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Monday, August 30, 2010
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Q&A 1: Extension Tubes...
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Welcome to the 488th issue of SnapShot!

Lots of big news as we wrap up a very exciting August! At the top of the list is BetterPhoto's new Ambassador program. It's a fantastic way to reward you for your loyalty and willingness to promote the Web's best photography website. Sign up as a BetterPhoto Ambassador and receive a percentage of the sales that you drive to the site. Also, Jim Miotke has shared 12 ways to get off to a great start. ... Also, the fall school session kicks off next week with an awesome lineup of 8-week courses and 4-week classes. Best yet, if you enroll now, you'll get an early lesson in advance! ... In this issue, don't miss Jim's interview with instructor and top nature pro Tony Sweet, plus Rob Sheppard's interesting - and informational - thoughts on DSLR live view. ... That's it for now. Have fun with your photography!    Kerry Drager   Newsletter Editor    Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter - BetterPhotoJim - and in his blog:

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Hear what Tony Sweet has to say in a fascinating interview with BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke. Learn photography in a convenient, inspiring online class. Get feedback, answers, and genuine back-and-forth with famous pro photographers. Take a quick tour to see how it all works Stop by Team BetterPhoto blog, where you'll find lots of thoughts, insights, tips, and tidbits!

Photo Q&A

1: Extension Tubes for Nikon D300

I have a Nikon D300 and a Tokina AT-X 100 PRO D AF 100mm f2.8 macro lense. I am interested in getting even closer to subjects and wondered what other options are there for this camera besides extension tubes. I have heard if bellows, and a reverse mount for a lense. Has anyone had success with any of these methods with the D300?
- Brad Harding

Yes... reversing rings, extension tubes and bellows assemblies work well with the D300, as long as the lens mount is the same. I use all three quite often for my macro work. You will need to rely upon your own ability to use the manual settings on your camera though.

- Bob Cammarata

Thanks Bob, do you have specific product recommendations for what you listed?

- Brad Harding

My list includes the following:
Reversing Ring...Nikon BR-2A 52mm thread.
Bellows....Nikon PB-4 (No longer made but still available used on e-bay.)
Extension Tubes...Generic (Kenko, I think) in 12, 20, 36mm.

- Bob Cammarata
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2: The Best Canon 70-200mm Lens?

I am torn between the Canon 70-20mm IS f/2.8 or the IS f/4. I have talked to people who have shot with both and, of course, the answers vary. Just yesterday, one person told me that he felt the f/4 took sharper images than the f/2.8. I mainly shoot portraits and nature/travel photos. Needless to say, I do not want to buy one of the lenses and regret not getting the other. Your opinions would be most appreciated!
Thank you.
- Mikelin Van Dyck

Hello Mikelin,
I had the 70-200 f/4 (non-IS version), and it is a sharp lens and one of the best bargains around for $600. The f/4 IS and the f/2.8 non-IS are in the $1200 range, and the 2.8 with IS is about $1900. I bought the 2.8 IS when I sold my f/4 version and do not regret that decision as the 2.8 IS is highly regarded and many pros who shoot portraits for a living use this lens. They now have a newer 2.8 IS II for about $2500. I have not tried this lens and doubt that I will upgrade as I am very happy with my lens.
My opinion is that you can't beat fast glass (lenses with a wide maximum aperture), and 2.8 is faster than f/4. Plus, you get better performance in low light and a shallower DOF when you want it. I just shot a bunch of low light and portrait photos at a music festival and used the 70-200 f/2.8 IS for 80% of my shots.
Good Luck.

- Carlton WardSee Sample Photo - Camera girl

I have the f4 version and the 100-400mm which I really like. The f4's quality is fine and it's lighter weight than the f2.8. If you think you'll be shooting in low light, then the 2.8 would help. It really comes down to money. If money isn't an issue, then get the 2.8. But you might double-check the 100-400mm L lens, especially if you shoot wildlife. Or get them both ... the cheaper f4 70-200 (portraits) and the 100-400mm. :-)

- Ken Smith

First of all, unless there is a defect from the factory, all of the Canon 70-200 lenses are great. The "plain Jane" version, f4 USM, is one of the best deals in the lens world.
I had the f2.8 IS and, although a great lens, it is better suited for the full frame cameras than it is with the cropped cameras - i.e., Rebel series, xxD and 7D, because it balances better. There is a lot of weight up front and it can become awkward to use especially for car racing where panning is involved.
The f2.8 versions are heavy.
According to one review, the f4 IS is the sharpest of the four lenses. That is, until the MarkII version came out. I saw a photo taken with that lens with a 1DS MarkIII and it was amazing. With a cropped camera, I doubt if you would be able to tell much difference.
I no longer own a 5D but am using a 40D with the f4 IS and I can carry this around all day without getting tired. It balances very nicely on this camera. The f2.8 versions will focus a bit faster in very dim light. If the light is that dim, I will usually manual focus my camera and have it on a tripod anyway.
I do the same type shooting as you do and when I checked the EXIF data I had only used f3.5 four times in a year with the f2.8 version with the remaining being at a smaller f stop. However, if you have a full frame camera and the money, I would recommend the MarkII version.

- Lynn R. Powers

I would like to second Ken's recommendation for the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens - it is one of my very favorites and even though a bit of a light hog, I have captured some incredible & tack sharp images. After 6 years it is still one of the lenses I never leave home without.

- Carlton Ward

I agree that the 100-400mm lens is very versatile but apparently some models of this lens are better than others.
My friend Ellen Anon has one for bird photography, and she is nowhere near as satisfied as Carlton is with his 100-400mm lens.
According to

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 USM L IS is a very good performer with few weaknesses … that’s assuming you get a good sample – the first tested sample was mediocre whereas the second one performed very fine.

- Peter K. Burian

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
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