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Messages - jrista

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1456
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent
« on: December 12, 2013, 11:51:45 AM »
I keep wondering what is going to happen in the future with dual-pixel technology. They have the ability to read both sides of the pixel seperately, I wonder how much work it would be to set the two sides to different ISO values, read them both, and combine the values for greatly expanded DR.

This would obviously require more computing power than just reading the sensor would, but comments out of Canon about the greater computational needs of future cameras ties in with this... I am really curious to see what happens with the 7D2..... It should be dual-pixel and dual processor (Digic6 or even 6+????) so it will be able to do a lot more computing than a 70D. The next year or so could be interesting.

They wouldn't need to bother with the dual-pixel approach with this patent. They simply read "the pixel" (regardless of whether it is a single photodiode, or two/four binned, whatever) with two different gain levels (different ISO settings, done simultaneously on different signals). This patent offers a much better way to solve the problem without resorting to "hackish" approaches like what ML did, or like what you suggest with reading one half the pixel at one ISO and the other half at another ISO (which wouldn't be nearly as good, since each half pixel is only getting half the light, so the half-reads would already be at a disadvantage large enough to completely eliminate any gains you might make with the dual-read process in the first place.)

Even better than simply reading half pixels at different ISO settings, this patent reads each pixel twice simultanesously at different gain levels, while also bringing the ADC on-die and column-parallelizing them, allowing them to run at a lower frequency, thus reducing their potential to add downstream noise. With column-parallel ADC, they could do what Sony Exmor does...per-column read tuning to eliminate vertical banding. It also brings in the benefit of shipping image data off the sensor in an error-correctable digital form, eliminating the chance that the data picks up even further noise as it travels along a high frequency bus and through a high frequency DIGIC chip. This patent would single-handedly solve a LOT of Canon's noise problems.

The only real difference between Canon's Dual-Scale CP-ADC patent and Exmor's is that Exmor uses digital CDS and digital amplification (basically, it is an entirely digital pipeline)...I see no mention of Canon's patent referring to digital data processing on-die. There are theoretically pros and cons to both digital and analog readout, so only time will tell (assuming Canon actually IMPLEMENTS this design sometime soon) whether Canon's approach produces results that are as good as Exmor or not. Sometimes it is easier, and more accurate/precise, to apply certain kinds of processing and filtering on an analog signal rather than digital bits.

1457
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: December 11, 2013, 10:21:42 AM »
Tried another stack tonight. This time, I used an 840mm f/5.6 lens to capture 50x0.6s shots at ISO 4000. Stacked them in a hybrid manner:

  • Align in Photoshop (difference method)
  • Convert batches of 10 layers into Smart Objects (5x smart objects total)
  • Set Stacking Mode for each smart object to Median
  • Set blending mode for top 4 smart objects to Linear Dodge Add
  • Ramped the opacity for each smart object: 100%, 85%, 70%, 55%, 40%
  • Applied adjustment layers to bring out dust detail, tweak color, etc.
  • Flattened, unsharp masked, cropped, resized, exported.

Stacking 10 frames into smart objects with median blending resulted in amazingly low noise. Tweaking color and whatnot brought some of that noise back out, but it was still far lower than I've ever had with non-tracked deep sky astro before.

1458
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent
« on: December 11, 2013, 04:09:45 AM »
Very interesting, but recently you had said that if Canon relies on dual ISO, that's only a bandaid, and might not yield enough of a DR increase, at least with the combined benefit of a lower noise floor.  Obviously you meant more akin to what ML did, rather than starting from quasi-scratch, as this link hints at.

Using the existing downstream amplifier on half the pixels, which is what ML is doing, is a bandaid (and not ideal, as it costs you in resolution). What Canon has patented here is MUCH better...the way I would expect it to be done. Since they are reading the sensor with two different gain levels, I really don't see why there would be any reasonable limits on DR for the foreseeable future...ML is only limited to 14 stops because the ADC is 14-bit. Technically, the potential for very scalable DR is there in Canon's patent (assuming I've understood it correctly, that is.)

It seems to me there will be a lot of lossless compression necessary for the large RAW files (and a lot of processing power).  Also though, does this not make it likely, that the 2014 1-series camera, assuming it's in the 40MP range, may not use the above process?  If so, it might just "only" have 14 bit RAW capability.  I too was hoping it was actually going to be 16 bit, whether it actually got much over 14 stops of "real" DR or not.  That would really be something, if Canon just suddenly introduced a camera that could actually do 16 stops.

Are you planning on buying the new camera, early on?

Agreed, normally a RAW file will have lossless compression. Still, a gigabit of information is a lot...you can't compress the read stream, really...you have to process it all in order to compress the output file. So, while from a storage space standpoint it wouldn't be all that bad, from an image processing standpoint...you would need much faster processors.

Canon, or someone, mentioned around a year ago, maybe not quite that long, that Canon might push a bit depth increase with the Big MP camera. Who knows if that is the case, it was a CR1, but still, interesting nevertheless. I can't imagine anyone pushing bit depth until there is a definitive reason to do so. For all of DXO's claims about the Nikon D800 and D600 offering more than 14 stops of DR, they are talking about downscaled output images. The native DR of the hardware itself is still less than 14 stops...13.2 for the D800 IIRC.

That's with 3e- of read noise...which is INSANELY LOW (usually, you don't see that kind of read noise until you start peltier cooling sensors to sub-freezing temperatures). There are a few new ideas floating about regarding how to reduce read noise. There have been a number of patents and other things floating around lately about "black silicon", a structural modification of silicon that gives it an extremely low reflectivity index, which supports a natural read noise level of around 2e- and some of the best low light sensitivity known, and it is being researched for use in extreme low light security cameras that can see by starlight (which blows my mind.) Theoretically, this can greatly improve DR at what would be high ISO settings.

Canon's approach with dual scaling is potentially another way to get a lot more average dynamic range at low or high ISO out of a single read by using two separate signals with different gain and sampling (I guess) to effectively do a low ISO and high ISO read at the same time for each pixel, and blend the results together using on-die CP-ADC.

As for new cameras...all that is on hold until I can get my business started and start making some money again. I don't have any plans to purchase anything at the moment, outside of possibly a 5D III if the price is right. I certainly won't be buying a 1D MPM (megapixel monster) any time soon if it hits with a price over $5k. Besides, I like to wait and see how things settle first...I am still interested in the 7D II, and want to wait for both cameras to hit the street and demonstrate their real-world performance before I make a decision.

1459
Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 11, 2013, 03:09:24 AM »
I certainly agree on the atmospheric effects of birds at a distance, especially at or above 800mm.
Certainly birders who shoot in bright conditions aren’t going to complain about a 300-600 f/5.6 lens with a 1.4x TC built in.  But are they the primary customer for such a lens?  If so, are there enough of them to justify building the lens?  It seems to me, the primary use for all the big whites, is professional sports photography.  So again, that use case is what I am questioning.  Perhaps this is meant to be a pro snow skiing lens, in which case I guess it's not a coincidence that there is an upcoming winter Olympics.

I think that birders are probably primary customers of the 500/4 and 600/4, along with the 1.4x and 2x TCs. (And, I would bet, if Canon ever made a 1.7x TC, birders would be ALL OVER it! :P)

I think the 300-600/5.6 TC  would be a sports/olympics lens. I can see it being awesome for Olympic ski games. Maybe a wildlifers lens...but in my own experience, I find myself liking ~400mm better for wildlife than 600mm or higher. The times when I need the longest focal lengths possible are small shorebirds and small songbirds wading or perching or otherwise doing non-flight activity. For flight activity, I'd much prefer the 300/2.8, along with a 1.4x TC at times. That would basically be my ideal BIF and wildlife lens.

It may also be a lens that is catered slightly more to DSLR cinematographers. Since Canon's DPAF can focus at f/11, and high ISO is getting so clean on Canon cameras now, it could very well be that this is some kind of stopgap supertele cine+stills lens. Since future video photographers won't necessarily need a focus puller, with DPAF doing the job for them, the aperture wouldn't actually matter (and from the couple people I know who do a lot of video, they HATE narrow DOF! They are happy to take deeper DOF so long as their backgrounds keep that nice blurry cinematic look...which should be a synch with a telephoto lens.)

1460
Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 11, 2013, 02:45:21 AM »
The point was that it's possible to shoot BIF handheld with the 600 II + 2xIII.  Hit rate was ~50%, due to the difficulty of keeping the center + 4 AF points on the bird, but it can be done.

The bittern shot is cropped by about a third,...it was a gray, ugly day at the end of October, 2012.  This shot from 40 minutes later that day (also with the 600 II + 2xIII) shows the rain that started falling on us, being blown nearly sideways by the strong winds…it was the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy.
I agree that it is possible, but AF is too limited. Keeper rate is low and 1200mm is difficult on anything that moves, regardless of AF functionality.

You guys must not pay much attention to professional bird photographers. Many of them use the 600II + 2xTC III. Some of them rarely ever use anything else! Most of them used the 800/5.6 before, many never removed their 1.4x TC's from it. One of the primary reasons professional bird photographers buy 1D series is for the f/8 AF, because they use it CONSTANTLY.

Keep in mind, the 1D officially supports f/8 AF. It isn't like the makeshift f/8 AF you can get with a Kenko slapped onto a 400mm f/5.6 on a 7D, where your luck is basically a roll of the dice, and AF performance is excruciating. Nor is it even like the 5D III, which supports f/8 AF, but isn't as fast as the 1D series. I am guessing, at best, most of you calling f/8 AF slow have only used the 5D III. Try rending a 1D IV sometime, or if you know a friend with one, see if you can borrow it. When it is officially supported, especially these days with support for expansion mode (where a total of five central AF points are used in the 1D X/5D III), it is fast, accurate, and very usable.

Now, granted, f/8 lenses aren't ideal for tracking birds in flight. Usually, if a bird is flying towards you or angled across your field of view, f/8 lenses, which are usually over 800mm in length, are just too long...you need something wider anyway to compose properly and leave a little room for some of that necessary cropping and straitening. So it isn't like anyone expects f/8 AF to be used to track one of the most complex and difficult subjects that you can track. That's the reason f/4 supertelephotos exist...LOT of light, FAST af...you track BIF with a 500mm or 600mm f/4. The f/8 is most frequently used for perching birds, shorebirds, waders like herons, waterfowl, distant wildlife, etc. where you don't have to bother tracking...you just point, focus, and shoot. Both the 5D III and 1D X are MORE than capable of doing that with an f/8 lens.

I rented the 1D4 last year, and used the 2x ii TC on a 300mm f/4.  I even posted some of the shots on here.  It worked, but it was slow to AF...and as you said, it only worked with the center point, where the 1DX and 5D3 use a cluster.  Certainly that lens combo was very far from the top tier for AF speed or sharpness, but that was what I had on hand to employ the f/8 AF at the time.

I presume you're saying the 300-600 f/5.6 lens, would be intended for birders?  In any case, certainly the 600 f/4 with TC's will make a better birding setup, as you have said.

I suppose future AF sensors and techniques will make f/8 AF even faster with a better hitrate.  Still I guess I am annoyed that Canon would make yet another mega lens that is an even darker aperture zoom, rather than trying to fill in holes in their lineup with something more akin to an f/3.5 lens like I mentioned a couple of pages back.  If they do wind up putting this 300-600 in production, then there might be a decent market for it.  They would know better than me.

One thing I will add is that lens choice DOES play a role. The AF motors in lenses are NOT all equal. A $10k+ lens is going to have a far superior AF drive and motor, and are explicitly designed to utilize more power, than something like the 300/4. So sure, a 300/4+2x is definitely going to focus slower, but that is as much lens limitation as aperture limitation. The 300/2.8, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4 mark IIs and 800/5.6 all contain the most advanced AF drive systems, and all of them actually require more power in order to operate that fast. To my knowledge, only 1D series bodies are capable of driving them properly...and it may be that only the 1D X itself is actually able to supply enough power to drive them at the highest power level.

I would be willing to bet that a 1D IV with a 300/2.8 or 600/4 + 2x TC performs remarkably better than the 300/4+2x.

I can only repeat myself. It is doable, but keeper rate is low and it is very difficult to use on anything that moves. I don´t know if you have any practical experience with a 600 f4L/2x extender combo. I do. And for fairly stationary subjects, like a bird on a branch, grassing mammals etc. it works. For anything that moves, it doesn´t work well enough. I rather use the 600/1.4x combo and crop.

I do have experience with the 600/4+2x on a 1D IV. I have not had the luxury of trying it on a 1D X, however from my understanding of the device specification for each, f/8 AF on the 1D X EXPLICITLY with Mark II superteles should be faster since the 1D X was designed to supply the necessary power, and has the necessary processing to back up the AF and metering unit for performant f/8 operation.

Again, as I mentioned before, I don't know many people who would even WANT to use a lens 800mm or longer for BIF. Unless the birds are sufficiently far away, but in that case you often have atmospheric effects that eliminate any benefit of using a longer lens vs. getting up and moving closer to the action. Personally, I only do BIF with 600mm f/4, and even that, on occasion, results in birds that are much too large in the frame (although that is 7D...with a FF, 600/4 would be PERFECT! I couldn't imagine using the 600/4+1.4x for BIF.)

So, given the use cases, I still don't see a problem with f/8 AF. As I said before, plenty of professional and otherwise highly skilled bird photographers use f/8 lenses all the time for shorebirds, perching birds, etc. and the results are phenomenal. I never hear any of them complaining about how slow the AF is, with either a 1D X or 5D III (the latter of which is just as common.)

1461
Software & Accessories / Re: The Bane of Adobe Creative Cloud
« on: December 11, 2013, 02:34:00 AM »
It will be interesting to see if this affects Adobe's share price and earnings, over the coming year.

I guess we'll see. I'm still holding out hope they will come to their senses and offer per-app pricing at a more reasonable $3-$5 a month, vs. the insane $20/mo.

1462
EOS Bodies / Canon Dual-Scale Column-Parallel ADC Patent
« on: December 11, 2013, 02:33:01 AM »
It's been a while since I last scanned through Image Sensors World blog. Around the beginning of August, as a matter of fact. Since that time, they noted that Canon filed for a "Dual Scale" CPADC patent:

http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com.es/2013/08/canon-files-for-dual-range-column.html

If I understand the diagrams and the patent correctly, and I am no CMOS engineer, it sounds like Canon is maybe following ML's lead in using a dual gain (i.e. Dual ISO) approach to achieving higher dynamic range. Given how long it takes to produce technology viable enough for a patent, I suspect Canon had this idea long before ML...perhaps it was simply that ML got wind of this patent, and looked for a way to achieve the same thing with current Canon sensors...either way, interesting.

The more interesting thing to me than the dial gain, though, is the CP-ADC design. I've long said that Canon needs to modernize their sensor design, get rid of the noise generators (i.e. ADCs) in their DIGIC chips, and bring all that image processing onto the same die as the rest of the sensor. This is what Sony did (although they took it a step farther and converted to a digital readout/CDS approach, whereas as far as I can tell Canon's is still analog CDS and whatnot until it is actually converted to digital), and they achieved some significant DR benefits from the move.

Anyway, personally, I'm glad to hear Canon is investigating these options. CP-ADC is something I've wanted Canon to do for a long time, happy to see they might actually do it. God only knows if/when this technology may actually find it's way into their sensors...I only hope and pray it is soon. And dual-gain to boot...which has the potential to support FAR more than 14 stops of DR. With a 16-bit CP-ADC, we might even see a full 16 stops of DR (and who knows what might come after that...20-bit, 24-bit ADC? Can't imagine the file sizes though...46mp * 24bit...phew, 1.1Gb RAW (uncompressed) data size! Canon will need a DIGIC more than four times as fast as the current DIGIC chip...)

1463
Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:25:34 AM »
The point was that it's possible to shoot BIF handheld with the 600 II + 2xIII.  Hit rate was ~50%, due to the difficulty of keeping the center + 4 AF points on the bird, but it can be done.

The bittern shot is cropped by about a third,...it was a gray, ugly day at the end of October, 2012.  This shot from 40 minutes later that day (also with the 600 II + 2xIII) shows the rain that started falling on us, being blown nearly sideways by the strong winds…it was the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy.
I agree that it is possible, but AF is too limited. Keeper rate is low and 1200mm is difficult on anything that moves, regardless of AF functionality.

You guys must not pay much attention to professional bird photographers. Many of them use the 600II + 2xTC III. Some of them rarely ever use anything else! Most of them used the 800/5.6 before, many never removed their 1.4x TC's from it. One of the primary reasons professional bird photographers buy 1D series is for the f/8 AF, because they use it CONSTANTLY.

Keep in mind, the 1D officially supports f/8 AF. It isn't like the makeshift f/8 AF you can get with a Kenko slapped onto a 400mm f/5.6 on a 7D, where your luck is basically a roll of the dice, and AF performance is excruciating. Nor is it even like the 5D III, which supports f/8 AF, but isn't as fast as the 1D series. I am guessing, at best, most of you calling f/8 AF slow have only used the 5D III. Try rending a 1D IV sometime, or if you know a friend with one, see if you can borrow it. When it is officially supported, especially these days with support for expansion mode (where a total of five central AF points are used in the 1D X/5D III), it is fast, accurate, and very usable.

Now, granted, f/8 lenses aren't ideal for tracking birds in flight. Usually, if a bird is flying towards you or angled across your field of view, f/8 lenses, which are usually over 800mm in length, are just too long...you need something wider anyway to compose properly and leave a little room for some of that necessary cropping and straitening. So it isn't like anyone expects f/8 AF to be used to track one of the most complex and difficult subjects that you can track. That's the reason f/4 supertelephotos exist...LOT of light, FAST af...you track BIF with a 500mm or 600mm f/4. The f/8 is most frequently used for perching birds, shorebirds, waders like herons, waterfowl, distant wildlife, etc. where you don't have to bother tracking...you just point, focus, and shoot. Both the 5D III and 1D X are MORE than capable of doing that with an f/8 lens.

1464
EOS Bodies / Re: "Two New FF Bodies in 2014" - if 5DM4, would you jump in?
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:16:47 AM »
So, sorry, but the visual evidence says otherwise...there IS an IQ improvement between the 5D II and 5D III, in many ways a significant improvement.

Thanks for doing these gifs, it's interesting and I think I can spot the 5d2's banding - but maybe I'm just looking for it.

Oh, its definitely there...I see it clearly. Same crap I have in my 7D, too.

Having said that, *significant* in a non-scientific context is very subjective, as far as I remember the context then was the horrendous price jump to $3500 that caught many people off guard and created higher expectations towards the sensor than Canon currently can (you'd probably say: wants to) deliver.

I'd say "Than Canon could have delivered"...past tense, the 5D III is only a couple months away from it's second birthday. I also believe that Canon would be incapable of producing any higher resolution sensors on their current fabrication process, and I believe in two years time, they could have improved.


What doesn't show up in the gif and what I have to admit I'm guilty of underestimating: The newer ff sensors react *much* better to postprocessing either in nr or sharpening, multiplying the seemingly moderate step up in noise pattern. Esp. with DxO's prime nr it's stunning how iso 6400 looks on the 6d, if only it wouldn't take my laptop 30 minutes to denoise a single picture :-p...

Aye, which is in significant part due to the considerable improvement in banding. Horizontal banding was pretty much eliminated, and vertical banding occurs in these "soft" vertical stripes, rather than the harsh kind that occurred in sensors prior to the 5D III and 1D X. The more random, "natural" appearance of the noise, rather than a patterned, unnatural appearance, greatly helps in it's elimination.

As for DXO, while I admit I may be doing something wrong, I have found their software to be the worst of all the available options for editing RAW files. DXO seems to produce the noisiest results, PARTICULARLY for Canon files (they do much better with Nikon files). Compared to LR, DXO tools result in what I would call about two thirds of a stop WORSE noise performance strait out of camera. Compared to DPP, it is more like a stop worse (I do have to say, as much as I hate DPP's UI, it produces the cleanest noise output for Canon RAW files of ANYTHING, free or for pay...it's really too bad Adobe has't looked into Canon's own RAW demosaicing algorithms.)

I don't know if it is an intentional bias, or just a fundamental lack of interest in properly supporting Canon. I have given DXO's tools several dedicated tries, but in general they are lacking, they seems to be far slower than Lightroom or DPP, and specifically in Canon's case, the output is just terrible. All things being equal, that isn't surprising. Canon is not a DXO supporter, DXO has never given Canon much time or interest (it is often months or even years before DXO will test certain Canon cameras, whereas they will test Sony and Nikon cameras right out the gate, as soon as they can get their hands on a few copies.)

If you want the cleanest RAW conversions, DPP can't be beat. It's standard deviation of noise is about two thirds to half that of LR, and a full order of magnitude better than anything I've tried from DXO. (The only thing I DON'T like about it is it doesn't deal with aliasing as well as LR...edges come out of LR with this clean, crisp look, whereas you can clearly see stairstepping and in some cases moire a lot more often with DPP.)

Because they DPP have a lot of noise reduction going on for the Canon cameras, take a look at noise reduction and real resolution and  you see the difference between DXO and DPP.  DPP are masking off a lot of resolution in different frequencies.

And your statement that DXO doesn't handle Canon files  good as Nikon are pure nonsense, it requires a clean signal from the beginning and Canons CDS are not good as Sony/Nikon due the read out.

Um, DPP doesn't do any NR at all unless you apply it yourself. DPP, fundamentally, is just a basic RAW demosaicing engine. It's demosaicing isn't even all that great, and the results are usually more detailed/sharper than Adobe Lightroom, however that comes at the cost of some increase in demosaicing artifacts and some aliasing.

DXO, on the other hand, while it can be sharp, is NOISY as hell. It is clearly not a Canon issue, because both LR and DPP produce less noisy results than DXO without any additional processing, with DPP being the least noisy and sharpest. The problem with DPP is it doesn't do much...it isn't an image processor, it is really just a raw converter. You demosaic, maybe tweak a few basic sliders here and there, and save to TIFF, then process, but you lose a LOT of editing latitude that way.

1465
Software & Accessories / Re: The Bane of Adobe Creative Cloud
« on: December 11, 2013, 12:12:08 AM »
Are you using a PC or MAC?  Its easy to set the desired program to open files on a PC, just go to start / default programs and change the settings for the file extensions.
 
I don't know if cc will change it back at the next update.
 
Its pretty universal that the latest version of a program will open for a given file extension, the update process assumes you wanted to update to the latest version and not keep using the old one.  This is not a Adobe issue, its common to all software.

Sure, you can change the extensions. I've done that, however it is a frustrating process as there are a LOT of file types that open in Adobe programs...takes forever to fix manually, when they should give you the option of NOT changing the associations in the first place. I think this is something all software should do, although I guess in that case it might actually be a Microsoft problem, to protect file associations rather than allow them to be overridden if the user doesn't want them to change without prior verification.

That said, Adobe also changes all the links between each of their apps. Any time I use an Adobe app to open something in Photoshop, it now always opens in CC, rather than CS6. I've found no way to configure that either, so I am stuck opening things in CC. Problem is, I have quite a lot of third party plugins/filters for CS6, and not all of them seem to work in CC yet (and I don't know of upgrades will be free.)

All around, it's been a massive hassle, fixing it is extremely annoying, and it has only soured my opinion of Adobe even more so than when they first announced CC. Not really sure what this company is doing, but they have discovered a new knack for pissing people off, and I completely understand why now.

1466
Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 10, 2013, 05:26:13 AM »
The FD version was 150-600/5.6.  So should this be.  300/420 at the WIDE end isn't wide enough.  Sigma and Tamron both have super tele's with wider zoom ranges than 2x.

You have to figure there would have to be IQ compromises to support 150-600 though. In the film era, the difference would probably not have been noticeable. With constantly increasing sensor resolution these days, I'd rather have a 300-600 f/5.6 if it means the lens is sharper with better contrast.

The 70-200/2.8L IS II shows the folly of that thinking.  Building an f/5.6 lens to be optically excellent is much easier than building an f/2.8 lens.

I would also bet that no FD lens that Canon ever designed came even remotely close to producing the kind of IQ that a modern Mark  II supertele produces. An f/5.6 aperture at 600mm is also quite a bit larger than f/2.8 at 200mm (102mm vs. 71mm), so from the get go we are talking about a particularly non-trivial front element.

Zooms require compromise, and the greater the zoom ratio, the greater the compromise (especially when the wide end varies so much, in terms of AoV, from the long end.) The 70-200 has a 2.77x AoV factor (34.4°/12.4°), where as a 150-600 would have a 4.32x AoV factor (17.8°/4.13°). They aren't similar enough to be compared, and even though the patent is for an f/5.6, I would be willing to bet hard money that a 300-600mm focal range (which has a mere 2x AoV factor (8.25°/4.13°) is more amicable to modern Mark II IQ than a 150-600mm focal range.

It's unfortunate that third party manufacturers seem to sell more lenses with a big zoom range than high quality primes, or good zooms with a short zoom range. I guess we need more people birding. All it would take is a good 600f5.6 lens and most of the large supertelephoto lenses would become practically obsolete (or at least redundant), but it sounds like there will never be a big enough market for that without company pride on the line.

I dunno. Personally, I'd still buy the 600/4 over a 600/5.6 (or even a 300-600/5.6). I wouldn't want to sacrifice the extra stop of light, which is really the primary draw of a lens like the 600/4 (and often essential to get good IQ, especially in the kinds of circumstances you frequently find with bird photography). Same reason I would buy the 300/2.8 over a 300/4. The 300/4 is certainly cheaper, but the 300/2.8 cannot be beat for the balance of sharpness & AF speed vs. portability...not to mention it's versatility with teleconverters. It is the ideal wildlifers lens if you have a few thousand dollars to spend.

1467
Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 10, 2013, 05:21:13 AM »
Why would anyone be enthusiastic about an f/5.6 zoom lens with a built in TC, especially one that is still large but limited to 300mm at the wide end?  F/5.6 is dark enough...an f/8 lens is limited in its usefulness, even if by some miracle future pro AF sensors will work with all their points at f/8.  It's still a very dark lens...perhaps useful on ski slopes during bright sunlight.

What should get built instead (or at least...first), is a smaller and more affordable, light weight prime lens, but with the TC built in.  How about say, a 330mm f/3.5 DO (with some major technological breakthroughs in resolution), that weighs 3 pounds or less, and has an option to switch out two different TC's that then mount internally?  Maybe a 1.4x and a 1.7x?  Canon could still charge $3500 to $5000 for it, and lots more people could justify buying it.  It would be highly portable, hand-holdable, and usable for long hikes, or a long day shooting at an event, etc.  I say it would be more useful to more people, than a $10,000+ 300-600mm f/5.6 zoom (which is basically a very similar sized lens to the 200-400 f/4...which itself also seems more useful than a 300-600 f/5.6).

Most importantly, it would be a light bucket by comparison, at f/3.5 and 330mm...yet weigh half as much, and cost half as much!  Then of course its AF speed and accuracy, could easily exceed that of all but perhaps the 300mm f/2.8 ii...I suppose if it did all this Canon would charge closer to $6000, but it might be worth it!  It could be nicknamed the "mini mighty whitey"!!  Hahaha...

I just have to think the AF speed freaks, would look down their noses at a 300-600 f/5.6 zoom. 

What's next, a 10mm to 100mm fisheye zoom??   ::)

I think a 300-600/5.6 TC would primarily be a pro sports/olympics lens. In that case, it would probably almost always be used with a 1D X, where usable ISO tops 12800, and for newspaper and magazine print, is quite viable up to 25600. I'd also point out that the 1D X is faster than any other camera at f/8 AF. It certainly isn't f/4 fast, but it isn't all that much slower than f/5.6 AF on a 5D III or any lesser model.

Still at f/8, that's only one single tiny center point for AF, is it not?

On a 1D IV, yes. On a 5D III or 1D X, no...it is the center point plus expansion, which is actually fairly large. It isn't a huge problem, though. If you want flexible composition in non-tracking scenarios, you can always use rear-button AF, lock onto your subject, stop AF, recompose, and take the shot (which can be done in a fraction of a second with some skill.)

For tracking subjects, it's always been the recommendation that you use the center points anyway, as they are the most precise and accurate. So overall, unless you have a particular style of shooting where you frequently use the outer AF points to do tracking with extremely long supertelephoto focal lengths...you should be fine.

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Software & Accessories / The Bane of Adobe Creative Cloud
« on: December 10, 2013, 05:17:49 AM »
I've been largely unhappy about Adobe Creative Cloud. Personally, I don't think it is fair to the huge numbers of freelance photographers, graphic designers, web designers, etc. who have effectively built their entire livelihoods on Adobe software. I think that Adobe, with a $50/mo fee for the full CC Master suite and $20/mo per-app fee, is greatly taking advantage of freelancers unmitigated and everlasting dependence.

That said, I decided to give the PS CC + LR5 $10/mo deal a try. It was the first deal that Adobe offered that seemed reasonable (we'll see if it stays that way in a year), and I wanted LR5. I still own PS CS6, and I prefer to use it as my primary editor...with SELECTIVE use of PS CC. Well, I've learned a few things, and I thought I'd warn people.

First off...Adobe CC is infectious. By that, I mean, once it is installed, the CC versions of it's products take over any automatic integrations and file associations. If you double-click a .psd, it opens in CC, rather than CS6. Worse, if you use LR, whenever you open images in Photoshop, it always opens in CC. The worst part is...there seems to be NO WAY to configure LR (either v4.x or v5.x) or other Adobe apps to use the Photoshop version of your choice...your STUCK with CC, unless you uninstall it...and then, you have the hassle of getting CS6 working again. Frustrating, and annoying...Adobe should allow their users to choose which version of Adobe products are used, rather than automatically forcing you to CC.

There is a deeper, more malicious demon lurking within Adobe Creative Cloud, however. I stopped using the .psd format a while ago. I never seemed to need the extra information that .psd stored over and above .tiff, so I switched to .tiff. As such, I NEVER expected that saving .tiff files created with Photoshop CC would not function properly in Photoshop CS6. I thought that since I was using a universal format, they would be compatible with anything that could load .tiff files.

Well, this plain and simply isn't true. An example is using smart objects. I use smart objects with stacked images, along with tweaking the stacking mode (usually mean & median), to do some pretty amazing noise reduction with still frames (macro, landscape) and astrophotography frames. Thanks to the issue described above, some of my recent astro stacks were done in PS CC, rather than PS CS6. I tried to open these .tiff files in PS CS6, and while they opened, they did not render 100% correctly. The issue? The "renderer" for the smart object stacks could not be found. PS CS6 supports exactly the same stacking modes, but Adobe cleverly changed how they store that information in .tiff files...so it is no longer backwards compatible.

So the warning here is, BEWARE! While Adobe says you can open files saved with Creative Cloud apps, they have apparently "tweaked" a few things here and there to make life difficult for those who try to get around their insane monthly fees and use their "bought and paid for" previous versions. Even if you save in universally supported file formats such as TIFF, your file compatibility is NOT guaranteed. You can work around some of these issues, but just beware...there may be some "tweaks" to how CC apps save data that might permanently bind a perfectly normal TIFF file to that CC app, preventing its use in a prior version.

This is the kind of maliciousness that I was afraid Adobe would employ. To my great dismay, it seems my suspicions were correct. The truly frustrating thing is, I cannot afford the extremely hefty upgrade prices for some of the apps I need to upgrade, such as Illustrator and Premier. Even worse, in many cases, my versions for some apps like Premier are too old to upgrade (CS3 era), and I'm required to pay full price. So, my options are to either subscribe to CC, and get locked in forever...or shell out an unholy amount of cash for a product I already own, but for which I simply need an upgrade. Despicable. Adobe is rapidly becoming my most loathed company.

Anyway...BEWARE...

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Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 300-600 f/5.6 w/1.4x TC
« on: December 10, 2013, 01:56:08 AM »
The FD version was 150-600/5.6.  So should this be.  300/420 at the WIDE end isn't wide enough.  Sigma and Tamron both have super tele's with wider zoom ranges than 2x.

You have to figure there would have to be IQ compromises to support 150-600 though. In the film era, the difference would probably not have been noticeable. With constantly increasing sensor resolution these days, I'd rather have a 300-600 f/5.6 if it means the lens is sharper with better contrast.

The 70-200/2.8L IS II shows the folly of that thinking.  Building an f/5.6 lens to be optically excellent is much easier than building an f/2.8 lens.

I would also bet that no FD lens that Canon ever designed came even remotely close to producing the kind of IQ that a modern Mark  II supertele produces. An f/5.6 aperture at 600mm is also quite a bit larger than f/2.8 at 200mm (102mm vs. 71mm), so from the get go we are talking about a particularly non-trivial front element.

Zooms require compromise, and the greater the zoom ratio, the greater the compromise (especially when the wide end varies so much, in terms of AoV, from the long end.) The 70-200 has a 2.77x AoV factor (34.4°/12.4°), where as a 150-600 would have a 4.32x AoV factor (17.8°/4.13°). They aren't similar enough to be compared, and even though the patent is for an f/5.6, I would be willing to bet hard money that a 300-600mm focal range (which has a mere 2x AoV factor (8.25°/4.13°) is more amicable to modern Mark II IQ than a 150-600mm focal range.

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Lenses / Re: New Samyang 10mm f/2.8 ultrawide! Looks impressive...
« on: December 09, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »
I bought the 14mm after reading the hype and it was awful.  Users also said it was EF, but it came with a note in the instructions stating that it was optimized for crop cameras and FF users should expect poorer quality.  That was a understatement.

Hmm, that's strange. All the things I've read, as well as reports from a couple friends who recently bought the 14mm for FF cameras, have all said the IQ is excellent, particularly in the corners. From what I've seen, corner performance on the Samyang 14mm is vastly superior to any WA/UWA Canon Zoom, and still better than canon UWA primes. The only major issue I've heard of for the Samyang 14mm is the barrel distortion, which is apparently pretty bad. Not sure that is an issue most of the time for landscapes and astrophotography, though (which, aside from architecture, would be the lenses primary use cases.)

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