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Messages - Cosk

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Lenses / Re: Suggestions for making my gear uglier
« on: May 09, 2012, 09:49:10 PM »
I travel to some pretty sketchy places with my gear, and I do tape my camera.  I'm a big fan of black Gaffer's tape - I cover the red rings, the canon and 5D badges, the bottom, and the prism bump to help prevent scuffing.  I also put it on the grip - I like the feel and I cover the on/off switch and the diopter adjustment - so I don't inadvertantly bump them anymore. 

Gaffer's tape never leaves a residue and never comes off unless you want it to.  Be careful putting it over any serial number stickers - it's so strong it will pull them off when you remove it. 

The bigger thing is to get rid of your Canon strap... I like Domke or Gordy's straps.  Also, I use a domke messenger bag instead of a traditional camera bag. 

Now, all that said, putting black gaffers tape over your camera will not prevent it from getting stolen.  I do it because I just like how it looks - my personal preference.  Keeping a hand on your camera and being observant are the only things that will keep it safer.  And bring a point-and-shoot or two as backup. 

but don't so afraid that you don't take a camera with you... some of the best photo ops are in the most dangerous places.   

Lenses / Re: First dSLR, lens recommendations
« on: April 20, 2012, 04:19:15 PM »
I'm sure the 60D is a nice camera.  However, the difference between the 60D and T3i is about $300 USD.
If you needed to "compromise" somewhere on budget, that is where I would do it, not on the lenses.  The other option is to get a used body.  Body's lose their value quickly.  Good Lenses do not. 

Completely agree with that... bodies depreciate like stones, but lenses (strangely) appreciate in value.  To optimize your investment, buy a camera that's a couple generations old and pair it with fantastic glass... over the long haul, you'll spend a lot less money.  I just upgraded to a 5D Classic for $750 off eBay and am thrilled with my 'new' camera. 

30D's are about $250 on eBay and they take fantastic photos.  40Ds are about $350.
The photos I posted above were all taken with a 30D.  If you are OK without video... I say used is the way to go... (unless you have unlimited funds.)

Lenses / Re: advice re lenses for travel photography
« on: April 15, 2012, 09:48:33 PM »
ok commitment is made...
now time to think about tripods hmm
thanks for your help

If you want a travel tripod that is sturdy enough to support a DSLR + Zoom Lens (70-200 f/4)... yet fits in your jeans pocket, this is what I use, and love:

Giottos MH-110c Mini Ballhead ($20)
Manfrotto 209 tabletop legs ($25)

You will have to make a lot of compromises (find a good rock, stone fence, or stump) - but it's the sturdiest pocketable tripod setup I've ever found (and I tried a lot of setups).

Lenses / Re: First dSLR, lens recommendations
« on: April 15, 2012, 11:01:54 AM »
Since this is your first DLSR, you should also consider buying used equipment - you can buy a few lenses on eBay, and sell them for the same or even a little more than you paid in a year or so if they don't fit into your style.  Buying used really lowers  your financial risk... and as long as you're buying top-end gear, it's usually in good shape. 

Your suggestion of a 70-200 f/4 IS and a 10-22 were my travel combo while I had a cropped body.  I also had a 85mm 1.8 and a 24mm f/2 - and those four lenses went around the world with me.

The 70-200 f/4 IS is wonderful for jungle/wildlife shooting - especially on a cropped body like a 60D.
And the 10-22 is great for capturing the essence of an area... below are some examples of what you can do with these two lenses...

Good luck!

Lenses / Re: 70-200 f/4 L IS USM
« on: April 11, 2012, 11:28:39 AM »
Yes - IS is invaluable for travel. 
Sì - E 'un valore inestimabile per i viaggi.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: DSLR handling tips
« on: March 29, 2012, 06:40:22 PM »
Here are my tips... I'm making the assumption you are new to photography.  If not, you can ignore this :)

#1 Get a good DSLR Book (e.g. DSLR for Dummies)
#2 If you got a kit lens, ditch it for something that shoots down to f/2.8. 
#3 Get good photo management software: Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture
#4 Ditch the Canon strap (I like Domke or Gordy's straps)
#5: Get an extra battery ( has cheap ones)
#6: Get the fastest memory cards you can buy... I prefer a few smaller/faster cards over one big one. 
#7: Get a prime lens to see what it can do (50mm 1.8 is a great place to start for just over $100... and you will find over time, your favorite photos were taken with this lens)

* Get in close... closer than you naturally would.
* Get down to eye level... if you are taking photos of children, on your knees.  If you're taking a photo of a dog, on your elbows.
* Move.  Don't just take a photo where you are- move around to see how the perspective changes.  Oh, and get in close.
* Isolate.  If you can see someone's head in the shot... then if their feet are also in the photo, it will be boring.  Get in close. 
* Learn to set your white balance for every shot... this will dramatically improve your images (or shoot RAW and do it in the software above)  Or better yet, do both. 
* Take lots of photos, and learn to delete 9 out of 10... the secret to being a great photographer is to delete the thousands of boring or bad photos before anyone ever sees them... only let people see your great ones.

Lenses / Re: Why are video lenses so fat?
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:51:06 AM »
Notice the gear teeth at the base of the lens?  Cine lenses are designed to be used with a Follow Focus mechanism.

I'm not a cinematographer, but my understanding is you want all your lenses to have the exact same diameter so you can switch lenses and not have to adjust the Follow Focus gears.

So the 24mm prime has to be the same OD as the fattest zoom lens. 

You also want the distance scale visible from the side and the behind since there are usually two people operating the camera - one to frame the shot, and the 'focus puller' to adjust the focus, and the puller needs to see the distance scale since they don't have a viewfinder.   

The other natural question is "why are Cine lenses so much more expensive than still lenses?" and the answer is that they have to be designed so they don't 'breathe'.  In a still prime, when you focus, there is a tiny amount of zoom happening - but since you're taking a still photo, it doesn't matter.  In video, if, when you focus your image size changes - it becomes very visible and annoying.  They call it breathing.

A Cine lens is designed to correct for this, so the image is perfectly the same - throughout the entire focus range.  This correction is difficult and expensive... and adds no value if you're a still photographer. 


Lenses / Re: Canon 50mm f1.2 lens - Your opinions???
« on: March 09, 2012, 12:27:02 PM »
I had both the 50/1.4 and the 50/1.2 for awhile and although I do believe the 1.2 delivered better IQ, I felt it was only slightly superior to the 1.4.  For me, aperture is everything - if the 1.2 was a full stop faster, I'd be willing to pay the premium.  But it's only a single click.  For those reasons, I couldn't justify the cost and returned the 1.2.  (gotta love B&H's 30-day unconditional return policy).

Regarding build quality and weather sealing, I've already destroyed one 1.4 - but even after buying a second copy of that lens, I'm still 50% ahead... if I'm going into harm's way, the 1.4 is my lens of choice...

If you already have the 35/1.4, 85/1.8 (or 1.2), 135/2, then make your decision on build quality and ability to share filters.  If you don't have these lenses, then the additional $1,100 would be far better spent on an additional lens.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: When/How to sell your 5D Mark II?
« on: March 05, 2012, 02:52:42 PM »
While you may get between 1900 and 2000 May/Jun/July this year, the MK III will still be $3500 or there abouts.

Thanks... I double-checked the model and caught an error.  I entered $1850 as the 'March' Ebay price, intending 'pre-announcement price'... the model (correctly) assumed I meant $1850 as the post-announcement price. 

I just updated my original post with "Version 1.1".

But you're still right... waiting a year is a great time to sell.

Here's a graph of Predicted 5DII prices, based on the updated forecasting model:

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: When/How to sell your 5D Mark II?
« on: March 05, 2012, 11:53:46 AM »
I just found an awesome web site that has a history of Ebay sales prices.

I ran the numbers through a basic forecasting model, using the following adjustments.
- correct for seasonality
- correct for a simple linear trend
- take the de-seasonalized, de-trended pattern of 5D sales after the 5DII launch, apply that pattern to the 5DII... then reapply seasonality and downward trend.

I did not correct for
- Economic chaos of 2008/2009
- rebates
- shipping problems

The II was announced Sep 17, 2008 and began shipping 75 days later
The III was announced March 2, 2012 and I just put May 16 (75 days) as the ship date to simplify the math.

Here's what I learned:
The best months to buy a body: Jan/Feb/Mar
The best months to sell a body: May/July

In general, prices drop about 1.4% per month.

Right after the 5DII announcement there appeared to be a little sell panic and the 5Dc price dropped about $500
When the 5DII actually started shipping, there appeared to be a little buy panic (people thinking they could snap up a good deal on a 5Dc) and the price shot up, rising above the historical average.
Prices dropped again 3/4/5 months after the II began shipping because supply was high and demand calmed down. 
But then the price rebounded - and a year after announcement, the price finally stabilized and began a predictable downward march.

Sell Recommendation: Sell your II May/June/July of this year

Here's what popped out of the model:

Disclaimer: Prediction is very difficult and unreliable, especially when it's about the future

Version 1.1 (I had my curves shifted a month) 

Lenses / Re: Canon 135mm f2 mk2?
« on: February 18, 2012, 11:33:53 AM »
The only way I see they could improve that lens is by adding IS and weather sealing, which would likely double the cost.

I LOVE mine... and it's a very, very high value right now.  I doubt I'd upgrade, even given the choice. 

My recommendation: Buy now. 

Lenses / Re: Plausibility of a 100-400mm f/4 L IS USM?
« on: February 18, 2012, 11:31:08 AM »
both lenses are 400 f/4 at the long end, so both need at least a 100mm front element

Just to build on that... aperture diameter is focal length / f*stop, and the front element has to be at least as large as the aperture... usually more. 

So a 400mm f/4 requires a 100mm aperture...
a 400mm f/5.6 is 72mm

Physically, each stop (f4>5.6) requires 2x the surface area of glass of every element.
Generally, each stop means ~2x the weight and ~2x the cost.

So, assuming similar build and quality, features, and nothing fancy like Diffractive Optics, a 100-400 f/4 will be in the same ballpark from a weight and cost standpoint as 200-400 f/4 or a 300-400 f/4.

Personally, I'd love to see an anything-400 f/5.6 that's less than half the weight and less than half the cost as the 200-400 f/4... with the latest generation of IS, a twist zoom, and compacts to the length of the 70-300L (and those specs are physically possible to achieve). 

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: DOF FF vs Crop...
« on: February 14, 2012, 04:56:56 PM »
Interesting - what made you select 85_F2.5 vs 135_F4 - did you just chimp until the bokeh looked similar or did you bust out the calculator?

I busted out the calculator.  I didn't really believe the math at first, so I did the test and the math checks out - perfectly.  Even a 1/3 of a stop on either side has visibly different bokeh.

85mm x 1.6 = 136mm (I had those primes)
f/2.5 x 1.6 = f/4 (only a few f/stop combos are 1.6x apart)

I also did the test comparing 50(crop) vs 85(ff), and 35(crop) vs 50mm(ff)... which aren't as closely matched as the 85/135... but it was the same conclusion. 

Once again, Math wins. 

Here is the article on the math (I aspire to one day reading the whole thing...)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: DOF FF vs Crop...
« on: February 14, 2012, 09:37:50 AM »
I'll add to Jamesy's test...  Here are two 'equivalent' images:

#1: 135mm f/4 on a 5D
#2: 85mm f/2.5 still on a 5D, but I cropped the center in post. 

The camera-to-subject distance was fixed. 

The key thing to note is that the dof/blur appears identical between the two focal lengths. 

#3 is the 135mm FF at f/2...

Note that a 135 f2 has far more blur than an 85mm f2.5 cropped.

(Unfortunately I didn't do an f2<>f2 comparison, and I ate the tomato)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: DOF FF vs Crop...
« on: February 13, 2012, 01:38:15 PM »
This is how I think about it:

The rule of thumb is to multiply the aperture and focal length by 1.6x for equivalence.

In your example, a 17mm f/2.8 on a crop body will have the same depth of field as a 28mm f/4.5 on a full frame body.

(f/2.8 x 1.6 = f/4.5)

Since your 28mm opens wider than f/4.5, you can achieve a shallower DOF on your FF.

Conversely, if you opened your 28mm to f/2.8 on a FF camera, to achieve an equivalent DOF on a crop body, you would need a 17mm at f/1.8 - which doesn't exist in Canon's lineup...

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