August 22, 2014, 11:59:21 AM

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Messages - shining example

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I got my M today. Just a few quick impressions, so I'll piggyback on this thread, as I don't really have anything very useful to add:

The first thing I noticed is how incredibly dinky it looks - but it feels really nice and solid. The flash, though, actually caused me a fit of the giggles. It seems ridiculously small if you've been fiddling around with a 600EX  ;D

I can see why people are unhappy with the AF, it's not exactly speedy. Then again, I've been testing indoors in fairly low light conditions, so maybe it's better outdoors/in daylight. For me personally, it's not much of an issue anyway, but I'm guessing it would annoy folks who like to take action/wildlife shots.

I had a few befuddled moments with the menus, but it's not my first Canon, and I didn't take long to figure them out and feel at home in them.

It's perhaps worth noting that you sort of have to adjust to how it's best held and operated - it felt a bit awkward at first, but I soon got used to it.

I basically bought it because it was so cheap, and wasn't entirely sure I'd keep it, but after playing around with it for a bit I think I'm going to like it, and it will suit my purposes just fine. (I have a 7D with what feels like several tons of lenses, which I really love; I also have a Digital Ixus, but I'm just not happy with that anymore since I got the 7D, nor do I enjoy taking snaps with my phone. So I'm hoping I'll get some joy out of the M on those occasions where it's just not worth lugging a backbreaking amount of gear around all day for the few shots I get around to taking when hanging out with friends who aren't avid shooters.)

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Photography Technique / Re: Black & White
« on: August 06, 2014, 01:36:59 AM »
I believe Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, and ACR all have facility to mix the color channels to a wide variety of grayscale results

Yep. If you're using Adobe Camera Raw, go to the HSL/Greyscale tab, tick the "Convert to greyscale" box, and play around with the colour sliders. You'll get far better/more interesting results if you convert to B/W "by hand" instead of letting your camera or the software do it for you.

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Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 - Jumped yet?
« on: August 05, 2014, 10:47:00 PM »
I went for "No" rather than "Never will" because I'm a never say never type of person, but I have no intention of switching.

I don't like the idea of renting/subscribing to software, and have never done it so far; I want to pay once and know it's mine to use, end of.

More specifically, for PS subscribing is definitely not a good deal for me. For one thing, I already own CS 6, so I'd be paying those $10 for the additional features from CC onwards only. More to the point, though, I use PS in fits and starts - sometimes every day, sometimes not for weeks or months. So I'd either be paying to rent it for a whole lot of time when I'm not actually using it, or I'd be driving myself nuts trying to decide if it's worth taking out a subscription today or better to wait until I'm sure I'll have time to work through some images (and short-term subscriptions were more expensive per month last time I looked, which was admittedly a while ago).

I can see how the subscription model might work better for professionals and heavy users, but I don't understand why Adobe can't figure out some way to offer both - subscriptions for regular updates (and maybe include some extra support options or something to make it a better package), but release regular updates to buy (which would simply contain the accumulated updates subscribers get instantly) every two years or so, as before. That way, everyone's happy, no?

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Software & Accessories / Re: RRS or Markins?
« on: July 28, 2014, 04:09:51 PM »
Just to follow up, I got my Acratech GP a few days ago.

Even just taking it out of the box, it's a thing of joy and beauty, but having now given it a quick try-out, I must say it feels pretty marvellous to use too. The difference between it and my previous ballhead is astounding, especially considering that said previous ballhead was an older, non-Arca-Swiss-compatible Gitzo, so not exactly bargain-bin either. (It was awful though. Perhaps it was a particularly bad copy of an already not brilliant design.)

Part of using gear is liking the feel of it, feeling like it is an extension of yourself.

Absolutely. And unfortunately you can't always tell until you've been using something for a while whether it really works for you. But while I may need a little while to get used to the screw clamp (I just went with it, as I'm not experienced enough to have a preference and the consensus seems to be that screw clamps are a tiny bit safer than quick release), I think we're going to get along just fine.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply!

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Photography Technique / Re: Paris
« on: June 28, 2014, 05:02:01 PM »
Apart from taking the usual care is it in general safe to be around after dark? I want to shoot but not get shot or mugged!

I don't remember feeling unsafe anywhere, though I wouldn't want to be around Les Halles late at night. Then again, that's just my gut feeling from two short holiday visits, so people with more experience of Paris may tell you otherwise.

The area around Notre Dame was pretty lively even at midnight (might have been a weekend night, I don't quite remember), as was the area around the Eiffel Tower a bit earlier. The Louvre is open until 10 p.m. twice a week, so for better or for worse there will be folk milling around there for a while after.  Along the river was fine too. The area around the Grand Palais (a building I'm oddly fascinated with) was fairly deserted at night, but I didn't feel unsafe there either.

So basically, from my experience, I'd say it's pretty safe, at least in the centre/touristy areas I visited. If anything, I'd worry more about pickpockets around railway stations or other crowded areas (not that I encountered any myself).

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Photography Technique / Re: Paris
« on: June 27, 2014, 08:03:10 PM »
Check out the Arc de Triomphe at night.


Agreed that it's a nice spot to shoot from, but if you go up the Arc de Triomphe, you're not allowed to use a tripod up there. They did allow me to take it up with me (rather than turning me away because I had it with me), but told me quite clearly that I mustn't use it. And there was security staff up there, so I'm pretty sure I'd have been in trouble if I'd tried.

That was the only time anyone said anything to me about using a tripod, but I wasn't carrying it around with me during the day, so that may not be representative.

Nice spots to shoot at night that I can think of are all the fairly obvious ones - the Louvre, Notre Dame (there's a bridge where you get a nice view of the rear, with reflections in the river), the Eiffel Tower (people sit out on the green there on warm evenings, it's a lovely atmosphere), river views in general. Sacre Coeur is probably worth a try too, though I never got round to it myself. I'm sure others will have better suggestions.

La Defense is the place for modern architecture. The Louvre is worth seeing, day or night. Sainte-Chappelle. Centre Pompidou. But generally, Paris is a great place to just wander and see where you end up.

BTW, if you're interested in going into museums as well as photographing them, the Paris Museum Pass is totally worth getting even if it doesn't save you money - it saves you a whole lot of hassle and queueing time.

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Software & Accessories / Re: RRS or Markins?
« on: June 15, 2014, 03:38:56 PM »
Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply - there's an awful lot of useful info here.  :)

The ball head is the most important component of a support system.  There are better places (eg: lens and body plates, clamps, flash brackets, macro rails...) where one can save money.  I recommend investing in a top ball head, then saving elsewhere.

Yes, absolutely. I can't quite stretch to Linhof, but that aside, I'm willing to pay what it takes. I just want something that really works for me. (I already have a ballhead that doesn't...)

I've read the thread carefully several times now, and what I keep coming back to are the recommendations for Acratech. Strong but lightweight and easy to keep clean are excellent points in favour, and I like the gimbal/leveling base trick, although I don't know how much I'd actually use it.

I'm willing to carry as much as I have to, weight-wise, to be sure it'll hold my gear properly, but once that's given, the lighter the better. And the place I'm most likely to use it is on beaches, so while I'm rather hoping I wouldn't drop it in the drink or mud, having something that will forgive that if it does happen also appeals. (Also, I can be a bit of a klutz, so.)

I'm specifically considering the Acratech GP, which btw does have a tensioning knob (re: scottburgess's caveat about having to "crank on the tightening knob to really lock it down", which would be an issue because I don't have particularly strong hands).

Acratech don't however do custom L-plates, and Hejnar Photo don't seem to do them for Canon. My local bricks-and-mortar camera shop could order me one, but I didn't quite catch which brand it would be - Kirk, I think.

Would the Acratech GP be a good choice, do you think? And if so, where would I best go for my L-plate?

Thanks again!

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Software & Accessories / RRS or Markins?
« on: June 12, 2014, 04:30:13 PM »
About two years ago I said on someone else's thread somewhere on this very forum that I was looking into getting an RRS ballhead and L-plate. Someone responded suggesting I consider Markins. And then I had no money and wasn't using the tripod all that much anyway and never got round to buying anything.

But now I'm going on a trip and will want to take long exposures, so I'm finally going to make that purchase. Which should I go for? The RRS BH-30 (or BH-40 even?) or the Markins Q10? Or is there something else you'd really really really recommend?

My tripod is a Gitzo Traveller; camera is a 7D, and the longest/heaviest lens I have is a 70-300 L. I don't think I'd ever get a much bigger lens because weight/portability is an issue for me, but obviously it'd be nice if the ballhead could take a little more, just in case.

I've searched the forums, and people seem to heavily recommend both brands; but I've no idea how to make a choice between the two, and would be grateful for any advice that could help. Thanks!

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Software & Accessories / Re: Any suggestion about back pack?
« on: July 09, 2013, 08:06:17 PM »
I'm not sure I've understood your requirements correctly, but might the f-stop Kenti work for you?

http://fstopgear.com/product/mountain/kenti

(It's a great bag, why weren't they making it in that fantastic blue colour when I bought mine?!  :'()

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Only those who have never posted and were not logging in were removed.

Anyone who has even one post should be ok.

Thanks for your response, CR Backup Admin. As you already appear to be aware, that's not quite how it worked out - I had maybe five or so posts, but my account was deleted.

I'd already re-registered with the same username, so there's nothing to be done about it now; no big deal, those posts were hardly earth-shattering pearls of wisdom. Just please don't delete me again next time  ;)

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I'm not currently purging additional non posters, but might limit them to 6 months at some future date.  The main thrust was to remove SEO spammers, not inactive members.

That cleanup operation sounds like fun...  :-\

So what should an inveterate lurker like myself do to avoid being purged? I read the forum about once or twice a week, but only log in if I actually want to post, which isn't that often (clearly, as I just had to re-register).

If you do need or want to have another purge, could you perhaps post a warning somewhere prominently? I completely missed this thread, probably because I usually only go into a handful of sub-fora.

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Software & Accessories / Re: Need help with developing in LR
« on: January 26, 2013, 08:25:48 PM »
Define "crappy"?

Also, what are you doing with these photos? Just displaying them on screen, or printing them?

You should probably be doing a bit of sharpening and adding contrast, but IMO you're unlikely to get the best from each of a range of individual shot by just applying standard settings. If you don't really enjoy fiddling with this kind of stuff, that's probably a trade-off you'll have to determine for yourself...  :-\

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Software & Accessories / Re: Rucksack Camera Bags
« on: January 26, 2013, 08:19:32 PM »
The one thing I really want from a camera backpack is fast access to my gear. Not being an open invitation to thieves is a verrrrrry close second.

I have two camera backpacks I absolutely love; one is the F-Stop Kenti, and the other is a European Crumpler model (their ranges for some reason vary massively from continent to continent).

The Crumpler is smaller (sometimes too small, which is why I also have the Kenti) and has no laptop section, but it's well thought-out, with a camera section at the bottom and a daypack part at the top - the camera section is quickly accessible through a side door, which is a must-have for me, whereas the daypack part opens towards the body, which I find extremely reassuring. Plus, it absolutely does not look like a camera bag. The trouble is, they no longer make this marvel of a bag, and haven't replaced it with anything comparable.

The Kenti similarly has a camera section with side doors at the bottom, which fits my 7D, 70-300 L, EF-S 10-22, EF-S 60mm macro, the cheapo nifty fifty plus a few bits and pieces; a 13" laptop pocket; and an expandable daypack section at the top that you can get quite a lot of crap into if necessary. It's not quite as casual as the Crumpler, but it doesn't scream "camera bag" either. I can wholeheartedly recommend it if it's big enough for your gear. (F-Stop will, in my experience, respond quickly and helpfully to "will my gear fit in this bag" questions on their customer service site.)

Before I acquired either of those two bags, I had a close look at the Lowepro Fastpack 350, which was far too bulky for me, and the Tamrac Evolution 8, which I just somehow didn't like much. But that's obviously a matter of taste, personal priorities and the amount and type of gear you have.

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Software & Accessories / Re: Black Rapid and dropped camera?
« on: January 07, 2013, 07:41:52 PM »
I am always a bit tense and inadvertently hold the camera with my free hand.

I do not think Black Rapid will fail but this paranoia is my own personality issue.

I'm the same, though I use a Luma Loop, as I don't trust the tripod socket method of attachment. I only let my camera dangle when I'm changing lenses and find myself short of a third hand with which to rummage in my bag. Walking around, I'd just be too nervous, no matter how much I trust the strap.

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Canon General / Re: Recommended photography books
« on: December 26, 2012, 05:22:10 PM »
The genius of Photography (book and dvd):

Very interesting well assembled charting of the social impact and role of photography.  Join some contemporary masters as work.  Not a learning book, more an enjoying experience.

I second this recommendation; the DVD is absolutely brilliant - informative and entertaining. (I have the book too, but haven't yet given it the attention it deserves.)

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