Canon 70D – Continuous Autofocus With STM Lenses

Canon 70D – Continuous Autofocus With STM Lenses

Have you ever tried to autofocus in Live View with a DSLR? Pretty crummy, right? The Canon 70D changes that a bit with what they call Dual Pixel CMOS AF. This fairly new technology allows smooth, continuous autofocus (Canon calls is Movie Servo AF) while recording video. Continue on to view the test footage recorded when paired with Canon’s STM lenses. You may also be wondering what STM stands for in all these newly released Canon lenses! It stands for STepping Motor and it is the newest technology developed by Canon to better enable smooth video capture. Lenses designed with STM technology produce super smooth continuous autofocus even while shooting video. In addition, STM lenses are silent, eliminating traditional AF noise that was known to creep into video. We took the 24-105mm STM lens out to gather some example footage to share with you. Overall the AF tracks pretty well and pulls smoothly. Combined with the 70D, the AF experience is much more camcorder-like than what is the norm shooting with DSLRs. So there you have it! An easy solution to shoot some basic video, especially if you are just breaking in and would like a good head start into the popular world of DSLR video production. Incidentally, you can also take advantage of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology in the new Canon 7D Mark ll. Let us know your feedback and how you enjoyed this setup or what you would recommend in the comments...
Red Bull GRC Action Sports Photography with Garth Milan

Red Bull GRC Action Sports Photography with Garth Milan

Action sports photography has taken me all over the world, and my latest trip was to Sin City, where I spent two days shooting the final round of the 2014 Red Bull GRC series for, you guessed it, Red Bull. The event was just off of the Strip at the Linq Casino and Resort, at the base of the newly constructed High Roller Ferris wheel. Knowing how tough access is at any auto racing event, I knew I would need some serious glass, so before I packed my bags or even booked my flight, the first thing I did was arrange to “borrow” a Canon 600mm f/4 lens from Borrowlenses.com. Whether it’s rally racing, Moto GP, or even the Red Bull Air Race series, I typically always bring a minimum of 500mm of glass to these action-filled racing events. To me, the absolute best part of the Borrowlenses.com service, besides the great selection and customer service, is the fact that they are willing to ship huge lenses and equipment like this straight to my hotel room. This is helpful beyond words, as I always travel with a minimum of four bags, between lighting, computers, clothes, etc., so to arrive at my destination with a huge piece of glass waiting for me like this is beyond revolutionary. Handholding my massive 600mm, I headed out to the event for the first day of shooting. I was immediately thankful to have the 600, as the access was as bad as I expected and then some… but with such a massive lens, shooting directly through fencing is easily possible, opening up a whole...
Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

Have All Your Holiday Pictures Become The Same? Try Telling A Photo Story

The holiday season is in full swing and for many of us it is a time to spend with friends and family, some of whom we may not get to see often. Is it great to have that group shot of long lost friends or 3 generations of family in one frame? YES! But why not test your skills this year at telling a photographic story. Follow these simple steps to communicate just how beautiful, exciting, or sentimental your time was spent over the holidays. Doing so just might jog those memories ever more clearly in the years to come and leave you with something to always cherish. The Checklist A good way to start is by considering what your story or angle will be before you even pick up a camera. Plan ahead the shots which will be most critical, whether they are portraits or wide angle landscapes, that best tell your story. Having a loosely memorized shot list will increase your chances of capturing those key moments as they arise, since there will be many distractions while you shoot. Follow the Same Rules as Writing Whether you are blogging, sharing on social media, making a scrapbook, or submitting for publication your viewers will need to understand the context of your pictures. As you shoot, remember the who, what, when, where, and why. Your goal is to explain to viewers the reasons for your subject’s actions. Variety is the Spice of Life To tell a bigger more compelling story, shoot the subject or event from a range of viewpoints. Understanding beforehand how you would like your photographs to be read...
Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog. Here is his advice on whether tilt-shift lenses are worth it for photographers. Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography? by John Cooper Are tilt-shifts worth it? It depends on what ‘it’ is. Most will argue that software editing can replicate the effects of a tilt-shift lens – so why bother? We need to first understand three key facts: An SLR camera focuses to a plane, not a point, even though you can select the precise place you want to focus on. Depth-of-field and depth-of-focus (DOF) mean the same thing in this discussion. The slight difference between the two does not affect the tilt-shift principles discussed here. The only way to control DOF on any SLR camera without a tilt-shift lens is by aperture. The sketch below shows how the Sensor Plane (SP) is always parallel to Plane of Focus of the lens. This remains constant for all lenses except on tilt-shift lenses. All SLR camera lenses, except the tilt-shift lenses, focus ONLY “front-to-back”. Whatever position your camera is in, relative to the subject, will produce a DOF “plane”. If your subject is parallel to your camera’s sensor plane, then everything will be in focus. If your subject is on a diagonal then only the plane you focus on will be sharp. The images below illustrate the...
Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

In photojournalism school, students are taught to underexpose when out in the field in order to achieve the richest colors and most intense contrast possible in a photograph. The trick, conventional wisdom explains, is to bring the exposure back up in post processing. I shot this way for years and it always treated me well. I’m still a big fan of the ‘underexpose method’ when shooting landscapes and documentary stories. The technique brings out the drama of what you’re trying to capture; old, wrinkly faces look like they belong to lost souls with millions of years of stories to tell, a canyon or mountain scape appears to be straight out of a dream with rainbow-like colors and dark, cloud-filled skies seem to hover over every crevice of the earth. Depth and drama are what this technique creates  — perfect for telling stories with a ‘wow’ effect. After starting my own wedding photography business, I slowly learned how to bend and, even break, the rules. My focus shifted from news stories that break your heart to telling the happiest stories imaginable — family moments of pure joy and love as young couples prepare for their next stage of life together. When photographing a wedding, you are trusted to document one of the most precious moments in a person’s life. I wanted to do these people justice by focusing on the beauty within. By capturing them in just the right light, I knew I could help them see their own beautiful depth radiating out. With this new goal in mind, my style began to morph. I no longer cared as much about the...