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Messages - 7enderbender

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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.

Software & Accessories / Re: Airtravel experts
« on: December 31, 2011, 07:45:41 PM »
heathrow is a nightmare, and avoid british airways like the  the plague they have the worst customer service and the rudest staff as well as the most nazi like rules about carry on unfortunately they are hard to avoid in that part of the world, lufthansa are not too bad singapore airlines are great as is cathay

Yeah, unfortunately I know. Heathrow is just awful. I still kept taking that route because for a number of years they were just the cheapest on my routes out of Boston and to continental Europe. But still, the stuff that happens to luggage there and the delays and the busing people around and the security-kabuki dance (resulting in missing connection flights)...

Lufthansa, generally speaking, I like but they now also have some 8kg policy in place and ze Germans may just be disciplined enough to actually enforce it now. Same with Iberia. Had good experiences otherwise including connecting at Madrid airport.

Singapore Airlines may be something to check out. Never took them but heard good things. I think they go into Frankfurt from here which would work for me.

Software & Accessories / Re: Airtravel experts
« on: December 31, 2011, 07:34:41 PM »
In my travels, I've never had a carryon weighed, only checked bags.  I'd imagine if you grunt and strain to carry it, someone might notice and check, but as long as you're able to carry it comfortably, you should be fine.

I have both Pelican and Storm cases (both Pelican, technically, since Pelican bought out Storm).  I prefer Storm over Pelican - the latches are just as strong, but much easier to open. The Pelican Storm im2500 w/ dividers is the equivalent of the Pelican 1514.

Well, that's encouraging. I think I'll go with one of those cases then and hope for the best. Prices on airfare for July is still outrageous at the moment so I'll still have time to shop around and also find the right airline - hopefully.

So the latches are the biggest difference between the two now-Pelican types. Anything else?

Thanks again for your - as always - remarkable and detailed knowledge. All the best for the upcoming year.


Software & Accessories / Airtravel experts
« on: December 31, 2011, 04:42:57 PM »
Hello everyone,

Sorry to stick this here under EOS Bodies, but I couldn't find a better place. There have been some recent discussions here around airtravel and carry-on regulations.

I'll have to go from the North East US to Europe in the summer (and back of course) and I'm trying to plan ahead a bit on what airline to pick, which connection flights/airports to pick in Europe and what bag/case/backpack to get that will work as a carry-on with a bunch of camera gear that I'd like to bring (1 or 2 bodies, 4-5 small and medium lenses, 2-3 flashes, accessories, etc, small laptop).

I'm thinking about the Pelican 1514 since it seems the best price of various options, I could use it for other stuff later and if I'm forced to check it I would feel slightly (!) better about it.

In any case, what have been recent experiences with various carriers lately? Seems, they are getting ever more picky about weight issues. I saw some where the limit was 6kg for carry. That's less than the empty Pelican case...

American carriers still have mostly 40lb in place but that limits my choices, especially given the code share arrangements that may nullify this again. I've taken AA in the past quite often but I'd like to avoid going through Heathrow. Destination could be Frankfurt, Amsterdam or anywhere in the larger area.

Thanks and Happy New Year to you all.

Lenses / Re: Ultrawide | Prime or zoom?
« on: December 30, 2011, 10:38:41 AM »
I personally am looking to add the Zeiss Distagon 21 or 18 at some point.

Lenses / Re: Thinking about either getting the 35mm 1.4L or 50mm 1.2L
« on: December 29, 2011, 09:26:47 PM »
I would first figure out which focus length you really want or need on each format. Weather sealing wouldn't be a deciding factor for me since I wouldn't trust any non-1-series camera with any but a few sprinkles if at all.

From all I've seen and read the 35 is probably the slightly better lens when it comes to optics and AF. But then again I personally find 35mm (on full frame) the most boring and generic focal length. Too wide for portraits I find. My 50mm on the other hand is my most used lens since I can go in close or capture scenes wider in a very natural way.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5d Mark 2 Battery Life
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:44:17 PM »
Sounds odd. Battery life on my 5DII is stellar. I have it with original Canon batteries and the Canon grip. Just checked it: 430 + 411 exposures with 25% each left. So it should be in the neighborhood of 900-1000 clicks per double battery charge. Haven't noticed any difference in lenses with respect to battery life.

Could of course be an issue with the camera or with the battery/batteries. One thing I heard is that there are a lot of fake ones out there and that the packaging looks extremely real on some. I only buy mine from Canon authorized dealers, which it appears you did as well.

United States / Re: Prime lenses you currently own or on your wishlist.
« on: December 27, 2011, 03:20:38 PM »
I currently have (as far as EF lenses are concerned):

EF 50 1.4
EF 200 2.8L II

Future wishlist:

100L macro
Zeiss Distagon 21 or 18
50L (or any updated version of the 1.4, etc)
35L (maybe)

Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod w/ Spiked Feet and Air Travel?
« on: December 23, 2011, 07:48:27 PM »
Looks like this varies with interpretation of unspecific rules ("club-like item") and by region. I wouldn't try this or at least call the airline and then confirm at check-in. You certainly don't want the tripod thrown away at the security gate. Or worse.

Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod w/ Spiked Feet and Air Travel?
« on: December 23, 2011, 04:14:08 PM »
I am in the process of researching carry-on solutions and different airline carriers for a trip in July where I'll have to bring a good chunk of gear. Difficult subject I find. I came across several statements in various places that tripods and monopods are a big no-no as a carry-on; spikes or no spikes. Check with TSA (or local equivalent) and the respective carrier. You probably have to check it.

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