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Messages - vlad

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Lighting / Re: New model Phottix Odin announced
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:41:03 PM »
I'm stoked for this release!  I have 2 Mitros+ strobes and the Odin TCU, and it's a great setup.  I love that I can easily throw my AlienBee in the mix with a cheap Strato receiver.

Looks like they are addressing the two major issues with the original unit - allowing for quick selection of groups, and adding AF assist.

Lighting / Re: Speedlites - How many are enough?
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:36:33 PM »
A question to all you shooting with multiple speedlites.  What is some good gear for getting two (or more?) into a softbox?  Any specific softbox/mount/setup recommendations?

Lighting / Re: First Flash
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:23:48 PM »
My vote is for the Phottix Mitros+
Does pretty much everything Canon can, except zooming past 105mm and I think not as powerful.
Costs $100 less.
When you're ready to take it off-camera, you can do it with their triggers, and easily add in studio lights, etc.

Of course none of this future gear acquisition will happen until you and your wife are on the same page.  Hopefully you guys can come to some agreement about responsible budgeting to pay for your hobbies.

Software & Accessories / Re: Comfortable strap?
« on: January 23, 2014, 05:28:14 PM »
Has anyone experiences with this?

Looks like what I was looking for. I'm only mildly concerned about the solidity of those joints.

Looks interesting. It's a wide foam part of the strap is a winner but I agree with you those joints looks scary.
From experience, one of the reasons why I went with the Crumpler is because it's a continuous 1 piece that gets  narrower. I've seen a camera strap that has failed/break at these joints/stitched points.

It's great your putting a lot of thought into it.

I have the Split Strap and love it.  I've had people laugh at the plastic components, but I've never had any issue with them, and I push my gear hard.  I like to shoot rock climbing, and I feel comfortable letting my DSLR dangle from this strap when I'm 100 feet off the ground.  Another great feature that someone mentioned is being able to wear the strap under a jacket, and then when getting into a car or whatever, just unclipping the camera from it.

For anyone wanting to get it though, they just completed their Kickstarter for an updated strap that allows on the fly length adjustment, which to me would be a killer feature, so I would wait for that.

What didn't you like, specifically? I'm actually having even more fun with this lens on the MkIII than on the MkII although it's harder to check critical sharpness on the Mk III at wide apertures (my Mk II has a precision matte focusing screen). On the Mk II I use manual override to tweak the sharpness at wide apertures, on the Mk III I've set AFMA +8 for this lens.

FYI, I got a matte focusing screen for my MKIII from this site and it works great:

Thanks for the link! I've bookmarked it for reference if I decide to go that direction. How does your 5D Mk III meter with this screen?

I haven't noticed any metering abnormalities.  I usually shoot in Av with evaluative metering and occasionally bump to +1/3 EV to expose to the right, which is pretty much what I was doing before on a 5Dc with Canon's matte EE-S screen.

And lest anyone consider this off-topic, in my opinion, an upgraded focusing screen is pretty much a requirement if you plan on doing manual focusing with the fast 50's being discussed :)

What didn't you like, specifically? I'm actually having even more fun with this lens on the MkIII than on the MkII although it's harder to check critical sharpness on the Mk III at wide apertures (my Mk II has a precision matte focusing screen). On the Mk II I use manual override to tweak the sharpness at wide apertures, on the Mk III I've set AFMA +8 for this lens.

FYI, I got a matte focusing screen for my MKIII from this site and it works great:

Lighting / Re: 600EX-RT + ST-E3-RT remote zoom setting?
« on: November 25, 2013, 07:55:47 PM »
I don't think anybody mentioned them, but the new Odin Mitros+ flashes have remote zoom and 2nd curtain control, if that's what you are really after.

Lighting / Re: Phottix Mitros+ Flash first impressions
« on: November 25, 2013, 07:51:31 PM »
First real-world experience was without issue.  Still developing the muscle memory to quickly adjust mode and power remotely, but overall the system is simple and solid.

Lighting / Phottix Mitros+ Flash first impressions
« on: November 21, 2013, 04:52:33 PM »
Yesterday I received 2 Phottix Mitros+ flashes direct from Phottix in Hong Kong.  I couldn't find much first-hand info on them before buying, so I was hesitant to take a chance, but in case somebody else is contemplating them or finding this thread through a search, let me report - these are the real deal.

I'm coming from a 580 II + PocketWizard Flex + AC3 setup.  The setup has worked fine, but I would get so annoyed with carrying around the PW's, spare batteries for them, etc.  The idea of having it all be built-in was just too tempting.  Why didn't I just go for the 600EX? Well, the great thing about the PW setup is that it also let me trigger manual flashes or studio lights.  In the case of my AlienBee, the PW AC9 even allowed remote power adjustment from the camera using the AC3.  I wanted to keep this flexibility, and the Phottix system is compatible with their other, cheaper triggers.

I haven't done any extensive shooting yet, but I did test the following:
2 Mitros+ flashes
Odin transmitter
Strato II receiver

In a word - everything works as intended.  I was able to get things up and running in a few minutes without using the manual.  After a few initial stumbles (likely caused by not reading the manual), everything got set up and fired every time.  I had the Strato II on an old manual Sunpak flash, using either a Mitros+ or the Odin as a transmitter, etc.  Everything just worked.

The build quality is good, there are cables, accessories, carrying pouch, foot, and even a little clip-on diffuser.  Everything feels solid.  Definitely not ebay-grade Chinese knockoff territory.

I'm a little disappointed that there isn't a dome type diffuser that's compatible with these, at least not on the Phottix site.  The provided clip-on one does a tiny bit of diffusion for direct flash, but it doesn't make the light go everywhere like the dome type.  In any case, since Phottix sells dome diffusers for Canon/Nikon flashes, I expect they will eventually make one for their own.  Also they have this thing:

Overall, I'm pretty excited to get rid of all the PW's.  I plan to use these at a party this Saturday, so I can report back with real-world findings.

Better than PocketWizards: No separate units to mess with
Worse than PocketWizards: No remote power adjustment for AlienBees.  Power tweaking with the PW AC3 is quicker and more intuitive than any LCD.

Better than Canon: cheaper, provides remote second curtain, can trigger studio/manual strobes using cheap compatible triggers.

Third Party Lenses (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) / Re: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
« on: November 15, 2013, 12:29:02 AM »
Love this lens.  Focus isn't ultra fast, but works fine for most scenarios.  Quality at 1.4 is quite good.  Bokeh is lovely.  I haven't used the Canon 50 1.4 and really don't have much curiosity about it :)

Software & Accessories / ProDot Shutter Button Upgrade
« on: November 14, 2013, 06:02:31 PM »
Anybody ever used this?

For the record, I supported their kickstarter for the C-Loop, and i use their glide strap.  I love both and will likely get the new strap (

The dot seems like a gimmick though.  Is it?

Software & Accessories / Re: Bottleneck when opening images of CF card?
« on: November 05, 2013, 02:59:46 PM »
Here's my plan...
Install one SSD, install Window 7, maybe partition the drive into halves for dual booting, 128GB should be more than plenty for my non-gaming OS and programs. My current XP with about 70 programs lives on a 50GB partition that still has 1/3 free space.
Windows up and running, second half of the primary drive left un-formatted, Shut down, connect second drive, reboot.
Use Windows Disk Management to format (and partition if desired) the second physical drive, create a single folder in the root of that fresh E(?) drive, call that folder something clever like eMyDocuments.

In XP, I'm hoping Win 7 is similar, right click on the "My Documents" folder on the desktop, select >Properties.
In the Properties tab is a window where you can specify "My Documents" target location, type e:\eMyDocuments or simple select the browse tab. Windows should ask if you want to move/copy/migrate/whatever the contents of the current My Documents, choose YES!! My Photos, My Music and all those will move right over along with each folder's special properties.

Windows has now "symbolically linked" or "mapped" your "My Documents" to your second SSD, since the default save location for most programs is My Documents, those programs will now automatically save to you second drive.
The idea here is for the OS and programs to be on one physical drive, data on another, each can be backed up separately.

A word of warning.  I built my current Win7 system such that the OS is on an SSD and the Users folder is on a 3TB Raid1 HDD.  I used audit mode to set it up (google audit mode user profile for more info).  The system works fine, but it won't allow an upgrade to Win8.  It's just not a supported configuration.  Which is a bummer, because I actually quite like Win8, and would love to upgrade this machine instead of having to reinstall.

If you are building a new Win7 or Win8 system and want good separation of your OS and data, just use the Libraries feature.  You can create your documents folder on your external HD, or Raid1, or whatever, right click it, Include in Library, and you're set.

Software & Accessories / Re: Bottleneck when opening images of CF card?
« on: November 04, 2013, 05:37:08 PM »
What do you mean by "opening" 200 RAWs at once?  Do you mean importing them to your hard drive, or actually opening that many in Photoshop at once (seems extremely unlikely)?

To import them faster, using a fast card and a fast (usb 3) card reader is your best bet.  Amount of RAM won't make a noticeable difference, although with RAM it's always good to have enough to not worry about it.

SSDs versus HDDs for faster photo editing?  I have experimented with keeping photos on an SSD, or keeping just my Lightroom catalog and previews on an SSD, and in my workflow (mostly Lightroom with a bit of Photoshop), I have not seen any performance boosts that would warrant major investment into SSD.  The bottleneck with importing or exporting is usually with Lightroom itself: the disk and the CPU don't even come close to 100% utilization for these time-intensive tasks.

Also, I would strongly recommend against raid0, unless you have a great and reliable backup system that you can't wait to try out. 

I'm currently selling my 580 II's and PW Flex/Minis, and looking forward to buying Mitros+ to simplify things.  Fewer things to carry, batteries to change, etc.  If the new system works well, the only thing I will/might miss is using the PW AC3+AC9 to control power output of both speedlites and my alienbee remotely.

EOS Bodies / Re: 12 Step Program for Focusing
« on: August 30, 2013, 01:05:19 PM »
Have you definitively isolated the issue to be one of focus?  I mean, in the OOF shots, is there some part of it that's in good focus, just not the part you want?  There are many factors to sharpness...

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