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Messages - Hillsilly

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Photography Technique / Re: Tips for using CPL
« on: January 30, 2014, 09:48:59 PM »
All this talk about China and Taiwan reminds me....


Best wishes for the year of the horse!

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: FUJIFILM'S latest, X-T1 ?
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:20:05 AM »
Hey, Nikon, look ... both the shutter and the ISO dials have "A" points.

Seriously, this camera might be my point of exit regarding Canon ... all the X system still needs is a weather-sealed, internal focusing 50-200mm f/4 lens (OIS optional).
I assume you know Fuji have a lens roadmap listing lenses to be released over the next year?  No 50-200 f/4, but I'd assume the 50-140 f/2.8 and the "Super Tele Zoom" will be weather-sealed.

FWIW, I'm a Fuji user (I've an older X-E1).  If the available focal lengths fit your needs, and you're not an action, wildlife or sports photographer, it is a very nice system to get into.

I agree - nothing wrong with micro motors!  I've still got two at home - a 100mm f/2.8 macro and the ubiquitous 50mm f/1.8.  While the 50mm doesn't get much use any more, its still fine optically when not used wide open. The 100mm macro is an excellent lens and I don't think the current "L" version is much sharper (if at all?).  The later macro lenses have some operational improvements, but the image quality of the initial lens is still as good as it gets.

By its nature, photography is very gear orientated, and its easy to believe the fallacy that "only the latest and greatest is good enough".  But you'd be surprised how much good gear is already out there, and how cheaply some of it sells used.  Lack of access to affordable, quality alternatives to new "L" lenses is perhaps the last thing holding back our potential world class photographer.

As already noted previously in the forums, with mirrorless camera sales receding there doesn't appear to be a solid future for this direction currently.  Canon clearly projected this from their sales numbers, hence the restricted release of the M2.  It's not clear there's anything to get terribly excited about now since screen technology still has a little ways to go, the aging population (and thereby fading vision capabilities) in many countries is a limiting factor, and Canon appears to have found a way to satisfy the market for "smaller, lighter" cameras within their 35mm lineup.

In short, if you want it really small and light get an iPhone.

I think you'll find that some styles of mirrorless cameras will appeal more to older photographers than current  DSLRs .  I know I love the loupe features for accurate focusing and manual controls of my Fuji X-E1.  So much better than trying to navigate through fiddly buttons and menus.  The EVF also allows easier framing and focusing at night.  Fuji have recently announced that they are working on a super telephoto lens (I think they're the first of the mirrorless companies to do this?).   I can't wait until some details are released.  If they can produce something of high quality that is significantly lighter than a 100-400L, I think they're onto a winner with older photographers.

That being said. I suspect we'll see a few DLSR models specifically for geriatrics appear in coming years.  I personally think there would be a massive market for a DSLR with only a few very big, easy to access buttons to press.  In addition, some of the mirrorless benefits relate to the EVF, which will probably start appearing in more DSLRs over time anyway.

Canon have made some smaller cameras.  But where are the EF-S "L" lenses that take advantage of the APS-C sensor size?  By the time you add a quality lens to the camera, you defeat most of the benefits of the smaller body size.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon naming policy
« on: January 19, 2014, 01:17:19 AM »
Canon are lazy.  They are currently just using the same numbers they had in the 1980's and 1990's, but with a "D" tacked on the back.  Given that they are moving to EVFs in the next couple of years, I suspect that they'll go back to the start, but replace the "D" with an "E" (for EVF, Evolution etc).  We'll have "C", "D", and "E" cameras, and it will be immediately obvious what type of camera it is.

Photography Technique / Re: Real Estate Photography Critique
« on: January 18, 2014, 12:47:50 AM »
Coming from a different perspective as a property buyer rather than a seller or photographer, the properties that catch my attention are those that look warm and inviting.  Places that I want to live in.  Your interior shots are fine.  They're functional and wouldn't dissuade anyone from taking a closer look.  But there is always ways to improve.

I like lighting.   RiceCake didn't mention this specifically, but if you look at his images, the interior lights are all turned on and play a prominent role.  I find this a very nice look and a real attention grabber.

As Canon1 suggests, tweak the white balance to warm the images up a little.

The outside photos work ok, but could be improved.  Perhaps a different time of day would have shown the property at its best potential.  A great sunset in the background always work well - especially when you have so many interesting things in the yard.  (But then, how much time do you spend on this when you're not being paid?)  But the right image will quickly change buyers thoughts from - "ok, its got a big yard", to "I want that!".

I'm surprised they didn't want photos of the exterior.  Just thought I'd mention that the latest trend over here is to display a photo at sunset with all of the the interior lights turned on and visible from outside.  Every house looks great that way.  I know many people Photoshop a sunset in and also merge multiple photos to get the perfect look.  In taking the photos of the property, you'd use flash on the exterior in selected places, which you'd then blend in to give you a well lit, beautiful looking house.  But that goes back to how much time do you want to spend on this project?

The other big trend is aerial photos (eg via quadcopter / go pro - another excuse to be buy one!).  People also use long extension poles to elevate a camera for an interesting perspective.  The serious guys use trucks in which the extension pole is integrated into the back, providing a very stable and secure platform which can be remotely operated.

But your self-critique shows that you know what you are doing and I haven't got much more to add.

EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon ditch the AA Filter?
« on: January 12, 2014, 03:18:57 AM »
I've got a Fuji X-E1, which doesn't have an AA filter.  I won't pretend to understand many of the technical details.  All I'll say is that I'm super impressed with the sharpness of images.  I've taken  over 20,000 photos  with it and have never noticed any significant moire problems - certainly nothing that has ruined an image.  I can't even remember the last time I saw it.  But I notice it occasionally when taking videos - it happens occasionally when panning across a typical moire producing background, such as the flyscreen example above.  But it only happens when the subject is in focus.  I've never found it to be a serious problem, but I don't take many videos.  I think if you take a lot of videos, you'd probably stick with an AA filter.

But as far as photographs go, my recent Fuji experiences will sway me towards non-AA versions of cameras in future.

X-Trans is technically reducing the maximum potential resolution...by a factor of three...but technically speaking the results would be superior.

FWIW, compared to a 16mp Canon FF sensor, a 16mp Fuji sensor has just as many pixels / resolution.  But I might not have understood your comment entirely.  If you are curious to see if the resolution is the same, or not, tell me a good way to show it.

Lenses / Re: Question about Canon Lens Quality, Sir
« on: January 09, 2014, 12:47:45 AM »
I suspect you are right, but we're merely talking about choosing horses for courses.  Compared with designing a normal zoom for an APS-C sensor, the complexities of designing a 16-35 lens to cover a FF sensor, where you are essentially wanting good image quality across a sensor with about three times the area, with a wider aperture make it a sgnificantly harder optical challenge.   It shouldn't be a big shock that a lens designed specifically for an APS-C sensor performs as well or better than a lens designed with a FF sensor in mind.  As metioned above, people don't get the full benefit of the "L".

Still, I wouldn't discount the use of "L" lenses entirely.  In addition to sharpness, there is also light gathering, bokeh, weather sealing etc to consider.  I used to love how my 70-200 performed on my 30D.   (But then, I was never a fan of my 17-40 + 30D combo and picked up a 10-22 pretty quickly.  Maybe there is a FF wide angle zoom problem?)

Not being from the USA, I don't know if college basketball is different, but most large sporting events will accredit freelance photographers and provide them with special access.  Compared with being from a recognised media outlet, it is tougher to be accredited - often you will be asked about your experience, provide portfolio shots, be asked about the intended use of the photos (and often you'll be restricted to news use and won't be able to use them for other purposes).  And you'll often have to pay a fee and you might need insurance.  But you've got some very nice shots that suggest people are happy for you to be court-side.  That will work in your favour.

How much to charge?  Who knows?  If they had contacted you saying that they wanted a photographer to cover 12 games during a tournament (which I assume went for a couple of days?), I'd say that $800 was very cheap.  But then, I'm involved with a couple of sporting clubs (admittedly, non-professional) and apart from season team photos, we never use professional photographers.  I doubt that there would be many clubs that will happily pay the sort of money that you'd normally expect to earn for the time involved.

At the non-elite end, another idea would be to work with tournament organisers to allow you to set up a table to sell the photos directly to the players and parents.  You'd print off the "ok" photos taken (trying to get a photo of everyone) and insert them into a commemorative holder and also explain that the photos can also be purchased in different sizes, and if someone wanted them, they can get all of the tournament photos in digital format for $800.   But this requires a bit of organisation and usually other helpers.  Alternatively (and possibly far easier), you'd work with the tournament organisers to get the contact details of the players, upload the photos and provide them for sale a couple of days after the event.  This is what happens with some of the running events that I take part in.  For ideas on pricing, have a look at some of the websites of local marathons or www.marathon-photos.com.  Maybe you could become "footballphotos.com" and "basketballphotos.com" and even get other photographers around the world to upload their photos to your site and you'd pay them a percentage of each photo sold.

Canon General / Re: only canon, nikon and sony will survive?
« on: January 02, 2014, 01:31:22 AM »
My interpretation of this, FWIW, is that the consumer has figured out that compact fixed lens cameras are not enough better than cell phone cameras to be worth the hassle, thus dooming the compact camera market.

And in hindsight, I wonder if Canon, Nikon and others are kicking themselves for being so complacent with compact cameras?  Why is it that my phone has IQ virtually as good as most compact cameras with the benefit of better connectivity?  Why is it that the GoPro is the only compact camera even remotely on my purchasing radar?  Where have Canon and Nikon been for the last ten years?  Anyway, good on Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others for powering ahead and equipping a new generation of photographers.  Perhaps these will be the big camera companies in 20 years time, too.  Perhaps the megapixel war was really a poisoned chalice for the camera companies.

The real challenge for camera makers relates to changes in consumer behaviour and the impact of online sales, where less experienced camera buyers will tend to favour the safe option of Canon and Nikon, as they are the brands that are associated with quality cameras, and often attract substantial discounts.

But I think most camera companies will survive.  I also think the future looks particularly bright for the first company that can produce an APS-C mirrorless camera, that has DSLR-like performance, small size and well laid out controls.  Yesterday, in 35+ degree heat (>95F) and almost 100% humidity, I was sporting my little Fuji X-E1 at a local tourist attraction.  I was getting a LOT of envious looks from sweaty, overburdened DSLR users.

I've been lucky enough to use my sister's SX50HS a few times in recent weeks.  I was pleasantly surprised by the snappyness of its AF and the effectiveness of the IS when taking video at the longer end of the zoom range.  The image quality at lower ISO's isn't bad, it works well with Canon flashes and it has an EVF.

Photography Technique / Re: What makes a photo great?
« on: December 19, 2013, 10:33:46 PM »
Oh...and don't forget the rule of thirds.  Otherwise you could end up like this guy!


Photography Technique / Re: What makes a photo great?
« on: December 19, 2013, 10:27:28 PM »
By "Great" if you mean worldwide instant recognition, then the current perception of photography is one of a documentary nature.  You'd need to capture a photograph that is of historic importance and relevance to a high percentage of people.  Essentially, a photograph of an event or somebody that people care about.  Today, given the ubiquitous nature of cameras and phones, that would also mean being the first to publicise your photo.

Don't believe me - flick through any book of famous iconic photos.  How many are of an artistic, wildlife or landscape nature?  Typically, only a small percentage.  And, while you and I would recognise the work of many famous photographers, most people wouldn't.  To most people, if its not a photo of them or their family, they normally couldn't care less.   

So, how to make a great photo.  The Answer is easy.  Be there and be ready when "it" happens.

If you want to make a great photo without seeking worldwide fame and acclaim, there are quite a few guides available on the internet.  For a simple read, I thought this was good: -


In particular, I liked one of the starting concepts, attributed to Cecil Beaton,

"A technical 'failure' which shows some attempt as aesthetic expression is of infinitely more value than 'uninspired' success."

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC Availability
« on: December 19, 2013, 04:31:17 AM »
But then again, have you ever seen the marketing people say "this lens is soft" :)

What about the 135/f2.8?

I'll join the chorus of those curious about this lens.  My 400/5.6 has a pretty bad fungus problem and is on the fast track to the bin.  With no modern Canon replacement in sight, I can't wait to read some reviews on the Tamron to see if it is a possible replacement. 

My only concern is that the length of the lens seems short given the focal range covered.  Now I'm no lens designer, but I've always believed that the more "tele" a lens is, the more advanced (and expensive) internal optics that are required to produce great results.  Hopefully, Tamron will prove me wrong.

EOS Bodies / Re: Why do you want a FF Mirrorless?
« on: December 18, 2013, 05:05:14 AM »
I love crystal ball gazing.  Where will we be in twelve months: -

I think most manufacturers will release fixed lens FF mirrorless cameras.  I certainly think that is Fuji's intention and I wouldn't be surprised if Canon and Nikon follow suit.  Canon's entry will resemble a vintage Canonet.  It will be a sales success.  In relation to interchangeable lens cameras, in addition to the EOS M3, Canon will release a highly specc'd EOS M3 Pro.  Both will use APS-C sensors.  The EOS M3 Pro might even be sold outside of Japan.

Pentax might be the odd one out and might announce a mirrorless system.  They've developed a strong APS-C following.  For years they've been saying that APS-C is good enough (...which it is), but there is a strong interest in FF cameras amongst their users.  A mirrorless system will allow the move into FF without disenfranchising their existing customers.  Pentax will walk away from retail.  Instead, you'll buy the camera directly from them online.  Taking some ideas from Ricoh, Pentax will design their camera in a modular fashion and users will have many different options to choose from.  You'll customise the camera at the time of ordering.  It won't be a huge success, but people will like the idea.

To the dismay of Pentax users, there won't be a Pentax FF DSLR.  Pentax will make the decision that they can't easily compete with Canon and Nikon (and Sony) as they don't have the resources to quickly develop an extensive range of lenses and accessories that most DSLR users would demand.   However, they will be able to develop a simple mirrorless system with only a handful of lenses.

Olympus will also announce a FF system.  They will use a mount which enables M43 lenses to be used (in crop mode) which will make current Olympus photographers very happy.  They will have also developed improvements to phase detect AF.  The Olympus model will be a very responsive camera.  Maybe not ready for birds in flight, but few will complain about AF speed.

The price of all of these cameras will fall in the $1400-$1700 range.  That's the new FF battleground.  Most people who have used a good crop camera in recent years will wonder what the point is, especially now that the widest aperture, maximum background blur look is getting a little dated.

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