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This is a question I asked myself in a slightly different way , but one possible direct comparison is here. You can play with the settings a bit depending on the scenario you want to model. At a quick glance, there's not a lot in it comparing 280mm f/4-f/5.6 to 300mm f/5.6, but at 400mm each the 100-400L is more clearly better. However they used extender II not III so I don't know if that will make any significant real world difference.

Lenses / Re: Which 50mm Macro lens is a better buy?
« on: August 09, 2011, 03:21:42 AM »
I have the Zeiss 50/2 makro. Outside of macro uses it's roughly comparable to the Canon 50mm f/1.8 in image quality in the middle, but it is better corrected as you go further out so maintains it better. For macro, again it is still well corrected. Not very good with glare. Bokeh is nice and round and flat. Touch of longitudinal CA to worry about. And if you want to use it through the viewfinder, I found I had to use AF micro-adjust on the 7D to get focus assist in the right place. It back-focused otherwise. Yes, I know it's MF only! 99% of the time I use it in live view so that's not a big issue.

I do wonder at times if I should just have got the Canon 50/2.5... can't be that bad, and a LOT cheaper... obviously the Zeiss is rather unique in speed and macro abilities, while not being over-specified in either.

Software & Accessories / Re: To HDR or Not To HDR
« on: July 27, 2011, 02:13:09 PM »
To me HDR is just another tool to help out. How it is used and abused is up to the artist. I think it is an area that goes beyond photography after a point.

I guess I could sum it up in 3 levels: natural looking, dramatic, and overcooked.

Natural is what camera HDR tries to do, get you a decent amount of detail in both shadow and highlight regions.

Dramatic is turned up a notch. It's beyond real, but without looking too fake. I love the threatening cloud effects you can get out of that, used in moderation. It can be a fine line between dramatic and the next category...

Overcooked is beyond that again. Too much saturation. Fake, artificial colours, and the biggest eyesore to me: haloing. Just say no!

Lenses / Re: why????
« on: July 24, 2011, 01:38:30 PM »
given nobody makes such fast zooms, it must be difficult to get decent image quality out of them, even with a smaller (APS-C) sensor

Kinda - if you go to the slightly smaller sensor FourThirds world, they have two f/2 zooms: 14-35mm and 35-100mm. Sit down before you look at the price though.

I've also seen some long f/1.4 or was it f/1.8 zooms in C-mount (think it was a Sony 18-100mm) which was tempting me but someone else beat me to it. They cover an even smaller image circle than 4/3 though.

I think f/2 zooms in APS-C are very possible, but they would be of even shorter range than existing f/2.8 zooms and the price would be rather insane. So overall you might as well stick to the f/2.8 zooms or get the faster primes.

As for the long term survival of APS-C DSLRs, that depends entirely on what happens with mirrorless systems. Can they gain enough traction to displace APS-C DSLRs, leaving only full frame DSLRs taking a niche at the high end. Or will mirrorless fail to make an impact, where APS-C DSLRs will remain a sweet spot for a long time? We'll have to wait and see.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: July 16, 2011, 07:38:17 PM »
I like a nice headshot :)

Harris Hawk


Snoozing Swan

Lenses / Re: 14-24L & 24-70L II Talked About Again
« on: July 12, 2011, 03:30:58 PM »
If I can reasonably hand hold it, I'd buy a 400-800 :P that's the only reason stopping me from looking seriously at the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 and strapping an extender on it. The 200-400 extender will be close enough in practice though.

Lenses / Re: 14-24L & 24-70L II Talked About Again
« on: July 12, 2011, 02:20:14 PM »
I'd just like to know how bad the price for the 200-400 will be...

United States / Re: Heat Waves
« on: July 11, 2011, 07:39:27 AM »
I know not everyone would want to shoot a lot of IR, but it was about the only idea I could come up with.

And thanks for the info on that photo. I kinda guessed it was either a zoo or somewhere more wild. I've got closer before in captivity but can certainly appreciate the increase in difficulty of shots in more open areas.

United States / Re: Heat Waves
« on: July 10, 2011, 02:32:37 PM »
Thinking a little laterally here, the moving air causes variable refraction does it not? The degree of refraction varies with wavelength, and it looks like, for the classic prism example, red light seems to be refracted less. Would imagining in infra-red reduce the effect of it? Just be aware that IR is diffraction limited faster than at visible wavelengths.

On the lion photo, anyone got more info on where that came from? I can imagine many safe ways to get a shot like that while at the camera yourself.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Mirrorless on the Horizon?
« on: July 06, 2011, 04:48:05 PM »
I don't really need the back LCD, but it will never go away in a mainstream camera.  It is one of the features that attracted the masses to digital cameras, they can tell if they actually captured a photo, and many carry their cameras with them to use as a display gallery to show photos they took.
It could be radical and still be mainstream. I'm not saying remove the ability to playback images on the body, I'm just saying remove it from the back. If they can come up with some kind of hybrid EVF like on the X100 for example, you could review that way.

The big user of space is the mirror.  EF Lenses are designed with a focus distance to account for a FF mirror.  Remove the mirror, design new lenses with a short distance to the sensor, and a huge reduction in size occurs.  Thats why the 35mm film point and shoot cameras were much smaller.
As before I was thinking in two parts, one of which was how small could you make a DSLR? Specifically one that would be compatible with existing accessories. As such, the mirror box stays in that case. I was looking at other areas where size optimisation could occur.

Once you remove the mirror and design a new set of lenses, the size of the sensor doesn't have much effect, its the lens design.
Not entirely true... only shorter focal length lenses could get some benefit. A longer zoom or prime wouldn't get smaller just because you move the mount slightly closer to the sensor. Big sensor still means big lenses (for a given quality, FoV, equivalent f number, ignoring DoF). Look at m4/3 using various compromises to help make lenses simpler. Distortion is less corrected and they rely on software to fix it. Olympus claim a small 75-300, but that's in part because it is slower than anyone else's similar zoom.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Mirrorless on the Horizon?
« on: July 06, 2011, 02:15:10 PM »
The DSLR is bigger than the SLR due to the battery, memory cards, a whole bunch of electronics and motors inside the body. Plus every body wants a hand grip for the DSLR.
Look at compact digital cameras, they also have a ton of electronics in them. I can imagine the "stuff" would easily sit in place of where the film rolls would otherwise go. The mechanics between a SLR and DSLR I think would be near enough the same. I do think the LCD on the back is one of the biggest consumers of volume, so removing that would allow bodies to get much smaller. That also removes the need for the power so batteries could be smaller too.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Mirrorless on the Horizon?
« on: July 06, 2011, 01:23:34 PM »
I think there are two questions here, with two possible partial answers:

1 - how small could they make a DSLR? I have a film EOS that's much smaller than any digital, so could they shrink one down further? I think the film camera size comes down to only needing space for a thin strip of film before the back of the camera. Now we have a sensor with filter assembly on top of it, and typically a LCD display behind that. Let's say the rear LCD was ditched, and they just relied on the viewfinder for everything (possibly X100 style electronic-hybrid?). How small could that get? Would it be interesting to people? With a small prime on I think it wouldn't be that dissimilar in size to current bigger mirrorless models.

2 - if they go mirrorless, where in the range would they target? The m4/3 and APS-C sensor size is pretty much covered by existing players for example. Could Canon bring something new to that space and not come out with a "me too" product? The tiny sensor like Q I find hard to take off, as you're competing directly with compacts there, and to me I can't see why I would want one over a compact unless the price is slashed right down, but then what's the point? The rumoured small-ish sensor Nikon is more interesting, as you can get smaller lenses than current APS-C models (assuming you're not after strict DoF equivalence) without compromising too much on image quality. That would be a more logical positioning keeping both compacts and SLRs out of the way of self competition. As a wild card, could they go high end only? Go full frame, and make a Leica for the 21st century. I don't think they would have any trouble undercutting Leica pricing anyway...

What threw me off was how the D7000 basically failed to leapfrog the 7D.
The D7000 was never intended to. While the D7000 does have a nice build and rich feature list, it is still targeted at a lower level than the 7D.

Lenses / Re: Patents: Diffractive Optic 2.0x & 1.8x Teleconverters
« on: July 02, 2011, 07:34:48 PM »
If they can be made small enough, maybe they could be put into lenses more frequently like the announced 200-400 extender?

Do you think Canon sits around doing nothing between camera launches? They must already be working on the 7Dmk2 right now. But they're pretty good at keeping secrets so I wouldn't expect much news until much closer to launch, whenever that is.

CaNikon don't synchronise releases so there's always the inevitable leap-frogging. If the D400 doesn't blow away the almost two year old 7D that would be a major failing on Nikon's part, but the further question then is by how much? Even if it is "better", do you need whatever it will be? At what cost? In the same way, there's the 1D4 if you really do need something more now.

Personally I don't like playing the waiting game for something better that may or may not come along. If you need something, get it now. Don't worry about the future if you are missing the present.

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