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Messages - GMCPhotographics

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Lenses / Re: EF 16-35 F/4L IS corner samples & comparison
« on: June 23, 2014, 05:23:53 AM »
Thanks for posting. And yes, in my experience the 2.8 really IS that underwhelming in the corners, even at f8.

The new 4 shows significant improvement here at the wide end, but otherwise there really seems to be little to no difference at the other settings based on what I've seen so far.

For landscape work, which is generally stopped down, then no there isn't a lot of optical benefit of this new f4 lens over the existing f2.8 II version. But if you need to shoot wide open, the the optical improvements are clear.
It's looking a lot sharper in the corners and that looks partially due to the newer flat film plane. But the increased contrast and colour looks very good. I can't help think that the f2.8 was slightly over exposing and the f4 is slightly under? There's a huge difference in the blue sky colour between them.

Lenses / Re: The sharpness curse!
« on: June 23, 2014, 05:00:12 AM »
Well said .. there is some utter nonsense talked about sharpness in many places. ;-)

My general feeling is that (for some) it's much easier to explore sharpness and other technical craft issues relating to image 'quality' than address the fact that their photos just aren't that great, and that concentrating on technical issues is just a way of avoiding concentrating more on the image content, or other less quantifiable/tangible aspects.

Of course this isn't new - photography has a long history of people spending a lot of effort on technical differences very few would ever notice. I'd just note that this behaviour becomes much easier with digital ;-)

The technical aspects (refining my 'craft') are important to me, but only as part of the whole image creation process.  The technical has a vital part in my commercial work, but I know that very few clients are ever going to ask for it by name - to them it's primarily about the content of the image and representation of ideas.

Colour management is another area I see a lot of this, with a spurious desire for 'perfection' and 'correct' colours for applications where no-one could ever know (there are times for great precision, but not for photographic work I do)

Curiously enough, I only ever find such behaviour (in colour management and photography) in men ;-)

It's astounding how many guys at my local camera club pay thousands and thousands of pounds on the latest and greatest gear, agonising if this particualr lens has a slightly better cache (notice I didn't say Bokeh)...and yet they neglect the certain and clear need to attend workshops or training courses from the very experianced to hone their craft further. I guess it's why they are called camera clubs and not photography clubs.

My landscape and wildlife skills came from attending a lof of Guy Edwardes workshops and even now I still learn new things. When I went on my first workshop with him, I took my existing skill set and added it to what he was showing me. I learnt a lot, and it refeined me as a more general photographer. Within my wedding context, my panning skills are vastly improved. My compositional pallet and exposure control were exapnded. What i brought into the workshops were my gear, existing camera craft, workflow and photographic eye. 

EOS Bodies / Re: New Sensor Tech in EOS 7D Mark II [CR2]
« on: June 23, 2014, 04:50:14 AM »
I seem to be one of the few who actually like 22mp as a high standard. I have no particualr use for 36/44/100mp.
I don't particaulrly need the iso noise or the file size. I don't particaulrly need to print large, A1+ is as big as i can go domestically / commercially and I've never sold a print bigger than that.

Makes me wonder if I should return my 1dx and wait since I have the time.

I'd suggest not - I bought my 1Ds at the end of 2003, and the 1Ds2 was available by November 2004. The single model increment was modest, and I carried on with the 1Ds for my commercial work until the 1Ds3 arrived in November 2007.

Given that the info I had pointed to an early 2015 announcement for both (the late 2014 1D X2 was only a 'possibility) I'd not expect you to be able to get a 1D X mk2 for perhaps a year.. a long while to go without the 1D X.

As something more than 6 months out, such rumours automatically get my biggest 'pinch of salt' rating on Northlight - keep the 1D X and use it! ;-)

Hi Keith, it's great to see you posting here. Your Northlight website has been an inspiration and an education, especially your printer reviews.

Unfortunatly, there is an insanity which occurrs when Canon releases a new batch of DSLR's. Fire sales occurr and everyone clammours for the newest and greatest. There's a common belief that their beloved camera will suddenly be obsolete and there unable to take any more pictures of a reputatble quality. So what's the best a 1DX II will offer over a 1DX? A few extra mega pixels? A few stops of DR? A few more FPS? In the light of the rest of this camera's capabilities, these are mild or warm upgrades regardless of what the hype will have us believe. There is also a belief / fear that the second hand value of their cams will instantly spiral as soon as a new model is released. Which is not true, the resale value it proportionate to how long the model has been in the market, how many of them are on the market and how clean / abused the camera is.
Look at the S/H price of 1d4 and 1dsIII cams....still a hefty price considering their age. Sure, you;re bot going to get anywhere near the new price for the camera, especially if you paid top dollar for it when the 1DX was first released. But it's still going to be worth more on the S/H market than a new 5DIII.

Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 100 f/2.8L IS Macro
« on: June 22, 2014, 06:09:14 PM »
I simply don't agree with this bolded part AT ALL.  The bokeh on the 100L is beautifully soft and creamy and the rounded aperture blades ensure that the highlights stay round when stopped down.  The bokeh from the 50mm f1/.4 isn't even close.
Totally agree!

The 50mm f1.4 USM's out of focus rendering is a little harsh compared to the 50 f1.2 L's
I've found the 100mm f2.8 L Macro lens to be very smooth in it's out of focus rendering too, although no better than most tele L lenses. The 135L and 85IIL spring to mind.

As to the 100mm f2.8 L Macro's AF speed, it's fast for a macro lens, but slow for a L lens.

I wonder if the Tamrac bag range will be thinned down a lot to a smaller protfolio and will be re-branded as a Gura gear budget range.

If I am paid by Canon to take pictures with a 7D2, that is what I will do. If I am paid to use a GoPro or an iPhone, then that's what I will use.

The goal is not to take great pictures at the world cup, it is to take great pictures with a 7D2 at the world cup.

Of course. How many of those people do you think there are? Very, very few. Getting accreditation for these things is very tough, I know I have to go through the process a lot, but I have never, ever, met someone "working" for Canon. The next event I am at Canon will be there, they have already been informed I will be there (along with hundreds presumably of other CPS/media members) but I am not paid by them, nor will I use something that does not meet my needs.

Oh come on, if Canon want someone shooting something at the World Cup they will NO problem whatsoever getting that person accreditation. There is one heck of a difference between Canon going for accreditations for people than you or whatever little media you work for trying to get accredited.

Did anyone notice the amount of rain covers over certain lens / camera combos with last night's Uruguary vs England game? I bet that's where all the 7DII's are hiding. A rain cover is hardly needed in Sao Paulo this time of year! 

EOS Bodies / Re: Reports of EOS 7D Reaching End of Life [CR2]
« on: June 20, 2014, 10:16:55 AM »
This may sound rather pessimistic, but I suspect a 7D Mark II will find its place in the kit of people not wanting to spend a lot of money on a camera body, but who still want to have many pro-camera features, because this is the selling point of the 7D and by replacing it Canon should be aiming at the same kind of target customers.

For me, a 7D is a complement to a 5D - one for reach and speed, one for low-light and image quality.  I'll take one of each if they are similar enough in user interface and technology.

But...a 5DIII and a 7DII will probably cost the same as a 1D-x....

EOS Bodies / Re: New Sensor Tech in EOS 7D Mark II [CR2]
« on: June 20, 2014, 10:15:33 AM »
What do you all think are the chances, that the 7D II will surpass the 5D mark iii/1DX on certain things? Such as IQ, ISO, DR or other things?

The 7DII will surpass the 5DIII/1D X in viewfinder magnification, and the 5DIII in frame rate...that's pretty much it.

There also might be several small items with the 7DII like wifi, GPS or a built-in-flash. You can argue about whether you need them, but the 7DII will surpass the other two models on that.

It will be cheaper, too.  That's probably the biggest benefit!
I expect it will also have a touch-screen. :)

Wowzers....killer new feature..... :-\

Lenses / Re: Sigma 50mm Art 1.4 Focusing problems
« on: June 20, 2014, 08:59:11 AM »
Page 373 of the 5DMkIII user manual states that the focusing screen is fixed. 

This was a compromise I made with misgivings, but, in fact, I find the focusing screen to be pretty darn close the the Eg-S--and not as dark. 

Still, I do wish we had options.

I still have a mkII with an Eg-s and it's not even close. But with spot focus set, I don't really have any issues with the focus accuracy...but it was more reassuring when I could actually see my 85 f1.2 pop into focus than just relying on the AF to do it's job fully.

EOS Bodies / Re: Reports of EOS 7D Reaching End of Life [CR2]
« on: June 20, 2014, 08:11:51 AM »
I'm still prepping my bomb shelter for the hysteria as the 7D2 release gets closer
anyone remember how bad this place got pre 5Dmk3?

That was mostly due to the Nikon high-dr high-mp d800 release ... unlike the 70d the 7d2 will be a stand-alone upgrade competing with nothing, question just if it will find enough buyers considering performance vs. price. Canon seems doubtful, that's why there is no 7d2 atm.

The 5d3 is 95% of the 1Dx and it is half the cost.

But this 5% include 100% of the rgb metering, sealing, x-sync, customizability, shutter life, faster af/lens speed, higher fps :-p

No one ever mentions that the 1D-x's AI servo / face detection and colour AF tracking is noticably better than the 5DIII. Tracking wild sea birds in Ireland last week, the 5DIII's 6fps is well geared to it's AF tracking capability. While the 1D-X's 12 fps is well suited to it's improved AF capability.
I think durability wise, I've seen enough broken 1D-X's over the last few years to know that they aren't any more robust than a 5DIII. Yes the 1Dx is slightly better weather sealed, yes there is twice the frame rate. But there is more comonality between them then would first appear. The 5DIII really is the 3D we were all asking for. I think shutter life is a mute topic, and fro a £300 fix it's a minor issue. I know guys who had their 1DX shutter crap out at only happens. A lot of it is to do with the envirnonment it was shot with (sand is a killer on any camera) and how well treated it's been. Many pro cams get thrown around because they are pro grade and look like they can take the punishment. Most of the internal ribbon cables inside are connected using the same ones on our laptops and we generally treat them with more respect.
Pros buy the 1D-X because they are on a 5 year turn around for their cameras. A lot of wild life guys traded up from 1DsIII's and the 1D-X makes a lot of sence. Most wedding photographers are on a 3 year replacement cycle due to the harsh condidtions. My 5DII's were in a pretty sorry state when i upgraded to 5DIII's (which still look fresh after 2 years). This is one aspect that serious hobbiests don't often consider, the longeviety and resale value of a pro item. I expect 10 years out of a lens minimum, but camera bodies are 2-3 years for me. That said, i'm very happy with my 5DIII's and would consider selling one of them and trading for a 1D-X.
If I did, I would need to see a 5 year return on the camera. Which is a problem becuase the camera is already a few years into it's product life and i'm sure a replacement will come down the line at some point.

Lenses / Re: Sigma 50mm Art 1.4 Focusing problems
« on: June 20, 2014, 07:54:24 AM »
I received my copy of this lens several days ago, and I admit that it's a bit of a head-scratcher for me.  First off, I ran a series of shots of a static target at different distances in order to calibrate it with the Sigma dock/optimization software.  I achieved razor sharp results at f/1.4 after dialing-in the appropriate adjustments for each distance on the scale.  I did use a tripod, an extremely bright halogen lamp (EV 10, at least), and center-point focus only for the calibration.  I also played around with live-view focus which obviously achieved excellent quality and consistent results.  After calibrating with the dock (each zone, save for infinity ended up at approximately +10 or so) I took the lens out for some test shots.  The results were somewhat inconsistent, as others on this forum have reported.  Many shots were spot-on, but some were confusingly out of focus - and often by a quite a wide margin.  I deliberately kept the lens at f/1.4, but made sure shutter speeds were never below 1/200th.  I probably should have noted what points on the 5d3 I was using when the misfocused shots were taken as I believe I did read a post on this forum that mentioned problems with off-center (or perhaps non-cross-type) focus points and this lens.

Next up, I attempted to AFMA with FoCal for kicks.  FoCal's AFMA module absolutely hated this lens and reported 'poor' confidence (red color) in two complete runs.  I didn't bother saving the logs.  Next up I used the FoCal's AF consistency module which reported 97.5% consistency with phase detection... weird.  I wonder if I've not received a dud lens, or if my old hands are shakier than I truly realize.  I do own the Sigma 35mm f/1.4A which is an absolute gem.  I have no problems whatsoever with the 35A in terms of auto focus.  Sure, 35mm has lots more DOF at F/1.4, but I just can't miss with it. 
Thoughts, anyone?  I see that some people have already exchanged their copies of the 50A (even several times)... Thanks.

Sorry to hear that dear friend.
Looks like Sigma still trying to figure out the 5d mkiii/1dx AF system.
And it's very sad that still no words or any firmware update from Sigma yet.
Also the service guys still have no idea what to do with those issues.
Otherwise it's a great lens ;)
I have lens no.2 now. The first was very unpredictable. This second one is more consistent, but not reliable. I have done both FoCal, with a mix of poor and acceptable results (The first lens did not pass FoCal at all) and a manual LensAlign test. With LensAlign I have found a fairly consistent back focus, coming from infinity to app. 1,2m and front focus coming from MFD. Not much, but enough to make f1.4 shots sufficiently out of focus to be annoying.

With the Eg-S focusing screen on the 5DIII and Ec-S on the 1DX, I get equal or better results shooting the Otus wide open. That sort of kills my interest in the Sigma ...

I agree on the optical performance though. When focus is right, you can get absolutely stunning images with this lens.

I'm a bit curious, how did you fit a Eg-s screen to a 5DIII? I didn't think they were interchangable?

My point was the A7R will take sales from the A7S

Sorry, I mis-read your post.

Are you saying the A7R has a good video legacy so more people will upgrade to the A7S?

I was (missing your point) arguing people still buy Canon because it's got a legacy as good video dslrs, but that might change over time once the competition has "pro" features at a decent price. The 70d has nice lv af though which also might appeal to some, but it's on the other end of the "low light capability" scale than the a7s.

I really can't see Sony ever making a serious pro camera. Certainly nothing in the 5DIII / 1D-x product bracket. Their camera design objectives and product placement look confused and badly thought out. For my needs a 1DX or 5DIII are pretty much the best range of features and reliabilty that there is. I trust also the Canon band, which is a lot more than I can say about Nikon, Sony or Sigma. I'm not saying Canon haven't made mistakes, but they haven't isolated me in the market place. If I was in Nikon land, I would still be wondering how I would be upgrading from the D700 within a wedding photographer's context. For me, the 5DIII is pretty much perfect, although 2 stops low noise shadow detail pull-ability would be nice.
There is so much more to a camera than it's sensor. I think Sony's cameras are a case in point here. Great sensors, let down by poor cameras.
When I look at the Nikon lens catalogue, I see a lot of ancient designs, most without USM (or what ever Noik call it). I see a lot of screw driven lenses and very few really new and interesting things. There's some but not many and it's not a comprehensive as Canon's. If I look at Sony, that disparity is even worse.
Anyone who has used the newer 24-70IIL, 70-200IIL or any mk II white super tele's will know what I am talking about. In fact, my 35L and 85IIL still produce fantastic pro images for me, while I hear that Sigma has a good 35mm...I don't trust their reliability or AF capabilities....sorry, but that's been my experiance. there is more to a lens than just flat lens charts. In 8 years of pro shooting, most of my Sigma gear has gone back for repairs or calibration 2-3 times per lens. My Canon gear (which i have more of) takes a beating far better and I think I've only sent one lens into Canon and that was for a front element replacement.

Tamrac used to make some of the best backpacks up to about 7-8 years ago. then they seem to lost their way, lost their innovation and put out bags which seemed to step backwards and not forwards.
Gura Gear on the other hand pushed forwards (and in price) and produce some of the most useful backpacks ever made for photographers.


GuraGear are the Apple of camera bags.  Functional, well-designed, well-built and innovative, but pricey.  I love my Kiboko 22L. 

Why on earth would GuraGear take on the weight of the Tamrac name?  Is there timeless bag design that they always make money on, something like a Domke F Series? 

I have to believe this move was a business transaction to obtain patent rights to poach great features for future GG bags, but I could be wrong. 

- A

it makes one wonder if Tamrac were really that big? We sort of assume it was based on it's distribution and web site layout. But it's quite possible that it was quite a small outfit all along. In a simular way, Gura gear may not be all that big either. But is possibly a lot more cash rich due to it's better margins, lower overheads and wiser equity investment. I guess the proof is in the pudding, and another indicator that the market only really sustains the top of the pile gear (ie Apple, Canon etc). 

Tamrac used to make some of the best backpacks up to about 7-8 years ago. then they seem to lost their way, lost their innovation and put out bags which seemed to step backwards and not forwards.
Gura Gear on the other hand pushed forwards (and in price) and produce some of the most useful backpacks ever made for photographers.

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