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Messages - georgecpappas

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Lenses / Re: which telephoto for travel?
« on: February 21, 2015, 11:15:24 AM »

Your description of need directly points to the 70-300L.  It has longer focal length reach, it collapses into a smaller profile for upright packing in a backpack, and it is light/strong/weatherproof.

I have had this lens for several years and it is one of my goto lenses for travel...It has been my most used lens in places like Iceland where isolation of so many beautiful forms for me is part of the photographic experience.

Here is an example; I was able to wander around with the camera on a tripod, find the right perspective, and then choose the framing with the zoom and its reach....

Perhaps you should consider renting the lens again and giving it a few weeks to see if your ergonomic objections are temporary or not..

Best of luck in your search.


Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Opinions on Sigma 85/1.4?
« on: December 05, 2014, 04:59:37 AM »
I have had it for over a year and highly recommend it.  I previously owned a 100m F/2 which is a great lens but I sold after getting acclimated to Sigma's 85.  Great image quality, color, contrast, etc.  Good solid hand-holdability.  Wish it had I/S but that is ok for what it does.

Why?  The focal length and wide aperture are great for portraits and stopped down the lens is very sharp for landscapes, etc.  AF speed is very good compared to the Canon 100mm.  I considered the Canon 85mm 1.2 but it is VERY large and much more $$. 

If it were me, I would wait to see if the rumored Sigma ART shows is likely to be close in price to the current model with better optical performance.  I few months' wait should do it.

Canon EF Zoom Lenses / Re: Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM
« on: December 15, 2013, 04:30:07 PM »
Thanks for the comment; the previous two images were taken during August.  I have been fortunate to go to Iceland during the winter.  Here are a couple of images taken with the 70-300 and my 5D2 at the time.  The one of the ocean waves was taken in diagonal, driving, cold rain.  It sorely tested the water resistance of the 70-300 and the 5D2 body - the lens was dripping wet after I finished my sequence.  I used a UV filter.  During the winter trip, I had to keep towels and a large glad bag to cover my backpack when taking the gear indoors after a day outside to ward of condensation damage.  Time and again, the 70-300 has proven its mettle.

I can't say enough good things about this lens.

Canon EF Zoom Lenses / Re: Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM
« on: December 12, 2013, 04:23:22 PM »
Here are a couple with the 70-300 and 5D3 in Iceland earlier this year.  Tripod-mounted, live view focusing..Very good for critical framing of landscapes at distance‚Ķ.and outstanding travel lens.

Lenses / Re: Lens recommendations for upcoming road trip and beyond?
« on: August 18, 2013, 05:09:16 PM »
I can heartily recommend the 70-300L.  It is the perfect travel zoom for longer focal lengths.  While some have quibbles with its Image quality; my experience does not support this.  As with all longer focal lengths, you have to use a tripod, live view/MLU, and carefully focus if you want image quality.  I would definitely get the tripod mount - it helps keep everything balanced.  I have used this as my go to tele zoom for travel for over 3 years.  Last week, I used this lens almost exclusively during a brief day of shooting in Iceland and it was flawless.

Size, weight, reach are all perfect for the kind of trip you are taking.  It does sound like you lust after the 70-200; if this is true, just get it and use a TC or something else for longer coverage.

It depends on how you balance the needs of the trip vs. when you get home..

Either way, you are looking at two great lenses..

I hope you have a great trip.

Hi Guys,

I can confirm no effects on is the same.  The screen does sit on top of the transparent LCD panel so there no loss of AF features in anyway.  The AF actually happens "below the mirror"  through translucent transmission to the AF sensor not up in the pentaprism so the focusing screen does not affect AF function.

To clarify my earlier comment, I turn off the AF point display in the view finder when using manual focus lenses so that I can clearly see the central microprism without distraction.  I turn on AF Point display when using auto focus lenses and everything else works the same as the standard screen.

Sorry for the mis-spelled link.


In general, I have been very pleased with my Canon 5DIII.  However, the one weakness that I have finally addressed is the use of a manual focusing screen.  I wanted to let folks here know in case this was an issue for them.


I have several Zeiss Lenses and use Canon tilt-shift lenses that are all manual focus.  While the focus confirmation "works" and allows me to achieve accurate focus (especially with the micro adjustment), I find the manual focusing process distracting with focus points and the focus indicator being the prime means of verifying focus when I am concentrating on the image.  I longed for a good "old fashioned" microprism where I can simply look at the subject and focus the lens until it looks sharp and the microprisms are clear.  This is less of an issue with my tilt-shift lenses as I almost always use live-view with the camera on a tripod.  This is real issue with my Zeiss lenses that I focus  hand-held, especially the 85mm.

I found a source for focusing screens from a review story linked to the Zeiss website; the provider can be found at <dead link removed by mod>.  I believe the gentleman who runs this is based in Taiwan.  He custom cuts Canon 1-series focusing screens to fit the 5DIII and includes installation tools and shims to achieve proper focus.  In addition, he provides very clear instructions how to install the screen - it is fairly simple, if a somewhat nervous, exercise.

I have been using his microprism screen in my 5DIII for a month and am very satisfied with its performance.  I did not need to use any shims as the thickness of the screen is exactly the same as the standard screen in my 5DIII.  I have easily verified this by focusing the camera on a tripod and examining the image with magnified live view.

By turning the display of AF illumination points off in the viewfinder (custom settings anyone?), I now have a simple way to configure the camera for excellent manual focus at flick of a switch.  It has changed the way I use my manual lenses and greatly enhanced my experience with the 5DII, which was already sky-high.

If you have the same manual focus issue that I do, this could be helpful for you.

A side note: after going through this, I have arrived at the conclusion that the only reason Canon did not provide interchangeable screens on the 5DIII is to maintain enough "separation" between it and the 1DX.  I don't make this statement lightly as I have great respect for Canon and its products.  However, the removal of the 5DIII screen only requires two screws and is a simple affair.  Canon could have provided interchangeable screens for the 5DIII at low incremental cost if they wanted to..  I am thankful that I have an alternative..

I hope this is helpful for others..

Lenses / Re: Does it make sense to keep my EF 100mm f2.0?
« on: June 24, 2013, 09:51:26 AM »
I own and use both for different reasons...If your "eye" leads  you to shoot a lot at that focal length, then keeping both of them can make sense.

The extra stop of speed can be a difference-maker depending on the lighting conditions; additionally, I prefer the rendering of the 2.0 for portraits.  I have had this lens for a decade and am continually pleased with its results.  The lens is also non-threatening to subjects which is a plus.

The macro is great for close focusing and appears "sharper"; that doesn't make it better depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

I tend to use the 2.0 more often, but still find enough use for the macro to keep it - at least for now.

Greetings, Pini..

Because you want to photograph people and their environments, I would focus on two or three prime lenses rather than a zoom.  I would start with a 35mm/85mm combination and consider either a 50 or 135 depending on your perspective...

I would choose the primes over the zoom because of lens speed.  The new 35mm/F2 IS would be an excellent candidate.  Faster lens speed will allow you to work in natural light and opens up a variety of out-of-focus techniques for your subjects..

Best of luck

Lenses / Re: Focusing Advice on a Canon 24mm TS-E
« on: April 09, 2013, 03:36:28 PM »

I have used all of Canon's tilt/shift lenses for several years and am very happy with them.  With a live-view DSLR, it is the closest thing to a digital view camera that I have found.  A couple of focusing tips:

1) You need VERY little tilt, especially with the 24mm, to get any near/far focusing benefit.  The amount needed is based on the distance from the ground to your camera.  There was a great article on Luminous Landscape a few years ago that had the degree of tilt worked out for various camera to ground distances.  It is very hard to focus with the tilt movement because the amount of movement is very small and both your near/far will be changed as the lens does not move perfectly on the center axis when tilted...the table is a good guide.

2) I have found that a first-rate magnifier is very helpful to block out light and to ensure excellent focus.  After testing several options, I chose the Zacuto - it has very clear/sharp optics and a great mounting system that makes it easy to mount/unmount the unit.  I used this several years ago recently added the 5D3 mounting plate when they released it.

3) when you use a magnifier, I find the the 5x setting is perfect for me - this gives the best balance of magnification without too much pixelation.  10X is too much.  The other benefit of the magnifier is that I can view the entire image more intimately to absorb composition etc. (now if I could only get the image to display upside-down like my view camera).

4) Focus shift can be an issue; as the previous poster mentioned, you want to focus with the depth of field button pressed to your exposing aperture.  There is a setting with the 5D3/2 that will compensate for the exposure difference to keep the screen brightness even.

5) At large amounts of shift, you will experience more chromatic aberration and some loss of sharpness - Adobe has a "flat field" plug-in available on their adobe labs site that lets you calibrate your lens at these extreme settings so that Lightroom can automatically compensate.  Highly recommended if you use shift a lot (I do use shift a great deal).

6) Use manual exposure or lock your exposure with the lens centered.  As you shift, you will fool the lightmeter in the camera to think that less light is hitting the sensor and your images will be overexposed.

These lenses are awesome tools and greatly expand the use of a DSLR for landscape, etc. work...however, they require some new tricks...hope this helps.

George Pappas

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: DxOMark trashes the Leica M9 sensor
« on: March 26, 2013, 03:52:16 PM »

I understand your point.  However, this is point is much more about DXO Fans who are "anti-canon" fanboys than it is about DXO itself.  Many of the posts on this thread were broadsides at DXO and were misplaced, IMHO.


Third Party Manufacturers / Re: DxOMark trashes the Leica M9 sensor
« on: March 25, 2013, 02:01:25 PM »
There seems to be a lot of intensity and emotion trashing DXO when their test methods and criteria for results are very transparent and objective.  They provide a useful resource as one (and only one) factor in helping photographers navigate the various tradeoffs in deciding what equipment to use and purchase.

That being said, their Leica M9 sensor review and conclusion is entirely consistent with that the industry and users have been saying since the M9 was released - it is a great camera with excellent image quality at Base ISO and its high ISO performance leaves something to be desired.

I have been a Leica M9 user for several years and love the results I get from the camera; I also use a Canon 5D3 and am very pleased with what I get from that.  They have different strengths, weaknesses, and ideal applications.

DXO should be appreciated for the service (self-serving though it is) that they provide the industry.  It is a helpful resource.

George Pappas

Lenses / Re: 24mm ts-e with a polarizer?
« on: March 23, 2013, 12:11:13 PM »
I use a Lee filter polarizer/ND combination due to the range of movements that I employ with this excellent lens...

The other thing you should look into is the Adobe Flat field plug-in for Lightroom.  This plug-in lets you calibrate the raw processing of images taken with shift to reduce/eliminate the CA and other optical issues that occur when using a lot of shift.  Check it out at Adobe labs.

George Pappas


A couple of points to the very fine comments already.  Your choice really depends on how you prioritize your use for this lens.

A previous poster explained that IS is less important than fast/good autofocus; when it comes to photographing children, I totally agree.  If this is important to you then the 70-300L becomes a stronger choice because it has newer, more advanced AF electronics that work better with your 5D3.  Roger at Lensrentals has documented this in abundance; look for his blog entries on autofocus.  With the 70-300L and your 5D3, you can shoot at higher ISO/higher shutter speed and have better autofocus response.  It is also a very compact lens that is very versatile for landscapes, etc.  While some may quibble with its optical performance compared to other canon L lenses, I find it to be excellent and functionally equivalent.  I own a 135 F2.0L and 200 F2.8L and find the images from the 70-300L are equally usable in terms of sharpness and overall image quality.

If portraits are really your thing, then consider a 135 f2.0L the extra lens speed and handling will be a better fit for portrait situations.  If you are looking for longer reach, then consider a 200 F2.8L - this lens is superb.

Probably the best advice you received is to rent one or more of these and try it for yourself.  Lensrentals makes it easy with good selection and fair prices (no I don't work for them but have rented from them)...The tradeoffs in the answer to your question are subtle enough that all of our recommendations on this forum will only take you so have to experience them for yourself.

Best of luck in your decision.

George Pappas

I have both the 50mm 1.2 and the Zeiss 85mm 1.4.  I view them as complimentary rather than substitutes for each other; they excel at different things.

The 50mmL is a great lens - the shallow DOF is a great asset for certain images.  I looked at the Canon 85mmL and thought it was very nice; however, I love the Zeiss 85mm.  Somehow, my favorite images - (portraits, intimate landscapes) always seem to be taken with this lens.  It is small and easy to carry (especially compared to the Canon 85mm).  At 1.4 it exhibits some field curvature - however that is normal for this lens design.  At smaller apertures, it is bitingly sharp with terrific tonality.

I use a 5D3 and have micro-adjusted it.  hand-held, I get great focus accuracy; of course, live-view on the tripod eliminates focusing problems. Highly recommended.

For the OP; it really depends on your objectives and how important AF is to you.

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