Traveling Cross Country? Tips to Photograph Your Trip: Part 2

Traveling Cross Country? Tips to Photograph Your Trip: Part 2

Shortly after finishing a cross country trip to relocate to a new part of the country, I reflected on some practical photographic lessons I learned. We had to get across the country quickly by car and it is hard to photograph under those circumstance. I compiled some tips for others who may be faced with a similar trip and who want to take pictures along the way. The following are helpful tips for the cross country traveling photographer. Packing a Bag: Bring What You Know, Pack Light I logged a lot of internet hours trying to decide what was best to include in my camera bag before departing. What I ultimately decided on was to pack simple and not include any new systems that may trip me up when trying to act fast. I was very interested in shooting with a mirrorless camera. However, on the test run I decided against it because I was just not familiar enough with it. I knew it was better for me to be able to quickly navigate my settings than to sacrifice for weight and size. Had I gotten comfortable with a more compact system and felt confident that I would be able to act fast with it, I would have certainly opted for a small form factor! Instead I chose a Nikon D7100 for its relatively lightweight body, familiar DSLR controls, and 24MP count with an option to shoot video. The crop sensor was a conscious decision as I am still very excited about using the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC zoom lens and wanted to put it to the the ulitmate test while on the road (it performed fantastically)! The...
Atomos Shogun First Impressions

Atomos Shogun First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a few tips for folks shooting with the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder. I’ve had some time to put my unit through a few shoots and have some first impressions to share. Look and Feel Some folks have commented on the fact that the Shogun feels a bit cheap in terms of build quality, especially compared to the other big 4K recorder, the Odyssey 7Q. While it’s true that the Shogun definitely has a somewhat plasticky feel to it, I actually appreciated the weight savings. This thing is going to live on top of my Sony A7s, attached either with a shoe-mount ballhead or a magic arm. Add to that the fact that I use a pretty heavy Sony battery with my kit and the weight savings from going with a plastic body are even more appreciated. The plastic doesn’t bother me at all; the unit still feels solid enough for daily use, though I’m not about to subject it to a drop test. Moreover, I love the hard Pelican case that Atomos ship with this thing. It’s got cutouts for everything that comes with the Shogun, along with extra cutouts for more batteries. Features I have to say, I’m impressed with the featureset. The fact that it shoots 4K is enough of a party trick, but Atomos have packed it full of a lot of other features. From peaking and zebras to false color and vectorscopes, the Shogun is a full-featured video monitor that I’ve now come to rely on even when I don’t shoot 4K. I love having the ProRes codec (even...
Canon Rebel SL1 Impressions

Canon Rebel SL1 Impressions

Having been exposed to the most lusted after, review topping gear such as the 1DX and super telephoto lenses on a daily basis, a person tends to start looking for interesting gear experiences with less common choices. Take the Rebel SL1, for example (yes, we ARE aware of the huge gap in performance expectations). We have been using this body for some time now behind-the-scenes and despite its undesirable plastic build, tiny pentamirror viewfinder, and ridiculously small size, we started to um…like it! Here is why we would recommend trying this body out the next time you are considering something new for casual everyday shooting, travel photography, portraits, or landscapes. Light as A Feather With battery, memory card, and strap included, the camera weighs in at about 1 lb. It pairs extremely well with a smallish telephoto such as the 70-200mm f/4L IS, tipping the scale at a bit under 2.5 lbs. That is an absolute featherweight in the world of DSLRs and puts absolutely no toll on your body after a day of shooting. Capacitive Touch Screen Change your focus point, alter your exposure settings, and review your images all using the touch screen. This all makes a lot of sense on a camera this small! There is also a dedicated ISO button located on the top of the panel. Hit that button, touch the setting you want on the LCD, and go. It’s Still a DSLR Mirrorless cameras are the technology of the future. However, there are some pretty good reasons why not to make the complete changeover yet. Continuous autofocus is a good reason to stick with DSLRs for...
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...
5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

We recently received the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder, a bit of gear a lot of customers have been eager to work with for some time now. We’re currently putting it through its paces and will have sample footage for you soon, but for now, we thought we’d put together a few tips and tricks that we’ve found useful when shooting with the Atomos Shogun. 1. Audio If you’ve got something like a Rode Videomic Pro plugged into your camera and intend to have the Shogun record the audio off that, you need to make sure the Shogun is set to do so. On the bottom-left corner of the Shogun’s screen is a small icon representing incoming audio (highlighted in red here). Tap that to bring it up, then make sure that the “Rec” button is a bright red next to the audio channel you want to record. If you’re not seeing any activity in your intended channel, check your camera; audio recording might be turned off. 2. Ensure clean HDMI output Cameras like the A7s can output not just the video signal to the Shogun, but also the on-screen menus – which will get recorded along with your intended footage. Make sure you turn those off!   3. Lock your screen Once you start recording, you can press the power button once on the shogun to lock the screen. This prevents any accidental touches from registering on the touch screen. You can also change a setting in the Shogun to power the screen down when you lock it, and save that use for in-between shots to save battery life. 4. Touch...