Articles Tagged with: camera

Drones and the FAA Small UAS Rule

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a drone!

Drones are a hot topic, whether it’s the effectiveness and precision of military strikes, aerial photography/videography, mail delivery, or just ordinary consumer operations. For years, the FAA failed to issue appropriate regulations and guidelines for flying unmanned aircrafts in the United States.  An issue that delayed commercial drone usage for businesses and professionals. Prior to the Small UAS rule, a 333 Exemption was required to fly drones along with a traditional pilot license.  This created an impossible authorization process for those without a pilot license looking to solely operate drones.  In addition, those with traditional pilot licenses were forced to wait 5-7 months in order to obtain 333 Exemption.  The FAA finally addressed the these problems with the Small UAS Rule Part 107 which finally explains the requirements to fly a drone in the United States. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Don’t overdue your accessories.  The unit can only weigh 55 pounds.

  • You must be able to see your drone device at all times.

  • Airspace B, C, D, E require Air Traffic Controller approval.  Airspace G does not!
  • You cannot be in motion while operating a drone and you can only fly one at a time.

  • Must have a Remote Pilot Airman certification with Small UAS rating or be under the supervision of of someone with this certification.

Check your equipment before flying.  For more information and the full Small UAS part 107 visit


Understanding High Speed Sync (HSS)

If you have ever browsed studio strobes or even own a speedlite with the feature, you may have come across that term in its title, “high speed sync” or “hss”. Let’s take a minute to help you understand what that is and how to use it to your advantage.

Every camera has its own maximum sync speed, or the fastest shutter speed you can use while shooting an image with flash. If you exceed this shutter speed while shooting with flash, you will see a horizontal black bar covering up part or all of your image. When you take a photo, the first part of your shutter (first curtain) separates from the second, the sensor gets exposed for the amount of time that your shutter speed is set to, and the second curtain closes behind it. 
When you add flash to the mix, it can only properly expose the image up to your camera’s maximum sync speed. What happens then is you press the shutter release button, the first curtain opens, the flash then fires, and the second curtain closes. If your shutter speed is set too high (past the maximum synchronization speed), the second curtain will actually block part of the sensor as the flash is exposing the image. With high speed sync turned on, the flash pulses multiple times, exposing different parts of the image as the curtains fall. It happens too quickly for the human eye to see but the effect is surely noticeable.
You might be wondering how this happens if there are other lights in the room or scene. The unique thing about using flash photography is that it operates completely separately from continuous or ambient lighting. The two factors to keep in mind are that shutter speed affects only the ambient or continuous lighting in the exposure and your aperture affects the flash output. Experiment using different combinations and settings to find out what effects work best for your taste or needs. 
You are able to combine continuous light and strobe lights for particular effects. A great photographer to cite as an example is Nick Fancher. He is a master of using various combinations of gels, continuous lighting, and strobe lighting to create amazing works of art. 
As this was just a general overview of what it is and how it works, do some extra research to master this technique and create portfolio-quality work. Keep on shooting!

Quick Thoughts On the New Canon EOS R System

As you may have heard, Canon just recently released its newest line of mirrorless camera systems known as the EOS R. I wanted to list my initial thoughts on the release and what it means for professionals and enthusiasts everywhere.

First off, if you are unfamiliar with the differences between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, do some research to find out the key differences. They do not have a physical mirror that blocks the sensor from recording information until you press the shutter release button as you do in traditional DSLR systems. I won’t get into the details in this post but I encourage you to check them out to see what kind of system works best for your needs.

Within the past ten plus years, the most major players in the photography world have been Canon and Nikon and just recently Sony stepped up their game with their various “a” series mirrorless cameras. It is no secret that Sony got a lot of things right with their cameras which have caused long-time users of Nikon, Canon, and other companies to jump ship and switch to Sony. Both Canon and Nikon didn’t have a whole lot to offer in the means of mirrorless systems, especially not at a comparable level to what Sony could offer. Naturally, they had to do something or else they were going to fall behind–fast. 

Nikon and Canon both released new mirrorless systems which are now capable of competing with what Sony has been doing for years. Since we primarily shoot with Canon cameras in house and rent higher-end cameras with the EF mount, I will be discussing my thoughts on Canon’s EOS R system. With it being so new and unavailable to most of the public right now, it is hard to really say how it performs using a hands-on test. On paper, however, it appears that there is a lot to love.

For starters, let’s just talk about the price. The body alone is listed at $2,299 USD. Compared to another one of Canon’s recent and great cameras, the 5D Mark IV, it’s nearly a thousand dollars less. That’s also less than one some of Sony’s flagship cameras such as the Alpha a7R III ($2,998) and also their a9 (+$4,000). They all share similarities but again, not to deviate far from the subject, I want to focus on Canon here. 

 Boasting a 30.3MP sensor, the EOS R is small and mighty. One huge feature is that it is full-frame where one of Canon’s predecessor mirrorless cameras, the EOS M, has a cropped sensor. The sensor technology is more advanced too, giving more processing speed and power, allowing for more burst photos without reaching the buffer. Another huge improvement over its predecessors is that it shoots at a 4K resolution at various frame rates between 23.98 to 29.97 fps, and can also shoot up to 120 fps but at a 720p resolution. Similar to the 

Video shooters can rejoice that it now offers internal stabilization, something that Sony’s cameras have been doing for quite some time already. Additional features that look good on paper is that it now supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and has a ton (5655 to be exact) of autofocus points. Covering 88% of the viewing area, you will be hard pressed to miss focus very much. I like that it has a flip out screen which has been seen on other models like the 80D. That helps with shooting above or below your head and also for recording yourself if you do podcasts or the like. It also shoots stills faster than some of its DSLR brothers and sisters, shooting at 8 fps. The 5D Mark IV, for example, shoots slightly slower at 7 fps. Also similar to the 5D IV, you can record video in the C-Log color space for more dynamic range and color grading versatility. 

What might sell people on staying with Canon instead of switching to Nikon or Sony could very well lie in one factor: their lenses. Canon has long been the king of glass and although the new system has a new mount (RF instead of EF), they include optional adapters so you can use your fabled lenses on your new body. They are, of course, still going to create high-quality glass with the native RF mount, but at least with the adapters you won’t need to completely overhaul your gear to compensate. Another thing I like about the mounts (three announced at this time) is that it gives additional features and functionality to the body which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. For example, one of their mounts includes slots for filters such as neutral density.

As with just about everything in life, there are some things not to love about this new camera, but the list is rather small for me at this time. First of all, there is only one slot for a memory card where the 5D series offer two. However, it supports UHS-II SDXC cards with extremely high read/write speeds. The only tradeoff here is if you need more storage and don’t have time to swap out cards but rather change which card, that is already inserted, you want to record to. In most cases, this will not be an issue, but there’s always a first for everything. Also, according to other sources online, the lenses are huge in comparison to the body. This might not be so bad if you enjoy having that weight in your hands but it just might look a little silly.

It’s a good thing Canon is trying to compete with Sony and also that Nikon is doing the same. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard about Canon and Nikon is that they haven’t really done anything too revolutionary in a long time. They also weren’t doing much to compete with Sony and if that trend continued, I would see no reason to continue shooting on anything but Sony since they were making so many technical advancements so quickly. For now, I am just excited to see some real-world use with the new EOS R system and am looking forward to Canon’s future.