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Messages - kirispupis

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Lenses / Re: 100L vs 70-200L II for portraits
« on: April 22, 2012, 09:48:42 AM »
I also own both lenses and strongly favor the 70-200 II for portraits.  At 200mm and F2.8 the bokeh is hard to beat (without spending at least $5k).  I use both lenses very often, but for people the 70-200 is my first choice.

Even if you could do everything in the Nik Suite with just PS, it would take you many, many hours to draw the masks that they enable in just a few clicks. Many of their effects also are simply not possible to create with just PS.  Most of the top Photoshop pros I know use their suite.

I use their suite on almost every post processed image and definitely find it to be worth it.  In particular I use Color Efex, Viveza, and DFine on most shots. Sharpener and SilverEfex are also very useful.  My one complaint with them is they do not offer reduced price updates for owners of the complete package as they update individual components.

In terms of price, if you are patient they have deals from time to time.  A good place to look is Ron Martinsen's blog -  They usually have nice discounts around December.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Why so much trust in DXO.
« on: April 20, 2012, 10:17:18 PM »
People trust DXO because they do not have the skills/time to actually learn photography.  Rather than think for themselves, they trust some company to compute a number and believe if they own the camera with the highest number, their photography will automatically improve.

In terms of sharpness, the 100-400 and the 70-200/2.8 II are about the same.  They are also similar in terms of AF.

If you're getting paid for this and are on a budget, I would recommend the 400/5.6.  I honestly have no experience with it - though I do own its sister lens the 300/4.  I would expect it to be much quicker than the first two in terms of AF.

For sports shots AF speed will be your primary concern.  If you can, the best option would obviously be to rent a 400/2.8.

Note that I have noticed that on the 5D3 my 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III does seem to AF faster.  I would still not call it a speed demon, but I did manage to get this shot with it -

You can see a comparison of them here -

I have the 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III and used to own the 100-400 (I sold it to finance the 70-200).  Although I did not own them at the same time, my experience mirrors the results from the link above - the 100-400 is slightly better. However, the difference is not huge and really takes pixel peeping to notice.  Given the versatility of the 70-200/2.8 II, IMHO this is the far better choice.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon 5D3 vs 7D for birding thoughts
« on: April 03, 2012, 10:26:20 PM »
Thank you for the replies, but just to target this discussion.

- I am sure a 1D4 is much better than a 7D, but that is not the question.  The question is whether it is worth keeping the 7D along with a 5D3.

- I already have both the 5D3 and the 7D, so it is not a question about which camera to purchase.  I have already compared the two cameras - unscientifically - and found that even when the crop is considered the 5D3 produces much better images.  My main question was whether anyone else who actually has both cameras has done a similar comparison.

Just curious, I know almost nothing about astrophotography, but how does the 60Da compare to the sensors that cost tens of thousands of $ that many astrophotography nuts use?  I am mainly curious to know what the difference is.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon 5D3 vs 7D for birding thoughts
« on: April 03, 2012, 03:54:33 PM »
I have taken two bodies on my last two trips - to Uzbekistan/Tajikistan and to China.  At the time I felt it was very useful.  I generally kept a TS-E 24 II on my 5D2 and a 70-200/2.8 II to my 7D.  This allowed me to quickly take photos near and far.  However, looking through my photos from those trips I do wonder if this really helped my photography.

The problem is I travel with my wife and two kids and I therefore have a feeling two bodies cause me to rush more than if I just took my time with one.  I also have shots where I pushed my 7D too much.  Had I taken it with the 5D2 the shot would have been better.

I do believe for pro jobs such as weddings two cameras are essential, but for my travel purposes I am beginning to think they are not.

The main question though is whether I am giving up anything wildlife-photography wise through losing the crop the 7D offers.  So far on initial inspection this does not appear to be the case, but I am curious to hear other opinions.

Software & Accessories / Re: Looking for an ND filter for waterfalls
« on: April 03, 2012, 03:06:37 PM »
I have the Singh-Ray Vari-ND and find it great for photographing waterfalls.  It will vignette on UW lenses on a FF camera, but in general it does a good job - particularly at the low end of its range.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Canon 5D3 vs 7D for birding thoughts
« on: April 03, 2012, 01:09:58 PM »
I currently own a 5D3 and a 7D.  I still have the 5D2 my 5D3 is meant to replace and am waiting for the market to clear a bit before selling it.

Yesterday I photographed a pair of hooded mergansers that I had earlier photographed with my 7D.  The lens was the same - 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III, and the location was exactly the same.  I also photographed the birds at the same exact location in the pond with both cameras.  The only difference was the shots were taken several weeks apart.

I was curious to compare them, so I took two photos of the same merganser at the same location and compared them.  The crop from the 7D made its version larger, but the following is what I noticed with my very unscientific experiment (partly due to laziness and partly because there are flaws in this test I will not post the crops).  Here are two different shots from each shoot, but note that these are not the ones I compared.  They won't tell you much about the quality of the cameras but they'll give you an idea of the conditions.

7D -
5D3 -

- The 5D3 had a huge advantage in noise.  I had taken the 7D shots at ISO 800, while the 5D3 shots were taken at ISO 1600.  Nevertheless the 7D had very noticeable noise while the 5D3 was significantly cleaner.
- The 5D3 had far more detail in the shot.  I could see far more details in the feathers than the 7D - even when the crop was taken into account.
- The 5D3 seems to have better dynamic range.  With the 7D the black parts of the bird were solid black, while with the 5D3 there was a lot more detail there.  This may also have been an exposure issue.

When I look at this, I am seeing really no reason to keep the 7D.  Other than having two more fps, the 5D3 outperforms it in every aspect - even when the crop is taken into account.  Perhaps this may not be true for ISO 100, but for bird photography that is extremely rare.

My question is to those who also have both cameras.  What have you noticed in the difference?  I am not looking for theoretical discussions here but practical ones from other individuals who have used both cameras.

This is just a single test and ideally I should test both cameras on a tripod with the same subject at the same time, but I am curious if others have noticed the same thing.  At this point I am strongly leaning towards selling the 7D and going back to a single body, with the proceeds going towards funding a future 600/4 II.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Backup body for dangerous areas
« on: April 02, 2012, 02:02:53 PM »
This really depends on what you term "dangerous areas".  Last year I travelled with my full gear (5D3, 7D, several L lenses, tripod) to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Never once did I feel unsafe.  I have also been to Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Mexico, and China in the last few years and never had an issue with my gear.  The only time I felt a bit nervous was in Peru - but even then only in Lima.

While I was travelling in Uzbekistan, I ran across two guys with had taken their SLRs on motorcycle trips throughout Asia and Europe.  One guy had been to every single country in Europe and was on his way from Germany to China and another guy had biked in numerous countries in Africa and was on his way from Bulgaria to somewhere in Siberia.

So when you use the term "dangerous", do you mean somewhere truly dangerous or somewhere you simply perceive as dangerous?  Southern Iraq, parts of Afghanistan, bad neighborhoods in Brazil, and large parts of Somalia are truly dangerous.  If you are going to those places, the safety of your DSLR will be the least of your concerns.  If you are travelling there, you will have someone who is managing your personal safety.

Assuming that your travel destination is not truly dangerous, but you are just perceiving it as such, your real issue has to do with the way you are travelling.  By backpacking you put your equipment in numerous situations where it may be stolen.  It really doesn't matter whether you are travelling with an XTi + kit lens or a 1Dx + L lens.  Thieves rarely know the difference between different models.  They just see a DSLR that may be an easy target.  In terms of camera equipment, therefore, my recommendation is to bring the best you can.  You likely will not be visiting these places again any time soon.

In terms of making sure whatever you bring is not stolen, the following are my recommendations.

- Learn the local language, especially if you will spend a lot of time in one place.  This shows respect to your hosts and you are less of a target when you show respect.
- Learn the customs of your area and obey them.  If local customs frown on photographing women, do not do it.
- Safeguard whatever is on you at all times.  When you sit down, wrap the straps of your backpack around your leg or chair.  Never leave anything of value unattended - even for a second.
- Be gracious with questions on your gear.  Do not shy away from questions on how much your gear costs.  People are just curious.  Be friendly, but of course never hand your camera over if they want to see it.
- Consult with locals on where it is OK to go and where it is not OK.
- If you can afford it, stay in better hotels.  In most better hotels you can leave your gear in your room and no one will take it.  Of course, this by definition is not backpacking. :)
- Trust the companions you happen across as much as you trust strangers with your gear.  You are more likely to have your gear stolen by a fellow traveller than by a local.
- Make sure you bag is not easy to open from the back and that it is well strapped to you.

Macro / Re: Water macro
« on: March 31, 2012, 01:41:55 PM »
Actually, for the shot I just posted I did not need to take too many shots. When you get to this speed the shutter is not enough to freeze the action.  You need to freeze it with flash.  I set my flash manually to 1/128th.  I use Yongnuo 565EX flashes.  I have a 580EX II and 580EX as well but the 580EX does not have a miniport and the one on my 580EX II no longer works. I find it pitiful that I find my Chinese knockoff flashes more reliable than the real things.

To fire the camera and flash at the right moment I use two Stopshots from Cognisys. Even with this there is a tremendous amount of work to do.  Everything takes time to setup and then I spend a lot of time trying different things to get what I am aiming for.

In this particular case I started with the column.  Once I understood the # of milliseconds at which the drop hits a particular point and I know at what time the water column reaches the point I want, I know how many milliseconds I have to collide another drop with the top.  I then fired another drop from a different siphon at a few milliseconds after the drop the forms the umbrella.  This was the tricky part as originally my goal was to have this drop fall through the umbrella.  I played with the timing a bit to get this happen and then noticed it wasn't as interesting as I thought so I then strove to get the drop just above, which proved a bit challenging.  Ironically I kept getting the drop falling through the umbrella - which I was trying to do before but now didn't want.

I really enjoy water drop shots and I am slowly learning different tricks. It's not easy to take these shots but it is very rewarding when you get a good one.

Macro / Re: Water macro
« on: March 31, 2012, 01:48:49 AM »
I took this one today.

Lenses / Re: Canon 200-400/1.4x vs. 600/4 II
« on: March 30, 2012, 11:45:32 AM »
This is very good to know. I have a feeling I may end up going for the 600/4, because AF is certainly a concern for me.  I would be curious to hear your results from using the 400/2.8 II + 2x III on either a 5D3 or 1DX.  I have noticed that the AF with my 70-200/2.8 II + 2x III is a bit quicker on my 5D3 than it was on my 7D.  I still would not call it quick by any means - but it is quick enough where I feel birds in flight may be a possibility.

Lenses / Re: Canon 200-400/1.4x vs. 600/4 II
« on: March 29, 2012, 07:42:33 PM »
I agree that these are big lenses.  I have two friends who have the 800/5.6, two others with the 400/2.8, and a number of people with 500/4's.  I plan to budget for a new camera bag along with the lens.  I do not expect to bring it to work every day - for example if I know it is going to rain - but as the location to photograph is literally outside the door I will not have to lug it very far.

That being said, one advantage of the 200-400 is I expect it to be significantly lighter.  A 600/4 at the zoo will likely be overkill.  Also, due to the different enclosures a zoom lens would be more useful there.

In terms of selling the 7D, I am finding with the 5D3 it isn't that useful.  The 5D3 has so much more detail and far better high ISO support and better AF.  Factoring in the resolution the 7D has a 1.44 crop over the 5D3. However, so far I have noticed that even at relatively low ISO such as 400, the 5D3 has a lot more detail.  I plan to do some tests soon to figure out how much of an advantage the crop truly is - but I have a feeling the 7D will not be around for long.

So far it works like this.
Birds - 1st place 600/4 II.  2nd place 400/2.8 II, 3rd place 200-400/1.4x
Sports (baseball) - 1st place 400/2.8 II, 2nd place 200-400/1.4x, 3rd place 600/4 II
Zoos - 1st place 200-400/1.4x, 2nd place 400/2.8 II, 3rd place 600/4 II
Travel - 1st place 200-400/1.4x, 2nd place 400/2.8 II, 3rd place 600/4 II

If I approach this analytically, it works out as follows.
Judging each area equally with 3 pts for 1st place, etc. it comes out to
600/4 II - 6 pts
400/2.8 II - 9 pts
200-400/1.4x - 9 pts

Weighting the categories on a 1-5 scale however.
Birds - Very important.  I do this often. 5
Sports - Very important, but it is only a few months of the year. 4
Zoos - Moderately important, only happens a few times a year. 2
Travel - Not so important. If I lack something I can always rent it. 1

600/4 II - 22 pts
400/2.8 II - 28 pts
200-400/1.4x - 22 pts

That would seem to answer the question, but I will have awhile to think this over while I am saving.

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