Pro Tips with the MPEX Staff: Week 2

This week, Sonnie (our resident Canon expert) and T.J. (our resident video expert) gave us some pointers. We discussed photo grips, macro lenses, sliders, and recording sound for video.

Sonnie wanted to highlight the Phottix series of battery grips for Canon cameras. Pictured below is the Phottix BP-50D, but we have a wide selection of Phottix battery grips for Canon cameras in the store. Sonnie recommends the Phottix battery grips because they’re 40-60% less than Canon battery grips and pretty much work just as well. If you are thinking about buying your first battery grip but don’t want to spend too much money because you’re not sure how it will feel, think about the Phottix grips.

Sonnie says that he gets a lot of questions about macro lenses, specifically what the difference is between a true macro lens and a zoom lens that says it’s macro. Basically, a true macro lens will always be prime (i.e. it will have a fixed focal length). It will have a 1:1 ratio, meaning you are able to fill the frame with the object you are photographing. A zoom lens can call itself “macro”-capable if it has a ratio of 1:4 or less, but the object will only be a quarter of the size in the frame as it is with a 1:1 ratio. You know that really awesome photo that’s right up in a bug’s face? That was taken with a 1:1 prime macro lens.


T.J. recommends the Cinevate Atlas 10 FLT all-terrain camera slider. Setup is quick, it travels easily in one piece, it has a smooth ball-bearing system and all-terrain feet (you can place it anywhere), and it attaches to light stands. It’s half the price of other camera sliders but it’s high quality, and for short tracking shots it’s indispensable.

Many customers ask T.J. about getting good audio for their video. You can get high quality microphones that plug right into your camera, he said, but the best way to record is the old-fashioned way, with a Zoom H4N recorder or the like. But, if you want to record in camera, or even if you are using a recorder, it’s really worth it to spend the money on a high-quality microphone. The output will be more balanced, and you will have the ability to amplify the sound without worrying about hiss.

To talk to any of our experts, call the store at 866-940-3686.

Midwest Photo

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