April 18, 2014, 08:13:40 AM

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Topics - AlanF

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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).

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Sad 5DIII
« on: December 24, 2013, 04:48:46 PM »
The mode dial cap got detached from my 5DIII and lost. It's a pain replacing it because the cap itself is not a Canon part and the whole top unit has to be replaced at a cost of more than £200. I wasn't worried about the cost as the camera is still under a 1 year warranty and I had taken out 3 years accidental damage insurance as well (which is very rare for me to do). Because of the hassle of losing the camera while the repair was taking place, I tracked down a dial cap to glue on, due to arrive on Monday (which it did). But, on Sunday, when walking along with a strap attached to the lens over my shoulder, the body fell off, cracked the top unit and spewed out all of the dial components.  So the dilemma is over - the top unit is being replaced under insurance. The camera is still working, the top unit having acted as a crumple zone.

It's back to the 7D as a great back up.

Software & Accessories / DxO optics Pro 9 Prime noise reduction speed
« on: December 17, 2013, 04:23:57 PM »
I am really pleased I took up the offer and bought the software. It is much easier to use than implied and is quite user friendly. The PRIME noise reduction is simply amazing. It eliminates noise with hardly any loss of fine resolution and combined with the simultaneous USM doesn't introduce the artefacts I see with PS.  My software plans are to keep updated with DxO and keep PS CS6 for routine work with processing. But, the PRIME is oh so slow, taking about 4 minutes per FF raw on my MacBook retina Pro. Has anyone found a way of speeding it up?

There are many, many comments in the the threads about the 7D having a 1.6x longer reach for bird and nature photography than the FF. Those of us who have both FF and 7Ds (Neuro et al) reckon that in practice the difference in reach isn't much in practice and the higher IQ of the 5DIII or 1Dx etc gives overall better images. This morning, I decided to have a shoot out with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III on a 7D vs a 5DIII. Both cameras were hand held, but resting on the shelf of a hide (blind) at sufficiently high shutter speeds that there was no camera shake. Iso was at 640 and the aperture at f/5.6. I post 6 collage pairs out of many shots, which were are representative. The 7D images are at 100% crop (the actual number of pixels). The 5DIII have the number of pixels increased by 1.5x in each of width and height. All images were taken in RAW, and the sharpness and luminance set at 25 units in PS. The crops were cut and pasted into PS jpegs, and the collages sharpened using USM at 0.5 radius and 100%.

The results parallel what I have found many times in the past.

In terms of resolution
1. At very far distances where the cropped image on the 5DIII is about 200-400 pixels high or wide, the 7D is marginally better.
2. For larger images of say ~500-800 pixels high or wide on the 5DIII, it is at least as good as the 7D, if not better.
3. For images greater than a 1000 pixels, the 5DIII is very clearly superior.

The noise is better on the 5DIII.

Site Information / What ads do you get on Canonrumors?
« on: November 29, 2013, 01:43:07 PM »
Ads appear in on Canonrumors pages. They used to be picture of pimply girls before applying some proprietary software and then their beautifully smooth skin, straightened noses and narrowed faces after post-processing. Now, the two well-endowed ladies advertising T-shirts, as well as ads for Ukranian (sic) ladies. These can't reflect my personal browsing habits as I never shop for T-shirts and certainly don't log in to websites specialising in pictures of girls (or boys for that matter). So, does everyone else get these ads? If so, why are they targetting us?

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