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Topics - CarlTN

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Hello all, hope you're having a great holiday season!

I am on the fence, can't decide what to buy next.  (I know I want the 70-300L, but only at a good price.)

Pardon my long-winded-ness.  You're welcome to just skim over this and focus on the parts in bold, or else not read it and just tell about your favorite compact camera(s).

I recently bought a small powershot camera as a gift, refurbished via Canon's website.  So far I think it will work well, and for approx. $49.50 including tax and free shipping, I thought why not take a chance?  It might get some rough treatment, and very likely will get scratched up, so that's why I didn't want to spend more.  I can't believe the little viewfinder zooms!  And the tiny lens is f/2.8 at the wide end, faster than my SX150IS.

I guess my question is, is there a viable cheaper alternative to the Sony RX100?  (The goal being a somewhat pocketable compact camera with very good image quality).  I notice the Samsung NX300 appears to have the same sensor, as does the (perhaps older?) NX1000...which seems to be approaching "nice price" level, close to $350 new via amazon. If this is the same sensor as in the RX100, then that seems like a lot of image quality for the money.   I notice the white color version of the NX300 is $50 cheaper than the other colors, as well as the Sony RX100, at $499. 

It's likely the NX1000, as a camera, is somehow no good, but I thought I would ask the opinion of the smartest and most insane camera people I know of, so I am posting this here!  :P

I will admit that, given the large 20-50 lens that comes with makes it a lot less pocket-able than the RX100.  So that's not good.

Ideally I would like to spend a good bit less than $500.  I figure it's either this, or a Canon Rebel T5i refurb body (as a "backup" to my 6D) for $419 (if any more magically become available at that price)...or perhaps both a Rebel and a compact camera...or neither?

For a while I thought the Pentax K-01 looked interesting, but no longer.  In the past I've owned the Nikon P7000 (which I felt was better than the G12 or G13, given the longer zoom and the lighter weight...and the 40% cheaper pricetag).  Also I owned the Sigma DP2.  The Sigma could have fantastic image quality, but I was happy to churn out about 6000 images and then sell it a year and a half later.  Recently I printed a lot of 16x20 images on metallic paper, and the ones from the DP2 are mind-blowing!   I used PR 7.5 to scale them, but PS would have done about as good.

I would like to own the DP series Merrill camera(s), but that's just a lot of money for a pocket camera, for me right now.  Especially considering I've spent like $3500 to $4000 on cameras and lenses over the last year or so...which is huge money to me!  Obviously I plan to sell a couple of those lenses...

The only compact camera I have now is the SX150IS.  Laugh if you must, but I absolutely enjoy the ergonomics.  Admittedly it's a tiny sensor and there's no RAW capture, and it's "only" 14.1 MP within that small sensor.  But from ISO 200 and below, it's printable to 16x20.  That's a lot of camera for $135 new (or the current refurb price of what, $80?  $70?).  I've made money with this camera...Oh, and I almost forgot the image stabilization.  In my opinion it's approaching 5 stops, at least at the telephoto end.

I also came across the Fuji XF1 via amazon at only $199 (originally it was like $500).  However, having read about its problems, I decided not to bite.  I highly doubt its sensor compares to the aps-c one in the Sony RX100...since it's smaller, etc.

The reason I don't mention the G15, is because it seems like the image quality is low for even the discounted price of around $299.  I also don't like that its zoom range is so short.  If I'm going to give up a wide range zoom, then the image quality needs to be a couple of levels above the G15.

I'm most grateful for your thoughts and input!

Lenses / The price you paid for your 70-300L ??
« on: November 13, 2013, 02:51:34 PM »
Hello, I'm considering buying one of these 70-300L.  Would like to know the new price (in US dollars) that you paid for yours, and when, where...if you would care to share.  Also you could share the price you've seen in the past, if you recall, whether you own one of these or not.  Apologize if this has already been covered in another thread.  I searched and the first 10 didn't seem to discuss price specifically in the topic.

I could be mistaken but I think I saw $1199 over the summer from one of the big retailers like Adorama...not sure about Amazon.  That "BigValue" dealer on Ebay might have had it for a similar price.  I guess what makes the difference, is if there is a Canon rebate on it at the time or not, but seems like sometimes there is a "sale price" that's suddenly the same as the rebate price, even though it's not an "official rebate".  Then perhaps there are those times when the price drops even below that.

I am coming to realize this lens could replace two of my others, more or less, and might do as good or better of a job as either of I'm pretty sure I want one.

Software & Accessories / What's the best shoulder strap, currently?
« on: September 18, 2013, 08:50:23 PM »
I know some of you like the Blackrapid.  I'd like to know the differences between several of these (the ones that use a "c-loop", like "CustomSLR", etc.), to help me decide what to try next.  I'm probably going to sell my Spider Holster Pro, I've not used it very much.  It works ok but I now think a shoulder strap would be better. 

My cousin bought one of these straps, now I can't remember which he bought.  I tried it with his 1DX mounted to a 300 f/4 IS + 1.4x TC, and it definitely felt good...although that body/lens still did not feel light, when holding/shooting. 

I've ordered a battery grip for my 6D.  The heaviest lens I own is the Sigma 120-400, at about 3.9 pounds.  I usually leave it mounted to a carbon fiber monopod (itself weighs around 1 pound).  Would be nice to be able to carry this with a strap...but mostly I would want to use the strap to carry the camera with smaller lenses.

Thanks so much in advance!

Third Party Manufacturers / Nikon D800 on sale at Abe's of Maine
« on: August 27, 2013, 03:58:34 PM »
Thought I would let anyone who might be interested, know of the current sale.  "Loyalty15" gets you the sale price of $2597, and free shipping.  I've bought from Abe's before, they seem to be a fine retailer.

I personally won't be buying the camera, but thought some on here might find it interesting (I know some use both Nikon and Canon cameras...etc.). 

I'm sure there have been other sales or prices that have been lower than this, and it's not as if I follow it closely...but I got an email sale flier with this notification, so just thought I would pass it along.

Software & Accessories / For those who use an LCD protector…
« on: July 07, 2013, 06:22:18 PM »
I have a 6D, and would like to use an LCD protector.  I would rather not hear from anyone who prefers to not use one, but thanks anyway.  (If you do post something, please know I already know the arguments for not using one, and I might respond strongly if you come off in a snide manner.)  I know the screen cover is replaceable, but it's a lot more trouble and cost than replacing a cheap protector.

I did a quick search before posting this on here, and this one came up for a 5D3:

Do any of you use the plastic peel off kind, and if so, which one do you like?  Again I prefer the peel off kind to "optical glass", but if you feel strongly, please give the reasons why.

Here are what I currently find on amazon (two of these are "glass" applied with adhesive...which in my opinion is probably one of the reasons why many users on here just decide to not use anything):

This is the only one that looks similar to what I have used before:
I like how it claims "During 3M testing, no scratches were visible after 5,000 strokes using steel wool with pressure applied. Other protective shipping film, as offered from other sellers, were scratched after undergoing the first test cycle. That's why others will provide you with 14 or more protective films as constant replacements."

The above one looks favorably reviewed, and like the results of a couple of the people who posted reviews, the one I mention below, also never had bubbles.

On my old 50D I used something called "Boxwave cleartouch anti glare", and I liked it just fine.  I could still see how sharp my images were when I zoomed into them.  I didn't find that it took away very much detail, or color.  It added a bit more glare than the bare antireflective surface of the LCD screen, but not remotely enough to discourage me from using it.  (The 6D's bare screen is far from 100% anti-reflective anyway.)  I just left it on for 4 years, never had any problems with it.  The best part was the grease from my nose came off instantly with no residue, and could be easily wiped dry or wet, with any cloth on hand, without fear of adding tiny scratches to the screen.  Later when I tried to cut one to fit a smaller Nikon P7000's screen, there was always dust behind the protector that I could not get rid of, but otherwise it worked ok.  I left it on when I sold that camera, but I'm sure the buyer peeled it off.  I also left the 50D's on when I sold it.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 6D accessories?
« on: May 16, 2013, 01:46:51 PM »
Apologies if this topic has already been covered at length.  Having bought a 6D a couple of months ago, I am now ready to buy some accessories.

Please share and rate your favorite accessories, which might be best, etc.

I prefer this topic be NOT about lenses...or tripods.  However, flashguns and their accessories could be included in the discussion if you like...preferably third party flashes, if anyone likes those ("you get what you pay for"...blah...sometimes yes, sometimes no...I'm open-minded). 

For now...Specifically, I'm mainly interested in the best LCD screen protection for the money (preferably both top and main screen).  Also interested in the best batteries and battery grip There are a number of generic or third party Chinese brands out there, and I most definitely am interested in those (to save money over the Canon grip).

Also interested in camera straps, bags, etc.  I've owned a small Tamrac Expedition backpack, sold it.  I liked it a lot, though.  I might want a bigger one in the future, but I don't do that much hiking while carrying a lot of gear.  I've had the Canon "zoom pack" a long time, and like it.  I got a Canon "100-EG" camera bag with the purchase of the 6D, have not used it yet. 

I'm mostly interested in the "side access" or "slingbag" type, as they seem more practical.  Which one do you like best?  Adorama has some that look ok, but I know there are many others.

I've owned the pro "spider holster" for a couple of years, but have not used it much.  Opinions on it or similar?  The thing I don't like about it, is if there is a heavy lens on the camera, it seems like it's putting a lot of stress on the camera-lens interface, as I walk around...the mass of the lens pulls on the mount.  Maybe it's just in my mind, but it seems like it could stress the mount over time.  This is also true of other types such as "cotton carrier", since the camera is mounted or hung on the carrier via its tripod receptacle...while none of the lens' mass is supported by these types of "wearable camera support" gear.  A solution would be some kind of strap or harness that could wrap tightly around a portion of the back half of the lens...but I guess that's too difficult or costly for these companies to design?

Regarding flashes and accessories: I think I'm interested in small flashgun mounted softboxes, but not sure.  Once they get larger than 6x8 inches, they seem too cumbersome to use while mounted on the camera, without extension brackets, etc.  I've had the "omnibounce", liked it, but I want to try some kind of larger box.

A quick google search shows something like this:

Camera focusing screens are ok to discuss, but not sure I really need a different one.  Currently I only have one f/1.4 manual lens, but its "AF confirmation" works well enough, that it's more accurate than just my eye alone much of the time.

As for the SD memory cards...well, right now I only have two 16GB Lexar 400x cards, not sure which other ones to buy.  I could see needing 32 or 64GB size if I am at a shoot and decide to do some video footage.  I've read complaints about the (currently the fastest?) Sandisk "extreme pro", where the write speed seems slower than it should be...down to a crawl when used with a Nikon D800 after the camera buffer fills up.  This is where we wish the 6D used CF cards!

Thanks in advance!  Carl.

Hello to everyone.  Recently there was a similar topic about noise reduction, specifically what is the best currently available? 

My question is, does anyone have any inside information, or have you heard any interesting rumors, about near-future releases, perhaps new versions of current software, specifically "third party", and non-Adobe-based?

Also, in case CanonRumors is not the best place to ask, what photo or software-related websites might be on the cutting edge of such rumored information?

It just seems like the late spring is when much of the software gets updated, so I thought I would ask.

Lenses / So I decided to buy a Sigma zoom.
« on: March 07, 2013, 03:49:21 AM »
After some time and consideration, I decided to buy a Sigma 120-400 f/4.5-5.6 OS zoom lens, to use with my crop camera (for now).  I apologize if this mini-review is too might help if I tell you I compare this lens with other Canon L lenses I have tried, and own.  I did consider buying the 150-500 Sigma instead, but ultimately I wanted to try this one more. 

I had originally considered renting a Sigma zoom.  But the only one for rent, is the 50-500 (besides the big 120-300 f/2.8 OS...I'm waiting on the new "art" version with the dual fluorite elements, before renting that one)...and I decided I could do without 500mm...especially considering the reviews that said above 400mm, that lens wasn't very sharp.  Funny how that kind of thing can show up in their other zooms...

This is the third Sigma lens I have bought.  (I also owned a Sigma camera, and loved it, despite its quirks.)  The first Sigma lens was in early 2009, a 17-70 (non-OS, first introduced possibly somewhere around 2004-06?).  It was incredibly sharp with brilliant color and contrast.  However, it refused to ever AF correctly no matter what.  I finally sold it last year (for nearly what I paid for it new), but did hate to see it go anyway.  One of my images done with it, got published in Outdoor Photographer last year. 

My second Sigma lens purchase, was in Dec 2012; a 17-50 f/2.8 OS.  This one has more barrel distortion than the 17-70 at the wide end, but overall, the color and contrast are similar, the bokeh is better, smoother, and obviously more pronounced/artistic...the sharpness is similar...the CA is low, and thus similar...and the AF accuracy is basically dead on throughout the zoom range with no micro adjustment necessary!  The OS is a true 4 stops, and works perfectly.  I think a semi-pro or even full-pro event shooter or portrait photog, could churn out spectacular work with it.  If I decide to sell this lens in the future, I will hate to see it go.  They do hold their value very well on the used market (another deciding factor at purchase).  The reviews all seem to be's better than the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8.  It also seems to make the much loved but over-hyped Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS, seem to also be over-priced.  If it is any better than this Sigma, it's not worth paying the $300 premium for a lens that still can't be used on full frame bodies.  Ok, getting off my soapbox on that one, haha!

But back to the new lens...the third Sigma I have ever bought.  I have to say, the build quality is very nearly Canon "L" quality.  The fit and feel of the lens hood, the feel of the lens body, the feel of the focus and zoom rings...the feel of the tightness of the barrel as it telescopes outward...the printed all looks and feels like it might cost more than it does.  And the lens ring/tripod mount/grip...well holy ****, that thing is very close to the equal of the very best Canon L supertelephoto's !!!  I absolutely love it!  Fits perfectly in the hand for carrying upside down or any angle, with the perfect distance from the lens body, and the perfect molded finger indentions.  This lens was introduced in either 2007 or 2008, I believe.  Sigma really are turning into a terrific lens and camera company, in my opinion (optical imperfections of the lens aside).

It arrived March 4.  After spending only about 2 hours shooting with it so far (and even longer perusing and tweaking the files on computer)...It has less contrast than I thought it would.  (I already knew it had less than the Canon zoom, thanks to the reviews and folks on this forum), but it's definitely still usable with post editing...and has a nice color balance.  It has quite a bit more contrast below 200mm, than above, so that's at least a plus.  It's softer than the Canon 100-400...yes...but not by a lot (however, it possibly is noticably softer than the Canon all the way at 400mm...but up to about 340mm it's still usable for very mild cropping).  Sharpening in ACR seems to be mostly from 1.4 to 2.3 pixel radius.  Far from ideal, but still usable for a medium amount of cropping (definitely not for a large amount of cropping...where sharpening from about 1.3 down to .5 pixel radius is necessary.  The Canon 400 f/5.6L prime...was good for that.  But it doesn't have stabilization, isn't a zoom, and costs more).  And keep in mind, this is via a crop camera.  I attribute some of the softness to a lack of focus accuracy/consistency (which again, I was warned about on this forum...I'm very glad to have you all!).  Overall, it's not remotely as sharp as my excellent copy of the Canon 70-200 f/4L (non IS...I didn't think it would be)...but for a zoom of that Canon's size and price range ($600)...nothing in the world can come close to that one anyway, in my opinion.  Certainly the 24-105L does, but that's a wide zoom.

One aspect I like a lot, is the close focus ability.  The impression I got was that only the Canon zoom could focus closely...but this one does too.

The biggest problem, and biggest enemy of sharpness with this Sigma lens, is the "OS".  It blurs the image a bit when in use.  It's a shame, because the stabilization actually works quite well, and is closer to 4 stops (rather than the negative reviews that say it's just 2; although I'm not convinced how well it works in panning mode...I need to experiment more with that).  I got something recognizable at 1/10 second at 400mm on my motion blur, just the OS fuzziness.  However, even with a really fast shutter speed, that same OS fuzziness sets in, especially compared to the superb IS of the Canon 300 f/4 IS.  Even though the Canon 300 f/4's stabilization is claimed as 2 stops...those 2 stops do not interfere with ultimate sharpness much at all (it was so sharp I never even switched it off...and I used it on the monopod about half the time...the other half hand-held). 

So again, besides the difficulty getting very good sharpness above 340mm on my crop camera...The autofocus is indeed hit or miss (the main concern that might make me send the lens back and not try another one), at least on more distant objects (say more than 50 feet away).  It's nothing like as accurate as the Canon 400 f/5.6 prime.  Although even that Canon didn't AF very accurately in low light on very distant objects via my camera...say over 400 feet away...where again, the Sigma's problem seems to start about 50 to 80 feet away.  Not a huge deal for small bird photography...more an issue for large distant birding...however, keep in mind I've not really used this lens in "good light" that is a big factor with focus accuracy as well.  But as of now, I do attribute the problem either to the lens's lack of fine control over its focusing lens array by its AF motors...or to a lack of control of my camera's AF system over the lens's electronics and motors...or both.  Or...for all I know, the way those elements are suspended on their rails, may be a factor.  At distances near infinity, where literally you would move the focus ring a fraction of a millimeter to affect subtle changes to the plane of focus...focus accuracy can usually get very tricky (in my experience and opinion).  I admit my camera's less-than-ideal AF sensor and system, are certainly in play here. 

My AFMA seems to have no effect on this Sigma, even at plus or minus 20...which is extremely odd and disturbing, but I'll keep experimenting with it.  I'm not even sure adjusting it would help anyway.  It achieves what it thinks is focus more than fast enough for doesn't seem to move slowly (like, for instance, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L's autofocus!).  I admit I haven't tried it in servo mode yet, so that could suddenly slow things down.  Anyway, as for the single shot mode, I'm guessing (from my memory) the Sigma is not a lot slower than the Canon 400 f/5.6 prime...but it's quite a bit slower than the 300 f/4's autofocus.  (Again, my camera's ability was in play here, besides the faster aperture and more light from the f/4). 

I also plan to try the Sigma on my cousin's 5D3.  If his AF nails it a lot more often than mine (very hard to believe it would not)...I may just keep the Sigma 120-400...Because I feel it will work much better on a full frame camera with larger pixels and better AF, than on my crop camera.  And I do want to buy a full frame sometime in the next 6 months to a year.  The extra $500 to $800 I saved by buying this lens over the Canon zooms (or the Canon 300 f/4) (the Canon 100-400 is long overdue for a version 2 update anyway)...will help fund my purchase of a full frame camera.  I think I'll wind up keeping my good old 50D, though.  Used prices have fallen to around $450...but 4 years and many many shots later, I still don't really want to part with it.  The only reason I might, is if the 7D falls to $750 or so, after its replacement comes out.  That may not even at $950 or so, I think I will pass.

I will probably post more comments here as I discover for myself, more about this much maligned, often over-looked Sigma telephoto zoom.


I apologize this isn't a higher rez image...but on Jimmy Kimmel, he held up a print that was maybe 50 inches wide, then the tv camera zoomed in on it.  Quite high rez, sharp to the corners...and likely not a stitched panorama (I might be wrong on that, though).  So I was curious if any of you might know what was used.

I tried to web search, but I'm not going to go through 20 pages of unrelated star glam minutia.

If it actually is a stitched panorama, then it matters far less to me what was used.

If it really is a one shot capture, with many of us finding difficulty achieving sharpness at the corners of very wide angle would be interesting to know what it is.  I suppose it could even be something really exotic...some $100k wide angle cine lens or something.  Maybe that's even likely...they used a 4K or even an 8K (?) cinema camera, shot full motion video at that resolution, then decided of all the thousands of frames, which one was best?

Or perhaps it is a stitched panorama done simultaneously with multiple camera bodies, arrayed, then somehow tweaked in post to remove the perspective-difference anomalies?  (Seems unlikely, but the mind boggles).

Lenses / Sigma lens for birding?
« on: February 05, 2013, 03:17:42 PM »
Anyone have experience using the latest Sigma 50-500 OS for birding?  I am thinking of renting one to use on my XXD crop body.  I realize there are other better prime supertelephotos for this, but I've wanted to try this lens for a while, since it is within my budget to purchase...and the cost of rental is less too.  Also I like the idea of the 10x zoom range.  I've read many of the lens' faults, but I'm keeping an open mind.  I've tried the Canon 500 f/4 in the past, and never could get it to AF accurately (using AFMA), or even to manually focus sharply at all with Canon's version iii 1.4x TC.  Not sure why, but I do know it was an optical problem...because even when I manually focused the live view image at 10x, it was never razor sharp, before the shutter was ever engaged...nor was the IS engaged.  The tripod was a relatively sturdy carbon fiber, but admittedly not the "best".  The lens was tested and they found nothing wrong.  No doubt the new version is much better.  Not that I'm implying the Sigma would be optically better, either, of course...but I digress. 

Even if you haven't used this Sigma lens specifically for birding, please feel free to tell me some of your experience.

The birds will be mostly small at distances from 15 to 50 feet, some will hopefully be robins near the ground at a greater distance.  I own a decent carbon fiber monopod which is rated for 50 pounds.

Third Party Manufacturers / Hello from yet another newcomer!
« on: February 02, 2013, 01:10:37 AM »
Hello to everyone!  This site has interested me for a couple of years, but I only just got around to joining.  The information and opinion I read, are usually time well spent.  I commend you all for your time, effort, and knowledge.

I chose Canon because, well, it seemed like the best brand at the time.  It still does.  I dare say, it is.

I freely admit that I am not the photographer I want to be, yet.  Also not sure what it is I do want to be.  But I am not young anymore, I'm middle aged.  I hope you all can tolerate my input.  I admit I need to learn restraint, given what's happened in the a different online forum, in a different hobby.

My education is undergraduate in Fine Art, graphic design.  I never have gone very far with that.  Everyone suddenly had to become a web designer, and that never interested me.  It probably should have.  Maybe I need to learn to write mobile apps before that becomes obsolete?  Haha...

I didn't become heavily interested in digital photography until 2007, 2008.  I did participate in the film era, but didn't do much with it.  The photographer Marc Adamus, with his cover shot of Crater Lake in 2007 or so, was sort of what really sparked my inner photo artist.  I have since owned several digital cameras, and two DSLR's.  I have a very few quality lenses, but have rented quite a few others.  I have probably shot over 30,000 images, but I don't have my own website...yet.  One of my photos has been published once, last year, in a national magazine.  At this time, I have kind of run out of images to submit, that are on that level.  I live in the South, and we don't have Yosemite or Yellowstone out our front doors...but we still have some nice scenery.  I admit the western USA (and Canada) have better scenery, but I still prefer living here. 

I am beginning to think, that photography as we know it, won't exist a few decades from now, so I am happy I can participate in it, while it does exist...and happy to see the work of others.  I tend to get lost in my artistic passions at times, which inhibits getting work done.  I also have a reaction when I see a really decent photograph, which tells me I could never capture a shot that well...even though deep down, I know I probably could get still lingers.  Ahh the soul of a troubled artist!  Anyone else ever have that feeling?

I also am aware that I can write decently well, and get those of you who stop reading after two sentences, will never have to waste time on me!  Also, no, I don't speak aloud like this...if I did, I would be "kitt" the talking car, or some other robot...haha!  (and after a decade of typing "LOL"...I just had to give it just feels right to go without it!) 

Cheers!  Carl 

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