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Messages - mackguyver

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Software & Accessories / Re: UniqBall
« on: September 29, 2014, 09:28:49 AM »
I received the head on Friday and it's very well made and performs exactly as described.  I'm glad I ordered the full-sized model as I can leave my 1D X + 300 f/2.8 IS II + 2x III leaning over all the way (unlocked) at around 30 degrees without the tripod falling over. 

I really like the simplicity of the design as it only has two knobs.  The other heads with 3,4, or more knobs to adjust rotation, tension, etc. usually just end up getting in the way and complicating a simple design, so this works well for me.

The only drawback for me is with shots where you want to tilt the camera up or down beyond the 30 or so degrees that you're locked into one you level the head.  You can lock the middle ball and use it as a normal ballhead, but you lose the great leveling feature.  Obviously, there's no way around it, but it makes it a bit harder to do macro or BIF that are close by and fly above the range.

Otherwise, it's an excellent, if pricey head that as others have said, has the fewest trade-offs of all heads out there.  I'm keeping it and will be selling my RRS BH-55.  For those you who don't like the weight/size of a gimbal, or shoot more than just long lens stuff, I can recommend it highly.

Third Party Manufacturers / Kodak EktaSensor Press Release
« on: September 25, 2014, 04:04:16 PM »
I found this on Kodak's website:

KODAK Announces New EktaSensor and Partnerships with Major Camera Manufacturers

ROCHESTER, N.Y., September 25 -- Kodak is announcing the release of the EktaSensor, a revolutionary new digital photography sensor, and partnerships with major camera manufacturers.  Kodak, the inventor of the digital camera, has created a new 400 megapixel (MP) sensor for digital cameras that will produce the most stunning photographs ever created by any photographic device.  The film emulsion scientists at Kodak took their many years of experience and worked with the top digital sensor experts in the industry to create the new sensor.  In addition to the massive number of pixels, the sensor is able to record a vast amount of dynamic range, which is the number of shades between pure black and and pure white. The sensor is able to record a remarkable 40 stops of dynamic range, nearly triple the number of stops in Kodak's top professional film emulsion, Vision3.  This breakthrough is due in part to a new 48-bit (16-per R-G-B channel) architecture that also allows for billions of colors to be recorded.  In terms of ISO, the sensor is capable of capturing the entire dynamic range from ISO 50 to an amazing ISO 1,638,400.  The sensor is in the 35mm format (24x36mm) and an even higher resolution medium format sensor is in development.  The EktaSensor records all 400 MPs, but can easily scale the image to more manage sizes in the camera.

Following development of the new sensor, Kodak reached out to their longtime partners, Canon and Nikon, to offer them the opportunity to use the sensor in their camera bodies.  Both manufacturers jumped at the opporunity and agreed to Kodak's requirements that there would be no exclusivity of the sensor.  Kodak's desire is to return the film days when the 'sensor' was the Kodak film emulsion within the camera.  Canon has also established partnerships with Sony and Panasonic, and all major camera manufacturers other than Fuji.

“The changing marketplace has required significant adjustment from Kodak,” said George Eastman, III, great grandson of Kodak's founder and Director, Emerging Products, Eastman Kodak Company. “After many years of languishing in the camera industry, Kodak realized they had significant intellectual property and committed those resources to this new product.”

"The new KODAK EktaSensor is the most significant development since the invention of the digital camera,” said Canon's CEO, Fujio Mitarai, "And we simply couldn't ignore this opportunity to put the very best in our cameras."  The new EktaSensor will be available in all of Canon's full frame cameras, starting with the next upgrade cycle.  Mr. Mitarai also said, "When we are able to put this sensor in a body like the EOS 7D Mark II, no one will be able to compete with us."

The President of Nikon, Kazuo Ushida, added, "While we viewed ourselves and our supplier, Sony, as leaders in the so-called sensor war, Kodak has made even our most advance products irrelevant."  Nikon also announced that the EktaSensor will be available in all of their upcoming full frame sensors, except for the Nikon Df replacement.

"After reading one too many forum post about dynamic range and megapixels, I decided that Kodak had to do something," said Dr. Ones D. Range, lead scientist on the EktaSensor team.  He added, "I fondly remember the days of film when cameras competed on the merits of features like autofocus and exposure metering, and I'm happy to announce a return to those times."  "I expect consumers to be the big winners now that we have created the ultimate sensor that will be shared by all but one of the major camera manufacturers."

EktaSensor is currently available to all electronics and photography manufacturers and will be available in consumer products starting in Q1, 2015.


About Kodak
Kodak is a technology company focused on imaging for business. We provide innovative hardware, software, consumables and services to customers in graphic communications, packaging and functional printing. We also serve entertainment and commercial films markets. With our world-class R&D organization and extensive product portfolio, Kodak is helping customers around the globe to grow their own businesses in a sustainable way. For additional information on Kodak, visit us at kodak.com, follow us on Twitter @Kodak, or like us on Facebook at KodakNow.

(Kodak, Vision3, and EktaSensor are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company.)

Lenses / Re: Prime tele lenses with EF mount
« on: September 25, 2014, 02:36:47 PM »
There are a lot more people walking around with EF 100-400 f/variable L IS lenses than EF 400 f/5.6Ls, comparably priced lenses. IS is a big part of the attraction, but frankly, even if the 400 had IS, most people would still opt for the zoom due to its versatility. I just think that the market for supertelephoto primes is limited, and that Sigma has done about as much as it could do with the 500 f/4.5, which is said to be a very good lens at a very good price, but people still want the OEM autofocus guarantee of compatibility and speed.
Well said Nancy.  In all the years I owned a 400 f/5.6, I never saw another shooter with one, but I saw dozens of 100-400s and numerous 3rd party zooms.  This is the same with pretty much every prime other than the 85L.  I don't know what the ratio of zooms to primes is in terms of sales, but it must be quite significant.  The 3rd parties are trying to make money and the R&D cost is generally best spent on zooms as they sell a whole lot more of them.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Says Higher Resolution Sensors Are Coming Soon
« on: September 25, 2014, 01:16:45 PM »
Anyone want to place a bet on what "very near future" means?

Photography Technique / Re: Postprocessing brush instead of cto/ctb gel?
« on: September 25, 2014, 01:15:17 PM »
I'll gel my lights if I'm shooting an interior with a dominant light source (or sources) that are all the same color temp, especially fluorescent lighting with it's crappy CRI that often needs fill.  For mixed lighting, I'll generally just take reference shots of a white card to make white balancing easier in post.  If it's mixed lighting (that I can't gel or control) and I'm shooting from a stationary spot and it's critical (read: paid) work, I'll set the custom WB with a white card to get things as close as possible from the start.

The only issue I ever have with WB in post is that I don't always have a reliably neutral spot to use the WB dropper on - which is why I always try to take a white card reference shot.

Technical Support / Re: Lens hood no longer sung
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:24:18 AM »
None of my lens hoods have ever been able to sing ;)

The hood on my 24L II is loose and came that way - that model is notorious for having a lousy hood.  So are some of the other models which is why Canon has started adding the lock button to their newer hoods.

Lenses / Re: 400 f/2.8L II IS on sunny days and white jerseys
« on: September 25, 2014, 09:49:48 AM »
I have noticed that somewhat on the 5DIII or 1D X, and I generally use all AF points with a pre-selected point in AI Servo for those kinds of shots.  I have noticed that the AF has a bit more trouble locking on white, and staying locked on white (see missed focus (front focused) sample below during a tracking shot - this is frame 5 or 6 I think).   It looks like there's very little contrast in the white shirt which might be throwing it off as the others said.  Also, I wonder if the iTR color tracking is thrown off by the lack of color. 

My solution has been to try to focus lock on the face and track from there.  Orientation-linked spot metering works very well in combination with a lock on the face, too.

Lenses / Re: EF 24-70mm
« on: September 25, 2014, 09:36:29 AM »
Wow! I never thought the MK2 version is known to be that much better. That means getting new filters as well. Ouch!
It really is that much better, but that doesn't mean the original is no good.  What it does mean is that the upgrade is definitely noticeable.  At 24mm & f/11, the main improvement is in the corners (see below), but distortion & vignetting are actually a bit worse.  The color and contrast are significantly better, however, which is something not measured by DxO.  Here's the 3 24-70s compared on their site, however:

Also, I can recommend CanonPriceWatch - I've had good luck with those guys, too.

Software & Accessories / Re: UniqBall
« on: September 25, 2014, 07:15:29 AM »
It looks like I can use my RRS Precision Plus Package to create a true gimbal as well - pretty cool:

EDIT - I see it's actually something they're planning to sell, but the RRS kit and similar sets will work as well:

EDIT 2: found a long review on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9pCP7jr91w

Lenses / Re: Do you keep all your boxes?
« on: September 24, 2014, 04:48:42 PM »
I calculated I can make over $200  by selling my boxes on ebay, lol

Reminds me of the guy who ebayed a Starbucks cup
Take a look at what Leica boxes (only) go for, especially for rare items - it will blow your mind!

Software & Accessories / UniqBall
« on: September 24, 2014, 04:27:42 PM »
After seeing an intriguing photo on the Luminous Landscape's Photokina page, I did some research and ended up ordering a UniqBall from Amazon today (B&H sells them in the US as well).  It's a cool new ballhead with built in leveling base and two-way head.  The idea is that you level the head and after locking it down, the head only pivots up & down or rotates.  Because it doesn't tilt, all of your shots stay level.  You can also lock the two way head and then use the leveling base as a normal ballhead, too.

It's the best parts of a gimbal without the size & weight, and the best parts of a ballhead without the tilt.  The drawbacks are that it is expensive ($350 for the smaller head [15kg/33lb capacity], $540 for the big one [40kg/90lb capacity]), only oriented for collared lenses (but it comes with an A/S adapter for 90 degree rotation to mount cameras), and doesn't offer the precise balance or adjustment of a gimbal.  You'll need an L-plate to simplify portrait orientation shots as well if you're not using a collared lens.  It comes with a A/S clamp but I don't think it's quick release.

All the same, it allows you to set up quickly and have level horizons for landscape/architecture shots, and track wildlife similar to a gimbal.  It seems to be a perfect fit for all of the stuff I shoot, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I've read a fair amount about it on the web and it seems pretty cool.

I really like, have never loved my RRS BH-55 100% so I'm going to give this a try.  It will be here on Friday, so I'll let you know how it works out.  I worry that I'll miss the quick release clamp a whole lot, but we'll see.  Anyone looking for a decent price on a RRS BH-55 LR might want to pay attention, too ;)

Here's the info on it:
USA Site
Euro Site
Novoflex Site - I think they might be manufacturing or distributing it?
Andy Rouse's Review - NOTE that he is selling these and his review may or may not be objective
Naturescapes Thread on this - some good photographers share their thoughts

There's plenty more out there, too - and I'll let you know what I think of it after I get out and shoot with it this weekend - it's coming on Friday.

Business of Photography/Videography / Re: Why Photography
« on: September 24, 2014, 03:59:52 PM »
Stock is essentially dead, unless you shoot dozens of new photos a week and really know what you're doing.  Otherwise, look forward to $0.12-$2.00 checks every few months. 

I'm just a part-time pro, but the people that buy my work are:
- Local businesses who need shots that don't exist in stock libraries - i.e. local landmarks & specialty shots
- Realtors and financial institutions who are selling or financing real property and want quality shots of it
- Artists and collectors who want photographic reproductions of their work for printing or archival purposes
- Businesses who want to decorate their businesses with local artist's work or work depicting natural Florida
- Random tourists who want to buy a photo of mine as a memory of their trip to Florida

I think most of these can work in many markets, even a small one like mine (city of around 200,000).

In the past, I've also done quite well with wannabe (or potential) models, actors, and others who need headshots or portfolio shots.  And in my former (read: film) life, I shot for fashion designers in the studio and on the runway which complemented the model/actor stuff quite well.

I can't remember who said this, but I read that to sell your work, "It has to be better than free."  That's really the key - you have to put yourself out there and do good work that people are willing to pay for in your market.  Matching market needs to your shooting style and subjects is what it's all about.

Canon EF-S and EF-M Lenses / Re: EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM
« on: September 24, 2014, 12:17:13 PM »
dcm, thanks for posting the photos.  I've been curious about this lens since it was announced and have only seen 1 test on a German site that gave it so-so marks.  From your photos, it seems like a great little lens.  The Longs Peak photos bring back some interesting memories, too.  About 20 years ago, a friend and I got a late start on our ascent and found out firsthand why they say, "Be off the summit by Noon."  We got caught in a terrifying thunderstorm just below the summit and ended up going down the southwest side of the peak, leading to a very long off-trail hike ending well after dark.

Thanks.  I did notice it is slightly softer in the corners compared to the 70-200 at a pixel level, but that was expected when comparing APS and FF lenses on an APS body. I still can't get over how small and light it is when I pick it up.

RNMP is an hour away so I visit regularly to hike and fish.  It is also a great place to photograph.  I have been to many high lakes and peaks, but haven't tried Longs Peak yet.  I know the feeling - I got chased off the mountain two weeks ago when a storm blew in early and I was above treeline.
That's good information about how it compares to the 70-200 and for the price, that sounds really good.  I'm still playing around with the 11-22mm lens I picked up a couple of weeks back. 

That must be really nice to live so close to RNMP.  I'm sure you get to do lots of fun stuff, and I miss my days of living out there.  Longs Peak isn't a tough climb/hike, but even the hike has a few Class 4 sections and there are many false summits making it seem like a long climb.  Being above treeline in a thunderstorm isn't much fun - I'm glad you made it down safely.

Canon EF-S and EF-M Lenses / Re: Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
« on: September 24, 2014, 12:07:54 PM »
The color is great in that series.  Very nice results!
Thanks, Dustin!  I found the M pretty frustrating to use after using SLRs in the past for similar shots, but the lens delivered some great results.

That about sums it up.  The sensor is surprisingly good on the M.  I haven't tried a 70D (or 7DII, obviously), but the M is cleaner than any previous APS-C camera that I've used, including the 60D.  But yes, it has some serious shortcomings.  I found those magnified in a recent review of the Tamron 18-200 VC for the M when shooting on the telephoto end sometimes.  Shooting tele without a viewfinder is NOT fun, particularly when trying to isolate details like a bird in a tree.
I could see the M being very awkward for 320mm equivalent photos but like you said, for most general purpose stuff, it's a great little camera.  Wildlife and concert photography are torture tests of any gear, so that fact that you can get something out of it says quite a bit, and the files are very clean.

Nothing to see here folks... no new news...
Not sure about that - I hadn't seen the mention of it having interchangeable viewfinder screens before this story.

Are you talking about the interchangeable focusing screen?  If so its been on canons website since the announcement.... http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/slr_cameras/eos_7d_mark_ii#Specifications
I hadn't taken the time to read through all the specs - it's not the most exciting activity...

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