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Messages - 20Dave

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Announcement in Q2 of 2014 [CR1]
« on: February 27, 2014, 06:16:48 PM »
Hurry up already, Canon!!  I may have to break down and just get the 1DX if you don't  ;)
Joking aside, my 7d is feeling older and older the more I shoot with the 5d3.  I like the combo (7d,5d3), but... that 1DX rental has me craving something new.

I'm very glad that I bought a 5D3 a year ago rather than waiting for the immanent (at that time) 7D2.

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EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Announcement in Q2 of 2014 [CR1]
« on: February 27, 2014, 05:33:26 PM »
So you're saying there's a chance...   ???

3
Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: February 20, 2014, 12:14:28 AM »
Here are more Brants wintering along the RI coast.

Dave


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EOS Bodies / Re: sotchi - canon prototypes
« on: February 15, 2014, 08:57:41 PM »
I perused the enormous panoramic shot of a World Series game just to see if anyone on the field level used the 34# Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 zoom lens, and sure enough, some photographer had one. It is a distinctive lens in olive drab , looks a little like an overgrown RPG launcher.


i guess everyone here knows the hulkma. ;)

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/881981

and yes i spoted one of them at sotchi too.


That's a pocket camera ;D. I've actually had the chance to work with a Sony XIS camera. It mostly a video camera but takes stills in a panorama mode to capture up to 270 degree view. And the specification is accurate when it says "less than 90 lb 6 oz", as I've had to move one of these suckers myself  :o .

Dave

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Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: February 15, 2014, 08:39:14 PM »
Here are a few recent ones of mine. I would have said that one was a flock of Canadian Geese, but their wing speed seemed too fast. Sure enough, it is a flock of Brants, which I had never heard of prior to researching that photo. CCC welcome (the lighting is not good on the first two - too close to the middle of the day...). All shots were with a 5DIII and a 400 f/5.6 with a Kenko 1.4x teleconverter.

Thanks,
Dave

6
Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 13, 2014, 11:53:29 PM »
Thoughts turned into a momentary urge to purchase this AM, so I'm committed.  Thank you both for this helpful commentary and eye opening initial dose of information.  Since I'm retired I have a fair amount of time and am simply bitten by the bug of photography.  I was bitten back in 1974 when I first bought a Canon Ftb but the responsibilities and cares of life just didn't allow it to materialize much, although I had purchased an F1 and a few lenses and always shot family and travels and a little wildlife.  But now - wow.  The technology has advanced so much that results are close to unbelievable.

Jack - Best of luck with your new gear and hobby, it can be very rewarding if you stick with it, and from the sounds of your comments, you will. I am a few years behind you, with retirement on the horizon, so I'm stocking up on equipment in preparation while I still have an income.  ;D

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In terms of star images, I love the scenes that include landscape and wide angles and have followed threads on CR and elsewhere. 

Besides just practicing general astroimaging, the next project that I'd love to tackle is a video of the night sky as it moves across the sky. I have a spot next to water that I'm eager to experiment with.

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... I'll be doing my best to learn with help from the many kind folk on CR like yourselves.  :)

If you haven't found it already, I recommend following the DSLR photography forum on www.cloudynights.com. There are a lot of terrific imagers on there.

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I hear good things about a Rokinon lens that I may buy but initially I was hoping my new 70-200 F2.8 would work on the mount, or my 24-70 F4.  I guess only time will tell where all this leads me and I'll soon know what isn't working. 

Both of your existing lenses are perfectly fine to start with.

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Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 13, 2014, 10:28:52 PM »

You can do a lot more than just milky way with an iOptron. People have been using devices like that to get pretty darn good Messier "deep sky" results...larger galaxies and nebula, open clusters, etc. A 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and an iOptron could get you some pretty phenomenal results of say Orion's Belt and Sword, which contains at least 5 nebula. Slap on a 135mm or 200mm lens (so long as the whole setup is under the 8lb weight limit), and you could zero in on say just the Orion Nebula. At 200mm, periodic error in the iOptron might limit how long you can expose, but exposing for a few seconds and excessive stacking can still get you some pretty phenomenal results. It can be quite a useful tool...I was actually planning to buy one not more than two months ago, when I decided instead to save my money for more ambitious goals (i.e. Celestron EdgeHD 1100 DX.)

You are correct, I should have been clearer on my definition of wide angle sky photography, which is where I think that the iOptron is the best fit. Things like the North America Nebula and the Orion area are certainly doable with a moderate telephoto and some stacking/tracking. I took the attached image (assuming I successfully attached it...) of Comet 17p-Holmes with a 20D at 400mm on a tripod - single image with a 4 sec shutter, so you can definitely get much better images with a reasonable tracking mount. Just be ready for a new style of image processing, with stacking of multiple images.

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For $300-500, things like iOptron's devices are a good way to get started into both wide field and deep sky astrophotography without spending thousands of dollars. Now, Jack should be aware, there is no way in hell that little device is going to hold his 300mm lens...just in case he was thinking he'd slap on the 2x TC and do some hard core imaging of deep sky objects. You need a much sturdier mount with much more accurate tracking and much lower periodic error (and, probably, some autoguiding as well...and all of that mounts up to considerable cost...don't expect to get away with less than a $5000 investment.)

A Losmandy G8 mount (as one example) should definitely be able to handle the 300mm well, and those run around $1500 with the tripod. But yes, to get into the really deep sky stuff like galaxies, the 300mm isn't long enough, and you are getting into some big bucks. For good or bad, I took the splurge myself with a heavy duty mount, but I'm just in the beginning phase of my learning curve and not yet ready to put my images up for feedback  :-[.

Dave

8
Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:56:20 PM »
jrista, thanks for the hints and encouragement.  I'm seriously thinking of buying the iOptron 3302B SkyTracker Camera Mount so that I can have more fun with the night sky.  Any thoughts on that idea?

Jack


Jack,

Regarding astrophotography, I would recommend that you research a little before you invest any money into something like this. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, just that you should know before you spend. This is a good site to start with: http://www.astropix.com/INDEX.HTM

I'm sure that there are many ways of categorizing astrophotography, but off the top of my head, here are a few different types:
  • Lunar imaging - you likely won't need a tracking mount, just a good tripod and a good telephoto lens (+ teleconverter if you have it). The moon is bright enough that you shutter speeds will be relatively fast. This is a great place to start.
  • Wide angle sky images (e.g. the Milky Way) - This is where the iOptron could be useful, but even this can be successfully done with just a good tripod. See the link that I posted earlier for some great advice on how to do it. This is also a great place to experiment.
  • Planetary imaging (notably Jupoter, Saturn , and Mars) - a DSLR is not the best camera for this. You need loooong focal length ( > 1000mm) to magnify the planets enough to see detail, and a webcam or similar device is better than a DSLR. That is because you'd be cropping out 95% of the DSLR image, and you'd want to stack at least dozens, preferably hundreds of images.
  • Images of galaxies, nebula, clusters, etc - This absolutely needs a tracking mount, but it would definitely push the limits of the iOptron, depending on what you are looking to get out of your photos. To get a really sharp image like you see some of the advanced folks getting, you're talking at least the $1k range just for the mount. Yes, it *can* be done for less, but you'd need to put a fair amount of sweat and tears into your effort.
  • Solar imaging - the key requirement is to get a specialized solar filter to go on the FRONT of your lens/scope. If you're talking sunspot images, it isn't too bad. If you want beautiful pictures of solar flares, you're talking very specialized gear.

Don't get me wrong, I strongly encourage you to give astrophotography a try, but I would see what you can do with your existing equipment first, then decide if you want to continue before spending money on any specialized equipment.

Finally, if you're thinking about getting a 600mm for other reasons (e.g. birding), then you've already invested 80-90% monetarily of what you need for some good deepsky imaging. However, you're only 10-20% of the way through the learning curve (but that's half the fun, right?  ;) ).

Dave

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EOS Bodies / Re: 7D Mark II on Cameraegg
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:21:55 PM »
I got tired of waiting for the 7DII to upgrade my 60D. So I just got the 5DIII. If the 7DII shoots 10fps, 61 point AF and has thr same sensor as the 70D. I would be tempted to get one. Because I cant afford the 1DX.

I did *almost* the same thing, except I was upgrading from a 20D  ::). And, I did it last spring, when rumors were hot and heavy about the 7DII coming out. I shoot mostly birds (purely amateur hobby), so the perceived 7DII specs were looking terrific, but I decided that I didn't want to wait for a rumor. I'm not looking back and love the 5D3, and I'm sure that you will too. It works great with the 400mm f/5.6 and a 1.4x Kenko TC.

Good luck with your new camera.

Dave

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: August 20, 2013, 10:13:24 PM »
Assuming I correctly get the attachment loaded, here's a Pileated Woodpecker from late spring in Maine. Equipment was a 5D3, 400mm f/5.6 with a Kenko Pro 1.4x. The 5D3 and the 1.4x are new for me (upgraded from a 20D), the 400 has been with me since my 20D. C&C always welcome.

Thanks,
Dave

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EOS Bodies / Re: Beginning of a new Canon starting with 7D Mk II?
« on: June 29, 2013, 11:52:58 PM »
If it were free, I would be fine with GPS whether I used it or not. It is approaching free in terms of cost, but it is not free from a battery drain perspective. I wouldn't want it unless it truly turns off.

Dave

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Landscape / Re: friendly reminder!!! Supermoon tomorrow!!!
« on: June 26, 2013, 11:15:21 PM »
looked like every other moon.

typical internet hype.


interesting fact for astronomers.. but doesn´t help a bit to make better images of the moon.


Correct, I have been an amateur astronomer for nearly 20 years, and I didn't even go outside to look because I knew that it wasn't particularly visually interesting. Having said that, I must say that the photo next to the Empire State Building by strykapose is incredible.

A couple of other quick tidbits about imaging the moon:

  • The most interesting photos of the moon occur at phases other than the full moon (unless you create a stunning scene like the photo of the moon next to the Empire State Building). That is because when there is a partial moon, the sun hits the craters at angles rather than straight on, so the resulting shadows highlight the craters. With a full moon, the sunlight is almost at the same angle as our visual angle, so there aren't many shadows to highlight. Because of that, I am guessing that the first photo in this thread is a mosaic or blending of a couple of photos taken over a couple of days (which perhaps the OP stated). Otherwise, I don't see how you would be able to see shadows in the craters on both sides of the moon so clearly.
  • Serious lunar imagers actually use webcams rather than DSLRs so that they can get a large number of frames (sometimes hundreds) and merge the best images together with stacking/processing programs. I would love to attempt this but haven't yet.
  • If you do use a DSLR, it takes a fair amount of practice to get the exposure right, because the moon is so bright compared to the dark sky background. HDR can be helpful, but even then it is often best to catch the moon when it is low in the sky and not as bright as when it gets above the atmosphere haze.
  • If you try to get more magnified images, having steady skies is critical. I suffer from a lot of shimmer where I live, so I can never get crisp images at high magnification. A lack of skill and experience doesn't help either  ::)
    Here is a mosaic (http://bartolini.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v85/p1661868389-6.jpg) that I attempted a few years ago with a 20D and a telescope as a lens. It could really use some photoshop help to get rid of the blocky sky background, but I didn't bother. If you want to see a serious mosaic from someone who really knows what they are doing, check this out: http://www.astronomie.be/bart.declercq/Moon_20100323.jpg

Cheers,
Dave

13
Reviews / Re: 7D2 or 5D3?
« on: April 29, 2013, 09:41:10 AM »
I am an amateur photographer that spends most of my free time trying to shoot wildlife... I currently have a 50D that I use primarily with a 400mm F5.6L lens, but will on occassion also go to 70-200 F2.8L

I have been waiting for the new Canon 7D2 to come out later this year, thinking that for my purposes it would make the most sense to stay with an APS-C sensor... but the more I read about the 5D3, the more I question if I should not act now...

Typically i find with the pictures I take, i will shoot nothing over ISO400 as i find the noise too much with the 50D.... and i am sure that with either the 7D2 or 5D3 - i would have much more range in terms of ISO...

In terms of cropping, I will often crop a photo to no more than 50%, as i find going more than that will affect the quality of the photo... again, I believe that with either of the 7D2 or 5D3, i would like be able to crop to a higher percentage...

I guess my big concern is that shooting with an APS-C camera and 400mm lens, that going to the 5D3, will not allow me to crop in to as tight a shot as I am currently doing....

And help or suggestions would be appreciated...


My recommendation - go with the 5D3. That's what I did.

This sounds almost exactly like my situation a few weeks ago, except that my camera was a 20D (my lenses are 400mm f/5.6 and 70-200 f/2.8 non-IS). I was going to wait for the 7D2 but decided to go with the 5D3. Instead of getting the *apparent* 1.6x with the crop, I got an optical 1.4x with a Kenko 1.4X PRO 300 Teleconverter DGX. The Kenko is wired such that it allows the 5D3 to focus with the 400mm + 1.4x converter before the new firmware upgrade even though the EXIF says that the image was taken at f/8. And it focused incredibly fast. Here are a few images that I took with the 5D3 + 400mm f/5.6 + 1.4x. The camera's high ISO performance means that I can leave the shutter at 1/2000 to minimize blur, even at f/8.

http://bartolini.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v93/p1562235064.jpg

http://bartolini.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v95/p1562235016.jpg

http://bartolini.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v85/p1562235082.jpg

Good luck with your decision, there probably isn't a "wrong" decision between the two.

Dave


14
HDR - High Dynamic Range / Re: Post your HDR images:
« on: March 17, 2013, 09:32:51 AM »
This is my first try using HDR. Taken with a 20D and a Tamron 28-75 2.8 lens. I welcome any opinions (does it look too artificial?)

Thanks,
Dave

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EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Spec List [CR2]
« on: February 20, 2013, 08:32:18 PM »
I really can't say how Canon decides what products to bring to market. I imagine it is a rather complex process with far too many "moving parts". I work at a very large, established company that develops online educational platforms. From the outside things look very simple and cohesive, but decision making processes are extremely complex, usually involve hundreds of people, and take a very long time. :P We have an 80-step process that must be followed to patent anything, that spans at least 7 departments.

Given how large and established Canon is...I'd imagine their decision making processes are fairly similar, at least on the complexity front. Although them being a Japanese company, things are probably more orderly and refined (something the Japanese excel at, where as American companies tend to get mired too deeply into political infighting, empire building, petty squabbling, etc.)

I think that they need to watch out for too many lines cropping up (no pun intended) that makes the buying decision difficult. In the DSLR world, it used to be an easy decision:
xxxD (e.g. 450D, aka Rebel) as the entry level DSLR
1Dx as the professional DSLR
xxD as a little of both worlds

The clear distinctions in terms of price point and functionality made my choice of the 20D very easy.

Now I'm pulling out the precious few hairs that I have left trying to figure out what to get as an upgrade for my aging 20D. I'll never earn a dime with my photos; my preferred subjects are wildlife/birds, but I would love to try landscapes as well. I was thinking 7D for a while, but longing after a 5DIII. I have been holding out hope that the 5DIII would reach a price point where I can mention it to my better half with a straight face. It's starting to get there, but now the 7DII is on the horizon, so I may wait to see what it looks like in terms of specs/price. I keep dragging my feet, and Canon is missing at least one sale (mine) as a result.

[My prediction - I'll buy a 5DIII towards the end of the year unless the 7DII really rocks. I bought my 20D right after the 30D was introduced to take advantage of the price drop.]

Don't get me wrong, it is better for the consumer to have more choices, but with so many options now, I question the ROI on some models. Is the DSLR market really big enough to support so many choices from one company? It's starting to feel like GM of 5-10 years ago.

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