August 22, 2014, 12:03:44 AM

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Topics - AlanF

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1
Animal Kingdom / Tamron 150-600mm bird pics
« on: August 19, 2014, 07:47:15 PM »
I have been on holiday in Canada for two weeks, walking with my Tamron 150-600mm and 5DIII. The birds are difficult to find - you suddenly come across small birds who will be around for a few seconds or minutes and then disappear. To get any photos you need a portable, reasonably long lens that you can swing into action in seconds. The birds are often hiding in bushes and you need IS for long exposures. My 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III would have been the best solution, but the Tamron 150-600mm was more than good enough and more suitable for a holiday combining a family visit with the odd day for birding. Those knockers who have dismissed the Tamron in favour of a 400mm f/5.6L + 1.4xTC would have been completely stranded without IS - one of the exposures was as low as 1/50s and many in the 1/250 range. The 100-400mm would have been too short. The exifs are on the photos, which are all 100% crops, ie 1 pixel on the image = 1 pixel on the uncropped full frame. I was pleased with the haul. Most of the photos were in the Hammonds Plain area of Halifax NS.
The first 4: Canada Warbler 1/50s, Cedar waxwing, Black-capped chickadee, Ovenbird.

Please post images of your own from the 150-600mm Tammy.

2
Finally packing to go to Boston then Halifax next week. I was given helpful advice of places for bird photography and nature in http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=19255.msg360984#msg360984

Any updates, more help and advice of where to go would be much appreciated.

I don't know whether to take my 300mm f/2.8 II plus extenders or settle on the Tamron 150-600mm for lightness and versatility at the expense of IQ at 600mm. What a terrible dilemma!

3
Photography Technique / Tour de France crops
« on: July 08, 2014, 10:11:24 AM »
Yesterday afternoon a stage of the Tour de France started from Cambridge, and I wanted a record of the parade coming out in front of my college, the tall Gothic building with the spire. So, I hung out of a 2nd floor window, with my right leg wedged between the wall and an armchair, on which my wife was instructed to sit and not get up. I used the 5DIII with a 70-200mm f/4 L IS at f/8 to increase the DoF and iso640 for a decent shutter speed. All images are reduced to fit.

I would like advice on the composition. Top is the uncropped image. Below a narrow crop to remove the spectators just below me and the wall of the building, and reduce the foreground. However, the Gothic building is rather to the right. Next is a squarer crop, which has some wall and faces, but the Gothic building is exactly 1/3rd way in. I like this version, despite the faces on the right. Bottom, is just to show the yellow and green jersyes as they went past (the 70-200mm is just so sharp).

Advice please on the best crop or left alone, bearing in mind the Gothic building is important?


4
Lenses / Fungus common on 500mm L IS?
« on: June 11, 2014, 04:42:24 PM »
I could not help but notice and wonder about a 500mm being listed on eBay UK: "First of all please note that there is fungal growth within the elements which is quite common with Canon 500mm lenses." Is it really true that fungus makes a bee line for a 500?

5
I have been taking some bird photos with the 300mm f2.8 + 2xTC on 5DIII where I have had to hold the kit at about 45 deg. The 4 kg or so gets a bit tiring after a while and so I have just ordered a Manfrotto carbon fibre monopod. It's a very good deal and a 234RC tilt head is thrown in for free. The stated load bearing for the head is 2.5 kg. I can see that if you clamp the base of the head to a rigid support and then tighten the head so that the camera is held rigidly then the maximum load bearing is crucial. It seems to me, however, that if all I am doing is to hold the camera and just use the tilt head as a loose hinge on a support and don't tighten it, then it should easily cope with the 4 kg as I am sharing the load and I am not putting stress on the bearings.  Does anyone have experience of 'overloading' the 234RC in this way?

6
Street & City / Is this you in the Shanghai smogscape?
« on: March 30, 2014, 08:32:51 AM »
Wandering around Shanghai's Pearl Tower with an Ixus 310HS in hand, I couldn't resist taking this shot of a Canon-lover posing posing for a Nikon.

You can see on the left how the distant buildings are lost in smog. This was a sunny day. It is so sad that Shanghai has this year succumbed to severe pollution. There follow a shot in mid-afternoon from the Pearl Tower over the smog-shrouded city, and another of relatively close buildings lost in the smog.

(All taken on the little Ixus 310HS I bought as a foolproof point and shoot for my wife last week - sold dirt cheap from the local dealer clearing out old stock. The little Canons are just so good).

7
Software & Accessories / LP-E6 third party and Canon Chargers
« on: March 19, 2014, 07:25:56 PM »
One of my LP-E6 batteries comes up with an error message that it communicates irregularly with my 5DIii but it still works fine. It charges correctly on my old charger supplied with the 5DIII a year ago. Today, I tried to charge it with the more recent apparently identical charger supplied with the 70D.  It doesn't charge but the charger goes into a rapid red flashing mode.   It looks as if Canon has nobbled it's more recent chargers so as not to work with some 3rd party LP-E6s, and my LP-E6 is not recognised as Canon.

8
We have an interesting thread of who would prefer a 600mm f/4 II versus 200-400mm f/4. Let's get down to the nitty gritty of who has actually bought or is in the process of buying one or more of the lenses discussed in the thread.

9
Lenses / lenstip beware!
« on: February 13, 2014, 12:56:34 PM »
I was directed to lenstip via google link and got this warning. Oh dear - I have visited several times directly.

10
Unpacked my Tamron this morning. Basically, it handled just as predicted by the lensrental data and the other good data published. It focussed fast at 400mm and below, and a bit sluggish at 600 on both a 5DIII and 70D. The IQ performance at 400mm and below was at about the same as the 100-400L, which I have sold.

Now for the test that I have wanted to see: how does it compare at 600mm vs the 300mm f/2.8 II plus 2xTCIII. I AFMAd it on a 5DIII and took a couple of shots of an iso 12233 chart. The chart was illuminated by only a halogen lamp. Images from both lenses were treated the same way for processing from raw. The Tamron was set for f/6.3 at 1/400s iso 2500, and the 300x2 at f/5.6 at 1/500. For the pair in the next post, both were at f/8 and 1/250. These are 100% crops, which need downloading for comparison.

Here are the Tammy at/f6.3 (Top) and the Canon at f/5.6 (Bottom)

11
PowerShot / 200x zoom on SX50
« on: February 08, 2014, 12:40:39 PM »
Don Haines's comments have inspired me to test the SX50 at 200x zoom - 50x optical plus 4x digital. I am on a brief trip to Jerusalem and, as usual, slung my SX50 into my case. Today had beautiful light. Here are some shots, ranging from 24-4800mm. The quality of the digital zoom really surprised me. All the shots were taken as jpegs, with no processing - straight out of the camera. To start with, the Church of the Dormition: 24; 200; 1200; and 4800mm equivalents.

12
Lenses / Stacked TC IIIs on 300/2.8 II Brief summary
« on: February 01, 2014, 12:51:13 PM »
We have been having discussions about stacking 1.4xTC III and 2xTC III on telephotos. I have done some testing using a 70D, and here are some brief conclusions, incorporating what others have already written and discovered.
1. Stacking requires a 12mm extension tube placed between the two TC III extenders.
2. The 2xTC III must be attached to the lens and the 1.4xTC to the camera.
3. The camera exif records only the effect of the 2xTC - the pair attached to a wide open f/2.8 records as f/5.6.
4. The 300/2.8 focusses manually at all the usual distances, and the same is reported for other telephotos.
What I found from the 70D today is:
5. AF works only at intermediate distances (approx 30-80m, give or take) and not closer or at infinity in both live view and phase detect. (The 5DIII also didn't AF).
6. IQ is quite good.

Here are two shots of Egyptian geese at about 20-30m. The stacked TCs required manual focus which I did through the viewfinder, rather quickly, resting the lens on the ledge of a hide. The full shots are reduced to 1200x800, the crops of the heads are 100%. The goose standing is done with just the 2xTC attached. The sitting goose with the 1.4x + 2x.

Both are wide open (f/5.6 with 2x, f/8 with 1.4x+2x), iso 640 and 1/3200 or 1/1000s.

13
Animal Kingdom / Where to go near Halifax Nova Scotia?
« on: January 25, 2014, 06:30:03 AM »
My son has just got a holiday home by a lake in Halifax Nova Scotia and invited us there for August. My wife and I are into bird photography. All advice welcome please, bearing in mind I am a fit 70.

14
My 5DIII is out of action while being repaired and so I have reverted to my old 7D. I am one of those hiker/bird photographers who uses the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III combination at 600mm for its relative lightness. The 7D autofocusses quite quickly with most lenses in general under all conditions. It is a bit slow with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III for well-defined targets and fails for diffuse ones and hunts badly. Out of frustration, I tested a 70D in a shop with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III and it was fine. The 70D is reputed to be less noisy than the 7D and slightly sharper (DxO tests give the figures).  So I bought one.

Here is a brief review.

1. Most importantly, despite being described as having the same AF system as the 7D, the 70D works very well with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III combo and appears to have a more consistent and faster AF. So, the over-riding consideration for me is fulfilled.

2. I prefer the screen and toggle switch of the 7D as I use the camera as a digital telescope in the field for identifying birds. But, the swivel touch screen of the 70D does have advantages.

3. The 70D lacks the spot focus of the 7D - it just has the "open square" in the viewfinder.

4. The weather here has been atrocious so field trials have been difficult. My impressions are that the 70D is indeed sharper than 7D at the extremes of resolution.

As there are so many variables under field conditions, I conducted a test under controlled conditions. I took a very sharp close-up of a kingfisher with my 5DIII in the summer and had a large size print made. So, I used the print as a target. I used the 300mm f/2.8 II without the TC for testing as it is so sharp and will not be the limiting factor in resolution at the distances used indoors. The lens was AFMAd using FoCal on both bodies prior to use.

This target photo had been taken at iso 1250, 1/320s and f/5.6 at 600mm on the 5DIII.



15
Software & Accessories / FoCal website not responding
« on: January 03, 2014, 01:58:42 PM »
Order a 70D last night, delivered this morning. My version of FoCal needed updating for the 70D but the management system of the site is not responding. Has anyone else experienced problems with it?

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