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Messages - shining example

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EOS-M / Re: First Images of the Canon EOS M3
« on: February 03, 2015, 08:29:11 PM »
I wouldn't buy a csc or dslr on aesthetics alone, but if it didn't look right to me, No matter how good it was, I wouldn't buy it.

Same here. You - or at least I - have to love a camera, or you won't take it with you, and then what's the point? And alongside other things like specs, usability and how it feels in your hand, aesthetics also come into that.

Agreed that the M1 looks nicer, but the look wouldn't put me off this. The price is far more likely to be why I won't buy it (anytime soon)...

EOS-M / Re: First Images of the Canon EOS M3
« on: February 03, 2015, 05:29:29 PM »
Why do camera companies prioritise exposure compensation over shutter/aperture on the dials? Honest question, don't know but have noticed it on tons of cameras, and always thought it would be handier to have one of the other settings.

Speaking only for myself, here, but I use exposure comp a lot and like having easy access to it - it's a habit I got into when my main camera was an Ixus, i.e. a camera where exp comp was one of the few ways to get the camera to do what you wanted instead of what the camera wants. So maybe (the discussion on whether/to what extent anyone actually does this notwithstanding) it's designed with people in mind who are upgrading from simpler cameras?

As for the EVF vs pop-up flash issue, I'm with those who would find a pop-up flash much more useful - to the point where its presence will make a difference to how seriously I consider buying an M3. I practically never use the pop-up flash on the 7D, and have speedlites for the rare occasions when I want to use flash with it, but the M is the camera I take when I can't be bothered to take a camera, and in those scenarios, a built-in flash is a useful thing to have. Especially as I somehow can't bring myself to take the dinky little EX-90 seriously - I've never used it and never have it with me because it's just so... silly...  :o

Canon General / Re: RTFM. Do you?
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:31:37 PM »
I'm very much the "learn by doing, refer to manual when I get stuck" type. As others have observed, manuals  tend to start off with a whole lot of tedious "try not to eat the packaging" admonishment, and then there's loads of fairly self-evident stuff like how to insert the battery and turn the thing on, and my attention span is somewhat limited, so by the time they get to anything of actual interest, my mind will be miles away. But I always take them with me (on my phone, nowadays), and refer to them when needed.

The 7D was my first DSLR, and my previous SLR was a different brand, so I did get stuck a fair bit and was glad to be able to look stuff up. I think the really sticky spot is when you have enough experience to know what you want to do, but insufficient experience of the tech in hand to figure out how to do it. I've also had to refer to the manual for the EOS M rather more than I would have expected. Part of that was admittedly that weird talent I have for overlooking menu items that are clearly right there...  ::)

I've tried, I really have. I've seen people do great stuff with camera phones - admittedly mostly street photograpy, which isn't my thing anyway -, and I did sort of like the idea, so I got myself a photography app for my smartphone, but I hardly ever use it and get no joy from it. I don't even enjoy using my P&S much anymore, and ended up getting myself an EOS M for those occasions when it's not worth taking the whole 7D-plus-lenses shebang. I guess there's just something about a proper piece of gear, for me.

The phone camera does come in handy for snapping things like timetables or stuff I'll want to look up when I get home, but for photography proper it just ain't for me.

Software & Accessories / Re: Easy-access photo backpack?
« on: December 18, 2014, 10:01:34 AM »
As a counterpoint, if you have a backpack, take the right shoulder strap off, and rotate the bag to front while standing, the bag will hang diagonally, not horizontally with the side access flap facing up. You could use your hand to hold it horizontal, but then you don't have two hands to manage the zipper/flap/lens change.  As neuro pointed out, back panel access gives you a table to work on.

I have the F-Stop Kenti, and when I swing it round to the side it does hang pretty much horizontal - certainly horizontal enough to be very workable.

It is an extremely comfortable pack not only for long airline terminals but also hiking.  I've worn it for hours.

Agreed. I've had mine for two or three years now, and to be honest I've been surprised at how comfortable it is and how long I can wear it without getting tired/sore/annoyed.

The only thing about it that isn't quite perfect is that it's not waterproof, so remember to buy the rain cover with it. (Something I learnt this summer is that the rain cover gets in the way a whole lot less than I thought it would. You can still access your stuff with ease - it stretches enough that you can slip it off the side door without the whole thing coming off.)


If want "wtf!?", I just read about this being the second most expensive picture ever. I'm really lost for words, probably because I'm German and for this domestic river a lot of associated images pop up in my mind - but this isn't one of them :-o

Look at that picture. What do you see? A river in a postindustrial landscape. Very straight, very rectangular. That river is the rhine. The famous rhine, about which so many songs have been sung, about which a whole lot of the german cultural identity is grouped. Think about Loreley and so on. The rhine is a german myth. But what has it become nowadays? Look at the picture. This is the rhine nowadays. This is our culture, our society, our landscape nowadays.

No you now understand what Gursky had in his mind when creating this picture? (Of course it is heavily edited/photoshopped to emphasize his message)


Thank you for this. I quite like the image because it's so simple and graphic, but what fascinates me about it is this: I've seen and been to and even lived in places up and down the Rhine for half my life, and there is nowhere along the river that actually looks like that. And yet... the Rhine does look like that. Now I understand how that works.

(Also, I had to google that "Bella Luna" image y'all are talking about. I really wish I hadn't done that...)

Canon General / Re: Those D'oh moments!
« on: September 09, 2014, 08:58:28 PM »
I do the two-second timer thing so often it doesn't even merit a "d'oh" anymore, just a "not this again" eyeroll...

Speaking of remote controls, though... I use a wireless remote control. The receiver takes a CS2 battery which I always remove when I'm not using it as it will turn itself on and empty the battery when carried around in a gear bag. The transmitter uses one of those flat batteries and needs to be opened up with a screwdriver to change it, but it doesn't usually turn itself on in my bag, or else it doesn't use much battery power when it does - either way, it's never been a problem. But I always keep spare batteries of both types and a tiny screwdriver with my gear, just in case.

Thus well prepared, I set out early one morning to shoot the sunrise. I arrived, bleary-eyed and shivering, at the location from which I was hoping to shoot, set up my gear, fumbled out my remote, inserted the battery for the receiver, connected it, turned it on, turned on the transmitter... nope. Nothing. Dead. So I fumbled out the spare battery and the tiny screwdriver, and took a good look at the transmitter... at which point I realised that it was all well and good having a spare battery and a tiny screwdriver to hand, but opening up a small device held together by tiny screws outdoors in the cold and dark is not a feasible operation, at least not if you're hoping to put said device back together again afterwards.

The real d'oh here, of course, was that I had thought several times over the preceding days that I really should check the battery in the transmitter because I hadn't used it for a while. It would have taken all of two seconds, but somehow, I didn't...

And the sunrise was rubbish too.

Photography Technique / Re: Travel set up
« on: September 09, 2014, 06:10:10 PM »
Ive heard mix reviews for these being sufficient for the 5DMKIII, is the pro a better option? the Zoom weighs a lot less and from the images I've seen it looks like it would take a 5DMKIII ok and its well within the weight limit of 3kg, even with the 70-300mm L its 1kg off capacity.

I've used the SLR Zoom with a gripped 7D and 17-55, and with a 1D X and 24-70/2.8 II, it holds fine.

Personally, I found the SLR Zoom sagged and wasn't stable with a 7D (no grip) and a Sigma 28-105 f2.8 (about the same size or a bit smaller than the 24-105 L, but definitely lighter).

Could've been me not using it properly - I just stood it up where bending the legs might have given extra stability, and I don't recall if I knew back then to put the lens over the leg - but I'd recommend you test it with your setup before heading off and then finding it won't hold...

If that is a trip of a lifetime, take your best gear!


Also, have a great trip!

Canon General / Re: Those D'oh moments!
« on: September 09, 2014, 12:52:22 PM »
....... watching my tripod (with camera & 400 f/5.6) tip over and the lens smash into rocks or concrete....

Lens over leg my friend.
Never leave your baby alone :).  It was the wind that got it one time that got it while I was packing up my gear, and my own stupidity the other time...

Of course you can also do what I do, and keep your camera tethered to you (via the strap) when you have it on your tripod. Then you can, perched on a rock by the ocean on a windy day, reach awkwardly around to the front (because you don't want to detach the camera from either the strap or the tripod, believing that this teetering chain of gear represents some form of safety), fumble for several minutes with your newly acquired Lee ND grad filter, and then succumb to the sense of self-inflicted inevitability as your equally new Little Stopper hits the rocks with a resounding crack because you were trying to slide the ND grad into the same slot.

There was also that time I was shooting on a dock, took the camera off the tripod and put the tripod behind me. "Don't put the tripod there", I remember thinking, "you'll knock it off the dock". Which, about five seconds later, I did. Luckily the tide was out, or it might well have been gone for good, but I was covered in mud and thoroughly bereft of any dignity by the time I had retrieved it.

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.)

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.

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?

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!

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).

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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