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Messages - drmikeinpdx

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Pricewatch Deals / Re: Deal: EOS 5D Mark III $2549
« on: January 05, 2014, 01:21:20 PM »
Looks like the sale is over at Big Value.  That was a great price while it lasted!

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« on: January 02, 2014, 12:30:23 PM »
Used 7Ds are cheap right now and would probably do just what you want!

Reviews / Canon 85mm f/1.8
« on: December 31, 2013, 12:04:39 AM »
Personally, I like the background to be smoothly blurred, but not wiped out entirely.  I'll offer some examples for your entertainment:

Here's a shot with the 85mm 1.8 at F/2, 1/1250, ISO 100

Let's zoom in on the hair.  Sharpness is at Lightroom's default, 25.

Here is one at F/2.2, 1/250, ISO 200, hand held in very soft light.

Reviews / Re: Review - Canon 85mm f/1.8
« on: December 30, 2013, 11:57:56 AM »
Nice to see a review of my favorite lens by my favorite reviewer!

I'd have to say his observations match mine regarding performance at various apertures, fast autofocus, light weight, etc...

The funny thing about this lens is how people always compare this great all around portrait lens to it's very specialized 1.2 L cousin.  Rather than a technical comparison, we end up discussing feelings, intagibles, magic and other vague things.

I have no doubt that under some conditions, the L version will give more contrast and more saturated colors.  (I have the 135 L and that is certainly a good example of the L effect.)

The thing is... in Lightroom, I have sliders for saturation, clarity and sharpness that will give me any look I want.  I can make images from the light, cheap 85 look just like the ones from the heavy, expensive 85, for all practical purposes.

So in my mind, the only advantage of the L lens is the 1.2 aperture.  Would I use that if I had it?  Considering that I normally use my 85 around F/2.5, I'd say not.

What we are really seeing here, in my opinion, is a victory for the Canon marketing department.  Many photographers buy the 85 L as a prestige symbol and very few of them really use it to any advantage that could not be more easily and cheaply accomplished with the 85 F/1.8.   Or the 135 L, if your goal is to wipe out the background and create dreamy bokeh.

I think this review is a good example of how most people think about these two lenses.  They can tell the 1.8 is a nice, useful, practical lens, but they are just sure that the extreme price of the 1.2 L and the magic red ring must symbolize something very important.

Your mileage will certainly vary!  :)

Software & Accessories / Re: Need a Good Card Reader
« on: December 29, 2013, 10:21:46 PM »
This is a good thread to keep alive!

I was very happy for over a year using an internal card reader that hooked up to a SATA card in my computer.  That was fast!

Unfortunately, when I rebuilt my computer with a new motherboard (something I do about every two years) there was a compatibility issue I could not solve, possibly due to my switch to Windows 7.

I ordered a cheap USB 3 external reader that was very slow and sometimes locked up my computer.  I got a replacement that was almost as bad.

I am now using a Kingston USB 3 external reader that works fine and is reasonably fast.  I conclude that there is a reason to avoid the very cheap USB 3 readers.

I would have tried another internal card reader, but my current computer case doesn't have any floppy drive bays and you can't get any good card readers in a 5.25 inch bay these days.

I've never had a problem with the CF pins on any of my bodies, but did have some pins get bent in cheap card readers.

I never felt the need to hook up the cable from the camera to the computer.  Perhaps being an old competitive pistol shooter, the idea of slapping in a fresh magazine while I reload the old one is in the back of my mind.  :)

Third Party Manufacturers / S-100
« on: December 27, 2013, 12:56:41 AM »
I just ordered a Canon S100 as an upgrade from my S-90 that I've had for a few years.  B&H had refurbished models for $175.  The S110 and 120 don't add any features that I need.

I've enjoyed the image quality of the S90, but I'm hoping the S100 will have a shorter delay between button press and shutter release.  The longer zoom range will be nice too.

I love my 5D3, but sometimes a pocket camera is what you need.

EOS Bodies / Re: Thinking Out Loud: EOS 7D Mark II Thoughts
« on: December 17, 2013, 01:01:38 PM »
My 7D doesn't get much use anymore, because of the noise level.  I'd only be interested in a 7D2 if Canon makes a substanially lower noise 1.6 sensor and from what I've seen, they are not making much progress on that front.

My 70-300 IS isn't bad if you stop down to F8.  If you are just starting out in DSLR photography and haven't been spoiled by L lenses and primes, you could have some fun with it.  It's kind of big and impressive looking.  If you want to take pix of your kids and pets without investing a lot of money, it could be just the thing.  I could see taking it to a kid's soccer game.

I bought it several months ago when it was around $300 and I wanted a new toy to play with.

Unfortunately, I haven't found much of a use for it yet.

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Ended: EOS Rebel SL1 w/18-55 IS STM $460
« on: December 15, 2013, 12:45:06 AM »
I like the concept of the SL1 better than I like the current crop of mirrorless interchangeable cameras.  I keep picking up a demo model at my local Costco when I walk past and looking through the viewfinder thinking it's a cool idea to make a DSLR this small. 

Then I remember that my T2i is only slightly larger (which makes it fit my hands better) and I have my S90 if I want a pocket camera.  Even at less than 500 bucks, I just can't find a reason to buy one.

Looks like these deals are no longer in effect.  Must have been a very short sale!

Software & Accessories / Re: Best Headlamp I've Found
« on: December 06, 2013, 01:49:41 AM »
Thanks for posting the heads up about the new headlamp.  I was in the market for a new one, so I checked it out.  It is made by a company called Coast Portland, which I had never heard of.   Since I live very close to Portland Oregon, I looked them up on the net and found their headquarters was near the Portland Airport (PDX) about a block from where my motorcycle riding buddy works.

I dropped in at the place today and discovered that Coast Portland used to be known as LED Lenser before they sold that brand name to the Leatherman Tool company about two years ago.  They are now distributing all sorts of cool LED, knife and multi-tool products under the name Coast Products.  The also have a website under a different name.  (see link below)

I checked out the new headlamp and was impressed enough to buy two, one for me and one as a gift for a young person who works as a locator of underground utilities.  The front desk ladies at Coast Products matched the extremely low price I had found on the net and in Oregon there is no sales tax.  What a country!

I tried out the new headlamp this evening.  It is amazingly bright - the brightest LED of any kind that I've ever owned.  The claimed run time on high power is so long that I'm skeptical. 

If you've been waiting for a big step up in headlamp performance you might want to check this out.


Software & Accessories / Re: Good idea to upgrade to LR5? Regrets?
« on: December 04, 2013, 01:04:26 PM »
I love the new radial filter!  I was complusive vignetter with LR 4, now I'm even worse!  :)

TR has had this sleazy reputation for years.  In the age of Google, I can't believe that any model who shoots with him does not know exactly how he operates.  It seems likely that many models and clients must seek him out for this very reason, since there is nothing special about his photography.  Do you suppose some of us are secretly jealous?  LOL

I would speculate that shooting with him, then complaining later could even be a part of the model career path these days.  You know the old saying that any publicity is good publicity.  I think it works both for TR and for his alleged "victims."

Another old saying I like is: "Follow the money."   I think it applies here.

Call me cynical!

Third Party Manufacturers / In praise of the Tamron 28-75, F/2.8
« on: November 23, 2013, 12:30:18 AM »
I've said good things about the Tamron 28-75 before, since it was the only lens that would really focus well on my persnickety old 5D Classic.

I've had my 5D3 for about a year.  About six months ago I figured the 5D3 deserved an L zoom so I picked up a 24-105, F/4.  It's a great lens, very sharp, with fast autofocus and effective IS.  My old Tamron sat on the shelf.

Recently I was doing a long studio shoot and started to feel the size and weight of the 24-105.  For the next shoot I decided to try the much smaller and lighter Tamron.  I was surprised to see how well it worked.

The autofocus isn't quite as fast as the 24-105 and it does make a little bit of noise, but not enough to be noticeable in the middle of a photoshoot.  The important thing as that the images are very sharp.  Of course, I'm shooting with strobes that prevent motion blur and I'm using enough light to permit apertures around F 5.6, so even a cheap lens will create sharp photos.  Under these conditions, at least for me, an L lens is overkill.

Since the Tamron is considerably smaller and lighter than the Canon, I am a happier photographer during a studio shoot.  I will still use the stabilized 24-105 for outdoor shoots, but in the studio, I'm back to the old Tamron, which, by the way, I picked up on Craigslist for $260 about three years ago.

This photo was at F/3.5, 53mm, ISO 100 (Alien Bees with umbrellas). I wanted to see if the Tamron would substitute for my 50mm Sigma in shallow DOF portrait situations.  I think I actually dialed back the sharpening in Lightroom.

Lenses / Re: More Mentions of 2014 Being the Year of the Lens [CR1]
« on: November 18, 2013, 10:32:45 PM »
How come the "Slim Your Wallet" ad shows up more than once in this thread?  Is it subliminal advertising?
Ads are individual, so most others do not see the exact same ones you see.  Google reads your cookies from sites your computer has visited, and serves up ads just for you.  Just by visiting CR, you will see ads for photo related items on other sites with Google Ad Choices advertising, which is almost everywhere.

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