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EOS Bodies / Re: 7D Mark II - Timing and when to buy
« on: September 17, 2014, 03:43:14 PM »
Wait a year if that's the only camera you need in the next five years.

If you buy it early, you have a very small chance of running into issues, and won't save anything on price.

If you wait a few months you might end up with one of the cameras returned by other terrible citizens of the photography world. I've seen people who brag about how many times they use then return lenses and cameras on these forums, for example. I never, ever buy cameras without being fully committed to the purchase, merely so I can try them out and then return them. And even if something is truly wrong with a camera, I have it serviced rather than exchanging it to pass the problem on to the camera store or another photographer. But there are a lot of people who do the exact opposite, and there will be a lot of "new" cameras that aren't really quite new being sold after the initial introduction as a result.

If you wait around a year, you can probably catch it at a great sale price, and get one that is fresh from the factory, and probably better by some slim margin than all the cameras being sold at the release date.

Some even suggest that the sensor's performance can improve slightly between one production run and the next, similar to the "steppings" of computer CPUs which vary in overclockability (which would be somewhat a parallel to the amount of sensor thermal noise and read noise) despite having the same design.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Do you need a really high ISO?
« on: September 11, 2014, 08:43:17 PM »

It would be impossible for cameras ever to reach a point where a still higher level of ISO sensitivity would no longer be useful/needful for me.


I'd like to know the actual resolution of a lens regardless of body.

Hearty Amen.

Photography Technique / Re: Ballhead or Gimbal?
« on: September 06, 2014, 02:28:50 PM »
I want to thank everyone who participated in this thread for providing a truly useful and informative discussion relevant to many photographers. Outstanding!

EOS Bodies / Re: A Rundown of Canon at Photokina
« on: September 03, 2014, 11:20:07 AM »
EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II

Be still my beating heart!

The 7D II sounds good too, and if its sensor is a true breakthrough, I'll probably go through five of them just like I did with the first version!

I would LOVE to have the luxury of using crop sensors instead of full frame, and still having the quality customers demand from me, but it's been a dream too good to be true... hopefully that will change on September 15th!

As it currently stands, in my humble opinion, the Canon world is far better than Nikon.

Although I own a lot of Nikon gear, like the D810 with the new Sigma 50mm ART, 400mm II, etc., Nikon is to me a niche market within my photography needs. Nikon has terrible customer service, a very incomplete and outdated lens lineup, etc. Canon's products are much more reliable, and although I hate to use a word which has no clear definition, Canon's products are also much more "professional."

Here are just a few of my personal experiences with Nikon:

* Nikon returned a wobbly lens purchased from B&H without being repaired because it was gray market (which is in some sense understandable, but wait for the rest of the sentence) after unscrewing and severely damaging the internal surfaces of several lens elements, then shipping the lens back to me loosely packed resulting in the lens elements shaking around freely inside the lens. In my mind, they had a customer service obligation to accept my offer to pay any price to do the repair, and they had a MORAL obligation to at least screw the lens together before shipping it back.

* Nikon broke the aperture mechanism on a $6000 lens I just sent back this summer, in the process of performing a $600 repair (replacing the AF-S motor on a supertelephoto).

* Nikon has twice sent me defective refurbished lenses (essentially worn-out junk), whereas the many refurbished lenses I have purchased from Canon have all been equivalent to new stock. Some well-regarded photographers actually consider Canon's refurbished lenses to be better than their new stock, because they are only like-new stock with an extra step of doubly careful calibration and replacement of any parts that would be the most likely to break.

* Nikon's autofocus has not caught up to the 1D X yet.

Long term, I am banking on Canon. I believe that Canon's sensor technology is going to surpass Nikon's and Sony's within a few years, in the same way that Intel's years of careful research finally paid off and began to beat the AMD processors that used to be wreaking havoc with Intel's marketshare back in 2003.

Even if the Nikon vs. Canon sensor war remains as it is, with Nikon "better" in some (but definitely not all) aspects, the Canon "grass" is still much greener with Canon's superior selection of lenses and bodies.

And even if their far better customer service was the ONLY thing going for Canon, they would still be the winner to me. Customer service is the most important thing to a customer, and that is what we are as photographers.

Lenses / Re: New Lens Information for Photokina
« on: August 29, 2014, 06:16:24 PM »
Yes, please, the 400mm DO version II is what I've been praying for for years and years!!!

If it's as sharp at 4.0 as the other premium new Canon lenses, a lightweight 400mm f/4.0 would be my dream come true. As good as it is, a 400mm f/2.8 is too heavy to run around with 12 hours a day. Busy events have too many people in the way just to sit there with a heavy lens on a tripod, so I desperately want this rumor to be true.

This is my number one desired lens in this focal length.

Photography Technique / Re: Is RAW worth it?
« on: August 29, 2014, 10:27:45 AM »
RAW is worth it as long as it doesn't make you lazy.

Too many people use RAW as an excuse to be sloppy with lighting and lazy with "automatic" exposure.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Lens to body pairing
« on: August 19, 2014, 04:37:39 PM »
I would recommend the Sigma 150-500, with a caveat that I don't actually have it, but that I have tried your other alternative and it doesn't really do it for me in that situation.

At the focal lengths where it really matters, I feel confident that you would get better plane pictures both optically from the 150-500 lens and physically from being able to handle / pan / zoom, especially at the 500mm end which is really what you need for taking really good plane photos. Even a "wide angle" plane photo with several planes is going to call for a very long focal length, unless the planes are extremely close (roaring in your ear drums kind of close).

I doubt that the 70-200mm with the 2x extender (resulting in 400mm) is going to compare to the quality of the image you'll get with the 150-500 lens at 500mm with no extenders.

UPDATE: I think I'm wrong. I had heard that the 150-500 was really a pretty great lens overall, but I have just Googled some image comparisons and some of them seem to show that the 70-200 II is sharper, even with the disadvantage of a 2x teleconverter attached, and even comparing Canon details at 400mm equivalent focal length vs. Sigma details at a true focal length of 500mm.

(And if those comparisons I read are true, then really 150-500 lens is NOT a great lens at all like a lot of people have been saying, but a terrible lens.)

All that I can say based on my personal experience is that I am NOT satisfied with the quality of the 70-200mm II in this kind of situation with teleconverters. But the 150-500mm might be even worse.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon 1dx vs Nikon d810
« on: August 13, 2014, 12:23:29 AM »
The experiment is flawed, and the photo shown has nothing whatsoever to do with the vague concept of "the D810's sharpness."

The sharpness in the picture is clearly limited by just about every other possible photographic factor other than the D810, so the D810's "sharpness" (whatever that means) is not even being measured here.

Besides, I happen to have a D810, so how is it that my "D810 sharpness" looks different?

(Note: this is definitely not the sharpest example from my D810. It is also flawed and limited by photographic factors other than the "D810's sharpness.")

EOS Bodies / Re: 7DII - where are the leaks ??
« on: August 05, 2014, 08:12:09 PM »
The 7DII will be a weather-sealed body – that means no leaks.

Awesome post! Thanks for the laugh.

Photography Technique / Re: 5D III delete RAW+JPEG
« on: August 02, 2014, 11:57:04 PM »
This is a bug that apparently Canon has decided not to fix since it doesn't have any fatal negative impact (just a bunch of irritation).

But this bug of performing operations like deleting and locking images only on one of the two cards has a more sinister consequence when locking images and using them in a fast-moving workflow like sports photography.

I have software that scans a memory card in under 5 seconds, copies any locked images and prepares them for media use on a web page. I simply push the lock button on any image that I want to go to media while I'm taking photos at a game. At any given moment, someone can come and swap out a memory card, scan it in 5 seconds, then hand it back. (The 5 second scan is possible, because locking an image is not stored within the image itself, but is a file flag in the file system, which can be read almost instantaneously, requiring almost no time beyond that needed to actually transfer the few files which are actually locked. Ratings, however, require scanning at least part of each file, and would take at least ten times longer to use in this way.)

The fatal problem is that Canon's cameras randomly switch between which memory card is active (regardless of camera settings), and the lock operation is only performed on one memory card.

So several times the locked images haven't been there on one memory card, and whole bunch of memory cards need to get scanned to find them. Occasionally this has caused an issue, as you can imagine.

Canon needs to get their game together and provide an option to perform file operations like deleting and locking on both cards rather than one.

Sure, someone might want to have a back up of ALL the images on a second card, even ones that were "deleted." But probably nobody wants to have files locked only on one of their cards, especially if the camera is randomly flipping between active card slots when any cards are taken out, making it impossible to know which card actually contains the locked version of any particular image.

Photography Technique / Re: Storage Workflow
« on: August 02, 2014, 11:38:30 PM »
On the job:

* Dual cards used at all times (at least five times this has saved my bacon)

When processing photos:

* Pictures are copied to a Synology DS1813+ with eight drives and RAID 6 with one extra hot spare drive (5 total drives actually used for storage, two for redundancy, and one for a hot spare).
* Photos are imported to Lightroom
* Usable photos are flagged and exceptional photos are rated

After processing photos:

* All Photos and Lightroom catalog are backed up to one of two external drives, alternating with each backup. The other external drive is stored off-site.


* All flagged and/or rated photos are synced to Google Drive.

Directory structure for copied files, e.g.,:


where Folder is a name from within the DCIM folder created by the DSLR.

I do not use automatic import nor folder naming from Lightroom because I have found it necessary to organize my folders not just by the camera date (which is automatically stored by Lightroom regardless), but also by import date (which is the folder name I create for copying my files into, like 2014/Aug/8-2), as well as by the camera folder itself (which I have set on each of my cameras appropriately).

By the way, Lightroom still has a bug in it where it does not sort nor export photos correctly if they are viewed chronologically and multiple pictures were taken within a single second. If multiple photos are taken with the same camera within the same second, then it should fall back on sorting by the file name, but it does not do so, and the photographs end up being in a random order, which is extremely disorienting when trying to go through finish line photos of a race, for example.

Finally, as someone who uses multiple cameras in rapid succession, it is absolutely essential to regularly synchronize each body with the official U.S. Atomic Time. I use this widget to do so:

One of my biggest wishes as a DSLR feature would be an atomic time synchronization menu button, a capability which all cell phones and tablets have, but is even more critical for a professional's camera

(The other biggest wish would be a built-in AF microadjustment algorithm, just aim at a target at a given distance, push a button, and then let the DSLR calibrate for optimal phase detection focusing for objects at that exact distance without even needing to permanently store any images. Using Newton's Method with some extra least squares measurements added in for numerical stability, it would be easy to lock in an incredibly accurate AFMA adjustment in under two seconds, but only from in-camera without needing to store the entire images and send them back and forth through external software and focusing APIs, etc.)

What lenses do you already have?

That is the important question, of course. If you already depend on another wide angle lens, like the 24mm f/1.4 or 16-35mm, then the most important lens to you would become the 50mm.

If rather it is only one role or the other, and you don't have equivalent lenses to substitute (which is what your question seems to be asking), then as I remarked above, the 35mm seems much more useful to me.

The answers to this poll are surprising to me. Considering physics instead of the business of photography, the 50mm lens happens to perform even better.

However, considering a lens without consideration of its use in photography is like an NBA team considering a draft pick without regard to his basketball skills and how they would serve the team.

For photography, I would always choose the Sigma 35mm if I was forced to choose between it or the 50mm ART. The benefits that a great 35mm can add to my photography would be more frequent and more valuable. In fact, I normally don't even have a 50mm prime in my kit.

If you are considering which of these two spectacular lenses would be more important as a member of your photography "team" (and if you can't choose both), then I would disagree with all the current votes for the 50mm, and would instead strongly recommend the 35mm.

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