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Messages - jrista

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1006
EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: February 03, 2014, 03:42:02 PM »

That is farcically ridiculous and failed logic.

If I had been given the option of getting a $50 Canon made RT compatible trigger to work with my 550EX's instead of getting $450 600-EX-RT's I'd have done that, I wouldn't have got as integrated a system as I have, and Canon would have made $200 off me rather than $2,000. This way we are both happy. I am no Canon whore either, I have been running the 550's via Yongnuo RF 602's for years.

I paid $220 for most of my 550EX's new, I am getting around $150 for them now nearly ten years later secondhand, I wrote them down to nothing by 2008, they own me nothing yet they have given me ten years faultless service for $70. I expect similar figures from the 600's.

well, if I'd be coming from 10 years old written-off 550EXes, I'd also see much more sense to upgrade them to 600EXes. But in my case I got a pre-2012 camera model and Canon speedlites that are either still current (430EX II) or were current (580EX II) when I purchased them only about 2 years ago. Plus a 430EX which is maybe 5 years old. All of them used rather sparingly. Would you jump to an all 600EX-RT setup? btw. where I live, the ST-E3 retails from 270 € (=USD 365) and 600EX-RT runs from € 485 (=USD 650) a piece. The Yongnuo trigger is € 100 and I expect their YN-600EX to come in at maybe € 200 ... just to give you an idea, what I am looking at.

Anyway to me its a very minor problem: a few more weeks of occasional optical triggering until the Yongnuos become available.

Canon however has a bigger problem ... they spent R&D money and managed to create a highly beneficial technical advantage for many (potentially all) users of their ecosystem ... and then they don't distribute the goodness (against reasonable charge of course) to as many of their users as possible, but only to some ... 2012-Camera-model owners and 600EX-purchasers - rather than fully leveraging that USP against all their competitors. And driving nice synergies of scale. That's all I am saying.

So basically, your bitching about the fact that Canon created this really kick-ass new technology that you really really want, but you can't afford it, so you go off on a name-calling binge and try to paint Canon as some greedy company run by a bunch of idiot-buffoons who apparently wouldn't know a gold mine if it collapsed around them...because they aren't selling the 600-RT at a price point you can afford to refurnish your entire collection of flash right now.

Can you really get more childish than that? Seriously.

Oh, don't worry. I could afford more speedlites than I could carry, even at Euro prices.  ;D
I just refuse to throw money at Canon without getting *exactly what I want*.
And I do point out that some of Canon's business decisions don't seem to make a lot of business sense. Even though they manage to sell more cameras than other makers. Today.  ;-)


btw: I would again ask you to please watch your wording and refrain from personal attacks on me. I do respect you and your profound technical knowledge you share in many of your posts. Feel free to criticize my opinions/posts, but please do so in a civilized manner, Thanks! After all, we are only discussing Canon stuff and economics 101, not even world politics or religious topics [heaven forbid!]. :-)

I'm sorry. It's just that your arguments have gone so far into the realm of...absurd...I'm honestly having a hard time comprehending. A lot of what you've said over the last 8 posts or so honestly sounds a little insane to me. It sounds like a LOT of assumption about the inner workings of a company you do not work for, and have no internal insight into. It sounds like your somehow turning what you think might possibly be true about Canon's inner business workings into fact in your head, then, with the assumption that your assumptions are actually indeed fact, you proceed to fabricate these wild stories... (At least...thats what it looks like from the outside...)

It's all well and good to not want to give Canon your hard earned money until they produce a product you want to spend that money on. That's entirely your prerogative, can't fault you for that.

It's another thing to concoct a rather cockamamie idea about how Canon is greedy and stupid and missing out on a supposed goldmine. I'm not a billionaire CEO, however I've spent more than enough time reading C-level management profiles for companies as a stock investor to know that you don't get to be a head honcho at a corporation like Canon unless you have incredible credentials and a ridiculously friggin CLEAR picture of what the markets your company caters to are, exactly what they want, exactly what kind of price burden they can bear, and exactly how to leverage the balance between product diversity, flexibility, technology, service and price in order to keep the vast majority of your customers happy while sustaining the bottom line.

I'm a reasonably intelligent guy. I know a some stuff about photography, some stuff about astronomy, a whole hell of a lot of stuff about software engineering, and a bit about a bunch of various things here and there. I would bet really good money, however, that every single C-level honcho and all the presidents and vice presidents and what have you of the various departments at Canon could RUN CIRCLES around me. They all tend to have rich, classical educations, so their knowledge is deep and wide (kind of a necessity in their business.) I've listened on financial report calls of a number of corporations I've been interested in buying stock for, in sectors ranging from energy (oil and gas drilling) to precious and rare earth metals mining to tech to finance. I don't even need to bet, I'll just pay up, the CEOs of all those companies are far smarter than I am.

A lot of people complain about the wealthy being wealthy, how unfair it is, how greedy they are. Man, if you spend just five minutes talking (or even just listening to) to a good, creative CEO, you'll understand why they are all millionaires and billionaires. You'll think they deserve their riches too...most are unbelievably hard working individuals who spend far more time than the average joe working, wheeling, dealing, funding and building economies. Most of the good CEOs are empowering and enabling individuals (although yes, there are some CEOs who just don't get the job, but I'd say they are a small minority). They are incredibly smart people, and they surround themselves with people just as smart and in many cases even a hell of a lot smarter (usually the case with engineers and the like...creme of the crop there.)

I'm just sayin...it's all well and good to wish for and rumormonger about a potential flash product you hope Canon will make in the future. As a matter of fact, its about the most encouraged thine here on CR. But your just digging yourself a hole calling them greedy and stupid and missing the ball (and otherwise, yes, sounding childish...it isn't really an insult, more an observation) on what you personally believe is a gold mine. Trust me, if Canon thought your idea would turn into a pile of gold for them, they would have already been all over it. They are already 15, 20 moves ahead of you. If the idea has merit, and will make a giant pile of silver, they are already working on it.

1007
EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: February 03, 2014, 03:13:29 PM »

That is farcically ridiculous and failed logic.

If I had been given the option of getting a $50 Canon made RT compatible trigger to work with my 550EX's instead of getting $450 600-EX-RT's I'd have done that, I wouldn't have got as integrated a system as I have, and Canon would have made $200 off me rather than $2,000. This way we are both happy. I am no Canon whore either, I have been running the 550's via Yongnuo RF 602's for years.

I paid $220 for most of my 550EX's new, I am getting around $150 for them now nearly ten years later secondhand, I wrote them down to nothing by 2008, they own me nothing yet they have given me ten years faultless service for $70. I expect similar figures from the 600's.

well, if I'd be coming from 10 years old written-off 550EXes, I'd also see much more sense to upgrade them to 600EXes. But in my case I got a pre-2012 camera model and Canon speedlites that are either still current (430EX II) or were current (580EX II) when I purchased them only about 2 years ago. Plus a 430EX which is maybe 5 years old. All of them used rather sparingly. Would you jump to an all 600EX-RT setup? btw. where I live, the ST-E3 retails from 270 € (=USD 365) and 600EX-RT runs from € 485 (=USD 650) a piece. The Yongnuo trigger is € 100 and I expect their YN-600EX to come in at maybe € 200 ... just to give you an idea, what I am looking at.

Anyway to me its a very minor problem: a few more weeks of occasional optical triggering until the Yongnuos become available.

Canon however has a bigger problem ... they spent R&D money and managed to create a highly beneficial technical advantage for many (potentially all) users of their ecosystem ... and then they don't distribute the goodness (against reasonable charge of course) to as many of their users as possible, but only to some ... 2012-Camera-model owners and 600EX-purchasers - rather than fully leveraging that USP against all their competitors. And driving nice synergies of scale. That's all I am saying.

So basically, your bitching about the fact that Canon created this really kick-ass new technology that you really really want, but you can't afford it, so you go off on a name-calling binge and try to paint Canon as some greedy company run by a bunch of idiot-buffoons who apparently wouldn't know a gold mine if it collapsed around them...because they aren't selling the 600-RT at a price point you can afford to refurnish your entire collection of flash right now.

Can you really get more childish than that? Seriously.

1008
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 02:32:05 PM »
Even with the increased FPS and burst, the 7D had too many misses. Even though I used it on and off for days, I will not post the images, even though some contain smashing horns. Just too grainy, with the detail chewed away, and strange colors. But, when the light is right (such as your bird shot) the 7D can perform very well.


Sigh. You don't quite seem to get it. This is the ORIGINAL of my bird shot:



You seriously call that "the right light"? That's terrible light. It's exposed properly, the histogram was about 1/2 way into the right-most histogram bar...but to actually get contrast exactly on the eye, where you want focus to occur, is difficult when the subject matter around the eye is all shadows. I had to process the image to bring up the detail in the bird such as you saw it in the previously posted version.

The only benefit of a scene like this is for tracking, really...the strong contrast between bird and sky makes it easier for any camera to track the subject...it just doesn't do anything to help you lock AF on the part of the subject you want (yet the 7D did quite well in that respect.)

1009
EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: February 03, 2014, 12:45:51 PM »
With Canon I mean the corporation, run by its executives.

Just to stick with the example of radio wireless ETTL speedlite triggering for one more moment:
Canon could technically crack the Pocketwizard stronghold and some technical challenges to inmplement the RT system. Against what many naysayers her said before, Canon could do it on the 2.4 GHz band [fast enough for 2 way communication flash-triggering] and they can market it globally with only 2 product variants in all important and civilized markets on earth, despite differing radio communications regulations and standards. Yes, there are some markets with such absurd regulations, that the only get 600-EX without RT. I am sure fanbois there will be also to happy to buy those.  ;D

I am convinced, Nikon and Sony were not ABLE to get wireless ETTL speedlite triggering implemented. If they had been able to, they would have done so by now. I am quite certain, that they are working on the issue and will eventually bring it to market. Canon is squandering precious lead-time to get their system universally established.  Becaue their short-sighted greed only lets them think of "potentially lost 600EX-RT sales" for any 100 successful 450EX-Rt sales and for any 1000 successfull RT-transceiver sales that would expand the RT-ecosystem to all existing and still "semi-current" 580/430 speedlites. And possibly even allow their customers to radio-trigger monolights mixed with (ETTL-) speedlites ... all from one and the same RT-master.     

To me that is shortsighted with greed.



1010
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 12:16:28 PM »
I didn't forget about anything. I remember the image. Let me counter. Sun sitting just below the horizon, I had to focus on a dark bird in dim diffuse light to get this:



Bird in fast flight, hunting post-sunset, flapping it's wings. This is one shot out of a sequence of about 28, which represents a mere 3.5 seconds total time. I had to not only AF, but maintain good AF lock the entire time, while hand holding a lens and panning.

This was taken with a 7D. At the perfect moment. The 6D would have captured 15 frames, rather 28, a difference of  86%! I was able to capture nearly TWICE the number of frames, in bad light with continuous AF tracking...with a lowly 7D.

Sorry, but honestly, I could have nailed that same exact bighorn shot with the 7D. The background would have been slightly noisier...but I have the skill to completely nullify that in post with one of the numerous tools I have at my disposal, or even just a bit of careful layer masking, basic NR and gaussian blurring in photoshop. The sheep themselves would be just as sharp and detailed (if not more detailed), since noise perceptually affects softer OOF areas and flat tones or gradients more than sharp detail.

This isn't about camera capabilities anymore...it's really gotten deep into the realm of personal preference. Honestly, I don't fault you in any way for personally choosing a 6D. If that is your preferred camera and you know how to make it work for you, more power to you! But to claim the 7D couldn't get that shot really only speaks to a lack of skill with it, not a lack of capability of the hardware. The 7D is and has always been an eminently capable camera. It DOES have its one drawback, that jitter between frames that sometimes crops up and costs you some frames...but only if you intend to print them. For web-size images, anything scaled down 2x or more, it's still a no-brainer to capture a consistent 8fps keepers with the 7D, even in lower light.

And thats the 7D! When it comes to the 7D II, no one in their right mind thinks it will have the same problems as the original 7D. Canon started improving the 7D's problems with the first rebel that used the 18mp sensor. By the time they got to the 650D, the 18mp sensor on that actually had solved most of the 7D's problems. Canon won't just drop some crappy sensor into the 7D II. As I said before...too many people have too many high hopes for the 7D II, too many people look to the 7D line to provide them with reach, frame rate, and good AF so they can do their action photography without having to spend untold thousands, for Canon to botch it. Canon CAN'T botch it. Canon MUST do something pretty radical with the 7D II. And it sounds like the chances of the 7D II arriving this year are fairly good, so it isn't like were going to be waiting some untold number of years before we finally see it...that theoretical wish list, or at least parts of it, could come true within months.



If I had to pick a camera today to do wildlife with, my personal choice would be the 5D III. It would really be the 1D X, but there is too much cost involved there for the primary benefit of frame rate, so it's the 5D III. To me, low noise isn't the end all-be all of IQ. IQ is a conflation of multiple factors: Sharpness, detail, subject pose (i.e. getting the right frame out of a sequence), and noise. Sharpness when it comes to fast action requires an excellent AF system. Neither the 6D nor 7D hold a stick to the 5D III when it comes to locking and tracking focus. Detail requires pixel count. If you don't have big long lenses, the cheapest way to put pixels onto subject is with an APS-C sensor. Subject pose...this one relies on two things: AF system and frame rate. Personally, I think an ideal frame rate is between 10-12fps, leaning towards 10fps (balance between the right moment, and not having to deal with too many files). Subject pose relies on the AF system because the more options you have to compose in-frame, while tracking, without having to bother with recomposition, the better. Again, the 6D doesn't hold a stick. The 7D is better...but it still doesn't compare to the 5D III. The 5D III is king here. (I like using off-center points so much I even trained myself to move the AF point WHILE TRACKING BIF...and the off-center points in the 7D work well even after sunset.) Even more important is the number of cross-type points you can use in lower light. The 7D and 6D? One. The 5D III? The full 41, so long as you have an f/4 lens! And you still have 21 high precision cross type points at f/5.6! That's probably the 5D III's single most significant edge as a composition-friendly wildlife body over the 7D and 6D. Noise, no need to explain anything here, except to say background noise is a BREEZE to clean up, and some noise in sharp detail areas isn't a problem to start with.

In all of that above...sensor only really came into play once...noise. But noise is the easiest thing to clean up in post with good tools or a little bit of technique, so it isn't the most important thing. AF system and frame rate come out on top as the most important factors for serious high action photography...bighorn clacking horns, deer in the rut, birds in flight...I'll take AF and frame rate over noise any day. I guess the one thing I'd change with the 7D, besides the AF jitter, is the hazy low pass filter. I don't mind having a strong low pass filter, I prefer it actually for bird photography. But you are right...it does have that somewhat ugly tone to it. I'd certainly trade that if I could. I expect the 7D II to have a slightly weak OLPF given the trend with Canon's other recent APS-C cameras, so I suspect noise with a 7D II will be easier to clean up and more sightly than the 7D.

1011
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 11:27:21 AM »
Quote
I'm a bit perplexed at the excitement for a 7D II at $1999. At that price point, you could have a 6D, which IMHO, is a superior wildlife camera.

I don't get this statement unless you know something you're not telling us.  You're making a decision on the 7d II based on performance of the 7D.  This is just faulty logic.  No one seems to know what the 7D II will be or if/when it will actually exist.  You're comparing 4 yr old tech to current tech.  I would hope the current tech would be better.

I'll assume you expect the 7d II to be an incremental improvement, similar to how Canon manages the x0D line.
If this is the case there will be a lot of very disappointed people.  The 7D was a huge improvement over the 50D and I expect the 7d II to be a huge improvement over the 70D.

The only thing that seems to be certain is that either you'll be surprised by the 7d II or I'll be disappointed.

True... 7D was a huge improvement over the 50D, but... 7D was a new line altogether from the x0D line....
7DII is not a new line... its a improvement from the 7D... an existing line.

...

5DII to 5DIII - modest improvements

What the? The 5D III was a MASSIVE improvement over the 5D II!!!! What are you people smoking??!?...this thread has gotten really weird. The 5D III was such a significant improvement across the board over the 5D II, so much so that it still sells like hotcakes. 6ave sold 60 copies in less than two days just two days ago! Even for a sale, that is some serious product movement...

Wow...some of the comments on this forum lately are just out of wackjob field...  :o

If we assume the 7D II is similarly upgraded as the 5D III was, and given that sensor IQ is the single most requested improvement with the 7D II, regardless of whether that means more megapixels or fewer megapixels, and given Canon's propensity to deliver on their customers key requests...I expect the 7D II to get a better sensor. A meaningfully better sensor.

1012
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 11:17:29 AM »


I think this statement is radically premature: "don't get yesterdays sensor tech." The 7D II isn't even out yet. Regardless of what it ultimately is, it certainly won't be "yesterdays sensor tech". If it fuly lives up to the few things Canon has said about it, it should be a pretty amazing sensor. You can't write it off before it's even arrived!


Basing a statement on proven physics isn't premature.  There are a couple guide posts here as well:  Canon continuing to lose the sensor IQ race, and the work they did on the 70D.

I hope the 7D II sensor is an improvement on the 70D sensor (which isn't impressive at all).

Hmm, your not giving Canon enough credit. The 70D has a 32% larger full well capacity than Canon's prior 18mp sensor. That is actually quite impressive, given the age of Canon's fabrication technology! Quantum efficiency jumped about 5%, which further helps higher ISO settings. The 70D is a quarter to a third of a stop better at all higher ISO settings than the 7D, thanks to lower read noise. The DPAF is certainly quite impressive! Even if you don't care for video, DPAF is still an impressive innovation.

The 70D, however, was never going to be the APS-C sensor that Canon used to introduce a whole bunch impressive new technology with. The 7D II is the most likely camera that Canon will introduce impressive new technology with, given that the 7D was the first to bring the (at the time "new", now much loathed so many years on and overused) 18mp APS-C sensor, the new-at-the-time 19pt AF system, and the new-at-the-time 63-zone iFCL metering sensor. The 7D was packed with new technology from Canon. Canon's customers put the 7D line on a pedestal, and expect great things from it. If Canon misses that ball, it'll hurt them.

Given the historical facts, and the position the 7D holds among Canon fans who don't have the near seven grand to shell out for a 1D X, but want the extra reach and need the higher frame rate and better AF system, it is very much premature to call the 7D II sensor "old technology". It can't just be some mediocre evolution of the old 7D sensor...that would cost Canon some customers for sure.

As for physics...there is still plenty of room to push things without necessarily innovating radical new technology. And, there is plenty of radical new technology to apply to the 7D sensor. Canon could use new silicon fabrication techniques to double or triple quantum efficiency using black silicon, which effectively eliminates photon loss due to reflection off the silicon itself. They could employ light pipes to reduce reflection off the wire etching around each photodioe. They could move to BSI. They could layer photodiodes to increase FWC. They could use color splitting rather than CFA to capture nearly 100% of the incident light at every pixel.

Sorry, but proven physics have achieved a hell of a lot more than you seem to be aware of. All of these technologies exist. Most of them have been employed in high sensitivity video sensor technology for a few years now. Some of them have been prototyped and proven to work (i.e. color splitting has doubled or more the low light performance of Panasonic prototype sensors, black silicon has reduced read noise to less than 2e- at room temperature and increased quantum efficiency several fold over standard silicon fabrication.) It's a long way to go before physics stops progress, ESPECIALLY at the relatively huge pixel sizes of the 7D or as proposed for the 7D II. Were still in the 3-4 micron range...researchers and small form factor manufacturers are doing amazing things at 1.1 micron, and are now moving into the 0.95µm scale.

The 7D II, if it employed even some of these technologies, could be really amazing as far as APS-C sensors go. It could close the gap quite a bit with the 5D III. Sometimes noise doesn't matter if eliminating it costs you too much in overall detail. The key strength of the 7D line is its higher pixel count, smaller pixels, and higher spatial resolution. That's where the true reach factor comes into play...and a lot of people put more value on reach and frame rate than they do on noise levels. (Not to mention the fact that noise is pretty easy to clean up in post once you know how...as my example images can attest to.)

1013
I think the article raises some good points.

Sometimes Nikon and Canon remind me of that 50-year-old guy with a pony-tail and an earring cruising the bars trying to pick up 21-year-olds.

The trouble for Kai is though that the 50 year old guy is successful and loaded so gets all the girls whilst the 21 year old hipster goes home alone.  ;D

To be honest the article and Kai's Df review to me are the point where I really lost interest in hearing him preach the mirrorless gospel, so much hypocrisy given his own comments about camera's like the Fuji's in the past. The reality is that outside of comedy video's he's pushing the same kind of agenda I could read from fan boys on any number of forums, "mirror bad" "mirrorless good".

I'd actually say the problem Sony have is that they seem to pay rather too much attension to the Kai's of this world who might be very vocal on the net but make up a very small part of the market. This viewpoint seems to fit far better into Sony's corporate focus as a whole to me, they've always pushed the boat technically but have also always been very "gadget" focused. The camera business is very different from a lot of other area's though as your dealing with users who expect products without serious flaws as well as continued support of systems.

The latest photography gadget might get more attention in the short term but it'll soon be forgotten when the next one is released whilst the 5D mark 3 will carry on selling.

+10k!

1014
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 09:01:40 AM »
Quote
If we are talking about making legitimate arguments, I am specifically saying the 6D, even with it's light sensitivity, doesn't offer me anything even remotely compelling enough to use it as a wildlife camera.

You really should shoot it alongside the 7D.  The IQ is just on another level, and the usability extends into prime wildlife times.  My original point was that for $1999, don't get yesterdays sensor tech. Get the FF.

I think this statement is radically premature: "don't get yesterdays sensor tech." The 7D II isn't even out yet. Regardless of what it ultimately is, it certainly won't be "yesterdays sensor tech". If it fuly lives up to the few things Canon has said about it, it should be a pretty amazing sensor. You can't write it off before it's even arrived!

1015
Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: February 03, 2014, 07:46:34 AM »
Not exactly "flying" ... but at least it's a bird!

It's "Flyin as da penguins do!" :D Great shot!

1016
Photography Technique / Re: Focusing
« on: February 03, 2014, 07:42:49 AM »
I use back-button AF.  Great for birds (bump-focus), useful for focus recompose.  Only downside is if you hand your camera to someone else, but green-square mode cancels back-button AF.

Ditto! And whenver I hand my camera to someone else, I always take the opportunity to teach them about rear-button AF so they can be cool to.  8)

Personally, though, I remap AF-On and * functions. The * button is vastly more convenient for me as an AF on button. I don't use AE lock all that much, so I assign it to AF-On, which is kind of weird to reach given how it is depressed a little relative to the * button. (BTW, this is on a 7D right now.)

I honestly couldn't live without rear-button AF anymore. I live and die by AI Servo mode...the only times my camera comes out of AI Servo are when I'm doing astrophotography.

1017
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 07:29:25 AM »
I work on a site that includes a military firing range.... As a result, the area is closed to the public and there are great numbers of wildlife, including deer.  The deer are most active in the morning and evening. They are harder to spot in the middle of the day as they tend to stay out of the "heat of the midday sun". At night the bed down in the tall grass.

So yes, they are more likely to be spotted with the sun lower in the sky, but I've never had a problem shooting them with a crop camera..... It only rifles that you con't shoot these deer with :)

Sure, animals are active around the extremes of the day. My point was that you don't have to wait for them to come to you...you can go to them as well. That's usually what I do with my 7D...I hike about and find the wildlife, wherever they are. At the right times of year, they tend not to be too dangerous or afraid either. The second photo I shared, of the yearling buck...he was incredibly curious about me, and would creep in slowly until he was about 7 feet away, then his fear would take over for just a moment and he would bound away, then go frolicking in circles around me for a while, before finally settling down again and giving me that ridiculously cute "OOOhhh, what is it! I'm SOOO CURIOUUUS!! I...just...have....to....get....a little closer.....nooooo! Hahaha!!" look.  ;D ;D ;D Those shots were about 3pm in the afternoon in a meadow off the road hidden by a stand of treed during summer...so many hours before sunset (which was almost 9pm at that time.) I find deer like that all the time, and usually within 10 minutes of hiking into the woods to find a meadow somewhere.

During the rut, there is usually a period of time that starts about an hour before sunset and lasts until maybe 45 minutes after sunset where you are most likely to see two deer fighting. But earlier in the day, they kind of distance spar with each other, especially the younger bucks that don't have full racks. At least in Colorado here with the deer herds at Cherry Creek and Chatfield, the big bucks will usually have a following of yearling and two year bucks with them and their harem. These younger guys will frequently try their luck with a doe, and you can watch them chase a doe around for hours until the bull finally decides he doesn't like it, and chases the two-years off. By late afternoon, the bulls are starting to get into it...and that settles the younger bucks down. I have yet to actually photograph a fight, but I've captured sequences of big bulls corralling and controlling their does, sometimes chasing down the random stray girl.

So, at least given my experience tromping around the local state parks that I have easy access to, interesting wildlife activity is far from being restricted to just right at sunset or just right at dawn. You just have to spend the time finding it.

1018
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 07:14:05 AM »
Nice shots, Jrista.  Those deer are pretty cute. You definitely know how to put your 7D to good use. But (and you knew this was coming) those were all in fantastic light.


Thanks! I am pretty good with a 7D...but a lot of it is post processing. The 7D is definitely noisier...it takes some technique to make the results look good (even in good light).

You seem to have missed the last two. Go re-read...they were after sunset and literally at night. I also wouldn't say that all of the samples were in fantastic light. The first two were in pretty poor light...heavily overcast day (and they were actually fairly noisy). The last one was also taken in...odd light. I am pretty picky about my light. I generally refuse to shoot during the middle of the day unless there are just the right amount of clouds in the sky to diffuse it properly. I generally prefer morning or afternoon light, where the sun is at an angle. I also strictly try to keep myself on the sun-side of my subjects...so they get properly shaded. Sun has to be over one shoulder or the other at all times...I don't like it when the sun is directly behind me.

The last sample photo I shared was in some rather weird light. There weren't exactly clouds per-se, more like a very thin sheet of water vapor high up. It messed with the light...didn't diffuse it right, but enough that everything felt really flat. The color was weird as well. I finally gave up trying to correct it in post, because I needed a 0.5 notch on the tint slider in LR to really get it right. O_o

So, not all were in fantastic light. Some were in ok light and the one was just in weird light... :P

There's no question that wildlife can be out in the middle of the day. However, wildlife tends to be farther away in these situations, and usually it's harder to catch the sort of specialized behavioral activities that happen around crepuscular times, such as sparring, fighting, and hunting.


I've captured coyotes hunting in the afternoon on several occasions (I even shared a shot of a coyote trotting about in the afternoon light in my last post, as well as hunting before sunset in fine light). I've also caught them playing with each other before and after sunset, when there is and is not light. It's too restrictive to say sunset is the only time you can capture such activity...that's my point. And, even in the case of animals come out at dusk and dawn...they are usually out BEFORE the sun actually sets and AFTER the sun has risen for a time, so you have time (even if it is only about an hour) to photograph them in good light. I think my other low-light shot of the yearling buck after sunset in poor light also demonstrates that it isn't impossible to use the 7D in those conditions either...at least, it isn't as bad as you've made it sound.

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I stand by my assertion that wildlife never being out, about, and active during daylight hours is a myth. It's harder to find your "prey" for sure, but it is very far from impossible. It just takes a little practice and skill, like any other aspect of photography.



That's not what I said, though. ;) I said most wildlife comes out at dusk and dawn, which is true.

I agree with you that FPS is nice. But it's almost irrelevant when you can't stop the action. If a grizzly comes out of the brush at dawn, and you can't freeze the bear, all the FPS and buffer in the world is worthless. That's my problem with the 7D.


I guess it depends on how you use your equipment. In the case of Canon sensors, once you reach high ISO settings, read noise is 3e- or less. At ISO 3200, the 7D read noise is 2.8e-, which is actually a little better than at ISO 6400. With so little read noise, you have a lot more freedom to push exposure around in post, and you don't run the risk of encountering any banding noise, as that usually disappears entirely by ISO 1600. If I want to shoot at higher ISO settings with the 7D, all I really need to do is increase shutter speed, and increase exposure by however many stops in post. The outcome is effectively the same thing as using a higher ISO setting...visually, noise isn't any different. (In fact, this was pretty much the case with my Night Heron at Night shot.)

So if I need it, I still have both FPS and and high ISO...it's just that the ISO in camera is 3200, my shutter is faster so the images look underexposed without further processing, and I have to boost exposure in post by a stop or two to actually achieve ISO 6400 or 12800 (or even 25600 if I REALLY needed it...although by that level, the 7D's small pixels are going to be true IQ-killing factors...even with my post-processing techniques... :P)

Full frame will take you into another category of "light sucking". Even more so if you can slap on an F4 of F2.8 lens. You can be shooting well after the 7D is retired for the evening. Now, some may say you really should only shoot in the best light, but these people have never traveled 2,000 miles to film rare grizzly bears. The grizzlies choose the light, not you. So you take what you can get. And in this situation, the full frame sensitivity will buy you more chances than a few extra FPS.


In the case of traveling 2000 miles to film rare grizzly bears, I honestly have to say the 6D wouldn't be my choice. It would be a 5D III at least. If I was traveling that far to film and photograph bears, I'd probably be renting a 1D X. But I certainly wouldn't be using a 6D. So yes, I agree FF has the low-light touch, not denying that at all.

If we are talking about making legitimate arguments, I am specifically saying the 6D, even with it's light sensitivity, doesn't offer me anything even remotely compelling enough to use it as a wildlife camera. I would certainly take what I can get...with a rented 1D X if the only options were buy a 6D or rent a 1D X. ;)

In Montana, during the white-tail rut and bighorn rut, it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. and light at 8: a.m. The sky is often cloudy. The 7D does a mediocre job in these conditions, which is why the people I shoot with have migrated to full frame.


If I lived in Montana, I'd be using FF as well. Still, it would be a 5D III or 1D X...not a 6D. The argument I'm making is quite specifically in regards to the use of the 6D as a wildlifers body...it isn't. It may have good high ISO performance...but it just isn't an action body. Maybe I've been spoiled by a high frame rate. It's possible. I would probably still want to be stuck with my 7D, and most certainly a 7D II, and employ my underexposure+virtual ISO tricks with ISO 3200 and post-process exposure boosting, than take a 6D along with me on any wildlife trip (even if it's just to my "backyard" here in Colorado). 

Anyway, cool shots. Thanks for sharing. I would be rude not to share my own now. ;)  Here's one from last December in the Montana wilderness with the 6D, at dusk and very poor light. Wild bighorn can be quite tricky.




The ram is a beauty! Love how he's bleeting. :D I've tried to photograph bighorn on a couple occasions up Waterton Canyon. I've never captured anything I felt was a keeper. People always tell me they come down to the trail level from higher up in the mountains and that you can sometimes even give em a pet, but every time I am up there, they are way up the slope, jumping about amongst the rocks and brambles...they never really "show" themselves. At some point I'll head up there again...it's a long way, though...6.5 miles one way, so a 13 mile round trip...and you can only hike in or ride a bike...bleh.

1019
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 7D Mark II in Q2? [CR1]
« on: February 03, 2014, 03:31:45 AM »
Even when the ungulates come out "late", that is still usually before sunset, and even around sunset, the current 7D is still a superior tool than the 6D.


I'd disagree there. The 7D sat in my bag for my 6D for just that reason.


:D Well, disagree all you want. However, if we are going to go by empirical evidence, try this. All of these shots were taken during the day, in anywhere from bright daylight to evening sun to gloomy overcast:










Sorry for the number of images...but I wanted to make as strong a point as possible, and the more examples the better: I've never had trouble finding wildlife during the day! They far more frequently seem curious of me when I'm "hunting" than afraid, probably because I wear camo and know how to move. The only times they run away is when I get too close...however with a 600mm lens on a cropped sensor, you really can't even GET that close and still be able to get the shot. All of the images above were taken with the Canon 7D and either the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens (@ 400/5.6) or the 600mm f/4 L II lens. All were taken over the last 8 months.

I stand by my assertion that wildlife never being out, about, and active during daylight hours is a myth. It's harder to find your "prey" for sure, but it is very far from impossible. It just takes a little practice and skill, like any other aspect of photography.

Animals are always out and about, for one reason or another. Or, in many cases, they may not be "about"...but you can still find them in interesting settings. A year or so ago, during early summer, I found a large group of bucks in Cherry Creek chewing cud in the waist-deep grass of a meadow, only their antlers were visible. (Not sure where the images are right now...looks like I may have never published them.) I was able to get within about 10 feet for some great shots...not even one of them seemed concerned I was there. I actually ended up making a few clicking and kissing noises to get them to be a little more interesting after I'd sat there for 10 minutes. They weren't even phased by that, and it was over a half hour before they finally decided to get up. They were momentarily startled when they first noticed some "creature" only 10 feet away, but after that they were merely curious (especially the younger ones...older bucks tend to take a single yearling under their wing the first year after their birth during non-rut moths.) They meandered on without running away after a few minutes of curious observation of the photographer, and gave me a whole bunch more interesting shots.

I'd personally take a 7D or a 7D II any day over a 6D. Not because the 6D isn't a good camera, it's great. But when it comes to any kind of action, I want at least 6fps, no less. The 6Ds 4.5fps is only marginally faster than  my 450D (first DSLR)...too many lost frames with such low frame rates. Even at 6fps, you just don't always get the best moment. And I can't stress enough the value of an all-cross type 19pt AF system. I frequently shoot with off-center AF points for composition. It works well enough, even in poor light with the 100-400, that it gives the 7D that extra leg up over the 6D. So it isn't just fps, it is both fps and AF that make the 7D the more useful camera.

If it came down to the 7D II and the 5D III, it would be a tougher call. The AF of the 5D III is so good that the loss in frame rate doesn't hurt as much. The 7D AF system is better than the 6D's no question, but under extended use it does reveal a "jitter" as I call it...an inability to maintain ideal focus frame-to-frame. That often eats away at printable keepers. For web keepers, the 8fps reigns supreme, and there is no way a 6D could compare. I'd buy a 1D X if I could afford it, however if I had to choose between the 7D, 6D, and 5D III, it would be a 5D III first, 7D a very close second (and probably as a backup body regardless), and a 6D third. I suspect a 7D II will make it that much harder to choose between a 5D III and a 7D II...in particular if it has a better AF system and a higher frame rate (61pt or 41pt and 10fps would be absolutely KILLER!)

Oh, and sorry for this, but here are a couple more examples. I just have to respond to this:



Now, is it a great image? No. But the 7D couldn't do it in RAW, and that's the point.

If someone said to me, "I want to shoot ungulates and bears, should I get the $1999 7D II or the 6D?" I would absolutely steer them towards the 6D.



Actually, it's a pretty good image! I wouldn't discount it. Now, the 7D certainly can't do 12800, however it can do ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 and even beyond with post-process edits, and the results can be excellent:


Taken a short while after sunset (diffuse light due to patchy clouds):
ISO 3200, 1/100th f/5.6 Lifted +1/2 stop in post plus additional shadow lifts.
Effective ISO: ~5000


Taken well after sunset (I could barely see the bird with my eyes, almost pitch dark):
ISO 3200, 1/6th second f/4. Lifted ~ +1 1/3rd stop in post including shadow lifts.
Effective ISO: ~8500

The latter shot was quite a feat, however both were pretty dark scenes to my own eyes. I already had the camera set on ISO 3200 and forgot to adjust it for the bird shot, because I was more concerned about keeping everything stable. Even with a tripod, a 1/6th second shot of a bird without getting motion blur required a very careful hand. ISO 6400 would have only gotten me 1/10th of a second, which wouldn't have changed the other factors. The bird, a heron, thankfully stood entirely motionless the entire time. For an effective ISO 8500 shot, it is pretty darn good for the 7D and shows its metal. Given the shutter speed, and the fact that it really was NIGHT...you could see the faintest glow of deep red on the clouds over the mountains (which were behind me), but other than that, there wasn't any real available light that I could see...this easily compares to your ISO 12800 shot.

1020
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: February 03, 2014, 01:32:02 AM »
I hope it's not inappropriate, but my last astro effort (and my only one recently) was the following. California Nebula, suburban/semi-rural site, UHC filter. I've been repeatedly astounded how bright this is in ultra widefield (~14mm) shots, so I decided to go closer. But no flats, which seem to disagree with this lens (pity), and no darks cos I forgot. Still...

Nice shot. It looks a little overprocessed...saturation is a bit harsh, and the stars have that funky halo around them. I'd pull back on the processing a bit, reduce saturation...and that would actually probably help bring out more subtlety in nebula detail.

Out of curiosity, how long was the exposure?

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