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Canon 5D Mark IV setup guide book manual how to tips tricks quick start

In conjunction with my camera guide for the new Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 5D Mark IV Experience, I have created a free Canon 5D Mark IV Setup Guide – a comprehensive spreadsheet with suggested settings for the applicable Menus, all of the Custom Functions, plus some shooting and exposure settings. It has complete and separate camera setup recommendations for different types of shooting, including:

General / Travel / Street
Landscape / Architecture
Action / Sports
Moving Wildlife / Birds
Studio / Portraits

Concert / Performance

Here is an example detail of just a small part of the Setup Guide spreadsheet:

Canon 5D Mark IV menu setup guide

The direct link to download the Excel spreadsheet is:

http://docs.fullstopbooks.com/forms/Canon-5D-Mark-IV-Experience-Setup-Guide.xls

To print the spreadsheet guide, you may wish to print it across several pages and then tape them together, so that the data is legible:

-First, be sure to set the print area, to avoid all the blank pages. Do this by manually selecting all the cells with data in them (drag the cursor from cell A1 to G200 and they will all appear blue.) Then access the menu for File > Print Area > Set Print Area.

-Then go to File > Print Preview and select the Setup button.

-Then set the page for “Landscape” and “Fit To” 2 pages wide by 3 pages tall.

This should result in 6 pages to be printed (as long as you have set the print area first).

Be sure to check the Print Preview to see that the data will print at a reasonable size, and that there are only 6 or so pages that will print.

In the past I have resisted requests for these types of quick-start “cheat sheets,” because I prefer that readers of my Full Stop camera guides read through all of the Menu and Custom Settings options, and determine which settings suit their shooting situations and preferences. This is one of the best ways to really learn the ins-and-outs of one’s new camera, so I still encourage you to do so. But I can appreciate the value and the handy reference features of this type of recommendation guide. And the guide can be updated with your own settings if you wish. Just be sure to send or link to the original spreadsheet if you wish to share the guide!

Please feel free to take the advice of dedicated Wildlife or Concert photographers, for example, above mine if it differs. And for further information, explanations, justifications, and caveats for the settings I specify, please have a look at my clear and comprehensive guide Canon 5D Mark IV Experience.

Canon 5D Mark IV setup guide book manual how to tips tricks quick start

Canon 5D Mark IV setup guide book manual how to tips tricks quick start

Canon 5D Mark IV setup guide book manual how to tips tricks quick start

Canon has released firmware update 1.2.1 for the Canon 5D Mark III, which includes uncompressed HDMI output and enables the center AF point to be cross-type at f/8 maximum aperture.

Both of these updates will mostly affect those who use their 5DIII in very specialized situations: high end video recording and super-telephoto lenses with extenders. However, there are also a number of other fixes, including increasing focusing speed when using the AF-Assist lamp and various minor errors with some functions or lenses.

Canon 5D Mark III Mk 3 5DIII 5D3

Uncompressed HDMI output for video means that you can save uncompressed – thus highest quality – video files to an external recorder via the camera’s HDMI port.

Cross-Type Center AF up to f/8 maximum aperture means that you can use a super-telephoto lens with an extender which limits the maximum aperture to f/8 (rather than say f/2.8 or f/5.6) yet still have accurate cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point.

Because the Uncompressed HDMI output update includes the addition of some new Movie menus, I will be updating my e-book guide to the 5DIII, Canon 5D Mark III Experience.

You can learn all about the firmware update, and find the download link and instructions on the Canon site here.

Here is the complete list of updates:

Firmware Version 1.2.1 for the EOS 5D Mark III incorporates the following improvements and fixes:

  1. Uncompressed HDMI output is now enabled.
  2. Enables the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with Canon EF lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.
  3. Improves the speed of the camera’s acquisition of focus when using a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which the LCD monitor may freeze and display ‘Err 70’ or ‘Err 80’ when a still photo is taken during Live View or in movie shooting mode.
  5. Fixes a phenomenon that may occur when the continuous shooting priority setting is enabled for multiple exposures, such that, after the sixth image is taken, there is a slight pause before the remainder of the sequence is completed.
  6. Fixes a phenomenon in which the viewfinder display shows incorrect information during AEB shooting.
  7. Communication with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter has been improved.
  8. When images have been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol an ‘O’ will be displayed. When images have not been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol, an ‘X’ will be displayed.
  9. Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera may not function properly when an Eye-Fi card is used.
  10. Fixes a phenomenon in which the focal length value listed in the Exif information is not displayed correctly for images shot with the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens.
  11. Fixes a phenomenon in which the lens firmware cannot be updated properly.
  12. Corrects errors in the Arabic language menu.
  13. Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera changes the AF microadjustment value to -8.
  14. The lens compensation data for the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens has been added.
  15. Fixes a phenomenon in which the on-screen guidance cannot be fully displayed when setting the maximum limit value for the ‘Setting the ISO Speed Range for Auto ISO’ option.

OK, I admit, I’m being a bit deceptive.  While this post will include “tips” for taking full advantage of the Canon EOS 5D Mk III, it won’t really contain any “tricks.”  That is because with digital photography, especially a camera as powerful and complex as the 5D3, there really aren’t any tricksTricks implies shortcuts, and to paraphrase Euclid, there is no royal road to dSLR photography.  Instead there are techniques and camera controls that can and should be learned.  These will then allow you to adapt not just to a specific situation or emulate a certain image or style, but will give you the tools and knowledge to adapt to any situation and create the images you desire.

I spent several intimate weeks with the Canon 5D Mk III as I researched and wrote my dSLR camera guide, Canon 5D Mark III Experience, the first (and hopefully best!) book available for the 5D Mk III.  In the process I learned and discovered a few obvious and not so obvious things about the 5D3 that will help you get the most from your camera.

Canon 5D mark III mk 3 Experience e book tips tricks how to learn manual guide instruction
Detail of the Canon 5D Mark III

Learn and Take Advantage of the Autofocus System

First and foremost is to learn, understand, and make full use of the new 61 Point autofocus system.  This powerful and highly customizable AF system will allow you to capture more sharp images of a variety of moving subjects which was not previously possible with the 5DII, or even the 7D.  But to do this you will need to take control of it in order to focus on, or begin tracking, your intended subject.  This involves making use of the AF Modes as well as the AF Area Selection Modes and AF Points.

For moving subjects you can then employ the AF Cases and their settings to let the camera know what to expect as far as subject movement.  AF subject tracking works in part by predicting where the subject will be when the Shutter is pressed, so if the camera knows the subject is going to be moving erratically about the frame and changing its rate of speed, then it can take measures to better follow this than if it is set for a subject that is expected to move smoothly at a steady rate.  Ten tips could easily be written about the autofocus system alone, but I will limit it to a few (my e-book guide Canon 5D Mark III Experience contains extensive explanation of the AF system and all its elements, if you wish to learn it inside and out.)

Canon 5d mark iii mk 3 auto focus autofocus 61 af point select
Simulated image of the Canon 5D Mark III viewfinder showing the 61 autofocus points, with the desired AF Point shown as the larger black square.

One of the essential steps in taking a successful and sharp photo is controlling where the camera autofocuses.  If you allow the camera to autofocus by automatically choosing its own focus point(s) (such as in Auto+ Shooting Mode or with One-Shot AF Mode and Auto Selection – 61 Point AF Area Selection Mode) it typically focuses on the closest object.  This may or may not be what you want to focus on, so you should select or at least narrow down where the camera focuses using the autofocus AF Points or Zones.  By doing so you are telling the camera exactly where to autofocus or to look to find a moving subject to track.  For example, you often want to focus on a subject’s eyes, but if you allow the camera to choose the autofocus point itself, it may select another part of the face, or somewhere else on the body, or even a raised hand that is nearer to the camera than the face to focus most sharply on.  If you are capturing an image of a bird in a tree, the camera has no idea you want the autofocus system to zero in on the bird so that it is in sharp focus and not the branches or leaves near it or the perhaps even the leaves closer to you.

You will select an AF Mode based on whether the subject is still or moving, and select an AF Area Selection Mode based on how large of an area you want the camera to look at to find your intended subject – ranging from a small spot to a wider Zone to all the available 61 AF Points.  You can set the AF Modes and AF Area Selection Modes in a variety of combinations based on what and how you are shooting.

Activate all the Available AF Area Selection Modes at first and experiment with them all.  Then if you decide that you will never or rarely use one or more of them, de-activate those modes so that you don’t have to “click” through them every time to select your desired mode.

canon 5d mark III mk 3 autofocus auto focus af point zone 61 af area selection mode
Available AF Area Selection Modes of the Canon 5D Mark III

Spot AF is Not Necessarily More Accurate than Single-Point AF.  You may be inclined to use Spot AF all the time, assuming it will be more accurate than Single-Point AF, but this is not advised.  Spot AF is designed for specific situations and autofocusing challenges, where you need to focus on a very precise area and avoid any surrounding or foreground objects that the AF system may otherwise lock onto.  This can include making sure you zero-in on a bird that is sitting among leaves and branches, or perhaps shooting through a fence to a subject beyond.  In those situations you may find that Single-Point AF searches back and forth between the near leaves/ fence and the further subject, because the area it is looking at to find the subject encompasses both potential subjects.  Spot AF will allow you to target in on a more precise area.  Although Spot AF is indicated in the Viewfinder by the tiny square within the larger selected AF Point square, Spot AF will actually pinpoint the focus to an area about the size of the larger square.

So while Spot AF will be more accurate in certain situations as described, it should not be used for general use.  Because it is so precise, the area it looks at to find contrast or a detail on which to focus may be an area of solid color.  For example if you used Spot AF to quickly focus on the general cheek and eye area of a face, it may be aimed at an area of skin without contrast, whereas the Single-Point AF area might encompass the cheek and the eye and thus find enough contrast to be able to properly and quickly focus.

Decide How Many Selectable AF Points you wish to Choose From.  If you are coming from a Canon 5D Mark II, the 60D, or any number of other previous Canon dSLR cameras, you may be used to only having 9 AF Point to choose from.  If you still wish to manually select a specific point or zone, you may find that 61 points are a bit overwhelming at first.  Even if you are used to the 19 AF Points of the Canon 7D, you may not wish to suddenly jump up to 61 AF Points.  So you can limit the number of AF Points you wish to choose from to either 15 or 9, or to just the more accurate cross-type points.  Unfortunately, the 9 points are not in the nice diamond pattern of previous EOS cameras, but you may find them to be more manageable.

canon 5d mark III mk 3 auto foucs autofocus af mode point area selection 61 11
Limit your Selectable AF Points if 61 are too many to deal with.

Choose Your Priority when Working in AI Servo – Focus or Release.  You will need to tell the camera what your priority is when shooting in AI Servo AF mode – is it to ensure that the subject is in focus, or that the shutter is release immediately, whether or not the subject is in focus?  There are two menu items to set the priority for the first image and the second and subsequent images if shooting in Continuous Shooting Mode.

For AI Servo 1st Image Priority, Release priority will prioritize shutter release, or immediately capturing the initial shot at the possible expense of exact focus.  Generally when taking a photo, you are supposed to half-press the Shutter Button, allow the camera to focus, then continue the full-press of the Shutter Button to take the image.  If you simply “mash” down the Shutter Button, this setting will cause the camera to take the photo without bothering to focus first.  Sometimes when photographing sports, news, or events, capturing the “decisive moment” may take priority over exact focus.

Setting for Focus priority will prioritize focus for the first shot, ensuring that the subject is in focus before the picture is taken.  So when you fully press the Shutter Button, this setting may cause a brief, perhaps micro-seconds delay while the camera confirms focus before actually releasing the shutter.

Equal priority is a slight compromise between Release and Focus priorities.  It allows a brief (perhaps micro-seconds) pause for the camera to possibly find focus before releasing the shutter.  It does not guarantee that the image will be in focus, but merely gives it more of a chance to find focus.  It generally seems to make more sense to choose Release or Focus based on your priority.

Canon 5D mark III mk 3 custom setting function control multi controller direct autofocus point
AI Servo 1st Image Priority menu to determine if capturing the shot or getting the subject in-focus is the priority.

AI Servo 2nd Image Priority is similar except that it applies to the second and subsequent images in the burst.  Setting for Speed (Shooting speed priority) will prioritize shutter release, or continuing the high speed burst at the possible expense of exact focus.

Setting for Focus will prioritize focus tracking for the following shot(s), ensuring that the subject is in focus as you continue to take the burst of images.  Again, this may cause a brief, perhaps micro-seconds delay while the camera confirms focus before releasing the shutter for each image.

Equal priority again allows a slight pause before each of the subsequent shots to perhaps give the camera time to find focus before releasing the shutter.  This pause may be slightly more pronounced when shooting in low light or low contrast situations.

These 1st Image Priority and 2nd Image Priority settings should be set in conjunction with each other, based on the type of situation you are photographing and thus your priorities.  Generally, it sharp images are your goal, you will want to set both for  Focus Priority.  You may sacrifice the maximum 6 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting speed (if you have the Drive Mode set for High Speed Continuous) as there might be a  couple micro-seconds or more delays as the camera ensures that the subject is in focus before taking the subsequent shots.  If you are capturing a “decisive moment” such as a runner at the finish line or a goal being scored, you will want to set one or both of the settings to Release Priority/ Speed Priority, but ensure somehow that you have pre-focused on the subject distance so the result is not wildly out of focus.  Again, I go into much more detail about the various combinations and when to make use of them in my e-book.

Set the Custom Controls for Multi-Controller Direct.  This will allow you to manually select your AF Point or Zone more quickly by simply toggling the Multi-Controller thumb joystick, without having to first press the AF Point Selection Button.  You have probably noticed, to the dismay of your muscle memory, that the AF Point Selection Button no longer controls image zoom.  This is because there are many more image review options that are now made possible by Comparative Playback (side by side image review), discussed just below.

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 multi controller direct af auto focus autofocus point select

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 auto focus autofocus multi controller direct af point select zone control custom function setting
Set the Multi-Controller for AF Point Direct Selection for ease and speed.

Take Advantage of Comparative Playback (Side by Side Image Review).  Of course you can instantly review the image you just captured on the rear LCD Monitor, but the 5D Mk III now also offers Comparative Image Playback Mode (Two-Image Display) which gives you the ability to simultaneously compare two images or two different sections of the same image.  Whereas before, one would have to “flip” back and forth between two images and navigate around the images, this feature allows for some extremely helpful and flexible image analysis that was previously only possible once you were back at your computer.

To enter Comparative Playback Mode during image playback or review, press the Creative Photo / Comparative Playback Button (at the top of the row on the left of the camera back), which is also indicated by the side-by-side blue squares icon for side-by-side image playback.  Use the SET Button to highlight which of the two image windows you wish to navigate, then use the Quick Control Dial or Main Dial to scroll or jump to the desired image, the Magnify Button followed by the top Main Dial to zoom in or out of the selected image, and the Multi-Controller to navigate around the selected image frame.  You can press the INFO Button repeatedly to change the Shooting Information Display in order to view shooting information and/ or the Histograms.  If you zoom in on a specific area of one image and wish to zoom in on the other image to the same magnification and same area of the image, press the SET Button to switch to the other image window, then press the [Q] Button.  Also, press and hold the Playback Button to view the highlighted image as a single, full-screen image.

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 view image lcd side by side comparative playback review rear screen
Comparative Playback Mode view of two different images, also showing the images’ Histograms.

There are several different viewing options and potential uses for Comparative Playback, whether you are simultaneously viewing two separate images or two areas of the same image.

-Display the active AF point(s).
-Preview alternate cropping guides.
-View the thumbnail plus the Luminance Histogram.
-View the thumbnail plus the RGB Histograms.
-View the thumbnail plus basic exposure information.

For two different images:
-Compare the compositions of two images simultaneously.
-Zoom in and simultaneously compare a specific area for focus or exposure.
-View the thumbnails along with histograms or basic exposure information of both images.

For the same image:
-Zoom in and simultaneously compare two separate areas of the same image to have a closer look at focus or exposure.
-View the entire image for overall composition while also zooming in to view an area of detail for focus or exposure (see Figure 61).

Set the Default Magnification for Image Review.  In order to immediately review your images according to your preferences, you should set the initial magnification and position that you will view an image during image review (Playback) when you press the Magnify Button.  You can set for no magnification (1x) and then use the top Main Dial to zoom in and out.  This can be handy if you have the image review set to initially show the Shooting Information Display with the Histogram.  Since the image in that view is a thumbnail, you can then press the Magnify Button to show the full size image.  After this initial zoom, you can then use the Main Dial to zoom in or out.

Or set for 2x, 4x, 8x, or 10x magnification and it will instantly zoom to that magnification when the Magnify Button is pressed.  Again, after this initial zoom, you can then use the Main Dial to zoom in or out.  Each of these magnifications will zoom from the center of the image.  Or you can set it to quickly zoom in to full size, 100% view of the pixels, zoomed into the AF Point where focus was achieved, using setting Actual size (from selected pt).  This can be useful to quickly check for precise focus, though note that if you focused with a selected AF Point and recomposed, it will zoom into the final position of that AF Point in the composition, not the actual position where you used it to focus on your subject.  But if you only recomposed slightly, it will often be easy to quickly navigate to the actual area of focus.  The setting Same as last magnif. (from ctr) will zoom in at the same magnification that you last viewed an image at, centered at the image center.

canon 5D mark III mk 3 magnify button lcd view zoom
Magnification menu to set how images are initially viewed during Playback when the Magnify Button is pressed.

 

I’m still putting this post together but wanted to share what I had already written.  Next week I will go into more detail about the tips below:

Turn on the Viewfinder Warnings

canon 5D mark III mk 3 viewfinder warning custom function setting

 

Auto Rotate Images in the Camera and on Your Computer

canon 5D mark III mk 3 auto rotate image view lcd

 

Use the Q Button for Quick Access to a Variety of Features for Still Images

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 q button control edit image view lcd

 

Make Use of the Silent Control Touch Pad and Q Button for Movie Shooting

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 movie video silent control touch pad q button menu

 

canon 5d mark iii mk 3 movie video silent control touch pad q button menu

 

All of the above information – and much, much more – can be found in Canon 5D Mark III Experience, my latest Full Stop dSLR user’s guide e book, which goes beyond the manual to help you learn the features, settings, and controls of the powerful and highly customizable EOS 5D Mk III, plus most importantly how, when, and why to use the functions, settings, and controls in your photography.

Written in the clear, concise, and comprehensive style of all Full Stop guides, Canon 5D Mark III Experience will help you learn to use your Canon 5D Mk 3 quickly and competently, to consistently create the types of images you want to capture. The e-book is available in either PDF, EPUB, or MOBI format for reading on any device.

Learn more about it, preview it, and purchase it here:
http://www.dojoklo.com/Full_Stop/Canon_5DMkIII_Experience.htm

As one Canon user has said about Full Stop guides, “I don’t know how I could fully take advantage of all the features the camera has to offer without this publication! It’s well-organized, easy to understand, and succinct enough to keep your attention while still containing a wealth of information to get the most out of your camera.”

Take control of your 5D Mk III, the image taking process, and the photos you create!

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 book ebook manual guide tutorial instruction bible how to dummies field EOS

 

Here are my first quick shots of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, during the ceremonial unboxing at Newtonville Camera, Newton Mass.  (Thanks guys!)

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 EOS unbox unboxing package box
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

Canon 5D Mk III mark 3 unboxing unbox box package new EOS
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

I am in the process of working on the first and best (hopefully on both counts) e-book guide for the Canon 5D Mk III called Canon 5D Mark III Experience – The Still Photography Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon EOS 5D Mk III.  You can learn more about it by clicking on the title or here:

http://www.dojoklo.com/Full_Stop/Canon_5DMkIII_Experience.htm

I wrote an initial post about the 5D Mk III Specs and What They Mean for real world use, so you can begin to learn about its new and/ or improved features.  I’ve also spent a lot of time with the manual, and a little bit of time with the camera itself, and I am thoroughly impressed!  I love the new autofocus system and the new menu systems that are far better organized than ever before.  The new menus include the new AF Autofocus Menu tab and sub-menus with the pre-set autofocus Cases to make it far easier to configure your camera for your specific subject tracking needs than was previously possible with the Canon 7D menus and Custom Functions.  The side-by-side Comparative Image Review is great for comparing two images at once on the nice, wide rear LCD Monitor, or for comparing a full image with a detailed view of part of it.

Canon 5D Mark III Mk 3 111 eos detail image quality
Quick shot with the 5D MkIII, with a detail of the dew drop I noticed during post-processing.  Captured in JPEG – looks even better full size!.  Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

The feel of the body is great too, more 7D than 5D Mk II, and the sound of the shutter is much more appealing than the “ka-chunk” of the 5D Mk II.  The silent Touch Pad control for movie shooting works great, and the in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposures are fun to play with.  I will write more about the camera and its features as I get a chance.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Mk 3 unbox unboxing box package
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.  (Sorry for the copyright watermarks, but I had my previous unboxing image widely stolen by unsavory websites.)

Here are some in-camera HDR Mode and in-camera Multiple Exposure Mode experiments:

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 111 sample image photo in camera HDR mode art embossed lowell house harvard square cambridge ma mass
Lowell House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.  Canon 5D Mark III – in-camera HDR Mode, Art Embossed

Canon 5D mark III mk 3 111 in camera hdr mode sample image art vivid
Lowell House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.  Canon 5D Mark III – in-camera HDR Mode, Art Vivid

Example images of all of the other HDR processing options can be seen here.

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 111 multiple exposure mode test shot image sample
Neon Sign, Cambridge, Mass. – Canon 5D Mark III Multiple Exposure Mode.  Multiple-exposure control: Bright, 3 exposures

B and Photo Photo is selling the Canon 5D MkII body at the lowest price it has ever been: $1999.95.  Plus they include a great memory card and a shoulder bag for free!  Click on the image to head to B&H and learn more:

Canon 5D mark mk II low lowest price sale

Many are speculating, and I concur, that the replacement of the 5D Mk II (probably to be called the 5D Mark III) may be arriving in February 2012.  This doesn’t mean the 5D Mk II is outdated.  It is still an incredible camera with 21 megapixels, great low light/ high ISO performance, and of course the full frame sensor so that your wide angle lenses really go wide.  And 1080p video with all the frame rates, for the videographers.  Any aspiring pro or wedding photographer that won’t be able to afford the newest 5D Mk III when that arrives should consider taking advantage of this deal.

B&H is having some great Black Friday deals on dSLR cameras and accessories, including some Double Instant Rebates on Canon bodies and lenses including the EOS 60D, 7D, and 5D MkII.  If you are looking to pair a new body with a great lens or Speedlite, such as one of the 70-200mm telephoto zooms, one of the high-quality wide angle lenses like the 17-55mm f/2.8, the 580 EXII flash, or a number of macro and specialty lenses like a tilt-shift, this is the time to do it!

Note that B&H will be closed and not be taking orders between Friday evening and Saturday evening.  Below is a sample of the savings you can get with the 60D. Click here for the B&H Canon Savings or on the image to go to B&H and see the entire offer.  They also have a number of other Black Friday and holiday specials.

Amazon also of course has many Black Friday deals in everything including cameras and accessories, including several Canon point and shoot cameras such as the very high quality Canon Powershot SX230HSClick here to view Amazon Black Friday camera specials.

B&H Black Friday and Holiday Specials

Black Friday Canon dslr camera 60D 7D 5D speedlite flash lens rebate sale

black friday camera dslr canon deal sale bargain

Canon has just announced their latest, high-end professional model, the EOS 1D X.  I don’t normally discuss the top of the line pro models (as this one is listed at $6,800) but instead concentrate on the consumer and pro-sumer level dSLR cameras.  However I would like to look at some of the new feature of the flagship Canon 1D X that will – sooner or later – make their way down to the more affordable models.

Canon EOS 1D X
Canon EOS 1D X – image courtesy of Canon USA
(If you do plan to purchase a 1D X, please use one of my referral links to Amazon, B and H, Canon,or Adorama!!)

In the past we have seen some of the advanced features of the high end cameras later introduced into the consumer models in one form or another, including faster processors and shooting speeds, more sophisticated autofocus system features, and advanced custom functions that allow the user to modify the functions and controls to operate in a specific desired manner.  And since the replacement for the 5D Mk II is imminent (Mk III? 6D?), and the 7D Mk II probably around the same time (Feb 2012?) we are likely to see variations of some of these refinements soon in the consumer and pro-sumer models.

Some of the new advanced features of the Canon 1D X that we will eventually see in the replacements to the 5D Mk II, 7D, 60D, and perhaps even the Rebel line:

  • 18 Megapixel full frame CMOS sensor.  The high-end cameras have less megapixel than the consumer cameras because they are extremely high quality sensors and can deliver high image quality with a lower number of larger pixels.  The 7D and 5D replacements, however, are bound to boast 21 to 26 MP or so.
  • Refinements to the controls and their layout.  This includes user-configurable buttons on the front of the camera, which has already been seen with the 7D to an extent, but will definitely be incorporated into the 5D Mk III (or 6D or whatever it may be called).
  • A 61 point AF system with 41 cross-type AF points and five dual cross-type points for extra precision.  The 7D and 5D replacements won’t have this many AF points, but perhaps will increase upon the 19 AF points of the current 7D.
  • Zone, Spot, and AF Expansion autofocus Area Modes including 4 point and 8 point expansion.  The 7D currently offers these as well (4 point expansion only, not 8), and the new 5D is certain to have these capabilities.  Perhaps the 8 point expansion will be added to the 7D replacement.
  • Refinements to the autofocus system, including a simplification of the complex AF related Custom Functions that are so difficult to explain and differentiate even with the 7D.  With the new 1D X the changes include a new AF menu tab to easily access and change the AF options, and presets such as “Continuous shooting, ignore obstructions,” “Subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly,” and “Instantly refocus suddenly with obstructions.”  While specific combinations of the AF Mode, AF Area Mode and AF related Custom Function settings of the 7D already allows for these types of settings, these new, easy to access presents are a welcome change from the previous difficult-to-decipher (much less remember) Custom Functions such as AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity and AI Servo AF Tracking Method.
  • Additional changes to the AF system include “Intelligent Tracking and Recognition” which incorporates color and face detection in order to more easily assist the photographer on focusing on a subject’s face when tracking a moving subject, such as a dancer or sports player, rather than perhaps focusing on a closer hand, racquet, or jersey.  Now even the pros will be using face detection!  And focusing is improved in even very low light.
  • 12 frames per second continuous shooting speed with full autofocus and metering, plus up to 14fps possible with the mirror locked up when shooting JPEGs.  While the 1D X offers 12 and 14 frames per second shooting, it is unlikely that the 7D and 5D replacements will be capable of more than 8 or 10fps, though any increase is sorely needed for the 5D.
  • Higher ISO capability.  The ISO performance increases with just about every new sensor, so any of the new cameras are bound to have improved high ISO performance – probably not as incredible as the 1D X, but improved from the current models.
  • Faster start-up time and shutter lag.  This is always a welcome improvement.
  • Easy one-touch 100% zoom during image playback to the area of the image where the active autofocus point is located, in order to quickly check for sharp focus in the area of the image that should display the sharpest focus.
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ image / data processors.  The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors, and the new 7D and 5D are certain to have improved processors, which assist with overall camera speed including continuous shooting speeds, multiple exposures, and writing files to the CF memory card.  A processor also assists with metering and autofocus.
  • Multiple exposures between two and nine shots with various options for combining the frames, plus chromatic aberration correction and peripheral illumination correction.  HDR shooters and those wanting to shoot multiple exposures will appreciate a new 7D or 5D with these in-camera capabilities, and the chromatic aberration correction may also find its way to the lower level cameras.
  • The 1D X “deploys a 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor and a new metering algorithm. The sensor is used to detect a subject’s brightness, color and face and based on this evaluative metering or evaluative flash metering is executed. This data is also communicated to the AF system to assist with subject tracking.”  New models typically bring an improvement in the metering system, and while the new 5D and 7D won’t have this level system with 253 zones over the previous 63, they will certainly have these same types of improvements made to their current systems.
  • Plus / minus 5 stops of exposure compensation.  This is already a feature of the 7D and will be a welcome addition to the 5D replacement, especially for those shooting HDR.
  • Various video improvements, including longer shooting times, manual audio level control and adjustable live level meters, some compression and timecode features.  There are several features that videographers will appreciate and many will definitely find their way into the new 7D and 5D, which are already extremely popular cameras for dedicated videographers.
  • 3.2-inch (diagonal), 1,040,000-dot rear LCD screen with “ClearView II” technology and extremely durable glass screen.  This is slightly lager than the 3″ screen of most of Canon’s dSLRs, but I’m not sure if a new 7D or 5D will see much of a size increase here.
  • Built in LAN Ethernet port.  This is a new feature for a Canon.  While most of them allow for an optional wireless transmitter, this wired version is built right in.  I don’t see this being added to other cameras quite yet.
  • Twin CF memory card slots, which can be used in various configurations.  Some heavy shooters and videographers might like to see this on a new 7D or 5D, to (I’m speculating here) separately save stills and video, or JPEG and RAW, or use the second card for overflow, or save dual copies of all files.
  • Canon’s second generation self-cleaning sensor unit, which uses “carrier wave technology” to better coax the small dust particles gently down the surface of the (filter in front of the) sensor to the collecting adhesive strip at the base.
  • New EOS System Monitor screen showing total shutter actuations, serial number, and firmware version.  This would be a welcomed addition to the 7D and 5D, though it always seems Canon is hesitant to make it easy to see shutter actuations on a consumer camera.

There are a variety of other additions and improvements to the EOS 1D X, but these are the features that are likely to be incorporated into the more affordable consumer and pro-sumer models.  Some I am certain we will see in the following months when the new versions of the 7D and 5D are released, and some will eventually make their way into the 60D replacement and perhaps, in time, even into the Rebel models.

As I recently noted in my post about the eventual release of the 7D Mk II, as an e-book camera guide author, I have to attempt to plan my life and writing schedule around the release of the latest dSLR cameras. And since major camera companies typically give little-to-no advance notice for the announcement then release of a new model, this involves lots of speculation and following of online rumors. And then I subject myself to a few weeks of intense, non-stop research and writing when it is finally announced.

The Canon 5D Mark III has been rumored for imminent release numerous times, including most recently Feb 2011, November 2011, first quarter of 2012, and “any minute now.”  This speculation occurs with every expected new model, so as you can see, there is no telling when it will suddenly be announced.  But based on Canon’s history of model releases, it is sometimes pretty easy to narrow the range down.  For example, the original 5D reigned for 3 years, and then was replaced by the 5D Mark II, which was announced on September 17, 2008.  Add three years to that, and you get an announcement of the Canon 5D Mk III expected in September 2011.  Not so difficult, really.  Except one has to take into account the disruptions to manufacturing and supply caused by the earthquake in Japan, so that could cause a delay of a month or three.  As equally fascinating is the speculation for what features the 5D Mark III will have. Most interestingly, some have wildly suggested that the line will be split in two with a stills version and a video version.  Not likely.  So what is there to improve on this amazing camera?  Well, several of its features can easily be improved, and hopefully there will be a few surprises added.

canon 6d canon 5d mk iii mkiii mk 3 mark 3 mark ii vs compare which one
The Canon 5D Mk II, patiently awaiting its successor, the Canon 5D Mk III – or is it the Canon 6D…

Currently the Canon 5D Mk II offers:

  • 21 MP Full Frame sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • Full HD video
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • ISO 100 to 6400 (expandable to 25,600)
  • 3” high resolution LCD screen – non-articulating
  • 9 point autofocus system, all cross-type plus 6 assist points
  • 35 zone exposure metering system
  • Magnesium alloy body with weather sealing

Much of this can easily be improved upon, and in fact the current 7D already boasts several upgrades to these features.  The 5D Mark III will obviously take the best of the 7D and improve upon it in some areas.

Canon EOS 5D Mk III predictions:

  • 26 to 28 MP Full Frame sensor
  • Single or Dual DIGIC 5 processors
  • Full HD video at all the frame rates – plus many additional video features and options that videographers have been waiting for or use 3rd party firmware to obtain, but that I don’t know much about since I have yet to enter the video world.  But I can assure you that the 5D Mk III is going to be a videographers dream, perhaps with RAW video.  Perhaps it will even be able to autofocus full time in video mode.
  • 7 frames per second high speed continuous shooting.  I’m not sure of the mechanics of it but it seems that the large mirror flipping up and down is an impediment to a super fast fps, but Canon has done it both on previous film cameras and in the 1D line.  So hopefully it will be significantly higher than the current 3.9fps.  It will definitely boast an improved maximum burst rate (more JPEG or RAW frames captured before the camera pauses to digest them).
  • Ability to customize Continuous Low and High settings so that you can choose your own rates. Please, please, please.
  • ISO 100 to 12,800 or more, and then expandable – while the ISO performance of the 5D MkII is already stellar, the new one will boast even more improved high ISO performance (less noise at high ISOs)
  • 3” very-high resolution LCD screen – Non-articulating?  Articulating?  Touch screen?  It seems that an articulating screen is the way to go for any camera now, but will Canon hold off with putting this on their higher end models?  Touch screen is definitely coming to dSLRs, but will it be on this one?  …maybe, probably not.
  • 19 point (or more) autofocus system, all cross-type, with numerous configurations and customization options, as taken from the 7D – this desperately needs to be improved in the 5D, and the technology is already there in the 7D.  Canon will definitely add the new Autofocus menu system of the new 1D X to make configuring and taking full advantage of the AF system much easier – as opposed to the autofocus menu and C.Fn options on the 7D which make it a bit complicated.
  • Improved 63 zone+ exposure metering system – it will definitely boast an upgraded exposure metering system, perhaps the current 63 zone system, but probably even a bit improved.
  • Magnesium allow body with weather sealing – already has this, not much improvement required.

Additional features:

It will certainly have a several new menu and custom function settings, hopefully including some additional control over Spot, Center-weighted, and Partial metering, like the ability to change the size of the area metered and the ability to link it to the active AF point.  Plus the new Autofocus menu system similar to the 1D X.

Oh yes, and the HDR fans would appreciate more latitude in auto exposure bracketing, such as perhaps 5 exposures over 5 to 9 stops. And maybe some more fluorescent white balance options like Nikon offers.

It will likely and hopefully retain the CF card and the LP-E6 battery.

Built-in GPS or wi-fi?  This will eventually be in all cameras, and maybe this one will have these features.

So, there are my best guesses. Be sure to follow the rumors at Canon Rumors to find out when the 5D Mk III may come out, particularly the 5D Mk III category. And learn about my Canon 7D Mk II predictions in this previous post.

Since several of the current Canon dSLR cameras – such as the T4i/650D (and T3i/600D), 60D, and 7D – share similar features and an 18 megapixel sensor, it can make it difficult and confusing to decide which one is best for you.  But each one is designed for different levels of photographers with specific needs, and there are significant differences that may or may not be important to how and what you photograph.

Obviously as you pay more, you get more, and this article will explain what that “more” is and help you decide if you need it.  If you are new to dSLR cameras, know that things like 9 cross-type AF points and dual Digic IV processors aren’t feature-bloated “bells and whistles” or marketing hype, but are important features for how advanced photographers work and they provide the capabilities that some demand from their equipment.  If your needs don’t demand them, don’t be swayed to invest more in a camera that provides far more than you require.  It won’t help you take better photos, and in fact may cause you to take worse photos until you figure out how to properly take control of a more advanced camera!

This comparison post has grown organically as new models have been released, so please be sure to look through the entire post to find the section that best applies to you, such as T2i vs T3i, or 60D vs 50D, the Canon 5D Mk II, or the overall Canon EOS 7D vs. 60D vs. 600D / Rebel T3i comparison which is the main point of this post.  Don’t miss the Which Canon dSLR is Right for You summary at the end of this article!

Rather than add the T4i into this post, I have written a new post to introduce and explain the features of the latest Rebel, the T4i – Introduction to the Canon Rebel T4i / EOS 650D. The additional features of the T4i make the decision between the T4i vs. 60D more challenging than ever, and so I wrote more about that in Canon Rebel T4i vs EOS 60D.

I know there is a lot to read, but you are preparing to spend a lot of money, and this post will thoroughly explain the differences of these cameras and help you decide which one if right for you! Even if some of these models become outdated, the majority of the information and comparison factors remain similar, and it is still worthwhile to read this article before heading over to the T4i articles.

If you haven’t yet committed to Canon and are interested in comparing the Canon 60D vs. Nikon D7000 , or the Canon T3i vs Nikon D5100, or the entire Nikon line-up, have a look at those posts next.

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book guide manual tutorial how to instruction
The new Canon Rebel T3i / 600D (all photos by the author, some equipment courtesy of Newtonville Camera)

Review / Comparison of Canon EOS 7D vs. 60D vs. 600D / Rebel T3i:

Sensor and Image Quality: As I said above, all three cameras share a very similar sensor with 18 megapixels, and so their image quality and low light performance will be virtually the same. All are capable of taking professional quality images.

Exposure Metering: The threecameras all share the latest 63-zone, dual-layer exposure metering system and 4 metering modes. That means they will all determine the exposure virtually identically and enable you to take properly exposed photos in most every situation, including difficult back-lit scenes. The size of the areas metered for Partial and Spot metering vary slightly between the cameras, but that isn’t anything critical.

Autofocus: The 60D shares a similar autofocus system to the T3i and the previous 50D, with 9 focus points and three auto focusing modes. However the 9 AF points of the 60D are more sensitive/ accurate than those of the T3i: all are cross-type in the 60D, only the center is cross-type in the T3i. This means that the outer focus points of the 60D will do a better job, in difficult focusing situations, of quickly and accurately focusing on the subject.  This may include, for example, lower light situations or tracking moving subjects.  The T3i does a stellar job of focusing, but if you are highly demanding or are going to be primarily shooting action and motion, this is an important difference to consider.

The 60D autofocus system in turn is much less complex than the sophisticated AF system of the 7D with its 19 AF point system and its additional Zone, Spot, and Expansion area modes.  If you shoot serious sports, action, birds, wildlife, etc., then you are going to want to consider the highly capable autofocus system of the 7D.  With its additional AF points and the ability to group them in various ways (Autofocus Area Modes), as well as the multiple Custom Functions that allow you to customize exactly how the AF system works, it is ideal for sports and action.  These Custom Functions can dictate how it tracks subjects, how it deals with objects that come between you and your initial subject, how quickly it responds to these changes of possible subjects that are at different distances from you, etc.   The entire AF system of the 7D is a bit complex, and will take some studying and experimentation if you wish to fully understand and take advantage of it.  However, if you are not an avid sports photographer, a wildlife shooter, or someone who understands, needs, and will use the elaborate features of the 7D AF system, then this shouldn’t dissuade you from the 60D.

I have written an additional post about Taking Control of Your Canon Autofocus System.

Canon EOS 7D compare 60D T3i
Detail of the Canon 7D

Construction: As you can probably figure out from the prices, each camera is not built the same. The 60D has relatively strong construction of an aluminum frame and polycarbonate body. It is better built than the stainless steel frame with polycarbonate body of the T3i/ 600D but not as strong as the 7D’s magnesium alloy construction. The 60D also has some amount of weather sealing – more than the 600D/T3i, less than the 7D. But for most users, including even those using the camera daily or in travel situations, the construction of any of these cameras is far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.  But if you are going to be working extensively in dusty or moisture-heavy areas or situations, you will want to seriously consider the extensive weather sealing of the 7D.  While the strong magnesium construction of the 7D is impressive, that is not really needed by many people other than pros who intensively use their cameras in photo-journalist or constant-travel type situations.

ISO: Since they all share a very similar sensor, the ISO sensitivity and performance at high ISO settings is virtually the same for these three cameras. But don’t take my word for it, don’t be swayed by pixel peepers on forums, instead check out the camera sensor tests at dxomark to verify this. As you can see, they all share the exact same overall score, and show very similar performance.

Controls: As with construction, the buttons and controls vary significantly with these cameras. Unlike the T3i, the more advanced 60D and 7D have nearly every control an advanced photographer needs on the exterior of the camera and they also have the top LCD panel and rear Quick Control Dial that are not on the 600D/T3i. Do you find yourself constantly changing the ISO, the metering mode, or the autofocus mode to adapt to changing situations?  Then you will want direct access to these controls and the ability to more easily monitor them on the top LCD panel.  Or do you generally work in one of the more automatic modes and not need to deal with these settings?  With all the cameras, any controls can also be easily accessed with the Q button and Q menu or in the other menus on the rear LCD monitor. The top buttons of the 60D set only one setting each, so this is less complicated (but thus less versatile) than the multiple-setting buttons of the 7D. Canon has removed the white balance (WB) button on the 60D that the 7D and 50D have, but that isn’t a big deal – use the Q Menu. Another change on the 60D is that the Multi-controller has been moved from the thumb joystick like the 7D and 50D and placed in the middle of the rear Quick-control dial. This doesn’t change how it functions, and should just be a matter of getting used to the difference. (Unfortunately, I still really do prefer the old design and location, though I find it is easier to quickly and accurately click on the diagonal directions with the new 60D Multi-controller design).  If you plan on using your camera on Auto or Program most of the time, then the controls of the T3i are more than sufficient for your needs. If you work in Av, Tv, or M modes and need quicker and more direct access to your controls and the additional top LCD screen to view and change your current settings, then you need to look at the 60D or 7D over the T3i.

Brief commercial interruption:  I want to mention that I have written e-book user’s guides for the Canon 7D, Canon 60D, Canon Rebel T3i, and Rebel T2i. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing these cameras, I decided to put all that knowledge into e-book form! Each of these user’s guides cover all the features, settings, and controls – but more importantly when and why to use them in your photography.  This includes metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes (Av and Tv), advanced autofocus use, and more.  They also describe all the Menu settings and Custom Function settings – with recommended settings.  Take control of your camera and the images you create!  Canon 7D Experience, Canon T3i Experience, Your World 60D and T2i Experience. Learn more about the e-books by clicking on their titles or on the covers below.

canon eos 7d book ebook firmware 2 2.0 how to manual dummies field guide instruction Canon T3i book Canon 600D book Canon T3i Experience book guide manual tutorial how to instruction by Douglas Klostermann

Canon 60D book Your World 60D by Douglas Klostermann Canon T2i book Canon 550D book T2i Experience by Douglas Klostermann

Menus and Custom Functions: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The 60D has many more Menu and Custom Function options than the 600D/T3i and nearly as many as the 7D. These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, peripheral illuminations correction for lenses (fixes dark corners), tweaking how the autofocus system operates, setting more precise white balance settings, and customizing which button does what. These settings are very important to advanced users who wish to customize their camera to work exactly how they need it too, but aren’t nearly as critical to others who don’t have such intensive demands.  (Since many of the Menu and Custom Function settings can be complicated and confusing, my e-books on the 60D, the 7D, and on the T3i/600D cover all of these options along with my recommended settings to get you up and running quickly!)

Wireless Flash: Like the 7D, the 60D and the T3i both incorporate wireless flash triggering. It allows you to trigger multiple off camera flashes at different output levels. The  older 550D/T2i does not have this feature.

Articulating LCD Screen: The big new feature that the 60D and T3i have that the 7D and T2i do not is the articulating rear LCD screen. This may prove useful for videographers, as well as for setting up compositions while the camera is on a tripod, for macro use, or for using it from unusually low or high vantage points. Some users will be able to avoid buying an expensive angle finder because of this feature. There is also an electronic level in the 7D and 60D, visible in the viewfinder, rear LCD, or top LCD.

Viewfinder: The 60D has a large, bright pentaprism viewfinder with 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, better than the pentamirror and 95% coverage of the 600D/T3i, but not quite as nice as the nearly 100% view of the 7D pentaprism.

Processor:
The 60D shares the same Digic 4 processor as the 600D/T3i. The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors. However, if you don’t need to shoot dozens of continuous images, you probably won’t notice any processing speed issues.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The 7D can shoot a blazing 8 frames per second, in which the photos barely change from frame to frame. The 60D can shoot a respectable 5.3 fps which is actually a more useful rate, and is a higher rate than the 600D/T3i rate of 3.7 fps. If you need the extremely high fps for sports, wildlife, or other action shooting, consider the 7D. If not, don’t be swayed by this excessive feature that is designed for people like pro sports or dedicated wildlife shooters.  However, if you are shooting any type of sports, action, birds, dance, etc., the 5.3 fps of the 60D is much more useful than the slower T3i.

Canon EOS 7D compare vs 60D T3i
Detail of the Canon 7D

Memory Card: The 60D uses the SD memory card like the 600D/T3i, not the CF card of the 7D and 50D.  This doesn’t really mean too much other than the CF cards are larger and more rugged, yet prone to bending the camera’s internal connection pins.  Handle either of them with care and it shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Battery: The 60D uses the LP-E6 battery like the 7D and 5D, which is a nice feature as this battery can often last through a full day of shooting. The T3i and T2i use the smaller LP-E8 battery with less capacity.  In any case you should have an extra battery or two.

Size and Weight:
The T3i is smaller and lighter (18.2 oz/515 g) than the 60D (23.8 oz/675 g), which in turn is smaller and lighter than the 7D (28.9 oz/820 g). Go to the store and hold them to get a better feel for their size and weight. HOWEVER, please know that the size and weight of these bodies is a result of their build, features, and capabilities.  Those are the criteria that should be compared first, not the resulting size and weight.  (Also be sure to read this post of Why How it “Feels” is not a valid Criterion for Choosing an dSLR.)  But, I do realize that size and weight is important to some, perhaps many, due to physical limitations or just simple comfort and enjoyment.  So take my dramatic proclamation with a grain of salt!  The 60D and 7D “feel” like the more substantial cameras that they are. A nice improvement of the T3i is that its hand grip area has been modified, and has a different feel than that of the T2i – the area where the thumb rests is contoured differently and has a nice channel for the thumb, which allows for a much more secure one-hand-grip of the camera.

AF Microadjustment: The 7D has this feature, the 60D and T3i and T2i do not. Many are disappointed that the 60D does not include the ability to micro-adjust the focus so that each of your lenses focuses extremely accurately. However, if you have a major focus issue, send your camera and/ or lenses to Canon while under warranty and ask them to calibrate them. Bad bodies and lenses are rare, but they do exist.  Doing AF microadjustment yourself is often a maddening undertaking. You may make a good calibration under controlled conditions, but this really doesn’t replicate real life shooting.  And due to manufacturing tolerances of both cameras and lenses, there is a relatively wide range of what is considered acceptable.  If you need your camera and lens to be perfectly sharp, you are going to need to buy a $6000 pro body and a $1500 lens.  See this article This Lens is Soft and Other Myths, its follow up article, and the follow up controlled tests to learn more about this.

Locking Mode Dial: This is a new feature for a Canon dSLR, only on the 60D, that keeps the Mode dial from accidentally rotating. A nice touch, and not at all difficult to change quickly with one hand, as some people have claimed: just push the center button with your left index finger, rotate dial with thumb and middle finger.  I actually wish my 50D had this. If you wish to retrofit your 7D or 5D Mk II with this feature, Canon will do it for $100.

Full HD video: Of course they all offer this capability. Note that this is not video for your kids’ parties and soccer games. It does not have continuous autofocus while shooting, as a camcorder does. It is not designed for that kind of use, but rather for serious videographers who typically manually focus. You can adjust autofocus while shooting by pressing the shutter button or the AF button, but it may have a less than desired looking result and unless you are using an external microphone, the autofocusing sound will be picked up. The T3i has the digital zoom feature in video, which allows for nice smooth zooms while filming.

Flash Sync: A Note to Strobists -the 60D and T3i do not have a PC sync flash socket to plug in PC sync cords. The 7D has this.

Ease of operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the additional controls and menus of the 7D and 60D are all quite intelligently designed, intuitive, and straightforward for the more advanced user. The menus and controls of the T3i and T2i are also pretty basic and simple to learn.  There is certainly a “price of admission” to learning and getting the most from any dSLR, and you will need to invest time and effort into both reading and using/ experimenting with your camera.  Start with the manual, then perhaps have a look at my e-book camera guides, then practice, practice, practice!

Remember that all of these comparisons and features are relative. Of course the fact that the 7D can take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second makes it “better” than the other models.  Advanced features like that differentiate it from the other cameras and are also why it costs more. But is it actually “better” for you and how you plan to photograph?  Do you ever need to take 15.75 seconds of continuous photos? Ever? (Look at your watch for 15.75 seconds right now and act like you are taking continuous photos. Now what are you going to do with all those nearly identical 126 imaginary photos?!)

Purchasing:  If you plan to purchase any of these cameras, please see the Purchasing section below.

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Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D book guide manual tutorial how to instruction
Mode dial of the Canon Rebel T3i

T3i vs T2i

Review / Comparison of Canon Rebel T3i vs T2i (600D vs 550D):  If you are trying to decide between the Canon T2i or T3i, the previous model, the T2i, already shared many important features with the 60D (and even features of the semi-pro 7D) including the 18 MP sensor, 63-zone exposure metering system, high ISO performance, HD movie capabilities, and Digic 4 image processor. Now with the addition of the vari-angle articulating rear LCD screen (aka rotating screen), remote flash capabilities, creative filters, additional movie options, and in-camera image processing features, the new Canon T3i is even closer in specifications to the 60D, which may make your choice harder. But there are some important differences, and this post will hopefully help you decide which features are important to you and the way you photograph, which ones may be unnecessary, and thus which model fits you best. As I’ve said before, you need to choose which camera is best for you based on your needs and experience as a photographer and based on how the advanced features, controls, and customization options fit those needs and serve the way you work – not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them.

The Rebel T3i is replacing the T2i at the entry level end of the Canon line-up. (There is also the T3 in the most basic, entry level position.)  The differences are minor but possibly significant depending on your needs. Since both cameras share the same 18 megapixel sensor and Digic 4 processor, both the T2i and T3i will create images with exactly the same image quality, produce the same low light-high ISO performance, shoot at 3.7 frames per second, and have nearly the same size and build quality. They are both offered with the same 18-55mm kit lens (with some minor cosmetic differences on the new T3i kit lens). The T3i is very slightly larger and heavier due to the addition of the rotating rear LCD monitor. And that is one of the biggest differences between the two cameras: do you want and need a vari-angle rear screen or not? The other major difference is the ability of the T3i to remotely control multiple off-camera flashes. Like the 60D and 7D, you can use the built-in flash of the T3i to trigger other Canon Speedlites. This could be an important reason for choosing the T3i. However, if you don’t use or plan to use one or more off-camera flashes, this shouldn’t be important to you.

Some other minor additions to the T3i include the Scene Intelligent Auto Mode, which is a feature borrowed from point and shoot cameras. When in Auto mode, the T3i will make a determination of what type of scene you are shooting – close-up, portrait, landscape, etc. – and automatically configure the camera settings accordingly. However, if you want to use a powerful and costly digital SLR as a point and shoot, you should probably save the money and just buy a nice, high quality point and shoot like the Canon S95. Other additional but not very important upgrades include the in-camera processing Creative Filters like Grainy Black and White or Fisheye, and the ability to choose different image size ratios and to rate your images. However, this type of processing is best done on your computer with software like Photoshop or even Photoshop Elements. There is also a marginally helpful Feature Guide which gives brief descriptions of various settings and some additional video features like digital video zoom (for nice smooth zooms) and Video Snapshot, which you can use to shoot short video clips that are automatically joined together into a video, with music. Again, this is pretty easily done on your computer, and with much more control, with basic video editing software.

So if you need any of these new features, get the Canon Rebel T3i / 600D. If not, buy whichever one if offered at a cheaper price. However, if you still wish to compare the Rebel T3i to the 60D and 7D, see below. If you wish to compare the Canon T3i to the Nikon D5100, check out this post Nikon D5100 vs. Canon T3i.

see the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) on Amazon
see the Canon EOS Rebel T3i with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

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Review of Canon EOS 60D vs. 50D: Since the Canon EOS 60D basically replaces the Canon 50D (well, replacement isn’t exactly the right word because the 60D doesn’t really follow the 20D to 50D progression of improvements…), the 60D or 50D decision is an easy one. The 50D shouldn’t really be considered anymore. While the Canon 50D does hold a couple interesting advantages over the 60D (faster frame per second (fps) burst rate in continuous mode, stronger construction, more comprehensive buttons and controls, complete lack of fun filters like “grainy black and white”), the sensor and exposure metering system have been greatly improved in all the newer cameras (such as the 7D or 60D or 600D/ T3i or 500D/ T2i) and I feel these features, along with the increase in megapixels, outweigh any other 50D advantages. I would definitely choose a 60D instead of a 50D. This is coming from experience, as I use a 50D professionally and on a weekly basis. Or choose a 7D instead of a 50D if your needs require it and budget allows it. (Find out below if your needs require it!) If you still wish to learn more about the differences of these two models, I write in more detail about the 50D vs. 60D comparison here from a camera features and operation point of view.

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D vs Canon 60D
Canon Rebel T3i / 600D and the Canon 60D

 

Purchasing: If you plan to purchase cameras, photo equipment, books, or anything else from the retailers below I encourage you to do so through these referral links. While your price will be the same, they will give me a little something for the referral, which helps to support my blog and my work – thanks!  I appreciate your support!

Amazon

If you are in the UK, please click here for the UK Amazon referral link.

And if you are in Canada, please click here to use my Canada Amazon.ca referral link.

For those interested in purchasing through B&H Photo, Adorama, or directly from Canon, I have set up affiliate links with them as well. Just click on the logos below to start shopping:
BandH Photo   

These are all retailers that I have purchased equipment from (excluding Amazon UK/Canada), and I recommend them based on my good experiences, their extensive selection, competitive prices, great customer service and responsiveness, and fair return policies.

or use one of these direct links to Amazon:

See and buy the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) on Amazon
See and buy the Canon EOS Rebel T3i with 18-55mm Lens on Amazon

See and buy the T2i on Amazon.

See and buy the 60D on Amazon.
See and buy the 7D on Amazon.
See and buy the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon

Canon Rebel T3i EOS 600D vs 60D vs 7D vs T2i
Canon Rebel T2i, T3i, 60D, and 7D – photo by author at Newtonville Camera

 

Which Canon dSLR is Right for You?

This section of the article, which can help you decide on a camera based on your photography experience and needs (and also includes the discussion of the Canon 5D Mk II),  has been moved to its own post here:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2011/10/14/which-canon-dslr-is-right-for-you/

 

*****

Related Posts:

Comparing and Choosing Canon Lenses
Equipment for Digital Photography
Essential Books for Digital Photography

As I said above, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around. Here is a post I wrote which discusses this, titled

How to Choose a New dSLR Camera

 

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Want to help support this blog with no cost or effort?  Simply click on the Amazon and B&H Photo logos on the left side of this page to go to those sites and make your purchases.  They will then give me a little referral bonus!

In my e-book user’s guide for digital SLRs I include a list of accessories and books, complete with links to purchase these products on Amazon or from the manufacturer. However, the links don’t always work with some e-book formats, so I am posting the list here too. Some accessories may have been updated since this list was last modified, such as the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight replacing the SB-910, or the Canon 600 EX II-RT Speedlite replacing the 600 EX-RT, so be sure to check for the latest versions of the various accessories.

Below are some accessories that are handy for general and travel photography use with any dSLR camera, plus some of my favorite photography books, and camera-specific accessories mentioned in the texts of my Full Stop camera guides. Click on the links to go to the product or category pages on Amazon.com or the manufacturer’s website. Please note that these are my referral links, and I will receive a small referral fee if you use these links to make your purchases, which helps to support my blog and my work. Thanks!

Contents:

dSLR Photography Accessories
Digital Photography Books

Nikon D500 Accessories
Nikon D750 Accessories
Nikon D810 Accessories
Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories
Nikon D7000 Accessories
Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories
Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories
Nikon Df Accessories
Nikon D3300 Accessories

Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and 5DS / 5DS R Accessories
Canon 7D Mark II Accessories
Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories
Canon 7D Accessories
Canon 60D Accessories
Canon T5i, T4i, T3i and T2i (EOS 700D, 650D, 600D and 550D) Accessories
Canon 5D Mark III Accessories
Canon 6D Accessories

 


dSLR Photography Accessories

UV Filters – Clear, protective filters for the lenses.  You should have these on at all times to protect your lenses.  Get high quality coated ones, such as B+W, especially for higher quality lenses.   Consider the MRC multi-coated versions for highest quality lenses.  While some argue that any filter may degrade image quality, a high-quality filter will show little effect, and most know that it is cheaper to replace a $100 filter than to repair a $1500 lens.  Use the slim filters for wide angle lenses to avoid vignetting.

Circular Polarizing Filter: Use this outdoors in sunlight to darken the sky, cut through haze and reflections, and increase contrast. Do not use on a wide angle lens as it will cause the sky to change from light to dark and back again across the frame. You have to turn the second ring of the filter to create the amount of lightness or darkness in the sky that you desire, or to reduce or eliminate reflections. It works best when the sun is to your left or right, but does not have any polarizing effect if the sun is directly in front or behind you. Do not use an older linear polarizing filter with a digital camera, as it will interfere with the metering and autofocus systems.

Neutral Density (ND) Filter: If shooting video in bright lighting, you will need to use a dark neutral density (ND) filter on the lens to block light in order to be able to use dramatic wide aperture settings (such as f/ 2.8 or f/4.0). These are also useful with still photography for allowing slow shutter speeds in bright light, such as for photographing waterfalls. They are available in a variety of densities to block out the amount of light to enable you to increase your exposure settings by a certain number of stops, such as 3 stops (0.9), 6 stops (1.8), 10 stops (3.0), etc. For example, when working in M or S mode and the exposure meter reads 1/30s, f/8, ISO 100, but you wish to use and aperture setting of f/2.8 while “holding” the other settings – you can use a 3-stop ND filter and the exposure meter will now read 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 100, allowing you to obtain the wide aperture setting and resulting shallow depth of field. There are also variable ND filters, where you can adjust one of the filter’s rings to vary the amount of density, as well as the Cokin filter system that makes use of a filter holder that attaches to the front of the lens, which then holds square filters. These are useful to landscape photographers using graduated or split neutral density filters that either gradually or sharply transition from dark to light. Using the square filter in front of the lens, you can then vary the angle and location of the transition to align with the horizon.

Nikon Lens Hoods or Canon Lens Hoods: Use a lens hood on your lens to both prevent flare and to protect the front of the lens when it inevitable bangs against something or drops. Some nicer lenses typically come with a lens hood. With other lenses, buy the corresponding optional hood.

BlackRapid R-Strap: A different, more comfortable way to carry your camera, especially one with a larger or heavier lens. The RS-7 version has a nice curved shoulder strap, the RS-4 is not curved at the shoulder but does have a handy little pocket for memory cards, and the RS-W1 R-Strap is designed for women.

Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod Legs and Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head:  This is an excellent “starter” combination of tripod legs and head for the beginner or enthusiast.  They are sturdy, durable, and well built.  If you know you will be doing a lot of tripod work, such as for studio, landscape, or travel photography, it is best to invest in more advanced (expensive) versions, including lighter carbon fiber legs and a head with additional features.

Insurance: Make sure your equipment is covered by insurance. When I worked in a camera store, people came in on a weekly basis to replace the equipment that was stolen from their car, trunk, luggage, while traveling, or was in a fire. You may need special insurance or a rider if your homeowner or renter’s insurance does not cover it. I use the policy available through NANPA, though you have to join NANPA to get it. This insurance is primarily for the equipment only, so you are not paying for liability coverage geared toward a business as you are with many other photo equipment insurance plans. Please note that the NANPA membership fee covers you annually from July – they don’t pro-rate, so you will not get a full year if you join at any other time. (If you happen to join NANPA to get their insurance, mention my name as a referrer, and I save on my next membership renewal!)

Silica Packs: Keep these in your camera bags to absorb moisture. Consider using real ones that you buy in solid cases instead of the little packs that you found in your new pants pocket that may break open over time.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser: Works great on the optional external flash units (note some Nikon flashes come with a diffuser like this). Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder. I know you see lots of people doing it. They didn’t bother reading how to use it. Don’t imitate them. Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors. These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so. Not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.

Giottos Rocket Air Blaster: Always have this manual air blower handy for getting dust off lenses in a hurry, because blowing on them with your mouth – no matter how careful – inevitably leads to spittle on the lenses. Also use for manually cleaning the sensor, carefully following sensor cleaning instructions.

Dust-Aid Platinum dSLR Sensor Filter Cleaner: If the Air Blaster does not remove all the dust during sensor cleaning, you can move to a “silicon stamp,” such as this one. This is slightly more invasive, as you will be touching the sensor with the cleaning device. Be sure to carefully read and follow the Dust-Aid instructions, as well as the manual’s sensor cleaning instructions, particularly the correct way to raise the mirror and access the sensor.

Lens Pen Cleaning System: Works great for cleaning off mysterious spots and smudges that appear on the lens. Blow dust off the lens first with the Rocket Air Blaster, brush it with the Lens Pen brush, and then follow the instructions for using the Lens Pen.

Digital Grey Card: Used to measure and set accurate custom white balance.

Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels: Use these to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene. Tape them in place or use the LumiQuest Gel Holder which attaches to your flash with the Honl Speed Strap, an overpriced strip of Velcro.

M Rock Holster Bag: Carry and protect your camera and walk-around lens in a holster style bag from M Rock. I used the Yellowstone style extensively in my travels throughout South America, and I love its durability and extra little features like a built-in rain cover, micro-fiber cleaning cloth, zippered interior pocket, adjustable interior, and extra strap. Be sure to get the model that fits your body and lens.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards (CompactFlash for Canon 7D, Canon 5D Mk II, 5D Mk III):  I suggest getting a couple 16 GB or 32 GB CF cards to store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III (or the 7D) to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst (7D rates are 130 JPEG / 25 RAW).

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB (class 10), or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – or more cards if traveling. Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. The Extreme SD cards are currently available in the 45 MB/s speed and the faster 80 MB/s speed.

Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards: To take full advantage of the Continuous Shooting Drive Mode of the 70D and capture up to the maximum 65 continuous JPEG images or 16 RAW images in a single burst, you will need one of the fast Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 SD Memory Cards (or similar card from another brand), which saves at 95MB/s.

Eye-Fi Wireless Flash Memory Card: This SD memory card can be used to automatically upload photos wirelessly via Wi-Fi to your computer during shooting or afterwards.

Card Reader: Use this to transfer image files from the memory cards to your computer if your computer does not have a card reader built in. They may be faster than the camera’s USB cable and will save camera batteries.

Stereo Microphones: The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

Camera’s USB Cable: Always have the included camera USB cable when traveling, as a back-up method of transferring image files to your computer.

Lens and Body Caps: Don’t forget to have these in your camera bag, to protect lenses and camera body when switching and storing them.

Camera Wrap: For protecting your camera while carrying it around in dusty, misty, or sandy situations, or for protection when storing it.

Rainhood or Rainsleeve: For protecting your camera while using it in dusty, misty, rainy, or sandy situations.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 or new Adobe C.C., and/ or Adobe Lightroom 5: These software programs are essential for editing, processing, retouching, and manipulating your photographs, especially if you are shooting in RAW. Lightroom is designed specifically for photographers and is the processing program of choice for many of them, but it does not have the manipulation capabilities of Photoshop. Take advantage of Adobe’s significant student and teacher discounts if applicable.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

Camera Bags and Travel Gear: For additional gear that is helpful for travel situations, including various camera bags for different situations, have a look at my travel gear blog post:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2009/12/01/assignment-guatemala-gear/


Digital Photography Books

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photos with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson

Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman

Available Light: Photographic Techniques for Using Existing Light Sources by Don Marr

On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography by Neil van Niekerk

Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites by Syl Arena

Digital Photographer’s Complete Guide to HD Video by Rob Sheppard and Michael Gunchen.

Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide by Michael Corsentino

Nikon Speedlight Handbook: Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Stephanie Zettl

The New Complete Guide to Digital Photography by Michael Freeman – a comprehensive general reference guide with brief explanations of nearly every aspect of digital photography.

New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing by Rob Sheppard.

More Essential Digital Photography Books are listed in this post.

 


Nikon D500 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event. Be sure to use the newer Li-Ion20 type of EN-EL15 battery for best results. Nikon will replace your older EN-EL15 Li-ion01 batteries with the newer version, for free. See this link for further information:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19541

Nikon MB-D17 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use an additional EN-EL15 battery, or eight alkaline, lithium, or Ni-MH AA batteries, or an EN-EL18 battery with the use of the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. This allows you to shoot longer without having to change batteries, and can allow you to share EN-EL18 batteries with the Nikon D5 body. It also increases the size of the D500 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-30 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-T10/ WR-R10 /WR-A10 Wireless Remote Controller, Transceiver, and Adapter: This wireless remote set will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-7A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images and videos to an FTP server, computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. It also offers a wired Ethernet port for a wired (tethered) connection. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection, which allows you to remotely change numerous camera settings. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission of full sized images.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Remember that you can also make use of the camera’s wireless capabilities to add time and location data from your smart phone to the images on the camera, and thus perform similar capabilities as a GPS device.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as one of the BeachTek Audio Adapters, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Lexar 64GB Professional 2933x XQD card: The maximum continuous burst capacity specifications given by Nikon for the D500 are based on the use of this card. When set for RAW L image files and DX Image Area, this XQD card can capture up to the maximum 200 14-bit lossless compressed or 12-bit uncompressed images, without filling the buffer and having to pause. Sony also offers numerous XQD cards that are compatible with the D500, as listed on page 385 of the Nikon D500 User’s Manual.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 280MBs SD: This is a very fast SD type card that appears to be working well with the D500. There have been issues reported with SD cards from Lexar and Transcend, which are caused by the card and not the camera. Nikon has released a firmware update that creates a workaround for errors when using a problematic UHS-II card, though it reverts to using it as a slower UHS-I card. The memory card manufacturers are working to resolve this issue.


Nikon D750 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D16 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use six AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D750 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP server via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be a more convenient and less expensive solution for wireless transmission.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV (or other external HDMI device), and then view images, slideshows, or video from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D810 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D12 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use eight AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D810 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation. And its use with AA batteries will enable the maximum 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed when using DX Image Area. If you wish to use the larger EN-EL18 battery (used with the D4 body) with this MB-D12 battery grip, you can purchase the optional BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover which accepts the EN-EL18 battery.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This corded remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

MC-30A Remote Release Cord: Another basic corded remote release, with a larger thumb button that enables you to hold it down to keep the shutter open for Bulb shooting.

MC-36a Remote Shutter Release Cord: A multi-function corded remote for shutter release with an intervalometer, which attaches via the ten-pin connector.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WT-5A Wireless Transmitter with the Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit: These can be used together to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer, tablet, or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the computer or smart device to remotely and wirelessly release the camera’s shutter. The two units can also be purchased together: WT-5A and UT-1. You will also need Nikon’s Camera Control Pro 2 software for the tethered or wireless computer connection. The Nikon UT-1 Communication Unit when used alone will allow you to connect the camera to a computer or FTP sever via an Ethernet cable, rather than wirelessly. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient and less expensive.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera. More advanced (expensive) models and lavalier mics are recommended for professional use, along with an audio mixer such as the BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro Audio Adapter, or Mini Pro version, or an external audio recorder such as the Zoom H6 Portable Recorder.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG, TIFF, or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the camera to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.

Nikon D810 dSLR Filmmaker’s Kit: This package, costing about $5,000, includes the D810 camera plus everything one needs to get started with dSLR HD filmmaking. In addition to the body, the kit includes three prime lenses which are all f/1.8 (35mm, 50mm, 85mm), a video recorder with HDMI cable, the ME-1 Stereo microphone, variable ND filters so that you can take advantage of wide apertures even in brighter lighting, and two EN-EL15 batteries.

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards: I suggest getting a couple 32 GB or higher CompactFlash (CF) cards to store your photos – more if traveling. Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates. This card’s speed is 120 MB/s, so to achieve the buffer rates of the D810 listed in the manual you will need to use the CF card listed just below.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UMDA 7 CF Memory Card: For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which is rated at 160 MB/s, higher than the 120 MB/s speed of the Extreme CF cards. This is the minimum card needed to achieve the buffer capacity rates listed in the D810 manual on page 489.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I SD Memory Cards: If you plan to use the camera’s SD card slot, I suggest getting a couple 32GB or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling. Review the various ways that the camera’s two memory card slots can be used with the Primary slot selection and Secondary slot function items of the Shooting Menu. Again, be sure to check the SanDisk site for current rebates. This card is rated at 95 MB/s speed, so you may need the above CF card to achieve the maximum the buffer capacity of the D810.


Nikon D7500 / D7200 / D7100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D15 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7100 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. Other options include the Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro, which are good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe.

UT-1 Communication Unit: This unit is used with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly with the WT-5a Wireless Transmitter to connect to a network and transfer images to a computer or server, or to control the camera remotely from your computer. You can also purchase these two units, the UT-1 and WT-5a as a bundle.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D7000 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D11 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D7000 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, or SB-600 Speedlight Flashes: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon WT-4A Wireless Transmitter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a computer as you shoot. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon D5600 / D5500 / D5300 / D5200 / D5100 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D5600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Grip Base Extension: There is also a third-party non-battery-pack grip, or grip base extender that is designed to simply enlarge the size of the body in order to make the camera easier to hold for some users, but does not hold additional batteries.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

Nikon GP-1 or GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: (Nikon D5200, D7100, D3200 and later cameras only) This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) (Not needed for D5300) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time. Using this accessory, you images will also be automatically located on a map, such as when uploaded to the Flickr photo website.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone or ME-W1 Wireless Microphone: External, stereo mics to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX-D: If you are not using Photoshop or Lightroom, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and make image adjustments such as color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This free software is available for download from the Nikon website: http://nikonimglib.com/ncnxd/#

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D5600 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.


Nikon D610 / D600 Accessories

Nikon EN-EL15 Rechargable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Nikon MB-D14 Battery Pack/ Grip: This accessory will enable you to use a second EN-EL15 battery or else use AA batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D600 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote or MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Nikon SB-910 (or SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500) Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash, and with the exception of the SB-600 all can be used as commanders to trigger remote flashes.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight Flash: In addition to offering all the functions of the above flash units, this top of the line Nikon Speedlight offers optical wireless control, as well as wireless radio control (when used with using the WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller). The radio control can be triggered nearly 100 feet away and does not require line-of-sight. The flash also contains a cooling system that will allow 100 or more consecutive shots at full power.

Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, or even use the smart device to remotely release the shutter. However for certain situations and uses, an Eye-Fi SD memory card may be more convenient.

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit: / GP-1A GPS Unit (check compatibly with your camera here.) Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.


Nikon Df Accessories

Nikon Df User’s Manual – For a PDF download of the Nikon Df manual, see the webpage below:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18767

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition Lens: This lens, with its silver ring, is specifically designed to match the retro-style of the Df – though it contains the same optics of the non-special AF-S 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: This wireless remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 units.

AR-3 Cable Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless. In keeping with the styling of the Df, it is a “retro” cable-release with a plunger.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This is also a straightforward corded remote used to trigger the shutter of the camera, and is plugged into the Accessory Terminal of the Df.

Nikon SB-910 or Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you significant flash power and control over output and direction. They have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. They can also be used as commanders to trigger remote Speedlight flashes.

Nikon SB-400 Speedlight: This is a much smaller and less powerful flash than the versatile SB-910, and is closer to the strength of a typical built-in flash. However you can angle it for bounce-flash purposes.

SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander: This unit is mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, and will allow you to wirelessly control and trigger one or multiple remote Speedlights.

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, share your images, or even use your smart phone or tablet to remotely autofocus and release the camera’s shutter.

Wireless Mobile Utility: To get started with Wi-Fi, you will also need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon GP-1A GPS Unit: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location, altitude data, and UTC time.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, sharpening, and noise. This version is in the process of being replaced with Capture NX-D.

CF-DC6 Semi-Soft Case or CF-DC5 Semi-Soft Case: The CF-DC6 is a retro-styled leatherette case specially designed for the Df, and is available in Black or in light Brown. The CF-DC5 is of a more contemporary style and materials.

Leather Strap in Black or in Brown: You can pair the retro-styled CF-DC6 case with a leather strap, available in similar colors.

Gariz Leather Half-Case: There is also a very nice looking leather half-case by a third-party named Gariz. It is available in black and brown, and covers the grip area and lower part of the Df body, but also allows you to open and access the battery/ memory card compartment and the side terminal covers, without removing the case. It lengthens the body of the camera in order to provide a replacement tripod socket (since the camera’s is used for attaching the case), and perhaps to enlarge the camera to offer a better grip.

Screen Protectors: This pair of screen protectors is specifically sized for the LCD screens of the Df. While I have not personally used them, and thus cannot vouch for their quality or usefulness, previous versions of this brand have gained good reviews.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the Df to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view images and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Setup Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image playback using the TV remote.


Nikon D3300 Accessories

Nikon D3300 Manuals: The D3300 Reference Manual can be obtained as a PDF file from the Nikon website at this link:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18824

Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter: This can be used to wirelessly transmit your images to a tablet or smart-phone as you shoot, to share your images, or even to use your smart phone or tablet to remotely release the camera’s shutter – all with Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility app.

Wireless Mobile Utility:To get started with Wi-Fi, you will first need to download Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Note that the iPad app is available as an “iPhone Only” app in the Apple App Store, though it can still be used on the iPad. You can find links to both versions of the app below, along with links to both versions of the Wireless Mobile Utility User’s Manuals:

http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7494/~/wireless-mobile-adaptor-utility-download

Nikon EN-EL14a Rechargeable Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Battery Pack/ Grip: This third-party accessory will enable you to use two EN-EL14a batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the D3300 body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Controller or WR-R10/ WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller and Transceiver: These wireless remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. The WR set communicates via radio frequencies, and thus does not require direct line-of-sight between the camera and the remote. You can even use multiple WR-R10 receivers on multiple cameras and trigger them simultaneously with one WR-T10 remote transmitter. The new WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller will allow even greater wireless control over one or multiple cameras with their own WR-1 or WR-R10 unit.

MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord: This remote will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, but is attached to the camera via a cable, rather than being wireless.

DK-5 Eyepiece Cap:When using any of the Release Modes such as Self-Timer or Remote, where your eye is not at the Viewfinder, be sure to cover the Viewfinder with a piece of tape or this optional eyepiece cap in order to prevent stray light from entering the camera and modifying the exposure settings.

Nikon SB-910 or SB-700 Speedlight Flash: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. And they can be used as remote flashes triggered by the built-in flash, and as commanders to control and trigger multiple remote flashes.

ME-1 Stereo Microphone: An external, stereo mic to record much better sound during movie shooting that the built-in mic. The Rode VideoMic or the Rode VideoMic Pro are also good-quality affordable external stereo microphones for recording audio while shooting video. They each mount to the camera’s Hot Shoe and connect via the External Microphone connector terminal on the side of the camera.

Nikon Capture NX2: If you are not using Photoshop, this software will enable you to process and retouch your JPEG or RAW files, and correct things such color, contrast, and sharpening.

High-Speed A to C Type, HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the D3300 to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By accessing the Playback Menu item HDMI > Device control > On, you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Note that movies may not display properly, depending on the Frame size / Frame rate settings at which they were recorded.



Canon 5D Mark IV Accessories and Canon 5DS / 5DS R Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip for the 5DIV will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mark IV body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT: This external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites, as well as continuous shooting support. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and includes a diffuser plus color filters for white balance. The 600EX II-RT also allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with the radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Compatible with the Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX II-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mark IV. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 5D Mark IV, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Speedlite 430EX III-RT or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will provide less flash power and control, and fewer features than the top of the line 600EX II-RT, however they may meet your needs if you don’t make extensive use of a flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 430EX III-RT allows optical wireless functionality plus is compatible with Canon’s radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT or a 600EX II-RT. The 430EX III-RT offers an optional bounce adapter and color filter. The 320EX has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 5D Mark IV to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function.


Canon 7D Mark II Accessories

Canon LP-E6N Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6N batteries or six AA/ LR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 7D Mark II body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 7D Mark II. If either one of these units is in the Hot Shoe of the 7D Mark II, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section below.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 7D Mark II to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 Menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote.

WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter Version 2: This optional device enables fast wireless or wired Ethernet transfer of images from the camera to a computer or smart device such as an iPad or tablet. It also offers remote control and linked shooting capabilities, and offers built-in Bluetooth function. The device attaches to the base of the 7D Mark II, and is a similar size and shape as the optional battery grip.

Eh-S Super Precision Matte Focusing Screen: The 7D Mark II is able to accept this optional focusing screen, which is designed for manual focusing. However, you will need to be using a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or larger, or else it will make the Viewfinder appear darker than the standard focusing screen. This screen will display the out-of-focus areas of the scene more dramatically out-of-focus, thus helping you to better view what is in-focus. Be sure to change the C.Fn 3 Custom Function item of the Focusing Screen for Eh-S, if you make use of this screen.

 


Canon 80D / 77D / 70D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E14 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 70D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 70D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 70D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Canon HTC-100 HDMI cable: Use this HDMI cable to connect the 70D to an HDMI CEC compatible TV, and then view movies, images, and slideshows from the camera. By setting the Control over HDMI menu item to Enable (Playback 3 menu), you will also be able to then control the image or video playback using the TV remote. Use the Canon AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV cable for non-HD TV sets.


Canon 7D Accessories (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E7 Battery Grip:   This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  It also increases the size of the 7D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  (see also the Canon 5D Mark III Accessories section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories).

Canon WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.


Canon 60D Accessories (see also the 5D Mark III section for the new Canon 600EX-RT flash and its accessories)

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E9 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the 60D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the 60D and your right hand slips between it and the camera.

Canon EF-D Focusing Screen: This is the grid focusing screen to help you keep your compositions and horizons straight and level.


Canon Rebel T5i/700D, T4i/650D, T3i/600D, and T2i/550D Accessories

Canon LP-E8 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E8 Battery Grip: This accessory will enable you to use two LP-E8 batteries, (or else use six AA batteries), thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. It also increases the size of the camera’s body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when shooting vertically in portrait orientation.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the T4i. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the T4i, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you greatly increased flash power and control compared to the built-in flash. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. All of them can be used as remote flashes controlled by the built-in flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.

Canon Hand Strap E2: This hand strap, used with or without the battery grip, provides a more secure grip and allows for easier single hand operation of the camera. It attaches on the right side of the camera and your right hand slips between it and the camera.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III Accessories

Sandisk Extreme CF Memory Cards:  I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity CompactFlash (CF) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Memory Cards:  For an even faster CF memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 90MB/s over 60 MB/s of the Extreme CF cards.

Sandisk Extreme SD Memory Cards:  If you plan to use the camera’s second card slot, I suggest getting a couple 16GB, 32GB, or higher capacity Secure Digital (SD) cards to capture and store your photos – more if traveling.  Review the various ways that the camera’s second card slot can be used.  Again, be sure to check the Sandisk site for current rebates.

Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Memory Cards:  For an even faster SD memory card, look at the Extreme Pro version, which saves at 95MB/s over 30 MB/s of the Extreme SD cards.

SanDisk Extreme Pro UDMA 7 CF Memory Card:  This CF memory card will allow you to take full advantage of the high speed continuous shooting of the 5D Mk III to capture up to the maximum 16,270 continuous JPEG images or 18 RAW images in a single burst.

Canon LP-E6 Battery:  It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip:   This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries.  The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 5D Mk III body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon WFT-E7A Wireless File Transmitter:  Use this accessory to wirelessly transmit your images from the camera to a computer over a Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.  It can also be used to wirelessly control the camera via a web-enabled mobile device.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver:  Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6:  These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, thus allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake.  There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT:  This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites.  It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below).  The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.  The AF assist beam of the Canon 600EX-RT is the only current Speedlite designed to be compatible with the 61 point autofocus system of the 5D Mk III.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT:  Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required.  Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 5D Mk III.  If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 5D Mk III, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder:  This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlight and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set.  Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single WB setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX:  These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EXII being the most powerful of the group.  They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash.  The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video.  To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser for the Canon 580EXII or for the Canon 600EX-RT:  Works great on the optional external flash units like the Canon 580EX II Speedlite or the newer 600EX-RT Speedlite.  Do not use this on your flash outdoors because all it will do outside is cause your flash to work harder.  I know you see lots of people doing it.  They didn’t bother reading how to use it – don’t imitate them!  Use a direct bare or gelled flash outdoors.  These diffusers are designed to work as a diffuser when bounced off a surface and angled at 45 degrees or so, not straight on, and not bouncing off the sky.


Canon EOS 6D Accessories

Canon LP-E6 Battery: It is always good to have an extra battery or two, especially when traveling or when photographing all day or for an event.

Canon BG-E13 Battery Grip: This optional battery pack and grip will enable you to use two LP-E6 batteries or six AA/ CR6 batteries, thus allowing you to shoot longer without having to change batteries. The grip replicates the controls of the body and also increases the size of the 6D body which may be more comfortable for some shooters, especially when using the camera in the vertical position.

Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: Use this GPS receiver for automatic geotagging of your images including location and altitude data, a digital compass, and UTC time. However the EOS 6D (WG) has built-in GPS, so this accessory is generally not necessary. Ironically, the GP-E2 is not compatible with the EOS 6D (N), the model that is sold in certain regions without built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.

Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 or Canon Wireless Remote Control RC-6: These remotes will allow you to trigger the shutter of the camera remotely, allowing either self-portraits or the ability to release the shutter without pressing the Shutter Button thus preventing possible camera shake. There is also the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3 for time-lapse or long exposure photography.

Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT: This most recently introduced external flash will give you the most flash power and control of the Canon Speedlites. It has an adjustable and rotating head so that you can use indirect and bounce flash, and is compatible with a specially designed color filter holder and gels (see below). The 600EX-RT also allows infrared wireless functionality plus is compatible with the new radio wave wireless flash system when controlled and triggered by the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: Use this radio wave wireless transmitter to control and trigger up to 5 groups of 15 flashes, up to 30 meters, with no line-of-site required. Currently only compatible with the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite.

Note that either the 600EX-RT Speedlite or the ST-E3-RT Transmitter can also act as a remote camera trigger for the 6D. If either one of these units is in the hotshoe of the 6D, another one of these units can fire the camera remotely, for a single frame, with the press of a button.

Canon SCH-E1 Color Filter Holder: This plastic holder attaches to the front of the 600EX-RT Speedlite and holds the gels of the Canon Color Filter Set. Use these filters (gels) to balance the color temperature of your flash to the color temperature of the ambient light in order to have a single White Balance setting that neutralizes the color cast of the entire scene.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II or Speedlite 430EX II or Speedlite 320EX: These external flashes will give you varying levels of flash power and control, with the 580EX II being the most powerful of the group. They also have adjustable and rotating heads so that you can use indirect and bounce flash. The 320EX also has a built in LED light for lighting video. To attach color filters to these models see the Rosco Strobist Collection Flash Gels section just above.

Viewfinder Focusing Screens: The optional Canon Eg-S Super Precision Matte focusing screen is designed to assist with manual focusing, and the optional Canon Eg-D Precision Matte focusing screen provides a grid in the Viewfinder to help keep your compositions straight and level.

This post has been revised and updated to include the new Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D. Please proceed over to this post to read the most current information:

Canon T3i/600D vs T2i/550D vs. 60D vs. 7D, etc.

Like many others out there, you are asking yourself, “should I buy the Canon 7D or 60D or 50D or 550D / T2i?” It’s a difficult question because at this point the three dSLRs in the current Canon consumer line-up (EOS 60D, EOS 7D, Rebel T2i/ EOS 550D) all share a number of specifications and features, a similar exposure metering system, as well as an image sensor that is nearly the same, and all with 18 megapixels. So how do you choose between the Canon 60D, the T2i (550D) or the 7D? This decision has become infinitely more difficult (or perhaps infinitely simpler?) because the image quality and ISO performance of these three cameras will be nearly identical, and all are capable of taking high quality images. So as I like to profess, you need to choose which camera is best for you based on your needs and experience as a photographer and based on how the advanced features, controls, and customization options fit those needs and serve the way you work.

Canon T2i vs 60D vs 7D
photo by author

When you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around where you look at the new features and speculate if you really need or will use them. I will discuss how to go about this in more detail below.

Review of Canon EOS 60D vs. 50D: Since the Canon EOS 60D basically replaces the Canon 50D (well, replacement isn’t exactly the right word because the 60D doesn’t really follow the 20D to 50D progression of improvements…), the 60D or 50D decision is an easy one. The 50D shouldn’t really be considered anymore. While the Canon 50D does hold a couple interesting advantages over the 60D (faster frame per second (fps) burst rate in continuous mode, stronger construction, more comprehensive buttons and controls, complete lack of fun filters like “grainy black and white”), the sensor and exposure metering system have been greatly improved in all the newer cameras (7D or 60D or 500D/ T2i) and I feel these features, along with the increase in mega pixels, outweigh any other 50D advantages. I would definitely choose a 60D instead of a 50D. This is coming from experience, as I use a 50D professionally and on a daily basis. Or choose a 7D instead of a 50D if your needs require it and budget allows it. (Find out below if your needs require it!) Digital cameras are somewhat disposable. Yes, even $1000 digital cameras. Within 5 years, your new camera will have become old, outdated equipment. The 50D is already two year old technology, so if you start with one now, in 4 more years it will be absolutely archaic! (Actually, since the 50D was just the 40D with a couple more megapixels, it is even older technology than that.) With digital SLRs, I advise buying a recent model, at whatever price range you can currently afford. Of course as with everything in digital photography, this is relative. The 50D is still an excellent camera. And camera companies have to keep coming out with new models every 12-18 months because that is what they do. The trouble comes in 2-3 years when your 50D is still perfectly good and still pretty new to you, but it can no longer compete with the latest offerings in terms of megapixels, ISO performance, and autofocus systems. If this hasn’t convinced you and you still want to consider the 50D for cost or other reasons, I write in more detail about the 50D vs. 60D comparison here from a camera features and operation point of view.

Before I get more into it, I want to mention that I have written eBook user’s guides for the Canon Rebel T3i/ EOS 600D, the Canon Rebel T2i/EOS 550D, and the Canon EOS 60D. After spending so much time studying, experimenting, writing about, comparing, and discussing these cameras, I decided to put all that knowledge into eBook form! Each of these user’s guides cover all the Menu settings, Movie Mode menus, and Custom Function settings – with recommended settings – plus discussions of how, when, and why to use the cameras’ settings and features, (metering modes, aperture and shutter priority modes, advanced autofocus use, and more) for everyday and travel use, to help you take better photos – Your World 60D, Canon T3i Experience, and T2i Experience. Learn more about the eBooks by clicking on their titles.

Back to the Comparison:

Review of Canon EOS 7D vs. 60D vs. 550D / Rebel T2i: So the decision now comes down to the Canon 7D or 60D or 550D / Rebel T2i. (What about the 5D Mk II? Just wait, I’m getting to that! And if you haven’t yet committed to Canon and are interested in comparing the Canon 60D vs. Nikon D7000, have a look at this post.) Below are comparisons of some of the similarities and differences of these three cameras. Remember that all of these comparisons and features are relative. Of course the fact that the 7D can take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second makes it “better.” Advanced features like that differentiate it from the other models and are also why it costs more. But do you ever need to take 15.75 seconds of continuous photos? Ever? (Look at your watch for 15.75 seconds right now and act like you are taking continuous photos. Now what are you going to do with all those imaginary photos?!)

Sensor and Image Quality: As I said above, all three cameras share a very similar sensor and 18 megapixels, and so their image quality will be virtually the same. All are capable of taking professional quality images.

Exposure Metering: The three cameras all share the latest 63-zone exposure metering system and 4 metering modes. That means they will all determine the exposure virtually identically and enable you to take properly exposed photos in most every situation, including difficult back-lit scenes. The size of the areas metered for Partial and Spot metering vary slightly between the cameras, but that isn’t anything critical.

Autofocus: The 60D shares a similar autofocus system to the T2i and the previous 50D, with 9 focus points and three auto focusing modes. However the 9 AF points of the 60D are more sensitive than those of the T2i: all are cross-type in the 60D, only the center is cross-type in the T2i. The 60D autofocus system is much less complex than the sophisticated AF system of the 7D with its 19 AF point system and its additional Zone, Spot, and Expansion focus modes. These various modes address how you want to deal with and group these numerous AF points. Plus the custom settings of the 7D allow one to customize how the AF system works – how it tracks subjects, how it deals with objects that come between you and your initial subject, how quickly it responds to these changes of possible subjects that are at different distances from you, etc. However, if you are not an avid sports photographer, a wildlife shooter, or someone who understands, needs, and will use the elaborate features of the 7D AF system, then this shouldn’t dissuade you from the 60D.

Construction: As you can probably figure out from the prices, each camera is not built the same. The 60D has relatively strong construction of aluminum and polycarbonate. It is better built than the 550D but not as strong as the 7D’s magnesium alloy frame. The 60D also has some amount of weather sealing – more than the 550D/T2i, less than the 7D. But for most users, including even those using the camera daily or in travel situations, the construction of any of these cameras is far more than good enough, strong enough, and durable enough.

ISO: Since they all share a very similar sensor, the ISO sensitivity and performance at high ISO settings is virtually the same for these three cameras. But don’t take my word for it, don’t be swayed by pixel peepers on forums, instead check out the camera sensor tests at dxomark to verify this. As you can see, they all share the exact same overall score, and show very similar performance.

Controls:
As with construction, the buttons and controls vary with these cameras. Unlike the T2i, the 60D and 7D have nearly every control an advanced photographer needs on the exterior of the camera and they also have the top LCD panel and rear Quick Control Dial that are not on the 550D/T2i. With all the cameras, any controls can also be easily accessed with the Q button and menu or in the other menus on the rear LCD monitor. The top buttons of the 60D set only one setting each, so this is less complicated than the multiple-setting buttons of the 7D. Canon has removed the white balance (WB) button on the 60D that the 7D and 50D have, but that isn’t a big deal – use the Q Menu. Another change on the 60D is that the Multi-controller has been moved from the thumb joystick like the 7D and 50D and placed in the middle of the rear Quick-control dial. This doesn’t change how it functions, and should just be a matter of getting used to the difference. (Unfortunately, I still really do prefer the old design and location.) If you plan on using your camera on Auto or Program most of the time, then the controls of the T2i are more than sufficient for your needs.

Menus and Custom Functions: These allow for greater control over customizing how the camera functions. The 60D has many more Menu and Custom Function settings than the 550D/T2i and nearly as many as the 7D. These settings enable you to customize the operation, function, and controls to work how you want them to, including things like exposure increments, peripheral illuminations correction for lenses (fixes dark corners) and customizing which button does what. Since many of the Menu and Custom Function settings can be complicated and confusing, my eBooks on the 60D and on the T2i/550D cover all of these options along with my recommended settings to get you up and running quickly!

Wireless Flash: Like the 7D, the 60D incorporates wireless flash triggering. It allows you to trigger multiple off camera flashes at different output levels. The 550D/T2i does not have this feature.

Articulating LCD Screen: The big new feature that the 60D has that the other two cameras do not is the articulating rear LCD screen. This may prove useful for videographers, as well as for setting up compositions while the camera is on a tripod, for macro use, or for using it from unusually low or high vantage points. Some users will be able to avoid buying an expensive angle finder because of this feature. There is also an electronic level in the 7D and 60D, visible in the viewfinder, rear LCD, or top LCD.

Viewfinder: The 60D has a large, bright viewfinder with 96% coverage of the actual resulting image, a tiny bit better than the 95% of the 550D/T2i but not quite as nice as the nearly 100% view of the 7D.

Processor:
The 60D shares the same Digic 4 processor as the 550D/T2i. The 7D has dual Digic 4 processors. However, if you don’t need to shoot dozens of continuous images, you probably won’t notice any processing speed issues.

Continuous Shooting Speed: The 7D can shoot a blazing 8 frames per second, in which the photos barely change from frame to frame. The 60D can shoot a respectable 5.3 fps which is actually a more useful rate, and is a higher rate than the 550D/T2i rate of 3.7 fps. If you need the extremely high fps for sports, wildlife, or other action shooting, get the 7D. If not, don’t be swayed by this excessive feature.

Memory Card: The 60D uses the SD memory card like the 550D/T2i, not the CF card of the 7D and 50D.

Battery: The 60D uses the LP-E6 battery like the 7D and 5D, which is a nice feature as this battery can often last through a full day of shooting. The T2i uses a smaller battery with less capacity.

Size and Weight:
The 60D is larger and heavier than the 550D/T2i, smaller and lighter than the 7D. Go to the store and hold them to get a better feel for their size, weight, and feel.

AF Microadjustment:
The 7D has this feature, the 60D and T2i do not. Many are disappointed that the 60D does not include the ability to micro-adjust the focus so that each lens is completely accurate. However, if you have a focus issue, send your camera and/ or lenses to Canon while under warranty and ask them to calibrate them. Doing AF microadjustment yourself is often a maddening, never ending undertaking. You may make a good calibration under controlled conditions, but this really doesn’t replicate real life shooting.

Locking Mode Dial: This is a new feature for a Canon dSLR, only on the 60D, that keeps the Mode dial from accidentally rotating. A nice touch, and not at all difficult to change quickly with one hand, as some people have claimed: just push the center button with your left index finger, rotate dial with thumb and middle finger.

Full HD video: Of course they all offer this capability. Note that this is not video for your kids’ parties and soccer games. It does not have continuous autofocus while shooting, as a camcorder does. It is not designed for that kind of use, but rather for serious videographers who typically manually focus. You can adjust autofocus while shooting by pressing the shutter button or the AF button, but it may have a less than desired looking result.

Flash Sync: A Note to Strobists -the 60D and T2i do not have a PC sync flash socket to plug in PC sync cords. The 7D has this.

Ease of operation: While beginners may find all the buttons, controls, and menus of any dSLR difficult and confusing at first, the additional controls and menus of the 7D and 60D are all quite intelligently designed, intuitive, and straightforward for the more advanced user.

*****

Purchasing: If you plan to buy any of these cameras through Amazon.com, (or just wish to purchase anything from Amazon) I would appreciate it if you use this referral link to Amazon or one of the camera links just below. Your price will be the same, and they will give me a little something for referring you, which will help support this blog. Thanks!  And due to popular request, if you are in the UK, here is my new referral link to Amazon UK. If you are in another country, click on one of my Amazon links, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on your country for your local Amazon. And for those wishing to purchase from B+H Photo, just click here for my referral link to B+H. Thanks for supporting my blog!

See and buy the T2i on Amazon.
See and buy the 60D on Amazon.
See and buy the 7D on Amazon.
See and buy the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon.

I wrote a previous post that also goes in-depth into comparing and choosing between these cameras, but was written before the introduction of the EOS 60D. It does however have some additional info that may prove useful: Canon 7D vs. 5D vs. 50D (Plus 550D/T2i) Part II

Lenses, Accessories and Books: Now that you are on your way to deciding on a camera, you should also start looking into lenses, photography gear, accessories, and books. Check out this link, Best Lenses for Travel Photography, which also applies to general photography, Equipment for Travel Photography, which discusses useful and practical photo accessories and equipment for both everyday and travel photography. This post lists and describes Essential Books for Digital Photography, including the best user’s guides for each of these cameras.

And to sum it all up, here is a brief, mostly serious synopsis to help you make the camera decision:

Get a Canon 550D / Rebel T2i if you are new to photography or to digital SLR photography, or want to upgrade from an older Rebel because you want higher image quality and more mega-pixels (or HD video). If you have been happy with the features and controls of your previous dSLR camera and have not discovered the need, in your use of it, for any specific additional features, there is no need to look beyond the 550D. See the T2i on Amazon.

Get a Canon 60D if you have outgrown the capabilities of an older Rebel like an XTi or T1i due to your greater experience and more demanding shooting needs which require more direct or sophisticated controls and customization options. Or you have been pretty pleased with your 20D or 40D and its features but wish to upgrade for the increased image quality and mega pixels (or HD video). And/ or you need a more rugged camera for your frequent and demanding shooting and off-the-beaten-path traveling needs. Or if you need the increased 5.3 frames per second continuous rate to shoot sports or action. Or you really like swiveling LCD screens. If you typically shoot on Auto or Program mode, you do not need a 60D. If you do not manually select your own focus point and have never used exposure compensation you do not need a 60D. If you have never used the AE-Lock [*] button to lock exposure you do not need a 60D. If you don’t understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO you don’t need a 60D. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this more advanced camera, please save the money or use it towards a better lens. See the 60D on Amazon.

Get a Canon 7D if you have extensive experience with a Rebel (xxxD series like 350D, 400D) or with an older xxD series (20D, 40D) camera, and you know and understand most of the 7D’s controls and advanced custom features, and you specifically need some of them for your demanding shooting needs. If you haven’t passed the above “criteria” for a 60D, you definitely don’t need a 7D. If you have never used Av aperture priority mode or M manual mode, you do not need a 7D. If you have never used autofocus tracking settings to track a moving subject across your frame and worried how an interfering object would affect your focus you do not need a 7D. If you have never used spot metering to determine a critical exposure level or experimented with back-button focusing you do not need a 7D. Or unless you plan to dedicate yourself to learning this camera and the principles of SLR photography and grow into this very advanced camera, please save the money or use it towards a better lens. However, if you often need to take 126 consecutive photos at the rate of 8 frames per second, you do need the 7D. Immediately. Even if you just sometimes need that. Totally worth it. That’s 15.75 seconds of continuous shooting. Who doesn’t need that? You’d make Eadweard Muybridge proud. See the 7D on Amazon.

(Please note, the T2i/550D, 60D and 7D all have these features I just listed: manually selected focus points, exposure compensation, AE-Lock, auto-focus tracking, spot metering, and back-button focusing. I’m just using them as a determination of your experience level and needs)

The Canon 5D Mark II is in a separate league than the other cameras, being a full frame professional camera, and thus I’m not going to compare it to the others in this context. As I said in a previous post,

If the 5D Mk II fits your expanding and demanding needs as a photographer, you would already pretty much know that you needed a 5D after your extensive time using a Rebel or a 20D, 40D, etc. Otherwise, getting a 5D means most likely you’d be investing in far more camera than you will actually need or use.

If you don’t already know that you need a 5D, you probably don’t need a 5D. Plus, as is often the case, those who could really take full advantage of a 5D are those who can’t afford a 5D. (I’m thinking about the talented photographers I come across on Flickr, etc. who are making amazing images with entry-level Rebels.) Feel free to spend $2,500 on a 5D Mk II if you want, but unless you have extensive experience with photography and with a digital SLR, using a 5D is completely unnecessary and is unlikely to help you take “better” pictures than you will be able to with a 550D. In fact, until you figure out the controls, features, menus, and custom functions of a 5D or 7D, you may be taking worse pictures! And besides, the 5D MkII becoming old technology. You should wait for the 5D Mark III :) See the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon.

*****
Lenses: Lenses for Travel Photography
Accessories and Equipment: Equipment for Digital Photography
Books: Essential Books for Digital Photography

As I said above, when you are trying to determine which camera to purchase or upgrade to, you need to first consider and determine your needs, and then see which camera fills those needs. Not the other way around. Here is a post I wrote which discusses this, titled How to Choose a New dSLR Camera.

I continue to get a large number of visits from people who are comparing the current line of Canon digital SLR cameras – the 5D Mk. II vs. 7D vs. 50D vs. 550D / T2i. I go into detail about comparing the features of these cameras in this post, including the 60D and T3i, so that is probably the post you want to read first. However, it is a long, in-depth post. If you would like to read a summary of how to make this decision and find out which camera is right for you, here it is (however, I still encourage you to read that in-depth post which is a bit more educational than this post).

Before I start I want to mention:

I have written eBook tutorials for the Canon 60D and for the Canon T2i, which cover ALL the Menu settings and Custom Function settings, with recommended settings, plus in-depth descriptions of how and and why to use the cameras’ settings and features in everyday use – Canon 7D Experience, Your World 60D, Canon T3i Experience, and T2i Experience. Learn more about the eBooks by clicking on their titles.

Longfellow House
Longfellow House – Cambridge, MA

-New to digital SLR photography and want a really nice camera for casual home and travel use? Not really sure what all those buttons and symbols are and not really interested in knowing? Get a 550D/ T2i or a Rebel XSi.

-New to digital SLR photography and want to take really great, high quality photos, but don’t ever really plan to totally get into it? Don’t really want to spend months reading about f-stops and metering modes? Plan to use Auto or Program mode most of the time? Fall asleep 3 minutes into reading the manual? Get a 550D/ T2i or a Rebel XSi.

-New to digital SLR photography and want to learn the basics of exposure: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO? Want to learn to take the camera off Auto or Program mode, and experiment with partial or spot metering and manually selected focus points? Eager to read and understand the often confusing explanations of the manual? Get a 550D/ T2i, or a 60D.

-New to digital SLR photography and want to learn everything noted above plus want to take pictures of fast moving action: kids at play, sports, dance? Consider a 60D because it can shoot 5.3 frames per second vs. 3.7 fps of the 550D. This doesn’t mean you can’t focus on and capture fast moving action with the 550D, but it means with the 60D you can fire off a faster rapid series of shots, and thus hope to capture the exact right moment.

-New to digital SLR photography but super ambitious and know you are going to be committed and dedicated enough to learn about exposure compensation and back-button focusing? Ready for Av mode now, and plan to really take your photography to the next level over the next year or two? Already read the manual online? Want to consider the possibility of professional photography in the future? Get a 60D or get a 7D if you are super-serious and if you can afford it.

-Experienced with digital SLR photography and have outgrown the limited speed and menu/ custom options of the entry level cameras? Annoyed with digital SLR users you see on the street whose cameras are nicer than yours but are left on Auto or P mode? Want to take it to the next level and maybe test the waters of professional photography? Get the 60D or get a 7D if you can afford it. Consider a 5D Mk II if you are really, really serious.

-Experienced with digital SLR photography and plan to be a top notch amateur/ semi-pro or work towards being a pro? Carry your camera everywhere and want a sturdy tool that serves you and the way you work? Already have been paid to shoot some photos, portraits, or events? Have stopped trying to read the model number of other people’s cameras because you know your photos are better than theirs even if they have a nicer camera? Get a 7D, or a 5D Mk II if you can afford it, or wait for the 5D Mk III.

-Highly experienced with digital SLR photography and are dedicating yourself to being a part-time or full time pro? Already know and understand 99.6% of what you read in this other post? Just looking for reassurance that spending $2,500 is the right decision? Get a 5D Mk II, wait for the 5D Mk III, or get a 7D if you really can’t afford the 5D yet.

Cambridge City Hall
Cambridge City Hall – Cambridge, MA

You may have been convinced by forums, reviews, or online comments to question and compare image quality, auto-focus speed, high ISO performance and noise, dynamic range, etc., but those factors are all nearly completely irrelevant. All of these cameras have more than enough quality in each of those areas. Your choice should instead be based on your experience level and expected needs as a photographer, and on which camera best serves the way you work. Remember, you don’t need a top of the line camera to take professional quality photos. Instead you need mastery of the camera you have, combined with good knowledge of composition and lighting. I encourage you to have a look at some Flickr users’ photos taken with an “old,” 8MP Rebel XT to confirm this. When you are done selecting a digital SLR body, you canread some of my other posts to learn more about the Best Lenses for Travel Photography or Why You Shouldn’t Buy the Kit Lens.

Canon 5D vs. 550D / T2i – I get an unusually high number of hits from people searching for a comparison of the 5D Mk II vs. 550D / T2i. As you can see above, there isn’t a scenario where those two cameras are together as options, as they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. It is a strange comparison between an entry level dSLR and a full frame professional dSLR that, quite frankly, confuses me. If the 5D fits your expanding needs as a photographer, you would already pretty much know that you needed a 5D after your extensive time using a Rebel or a 20D, 40D, etc. Otherwise, getting a 5D means most likely you’d be investing in far more camera than you will actually need or use. Read more about why I say that here and in the Other Important Custom Functions section here (this post is about the 7D, but it will give you a feel for how a 5D / 7D differs from a 550D in terms of features that you may need but probably don’t).

AF Microadjustment 550D / T2i, 60D – A lot of people also search for AF Micro-adjustment or focus calibration for the Canon 550D / T2i for back focus or front focus issues. Due to quality control issues, acceptable tolerances, or more rarely but not unheard of bad cameras, your camera and/or lens may focus a few notches in front of or behind the subject you focused on. If your camera happens to be 2 notches on the plus side and your lens 2 notches on the minus side, well, you are going to have some issues. While the AF Microadjustment feature is not built into the menus of the Canon 550D or new Canon 60D, here is how you micro adjust for front or back focus: send the camera and/ or lens to Canon while it is under warranty, with instructions to calibrate them. You have to pay for one way shipping and insurance (+/- $30 for one item depending on weight and coverage). Ask them to include a detailed report of what the issue was and what service they actually performed (otherwise they just repeat what you wrote and say “lens was front focusing – electrical adjustment of AF mechanism” and you don’t know if it was the camera, the lens, or your mind that was off). Then send a letter to Canon asking them why a brand new expensive Canon camera paired with a brand new expensive Canon lens that you just bought does not focus properly, and why you have to pay $30 to send it immediately back to them to fix it. This process also applies to the AF Microadjustment of the 7D, 5D, and 50D and soon the 60D. It is best to first determine if the camera or the lens is the culprit, by testing the lens on another body or the body with another lens, but it may well be a combination of both since each lens and camera is uniquely faulty. See this great post, “This Lens is Soft and Other Myths” on LensRentals.com for more info on this.

If you are pretty new to digital SLR photography and you decided on the 7D, check out this really great book I recently came across while browsing the photo section at a bookstore: Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole Young. I think you’ll learn more from it than most other how-to photo books and expanded manual type books. Even if you have another Canon and not a 7D, you’ll still find it helpful for learning how to really use a digital SLR to take better photos. She is currently working on a version of the book for the 60D, Canon 60D: From Snapshots to Great Shots.
canon 60D great shots

And I, myself, have written eBook user guides for the Canon 7D, Canon 60D and for the Canon Rebel T2i / EOS 550D. You can learn all about them here:  Canon 7D Experience, Your World 60D, plus the mini-guide to the 60D Menus and Custom Functions (excerpted from the full version of Your World 60D), and T2i Experience.

Need a lens to go with your new camera? Read about choosing a lens other than the kit lens in this post Why You Shouldn’t Buy the Kit Lens, and learn about the Best Lenses for Travel Photography here.

Please leave a comment, ask a question. Let me know what has been helpful, and what you’d like to read more about.

If you plan to purchase any of this equipment or books, I encourage you to do so through the site I’ve set up with Amazon, Doug’s Picturing Change Digital Photography Equipment and Books or through this direct link to Amazon.com. Purchasing through any of these links to Amazon.com, or the ones below, will help support my blog and my work. Thanks! And for those of you across the pond, click here for my referral link to Amazon UK. If you are in another country, click on one of my Amazon links, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on your country for your local Amazon.
See the T2i on Amazon.
See the 60D on Amazon.
See the 7D on Amazon.
See the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon.

Lots of rebates going on over at Canon, including on the 7D, 5D Mark II, some of the Rebels, and several lenses.


Plum Island – Newburyport, MA

NOTE: Some of the information in this post has been updated to include the current Canon dSLR models, the 60D and the Rebel T3i / 600D. Please check out my blog post at the following link to read the most current information:

http://blog.dojoklo.com/2011/02/20/canon-t3i-600d-vs-t2i-550d-vs-60d-vs-7d-etc/

Original Post: I’ve had a lot of visits to my previous post comparing these cameras – the Canon 7D, Canon 5D Mark II, and the Canon 50D – and since that really wasn’t much of a comparison post, but rather just a link to an impartial, technically based testing site, I’ll try to give a little more insight into helping you make this decision. Please note, this is aimed towards still photographers and not videographers. I know that videographers have different priorities when making this selection, and I am not knowledgeable enough to address them. I have written some updated comparison posts which also address the Canon 60D here and here.

I’ve used the 50D and the 7D pretty extensively, so I can speak with a bit of confidence about them. I’m very familiar with the features of the 5D Mk II and how they compare to the other cameras, so I will discuss them too. I’ll address the 550D (Rebel T2i) at the end of this post. Also, all the precise specifications of these cameras can be researched online and compared, so I will discuss them on a user-experience level, but I encourage you to decide which factors are most important to you for further research. I know it is a long post with a lot to read, but if you are investing several hundred or thousands of dollars in a dSLR and lenses, you should be thorough! On a final note before I begin, you may have been convinced by forums, reviews, or online comments to question and compare image quality, auto-focus speed, ISO and noise, etc., but those factors are all nearly completely irrelevant. Each of these cameras has more than enough quality in all of those areas. Your choice should instead be based on your level and needs as a photographer, and on which camera best serves the way you work. If you wish to see this complicated choice summarized in an easy to read format, view this post (it is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but mostly accurate). And when you are done selecting a camera body, you can learn more about lenses here.

While I have your attention, I want to mention that I have written eBook tutorials for the Canon 60D and for the Canon T2i, which cover ALL the Menu settings and Custom Function settings, with recommended settings, plus in-depth descriptions of how and and why to use the cameras’ settings and features in everyday use – Your World 60D and T2i Experience. Learn more about the eBooks by clicking on their titles.

Also, please let me know about broken links in my posts, as they seem to mysteriously happen from time to time.


Hudson River – Cold Spring, NY (this image is entirely in color – look at the plants!)

Sensor Size: If you are, or plan to be a professional photographer, and you’ve limited your selection down to two or three of these cameras, you are going to want to seriously consider the 5D MkII. This is due primarily to the fact that it has a full frame sensor (a sensor approximately the size of a frame of 35mm film), which is pretty much expected for you to have as a professional. (Note that whenever I say 5D in this post, I am referring to the 5D Mark II).  The 7D and the 50D have smaller sensors, with a 1.6 crop factor. This means that their sensors are a bit smaller than a frame of traditional 35mm film. A wide angle lens will not produce as wide of a field of view on a cropped sensor as on the 5D: a 16mm will give the field of view of a 16 x 1.6 = 25mm lens, but a telephoto on a cropped sensor will appear to zoom closer, thus making a 200mm lens appear to be a 200 x 1.6 = 320mm lens. You can begin down the professional path with a 50D or 7D, but you are eventually going to experience the limitations of the smaller sensors and start to understand the need for full frame. BUT…there are a few problems with this choice…

Price and Obsolescence: First, you probably haven’t run out to get a 5D MkII because of its cost. As of 5/2010, the price is $2,500. AND, the 5D MkII dates from 9/2008, and is due for an upgrade, likely in 2012, maybe as soon as later in 2011. In some respects, the 7D – being newer – has better features than the 5D, such as the advanced auto focus and metering systems and faster frame rate. Not to mention the fact that if you wait around long enough, a 7D type camera WITH a full frame sensor but a lower price than the 5D is bound to come out! But you need a camera now, so let’s continue. The 7D is $1,600 or $1,700 depending on current promotions, and the 50D is about $1,000. The 50D however, is also the closest one to being replaced (by the 60D or whatever it may be called). This doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a very capable and feasible camera – people are still happily using 20D and 30D cameras, just that it is reaching the end of its production life. So as far as the newest model, that is the 7D (and the 550d/ T2i).

Megapixels / Image Quality: Regarding megapixels, it really isn’t much of an issue unless you plan on printing out billboard size prints. All of these cameras have more than enough megapixels and image quality for most photographers’ needs. The 7D is at 18mp, the 5D Mk II at 21mp, and the 50D at 15mp. I have found that more megapixels give you more lee-way to push and pull the image around in Photoshop before it starts to fall apart and look over manipulated. In this respect there is a significant difference between 8 megapixels of a Rebel XT and 15 or 18 mp. The 8mp barely allow you to do a regular amount of exposure, contrast, and color correction before it starts to really show, but there is little to be concerned about between the 15mp of the 50D and 18mp of the 7D (unless you are a hard-core pixel peeper, in which case you will be deeply offended by these kinds of statements). Be aware that sensors with more megapixels more readily show the shortcomings of cheaper lenses, and thus demand higher quality lenses, like the Canon L series, for the sharpest, most detailed image across the entire frame. From experience, I can tell you there is a huge improvement in clarity, color, and overall image quality when using an L lens with a 50D or 7D.


Marquee – Tarrytown, NY

HD Video: If you are concerned about HD video, then you choice is narrowed down to the 7D and the 5D Mk II. With firmware updates and 3rd party Magic Lantern firmware, they are about on par as far as frame rates etc., so cost and sensor size is again the differing factor here. If you are not going to need or use video, it is definitely worth considering the 50D, which will give you 85-90% of the still photography features and performance of the 7D at a much lower price.

ISO, Frame Rate, File Size: For ISO performance, you can look at the testing site mentioned above to see that they are incredibly similar. Being a professional camera, the 5D has a broader ISO range on both ends, lower noise at higher ISOs, and a better dynamic/ tonal range. This is a large factor in why you pay $2400 for this camera. But for the non-pro, in general you hardly ever want to go above ISO 1,600, so unless you have a specific reason for needing really high ISO and photos with the lowest possible noise at high ISOs (for example shooting lots of indoor or dark events like concerts, weddings and receptions), then this isn’t much of a deciding factor. And if you are concerned about dynamic range, well, don’t be. Anyone who actually needs to be concerned about dynamic range is a commercial photographer who is not reading this post because they are busy choosing between a $7,000 camera and a $10,000 camera. The frame rate performance, however, may be an important factor depending on how you work and what you take photos of. The 7D has a continuous rate of 3fps and a high speed continuous rate of 8fps. Personally, I’m unhappy with this choice of rates. The 3fps is too slow for action situation, and the 8fps is ridiculously high, giving me far too many unwanted photos that quickly fill up the memory card. I wish for a rate closer to 5 or 6 fps. The 5D has one rate of 3.9fps, which again seems a bit too slow for action situations, and limits its use for capturing sports action. The 50D offers 3fps and 6.3fps, which I find ideal. Oh, also, the file size of the 7D images are much larger than the files of the 50D and somewhat larger than the files of the 5D. While this indicates that the files contain more information and detail, this affects size and number of memory cards you will need, plus size and expense of storage on your hard drive and external hard drives, PLUS the time it takes to download, transfer, copy, open, save, and upload files. It is a significant hidden cost in storage dollars and time of the 7D that should not be ignored. (Is this apparent difference of the 7D and 50D images visible to the naked eye of anyone other than pixel peepers and people making jumbo prints? Not necessarily. The image quality you need is available from any of these cameras, so it is more productive as a photographer to focus on image content!)


St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Brooklyn, NY

Features, Customization: Being the newest camera, the 7D has the most advanced features. As I mentioned above, it has an advanced auto focus system, providing more focus points, more focus modes (single point, spot, zone, expansion, etc.) and numerous options for how the focus points perform and select and track a subject. I’ve written a bit more about these features here, along with links to additional resources. There are advanced custom functions for auto focusing and tracking, flash control (the 7D is the only one which offers remote flash capabilities, which will save you a couple hundred dollars on Pocket Wizards if you are going to use this), and customization of buttons and displays. Again, I’ve explained a lot of these features in this post. Read through them. Do you understand them? Are you going to learn them? Are you going to need and use them? Probably not. They are nice to have, make you feel like you have a really powerful camera you are in control of if you learn how to choose, set and use them, but in everyday shooting I rarely, if ever, make use of them. The live view (which the 50D has as well) and the built in level are cool, but will you ever use them? I don’t. (The built in level will be most useful to landscape photographers). Of all the features and customizations of the 7D that are not on the older 50D, the only ones I miss are the remote flash capability, the grid overlay in the viewfinder, the larger more inclusive viewfinder, the spring loaded doors of the 7D, and the ability to switch functions of the top dial and back dial in Manual mode. (It is such a nice feature on the 7D – since I use Av mode most of the time, the top dial controls aperture. But when I switch to M mode, the top dial now controls shutter speed. So with the 50D I have to overcome muscle memory and use the back dial for aperture. But with the 7D, one can switch the dials’ functions.) Unless you are an intense sports or animal shooter who needs to customize how the camera selects and auto focuses on a moving object, how it addresses an object that moves in front of your subject, and how fast it responds to this new object before it addresses or ignores it, then you don’t need these features. And when you compare the features of the 7D to the 5D or 50D, you find that the older cameras are not outdated dinosaurs as forums will lead you to believe – but rather they also have many of these features and customizations as well. As far as all the new auto focus features of the 7D, it turns out they barely mattered to me because I manually select my auto focus point 99% of the time. I don’t want the camera necessarily focusing on the closest object, and it certainly does not know what I wish to focus on, so I don’t leave it up to chance, and I select the point myself. Therefore I rarely use any of these advanced auto-focus modes. In addition, it is much easier and quicker to manually select an auto focus point on the 5D and the 50D when you are selecting from 9 focus points rather than the 19 focus points of the 7D! However, if you photograph fast moving objects that you would prefer the camera to locate, track, and properly focus on, most of the time, all by itself, then the 7D is the camera for you. Also, note that due to the fact that the 5D is a professional body and not a consumer level camera, it does not have a built in pop-up flash. If you plan to use a flash with it, you will need to buy the Canon 580EX II flash (which you should do with any of these camera anyway).


San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala

It is expected that the 5D Mk III and possibly the 60D (or whatever it may be called) will also incorporate this new 7D type focusing system when they come out. The 5D, 7D, and 50D all have AF microadjustment capability, which means that you can adjust the auto-focusing of each lens individually, in the camera, if they happen to front- or back-focus a little bit. The problem is that it is a maddening procedure, and you can never get it quite right because the focusing typically varies slightly for each focus point, as well as for different distances and apertures. (You may get it exactly sharp for the center focus point at 15 feet at f/4, yet find that it is still off for the upper left focus point when you shoot under real life conditions that vary from those settings.) I feel that if you need an excessive amount of AF microadjustment, you should probably send the camera or lens back for repair, calibration, or replacement. Personally, if I were using a non-L-series lens, I wouldn’t worry about a few mm of front- or back-focusing. And if I were using an L-series lens that didn’t focus dead on, I would send it back to Canon for recalibration – which in fact is something I have done. (I don’t understand people’s celebration of AF microadjustment – isn’t it a built in admission of poor manufacturing quality control, especially when pairing a Canon lens with a Canon body?) Finally, be aware that the mode dials of the 7D and 5D do not have most of the “basic zone” mode settings such as sports, portrait, and landscape. As the user of such an advanced camera, you are expected to know how to change the camera’s settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.) yourself for these types of situations. If you don’t, and/ or if you plan on keeping your camera set on Auto (so called “green box mode”) or Program (P) mode, you probably shouldn’t be considering a 5D, 7D or 50D anyway, because you’ll be paying for far more camera than you will be using! Start with the 550D or one of the other Rebels for now and upgrade later if you feel you have outgrown its capabilities. If you are concerned about the best image quality, your image quality difference between a 7D on Auto and a 550D on Auto will be negligible. (Note that these cameras also have a Creative Auto mode, which is a weird “transitional” mode between Auto and actually learning how to make use of aperture settings and exposure compensation in Av, Tv or M mode. Since using aperture settings to dictate desired depth of field is essential to photographic composition, it is best you actually learn it directly.)

Metering: The 7D has an advanced metering system compared to the 5D Mk II and the 50D, and this is actually one very important advantage. The 7D has a more precise 63 zone metering system vs. the 35 zone system of the 5D and 50D. With the 7D, I can confidently leave it on evaluative metering 97% of the time, and it meters the subject exceptionally well 98% of those times. Canon claims that it will meter properly for a wide variety of subjects, including back lit and extreme contrast subjects. I have found this to be true. Compared to the 50D, this is significant. I have found that the 50D regularly overexposes by about 1/3 or 1/2 a stop, and I have exposure compensation on -1/3 all the time to avoid blown out highlights (except in dark situations, where it tends to under-expose). Also, the 50D just does not always correctly expose in unusual or difficult lighting situations. And for dramatic and powerful photos, you want unusual or difficult lighting situations, so I have found that I am using exposure compensation, or having to change to center weighted, partial, or spot metering often. While this is sharpening my metering eye and skills, it is a pain and it leads to the risk of lost shots. I would prefer that it just got the exposure right the majority of the time, as the 7D does. (I have subsequently found that using center-weighted averaging mode on the 50D all the time results in more consistent exposures than evaluative metering mode). You can learn more about the various metering modes, and when to use them, in this post.


Vinnie – Brooklyn, NY

550D / Rebel T2i: The Canon 550D or Rebel T2i has some impressive specs, and shares many features of the 50D and the 7D, and it is actually the newest model of all of them. It has 18mp and HD video like the 7D, but only 3.7fps continuous shooting mode frame rate. And it has 9 AF points and less complex auto focus options, like the 50D. It is fully capable of taking photos that are virtually the same quality as the 7D and the 50D, and if you don’t have intensive shooting and ego demands (ie, wanting the biggest, most expensive body whether or not you actually understand, need, or use its advanced features), it is worth seriously considering. But the 550D can’t have every feature and custom function of the higher level cameras, otherwise it would just be a 7D! If you are concerned about comparing image quality, ISO performance, auto-focusing speed, etc, all of these cameras have more than enough of what you need. You should instead be comparing the features and advanced options of the cameras which are most important to how you work. The top of the line camera won’t help you take better photos. But mastery of the tool that best fits your need just might (when combined with good knowledge of composition and lighting). I encourage you look at Flickr users’ photos taken with an “old,” 8MP Rebel XT to confirm this. Also, don’t rule out the Canon Rebel XSi if you are just starting out with digital SLRs.

If you are comparing a 5D Mk II vs. 550D (5D vs. T2i) you are looking at a professional full frame camera vs. a consumer, entry level dSLR, and skipping 2 pro-sumer cameras in between. So while the features of the 550D are nearly on par with the 7D in many ways, the 550D vs. 5D MkII is an odd comparison that quite frankly confuses me. Are you new to digital SLRs? Get a 550D (or a 50D/ 60D if you wish to spend more money or need the higher frame rate for sports or photojournalism). Have you outgrown all the features, capabilities, or limitations after extensive use of a 20D, 40D or 50D? Get a 5D MkII.  (Note that whenever I say 5D, I am referring to the 5D Mark II, the current model at this time).  Are the images you’ve been taking with your Rebel or 40D no longer living up to your professional level needs in terms of dynamic range and noise at high ISOs? Get a 5D. Want to spend $2,400 on a camera body? Get a 5D. Want to spend $800 and still have a tool that is fully capable of taking professional quality images? Get the 550D.

There are a few reasons why you would need a 7D or a 50D over a 550D / T2i. A major one is the advanced controls over camera settings. The more expensive models have additional buttons, controls, and displays on the exterior of the camera to enable quicker changes of important settings and easier viewing of what the current settings are. The 550D is capable of changing all these settings too, it is just done in a different way. For example, the 7D and 50D have the big dial on the back for quickly scrolling through menus, images, and for quick exposure compensation changes and changes of other settings. They also have the little toggle joystick on the back, primarily for quickly changing focus points. These 2 cameras also have the additional display screen and buttons on the top to easily view and change a number of settings such as ISO, drive mode, white balance, and metering mode – among others. These cameras are designed for a professional or advanced user who makes use of all these settings and needs to quickly change them while working. However, with a little practice, these settings can also be quickly changed using the buttons and big screen on the back of the 550D. The 7D and 50D also have advanced menus which give the user more customization options, like those discussed above (27 custom functions on the 7D vs. 12 on the 550D), and additional features desired by advanced users or pros, such as 1/3 ISO increments where the 550D has full increments (100-200-400 etc.).

What you are also paying for with the 7D and the 50D are stronger, better constructed metal bodies to handle daily use and abuse as well as some weatherproofing of the buttons and doors. (However, Canon cameras have fallen from elephants and airplanes and have survived, so they are all generally pretty rugged. At pitcher of water was thrown on the back of my Rebel XT and it was fine.) All these features give the 7D and 50D a bigger and heavier body than the smaller, lighter 550D, which may be an important consideration for some users. Also, the 7D, and 50D have AF microadjustment capability, but the 550D does not. AF Microadjustment means that you can adjust the auto-focusing for each lens, in the camera menu, if they happen to front- or back-focus a little bit. I don’t think this is a very important feature, as I discuss above in Features. (The problem is that it is a maddening procedure, and you may get the focus exactly sharp for the center focus point at 15 feet at f/4, yet find that it is still off for the upper left focus point when you shoot under real life conditions that vary from those settings.) As I said above, if you need an excessive amount of AF microadjustment, you should probably send the camera or lens back for repair, calibration, or replacement. Or if you are that obsessed about pixels, you should be looking at a pro-sumer or pro camera and L series lenses. Finally, the 550D also uses SD type memory cards, while the other cameras all use CF, and the smaller battery of the 550D will not last for as many shots as the other cameras.

Also, as I discussed above, be aware that the mode dials of the 7D and 5D MkII do not have most of the “basic zone” mode settings such as sports, portrait, and landscape. If you are starting to learn dSLR photography, these modes are helpful for seeing the results from different camera settings, and are good shortcuts until you have learned more about apertures and shutter speeds. Or if you never intend to use or learn more about the advance settings, the basic modes are good for helping you get better looking results than Auto or Program modes. So if you plan on keeping your camera set on Auto, Program, or the basic modes (sports, landscape, etc.), start with the 550D or one of the other Rebels for now and upgrade later if you feel you have outgrown its capabilities. Your image quality difference between a 7D on Auto and a 550D on Auto will be negligible.

So there you have it. You can read great, in depth reviews of each of these cameras on DPreview.com. There are probably numerous features and points that I forgot to mention, but hopefully this will give you a starting point in determining which features are important to you, and what warrants further research to help you in making your decision. The important thing is to choose one that fits your needs and budget, then stop comparing and get out and shoot! As I said above, your camera choice should be based on your level and needs as a photographer, and on which camera best serves the way you work. Whichever one you choose, I highly encourage you to get the the applicable Canon Guide to Digital SLR Photography from David Busch, or a similar book like the Magic Lantern Guides. They are much more user friendly versions of the camera’s manual, and will get you up and running quickly and assist you in fully understanding the settings, controls, and functions of your dSLR.

Need a lens to go with your new camera? Read about choosing a lens other than the kit lens in this post Why You Shouldn’t Buy the Kit Lens, and learn about the Best Lenses for Travel Photography here.

Please leave a comment, ask a question. Let me know what has been helpful, and what you’d like to read more about.

If you plan to purchase any of this equipment or books, I encourage you to do so through the site I’ve set up with Amazon, Doug’s Picturing Change Digital Photography Equipment and Books. Purchasing through this site or one of the direct-to-Amazon.com links below will help support my blog and my work. Thanks! And for those of you across the pond, click here for my referral link to Amazon UK. If you are in another country, click on one of my Amazon links, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on your country for your local Amazon.
See the T2i on Amazon.
See the 60D on Amazon.
See the 7D on Amazon.
See the Canon 5D MkII on Amazon.

I read a lot of arguing back and forth on forums regarding one camera vs. another in terms of their capabilities and performance such as high ISO performance, low light capabilities, etc, etc, etc.  Well, here’s an actual test site that may shed some real, fact-based light into these arguments.  It is interesting to see that in actual tests, the 50D consistently outperforms the newer and much pricier 7D in most areas, only falling short by negligible amounts in ISO sensitivity and dynamic range at lower ISOs.

And here is a post I wrote that goes into more detail in comparing the features of the Canon 7D, 5D Mark II, and the 50D.  Plus a little bit about the 550d (T2i) as well.


Roosevelt Island, NYC

My recent trip to Guatemala to photograph for an NGO gave me an opportunity to field test a bunch of new gear under real working conditions – jumping on and off chicken buses, crammed into the seat of a van for hours with all of it on my lap, roaming around the streets of Antigua trying to be discreet as possible carrying a 70-200mm lens and a backpack full of equipment, and photographing for long hours at a time. I had done a bunch of Internet research to choose the best and the most appropriate gear, made a couple trips to B+H to look at it all, and it all worked out as good, or often better than expected. I’m not sponsored or compensated by any of these companies (but wouldn’t be opposed to it if they happen to be reading…), but I do recommend all of this gear without reservation. (Update: I’ve now been using all of this equipment constantly for the past 11 months, and still recommend it all!) I discuss the camera I used on the trip, the Canon 7D, in this previous post.

Most all of this equipment will be equally essential for day-to-day photography, culture and travel photography, humanitarian photography, and photojournalism. And the equipment will be useful with any dSLR, Canon or Nikon.

If you plan to purchase any of this equipment, I encourage you to do so through the links I’ve created below which will take you directly to Amazon.com. Your price will be the same as always, and I will get a small referral fee. Or you can go directly to Amazon.com here. I appreciate your support! If you are in the UK, or wish to purchase from B+H Photo, see the end of this post for information on those links.


Antigua, Guatemala

Camera Backpack: I use the Lowepro Compu Trekker AW as both my carry-on and my working bag during the day. The current version of this is the Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW. The size works perfectly for both needs. It easily fits the airline carry-on size, including smaller international requirements in some regions, yet fits more that it would first appear. With careful configuration of the interior dividers, I can fit 2 Canon bodies (a Rebel XT and a Canon 7D or 50D), a 70-200mm f/4L IS, a 16-35mm f/2.8L II wide angle zoom, a 28-105mm standard zoom (an older lens, here is a link to the better 24-105mm f/4L), all lenses stored with their hoods turned backwards, a 580EX II flash, its diffuser, 2 external hard drives in cases, a couple memory card cases, and some filters. In the outside pocket, I have a couple battery chargers, extra batteries, medium Rocket Blower, miscellaneous cords, caps, and accessories. In the rear pocket designed for a laptop, I easily fit a 32″ 5 in 1 reflector. Once I am in the field, I play around with the dividers until I have a set-up that best fits my flexible daily needs, and allows quick preparations or lens changes. The pack is extremely comfortable, has tons of padding on the straps and the back so that its weight never bothers me and I don’t feel the reflector in my back. I often wear it for hours a day while working, and it is never a problem. In fact, on my final night in Guatemala when I went out to dinner in Antigua without it on my back for the first time in 2 weeks, I commented that I felt a bit naked. The top handle is strong enough to grab and carry with, as is often necessary while jumping in and out of cars or putting it down and picking it up. There is also a waist belt that I use when I have it fully loaded, like going to the airport, to relieve my shoulders of some of the weight. And it comes with a built in rain cover that stows away at the base of the bag that has done its job on a couple occasions. The Compu Trekker Plus (now the Pro Runner 450 AW) might be a better carry on size so that you could carry more gear on the plane with you (if it fits the airline’s requirements) but it would be too big for daily use. There are also rolling versions of these, with an “x” in the name, thought the retractable handles and wheels add weight and size to the bags. The Compu Trekker has a tripod strap system that I don’t use, and another outside pocket that is, conveniently, exactly the size of a Lonely Planet guidebook. Here are some photos of the backpack in action at the Chichicastenango Market, taken by my travel companion Elizabeth Jimenez:

If you just need a holster style bag to carry one body and one lens, I highly recommend the M Rock Holster Bags.  I used the Yellowstone model for months while traveling in South America, and I love its durability, pockets, and built-in rain cover, plus it comes with extra back-up straps.  Make sure you get the right bag for your body/ lens combination – you will need a longer bag for a telephoto zoom lens.  As far as a satchel bag to carry a body or two plus two or three lenses and/ or a flash as you set out for the day but don’t want a backpack type bag, have a look at the Think Tank Retrospective line (there are a few sizes, the 10, 20 and 30, etc.) or the Crumpler Million Dollar Homes. Again, there are several sizes to choose from, called the 5 Million, 6 Million, etc. The 7 Million Dollar Home is my satchel of choice for carrying my gear about town while working.  It holds a large dSLR (5D line, 6D, 60D, etc.) with a mid-range telephoto attached (24-105mm), plus a 70-200mm, and another lens or a flash, all in the inside compartments. There is then some extra space and a couple front/ flap pockets to hold chargers, memory cards, batteries, etc. To keep moisture from accumulating in your equipment and bag, throw in a durable desiccant pack like this one.  Just be sure that it isn’t loose in your bag and scratching against your equipment.

Security: A couple great additions to the bag are Eagle Creek combo locks and Eagle Creek Pack It Sacs in the small size to hold batteries, memory cards in cases, LensPen, camera and lens body caps, and various wires and cables. The medium size Pack It Sacs are great for medicines bottles and other loose stuff in your luggage. The backpack’s zippers are rugged enough to handle constant abuse from the combo locks, which although they are weighty, are far better than keyed locks in the field so that you don’t need to go digging for the key when you are in a hurry. You just have to be a little careful when opening and closing the bag – the locks dangle and flip around, and could easily bang into something fragile in the backpack. With the Pack It Sacs, I clipped some rubber bands to the key clip within the outside pocket of the backpack and then attached them to the clips on the Sacs, so that way the Sacs won’t accidentally fall out if I flip the bag open and close while the outer pocket is open. There’s enough play to access them and then shove them back into the bag.

Another great accessory for this backpack is the PacSafe 55 wire mesh security system. It fits perfectly around this size bag, and secures your bag and your gear in a hotel room or wherever. It has a long cable that you loop around something secure and lock in place. It also comes with a small, compact storage case for when not in use.


Chichicastenango, Guatemala

SanDisk Extreme 16GB CF Memory Cards – I talked about these in the previous post. Once again, no particular reason why I use these rather than Lexar or Delkin…maybe a sponsorship would help seal my loyalties… :). Be sure to get the Sandisk Extreme 16 GB SD version if you are using the 60D or Rebel T2i. I use a Sandisk card reader to upload the images to my laptop, rather than from the camera directly, in order to save the camera batteries. This Sandisk Card Reader is for the CF cards, and the 5 in 1 reads SD cards.

Spare Batteries – I always have 3 batteries for each camera body. The Canon 60D, 7D and 5D use the Canon LP-E6 Battery. Stick with the Canon brand batteries rather than the unpredictable third-party brands.

BlackRapid RS-4 Camera Strap – The R-Strap is wonderful, and I highly recommend it. I was hesitant and suspicious at first, but I quickly adored it and will always use it. I had even emailed BlackRapid before purchasing to ask about shortcomings of earlier models, and they addressed my concerns thoroughly and completely. I was very impressed with the time and personal attention they paid to my questions. The strap is comfortable, easy to use, quick, strong, and rugged. I often use it in conjunction with wearing the backpack, and although the straps fight for space against each other on my shoulder, it still works fine. I’m a bit envious of the RS-7 that just came out, since it has a curved, ergonomic shoulder pad that will work better by itself on your shoulder and next to a backpack strap. There is also now a version designed for women, the RS-W1. Watch some of the videos out there as to how to use it, and be sure to moisten the rubber gasket before attaching it to your camera – this will make a firm seal that will never budge. The big pain is that the part attached to your camera body is best left in place, yet that makes it less easy to place the camera down on a table or in your bag, and will have to be removed to use a tripod. Also, the textured tightening screw part of the connector may rub up against your camera body in various situations, so I put some black duct tape on the bottom edges of the camera to protect it.

B+W brand UV Filters – clear, protective filters for the lenses, slim for the wide angle. The slim is probably not needed with a crop sensor camera, but is recommended for a full frame camera. The slim comes with a lens cap that does not stay on well after a little bit of use, as there are no front threads for the Canon cap to fit on. If I had to do it over, I would probably get the regular filter so that I could use the Canon lens cap.

B+W brand Circular Polarizer Filter – a polarizer serves to darken skies, boost contrast, cut through haze and reflections in water and glass, and block out a stop or two of light in bright situations. I keep it on my lens much of the time when doing outside work. Polarizing filters work to their maximum degree when the sun is to your right or left, but not when it is directly in front or behind you. Be sure to turn the moving part of the filter to dial in the degree of polarizing that you desire. They are typically not used on wide angle lenses because the darkening effect would vary across a wide swath of sky, and usually look strange.

Sto-Fen Omni Bounce Diffuser – works great on the Canon 580EX II flash, although very snug and is always difficult to get on and off in a hurry. Squeeze it and stretch it first to help it go on easier. Please don’t use the diffuser outside! Even if you see “pros” doing it. It doesn’t do anything outside but make your flash work harder. You can’t bounce light off the clouds.

Honl Color Correction Filters and Speed Strap – These are essential for using with flash to balance the white balance of the scene – to make the color of the flash the same as the color of the ambient light. This way when you correct the WB of your subject your backgrounds won’t be vivid orange (incandescent ambient lighting) or sickly green (fluorescent). You can’t use them in conjunction with the diffuser – the Omni-Bounce can’t fit over the Speed Strap, but that had not occurred to me when I bought them – so I’m going to have to figure out a solution to that. And I’m going to continue experimenting with the full or 1/2 CTO to add warmth to outside fill flash, as recommended by Nevada Wier (actually she uses a Kodak Wratten 81A gel, but I think they are similar). The kit is very slim and fits perfectly in one of the inside pockets of the backpack.


Antigua, Guatemala

Giottos Medium Rocket Blower – I initially used the small size in order to save a bit of space, but it didn’t have the power I wanted, so I sprung for the medium. Always have it handy for getting dust off lenses in a hurry, because blowing on them – no matter how careful – leads to spittle on the lenses 5% of the time when it doesn’t matter and 95% of the time when you are in the most critical situations. The large size may be a good choice as well.

Pearstone LP-1 Lens Pen – Works great for cleaning off mysterious spots, smudges, and fingerprints that always appear on the lens (this is why I always use UV filters) as well as that a-fore-mentioned spittle. There is a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning head on the other end. Twist the cap to load the cleaning tip with the carbon based cleaning material, then remove the cap and use. Please read the instructions and visit the LensPen website to fully learn how to use it properly.

32″ 5 in 1 Reflector – This size is perfect for travel and fits in the backpack, however I never actually used it during the trip so I don’t know if the size is useful in the field. It is best suited for set-up situations and portraits, which I didn’t have the opportunity to do on this assignment. I could have used it once to block some stray sunlight falling into a very dark room and potentially messing up the exposure, but I didn’t think about it until later. I did, however, carry it around a lot and never noticed because it is lightweight and very durable.

External Hard Drives – I use a Iomega Ego 500GB and a Lacie Rugged USB 500GB when traveling. I’ve used the Iomega on extended trips before, and love it. I’ve never had any problems with it, and it is solid and sturdy. I also decided to try out the Lacie Rugged USB for this trip. It is lighter than the Iomega, and doesn’t feel as solid and sturdy, but it worked just fine. They both fit perfectly in the Case Logic Portable Hard Drive Case made for these types of drives, which I recommend getting in different colors so you can quickly differentiate your different drives. I leave them in the cases at all times, but you have to pull the Ego slightly out to plug in the cord, and place the Lacie upside down in the case for the cord to fit without removing the drive each time. For storage at home, I use the Western Digital My Book 1TB External Hard Drives.

Hakuba Digital Media Storage Wallet – These are great, soft sided, thin memory card cases that hold 6 CF memory cards each. I picked up this recommendation from Karl Grobl’s website. There are a lot of bulky, hard-sided cases out there, which make you feel like your memory cards need excessive protection. I’m sure there has been a situation where an elephant stepped on a memory card case and all photos were miraculously saved by a hard sided case, but as far as my needs, the soft ones work just fine. Get into the habit of inserting blank cards face up and used cards face down into the cases’ pockets. Since this is the size for CF cards, have a look at this one if you use SD cards.

‘da Products Screen Protector – (product no longer available) – This is the second camera I have used this product with, and I am once again very happy with it. It is a very inexpensive yet high quality screen protector for your LCD, made with acrylic. Get ‘da40D Protector for the 7D – it is the perfect size. It is a slow, careful, time consuming process to attach the adhesive strips, get it clean, dust and fingerprint free, and perfectly centered, but once it’s on, its there to stay (unless you want to remove it – in that case, to remove the ‘da screen protector use dental floss to break the seal at the bottom corners, then slowly peel off.) I know that today’s LCD screens are durable, but I feel more comfortable and carefree about constantly wiping off my protector with my fingers or shirt than I would directly on the built in screen. This is also why I use B+W UV filters on the lenses.  However, if you have a camera with a rotating screen such as a 60D, T3i, or D5100, this type of screen protector won’t work.  You will need to use a thin adhesive film protector like this one.

Calumet micro fiber lens cloth – Stores perfectly in another slim inside pocket of the backpack, and always handy to have.


Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Insurance – Although I am a member of NPPA – National Press Photographers Association, I also joined NANPA – North American Nature Photography Association, in order to get their equipment insurance, which is much cheaper and has a much lower deductible than NPPA’s, even including the extra $100 to join NANPA. The insurance is primarily for the equipment only, so you are not paying for liability coverage geared toward a business as you are with every other photo equipment insurance plan I researched. Please note that the NANPA membership fee covers you from June to June or something like that – they don’t pro-rate, so you will not get a full year if you join at any other time. The insurance covers photo and computer equipment at home and while traveling. (If you happen to join NANPA to get their insurance, be sure to mention my name as a referrer, and I get $20 NANPA Bucks and save on my next renewal!)

Skooba Satchel 2.0 Laptop Bag – This is typically my second carry on, in which I carry my laptop, some books, misc. charging cords, some toiletries. This is a wonderful laptop bag, and you won’t believe how much will fit in it! As they say themselves, it is deceptively slim looking and incredibly light. It has these great little air squares for cushion everywhere – like bubble wrap made from durable rubber, and has an extremely comfortable and ergonomic strap.

Lowa Tempest Lo Hiking Shoes – I’ve worn these shoes, this same pair, nearly everyday, for almost 4 years straight now, and they still have a little life left in them. I wore them every single day for a total of 7 months in Peru, walking the cobbled streets of Cusco, and traveling the country. And I wore them nearly every day for 3 years walking the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan, and now Cambridge. (I don’t have a car, so I actually walk, a lot.) They are so comfortable I never notice them. They are light, durable, and somewhat waterproof if treated regularly. I recently bought a backup pair for the inevitable day that I have to give them up. After 3.5 years one one them developed a tear at the front-side where they crease when crouching to take photos, but they are still fine except in the rain.

Post-Production – Once you get back you are going to need to organize, edit, and work on all your photos. And for that, of course you are going to need
Adobe Photoshop CS4 and/ or Adobe Lightroom 3. You can start off with the trial versions that you can download from the Adobe site, but sooner or later you are going to have to get the real versions. Use that student discount while you still can!

Purchasing: If you plan to purchase any of this equipment, accessories, or anything else from Amazon.com I encourage you to do so through the links I set up throughout this post. Just click on the equipment above and you will be taken directly to that Amazon page. Your purchasing price will be the same, and they will give me a little something for referring you, which will help support my blog. Thanks! Or click on the Amazon.com logo below to enter Amazon and start shopping. I appreciate your support!

If you are in the UK or Canada, please use these Amazon links:

UK: my Amazon.co.uk link

Canada: my Amazon.ca link

For those interested in purchasing through B&H Photo I have set up affiliate links with them as well – find it on the left side of this page.