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Messages - 20Dave

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Lenses / Re: Review: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
« on: February 27, 2015, 04:22:27 PM »
I rented the old version a few times... but not sold on it
especially as it didnt do that good with my tamron  sp pro 1.4x TC.
my devoted crow from a few days ago 5DmkIII, 560mm f8
seems a little soft...maybe off a tad...the 1.4TC isn't perfect...the $220 tamron versus the $100 one.
I HAVE NOT micro adjusted yet..but looks close.....

Question - does AFMA work with the Tamron TC on the 5DIII? It would crash my camera firmware when I tried it on mine, but it's been a year or so since I've tried it and I haven't updated the firmware. I know that there is a newer version than what is on my camera which allows AFMA using the Canon TC, but I didn't want to upgrade for fear that it would turn my Tamron TC into a doorstop. I have the Pro-300 1.4x model.


Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 01, 2015, 02:20:19 PM »
I'll probably be getting a QSI 683WSG-8 soonish here. It's an APS-C sized sensor, the KAF-8300, full mono, with an 8-position filter wheel (LRGB, Ha, SII, OIII and unfiltered), off axis guider port, and has a perfect gaussian read noise distribution. It's a very expensive camera though (with the filters and the various necessary adapters for use with my Canon lenses and standard telescope equipment)...about five grand. So I won't be buying any other cameras any time soon...least of all Canon, Canon sensors, even their newest ones, are just too darn noisy with poor noise characteristics.

I purchased the 583WSG with the 5 position filter wheel a couple of years ago. The QSI cameras are incredibly well made - there was a lot of nice design work that went in, unlike some other CCD cameras that feel like the mechanical design was an afterthought. I wish that the 8-filter wheel was available when I purchased mine, but I'm interested mostly in galaxies anyway, so the 5-filter wheel is fine for now. I purchased it when I had the funds but little time, so I've used it much less than I would have hoped. But I'm planning on building a ROR observatory in the spring and now have more time to dedicate to this hobby, so I hope to start getting my money's worth out of the camera at long last.

I did a little AP using the 20D before I got the QSI camera. Not having to combine the LRGB data was convenient, but there is really no comparison between the DSLR images and the CCD images.

And FWIW, I just tried the free PixInsight demo with my most recent image. It is really difficult to get my head around it, but the results are better than I could get with Nebulosity + Photoshop. But, I am a novice at it either way.


Lenses / Re: How satisfied are you with the 100-400 II?
« on: December 19, 2014, 07:00:32 PM »
...Test shots with 5D3 have been super. It was back focusing a bit so I added -1 AFMA and it's right on at my common shooting distance. Still a tad of back focus at 3 feet...but it takes only a few seconds to change, just need to figure out the value. It will be awesome for butterfly/dragonfly photography.

This is exactly why I'm considering this lens as a replacement for my beloved 400 f/5.6 prime. The short MFD and IS seem to make it a terrific dragonfly (and birding) lens. I'd love to read a comparison between the 400 5.6 prime and the 100-400II, both in terms if IQ and focusing speed/accuracy. All of the comparative reviews have thus far (understandably) been between the two versions of the zoom.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 70D/7DII vs 5DIII + TC
« on: December 10, 2014, 12:01:26 AM »
Ok, this was probably a bit less than a mile from my car as the crow flies (or seagull, in this case), at Sachuset Point NWR in Rhode Island just before Thanksgiving. 

I didn't realize that you were a New Englander. Sachuest Point is a great birding spot which (sadly) I'll probably get to less often now that my daughter moved out of the area. I got a lot of first-time shots down there last year, including Harlequins, Pintails, Scoters, and as well as a couple of Owls. I have a hard time getting there in the time of day with good lighting, though. It's right up there with Plum Island and Mt Auburn as the best New England birding spots.

BTW, to stay on topic of the original post, I bought a 5DIII a couple of years ago after giving up on the wait for the 7DII. I wish that I had a 500/600mm lens, but I'm "making due" with a 400 f/5.6 and a Kenko 1.4x teleconverter. I don't see a need to switch over to a 7DII even though my main interests are bird and dragonfly photography (hobby level, not pro). If I didn't have either one, I would probably go with a 7DII, but that is just based on my interests. I do see myself upgrading to the new 100-400 at some point to get the IS and the incredibly short MFD on the new lens.


Photography Technique / Re: Share 3x your own advice to yourself!
« on: November 27, 2014, 11:49:28 AM »
The earliest piece of advice that I received from my father doesn't really apply to my current camera but could apply to mirrorless and some other cameras.

He went to Super Bowl V (back in 1970, I believe) and brought his Minolta camera. As he was walking along, he spotted Muhammad Ali walking towards him. He asked if he could take his picture, to which Ali happily obliged. When he later showed the slides to our family, he said that he would never make the mistake that he made on that photo again - from now on, he would make sure that the the lens cap was off the lens before taking photos  :'(. He always left that lovely pitch-black slide in the carousel, just to remember the moment.

Lenses / Re: First Image of the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II Lens
« on: November 06, 2014, 12:52:41 PM »
Just speaking for me (hobbyist bird and insect photography), if this lens has a minimum focusing distance that is relatively close to the 300 f/4 (which I don't own), then it would be a terrific lens for both birding and insect photography. If the MFD is far like the 400 f/5.6 (which I do own), then there's one less reason for me to swap out the 400. But, if the image quality is on par with the 400 and the IS is as good as I expect, then it is still a tempting upgrade for me.

Photography Technique / Re: Any advice on shooting dragonflies
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:39:11 PM »
Thanks for all the replies guys.

Static shots for me are not such a problem (if you have even a moderate amount of patience) but in-flight shots appear to be orders of magnitude more difficult. I imagine it takes dedication and fair bit of luck to get good in-flight shots. I can't really control my luck but I can understand my equipment, improve on my technique and be prepared for how the subject might behave.

In my case, practice makes "not terrible all of the time". When they hover, there is a decent chance of getting some shots in flight. Or, soon after they take off is another option.

In terms of bodies I'd probably be using a 5D-III or a 60D attached to Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 VC or 150-600mm VC but was also considering using the lightweight 135mm f/2 L. (I got a "free" monopod with my 70-200 which I hardly ever use so I should definitely give it a try...)

Fast focus is critical, so I would think that a 5D3 (which I have) would be light years better than a 6D. The not-yet-real 7D2 looks like it would be a perfect camera as well if you're thinking about getting another one.

I'm quite interested in learning more about their behavior. They tend to fly quite erratically so the better I can understand what they might do, the better I can frame up shots or know where to spend time setting up and waiting for the kind of shots I'm looking for. Hopefully it's not all about running and gunning. Any recommended reading/viewing? is the bible for the Eastern US.

A couple more questions in terms of techniques:
Do you guys actively track with single point or expanded-AF, or do you rather use manual focus and shoot a burst as they fly through the DoF?

I use both MF and AF. If I'm using the 400mm and an extension tube, or if I'm shooting damselflies, I almost always use MF and take a few shots while moving in and out. The DoF is so micro-thin that AF will miss the eyes as often as not (mostly because of my shaky hands.)

What shutter speed will allow for just a tiny bit of motion blur? 1/1000s or 1/1250s? I've attached a shot I took in my garden a couple days ago similar to what I want to achieve in terms of the look of the flight (with motion blur in the wings). The shot of the bee is at 1/800s.

This shot was at 1/1600, so depending on how much blur you're looking for, around 1/1000 should help keep the body sharp while showing some wing blur.

Photography Technique / Re: Any advice on shooting dragonflies
« on: October 08, 2014, 03:18:52 PM »
How I hate even the thought of it. Luckily you and a lot out there feel the same.

Of course it's hard to pinpoint in what circumstances a picture was shot - with macro, it's so difficult to capture a part of the environment and show that it isn't in a lab or a zoo.

Take 20Dave's last (linked) shot above, here's a thumbnail: It doesn't seem to be cropped from a natural environment, so how did the animal get there :-o. Before I get excited about image quality, I'd be interested in the story.

No interference or foul play on my part  ;).

Freezing/capturing bugs or any wildlife is not something that interests me. For me, the fun is as much in the exploration as it is for getting the photos themselves.

In this particular image, the post is from the fence in my wife's garden. I had to veeeerrry slowly walk up to it, and it periodically flew away and then returned. It was claiming rights to her garden against a few other dragonflies, which likely contributed to it allowing me to approach it. It is the only time where I was able to get that close to a dragonfly. (Well, there was one other case - I ran across one that was on its last legs. I felt sorry for the critter...).

Photography Technique / Re: Any advice on shooting dragonflies
« on: October 08, 2014, 01:15:59 PM »
I'm an amateur/hobbyist photographer and a novice in terms of dragonfly/damselfly photography. Nevertheless, I will share a few points from my experiences:

1) You'll want a medium telephoto lens with a small minimum focusing distance (MFD). I don't shoot enough where I'll buy specialized lenses, but if I were to do so, I'd get a Canon 300mm (f/4 or f/2.8) lens. With my limited equipment, I mostly use my 400mm f/5.6, with one or more extension tubes (typically 36mm) to reduce it's very long MFD, but that is far from an optimal setup. I sometimes add a 1.4x extender which doesn't change the MFD and allows me to bring in some more distant shots (e.g. damselflies sitting on lilypads). Finally, I sometimes use the 70-200mm with or without extension tubes as well.

2) A borrowed a 100mm macro lens briefly and found that I wasn't able to use it as a true macro very often with most dragonflies since they are a usually too shy for closeups. However, I like imaging other types of insects as well, so I'm seriously looking at the Sigma 150mm macro. I've attached the best macro shot that I was able to get with it.

3) Shallow depth of field can make for nice images, but in some instances it can make it hard to identify the species. So, if identification is important to you, you'll want your settings to allow the entire insect to be in focus. Or, vary your settings if you have a cooperative subject.

4) Be patient. As others have said, if you scare one off but you remain still, it will return to its original spot.

Here are a few of my photos. I don't recall which ones I use the extension tube with:

Azure Bluet, 5DIII, 400mm f/5.6 lens

Halloween Pennant, 5DIII, 400mm f/5.6 lens

Halloween Pennant, 5DIII, 100mm macro (non-IS)

Lenses / Re: Lenses that you want Canon to release next
« on: September 18, 2014, 06:57:21 PM »
I would like to see a new
  • 100-400L
  • 135 f2 IS L
  • 180L IS Macro
  • New 50mm

You listed the two lenses that I am on the lookout for (100-400L II and a 180L macro with IS). I have the 400L prime and really like it, but I would love IS. If a 100-400L comes out at north of $3000 US, then I'd consider either a 300 2.8 or a 500 instead, but would most likely buy none of the above at those prices. I think that the 180 macro is a pipe dream and would (again) be ridiculously expensive if/when it does come out. I'm seriously looking at the Sigma 150 and 180 macros.

EDIT: I would add a 400L 5.6 prime with IS to my wish list, which I would buy over a new 100-400L II if it was two out of {lighter/sharper/cheaper} than the zoom.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 7D2 does have EC for manual mode
« on: September 15, 2014, 11:05:16 PM »
From dpreview:

"Like the Canon 1D X, the 7D Mark II does allow you to continue using exposure compensation in M mode with Auto ISO. However, the implementation is not very user friendly. You'll have to take your eye away from the viewfinder, push the 'Q' button, then use the multi-controller to scroll over to the exposure compensation scale, and then use the rear control wheel for adjustment."

Clunky but it is there. Now if they would provide this on the 5d3, that would make me a happy camper.

Dave, using the tubes on the 70-200 is a bit different because you're wanting to use them for near-macro work. I believe Guy is wanting to get closer to subjects than his lens' roughly 12 foot minimum focus will allow.  This is a problem with long lenses (particularly the 800mm which has a 20 foot MFD).  If a small bird or something comes close, you want to get it framed or at least closer to it and the tubes let you do that.  You are not going to get anywhere where near 1.00x (1:1), but it's nice to have for those types of shots when standing 8 feet instead of 12 feet away makes a big difference.

Agreed, I wasn't clear in my post as to when I was answering his question or just giving some additional information. Originally, I was using the tubes for the same reason - my 400mm f/5.6 also has a very long MinFD, and often I couldn't get that far back without standing in a lake or off the trail in the trees. It was just after using the tubes for a bit that I started using it for more macro work.

Not coincidentally, I am going to pay close attention to the MFD of the new telephoto lens coming out (or was going to when I thought that it was a 100-400). If it can improve on my 400mm, then I would consider upgrading. I just wish that there was one lens that could handle the work for both the short MFD that I'd like for insects and the long reach for birds. The 300mm 2.8 seems closest to fitting the bill, but it's not quite long enough for birding (and it ain't cheap).


...  You'll lose infinity focus, AF doesn't work well, if at all, and the closer you get, the more light you'll lose, but it's not a shocking amount.  Wide open shots may have a bit more vignetting as well.  To get closer, these trade offs are worth it, however.

Since I don't (yet) have a macro lens and I started shooting insects this year, I started using extension tubes quite a bit. I don't have the specific formulas that you are looking for, but I will say that losing infinity focus doesn't just mean "way out there". You may be surprised at how close "infinity" becomes. And, it got very annoying for me to keep taking the tube on and off. They do the job as advertised (shorten the focus distances), but it takes a little time to get used to. I most often used the long extension tube (25mm or longer), so using the 12mm probably won't have as dramatic of an effect.

As for the AF, I found that I couldn't AF often because my subject wasn't in the new focus range. I end up usually trying manual focus first just to see if it is in range, then let the AF take over from there. I've never had an issue with AF once I knew that the subject was in the focusing range.

One last comment of something that I read about but still surprised me in practice - when I attached the extension tube to my 70-200 mm zoom, adjusting the zoom actually moves the focusing range rather than zooming in/out. That also took some time getting used to.

EOS Bodies / Re: Silly Photokina Rumors
« on: September 07, 2014, 10:33:35 PM »
To leapfrog the competition in terms of high ISO performance and DR, Canon is coming out with a 0.1DX with the revolutionary full-frame, 45 pixel sensor (in a 9x5 pixel array). To help with low-light sensitivity, it is B&W only.

EOS Bodies / Re: The day of the anti-climatic announcement
« on: September 04, 2014, 08:21:56 PM »
The NDA is RUMOURED to expire September 5....

Everything is speculation. There is no solid and believable information until Canon makes an announcement. You can bet that Canon will make several announcements during Photokina, so if you don't hear something on the first announcement, it does not mean that it isn't going to happen.

That means the NDA expiration date is part of the NDA as well, else everyone could confirm the date and there would be no place for rumor there. For sure there some NDA to expire sometime soon.

I have been bound by NDAs that prohibited mentioning that we had even signed an NDA agreement, so not being able to disclose the date when they expired wouldn't surprise me.

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