Points in Focus Photography

SanDisk UHS-I SD Cards and ProGrade Readers lede

So this is just a quick one, or two. None of this is advertised by either SanDisk (they only say their card readers are supported) or ProGrade Digital (I don’t see any mention of non-standard SanDisk speeds on their site), so your milege may vary.

  1. If you use SanDisk UHS-I SD cards advertised for 170 MB/s in a SanDisk reader, based on my testing ProGrade Digital’s CFExpress + UHS-II SD reader is also capable of reading these cards at 170 MB/s speed.
  2. Apparently many SanDisk cards advertised with only 95 MB/s read speeds, can also be read at 170 MB/s. All of my 64 GB and 128 GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SD cards, even though they’re advertised at 95 MB/s can be read in the above reader at 170 MB/s. Though the caveat is that they’re fairly new cards too.

 

The question of how many megapixels do I really need has plagued photographers for as long as we’ve had megapixels to worry about. In this video I’m going to look at the problem and see if I can’t figure out some answers.

 

🎞 Canon EOS R5 Autofocus Testing (Part 1) lede

After a recent air show, I decided to skip ahead in my review order and start looking at the EOS R5’s autofocus performance.

This is an aspect of cameras that I don’t think gets as much review time and as through practical testing as I think it should these days. Of course, AF performance was a big deal in the age of film, in no small part, because film was interchangeable and not part of the camera. However, these days, it’s largely fallen by the wayside as reviewers focus on more sexy things like the performance of the image sensor, or how high the camera’s video resolution is.

At best, AF testing is done in an ad hoc fashion and the few reviewers that actually test it don’t have very controlled or scientific methodologies. Sadly, I’m not going to change that much here either.

Long story short. I’m very happy with the AF performance from the R5. I would be impressed, but dual pixel AF preformed so well on my 5D mark 4s that there wasn’t that much room for improvement

Every time I get a new camera, like most photographers, I spend some time getting acclimated to the camera’s new capabilities and performance characteristics. However, maybe unlike many other photographers, I don’t just jump in the car and head off to my favorite haunt and start shooting. Instead I spend some time with a test chart that I’ve designed that enables me to really dial in to what the camera is doing, in a very controlled manner.

I do this for two reasons. First, to get the most out of my photography, I want to understand exactly how my camera is going to be have at all of it’s ISO settings. Remember, the ISO setting controls how much noise will be in the image, and as a result, it also has a major impact on the camera’s dynamic range when shooting at that ISO.

The second reason I do this is to be able to carefully setup ISO specific defaults in Lightroom Classic CC to optimize my sharpening and noise reduction settings. This is a great time saver as you can optimize your noise reduction and sharpening settings with the changes in noise as you move through the camera’s ISO range, saving you from having to both compromise on the default quality and from having to spend additional time tuning each image.

The test target I used in this video is of my own design, and you can download it from my article covering the process of Testing and Acclimating to a new camera. Additionally, you can find a more detailed video on how to figure out what your sharpening settings should be on my YouTube Channel.

I just received my EOS R5 after months of waiting, and to be honest, my first impressions are a bit mixed. While there’s a lot I like about the camera, there are definitely some aspects that aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. Some of those problems are specific to the EOS R5, and some are increasingly things that are becoming evident about mirrorless cameras in general.

 

In any event, I’ll be posting a lot more about the R5, and my take on what’s good, bad, and ugly — hint, it’s probably not the same stuff that everyone else is talking about — in upcoming videos and articles. So stay tuned.

And if you’re not, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel as well.

Sometimes you can use past experience to predict how things will behave and preform, but sometimes things change just enough that the only real way to understand the changes is though actual practical experience.

In this episode, I’m talking about my struggle with just that. Mirrorless cameras are just different enough from DSLRs in important enough ways that I’m not entirely sure how that transition will play out in how I shoot, especially when it comes to my wildlife photography.

Compounding matters, my decisions are complicated by design decisions that Canon has made in how their RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens interacts with teleconverters.

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Recently, I was testing out a new configuration for my vlogging setup. I’m trying to reduce the number of battery powered devices that I have to deal with in an effort to make managing the entire thing simpler. The change that prompted this post was that I was trying to power my Rode Wireless Go receiver from an external battery pack though the USB port.

 

As I said, I was trying this purely to see if I could remove one more battery that I needed to manage charging. What I was trying out was to use the USB power output option of my SmallHD DP4 monitor to power Rode Wireless Go. The idea being that I’d have one fewer batteries in my stack of gear (5D mark 4, DP4, Zoom F6, and Wireless Go receiver), that I’d have to make sure was charged before I started shooting a vlog.

For the sake of completeness, my Wireless Go set is 8 months old, and I’ve used it fairly regularly, at least weekly but certainly not daily over that period. Under normal use — that is running off the internal batteries — there is no noise or other problems with the audio signal. Moreover, as far as I can tell battery life is still the advertised 7 hours, or near enough that I’ve not noticed a difference.

In fact, the good battery life of the Wireless Go system is, in part, what prompted this test. Under my use case, at least when shooting vlogs, I don’t charge the transmitters or receivers at the end of a day’s shooting. I get enough battery life, that I’ll go for a week or two of recording before the battery meters get low enough that I felt I need to top off the charge.

With all that said, what I found was that while the Wireless Go receiver was charging it produced a high pitch pulsating whine in the audio output.

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After getting excited at the prospects of what I expect to be a reasonably affordable, and exceptionally compact, 800 mm prime in the Canon RF 800mm f/11 DO IS STM, I’ve subsequently found myself completely rethinking my position on the lens. And it’s not that I expect the lens to be bad or anything like that. If anything I expect the lens will be a pretty solid value. However, for me when thinking about the issues it seems like I get a lot more flexibility and a slightly faster aperture out of the RF 100-500 and a 1.4x TC than I would out of RF 800mm f/11. Even considering that the zoom with the TC is only a 700mm lens. But with the R5’s 45 MP sensor, cropping in the extra 12.5% doesn’t really matter that much.

Also, as we approach the announcement for the EOS R5, Canon Rumors is suggesting that Canon may have some undisclosed features in store for still shooters. Well, I don’t have any insider information on what Canon’s doing, but as a still shooter, I have some features I’d like to see.

  1. Dual Gain output for increased dynamic range
  2. Actual RAW histograms and clipping warnings
  3. Synthetic neutral density capabilities with a purpose built UI that’s not just limited stacking with averaging.
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