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Messages - FTb-n

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1
Lenses / Re: Upgrading lenses for college student
« on: January 24, 2015, 02:15:07 AM »
There are lots of options to consider.  The XT was my first DSLR and you may want to consider a body upgrade.  The T2i and up have 18 MP sensors based on the 7D.  It's huge improvement over the XT, especially at higher ISO's.  It's not a bad idea to consider lenses first, but keep you eye out for a good deal on one of these bodies.

As for lenses, I'd be more inclined to consider the 40 f2.8 pancake and the 85 f1.8.  You have some great shots on your site and I think these two lenses will give you more creative control over your images than another slow zoom.  The creative advantage lies with the opportunity for thinner DOF and sharper lenses.  These two lenses are likely to be a better long term investment. 

I suspect that the 28-105 and the 28-135 will be short-term lenses.  My bet is that you'll want to replace these in the not too distant future with something like the 17-55 f2.8 (IMHO the best "normal" zoom for crop) or the 15-85 f3.5-5.6.  The latter is very sharp, but too slow for my tastes.

Anyway, back to the 40 and the 85.  The 40 is a stop slower than the 50 1.8, but it's much sharper corner-to-corner.  It focuses quicker and quieter than the 50 and is similarly priced.  I think it's a more useful focal length for crop.

On a full frame body, the 40 and 50 compare to 64 and 80 mm lenses.  The 50 would be a better focal length for portraits on a crop body, but the 40 is a much better lens and more useful for other subject -- including group portraits.

For individual portraits, I prefer the longer lenses.  I use the 70-200 on FF for portraits and often work within longer half of its range.  The 85 f1.8 will give a FF equivalent of 136 mm which many consider to be the ideal portrait focal length.  Plus, it will offer more pop with thinner DOF than the 50 mm lens.  Of course, your taste and style may differ from mine, so consider this accordingly.

The-Digital-Picture.com is a great resource for lens reviews and image quality comparison tools.

Look at Canon's online refurbish store for good deals with factory warranty.  Also look at CanonPriceWatch.com to find the best price for new or refurbished lenses and bodies.

Good luck with your search for your next lens.

2
Since getting a 35mm f/2 IS, I rarely use the 40mm pancake.  If the 35mm IS fits in your budget, I'd recommend going for that instead of the 40mm.  I also find myself preferring to either use the 35mm or any of the 50mm options I have, including the 50mm f/1.8 II.  The positives about the 40mm pancake are the low cost, fast and quiet focusing, and size.  My negatives are "just OK" image quality (maybe I have a bad copy) and the short barrel doesn't give you much to hold onto.

I don't mind the build quality and noisy AF of the 50mm 1.8 II.  I don't think the AF is that slow.  Yeah, the bokeh isn't as pleasing as that of other 50mm lenses, but it costs a lot less.  If I had to make a recommendation to someone, I'd advise the 40mm pancake over the 50mm 1.8 II.  They'd probably be happiest with the 40mm, but I know they'd be even happier with the 35mm f/2 IS.

Even though I don't use it often, I can't bring myself to sell the 40mm pancake.  First, I wouldn't get much for it.  Second, it's so convenient to carry as a wide-ish just-in-case option when I am using telephoto lenses.

TBH, from what I've seen, 35 IS has some really nervous and bad looking bokeh, which perhaps is typical for 35mm. Not to mention the monstrous 3 stops of vignetting wide open. The IS is good for video, very good, but is it worth 4 times more than the 40mm pancake? The tiny thing is one stop slower, but it vignettes one stop less too. I'm just trying to be objective, the pancake has it's own shortcomings, but (IMHO) there is a lot less to hate about it, for the price.
Curious.  The-Digital-Picture.com confirms your note on vignetting, but the bokeh looks pretty good.  I use mine wide open most of the time (which is one reason for buying an f2.0 lens) and haven't noticed the vignetting at all.  I have no complaints on bokeh, but then my subject matter hasn't revealed it much.

You make a good point on value.  The pancake is an incredible lens for a great price.  The 35 IS shines in low light, action, and creative slow shutter shots.  One needs to determine whether these scenarios are worth the extra price tag.

Well, 35 IS bokeh may be lacking the smoothness in a specific focus range, just like 40 STM does, but it also has that "directional pattern" towards the edges and corners, which (IMHO) makes it even worse. Maybe it's not that obvious on crop cameras, but on FF it looks pretty bad.
About the vignetting. It may not show if you are shooting JPGs with the peripheral illumination correction turned on.
With apologies to a guy named Jared, I SHOOT RAW.  Still, subject matter often determines the degree with which certain lens flaws are visible.  My favorite shots from the 35 IS are of the first dance at recent wedding.  The newlyweds are in the middle with guests, floors, and darkly light walls occupying the corners.  Vignetting isn't noticeable here.  I need to shoot an evenly lit, white wall at f2.0 to see the vignetting where it is noticeable.

However, I'm more inclined to recommend the 40 pancake for street photography, if the focal length matches the OP's need.

As luck would have it, I'm planning a weekend trip where my main need will be a 5D3 and the 70-200 f2.8 II.  But, I want a shorter lens for candid moments when out and about.  I also want to travel light, so plan to leave the second body and the 24-70 home.  So, I started playing with the 35 IS and the 40 with this in mind.  I must say, with a full-frame body, the 40 does quite well in low light and it is much more inconspicuous -- and it is SHARP.  The 40 is my choice for this trip and I think it would be the best option for OP.

3
That is not to say that an image cannot be enhanced by some colour grading,  it absolutely can, but for me the best starting point is a neutral raw file.
Is there such a thing as a "neutral raw file"?  I had understood that in-camera white balance settings are only applied during the conversion to JPG and that RAW is RAW.  But, RAW files do include a thumbnail JPG which will reflect the WB settings (primarily for the LCD).

4
The first thing you have to realise, WB is subjective. If you do a 'true' WB at an event and then process all your images to that value then you often find all the character from the event disappears, effectively neutral white has no ambiance so dialing in a perceived WB value (the subjective part) will better replicate the feel of the event. Obviously the type and style of event will dictate how much ambiance you want to leave in.
Absolutely true.

I've used a couple different "guaranteed true" WB cards to help with setting the WB in post.  But, I haven't found one that I can rely on 100%.  A lot depends upon the event and how its lighting plays a role in the imagery.  This can be subtle, or extremely blatant such as with a figure skating ice show where colors are used with spot lights to reflect the mood of the number. If I go strictly by a true WB, skin tones may render naturally, but it no longer looks like an ice show.  It looks like a dress rehearsal with all the house lights on.

Still, when setting WB in post with  Lightroom, I have found that the whites of the subject's eyes are more consistent than my WB gadgets.  So make sure to get some good shots of someone looking in your direction.  (I haven't tried this, but maybe a selfie will work.  :)

5
Since getting a 35mm f/2 IS, I rarely use the 40mm pancake.  If the 35mm IS fits in your budget, I'd recommend going for that instead of the 40mm.  I also find myself preferring to either use the 35mm or any of the 50mm options I have, including the 50mm f/1.8 II.  The positives about the 40mm pancake are the low cost, fast and quiet focusing, and size.  My negatives are "just OK" image quality (maybe I have a bad copy) and the short barrel doesn't give you much to hold onto.

I don't mind the build quality and noisy AF of the 50mm 1.8 II.  I don't think the AF is that slow.  Yeah, the bokeh isn't as pleasing as that of other 50mm lenses, but it costs a lot less.  If I had to make a recommendation to someone, I'd advise the 40mm pancake over the 50mm 1.8 II.  They'd probably be happiest with the 40mm, but I know they'd be even happier with the 35mm f/2 IS.

Even though I don't use it often, I can't bring myself to sell the 40mm pancake.  First, I wouldn't get much for it.  Second, it's so convenient to carry as a wide-ish just-in-case option when I am using telephoto lenses.

TBH, from what I've seen, 35 IS has some really nervous and bad looking bokeh, which perhaps is typical for 35mm. Not to mention the monstrous 3 stops of vignetting wide open. The IS is good for video, very good, but is it worth 4 times more than the 40mm pancake? The tiny thing is one stop slower, but it vignettes one stop less too. I'm just trying to be objective, the pancake has it's own shortcomings, but (IMHO) there is a lot less to hate about it, for the price.
Curious.  The-Digital-Picture.com confirms your note on vignetting, but the bokeh looks pretty good.  I use mine wide open most of the time (which is one reason for buying an f2.0 lens) and haven't noticed the vignetting at all.  I have no complaints on bokeh, but then my subject matter hasn't revealed it much.

You make a good point on value.  The pancake is an incredible lens for a great price.  The 35 IS shines in low light, action, and creative slow shutter shots.  One needs to determine whether these scenarios are worth the extra price tag.

6
United States / Re: Second Body Investment
« on: January 19, 2015, 09:22:57 PM »
The 7D2 is tempting, but you didn't mention sports or action as a primary subject matter.  I'd go for the 6D.

Feature-wise, the 6D may seem like a step backwards.  The FPS, the AF system, and the video AF mode aren't as advanced as the 70D.  But, then, you have the 70D when you need these features.

The benefit advantages of 7D2 offers FPS, AF, and a tank-like build.  How important are these features?  The 70D is no slouch in the action department, so if it is satisfying your needs with action photography, then the 7D2 gives you little extra benefit.

The 6D will give you full frame benefits that you can't get with crop.  This includes higher useful ISO (which means faster shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures), more useful range with 70-200 zooms (YMMV), smaller DOF options (this is huge), sharper images, and greater color depth.  If you are looking for a body to compliment your 70D and help round out your system, the 6D is the better choice.  My bet is that it would become your primary body with the 70D your backup.

7
Lighting / On Camera Flash Diffusers For Fill
« on: January 19, 2015, 01:57:51 PM »
Do you diffuse your flash when using it on camera for fill?

I rarely shoot with on camera flash and would mostly do so for fill.  I'm currently using two different DIY foam diffusers (pictured below).  The short one is used frequently off camera to bounce light off ceilings and walls.  The bigger one gets very little use and was designed for those scenarios when white-ish ceilings and walls aren't available (outdoors or when ceilings are too dark of too high).  Actually, I don't remember when I last used it.

Anyway, I'm discovering the some group shots, such as basketball team photos after a game, might benefit from a little fill. 

I do have the RoundFlash that I've used on occasion.  It's a great ring light, but can get awkward at events when speed is important.

With the introduction of the Fstoppers Flash Disc, I have become more intrigued with alternatives.  Still, when subjects are 7-10 feet away (which is common for me), I wonder about their usefulness when there is nothing around to bounce the flash. 

What do you use -- if anything?

Forgot to post the photos.  And I posted two of the same photo -- oops.

8
I have the 50 f1.8, 40 f2.8, and the 35 f2.0 IS (and the old 35 f2.0).  The 50 is in storage.  I much prefer the 40 over the 50 on FF or crop.  For low profile -- and price -- it can't be beat.  Between the 50 and 40 for street photography, go for the 40.  It's not only sharper, it's lower profile, better built, and focusing is faster and quieter.


However, for this focal range, the 35 f2.0 IS is a great lens and the one that I would grab.  Still low profile, very sharp, focuses quicker and quieter than the 40 and a stop faster.  You may not need the speed, but it offers smaller DOF and more versatility with IS.  If you want to work with slower shutter speeds for selective blur, the IS will come in handy.  Arguably, for people shots where you typically want 1/60 second or faster, the IS won't help much.

9
Software & Accessories / Re: Photo Editing Laptop Recommendations
« on: January 13, 2015, 05:45:02 PM »
I recently purchased a Lenovo Thinkpad W540, i7-4700MQ, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB drive, with a 15.5" IPS 2880x1620 non-glare display.  Also came with a built-in xRite color sensor.  The display and sensor was a big selling point for me and it works great.

I have had issues with the Intel 7260 single-band wifi card.  Might want to try a different one.

10
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Wait for 5D4 or go for 5D3/6D right now ?
« on: January 11, 2015, 11:25:28 AM »
Thanks for all your replies. :)

The lens I have are:
35mm F1.4L
50mm F1.4
135mm F2L
16-35mm F2.8L

And the photos I usually took are landscape and people, so I think the features of 6D can meet my requirement.

I don't think I'll buy 5D3 because it's quite old.  :-\
If the 6D meets your needs great.  But, the don't reject the 5D3 on it's perceived age.  You will be missing a great body.

The 5D3 is still the body of choice for event, portrait, and wedding photographers.  It's eclipsed only by the 1Dx for those with more demanding action needs -- both were released into the wild in March of 2012.  Both are still at the top of their game.

I don't follow Nikon and don't know their release cycles.  Perhaps Nikon is in the habit of releasing new pro bodies every year or two.  Canon's will do this with the Rebel line.  I always suspected it was a marketing ploy to benefit from slapping "new" in their ads to sway the amateur market.  But, the life-cycle of Canon's pro line is much longer. 

My advice remains, get the body that best fits your current needs.  If there is a feature missing in Canon's current lineup, then wait.  What, specifically, is missing from the 5D3 that you hope will be in the 5D4?

I'd like to see another stop improvement in high ISO noise, a bump in FPS, and maybe a bump in buffer performance. But, I just described the 1Dx.  So, maybe I just want a 1Dx with a 5D3 price tag.

11
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Wait for 5D4 or go for 5D3/6D right now ?
« on: January 10, 2015, 01:03:03 PM »
The 5D3 is no senior citizen.  It's more of a sophomore with a strong future (even though it's almost three years old).

Based on latest speculation, a high megapixel 5Ds will likely be the next FF body.  Perhaps a 6D2 will follow shortly after.  But, the 5D4 would be the true successor to the 5D3.  As long as sales are strong with the 5D3, I wouldn't expect the 5D4 this year.  Regardless, put your need ahead of the speculation.

A big benefit of the 5D3's age is numerous price drops.  Take advantage of them.

12
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Preparing for the switch
« on: January 09, 2015, 02:06:22 PM »
I shoot mostly events, school sports and portraits, with occasional travel photography thrown in.  In my case, the 70-200 f2.8L II is my most used lens.  This was the case with my 7D and is still the case with my 5D3.

I bought the 5D3 with the 24-105 f4L IS kit lens and I really like this lens.  It's my first choice for a walk-around lens when I want to travel light with a single body and don't have a specific subject in mind.  (For "serious" shoots, I use two bodies.)  I also like the flexibility of shooting scenery around water (streams, waterfalls, etc.) with very slow shutter speeds and IS.

Still, the faster 24-70 f2.8L II was very tempting for its extra speed.  For people shots, I prefer 1/100 min and generally shoot 1/200 and up.  But, losing the IS was a huge concern.  Until the temptation grew to strong to resist.

I now keep the 70-200 on one body and the 24-70 on the other (both 5D3's).  I really like the 24-70.  It's great for action shots.  Because it's faster, it focuses quicker in low light.  It also seems to be a brighter lens.  Comparing the 24-70 at 70 with the 70-200 at 70, both at f2.8, the 24-70 seems to be 1/2 to 2/3 stop brighter.  This helps me use a little faster shutter speed or lower ISO. 

Typically, I shoot above 1/100 with the 24-70 and sometimes down to 1/60 without concern.  On occasion, I will use 1/40 or 1/30 and take extra measures to brace myself.  But, more likely, I'll bump up the ISO.

I can't gloss over the focus speed benefits of the 24-70.  I shoot action -- which can include a fleeting moment during an event.  The 24-70 is better at the quick aim-focus-shoot than the 24-105 f4 lens.  Part of this may be an improved USM, but part is also the f2.8 aperture and the brighter optics.  For me, this outweighs that benefit of IS on a short zoom for most of my shooting.  (To be clear, I do rely on IS frequently with the 70-200.)

I also have the 35 f2.0 IS and plan to get the 50 fx.x IS if and when Canon refreshes it.   The 35 is a fun lens and my "extra low light" lens of choice.  I anticipate the future 50 to be the same.  the 35 is as bright as the 24-70 and comparable in IQ with the 24-70 at 35mm.

I will admit that I have no plans to sell the 24-105, at least not yet.  With IS, it is a a bit of a "security blanket lens".  There was a time when I carried it and the 24-70 to events, but no more.  The 24-70 has quickly become my preferred short zoom.  If I get concerned about a low light situation and want IS, I tend to grab the 35 now -- two stops faster than the 24-105 with IS to boot.

Admittedly, I'm still torn about landscapes.  Although not a main interest, I like IS for them and often use polarizers.  While I stop down smaller than f4 for landscapes, the 24-70 may still be better suited (unless there's moving water and I want a slow shutter) because it is a bright lens.

Of course, your mileage may vary.  But, I would recommend the 24-70 f2.8L II.  If I could only have one 24-xxx Canon zoom, it would be the 24-70 f2.8L II.

 

13
Post Processing / Backup to Blu-ray
« on: January 02, 2015, 02:49:42 AM »
Anyone writing images to Blu-ray discs as part of you backup strategy?  If so, which size disc?

I currently backup to multiple external hard drives.  Previously, before 25+MB RAW images, I also burned images to DVD.  A couple years ago I started burning to 25 GB Blu-ray, but I've fallen behind.  I've also had write issues with some discs failing.  Grouping images to fit 25 GB discs can also be a pain.  It's now cheaper and easier to get another external drive, like the WD My Passport to use as a backup.  But, will a hard drive only strategy be reliable in the long run?

There is something about write-once media without moving parts (like Blu-ray discs) that intuitively seems to be more reliable for long-term storage than moving-platter-based media.  But, I've had issues with burning discs on one drive that can't be read on another (even after finalizing them).  This leaves me with the fear that I could burn a bunch of discs on a drive that might drift out alignment only to find out years later that I can't read them.

I would like to incorporate the cloud, but last year (2014), I accumulated over 33,000 RAW images that consume roughly 950 GB.  A TB/year can of data on the cloud can get expensive quick.

14
Lenses / Re: Canon 35mm F2 IS image quality
« on: January 01, 2015, 12:28:20 PM »
Perspective has nothing to do with field of view or focal length, zero, nada, zilch. Perspective is describing where you are in space in relation to your subject, and where the subject is in relation to the other elements in the picture and the viewer, you can only change perspective by moving yourself or one or more of the elements within the frame, that is what perspective means.

Perspective gives you your view; focal length (in combination with your sensor size or crop) gives you the angle of that view, but it doesn't affect your spatial relationship to your subject or the other elements in the picture. Dolly zooming does change the spatial relationship of the subject to camera, so it changes the perspective.
Perspective is typically understood as the relationship between your subject and its surroundings.  As your two photos demonstrate, two different focal length lenses at the same distance will yield the same perspective of your "scene".  But, you need to crop the image from the shorter lens to duplicate the view of the longer.

However, to suggest that perspective has nothing to do with focal length serves to invite a semantics debate.  While technically true, it's wrong in practice.  When comparing two lenses of different focal lengths by shooting a given subject, one typically assumes that goal of the comparison is to fill the frame with the subject during the comparison.  This means changing the distance to the subject.

Technically, it's this change in distance that changes the perspective.  But, it's the change in focal length that necessitates the change in distance to capture two images of the same subject that fills the frame.  Because filling the frame with your subject is typically understood as a given for such a comparison, then focal length does affect perspective.

Oh, the 35 f2 IS is a fun, bright, sharp lens that focuses quickly and quietly.  It is surprisingly comparable to my 24-70 f2.8L II at 35mm.  But, the 24-70 is quieter and maybe a little quicker to focus.

15
Lenses / Re: What is your favorite lens/camera combo in your camerabag?
« on: January 01, 2015, 12:47:19 AM »
5D3 with 70-200 f2.8L IS II for just about everything I shoot, which is mostly sports, events, candids, and portraits.  The 24-70 f2.8L II is the runner up followed by the 35 f2.0 IS.  Honorable mentions go to the 24-105 f4L IS and the 40 f2.8 pancake.

The 24-105 is my walk-around lens when I want to travel light (with only one body and one lens).  If shooting a sports event where I don't expect to need a short lens, I'll take one body with the 70-200 and grab the 40 pancake for a backup (in case I do need something shorter).  The 24-105 and the 40 are good, reliable, utilitarian lenses.  But, there's something about he 24-70 and the new 35 that make them more fun to use.  They are brighter and focus quicker.

I most often shoot with two 5D3's -- one with the 70-200 and the second with the 24-70.  But, I easily shoot more with the 70-200 than all other lenses combined.  It has range that is most useful for me and excels in the fun factor.

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