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Earlier I posted some big savings that SanDisk was offering of it's Compact Flash media and SDHC cards. You can find that article here: Lexar is now offering a Buy Two and save type deal on many of their media cards, so if Transcend wasn't good enough, Sandisk doesn't meet your needs, then Lexar might be up your alley. Found below.

find-price-button Lexar Buy Two Deal


Tamron 18-270mm

I don't know how Tamron has done it, but they made a great thing even better. There's a 'new' version of the 18-270mm Super Zoom lens. This lens might hold the record of longest zoom in a single lens, and this all includes Image Stabilization or as Tamron puts it VC - Vibration Compensation. I admit Tamron's VC is very very effective and much quieter than most of my Canon IS lenses.

This is a highly recommended lens by me when i'm looking to travel light on vacations. I get the best wide and super duper zoom features in a single lens (NOTE: not for full frame cameras). Below is a snapshot of my 60D with the original version of the Tamron 18-270mm.


So what's great about the new version? New motors make the lens more silent and faster. Smaller too. Yes, as if they couldn't make a 270mm Lens any smaller, they've managed to cut down the whole package another 24%. Obviously this all translates to being even lighter than the original version too. I know, you're curious about Video quality. I loaned my original version out to a friend and had a hard time getting it back, he loved it so much. Here's a sample video below shot during his trip to China on the 'older' 18-270mm @24fps.

The Video above is a good example of how far this lens zooms out to, so that you can grab a few 'stolen shots' or use it for 'stealthy street photography' without your subjects even knowing. Now you're wondering about Photography. What is the difference in zoom from 18-270mm? Here's two examples I shot in a Museum, one at 18mm on a Canon 7D and the other at 270mm (handheld too - love the VC).

Above: Image shot on Canon 7D at 18mm

Above: Image shot on Canon 7D at 270mm

Overall this lens won't give you the most incredible shallow DOF as a single Prime lens would, but once you have it in your hands, it's hard to let go. The convenience of carrying a single lens with the amount of zoom range and very effective Image Stabilization makes this one of my favorites. And for the first time, this new lens version is now available in a Sony mount (not just Canon / Nikon).

Tamron 18-270mm
find-price-button Tamron 18-270mm Super Zoom with Vibration Compensation (a.k.a Image Stabilization)


Double camera straps are definitely my choice. Having two cameras is faster than swapping lenses. Normally I have a 24-70mm on one side, and a 70-200mm on the other. I've had the Black Rapid double straps for quite some time now. At the time, it was the best thing I could find on the market, but I guess it's just a matter of time before someone else 'builds a better mousetrap'.

Rod sends in his review of the new CarrySpeed CS-Double straps, and there's no doubt it's definitely beefier than the BR's. The new CarrySpeed CS-Double padding looks pretty sweet too. Not very much padding over on the BR side. It's some rubber bubble type padding called Octopads to aid in grip and said to deter sweat by allowing air to vent. (I don't sweat much, not a problem for me).

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Of course the real deal maker is a quick release adapter that still allows access to the tripod mounting hole - something my BR double strap totally lacks.

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A tripod mount on a quick release adapter? Yeah this makes total sense. Even though these straps are convenient to carry two cameras, most pros still need quick access to a tripod or monopod. While the BR straps will run you around $130, the CarrySpeed CS-Double will only run you a nice $70 US. Actually just checked and the CS-Double is on sale right now for $54. [Thanks Rod]

Black Rapid
find-price-button Black Rapid Double Strap

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find-price-button Black Carry Speed CS-Double Strap OCTOPAD


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The Proaim DSLR View Finder is nothing new, and personally I would prefer the VF Prime or Seagull VF, but Proaim looks to have a 'one-up' on the competition. This morning I was turned onto a recent BasePlate addition to Proaim's View Finder [Thanks Greg]. Looks like they're the next in line to follow in the recent trend of converting all LCD View Finders over to baseplate mounts.

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The BasePlate looks to be an all metal construction that still allows you to mount a Quick Release Plate underneath. The ViewFinder claims Anti-Fog coating on the lens, and a minimal Diopter for less than perfect vision. To get further correction, you can stack the extension frames between the LCD and View Finder. Can you see that small hole on the BasePlate? The Proaim viewfinder also comes with a short Aluminum Rod that you can use has a handle (probably not very functional).

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If you're wondering, it looks like a 3" LCD View Finder, but for Canon T2i, T3i, and 60D owners who really want this setup expect to lose just a 1mm crop on each side (IF it can line up properly).

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find-price-button Proaim View Finder with BasePlate


Swing out LCD's are great for odd shooting positions, but posed some problems for DSLR LCD View Finders. The Canon 60D and T3i fall into this category. The solution is to use a frame that mounts under the camera body, but the pricing has been out of reach. Or has it?
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Has anyone caught these new LCD Viewfinders for both 3" and 3:2 DSLR LCD Screens? Claims to be compatible with the 60D and T3i cameras, as well as the older 5D/7D cameras.

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I'm not seeing very much adjustments on the frame, so i'm wondering how they could get it to line up against so many different camera bodies? Sure the LCDs are a basic size, but the position on the body isn't always the same. There's definitely two different versions from the photos i've seen. One is a square 3" and the other a more rectangular 3.2". These VF's have the obvious large eyecup but no diopter. No luck for you battery grip users, straight body mount only. Uses magnets to hold onto the frame - which the frame is mounted under the camera body with a Tripod mount still available. Fetches for mid $30's US.

DSLR LCD View Finder 60D
find-price-button LCD View Finder Canon 60D, T3i, 5D Mark II, 7D, Nikon


If you've registered for Amazon Prime shipping, you know you can get something fast (two day FREE). I needed a set of batteries, and instead of going to my usual over seas and 4 weeks waiting store, I took a chance on the Vivitar branded version. Yeah I know they probably don't make them and who knows what they are really called. It charges on OEM, shows battery, the camera registers battery information, and seems to be doing fine (so far). We'll see how it holds up, but at least the price was about the same as elsewhere, and claims a 5 year warranty.

vivitar-lp-e6find-price-button LP-E6 Replacement 'Intelligent' High Capacity Battery (2000Mah)-5 Year Warranty


First off, sorry on this one. This little stabilizer was a tough one to talk about. There's so many different features on this stabilizer, it's mind blowing. I had to totally skip any mention about balancing it and just spent several minutes going over the different parts. If you want to learn about balancing, the BlackBird comes with an instructional DVD as well as a full booklet with lots of pretty pictures. It almost doesn't matter where you start by placing your camera, you'll always have more than enough lateral to compensate and center the camera to balance. Weather has been very spotty here and i've been caught up with other projects to really get something good online about this one.

In any case, here's a quick look and a few first time samples. There's no denying the resemblance of the design to other stabilizers on the market, but of the ones I've used (and i've used quite a few), none of them has as many different options or features as this. One thing I mention most on this blog about stabilizers, is that I find stabilizers work best when they are 'loaded up' to their max weight. This stabilizer has even been specifically designed to balance both super light and heavier cameras by adding in the Gimbal extension. Dropping the Gimbal allows the stabilizer to become extremely 'less bottom heavy', thus able to support light weight cameras. The unique 'adjustable friction gimbal' also adds to that same purpose. It's well designed, fairly priced against it's competitors, but definitely the most fully featured of the bunch all similar to this design. You might also want to check out the other video demo in this article:

You can find more information about the BlackBird Stabilizer at their website:

The BlackBird stabilizer can also be found at B&H below
find-price-button BlackBird Camera Stabilizer by Camera Motion Research


Ready for a sweet little DIY DSLR Cage? Submitted by Andy Clancy, this cage was put together from an off the shelf light tent kit and a cheese style plate. The main part of the cage originally was a light tent for small product photography. A few bike styled handles on the rails, and the rest should be pretty easy to figure out.


The rails look to be aluminum and can probably be cut down to just about any size camera you own (including small GH2 shooters). Just by looking at how this guy is put together, it looks super light weight, adds tons of ways to stabilize a handheld shot, ability to get some really low shots, and tons of piping to drill mounts or add some cold shoe adapters for accessories (like a monitor). [Thanks Andy]

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find-price-button Product Photography Light Tent

The second part for the 'baseplate' was from a Glidecam Camera Weight (Cheese) Plate.

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find-price-button Glidecam Weight Plate


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A brand new Canon 5D Mark II will still run you about $2500 dollars retail on any website. A used Canon 5D Mark II Body over on eBay will still run you over $2100 dollars and that's not knowing it's true condition. Canon right now is running some specials on their Refurbished Equipment website with a 10% off Promotional Code bringing down the Canon 5D Mark II (refurbished) bodies to $1799. Yeah that's a pretty sweet deal for a full frame body with excellent low light capabilities. Sure it's a refurb, but it's coming from Canon with a 90 Day warranty.

If you're looking to pick up used equipment, I think these official Canon refurb units are still a safer bet than going for a used version off the auction site. Aside from the 5D Mark II, there's 7D's, T2i's, 60D's, and a bunch of lenses including L series refurbished. Promotional Code is fam211 and the link is here.