December 20, 2014, 03:12:16 PM

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Messages - Frodo

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1
Perhaps, I am approaching this from different angle, but I would suggest that you can cut your equipment by about 70% losing only about 5% functionality and making up for it in spades by increased mobility.

I would take only 6D + 24-70 F/4L IS USM + 70-300 F/4-5.6L IS USM. No second body, no flash, no F2.8 zooms, no tripod, no special holsters, no hard disks, etc.  No additional bags. 

Just 6D body with 24-70 packed in a large zipper plastic bag. Second such bag for the tele zoom. Gear kept at the top of your large backpack.  Take small light backpack for moving around cities and for short tramps. However, in addition take Sony RX100 to be always kept in your shirt pocket ready to go in 3 seconds.

It is different mindset, but it works.

I completely agree.  I suggest that the OP is taking waaayyy too much gear for a 6 month backpacking trip through those countries.  Definitely not a second DSLR body, get a small point and shoot instead.  Definitely not the f2.8 zoom, get the 70-300L.  If you want ultra-wide take the 16-35 f4 and a 50, not the 24-70.  Leave the heavy, bulky 600 flash behind and get a 270. 

2
Software & Accessories / Re: Lightroom 5.7 - Is it working for you?
« on: December 03, 2014, 12:33:56 PM »
I entered "no difference", primarily because these minor updates are boring and almost a waste of time.  Adobe is running out of ideas because advancements are slow.  They still can't get auto-exposure to work - heck auto-exposure on Photoshop Elements 7 and even Picasa is waaayyy better.

3
I think most who talk down about it have not used it for an extensive period or even owned it and are pontificating solely based upon reviews online.

I respect Bryan's comment at TDP:

Sigma wins the 24mm contest and Canon wins at 105mm. But that's at f/4. Stop down to f/5.6, and you'll be hard pressed to find a difference in sharpness between these lenses. The Sigma has slightly more light falloff at long end but shows less flare. The Canon has less pincushion distortion in the mid focal lengths.
The Sigma focuses more quietly than the Canon, but the Canon focuses a bit faster than the Sigma. The Canon has a larger and better-positioned focus ring with more rotation (122° vs. 90°). The Canon uses smaller filters (77mm vs. 82mm), but the advantage should go to the size that is already in your kit. The Canon lens is lighter and slightly smaller – and is weather sealed.


No reason to replace my Canon, which is my most commonly used lens.  And buying new, I'd still buy the Canon.

4
One more thing.  Take a pair of knee length gumboots (do you call them Wellingtons?).  Essential for getting in and out of the Zodiac.  Also rain proof over pants (that go over the gumboots) as you will get wet in the Zodiac.  Buy them a little oversized so that you can wear a pair of thick socks inside.  Make sure they are comfortable enough to walk a couple of miles.

5
I sailed from New Zealand via the subantarctic islands into the Ross Sea in February/March 2012.
I concur with what wtlloyd writes.
I took a 5D and a 7D and neither gave any problems.  Definitely take a backup.  A friend sailed south from Ushuaia and I strongly encouraged him to take a second body.  He did.  His first failed and he got a once in a lifetime photo of a giant petrel threatening a penguin parent defending a creche of chicks.  I also took a G11 to take casual photos, but a weatherproof camera would havve been an asset to take photos on the deck in rough weather, and in the Zodiac, etc.
I took a 20-35 f/3.5, 24-105 f/4, 50 f2.5 macro, 70-200 f/4, and 400/5.6.  I would take it all again, except the macro which I hardly used.  But it is small.  400 was essential for birds in flight, but on land the 70-200 is fine for most wildlife as they are not frighted.  I do have some nice photos of royal penguins that I would not have got without the 7D / 400 combination.
I took a tripod but only used it when taking photos in huts.  Arrived at Macquarie Island in the dark at midnight to a wonderful aurora.  Couldn't use the tripod of the moving deck so had to shoot handheld.  I used a monopod with the 7D / 400 (and trashed it when I tripped over s sea lion when trying to get a photo of a right whale close into shore).
All the gear fitted into a Lowepro Flipside 400 backpack, with the monopod of the outside.  This is a great backpack as it allows you to rest the pack on the outer side and access the gear from the inside, meaning that if the pack gets wet or dirty from lying on the ground, it doesn't transfer to your back.  THis is also more weather resistant as the zips are hidden.
I agree not to get a sealed backpack as they are difficult to get into.
I bought a rubberised drybag that my backpack fitted into for trips in the Zodiac.  I think the Lowepro backpack would have been okay as I never got dumped by a wave, but I was not prepared to take the risk.  Once ashore, I took the Lowepro out and left the drybag with the Zodiac.
Take at least one spare battery per camera and charge fully before you go out. Bateries work less efficiently in the cold.  I also took a battery pack for the 7D so I could use AA batteries, but never used it and have since sold it.
The biggest risk for cameras is when a very cold camera comes into the warm, humid environment inside the ship.  This will cause condensation on and potentially inside the camera.  Put the camera in a plastic bag before go you inside and wait for it to warm up.
I took two hard drives and downloaded all photos each night, keeping one HD as a back up.
Take a laptop with your RAW processing programme.  THis will enable you to check image quality, focus, dust, etc.  YOu will probably have time to process images during long sea journeys - not something you want to do when you get back.
If you have a choice, get a berth low and central in the ship, near where the ship pivots in heavy weather.  The more expensive berths tend to higher up and much more exposed to motion.  "The more you pay, the more you sway!".  Some of the rich dudes were sick the whole trip.

Have fun!

6
Lenses / Re: Old lenses Canon will phase out
« on: November 09, 2014, 12:54:26 PM »
I own/owned 5 of those lenses, plus the 20mm f/2.8, which I didn't see there.  The 20mm is a dog and I was glad to get rid of it.  I replaced the 70-200mm f/4 with a 200 f/2.8 as the shorter end overlapped with my 24-105 f/4 when hiking and, although it was very sharp, it flared when shooting into the sun.  The 50mm f1.8 was sharp, but cheaply made.

My other three that I own are fine, although the 50mm macro could do with a better AF motor and go to 1:1.   The others are great.  The 85mm f/1.8 has some CA but I knew that when I bought it.  And the 400 f/5.6 is great wide open, plus nice and light and cheap - my watersports and birding lens.  Would be nice to have IS and to focus closer, not critical at this price point.

There are some oldies and goodies in there!

7
(I'm also skeptical of the oft-encountered contention that you will need to use a tripod and can't use very fast lenses.  I never use a tripod and often use very fast lenses wide open with my a7r and don't think my success rate is noticeably different; I doubt there's anything special about my hand-holding technique.)

Having shot film cameras for very many years, I relied heavily on the 1/focal length rule and it served me well.  I absolutely agree with Accutance that moving to the 20-odd MP 5DII changes that fundamentally.  I now find that with 1/focal length, camera movement often limits the resolution of the image.  If I am to get the maximum resolution out of my current system I need to use at least 2x 1/focal length, or better still use a tripod.

Other factors also start to come into play, such as depth of field where OOF areas become more evident (which is not always a problem).

In terms of the original question, it is interesting to compare the MP figure provided by DXOMark (without getting into the DXOMark debate) of a good lens (such as the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art) on a 5D with the same lens on a D800.  The D800 resolves more detail.  But compare a mediocre lens and the increase is less marked. 

Cheers

8
Hi Sporgon
Thanks for the effort of posting those photos.  I have the same experience that "over-exposure" or ETTR tends to compromise tonality in skies, well illustrated with your blue bucket (I use LR5).  You comment that you have gained little in the black bucket.  That bucket is providing you with sufficient shadow details for the image, because this is quite a low contrast scene.  If, however, the blue bucket was in the sun and the black bucket in the shade, more exposure would have allowed you to capture more shadow detail.  And in my case with a 5DII, reduced banding.
So its a case of deciding what is the priority (as you will already know!).
Nevertheless I'm not sure why tonality is lost in skies when exposing to the right as there should be more information at the right side of the histogram.

9
Lenses / Re: 70-200 2.8 II or 100 2.8L and 135 2 and 200 2.8
« on: October 17, 2014, 02:09:05 PM »
The lens you have with you, is the lens that will be used.  The 70-200 f2.8II is too heavy and conspicuous for the sort of photography I do.  I often go hiking with my 24-105 as main lens.  I had a 70-200 f4 and found that the overlap with the 24-105 meant I hardly used it and when I did it was at 200mm.  So I bought the 200 f2.8, which pairs nicely with a 1.4x converter for a close to 300mm lens.  I'm off to Australia for a fortnight on a work trip. If I owned the 70-200 f2.8, it would not come.  The 200mm will come.

It seems your main need is for photographing kids.  Unless you are shooting sports, I suggest that 70-200 is too long for a crop camera, as others have said.  My favourite kid photos are when I get close to them and relatively wide, shooting at their eye-level - kids soon ignore the camera.  This shows the kids in their environment (parties, playgrounds, beaches) rather than isolating them from it.  A zoom would be ideal for this.  A 24-105 on crop camera would be great.  The Sigma 50-150 would be good for something longer.

For portraits on FF, the 135 f2 would be better than my 200 f2.8 and I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice.

The 8.5 f1.8 is a nice cheap portrait lens and focuses fast.  But it does not focus close enough on FF, but on a crop would be tighter.  Finally this lens does not work well on an extension tube, although its okay with a 250D closeup lens for an emergency macro.

The 70-200 f2.8II is by all accounts a great lens.  But it is big, conspicuous and expensive.

10
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Why would Canon pick this combo?
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:13:25 PM »
Canon also sold crop sensor cameras as a kit with the 28-135, which is also a full-frame lens. 
At the end of the day, if you don't use the lens, its not cheap.
As a walk around lens on a crop sensor, I'd far rather have the 17-55 f/2.8 than the 24-70 f/4.

11
Post Processing / Re: Post processing, coma removal
« on: August 20, 2014, 02:57:03 PM »
Yes, I'd love to be able to correct coma.  My EF35/2 IS is a wonderful lens, but the poor coma renders it useless for landscape astrophotography.

12
Photography Technique / Re: Questions about Shooting the Supermoon
« on: August 08, 2014, 04:27:55 PM »
LOL, yes, and that was brave of you to post that!  I did the opposite when I first shot the moon.  I spot-metered the moon and then set the manual exposure.  Of course that turns white to middle gray, not really what you want, either.  I think spot meter +1 EV works well as a starting place if I remember from my last shot.

The Moon receives the same light from the Sun as we do on Earth.  So expose for a sunny day on Earth to expose the Moon correctly. 
In the days of film I used the "sunny 16" rule: f16 at the reciprocal of the ASA (ISO).  So 1/125 @ f16 for 125 ASA. 
You don't need f16 for depth of field and for a long tele, you need a higher shutter speed.  So f8 and 1/500 for 100 ISO or f8 and 1/2000 for 400 ISO.  I would bracket to be safe.

13
Photography Technique / Re: Questions about Shooting the Supermoon
« on: August 08, 2014, 04:18:34 PM »


2. Forgive my extreme ignorance on the subject, but I assume the so-called moon illusion that makes it appear larger near the horizon is just a psychological phenomenon, not something visible in-camera, right?

Yes, but the super moon is actually a bit larger, as the moon is a little closer to us.

You are right about the Moon illusion.  Wikipedia captures it well:

A popular belief, stretching back at least to Aristotle in the 4th century B.C., holds that the Moon appears larger near the horizon due to a real magnification effect caused by the Earth's atmosphere. This is not true: although the atmosphere does change the perceived color of the Moon, it does not magnify or enlarge it. In fact, the Moon appears about 1.5% smaller when it is near the horizon than when it is high in the sky, because it is farther away by nearly one Earth radius. Atmospheric refraction also makes the image of the Moon slightly smaller in the vertical direction.

The angle that the full Moon subtends at an observer's eye can be measured directly with a theodolite to show that it remains constant as the Moon rises or sinks in the sky (discounting the very small variations due to the physical effects mentioned). Photographs of the Moon at different elevations also show that its size remains the same.

Note that between different full moons, the Moon's angular diameter can vary from 33.5 arc minutes at perigee to 29.43 arc minutes at apogee—a difference of over 10%. This is because of the ellipticity of the Moon's orbit.

14
EOS Bodies / Re: 6D+7Dii Vs 5D mkiii
« on: August 07, 2014, 03:41:58 PM »
An important question is: do you want 2 bodies or 1?
I went to Antarctica a couple of years ago.  I went for a 5DII and 7D for less than the price of a 5DIII.  I needed to have two bodies as I could not risk one failing.  I also needed the extra reach that the 7D provided on my 400 f5.6.  By the way that's a good BIF combination, but you have to maintain high shutter speeds for sharpness.  In my view, the 400/7D is sharper than 400/cropped 5DII.
Now I'm back home, I hardly use the 7D other than for watersports photography and when I do events when two cameras are handy.  There are times when I miss the better focusing of the 7D (especially with lateral AF points when shooting portraits wide open), but the quality of the 7D files are not a touch near those from the 5DII.  So now I'd like the 5DIII as a single camera!
But on balance, I prefer the two camera set up.  Roll on the next Antarctica trip!

15
I tried a slide adaptor in my reasonably good Canon scanner - results were pathetic.
I then made an adaptor that screws on the front of my EF 50mm macro with extension tube.  This tube holds the slide at just the right distance for 1:1 (actually a little less so I crop slightly when processing) and a bit further back is a diffuser made out of a plastic ice-cream container lid that was neutral in colour.  I can take a photo of the adaptor if people are interested.
I then use a flash on a TTL cord to illuminate the slide.  Use auto exposure but found I need to give about +1/2 - 1 stop to get the best image.
I clean dust off the slides reasonably well, but find that the last spots are much easier to remove in Lightroom.
I found that using the medium RAW file on my 5DII was about right - the full resolution file is more than the original slide and is wasted resolution.
I have a preset for processing the slides.  I find that I can "improve" the slides significantly by filling in the shadows yet retain highlights, as well as correct colour balance, and remove dust and fungus (lots of fungus on my Kodachromes, but at least they retained colour well). 
I produce two jpgs: a full resolution (of the medium RAW file) and one that will fit within a 1920x1080 full HD TV screen. Then I delete the RAW file.  Once the images are backed up I through away the slides. 
This works well and the sharpness is great.  The most time is spent in processing the image in Lightroom, but I think that this is a part of the process that makes a huge difference.
I ended up doing over 10,000 slides this way.

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