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Topics - FTb-n

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Software & Accessories / Anyone use 3rd party presets for Lightroom 5?
« on: April 18, 2014, 01:48:31 PM »
I'm looking for ways to streamline my workflow and improve the results that I get from Lightroom 5.  Most of what I shoot are indoor sports (basketball, figure skating) and events (people candids) with a touch of landscapes.

Has anyone had success with third-party presets for Lightroom 5?  Are there any "must have" collections or collections worth considering?

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Business of Photography/Videography / How do you insure your gear?
« on: April 03, 2014, 10:03:50 AM »
As a victim of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, my investment has grown significantly over the past few years.  Most of what I shoot is volunteer work for my kids' school and a local figure skating club.  But now, I'm starting to take on private clients on a very occasional basis.  I may be approaching that gray area between hobby and pro when it comes to my home owner's insurance.  So, I'm considering a separate policy that won't be voided should professional work accelerate.

For the pros and semi-pros, how do you insure your gear?

Is PPA membership/insurance worth considering?

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Lenses / EF 24-70 f2.8L II Shutter Speeds
« on: April 02, 2014, 04:37:39 PM »
Long ago, before IS lenses, I developed good habits for holding a 35 steady.  I had too, since I was always pushing the limits of ASA 400 Tri-X and using relatively slow shutter speeds for candids.  But, with a DSLR, I've grown quite accustomed to using IS lenses.  For the past two years, the 70-200 f2.8 II has been my most used lens, supplemented by the 24-105 f4 during the past year.  Both are used on 5D3 bodies.

With last week's sales and rebate, I took the plunge and ordered the 24-70 2.8 II.  It arrived today.  So, the first thing that I try is comparing it with the 24-105, both at 70mm and taking shots at a wall calendar -- my makeshift test chart.  To my surprise, I'm not as steady as I thought I was.  With the 24-70, it was a challenge to hold the center focus point steady against intersecting lines on the calendar.  It seemed clear that I've been spoiled by IS.

For hand-held, non-IS shots, I've always adopted the minimum shutter speed = inverse focal length rule of thumb.  At 1/80 second (and 70mm), most test shots were sharp, but it wasn't consistent.  Some shots were blurry.  In contrast, the 24-105 at 70mm and 1/40 with IS on was more consistently sharp.  (To be fair, a few of the sharp images from the 24-70 were sharper than any of those from the 24-105).

Shooting candids and sports with shutter speeds of 1/200 and up was a key motivation for the purchase -- plus, I'm looking forward to its renowned IQ.  But, I have a question.  For those who own this lens, what's your most comfortable hand-held slow shutter speed at 70mm (assuming a sufficiently stable subject)?

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Lenses / Do you top your pancake with a filter?
« on: February 27, 2014, 11:27:14 AM »
I use clear Hoya HD filters on all my lenses with large front elements like the 24-105 f4 and the 70-200 f2.8 II.  I also use hoods on these lenses that help keep things away from the filters.

But, I don't use a filter on the old 35 f2.0, which has a relatively small, deeply seated front element.  I've also found that a filter on the old 35 will introduce flare from candles or any small light that reflects off the front element and onto the back side of the filter.

The front element on the 40 isn't as deeply seated and protected as the front element on the 35.  Since I use it as a grab shot lens, it can be somewhat at risk.  Still, the appeal to this lens is it's size and I don't want to add a filter that might invite contact with stuff since I won't be using a hood.  My solution is to use the metal ring from an old rubber lens hood that adds just enough protection to deflect the lens from damaging objects when carrying the camera on my shoulder without a lens cap.

But, I'm curious.  Do any of you use a filter on your 40mm pancakes?

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Technical Support / How do you store and archive your images?
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:55:29 AM »
With my XT and various PowerShots, my backup strategy involved a 500 GB external drive and burning DVD's.  With a 60D and 7D, I've had to up the capacity quite a bit.  Now it's two 1.5 TB external drives and burning BluRays (25 GB per disc). 

On the external drives, which I manually mirror, I keep straight-out-of-the camera images in one directory tree and post processed images in another.  I can shoot anywhere from 500-2,000 images per event.  Admittedly, when lighting is reliably even (particularly in color), I shoot JPG.  But, as things get moe challenging light-wise, more likely to need post work, or more important, I'll shoot RAW.  25 MB RAW images add up in a hurry.  Those 1.5 TB drives have nearly 1 TB of photos.

So, as I contemplate another set of 1-2 TB drives, how do you store and archive your images?

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: February 12, 2013, 11:44:02 PM »
All the discussion in this forum about the 5D3 in low light has me intrigued.  I'm particularly interested in a 5D3 w/24-105 f4L IS as an upgrade path for a 7D w/17-55 f2.8 IS.  (For low light candids, I'm often shooting at 1/30 second and find IS to be a must.)

I know that the 5D3 offers greater color depth and that full frame is typically sharper than crop.  I also understand that the 5D3 offers about a 1.3 stop advantage in noise over the 7D.  But, I'm comparing a crop body with a 2.8 lens to the full frame with a 4.0 lens and this noise advantage drops to about 1/3 of a stop.

Now the question.  A 2.8 lens lets in more light than a 4.0, which is more light for the AF system to lock in.  So which system can lock in on focus at lower light -- the 5D3 w/24-105 f4L IS or the 7D w/17-55 f2.8L IS?

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Anybody Tweaking Picture Styles in a 7D?
« on: October 29, 2012, 01:27:05 AM »
Does anyone tweak the Picture Style settings in your 7D?

I shoot primarily sports and candids -- people pics of one sort or another.  Sometimes I'm looking for a little more saturation and detail, a little extra "pop".  My most used lens is the 70-200 f2.8L II with the 17-55 2.8 for close quarters.  These lenses are sharp and shooting wide open certainly adds pop, but things can sometimes be a little flat.

I know that shooting RAW eliminates the need to rely on Picture Style, but I'm not always shooting RAW and, RAW or not, prefer to minimize the need for post work.

So, I'm curious to see what others have learned with tweaking in-camera Picture Styles.  Do you prefer Canon's default settings or have you found ways to improve them?

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Lenses / Canon EF 40 f2.8 vs. EF 35 f2.0 on crop body
« on: October 22, 2012, 06:46:21 PM »
For shooting candids at events or sightseeing, I often carry a 7D/70-200 2.8L II and a 60D/17-55 f2.8.  But, there I times when I wish to travel a bit lighter and swap out the 17-55 for a 35 f2.0 -- or carry one body and the 35.  I know the 35 is soft in the corners on a full frame body, but it's quite sharp for my crop bodies.

I must admit, it is hard to do without the 17-55 when I need to cover an event.  But, when I'm shooting only for me, if I'm going to limit myself to a prime, I like the 30-40 range for grab shots.

Now, I'm intrigued by the pancake 40.  It's half the size of my 35, but one stop slower.   But, I'm having trouble justifying the loss of a stop for the savings of about 0.8" in camera/lens depth.  On a 60D or a 7D, does the pancake make that much of a difference over the 35 in the convenience department?

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