400 DO II Review & Low Foot Insight–I Was Wrong! My Complete Southern Ocean Gear Bag. Great Induro Ballhead News. And Induro Tripod Kudos « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

400 DO II Review & Low Foot Insight--I Was Wrong! My Complete Southern Ocean Gear Bag. Great Induro Ballhead News. And Induro Tripod Kudos

What’s Up?

My cold got worse as I slept last night, mostly upper chest congestion, a stuffed nose, and a bit of a sore throat. Today is finish packing day as I fly to Miami this afternoon and up with co-leader Denise Ippolito at MIA. We will take a red eye flight to Santiago, Chile arriving at 7:10am on Thursday morning. We will be staying at the Holiday Inn Airport. After clearing customs we will throw our checked bags in a room, grab our photo gear, and meet our local guide in the lobby at 8:45am for a day of condor photography. On Friday morning we will drive down the coast a but to do Inca Terns and follow that up with more condors.

Early Saturday we fly to Stanley in the Falklands with Brian and Billie Snell whom we met for the first time in Miami. The Snells will be spending an additional week with us on our first-ever land-based Falklands IPT. We fly back to Stanley the following Friday and do a local trip by van for more Rockhopper Penguins–can anyone ever get enough rockhoppers? We transfer to the Ortelius that Saturday afternoon to begin our Cheesemans’ South Georgia Expedition. We are looking forward to meeting and working with the BAA group. We depart the ship in Stanley on November 14 and return to Santiago arriving at 10pm. We overnight at the Holiday Inn Airport for a full day of rest and take red-eye flights the following evening to head towards our respective homes. I arrive in Orlando at 8:21am on Monday November 16.

Three days later–on Friday, November 20–we both fly to Albuquerque for the two (nearly sold-out) Bosque IPTs returning home on Thursday, December 3.

How’s that for a travel schedule?

I will be 100% without internet from 24-30 OCT and then again from 1-14 NOV. Jim will be in the office doing his usually stellar job of minding the store and Jen will be here to help with with all things IPT related. You can reach either of them by phone at 863-693-0906. You can reach Jim by e-mail or Jen at e-mail (the latter with Attn. JEN in the Subject line).

Please refrain from e-mailing me from 23 OCT through 15 NOV.

The BIRDS AS ART Blog and You

To show your appreciation for my efforts here, we do ask that you use our the B&H and Amazon affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your purchases. Doing so won’t cost you a penny and is the best way to thank me for the 15-20 hours I put in to bring you fresh and free educational material most every day. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the BIRDS AS ART Online Store. We sell only what I use and depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail (unless I am traveling without internet!)

You can find the following items in the store: Mongoose M3.6 and Wimberley heads, plates, low feet, and accessories, flash brackets, , Delkin e-film Pro Compact Flash Cards, LensCoat products, and our unique line-up of educational materials including ABP I & II, Digital Basics, Site and Set-up e-Guides, Canon and Nikon Camera Users and AF e-Guides, and MP-4 Photoshop video tutorials among others.

And we still have a few Gitzo tripods in stock. I imagine that we will be phasing those out soon….

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 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 visiting the BAA Online store as well.

Selling Your Used Photo Gear Through BIRDS AS ART

Selling your used (or like-new) photo gear through the BAA Blog or via a BAA Online Bulletin is a great idea. We charge only a 5% commission. One of the more popular used gear for sale sites charges a minimum of 20%. Plus assorted fees! Yikes. The minimum item price here is $500 (or less for a $25 fee). If you are interested please e-mail with the words Items for Sale Info Request cut and pasted into the Subject line :). Stuff that is priced fairly–I offer free pricing advice, usually sells in no time flat. In the past few months, we have sold just about everything in sight. Do know that prices on some items like the EOS-1D Mark IV, the old Canon 500mm, the EOS-7D, and the original 400mm IS DO lens have been dropping steadily.

You can see the complete listings by clicking here or always by clicking on the Used Photo Gear tab on the right end of the navigation bar at the top of each blog post page.

After a lull in September, things have really heated up lately:

Canon 500mm f/4L IS (the “old five”) was sold by Glen Shellhammer for $4250 in mid-October, 2015.
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens was sold instantly by Walt Anderson for $4750 in mid-October, 2015.
Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens (the “old five”) was sold by Dane Johnson for $4150 in early October 2015.
Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 zoom lens (Canon mount) was sold by Beth Starr for $4,999 in early October 2015.
Canon EOS-1D X in excellent condition was sold by Patrick Sparkman for $3650 in early October, 2014.
Canon EF 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens was sold for $699 by Sean Traynor on October 7, 2015.
Canon 100-400 L IS zoom lens (the old 1-4) was sold by Susan Carnahan for $675 in mid-October, 2015.

You can find the complete listings here.

New Listing

Nikon AFS NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens

Ang Brick is offering a used Nikon AFS NIKKOR 80-400 MM F/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens, the newer, sharper version, in excellent condition for $1599.00. This versatile lens goes for $2,696.95 new at B&H. The sale includes the original box, the lens strap, the user’s manual, the case, a Kirk lens collar, both the front & back lens covers, and insured shipping via UPS Ground. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

You can reach Ang by e-mail or by phone at 678-360-5970 (Eastern time).

The word on the street is that this newer version of the Nikon 80-400 is much sharper than its predecessor. And I thought the that original lens was pretty good after I used it once briefly at Bosque with film. You can save more than $1,000 by grabbing Ang’s lens asap. artie

400 DO II

If what you read below or elsewhere on the BAA Blog motivates you to purchase this lens we would of course appreciate you using my B&H affiliate link. Recently, the big logjam of orders has eased somewhat. You are invited to support my efforts here on the blog by using this product-specific link to order: Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens. Please remember: web orders only.

400 DO II Review

Arash Hazeghi loves his 400 DO II even more than I love mine. And that’s a lot. You can read Arash’s excellent review here.

400 DO II Low Foot Insight

The other day I assured someone, a good friend, that the 4th Generation Design CRX-5 Low Foot/Plate was best for the 400 DO II. I was wrong. The best option for the 400 DO II is actually the 4th Generation Design CRX-5 Extra Low Foot/Plate. Why? The latter places the centerline of the lens just about over the center of the tripod. (Note: the 400 DO II has an unusually tall foot pedestal.) With the former the centerline of the lens is offset considerably from the center of the tripod; this cause problems with torque when it is windy or when the tripod is set down unevenly.

My memory being what it is, if you are that friend, please get in touch with Jim via e-mail to arrange the exchange on our dime.

My Complete Southern Ocean Gear Bag

I packed my Think Tank Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag on Tuesday afternoon. With everything below, it weighs in at a svelte 42 1/4 pounds. The legal limit on US flights is 40 pounds. The legal limit on our flight to Mont Pleasant in the Falklands, is 7kg or 15.4 pounds. I have never had my rollaboard weighed on a US flight and I have never had it weighed on the SCL to MPL flight or the return. Wish me luck….

The Lens Line-up

The Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM lens will serve as my longest super-telephoto lens. I will be using it both on a tripod, often with a 2X III or 1.4X III TC, or handheld, especially when photographing seabirds in flight from the ship. I will be using it with either a 1D X or with a 7D II when I need more reach.

The new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens will be on my shoulder by way of a Black Rapid RS-7 strap on nearly every landing with either a 1D X or a 7D II depending on both the sky conditions that affect the amount of ambient light and the expected subjects on a particular landing. Though many would think that the 100-400 II would counterfeit the focal length of the 400 DO II they would be forgetting that I will almost always be using the 400 DO II with either a 1.4X III or a 2X III TC. Either yields a very workable combination the former will cover everything from 100-400mm along with 560mm while the latter will give me 100-400mm along with 800mm.

Leaving behind the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens with Internal 1.4x Extender was a fairly easy choice even though I have done very well with the big zoom on previous Southern Ocean trips. The reason? The lighter weight of the 400 DO II….

Opting to travel without the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens was a more difficult decision. I am sure that I will miss the f/2.8 light gathering ability of this lens on occasion but I need to travel on the light side. Working the the 100-400 II and a 1D X will allow me to work at ISO 800 or ISO 1600 with impunity….

This all-purpose B-roll Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens will be in one of the large pockets of my Vested Interest custom made Xtrahand vest on virtually ever landing where it can be grabbed when needed. It meshes very nicely with the 100-400 II. If you are interested in getting a vest made for you be sure to tell John Storrie that I sent you and ask about the BIRDS AS ART Big Lens version of the Magnum vest.

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens will find its way ashore on selected landings, especially those at the two huge King Penguin colonies.

I did have room to bring the old Canon 15mm fish eye lens that has now replaced by the much more fun but somewhat heavier Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens.

Camera Bodies

I am bringing two EOS-1D X bodies. I will use my rugged pro body both with the 400 DO II and with the 100-400 II. The more powerful 1D X battery makes it great for driving the AF system when a TC is added.

I am bringing my two EOS-7D Mark II bodies as well. I will go to the 7D II for hand held flight with the 400 DO II and in various other situations when I know that I will need the extra reach. One of my 7D IIs has a Canon BG-E16 Battery Grip attached, one does not. I can go without the grip when I want to go really light.

I am leaving my beloved 5D Mark III with the Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip on the shelf for two reasons: I wanted to save weight and the vertical shutter button on the battery grip fails to work most of the time….


I am traveling with three Canon 1.4X III TCs and two 2X III TCs,

Why do I bring extras? For my style of photography–clean, tight, and graphic, I cannot afford to be without both TCs in case of accident or malfunction. Most common in the latter category would be that the locking pin might stick occasionally. When that happens, there is a risk of having your camera body hit the ground….

Tripods and Heads

I am breaking out my brand new Induro GIT 304L for the trip. Most of the time it will be topped by the Mongoose M3.6. An Induro BHM2 Ballhead will be in my vest along with a Wimberley P-5 camera body plate so that I have them at hand when doing wide angle scenics or bird-scapes.

Think Tank Rolling Bags

I will be using the larger of my two Think Tank rolling bags, the Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag. I usually use the slightly smaller of the two, the Airport International™ LE Classic for my Southern Ocean trips but due to a recent change of landing strategies, I no longer bring the whole bag ashore on landings; I use the Think Tank Glass Limo below to streamline my packing and make it easy to get in and out of the zodiacs. Everything above fits easily into my Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag.

Think Tank Glass Limo

The Think Tank Glass Limo, which served me so well on my last Southern Ocean trip, will again be instrumental in helping me get the 400 DO around while preserving my shoulder health. It travels in a checked bag.

Think Tank Urban Disguise Laptop Shoulder Bag

Both denise and I use and love the 60 Classic version of this amazing bag as it has tons of room and enables us to bring tons of extra stuff. We can even get substantial lenses and other photo gear in it if we are gate-hassled….

Think Tank

Please click on my Think Tank affiliate link here, or on the Think Tank logo link on the right side of each page to earn a free gift when you order either a Think Tank Rolling Bag or an Urban Disguise Laptop Bag.

Delkin Flash Cards

As always, I will have a 64gb Delkin e-Film Pro Flash Card in each camera body so that I never have to change cards in the field thus reducing the risk of losing a card…. I have used and depended on Delkin cards and readers since DAY 1 of my digital life. I love my Delkin Dual Slot Reader/USB 3.0 Dual Slot High Speed SD UHS-II & CF Memory Card Reader

Please note the new lower prices here. I do have a few extra 32 and 64gb cards in a Delkin CF Memory Card Tote, mostly to protect against operator error in the form or card loss….

Great News: Another Induro BHM Ballhead Update

The single remaining BHM1 and BHM2 Induro Ballheads sold quickly as predicted yesterday. Here is the great news: OPG was able to get their hands on an additional twenty BHM2 heads and ten more BHM1s. That means great saving for you as the newer, virtually identical replacement heads will cost a lot more, $57 and $62 more respectively. Get yours now while the supply lasts.

Here’s the rub, both of the ballheads above are no longer in production and will soon be replaced by “new” models, the virtually identical BHM1S and BHM2S Ballheads. You can save a bundle by ordering the last one of each right now by clicking here.

I have used the Induro BHM2 Ballhead for more than a year. It weighs only a pound yet is rated to 30.9 lbs. Both the BHM2 and the slightly smaller BHM1 feature double action separate positioning and pan controls, a Universal Arca-Swiss style Quick Release mounting plate system, and an Integrated Lock Limiter Tension Disk – to fine-tune the ball’s movement, and properly balance the tension with the weight of your gear. It has a large locking knob to control the movement of the ball and a separate lock to control the 360° panning motion. The ball is housed in a precision-machined black magnesium alloy body. Simply put, the Induro ballheads are lightweight and simple and easy to use. And, you can actually get your hands on the well-spaced knobs so that you can adjust them; that is not the case with many other much too-heavy, much too costly ballheads.

The BHM1 is a bit lighter and a bit smaller and slimmer than the BHM2 but is still rated to an impressive 22 pounds. Again, the BHM2 is rated to 30.9 pounds.

Please note that denise and I use a ballhead only when mounting a camera body with a short zoom lens. We do not, nor do we recommend, using any ballhead with a super-telephoto lens. For all super-telephoto lenses we both recommend only the Mongoose M3.6, the lightweight gimbal head that I have been using for more than a decade. In addition, efficiency and performance when working with intermediate telephoto lenses such as the Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens, and all of the 70-200 lenses will be vastly improved when working with the Mongoose rather than even the best ballhead. Learn more about the Mongoose or purchase yours by clicking here. Please e-mail for low foot or plate info for the Mongoose.

Note: Though each ballhead includes a matching Arca-Swiss style compatible QR Plate we strongly recommend that you place that in the product box and purchase the much more elegant and much more efficient Wimberley P-5 camera body plate by clicking here.

Click here for complete info on Induro tripods and to learn which one is the best fit for you. Or click here or on the logo-link above to purchase via our OPG affiliate link.

First Induro Kudos

Dennis Zaebst left this on the original Induro blog post:

Hi Artie,

I just received my new GIT 304L from OPG after using your link above. Thanks for the great tip!

I am a convert from an older Gitzo (model 1320, really old). I love all the features of the new 304L tripod and I’m really impressed with it. It’s a really precision piece of equipment. One of the best features, but perhaps not emphasized enough above, are the quick-release leg locks. Just a quarter turn and they are released, and equally quick to lock. This is compared to my old Gitzo, requiring more than a full turn, taking about twice as long to set up and use, or to put away. I was always a bit frustrated with the Gitzo as the legs required a fairly hard pull to extend or collapse, and this was a bit awkward to deal with. Not so with the 304L.

Best, Dennis


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9 comments to 400 DO II Review & Low Foot Insight–I Was Wrong! My Complete Southern Ocean Gear Bag. Great Induro Ballhead News. And Induro Tripod Kudos

  • avatar Link Ng


    I enjoy your blog. Just curious- not too long ago you were a big proponent of Gitzo tripods and sold them in your store. Why did you quit selling Gitzo? Is your move to Induro a commercially motivated move ( as in you make more money) or because you are no longer authorized to sell Gitzo?



    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I link. Gitzo has corrosion problems, poor customer service, and too expensive repairs. All for more money. I make a lot more selling you a Gitzo tripod, probably twice as much. But I have never been into ripping folks off. a

      ps: I am still authorized to sell gitzo tripods…. So to answer your question, neither. But nice try 🙂

  • avatar Jerry Murray

    Hi Artie
    I hope you start feeling better soon!
    I want to share my experience with my new Induro GIT 304 tripod,
    Mongoose, and BHM2 ball head. LOVE EM! The tripod was easy to set up,
    and very light in weight which made it easy to carry around in Glacier NP.
    The Mongoose worked great with the “old” 500 and with the “old”
    100 to 400 lens. The ballhead was real easy to get used to, and it
    worked great with my short lens. One day in Waterton Lakes NP (southern Alberta),
    I had wind gust of 50 to 60 mph, and the tripod was still rock solid. I was actually
    get moved by the wind occasionally, but no problem taking pictures of elk during
    the wind storm with the Induro tripod, Mongoose, and 500 lens. Thanks again for
    solving a minor problem I had with the lens plate just in time for my trip. Glad I ordered it through you! Jerry

  • avatar Warren Robb

    Best of luck on your extensive itinerary. I had never had to weigh a carry-on until this summer on a return trip from central Europe. My only carry-on was my camera equipment which was significantly over that ridiculously low limit, although the correct size. My only recourse was to check it, which after removing the two camera bodies to my back pack, I did with great trepidation. I was thrilled when I saw it waiting, seemingly intact, for me two flights later at O’Hare. Unfortunately, the next and last leg of my journey was on one of the “regional jets” that seem to proliferate now in the US, where a passenger must gate check anything larger than a brief case. Even though I asked them to be careful with it, I saw it being dropped from the top of the jet way to a baggage cart below and then bounce off to the tarmac. Fortunately I had everything well padded and all survived. I resolved to avoid regional jets in the future where possible and rethink what I take on international trips.

    Looking forward to seeing many great images upon your return.


  • avatar Bill Richardson

    No link for the 400DO?

  • Hey Artie,
    Heckofa travel schedule…in the interest of getting fewer emails while away, you may want to have Jim (or other web person) disable the “Email Artie” link on the top of this page until you get back. Every little bit helps! Safe travels. . .