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Messages - John Thomas

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Lenses / Re: Best third-party lenses
« on: March 24, 2012, 01:00:34 PM »
Tokina AT-X PRO FX 16-28mm F/2.8

A very good UWA for FF sensors. Very sharp. Top notch image quality, much better than Canon 17-40 F/4 L. Tokina is better at F/2.8 compared with Canon at F/4. The price is very affordable - cheaper than Canon 17-40 and approx. one 3rd from Canon 16-36 F/2.8 L. The focus is very very quick and accurate. The build quality is impressive.

Drawbacks are:
- heavy
- (normally) doesn't take filters, but one can put Lee's filters on it.

Generally, I'm very pleased with this lens.

Lenses / Canon 1DX: The AF problem may be bigger that we think?
« on: November 05, 2011, 11:56:25 AM »
Hi all,

Seeking the lens market AND the related info WRT Canon 1D X, I found some things which seems concerning:

1st, a note from Canon's Chuck Westerfall (it was quoted also here in some threads) saying:

“AF is unavailable on the EOS-1D X if the maximum aperture reported to the camera through the electronic lens mount is smaller than f/5.6. This is a lower specification than previous EOS-1 series DSLRs. [...]"

Having in mind the above, this means that Canon 1D X cannot focus on the longer (telephoto) lenses which have an aperture smaller than f/5.6, say 6.3?

This includes (at least) the following lenses:

From Sigma:

50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG HSM
150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro

From Tamron:

28-300mm VC F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
28-300mm VC F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
SP 200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD [IF], by buying Canon 1D X and having at least one of the above lenses and raking out the glass, one cannot use the AF anymore?

Lenses / Re: Will it be a EF 14-24 2,8 L is from Canon
« on: November 03, 2011, 06:28:24 AM »
Hey everyone, speaking of ultra wide angle, has anyone used the Samyan 14mm f2.8? It looks really nice, cheap, wide, and fast. Is there a catch? I'm a prime lens kind of hero, so I don't mind manual focus, aperature, or foot zoom. Thanks

Yes, there's a catch, as you guessed. The lens is fully manual. I mean no AF and no focus confirmation by the camera. Perhaps, you know that some lenses even if you must manually focus, have a comunication with the camera which beeps when the chosen focus point is in focus.

If you think that you can focus manually at f/2.8 and, perhaps more difficult, depending on your situation, to "convince" your subjects to stay till you focus, then perhaps you can consider it.

Another thing is that you'll find a whopping 5.3% barrel distortion with a mustache-style sub-frequency which for architecture is a no-go. Ok, for landscape it would be (more or less) ok. Another problem is vignetting which is present in a noticeable amount.

OTOH, it seems that it has stunning resolution and the CAs are very well controlled.


Lenses / Re: Will it be a EF 14-24 2,8 L is from Canon
« on: November 02, 2011, 12:55:38 PM »

I would ask aswell what exactually do people use 2.8 on an UWA for? isolating the subject doesnt really seem like something best suited to UWA and while DOF maybe deeper your also going to have alot of close foreground. Personally I find even with the extra DOF I tend to stop down more with UWA zooms than I do with normal zooms for that reason.

Special effects in interiors and architectural details in almost complete dark / night.

See here:

Imho, I think that is worth the effort.

Lenses / Re: Will it be a EF 14-24 2,8 L is from Canon
« on: October 29, 2011, 03:10:12 AM »
I don't think i've ever been really 'lacking' IS at a focal length that short?

Tha lack of IS is very much in my mind. I love to stand out in the foggy night and take pictures. And then i could definatly need an IS. Thats because the shutter speed in the night would be slower than 1/60 of a second

The shutter speed should be 1/Focal Length and not 1/60. Hence you're ok with 1/16 - that's why this lens, and generally the WA and UWA doesn't have IS.


Lenses / Re: Will it be a EF 14-24 2,8 L is from Canon
« on: October 28, 2011, 04:42:28 AM »
Tokina AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX seems to be a very good lens for this range. And it is available now.

Also I'm thinking at it.

Perhaps there's someone which has hands-on experience with it to share?

EOS Bodies / Re: 1DX Review
« on: October 28, 2011, 04:16:35 AM »
Thanks Andrew for the review and for the clarifications!
One more: Are you just saying that you can leave the AF system 'alone' to choose the subject and track it, without back/front-focusing and/or choosing something else?

EOS Bodies / Re: 1DX Review
« on: October 27, 2011, 11:16:05 AM »
I'll post once i've posted...

Can you post other things like:

- How is the shutter/mirror sound in comparison with older models? (louder etc.)
  What options do we have WRT this?

- How heavy is / feels?


EOS Bodies / Re: 1DX Review
« on: October 27, 2011, 03:44:42 AM »
Having now had a play, I can comfortably say the ISO really is something else, the AF is also something else. Ergonomics a nice improvement and that gigabit connector socket is not to be sneezed at. Several other features, but I'll leave it all for my blog :-)
And your blog is... where?

EOS Bodies / Re: Feedback on 1D X from 1-series users?
« on: October 24, 2011, 04:49:56 AM »
Have a 1Ds MkII among other Canons. Shooting photojournalism mostly in low light - churches, monastery interiors etc. -- see different works at -- I'm very excited about new model.

However, I really wonder if the specs on paper matches the reality without any significant (untold) drawback. Also, I would want to see some real, untouched RAW files from Canon 1D X shot at high ISO.

Waiting to see what the ones which will have hands on experience will say.

EOS Bodies / Re: The EOS-1D X & f/8
« on: October 22, 2011, 11:29:34 AM »
Generally, according to my kind of shoots, I like the specialisation of the machine. I think that leaving out the F/8 points will be payed back in terms of speed and accuracy of the AF engine.

Can anyone confirm this? Or perhaps there are other reasons to leave out the F/8 point(s)?

EOS Bodies / Re: The New EOS [CR3]
« on: October 15, 2011, 02:56:18 AM »
If these are the new specs, and they're correct, and it's an 18MP FF sensor, then it can ONLY be one of the following:
a) Not the flagship and something better will come later (more likely)
b) A foveon-type sensor (my hope)
c) A corporate suicide note.

a) -> My take: Unprobably, given the way in which the event/camera is promoted

b) -> Perhaps this?,1209.0.html
 My take: :D :D :D

c) -> My take: if not b) then c)  :(
The "social charge" of an 18MP Bayer sensor in a flagship camera today is too high to sustain, even for Canon.

And now I'm thinking at the latest Nikon mirrorless "cameras"...

EOS Bodies / Re: New DSLR on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. [CR3]
« on: October 14, 2011, 02:29:52 AM »
AFAIS I think that the "18MP" bit leads to a Foveon sensor.

Which is good, imho.

But this leads also to a marketing challenge. How they will tell the people that this, compared with nowaday Bayer sensors, means very good performance? I don't see how they would overpass this learning curve of their market.

...and this is bad, imho.

Just my2c

Sports / Re: New Member ;-)
« on: September 23, 2011, 04:32:12 AM »
Well, I made many night / low light shoots and, perhaps, I can give you some hints on this.

Because I have strong connections with the Holy Mount Athos, through the years I made many photos at vigils / night services / dark churches aso, like for example.

In fact, there is an entire series of photos, most of them in low light, one per day (except Saturday and Sunday) @

I think that (one of) the most important thing (imho) in the low light photography is the mood. You should keep the mood. I think that the viewer must know that your scene / subject was in low light because low light influences (sometimes a lot) the characters in your photo.

For example:

Also, at least for me, the low light is more powerful than the mundane, day light, allowing to pass much stronger messages to the viewer, like in this one:

Yes, I know, sometimes you should comunicate a feeling and/or a happening without leting the viewer know that it is low light. So, you need to be prepared also for these:–/


You can also see more examples on the 'Spiritual Picture of the Day' (see the address above) also in the past as well as in the future.

And now the least important part, the technicals:

All were shot with Canon 1Ds Mk II. Usually I shot at 1600 ISO. The camera is old and compared to nowadays standards, isn't very good at it. Sometimes there is enough noise, if you cannot eliminate it without noticing, you should embrace the noise. Sometimes it helps, depending on the photo's message.

Also, you should underexpose your photos with 1/3 till 1 EV or even more. You should be careful to avoid having burned highlights from a powerfull light source which happens to be somewhere near to or in scene. Also, go for the faces and/or strong (body) lines.

The lenses:
- Canon 50mm F1.8 - Cheap, very good. Does the job. Highly recommended. Unfortunatelly at 50 mm it is rather difficult to get environments in tight places (churches etc.)

- Canon 17-40mm L F4 - Workable. F4 is a little bit slow but since we speak about wide lens you can get slow shutter speeds without too much trouble. But beware at distortions and moving subjects (even sometimes this can help you to accomplish your photo message).

- Canon 28mm F2.8 - so, so. Flare prone. Too much flare, especially in churches (candles etc.). Usually I go with 17-40. Yes, I know - one stop wider aperture.

- Canon 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 - (almost) useless. F3.5 at 28 mm - too slow for me. 'nuff said.

Flash? - Well, usually no flash. Very hard light. Disturbs the monks in the churches and that's why I try to avoid it. Also, you must bounce it to have nice results. The churches are one of the worst places to bounce the flash. Very irregular surfaces and painted in many colors. But if you have a simple, normall room with white walls you can use a fill flash at -1/5 or -2 EV with a diffuser on it. And don't forget the gel.

Good luck,

just my2c & hth

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