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Messages - DFM

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EOS Bodies / Re: What will become of the 5D Mark III?
« on: February 04, 2015, 10:00:07 AM »
It'll be a long wait for any future single-digit body to get Magic Lantern (if ever - the project goals have shifted away from Canon in recent months), so personally my 5DIIIs will remain in use. There are better cameras for shooting H.264/AVCHD, but as a compact hybrid of raw video and stills, the 5DIII still takes some beating. If used prices go through the floor, 5DIIIs can take on more crashcam/drone gigs and there'll be a lot of indie filmmakers buying a second body instead of going off their heads trying to color match footage from a Rebel.

Personally, talk of 4K H.264 is just a marketing gimmick for the GoPro generation. Pro shoots that spec 4K capture also need raw frames, so it's time for BM or RED hardware. Microstock stills shooters will want 50MP just because their customers tend to go with "forget the quality, see the width!" but if you're recording 1080p video, large photosites are worth their weight in silicon.

Although it's included in CC, Lightroom is one of the "retail" products (along with the Elements apps) and those have always been available with perpetual licenses. Adobe have not said that will change, but I cannot give you a categorical statement beyond what's on the LR blog. The cloud-based features (Lightroom Mobile and the web portal) do require users to run a subscription version of the desktop application, so for some people who need the LRm tools the existence of a perpetual license in LR5 is somewhat moot - but someone's got to pay for the millions of DNGs passing across Adobe's servers.

The real news is that it's not really an upgrade, just a change in the user interface.

Windows 10 has a completely new kernel (Microsoft OneCore, NT10.0) - it is not a UI refresh on the NT6.4 kernel used in Windows 8.1.

Adobe products are certified to run on the latest operating system version on each supported platform as available to retail customers at the time the software is launched, plus a selection of legacy OS candidates that happen to have the features necessary. There will be no claim of compatibility for an OS in Technical Preview, as the vendor will not permit certification.

For most EU carriers weight and ticketing is the deciding factor, not size. Stand at any gate and you'll see people with roller cases *way* over the specs, but if you're carrying something that looks heavy and can't be squashed into the bins, be prepared to get it pulled. Not good for photo gear in a soft case.

I do a lot of overseas work and flying business class makes the most difference - they'll offload from economy before starting to annoy the people in front of the curtain - but it also depends on the airline; for example Swiss business class leaves every other seat empty so there's double the room in the bins. Budget carriers that charge extra for hold bags are more used to people taking the p*ss, so they tend to pounce more often. A soft case of clothes can always be rammed into the overhead bins if you kick hard enough, but if your camera bag is an inch too fat, you're stuffed.

Flying economy I always carry a cabin bag that's significantly under the size limits with just my camera and lenses in (I use a generic roller case so it doesn't scream "photographer" and result in the terrifying proposition "Please put your bag on the scales"), padding the gaps with bare essentials for one night, then I'll pack the rest of my clothes plus any field-replaceable gear (spare flashes, tripod, grips) into a photo backpack - I have a bunch but tend to use a Calumet BP1500 for field work - and stuff that into a cheap-looking suitcase to check in. I don't care if that goes missing or gets broken into (both have happened over the years), and I know I'm not going to see my cameras hurtling down the jetway chute.

I can see the time and cost advantages of having everything in one bulging carry-on, but if the idea of it going in the hold and being excreted into Baggage Handling at the other end bothers you, don't risk it. You will be the one they tap on the shoulder.

Photography Technique / Re: Extreme macro question
« on: November 23, 2014, 05:55:02 AM »
There's no "best" method, as it depends what you can sacrifice (effective aperture, DoF, setup time, etc.). The most important advice I'd give it to abandon all hope of using AF with extreme macro - in most cases it's much easier to move the camera or subject on a macro stage than to try and focus. There's a reason the MPE-65 has no AF or IS. If you're stacking images the control you get from a stage is far superior to turning the focus ring. I'll sometimes use Magic Lantern's focus stacker to drive an AF lens if I don't have any other stuff to hand, but it's gnarly.

Reversing a short prime directly onto the body is the simplest arrangement and lets the most light through. You need an old manual lens with a mechanical aperture ring though - it's where Nikon users get to smile - a lot of macro shooters buy old film SLR lenses on eBay.

Reversing a short lens on the front of a longer one gives higher magnification but at a cost - if the combination isn't right you get vignetting, and there's a major reduction in light. The highest magnification is where the body lens is a long tele (focus at infinity) and the reversed element is a short prime (also at infinity) - but go too far and the focus point ends up against the glass.

As a rough guide, here are some measurements I took using a 7D, SMC 50mm, 70-200mm, 2x TC, macro tubes and a 17mm fisheye. The table shows lenses attached from the body (left) to the subject (right), and 'R' shows a reverse mount.

LensesFocal distance (mm)Frame width (mm)
TC 50mmR10017
tube68 50mmR5011
tube36 50mmR6024
tube20 50mmR7021
tube68 TC 50mmR808.5
TC tube68 50mmR456
TC 70mm 50mmR158
TC 200mm 50mmR153
tube68 TC 200mm 50mmR103
200mm 17mmR403
TC 200mm 17mmR401

That last row sounds awesome, but your DoF is around 0.01mm so you need a microscope stage to adjust it (and a very dead subject). You can actually shoot through a microscope objective lens (mounted into a hole in a spare body cap) - it's a fiddly process, but by using a planar objective you preserve focus across the frame so it's easier to stack.

Technical Support / Re: Circular Polarising Filter
« on: September 29, 2014, 04:57:15 AM »
Plastics can change the polarization of light passing through them because they're very slightly birefringent (the refractive index is direction-dependent). The degree of birefringence relates to the internal stress in the polymer chains, so when you view a scene through a polymer sheet with one polarizer, the effect it has will be degraded. If you were to put another polarizer on the outside, you'd see rainbow colors. This will mess with the CP filter's ability to effect the outside scene cleanly.

In this case you're also fighting against reflections from different sources. The outside world is, in general, reflecting primary sunlight - so the reflections have an element of polarization that's perpendicular to the incident light (physics 101, the incident and reflected wavefronts interfere with one another based on the angle between them - Google for Brewster Angle). That's why a CP filter works best when your camera is at 90° to the sun. Inside the aircraft, any reflections from the inner surfaces will be from scattered light inside the cockpit, so the incident direction could be anything - and the polarization won't be the same. This is why you can't "tune out" both sides at the same time.

So you are suggesting the fact that the windows have some sort of polarisation in them they may react in reverse to the outside scenery.

Technical Support / Re: Circular Polarising Filter
« on: September 28, 2014, 06:37:49 AM »
All plastics have some innate polarization, it's a byproduct of the internal stresses that form when they're molded (and why Perspex models of components were used for stress analysis before the days of CAD/CAM software). Even planar windows in fixed-wing cockpits are polarized, so a polarizer on your lens (LP or CP) will always introduce problems.

Realistically, the only way to get pro quality aerials is to remove the door, or mount the camera outside on a remote gimbal. With a wide angle lens and a cooperative pilot you *might* be able to get away with a fixed mount on the skid (I'm talking GoPro-style gear, not a 5D) - but they may not accept 'amateur' stuff clamped to the airframe. Without vibration isolation a DSLR can be shaken to bits.

From inside the canopy, you have to accept that you're shooting through a hideous optical surface (even a brand-new bubble is covered in bumps and scratches, they're only meant to keep the rain out). You can't prevent image softening and loss of contrast, but you can reduce the internal reflections in the same way you'd shoot in an aquarium - take a black cloth and hide underneath it, making yourself a lightproof tent against the inside of the canopy. Try to keep the lens a little way back from the inside surface so any imperfections in the line of sight are comparatively small, and avoid the smallest apertures so it's never in focus. If the sun's hitting your side it'll still create flares, nothing you can do to stop that. It's a good idea to wear gloves, so when you rest your fingers on the window to steady yourself you don't make fingerprints.

Software & Accessories / Re: laptop for tethered shooting?
« on: July 24, 2014, 06:49:58 PM »
The controls do get small, though, everything is small, as Adobe does not seem to have put any effort into supporting High DPI displays yet.

Lightroom 5 fully supports HiDPI Retina displays, and on Windows it has a 200% UI font scaling option. Most of the CC products are in the same state. Windows rendering isn't as good as OS X Retina, because it has a number of issues with HiDPI scaling that Adobe are working closely with Microsoft to address. It will be a while before we get feature parity.

Software & Accessories / Re: laptop for tethered shooting?
« on: July 21, 2014, 06:41:02 AM »
I also use a Surface Pro for remote location work - it's useful to have Lightroom and CC available to run quick edits for a client, and it's happy to run EOS Utility on the end of a 15m USB cable for polecam stuff. But there are some issues compared to a regular laptop:

- Relatively small, fixed SSD. Windows will take up half, so on a multi-day shoot with raw files or video, the entry-level models are easy to fill. The 256G versions are quite a hike in price. You can plug in external drives, but...
- Only one USB3 port. It's nice to have USB3 for a card reader, but if you're trying to copy from a card to an external drive or offload a card while tethered, you need a spiderweb of portable hubs, external battery packs; it starts looking messy.
- Battery life on the SP1 and SP2 aren't all that great; it is after all a laptop in a tablet case. I'm happy to get an hour of heavy-lifting before my SP2 complains. MS sell car chargers and the 'power cover' keyboard for another $200, but the options for an external battery pack are limited to say the least, thanks to the magnetic connector.
- You have a mini-displayport for plugging in a larger screen (up to 3840 x 2160); easy to find $5 adapters for HDMI or DVI, but the port itself is hardly what you call rugged, and short of superglue there's nothing on the Surface you can attach strain reliefs to.
- You cannot repair it, period. It's sealed, glued, welded, protected by a curse, then glued again. When the battery gets worn out, you have a placemat.

Having said that, you do get CPU performance comparable to laptops. I've converted and graded MLV raw footage on it to send dailies across; not exactly a 60-second job but it was a whole lot easier to hike to the location without a 17" XPS laptop ;)

I've been using these things for years as macro lenses, either reversed or on a set of tubes (or both). They're renowned for image quality, which explains why the prices on eBay have shot up. The radioactive models are not as easy to identify as people think - most of them did have "TAKUMAR" on the front, but there's at least one batch of 50/1.4s that don't:

SMC PENTAX 1:1.4/50  ASHAI OPT. CO. JAPAN  = thorium
SMC PENTAX 1:1.4 50mm ASHAI OPT. CO. JAPAN = regular glass

If you're mounting on FF body and don't want to saw off the aperture lever (or you get one with creatures inside), it's not a difficult lens to strip apart. See http://retinarescue.com/pentax50mmf1.4.html

There are absolutely no plans to stop the perpetual licensing of Adobe's retail products (Lightroom and Elements). They will remain on sale as they are now, but the Lightroom Mobile features require a subscription version of the desktop product because the app stores don't allow the app itself to run under a subscription license. It's also the only legal way Adobe can add features to the product without selling you a new version.

As to the question that the Photography Plan price will change in future, yes of course it's possible that eventually the price may change to allow for inflation - in 20 years from now who knows what $9.99 will be worth - but the company have committed to keeping the price fixed, so nothing is going to happen for a long time. It's equally likely they would cut prices as the per-user operating costs reduce.

So I guess that means LR will not be continued as a standalone desktop software?

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: 25 or 24 f p/s?
« on: June 01, 2014, 03:39:34 PM »
The "what frame rate to use?" question gets as many arguments going as "is Canon better than Nikon?" - but unless you intend to broadcast your footage on a TV network or release a motion picture, there is no technical difference. Videos shot at 25/24/30/21.653781610 FPS will all play back just the same on a computer - indeed videos from iPhones use variable frame rates but nobody watching them would notice. Modern editing software can happily mix clips of different frame rates and render out something different at the end, if you want.

24 FPS is regularly claimed as "the frame rate movies use" but it's not true - the film stock may have moved at 24 FPS (chosen entirely to match the optical soundtrack) but the shutter in early movie projectors opens twice, so theater audiences were actually watching at 48 images per second. In Europe they used 25 FPS - no matter what anyone says, humans cannot see the difference between 25 and 24.

What you can see is the shutter angle - the ratio between the frame rate and the camera's shutter speed. If the shutter is only open for a small fraction of each frame, the images have no motion blur so the result is stuttery (Saving Private Ryan used that intentionally for effect, and early video cameras were notorious for it). The 'ideal' ratio is half, also known as "180 degrees" (literally half a circle, optical movie cameras had circular rotating shutters with a section cut away). If you shoot at 25 FPS, your shutter speed would be 1/50 sec. This creates enough motion blur to confuse the brain into seeing a continuous shot, without being too smeary. It's not a "rule", but it's a good place to begin (choosing 24 FPS you'd still use 1/50 as there's no 1/48 on a standard DSLR).

Because of this, you're stuck with the amount of light you can cram into the sensor for each frame - so one reason to use 24 instead of 30 FPS would be to eek out just a little more exposure in dark scenes; but the gain between 24 and 25 is barely noticeable. On the other hand, people often shoot at 30 FPS then play back at 24 to create a slow-motion effect - but only you know if that's something you need to do.

Shooting in very bright light with a wide aperture, you hit the problem of having too much light - film cameramen solve that with neutral density filters but if you don't have those, filming at 30 FPS will cut down the exposure on each frame and can be enough to solve that problem.

Aside from those questions, there's no particular reason not to use 24 on your camera, but it's not the most important factor in how your final result will look - the shutter angle and f/stop decide the "feel" of the movie, so don't get hung up on it.

EOS-M / Re: Export from camera to USB flash drive
« on: May 13, 2014, 06:35:02 PM »
If you have a cellphone with USB OTG support, it can act as the host. You'd plug the phone, camera and the flash drive into a USB hub, and copy between the two drives using a file manager app on the phone. Note that most phones with OTG still need the peripherals to be powered.

Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Lightroom Mobile Version Official
« on: April 09, 2014, 10:17:41 AM »
Indeed it is, but in the iDevice world it's simpler to get into an app's sandbox via the Internet. Bouncing through iTunes or an ad-hoc LAN, iOS does like to 'optimize' files whether you want it to or not. This is an early stage of development, lots of things including 'local' sync methods are possible in future versions, it all depends on what users ask for. http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family is the place to make your suggestions and complaints, both equally welcome.

While I know you didn't design the product, sending all the data through the Adobe network is quite silly if you ask me.

Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Lightroom Mobile Version Official
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:51:51 AM »
There will always be arguments about whether the consumer products (Lr, Elements, etc) will go 'subscription only' in future, and Adobe can't do more than to say there are no plans. There really aren't, it's not something the target customers would accept. Maybe in 30 years when the entire concept of 'installing' something is dead and buried the idea will be forced upon us all, so Adobe cannot say "never".

Right now with LR Mobile version 1, all the data flows through Adobe's network, and there's a lot of it. I do understand people are angry about having to subscribe to get the app working (personally I didn't think it was a good idea), but it's not ad-funded and there are real costs to keep the thing operational. By all means complain about it, Adobe do take note of feedback. That's what people like me are here for - I don't mind being shouted at.

..and when I'm shooting on location I run Lr5 on a Surface Pro; quite frankly it's much better. I can shoot tethered, develop stuff and hand off the final results to a client while they're watching. I'd also suggest using a small laptop in the same way; the Surface is overpriced for what it is but I got the thing for testing, and forgot to give it back.. ;)

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