Photography Gear Reviews

New Lens Vs Old Lens

We compare the Canon 16-35mm F/4 IS against the older Canon 17-40mm F/4 in a landscape photography setting to see if the upgrade is worth the money.

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After a recent video some said I should get the Canon 16-35mm to replace my 17-40mm. So I have. But I’ve been talking recently how the gear doesn’t make the photographer so I’m not totally convinced this purchase was required. So I thought I would put it to the test, possibly prove myself wrong, and help you when it comes to making your next lens purchase decision.

Sharpness

There are certain things important to me in a lens when shooting landscape photography. Sharpness is important up to a certain extant. Once an acceptable level of sharpness is reached then I am happy. Most photographs are viewed at a reasonable distance and a normal viewer is not looking at minute details or pixel peeping an image. The overall story is much more important.

Lens Distortion

When working with super wide angles like 16-20mm, distortion can become a real problem and is extremely distracting and prevalent in cheaper lenses. The Canon 17-40mm handles distortion reasonably well so I was interested to see if Canon 16-35mm F/4 IS would be better.

Chromatic Aberration

The coloured soft edges in high contrast areas of an image look extremely unpleasant and can make an image look cheap. Also known as chromatic aberration, one major benefit of a high quality lens is the ability to control it. These days, it can be controlled in post-processing but it results can be hit and miss depending on the image. The Canon 17-40mm can be susceptible to chromatic Aberration, can the 16-35mm improve matters.

When conducting a camera lens review I am also looking at build quality and extras such as IS. Image stabilisation is not important to me for stills. For video, it is much more important so it is still something I look for.

In the video I pit the two lenses against each other at Ribblehead viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales. The Limestone pavement provides some big foreground interest for a shot, something I really wanted to include in the lens review.

What's in my Camera Bag? | Wild Camping Edition

Take a peek inside my camera bag to see all the photography gear and wild camping kit that I hiked up a mountain during my latest landscape photography vlog.

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Check out all the camping gear:

Check out all the photography equipment - https://www.firstmanphotography.com/my-gear/

There is nothing lightweight about camera gear. We are literally carrying around chunks of glass and metal. This is not too much of a problem for many situations but with landscape photography it is a big issue. To get the very best landscapes it often means getting off the beaten track and carrying your gear so we need things to be lightweight. Add in a shooting video and then add in camping equipment, we suddenly have a very heavy camera bag.

Watch the vlog - https://youtu.be/pmZgxymtY_E

On my recent landscape photography vlog, where I collaborated with Gary Gough Photography, we hiked up one of the biggest mountains in the Lake District called Great End. It stands at 900m with an 800m climb from the car. With my bag as light as possible, so I could achieve everything i wanted, the bag still weighed in at over 20kg. I therefore wanted to create this video so you could see what i had with me and what I had to sacrifice and leave behind.

The extra weight from the wild camping gear meant I could not bring the full range of lenses that I normally do. Water alone is shockingly heavy. On a hot day hiking a mountain you will need at least a litre of water every couple of hours. One litre of water weighs 1kg, heavy. Thankfully the water purifier meant I could carry less and refill but it is something that is vital to think about. However I still had to leave the 24-70mm lens behind. Normally my go to lens, I suspected I could get away with the 17-40mm and 70-200mm. I also didn’t want to sacrifice the drone.

Despite the weight and the hard climb it was absolutely worth it once we got to the top. Enjoying challenging adventures like this though hinges on being prepared and having the right gear. Once you do you are free to enjoy the stunning views and experiences that wild camping and photography have to offer.

Photo and Video Editing Setup with the iMac Pro

We take a look at what’s in my photography and video editing setup for 2018. It includes the iMac Pro with an amazing 10 cores to take productivity and creativity to the next level.

Check out all the gear:

A really important part of any photo editing setup is your workspace. This has nothing to do with size but having a place to sit, edit and to be comfortable is going to let you be more creative and productive whatever level you are at. In the past, my spaces have been the corner of a room, I had a full blown home studio in the last place and now that the kids need more space I have this office. I am really happy with it. I have worked hard to get it right, I’ve got a new desk and it feels productive.

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, on top of all this, I had been maintaining a part time job to give the family a bit of security. About 3 weeks ago I quit that part time job so I am now full time at this……whatever this is…….photographer, filmmaker, youtuber. I’m going to be doing lots of different things, both on and off this channel but virtually all of it with be around photo and video production.

So right at the centre of my new setup is a new iMac Pro. The workhorse that is going to be pumping out content on a daily basis. It’s a stunning machine…..frighteningly expensive but I have invested back into all of this so I have a machine that will speed up everything I do. No more waiting for Lightroom and Premiere Pro to catch up. It is expensive but I recently sold my 2009 iMac for £500 after I bought it for £1500 nearly ten years ago. If I get the same kind of value out of this machine then it will have been well worth it.

I’ve then got the iMac driving this second monitor. This is the Viewsonic VP2785. It’s designed for photographers and covers 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space and comes colour calibrated straight from the factory. It’s a stunning monitor that will act as my main editing screen for photos and also the play window when editing video.

Next up I have storage. The iMac has a built in 1TB SSD which is very very fast but is by no means big enough to store all my image and video files. So for that I have this Drobo 5D3 that connects via thunderbolt. It’s fast, it currently has an 18TB capacity and it should keep me going for at least the next couple of years as I add in extra drives when required.

Since this is now my livelihood I have invested in a battery backup. Just after moving in we had a few issues with the power repeatedly going off. I thought at one point I had lost everything off the Drobo which would have been annoying restoring everything from backups. I managed to get it going again but it’s not a problem I want to face again. Now if the power goes off the battery kicks in an keeps me going for another hour or so giving me the chance to shut down safely.

Next is the printer. The beautiful Canon Pro 10s. I’ll be doing a video about printing in the next few weeks so we’ll discuss that a bit more then.

Post processing wise I am using Adobe Lightroom. I use this for virtually all my editing these days and am going into Photoshop less and less. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing and I just love the Adobe package. It works seamlessly across all your devices and just keeps you productive.