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Topics - J.R.

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Lenses / How satisfied are you with the 100-400 II?
« on: December 18, 2014, 10:50:29 PM »
Mine is on order and will arrive today. Unfortunately I'm out in the wild away from home and will be able to get my hands on it only on Christmas day. I must say I'm looking forward to shooting with it.

Your feelings about this lens?

PS: I voted for option 1

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Question for 1DX owners
« on: December 08, 2014, 11:06:23 PM »
I'm selling the (backup) 6D today, not because the camera is a dud (it isn't) but the user-interface is nowhere near what I would like.

I'm now looking at the 1DX while retaining the 5D3 as backup. Quick question here - does the fact that the 1DX is only 18mp bother you or limit you in any way? 


Photography Technique / Step Wedge?
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:38:29 PM »
I'm back on CR after a reasonably long gap. I was going through some posts and came across "step wedge", an animal new to me.

Ok, now leaving mirth aside, can anyone explain what is a step wedge and what is it used for?

Thanks in advance ... J.R.

Sports / Football?
« on: June 14, 2014, 12:38:04 AM »
With FIFA going on, it makes perfect sense to have this "football" lily blooming in my garden!

Photography Technique / Panning
« on: April 20, 2014, 09:22:47 AM »
I tried some panning shots today. Gear used was 5D Mark III and the 70-200 II. I shot a reasonable number of images today and these are two of the few shots that I liked. The first shot is at ISO 50, 70mm, f/2.8 at 1/50s. The second shot is at ISO 100, 70mm, f/2.8 and 1/60s. The lens was in IS Mode II.

Issues -
1) I wasn't able to generate a more streaking background despite shutter speeds which I thought were reasonably low;
2) Dropping the shutter speed lower resulted in an extremely poor hit rate;

Please suggest as to how can I improve my panning technique.

Thanks in advance,

Regards ... J.R.

Lighting / Reasons to get a ST-E3-RT?
« on: March 29, 2014, 12:28:19 PM »

I have 4 600EX RT speedlights + Elinchrom strobes (which I am triggering optically). Is there any reason I should get a ST-E3-RT transmitter? Does it offer any functionality which my non-firing 600 will not provide?

I'm getting a great deal on the ST-E3-RT which seems too good to miss. I'm only concerned whether it will actually be useful of will simply end up as unused gear.

Best regards ... J.R.

PS: I did own the ST-E3-RT at one point of time (part of 2 600s kit) but there was a local guy at the photography club who bought it from me for pretty much the full price the day it arrived. I'm getting one now used, at roughly half the price.

Just a question that popped into my mind. Why do people post photos on social websites?

Today I removed most of my photos off FB because I'm no longer sure why I share them.

Thoughts ...

PS: I am a hobby photographer

Lighting / Anyone using Honl flash gel filter
« on: March 11, 2014, 10:55:27 AM »
Anyone using the Honl flash gel filters? How do you rate the performance?

I'm thinking of ordering these from BH. It will be of great help if you could guide me with what accessories to buy with it (the speed strap is a given) - I'm going to be using these on 600 RTs.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Best regards ... J.R.

Third Party Manufacturers / A7 / A7R Reviewed by Thom Hogan
« on: March 11, 2014, 06:41:42 AM »
Thom Hogan has completed his review of the A7 / A7R. This bit of his review stands out for me -

Image Quality: Okay, we are now in one area where I know I’m going to get a lot of blowback: image quality. The number one thing I heard the fanboys all rejoicing about when the A7r was announced was this: “Yes! D800E quality in a smaller, lighter, less expensive body.” No, the A7r produces less than D800E quality in a less expensive body. If you want a free lunch, I suggest you try the local rescue mission.

The difference isn’t actually easy to describe because it involves what’s going on behind the covers. But let me lay out the basics: the D800E will shoot 14-bit raw files with no underlying artifacts and fully recoverable data. The A7r will shoot 11-bit raw files with potential posterization issues in the data. The same is true of the A7 versus a D610, too.

Let’s start with the 11-bit thing. Sony always uses compression in storing raw files. The way they do that is quite clever. They slice each pixel row into 32 pixel blocks. In a Bayer sensor, that means two colors, each with 16 data points). For each 16 pixels of a color, Sony looks at the minimum and maximum pixel values for each and stores that. For the other 14 pixels they store a 7-bit value that is offset from the minimum value. In essence, they get 32 pixel values stored in 16 bytes, when normally 11-bit storage for that data should take 44 bytes.

This is not lossless compression. It is highly lossy. Nor is it visually lossless. That’s because when you have an extreme set of values in the 32-pixel block (e.g. sun peaking out from behind tree edge), you get posterization of data. Don’t believe me? See this article, which describes it better than I can in the limited space of a review. Indeed, every A7/A7r owner should probably have a copy of RawDigger so that they can understand exactly where the issues in their raw files lay. Even Nikon’s optional visually lossless compression scheme does a better job at this, as it hides its posterization only in very bright values that our eyes just don’t resolve.

This factor alone means that the A7r is not equivalent to a D800E. Sorry fanboys, but those of us who want high performance cameras actually want real performance, not a simulation. (I should point out that this compression scheme is used in most Sony cameras now, including the RX1, which is where I first noticed it.)

Coupled with other issues (see Shutter Slap, below), the A7r simply doesn’t match my D800E in optimal collection of raw data. Remember, I used to write a column called Optimal Data, and that’s my mantra when shooting: collect optimal data.

Full review here ...

So basically ... no, I'm not considering the A7R any longer.  8)


I took delivery of 4 Savage Seamless Paper Backgrounds earlier today. Haven't had time to open a single one of them and all are presently put up vertically in a corner of the basement.

What is the best way to store these beasts? I'm not sure if I want to put them back into the cardboard boxes after every use. Is there a simple solution to have multiple backgrounds on a single stand? any custom made solutions?

Thanks in advance,

Cheers ... J.R.

Photography Technique / HDR (and DR) Question
« on: February 22, 2014, 12:22:55 PM »
While there have been various DR discussions on this forum where posters have been beating their chests on the issue of DR, I've wondered whether the difference in X stops makes a difference in real world shooting.

Personally, I simply look at a scene and decide whether I need an HDR shot or not. I don't go into measuring the stops of DR that I need to push/pull to determine before I decide on bracketing my shots and get an HDR. Now-a-days, I am using the 32 bit float on PS CC (Thanks privatebydesign) to shoot high DR shots and feel that a loss of a couple of stops of DR on my Canon cameras be damned ... TBF, only as long as I am not shooting handheld. 

What is your personal experience? Do you know where a more DR camera would have helped you or do you go simply by instinct in bracketing your shots?


Lenses / Lenses sharper on FF
« on: February 22, 2014, 11:49:14 AM »
Hi CR folks,

I've found that my lenses are sharper on FF as compared to APS-C cameras ... This is particularly true for the 100-400L and the 50 f/1.4. Is it because the FF is more forgiving and the higher pixel density of the APS-C highlights the problems of the lenses more? Just curious ...

Cheers and a happy weekend ... J.R.

There was a recent thread on CR where advice was sought as to how to trigger two cameras at the same time. During the course of discussion on the thread, I had asked whether it was possible to sync shutters on two cameras but got no response.

I am using 600rt x 2 and a ST-E3-RT.

Canon's official position is that shutter sync cannot be achieved using the 600 rt. does anyone know how to do this? Might come in handy one of these days ...

Software & Accessories / Is Adobe CC going to plan?
« on: February 18, 2014, 10:33:19 AM »
I've been looking at Adobe CC for some time now - for the past many days I've been using the trial versions and boom, the prices of Adobe CC for the combo of PS and LR have been reduced further in my country (India). The combo is now available for one year for INR 499 - equivalent to US$ 8 per month - much lower than the INR 1,000 per software which was the launch price. 

I'm happy with CC as the total cost of upgrading on CC works out substantially lower than going the whole hog on updating the standalone version.

That said, given the huge price cuts, I wonder if the entire CC is going to plan?

My personal take is that Adobe is just lowering prices to get people to buy into the system. I feel the prices will be raised (maybe substantially) once they have sufficient CC subscribers - it will be a bad move for hobbyists like me but then, who knows ...

Photography Technique / Photography fail moments !!!
« on: February 06, 2014, 11:12:54 AM »
I was recently traveling and was in the aisle seat. The pilot announced that we were flying over Mumbai. The lady in the window seat whipped out a 70D from her bag, flash popped on and she proceeded to take photos of Mumbai from about 10000 ft with the flash on.

I still remember the shock on her face when she checked the LCD after taking the photos and them commenting ... This is supposed to be a good camera!!!  :o


What photography fail moments have you guys faced?

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