?

Model with Studio Lights Test

Full Frame Comparison
5D Mark IV (Left) 1D X Mark II (Right)
1/200 sec at f/7.1, ISO 100, 200mm

In the studio, I once again shared the same 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens between the camera bodies with the model under identical light sitting in the same spot the entire time. While I did shoot freehand, as you can see from the image the models head and hair were my guide for her placement within the frame. In this case I used auto picture style and white balance just to see how both would perform in an informal test.

These images are 100% unedited - straight out of the camera in-camera JPEG files. You can view the 5DM4 JPEG or RAW and 1DX2 JPEG or RAW. All images are copyright Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may view them while this browser session is open and this is your active page, but afterwards you must delete them. You may not save, edit, print, etc... these images without written on paper signed consent.

The net result was that the 5D Mark IV made the model look a little more heavy than the 1DX Mark II with the image quality being very good for both.

The heavier look wasn't real but rather an illusion created due to the model and lens not being an EXACT distance from each other and comparing two files that weren't the exact same size. If printed, or the files normalized to the same size, this issue would not exist.

Face comparison

I then zoomed in on the eyes and without normalization I favored the 1DX Mark II but in print or with normalization it'd probably be a draw:

Eye comparison

As I looked at the lips, again without normalization or printing I felt that the 1DX2 had more detail but that both were equally good results.

Lips comparison

Finally, here's a nose comparison:

Nose comparison


The net takeaway is that both cameras did a great job, but for the way I work and the file sizes I need, I preferred the 1D X Mark II.

The bigger story to tell is that out of thirty six 5D Mark IV images with the spot focus point on the models eye, I only had 6 that were in crisp focus under studio lighting conditions. With the 1D X Mark II I had 18 out of 24 in crisp focus. The model, camera shake, etc... could be blamed for some of the softer shots, but this experience left me thinking that if  I was going to get a once in a lifetime shot to briefly photograph my favorite celebrity, I'd want the 1DX Mark II in my hands!

While I'd rather the price of the 5D Mark IV, my next camera has to be the 1D X Mark II.  My gear has always paid for itself, so the ability to get the shot and have more freedom with depth of field and better high ISO performance makes the 1DX Mark II my money making camera of choice.

Learn more or buy

Click here to learn more or buy your own 5D Mark IV via B&H.

Click here to learn more or buy your own 1DX Mark II via B&H.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy


If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. Thank you so much for supporting this blog by coming back here and using my links when making your purchase!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Saturday, October 22, 2016

PhotoPlus 2016 Gadget Report–Day 2

Here are my thoughts about the cool products I saw while touring the PhotoPlus Expo 2016 in New York. All mentions are unsolicited and are based on what caught my eye on this day of the show.

Canon PRO-2000 24” Printer

Canon imagePrograf PRO-2000 24" Fine Art Printer
Canon imagePrograf PRO-2000 24" Fine Art Printer

I was glad to see the new 24” Canon PRO-2000 printer in real life along with the optional 2nd roll support. While I was disappointed that the 2nd roll housing doesn’t have a cover to avoid dust build up on the paper, it still would be handy in real life scenarios where you just need to load a roll for a one-off print, and you don’t really want to have to unload your primary paper.

What’s really cool about this new printer is the ease at which you load the the roll. It doesn’t matter if you put your roll on with the paper under or over, just flip the switch to let the printer know and it will auto grab the paper –vs– roll in to feed design of my iPF6300 & iPF6450.

It’s built like a tank, which is something former Epson owners will appreciate, as the design of the previous models had enough shake to “make a martini” as one person at the show said joking. Funny, but definitely kind of true.

I have high expectations for this printer, so I was glad to hear that Canon will be sending out a PRO-1000 & PRO-2000 for me to review, so expect to hear more in the not too distant future as I finally get my hands on these all-new pro printer models.

Click here to learn more or order today from Amazon or click here for B&H.

GTI Graphiclite® Light Boxes

GTi graphiclite Personal Desktop Viewers
GTi graphiclite® Personal Desktop Viewers

I’ve been a big fan of my GTI PDV-2020EX light box for years, so it’s always cool to see these at a show especially when they are housing prints by the legendary New York fashion photographer, Douglas Dubler.

While these aren’t exactly all-new, they are still the best way for a print master to view their prints. If you do your own printing, I still encourage you to check them out.

New Sigma Lenses

Sigma seems to be doing a great job of listening to customers feedback and desires with the release of the three new lenses featured in this section. All these improvements continue to send the message to consumers that it’s a company that wants to be the proverbial Lexus of lenses where they offer quality that meets or exceeds their higher priced competitors, but still offering a value that others will find difficult to match. This puts them squarely in the value luxury segment, so I don’t doubt their great momentum created by the release of the Art and Sports series is sure to continue.

One feature common to all of these new lenses is an improved all-new focus motor that is 30% quicker than its predecessor.

What that, here are on my thoughts on the the highly anticipated trio of new lenses that I got a chance to check out at the show.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Series

Sigma 85mm Art Series

Sigma makes no bones about the fact that they were targeting customers who want Zeiss Otus 85mm quality, without the hefty price – with the added bonus of auto-focus support. It’s a very interesting proposition, especially when you hold this lens in your hand and it definitely has high quality feel of the Zeiss Otus 85mm. They’ve also added a rubber seal that doesn’t necessarily qualify it as weather sealed, it certainly should in theory help with dust and misty weather days.

Canon and Nikon’s 85mm lens owners are very likely to have a decision to make as all signs point to this new art series lens being one that everyone will want. It only makes me wonder how long before they decide to release their own, but until then I’m very looking forward to trying out what could be one of the most exciting new lenses for 2016.

Click here to learn more on Amazon or click here for B&H.

Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Series Zoom

Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 Zoom
Sigma 12-24mm f/1.4 Art Series Zoom

As a proud owner of the Canon 11-24mm, one of the finest lenses I’ve ever tested, I’m skeptical how this lens could be better. However, with a more attractive price point the real question will be – is it good enough to save the extra money. Sigma feels confident that I’ll be impressed with this lens featuring what they claim is the largest aspherical element in the industry.

Just like the new 85mm, this lens has a hefty solid build that feels great in the hand but some will wonder if they want to carry the weight. I have high expectations, and Sigma has been very good lately, so my hopes are high.

Click here to learn more at Amazon or click here for B&H.

Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM Sport Series

Sigma 500mm lens switches

A 500mm lens is always going to be sought out by wildlife users primarily, so Sigma put a lot of thought into the design of this new $6000 USD lens to satisfy the needs of this market. Thoughtful features the the ability to silence lens beep sounds, turn off the click sounds of the collar when you rotate it to a different orientation, customizable buttons to switch AF points quickly, and custom modes for different focusing speeds all mean that you can easily make in the field adjustments without scaring away the wildlife.

Sigma 500mm tripod collar click switch
Sigma 500mm tripod collar click switch

While this lens is a very substantial lens, Sigma did its best to minimize unnecessary weight including creating the all-new hood made out of carbon fiber featuring an improved locking mechanism. These improvements helped to knock over 1.2 lbs off the weight of the Nikon 500mm and get it just under the weight of the Canon 500mm.

Sigma 500mm carbon fibre hood lock
Sigma 500mm carbon fiber hood lock

Click here to learn more about this lens at Amazon or click here for B&H.

Meural Fine Art Digital Frames

It was interesting to see how many people were excited about the digital frame that I think is the one to rule them all. After all, once you see this frame in real life you understand my enthusiasm for this product.

One interesting tidbit of information I learned is that the well-made wooden frames for these devices aren’t made in China like most other places, but instead by Amish people in Pennsylvania. This explains the quality that reminds me of Stickley furniture, and it is what impressed me from the moment mine first arrived. The image quality from the LCD display is good enough to impress your visitors, so you'll be surprised to see how much time they spend standing in front of it to watch your art circulate through. 

I still think this is one of the top products of 2016 and look forward to seeing more people join me in my excitement for it.

Be sure to check out my review to learn more and to get a discount on this excellent product.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

NOTE: More gadget reports to come about PhotoPlus very soon!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy these:


If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Friday, October 21, 2016

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR & PC 19mm Hands On

Nikon surprised me with a hands on demo with the some of their newest lenses attached to a Nikon D750. I was able to take shots and examine them via the on-screen LCD, and the quality at maximum zoom looked outstanding.

AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8E FL ED VR

Photo Oct 21, 1 27 03 PM
The all new 70-200mm from Nikon

First things first – this lens feels way lighter than any DSLR 70-200mm f/2.8 I’ve ever held, and that’s a good thing in these days where DSLR shooters question the burden of extra weight over mirrorless alternatives.

Another pleasant surprise was that in the limited testing indoors in Javits Convention Center, I was able to quickly focus and track subjects in non ideal lighting conditions. Every test shot I had at the appropriate shutter speed was razor sharp and in focus. This is a huge leap from its predecessor, as I always found my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II to be way faster at focusing especially in difficult lighting situations. I can honestly say that Nikon has created a lens that feels like its matched the focusing speed of my Canon, and limited testing proved that the VR and sharpness definitely warrant a head to head comparison in the future.

It’s got reasonable minimum focus distance which is a really big deal, so when I was testing it out with subjects nearby I didn’t have a practical scenario where it didn’t focus. This is going to be a big win for event and wedding photographers!

Here’s more specs from Nikon:

  • The professional’s choice for nearly any photographic scenario, the AF-S NIKKOR
  • 70-200MM f/2.8E FL ED VR sets a new standard for pro telephoto lenses
  • Wide f/2.8 constant aperture perfect for achieving optimal low-light performance
  • Up to 4 stops of Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization for improved handheld shooting
  • Electromagnetic diaphragm and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) offer consistent exposure control during high speed shooting and low-noise AF performance
  • Superior weather-sealing and Fluorine coatings for particle resistance and easy cleaning
  • 6 ED lens elements, 1 Fluorite lens element and 1 high refractive lens element combined with the Nano Crystal Coat help to eliminate distortion, ghosting and flare
  • The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR will be available in November 2016 for a $2,799.95 SRP

Learn more or pre-order here.

PC  Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED

Photo Oct 21, 1 26 01 PM
Left side view

This is a a crazy sharp tilt shift that feels very substantial with butter smooth knobs. While I’m not a big tilt-shift or manual focus lens shooter, real estate photographers are going to be pretty pleased with this offering as it shows minimum edge distortion based on my limited hands on testing today.

Photo Oct 21, 1 26 23 PM
Top View

Photo Oct 21, 1 26 16 PM
Bottom View

Photo Oct 21, 1 29 20 PM (1)
Inside the very thick lens cap

  • Nikon’s widest-ever tilt-shift NIKKOR offering, the PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED lens offers complete control over perspective and depth-of-field
  • With 97° of coverage, the lens is designed to capture optically challenging-subjects like cityscapes or architecture
  • Tilt operation can be made parallel or perpendicular for improved control of perspective, focus and depth-of field
  • Super-wide 19mm focal length is perfect for shooting panoramas
  • Electromagnetic diaphragm offers consistent exposure control during high speed shooting
  • 3 ED lens elements, 2 Aspheric lens elements, Nano Crystal Coat combine to eliminate glare and Fluorine Coat to resist water and dirt
  • The PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED lens will be available in November 2016 for a $3,399.95 SRP

Learn more or order now here.

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