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Messages - Kernuak

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Canon EF Zoom Lenses / Re: Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM
« on: May 03, 2012, 02:15:09 PM »
I've been on the fence about this lens for a while.... Is it actually good on a full frame camera? Or does it just reveal all of it's weaknesses? It looks beautiful on a crop.
It's a bit of both. I don't use mine much now, since getting the 5D MkII and more recently the 24 MkII, but the reason is as much that I find it a bit wide for my style on full frame and issues with using square/rectangular filters as image quality. At f/16 it is visibly softer across the field, but the corners really show up the lens when using full frame. That said, when I do use it, it is usually for an extreme effect and there is little else that can achieve that. I can't remember if it was earlier in this thread or elsewhere, I posted one such extreme effect, emphasising the distortion, which also showed its other weaknesses of corner softness, CA and flare.

I think it is only natural that the 5D MkIII borrows much from the 7D, as that is the most recent semi-pro camera prior to the MkIII. As an owner of both the 5D MkII and the 7D, the ergonomics and layout of the 7D makes much more sense. When I tried out the MkIII when CPS did a demonstration, it certainly felt like I was picking up the 7D. As someone who shoots both landscapes and wildlife, eventually, I will replace the MkII and keep the 7D for extra reach or if I need a higher frame rate, using the MkIII for more than just landscapes, because of the improved image quality. If I got the 1D MkIV, then I would replace it with the 7D, but I would lose reach (although I'm betting that a 2x extender willl at least match the 1.4x coupled with the 7D, with the exception of CA and contrast).

Lenses / Re: waiting for a new 100-400mm lens
« on: May 02, 2012, 05:56:29 PM »
So, we have to upgrade our device every 2,3 years after new version releases. Am I right?
I'm sure many professionals who make a living would disagree, not to mention many experienced hobbyists/amateurs/whatever other title you want to use. I also have the 100-400, don't have any signs of dust, although I don't use it much any more and want to sell it. However, the reason I don't use it much isn't because it isn't a good lens, but because I use the 300 f/2.8 with an extender. One of the main reasons is the extra stop of light it gives me and the faster focusing, although sometimes I lament the lightness of the 100-400. Note that the 300 f/2.8 isn't much newer than the 100-400 and it hasn't put me off using that lens or made me want to replace it with the MkII version.

EOS Bodies / Re: Cost of 5DMk3 internationally
« on: May 02, 2012, 05:42:17 PM »
I lived in Norway for a while and at that time, I found that electronic goods were comparable and clothes imported from the US were actually cheaper than clothes in the UK. Yet, Norway was always considered a high taxation country. Income tax was higher than in the UK (at 33%, c.f. 25% in the UK), but it included National Insurance, which is extra in the UK, so it was pretty much equal. Add to that, the higher salaries in Norway and it shows how much more expensive the UK is (or rather was). However, now that the Norwegian Kroner is so much stronger in relation to Pound Sterling, Norway has become more expensive and I suspect other Scandinavian countries are the same. While the Pound has strengthened compared to the Euro in recent weeks, it is still much weaker than it was 3 or 4 years ago, while the Yen is still strong and the US Dollar hasn't weakened as much. It all adds up to higher prices in Europe as a whole (or at least even more so than normal). While average salaries in general may be lower in the US than the UK, there are probably individual professions where the opposite is true.

Landscape / Re: In Seoul
« on: May 02, 2012, 02:41:43 PM »
I am being very fortunate with my travels this last few weeks and am getting more and more colour from glorious sunshine and warm temperatures while the UK shivers and is soaked.
The UK isn't's drowned :P. Don't worry though, we're still under drought conditions, despite roads being closed due to flooding.
It would be interesting to see some early morning or late afternoon shots if you can get into the temple areas at those times.

EOS Bodies / Re: Evolution towards video - away from stills?
« on: May 01, 2012, 06:22:14 PM »
Sure, go to your link and then click the "Measurements" tabs and look at the five different charts of raw data.

OK, ISO sensitivity a slight edge for 5D III (about 10%-20%), SNR they are essentially the same, DR huge advantage for D800 to ISO 800, then essentially the same, tonal range essentially equal and color sensitivity slight advantage for D800. So, apart from ISO sensitivity I don't see any real advantage of 5D III in measurements over D800.

So, I still don't see your substantially better...
When you're shooting in low light, the amount of available DR is pretty small, so being able to capture 9 or 10 stops, when there is perhaps 6 stops at most is pretty meaningless. The amount of noise when exposed correctly is much more important.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5d3 not soft anymore?
« on: May 01, 2012, 06:03:29 PM »
This is pretty enlightening! 

Question--has anyone done a similar DPP to LR comparison to 7D images?  I know that there have been a myriad of discussions on softness with the 7D and I'm curious if those come down to the software as well.
I know from experience that there were issues with LR2 and the 7D. While subsequent software updates within LR3 improved it, I'm not convinced that it has been fixed entirely. The other issue was with the contrast areas between lights and darks, such as the black and white feathers on an oystercatcher. Tha said, I haven't done any formal comparisons, as there are other advantages with LR. I tend to look at the overall picture (if you'll excuse the pun), rather than a single factor.

I feel that most of the DR would be wasted anyway in terms of professional use. Currently, the main markets for selling images are as fine art prints (either as true fine art portraits/landscapes etc or as wedding/event prints) and the various forms of stock. Most professional printers and paper has less dynamic range than can be produced by DSLRs, so having more dynamic range would be pointless in my view. Likewise, most stock photographic licences are purchased for printing, either in a magazine/newspaper etc. or on a billboard, again, the DR is wasted. There are more images being licenced for web use, but again, viewing on most browsers gives limited DR.

I appreciate your thoughts on this.  (Not just the quoted section but all of it.)  Having said that, I have to disagree with you when you talk about wasted dynamic range and its limited value with certain media.  I can understand that for someone who doesn't like to post process images, having more post-processing flexibility is not that exciting.  But for me, that increased dynamic range is a hugely useful tool regardless of the final medium—monitor or print. 

Having the ability to pull clean detail out of shadows doesn't mean you have to use it.  But having the option is extraordinarily useful.  We already adjust the appearance of our images with levels and curves to match (i.e., tone map) the dynamic range of the image to whatever medium it will be displayed on.  Greater DR just provides more flexibility to do so.  And having greater DR capabilities on a sensor doesn't necessarily mean the image has to look any different coming out of the camera.

You mentioned bird photography.  I would use this as an example.  I was out in the desert photographing sage-grouse a couple weekends ago.  I wanted it bright and sunny at sunrise to capture the tail feathers glowing with light.  But I also wanted to be able to pull out details from the shadows so that the tail feathers didn't look like they were attached to a black blob.  There is no question that the ability to do this will benefit my images on screen and in print.
My comments about DR and processing weren't entirely about what can be pulled out. I think you may have missed my main point, in that a large number of professionals aren't that interested in DR compared to other factors, which they would consider more important (e.g. improved AF/frame rate among other things). Probably much of the design is driven towards their target market.
Whether or not you make use of the DR, I still feel that more DR can result in a flatter unprocessed image, while it is a relatively simple processing step, it is something that many professionals would prefer not to do if they can get away with it. Many wildlife pros in particular, have very little knowledge of advanced Photoshop, as a large number of them come from the film days and expect more natural looking images, so it is an alien concept to them.

Theses images had a similar concept to tours, in that I wanted to capture the woodpeckers in directional light at dawn, the difference is, I had the sun at a different angle, and wasn't looking for any rim lighting. I would have liked a little more detail in the white feathers, but I feel it's a small compromise, considering the image overall.

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker Feeding. by Kernuak, on Flickr

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker at Nest. by Kernuak, on Flickr

In constrast, this backlit image was taken in late evening and I didn't have any real problems with lack of shadow detail, although admittedly, I didn't have the problem of black feathers.

I own and use the Nikon Coolscan V and it works great.
With regard to Kernuak, I'm using 64-bit Windows 7 and have no issues with the latest Nikon drivers. I'm also using the stock Nikon software, which works well enough, rather than paying for the probably-nicer Silverfast.
I've had the scanner for several years now, and have handled both slides and negatives of Kodak, Velvia, etc. )I haven't done any B&W, though.) I've been very pleased with sharpness, color and resolution.
A word of caution: it does take some practice to get excellent results. Out of the box, expect odd color casts.
I never got around to trying different settings, so I doubt I got the best out of the software. I am interested about compatibility with 64 bit Windows 7 though and I'm wondering whether Nikon relented and updated the drivers, as it's probably been a couple of years since I investigated.

I have a Nikon Coolscan V ED, from what I gather, the optical quality isn't as good as the Nikon 8000/9000, but it is significantly cheaper. However, one thing to be aware is compatibility. The software isn't compatible with Windows 64 bit and you have to download an update from the Nikon site, which is hard to find to work with Vista (presumably that would work with Windows 7). There may also be compatibility issues with later versions of Mac OS, so it's worth checking. This is all assuming that you can still get hold of Nikon film scanners, as Nikon were phasing them out, hence the lack oif updates. There may be some third party drivers available to enable continued use. Silverfast will give you the same functionality (probably more) as the Nikon software, but it still uses the Nikon drivers. I believe that VueScan enables continued use, but I'm not 100% sure and I haven't yet tried it. However, I haven't been entirely happy with the results, as the images look quite soft and noisy (there is a known fault on the V ED where the mirror gets covered in dust, requiring a nervously executed clean), so you may be better off with TexPhoto's suggestion of weeding out a small number for professional scanning.

I went to Nepal back in 1994, to the Annapurna range. I didn't know then what I know now and I didn't have the gear either. However, the biggest hurdle is weight. When trekking, you really don't want to carry much, we made that mistake, although we took too many clothes rather than too much camera gear. I took a single body (a Praktika), with a 50mm lens. That wasn't really enough, but it worked. Ideally, I would have liked a telephoto lens for when I was in the Chitwan, but that would have weighed me down. If I was going again now, I think the ideal combination would be something like a 24-105 and a 70-200 f/4, with a body that could cope with higher ISO (probably a full frame with 24mm as the widest) and perhaps also a 1.4x extender. If you can fit in a travel tripod even better, along with a set of soft grad filters. I would be tempted to take the 70-200 f/2.8 MkII, but the weight would be a factor, so an f/4 would probably be better in that regard. I was considering a trip to Uganda this year, with an extension to see gorrillas and the 70-200 f/2.8 would have been worth the extra weight there, so if the Chitwan was also a prime consideration, that may change your lens choice.
From memory, October can till be affected by the monsoon, so that may also be a factor in your choices, although it should be the clearest time, as there will generally be less moisture in the air. I went in February/March, when it can be a bit hazy at times (not to mention cold, as it sometimes dropped to -10 C or less at night and some of the higher passes were still closed due to snow).

For me, the art of photography is about getting the most out of the equipment you have. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and there wouldn't be any reason for professionals to exist and there certainly wouldn't be any profit in it. Of course, as a business, the likes of Canon, Nikon, Sony and the rest wouldn't worry about that, as they'd potentially sell more cameras. I'm not really convinced by the dynamic range argument either. Yes, there are situations where more dynamic range would be nice, however, the reality is, without processing, images tend to look flat, so would need more processing time. Also, I feel that most of the DR would be wasted anyway in terms of professional use. Currently, the main markets for selling images are as fine art prints (either as true fine art portraits/landscapes etc or as wedding/event prints) and the various forms of stock. Most professional printers and paper has less dynamic range than can be produced by DSLRs, so having more dynamic range would be pointless in my view. Likewise, most stock photographic licences are purchased for printing, either in a magazine/newspaper etc. or on a billboard, again, the DR is wasted. There are more images being licenced for web use, but again, viewing on most browsers gives limited DR.
The challenge for me is the ability to capture the dynamic range and the scene as a whole in such a way that I can capture it without endless hours in Photoshop (I simply don't have the time) in a way that no-one else can. If I'm shooting landscapes, then I'll use grad filters to compress the DR to a usable range, it doesn't always work, but for most scenes it gives me enough to work with. I think this gives a much better look and I feel that smooth tonal gradations and nice contrast are far more important than a large DR. Lenses then become equally important, if not more so. Larger sensors are usually better in this regard than smaller ones, hence why full frame sensors have a certain "look" and why landscapes shot with larger format sensors tend to look better. Often it is an indefinable quality that gives a certain "look" and it is certainly down to more than just DR. Others have mentioned that they prefer the look of Canon cameras to Nikon and it is the overall sensor design that achieves this. When it comes to Wildlife DR is often more of a problem than landscapes, particularly birds with significant areas of black and white, but sometimes CPLs can be handy and most wildlife photographers are looking for soft lighting anyway, where there is less DR required. In fact for me, good lighting is far more important than improved DR, unfortunately, camera manufacturers haven't yet found a way of getting nice soft lighting throughout the day.
For hobbyists who are probably more inclined to look at their images digitally, perhaps on a high DR monitor, then I can see where they might want more DR, but for most professionals or anyone who is trying to sell their work, then print is still the major medium, so more DR is less important, as they will use technique to achieve the results they want. Very few pros are interested in the detailed specifications of cameras, they just want to know if they can get the images they want, for most it is simply a tool and they will get the best toolkit for the job. The photographic toolkit is a combination of body, lenses, filters and other accessories. Similarly, while there are some uses for large format printing, the vast majority of prints are easily achievable with 22 MP. CPS class the 5D series as a professional camera, so that is obviously Canon's prime target market, it's just that the original 5D and the MkII were also popular amongst hobbyists and semi-pros.
Personally, if I have to push images or part images more than a stop or so, then I made an error and it is discarded. Often on a shoot, even if I know I can process it to get it looking good, I will still reshoot with the correct exposure, even if it is only half a stop out. I also know that I can usually work better with highlights than shadows on my 5D MKII, so I will expose slightly to the right to compensate, as long as I don't go too far. My style though, does rely on shadows, detail isn't always necessary in smaller areas and it can add to the feel of an image. Using the whole dynamic range is important to me and I will often make use of shadows, despite criticism, as it is an artistic statement for me. I feel that increasing the available DR too much would lessen the impact of many of my images. In short, how an image looks is more important than what the specs say. Art isn't a science and data doesn't tell the whole story. I'm always reminded of the saying "Lies, lies and statistics" and I often think that specification lists and camera tests fall into the same category as statistics.

I have the  Manfrottos MFPro3, which is basically the old version of the tripod you are considering. I haven't used either of the heads, but remember the load capacity for the tripod includes the weight of the head. Personally, I don't think there is much point getting a head that can take significantly more weight than the tripod unless you plan on using the head on another tripod as well (or at a later date). I found that while the 190 is fine for landscapes and the 100-400 in calm conditions, when the wind picks up, it isn't as sturdy as I would like. When I got my 300 f/2.8, I decided to get the Giottos 8241 (I think that's the right model), it cost around the same price and is much sturdier. The downside, it doesn't drop down quite as low and isn't as flexible for macro work. However, Giottos also do other models that would fit better for low down work, also you can replace the standard centre column with a short version. They also have a choice between twist and lever grip legs. The other thing I like about them, is the metal hinge on the shoulder of the legs, rather than plastic like on the Manfrotto tripods.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Cancelled my D800 pre-order... !!!
« on: April 25, 2012, 04:01:18 PM »
I know plenty of pros who use RAW and don't (can't afford to) outsource their work. The main difference is in what they shoot and how much PP they're willing to do. Nature photographers mostly shoot RAW (there are some exceptions), but they don't tend to have the large number of shots per shoot that PJs may have, also, because they are (usually) looking for more reality than fine art, they do just enough PP to make the image look good and don't bother with the lesser quality images that they may have taken while exploring the subject, trying to get the final product. I know of one pro, who will spend 2-3 hours on a single subject, taking images every few minutes until he finds the composition he was looking for. In those few hours, he probably has less than 20 images, compare that to a PJ in a few minutes when something newsworthy happens and there is a complete disparity in the number of images.

Sometimes older equipment can force you to think outside the box too. I probably would never have considered this idea if I hadn't already pushed the ISO higher than I would like on the 40D at ISO 1250.

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