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Messages - pj1974

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256
Landscape / Re: Aurora Borealis in Southeast Alaska
« on: October 11, 2012, 05:47:40 AM »
Great photos, JBPhoto... and welcome to the forum!

I particularly like the colours in photo #1 and the wavy feeling / repeating theme in photo #3.  8)

Thanks for sharing your settings too. Great shots. As I live in Australia, I can't provide any Aurora shots for you.   ;)

Regards   

Paul :)

257
Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM
« on: October 07, 2012, 06:24:47 PM »
Thanks Neuro / John...

Fantastic photos... great colours - even at the high ISOs.

I think you've created some strong images - nice compositions for your 'first few tries' of the combination of a great lens with an awesome body.

The 'bonus' indoor candid shot - I'm imagining that you are some distance away from her then!?

Looking forward to your photos from other locations, Plum Island, etc (not that I know anything about Plum Island from this side of the globe!)

Best wishes...

Paul

258
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5D2 vs 7D
« on: October 05, 2012, 06:32:57 PM »
I know this question has been asked over and over and several reviews on the web have put both cameras through their paces, but after my own use of both cameras, here is my 2 cents.

First off, let it be said that a FF 7D is the 5D3. This is not about comparing the these two bodies. The 5D2 is basically a FF rebel (in terms of speed/raw features), with a far SUPERIOR color processor and sensor! (No offense anyone)

I own both cameras. It comes down to this, if you are shooting mainly stills, weddings and "canned" shots, the 5D2 cannot be beat in areas of image quality and low light handling.

However, for wildlife? The 7D is a workhorse and I love using mine. The more I shoot with it, the more I love it. I have been getting amazing images from it and it is far easier to use than I first gave it credit for. It is very fast and a "NOW" camera. It does what you want exactly when you want it done!

I am simply suggesting that a camera that can cost well over a grand less than the 5D3, and upwards of $600 less than the 5D2 and twice as fast as the 5D2, one has to stand up and take notice. When Canon does decide to make a "7D Mark II" they have their work cut out for them. For an APS-C camera, the 7D is as close to perfect as it can be and I for one cannot wait to see what they consider a "replacement" for the 7D! Yes, crop sensors have limits, just as FF bodies do... but the image quality and advantages (speed) of the 7D outweigh the 5D2 in real world shooting!

If you buy one, you will not be disappointed. I haven't been... (shots taken with the 7D, pics sized down for posting, full size rez photos are much, much nicer!)

Richard, you have summed up my thoughts, feelings and experience of owning the 7D very closely with your post. I bought my 7D soon after it came out... and it's been a workhorse of a camera - very much a 'NOW' camera and capable of great image quality in the right hands, with good lenses (& technique).

Sure a FF has some noted advantages, but often we're talking at pixel peeping level. Even great photographers can not often distinguish an unlabelled crop photo from a FF in many instances. 

Enjoy your photography everyone!!   ;)

Paul

259
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D Center Cross-Type ?
« on: October 05, 2012, 06:24:00 PM »
Thanks Neuro... you have answered all my questions SO clearly and well.  I now understand.

You're a legend!  Again, your contribution on this forum is so much appreciated.

Paul

260
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 ?

+1

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  ;)

Cheers

Paul

Just curious....given that you have the option of shooting RAW....why do you shoot with jpeg?
I'm not really understanding why anyone would shoot less than RAW these days...memory is pretty cheap these days....and if shooting jpeg, well, you've automatically lost potential things you can do in post....

I can maybe understand if you're taking 1000's of shots for a time lapse thing...but for just normal stills pics....why would you shoot anything but RAW if you have the capability?

Just curious,

C

Hi Cayenne

Sure.... I understand your question and appreciate your curiousity!  :)

Most of my photos (as in... more than 50% of the photos I take with my 7D and 350D cameras) are either for events (like children camps, church events, sporting or outdoor occasions, and some family holidays).

Thus my priority for these type of photos is to have these ready as soon as possible to share with others (or give to, and occasionally sell to others)...  So JPEG is quicker (in terms of my computer mainly - viewing and post processing).

Generally the IQ difference between shooting RAW and JPEG for THOSE type of photos is not so critical as time.

I think if I get (or if they will invent) much faster computers, I would use RAW a bit more often than JPEG, because many times I need to process several hundred if not thousands of photos after an event, and have the photos ready ASAP.  I have read that even Olympic photographers shoot in RAW AND JPEG, with many of the JPEG images being used in time critical applications (eg images directly uploaded to news websites, blogs, etc).

However, when I do my "own" photography; and where time is not critical - eg landscape, macro, wildlife and 'special product / nature photography' (particularly in tricky lighting / white balance, or where maximum dynamic range or sharpness is required) - then I will use RAW more often.  And I find it has benefits, especially in some compositions.

I hope this satisfies your curiousity.   8)

Wishing you a good weekend. It's nearing Friday evening here in Australia!  Yay!! :)

Paul

261
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D Center Cross-Type ?
« on: October 05, 2012, 01:49:17 AM »
It will be cross type with any 5.6 lenses and it will add an additional highly sensitive vertical line for f/2.8 and wider lenses.

Exactly.  This is a new AF point configuration for Canon. 

.....

The 6D's center point is a hybrid cross with three lines - an f/5.6 cross ('+') with an additional f/2.8-threshold horizontal sensor line.



Neuro, don't you mean 'vertical' sensor line (for the 6D's centre AF point?)   ???

And am I correct in believing that AF points with vertical sensor lines pick up actual horizontal contrast in scenes easier, eg the actual horizon? (and visa versa, that horizontal sensor lines pick up vertical lines easier, eg the sides of buildings?

Your typical dSLR AF system doesn't focus precisely with lenses wider than f2.8.

False.  The AF system is specified to a given level of precision - the f/5.6 lines are precise within one depth of focus at the lens' max aperture, the f/2.8 lines within one-third the depth of focus at the lens' max aperture.  It doesn't matter whether the lens has an f/2.8 or an f/1.0 max aperture, the AF system will be precise to that degree relative to the max aperture of the lens.  Note that precision is specified, not accuracy.  Precision ≠ accuracy.


When you wrote "It doesn't matter whether the lens has an f/2.8 or an f/1.0 max aperture, the AF system will be precise to that degree relative to the max aperture of the lens."... does that mean that the AF system will or will not have more precision with a f/1.0 lens than a f/2.8 lens?

I do understand lenses are held 'wide open' until they are actually stopped down when taking the photo [or when the depth of field preview button is used.]

And finally, Neuro... can you define both precision and accuracy... comparing / contrasting the two?

Many thanks....   ;)

Paul

262
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....     :)

Paul

263
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 ?

+1

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  ;)

Cheers

Paul

264
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  :)

265
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

Paul

266
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.  ;)

Regards....

Paul

267
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! :)

Paul

268
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?

Paul

269
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! :)

Paul

270
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)

Regards,

Paul

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