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Messages - dafrank

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61
Lenses / Re: How to complete my lens lineup? Help!
« on: September 01, 2012, 12:27:17 PM »
A couple more ideas, based on my own experience.

If you go for the pricey 85mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.4, but still want a 50mm for some reason, then you might want to consider the old but cheap 50mm f/2.5 macro. I have one and it is wonderfully sharp from about f/4.0 and up, while still being pretty good in the middle wide open. It is made cheaply - but not as poorly as the 50mm f/1.8 - and it has held up well for a long time in my bag. The manual focus ring is too narrow and feels pretty wobbly, but it works just fine. It also focuses down to a 1:2 mag. ratio without attachments and is quite sharp and flat-focused in close-ups. I doubt this lens will be made much longer, so, if you want a new one, you'd be better off to buy one pretty soon.

I can't pay as many compliments to Sigma as they deserve for their last generation 150 f/2.8 macro (focuses to 1:1 without adapters), the one without the IS, but with an ultrasonic focus motor. It is sharper than the newer design and just plain sharp all over the full frame format, from wide open to at least f/11.0. It feels good in hand, and the focus helicoid travel is very long - a good thing for accurate manual focusing, but it slows down autofocus to a leisurely pace. The construction is very good for a 3rd party lens - not as good as a Canon L, but it feels better than most of the non-L Canons. Yes, it's sharp wide open at 150mm, and killer sharp at f/4.0. And it costs way less than the Canon 180 or the even the newer Sigma replaceemnt with IS. This, like the Canon 50mm macro above, is probably not going to be in production much longer, so if you're interested, go for it soon.

Last, I'll state the obvious. If you make money with the 24mm TSE lens shooting anything vaguely architectural, or if you're a wealthy enthusiast who does the same stuff for yourself, get the companion lens to your 24mm TSE - the 17mm TSE - as well. It's an almost miraculous performer considering its incredibly wide coverage and complex construction; simply put, it can do what no other lens from anyone else can do.

Without knowing more about your "work," I can't think of any other good advice on the subject for you.

Again, good luck.

Regards,
David

62
Lenses / Re: How to complete my lens lineup? Help!
« on: August 31, 2012, 06:59:03 PM »
Well, of course it's nearly impossible to recommend lenses when I don't know what and how you intend to shoot with them. To just guess (kind of an exercise in futility), I'd say that you probably want to shoot some longer range action at some point, because you purchased an 1D3 camera which is mostly made for action/sports photography. If I'm guessing right, then finding an older used Canon 300 f?2.8 IS (the new one is better, but even more outrageously expensive) and at least a version II 1.4x extender would be a great addition to your kit. If you don't have a need for shooting distant sports subjects, then your own idea of a 35mm f/1.4 and an 85mm f/1.2 is a very good one. These give you great speed (as in lens aperture, not focusing speed), portrait bokeh in the 85mm that is wonderful and, in the 35mm, a near-perfect 50mm replacement for the 1D3, and the perfect "walking around" lens for your future full frame camera. Don't bother with the 85mm f/1.8 - it's a great very sharp lens, but it just isn't in the same league as the f/1.2. With those two, you could, arguably, shoot just about anything you would need to, using your own foot-powered "pedi-zoom" for all but the most extreme purposes. Good Luck!

Regards,
David

63
Lenses / Re: 17 ts-e vs 24 ts-e
« on: August 22, 2012, 12:21:04 PM »


Please can you link me those sites because I didnt exactly find what you said.

Thank you!
[/quote]

As to other expensive choices, there's: Hartblei's solution at http://hcam.de/en/canon-tse-collar.htm . RRS is Really Right Stuff, and although I don't know the specific parts, I think you can cobble a few of their items together to do the same things: http://reallyrightstuff.com/Index.aspx?code=46&key=fr . As to Matthews, they are a very old and reputable maker of studio stands and grip equipment, probably the most favored in the higher end of the industry, and I don't know exactly what they have that might work, but they've got a lot; just to let you know that their online site may or may not have every item they sell from their enormous collection that might exist in their paper catalog, but here's tyheir URL: http://www.msegrip.com/product.html .

Regards,
David

64
Lenses / Re: 17 ts-e vs 24 ts-e
« on: August 20, 2012, 10:47:26 PM »
Yes, this is one solution, but, as with a couple of others like it, it is very expensive. If you want to save some cash, there are a few commercial solutions that are a little cheaper (I think RRS has something like this, out of two separate contraptions), or, for even less, just improvise something from the Matthews grip equipment catalogue which may or may not also require a few extra non-photo-purposed parts to be thrown in as well.

Again, good luck.

Regards,
David

65
Lenses / Re: 17 ts-e vs 24 ts-e
« on: August 20, 2012, 09:54:08 AM »
A few things that might be of interest to you.

If you had ever used a view camera, you would know that, shiifting the image was almost always done with the camera back, not the front (as with TSE lenses), because front shifting, even that done in the perfectly parallel way that the TSE operates, in effect, subtly tilts the image plane, so that you must compensate in post if you want to use front shift to stitch two or more images together. Granted, the amount you have to work in post varies and is rarely a huge amount. But, front-shifted images will never stitch properly without some image manipulation. If you use grip equipment to hold the camera and lens in place by grasping the lens, rather than the camera body, then, relative to the image you are shooting, when you shift the TSE lens, you will actually be shifting the body (camera "back"), rather than the lens (camera "front") itself, thereby eliminating the problem and making stitching in post completely idiot-proof. All of this is to say that, if you use the 24mm to stitch two or more images together in place of using the 17mm, you can simulate the 17mm to a degree, but be aware that you may want to buy some exttra grip gear to make that process easier and faster. Furthermore, be aware that, depending on the camera orientation when shifting for stitch, you may reproduce the general angle of view of the 17mm, but not the same format shape. Finally, you can always use the same stitching techniques with the 17mm, so that you could create a still wider angle  image that would still not be reproducable with the 24mm using the same technique. Taking all of this into account, the 17mm is a better choice if you often need a lens wider than 24mm for your work.

As to filtering the lenses, of course the 24mm is the obvious choice. For very long exposures with the 17mm, if only the effect of graduated ND's is required, one can use a black card to variably dodge a lighter portion of the top of the image area, by rapidly waving the card in and out of the optical path of the lens in front of the camera. This technique requires practice, but works just fine, if the exposure is at least a few seconds long. The same technique, but using one or more stationary black cards or manufactured cloth gobos (flags, fingers dots, etc.) mounted on stands in front of the camera, can be used to cut off light which would otherwise shine directly on the lens, thereby taking the place of a really good lens shade. For other filtering uses, expensive large and cumbersome adapters are, or will be, availbale for the 17mm, but the cost, and the cost of the then necessary very large filters, will be very high.

Good luck and happy shooting.

Regards,
David

66
Well, I'll be as clear as possible. Most of the time I manual focus whenever possible and use the autofocus assist light to confirm my focus if I am having any diffiiculty - as with eyes getting tired from a long day. This system is about 99.8% effective in bringing home proper focus. On those times when I do autofocus, on my previous 1Ds2 and my current 1Ds3, I have found the cameras to be about equal in getting the job done: a little over 90% with dead-on on static subjects and about 70-80% acccurate on moving follow-focus subjects. My new 5D3 autofocus is about 99% accurate on static subjects. However, I have not yet enough experience to give you a figure for the moving follow-focus, but so far, it looks better than my previous cameras and very promising. Also, on both the 1Ds3 and 5D3, manual live-view focus is 100% accurate when you can take the time to use it.

As for your recent problem witht the group picture, I have no idea what could have caused the specific problem you describe, but here are some possible reasons for the misfocus: light level too low for the autofocus system to work properly without an assist, user error in mis-aiming the focus sensor markings over the subjects, extremely and unusually low subject contrast, lens microadjustment not done or inaccurate, lens or camera focusing systems grossly out of adjustment (needing Canon service repair), accidentally nudging the manual/auto focus switch to "manual" while mistakenly thinking the lens is autofocusing, or even a totally out of alignment glass element from some abuse to the lens. Take your pick.

In my experience, the autofocus capabilities of the higher end Canons, with a few exceptions, are as good as, or better than, the only other autofocus system I'm familiar with - Nikon's. And now - with the 5D3 and 1Dx - Canon's autofcus is at the top of the heap. Do, however, consider the joys of manual focus; it's certainly a technique you could easily use to perfect a group shot of people with very little trouble.

 I'm afraid that, in the end, you'll have to figure this one out for yourself.

67
Lenses / Re: If you can have ONLY 3 lenses, what would they...???
« on: August 14, 2012, 02:57:27 PM »
Simple:
24-70  f/2.8L V2
70-200 f2.8L V2
17mm f/4.0L TSE

And, if I could cheat a little, throw in a 1.4X v3 teleconverter, technically not a photo lens itself.

This would cover 95% of whatever I have needed to shoot. Of course, adding back my 16-35L v2, 85 f1.2 v2, 90mm TSE, 24 TSE V2, and maybe a 300 f/4.0 or 400 mm f/5.6 L would certainly round things out a lot better, filling in some gaps better than using my feet to do something similar.

68
Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35 f/1.4L II [CR2]
« on: August 08, 2012, 12:41:46 PM »
Dolina, +1. Those same two, plus the new 24-70 (replacing my current version) and a 17mm TSE would be my most wanted additions to my current lens line-up that would pretty much hold me over for many years to come. My 5D3 and 85 f/1.2 plus a new 35 f/1.4 would be a great and relatively small but super low light knock-around kit.

69
Portrait / Re: Need some Photoshop/Editing help
« on: August 07, 2012, 11:05:52 PM »
DB, what you did looks very good for spending just a few minutes applying the very well known multi-layer global adjustments used by many people directly, and indirectly when using independent software programs which try to semi-automate the same techniques. Just about any way you do human face, or any other type of retouching, using multiple layers in many different ways is, of course, standard operating procedure. Just one thing, however; your particular method here, while being quick, lost almost all of the skin texture on this portrait, again rendering him almost as extremely as one would for a head shot of an aspiring female fashion model. This is fine for many applications, but there are also many others where people become slightly offended by replacing their recognizable skin characteristics with what looks like a quite soft and slightly misfocused rendering of the surface texture of their faces. Also, one must try very hard to resist the obvious temptation of overly brightening and evening-out the brightness of the subjects eyes, therefore replacing good photo lighting with a sort of "mystery lighting" variation where eyes pop out of subjects faces. All this stuff works great sometimes - when you're in a hurry, or subjects want to be "improved" rather than be shown in the best way otherwise possible, or just when they don't mind the kind of results that are common on modest 8'x10" model composites.

None of this is to say that you aren't a very good retoucher, which I am quite sure you are; rather that it would be better to let the less practiced of those (like the OP) understand what they're looking at, so they can make the proper choice in their particular working style.

70
Portrait / Re: Need some Photoshop/Editing help
« on: August 07, 2012, 09:11:55 PM »
You've opened up a can of worms here. Some good advice about slowing down your changes with lowering brush opacity and rate here.

But, there are more basic problems to discuss in this picture that occur again and again in portrait retouching. First, the job you did on the "bags" or circles under the eyes is good for a beginner, but, especially when working on a man or a "normal" woman (not a fashion shot with a beautiful model who has had her makeup airbrushed on to an otherwordly smoothness), your cloning here makes what I consider a common error; while you removed the offending eye bags, you also removed all skin texture and slightly changed the color and brightness of the affected areas.  This also is the case when you clone out any other facial "fault." It is very hard and time consuming to add the skin texture back after removal and to keep the skin color, overall brightness and brightness "ramp" looking realistic, but it can be done with practice. Bringing it over, in modfied form, from other areas of the face using a combination of cloning and healing brushes usually works; sometimes more creative measures, like texture mapping, need to be taken.

Regarding the problems encountered with areas of border between hair ends and whatever is behind it, encountered when you try to remove "messy" hair from around the face, this is a tough one to which there is never an easy answer. The best resolution is, as has already been mentioned here, to shoot it better so as to avoid this issue entirely. If that's not possible, cloning and healing other hair areas to re-cover the problem areas that you've purposely partially over-removed, while sometimes difficult, can be done. The same is true of recreating the new and necessary hair end points; although recreating the superfine and random nature of the hair ends in places further inside the rest of the hair or on top of parts of the face or background is hard, it is do-able, but very time consuming. Extremely fine and careful color selection, and PS plug-ins that accomplish the same task with more control, are your best friends here, along with a superfine brush to sometimes create just a few mock hairs at a time. Also, one must keep in mind that the area of sharp focus is all over the place where your subjects hair needs to be moved or removed, and, when recreating it just a little bit more neatly, one must maintain the same look of approximate sharpness or softness of the original.

This is a lot to digest, and it is overkill for most jobs, but it is probably important to gain the skills necessary to be able to do this stuff, when and if called upon to do so. Most likely someone will probably expect this of you sometime, if you are doing this commercially, but whether or not they will be willing to pay for the time necessary to accomplish it is an awful subject best left to discuss at another itme.

71
Lenses / Re: 24mm F/1.4 II vs new 24mm F/2.8 IS
« on: August 05, 2012, 02:55:33 PM »
Aside from the contributions of previous posters, there is one more thing to think about in regards to the 24mm f/1.4 L vs the f/2.8 IS; if you look at the Lensrental.com article on lens focus performance - http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/07/autofocus-reality-part-3a-canon-lenses - you can see that the the new 24 f/2.8 focuses slower, but approximately twice as accurately as the faster lens with Canon's newest full-frame DSLR's, the 1DX and the 5D3. What this probably means is that the firmware algorthyms in the lens and the focusing hardware aboard have more accurate focusing in mind. I'm not sure of Canon's strategy here, because the slower but more accurate performance seems to favor studied still images, while the STM harware on the 24 f/2,8 IS supposedly was thought to have been mostly made for video use, wherein extremely fast and quiet autofocus operation is required; unfortunately, while STM is quieter, it is also much slower than USM, making video use much more problematic. It's really hard to rationalize what all this means. Unless a future Canon video body comes along which will help to greatly speed the autofocus on STM lenses in video mode, then it looks like Canon has made a new lens focus system which is not best suited to any but the most unlikely of all applications - slow, accurate and deliberate autofocus for studied still images, an application often suited to manual focus more than anything else. Go figure!

As to which I would get, I'm planning on a new 24-70 mm f/2.8 v2. It will probably be much better optically than than the f/2.8 IS and a good match for the f/1.4 at f/2.8 and smaller apertures. The zoom function greatly outweighs the IS on the 24 f/2.8 for me, and I'm sure the focusing will be much faster as well. Therefore, since I will rarely need to shoot at apertures faster than f/2.8, and I assume the new zoom will have the more accurate firmware and hardware focusing stuff already baked in, I don't think I'll need either of the new 24's; I'd rather save up for a wide 24mm and/or 17mm TSE lens with much greater functionality instead.
 

72
Lenses / Re: Your 70-200 f/2.8L IS II...
« on: July 31, 2012, 04:57:04 PM »
Paid about $2,350.00 for mine just a little while after it came out. It's not cheap, and it could be more than you have to spend. But, at least, you get what you pay for. Only needed one copy; it worked perfectly well and was as sharp as I expected (very!) at all focal lengths. Like everyone else, the one thing that could be better is the weight/size, but that is probably asking the impossible; that's like wanting a roomy 6 passenger car that handled like a Ferarri, weighed 1200 pounds, went 200mph, got 50mpg and cost $2,350.00 - it's not going to happen because of the realities of physics and economics.

If you get this lens, you will use it a lot, unless you want to hike 40 miles or climb mountains with it. It is the single best zoom lens I've ever owned, period. And, it's probably better than all but the very highest end primes in the focal lengths it offers.

As an aside, the 70-200's  "L" cousin, the current 24-70 f/2.8, is the lens that has had some documented QC issues with some lenses being markedly different than others (my "keeper" is the third one I tried out), but even the best samples pale by comparison to the optical quality of the 70-200 f/2.8 IS v2. Thank goodness there's a new v2 of the 24-70 coming soon to better match its stellar cousin, because so many of us have both these lenses in our basic camera kits.

As to the 70-200 f/2.8 IS v2, if you're looking for an excuse not to buy it, you won't find it from me.

Regards,
David

73
Lenses / Re: 70-200 2.8 II vs. 85mm 1.2 II - general opinion
« on: July 30, 2012, 12:24:59 PM »
Your question is really hard to answer. I own the 85mm f/1.2 Version II and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS Version II as well. I use them for a variety of purposes, none of which might coincide with your uses. Things are comnplicated by you owning a 7D as your camera of choice. I, and probably the majority of those using the 85 and 70-200 have a full frame camera on which to use them. It is not necessary to have full frame to love using either lens; it's just that the difference in angle of view between the two formats makes my uses potentially different from yours.

One use I make of the 85 is the obvious - for very narrow depth of field portraits. I shoot mostly at f/1.6 to f/2.8 because shooting at f/1.2 and getting all the parts of my subjects' faces in focus is usually too hard to do quickly and consistantly, and viewing wide open at f/1.2 gives me a better chance for an f/1.6 exposure to be spot-on focused. Occasionally I'll get the odd shot to look great wide open, but I can't count on it. This is not a "fault" of the lens, but a result of my shooting style and the laws of optical physics. Usually, careful manual focus is more reliable than autofocus for this purpose. I also use this lens very successfully for - amazingly enough - very narrow depth of field product shots. The focusing routine here is about the same, but I am more likely to shoot at f/1.2 or 1.4 because it's easier to use the narrow focus on products and small objects (i.e., easier than people's faces - which have a certain fixed distance between eyes, nose tips, and ears). This lens is amazing for both purposes, and its bokeh is deservedly famous for its great dreamy and smooth character.

The 70-200 f/2.8 ver. It is another animal entirely. I use this lens much more. Hey, it's a zoom, for goodness sake, meaning that it can replace many fixed focal length lenses - and it does. This lens is so sharp, that, aside from the 85 with its amazing maximum aperture performance and sharpness, I need no other lenses in its focal length range, with the exception of special purpose TSE and macro lenses. This makes the zoom much more versatile - what it's meant to be. And, you can confidantly shoot this lens wide open if you wish; it's that sharp and good, and only gets a little better by f/5.6 at any focal length. When I have a large or medium size product, groups of people to be shot quickly, people shots that work best at focal lengths different from 85mm, environments that need a longer lens, any situations where fast changes from one focal length to another are helpful, action (sports), or just anything that I'm trying to capture that moves or has the potential to move, this lens is the one to go to. The biggest negative is that this lens is heavy and somehwhat large, so that if that is a controlling factor, beware; of course, the 85 is quite heavy itself, but is still quite a bit lighter and smaller than the zoom. The bokeh is a little more "nervous" than that of the 85, but it's excellent for a complex zoom wide open or one stop down. In any case, the bokeh of all other lenses in its focal length range is nervous compared to that of the 85.

There you have it - my use of the two lenses in question laid out for you. What you do, especially as your camera would render the two lenses' "effective" focal lengths to become equal to 135mm for the 85mm, and 112-320 for the 70-200, on a full frame camera, makes my uses not as indicative of what you might best use them for. You really need to think this one through for yourself. 

Regards,
David

74
Lenses / Re: New Tilt-Shifts in 2013? [CR1]
« on: July 29, 2012, 03:13:16 PM »
CD Embry: +1. I agree about the sharpness of the 90 TS-E, one of my favorite Canon lenses. While the sharpness would be very hard to improve, they might make it focus closer, apply their more recent and better lens coatings plus the independent movements of both axes, as in the recent 24 and 17mm lenses.

The 90 TSE is almost perfect as it is, with the possible exceptions of the suggestions as listed above. But, they could really hit the mark by adding to the TSE line for product shooters, by making either a 135mm, 150mm, or 180mm TSE as well. This could be the other "specialist lens" mentioned. It would be perfect, especially the 135 or 150, for products that required some distance from the camera to make perspective look more normal, which the 90 barely does in some cases, not in others. To shoot a low front 7/8 view of a car, for instance, looks a heck of a lot more natural (i.e., the front end doesn't look quite as exaggerated in size compared to the rear) and just plain better, with a lens longer than 90mm. A longer TSE would complete the set for product and other types of photographers who would then have almost all the lenses with almost all the tilt and shift functions they needed to function as did their old 4x5" and 8x10" view camera set-ups in the film era - a great advantage for Canon over even medium format competition. Finally, if the much rumored studio-centered cam with very high megapixel capacity came out about the same time, that would further seal the deal for many commercial professionals who now are still somewhat married to the necessity to maintain various systems, jury-rigged together, to satisfy different types of shooting requirements.

Regards,
David

75
Canon General / Re: "Time for a Change at Canon?" -Barons
« on: July 25, 2012, 10:41:10 PM »
I'm not a chairman of the board of a major Japanese corporation, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last  night. That qualifies me as much as anyone else here to comment on this stuff.

There's probably a little "ageism" going on here in some quarters. The Japanese wisely respect the wisdom that only comes with age to those who are open to learning from their experience. This gentleman certainly is not a fool, judging from his past performance. I see nothing wrong with him taking control right now. Perhaps if he were 86, not 76, there would be a real question of his physical capabilities; if he is healthy, he will most likely do very well for Canon for some years to come. The clues to what must be done are not just available to those whose credentials are mainly that they have less experience. Sometimes, younger people have new and valuable insights based on not being wed to today's orthodoxy, sometimes not, and those younger people who do have valuable ideas can submit their insights to older peers who can most likely best evaluate their efficacy. I doubt that Steve Jobs came up with the idea for the iPad, but he probably grasped that it would be a great product when it was presented to him.

As to specifically what Canon does need to do, there have been some good suggestions in this thread already. Furthermore, I would offer that, generally, they should avoid trying to match Nikon, Sony, et al, but try to come up with truly new ideas, totally new technology that either leapfrogs their competition or entirely changes the paradigm. Examples would be something like an effective true color sensor that avoids the pitfalls of Sigma's Foveon design (low overall sensitiviity and poor SNR at higher ISO's, complex manufacturing and less than great color response because of uneven absorbtion rates of the medium in which the sensors are embedded ), new original technology to increase DR and resolution per sensor area without the usual negatives, new marketing areas for the application of their technologies to increase business opportunities, and, finally, a rationalization of their manufacturing to include the outsourcing of the best and cheapest comnponents from other manufacturers.

That's enough babbling from me, folks.

Regards,
David

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