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Messages - davidbellissima

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5D MK III Sample Images / Engagement shoot BTS video
« on: April 09, 2013, 11:30:23 AM »
Here is a link to a little "behind the scenes" video of my last engagement shoot in London. I was shooting with the trusty 5D Mk iii. It was a lot of fun putting this together...


Lighting / Re: An open letter to Canon regarding the Canon RT system
« on: February 03, 2013, 09:30:31 AM »
Given that the situation is as it is, would you reccomend the phottix odin, or the pocket wizard plus III? Do they pretty much have the same capabilities (apart from phottix is sender, and separate receivers, and the pw is transeiver). The price of the pw is just a tad more than the phottix, but I have the impression that most people in here have gone with the pw...

Phottix Odin are totally different to the PW Plus III. Way more control capability on the Phottix Odin. Some key features where the Phottix Odin shines is the ability to remotely set the power of the flashguns (in manual and TTL), zoom their heads, set second curtain sync. The Odins are very, very good and ultra reliable.

On a separate note, David, your photos are amazing.

Thanks for the compliment  ;D

As for third party batteries, I paid £10 ($16) for two 5D1 batteries years ago, versus something like £55 for a single Canon branded battery. The no name brand third party batteries had a higher capacity and held their charge better than the Canon battery, in my experience over a number of years. I now have similar third party batteries for my 5D2 and 5D3 and they are once again a fraction of the cost and perform very well, although this time I would guesstimate that the Canon versions are a little better in terms of self discharge and maybe capacity. Hard to go wrong with some cheap additional batteries that are absolutely fine and do the job...

EOS Bodies / Re: 5D3 vs 6D AF in low light
« on: December 17, 2012, 02:16:46 PM »
The 5D3 is very slow to focus in very low light, regardless of how the focusing is configured. This is my biggest complaint about the 5D3, which is otherwise a brilliant camera.

I was thinking about the Ezybox by Lastolite, but in Norway it is quite stiff in price.

I have a pair of the 24" Ezyboxes, they're quite sturdy and easy to set up.  I expect the quality of light is no different from the cheap ones, but the build quality and durability of the Lastolites are very good.

I think I disagree. I purchased a 54cm Ezybox and the build quality is very poor. I returned it for a full refund after the first use. The speedring and and all the other bits are made of plastic. The speedring was such a loose fit into the softbox that it kept falling off all on its own. Pretty embarrassing on a wedding shoot when the wind is blowing and you assistant has to run after the softbox as it falls off and rolls across the grass, and collect it multiple times. I was very disappointed. They told me mine is faulty but I don't really see how that is possible as the speedring is just way too small for the softbox and some friends have experienced the same thing so I wouldn't recommend that brand based on my personal experience.

So instead, I went onto Ebay and purchased a much cheaper and almost identical version of the Ezybox (same size and double diffusion layers).


It only costs £37 and for once, the cheaper Ebay special version is MUCH better build quality. The fittings are all metal and the speedring fits very snugly into the softbox. Way better that my copy of the Ezybox and I would highly recommend this as a very cheap, high quality softbox for OCF work.

Back to flashguns... The moment HSS kicks in you lose around 1-2 stops of power. Another very important consideration is that when in HSS, shutter speed also affects your flash exposure. This means when you're up at 1/2000th or 1/4000th of a second, you speedlight must be very close to your subject as the maximum output power is minimal. Forget bouncing light in HSS.

As for bouncing light, if you are in a large venue (within reason) remember you can pump up your ISO to help ease the workload on your flash, or to get more range with the flash at full power. Zooming the flash head to its maximum will further improve range but just remember the angle of incidence equals angle of reflection, so aim your flashgun at the right spot so that the bounced light falls where you want it to.

Lenses / Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii mini review
« on: December 16, 2012, 03:20:01 PM »
This weekend I hired the fantastic 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii lens after my trusty 24-105mm F4 lens finally died last week.

Anyway, this evening I got the chance to run a very bried test to compare it against my 70-200mm F2.8 L IS (Mk i) lens and my Sigma 50mm F1.4 lens, with everything shot at F2.8. I only checked centre sharpness in this test, but having used it to shoot a wedding yesterday I am mighty impressed.

Comparison images are on my blog and there is no question the 24-70mm Mk ii wins hands down! Now to find a means to purchase a copy of this lens... although I would happily do with the 135mm F2 first I think!

Link to write-up and comparison pictures:


Very interesting test Michael. I own all three versions sof the 5D and I am frustrated by the very slow focus lock time, in very low light, of the 5D3. It can take a second or longer. It does seem like it is a two step process: get 95% there is maybe 30-40% of the time and the image through the viewfinder seems to be in focus, but then there is another 60-70% of the time taken on what must be some sort of focus refinement algorithm. Of course the total focus locking time varies with the lens being used, but it is still a pain. Imagine wedding first dances where the subjects are moving and the camera is taking an age to lock focus.

Anyway, maybe when I get rid on my 5D MK1&2 I will buy a 6D as the low light performance looks very good, if not better than the Mk3 and since I mainly use the centre focus point, that will do for me. That is, as long as the focusing on the 5D is as consitent and repaatible as on the Mk3. The Mk3 focusing accuracy and repeatibility is not the best...

5D MK III Sample Images / Engagement shoot
« on: November 15, 2012, 05:53:46 PM »
A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to do an engagement shoot with in the late afternoon UK sun (yes the sun does shine here). Although I have had the 5D MK iii since March, I still love and really appreciate using it - especially the accuracy of the focussing and the exceptional low light performance, not that I made use of the latter for this shoot. Here is a set of images, which I think are my best engagement shoot images yet, all shot with the 5D Mk iii and a 70-200mm F2.8L IS lens. All with natural light except for the final one:


Lighting / Re: Off-camera flash for 5D3
« on: November 07, 2012, 04:03:55 AM »
In my opinion the PW Mini and Flex units are a waste of time. Lack of control options and they are severely hamstrung by very, very poor operational range, not to mention being susceptible to interference from the flashgun, further degrading range.  Phottix Odin's all the way. Have a read of this. 


EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5D3 Second Curtain Sync - Design Flaw?
« on: September 09, 2012, 04:38:52 AM »
I can highly recommend the Phottix Odin triggers. From the unit on the camera you can set rear curtain sync, high speed sync, TTl or Manual, control the flash output in 1/3 stop increments and zoom the flash head. Fantastic. Here is a link comparing them to some other triggers:


EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5D Mk iii Error 02
« on: August 25, 2012, 06:16:41 PM »
Thanks for your reply Jason. Yes I checked the switch and toggled it. I removed the card and reinserted it, however the error reappeared a few shots later.

Your point about the CF card being better is not really valid in this context. It is not like I am making a choice between which slot to use, but rather the fact that I use the CF slot to write RAW files whilst simultaneously writing JPEG files to the SD card purely as a backup. Two CF slots would be best, for sure!

Thanks again for your comments.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 5D Mk iii Error 02
« on: August 25, 2012, 04:50:36 AM »
Hi all,

My Mk iii is configured to write large RAW files to the CF card and large JPEG files to the SD card. Yesterday I was happily shooting a wedding when I suddenly got an Error 02 message relative to the SD card (message states "Card cannot be accessed, Reinsert/change card or format card with camera").

I have never experienced this problem before on any of my other cameras, ever. Now two things changes since my last shoot:

1) The SD card is brand new - Sandisk 16GB Extreme 45MB/s, Class 10. It was of course formatted in the camera prior to use.

2) I updated the firmware in the Mk iii from whatever it was when I received the camera back in March (1.0.x) to the latest 1.1.3 version.

Sandisk cards are very reliable in my experience, however I accept that I may possibly have a lemon in this instance.

My other lingering doubt is whether it is the firmware update which may be related to this issue, with this specific card?

Any similar experiences or thoughts would be most welcome. Thanks in advance.

Lighting / Phottix Odin triggers now support 1/3 stops in Manual...
« on: August 23, 2012, 01:22:32 PM »
Very pleased to hear that a new firmware update now allows the Phottix Odin triggers to support one third stops of flash power control in Manual flash mode. Previously only full stops were ossible in Manual mode, so this is fantastic news.  :D

I have written an update to my review (and comparison to Pocket Wizards and Radio Poppers), and also included the test results of the measured flash output, at all possible setting in Manual mode. This was done using my 580exi and 430exii flashguns. Very interesting....


For anyone wanting the link to the firmware update, here it is:

you have some great shots there. love the crispness of the indoor shots, and the darker ambient and camera flash shots, especially the one with the grand building and sky as backdrop. great work.

....Thanks very much.

May I ask how you lit the final shot? There seems to be very little light spill onto the grass  :)

Sure. I agree that there is not much spill on the grass and there could maybe be a little bit more. I took an ambient exposure minus the couple and minus my assistant, then I moved the couple into position and my assistant into position about 15 feet away from them holding an Ezybox (with 430ex ii) on a monopod and aimed at the correct angle. I took a single exposure of this setup, zoomed in on the LCD and it was all crisp so moved on to the next shot.

In Photoshop I layered the shot with the couple + assistant over the ambient and using a lsyer mask and a lot of gentle blending on the grass I ended up with the final shot. I agree that it could maybe be improved if I showed a little more spill on the grass and included a shadow behind them. But I like it as is. Maybe I'll create another version though. Thanks for you input.

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