December 19, 2014, 03:25:03 PM

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Messages - Velo Steve

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1
Some here already know, and some don't...
The Eneloop batteries are a form of NiMh battery, not Lithium.

See http://www.panasonic-eneloop.eu/eneloop-products/eneloop-batteries.html

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Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 30, 2014, 01:02:21 PM »
I'm tempted by all of the strap suggestions, but just to come back to the original question for a moment...

I have the (possibly bad) habit of carrying my camera by simply wrapping my fingers around the handgrip.  It puts a twisting force on the lens mount.  That said, I have used the 70-200 F2.8 IS more than any other lens as I have moved from a 350D to a 40D to a 5D III.  There has never been a problem with the lens or camera mount.

The camera isn't always carried that way of course - I'll often wear the neck strap, but it's heavy enough that I end up using one hand to hold the weight of the lens as I walk.

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EOS Bodies / Re: A Few EOS 7D Mark II Specs [CR1]
« on: June 11, 2014, 01:49:42 PM »
Wow!  Wi-Fi and GPS.  Phones have included that for about ten years.  Of course phones have to be more compact and cheaper, so that makes it easier to add features - no I mean harder - wait, am I confused here?

4
Before you buy a new microwave, be sure you can return it.  We bought a new microwave about 4 years ago - a fairly expensive model.  The interference with WiFi was terrible.  Fortunately, we still had the older, cheaper one.  We are still using the old one, and WiFi is never interrupted.

I don't know about microwave ovens specifically, but there are many ways a device can leak radiation.  Even if the cooking section is well sealed, it is possible that some of the supporting circuitry is radiating in a band that affects WiFi.


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Lenses / Re: Value Lens for birding
« on: April 21, 2014, 01:00:28 PM »
I would suggest turning off the IS on your existing lens and trying it under a range of conditions.  It's a cheap way to know whether the loss of IS will bother you much.  I find myself shooting at 1/250th and slower fairly often when the light isn't great, so IS is a big deal to me.  And no - my birds won't sit still for a tripod shot either.

I'm not saying this is the best choice for you, but my most common setup for birds is a 300 F4 L IS with a 1.4x II extender.  That was my attempt to stay away from 5-digit lens prices.  It's not too bad, but I find that I have to stop down to F8 to get acceptable* sharpness with the extender, and F11 is better.  That means higher ISO and lower shutter speeds than I would like, most of the time.

*Okay, "acceptable" is relative.  If the goal is to clearly identify the bird and keep a record of it, F5.6 is plenty sharp.  If the goal is a print worth framing, it's not.

If I were shopping now, I would avoid anything that has to be stopped down below F5.6.  The 400 F4 would fit the bill, but I'm not willing to give up IS.

I've attached an example of the compromises I end up making.  It's a White-eared Jacamar on a cloudy day in the Amazon.  You could argue with the exact settings, but here's what happened: ISO 3200, F8, 1/400 second, 420mm (300 x 1.4), on a 5DIII.  Taken from a small boat, or I would have used a lower shutter speed and ISO.

It's a pretty noisy shot, but I didn't have the option to wait for a sunnier day.  I could have bought the 600 F4, but then I couldn't have afforded the trip to the Amazon :).

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I want it.  I really do.  For a minute there I was composing my speech to my wife about how the 5DIII was not "my last camera for a long time" after all.

 ;)

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Video & Movie / Re: Galapagos Underwater - Darwin's Dream - Bronze Award
« on: February 27, 2014, 07:14:21 PM »
I'm impressed.  It is amazing how easy it is to find most (no, not all) of these creatures in the Galapagos.  What is not so easy is getting quality footage of them from good angles.

I have a small movie I made last year of a marine iguana.  It was really exciting to catch that moment, but I have a long way to go before matching something like this.

8
EOS Bodies / Re: What's Next from Canon?
« on: February 15, 2014, 05:54:02 AM »
Not responding to any one post...

On the G1X II: without a viewfinder, it's a toy camera to me.  I'm fine with EVF or optical, as long as it's a good view and I can hold the camera properly.  I'll probably not look at this line again unless the viewfinder is integrated, rather than an add-on.

I do use a smaller powershot occasionally, when my 5D III is too much to carry.  The right fixed-lens higher quality camera WOULD be tempting.

On the low ISO topic - my default ISO is 400.  In the rare cases where I have the light, stability, and slow-moving subject to go lower, I will.  Much more often, I'm pushing the ISO up to keep the shutter speed within reason.  A bald eagle hunting on a winter morning just isn't going to stop and let me shoot at 1/8 second.

As a result, lower noise at ISO 3200 would be worth a lot more to me than amazing image quality at ISO 100.

The best way for Canon, Sigma, or some other third party to get my money right now would be a big sharp telephoto that doesn't cost a fortune.  I know there's a lot of expensive glass (or fluorite) in the big lenses, but the jump from say a 300mm F4 for under $1400 to a 600mm F4 for over $12000 is pretty daunting.

Telephoto isn't the only thing I do, by the way.  It's just that from 24mm to 200mm I'm happy with the equipment I have.  I'm much more limited by my skill and creativity than by the hardware until I get to the longer focal lengths.

One question: am I right in perceiving that mirrorless is more about the buzzword than about function?   I know that mirrors can be noisy, slow, and bulky.  Still, I get the feeling that a large group of people have just decided that it's what they want, regardless of whether they will get better photos for the size or price.


 

9
I think that the existing replies are good advice - both Wordpress and Smugmug are tops (or close) in their areas.

If you want to spend 1 to 20 hours setting up your site and then consider it done, something like Smugmug or an out-of-the box Wordpress site is probably the way to go.

If you want to truly customize the site (not just choose templates and options) you will probably spend much more time than that.  A host which allows manual editing and full login access to the server will allow you to change anything.  For example, you might use Wordpress as the starting point, but add custom code for special features.

If that last paragraph sounds awful, stop reading now.  I actually enjoy the challenge of a little software work.  I'm also cheap about hosting - I'll pay for basic access and add my own features.  It's not the only approach.  The other extreme is to call up a web site development business and have them do the whole job for $2k, $200k, or however much you have.

I only have direct experience with two hosting companies, GoDaddy and BlueHost.  Both (and many others as well) offer many free software packages such as Wordpress at reasonable prices.  Both have reasonable prices and reliable servers.  I left GoDaddy for BlueHost because GoDaddy's constant attempts to get me to spend more money were getting in the way of my work.

Good luck!

10
Software & Accessories / Re: About to start with Focal
« on: June 10, 2013, 02:20:10 AM »
I just got the software a week or so ago.  Here are some observations.

  • Read the manual.  Maybe not every page, but there is some good information.
  • The "fully automatic" adjustment is quite tedious on the 5D III and any other camera without support for AFMA adjustments by software.
  • TurboCal is much faster than "automatic" - I can't say whether the results are consistently as good.
  • For the big lenses you are going to need a big indoor space, or the ability to work outdoors when lighting is consistent.  I had trouble with tree shadows moving across the target before I could complete a single calibration.  It might also work to have the camera outdoors and the target in a controlled indoor space with an open door or window.
  • My results were mostly similar to calibrations I had attempted by hand.  I'm taking that as a good thing - what the software says agrees approximately with my eye.  Probably the software is more accurate.
  • Speaking of accuracy (or really, consistency) I did some "semi-automatic" testing and it was surprising how much the results varied from one shot to the next under identical conditions.  There was often much more difference between consecutive shots at a single AFMA value than between two shots with an AFMA setting several units higher or lower.  This suggests that taking several shots and choosing the best (when you have the luxury of doing so) will make more difference than a perfect AFMA setting.  Of course what I saw with one lens/camera combination may not apply elsewhere.  By the way, this test was not done with the 70-200mm lens mentioned below.
  • The autofocus on my trusty 70-200mm 2.8L IS lens died while using the software!  I suppose it was ready to die after 7 years of use and who knows how many hours with the shutter button half pressed.  Still, it was a shock.  Both autofocus and manual focus are now unreliable.

If anyone else has tips about how big to print the target for various lenses and target distances, I'd like to hear them.  Also, target setup with TurboCal seemed different than with the other methods, and I'd like to understand that better.

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Shooting With the EOS 6D in Costa Rica
« on: December 28, 2012, 07:49:26 PM »
I'd love to see some discussion of shooting and traveling with a camera in tropical conditions.  I'll be spending almost a month on ships, boats, and kayaks, and on foot near the water.  I'm pretty happy with my body and lens selection, but it's the moisture I'm worried about.  The top two issues are:
1) How to carry the camera when I won't be using it but I might fall in the water or briefly drop a bag.
2) How to protect the camera and lens while shooting, but in light rain, falling moisture from vegetation, etc.

I have a little D10 for snapshots when it's really wet, but I'm really looking for how to use my 5D III with good results and no damage.

12
April?

I'm expecting to have some of the most amazing photographic opportunities of my life in February.  Does it really take that long to add a feature for the 5D III which already is figured out for the 1D series?  I only care about the autofocus change.

Maybe they're just trying to torture me  :).

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Software & Accessories / Re: "Best" budget filters?
« on: October 19, 2012, 08:28:48 PM »
Thanks for the heads up on the coating.

Do you think it's worth spending $60 for a $400 lens? I won't be looking to protect any super fancy glass for awhile, so these filters are for an EF 85 1.8 and EF 28 1.8.

I had this thought once, and bought cheap filters for my first DSLR.  They were probably okay with that kit lens, but it was still a big mistake.

Recently I had some questionable images from my nearly new 300mm 4.0L Canon lens on a 5D Mark III.  I read the lensrentals.com article and decided to test my filters.  Somehow I had swapped an old cheap filter onto the new lens and it was a problem.  I had two different mid-priced Hoya filters, and they were MUCH better.  There are several test images on Flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/juniorvelo/8009756400/#in/set-72157624036270340/.

The Hoyas cause a color shift (arguably a desirable one), but practically no loss of sharpness compared to a bare lens.  The cheap filters made every shot look out of focus.

I'll never let a bad filter in my house again.

14
A far as they go, the rumored specs look good.  On the other hand, most of what I care about isn't addressed there.

My biggest need is better ISO performance for shooting wildlife in shaded or dawn/dusk situations.  I'm not looking for "pretty good" noise at 12,800.  Really great quality at 1600 would be more valuable.  That will determine whether I buy this camera, and I probably will.

I also do 30 second exposures of the night sky with some frequency.  If this camera gets rid of the many unnaturally reddish pixels or blotches I get in those shots, it would be really nice.

Sometimes I shoot sports, especially cycling.  Really good autofocus on subjects moving toward the camera would be valuable.  Extra points if it's available before the Amgen Tour of California in mid May.

The third big item for me (also not described in the rumored specs) is dynamic range.  That white bird in the sun on a background of dark foliage could look a lot better with another stop or two of range.  Or the cyclist in the sun with his face shaded by a helmet.  Or the bride in white and groom in black, for you wedding photographers.

I really expect to want this camera, but I'll take a good look at tests and reviews before I place my order.

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EOS Bodies / Re: No 5D Mark III on Novemeber 3 [CR2]
« on: September 26, 2011, 10:25:59 AM »
No, Canon, no!

Video is, with a few exceptions, a slow and boring form of communication.  Once people realize that no one wants to watch their boring clips, this will fade.  Sure, it's possible now to shoot HD video at reasonable prices, but who needs it?

Apologies of course to those who actually are able to make good video.

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