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Messages - jhpeterson

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Lenses / Re: 300mm F/2.8 non-IS... worth it?
« on: April 05, 2013, 09:38:17 AM »
Over the past 20+ years I've had two 300mm f:2.8 non-IS lenses. In that time they've been the source of much if not most of my published, as well as personally favorite, work.  In fact, I'm convinced that, during the interval I was without one, the quality of my photography suffered. Between the sharpness (on par with the best of L primes), its shallow depth of field and pleasing bokeh, is that good a lens that it is almost certain to make a better photographer out of you. 
That said, there are reasons to be cautious about purchasing one. Almost all are 15 or more years old now, and some are as much as 25, making the availability of replacement parts an issue. I don't think FBW, by itself, is too much of a problem, but, rather, that Canon no longer supports this lens. You will need to find an independent source that's sufficiently skilled and resourceful to perform repairs, which, depending on where you live, will be anywhere from a moderate challenge to being totally out of the question. Case in point, a couple years ago, I needed to replace the rear mount. Pretty straightforward, right? Seeing that I couldn't get the part from Canon (and I'm a CPS member) so I could fix it myself, I took it to this area's best repair shop (I live less than an hour from Minneapolis-St. Paul). It turned out to take more than a couple weeks, as they had to order the part for a 300/2.8 IS, then, when it came in, machine it so it fit. Something to think about as you consider this lens.
What I hope to convey to you is that I highly recommend the 300mm f:2.8 non-IS. Few, if any, other lenses or cameras would give you as much "bang for the buck". But, be aware that, if it breaks, you may not be able to get it fixed. And, seeing how much you're almost certain to develop an attachment to this lens, THAT could be your greatest problem.

Canon General / Re: European travel?
« on: April 03, 2013, 05:43:35 PM »
One piece of gear that I would most recommend is a second body. Perhaps I see this as essential because I'm a professional who spends much of the year traveling on business, but I'm amazed how many visit a place they've never been without backup equipment. Should your camera fail, it would render all your lenses and accessories irrelevant, or at the least you would be forced to spend time seeking out a replacement when you could have been out touring the sights.

I was in Prague a year ago and one of my favorite places was Old Town Square, a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. There is much medieval architecture to train your camera on (be sure to see the Astronomical Clock, best is on the hour when costumed guides proclaim the time from the tower) and walking the stone streets is another must.
Since you'll be there in spring, I would recommend you enjoy at least one afternoon along the river, both for  the excellent views it should afford and the many places to enjoy a meal or drink.  If it's a nice day, a cruise on the Vlatava would be time well spent. 

Lenses / Re: Cheap Canon 300mm or 400mm do I Choose?
« on: March 01, 2013, 02:16:18 PM »
Over the years I've owned a couple 300/4 lenses, both with and without IS, a 400/5.6 and several of the 70-200 variations, so let me weigh in. And, while I've had only limited experience with the 100-400, I found it to be only "adequate" in terms of sharpness at the long end of its range. I suppose it's just the price you pay for such convenience.
While the 300/4 non-IS is an older lens and no longer in production, I found its image quality to be superior to that of the IS version (I've borrowed others to be sure I didn't have unusually good/bad examples). If you could find an excellent copy of one used, I would consider it to be a "best" option, that is, if you don't need IS. (But then, if you did, you wouldn't consider the 400 either!)
The latest model of the 70-200/2.8 IS and adding 1.4 and 2x converters is another consideration, though I would insist on getting the III version of the latter. You get all your focal lengths in, plus the added advantage of a sharp f:2.8 lens when you don't need all that reach.
Still, none of these possibilities compares with the IQ from a 300/2.8, which, even with extenders, gives great results (hardly any loss with the 1.4x model, and much better with a 2x than a 1.4 on the 400). If you could put up with the size and weight, you'd have an excellent set-up for most any situation. You might even find an older non-IS version for little, if any more, than what you'd pay for a new 300 or 400.

I'd keep the 7d.

While the swivel screen and difference in price make the 60d appear more attractive NOW (you know, the "always greener..." sort of thing), you'll likely soon realize the advantages of the 7d (like the screen that doesn't black out when you press record) outweigh the negatives.

Besides, one more thing the 7d has going for it is its better build. You say you're plan to produce advertising videos. One of the most important factors in choosing equipment to do commercial work, is reliability. It is both personally embarrassing and costly in terms of business when an item breaks down, even if it is only for small-town clients (maybe more so, since you may have to live in the same community as them). The near-certainty that a piece of gear will keep working in difficult situations is what labels certain cameras as professional, and, in turn, gives the photographer greater confidence in appearing as a pro.

Coming from someone who doesn't really trust anything below the level of the 1D series, perhaps my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. And, as I shoot on the ocean about 100 days a year, my cameras have been know to acquire a few of them!

Lenses / Re: Which pair of lenses to get?
« on: February 11, 2013, 04:20:58 PM »
Omfg, now you got me thinking of the 70-200mm f/4 IS or 70-200mm f/2.8 IS.
Guess you have to ask yourself, what light levels you'll be working in, at what focal lengths and distances and how much depth of field you'll field.
I'd give the nod to the f/2.8 (though not the original IS version), not only for the brighter image in the viewfinder, but also (much like your eyes) because of better AF response.

Landscape / Re: Transmission tower
« on: February 11, 2013, 04:11:56 PM »
It's also a federal crime to photograph aircraft unless the flight is specifically being conducted for photographic opportunities.  Airshows would be considered photo ops.  A passenger airliner on approach for landing is not and can land you in a federal penitentiary.
Interesting! A few months ago, I was on the water photographing a sailboat regatta (something I do for advertising and editorial clients several dozen days each year), when I felt major pressure in my ears and heard this near-deafening sound. It takes a moment for me to realize that this is a military aircraft flying fast (subsonic but still several hundred feet per second) and LOW. But, years of training must have kicked in as I grabbed the camera with my longest lens and aimed into the sky where I thought it was heading. A moment later, I spotted the jet and another second gave me two good shots.

That evening I reported the overflight to the FAA, along with a picture. I hope I'm not in trouble now!  ;)

Landscape / Re: Transmission tower
« on: February 11, 2013, 03:56:33 PM »
I really like this photo, too.  :)

Trained as an engineer, I often find items of an industrial nature attractive, whether trains, planes, automobiles... bridges, highways, even transmission towers. Many articles of infrastructure have been the subject of my camera. Having long been an editorial and commercial photographer, in recent years I've come to do a good bit of work in the field of alternative energy, photographing wind and solar installations.

In fact, when I'm on the road (which, between work assignments and personal travel, I do for most of the year), I'll frequently stop for objects like this that catch my eye. So far, I've been fortunate in that law enforcement has never bothered me. Of course, with my equipment, it's pretty obvious what I am doing, and I'd like to think those who do this sort of thing with evil intent would be a little more clandestine.

Lenses / Re: Which pair of lenses to get?
« on: February 10, 2013, 10:43:17 PM »
I, too, would recommend the 5D2 over the 6d, not only for its video quality, but also for its build. And, in a couple years, should you ever wish to trade up, it likely will be worth more.
As for choosing the 24-70/2.8 (original version) or the 24-105/4 IS, it's your call. I've had them both, and, in terms of IQ, my copy of the 24-105 is at least the equal of the 24-70 it replaced. The IS has come in handy far more times than I imagined.
But, I would caution you to stay away from the 70-200/2.8 IS unless you want to spend way more for the Mark II. (It's really worth the difference!) I've had almost all the iterations of this zoom range, including the now classic 80-200/2.8 "magic drainpipe" (over a decade I owned three of them), and you'd be far better served by the non-IS lens or the 70-200/4 IS.

Software & Accessories / Re: Camera or lightmeter?
« on: January 18, 2013, 01:26:03 PM »
Interestingly, I've come back to using a hand-held meter a good bit more in the past couple years.
Since the in-camera ones have vastly improved in the last three decades or so, about when I started my career, I'd almost given up on using them for all but studio situations.
However, I've found them very helpful outdoors in checking ambient light on overcast days. Even the best cameras and metering techniques can be fooled by the relatively bright sky. My histograms have become much more consistent, which yields me quicker work flow.
I highly recommend that anytime you question the reading your camera gives you, pull out that hand-held meter. It may not work all the time, like when you and the subject are in different light, but in most cases it will give you more confidence in your settings.

EOS Bodies / Re: 5D3 vs 1DsIII
« on: January 17, 2013, 03:16:20 PM »
I must be in the minority, but I would have to say the 1DS Mk III. Perhaps that's because the conditions I usually shoot in require the solid build of the 1D series.
I have a 5D2 which gets seldom used, because it's just a bit fragile, especially in regards to its weathersealing. On the other hand, my original 1DS has been through been through most everything the past 4-1/2 years.

Lenses / Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« on: January 13, 2013, 11:54:24 PM »
Wanted to say I made it back last week from three great weeks traveling through the Middle East. Thanks, everyone, for all your suggestions.
I wound up taking nearly 9000 photos, and, yes, I really carried my full pack with me almost all the time. About the only time I didn't was in the tight confines of tunnels under some of the pyramids, though even there I carried two bodies with zooms, one wide and one long.
I'll admit, a few times I ached at the end of the day, but I'm not sure I would have done it any differently. I wound up using just about every piece of gear I'd brought along, the only exception being the 7D I'd carried as backup in case one my bodies failed.
By the way, that 1DX totally rocks; it's just amazing the quality of images I was able to get in almost no light.

I'm still recovering from jet lag, but I'll post pictures in the coming days.

Lenses / Re: Going to get the 24-70 2.8 II. Want a 70-200 as well
« on: January 12, 2013, 06:21:56 PM »
I agree with iso79. If you really can't afford the MkII, then get the f:2.8 non-IS version, as you won't be happy with MkI. I've had all three and there's a noticeable difference in IQ between the IS models. The non-IS, though an older design by several years, falls somewhere in between.

EOS Bodies / Re: 1DMkIII vs 5DMkII vs 7D vs 1DSMkIII
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:45:11 AM »
Thanks, privatebydesign, for your pictures and post about using the 1DSMkIII at higher ISOs. It's been my experience that the camera gets rather noisy at anything above 800 or so, but your suggest of shooting at 1600, then underexposing two stops and pulling the details out in post-processing is certainly worth another look.
Despite having the same sensor, I agree that the 5DMkII is better for these things, but I find the build quality far too fragile for the way I nearly always shoot. The 7D seems a bit better, but only just. That's why I was looking for another 1D series body for about what I'd pay for either one of these.
True, I can achieve better IQ by cropping a 1DSMkIII file, but, since many of my clients only need work for the web, sometimes I don't come even close to requiring all the resolution I have.

EOS Bodies / 1DMkIII vs 5DMkII vs 7D vs 1DSMkIII
« on: January 10, 2013, 06:29:52 PM »
I have a chance to get a 1DMkIII, at what probably is a very decent price. I'm somewhat surprised how much they've depreciated compared to the 1DMkIV.
Admittedly, they had their issues when they first came out and they are only 10MP, but in terms of durability and when I don't need extremely large image sizes (that's why I have a 1DSMkIII), they more than hold their own.
I'm also told this is one of the later models that came out after the focusing problems were addressed.
I'm rather partial to the 1D series of cameras, as the nature of my work puts bodies to a pretty rigorous test. What I'm wondering is whether I should go for this rather than a 5DMkII or 7D I'm currently using as backup, or spend roughly twice as much for another 1DSMkIII?

I know, based on my experiences of the last few weeks, I really should upgrade and buy at least a couple 1DXs, a most awesome piece of equipment!

Lenses / Re: Recommendations for three weeks in the Middle East
« on: December 27, 2012, 02:47:54 PM »
No problem. Hope I helped a bit.
Have a nice trip...and share photos of course!
Shalom. :)
Roman, I'm staying right on the Mediterranean this evening, off to Caesarea and Megiddo in the morning. Here for another week, though probably won't get to Haifa. But, if you insist on that photo lesson....
And, yes, I'm actually still walking around with just about all the gear I had planned to take. In fact, the other morning before dawn I hiked up Mt. Sinai with the full pack (two bodies and the four lenses, about 35 pounds) to catch the sunrise. Got a little more than what I bargained for when I ran into light snow about halfway up. Fortunately, no real accumulation and it made for some awesome photos when the clouds cleared out at first light.

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