When I first saw that Canon was releasing a new 70-200 f/2.8L IS III lens, I was excited because I thought finally an update on what I think is the oldest lens in my fleet.  I had hoped that in addition to a performance update, I would also see some weight savings, which would mean that it might find itself in my camera bag more often.

 

Well, when it came to the weight, my hopes were not fulfilled.  The new 70-200 f/2.8L lens is only SLIGHTLY lighter than the old version, like 50 grams (1490g vs. 1440g).  I haven’t had the change to weigh the actual lenses since I have picked mine up but I will say that I really do not notice any difference in weight between the lenses when the tripod foot is removed.  With the tripod foot on, there is a slight difference in weight, but certainly not the earth shattering weight difference that we are seeing with the new 400 f/2.8.

 

Snow Leopard – Calgary Zoo

I was debating whether or not to bring the lens on the Great Bear Rainforest trip, and wondered if it would feel like a duplicate because I knew I would be brining my 100-400 lens, and had weight restrictions to keep in mind.  In order to give the lens a quick test I brought it to the Calgary Zoo.  I have to admit, I was really pleasantly surprised by the results.  Since I have purchased the 100-400 a few years ago, I haven’t found that I am using the 70-200 as often, because it often doesn’t have the focal length needed for a lot of wildlife.  But reviewing my images from the zoo, it really made me consider that I should be using it more.

 

One of the zoo images included in this post was of a Snow Leopard, and considering that this image was shot through the glass, I was really surprised how sharp it was.  In addition to being shot though glass, I also shot it at only f/2.8, because the green background was really quite ugly and distracting. I was surprised that I was able to see the hairs on the snout of the Snow Leopard despite that it was shot through the glass.

 

Despite it not being much lighter than the old one, I decided to pack it along for the Great Bear Rainforest trip given the results that I had with it at the zoo, and I am really glad that I did.  The second day out shooting we were shooting in the heart of the rainforest, and because the river was not that wide, we were actually working at pretty close focal lengths.  I ended up using the 70-200 pretty much exclusively that day, at least where the “big subjects” (like bears) were concerned, and the lens did not let me down.  I found that having an f/2.8 lens greatly improved my images, given the low-light I would have constantly been battling high ISO and low shutter speeds if I had used the 100-400.

 

 

Seeking Salmon

Seeking Salmon was one of the shots that were taken with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS III USM, and was actually shot wide open, because I wanted as high of a shutter speed as possible given that I wasn’t sure if the Spirit Bear was going to pounce at a salmon (if she could find one).

 

I have not yet done head-to-head testing between the new and old 70-200, and I do not know if the slightly lighter weight and fluorine coating are worth upgrading from the old one to the new one (stay tuned for that).  I will say that if you are planning to add a 70-200 to your fleet of lenses, you will not be disappointed with the image quality achieved with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS III USM.

 

If you are debating getting this lens and have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at contact@wildlements.ca. Or stay tuned to my recent photos and blog for more thoughts as I use the lens more, and review more of the images taken with the lens.

I got back from the Great Bear Rainforest just under a week ago and I am still fully digesting the trip, and going through the many, many, photos.  Receiving my Canon EOS R as soon as I got back has somewhat thrown a wrench into my time behind the computer…but more about that later.

 

One of the reasons that I continue to love going back to the Great Bear Rainforest, is that you never know what to expect, and honestly each year is really different.

This year some of the salmon streams in the Great Bear Rainforest were impacted by lower than usual number of salmon.  This was not just caused by a lower number of fish in the salmon run, but also due to the fact that they have had very little rain to fill the streams so that the salmon can get up them.  I think it had almost been one month without any rainfall on one particular place that we visited, according to the First Nation Guide.  Therefore it seemed like this year we had to work a little harder to see the wildlife and to photograph it.

 

We were treated to a wide variety of wildlife, from Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, a Spirit Bear, Humpback Whales, Bald Eagles, Mink, River Otters, Harbor Seals and even saw TWO Sea Otters.  Some of the highlights of the trip were when we waited along a river for quite some time without really seeing anything, and then just before we were about to leave a Spirit Bear appeared…this is a good reminder of why you should “tough it out”.

 

We also had the opportunity to spend over 45 minutes watching two young grizzlies, which we assumed were siblings, wrestling in the water.  We actually left them and they were still going at it.  We went to “check out” a bay to see if there was any activity, and there were over 18 Bald Eagles in the water itself, with a bunch more white heads dotting the trees next to the bay.  And then when we went in the zodiac to check it out, we spotted a Grizzly along the shore.

 

Finally, we topped the trip off by seeing two sea otters.  It was awesome because one was really quite far north, and further north than the skipper had ever seen.  The second one was super accommodating and provided us ample opportunity to get some really great images while she cleaned her fur.

 

We came away with some really unique experiences and I am already looking forward to going back again next year.

 

Stay tuned to my Recent Photos for new photos as I have time to edit them.  And also stay tuned to my blog for my thoughts on my new EOS R.

 

Our 2020 trip dates will be released a the beginning of next year, if you would like to get your name on the priority booking list, contact me at contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

I have escaped the snow of Calgary and I am just getting ready to head back into the Great Bear Rainforest for my 5th year in a row, and to say I am excited is an understatement.

 

Under Cover

For this version of the instructional photo tour we will be taking a different route than usual, and starting in Kitimat and ending in Bella Bella.  This is a route that I have not done since 2014 (my first trip).  I am looking forward to the opportunity to seeing some areas that I have not been to in a several years, and also looking forward to checking out some of the “usual” spots.

 

And there is a reason that we do not call this trip the Spirit Bear trip, because the trip is about so much more, and encompasses all the wildlife and scenery that the Great Bear Rainforest has to offer.  Under Cover was photographed during my trip in 2017, and was taken as a Spirit Bear woke up from a nap in the woods and came back out to the water to eat some fish.  For more of the images that I have captured on my Great Bear Rainforest trips, visit the Great Bear Rainforest Gallery.

 

If you are interested in signing up for one of our future Great Bear Rainforest trips, visit my Photo Tours page for more information.  Or feel free to contact me at contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

 

I am looking forward to coming back and sharing the details of the experience and some images!

I have escaped the snow of Calgary and I am just getting ready to head back into the Great Bear Rainforest for my 5th year in a row, and to say I am excited is an understatement.

 

Under Cover

For this version of the instructional photo tour we will be taking a different route than usual, and starting in Kitimat and ending in Bella Bella.  This is a route that I have not done since 2014 (my first trip).  I am looking forward to the opportunity to seeing some areas that I have not been to in a several years, and also looking forward to checking out some of the “usual” spots.

 

And there is a reason that we do not call this trip the Spirit Bear trip, because the trip is about so much more, and encompasses all the wildlife and scenery that the Great Bear Rainforest has to offer.  Under Cover was photographed during my trip in 2017, and was taken as a Spirit Bear woke up from a nap in the woods and came back out to the water to eat some fish.  For more of the images that I have captured on my Great Bear Rainforest trips, visit the Great Bear Rainforest Gallery.

 

If you are interested in signing up for one of our future Great Bear Rainforest trips, visit my Photo Tours page for more information.  Or feel free to contact me at contact@wildelements.ca for more information.

 

I am looking forward to coming back and sharing the details of the experience and some images!

EOS R:

  • 30.3 megapixel
  • Full frame CMOS sensor
  • Adapter allows for using EF lenses
  • Phase detect AF
  • 5,655 selectable AF Points
  • 5 frames per second with continuous AF
  • ISO Sensitivity of 100-40000
  • Low light focusing of EV -6
  • No in body stabilization
  • Same battery as other Canon DSLRs
  • One SD Slot
  • 4k video capabilities
  • Battery life of 350 shots (EVF)
  • $2,999 CAD

Canon Announces Full Frame Mirrorless EOS R

 

Last week I posted about the recent Canon announcement that I was the most excited about, the new 400mm f/2.8.

 

I am almost as excited about the announcement of the full frame mirrorless, EOS R.  I am excited to try this out in comparison to the Sony a7iii that I recently purchased.

 

EOS R
Priced at $2,999 CAD, Canon’s first step into the full-frame mirrorless comes with a 30.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. An interesting feature of the EOS R is that when the camera is turned off the curtain is closed to protect the sensor against getting dust and dirt on it.  Dust on the sensor has been something that I have noticed quite often with the Sony a7iii, so I am interested to see how the “closing” of the sensor works, and whether it does keep dust off the sensor.

 

When it comes to autofocus, Canon is using a phase-detect system with 5,655 selectable points…no that is not a typo they are actually advertising over five thousand AF Points. With this many AF points, 100% of the vertical and 88% of the horizontal sensor is covered by autofocus points.  This is pretty impressive, and hopefully this is something that can be carried over to the DSLR, because this is one of my biggest frustrations with the 1DX Mark II, sometimes the points are not where I need them, especially in the low end.

 

Another feature of the EOS R that Canon has added is making the AF available for “nearly the entire image” when shooting at f/8 or f/11.  So this means that you could attach a 2x extender to an f/5.6 lens (turning it to f/11) and still have AF, something that cannot even be done with my 1dx Mark II.  I am interested to test this and see how it actually performs, and whether it is an available feature that isn’t really all that useful in practice.  I have used the 1.4x extender on the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II to see how it performed, and I found the autofocus to be incredibly slow.

 

The frame-rate is advertised as 8 frames per second. However, with closer reading that 8 frames per second is only when not using continuous AF.  When switched to continuous autofocus the frame rate decreases to 5 frames per second, and will drop to 3 frames per second if you have selected focus priority in your settings. I do not even remember what it is like to shoot wildlife with a camera at 3 frames per second.  The buffer is advertised to be 47 Raw files.

 

Low-light focusing should not be an issue with the EOS R, it has the ability to focus at EV -6, and has ISO range of 100-40000.

 

Surprisingly, and somewhat disappointing, is that the camera does not come with any in body image stabilization, a feature available in both of the competitors (Nikon z6 and Sony a7III). I am not sure what drove the decision by Canon to skip it, maybe they are trying to drive the sale of the IS lenses, and intend for all the RF lenses to be image stabilized and thought it was unnecessary.

 

For this camera Canon has created a new mount, the “RF” mount, but also has three different adapters available to use existing EF lenses with the camera.  This is a benefit over my Sony mirrorless which has a Metabones adapter that allows me to use my Canon lenses, however the autofocus is so slow that I find it is not even worth trying to use it.

 

The battery life of the EOS R has room for improvement, with life of 350 shots per charge, however that’s consistent with other full frame mirrorless cameras.  The benefit for anyone that owns another Canon camera, like the 5D Mark IV, the battery is the same, at least you do not need to bring an additional charger.  The camera only has one memory card slot, which holds an SD card, so there is no ability to record backup, or have image overflow.

 

I am really looking forward to getting my hands no my camera, which is expected to be here mid-October (of course, right after I get back from the Great Bear Rainforest). I plan to keep my Sony a7iii in order to compare the two.

 

More about the EOS R can be found on Canon’s website.  If you have questions, feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca.

Canon 400 f/2.8L IS III

  • Incredibly Light (2840g)
  • 1000g Lighter than vII
  • Improved IS – 5 stops
  • Balance Redistribution (towards back)
  • Coatings – Less Ghosting and Flaring
  • $15,799 CAD

My last blog post was asking, maybe even begging, Canon to step-up and compete the with recent Nikon announcements of a full-frame mirrorless and something that could compete with the 500 PF.  Well I guess I owe Canon a “thank you”.

 

Canon announces the release of the lightest 400 f/2.8L on the market (the 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM)

 

Before the new Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM was announced, I was talking to my sales guy at The Camera Store here in Calgary and said that unless they shaved a lot of weight off the lens, I was not going to be getting a new one (I have only had my current one for 1.5 years).  Well Canon did just that. The new version 3 of the 400mm f/2.8 weighs in at just 2840g, which over 1000g lighter than the previous version of the lens, it is an over 25% reduction in weight….this is absolutely incredible.  Needless to say the minute I saw this spec, I put my name on the list to get one.

 

Other than being incredibly lightweight, now topping Sony by being the lightest on the market (by 50g), the 400 f/2.8L III also has improved image stabilization, and now comes with 5 stops of image stabilization compared to “only” 4 stops in the 400 version 2.

 

In addition to the improved weight and image stabilization, Canon has also changed the balance on the lens so that it has more weight toward the back closer to the mount.  I am looking forward to seeing how this lens is to hand-hold.  I find with my current lens hand-holding it can be a challenge because I have to hold it so far out that it’s hard to get my arm properly braced (because I’m so small). Weight distribution and balance can be more important than just total weight, especially for hand-holding lenses…airlines won’t care though, they will just care about total weight.

Coastal

The lens comes with “Super Spectra Coating and Air Sphere Coating” which should help reduce flare and ghosting on the lens, although truthfully, it is not something that I have noticed being a real problem with the 400 version 2.  There is also some improved weather sealing and ability to use the lens at higher temperatures, however that’s not a feature I need, because it’s not like the Great Bear Rainforest ever really gets that hot.

 

As to be expected, this lens doesn’t come cheap, it is listed on Canon Canada’s website at $15,799 CAD.

 

I’m really excited to get my hands on this and compare it to the version 2 of this lens.  I’m really hoping that weight savings doesn’t translate into optical performance sacrifices, but I’m optimistic that this soon might become my new favorite lens. This image of a coastal wolf “Coastal” was photographed with the version 2 of the lens in the Khutzeymateen in 2017.

 

More about the lens can be found on Canon Canada’s website and feel free to reach out to me with any questions contact@wildelements.ca.

 

Stay tuned for when I get my hands on one and can start comparing it to the version 2 of the lens.

Nikkor 500mm f/5.6 PF

  • Incredibly light – 1,460g
  • Price $4,900 CAD
  • Weather sealed
  • Nikon’s Fluorine Coating

Nikon z7

  • 45.7MP
  • 493 AF points
  • 9 frames per second
  • Weight – 585g
  • 330 shots battery life
  • $4,700 CAD

Nikon z6

  • 24.5MP
  • 273 AF points
  • 12 frames per second
  • Weight – 585g
  • 310 shots battery life
  • $2,800 CAD

Well if you are a Nikon shooter (which I’m not!), you have noticed a couple of exciting announcements, and all I can say is “Canon – You’re Next” (PLEASE!).

 

Nikkor 500mm f/5,6 PF

The announcement that I am most excited for, at least for my Nikon friends, is the release of the Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR. I have always been incredibly envious of the 300 PF whenever I have seen one on the trip, so now that Nikon has stepped it up and released a 500, I’m hoping it is a kick in the pants that Canon needs to start releasing some newer and lighter equipment.

 

The biggest surprise for me is the price tag of the 500 PF, at just under $4,900 CAD, this compares to the Canon 400 f/4 DO of over $8,800 CAD.  The price is absolutely incredible, and gives photographers (well Nikon shooters) the ability to get a longer focal range at a lower price.  Especially when compared to the Nikon 500mm f/4 at just under $13,000 CAD.

 

In addition to the lower price tag, this lens (and one of the appeals) is that it comes in at a lower weight, weighing less than half of the 500mm f/4, coming in at 1,460g (compared to 3,880 for the 500 f/4). This makes the 500 PF a great lens for photographers who travel often, and and restricted for baggage size and weight.

 

Of course, I’m not about to get too excited for Nikon shooters, or jealous, just yet because it still all hinges on image quality, but assuming it’s anything like the 300 PF, I think Nikon shooters are lucky and have one more option when it comes to lenses.

 

It also comes weather sealed and with Nikon’s Fluorine Coating, making it a capable lens for rugged shooting conditions.

 

More information on the 500 PF can be found on Nikon’s website.

 

Nikon Full Frame Mirrorless  (z7 & z6)

The next announcement that has me begging Canon to step-up is the announcement of two full-frame mirrorless cameras, which compare quite closely to the Sony a7iii and a7riii.  Both of these cameras come with a different mount, but have the ability to use an adapter to make it compatible with the existing f-mount lenses.

 

The z7 is a full frame 45.7MP camera that has 493 AF points, and shoots at 9 frames per second.  The price tag of this body is just under $4,700 CAD, and weighs in at just 585g.  It also comes equipped with video capabilities including 4k video. And one thing this camera has that the Sony’s do not, are xqd slot, but only one, which could take some getting used to for shooters used to two.  More about this camera can be found on Nikon’s website.

 

The z6 is a full frame 24.5MP camera that comes with 273 AF points, and shoots 12 frames per second.  The price tag of this body is just under $2,800 CAD and it weights 585g.  It also comes with the ability to capture 4k videos.  More about this camera can be found on Nikon’s website.

 

Two common complaints with mirrorless cameras are the autofocus, and battery life.  The battery life of the z7 is advertised to be 330 shots and the z6 slightly less at 310 shots. This battery life is much less than the Sony a7Riii at 530 shots, and the a7iii of 610 shots.  For the autofocus, I am curious at how closely it will match that of the full frame dslr cameras, based on the technical specs, it has many of the similar AF Area Modes as the DSLR’s but we will see how well it functions.

 

Hopefully in the not too distant future I am excitedly writing and gushing about the new releases from Canon (hopefully!).  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca.

The first week of August we had the opportunity to spend a week on a sailboat exploring the coast of British Columbia from the Johnstone Strait to the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. What I enjoy about this trip is that each section of the ocean we explore seems to bring a different photographic opportunity, and we never knew what to expect.


This is the third time I have been on this trip, and this year it provided many different highlights than the previous two trips.

 

Of course a staple of visiting this area, is the opportunity to photograph the Orcas (both resident and transients) that travel these waters.  We had a few days where we were able to photograph them, with the highlight being when there was a triple breach of three different orcas in succession.  But besides the photographs it is always just amazing to be around such magnificent creatures (and ones that I don’t have the chance to see everyday living in Alberta).

 

 

Pigging Out

Another highlights of the trip were the Sea Otters.  Not only are Sea Otters adorable, but this year they provided us with a great deal of variety in the photographic opportunities.  We were able to capture them wrapped in kelp, moms with pups, gathering and eating sea urchins, and even a brief attempt at mating.  It doesn’t matter how many times I see Sea Otters, they still give me the “awww” factor, and I get bored.

 

We also had a great time attempting to photograph both Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, and Dall’s Porpoises as they rode the bow of the sailboat, it is incredible how fast they are able to move.

 

In addition to the above we also had many Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, and Black Oystercatchers.

 

There was certainly no shortage of wildlife variety on this trip, and there was hardly a dull moment.  This trip continues to rank up there with one of my favourite trips that we offer.

 

There are still two spots available next year, and a priority booking list for 2020. Feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information about this trip.

The first week of August we had the opportunity to spend a week on a sailboat exploring the coast of British Columbia from the Johnstone Strait to the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. What I enjoy about this trip is that each section of the ocean we explore seems to bring a different photographic opportunity, and we never knew what to expect.


This is the third time I have been on this trip, and this year it provided many different highlights than the previous two trips.

 

Of course a staple of visiting this area, is the opportunity to photograph the Orcas (both resident and transients) that travel these waters.  We had a few days where we were able to photograph them, with the highlight being when there was a triple breach of three different orcas in succession.  But besides the photographs it is always just amazing to be around such magnificent creatures (and ones that I don’t have the chance to see everyday living in Alberta).

 

 

Pigging Out

Another highlights of the trip were the Sea Otters.  Not only are Sea Otters adorable, but this year they provided us with a great deal of variety in the photographic opportunities.  We were able to capture them wrapped in kelp, moms with pups, gathering and eating sea urchins, and even a brief attempt at mating.  It doesn’t matter how many times I see Sea Otters, they still give me the “awww” factor, and I get bored.

 

We also had a great time attempting to photograph both Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, and Dall’s Porpoises as they rode the bow of the sailboat, it is incredible how fast they are able to move.

 

In addition to the above we also had many Sea Lions, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, and Black Oystercatchers.

 

There was certainly no shortage of wildlife variety on this trip, and there was hardly a dull moment.  This trip continues to rank up there with one of my favourite trips that we offer.

 

There are still two spots available next year, and a priority booking list for 2020. Feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca for more information about this trip.

Pleasant Surprises:

  • Image quality
  • ISO Performance
  • Dynamic Range (high ISOs)
  • Metering
  • Frame-rate
  • Size/Portability

Disappointments:

  • Autofocus (initial acquisition)
  • Electronic viewfinder

I have had the Sony a7III Mirrorless camera for a few months now, and while some things have surprised me, there are still a few things that I will say continue to disappoint me.

 

This blog post is by no means meant to be a true “camera test”, but more of a “in the field” and “gut-feel” assessment.

 

Pleasant Surprises:

Image Quality / Image Sharpness
I continue to be quite surprised with the overall image quality that the Sony a7III is capable of producing. I find that when the photo is in-focus they are really quite sharp.  I think I am even more surprised by this because I’m using a lower-end lens than I am used to (using the Sony 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G OSS vs. the Canon L-Series lenses that I am used to).

 

I would like to try out the Sony with the 100-400, or even the new Sony 400 f/2.8, but with the rumours of Canon releasing it’s own full frame mirrorless sometime in the future, I have limited budget that I really want to invest in the Sony system.

 

In the future I plan to still do some head-to-head shooting with the Canon, including the Sony vs. Canon 100-400’s with the 5d Mark IV, but just haven’t had the time that is required for detailed testing and reviewing.

 

ISO Performance / Dynamic Range
For the price of the camera, I’m continued to be extremely impressed by the ISO performance of the Sony a7III. I find that it rivals that of the 5D Mark IV, and with good post-processing skills can get useable images at ISO 6400+.  This makes the camera more well-rounded than some of the similarly priced DSLRs in terms of being able to use it in darker settings (thinking the Great Bear Rainforest), or with lenses that aren’t f/2.8.

 

I have been finding that when an image gets noisy, it gets really noisy.  What I mean by that is that I feel like it goes from hardly any noise, to so noisy the image isn’t useable, I guess it’s a good thing that you are able to pus the ISOs otherwise you would be stuck with a bunch of really noisy images.

 

I am also finding that the dynamic range on this camera is incredible, even at the higher ISO’s like 5000+.

 

Metering
I find the meter on the camera to be incredible, it does a really good job at reading the scene and not blowing highlights or blocking up shadows, and I find that I’m required to do less compensation when shooting in multi-segment mode compared to what I have experienced in other camera.

 

Frame-rate
There is nothing to complain about when it comes to frame rate, the 10 fps seems to play out as advertised in the real world.  While it is no D5 of Canon 1dx Mark II, and there would be certain scenarios when you would want to manage your buffer (like a Humpback Whale breaching), it’s perfectly capable buffer size, and it outperforms the 5D Mark IV (7 fps), which I use plenty

 

One word of caution, if you turn your camera to silent mode, it is literally silent, so if you accidentally sit on the cameras shutter you will have no indication that it is taking 50 or more shots of the zodiac floor.

 

Size/Portability
The main reason I decided to buy the camera was because of the size.  Sometimes it is one thing to read the specs of a camera and think “wow, that is light (or heavy)”, but it is another thing to actually use it in the real world, because weight distribution and ergonomics can play a big role in whether something actually feels light, or heavy.

 

After using it on a trip, taking it for some walks, having it in my backpack, and generally just using it, I am still finding it to be quite light and portable. I am even able to throw it into my relatively small hydro pack with the 70-300 on it.

 

Disappointments:

Autofocus:
I said it in my initial impressions blog post (here)  and I am going to say it again, I am still disappointed with the autofocus.  And while I am aware that it is much improved over previous versions of mirrorless cameras, for me, where I am used to flagship Canon cameras I remain to be disappointed.

 

Initial acquisition of objects, especially small, quick moving objects, is still slow, causing me to miss shots. I find that after initial acquisition the autofocus does a reasonable job sticking on the subject, and locking and keeping focused.  So while it is not all bad, if you cannot acquire initial focus you will not need to worry about maintaining focus.

 

While the autofocus is a bit annoying at times, having the ability to put the AF point pretty much anywhere in the entire image is pretty awesome, although in practical terms it is likely pretty rare that you would use some of the extreme edges for the AF Point.

 

Electronic Viewfinder:
In my initial thoughts blog post it was one of my biggest annoyances, the electronic viewfinder, and if I recall I said it would take some getting used to….well I am still not used to it.  I find it to be less noticeable if I am just shooting with the mirrorless camera all day, but if I am switching back and forth between the mirrorless and DSLRs, it becomes very noticeable.

 

Conclusion:
I’m not ready to throw away all my DSLRs just yet.  They are still highly capable, and in my opinion more highly capable, than the Sony a7III, however when I want something small and light for walking around “in case” I see something, I don’t feel like I am grossly under-equipped and will be left with images no better than a cheap point and shoot camera.

 

I am looking forward to continuing to taking the Sony a7iii on my next photo tour, Marine Mammals at the beginning of August, and putting it to the test some more.  If you are considering the a7III and have any questions, feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca.

I have just put my order in for the newly released 70-200 f/2.8L IS III, unfortunately it looks like I need to wait until August until I get to put my hands on it.

 

I think that the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM was the first L-series lens that I purchased when getting into photography, and while I tend to use it less now with the release of the new 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, every time I do use it, I’m still impressed with the results.

 

One of the biggest improvements over the predecessor is that both the front and rear element has a  air sphere coating which should reduce the flaring, and suppress the reflection of light.  The new fluorine coating is supposed to help reduce smearing and fingerprints on the glass.

 

The weight of the new lens is advertised as slightly lighter (1490g vs. 1440g for the new lens).

 

In addition to the new Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS III lens, Canon is also releasing an updated version of the 70-200 f/4L IS II lens, which has improved image stabilization with three modes, and decreasing the minimum focus distance.

 

You can read more about the release from Canon’s press release here.   Feel free to email me contact@wildelements.ca if you have any questions, or if you want share your experiences with the new lens.

Key Specs:

  • Full Frame
  • 24.2mp Sensor
  • 10 fps
  • 693 Phase Detection AF Points
  • 425 Contract Detection AF Points
  • 4K HDR Video

Likes:

  • Size, Weight, and Portability
  • Frame rate
  • Full Frame
  • Image Quality

Dislikes:

  • Initial AF acquisition
  • AF point size
  • EVF (takes getting used to)

I have owned my camera for just a couple of weeks now, and have had the opportunity to take it to some local parks to test it out in nature.  This is no where near enough time to give a full opinion on the camera, however it is enough time to get some initial thoughts and impressions that I wanted to share (I’m not promising that these will not change as I use the camera more, for better or worse).

 

AF Points
The camera has 693 phase-decection, of which 425 of them are also contrast-detecting, AF points, and covers 93% of the viewfinder, that is absolutely incredible, especially in comparison to some of the DSLR cameras out there.

 

When I first started shooting with the camera on “single point”, I was like this AF point is HUGE, especially shooting chickadees at any distance.  What I didn’t realize, and actually didn’t see anywhere in the manual is that the single point has three sizes, small, medium, and large, and I think I was on large.  So that solved, the single AF point is actually a reasonable size.

 

I still haven’t found much use for the other AF points, other than the single point spot assist.

 

I do enjoy, especially being a frustrated Canon shooter, how much of the frame (like all of it) you can cover with the AF point.  This makes it really handy when trying to setup an animalscape type shot, and could see how landscape shooters would find this useful.

 

Autofocus
As for the autofocus itself (once I found the right-size points), was a little on the slow side, especially on the initial acquisition of focusing on something.  This can be a bit frustrating when shooting the popular “little chirpy birds” (as defined in all bird books – haha), because by the time you get the focus they are flying off to another branch, and you have to start the process all over again. I also think that this would make shooting small birds in flight, like Tree Swallows, very frustrating, but when you nail it, you will nail it.

 

I do find however that the camera is actually pretty good at keeping the focus locked on as the subject moves around, and I am not finding a bunch of blurry shots when shooting a burst.

 

Frame-rate / buffering
The camera boasts 10 frames per second, and it was one of the key advertised features is the frame rate of the camera.  While the frames per second is important, to me the more important question is how many shots can I take until the camera slows down and begins buffering.  In my normal shooting, using RAW images, SD card, and 1/1000 shutter speed I was able to get just over 25 shots before the camera started slowing down, which I think is pretty good.

 

Along the same lines as this is the blackout, you know the momentary (can be nanoseconds) where you cannot actually see anything through the viewfinder.  I do find the blackout to be a bit longer on this camera than I am used to when looking through the viewfinder.

 

Something I am finding particularly annoying is if I shoot a burst, and then want to recompose, I need to wait for images to clear the buffer (or at least some of the images) before I can get my AF point back and refocus to take another shot.  I have also noticed that while copying images to the card, you cannot access the menu, or switch from still to video shooting until all the images are cleared.  This could really be the difference between getting and missing the shot.

 

Electronic Viewfinder
I think the biggest noticeable difference for anyone that is switching from a DSLR to a Mirrorless is the electronic viewfinder. While I think they have come a long way from some that I have looked at in the past, it’s still not crisp and sharp, and the colors even seem a little distorted compared to what I am used to with the DSLR.

 

Meanwhile, the rear LCD shows a very nice view of the image, but I just can’t stand to hold the camera out in front of me while taking pictures…I feel like a tourist holding out my iPhone.

 

Image Quality
Outside some of the limitations that I noted above (assuming you aren’t waiting for your buffer to clear and miss the shot), the image quality of this camera is really quite nice.  You get a lot of fine detail, and it certainly is steps above point-and-shoot cameras, and I am very interested to see how it compares to the Canon full frame 5D Mark IV.

 

There are still many things left to test, the one thing I haven’t really tested yet but am super curious about is the ISO performance.  I have several shots at ISO 3200 that seem pretty clean.  I am hoping on the upcoming Great Bear Rainforest trip I will get some opportunities to try it out,

 

I’m excited to take this camera out on it’s first test – the Spring Great Bear Rainforest trip, and see how it holds up under real conditions.  I also still have a lot more testing to do including how it works with the metabones adapter, as well as how it compares to other full-frame cameras.  So stay tuned.

 

Feel free to contact me contact@wildelements.ca if you are planning to pick one up and have any questions, or to share some of your own personal feedback.