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Messages - colvinatch

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Lenses / Sigma Big Glass Impressions
« on: September 05, 2014, 12:01:18 PM »
First let me say that I am a lens snob, fanatic etc... I have always only purchased Canon lenses and recently mostly L series glass.  My experience with "off brand" lenses has not been that stellar so I have avoided them in the past.  Recently I was about to purchase a long Canon lens (the 100-400 L pumper zoom) and I noticed that my local camera store had a Sigma 150-500 used for less than half the cost of the Canon. 

I was reluctant but the store manager gave me a 30 day trial period and I could return the lens no questions asked.  What could I lose? I was about to head out to a trip to the Smokies to shoot wildlife so I thought I would give the new Sigma a trial run.  Fully expecting the lens to be a dud and looking for reasons to return It I put it on my trusty 7D (I wanted the crop factor, making this effectively an 800mm lens with image stabilization). 

The first few images were soft and unimpressive, until I put the camera on a tripod and began to adjust the micro focus, of the lens profile in the 7D.  Once that was dialed in the lens performed well at 500mm with a wide open aperture.  Stopped down to f10 it was very sharp, zoomed back to 300 and 400mm the results were excellent.  Not quite as sharp as my 70-200 f4.0 but very good.  The autofocus is a bit slow, but if you are already in the ballpark the lens can make small adjustments in focus more quickly than asking it to change focus from min focusing to infinity

Once I got it into the field and was able to evaluate the real world image making ability of this lens they were excellent, the lens is long, heavy and unwieldy, but on the crop body 7D they are very sharp with excellent color and contrast.     

I fully realize that this is not a Canon L series lens, it is not weather sealed, but the build feels very solid, the controls are smooth (not quite as smooth as my 24-70 L or 70-200 L but not as raspy as my 50mm 1.4) and I am getting excellent images.  I have shot with the best glass Canon offers and love it, but when I need to go long I have found this lens to be more than adequate to produce a sharp, saturated and contrasty images that makes a outstanding prints.  I will post some images soon, has anyone else owned this lens and if so are you experiencing similar results?

Lenses / Re: Need help deciding on my next lens
« on: July 11, 2014, 09:45:41 AM »
Here is my take:

Canon 24-70 f/4 L  I own this lens and love it, very sharp corner to corner and contrasty, never thought I would use the built in macro feature until I found myself a couple of hundred yards into the woods from my bag (left it in the car) and happened upon a great macro shot, now I love the built in macro feature.  A great outdoor / landscape lens but a bit pricey, never leaves my 5D.

Canon 24-105 f/4 L  A good option if you are wanting to save money, a bit soft at the edges

Canon 17-40 f/4 L  I own this lens and use it alot when the 24-70 isn't wide enough. A decent lens for indoor group shots (with strobes only) a touch soft at the edges, nothing noticeable.  Waiting on Canon's newest superwides to decide whether to trade it or not.  Remember your crop factor, this is not as wide as the numbers would lead you to believe, makes a good walking around lens on the 70D.

Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 Owned it a few years back, outstanding glass, super sharp and ablot of fun for landscapes, Canon has a new 10-18 out that is ablot cheaper and is supposedly a good performer, should force the price of used versions of these down.  Great for landscapes on a APS-C camera.

Never used the Sigma, so I can't comment. 

It appears as if you are shopping for wide angle lenses, the 10-22 is a real superstar on the crop body cameras and acts like a 16 mm lens at the wide end, which is very wide with very little distortion, I would look for it used on e-bay for around $500.00. 

On the other end, you may want to take a look at the 70-200 f4.0 L IS, (usually around $1200.00) $1000 cheaper than the f2.8 version with the best IQ of any of Canon's zooms, it always amazes me.

Happy shooting

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Advise Please
« on: May 02, 2014, 10:02:49 AM »
Let me address your two main points:

Picture quality:  I shoot with both Canon and Nikon (but mostly Canon), the picture quality between the two is not enough to make this an issue, I am aware that he dynamic range of Nikon's sensors is slightly better than Canon when tested in a lab, this does not prevent Canon cameras from taking great pictures. 

Ease of use: I prefer Canon’s menu structure and on-camera controls.  Probably due to the fact that is has not changed radically in a decade and seems much easier to use.  I teach photography at a high school full time and at a local university as an adjunct and have done so for over a decade, it has been my experience that Canon camera's are easier to control and change the settings on quickly in the field.  It is also my experience that student master the Canon interface (menu and on-camera controls) much more quickly than Nikon. Both are excellent camera systems, however in my humble opinion Canon has hit the sweet spot for ease of use.   

Canon General / Re: Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”?
« on: December 24, 2013, 02:27:14 PM »
The title should read "Why GOOD Wedding Photographers' Prices are Wack"  I book about a dozen or so weddings a year and my portfolio is as good as anyone else's out there (been shooting for 40 years, so if I can't take a good wedding pict by now I'm never going to!).  If a perspective client doesn't like my prices I encourage them to shop around, they usually come back after a week or two and book my services, if they don't then they can shoot their own wedding with an iPhone and hope that they get decent results!  The market (for really good photos) drives the price.  Like everything else, you get what you pay for.

Lenses / Re: New to Canon - please help me decide on lenses
« on: December 18, 2013, 11:48:08 AM »
The 70-200 f4.0 L IS is a great lens, I use mine more that almost any other lens in my kit, save my 50 1.4, it (70-200) is light enough to carry and still has a nice reach, I sold my 70-200 2.8L IS as I was not using it nearly enough, I feel the 70-200 4.0 is sharper if you pixel peep.  As for my 17-40 f4.0 wide angle, I have been very pleased with the IQ from, no really soft corners on my copy and the center is plenty sharp.  I use the Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro, it is an excellent macro lens that can also be used as a fine portrait lens, I would consider the L version for the IS and may change out in the future but only for the IS and not the IQ, the non L has outstanding IQ.

EOS Bodies / Re: Need seasoned advice - keep 5D Mark II or NO?
« on: February 09, 2013, 08:50:38 AM »
Stick with the 5D Mark II, it is a HUGE leap from the T4i in IQ, especially in low light / high ISO conditions.  Spend the money you save on a good prime lens and enjoy taking great photos.  The IQ jump from the 5D II to a 6D or a  5D III is nothing compared to having a great lens in front of your 5D II.  Don't concern yourself with chasing the latest camera body, there will ALWAYS be one better than the one you are shooting with, concern yourself with your images. 

EOS Bodies / Re: 7D vs 5D2???
« on: November 20, 2012, 07:55:02 PM »
5D Mark II I should have been more clear

EOS Bodies / Re: 7D vs 5D2???
« on: November 20, 2012, 07:44:19 PM »
I have extensive experience with both cameras, I love the 5D for it's full frame. where a 50mm lens acts like a 50mm lens as an old film shooter, I'm home.  Also the low light ability of the 5D is AMAZING.  Having said that I also love the 7D and feel that in many ways it is a superior camera, better, faster autofocus, excellent image quality, very fast frame rate.  If I had to chose between the two (thankfully I don't) for everyday shooting I would pick the 7D over the 5D. 

I love the extra reach and the frame rate and the low light ability of the 7D it is not that awful although not as great as the 5D.  I Use my 5D as more or less a studio camera and for portrait shoots.  I use the 7D for everything else.  Having said all this, I would hold off on purchasing the 7D for a couple of months as the 7D mark II is right around the corner, the release of that camera will drive the price of the 7D down a couple of hundred (both new and used) and you may like the features of the 7D mark II over the original 7D.  My 2 Cents.

Lenses / Re: 100mm F2.8 macro vs 100mm F.28L IS macro
« on: September 01, 2012, 06:57:56 PM »
I own the 100mm 2.8 non IS and it is a great lens.  I would look for it used on ebay and put the savings into a strobe.  A good strobe coupled with f~2.8 will allow a fast enough shutter speed to make a tripod un-necessary, as well as giving you a lot more versatility in your other shots at a wedding.  As a footnote, the 100mm makes a fantastic portrait lens.

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