October 23, 2014, 02:16:22 PM

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Messages - jrista

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: 7d mark II as reviewed by Artie Morris
« on: October 22, 2014, 11:30:54 PM »
...I think Artie Morris is in an excellent position to provide insights and valuable comments - but his position as a salesman of Canon products means we should treat what he says with some degree of caution.

It's important to keep such motivations in mind.  For example, his recommendation of the 70-200/2.8L IS II + 2xIII over the 100-400L...it doesn't make much sense from an optical, AF, or handling standpoint…but it makes perfect sense from the standpoint of financial gain for Artie Morris.



There are plenty of reasons to recommend the 70-200+2x combo over the 100-400L, and making an extra buck off Canon isn't the best, not even remotely. For one, it's more versatile, especially in poorer light (you can pop off the TC and creep up closer, if needed, with an f/2.8 lens instead of being stuck at, AT BEST, f/4.5 @ 100mm).


There is also the whole design aspect. A lot of people, and I would even go so far as to say a majority of people, don't like the 100-400L push/pull design. I personally like it, but it is an oddity overall. I believe lot of people prefer the classic dual ring design, one to focus one to zoom. That alone is probably more than enough reason for Art to recommend the 70-200+2x combo over the 100-400L.


There is minimal to no loss in IQ between the two options. The 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II is a newer lens design, with better IS functional up to -4 stops, vs. the 100-400mm design IS which is at best functional at -2 stops. The MFD of the 70-200 is much closer (47.2" vs. 70.9") than the 100-400mm.


The 70-200mm focal length, especially with the fast max aperture, also makes it a much more versatile general purpose lens than the 100-400mm. You don't see many wedding photographers using the 100-400 (if any), however the 70-200's are a staple. The 70-200 with TCs can nicely round off a kit that is comprised of a fairly minimal set of lenses. Many photographers could get away with nothing other than the 16-35mm, 24-70mm & 70-200mm, or maybe some alternative with a couple wide primes.


The only real major drawback of the 70-200 f/2.8 L II with TCs vs. the 100-400mm is weight. The latter is quite a bit lighter weight than the former (without the TC). Overall, however, the 70-200 is a vastly superior lens. I see absolutely no reason why Art would recommend the 70-200 just to pad his own pockets. He doesn't strike me as that kind of individual...and his reputation is probably one of the most valuable things he has. I don't see him destroying that to make an extra buck from Canon by pushing a more expensive lens. I don't think expense has anything to do with it...I think the simple fact that the 70-200/2.8 II is a better lens period, even with the 2x TC, is the reason he pushes it.

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EOS Bodies / Re: 7d mark II as reviewed by Artie Morris
« on: October 22, 2014, 12:54:58 PM »
and to aquire his skills ;)

The only thing that differentiates Art Morris from a million other photographers is opportunity - he has access (by his own admission) yo lots of tame birds, and the time to exploit them.


I'm sorry, but it's more than simply opportunity. Art has decades of experience and insight that far fewer than "millions" of other photographers have. If you actually read his blog on a regular basis, and read his books, you realize the depth of his experience. If I had all of Arties opportunities, I'm certain I would get better photos...however getting excellent photos every single time is another story. There are subtleties within subtleties within subtleties about bird photography that you learn when Art starts critiquing your work (which is something I do, over on BPN.) You start learning how nuanced getting every single aspect of a bird photo, from lighting and composition down to head angle and eye pointing and everything else.


I'm a decent photographer, and one of those "millions" of other photographers out there who don't very often have the opportunities that Art has. I know for a fact, though that even if I had them, I'd be missing a LOT of the subtleties.

+1, he has great compositions and looks to his shots even though many are a little on the high key side to my taste.  Reading his comments just from the 7D2 posts on his crop and composition choices shows just how much he considers when taking photos.


Yeah, there is a depth of consideration, for sure. The amazing thing is he seems to consider all those things in seconds or less. He also knows how to rebase his exposure every time he moves the lens or the light changes...and his techniques for doing so are amazing, but remembering to do all those things myself, every time I press the shutter button, is not easy. I still forget to rebase my exposure when pointing from one subject to another, where the lighting has likely changed. That sometimes results in hot or blown highlights that are difficult to recover with good detail. There are thousands of little things, nuances, that you have to think about and get correct, all in the timespan of a bird indicating they are going to do something interesting, pointing the lens, basing then adjusting exposure, and actually taking the shot at the right time such that you get everything right. I cannot think about all those small factors and nail it every time. I don't exactly have a lot of throwaways...however I rarely if ever get a photo I could call "Morris-level quality"...VERY rarely.

3
EOS Bodies / Re: 7d mark II as reviewed by Artie Morris
« on: October 22, 2014, 12:37:51 PM »
and to aquire his skills ;)

The only thing that differentiates Art Morris from a million other photographers is opportunity - he has access (by his own admission) yo lots of tame birds, and the time to exploit them.


I'm sorry, but it's more than simply opportunity. Art has decades of experience and insight that far fewer than "millions" of other photographers have. If you actually read his blog on a regular basis, and read his books, you realize the depth of his experience. If I had all of Arties opportunities, I'm certain I would get better photos...however getting excellent photos every single time is another story. There are subtleties within subtleties within subtleties about bird photography that you learn when Art starts critiquing your work (which is something I do, over on BPN.) You start learning how nuanced getting every single aspect of a bird photo, from lighting and composition down to head angle and eye pointing and everything else.


I'm a decent photographer, and one of those "millions" of other photographers out there who don't very often have the opportunities that Art has. I know for a fact, though that even if I had them, I'd be missing a LOT of the subtleties.

4
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: October 22, 2014, 01:44:33 AM »
That and the Pleiades photo are really impressive pictures, what sort of lens you need for that?


Thanks. :) I use my EF 600mm f/4 L II right now, which doubles as a very high end telescope. It's similar in IQ to the Officina Stellare Hiper APO 150mm, which is about $11,500.

5
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: October 22, 2014, 12:03:01 AM »
Another image, again without the Astronomik CLS filter. This one was an easier target than the Pleiades: Andromeda Galaxy, actually the full complex of M31, M32, and M110. Processing on this was a little easier, however getting color into the core is a challenge (still working on it):




Integration of 74x150s (3hrs) sub frames. Stacked with DSS, processed with PixInsight and Photoshop.

6
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: October 21, 2014, 11:59:12 PM »
Unmodded Canon 5D III, with 600mm f/4 L II lens. A big part of getting this kind of result is the software I use to process: PixInsight. Powerful, powerful tool.

I use an Atlas EQ-G tracking mount, along with a specific set of rings and dovetails to hold the lens onto the mount. I'll post some photos of my current setup in another thread, so those of you interested in getting started can get an idea of where I'm at, and what options there are at a lower cost.
Hi,
    Your sky must be very good to get that result...  :)


Actually, it's pretty bad. :\ I'm on the border between a red and orange zone. Sometimes the skies are really bad, sometimes they are fairly decent and I can just barely, faintly see the milky way.


I just integrate like a nutcase. :P And I think the brightness of the Pleiades stars brightens the nearby dust enough for me to pick it up. Man, it would be so amazing to image this under blue zone skies.

By the way, you said you previously use the Astronomik CLS filter, how to you solve the colour shift issue?? Last time I use the CLS filter as my area light pollution is very serious, but had big problem solving the colour shift issue...  :-[


The CLS doesn't necessarily cause a color shift. It blocks certain frequencies of light, so they simply are not in the data to start with. Color in astrophotography is a rather fluid thing. There are all kinds of light sources out there, not just stars, but various kinds of gasses, each of which emit light in different very narrow bands.


I use the CLS when I'm imaging nebula. Most nebula, gaseous emission nebula, emit light in several primary narrow bands, depending on the composition of the nebular clouds. There is Hydrogen, Oxygen, Sulfur, Nitrogen, and a few other gasses. Hydrogen and Oxygen are the most prominent, Hydrogen by far the most prevalent in the skies overall. When you use a CLS filter, or an IDAS filter, or something like that, your blocking out the frequency bands that include light pollution (primarily, sodium and mercury vapor lamps), and passing the blue and red ranges that include H-alpha, H-beta, O-II O-III, N-II & S-II. That lets you pick up the nebula, and when your imaging nebula, that's what you want.


I imaged the Pleiades without the filter, because the nebula around those stars is a reflection nebula. It's not emitting light, it's reflecting light. The CLS filter would have blocked out a good chunk of that light in the greens, which would have resulted in a "color shift". I was able to get away with not using a filter thanks to some of the advanced processing features of PixInsight. It has background extraction capabilities, which I can use to identify any excess light introduced by light pollution, and remove it. It can be extremely difficult to do, especially on an image like my Pleiades...you have to make sure you sample true "background sky", and not any nebula, otherwise that part of the nebula will be factored into the extraction and likely eliminated. It took me a couple days of fiddling to finally extract the background sky well enough for the dust to show...and I'm still not happy with it. :P

7
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: October 21, 2014, 11:51:10 PM »
Jrista,One of the best I have seen of this area (you should submit it for the astronomy picture of the day). There is so much more blue in this area compared to the rest of the sky I could see how the cls might interfere with the fainter stuff. I use an IDAS and will have to try without it (if I ever get a clear night). Weixing, just set a custom white balance with the filter in place during the daytime, you can also use this time to take your flats , if you use them.


Hmm, I hadn't thought of that, APOD. I gathered some more subs for the Pleiades image. I think I want to get one or two sessions more, to get better control over noise and maybe improve the quality of the dust, then I'll submit to APOD.


The blue is just those stars. All blue giants. :) A little ways down towards the eastern horizon you find Taurus, which has a giant orange star. The faint dust is in that region as well, so the whole area takes on a whole different tone. (I don't think I could pick up the IFN in Taurus...I should try some time, see what I get.)

8
Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: October 21, 2014, 01:08:20 PM »
Beautiful shots, Alan.

9
Landscape / Re: Fall colours
« on: October 19, 2014, 09:51:55 PM »
Maple Boke








Canon EOS 5D III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II

10
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: October 19, 2014, 09:49:38 PM »

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: October 19, 2014, 09:48:47 PM »
My Little Blue Friend


He's baack! I think he likes me. He would pose with each peanut before taking off this time.


(P.S. Utterly HORRID lighting...I wanted better light, but direct edge-on sunlight...no. Slightly diffused would have been sublime!)


Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Gitzo GT3532LS + Jobu Pro 2


Bird attraction setup, my backyard.



12
EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: Canon EF 2.0X TC With Diffractive Optics Element
« on: October 19, 2014, 12:30:38 PM »
Maybe the patent isn't for size/length/weight reduction, but rather IQ improvement. Diffractive optics are better at managing light dispersal. That can allow for a shorter lens, but that isn't necessarily the sole purpose. I for one would like to see better IQ out of a 2x TC...the current TC III is good, but it does impact IQ.

13
EOS Bodies / Re: Crop camera upgrade
« on: October 18, 2014, 04:25:13 PM »
Thanks to both of you for your comments.  It did seem like it wouldn't provide me any significant advantage over my current equipment.  However, I don't know how much reach I will need to get good shots of the animals that I will see.  Some subjects (i.e. elephants, giraffe, zebra, hippo) will not be moving quickly, so advanced AF is not imperative. 


Remember, the 5D III already has advanced AF. It just doesn't have an RGB meter linked into the AF system. That is certainly an advantage, but the 5D III is not handicapped by any means.


Another point of contention that I've given thought to is which lens/body combination would be best suited for my interest in this case.  Prior to reading a recent thread about FF vs. crop for IQ and distant subjects, I assumed that I would use the 70-200 with the 2x converter on my crop body.  After reading those posts, I'm more inclined to use it on the 5D3 and use either the 17-40 or 24-105 on the crop body for wider shots.  It does seem counterintuitive to use a FF for longer shots instead of crop.  I do recall Neuro stating on more than one occasion that the only advantages crop provides are size and cost.


Neuro's opinion on crop does not reflect everyone's opinion. My opinion, using both a crop and FF myself, is that there IS a reach benefit when using crop. With smaller pixels you resolve more detail when photographing with the same lens at the same distance. That should simply be logical, but some people insist that it doesn't matter. The 7D doesn't have as much of an advantage in resolving power as the 7D II is going to have, and whether it has a real-world advantage or not has been debated to death.


You'll often hear quibbling over numbers, is it 60% better, 45% better, etc. Purely from a pixel size standpoint, the theoretical resolution advantage the 7D II has over the 5D III is 52%. Will you get that in real life? It depends. The same issues that may reduce IQ with the 7D II are also going to reduce IQ with the 5D III. If you do everything you can to maximize the resolving power of the 7D II, then you should realize a real-world benefit. High quality, sharp lenses, use of a tripod when necessary, proper use of IS, etc.


The caveat comes when you have the ability to change your distance to subject. If you can get closer...then the larger frame of the 5D III is going to be better. More light, ultimately more pixels if you can frame the same. If you are always able to fill the frame...then the 7D II will rarely produce better IQ. It may produce a better frame because it simply gets more of them per second...but on an identical framing basis, it won't produce better IQ. That's where using the telephoto lenses on the 5D III buys you something...you can frame such that your gathering more light, which means less noise and more pixels on subject.

14
Software & Accessories / Re: Hello Windows 10
« on: October 18, 2014, 02:47:09 PM »
Personally, I'm a big fan of Windows 8. I have never understood why people complain about it so much. Compared to Vista (which it is often compared), Windows 8 is a whole different class. Several classes different, even. Microsoft may have made a mistake removing the start menu so suddenly, but the start screen is not as bad as people make it out to be. It's actually kind of nice to hit a key, and have a bunch of useful information like weather, sports, news, stocks, latest emails (from multiple accounts) etc. all right in front of you (and then simply hit a key again to make it disappear.)


I've had a pretty seamless experience using both metro and classic apps on all my Windows 8 systems, including the desktops. Windows 8.1 and the Update 1 both brought great improvements. Windows 10 is amazing, to be honest. It's almost like a Mac OS release...tons of new features, multiple desktops, the way it works on each device, and automatically optimizes it's behavior for each device, is pretty wicked cool if you ask me. I think Microsoft has a real winner with Windows 10. Once it is fully refined for release, it should be a much more solid OS than Windows 8, which was WORLDS better than Vista ever was (and which was what I consider Microsoft's true flub...not necessarily because it was all that bad...Vista's biggest issue was lack of driver support out the gate and it took some 8 months and change to get that fully figured out...bad news. Once the drivers were available, even Vista was pretty nice, if maybe a little too glossy and shiny. :P)


The big thing for me is the reliability and speed of Windows 8. It's blazing fast. Very low resource usage. People complaining about lack of an upgrade path for XP...Windows 8 is less resource intensive than Windows 7. If you upgrade to 7, then upgrade to 8, you should have a pretty optimal system. (I upgrades XP to Vista to 7 to 8, without ever uninstalling. I finally bought a new SSD boot drive and installed 8.1 Update 1 clean on that for the first time in many years.)

15
EOS Bodies / Re: Crop camera upgrade
« on: October 18, 2014, 02:40:59 PM »
I agree with what Marsu said. I think the key differences between the 5D III and 7D II, aside from the IQ difference, is going to be AF point spread and frame rate. I went to the 5D III from the original 7D, and I can definitely feel the difference in frame rate. I don't think I'm really losing anything, the 7D had an AF jitter that cost me enough frames that I didn't have a better keeper rate than with the 5D III.


However, if a difference of 2fps can be "felt", a difference of 4fps should be pretty big. If you NEED that kind of frame rate, then I would say the 7D II has value. Marsu hit the nail on the head though...is it enough value to justify $1800? Is the frame rate and AF point spread together enough to justify the $1800? I shoot birds and wildlife, and the 5D III does quite well. For wildlife in particular, the larger frame with larger animals lets me get beautiful backgrounds that can be more difficult to achieve with the crop frame.

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