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Messages - jrista

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1
EOS Bodies / Re: Just for Jrista: 2014 Market Data
« on: Today at 11:43:39 AM »
Where do you get 1/3EV gains in high ISO performance?  I don't know which cameras you're comparing or what time frame.  In my experience, each generation of cameras  has offered about one extra stop of high ISO usability.  The current 1DX at ISO 102,400 looks about like the original 1D at ISO 3200.  That's about 5 stops in 11 years.  The 5D > 5D2 > 5D3 progressed about 3 stops in 6 years.  That's not marginal to me.

On-chip ADCs sound great.  In the meantime, I'm not missing them.

From an actual noise performance standpoint, successive generations of cameras from most manufacturers have not actually realized a true 1-stop improvement. What we have seen is a one-stop increase in the highest user selectable ISO settings, but the performance of that top setting (or even lower settings) has not always improved, from a noise standpoint, by one stop every generation.

Measurable noise from generation after generation of many DSLR cameras from many manufacturers have improved marginally for the most part. The 1D X was one of very few cameras that actually realized a true one-stop advantage over it's predecessor. The 1D IV got about 9.5 stops of DR at ISO 3200, and the 1D X gets about 9.7 stops at ISO 6400. Read noise levels did not change much, but saturation point did as the FWC increased. The 5D III realized no benefit in high ISO DR over the 1D IV or 5D III...less than 1/3rd of a stop at best, and no difference in read noise.

That has been the case for a while, and is generally expected barring some kind of significant technological improvement. High ISO is ultimately physics bound, and as Canon's sensor tech hasn't changed for a decade or so, one shouldn't expect a real difference in high ISO performance. The A7s is a rather intriguing camera in that it realized more significant gains at even higher ISO settings than the 1D X than the 1D X did itself. The 1D X brought native ISO 51200 to the table, at 6.6 stops of DR...the A7s improved that to 8.8 stops of DR. All while concurrently having quite a bit less low ISO read noise (~21e- vs. ~38e-) and more low ISO DR. I don't suspect another major improvement in high ISO performance will occur until another radical technological improvement is made...such as multi-bucket reads or layered photodiodes or some kind of deep charge photodiode capable of holding more electrons than a normal photodiode is introduced. WHEN such technology is introduced, I'd expect high ISO performance to take off again.

In general, though, for a given technology, all we have really seen over the years is an increase in the highest selectable ISO settings...not an actual concurrent reduction in noise that would make that higher stop of ISO perform as well as a lower stop of a prior generation. Only a couple cameras have actually achieved that lately...the 1D X and A7s, and maybe the D600/700/800 series (although they may have simply started out with around an extra stop relative to Canon sensors at ISO 3200/6400 thanks to using Exmor.)

2
EOS Bodies / Re: Just for Jrista: 2014 Market Data
« on: Today at 01:52:53 AM »
@zlatko:

I understand your arguments, that other factors of the system as a whole are important, often more important. However, as everyone here so often states...Canon's system is already excellent. In many ways, it's second to none. Canon already has a stellar AF system, they now have a superb full-color meter that links into the AF system for full tilt tracking, their ergonomics and menu system are excellent.

There are only a few areas where Canon could really realize significant gains. Sensor design is one of them. Canon keeps improving the AF system...45pt to 61pt to 65pt....diminishing returns. Keeps "improving" video (DPAF is the biggest innovation there, overall video capabilities seem to have stagnated though.) Canon currently has one of, if not the, best flash system on the planet for DSLRs. They already have excellent ergonomics, button placement, menu systems. They already had an excellent 100k pixel RGB meter, how much more does a 150k pixel RGB meter really improve things?

Canon has even addressed many of the firmware concerns of many customers, such as having "proper" Auto ISO implementation (seems it's finally "done right"...although right is rather subjective here...and should finally quell complaints.) However most of the issues like that could have been addressed with firmware updates for many cameras many, many years ago, and probably shouldn't have been pressing feature concerns for new camera models.

OK, but you left out the improvement in high ISO performance and that has something to do with sensor design.  That for me has been very real and very valuable.  I'm more interested in that than in low ISO dynamic range and fixing extreme underexposure.  Of course I'm in favor of improved dynamic range too.  But in the meantime, I'm very happy with what they are making.

I use the term "sensor IQ" to be more generic than just meaning improvement to low ISO DR. Sensor IQ covers the whole thing, low ISO, high ISO, color fidelity, everything. I want it all. :P I don't just want two more stops at ISO 100. I also want two more stops at high ISO (as the Sony A7s proves it's possible to get two more stops of DR at ISO 51200 even, and great IQ at ISO settings even above that.)

Improvements at high ISO, for all brands, with the exception of the A7s, have been fairly marginal. For the most part, that's physics bound. There are things that can be done to improve it, for sure, but the improvement's Canon has made at high ISO have been relatively small. They could gain another two stops of DR and improved color fidelity at all ISO settings...and I'd love that. I could use every ounce of improved performance. If Ansel Adams was here, he would figure out a way to use it all as well...the only reason Ansel made the sacrifices he did was because of the limitations of the equipment he used. If anyone could show us all how to use more DR, at any ISO, it would have been Ansel. :P

So, anyway...I don't disagree at all. I think some headway has been made at high ISO by Canon, but they have been leapfrogged, and quite considerably, again by Sony even at high ISO. Better sensor IQ means better sensor IQ, everywhere. I could totally use 8-9 stops of DR at high really ISO (in post-sunset light, when deer come out in throngs, I find myself using ISO 12800 more and more, and with the 5D III, that's a mere 7 1/2 stops of DR, with lower color fidelity and tonal range. The A7s...? A whopping 9 2/3 stops of DR! :P That would just kick ass...)  I'm being tugged at very strongly by Sony's A7 line. I'll be renting at least one of them, probably the A7r to start, but I figure I should give the A7s a try as well to see how it does for my wildlife photography.

3
EOS Bodies / Re: Just for Jrista: 2014 Market Data
« on: Today at 12:14:39 AM »
@zlatko:

I understand your arguments, that other factors of the system as a whole are important, often more important. However, as everyone here so often states...Canon's system is already excellent. In many ways, it's second to none. Canon already has a stellar AF system, they now have a superb full-color meter that links into the AF system for full tilt tracking, their ergonomics and menu system are excellent.

There are only a few areas where Canon could really realize significant gains. Sensor design is one of them. Canon keeps improving the AF system...45pt to 61pt to 65pt....diminishing returns. Keeps "improving" video (DPAF is the biggest innovation there, overall video capabilities seem to have stagnated though.) Canon currently has one of, if not the, best flash system on the planet for DSLRs. They already have excellent ergonomics, button placement, menu systems. They already had an excellent 100k pixel RGB meter, how much more does a 150k pixel RGB meter really improve things?

Canon has even addressed many of the firmware concerns of many customers, such as having "proper" Auto ISO implementation (seems it's finally "done right"...although right is rather subjective here...and should finally quell complaints.) However most of the issues like that could have been addressed with firmware updates for many cameras many, many years ago, and probably shouldn't have been pressing feature concerns for new camera models.

Yet for many, many years now, they have been ignoring the sensor IQ front.

So, when you say:

Quote
Dynamic range at low ISO is important and I'm not against progress in that area, but it's just one of a few hundred things that are important in a system.

How many critical things off that list of "hundreds of things" have already been addressed, and addressed well, by Canon? And how many have not? How much more improvement is necessary on all other fronts, where Canon already often excels, before it would be "acceptable" for them to improve their sensors to competitive "2010's" levels? When does it become acceptable for Canon to actually expend some time, effort and money improving their sensors? Is that time only after every single other one of those "hundreds" of things, big and small, critical and not, get addressed?

This is what confuses me about the Canon community...there are some low hanging fruit that could offer the most gains...I can't think of a lower hanging one than Canon sensor technology. To me, and others like me, Canon already does everything else we need them to do, and they usually do it very well. The only critical area we need to be improved is sensor IQ. I mean, sure, there are lots of little things that I think Canon could do here and there, little things like I consider Auto ISO implementation little...it had some minor limitations, but it was never a serious problem for me. Not serious enough that I'd prefer Canon focus on that instead of some real solid sensor improvements. Having a better sensor, however, one which didn't push up banding right into the lower midtones or obliterate two stops of DR, would have been useful to me many years ago.

What other really critical aspects fundamental to IQ are there? AF system. Frame rate and buffer depth. Lens selection and quality. Image sensor. Those are the big four. Throw in Video, which is important to many, and you have the big five. I'd call image sensor and video the biggest two areas where Canon could gain the most ground on the competition, and offer Canon users things in the Canon system that are often tugging at them to look elsewhere. I know that there are other cameras out there from other brands tugging VERY hard at me right now.

4
EOS Bodies / Re: Just for Jrista: 2014 Market Data
« on: September 22, 2014, 11:38:57 PM »
"You do realize that ISO 2000 generally deprives the sensor of 4.5 stops of light compared to ISO 100, yes?"

No.  Only shutter speed and aperture determine how much light reaches the sensor.  ISO is just reading.

1/100s, f/4, ISO 2000 or 1/100s, f/4, ISO 100:  Same amount of light hit the sensor.

That's actually not quite what he said. He said that ISO 2000 generally "deprives" the sensor of 4.5 stops of light. By that, I think he means that at ISO 2000, you will be saturating the exposure much more quickly than at ISO 100. You effectively saturate the sensor about 24x faster at ISO 2000 than you do at ISO 100.

5
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 10:45:26 PM »
Yeah, the AF system is probably the most important feature for the 7D II. Frame rate is probably next important, and they did well there. I personally was looking at the sensor to see if Canon had moved to a new fab, and it does not appear they have. That's disappointing to me, just in what it indicates for the future (which could change, but I'm skeptical.) I am very curious to see how the Samsung NX1 performs in real life. If it has Canon lens adapters, it might be a very viable competitor, given it's high FPS. The AF system sounds awesome...if it is as awesome as it sounds...I might actually pick one of them up (in part also for astrophotography...a high res BSI APS-C would be pretty awesome for OSC AP.)

I also just saw the Canon page on the updated information they are now displaying in the viewfinder, which is pretty cool. I don't see a histogram in there yet, which is sad, but Canon seems to be moving in that direction with it.

I concur that the AF and frame rate (and the buffer to use the frame rate!) are the key elements.  A new "knock your socks off" sensor would have been cool too, but it was less of a priority for me than the AF, FPS and buffer.  "Decent" IQ with a killer AF/FPS and buffer was more important than a great new sensor and a disappointing AF/FPS and buffer. But getting both would have been awesome of course.  I think we'll have to wait for the next FF camera to see what else Canon has up their sleeves for sensor tech.

If, once tested, the 7D II hits with around 35,000e- FWC, I'll be more impressed. That would be a fairly significant improvement, meaning dynamic range really did improve. It would still be half (at best) what you get out of a full frame, but, it would be enough to really improve IQ at high ISO. ISO 16,000 could have a decent amount of DR and color fidelity with such a charge capacity. I suspect it'll be somewhere around 26-27ke-, which is about the same as the 70D...but if it tops 30-35k, that would be pretty nice.

Somebody over on FM dug through the sample RAWs and it appears that while the low ISO DR hasn't improved much, the high ISO DR has improved very signficantly.  They're measuring the DR at ISO 6400 to be equal to the 5D3.

Yeah, I'm not surprised, since it is DIGIC 6. The question I have is whether the processed 7D II RAWs are as sharp and detailed as 5D III normal files. DIGIC 6 does a lot of processing, but some people have claimed it muddies up the details on the PowerShot cameras that it was used in previously.

6
EOS Bodies / Re: Just for Jrista: 2014 Market Data
« on: September 22, 2014, 09:39:15 PM »
I see some very bright highlights on the arm and fingers. They may not quite be clipped, but if it was me, I'd have underexposed more to preserve the skin tones more, which would have made the midtone banding an even more significant issue. I would like to see the full frame as well...just to understand the full context of the image.

7
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 09:37:40 PM »
Yeah, the AF system is probably the most important feature for the 7D II. Frame rate is probably next important, and they did well there. I personally was looking at the sensor to see if Canon had moved to a new fab, and it does not appear they have. That's disappointing to me, just in what it indicates for the future (which could change, but I'm skeptical.) I am very curious to see how the Samsung NX1 performs in real life. If it has Canon lens adapters, it might be a very viable competitor, given it's high FPS. The AF system sounds awesome...if it is as awesome as it sounds...I might actually pick one of them up (in part also for astrophotography...a high res BSI APS-C would be pretty awesome for OSC AP.)

I also just saw the Canon page on the updated information they are now displaying in the viewfinder, which is pretty cool. I don't see a histogram in there yet, which is sad, but Canon seems to be moving in that direction with it.

I concur that the AF and frame rate (and the buffer to use the frame rate!) are the key elements.  A new "knock your socks off" sensor would have been cool too, but it was less of a priority for me than the AF, FPS and buffer.  "Decent" IQ with a killer AF/FPS and buffer was more important than a great new sensor and a disappointing AF/FPS and buffer. But getting both would have been awesome of course.  I think we'll have to wait for the next FF camera to see what else Canon has up their sleeves for sensor tech.

If, once tested, the 7D II hits with around 35,000e- FWC, I'll be more impressed. That would be a fairly significant improvement, meaning dynamic range really did improve. It would still be half (at best) what you get out of a full frame, but, it would be enough to really improve IQ at high ISO. ISO 16,000 could have a decent amount of DR and color fidelity with such a charge capacity. I suspect it'll be somewhere around 26-27ke-, which is about the same as the 70D...but if it tops 30-35k, that would be pretty nice.

8
EOS Bodies / Re: Official: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
« on: September 22, 2014, 09:34:56 PM »
lamenting Canon's supposed lack of DR and extolling the virtues of Exmor

See there you go again. Here you try to bring up doubt that Canon is behind in DR or that even if they are that it could ever mean anything. And yet when you finally get called out and backed into a corner as in your post later on, you are like "who me? fanboy? nobody here ever tries to admit that Exmor doesn't have more DR"

So which is it??? You try to have it both ways for everything.

There is a difference between 'Exmor has more DR than Canon' and 'Canon doesn't deliver enough DR'.  There's a difference between 'Exmor allows better low ISO shadow pushing than Canon' and 'Canon sensors deliver poor IQ'. In each case, the former is a statement of fact that is generally accepted here, the latter is a judgement based on an individual's personal needs and values.  Some people just can't understand or accept that their own needs and values aren't statements of fact with which everyone must agree. 

That's not 'having it both ways', that's the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion.

suuuure

and don't forget your buddy Keith today was posting all over here today in other threads about how the extra DR is a joke and is only needed by incompetent photographers who always miss the exposure and who have no post-processing skills and that the only point and use for more DR is to overcome poor photography skills of incompetent users.

Aye. I don't much appreciate Keith's assumptions that all problems are the result of idiot photographers who don't know how to take a photo or process one in post, or that no one has ever tried Capture One or more advanced NR tools and techniques.

One thing we can assume is that our chances are better at taking a once in a lifetime photograph if we weren't here reading and posting on these forums.  ;)

Indeed. They are also better when it isn't rainy and stormy outside. :P Which, as it so happens, has been the case for several days here in Colorado now. When it's clear, I'm out doing photography, one way or another. It's just been a crazy year for weather, and a poor year for birds. Wildlife has still panned out pretty well, though.

Sounds like you are ready for a high iso, weather sealed, high frame rate camera so you can go out in that weather and take photos!  :)  I would be more inclined to take a 1700.00 camera out in it than a 6000.00 one.

It's not my gear that I'm worried about. I have a $13,000 lens and a $3500 body, both weather sealed, all wrapped up in neoprene LensCoat, doubled up with a rain coat. My 16-35 L is weather sealed as well. I'm not worried about my gear, I'm worried about me. :P

We get these pretty nasty torrents. Nothing is out in that kind of weather, everything hides. Landscapes are flat and boring. I've actually chased a good number of thunderstorms this summer, and I've been inundated with deluges, but still not found "the shot" of an awesome storm system with lightning at the right distance. I'm just kind of sick and tired of rain at this point...we've been getting rain for...about six months, and we have another month left at least? I like rain in the spring and fall, but all summer as well, after coming out of a long cold winter, which game out of the heaviest rains we've seen in Colorado for hundreds of years, then diving right into cold snowy weather...yeah, it's me that doesn't want to be out in the rain. :P

I mean, if you go back to September last year, where we had a solid week of never-ending rain that flooded a quarter of the state the worst in somewhere between 500 and 1000 years...it's been cold, wet and rainy for over a year now.

9
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 09:02:01 PM »
Yeah, the AF system is probably the most important feature for the 7D II. Frame rate is probably next important, and they did well there. I personally was looking at the sensor to see if Canon had moved to a new fab, and it does not appear they have. That's disappointing to me, just in what it indicates for the future (which could change, but I'm skeptical.) I am very curious to see how the Samsung NX1 performs in real life. If it has Canon lens adapters, it might be a very viable competitor, given it's high FPS. The AF system sounds awesome...if it is as awesome as it sounds...I might actually pick one of them up (in part also for astrophotography...a high res BSI APS-C would be pretty awesome for OSC AP.)

I also just saw the Canon page on the updated information they are now displaying in the viewfinder, which is pretty cool. I don't see a histogram in there yet, which is sad, but Canon seems to be moving in that direction with it.

10
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:25:04 PM »
Yes, I'm VERY excited!  On the IQ front, I never expected a sensor that would somehow match FF IQ.  I expected something with a moderate improvement over the 70D in IQ (and a substantial advantage over my 7D) and the 7D II appears to deliver. 

Of FAR greater interest to me is the AF system, FPS and buffer--I wanted a killer AF system and a high FPS with a large enough buffer to use it--and Canon appears to have delivered!  And for substantially less than I'd expected, which is a bonus!

Yeah, I'm PUMPED and want one!  Just waiting to hear the first solid reviews and I've got to save some more $$'s, but I want one!!!  ;D

You might have misunderstood something somewhere along the line. :P The 7D II is marginally improved over the 70D.,.most of the improvement is on the color noise front, and less banding (but the 70D already had less banding than the 7D, so that isn't really new.)

It is about 1 stop better than the original 7D. The stop better than the original 7D was expected, given the performance of the 70D...but the 7D II doesn't come close to FF performance in equivalent situations. It will still enjoy the reach benefit with shorter lenses, but I honestly think you might be getting your hopes up a bit too high if you really expect the 7D II to deliver FF-level IQ in identical-framing situations. The 5D III, 6D, 1D X, or other FF DSLRs are still going to enjoy a stop benefit or more at high ISO over the 7D II. Larger frame means better IQ unless your reach limited.

It's possible you misread my post.  I said I never expected the 7D2 to match FF.   I expected a marginal improvement over the 70D and a fairly substantial improvement over my current 7D, which of course is a given since the 70D already has a substantial advantage over the 7D.  In essence, I'm saying that the slight improvement over the 70D is already a sufficient increase in IQ for my needs.  Sure a killer sensor that blows away the IQ of every other crop framed camera would be awesome, but it was never my expectation.  The 7D II looks set to deliver a useful improvement in IQ over my current 7D, while giving a MASSIVE improvement in AF, speed and buffer--and those last three points are the critical ones for me.   8)

Ah. With the "I'm very excited" bit in front, it made it sound like you were saying that you never expected the 7D II to approach FF quality, and that you were "realizing it did". :P If that's not the case, then good. At least you won't be disappointed.

11
EOS Bodies / Re: Sample Images From the EOS 7D Mark II
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:21:14 PM »

"As for 'reach', unless you've got a 600/4 + 2x, you're still talking about a cost advantage (size/weight, too...but that's also buying you better IQ).  Even if you're at 1200mm, APS-C's greater pixel density is only advantageous at lower ISO and if you want to print large."


Neuro
I own an 800 lens & 5D iii. I  shoot paranoid birds in the west with a 1.4 iii tele 80% of the time. I also blow up large prints all the time. Are you saying that for my shooting I might get a better print at 1280 mm with a 7D ii in good light vs 1120 with a 1.4 converter! That would be insane if its true. Think of the auto focus capture rate shooting a 800 naked. Think of all those af points. Don't get me too excited here. I might faint.

I don't think you would necessarily get better. The difference in aperture negates a lot of the advantage of the larger frame. It's the total light that usually gives FF the IQ advantage. Your either at 1120 f/8, or 800 f/5.6 (effective focal length 1280mm only from a crop standpoint, from a relative pixel area standpoint, it's more like 1160mm). Same effective detail, difference of one stop in aperture. The 5D III probably still has the IQ edge, but it'll be normalized quite a bit.

That means the differences lie elsewhere. If the 7D II AF system ends up kicking total ass (with iTR, it should, even at f/5.6), then the 7D II with it's faster framerate should result in more keepers.

12
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 06:09:13 PM »
Yes, I'm VERY excited!  On the IQ front, I never expected a sensor that would somehow match FF IQ.  I expected something with a moderate improvement over the 70D in IQ (and a substantial advantage over my 7D) and the 7D II appears to deliver. 

Of FAR greater interest to me is the AF system, FPS and buffer--I wanted a killer AF system and a high FPS with a large enough buffer to use it--and Canon appears to have delivered!  And for substantially less than I'd expected, which is a bonus!

Yeah, I'm PUMPED and want one!  Just waiting to hear the first solid reviews and I've got to save some more $$'s, but I want one!!!  ;D

You might have misunderstood something somewhere along the line. :P The 7D II is marginally improved over the 70D.,.most of the improvement is on the color noise front, and less banding (but the 70D already had less banding than the 7D, so that isn't really new.)

It is about 1 stop better than the original 7D. The stop better than the original 7D was expected, given the performance of the 70D...but the 7D II doesn't come close to FF performance in equivalent situations. It will still enjoy the reach benefit with shorter lenses, but I honestly think you might be getting your hopes up a bit too high if you really expect the 7D II to deliver FF-level IQ in identical-framing situations. The 5D III, 6D, 1D X, or other FF DSLRs are still going to enjoy a stop benefit or more at high ISO over the 7D II. Larger frame means better IQ unless your reach limited.

13
Lenses / Re: how to get 300 2.8
« on: September 22, 2014, 05:46:28 PM »
So with the telephoto the kids looked larger but so did the Elk so it gives the illusion that they are closer together.  I guess I wasn't paying attention to the distance to the kids...just the buck

If you think about it, it's pretty logical. As FOV narrows, to keep the subject in the frame (instead of spilling out beyond the frame)....you have to back up. :P That changes the relationship between objects within your scene, as well as between those objects and the lens. In other words...PERSPECTIVE changes.

The apparent effect of that is that the background "gets larger" and "gets closer" (hence "background compression")...but it's just a term that describes the effect of changing perspective, nothing more. The actual cause of the change is still the change in perspective.

14
EOS Bodies / Re: Official: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
« on: September 22, 2014, 05:43:43 PM »
lamenting Canon's supposed lack of DR and extolling the virtues of Exmor

See there you go again. Here you try to bring up doubt that Canon is behind in DR or that even if they are that it could ever mean anything. And yet when you finally get called out and backed into a corner as in your post later on, you are like "who me? fanboy? nobody here ever tries to admit that Exmor doesn't have more DR"

So which is it??? You try to have it both ways for everything.

There is a difference between 'Exmor has more DR than Canon' and 'Canon doesn't deliver enough DR'.  There's a difference between 'Exmor allows better low ISO shadow pushing than Canon' and 'Canon sensors deliver poor IQ'. In each case, the former is a statement of fact that is generally accepted here, the latter is a judgement based on an individual's personal needs and values.  Some people just can't understand or accept that their own needs and values aren't statements of fact with which everyone must agree. 

That's not 'having it both ways', that's the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion.

suuuure

and don't forget your buddy Keith today was posting all over here today in other threads about how the extra DR is a joke and is only needed by incompetent photographers who always miss the exposure and who have no post-processing skills and that the only point and use for more DR is to overcome poor photography skills of incompetent users.

Aye. I don't much appreciate Keith's assumptions that all problems are the result of idiot photographers who don't know how to take a photo or process one in post, or that no one has ever tried Capture One or more advanced NR tools and techniques.

One thing we can assume is that our chances are better at taking a once in a lifetime photograph if we weren't here reading and posting on these forums.  ;)

Indeed. They are also better when it isn't rainy and stormy outside. :P Which, as it so happens, has been the case for several days here in Colorado now. When it's clear, I'm out doing photography, one way or another. It's just been a crazy year for weather, and a poor year for birds. Wildlife has still panned out pretty well, though.

15
EOS Bodies / Re: Am I the only one excited about the new 7D mk2?
« on: September 22, 2014, 03:25:20 PM »
They are all cross type, however Canon throttles AF speed at f/5.6 relative to f/4 or f/2.8. Even on the 61pt system, even when using only the center points, AF speed slows when I slap on a 1.4x TC onto my 600/4, vs. just using the 600/4. Additionally, at f/5.6, the chances of "hunting" increase. Canon's AF system caters towards looking for a closer subject first when the scene is out of focus by more than a certain (unspecified) amount. So, if I need to photograph a bird in flight, it's FAR better to use an f/4 lens, which is likely to lock on directly immediately, than f/5.6, which is going to hunt forward first if I'm not already close to focus on the bird.

Maybe the 65pt system changes that, but it looks like the same general firmware as the 5D III and 1D X, so I suspect it'll behave the same.

No, Canon does not throttle AF speed at f/5.6 relative to f/4 or f/2.8.  Yes, when you put the 1.4x TC behind your 600/4, AF slows down.  But that's not because the combo is f/5.6, it's because of the TC.  By design (firmware), a 1.4x TC drops AF speed by 50%, and a 2x TC drops it by 75%.  If you put the 1.4x behind the 200mm f/2, you'll have a 280mm f/2.8 lens that activates all 61 AF points including the 5 dual-cross points on the 5DIII/1D X...and still focuses 50% slower. 

The 'hunting' you describe also appears to not be specific to the max aperture or the AF points, but rather to lens or TC combo.  For example, the 100-400L @ 400/5.6 hunts with a busy background, whereas the 400/5.6L locks on much more effectively in that scenario.

Hmm, curious. When I rent the 300 f/2.8 II, and use the 1.4x TC, it still seems to focus extremely fast. Faster than the 600/4 with the same TC.

Maybe it's just the design of the 100-400, but that lens doesn't focus fast, period, as far as I can tell. I haven't used the 400/5.6 with the 61pt system, so I can't speak to it.

But don't you notice the TC +300 getting slower AF than the bare 300?

(maybe the super tele II plus TC III changed things a bit, I thought they were said to still largely slow things down about as much although greatly improve AF precision)

Sure, it's a little slower, but it still seems to be wicked fast. It seems to snap to focus almost instantly, and it doesn't hunt nearly as much. My 600 with the 1.4x TC will sometimes snap to focus, although a bit slower...but the biggest issue I've noticed with the 5D III is if I'm not within "the vicinity" of focus for my subject, it will do the whole "hunt forward, then hunt backward" move, which is utterly killer if your trying to lock onto a bird. I'm finding that with that combo, focusing to infinity first, then trying to lock a bird in flight, results in a quicker lock. It's still a narrow field, and is only useful for more distant birds (i.e. hawks circling overhead or something). I still prefer 600/4, but my ideal BIF lens is the 300/2.8, at either 300 or 430, as both seem to perform very well with snappy focus.

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