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Messages - noisejammer

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....How do you like the Zacuto 3x Z-Finder Pro loupe? I have the egs for my 5dmkll, but have not installed it yet. Currently use live view & zoom in when needed. Would be nice to have something better.
Yogi, to be honest, I think the Zacuto Z-finder and magnified live view is probably the only way to obtain a reliable critical focus with any DSLR. Of course, some cameras have better autofocus capabilities than others but I think I have tried all the alternatives, on pretty much all my cameras.

So - to enumerate - Eg-S is ok, a Brightscreen with prism is considerably better, a modest loupe like the Hoodman is better still and the Zacuto is where I stopped looking for improvement. If you install the Z-FRM to the screen, it clips on and off seamlessly.

I have read that it is slightly less effective on the 5D3 and D800. I haven't tried on either but it can't be worse than guessing through the vf.
I like your acronym FART  ;D
For those who don't know the acronym - it's

FIND - something that catches your eye
ANALYSE - what is was that got your attention
REFINE - figure out how to exclude clutter from the image.
TRIP - push the button and make a clunk sound.

I can't claim originality though - I shamelessly stole the idea from Ken Rockwell's site.

The short version is that chasing your competition is a certain way to go out of business.

To see why, early adopters have bought your competition's product and your competition has amortised some of the development. If you come along they could cut the price by (perhaps) 20% leaving you with few sales and lots of development cost. On this basis, what is in it for Canon?

Canon did try to leverage their existing user's lens base but the EOS-M was too late to market. Let's face it, three years ago it would have been a weak, me-too, flop. Bottom line - Canon had better not play in the CSC arena unless it has something spectacular to offer.

Sadly, the terrible tsunami that destroyed so much - now two years ago - also seemed to carry off Canon's mojo. If they don't find it soon, they could easily be down at third or fourth place in a year or two. (I'm thinking Nikon first, Sony or Fuji in second place.

Oh yes - MFT is already dead. The X and NEX cameras killed it. Zeiss evidently suspects this too.

I suggest that before you spend a penny, you take out a subscription at and study it. Each of the lenses in the ZE / ZF range are reviewed in detail.

I use several of the ZE lenses. The best are 15/2.8, 21/2.8, 25/2, 35/1.4, 50/2 MP, 100/2 MP and 135/2. I own 5 of these and the 28/2.

The 18/3.5 has severe vignetting when it is wide open. It is already optically slow, so manual focus can be difficult. The 50/1.4 exhibits quite a lot of focus shift as you stop it down which makes it fine for wide open portraits but something of a problem child for more general photography. The 85/1.4 has similar behaviour.

If I was buying my first ZE lens, I would probably recommend the 35/2. It is (with the exception of the 135/2) bar far the easiest to focus.

I find that the only way to achieve critical focus with these lenses is using live view and a permanently mounted Zacuto 3x Z-Finder Pro loupe. This is particularly true for the 35/1.4.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: New Zeiss 55mm Lens
« on: May 01, 2013, 07:31:02 PM »
It uses an 82 mm filter which allows very little vignetting, it uses a retrofocus design and will cost about EUR 4000.

If you're still in the game, expect it to be in the shops near the end of the year.

I use a Fuji X-E1 as my walk-about camera. Its image quality is comparable with a 5D MkII.

If you install the latest firmware, the AF is fast, shutter release is fast and the kit lens is excellent. It can also accept just about any manual focus lens available. Canon EOS lenses cannot be used because they have an electronic diaphragm.

If you were to add a Zeiss 12/2.8 (expected to be offered at around EUR 1k) you would have pretty much everything you want. Alternatively, Fuji will release a wide angle zoom toward the end of the year.

The camera is not perfect but it is very good. You do need to read the manual.

I was going to suggest RRS - but I was beaten to it. Their quality and after sales support is about as good as it gets.

If memory serves, Gitzo and Manfrotto are just brands of the same company. It's hardly a surprise if you get the same problems.

EOS Bodies / Re: Back to the Future Parts 1/2/3 Canon Strategy
« on: April 30, 2013, 02:54:15 AM »
... so I took a flyer at a used Fuji X-E1 and a couple of lenses...

Not wanting to divert too much, but as the owner of some nice Canon cameras, how do you think the X-E1 stacks up in comparison?  You're obviously happy with the image quality and the size of the system.  But how are you finding the AF speed and EVF?  Since buying it, have you tended to use it a lot, or do you still predominantly use the 1D4 and 5D2?

I'm curious how much further mirrorless cameras need to go in order to be regared as comparable with DSLRs for non-sports / non-action photography.  Or do you think they are there already?
Several questions... apologies for the OT but I was asked.

EVF - not as good as an optical finder (particularly if you have a $200 aftermarket screen fitted) but quite usable. The resolution is 2.3 Mp and I can't see granularity. It's fast enough but needs better dynamic range. On the upside, you get the benefit of enhanced ISO in dim conditions. The dioptre range is excellent.

Even though the resolution is higher, I find the viewfinder is not as good as live view on a Canon with a Zacuto loupe. However - if you have it in MF mode, you can click the scroll wheel and get magnified live view of the focus spot in the eyepiece. This is fantastic if you're recycling old MF lenses from another system. (I have a set of Zuiko OM's from years gone by.)

AF - this takes some setting up. Once you configure the camera correctly, the AF is better than a 5D2 (but that's easy.) It's more than sufficient for most of the photography I do (but that's easy too.) There's a focus mash technique that makes the AF near instantaneous but I don't think its good enough for sports or BIF.

Like the AF, correct set-up gets the shutter release well into high-end SLR territory. It clicks at 6 frames per sec and does this without any drama.

On the whole, the best camera is the one you have with you. I still want to use my 5D2 and 1D4 but I've become somewhat reluctant to drag one everywhere I go...

To be fair to the Canon's -

The Canon user interface is streets ahead of the X-E1. Some of the X-E1 button placements are dumb. In particular, you can't select AF point without sticking your left thumb in your right nostril. Someone must have done this to be funny....

It could do with a dedicated DOF preview button and maybe greater flexibility on the assigning of buttons.

The position of the tripod screw is moronic (but RRS fixed that) and it needs a larger grip.

Battery life is ok - in fact it's better than a 5D2 when used as a live view camera.

I find it takes a long time to write files but raw + jpeg is 30Mb and I don't have the world's fastest SD card either. I think this speaks to not enough processor grunt which may be related to battery life.

To summarise - I think Compact System Cameras are already very serious competition for the SLR. There are some wrinkles to work out but the jump in performance between the X100 > X-Pro1 > X-E1 is profound.

EOS Bodies / Re: Back to the Future Parts 1/2/3 Canon Strategy
« on: April 30, 2013, 02:17:30 AM »
... BTW - I have an EOS 3. To the person who claimed its autofocus was better that a 1D3... dream right on. There are three points to choose from but the resolution of film is about equal to 2 Mp so you can't actually tell if it misfocused...

It was me!

Some 1d3 users would have had it that a M is better than their copy.

Film at 2MP?  I used to get clean detailed 40mp scans on my minolta dimage scan elite 5400 with velvia 50.
And as I was scanning rgb emulsion you could argue (a la foveon since you seem keen) that it was equivalent to a 120mp bayer scan. But I won't.  Even if you go down the inverse square route of digital sampling thats still a strong 6mp and certainly with zero colour interpolation inlike bayer sensors....

And I was talking about the Af system, specifically ECF.  We can't do a comparison with any digital camera as it wasn't implemented on any.   I didn't want this to become a film vs digital debate.

Hi Paul - I didn't want to either. I'm still a self-confessed Luddite and I shoot film too....

However... You might want to look at the resolution of 20+ year old lenses. Very few have spot sizes that are smaller than 20 microns. This means you can't capture more than 50 lp/mm and intrinsically not more than 1800x1200 spots. The fine structure gives the illusion of extraordinary high resolution, which you can capture in scanning but it's really a form of noise.

On the 1D3 vs EOS 3 - I shot tens of thousands of frames with my 1D3. The focus was comparable with my 1D4. The few who had difficulty could have had it resolved with a trip back to Canon. Mark you, they disbelieve us as a matter of routine and it might have taken several trips.

EOS Bodies / Re: Back to the Future Parts 1/2/3 Canon Strategy
« on: April 29, 2013, 08:08:42 PM »
I'll chip in my $0.02

First I'll fess up. I'm a luddite, I bought my first smart phone last October. (Before that I had a Blackberry...) Anyway, I have used my phone to make some images and the quality is limited by the pixel size. I'm a physicist so you can trust me on this - Physics says it will ever be thus. Of course, the signal to noise may improve by 2 stops (using a Foveon-like flip chip) - but the same can be done for other sensors.

However... I like call myself a photographer too. To prove this to myself, I bought a 1D4 and a 5D2. By any realistic measure, both are excellent cameras. I have a bag full of ZE glass and a few white lenses too. Lenses are not the problem either.

Weight and bulk are. They are VERY BIG problems indeed.

The only reason I will carry 30 lbs of camera gear is maximise image quality. Offer me something that does the same job but can be used more frequently and I may buy it. I doubt that makes me unusual. I got fed up leaving my camera at home so I took a flyer at a used Fuji X-E1 and a couple of lenses.

Here's the message - the image quality is the equal of my DSLR's.

I think this means the SLR camera is about to disappear. Fuji caused it with the X100. Zeiss has realised it too - they've figured there's lots of money to be made with lenses suited to mirrorless APS-C cameras.  Sony evidently suspects it (witness the RX1.)

Of course, it won't happen this year, or maybe even next... but don't hold your breath, waiting for a 5D Mk V.

BTW - I have an EOS 3. To the person who claimed its autofocus was better that a 1D3... dream right on. There are three points to choose from but the resolution of film is about equal to 2 Mp so you can't actually tell if it misfocused...

Lenses / Re: Why aren't zoom lenses faster than 2.8?
« on: April 18, 2013, 03:19:26 PM »
To get an idea on the weight - I'll make a wild assumption and say we scale the optical formula. This doesn't really work in practice... whatever :D

Say you go from f/2.8 to f/2. Achieving this means the aperture has to increase by 41.4%. Keeping the same slope on the glass means the glass means the thickness increases by 41.4% too. The result is that the weight of the glass must increase by 1.414^3 = 2.83x.

The structure that supports each lens has to be stiffer, and since it's going to be bigger, the mechanical bits get a lot heavier.

but that's not all....
Optical glass increases in price at roughly the fourth power of the aperture. This means the cost of glass has increased by 4x. Similarly, faster lenses demand tighter tolerances so the manufacturing costs increase. Say this quadruples too.

Suddenly a 70-200 weighs at least 10 lbs and material / manufacture costs $8000.

The price is very high, so the market size is now about 1/100 of the market size for the f/2.8 model. Amortise the development cost makes the lens even more expensive... say $10k.

If you think the numbers are wild, take a look at the Sigma 200-500 / 2.8. $26k and 35 lbs. Compare this with the 120-400/4.5-6. 10x as heavy and 26x more expensive.

EOS Bodies / Re: diy ideas on how to protect camera from rain?
« on: April 07, 2013, 02:07:18 PM »
I think it's wise to try to keep all your gear dry - whether or not it's supposedly weather sealed. Your warranty does not cover water damage.

Most important - Do your best not to change lenses when there's rain about - it will get into your camera. If you absolutely have to, you need a large clear plastic bag, a tea-towel to dry everything, individual bags for your lenses and easily accessible body / lens caps. Then you need to practice what you're going to do before you try it in rain. Having three hands helps to stop you dropping something in the mud...

On the DIY approach - a large plastic bag, a couple of a elastic bands and a pair of scissors are all you need. The real trick is not standing in the rain... so get an assistant to carry a golf umbrella for you. Since the ground's probably damp too, it can help if you and your assistant have a monopod and a Walkman seat.

I don't think you will see any new cameras before the end of April... I expect the 70D at the end of June (in time for holidays) and the 7D2 - if there ever is such a thing - in late October. This means your selection space is limited to what's available now.

@Freelancer - My recommendation on the 7D is that it's a wonderful camera - at the current price you get a great deal for your money. Sure, you could spend a couple of hundred dollars less and get a 550 or 600 but the user interface and versatility of the 7D gets my nod.

@OP My take is that the 7D is such a huge upgrade from a 20D, image quality will not be your limiting factor. Be aware that it's a more complex camera to set up, so you need time to get it right. If this is your route, do not delay.

How about looking to see whether you can get a 7D under the Canon Loyalty Program? If you have a broken (or even not broken) Canon P&S Camera, you can get quite a lot of credit on a refurbed SLR.

On full frame...
The often underappreciated point is that the upgrade to ff can be a lot more than the cost of your camera body and your first lens. The 24-105 L is a great lens but it's a stop slower than the 17-55, so any benefit you had with the noise performance disappears because you use higher ISO. To see a real improvement, you'd be looking at a 24-70/2.8 and that would probably drive your budget a bit far. If you decide to go for a 6D, you will also need to think about a flash.

I don't recommend strobing a baby - just about anything will startle them - but you will probably want to think about a light panel or at least a reflector. Of course, a reflector will work for both crop and ff, so it's something you might consider chasing down anyway.

Lenses / Re: Filters from 17 TSE can be used on 24 1.4?
« on: March 31, 2013, 04:33:30 AM »
I made a mount to suit my TS-E 17, all my Lee Filters (4" x 6") work with it EXCEPT the polariser which vignettes heavily. This is not really a limitation - a polariser will cause the sky to take on strange colourings in such a wide lens.

These filters are all usable on a 24/1.4 II provided you have the correct mounting ring.

Lenses / Re: Zeiss 25mm f/2
« on: March 31, 2013, 04:28:12 AM »
I own the ZE 21/2.8, 25/2 and 28/2.

Make no error, (in spite of a comment to the contrary) the image quality of the 25/2 is obviously better than either of the others. It is a great lens with one caveat - I have not been able to extract the 3D look that pops from the 35/2. It may be that I need to play with this lens lot more.

You might give serious consideration to purchasing the ZF.2 model - it offers freedom to choose the body you prefer and glass like this is certainly good enough for high resolution sensors.

Lenses / Re: What is your favorite lens and why?
« on: March 31, 2013, 04:22:13 AM »
I really like to play with my ZE 28/2.
I feel the 28mm focal length avoids the "blah" factor that a 35 offers (I have them) but it's not as extreme a perspective as the 25/2. This makes it versatile on the street - although I'll fess up and say I've not done any street photography for years.

Besides this, it works well on my 5D2 and 1D4. The field curvature can help or hinder.

Among my very near favourites are an OM 16/3.5 FE, a 58/1.2 Rokkor and the ZE 50/2 MP... but I do love all my children. Mostly.

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