With it’s unusual build and unfathomable focal length, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM is anything but conventional. So, how does it perform and just how far can it be pushed? We took the lens to The Mall in London to put it through it paces and to see what Buckingham Palace looks like at 1200mm and beyond.
An imposing piece of kit, you may expect the Canon 1200mm to be challenging to use. It has to be said that the design of the case leaves a lot to be desired with its awkward handles and weight comparable to the lens itself. However, a decent tripod is enough to tame this beast and thoughtful design (including a mechanism to rotate the camera into portrait mode) means that using this lens needn’t be a strain. You might also guess that the age of the lens means potentially slow and noisy focusing but this is simply not the case. The lens is quick and quiet to focus with performance much the same as you would expect of any of Canon’s L series teles.
It is undeniably impressive to take in the view through the 1200mm. A glance over the lens is required to get your bearings and the view is somewhat dizzying at first but, given the sheer distance alone, the detail rendered in the viewfinder is staggering and the results don’t disappoint. Even pushed to it’s limits with converters or on a cropped sensor the images produced are excellent.
Our test images were taken with a Canon EOS 1DX at Admiralty Arch at the far end of The Mall. Buckingham Palace stands approximately 0.6 miles from here within a clear line of site making it the perfect location for comparative test shots.
Canon EOS 1DX
Canon EOS 1DX
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM
Canon EOS 1DX
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM
Canon EOS 1DX
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM
Canon EOS 1DX
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM
With clear applications in quite distinct areas of sports and wildlife photography, it’s an item which has very particular appeal. However, it’s majesty and mystery make it a sought after collectors item. A formidable lens, the Canon EF 1200mm speaks for itself but, for it’s rarity and curiousness, is still capable of raising conversation the world over.
How does the Canon EF 1200mm compare to everyday focal lengths?... Read More
We are incredibly excited to announce that we have the seldom seen Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM lens in stock here at MPB Photographic!
A goliath in the world of auto focus lenses, it is over 80cm in length and weighs in at 16.5kg. The metal body houses 13 glass elements, two of which are fluorite which has to be grown to size. This alone is rumoured to have taken almost a full year contributing to the minimal production rate of approximately two a year.
Hand built to order for a limited period, the EF 1200mm is incredibly rare. Whilst Canon have never confirmed production figures, best estimates suggest that there are approximately 20 in existence. Rumoured to be owned by Canon Professional Services, various media outlets and possibly several government or law enforcement agencies, it would appear that only a small number have fallen into private ownership. The result is that the lens is very rarely seen on the used market, most recently selling with B&H in the US in 2009.
Thrilled to have such a remarkable item in stock, we will be heading out around the UK with the lens over the coming weeks, putting it through its paces and trying to find out as much as we can about this mysterious piece of kit.
Our Founding Director, Matt Barker, has said: ‘MPB has consistently proven itself to be the destination for used photographic equipment. We have experienced exceptional growth since launching in 2006 and acquiring the Canon EF 1200mm, embodies this success. We thank all our customers for supporting us and hope you enjoy the content that we will be bringing on the 1200mm over the coming weeks’.
The Canon EF 1200mm is now for sale at £99,000 including VAT and as always we are open for enquiries on our dedicated sales line, 0845 459 0101, during office hours. To join the discussion and to keep up to date with all of our 1200mm updates as they go live, head over to Facebook and Twitter!
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM in stock at MPB!... Read More
Around a month ago we unboxed Google Glass, a piece of tech which has proved a source of curiosity and controversy all at once. If you’ve not yet been introduced, Glass is a wearable computer with similar functions to a smartphone, including web connectivity and camera. Over the past few weeks we have been getting to know the device, testing its potential as both a stills and video camera and trying to get to grips with what can only be described as an unconventional interface. Here’s how we got on!
From the neatly designed packaging which asks to be taken apart with care to the clean look of the device itself, Glass is fascinating to behold. Roughly resembling a pair of glasses, indicated mainly by its nose pads, it is essentially a titanium band with two sleek plastic units and a prism along one side.
Glass is likely to be contrary to anything you have come across before in terms of both appearance and operation. In a world of touchscreens, trackpads and keyboards, it feels unusual to be totally hands free yet in full command of a device by voice alone. Controlling Glass with a series of taps and swipes at the side of your head feels marginally more familiar but both become second nature with surprising speed.
The display is bright and crisp and can be seen by the wearer only. It overlays a portion of your natural field of view and becomes visible with an upward glance, fading into obscurity when you look straight ahead. Much like the control mechanisms, it’s an unusual concept to grasp initially but does quite quickly become comfortable to view.
With a pleasing weight, Glass feels sturdy and well balanced without being too heavy. In much the same way your average pair of specs takes some getting used to, Glass needs a little wearing in but is not nearly as awkward to wear as you might first expect.
Although it’s quite an adjustment, we have found ourselves warming to its looks and way of doing things in almost every respect. So just how does it perform?
Of course, our primary concern with Glass is with it’s use as a camera. A quick look at the spec tells us that the 5MP camera isn’t the most advanced but we have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the results, a few examples of which you can see below.
Somewhat disadvantaged by it’s small sensor, low light performance isn’t great and a lack of selective focus means that there is little control over the auto exposure or image as a whole. However, the optics are small but sound, our only real criticism of these being that we would have prefered a slightly wider field of view, more akin to what the eye sees.
Capable of taking a quick shot with the press of a button, a voice command or even a wink gives the camera in Glass a real ease of use and it’s certainly an impressive means of taking a picture. Being wearable, it is even more readily available than the smartphone in your pocket and has the potential to rival these as a go to point and shoot camera. Moreover, with the ability share photos and video instantly, a key advantage of smartphones over more conventional point and shoots, Glass is perhaps the next logical step in a world where we are increasingly connected.
Another feature of Glass to consider is it’s unique perspective. Similar in some respects to point of view cameras like those produced by GoPro, it gets even closer to being an accurate match to the view of the wearer. Glass isn’t nearly as rugged as GoPro’s offerings meaning it’s not best suited to action photography and video. However, Google’s intention for Glass to be a companion for travel and more day-to-day pursuits offers the user a new and interesting way to document their more routine activities and less extreme hobbies.
We tested Glass for stills and video whilst skating, horse riding, playing basketball and for general use. Producing video at 720p and 30fps and stills at a quality good enough for sharing online, if not for print, the results are not the gleaming high quality produced by DSLRs. The trade off is having a lightweight, hands free camera which produces pretty decent results, ample enough to record what you’re doing from a perspective you might not otherwise be able to. It’s almost this alone which sets Glass apart from other cameras and devices - there need be no contact with the device or a remote trigger in order to take a shot or video.
Given the prototype status of Glass, it isn’t hard to reach it’s limitations. As already mentioned, the battery life is short allowing 30min of constant video recording. Whilst this puts it on a par with many DSLRs for continuous recording, the sealed battery unit means that if you’re out and about that’s your lot. However, it’s just this prototype status that make Glass so promising. With developers designing new apps and early users feeding back ideas, there is real potential for the device to evolve and become an interesting and unique tool.
Beyond it’s most fundamental application as a point of view camera for general use, the range of additional features available with Glass mean it has other potential applications for photographers.
Paired with the navigational tools, the camera function makes itself useful when location scouting. Test shots and video are quickly and easily achieved in circumstances where it’s not always practical to take a larger camera or where a dry run is helpful. Additionally, quick sharing by email and on social platforms means a second opinion is never too far away. Even having weather reports, travel info and a fully synced calendar available via voice command frees up your hands meaning Glass can also find its place as a tool to aid multitasking.
Overall we’ve found Glass to be an intriguing piece of tech, widely met with curiosity, a sense of novelty and enjoyment by all who have tested it here. Whilst it has its shortcomings, namely battery life and a few functional niggles, it is important to consider that Glass is still very much a prototype which will undoubtedly undergo many more changes before it is considered to be ‘finished’. As such, it is very much geared towards developers and avid followers of tech but, for those curious, it opens up a number of interesting questions which beg to be explored.
For us, many of these revolve around the use of Glass for photography and how it could potentially affect our approach. With the increasing popularity of point of view cameras and the vast number of photographs being taken with devices not specifically designed for photography, it’s not a stretch to imagine how Glass might come to be adopted for this use. We need only be reminded of the scepticism camera phones were met with in their infancy to see how quickly and universally an at first laughable idea can be taken up.
Still in Beta, the future of Glass is up for discussion and there are a number of important conversations to be had in order to contextualise its use. Nevertheless, it certainly has a number of potential applications aside from photography and beyond its current novelty status. For those eager to try for themselves, it is currently available through a sign up scheme on the Glass website or at Google’s ‘Basecamp’ in London by appointment. We will of course be keeping a keen eye on the used market!
What do you think of Google Glass and its potential uses? Can you see it impacting on or working alongside photography in future? Have your say in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @mpbphotographic.
Could Google Glass be the future of point & shoot photography?... Read More
Out of the loop with this week’s photography news? Fear not! Here we round up our favourite stories from the week just gone.
A truly inspirational story, and one which we can all learn from, is that of street photographer Norman Fox. Finding himself without a home, employment or direction, Fox had fallen on hard times but, having previously dabbled in photography, decided to take it up once more. With his Nikon D70 and a thorough understanding of the city of Vancouver, his work is compelling and his determination has seen him hold a sell out exhibition.
The lesson for all of us in this is that you don’t need the most up to date kit, or even the best circumstances, to get out there and take great photographs!
We first saw Norman's story on DIY Photography and would urge you to have a read!
Summer means cashback and with Nikon’s offers now closed there is still time to swipe up a few last minute Canon offers! The current cashback scheme ends on August 13th meaning all eligible kit should be purchased and delivered before this date. For those keen, that’s time enough to upgrade. To receive a quote on your used gear within one working day just fill in our form or take a look at our full list of eligible stock!
The RSPCA have once again opened up entries for their annual Young Photographer Awards which looks for fresh faced wildlife photography talent. The call for entries is open until August 15th so there’s still enough time to get out, get the perfect shot and submit! For full details on how to enter and to see entries from previous years, take a look here.
Since we got our hands on Google Glass here at MPB, we’ve been keen to test out the camera for videos and stills. An unusual merger of wearable computer and camera, it could have an impact on the way we approach point and shoot photography in future and has potential as a POV video camera.
For its first outing, we took it out horse riding to test out video function. For such a tiny camera, we were impressed with the results but take a look and judge for yourselves. Or take a look at our verdict in our full article.
Canon and Nikon’s summer cashback offers are in full swing. With up to £50 cashback from Nikon and up to £150 from Canon on selected photographic gear, now is the perfect time to part exchange for new!
Select new Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, lenses and flash guns are included in the offer. Brand new Nikon items purchased from MPB Photographic between April 30th - July 30th 2014 and Canon items purchased between May 15th - August 13th are eligible.
All of our new equipment is available for part exchange and you can receive your commitment free quote by filling in our online form. Let us know what you would like to sell and we will send a quote via email within 1 working day!
Canon EOS 6D body only - £150 cashback
Canon EOS 70D body only - £100 cashback
Canon EOS 100D body only - £30 cashback
Canon EOS 1200D body only - £20 cashback
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM - £40 cashback
Canon EF-S 10-20mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - £40 cashback
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM - £25 cashback
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM - £60 cashback
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM - £100 cashback
Nikon D3200 - £30 cashback
Nikon D3300 - £40 cashback
Nikon D5300 - £50 cashback
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX - £20 cashback
Nikon AF-S 40mm f/2.8G DX - £20 cashback
Nikon AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR DX - £20 cashback
Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX - £30 cashback
Nikon AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX - £50 cashback
Nikon SB-300 cashback
It’s been an exciting couple of days. On the eve of the highly anticipated Nikon announcement, a first impressions article was leaked confirming the suspicions of many. Within hours, the D810 was officially revealed, replacing both the D800 and D800E.
So, what can we expect from Nikon’s latest offering?
Body: Magnesium alloy
Sensor: 36.6MP Full-frame CMOS
Processor: EXPEED 4
ISO: 64 - 12,800
AF: 51-point system with new ‘Group Area AF’ mode
LCD Screen: 3.2”
Max Shutter Speed: 1/8000 sec
Built in flash: Yes
Continuous Drive: 5fps, 7fps in DX mode
Video Resolution: 1920x1080, 1280x720
Video Frame Rate: 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p, 60p
Video Output: Uncompressed output over HDMI with simultaneous writing to memory card
At first glance, the D810 is set to be a videographer’s camera but much like its predecessors it surely won’t disappoint on image quality and sharpness. Whilst not a total reimagining of the D800 and D800E, it does have a redesigned shutter and mirror mechanism and a new 9MP RAW mode. However, it is likely to be improvements to video functionality which set this camera apart. Key features to note include zebra stripes for checking exposure, a built in stereo mic and a new ‘Flat Picture Control’ profile to give maximum flexibility in post production.
We’re expecting to see the D810 become available late July but stay tuned to Twitter @mpbphotographic for updates on availability and a more precise date as we get it.
Looking to upgrade? You can get a commitment free quote from us right now!
August announcements abound and rumours are growing in strength. Whilst we would love to bring you a whole list of potential new gear, there is one piece of kit that has had Canon fans guessing for years: the next APS-C flagship or fabled 7D II. The wait has been long but it finally looks set to make an appearance this year!
Speculation about a follow up to the 7D stretches back as far as 2011 when the original had been in production for 2 years. With the release of the 5D III and 70D imminent, it seemed likely that Canon would look to improve upon their rugged APS-C flagship which had already become a firm favourite among sports and wildlife photographers alike, as well as those keen to venture into the realms of HD video.
Predictions of features and specifications have altered with each renewed suggestion that a replacement is in the pipeline. Both Canon Rumors and Canon Watch have previously reported on possible improvements to low light performance and video functionality, perhaps the inclusion of multiple cards slots, GPS and wifi. Will it even be called the 7D II? If video is improved, will it be the 7D C? Or will it be named something else entirely? What has remained unchanging throughout is the expectation that any follow up will be fast and precise, much like its predecessor, with improved frame rate and autofocus system set to challenge that seen in pro gear.
We have been teased with potential announcement dates at virtually every key photography event since rumours first surfaced. Numerous high profile releases from Canon have passed and it has begun to feel like the 7D II may be a thing of legend. So can it really be true that we might soon say goodbye to the original 7D and wave in its successor?
Given the promise and subsequent disappointment of previous rumours, it would not be unreasonable to suspect that current reports may just be adding fuel to the fire. However, these seem to hint at much more progress than simply theorising further about features.
Suggestion that the 7D II is currently being tested by photographers, at the World Cup no less, is something which we’ve not heard before. Also, whispers of pro dealer events with agendas covering big August announcements have the rumour mill is turning with renewed vigor. Yet most compelling of all, Canon Rumors reported earlier this month that the 7D is entering ‘end of life’, an indication that it is being archived and will soon be unavailable from distributors. We don’t need to tell you that this is an incredibly suggestive move which implies that a replacement is imminent.
Currently, those in the know are suggesting that an announcement either at or in time for Photokina this September would seem a fair bet. Particularly since Nikon seem primed for a big announcement later this month, it would seem likely that Canon would what to rival this and finally revealing such a highly anticipated camera would certainly do the trick.
As ever, we won’t know the specifications until an official announcement is made but Canon Rumors’ more recent updates gives a tantalising glimpse of what the camera may deliver:
Whatever the final product, the 7D II will need to impress as a lengthy wait and endless speculation has left expectations high.
Keep up to date with rumour news and more over on Twitter @mpbphotographic!
There are plenty of Nikon rumors doing the rounds at the moment. Here are our top 3!
Named the D800s by expectant Nikon users, the successor to the D800 and D800E could be just around the corner, particularly with new rumors of an announcement due on June 26th. There has been lots of chatter about specifications and we’re expecting improvements to video functionality, low light performance and frame rate. The autofocus system is likely to match the D4S and, like the D800E, it’s successor is expected to have no anti-aliasing filter but with improved moiré suppression. All good news but, if the rumors are true, the price tag is set to be higher than D800E!
UPDATE 18/06/14: We're now hearing that the camera will be called the D810 and will be announced on June 26th.
Not sure what the fuss is about? Take a look at this video from Nikon Asia to see the difference this coating can make. Designed to repel dust, water droplets and dirt, this fluorine coating is only available on Nikon’s AF-S 800mm f/5.6E ED VR and the recently announced AF-S 400mm f/2.8E ED VR. However, it is expected that Nikon’s remaining high-end telephoto lenses will see this upgrade in the coming year or two.
The D300s, Nikon’s flagship APS-C camera, was announced almost 5 years ago so many have begun to speculate about a potential successor. Rumors about a possible D400 or D9300 have been circulating on and off for some time and, with strengthening rumors that Canon will be announcing a follow up to the popular 7D later this year, it’s likely that Nikon will look to release a direct competitor. Couple this with news that Nikon USA have recently moved the D300s to the archived camera list and a replacement looks ever more likely! Details on spec are sketchy but this could be another contender for that possible announcement date of June 26th.
Keep up to date with news on rumours and more over on Twitter @mpbphotographic!
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