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Camera Bag for Traveling Photographers: Think Tank Airport Security

November 1st, 2009 3 comments

In the past, I’d used Lowe Pro Photo Tracker AW backpack.  It is a good bag, but these days I have a lot more gears to carry.  Nowadays  I often use a smaller Lowe Pro fanny bag for a shorter lens with other accessories.

Camerabag2

Lowe Pro Photo Tracker AW (left) & Think Tank Airport Security (right)

I was introduced to Think Tank Company in 2007, which claims to make a bag “by photographers for photographers.”  So far I found most of their bags extremely well-designed and well thought-out.

The Think Tank Airport Security roller bag is big enough to fit my 600mm f/4 or 500mm f/4 (even 800mm f/5.6), two camera bodies, several other lenses and accessories, such as flash, extra batteries, battery pack, etc.  This bag is so deep that I can fit both my EF 70-200mm f/2.8 and EF 180mm f/3.5 macro lenses straight down.  Moreover, my Mac Book Pro 15 inches laptop fits well in the stretchable front pocket.

Think Tank Airport Security

Think Tank Airport Security with 600mm along with other lenses & accessories

The Think Tank Airport Security also comes with a backpack strap, but I won’t recommend anyone to use that, considering its size and weight.

The bag has combination locks and cables, so I can safely leave this bag locked inside my vehicle (most of time).   The way I do it is to wire the cable around the vehicle frame and lock it with a combination lock (TSA lock).

The quality of the bag is a first class material and guarantee for life unconditional.  I won’t hesitate to recommend this bag to anyone.  In fact, many photographers who I introduced it to now love it too.

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Canon 800mm Lens

September 20th, 2009 3 comments
800mm_lens

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.

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