IRIX 11mm f/4 - Affordable Ultra Wide & Rear Filters Suck

A review of the ultra wide-angle 11mm f/4 lens from Irix. This fully manual lens delivers impressive results for the cost but those rear filters SUCK.

The IRIX 11mm f/4 Blackstone lens is a great deal for those wanting to shoot wide angle. As with the 15mm IRIX we reviewed last year it comes in the metal built Blackstone version and plastic Firefly. Optically they are the same lens, you'll just get a better build quality with Blackstone. For the price point, it's a great lens, the corners look great wide open at F/4 for distortion and there's very little chromatic aberration. It's nice to use with a handy stop for infinity built into the focus ring, which you'll be using frequently with a lens this wide. The only complaint so far is the rear filters, which we recommend you picking up a set of Nisi filters instead. The IRIX 11mm f/4 Blackstone is a manual focus lens, but for the price, it's the best option at the moment.Irix 11mm f/4.0Buy the IRIX 11mm f/4:  IRIX 15mm f/2.4Buy the IRIX 15mm f/2.4: the Irix 15mm f/2.4 ReviewIrix Edge Gelatin Filter SetRear Filters from IRIX: 

Vietnam Photography Adventures - Part One!


Dark alleyways of Hanoi, remote mountain villages outside Sa Pa, and the awesome Halong Bay are some of our destinations in part 1 of our Vietnam Adventures!

Watch the SeriesVietnam Photography Adventures Part 2Vietnam Photography Adventures Part 3 

How-to: Photograph the Milky Way tips and tricks for getting the best milky way photos - from when to go, where to go and what gear to use.

When to Shoot

March to October is good but the best times to see the galactic core is late April to late July here in the Northern Hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere February to October with the galactic core best visible during June and July - The galactic core is arguably the most interesting and most photogenic section of the milky - So take a moment and add a calendar reminder to watch this video again in the spring.You also want nights with no moon - this means a new moon or dates when the moon is below the horizon - a quick search online yields lots of helpful info. On iOS and Android, I love Photopills it has at a glance moon info as well as rise/set times for the Galactic core for your location AND a mode that lets you overlay the night sky & milky way on the landscape where you are standing!


Someplace with low amounts of light pollution - to figure out the closest dark skies visit website Dark site Finder - Yellow is eh, Green is ok, blue is good, black is even better. But don’t let this stop you from trying - Your milky way shots might not be the best but at least get out, practice and develop the skills so when you end up at the right time and place you can get THE SHOT.DO include interesting foreground elements - rocks, trees, mountains, something to ground your viewer on earth while giving them a taste of the stars above.


Irix FireflyYou need a sturdy tripod - I have my favorites listed below. As for lens choice. Full Frame equivalents of 14 to 30 work well for me. The IRIX firefly is my current budget favorite - I have a review of several lenses perfect for astrophotography linked below. You could go fisheye or shoot a panorama if you have a full view of the sky with little light pollution.

Camera Settings

Get manual focus during the day and then tape or lock your focus ring at that point.

  • Aperture - Use the widest your lens allows - f/2.8 is great wider is even better Kit lenses at f/3.5 are a possibility too.
  • Shutter speed - Probably about 20 seconds but follow the 500 rule and keep that shutter speed as short as possible so stars are pinpoints and not streaks. Taking multiple shots and stacking for lower noise higher detail is an option too - I haven’t done that yet - I have been happy with single shots.
  • ISO You are probably going to end up around 1600 - lower if you have a faster lens than f/2.8 - higher if you have a slower lens.

In Post

Post Processing I typically cool the image - brighten overall image but especially the stars by increasing the highlights and I use a brush to increase the brightness of the milky way and a second brush to decrease the brightness of the darker sections - overall increasing contrast and making the milky way stand out more. 

Sony a7RIII - 5 Awesome Features & a Few Complaints post review thoughts. The Sony a7RIII got reviewed a bit ago, but since then it's been on trips around the world with Toby. Currently, in Vietnam, his takes a ton of use over the course of the tours with McKay Live meaning a ton of real-world use lately. So we've got the good, the bad, and the ugly of the new Sony everyone is hot to pick up.

Pick up your own Sony a7RIII today

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The Gift Guide: Mobile Photography

[embed][/embed]It's time for the holidays and we're here with the gear you need. If you're traveling a lot, on the go, or just prefer shooting with a phone we've got some great options:

Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

Moment Lenses

Mefoto Sidekick

Mefoto Sidekick

Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q Smartphone Gimbal

Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q Smartphone Gimbal

For more check out Toby's Favorite Mobile Photography Gearat

Fuji Vs the Competition (Sony, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic)

Scroll down for recommended lenses and comparisons against the competitors Fuji X-T2 Raw files - Sign up for my occasional and non-spammy newsletter

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 [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="16055,16056,16057,16058,16059,16060,16061"] The Fuji X-T2 is one of the most well-rounded, mirrorless, camera on the market today. You can even drop the mirrorless qualifier and I feel the statement still holds true. But, this camera isn't for everyone and there are a host of fantastic cameras to choose from. In this post, I share some thoughts on worthy Fuji Competitors and how they match up.I mentioned in the video

The Canon 6D Mark II (Full Frame DSLR) vs Fuji X-T2 (APS-C Mirrorless)

Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera (Body Only) $1,999.00Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens $1,899.00Canon wins with low light performance and a huge lens selectionCanon loses on size, weight, video features and lack of dedicated AF joystick and single card slotThe Canon is larger, heavier and uses larger and heavier full frame lenses - making the entire package a good bit more serious to carry around BUT the 6D Mark II does better in low light and offers a HUGE selection of Canon and 3rd party lenses, many of which are quite affordable and some help with the portability (pancake primes like the 40mm f/2.8). The Canon also has a fully articulating touch screen which makes recording yourself easy though you are limited to 1080p at just 60fps and the quality while decent isn't exciting.  The Fuji provides 4K at 30fps, better AF coverage, much faster burst rate and a dedicated joystick for AF control along with dual card slots. Travel photographers and landscape photographers that are hiking to destinations, I think you will find the smaller size and weight of the Fuji and associated lenses to be a serious advantage along with the ability to charge on the go. 

The Sony a6300/a6500 (APS-C Mirrorless) vs Fuji X-T2 (APS-C Mirrorless)

Sony wins on price, weight and video performance (especially a6500 stabilized)Sony loses when you compare ergonomics, aps-c lens(selection and quality) and lack of dual card slots.Sony Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Lens & Free Kit $998.00Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens $1,899.00While the Sony a6xxx series is more traditional in the sense of a mode dial and layout, the Fuji is a far more physical camera with well-marked buttons and dials for just about everything a photographer could need.  The Sony weighs less - offers similar image and video quality and offers nicely portable lenses like the Fuji but- there are only a handful of APS-C lenses for sony that are really exciting and very little is weather sealed. For the sharpest glass, you will likely buy full frame Sony- expensive and heavy. Also in a battle of the kit lenses - Fuji kills Sony's little 16-50 lens which is exceptionally travel-friendly but not the highest quality. Note - the a6500 offers a stabilized sensor.

The Panasonic G85/GH5 (Micro 4/3rds Mirrorless) vs Fuji X-T2 (APS-C Mirrorless)

The Panasonic wins on video features, battery life and massive selection of micro 4/3rd lenses along with a FULLY articulating touchscreenThe Panasonic loses on AF and AF tracking.The Panasonic G85 and GH5 are amazing video focused cameras. While the GH5 is a serious video tool, offering dual stabilized 4k footage up to 60fps it also takes great photos but this is one of the easiest matchups on the page - if you are serious about video the Gh5 or the smaller, cheaper lighter G85 offers lots to love. If you are serious about photos and videos is secondary - the Fuji X-T2 does very well.Note- the G85 is a much cheaper version of the Gh5 and while it lacks some of the pro level video features it offers a great value. My Full Review of the G85Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only) $1997.00 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm Lens $997.99Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens $1,899.00

Sony a7ii (Full Frame Mirrorless) vs Fuji X-T2 (APS-C Mirrorless)

Sony wins in low light performance, stabilized sensor and priceSony loses in ergonomics, dual card slots and lack of 4k videoSony Alpha a7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens and Accessory Kit $1698.00Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens $1,899.00The Sony weighs about the same as the Fuji X-T2 but requires full frame lenses and quickly gets heavier. However, the Sony does do better in low light, offers a stabilized sensor and decent ergonomics but not as nice as the very physical feeling Fuji. What else would you like to see matched up against the Fuji X-T2?

Bug 3 $130 drone vs DJI Spark $500 drone vs DJI Mavic $999 drone

Bug 3 $130 drone vs DJI Spark $500 drone vs DJI Mavic $999 drone. Which one would you want?

Go Cheap for a First Drone?

I was curious. The DJI Spark at $500 ($699 for the recommended Fly More Combo) is still pretty pricey for someone considering their first drone and I wondered how these much more affordable drones on Amazon compared. So I picked up the Drocon Bug3 on Amazon - $130 bucks, throw in a cheap action camera that does 1080 or even 4K for $60 and you have some significant savings versus the DJI Options - is it worth it?  There is a common misconception that ALL drones are hard to fly and you should practice with something cheaper so crashes aren't as costly. It isn't a bad idea BUT most of the time the cheaper drones ARE much harder to fly. With DJI drones like the Spark and the Mavic you press a button and the drone takes off and hovers at 3 feet, waiting for further instructions. You don't need to do anything. Then press the stick up it goes up. Stop pressing the stick up it stops and hovers. Move it forward toward an obstacle and it will warn you before stopping short of running into the tree/wall etc. Yes, DJI still makes drones you can crash, it's just that they are easy to fly carefully as you practice.The Drocon Bug3 is not like this. The $130 drone does not provide one button take off, altitude hold, GPS, a gimbal for stabilized footage, no way to see what the camera is capturing, no way to control the camera. It does provide a touchy, racing style drone that is fun and challenging to fly. Just know that I crashed it more times on the first day of flying than all the other drones I have ever flown combined!  I do not recommend it as a first drone or a drone to buy if you desire good photos/videos from the air. For aerial photography/videography, the DJI drones have a big advantage AND are much easier to fly.

DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic

I love the portability of both. The Mavic folds small and fits nicely in my camera bag where my 70-200 lens usually sits.  The Spark doesn’t fold up, but still easily fits in my camera bag though it feels a little more awkward. Spark and Mavic Drones in a camera bagThe Spark is lighter, the batteries are smaller and it can charge via USB making it extremely portable. When you sit it next to an unfolded Mavic you realize just how much smaller it is- and that makes the flying fun - I found myself launching this indoors and outdoors in environments that the Mavic just felt too large to comfortably fly in - and that’s pretty cool.Spark vs Mavic Drone Size Comparison You trade off some features for the smaller size of the Spark. While the Mavic is capable of 24 minutes flight time, closer to 30 with the new Platinum. The Spark offers just 16 minutes in ideal conditions and in flying both of these - I am almost always done with getting the shots I need with the Mavic and have plenty of battery left. With the Spark, it feels fairly urgent to get the shots I need in that shorter timeframe. The Mavic is faster and while you can switch the Spark into sports mode I have struggled to get very cinematic looking shots when it that mode, the Mavic in normal mode is fast enough and remains smoothly controllable. You also sacrifice range - the Mavic can be flown nearly 4 miles away, the Spark just over a mile when using the controllers for each- honestly here in the United States, you need to keep them both in sight at all times so the difference doesn’t bother me much. And it’s important to mention that the spark at $500 does not come with a controller - you control with the DJI app on your phone - that range is much more limited, just 100 meters and while the Mavic is capable of this too it’s really not something I recommend. The lack of tactile feedback and trying to keep your eyes on the drone plus the screen that your fingers are partially obscuring just make it awkward.Wifi control of the DI Spark and DJI MavicDifference in the external controllers too with the Mavic providing an LCD screen with some basic info (though everything important is also displayed through the app so you don’t really miss out on info but I find it nice to have my altitude and distance in a dedicated spot), you also have a 5 way configurable stick that is replaced by a simple button on the Spark controller and a few additional customizable buttons on the Mavic controller.Spark vs Mavic ControllersBut of course the Spark can be flown without any controller at all via gesture mode and not something available on the Mavic - it feels a bit gimmicky and at times I struggled to get it to do much other than take off and land on my palm but when it works it is fun to use and certainly impresses your friends.Gesture Control on the DJI SparkBoth cameras share the same sensor though the mavic is capable of shooting RAW stills that gives you more editing capabilities, offers a slightly wider fixed aperture f/2.2 vs f/2.6 in the spark and, shooting 4k video with 3 axis gimbal support vs just 1080 and 2 axis gimbal in the Spark at a lower bit rate. I my testing I certainly see an advantage with the Mavic in stills and video quality, especially in lower light. The spark isn’t bad - it just feels a touch behind what the Mavic provides in quality. I haven’t really noticed a difference between the 2 axis and 3 axis gimbals - the spark video looks just as stable smooth.Spark vs Mavic GimbalsYou do see a noticeable difference in control options for both photos and video in the app - Not only does the Mavic provide the RAW shooting you have color profiles for video and you can customize the speed of the gimbal for very controlled, cinematic looking shots - not possible on the Spark.The Spark is cheaper, lighter, smaller and in some ways more fun to fly but does not provide 4k and its image quality/video quality is decent but not quite as good as the Mavic.The Mavic costs more but offers image and video quality that I love using in my travel videos along with the extended flight time and faster speed while remaining cinematic and still being portable enough to bring along just about everywhere.I think the Spark makes a great first drone but the Mavic has those additional advantages that make it worthwhile for the serious content creators that need to travel.I recommend the Fly More Combo for both drones - the extra batteries are useful and having the multi-charger for both drones makes a big difference in how quickly you can get flying again.  I recommend buying from B&H Photo - no sales tax outside of NY state. 


DJI Spark
DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
Flight Time
16 minutes (no wind at a consistent 12.4 mph (20 km/h)15 minutes (no wind) Hovering
30 minutes (no wind at a consistent 15.5 mph (25 kph)27 minutes (no wind) Hovering
1.2 miles (2 km) (unobstructed, free of interference)
4.3 mi (7 km) (unobstructed, free of interference)
2-axis (pitch, roll)
3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)
Type: 1.2/3" CMOSEffective Pixels: 12 MP
1/2.3” (CMOS)Effective pixels:12.35 MP
FOV 81.9°Focal Length: 25 mm (35 mm-format equivalent)Aperture: f/2.6Focusing Distance: 6.6' (2 m) to ∞
FOV 78.8°Focal Length: 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent)Aperture: f/2.2Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to ∞
JPEG only
1920 x 1080 (Full HD) at 30p
C4K: 4096×2160 24p4K: 3840×2160 24/25/30p2.7K: 2720x1530 24/25/30pFHD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/96pHD: 1280×720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
143 x 143 x 55 mm
Folded: 83 x 83 x 198mmExtended: 335 x 335mm
Cost with Fly More Bundle

Shop all the DJI Spark colors at B&H Photo

Panasonic G85 Review vs Canon 80D Sony a6300/a6500

A feature packed micro 4/3 camera capable of shooting 4K video with in body stabilization, costing less than $1000 WITH lens - when I reviewed the Olympus omD EM1 Mark II many of you suggested this G85 as a more affordable option - I have now spent a month with the G85 and I am ready to share my thoughts Review: The G85 is a fantastic camera for stills and video, especially video.  In this price range nothing else provides a stabilized sensor and beautiful 4k output like the G85 does.  It is user-friendly and packed full of useful features.  I am disappointed in the automatic focus tracking - it is slow and easily gets confused- all other focus modes work well. 

G85 Pro
  • Beautiful 4K video
  • Small and lightweight camera
  • Stabilized sensor
  • Micro 4/3 - huge lens selection and many lenses are also small and lightweight
  • Feature packed - 4K photo mode, 4k timelapse in camera
G85 Con
  • Micro 4/3 suffers some in low light
  • Face tracking AF in video mode is slow and easily gets confused

g85Buy the Panasonic G85 ($997)Best Vlog Setup  - G85 with Video Micro Pro($59)

G85 compared to Sony a6500/a6300

The Sony a6500/a6300 cameras beat the G85 in nearly all respects - better image quality, better video quality(in low light) and a faster and more capable stills camera BUT the G85 wins on usability with a fully articulated and actually useful touchscreen  - the G85 is a joy to shoot video, especially vlog or selfie style video and costs significantly less than the a6500 and slightly less than the a6300 which does not offer a touchscreen or stabilized sensor.

G85 Compared to Canon 80D

The Canon 80D provides an excellent hybrid camera- excellent for photography and video unless you need 4k.  The 80D also does not offer a stabilized sensor and is a larger and more expensive camera BUT if you wanted to rely on AF tracking and face tracking the 80D does a much better job.80dBuy the Canon 80D($1249)

Full G85 Review

The Panasonic G85 has a 16mp micro 4/3rds sensor with in body image stabilization and when paired with many Panasonic lenses offers dual IS providing very smooth video and decent handheld stills at slower shutter speeds but not at the amazing level of the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II that I could handhold for at least a few seconds.Two control dials provide easy manual control, a fully articulating touchscreen and as I said shoots beautiful 4K video along with a bunch of additional features packed in like 4K photo, 4K time-lapse in camera, 4k live cropping, post focus - remember the Lytro? Panasonic now includes the ability to take shots at different focus points and later choose the desired focus point OR merge them all to create a larger depth of field - focus stacking in the camera. This isn’t going to work for all types of photography but this camera is feature rich and there are more options, some of which feel a bit gimmicky or like something you might use once. BUT You also have Panasonic’s excellent wifi control and the ability to continue to shoot at 4K even when using wifi - YES! I complained about Fuji and Olympus and I so happy Panasonic continues to provide one of the best wifi apps.

Panasonic G85 vs the Canon 80D

Canon 80D vs Panasonic G85I want to at least briefly match this up against the canon 80D priced similarly. I think the 80D is for many people a default choice when they want a video capable camera especially a high quality vlogging setup - the flip out touch screen, the lovely dual pixel AF that makes focus smooth and capable of accurate tracking. The 80D is also a very solid still camera. Let’s look at how these two compareSensor - The 80D offers a larger aps-c sensor with 24mp vs the micro 4/3rds 16MP on the G85 and this of course translates to a fairly noticeable resolution difference but not as much of a low light noise difference as you might expect. And the G85 is helped by the absence of an AA filter - providing nicely detailed images. I will give the win to the 80D but it is very close. For stills I found AF to be very similar between both - the G85 in Af-s is fast though I would rather the 80D in my hands for any more serious wildlife photos, especially tracking action or birds in flight.

In terms of video -

The G85 offers 4k at 24 or 30p and in my opinion it is beautiful detailed and the Cine V profile looks great right out of camera. I love having the flexibility of shooting 4K on cameras like the g85 - either for producing 4K content or just having options when editing. I have 4K footage from africa that blows me away! And I can either publish out at 4k or crop in for even more detail! (brief africa footage)The 80D tops out at 1080 60fps and generally doesn’t look as sharp to me - but that dual pixel Af in the 80D is smoother and more capable at tracking though in multiple tests there were a few times it failed while the G85 continued to accurately track. But generally once the 80D locks onto a subject it rarely lets go - accurately keeping focus and with the G85 and I have seen this in my GH4 too - can get confused and hunt when it really shouldn’t. My solution is to turn AF off when I don’t need it and again the app let’s you easily force AF anytime, even when the camera is set to manual focus.I also appreciate The additional features like 4K time lapse and 4k live cropping as neat options for upping the usefulness of this camera as a tool to create cool content easily and in camera. And the fact that you have a stabilized sensor gives you the option to shoot with a little prime lens keeping your carry around small and lightweight or add a stabilized lens and the dual IS system kicks in providing very smooth video - I can leave the gimbal home for some situations!The 80D is and remains a safe choice for easy all around video and stills camera but the G85, smaller, lighter and cheaper offers some serious advantages for those interested in video, especially 4k or those wanting to keep their gear load smaller.g85Buy the Panasonic G85 ($997)Best Vlog Setup  - G85 with Video Micro Pro($59)

Photographing Washington DC - Cherry Blossoms, Sunrise Monuments - Tips, Tricks and Adventure!

I spent a weekend with McKay Photography Academy in Washington DC - Photographing the monuments and memorials at sunrise, sunset, the Cherry Blossom festival and all the cherry blossom trees around the tidal basin and Jefferson Memorials. Watch for tips on photographing sunrise, sunset and the monuments plus all our adventures! TWO MORE DAYS TO ENTER TO WIN A TRIPJoin me on a future trip - Yosemite NP, Glacier NP, the Arctic - learn more at

Shutter Speed Explained Simply you need to know about Shutter Speed | The basics of Shutter Speed Explained. The importance of shutter speed in the exposure triangle, making sure you shoot fast enough to get sharp pictures, and how to use it creatively with techniques like panning to improve your photography. Crop factor calculator

Hands-on REVIEW Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens

I have spent a month with the widest, fastest rectilinear lens that claims zero distortion and costs FAR less than other lenses this fast and this wide. I am now ready to share some thoughts on this super wide angle lens. Is it the perfect lens for wide angle interior and architecture work? Images

Tamron 150-600 G2 Review and VS Sigma 150-600 C Lens comparison

I spend a month shooting with the Tamron 150-600 G2 (THE NEWEST VERSION) and compare it against the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary. I have been very happy with the under $1,000 Sigma lens - it performed very well on my Serengeti safari trip last year. But for just $400 more the $1400 Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 offers weather sealing, a few sweet features and slightly better image quality - how much is it worth to you?

Tamron 150-600 G2 Review and VS Sigma 150-600 C Lens comparison

Buy Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSMBuy the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2Tamron 150-600 G2 Review and Sigma 150-600 C images for download and compare

LENS Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM
COST $1,400.00 $989.00 $1,999.00 $1,999.00
Aperture F5–6.3 F5–6.3 F5–6.3 F4.5–6.5
Min Focus 2.70 m (106.3″) 2.80 m (110.24″) 2.60 m (102.36″) 0.98 m (38.58″)
Weight 2010 g (4.43 lb) 1950 g (4.3 lb) 2860 g (6.31 lb) 1570 g (3.46 lb)
Filter Size 95mm 95mm 105mm 77mm
Weather Sealing YES Gasket at mount, otherwise no YES YES
BUY B&H Photo B&H Photo B&H Photo B&H Photo

The features and slightly sharper quality with better contrast make the NEW Tamron 150-600 G2 my pick for budget super zoom lens.  The Sigma offers great quality at significant savings though the lack of true weather sealing may be an issue for some.  My Serengeti safari was a month of extremely dusty conditions and I never saw any issues with the Sigma but it certainly gives me more peace of mind to be out photographing in all conditions with a lens that is truly sealed.  The Sigma 150-600 Sport offers that weather sealing and is sharper than the Contemporary version but the weight is ridiculous!    And finally you sacrifice range with the 100-400 but gain a much more travel friendly lens that you could throw on a 1.4x converter and get great results. Related Video - Tamron 150-600, the Sigma 150-600, Canon's new 100-400, the Canon 400mm prime and even a 70-200 with a 2x extender

Reasons to buy the 80D over the 77D

All the Reasons Why you Should get the 80D instead of the 77D (80D vs 77D)


  • The 80D is a larger camera that feels nicer in hand for most people and balances better with some longer lenses
  • Bigger battery, almost a 1,000 shots per charge - almost double what you get with the 77D
  • 80D offers a pentaprism viewfinder vs the 77Ds pentamirror this means a bigger brighter view of the world, especially helpful in shooting in lower light.
  • 80D offers larger rear dial, slots to assign custom settings on the mode dial and a dedicated AF-On button
  • 80D has a headphone jack
  • 80D is weather sealed.


  • 80D offers a faster top shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second vs 1/4000 on the 77D - This isn’t about photographing hummingbirds - this is about being able to shoot with fast prime lens outside - being able to go above 1/4000 makes it easier. Will you need this? Do you plan to do portraiture with fast primes outside?
  • On the 80D You can also adjust ISO at 1/3 increments vs 1/2 stops on the 77D
  • 80D offers Micro Adjust autofocus - this allows you to calibrate your camera to the lenses you are shooting with to get the most accurate focus and sharpest images
  • 80D shoots +7 fps vs 6fps in the 77D - it’s a small distinction but one that could make the difference in catching the perfect moment when shooting faster action like sports.

To be fair there are a few reasons you may want to buy the 77D

  • 77D(9000D) comes in a smaller, lighter body that you can purchase at a cheaper price
  • 77D(9000D) offers an updated interface that beginners might find useful
  • 77D(9000D) offers electronic stabilization for video - honestly I am not terribly excited about this method of stabilization it is just OK and certainly doesn’t smooth out larger movements like the stabilization offered by Sony, Olympus and Panasonic AND only works during video.
Spec Canon 80D Canon 77D (9000D)
MP 24 24
ISO 100-16,000 100-25600 (expands to 51200)
Processor Digic 6 Digic 7
Number of AF pts 45 (all cross type) 45 (all cross type)
Viewfinder 100% pentaprism 95% pentamirror
Live View AF speed Excellent Excellent
Top Shutter Speed 1/8000 1/4000
Flash Sync Speed 1/250 1/200
FPS 7 (live view 5 with AF) 6
Low Light focusing -3 EV (very good) -3 EV (very good)
Video 1080p60 1080p60
Headphone Jack Yes No
Mic Jack Yes Yes
Connectivity WIFI/NFC WIFI/NFC/Bluetooth
Battery Life 960 shots 600 shots
Weight 730g (1.61 lb / 25.75 oz) 540 g (1.19 lb / 19.05 oz)
Current Price $1499 with 18-135 | $1099 Body $1499 with 18-135 | $899 Body


Buy the Canon 80D from B&H Photo

Buy the Canon 77D from B&H Photo



Available to purchase through 

Canon 80D

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EOS 77D

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EOS M6 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 15-45mm Lens (Black) Canon EVF-DC2 Electronic Viewfinder
18-55mm F/4-5.6IS STM lens

Available to pre-order through 

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
BR-E1 WirelessRemote Control

Available to pre-order through 

Canon BR-E1

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II Review

After two months of using the EM-1 Mark II including a weeklong trip in subzero temps in Alaska - I share my thoughts on this top of the line Micro 4/3rds camera - How well does it do at high ISOs, how good is the stabilization and more... Reviews like this are made possible by members - want to have a detailed conversation with me about the pros and cons of the EM1 Mark II or another camera, want to figure out what is the best camera for you? Become a member todayBuy the Olympus EM1 Mark II from B&H Photo and support Photorec.tvLenses Used in Alaska/During Em1 Mark II Review

The Olympus 12-100 f/4 Provides 6.5 stops of IS when used with the EM1 Mark II

Full Resolution Images on DropBox

[gallery columns="4" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="13425,13426,13427,13428,13429,13430,13431,13432"]The Olympus e-m1 Mark II camera some reviewers have chosen it as the camera of 2016 and a few weeks ago I wondered if it was going to be my perfect do-it-all camera! For the last month, almost 2 months now,  I have used the Olympus as a do-it-all camera for photos and videos including a week long trip to Alaska in sub-freezing temperatures. In this review I will share what I love about this camera, what I don’t love, how it compares to a few competitors and whether or not it can work for me and replace two cameras I typically take on my travels - my Sony A7RII mostly for photos and the Panasonic GH4 - mostly used for video, vlogging and timelapses.Strengths of the Em1 Mark IIStabilization - I can get 2 to 3 second exposures HANDHELD with this camera and in 4K video that sensor stabilization plus electronic stabilization translates to extremely smooth footage. This camera is a  joy to shoot handheld video with and in all the Alaska footage I shot I saw no signs of the  annoying wobble you often get from electronic stabilization. Note that THE really serious stabilization, 6.5 stops, SYNC IS as Olympus calls it is achieved with their 12-100 f/4 lens which I have not tried.Swiss Army Tool 

"best tool I can compare the EM1 Mark II to is one of those ridiculous Swiss army knifes, the really thick ones"

I have mentioned In the past that these cameras are tools to me and the best tool I can compare the EM1 Mark II to is one of those ridiculous Swiss army knifes, the really thick ones, the amount of features beyond the stabilization they have packed into this camera include ridiculously fast AF,  60 frames per second RAW when you half press the shutter button, 18 frames per second with autofocus tracking and silent shooting, hi res shooting, live bulb, live timer, live composite, 4k video, and built in time lapse! All of these features makes the EM1 Mark II an extremely flexible and versatile tool. And on top of the full feature set you have the freedom to FULLY customize this camera - you can even switch the on/off button to other functions! You will find yourself spending a good bit of time in the menu if you haven’t shot with Olympus more and I did experience several camera freeze ups after customizing until I reset the camera and went a little lighter on the customization.About that AF - I struggled to really get the C-AF and tracking to nail fast moving subjects - overall focus is VERY fast but this wouldn't be my first choice if I was primarily shooting wildlife or sports.  In video C-AF was very good with face recognition/focus working reliably enough to use in most situations.  Certainly a step up from the GH4 which cannot always be relied on to stay focused.Rugged BodyAll of this performance and features are contained in a portable and rugged body that I didn’t worry about using in the rain or  in subzero temps  - in fact I left this outside for several hours in 20 below zero fahrenheit - minus the battery and it continued to perform just fine.    Battery life in normal temperatures is decent - if you have two batteries you should be able to get through a day of mixed photo and video just fine and the charger is quick charge which is really helpful.   The dual card slots are nice and you have an excellent amount of flexibility in how you use those two cards - backup redundancy or photos to one and video to the other though only one is high speed and that might be the cause of some buffer issues I saw that I will address in a moment.Solid Image and Video Quality Below ISO 1600I was for the most part happy with the image and video quality - Excellent quality and great detail under ISO 1600 - above that things can get rough in some situations but a little noise reduction and I am still for the most part happy.   If I look at some of my favorite images of 2016 - the vast majority were under ISO 1600 - which I mostly mention as a way for you to look back over your images to decide how important clean higher ISO is to your photography.  One of the goals of the Alaska trip was capturing the  northern lights photography and they are best shot at shorter exposures and higher ISOs and the Olympus didn’t handle that as well as the Sony with loads more shadow noise.  I got useable shots but really appreciate the flexibility of the Sony when I need clean higher ISOs. Video quality is certainly good though the panasonic GH4 4k and 1080 video looks a little better to me in most situations but of course the Gh4 is not sensor stabilized for that we are waiting for the GH5 or as many of you mentioned in the comments of the Ditching Sony video - the G85 which at 1/2 the price looks as good if not slightly better for video. For photos the G85 doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles - certainly not as good at capturing fast action but generally on par and actually offers more lenses than Olympus with the DUAL IS!  So a quick summary of the strengths of the olympus. This is a great all around camera that is fun to use, provides nicely stabilized video AND gives you a ton of bells and whistles along with good image and video quality but it does have a few issues- Low light performance.  Over the last year I have mostly shot with the Sony a7R2 this is a full frame sensor and one of the best in its class in both resolution and detail so it is hard for ME to NOT compare what I have been used to seeing with what I get out of the Olympus but that isn’t a fair comparison so I looked at matching it up against APS-C sized sensor like the Sony a6300, a6500 the Nikon D500 and the Fuji XT2 - all of those cameras are definitely better in low light performance but the Olympus isn’t too far behind and it even beats the Canon 80D! Now again, the EM1 Mark II offers stabilization that gives you some flexibility with shooting slower shutter speed but vs everything above you are going to generaly find your photos noisier.  The most fair comparison- pitting the EM1 Mark II against other Micro 4/3rd sensors on the market -  it is the current king in low light performance.  However figuring out the true value here is tricky - at two thousand dollars this is not a cheap camera and is more expensive than everything I just compared it too - So you then have to start deciding exactly how much it is worth to you to go smaller and lighter. And  - About being lighter - as I start to price out lenses what I mentioned is already an expensive camera well it doesn’t get any cheaper with these nice lenses AND the weight savings start to vanish- though your bag can be smaller or you could choose to go with cheaper and smaller primes which is fun - but if you want the best lenses you will still be carrying a fair amount of weight and paying top dollar.Remember I am not only reviewing this camera but trying to figure out if it can work for my needs so I can carry less and I had major concerns about the Wifi control turns out you have enough control even if you have to be round about how you setup AF for video BUT there is still one issue for me- While using the remote you cannot shoot 4K video, only 1080P - I shoot in 4K, I plan to shoot in 4k in the future so why Olympus do you give me a 4k capable camera that suddenly becomes a 1080P camera if I want to use the remote?   In researching this and complaining about it online someone pointed out that the Fuji XT-2 limits you to 720P when using wifi. SO Just a thank you to Panasonic for giving a 4K camera, the GH4, that always remains a 4K camera AND you don’t have to be round about to do auto focus with the app.  Another small disappointment when you shoot a crazy burst you don’t get to review any of those images until they all finish writing to the sensor which can take some time with the larger bursts. SO in final summary  - I really enjoyed using this camera, if you are looking for a top of the line Micro 4/3 camera well suited for wildlife photography, general travel photography including vlogging style video - this is the best you can BUY... BUT at its current cost there are some competitors that while they might not offer all the bells and whistles or all of the portability they do either outclass it in low light performance or resolution or both.  And while I would love to simplify to one camera, one lens system I am just not willing to make this big a change in resolution or low light performance, especially when my GH4 still looks better for video even if it isn’t as stabilized.  I will be looking at the Panasonic G85 and while I hope to review the Fuji XT-2 soon it isn’t in the running as a replacement despite many of you recommending it - the 720p during wifi remote use, the 10 minutes limit to 4k without the power grip AND the lack of fully articulating screen means it cannot be a do it all camera for me.  Buy the Olympus EM1 Mark II from B&H Photo and support Photorec.tvLenses Used in Alaska/During Em1 Mark II Review

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Your Photos Suck - Tips for Sucking Less as a Photographer

I have just a few quick tips to help you suck less as a photographer - or at the very least fool your friends into thinking you are improving greatly! This is a great video to share with your friends and family who post way too many photos on facebook. A couple of simple tips will get everybody taking better photos.

Quick Tips to better photos

  1. Share only your best work - if you have three photos of a tree PICK ONE, the best one and only share that one image. I used Facebook in the video but if you upload to more than one photo to Instagram at the same time you are doing it WRONG.
  2. Post process your images- Nothing major requiring hours - just add a little clarity, make sure your horizon is straight - learn just how easily it is, you can even do it automatically on import!
  3. Be deliberate in your framing, leveling and timing(see tip 4) - I talk more about framing in my tips for photographing cities.
  4. Timing - don't just snap a photo and walk away - wait for the moment that frames people, objects nicely.
  5. Take time to learn the basics of your camera and understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO

Do you have additional simple tips for sucking less? Leave a comment on the video Thanks to Nick Sharples for helping me film Follow @nsharplesFilmed withPanasonic GH4 and 12-35 f/2.8 LensHandheld Shots with Crane gimbal

Northern Lights Video - Explored

I recently traveled to Alaska with McKay Photography Academy  - If you don't follow me on Instagram you missed out on some fun stories! Insta Stories is where I am doing much of my vlogging and behind the scenes content these days.   My Youtube vlog is coming soon - in the meantime here is a look at the stunning Aurora Borealis display we got to see - shot over two nights - Gear list and info below the video.  We are making plans to return to this awesome viewing location in March -Drop your name and email if you want to be on the pre notice list?Be sure to watch full screen - 4K resolution possible. over two nights outside Fairbanks Alaska- KP index was a 1 and 2.- Temperatures were -30°F to -10°F

A breakdown of the shots seen in the video

screenshot-2016-12-07-17-33-31 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-52-30 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-53-23 screenshot-2016-12-07-16-58-11 screenshot-2016-12-07-17-03-28 Captured with the Sony A7RII and Batis 18mm - 4 second exposure ISO 3200 Captured with the Sony A7RII and 12mm Laowa - 30 second exposures ISO 1250.All the individual shots were placed in Final Cut Pro - :04 seconds in a 30fps video.   Notice the shorter exposure shots capture a bit more of the detail but the difference isn't huge between a 4 and 30 second exposure!

Aurora Borealis Camera Gear

Sony A7RII- B&H Photo LinkLenses - Batis 18mm f/2.8 & Laowa Optics 12mm f/2.8Olympus E-M1 Mark II- B&H Photo LinkLenses - 7-14mm f/2.8 and Lumix 12mm f/1.4Mefoto Travel Tripod CFTriggerTrap Kit for SonyJackery Thunder 10050mAh (used to power the Sony)Some additional information: I wanted to shoot more with the Olympus, but in the freezing dark, I found the familiarity of my Sony easier to work with AND I could power the Sony with the external USB for longer time lapses. I was provided only one battery with the Olympus and wanted to save it for some video work. Both cameras performed well in the extreme cold, with one exception. On our first night of shooting, I didn't have the sony plugged into the USB battery and left it running a series of shots. It died in about 40 minutes! I expected that, but it got so cold that the internal battery must have died and I had to reset the date and time.

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Going Lighter, Faster, Further

Can the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II replace my Sony a7Rii and the panasonic GH4? I talk about the potential and possibilities of leaving behind my GH4 and A7RII - It might be grass is greener on the other side or the sheep are lighter or something but it is very appealing to me to go lighter and simpler with my gear.Watch - Ditching Sony Full Frame for Micro 4/3rds

Gear List  -

Current Gear:Sony a7Rii - 24-70 f/2.8 - 70-200 f/2.8 - 50mm f/1.4 - GH4 - Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 - MeFoto Roadtrip Carbon Fiber - Gear ? Micro 4/3rds GearOlympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II - M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 - M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 - M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 Lens - M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens - Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D - Batis 18mm f/2.8 Lens - Follow me on Instagram

Canon Rep Responds to Criticism over 5D Mark 4 Release

A video from Korey Rowe at the Canon Experience Center in Costa Mesa, California getting hands on with the 5d Mark 4. The Canon Experience Center, built in 2014, while acting as a service center it also includes a product showroom and theater experience for customers to view products. This is an official Canon promotional event for the new EOS 5D Mark 4 (iv) and 16-35mm L (iii). He asked some hard questions to the cinema rep at the event. Covering the reasons for the SD and CF cards, cropped 4k Video, and large files sizes of the h.264 codec found in the camera.