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Messages - kirispupis

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The MP-E 65 is a very fun lens.  For the record I started in macro with a Sigma 80-400 + Canon 500D diopter.  I then moved straight to the MP-E 65 + MT-24EX.  I then foolishly thought I could buy "everything I ever needed for macro" in one swoop by putting in a rather large order for the 100L, Gitzo 2541EX, TS-E 90, RRS macro rails, and 300/4 IS.

Since then I have spent far more money setting up a drop photography system, focus stacking with the Stackshot, and attaching microscope objectives to my camera.

You may find this blog I wrote several years ago on the MP-E 65 interesting - http://calevphoto.com/2008/10/22/zen-and-the-art-of-the-mp-e-65/

As already stated, this is not even close to the MP-E 65.  I have the 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III and use the pair often on my 7D.  I use it more often as a telephoto for birds but it does function as a low power macro at times.  Here are two shots with them.  Note that even though I own extension tubes, I do not use them as it isn't worth making the setup even longer for the minimal magnification gain (+ AF is affected, not important for macro but very important for birds).



In terms of lighting, this really depends.  Generally I use flash only in situations where the subject field is small enough that I may completely control it (MP-E 65) or where I need a fill for things like insects' eyes.  With my 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III I only use ambient light.  Flash tends to have a negative impact for most of my uses.

In terms of the MP-E 65, note that it is a very specialist lens.  If you are not already very familiar with macro, I do not recommend this lens.  It is extremely challenging to photograph at these magnifications and requires a lot of practice and patience.

The 100L is a much better general purpose macro.  Currently I mainly use my MP-E 65 for insects and my 100L for almost everything else.

Here's a recent shot from my 100L (focus stacked)


Here's a shot from my MP-E 65 for comparison. This is the only one of the four shots where I used flash.


Note that the crocus shot would not be possible with the MP-E 65, while the fly shot would not be possible with the 100L.  They are both great lenses, but are completely different in their uses.

Lenses / Re: Macro Lense-If money were no object.
« on: March 20, 2012, 12:25:44 PM »
It really depends on what types of photography you are interested in.  I have a lot of macro gear and greatly enjoy taking macro shots.  The following may help.

MP-E 65 - This is an incredible lens, but do not think about buying it without the MT-24EX. Also, it requires a lot of concentration and patience. It is a completely different beast from other macro lenses.

100L macro - Optically it is very similar to the non-L, but the hybrid IS puts it in a different orbit.  Lately this has been my most used lens.

TS-E 90 - Great choice for flowers.  I love the creativity it allows.

300/4 IS - The F4 has far better macro capabilities than the 2.8.  I use this lens mainly for dragonflies and sometimes water striders (they sense vibration so it is tough to get close)

180L - I owned this lens and was not impressed with it, so I sold it.  Sigma has an interested macro comes out that on paper is much better.  More likely I'll just wait for Canon to update it.

Other gear.

A good macro tripod - I use a Gitzo 2541EX which is the Explorer arm type.  If you do buy one don't make the same mistake I did - buy the geared version.

Macro rails - I own two different ones
RRS stacked rails - These are pretty good rails and are very strong.  I owned the Kirk rail in the past and it wasn't as strong - which is important as my camera often hangs upside down or in other weird angles.  They are very good general purpose rails.

Cognisys Stackshot - Great for stacked images.  I use this often now with flowers.

Cognisys Stopshot - This is a bit more specialized, but if you like water drops this is the way to go.

Another idea is to pick up the 2x III extender for your 70-200/2.8.  It gives you about .4x magnification - which is very useful.

I did not want to fill up the page with photos, but if you would like sample shots from any of these let me know and I will post them.

EOS Bodies / Re: Things to Do while waiting for your new 5DmIII
« on: March 19, 2012, 03:21:58 PM »
The 5D3 is a nice camera, but while I wait for mine to arrive I plan to spend my time taking pictures with the cameras I have.

Lenses / Re: Good/Better/Best Macro for T3i
« on: March 19, 2012, 01:26:24 PM »
I wouldn't say these are bad shots.  You are evidently very good at getting close to these snakes and your first three shots show attempts at interesting compositions.  With some more practice and time spent analyzing reptile shots from professionals I think you can significantly improve.

I disagree that the top shots are taken with top gear.  Very good gear often makes it easier, but many of the best shots I have seen used very low end gear.  That being said, you will not be disappointed with the 100/2.8 IS macro.

It is true that sharpness and optics-wise the IS and non-IS versions are almost identical.  However the IS, IMHO, completely sets this lens apart.  It allows you to shoot at shutter speeds otherwise unthinkable in macro.

In terms of your last shot, this is just my opinion but I offer the following critique.

The #1 issue I see with many beginner's photographs is they attempt to put too much in the shot.  This is an issue with this shot.  The green tuft (moss?) is distracting.  I am also unsure whether this is a portrait of the snake's head or just the eye.  The nostril seems to indicate this is a shot of the head, but then it is missing another nostril.  Keep things simple.  Decide what you want your subject to be and remove everything else.

Your DOF also confuses slightly.  I would like to see a touch more DOF - such as F8.

I believe you are following most of the proper technique already - handheld, no flash, and no AF.

Based purely on the specs, I would use a camera to take a landscape photo.  A tripod may also be very useful.

Seriously, these are both great cameras.  They both will take awesome photos and when you take a shot that sucks, it will not be the camera's fault.

Abstract / Re: splash
« on: March 16, 2012, 12:20:16 PM »
Since December I have started taking more water drop shots.  They are fascinating and fun to play around with.  Here are a few recent ones I took.




Lenses / Re: Tilt-Shift Lens vs. Macro Slide Rail
« on: March 15, 2012, 02:35:59 PM »
Great info!  My question was not so much about panoramas or 360 panos, just mainly about the ability to stitch 2 or 3 images from the TS lens shifting from left to right to get a larger (i.e. wider) image of a room without the parallax issues of the far left and far right of the frame getting all stretched out.  From what I've seen, it seemed like the Tilt-shift lens would allow to get a wider (more spacious) view without the UWA artifacts.

This is true, but there are a few things to consider against doing this.
  • You lose out on the ability to shift up and down (because you are already shifting left/right). Therefore you lose on of the major creative features of the TS lens.
  • A lot of RE agents like the ultra-wide view. Of course, you do need to be careful with things on the left and right edges.  However, most of the agents I know prefer images taken by UW lenses as it makes rooms appear larger.  While photographers tend to be against this, it does help sell houses.
  • If you are using HDR or exposure blending, this makes PP more of a pain.

Interestingly the one time I did use a TS for a pano, the agent had me crop the shot about 50% - or to where I could have taken it in a single shot.

Lenses / Re: Tilt-Shift Lens vs. Macro Slide Rail
« on: March 15, 2012, 12:53:14 PM »
There is one thing I am a bit confused about: why is the focus so much on panos in real estate photography?

I am a real estate photographer and do not see any requests for panos.  Early in my career I took them and no one used them.  There are some agents who use 360 panos - which are quite a bit different - though around here no one asks for them because many of the local MLS sites do not support them.  Anyways for 360 panos a TS-E 24 would be a major pain.  The 8-15 fisheye would be more useful for that purpose.

I have the TS-E 24 II, TS-E 17, and TS-E 90 and only use tilt shifts for my RE work.  I use them for their architectural shift capabilities - not for their ability to take two shot panos.  By shifting I can easily choose how much floor vs. ceiling I want in my shot while keeping my verticals straight.  It is extremely important for emphasizing the key selling points of the room.  I typically use my TS-E 24 II for exteriors, TS-E 17 for interiors, and TS-E 90 on rare occasions for shots from docks or distance views of the property.

Outside of RE, I occasionally take panos.  There I have found a macro rail to be useful for adjusting to the nodal point of the lens.  I own two different macro rails - a Really Right Stuff XY rail (two rails stacked) and the Stackshot from Cognisys.  In the past I owned the Kirk rail but sold it in favor of the RRS.  The RRS rails is more precise and much stronger.  For panos I only use the RRS rail.

For macro I would definitely buy the best rail possible (Stackshot) but panos do not put much stress on the rail so even a cheap one will do.

I'm in a bit different camp but here is where my opinions have taken me.

- When the 1DX was announced, I put in a preorder immediately.
- Later on, I realized I didn't really need the 1DX and I allocated most of the budget elsewhere.  I picked up an 8-15 fisheye, microscope objective, and a Stackshot. I do not regret this decision.
- I still kept enough money put aside for a 5D3 at $3k.  My feeling was I would buy one.
- Now that the 5D3 has been (not fully) announced, I am disappointed.  I am disappointed both by the higher price and the specs. I find it very difficult to justify it.
- When I look at the 1DX, though, I find it a bit more justifiable.  The 5D3 really just looks like a 5D2 with a bit better high ISO and the AF of the 7D.  The 1DX adds the following.
     1) even better high ISO
     2) better metering - ability to meter on an AF point
     3) improved AF
     4) double the fps
     5) weather sealing
     6) more customization
     7) better ergonomics
- I therefore find myself in a debate. If I do move to another camera, the 1DX is more the camera I would expect.  It is a significant improvement on top of the 5D2.  On the other hand, it is very expensive.

Unless the 5D3 has much better high ISO than I think it will, at this point I am unlikely to move to it.  I am, however, more likely to move to a 1DX in the future.  Of course, I still have to justify the 1DX compared to other things that I would buy, but strongly in favor of the 1DX this time around is the fact that I have already bought them. :)

Software & Accessories / Re: 500px update
« on: February 23, 2012, 10:31:39 PM »
Is it just me or is the site unusable after the upgrade? Yesterday I was able to upload a photo but unable to move it to my public portfolio.  Today I can neither upload nor move photos.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Which Speedlite
« on: February 11, 2012, 11:27:31 PM »
I've seen the Nissin in the store before but the main issue I have with it is it's essentially a knockoff for close to the price of the original.  Between the two I would go for the 430EX.

That being said, I recently picked up to Yongnuo 565EX flashes and like them so far.  They run about $150 and function similarly to the 580EX except they cannot be a master (but can be slaves), do not have high speed sync, and may only change in full stops in manual mode.  I have two 580EX flashes as well and for my purposes the Yongnuo's are useful alternatives.

Lenses / Re: Macro Lens recommendation
« on: February 10, 2012, 07:50:29 PM »
To really answer your question on which macro lens it would help to know what you want to photography.  There are a number of different lenses that may be used for macro purposes and each has its specialty.

That being said, the 100L is an awesome general purpose macro. For me the biggest selling point of the lens besides its sharpness and bokeh is the IS. I take a large percentage of my macro shots hand held and without the specialized IS on this lens it would not be possible.

In terms of using a Kenko 1.4x on it, this should work but why do you need to do this? To be honest I have never put a TC on my 100 macro but then again I have an MP-E 65 for when I need more than 1x.  You should not be concerned about losing AF because you rarely use AF in macro photography.  For all practical purposes I treat my 100 macro as a MF lens.

EOS Bodies / Re: When do you expect to see CR3 rated 5D/3D rumors?
« on: February 10, 2012, 11:22:20 AM »
Given Canon's recent actions, I would expect to see something announced around the end of the month or perhaps in early March.  It is very likely though that delivery will be some time out and like the 1DX samples from the new camera(s) will take awhile.

Right now if you compare the 5D2 with the D800 or D800E it does not look good for Canon.

EOS Bodies / Re: 5D Split? 5D X & 5D Mark III [CR1]
« on: February 10, 2012, 11:19:16 AM »
While it would be great if this rumor is true, there is one glaring mistake I see here.

If Canon continues with their current naming convention, then the 22 MP 5D should be called the 5DX and the 45 MP version the 5D3.  In line with the "X" series (1Dx, G1X) all cameras have very good high ISO support.

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