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Messages - pj1974

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EOS Bodies / Re: Any news on the 7dMk2 now that CES is done
« on: January 23, 2013, 10:39:16 PM »
When I go back to my 350D - or when I go 'even further back' to my Fuji digital P&S, I think "wow, how did I ever use those tiny, limited view-finders?" [and use the tiny 1.5" rear display??]  But I did, and still have thousands of great photos, real keepers with each!
I know the feeling... Here's one taken in 1996 with an Apple Quicktake... 320 x 240 pixels at 8 bit color depth...no focusing, no iso settings, no screen on back.... just point and hope for the best. By 2001 we were up to lcd displays on the back, 1.3Megapixels, and you could set ISO, shutter speed, white balance...very crude by todays standards but even with those limitations got the second picture... and this the image with no editing. It will be interesting to see what the future holds

Thanks Don for your quote & reply!

I really like the 2nd image you captured and shared, Don - the colours and composition really work well for me(though it seems its a huge 2MP image - ie 1600x1200 pixels, or did you upsize from the camera output?  What a lovely feeling of cruising along on the mirrored water!

My first use of digital camera was in the late 90's - there was a camera (I think 760,000 pixels in total). Then in 1999 another updated one at work, a Kodak 1.3 MP.  By 2000 I had my own Fuji P&S (3MP) which was much improved on the work's Kodak... and things have only got better from there!   :D

So, when I show people people some of my early digital photos- often people say "Wow, that is great... how many megapixels?!" and I say 1.3MP, or I have downsized a 3MP to a 1MP file, and I say "just 1"... and so begins my explanation that MP isn't everything.... really it isn't....  ;)

The above was a bit of a digression from the OP, but in one sense it proves, technology has done great things regarding digital imagine in just half a generation or so!  I expect that there will be great mirrorless cameras, very capable and much along the same specs as our current DSLRs soon.  How soon... well, I won't commit to a date, but definitely before many people expect it!   :P


EOS Bodies / Re: Any news on the 7dMk2 now that CES is done
« on: January 23, 2013, 06:38:43 PM »
Hi All.

Interesting thread, some good posts.

I have had the 7D since it came out, and love the camera. It was a real step up from my 350D in every way. The specs (eg FPS, AF pts) build quality, functionality (eg live view, video), body size and (believe it or not!) APS-C sensor are all positive attributes to me.   :)

Not that the 7D is perfect, eg it has more noise than I would like, but with careful exposure and post-processing, good results can be achieved even at ISO3200 to ISO4000. I have taken so many photos with it, that the camera feels totally natural to me. When I go back to my 350D - or when I go 'even further back' to my Fuji digital P&S, I think "wow, how did I ever use those tiny, limited view-finders?" [and use the tiny 1.5" rear display??]  But I did, and still have thousands of great photos, real keepers with each!

I have used digital cameras with poor EVFs, but also those with much better ones.  I remember when the DSLR world was caught be surprise with Live-View and Video. Many people were saying "It will never happen" or "The quality will be rubbish". While there are still improvements to be made, I think most of us will agree - Live-View and DSLR Video are maturing along quite well, quality is very good and each present many positive benefits to users.   ;)

So, with regard to an EVF... I'd like to see a good one incorporated into a mirrorless Canon DSLR in the near future. Maybe that will be the 7DmkII (before the same progresses up to a FF). I'm sure the scientistics, electronic engineers, etc at Canon (and other DSLR companies) have been researching and developing these for ages. Or it might be that we're not quite ready, and the 7DmkII will come out, still having an OVF. 

Either way, technology is advancing in this segment in tangible steps, and should I upgrade my current 7D in the future (there is no reason to at this point in time) - I'm sure models succeeding the 7D eg 7DmkII, 7DmkIII, etc - in the right pair of hands - will be capable of taking stunning photos.

I, for one, am very much looking forward to the future.   8)



Lenses / Re: Sigma 35mm F/1.4 Reviews - Vignetting Disparity?
« on: January 15, 2013, 09:37:31 PM »
I've read a few reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, and it seems to have a lot going for it (very sharp, great contrast, good build quality) - particularly for the price.  (As a side note, if Sigma produce a similar 50mm to the new 35mm... I might consider... I've read / heard too much about the previous Sigma 50mm f/1.4 AF issues / QC / decentring to 'risk it').

There have been some concerns raised for the Sigma 35mm's bokeh at certain settings, and vignetting.  I can't recall reading details in reviews about vignetting, but maybe 1 review quoted full frame (FF = generally much higher vignetting) - and another test was on an APS-C (crop) body.


Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: January 15, 2013, 07:25:33 AM »
Wow... lots of truly beautiful images of sunsets here... thanks for sharing all!

Here is my contribution of 2 images taken a few days ago, in Adelaide, South Australia.  It's lovely SUMMER here!


Lenses / Re: Sigma 8-16mm on FF & Crop Vs Fisheye on FF & 15-85 @ 15
« on: January 15, 2013, 07:22:22 AM »
Thanks oscaroo for the comparison.

Good job, technically, and helpful labels / explanation.

I have a Canon 7D which I love (and Canon 350D... but let's not go there... lol... my trusty 1st DSLR).

Amongst my arsenal of lenses, I also have the Canon 15-85mm (love as a walk around) and the Sigma 10-20mm (great UWA).

Your comparisons are helpful.  I do like the Sigma UWAs, and interesting you can use it on the 6D.

I have never ever liked the fisheye effect, so again your post makes me glad I have and am sticking with the rectangular lens versions.

Cheers... nice image! Where was this photo taken?

I live in Adelaide, South Australia.


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..)



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 :)



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.  ;)


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.




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. 


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!


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.


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'!


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.


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).


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!  ;)


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