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Messages - revup67

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31
Lenses / Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:37:25 PM »
Before considering a purchase of this lens, it was highly recommended to obtain a rental or loaner.  I joined the CPS program, paid the annual fee and requested the 600mm as a loaner.  The time period was from its arrival on 11-22-13 to 12-3-13.

My intent was to man handle this lens without use of a tripod or monopod for the entire duration on a Canon 5D Mark III.  This would include 1-4 hour segments most every day including hiking on dirt trails, paved trails and the like.

I found one key trick to this whole process and that was to use a 3/8" male threaded cone shaped handle that would screw into the lens foot. (see attached photo).  Along with the lens strap and camera strap, this was going to be my sole means of trekking with this lens.  (I'm a 54 year old male, about 175 lbs. and workout approx. 2x a week for the past 13 years).  I've only offered this info for no other reason other than to help formulate what it might take "should you desire to carry this lens hand held" vs. using a tripod with Gimbal or monopod.  Let's put it another way, weight and cardio training will be to your advantage.  Some of us out there would not buy such a lens if it is going to require anymore than carrying a lens and camera body though I know many that wouldn't consider it any other way than have a tripod/monpod and gimbal.  A close friend of mine carries around a 1D IV and a 500mm on a Gitzo tripod with a high end gimbal head.  I thought that was far too cumbersome for my personal taste so opted to hand hold the entire time.  Again, that's just me and just trying to offer some confidence for those of you used to carrying around a 100-400 or a 400mm prime..this is solely the point here and potentially do able but testing this scenario first is recommended.

If you've not seen the lens in person, it extends with the lens hood about 28" with camera body total was close to 31".

Overall, I had excellent success (about 95% wild birding shots).  I found that by using F4 was a disadvantage as when focusing on the birds eye especially at close range the DOF is wafer thin.  So shooting at 1/1000 or higher in Tv mode and letting the camera select the Av was not a good choice.  I reverted to Manual,  F8 most of the time with a shutter of 1/1000 or higher and saw a significant improvement on my birding photos.  If you are not familiar with the DOF calculator online, this would be wise to look into especially in using this type of lens.

In using the 5D Mark III my choices outside of the shutter and aperture were of course AI Servo, Case 2  tracking, Faithful, Evaluative and Auto ISO.  On the lens itself, I was mostly on Mode 1 (sometimes Mode 2 when tracking birds in flight), IS was "on" (though I am aware of using IS beyond 1/640 shutter.  I did try with IS off and noticed my hit rate went down quite a bit as to be expected.

I noticed "this lens" was quite slow "initially" finding a bird in flight.  More specifically, a bird in flight against the skyline.  I am unsure if this was my particular loaner or a possible camera choice.  In either case, outside of this skyline issue, the focus was extremely fast and the drain on the battery was minimal.  On average about 33% battery drain per day.  I did encounter yesterday a lockup on the camera with a flashing "A" in my view finder.  A simple reboot cleared this and I went on with my shoot.  In calling Canon, they had not heard of this flashing "A" but are going to check the 5D this afternoon.

All in all, its quite impressive as you would imagine and if you have your eyes and wallet set on this, I would strongly recommend renting or acquiring a loaner first.  Buying this sight unseen (for those that have never used a lens of this magnitude prior) may not be a wise choice as I wish to emphasize it's very cumbersome.  For those of you coming off a NON IS version or Version 1 you'll notice a big improvement in weight distribution.  its truly well balanced in that respect.

I hope this write up will help anyone out there considering the 600mm IS II lens.  If you're interested in seeing some birding photos and similar with this lens my flickr account is:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/revup67/with/11185308965/.  Thanks for reading.

Rev

32
Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM
« on: November 23, 2013, 11:53:08 PM »
Got this lens on loan from CPS - day 1 1st impressions:  after you get used to the massive and awkwardness of this lens, its most impressive.  I opted to lug it around without anything other than the camera strap and the lens strap.  I had a 3/8" threaded handle from a ZOOM H4N hand held 4 track recorder (looks like a cone) that I mounted in the female threaded foot.  I wouldn't dare hoist the lens up with my left hand by that cone shaped handle, but with the assistance of my right hand under the lens and left on the vertical handle it made it fairly easy to hand maneuver and obtain birding photos.

Here's a few all handheld on IS Mode 1 of 3, Manual, AF, faithful mode at 1/500, F4.5 or 6.3 with Auto ISO which averaged at 1000 across these 3 photos.  The AF was on Expansion or Zone AF with AI Servo enabled.


Golden-crowned-Sparrow (11453) by Revup67, on Flickr


Northern Mockingbird (11466) by Revup67, on Flickr


House Finch (female) 11469 by Revup67, on Flickr

33
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 19, 2013, 12:13:47 AM »
PS Diablo - that is an adult Red-tailed Hawk (note the darkish area near the wrists of the hawk known as the Patagium) and a Song Sparrow in your photos

34
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 19, 2013, 12:07:35 AM »
Diablo - 90 % of my shots are birding with the 5D Mark III and the Canon 400mm 5.6 L.  Settings really depend on a variety of circumstances but overall these are proven for my sake anyway:  Faithful (stay off Standard to many changes to the actual photo - I've done tests where black in Standard look purplish - once I changed to Faithful no more problems with the reddish/purplish overcast).  Auto ISO - no time to even think about this when you have literally a second or two - let the camera do the work.  AI Servo 1st image priority with center choice (i.e slider) most of the time however if I know a bird will be stationary such as a Sapsucker I will revert back to One Shot mode and focus on the eye.  I rarely use one focus point but am usually on either Expansion mode or Zone AF especially when tracking a bird in flight which sooner or later is bound to happen on a stationary bird.  Since I don't want numerous shots of the bird in the same position and have to sift through numerous photos of the same pose I use Silent Continuous shooting to minimize the clicking.  I also use Tv priority @ 1/1600 or higher especially with faster birds such as hummers as high as 1/6400 - since there's little time I've no time to fool with Manual mode as we're not doing landscape shots.  Some may debate this - that's fine.  I also push up the exposure somewhere between 2/3rds and 2 full stops if it is a backlit situation.  Only shoot RAW as I can recover overblown shots with Highlight Priority in Adobe Lightroom rather easily.  Typically Evaluative mode though sometimes Center weighted depending on scene.  Case 2 tracking primarily, though with erratic birds such as Swallows I might choose Case 5 so its important to know what your subject matter is and their behaviors.  This should hopefully help you get started.  My shots can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/revup67 and or if you have an iPhone (soon for android) about 100+ photos of mine are in Birdseye NA http://birdseyebirding.com/index.php/birdseye-bird-finding/10-product-pages/56-the-birdseye-family-of-apps

Here's a shot I took today of a Red-breasted Sapsucker 11-18-13 - its a low res JPG of a master RAW file


Red-breasted Sapsucker #1 (11333) by Revup67, on Flickr

35
Lenses / Re: Walking around with the 600mm IS II - thoughts
« on: November 18, 2013, 02:25:39 AM »
Quote
Free...except for the very expensive dumbbell.
- oh that was truly hilarious!  Neuro, East Wind - and Eldar - those are excellent tips - most helpful and encouraging.  Glad to know the lens does come with a lens strap to be used as a second support.

Mt. Spokane - I did borrow for a couple of minutes the 600mm non IS about two weeks.  When uplifting to the sky its awkward and heavy.  Yes, that was a beast alright.  I couldn't wait to give it back.  Don't recall the actual weight but would guestimate about 20 lbs with camera if not more.

East Wind re:  the gym..quite nice..on a lake with terrific view and only $5 a month here in Orange County - southern Cal.  I gather you were being facetious re:  the free workout - of course, not the same. 

Rev

36
Lenses / Re: Walking around with the 600mm IS II - thoughts
« on: November 17, 2013, 04:12:21 PM »
Eldar - thanks I did see that thread previously.   its good to hear that you have hand carried this around without it being too much of a burden and in fact that it is do able depending on our own respective strength (my 12 years at the gym days I guess are going to pay off soon  :)

I need to look more into it, but the GP-s Acratech head I own can be reverse mounted and used as a gimbal as well and along with with Gitzo that may suffice.  Though I have not used the monopod much as trying to use this standing up causes much sway.  Sitting is a better option but when shooting wildlife in the wilderness we rarely have that choice.

Do you find the bulk (Length with the hood) is an issue when hiking?  (hope I didn't overlook this in the thread you mention but didn't see any notation)

Thanks again

Rev

37
Lenses / Walking around with the 600mm IS II - thoughts
« on: November 17, 2013, 03:30:47 PM »
Just curious as to how many of you carry this lens around without a tripod / monopod and for how long.

My shooting needs are primarily for wild life.  This lens will be on loan for about 10 days starting this friday 11-22-13 and all I have handy is a
1)Gitzo monopod (GM3551 6X Carbon Fiber Monopod )
2)Benro Travel Angel tripod (modelA-269M8 TRA269)
3)Acratech GP-s ballhead
4)Manfrotto 701HDV video type head which I know is not ideal for bird shooting. 

Both heads and both Monopod and tripod can support about 25 lbs+ as I recall.  I do realize when mounted, the lens will be front heavy and if on the Travel Angel tripod one leg should be straight out in front of the lens for proper support along with the neck strap of the camera avoiding a tip over.

I can comfortably carry the 5D M3 and the 400mm 5.6 L for about 3 hours on all sorts of hiking trails or so and not be fatigued.  Given the 600 is much more bulkier and heavier I was hoping to do additional preparation given the above scenario with mentioned current gear.  I was also considering (I have the equipment) to do a DIY Black Rapid sling as in this video which I believe I found in this forum many months ago.  DIY: DSLR Shoulder strap w/ quick release and tripod support (read description)

I have a back pack for cameras the Flipside 400AW.  I think this lens will just fit as I recall its about 18" long.

Open to any thoughts, suggestions, tips, questions from anyone who has used this lens personally and has chosen to carry it around or at least try.

Thank you in advance.

38
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Any reason to choose a 7D over a 70D?
« on: November 17, 2013, 02:15:42 PM »
I've considered selling my 7D as well to acquire the 70D as a replacement primarily due to the "phase detection" technology in the 70D primarily for video shooting.  This allows less "hunting" in video mode and keeps your subject focused the majority of the time.

That being said, the SD only option is a downside for the 70D for the FPS as many have stated, it's less rugged (i.e. build quality) and the 70D is only tested up to 100,000 shutter clicks whereas the 7D has been tested for at 150,000 clicks. 

39
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 16, 2013, 03:16:16 PM »
In this article the author (Justin VanLeeuwen) states in sentence 3: 

"...as well as the 8-15mm f/3.5 L Fisheye zoom which was unheard of.."

I believe this should be F4, not F 3.5. Anyone know of a 3.5?

Thx

40
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 05, 2013, 02:18:25 AM »
Thanks for all the kind words on the Eagle photo. 

All photos taken with 5D M3 and 400mm L 5.6

Here's a few more:

Royal Tern

Royal Tern (10975) by Revup67, on Flickr

California Gull - 1st Cycle

California Gull 1st Cycle - in flight (10909) by Revup67, on Flickr

California Gnatcatcher (Federally protected species)  1

California Gnatcatcher (coastal female) (10887) by Revup67, on Flickr

California Gnatcatcher (Federally protected species)  2

California Gnatcatcher (female) (10881) by Revup67, on Flickr

White-crowned Sparrow (juvenile 1st Fall)

White-crowned Sparrow (10816) by Revup67, on Flickr

41
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 02, 2013, 12:08:15 PM »
Taken in Girdwood Alaska August of this year


"Girdwood, We Have Lift Off" (Bald Eagle 9920) by Revup67, on Flickr

43
Landscape / Re: Long Exposures
« on: July 13, 2013, 12:29:12 PM »
A mid day shot with an ND B&W 10 stopper.  ISO 50, F22, 8 seconds, 21mm, full frame


On the Jetty (9077) by Revup67, on Flickr

44
when using the Canon 400mm 5.6 L lens with either the 3.5 limited or 8.5, there's a significant improvement in accuracy and speed.   Prior to this 4/30 update I found the lens a bit slow to focus.  I don't believe its my imagination but has anyone else notice a speed pick up on AF and perhaps even better accuracy while using this lens?

45
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: April 29, 2013, 01:26:10 PM »
Wilson's Warbler flying about at the Living Desert - Palm Springs, CA


Wilson's Warbler (8610) by Revup67, on Flickr

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