Canon 100-400mm II IS USM review in 2022 for Wildlife Photography

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Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review for bird and wildlife photography. Is the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens relevant today, in a world of mirrorless cameras and lenses? That’s the question we’re addressing in this review. Canon is also now a formidable player in the world of mirrorless cameras. So it’s reasonable to assume that Canon will not release an update for their 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens for DSLR cameras.

Watch what happens when you attach a Canon 1.4x III extender to the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS lens. The other questions that we’re also asking are whether the Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon D500 are relevant in a world of mirrorless cameras.

In the following videos, I address these questions individually: Is the Canon 7D Mark II relevant in 2022 and is the Nikon D500 relevant in 2022.

I hope this Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review has helped you. Please see www.girishmenon.com to know more about the photography workshops and wildlife photography tours that I offer!

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Is the Nikon D500 worth buying for wildlife photography in 2022?

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Is the Nikon D500 relevant for bird & wildlife photography in 2022? Bird & wildlife photography needs gear that’s fast enough to meet challenges. In a world of mirrorless cameras, are DSLR cameras such as the Nikon D500 and Canon 7D Mark II good enough to click sharp pictures of birds and wildlife?

I have a 5-point checklist to decide whether a camera is good enough for wildlife photography and they are, the number of autofocus points, autofocus speed, burst speed, buffer size and image quality.

Now before we talk about each of these in detail, I want to tell you that the camera has excellent build quality. It is weather sealed. So you can use it briefly in light rain, and its’ dust resistant. 

If you read the specs, they’ll tell you that this camera has 153 focus points. And that 99 of them are cross type focus points. 

But what you should know is that only 55 out of those 153 points are selectable by the user. And only 35 out of those 55 are cross type focus points.

On the other hand the D500’s biggest rival, the Canon 7D Mark II has 66 focus points, all cross type.

Cross type focus points are able to focus faster and more accurately than non-cross type points. You can rely on them to nail focus every single time. 

I always choose my autofocus area as “single point”, and select the relevant point where I want maximum sharpness. I align that focus point with the eye of the subject. 

You must also know that the focus points on the D500 that fall along the rule of thirds are not cross type. Which is a bummer when I want to align something along the thirds. But it’s not always that the eye of the bird needs to be along the thirds. And even though there are no cross type focus points at the thirds, we have non-cross type points there. That’s better than no focus points at all.

The autofocus speed is fast. With some practice, you should be able to nail focus on your subjects even in challenging situations.

The camera has a 20.9 megapixel sensor. And can click 10 frames per second which is exceptional. 

It has a buffer size of 200 RAW images. So as long as you have a fast enough card, which you should when clicking wildlife, your camera shouldn’t slow down because its buffer is full.

When clicking pictures of birds in flight, for example, we need shutter speeds in excess of 1/2000th of a second, sometimes even 1/4000th. That means higher ISO values. The image quality is exceptional, even at 1600 ISO.

The Nikon D500 camera checks all boxes and that’s why it’s still one of the best cameras you can lay your hands on, even in 2022. 

The thing that makes it most appealing is the Nikon 200-500 mil lens. This lens has a fixed maximum aperture value of 5.6 through the entire range of focal lengths. The 500 mil focal length is extremely essential when clicking pictures of birds. Canon, unfortunately never considered providing an affordable 500 mil lens for DSLR cameras whereas Nikon offers two, the 200-500 and the 500 5.6 prime lens.

But the Canon 100-400 Mark II lens is much smaller and lighter, ideal for jeep safaris if you’re going to click tigers, leopards, rhinos, and other mammals.

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know more about the bird and wildlife photography workshops and tours that I teach and organise

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Is the Canon 7D Mark II Camera worth buying for wildlife photography in 2022?

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Ok, so you want to click wildlife, and you are considering the Canon 7D Mark II. You’re in the right place!

I have a 5-point checklist to decide whether a camera is good enough for wildlife photography and they are:

Number of autofocus points
Autofocus speed
Burst speed
Buffer size and
Image quality

I find that if these specs are good enough then all other factors also fall in place.

Now before we talk about these specs in detail, I want to tell you that the camera is, as they say, built like a tank, Completely weather sealed, resists water and dust like a champion!

It has 66 focus points, all cross-type. Cross type focus points are able to focus faster more accurately than non-cross type points. You can rely on them to nail focus every single time even in challenging conditions such as low light, and when clicking photos of subjects in action.

I always choose my autofocus area as “single point”, and select the relevant point where I want maximum sharpness. I align that focus point with the eye of the subject.

On the Canon 7D Mark II, you can choose a smaller AF area within the focus point for even more accurate focusing.

The autofocus speed is super fast. I have no words to describe how quick and accurate it is in any situation.

It has a 20.2 megapixel sensor. And can click 10 frames per second… which is exceptional.

Its buffer can hold 31 RAW images which is significantly less when you compare it with something like a Nikon D500 which has a buffer size that can accommodate 200 RAW images.

However if you use a fast memory card, which is very affordable these days, your camera will never slow down just because its buffer is full. You can keep clicking at 10 frames per second, uninterrupted.

When clicking pictures of birds in flight, we need shutter speeds in excess of 1/200th of a second, sometimes even 1/4000th of a seocnd. That means higher ISO values.

The image quality is exceptional, even at 1600 ISO. And produces acceptable images even at 12800 ISO. These images that I clicked at 12800 ISO would be much muddier and unusable if I had clicked them with some other cameras.

The Canon 7D Mark II camera checks all boxes and that’s why it’s still one of the best cameras you can lay your hands on, even in 2022. But if you’re interested in photographing birds, you must consider the fact that Canon does not offer us an affordable 500 mil lens for their DSLR cameras… unlike Nikon which has two lenses, the 200-500, and 500 5.6 prime lens.

On the other hand, Canon has an exceptional 100-400 lens that’s probably the sharpest super telephoto zoom lens out there at the moment. The 100-400 Mark II is also a lot smaller and lighter than the Nikon 200-500. So if you’re going on jeep safaris to click tigers, leopards, rhinos, and other mammals, then the 100-400 Mark II lens is more comfortable to handle. It does exceptionally well with the 1.4X Mark III teleconverter. Please see the link in the description for my review on using the teleconverter and extending the focal length from 400 mil to 560 mil!

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How to click mouth-watering pictures of food with your Smartphone

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Learn how to click mouth-watering images of food with your Smartphone!

I facilitate a photography workshop called “foodstagram – Food Photography with Smartphones!” via Zoom. Please see https://www.girishmenon.com/food-photography-workshop-with-smartphones-with-girish-menon to register for the next workshop.

Some of the salient features of this workshop are:

✔   It’s Live via Zoom so that you can attend from anywhere in the 🌎

✔   You will learn how to click photos of food anytime of the Day or Night in Natural or LED Light

✔   Learn how Affordable Accessories will help you to click Awesome photos

✔   Unlimited Post-workshop Peer-to-peer support via Facebook

This is a list of some of the accessories we used during the workshop:

Boom arm with smartphone holder
Bluetooth remote control
Macro lens (wide-angle lens also included in kit)
Background paper rolls https://amzn.to/3JOD6G4 , https://amzn.to/3BKobKv , https://amzn.to/3JRFFHD
Clips
5-in-1 reflector (includes diffuser)
LED light with light stand

Boom arm with smartphone holder https://amzn.to/3hbbNJM
Background paper rolls (see options: https://amzn.to/3JOD6G4 , https://amzn.to/3BKobKv , https://amzn.to/3JRFFHD) and clips https://amzn.to/33HvSnY
Macro lens for Smartphones https://amzn.to/3BIbaki
5-in-1 Diffuser https://amzn.to/3LSmj70

Please see https://www.girishmenon.com/food-photography-workshop-with-smartphones-with-girish-menon to register for the next food photography with Smartphones workshop.

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Amazing Behind the scenes Bird Photography with Nikon D500 and 200-500mm lens

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We see little bird activity early in the morning, especially when it’s cold. Waders i.e. water birds are always on the lookout for fish and other creatures that waggle between their legs. But other birds must wait until the sun rises and the ground is warm enough to drive insects out of their burrow slooking of food. This can be a frustrating time for photographers, waiting for songbirds to emerge, having already clicked all the possible photos of waders.What do you do? Wait?

This video shows you what that’s like! What would you do in such times? Please watch and lmk

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Attractive Behind the Scenes Bird Photography with Nikon D500 and 200-500 mm lens

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I all began in December 2020. I started putting together short videos about my wildlife photography experiences. I used to stay up all night to record my narration videos.

Up until that point, I had never stayed up all night ever. Not even if I had an exam the next day. Consequently, I fell ill. Once I had recovered, and that took a while, I had to figure out alternate ways of recording my voice-over.

So I went into the nearby jungle and filmed with an OSMO Pocket. You see, my apartment is on the first floor of a noisy street. So recording during the day isn’t an option.

There are many challenges with using an OSMO Pocket. The lens isn’t wide enough. So I have to use this wide-angle lens adapter that sits over the main lens via magnets. The audio adapter that lets you connect external microphones to the OSMO Pocket is out of stock. So they gave me a third-party adapter. I only just realised that it doesn’t work! The on-board mics did the recording, which turned out okay, but not as well as a directional mic would. I just got a mic that connects directly via USB-C, so that’ll solve that problem next time I’m out filming.

If you’re into vlogging, I recommend getting the GoPro HERO 10 Black. It’s a bit pricey, but will serve you well for at least a decade.

I put together this video, it’s the second video with my narration recorded on the OSMO Pocket. I recorded 2-3 videos that morning. I think they’re all still very sketchy with things that need to be ironed out. But I wonder if that’s really required or if I’m over thinking. I reckon this is my worst video production till date—it’s a behind the scenes look at me clicking a bee eater.

Please watch the video and lmk what you think.

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Proven Bird Photography Tips with Nikon D500 Camera & 200-500 Lens

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What’s your favourite subject in wildlife photography? I’ll tell you mine… clicking pictures of small birds gives me more satisfaction than any other subject. Because it’s very challenging to photograph these small birds. You need to bring in all your knowhow… your composition skills, your artistic ability, you need to bring all of that to the table to get successful photographs.

But when I get successful photographs of small birds, good setting, good light, nothing gives me more joy!

This is a behind the scenes look at photographing small birds such as Bushchats and Stonechats from a boat in Kumbhargaon near Bhigwan. Photographing small birds is always a challenge because they are always on the move. So we need to be technically sound to get sharp photos of small birds. In the video I talk about focus point selection and the use of a bean bag for photography.

I teach photography courses via Zoom. You can participate in my courses from anywhere in the world. See https://www.girishmenon.com/ to know more about my photography courses for beginners and semi-professionals.

I also teach a Smartphone Photography workshop called “Develop your creative eye” that will turn you into a better photographer, photo editor, and visual communicator.

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How to use Zone Focusing Easily – Successful Street Photography Tip

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Hi, have you ever wondered if you should consider Ricoh GR cameras? Especially for candid street photography?

Lots of photography enthusiasts love the idea of doing some candid street photography. And always wonder what gear to use. Cameras used for street photography have always been small and discrete. Street photography is all about getting as close to your subject as possible. And using wide angle lenses rather than with telephoto lenses from further away. So if we look at some of the great masters, they’d use prime lenses such as the 24mm or 28mm, 35mm or 50mm.

Cameras by Olympus, Fujifilm, and Sony compete with Ricoh for street photography. The GR series is now in its 3rd generation. The 3 things that I like the most about these cameras are their small size, the TAv mode, and Snap focus.

In spite of their small size, they have an APS-C size sensor. The GR III has a 24 megapixel sensor with a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens. Beginner and semi professional DSLR cameras have APS-C sensors. So it’s wonderful to have a sensor that size on a camera as small as the GR.

We can simulate the TAv mode on any DSLR or mirrorless camera. To do this, we need to do is set the camera’s mode to manual. Then we dial in the desired aperture value and shutter speed, and set the ISO to AUTO. But having that TAv mode separate from the manual is useful because we can switch from one to the other.

The main thing that I want to tell you about is the Snap Focus feature. Now again this is not something new. All professional lenses have a distance scale. We can set the focus manually by adjusting the distance using the focusing ring. But in the thick of things, the ring can get disturbed. And this will result in undesirable results.

Whereas on Ricoh GR cameras, you can hardcode the focusing distance. We can set the distance to 1 meter, 1,5 meters, 2 meters, 2,5 meters, 5 meters or to Infinity and it’ll stay there. I found myself setting it to one and a half meters most often. Then in the TAv mode, I dial my aperture down to f/8 so that I get a pretty good depth of field. I set my shutter shutter speed between 1/250th of a second and 1/500th of a second. The shutter speed depends on the speed of the action that I’m clicking and the speed at which I’m walking.

We find all these features on any or most cameras. But I get a big sense of relief and liberation when I click pictures with GR cameras. That’s the primary point that I want to convey through this video. When technical settings aren’t occupying my mind, I’m only thinking about composition. It brings all the fun right back into the game!

I use an external optical viewfinder. That way I’m not looking at the LCD screen at all, or chimping after clicking every picture. The camera is so small and light that I can enjoy life unfolding in front of my eyes and keep slices of it for myself.

So now you know a little more about Ricoh GR cameras, and street photography. This will enable you to click much better pictures in the future. The GR III has image stabilisation which is a big advantage. Please see the links in the description below.

I’m Girish Menon and I teach photography through LIVE video calls. You can be based anywhere in the world, and still learn photography from me, how cool is that?

Please logon to my website, www.girishmenon.com to check out the courses that I offer.

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Which is the best for Wildlife Photography? How to Choose the Right Lens for YOU?

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Which is the best lens for bird photography?

In this video I tell you how to go about choosing lenses, depending on what stage of photography you’re at.

I can teach you more about photography via LIVE 1:1 photography workshops via live video calls. These are not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself, I’ll actually be present on the call. You can be based anywhere in the world and still learn photography from me!

My workshops are open to anyone above the age of 8. You do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience with photography to enroll for my workshops.

☀️ Contact information

Website https://www.girishmenon.com
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/theopenimage/
Twitter https://twitter.com/theopenimage
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theopenimage

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