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Topics - FunPhotons

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Reviews / Kirk Security Strap review
« on: January 30, 2013, 07:14:48 PM »
Review of  http://www.kirkphoto.com/Kirk_Security_Strap.html

Background, I haven't used the popular BlackRapid strap or other variants. My issue with the BlackRapid is that you have to screw something to the bottom which precludes easy Swiss-Arca plate usage. I know many got around that by using a SA clamp, but the setup seems kludgy to me. Additionally the BlackRapid solution seems over engineered to me. As an engineer I would opt for a simpler design, the swivel buckle, screw in attachment and such looks like too much, never mind adding a Swiss-Arca clamp, which also makes it much more expensive by the way.

Enter the Kirk Security Strap which had the features I wanted on paper.

A built in clamp. A strap which attaches directly to the clamp. Minimal failure points and foo. How does it stack up?

The claim to fame of the BlackRapid is rapid shooting. Important to professional event shooters, less to me, but as it turns out I suspect that is more marketing than reality. As it is the Kirk has zero issues with rapid deployment. Instead of sliding the camera along the strap, a move that seems error prone, with the Kirk you can simply raise the camera to eye level without readjusting anything. It just folds more or less in half with the padded part staying in place. When done drop it back down, zero fuss. Frankly it seems like LESS fuss than the BlackRapid, but as I say I haven't used that one.

Second, how does it 'sit' when by your side? It comes from the factory with the clamp knob toward you. This is a neat feature, what it means is that because the clamp naturally lines the camera up in a particular orientation (front-back) the knob is always there giving some standoff distance between the camera and you. Keeps the back of the camera from knocking into you. Cool.

Third it has a rail on the bottom for quick mounting on a SA system.

Fourth I'm not a walking advertisement. No logos blasted over it, the unit is extremely lightweight and low profile.

That's the good. The less good is that the strap isn't a super deluxe item. Fine by me, actually perfect for me, I don't want some overdone solution. Just a simple strap thank you. If you don't like it, it can be easily replaced at any rate.

Also with the default strap it wants to go over one shoulder (at least for me), not across your chest to the other shoulder. Again my preferred approach, I like being able to quickly take it on or off. If you prefer across the chest then replacing the strap with a longer version will do it for you.

That's my take.

Site Information / Forum recommendations
« on: January 30, 2013, 11:03:42 AM »
Please let me know if there is a way for me to change some of these, I haven't found it though

  • Remove or extend the login timeout, I constantly have to keep logging in unlike every other forum I've been on
  • Get rid of the "somebody posted while you were typing" thing, which requires you to hit submit again. It's never or rarely relevant and is just annoying. Nobody does this anymore
  • Combine forums or repurpose. The categories/forums doesn't make sense, seems like there's duplication and there's other forums that could be added.


Software & Accessories / Need help with developing in LR
« on: January 25, 2013, 06:56:30 PM »
Hi Guys,
   I need some tips for developing my pictures. I'm a software engineer so I'd rather not spend a lot of time twiddling with images (I'd rather be writing software). Here's my workflow

  • Shoot everything in Raw + JPG (JPG is to have a camera development reference)
  • Import into DNG in LR
  • Auto apply a Camera Dual Illuminant profile on import (I love camera calibrations) from XRite ColorChecker
  • Auto apply lens corrections on import
  • I usually shoot a frame with the ColorChecker, if so then apply WB from that

I like the calibrated colors I get usually. Sometimes I'll twiddle the exposure or colors if its a good photo. But usually my photos look kind of crappy, what else should I be doing?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / I love big gear
« on: January 22, 2013, 06:51:36 PM »
As a counterpoint to the posts on here complaining about the size of a DSLR, I'm here to say I like it that way! I spend the weekend with a

Lowepro Pro Trekker strapped to my back with 35 lbs of stuff. Great exercise! And I knew I wouldn't miss any opportunity. I had a full Gitzo and RRS tripod system for doing panoramas, plus about five lenses and flash system. I had it covered! It was comfortable and really strengthened me up (I went with a buddy who had his backpack filled with unusable stuff, just for the exercise) Compared to that, holding the DSLR with a single lens is nothing! If I feel like a small setup I throw a pancake or other prime on there, it's nothing.

So you can keep your puny girly man Leica; it's a DSLR for me anyway.

Software & Accessories / Camera or lightmeter?
« on: January 18, 2013, 10:05:38 AM »
Which is better for managing exposure? It seems to me that the camera is because it measures the actual light received. For example, using a light meter on a black backdrop won't tell you how to expose properly, it seems, but I'm not knowledgable on the subject.

Software & Accessories / Shooting in the rain
« on: January 13, 2013, 10:40:05 AM »
Recommendations for a good "Camera Condom"? You know, these various bags you can get to cover your camera for bad weather.

Third Party Manufacturers / What's going on with the Voightlander 20mm?
« on: December 30, 2012, 07:37:00 PM »
They have a new rev of that line of lenses with a machined focusing ring rather than rubber grip. They've introduced the new 40mm with this feature, but the old 20mm has been discontinued and the new one isn't out yet. I believe it was supposed to be introduced in early summer.

Does anybody know anything about this lens?

Lenses / Revenge of the Primes
« on: November 12, 2012, 08:12:45 AM »
When I was putting my kit together a few years ago (5DMKII, 70-200/2.8II, 24-105, 8-16, 16-35) I beat around the bush for awhile trying to get a good range of focal lengths with primes. For whatever reason I like the simplicity of a few good primes and in the old days I enjoyed my AE-1 immensely with its 35mm and 50mm lenses. But now in the electronic age it seems Canon was letting their primes languish with only these really old designs. So I bought the zooms.

But now Canon seems to be coming out with a refreshed line of high IQ primes, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and a rumored 50mm. All of them with similar high quality (and price). If I knew they were coming out with a 20mm (my favorite) that would cinch it.

Thoughts on ditching my present collection for a set of primes? I'd probably keep the 70-200mm/2.8.

Lenses / Gear for shooting Birds of Prey?
« on: September 16, 2012, 07:25:15 PM »
I've got a thing for birds of prey, especially Owls, Eagles and Falcons, and I'd like to take some pictures of them while I'm out hiking around doing landscape photography. I have a 5DMKII with 8-15, 16-35II, 24-105, and 70-200 plus a few primes.

Following criteria for gear ...
  • Lighter is better since I'm already carrying a lot of gear
  • Price isn't critical but this isn't my primary thing so would like to keep it down
  • L/pro gear is fine, so is non pro (if it's lighter, cheaper and produces reasonable shots)
  • I'm OK with say, getting a longer lens and swapping.

On the other hand, there's a place I go where I flush owls out all the time, and need to just be able to very quickly pull a camera out when opportunity presents itself. It's by the ocean in the early morning when the owls are hunting, so there isn't always a lot of light.

Thanks for suggestions!

Lenses / How do you update Canon lens firmware?
« on: August 11, 2012, 08:02:18 AM »
A search didn't turn up anything useful - how is this performed? Can it be done from a camera, so consumers can do it themselves (such as for the upcoming shorty forty upgrade), or does it need to be sent in to a service center who have a special harness?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Bird of prey eyeball and megapixels
« on: August 10, 2012, 08:49:15 AM »
I went to a talk recently about birds of prey, and in it he had a model of a raptor eyeball. Unfortunately I can't find a picture online to show you, but the interesting thing was that the back of the eyeball had something like twice the surface area of the front. Imagine a truncated cone, with the top smaller part being the front eyeball and the base being the back, to give you an idea. The lecturer talked about how the reason for that was that they could pack so many more rods and cones on that eye, which the birds used to see prey from 3000 feet up. What he was talking about was evolutionary zoom.

Of course I related this to cameras. Whenever a rumor comes in for a big pixel camera somebody lectures us on how unnecessary that is, it would just clog our disks, and so forth. But with more pixels you can crop and zoom and still keep detail. With enough pixels, and a high enough resolution 50mm lens I can see a case where lugging around a lot of zooms diminishes.

Anyhow an improved autofocus from my 5DMKII, such as in the 5DMKIII is all I really need, but I'm hoping they do release a big megapixel camera, preferably in a 1D body. I'd buy it.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / ST-E3-RT mini review
« on: August 08, 2012, 06:55:41 PM »
After waiting MONTHS my ST-E3-RT has come in from B&H, meanwhile I've been using 3 600RT's on a 5DMKII.

  • Now with the complete package I'm completely flabbergasted and happy with how well these work.
  • The ST-E3-RT is much smaller than I expected, it doesn't add much of any weight to the camera and I'm glad to not have a monster heavy flash up there!
  • I like that the display is horizontal - easy to access and tweak while shooting
  • It was an issue to know which of my flashes was the master, with the ST-E3 it's obvious
  • I don't miss the focus assist light at all. Your milage may vary, but for me that was never very useful anyhow (doesn't help in full darkness, and takes too long in partial)
  • I still have my 580 which is the flash I throw up there when I just want a shoe mounted flash (not often hopefully, just a little fill when outside)
  • Of course it works flawlessly

Knee jerk reaction you see to the Canon RF system is along the lines of too expensive. My take is sure you can get cheaper setups, but find one that is this minimalistic, feature filled, and reliable. I'm not paying an assistant so putting out a little more for a tiny kit I can put in a small bag pays for itself, and it always works.

So I was doing some shooting while in a lava cave, not knowing any better I stuck two 600RTs in my pocket and away I went (5DMKII 24-105 lens). I was surprised at how difficult it was to take pictures (I shouldn't have been).

First problem, the camera can't focus (duh). I finally stuck it in MF and tried to focus to what it should be - tons of blurred shots.

Second problem; not enough light (duh). I had one flash on top and one in my hand, and it still wasn't enough to light up some of the big spaces most of the time. A few shots worked out more or less, must have been an accident.

Third problem, in desperation I went to the green box to try and get something, guess what I found? The 600RT wireless turned off. Of course its dark so you can't easily see everything going on with your camera (and I was walking along at the same time), but that green mode is so blindly stupid that it even turns off wireless and the flash goes into no RF master mode (might as well have had a 580 up there). WTF ... half the reason I want a 1 series body is so I don't have to see that awful green box anymore.

Anyhow, you want a challenge? Go shoot in a cave. I'd recommend trying ...

  • Bring some high powered flashes, two 600's at the minimum
  • Put the wide angle barn door on the flashes (I did this eventually and it helped). I'd be curious to try a small softbox too but that might kill too much light
  • Use a MF prime lens light a Zeiss or Voightlander for precise manual control
  • Manual mode, f/9 1/100s and let the flashes to the heavy lifting
  • Wide angle seemed to work better, shorter focal lengths just made it look like a bad picture of a rock face

Now with the shorty as my walk around lens when I don't want weight my bags are too big. Suggestions? I want a shoulder type back (no backpack), just enough room for the camera, spare battery and card. I like Lowepro generally.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / ST-E3-RT stock ... this is crazy!
« on: July 03, 2012, 09:06:12 AM »
I've had one on backorder since they were announced at both B&H and Amazon and neither have come in. Yet smaller retailers are frequently getting stock, and charging an extra $70-$100 for the privilege of buying one. What is going on, will these ever 'be released' to the big retailers?

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