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Messages - Stephen Melvin

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon Announces the Canon EOS 6D DSLR
« on: September 17, 2012, 11:09:41 PM »
I've finally seen a direct head-to-head comparison between the D600 and the 6D, and it's not as cut-and-dry as some people seem to think it is. In three areas that are very important to me, the 6D actually wins:

1. ISO range. The 6D has two full stops more high ISO settings at the top of the range. Based on my experience with Canon cameras, I expect this difference to show up in real world performance. This is an extremely important feature to me.

2. AF sensitivity. Yes, the 6D has a very disappointing 11 point AF system. It's irritating that Canon clings to these basic AF units. On the other hand, the AF is one stop more sensitive in low light than the state-of-the-art unit in the 1Dx and 5D Mk III, and two stops more sensitive than the AF in the D600. I love to shoot in ridiculously low levels of light, and coupled with the superior high ISO sensitivity, the 6D would seem to have the advantage in low light situations.

For my style of shooting, this is much more important than dynamic range, and Nikon's sensors lose that advantage at high ISO's.

3. Weight. I've been dying for a smaller, lighter FF camera from Canon. The 6D is a full 80 grams lighter than the D600 with the battery installed. This sounds like an awesome walk-around and backup camera. I intend to buy one to back up my 5D Mk III, as its specs are superior to the Mk II's in ways that are very important to me.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: rumor: D600 gets 16 Bit processing
« on: August 30, 2012, 09:34:59 PM »
I find it interesting how some people are talking about jumping ship for the rumored D600 when the D800 isn't even as good as the 5D Mk III, outside of its amazing sensor. And even that starts to lose its advantage at ISO 800.

Speed, AF, video quality, high ISO performance, wireless flash system, build quality and hell, quality control during manufacture are all advantages for the Canon. Strong advantages. Plus, we get some pretty awesome lenses to play with.

Let's put it this way: if both cameras had the exact same sensor, which one would you pick?

In my own case, it's not an improvement in quality so much as improvements in capability. A 5D Mk III that can produce high quality images at ISO 12800 paired with my 24mm f/1.4L II is capable of doing things that cheaper equipment cannot.

I remember being excited at the ISO 3200 image quality of the 20D. That seems so long ago now...

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: rumor: D600 gets 16 Bit processing
« on: August 30, 2012, 09:32:33 AM »
99%? I just don't buy it. A lot of those features they've listed are expensive to produce, and the whole point of this camera is that it's supposed to be cheap. 100% viewfinders are complicated to produce. Weather sealing costs money. Full frame sensors are expensive. They're placing this in the price range of the D300? No, I just don't see it.

And the timing makes no sense, either. The D800 is still hard to get, and Nikon hasn't even yet bothered to fix some major issues with it.

Landscape / Re: In Seoul
« on: August 29, 2012, 05:48:29 PM »
Seoul is an amazing city. I went in 2005, and I want to go back! Lovely photos. :)


The two cameras are very similar with noise, but the reason you want to be a little more careful with the 5d2 is color fidelity and dynamic range. The 5d2 goes purple and the files become harder to work with, while the 5d3 holds up pretty well.

The larger issue is pattern noise. It starts to show up at 6400 on the Mk II, and it's dominant at 12800. It's pretty much unfixable at that point, short of heavy duty NR software. That's where I get my "speed limit" from. Noise doesn't bother me, as long as it's random or appears so. If it looks like film, or can be made to look like film, I'm fine with it.

Others will have a lower tolerance. I suspect most of them never shot high speed photographic film like I have. ;)

I have a wedding coming up in 1 month and I have been going round and round in my head about 5d3 and 5d2. I dont have either camera yet but I sure want one of the two. I see a lot of you have been saying not to be fearless with ISO on 5d3 but what about 5d2? Is the 5d3 a ISO beast compared to 5d2? Basically can you be a bit fearless with 5d2 still?

Up to 3200. 6400 is usable if you take some care with exposure and processing. 12800 is useless.

On the Mk III, 12800 is a walk in the park. 16000 looks good. 25800 is usable. 51600 works in a pinch, if you understand what to expect and don't mind taking some time in Lightroom to coax the best out of what you've got.

I'd consider the Mk III to be 2-3 stops better on the high end. I'm someone who's been shooting in the dark for a very long time; the capabilities of the Mk III are nothing short of astonishing. The Mk II is better than film ever was, mind you. But the Mk III is in a whole other league.


Ditch the Tupperware and use bounce flash instead. Don't be afraid to raise the ISO; the Mk III can handle it. Up to 12800 is a no brainer. Shoot RAW. Balance your ambient and flash exposure. You have excellent gear (except for the Tupperware) that's pretty much state-of-the-art. Don't be afraid to push it.
I have to disagree. Keep that lightsphere on there. It DOES bounce the flash. In every direction. Much better than a bare speedlight.

It doesn't bounce the flash, it scatters the light. It seriously eats up your flash power and has pretty much zero benefit unless you happen to be in a very small room with a low ceiling. Better to have a 580EX and point the flash head at a convenient surface to bounce off of. You'll have much more control and the quality of light will be a whole lot nicer.

But yes, balance your flash and ambient. Also, gel your flash indoors unless you want the background to be orange (under tungsten light). Also, get yourself a fast prime. I recommend the 50 1.4 on a budget, or the sigma 85 1.4 if you have a few bucks more to spend. I shoot weddings almost exclusively on primes with the only exception being the 70-200 2.8 is L II for the ceremony. The siggy 85 lives on my camera for large receptions or the 50 1.4 for tighter receptions. 

He has some pretty good lenses for weddings as it is. While I, too, also like to shoot primes at weddings, I know I'm more of the exception than the rule. My favorite is the 24L II.

So yea, at a fairly dark reception, keep your iso at 3200, shoot with a prime at about f2, and use gelled bounce flash with your GF Lightspere. On your 5d3, it will look great!

Never plan to fix something in post. Get it right in camera. And shoot to the right. I always overexpose by 1/3 to 2/3 stop depending on the scene. But keep your blinkies on in the camera and be careful not to shoot TOO far to the right and blow out the dress.

Oh, and even though its your cousin, still get a contract that limits your legal liability should things turn out badly. NEVER do a wedding under any circumstance without a contract.

Just my 2 and a half cents.

Some good advice here, though with the Mk III, I'd be absolutely fearless with the ISO settings. 3200 is conservative on this camera.

Ditch the Tupperware and use bounce flash instead. Don't be afraid to raise the ISO; the Mk III can handle it. Up to 12800 is a no brainer. Shoot RAW. Balance your ambient and flash exposure. You have excellent gear (except for the Tupperware) that's pretty much state-of-the-art. Don't be afraid to push it.

Lenses / Re: When are Canon going to revise the aged 20mm F2.8 ?
« on: August 27, 2012, 09:13:48 AM »
I'd love it if they came out with a 20mm f/1.4L. They really need a wider fast lens than the 24L.

Lenses / Re: Low Light options
« on: August 23, 2012, 09:50:43 AM »

So I realize I really need some low light capability.  At night and on the rides it was a challenge with the 15-85.  Most of the time you could not use a flash and I was at 3200 ISO (I even went to 6400 a couple of times)
Looking back most of my indoor shots were a lot of different focal ranges (many at the wide end) and I doubt the Sigma 30mm would of been usable since you do not always have a choice to move around indoors.

Though it is the one lens that would have seriously improved your low light capability, at about 2 1/3 stops wider.

My question is, if I had the 17-50 Tamron f2.8 nonVC for indoor use how much would it of improved my ISO or pictures?

You seem to be confusing aperture with ISO sensitivity. One can affect what you need to do with the other, but they are independent variables.

In any case, f/2.8 is only 2/3 of a stop brighter than f/3.5, which is what you have at the wide end. It won't affect your wide photos much, though at 50mm, it will give you a bit more capability.

The Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM would give you more flexibility, with its excellent IS implementation, though at twice the price.

Here are some examples:
1.  Some of the really dark pictures from the rides I was at f3.5 at 3200 ISO and they were still not great.  What the f2.8 of been able to capture the shot?
2.  If I had indoor pictures at 3200 ISO from f4 to f5 then with the f2.8 what ISO would I get and would I be able to avoid using a flash?

1. As I said above, f/2.8 isn't really that much brighter than f/3.5. You could crank up the ISO to 6400 just as easily.

2. f/2.8 is one stop brighter than f/4, so you could go from 3200 to 1600.

Don't be afraid to raise the ISO. The image quality of modern dSLR's at high ISO's is quite remarkable. I've printed ISO 1600 photos from my old 40D at 24 x 36 inches and they look great. Just be sure to be shooting in RAW.

If you really want improved low light capabilities, your best choices are that Sigma or a 430EX. For the wedding, I'd suggest the flash. Don't forget to spend some time learning how to use it correctly, which means bouncing it most of the time.

Lenses / Re: Lenses listed in Group A, Group B, Group C... Why?
« on: August 22, 2012, 02:14:30 PM »
Think about it in terms of angles. An f/2.8 AF sensor has a 20 degree spread, pointing to opposite edges of the exit pupil. An f/5.6 AF sensor has a 10 degree spread. Anything that can block one or more edges from the view of the AF sensor will cause it to fail.

Lenses / Re: Lenses listed in Group A, Group B, Group C... Why?
« on: August 22, 2012, 01:58:57 PM »
Thanks, Stephen! 

I wonder how much is calculated, and how much is empirically-determined?  For example, the 40mm f/2.8 pancakeis down in group D (center dual cross only, no outer columns of f/4 points) - does that mean the virtual aperture is actually in front of the physical extent of the lens?

The 40 wasn't on the list last time I looked, because it wasn't yet out. Hrm, I can't think of why that one would be where it is. I think there was an old 35-135 (or something like that) which didn't make any sense, either. I'd have to see one of these pancakes to come up with a guess. Off the top of my head, the only thing that comes to mind is that it has something to do with it being a unit-focusing lens.

I don't think they need to figure these things out empirically in the year 2012. I'm pretty sure they know in the design stage.

Lenses / Re: Lenses listed in Group A, Group B, Group C... Why?
« on: August 22, 2012, 01:44:34 PM »
The various lenses that you'd think would make the cut due to their maximum aperture don't do so because of the location of the exit pupil.

The exit pupil is where the aperture appears to be when you look at the back of the lens.

In the case of macro lenses, the exit pupil moves as the lens focuses closer, reducing the apparent size of the exit pupil as seen from the back. A unit-focusing macro lens that's f/2.8 when wide open will be at f/5.6 by the time the lens is at 1:1.

Similarly, a lens such as the 1200mm f/5.6L has the exit pupil way up inside the tube, and becomes partially occluded from the outer AF points.

There is a logic to how lenses wind up in different categories.

Lenses / Re: smashed 24-105 F4 L Lens front element
« on: August 15, 2012, 01:53:05 PM »
You were photographing the International Space Station with a 24-105L?  ???

I agree that you should send it to Canon. Their repairs are fast and reasonably priced.

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