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Topics - JPAZ

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Lenses / 24-70 f/2.8ii made me a believer
« on: February 23, 2015, 12:21:16 PM »
I know this is a bit redundant for those of you who have used this lens but I recently gave it a good "workout" at my grandson's birthday party.  All I can say is, wow!

I used to think that the descriptions on threads, here were a bit overblown but, the colors really do pop and the contrast is really better.  Wide open, the sharpness is incredible.  The only lenses I used were this and my 70-200 f/2.8ii.  There are some shots where the 24-70 might have been "better" than that excellent glass.

Anyway, after debating about whether to get this lens, I am now glad I did.  I might just need to sell the 24-105.

Please, no flaming for no photos, BTW, but my family has a great reluctance when it comes to posting pics of the kids online.   

EOS-M / Why do I keep my Eos M?
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:51:22 AM »
Tried to be a bit provocative in my title but I am looking for opinions.  I do have the 5Diii and it is my go-to for just about everything.  I got the M during the huge price break a while back and that body with the 22mm and the 18-55mm and the adapter has been untouched for about a year.  I have gotten some great photos with the M but the slow focus and the shutter lag (better after the firmware update but still slow) and the lack of a true viewfinder (without some more investment) have made it a rarely used spare.  I've thought about bringing it along to use as a crop-based sensor to get more reach in conjunction with my usual kit, but then never do that.  I have thrown it in my briefcase on a quick business trip but then wind up using my smartphone for a P&S quick snap or two because it is so easy and convenient.  When the grandchildren are active, it is really tough to get a good picture with the M unless I can get them to be still (yeah, right).

None of the above is news or is earth-shattering information for any of us.  I guess I am wondering why I have this camera.  I am starting to think that if I want a smaller body with versatility that I'd have been better off with a M4/3 or a Fuji (if we ignore the price issues and the need for different lens lineup).  I guess I just need some "counseling" here.   No flaming desired but I'd like to hear others thoughts.


Third Party Manufacturers / How's the RX-100 Miii? Should I?
« on: September 06, 2014, 04:32:32 PM »
My spouse has a NEX-7 but she wanted something smaller for travel.  I did not want to see her getting a P&S (because of my concerns about IQ) and she wanted a viewfinder.  After looking at the G1x, some of the Fuji line, the Nikon J and the Olympus PEN, she really liked the size of the Sony RX-100iii.  To my hands, it does seem small but she feels it is a good fit for her.  Some nice small cameras would require an add-on viewfinder which does level the "cost playing field" a bit.  Anyone have some first-hand experience with this camera that can share their thoughts?  I do think I understand the limitations but it does seem to take some really nice images.


Third Party Manufacturers / Mindshift - Does it fit?
« on: August 15, 2014, 05:09:00 PM »
I am being plagued by GAS again  ;) .  I am looking at the Mindshift r180 Professional camera backpack as an option for an upcoming trip.  I've looked at many reviews.  There are no dealers in my area that carry the product so I'd have to order one to see if it works for me.  If any of you have any experience with this bag, I 'd appreciate some insight.  My questions:

 -Can I fit a 5Diii with a 25-105 and a 17-40 plus a 70-200 F/4 IS into the rotating lower bag / fanny pack part?
-Anyone take it aboard an airliner as carry on and how did that work out?

Thanks in advance.


Landscape / Comet 209P/Linear Meteor Shower
« on: May 24, 2014, 03:42:57 AM »

I was ready.  Had my 14mm f/2.8, my remote, my tripod and my new gimbal.  Got the times from news articles.  Got the coordinates (local time midnight with compass 348 and az 28 degrees.  Even used my iPhone app to make sure the direction to the constellation Camelopardis was where I thought it should be.  And I got.....


I expected light pollution (could not get out of town) and was concerned because of the fires in Northern Arizona and the articulate that would be on the Northern horizon.  But, no streaks / meteors at all over 2 hours.  Anybody see anything? 

Software & Accessories / LensMaster
« on: May 19, 2014, 10:25:41 PM »
Hi Cr's,

After a lot of internal debate, research, reading and reviewing threads here, I got my Gimbal, the LensMaster RH-2.  I looked at many different brands and rice ranges and decided on this product because the price is right, I actually won't use it that often (yeah, right....just wait until I start to find excuses to use it!), and it seems more than adequate for my needs.  Just started to play around with it tonight and it is easy to balance and seems very substantial.  The parts move smoothly and it was a snap to remove my Ballhead and put this on my legs. 

Here's some shots (courtesy of iPhone) of the 5Diii and 300 f/2.8 ii. Wish I'd had this for the "Red Moon" Eclipse.  Now I am ready to go back to Denali!

Software & Accessories / I know, Another backpack question
« on: February 14, 2014, 03:18:33 PM »

Just looking for some advice / opinion since the local shops don't have a huge selection to try.  When I trek, I use a Loka from F-Stop.  When I travel, I use a Retrospective 7. 

This weekend, I am flying to my Grandson's birthday party.  I have picked the following to bring along:

-5diii with 24-105
-70-200 f/2.8
-100 f/2.8L
-Speedlight 430ex
-Cards, batteries, charger, etc.

My dilemma, how to carry?  My Loka is great when out on the trail, and I've used it for photo trips working out of a car but not when I am at a birthday party.  Right now I have the extra lenses and flash in my Retrospective and the camera in a Crumpler (I think 3 million dollar).  Then I've put both of these into a carry-on legal duffel bag which, along with my small overniter, allows me not to check luggage. 

So, I am thinking about another backpack (I have Kata 3n1 from my crop camera days that is too small for my present gear, have an old Slingshot from a much smaller camera and gear) for these kind of times.  I have read reviews on the Gura Gear lineup, a friend has a Lowepro Rover AW, and I've looked online at the Thinktank lineup.  I know everyone has different needs and tastes, but I'd appreciate opinions.



Software & Accessories / Adobe.....You changed my mind. Too Bad.
« on: December 02, 2013, 10:32:18 AM »
I was all set to go for the $9.99 / month deal.  I am using LR 4.4 and since the upgrade is $79, I'd spend the $10 a month and was going for it.  But, I now will not do it and here is why.

First, the background.  I am in the midst of moving my "old" stuff to my new PC.  Not the best way to spend a holiday weekend, but it is worth it in the end.  In the process, I noted I have purchased and legally installed:
-PS CS2, 4, and 6
-LR 3 and 4
-Acrobat 9
-Indesign CS3
So, it is fair to say, I've spent some $ over the years with Adobe.  I actually use CS 4 once in a while because there are a couple of things it does that I find easier to achieve than with CS 6.

So, in the process of moving software, the Indesign (I have original discs) tells me I cannot activate it because it is already installed on another machine (note that there is no physical way to de-activate it despite the multiple online and forum details on how to do that) and I'd need to go through customer support.  Then. I remembered what a hassle it was the last time I moved my paid for and only used on one machine Indesign install by spending hours with customer support.

Next, I installed CS 4.  I'd like to note that this is not readily available for download online and therefore does not seem to be well supported anymore.  It installed without a hitch but then told me that it, too is installed on too many machines and I have 30 days to fix this.  While I hope that de-activating on my old machine (if there is that option available - remember that it never was for Indesign), will fix that little issue.

So, I decided it was time to go to Adobe support (for which they've threatened to charge me in the past) since at least CS 6 seems to be OK so far and I figured I could get Indesign and CS4 fixed.  Well, I was #21 in the customer que online.  30 minutes later I was #17.  I went to dinner and was down to #14.  And, the warning about the breech of security was open prominently behind the chat window the whole time.

You know what Adobe, I really owe you  a great deal of thanks.  I can appreciate that software piracy is a big issue and you are trying to protect yourselves.  But the entire customer experience for me has never been pleasant or easy, not now or even in prior years.  And, you did not seem to protect me very well in terms of my personal information.  You will still get some of my business, because I will likely buy the upgrade to LR 5, but that's as far as I am willing to go with you.  Instead of a reasonable relationship, I perceive an attitude of arrogance, and customer-be-damned-because-we-control-you.  I really like your products but not your company and its policies.

Too Bad.........

Lenses / Make it stop! (Photo pun not intended)
« on: November 30, 2013, 12:15:50 PM »
I was very happy with myself when I got my new 70-200 2.8 ii for <$1800 recently after rebate.  Still really feeling the love after a 300 f/2.8ii rental, I set a notification for that lens on the ongoing Black Friday sale and missed it for $4900-something TWICE because of a little something called employment getting in the way of constant email surveillance.  That's probably a good thing.  I could rent this lens lots of times and still spend less than a purchase (don't discuss rental $ versus purchase $ , please).

Now, I wake up to that $750 after rebate deal on the 100 Macro L f/2.8 IS at BuyDig.  The temptress got me again!  So now, another shining Canon box will head my way next week.  I think I need to stop even looking.  I need some sort of therapy, but that's been posted here before........

Software & Accessories / India Tripod
« on: November 16, 2013, 06:52:36 PM »
All.  I am planning a trip to India (mostly Southern India but will go to Jaipur and Agra as well) in January.  I've done enough traveling to appreciate minimizing the gear I'll bring.  My present thoughts are to bring my "travel triad" of 17-40, 24-105, and 70-200 f/4 IS.  I can get all of these with my 5diii into my shoulder/messenger bag and hence won't be the biggest flashing "please steal my camera stuff" out there.  And, this all goes nicely into my carry-on luggage.

Now, my question:  Since I plan to be at the Taj Mahal at both sunrise and sunset and since all this gear is f/4 at the fastest, should I bring my tripod or monopod?  This would probably need to be in checked baggage (airport security is so variable).  Then, I would need to have checked luggage.  Worth the hassle?  And, does anyone know about tripods at a place like the Taj Mahal?  Again, hand holding is more discreet.  Is there a restriction or a fee involved for a tripod?  What about a monopod?  The f/4 does not otherwise worry me since the high ISO performance of the camera is good, but a longer exposure has its benefits as well.

Any insight and any experience at that location is appreciated.


Canon General / Any special "hints" for shopping?
« on: November 10, 2013, 12:50:14 PM »
Hi all,

I am going to be in NYC for a few days, soon.  I just might happen to wander into a few stores like B&H and Adorama to look around (  ;) ) .  Any of you have any helpful hints?  I know I will be like a kid in candyland until I calm down.  There is nothing specific that I need but lots I want like a 70-200 f/2.8 ii or a 300 f/2.8 ii (notice I did not say lots that I can afford).  Thanks.

Lenses / 300 f/2.8 -a big problem
« on: November 03, 2013, 05:40:02 PM »
I just made the mistake of renting the EF 300 f/2.8 this weekend for a trip to Bosque del Apache.  The problem......I LOVE this lens! The speed, focus lock, clarity and contrast were amazing with and without the 2x TC and even in the very low light of sunrise.  No surprise but this lens blew away my 100-400.  My trusty 70-200 f/4 never came out of the bag.  I even got a few decent keepers doing BIF pics with the 300 + 2x TC handheld (yeah, my left arm is tired  :o ).

So what am I to do?  No way my budget allows me to get this lens.  I am trying to tell myself that not using a zoom at this range created some issues and that swapping lenses and TCs was a pain and that the lens was too heavy.  But, I found myself putting it back on the camera every time I tried an alternative.  If I need a good zoom, I guess I could always look at the 200-400 (yeah, right $$$$$).

So here I sit.  I know I'll be renting this or another beauty again.  Some consolation, there.....

Seriously, does anyone think a 70-200 f/2.8 (another beauty, no doubt but at a much better price point) with a TC and some cropping can come close to the IQ of the effective 600 f/5.6 I was using?

Oh well.

Lenses / Yet another "which lens" question......
« on: September 24, 2013, 01:12:52 PM »
I know this is a topic that has been kicked around a lot but I am looking for some words of wisdom.  I am planning to go to Bosque del Apache some time in November.  I will try to avoid the Festival of the Cranes just so I won't have to maneuver around huge crowds.

As you can see below, I have a 100-400.  I have gotten some decent pics in good light with this even with the 1.4x.  But, some of the photos I will be after are dawn and dusk so the lighting won't be great.  I am thinking of renting a super-tele for this trip.

Given the 5Diii high iso performance but the lack of a crop body, I am thinking about :

-300 f/2.8 with the 1.4x (effective 420mm f/4) or a 2x (effective 600 f/5.6)
-400 f/4 - don't think it offers much over the 100-400 except a little better IQ)
-400 f/2.8 with 1.4x (560mm f/4) or 2x (800mm f5/6)
-500 f/4 - would yield ridiculous reach (700mm and 1000mm) with extenders but slow (f/5.6 and f/8)

Given that I'll use a tripod for a lot of shots and only hand-hold a bit, what do you all think you would do?  Anyone ever shot here?  I handled a 300mm f/4 years ago in the early morning light but that was on a crop body without an extender.  FYI, I will need to fly to New Mexico so my stuff needs to be able to fit into the overhead and some of these lenses are a bit large.   

I could always bring my M and use a super tele for reach  ;)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Back button and focus points 5diii
« on: September 18, 2013, 01:32:45 AM »
I recently converted to the back button for focus and I am totally hooked. But, I find myself using center-point focus then recomposing almost exclusively, now.  So, given my glorious 61points in this camera, should I be even bother to use any more than the center.  I know this sounds like a silly question, but I have found myself putting the center on my subject, focusing, then moving and just wonder if I am losing out on some of the camera's capabilities. Just thinking.........

Third Party Manufacturers / I killed a Samyang!
« on: August 12, 2013, 03:09:13 AM »
Actually, this could go under that recent thread about dumb things we've done when tired.

I set up my 5Diii with my 14mm to try to get some shots of the meteor shower tonight.  I was trying different exposures, usually pretty wide open with ISO from 800 to 6400 and exposures from 15 to 30 seconds.  After 45 minutes of fruitless searching and lots of shots (too much light pollution in my locale, I am afraid), I decided I'd had enough for a while.

The good news:

-Planning a trip to the North-lands and if the Aurora cooperates, this was a good practice run.  My last -Northern Lights shots were with a crop and the 10-22.
-The pretty uninteresting shots I got were turning out rather well with these exposures.
-The tripod and plate and remote trigger were absolutely perfect for me.
-The 14 mm Samyang was doing just what one would expect from this surprisingly good lens for the price.

Now, the bad news:

After deciding to stop, I tripped over the tripod and all went to ground!  The casualty was the Samyang as the mount just snapped off.  Camera and all else seems fine and the landing was on a very soft pile of stuff so I'd suspect the mount is not very tough. 

This gave me an opportunity to see the guts of this lens.  Basically only a minimal number of glue spots and 4 very small screws through a flimsy piece of plastic hold the mount to the rest of the lens.  Not very substantial.  I carefully disassembled what I could, cleaned everything up as well as I could, and carefully re-assembled the lens using my own minimal glue spots and the same tiny screws.

Now, the thing "works" (although the diaphragm does not respond to the adjustment band).  I actually took some shots and except for the inability to open up the aperature, it seems to be aligned and otherwise OK.

So, the lens is terminal.  Given the cost of the lens, it probably is not worth trying to get parts and repair it.  I suspect my 17-40 will need to suffice for now. since I am not ready to buy a new 14mm. 

I still like this Samyang lens.  For the price, it is a great deal.  I can't say for certain, but I sure hope the OEM lenses we all have are assembled a bit more substantially, but I don't plan to break one to find out!

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