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Messages - FlowerPhotog

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Lenses / Re: Canon 100mm macro L or Zeiss 50mm makro?
« on: June 17, 2013, 02:16:19 PM »
I own both of these lenses, and as has been commented on above, they are both outstanding - two of my most used lenses.    I find myself using the Zeiss lens more for landscapes than I had originally thought I would.  It is so much sharper than the 24-105 5DM3 kits lens.  I recently purchased a 24-70 2.8L II, and the Zeiss is even sharper than it on the edges and about the same in the center.   The lack of AF isn't a big deal, as the focus confirmation beep works pretty well.  When I do use it for flower macros it is usually on a tripod where I can use Live View and really nail the focus.  As others have noted, there is something wonderful that is hard to describe about the image quality of the Zeiss - I guess it's the superb micro-contrast.  It also has great bokeh when shot at 2.0 to 4.0 or so.   I've recently started doing some landscape panoramics and using the Zeiss 50 in portrait mode is just about ideal.  I've gotten some incredible results stitching together 4 to 8 portrait images into a super sharp high resolution wide aspect ratio panoramic.
The Canon 100 2.8L, with it's superb sharpness and great 4 stop hybrid IS tends to be my go-to lens for shooting flower pictures. You don't need to get as close to the flower as with the Zeiss, and I can usually manage to get good shots handheld if the light isn't too dim.    My wife has a 60D and the EF-S 60 macro, but often asks if she can borrow the 100 due to the good IS and ability to standback a bit further from the subject.

Bottomline is you can't go wrong with either - if your primary use will be macro I would lean toward the Canon, but if you want a superb general purpose lens it is hard to beat the Zeiss.

Landscape / Re: Photo ops around Denver
« on: April 02, 2013, 02:15:08 PM »
Lots of nice opportunities up in the mountains if you are looking for Rocky Mountain scenery.  A good day trip is to go up to Rocky Mtn. National Park, which is about 60 miles northwest of Denver.    If you want to stay closer to town, there are several nice city/county parks up and down the front range.  Garden of the Gods outside Colorado Springs is quite impressive. Denver has a very similar area - Red Rocks Park, which is just on the west side of the city by the little town of Morrison.  Here's a shot I took there a little over a week ago after we had a nice snow. 

Lenses / Re: New Tokina AF 16-28 F/2.8 AT-X Pro SD FX - Focus Pocus
« on: March 17, 2013, 07:33:05 PM »
I did send the Tokina 16-28 back for an exchange a few weeks ago, but as luck would have it, the lens was on back-order.  Finally got the replacement a couple of days ago, and took it out today for a good workout.   Much much better than the first copy.  Very sharp in the center at all apertures, and stopped down a bit, both edges are pretty sharp whether manually focusing or viewfinder autofocusing.  Looks like the extreme right edge may require stopping down a smidgen more than the left, ie maybe to 7.1 or 8.0 whereas the left is sharp once you get to 5.6.  This is really pixel peeping at 100%, as at 50% you can't see any difference.  Overall the images appear sharp across the entire frame, unlike the first copy which had a very fuzzy edge that would flip-flop depending on whether manual or autofocusing.   

This one still doesn't seem to want to Live-View autofocus on my 5dM3 - but seems to work somewhat on the t2i.  I did note the Photozone review referenced earlier in the thread did make mention of the liveview autofocus being problematic.    I don't use Live-View autofocus much, so I'm not going to send this copy back.    While waiting to get this second copy, I had actually contemplated keeping this one even if the viewfinder AF was iffy, as long as the manual focus images were sharp edge to edge.  I've got the Zeiss 50 f/2.0, which I've learned to manually focus with no problems, so figured if the Photozone numbers were right and this lens is as sharp as the Zeiss 21 f2.8, then I'd have an equivalent sharpness manual focus lens for about 1/3rd the price and a wider range of focal lengths to chose from.  Turns out I don't need to use it just as manual focus - so even more bang for the buck!   I realize this lens isn't built like the Zeiss or may not have the magical qualities of the good Zeiss lenses, but based on the pictures I took today, I'm pretty satisfied with the Tokina.

 At 24 mm the Tokina wipes the floor with my Canon 24-105, which was my original motivation to get the lens, as the 24-105 leaves a lot to be desired at it's widest end.  My copy of that lens seems to have it's peak performance around 35 to 40 mm, and goes downhill above and below that.   

Next weekend I plan on borrowing my wife's EF-S 10-22 and will run some comparisons with it and the Tokina at the equivalent focal lengths on my t2i. 

I have this lens also, and have no problems on both my t2i and 5DM3 with viewfinder autofocus - it's right on, with no AFMA needed.  It is a little noisy focusing compared to my other lenses, but the image quality is outstanding - probably the sharpest lens I own.   It does, however, have problems with LiveView autofocus for some reason on the 5DM3, but not on the t2i.   I have the same issue with my Sigma 150 macro - great image quality, no problems with viewfinder AF, but hunts and sometimes misses with Liveview AF. 

Lenses / New Tokina AF 16-28 F/2.8 AT-X Pro SD FX - Focus Pocus
« on: February 09, 2013, 11:10:50 PM »
I finally decided which UWA lens to get for my 5DM3 and took delivery yesterday of the Tokina 16-28.  I made that decision based on the large number of positive reviews I'd read.  I especially wanted it for its sharpness edge to edge, as I'm not getting that with my current widest lens, the 24-105 kit lens.  The Tokina is a nice solid, heavy lens that appears to be well made.  I took it out to my normal lens testing spot this morning, on a tripod, cable release, etc running a large number of shots at multiple apertures, focal lengths etc.

 My problem is two-fold, which are probably related.   In Live-View mode the lens just won't ever come to a focus - occasionally it appears to lock-on, but I can tell looking at the screen that it didn't lock on in-focus.  It was a bright sunny day, so it isn't a lack of light issue.   I don't use Live-View focusing that often, but wanted to compare the focus with the standard viewfinder focus, to see if any AFMA was going to be necessary.   Since I couldn't get Live-View focus to work, I did the next best thing, which was to use the Live-View mode, go to 10X magnification and manually focus.  The Tokina has a unique method of switching the lens from AF to MF - you slide a ring on the lens.    What I found has me stumped.  I was focusing on a rock outcrop probably 50 or more yards away in the center of the shot.  Both the manual and autofocus were in pretty good agreement in the center of the image, although the widest-aperture shots, 2.8 and 4.0, were better in manual focus, suggesting some minor AFMA is going necessary.  The problem is with the sides of the image.  Regardless of focal length, or aperture, the left side of the image would be blurry using manual focus, and the right side would be sharp,  the AF images were just reversed, ie the left would be sharp and the right would be blurry.   It isn't a depth of field issue (at 16mm most everything at f8.0 should be in focus), and the out of focus sides are both near and far objects in both cases.    I had my old trusty t2i along with me so did the same set of tests with it.  Same problem in that it would never focus itself using Live-View.  Again comparing Live View zoomed manual focus vs viewfinder focus, one side is sharp and one fuzzy, with the sides flip-flopping depending on focus method.   It's almost as if there is a out of alignment element that gets moved out of alignment the opposite direction when shifting from MF to AF.     

Has anyone who owns this lens seen this sort of problem?    I'm pretty sure I'm going to send this back and see if I just got a bad copy, unless someone here has a suggestion in the next day or two. 

Lenses / Re: Have you one of the new 24-70 f4 canon lenses, Is it good
« on: February 04, 2013, 07:53:51 PM »
I had high hopes for this lens, as I'm not 100% in love with my 24-105.    I read with disappointment  Roger at LenRentals confirmation of the very poor image quality at 50mm, and just now read the new detailed review at SLR  Gear, which pretty much put the nail in the coffin for me.   Even at the other focal lengths, the full frame blur plots don't have the edge sharpness I would expect in a brand new state of the art,  high dollar "L" lens.   The other big concern is the lens they did the analysis on was the best of three they tested, the other two were far worse.

Key takeaway from their review   "the lens' performance at 50mm stands out as unacceptable, especially when you consider the lower-priced option here still costs $1,500."

Lenses / Re: 70-200f4 LIS USM 70-300 L IS USM
« on: January 29, 2013, 07:50:21 PM »
I (or should say we) have both, as I bought my wife the 70-200 f4.0 IS this past Christmas.   She's let me play with it long enough to run a series of image quality comparisons with my 70-300L.  I tried it both on her crop sensor 60D, and my 5D Mk3.    At the short end of the focal length range, if anything the 70-300L was maybe just a tiny bit sharper than the 70-200, but both are really outstanding.  At the long end the 70-200 was a little bit sharper, and amazingly when I put my Kenko 1.4X on the 70-200, comparing it at 280 vs the 70-300 @ 280, the 70-200 was actually a little sharper in the center, but the 70-300 was better at the edges, but the 70-200 is still acceptable.   If you are doing wildlife, etc where have super sharp edges doesn't matter, and 280mm is enough range,  the 70-200 + a 1.4XTC is a great choice.  I got it for my wife because she likes to hike around and always commented on how heavy the 70-300L is, despite being short and stubby.  The 70-200 4.0 IS weighs 1.67lbs vs 2.31lbs for the 70-300L.   With her 1.6X crop sensor body the upper end with the 70-200 gives her slightly more native range (320mm effective) than I have with my full frame at 300, so she doesn't feel she is getting shortchanged when we go out shooting together, like she used to when she maxed out at 135mm with the 18-135 kit lens that came with the 60D. 

Lenses / Re: Just bought a new Canon EF 70-300L IS USM lens.
« on: January 13, 2013, 09:16:26 PM »
I had posted a shot showing the excellent resolution of the 70-300L, with the Kenko 1.4X teleconverter several months ago.

My series of shots, ending up a 100% crop of a shot at 420mm are on the third page of that thread - think the link above should take you to that page.

That thread was started talking about the problems with the Kenko and some lenses on the 5DMkIII - turns out the problem is solved by turning AFMA off.    The 70-300L was one of the lenses I didn't have a problem with

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Is it hard not to buy 3rd party lenses now?
« on: December 22, 2012, 07:20:16 PM »
Three of the seven full-frame compatible lenses I own are non-Canon.  Those three, together with my EF-100 2.8L, are the sharpest lenses I have.  I own the Sigma 70 f2.8 macro and the Sigma 150 f2.8 macro (non IS), as well as the Zeiss 50 2.0 Makro-Planar.  The optics on all three of these non-Canon lenses are superb, with the Sigma 70 probably being the sharpest of the bunch.  I suspect I am happy with these more than I might be with other third party lenses because the don't have 1) IS, or 2) zoom mechanisms.   The simpler mechanical design probably leads to much lower quality control issues than with the more complicated zooms with IS.    Since upgrading to the 5d3 last spring, the only full frame compatible lens I have under 50 mm is the kit 24-105, which is passable, but not in the same IQ league as the fixed focal length lenses.  I have been toying with buying the Zeiss 35 1.4, but after reading the reviews on the new Sigma 35, think I see it in my future.

Lenses / Re: Selling 70-300 IS - Suggest Replacement?
« on: December 20, 2012, 09:47:22 PM »
I have both the older EF 70-300IS and the more recent 70-300 "L".   I was not satisfied with the long end (200 to 300mm)  of the earlier lens, had several wildlife shooting episodes that I didn't like the final product, just not sharp.   I bought the "L" version soon after it came out - the difference is like night and day.  Incredibly sharp at all focal lengths, both on my t2i and my 5D3.  The old one has been gathering dust ever since - suppose I ought to get around to selling it.
I do mostly outdoor photography, but even in mediocre light, the IS on the L version is extremely good, and with the better high ISO performance of the 5D3, I haven't had too many instances where I was wishing for a 2.8 lens. If you are going to be doing a lot of indoor shooting, maybe a faster lens would suit you better, but I know you won't be sorry if you get as good a copy of the 70-300 "L" as I have.

Contests / Re: Gura Gear Giveaway!
« on: December 06, 2012, 07:40:25 PM »
I really would like to win - I've been researching purchasing a nice camera backpack, and had the Gura Bataflae's on my short list.  I guess I'll hold off pulling the trigger on a purchase just in case the stars are aligned properly on Dec. 15th and I am the lucky one selected. 

Lenses / Re: Canon 70-300L IS + Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter
« on: December 01, 2012, 11:09:03 AM »
I posted some images showing the quality achieved using this combination several months ago on a previous thread.

My pictures are on the middle of page 3 of the thread

Lenses / Re: IQ of 24-105 and 700-300 lenses
« on: October 21, 2012, 09:58:17 PM »
I own both the 24-105 and the 70-300L.   When I initially received the 24-105, as the kit lens with my 5DMkIII, I was fairly disappointed with it's performance at the 70mm and higher end of the range.  I took a series of comparison shots and compared to the 70-300L, it was definitely not as sharp on the margins when viewed at 100%.    I have since done AFMA (needed +6 at the tele end, and 0 at the wide end).  This has improved it vs the original images I took, but it is still not as sharp at the 70-300L when pixel peeping at 100%.  When viewed at 50%, however, which is closer to the size you might magnify for a large print, there is much less obvious difference between the lenses.   In the center portion of the image I find it difficult to tell them apart, so for most of my applications I find it to be acceptable.   Take a look at the Photozone  reviews of the two lenses - at 70mm their resolution graphs pretty much match what I have observed,  the 70-300L is sharper.

I seem to be unable to get the HDR function available with the latest version of DPP (3.11.31) to work with RAW images taken with non-Canon lenses.  Taking a three shot HDR sequence with my 5D MkIII does generate an in-camera HDR jpg (regardless of lens) , but when I select the three bracketed RAW images within DPP to use it's HDR module, it doesn't seem to work with images shot with my Zeiss or Sigma lenses, but does with images from several different Canon lenses.   It starts to process the first image, ie progress bar pops up, but after a few seconds of "processing image 1/3"  the progress bar goes away and nothing happens.  I'm not 100% sure this is related to non-Canon lenses, but it did happen today when I had used two lenses during a morning shoot - one Canon  and one Zeiss - the Canon images  works, the Zeiss images don't.   Even though the DPP HDR function is fairly rudimentary,  I have been able to get quite a bit of improvement compared to the in-camera HDR results, but have been frustrated several times with this behavior.   Has anyone else used the HDR function within DPP and had this issue?

Animal Kingdom / Re: Birds with attitude
« on: May 13, 2012, 03:01:59 PM »
T2i  EF 70-300L @ 300 f5.6 1/100 ISO 400  cropped a bunch

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