October 30, 2014, 01:58:47 PM

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Messages - BLFPhoto

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EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II
« on: October 29, 2014, 05:46:03 PM »
35mm is probably my favorite focal length.  I have both the current 35 L and the Sigma 35 Art and love both of those.  I keep thinking I'll get rid of one, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  And I'll probably end up adding the 35L mk II to my kit while keeping the other two. 

Thankfully no one is advocating IS on it yet!  Let's leave that to the f/2 IS USM version (which will be added to my kit shortly for video purposes).

Lenses / Re: 70-200 2.8 II or 100 2.8L and 135 2 and 200 2.8
« on: October 23, 2014, 09:55:03 AM »
I have had the 80-200 f/2.8L /70-200 f/2.8L and now the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II.  I have also had or currently own the 100 f/2.8L, 135 f/2L and 200 f/2.8L. 

I would boil your question down to what is more important to your shooting, flexibility, or the specialized qualities of the 100 and 135.  The 200L is a wash with the new zoom. 

There are times in professional shooting and/or high action situations where I need the flexibility of the zoom to adjust framing on the fly, especially when my mobility is limited by the event or circumstances.  This week's paddlesports shoot with kayaks and paddleboards on the Charleston harbor is just such a situation.  With choppy water and multiple boats, I needed the zoom capability to maintain a good composition.  shooting with the 135 or the 200 would have made a much longer day out of it.

On the other hand, there are situations where I absolutely need the macro of the 100L or the f/2 of the 135L.  For their given focal lengths, there is nothing really to choose between the three primes and the zoom.  It really is the close focusing ability of the 100L that sets that lens apart.  You can really move in on a tight headshot and drop backgrounds out in a way that the zoom can't in close quarters.  And, of course, you can get tight on small items like rings, flowers, hands, insects, etc.  With the 135, unless you've seen your image at f/2 vs the f/2.8 you can't know how special that is.  I love to shoot athletes in forested trails with that lens.  Even when the trees are close in, that lens lets me separate the runners at much closer range than the zoom.  Same thing in crowded wedding scenarios.  I can separate the couple on the dance floor from the sidelines even when they are surrounded by other guests. 

Are those two qualities more important to you than the flexibility of the zoom?  I think for personal shooting, unless those two things are extremely important to what you want to shoot, the zoom is going to be a better choice for the long run. 

With that said, if someone said I had to choose one way or anther on my lenses, I'd drop every zoom I have and go with the 35/85/135 trinity and throw in the 100 for macro.  I like the discipline of single focal length shooting.

Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM
« on: October 20, 2014, 03:51:12 PM »
Those are absolutely lovely, $winter!  Love it!  I can see I'm going to have to add this one to my collection. 

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Woe and Pathos in the Sigma 50 Art?
« on: October 16, 2014, 12:10:51 PM »
Eldar, since you use FoCal and claim this lens has inconsistency issues, perhaps you'd care to share some focus consistency test results from FoCal on this lens with us.  Multiple copies, multiple bodies would be indicative.  At least post the charts showing the 10 or 20 shot tests, with the final percentage. 

Lighting / Re: POLL: What flash modes do you use?
« on: October 07, 2014, 02:55:46 PM »
You forgot GR.  I use this heavily in order to control different groups in different ways with the new RT system.

One of my favorite setups for sports shots is to use Gr as such:

Group A = ETTL, main
Group B = ETTL, fill
Group C = M, background, if needed
Group D = ETTL or M depending on situation, kicker

I have not yet used the 5th available group, though I have imagined a couple of schemes.

Basically if it moves relative to the light source, it gets ETTL.  If it is stationary relative to the light source, it gets M

I absolutely love the ST-E3-RT and the EX600-RT system.  I now have 5 of the 600s and will probably add 2-3 more for flexibility, and because I often double up the flashes when I need more power, particularly in HSS situations. 

The attached photos show a two group, with both ETTL, HSS, and two flashes per position.  For the bike photo I later added the 5th light on a 3rd group in manual, full power, to give a blast into the trees to lift the shadows just a bit.

Lighting and composition.  There are always ways to see the scene differently, to make a different kind of image. 

You are partially correct.  Anyone with a decent camera and long glass, rented or owned, can get "just another shot of a lion/cheetah/pelican/horned frog". 

You have to think outside of the box as a photographer.  Do something that no one else is doing.  Or do what someone else did, and take it a step further. 

I can think of a lot of things I would try if I were into wildlife photography.  And some of them are things that almost no one else is doing. 

Seriously....lighting and composition.  That is where the folks making new and exciting images are working.  It's far beyond rule of thirds and making sure the subject is well exposed. 

Anyone can buy a 600 f/4 and a better beamer to get the shot of the heron on wing.  But that is on-axis lighting...completely uninspiring and flat lit at this point.  Guys were doing that in the 80s and 90s on film.  How could you light the bird off camera?  It can be done.  Low percentage work, yes.  But when it works...you'll have something no one else has. 

Lenses / Re: The Sigma 35mm Art is Toasting Canon's?
« on: September 17, 2014, 09:04:00 PM »
My experience is that neither my 35 Art or my friend's is any more or less reliable in AF than my 35 f1.4L that I've had for more than a decade. 

I don't know which lens I like more at this point.  They are different, and both very effective. 

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: CF Cards Vs SD Cards
« on: September 17, 2014, 09:28:45 AM »
Yup...enough with the fear mongering. 

I've been shooting CF cards for 15 years and not once have I bent pins or messed up the mechanical interface in any way.  I've had exactly one card go bad in all that time (of hundreds I've owned), and that was when one fell out of my card wallet and got run over by a fire truck. 

I use Vortex Stormjacket Pro covers in various sizes to fit my lenses.  They pack up super small but provide more than adequate coverage when I get caught out by storms on a long day or three in the field.  I also have a full-on think tank cover when I know I'm going to be in torrential downpours or if I ever head to the arctic.

EOS Bodies / Re: Official: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
« on: September 15, 2014, 05:29:53 PM »
If I only user center-point for photographing birds, is this really worth the upgrade over the T2i I've been lugging around for several years?  I'm thinking of just getting a 6D or 5Diii, as I can get pretty close to my subjects, and I'm using a 400mm lens.  From the specs of the 7Dii it looks more like a 'side-grade' to the T2i than an actual upgrade, for the type of photography I do.  My main limiting factor right now is iso performance; anything above 400 on the T2i is pretty much useless, and I'm not getting the sense the 7Dii will be any better.   Anyone that shoots similar subject matter have any thoughts on this?

Oh my!  Even the current 7D would be better for your purposes.  This new one, with the 65 f/2.8 focus points will be miles better.  You will be able to actually compose a proper picture instead of shooting dead center and cropping.  AI Servo will be miles better than with your T4i.  And 10fps frame rate will shoot circles around what you currently do, giving you the ability to track and shoot, choosing the peak action in post.  You'll get images you can't imagine getting on a regular basis.

It's seriously not even a reasonable question unless you simply don't have the $.  In fact, for your purposes, I'll bet I'd almost rather have this 7D Mk II than a 5D Mk III. 

Photography Technique / Re: Benefits of IS in fast shutter speeds
« on: September 10, 2014, 02:04:35 PM »
I shoot A LOT of sports action at shutter speeds well over 1/1000.  I have not seen a significant issue image quality with IS on or off.  The images are coming out of my camera the same way. 

The reason I often turn my IS off on  my 300mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 is because it saves a significant amount of battery time on my 1DMkIV.  With my newest battery in the camera, a recently purchased LP-E4n version, I can get about 2k shots on a charge with IS turned on.  I can shoot 3-3.5k shots with IS turned off.  That is significant, and often the difference between getting a whole event on one battery.  I have backup batteries, but if I'm shooting in the mid-2ks for number of images, it's sure nice not to have to worry about monitoring the battery and finding breaks in the action to change it out. 

I will say that the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Mk II with the newest version of IS seems to be better on battery life than my 300mm f/2.8 which is the Mk 1 version with an earlier generation of IS. 

It may be counterintuitive, but I keep IS on for my wider angle lenses (24-105, 17-55 when I had that), when I'm shooting flash/strobe action shots, even with HSS or Hypersync.  I'm often panning with the subject in the frame, waiting on the right moment to click, and it seems to be a small help in managing that small bit of camera motion.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Zeiss Otus 1.4/85: The New World-Class Lens
« on: September 08, 2014, 12:43:08 PM »
I'm sure these are wonder optics that live up to their billing, regardless of how overblown some of the verbiage is in the marketing slicks. 

But for my money, I think I would pour my $ into a medium format system for portraits before I considered the Otus lenses.  I could do a lot more with, say, a Pentax 645Z and a couple of lenses, than by adding the Otus lenses to my lineup. 

Just my take on them. 

Doesn't mean I won't lust after this 85mm... 

Lenses / Re: Your favorite older EF lens
« on: August 29, 2014, 12:55:15 PM »
Hands down favorite older lens 50mm f/1.8 Mk I.  (the metal mount version with the distance scale).  I still have mine after more than 20 years.   It has been replaced by the 40mm pancake as my walk-around street lens, but that may be short lived.  I still love the look of that 50 for B&W street. 

My old 24mm f/2.8 would be a very close second.  I would say I "mistakenly" sold it if you ask me today.  I should have kept it.  But I sold it when I had, variously, the 17-40 L, 24-105 L, and 24-70 L.  I wish I had it today as a small, lightweight complement to the 40mm pancake for my "running" kit that I carry while running and covering ultramarathons.  Sometimes I need something wider, and the 17-40 is just too much lens to carry when I'm running for hours around 50 or 100 mile running routes trying to get the shots.

Photography Technique / Re: Is RAW worth it?
« on: August 29, 2014, 12:40:26 PM »
I would add that most of the folks I read here are not photographers working on a deadline.  No deadline?  Then there really is no reason NOT to shoot in RAW.  Hard disk space is cheap.  And if you manage your files well, getting rid of the junk with a good edit, then even that isn't a problem.  The upsides far outweigh any downsides to me.

Photography Technique / Re: Is RAW worth it?
« on: August 29, 2014, 12:36:57 PM »
I shoot jpeg only when I need unrelenting speed and buffer out of my cameras.  Even a 1D Mk IV fills up the buffer somewhat quickly with Raw when you're shooting action of a running race. 

Otherwise, I want the flexibility in post afforded by the RAW files...ALWAYS. 

Shooting on deadline is not that hard with today's software.  Ingest the files, select all, set a global adjustment (essentially the same thing as defining jpeg settings in your camera), and output jpeg files to a folder or even direct to FTP.  I can do it all in Lightroom and it doesn't take much longer for either jpeg or RAW.

In the "old" days, when dealing with RAW meant a trip through Photoshop...no way.  Jpeg all the way.  But times have changed.  But today, if I've got a great file that I send out to a client immediately, I still want the flexibility to go back later and do something in RAW to optimize the image for other purposes.   

When you really want to work over a file, RAW is the only way to go.  Somebody else said it best...jpegs just fall apart if you really dig into them beyond minor global corrections. 

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