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Topics - Chuck Alaimo

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1
Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / to 600rt + st-e3 or not....
« on: July 03, 2014, 01:09:18 PM »
hmmmm.  I think I have posted a similar topic in the past, but, now i am looking back and forth at 2 shopping carts and am hesitant to pull the trigger....

I love using off cam light.  I currently have 2 430's and 1 600rt - and am using the cactus v5 triggers (which gotta say they work great for really cheap triggers.   I would like to add at least one more flash to the mix.  If i did add another flash, I am down 1 trigger.

note: I have been pushing myself to understand manual flash operation, to the point that now even if i am using flash on camera i am using manual mode.

so my options are - the cheapest path:

Option 1:  buy another set of V5's and one of these - http://scottrobertla.com/2014/04/27/strobie-230/ (that would be about $250

Option 2:  I have been considering switching to the phottix stratto II's - that plus one of the cheap flashes above would run me around $500

Option 3:  But, b&h does have a pretty sweet deal right now on a set of 2 600's with the st-e3 transmitter for $1190...

So i have the ultra cheap just get the job done method, the close to cheap but not overboard method, then the ok that's double what i was gonna spend method.

I do kind of like the idea of the st-e3, even if i keep shooting in manual mode.  thinking all those little adjustments that need to be made, being able to do that on the transmitter would be great.  But is that convenience enough to  call fort he switch?  (ok, this isn't a total switch because the 430's could then be used with the v5's).

the last option is the most likely to induce GAS though (lol, if it's that good then i will probably be swapping out the 430's and adding more 600's....lol).  hmmmmm

first option is the simplest though....and yeah it's kind of hard to say no to it...and I could add the forth option of going with another set of cactus v5's and make the 4th flash be a 600 (leaving me with 2 600's)..  that would cost about as much as option 2....and give me a few more options (I do roll with 2 bodies, so 1 body could be totally off camera, then the other could be 600 on and 600 off, kind of the best of both worlds...)

So, I am just gonna post this, then see what imput I get and make a decision later on today...lol

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Software & Accessories / software for designing wedding albums
« on: October 18, 2013, 12:04:37 PM »
looking for some insight:

Software - been doing some trial's fundy, indesign, and fotofusion.  So far fotofusion is the only one I have actually been able to open up and get right into designing. Fundy and Indesign I got lost, couldn't even get to a point where I was loading images. Fotofusion, got a basic test case layout done in a few hours.

So unless there is like a huge downside to fotofusion - or, like something so rocking about either of the other 2 that I should bite the bullet and spend a week on tutorials then fotofusion it is.

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Third Party Manufacturers / About to drop some $$$ again...lol
« on: September 10, 2013, 10:46:29 AM »
Ok, so, often you see me posting here right before i make purchases, just to get swome feedback and thoughts on (call it me checkin myself before I wreck myself!)

The first item I am pretty sure on, but would love to know how others who may own it feel - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/221063-REG/Tamrac_69401_694_LP4_Rolling_Strongbox.html

I am currently using the thinktank streetwalker harddrive...it's an awesome bag but once i grabbed my second camera body, yeah, not enough space.  I picked up a smaller shoulder bag to carry the excess gear, but, it is kind of a pain in the butt especially if i am also bringing lightstands or other lighting gear.  A larger bag has been on my mind for a while, and for this it's kind of difficult, because most are trying to make their bags and roller case carry on friendly - down the line carry on friendly may be an issue, but for now, its all about getting as much gear in one bag as I can - from the looks of the LP4 strongbox, that should fit all i got plus give me room to grow.  Any of you own this bag, it's pricey (which hell, it's gonna carry and protect a bunch of gear so  the price isn't what worries me, it's how rugged this bag is, how well it will both carry and protect that i am considering)

4
SO, hey hey gearheads, I can't think of a better place to ask this question.  As most of you know, I shoot mostly weddings and portraits.  One of the little things I'd like to improve on are ring shots.  It's not that I don't like the shots that I am getting, but, I'd love to get in a little closer and the only lens I have that allows for really close focusing is the 16-35, which while it can get close, even at 35mm it's not as tight and DOF with that is not to my liking.  I enjoy using the 50, 85 and 70-200 for that, but with the minimum focusing distance it requires a big crop to get the desired shot.

SO that leads to options.  And I am not sure which way to go, and given the very limited use I'm seeking to fill, not sure I want to spend a ton of $$$. 

Lenses:

100 2.8
100L 2.8
180L 3.5

or, I could go with an extension tube ---what are your thoughts on extension tubes?  They are a fairly cheap fix which would get me in a bit closer, and I'd be able to use those on all my longer lenses. 

Another option is the http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/87494-REG/Canon_2822A001_58mm_500D_Close_up_Lens.html

That one in particular is would fit my 85 1.8 --- its the cheapest option by far, but, again I have to wonder if that's enough.  Do I need the versatility of the extension tube?  Or, should I bag all of those ideas and snag one of the above mentioned lenses (I see the 180 macro used all the time on B&H...and I have heard that the 100L is also good for portraits...but, with a 85 1.8 and the 70-200, would I really use a 100 macro for portraits???????)

Again, it's not like I plan on diving into the insect world (yeah, of course once I can I probably will, but thats not the main idea here).  Pretty much just wanting a way to get tighter shots of wedding rings, and looking to do so without  spending an arm and a leg (I'd much rather snag a 135L than a macro lens..)

On the other end of things...I am considering a 2x teleconverter too.  I have heard much more about those though...

5
Lenses / Considering lens upgrade options....
« on: March 06, 2013, 06:36:45 PM »
Wondering what your thoughts may be on this.

I am currently on 1 body (5d3), with 16-35mm v2, 24-70mm v1, 70-200mm 2.8 non IS, 50mm 1.4, and 50mm 1.8 - and I mainly shoot weddings, portraits and some fine art here and there).

First step is obviously to address the backup body situation (considering a 6d, or used 5d3's are popping up, right price may snag one).

once that's done, lenses...

Since I added the 16-35, I have found myself using the 24-70 less and less, favoring either the 16-35 or the 50mm.   So the 24-70 may very well end up on ebay.   That gives me some options.

Option 1: Sell the 24-70 and the 70-200 for the v2 with IS?  I love my 70-200, but, at the long end I do find my keeper rate to be not so good in the 1/60-1/100th SS range.  So the Logic there is trade the 2 for the 70-200 IS is basically to increase the keeper rate and give me more flexibility in SS.  Is the IQ on the v2 really that much better than the v1?  Should IQ even be a factor in the logic?  Would you go for that?

Option 2: sell the 24-70 and snag a 50L 1.2?  I have heard such mixed reviews about the 1.2, so not to sure if thats the right path.

Option 3: sell the 24-70 and upgrade it to the 24-70V2?  It's a pricey switch.  Is the IQ really that much better than the v1 or equivalent primes? 

Option 4:  sell the 24-70 and snag a 135mm f2?  That would pretty much abandon the 24-70 range to my 50mm 1.4.  For wedding work, do I really need the flexibility of a zoom in that focal range?  Uncertain...lol...this is really only an option becasue I really really really want a 135L  :) ....


I could go on, but then it gets into nutty combinations.  As you can see I have given this lots of thought.  But, hearing some thoughts from others can't hurt.  What are your thoughts on the options above?


6
EOS Bodies / 3dx?
« on: September 26, 2012, 08:23:32 PM »

7
EOS Bodies / 1dmk4 vs 5d3
« on: September 07, 2012, 02:32:53 PM »
So, after lots of thought regarding a second body/backup body (my 7d, I just don't trust it anymore after using the mk3 for a few months), I'm kind of feeling like I have 4 options:

buy a second mk3 (would have to wait a bit to do that)
buy a used 1dmk4 (seeing used prices of $4000-4400, so, like mk3 would have to wait a bit)
see what this entry FF is like/can do
see what the 7d2 may bring to the table

All of these options require waiting (I have considered a 5dmk2, but I kind of want something that can hold it's own up to ISO 6400 and not look like a joke compared to what the mk3 can do.  Maybe if used prices go down...).

with the way the market is though, these new canon models probably won't be available for a while (possibly the entry FF, only because they may want that on the market for Christmas season, but I don't see the 7d2 being available till sometime in 2013)...

So yeah, this has me pondering things like...a 1dmk4?  The only experience I have with 1 series bodies isn't even shooting with one.  I recently shot a wedding and had a second shooter with me, he was using a 7d and a 1ds3 ---and wow, as I was going through his files, I could immediately know which came from the 7d and which came from the 1ds3---at ISO 1000 the 1ds3 file was a joy to work with, colors brighter and sharper, almost better than the mk3.  I'd kind of love to rent one cause I am sure that would be fun to shoot art and portraits with, but the 1ds3 definitely isn't a low light monster, so while it would be fun, its not what I need.   It is an eye opener though, and knowing that the 1dmk4 used is basically the cost of an mk3 with grip...yeah, that has me thinking...

So I am wondering from all ya'll that have used both camera's, how does the 1dmk4 hold up against the 5d3?  How is the 1dmk4 at higher ISO's?  It's a 1.3 crop, so that is kind of interesting and unique.  My guess it would be a true 2nd body as opposed to merely a backup body (IE, I'm going to try running with both camera's this saturday, but, in a pinch, will I opt to switch lenses and not risk using the 7d or will I go for the 7d?  I would have less hesitation if I had an mk2 as backup.  And I'm guessing that with a 1dmk4 there'd be zero hesitation, and I'd go to that without fail (I have read that it's just an amazing camera!)

So from you, the people who use it, how is the 1dmk4? 

And from those who own both, how do they compare?


8
Canon General / gear advice for second body
« on: August 31, 2012, 01:26:36 AM »
Slight conundrum over here and not quite sure which way to go.  I have a 7D and an 5dmk3.  Since I bought the mk3 the poor 7d has sat on a shelf.  I brought it with me on a few weddings but just could't reason why I'd bust it out (go figure, can the 7d pull down awseom f8 images at 1/125th and ISO 6400???  Nope...lol.  On the last wedding though, I did find myself not liking the run back to my lenses to swap (missing the moment), or staying with the lens on camera (getting the moment but not in the way I wanted).  I have a 24-70 and a 70-200 currently.  So what I am thinking is pick up a fast prime for the 7D (or, save up for a second mk3!). 

So, which primes would work?  I really like the idea of a 50mm 1.4, but, i think I'd really like that for the mk3.  50 on a 7d would be more like 80mm.  So would that lead to too much overlap? I want to be able to pull the 7d back into the fray.  Would a 50mm be too long?  Other lenses I'm considering, the 28 1.8, not as fast as the 50, but it would be like a 50 on FF.  The 35mm 2.0 also looks nice, it's a stop less than the 28, but closer to the range I'm thinking.  Or, more expensive but go the opposite direction - the 135mm 2.0 (hard to bite the bullet of a $1000 lens for a backup body).

I feel like the 50mm has the most use on both camera advantages (for when I want to go nutty with DOF).  But 50 is more like 80 on the crop which makes the decision difficult.  80mm does not fit, lol.  I'm either range limited or range duplicated (why use the 7d+50mm if i have the 70-200 mounted on the mk3, and, if i have the 24-70mm mounted on the mk3 the 50 on the 7D really isn't a bump in range.)  Should I consider an 85mm 1.8? (go 85 on the 7D and 24-70 on the mk3???)  uggg....not sure which way to go...

 

9
Lighting / Alien Bee lights - AB800 vs the AB1600?
« on: May 12, 2012, 02:41:22 PM »
Hello everyone.  Seeking a tiny bit of advice.

As I look to upgrade and step up my services I am thinking many things.  Originally I had my mind set that it was time to go from my 1.6 crop 7D to a FF mkiii, and have been saving $$$ for a little while now.  But as I am looking at what I'm doing, the number 1 thing that has provided an immediate bounce in my images has been learning to better use off camera lighting.  Currently i am off camera lighting with a 580 exII and a 430 EX, triggering them with cactus v5's.  I have had good results with them and as i do not have a studio, the portability is nice.  With that said though, I have recently had a taste of using studio lights and the difference is staggering (the raw amount of light and the much quicker recycle time). 

So that led me to alien bee lights and I am kind of torn between the ab800 and the ab 1600.   Looking for some pros and cons to each.  i know the 1600 at 640Ws is a lot of power, is the 320Ws of the ab800 enough?

   


10
Lenses / upgrade, in a sense...
« on: February 20, 2012, 01:23:57 PM »
ok, question for ya'll.  I have currently plotted my lens purchases with 77mm thread in mind so that I can build a set of filters that will work on all of my lenses.  But, now that the mkii versions are out, stepping up the size from 77 to 82, I'm wondering what the best option is?  Should I buy 82 mm filters and step up rings?  Or, should I go with a different system.  Just trying to get a feel for what the options are.  I probably won't be upgrading to the mkii's any time soon, but, I don't want to shell out a ton of $$ on ND's and graduated ND's only to have to replace them all in a few years....

http://chuckalaimo.com/

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