December 21, 2014, 08:47:05 AM

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Topics - Marsu42

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I just managed to catch the next injury through lack of technique, a (light) buritis on my elbow. The cause was me leaning with my elbow on frozen ground too long too often while photographing wildlife. I underestimated this though I generally know about the danger and dampen my knees.

Since is the second time I run into something like this I wonder what's next, i.e. how to prevent what I don't know yet. Are there any other common injuries caused by lack of technique and how to avoid them? I'll start the list. For jokes please feel free to start another thread, I'm serious about this.

1. Buritis on knees and elbows - don't knee or lean on hard ground w/o protection:

2. Tenosynovitis when trying to hold too much camera weight improperly (fingers, wrist w/o camera strap) - always balance the weight with both arms or use a monopod:

3. ...?

Photography Technique / Wildlife flash?
« on: February 06, 2014, 09:48:28 AM »
After convincing a group of horses not to run me over or eat my flash, I finally could start using a hair light for them and would like to dicuss the best settings here. I usually use cto gel'ed flash for fill with an on-camera bracket, that's why I don't need high fps but profit from the 200mm zoom setting on the 600rt.

This is what I have recently learned (and remember just now :-)):
* flag the flash to prevent getting the light into the lens
* if metering is tricky, use remote manual (only possible with the rt flashes) and on-camera ettl
* get the flash in a position that not only a hair line is lit or it looks too much photoshopped
* the 1/4000s limit of the 6d is a problem with fast lenses
* speedlites cannot be used as key in sunlight (yes, you could have told me that...)

Do you use flash for outdoor wildlife - just for fill, or do you manage to get the critters in the correct spot? What flash setup & settings do you use? Thanks!

Lighting / Beginner's guide to "how to mount an umbrella"?
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:16:33 AM »
For indoor portraiture, I need some portable(!) soft lighting and after some research the Westcott collapsible seems to be good value (maybe in conmbination with a reflector on the other side):

Question is: How do I mount this thing and my flash? I have to admit I'm rather confused by the variety of stand/boom/bracket/screw/whatever combinations, is there some tutorial available on what "best value" mount to get? Thanks & feel free to inquire further if my description is too lacking to get some advice.

This is work in progress, but I cannot help but to cross-post my fascination what these guys are able to do:

The other very able ml dev g3gg0 just added a module that lets you encrypt your picture files when they are written to the card ... not only with a password you have to type in at every boot, but with a public key file so that only your private key @home is able to decrypt the files!

The one catch is that you cannot view the public-key encrypted files in-camera anymore, that's only possible with the plain ol' password atm ... but still, this is absolute amazing and should prove invaluable for journalism work and preventing greedy customers pressuring you to "just copy over all your raw files" after a shot :-)

Breakthrough at Magic Lantern, imho this elevates it to a must-have and makes Canon look really stupid: They at last figured out what the digic registers having to do with iso are, and by fine-tuning them your camera now gets an additional 1/3-1/2 stop of dynamic range, no strings attached. Just use +1/3 stop of ec (ML also has ec in m mode, just like the new 1dx fw) and you're done.

This means that for example on 5d3, iso 800 with ML has more dynamic range than iso 100 with Canon :-> ... and at high iso you're getting 7% more dr which is nothing to sneeze at, esp. since it builds upon Canon's advantage vs. Nikon: d800@6400 = ~8.3 & 5d3@6400 = ~9.4 ev making good ol' Canon the superior sensor for low light high contrast shooting, esp. the newer 6d.

Code: [Select]
# 5D3
isos =      [ 100    200    400    800    1600   3200   6400  12800 ];
dr =        [ 10.989 10.928 10.799 10.594 10.153  9.521 8.584 7.778 ];
dr_tweak =  [ 11.371 11.334 11.239 11.028 10.598 10.017 9.131 8.360 ];

Read all about it here, test modules are about to be out, next coming to a nightly build near you! Here's the dev thread if you want to follow the development:

If you feel exposure challenged, you can use the ettr module to automatically set the exposure so it covers exactly the dynamic range of the scene with optimum snr :-)

Edit: Updated 5d3 numbers & changed topic, keeping the same(!) iso value the general improvement is more like 1/3ev and not 1/2ev like first reported (it's wip, people!) because the ML iso trick lowers the nominal iso a bit.

Business of Photography/Videography / "Pro" mythbusting
« on: December 18, 2013, 05:16:32 AM »
The three letters "pro" seem to have some mythical value in photography communities as the highest level of photography excellence and gas (gear acquisition syndrome) when in reality it "just" means that someone makes money and has sufficient communication, self-marketing and business skills.

I'd like to list some of the characteristics that are attributed to a "pro", maybe you'd like to expand the list :-)

* pros don't crop, or at lest only do only the tiniest adjustments in post
* pros only take one picture, but make that count
* pros don't care about bulk, weight or price
* pros only use f2.8 zooms
* pros use at least 5d series camera bodies
* pros shoot for 100% magnification sharpness, whatever the camera resolution is

What's the highest iso setting that result in an actual measurable improvement for stills shooting over selecting a lower value and underexposing? I know on digic4 it's iso 3200, everything above is just pushed, but for recent models it seems to have gotten more complicated and there seems to be a difference between 5d3 and 6d sensors.

This is a quote from the Magic Lantern dev Alex who's on 5d3 and usually knows what he's talking about:

There seems to be 4 categories of ISOs (according to how they behave internally):
a) the ones that can be configured via CMOS[0] (on 5D2: 100-1600; they may be different in photo vs lv; the dual iso module uses this one as max iso)
b) the ones that use digital gain, and you can undo that gain via ML digital ISO controls (on 5D2: 6400); this is used for tricks like gradual exposure, hdr video...
c) in-between (maybe this is also hardware but it has some secondary amplifier path)
d) max ISO that can be applied via exposure override in LiveView

... and he goes on with this interesting statement:

For practical purposes, I consider the max useful ISO to be 1600. The higher ones are not any cleaner (maybe up to 0.5 stops), and the price to pay is a large amount of clipped highlights.

Photography Technique / Are you horizontally challenged?
« on: December 10, 2013, 10:25:29 AM »
I specifically asked to introduce a new subforum because I didn't know where to place this question (thanks for the quick addition, CR!):

The problem: I often have a hard time getting my images straight and thus have to correct in post - the problem is that even a minor correction cuts away a big part of the picture, resulting in a too tight framing.

My ability has definitely improved since I (re)started doing photography ~two years ago, and adding a Eg-D screen has helped a lot because the lines are inconspicuous enough not to disturb, but visible enough to be seen when you want it.

Currently, the problematic shots are either when I have no straight reference in the background at all, when the background isn't straight either like trees or plants, or when I am doing shots in awkward positions like lying on the ground and not having the camera in a direct line to the subject (like below).

Questions: Do you know this problem, how do you do it? Do you try to search for reference lines, or do you simply trust your feelings like Obi-Wan would say to know where up and down is? Do you have any hints how to improve?

As a sample, here's a "problem" type shot: Even though (or because?) there is a table leg in the background as some reference, all angles look somehow wrong certainly including the one where the leg has a 90 degrees angle to the screen sides. But maybe that's just me, and maybe it would look different in print than on the screen?

Site Information / Extend the "Last Edit:" marker time?
« on: December 10, 2013, 04:22:59 AM »
What I really like about this site is that it allows to edit the user posts indefinitely and delete them if wanted. Just one idea: It would be nice to extend the time a bit until the "Last Edit:" marker appears.

The reason is that at least for me as a non-native speaker I often find myself editing the post somewhat because after reading it again after a 1-2 minutes or so I think "Hey, that doesn't sound right". Because I'm not editing the actual content I then sometimes delete the post and re-post it to prevent it marked as "edited" - I don't know if I'm the only one doing that. Yes, I admit I could carefully use the "Preview" option, but it usually only dawns on me after reading it in the whole context after "Post".

Site Information / New forum for shooting technique?
« on: December 10, 2013, 04:05:55 AM »
With so many good photogs and helpful members around, I often see threads centering about technique, i.e. how to shoot things with the whole Canon system and getting feedback w/o posting a gallery... but I am missing a dedicated sub-forum for this, in spite of every other poster stating that gear is not everything

Now I know this started out as a gear-head rumor site, but it's a bit unfortunate to see very unique and helpful threads buried between the next "17-40L or 16-35L", and also I have a hard time placing questions because I have to choose if it's about lenses or flashes or video :-\ ... how about it? The most general "Canon" subforum doesn't seem to cover it because it's more about the Canon brand and not what to do with your camera.

EOS Bodies / POLL: The 2nd ff camera in 2014 will be...
« on: November 28, 2013, 03:16:09 PM »
What do you think - will the 6d be updated with a above-mediocre af system and dual pixel af for the masses, or will the 5d3 at last get a real sensor upgrade above the good ol' 5d2 and become the even more expensive 5d4?

Edit: I changed the poll question to make it's clear "ff in 2014" might as well be just an announcement, and actual 2014 releases might be "just" lenses. Still, the question is which ff updates comes first as this might matter to potential buyers of the current models.

Lenses / AFMA & distance?
« on: November 07, 2013, 01:10:25 PM »
Since my good ol' 60d doesn't have afma (thanks, Canon!) I'm new to this with my 6d and would like to ask some people with more afma experience for advice.

I just adjusted my lenses with Magic Lantern's dot_dune module which is basically a free in-camera version of FoCal and found that neither of my f4 zooms need afma (well, the 17-40L +1) at all at either end, at least not at the distance I could test them with in my room. I wonder...

1. My 100L seems to need more afma the longer the lens-subject distance gets. Did I do something wrong, is this normal behavior so I actually arbitrarily need to pick my favorite distance I'd like the lens to af? Do I need to test my 70-300L at longer distances than the 2m right now for accurate results?

2. I don't understand the scale of the afma values - does for example make the +5 of my 100L @1m a difference at the dof of f2.8 in real life? Or is this overcompensated by the camera's and my human's focusing variance anyway unless I shoot on tripod (and in this case would use focus peaking or contrast af)?

If a shot was framed too tight and I'd like to add some space around it, for example for print and framing - what options are there?

Is there a plugin to extrapolate the edge of the frame a bit so that the extension becomes less visible than a plain color, or a plugin to do a non-linear stretch so that the outer sides of the frames are stretched while most of the inner part remains the same (I know for the latter there is a plugin with this idea for AviSynth video processor)?

How do you do it? Thanks for any insight :-)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 6D af tracking: experiences & usage cases
« on: October 15, 2013, 03:40:14 PM »
So I've at last bought a 6d and am fine with it because I knew what I was getting and what for. Still, Canon didn't dare to cut tracking completely - so the 6d does have an "ai servo"ish feature. After trying to use it a bit I'm not yet convinced I've got the best settings and handling method and would like to ask for your experiences.

1. Single af point tracking. So far I've found the outer points are bad for single point tracking, certainly worse than my 60d which has crosspoints and also up to +0.5lv light sensitivity. The 6d has trouble locking focus on low contrast areas like horses' foreheads, which also shows in stills shooting but really becomes a problem when trying to track in portrait position. Any different experiences?

2. Multi af point tracking: From 5d2->6d Canon didn't only reduce the af points from 15 (inc. tracking helpers) to 11, but also cut the firmware hook to select focus patterns through Magic Lantern - so you're stuck with either all or one af point.

My short experience indicates that when not tracking an elephant running towards you the 6d does a bad job choosing the af points and for some weird reason tends to ignore the good center point. If "center point with outer point tracking helpers" would work, the close af spacing could be a blessing in disguise - but somehow I found the selection to be rather erratic. Is this due to a not optimized Canon firmware, do I have the wrong settings or was I just unlucky so far?

3. The 5d3 has "af cases" which link the af settings to neat packages. With the 6d, you're on your own to find the best combination for different uses. I was trying to track running horses (from me, to me, parallel to me) - what do you track and what settings do you find work best?

  • Tracking sensitivity: I'm using "responsive" since I try to keep the object in the center af point - what's your experience with multipoint af, is "responsive" too erratic?
  • Accel./decel. tracking: I'm using higher values, or does this in your experience generate a too erratic behavior with the mediocre 6d af points?
  • AI Servo 1st image priority: I'm using "release" because I'd rather get an out of focus shot than lose a good one - or do you find the 6d is reliable enough to determine when the first shot is in focus?

Disclaimer: This thread is intended to help 6d users with tracking and multipoint af, if you don't have something helpful to add feel free to participate in another thread about the 6d's greatness or regressions vs. the 5d3.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Is ff metering more aggressive than crop?
« on: October 07, 2013, 02:44:11 PM »
I've recently bought the 6d and expected the metering to be just the same as on the 60d - but that doesn't seem to be the case(?), though both use the same 63-zone metering system.

To me, the ff metering system seems to be more aggressive, and I'm more often running into blown highlights than with my 60d - esp. since the amount of highlights "hidden" in the raw and only accessible in postprocessing is much smaller on the 6d.

This is an important difference, because esp. with flash & ettl you're really depending on the camera metering system, and I see me using -ec, spot/partial metering, exposure & flash lock more often than with the 60d where eval metering and "shoot away" usually worked.

Question: Is my impression correct and ff/crop metering is different, or have I've gotten it wrong during my rather short time with the 60d?

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