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Messages - sunnyVan

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1
Lenses / Re: Help deciding on going full frame
« on: August 26, 2014, 12:19:58 PM »
Hi All,

This is my first post, although I have spent quite a bit of time looking at older threads and gained some very useful information.  I am currently considering going full frame and would like some input from those that have gone before me.  I currently own the following equipment:
Canon 550D
Canon EFS 18-55
Canon EFS 55-250
Canon EFS 10-22
Canon EFS 18-135 STM
Canon EF 50 1.8
Canon EF 85 1.8
Canon EF 70-300 L (on order awaiting delivery)
Canon 430EX flash
Manfrotto Tripod
Sounds like a lot when I write it all down.  So a bit of background.  I started with the 2 kit lenses (18-55 and 55-250) and quickly found that when I was out walking around on holidays taking pics I didn't want to be carrying multiple lenses and swapping them out all the time (also the wife doesn't really like hanging around whilst I swap gear adjust settings etc - sounds of "can't you just take the picture and lets get going").  So I got the 18-135 which suits me just fine in terms of a walkabout lens.  This lens is on my camera most of the time for holiday type pics (50%) and the other 50% of the time if I go out to spend some time doing creative photography (without the wife in tow) I will take additional lenses and will use them as needed.
With the current setup I have been a bit disappointed with the sharpness of the 18-135, think the 10-22 is a good lens, don't use the 18-55 and 55-250 really, and use the 50 and 85 when I want to do shallow DOF or low light stuff (not often). 
I also tend to take a fair bit of low light stuff with my 18-135 when doing holiday pics - an hour either side of sunset - usually when doing these pics I am not wanting to carry multiple lenses.
So my current issues are:
1)  I want a general improvement in the sharpness of my pics as I tend to like having them printed reasonably large and I think the current EFS lenses just won't give me the image quality I would like.
2)  Shooting around dusk with my 18-135 walkabout (even in dark shade sometimes), I am either getting blurred photos due to having to drop the shutter speed to low (even with IS) or bumping the ISO too high and getting unacceptable levels of noise.
I have been purchasing my recent lenses with a view to eventually going full frame (can't wait to play with the 70-300 - my first L lens)
My thoughts have been to upgrade to a 6D with a 24-105 as a walkabout, use the 70-300L as my long lens, a 16-35 F4 as my wide angle and keep the 50 1.8 and 85 1.8 for portraits and shallow DOF as well as low light.  The 6D will solve my issues with noise and ISO whilst the L series lenses will solve my sharpness problems.  I have read about the 6D AF issues, and don't think that will be an issue for me as most of my shots are static and for the odd shot of action I can use the centre point and crop later.

The area I want some feedback on is the 24-105.  From all that I have read the newer 24-70 is lots better, but I won't go with that lens as that would give me a similar range on FF to the original 18-55 on crop that I found too limiting initially.  I know that the 24-105 will be shorter than the 18-135 (equivalent approx. 216 mm), but I think I could live with 105, but definitely not 70 on the long end.  I have read plenty of reviews and opinions on the 24-105 to believe that as an L lens it is pretty average and has a lot of distortion at around 24mm. 

So my questions are:
1)  Will the 24-105 provide a significant IQ improvement when used on FF compared to using the 18-135 STM on a crop.  I am not interested in using the 24-105 on a crop camera, so many of the comments I have read which compare using both on a crop camera are not applicable to my scenario as in that case they would only be using the centre of the 24-105 not the full view.
2)  Should I stick with the 18-135 STM and wait for the 7D mkii which I expect will also have significantly improved noise / ISO and will solve that problem for me, but will then still leave me with the image quality issues from the EFS lens, as I don't see any better quality walkabout lens that will suit me if using a crop sensor.  (The 24-105 would not be wide enough for me on a crop).

So what do you think - 6D, 24-105, 16-35 F4, 70-300L or 7D mkii, EFS 10-22, EFS 18-135 STM, 70-300L.

I can't see any other scenarios that would give me the walkabout options that I want and also achieve the IQ I want.

Sorry for the long post - I thought too much info is better than not enough.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts especially if you have been down the same path as I am going.

Rob

I don't see any disadvantage in getting a 6d and 24-105 kit. You can always sell the lens easily. It's better that you compare the IQ yourself rather than relying on other user's opinion. My guess would be that you'll like the 24-105. Build quality alone is a huge difference from your EFs lenses. IQ is average or above average depending on who you ask. You need to see for yourself whether the IQ meets your needs. It may be good enough for you.


2
Lenses / Re: 100mm 2.8 vs 85mm 1.8
« on: August 08, 2014, 05:42:13 AM »
Okay guys... i'm about to pull the trigger on a new lens for my portrait work, the Canon 85 1.8.  Cheap, excellent sharpness, fast...  And then my boss (wife) asks me... what can this lens do that our 100 2.8 CANT do.  I've done a lot of self research and i'm sold.  While I would love to get the 85 1.2, that's just not in our cards and budget at this moment.  I often shoot in tight places and to be able to blur the background just a smidge more (less photoshop work for me) is very attractive as to reduce our downtime, plus it will give us more wiggle room with framing not being AS tight.  Now here is where I need your help guys... those who have both lenses, had both lenses, or similar lenses, what i'm looking for is kind of a side by side portrait showing the 85 at 1.8-2 and the 100 at 2.8...  a nearer background 2-3 feet is ideal for this purpose... help me sell this lens to my wife...  Yeah yeah i know the common answer will be to rent one and let her see, but to be honest, the nearest place i can rent a lens is a few hours away and to have one shipped out, well lets just say i'm hoping you guys can help first...  Ok... Ready... Go!

The specular highlights produced by the 85 1.8 look angular, not circular. That's part of my consideration when I sold it. Also maximum usable aperture is probably about 2.5 which is too close to my 100L's 2.8. Bokeh is not 135L quality. Nobody should expect that. But it's far better than 50 1.4. Personally like 100mm blur better though. Also it has no weather sealing.

On the good side the 85 focuses faster than the 100L. The focus seems more consistent and reliable. This is only based on my personal experience.

The 85 is a great value lens. You should definitely try it. Nothing to lose.

3
Lenses / Re: How resistant are L lenses against the shocks/vibrations?
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:43:13 PM »
I don't mean if lens drops down on the floor. :)  I mean how resistant are they against the shocks let say while driving on a really bad road. Assume that lenses are stored in a padded camera bag. Are those vibrations critical for any kind of  glass displacement inside of lens?

I have wondered about the same thing. But wouldn't you think that the camera and lens would sustain far more shock and vibration while you carry it around your neck than it would inside of a padded bag? At least when I carry it for hikes it moves around bumping my chest and my hip.

4
Landscape / Re: The Antelope Navajo Under ground cave, ARIZONA, usa.
« on: August 03, 2014, 04:47:53 PM »
Yes, From the city of Page, We drove 7 miles to The Antelope Navajo Under ground cave. We pay 20 US Dollars per person + 8 Us Dollars for Check in , If any one have the big tripods ( Ha, Ha, Ha=They call the Professional Photographers) , We must pay another $ 16 US Dollars, But It worth for 2 hours = Tour/ Walk to see the most beautiful under ground / Colorful Stone cave. Yes, Here just sample of the photos-.----THANKS.
Enjoy
Surapon
PS. These photos  by Canon , Tiny Point and shoot Camera EOS-M with Tiny Lens 18-55 mm + CIR. PL. FILTER,

Thanks for sharing, Surapon. I'm going to the same area in a few weeks. May I ask which tour company would you recommend for exploring the antelope? Did you go to upper our lower canyon? Which would you recommend? Are you saying that the regular tour doesn't allow tripod?

5
Thanks for all the replies. Happy shopping

6
Abe's of Maine, Samy's in California, Glazers in Seattle.  There are options, but they may not offer the same price point.

Watch out for Abe's of Main along with Ryther Camera, 42nd St Photo, and Fumfie  The original Abe's of Maine went bankrupt, and the new owner has a really poor reputation.

http://www.canonpricewatch.com/blog/2014/05/warning-avoid-abes-of-maine-and-other-bait-switch-retailers/

Thanks for providing this information. This is helpful. Now I know which ones to stay away from

7
I tried to submit request for group purchase on canonpricewatch but I will be charged state sales tax because I live in NY. Then I look more closely and it seems that most major camera shops are in NY. Why is that?

And does anyone know of any good stores that are outside of NY? I only know Beach camera and buydig. But I think they are essentially the same company. I'd like to know a couple more to compare.

8
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: March 01, 2014, 04:16:58 PM »
At one time or another I think that I've gone with all of the tour operators that have a tribal permit for Upper Antelope. I really like the guys at Overland Canyon Tours, check'em out and don't forget to make reservations well in advance:

http://www.overlandcanyontours.com/upperant

A few things to keep in mind are (in no rational order):

Don't freak-out over the crowds at Upper Antelope. I've seen pro-level photographers (who were not "emotionally prepared" for the throngs) curse their guide to the bone, throw gear in frustration, & storm out of the canyon.

Most all of the tour guides work together incredibly well. The "regular tour" guides do a great job of keeping their tourists moving quickly past the tripods on the "Photo tours." So well in fact that a 30-second exposure (standard stuff in the slots) will generally do a good job of making all the people disappear.

If you are still frustrated by John-Q-Public getting in your shot, just tilt your camera up a bit. Without the canyon floor in the shot, there will generally not be any obvious horizon or "proper" orientation, so just go ahead & tilt your camera in any way necessary to get Little Timmy out of the shot.

Remember, your basically taking pictures in a cave. Your eyes have adjusted, so you can see just fine, but it really is pretty dark. So under-expose accordingly. That's how you get the deeply saturated dramatic photos you see everywhere.

Don't forget Lower Antelope Canyon! It's smaller, tighter, and you don't have the "light-beams" of its big brother (the more famous Upper Antelope), but it's less crowded and more relaxed. Also, at Lower Antelope if you can convince the caretakers that your gear is "Professional" enough, you can be allowed to enter on your on without having to be part of a guided tour. And before you ask, I have no idea how they judge gear to be professional-enough. I'm generally dragging-ass with more than $20K of gear, while my wife is happily bouncing around with a 5-year-old Rebel, and we both have always been waived in without any problem.

Finally don't go just once and think that you've seen it all. The light in the morning, mid-day, and afternoon is dramatically different. Pictures of the exact same sandstone formation will look completely different taken at different times of the day.

Enjoy...

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed response.  Really appreciate it.  Hope it'll be a fruitful trip.

9
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 28, 2014, 06:08:00 AM »
Quote
Bring a small hand towel... Bring a blower...[and] a soft but stiff brush...

Your quite correct mackguyver. I'll just add that on lens & filter glass, be sure to blow first, then brush if necessary, & finally wipe only if you must. While for camera & lens bodies it's "brush first" because you don't want to accidentally blow dirt into the tiny cracks & crevices...

Also, remember that the vast majority of the dust & sand is going to be on the ground...  ;) Your not going to be able to lay anything down without it getting dirty, so an extra pair of hands can often help... And once something like your daypack or your knees get dirty, just don't worry about it until you get back to the motel; your going to spend a lot of time on your knees taking pictures in the slots... And speaking of motels, avoid the "Page Boy" if you can...

Antelope Canyon is one of those truly unique & special places... If you've never taken pictures in a slot canyon before, I guaranty that you will be "totally lost photographically" on your first tour. So do yourself a big favor and before you spend the extra money on one of the tripods-allowed photography-tours, first visit Antelope as a part of one of the "regular" non-photography oriented tours just to get the lay of the land. The tours are short & cheap enough that you should be able to swing it, and you'll be that much more prepared to take some great pictures in the slots when you return with your tripod on a photography-tour...

Finally, if your really not going to change lenses, go as wide as you got... And if you can swing-it, the slots were made for the Canon 8-15mm... The fisheye would make for the perfect rental-lens for everything in Antelope Canyon except maybe the light-beams & the sand-waterfalls.

So don't worry... Be happy...
It's a dirty world, but someone has to take a picture of it...
Very helpful tips! ! Thanks.


Oh so regular tour doesn't allow tripod?  I thought the only difference between regular and photography tour is the amount of time allowed.

10
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 27, 2014, 08:30:51 AM »
I've been to the Page, AZ area a lot over the years, and I'll just flatly state that I think the dust issues & concerns at Antelope (both upper & lower) are waaaaay over blown. By exercising just a little common sense anyone can safely use a camera and even change lenses without a problem. Now there are other slot canyons in the neighborhood, that are more "open on top" then Antelope, where falling sand can be a concern. Interestingly enough, I've found that the falling sand is at it's worst immediately after a big wind-event rather than during the dust-storm up-top. But even then, just the simplest of precautions have always been sufficient, and I am a stickler for sensor dust... So especially if the slot canyons are going to be a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity for you, I say don't be shy about your gear or even changing lenses, simply be smart about it. Basically just find a more sheltered corner in which to change lenses, be quick, and always use a clear/UV filter.

What you said is encouraging.  I don't plan on changing lens.  I only hope that the sand or dust doesn't get into the zoom ring and the camera buttons. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. 

11
Lenses / Re: How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 26, 2014, 05:46:30 PM »
You can't really. And this is someone who's shot at Burning Man which has the extremely fine, alkaline dust.

What you can do is try and use gaffer's tape at all the seams, including the lens/body interface. If you have a zoom lens...you'll get some dust in there, unless it internally zooms like the 70-200's, or 17-40 (after you add a front filter). You can try a plastic bag, or taping on plastic around the body and/or lens...but just resign yourself to the fact that if you are out shooting more than a few hours, you'll need to send it off to be CLA'd. Especially if you get caught out in a dust storm.

If, on the other hand, you keep it in a bag and take it out only when shooting, and you're not in a big dust storm, don't worry too much. And avoid changing a lens outside if at all possible. That's a great way for dust to get in the mirror box & mess up the mirror or get on the sensor.

Maybe I'll have to use my 17-40 more than my normal zoom then. I'm not too fond of the idea of mailing my lens to be cleaned. 

12
Lenses / How to protect gear from fine sand?
« on: February 25, 2014, 03:03:49 PM »
I'll be visiting Antelope Canyon in Arizona in the summer.  I've heard that the red sand is so fine that it gets in the lens very easily.  For those who visited Utah and Az, any suggestions for protection?  I wonder if a clear plastic bag would be enough to keep the sand out. Thanks in advance. 

13
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 22, 2014, 08:42:15 PM »
I've been to both - the first time was to the north rim. I was staying in Kanab (a long 80m - I think - drive away - so there was no getting there for sunset for me!). It is higher, colder, and completely different. The aspen trees are beautiful - I was there in June and they had their pale green new leaves. I wouldn't say either rim is better - just different. Probably fewer people on the north rim.

If I was going to go back, I'd probably go back to the north rim - I just preferred it.

+1  We visited the Grand Canyon on vacation in June of 2012.  We spent two days on the South Rim and a week later visited the North Rim for a morning.  I really enjoyed the North Rim more, maybe it was the lack of crowds or cooler, more densely forested terrain, but we really enjoyed it.  We also stayed at Kanab and had planned to arrive at the park in time to catch sunrise at Cape Royal.  However, that didn't happen.  I tried valiantly to drag my family out of bed around 4am, but finally gave up and went back to bed myself.  We finally arrived at Cape Royal maybe an hour or so after sunrise.  Overall, we really enjoyed the NR.  My wife and I decided that we wanted to come back to the North Rim and stay at the Lodge for some future vacation.

I included a picture taken near Cape Final but its nothing special.  As I review my North Rim photographs, I really don't find any that are particularly good, maybe due to the less than ideal light or maybe just lack of skill on my part.  Despite my lackluster photography, it is very beautiful.


We are bringing a two year old so I guess we won't even attempt to get up before sunrise.  I am so glad my wife and I did make it to see sunrise a few years ago before we had a baby. 

We reserved grand canyon lodge at north rim. The hope is that maybe I can try to shoot the stars at night. 

14
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 22, 2014, 07:00:46 AM »
Hi,
I have been both too.  I remember the South as mainly hot and warm desert, with a lot of haze and a lot of people.. (in july - not the best moment to go).
Then, I wanted to show the Grand Canyon to my wife, and in our latest trip, we went North.
Not a lot of facilities, we slept at Page. Add 1h-2h car or a little more.
The North is populated with beautiful trees, is more green, and has a better environnement, with also a lot less people.  The Grand Canyon itself is a little less spectacular - from the north, we are not at the deepest/highest place, but you can surely make a lot of very nice shots.  You can see mine here : http://www.seb-closs.fr/voyages/voyage-ouest-americain-usa-parcs/#grandcanyon

The next time we go to USA, I wish to explorer the region of North Grand Canyon, with more time in this Kaibab-plateau and Kaibab-forest, also for wildlife..

Neat website.  Thanks.

15
Landscape / Re: Grand Canyon, North or South Rim?
« on: February 21, 2014, 10:37:46 PM »
I have been to both, and although they are both spectacular, the North Rim is special, mostly because there
are not so many people.  Only about 10% of all visitors to the Grand Canyon go to the North Rim.

Here is one shot I took about 15 month ago.  It is from the Roosevlet Point area.  There was a thunderstorm moving in and it was beautiful to watch.

Enjoy the trip!!

Not having too many people is a big plus. The south rim is simply too crowded.

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