April 17, 2014, 03:12:32 PM

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Messages - BLFPhoto

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Lenses / Re: Wait for Sigma 50mm Art or purchase Canon 135 f2L.
« on: April 08, 2014, 10:09:40 PM »
I've had my Canon 50mm f/1.4 for nearly as long as I've had EOS cameras...19 or 20 years.  The only lens I've had longer is the original 50mm f/1.8 mk I with the metal mount.  I loved it(the 1.4)...until I didn't.  And that was starting about with the 40D.  It was still good on the 5Dc, though mine probably suffered from the lack of AFMA on early digital bodies.  Now I mainly use it for detail shots and street shooting from f/4-f/8.  It still shines in that mode.  But I love the focal length for composition and really want a great 50 1.4.  I never liked the focus shift on Canon's 50 L, so that lens is not on my list. 

Hoping the 50 Art is as good as anticipated and as good as the 35 Art that I already have. 

Lenses / Re: Wait for Sigma 50mm Art or purchase Canon 135 f2L.
« on: April 08, 2014, 03:00:37 PM »
For my $, you already have the 50mm range covered with the 24-70 f/2.8 and even the 35 f/1.4.  But the 70-200 f/4 leaves you with a slower medium telephoto.  So I would go with the 135 f/2L.  I have had mine for nearly as long as it has existed and would not give it up.   

As you can see in my signature, I have the Canon prime trinity of 35 f/1.4L, 85 f/1.2L II and 135 f/2L.  I replaced my 85 f/1.8 with the L series only in the last couple of years, so can speak about having used that 1.8 lens with the 35 and 135 Ls for nearly a decade.  I can almost always cover any shoot with those three lenses. 

I had the original 70-200 f/4 non-IS for a while when it first came out, but I found it was often too slow for the more active shooting I do.  I always prefered the 135L when I could get away with that focal length. 

Even now that I also cover that range with the 24-70/70-200 f/2.8 duo, I more often use the primes in most non-sports situations. 

That's a disjointed way of saying go for the 135L now.  You won't regret it, even on APS-C.  It makes a great ~189mm focal length equivalent and the f/2 keeps the shutter speeds up without jacking the ISO. 

EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: EF 85mm f/1.2L III and Others
« on: March 31, 2014, 01:21:09 PM »
I love, love, love my 85II for all reasons stated above, but seriously, this lens has really bad LOCA that's difficult to fix in post.

If they found a way to reduce the green/magenta bokeh CA, I would upgrade in a heartbeat (assuming that's even possible on 1.2 lenses)

It is correctable to some degree through use of APO lens designs.  As always, though, there are varying degrees of effectivity even among respective APO designs, and if we REALLY demand the goods...we're probably in Leica territory for price. 

The third party makers (Sigma!) often designate APO on lenses, but while the design may be APO, their particular realization of the design usually leaves much to be desired.  This can be due to any number of design constraints. 

Canon's L-series Flourite coatings are part of their APO equations where used.  However, to the best of my knowledge, the 85mm f/1.2L is not an APO design.  Maybe someone has more or better information than I have, though.

Leica made a 90mm APO lens that will show you what REAL APO can achieve in shorter lenses in the portrait range.  It sold for almost $4k, though.  How badly do you want rid of that LOCA on the Canon 85?  I'm pretty ok with mine! ;-)

Correct....the reason Ai-Servo is not guaranteed sharp is that it never stops focusing as long as the AF on is engaged, whether at the shutter button or on the camera back.  If you're shooting motion...you're focused on maintaining your focus point on the subject.  If, on the other hand, you're shooting static, with Ai Servo, you're really trying to use it like One-Shot AF...and but while you held the AF-on engaged, you may have moved off the intended subject point slightly.  And there is the additional confounding factor that Ai Servo is apparently less light sensitive in practice than One-Shot.  More sensitivity to light means more sensitivity to the point of intended focus. 

Nevertheless, Ai Servo works exceedingly well across all of the newest Canon upper range, and is pretty darn good going back to the 7D, 1D Mk III and 1Ds III. 

Reading across many, many photography forums, it becomes plainly evident that many, if not most focusing problems are more related to operator error in misusing or mis-understanding the focus system of their camera and setting it up correctly for the type of shooting being done. 

Two things were clarified to me in the OP, the light sensitivity difference and the logical accuracy difference due to time to acquire focus between the two modes.  I certainly am a bit more informed by this thread. 

I own both.  I've written elsewhere of some specific instances where I definitely prefer the 135L to the 70-200L IS II.  Indoor sports is a given to gain back a stop and be able to increase your shutter speed.  If you're using strobe(s) indoors, that advantage is essentially nullified and I'd lean toward the zoom's flexibility. 

One use for which I have a significant preference is when I shoot ultrarunning, mountain biking, or other outdoor sports in close, cluttered background quarters such as tree-lined trails, etc.  The f/2 of the 135L really helps to drop out the background even when it is tough to put distance between the subject and background.  Images between the two lenses, shot both at 135L will clearly show the difference.  I think I posted some examples in a 135L thread.  I prefer the 135L anytime I can get close enough and want to isolate a single athlete or subject.  (The 200 f/2 IS is on my short list and would be even better, but probably not this year).

Shooting wide open, the 135L really does a better job on creating separation.  Of course the 70-200 images are crazy good anyway.  But "everyone" has a 70-200 f/2.8.  If you want to give your images that little extra, the 135L will do it. 

Will you use it a lot?  I can't answer for you because I don't know what your style and subjects are.  For me, they get about equal billing in the sports that I shoot.  For weddings I prefer my 35/85/135 prime trinity almost always.  For general purpose shooting across all types of images you would probably prefer the flexibility of zooms.

The antidote for saccharine photography...



Check back when you've meandered through them.  You'll thank me.

Then again, this is a gear rumors site, so back to the pursuit of mechano-electrical photographic perfection...

Here's what I think.  I think we own several thousan dollars of equipment and if we're going to be shooting in conditions where rain, waves, sand storms, etc are likely, that a $50-$150 weather cover is not too much to ask and well worth the investment to take the guesswork out of whether our gear will survive.  I shoot often in inclement weather and always keep a rain cover in my bag. 

That said, most people are far too delicate with their gear, if the forums are to be believed.  The stuff is pretty solid and not nearly as wilting daisy weak as some seem to think.  I would shoot my gripped 5D III in light rain any day if I thought I had images worth capturing. 

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: B&H or Adorama
« on: March 12, 2014, 03:47:09 PM »
I am an equal opportunity purchaser between the two.  I've had wonderful experiences with both.  I have nothing negative in any of my many purchases, including more than 90% of the gear I've purchased in the last 10 years (some tens of thousands of dollars of gear). 

I have purchased both new and old gear. 

Honestly, the only choice I ever make between the two is whether one or the other has a deal on the specific thing I'm ordering at the moment. 

I don't have a local store at all anymore, so all of my gear gets ordered.  Between those two stores and Paul C. Buff, I can account for 99% of all my photographic purchases. 

Lenses / Re: 1.4 lenses kwestion
« on: March 12, 2014, 11:30:21 AM »
Among the reasons to use f/1.4 lenses over 2.8 zooms or primes:

1.  Need for shallow depth of field
2.  Balance ambient with flash, particularly in dark environments.  The f/1.4 lens will allow for lower ISO and/or lower flash power to balance the ambient with flash.
3.  Similar to #2, desire/need to keep ISO lower, particularly in low-light situations.
4.  The need to manual focus.  An f/1.4 lens will be brighter and allow a clearer distinction for focus plane in most instances.  There are challenges to this in many newer cameras due to standard focus screen designs, but many can be replaced with brighter or split circle designs for manual focus.  Manual focus with f/2.8 lenses is an absolute chore on average DSLRs unless you have the time to use live view. 

Images are always a trade-off with respect to technical capabilites of your equipment based on the situation and type of image desired.  If you shoot often in situations which call for the above needs, you simply can't do with 2.8 lenses. 

On the other hand, many, if not most landscape or general shooting situations call for lower than 2.8 aperture and therefore the reasons for using a faster lens are significantly diminished.  Still, you may decide you just like the way a particular lens performs.  Maybe you just really like the way the Zeiss 35 1.4 draws better than, say the 24-70 f/2.8 L II zoom.  (You probably wouldn't really know this unless you own or have extended access to a particular lens). 

In short, sharpness is just one of many factors in choosing equipment to accomplish your photographs.  Only you can really answer the question of whether you need it or not, based on the types of images you are trying to make.

Lenses / Re: Collecting gear
« on: March 10, 2014, 11:44:05 AM »
"and if you have the 100 L Macro there is little practical need for the 135 f2."

Clearly you've never tried to shoot sports or active situations with the 100mm L macro.  The difference in usability between it and the 135 L in such situations is night and day.  The focus limiter on the 100mm L macro only really serves to make it suitable for less active, non-macro shooting. 

And if shooting wide open for the same subject framing, the 135 L will do a far better job of dropping out the background if a shot requires it. 

It's a matter of horses for courses.  I currently have both lenses.  I can name several specific applications for both lenses where the choice of tool is unequivocal.   

Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
« on: March 07, 2014, 08:38:36 AM »
The EF 135mm f/2 L USM is the perfect lens for trail running, mountain biking, and any other action situation where it is difficult to find space.  Even in tight quarters with tree-cluttered backgrounds you can get enough subject separation to make great photos.  Here are a few from a MTB race I shot last weekend.

Lenses / Re: Good lens for hiking
« on: February 28, 2014, 09:41:11 PM »
Regardless of any other lens I might take, the little 40 pancake will always be in my bag.  Usually it is carried as the glorified lens cap on the body.  It's just too easy and too good...and too small not to take it.  My lightweight trail running kit is that 40 and the 135L for tele.  I can run all day with that small kit.

I've heard from a number of sources that the sigma 35's bokeh is blah.. and not as impressive as the Canon option.

I would not say that and I own both.  They are certainly different, but both have very nice qualities. 

I would take the results as proof that Sigma's new design, which closely aligns with the Otus design, provides significant improvement over the old standard double-guauss design such that there will be clear delineations between the older lens designs and these two new lenses.  I would not take the results so far as to provide any argument for/against Sigma relative to Zeiss or anyone else who adopts the new retrofocus lens design for their 50mm-ish lenses. 

In the meantime, until Canon, Nikon, Pentax and anyone else in the game field their own retrofocus 50s, the Sigma and Zeiss seem like they will provide a clear advantage.  The real choice at the moment for any particular photographer seems to be autofocus vs apparent minor difference in image quality. 

For my purposes, the AF will take that argument even if I felt like spending Otus type cash.  Not to take away anything from the Otus or those who own it. 

Canon General / Re: 11 photographs that shook the world
« on: February 20, 2014, 06:16:33 PM »
I'll jump in the boat with you on the Tienanmen Square photograph.  Truly powerful and emotive.

And I like Dick's list.  Despite the sparse words he used to describe them, the photos instantly spring to conciousness in full detail.  You can see the photo without having it in front of you to remind yourself. That's the mark of truly great images.  They stay with you...ALWAYS. 

Tupac?  Not so much.  I don't recall seeing that specific photo ever before seeing this list.  Maybe one of several like it.  But  not that one. 

Frankly, I'd never seen that 9/11 dupe photo before either. 

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