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Messages - pj1974

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Abstract / Re: Light Painting!
« on: August 27, 2012, 06:11:35 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback.

pj1974: It was just one take. Having done a few of these I have developed a better method for referencing.
            Say if I draw legs, I will start at the waist, keep a finger at that point then draw the leg. Back to my
            finger to draw the other leg and so on

             It was all myslef, and LED key chain lights.

Thanks for sharing part of your technique. You certainly did a great job as a one man show in doing the drawing, and also capturing in a photo!

Very cool idea, to use the LED key chain lights (with different colours).



Abstract / Re: Light Painting!
« on: August 24, 2012, 08:13:22 PM »
This is truly a beautiful photo. Amazingly good exposure, cool composition - but to me the most inspiring is the skill with the light painting. How many takes did you have to do to 'get it SOOOO good'???:)

Did you do this photo yourself (with different colour lights / torches / lazers?) - or were multiple people involved. I'm just smiling so much at this photo. Very clever, well executed and great outcome! Congrats.  ;)

I looked at the same photo on your flickr - and note you've shared these details:
Canon 50D / 166 Seconds / 13mm / f10 / ISO160

Again well done!  8)


Lenses / What lens/es for holiday with a family
« on: August 24, 2012, 07:31:41 PM »
Hello CR friends

I live in Adelaide, South Australia (have done for 5 years) and I've arranged to go on an interstate holiday for a week with some good friends of mine (we go to the same church and have known each other for 5 years).  They are a family of five: dad (44), mum (42), 15yo daughter, 13 yo daughter and 8yo son. I'm 37 (turning 38 next week ;) ) and I have a good friendship with all the family: sort of like a 'fun uncle' to the children, and have a close friendship with both parents. We will be travelling in their 7 (or 8?) seater van, us 3 adults sharing the driving.

We are going to Australia's island state of Tasmania (where I grew up) - which is known for it's beautiful landscapes: particularly mountains & coastlines which are more dramatic than many other parts of Australia. (Tasmania's weather is cooler than South Australia, though by some standards in the world, no part of Australia is VERY cold!) No one in this family has been to Tasmania before, though they have visited some other parts of Australia. I lived in Europe for about a decade before I lived in South Australia. That means I haven't been to many of the places in Tasmania that we hope to visit for years, ie since I got into serious (DSLR) photography several years ago. (I go back annually to visit my family - parents, brothers and their families).  :D

So... my question to you is: what gear would you take, specifically lenses.  We will be quite tight for space in the van (though based most of the time at my retired parents' farm). I already have an idea what gear / lenses I will take- but before I spill my beans, I'd like your take on it. The main reason that I'm going is to go as a friend, and also to be their 'unofficial' tour guide (as I did a lot of travelling, walking and sight-seeing around Tasmania when I was in my teens and early 20's).  All the family love the outdoors (ie we are hoping to see rainforests, waterfalls, cliffs & coastlines, go up some mountains, possibly see some wildlife, etc).  But we'll also do some 'tourist' visiting, eg historical sites, museums, chocolate factory, etc.

My plan is to take quite a few photos while we visit places, see things - and present an online album to the family afterwards as a momento of this special holiday; particularly saying thanks to my friends - the parents - who invited me to join them. The 2 teenage girls are sweet, humble girls - who are not too self-conscious - that is, they are very happy for me to take their photo, but they're not vain (as in, they wouldn't want hundreds of 'posed photos'). Eg if we were at a waterfall and all I did is take photos of them, they would say "Paul... you should take photos of the waterfall, not just of me... I already know what I look like!")  The parents really appreciate my photography, they have seen many of the photos I've taken in Europe and in Australia. The 8 year old boy is a bundle of energy and tends to show off at times, a balance between quite demanding of attention, yet he can be sensitive at times too.  8)

The gear I currently have is:
Canon 7D  (with 2 batteries)
Canon 350D (with 3 batteries)
Sigma 10-20mm HSM EX
Canon 15-85mm USM IS
Canon 18-55mm
Canon 100mm USM
Canon 70-300mm L USM IS
Several filters (eg 3x CPL, 2xND, 2xUV, etc)
Manfrotto tripod (2 heads: ball head & 3-way)
Nissin Di866mkII pro flash (with 1 set of recharge batteries)
Hahnel wireless timer remote
CF cards: 32GB, 16GB, 2x4GB, 3x1GB (and several smaller)
Lowepro Nova 170AW shoulder bag
Lowepro Slingshot 300 AW '1 strap' backpack

Please don't say "Take it all along" - as this would present a problems for 2 main reasons:
1) There is not going to be much spare room in their van - and it would be both selfish and impractical
2) It would be too cumbersome / awkward for me to take and be changing all my lenses (not to mention other gear) during the time we're 'out and about'.

My main question is... what lenses would you take - and why?
And of the other gear, what would be your selection - and why?

After several posts have been made (I hope several people will present opinions) - I'll share my thoughts and reflections.

Thanks in advance for your comments, thoughts and posts!   :)


EOS Bodies / Re: The next EF-mount camera: the iPhone 5
« on: August 22, 2012, 05:53:38 AM »
Baa haa haaaaa  ;D  This is SO good!

Thanks for the laughs!


Lenses / Re: Travelling zoom
« on: August 21, 2012, 06:51:47 PM »
You can compare the IQ between the 18-200 and 70-300 DO at The Digital Picture website. Here is a link for those 2 lenses...

NO, you cannot.  The link shows the 18-200mm on a 50D, and the 70-300 DO on a 1DsIII - that is not a valid comparison.  Since those bodies are the only options for those lenses, respectively, you cannot compare the performance of those lenses on TDP (unless you're planning on using the 18-200mm on a 50D and the 70-300 DO on a 1DsIII or 5DII, then compare away).

The TDP comparisons between lenses are only valid when comparing them on the same camera (which makes it hard to compare EF-S lenses to EF lenses on TDP).

I do agree that the 15-85mm or 17-55mm plus the 70-300 L would be a great travel combination.

Thanks Neuro... you're right (as usual  :P)... I appreciate your heads up on this particular set of TDP comparison (which doesn't allow a direct camera to camera, lens vs lens analysis).

Glad you and I agree on what can be a great 2 lens combination for an APS-C.



EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Specs? [CR1]
« on: August 21, 2012, 04:25:44 AM »
1) 18MP is great for me. I'd rather have lower noise than more MP. Phase AF on chip sounds good!

Just out of curiosity, how would you use FPPD (Focal Plane Phase Detection) AF with a 7D-type camera? The value of FPPD is in Live View and Video...however if your shooting things through the viewfinder, a dedicated AF sensor is not only essential, its also probably going to be more accurate as it can be fine tuned to various apertures (such as the center five double cross type points at f/2.8, and the cross type points nearer to the edge of the AF grid that are sensitive down to f/5.6, of Canon's new 61pt AF sensor.) If you shoot a lot of video with the 7D (which I find curious...I'd definitely prefer something in the 5D line myself for video) then I could understand the value of FPPD in a DSLR...but its rather immature technology and due for a lot of refinement and perfection before I would trust it for full blown low-light AF acquisition and tracking like a dedicated AF sensor is capable of.

I'm very aware that FPPD is used in Live View & Video. I don't use video much (but do on occasion with success) - and use liveview at times for landscape and macro in particular. While I'd also prefer a 5D or 1D series Canon body for video, I choose to use and spend my money on other goods, services and donations.
My main point in my post above was that I'd prefer lower noise as the main sensor enhancement. Secondly, that any improvement to phase AF would be a positive.

2) The current 19pt AF system works very well for me. Ok - extra AF points = handy (I like wide frame coverage)

As for the current 19 AF points of the 7D, they are certainly better than Canon's ubiquitous 9pt systems, but rather vastly inferior to a reticular AF system...either the Nikon 51pt system or Canon's 61pt system are so much better, particularly for multi-point tracking, than the 19pt system with all the unused space between each point. Its not just about frame coverage, although that is certainly nice...its about density...and the 7D is certainly lacking against both the new entries in Canons pro line as well as quite a few bodies from Nikon's cameras released over the last few years.

As I've used both a Nikon 51pt system and the Canon 5DIII's 61pt AF system, I can comment on this too. While superior to the 7D, I have practised and mastered the 7D's 19pt AF system (including customising CFn settings to suit my style) so that I've captured thousands of challenging BIF photos with great results. I expect using a 1DX would improve my keep rate further still. Also bear in mind that the 7D's AF sensors extend further than the AF squares in the VF.

3) 10FPS. Nice. As long as I can choose eg 3fps, 5fps, 8fps and 10fps. But 8fps is enough.

Not sure I agree 8fps is enough...there are plenty of times that I've shot BIF and other bird moments (and even wildlife) in action and missed the best moment, as it was between frames. Wouldn't have that problem with 10fps, at least not as much. Totally agree about being able to configure the low speed AF mode.

For me 8fps is enough in most cases. I'd like the 14fps of the 1DX.. but again, I'm choose
In my experience of both wildlife (including birds) and sports, the keeper rate is not directly correlated to the FPS. The difference between 8fps and 10fps isn't huge... but can help. Still 8FPS is generally enough for me.

Wishing you a good day!  ;)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Specs? [CR1]
« on: August 20, 2012, 07:48:50 PM »
Ok... quote from the original post:

1) 24MP – an all new sensor with phase AF on chip and noticeably lower noise than the current 18MP.
2) 1Dx/5D3 based AF system.
3) 10 FPS.
4) ISO 100-25600.
5) High speed video, with still capture.
6) Improved durability and sealing.
7) Available this year.

My reflection and take on the above, using the numbering I've given:
1) 18MP is great for me. I'd rather have lower noise than more MP. Phase AF on chip sounds good!
2) The current 19pt AF system works very well for me. Ok - extra AF points = handy (I like wide frame coverage)
3) 10FPS. Nice. As long as I can choose eg 3fps, 5fps, 8fps and 10fps. But 8fps is enough.
4) I rarely go above ISO3200 if I can help it, due to current noise levels @ high ISOs.
5) Handy for some, but something I would only use it once in a blue moon.
6) I'm really happy with the current build quality. If shutter can be more durable, that's good!
7) Nice... so by the time I want to replace my current 7D, the price might be lower.

I think it's clear from the above that I think the current 7D is already an awesome camera. If they can improve on it in some of the ways (particularly IQ) - that would be a bonus. I bought the 7D soon after it was announced and available.

Over several years I have enjoyed taking lots of photos - mainly landscape, wildlife (including birds) and macro- while also doing ad-hoc event photography (eg camps, church events, family occasions, etc).  I aim to keep doing so with whatever camera/s and lens/es I own and use! Roll on improvements - all the more benefit for us photographers!



Lenses / Re: What lenses do you own?
« on: August 20, 2012, 07:14:47 PM »
Hi all...

Here's my 2 cents worth:

Current lenses: (in order of current frequency of use, most used first, least used last)
 - Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - Default lens on my 7D. Very versatile zoom range.  Sharp & contrasty at all focal lengths. Above average build quality. Good bokeh. Very useful 4-stop IS.
 - Canon EF 70-300mm L f/4-5.6 IS USM - very sharp, also at 300mm wide open. Quick, accurate USM AF great on my 7D for birds in flight, etc. Built like a tank. Very hand holdable esp with 4 stop IS.
 - Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM - great macro lens, awesome detail at 1:1, great bokeh, good working length. Nice for subject isolation @ f/2.8. Hand-holdable for tele-portraits in decent light.
 - Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 HSM EX - great for ultrawide shots - 95% of time used @ 10mm. Good sharpness & contrast corner to corner.  Bit of a focus issue at times which I overcome using manual focus.
 - Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 - I occasionally use it on my Canon 350D when I want a light & non-intrusive DSLR pacakge. I might give this away sometime in the future.

Former lenses (which I've now sold - loosing a bit of money on each, but I used each for some years, so I'm ok with that)
 - Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM - my previously most used lens until I got the Canon 15-85mm. I had a decent copy (quite sharp & contrasty at most settings).
 - Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM - good IQ at wide end. Low contast & not sharp from 180ish till worst at 300mm. USM focus fast & consistent. Lack of IS = hand-holding issue.
 - Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 mk II - decent images possible with right settings. Unreliable, slow AF (even on 7D) is its downfall. Sharp from f/2.5, very sharp @ f/4 to f/8. Poor bokeh though.

Dream lens to complete my kit.
 - new Canon EF 50-70mm USM fast prime: ideally f/1.4 - f/1.8. USM focus a priority (or STM as a possibility). IS would be a bonus, if it doesn't add too much weight & cost.
This lens must have great IQ (sharp, contrasty, low CA) & smooth bokeh wide open for me to consider it. I would use it for low light photography, subject isolation & of course portraits.
The current Canon 50mm f/1.4 doesn't have the IQ wide open I want, nor true USM.
I find the Canon 85mm f/1.8 both a bit too long focal length and it has noticably annoying CA wide open. I realise CA can be corrected in post, but I'd prefer it absent in original photos.
I've read of too many AF issues with Sigma's 50mm f/1.4 for me to consider it. Apart from that, it looks an awesome lens at a good price. While I can MF, I really want great AF in such a lens.

There you go!!!  8)



Lenses / Re: Going to FF from APS-C, need lens advice
« on: August 19, 2012, 07:01:56 PM »
My recommendation is to keep your crop body with either the 70-300mm L zoom, or a good copy of the 100-300mm L zoom for when you are distance limited.  Both lenses are great lenses with the 70-300mm L being superior in terms of image quality (IQ) and IS, but of course 100mm shorter. Personally I don't like the weight or zoom mechanism of the 100-400mm L.

Depending what exactly you're going to be photographing at the long end (eg do you need f/2.8, and will teleconverters affect AF too much so as to be a huge negative...), but yes - usually going FF and wanting 'great quality telezoom beyond the 35mm equivalent of 300mm' IS going to cost big bucks. I find 200mm range at the tele-end limiting for my style of photography.

That's why I'm so happy with the 70-300mm L. On my 7D, it's 35mm equivalent to 480mm, and is very sharp- definitely way sharper than the average 70-300mm nonL.. though there are even poorer quality L lenses around (eg SLRgear's test copy has IQ WAY below what most copies are).

The 70-300mm non-L doesn't have the same sharpness, contrast, true USM focus nor 4-stop effective IS of the L. Of course the L has a much superior build quality too- which comes at a weight penalty (though I can hold the 70-300mm L for hours matched to my 7D!). The 70-300 non L is a good lens for the price, but its not in the same league as the L. You'll need to decide on your own  'cost vs image quality' determinations.

The 28-300mm is an 'all round lens' - but generally I prefer dedicated / specific lenses for the purpose.  That's why on a crop I like the '2 lens' travel combination of 15-85mm and 70-300mm L, and then primes for other purposes. All the best for your decision, and hope you continue enjoying photography.

Lenses / Re: Travelling zoom
« on: August 14, 2012, 08:28:01 AM »
Many wise thoughts!

Has anyone compared the IQ between the EFs 18-200 and the 70-300mm DO? I take it that the 15-55 is superior the wide sector in the 18-200.

You can compare the IQ between the 18-200 and 70-300 DO at The Digital Picture website. Here is a link for those 2 lenses:

You can change the drop down list on that page to a selection of many lenses.

My advice is to go with the 15-85mm and 70-300mm L as 2 high (image) quality, yet portable zooms.  I have this combination on my 7D when I travel (and I travel often).  The 15mm wide end and 300mm tele-end of the respective lenses covers a lot!

Best wishes


Lenses / Re: Which to keep? EF 70-300 IS USM or 70-200 4L IS USM
« on: July 20, 2012, 11:01:05 AM »
Why not sell both and get the 70-300L?

That's also my advice! Best of both worlds.

The 70-300mm L is at least as sharp, and almost as fast as the 70-200mm f/4 L as same focal lengths, plus you get an additional 100mm on the tele end.

The 70-300mm L is still a portable lens, I love mine!


Site Information / Re: In Sympathy for CR Guy
« on: July 17, 2012, 09:41:51 PM »
Hello Craig

What sadness you must be going through now as a family.   :'(

I do hope you, your wife and firstborn child have the support of friends and relatives at this time.

My prayers for you all.


1D X Sample Images / Re: Any Thing shot with a 1Dx
« on: July 17, 2012, 09:30:43 PM »
Hi Gary

Congratulations with your 1DX, and the 'super' lens... what a great combination.  8)

I appreciate your sample photos, beautifully natural and lovely compositions of wildlife.  These are the sort of photos I like.  ;)

Gary, do you feel the AF is 'best you have ever used'?  How would you compare it to other Canon DSLRs you've used?  (I have a 7D and have managed to squeeze out lots of good photos, including bif).

I'm sure the 1DX is obviously superior to the 7D in every way.... but just good to hear your thoughts and see those sample photos.  :)

Neuro.... yes... keep repeating to yourself.. you must.. keep strong... for all of us...  ;D



Lenses / Re: Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Information.
« on: July 11, 2012, 07:59:25 PM »
Eh...I think that was the 2011 sign, the new 2012 London Underground signage (in preparation for the Olympics) has been revised - see below: ;D ;D ;D

I thought they got rid of all the Aussies.   :D

ROFL @ the modified sign

As an Aussie, I find this thread (esp the modified sign) so funny!   ;D

And as someone who used to live in London for several years until about 10 years ago... [yes, I eventually moved to greener pastures... Romania... then back to Australia 5 years ago....] well, I found it funny an underground station could / would state DSLRs are not allowed.  Then the additional post about this being a museum (with the explanation) made sense.

About the Canon 40mm f/2.8 - pretty much all the reviews (both pro/site reviews and user reviews) I have seen and read about this lens indicate very positively.  I had the Canon 50mm f/1.8 mkII but was never happy with the AF, nor the quality of the bokeh in many situations.  But the AF (inaccuracy - esp in low light, sluggish speed and horrible noise)  :(

Probably out of frustration, and partly out of totaly 'being in love' with Canon's USM... I 'vowed' to myself that I would only get a lens that has true USM (or equivalent eg HSM) for a 50mm prime. I've seen too many reviews with problems about the Sigma's AF erratic nature (as much as I see that lens has amazing potential with it's sharpness and wonderful bokeh).  I believe it can be 'hit or miss' in terms of getting a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens that 'gets AF right' with one's camera body.  I don't want to take this risk, and I've had issues with Sigma AF before (on an ultra-wide, though I have praise in other ways for the Sigma 10-20mm EX HSM)

The Canon 50mm f/1.4 doesn't quite cut it for me with the 'micro USM'... plus most copies are not sharp enough / contrasty wide open.  The 50mm f/1.2 L is overkill for me, and it also has 'speed' issues and focus-shift phenom.   The STM focus mechanism seems a decent alternative to 'true USM' - and I would probably really like to use the 40mm STM and 18-135mm STM lenses for a day out in the field (variety of conditions) to 'test this new lens AF system out'.

40mm on an APS-C is just a bit too wide for my likes.  50-60mm would probably be my ideal for a 'walk around prime' for subject isolation.  When I need more focal length, I use my 100mm f/2.8 non L macro (where I find the USM focus is really good and fast enough, esp when I use the 'minimal focal distance limiter' - though some ppl complain the 100mm f2.8 (non L) macro slow to AF (but I don't - especially not on my 7D!)  And I can use my 70-300mm L USM IS as a 'candid portrait lens' (it has great bokeh, and awesome image quality!)

f/2.8 is also not fast enough for a prime where I really want the background blurred, the subject needs to be too close (eg distorted faces).  I could see the 40mm f/2.8 being more useful as a 'a lightweight street lens' on a FF. But as I don't plan on moving to FF (at least not any time soon... and I expect I'll always keep / have a APS-C)... and really do love my Canon 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 USM IS on my 7D for most 'street shots' that are in decent light, or don't require fast glass.

That means, I can see the 40mm having a lot of potential for some people, but for my style of shooting, I'm still looking at a 50mm - 60mm fast prime (I have ruled out the 60mm macro, because I really do want faster than f/2.8 ).  If a 50mm f/1.8 with better (read "true USM" or STM, or equivalent) lens comes out, that will probably be the last lens I feel that I 'need' to complement my existing lenses, and fit into my lens arsenal.

Ok... a bit 'off track' - but I do actually like what I see Canon doing with their new 40mm pancake.  Applause to them, for quality and price, and thinking 'outside' the usual square!  Hopefully this will herald in more 'new lenses' - and one that is right for me.  ;)


EOS Bodies / Re: Should I get 7D now or wait for MKII?
« on: July 09, 2012, 09:22:32 PM »
My recommendation is for you to get a Canon 7D.  I have the Canon 7D for a few years now, and I love the camera. It's a powerful, flexible tool- capable of capturing a variety of quality photos.  I upgraded from a Canon 350D (my first DSLR).  8)

The Canon 7D is certainly a much superior camera than any 'Rebel' / beginner or entry level camera. I also find the 7D more intuitive and powerful enough to still be a great 'current buy' (eg liveview, powerful AF, frame rate, etc).

It's a great handling camera. Sure, pixel peeping will show it hasn't got the lowest ISO of any camera, but really - for most photography, it's still good and very capable of superb photos. The upcoming firmware will add some functionality too.   ;)

While some people say "you need a full frame (FF) camera to capture high quality images" - this is absolutely not true. Many current APS-C cameras have quality that is far beyond what the people who own them can get out of them.  I will not argue that the latest FF cameras have superior image quality... but the difference is often very hard to perceive at normal viewing levels.  And yes, I've used a Canon 5DmkIII... to compare make this statement.   ::)

My lenses (wide to tele):
Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 HSM EX
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM
Canon EF 70-300mm L f/4-5.6 IS USM

The only lens that I feel like I'm still 'waiting for' is a new Canon EF 50mm USM fast prime. I previously had the Canon 50mm f/1.8, but the bokeh or focussing was not up to my standards. I previously had a good copy of the Canon 28-135mm which had decent image quality. But I sold this when I  bought the Canon 15-85mm, as the 15-85mm is much more suited to an APS-C (1.6x crop) DSLR, providing a 35mm focal length equivalent 24mm - 135mm. Additionally the Canon 15-85 has superior overall image quality, and is my main 'go to lens'.   :)

A few other considerations for my recommendation for you to start with an APS-C camera, and consider lenses like I have above.
  1) the fact that APS-C cameras often get better corner to corner sharpness of many lenses (I like this... it almost means that getting the same sharpness corner to corner requires less expensive lenses, or more flexible lens options).
  2) I obtain 'greater reach' at the tele-end, (ok, due to higher pixel density on the 7D than any FF camera) - particularly on my 70-300mm L (which gets me to a 480mm equivalent!)

Other accessories I have and use frequently, which you might like to consider:
Lowepro shoulder bag (for camera and 2 lenses)
Lowepro backpack (holding 1 DSLR and all my lenses)
a sturdy, portable Manfrotto tripod
Nissin DI866mkII flash (compatible with Canon 7D, half price of Canon's 580EXII)
Hahnel wireless remote (also functions as an intervalmeter)

I hope this helps.  For sure, if you feel that you NEED to go full frame in the future, then do (if you can justify / afford the expense of course).   But... I know many people who own APS-C cameras with good lenses (good glass is the most important) - and obtain great photos.   :D



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