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Messages - pj1974

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Trying to be positive... :D  Good lord man, buy a camera bag with some weather proofing!  I own several Lowpro AW bags and have been through tropical rainstorms without a drop of water on the gear.  Side benefit: you can carry the cameras in a camera bag!

Each one of my bags has a drawstring trash bag inside so i can enclose the bag and float it if necessary.

+1  ;)  &   :-\

I also can endorse the Lowepro AW bags with built-in rain-proof covers, which fit over most of the bag (the exposed part) to keep out 98% of rain (even tropical rain). The remaining 2% doesn't make it through the remaining bag exterior (the black part and lining) - unless you are in a real downpour for absolutely ages, ie hours.

I have a medium-large Lowepro AW shoulder bag (can fit my 7D with 2 lenses, eg 70-300mmL and 15-85mm), and I also have a large Lowepro AW 'slingshot' (one strap backpack type) - that holds 2 camera bodies and about 4 to 5 lenses.  Both have great rain covers.

The rain covers are stored / semifolded / semi-scrunched somewhere within a 'hidden open pocket' which faces downward, which is sealed with a velcro strap. So you can immediately pull out the rain cover when needed, it literally takes only seconds to unfold and then extend and guide it over the bag, using the elastic outer rim to cover and latch on to the bag's corners. These rain covers have saved my gear from danger (or potential damage) on numerous times.

Both my DSLRs have been taken and used in places where there is quite a bit of moisture (eg rain, waterfall sprays, even occasional spray from ocean waves). The 7D definitely has quite good sealing, not quite 1D class... but better than the 5DmkII and much better than the xxxD's / Rebels.

Also when I go bushwalking (aka 'hiking' or 'trekking' - I'm Australian!) - I also take spare plastic bags with me: usually garbage bags and then some smaller plastic bags- not only for my camera gear, but also to keep some clothes dry.  Handy insurance that weights only a few grams!

I hope we'll hear back from the OP with positive news....     :)


I use DxO Optics since version 1, been quite happy with the results (one of the best RAW engine as far as I know, better than LR2 but I hear it's been much improved with LR3 and LR4). I tried LR since it is the standard (for once Adobe sells an affordable software), but I am not very happy with the ergonomic. When you get used to something.....
Plus DxO has excellent lens correction modules, as well as a practical geometry correction module to straighten architecture.
Can be tried free for 30 days.
Has anyone else tried it or does the fact it is related to DxO mark make it the evil software ?


Though I don't do all my photography in RAW - I do use DxO Optics Pro for RAW conversions too. Since I first downloaded the first demo (a long time ago) - I loved it... for the various lens tools, corrections, tweaking, etc - that it has available.  Particularly the last version is getting better interface, functionality, etc.  8)

For my purposes, most of my photos I actually shoot in JPEG (not RAW).... but DxO conversions work great on both RAW & JPEG. As Neuro has stated in various posts, the DxO engine is good for low noise.

While I take the DxO overall sensor score with a grain of salt (if that) - I do like their software very much  ;)



EOS Bodies / Re: 7D or 5D2
« on: October 03, 2012, 07:57:37 PM »
There's no visible difference between the 60D/7D/5D2/5D3 in post processed 24" landscape prints through ISO 800. It's only at higher ISOs that the FF bodies distinguish themselves. Occasionally I've seen a small but insignificant difference at 30". 30", btw, is about the limit for these cameras for critically reviewed landscape prints.

People love to claim there's a huge difference between the formats, but then utterly fail to identify unlabeled prints and 100% screen crops. Even more telling, you can show reversed labels and get people to brag about how much better the 7D images are when they believe the images came from FF!

As for landscape lenses, the same IQ is available cheaper on crop if you will not be using T/S lenses. It's just easier to make UWA and WA glass at a specific quality level for a smaller format. If you will be using T/S lenses, you want FF because there aren't any crop T/S lenses, and the FF lenses are difficult to manipulate with a Canon crop camera's flash housing.

As for going full time pro...the only successful commercial landscape photographers I know are shooting large format film or medium format digital, and their prints easily scale to 6 feet. Also: you can be one of the most talented and visionary landscape photographers in the world and have access to $60k worth of equipment...and still go unnoticed and flat broke. Keep those points in mind while you decide how much money to spend.

+1    ;)

I've been saying the same for years... that the benefits of FF compared to APS-C are often WAY over-stated, hypothesized and a result of cognitive dissonance (ie forcing your mind to believe what you want, particularly 'post purchase').

This phenomenom is not just with DSLRs - it's often also the same with food (incl gourmet), drink (including fine wine), vehicles, clothes, etc.  While I also do know there are many cases of 'you get what you pay for' - there comes a limit when the 'expensive' is minimally different to the 'extra expensive'.  8)

I've seen many MANY photos from a Canon crop (eg 7D, xxD, xxxD) using EF-S or non-L lenses, and honestly, unless the photos were labelled, viewers (including other pro photographers) could not tell they were not from a FF with an L lens.  While I agree there IS some dynamic range and noise advantage to FF... but generally it's not noticable at normal viewing distance to most photos.

Go with what your budget can afford. I find crop sensors particularly good to have a less expensive general purpose, and more portable kit.  Yes, I have L glass, and I have used FF.  But at this stage I'm very happy with my 7D- and a range of lenses covering 10mm to 300mm.

Paul  :)

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 28-135 / EF-S 17-85 / EF-S 15-85
« on: October 02, 2012, 10:30:51 PM »
Back in the day, I bought the 28-135 with my original (first) Canon DSLR (350D) - which served me well.  (I also had the kit lens 18-55mm for wider angle shots)

I now own a 7D, and the lens I use the most is my 15-85.  It has a noticeable edge in both sharpness and contrast over the 28-135, though with post processing the 28-135 can still achieve good results.  I think I had a good copy of the 28-135.

The 15-85 is clearly better, matching some comparable L lenses ... The 15-85 is good in build quality (but not up to my 70-300mm L).  The 15-85 has a more effective Is (3.5 to 4 stop IS). The 28-135mm has an older 1.5 to 2 stop IS.  USM focussing is almost identical on both.

The biggest benefit for the 15-85 is the focal range (as others have pointed out above).  It served me very well - for a 10 day interstate holiday in Tasmania (Australia), it's just so versatile when you don't want to change lenses.

The 17-85 is not so good (not sharp, and more CA) at wide end... but similar to the 28-135mm in other ways (apart from a newer 3 stop IS). Obviously the 17-85 has a more useful range on a crop sensored DSLR than the 28-135.

The 15-85 is sharp wide open and from wide angle to telephoto.  I love it as a great all purpose lens. 

Best regards


EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 6D Official Specs
« on: September 16, 2012, 10:44:32 PM »
This camera is obviously the 'budget FF' - probably for the enthusiast wanting a FF for landscapes... or occasional studio / macro. I don't see anything wrong with that... as I expect that in a number of months time - some resellers will be selling the 6D at around $1800.

I, for one - do find the 5D and 5DmkII AF systems annoyingly clustered at the centre - and therefore not as useful an AF system as I like. But then again, for landscape I nearly often centre point anyway. However as my main camera is a 7D, that 19 pt AF system really performs strongly (both in placement and in AF responsiveness, etc). I hope the 11 pts are well positioned (ie spaced out a bit). This camera is not a fast camera, so there is little need to have multiple AF pts near each other anyway....

What I do find interesting - is that there are now 3 different Canon FF sensors: 5DmkIII (24MP), 6D (20MP) and 1DX (18MP).  If the latest one to be released - that is, if the 6D's sensor - has good qualities (low noise, recoverable shadows / highlights - and minimal banding issues) at low ISO and performs well at high ISO, that could be very much a winner for some people.  8)

While I'm not planning to move to a FF at this stage - I will follow the Canon development, and see what 6D features trickles through to other lines.  My most likely upgrade will be to a Canon 7DmkII at some stage in the future (if this beast is ever released!) I do love my 7D for reach with my 70-300mm L zoom, the great walk-around combination with the Canon 15-85mm lens and my 10-20mm Sigma EX for ultrawide!

Looking forward to the reviews... hopefully the AF and sensor will be strong.  ;)



Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Kodak 620X ISO performance vs now?
« on: September 13, 2012, 06:45:46 PM »
Not only is there a large difference relating to pixel size and sensor total MP output, the level of detail carried through (including sharpness per pixel) needs to be taken into account.

That ISO 6400 welding photo is very much lacking in detail and has noise smear written all over it, as well as quite inaccurate colours. The same ISO today at much higher resolution yields much superior results. Still it's fairly impressive for the year 2000.

PS - wockawocka wrote "The 1DX for example, even ISO 512k.." I assume you mean ISO 51.2k! :)


While I'm not planning to buy the D600 (mainly because I'm invested into Canon glass) - I do see this as good competition - that will ulimately benefit us as consumers.

Nikon is Canon's main DSLR rival. The price is 'ok' for a decent full frame (FF) body. If Nikon's (aka Sony's) sensors of late are anything to go by, the image quality will probably be of a very high quality.

It's true that there was a budget FF DSLR announced about 5 years ago (the Sony 850), which received lots of praise at the time for what it offered. Technology has progressed since.  Many users are not as happy with Nikons 39pt AF (compared to the other 51pt AF offerings).

I currently own a Canon 7D, and am very happy with its 19pt AF (responsive, accurate and good spread) - even for when I use it for Birds in Flight (BIF). Of course more (good, fast, accurate cross-type points are often preferred). But the 7D's AF is good. If the rumoured 6D uses a similar AF system, that would be good enough for me for a FF.

Meanwhile, I'm looking down the track to what Canon might be putting in a 7DmkII....   But I expect yes, if the Nikon D600 rrp is $2100, probably a Canon 6D would be a few hundred dollars more..... maybe $2399?


That is sure one impressive lens from the data that Lensrentals has produced. I didn't expect it to be THAT sharp!! :o

Canon has in recent years really raised the bar with zoom lenses, some of those with great sharpness include:
EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6
EF 24-105mm f/4 L
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L 

Then it appears this lens which came out with an even more exceptional standard in terms of sharpness:
EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L mk II
and this new
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L mk II continues (or even exceeds?!) that standard.    ;)
I had a decent copy of the 28-135mm, but at the long end it needed to be stopped down 1 EV to increase sharpness, saturation and contrast.

Well done Canon with these new lenses. It's definitely a shame for non-pros about the prices... but often one truly does get one pays for. I have the Canon 15-85mm and Canon 70-300mm L, and a bunch of other lenses. The 15-85mm and 70-300mm L that I have are both great, sharp copies. As I'm not looking to go FF at any stage soon, these 2 will do me for a long time to come!  8)

If I was a pro with a FF, I can imagine I'd probably get the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L zoom.... it would be great for many applications... along with a few nice 'big glass' primes! :)


EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Specs? [CR1]
« on: August 27, 2012, 06:46:39 PM »
I believe there are many 'very good' (to 'great'!) EF-S lenses (and lenses from other lens manufacturers that are designed around a crop body).

The Canon 15-85mm USM IS is my most used lens, it's very versatile with it's zoom range, has great IQ, built well (better than the 17-55mm USM IS) and the USM & IS features are cream on the cake.  ;D

I also have a high quality Sigma 10-20mm HSM lens (similar to the Canon 10-22 USM). The Canon macro 60mm is popular for some people (though I have the Canon 100mm USM macro, as I prefer it for reach & working distance).

There are other good EF-S lenses (including the 18-55mm IS kit lens and 55-250mm IS lens too).  For reach, I have the Canon 70-300mm L USM IS, which equates to 480mm in 35mm format. I love this lens... particularly what it can achieve on a APS-C.  ;)

I've used full frame - put at this stage am staying with APS-C, as the versatility and cost benefits fit the right balance for me. The APS-H never really hit the mark for me... it was half way either side (in terms of APS-C vs FF).... though I can understand some (ie very limited) professional applications for a APS-H.

Love live the 7D... and here's hoping to some nice improvements in the 7DmkII... which will stay APS-C by the way!   8)



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!  ;)

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