Archive for September, 2009

Canon 800mm Lens

September 20th, 2009 3 comments

From left: Cannon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS, Cannon EF 500mm f/4 IS, Cannon EF 600mm f/4 IS, and Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 IS

When Canon announced a new flagship super telephoto, EF 800mm f/5.6 image stabilizer lens, I thought, “who would buy such a lens?”  With a price tag set at over $10,000, it seemed to me that Canon was just shooting themselves on the foot!

Me with 800mm lens

Canon has many wonderful telephoto lenses such as EF 500mm f/4 and EF 600mm f/4.  Both are known to work well with a 1.4x teleconverter.  When attached a 1.4x teleconverter, a 600mm f/4 becomes a 840mm f/5.6.  So to me it seemed that Canon 800mm lens was unnecessary.

Well, not so, and here are some of the reasons.

Mid summer I had a chance to evaluate this new super telephoto lens.  My first impression was the weight!  I had expected the lens to weight as much as my 600mm f/4, but it wasn’t.  The lens weights about 10 pounds, which is between my 500mm f/4 and 600mm f/4.  With the lens hood attached, this lens is actually shorter than a 600mm f/4.  It also has more curves and is slimmer than any Canon lenses.

I also love the new focusing ring.  It is wider and easy to operate.  Image stabilizer is also improved by 4 stops compared to 2 stops on other super telephoto lenses.  This comes in handy many times especially when 1.4x or 2x teleconverter is used with this lens.

Painted BuntingWhile both Canon 500mm and 600mm lens are very sharp and produce a good result, this new Canon EF 800mm lens is scarily sharp!  It is by far the sharpest telephoto lens I’ve ever used.

The lens arrived in time for me to test it with a Painted Bunting that I had been photographing in the past few months.  Even with 1.4x teleconverter attached, the images were a lot sharper than 600mm lens.  The lens also did very well with 2x, but the camera viewfinder became so dim that made it harder to focus.

Categories: Camera Equipment Tags:

Passion for Panorama

September 13th, 2009 1 comment
Ozark Mountain

Ozark Mountain

Ever since I have seen panorama images taken by Thomas D. Mangelsen ( and recently his new book, “The Natural World,” I’ve always wanted to create such images.  Spectacular landscape and unusual long and narrow angle of panoramas are quite attractive and challenging at the same time.

In the past, most panoramas were done with a very limited and expensive camera equipment; namely the Fuji 6×17 – a large panorama camera that uses 6 x 17 film.  This wasn’t practical since I had to purchase a different camera system than what I already owned.

Ozark Scenic Riverways

Ozark Scenic Riverways

For years there has been much development in photo editing software, which allows merging images together into a panorama.  Especially now, a combination of large megapixel camera and easy-to-use editing software, such as Lightroom and Photoshop, have made it possible to create panorama images that are rival or even surpass what a 6×17 film format camera takes.

So these days, I’ve been spending a lot of time scouting good places for panorama, looking for good angles, and testing out my equipment and editing software.

Categories: Scenery Tags:

Joy of Photography

September 6th, 2009 No comments

My dogs, Jasper & Lulu

My dogs, Jasper & Lulu

This spring/summer has been one of the busiest time in my career.  Between my hectic traveling schedule and photo shooting, I rarely had my own fun time (well, don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy what I do).  And before I know it, my summer is almost gone.

Beside my regular nature subjects, my favorite subject to photograph is my two Golden Retrievers, Jasper and LuLu.  But because of my busy schedule, it’s been some time since I took them on a road trip.  They are water dogs, and there is no a better place than Current River in the heart of the Ozark.

Photographing my dogs and having fun doing that helped me realize one of my own beliefs about photography – when a photographer really cares about the subject, it shows, and That is what makes a great image.  In this case, it was my dogs that I love and deeply care about.

Many times people search for the biggest and greatest things to photograph.  However, we often fail to recognize that the great thing might be right in front of us.

Golden RetrieverGolden Retriever

Categories: General Tags: