Lightweight 300-1200mm with the Fujifilm XT-2. So why stick with Canon? And Converting your images with ACR. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Lightweight 300-1200mm with the Fujifilm XT-2. So why stick with Canon? And Converting your images with ACR.


I started off Thursday watching the Yankees complete their amazing comeback on Tivo. The plan for Thursday night is to Tivo both the MLB playoff game — the Cubs v.s the Nats, and the NFL Thursday Night game — Philly vs. Carolina, and then watch first one then the other toggling back and forth. I am slightly pulling for the Nationals in the baseball game as they too were down 2 games to nothing and have never won a post-season series. And the Cubs did OK last year. On the NFL channel I will be rooting hard for the Panthers. Again I enjoyed a midday and an early evening swim totaling an even mile, 88 lengths. And lots of exercising and stretching.

With only a single slot open on the San Diego IPT, I added a second San Diego IPT — shorter and less expensive. I was glad to learn that Fort DeSoto Fall IPT participant Lee Sommie was the first to sign up for San Diego #2. See the announcement in the blog post here.

New Listing

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS w/free 1.4X II TC!

Francois Botha is offering a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS (with Canon 1.4 extender in excellent condition) for the BAA record low price (for the lens alone!) of $2098. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the front lens cover, both teleconverter caps, LensCoats for both the lens and the TC, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Photos are available via email or DropBox.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Francois via e-mail or by phone at 1-859-325-1785 (Eastern time).

I used this lens for several years with great success, especially for birds in flight and while working from various type of water craft. In addition, it would make a great prime super-telephoto lens for folks with a 7D II. Gannets in Love was created with the 400 DO. You can see that one and 13 other killer images that I made with my old 400 DO here. The title of that blog post is “The Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO Lens: Fourteen Images that Prove that the Internet Experts are Idiots.” Francois’ lens is priced to sell. artie

Price Drop!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Zoom Lens

Price dropped $100 on October 12, 2017.

Les Greenberg is offering a used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens in mint condition for a very low $1499 (was $1599). The sale includes a Kirkphoto LP-2 lens plate, the tripod collar, the lens case, the rear lens cap, the hood, the front lens cap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping to US addresses only. The lens was purchased new in 2010 and used less than a dozen times. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Les via e-mail or by phone at 1-216-571-3636 or 1-216-292-7510 after 6:00 PM (Eastern time).

The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is amazingly versatile. I still own one and have made zillions of great images with it. It works well with both the 1.4X III and the 2X III TCs, even with the 7D II! It is easily hand holdable. It is great for tame birds, landscapes, urbex, indoor stuff likes concerts and recitals, and just about anything you want to photograph. A new 70-200 II currently sells for $1,949 so you can save a cool $350 by buying Les’s mint copy asap. artie

ps: the 1.4X II TC is optically identical to the 1.4X III TC. The latter has better weather sealing and offers advance AF communication with the new Canon Series II super-telephoto lenses.

2017 in San Diego was a very good year ….

2018 San Diego 3 1/2-DAY BIRDS AS ART IPT #2: Sunday, JAN 28 thru and including a morning session on Wednesday, JAN 31, 2018: 3 1/2 days: $1699. Limit: 8: Openings: 7

Meet and Greet at 6:30pm on the evening before the IPT begins; Saturday, Jan 27, 2018.

San Diego IPT #2: Shorter and Less Expensive!

Please remember: I go with one.

Click here for details.

The Streak

Today makes seventy-eight days in a row with a new educational blog post! This blog post took less than an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of (I think) four hundred eighty something … Good health and good internet connections willing.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

This image was created at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens with the Fujifilm XF 2x TC WR Teleconverter (at 670mm–effective 1005mm) with the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with the Power Booster Grip. ISO 800. Pattern metering +1/3 stop as framed: 1/800 sec. at f/10.8 in Manual mode. AWB.

Shutter Button Continuous Autofocus. Additional AF information is unavailable.

Sanderling, winter plumage adult

Fujifilm XT-2 Advantages

The huge advantage of using the Fujifilm 100-400//2x/XT-2 combination to get out to effective 1200mm as compared to using the Canon 600mm f/L IS II/2X III TC combo at 1200mm is that the size and weight of the Fujifilm gear is but a fraction of the weight of the Canon gear. This makes it far easier to hand hold, handle, and travel with the Fujifilm stuff. The Fujifilm XF 2x TC WR Teleconverter with the XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens is sharp. In addition, you are able to zoom in an out from 200 to 800 mm (effective 300 to 1200mm).

So why didn’t I include the latest Nikkor 600mm f/4 lens with the latest version of the TCE 20? I do not know of any Nikon shooters who consistently use or create sharp images with this combination.

So Why Do I Stick With Canon?

So why do I continue to use my much heavier, much bulkier Canon gear? For now, at least, the image quality of my 5D Mark IV images is significantly superior to the image quality of the (smaller) XT-2 image files. In addition, I like the more natural color of the Canon images. The latter may be due to the fact that I use DPP 4 to convert my Canon RAW files and my experience with that process. Lastly, the Fujifilm stuff made flight and action photography nearly impossible. As I will be 72 next June, switching to a lighter system might be in my future. But not just yet.

Another Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Image

Regular readers will likely remember that I experimented with the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera body on my last trip to San Diego. You can learn more about that experience in the Quite Impressive: First Fujifilm XT-2 Image blog post here and in several blog posts that followed. For more on using the Fujifilm 100-400//2x/XT-2 combo handheld check out the Is the Fujifilm XT-2 Capable of Creating Sharp Images Hand Held at Effective 1200mm? blog post here.

Image Question

There is one thing that really bugs me about this image. What do you think it is? Does anything bug you?

The ACR conversion for today’s featured image

Please click on the image so that you can read the fine print.

The RAW Conversion in ACR

As detailed in the The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), I followed these steps for converting the RAW file in Photoshop using ACR:

1: I placed the eyedropper on the brightest WHITEs.
2: I reduced the exposure to -.2 to bring down the WHITE RGB values.
3: I set the White Point at +15 and set the Black Point at +5 (both while holding down the ALT key).
4: I pulled down the Highlights slider to -55 to restore detail to the still very bright WHITEs.
5: I set the Clarity slider to +28.
6: I clicked on Open Object to convert the RAW file to a 16-bit TIF file and open that in Photoshop.

The Image Optimization

First, I cleaned up the white specks on the rocks with the Spot Healing Brush (J). Then I cleaned up a bit of the lower center frame edge in two spots with Content Aware Fill (Shift + Delete). The big job was to eliminate the BLUE cast from the dark rocks. To check for a BLUE cast go to Hue/Saturation, select the BLUE channel from the dropdown menu, and move the Saturation slider to +100. That revealed lots of BLUE in the rocks (and of course in the BLUE sky). Then I moved the Saturation slider to -100. This eliminated the BLUE cast on the dark rocks but left the sky grey. I liked the “grey” look a lot but decided to go with the original blue sky. As I was working on a layer, I simply added a Regular Layer Mask and erased the BLUE desaturation from the sky and the bird using a large, soft, 100% opacity brush.

Noise Reduction

In general, XT-2 images show more noise than 5D Mark IV images. With the basically white subject, I decided to do my NeatImage noise reduction on the whole image. Working on a layer, I wound up applying the noise reduction with the Y-value set to a rather high 85 (to smooth the noise in water and the rocks). This however, affected the fine feather detail so I added a Regular Layer Mask and — using a 50% opacity brush, painted away half the noise reduction on the bird only using a soft brush. To learn everything that there is to know about noise reduction using NeatImage (and lots more!) see the Professional Post Processing Guide by clicking here.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II) will teach you an efficient Mac/Photo Mechanic/Photoshop workflow that will make it easy for you to make your images better in Photoshop (rather than worse). That true whether you convert your images in DPP 4 or ACR. See the blog post here to learn lots more and to read a free excerpt.

You can order your copy from the BAA Online Store here, by sending a Paypal for $40 here, or by calling Jim or Jennifer weekdays at 863-692-0906 with your credit card in hand.

The BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II)

Everything mentioned above is covered in detail in the BIRDS AS ART Current Workflow e-Guide (Digital Basics II), an instructional PDF that is sent via e-mail. Learn more and check out the free excerpt in the blog post here. The new e-Guide reflects my Macbook Pro/Photo Mechanic/DPP 4/Photoshop workflow. Do note that you will find the RGB Curves Adjustment Color Balancing tutorial only in the new e-guide. Note: folks working on a PC and/or those who do not want to miss anything Photoshop may wish to purchase the original Digital Basics along with DB II while saving $15 by clicking here to buy the DB Bundle.

The two most recent and many of the older MP4 Photoshop Tutorial videos releases go hand and hand with the information in DB II):

  • The Wingtip Repairs MP4 Video here.
  • The MP4 Crow Cleanup Video here.

Folks who learn well by following along rather than by reading can check out the complete collection of MP 4 Photoshop Tutorial Videos by clicking here.

You can learn how and why I and other discerning Canon shooters convert nearly all of their Canon digital RAW files in DPP 4 using Canon Digital Photo Professional in the DPP 4 RAW conversion Guide here. And you can learn advanced Quick Masking and advanced Layer Masking techniques in APTATS I & II. You can save $15 by purchasing the pair. Folks can learn sophisticated sharpening and (NeatImage) Noise Reduction techniques in the The Professional Post Processing Guide by Arash Hazeghi and yours truly.

If In Doubt …

If in doubt about using the BAA B&H affiliate link correctly, you can always start your search by clicking here. Please note that the tracking is invisible. Web orders only. Please, however, remember to shoot me your receipt via e-mail.

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store ๐Ÿ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.

Those who prefer to support BAA by shopping with Amazon may use the logo link above.

Amazon Canada

Many kind folks from north of the border, eh, have e-mailed stating that they would love to help us out by using one of our affiliate links but that living in Canada and doing so presents numerous problems. Now, they can help us out by using our Amazon Canada affiliate link by starting their searches by clicking here.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right :).

21 comments to Lightweight 300-1200mm with the Fujifilm XT-2. So why stick with Canon? And Converting your images with ACR.

  • Good morning Artie
    I have something else in common with you appart from being a Proffessional Photographer,
    I was 74 young in September this year, and still running a business in the UK. I sold my Canon 600 mm F 4. to heavy. My two lens I use is 300 mm 2.8 and 70 to 200 mm 2.8 and of course both converts, all stunning lens from the Canon stable.

    Best and love
    Kel UK

    Ps if 600 mm focal is not enough I use a hide or blind to get the Image

  • avatar Adam

    Hmmm… youโ€™ve said that the position of the bird doesnโ€™t bother you despite the fact that itโ€™s not looking int the widest part of the frame, and after Iโ€™ve looked at the image repeatedly the only issue I have is that the bokeh is a bit distracting?

  • avatar frank sheets

    Artie, if “But my preference is for the bird to be โ€œlookingโ€ into the wide part of the frame” is your issue with this image, would cropping the image to put the bird more central in the frame help?

  • With my Limited Knowledge, I do not see anything wrong with the image. I love it , would have love to photograph the same. Nice light, no shadows on the subject.

    I like to learn from your answer.

  • avatar Denny Pritchett

    You’d rather have the subject positioned on the right side of the composition? I think I would, but who am I?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      That would work too. But my preference is for the bird to be “looking” into the wide part of the frame.

      with love, artie

  • avatar byron prinzmetal

    To my old eyes, the image just does not seem really tact on sharp. But, maybe, I need to wear my glasses.

    As to age, I am 73 going on 74. Weight makes a big difference for my aging bod. I am going on my third back operation. So for everything but flight and sports and low light photography I switched to a canon m5. The images are good enough for me. For low light I go to my 80d and for sports, bif I use my 7d2. When Canon fixes the m5 so it can do low light and bif with some more m lens I will be a happy camper. I do think the next version of the sl2 and other higher end canon cameras will have a sensor that automatically does af micro adjustments for each lens. When that happens a lot of the reasons for my m5 goes away.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Byron, The image is sharp on the eye. As for most of the rest, it is out of my realm ๐Ÿ™‚

      It is never necessary to micro-adjust a micro-four-thirds camera body as focusing is done off of contrast on the sensor so your comment on automatic micro adjustments does not make sense.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Jack D Waller

    Aging … “what a pain in the neck” and just when we’re having the most fun.


  • avatar frank sheets

    Hi Artie,

    I have looked and looked and don’t see any issues. “What bugs me”, my wife about all kinds of stuff!

    PS: Laurie got an Olympus system: OM-D E-MI Mark II. Weight is the issue. If you ever test that body, I would be curious of your thoughts.

    Have a great one! Frank

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART


      I have heard lots of good things about the Olympus stuff…

      with love, artie

  • avatar Warren H

    If you had gotten 6″ lower, the small rise the bird is standing on would have been above the rise behind it. This would have made the legs (and feet a little bit) stand out against the background, rather than the rock.

    Yes, with the background being the ocean.

    However, there would have been more distance (space) between the bird and the rock/foreground.

    The above confuses me …

    with love, artie

    ps: I could not have gotten any lower because I was standing in a crevice and my lens was on rock ๐Ÿ™‚

  • avatar Bob DeC

    I thought of the foot also at first, but then decided the black blob in the center background might be the one.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Bob,

      You are correct sir. Thanks for commenting! Smart guy’s like you should play here more often ๐Ÿ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar Tony Z

    I would guess that the one thing bugs you about that image is that one foot is hidden by the rock.
    Best, Tony