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Messages - friedmud

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Third Party Manufacturers / D600 High ISO Examples
« on: October 20, 2012, 06:38:41 PM »
Hey guys,  I picked up my Nikon D600 with a 50mm f/1.8G yesterday (sold my 7D and other Canon gear to get it) and happened to go to a card game at my boss's house last night.  This was the perfect chance to try out the low-light focus, big aperture of the 50mm and the high ISO capabilities of the D600.  Here's what I came away with:

These were all shot _without_ a flash and it was pretty dark.  All, or almost all, are at ISO 6400.  I was shooting in the highest quality jpeg modes and had High ISO Noise Reduction set to "Normal".  They were only slightly edited in LR3 before getting posted.

I am super impressed with the quality.  Yes, there is noise (of course at 6400!) but there is a TON of detail in there too.  I applied just a tad more NR in LR3, but I think the balance between noise and detail is awesome.  I uploaded the full resolution jpegs to Flickr so you can grab those there if you want.

I didn't have any problems focusing in the dark.  I used a lot of off-center focus points and never had any trouble.  Unlike the Canon 50mm f/1.8 the Nikon version _does_ have an ultrasonic motor... and it focus fast, accurately and quietly.  It's also damn sharp wide open.

I'll embed a few here for those who refuse to follow a link ;-)

Rich Shuffling by friedmud, on Flickr

Highland Park by friedmud, on Flickr

Yaqi Just Lost a Hand by friedmud, on Flickr

Thinking by friedmud, on Flickr

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Considering switching to Nikon
« on: October 18, 2012, 04:18:23 PM »
Just bought a D600 today (with just the 50mm f/1.8G so far).  Sold my 7D and 70-200 f/4L IS to pay for it.

As some of you know I recently rented it and just LOVED the IQ at low ISO.

My hobby is Landscapes... so it is just a perfect fit for me.

I've started with the 50mm because I haven't decided on my workhorse lens yet.  I'm leaning toward the 24-70 f/2.8G.  I liked it when I rented it.

I took thousands upon thousands of great photos with Canon gear... but ultimately the low ISO IQ of the D600 and the ability to go full-frame for a reasonable price (the 6D is a non-starter... too many missing features) brought me over.

My advice: If you're unhappy with IQ on the Canon side... do the switch.  I can't think of any other reason to really switch.  If the IQ is fine for you on Canon and you have something invested, I would just stay there... you'll really get great photos out of either system if your technique is good.

Historically on a bright day like yesterday when I put it in Shutter priority, it will adjust my aperture which annoys me because I want the shallow depth of field.  So yesterday I shot in manual as I said... and I'm sure I overexposed some of the shots.  It's really the 2nd day that I REALLY went and shot with the lens, so I expect better results.  I'm thinking of shooting in aperture priority and setting the iso and then allowing the shutterspeed to vary (on a bright day).  In doors... that will be a tougher nut to crack. 

This is exactly why Nikon cameras have proper Auto ISO capabilities.

Even on cheap Nikon bodies you can do this:

1.  Set the camera to Av and f/4.0 (or whatever you want)
2.  Set a minimum shutter speed to catch the action that you want (like 1/1600).  On mos. cameras you can also set this as a multiplier of your focal length.
3.  Leave it on Auto ISO

This lets you do exactly what you want:  have the DoF you want while keeping the shutter speed you need.  If a football player runs into the light and the camera pegs out at ISO 100 it can increase the shutter speed above your minimum.  If a player runs into the shade the ISO will automatically be increased to keep the shutter speed above your minimum.

It works very well in my limited experience.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 650D Results on DxOMark
« on: October 08, 2012, 07:57:04 PM »
Just got a text from my friend: he's going to buy my 7D.  Sold my 70-200 f/L IS last weekend to a different friend.

I now have enough to pick up a D600 body.  The rest of my gear will hopefully be sold by the end of next week to finance my Nikon 24-70 f/2.8G.

I can't be the only one....

EOS Bodies / Re: Looks like the 6D may not be so bad after all
« on: October 08, 2012, 12:36:55 PM »
So for now I'll just enjoy what I have, keep my money, and go out and take photos.

That's what I've been trying to do for a while myself... and that is definitely the right way to be.

Recently I had a few photos with a somewhat dark sky where it literally looks like it is raining because of the vertical noise bands in the more solid areas of the sky.

I've been trying to just "push on" with my 7D... but the continued poor IQ out of my camera and the prices on everything Canon releases going up... and then the announcement of the 6D (which doesn't fit what I'm looking for) all adds up to me selling my gear and moving to Nikon.

I hope that people who stick with Canon end up getting what they want eventually... I would love to wait but I can't deal with what's coming out of my camera right now...

EOS Bodies / Re: Who said Canon cameras suck?!?
« on: October 08, 2012, 02:31:06 AM »
Firstly: I did read all of your posts... just don't have time to respond to a lot of it.  You do have a lot of good points.  I am very sorry I've been a thorn in your side since I asked for advice on buying a 7D ;-)  It will surely be a relief to know that I'm going to be off to a different forum soon and will stop bugging you with all of this "7D is noisy!" business.  ;-)

Thanks for taking the time to debate!

the single issue of low ISO DR (which is only at most 20% worse than an Exmor sensor, and usually less than that)

Which is precisely the issue that I have.

Canon's technology is stellar. Their high ISO performance is unparalleled, and high ISO use in very low light is the name of the game for the true drivers of DSLR sales...sports and photojournalism.

Those who will be affected most are probably landscape photographers, and them vastly more so than any other type of photographer. There are a far greater number of photographers who not only use but greatly need higher ISO performance, above ISO 400. For someone such as myself, who rarely uses anything lower than ISO 400, and is usually at ISO 800 or 1600, the 7D performs superbly.

Ah - and now we get to the meat of why you argue with me over this quite often.  You aren't mainly focused on landscapes and good low ISO performance.  Further, you believe that to be fairly unimportant as a feature of DSLRs.  I will give you that "landscapers" are a niche... and I've always maintained that... always caveated my posts by saying that I'm focusing on one aspect (low ISO performance).  The whole reason for my current viewpoint that Nikon is better is because they seem to be catering to the landscape niche more than Canon... with better low ISO capabilities, better DR and better ultra wide lenses (Nikon 14-24 is a beast, Canon 16-35 and 17-40 leave a LOT to be desired) and at better prices.

None of that changes the fact that for my purpose Canon sensors are overpriced for the IQ.

Canon lens technology is well ahead of the competition, and rivals if not surpasses that of Ziess these days (you have to use one of their new Mark II supertelephoto lenses to really understand that, they offer the most mind-blowing IQ I've ever encountered.) All other Canon DSLR tech these days, at least when it comes to the cream of the crop, is at the pinnacle of the current generation.

I loved my 70-200 f/4L IS.  It was a damn fine lens!  I can't say anything more than that personally, but from what I've read your statements are spot on.

Noise is not the issue. Read noise, which only occurs in the lower fraction of the signal, only matters because of how it affects DR, and exhibits when you try to lift shadows. And that only occurs at ISO 100 and ISO 200, and is only worse in a Canon sensor when it is compared to a Sony Exmor sensor.

Yes, which is what is in the competition's camera.  A camera that has similar on paper attributes to the 5Dmk3 and less noise and more DR at low ISO and costs $1400 less.

So, sure, the 7D may be inferior at low ISO vs. a whole lot of the competition. However for what it is, the 7D is still one of the best options available to those of us who can't shell out five, six, SEVEN GRAND every few years to buy the likes of a 1D IV, a 1D X, or a D4. The 7D is still the best offering of its class even when pitted against the newer options from Nikon.

Negative.  A D600 is only $600 more than a 7D.  A 7D is still the right camera for a (possibly large) segment of users that want the AF system and the ability to use Canon telephotos.  But for someone entering that "advanced enthusiast" segment I truly believe that the D600 represents a better value.  It's not "SEVEN GRAND"... just $2100...

For you personally, friedmud, I must apologize for my original recommendation to get a 7D. I was not aware of your full needs. The 7D is entirely the wrong camera for you, it always was (even before the D800 was released), and always will be. In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend the D800 either, as with its small pixel pitch you would still see the same kind of blue sky noise as the 7D, since that noise has nothing to do with sensor technology, and everything to do with the nature of light. You would really probably be better off with a 1D X or any one of the 12mp cameras from the previous generation of Nikon DSLR's.

Hehe!  Don't apologize!  It's definitely not your fault!  The 7D _is_ a great camera... just, like you say, not the one I was looking for!  The blame lies squarely with me... I was trying to do a cheap upgrade and use my existing EFs glass... that didn't really work out for me ;-)

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:15:47 AM »
Glad another person with an open mind tried the competition and discovered it's worthwhile.

Thanks - it's amazing how many people will bash the brand they don't use on a forum and never try it.  With all of the vitriole surrounding the D600 and with the 6D not looking stellar I thought it was time to try it out.

I too am still caught in the Canon user interface paradigm and sometimes wish my D800's controls were easier to locate at times.  More time spent with it and it's becoming familiar.

Before I rented the D600 I used it and a D800 in a local shop... I definitely liked the D600 controls more.  D800 were even further from what I'm used to.

I DO miss the incredibly good live-view performance of my 5D2 for manual focusing in low light.
The D800 is disappointingly noisy in this aspect altho I found I can trust the focus rangefinder function to be very precise in most lighting conditions with any focus point i select so I can still MF with confidence.

Hmmm - you're the second one to mention that - seems like I overlooked something....

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 08, 2012, 12:34:44 AM »
I bought a nikon D600 last week and so far i just love it! I mean, sure the control layout is way different from my old 5D mark II that i sold, and it's definitely not how I would have designed it. I really miss the big control wheel on the back. BUT, once you get a little familiar with it, it really isn't a dealbreaker at all. I shot my friends kids birthday party the day before yesterday (with the nikkor 28mm 1.8G lens), and I already felt comfortable with the D600. I am loving everything that comes out of that camera! (although auto white balance gets it wrong sometimes in tricky lighting, but so did my 5dII. And I haven't tried all the AWB functions yet.)

Anyway, I still am coming back to canon once I have enough money (and when canon starts making good sensors) for a good canon camera and all the L lenses I desire. I then plan on shooting both.

Congrats on the camera!  I'm still in the process of selling my gear... hopefully mine isn't far off!

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 08, 2012, 12:33:07 AM »
How did you find the Live View for manual focusing?  I rented a D800 for some landscape, and found the Live View as bad as the reports have said, which I had read was due to it being an interpolated display.  Definitely not as nice as the 5DmkIII or my 60D, but I think it does zoom in more.  I've been wondering if the D600 Live View was the same or not.

And I sympathize with your problems with the ergonomics, I found myself constantly stumbling through the buttons and menus too.  Oh, and don't get me started on changing lenses!  ;D

Hmmm... can't say that I noticed anything really wrong with Live View for manual focusing.  After zooming in past a certain point the framerate drops, which is odd... but doesn't really affect the slow precise focusing I'm doing on a tripod.

I really like that I _can_ zoom in further than on my 7D.

I suspect that it is a personal thing though... I bet the Live View isn't much different on the D600 than it is on the D800 (but I don't personally know).

Can you explain more about what was off for you?  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention...

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 08, 2012, 12:23:59 AM »
Great to know. I've been thinking of getting a D600 once I have a paycheck, and expected the difference in control, but good to know that unfamiliarity with the interface isn't incompatible with getting the shot.

It definitely isn't.  Mostly a small annoyance.  One thing to keep in mind is that MANY pros "prefer" Nikon ergonomics (probably because they don't know any better! ;-).  Either way it shows that it's not "unusable" in any way shape or form... just "different" (where "different" stands for "somewhat worse" ;-)

Like I mentioned though, once you get the camera set up, especially setting up U1 and U2 to be common use cases for you... which for me were Landscape and Fast Action, and getting sensible limits set on the auto ISO system (which is not possible with Canon cameras in this same price range) you don't have to interact with the camera all that much.

I gotta say... the biggest thing I miss is the Orientation Sensitive AF.  It just works so damn well on my 7D.  Even by the end of the weekend though... when I was getting ready to take a portrait shot my thumb would go to the direction pad and start moving the AF point toward what would be the upper part of the scene (If I was in a single AF point mode... which I learned isn't as necessary).  Basically, I just fell back to old habits before I had a camera that did this kind of stuff for me...

BUT... all of that is secondary to how well this camera takes photos.  The shutter button is the best button on the camera!  Both, the way it works and what it accomplishes ;-)

Lovely shots friedmud! Thanks a lot for all the nice suggestions guys. Yeah, I am leaning towards the Manfrotto 055XProb, just trying to figure out which head to get with it. The 322RC2 grip ball head looks nice!


BTW - I think the 322 has been superseded by the 324 and 327.

But if 055XProb is the way to go then will most likely get that. I forgot to mention, I tend to take panorama shots of landscapes, architecture so was wondering if there are anything I need to keep in mind when getting a tripod + head.

Whoa - that does change things.  You'll probably _not_ want to get a joystick ballhead like the 32x... you'll want a ball-head that has independent locks and swivels in each direction so you can get perfect panoramas.  The joystick is great for landscapes and macro work... but not good for panoramas (it's almost impossible to rotate it perfectly left to right... you might be able to twist the center column for that purpose... but it's not going to be as good as a purpose built head).

EOS Bodies / Re: Who said Canon cameras suck?!?
« on: October 07, 2012, 10:40:38 PM »
BTW - I know that everyone here hates DXO Mark... but they do have decent data behind their cooked up "scores".  Here's some:

Click on the "Measurements" tab (about halfway down the page) then the SNR 18% test.  Also check out the Dynamic Range test....

EOS Bodies / Re: Who said Canon cameras suck?!?
« on: October 07, 2012, 10:33:40 PM »
Oh - here's a link to the Flickr page for that image so you can see the Exif (should be embedded in the jpg as well though)

EOS Bodies / Re: Who said Canon cameras suck?!?
« on: October 07, 2012, 10:31:13 PM »
For all the people who claim to see noise from 7D files at ISO 100: What the **** are you doing to get that noise?

Pressing the shutter button.

Are you consistently underexposing by 4 stops or something? Are you just completely mismanaging your RAW converter settings? What?

Well - I just so happen to have a full res jpg that shows the phenomenon well:

Just look at the sky.  But it's not just in the sky... it's everywhere.  If you do any sharpening you can see it on any surface that is fairly uniform.  If you try to remove some you lose detail.

I am NOT mismanaging anything.  This camera leads to a direct tradeoff between noise and detail.  I'm not the only person on the planet to see it.  The above image is perfectly exposed (possibly ever so slightly over exposed).  Very little postprocessing has been done to it.

And please don't come at me with "but it won't show up in a 24" print!".  I can clearly see the noise on my 30" monitor (2560x1600) at work where I use my photos as my desktop background... it _does_ show up in at least one use case that is important to me ;-)

According to the DPReview noise graphs the 7D at 100 is as clean or cleaner than a D4 at 400.

What are you trying to prove with that statement?  Why do you think ~ISO 400 noise is acceptable at 100?  This is actually making my point that ISO 100 is not good on a 7D.

The RAW graphs pretty much overlap for the 7D and 5D3 at 100. I suppose a 5D3 is noisy and not worth the money to?

Ummm... that's exactly what I'm saying.  I've been linking to this review quite a bit but I'll do it again:

Look at the shot with the buildings (click on it to get a zoomed view).  Compare the skys.  Look at uniform surfaces and look at the amount of noise.

I went over to the Imaging Resource and compared the Still Life scene for the 7D at ISO 100 and tried to find the ISO setting for the D600 that most closely matched.  To me, it was in-between 400 and 800... just like I said a bit ago.

This is a systemic problem with Canon.  They simply do not care about LOW ISO performance.  That's ok, I realize that a lot of people care more about high ISO performance... but Nikon does seem to be putting a lot of effort into good low ISO and at a more affordable price.

Canon is not recycling and selling you old tech. They are not sitting on their rear ends. But Sony has a patent on how they read data off the sensor, and Canon cannot work around that patent at this time. From what I've read, Canon actually has superior tech across other aspects of the sensor, i.e. if the patent didn't exist they would have less total noise.

Really?  The 7D was introduced in mid 2009.  That exact same sensor has also been used in:

2010: 550D and 60D
2011: 600D
2012: 650D and 60Da (with slightly different filtering)

How is that not "recycling and selling of old tech"?

On the patent issue:

1.  If this is really THE problem and Canon really cared they would license that patent from Sony.
2.  If this is really the problem and Canon really cared they would have put the R&D effort in and come up with the advancement first.
3.  Why, in 3 years has Canon not come up with a better idea?

Also, I love how you first say "there is no problem" and then simultaneously blame a Sony patent for the problem.  You can't have it both ways.  Do Canon sensors have more noise or not?

But it can't be. The noise values are practically the same with a 7D at 100. So it must just be a horrible camera  ::)

How did anyone ever make photographs with a 1Ds? Or the original 5D?

Apologist at work.  Yes, great images can be made with any modern DSLR (we've been over that before).  But what I'm concerned with is: all other things being equal (which we know they're not, but we have to start somewhere to come to conclusions) which machine will generate the best image?  Even better, which machine generates the best image per dollar I put into buying it?

On that second measure Canon is not even close (at least at low ISO).

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Rented a D600
« on: October 07, 2012, 09:46:17 PM »
Well... it is "straight" from the camera (with just a light bit of PP in Lightroom 3 like I mentioned)... but yes, with an ND Grad.

What's funny is that when that guy asked if I had used a filter I started typing "no"... but then I remember that I really had.  It's such a part of my landscape workflow that I don't even think about it ;-)

But yeah... I'm not one of those guys that is expecting miracles from my gear!  Beyond a 2 stop (0.6) Lee soft ND grad it was also shot on a sturdy tripod, ISO 100, Av mode, 3 second shutter delay (mirror lockup), manual focusing using zoomed Live View at feature that approximated the hyperfocal distance (I estimate the distance, pick a feature at about that distance then manually focus on that feature).

One of the things that's been hard for me with my 7D is that I feel like sometimes I do everything right technique-wise and the camera just gets it wrong (too much noise, over/under exposed, flat color).  Of course, exposure is partly my fault... but I've never been able to fully trust the exposure on the 7D.

While we're on the subject... I LOVE the fact that on the D600 I can do "Full scene average" metering.  When I'm shooting landscapes I rarely have the subject in the middle... why do I want "center weighted average" metering?  I really want the whole scene to be exposed as well as possible with possible over/under exposure dialed in by me for desired effect.  I can do that on the D600.... but not on a 5DMk3...

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