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Messages - TrumpetPower!

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Lenses / Re: 300 f/2.8L and 400 f/2.8 at f/2.8
« on: April 24, 2013, 05:47:57 PM »
I prefer to not use HTP, because it seems to add even more noise in shadows, than a slight underexposure and lift later in post, achieves.

HTP actually does nothing more than set the analog amplifiers on the sensor to one stop lower than what you set on the camera. If you're shooting JPEG, the onboard raw processing engine applies one stop of digital push. If you're shooting raw, it turns on the HTP flag in the metadata and most raw processors upon seeing that flag will silently apply one stop of digital push in addition to whatever else they do.

ISO 50 is the exact same thing but in the opposite direction.

Both are most useful for JPEG shooters, as it allows in-camera ETTR and ETTL shooting. If you're shooting raw, they're worth considering if you're going to do one stop of ETTR or ETTL as it gives you a properly-compensated back-of-the-camera preview.

Other than that, they're nothing you can't do by simply setting the native ISO value yourself.

Incidentally, the H ISO settings are also digital expansions. The same considerations apply for JPEG and raw shooters both.



Software & Accessories / Re: Comet ISON - solar filter?
« on: April 24, 2013, 04:02:11 PM »
I'll have the summer to test the set up and make sure it's working properly and that I can get good images when the time comes.

This is the most important advice...practice, practice, practice.

As East Wind Photography notes, the comet, even if it's spectacularly visible, it's going to be a relatively faint object in the sky. A solar filter will render absolutely everything black except for the Sun itself. It can be a lot of fun to play with...but only if you're photographing the Sun and nothing but the Sun.

A really good way to practice would be to shoot the slimmest crescent moon you can, either right after sunset or just before sunrise. When the comet arrives, the best photographic shots are going to be when it's near the crescent moon, and it'll be roughly as bright. If you can get a great shot of a crescent moon, the comet should be just as achievable.



Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 24, 2013, 10:06:06 AM »
Sounds quite useful for sports and wildlife shooters.

Some of them, yes.

The problem is that the lens is slow and heavy and expensive compared with Canon's other offerings, and the zoom really doesn't get you all that much advantage.

Most situations where you're using a Great White, things are actually rather predictable. Sports in particular; the players are confined to the playing field and virtually always follow the rules of the game. You should know where the action will be before the play begins, and it should be very obvious where the action is moving to.

And there's much less need for a zoom at supertelephoto ranges. If a runner is coming straight at you from a hundred yards away, it's going to be a long time before her apparent size changes significantly -- more than enough time to sling the Great White over your shoulder and pick up your second body with the 70-200. But if she's coming straight at you from ten yards away, in the blink of an eye she's going to go from filling the frame with a 200mm lens to filling the frame of a 180° fisheye.

That's why the combination of the 70-200 plus a supertelephoto is so useful. Past 200 you can crop the 200 until the supertelephoto takes over; at that point, you really don't need a zoom any more.

What you might need is more focal length, which really means more speed. And that's where this thing is desperately lacking. With the TC engaged, it's a 280-560 f/5.6. A 300mm f/5.6 lens is pathetic, and a 560mm f/5.6 lens is rather sad. Indeed, I'm having a hard time imagining this lens at 560 significantly beating the 400 f/2.8 II simply cropped to the same field of view. Even if it's better on the test bench...well, in the field, the 400 has a two stop advantage over the 200-400 in that situation, and that'll overwhelm any theoretical advantages the 200-400 might have.

And past that? The 400 turns into an 800 f/5.6 with a 2X TC with performance not that far off the actual 800 f/5.6, Canon's biggest and most expensive lens on the market. The 200-400 is going to need an external TC in addition to its built-in one, and then it's an 800 f/8 that probably needs to be stopped down to f/11 - f/13, hardly better than a RokiBowYang mirror telephoto.

Again, if it weighed five or six pounds (regardless of price) or if it cost five or six grand (regardless of weight) or if it was a stop faster (regardless of both price and weight), it'd be a very attractive lens, probably a game changer. But heavy and expensive and slow? And three years late?



Technical Support / Re: Grey card and spot metering
« on: April 24, 2013, 09:37:19 AM »
Actually, I find exposure and color balance to be closely entwined.  I shoot mainly portraits and a overly cool skin tones can appear to be underexposed and vice versa - underexposed skin tones can appear to be overly cool.

There's an excellent chance that that's because the raw processing software is applying adjustments out of order. Properly, exposure and white balance should be combined into three linear multipliers for each channel; then the gamma curve should be applied; then an ICC profile conversion from the camera's native space to the working space; and then, finally, any aesthetic tweaks, often including at least an S-curve for midtone contrast enhancement and whatever picture style (etc.) pre-canned tweaks.

User-supplied adjustments need to get applied at the right point in the pipeline. If you change exposure or white balance, that needs to be added in to that very first step and not done as an added adjustment after all else has been done. If you tweak the curve, it should be done after conversion to the working space.

And there are other places for things to go worng...some of the working spaces themselves have fundamental perceptual problems; see Bruce Lindbloom on "Blue Turns Purple," for example.

Of course, this is all perfectly opaque to the user; you just move the sliders around. If the programmer screwed up and isn't doing things in the right order, there's nothing you can do to fix it except see if you get better results with some other raw processor. And there's really no way you're going to even be aware of the nature of the problem except in vague ways such as the color shifts you just described when adjusting exposure.



Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 23, 2013, 10:50:05 PM »
That announced the development of the lens, not the launch or release.

Did you not read the whole press release, including the part I quoted?

Here, let me quote it again. Direct copy / paste from the press release:

Quote from: Canon press release
The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x is scheduled for launch during 2011.

Sure reads to me like they're telling us that they had scheduled a launch date sometime during 2011. And let's not forget that this was in February of 2011, so a statement like that really does mean that it was going to hit the streets "any day now, but certainly sometime in the next ten months."

Product delays happen. It's no big deal.

It does become a big deal, though, when you announce a product's imminent release within a specific near-term timeframe and then delay it by at least three years.

And it's a boneheaded amateur mistrake. A big corporation like Canon damned well should know, as I indicated in an earlier post, that you don't officially announce the product until the first units have come off the final assembly line -- for the express purpose of avoiding this kind of fiasco that Canon has created for itself.

Go ahead and let your anonymous sources pump stuff into the rumor mill, and maybe even every now and again showcase some of the nifty things your R&D team is playing with.

But no press releases, no official announcements, no dates, not even any timeframes -- nothing at all until those first units are all boxed up and ready to ship (and have cleared QA and everything else). They can sit in the warehouse for a couple months while you ramp up production, and you can release in limited quantities.

But don't make promises that you aren't certain you can't keep.



Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 23, 2013, 09:50:26 PM »
It is interesting that the old 300 2.8 IS + TCs + 70-200 2.8 IS II + spare body might equal price of the 200-400. Depending, either scenario could be better.

That combination would certainly be an awful lot more versatile than this Great White Elephant. It very much seems like it's going to be a niche lens, which is not at all what one things of when one imagines a telephoto zoom. Again, I'm sure there will be scenarios for which it's ideal...but a general-purpose tool it certainly isn't.



Technical Support / Re: Urgent Help Requested:Photos for my website
« on: April 23, 2013, 09:04:12 PM »
Is it acceptable to just "facepalm"?

If your "job" is at stake shouldn't you know how to do your actual job?

Thanks to an overwhelming number of very pervasive and persuasive marketing campaigns by all the camera manufacturers, a great many people think that there's no more to photography than pointing the camera in the right direction and pressing the button.

I'm guessing that yoldashh has just discovered that the advertisements might have exaggerating things just a wee bit.

We see the same thing everywhere. I still remember all the people who got a computer with WordPerfect on it and a laser printer who thought they could use it do to all their graphic design. I know accountants who still don't have an intuitive grasp on the limits of Microsoft Excel and why they need relational databases running on high-powered servers with lots of custom software, why they can't just do it all with some "simple" macros. And the number of people who yak on the phone (or text!) while driving shows how few understand just how much kinetic energy is in a two-ton vehicle moving at 100 kph / 65 mph -- about as much as a stick of dynamite, in fact.



Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:44:14 PM »
I've used the Nikon Lens myself on a D3x & D800 (Borrowed), at less than 3.4 Kgs, it's a good Lens, 200 end very good, 400 end less so, and the Nikon Teleconverters, forget them, how is it that Canon, who I feel make the best Long Lenses on the Planet, cant get their Crap together on this ??

Excellent point.

The Nikon 200-400 f/4 weighs 3.36 Kg. The Canon 1.4X TC weighs 225 g. Combined, that's 3.58 KG.

Are we supposed to believe that the company that makes a 400 f/2.8 that weighs a mere 3.84 Kg (compared to the Nikon version that weighs 4.6 Kg) is making a brand-new 200-400 that's actually heavier than a decade-old Nikon plus a teleconverter? And is going to cost at least half as much again as the Nikon version? Really? A $3,000+ premium for a built-in teleconverter that weighs more than the competition's offering?

This is quite the embarrassment for a company that's just revolutionized the supertelephoto world with its hand-holdable Great Whites. It's a big step backwards, and not one that I think anybody would have expected.

Here's hoping it's just a fluke, or that the rumors are misinformed...but that we're even discussing this at all is very much not good for Canon.



Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:19:12 PM »

...had a chance to play with the upcoming, but yet-to-be-officially-announced EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x.

Regardless, that Canon actually officially announced this before the first copies had come off the production line is unprofessional.

Except, of course, that Canon did officially announce it. See the press release here:


The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x is scheduled for launch during 2011.



Technical Support / Re: Urgent Help Requested:Photos for my website
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:12:22 PM »
If you do not use Photoshop, consider hiring someone to prepare them for you. 


All comercial photography, especially product photography, is going to need at least some post-processing. Indeed, the post-processing is often more extensive than the actual shooting -- and the shooting itself can get pretty involved, what with all the lighting and other types of preparation.

The last step in any such work is optimizing the image for the final format where it'll be used. Different techniques are necessary for printing in a catalog, making a billboard, or posting on the Web. Even if you magically got the image perfect in the camera, you'd still have to perform this last step, especially for the Web.

Fortunately, there are tools to help make this easier, and Photoshop's "Save for Web" is one of the best.

But...you might also want to consider not only hiring somebody to prepare your photos for you, but to take them as well. Photography is a craft like any other. It's one that anybody with a modicum of time and dedication can learn and do at least reasonably well...but it does take that investment of time and effort.

Somebody who's made that investment is going to do a much better job at presenting your products in the best possible light -- and, don't forget, if you're selling things on the Internet, those photos are the primary experience your customers have of your product before they buy. Your product photography is probably the single most important aspect of your advertising efforts. And, unless you've already got a well-established customer base and you aren't looking to expand, nothing is more important to Internet sales than advertising (which most emphatically does not mean merely purchasing banner advertisements).

If budget is a concern, contact the local college / university / art school and hire a student majoring in photography to do the work. They'll appreciate the chance to build their portfolios and gain work experience, and they'll also have passion and artistic experience (and hopefully talent) that you're not going to match yourself -- if for no other reason than that you should be busy with all the other important stuff of running your business.



EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: High noise at low ISO
« on: April 23, 2013, 07:55:02 PM »
I don't do video, but a couple things stand out.

First, as I understand it, Cinestyle is intended to be a very flat, low-contrast space optimized for later post-production. Before worrying about the visible noise -- and, yes, it is visible -- first see if it remains visible after you've performed your standard post-production. It may well be a non-issue for the final print, even if it's annoying right now.

Next, in a similar vein...it sure looks awfully dim to me. That may be what Cinestyle does, but my gut tells me that the intended use instead is that you'd shoot for a much brighter image and then compress the shadows to get your contrast, rather than to expose for the shadows and expand and lift them for detail.

Did you use some sort of a standard calibrated reference to set a proper exposure, such as a light meter or a chart or a test pattern? If not, I would absolutely do so before doing any other tests or investigation.

Regardless, I can all but guarantee you that it's a technical problem with your setup or workflow. I've seen samples of the 5DIII shot at much higher ISO settings that don't have anywhere near the noise in your shots; the problem isn't with the camera itself.



EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D viewfinder too big ?
« on: April 23, 2013, 07:42:33 PM »
First time I've ever heard anybody complain about a viewfinder being too big.

But, as others have suggested, it may be that the problem is the eye relief. I can't be bothered to compare the specs, but I wouldn't be surprised if the 6D has a comparatively close eye relief, meaning you have to mash your nose against the camera to get your eye close enough to see everything.

What I personally really want is the viewfinder from my parents's Pentax ME-Super on my 5DIII. Such an awesome viewfinder! Why, oh why, are we stuck with these small, dim, flat viewfinders these days? And let's not forget the wonderfulness of the split microprism...so much superior to a flashing red dot it's not even funny.

Ah, well...at least we do have live view, which more than makes up for it when shooting things that don't move.


Lenses / Re: EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x Available Mid 2014?
« on: April 23, 2013, 07:35:29 PM »
It was reported to be heavier than the 400/2.8 IS II (3850g).

If so, that would turn this white elephant into an even worse fiasco than the 400 f/4 DO.

The problem with the f/4 DO is that, sure, okay, it's comparatively small and lightweight. But it's still big and heavy, it's still very expensive, it's slow, and it doesn't have great image quality. Indeed, except for weight, the 300 f/2.8  with a teleconverter is comparably priced, much better optically, and much more versatile.

If the 200-400 is as expensive and heavy as the rumors are generally agreeing upon...well, then, you've got a lens that's heavier than the 400 f/2.8, slower than the 400 f/2.8, and roughly as expensive as a 400 f/2.8. That's an awful lot to give up just for the convenience of flipping a switch for the teleconverter.

The lens isn't going to have significantly better image quality than the other Great Whites; they're already close enough to perfection that, though there's always room for improvement, there's never going to be room for much improvement. So if it's not going to be a clear winner in terms of IQ, if it's not going to win on price, if it's not going to win on weight, and if it's going to lose pretty significantly in terms of speed and reach, if all it really wins is the convenience factor at the cost of all those other disadvantages...well, it's going to fit a very small niche indeed.

When it comes right down to it, it really seems to be nothing more than a grossly overpriced and overweight upgrade to the 100-400. I'm still thinking the classic combination of a 70-200 f/2.8, a 400 f/2.8, and maybe a teleconverter is going to mop the floor with this new lens for all but a few edge cases. (And, yes -- I know those edge cases exist, and those who spend a lot of time shooting in said edge cases are going to buy this lens no matter what.)

I'd really love to see a lens like this succeed, but either the weight or the price would have to be dramatically improved for me to have much hopes for it. Put the price at (or below) $7,000 and leave the weight or keep the price where it's rumored and get the weight under 7 pounds. Not much else, I fear, can save it at this point.

Regardless, that Canon actually officially announced this before the first copies had come off the production line is unprofessional. Go ahead and announce it before you've got enough on hand to sell, but don't announce it before you've actually got something in your hands you happily plan on selling. It's that whole thing about counting unhatched chicks....

It's a shame, too. Canon is the undisputed master of the supertelephoto. If anybody was going to pull this off, you would have bet on Canon to be the one to do it. That they're flailing around so miserably suggests to me that some heads should already be rolling.



Other than the OS (Canon IS), I don't see the sigma being a challenger of any sort.
Who knows, though?

The Canon design is an ancient design with blurry corners and a blurry mid-frame. It's not a top of the line lens.

Erm...you do know, don't you, that Canon makes two 135 mm lenses? And that we're discussing the f/2 L version of the lens, not the f/2.8 soft focus version?

And, besides which. The 135 SF is an ancient design, yes, and it's intentionally designed with aberrations to be pleasingly dreamingly blurry. But you can dial in the amount of soft focus you want, including none at all. And, when you turn it all off, it's really a charming little lens, even if its image quality isn't in the same league as the L. I hardly think it's worth criticizing the lens the way you are, and comparing it with a $6,000 Great White is just plain silly.



It can be concealed in my hand (barely) when I'm in a shot.
Isn't that what the 3-second delay is for? Press button, slip remote into pocket / turn palm / whatever....

If it was just me, sure. But in a family portrait with multiple young kids, shooting several shots in relatively quick succession can help capture the kids' expressions, hopefully without those darn silly faces they think are funny...

Well, in that case, I'd suggest a prescription for some drugs. Lots of happy drugs, for the kids and you both.

But, in seriousness, I'm reminded of the promo video Canon recently put out about extracting stills from 4K video shot with the 1DC. Set up the scene as usual but with the modeling lamps on your lights turned up enough so that they're providing enough light for the video. Don't hide the camera remote in your hand; hide the flash remote. And be recording video the whole time, without telling them that that's what you're doing. Then do the whole "Say 'Cheese!'" bit, pop the flash...and, in post, ignore the flash pops and instead extract the video frames where the kids were sufficiently non-silly and everybody was actually looking at the camera.



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