April 17, 2014, 07:18:11 AM

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Messages - jonathan7007

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I was going to PM but maybe this will help others. I totally agree with Rusty, although less from knowledge that the ASUS wouldn't hold up. I have used a Lenovo w520 since October 2011. Lightroom, Photoshop, and all the other things we do with whatever we lug around (I have a "production" desktop, too, which is like the laptop, general purpose machine.) This machine has emerged as the best -- reasonably current -- spot on the Lenovo "W" workstation continuum. The howls about the w530 and now the compromises in the w540 are a little beyond the usual "forum-as-accumulation-of-complainers" characterization. I suggest you buy a used w520.

The w520 is a Sandy Bridge configuration with user-chosen i7. get a four-core version. These chassis accept a lot of customization, like mSATA drives in a PCIe slot stashed inside -- user reachable and changeable. The optical bay can accept various after-market caddies and I now have a Hitachi 750 there with a Samsung 830 256DSSD in the "regular bay. Oh, and a mSATA that used to be my boot drive. So, three drives.

There is a configuration with a color calibrator installed in the palm rest. I didn't hear a lot of enthusiastic praise for that, but some used it successfully. (I like my Munki.) The "FD" screen is bright and a wider gamut. TN but more colorful than usual. Jury still out on the new IPS in the w540. The keyboard is excellent on the w520. There are more process light indicators on the body than is now the case. The w540 significantly changed the buttons around the trackpad.

Perhaps some time searching through this forum will help with the decision. People way more expert than I started to call the w520 the "sweet spot" when the details on the w540 emerged. Look especially at a long thread called "w540 Wish List". There are users from companies large and small that offer a VEY broad perspective on this line and its changes. "gusat", a regular, thoughtful, contributor from Switerland was part of IBM then Lenovo development (as an advisor). The search mechanism will suggest threads for whatever string you type.
If the link doesn't show PLEASE pm me before you buy the w540.
Here's a December new w540 user's experience and related comments -- might be happy, I didn't finish the thread.

I tether with this on assignments. I have brought it up to 24Gig RAM.

Important:, there is a dedicated graphics board in most w520's. There were two configurations, known as 1000 and 2000, nVidia chipset, because many of the w520 buyers were CAD/CAM people as well as photographers and designers. I bought the 1000 variant, and it's a good boost for Photoshop, and screen display tethering, etc.

There is a downside. The Lenovo-supplied and -approved power brick is just that: a brick! 170Watts (power a small town) because if you have the bigger graphics card set to run and you are rendering giant CAD/CAM environments it will stay ahead of the draw. Most of us also keep a very small 90Watter around for recharging more slowly when idle. The 90 from my previous Lenovo fit and works. Also an active and useful discussion on the forum.

I haven't been on the forum for a little while, so I urge you to go there and see what the building amount of user-evidence about the w540 is saying.

Good luck with the new machine, whatever you choose.

I have appreciated all the good advice and experience you have contributed here, by the way. And images!


Software & Accessories / Re: Changing over to Arca Swiss HELP!!!
« on: February 20, 2014, 02:40:42 AM »
The OP may not be able to take advantage of this but Hejnar makes two cool products that helped me switch to Arca-Swiss clamping and camera attachment. I had two Manfrotto heads (322RC handle-controlled ball and 410 geared unit) that I liked enough to want to keep. Hejnar makes a kit specific to each of these heads to allow the replacement of the Manfrotto clamping system with a Hejnar Arca-swiss clamp.

Hejnar responds quickly to questions.

His longer rails are thick and stronger than Sunway gear.

I wish he produced a Canon 5DMk3 L-bracket, but I did buy some different rails and "feet" for more generic gear attachment. Worth a look from anyone using Arca-Swiss system parts. I believe I will buy the Kirk 5D3 L-bracket. I use a RSS, bought used, on my 1DsMk3. I love the Arca-Swiss system and the flexibility offered by this first L-bracket in my kit.


I remember the image. This is the camera and lens an alligator carried off (in Florida?) which was later recovered. Someone motivated to get it all correct can look it up to get the details right. Perhaps the poster wanted people to know that a body like the advertised unit made it through something traumatic...and I don't know to which body that toothy one took a shine.

However, "making it through" might be too optimistic by half.

Lenses / Re: New Wide Angles Lenses in 2013 [CR2]
« on: February 14, 2014, 01:56:41 PM »
I have a Sigma 12-24 v1 that is sharp (even at wide apertures) and is 99% free of barrel. A friend who shoots architecture recommended it a while back (he has a good copy too) and mine was great! I use it to compliment the 17TSE doing interiors.

However, I believe that the focus action now has a little extra friction between 5 feet and infinity. Just noticed this and the behavior I noticed was that the motor couldn't throw the lens out to a faraway object from the closest distances. I bring this up to point out that Sigma told me they do not have all the parts for the v1 model and couldn't guarantee they could fix it. Mine is so valuable to me I decided not to send it in and take any chances it would suffer from having this "fixed".  Manual focus will work at its widest settings, anyway.

I noticed this on a 1-series body with the higher battery voltage, BTW, but need to test it on a different body, but this thread is about Canon's offerings and alternatives.

Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
« on: February 09, 2014, 02:57:26 AM »
I noticed the "IS" in the thread title after clicking in. There seem to be examples from the "plain" 300L, too. I have the non-IS version and have never handled the heavier IS-equipped unit. I like my non-IS model a lot. Paid $700 used and it is very sharp wide open. Good to have something light like this. I don't have access to a sample from this computer.

I once tried rodeo with the 2x-v2 on my 5Dmk3. Of course the body said, "no." But the plain 300's AF is good enough for that action. The handling of this lens is great.

Canon tells me that last November (2013) the lens went "out of service" or reached "end of life" status, meaning no fixes or any service work. Too bad. I don't know if the IS version has been so designated. I don't have much need for this for client work right now but will keep it.

I loved several of the soccer pictures in this thread.

Lighting / Re: Cheetah Light CL-180 vs Canon 600ex-rt
« on: January 31, 2014, 07:17:56 PM »
Is full loss of *all* flashes an intended design trait of the 600RT system when one is thermally "challenged"? (I use Odins with 580's and 550 but have always followed the 600 series capabilities so I'd know what I was missing.)

Lenses / My 24-70v2 a bit wonky?
« on: January 31, 2014, 04:59:53 PM »
Before I send this off to the mothership... Do you 24-70 owners also see a LOT of curve to horizontal lines?

Lately my 24-70 2.8Lv2 has not seemed as sharp and looking at recent ocean horizons there is a lot of curvature seen before the Lightroom 5 correction kicks in or is invoked. I try to avoid getting too obsessed with sharpness at a pixel-peeping level, and I should open up a frame or two from the first months I had this lens. Other than some back focus (-4 correction) it was wonderful. Did I just get jaded and want more?

I am going to ask CPS for a loaner before this goes in and in the day overlap with both lenses here I will do some kind of res test on both. Funny joke is that are no brick walls here in my rural Hawaii area so it's hard to find the right flat big target in the natural world. Yeah, I know those of you living in the northern states on the mainland or Norway are rolling your eyes right now... sorry for complaining.

Anyway, I wonder if this took a knock and whacked something inside. Did a search on CR forums (fora?) and didn't find any other discussions of barrel/pincushion expectations. ...just seems more pronounced...

I have been happy with my w520 purchased new in late 2011. These should be available at a good price used. I have not been comparing thi unit to current alternatives because I anticipate keeping it for a while. Haswell has not brought any processing speed upgrade to the table, and although the Sandy Bridge is a little less powerful than Ivy Bridge (w530) the other problems made the 530 unappealing as an upgrade at the time it came out. 

The w520 is -- judging by user complaints -- better than the w530. Read though the forum for this family on the lenovo website. Read those comments. (Yes, I know a forum "collects" the users having problems and overstates the fequency... judge for yourself after reading.) Sad.

I do love the keyboard. I skipped the color calibrator. Maybe not ready for the w520 model based on comments at the tme. I like the color on the FHD (? right letters) high-res screen.

The "w" series offers a LOT of customization. I am up to 24Gig RAM. There is a PCIe slot so that got an mSATA right away for boot drive. I now have a 750 Hitachi spinning HD in the old optical bay (inexpensive third-party caddies are easy to find) and a 256 SSD in the internal HD bay. Three drives. Good unit.

Many of the users of this computer are engineering professionals. I specified the nidia KK1000 discrete graphics board. There is a "2000" variant that must be better for Photoshop. If you have more detailed questions than what is appropriate here please PM me.

Oh, and I use this for tethered shooting as well as mobile editing. Plan to keep this for a long time.


Lighting / Re: Paul C Buff Baby Boomer Arm, Matthews Cheater Adapter
« on: January 17, 2014, 05:06:39 AM »
Your post made me visualize my use for this solid arm, and I think this is what you do: shift the axis of your beauty dish a foot or so to the side of the lightstand, making it a LOT easier to shoot around the stand with the light positioned to be right on the lens axis and slightly above lens height. Yes, a boom of any kind is overkill here.
Excellent! Still might need that weight on the bottom of the stand...

Lighting / Re: Paul C Buff Baby Boomer Arm, Matthews Cheater Adapter
« on: January 16, 2014, 11:29:40 AM »
That boom has a better tilt "hinge" than some cheaper ones but it looks like you pay a big premium for the adjustability of the light angle through internal linkages to the end of the boom. Is *remote* small change in head/modifier angle important enough to pay the premium? I remember in my studio that an even heavier boom of this sort had trouble moving some light/modifier combinations that were heavy like a head and softbox. The internal mechanism has to be really robust to swing those rigs.

This boom has the handle and it seems like a videography-oriented assembly that might have a smaller Lowel light out at the end.

Fitting out a location kit is fun and always a bit experimental. I always go overboard on fittings and arms and adapters and clamps and studs and STUFF. Assistants give me a wry look. (nicer word for it...) I have my eye on that short arm you found... <grin>

Lighting / Re: Paul C Buff Baby Boomer Arm, Matthews Cheater Adapter
« on: January 15, 2014, 07:14:27 PM »
Dear notapro,
What motion limitation are you countering?

Among the booms that I use on location (no studio these days) is one feature that I was happy to see appear on the last two arms I bought: a casting on the end that allowed me to choose whether the 5/8 stud projected in the axis of the boom or stuck out at a 90-degree angle. That angle could be "up" or "down" or sideways. I have Einsteins and the swivel hinge fitting under the head only allows a certain amount of yaw back, so I always start with the stud pointing 90 degrees "up". (Is this clear? Hope so.)

You have identified two interesting pieces and I think $50 to buy (ship$) and perhaps you can skip that expense. That said I love having all these pieces in my rolling box for location, but these look optional. A piece of bar stock, a 5/8 socket, and a 5/8 stud, could stand in for the short arm.

This thread veered off into emotional territory, but there were a couple of responses early about cost vs. return.

I believe CPS is better analyzed as insurance. You don't plan to have all the money back in services every year.

As noted they looked at the cost and increased our dollar contribution while lowering the offer. I asked a rep andhe seemed to confirm. Not an official comment. i was Gold and let it lapse... still thinking about Platinum, for which I qualify. Loaners now require a longer lead time.

Software & Accessories / Re: My Dell vs iMac
« on: December 15, 2013, 05:54:02 PM »
The "requirement" or "need" for color calibrated monitor and image delivery depends on the kind of client you have now or plan to have in the future. To "want" good control over color might be a personal path you choose. In the large urban market I used to work in there were many who would care but where I am now people would look at me funny if I made a fuss over the color except that it be exciting and bright. Monitors around the world are all over the place as display devices. However, pre-press still revolves around certainty and the people serving that flow have to guarantee pages' color so there's extra money to those who can be part of a consistent managed flow. Good product photography would drive color management certainty, depends on a lot of factors.

I do lots of things to make pictures better that are for me and the other photographers watching. Clients won't pay for extra steps very often. I do have a color Munki and a wide-gamut Asus PA246 monitor. A lot of my sales efforts go toward finding those that are picky! They are more likely to understand why I work so hard at it.

For print output there is such a good argument for a complete managed loop as there is too much time and wastage without it. "Botts'" post sure is a reminder of how limited all but the best printers are. I have one of those Canon9000's and wish it could step out further! Despite a lot of time doing this I still have lots to learn about color management.

Welcome to professional work! I applaud your effort to get this right. I suggest (advice worth what you are paying for it...) that you pick a solution in the next 24 hours and get on to selling like a banshee, whatever else it takes for you to [we call over here]hang out the shingle. Jump into work for clients even if that means using the rig you have. Switch if you must "in the background" so the new gear and workflow are 100% ready when you use them for client work for the first time. (I have been known to screw this up myself.)

Best of luck and have fun!


Software & Accessories / Re: Photoshop CC & Lightroom 5 for $9.99/mth
« on: November 22, 2013, 12:46:33 PM »
Others have pointed out in different discussions that the subscription model means you do not get to keep using the software after you stop paying for it. If Adobe raises the price in a year, two three years, you can decide without penalty to discontinue the arrangement. I have never heard of a penalty. Here's what Adobe's FAQs say in a section about this offer:
After the first 12 months, we will automatically renew your contract based on the current price of the offering which is not, I believe, saying it will go to $50/month, as that is not the "offer" extended here.  So it seems to me you could eat the candy for a year, a year and a bit, and worst case go back to the state of affairs you have now. The software "calls home" occasionally and news coverage I read estimated that you would get about 60 days max further usage and one day the sw wouldn't boot.

There are some discussions/threads here about ways you might save out your work if you were afraid Adobe software would not read the edit list on your RAW. Others reading this please chime in if you believe this is not going to be possible, though, after making the jump to the subscription model.

I had planned to move to the original $10/month offer as I have the requisite [legal]PS installed (bought PS v6 at a very good price before the first $10 offer was announced to be sure I could do so). I had not upgraded LR when I heard about that earlier offer. NAPP people tell their membership that there are going to be several years gone by before THAT arrangement will change. (I have no solid link/reference for this, either). So I have a better fall back state than some. BUT as I have researched this post I do not see any references to the first offer to those who already had Photoshop CS3 and above. That offer was open until 12/31/2013. Would they be less willing to change THAT plan? More of a pro base? or does that imply they'd know we would be annoyed but then dial in the new cost structure for our business?

Last thought: all of these moves are for stockholder interests and the need to project revenues at particular levels to maintain that. Even if the original program was "successful" senior management might have said, "Get more money in the house before 31 December." We're customers and wallets. They aren't here to support (be nice to) our craft or small business. (I don't follow the stock and comments about its prospects...)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Safe to clean the sensor?
« on: November 17, 2013, 11:55:07 PM »
Timely thread for me. Thanks for all the shared experience and kit suggestions. Blower first...

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