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Messages - scyrene

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: High Megapixel Camera Coming in 2015 [CR3]
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:55:18 PM »
The last time I remember them doing anything that significant was adding radio to the 600EX-RT Flashes, but even that was half-assed because they took away optical IR for no particular reason.

I think the 600EX has both radio and IR.


I'm pretty sure they DO NOT and I know for a fact that the ST-E3-RT Transmitter DOES NOT. They can be fired optically with another 600EX-RT but not optically with anything else. Normally this isn't a problem, but I sometimes mix my Profoto strobes with Speedlites on location and it presents it's challenges. Fortunately Profotos do fire optically when they see my Speedlites fire, but it would be nice to fire everything from my Profoto remote rather than relying on my Speedlites to fire my studio strobes. However at this point we are getting off subject, so let's get back to that new 50MP goodie shall we?

I'm no flash expert, but I've fired a remote 600EX-RT with a camera-mounted 90EX. I assume that's optically?

2
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: iOptron SkyGuider
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:12:23 AM »
Are you making reference to the iOptron SkyTracker:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/979344-REG/ioptron_3302b_skytracker_camera_mount_with.html


Haven't used one myself, although I have considered purchasing one.  Vixen also makes something similar that's been around a bit longer than the SkyTracker.  Vixen's is called the Polarie:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/843972-REG/Vixen_Optics_35505_Polarie_Star_Tracker.html/?m=Y&gclid=CP-B3IGDv8ICFYWUfgod0hEAbw

I believe the SkyTracker allows tracking at 1/2 sidereal but I'm not certain.

Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape discusses his experience with the iOptron skyTracker in the following article:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/techniques/astrophotography_next_steps.shtml


I'm leaning in the direction that Reichmann took.  IMHO, the Vixen SXD2 offers more versatility, although both the SkyTracker and Polarie have their place.

The SkyTracker is what I already own. It's great, but won't hold my 500mm lens. The SkyGuider is newer, same company, same idea, but has a higher weight rating.

3
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: iOptron SkyGuider
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:08:57 AM »
Any thoughts? I've avoided telescope guided mounts because they seem more complicated.

The guiding mounts are setup the same way as far as getting them aligned, so no more complicated there. How portable do you need to be ? The guided mounts just make finding the faint fuzzies that you can't see with you naked eyes easy to find, but if your good at star hopping that's not a problem. I would be concerned that @ 9 lbs (assuming 5DIII ) you are getting close to its 11 lb rating (I think this includes counter weights), but if your well balanced that may not be a problem. I have an older Meade mount that is similar in size and found it a little lite  and loose (backlash and stiffness) but it works, it didn't take long for it to get replaced by a heavier mount. Good alignment should give you at least a minute @ 500 with good balance so the mounts not struggling. If portability is not a issue I would look for a heavier mount to handle at least 20 lb for the 500.

I have a telescope with a mount, albeit not guided, and have never been able to get to grips with it. The SkyTracker is simple - pop on a tripod, get Polaris in the right place in the scope for the time of day and year, and it's done.

Tbh I don't want a telescope, so I'm more drawn to these camera-oriented mounts. Also they seem cheaper.

4
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:03:57 AM »
The Canon 100-400 could get MUCH sharper than that...and I mean the OLD 100-400...

First of all, the two shots of the chickadees are not necessarily the best I have or even representative of the lens but they are the only two I have of that North American bird (I am in the UK), but they are similar to your shot of the chickadee.

Secondly, the quality is comparable to those of yours from the 100-400, when comparing them side-by-side and certainly not MUCH less sharp.


I was never able to get very sharp shots with the old 100-400 on a 7D. Top is a dunnock at 400 on the 7D, typical of my efforts, below is a dunnock taken on the 300/2.8 + 2xTC III on the 5D3. They are chalk and cheese.

Second dunnock shows excellent sharpness as you say :)

5
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:02:54 AM »

Alright. Here is a set of shots taken with the 7D and 100-400 L (original). I grabbed a few, with birds of varying sizes in frame, to bring some diversity of pixels-on-target to demonstrate that isn't necessarily the issue with the 150-600. These are all original shots, original crop, no scaling, no processing, no sharpening or NR of any kind. Strait out of camera RAW exported to 75% quality JPEG from Lightroom. (Blame CR forums for links to images instead of just images...I don't know what it was doing, but it wouldn't let me post with them embedded as images.)


http://i.imgur.com/TiKthrU.jpg


http://i.imgur.com/Z2vWEQF.jpg


http://i.imgur.com/TSoCerX.jpg


http://i.imgur.com/ZBAK66E.jpg


Every image here appears to be sharper than the 150-600mm shots. To be fair, one of your shots seems to have some motion blur. For the other, I cannot say, not really sure if there is any motion blur or not, but it still seems a little soft. Not as sharp as either my 100-400 shots or my 1200mm f/10 chickadee. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of the idea of an affordable lens that reaches 600mm. For the novice or budget birder, I think having such a lens is a HUGE benefit. That said, if the sharpness from your example shots is around the best the lens can do at 600mm, then I'm rather disappointed. I'm happy to accept if the issue is technique, or too slow a shutter speed, or lack of IS use (or IS kicking in and screwing up the shot), etc. If you can demonstrate as much, then more power too you, prove me wrong! :P But, as it stands, I don't think the sharpness of those shots is what I would call "ideal"...I think my 100-400 does better, and my 600 with a 2x TC at 1200mm f/10 (!!) does better.

Those are good, especially number 4 :)

6
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:55:45 AM »
Alan, a couple of things. First, did you click on my images for full size?


Second, regarding the feet. I was at 1200mm f/10...working with a ridiculously thin DOF. My chickadees feet aren't sharp because they are not in focus. My goal wasn't to get sharp feet, though...it was to get the head and eye sharp. To that end, I believe, despite 1/100s, I succeeded. (I just wish he hadn't hopped from the beautiful pine branch to the tripod before I did! :P)


As for the sharpness of your shots overall...honestly, I'm a little disappointed. Maybe it's just the disheveled nature of the birds, not sure...but, I guess I kind of expected more out of that lens. The Canon 100-400 could get MUCH sharper than that...and I mean the OLD 100-400...

I have to say, jrista's shot shows quite a bit more detail, especially on the feathers. The second of AlanF's shows a hint of motion blur imho.

7
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:53:45 AM »
Alrighty. I've done some more testing. I am beginning to distrust FoCal...it does not seem to be calibrating my equipment as ideally as it could be. I decided to do a quick and dirty AFMA check and tweak. I just set it at 0, -10, -20, +10 and +20. Took a few shots of the same target (lens and camera were on a tripod.) The differences were fairly obvious, +10 looked best. I tried +5, that looked slightly better.


The differences with the 600 + 2x TC OOC look MUCH better now. The birds are quite sharp strait out of camera, and they get very sharp with just a little sharpening. Below is a single photo from a more challenging burst of frames, as I was at 1/100th shutter...with a Chickadee. :P Anyone who's photographed Chickadees knows how ludicrously insane it is to try and get a sharp result at 1/100th second. :D


Anyway, managed to (with the limited 6fps of the 5D III even) get one frame that was sharp, at 1200mm f/10, ISO 800. I'm attaching three full size 1:1 scale crops, of the original image, sharpened only, then with a little bit of toning to bring down those highlights...just to reveal all the detail that is there. Personally...I'm pretty impressed at how sharp the 600/4 L II+2x TC III can be strait out of camera. My earlier softness was apparently just due to an improper AFMA selection by FoCal (that my extremely rudimentary and hackish approach handily bested.)

Glad to see you're a convert! I found the 2x III needed a big AFMA setting, but not the mark II fwiw.

8
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: iOptron SkyGuider
« on: December 11, 2014, 01:09:31 PM »
Up to now I have used 14mm, 21mm  and 16-35mm (and once in the past 300mm f/4). The nice thing with this mount is that I can trust it with a heavy setup since the attachment is at its center and it has no need of counterweights.

I would not trust a 500mm lens even on the new device you mentioned mainly because I would fear the excess size would make it prone to accidents...

Anyway a 500mm lens means 1sec exposure tops without any help.

Is the increase of about 10 times enough for you? (this may increase with the help of a good polar scope and precise alignment I guess).

May I suggest the use of a lesser focal length? Say a 300mm f/4 or even a 70-200 2.8?

That way exposure times will increase.

It's always a risk, but yes I would try it out. I don't leave the equipment set up unmanned for very long, as the weather can't be trusted, and I'd be worried about theft. But a couple of hours should be fine, and tbh I've knocked my camera over onto grass (which is the surface I'd likely be on) with no problem.

I don't have a 300mm f/4, nor a 70-200 f/2.8. I did consider getting a lens specifically for this, but it's a huge extra outlay of money and although these are good lenses, I couldn't justify it. I've seen amazing work with the 500 f/4 and since I already have it, I'd love to use it for this :) I looked at the 135 f/2 for use with a 2x extender. Up till now I've relied on the 100 f/2.8L plus (3rd party) 2x extender but 200mm is too short.

I reckon 10 secs is a conservative estimate, but if I found it didn't work well enough, I could always sell the mount on. Just wondered if anyone had used this particular one :)

PS I prefer narrowfield imaging anyhow :)

9
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: iOptron SkyGuider
« on: December 11, 2014, 11:18:46 AM »
The link does not work now. But it does not matter.

A similar one can be easily found: 

https://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=productdetails&phid=cffad01a-797c-4cf4-beb8-a64bc8e09b06

I have something similar the astrotrac. It has the advantage of being able to handle more weight. I am not very fond of its polar scope though.

For these devices keep in mind that with the best polar alighment you will be able to increase the time of exposure by a factor of 10.

No more.  But this is still very usefull (it is a difference for example between ISO 10000 and ISO 1000!)

Another thing they are no good for landscape astrophotography.

A small exception is the ones that can track with 1/2 sidereal speed so as to give you the chance to increase the exposure with no startrails or foreground blur.
My astrotrac does not do this though...

The one you linked to is the one I already have. Here's the one I meant: https://www.ioptron.com/index.cfm?select=productdetails&phid=68425a32-7913-4ebd-b279-0a7b815e0f07

I've never used them for landscape astro work - never really done that at all, I don't have a nice landscape to work with :) I specifically want to upgrade as I can't currently use the 500mm f/4 lens with the lighter model, and I think this would massive increase my possibilities. Even if it was only a 10x increase in possible exposure time, that's a huge step up! :)

What lenses do you use with your tracking mount?

10
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 08, 2014, 05:08:33 PM »
What's the consesnus on the 1.4x II vs the 1.4x III? I own a 1.4xII and 500 f/4 IS USM and I leave the 1.4 in the closet. The loss in resolution is very discernible.

AFAIK the mark II v III extenders only improve AF functionality, rather than image quality. Neuro knows more, I think.

11
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 07, 2014, 05:41:30 PM »
I tend to tweak processing by shot, but I prefer to over sharpen at full size, then reduce the size, than reduce and then sharpen. Not sure if anyone else does it this way.


For final web versions, I usually use this technique. The oversharpen/reduce technique is fairly old, and often applied to landscapes in conjunction with one of the various soft contrast techniques. I think it gives better results. You do have to get a handle on background noise first, though...otherwise the sharpening enhances the noise.

Lol, I don't claim to have invented it, but I did arrive at it by myself :) 


Sure. I know that...  ???



I would usually use a high threshold and wider radius, so it applies above the level of noise grain, if that makes sense. I prefer to avoid denoise wherever possible, as it reduces image quality too much oftentimes.


Sharpening noise reduces image quality as well. That's the problem with noise....the more you start out with, the tougher it is to process without experiencing a degradation in IQ. Denoising is valuable, even if it is a light application. At the very least, lightly denoise then process, and you might end up with the original noise you started with, rather than more.

You don't have to take my word for it, just saying :P It's pretty easy to figure out I guess. Anyway. Denoise... I did used to do it in Lightroom, and lightly as you say. Depends on a lot. Colour denoise certainly - it was good for that. Often with a touch extra saturation to make up the difference. But my preference is for more luminance noise than less - although I would apply more on out of focus backgrounds with a brush, as discussed above, if the situation warranted it. How I miss proper processing tools :(

12
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: December 07, 2014, 04:07:51 PM »
Great photos everyone. Here's one of mine taken yesterday. Great Egret & juvenile White Ibis - Canon 7DII, Canon 400mm f4.5L

What an awesome combination!

13
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: December 07, 2014, 04:07:12 PM »
Very nice shots scyrene. I especially like the second picture.

Thanks! Me too :)

Damn! That's good, Scyrene!
Intimate shots with enough DoF to show off the bird and immediate surroundings. I've never encountered any Shorelarks (I live too far south to spot it here), but it is a great looking lark.

You're very kind, thanks :)

Really beautiful bird. I love his coloring and patterns. Almost like he has a leaf pattern drawn on his head.

Thanks very much. They are lovely - they're known in your parts as 'horned larks' incidentally.

14
Lenses / Re: Review: Sensor Performance of the 7D Mark II
« on: December 07, 2014, 04:04:18 PM »
if ML was fully endorsed by Canon, a much higher percentage of Canon owners would probably install it on their Canon cameras.

I for one would never put unsupported third-party firmware on any electronic device. Especially not, when I am told by the manufacturer that it voids warranty on the product. And I also do not open iPhones oder disassemble Canon cameras physically. I am not Roger Cicala .. I would not get it back together and working again.   ;D

And I guess the majority of Canon users handles it the same way.

I'm sure others can confirm this, but I thought Canon explicitly said installing ML does not void warranties?

15
Animal Kingdom / Re: The 1200mm Sharpness Test
« on: December 07, 2014, 04:00:46 PM »
Jon
My technique is:
1. Use DXO prime to wipe out noise, and don't spend ages on each one with paint brushes etc.
2. If you have the bird against a light background, don't use more than 1 pixel radius on sharpening otherwise you will get a halo, which is annoying to those who notice such things.

I think your final image looks unnaturally bright.

I tend to tweak processing by shot, but I prefer to over sharpen at full size, then reduce the size, than reduce and then sharpen. Not sure if anyone else does it this way.


For final web versions, I usually use this technique. The oversharpen/reduce technique is fairly old, and often applied to landscapes in conjunction with one of the various soft contrast techniques. I think it gives better results. You do have to get a handle on background noise first, though...otherwise the sharpening enhances the noise.

Lol, I don't claim to have invented it, but I did arrive at it by myself :) I would usually use a high threshold and wider radius, so it applies above the level of noise grain, if that makes sense. I prefer to avoid denoise wherever possible, as it reduces image quality too much oftentimes.

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