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Messages - DigitalDivide

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Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod legs locking mechanism
« on: July 21, 2014, 05:35:36 PM »
I chose twist locks when I bought a monopod earlier this year, and I will do the same when it comes time to upgrade my tripod.  I went with a Gitzo monopod, which has the G-lock mechanism intended to hold more securely as the load increases.  I find I can lock the joints with a quick twist and still be confident that they will not suddenly give way at the most inconvenient moment.  The Gitzo is much better in this regard than my old Tiltall tripod.

I tried a Manfrotto flip lock model before I ordered the Gitzo, and while the flip locks are better than cheap tripods I have used in the past, they still seem a bit clunky and slow to me.  I like the ability to tighten or loosen all the joints at once, as Neuro mentioned.  (As usual, he has summed up the advantages most comprehensively and consisely!)

I have a question, what about the tripod mount ring... Just noticed that it doesn't come with the F4?

How crucial is it for tripod stability? I don't notice that it's prone to leaning more than any other lens I've used, perhaps 85mm is the exception?

Canon is asking 145$ for Canon Tripod Mount Ring A II??? That is crazy!

I choked at the price for the Canon ring too.  I got the Vello Tripod Collar A instead.  It is only $50 at B&H and is available in white to match the 70-200.  I haven't mounted that lens on a tripod so I can't comment on the stability; I used the collar with a BlackRapid strap, which allows the camera and lens to balance horizontally when I'm not holding it.

The Vello mount seems pretty well made and I have had no problems with it.  It doesn't rotate as smoothly as the Canon ring on my 70-200 f/2.8 II IS though, so if you like to switch between horizontal and vertical shots a lot that could be an issue.  I haven't compared it to the Canon f/4 ring so I don't know if it is any better in that regard.

Software & Accessories / Re: Inconspicuous Messenger Bag
« on: June 20, 2014, 06:16:35 PM »
I use a Tamrac Ultra Pro 7 to carry my 24-70 f/2.8L II, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and my 5D2, almost the same gear that you list.  I can also squeeze in a 1.4x III TC and a 25mm extension tube without things getting too crowded, so I would think that your Speedlite would fit.  (I don't have a flash so I can't try it myself.)

I've recently added a RRS L-plate to the body and a lens plate to the 70-200; everything still fits, although the plates together with the BlackRapid strap and clamp setup do require a little care when stowing to make sure they don't catch on the bag opening.  The one thing that could be a real problem is if you have (or plan to add) a grip, as I don't think the bag will stretch quite that far.

I like the messenger bag style; it is compact for the capacity offered and it doesn't look that much like a typical camera bag.  The Tamrac logos on mine are very small and discreet.  I also find it keeps the weight close to the body, which limits shoulder and back strain.  This model is very deep, so it has no trouble accommodating the 70-200 mounted on the body - the Rally series bags that I've seen are shallower.  My bag also has the rear pocket which unzips, allowing it to slide down over the handle of roll-aboard luggage.  This works great for air travel!

Unfortunately it looks like the Ultra Pro 7 has been discontinued, although it is still available from online from suppliers such as Amazon.  I scanned through the bags on Tamrac's site and I didn't immediately find an equivalent replacement. :(

Lenses / Re: 17-40 zoom noise - does yours sound like this?
« on: June 16, 2014, 03:36:44 PM »
It is hard to tell from the recording how loud your lens is.  My 17-40 makes a barely audible noise when zooming; if I put my ear close to the lens then I can hear a smooth swoosh with something that sounds like gear noise superimposed on top of it.  It is not something I ever noticed with the lens on the camera.  If yours is like that then I'd guess it's probably fine.  How long have you owned it?  If you've had it a while and it recently got a lot more noticeable, then it might be a good idea to get it checked out.

EOS Bodies / Re: Educate me about AF systems
« on: June 12, 2014, 09:10:35 PM »

The first and IMO biggest difference is going to be speed. The phase detection auto-focus system requires the mirror to be down in order to work, so on the 1Dx, with its 10-12 FPS is going to be focusing on a scene that has changed half as much as the 6 FPS that the 5DmIII sees.    The 5DmIII is going to be blind for longer, and have to make bigger changes between shots, that the 1Dx.

This part seems counter-intuitive to me.  The mirror only needs to be up for just long enough to make the exposure, plus whatever allowance is needed for the time it takes to change position before and after the shot.  Assuming both cameras are used in the same situation with identical exposure for each shot, the 1DX mirror will have to flip up and down 12 times per second while the 5DM3's mirror will only have to do it 6 times.  Thus the proportion of time where the AF module cannot "see" the scene (i.e. when the mirror is either up or in motion) should be significantly lower on the 5DM3.  I doubt that the sensor makes only one measurement each time the mirror is down, since in servo mode it is trying to track and continuously adjust for the subject motion.

I suppose it is possible that the 1DX mirror box is faster and can move the mirror into position in a shorter time, but it seems to me that in most cases the 1DX would actually be at a disadvantage.  This implies that it does have some other mechanism to ensure better tracking.

I'm also far from an expert in this area, so I'm just speculating here.  I'm going to read the article at the link Neuro posted when I get a chance.

Lenses / Re: What was your first L lens?
« on: June 06, 2014, 05:16:58 PM »
The 17-40mm f/4 was the first and only L lens I purchased before switching from film to digital.  Before that my widest lens was a 28mm, so the 17-40 opened up a lot of new opportunities.  I've never been very impressed with the IQ and distortion of that lens though, and I'm sorely tempted by the new 16-35 f/4 IS. :)

Next was the 24-105mm f/4 kit lens that came with my 5D2, the 300 f/4 IS and the 70-200 f/4 IS (a lovely tack-sharp zoom that is still reasonably affordable).  Lately I've added the f/2.8 IS II version of the 70-200 along with the 24-70 f/2.8 II, which are both wonderful.

Definitely a slippery slope; aside from the 16-35 f/4, I'd really love to acquire a 300 f/2.8 IS II, but I have decided to try to earn it by improving my technique first.  The same applies to the 5D3 - I'd love to have one, but my 5D2 can do everything I need for now if I learn to use it properly.

Photography Technique / Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: June 05, 2014, 12:29:31 PM »
Hello! Yes, I use Center ND, for 617 and 90mm it is a "must have".
Fuji GX is really expensive. I use Chinese DaYi camera, there is also Gaoersi brand, that is more affordable then Fuji. Still, there is one great camera for 6x17 - it is Shen Hao PTB 617. I never used it, but those who did - were happy. If I would buy 6x17 now, I'll go for Shen Hao PTB 617, probably.
I don't like Noblex because of its cylindrical projection. I prefer rectangular.

Thanks - I have seen some of the Chinese options online and wondered if they were any good.  I haven't come across Shen Hao though, I will have to keep an eye out for it.

Yes, the Noblex is a swing lens design so the projection is quite different.  It will be interesting to see how I get on with it.  I think I will have to be careful with my choice of subject matter - architecture is probably to be avoided unless you want a very particular effect, or you prefer your buildings to be cigar-shaped!  :o  It is also crucial to ensure that the camera is precisely level, and it is equipped with bubble levels for this purpose (one of which is visible through the viewfinder for handheld shots).

To (sort of) answer the original question posed by the thread, my Noblex features a Tessar 50mm f/4.5 lens which swings through an arc of 146 degrees.  By my calculation this is approximately equivalent to stitching with a 35mm lens on FF in portrait mode or 24mm in landscape orientation, which seems to be within the range of what most people here are using.

One big advantage of the swing lens design is that light reaches the lens through a narrow slit, so there is no issue with sharpness in the corners - even with 146 degrees of view, which is wider than anything short of an 8-15 fisheye zoom on the Canon.  8)

Photography Technique / Re: What Lenses Do You Use for Panoramics?
« on: June 04, 2014, 07:44:13 PM »
I use Fuji SW 90/8 on 617

Nice shots Superka!  I was wondering if someone would mention any of the medium format panoramic film cameras.  I'm curious - did you need to use a center filter for these pictures?

I have lusted after the Fuji GX-617 for a while, but it is a bit expensive for what would be very much a niche camera for me.  Even more so the insanely pricey Horeseman models.  I do however have a Noblex 6/150 Pro that I recently got on eBay; it just came back from a complete overhaul and repair, and I'm really looking forward to using it for the first time. 8)

Lenses / Re: Traveling to the UK/Ireland
« on: May 23, 2014, 12:34:44 PM »
I've never felt at risk with my camera anywhere I've traveled in Europe.  However, you often see the advice not to leave valuables in your rental car because theft from vehicles can be a concern there.  Sometimes parking lots in touristy areas will have a sign posted to this effect.  When renting I always try to get a sedan with a separate trunk, or at least a hatchback or wagon (called an 'estate' in the UK) equipped with a luggage area cover.   That way if I do need to leave my gear in the car it will be hidden from prying eyes, and my car will not be any more of a target than the next one.

That said, I haven't had any issues with theft.  The best advice would be to insure your equipment before you go.  Many homeowner's policies will allow you to cover photographic gear at a very reasonable cost.

As for lenses, like many others I have found the 24-105 L to be an excellent walk-around lens and it should serve you well.  I would also bring your 70-300 L, which can be good for detail shots of architecture and landscapes as well as for wildlife.  You can always leave it in your hotel if you don't think you'll need it on a given day.

 I think that for the 50 and the macro it really comes down to your preferred shooting style.  My 50 f/1.4 gets very little use these days, as the zoom with IS can handle most situations in which I might have reached for the prime.  I take only occasional macro photos so I prefer to travel with a 25mm extension tube, which allows me to capture the shots I need while adding very little weight and bulk.

Enjoy your trip!  :)

Lenses / Re: The Next
« on: May 21, 2014, 04:37:39 PM »
That's the classic rubbish line about the 3rd party. You can just as easily get a dud Canon or Nikon. You could make a fuss with the exact numbers but unless there is something inherently wrong with the design then "in practice" it is not particularly more likely than the other.

It is not just a question of a good or bad design, although any designer of volume products worth his or her salt will try to minimize the sensitivity of the design to manufacturing variations.  The extent to which the manufacturers are able to optimize their process control will play a big part in how likely you are to end up with a dud.

A company which maintains tight control over the materials, assembly equipment, manufacturing processes and externally sourced components will be able to minimize the percentage of out of tolerance products coming off the line.  By controlling their test processes they can also ensure that most of the duds get rejected.  This is what the science of process control is all about, and big companies like Canon take this very seriously.  Not only does it improve the quality of their products, allowing them to charge higher prices, it also saves them money in failures and rework.

Even if two companies share a design, the quality from one may be very different from the other.  An example which was quoted in a marketing class I took many years ago featured a gearbox that was built by both Mazda and Ford, who had (and I think still have) significant design sharing agreements.  According to the class, Mazda's quality metrics were 8 times better than Ford's for the manufacture of an identical product.  (I'm not bashing Ford by the way - this example is several decades out of date, so has little relevance today.)  I don't have any hard data to compare Canon's quality with Tamron's, but I would disagree that the quality of the design trumps the manufacturing methods used to build it.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 f/4L IS Sample Images
« on: May 20, 2014, 12:32:31 PM »
Everybody needs to emotionally justify their purchases....and lenses really do fall into that bracket. Just look how emotional Nikon or Canon forums get when a new camera gets launched!
But don't think that this lens will make you a better photographer...or that it will "blow the old one away". No it will be a little sharper wide open, it'll have slightly better flare resistance and slightly more contrast. It'll be new and shiny (unlike my very very beaten up 16-35IIL) which will really add to it's initial emotional feeling. There is little more this lens can do that the old one can't do, it's just a bit better in most respects.
It's a little like the new 24-70IIL. An excellent lens to be sure and of someone hasn't already got a good copy of the mk1 then there is a real need to get one. But someone who's already got a very good copy of the mk1....then the side grade to a mk2 isn't so easy. What does it do for the extra outlay? it's a bit lighter and a bit sharper....hmmm....for some that's the ultimate priority. But for others who make money out of their kit, there's not so much of an obvious benefit.

Yep, I'm with you on that, and I will admit to suffering from GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) from time to time!  ;D  It is tempting to think that all that is keeping one from being a better photog is the equipment.  But as I've upgraded my lenses from consumer grade to enthusiast and then pro grade over the last few years, I've found that it is certainly not the case.  In fact my experience with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II shows that it can actually be the opposite.  Having taken thousands of shots over the years with a very mediocre 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 (bought sometime around 1992 I believe), I faced a definite learning curve with the 70-200, and it took me a while to figure out how to get the best out of it (or at least the best that I as an amateur am capable of).

Am I a better photographer because I have a shiny new lens?  Of course not, but the f/2.8 has certainly made it possible for me to get some cool shots that were just not feasible with my crappy old lens, and the technical quality of my photos is markedly improved when I get the technique right.  I also find that seeing how good the photos with a great lens can be when I get everything right encourages me to take more pictures and to try out new things.  So in that sense new equipment can help me improve my technique, albeit not right away.  (It is also difficult to blame my gear when things don't turn out as I'd like, since many great photogs are getting amazing results with the same equipment!  :o ). 

My expectations for the new 16-35 f/4 IS are similar.  I'm looking forward to better contrast and less distortion in my photos, while the IS may improve my keeper rate in poor light and may allow me to take pictures in some situations where I simply couldn't before.  The difference between my 17-40L and the new lens is not likely to be as dramatic as in the extreme comparison above, however.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 f/4L IS Sample Images
« on: May 20, 2014, 11:22:25 AM »
It looks like we have about 5-6 weeks now...debating whether to sell my 16-35II now or wait to use it for comparisons...

Me too, although in my case it would be the 17-40L I would be selling.  From the data and samples so far available it seems like this lens will blow away my 17-40, so really it should be no contest.  I've never been very happy with the 17-40, and I did consider the 16-35II as an upgrade.  But I don't feel the need for f/2.8 at this FL, and the IQ is not enough of an improvement to tempt me even with the current rebates.

I had therefore been waiting patiently for the rumored 12/14-24 to be announced, but this new 16-35 f/4 is probably a better option for me.  I quite often find myself trying to capture poorly lit interiors of historical buildings while on vacation, where the use of a tripod is generally prohibited.  In a large building f/2.8 can limit the DOF too much even at 16mm, so I suspect that IS would be of more benefit to me than the extra stop.  I don't find myself zooming all the way out to 17mm very often either, so 12 or 14mm might go unused while the greater range at the long end would be handy.

A quick check of completed listings on eBay shows that used 17-40s are still fetching around $600.  That's actually not a whole lot less than I paid for my copy new a few years ago - Canon resale values are good enough that it can almost seem like putting down a deposit for a long term loan rather than actually purchasing them!  ;D  So essentially I would be paying $600 for a huge IQ upgrade, which is very attractive indeed.  The only question in my mind is whether the new 16-35 will come down in price over the next few months, but since Canon has chosen to launch it at a much more reasonable price than some other recent lenses maybe the price drop will be less significant?

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Deal: Adobe Lightroom 5 $80 via Amazon
« on: May 02, 2014, 01:29:43 PM »
From what I can see, the boxed PC/Mac version is being offered for $99.99, while the separate Mac and PC downloads are each $80.58.  The original post seemed to say that the boxed version was also $80, in which case I must have missed it.  :(

I bought the MH-02 Pro a few weeks ago, and I'm very happy with the screw knob so far.  I didn't realize there was such a strong preference for the lever clamp, so I'm glad I got it before they discontinued it.  I'm using it with the Gitzo GM2541, which I ordered at the same time based on helpful advice from several forum members. 

The Gitzo has no trouble supporting my 5D2 with the 70-200 f/2.8 and 2x extender attached, which is the heaviest combination that I currently own.  I'm also really pleased with the twist locks on this monopod (Gitzo calls it G-lock) - they are very fast to operate, and they hold tighter the more weight you put on them which in practice means that a quick twist is enough to lock them without having to check that they are fully tight.  So much easier than the twist locks on my old Tiltall tripod.  :)  I tried a Manfrotto in a camera store and I really didn't like the feel of the flip locks, but clearly this is very much a matter of personal preference...

Canon General / Re: Canon USA Opens New Midwest Service Center
« on: April 01, 2014, 04:13:21 PM »
Woohoo - jackpot for me! 8)  Itasca is only a few minutes drive from where I work.  Time for me to join CPS I think.  I had been contemplating getting a membership until they reduced the loaner lens period.  With a facility virtually next door that should no longer be an issue, assuming they will warehouse some of the loaner equipment there.

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