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Messages - drummstikk

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Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe to Stop Making Packaged Software
« on: May 07, 2013, 04:11:45 AM »
I've never had any illusions that Adobe had any great interest in me as a customer. I get it. I simply have never given them enough money to earn that.

I bought my first copy of Photoshop, a shrinkwrapped box of version 3.0, at substantial discount as a surplus item from a book publisher that had purchased more copies than it needed. I've since upgraded to every second or third version, and am currently using version CS4. My last version upgrade was four or five years ago, and cost approximately $150. That means my monthly costs for the current version have been approximately $30 per year, a far cry from the $50 per month it seems they will be be asking in the future.

To add some further insult to this injury, the only other Adobe product I use with any frequency is Illustrator, and for that I'm currently running version 8.0 (vintage 1999) on old Mac G4 running OS 9 classic. While I do some illustration for my work, the majority that I do is as a hobby. Therefore I cannot really justify even the cost of an upgrade version, and I'm simply comfortable with the Illustrator 8.0 interface.

With the subscription model, it seems Adobe's disinterest in me as a customer has escalated to outright contempt. I've used Adobe Camera Raw within Photoshop for several years. I'm sure Lightroom is a great product, but just haven't given it a long-term test drive. I've been working with Apple's Aperture for several months now as an extended trial, and I'm still somewhat on the fence as to whether I will stay with it long-term. However, the subscription model from Adobe makes it much less likely that Photoshop will be in my toolbox in the future. (If Lightroom remains available as a standalone app, I will certainly give it due consideration in the future.)

It has long been rumored that Apple has its own version of Photoshop waiting in the wings, just waiting for Adobe to tick it off enough to actually pull the trigger on it. While Adobe's subscription model does not seem to be an affront to Apple directly, it does seem to leave an open market opportunity for a Mac App Store product. What is certain is that I will be taking a very close look at applications such as Acorn, Pixelmator, and GraphicConverter to see how well these apps can replace the functionality of Photoshop that I commonly use. None of these are likely to replace Photoshop one-for-one as the graphics Swiss Army Knife, but I would rather jump back and forth between two or three narrower-focused apps that I actually *own* for the functionality I need than get roped into a monthly subscription for what is, to be honest, a rather bloated app at this point. (Admit it. The majority of us only use a fraction of Photoshop's full capability.)

Anger at Adobe is justified, I think. But once you cool down it might be a good opportunity to take a look around and see what other choices are out there for the particular type of work you do.

Software & Accessories / Re: Adobe to Stop Making Packaged Software
« on: May 07, 2013, 03:38:42 AM »
I'm thinking Adobe hired that ex-ceo from Netflix ;)

More like JC Penney!

They both tried to change the business model, cost their companies billions, and lost their jobs.

This has been repeated a couple of times in this thread, and it bears correction. The CEO of *still* the CEO of Netflix. Reed Hastings, despite multiple PR blunders, retained his position and Netflix is currently doing pretty darn well. Whether that is because of Hastings or in spite of him is of course open for debate.

Lenses / Re: EF 300mm 2.8 IS - Anybody seen anything like this?
« on: April 08, 2013, 10:02:03 PM »
Thanks to all commenters. An IS problem is an interesting theory. When the game first started, I noticed sharpness problems. It was a chilly morning and I thought I might not be holding the lens as steady as possible, so I turned on IS. (It was off when I first picked up the lens.)

So I got similar results with IS on and off. Perhaps the IS "element" was stuck in an odd position from the last use of the lens.

Anyway, I feel better eliminating my camera from suspicion since all suggestions regard the lens.

Lenses / EF 300mm 2.8 IS - Anybody seen anything like this?
« on: April 08, 2013, 08:50:12 PM »
I rented a 300mm 2.8 IS from a local dealer last weekend for a softball game as my 70-200 was in for repair. There was some kind of issue with the lens as I could not achieve any kind of flat plane of focus. I suspected a mis-aligned or loose lens element. It seemed to get better or worse, perhaps depending on focus distance. For a time it seemed worse around home plate than in the outfield. Autofocus seemed to be struggling at times, and even when I went manual it was difficult to focus, leaving me thinking it was time for a new eyeglass prescription.

Here is an example photo:

2013-04-06 at 13-02-16 by Progeny of Light, on Flickr

Note that the webbing in the player's glove appears mostly sharp (but not perfectly so, in my opinion) and the face is less focused, and the feet are WAY out. In fact there seems to be NO area of grass in the lower third of the image that is in focus. There should be a strip of sharply focused grass right at the players feet.

Also, the blur at the outer edges appears streaked as if from motion blur, but this is virtually impossible as the photo was taken at 1/1600 sec.

I showed sample images to the dealer and they refunded my rental fee. I was doing a little more shopping in the store when the rental guy approached me and told me he'd done some test images with the lens on a 5D and they looked perfectly normal. I looked at them and agreed. He suggested there was a problem with my camera, although neither of us could come up with a logical explanation for how the camera could cause this type of image blur.

When I got back home I shot some test images with my 7D (the camera used with the rental lens) although the longest lens I had on hand was a 24-105. Therefore, I could not replicate the telephoto conditions I experienced with the 300mm. My pictures were fine.

So my question to you all is this: Has anyone seen anything like this before with a 300mm 2.8 or other lens? Anybody know of any kind of camera malfunction that could cause this?

Lighting / Re: Professional Sports Lighting
« on: February 11, 2013, 07:08:31 PM »
I wonder if there would be a way to "pair" all of your transceivers with each other in such a way as to prevent triggers from devices that the receiving unit does not "know?" Something similar to the way a bluetooth headset pairs with a smartphone?

Aside from the one guy I mentioned in my earlier post who seemed to think that the University's gym light system was roughly the photographers's equivalent to free wi-fi, I have had pretty much zero trouble with anyone trying to take over my lights. As with so many things, there is a bad egg from time to time, but the vast majority of folks just want to stay out of your way, and at the most maybe just pick up a few pointers.

I've thought about this quite a bit since this post first appeared, and it seems to me this problem has the potential to get a lot worse. In the past there has been a measure of protection in using PocketWizard MultiMax units. The reasons for this are that the higher cost of these would limit the number of people who would buy them and be tempted to use them for mischief and because of their 28 additional channels above the four that exist on a Plus or Plus II (or the 10 or 16 channels on a PocketWizard Classic). Now, it seems to me that PocketWizard, even as their products make possible sophistication in photography that could hardly even be imagined before, is allowing the problem to grow worse by making the 32-channel Plus III available even cheaper than than the Plus II was.

Since I shoot swimming a fair amount, this concerns me quite a bit because there are specific restrictions on flash lighting at these types of events. If I didn't think I could maintain total control over my system, it would be irresponsible for me to not just pull the plug. There could be hazards to the integrity of the competition and even the safety of the athletes if a jerk were able to discharge the lights at times not of my choosing.

Obviously, I don't think it would be desirable or even that helpful to arbitrarily jack up the price of Plus III's in an attempt to prevent mischief, but I hope PocketWizard has some kind of security/encryption on the drawing board for their units.

Lighting / Re: Professional Sports Lighting
« on: February 11, 2013, 01:21:27 AM »
It's an interesting thought experiment though. What would facilities people do if spectators kept sabotaging their flash remote systems? Are there any commercial radio systems that have encryption or some other form of protection?

The "commercial/encrypted" solution is the PocketWizard's granddaddy, the FlashWizard. The FlashWizard requires a PocketWizard Multi-Max to trigger it. I'm not an expert on this, but my understanding is that one not only needs to be on the correct frequency, but also be transmitting a correct 4-digit code to trigger the setup. Someone using a Plus II in a situation like that is not terribly serious about preventing their lights from getting hijacked.

One of my clients has a set of permanently mounted Elinchroms in their gym which is used for basketball and volleyball. We had some trouble with a guy a couple of years ago who thought that his purchase of a Plus II entitled him to use the lighting system. I recommended at the time that they migrate to MultiMax units, they never got around to it, and the guy crawled back under his rock and there have been no problems since.

I have two clients who have setups permanently installed in certain venues where high quality photography is needed on a regular basis. The cost of a setup like this is at a minimum about $2000.00 (think Alien Bees) and could run as high as $10000.00 or more (Speedotron Quad heads). I do arena-style lighting in smaller gyms and other venues about 10 times a year, and I know I'd be pretty ticked if someone was stealing my system when I paid for the equipment and I spent anywhere from 2-5 hours hooking it up.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that misappropriation of a lighting setup like that would be akin to hacking into a network you are not authorized to browse. Hacking can be a prosecutable offense, but I don't know what standard would have to be met to prosecute for "stolen lighting." I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for this.

A photographer acquaintance who has a considerably shorter fuse that mine hunted down an individual who was triggering his lights from the stands and broke the person's PW by snapping it off right out of the hot shoe. So be careful whose lights you misappropriate.

Canon General / Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« on: February 07, 2013, 04:03:43 AM »
I honestly love the higher cost of the 5D3 or the 1DX... it does keep these out of the hands of some of these "pros". With more and more soccer moms or GWC ponying up for great gear, the one thing they can't buy is experience. Just because you can post on online somewhere and/or have a website does not instantly make you professional.

Oh, I so wish that the cost of gear would weed out more of the amateurs. Fact is that all too often the guy who's the rankest amateur is often the best equipped photographer on the scene. Case in point from an indoor track meet just last weekend: I and one other lady are working for different school sports information departments and roughly equipped the same (crop bodies with 70-200 2.8's). In walks a guy with a Nikon D3X mounted with a 200mm f/2.0, a lens I would almost literally kill for. (Almost. If it were a Canon.) I chatted with him a bit and learned he was a super nice guy and was just messing around trying to get some pictures of his nephew.

Another case in point: Last fall, at a high school football game between two of the state's highest ranked teams, the only guy on the sidelines with a 400mm 2.8 was not a professional photographer, but an insurance salesman.

These are the individuals that make it harder for working photographers to navigate in today’s market.

Neither of the two guys I mention above were hurting me at all. No skin off my nose if they post photos to Flickr and pass some prints out to family and friends. But one of my college contracts evaporated a couple of years ago because an athlete's father has taken it upon himself to shoot all sports and donate hundreds of jpegs for free. My understanding is the guy is a dentist, so while the contract I used to have was real money to me (equivalent to about four house payments a year), it would probably be chump change to him. The school is not getting my experience or my level of quality, but they have apparently decided the quality sacrifice balances out the cost savings.

Nobody goes to Sears and drops a few grand on a professional tool set and then starts doing auto repair for free, so it kind of blows my mind that anyone would spend thousands on photo equipment and then just start doing photography work for free. Personally, I would have a moral compunction against going out and doing something for free that would be somebody else's livelihood, except in the case of volunteer work for charitable or benevolent organizations or something to help a close friend or family member in need. Am I wrong to feel a bit screwed, not only for myself but my profession, that someone would mess with the market this way, and in so doing condition a private, for profit university that used to pay fair rates for good work to become photography freeloaders?

I suppose it doesn't really matter. That's just the market these days.

Lenses / Re: 300 f2.8 Ser 1 vs. Ser 2?
« on: January 08, 2013, 03:28:55 AM »
This original 300mm 2.8 was a great lens. It is hands down the lens I most regret selling. Actually it's the ONLY lens I regret selling. Not that any of the other lenses I've sold or traded over these many years were bad, just that their replacements were as good or better.

But this lens was special. If you like to manual focus like I do, this lens has the best "feel" of any Canon lens I have used. There is the drawback that even manual focusing sucks on the battery, coupled with the poor guarantee of available repair parts, but the touch of this lens is awesome. Being confined by finances to the used market for this type of lens, I would seriously consider purchasing a copy of this lens even knowing it may take a second copy for donor parts to fix later.

My opinion is that the optical superiority, if any, of the first IS version over this lens is minimal, and the removable tripod collar on the IS version becomes gritty and stiff over time (based on at least two copies I have rented) and can allow the lens to dislodge from the collar and hit the ground at an inopportune time. My 300mm f/4.0 worked loose as I was carrying it on a monopod over my shoulder once, and it was sheer luck that it happened in tall, soft grass and not on the hard gravel I had been on just ten steps before. The original version 300mm 2.8 has a secure, permanent collar that stayed smooth the entire 12 years or so I used it.

An earlier poster commented that the "electronics are not likely to last much longer." I don't know that this is true. These lenses are still fairly common on the used market and in use in the field, and I don't recall ever hearing of any electronic failure that did not result from a drop or other damage. Assuming you get one in good condition, I'd expect years of value out of it, especially if it's not in everyday use.

As for the specific copy referenced by the original poster, definitely agree with others who have cautioned to examine it very carefully for proper function and good condition and ensure non-problematic provenance (be sure it's not hot), but I can't say enough good about this lens in general. The price does seem a bit too good to be true, but in my opinion, the price of this lens should be moderated by the lack of repair parts availability.

Lenses / Re: EF 800 f/5.6L IS II & Other Big Lenses
« on: December 07, 2012, 05:53:42 AM »

He perhaps does not know his kidney from his liver... :)

You, perhaps, have not seen a certain episode of "The Simpsons" . . .

Lenses / Re: EF 800 f/5.6L IS II & Other Big Lenses
« on: December 06, 2012, 04:45:31 PM »
The EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x with the built-in 1.4 teleconverter is not the only lens planned to have the technology. It will definately be the first, and may be the only one for a while, but the concept is being tested with other zooms as well as prime lenses.

Way back before I was yelling at kids to get off my lawn, some lenses came with a "matched multiplier," which would, at least in theory, give better results than a generic 1.4X converter. Examples that come to mind would be the Nikon 300mm f/2.0 and the Tamron 300mm 2.8. This seems like an interesting throwback to an old (but good) idea.

A 70mm~210mm f/2.0 w/ built-in matched 1.4X would extend to (in rounded numbers) 100mm-300mm f/2.8. This would of course be very pricey, but it would also be a daily workhorse for a lot of people, especially news and event photographers.

I'd sell a liver for such a lens. (You can get by on just one.)

Landscape / Re: Shooting a moonrise - Need advice
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:38:03 AM »
Photographing the moon by itself is actually pretty easy. If you think about it, it is lit by noonday sun, even though we view it at nighttime. You can apply the "sunny 16" rule and shoot it handheld with a 300/400mm lens with very respectable results. But getting the moon with a landscape or architecture or any other element in the same photo is usually quite a difficult challenge. I'd venture that most photos that include a detailed image of the moon along with other elements are to at least a small degree the product of Photoshop trickery.

Here are two images I have done with an eye toward being as "authentic" as possible, but which still required some photoshopping.

Below is an image of the Indiana University Law Library reading room (Indianapolis/IUPUI campus) with the moon visible over the skyline. The moon is shown in its actual position in the sky that night, but was actually another image shot with a longer lens on the same night. This is an HDR Pano stitched from several vertical images shot with a 40D and 24-105 4.0 at about 40mm. The actual image of the moon was little more than a white dot in the image. The moon I placed in the image is enlarged about 3x life size. My aim was to make it more visible, but not to exaggerate.

090904_inlowreadingroom_3 by Progeny of Light, on Flickr

The image below is of the "Super Moon" last May and was an attempt to capture the tones in the moon and the tones of the building in the foreground in one image using the HDR process. It *mostly* worked (with about 9 exposures at 1.5 stop intervals), but the problem was that even when I did the brackets as fast as I could (all 9 images captured in about 40 seconds) moon actually moved enough that the combined images blended into a "jittery" image. I had to replace the moon in the final image with the bracketed image that got the least exposure. Lens was a 400mm 5.6L. In this case, the moon was *NOT* enlarged or repositioned.

SuperMoon_5-5-2-12 by Progeny of Light, on Flickr

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 24-70 f/4L IS Coming [CR3]
« on: November 01, 2012, 03:47:00 AM »
6) This new lens will replace the 24-105, eliminating the 70-105 overlap that current lens has.  This is a deliberate move by Canon to sell more 70-200 glass.  (I have poked a few holes in this theory, but it's as plausible as anything else on this list).

Eliminating the 24-105 would certainly be a consumer hostile move. The focal length overlap certainly did not stop me from getting a 70-200. The overlap is extremely useful in my work. There are some jobs I do pretty much entirely with the 24-105, whereas if I had the 24-70 (one of the least interesting focal ranges I can imagine - my opinion only), I'd do a lot of switching between the two lenses.

Someone earlier called the 24-105 "slow." Could not disagree more. I use it all the time for basketball in gyms with permanently mounted studio flashes or with my own flashes temporarily mounted. On the 7D, I have ideal reach all the way from right under the goal to three-point land. The f/4.0 max aperture does make manual focus difficult or near impossible, but fortunately, I get a near 100% AF hit rate.

I'd look at this rumored 24-70 as a secondary lens, possibly for remote mounted use or when more compactness is desired, such as for recreational shooting, especially if it addresses the 24-105's minor optical shortcomings (distortion/curvature at edges).

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.

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