September 19, 2014, 12:15:58 PM

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Messages - GammyKnee

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I tried a couple of new Sigmaluxes a while on my 5DII. Loved the lens optically, but the AF was a nightmare. I sent 'em back and got the Canon 50 1.4, which I've never really liked (not great in the AF dept either, halation when shooting at or near wide open, and wasn't keen on the bokeh in many situations).

Rolling forward to the present, I decided to try it one more time. I bought one second hand from eBay from a guy who insisted his copy focused well on his 5DIII and... it's not bad at all. It has a tendency to rear focus above a certain distance, but in the range I normally shoot it's pretty accurate & consistent, overall better than the Canon. And I really like the bokeh.

IMG_7271 by GammyKnee, on Flickr

That's at f2 which is about as wide as I normally shoot with this lens; my copy's actually pretty good even at f1.4 but I rarely go for DOF that shallow.

Here's another at f2.5

IMG_8726 by GammyKnee, on Flickr

Photography Technique / Re: Website launched!
« on: August 25, 2014, 12:19:18 PM »
Love your articles (great writing style BTW), excellent shots of course, and the site itself is well structured and easy to navigate. Loads nice and quickly too!

The only thing I would say, and bear in mind that this an entirely subjective thing, is that the "boxed" style (clearly outlined fixed width content area) along with the finish and arrangement of the navigation links looks a little retro to me. Like I said though, this is just my personal preference.

Lenses / Re: How many years before we see a 50L II
« on: July 26, 2014, 07:57:48 AM »
The part about loving it because good focus is rare and hard to achieve is a masterpiece in spin doctoring. :)

Beautifully put.

But this is why the 50L is such a divisive lens; some people by nature have an optimistic outlook and concentrate on the times that the AF hits, others dwell on the failures. Glass half full / half empty.

Next 50mm will be the 50mm f/1.8 IS.

I agree, I think that will be the next 50mm we see from Canon.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: HUMIDITY ALERT!
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:51:44 PM »
Just to add another option, I use"self indicating silica gel" bought from eBay in little drawstring nylon mesh pouches. The beads are pet and child safe and go from orange to brown/black when they've soaked up all they can. Empty them into a heat-proof container when they're done, nuke them in the microwave for 1 minute, let them cool and they're ready to be used again. Cost me £8 GBP and I've got 18 months out of them so far.

BTW I live on the West Coast of Scotland. Humidity here sometimes drops as low as 75%. That's on a dry sunny day (so only a couple of times a year then  ;D )

Software & Accessories / Re: Post processing workflow
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:40:12 PM »
I was being cheeky... but when I do ettr, the raw image is better to work with, but the jpg image out of the camera would look blah and over exposed... one of the reasons I don't bother with jpg.

 :) Totally agree with you over jpg. It's like food. If you've got to have it now, get the burger.. or wait a bit longer and have the perfectly cooked steak.

Lenses / Re: Something with 50mm L lens that make it different
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:35:19 PM »
50mm is becoming a really important focal length for me. Right now I've got the 1.4 (good to hear it can last if treated carefully!) but spend most of my time shooting at the bigger apertures, so obviously I keep thinking about either the 50L or possibly the new Sigma. I've looked through lots of shots taken with the 1.4, the 50L and the Sigma, and to my eyes (and in the right hands) the 50L can produce a look that the others can't quite match. It may be as much to do with its weaknesses as its strengths.

Think I going to have to try renting it before splashing the cash though; seems to be a bit of a "marmite" lens!

Software & Accessories / Re: Post processing workflow
« on: July 18, 2014, 12:13:36 PM »
I think I listen too much to people here... I expose to the right by a 3rd of a stop... so my images out of camera all look overexposed with little contrast and even less saturation.  But that is what post is for... fixing what I broke.

As long as you haven't clipped highlights then you haven't broken anything, just bring things back down in post and you should have a cleaner image - that's what ETTR is all about. I don't use it all the time, but it can help with some high ISO shots sometimes.

I think it's a shame that post processing sometimes gets associated with "fixing"; for me it's all about enhancing what's there.

Software & Accessories / Re: Post processing workflow
« on: July 17, 2014, 12:26:37 PM »
I would like to learn these, and many other things about image processing, from a scientific point of view. I want to learn facts, not magic recipes.

Edit: Just read through the thread properly(!) so here's my shortened response:

PP is just about getting a finished image that's a decent match for the mental vision you had when you took the photo. That's the driving force; when you don't have the PP knowledge/technique or tool to produce what you want, then you learn/buy and expand your repertoire. There's no need to use Photoshop if you can get what you want without it.

Personally I think a good way to get a handle on this is to join a forum that has an active "PP This" type of thread - a thread where someone posts up an image and other members each have a go at processing it, describing what what they did along the way, and why.  Here's one I'd recommend, in that it generally avoids the more adventurous edits (such as background/subject replacements) and has a generally helpful atmosphere:

You'll see lots of different "takes" on the same image. Which one is best? How long is that piece of string?

Lenses / Re: Sigma 50mm Art 1.4 Focusing problems
« on: July 15, 2014, 12:48:22 PM »
Conclusion is, Sigma just can't do proper QC, it's just to many that doesn't work.... Lucikly I got a peeerfect 50 Art the second time.

I wish I could find out what the odds are in this Sigma QC lottery, 'cos this new 50 is even more appealing than its predecessor (got burned by that one myself).

Has anybody checked serial/batch numbers to see if there's any trend, e.g. are newer production runs any better than earlier ones?

What do you mean by "longer focal length" on a 30 mm prime?

Given the context I'm sure she means that a misfocus became more and more likely as the distance to the subject increased.

OP, do you mean the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM A (recent) or the older Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM?

If it's the older one, then I had that for about 4 years before I went full frame. Having read about its reputation for unreliable AF, I actually bought it second hand from someone who insisted that his copy was a "good'un", hoping to bypass the whole return/repair cycle. For the most part the lens was indeed pretty good, and certainly I really enjoyed using it.

My copy was unusably (to me) soft wide open even taking AF out of the equation so I typically shot stopped down to f2 or more. AF-wise, it was pretty reliable at relatively close distances (1-2m), after that it could occasionally throw me an inexplicably and wildly out of focus shot. But I stress the "occasionally" - certain light, contrast etc. Also I found it was not terribly good for tracking shots with AI Servo.

So the bottom line is that although my copy had its issues, it wasn't as consistently unreliable as yours appears to be.

Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« on: July 01, 2014, 06:20:28 AM »
As Lightmaster said it's a trade-off. If you use a center column, you're paying for it in reduced stability, susceptibility to vibration etc. But sometimes that's the most convenient or practical set up for the shot.

If you're like me you may find yourself caught between the two camps. In that case the solution is probably to buy good examples of both "breeds", if funds can stretch that far!

Lenses / Re: 70-200 f/2.8L IS II underwhelming
« on: June 06, 2014, 12:08:03 PM »
Henry S - give the "dot-tune" method for setting AFMA values a try. I've worked through number of other techniques but "dot-tune" has become my go-to method for its speed and consistency, and the fact that I don't have to fire off a ton of shots as part of the process:

You can also get a written description of the procedure if you Google for "dot-tune snapsy" (it resides in a different forum so I won't provide a direct link).

With a zoom remember to get values for both the short and long end, so you know if they're significantly different (you then have the option of going for an in-between value).

Lighting / Re: yongnuo yn560-iii any good
« on: May 30, 2014, 04:32:07 PM »
A TTL or ETTL flash will do not better. they are all minimum output 1/128 of full power (some even only 1/64). to reduce output you need lower power, so a flash with lower guide no.

Here's an explanation of why ETTL flashes can produce lower output than their lowest manual setting:

It's damned annoying because when mixing flash with ambient in low light conditions with high-ish ISO, you've really only got two choices:

  • Use your strobes in ETTL mode (for off- camera this means cables or the more expensive remote triggers), or

  • Use some pretty heavy light modifiers on the strobes to forcibly reduce their effect

Lighting / Re: yongnuo yn560-iii any good
« on: May 30, 2014, 11:59:45 AM »
I bought one a while back as a cheap companion to my Canon Speedlites for doing more complicated off-camera setups where the strobes are the principal source of light. In this role I'm very happy with it and consider it great value for money.

That said, if you're going to use it as fill for ambient light I agree with FEBS that it might not be the best candidate; in low light conditions even 1/128th power is still a pretty considerable blast, whereas an ETTL flash can deliver a much lower output if required. Personally I'd look for a second hand speedlite or one of the ETTL-capable Yongnuo models.

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