Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Big Happy Bag

UPDATE: 2/18/14

I'll leave the post as it was originally written but since then I have finally sold the EOS 5D Mark II (for a fair price) and separated out the 7D and M gear into separate bags. The 7D, EF and EF-S lenses and 430EXII are in a Tamrac CyberPro Flyer (5261) rolling shoulder bag.  The M, EF-M lenses, 270EXII and 90EX are in a Tamrac Aero 50 (3350) shoulder bag.


This has been a horrible January for shooting so far. I know weather isn't really an excuse but my day job and everything else seems to be conspiring against getting out and about. There's something to be said for efforts like my year long Peebles Island Trail Scenic Project to force going out there and shooting something.

I've been going back and forth all Winter about my gear setups and what I want and don't want and how to bag it all up. My latest solution is to hang on to both the 7D and 5D Mark II. Prices have dropped so much on the 5DII that it wouldn't make sense to sell and I can't shoot sports without the 7D.

I've been keeping the EOS-M in a separate bag with certain lenses but then there's the dilemma of "which kit does this lens go with". So, today, I came up with a solution which I'm happy with - at least until tomorrow.

I've managed to get everything except battery chargers - bodies, lenses, flashes, filters, etc. in my Tamrac Ultra Pro 13 shoulder bag. It weighs in at 25 pounds, less than before I eliminated the 300mm f/4 and 17-40mm f/4 lenses and added the EOS-M gear.

I've also switched back to the stock Canon straps instead of the OP/Tech straps I had been using. They take up much less space in the bag.

So, here is a list of the contents:

EOS 5D Mark II w/battery grip
EOS 7D w/battery grip

EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Extender 1.4X II

EF to EF-M adapter
77mm 500D Canon close up lens
Anti-Fog eye piece for 7D

Speedlite 430EXII
Speedlite 270EXII
Speedlite 90X
Rogue FlashBender Large Positionable Reflector
Rogue FlashBender Bendable Bounce Card

12 AA Eneloop batteries
4 AAA Duracell Hybrid batteries

RS-80N3 Remote Switch
RC-6 wireless remote
Canon LED flashlight
Self-Defense Spray

CPL, UV and 3 stop ND filters (77mm round)
Boxed Cokin A series filters and 52mm holder

Giottos Rocket Air Blower

Hopefully, I'll actually get out and use the gear before too long.

Monday, January 13, 2014

EOS M and EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

I've posted before about picking up Canon's EOS M mirror-less camera along with the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. I decided to also pick up the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens from an eBay seller who breaks up camera and lens kits imported into the US and sells the parts separately or in different configurations.

I'm not a big fan of variable aperture zooms or kit lenses in general, but the reviews of this lens have been very positive and it's size just fits the EOS M nicely. I finally got outside with the lens this morning and hiked around some of my usual haunts to test it out. The Mohawk and Hudson Rivers were up to, or slightly over, their banks with some nice ice features.

Here are some shots with exposure information and then I'll follow up with some impressions and comments about the camera and lens.

EOS M, EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM at 55mm, f/5.6, 1/1500 sec., ISO 400

EOS M, EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM at 55mm, f/8, 1/1500 sec., ISO 400

EOS M, EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM at 32mm, f/8, 1/350 sec., ISO 400

EOS M, EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM at 18mm, f/8, 1/500 sec., ISO 400

While I did bracket exposures for HDR processing, the normally exposed images were actually more than acceptable on their own so these are single images with some minor processing in Canon's DPP software. The EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens appears sharper, with fewer aberrations than other consumer zooms I've used, including the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM which I've used with a 60D.

I honestly would almost equate my results with this lens for daylight shots with images I would get from my EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM lens on my 5D Mark II. Indoors without flash, of course, would be a different story, but with the 22mm f/2, 40mm f/2.8 and 60mm f/2.8 lenses, I've pretty much got that covered as well.