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Messages - pj1974

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211
Lenses / Re: Your favorite lens is?
« on: January 14, 2013, 10:43:33 PM »
Perhaps my fav lens at the moment is my Canon 70-300mm L f/4-5.6 USM IS.  I live in Australia, and its captured a lot of photos in the 2 years since I've had it!

It's great on my 7D, from wildlife to birds in flight to candid portrait to even a bit of motorsports and/or field sports in daylight.  The sharpness, contrast, colours and bokeh are very good - that is: very high imagine quality (IQ). Plus it's very portable and for me an awesome hand-holdable lens (IS helps!) up to the equivalent of 480mm, with snappy USM AF.

My 'fav workhorse' lens is the Canon 15-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS, which gets the most use. Great range, very good IQ, and USM / IS as bonuses.  Then I have other lenses that I consider more 'specialist' eg Sigma 10-20mm EX HSM and Canon 100mm macro USM.  My 'next' lens will be a fast prime, probably the next Canon 50mm (with true USM?).  The 'favourite' lens I would like to TRY is the new Canon 200-400mm L f/4 USM IS 1.4x... though I doubt I'll buy it (mainly due to size, weight and alleged cost, even though I can afford it..)

Cheers.

Paul

212
Sweet, thanks all. I definitely didn't switch it on purpose. I took a picture of some Thai kids and showed them the result. One got all excited and started pressing buttons. Perhaps that's what happened.

Any who, after reading about it, it actually seems handy.

Do you guys use the mirror lock up feature often?? I enjoy night photography and it seems useful.

I agree about Mirror Lock up being useful for slow exposures on a tripod.
Liveview is a good way to go too as it locks up the mirror. Use Liveview  ESPECIALLY  if you are doing multiple exposures for say, HDR. Much faster. The mirror locks up just once and all the exposures are made, and then the mirror goes back down. Very convenient.
Vibrations for the mirror are significant. I was in an abandoned factory a couple of weeks back and was using a carbon fiber tripod, with weigh on it for added stability. I was shooting on a solid concrete floor.  I could actually feel the vibrations from the mirror in the balls of my feet when I was doing my test shots. At first I thought I was mistaken...but I did some more tests and amazingly it was true. To me...that was significant vibrations from that mirror. Amazing.

Wow, infrared... I'm so glad you shared this.

I had a similar experience just the other day (believing I could feel vibration caused by my DSLRs mirror going up and down).  Then I thought, 'Nahh... I must be mistaken or it's just the sound and my imagination'. (I had also put my hand on my steady Manfrotto tripod... to 'check', but believed I was overly sensitive to things).

So I will be doing more HDRs using live-view I think!! And thankfully my camera batteries do last quite long, even with live-view :)

Cheers.

Paul

213
Live View has another advantage - in addition to the mirror being locked up, Live View uses an electronic first curtain.  There is an additional component of vibration added by the opening of the mechanical first curtain that's eliminated with Live View (the second curtain causes vibration, too, but since that vibration starts as the second curtain closes, it's irrelevant because the exposure is over).

Thanks Neuro for your such insightful, accurate input. With posts like the one above, your knowledgable and generous contribution is so much appreciated.

It's good to know the benefits of live view.  I have been using it more and more lately (including some landscape bracketed exposure shots - ie for HDRs).  Good to know all the technical advantages. 

Again, cheers.  ;)

Paul

214
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Anyone still using a 20D?
« on: January 06, 2013, 10:05:05 PM »
Ok, seeing as others have chimed in with their other 'older DSLR camera' input, here's mine.

I bought the Canon 350D (2nd 'entry level' Canon DSLR - aka 'Rebel XT' in some parts of the world) back in 2005.  I had a few digital P&S cameras before that, and was deciding between a 20D and 350D.

The 350D was slightly newer, cheaper - but didn't have all the same features of the 20D (eg real dial, as many Custom Functions, etc). I decided on the 350D, mainly due to price and size.  I was happy with it - and have taken many photos over the years (probably over 100k photos now).

In 2009 I bought the 7D... it was a definite step up for the 350D, and soon after the 7D had been announced I 'knew' this was the 'upgrade I was waiting for' (the 30D, 40D, didn't cut it for me). The 7D has been my workhorse since.  The improved AF, handling, LiveView, higher ISO capabilties, bigger, brighter OVF and screen all really made the photographic experience more pleasurable.  With my 7D I usually use my Canon 15-85mm USM IS lens.

Having said that, I still do use my 350D for the following:
- time lapse photography (either macro - with Canon 100mm USM macro or landscape usually with my Sigma 10-20mm), and my Hahnel Gigapro timer
- teaching friends / relatives aspects of DSLR photography (I give them the 350D to use / practice with often with the kit lens 18-55 attached)
- outings where I want the lightest / smallest travel package, again using 18-55 kit lens
- back up (eg when I have had my flash on my 7D serviced, under warrantee).

I hope to always keep my 350D as a backup, particularly as I have 3 well functioning batteries for it... (I have 2 for the 7D - which do last longer, but that's another story), and the 350D uses CF cards (win!)  When I run my 350D photos through DxO Optics Pro, I do find I need to adjust the settings a bit more than I do with the 7D (ie for more saturation, sharpness) to get the same results that I'm looking for.

Cheers

Paul

Cheers.

215
Lenses / Re: Canon 100mm macro IS vs non-IS - any further input?
« on: January 06, 2013, 07:31:00 AM »
I have the Canon 100mm non-L macro, and it's great.  As true macro work (1:1 or near)  needs to be done on a tripod, the Hybrid IS is not that useful for macro (particularly as it's not just lens shake that needs to be accommodated for..., but certainly it CAN help in a few closeup, but not macro settings.

Furthermore, I occasionally use the 100mm non-L as a 'quick portrait' lens, and the AF 'focus range search' limiter does help here. I don't know why people complain that the nonL's AF is slow (it isn't on mine... esp on my 7D, that USM focus is really quite speedy, snappy and accurate!).  I have used the Canon 100mm L macro, and it's a bit better, but really splitting hairs. If that much weather sealing is required, sure... get it!

About Canon zooms (70-300mm L vs 70-200mm f/4 L) - I would get the 70-300mm L any day. At the same focal lengths, the 70-300mm's effective aperture is ALMOST the same anyway... plus it gives you an extra 100mm.  I use my 70-300mm for outside (mainly wildlife, birds, some other aspects.. .very occasionally informal sports). The IS of the 70-300mm is a tad superior to the 70-200 f/4, and the USM is basically the same.

If you are going in low light, sure the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS (esp vII) is particularly useful / good.... but for me, when I am in 'low light' - I actually want REAL fast glass, and that means primes (eg f/1.4 - f/2).

Cheers.  All the best with your decision / outcome. 

Paul

216
Lenses / Re: Soon to be Launched EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: January 03, 2013, 07:39:37 PM »
Like some of the others who have posted in this thread, I am interested in how this lens performs, even though I doubt I will purchase it (I can 'afford' it... but most likely will decide to put so much of my money into other things... and that being not necessarily into photography).

If the Canon 200-400mm IS USM 1.4x lens is as sharp as my 70-300mm L IS USM lens, and performs well with the 1.4x engaged (ie has great IQ and AF is still fast and accurate), I believe it would be very attractive for those that require the flexibility of a zoom up to 560mm.

Obviously I'd prefer a lens that has f/2.8 to 400mm or even f/4 all the way to 560mm. But having said that, the weight (and probably other related issues, ie incorporating IS in a lens of that size) might be prohibitive.

Most of my wildlife shots (including BIF) I manage to seem to get fairly close (it probably depends the bird / environment and my own 'being discreet' nature).  So there have been times when I've done BIF photos of eg Australia's Wattle Bird (a small to mid sized bird), and I was too close at 300mm, and had to zoom out to about 200mm.

Obviously there are situations when one can never have enough mm (eg birds or other wildlife that won't let you get close, or moon shots, etc).  For what it's worth, I feel like I really appreciate the flexibility of a zoom when out in the field, and the range of 200mm - 400mm @ f/4 and 280 - 560 @ f/5.6 is a great range, imho. (I don't do sports photography).

I really like the photo comparisons of various Canon tele lenses that KitsVancouver gave a link to (thanks).  So while a large part of this post is also academic to me (and I do hope that it performs very well) - I'll keep my eyes peeled.  Maybe when I get to retirement I will look at it with different eyes.... a great IS on such a lens is also very helpful!

Canon have come out with a high-spec lens in the 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x - and I think this is a good sign for the future... particularly if its a hit with pro's and enthusiasts. I'm looking forward to reviews, and more importantly seeing great photos from this lens.  In the meantime I'm very happy with my very portable 70-300mm L, which in my Canon 7D, gives me a lot of very portable quality for a lot less price!

Paul

217
Lenses / Re: Just bought a new Canon EF 70-300L IS USM lens.
« on: January 02, 2013, 07:33:36 AM »
I much prefer it in every way to the 70-200 f4 L IS - it's better made, has (slightly) better IQ, and much better reach. The only advantage the 100-400 has is the 300-400 range. I personally think the 70-300 L is one of Canon's very best lenses, and certainly one of their best-kept secrets.

+1

I bought the Canon 70-300mm L a short while after it was released (and thankfully I got a great deal from a local, Australian bricks and mortar retailer).  Initially I was looking at the Tamron 70-300mm VC USD (and even bought a 62mm filter for it) to replace my Canon 100-300mm USM (non IS). But then the L was announced and in store too.

So I went and tried the 70-300mm L  out. I was very impressed with the quality wide open (f/5.6) at 300mm - which is the setting I would use it most at.  Also, though it's an L and solid, it was remarkable how transportable the 70-300mm L still is (being 'short' and stubby).

Therefore I bought it, and have NEVER looked back. It's IQ is so good, very close to the best of any of Canon's zooms.. and with USM focussing is awesome for BIF which I do a lot of (using my 7D, effective reach of 480mm. The 4 stop effective IS helps so much too.

All the best with it... I can highly recommend this lens. Matched with my Canon 15-85mm, a great 'travel duo'!

Paul

218
Software & Accessories / Re: DXO Pro 8 - workflow with Aperture
« on: December 18, 2012, 07:10:11 PM »
Thanks for sharing what you've written, Neuro - I'm sure many people (including the OP) find that helpful. I have quite a similar workflow to you, Neuro in a way:

1) I don't shoot most of my photos RAW (but JPEG... but this might change as I have purchased a new more powerful PC a few weeks ago).

2) While going through and deleting the 'not work keeping' photos (about 5% of photos), I select 'favourite photos' from each month (usually around 10% of the total photos)- and save these original Fav JPEGs in a sub-folder called "YYYY_MM Favs"

During this stage I also select and move photos that I've made for HDR (exposure bracketing) and panorama processing - both of which I use dedicated software for.

3) I run all my 'normal' photos (which includes the Favs, but not the HDRs or Panos) through DxO with 2 sizes: full size and HD (1920 x 1080),

4) I run the HDR and Pano photos through the other respective programs (eg Photomatix and Panorama Magic) - saving output files for the ones I'm happy with.  Also, I use Photoshop (a very old, but still good working version) to post process any 'critical Fav photos' (eg ones I'm going to share, print, etc).

5) I then delete the 'normal photos' and any source HDR / Pano photos. (that is I keep the 'DxO output' and 'HDR output' and 'Pano output' files as well as all my Favs)

6) Next I copy the Favs, DxO and HDR and Pano output files both to a backup internal HDD and copy to an external HDD. (so they are in 3 places).

7) My favourites (& good HDRs and Panos) I copy to an additional external HDD. I keep all my external HDDs in different place to home (eg my filing cabinet in my office and my work place, which is a secure Government building)

For actual viewing (on my home computers and laptop) - I use ACDSee for my folder viewing (I like the layout and quick things it can do).

I hope my input is helpful.

Paul

219
Software & Accessories / Re: DxO optics pro (8)
« on: December 18, 2012, 06:56:22 PM »
I use DxO Optics Pro (have been using a few versions over the years, and v8 is a good upgrade).

well_dunno - I've never had contrast decrease in the output.  Hmmm.. I wonder if that has something to do with your settings (eg does your workflow mainly use RAW original files, or JPEGs?)

I must admit that mainly due to storage and PC limitations, most of my photos over the years have been JPEGs (but have used RAW for tricky lighting and or critical situations).  But the way I use DxO (also with 'autocorrect') usually gives a nice boost of contrast, sharpness and saturation where needed, without over-cooking it. I wonder what settings you have (eg affecting micro-contrast, etc?)

Last night I actually just bought DxO's Viewpoint - as I love wide angle shots, and saw it having some good potential (as a registered DxO purchaser / user, they give good discounts!)

A few weeks ago I bought a new PC (running Windows 8) - and plan to be shooting more RAWS and pushing them through DxO 8.. should work faster.

Hope my input is helpful and that you'll get good outcomes (ie both high quality images / photos and enjoyment from photography).

Paul

220
Lenses / Re: Which (if any) non-L lenses are enviro-sealed?
« on: December 14, 2012, 12:49:12 AM »
I have the Canon 7D, which is really quite decent in terms of weathering some light rain, etc. Definitely a few steps above my Canon 350D.

In terms of lenses, definitely the best non-L build that I have are shared by the Canon 100mm USM macro (nonL) and the Canon 15-85mm USM.  Both are very sturdy. I've happily let them get a bit of dust and light spray or light rain, without issues.  8)

I also had the Canon 28-135mm USM lens, which wasn't as good as the above two... it let in more moisture (and the smallest amount of dust).

Then again, no other lens I own comes close to my Canon 70-300mm L - but hey, that's an L!  ;)

Paul

221
Lenses / Re: Zoom vs Primes?
« on: December 14, 2012, 12:46:13 AM »
I use a combination of zooms and primes.

1) Generally I find zooms great for
a) travel - when I want to cover various focal length, but keep one lens on the camera most of the time
b) events - where they provide more flexibility in composition (I mainly do children camps, some non-professional sports, and church events).

My favourite zooms include Canon general purpose 15-85mm, Sigma UWA 10-20mm, and Canon telezoom 70-300mm L.

2) Conversely, I have some primes - which are good for more 'specialised' photography, eg macro and portrait.

I love the Canon 100mm USM macro (non L) - which is sharp and has great working distance.
I'm looking forward to a fast (eg f/1.4- f/2) Canon 50mm USM prime (possibly with IS!).

My 2 cents.

Paul

222
My advice: sell both your Canon 70-200mm f/4 L AND your Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 - and buy the Canon 70-300mm L f/4-5.6.  The Canon 70-300mm L's sharpness at 300mm wide open is truly great (at least my copy and 2 other copies I've used are) - and I doubt even pixel peepers will tell much difference with that and the 300mm f/4 prime.

Also, the awesome 4 stop IS and fast, accurate USM focussing on the 70-300mm L, combined with it being a flexible zoom (I have needed to use less than 300mm at times - yes, even for BIF!) can not be under-stated (or under-estimated). Personally I don't like the 100-400mm's push-pull design, and the additional weight is a negative for me (I prefer ultimate portability).

Having a 1.4x on the 300mm f/4 prime does give you more reach, but AF and image quality do degrade - noticeably. On the 7D, I've had hundreds of well-praised shots with my 70-300mm L... it just does the job so well! Hope you get a good outcome.

Paul

223
Lenses / Re: what 5 lenses would you want
« on: December 13, 2012, 07:08:02 AM »
Hi all...

Well... as I have been using a 7D, I'll list my ideal 5 for that (I think APS-C vs FF body HAS to be stipulated, otherwise lens choice doesn't sit within 100% context!)

1) Sigma 8-16mm - must have great, sharp, contrasty IQ & an accurate AF copy too.
  (I have a good, sharp copy of the Sigma 10-20mm, which has minor AF issues - but it's not a practical problem how I use it)  8)

2) Canon 15-85mm - I have this lens, love it as my walk around... great range, v good IQ all round  :)

3) Canon 100mm L IS USM macro
  (I have the Canon 100mm non-L USM macro, which for all intents and purposes is 99% as good for macro.. but does lack the weather sealing and Hybrid IS- mostly for handhelds non 1:1 shots)   ::)

4) the yet to be released (maybe not even designed... CR2?) Canon 50mm f/1.4mm USM IS
  (I had two copies of the 50mm f/1.8, didn't like it's AF nor bokeh, and not quite good enough IQ wide open). There are aspects of the current Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 50mm f/1.2 L that I don't like....  >:(

5) Canon 200-400mm 1.4x L (for my love of wildlife, especially birds - yes BIF too)  ;)
  (I have the 70-300mm L - terrific IQ at any setting- and if I got the 200-400mm 1.4x would desparately miss the portability of the awesome 70-300mm L... so it would be a 'toss up', but one can't argue with a lens that has 200-560mm range in an L!) 

Yes, I'd probably like a 200mm f/2 IS, or a 17mm T/S lens as an 'extra' - but the above 5 lenses are what I would expect to use lots (as I do all my current lenses).  So I feel that with what I currently have, I'm actually not too far off what would be my 'ideal' 5 lenses anyway, actually. And that's a good thing!  8)

Regards

Paul

224
Canon General / Re: Remote Shutter Release for Canon 5D3
« on: December 09, 2012, 07:14:29 PM »
Canon's little RC-6 (and RC-1) will trigger it, but that's IR so only works from the front.  I used the RC-1 with both a 7D and 5DII and it's great.

Since the 1D X doesn't have an IR receiver, I recently picked up a hähnel Giga T Pro II, works well and would be compatible with almost any Canon dSLR.  Beyond basic triggering, does interval timing, etc.

I also have and use the Hahnel Giga Pro, and it works a treat for both my Canon 7D and Canon 350D (which incidentally have different connections into the DSLR body).

Like Dr Neuro above, I use it for both remote triggering (macro, HDR, even self portraits) and interval timing (eg time lapse photography).

I find it handy I can have the 'trigger' inside (up to about 30 metres away - even with walls between it works), and have my camera set up outside (eg with ultra wide angle lens on, protected under a table in my back-yard) and I can see the interval timing is working well.

Cheers... all the best.

Paul

225
"Where we did we put that light meter the albino had?"
"Over the albino, I think."
"Well, why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place?"


 :P

LOL!  :o Where in the world did THAT come from?!? :D

A quote from "The Princess Bride" (altered to fit the situation, and much appreciated!!)

Aha!! No wonder I love this forum... it was the Princess Bride connection all along!! :)  Love it.   ;D

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