These screws are guide screws to hold the collar on, your collar will only go on when it's lined up with these screws, offer up the collar and gently rotate it, it will slip on over the screws.
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Photokid i wanna be you
I had the same impression initially using Aperture. Is this your only noise reduction system?
DPP and LR 4.1 RC2 gave a lot better noise control with chroma. Try a different RAW converter. I changed over to LR because of that just a week ago. LR chroma + Dfine 2.0 clean up almost everything up to ISO 10000...
Just an idea. I loved Aperture until I started shooting high ISO.
Part of what you're complaining seems to me to be about low contrast, the situation you're shooting in doesn't have very good contrast so it won't show detail. The other issue is your images don't seem to be perfectly in focus. Have you tried micro adjusting your lenses? The focus should really be better than that.
F/1.6 on a 35L is going to be risky, moreover risky on any lens at that aperture.
If noise is magnified by a lot if you don't get the exposure right and the subject matter is low contrast.
The first image is down to too wide an aperture.
The second is still a telephoto lens wide open at 2.8, did you have the IR focus assist enabled on the flash? If so turn the assist light off (camera menu) as it wouldn't of fired until the light gave it a lock but by that time the subject had skated past the AF point.
Turn the AF Microadjust off, it's junk and anything moving use AI servo.
To get the correct exposure meter off the ICE and overexpose by 1.5-2 stops.
On the first one her face is not properly exposed which contributes to the noise. It also seems like the first one is a touch out of focus. I would personally dial up the ISO 2 stops and the aperture a stop. This gives you a better exposure on her face, which you seem concerned about, and it gives you more depth of field for more sharpness.
The camera might be front or back focusing slightly. Did you micro adjust your lenses.