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Messages - JerryKnight

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This: Vello ShutterBoss Timer Remote

Used to be the Pearstone ShutterBoss, which is the one I got, but this one should be identical.

Edit: Actually, I wanted to control a Rebel as well, so I got the Rebel version (sub-mini jack) and sacrificed a cheap N3 remote and made a sub-mini-to-N3 adapter. They might sell such an adapter nowadays, though.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Quick Review
« on: June 21, 2012, 05:31:25 PM »
Like I always say, a pessimist can only be pleasantly surprised.

I might as well go ahead and get in trouble with the business manager: if you think you want this lens, just go ahead and buy it.

$19 / week, estimated $29 shipping.. That's almost 25% of the lens price, so I don't think it's very wise to rent a lens like this, even without a good initial review like this.

Lenses / Re: Recommendations for a fast sub-28mm lens for ~$1k?
« on: June 16, 2012, 10:09:40 AM »
Astrophotography (like anything else, especially photography-related) can be as expensive as you want.

There are several options for tracking equatorial mounts. First, there are the full computerized German eq. mounts made for telescopes. These are probably the best option, because they are intended for exactly this purpose, although they're probably more intended for use with an actual telescope and astronomy CCD camera. I've never seen one that's a good out-of-the-box DSLR astrophotography mount. The other option is a simple motorized eq. mount. They don't have the computer thing ("GoTo", etc.) that automatically points the mount at specific objects, but they do have the motors that allow the mount to track with the stars (sidereal) or sun or moon.

EDIT: Looking closer at Vixen's site, I found they have what seems to be a decent mount for astrophotography. GP2 Photo Guider ~$1100, should work out-of-the-box.

The third option, which I have started out with, is the Astrotrac system. My kit is mostly made from standard photography tripod components, rather than the Astrotrac pier/wedge system. I have the Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, along with the 410 geared head (serves as the equatorial mount for precise polar alignment), the Astrotrac itself, and a ball head on top of that. The Astrotrac, once properly aligned, uses a worm gear to rotate its top half at the same rate as the stars, so the ball head, no matter where it's pointed, will track with the stars. It's fairly precise, especially for wide angle sky shots, and it's even possible to take longer focal length shots for up to a few minutes exposure. Take a look at my setup on Flickr.

I went with the Astrotrac because it's mostly manual, very educational, and when I'm not doing astrophotography, I still have a very good tripod and photographic tripod heads to use. That geared head is fantastic for landscapes. All of the components considered, I probably spent about as much as I would have with a special motorized eq mount, but the versatility is an added benefit.

The other thing you should consider is a light pollution suppression filter. This is the next component on my list. These filters are specifically designed to cut down on the most common city lights (sodium vapor, etc) without restricting the light you want from the stars. Astronomik probably makes the best filters, and they even have filters that clip into the lens mount on your camera (assuming you have a Canon crop sensor camera). Look at either their CLS or UHC filters. OPT is a good place to find them in the USA.

Getting back to your original question... Lens wise, if you get a good tracking system, your choice of lens doesn't matter as much, especially the aperture. For sharpness, you're probably going to want to stop the lens down a bit anyways. It's very hard to focus precisely (even at infinity) on a dark sky, so it's best to go with something around f/8-f/11 and take longer exposures. If you want something really wide, and it sounds like you're on a crop camera, I recommend the EF-S 10-22. It's a great lens, solid construction, and very wide - 16-35mm equivalent. It costs $800 at B&H. Apart from that, your 15-85mm should do a fine job for you. (Very important, though - remember to turn off your stabilizer when it's on a tripod.)

The technique the professionals use is to take lots of medium-length exposures (2-5 minutes) and stack them using software like Deep Sky Stacker (free program). I haven't used this program yet, but I'm going to. It aligns and combines several light frames (normal star photos) and dark frames (shutter or lens closed off) to cut down on sensor noise.

The basic rule for sharp landscapes is to use a narrow aperture -- probably between f/8 and f/16, but if you go to f/22 or beyond, diffraction will probably start to blur details.

I'm not sure what you're worried about with the autofocus. In bright sunlight, it should be next to impossible to miss focus, or you could probably manual focus fairly easily. If you have a mix of foreground/background objects, use your depth of field preview button to check focus.

As with everything other kind of shot, it never hurts to bracket, bracket, bracket. Bracket your exposures, and bracket your focus. Your LCD screen won't be a good exposure indicator, so use your histograms as well.

If you use AEB, you could even experiment with basic HDR. The in-camera HDR is interesting, but not really meant for serious use.

Software & Accessories / Re: Filters for 16-35mm f/2.8L?
« on: June 16, 2012, 01:22:01 AM »
Look for "wide angle" or "slim" filters, depending on the brand. They usually lack the outer screw mount, so you can't stack multiple filters, but the frames are about half the thickness.

I don't have any experience with the filter holders, but I bet they wouldn't vignette at all as long as you got the correct size.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Manual Mode Exposure Question...
« on: June 13, 2012, 03:45:47 PM » seems like letting the camera set the exposure and then using EC when necessary is faster.

I agree, which is why most of my shooting is in AP mode using EC and/or spot metering as appropriate. Manual is fine if I'm taking my time over a shot like a landscape, or in conditions with unchanging light, but I don't see any point in using manual when another mode will get the same result faster and more reliably.

Embrace technology - don't buy the 'auto is for wimps' kind of attitude. One day, someone will come along and say even manual is for wimps and that bulb mode, using the lens cap for exposure, is the only way for a true professional.  ;)

You and I (and many other photographers on both sides) have very different ideas of what "reliable" means. And this is perfectly fine - that's why both types of modes exist.

The settings that the camera guesses on can change wildly, depending on where exactly you're metering. Your shots will not always be consistent. If you're using evaluative metering, changes in things like the background can have dramatic effect on your exposures. If you're using spot metering, changing where you're metering even slightly can also dramatically effect what the camera thinks is "right".

I guess my main point is that the camera does not have an intuitive sense of what I'm photographing. It can only guess, and allowing it to guess gives it the opportunity to guess wrong. Will I guess wrong too? Absolutely, but it trains me to keep an eye on the histogram and adjust. Exposure will never be something that you should "fire and forget" unless you're taking snapshots. (Again, this is my thinking, not what everyone should think.)

Your bulb mode comment is amusing, but entirely misses the point. The camera is good at precisely exposing the sensor for a specific time with a specific aperture. Nobody disputes this. What is disputed is whether the camera can automatically expose every frame properly. Some people think it can, and they use Av/Tv. Some people don't trust it completely, and they use Manual. Nothing wrong with either.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: right time to turn pro...?
« on: June 13, 2012, 03:16:04 PM »
yeah, that's the scary part after worrying if I'm actually a good enough photographer, earning the money to actually pay the bills each month. invoicing, taxes, advertising... eeek.

I'll actually get in touch with some locals tonight, see if they reply. there's one I emailed about this kind of stuff previously and he just ignores me. i guess a lot of photographers don't want to give away their secrets.

I live in birmingham, It's pretty central and has a great creative sector, hopefully I can latch on to things like that. I'll need business cards for cocktail parties and a commercial website... it's all bloody money though, and I have none!

It's unfortunate that many photographers consider their craft to be exclusive. The best way for it to work is for photographers to build a referral network. When one photographer is already booked or is not in a client's price range, they'll refer the client to other local photographers. If you can build relationships like that with photographers, they'll likely be happy to send you clients.

There are communities of photographers out there that believe that helping each other and trading knowledge raises the quality of the entire profession, making everyone's business and artistry better. If you can find these photographers in your area, I think it will help you a lot. Don't worry too much about the ones who seem afraid to teach you anything,  for fear that you'll steal some of their business.

EDIT: The other part of the referral network is with other vendors. Make extra effort to help out florists, caterers, decorators, etc. with photos from your shoots, and it's possible they will send clients your way.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: right time to turn pro...?
« on: June 13, 2012, 12:09:00 PM »
I suggest you find a local photographer or two whose work you admire, and second shoot for them as much as you can. There is so much you can learn from them, just seeing them work. If you can find mentors to teach you and critique your work, even better.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Manual Mode Exposure Question...
« on: June 12, 2012, 04:56:23 PM »
Not to sound flippant or anything, but practice...  usually i have my camera in spot meter mode, If i have green grass or some evenly lit mid tones, i may point my spot there and quickly set my camera realizing its averaging everything to 18% gray...  having it in spot pinpoints the area that it's averaging.  If i dont have a nice predictable midtone, i expose to the dark and compensate 2-3 stops depending on the degree of shadow and fill light... or visa versa for a white or light colored object.  Sometimes when i'm in a pinch with constant changing scenes, i may put the iso in auto...  Many wedding photogs use an expo disc...  fits over the lens, and quickly able to set the proper exposure and take a picture with it on, all of a sudden you have a custom white balance frame to use for your surrounding.  Once you get your base exposure, then you can compensate for how much or how little DOF you want, action or panning, etc...

Exactly this. Watch your meter, turn on your histograms, and practice, and you'll eventually be able to instinctually get "ballpark" accuracy with your exposures. From there, your histograms will guide you to the proper exposures.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Av/Tv modes, but I like knowing that I have full control over the exposure, rather than having the camera guess for me. The camera is usually pretty good at guessing the right exposure, but it's sometimes wrong. In those cases, I choose to rely on the manual settings, because I know it's backlit, I know the subject isn't perfect 18% gray, I know it's a mostly dark setting, etc.

The bottom line for me is that when the exposure is wrong, I know for sure what's to blame (ie. me).

Simply put, I don't think they are designed or intended to be compared to each other. They are intended for two very different types of photographers. I would argue that the 5D3 is at least two, if not three, classes ahead of the T4i. Rebel series, 60D, 7D, 5D3, 1D series.. Although, the differences between the 60D and rebel seem to be shrinking..

(I won't comment on the subjective differences in image quality. Huge can of worms.)

Thanks very much for your thoughts. I am curious though and apologize in advance if it is a can of worms, but what are people's thoughts on the difference in image quality? Right now, there is no other full-frame option and I'm pretty determined to upgrade on that level. But as far as image quality, dynamic range, not so much high ISO ability, but image quality in general- what's the difference between an L-lens on an 4Ti and an L-lens on the Mark III? Any thoughts?

It's hard for me to compare the difference in image quality from a crop sensor body to a full frame body. Once I went to full frame with the classic 5D, I've never looked back, so I really don't know how the rebel cameras perform. I can guess that the "good" crop bodies (ie. 7D) have "good" image quality, and I can say that the 5D bodies have "better" image quality, but by how much? That's entirely subjective. You start getting very hand-wavy, hard-to-quantify answers.

Honestly, the T4i seems to have a great sensor and a great autofocus system (the same 9-cross-type on the 7d?). It looks like a great little camera, so it's entirely possible that the subjective image quality could be comparable to the 7D and any other Canon crop sensor. I think the big questions you have to answer is whether full frame is what you need and whether the build quality is important to you.

You've heard the other benefits of full frame: bokeh, wide angle coverage, etc. Since the "pixels" (or photosites) on the 5D3 sensor are bigger (6.25 micron) than the T3i (4.3 micron, and I assume the T4i has about the same 18MP APS-C sensor), the noise will tend to be better on the 5D3. Sure, the DIGIC 5 will alleviate a lot of that noise, but it will have to work harder on the T4i, giving the 5D3 more opportunity to give you better low light images. Another thing you might be surprised by (I certainly was) is how much brighter and wider the 5D3 viewfinder is. For me, it was a night & day difference when I first looked through my 5D classic's viewfinder. A word of warning, if you decide to go with a combo 5D2+T4i: You might start to feel very cramped by the smaller T4i viewfinder.

If full-frame turns out to be less important to you, I would think the 7D would be a strong consideration, since you want to keep this next camera a while. The materials and construction of the 7D are far better than any plastic rebel, so it will certainly last longer. If you decide you need full frame, you'll automatically get a durable camera, either in the 5D2 or 5D3.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Dual Card-Slot Workflow?
« on: June 11, 2012, 06:04:08 PM »
Make sure you get fast SD/CF cards. (45MB/s? not sure exactly how fast is "enough") I tried out this exact setup (CF: raw, SD: jpeg) and once the buffer filled up (approx 7 frames, I think), it took a second or two to clear the buffer enough to shoot again. Definitely more sluggish than it should be.. Removing my slow SD card improved things dramatically, and my CF's are only 30MB/s or 45MB/s - definitely not the fastest. Now I'm shopping for a decent SD card.

Simply put, I don't think they are designed or intended to be compared to each other. They are intended for two very different types of photographers. I would argue that the 5D3 is at least two, if not three, classes ahead of the T4i. Rebel series, 60D, 7D, 5D3, 1D series.. Although, the differences between the 60D and rebel seem to be shrinking..

(I won't comment on the subjective differences in image quality. Huge can of worms.)

First, the sensor is entirely different, so the sensor debate ultimately boils down to the age-old full-frame vs crop, which has been hashed out endlessly in every online forum on the Internet. The main thing is that full frame sensors simply cost more than crop sensors.

Then there's the build - materials, quality, weather resistance, etc. Magnesium alloys cost a lot more than plastic, and it costs more to shape magnesium alloy than injection-molded plastic.. More has been spent in design and testing (although maybe not enough?), and they're making far fewer 5D's than rebels.

There are countless other upgrades from the rebel line to the 5D line, but those are the main two in my mind. The sensor, build quality, materials, and manufacturing scale, mixed with complex economics, all combine to get the prices we see.

Bottom line, yes - it's well worth the price difference for those who need it. Should everyone go buy a 5D3 instead of a T4i? No way. If all you need is a rebel, get a rebel. If you need better construction and fast performance, get a 7D. If you need a full frame sensor, get a 5D. If you need the absolute best Canon offers, get a 1D or 1Ds series.

Of course, if you have the money to burn, by all means - get a 5D3 or better, whether you really "need" it or not. If you can't justify the cost, then there's nothing wrong with going with the rebel. It's still a superb camera, and it will give you great images, but it simply cannot do everything that some photographers need, which is why the 5D3 was made and priced as it is.

I'm looking to snag a BG-E11, but the big guys all seem to be sold out (Adorama, BH, Amazon, etc.).  There are a bunch of random shops that claim to have it in stock - but I've never dealt with any of them, and the majority seem to have hit-or-miss experiences in their Google reviews.

Should I trust these small guys, or wait for the big names to get more stock in?

Got mine from Unique Photo @ a low price ($319). They still have them in stock now @ $329. Nothing bad to say about them so far, quick service, original un-opened product:


I also went with Unique at the same price. First, I emailed them to make sure their "In Stock" status was accurate. They replied within an hour saying it was really in stock, so I cancelled my B&H order and ordered from Unique, and it shipped the same day.

I share the skepticism of the somewhat shady online shops with suspicious prices, and I tend to shop at B&H, but Unique Photo has proven themselves to me.

There's always the option of sending it to an official Canon repair center, but I have sent a few cameras and lenses to Toshio at T F Camera Repair Service in New Jersey. He does a fantastic job with sensor cleaning, repairs, even shutter replacements for well-loved SLRs. His prices have been very fair in my experience -  just the standard parts + labor..

You can Google around for T F Camera repair. You should find several sites, forum posts, etc. recommending him. Just call him to get an estimate.

Lighting / Re: Which Phottix RF trigger?
« on: June 04, 2012, 05:20:52 PM »
According to the Pixel King specs, it is a full E-TTL II radio trigger system. If they work as advertised, it seems like a good system. Anyone own a set that can comment on their reliability/compatibility?

Edit: There are a few disturbing caveats on the bottom of that page....

17 Do not support flashes using mixed modes, such as E-TTL and M together
23 Transmitter‘s hot shoe is NOT used for flashgun

The other limitations on that list aren't a big deal (in my mind) but these are fairly limiting. #17 could be troublesome for studio settings, where you might want one or two flashes on manual power. I don't really understand #23. Why would the transmitter have a hot shoe if it cannot fire a flash? Could it mean something else? The page is clearly a bad English translation..

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