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Messages - jrista

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EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: January 21, 2014, 05:14:48 PM »
A lithium ion battery out of a Dreamliner ... That wouldn´t be very reliable, would it?  ::)

You would only run the low risk of bursting into flames, it'll be ok. And worth it, for 0.01e- read noise. :P

I do suspect, however, that viable fuel cells the size of current batteries will arrive soon enough. And provide much more power. They will probably cost a good bit more than the average battery, but such is the price of progress, I guess...

Fuel mean those that use natural gas?  Or what type of fuel cell are you referring to? 

The only time (so far) that I have been able to visit CA...I traveled with my brother to silicon valley, to check out a fuel cell that was about to be purchased by the university my brother worked for at the time.  Funds for this purchase came from various places (some public).  I think they paid a total of $8 million.  It was spec'ed to produce only 4000 to 5000 watts...but for the brief weeks it actually worked at all, it produced about half that.  It is now gathering dust, does not work at all.

A fuel cell is simply an energy cell that produces energy by controlled chemical reaction. Technically speaking, batteries are a type of fuel cell, albeit ones that do not produce much energy. Basic fuel cells generally oxidize hydrogen with oxygen in some controlled chemical process that ultimately produces water (the reaction is obviously not direct, otherwise that would likely cause an explosion), which is an energy-producing reaction that can produce a lot more energy than your average battery.

Theoretically fuel cells can be remarkably efficient, especially when waste heat energy is reemployed, reaching the 85-90% efficiency mark. Even if the kind of fuel cells that might be employed in DSLRs only reached the 50-60% efficiency range, they can still produce more power than a battery. Fuel cells are an area of pretty intense research, and many fuel cells exist that function quite well. High temperature fuel cells have been known to reach as high as 83% efficiency when recycling and reusing heat waste.

Also theoretically, since a fuel cell functions by combining hydrogen and oxygen...they can be "refueled" with water which is then split into hydrogen atoms and oxygen via electrolysis. A well built fuel cell could last for a very long time, and be repeatedly recharged with an external device and clean water.

Now, this is all theory. There have been some applications. Fuel cells have been used in laptops in recent years. Apple is considering powering future macbooks with fuel cells. Fuel cells are being used more frequently in Europe to power all kinds of things. I don't think we will see a rechargeable hydrogen fuel cell any time soon, but I do think that at some point, fuel cells will probably become the standard means of powering larger cameras.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 12:37:24 AM »
A few from my recent trip to Hokkaido... My first time photographing birds actually.

Excellent shots for your first time! Lucky shots! Got any gear info and exposure settings?

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 12:22:23 AM »
Sturm und Drang.  Went out to look for hawks today and found this very athletic Red Tail doing an aerobatic maneuver.

5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 500, M mode, 1/1250 @ f6.3.

Wow, excellent shot with excellent quality! It's good to see some people using the 400 DO for BIF. Lot of people complain about the possible (but not always extant) "diffraction glow" that can be caused by the diffraction grating, but I've seen some shots taken with it, like this one, that show it can be critically sharp when used properly.

I hope Canon keeps pursuing DO technology. If they can figure out particle dispersion DO, they could have a real winner on their hands with an EF 600mm f/4 DO IS lens that is even smaller and lighter than the EF 600mm f/4 L IS II.

Canon General / Re: Why Scott Kelby Switched to Canon
« on: January 21, 2014, 12:09:00 AM »
And just maybe he has a little advanced notice of what is coming down the road in a private meeting. Who knows? Maybe 45+ to 75 MP are not just a rumor.

This is very optimistic, but could be very much true following Kelby's move. If Canon does have plans producing a new sensor with more DR and megapixels, they'll benefit more from testers that stayed with Nikon due to those features.
I was told by a Canon dealer that there was a 75MP body under field test. It was eating  batteries like a kid M&M's. Is that true. I have no clue. I'd like to believe it. What's a few extra batteries for the best IQ in the land? If indeed it turns out true there will be some restless nights in the land of medium format 80MP bodies and backs that sold for 40k+ with very limited lens coverage.

I don't see why a 75mp sensor would "eat batteries". The power required to read out the sensor is minimal, a fraction of what is required to drive the lens, and still quite a bit less than what is required to move the mirror and actuate the shutter. There is more data to transfer, but assuming Canon has updated DIGIC accordingly, it should be able to process faster at lower power than DIGIC 5+, so I still don't think the increase in megapixel count is going to result in such a massive increase in power usage as to "eat batteries".

If Canon has made some significant strides in IQ, a 75mp FF could be rather compelling for studio shooters and other MFD users who don't want to spend tens of thousands on a true medium format system. An 80mp 60mmx40mm sensor, however, is going to have much larger pixels than a 75mp FF. Even though there is no indication that MFD sensors are getting technologically better, the larger pixel area is still going to be it's most significant advantage, resulting in higher SNR and lower noise. That will always be true, regardless of megapixel count, assuming parity between the two formats. A 100mp FF will always have worse SNR/noise than a 100mp MFD, a 250mp FF will always have worse SNR/noise than a 250mp MFD, etc.

The DSLR's strength, at least in competition with MFD, will never be the sensor. MFD will always have the better sensor. Even when pixel sizes are the same, MFD will have so many more of them that it is still going to do better overall, despite the fact that DSLR may have a potential lead in photographic DR (that will close the gap, but it will probably never be enough to overcome the sheer megapixel lead that MFD will always be able to offer.) The DSLR's strength is in all the OTHER features. The same OTHER features that make Canon's 1D X and 5D III better cameras than Nikon counterparts: AF unit, frame rate, ergonomics.

MFD cameras are studio parts. They excel at lower ISO and slower speeds. DSLR's trounce MFD when it comes to high ISO, high speed action photography, AF tracking and realtime metering/subject identification, and frame rate. These are the things that a majority of photographers need and use, which is why DSLR manufacturers have capitalized on their continual improvement. It's also these things that anyone would switch. Nikon users don't jump the D800 ship because Canon has better sensors...they jump ship because they want the 5D III AF system and Canon lenses. They ditch the D4 and move to the 1D X because the AF system, frame rate, and high ISO IQ are faster, more consistent, and better, despite the fact that the D4 has the edge at low ISO.

Canon General / Re: Why Scott Kelby Switched to Canon
« on: January 20, 2014, 10:05:28 PM »
And failed to mention one thing he'd bring over from Nikon other than the shutter feel.... the dynamic range difference at low ISO where the Nikon actually is much better. So then you start thinking about all the money dangling above his head again.

It's quite possible that Nikon's dynamic range at low ISO makes no difference to Scott Kelby.  It makes no difference to me at all.

Yes that is certainly quite possible, but what is suspect is that he makes a big deal about a high iso improvement compared to his D4 which doesn't actually exist while ignoring a low ISO improvement that is there. Not suspect would have been to mention that the loss of low ISO DR alone or to have mentioned nothing about the sensors whatsoever (high iso is the same for D4 and 1DX pretty much and if he doesn't care about the low ISO DR he doesn't care).

It's certainly quite possibly he did end up liking the 1DX better than his D4 no doubt at all (although whether he would have put out tens of thousands of his own to add a top sports level Canon setup to his arsenal is less certain), but with all the sponsorship you can be sure it will be tougher for him to bring up any negative points about Canon (as the high ISO/low ISO thing hints at), it's just natural for it to be a bit tougher when people are being nice and giving you this and that.

The high ISO difference doesn't exist on paper, or in artificial tests.

Read my previous response to you...I provided some links with visual evidence that there IS a difference between the D4 and 1D X at high ISO, giving a clear edge to the 1D X. The key is that the 1D X has less apparent color noise, especially in the quite a visible margin. The D4 at anything over 12800 is doing a digital boost, so it's lifting read noise along with everything else, so more color noise is expected. The 1D X, on the other hand, is doing amplification at the pixel before readout up to ISO 51200, so only ISO 102400 and 204800 are doing a digital boost and lifting read noise. This real-world difference has a meaningful impact on real and perceived IQ at very high ISO settings.

Artificial tests and paper specs don't tell you everything. ;)

Have any of you considered refilling your own ink cartridges?  It's simple to do, a very cost effective way to print and is cheaper than you'd think.

Also, check out this Printer site.  So much knowledge over there about all that has been asked in this thread.

Note:  If any of you have the Pixma Pro 100 and have used cartridges, let me know..

You don't want to use third-party refill ink. It is not color compatible, meaning that if you use standard Canon ICC profiles for the paper types you print on, the color will NOT look correct. You wouldn't know there was any difference looking at just the pigment colors themselves in the tanks...but they ARE different enough that they will throw off color balance.

You can solve this problem by generating your own color profiles. A few hundred bucks in equipment, and as much as a thousand dollars in paper and inks, will usually be sufficient to allow you to create decent-quality ICC profiles for your new inks on the variety of papers you use most.

The only way to maintain proper color-correct workflow and ICM for the default ICC profiles created by most paper manufacturers is to stick with official Canon inks.

Okay, so here's the thing...  I have a Pixma Pro9000 II, which I have been using for about two years now, and for the same two years I have been repeatedly and increasingly frustrated with its ink usage until I have to hold myself back from throwing the POS out of the window (such as today). 

I KNOW I put in brand new cartridges a month ago, and in this interval, I printed maybe 50 black and white pages of text at low quality, and maybe a handful of photos.  Now this thing is telling me I'm out of cyan and magenta.  WTF?!  All other ink levels are more or less full.

Now look, I did not print a handful of cyan and magenta posters this month.  We're talking 4x6 balanced exposures here.  This sort of random ink depletion happens with other random colors too.  In fact, I don't even need to print to see the ink levels drop before my eyes.  All I have to do is turn the printer on and off, and the ink is visibly lower than seconds prior! Some drop, while others remain.  Tomorrow, when I turn in on, it's probably going to tell me that I'm running low on red, although today it's full.

It costs me around $80 to fill this piece of sheisse up with ink each time, so I'm sure you understand my frustration. 

Based on my observations, I have arrived at the following hypotheses:
1.  Every time the printer does its stupid buzzing and clicking cleaning cycle, it actually sprays geysers of color like Ron Jeremy after eating a kilo of Skittles.
2.  My printer heads may dry out periodically because of low humidity or something, and the printer decides to flush the contents of its cartridges to get anything through.
3.  The ink evaporates.
4.  Canon deliberately programmed this thing to engage in ink wasting cycles other than printing my photography or timed the cartridges to deplete after a certain period of time.

I'm curious if anyone in this community has ever experienced anything of the sort, and what you have done to remedy this.

You have to print on a very regular basis to get the most out of your ink cartridges. On both Canon and Epson ink jets, if you don't print for a couple of weeks, one of two things WILL happen:

 1. The printer will perform a small amount of automatic ink consumption to keep it flowing.
 2. The ink will dry out, clog either the cartridge, the ink head, or both.

"I KNOW I put in brand new cartridges a month ago, and in this interval, I printed maybe 50 black and white pages of text at low quality, and maybe a handful of photos."

^^ THIS ^^ is your problem: "a handful of photos". If you don't print for a while, or print enough often enough, at the very least some ink will be consumed if you have the printer configured to prevent drying (which is usually an option on the higher end models.) Even if you let the printer do it's think to keep ink flowing, if you don't print for long enough (which can be as short as two weeks), the ink WILL start to dry. This is more of a problem with pigments than dyes, but it can happen with both.

A dry ink cartridge will sometimes trigger a change in the tanks chip that makes it tell the printer that it's empty, when it isn't. If that happens, the tank is well and truly gone, dried like a bone. If that doesn't happen, but you are missing a color in your prints, you can try running a couple cleaning cycles to see if that will clear any blockage. Maybe 40% of the time, you can clear up blockage in a dried tank or ink head. Usually, though, once they dry, whether they register as empty or not, they need replacing (again, more so the case with pigments.) Keep in mind that if you do run a couple cleaning cycles, your going to drain ink from that whole bank of tanks. Sometimes it's actually cheaper to just replace the one tank, instead of ending up having to replace five of them.

Also, keep in mind that different color ink is susceptible to drying in different time frames. On my PIXMA Pro9500 II, yellow and magenta tend to dry out quicker than other colors. Gray seems to "seep" more than other colors. The only means I have to combat the issue is to keep printing, so I get my money's worth out of those very expensive 14ml ink tanks. I would also point out that dye inks are pretty runny, and they stay that way so long as they are in solution. Dye is particles suspended in a thinner, where as pigments are emulsions. Dye ink tanks can indeed bleed like a son of a gun if they are not handled properly. You should never pinch a die or pigment ink tank from the sides...even the slightest pressure on a Canon dye tank will result in a significant amount of ink squirting all over the place. I just put some tanks into my MX922, and on one of them, just a little bit of shaking and gravity resulted in two relatively large drops leaking out, ruining my shirt and staining my floor. This is one of the reasons I went with the Pro9500 II, rather than the 9000 II...pigments are a lot easier to handle, and don't squirt out of the tank at all in any circumstance.

Just keep printing. If you have no reason to print, then you might find that a cheaper printer with cheaper ink tanks is more conducive to your needs.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 20, 2014, 09:39:05 PM »
If you saw how many of these kind of stumps are around here you'd be calling for one.  The poplars get old, the woodpeckers drill them and then the wind takes the top off leaving what I have, usually with holes in the lower section.

All my "natural" shooting was done by the pond where these stumps abound and now I know - go there and force suet into the holes!  But that's for spring, well maybe not, but then they won't come to my deck. :(


Black Oil Sunflower Seed. That's all you need. You'll attract pretty much everything. You can smell that stuff through the plastic bag, it's so potent. It'll attract birds right to wherever you want them from miles around. Especially the chickadees, though...they LOOOOOVE the sunflower seed!

Thanks a lot, guys. I really appreciate your input. I'll go with the lighter pattern then (white or Realtree AP Snow).

I use the regular RealTree on my 600/4 II. It's a lightish brown color. I've never had any problems, even in sunlight. The lens tends to stay pretty cool. You don't have to go with a white color if that doesn't really help you...I would just stay away from black.

The "X" is perfectly normal, that's just how the demosaicing software interprets it when a green pixel goes. In DPP when first loading a picture they start out as green dots and then turn into the little x's.

In LR, they start out as green, red, or blue pixels with a white halo...then they disappear. I think LR has automatic code that deals with obvious hot pixels. Which is why I wanted Gas am to send his RAW images through ACR or LR, to see what happened. DPP uses a much more primitive demosaicing algorithm than ACR/LR, I don't really think it does much of anything advanced at all. I highly suspect any iPad apps would be the same.

I would bet that the hot pixel problem largely deals with itself if he would just run the RAWs through LR.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 20, 2014, 08:24:38 PM »
Wow Jon, you never cease to amaze me!  ;) I'll place the order with my wife right away.

My new prop will have an old office chair base with a ring cup welded above kind of like a Christmas tree holder with set screws and since the ring is very sturdy it'll get various attachments around it so that it can receive small trees, branches, etc.

I guess you could say this beats nothing, which is what I was getting before, this winter.  Walking in the snow there's so little to shoot around here.

Almost got focus on this guy.


Based on your latest shot, you could probably put sunflower and safflower seed in the top of that stump, and attract tons of birds. I would also drill some small holes just slightly to the back side from the side that faces your camera along the vertical part of the stump. Drill them a couple inches deep, and pack in some suet made out of nuts. You can usually find it under the name "Woodpecker's Treat" or something similar. That should attract a good variety of woodpeckers, and they perch superbly right on the side of the stump, so you have them in the perfect position for a great photograph. They will peck at the suet a bit, then they will look out, directly at you, and that's the moment you take the shot. Sometimes, they will just lightly tap their bill against the wood, or even rest it against the wood, and that makes for some good shots as well.

I did this with my setup recently, however I was in the middle of setting it up when all the birds came. I didn't actually get everything situated properly, so I wasn't able to get any good shots (in almost every one, one of my suet cages was in the frame, and I just hate having man-made things in my bird photos.) Sadly, that seemed to be the one day all the birds were around. I've only had a few finches and a couple chickadees since, and they don't seem too interested in my setup at the moment. I'm hoping the woodpeckers come back soon enough, though...the Downy Woodpecker that was here on that day made some perfect poses on the side of my little stump.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 20, 2014, 07:49:12 PM »
Trick shot of the day.  Still having trouble getting new models.  What should I offer them?

6D 300 F2.8  1000th F 8 ISO 640

Working on some new props tonight.


Black Oil Sunflower Seed. Its like catnip for birds (well, most songbirds, lot of woodpeckers, and a variety of other "backyard" species.)

The sunflower seed is the initial attractant. It has a very clear smell, which can sit on the wind for miles. After that, you want red and white millet, nyjer, safflower, peanuts, and berries.

Keeping suet in some cages near or on your perches, especially suet with lots of nuts, will help attract woodpeckers. (Best to actually drill some holes in that main log of your setup, and fill them with suet...woodpeckers LOVE that, and they will perch perfectly and naturally while they guzzle it down.)

Nyjer seed is great for finch, purple finch, goldfinch, etc. You can even get a variety of dried thistles, fill the back side of them with Nyjer to attract finches right to them, and get some great shots.

Safflower is like Chickadee candy. They LOVE Nyjer, and will usually snatch a kernel, then peck at it while clinging to a small branch. The sit still for quite a while, and frequently poke their heads up for ideal shots. Juncos love safflower as well, however Juncos are ground feeders. You will probably want a platform feeder with a cover and a small hole underneath your setup (preferably some local bush and tree branches clipped or strapped to some tripods), so that the birds will have a place to "queue up" on sightly perches while they wait their turn at the seed on the tray.

Chickadees will eat peanuts, or at least peck away parts of peanuts. Peanuts, especially whole peanuts in their shells are especially loved by the jays. Blue, Scrub, and Stellar's Jays just LOVE whole peanuts, and will grab them, then fly off and hide them for later. Jays also like whole corn kernels, and will even eat them right off dried corn on the cob if it is easy to get at. Juncos seem to have a particular fondness for cracked corn pieces as well.

Fruit and berries are great attractants for things like waxwings, oreols, etc. Oranges are great for oreols, they will peck away at whole slices even. Waxwings like berries on the bush, small crab apples in the tree. I don't get any of them in my yard, as they are more of a northern resident (they are boreal birds, so they spend the vast majority of their time in the north.) Waxwings will guzzle down berries buy tossing them into the air and catching them in their throats, so if you actually have bushes that grow berries (or small crab apple trees) they like in your yard, that is most ideal. Cedar Waxwings are particularly fond of Redcedar (juniper) berries.

Some birds like bluebirds and in some cases chickadees and tits are very fond of grubs. Sometimes they will happily eat freezdried mealworms, however most of the time they prefer the live thing.

I don't know what other birds you may have in your area. Best to pick up a bird guide and do some research, figure out what kinds of birds are around and what they eat.

Thank you, Surapon! So, Ive contacted B&H and Adorama regarding the black Lenscoat cover. Below are their answers and I want to share them with all other people, who may have similar questions in the future.

B&H: To our knowledge, using Lenscoat (particular the black version) on your Canon 200mm f2.0 would not have any effect on the performance of the lens.
Adorama: You do not need to worry about the temperature part for the Lenscoat. The product itself is perfectly fine with the exception of high-temperature like fire or anything.

I would indeed be wary of getting black for the lenscoat of any Canon great white lens, the 200mm f/2 included. Even on cooler days under a clear, a BIG black lens can soak up quite a bit of heat energy. There are times during spring and fall when I'd let go of my camera for a bit and just watch the wildlife, then pick up the camera again and it was burning hot to the touch. The air didn't feel much more than mildly warm, but the black body of the camera REALLY soaked up the heat. I am extremely thankful that my big 600mm f/4 is white...otherwise, I'd constantly worry about how the considerable heat absorption would affect performance, or even affect construction.

Beautiful shots, Canuck! Love the alpenglow...such an amazing natural effect. The 6D is an awesome landscape camera, especially with that Voigtlander 20mm.

Canon General / Re: Why Scott Kelby Switched to Canon
« on: January 20, 2014, 05:43:50 PM »
He sounded somewhat believable until he started going on about the amazing high ISO performance. I mean yeah the 1DX high ISO is very good.... BUT so is the D4 that he has! The 1DX high ISO is no better at all than his D4 and the 5D3 high ISO is worse than the D4 high ISO (although the extra MP on the 5D3 helps a bit in some ways). And failed to mention one thing he'd bring over from Nikon other than the shutter feel.... the dynamic range difference at low ISO where the Nikon actually is much better. So then you start thinking about all the money dangling above his head again.

I do like Canon's UI a lot better myself though.

Based on DXO tests (i.e. "on paper"), no, the 1D X high ISO is theoretically the same as the D4. However, from a visual standpoint, I've seen ISO 16000 images and even some ISO 51200 sports images from a 1D X that simply blow me away...similar images from the D4 just don't engender the same feeling of low noise and clean quality. The D4 also actually tops out at native ISO 12800, beyond which you can only select full stops with "expanded" modes. ISOs above 12800 on the D4 (and pretty much any other Nikon camera that supports expanded ISO above 12800) feel a bit "gritty." The 1D X offers full native third-stop ISO capability right up to ISO 51200, and its third stops are very clean. You have the option of using the cleanest ISO options above 12800 with the 1D X, where as you can only use 25600 (H1), 51200 (H2), 102400 (H3), and 204800 (H4) on the D4...that is a factor that cannot be overlooked, as you can always use say ISO 16000 or ISO 20000 instead of 25600 when you need more than 12800, and get lower noise results. (Same goes for ISO 3200 and 40000.)

From what I can tell, the D4 suffers a little higher chroma noise (which isn't surprising, since its expanded ISOs are a digital push of ISO noise is getting amplified). The 1D X has lower chroma noise up through ISO 51200 (particularly in the blacks...chroma noise in the lower tones on the 1D X is very good, but it is quite visible on the D4. See here for an example: Luma noise is easy to clean up, where as cleaning excessive color noise can leave a bit of blotchiness behind. I've seen a number of bird photos from ISO 16000 and on taken with the 1D X, including a few ISO 51200 shots (couple shots of some geese...they were amazing, if I can find the link). The results have always been astonishing, very clean, crisp, good color fidelity.

Here are some more examples of the 1D X edge at high ISO:

Artificial tests don't tell you everything. On paper, the two cameras might as well be identical. In practice, chroma noise at higher ISO settings on the D4 start eating away at detail in the shadows, where as chroma noise is quite low in the shadows with the 1D X. As a result, high ISO photos taken with the 1D X are remarkably clean and usable. An excellent example would be the NY Manhatten Island photo taken with a 1D X at ISO 25600 at night during Hurricane Sandy:

(See large version for best example of the noise quality here:

I'm still waiting to see a comparable photo like this taken with a D4. I just don't think it would have performed as well...not with it's chroma noise.

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