January 29, 2015, 01:57:30 PM

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Topics - YuengLinger

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Lenses / Practical use of the ef 50mm 1.2L
« on: Today at 06:34:18 AM »
Hi, all, tired of waiting for Sigma to release a firmware update for its 50mm 1.4 Art, and yearning for a fast fifty with a little more magic than my faithful old ef 50mm 1.4 now permanently affixed to a 60D, I bought a 50mm 1.2.  Should arrive early next week.

I'll be using it on a 5DIII for adding slightly impressionistic images to portrait series.  I've seen a lot of beautiful work done with misty backlighting and twilight backgrounds, as well as subtle motion blurs in low light.  Fifty millimeters is a very comfortable FL for me, and I also plan to use it for taking pictures of my baby daughter as she grows up.

Now I've seen many of the pros and cons of this lens, and I don't want to hear all the reasons it won't work.

Also, I have several razor sharp lenses.  If I could have only one lens, it would have to be sharp.  But as my photography progresses, I see the beauty in light and form, radiance and color, as also being valid and pleasing.

What I'm hoping for is solid advice on how to use the lens near minimum focal distance so that I can overcome focus shift.

For example, should I AF on a nose, or a cheek, or an eyebrow to try and get an eye sharp? 

I'm NOT good at manual focus unless I have a lot of time and the subject isn't moving.  Ahem.


Lenses / Auto Focus MicroAdjust--Why the Stigma?
« on: January 21, 2015, 11:33:47 AM »
Lately I've seen more posts than ever here, and on retailers' review sections, stating that a lens was sent back because it needed AFMA.   :o

Personally, I have several L lenses and a Sigma 35mm Art.  Each one benefitted from some Microadjustment, from +/- 3 all the way up to +/- 13, and all these lenses perform great on my 5DIII, phenomenally better, in fact, than on my old 60D which I bought before knowing about AFMA.

I've thought that AFMA is one of the great features of bodies that have it.

So why the increasing shunning of a lens that needs fine-tuning to work its best with a body?

Seriously, look at some of the recent threads about newer lenses and the claims that just the need for AFMA meant the lens got shipped back.

Lenses / Fast lenses at a crossroads?
« on: January 20, 2015, 01:41:44 PM »
I'm very sad to hear that Canon's new 11-24mm won't be a fast lens, and very concerned about the direction this suggests.

   There are, I believe several strong reasons Canon is stepping back from fast lenses, reasons that would not have mattered as much before the omnipresence of smartphones with decent cameras.

First, the baby-boomer retirees who are big into photography join workshops and camera clubs where fast lenses are simply not seen as especially important. Why? Because very, very few of those type of hobbyists take pictures of people. They love landscapes and found still lifes and birds. And, though they have money, the economy scares them, they don't get anything from CD's anymore, so they save where they can. Why buy a 24-70mm 2.8 when the 24-105mm 4 costs half? Why buy anything in 2.8 when something "just a stop" slower costs less. And, finally for the babyboomers, weight is a legitimate issue, but they will obsess over saving a few ounces.

Then there is the learning curve for fast lenses. Not only is focus tricky below f/2, but effectively choosing how shallow to go takes a lot of trial and experience. I can tell from the great work on your website, you know that just having shallow DoF doesn't make magic; in fact, blurred out jaw-lines and other features, including hands, forearms, etc., can just look awful if overdone or with the wrong perspective. So people who do spend are often disappointed.

As for the user experience, for one example, the ergonomics of the 85mm 1.2 are challenging for many, as is the weird and pokey AF system. Once one is competent with this lens, it is magical, but otherwise, a real puzzle for enthusiasts who think it's all about the gear.

Canon seems scared and uncertain. They go for the fat middle of the remaining DSLR market. News agencies aren't spending for photojournalism much anymore, and the small local newspapers across the USA are nearing extinction. Small time portrait and wedding photographers with business sense have a very hard time justifying spending on fast L primes.

Please, Canon, remember how important fast lenses are for clearly elevating the dslr over smartphones.

Lenses / Usefulness of IS on Big Whites?
« on: January 13, 2015, 10:51:22 AM »
How often do you use IS on your Big White(s)?  From what I understand, the 300mm and 500mm models are the only ones close to practical for hand-held use.

Doesn't IS deactivate when a tripod is used?

What about a monopod?


Lenses / Rumored 11-24mm f/4 true or feint?
« on: January 07, 2015, 11:17:52 AM »
It would make so much sense for Canon to follow up the 16-35mm f/4 IS with a spectacular, long anticipated response to Nikon's 14-24mm 2.8 that I wonder if the rumored 11-24mm might actually go to f/2.8.

I ALMOST gave in and bought the 16-35mm f/4 IS because I despaired of getting anything this wide or wider AND faster.  But I keep hoping that something great in 2.8 will finally be produced.  I'm sure marketing at Canon wants to sell as many of whatever is available now and not have us delaying a purchase for an even bigger expenditure at some unspecified time in the future. 

(I'd kick myself black and blue if I bought the f/4 and then something in f/2.8 was officially announced a few months later.  But boy oh boy, my version one of the 16-35mm is getting long in the tooth.)

Another f/4, at triple the price, even if wider, just doesn't make sense to those of us who are begging for something that is great for both landscape/still-lifes AND events in one lens.  I'd love to be able to compose sharp off-center, especially if distortion can be tamed a bit.  Even if I am putting a face near center, please don't say "nobody cares about the edges in such pics."  I do!

Still hopeful.

Lenses / Buying lenses (or bodies) right after Christmas (poll added!)
« on: December 29, 2014, 04:02:15 AM »
Read two similar articles yesterday, one from the USA, the other from the UK, about this year setting records for customer returns online and in person.  Apparently there is a cottage industry surrounding this activity, with some companies simply liquidating trucks full of returns, selling them to brokers who eventually get them online and into lower tier retail shops. 

But according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, some of the online and big-box giants resell 70% of returns after a quick going over.

Does this make seasoned gear purchasers avoid buying after Christmas--EVEN FROM BIG NAME, AUTHORIZED DEALERS? Seems much more likely to get a lens or something else that has been played with and bounced around during deliveries.

And when we see deals from lesser-known companies online, sometimes mentioned here or at CPW, are we seeing the items that are being brokered out?

I also wonder if the same applies to CPW "Street Price" items, where returns that are deemed fine except for packaging get sold at sometimes big discounts?

If interested, here are the links, WSJ first, then FINANCIAL TIMES:



Have you tried any of the older AF speed demons, such as the 85 f/1.8, or the 135 f/2?  Newer lenses such as the 24-70mm f/2.8 II?

Slower AF, such as the 85 f/1.2?

The newest, the 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 II?

Standbys such as the 24-105 f/4?

Details, please.


Lenses / Talk about your ef 300mm f/2.8
« on: December 07, 2014, 07:09:11 PM »
I'd love to hear user's/owner's thoughts about their 300mm f/2.8 prime lenses, version I or II.  I would be buying version II, but I'm most interested in learning more about this particular FL.  Note I currently shoot with a 5DIII, and my go-to portrait lens is the ef 70-200mm /f2.8 IS II.

I'm a sucker for fast primes, but I'm mainly a portrait photographer who occasionally shoots weddings.  For passionate fun, I do as much landscape as I can find time for. 

I know only what I've read on the web and heard in Arthur Morris workshops about the 300mm's.

To me, the focal length seems too short for nature and most sports, while being too long for portraits.  I could see it useful at weddings where natural light is all that is allowed, but don't see any examples of such use...

I've read Justin's very helpful review, and I see his examples of portraits as reasons to be wary.  Note that I'm not intending to get into bird photography, but would be doing some "citizen journalism" from time to time.

Also, I've read a couple of good threads here about using TC's and the options of going longer, so please don't talk much about those tangent topics.

I'd really like to read your thoughts about the ef 300mm 2.8 lenses--and see some samples.  Thanks!

Lighting / Build quality of Speedlite 600ex-rt; "Lock"?
« on: April 30, 2014, 07:19:00 AM »
Just had my first failure of a 600ex-rt.  While getting my setup shots for a big group session, I was turning off one of my Speedlites when I noticed a little resistance in the switch.  I did not apply much pressure, but I felt a mild snap.  Sure enough, the switch had just broken, and the unit is now on its way to CPS.  (I guess you could say the toast dropped butter side up, because the switch left the speedlite powered on, meaning I could go ahead an use it.  Only way to power off though was by removing the batteries.)

I have several of the 600's, so I can't be sure exactly when I bought it, but it was within the past 18 months.  I know that I did drop one (landed on its side, not an end) while walking fast from about 4' onto a grass covered (but hard) field.  That was a year ago, but it never had an apparent issue.  I don't know if this is the one with the broken switch, but other than this incident, I have not had a single problem with any of them.

So, as I'm getting more location work (thankfully), I'm wondering if other owners of the 600ex-rt have comments about its ruggedness and reliability. 

Also--does anybody actually use the "Lock" position of the power switch?


Lenses / Canon's f/1.2's: What is really going on?
« on: April 29, 2014, 05:50:45 AM »
I've spent time carefully looking through online sample images of the two Canon f/1.2's, the 50mm and the 85mm.  Consistently, the shots from the 85mm significantly outshine those from the 50mm in terms of sharpness and contrast.  In many cases, colors seem better rendered by the 85mm also.

I own and love the 85mm 1.2, and I feel I'm just starting to hit my stride and understand its wide-open capabilities. 

But, even before the latest Sigma anticipation, I've been craving something with a bit more room that allows me to step physically closer to subjects.  I've heard negative and positive things about the 50mm 1.2, but that is true about most lenses.

So, I found as many 50mm 1.2 online images as I could, and what I'm seeing is a consistent lack of sharp center focus.

What is really going on?  Is it a problem with the lens or the photographers?  Are the 85mm 1.2 images on, say, pixel-peeper, being taken by better photographers (because the lens costs more, and, with its several quirks, appeals to more experienced photographers)?

Is the 85mm 1.2 really that much better than the 50mm 1.2?  Because, from what I'm seeing in an overwhelming number of samples, the 50mm seems quite soft even dead center.  With portraits, I want the option of having sharp eyes without having to apply too much sharpening in post, and I can do this with my 85mm even at 1.2.

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Lenses / Quest for the perfect copy?
« on: December 25, 2013, 04:30:18 PM »
Reading the latest thread discussing the advantages of the 24-105mm versus those of the 24-70mm 2.8 II, I saw, as usual, a lot of talk about copy variation.

Couple months back while shopping for a 24-70mm and an 85mm 1.2 II, on the retail sites I also saw the usual talk about trying and trying to get a good copy.

It really makes me uneasy to know that so many lenses are getting shipped back and forth to the places I want to buy from.  Is it Canon I should be concerned about or are there a significant number of OCD types going nuts looking for perfect lenses?

In fact, I myself actually returned an ef 35mm 1.4 to a big retailer because the front element was full of finger prints.  Ironically, the one I got in its place was perfect at a distance but wretched up close and to about 7 feet at less than f/2.0--plus the purple fringing was way beyond what I expected.  I didn't really figure this out in the first 30 days, so I sent it to Canon CPS and was told all was in spec.  I sold it at a slight loss and bought a Sigma 35mm 1.4 instead--and from the same big retailer.  No problems with it whatsoever after an MF adjust of +3.

Back to the 24-70mm II and the 85mm 1.2 II--bought 'em and love 'em.  Neither needs any MF adjust.  These I bought at a different retailer, one that specializes in photography, because from my experience, this retailer takes a lot more care with padding items for shipping.

When I first started buying expensive gear, I also got nuts.  But experience and perspective have helped me realize that the pixel-peeping issues I was concerned about are not influencing the quality of my work.

In poker, there is an expression:  Don't play at stakes you can't comfortably afford because you will play badly.

I wonder if some of the apparently OCD behavior with questing for the perfect lens has to do with passionate photographers well out of their spending comfort zone.

Or are there really so many bad copies of great lenses?

Lenses / Canon vs Sigma MFA
« on: November 07, 2013, 08:09:44 AM »
Two questions, really.

First, how does the Canon method of microfocus adjustment differ from Sigma?  I know Sigma has a USB dock and an app, and that Canon does MFA right from the back-of-camera menu system.

What I'd like to understand is whether Canon is also adjusting the lens itself, as in the Sigma method, or is making some adjustment in the body?

My other question is specific:  Will a 5D Mk III be able to apply MFA to the latest Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro?  I find clear info about the Sigma 35mm 1.4, but little (and confusing) info about the macro.


I'm not asking for a print tutorial, because I can buy Jeff Schewe's  336 page THE DIGITAL PRINT.

Am I alone in wondering why we need 336 pages of instruction to produce a decent print?

I have a Canon camera and a Canon printer.  Why don't they play well together, without constant adult supervision? 

I'd bet that a significant majority of people who have higher end cameras and printers also have Photoshop or Lightroom, both made by Adobe.

So there aren't a lot of brands involved here.  Canon, Nikon, Epson, Adobe, Apple, Microsoft.  And they have had decades now to integrate and simplify.  So why is it so complicated to get a print to look like it does on my calibrated monitor or even the back of my camera?  Why can I get a $0.24 print from CVS that looks fairly accurate under sunlight, fluorescent, or tungsten, while mine and friends' home printers need test print after test print so people don't look like lobsters with white blotches of fungus?

No, not looking for another tutorial.  Just wondering why in 2013 it still takes a 336 page instruction manual to tell us how to prepare for a trial and error process!

And don't get me started on LR5's still clunky Print module.  (Sure, if you've been using it for years, it works, but try to imagine coming to it fresh or after using PS CSx for a long time.)

Lenses / Are we in a rebate "drought"?
« on: September 15, 2013, 12:05:32 PM »
Seems like last year there were lots more rebates, especially when I wasn't looking for any new lenses.  Are we in a drought?

Lenses / Fingerprint "investigation"? (ef 35mm f/1.4L)
« on: April 02, 2013, 11:13:15 AM »
Received new ef 35mm f/1.4L from AMZN this morning.  Had a tiny person's fingerprints smeared in an arc across front element.  Also had the faintest of scratches around contacts, very minor, but indicating somebody had already tried the lens.

Expected usual replacement scenario, but was told by a rep and a supervisor that this item was under investigation by AMZN because of many similar complaints from customers.

Sure enough, even though over the weekend there was no note about "Only XX left in stock; more on the way," the item is currently only available from third-party sellers.

Now, I've done a preliminary check of the lens.  Seems wonderful, indoors by incandescent and outside in super-bright daylight. Image quality great, and I love that shallow depth of field and minimal distortion. The fingerprints wiped off and the front element looks to be scratch free, as does the rear.

Question:  Who would keep, who would return for refund?

Another question:  Has anybody else received a new Canon lens with fingerprints?  (This is my first time seeing them.)


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