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Software & Accessories / Photo Book Experiences?
« on: November 20, 2013, 08:18:00 PM »
I'm looking for experience and recommendations for photo books. Who has any experience?

Comparisons and reviews I've read are all over the place. No one company emerges as clearly superior. My first priorities are good color rendition and excellent image quality. Apparently some are so bad reviewers say halftone dots are visible in their images.

Lightroom has a Blurb design/layout within it so that would seem a good choice. However I don't see any reviews that like it much. It gets dinged on odd size choices for their books, print quality and long delivery times.

Last summer I printed a book with Shutterfly. Since I had a free coupon and had done an event for a family, I printed a book and gave it to them. I didn't care much for the design software you have to use, but the printed book was quite nice. If I can't get a solid recommendation for something better, I'll be using them again.


Canon General / "Phones Imperil Fancy Cameras" -- WSJ
« on: November 08, 2013, 10:31:55 PM »
This appeared in yesterday's, The Wall Street Journal. Since items often can't be accessed there, I've copied the whole piece to read here:

Phones Imperil Fancy Cameras
Shipments of High-End Models Are Falling as Mobile Devices Gain in Popularity

Juro Osawa
Updated Nov. 7, 2013 7:41 p.m. ET

Declining sales of high-end cameras and lenses are raising an alarming question for companies like Canon Inc. and Nikon Corp: Could the proliferation of camera-enabled, app-heavy smartphones be crushing not only the simple point-and-shoot, but premium models as well?

This year, shipments of what's called "interchangeable-lens cameras"—high-end models that let users swap out different lenses—are diving suddenly after years of robust growth. Most of those are digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, cameras—the bulky models used by professional photographers and enthusiasts.

Research firm IDC expects shipments of such cameras to fall 9.1% to 17.4 million units from 19.1 million units last year.


Truncated by mod - if a subscription is required for access to the article, reposting the full text here is a violation of WSJ's copyright.  Here is the link to the original article:

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Museum Exhibit -- One or More of Ours
« on: October 25, 2013, 12:02:56 PM »
Just saw this news piece about a new photo exhibit in New York:

The first picture was taken by one of our forum members, someone I consider a genuinely great photographer. Congratulations, Bob!! If I recall correctly, he used a 5D3 and a 70-200 f/2.8II.

I seem to recognize some other photos originally posted here by some of out photographers. If so, please stand up and take a bow!!

Congratulations to everyone.

Third Party Manufacturers / Rube Takes a Portrait
« on: October 23, 2013, 11:16:25 PM »
This has been out two years, and I've never seen it!!

2D Photography Rube Goldberg Machine

Third Party Manufacturers / Vernon Trent on Equipment
« on: August 04, 2013, 10:42:43 AM »
I don't know much about Vernon Trent, but I came across an interesting quote:

..amateurs worry about equipment,
professionals worry about money,
masters worry about light,
I just take pictures...
- Vernon Trent

Apparently he's part of the "fine art" crowd and is known for nudes.

Looks like he and I agree -- I'm just taking pictures!

Canon General / Bad Photography Rant
« on: July 19, 2013, 02:09:13 PM »
I know there are charlatans with cameras all over the place. And I know this isn't a forum for ranting about bad "photographers," but let this be a caution that if you don't have definite skills (and most here certainly DO) that it's not nice to take money from people for bad pictures.

Recently a member of my family I haven't seen in several years gave me a CD full of jpg images taken by a "professional" photographer. This person was paid $100 for two hours work taking pictures of two teen-age daughters and a couple of family portrait shots out on a seashore location. She dumped all the image files on a CD and gave them to my family member. She had been "recommended" by a hair dresser my aunt uses. Looking at the photographer's Web site she indicates she went to art schools and shot for magazines for several years. I wasn't exactly sure what my aunt wanted when she handed me the CD and asked me to "develop" the pictures and select the best 10 for printing.

Overall, the images are awful. Out of focus, grainy, even badly tilted horizons. The photographer used a Nikon D800 with a Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 lens. A little research suggests it is an inexpensive lens that has a reputation for generating noise on its own. The shoot day turned cloudy with a breeze and misty rain. Setting were typically ISO 2000 around f/4.5 to 5.6. Flying hair can be a good effect, yet this photographer made no attempt not to have it flying across their faces. There are dogs in some pictures (on laps, being held, etc.) and they look scared -- a look I've never seen in a dog's eyes. I was angry when I looked at the pictures and realized she took money from my aunt for this. She even had the audacity to include a document releasing the images for print -- but reassuring that she retained all rights.

When I talked with my aunt she finally admitted she was deeply disappointed with the pictures. She thought perhaps she may be wrong and the pictures really were good, but she wanted me to see them. I had to confirm for her that bad pictures are simply bad pictures. I did soften it by suggesting maybe the photographer was trying for a "soft focus" look with the girls. Also, maybe the tilted horizons were purposed to add "drama." I told her there wasn't much I was going to be able to do but that I would pick the best 10 and have them printed by a good printer.

I cleaned up the files as best I could -- sharpening, noise reduction, horizon straightening, etc. The lens even had mustache distortion that had to be corrected! Then I sent them off to Bay Photo for printing on metallic paper. I'm hoping for the best.

Sorry for the big rant, but bad photography is unfair, and it makes me angry. Not only is the $100 (plus cost for printing) gone, but the expectation of great pictures of cherished family members has also been stolen. The kids and their parents don't live on the seashore, and they can't be reassembled for a do over.

I've often encouraged inexperienced photographers here to take opportunities given -- but only with the explicit understanding that clients know what they can expect. If you're going to present yourself as a seasoned professional, you must produce professional results!

EOS Bodies / EOS M or EOS SL1 ??
« on: June 25, 2013, 12:42:34 PM »
Let me know if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any thread specifically comparing the EOS M and the EOS SL1. They appear to target the same basic market demographic and have very similar capabilities to produce images. As I think about purchasing the M, I can't get the SL1 out of my head. The M probably wins in ultimate compactness (pocketability?) but the SL1 is also quite small, especially with a 40mm pancake mounted. Same basic sensor, as I understand it, access to all Canon EF lenses (with adaptor for M), AF being improved with M firmware update so perhaps not much difference there. I'd like to get a sense of the opinions of folks on this forum. How do they stack up against one another for you? Which would you choose and why?

When I look at purchase, this is what I see:


$479 with 22mm f/2.0 lens (I can't find anyplace selling body only.)
$150 lens adaptor for Canon EF lenses


$650 body (very close to EOS M with 22mm lens and adaptor)

Flash is one uncertainty for me. I don't know if the EOS M works with speedlites other than the one made for it (90EX @ $150).

I know the EOS M has video capability, but no idea how it compares with SL1. Since I don't do video, that would have no influence on a purchase decision for me. Others may differ, I know.

Obviously, the optical viewfinder is a deal breaker for many buyers, especially ones on this forum I suspect. But from a heads up comparison, it comes down to that and perhaps a small difference in pocketability.

What say you?

Lighting / Battery Mystery
« on: June 02, 2013, 03:07:34 PM »
Any ideas why this happened?

Shooting yesterday in bright sun, lot of contrast between people in shade under portable shelters and sunny backgrounds. So I was using a 270EX II for fill flash (hi-speed synch). I didn't shoot a lot, fewer than 100 pictures over three hours.

Before starting, I tested batteries. I have some AA lithium batteries I bought years ago (2021 expiration date) so I'm using them until they run out. The two in the flash had been used previously (perhaps 25 shots), and when I tested them yesterday morning on a load meter, they were both 100%. Eneloop backups I brought along also tested 100%.

Two hours into the morning, the flash stopped working. I took the batteries out, very hot. I put Eneloops in and continued on with no problem. When I got home, here's what I found:

Lithium one: 80% on load tester and 1.51 on voltmeter
Lithium two: 20% (red) on load tester and 0.97 on voltmeter

Eneloops: Both still at 100% although they probably weren't in for more than 20 shots.

I don't think I've ever seen one battery in a pair fail. Battery issue? Flash issue?

I'll keep monitoring it. I especially want to see what happens to the Eneloops over time -- this is first I've used them. If one of them goes to 20% in service and the other doesn't, that will tell me something.

Canon General / Newspaper Dumps Photographers, Wants Video
« on: May 30, 2013, 09:21:53 PM »
Claiming readers are clamoring for more video news coverage, the Chicago Sun-Times has dumped its entire photography staff.,0,4361142.story

Seems a bit drastic, and probably related to short-term budget thinking, but it's what I'm expecting to see long-term. Still photos are going to struggle to maintain relevancy.

They're going to use stringers/freelancers for some still photography in the print edition, I guess.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Color Bombs Kill Cameras
« on: May 08, 2013, 05:07:49 PM »
Roger at LensRentals has posted a warning about the color bombs used at some running events:

He says they will consider damage done to rental equipment at such events as negligent use of equipment.

Pricewatch Deals / Pancake for $80
« on: May 05, 2013, 10:27:32 AM »
Sale at the Canon refurb store now. The 40mm pancake lens is priced at $79.99, although out of stock at the moment.

Keep checking as things come back in stock in quirky fashion sometimes.

That's the lowest price I've ever seen for that lens.

Site Information / Minimum CR Forum IQ?
« on: April 11, 2013, 10:29:42 AM »
Just curious -- what is the minimum IQ requirement for posting in the forum here? And by "IQ" I mean the old school variety -- Intelligence Quotient.

We just had a thread shut down for being "beyond stupid." That would suggest that posts must meet a certain intellectual level before proceeding to full forum discussion. What's the standard? Surely we would not be capricious about such a thing.

Or, is it possible people may be stressed over an upcoming taxes due date in the U.S? That may explain some reduced tolerance for our mentally challenged members.

Since I'm not the brightest lens in the mix here, I'd like some guidance on this matter so pressing to me.


Lenses / Mid-Atlantic Macro Fest -- Cicadas!!
« on: April 06, 2013, 10:25:17 AM »
The 17-year Cicadas will be emerging this spring -- coming to a U.S. mid-Atlantic location near you!

If you're anywhere from Connecticut to Virginia, mount a macro next month and show us your bugs!!

Canon General / A Camera Walks Into a Bar, Scary Review
« on: March 22, 2013, 08:37:37 PM »
A Camera Walks Into a Bar

This is worth reading if only for the great characterizations of camera manufacturing companies.

The scary part is it suggests how far behind Canon (and Nikon) is in current photographic technology. Professional photographers are beginning to migrate to this -- and Canon could be left in the dust.

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