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Messages - drummstikk

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Lighting / Re: Question about color temp of strobes
« on: October 15, 2012, 02:39:09 AM »
So let me get this straight. Cloud-filtered sunlight and shade are cooler than standard strobes, so you want to cool your strobe to match the ambient. Similarly, sunlight and evening light are both warmer, so you want to warm up your strobe light to match that of the ambient.

Exactly. Or as I like to put it, "Make sure the light coming out of your flash is f-ed up in the same way as the ambient light." Then, when you make corrections in post, both the ambient lit parts of the image and the flash-lit parts correct equally, and the result should look fairly natural.

I work fairly frequently in rooms lit with tungsten light, about 3200K. The full-CTO is a frequent flyer under those conditions. Also remember that balanced colors are only half of the equation. The other half is to soften or diffuse the light and have it coming from a believable direction. Somewhere off camera is usually much better, depending on your situation and the look you want.

Lighting / Re: Question about color temp of strobes
« on: October 14, 2012, 01:33:30 PM »
All lighting manufacturers aim for 5200K daylight balance, and about all of them I've ever had my hands on were very close if not right on. If you want to balance with cloudy conditions, 1/4 CTO will take you in the wrong direction. It will increase the color contrast between your ambient light, which will appear cooler, and the flash's warmer light. This can be a good look if not overdone, but from what you say, you are looking for a more natural look. Trial and error is called for get you a good color of gel for your lighting equipment, but you will want to start in the blues. (Or, get a color meter for big dollars.)

You can probably get a book of sample gels at a well stocked photo store that sells studio lighting equipment. Usually the samples are about 1" x 3" which is just the right size for filtering a portable speedlight. I don't know if you are talking about battery portable speedlights or studio equipment, but you can most likely do your testing with the speedlight and then buy full size sheets of gel material if you need to cover larger studio reflectors. (Suggest marking the color number on the sample gel in sharpie before you cut/tear the out of the sample book, so when you find the one what works best, you know what it is.)

Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200 f/2L IS
« on: October 11, 2012, 04:12:54 PM »
The previous incarnation of this lens was f/1.8. Yes, f/2 is still wicked fast for a 200mm lens, but it sure would have been nice to have seen it stay at f/1.8 -- or even go the extra half-stop the other direction to f/1.4! Sure, it'd make a big-and-heavy-and-expensive lens bigger and heavier and more expensive...but I bet most people willing to put up with the size, weight, and cost of this lens would gladly give up a bit more size, weight, and money for that extra stop.

The size weight and money expenditure of going to a 200mm 1.4 would be more than just a "bit." (Also, going from f/1.8 to 1.4 is 2/3 stop, not 1/2.) I presume the front element on such a lens would be roughly the same diameter as a 400mm f/2.8, and I don't even want to speculate on the weight. Way too much bulk for 200mm reach, in my view.

I know others, especially  portrait folks, like to take shallow depth of field to the extreme, but for me, apertures larger than f/2.8 aren't really for actually shooting photos, but for easier manual focus. Sure, I'd gladly use a 200mm f/2.0, as it would make my hand and eye a manual focusing machine, but I would only actually use f/2.0 in extreme low-light circumstances. (I owned a Nikkor 200mm f/2.0 back in my Nikon days in the '80's -- great for night football on a dingy high school field with Tri-X film pushed to 3200.)

It's not just the 200 that's going backwards. The top-of-the-line 50 today is only f/1.2. It used to be f/1.0, and Canon even made an f/0.95. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the next L 50 is f/1.4.

The f/0.95, I believe, was an old rangefinder camera lens, and no such lens was ever in the EF lineup, or even in the FD lens range as far as I know. The EF 50mm f/1.0 seems most likely to have been a "look what we can do!" kind of lens for Canon, more for their P.R. than for any practical use by working photographers. I'm sure I have NEVER seen one of those in the wild, only at at the odd trade show or convention. I feel the same way about the 85mm f/1.2 (which has much the same design as the 50mm f/1.0). Extreme poor handling on the 85mm f/1.2 makes is a lens I'd NEVER buy, but I have rented on occasion and do see them in use from time to time.

I'd be hard pressed to call going from f/1.8 to f/2.0 or from f/1.0 to f/1.2 a "step backwards."

Who's up for a 12-pound 400mm f/1.8?

Ummm. . . No thanks.

This would be the kind of design I'd expect if they ever made a square format sensor. This has been discussed here before and only about 4% of readers seem to agree with me this is a good idea.

I'd love a sports camera that didn't force me try to jerk the camera 90° because there was a diving catch of a grounder instead of a leaping catch of a line drive. Let me shoot everything square and I'll apply the crop that doesn't amputate limbs later. (Or leave cropping to the client, as my primary customers prefer.)

Lenses / Re: 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.0 ???
« on: October 02, 2012, 09:04:37 PM »
I had the 100mm 2.0 and the 50mm 1.4 years ago. I had both lenses in for repair about every 12-18 months because the manual focus would get stiff and gritty. It was a 75 dollar repair per lens, which the newspaper I worked for paid, and which Canon simply described as "clean and adjust." No other lens I ever had has had this problem. When I left the newspaper and was responsible for paying my own repairs, I sold those bad boys ASAP.

The common denominator between those two lenses is that they are both listed (at Amazon and other sources) as having "micro motor USM," while the 85mm is shown as having "ring type USM." For that reason (which admittedly is circumstantial evidence), I'd go with the 85.

Canon General / Re: Dream Package for Soccer???
« on: October 02, 2012, 06:18:56 AM »
Soccer action goes from right up your nose to tiny specks on the opposite corner of the field in a matter of seconds. I'd put together one body/lens combo that gives  you the most possible reach. In your case, that means the 300 2.8 on the 7D. I think you will find you do 90% of your photography with the longest lens in a soccer game. The 7D gives you enough resolution to do some cropping, so I'd probably leave off the 1.4X the majority of the time, but I would use it for some tight vertical "action portraits."

Then I'd put the 70-200 on either the 5D or the 1D2. Even though 8MP is kind of lean by modern standards, I might lean toward the 1D2 because the AF, even though it's several years older, may still actually be superior to the 5DIII. (I have no personal experience with 1D2 or 5D3, but my old 1D mark nothing seems to me to focus slightly more snappily than my 7D.) You will probably have the 70-200 hanging at your side most of the time, but want to pick it up and auto-focus with it on short notice, possibly with only one hand. If you are uncomfortable with the gap between 200mm on the zoom and the 480mm equivalent of the 300/7D combo, you can put the 1.4x on the zoom.

Your wide zoom will likely get very limited use, so put it on your "third string" body. Carrying 4 bodies seems unnecessarily burdensome to me. Just pick one lens for the third body (the 24-70 makes most sense to me) and maybe keep the ultra-wide zoom in a belt pouch just in case.

Excess fiddling with gear impedes sports photography. Setting some limitations and traveling lighter makes for a more rewarding experience, whether you are a hobbyist or pro.

The common misbelief is that the surface on the back of Canon cameras is an LCD surface as it is with Nikon cameras. That is incorrect. Canon build into the camera an LCD screen protector that is easily and cheaply replaced.

I was not aware of this, and that's interesting to know. What I *was* aware of is that of the 5 Canon DSLR's I have owned in the last 7 years, including a 40D and 5D that I used LITERALLY to death (two worn out shutters and nearly a quarter million exposures total for each), none of these cameras has ever had ANY visible marks on the LCD glass. This  despite hundreds of miles of walking with the camera bouncing at the end of the neck straps against shirt buttons, zippers, metal doo-dads on credential holders and knock after knock against door jambs, door handles, counter tops, rocks and trees and thorns and other hazards of nature and sports competition, not to mention the occasional butterfinger drops onto hard floors or pavement. . .

To go a little further to stand this question on it's head, who can report marks or damage to their LCD that would have been prevented by a peel-and-stick screen protector? I'm not saying they are totally useless as there is no doubt there are threats out there I simply haven't run into, but it does seem to me these items have much greater utility as an upsell for dealers than as actual protection for the camera.

EOS Bodies / Re: I love Primes.
« on: August 24, 2012, 03:43:20 AM »
I love fixed lenses (I've retired my sermon on why most of them aren't "prime"), but don't own any. The 135 2.0 and 300 2.8 are frequent rentals, however. I do feel non-zooms get a little over-romanticized, though. They put a lot of extra weight on both your bag and your credit card without getting you a huge advantage in terms of image quality compared to a quality zoom, UNLESS you work in low light a lot, or are REALLY into shallow depth of field, or any of the obvious range narrow use cases.

Shooting with a fixed lens is an excellent creative exercise for photographers of all skill levels. A while back, I was evaluating the utility of the 85mm focal length for a possible lens purchase and gaffer taped my 24-105 at that focal setting. You can do this at any time with any zoom to get a feel for it.

Give me a couple of good zooms for day-to-day work, but if I hit the lottery. . .

One sure way to tell the hobbyists from the people making a "living" from photography is to monitor how often a system switch occurs. If you are a dentist who birds on the weekend, you may just be with Canon the even-numbered years and Nikon the rest. If your actual livelihood is contracts with Universities, businesses, publications, and wire services, a system switch would cost about half of last year's profits, and thus ain't happening anytime soon.

As a hobbyist then I guess I break the rule as I have been with Canon over 20 years now.

As a full time worker for most of that time I couldn't spare the time to play at switching - if I was lucky I might get 1 day a week off and after 70+ hours of irregular working hours, to relax with something familiar was about as much as I wanted.

I dont see why people try to differentiate between pros and hobbyists

I didn't mean to differentiate. Nor did I intend to suggest pros have more "soul" than those who photograph for the love of it. (if anything, the opposite may well be true.)

What I meant to comment on is the increasingly common phenomenon where the best equipped photographer on the scene is an amateur. I'll be on a job with my 7d and my 5D mark nothing and my 70-200 IS mark nothing and my other 4-plus year old lenses, and up walks a guy with a 1d markIV and a 5D mark III 70-200 IS II and a 2 or 3 L fixed lenses and maybe a big white. Is this new competition I need to worry about? Usually not. It's most likely a tax attorney with a fat line on his visa card who, while very nicely equipped, is just out having some fun. He or she might get some great pictures, but due to lack of depth in experience, would most likely leave substantial gaps in the coverage my client needs.

One photographer I see doing volunteer work at the annual Komen for the cure event has been from Nikon to Canon back to Nikon on three consecutive years. That's something you will almost never see a working photographer do, only hobbyists with six-figure jobs or rich spouses. On a job you need the kind of "do it with your eyes closed" familiarity with equipment that will simply not develop if you switch systems often. I'd have to justify a system switch to my accountant, and perhaps more importantly, to my wife. Mostly I can't even justify it to myself. (And believe me, back when the D3 was new and I compared images from it to what I was getting with my 40D, I *really* tried.)

Plus, not to burst any bubbles out there, but except for a very small minority of photographers who not only have exceptional photo skills AND great talent for marketing and self-promotion (that's what I suck at), photography is simply not lucrative enough to support a system switch more than once a decade at most.

If I sound like I'm bitching, I'm not. I make most of my income doing what I love. But, as I write this, I'm on my lunch break from the third shift custodian job I do to earn health insurance and supplemental income. That's my reality and I'm OK with it.

You say it's for simpletons. Partially true. But it's more for people without s*** tons of money to waste switching brands every generations.  ::)

I was waiting for someone to say it. One sure way to tell the hobbyists from the people making a "living" from photography is to monitor how often a system switch occurs. If you are a dentist who birds on the weekend, you may just be with Canon the even-numbered years and Nikon the rest. If your actual livelihood is contracts with Universities, businesses, publications, and wire services, a system switch would cost about half of last year's profits, and thus ain't happening anytime soon.

The only time I even think about Nikon is when I see a manual focus 400mm 2.8 go unsold on eBay for sub $2500.00. I'm old, and therefore manual focus has been second nature to me for decades. D3's are pretty reasonable on the used market now. The idea of kitting up with a 300mm 2.8, 400mm 2.8, (MF) and a couple of D3's for under 10K is pretty tempting. Well, except for the "re-learning to focus backwards again" part. (My last system switch was Nikon FM-2's to Canon EOS-1 in 1990, and it took 6 months for manual focus to get back to "auto.")

Software & Accessories / Re: Battery Grip for 7D - any suggestions?
« on: June 28, 2012, 05:47:41 AM »
My 7D was purchased under "emergency" conditions as my 40D shutter chose midway though day 1 of a three-day job to throw itself a Viking funeral. The job required two bodies, so to get back in business, I just purchased the basics without the niceties, body only and one spare battery.  Going back a month or so later to "finish" the purchase by getting the grip (mostly out of habit), I was shocked how much higher the price of the 7D grip was than what I had paid for the 40D grip. 

So, I delayed the purchase. I am now into year three of the delay still do not miss the grip to any great degree. Being gripless has no downside to me, and in fact has one upside in that my Stroboframe flash bracket is easier to attach and use on a gripless body. Everybody's use case is different and I don't advocate either way, but the bottom line as I see it is that photographs are taken with cameras, lenses and light, natural or otherwise. Ancillary accessories like grips might *look* a little more "professional," but pretty much never make or break a shot. 

If the idea of spending less money on a grip is appealing to you, take a minute to imagine how exciting it would be to spend NO money.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 100-400 f/4-5.6L IS [CR2]
« on: June 26, 2012, 03:39:12 AM »
Why not make it a 200-400 f4/5.6L?  I doubt most of its users will use it below 200mm.  It's seen as an alternative to the 400/5.6L as it's reportedly(1) sharper at 400mm versus the prime lens.

Give that man a "Hell yes!"

I once did an EXIF data analysis of my use of this lens and found that less than 10% of the images I shot with it were NOT shot between about 250 and 400mm. When you zoom this one out all the way, you have a lens that is close to 4 times the size of a 100mm 2.0, much heavier, and over two stops slower. Feels kind of dumb. Sure you have the same thing at the 70mm end of the 70-200 zoom, but that's a much more "workhorse" zoom range than 100-400.

It's a good lens to rent when the zoom range is right for the job, but I'd never own one. Far superior optics on the 400mm 5.6 more than make up for the lack of IS, in my view.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 70D & EOS 7D Mark II Speculation [CR1]
« on: May 22, 2012, 03:21:35 AM »
I would wonder if the 7DII would maybe then be a full frame camera at 18mpx?

I'm usually wrong on this stuff, but I really don't understand why Canon would want to put out a "cheap" full frame camera. Even though there had been much griping about the price of the 5DIII, it's spent a lot of time back-ordered at many shops. Why cannibalize sales on a big seller with a cheaper model?

As another has alluded to, I also don't see why they would want to continue to have three tiers of APS-C camera (Rebel, XXD, and XD). I would look for "70D" to take over as the mid-range prosumer model, hopefully restoring the more solid build quality and feel that was compromised in the shift from 50D to 60D. Then (and here's me starting to wish) I'd like to see the 7D market space filled with an APS-H camera. I'd hate to see APS-H end with the 1D MkIV. APS-H doesn't match full-frame for shallow DOF effects, but it is a nice upgrade from APS-C in this area and it gives a little more reach with tele lenses than FF.

really? Your timing is so bad you need more than 2 full seconds of a moment?? Maybe you should just stick to video recording and picking frames out of it. 720 @60fps should give you 1 you like, no?

Congratulations. I thought nothing could make me miss the "Smite" button, but you actually did it.

To *constructively* address Dalepa's problem: As suggested before, the fastest possible memory card may help, but my suggestion is more old fashioned - practice. For every "game day" of bird photography, or sports, or whatever you do, try to have at least a couple of practice days. Do your pro or AAA baseball game on Sunday, but also do some little league on  Wednesday and Saturday. Go to the national park for birds or wildlife on the weekend, but also shoot sparrows and squirrels in your backyard a couple of days during the week.

What I'm getting at here is that your buffer jam up a lot less if you shoot single frames and short bursts instead of standing on it. 50% of my work is sports and I use a 7D a lot for that, but filling the buffer is extremely rare for me. Happens to me maybe three or four times a year, and it's usually the post-championship celebration that does it and not the game action.

Most photographers let 8-12 fps motor drives and AF do a lot of work for them. Technology is wonderful, and there's really not much wrong with that. But practicing the skills old farts like me had to learn back in the 80's when there was no AF at all and a "fast" motor drive was 3 fps will kick things up a notch for anybody. Developing your sense of timing and your sense of when movement is *about* to occur will help keep your buffer open and also leave you with a much less daunting editing job after the fact.

Manual focusing skills are especially underrated today. I see a lot of "good enough" autofocused images in the stuff I see from student photographers at the university where I am a contract/event photographer. AF simply doesn't work in certain situations. If I AF'ed all my volleyball, I'd get hundreds of images with the net in perfect focus and the players all slightly fuzzed. Don't get me wrong, I use AF a lot. But sometimes you have to take over yourself to be sure you get the pass receiver's face in focus instead of the strong safety's back.

Technical Support / Re: Camera back-focuses. MA not the issue!
« on: March 26, 2012, 04:17:07 PM »
Help me be sure I understand exactly what the issue is here. There seems to be a contradiction when you say your images are consistently back-focused, yet the calibration for micro-adjust indicates no adjustment necessary.

When you say you "focus on the eye," are you doing this manually or with AF? Other posters are right when they say AF-ing with the center point and recomposing can lead to incorrect focus. I am constantly re-selecting a focus point manually on my 7D so the AF point is right on or as close as possible to the point in the image I want in focus. On the other hand, if you are critically focusing manually and getting consistently mis-focused images this may suggest something else.

Please advise.

As an aside, this may start a debate, but I think AF micro-adjust should only be used as a stopgap to get you by until you can get the camera and lens to a service center for repair/adjustment. It's kind of a blunt instrument and you may correct your focus errors close in, but then cause problems with focus on more distant objects, or vice versa.

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