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Topics - ereka

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Software & Accessories / Storage & backup - advice needed please
« on: October 07, 2014, 05:49:16 AM »
Long time no post!

Apologies - I've been busy shooting - in fact so busy that I've almost filled up a 2 terabyte internal hard drive and a 1 terabyte external hard drive and badly need advice from you guys please as to the most reliable and cost effective way of expanding my storage and maintaining adequate backups.

OK, you'll need some background info so I'll do my best to explain in a nutshell my current set-up and workflow.

I'm a freelance photographer (occasional social photographer, but bread and butter work is currently cars and real estate).

My main computer is a Mac Pro, which I bought in 2011. It has 4 hard drive bays but currently has only 3 x 2Tb hard drives installed (a boot disc used purely for the OS and software programmes, a master disc for image storage and a backup disc). I also have 1 Tb of old images on a LaCie 2-big triple external hard drive (2 x 1Tb RAID) but I rarely need to access these and they are kept, I guess, mainly for sentimental reasons.

Recently I've had to purchase a Windows laptop because a new client's proprietary software system that I need to upload images to on a regular and frequent basis only works with Internet Explorer. The laptop is useless for photo editing as the screen is only around 75% of RGB. Therefore I don't store any images on the laptop. All image storage and processing is done on the Mac Pro. I then upload the finished images to Dropbox and from there via the laptop to the client's system.

In my mind at least, I need to expand my storage to around 4Tb with adequate backup facilities.

I work from home and we have Virgin Media 100Mb cable internet and a wireless broadband router installed, shared by 3 x Mac and 1 x Windows laptop.


Instead of buying another internal hard disc for the Mac Pro, I'm thinking that once I have adequate external backup installed I can reuse the 'backup' disc for storage, thus giving me 4 Tb of internal storage which should keep me going for quite a while.


I've considered buying an Apple Time Capsule for wireless backup but the largest unit available appears to be 3 Tb so I've also looked at various NAS storage and backup solutions but I'm getting confused by so many different options!


I'd rather avoid the need to use Dropbox as uploading images to Dropbox is a another time consuming step in the workflow that I'd rather avoid if possible.


No more than a few hundred GB pounds!

So over to you guys - what in your considered opinion is the best storage and backup solution i.e. the most efficient, reliable and cost effective solution in my circumstances and within my budget?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 10D, 100D or 700D?
« on: December 12, 2013, 06:32:33 AM »
My wife wants a DSLR to replace her IXUS point & shoot, partly because some of her friends have SLRs ... so a sort of "keeping up with the Jones's" ... but mainly for better IQ. Main use will be shooting at parties and sharing the images with her friends on Facebook (although I might just borrow it on occasion as a walk around camera for non-professional use).

I already have a number of spare Canon lenses and was thinking of donating my 24-105L to her and thus limiting the financial outlay to 'body only'. It would also have better IQ than any of the 100D/700D kit lenses.

I was also thinking I might donate my old 10D, which has been sitting in a cupboard unused for the last 8 or 9 years (so no financial outlay at all other than to buy some new batteries, as the originals have died - you might consider this a 'cheapskate' option but the IQ from the 10D is still as superb as it ever was and 6mp should be more than enough resolution for the intended purpose). The only drawbacks might be that the 10D doesn't shoot video and possibly more significant it doesn't have any built-in flash, so I'd have to either donate my old 580EX or buy a new one. The need for an external flash unit would also make the whole rig quite large and cumbersome and not really what might be described as 'cute' (my wife likes 'cute')

I'm thinking that the 100D might be a better option because it's small and 'cute' and has built-in flash and video. It also has cute Kids, Food and Candlelight modes which might appeal.

There again, the 700D doesn't cost significantly more and might be better balanced with the 24-105L lens? It also has a 'cute' and useful vari-angle rear LCD screen. Also, AF has 9 cross-type points versus 1 cross-type point on the 100D, which might be an advantage for shooting in dimly lit party venues?

So, I'll be grateful for your thoughts - on a limited budget for the purpose described above (effectively a high quality 'point and shoot' for my wife and an occasional walk-around camera for myself) which do you think would be the optimal balance between financial outlay and usability?

1. ('cheapskate' option) 10D body, 24-105L, 580EX, a couple of replacement batteries

2. 100D body, 24-105L

3. 700D body, 24-105L

4. some other option (bearing in mind that my wife has her heart set on a DSLR)?


Lighting / Elinchrom PolyStand versus Manfrotto 024B Black Light Boom
« on: September 11, 2013, 04:52:44 AM »
I need a good sturdy boom arm to support an Elinchrom RS600 monobloc head with 70cm softbox.
The Elinchrom PolyStand seems the obvious choice but I'm also considering the Manfrotto 024B Black Light Boom as a cheaper alternative

I'll be grateful for any feedback from anyone who owns and/or has used either of these products, or suggestions as to any viable alternatives.

I've been tasked with providing prints as prizes for the best dressed male, female and couple at a local community event in a village hall and I'm undecided on what lighting setup to use.

I'd like to keep the kit as simple as possible, consistent with shooting quickly and providing good quality results that will promote my photography services in the local community.

The lighting kit I have available:

3 x Elinchrom 600 watt monobloc studio lights
1 x Large 'Octa' light bank
1 x Small square softbox
1 x Large white umbrella
1 x Large silver umbrella
1 x Small translucent umbrella
Various other Elinchrom compatible lighting modifiers e.g. snoot, barn doors

1 x Canon 550EX speedlite
1 x Canon 580EX speedlite
1 x Elinchrom 'skyport' transmitter
2 x Elinchrom 'skyport' receivers

1 x background stand
1 x 9ft plain grey paper background
1 x Studio Decor reversible pop-up background (black/white)

I've more or less decided to use just the Octa light bank directly in front of the subject, with me standing in between the light bank and the subject (effectively using the Octa as a giant ring light). The grey paper background would be ideal should I decide to replace the background in post production with something a little more interesting. I know this isn't particularly creative lighting, but going by past experience the subjects will want to be in and out as quickly as possible so I don't want to be faffing around with background lights, hair lights, kicker lights etc.

However, I'll be grateful for your thoughts on this, particularly if you have direct experience of this sort of situation. Does my proposal sound good to you, or can you think of a better solution?

Software & Accessories / Best software for tethered shooting with 5DMkIII?
« on: December 17, 2012, 06:25:00 AM »
Rather than hijack a similar thread specifically about problems using LR4/EOS Uitlity for tethered shooting with the 5DMkIII, I thought it might be better to start a new thread.

So, for those of us that shoot tethered with our 5DMkIII, what is the best software/combination you have found for this?

I'm currently using EOS Utility and auto importing the resulting images into LR4.3. This setup works sort of OK, but seems like a bit of a round about solution. The biggest drawback for me is that LR4 auto import settings seem to be limited to standard settings (which don't, for example, include 'as previous'). Therefore I find myself processing the first image and then having to 'copy and paste' the settings to each subsequent image.

Has anyone found a better (i.e. simpler/more efficient workflow)?

Technical Support / How to rotate video?
« on: November 16, 2012, 04:26:35 AM »
I hope this is in the correct forum.

I don't shoot hardly any video, but I shot a video on my 5DMkIII at an event recently ..... in portrait (upright) view. When it plays back, it plays back in landscape view and for the life of me I can't work out how to rotate it so that it plays back in the correct orientation.

I don't have any dedicated video editing software, so I'm reliant on CS5.5 extended. Is it possible to rotate video after it's shot and if so, how? I understand that CS5.5 extended supports video editing, but despite spending ages 'googling', I haven't managed to find out how to rotate a video :(

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 5DMkIII - live view in manual mode
« on: October 13, 2012, 01:55:36 AM »

In manual mode, live view only seems to work when the shutter release is pressed half way and then only for a few seconds before the live view image disappears from the LCD screen again.

It works fine in other shooting modes e.g. Av

Is this a fault or a design feature?

If a design feature - can anyone explain why it's set up this way?

Is there a work around (other than pressing the shutter release half way)?

Software & Accessories / 5DMkIII tethered shooting with LR4.2
« on: October 13, 2012, 01:50:03 AM »
I've just started using tethered shooting for product shots, using a 5DMkIII with LR4.2

I have a couple of queries that I haven't been able to resolve so far and I'd be grateful for any advice.

1) Tethered shooting carries on OK for several frames, but then everything 'locks up' i.e. the camera controls stop responding (e.g. live view, shutter release - basically, everything freezes); the only way I've found to resolve this is to close LR and start over - has anyone else experienced this and if so, do you know why it happens and how to avoid it?

2) There doesn't seem to be any way to focus or to control the camera settings (e.g. aperture, ISO etc) directly via LR, other than the shutter release - is this correct?

3) Is LR the best option for tethered shooting (in particular for product shoots) or do you prefer a different solution - if so, why?

EOS Bodies / Why so many different camera bodies?
« on: June 29, 2012, 02:35:49 AM »
A wide range of lenses has to be a good thing and is often stated as the reason for sticking with Canon when other manufacturers come up with a cutting edge camera body. However, it's not so obvious to me why Canon needs such a wide range of camera bodies. I'm guessing its purely a marketing thing i.e. keeping sales going by always having something new and 'better' to offer. I also understand having similar bodies, some with crippled features at lower price points to maximise market share. Are these the sole reasons for the bewildering array of Canon camera bodies on the market at any one time or have I missed something?

5D MK III Sample Images / 5DMkIII 'just for fun'
« on: June 07, 2012, 03:32:52 PM »
Just for fun :)

Model: 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II
Sweet Candy bag: 24-70mm f/2.8

Can anyone spot the 'deliberate' mistake?

Software & Accessories / DxO Optics Pro 7 and 5D Mk III
« on: June 06, 2012, 03:01:35 PM »
Has anyone used DxO Optics Pro 7 with 5D Mk III RAW files and if so, how does the resulting image quality compare with other RAW processors e.g. DPP, LR, ACR, Capture 1 etc?

Pros and cons?

Software & Accessories / White balance tool in LR4.1 final release?
« on: June 02, 2012, 08:56:11 AM »
Has anyone noticed any problems with the white balance tool in LR4.1 final release?

On a recent studio shoot with my 5DMkIII and 24-70mm f/2.8 IS II, as usual I set a custom white balance in camera before shooting (as a starting point for developing the RAW files as I was shooting only RAW, no jpegs) and also shot a colour rendition chart to fine tune the white balance in post. I also used this chart to create a custom camera profile.

Strangely, after selecting the custom camera profile and using the white balance tool to reset the white balance, this was wildly different from the custom white balance that I'd set in camera i.e. much, much warmer (c. 6500K as opposed to a custom white balace of around 5000K). In fact, it looked way too warm, so I had to manually adjust to cool it down so that it looked good on my monitor, which is a regularly calibrated Eizo CG245W.

Could this be a problem with the white balance tool, or is it more likely I screwed up somewhere else in the workflow?

I could do extensive comparison tests using different software, but thought I'd just ask first if anyone else has noticed anything amiss in LR4.1

Edit: I've been using the same colour management workflow for the last couple of years and haven't noticed this big shift in white balance previously.

Software & Accessories / ProPhoto RGB
« on: June 02, 2012, 08:43:21 AM »
Does anyone edit in ProPhoto RGB and if so, do you see any real practical advantages in doing so?

When you save images for web display, do you leave them in ProPhoto RGB or convert them to sRGB? I'd have thought convert to sRGB as most monitors wouldn't be capable of displaying anywhere near the full gamut of ProPhoto RGB, but I inadvertently uploaded an image in ProPhoto RGB recently and the colours didn't look discernably different from the sRGB file I replaced it with when I realised my error. The only differences were that the image didn't show up in the thumbnail preview on one particular website (just a little question mark in a small box, which was what prompted me to check the file type) but the full size image displayed fine when the thumbnail was clicked and whilst the thumbnail did actually show up on a different website, it had a noticeable green cast, but strangely there was no green cast in the full size image when the thumbnail was clicked.

Oh no - not yet another 'whinge about the 5DIII thread' I hear you say :o

Well, not so much a whinge but a 'cry for help'.

I'll try to explain my dilemma. Coming from a 1DMkII, I really wanted to upgrade to a 1Dx but felt I needed a full frame camera for a 'trip of a lifetime' that I went on from 13th April to 18th May. The 1Dx wasn't available prior to 13th April, the 5DMkIII was available - just! So I went ahead and bought one of the very first 5DMkIII kits available in the UK (had to go for the kit because there was no 'body only' available at the time of purchase).

The good:

On my trip, I took over 2000 pictures in all sorts of lighting conditions and have to say that I've been blown away with the low light/high ISO capabilities. It soon became obvious that some of the shots would have been impossible with the 1DMkII in the circumstances I found myself and with the kit available at the time (I had a 580EXII speedlite with me, but no batteries yet). Yes, the out of camera jpegs are mushy to say the least, even on the lowest noise reduction setting, but the images are MUCH better when developed from the RAW files via DNG converter and Lightroom 4.

Also, the AF appears to be amazingly accurate in the most challenging of circumstances.

The bad:

My body is one of those (serial numbers ...1... and ...2...) that allegedly has the problem with the backlight affecting exposure. I understand that Canon has issued an advisory offering to 'repair' affected cameras under warranty (allegedly using a small piece of sticky tape).

Although image quality is much better when developing the RAW files, the jpegs out of camera are very disappointing - even at low ISO in good light. Not only mushy, but I've noticed the odd 'black spot' at 1:1 magnification (didn't the MkII have the same issue when it was first released?) - this is actually a pure white pixel surround on all sides by dark pixels. Easy to clone out, but why should I have to!

I've been seeing some weird distortions with the bundled 24-105 lens that go beyond the known barrel distortion at the wide end, even after applying lens corrections in post.

The bottom line (my concerns):

The 5DMkIII has some great features but the out of camera jpeg IQ is extremely disappointing. OK, so shoot RAW and develop myself - but shouldn't the out of camera jpegs, particularly from a camera at this level, be usable for those situations when spending time developing RAW files is just not practical or feasible?

I have one of the early production models with a design flaw i.e. backlight potentially affecting exposure. Canon has offered to 'repair' it under warranty but something inside me bucks against accepting that solution i.e. I'd feel much happier with a replacement than a bodged up substandard version. Logically, the two would probably be the same i.e. have similar pieces of sticky tape in the appropriate places, but for some reason I just feel I'd be happier with a 'new' body.

To resolve the lens issue, it would need to be taken or sent to my nearest Canon authorised repair centre for testing and possible repair or replacement under warranty, which is over 200 miles round trip from me. I don't really feel comfortable sending it via post or courier.

I've exhausted my budget for new equipment so whatever decision I make now, I'll be stuck with.

What should I do?

1) Return the whole kit for replacement?

2) Return the whole kit for a refund and reconsider my buying options?

3) Soldier on with the kit - do some more lens testing myself to pin down the distortion issue and deal with that separately under warranty and just accept that for decent image quality I'll have to spend time developing the RAW files; forget the backlight affecting exposure (non-) issue?

4) Any other constructive comments/suggestions?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« on: March 28, 2012, 05:51:06 AM »
I've had the 5DMkIII for about a week now. I haven't had the opportunity to use it in anger yet, just a few casual test shots around the house. However, looking at all the complaints in the forums, particularly about image quality, I have to admit that I'm in real danger of catching a bad dose of buyer's remorse. This was supposed to be an all round camera that would last me the rest of my life (or a very long time anyway). On the other hand, it has been gently hinted at in various threads that some of the problems might be more to do with lack of familiarity with setting up and using the camera. Also, quite a few of the posters reporting problems e.g. with soft images have only recently upgraded from crop to full frame, which might also be a steep learning curve in itself? Jeff Ascough's words stick in my mind i.e. "So are there any negatives to owning this camera? Maybe just one. You will lose the ability to blame the camera for any shortcomings in your own photographic ability." Is this what is happening here, at least to some extent? I'm also reminded of Lloyd Chambers' articles on image sharpness i.e. there are so many reasons why images might not be sharp, most of which can be resolved (excuse the pun) by good shooting technique. Only when all other alternatives have been explored can the finger be pointed at the equipment. So, what do YOU think? Are there REAL problems with 5DIII IQ or is it just a case of "a bad workman blaming his tools" or maybe just excessive "pixel peeping"? I'm not pontificating in any way, shape or form here, just don't want to believe that I've spent my money unwisely. Most importantly, I'm off on a trip of a lifetime in a couple of weeks and intended to take just the 5DMkIII with me with a view to coming back with some saleable images and perhaps recouping the costs of the trip. In fact I bought it with that specific purpose in mind. Now I'm beginning to wonder whether I should buy a 5DMkII as a backup or even a replacement - at least the MkII has a proven track record and all it's various quirks are well known. With the 5DMkIII, it's beginning to feel like a "leap of faith" to rely on it completely as my only camera body. What would you do in my position?

PS: please take part in the poll

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