October 20, 2014, 07:27:02 PM

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Messages - BLFPhoto

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Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM
« on: Today at 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. 

Via online galleries on my Photoshelter site.  I started with Photoshelter with the lowest level that allowed eCommerce sales of prints directly from the galleries.  I'm at the full Pro level now with more than 75% of 1TB of gallery images up there. 

It makes it easy and fast to get images to clients, particularly clients who traveled from out of town for beach portraits or weddings.  I can also give multiple distributions via email addresses or group passwords. 

For one-offs, or early in establishing business, USB drives are my recommendation.  But online distribution gives so many advantages that I won't do physical media again unless specifically requested by the client. 

Lenses / Re: Something with 50mm L lens that make it different
« on: July 18, 2014, 10:24:16 AM »
The EF 50mm f/1.4 is a great documentary and photojournalist lens.  It works great starting at about f/2.0 and really shines at f/4-f-8, especially in black and white.  It will do passable work at f/1.4-f/1.8 and is very cost effective for that work. 

But for those looking for images that rely more on artistic expression, the EF 50mm f/1.2 is the far better lens.  Wedding photographer?  Environmental portraitist?  Those photographers will find the color, contrast, bokeh, etc. all add up to a better image for their purposes much, if not most of the time.

I have owned both, and still currently have the 1.4 version.  It was one of the first EF lenses I bought way back in the early 90's.  I still have my original copy of that lens and it is still going strong, contrary to all the reports of how fragile it can be.  Treat it nicely and it will work for a long, LONG time. 

If the 50mm played more in my wedding and portrait shooting, I would have the L version for sure.  As the OP asks, I can confirm there is just something "more" about the images I got out of the one I had for a while, when compared to images from my 1.4 version.  In my estimation, it is the combination of all performance aspects that create that look.  It's almost like that's what the Canon engineers were trying to do!  ;-)

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