September 17, 2014, 01:51:17 PM

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Messages - DFM

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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

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. 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.. ;)

Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Lightroom Mobile Version Official
« on: April 08, 2014, 08:00:59 AM »
No, sorry. Lr Mobile is only available for customers with an active subscription (CC or the PS/Lr Photography Program). Perpetual licenses of Lightroom cannot sync with it.

Not available as standalone app  :(

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon EOS 7D Firmware 2.0.5 Now Available
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:24:09 AM »
Warning - The 2.0.5 firmware update is NOT compatible with Magic Lantern. It won't boot from a ML-enabled card at all. You can downgrade back to 2.0.3 easily enough, but if you're a ML user don't go near this patch.

Lenses / Re: Any Old Gem Macro Lenses?
« on: October 30, 2013, 10:12:49 AM »
Extension tubes only change the focus distance (shortening the minimum at the cost of preventing an infinity focus). Subjects can look bigger because you can get closer, but the perspective will suffer too. Teleconverters increase magnification and flatten perspective but don't significantly change the focus distance (there is a tiny change, maybe on a 400mm lens your MFD will increase by 20cm or so). Combining the two on a long telephoto you can get physically closer to your subject than the lens itself would usually permit, increasing the magnification without messing with the tele's perspective distortion (or lack thereof). You don't have to be crammed right up against the subject anymore, I tend to use a thinner extension tube so the lens will focus at a couple of feet at "infinity", so it should be giving the best image quality and I don't get shadows or scare the critters. Cranking a lens all the way to MFD is never a good idea.

Image quality won't be as good as with a dedicated macro, but an f/2.8 400mm macro lens is going to cost you a fair amount more. Although you lose a lot of light, for fieldwork all the bits do other things so there's less to hump up the side of a mountain.

So you're saying that using extension tubes will not only increase the focus distance, but the magnification/focal length as well? If that's true, then lets say I'm at 80mm on my lens. How many sized ones would i need to get to 150mm?

Lenses / Re: Any Old Gem Macro Lenses?
« on: October 30, 2013, 08:04:20 AM »
If you're trying to get closer, macro extension rings are often the better option over bellows these days. The variability of bellows was important in the film days with primes, when getting the subject to fill the negative was all-important. A zoom lens and three extension rings will give you the same degree of adjustment, but in all but the super-cheap versions they'll also pass the electrical contacts through. Even when you're shooting manual it's handy to get the right EXIF data on file.

Going the other way, pairing teleconverters with a macro setup will increase the subject distance but you'll take a big hit on exposure. You can go to town and put TCs and extension tubes together on a 200mm telephoto, and you'll be snapping flies from 6ft away. Probably need a tripod for that though  ;)

There's a profile in the Downloader app for EF8-15 f/4L on either a 7D or 5D-II body.

Fisheyes and UWAs are a nightmare as everyone has a different view on what "correction" means. Do you want to completely-eliminate the barrel distortion and end up with a highly-cropped and stretched image, or just fix the vignette and CA?

Lens profiles in Lr and Camera Raw are tied to both the body and the lens, plus they exist in two versions (JPEG and RAW). You'll only see the automatic combinations that match your particular photos. In general Adobe's bundled pack of profiles only considers brand matches (Sigma lenses on Sigma bodies, etc.) so mixed combinations or setups with TCs or extension tubes are usually something the user community will create and share through the Lens Profile Downloader app. There are thousands of possible combinations out there, and to be frank Adobe doesn't have the time nor the resources to test everything.

Users can vote and comment on the profiles submitted to LPD so you can see the good ones - some people are extremely precise about their work and build very high quality profiles, but with any community resource there'll be some contributors who get it wrong. Of course there's nothing to stop a lens manufacturer themselves from contributing.

Ref the USB dock: Lens profiles only correct for the physical characteristics of the lens elements; they don't care about the firmware or if the image is in focus, so reprogramming a lens with a USB dock won't have any effect - unless you were to somehow hack the EXIF data and change the lens identity.

Lenses / Re: Which lenses to buy for filming
« on: August 17, 2013, 07:49:12 AM »
Optical stabilization (OS) in a lens uses motors to shift the position of one of the inner elements, in response to signals from accelerometers (the same as the sensors in your cellphone that know which way to rotate the screen) and tries to keep the image projected onto the sensor as still as possible, even if the camera itself is wobbling about a bit - such as when you're hand-holding it. It's designed for still photography at slow shutter speeds. In video work it creates a whole other set of problems, as you will have two possible scenarios:

  • The camera is on a tripod - OS must be turned off or it will tend to start adding motion where there isn't any.
  • You're shooting handheld or on a stabilizer rig, and you will pan the camera. Now the OS has a problem because it will start off trying to keep the image still, but will rapidly hit the limits of adjustment and suddenly snap back into the center. Instead of a natural 'handheld' feel to the shot, it will be still...still.. still.. BOINGGGGG.... still... still.... and it looks terrible.

A lot of good advice already about lens choices, but so far nobody's actually asked what you will be shooting, and how. A fast EF-S 50mm (or full-frame EF 35mm on your crop body) will give a field of view roughly the same as your eyeball, so for example you can shoot a full-length scene from about 20 feet away. If you're capturing wide landscapes, home interiors, or working in small venues (e.g. filming a local band in a bar) then it's much too narrow a field of view, and you'd be looking at something around 16mm to 20mm. As a general-purpose lens on my crop bodies I use a Sigma 17-50 2.8 DC (outside of your budget but worth scouting for a second-hand one). It has OS for stills and a constant aperture. Some people get addicted to vintage glass (I have a growing collection, on a 5dIII an old Pentax 50/1.4 is hard to beat) but I wouldn't suggest it for a newcomer as there's a lot of dud glass on the used market, you really need to know how to service them yourself to get rid of the dust and fungus.

Bear in mind as well that normal Canon 'stills' lenses never have a mechanical aperture ring, so you must always change it using the command dial on the body. That's necessary for shooting in Tv or P mode, a little fiddly for video but not terribly so. Dedicated video lenses, on the other hand, only have a mechanical aperture - you cannot set it from the body, so you can only shoot in Av or M. Most also have a 'declicked' aperture ring that allows you to choose any position, not just the numbered f-stops. That's useful for video as people like varying the aperture as they shoot to adapt for lighting changes, but it's assumed you would be fitting a set of rails and a follow-focus system to keep it under control. It's possible to shoot stills with a video lens but it's a hassle.

The T3i/600D has a very important feature for video which can drastically affect lens choice. Normal video will have a lot of moire and aliasing (jaggy lines and color patterns on diagonals and finely-textured objects); that's just the price you pay for shooting video on a Canon DSLR - but the T3i can switch to 3x 'crop video' mode - it zooms in by 3x but the moire goes away completely. This gives a huge improvement in quality and still shoots in full-HD, but the extremely narrow field of view means you have to work with an ultra-wide-angle lens so the cropped region from the center isn't just showing someone's left nostril. If you install Magic Lantern to shoot raw video on the T3i (not in HD but decent enough) that will also crop the sensor. All this means with video it's easier to start with an ultra-wide and make it into a longer lens "electronically", than fit a standard 50 prime and have to stand half a block away.

My best suggestion - if you're not sure which lenses will suit you best, don't buy anything. Rent one for a weekend or borrow one from a friend, see how it feels, try something else next time. If (with respect) you don't have any friends with a shelf groaning with L glass, check out things like photowalks where you can spend an afternoon with a bunch of like-minded people and their backpacks  ;)

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