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Messages - pwp

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For stills, Canon rules, but videographers are leaving Canon in alarming numbers. Some are picking up the low-light king, the Sony A7s which requires an external recorder to record in 4K, and lots more, myself included have gone to the game-changing Panasonic GH4 which records 4K internally. You don't actually need 4K, but if you record in 4K and downsample to 1080p in post, and publish in 1080p, it's orders of magnitude better than shooting 1080p straight up.

Photocat, if your question is a serious one, put the time aside and watch these very long reviews all the way through. They're very, very instructive.

Having shot video with 5D2, 5D3 and SL1, the GH4 leaves them gasping for respectability. The only caveat is that the 5D3 will outperform the GH4 at high iso's, but not by as much as you'd expect, especially if you're recording in 4K. It's no exaggeration to describe the GH4 as a game changer. Metabones has just released the Speedbooster MFT adapter for Canon, so you can use your Canon glass on the GH4 if you choose. Personally I went for the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 and the 35-100 f/2.8 (or GH4 review and why I am leaving Canon) Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster



Photography Technique / Re: Step Wedge?
« on: September 10, 2014, 04:06:02 AM »
cool. do you ever get a chance to do artistic x-ray stuff? I saw some really neat ones of natural objects like flowers and shells.
Sadly, no fun X-ray stuff. 
I saw some fantastic editorial images of a hand holding a handgun. In x-ray it looked extraordinary, and especially powerful in the context of the article which dealt with the insanity of gun ownership statistics and laws in the US.

Here's the startling statistic. 50% of the guns on Earth are owned by Americans, yet the US has just 5% of the worlds population. Can you believe that? For a nation of such smart people, it's a breathtaking, indefensible & totally bonkers blind-spot. Trade them in for cameras!


Lighting / Re: How to Extend Flash Performance (Life on Site)
« on: September 10, 2014, 12:56:45 AM »
Is there any risk of these external packs (not the cp-e4 but the Godox etc.) blowing out the strobe?

I had a quantum turbo sc blow a 580 EX and a 580 EX2. Switched to PowerEx/Imedion rechargables after that.
It's true that an external pack like Quantum Turbo, Turbo SC or Turbo T3 has the capacity to blow your speedlight's brains out. You'll also blow up your car if you keep revved up to red-line long enough. I blew a 550EZ years ago with a Quantum Turbo but honestly, you have to be painfully dim to do it. Constantly pumping it on full power is just dumb. If the flash is on-camera you'll smell it overheating long before it gets damaged, plus a quick feel/check of the heat levels after a rapid full-power set of shots will tell you instantly whether to rest it for a few minutes or not. It's not rocket science.

The benefits of a power-pack outweigh the disadvantages by such a huge degree it's hilarious. Quantum named the Turbo very appropriately. Like with a high performance car, Turbo delivers a game changing boost when you need it, but keep your pedal to the metal and pretty soon you'll hit meltdown.


Photography Technique / Re: Travel set up
« on: September 09, 2014, 10:53:47 PM »
Hi looking for some travel camera advice!

I also like the idea of the capture pro camera clip by peak design

to have an accessible mount for the camera and also take the black rapid too. Just means I can attach it to my bag strap for quick access and it doesn't weigh a lot.

Thanks in advance for the opinions.
Sounds like an awesome trip Tom. Personally I have reduced and reduced down to the most basic kit possible for travel. My last two big trips to Vietnam & Lao were with nothing more than an SL-1/100D with the classy EF-S 15-85is zoom and a shirt-load of cards. Earlier trips were amply covered with a 5D2 and 24-105. I used to take all sorts of stuff but it just got in the way, was a security headache at times and was just plain heavy. I have come to like the enforced creativity push of only working with one lens. For some travelers this is often just one prime like a 35 or 50. That's too tight for me, but experienced travelers seem to all reach a point of distilled-down lightweight simplicity.

A comment on the Peak Design clip. After over $1000 of research and dead-ends on camera straps and clip systems, the Canon neck strap, Black Rapid, CarrySpeed and Spider-Pro Holster system have all made way for the Peak Design sling straps. I like the Spider-Pro Holster and still use it from time to time. I thought the Peak Design clip looked awesome and bought two plus ProPads, hitched onto a utility belt. I never use them. They would be perfectly fine for a very light camera like an EOS M with a pancake, or most point & shoots, but for a real camera they just don't work. The whole setup is annoyingly rigid and fiddly to lock/unclip, regardless of how easy it looks on the Peak Design website. The Spider-Pro holster is a better bet for heavier DSLR's with the small amount of "swing" in the mounting pin just about perfect. I can RUN with a 1D Mk4/70-200 f/2.8isII hooked onto a Spider-Pro holster. Mount/dismount is close to instant. Still, even working with two bodies, I find the Peak Design sling straps slung one each side is the best setup I've ever had. And that's saying something. Their quick release Anchors have passed the "tough-test" with flying colors. The quick release straps are great if you also shoot video where straps just get in the way.

Have a great trip! And travel as light as you possibly can.


Lighting / Re: How to Extend Flash Performance (Life on Site)
« on: September 09, 2014, 07:58:13 PM »
I had Quantums a long time ago and they were great.

I do have a Godox-960 I purchased for use with Canon 580 and 550 and this pack has been excellent. My unit has only one outlet used for both output and charging when you need to recharge. I didn't know the 960 grew another outlet.  I will buy another 960 and place the Yongnuo pack as backup kit.
I'd say you have the older Godox PB820
The PB-960 has a battery which can be removed from the inverter, and the recharge plug is in the battery itself, not on the top-deck.

This post compares the two:


Canon General / Re: Those D'oh moments!
« on: September 09, 2014, 07:28:04 PM »
The Big D'oh Moment came for me on my first job with my then brand new 1Ds in late 2002. The purchase coincided with a switch to an all-RAW workflow. After shooting jpegs with the 6.3 megapixel D60, a 256Mb and a huge  :o  512Mb CF card were enough for most jobs. I shot economically then, a flow-on from film days.

The 12 megapixel 1Ds RAW files filled the cards in no time at all leaving me red-faced with an annoyed, barely understanding client who I never heard from again. It was messy. Sigh...They would have been within their rights to sue me.

Most d'oh moments have a silver lining, and for me it was the importance of never being caught short on card capacity, battery capacity and so on. CF cards were expensive in 2002, but losing a client has implications way beyond the few hundred dollars cost of extra cards or portable download HDD device.


Lenses / Re: Need help choosing a sharp wide angle lens
« on: September 08, 2014, 08:38:51 PM »
If you're on a budget, the EF 17-40 is fantastic. Mine out-performs my 16-35 f/2.8II from f/5.6-11. If you're more inclined to shoot wide open, the 17-40 is just pure mush at f/4 but snaps to attention just one click down.

On a stronger budget, the EF 14mm f/2.8II is pure gold. It's sharp wide open and has very appealing characteristics. If you're looking at a pre-owned 14 f/2.8, avoid the early model like the plague. Most copies deliver mushy files at all apertures on something like your 6D. Modern FF sensors just punish this lens. The MkII is all-new and delivers the goods. Check out some reviews on any of the lenses you're interested in over at Fred Miranda. You'll see the 14mm ranks very high.


Canon General / Re: How do you cull your photo's?
« on: September 08, 2014, 04:14:21 AM »
Another vote for Photomechanic.  Not only can I cull my photos, I can keyword tag them which will show on my Zenfolio site allowing easy access to an particular person/group/etc.
Which software & why?

1. PhotoMechanic for sorting & ranking. It's the #1 choice worldwide of heavy shooting professionals for good reason.
2. The Windows only Breezebrowser Pro while not quite as full featured as PM loads massive folders of .cr2 files even quicker than PM.
3. Bridge...forget it. It's just glacial for sorting & ranking images if you throw a big folder at it.
4. LR...same comments as Bridge. Brilliant at everything else it does.
5. Canon software. Errrgh. Pretty GUI full of promise but perplexingly weak delivery.

PM and BB Pro both have generous free trial periods.

Assume now you've got the software sorted. The trick is to be utterly ruthless with your choices. If you've loaded 1000-2000 shots into PhotoMechanic, use the full screen Preview mode and swiftly Arrow through your shots checking for sharpness, only tagging/flagging absolute hero shots or shots that a job brief requires. If you pause and say to yourself, "will I or won't I?..." then skip it. It's not a keeper. Be tough and unsentimental. Your very first reactions to a shot are usually the most accurate.  You should get to a point where you can distill down a 2000 shot job to a hundred or so keepers in under 45 minutes. It takes a little practice and a lot of self trust.


Lighting / Re: How to Extend Flash Performance (Life on Site)
« on: September 08, 2014, 01:43:44 AM »
External battery packs.
Canon makes the crazy priced CP-E4 but lots of others make very good quality clones.
External battery packs: Yes
CP-E4 clones: No. I went down this route and was roundly annoyed and disappointed and quickly sent them off to landfill.

Top shelf external battery packs start with the unbustable, long lasting Quantum Turbo T3 (with the twin outlets). I rarely see the fuel gauge on the Turbo T3 move lower than 3 out of 4 lights, and that's running two 600ex-rt speedlights off the one battery. I've had original Quantum Turbos last ten years, or until the leather casing had completely disintegrated. You sure get what you pay for. If your work is important and the budget can absorb the cost, go for Quantum. A tip with the Quantums, always keep one more Canon cable than you're currently needing. I get about two years out of them and they abruptly fail. They're expensive, but so is losing light at an important job.

Next I'd suggest the excellent value, high capacity twin outlet Godox PB 960 power pack I had one of these ship with my Godox Witstro AD360 and took the opportunity to get two Canon Speedlight cables for less than $20 each.  If I was replacing the Quantum, I'd probably tick the box for another one of these and a few Canon cables. (Keep spares at all times...)



EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Features seen in the past and absent today
« on: September 07, 2014, 10:22:56 PM »
hush your mouth PWP! i had a 30d, xti, and still use a 5d and 5dmk3. i have shot a good deal of 120-220, 135, and some 4x5 slides, and your statement does not align with me one bit. If one was to even take a quick peek at a slide on a light table or even just held up to a light source i can't see how you would be so willing to throw film under the bus. scans, i have no idea. i don't know nuthin' about no scanning. i'm not even going to speculate. so, do you have a Mamiya that you don't need anymore  ;D
  now i'm going to say damn right PWP! eye focus! give it to me!! I bet if they came out with it now, most consumers would think that it's the newest thing and would marvel at it. i'd much rather have eye focus on a digital body due to the fact that if it wasn't 100% i would just over shoot to compensate. no big deal as PWP just pointed out, we have memory card space.
 no really, so you looking for a caregiver for that mamiya?

Hah! Yes the original transparencies looked brilliant through a lupe on the lightbox, but to be commercially useable means scanning. Drum scanning delivers the highest achievable quality.

The Mamiya RZ67? As an early adopter of digital, I haven't even owned a film body since around 2002 when I got the FF Canon 1Ds, so the Mamiya is now a very distant unsentimental memory. Dropping film made complete sense commercially. In an average year my film and processing bill was around $40,000. With digital, that dropped instantly to zero, yet I was sending out bigger invoices.


EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Features seen in the past and absent today
« on: September 07, 2014, 08:20:48 PM »
I had never had the chance to check out eye tracking AF but those who have used it paint a universally rosy picture. If it's simply a cost issue at the production end, I'd be happy to stretch the Visa card further and tick the box for this intriguing feature.

A feature I'm not sad to see the end of is the small capacity image storage technology that could only hold 10 images. I'm talking about the rolls of 120 film I loaded endlessly into the Mamiya RZ67. Once I watched a doco following Annie Liebovitz shooting a Vanity Fair cover shot on Mamiya RZ67. She had about twenty loaded film backs plus an assistant whose only job it was to keeping loading fresh film. Fast forward to 2014. A 64Gb card in a 5D3 delivers around 1000 RAW files. Annie's assistant is out of a job!

As a minor digression, I recently loaded up a drummed-scanned image (Fujichrome Velvia) shot on the RZ67 which I used to think was the absolute ultimate in quality. Honestly, I was getting better files from my old 5D Classic. Perhaps even my old 20D. We really have come a long way in a stunningly short time.

The good old days? The now mythical Kodak Moment? Yeah right....Show me tomorrow!


Think more and shoot less. ::)
I try to do this to make my cameras last longer :-)
Thinking and planning and shooting less is often the best approach, certainly if you're doing a very technical shoot or following a highly specific job brief. Yet looking back through my best & favourite shots, they've come from a position of pure knowing and instinct which is orders of magnitude faster than thinking. Like a musician, once you've got your technique deeply established, it moves smoothly into the background like a rock-solid rhythm section, freeing the artist to explore unhindered yet being technically completely grounded.

I'd never carry a consideration of holding back to make my camera last longer. They're generally spectacularly durable. You won't see a successful creative artist not using a brush in case it wears out, or an exploring type not walking that bit further to see into the next valley in case it wears out his shoes.

Creativity needs to be free to run fast and unhindered. Durable cameras, plenty of card space, plenty of battery reserve and you're set!


Videography Technique / Re: Tascam DR-60D ON TOP of Camera
« on: September 07, 2014, 05:24:48 AM »
I have the Tascam DR-60D and used it under the camera just once...just a touch too wobbly.
It can go onto a shoe on my Lanparte rig, but usually it's on a small lightstand right next to the tripod.


Lenses / Re: Sigma 50mm Art 1.4 Focusing problems
« on: September 07, 2014, 05:19:56 AM »
I have never owned a Sigma lens with focusing problems.  But then...I've never owned a Sigma lens.  :P

I have tried a couple, and found the focus to be erratic on both. 

I think it's fair to say that some lenses have focus issues, across all brands.  The proportion of those problematic lenses does seem higher with Sigma.

I had the original Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and it was so erratic I  never built enough trust in it to actually use it on a job. Sometimes it was crazy sharp even under f/2. I had high hopes for the 50mm Art, but it looks like a no-go too.

But it's not just Sigma. My most erratic lens is the occasionally awesome 24 f/1.4II. I really wanted to love this lens, but it's in the same class as my Sigma 50 f/1.4...can't be trusted on a paying job.


-Had a 20D "all-original" which clocked up a few hundred thousand before going to my daughter. It's still going

-Had a 5D Classic "all-original" which clocked up a few hundred thousand before going to an assistant. Still going.

-Have a 1DMkIIn with several hundred thousand up and for the most part is retired. It comes out for very dirty or wet boat salt-water jobs.

-Have a 1D MkIV with several hundred thousand clicks which works like new and is in daily use.

-Have a 5D3 with around 250,000 clicks which works like new and is in daily use.

The only two shutters I have ever replaced are in an EOS 1n film body where I punched my thumb through the shutter while changing film in the back of very bumpy helicopter flight, and the other in a 1 day old 5D3 which was officially DOA. The body was replaced without question. My experience indicates to me that the stated shutter life published by Canon is incredibly conservative.

I guess I am a heavy shooter, but that comes with a required ability as a ruthless editor. I can flag 100 keepers from a 2000 frame shoot in about 45 minutes. This kind of workflow is not going to suit everybody; maybe more patient and considered shooters will probably come up with as good a 100 as me, but only shooting 200-300 frames. I shoot heavily to catch that magic moment locked inside a dynamic flow of human action which could be on a sports field, on an advertising shoot, in a studio portrait shoot or in a corporate office. I'm just grateful that shutters last as long as they do.


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