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Topics - IMG_0001

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Hello dear fellows,

In the last few months, I've been eager to start artificial lighting more seriously and I've been looking around for general knowledge on how to light my subjects correctly. Now, I think the cosmetic part of lighting I can deal with. However, now that I've acquired a pair of light stands and flash modifiers for my speedlites (nothing fancy really, just a pair of small 33'' umbrellas and two brolly boxes, 1 is 33'' and the other 40'') I'm a bit underwhelmed by the light intensity I'm able to achieve. Admittedly, I was expecting those modifiers to be a bit big for a single speedlite. Yet, the 33'' brolly needs to be at about 1m max to have somewhat decent exposure and this seems close to my untrained eye, not much room for composition if I want to avoid seeing the box in the image.

I've mainly tried to shoot in a dark room (light colored walls so stray light is bouncing all over) at ISO 100 and apertures from 2.8 and up. The flash unit is a Sigma EF610DG Super. Supposed to output GN61m at 105mm zoom, but I've mostly tried with the head at the 24mm setting to reduce the hotspot in the brolly. Now my questions are, as the title says:

1 - What zoom setting is best to maximize brightness in a light diffuser?
2 - Is it reasonable to shoot ISO 100 for a single off-camera speedlite?

I've tried some guesswork in playing with the various settings at hand, but since I've not been systematic enough, I did not come to any valid conclusions. Researching the web on those topics also provided me with all and the opposite as an answer. Possibly this post by Neuro was the most helpful I've found, but I'm not sure how this relates to big modifiers ( ). Therefore, I'd be interested in hearing how people around here set-up.

Macro / Mechanicals
« on: July 24, 2014, 05:22:32 PM »
A friend of mine was reassembling small gearboxes in the office and I thought why would'nt I seize the opportunity to take out my old Novoflex macro bellows with 105mm on an XSI that I leave at work. Sadly, I had left my flash home and the fluorescent light did not prove to make for very nice textures. Moreover, my co-worker soon started asking for more general views of his work (which I'm not allowed to share).

Nevertheless, here is one not so bad image at close to 1:1.

Please feel free to add your own close-up images of mechanical gizmos to the thread.

Hi everyone,

Today was the open house day (pit lane walk) at the Canadian F1 GP. Here are a few pics that I took while going around. I hope you enjoy some of them.

'll be attending the whole weekend so I'll probably show some more later.

Hi everyone,

When I print my photos, I usually stay in the small borderless formats and always use one of the many local shops that do quality prints. I don't usually pay much attention to resolution and just provide jpegs at the native image resolution.

Now, I have a few images I'd like to print on larger paper (probably 11X14) and I'd like to keep a white border around the image (wider at the bottom) and use a pinstripe around the image border. Possibly even add text in the bottom margin.

II use Lightroom 4, but never really used its print module. Now, I thought it was the time try it out. I plan to prepare the prints as I'd want them to look (borders, paper size, pinstripe, etc) in the print module and then print jpegs at the expected output dpi, again from print module. Then just give those files to the print shop for bringing them in the physical world.

Is that how its supposed to be done?

Any tips welcomed.

Edit: I also planned 200 dpi to avoid the need to uprez some cropped images. Would that provide adequate printed outputs?

Lenses / Lens rental advice for F1 Grand-Prix in Canada
« on: May 14, 2014, 10:22:00 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'll be at Montréal's F1 Grand-Prix in a few weeks and I'll be shooting some of it. I've been there a few times before and shot with various crop bodies and lenses combinations . For photos of the cars, the seat I have allows access to at least one good photo spot. I own the Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 IS and never really liked it. Moreover, it is too short getting anything but the closest corner and pit exit. (I actually wonder why I still haven't put it for sale...) Last year, I rented the 100-400L and really liked the lens a lot. However, I would have liked a bit more reach for getting some additional point of views. Therefore, I was having a look at renting a Tamron 150-600 or Sigma 150-500. Now here are the questions I have:

1 - Does anybody knows of somewhere to rent the Tamron in Canada? (I haven't found any by googling around...)
2 - If I can't find a Tamron, would the Sigma offer anything better than a cropped image from the 100-400?(remember I already shoot a crop body - 60D - so I may already be pushing the envelope...)

Note: I can rent the 100-400 or Sigma for about the same amount.


Lighting / Small monolights vs speedlites
« on: April 28, 2014, 05:26:42 PM »
Hi everyone,

As I want to start and practice off camera flash for portraits and still life, I recently posted about modifiers for speedlites and the answers by Neuro and private really got me thinking. I realized that as I would mostly be working inside and probably firing a lot while learning the lightning basics, I would just be burning through batteries and AC monolights started making sense.

I ended up looking around and found some Godox 300Ws monolights that are quite inexpensive (100$) and that could probably provide a stop or two more light than a single hot-shoe flash (assuming 60-80Ws for those). Considering they are cheaper than a speedlite and could potentially provide as much light as 2 to 4 of the latter, they seem like a much better option. They also allow for adjusting the power on  single light instead of on a multitude of speedlites, which seems convenient.

I'm going to start off with what I have but those seem tempting for the future. Am I missing something here? Would you stick to speedlites or try something like those? What alternatives would you suggest?

Here is a link to the product :


P.S. I understand these are probably not suitable for a professional studio, but Profotos or Bowens are not in my price range...

Lighting / Cobra flash (edit:speedlite) softboxes for portraits
« on: April 16, 2014, 05:35:09 PM »
Hello everyone,

I've been working on my photography skills (as a hobbyist) for a few years now, but I've not really committed to off-camera flash yet. That is something I wanted to do for a while but I always delayed the experience, mainly due to monetary constraints. I did not want to buy cheap and buy twice... well I did some 'buy cheap' but that is another story.

For the record, I own a Sigma EF 610 dg super (full manual control), a chinese e-ttl flash with GN~48m (no manual control - remember the by cheap line?) and an old manual flash with a GN~24m. As you must already have guessed, I mostly plan on using the Sigma.

I also own a set of Cactus V4 transmitter ( cheap anyone?), but they don't work with the Sigma (apparently those seem to want full ttl info or nothing to fire, even in manual mode). Anyways, it is not that much of a problem as the flash can be triggered by preflash (even in ttl) and I'll probably go for a long e-ttl sync cable for times when the trigger is obscured.

Now I have a few questions here.

1- Is a single cobra flash in a softbox assisted by a reflector enough to light a full body portrait indoor?

2- What about outdoor for fill?

3- What would be the largest softbox a single speedlite can fill while maintaining a uniform lightning in those two situations?

4- Would I be better off with some cheap continuous lightning solution than a single speedlite?

Also feel free to provide any more info you find relevant, but keep in mind that my budget is already pretty stretched so I can't afford much. Examples of results you got with a single off-camera speedlite and comments on how you were set-up are also welcome.


Software & Accessories / Screen gamut
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:52:47 AM »
Hello everyone,

To make a long story short, my computer broke and after discussions on the following thread, I settled for a IPS touchscreen ASUS N550JV as a replacement. Now, the non-touchscreen (but IPS) version was reviewed at a couple places and said to have small gamut. I decided to test the touchscreen version with my Spyder4Elite and was stunned by the results (see attachment).

Now, the screen does appear to be high contrast and vivid with neat colors, but I'm surprised nonetheless. I was therefore wondering if anyone is aware of images meant to visually check the screen gamut in order to confirm the calibration/test results. Images with purposefully large gamut that would make obvious deviations in tones in out of gamut areas for example.


Software & Accessories / Advice and comments on laptop for photo editing
« on: January 17, 2014, 04:43:30 PM »
Hello everyone,

My dell L502X laptop motherboard just fried and I need a replacement. I liked the machine performance and the optional led backlit FHD screen was pretty decent once calibrated (99% of sRGB), but the thing is gone now...  I expected more than 2 years of lifespan for a computer that cost over 2000$ at the time so I seriously had not budgeted this "upgrade".

The replacement laptop is going to be my only computer for a while as the growing family won't allow for a office/computer room. Honestly, the main use is going to be engineering and scientific computing, but I would really like it to have a good screen for photo editing. For reasons akin to the office space limitation, I would like to have it for as cheap as possible, but I 'd rather go for a quality item and pay only once. I would also prefer a windows machine over a mac, I feel that the bang for money is lower on mac and I am more familiar with windows and Linux than mac OS.

Note that I already have a Spyder 4 Elite for calibration and use LR4 for editing.

The two models I am considering right now are:

1 - Lenovo W530, windows 7 ~ 1600$ (
2 - ASUS N550JV, windows 8 ~ 1100$ (

Does anybody have experience with these or suggestions on other options. Honestly, the Lenovo is a bit pricey for me right now but I don't want another unreliable machine and I do trust the Lenovo brand more than ASUS, which has a rather flimsy brand record.

One last note, I live in Canada.

Best regards and thanks in advance for your incoming inputs.

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