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Messages - 7enderbender

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EOS Bodies / Re: DSLRs are a dying breed, EVIL is the future!
« on: January 12, 2012, 01:07:57 PM »
I don't see the general design concepts contradict each other. I like the size and weight of my DSLR for its use. I'm actually one of the crazy people who added the way-too-expensive battery grip to my 5DII to enhance the ergonomics and balance.

That is not to say that I wouldn't like adding another small camera at some point that is more capable than my current digital P&S. Actually, I'm closely looking at what Canon does with the new G series and certainly what Fuji just came up with. High want factor. But not as a replacement.

EOS Bodies / Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« on: January 12, 2012, 10:17:43 AM »
ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance.

i guess you never photographing sports or anything that is moving fast then?
and please no "yes i do but i alway prefocus...".   ;D

:-) Sure, that's why I said "rarely". This is one of those rare occasions where it is useful (though still a bit of luck involved and the faster frame rate of a modern camera may actually be contributing more to having a few keepers). In my case this is limited to my son's soccer games. Sports is not really my thing so trading my old viewfinder for the one on my 5DII still feels like a bad deal all things considered. For portraits and anything in low light (such as concert photography) I find that I'm better off turning it off - at which point the flimsy imprecise focus rings even on L lenses become more of a nuisance.

Don't get me wrong, I like my new camera gear and it can do stuff that my old film gear can't do. But there are also a few things where it is clear that sometimes things are being sacrificed in the name of progress. If only the Leica M9 and appropriate lenses weren't so insanely expensive. And even that is not the same as a really good SLR viewfinder.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: CES 2012 Cool Stuff - BETA Shell Cases
« on: January 12, 2012, 09:29:59 AM »
I'm not sure there's much of a market for lens cases.  I have a couple of brand new, still on the card Lowepro lens cases that I can't sell or even give away.

Hm, I'm actually a sucker for this kind of stuff. I like lens cases and a camera wrap to stuff things into a regular backpack at times. Like my Tamrac lens cases for that.

These are certainly overkill for everyday use but I could see how this is interesting for people who go hiking, boating, biking, etc. Not so much for the "shockproof" factor (which looks more like an afterthought since they had to make things fit into the plastic shell) but for the weatherproof aspect.

However, what I was immediately looking for was a similar case for camera bodies and flashes. It's cute how the show their little custom bag that holds a few of the Beta cases - and then a flash and a body without any protection. What's the point then?

EOS Bodies / Re: Is there an advantage to still having a mirror on a dslr
« on: January 12, 2012, 09:03:51 AM »
I keep reading everywhere that mirrorless cameras are awesome. That coupled with P&S released at CES with the same size sensor as my kiss x4, is there anything you lose from going to a mirrorless system?  To reiterate, would a mirrorless Kiss x4 just be better than a mirrored kiss x4?

The problem is that this exact question will be repeated by the marketing folks and by users who never actually used a real nice viewfinder until another remainder of the analog realm has disappeared and declared obsolete/too expensive/stupid/whatever.

I sure hope not. I'm still trying to get over the disappointment that even on full frame you are pretty much stuck with the compromises in the viewfinders due to AF technology. I never "upgraded" from my FD system to the EOS line exactly because of that. I still like the old viewfinders, manual focus and the build quality of the old lenses better. Call me crazy. Now with digital there is no other choice. If the camera manufacturers now decide to even take away the optical viewfinder on my SLR(!) - as mediocre as they have become because of the ubiquitous AF gizmo - I won't be happy. Yep, you read that correctly. I just called AF a gizmo. It's rarely ever necessary or even useful and I find it a creative hindrance. Moving things to a screen now would be even worse. Not interested.

Lenses / Re: 135L or 100L macro?
« on: January 11, 2012, 06:48:06 PM »
[...] here are a couple things to consider about the 100 macro "L".

1) It is crazy sharp.
2) It has great IS
3) You can use it for macro when you want.
4) You can hand hold close focus shots.
5) It's a good focal length for portraits.
6) It has an auto-focus distance switch that you can use, so that focus is faster and more accurate depending on whether you are using it for macro or for regular shooting.

Downside: for "true" macro the IS isn't all that useful since the narrow depth of field usually requires that you use a tripod anyway (too hard to get accurate focus handholding.) It is, however, very useful for quasi-macro work where you want to get in close to a subject.

I can't speak to the 135 f2. I'm sure it is a great lens as well. All depends on whether or not the extra stop and extra 35mm focal length are more important to you than the Macro and IS.

Good point about the IS that I totally forgot in my assessment above. I personally count IS as a negative in any lens. I find its usefulness overrated and see it as another lose part that will shorten the lifespan of the lens. IS -and frankly the AF - will potentially be two of the reasons for me to look elsewhere for a macro lens (and wide angle prime).

Not a very popular view, I know, but one I'm willing to reasonably defend. And just a different perspective. Not trying to convince anyone one way or another.

Lenses / Re: 135L or 100L macro?
« on: January 11, 2012, 04:56:39 PM »
Not to be repetitive but I recently went through the same mental exercise. Eventually, I want both but the question was what was more important for me now. Main objective was portraits/candids/etc. Yes, the 135L is very sharp. But more importantly, its OOF blur is just so nice. I'm sure the 100L macro is close and I'm not even sure if I'd be able to tell the difference. But then again, there is something about the 135 that works well for me. Maybe it's because I grew up using my dad's A1 first and there was "only" the FD versions of the 50 and the 135. Those are still my favorites.

If your objective was macros with the occasional portrait the 100L would be a no-brainer. If the main concern is people then the other way round. Can't go wrong either way. Though, while there may be few alternatives for good macro lenses the 135L is a thing on its own.

EOS Bodies / Re: Camera insurance recommendations?
« on: January 11, 2012, 12:04:21 PM »
I got a quote and it was like $500+ or so.

Part of the issue is PPA and TCP provide liability coverage too, i.e. if someone trips over a strobe stand, you are defamed.  It is more than just equipment

That's great for those who need it but I really don't see how that will ever make sense in my case. Sure, one could argue that there may be instances where it's technically a good idea in a worst case scenario.

EOS Bodies / Re: Camera insurance recommendations?
« on: January 11, 2012, 11:50:47 AM »
A question to all our well-informed and busy travelling photographers here:

I'd need coverage for about $7,000.


As previously stated here I have State Farm's insurance policy.  I have over $10k covered and it is really cheap. 


I have made two claims already as the first time my camera completely quit on me, and the second time it fell to it's death.  I received a letter from them, then stating that if another 'incident' happens in the next 7 years that they will either:

A: Drop coverage and not allow me to utilize the PA Policy any longer or,
B: Require a deductible.

I wouldn't mind paying a small deductible for such losses, however, after speaking to my agent personally; he said that coverage problems like these typically end up with them dropping the customer.  Due to the frequency of false claims by people and them taking advantage of such a great policy; they have a zero tolerance for problems as these.

Which definitely sucks for us who are legit customers and aren't taking advantage of the system.

In addition to all of that, my State Farm agent also said that the only time he had seen someone not get dropped after 3 claims in 10 years, is if the 3rd claim is done within the ending year of the contract. So if in the 9th year I make a claim, they won't drop me, but then will require a deductible.

::Takes deep breath::

And since we are all here to help each other; I pay for $10,000 renters insurance and $10,000 PA Policy and my YEARLY dues are only $240.00

If worst comes to worst and something does happen in the next 7 years with my camera gear, and I am in fact dropped from State Farms policy; I will be turning to these guys:


I hope this helps 7ender!


Thanks a lot. The State Farm deal seems ok to me. Unfortunately, they don't do business in my little over-regulated state. That's part of my problem and also related to my reluctance adding anything to my home owner's insurance. I talked to my agent about that and after doing some math and looking at what is actually covered and what isn't she flat out recommended against it. Even if I had a rider I'd probably not claim anything even in catastrophic camera event. The risk of the home owner's insurance going up - or worse being dropped - is too costly in our case since there are only two commercial insurance companies that were willing to insure our home here in MA and (technically) close to the ocean. That's part of life in the beautiful Commonwealth.

I'm checking with Travelers at the moment but I'm not too hopeful. Leaves the professional organizations like PPA. Ain't exactly cheap since you have to go for the "pro" level coverage and that's about $350 a year for the membership that comes with 15 grand insurance coverage. Probably a good deal altogether, but more than I was hoping to spend with the prime goal of obtaining coverage for my EOS system.

I'm curious about the TCP deal though. Just went to their web site and they are asking for way too much detailed information for just a quote. I may have to call them. Anyone done business with them?

Thanks again.

EOS Bodies / Re: Camera insurance recommendations?
« on: January 11, 2012, 09:53:08 AM »
I use State Farm for home owners and auto, and I have a separate Personal Articles policy from them to cover my camera gear.  I believe that they're writing policies in MA again (they weren't when we moved here, but we were able to transfer policies in with us); however, I'm not sure if they will do a PA policy as a standalone.  Coverage is worldwide, full replacement value, no deductible, and I pay $7.60 per $1000 coverage.

Thanks. That's exactly the policy I'd want. Unfortunately, they don't take on new MA business unless you are an existing client. Argh.

EOS Bodies / Camera insurance recommendations?
« on: January 11, 2012, 09:15:16 AM »
A question to all our well-informed and busy travelling photographers here:

Can anyone recommend any good and affordable camera insurance here in the US (in my case specifically one that does business in Massachusetts which is not always the case...) that covers the usual stuff (theft, dropping things, etc) including travel abroad. This would be for non-professional use and I don't need liability insurance. I don't want to add my stuff to my home owner's insurance for complicated reasons that have to do with the location of our home and our limited choices in free-market policies close to the ocean.

I can't really define "affordable". I've looked at a bunch of policies before, including those offered through the professional photographers' and press organizations. I always found them to be rather expensive compared to my instrument insurance that I have for my music gear (covering about $18,000 worth of stuff for less than $150 annually).

I'd need coverage for about $7,000.


Software & Accessories / Re: Lightroom 4 Beta now available
« on: January 10, 2012, 09:06:21 AM »
Currently using combo of Aperture and Photoshop 5 on multiple computers (with multiple copies all over the place :), and hoping to get more organized soon.  Is it worth my consolidating all my keepers into this new LR ? Is the transition easy?  Will it move (or copy) my originals as they are imported?

Not sure if this is a simple yes/no question. I guess you have to try it. I personally find Lightroom especially weak at what its core functionality is supposed to be: organizing things.

Especially when using more than one computer I find stuff to get all over the place quickly since Lightroom manages the edits as a virtual catalog. If you have all your photos in one place, say a network drive that you access from all computers, it may be easier - you "just" need to make sure to always synchronize the virtual catalogs then. Since you are talking about "keepers" it sounds as if your workflow may be more like mine in which you prefer an actual finished result and not a virtual version in some LR catalog.

I only bought Lightroom 3 because I could get it cheap for about $100. That's about what I find it's worth. I'm not going to spend more money to upgrade and none of the new features sound interesting to me.

LR is great for a quick fix of things or if you do some basic edits to a batch of photos. Also some of the export to web functions are ok (not great, but ok). Some of its presets are great to try out different styles and ideas quickly.

Generally speaking, I'm still more comfortable with using Photoshop and then save a final result to an "edits" folder together with the originals and then back that up and sync it to my other locations. Yes, that does eat even more memory but what the heck. In the grand scheme of things the occasional new hard drive isn't really the problem.

Canon has patented some  lenses with resin elements recently, they are plastic elements that go inside the lens where they will not be susceptable to scratching...

So far, as far as I know, they have only been used in the AF unit of DSLR's, not in a EF lens.

In their Technical Room, Canon states:

Canon uses four different type of aspherical lens elements now depending on the purpose;
1. a ground and polished glass aspherical lens element.
2. a molded glass aspherical lens element.
3. a molded plastic aspherical lens element produced by a high-precision molding technology.
4. a replica aspherical lens element, ultraviolet-light-hardening resin layer on a spherical glass lens element.

There are plastic elements in some of the EF-S lenses (which are a subset of EF lenses) - the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Technical Report states that a molded plastic aspherical element is used, and I'd bet one is used in the IS version of that lens, as well.

Interstingly, that same technical report corrects a misconception which I suffered from (and Wikipedia suffers from the same misconception) - that the "S" in EF-S stands for "short back focus."  According to Canon, the "S" in "EF-S" comes from "Small image circle."

Fascinating. And not to reheat the debate over "engineering plastic" and "polycarbonates" again - but I also find this disturbing. I very much doubt based on my personal experience with this that there is any plastic available that can render the optical qualities we've grown used to over the last 100 years or so. It just doesn't exist in reality no matter what stuff certain companies are trying to sell to consumers. I know this from eyeglasses. Everything plastic - I mean everything - is inferior in that domain. And when you try to buy glass lenses here in the States you get these blank stares as if you're stupid or suicidal ("but that is sooo dangerous!"). Well, suicidal to me is driving without 100% clear vision. And no matter how fancy the plastic it will not be 100% clear vision but distorted, impure and suffering from chromatic aberration. And thanks to the FDA I'm even forced to buy my Zeiss eye glasses abroad. Makes me angry.

And now reading that $1000+ camera lenses now come with that same kind of nonsense amazes me. Is there a complete list anywhere where they are using this stuff? Because I'll not be knowingly buying it. If this all continues it's maybe time to really save up and go Leica (while they're still around).

That would not upset me at all. I don't own the 35L and have never used one but I hear and see good things about it. So what possibly would be so much better about a Mark II version that could be upsetting?

I'm very likely going to finally get the 135L this week while the rebates are still on. If Canon comes out with a new version next week I'll care less because I'll have the lens that I've been wanting for a while and I'm not sure what I newer version would have that could be of interest. Sharper? Probably not. Faster? Unlikely. IS? Not interested and I would be even happier having an "old" version at that point.

If it was a lens with some flaws that need to be addressed (like the 50mm lenses...) that would be a different story. But even then I won't be upset that I bought the EF50 1.4 a while ago. I think it's time to slow down a bit with the approach that everything has to be new new new and supposedly better, especially when it comes to lenses. All of these lenses with their basic designs have been around for decades so nothing drastic is going to happen. Actually, I would argue that some of the stuff has gotten worse over time, not optically but when it comes to build quality. My soon to be acquired 135L will be great optically and of decent build quality. But comparing it to the old FD version stings a little bit...

Software & Accessories / Re: Airtravel experts
« on: January 01, 2012, 05:19:34 PM »
Forgot to add - I use a pair of these locks for my case while traveling.

Saw those when looking at the cases. Great idea with the TSA access. Have to get some of those for my dad who is still obsessed with locking or cable-tied regular luggage - which will get your zippers and locks destroyed if they want to open it.

In any case, is there any chance that you can put a 580EXII or 430EXII standing upright and/or in their protective sleeves in either the 1500 or the 2500? And are you using the Pelican organizer for the lid? Worth it?

Another cheap option is to just use a long ETTL cable on the master unit. Not as elegant but reliable and cost effective if the main objective is to get the master off camera. No alternative for a fully featured ETTL wireless system, but until I'm ready to spend several hundred dollars on something like the Odin or PW it's a great option.


I have the 33'/10m version for $65 and it does what it's supposed to do for a fraction of what I'd need otherwise. Note that this of course still relies on the Canon remote flash triggering and may be unreliable in direct sunlight.

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