Canon 11-24 F4L review, the widest rectilinear zoom lens ever produced

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I keep meaning to post reviews about my gear. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot years with some of the best lenses in the world. I hold strong opinions on them and rarely does that opinion make it beyond my own inner dialogue.

This time I’m doing it right away. This morning, March 3rd, 2015, I got that ever exciting knock on the door from my Fed-Ex guy. In his hands was a much bigger box than I had envisioned. What lies within it is Canon’s newest drool-worthy lens, the 11-24mm F4L.

Quick note: I’m not here to give you the exact technical run down. I’m going to tell you what my thoughts as a working professional are on this lens. I will interject my opinions on when to use it and how I see myself using it here forth. If you’re looking for MTF charts and barrel distortion tests, you won’t find it here. If you want to see REAL LIFE examples when using this lens compared to the Canon 14mm F2.8L and the 24mm F1.4L, you’re right at home, read on.

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

Immediately, I was stunned by the sheer size of the box. There’s no way a lens with a maximum focal length of 24mm’s could take up this big of a box… right?

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(Left to right) Canon 24mm F1.4L, Canon 14mm F2.8L, Canon 11-24 F4L, Canon 85mm F1.2L, Canon 135mm F2.0L

Woah. Holy Cow. Ok, it IS that big.

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(Left to right) Canon 24mm F1.4L, Canon 14mm F2.8L, Canon 11-24 F4L, Canon 85mm F1.2L, Canon 135mm F2.0L

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(Left to right) Canon 24mm F1.4L, Canon 14mm F2.8L, Canon 11-24 F4L, Canon 85mm F1.2L, Canon 135mm F2.0L

Lo and behold this thing is just simply a beast. It dwarfs other L lenses of similar focal length in both weight and overall size. According to Canon, the weight is 2.6 pounds (1.18 Kg). That is almost double the weight of the Canon 14mm F2.8L, which weighs in at 1.42 (645 grams). As a matter of fact, it weighs nearly the same as the two lenses I was hoping to replace in my bag when doing travel photography, the 14mm F2.8L and the 24mm F1.4L.

About that weight and size, it feels great. My 5D MK III feels well weighted and the lens fits great in your hands. It’s a little more front heavy than you’d expect, probably due to that massive front element.

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

The rear element supports drop in gel filters. This is due to the large and odd shape of the front element.

Feel free to share this photo in its original form. Copyright © 2013 Tim Dodd Photography LLC www.timdoddphotography.com

Putting the 11-24 on a Canon EOS M is a hilarious proposition. As you can see in the above picture, the 14mm (which used to look huge) now looks comically small. The 11-24 feels proportional (although massive) on the 5D MK III but it looks downright silly on the EOS M.

The zoom ring and focus ring are EXTRA tight, which I LOVE. Knowing how the tightness wears out after a few years of good use, the tighter it is day 1, the better for me. It leads to easy liveview focusing when you’re trotting around trying to dial in focus perfectly.

Canon 11-24mm F4L Tim Dodd Photography -1995-web

Autofocus is your typical Ultrasonic motor fast. Nothing extra spectacular here, but first impressions it seems to nail focus much more accurately than the 14mm F2.8L, which you’ll see in a few upcoming examples.

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

So we’ll start off with my previous go-to for ultra wide angle lenses, the 14mm F2.8L. (Click for a full resolution JPEG)

So what’s 14mm actually look like compared to 11mm? Let’s see…

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

Woah. 11mm’s on a full frame is pretty crazy. I know this looks like a large patio area, but it’s truly not a large space. Notice, there does appear to be a little extra lens vignette compared to the 14mm. That’s easy to fix though. (Click for a full resolution JPEG)

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

The 11-24 appears to do a better job of controlling chromatic aberration than the 14mm. The tree appears to have retained a little better detail, but let’s get in closer to see if that holds true. (Click for full resolution JPEG)

 

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(LEFT) 14mm F2.8L vs (RIGHT) 11-24mm F4L So, on closer inspection, the 14mm seems to be much sharper, but the 11-24 has less pink fringing. This is a tight crop of the very top left corner of the lens.

So, the 14mm appears to out resolve the 11-24mm in the corners, but how about the center? To be honest, this could’ve been down to my manual focus abilities in liveview. Regardless, let’s peek at the center.

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(LEFT) Canon 14mm F2.8L vs (RIGHT) Canon 11-24mm F4L

Again, to be honest, this could be down to my manual focus abilities, but they both appear pretty excellent in the center. The 11-24 does an excellent job of controlling fringing/chromatic aberration. You can clearly see in the railings against the white sky a lack of any additional color on the edges.

What about compared to my truest work horse, the 24mm F1.4L II? It can’t possibly hold up against one of Canon’s sharpest lenses, can it?

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

The 11-24 looks great out on its 24mm end. (Click for full resolution JPEG)

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

One of my favorite lenses of all time, the 24mm F1.4L II. (Click for full resolution JPEG)

Before we move onto the crops of these two photos, notice the 24mm F1.4L appears to have a little more barrel distortion compared to the 11-24. I’m very surprised by this. Canon seems to have tamed the distortion very well on the zoom.

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(LEFT) 11-24mm F4L vs (RIGHT) 24mm F1.4L Notice the exposure difference. Although I took these pictures back to back, I think the vignette of the 11-24 makes the stairs appear to have a little more contrast. Sharpness is on par with the Canon’s sharpest wide prime.

 

Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional

(LEFT) 11-24mm F4L vs (RIGHT) 24mm F1.4L Again, the exposures seem a little different (although they weren’t), lighting could have changed a bit between the two minutes as clouds were moving fairly quickly. But again, the 11-24 appears to have a little more contrast. Again, detail is on par. Considering the 11-24 is shooting wide open (F4), this is impressive.

So, it seems to really fare well against two of Canon’s best wide angle primes, the 24mm F1.4L II and the 14mm F2.8L II. This is important when I consider packing a bag for two weeks of travel in Europe. My biggest fear would be compromising image quality for an all-in-one solution. When I’m doing travel photography, F stop is less relevant than in portrait/event photography. I use a tripod often, and I can hold the shutter open long enough that the F4 doesn’t faze me as much. Knowing the extra “legs” the lens has with its 11mm focal length is worth the drops in F stops. It’s something I can’t achieve elsewhere.

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

Canon 24mm F1.4L II (Click for full resolution JPEG)

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

Canon 14mm F2.8L II (Click for full resolution JPEG)

 

 

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

Canon 11mm – 24mm F4L (Click for full resolution JPEG)

Notice the 11mm is so wide it’s even getting the edge of the building I’m standing NEXT to! I did not expect to see that building in my shot. It’s insanely wide. So wide, it will be impossible to get people out of your shot sometimes.

Due to the cloud movement, we have to ignore exposure a little bit. BUT, the 11mm still appears to have a decent amount of vignetting visible. Luckily for us, vignetting is easy to fix, and sometimes even a little desirable. Once Canon has a lens profile for this lens, they’ll be able to fix the inherent vignette so you don’t have to even worry about it in post.

Another side note is all of these shots were using autofocus on the same point (just above the center). This was to show how accurate the autofocus was right out of the box. I’ve tried to dial in the 14mm F2.8L II many times and have always struggled with beyond 20 feet accuracy. It looks like the 11-24 hit focus much better than the 14mm.

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

I do a decent amount of real estate pictures for local realtors. This would be a fairly typical shot with my old 14mm. Size matters and every realtor and their clients want the inside of their house to look as big as possible. Look how big this room looks when we go from 14mm to 11mm. (Click for full resolution JPEG)

 

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

The room appears to have grown a few feet back. It doesn’t appear much wider, but we have magically made it appear much larger. This is the ultimate for indoor spaces. This would certainly be the best lens available for shooting houses. Realtors, either fork up the $3,000 for this lens and another $2000 for a full frame camera to utilize it, or hire someone who has it. Use it right and you’ll be able to sell houses like none other. (Click for full resolution JPEG)

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

Here’s a case of how we can use wide angles wrong. This table is perfectly square, but having shot it at an off angle it appears to be a strange polygon.

Canon 14mm F2.8L vs 11mm - 24mm F4L vs 24mm F1.4L Canon 11-24 full review full frame crop camera widest angle lens lenses aspherical non fisheye no distortion by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Iowa professional 11-24

To make that effect even worse, here it is at 11mm. The square table is almost un recognizable as a square. Make sure and line up your shots to keep lines square with each other, so as not to completely confuse the viewer. Shooting pleasant shots with a wide angle is actually very difficult.

 

Canon 11-24mm F4L Tim Dodd Photography -1998-web

It’s hard to express how close the camera was to the soda can, so here’s a shot with my iPhone. Not at all what it looked like in the shots, right?

 

 

So to sum up: Canon has produced a lens that’s as sharp or sharper than its prime counterparts. Although slower (F stop wise). It has chromatic aberration and distortion well under control. Vignetting is probably its biggest fault. But, that’s probably the easiest thing to have fixed in post, so I’m not shaken by that.

It’s a heavy, big lens that might be intimidating to some. It’s very front heavy–so heavy in fact it fell out of my shoulder bag already…

Canon 11-24mm F4L Tim Dodd Photography -2002-webLuckily the replacement lens cap is only $25, but it’s currently unavailable. *Face in palm*

I’ll be using this lens primarily for architectural and real estate shoots. It’ll also be a travel companion, although I don’t use wide angle lenses for my landscape shots. It also won’t replace my 24mm F1.4L for weddings and events because I need the additional brightness of the prime. There’s just too many times that I’m hand holding at F1.4, ISO 3200, 1/50th of a second and I have NO room for a slower F stop, let alone a lens that lets in 8 times less light.

In case you don’t know how the F-stop scale works, going from F1.4 to F2.0 is half as much light. From F2.0 to F2.8 is another half, and again going from F2.8 to F4.0. So again, I won’t be replacing my F1.4 with an F4 any time soon. But going out to 11mm is unheard of, and because of that, it will have a place in my bag.

Make sure and follow me on Instagram @timdoddphotography and @everydayastronaut 

Let me know if you’d like me to do a review on anything else you see in my gear bag on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture

First weekend with the DJI Inspire 1: A professional photographer’s review of DJI’s hottest “drone”

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My first weekend with the Inspire 1 was outstanding. That’s what we did with the Inspire 1 right out of the box…. Impressive, huh? Keep reading, it only gets better.

A little background: I’ve been flying DIY multirotor “drones” for around a year. Like so many others, I’ve been taking to the skies to capture images that were only available to passengers of manned aircraft only a few years ago. When I first looked into buying a system, I think I did it a little backwards. I knew what camera I wanted to fly with, my Canon EOS M, and bought a DIY DJI F550 kit to lift it. It required many modifications to carry a camera as heavy as mine as well as many heart aches when the payload was exceeded and my expensive equipment would take nasty spills. With each spill would come new, bigger equipment and soon my modest F550 turned into a massive heavy lifter that could easily lift 5 pounds for 12 minutes. Eventually, the upkeep and system maintenance got to me. Although I only crashed 3 times in a year, I was getting sick of constantly making repairs and tweaks to keep my fidgety system in the air.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

I wasn’t new to RC aircraft either, I had 3 years of RC helicopter experience already in my portfolio, I was just experiencing the woes of a DIY set up.

I had been asked on a few occasions to try and capture decent video from the sky. That’s what just never worked out. I was constantly trying to balance gimbals, isolate vibrations and some how control the camera set up from ground stations. It just wasn’t working for me. The video quality, even with an EOS-M and a GoPro Hero 4, were very subpar. Not that the output couldn’t be excellent from either solution, it’s just the relationship to my set up wasn’t satisfactory.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

I remember seeing the release of the DJI inspire 1 last year and thinking “MEH.” Very “MEH.” In fact, I wrote it off as an over priced, gimmicky toy. Ooooo look at that cool leg thing, LAME. Then I saw a little review video pop up online. It really caught my attention. The video quality straight out of the box looked amazing, the controller had so many cool options, a two man operation looked simple and intuitive… Considering it has been 4 months since I last flew my hexacopter, I figured if a turnkey solution would get me more reliable and easy flights, it’d be worth it! I feel like we have a narrow window of being able to fly these things easily before the FAA cracks down and grounds them for us “semi professionals.” 

After a little stint of shopping, I finally found a vendor who could ship one out in about a week. Friday, February 6th, 2015, the box finally arrived. What awaited inside was a huge surprise.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

Right out of the box I was blown away. The first thing that stood out to me was it’s weight. It’s hard to believe something so heavy can fly so gracefully. The build quality is simply outstanding. I have seen a few videos where it looked like the camera was extremely loose. It is wiggly, but that’s because of it’s excellent vibration dampers that keep it isolated from the craft.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

The landing gear’s internal motor and mechanism is beautifully crafted. I couldn’t get over how sturdy everything feels.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

The next thing that stood out was the controller. It’s very well weighted and ergonomic. All the switches and dials feel excellent and are easy to reach. Again, another thumbs up on the controller for being better than I had expected.


Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography controller close up holder dials and buttons

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography controller close up holder dials and buttons

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography

Even the phone/tablet holder is well thought out to be able to support almost any sized device.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography controller close up holder with iphone 6

My iPhone 6 sitting in the cradle perfectly.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography controller close up holder with iPad mini

An iPad mini (gen 1) sitting in the holster. Side note: The mini isn’t recommended as video playback will suffer due to it’s slower processor. For iPad use, look to the mini 2 or 3 or the Air 2.

Tim Dodd Photography Aerial pictures pics Cedar Falls Iowa drone video DJI F550 inspire 1 midwest professional videography cinematography controller close up holder dials and buttons

DJI’s attention to detail is applaud worthy. They even included battery warmers to attach for when you have to fly below freezing temperatures.


HDMI output of DJI inspire 1 controller for aerial photography Tim Dodd

It wasn’t until after we had spent a weekend flying that I finally tried plugging in a second monitor to the HDMI output.
HDMI output of DJI inspire 1 controller for aerial photography Tim Dodd on screen display

The on screen display of the HDMI output. Notice, it is the same thing the camera operator will see. So if the operator is looking away from the direction of travel, you won’t be able to fly FPV. I really hope DJI makes a second FPV camera soon. That would make me so happy.

Packing the DJI Inspire 1 case out of the box Tim Dodd Photography aerial Iowa video farm survey

Even the included case is pretty outstanding. Fairly small, but able to hold a lot of spare batteries, a spare controller and the load of spare props. The Inspire 1 even came with TWO sets of props!

DJI Inspire 1 Aerial photography videography cinematography Iowa Midwest farm survey camera real estate professional

The 4k camera included with DJI Inspire 1. Its modular attachment means the camera will be upgradeable over time. Making the Inspire 1 a little more future proof.

DJI Inspire 1 Aerial photography videography cinematography Iowa Midwest farm survey camera real estate professional

It even included a nice little case for the camera. When you pack the Inspire 1 into it’s case, the camera needs to be disconnected and the drone needs to go into “travel mode.” This makes it lie completely flat. DJI even included a 16gb micro SD card. A welcome extra.

So, how about that camera? That was the all important question for me as a photographer. Would it perform anywhere near my EOS M with a 12mm F2.0 Rokinon lens on it? You be the judge.

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photograph with the DJI Inspire 1. DNG edited in lightroom.

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture. 
Wow. Yes, the scenery is stunning, but so is that little camera. ISO 116, F2.8 and 1/25th of a second.

Downtown Waterloo Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture

Downtown Waterloo Iowa. ISO 197, F2.8 and 1/25th shutter speed.

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture

400 feet above downtown Cedar Falls. ISO 100, F2.8, 1/240th.

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture

ISO 982, F2.8, 1/5th of a shutter speed. YES, 1/5th of a second. That’s just how stable this thing is. We’ll get into that in just a minute. Fairly clean for such a high ISO.

So, initial thoughts are fantastic. So how does the still camera compare to my old setup? I used to fly with an EOS M and either a 22mm F2.0 lens or a 12mm F2.0 lens. Here’s a few examples…

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture  UNI dome

ISO 100, F5.6 and 1/500th shutter speed. Rokinon 12mm F2.0 for Canon EOS M

Downtown Cedar Falls Iowa aerial photography DJI Inspire 1 DNG edited Tim Dodd Photography raw picture  EOS M Rokinon 12mm

ISO 400, F5.6, 1/200 shutter speed. Rokinon 12mm F2.0 for Canon EOS M

The takeaway? I think they’re both great. I think the output of an EOS is superior to the Inspire 1’s camera. BUT, and this is important, the DJI camera is WAY better. Why? Did you notice that one picture at night where it’s shutter speed is 1/5th of a second? I swear, when you fly this thing, it feels like you’re raising a long pole up into the sky. The thing just doesn’t move. The gimbal does an incredible job keeping things still. The raw DNG file off the camera has a decent amount of headroom to edit, however it does get pretty grainy after about ISO 400. But it’s still very usable.

So what if we had an excellent gimbal for an EOS M that could hold it still? Well, I tried. I tried 3 different gimbals and 3 different control boards. I could never get it to work 1/10th as good as the Inspire’s gimbal. It just wouldn’t hold things nearly as still nearly as accurately no matter how well balanced. I thought about dropping some coin and getting a really good gimbal from DJI, but starting at over $1000, I felt that wouldn’t be the best route to go.

The other important thing is I have FULL control over the camera while it’s in the sky. If I need to make an adjustment to exposure, file type, ISO, white balance, ANYTHING, I can do while it’s in the air. No more landing to fiddle with focus and ISO or whatever else have you. I can easily switch to video quick like it’s no big deal.

So back to that highlight reel… Wow, right? Simply wow. I had maybe 30 previous flights with a multirotor RC before I shot this. It’s that easy. I wouldn’t say I’m a complete noobie, having previously flown RC helicopters for 3 years. I’d say I’m right in the middle. I’m not a professional pilot and I’m not an amateur. But the thing is so easy to fly, I could fly confidently knowing it would handle anything I threw at it.

So here’s our consensus on flying it and operating it.

For those of you YouTuber’s check out ^THIS VIDEO^ on our youtube channel, “The Astronaut and The Rapper.” Make sure and play it in 4k!

You’ll notice the weekend reel is color corrected and edited. My buddy out in LA, Patrick Lawler, did a great job editing the footage quick. Just so you can see them back to back, (what he is capable of) and what you can do to push the footage, here’s a side by side:

color difference video from Tim Dodd on Vimeo.

 

So, it can’t all be good, can it? Well, it pretty much is all good. The ONLY gripes I have are small, and hopefully, fixable.

1. I wish it could go into travel mode with out turning on the controller. Not a huge deal, but I’d just like to push a button on the Inspire 1 its self and transform into travel mode.

2. I REALLY wish it had a second camera for a full time FPV. I hear there’s possibility of an accessory coming someday that would be officially supported by DJI. Their video platform, lightbridge, is capable of two separate video feeds. Why they didn’t include a stationary 640×480 camera in the first place is beyond me. I would’ve paid $400 extra for it. With the incredible control the camera operator can have over the camera is great, but it can leave you with out a clue of where you’re going. A little of this can be solved by having two controllers. This way, controller can have a map on it (the operator) and the camera man can have the camera’s view. This would help a lot, but at $600, I’m not too keen on adding a second controller to my rig. It’d just be so great if they’d let us tap into that video input and be able to output via HDMI.

3. Hmmmm after a few minutes of thinking, I literally can’t think of a third thing. The closest I can think of is to have options for cameras, but I think that’s coming. The camera is a great gen 1 camera, but I’m very excited to see what else they come up with.

Who’s this for? It’s beyond a hobbyist. It’s too expensive and too capable to just fly around for fun (not that it isn’t fun). There’s much cheaper options if you just want to show off to your friends and get neat pictures of your neighborhood. The camera output isn’t quite good enough for a real aerial video crew either. It’s 4k is great, but wouldn’t pass on a feature film. This is for guys like me. Professional photographers or videographers who either didn’t think the Phantom was good enough for them, or didn’t want to go the DIY route. Maybe you’ve gone the DIY route and you got sick of it, like me. This is perfect for shooting commercials, real estate, indie films, music videos, or farm land surveys. Living in Iowa, I’m excited to try my hand at aerial farm survey’s this summer. This will be the perfect machine for it.

All in all, amazing. NOT a toy, and far more than the sum of it’s parts. With the steadiest gimbal I’ve ever seen, an easy to use interface, an outstanding controller, a carrying case, an incredible video transmitter solution, and an incredibly capable flying machine, it’s simply outstanding.

Thanks to my buddy Ben Hagarty for camera operating, editing videos and nerding out with me over the weekend. He’s going to shoot with me often with this as his talent for getting a shot is much appreciated. We have a new YouTube page, “The Astronaut & The Rapper” where we’ll be reviewing random gear in the future, so be sure and subscribe.

Thanks to Patrick for the color.

Thanks to Crusoe (Jeremy Spring) for the PERFECT song on our weekend highlight reel.

Make sure and follow me on Instagram to catch all our latest shots! And don’t forget to follow Everyday Astronaut too! I have an exciting new series coming out soon!

Everyday Astronaut Series Two: “Getting to Space”

blog, Everyday Astronaut

Make sure and follow @EverydayAstronaut on Instagram!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

I’ve got an idea…

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

If Felix can do it, I can do it.

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

My Nephews told me they built a space shuttle. Not impressed.

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Oh crap! I’m late for work!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Testing my splash down system. (thanks Austin Jensen for risking your life for this picture)

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Testing my glider re-entry system

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

This should work! Here I come space!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

That’s one small step(ladder) for man.

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

I trained too hard.

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Someone bring jumper cables, I think the battery’s a little flat!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Approaching light speed!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

I made it to the moon!!!!

Everyday Astronaut by Tim Dodd Photography Cedar Falls Waterloo Iowa wedding photography photographer reddit sessions sponsored award winning travel destination space nasa spacex

Keep exploring, friends.

 

Ivy & Matt

blog, Weddings

Written by  Audrey Kittrell

Their story starts in close proximity, ironically living on the same street most of college before ever meeting one another. When they did finally meet, they were almost out of time. Graduation was around the corner, and each were pursuing careers that would keep them states apart. They learned as much as they could about one another to hold onto during the two and a half years they’d be apart.

That made 2013 that much more special, when the couple found their way back to each other and could relish spending daily time together again.

Sounds like a fairytale, right?  Matt thought so too.  Although it was his 25th birthday, they had plans in separate states–Matt in Wisconsin for a bachelor party, and Ivy in Galena with Matt’s family.  Secretly, Matt planned a fairytale proposal complete with a horse drawn carriage through the park. But as fate should have it, the horse developed a lame foot 30 minutes beforehand, forcing Matt to think on his feet.  With the help of his sister, Ivy made it to the park (sans horse and carriage), and while strolling along the picturesque path, a handsome man in a suit caught her eye. With tears in their eyes, Ivy ran over the bridge to Matt where he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife.

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On a perfectly fall day in Dubuque, Ivy and Matt invited their closest family and friends to celebrate their wedding. Ivy recalls, “Understanding that life holds many momentous commitments, we were so grateful that our loved ones could share in one of our happiest.”

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Ivy and her bridal party prepped for the wedding in a suite at the Grand Harbor Resort, connected to the Grand River Center where they’d hold their reception. She chose a perfect fall palette in shades of red that complemented the foliage along the river… it was nothing short of beautiful.

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Ivy’s niece and flower girl went from napping to photo shoot ready in no time flat! (Though you’ll see her stuffed giraffe was still in tow for this candid shot!)

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Ivy, you are gorgeous. Let’s be real. This shot gives me goosebumps! Ivy blended elements of tradition and fun (see the feather detail on her dress!) in a perfect gown she found at Mestads. Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography

Matt and his entourage started the day at the Field of Dreams on the ballpark laughing and blowing off steam before the ceremony. Their dad’s even got in on the fun with matching suits and socks.

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You can tell a lot about a person based on his friends… Matt surrounds himself with some of the nicest and funniest guys!

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One trend that we can’t get enough of is the Father-Daughter First Look.  It’s so full of emotion, and for good reason. Ivy and her father shared a sweet moment on the steps of the church minutes before giving his daughter away.

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When Tim & I first walked into the Basilica, we were stunned by how big, beautiful and grand it is! Very reminiscent of Europe, and definitely unexpected for small town Iowa.Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography Wedding Photographer photography award winning best cedar falls waterloo iowa minnesota california MA boston NYC flickr wisconsin Chicago illinois minneapolis travel destination weddings photography

When I asked Ivy & Matt what stood out on their wedding day, they both romantically recounted the first moment they saw each other that day:

Ivy – “Matt and I chose to wait and not see each other until the ceremony as it was a tradition I have always been fond of. As the doors in the back of the church opened, I remember suddenly seeing the sunlight stream through the stained glass windows after it had been cloudy and overcast the entire morning – it created such a majestic and euphoric ambiance. And then there was Matt, my soon-to-be-handsome-husband, at the end of this aisle. It was truly such a powerful and glorious moment, seeing him grinning from ear to ear while also fighting to hold back tears as I walked up the aisle. In that moment, I knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be.”

Matt – “Since we decided we would not see each other until Ivy was walking down the aisle, it was a highly anticipated moment and one that I knew would be full of emotions for myself.  As the moment came and I saw the doors open and Ivy began walking down the aisle, it was just as I had expected.  As she approached I could see the smile on her face and the tilt in her head as she looked up to me with a slight grin on her face that I’ve come to recognize and see the genuine happiness she had at that moment.  As others had recognized as well, the sheer joy of seeing my soon to be wife walking down the aisle was a moment I will never forget and certainly a moment on the day of the wedding that stands out to me and impacted me to a greater extent than other moments throughout the day.”

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As if the day hadn’t been scenic enough already, the couple arranged for the bridal party and families to have pictures at the amazing Park Farm Winery near Dubuque.  I give Ivy & Matt major credit for choosing the prettiest time of year for a wedding!

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As the sun set in Dubuque, the Grand River Center lit up. The venue transitions well from cocktails overlooking the river to a ballroom that can accommodate even the biggest parties.

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A couple’s first dance is a highlight of any wedding, but Matt and Ivy added a personal detail that made it even more special.  It had been Ivy’s dream as a little girl to have her oldest sister’s band reunite to play for her wedding. Her dream came true as the group Tres performed in the Basilica for their ceremony, and again as her sister serenaded the couple for their first dance as husband and wife. “She has always been the woman I looked up to the most throughout my life, and her performance was truly momentous and a song neither of us will ever forget,” Ivy recalls.

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Ivy and Matt: Congratulations on a (more than) beautiful wedding. Your story is one for the books–thank you for allowing Tim & I to capture it! We wish you all the best.

- written by Audrey Kittrell

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Many thanks to the creative team who made the day so special:

Tuxedos – Milroy’s Tuxedos Dubuque, Iowa
Wedding Dress, Bridesmaid Dresses, Flowergirl Dress – Mestads Rochester, Minnesota
Hair and Makeup – The Fringe Salon Dubuque, Iowa
Wedding Rings – Mark’s Jewelry Store St. Lucas, Iowa
Ceremony – St. Francis Xavier Basilica Dyersville, Iowa
Reception Venue – Grand River Center Dubuque, Iowa
Flowers – Kim’s Kreations Epworth, Iowa
Cake – First Avenue Bakery Dyersville, Iowa
Wedding Decorations – Lynne & Brittany Lueck Decorating Dyersville, Iowa
DJ and Uplighting – Alexxus Entertainment Dubuque, Iowa

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