Appearing identical to the Canon T5i in many ways, there’s more under the hood of the T6i to distinguish it from older Canon models. Is the difference worth the price hike, though?
Canon Rebel T6i Preview with Images
Unlike the T5i’s subtle improvements over its predecessor, the T4i, the newer T6i offers an outright jump in specifications. A greater image resolution overall will perhaps be the greatest increase, accompanied by a sensor resolution or 24 megapixels instead of 18 (no doubt in response to the latest Nikons).
Of course, the Image Processor has now been upgraded to Digic6, which still doesn’t seem all that different from the older Digic5.
An increase in ISO range by one stop may entice low-light shooters, but an increase in white balance presets and autofocus points may appeal to a larger range of potential customers. Basic features beyond these mentioned remain largely the same, though the T6i is slightly less heavy.
It should come as no surprise that the biggest reason to buy this camera may be the built-in WiFi, which – when coupled with the 24 megapixel sensor – puts it right in line with Nikon’s newest entry level cameras.
For beginners, those traveling (and wanting to upload photos on the go) may particularly like the WiFi, while landscape and portrait photographers (and those who enjoy printing LARGE) will admire the sensor and resolution that comes along with the Canon Rebel T6i. For more hobbyist shooters, and those unconcerned with the performance of their current camera, the T6i will still offer a powerful but pricey upgrade option. Anyone coming from the T5i or even older T4i may do just as well to sink that money into some primo glass or other accessories that would provide an edge.
Of course, don’t just take my word for it. Instead, come visit us in Manhattan (at 29 West 46th Street), and check out the camera for yourself. Or check it out in our online store.
If you have heard anything lately about the Olympus E-M5 Mark II, it’s probably something to do with the 40 megapixel High-Res Shot Mode. However, this isn’t the only feature of the new OM-D camera that should be piquing your interest.
Olympus E-M5 Mark II is More Than Just 40 Megapixels
Featuring a redesigned 16 megapixel sensor, and the Truepic VII image processor, the camera also offers a mechanical shutter of 1/8000 of a second. In S-AF mode, a maximum rate of 10 frames per second is possible. Shutter shock is now remedied by an Anti-shock Mode, while Silent Mode allows electronic shutter speeds of 1/16000 of a second, eliminating all sound from the shutter, and putting it in direct competition of other models already offering this feature (Fujifilm).
These features of the New Olympus E-M5 Mark II aren’t even the whole story, as the list goes on to include 81-point Auto Focus, 5-axis in-body image stabilization providing 5.0 EV steps of exposure compensation, and a working minimum handheld shutter speed of 1/4 of a second.
If you still aren’t impressed, Olympus has also upped the resolution of the EVF and the touchscreen LCD, thus improving the E-M5’s user interface.
Capable of recording Full HD at multiple frame rates, and with audio monitoring supported via the HLD-8G external grip, the new Olympus E-M5 Mark II is also gunning for better video performance.
Focus Peaking even gets an upgrade, now offered in four colors: red, yellow, black, and white.
Of course, the standard Olympus art filters all make an appearance, but this gimmick seems outweighed by the inclusion of the ever-useful built-in WiFi.
All in all, there’s a lot going on with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II besides that 40 Megapixel Sensor Shifting Publicity stunt. Of course, how all of this handles in actual practice is another story entirely.
Nikon shooters can go ahead and skip this article, because this is all about Canon’s entry-level DSLRs, and the three best beginner lenses for Canon Rebel cameras. When you bought your Canon camera, it probably came with a lens – an 18-55mm lens, or in some cases an 18-135mm lens. Most photographers will be very satisfied with the included (or “kit”) lens, but for those who find themselves limited in their output would do well to consider these three very useful (and inexpensive!) options.
Three Beginner Lenses for Canon Rebel Cameras
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
The most expensive lens on our list of beginner lenses for Canon Rebel cameras (and perhaps the most useful), the 10-18mm offers a wider angle of view for expansive landscape and architecture shots. If you prefer street or event photography, using this lens will allow you to photograph your subjects at arms-length, while still getting everything inside the frame.
Bonus Features: image stabilization (IS) for better low-light performance, stepping motor (STM) for better auto focus when shooting video
Where to Buy: due to the IS and STM features, this lens has a lot of gears and wires inside of it – so pick it up from an authorized dealer so you can get the Canon warranty on it
Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II Lens
If you find your photos fuzzy or un-sharp, or if you get blurry photos when photographing in low light, you may want to consider the 50mm f1.8 II. An all-plastic lens, this is Canon’s cheapest lens. However, the portraits that come out of this baby are absolutely STUNNING. Why? That f1.8 aperture lets in a lot of light, allowing you to get a tack-sharp subject and some creamy, out-of-focus backgrounds. The f1.8 aperture also gives this lens a decent edge in low-light scenarios where a flash may not be preferable.
Bonus Features: none, but in all honesty, this lens is still excellent without them
Price: $125.00 ($105 after mail-in rebate)
Where to Buy: because it is so cheap, buy this lens anywhere – and if you purchase from an authorized dealer you not only get the warranty, but also a $20 mail-in rebate
Canon EF-S 55-250 IS II Lens
A great telelphoto zoom lens for a wide variety of subjects, the 55-250 IS II lens more than earns its place our list of beginner lenses for Canon Rebel cameras. It handles portraits, wildlife, and sports with ease, thanks in no small part to some well-implemented image stabilization. Videographers may want to skip this model and pick up the Canon EF-S 55-250 IS STM lens for $50 more, and which features a motor optimized for better video performance. Those on a budget, or those who prefer to shoot in bright sunlight or on a tripod, could save $50 and pick up the Canon EF-S 75-300 III lens to get a longer zoom range but no image stabilization (and thus marginally-worse performance in low light).
Bonus Features: image stabilization (IS) for better low light shooting, and for hand-held shooting at longer focal lengths, like 250mm (where camera shake is more noticeable in the form of blurry subjects)
Price: $249 (the STM version will cost you $299, while the cheapo 75-300mm will cost you $199)
Where to Buy: just like the 10-18mm IS STM, this lens (and it’s variations) all feature a LOT of gears and wires, so DO NOT purchase this lens from anyone other than an authorized dealer
Olympus detractors continue to lose ground, and the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO isn’t helping them one bit. But for those of us out there who love Olympus, is the $1500 price tag worth it, and how does it fare in regard to the Olympus hallmarks of image quality and portability?
Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO: PRObably Worth It
Let me level with you right now, folks: I am not a huge fan of telephoto lenses, because I no longer do a lot of distanced work. An 80mm lens is an extreme for me nowadays, as most of my stuff is shot on the street, a few yards (tops) away from my subjects. That being said, a few years ago when I lived out in the country (North Central Pennsylvania aka Coal Country), I used to loooove telephoto lenses. Well, if I knew then what I knew now…it probably wouldn’t have helped all that much because I would still have had to wait five years to get my hands on this lens. Because I would wait for this lens. Why? Because it’s that kind of lens. It works well – so, so well – with the OM-D E-M1, to the point where it feels as though the two of melded together to form some sort of super camera.
The Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is built like a PROverbial brick house. A quality build all-around, you can feel it almost instantly when you pick up the lens. That metal body and all that glass inside give the lens some weight, though, and definitely detracts from the portability that so many people associate with Micro Four Thirds cameras. That being said, it is best to view this lens as a truly professional piece of equipment on par with an equivalently long lens from Nikon or Canon: it ain’t built for convenience, but for durability and performance. Included with the lens is a nice tripod color, but the real nifty amenity to this lens is the inclusion of a kind of shotgunning lens hood. You simply lock it onto the lens like any other lens hood, but then there’s this rubber grip around the hood. Twist and pull towards the camera and the hood slides back on it’s circular mount, allowing for easier stowing inside your camera bag or lens case. Twist the rubber the same way and push away from the camera, and the hood springs back out, protecting you from pesky flare. I know, I know: totally badass.
Well, the heaviness is a down side. But, the heft does help stabilize for handheld shooting. This characteristic, coupled with that f/2.8 constant aperture, makes shooting in sub-optimal conditions easy as pie. For instance, most of the images in this review were shot on a windy, cloudy day while the camera was handheld. Some images were shot at a higher ISO and faster shutter speed, but I did end up pushing the camera to a shutter speed of 1/200th. What I got was fantastic, considering.
Here, the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO really PROves itslef worthy – not only of the price tag, but also of your adoration. Like every other top-of-the-line offering from Olympus, this lens yields excellent results. It handles portraits, it handles nature, it handles action. It does everything you need it to do, with no PROblems whatsoever. Chromatic aberration/color fringing is non existent on this baby. And once you pop on that no-hassle lens hood, flares are rendered moot. So are there any real down sides to the Olympus m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens? No, not really. Even though my test was brief, the samples will speak for themselves.
Need telephoto zoom? Need PRO telephoto zoom? Shoot with a Micro Four Thirds camera? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, give the 40-150mm PRO a look-see. Hold it in your hands. Gaze into its depths. Seriously, though, consider this lens if you do a lot of distance work, especially if doing so in low light or where faster shutter speeds are needed. Sports photographers, I am looking at you.
Sample images below. Click on any image to see full resolution.
Not unlike choosing other things, selecting a good 17-50mm f2.8 lens requires some research. Hopefully you’re doing that right now, and if you are, you will find this article fairly helpful.
So, without further ado…
Choosing your 17-50 f2.8 Lens: Canon/Nikon, Tamron, and Sigma
Brand name optics are good stuff. They usually receive ample attention from the same company that manufactured your camera, and as such, will offer fantastic results. Canon offers the 17-55 f2.8 IS USM, while Nikon offers the 17-55 f2.8 G ED-IF AF-S. These lenses feature great ergonomics, superior optics, and a price point to match. In Canon’s case, you receive some banging IS while in the case of Nikon, you pay a lot of money for some fantastic optics and the ability to switch to manual focus at anytime by simply using the manual focus ring. Brand Name 17-50mm f2.8 lenses – both Canon and Nikon – are reasonably sharper and less prone to chromatic aberration than less-expensive models.
The Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS USM lens.
If you are a Canon photographer, purchase the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 if you are an event photographer, or shoot in low light. If you shoot in response to your environment – for example, if you are doing photojournalism, documentary work, or event photography where a flash is not preferred, the IS will save your bacon time and time again.
The Nikon 17-55 f2.8 G DX AF-S lens.
If you are a Nikon photographer, invest in the Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 G lens if you want the very best image quality (sharpness, contrast) out of your cropped-sensor DSLR. A wide range of photographers will benefit from this lens, but the lack of Nikon’s VR will not lend it to the exact same applications as the Canon lens listed above. Instead, this lens is all about raw quality and ease-of-use in regard to manual focusing. The cost of this lens may actually prohibit many photographers from buying it.
Sharper than the junk that Sigma makes, but not as sharp as Nikon or Canon, these bad boys are the runners-up in terms of quality. In terms of bang-for your-buck, though, they cannot be beat. Image quality is adequate or excellent for amateurs and pros alike, but the most exacting of pixel peepers may find them sub-par. These lenses also come in two flavors: those with stabilization (Tamron calls it VC), and those without.
The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 (with VC).
Buy the Tamron VC version if you shoot in low light, and don’t use a flash. Don’t expect whisper-like auto focus, but don’t expect a coffee grinder, either. Suffice to say, it should be seen as a budget option offering moderate sharpness, some stabilization, and a lower price point than brand-name competitors.
The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 (without VC).
Buy the non-VC version if you shoot primarily in daylight, use a tripod (for longer exposures) or a flash, or shoot at ungodly-high ISO. Don’t buy the non-VC version because you need the VC version but don’t want to spend the money, because you can’t really make up for the lack of stabilization short of changing your shooting style.
Buy this lens if you absolutely must have a 17-50mm f2.8 equivalent. Otherwise, meh.
The Sigma 17-50mm f2.8mm lens.
For those on a budget, she can’t be beat. Offering stabilization in the form of Sigma’s OS, this lens provides all the specs needed to woo those who aren’t familiar with back-focus issues on older Sigma lenses.
Other Options (from Sigma)
Sigma also makes a decent 18-35mm f1.8 lens that will provide phenomenal results for most photographers. Hallmarks of this lens include that rare 1.8 constant aperture, improved image sharpness, and generally fantastic build quality. The down side? Lower zoom range.
A Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens.
Buy this lens if you shoot events or environmental portraits. Photographers who prefer to work at a longer distance may not appreciate the benefits of this lens. However, sliver-thin depth of field at a wide range of focal lengths may just win them over.
If less expensive lenses are your cup of tea, you could also consider the 17-70mm (also from Sigma), offering an f2.8-4 variable aperture that may not be as sweet or as expensive as a constant f2.8. Image quality is still good though, and should not be dismissed solely on the basis of the Sigma Brand.
The Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 Contemporary lens.
Who should look into this lens? Those who want a better lens than the one that came with their camera. This lens is a great option for people who want longer zoom range, a faster aperture, and maybe some slightly sharper images to boot.
Tis the season…to cobble together last minute gifts for people you feel obligated to give gifts to. But if you have a photographer in your life, here are some ideas to help you choose stocking stuffers – or a full blown Christmas list.
Just remember that these are suggestions. Not every photographer will want a Toy camera lens, or 3200 ISO film.
A Holga Toy Lens made to fit Canon EOS Cameras.
Numero Uno on our list, and arguably the most fun, is toy lenses. You can find theses suckers on ebay and Amazon for daaaaaaaaaamn cheap, son. They aren’t quality lenses, but at $44 and under, what’s not to love? Don’t speaker camera lingo? Here are some simple steps:
- Ask your photographer what camera they use. Example: Fuji x-e2
- Type that stuff into a search bar with the words “lomo lens” behind it
A lens cap keeper/buckle thing-a-ma-jig.
Lens Cap Keeper/Buckle
Well, this one is pretty useful. You can get them cheap at most camera stores. But the coolest looking ones (in my opinion) are on ebay. Just search for “lens cap buckle” and see what comes up.
Note: there are different size buckles for different size lens caps. Check the size (listed in mm) on the bottom of the lens cap (or caps) in question. Popular sizes include 37, 43, 49, 52, 58, 62, 67, and 77mm.
A Battery Grip designed to fit the Canon 5D Mk II.
Batteries and/or a Battery Grip
This one will work best for those photographers in your life who don’t already have tons of batteries or a battery grip. Both batteries and grips may be specific to one camera model, or multiple camera models may use the same batteries and grips. Search online or call up a camera store to find the right items.
A neoprene neck strap with buckle-style releases for easy use.
Consider these the woolen socks of Christmas morning. As good as receiving a new camera? No. Better than receiving something non-camera related? Hell yes. Go flashy for those who want to stand out from the crowd, or give an enthusiast photographer something designed more for comfort or ease of use than personal style. Thanks to a large number of newbie photographers theses days, the amount of whacky (or downright professional) straps out there has really taken off.
The ATR3350IS from Audio Technica can’t be beat.
A cheap-as-chips (but still pretty awesome) accessory for video work (or recorded notes!) this device can run as cheap as $29.99 and offer audio much improved over the camera’s built-in mics. Audio Technica’s ATR3350iS is a particularly enticing model, with a built in adapter that allows you to monitor the audio feed with a pair of headphones while recording.
A roll of Kodak 120 film (left) and a roll of Fujifilm 35mm (right).
Ah, the half-stocking stuffer because hey let’s face it, film ain’t for everyone. Hopefully it is for your photographer, though, because film is relatively inexpensive, fun, and educational. Yayyy!
So here’s a basic guide:
You want 35mm film if your photographer shoots 35mm film. Telltale signs of this film include plastic containers, and pudgy little cardboard boxes with the number “135” on it.
If your photographer shoots medium format (120 film), you should buy that. It usually has black paper on the back and gets rolled up when it’s finished. It comes out of the box in a little foil or plastic wrapping. It doesn’t come out of the camera neatly wound up in a metal canister.
Low ISO film will have a number from 12-100 on it. This stuff is smooooth. The favorite of landscape photographers and some portrait photographers who lose their marbles when every single detail isn’t right. Buy this film if your photographer likes to shoot in bright daylight, talks about sharpness a lot, or prefers large prints.
This speed of film usually ranges from 200-400 ISO. It’s great for photographers who do indoor shooting, use flashes in their photography, or take some action shots. Buy 400 ISO film if your photographer talks about “pushing” or “pulling” film.
If your photographer shoots in low light (indoors, at night) or likes to photograph lots of action with a film camera (a few sports photographers, a LOT of street photographers), look no further than this film. Look for ISO numbers between 800 and 6400. This can be tricky, though, because certain cameras can’t use film this high. Do some research online using this formula:
camera model + “asa range” (or “film speed range”)
If you can’t for the life of you figure that out, call a camera shop. A good shop will give you great service even before you step foot into the store.
Bridge cameras tend to play second fiddle to DSLRs and Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILCs), but the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS offers the discerning photographer an enticing package.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS: Z to the O-O-M
Facing competition from DSLRs and ILCs as they become more user-friendly, Bridge Cameras still offer one unassailable benefit to any photographer: serious range right-out-of-the-box. With interchangeable lens cameras, long telephoto lenses are expensive and heavy. Compact cameras sometimes feature big zoom ranges, but image quality may suffer from smaller sensors.
Enter the Bridge Camera, built with an expansive zoom range, DSLR-like functions, in sizes ranging from moderate to tiny.
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is all of this and more, featuring 65x optical zoom (equivalent to 21-1365mm focal range in 35mm or Full Frame), custom user modes, built-in WiFi, 6.5 frames per second continuous shooting, and a built-in electronic viewfinder. So with all these bells and whistles, does it perform well?
The camera handles like you expect it to: a tad bulky, but with plenty of controls at your fingertips. Feeling like an easy-to-use point and shoot, but with plenty of advanced manual controls, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS is more than enough camera for all but the most serious of amateurs. And thanks to Canon’s easily-accessible and ultra-intuitive menus, changing functions inside the camera are a cinch as well. Zooming in and out can seem a little slow, and there is no sensor around the viewfinder to automatically turn it on when you look through it, but despite these two drawbacks, the camera operates quite well.
Compared to other bridge cameras with a long zoom range, this camera is in most respects top-of-the-line. Olympus and Panasonic (and most other brands, it seems), give you an eye sensor on the viewfinder so that it automatically turns on when you press your face up against it. The PowerShot SX60 HS it just doesn’t offer you that, and instead you find yourself hitting the “Display” button and cycling through different variations of displays on the LCD or electronic viewfinder. This probably won’t be a big deal for many shooters who prefer the LCD anyway, but for those of us who like the viewfinder, it can be a nagging pain.
Here the Canon PoweShot SX60 HS squarely beats out the competition, with some fantastic image sharpness, as well as excellent color rendering. Even the Auto White Balance is decent.
Zooming in, there’s some minimal loss of quality, but in general, you’ll see stellar results until you start using the digital modifiers at the end of the zoom range. In close areas, you may even find all that zoom a little too intense, but the quality is still there should you need it.
Automatic Mode in the camera tended to result in some clipped highlights for me, even without exposure compensation. This is the only issue, but even then, the clipping wasn’t too extreme. For those who like the best image quality possible, the Manual Mode will come in very handy in some situations.
Who It’s For
This camera is a prime candidate for anyone who is looking for the best zoom range out-of-the-box, or for someone who wants a relatively inexpensive camera that they can grow with. Portraits and landscapes will be easy pickings for this camera, and any beginner looking to get a leg up in these areas will be happy with the results out of the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS.
Who It’s Not For
People who want to photograph at night without a tripod, and those looking for a good sports-shooting experience should skip this camera. Why? Canon does a lot of things right with its bridge cameras, but the SX60 HS is lacking in ISO compared to the competition. If you want a bridge camera for night shooting, check out some offerings from Olympus or Fuji. Zooming in and out with the lens (and trying to follow action) can seem a bit difficult – for such situations, a manual zoom would be much handier (and that’s where one might consider a Mirrorless or DSLR camera).
The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS offers excellent image quality and convenient handling in an affordable package, and may offer certain photographers a welcome alternative to pricier point and shoots or heavier, more cumbersome DSLRs. However, little faults here and there may limit the appeal of this camera to old-school shooters, or people looking for the most capable of setups.
Superlux HD-681 EVO Review: Best Headphones Under $50?
What’s So Great About The Superlux HD-681 EVO?
The next and most recent in a line of reputable, reliable yet affordable headphones from the relativity unknown headphone company Superlux, the HD-681 EVO offer amazing sound at an even more amazing price. While being on the cutting edge of fashion isn’t a strong-suit of the Superlux fame, this is quite possibly the coolest looking of their line, and the most reminiscent of a high level Sennheiser headphone vs their standard AKG look-alikes.
The Superlux HD-681 EVO offers a nicely balanced sound profile while offering a level of bass you wont find in most “audiophile” headphones. Generally I have been left missing a bit of that thumping bass that’s so quintessential to the type of music I listen to most, House. With the Superlux, the HD-681 EVO I’m not left missing anything. While it’s not the type of THUMP THUMP THUMP bass you can actually feel, it IS a pleasant and fairly balanced amount. While the mids on these headphones are indeed slightly recessed, they can be made slightly brighter by removing some of the padding between the driver and your ears.
HD-681 EVO Mod Heaven
One of the coolest things about the Superlux EVO, the HD-681 and indeed the whole superlux line is that their relativity easy to customize and with such low price points they are not so scary to mess with. Would you ever remove factory padding from a $700 headphone and experiment with stuffing other materials in their place to see how the sound changes? Probably not…but what if your audiophile quality cans are only $50? You’d probably stuff a bologna sandwich in there if you thought it would make the sound better. Point is, with a not so prohibitive cost, these headphones offer 100’s of possibilities for audio enthusiasts willing to experiment a little.
That being said, messing with the Superlux, the HD-681 EVO to get them to sound right is certainly not a requirement. Right out of the box, even pre-burn in the EVO’s sound great and deliver a bright yet warm and lush sound. Their semi-open design makes for amazing sound-staging and the closed part lends it self to blocking out enough outside noise so you can enjoy your music peacefully.
For the price of $49.99, there are not too many headphones that can effectively deliver that which the Superlux EVO brings in droves. Precision sound, value and a touch of class and style. Get yours at Audio46.com or here at HandBDigital.com today!
For years now headphones and the use of personal audio players have been on the rise. Ever since Steve Jobs introduced us to the brick sized ipod of the early 2000’s, the world has been living life with their headphones in. The trouble is, it’s not always easy to find the best headphone store.
That’s why we launched our very own headphone store. Audio46.com, our sister site is a site developed and designed with headphone lovers in mind. Sometimes when you’re looking for a specific product on H and B it can be hard to find with 1000’s of products from every category. That’s why we created Audio46.
A Headphone Store With A Personal Touch
Just like at H and B Digital, Customer service is #1 at Audio46 headphones, and it seems to show with the highest customer service score of any headphone specialty shop in the city! We make it easy to shop for the headphones you crave with helpful categories like best dj headphones under $50, best headphones under $100, under $200, Shop by Brand, and Shop By Style. Whether it’s In-ear, On-Ear or Over-Ear headphones you need audio46 has you covered!
Check out our ratings on Yelp and Shopper Approved, and you’ll see why Audio46 is quickly changing the way New Yorkers shop for headphones. Audio46 AND H and B Digital are authorized dealers of Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, Sol Republic, Panasonic, JVC, Rhythmz and more! With 100’s of the top names in headphones, they have something for everyone.
If it’s up close and personalized service you’re looking for, just come into the store at 29 W. 46th street and try out as many of the headphones as you need to find that perfect pair.
Visit Audio46.com Today!
Come in and check out some of Sennheisers new products the URBANITE and the Momentum!