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Messages - theqspeaks

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I used the 70-200mm f/4L at the National Zoo in DC on a 60D.  Here's a picture shot at 176mm, which I think I cropped in a little.

If you go through some of the other photos in that set (, you'll see some other shots at or near 200mm. 

If you don't have a crop sensor body, the 70-200mm might be too short.  But, I've owned the 70-300mm non-L and my copy sucked.  Very soft above 240mm, very soft wide open, and soft above f/11.  I'd rather get a tack sharp shot racked out to 200mm and then crop it down than a soft shot at 300m with motion blur (because I couldn't open all the way) to get just as tight.

Canon General / Re: NAB 2012: Timescapes Premier Tonight in Las Vegas
« on: April 18, 2012, 10:42:45 AM »
OMG, how was Timescapes??!?!  Dying to know.  Sooooo jealous that you got to see it. 

Just picked up the 70-200 f/4 IS L instead (granted, at 2x the price), and just shooting the first weekend, I was blown away at how much better it was.  I think the other manufacturers do well in the prime and wide-angle area, but, I've definitely been less impressed at their tele's.

Off topic, but man, I got the same lens over the holidays, and it is AMAZING!!  Blew away my previous Canon 70-300mm IS.  The 70-200 f/4 IS L is the best lens I own, by far.  Sharp wide open, sharp at all focal lengths, fast and quiet zoom, great build quality, excellent size, and great IS.  Just a joy to use. 

Haven't used a 3rd party tele, but I think I'd agree that I'd probably only go 3rd party for wide and normal focal lengths. 

Agree with the previous sentiments.  Slower and usually noisier autofocus.  Bigger range of quality control tolerances.  That said, I own a Tamron, Tokina, and a Sigma for my Canon and I love them all. 

Would I prefer to have the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS over my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC?  Sure.  But my Tamron is very sharp and focuses fast enough.  Oh, and it costs about half as much as the Canon. 

Sigma 30mm f/1.4?  Plenty sharp, faster aperture, and better built than the comparably priced Canon 28mm f/1.8.

And my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8?  Built like a freaking tank.  To get the faster aperture and to save a couple of hundred bucks, I'm glad I got it over the Canon 10-22mm. 

At the end of the day, if money was no object, I'd probably only buy Canon lenses.  But, money matters, and sometimes Canon doesn't make exactly what I'm looking for. 

Portrait / Re: Candid portraits
« on: March 21, 2012, 10:37:31 AM »
Here's a couple of my favorite candid portraits:

A kid having fun at the Maryland Renn Faire

Another Renn Faire attendee

A Communist sympathizer

An angry woman at the 2010 Glenn Beck rally in DC

A patriotic woman at a 2010 Tea Party rally at the Capitol

A girl at a bar

Jane Rigby of NASA, at the TEDx MidAtlantic event (what perfect light!!)

For most of these shots, I was planning on getting candid, spontaneous pictures, so I usually preset my camera to be prepared for when the moment arose.  These days, that either means setting my shutter speed to something that I know will freeze the action w/o costing too much in noise or setting the aperture wide open to decrease DOF and maximize shutter speed and ISO. 

Software & Accessories / Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« on: February 15, 2012, 09:30:23 AM »
Now LR3 is just $70 on B&H for today only.

And the Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements 10 combo is just $70 too.

Here's a good example of how powerful LR3 can be:
Final after LR3 --

I agree with KeithR that the last thing you want to do is bounce around from program to program.  He's right, post processing programs need to be learned.  The key thing, however, is that some programs have longer learning curves than others.  dstppy is right, Photoshop, PSP, and GIMP all are much harder to master than LR and Aperture.  These last two programs also provide a much more streamlined workflow and better photo management tools than the more power graphics programs.

Software & Accessories / Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« on: February 14, 2012, 03:33:23 PM »
And apparently Adorama has a great deal on LR3 for $80:,3394.0.html. 

Software & Accessories / Re: Photo editing software for a new user...
« on: February 14, 2012, 03:32:33 PM »
I agree that Lightroom is definitely a great choice.  Fairly easy to learn (especially compared to the more intensive programs like Photoshop or PSP).  Download a free trial here:

Lenses / Re: Lenses for 600d or oncoming replacement
« on: February 09, 2012, 08:22:44 AM »
I definitely agree with Tijn too.  The value of the 24-105L, 17-40L, and 16-35L are all largely lost on a crop sensor if you don't plan to upgrade to FF.  Ditto the recs on the EF-S 17-55mm and EF-S 10-22mm. 

And I second D.Sim's rec of the 70-200mm 2.8 IS L.  Sharper and faster than the 70-300mm.  Plus, with a 1.4x extender, it becomes a 98-280 f/4, basically as long as the 70-300 and still a full stop faster on the long end.

Lenses / Re: Canon 17-85mm vs. Tamron 17-50mm vs. Tamron 28-75mm
« on: February 07, 2012, 12:49:56 PM »
For about two years, my primary kit was the T1i and the Tamron 17-50mm VC.  The Tamron is a great lens--extremely sharp throughout the focal range, extremely good wide open, and excellent VC.  Yes, the AF is noisy and can be a tad slow in the dark, but I've used it to shoot successfully during indoor stage performances where silence in the dark is a priority. 

You can see some of my pics with this combo here:   

And, you can get a used version of the lens on ebay for under $500: 

As for the Canon 17-40L, this isn't an ideal choice for crop sensor cameras.  Is the sharpness, AF, and build quality all top notch?  Sure.  But the short focal range, lack of IS, and only f/4 max aperture is less than ideal for a camera like the T1i.  This is especially true if you shoot in low light.  You lose a full stop of ability to freeze action, and probably upwards of 3 or 4+ stops to stabilize a static scene.  This is even more problematic with a camera like the T1i that has mediocre IQ at 1600 ISO and very bad IQ at 3200. 

Canon General / Re: What should be my first dslr?
« on: February 02, 2012, 10:19:01 AM »
For a beginner, the T2i will be plenty of camera for you to learn on.  Take the $800 in savings and get the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8.  Or, if you want to save a bit of money, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC is a very nice lens that's also very sharp. 

Sure, the 7D's superior AF and fps will be a boon when doing action shots, but for a total beginner just learning, the T2i should be more than sufficient to get good action shots.  Plus, with the savings put toward superior lenses, you're overall image output will be that much better (action and non-action.) 

Or, consider getting a used 50D.  Can be had for half the cost of the 7D. 

When I bought my first DSLR as an advanced beginner, it took me 2 years and 30,000+ exposures to outgrow my T1i, and only then because I'm starting to pick up some semi-pro work on the side.  But the good lenses I bought, I'll be using for several more years to come. 

Everyone loves the gee-whiz features on better camera bodies, but investing more in glass is almost always the right choice.  Especially for folks just starting out in the world of DSLRs.

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