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Messages - zlatko

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1
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 14, 2014, 10:34:23 PM »
OK! There's the difference. Most copies of the 24-70 f/2.8 MkI were unmitigated pieces of shirt when compared to the prime beating MkII. I'm not the only photographer around CR (and elsewhere) who ploughed through five or six 24-70 f/2.8MkI lenses over a number of years in search of one of the rare good copies.

As a signed-up, paid-up life member of the Z Team, I'd also choose your primes, the 24 35 85 combo over the old MkI zoom for an important job. My first day shooting with the MkII zoom was one of the happiest days of my life. To say I was gobsmacked by the quality across a broad variety of situations is almost an understatement.

-pw

The problem with the 24-70/2.8 Mk.I is not that it was a bad lens.  It was a very good lens when it was properly adjusted.  They were generally fine when fresh from the factory, but would go out of adjustment with regular use.  Within a year or two, even the good copies could become bad copies.  The more one used it, the more likely it was to go out of adjustment.  A heavy user of that lens was well advised to send it in for annual adjustments, even before the blurries started to show up.  On the other hand, a light user might not ever see it go out of adjustment.  Related to that, the adjustments themselves were not that easy to make.  And finally, even when well adjusted, some users reported that the lens liked to focus on a distant background a little too often, no matter how carefully it was focused on the subject.  It was a generally useful lens but with some reliability and maintenance issues. 

The Mk.II version is better in all respects and truly prime-like in quality.  That said, any lens with a complex zoom mechanism is likely to eventually need a tuneup with heavy use.  Primes, being simpler mechanically, generally don't need as much attention.

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Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 14, 2014, 12:49:38 AM »

Each to their own, personally i have outgrown my zoom lenses and prefer the quality the prime provides and have the ability to think about the composition and use my feet.


This is one of the best points I have seen on CR. I am glad to see someone else who has outgrown zoom lenses.

Someone else pointed out in this thread that "the time needed to change lenses" is a downside to using primes. That's not the way it works. Like the OP here suggests, the prime photographer works with multiple camera bodies, each with its own prime attached. Two or three camera bodies provide perfect coverage of every pre-planned vision as well as preparedness for spontaneous moments, and a fourth and fifth body are always nearby, each with its own lens and perfect settings for that lens's focal length. Primes are not necessarily evil, but "the time needed to change lenses" is simply not a factor in the professional workflow regardless of using primes or zooms.

Perspective (i.e., the photographer's position in relation to the subject and scene) is one of the most important elements of photography, and constant zooming is like a disease that can infect any photographer and inhibit their sensitivity to this part of our art.

Zooming easily makes a photographer concentrate on getting the best out of the current situation but be blind to seeing the best situation. Zooming can give the illusion that we are perfecting a composition when in fact we are only compromising it.

Some great insights there.  I think you've summed it up some potential disadvantages of zooming very well.  I only disagree with the notion of "outgrowing" zoom lenses.  They still retain some advantages, no matter how experienced one is.  Not everyone can have quick access to up to five camera bodies, each with a different prime.  One can reduce the number of bodies and happily use both primes and zooms, being cognizant of the advantages & disadvantages of each.  Also, a photographer can learn to treat a zoom as a collection of primes.

3
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 13, 2014, 01:37:19 PM »
Where I live the Canon f/2 IS dropped 30% in price after about half a year. Compare that to the 8 year old Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM for which you pay about the same as when it hit the market in 2006. To me that says something about the lack of success of the 35 f/2 IS.

The price drop says little about the "success" of the 35/2 IS lens.  User reviews on Amazon, B&H, Fred Miranda, etc., suggest that users are very pleased with it and that is what counts.  How many they actually sell matters mainly to Canon.

Ok, I should have defined success as “commercial success” for Canon. Sorry about that.
I don’t doubt the 35 IS is a good lens and users are pleased with it. Canon just priced it too high at introduction. 

The Canon 35/2 IS came on the market in about November 2012.  At that time, 1 dollar could buy about 80 yen.  Today, 1 dollar buys about 102 yen.  A dollar now buys about 28% more yen than when that lens was introduced.  So it's no surprise that its price has dropped.  Also, figure that introductory pricing is typically higher.

Please explain to me why exchange rates matter. I compared the 35 f/1.4 L to the 35 f/2 IS. They are both made by Canon, but only one of them dropped 30% in price last year. Maybe in other parts of the world it’s a different story, but I highly doubt that.

When a lens is introduced, a manufacturer doesn't know which way the exchange rates will go in the future.  They probably overprice it initially because (1) the excitement over a new lens makes it worth more at introduction than a year later, and (2) they can better absorb exchange rate fluctuations without having to give constant price changes to dealers. 

During the same period, some other lenses have dropped and some haven't.  Some that haven't dropped in the US market are available at substantially lower prices if purchased directly from sellers in Japan.  Exchange rates are important, but don't have an instant impact on retail prices.

Ultimately we don't know what factors go into their pricing decisions, from one lens to the next, from one year to the next.  It may have to do with many other factors besides exchange rates, such as the price of certain components and raw materials, the quantity of existing stock, the capacity of certain production lines, the relative profit at a certain price point, the availability of gray market imports at lower prices, etc.  It's all economics and we don't know the relevant factors. 

That said, Canon probably did overprice the 35/2IS and other primes.  Maybe you're right and the 35/2IS is not a commercial success.  That may have more to do with initial overpricing than with any quality of the lens.  A business blunder has no bearing on the optical-mechanical qualities of the lens.

The commercial success of a lens is of very little concern to me, unless it leads to its early discontinuance.  How many they sell and how much money they make with one lens vs. another lens matters not at all unless one's business somehow depends on it.

4
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 12, 2014, 11:05:58 PM »
Where I live the Canon f/2 IS dropped 30% in price after about half a year. Compare that to the 8 year old Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM for which you pay about the same as when it hit the market in 2006. To me that says something about the lack of success of the 35 f/2 IS.

The price drop says little about the "success" of the 35/2 IS lens.  User reviews on Amazon, B&H, Fred Miranda, etc., suggest that users are very pleased with it and that is what counts.  How many they actually sell matters mainly to Canon.

The Canon 35/2 IS came on the market in about November 2012.  At that time, 1 dollar could buy about 80 yen.  Today, 1 dollar buys about 102 yen.  A dollar now buys about 28% more yen than when that lens was introduced.  So it's no surprise that its price has dropped.  Also, figure that introductory pricing is typically higher.

The Canon 35/1.4L was introduced in December 1998.  The introductory price was 205,000 yen.  At that time, 1 dollar could buy about 116 yen.  So that lens was over $1,700 at introduction.  In 2007-2008, it could be bought for about $1,100.

Price changes don't reflect relative "success".  Both lenses are successful in that they meet the needs of photographers very nicely.  Thank goodness that both are available. 

5
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 12, 2014, 02:28:09 PM »
Also when you look at the Canon cine focal length lenses for FF you would have to ask why a 24 and 28, and where are the 50 and 85 ?

I suspect that the 50 and 85 with IS are coming.  I think it's just a matter of time.  Well, I hope they are coming. :)

6
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 11, 2014, 01:30:07 PM »
*professionalism almost surely calls for the flexibility of a zoom"

agreed.  our lead shooter will pull out the primes (14/50/100 MacroL) for the "creative shot" if the other shooter(s) have the important shots.  The usual scenario is one shooter on a 24-70 (I or II), another shooter on 70-200 (I or II).  We can get more than adequate shallow DOF with a 70-200 2.8.  in a wedding, speed/efficiency is key.  primes just don't offer that flexibility. 

I disagree.  I happen to like a mix of primes and zooms, but one can deliver equally professional results using either primes or zooms exclusively.  It's more a question of personal style and personal preferences than professionalism.

7
Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 11, 2014, 01:26:06 PM »
For info for those interested DXO mark one of the most trusted resources online scores ( in brakcets ) the following lenses based on metrics of sharpness distortion etc


If you look at DxO's lens ratings, the highest rated Canon-made lens (after the 35/2 IS) is the 100/2.  The 100/2 is a fine lens and a bargain, but is/was it the best among ALL other Canon lenses (before the 35/2 IS existed)?  ALL of them — really?  I don't think so.  Somehow, despite being around since 1991, it didn't win the love and praise of photographers as the BEST Canon lens.  Check user ratings on fredmiranda, bhphoto and other sites that have user ratings.  If DxO were a reliable match for real world experience, photographers would have crowned the 100/2 as the "King" of all Canon lenses a long time ago.

For a good perspective on the trustworthiness of MTF testing, check out this article:  http://toothwalker.org/optics/lenstest.html .  The author writes:

"A low-cost lens MTF test has emerged by means of target reproduction photography and dedicated image analysis software. The method is valuable in that it yields measurements of system MTF. One can only admire the efforts that testers put in, because this illustrates how difficult it is to get the most out of your equipment also in everyday photography. Unfortunately the methodology also has serious disadvantages. Since system MTF is measured and not lens MTF, the results are difficult to interpret. Moreover, the method yields lens ratings for reproduction photography, which for many lenses is not the intended application."

I don't know about DxO, but some web sites test lenses as if they were "reproduction lenses" (i.e. for shooting flat subjects at near distances) even though most lenses were not designed as "reproduction lenses" and most photography is not "reproduction photography" (i.e. of documents, flat artwork, etc.).

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Lenses / Re: New 50mm Sigma ? There are other options !
« on: April 11, 2014, 03:44:48 AM »
The 35/2 IS is a great lens -- one of my favorites.  It's just right for image quality, autofocus, bokeh, size, weight, price, etc.  But a wide angle is not an alternative to a standard.  An alternative to a 50mm is another 50mm or a mid-range zoom.

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Reviews / Re: 35/2 IS Review by Dustin Abbott
« on: April 06, 2014, 12:58:05 AM »
Great review!  I agree with every point.  It is one of my favorite lenses.

10
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Gets Reviewed
« on: April 06, 2014, 12:39:53 AM »

One more thing learned -- weighs 28 oz /  1.75 lb / 0.8 kg.

- A

Wow, that's quite heavy for a 50/1.4!

11
It would be better if the mainstream media stopped feeding Canon's ego.. They're just encouraging them to continue their practice of purposefully limiting the cameras they release, and therefore making the consumer pay the price. (1DC/1DX being identical, and the 5DMIII RAW hack is evidence for this, and lets not forget about the absence of a headphone jack on 70D...) I am extremely disappointed that they have been releasing just incremental updates as of lately. Here's praying that the 7DMII breaks the streak..  :-\

On internet forums the glass is always half empty.  People are always "extremely disappointed" no matter what Canon does.  I've been extremely pleased with exactly those incremental updates.  Nearly every item of Canon gear that I use is a refined & improved version of some prior Canon gear that I was already quite happy with (cameras, lenses, flashes, etc.).  I frankly don't understand praying for a rumored, possibly non-existent camera when the marketplace currently offers real and awesome cameras any day of the week.

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Canon General / Re: Why Image Quality isn't Everything
« on: February 28, 2014, 09:47:25 PM »
Image quality isn't everything because content and concept are everything (almost).

13
Lenses / Re: Review: Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T*
« on: February 26, 2014, 10:58:27 AM »
I've been told that Zeiss and Leitz lenses are manufactured in Japan now and that these brand names are just licenses leased out by international trading companies that own those names. Is this true? Or, does Zeiss and Leitz still manufacture everything in Germany? Thanks

What difference would it make?

If Zeiss puts their name on it, I don't care if they had Aunt Mabel make it on Mars.
+1. Zeiss lenses are for the most part, made in Japan by Cosina. Meaning, you have excellent German lens design, being made by the Japanese who excel at high quality mass production. A perfect match in this era, in my books.

That's just my point. If Zeiss only exists in a leased name only then what's the hype all about. It's just another company trying to cash in on a former good name. My guess is we're all looking for the nostalgia in a new digital world. Reminds me of all the products being marketed today with names such as Polaroid and Bell & Howell.

Going to the extraordinary effort to make the best standard lens for a DSLR is hardly "just another company trying to cash in on a former good name."  It takes great engineering and manufacturing, not nostalgia, to make a lens like this one.

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I'm not familiar with what you shoot, but let's say you were surprised by a thrilling subject, and your subject was backlit or accidentally underexposed due to speed/position.  At this point, you would care a great deal about shadow recovery with minimal noise and banding.

I am absolutely sick of hearing about Sony sensors. They have a little more DR and a little more shadow recovery. They do not have so much more as to warrant the endless praise and discussion they receive, nor to justify the constant slamming of Canon's sensors.

The online "tests" which have caused all of this are quite obviously biased. Regardless of what is done with the Sony/Nikon files, the Canon files have all NR turned off in every "test" I've seen. I don't see noise or banding nearly as bad on an APS-C 7D that I see in the 5D3 in these online "tests". But then again, I'm not so stupid as to turn color NR off.

Even with Canon's APS-C sensors I routinely recover 2-3 stops of shadow detail with noise that is unobtrusive in a 16x20" print using ACR. If you can't do the same then you're doing it wrong.

Beyond that and both Canon and Sony sensors suffer from lack of tonality and fine detail. So I don't care much if you can push the Sony sensor +5 EV and see a little less color noise (given appropriate color NR settings) or a little less banding. I wouldn't use those shadows from either.

If Sony sensors were so dramatically better then the market share would not be so one sided between Canon and everyone else.

Well said.  Photographers all over the world know that they can accidentally underexpose a shot.  It happens.  But they don't let that one factor — accidental underexposure — rule their camera choice.  There are too many other factors that matter.  Photographers know that Canon's current sensors won't stop them from winning World Press Photo or shooting the Olympics, etc.  No doubt DR and about 100 other things can be improved, but sensors have matured to the point where they don't stop one from making a photo even under some pretty extreme conditions. 

15
Improvements are improvements. Each works towards the ultimate imaging device. As long as we're all alive, it always will.

Downplaying improvements because they aren't happening with the brand you've exchanged vows with just doesn't make any sense. It's a reactionary stance, with little footing in logic or science.

Not all improvements help every photographer.  Photographers can rationally downplay improvements that don't actually make a difference to their work, while favoring improvements that do.  And something that is an improvement for one photographer's work may prove to be a detriment for another photographer's work.

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