A short review on 2016 and a small insight in 2017?

As the year draws to an end I’ve been thinking over the many activities over the past year. New experiences, great moments, a few lesser moments and oh so many photos.

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Fujifilm X-Pro1

When Fujifilm released the X100 in 2010, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The hybrid viewfinder, the retro look, terrific 23mm lens. It seemed perfect. Especially as a camera to take everywhere. Unfortunately the wake-up time of the camera is dreadful, but otherwise it is a terrific little extra camera. However… the fixed 23mm lens is a bit too limiting as I also like wide-angle photos and a bit of tele. So my DSLR’s were far from obsolete.

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Welcome to the Village and a general announcement

Hey all, as the concert season is on a summer break, festivals are popping up everywhere and it’s great to see so many new festivals with a fresh take on the concept. The next two days I’ll be at the Welcome to the Village festival near Leeuwarden and I’m very much looking forward to that.

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Canon 24mm Tilt/Shift lens

I am as much a gear-head as I love photography and a Tilt/Shift lens has been on my wish-list for a very long time now. I love the concept of tilting and shifting a lens for a specific image. The idea that you can do that before the image goes through Photoshop. When the doorbell rang this morning, my nerdish side did a little happy dance :)

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Help! Gearhead going on holiday

I love my Canon gear, I really do! But there are time I envy those with a compact camera, or with a DSLR with a 18-200mm all-in-one lens. When they go on holiday the choice in camera(s) is pretty clear: they take what they have. Simple as that and no reason to second guess your choice.

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10 year anniversary

April 14 2001 marked the day that a new career started, it was my first successful shoot at a concert (Dilana Smith in a cafĂ© in Balkbrug). After four completely disastrous shoots in a short period before, I swapped a fully manual Olypmus for a brand-spanking new Canon EOS 300 with a 28-200 Tamron lens (with autofocus) and took my first successful photos that evening. I don’t think they’d make the final selection these days, but back then I was hugely impressed.

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Canon 15mm

I completely forgot to mention I got my Canon 15mm fisheye back. I dropped it on the streed a good two months ago and it got repaired by TechRepair and workst like a treat again. Luckily the glass wasn’t damages and only a few parts were replaced. The first tests show the lens to be working as if nothing has happened. Only a few scratches on the outer body remind of the unfortunate incident.

Canon EOS 5D mark II

Sometimes you do things that, if you think about it, make you scratch your head. At least… I do. Actually I do so quite often. Today was such a day again. It was always more a question of ‘when’ instead of ‘if’ I’d persuade myself to upgrade. A harmless message on Twitter yesterday immediately resulted in an answer supplying me with an address that not only had the camera in stock, but also was even cheaper than my normal addresses.

I gave myself some time to think about it, but actually that was a ‘lost cause’ anyway and this afternoon, after a call to see if it really was in stock, I was on my way to Zwolle to get my brand new Canon EOS 5D mkII.

Still reading up on setting, changing some here and there where needed and where I want to, but as far as I can see nowalready it looks to be a brilliant camera. Needed to update the Canon software and the Camera RAW files for Photoshop to actually be able to do anything at all with the images, but all that works too now. Eventually updated the software on the camera and now all is set. Can’t wait to really put the high ISO settings to the test, those look absolutely incredibble.

Camera gear – Macro lens and flash

You’d think I’ve got money to spare. And you’d be right :)

Only a month after I bought the tele-zoom 100-400mm Canon lens, I now went the other way: Macro. It’s another field of photography I really want to explore and so I got myself a decent macro lens. Spent some time figuring out what the best lens would be to start with. The 50mm macro didn’t seem like a very good idea. Although very affordable, you need to be very close to the subject. The 180mm macro by Canon was so expensive that I didn’t even consider it. The 100mm was the best choice, but… Canon had updated that lens with a newer version, a 100mm L lens with IS (Image Stabilizer). Bit more expensive than the one without IS, but newer and shinier -I am a lens geek after all- and so more interesting.

For a while I seriously considered the 65mm macro lens that not only offers 1:1 macro, but can go as far as 5:1 (get real portrait shots of those little itsy bitsy spiders), but is a full manual lens and from the reviews I read, not really a lens to start one’s macro-hobby with. So the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro L IS version it would be.

For a macro flash I opted for a brand-less LED flash. Way more affordable, saving me some cash that could be invested in… the Canon Speedlight 580EX II, finally getting myself a basic flash that can be controlled.

The next few day’s I’ll start working on getting to know the macro lens and thinking of what to long for next. The rate I’m going at now, I’m quickly running out of a wishlist :)

Camera gear – Canon EF 100-400mm lens

Yesterday I received the Canon EF 100-400mm lens that I ordered for sports photography, mainly motorcycle races and hopefully also soccer and other sports. I ordered it a bit ahead of my personal planning, but seeing as April will have Easter Races on the TT Circuit and aalso the Superbike (at the end of the month) I thought it to be a shame wait getting the lens.

I’ve got a good week to get a feel for the lens and then I’ll really put it to the test next weekend with the Easter Races. And it surely is a lens that I’ll have to get to terms with. At the shortest distance (the 100mm zoom) the lens isn’t that long, but zoomed out to 400mm the lens is one heck of a long lens.

Camera gear

This weekend I sold my Canon EF 28-135mm lens. It was once bought to use as an every day lens, but as it turned out, I prefer the EF 24-70L for that and most of the time I actually lug around most of my lenses anyway, so the 28-135mm didn’t get much use at all. Also, it makes room (both in space and financial) for my next lens(es). I’m currently looking into a Macro lens and a telephoto lens. For the macro-lens I will most likely go for the Canon EF 100mm 2.8 L IS, a lens that gets great reviews and looks like a superb quality lens. A bit more costly than the old version lacking the IS, but the newer version seems to be a lot better in quality.

For the telephoto lens I’ll most likely end up with the Canon EF 100-400mm lens (not that this is by any means a bad thing!). I’m also looking at the 300mm lens (at f/4.0 a bit faster, but lacking the versatility that the zoom brings to the 100-400mm) but all in all, from all the reviews I’m reading, the 100-400mm is simply a more effective lens when you have different subjects. Mine are going to be sports and landscape/wildlife. A faster lens (300mm 2.8 or 400 2.8) would be better, but seeing as this still is a hobby (of some sorts), the price of the fast primes are simply too high.

Hopefully I’ll have some new lenses in a few months, will keep you updated.

Camera gear – Nodal Ninja 3

I’ve been reading about panorama photos for a while and like the shots you can get with the right gear. And then suddenly I found this Nodal Ninja set. It’s affordable and looks like great fun to use. So as my birthday is creeping nearer, I decided I’d allow myself this set as my birthday present. The company I usually order my gear at, had it ‘on order’ for a while now, so when I found it to be on stock at a different company and for the same price, I decided to not take any chance and order it. It’s a bit early so I’m not allowed to play with it very much yet, but hey; I did get my own personal panorama kit today :D

The images aren’t perfect, but I wanted to show what it looks like. I’ll try some panorama pictures soon, when I find the time.

The full name of this kit is “Nodal Ninja 3 MKII + RD8 Rotator“. The Nodal Ninja 3 part is the bracketing system to install the camera on, the RD8 is the lower part; the rotating head. The RD8 uses a screw to turn in a specific amount of degrees (from 20 to 120).