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Topics - jonathan7007

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1
Lenses / My 24-70v2 a bit wonky?
« on: January 31, 2014, 04:59:53 PM »
All:
Before I send this off to the mothership... Do you 24-70 owners also see a LOT of curve to horizontal lines?

Lately my 24-70 2.8Lv2 has not seemed as sharp and looking at recent ocean horizons there is a lot of curvature seen before the Lightroom 5 correction kicks in or is invoked. I try to avoid getting too obsessed with sharpness at a pixel-peeping level, and I should open up a frame or two from the first months I had this lens. Other than some back focus (-4 correction) it was wonderful. Did I just get jaded and want more?

I am going to ask CPS for a loaner before this goes in and in the day overlap with both lenses here I will do some kind of res test on both. Funny joke is that are no brick walls here in my rural Hawaii area so it's hard to find the right flat big target in the natural world. Yeah, I know those of you living in the northern states on the mainland or Norway are rolling your eyes right now... sorry for complaining.

Anyway, I wonder if this took a knock and whacked something inside. Did a search on CR forums (fora?) and didn't find any other discussions of barrel/pincushion expectations. ...just seems more pronounced...

2
Canon General / CPS again at Platinum or self-insure?
« on: November 16, 2013, 09:41:10 PM »
I have been a Gold member a long time. When the new structure was announced I was on the fence about moving to Platinum. (I have been eligible for Plat for a while so it had been a choice to stick with the lower Gold$.) I began to lean toward upgrading to go forward this Fall at renewal time, but I had a surprising interaction with CPS that has made me consider self-insuring and paying like a regular citizen at time of need. So I am writing here to see what readers here think. Writing it all out will help me think about the decision, too.

First, I look at this as insurance. Insurance isn't an investment. I believe that I make a mistake if I plan to get back the net value (of services) I paid in. That said, how is the CPS way of doing things supporting me?

The incidents that forced this into perspective as a renewal question were:
I had sent in a 1DsMk3 body with all forms and a clean-and-check chit. I asked for a shutter count as I had bought the 1DsMk3 body used and I wanted an official document for that future time when I sold it to the next user. No shutter check on the repair order and when I called  I was told they could not issue a new copy of the work order. They could probably e-mail me, no letterhead. (They did show the number, approx 74,500, in their RN# records visible to the customer service staffer.)

After that I tested the sensor for the first time since receiving it. There was a big round spot in the frame. I should look to see it if is among the other dark dust spots on the sensor before sending... Anyway, the clean-and-check chit sent them had a note specifically requesting sensor cleaning. I had taken the body out of the bag and removed the body cap, placed a lens on the camera and taken it out for a walk. Shot the sky, confirmed the visibility of the spot in some green broadleaf cactus, too. I figured I'd be without the body for a couple more weeks but hey, they'd make it right. (In Hawaii CPS must *mail* -- yes, mail -- you a label for a re-do and courier service usually takes an extra day. So two weeks give or take.)

Irvine told me that my dust represented "just one of those things about dust on sensor--it's going to happen. You can send it in again with another clean-and-check chit." Staffer checked with a Supervisor who didn't get on the phone.

I spoke to one of the CPS-specific advisers (different crew than Irvine's customer service operation.) He was a great resource, surprised they took this tack.  Realizing I might opt for self-insurance I asked him for details about the listed services performed during a clean-and-check on a lens. A body is easier to see the value -- well, for me anyway. It's pretty vague about the real important questions: alignment, de-centered elements. He read a document that says they put it on a mount, but his reading of the task performed was that the ability of the lens to communicate with the body was all that was tested. Canon Repair also handles the lens to feel the performance of the rings, smoothness, and they are willing to clean the front and rear element. If there's a collar they insure it works. They will never, he said, go inside the lens during a plain old clean-and-check. That makes perfect sense to me. I'd love it if they did but let's get real, their costs would go through the roof.

I think I have been the beneficiary of extra help over and above official guidelines in the past but I suspect that flexibility in the facilities is waning.

So. Self insured from now on out?

I am not a big photo group with ten bodies out churning through three weddings every weekend. I don't get shot at as a photojournalist. My commercial photo shooting schedule isn't as crazy as it was some years back on the mainland during which I might have some piece of gear fail in a state 2,000 miles from home base. Canon saved me a few times in that crazier time. Loaners used to be handled on a phone call basis and went out that afternoon to your hotel… that kind of thing.

I have three bodies: 1DsMk3 (two of these) and a 5DMk3. Plan to get another 5D3, stick with four total. This another form of self-insurance, admittedly more $$ than Platinum $$. The only horror would be temporary loss of my treasured 17mm TSE, which I use for clients all the time. But I have a wider 12-24 Sigma lens which is plenty sharp and I *could* correct for a couple of weeks  in Transform or DxO ViewPoint (don't like doing it this way but…)

Shipping alone during one equipment failure kerfuffle  might pay for  the $300., but having Irvine standards lowered might make some of that "help" worthless and get in the way of a successful shoot.

Wow, sorry about the wordy post. Anyone else thought through the self-insurance consideration? I have actually constructed various repair/shipping scenarios to understand the costs I would bear in typical hassles. No question, they are high costs.
Being out here in the middle of the blue Pacific cuts both ways good and bad in all things business.

So I might go for another year and bump up to Plat status. $300 is not going to break the bank. I sometimes go into the next price negotiation when faced with these decisions and just straight-faced quote a higher price to cover it. Keeps my resolve when the negotiating happens.

What do CR readers think?

jonathan7007

3
All,
Please read this account of a minor odd moment in strobe lighting and tell me if you know what went wrong.

I was photographing interiors and my kit includes both Einsteins and speedlights, Canon and Vivitars. In a small bathroom I planned to shoot from the door and snuck an Einstein head up next to me such that the head pointed straight up at the ceiling over my head. Satin 7.5 inch reflector. Dialed down to something like 100, 200WS, because it was a small bathroom and light in overall color (white ceiling). Attached directly to the 1DsMk3 by its own Buff-supplied PC cord. 17TSE on the body.

This body had been used on other rooms with just Einsteins (multiple heads) all good so far.

I had placed a Canon 580EX in the bathtub to brighten up the shower curtain and the matte-finished tile. It was mounted on a small stand up on top of a Phottix  Odin  receiver into which I had plugged a FlashZebra orange optical slave made for Canon triggering (FlashZebra has different models.) Odin "on" and set for Group A, Channel One. The speedlite was behind the white translucent cloth curtain pointed away from the lens. The Odin was underneath it and the slave stuck out the "back" of the Odin toward the camera position and therefore toward the strong pulse from the Einstein.

What went "wrong"? This: On first curtain setting only the Canon's light showed up in the exposure. Everything fired, though, and apparently at the same time. Tried it about five times.  Get this - I was dragging the shutter to let a ceiling light show in the image, so I wasn't anywhere near 250th. No banding showing on the screen. Change to second curtain and it works fine.

The same combination did it in another room a bit later. Again, second-curtain "fixed" the problem.

Nothing strange about those second-curtain images in post.

Tonight I pulled what may or may not be the same Einstein head and tested the setup. I should have marked the head! Works fine on both first- and second-curtain.  WTF? Presumably the Canon is going off milliseconds after the Einstein, as it's the Canon speedlite on a slave.

OK, anyone, any ideas?

(As an aside: One of the things that bothers me about my 580 and 550 is their lack of a PC connector, because when not at an event I think of them as small manual strobes to be hidden here or there or lighting a corner that just fades due to required placement of the bigger units. Before the purchase of the Einsteins this motley crew of Canon and Vivitar units was my only kit for interiors.  In most cases optical slaves are fine for that kind of work. The Vivitars have a connector, albeit a proprietary one.)

jonathan7007

4
A client for whom I teach still photography will use her new 5DMk3 for occasional video at events. She will be buying a Lexar 32Gig 1000x UDMA7 CF card. In 99.99% of the usage scenarios there will be stills shot and some video but for starting point, can someone tell me the empty-card capacity for 5DMk3 video on that card?

She will want the easiest and most common playback file format to give to friends by way of copying to optical media (not posted to the cloud. She does not plan lots of (any?) video editing.

Just not my area.

Thanks, in advance, for suggestions.

5
Software & Accessories / Fast CF+SD reader for Mac?
« on: July 06, 2013, 04:04:30 AM »
A client of mine needs a reader for CF and SD cards that will connect to a new iMac 27". I use a Lexar pop-up unit on USB3 on my Lenovo w520 laptop and Win7 production desktop machine, but there is a warning on the Lexar site about *some* Mac users' difficulties (which are not described.)

So what's the equivalent good reader for Mac users?

6
Lighting / Buff Einsteins can use any Balcar accessory?
« on: May 14, 2013, 03:23:50 PM »
I have a few Einstein heads and reflectors on the way to me. To my surprise a Buff employee told me during transit that these heads take Balcar accessories. I had not seen that on the Buff website.

Has anyone here tried out (successfully?) Balcar modifiers, reflectors, etc., on the Einsteins? Willing to share your experiences?

I have some modifiers here that require a 6-inch flange of thin metal as a connector/attachment. Now I am searching for source(s) of a Balcar-to-6 inch pieces. Buff doesn't have such a thing. Living way out in the boonies I hope to avoid too much shipping cost to try out possibilities. Looks like Kacey Enterprises has one excellent alternative sold specifically for Buff, and I ordered that. Page about this flange shows it on Alien Bees, not Einsteins.


7
Lighting / Stands made for assistant carry/point?
« on: May 03, 2013, 01:00:59 PM »
I want a pole or stand that my assistant can hold to point a small softbox at an event or outdoor shoot that calls for a two-legged-lightstand. Yes, I can offer him or her a folded lightstand but I wonder if anyone has seen a pole with better handle, grip surfaces -- to make pointing, lifting, holding easier?

As I was typing I thought to check Lastolite. They offer this one:
http://www.lastolite.com/extending-handles.php
which seems well thought out.

Alternatives? Experience to share with this kind of solution?


8
This weekend finally kinda gave up on Manfrotto head/attachments. This is going to cost me but... I plan to switch over to the RSS gear I'll need for simple pano experimentation. I am only interested in single row pano right now, but the panos I tried included a couple that needed a nodal rail. I am losing confidence in Manfrotto, so I figured it was time to switch.

(Searched whole CR forum for posts on geared heads and read everything returned.)

I had trouble getting my whole support combination to stay level through the "swing". Surprisingly my wonderful very heavy old-style Gitzo Tele-Studex 309 seems to have a spirit level that's inaccurate! (I will have to confirm that with some other levels and a known level surface right away.) I had found Manfrotto's L-bracket but trying to use it this weekend found it's a kludge compared to the RSS. I believe it introduced some flex and alignment change. I have a pano rotator from Manfrotto (300N) but think I can stick with that.

The RC4 quick-release is still a little looser than I'd like. Yes, it's better than my RC2 plates but still not great. I was using my Manfrotto 410 geared head with the RC4 plate as the camera attachment -- not rotation. Is there any Arca Swiss standard equivalent? Some searches today turn up nothing. I have seen one shooter say he just bought the clamp "adapter". I do architecture and real estate so want to continue to use a geared head for that.  Is there a geared head for about $300 that uses to Arca Swiss quick release? Yeah, I saw the $1,600 block of goodness that Arca Swiss makes... clients here aren't paying the margins for that.

From my experimentation I take it that the tripod has to offer the rotator a perfectly level plane of swing. Can I just give up a head altogether and have the rotator on the tripod as the "head", then place a nodal rail on the rotator, then, of course, the camera on the rail? That takes a source of error (the head) out of the "stack".

I know I'll need one RSS for each body, so I think I'll stick to one L-clamp for my 1DsMk3.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

jonathan7007

9
Software & Accessories / Anyone find an INTERNAL usb3 CF reader?
« on: March 31, 2013, 06:45:03 PM »
I like my Lexar pop-up USB3 dual-slot reader and its portability has a benefit: I can take it to a shoot but I also want a USB3 front-panel CF reader. 5.25-inch front panel (optical drive slots) would be best. I have a big Cooler Master case on my Win7 production machine.

I have searched and find most also have a lot of useless card reader slots. Some have CF but the fine print tells you that the CF circuit is only USB2. Cooler Master does not offer this for their cases. The ideal configuration is two or four USB3 and a CF + SDXC slots set. (Whatever acronym represents the latest SD standard). There is also the UDMA7 capability to check for each of these units.

Anyone find one of these they'd recommend?

10
I have recently started using a 1DsMk3. I don't know the manufacture date. I had problems with a Lexar64Gig UDMA7 card. Amazon is sending a new one. But I suddenly wondered if the brand-new standard was not compatible with the older firmware, motherboard, etc.

So to be sure I am asking if 1DsMk3 users have good experience with UDMA 7 cards.

jonathan7007

11
All,
Please comment. I just bought a used 1DsMk3 and saw a consistent "back focus" -- that is, with a few different lenses images appeared to be focused on a point a little behind the intended point of focus... best I could remember, of course, where I asked for focus. Not 100% but a lot of images showed this. 

I own Reikan FoCal and made some time today to test as the sun went toward setting (we rarely have low winds here...) and got through the following lenses: 24-70 v2 (at 70); 70-200 v2 (at 200); and the Sigma 35mm f1.4. The last test was asked to soldier on through what I know was too dim a light. Yes, I know it's best to do this with sunlight.

The results were all positive numbers like 4, 7, and 5, respectively.

So are positive numbers in FoCal consistent with my description/observation of back focus?

I do plan to redo this under better conditions. Hard to get all the factors -- including time -- together. I did like having the test run automatically, as my 5DMk3 has the annoying SDK failings that Reikan tells us are NOT in the 6D camera software.

Thoughts?

jonathan7007


12
Canon told me today tethered shoots have to go direct to the "C" drive...rather than a SSD on the laptop bus but not the C drive. That seems a little restrictive and nowhere mentioned in dialogs. I will look in the documentation...

I have been having tether trouble which now after the call and a card switch, may have been caused by a faulty Lexar 400x 64Gig UDMA7 CF card I recently bought. I would love to think my recent trouble in a liveView shoot was caused, too, by this card. On another nearby thread a 1Ds user said they have tens of thousands of LiveView shutter actuations with ZERO problems. Crossing my fingers that further testing today settles this.

Anyway, the C drive rule was a surprise.

13
Lighting / Inconsistent firing of Strato rcvr by my Odin on a shoot
« on: March 08, 2013, 03:59:34 AM »
I had a little 270 speedlite tucked in the area above a stove for an interior shot of a kitchen. Needed a kick light down on the stove surface. (The articulation of that little head/reflector is a added benefit.) There was some Gorilla tape holding it and the Strato Multi receiver in a corner. Wel, maybe a lot of tape... enough to cover the assemblage. Odin controller was on the top of the camera not far away. Sometimes the 270 would not go off. Sometimes it seemed like it lagged a part of a second behind the flash of the units that had Odin receivers. (I agree that this is hard to judge just by eye...) There are frames with no 270-included flash. Tape the culprit? There's no metal in the tape to act as a shield.

I bought one Strato to try out with the Odins because I usually set up this kind of work with plain old manual settings. I have Vivitars in addition to some Canon speedlites, and these Vivitars are always going to be manual. But I discovered that the Strato will not fire any of the Vivitars. I wrote Phottix to ask why but their first answer shows they are not yet sure what I am asking. I know Stratos are supposed to co-exist with Odins in a complex lighting setup but I wonder if I made a mistake? I need to trigger a Norman studio flash in 9 days for a shoot! (the pack needs a solder connection fixed so have not been able to test it yet.) 

Thoughts?

jonathan7007

14
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Error 30 Experiences? Have you seen this?
« on: March 07, 2013, 11:13:37 PM »
Just bought a second-hand (but one owner) 1DsMk3 and after arrival I tried is with a bunch of my lenses and pixel-peeped to see how it differed from my 5Dmk3. Liked the image at low ISO, which is exactly why I bought it. Oh, and for its great build quality and the long-life shutter.

I have had no other 1-series camera and the shutter on this body sounds sweet to my ears: more mechanical, more authoritative.

But yesterday on a real estate shoot with my 17mm TSE, tethered, I started getting these Error 30 messages on the screen. I believe it told me turn off and on again, too. The body never stopped working, and responded to the power cycle. Shooting tethered I was bringing up the images in Windows Explorer and right clicking to ask them open in ACR... just to check focus and the histogram. But I don't know how tethered operation might have caused -- or highlighted -- whatever is the root cause of the error.

Canon tells me this error is a loose bag of possible shutter issues. I was using an Odin trigger in the shoe but the VA-center tech person said that wasn't likely to be the cause. Ditto tethering, although he asked if I had been in and out of LiveView, which of course I had! I am so bummed. I know these things happen but I *thought* I had purchased this at a reasonable cost and from an enthusiast, not a pro, which meant lower actuation count. No signs of hard use on the body. I believe my cost just went up by $400 (a guess, I admit)

Important shoot on the 16th and despite my CPS fast turn inside the repair operation at Irvine I would have to spend about $100 to go with the fastest shipping service available, and here in rural Hawaii, often, "next day" is not next day either going or coming.

So, given that I MUST have a second body at this important shoot (and that it will be tethered photography of regular folks -- with people and groups stepping in one after the other, I am tempted to wait to send it, explore the body's reaction to all my TSE lenses, try tethered again, to see if there is any recurrence... and still, I guess send it in and pay for whatever repair is necessary at that point. Grrr.

jonathan7007

15
Lighting / Yongnuo vs. Godox battery pack comparison
« on: March 04, 2013, 07:31:35 PM »
Just received and tried a Yongnuo 8-AA pack. Attached to a 550EX this inexpensive ($45) pack is slower than my Godox 820, which is around $140 delivered where I live (many sellers will not ship such items to Hawaii). Not a scientific test. I used 8 freshly-charged PowerEx AAs right out of a Maha charger. The batteries inside the 550 were also just charged.

Cost difference mitigated somewhat by the necessity of buying eight rechargeable AAs to run the cheaper unit.

One benefit unrelated to speed is that longevity at an event, for instance attached to a balcony over your reception area shooting area. And Yongnuo repeats over and over the need to avoid rapid shooting of 20 or more exposures -- for the danger of overheating.

Perhaps others with both can add to this. I will try my 580 with the Yongnuo in a bit, and  make a more quantitative comparison.

jonathan7007

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