Seminar at WWT Arundel


Distinguished Member
Went to a Wild Arena seminar at Arundel WWT yesterday. Some very interesting talks and Canon were there with some very nice kit to play with, as were others.

The weather was appalling, wet and windy.

Kit stuff first...

EOS 60D. Had a play with one attached to a 600mm f/4.0. It's small, at first I thought they'd attached a 550D to it. The buttons on the top by the top LCD are also odd, they are very recessed and almost flush with the body which made them hard to know if you'd pressed them or not.

The 60D AF was pretty much identical to the 40D, and to be honest, it's a bit dated now, it feels very slow compared to the 7D, and the mirror/shutter noise was quite a bit louder and slower.

On the plus side, the 60D felt well put together and better to hold for me than a 550D.

They also had a full range of Canon super telephotos and the surprise for me was the EF800, it was lighter than the 600 and even in rubbish light was delivering really sharp photos with a 1D Mk IV attached. Also interesting was the new EF300 f/2.8. It was much lighter than the outgoing model, and the updated IS was rock solid. The weight saving comes from using tungsten on the lens body and is also why the price has shot up. This will apparently be used on all the refreshes, but the improved IS seemed worthwhile too. Certainly better than the older models. I also noticed that as well and manual and auto focus modes there was a P too... not sure what that was.

The 1D Mk IV is just so quick, it fires off shots in blistering fashion, but doesn't use the 7D's LCD viewfinder overlay. However, it felt really comfortable in the hand, unlike the 7D with battery grip. With the latter it's impossible to use the same hand to access the vertical shutter and the AF point selection via the joystick, the grip is too fat. The Mk IV was much better here. Unless you need the balance of the grip, I wouldn't bother. 7D battery life is so good you'd have to be going some or chimping to death to need two batteries online together. I use IS all the time, AF and frequently check photos and a battery always lasts a day.

Also present were Manfrotto/Gitzo with some lovely (and expensive) light carbon fibre tripods, and Wildlife Watching Supplies with their superb hides... I may well have to get one of these.

To make life a bit more interesting playing with some of this, Charlie Hamilton James, Mr. Kingfisher, was there. He was quite impressed with the 800mm lens too.

The lectures were I thought very good, quite technical at times but not too much. Exposure was explained really well with regard to digital. I also thought the various insights into composition and technique choices worked very well.

The following website was highlighted for landscape photographers mainly, but really is helpful for all.

The Photographer's Ephemeris | Plan your shoot

It tells you when and where the sunrise/sunset will be, and also shadows. Really is quite amazing if you've read this far. Available free for your desktop and at a small cost for the iPhone. Close to indispensable IMO. One of those what a cool idea moments.

One of the other interesting points was around filters, and ND grads. We had a good demo of the Lee system, and were told that really on a DSLR don't bother with soft grads, they're too big for the sensor and you don't get the full benefit. Using hard grads will deliver better results. These guys seemed to know their stuff and teach on the Light and Land courses so I had no immediate reason to disbelieve them, but this was a surprise to me.

All in all I was really pleased I went, it was a good mix of lectures, exhibitors and a chance to take some photos. I can tell you the 7D weatherproofing works just fine, it got soaked. My 100-400 had it's waterproof jacket on. Would have been much better had the weather been more accommodating, but hey it's November...


Well-known Member
Interesting read. I didn't know they done these at Arundel.
It's always nice to have a play with new gear, especially out on a shoot somewhere rather than in a shop.
Shame the weather wasn't a bit better for it. Did you get many keepers or was it more of a listen and learn kind of day?


Distinguished Member
It was pretty much a listen and learn, but I felt it was pitched about right, as in technical bits and creative bits. Took a couple of duck photos, but ISO at silly levels which I don't think the 7D excels at personally.

Would thoroughly recommend anyone going though.


:hiya:cool type by you & so long! i love to read & learn more from people :~)

i thought you were not photo guy but hijack here from other forum @ avf? ha i am pleased

which forum do you work @ so i can visit & hijack threads? :~)

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