Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Adventures of the Canon 200L IS

Introduction

I recently purchased one of my ultimate dream lens, the Canon 200L IS. Although this is the most expensive lens I’ve ever purchased, it lives up to its legend. I’ve been looking at this lens since about a year ago and finally in the beginning of the year I decided to save up to purchase this lens. Luckily it was on sale during this period from Aden camera in Toronto with free delivery to Vancouver, BC.

Background
There’s many aspects to improve photography eg. Taking courses, analyzing photos, deconstructing photos and others. This lens doesn’t make you a better photographer and I’ve always believed that. The main reason I wanted to purchase this lens from my research was the unique look it gives. I’ve read for every 1000 owners of the 85L there’s about 1 owner of the 200L IS. I personally only know 2 people with this lens and 1 person with the Nikon version. One’s planning on selling it, the other is a collection and the Nikon is a professional photographer. I’ve spoken with my pro friend Tony about this lens, and he highly recommends it for the unique look factor. Ultra sharp and bokehlicious backgrounds. This lens destroys backgrounds. I’ve done some research of the lens sharpness, and between the 85L, 135L 200L IS and other lens, the 200L IS is the sharpest lens wide open even compared to the 85L at the common aperture of f/2.0. (The website I used was: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx and you can compare different lens, different brands, different focal lengths and different aperatures)

First Impressions
As expected, the 200mm range is hard to work with. I’d say the 85mm range is much easier to work with for my style of photography (outdoor fashion/portraits) Last weekend I tried out this lens. With the 85mm range it’s perfect, you can communicate with the model easily for ¾ and full body photos. For full body the 200mm you will have to be quite far back. The lens is very heavy. I have no problems with the weight but it’s definitely a lot heavier than the 70-200/2.8 II

First photo-shoot
My style of outdoor photography is usually shot from f/2.0 ~ f/2.8 wide open with a strobe. Usually 45 degrees from the model, using my Kacey beauty dish socked. The model’s back is facing the sun, so she is back lit. The area we picked was White Pine Beach in Coquitlam in a small forest path area. I found it very hard to back up enough to get full body images, as a result most of my images were ¾ body shots. My model for today was Nicole and she’s a pro.
During the photoshoot, I alternated a few times with the 135L and honestly I found the 135mm and 200mm range working wise to be similar. You are so far back there wasn’t much difference.
Below are some images from my photo-shoot, 

Feathered lit with beauty dish + sock

Natural Lit


Analysis of the photos
I’ve looked at the photos screen size and web size personally and with a few friends. It might be my framing but they were able to pick out the differences between the 200L IS and the 135L. 200L is sharp, it’s the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned. The 135L is very sharp also, almost the same as the 200L IS. But the bokeh is very different. Probably due to the compression of the 200mm length at f/2.0 the 200L IS’ bokeh is much smoother.

Pre photo-shoot
I did a quick comparison between the 85L 135L and 200L IS shooting my motorcycle. It’s not a controlled test. It’s not even done on the same day or the same angle. But the 85L at 1.2 is noticeably not as sharp as the 135L or the 200L IS as expected. Here are some sample photos
85L




135L




200L IS




Conclusion
I sold my 85L but the more I think about it, the more I regret this decision. For indoors, 85mm is a great focal length. Although the 50mm might be better except the 50L is not sharp at all and there’s a focus shift issue by design. I think I will repurchase the 85L again one day but for now, I will play with the 200L IS and try to master the look with this lens.

I don’t think I will ever sell this lens, let alone finding a buyer for this lens at a reasonable price. There are way too many lowballers in the Vancouver area.
It’s a very specialized lens for specialized situations. I’m a big fan of zoom lens, even the 85L gives a unique look. But the 200L IS gives a very unique look. For weddings, I will bring this lens but the 70-200/2.8 II is the bread and butter lens, versatile, light and the IQ is awesome. But I’ll sneak in a few shots here and there with this lens.

I will continue to use this lens for my outdoor shoots with models I’ve worked with before, since the distance for full length photo will be so great, it will be hard to communicate with models, let alone new models I’ve never worked with before.
Fortunately, Nicole is free again next week and I will be testing this lens out some more. I will try to get some more full length photos.

Thank-you for reading my blog
Ray out!
http://rw-photography.ca




Saturday, March 23, 2013

Magazine Submissions

As a photographer I want to get published to magazines, both print and online. I've entered into one photography contest before for a landscape shot and I came in 2nd place :) That was about 6 years ago.

I haven't submitted to magazines before mostly because usually for example it's spring here in Vancouver and the spring deadlines are long past and they're looking for summer submissions. It's either photos from last year or it's too cold to shoot summer wear.

I do like the challenge of each magazine's concept for the issue or what they're looking for. It gives me a direction for my creative ideas.

Most magazine submissions have strict rules but understandable. One of the rules is only 2 ~ 3 preview images may be posted out of the set of about 6 ~ 12 images. And they can't be on your website, facebook or seen by the public. This makes sense as you want your images to be a fresh look for the readers of the magazines, not something that's been view millions of time on the internet.

I missed the deadline for a few magazine submissions for the spring season but I'll work towards the summer and fall season now :)

Got to love photography!
It's a passion for me and always trying to have fun along the way.

Ray out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MVP Workshops by Chris Pike

There's a workshop ran by Chris Pike usually on a monthly basis and the costs differ depending on the setup. $35 ~ $75

Here's the link
http://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Photography-Workshops/

and here'a promo video by Winston Wong (I love this guy's video work, and he's a great photographer also!) that I'm in it for a few seconds.

http://vimeo.com/37077127 by  www.winstonwong.com

There are usually different themes from indoors, outdoors, portraits, headshots, glamour, bikini, pinup. All different themes for your different tastes.

I enjoy going to these workshops as I can pick up new tips and tricks and network with other models, make up artists, hair stylists and photographers. Although I must say the networking part is important, getting the shot is pretty fun too. It's pretty intense where you're placed in groups of 4 ~5 people and you're at a 'station' with backdrop and lights and you have about 25 minutes, so 5 mins each to set up the lighting the way you want it and work with the models to get the shots. If you're a beginner or not comfortable with multiple strobe settings it's a friendly environment where you can grab Chris or one of the assistants like Wilson and they'll be able to provide you with tips and tricks that help you for sure.

I highly recommend the workshop as the instructors and assistants are all friendly and you'll get some great shots to add to your portfolio!

The latest workshop was a glamour theme but it when I shot I used my regular fashion/lifestyle type of style for my shots.

Here are some of my shots and you'll see some familiar faces:








Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Logo for 2013

Hi Everyone,

I've simplified my logo for 2013. I'll continue to use the 2012 logo for my wedding and engagements but for my portraits and fashion I've decided to simplify things and use a simple text with my name and website address. Keeps things nice and simple, although comes with a higher risk of someone stealing my images since a text block can be easily removed but hopefully that doesn't happen!
We'll see how it goes for my 2013!
Keep shooting!

Ray out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

First blog and first photoshoot of 2013

Here's my first post of my blog and about my first photoshoot of 2013. It was an outdoor fashion photoshoot at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody with Joanna. It was -4 that day and it was pretty cold.

Some technical details: The only lens used on this photoshoot was my Canon 70-200/2.8 MK2 and lighting was my Einstein Strobe with my Kacey 22" beauty dish. The time of the day was about 2 hours before sunset around 1:30pm and we shot till around 4:30pm, and it was getting quite cold by then.

I applied a vintage type of edit, mainly using Lightroom 4.3 to this series of photos.

Enjoy!

Raymond
http://rwong2k.500px.com