Canon EF 100mm-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens review

I never planned on owning a 3.62 lbs./1640g lens, but the Canon EF 100mm-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM is an amazing lens, situationally.  wolfFor me, the lens serves two purposes. Taking photos of birds in my backyard and going to the zoo.  If you are going for an ultralight setup this would be about the last lens you should consider buying.

It’s pretty much like carrying a brick around; my arm and neck hurt after four hours of lugging the lens around, but I ended up never taking it off the camera, because it’s a near perfect zoo lens. Ultimately, it’s lighter and less obtrusive than carrying a tripod and a lighter telephoto lens.foxxyThe biggest highlight of the lens, to me, is image stabilization mode three.  The image stabilization activates only when you engage the shutter; I’ve never had a reason to use mode one or two so far. I’ve even been able to handhold it at 1/6 of a second and still get a sharp image. giraffeUnless you are going to a zoo or on a safari, I don’t see a really good reason to travel with this lens. And on a safari, I’d probably rent a faster lens with longer reach.thinkgorillaThe f5.6 on the zoom end generally means you will have to raise your ISO to compensate. But, the noisy photo below still shows the detail still captured in this close crop. The mode three IS also allows you to leave the ISO low on some shots and instead just lower your shutter speed; just make sure the subject isn’t moving.redpandawmFor anyone who had the previous version, gone are the original version’s lack of sharpness and the push-pull zoom. It still has a lens barrel that extends with the ring zoom and some people may be concerned about dust getting inside the weather-sealing.zebragiraffeThe Canon EF 100mm-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM is an extremely flexible lens and if you enjoy shooting wildlife it’s a great choice. It’s not really an ultralight choice, but if you need the versatility this lens offers for wildlife, it allows you to leave the tripod at home.

Canon EF-M 22mm f2

streetbrid

In 2014 Chevrolet released a rear wheel drive, four door sedan; it looked like a family car; it looked like a Malibu. It was anything but. The Chevrolet SS packed a 6.2L V8, and could leap from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. It instantly became one of the best sleeper cars of all time. You could pull up next to a sports car and innocently ask, “Hey, wanna race?” All the while, knowing not only were you going to win, you were going to leave them in your dust. It was made to crush the fantasies of men in their midlife crisis, and then make them question their manhood. The Canon EF-M 22mm f2 is a lens designed for making people with their huge expensive L glass question if they are overcompensating.

The Canon EF 50mm f1.8 or “nifty fifty” is probably Canon’s most famous sleeper lens. Much like the nifty fifty, the Canon EF-M 22mm f2 is a tiny lens that looks like a low budget lens – unfortunately, it’s not quite as affordable as the Canon EF 50mm. And much like the Chevrolet SS and the nifty fifty, this lens is a sleeper.

While the Chevrolet SS sported a magnesium tubular frame, a huge engine and flappy paddle shifters, the Canon EF-M 22mm f2 isn’t hiding quite as much under the lens hood. The plastic body sounds hollow and the front element is only about 12.5 mm; however, it does have a metal mounting ring so I don’t fear swapping it on or off my camera body. It focuses quickly and silently thanks to its stepper motor. Oddly, it’s the only Canon EF-M lens not to have built in image stabilization. But with the f2 speeds you don’t miss IS too much.

As you begin proofing photos taken with this lens on a computer screen, you find yourself thrown back into your chair like you stomped on the Chevrolet SS’s gas pedal. Colors pop vibrantly. There is very little chromatic aberration and as you can see in the above photo it’s incredibly sharp even at it’s widest aperture. Opened up the lens has a nice round bokeh thanks to its 7 blades. With the f2 aperture you can play around with the depth of field and blur the foreground and background making your subject stand out. In the bird photo above I was pretty close to it’s minimum focusing distance of 6 inches or 15 cm. I have not had any lens flare issues. You might have to up your ISO settings for night time photography.  Currently, this is the fastest EF-M lens, unless you buy an adapter to use faster EF or third party lenses, it’s the best choice for shooting at night.

22mmf2

It weighs a mere 105 gram and that alone would guarantee a permanent spot in my travel bag if it wasn’t on my camera 80% of the time.  I really like just how small this combination is with a Canon M body, I can easily put it in my coat pocket and always be ready to capture whatever happens around me.

If there is one lens you need to get with the EOS M line, it’s this one.

Joby Gorillapod GP2-E1EN review

Have you ever received a re-gift from your sister and had it sit in a drawer for many years, only to pull it out and realize you are an idiot for for not using it?  I’m the idiot here.

Of course, originally, I was putting too heavy of a camera on it. Joby’s website doesn’t do a very good job with discontinued models so it took me a while to figure out exactly what model I had.

img_14931

That being said, once I got my Canon M5, the Joby Gorillapod GP2 became the best travel tripod since sliced bread.  It’s about 10 inches long and can be carried easily in my bag. Sure, resting it on the ground I can’t get it to eye level, but using my cell phone as both a trigger and viewfinder it works pretty well. It also doubles nicely for a walking around stick for holding the camera in your hand or for taking handheld videos. Just make sure you activate the lock so it doesn’t go flying off.

Joby claims the capacity on this model is 800 grams. The tripod’s weigh comes in at 165 grams.

My Canon M5 weighs 427 grams with batteries plus 15 grams for the the ef-m 22mm f2 lens for a total of 442 grams. So I could even put a slightly heavier lens on. You wouldn’t want to put an EOS 5d Mark III on it.

tree-jobyPros:

  • Locks so you don’t accidentally hit the quick release button
  • Fits in my camera bag
  • Affordable
  • It weighs a lot less than just about any other tripod

Cons:

  • Doesn’t look as cool as a carbon fiber full size tripod
  • Low to the ground
  • You need to setup the legs perfectly to make sure you don’t tip the camera over or so it doesn’t fall off a railing or tree branch since it’s so lightweight.

To go with a current product, the GorillaPod Hybrid might be your choice if you want a flexible tripod with a ballhead that can support 1000 grams. But, weighing in at 191 grams you would be adding about 26 grams, which isn’t too bad. Another option is the 91 gram iStabilizer SpyderFlex. It has a 816 gram load limit according to their support email. I have not had a chance to look at one yet, but saving 74 grams isn’t too bad.

All in all it’s a great travel tripod that sometimes forces you to be a little extra creative in settting up a shot. It’s unfortunate they don’t have a current offering that is this lightweight. My advice is to get a Joby GP2-E1EN GorillaPod Flexible Tripod while they are still available or take a chance on a SpyderFlex and let me know what you thinik.