November 22, 2014, 09:24:39 PM

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Messages - jrista

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1
Canon General / Re: Does Canon really deserve this?
« on: Today at 08:04:28 PM »
I browse this website quite often since 2012. I have never seen so many negative comments about Canon these days in comparison with before.

Here's my take:

For many, buying into a dslr system is a major investment you cannot revert w/o losing a lot of €€€ and time to re-learn procedures. And of course there's an emotional attachment to a brand that was in your pocket for all your life. For all this time, people were happy with Canon, keeping lenses longer and changing camera bodies more frequently. Canon made a good transition from film to digital.

But now, with mirrorless arriving and sony having more resources (and probably patents) for sensor research, I feel uneasiness grows if you've bet on the right horse. Canon might very well pull a rabbit out of the hat and surprise us all, but flat out denial that further sensor enhancement (dr or resolution) can be can be beneficial to some is counterproductive: No smoke without fire. Calling people names doesn't help either.

Furthermore, with more cpu power there are more opportunities to harvest this new resource - but Canon seems to be very set upon continuing exactly what they've done for the last decade. So apart from the hardware side, a very conservative software policy results in very stable, working products. But question if this balance won't tip to their disadvantage some time - Magic Lantern won't be around forever for the rescue like with focus peaking, raw histogram and raw video.

Last not least, there's the "value" aspect and the pure competition pressure from Nikon/Sony and 3rd party gear (lenses, flashes). If you are able to afford $15k+ gear, I imagine you're fine with Canon. But seeing what offers are around, you wonder if some rubber rings for weather sealing, a lens hood, ..., shouldn't be a given w/o buying their premium model(s).


+1 Very well put!


For me, I like Canon, I think they are one of the best brands available and in most respects they have the best offerings. I do feel they are lagging behind...have been lagging behind, technologically, for some time now. As someone very heavily invested in Canon (to the tune of over $20,000, with a significant chunk of that in one single lens), and who does care about being able to use the best technology available with my very expensive lenses (for a variety of reasons I won't go into), it is frustrating to see Canon innovate in the photography segment as minimally as possible while their competitors innovate up a storm.


I think Canon does deserve some of the criticism they get. That said, overall, I think they are a great company, they make great products, and overall I'm quite satisfied with my Canon equipment. I'm also happy to buy into other systems...I think an A7 series camera will find its way into my kit at some point in the not too distant future. I think the Samsung NX1 could very well find it's way into my kit as well. So long as I can get good lenses for these cameras, or adapt my Canon lenses, I no longer see any real reason to be a single-brand loyalist. There are AWESOME products out there, some highly innovative and very cutting edge...might as well take advantage of them. :)

2
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: Today at 07:51:45 PM »
Thanks to all!  Now it is clear why I suck so badly at BIF.  Clearly my next step is a 7D II.  After that, a fast lens (as clearly advised by jrista and strongly implied by AprilForever).  And practice.  Thanks again.


BIF is not easy. Not by a long shot. I've been doing bird photography for a few years now, and BIF is definitely my weak spot. I've kind of stopped practicing, as I just don't have the lenses for it. A FAST lens is a big plus, so I really think the 70-200 f/2.8 is going to be a good lens to have, with or without a 1.4x TC. If you have the money, the 300 f/2.8 is great. I am not sure about the 500/4 on a 7D II (that's an effective ~810mm focal length...that's really long, makes for a pretty narrow FoV...I have a hard enough time with BIF at 600mm on the FF, let alone 800mm+). I think a 500/4 on a FF would be ok...it still seems a little long to me, especially if you do not already have good BIF skills (if you had good BIF skills, I think it would be excellent, you'll get a lot more detail...but learning on it would be tough, just keeping the bird in the frame would be tough with a 7D II.)
The 70-200 f2.8 is a lousy lens for BIF.  It is way too short.  Same with the bare 300mm f2.8.  The 300mm f2.8 with the 1.4x will work but it is starting to get heavy.
The premiere lens for learning BIF is the 400 mm f5.6L. It is has the needed reach, especially on a crop camera, is fast focusing and is light weight.  Once you have practiced you can move up to the heavier 500mm f4L or the 600mm f4L that you see the serious bird photographers shooting handheld.
Funny thing, I've never heard a bird photographer claim that a lens was too long,  too heavy or to long a MFD, yes, but otherwise the longer the better.


The 70-200 f/2.8 can be used with the 1.4x and 2x TCs for longer reach (although the 2x might cost you some AF speed). As for the longer the better, for still birds, I agree. For birds in flight, I think 400mm is probably about as long as you want to go as a novice, unless you have some serious tracking skill, and the ability to hand-hold a large, heavy lens for a long time. Most of the pros that I know of use the 200-400 L lens these days for BIF, as it's an ideal combination of weight, speed, and focal length. I don't know many who use the 600...you can really magnify the bird, but keeping it in frame can be tough. At greater distances where the bird is small enough to keep in the frame with such a narrow FoV, you very frequently pick up atmospheric effects...pros often recommend AGAINST the 600 for BIF for that reason.

3
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 21, 2014, 07:24:43 PM »
This thread seems to be winding down, so thanks again!  The 7D II is the next body for me.  The next lens...well, as advised, I'll see how I like the 70-200/2.8 II with the 7D II and then decide.

Here's one more BIF from my 6D + 70-200/2.8 II.


I think the 7D II + 70-200/2.8 II is a good choice. I think you should add the 1.4x and 2x TC III as well if you do not already have them...you will want 400mm reach at times, and that is still f/5.6, which is decent (not to mention 280mm f/4, which is going to be excellent.)

4
For a lot of birds (say a chickadee, which has MASSIVE dynamic range, so lighting up the dark feathers is useful), I still seem to bet some motion blur at 1/200th. Even with the flash, you can still see the motion-blurred ghost "beneath" the frozen detail...it annoys me. :P

You're trying to stay in x-sync range? With the annoying max. x-sync of the 6d of 1/180s I often use hss to fill dark wildlife fur, and it works just fine as with the exposure times I'm using (mostly ~1/500) the lack of hss stopping power doesn't matter. Since I'm not going for a key light overpowering the sun, even a little hss flash helps a lot to raise shadows in post.


Well, with birds, your already usually at quite a distance. I never found HSS was adding much, and it was just another source of power drain (more batteries that I had to carry with me.) I have a better beamer, which is a simple fresnel light concentrating system, which can help with the reach...but with HSS, you still don't have a lot of power.


For some birds, like waders, a 1/200th second shutter with X-synced flash is fine, those birds are larger and don't move a lot. It's the shorebirds and songbirds that are constantly on the move. They can be difficult enough to freeze motion in at high ISOs, and I've noticed, particularly on the ultra-jittery birds like chickadees and least sandpipers, that even with flash you can get visible ghosting.


Anyway, with the 5D III my high ISO noise problems are greatly mitigated over the 7D. I haven't used flash for well over a year, and the last time I did was on the 7D. I don't think I really need it...and if you can't really get full flash power at 1/500th sync (that seems odd to me...isn't a full-power flash pulse around 1/1000s?), then it probably wouldn't matter anyway.

5
Agreedm 1/500th sync would be fantastic. I might start using flash again for birds.

What's the problem - the lack of stopping power of hss or the drop in power output?


For a lot of birds (say a chickadee, which has MASSIVE dynamic range, so lighting up the dark feathers is useful), I still seem to bet some motion blur at 1/200th. Even with the flash, you can still see the motion-blurred ghost "beneath" the frozen detail...it annoys me. :P

6
IBIS was only the next natural step. They've had it for awhile now in the axx series cameras.

Now if Sony could get their sync speeds to 1/500th or faster, I would adopt one asap. I don't think it's ready to replace my DSLRs until they address the issues with the whole mirror less platform.


Agreedm 1/500th sync would be fantastic. I might start using flash again for birds.

7
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 19, 2014, 09:36:17 PM »
AF is less accurate and slower with slower maximum apertures, it is most accurate and fastest with faster maximum apertures (at least, it is the way Canon designs their AF systems...not sure about other brands.)

... speed: Are you sure this is valid with all lens/body combinations? I faintly remember reading that with some af variants, a slower lens results in at least on par af speed because the camera doesn't bother with reading only the f2.8 af lines in the first place. I don't want to built urban legends here (though it is a rumor site :-p), and I can be absolutely wrong remembering this.


The center point on the 7D II is an f/2.8 sensitive dual cross type. Even though all the points are f/5.6 cross type, you only get the high precision benefit of that center point if your using an f/2.8 or faster lens.


... accuracy: I imagine this is valid for lower light situations, i.e. a faster lens results in more light to work with for the af system. But in bright daylight, why would a non-cross f5.6 line of my 6d be more accurate with my 100L (af @f2.8, shot @f4) than my 70-300L (shot & af @f4)?


It should be faster. The firmware should know when you are using an f/2.8 lens, and it should give you the optimal performance for that faster aperture. My 100mm f/2.8 focuses faster than my 600 f/4 L II on the 5D III.

8
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 19, 2014, 03:40:39 PM »
Hi, my two cents:

- the large aperture definitely have a bonus for BIF (as it was said, they allow you to keep lower ISO, and thus have better IQ), but also make the focus more problematic. If the bird is fast moving, it is HARD to lock and maintain perfect focus on the eye or the body... if on top of that you have to crop (and you typically do), that will highlight the possible focus problems. Some pros suggest to use f7.1-8 when possible (That is definitely the case in full daylight).


There is maximum aperture as used at AF time, and there is selected aperture as used at exposure time. These are not always the same. You want a fast lens for AF purposes when doing BIF...however, that does not mean you have to always SELECT the max aperture. You can stop down as necessary to get the kind of DOF and sharpness you want.


That does not negate the value of using a fast lens for BIF, though...AF is ALWAYS performed at maximum aperture. AF is less accurate and slower with slower maximum apertures, it is most accurate and fastest with faster maximum apertures (at least, it is the way Canon designs their AF systems...not sure about other brands.) So, an f/2.8 lens is NOT a detractor when it comes to AF, and f/5.6 is NOT a benefit when it comes to AF. It is exactly the other way around.

9
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 19, 2014, 12:22:58 PM »
Sarcasm aside, I wouldn't say anyone shoots birds at "night." I've shot some Night Herons "at night"...as in it was quite dark, late twilight, not post-sunset but "night":



Not in flight, though...that's pretty much a miserable failure at night regardless of the gear.  :o

Birds are often quite active during crepuscular hours, where the light can be many orders of magnitude lower than during full daytime. Some of the most dramatic BIF shots I've seen come from these hours...so having a fast lens and good AF system that can handle it (if BIF is a primary goal...that's what we are talking about here, BIF as a primary form of photography, not something done occasionally) is very important.

In great light, just about any camera will do, and just about any f/5.6 lens will do as well. However, if you don't want to be fighting against the gear in non-ideal circumstances, I think you have to be realistic about what kind of equipment you need, vs. what kind of equipment you can get away with. I think you can get away with a 6D and 100-400mm, for sure. Even the 100-400mm Mk I. I cannot recommend that combination if you want to actually really DO bird in flight photography as a primary thing. If BIF is a primary form of photography for someone, I feel it is my responsibility to steer them away from the "get away with it" gear, and towards the "nail it every time" gear.

In all seriousness. :P No sarcasm here. (I guess I woke up on the right side of the bed...oh, right....I didn't wake up at all, guess that's one benefit of insomnia, no side of the bed to worry about, period!  ???

10
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Is IQ better with smaller files?
« on: November 19, 2014, 10:39:54 AM »
^
|
|--- Funny Post! :D

Seriously, though, Marsu is dead on with his last post. Small JPEG is never going to give you better quality than RAW (which, by nature, is always full size). JPEG is a canned "good enough" option, but that's about it. Because of the compression, you are very limited in what you can do with the data, so you basically get what you get OOC.

You can always downsample your post-edit RAW images to any size you want. As I said before, downsampling improves IQ...but if you process a RAW for the best IQ possible first, THEN downsample, your going to get better results than the "good enough" processing the camera is going to do for you.


11
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon 7D II sensor measurement
« on: November 19, 2014, 12:33:29 AM »
More black box testing. Why is it that everyone wants to develop secret formulas and specialized devices and methods for testing things? What's wrong with being totally open, detailed and standard about equipment testing? And what's with these single scalar scores? Bleh. DXO Mark II. Just what the world needed...  :-\

12
Post Processing / Re: 16 bit vs 8 bit
« on: November 18, 2014, 06:30:54 PM »
I'm shooting RAW with a 7D2 and 5DM3 ... when I do the conversion, it asks me which one to convert into ... 16 bit Tiff or 8 bit Tiff ---

Imho your best bet is not to convert raw at all until the last possible moment. For this, use ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) which is Lightroom and part of Photoshop. The advantage of this workflow is that it's non-destructive and you can revert anything at any moment. Last not least, you might profit from future developments in the raw conversion process (esp. denoising).

Can anyone explain which one and what is the difference - I mean, I can see 8 - 16 is twice the size (or is it depth) ... I'm not very tech smart, so please explain this in lay terms, basically -- thanks ... BD

The current Canon resolution is 14bits, i.e. with 16bits you're wasting two bits - doesn't matter if you compress the tiff file though. The largest difference you'll see is in gradients, for example an evening sky going from somewhat blue-ish to something red-ish. Using only 8 bits will introduce nasty color steps and make your precious dslr look like a mobile phone.

Note that 16bit files need more memory when editing and more hard disk space, but in the year 2015 of our lord (other year number for followers of other lords) this shouldn't matter unless you're stacking a lot of layers in Photoshop.


To the OP, I wouldn't worry about the "wasting" of two bits. With 8-bit, your obliterating a lot of tonality and color fidelity in your images, and IMO that is the real waste. Storage space is dirt cheap. Really. I remember the days when ONE MEGABYTE hit a dollar-per-meg. Today, we can have gigabytes-per-dollar.


I routinely save my astronomy images in 64-bit IEEE float. Sometimes it isn't about the storage space, it's about the value of precision for everything that happens inbetween storing it once and storing it again: the processing. With 8 bit data, you have more limited numeric space within which to store the results of various processing algorithms. That means you will ultimately start accumulating an error, which with more and more edits, results in undesired artifacts appearing. The error rate for processing with 16-bit data is far lower. It is even lower with 32-bit integer data (which you can do with TIFF), and by the time you get to 32-bit float (i.e. full precision floating point HDR TIFF), for most normal photography you don't have anything to worry about.


I use 64-bit float for my astrophotography because I often have to perform iterative processes to the data in order to extract the detail I want revealed. I can run 100, 200, 500, sometimes even 1000 iterations of an algorithm on my data (and I usually run many algorithms to reduce noise, improve SNR, stretch, enhance, etc.), so keeping the data in as high a precision format as possible significantly limits the chance for that residual error from revealing itself as artifacts in the image.

13
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 18, 2014, 03:15:48 PM »
Thanks to all!  Now it is clear why I suck so badly at BIF.  Clearly my next step is a 7D II.  After that, a fast lens (as clearly advised by jrista and strongly implied by AprilForever).  And practice.  Thanks again.


BIF is not easy. Not by a long shot. I've been doing bird photography for a few years now, and BIF is definitely my weak spot. I've kind of stopped practicing, as I just don't have the lenses for it. A FAST lens is a big plus, so I really think the 70-200 f/2.8 is going to be a good lens to have, with or without a 1.4x TC. If you have the money, the 300 f/2.8 is great. I am not sure about the 500/4 on a 7D II (that's an effective ~810mm focal length...that's really long, makes for a pretty narrow FoV...I have a hard enough time with BIF at 600mm on the FF, let alone 800mm+). I think a 500/4 on a FF would be ok...it still seems a little long to me, especially if you do not already have good BIF skills (if you had good BIF skills, I think it would be excellent, you'll get a lot more detail...but learning on it would be tough, just keeping the bird in the frame would be tough with a 7D II.)

14
Lenses / Re: 6D and BIF
« on: November 18, 2014, 12:49:24 PM »
the 7D II sensor is slightly larger than past Canon APS-C sensors, maybe around 1.55x crop or so

Where did you get that info?

According my information it's a APS-C sensor, just as the other APS-C sensors of Canon. So the crop is also 1.6. The 7D2 has indeed more pixels (20mp) but that has no influence on the crop factor. It might only give you some more detail when you want to crop your photo in PP.


Well, last I knew, the 18mp APS-C was 22.2x14.8mm in size. I thought the new sensor was around 23.5x15.5mm, but I guess I was wrong about that (I may have crossed lines between patents, as I've been looking through all the Canon sensor technology patents lately). I just took a look at DPR, and they are listing all Canon APS-C sensors at the same size, 22.4x15.0mm (which is slightly larger, but not that much)...however I do not believe that is correct for the older APS-C sensors. I am pretty certain the original 7D is 22.2x14.8, and I was also pretty certain DPR stated that in the past as well...not sure why the data has changed. Based on these numbers, I guess it still is ~1.6x crop...in exact terms, the old 18mp sensor was a ~1.65x crop, where as the new is a ~1.62x crop. A 23.5x15.5mm sensor has a 1.56x crop ratio.

15
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Is IQ better with smaller files?
« on: November 18, 2014, 12:25:07 PM »
I read a comment or a post recently which inferred that a 7D II file shot as a jpg at one of the smaller sizes was inherently cleaner than a larger file at similar settings (ISO etc).

Is there any truth to that statement?  If this is crazy talk just say so.

  I bring this up because I own a 7D and if someone can tell me that a Medium Jpg is 10x cleaner than a Large or Raw ... I'm locking those settings in today.  Moreover, is that the case with all cameras?  Is this phenomenon a jpg exclusive or is it the same with Raw?  I mean, I have printed like 40 files of size 8x10 and nothing bigger. So if I can get cleaner images that will print at that size amazing ... Awesome.. 

Why isn't this 'feature' advertised?


I think that saying "smaller files" is the reason the images are better is wrong and misleading. The size of the file really has nothing to do with it. JPEG files are smaller than RAW files, even at full size image dimensions, however RAW files are generally superior, often far superior, in terms of IQ.


It isn't the file size that matters. It is the image dimensions, and more specifically the relative image dimensions, that matters. By relative, I mean in relation to the original image size. A smaller image, in terms of dimensions, generated from the same sensor, means that a greater quantity of information was "oversampled" to produce a lesser quantity of better quality information.


When you take a large image, say a 20mp image, an downsample it, you are taking a lot of original source data, averaging it together and packing it into a smaller spatial area. Averaging many pixels into fewer pixels reduces noise, by the square root of the number of pixels averaged. Downsample an image to 1/4 the original area, and you reduce noise by a factor of two (2x2 pixels averaged into one pixel, SQRT(4) = 2.) Downsampling also has the effect of improving acutance, which improves sharpness, which is a big factor in terms of what we perceive as image quality.


So, no, smaller files does not mean better IQ. Smaller images, in terms of spatial area, often DOES mean better IQ. You can achieve smaller images in a few ways. Obviously you can downsample larger images. You could take a RAW image, process it to optimum quality, then export it as a downsampled JPEG. The results are likely to be superior to a small-sized OOC JPEG every time. You can also use a lower resolution sensor with bigger pixels, however depending on exactly how the sensor is designed, that may or may not actually improve IQ as much as downsampling a higher resolution image (i.e. use and strength of AA filter, or lack of an AA filter entirely, could dictate whether a lower resolution sensor is better than downsampling images from a higher resolution sensor.)

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