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Messages - drummstikk

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1
I sold my 70-200 in a financial crunch about a year ago. As I bounced back later, I replaced it with an 85mm 1.8 and a 300mm 2.8 (not the 300mm you are probably thinking of, but that's a digression for another thread).

So between the two lenses under discussion which one would I buy the next time I have an accumulation of "lens money?" It would be the 135, hands down. I had the 70-200 or its predecessor, the 80-200 2.8L (and before that a Nikon 80-200 2.8ED) and used that type of lens pretty much every single day I took any pictures at all for nearly 25 years. When I had to sell it I was kind of panic-ed at how I'd get along without it. I'd never have believed it a year ago, but I still don't miss it very much at all. A 70-200 zoom is no better than third place on my list of "lenses to buy next."

I rent the 135 periodically. One weekend last spring I had one to shoot indoor tennis in a dark, low contrast tennis dome (inflatable structure). The day turned out to be unexpectedly warm and sunny, so they moved the match out the back door to the outdoor courts. I no longer needed f/2.0, but I had the lens, so I used it. I dropped the ISO down to 100 and shot wide open or nearly wide open. My client for that job is a man of few words and seldom comments unless my work misses the mark in some way, but that one time he sent me a short email to say words to the effect of "I don't know what you did but the shots from that match were a cut above the rest."

That confirmed my feeling that the 135mm 2.0 has a look and feel all it's own. In a perfect world, I'd probably own both the zoom and the 135, but the 135 would definitely get bought first. I'm not a prime lens snob, and that's my use case alone.  Either lens is a great asset, and it's a very personal choice for each individual photographer.

2
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However I never see sports photographers with assistants. I can't see where/how they would? Carrying their gear to the playing field?

Um…yes. Schlepping gear. I admit the last time I worked a pro game, I was still shooting film. In recent years I shoot sports almost entirely for colleges and conferences, but in my newspaper days, it was not uncommon to see at least one photographer at the NFL game who was equipped head and shoulders above everyone else. This was probably the Sports Illustrated guy, or maybe, in those days, Inside Sport (now defunct). These shooters often had an assistant who would hold the 400mm 2.8 while the photographer was shooting with the 600mm 4.0. At intervals, they'd trade.

Perhaps more important at the time was having an assistant to hand you a body freshly loaded with film when a play was about to start and there were only about 6 frames left on the roll.

But, as the poster observes, assistants in sports may have gone the way of the dodo in the age of digital and ever tightening budgets.

3
Lenses / Re: removing the tripod collar on the 70-200 f 2.8 II IS lens
« on: March 04, 2014, 07:50:45 PM »
But I was just providing a counterpoint, like I said, do whatever you want with yours, but don't spout theoretical irrelevancies as justification to others, it is your personal choice. I don't care if you always leave yours on because it makes you "look like a pro" or " I can tuck it in my jeans pocket" or because "it gives me a rest to balance on the palm of my hand" or any other reason, real or imagined.

And by all means use *your* equipment as *you* see fit. But since the center of gravity of a lens/body unit is a measurable attribute and not an imagined one, I don't think "theoretical irrelevancy" is an applicable term here.

Also, while photography is not currently my sole source of income as it has been at other times of my life, my work and invoices speak for themselves, so trying to "look like a pro" is not a concern of mine.

Canon provides the tripod collar for a reason, and for me the reasons go far beyond tripod mounting. But I also have to recognize they also make it removable for a reason, though outside certain situations where compactness or weight reduction is of a *paramount* importance, I have yet to see an expression of that reason that I find in the slightest bit persuasive.

To each his/her own.

4
Lenses / Re: removing the tripod collar on the 70-200 f 2.8 II IS lens
« on: March 04, 2014, 10:40:38 AM »
Though with anything like a good tripod, head, and clamp arrangement, is totally unnecessary. The only good thing about it is the ability to very easily shift from portrait to landscape without altering anything else.

Well, there's also that the tripod collar mounts the lens much closer to its center of gravity, which will improve stability no matter how good your tripod/head/clamp rig is, in addition to relieving excessive stress on the camera tripod mount. Oh, and it also allows the lens to pivot much closer to the nodal point if you happen to be doing any kind of pano work.

Now the 300 f2.8 tripod mount is completely different, I do take that with me and use it about 50% of the time.

Only 50%?  That will go up to 100% if you upgrade to the IS Mk II, from which Canon wisely omitted the removable tripod collar.

5
Lenses / Re: removing the tripod collar on the 70-200 f 2.8 II IS lens
« on: March 04, 2014, 06:26:56 AM »
Why remove it? It's a great grip.

Agree 100%. It's a great palm rest to raise the lens just off the palm of your hand for fingertip control of zoom and focus. And, while I would not necessarily call this a best practice, you can also use it to hang the lens from your jeans pocket if you have it off the camera temporarily but want it within easy reach at a moments notice. I've been at a dead run with it hanging there and never dropped it.

It is also preferable to me to have the lens hanging by the tripod collar using a C-Loop or similar rig. When it hangs this way (from the shoulder rather than around the neck), it tends to situate next to the hip closer to the body whereas when it hangs from the camera strap lugs the lens tends to stick straight out sideways where it can bang into all manner of door frames or clock little kids of a certain height. (I've unintentionally caused tears on more than one occasion in this way.)

I owned this lens for years before I even knew the collar was removable. It's so useful that I seriously can't understand why so many people can't seem to wait to take it off.

6
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Oh neat, a Nikon 300f2 (1981)
« on: February 14, 2014, 04:04:40 AM »
I'd read about this lens over the years. The lens was a little pricey for its time (early 80's) at around $29,000!  Along with the 6mm fish eye (with a field of view of 220 deg), it was made in an era where exotic lenses were the norm for Nikon and Canon. Ah the good 'ol days ;)

The local dealer in Muncie, Indiana where I was attending college (Ball State University) had one of these lenses in stock back in the mid-80s. I recall they had the lens for sale for a relatively reasonable $12,000. Naturally, it ended up being purchased by a dentist and not a real working photographer. After that, according to the sales people in the store, if you wanted to purchase this lens you had to put down a 50% down payment, and then they would START MAKING ONE. By that time the price had gone up to the $29,000 figure mentioned for the custom build. I'd speculate that fewer than 50 of these lenses were ever made.

One came through a dealer in Indianapolis within the last couple of years or so and was sold fairly quickly priced at $4200.00. My memory may be faulty, but I believe this lens came with matched 1.4X and 2X teleconverters to make it into a 420mm f/2.8 or 600mm f/4.

7
Too many times I've covered events where the hobbyists have equipment that's better and newer than mine. Most likely theirs has seen far less wear, as they don't have to come up with usable images day after day. If they miss a shot because their gear fails, yes, it's a real disappointment.  If I miss mine, I've probably lost a payday, perhaps a hard-won client, as well as being out of work until it's fixed.

Ironic, isn't it? if you make your living (or part of it) in photography, you can't afford photography equipment. Certainly not the *newest* photography equipment.

How many times have I found myself in the situation you describe? Too many to count.

There was the college indoor track meet where I was shooting with my 50D with a rented 135 f/2.0 right next to a guy with a Nikon D3S with the 200mm 2.0 and a monopod screwed into the base of the camera instead of the lens tripod collar. That poor camera tripod socket must have been under more stress than spandex shorts on a sumo wrestler.

I recall the guy with the brand-spankin' new 1D-X fitted with a 50mm 1.2 and 600ex flash trying to do bounce flash under 30 foot high black ceiling while I struggled along with my 7D with 24-105 and a couple of radio-triggered 283's.

Anyway, I voluntarily abstain from CPS. I didn't know they were charging money now. That's a deal breaker in itself. I would not give up the 15K or so a year I average in photography, but I don't think it fulfill's the spirit of the membership requirements as I understand them. When I was a full-time newspaper photographer and CPS member 15-odd years ago, the main benefit was expedited repairs, but my local emporium  uses a repair vendor that can turn around a shutter replacement in a 40D in less than a week. Plus, I happen to be in a loose, informal association of "part-time pros" who lend each other equipment in emergencies or for testing.

So, speaking for myself only, who needs CPS?

8
Lenses / Re: 300 f/2.8 -a big problem
« on: November 04, 2013, 08:02:49 AM »
Drumstikk
What body were you using when you compared AF speeds of the 4 and 2.8? Roger from Lensrental once explained that the II series big whites use a feedback loop for which you need the 5DIII or 1Dx to take advantage, I find the f/2.8 300mm II does focus much faster on the 5DIII than on the 7D. This is most noticeable when the 2xTC III is attached.

I wouldn't say I was "comparing" as such, but simply noticing the performance of what I happened to be using at a given time. I use 7D's and have heard this assertion before about 1D's in particular being better at AF, in part due to the higher voltage battery that simply yields more power for driving the AF motor. Though it does seem odd/interesting to imply it takes a body manufactured in 2011-12 to fully utilize the advantages of a lens released in 1999.

My choice of 7D's relates to their good balance of reasonable cost in relation with very good sensor performance. There's also the good number of megapixels that gives decent room to crop without gobbling up my terabytes any faster than necessary. Also the "gripless" configuration is preferable to me, especially in the not-infrequent cases where I use a flash bracket.


The reason I went for the f/2.8 was to use it with extenders for nature photography. The f/4 is a very fine lens when bare but it takes a hit with the 1.4xTC, whereas the 2.8 doesn't, and a big hit with the 2xTC, whereas the f/2.8 is still excellent. There will be some people for whom the f/4 with 1.4xTC is good enough, but even more would prefer the good old 400m f/5.6.

Yes, I was one who preferred the 400mm 5.6 by far over the 300mm 4.0/1.4x combo (and why I was so sad to sell the 400mm). We definitely agree on the fact the 300mm 4.0 does take a performance hit with the 1.4x. I never use a 2x and can't comment on that. Results with lenses like the 135mm 2.0 or the 300mm 2.8 coupled with a 1.4x, even my 20-year-old "Mark 1" version, are virtually indistinguishable from the same lenses "solo."

And I certainly didn't mean to give any impression I criticize anybody's decision to go with a 300mm 2.8. Believe me, if I had a good financial cushion and could afford the lens without using "what's in your wallet?", I would buy one TODAY. But finance charges on such a lens would exceed what I lay out in rental in a given year. If I *had* one, I'd use it very frequently, but I have to look at how often I *need* one, which is far less.

9
Lenses / Re: 300 f/2.8 -a big problem
« on: November 04, 2013, 02:11:05 AM »
Depending what it is you're shooting, would it be worth considering one of the greatest "sleepers" in the EF lens range, the 300 f/4is. This lens is incredible, pin sharp wide open, light to carry, quick AF, takes 77mm filters and very moderately priced.

Had to take a minute to second this motion. I took a major financial hit earlier this year that forced me to sell off my 70-200 2.8 and a well-loved 400mm 5.6. It's a stretch to say photography is my "business" anymore (I work another job to make ends meet and for health insurance), but I do do still service a couple of substantial contracts and have a small but loyal clientele. Losing those two lenses put me back into "fake it 'till you make it" mode, and I do quite a bit of lens renting. I've rented 300mm 2.8 and 300mm 4.0 lenses multiple times each, and other than the times when "only 2.8 will do," I find the 4.0 lens to outshine the 2.8 in just about every way. Handling, weight, and balance are all superior with the 4.0 (at the cost of an f-stop, of course), and the biggest surprise is that autofocus is noticeably snappier with the 4.0. Even when I manual focus (which I do quite a bit) the image in the viewfinder is crisp enough that I can forget I'm looking through an f/4.0 lens.

As a side comment, I'm amazed how much I *DON'T* miss the 70-200mm 2.8. My 24-105 covers part of the range and a 135 2.0, occasionally with 1.4x converter, covers the rest. It's rekindled in me shooting methods and strategies I learned when I first started in photography in the 80's. (Yeah, baby, remember the 80's? It was the time when nobody called lenses "primes," we just called them "lenses" because zooms were the oddballs and, for the most part, sucked.)

The zoom encourages a lot of standing in one place "cropping in lens" when it is a good exercise sometimes to just move your physical butt closer to the subject or, sometimes, to know when to back off. I'd encourage anyone to leave the zoom at home from time to time and explore other hardware and to question the presumed indispensability of the 70-200.

10
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma Sports Line Updates Next? [CR1]
« on: October 30, 2013, 08:49:45 PM »
You want a silicone band. The type that are to be worn on the wrist will do.

Nice.


11
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma Sports Line Updates Next? [CR1]
« on: October 30, 2013, 08:17:15 PM »
My beloved 24-105 f/4.0L is the lens most showing it's age right now. I have to keep a constant grip on the zoom ring. If I have it pointed upward, it "falls" to 24mm, if it's pointed down, it "self-zooms" to 105mm. However, image quality is still great, and it gets used pretty much daily.

Take a rubber band from a head of broccoli, place it on the lens at the joint of the zoom ring and the lens body..... it gives extra friction and that stops the lens creep.

Hmmm. . .

I'm a dedicated improviser, but that's one I didn't think of. Props also to Brad-man for the silicone band idea. My wife had one of those laying around from a fund raiser at her work some months back. I worked it into place on the lens and no more "auto-zoom." Makes it a little stiff to turn by hand, but it beats the alternative.

All this reminds me of the vacuum cleaner drive belt some of us used to augment the skinny, undernourished focus ring on the original Nikkor 180 2.8 AF lens back in the late 80's.  (Yes, at one time I had an inappropriate relationship with a pair of FM2's. I was young and I needed the money. . .)

12
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma Sports Line Updates Next? [CR1]
« on: October 30, 2013, 10:21:57 AM »
I think these are a touch sell for Sigma...if I'm going to plunk down $5000 or more on a lens, I would want to know that it will always work on my Canon body....can Sigma guarantee that?

Guarantee? I'm not sure Canon can *GUARANTEE* that as technology mutates and matures over time, although presumably Canon will try harder. It looks like that is what Sigma is trying to accomplish with the USB lens dock that allows update of firmware and other tweaks. It remains to be seen how well that will work over the long haul, though.

I would probably be inclined to avoid Sigma lenses that were not compatible with the dock.

Also resale....at least a canon 300 2.8ii  purchased for $6500 today will still probably be worth $5500 on the used market 5 or 10 years from now.

$5500 in 10 years sounds a little optimistic to me (unless it spends a lot more time on display in your china cabinet that out in the field on monopod), but yes, obviously the Canon lens will be worth more than a third party optic down the line.

But resale is such a foreign concept to me. Most lenses I have owned have been pretty much used to *DEATH.* My beloved 24-105 f/4.0L is the lens most showing it's age right now. I have to keep a constant grip on the zoom ring. If I have it pointed upward, it "falls" to 24mm, if it's pointed down, it "self-zooms" to 105mm. However, image quality is still great, and it gets used pretty much daily.

My only added concern with a Sigma lens might be that death could come a little sooner. I've never actually owned a Sigma lens, but I'm becoming more open to the idea all the time, especially as they release lenses nobody else makes like the 18-35 f/1.8 or 120-300 f/2.8.

If and when my 24-105 kroaks, that new Sigma 24-105 will get a look.

13
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma Sports Line Updates Next? [CR1]
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:01:02 AM »
Best of my knowledge, there has NEVER been 3rd party competition in the 400mm 2.8 space. It will be interesting to see what Sigma can do for what price.

My preference would be to avoid 3rd party for most of the relative "bread and butter" lenses including a 300mm 2.8, but Canon's offerings are all problematic in some way. Used copies of version 1 (non-IS) are reasonably affordable, actually my favorite design (wish I'd never sold mine), but lacks IS and, more importantly, finding parts if repair is needed is likely to be difficult. Version 2 is still repaired by Canon and can be found at fairly decent prices, but I intensely hate the removable tripod collar that is susceptible to wear and grit which makes switch from vertical to horizontal on mono- or tripod a big irritation, at least in the copies I've rented.

And while I would not necessarily call the newest version extremely over-priced, speaking for myself only, I can't begin to justify the near 7000-dollar price tag. I'm at the place where I'd consider Sigma for the 300mm and might as well wait for their newest version.

14
$20 a month for Photoshop only was a complete non-starter for me. I have stretches where I use Photoshop for hours a day for weeks on end, but then I have extended periods where I hardly touch it.

The full Creative Cloud would pretty much be a waste for me since I'd probably use, at most, 3 of the apps.

But $10 for PS and Lightroom? Now I'm listening. I'm not currently and never have been a Lightroom user (aside from some demos and betas) but at this price I'd like to give the newest version another try. I've been working with Aperture since the first of the year, and am still on the fence about it. But even if I don't make LR a permanent part of my workflow, $10 bucks/mo. to always have the latest Photoshop on hand sounds pretty good to me.

I am raising an eyebrow at the CS3 requirement. It's not an issue for me personally since CS3 is the last upgrade I did, but given the pushback they've gotten, I'd think Adobe would want to eagerly embrace all comers to the subscription model, even if the latest version you have is from the last century.

Adobe is being very clear about the price being "not introductory." They go back on that at the risk of a heap of bad PR, but of course in life their are no guarantees. If the price goes up later, I'll re-evaluate. I disagree with what some others have said about this being a "trap" or you'll have no choice if/when Adobe raises prices. You ALWAYS have a choice, AS LONG AS you take steps to maintain your independence. Here, I'm thinking of using the "maximize compatibility" option when you save out Photoshop files, and saving your photo Raw files outside of a proprietary database. (Exporting edited Raws as .DNG is worth considering here, as I expect your Lightroom edits will be preserved if you open them in Adobe Camera Raw later.)

I don't trust Adobe any more or less than I trust Canon, Comcast, AT&T, Apple, or any other company whose products/services play a big part in my life. I've used an iPhone 4 for the last three years and it's showing it's age. My next phone may be the new iPhone that will almost certainly be announced next week, or it may be an Android. Sure, there would be some pain at abandoning a lot of iOS apps I've accumulated in recent years, but very few, if any, choices in life are made without some cost or consequence.

The substantive difference between dropping 150-700+ dollars all at once to "own" software (yes, "own" with air quotes -- read your EULA) or paying a relatively painless $10/month to "rent" frankly eludes me. When this offer goes live, I'm very likely to give it a try. Subscription software seems like the wave of the future to me, especially for "pro" apps like those from Adobe.

Down the line, will any of us really miss that file cabinet drawer full of boxes and disks for increasingly obsolete software? I know I won't.

15
Lenses / Re: New Sigma 18-35 F/1.8 Zoom priced at only $799
« on: June 15, 2013, 12:28:59 AM »
Really looking forward to some hands on with that lens when it arrives at a dealer near me. The price definitely seems very reasonable, though I go back and forth on whether I'd call it "cheap."

It does seem a surprisingly low price for a straight f/1.8 zoom. However, that is kind of a narrow zoom range, and 18mm is not especially wide on APS-C.

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