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Messages - pj1974

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Landscape / Re: Winter Milky Way Time Lapse - (Canon 5D MK II)
« on: January 12, 2012, 05:13:58 PM »
Awesome video, very well produced Harles99! The music and moving images match very well together.

I can appreciate the patience needed in getting to the final outcome.  Well worth it!

Thanks for sharing.


Site Information / Re: The Unofficial Canon Rumors FAQ
« on: January 10, 2012, 09:22:05 PM »
Absolutely funny!   ;D   The OP is way cool... and the best laugh I've read from online humour in a while.  Well done WildBill   ;)

I was eating lunch here at work, and almost did a 'neuro-coffee-ism' over my keyboard at some of the Q&As!!    :D

Neuro... your posts are indeed very much respected by myself (and I expect many others). Cheers.

Applause to you both WildBill & Neuro.



Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 10, 2012, 07:36:13 AM »
Wow!!!!    :)

A true variety of photos that have been posted here.... thanks everyone!! Applause!  ;)

It's so great to see many fantastic quality photos. I love bird photos.

Here is a small contribution from me. I hope you'll enjoy these.  8)


Lenses / Re: A set of lenses for around the world travel.
« on: December 28, 2011, 08:03:59 AM »
Already much good advice has been given (well done, applause to several folks)   ;)

I have a Canon 7D and have travelled with it already to many places. Whether I go on short term or longer term trips, I've been appreciating taking mainly versatile zoom lenses.

For a full frame (eg Canon 5DmkII) - the Canon 24-105mm makes a lot of sense. I use my Canon 15-85mm lens on my 7D for most of my shots. I also take the 70-300mm as my most common 'second lens' (awesome IQ and very hand-holdable telezoom).

A lot about which lenses, DOES depend on your shooting style.   There are time when I might want ultra wide angle (eg for architecture / some dramatic landscapes) or a fast prime (for eg candid portraits, or low light photography).  ::)

When I went to SE Asia last year, I took along my 'whole kit' (including 2 camera bodies). I'm not sure I'll be doing that again in a hurry - because basically all of the time I had 1 camera with me, and the other in the hotel, and 'extra lenses' did add weight. I have lived 'overseas' for over a decade, and never had anything stolen from me in my life (except a t-shirt left drying on a village fence in remote Romania).

I do back up photos every evening both on a laptop and then on a portable USB powered Gigaone hard-drive / card reader, keeping both separate so there is less risk of 'loosing all'  :-\

Generally when I travel for some tie again, I'll probably take either JUST my 7D with 15-85mm (and no tripod). This is also what I use when I travel interstate to Tasmania (I'm in South Australia) to visit my extended family and friends there for a week or two each year. However if I went on a photographic excursion (eg a 1 day or few day travel specifically to take photos) -then I might take specific lenses (eg a macro too).  For me though, 'less is more' - as it allows me to feel freer, travel with greater ease and 'actually' free up my moving to take more photos when I want, rather than carting a lot of things.

That's just how I've evolved over the years.   ;D

I do hope the OP has a great, wonderful 'around the world' travel (I'm jealous!) -and  we might get to see some of the best of the best photographic outcomes! Best wishes.


Lenses / Re: All Around lenses
« on: December 20, 2011, 07:00:47 PM »
Having read all the posts so far, there is much great advice already offered.

My perspective mirrors that given by some others already - if this is a first DSLR (regardless of age, though probably particularly for a 14 year old) - I'd say that most enjoyment and the best 'learning' could be obtained with 1 lens. My suggestion is to get the Canon 60D with the 15-85mm lens - for very high image quality, wide angle (24mm equivalent) - and still capable of great portraits (in decent light).

Buy a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 only if really really necessary. I might even suggest taking a tripod instead of more lenses, but that depends on the exact itinerary and travel plans. The convenience of 'just' having a camera with 1 lens attached can often not be underestimated for travel in many situations (and yes, I travel a lot).

Buy a lens hood to protect against flare / snow, etc (you can get a good quality one for about $5 to $10 - including shipping! - from Hong Kong / China). It also offers a bit more dust protection - ie prevents some of the dust from settling on the front element.

The suggestion given by one person to buy a Canon 5DmkII with the 24-105 isn't bad, however as the OP stated that he is on a budget, I would still be inclined to suggest the Canon 60D with 15-85mm instead, which is still very suitable for an Iceland trip.  The 15-85mm performs similarly on a APS-C to the 24-105 on a FF.  (And yes, I've used both).

The 24-105 is superior in build quality, but the 15-85mm is quite good - and the 60D is no slouch either in build quality & functionality (though I do admit that the 5DmkII has superior image quality).

The cost savings by staing with an APS-C (well over $1000) would be worth it unless the OP is SURE he is going 'pro' and requires a FF in the future.  There is so much scope to learn on a 1.6x 'crop sensor' camera - particularly as a first camera coming up from a P&S.


Lenses / Re: All Around lenses
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:38:38 AM »
Many good perspectives have been given already.

I'll just quickly add my 2 cents worth

My favourite 'all round lens' for my 7D body is my Canon 15-85mm USM IS.

What '2nd lens' I take depends on the circumstances. Eg:
1. if for architecture, big sweeping landscapes, would usually be my Sigma 10-20mm EX
2. if for wildlife, my Canon 70-300mm L
3. if for macro (or casual portrait) my Canon 100mm macro USM

Sometimes I even take my Sigma 10-20mm and my Canon 70-300mm L as the 'two lenses'.  I usually don't like walking with more than 2 lenses on me.  1 lens is even better.

When I visited Perth (Western Australia) a few weekends ago, I just took my Canon 15-85mm, and really didn't miss anything I wanted with that.   8)



EOS Bodies / Re: Earthshatteringly Disappointed With 7D
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:20:04 AM »
If I can just add my 5 cents worth. There is a place for both the 7D and the 5D (classic and 5DmkII). [How diplomatically started, right]   ;D

I've used full frame and APS-C.  For me, at this stage and my style of photography, the 7D suits me best. I really appreciate the AF improvements (over my 350D).  I'll acknowledge that the 5D's focus is above that of my 350D.

However I even still use my 350D - eg when I really need something light, and I will pack my 18-55mm kit lens, and still achieve great photos.

But for anything sports, moving, macro, etc- my 7D comes out first.  Also, I'm very happy with my 7D for landscapes at ISO100, or ISO200, and for low light photos, I do like the 7D's ability and handling.  With some careful post processing, I can get images I am thankful for.

Definitely for landscape a 5D or 5DmkII with the FF sensor is most suited for most of those general 'scenic' applications. Though - as I wrote in another post - unless someone's pixel peeping, often it's hard (or impossible) to tell from normal viewing distance if a certain photo was taken with FF or APS-C.

All the best to everyone!  :)


United States / Re: Prime lenses you currently own or on your wishlist.
« on: December 20, 2011, 12:12:41 AM »
Recently (as in, the last few weeks) I have been reducing my Canon DSLR lens 'collection' of 8, and have whittled it down to 5.  That is, I sold 3 lenses (using gumtree in Australia - highly recommend it as a useful medium to advertise and sell in one's own geographical area.)   ;)

Among those I sold was the Canon 50mm f1.8  (for your info, the other two were the Canon 28-135mm USM IS, and the Canon 100-300 USM).

The 50mm f1.8 had superb qualities in some settings, (and yes, I had a 'decent' copy - in fact I initially had a copy that back focussed, and returned for this one which was better).  On my Canon 350D body, its focus performance was weak. It was better on my Canon 7D, however still not to my liking.

I have decided that I probably won't get any lens that doesn't have USM / HSM (equivalent) focussing.  The 'jittery-ness' and the noise and lack of focus flexibility (eg slower speed, apparent lack of fine accuracy, full-time manual focus) bugged me with the 50mm f1.8 in particular, as I mainly wanted it for critical applications (between f1.8 and f2.8).

Friends, I do realise "there is a very fine depth of field at f1.8" - I am aware of that, and I have used other lenses with a similarly shallow depth of field.  The 50mm f1.8 just didn't meet my needs consistently.  Focus accuracy and usability were the main issues I had with mine - even after I applied a systematic use - and noticeable improvement with my 7Ds manual focus adjustment (MFA).

So at the moment, the only prime that I have is the Canon 100mm macro USM (nonL)- which is a lens I really enjoy using. Obviously it serves superbly as a macro (where I usually use it hand-held with live-view).  But in addition I ended up preferring it over the 50mm f1.8 for casual portraits and subject isolation (eg objects / still life).  I expect to keep this lens. My copy focusses fast, consistently, even with very small dof settings.  I get a very high keeper rate, whereas the 50mm f1.8 keeper rate was so-so, which annoyed me.  When the 50mm f1.8 shone, it did well. But my 100mm macro shines consistently!  8)

My next 'dream' prime / wishlist is a fast prime 50mm lens that has great bokeh, fantastic sharpness and good contrast WIDE OPEN, and has USM focussing. F1.8 is enough for me, though of course a f1.4 would even be nicer, but not necessary. I don't want a big, expensive lens.  Several reviews show that at f1.4, the Canon f1.4 isn't really sharp / contrasty. So f1.8 is sufficient. The Canon 50mm f1.2 L is really beyond what I want.  Most important to me is that around f1.8 or f2, I want it to be GOOD, very good on all levels mentioned above. I don't need weather sealing for it. The Sigma 50mm f1.4 has some good reviews, but also there are QC and focus issues.

An icing on the cake would be for it to have a good (eg 4 stop) IS.  A man can dream, can't he?  From the sale of my 3 lenses, I have put the funds aside to save up for such a lens. Even if a 50mm f1.8 III (ie new / replacement lens) will be above what the current 50mm f1.4, I'm happy to pay for it, if the IQ is good.  If there will be a 50mm f1.4 II, I hope it's similar to the size of the current Canon 50mm f1.4.  I'd be a bit disappointed if the price of a Canon 50mm f1.4 II will be significantly higher (even if its not an L) than what they could make a 50mm f1.8 III for.

Time will tell....  ::)


Canon General / Re: The Jump To Full Frame
« on: December 19, 2011, 11:51:35 PM »
Hi all.

There are some interesting posts here, thanks for this online channel of communication.

I'm just going to pick up on what a few people said in this thread:

pwp wrote:
I shoot full frame, 1.3x crop & 1.6x crop bodies on a daily basis and move freely between the three. My personal viewpoint isthat there is an overblown marketing department driven perception that full frame is something etherial and almost mystical...it's not. It's useful at times for sure, and very nice to have, but unless your kit is making money for you, upgraditis can be a financially punishing trap.
The magic is in the pictures you take.

Mark1 wrote:
Maybe if you shoot flying birds I can understand but the 5D isn't built for that, buy a 7D and get your point and shoot focus with a bit of noise. The 5D was built for landscapes and portaits. Portaits are just awesome with full frame and if you get it right you can capture a kind of texture in people's faces impossible with APS-C.

My opinion is that having good equipment helps, but it is not 'the' deciding factor. I've seen award winning photos that professional journalists have taken with a point and shoot! (because a heavier, bulky and more wieldy DSLR would have actually been a hindrance, eg in real up close photos of street battles, where the journalists have to run, duck and hide, etc).

Obviously, we're not all at that 'extreme' (between possibly loosing our life if we're slightly slower at running with a DSLR in our hand, or round our neck).  However my point is, (and that some have made above) - that learning about light, and a camera's real limits will give many people a lot more photographic prowess than having the 'top of the line and it's SURE to produce the best images'.

I wouldn't agree that an APS-C camera can not produce amazing texture. I've seen repeatedly that without EXIF data, and unless people almost count the pixels while pixel-peeping, an overall image itself is indistinguishable if used appropriately between a APS-C or a FF.  As a generalisation, of course I know FF can give images that have more dynamic range, shallower DOF, sharper 'per pixel' detail, etc.

I learned a lot about photography with an old Olympus film camera, then a few Fuji P&S digital cameras, then moved to DSLRs in 2005. My Canon 350D has served me well for over 6 years, and in more recent years my 7D has indeed allowed my photo skills to continue flourishing.

Some of my 'most prized' photos, yes even of landscapes, are with a 3MP Fuji P&S way in the distant past... ie around 2000.   :P   


Canon General / Re: Canon Files a Patent for a Bunch of Lenses.
« on: December 16, 2011, 08:19:26 PM »
Thanks to those who answered my questions about patents and possible timing of any new lens releases.  "Applauds all round"   ;)

Hopefully we'll see some good new Canon primes in 2012, particularly those for which photographers have been waiting for worthy updates!

After all,  buying lenses will help the global economy, right!  8)



Canon General / Re: Canon Files a Patent for a Bunch of Lenses.
« on: December 16, 2011, 11:56:32 AM »
If I'm reading this correctly, didn't Canon 'file' the patents back in June 2010?  (but they're just published now?)

As I'm not up with the latest patent processes - is this an international patent? (or specific to a certain country, eg Japan, UK, NL, Aus, US, Canada, etc?)

Of the lenses listed, the 50mm f1.4 is the most interesting to me.... I would love to see Canon release a Canon 50mm f1.4 true USM which has great optical quality (sharp, contrasty, good bokeh) wide open. I'd be in the market for one.  8)

Does this post mean that we might expect to see some of these lenses actually released soonish? (or not)?

Thanks CR for the heads up.   ;)


Lenses / Re: Which telephoto lens has the fastest AF
« on: December 13, 2011, 05:58:55 PM »
I currently own a number of Canon USM lenses (15-85mm, 70-300mm L, 100-300mm, 100mm macro non L).  I also own a few non-USM Canons (18-55mm, 50mm f1.8) and the Sigma 10-20mm EX HSM.

In my experience, the fastest focussing of the lenses I own is the Canon 70-300mm L, though all the other Canon USMs are very close behind it in terms of focussing speed. The Sigma HSM is also fast, but just a bit slower than the Canon USMs imho.

Perhaps in practice I 'feel' that the 15-85mm as my current 'walk around' is a bit faster than the 28-135mm USM which I used to own till a few weeks ago. I've never tested that scientifically, and the difference would be small. I know that my Canon 100-300mm (while not so great optically wide open, particularly not at 300mm) - was able to capture some sports photos due to its focussing speed that other non-USM lenses I had tried couldn't.

I wonder if there are more aspects that come into play to actually answer the question (eg some lenses might focus quicker between smaller focus differences (eg between 10m and infinity focus) - whereas be slower from the 'macro' (MFD) to 10m range.

The theory that a prime lens should be able to focus quicker (because of the less complicated design compared to a zoom) might be true.  A quick note - when I want very quick focussing (eg when I take some photos of motorsports, I nearly always switch my IS off, and I wonder if that gives me slightly quicker focus speed too.., though sometimes I have IS on - eg mode 2 for panning).

Also, I think it depends on the amount of available light. My understanding is that if there is low light (or low contrast) a lens at least f2.8 or faster will gain the focussing precision of many Canon DSLR sensor's "extra precision f2.8 cross focus point" (in the centre AF point).  I've heard many people say that their 85mm f1.8 is very good at quick focus for eg indoor sports (where I could imagine eg a Canon USM lens which has f5.6 might struggle, or at least 'focus slower'.

Finally, another point while on this topic. My Canon 100mm macro (non-L) focussed quickly and accurately, also at 'non focus distances'. I often use it for portraits and subject isolation (and can use the handy focus limiter so it doesn't search / hunt near the macro range).  However some people have complained about their Canon 100mm USM nonL's "slow focus speed".  I've read in a few places that the later batches of some Canon 100mm USM nonLs focussed quicker. (and yes, I am aware there is a non USM Canon 100mm macro too... I'm not including that in this discussion).

For my use, my 70-300mm L does everything I want it to do, including fast focus. I mainly use it for wildlife (including birds in flight), and occasionally other moving subjects (eg motorsports, or casual sports or children camps).  So I realise that's not quite as demanding as some other applications.

Hope my post is useful, even though I'm conscious I am raising some new variables into the equation!

Kind regards


EOS Bodies / Re: Can a 7D do Landscapes?
« on: December 12, 2011, 05:35:03 AM »
I've said for many years that people often overstate that the 'best of the best of current day photographic equipment' is needed for good photos. Landscape photography is one of the photographic genres that have less of a demand on equipment essentially than some other genres (eg sports).

The ability to understand light (colour, tone, brightness, contrast, etc); think and apply powerful composition tools (form, shape, contrasting elements, etc) - often sets apart good landscape photos from 'just average' ones.

The Canon 7D can create amazing landscape photos with a skilled photographer using it. While some full frame cameras would benefit to some degree, that's often at the pixel peeping level.  I have used a variety of cameras including my Canon 7D (and even from over 10 years ago when owning a humble Fuji p&s, then migrating to a Canon 350D) - to take landscape photos.

Many of my landscape photos have been acknowledged as being very good (and I consider there is much I can learn and improve on).

While I would like the 7D to have somewhat lower ISO noise, it's not that bad. With correct exposure and careful post processing, magnificent results are indeed possible.

Wishing everyone (whether with Canon 7D cameras or other equipment) joy while taking & sharing photos, especially at this time of the year. 



My only non-Canon lens is the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 EX.

When I bought it (over 4 years ago), it was a toss up between that and the Canon 10-22mm.  Reviews indicated very similar sharpness, (in general Sigma slightly sharper in centre, slightly less sharp at edges - but that is noticable only while pixel peeping), moderate levels of CA and decent handling of flare.  :)

The Sigma's build quality is higher (more sturdy, smoother zoom & focus rings) - whereas the Canon focuses a bit quicker (not usually important for ultrawide zoom lenses, and particularly not for how I use them).  So I tested the Sigma lens and was very happy with the image quality - and there was only a very minor difference in colour cast between the Sigma and Canon.

My Sigma 10-20mm is particularly sharp at 10mm, corner to corner. It has a slight focus and decentring issue at some focal lengths / focus combinations - again only noticable when pixel peeping. I can overcome both these issues by manual focus (I keep it on manual focus). With manual focus for some reason it seems to over-expose about 1/3 EV, but again, I just turn my 7D's rear wheel to compensate, so basically all is good.  ;)

The main reason I went with the Sigma was that it was about $400 cheaper than the Canon! Also, it came bundled with the lens hood. The Canon lens hood needs to be purchased separately, and it is annoyingly huge. I bought a cheap ($5) 'pinch / snap' lens cap to use when the lens hood is on (I always have the lens hood on).

I'm very happy with the Sigma 10-20mm EX. I use it often. It's very portable - and produces high quality ultra wide images. I use it a lot for landscapes, sunsets and sometimes architectural shots (indoor and outdoors).  8)


Australia / Re: Finally, cheap cameras in Australian shops
« on: December 06, 2011, 10:28:59 PM »
Hi PeterJ and niccyboy

Thanks for your comments / replies on my lonnnnggg post :-)  I appreciate what each of you has written in relation to this. It seems like we're on the same boat... generally go with what you know, and some store staff might help you with some (extra) info - but don't bank on it.   ::)

Where a product is available significantly cheaper eg online, it can be worth getting it if one is prepared to wait.  I've never had issues importing lenses and accessories from other countries.

The only problem I've ever had with my 7D was that 'built in flash' not popping up (after using a speedlite). I researched and discovered it as a problem with some Canon camera bodies... and tried to get the microswitch to get 'unstuck' (without voiding the warrantee).  It wouldn't get unstuck, so I got it repaired (for free, and it took about 2 to 3 weeks, as it needed to be sent interstate).  I'm glad I had my 350D as a backup :-)

Interestingly the 350D never has this problem.  My 7D has got stuck once or twice since the repair (and they did replace the whole flash assembly / mount area).  This getting a bit 'restuck' has happened when I have a flash (or my remote timer house mounted on it), but each time with a slight push down on the underside of the mount, it releases the microswitch and will pop up).  Hopefully that won't cause future issues.

For time-lapse photography, I use my 350D (which is probably just as good, as it actually has just as clean, if not cleaner ISO 100 shots anyway). So I mount my interval timer / remote housing on the 350D instead.   ;)



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