Review: Opteka Lens Hood for the Canon EF-S 17-85mm

Too bad non-L lens don’t come with a lens hood… you really do need one most of the time. I looked at the Canon EW73B, but being somewhat of a cheapskate, I couldn’t justify spending $30 on a 5 cent piece of plastic.

I found a third party replacement on eBay, and decided to give it a try. Summary: It works great!

The packaging is simple. Plain, white box with plastic bag holding the plastic hood. The quality is pretty good. If too much pressure is applied, it will pop off without breaking.

opteka ew-73b

There are two “entry” points on the lens… you insert and rotate 45 degrees. The words are only on one side, so they can be on the top or bottom of the lens.

opteka ew-73b front angle

opteka ew-73b overhead

And, yes, the hood can be installed backwards for transport.

Tamrac Velocity 7x Holds Canon 40D… Barely

Recently, I started looking for a “quick draw” bag to hold my Canon 40D. My list of options was fairly short.

Tamrac Velocity Series
Lowepro SlingShot 100 AW
Lowepro Fastpack 100

No local stores carried the Tamrac, but I did try the Lowepros at my local Best Buy. They were a little more cumbersome than I had hoped. My goal was to find the smallest bag possible to hold the 40D and maybe an extra lens. I decided to try the Velocity 7x anyway… based on the size specs and a few sparse reviews around the web.

Velocity 7x

After a few weeks using it, I can report that it works, but only barely. Getting the camera in and out is really a two-handed operation.


Your free hand must stretch the bag open at the top to prevent the flash shoe from catching on the fabric. In fact, the thread has started pulling away from the fabric where I wasn’t careful a few times.

Tamrac Velocity 7X without Canon 40D

With the camera removed, you can almost see how the two “columns” on each side can be used to store other lenses, etc.

Tamrac Velocity 7X showing Front Pocket

The front pocket can hold a good bit of “flat” stuff. Many CF cards, a GPS device, cables, etc. The bag fits really good over the shoulder and rides high on my back (I’m an average size guy). It’s pretty comfortable.

Summary: I wish I had gone with the Velocity 8x or another bag.

Now I’m bag shopping again. I find myself taking the camera to work everyday (along with my Laptop Bag holding my 15″ MacBook Pro). So I’m considering a backpack to carry both.

I’m seriously considering the Crumpler Sinking Barge. Will keep you posted.

Canon 40D Review

Canon 40D

I recently “upgraded” my full frame Kodak Pro SLR/n to the Canon 40D. Before that, I had the Canon D60. After using it for a couple of weeks, here are a few thoughts.

Even though I downgraded to a smaller chip and lower resolution (14MP vs. 10MP on the 40D), I still like the 40D better. Among the most useful new features are the good FPS performance (I’ve taken advantage of it several times when trying to photograph fast moving things… like birds flying overhead), improved high ISO and the much larger LCD screen. As pointed out elsewhere, the resolution on the LCD screen is considerable less than Nikon’s, but it’s good enough for me. Perhaps if were using the Nikon and switched, I’d have a different opinion.

Another excellent feature is automatic dust removal. My Kodak had a horrible dust problem… I spent a lot of time trying to keep it clean.

I got the “better” wide kit lens… the 17-85mm IS USM. The other contender was the 28-135mm IS USM which I owned with the D60. With the 1.6 factor, I think that lens is really too long for a “walkabout” lens. The glass quality is ok; nothing to write home about. But the coverage is what I consider ideal (at least for the money).

There are several full reviews around the web. Here is one from The Digital Picture and another from < a href="">

Stay tuned for additional thoughts…

p.s. Flamers, start your engines… I actually liked the Nikon D300 better, but it was out of my price range. I had a pretty tight budget. Maybe after using the Canon a while, I can pick up a used D300 off eBay.