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Messages - AlexB

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Third Party Manufacturers / Re: just my opinion
« on: January 27, 2015, 05:00:21 PM »
Having tried photo-backpacks I prefer a standard hiking day pack (panel loading) with a small camera bag insert to house the camera and lens for actual hiking.  A couple of reasons, first hiking packs are designed for hiking and seem to ride better on my back, features like rain covers and water bottle holders are included.  You can add gear (jackets, lunch, extra socks etc..) easier around the insert.  Camera packs seem to take up all the space with that extra padding. Plus a regular hiking pack doesn't jump out to thieves as pawnable gear.

There is a downside, grabbing the camera takes a bit longer and miscellaneous gear mingles so sometimes you have to hunt for the shutter release or the extra battery.

Finally allow me to question placing camera gear on the bottom of a pack.  If a water bottle, whine flask, or hydration bladder were to leak it would soak the lenses.  Also if it where me I would forget about the gear, being exhausted from climbing up the trail and just haphazardly drop my pack on the ground, personally I would rather a rain jacket be on the bottom to cushion any abrupt landings.

just my thoughts

+1 on using a pack designed for hiking with camera inserts. Many camera-specific packs work ok with weights less than ~12 pounds but become increasingly uncomfortable for higher loads. A key for me is to use the pack together with a cotton carrier. The cotton carrier gives much more rapid access to the camera than any backpack. I am currently using a Kelty fury 35 with inserts for longer hikes with camera + other gear. This pack is carry on legal if you don't overstuff it, and it has an internal frame to transfer weight to your hips. It also has a rain cover. This summer I carried about 25lbs of camera + other gear (60D + 6D + 24-105L + 70-300L + clothes + water + food) on mountain hikes up to 8 hours at Glacier National Park using this pack with a cotton carrier and found the combination to work great.  Picture shows the pack at Iceberg Lake at Glacier National Park.

Thanks Jeff and PCM-madison for your inputs towards a normal hiking pack instead of a photo oriented backpack.

I have been using a normal hiking pack for some time now, and a separate bag inside it for my camera gear. But the pack I have is a fair bit larger then what i would want to carry around for my daily or half-day trips, hence why I'm looking for a new one now.

I agree that a hiking pack would be the best option for hiking, but I want to explore and evaluate all the options before I decide. Mainly because sometimes it is a hassle to get into the pack and get out your gear, and I cannot even count how many times I've been unpacking almost all the contents of my pack to get to my camera bag inside. By the way I keep all photography related items in one bag inside my pack so having various items floating around is not an issue for me.

My only previous experience with a photography pack was some sort of Lowepro sling pack many years ago, and it was awful. There isn't any big photo related stores in my area (closest one is 7-8 hour drive away), so if I go with a photography pack it will buy before I try.

Jeff, I understand your point regarding packing the gear in the bottom, and I appreciate you question it. I feel a bit different about the matter (I didn't necessarily mean dead on the bottom of the pack by the way). My water bottles are carried outside the pack (in mesh pockets or similar) for easy access. If I use a hydration bladder it is in a separate compartment towards my back and either inside a waterproof bag or plastic. Also if there is any other liquids carried inside the pack I always double pack it in case of leaks (something I learned my lesson on a couple of years ago, fortunately not related to camera gear). The pack I use now has a small bottom compartment where I keep my jacket or any other clothes I want fast and easy access to, and that have provided the protection I've needed so far. Adding some sort of protection or padding if needed shouldn't be an issue with the new pack. I've carried top-heavy packs before and I do try to avoid that as I find it gets really uncomfortable even after a short period. I will do what I can to pack everything significant of weight low down and close to my back.

PCM-madison, I haven't seen or heard about the cotton carrier until I read your comment today. I will have to look into what that actually is.

I have the Guru and have used it for over 2 years. I have used it at airshows, travel and day outings. I would usually carry my 1Dx, 35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2 and 50mm 1.2 in the small pro icu. I have found the f-stop bags to be some of the best dedicated camera bags available. When I was searching it was the only one that really met my needs at the time for a small kit and additional travel items. The Guru is the size of a normal backpack and I personally wouldn't want to go smaller than that.

I do not use the hip belt often and usually just fold it behind me and it has never uncomfortable. Most bags do not have a hip belt that can be removed and it would likely negatively impact how effective the hip belt is when it is in use. With the amount of additional items you would like to be able to carry I would not recommend a smaller bag. It seems that the Guru would be fairly well packed and would meet your needs.

I can't really recommend another bag since the Guru has worked so well for me and it was the one I chose after reading a number of reviews. I have been favoring the Loka UL recently for the additional storage but I still use the Guru when I want to keep it simple. Good luck finding the right bag for you and let us know what you decide on.

jman, thank you for the insight on the Guru. My main issue is that all the reference I have on it is online. There is no way I can see it in person or try it on prior to purchasing, so your input is well appreciated.

I will be going to check out some hiking packs this weekend at local stores to find exactly what size I am after. Maybe the Guru is the right size for me, but I don't know until I've had tried some similar capacity packs for comparison.

*Edit: Forgot to mention one thing regarding the removable hip belt. The pack I have now has a removable belt, and it is quite convenient for whenever you go light. Mine doesn't have any instability due to this as it is perfectly secure once attached

So, to summarize a bit. Not sure whether I will go for a dedicated hiking pack with a photo bag inside again, or if I will choose something like the F-Stop Guru. Will go take a look at hiking packs at my local store this weekend to get a better idea of the size I'm after.

Are there any other viable photo related packs other then the ones F-Stop makes?

Also, if anyone know of 25-30L hiking packs that have solutions to access bottom content without emptying the pack (side or back access) I would highly appreciate it.

Thanks guys!

- Alex

Third Party Manufacturers / Recommendations for day hike backpack?
« on: January 26, 2015, 06:50:29 PM »
Hi guys

I'm looking to purchase a backpack to use mainly for day hikes, and to use as a carry-on when I travel by air.

I've been looking at the F-Stop Guru with a small shallow ICU, and while it looks great I'm not completely sold on it. I don't like that the hip belt cannot be removed and it looks like it will be very bulky if tucked away. I prefer to not have this on lighter/smaller packs. Also the pack looks to be slightly larger then what I'm after, but it's hard to tell from the photos.

So I'm basically looking for alternatives to the Guru with a similar feature set. Most important points are:
- Half the pack must be for other then camera gear.
- Must have direct access to both camera gear and other items (so I don't have to unpack everything every time)
- Prefer it to open towards the back (for camera gear access)
- Camera gear must be packed at the bottom of the pack, not the top.
- Removable waist belt or no waist belt.
- Must be comfortable to carry!
- Top handle

Gear I usually carry:
- Camera body without grip
- 24-70
- 70-300 (will be adding this shortly, so might as well include it).
- Extra battery, memory cards, rocket blower, lens pen and cleaning cloth
- Pouch with 4pcs 100 x 100mm filters
- Lee filter holder and adaptor rings
- Small Tripod
- Weatherproof jacket
- Extra base layer depending on season
- Two water bottles or a hydration bladder
- Food / snacks
- Multitool, tape, plastic bags, small towel, gloves etc..

So, any ideas guys? :)

Hi guys

For all you out there doing landscape photography; I'm very interested in hearing about what would be your choice if you could only use one lens for shooting landscapes. Whether it would be a super wide angle, telephoto, something in between, zoom, prime, or maybe a specialty lens such as a tilt shift or macro?

(One other point that is beneficial to note is what sensor size you would use that with; full frame, 1.3x crop, 1.6x crop.)

And to try to avoid this being just another thread where various people list all the lenses in Canon's lineup, I would be very interested in why you would choose that particular lens for your needs.

Hope this is not another dreadful repetition. I couldn't find anything like this in regards to landscape photography.

- Alex

Canon non-EF Lenses (TS-E, FD, etc.) / Re: Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
« on: January 01, 2015, 01:55:49 PM »
Is it possible to stack two 82mm circular filters (ND and Polarizer) on the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II without vignetting when using the tilt/shift?

Yes, at least with my B+W filters.

Are those slim or regular filters?

F-Pro (regular) ND, slim CPL.

Great, thanks!

Canon non-EF Lenses (TS-E, FD, etc.) / Re: Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
« on: January 01, 2015, 12:49:23 PM »
Is it possible to stack two 82mm circular filters (ND and Polarizer) on the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II without vignetting when using the tilt/shift?

Yes, at least with my B+W filters.

Are those slim or regular filters?

Thanks everybody, you've been of great help.

I'm now pretty much set on going with the 70-300L. I decided that the extra reach is worth it, and I prefer a more compact lens over a slightly lighter one for carrying around in my backpack. Will try it without the collar first and see how it balances on my tripod.

Someone mentioned that they don't like this lens because it extends and have a variable aperture. I can understand that, but for my application and use I don't think it will be an issue.

Thanks again
- Alex

Canon non-EF Lenses (TS-E, FD, etc.) / Re: Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II
« on: December 31, 2014, 10:16:46 PM »
Is it possible to stack two 82mm circular filters (ND and Polarizer) on the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II without vignetting when using the tilt/shift?

Thanks everyone for your replies.

First, I think I will eliminate the 70-200 F/4L USM from my list since it has no weather sealing. I also suspect the image quality is not on par with the IS version (please correct me if I'm wrong).

So, then it's the 70-200 F/4L IS USM and the 70-300 F/4-5.6L IS USM left to choose from. Reading the comments it seems the difference in image quality is so minor that I shouldn't worry about that, something which makes this decision a whole lot harder for me (I would just pick whichever has the better image quality).

70-300 advantages:
Longer reach
Slightly more compact

70-200 advantages:
Less expensive
Constant aperture (not very important)
Does not extend (not very important)

All the time I've been leaning slightly towards the 70-300L, but I'm not sure exactly why. The extra reach and slight more compactness (for carrying the lens) are great pro's, but then again the 70-200 is a bit lighter and less expensive.

One of my concerns in regards to the 70-300 is if it's prone to zoom creeping, especially if the lens is tilted slightly up or down.

Secondly, I'm also thinking that if I get the 70-300L I need to purchase the optional tripod mount ring ($165) and a RRS plate ($55) for my tripod, but with the 70-200 I may get away without it. If that's the case then it puts the 70-300 at about $370 more total.

Regarding the extra reach, I've shot using a 70-200 F/2.8 on my 5D III several times, but never with anything at 300mm. I don't really know how much of a practical difference there is between 200 & 300mm and if it should be a major concern in regards to landscape photography.

Again, thank you all for your input and advice.

Hi guys

I'm trying to decide on a telezoom that I will be using for landscape photography.

I shoot on a tripod whenever possible, and mostly stopped down to the lens' optimal aperture. The lens will be with me in my backpack whenever I go out to photograph, so size and weight is also of concern. It will be used in foul weather so it must have weather sealing.

The lens will for now be used on a 5D Mark III and a 6D, but when Canon release their high resolution body I will most likely jump on that wagon.

Most important factors:
- Image quality, especially stopped down
- Resolution (for when I upgrade to the high resolution body that is rumored, but not sure if this really should be a concern)
- Weight and portability
- Weather sealing

Less important:
- Fast aperture
- Super quick auto focus
- Image stabilization (will be used on tripod in most cases)

So far I'm considering the 70-300 F/4-5.6L IS USM, 70-200 F/4L USM and 70-200 F/4L IS USM.

I don't have any first hand experience with either one of these, so I really don't know how they compare in terms of image quality, which is my main concern. The extra reach of the 70-300 is very tempting and the maximum aperture does not worry me. However if the 70-200 F/4L's provide better image quality then I would rather go for one of those.

So what do you guys think, pro's, con's for either one? Any other lens I maybe should consider?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

It seems that to get the time of day from anybody willing to pay for advertising photos, you must have a referral from somebody else who you've done commercial work for. It's a catch-22: you must have experience and a reputation to get a contract to gain experience and a reputation.

You have to do a job, or two, or three, for free.

Even pitching jobs for free may not be easy, and some may be sceptical. Be honest with your client, explain to them that you have years of experience by doing this as a hobby, but now you're working on turning it into a full time job and need to build a reputation/portfolio and that's the reason you're doing it for free. Most will understand this. Try to select your "free clients" by finding someone who may use your images several places like magazines, flyers, posters etc, and not just online.

Then when you later sit down with clients discussing paying jobs, you can say "Here's an example of a job I did recently..." and show them the website/poster/flyer/whatever where your pictures were used. Just don't mention to them that you've done things for free...

Lenses / Re: Downgrading my equipment - looking for advice
« on: May 22, 2013, 10:26:15 AM »
Thank you guys for the replys

I feel I should clarify about me falling down the stairs and hitting my head before I go any further. It has really nothing to do with why I am downgrading my equipment, it was my vague attempt to open with a joke on why I am taking this path rather than upgrading my gear. It was an accident not related to photography at all, and it doesn't really belong in this post. I apologize, my sense of humar is rather, special. But I'm fine now, tank you for your concern.

I realise I was unclear in my original post as to why I am doing this. The short answer is cost. I will try to clarify a little further.

I can't justiify to myself owning all this expensive gear when I only use it for what it's worth 1-3 times a year. It is great having one of the best camera bodies and some of the finest glass available at my disposal, but I know I don't really need it for what I am shooting, so I am looking to get by with cheaper equipment.

Size and weight has never been an issue for me, so I am definetly staying with the DSLR platform.

As one of the most significant things I shoot is for a local music festival I was thinking to concentrate my new, cheaper collection, around this. I have sort of already decided on a 1D Mark III, so that part is alright. But I am not sure about which lenses to get. I do want low light capability, so primes are my first thought. I have never really used prmes before except for my 50mm nifty-fifty. I am mainly looking for advice regarding the more affordable Canon primes, not excluding the 135mm f/2L as it is not too expensive to buy used. But the likes of 24 1.4, 35 1.4, 50 1.2, 85 1.2 etc are all out of the question due to price.

I know that for concerts I want something wide, and I want something for tighter shots close or equal to 200mm on full frame (135mm f/2L with 1D3?). I am thinking of keeping the 24-105 so I have at least one lens that is weather sealed. But other then that I am pretty clueless on which of the Canon non-L lenses to aim for.

I hope I managed to elaborate a bit better on what my goal is.

Again, thank you for your help.


Lenses / Downgrading my equipment - looking for advice
« on: May 21, 2013, 01:31:42 PM »
I fell down some stairs a few weeks ago and hit my head pretty bad. Now I'm in the process of reducing and downgrading my camera gear collection.

My issue is that I have all this great and expensive gear, but I feel that most of the time it's a complete overkill. I have come to realise that, while it's fun to have, I do not need all of this. Therefore I have decided to sell it and replace it with something more affordable which is "good enough".

I have already sold away most of my lenses (8-15, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200 and more), fortunately for about the same price as I purchased them for. I am now left with my 5D mark III and a 24-105mm F/4. The 5D will be gone within the week as I already have a buyer for it. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep the 24-105mm yet.

My plan is to spend the money I get for the 5D III to purchase my "new collection". I already know I want a 7D or a 1D mark III (I have owned both before), but I am not so sure about which lenses to get. I am going to get mainly primes as I want the low light capability for the few times a year I photograph concerts/festivals. I'm planning to purchase most if not all of the gear 2nd hand.

I am not too familiar with Canon's non-L lineup and I am looking for advice on which lenses I should look for and which I should keep away from, if there are any "underdog" lenses that I must have, etc... I am also looking on advice regarding purchasing a 135mm f/2L USM & 200mm f/2.8L II USM vs a similar non-L counterpart.

So here's what I'm thinking:
- Body: 1D mark III or 7D (have owned both before, so I know what I get)
- Wide-angle: Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 (don't see any other options here as I don't want the slower Canon)
- Normal: 50mm f/1.4 (other suggestions?)
- Medium tele: 85 f/1.8, 100 f/2 or 135 f/2L (not sure where to place myself here, suggestions / recommendations?)
- Tele: 200mm f/2.8L II (any other options?)

Regarding focal lenghts and what I use most: When I were shooting with zooms I was all over the place. However I do especially like the 200mm end of a 70-200. I am also fond of the wide angle end of a 24mm on full frame. All in between is based on need. The concerts I shoot normally have quite large pits, and is not of the indoor club type where you have to crouch down on one knee to avoid blocking the view for the audience. I am going to base my selection mainly on what I need for concers as I figure if I can fullfill that I can probably make due with that gear for the rest of my photography.

Any help / advice is greatly appreciated

- AlexB

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: Problems with Canon mk3 locking up
« on: September 11, 2012, 11:49:47 AM »
Sorry to hear about your lockup issue, but very glad that you have made a post about it here.

I just ran a test on my 5D3 and had no problems going through the whole 29 minutes 59 seconds cycle before I got a message that video recording was auto cancelled.

I recorded in ALL-I, 1920x1080p, 24 fps, manual mode 1/50, f/4, ISO5000. Recorded to CF card type Sandisk Extreme 16gb, 60mb/s. I don't have any 32gb card to use for testing.

Camera was stationary the whole time on my desk pointed towards my NAS, so the only movement in the image was a small blinking LED.

I will try another test later with movement in the picture to see if it makes any difference.

EOS Bodies / Re: Your Canon EOS 5D Mark III user tips
« on: August 23, 2012, 06:19:34 PM »
Long time reader, first time poster here. Might aswell try to make it something constructive and hopefully helpful.

My tip: AE lock & Hold

I normally shoot in manual mode, but sometimes it happends that I wander into the lands of Av.

My problem with Av (and any other auto-exposure functions) is that whenever there is a big variation in the amount of light on your subject and on the surrounding scene and background, it tends to either get overexposed or underexposed. Now I can always go in and use exposure compensation, and I will in most cases do that before I even take the first shot judging by the scene. Sometimes I'll go bingo and other times I'll take another shot.

With the 5D Mark III came a rather interesting feature - AE lock and Hold.

Like the normal AE lock function it will lock your exposure, Very handy to use with spot metering in the situation I described above. But unlike it, there is no auto cancel after a set period of time or after the shot is taken. It will simply lock your exposure untill you press the button again and unlock it. Fancy, eh?

The function can be set in the custom controls panel.

Video explaining it:

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