Glad you are back from your  sabbatical, your weekly news letter was missed. Hope you enjoyed the time away and made good use of the new truck and camera gear.

You  certainly put together a well written, interesting and really informative news letter that I enjoy reading each week.

We are in California for a few months and enjoying the cold. Heading to Lake Tahoe to spend time in the snow and away from people.

Still enjoying the Canon S 90 and should get a few "snow" shots for your readers who do not travel in this direction.  By the way the price for the S 90 here is $400 US plus 9.5% sales tax, and the Canon G11 on sale at the big box store is $466.

You mentioned in this weeks article that there is a way to delete the EXIF information from/on a photo, care to share that information?

I have just watched a super animated feature called "9". Lots of high tech action and a very interesting use of a camera lens for eyes of the main characters

Attached find a few pictures from one of our stops in Maui on a earlier trip from BKK. I was using a Sony point and shoot at that time.














Hi Rick -

Thank you.  I'm always happy to know someone is reading the column.. :)

These are great pics, what Sony model?  Can I run them in the column?

About the Exfil.  Today's DSLRs in particular enable you to put your name and other contact/personal information in your cameras firmware so that this information is now added to the exfil of every image you shoot.  This is great for most things, but sometimes you don't want the exfil data to go out with the image.  In Lightroom there is simply a box you check in the "export" dialogue box to do this.  It's labeled "minimize exfil data" and it strips almost everything.  What editing program are you using?

There are other programs out there that totally 'wash' an image but I won't be going into those.  People who take pictures of illegal activities and share them on line would love to know how to do this and I'm not going to help..

Take care



Hi Steve,

Here are a couple of questions for you, for inclusion in your column.

1.  I am thinking of selling my 70 - 200L F4.  It's a good lens but I want something faster and lighter so am going to go for the 200 2.8 L.  I already have the 135L and a 24 - 70L.  I can't see any reason not to do this but wanted to run it by you first.  You know my shooting style better than most and I think the 200 2.8L will be a welcome addition.  Any thoughts?


2.  I have filled up my 1 Gig drives.  I have two, bother are Western Digital externals and I back up EVERYTHING i.e. every photo I have ever taken.  I need larger capacity external drives.  Would you recommend I buy another 2 1 Gig drive or are there other options?




Stick -

Good questions!  Both of these questions are topical with the pending release of the new Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS II and the drop in price of 2tb drives.

Lets start with the 70-200 question.  I'm a strong believer in three things concerning 70-200's:

a.  These are absolutely great lenses in any version, it's just a matter of matching the lens to the body to your needs.

b.  The F4 lenses are ideally suited to the size/weight of the prosumer 5dII and lesser bodies.  Hanging a 70-200/2.8 IS on a 5dII can be done, I do it, but it doesn't give you nearly the "this feels right" feeling the F4 models do.

c.  IS on a 70-200 is essential.


Here's an aside germane to this question:  Nikon and Canon have been reluctant to drastically raise their prices in America and subsequently other countries to adjust for the weak dollar.  What they are doing is drastically raising the prices of their newest releases to help balance things.  Notice the suggested retail of the new 70-200mm F2.8 IS II compared to the model it's replacing?


I'm going to assume you meant the 70-200m F2.8 IS version and not the non-IS version.  I can guarantee you from years of experience that IS is essential on this lens due to its size and weight and focal length.  Besides, IS just plain helps a lot at any focal length above 70mm..

By now you're probably thinking my opinion is the new 70-200m F4 IS lens would be perfect for you.  You'd be right.  Considering that you have a 5d Mark II body and have no plans to go to a bigger 1d series professional body I think this would be your best choice.

I can hear the question:  "But what about F2.8???"  Yes, you've experienced fast glass with your 135mm F2 and your 35mm F1.4.. and there is no arguing that fast glass rocks.  And some people will tell you that it's just an f stop and you could easily compensate by cranking up the ISO.  You could.  But what you can't compensate for is that certain AF points will be cross type at F2.8 and only horizontal types at F4 and beyond (look in your instruction manual for the specifics on your individual body) AND you can't compensate for the fact that F2.8 just lets in more light (no matter what aperture it's set to) which aids in achieving autofocus in low light.

So you have two fine lenses, the F4 and F2.8 IS versions.  One is small and lightweight and you're apt to use it more often.  The other lets in more light for better AF in low light and activates all of your cross-point AF sensors for catching better/more action.  Which is more important to you, size or weight or better AF?  It's an individual question.

Good luck on whichever model you choose.


About 1tb Hard Drives:

There are a TON of options.  Oh my are there options.  Sure, there are many, probably hundreds, 2tb or larger external drives that connect via USB 2.0.  There are just as many other options.  There are some things you need to consider:

1.  USB 3.0 is quickly becoming a reality.  It's faster than any other interface out there by a significant margin and the first models are just now coming to market.  The chances are your next computer will be 3.0 capable.

2.  Currently USB 2.0 and Esata are your commonly available interfaces with Esata being much faster than USB 2.0.  Firewire will soon be history so don't go there.

3.  As a laptop user you can either use external drives connected directly to your computer via USB 2.0 or an Esata PCMIA card, or over your network connection.


This leaves you several choices:

1.  More and bigger external USB 2.0 drives.  Frankly these would be my last choice, but they are the cheapest options.. almost.

2.  External drives with a USB 3.0 port as well as USB 2.0 ports so you can look towards the future.

3.  A NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit of just about any size you want, they're readily available up to 4tb's.  I currently have two 4tb units and I love them.  They're great for storing files and backing up.  With a 1gig network connection they transfer data just about as fast as a external USB 2.0 drive IF you choose carefully.  Some are very slow.

4.  You could invest in a home server such as those from HP or you could build one yourself.  Stay tuned for my experiences building a home server in the near future, it could save you some headaches.  This is the route I think makes the most sense for those storing a lot of data such as digital photographers, but it is a commitment in the sense of time and money to get set up.  However, once set up there's nothing else like it.

5.  A docking station for internal SATA drives.  Did you read my column a few weeks ago where I reviewed the dual bay docking station?  This came with both USB 2.0 and Esata ports for about $50.  It's replacement model is already adding USB 3.0.  You can use these with very inexpensive internal SATA drives for either "on-line" active storage, or to archive data.  If your current external drives contain SATA and not PATA drives, you could strip them out of their cases and make use of your old 1tb drives (be sure to read the part about S.M.A.R.T testing drives before you do) so overall this becomes a very viable option.  These hold both 3.5 inch SATA drives like you'd find in a desktop, and 2.5" SATA drives like you'll find in a laptop.  the 2.5 drives store very easily and IMO are more impervious to shock, drops, and other external factors as they're designed to be in mobile devices.


It's good to thoroughly research this area and then come up with your backup strategy, and don't be surprised if your needs and choices change, they probably will.  Once you come up with your strategy then it's merely a matter of shopping for the most bytes of storage for the money which fits your strategy.

I'd give this area serious thought.  I've personally changed my strategy more than a few times and now I wish I'd just went ahead and invested in a server in the first place.  The docking station isn't a bad choice either, and the drives you fill up could later be used in a server.

I hope this helps..



Hi Steve,

I really appreciate your comprehensive answers.  Just one thing, there was a misunderstanding with the lens question.  I am thinking of replacing my 70 - 200 F4 with the 200 2.8 L, NOT a zoom, but the fixed focal version...hehe!  I pretty much only use the lens at 200mm anyway and I prefer smaller, lighter lenses hence I think it would be the better choice.




Stick -

Oh my.. should have read that one better.. :)

Most of what I said previously goes.  With the exception of a few pieces of added information.

1.  The new 70-200mm F4 IS is very nearly as sharp as the F2.8 optically.. and in most cases you'll get sharper pictures from the 70-200mm F4 IS because of its claimed four stops (in reality 2-3, but that still takes you to F2 where static subjects are concerned).

2.  The 200mm F2.8 is being rumored to be replaced soon too.. with an IS version.  It might annoy you to read the announcement a few months after paying for the 200..

3.  With your 1.4tx.. the 135/2 becomes a 188/2.8 so if size and weight are your main concern this combination makes better sense.

I'm really not a fan of the 200/2.8.. it just falls in one of those spots better covered by an array of better options..


Please submit your questions to  All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.