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Messages - emag

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Lenses / Re: A few words on Adorama's customer service
« on: December 29, 2012, 05:57:28 PM »
.......and they'll take my order on Saturdays...

Lenses / Re: Infinity and Cold
« on: December 23, 2012, 01:40:06 AM »
Hard stop on a manual lens is not so bad, but it WILL be affected by temperature.  Hard stop on an AF lens is not so good.  The focus motor will be ramming up against that stop every time focus is at infinity or the lens runs to infinity while trying to focus.  It needs to have a bit of overtravel, i.e., go a bit past focus and then come back to it.  What I do is make a mental note of where the line/arrow/whatever is in relation to the infinity mark when AF is at infinity.  If I need to set it manually (night shots, astrophotos, because I want to, etc.) that's where I set the focus.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Cannot Keep Screwing It's Customers Over
« on: December 21, 2012, 09:15:13 AM »
I for one wish to heartily thank the OP.  The pros almost HAVE to buy the latest and greatest to remain competitive.  No matter how skilled you are, sometimes you simply need a better tool.  I'm certain Canon's marketing folks price accordingly.  Then there are folks like the OP, who want to rush out and get the latest and greatest for whatever reason and also serve to some extent as beta testers.  I'm sure Canon's marketing folks track these numbers and then toss them in the blender with seasonal sales targets and determine price reductions.  Thanks to the selfless sacrifice of people like the OP, those of us with greater patience can take advantage of these lower prices.  ::)

Software & Accessories / Re: AutoPano Giga
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:44:52 AM »
Does everything I need, and is simple and easy to use...

Used it last year to create this 14 metre long print from a 21GB full res image

Wrote up an article about how and why if anyone is curious


Keith - wonderful article, I only had time to skim it here at work but will delve into it at home.  You are a Master, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Lenses / Re: Fellow stargazers & nighttime landscape loners!
« on: December 19, 2012, 10:10:40 AM »
For wide field I use the Tokina 11-16/2.8.  I have the Rokinon 8mm fisheye but have not been doing much night work with it.  A wide prime is on my medium list, other items are currently on my short list.  I primarily do time lapses with this setup.  For non-timelapse astro I'll use anything from a 300/f4L to a 2250/f10 telescope.

The 60Da is a niche camera and not necessary for what the OP wants.  In any case, it's cheaper to get a 60D and send it out for modification.  Even cheaper to get a T2i/T3i and have it modified.  I use a modified 40D and an unmodified 60D.

For a 'tracking mount' solution, I recommend this as a start, it's cost effective and it works:


As for the Polarie, Astrotrac and other similar devices - they work, and work well, but the prices get up into the range of a used CG5 or SkyViewPro mount.  The CG5 and SVP come with solid tripods and are designed for greater stability than all but very high end photo tripods.  I use a CG5-ASGT for astrophotography with loads up to 20 lbs.  I would prefer an even beefier mount but portability is a big issue for me.

Be advised, astrophotography is not a hobby, it's a sickness.  It cannot be cured, only treated.......with ever more expensive 'medications'; i.e., cameras, lenses, telescopes, mounts, gizmos, etc.  The Affordable Care Act does NOT cover these prescriptions.

I have timelapses at youtube.com/emagowan

Stills including photos of an old telescope mount modified for just what you want to do are at pbase.com/emagowan/astrophotography
The modified mount is an old C8 telescope drive base.  Perfect for this application and not too hard to find.

Software & Accessories / Re: Best panorama photo stitching software.
« on: December 19, 2012, 09:18:26 AM »
Windows ICE is fast and does a fairly good job.  Just dump the photos into it and rather quickly it will make the pano, disregarding photos that don't belong.  For online viewing, you can upload the panos to Photosynth.  I've recently done some interior panos of an old 19th century coastal defense fort (Ft. Barrancas) in Pensacola.  Magic Lantern to take the photos (auto HDR), Lightroom to stack and blend the images.  I find that the blended images usually need some enhancement after blending and it's easy to stay in Lightoom and do that.  I use ICE to make the pano and upload to Photsynth.

photosynth.net/search.aspx      I post as 'emag325'

Hugin is my second choice, it does an excellent job but is far slower.  It's a good front end for much of the software useful for panos.

I'm strictly a hobbyist and most of my work is done on a Vista laptop, those of you with more powerful computers will likely find other methods that work well for you.

Like most aspects of photography, this is one where you can take many paths to get to various flavors of your destination.

Lenses / Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« on: December 18, 2012, 01:42:13 PM »
T4i and 55-250?  That says 'surveillance' to me.  Sounds like someone couldn't get an uncontested.

Lenses / Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« on: December 17, 2012, 01:09:12 PM »
Have your friend call these folks and discuss his needs:


I, too, thank you, Mt. Spokane.  And raise a virtual Sam Adams (or Yeungling).  Salut!

I recommend you play it safe and pick up a new flash at a local shop.  Adorama / B&H carry the Wein Safe-sync for ~50$.  You don't want to risk damaging your camera while taking family portraits.

Lenses / Re: APS-C lens mm are correct
« on: December 06, 2012, 10:30:43 AM »
Ol' Paint is dead

Lenses / Re: 300MM lens advice
« on: December 06, 2012, 10:23:47 AM »
I know I'll sound like a d!ck, but here goes.....

From your equipment list and your post, it looks like you're pretty well set for gear and don't have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.  Find a group home for foster kids in your area and take some of them out for a nature shoot sometime.  It'll mean the world to a bunch of kids whom the fat man won't be dropping in on.

Back on point - 300/2.8L.  The lens, the myth, the legend; best there is.  Period.  No matter how good the Sigma is (and by all accounts, it IS good), you will always hear that small voice telling you "Should have got the Canon".... and it will be correct. :)  Worth every penny.

Landscape / Re: Seeking sky advice
« on: December 06, 2012, 09:51:26 AM »
I could not view your photos, but can offer a bit of advice.

f/20.0 - don't use it.  Small apertures begin to cause diffraction effects/loss of detail.  If you want the longer exposure times it provides try a(n) ND filter or doubled polarizers.

If you want the sky, you can underexpose.  Play around with your camera and take a series of exposures with varying degrees of underexposure.  F'rinstance, shoot aperture priority, set ISO to 100 or 200 and aperture to f/8 and use the 40D thumbwheel to shoot at faster shutter speeds.  Page 94 of your owner's manual discusses exposure bracketing also.

If you want both sky and people/subjects in the foreground to be properly exposed there are a few methods.  The manual discusses 'Night Portrait' mode on page 53.

You can blend a series of bracketed exposures in Lightroom or other software to handle the high dynamic range.

The 40D is a fine camera, mine has many miles on it, is modified for and relegated to astronomy and has had the shutter release (a known weak point for 40D) and USB board replaced.  Eventually the shutter will fail and I'll have that replaced also.

Video & Movie / On second thought....
« on: December 05, 2012, 01:16:47 PM »
.....this could do the trick


Video & Movie / Re: timelapse. how they do this
« on: December 05, 2012, 09:47:14 AM »
A way for Windows users to maybe do it with, f'rinstance, Lightroom....

Say we're using 130 total images, each one a 1-5 minute exposure.

Stack images 1-5 and process.  Unstack those, stack 2-6 and process.  Unstack those, stack 3-7 and process.  Rinse and repeat to the end.

Run the processed frames through a video editor.

Would be nice to automate this tedious process, though.  There's probably some Windows compatible software out there that can be adapted.

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