July 31, 2014, 04:26:13 PM

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Messages - Stephen Melvin

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Fun Arias rant on APS-C vs. FF
« on: Today at 09:53:54 AM »
When Zack implies that shooting APS-C is a good as Nikon full frame, that doesn't automatically apply to Canon APS-C sensors.  We're lagging behind.  But when you look at other modern sensors (such as Fuji) that are being put into camera systems in which quality lenses are being specifically designed for APS-C sensors (such as Fuji), you'd be surprised at the high image quality.  Modern APS-C sensors are excellent.  Rather than being defensive and negative, we should become proactive and demand Canon pick up their game.

I was about to make that point about the lenses. Nearly 15 years into the digital age, neither Canon nor Nikon has bupkiss for APS lens lineups. Unless you absolutely love 18-xxx megazooms. Still no fast portrait lens. Still no fast normals. Still no fast short telephoto zooms (70-200 equivalent). Fuji and m4/3 have fleshed-out lens lineups already. And Pentax has some amazing APS format lenses. Small and sharp. Professional lenses.

What does Canon have? A bunch of idiot parrots saying "Use an L lens." Well yes, if you're using FF. But for APS format cameras, they have absolutely nothing, despite having an awesome camera in the 7D. A pro grade camera with no pro grade lenses. Lovely.

I'm probably going to move to the Fuji or a M4/3 at some point. Not that I don't love my Mk III and high end lenses. But at some point, you get tired of lugging around heavy gear. I have a great assistant, for now. Once these smaller formats catch up -- and they will -- the FF format will look like a dinosaur. N and C have had a huge head start, but they've been resting on their laurels. Shame on them.

Third Party Lenses (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) / Lomography Petzval Lens
« on: July 30, 2014, 12:35:40 PM »
Received it about a week ago. Really difficult to work with. The focus knob only goes 1/4 turn to go from 1M to infinity. And it's in a really awkward position; especially if you try to take a vertical. Which is why I've pretty much only taken horizontals with it.

Focusing with the Mk III's screen is about hopeless. I use Live View with my Zacuto finder and zoom in. This can be quite successful. The depth of field is very shallow. Surprisingly so, considering that I shoot my 85 f/1.2 wide open most of the time, so I know what to expect, normally.

The lens is very, very sharp dead center. Even at f/2.8. But you don't buy such a lens for sharpness. You buy it for its character, and it has character in spades. What's so interesting is how quickly the image starts to diffuse once you start to get away from the center. Look at the hands in some of the pictures.

I wish they'd built this lens more conventionally. Helical focusing and an AF-confirm chip would be such a huge boon. If they wanted more authenticity, I think it would have been neat if the lens elements were uncoated.

Anyway, I love the images. So I'll be using this lens a lot. It makes me slow down and compose, and I wind up shooting just a few images, generally. I realize this seems rather contradictory. This lens is definitely
not for everybody. It's slow to use and a bit frustrating at times. But the images...

Lenses / Re: Sigma 50mm Art 1.4 Focusing problems
« on: July 24, 2014, 01:46:03 PM »
Back when I was shooting APS format cameras, I found myself buying a number of Sigma lenses, because Canon wasn't making what I needed. I want to say about 4 or 5. Each and every one had focusing issues. The 18-50 f/2.8 started front focusing on one end and back focusing on the other, about two years after I bought it (this was long before Canon brought out the 17-55). The 30 f/1.4 always back focused (and this was years before AFMA). I did a lot of manual guesswork with that one.

The 50-150 f/2.8 always back focused. I got into a routine where I would turn the focusing ring a little after AF was done. Worked pretty well.

Then I got a 7D and did an AFMA of +20 (!) and suddenly this became a gorgeous lens.

And then the flex board went out on it and it wouldn't AF at all. That was an expensive fix.

My 12-24 FF lens was fine, but that was probably the deep DOF and soft IQ.

Glad to see Sigma is nothing if not consistent. Never had a problem with a Tokina (love their lenses!!) or Tamron. Hell, even my cheap Phoenix macro gave me no issues, ever. But Sigma? I'm done.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Adopting a MF system.
« on: July 22, 2014, 09:48:07 AM »
Absolutely serious question:
What value do you see in buying and using this equipment? Those Kodak backs are very old, and have a high crop factor.

Is it the resolution? If that's the case, I promise you you'd be better off buying a Nikon D810, which would be better at pretty much everything. Focus? Check. Resolution? In the real world, check. Dynamic range? Oh my God, yes. Lens selection? By a country mile. Shallow DOF control? Oh yes.

I can think of no logical reason to buy into this system.

Nothing like a bit of Screamo to start the morning.

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How disappointed will you be if . . .?
« on: July 13, 2014, 02:57:14 PM »

Maybe Canon has decided to finally make some pro-grade lenses to go with the 7D, and is waiting until they can launch both at once.
All the Pro grade lenses (the "L" lenses) will work on the 7D.  Do you mean that they will make pro grade EF-S (crop sensor) lenses?  To do that, they will need a pro grade body.  A 1Dx with an APS-C sensor.

Of course that's what I mean. 15 years into the digital age, and Canon makes a superb APS format camera (the 7D), and yet no professional grade lenses designed specifically for the format. Meanwhile, M43 and Fuji are rounding out some really good lens lineups for their smaller cameras.

This whole "L lenses work on APS sensors" thing is beyond idiotic. You knew full well I meant designed for the format. Only Pentax has bothered to make the appropriate lenses for their APS format cameras. But Canon continues to add 18-xxx mm superzooms. They should have had a 58mm f/1.2 lens designed for portraiture a decade ago. A 50-135mm f/2.0 would be an amazing sports lens. And of course a 15-45mm f/2.0. And that's just for starters.

Nikon's been just as stupid, and for their most profitable cameras. There's no direct upgrade path for either camera company. Madness.

Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe Photoshop & LR CC deal
« on: July 12, 2014, 08:35:29 PM »
I have PS 5, which is all I need or expect to need for some time to come. LR has been on a two year upgrade cycle, give or take, for about $80. So this "good deal" will be a $120 price increase, if they force me to buy it, instead of just upgrading Lightroom.

I seem to remember this originally being $20 a month. In any case, I wish they'd make this thing optional.

EOS Bodies / Re: Eos7D mk2, How disappointed will you be if . . .?
« on: July 09, 2014, 12:56:40 PM »
Maybe Canon has decided to finally make some pro-grade lenses to go with the 7D, and is waiting until they can launch both at once.

It's a good thing I don't plan on updating past my 5D Mk III, because I have no desire to rent software. It's ridiculous.

Stoppage, as far as I'm concerned. I have no desire to rent my software. Fortunately, this appears to be happening around the same time that I feel I no longer need to upgrade my camera, as the Mk III does pretty much anything I need it to. "Last camera syndrome," Thom Hogan calls it.

It's not THAT revolutionary, Olympus have had a 14-35mm F/2 for their DSLRs for a good while and that's unbelievably good quality. I know a professional press photographer who shoots Olympus specifically for that lens.

But it's the equivalent of a 28-70 f/4. A pretty mundane lens, wouldn't you say? The Sigma is the equivalent of a FF f/2.8 lens. That's a full stop extra in light gathering power.

I don't think Canon would invest their money in pursuing a lens like this, unless Nikon came out with one. I feel Canon would rather make more Rebels with no upgraded features than invest in their devoted/professional crop body shooters. Canon like to deal in extremes, ignorant amateur or needy professional.

APS format cameras are still the top-selling cameras in C and N's lineups. They really, really need to start making some professional grade lenses for these cameras.


A side issue, but I thought you shouldn't ever do this as it can damage your camera?

This is a myth. First off, can you imagine a company designing a camera that you had to shut off every time you changed lenses, because doing so would damage the camera? The warranty work would be staggering.

Beyond that, the camera is never really turned off, anyway. Try changing a lens with the camera off, while looking at the "card writing" light. Notice that it turns on briefly? Turning a camera "off" really just puts it to sleep.

I always thought the reason you should power off a digital camera when changing lenses is that when power is on the sensor is charged and will draw dust to it.

However when we use a zoom such as the 24-105 this pulls air in and out of the camera - which is probably why if you just use primes your sensor gathers less dust. Just a thought.

Also myths. The sensor doesn't generate a static charge, and it's behind the shutter, anyhow.

And as a sealed lens, the 24-105 doesn't really draw air into the mirror box. You can feel it pulling through the eyepiece, but it's unlikely that much dust will come through past the focusing screen.

Lenses / Re: 16-35 maybe 17-40
« on: March 09, 2013, 04:16:14 PM »
Neither lens is known for corner-to-corner sharpness, and both will vignette even without filters. You should, as suggested, take a close look at that Tokina. They make superb ultrawides, though this lens *may* have QC issues. Buy from a place with a generous return policy.

Lenses / Re: Will Canon step up to Zeiss with a 55mm 1.4L?
« on: February 27, 2013, 11:10:15 PM »
So Zeiss has cracked the high quality normal prime mystery that has eluded all other manufactures for decades.

The question is, now that the cat's out of the bag, will Canon fire back with a 55mm 1.4L?

One thing you may not be aware of is that 55mm and 58mm lenses used to be quite common. Why? On an SLR, they were the shortest focal length that could be built without going to a retrofocus design. That's a big part of why the Zeiss performs so well: it's a relatively easy lens to design and build.

But photographers hated them. A "normal" on 35mm should be 45mm, not 55mm. 50mm became acceptable enough, and they sold much better than the 55's.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the 50's are older designs.

EOS Bodies / Re: 5D3 candle light High ISO (102400)
« on: February 26, 2013, 08:10:51 PM »
Yes, I see a bit of green in the CO and a bit stronger blue in the LR. I'm sure one could mess with them to make them identical, but my exercise was first to see if CO would do what Stephen did in LR, and the answer for me is yes. Then the exercise for me turned to learning to embrace the chiaroscuro, and I learned alot about that from your nice shot and Stephen's nice render. So thanks to both of you for the inadvertent lesson for me!

You're welcome. The rendering of the colors is affected by so many variables, even within a single program. In LR, I selected the "Camera Standard" profile, which is designed to mimic Canon's standard color rendering. I also used the "adjustment brush" to get rid of some of the blue speckles in certain areas of the image. It didn't take long.

[edit] And I'm pleased as can be to know that I can shoot at this ridiculous ISO setting and there are at least two editors, probably more, that can deal with it to at least some useful degree. Pretty amazing tech.

It truly is a dream come true for me. I now find myself looking for more ridiculous light to shoot in, and it's very hard to find a situation that I can't make something out of.

Here's a larger render of my adjustments:

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