Points in Focus Photography

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.

I haven’t had a lot to talk about, at least not in camera land recently. But we’re quickly approaching the big EOS R5 announcement, and with it Canon is expected to announce a whole plethora of new RF mount lenses.

Of these upcoming lenses, I find 3 to be quite interesting. One, the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM, we’ve known about since the R5 was per-annoucned. However the other two, the RF 600mm f/11 DO IS STM, and RF 800mm f/11 DO IS STM, are new to me.

And while an f/11 lens, and one sporting an STM focusing motor at that, isn’t something I’d consider a high end option. Both of these lenses really open the door to super telephoto on what should be a more affordable price point than the EF 600mm f/4L and EF 800mm f/5.6L currently offer.

In this episode I talk about the need to balance consistency with maintaining standards; my experience with Blackmagic Design’s support for DaVinci Resolve as a free product user (hint it was actually really good), some observations on lighting and recording video; and a bit about f-stops, t-stops, and color matched lenses.

Canon Australia has confirmed some more details about the EOS R5, some of which shouldn’t have needed confirmation for, some of which are new, and some of which just raise more questions. Though what I found most amusing was that there was “speculation” that the announced capabilities were being called, “a fantasy” by people online discussing the camera.

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This time in the vlog, I’m talking a bit about the challenges I’ve run into with trying to wrap my head around the behavior of the new ISO specific development defaults in Lightroom Classic 9.2 and the corresponding version fo camera raw. They’re definitely more powerful than the previous method, but there are some behavioral quirks in how values are interpolated that I haven’t quite nailed down yet.

Additionally, some new images have surfaced on dc.watch for the yet unreleased EOS R5, especially ones showing the controls on the rear of the camera. In general, the camera looks reasonable for a pro oriented product, though of course only time will tell.

Nikon has finally announced their latest flagship DSLR, the D6. And quite honestly, I’m not all that impressed.

Admittedly, I’ve been critical of Nikon’s cameras for a while. And while they certainly are far from bad products, there are certainly decisions Nikon has made that leave me wondering what they’re doing.


On Feburary 12, 2020, Canon announced the development of their most advanced mirrorless camera to date. Moreover, it’s the first EOS R series camera that has the potential to really be a pro camera, unlike it’s predecessors. Featuring 8K video recording, 12 FPS with the mechanical shutter, and 20 FPS with the electronic shutter, and in-body image stabilization, it has the potential to be a monster camera.

But there’s a lot we don’t know yet. And for me, what’s going to make or break the camera are the ancillary features and the ergonomics that Canon packs it with.

Adobe’s record when it comes to designing software is certainly a mixed bag, sometimes we get great new features, and sometimes those features come rolling along half baked. And that’s very much the case when it comes to the new development defaults in Lightroom Classic 9.2.

I’ve previously written about using Lightroom’s development defaults as a way to save your sharpening and noise reduction settings on a per ISO basis so that they’re automatically applied to your images when you import them. In my experience, this is a tremendously useful mechanism for getting most of the way to a well optimized image right out of the image dialog.

However, in the past there have been a few major shortcomings with this approach. To start with, you had to create a default for every ISO you used — which usually meant every ISO your camera could shoot at. On modern cameras with ISO ranges from say 50 to 102,000 in 1/3 stop increments this made for a lot of tedious work. This was especially true when many of the settings were the same for multiple ISOs, but you still had to create presets for them anyway.

The second problem is that some cameras, mainly Nikons in my experience, when shooting in auto ISO, don’t always use the standard 1/3 stop steps. I’ve run across all kinds of crazy ISOs from Nikon bodies that there simply wasn’t any way to get to manually. And this of course, means that there was no way to setup a default for that ISO.

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