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151
EOS Bodies / Re: Shoot JPEG again with 5D3
« on: April 26, 2012, 11:47:15 AM »
Thanks for the multiple replies!
@helpful: I really appreciate your post! I like strong convictions and find your tone very convincing. Unfortunately, I don't entirely understand your advice: how comes that you change white balance in seconds? Or tenths of seconds, exposure settings? Do you manually adjust K on white balance? How exactly do you proceed?

I use a pure white target (white is really a reflection of an equal mixture of the three wavelengths of light) which is not pointed directly at the light source, but between a 45 to 90 degree angle. I try to duplicate the angle of someone's face relative to the light source. I can just use a white paper for simplicity. The side of the paper in the shade usually has a different color cast to it, so go with the side that is most representative of the lighting on your subjects (whether they are people in a room, people on a basketball court, etc.)

I make sure that the RGB histogram is enabled and change the exposure settings to properly expose the paper at a shutter speed 1/10th or below if I am indoors, except under incandescent lighting which does not have color shifts during the alternating current cycle. In natural light (e.g., daytime outdoors) or in 100% incandescent lighting, the shutter speed is irrelevant. I set the custom white balance to the paper, and check the RGB histogram to make sure all color channels are getting the same exposure. I repeat if necessary.

Adjusting Kelvin lets you change the receptivity to the wavelengths of light all at once, but it is not exact as taking a photo of a white subject. White contains an equal amount of all three color channels, red/blue/green, and so it allows all three color channels to be perfectly calibrated to the light source, with a single exposure.

I agree that most of the Av shots have strange exposures. How can I learn the correct exposure / aperture ? I'd be still relying on the Ettl metering to check manual settings. Well, I'll try harder to practice manual mode! Now I am tempted.

During the time when you were setting white balance, you can also determine the proper exposure value for the lighting conditions at the same time. If you know the brightness of the paper, you can use it in place of the neutral gray card (18% usually, but there are arguments about that.)

Your LCD can be a very bad idea of the exposure, especially if it is set to automatic brightness adjustment. (If you get your finger over the sensor below the LCD on the 5D3, for instance, the LCD will go very dim even though your picture's exposure is unchanged). But your histogram is an accurate indication of exposure.

You can look at the RGB histogram of the white paper shot (after setting the white balance) in order to set your exposure. (And this time, just use the same shutter speed and ISO that you expect to use for the action you plan to be shooting). Take a picture of the paper when it is directly facing the light source and you should see a thin high peak for each color channel. Change the exposure (I am assuming you are using manual exposure to be able to control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) so that the peak for each color channel is about 10% below the right of the histogram. Your paper should be directly reflecting ("aimed at") the light source under the same lighting conditions that your subjects will be photographed in.

Note that there are often different types of light in big stadiums (i.e., some pinker lights, some bluer) and if you are at the wrong spot, sometimes only a row of blue lights are hitting the subjects, for example. And some lights in bad high schools are actually missing parts of the color spectrum. In those cases, proper colors are just about impossible, but it doesn't have anything to do with what format of image you are recording.

I am not trying to bash RAWs. They are a good way to save all the camera's information that was used when the shot was recorded and processed to JPEG, just in case any of that is needed. I will "turn them on" whenever I feel like it. But they only give 6 more bits of data, and a tiny exposure error (just less than one stop) will neutralize any benefit that the RAW may provide.


The reason why I started this thread is that with this camera just like other posters found my jpg look just like postprocessed RAWs already ! I use Aperture plus NIK suite. Could not sharpen better, could not impove the colours, could not significantly improve contrast, so I started putting RAW on CF and jpg on SD but ended up scratching my head. Well, try yourself. It's still early days with the mark III, and I don't state that it's only jpg worth, just that the jpg machine is good and tweaking the incamera settings on contrast, sharpness etc yields a good time saving for non-critical work.

152
EOS Bodies / Re: Shoot JPEG again with 5D3
« on: April 26, 2012, 11:23:08 AM »
With the 5DIII I have been shooting RAW to the CF and Large JPG to the SD, a luxury I really appreciate.  In nearly all of the sports and people captures I have taken, the JPGs look terrific.  So much so that I have ended up spending a bunch of hours in LR 4.1 just trying to get the RAWs to look as good.  Then staring at my computer screen, I am in disbelief that I can't get them to look noticeably better.   I am the first to admit I am low on the LR learning curve having used Aperture for some time and just converting about a month ago.   Frankly, I have begun to wonder if the extra effort on RAW is worthwhile for action shots that mostly end up on website albums, Facebook pages and rarely see large print.  Even a lot of the candid and tight shots of faces look fantastic 1x1 from images that originated as JPG.  There is still plenty of room to push sharpening and noise reduction even in really high ISO images.

For fast moving sports events with lots of high speed bursts, I am seriously considering going with JPG only for in-game shots.  I can use a custom function selection to quickly pop back to CF-RAW/SD-JPG for group photos and unusual situations where I want the security of a good digital negative to fall back on.   I am certainly not in the JPG only camp but there are clearly situations that suit it. 

edit - please don't refer to me as thinking I am superior at taking photos than the average enthusiast. I don't believe anything other than I am seriously struggling to bring out the benefit that RAW offers.

That's what I am trying to get across, too. RAW processing makes us duplicate what the camera is already doing, very, very well.

The ultimate output medium of any photography is essentially at the 24-bit color level of a JPEG image.

Why don't we at least try to learn how to use the camera as an effective RAW processor, simply because it is?

153
Lenses / Re: Are primes really more sharp?
« on: April 26, 2012, 11:18:47 AM »
Some of you have been talking about the words "environmental feeling" and wondering what that means and why primes are better because of it.

I have no idea what the meaning of those words is as applied to a lens, but let me suggest a possible interpretation.

People with zooms are prone to zoom when they should be moving. It's not the focal length of zooming that is wrong, but just the perspective. People with a prime lens tend to become sensitive to adding the "environmental feeling" (whatever that is) to the photograph, because they move to where a person would actually move in order to see a human perspective of the scene.

If someone with a zoom lens would move and zoom, then that could be circumvented, but the very act of zooming makes everyone, including me, forget how to properly move. It's just too much for the brain to process. A prime lens takes this confounding factor of zooming out, and let's one more naturally take pictures, and capture the "environmental feeling."

I am kind of liking those words even though they have no meaning except what we choose to give to them.

154
EOS Bodies / Re: Shoot JPEG again with 5D3
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:00:07 AM »

But why get yourself a 5D3 to shoot JPEG? There must have been a bazillion words written in the RAW vs JPEG debate and the pro-RAW conclusions remain totally valid.

Frankly it freaks me out to shoot JPEG on any camera other than my phone...the potential for post-pro grief makes it a non-starter. If you know for 100% certain your output requirements are modest, check out mRAW.


I bought 2 5D3s to shoot JPEG only.  I have shot RAW exclusively for years and edited probably over 100,000 RAW and JPEG images.  RAW is really only a benefit to me when I miss the exposure or WB.  Sure RAW captures a lot more information but if you don't need that information then it is a waste.  I shoot 20-30 weddings a year and probably shoot 3000-5000 pictures per wedding and a good JPEG is just as good as a RAW image unless your settings are off or you plan on doing extensive dodging or burning.  If you shoot manual and dial in the WB using the Kelvin color temperature and the WB shift to properly balance the color of the light source your JPEG is going to be as good if not better than if it were taken in RAW.       

Way to go. In the real world a camera that can deliver JPEGs with quality and style is a lifesaver. In most of my work there simply isn't enough time to shoot and process RAW. I do test shots to determine the proper exposure value of everything in my field of view, and then use manual exposure to shoot all types of sports. The JPEGs turn out just as good as the best quality RAW files that I could ever process. Yes, I have the latest lightroom 4.1, the latest (Pre version 6, but that hasn't shipped yet) Photoshop / Creative Suite, and even Matlab numerical imaging processing expertise. RAW gives people 6 more bits to handle exposure errors (including exposure errors for certain color channels, aka white balance). People talk about RAW vs. JPEG as if there is some sort of emotion involved rather than just mathematics.

JPEG does not deserve all the criticism it gets; it is a valid choice if you can set your camera up to the proper exposure and you don't have time to make errors in taking pictures. RAW is if you want to dodge and burn, correct exposure, or generally fool around all day with pictures you have taken, like Ken Rockwell does. (Bummer, though, he shoots JPEG, which doesn't make any sense to me since he loves Photoshopping everything. He also seems to have no artistic sense if one looks his latest photo contest winners.)

I am totally neutral on the emotional RAW vs. JPEG debate, but I can tell you one thing for sure: most newbie photographers are not getting good advice by thinking they have to shoot RAW all the time. RAW doesn't make a picture better. It just gives you the ability to do more math to it afterwards.

That's why I don't like hearing all the nonsense about RAW, and why I like to chime in a positive word whenever someone has the bravery to say they sometimes shoot JPEG.

Here's an idea that would actually help people become better photographers, rather than the suggestion to shoot RAW:

Regardless of whether you shoot RAW or JPEG:

* Learn to use manual exposure and how to meter the actual value of the light that is illuminating the subject.
* Expose to this value of light (exposure value).
* Bright subjects will automatically have the proper brightness.
* Dark subjects will automatically be rendered with the proper amount of darkness.
* If shooting JPEG this can even be controlled by changing the Contrast of the picture style.
* Set the white balance carefully with a shutter speed well under the refresh rate of any man-made lighting that may be contributing to the scene. (Usually under 1/10th of a second is a safe speed for setting white balance.). This will avoid any under or over exposure in any of the color channels making the final image.

This will result in every case with fantastically beautiful pictures that make every image pop and every exposure perfect, plus consistent colors. Photography will become super easy.

The only remaining challenge is nailing focus and learning to handle a camera to optimize its AF system quirks, which is a lifelong job as complicated as playing tennis.

But if all the photos turned out perfect, then taking them would be boring, so missing focus once in a while has the benefit of making photography interesting.

No matter how complicated the auto exposure system, shooting in Av, T, or other modes where the camera changes the exposure, results in damage to the exposures far more significant than the 6 bits of freedom that RAW gives.

You can look back through a set of photos taken in Av mode, for instance, and the photos will all have different exposures--dark, light, dark, dark, light, dark, light, light--and on and on. Why in the world??? It's because they are all the wrong exposure. A photo should only be lighter if there is a lighter subject in it, and the exposure should actually stay the same relative to the light source.

Learn to expose correctly. That's way more important.


155
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Puchasing 5D III off of Craiglist
« on: April 24, 2012, 03:10:59 PM »
I have sold several high-value cameras on Craigslist. I am in the midwest, so ymmv in other areas.

I strongly agree with the idea of meeting the seller at the purchaser's bank. He knows that you are giving him real money, and it is a safe place where you can feel relatively comfortable, since it is your own bank.

I don't believe that you have to pay sales tax a second time if the purchaser already paid sales tax when it purchased the camera. As the 2nd buyer, it isn't your obligation to ask if they paid sales tax already, so if they don't mention it, you can assume you are safe.

However, I always lose a proportion of my purchase price, so it would not be legit to buy a 5D3 for $3,500. $3,100 would be the price I would expect to sell one for even if it was still brand new.


156
Lenses / Re: 16-35mm f/2.8 II vs 24mm f/1.4L II
« on: April 22, 2012, 06:15:19 PM »
Its interesting to me that there are NO votes for the 24mm.... very interesting..

I think I'm going to go with the 16-35mm though, and hold onto my 50mm f/1.4 for this trip. I also think i will pick up the new flash and perhaps the battery grip as well..


Thanks guys!

That's interesting to me, too. I honestly did not vote yet in this poll although I read it. And I would have recommended the 16-35mm II for you over the 24mm f/1.4L II.

However, the odd thing for me is that I own both lenses, and I almost always leave the 16-35mm at home in favor of the 24mm f/1.4L II. It's the perfect lens for my needs in dark conditions at events or turning around and getting crowd shots at games. For those needs the 24mm focal length is just right because it gets enough in the frame without being so wide-angle that the subjects are too small. A common practice with the 16-35mm lens is to use it at the widest end for cases such as mine, and I tend to do that, too. (For grab shots there usually isn't time to think and zoom, especially when catching a fleeting expression on the front row of the crowd, so the widest angle gives the best chance for catching it all.) But after a year or so I realized that 24mm was really the ideal focal length for grab shots that I wanted, and I get two extra stops of aperture as well, and a definite increase in sharpness at any equivalent aperture.

That's my two cents. I can't honestly define why I don't use the 16-35mm more in my own photography, and I would still recommend it as more versatile, although somehow for me the 24mm has become my "right-hand man" and go-to wide-angle lens. And so much so that if I were going to China and Japan right now, I would feel much more comfortable taking the 24mm f/1.4L II and leaving behind the 16-35mm II, and I would feel very ill at ease without the 24mm f/1.4L II no matter what other lenses I had in its place.

Does anyone else find the 24mm f/1.4L II so useful and versatile in their everyday photography?

157
EOS Bodies / Re: One area the 5D3 beats the D800...
« on: April 20, 2012, 11:07:36 AM »
Betcha this is why Canon went with a stronger AA filter.

158
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon is getting owned in sensor technology
« on: April 19, 2012, 02:57:54 PM »

That is just sour grapes talking. The "pop" you talk about with 5Diii is its lack of DR. High DR images have flatter look and you can post-process (the horror!) to make it fit your levels.

Let me get the record straight. High DR does not a better photograph make. The DR should fit the artwork being created. Needing to post-process removes detail that would have been present if the scene was shot at a lower DR to begin with.

The DR needed in a picture varies with the picture. A lower DR means higher contrast and detail in the picture at a cost of restricting the range of bright to dark.

A painter knows that whatever the light range in stops, it needs to be represented graphically by a range from dark to bright.

For years photographers have extolled the virtues of taking photos on cloudy days or at the sweet light near sunrise or sunset. What does that result in... surprise, surpise... lowering the dynamic range.

A lower DR is not a technical problem with a picture anymore than slide film (lower DR) versus negative film (higher DR). For many photography needs, lower DR is needed. For many other photography needs, higher DR is needed.

Conclusion: one cannot say that a camera is "better" because of a difference in dynamic range. One can only say that the camera with a higher dynamic range is better for photos with a larger range of bright to dark, but not as good for photos in cloudy lighting. On the other hand, the camera with lower dynamic range is better for photos with a smaller range of bright to dark (like slide film). Both cameras still record 14 bits of information, so mathematically neither one of them is inferior as far as the total amount of information recorded in the RAW image.

159
Software & Accessories / Re: Where to position a watermark
« on: April 19, 2012, 02:51:09 PM »
Watermarks help send all sorts of people to my website. Very small in lower right.

I know that Facebook takes it off when showing the people the center portion of the image (this is done automatically, not by people, by the way), but it shows up in the full image.

All sorts of people find my website, and I let my 720 pixel watermarked images go freely around the internet. It is like water down the river. It goes to the ocean, and then comes back to me again.

In fact, maybe there is a reason why it is called a watermark even though there is no water involved with the digital type of watermark. It's because it truly is like water going to the ocean and then coming back again to me!

160
Lenses / Re: Canon 135mm f2 L
« on: April 18, 2012, 02:56:05 PM »
It's a great lens. A real money-maker for me.

Super sharp across the frame is an apt description. However, I disagree with the comment that it's probably the sharpest of all the L lenses--that would have to be the exotic $10,000+ super telephotos with virtually flat MTF curves at 99% or so.

The lack of IS makes little difference to me, but it would be extra wonderful if included. There have been a few times at events that it could have helped me when I end up in an awkward place and have to grab photos at low ISO and low shutter speed. I would buy it immediately if a new f/1.8 version of this lens came out with IS included. I probably wouldn't buy it immediately if the IS version was f/2.0, or reciprocally if a new version was 1.8 but still with no IS.

The holdability of the 135mm f/2L lens, not just weight but also handling and focal length, is super outstanding. That is just as significant of a factor for me in choosing a lens as IS.

161
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5DII Vs 5DIII for my needs
« on: April 15, 2012, 11:04:10 PM »

By the way, in your original post, why did state that you did not photograph anything of "super speed?" Car racing, especially drag racing is definitely super speed for a camera.



My 30D is okay at shooting the drags, not perfect but okay. I would hope the 5D II would be better than my 30D.

That's what I hoped, too. The 5D II is not better. Sometimes it seemed even worse.

162
EOS Bodies / Re: 5D Mk III vs D800/E, is the 5D3 better at anything?
« on: April 15, 2012, 10:47:28 PM »

I shot a car race recently, and afterwards, the client wanted to downloaded jpegs straight onto his laptop. I know only amateurs and soccer moms shoot jpeg, but the ability to hand over high quality jpegs on a whim, when you don't have to opportunity to touch raw files up in post, is a huge benefit at times. To me, the out-of-camera Nikon files look like ass. That would bother me a heck of a lot more than, and take up more of my time to fix in post, than the 5DIII's disadvantage in DR.   

The strange thing is that most Pros I know switch to Jpeg once they are shooting events where they are taking large amounts of pictures and not doing dedicated (set up) work like fashion or product photography (when they usually would not use any equipment currently offered by Nikon or Canon ... MF anyone ?), as they also don't have the time to work with hundreds of raws ...

On a side note imagine the following not completely unimaginable scenario: Doing a one to two week photography trip where you would take 5 to 10k pictures ... do you still like 80MB raws afterwards with you limited processing power of a consumer notebook/mac ? I really don't think so and that is for what I need and want my camera to function perfectly ...       
When i shoot sports its always small jpegs. Ya need the buffer and ya don't need a tons of info. Even at 1- 1.5 mg our lab uses fractals and creates nice poster sized images. Our prints really do look excellent. For weddings, i don't worry about buffer or file sizes.
I am tempted to shoot both and use jpegs unless i need help with some files. Like the guy said in the video when he is done with editing the raws they pretty much look like jpegs anyway. The 5dm3 jpegs i am getting havent needed post processing which is pretty dang phenomenal but then i havent shot in a 3 diff light source poorly lit stadium either.

Totally agree. The people who wear T-shirts "I shoot raw" and only shoot raw are generally pro wananbes and not pros. I have worked for clients all over who want JPEGS, and the USATF wanted only Small JPEGs for their national Olympics.

RAW files basically give someone about 6 more bits of leeway if they took the picture wrong. The final used and delivered result never has more than the output from a JPEG, anyway.

When I shoot something critical I use RAW as a back up, but I make sure that my camera settings are set right, and I absolutely NEVER have to do any post processing.

"I have never found a practical use for RAW files in years of digital photography. In fact, here is the dirty secret of RAW files: it would take an accomplished expert hours of image processing time to match the same precision adjustments that are made to the image by the camera automatically when it exports image data to JPEG. The camera already has access to the full RAW data when it creates the JPEG image, and it optimizes and improves it automatically before creating the JPEG. So when you get the JPEG you are getting the best you can get."

Actually, I would take that quote a step further: a digital camera has access to MORE than the raw data when it converts to JPEG, so the JPEG you are getting has the potential to be better than the best you could possibly get by developing the raw file on the computer. Just ask yourself how a digital camera can do highlight tone priority, which affects both raw and jpeg output. The camera actually changes sensitivity to a lower ISO and also compresses the full 16-bit image pipeline into the 14-bit raw output. It messes up the dark end, but that is just an example of what cameras can do when developing their own JPEGs that is absolutely impossible to do in post processing.

My point is that I hope some of the self-proclaimed experts on this site will take a moment to think before accusing people who use JPEGs of being soccer moms and amateurs. Shooting JPEGs is something that full-time professionals do. Amateurs might do it too, and they might not. But logically there is no relationship between what one unrelated person does and what a professional photographer does.




163
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5DII Vs 5DIII for my needs
« on: April 15, 2012, 10:37:14 PM »
I was reading through and about to reply that you really just need the 5DII and that there is nothing the 5D3 has that you need. For good light, nothing fast, etc., like your original post said, you don't need any features that the 5D3 does better than the 5D2.

However, as soon as you mentioned cars and racing, that answers your questions right there. The 5D3 can do that. As mentioned before, the 5D2 has an autofocus system that is simply incapable of photographing racing. I have owned both cameras and tried them almost in every extent of their capabilities.

So for the subjects you need to photograph you need the 5D3. Which is the opposite of what I was going to tell you up until I heard the word racing.


By the way, in your original post, why did state that you did not photograph anything of "super speed?" Car racing, especially drag racing is definitely super speed for a camera.


164
Lenses / Re: First dSLR, lens recommendations
« on: April 13, 2012, 09:11:19 AM »



I wouldn't be so fast to laugh: Of course the 70-200/2.8 is an excellent lens, but imho has some drawbacks: a) physically larger, front-heavy on 60d, less suited for travel, b) no IS which is handy when some animal doesn't move for some time, c) very small depth of field on 2.8 - even when a bird is looking towards you, you need something like f5.6 if you want to have it in focus, d) more need for a good af and af micro adjustment (i.e. not the 60d)


Good comments about the 70-200 f/2.8, but I said the 200mm f/2.8L II. I specifically said prime. It is far lighter, perfectly balanced, and if you haven't used it, you have no place to comment.


165
Lenses / Re: First dSLR, lens recommendations
« on: April 13, 2012, 12:36:50 AM »
I read through your post again and based on your budget for lenses and the subjects you want to photograph, this is what I recommend:

* get the body only (the first lens I am recommend would be way better for your needs and a much better value than the 15-85mm)
* Sigma AF 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM OS
* Canon 50mm f/1.4
* Canon 200mm f/2.8L II

If you can't afford all three lenses, you could actually skip the 50mm f/1.4. The 200mm f/2.8L II is just the ticket you need for wildlife. It doesn't have image stabilization, but believe me, it is a much better choice for what you want than the 70-200mm f/4 IS, and actually is hundreds of dollars less expensive. On the 60D body using just the center of the image circle and having a 1.6x crop factor, it is equivalent to the 300mm f/2.8 L II lens. Once you have experienced this lens, any other option seems laughable.

PS. If you can't get the 50mm f/1.4 then the 50mm f/1.8 is a must-have option after you buy the other two lenses, and surely that would make all three fit within your budget. The only thing that I can't stand about the 50mm f/1.8 is its noisy and slow autofocus, but I still have multiple copies of it and can assure you that it is a wonderful lens, and a miracle to be priced so low. It's like a little Leica or Zeiss lens for just $100.

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