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Topics - curby

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Software & Accessories / Next on the shopping list: filters
« on: May 05, 2014, 05:25:02 PM »
I'm interested in a 10-stop ND and a circular polarizer for a trip to Alaska later on this month.  I'm looking to flex my landscape muscles a bit, and figure the ND would be for blurring clouds and water for long exposures; the polarizer for blue skies and clear water options. 

My lenses all have 67-77mm filter threads, so I'm thinking of getting 77mm filters with adapters as necessary.

So I'm thinking of the B+W 1000x MRC and the Kaesemann Polarizer MRC, but my budget's a bit tight.  Two questions:

1) How useful is the MRC coating, if I'm only occasionally using the filters?  Is it important optically, or more for easier cleaning and resistance to gunk?  Adding MRC to the ND adds roughly 50% to the non-MRC price, so that's pretty significant.

2) If I were to only get one of these, which would you recommend, and why?  I'm leaning towards the ND filter, to have fun with things like waterfalls, but a polarizer is one of the things that you can't replicate or fake with ISO/shutter/aperture/Photoshop tricks.

Thanks!

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Software & Accessories / Convertible tripod/monopod options
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:41:33 PM »
Hi, I'm looking to replace my current Feisol tripod, due to some space and usability issues.  The Feisol can still be used at home, but I'd like something more compact and modern for travel.  180°-folding legs, monopod conversion, and 5-segment design can help with compactness, and some modern usability features like non-rotating leg sections would be nice. 

I use a non-gripped 70D, and my longest lens is currently a 70-200/4, though I'm looking to extend into the 300-400 range in the next year or two.  I do a variety of travel photography including wildlife, landscapes, architecture, and near-macro.

Options I've found thusfar:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av1HyANgStffdEJkaHVwd3QzUnFvTWt2R3Ffb0FrcUE&usp=sharing

Must-haves include good reliability and stability for the weight and price class, twist locks with anti-rotating legs, and a monopod conversion feature.  I'd like to spend under $400, but could go higher if there's something amazing just out of that range.  I have a ball head I could transplant, but a good head that comes with the new tripod would work too.

Are there any other options I missed?  Have you had positive or negative experiences with any of them?  Any other thoughts?  Thanks in advance!

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Software & Accessories / Step up Adapters and Circular Polarizers?
« on: October 04, 2013, 03:24:23 PM »
I know the usual warnings about filter adapters, e.g. vignetting if they extend out too far, but are there polarizer-specific problems I might encounter when mounting onto smaller lenses?  My lenses all have either 77mm or 67mm filter threads, and I'm considering a 77mm polarizer and a 66mm (lens) to 77mm (filter) adapter.  Thanks!

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Using Custom Dial Settings
« on: August 06, 2013, 10:29:13 PM »
Hi folks, looks like the 70D is going to be my upgrade from my 400D.  I need better AF than the 6D, and lower prices than the 5DIII.  Something I've never used though is custom modes (C1, C2, etc.) on the mode dial.  I get how setting different drive/metering/etc. modes may be useful if you're using one body to quickly switch between multiple types of shots, but of what use is the single C mode of the 70D?  I guess you set up your M/Av/Tv/P mode to be a pseudo-custom mode, then use the C mode for something else and switch between those?  If so, don't the five clicks from C to P (worst case example) reduce the usefulness of a custom mode as a shortcut or time saver?

How many of you with newer bodies use your C modes?  How are they set up, and what shooting situations do you use them in?  Do you use them in conjunction with the "normal" M/Av/Tv/P modes? 

In a nutshell, I'm trying to understand how this feature could help, especially when there's only one.  Thanks!

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Do smaller RAW formats give lower noise?
« on: July 09, 2013, 01:17:17 AM »
tl;dr version: I'm really interested in low noise during low-light/high-ISO shots, and am wondering if shooting in smaller RAW formats could help in that effort.

I'm betting it doesn't work, but what does shooting in smaller RAW sizes (e.g. M-RAW, S-RAW) actually do in terms of mapping sensor sites to the final image, and can it combine sensor site outputs to increase apparent light sensitivity without boosting ISO?  And if not, why not?

Example: take a 20 megapixel sensor, intelligently combine the readings of each block of 2x2 red, green, and blue neighboring sensor sites, and spit out a 5 megapixel image.  If that's done closer to the sensor, before the interpolation of subsensor sites into RGB pixels, might it result in a better (e.g. lower noise) result?  The idea would be to discard the outputs of aberrant sensor sites before they could muddy the interpolation algorithm and "dirty" more final pixels.  I wonder if that would be better than taking a full resolution image, applying noise reduction post-processing tools, and spitting out a 5 megapixel image at the end of the workflow.

Any thoughts?  Anyone actually know how sensor sites are mapped onto S-RAW and M-RAW image pixels?  Thanks!

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Software & Accessories / Choosing/Stacking ND Filters
« on: December 21, 2012, 04:30:11 AM »
I'm considering getting the B+W 3-stop and 6-stop NDs, and just stacking if I need more light loss.  I get that you shouldn't stack filters if you can help it.  But if it's the choice between two better quality filters (say a 3-stop and a 6-stop that could approximate a 9-stop ND filter) and three poorer quality filters (say a set of 3-, 6-, and 10-stop filters) that cost about the same, could the inherent quality of the better filters make stacking less horrible? 

Also, how good are variable ND filters? "I heard on the Internet" that the interactions between the two polarizers can cause rough light gradients that should otherwise appear smooth.  Plus, you've got 4 surfaces from the two polarizers anyway, so can IQ really be any better than stacking two high quality fixed ND filters?

Any other thoughts or experiences on how you configure your ND capability would be great.  Thanks!

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Lenses / Which (if any) non-L lenses are enviro-sealed?
« on: December 13, 2012, 12:10:54 PM »
So, thread title says it all.  I imagine it goes something like this:

Customer: Why isn't the 17-55/2.8 IS environmentally sealed?
Canon: That's a feature we offer on our L-designated lenses.
Customer: So weather-sealing is something that only high-end gear offers?
Canon: Essentially.
Customer: But prosumer bodies like the 60D are sealed as well.
Canon: Our innovative lens mounts allow such customers to use sealed EF lenses for a fully dust- and moisture-resistant system.
Customer: Due to the crop factor of such bodies, a 24-70/2.8 L would end up being too long. 
Canon: You could use the EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L.
Customer: So the only option would be a lens that costs twice as much as the camera and is obviously intended for a different purpose and platform?  Why do you offer sealed EF-S cameras, but no sealed general-purpose lenses intended for those cameras?
Canon: ... Jeez, you guys are picky.

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Help: Cheap FF or high end Crop for next body?
« on: December 12, 2012, 05:15:00 PM »
Background:

I shoot wildlife, landscapes, travel, indoors, low-light, etc.  Not much portraiture or action.  I currently have a 450D with a 17-55/2.8 IS and 70-200/4 L IS.  My main non-artistic weakness is shaky hands, which is why I use, and only seriously consider, lenses with IS.

Goals in upgrade:

  • Better noise in low light/high ISO situations.
  • Good AF (AF point coverage and performance, speed in focusing, UI for point selection).
  • Availability of lenses.
  • Low weight/physical size. (related: I won't be using two bodies)
  • Environmental sealing.

Crop/FF vs. Goals:

If I upgraded to a newer crop body, I'd gain better ISO performance, potentially better AF, opportunity for me to reuse my 17-55, maintenance of reach of my 70-200 (to 320mm), and likely lower weight than a FF option.  The environmental sealing may or may not exist on the body, and definitely doesn't exist on the 17-55.

If I went with a 6D, I'd get better low light performance and better ISO performance, potentially better AF, and environmental sealing.  I'd have to replace my 17-55 with the 24-70/4 L IS, which while smaller, sealed, and capable of near-macro performance represents more expense and one lost stop.  I'd be able to continue using my 70-200 but would lose some reach on the FF sensor.  And lastly, the 6D would likely be bigger and heavier than crop options. 

How does the noise compare on something like a 60D with 17-55/2.8 IS, vs. a 6D with 24-70/4 IS?  If the 6D has to go up in ISO to compensate for the smaller aperture, will the resulting noise generally be more or less than the crop body at a lower ISO?  How about a 7D instead of a 60D?  In short, how does the low light benefit of going FF compare to the loss of a stop in aperture?

Thanks for any advice and help you can offer.

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