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Topics - chasinglight

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Lenses / buying advice: 24-70 2.8 v1 or v2
« on: December 16, 2014, 11:47:44 AM »
Hi, I am on the fence about which to get for an admittedly silly reason: filter size. The majority of all my lenses and filters are 77mm. The issue with the filter size is two fold: 1) I hate to buy filters over again in 82mm 2) when traveling bringing filters in another size is an annoyance.

So the question is for those that have owned both lenses, is the v2 thaat much better (IQ and AF) than the v1? Thanks in advance for your help.

Lenses / Airshow Photography - Big Whites vs Small Whites...
« on: August 04, 2014, 06:40:57 PM »
Over the past few years I have shot a handful of airshows, first with the t2i and a 70-200 + 1.4x (blue angels below), then a few with the 7D + 100 -400 and even with a 6D + 100 - 400 (thunderbirds below). For the upcoming Chicago Air and Water show I have been thinking whether there are any equipment upgrades I can make to increase the quality of my images. The 100-400 is by and large THE airshow companion for good reason, its reasonably priced, flexible (wight and zoom), and has IS. I have been considering picking up a 400 5.6 for some time now to see whether I like it better than the 100 - 400 or not; though the IS in the 100-400 is key for panning shots. However, today I got the idea to maybe rent a 300 2.8 IS II with a 1.4x or 2x. I am not normally a fan of renting; I'd rather take the money and spend it on something I can keep..but that's neither here nor there.

Obviously shooting airshows can be hit or miss due to perspective, lighting, weather, and atmospheric conditions..luck...

So the question is what are the advantages of using say a 300 2.8 + 1.4x or 400 2.8 over a 400 5.6 or 100-400 to shoot an airshow? Obviously DoF isn't an issue since you are shooting near infinity, though the lower f/ will allow you to use a higher shutter speed and/or lower ISO. The real difference is probably in the sharpness; so the question is to anyone who has used a lens from both categories, is the IQ gain really worth the hassle of renting/twice the weight? I know for birding the IQ gain is very noticeable, but for airplanes?

Thanks in advance.

Software & Accessories / Canon BG-E13 Flimsy Tripod Mount
« on: July 09, 2014, 09:16:09 PM »

I know many say that the most stable way to mount your camera to a tripod is without the battery grip (though many will debate otherwise, but that is not the point of this post). I recently noticed that when I mount my Canon 6D + (authentic) Canon BG-E13 to a tripod (via arca swiss plate or RRS L bracket) there is significant flex in the BG-E13 tripod mount. In fact I can see the bottom of the battery grip flexing/torquing when light force is applied to the camera while the ball head is tightened. When the 7D was my main camera I always mounted my 7D + BG-E7 either directly to a tripod via an arca swiss plate or a RRS L Bracket and never really experienced any appreciable flex. So I guess my question is, out of curiosity, is anyone else noticing that the BG-E13 is pretty flimsy when mounted to a tripod? I don't have any issue with the quality for handheld use (though I do like the ergonomics of the BG-E7 better). Despite the ill effects to my workflow I am thinking that I will now remove my BG-E13 when using a tripod....and also exchange my RRS 6D w/grip L bracket for the plain 6D L bracket.

Thoughts? Comments?

Animal Kingdom / Bird Photography Critique/Tips
« on: July 21, 2013, 01:05:32 PM »
Hi, I have been getting into bird photography since the beginning of this year. I am shooting with a 7D and 100-400 L. Attached is a recent exposure (I have attached both my processed version and the original RAW). This is probably not my best work, certainly not my worst. What I am looking for is a critique of my exposure technique (what you can infer), the image itself, and the processing. Feel free to download the RAW and post an example of how you think I should have processed it (please include a basic write up of what you did).

I am just looking for opinions and suggestions on how I can improve and hone my skills.

Some details about my technique. This was taken about 7-10 feet from the female red-winged blackbird at about 6PM. I used AF Servo, single point AF, Spot metering, ETTR (as much as I dared), and IS to achieve this shot at 1/800s, f/8.0, ISO 800 @ 400mm. I processed the image completely in Lightroom 4. I cropped, adjusted WB, and globally sharpened, then applied the following local adjustments: highlight recovery, contrast, and applied NR.

RAW photo:

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Move to full frame (6D) or New Lens?
« on: July 16, 2013, 12:00:17 AM »
Hi, I currently shoot with the canon 7d. I have the 15-85 which I use for landscapes, all around lens, and occasionally portraits; the 50 1.8 which I use for shallow DoF and low light work; 100-400 which I use for birds and wildlife; and the 70-200 f4 IS which I use occasionally for portraits and landscapes.

My question is if you had a choice of whether to add the 6D to the line up (for most shooting except wildlife) or buy a fast zoom like the 24-70 2.8 (version 1) which would you do? I like the idea of the 6D because it will create cleaner images, provide better low light performance for family events, and will allow me to use the 70-200 more as I find the focal length either too long or too short on crop (never just right). At the same time, just getting the 24-70 would give me better low light performance and shallow DoF for events where lighting is not ideal.

Part of me says to get the 24-70 first as I would need a standard zoom on the 6D, but part of me really wants to try out full frame. I thought about just getting an old 5Dc to try out full frame, but I figured it was more worth the money to get a current model camera. The 5D3 is currently more than I would like to spend if anyone was thinking to suggest that instead. Thoughts?!?

Software & Accessories / Filter Holder for Tiffen ND Grads
« on: May 05, 2013, 01:17:57 AM »

I am looking at buying one or two Tiffen ND Grads. I have decided to go with Tiffen due to their renown color neutrality. Also I like that glass is much more resistant to scratching than resin. Previously I bought a set of Hitech resin filters and they came scratched out of the sealed packaging! So that doesn't give me much faith in resin. Anyway I initially wanted to go with the 100mm filters and accompany them with the Lee Foundation Kit Filter Holder....until I saw that the Tiffen 4x6 (100mm) ND Grads are over $400 a piece! WOW! Way too much. As I actually don't need filters that big I started to look at the Tiffen "P" series filters which are much more reasonable; roughly $160.

My question is, is there a "P" series filter holder that is more robust than the standard Cokin "P" series holder? Something more like the Lee filter holders? I found this aluminum 85mm holder from Hitech

does anyone have any experience with this holder? moreover does anyone have experience with this holder and tiffen filters?

is there something else I should be looking at? is the cokin "P" series holder really all I need/the quality is actually pretty good?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Software & Accessories / Induro C314 vs CT314
« on: April 13, 2013, 02:00:58 PM »
Hi, I am looking to get a sturdy tripod for landscape and wildlife. It needs to be able to support a gripped 7D with 100-400. I have ready very good things about the Induro CT314. When I was looking for the best price I found someone selling the "C314" on eBay for $100 less than the CT314 currently goes for. Turns out the C314 is the previous model. The features look generally the same, the specs looks quite different. However, I believe the difference in specs could just be marketing talk..maximum load 22lbs vs 39lbs. I read a very good review of the "C413" (the same production year as the C314) on Luminous Landscapes so I believe the Induro CF tripods to be very capable.

Anyway does anyone have experience with either the C314 or CT314? any real life differences?

Also I have researched manfrotto, gitzo, RRR, and others and am pretty set on the induro based on price, value, and favorable reviews. That said I am not looking for "well you should really get a Gitzo for $800 or a RRR for $1000." My budget allows <= $1000 for legs and a gimbal with the induro I can easily stay within budget.

Thanks for your help!!!

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 5D3 vs 7D AND 6D
« on: March 09, 2013, 12:30:42 PM »
Hi, I am an avid hobbiest photographer. I enjoy shooting landscapes and portraits, but increasingly I am shooting birds, horses, and other fast moving subjects as well. I currently have a T2i, 15-85, 50 f/1.8, 70-200 f/4 IS, and 100-400. I am looking to upgrade bodies, but I need a little bit of advice. Obviously the 5D3 would satisfy all of these shooting requirements with only two downsides, the price and loss of "reach" that I have a with a crop. The other avenue I am thinking about going is two bodies. Sell the T2i, get a 7D as they are becoming cheaper everyday and get a 5D2 or 6D. Now you may add up the prices and say a 7D + 6D (or 5D2) is about the same price as a 5D3. I am looking for opinions on which way to go. Pros/Cons of having two bodies. For some reason I am just a bit apprehensive to get one camera for ~$2500 since I have not yet spent that much on any one piece of equipment. I might add that I currently do not get paid for any photos, but I may start picking up some paying equine photography gigs as I have quite a few friends who ride and want to set me up with some clients, but this would just be occasional "on the side" work. Thanks for you help in advance!

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 550d vs 7d AF for Bird Photography
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:12:37 PM »
Hi, I recently started getting into bird photography. I have been using a Canon 550d and a Canon 100-400 in center point AI servo mode. I have had fairly good luck, but I find the AF to be a little sluggish and it tends to hunt quite a bit when trying to focus on birds in trees. To be fair the birds are only filling the center point of the frame. That said I am considering getting the 7d given its renown AF performance, but in my research I have read a lot of people stating that even with the 7d they mostly use center point AI servo mode. I have read that some people use center point with AF expansion, but it has the tendency to lock on to a leaf or something at the worst times.

So my question is, is it really worth it for me to upgrade to the 7D for bird photography? Obviously aside from AF I would gain a faster FPS and build quality, but the unless the AF is much better the IQ will stay the same since the 550D and 7D share the same sensor. I don't mind getting the 7D if it will drastically improve AF performance, but otherwise I have been planning to get a 5DII or 6D for improved portraits and landscapes.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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