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Messages - brad-man

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76
Software & Accessories / Re: The best tripod ...
« on: April 28, 2014, 06:21:45 PM »
Their geared heads are very nice, though.  Ball heads less so, with the exception of the 468MG (ideally with a Wimberley, RRS or Kirk clamp mounted on it).
If I had to do it over again, I would have kept the 468MG and put a RRS lever release clamp on it.  The RRS BH-55 ballhead is nice, but in many ways I regret selling it as the Manfrotto holds just as well if not better and doesn't have the unwelcome quirks like the dual slots in (for me) a really poor spot.  The RRS head isn't as smooth as the Manfrotto, either.  I guess I was expecting more given the price, but it's really not any better than the Manfrotto and I feel that the RRS head is quite overpriced for what you get.  You pay an awful lot for the pretty CNC machining.  On the other hand, I don't miss getting the hook-shaped-handle snagged on everything about 20x during each shoot.

I couldn't agree more about the RRS heads. I would suggest you give a Markins Q10 or Q20 a test drive. They are rock solid and buttery smooth. The only downside is a relatively weak panning lock. It only bothers me for macro shooting, which is why I have a RRS BH-40 on my macro rig.

77
Software & Accessories / Re: 3 Legged Thing Tripod - Opinions?
« on: April 27, 2014, 01:55:42 PM »
Hi all,

I've been looking into getting a Carbon Fibre Tripod.

My budget is around $550 AUD and I was looking at 3 Legged Thing Tripods at a camera store today.
Has anyone got an opinion on this brand? In particular I was looking into the Eddie version over the Brian.
I like the Eddie as its only a 4 section tripod over the Brian's 5 section. What does everyone think?

My other option was the Manfrotto new 190 carbon series (MT190CXPRO3) . Although it much heavier and pricier with a cheapish ball head.

Thanks all!!


If the $550 is for the legs only, I would recommend the Sirui M3204X over anything that 3 Legged Thing or Manfrotto makes. If that figure is for the legs and the head, I would still recommend the Sirui. Then pick up a Sirui or Benro ballhead for around a $100 until finances allow for an upgrade. Like speakers in a stereo system, the legs are more important than the ballhead.

 
I have two Benro Ball heads, the ones I have are crap.  Do you like yours?  Mine can be had cheaply, but be warned, they need a wrench to lock them tight enough to keep from slipping with any moderately large lens like a 70-200mm f/4.
 
 
I also bought two $400 sets of Benro carbon fiber legs, and recently found when I called the US distributor that Benro does not support them and never has.  No parts are available anywhere, not even in China!
 
 
I find that the head is more important than the legs, you can get sturdy legs for $400, but I've been bitten by junk heads, even a Manfrotto ball head for $300 is junk.
 
I've never owned a Sirui, but not all photographers have liked them
 
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1135620
 
The issue with Chinese tripods are:
 
1. Parts availability.  When the US distributor can't get parts, pass it by.
 
2. Quality Control.  They may have copied a good design from someone else, but poor manufacturing tolerances and process control can mean quality is hit and miss.
 
3.  Materials.  I've seen cheap materials in products I import from China, they are always cutting corners, and poor quality material can fail prematurely even if the manufacturing tolerances are perfect.
 
Chinese products are getting better each year, but ... Its still hit and miss, which is why parts availability is critical.


I have a Benro B-2 that, after the initial cheap-head sag effect, locks up very solid. I also have a diminutive B-0 II head from my first travel rig that is quite stout for its size. They aren't the sexiest heads on the block, but I've never had a problem with them. The parts availability may or may not be an issue. I don't know as I've never had a part break on any pod I've owned that cost more than $65. I have bought a great deal of equipment from China and have found the over all quality to be at least adequate and frequently very good.

78
Software & Accessories / Re: 3 Legged Thing Tripod - Opinions?
« on: April 27, 2014, 11:36:15 AM »
Hi all,

I've been looking into getting a Carbon Fibre Tripod.

My budget is around $550 AUD and I was looking at 3 Legged Thing Tripods at a camera store today.
Has anyone got an opinion on this brand? In particular I was looking into the Eddie version over the Brian.
I like the Eddie as its only a 4 section tripod over the Brian's 5 section. What does everyone think?

My other option was the Manfrotto new 190 carbon series (MT190CXPRO3) . Although it much heavier and pricier with a cheapish ball head.

Thanks all!!

If the $550 is for the legs only, I would recommend the Sirui M3204X over anything that 3 Legged Thing or Manfrotto makes. If that figure is for the legs and the head, I would still recommend the Sirui. Then pick up a Sirui or Benro ballhead for around a $100 until finances allow for an upgrade. Like speakers in a stereo system, the legs are more important than the ballhead.

79
Software & Accessories / Re: The best tripod ...
« on: April 27, 2014, 11:29:49 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm looking to take my photography hobby to the next level, so to speak  :D, so I'm thinking of buying me a tripod and a tripod head. I've done some research online, but I think I'm more confused now, than when I started thinking about tripods and heads.  ;D (I guess, that happens a lot). From my understanding, Manfrotto and Induro seem to be the best tripod brands, so I'm looking to get the above mentioned gear from either of these two. I'm more inclined, however, towards Induro products.

In so many words, what do you guys make of this?

A newer tripod manufacturer is Sirui, a chinese company which seems to make good stuff at moderate prices.

Now I use
  - a 25 year old Manfrotto 190 with screw locking for the legs (very time consuming!) but with some patina :)
  - a MG468RC4 ball head (great stability, locking the ball doesn't move the camera - never had that before)

I am interested in the Sirui M-320?X series (carbon fiber legs) - the ? stands for 3, 4 or 5 and means the number of leg sections. I prefer the 4-section version due to its good balance with transportation size and "medium converion time" from transport to usage.

Has anyone experience with one of these Sirui tripods from the Master series (M-320?X)? How does it compare to Gitzo and RRS?

Thanks in advance - Michael

I have the Sirui M3204X and it is the finest "general purpose" tripod for under $950 that I know of. I also have a very big Gitzo (GT3542XLS), a specialty medium sized Gitzo (GT2541EX) and a little Gitzo (GT1542T). The Sirui gets used the most due to it's ratio of stability/height/collapsed size. Of course it is not nearly as refined or well built as the Gitzos, but it is plenty good enough and costs less than $500. I'm 6'-2" and finding a tripod that is tall enough, without the center column being raised, so that I don't have to bend over while shooting is no easy task. I highly recommend this pod.

80
Well, the days of Canon/Nikon taking their own sweet time to update lenses is likely drawing to a close. They could get away with that before, since there was no real competition. Sigma and Tamron have not been taken too seriously by most enthusiasts/professionals for their inconsistencies in build quality, autofocus or whatever. This information would filter down to the average consumer, causing them to stick with OEM products unless budget restraints were critical. If this current rise in quality is sustained and not just a momentary aberration, this too will become well known and no company will be able to rest on their laurels. This is of coarse good for all consumers. The fact that Sigma is not just meeting, but improving over the OEM brands for significantly less money is amazing. For now, it is just in their high end models. I wonder if Sigma will be able to compete in the lower end of the market as well. That will really make Nikon and Canon take notice.

To steal a line from a previously mentioned "restaurant", I'm lovin' it!

I think you fundamentally don't get Canon's position. They are a multi billion dollar international corporation and are not overly interested in selling tens of thousands of lenses, they are into selling millions of cameras. Now the P&S cash cow is drying up they are repositioning into the C line, which is probably the only thing keeping any R&D going for us high end body stills shooters, and surveillance cameras hence the ultra low light sensor video R&D etc. They don't see Sigma or Tamron as competition because they aren't, they are comparatively small companies that sell limited quantities of niche products that you need a Canon (or Nikon) product to use, just like ThinkTank, or Adobe.

I think, fundamentally, that Canon's position is to turn a profit. The fact that Canon Inc is a more diversified company that doesn't derive all it's income from cameras and lenses is irrelevant. While I will certainly agree that it's unlikely that the board of directors are sweating bullets and pulling all-nighters over the rise of Sigma and Tamron, I can assure you that they, or at least their subordinates, look at market share in all divisions with great interest. My point was that if Tamron and Sigma, which most certainly are competitors to Canon, continue to develop high quality lenses at much more reasonable prices, then their market share will certainly increase as word gets out. So far, Sigma is only seriously competing at the higher end of the market and so it could be argued that they are in more direct competition with Zeiss (doesn't that sound funny?) than with Canon. But as Sigma's reputation improves, then its products will become more than just niche lenses and lower cost alternatives for the financially impaired.
Next week we shall discuss sensor development (and profits there from) vis a vie Canon vs Sony :)

81
Well, the days of Canon/Nikon taking their own sweet time to update lenses is likely drawing to a close. They could get away with that before, since there was no real competition. Sigma and Tamron have not been taken too seriously by most enthusiasts/professionals for their inconsistencies in build quality, autofocus or whatever. This information would filter down to the average consumer, causing them to stick with OEM products unless budget restraints were critical. If this current rise in quality is sustained and not just a momentary aberration, this too will become well known and no company will be able to rest on their laurels. This is of coarse good for all consumers. The fact that Sigma is not just meeting, but improving over the OEM brands for significantly less money is amazing. For now, it is just in their high end models. I wonder if Sigma will be able to compete in the lower end of the market as well. That will really make Nikon and Canon take notice.

To steal a line from a previously mentioned "restaurant", I'm lovin' it!

82
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 23, 2014, 07:33:28 PM »
I think this AF scare is a bit premature. Bryan tested one lens, as has oft been the claim against Klaus tests in photozone.de... Let*s wait until Lens Rentals do their testing on multiple copies.

Btw, FWIW I have never had any AF issues on the 35 A, and besides a small flare issue I absolutely love that lens.

Edit:

Distant.star I did not see your post before I posted mine, but as you see I agree.

Btw: I love that song

+1

There's a man with a lens over there
Telling me, I got to beware

Sigma fans speaking their mind
Getting so much resistance from behind...

83
Yup. Too bad it won't auto focus good enough to hit the broad side of a galaxy ;D

Must wait for the 85...


     

84
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 22, 2014, 08:29:52 PM »
I'll wait for Canon to release an awesome and cheap 50mm 1.8 IS lens. I have a hard time dropping money on a 50mm lens for some odd reason.

Cheap?


85
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 22, 2014, 04:54:50 PM »
Just waiting for the apologists to scold those of us who like reliable AF, or tell us we aren't true photographers.

A whole bunch of photographers paid a whole bunch more money for a 5D3 than for a 6D precisely because they wanted better AF.  Unless this latest review is an aberration, or Sigma addresses AF problems without forcing us to buy a USB lens tweaker thingy, I can live with my ef 50mm 1.4 for now.

Btw, have the 35 A, and have had only one fairly dim-light AF struggling event, one that couldn't be reproduced.  Like it came and went.

All that said, I'm surprised nobody has been discussing how odd it seems that AI Servo was apparently ok, but One Shot on a tripod wasn't...Any conjecture?
No scolding, but it's likely because Canon doesn't license their AF algorithms and Sigma (and the others) have to reverse-engineer them.  Also, there are 2 other reviews (Phoblograper & LensTip) that have mentioned this same issue and given that one in in Poland, that has to be from at least 2 different lenses.  As to why this would be different than the 35 Art, I'm not sure.  There is a little less DOF, but beyond that. they should be very similar.

This is what I find curious about Brian's results. I have the 35, and although it (or I) occasionally misses focus, it is nowhere near 40%. I have not done formal testing, but I would place the number of AF misses around 5-8% under normal shooting conditions (whatever they are).

86
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: How to Annoy a Photography Snob
« on: April 18, 2014, 05:52:23 PM »
At the risk of being flamed, I feel that the many photographers around here that proclaim IS to be of no use on lenses wider than 85mm are being snobs. It's as if they are saying, "My technique is such that I would derive no benefit from it and if you feel the need for it, well you just suck."  OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

I used to think the same way as you- the pros who suggest IS isn't important at wider FLs are snobs.
But let's dig deeper- there is SOME truth to it, as I have realized with time. Not all true, mind, because I still think IS is important.
However, I think IS gives a false sense of confidence to inexperienced photographers. They feel they can shoot a photo at 1/17 just because they are shooting with a 35mm lens with IS. But they don't understand the limitation of shutter speed vs subject movement.
Pros point at the fact that you realistically cannot shoot lower than 1/n (put your favorite number here) unless you want motion blur or you are shooting still life.
Now, for longer focal lengths, n is a larger number:
Consequently 1/n is higher, and 1/n divided by factor of image stabilization still remains high. So motion blur is avoided.

Now, less knowledgeable people have taken this maxim, misunderstood it, and propagated it at face value- that IS is unimportant. I think it is just a misrepresentation and generalization of otherwise sound logic.
or to summarize... "I have IS turned on, so why are the wings of the hummingbird blurred?"

To me, IS is a tool. Sometimes it is needed, sometimes it is not. The trick is knowing where and when.

I agree to the extent that IS is frequently not needed at these FLs, and that it certainly is not a cure-all for poor technique. However, I have made quite a few shots where IS has undoubtedly helped, and have never had a shot ruined by it. I leave it on always, needed or not.
I leave it on most of the time too.. But through trial and error I found that you really do need to turn it off when on a tripod and if you are resting the camera on a good solid surface or you will get IS induced blurring of the image. I think the best example of IS induced blurring is trying to get a picture of the ISS overhead... You have a tiny bright dot surrounded by darkness and there is nothing for the IS to lock on to, so it jumps around and the IS makes the picture worse...

Point taken. Since I was relating IS to 85mm and wider, I was referring to hand held shooting. Though the majority of my subjects are closer than 250 miles, I shall keep your good tip in mind ;)

87
Why does everyone seem to think they're going to make a 135mm f/1.8?  And why does everyone think it's going to be a f/1.8 instead of f2?

Just cause there have been rumors about one in the past. Plus, with the fact that Sigma is the only company with a f/1.8  zoom in the market it would seem appropriate. But f/1.8 or f/2, I doesn't really matter that much to me; marginal difference to the final photo. I think a f2 OS is more likely all things considered. And $950 would be perfect for the sub-$1k theme Sigma might be starting.

Works for me. As much as I'd love a fantastic 24, I would use an 85 and probably even a 135 more often. OS would definitely be more desired than the difference between 1.8 and 2.0. I am more than satisfied with my Tamron SP24-70, but of coarse if Siggy really wants to give me GAS, they seem to have the wherewithal to do so.

88
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: How to Annoy a Photography Snob
« on: April 17, 2014, 08:14:11 PM »
At the risk of being flamed, I feel that the many photographers around here that proclaim IS to be of no use on lenses wider than 85mm are being snobs. It's as if they are saying, "My technique is such that I would derive no benefit from it and if you feel the need for it, well you just suck."  OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

I used to think the same way as you- the pros who suggest IS isn't important at wider FLs are snobs.
But let's dig deeper- there is SOME truth to it, as I have realized with time. Not all true, mind, because I still think IS is important.
However, I think IS gives a false sense of confidence to inexperienced photographers. They feel they can shoot a photo at 1/17 just because they are shooting with a 35mm lens with IS. But they don't understand the limitation of shutter speed vs subject movement.
Pros point at the fact that you realistically cannot shoot lower than 1/n (put your favorite number here) unless you want motion blur or you are shooting still life.
Now, for longer focal lengths, n is a larger number:
Consequently 1/n is higher, and 1/n divided by factor of image stabilization still remains high. So motion blur is avoided.

Now, less knowledgeable people have taken this maxim, misunderstood it, and propagated it at face value- that IS is unimportant. I think it is just a misrepresentation and generalization of otherwise sound logic.
or to summarize... "I have IS turned on, so why are the wings of the hummingbird blurred?"

To me, IS is a tool. Sometimes it is needed, sometimes it is not. The trick is knowing where and when.

I agree to the extent that IS is frequently not needed at these FLs, and that it certainly is not a cure-all for poor technique. However, I have made quite a few shots where IS has undoubtedly helped, and have never had a shot ruined by it. I leave it on always, needed or not.

89
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: How to Annoy a Photography Snob
« on: April 17, 2014, 07:01:33 PM »
At the risk of being flamed, I feel that the many photographers around here that proclaim IS to be of no use on lenses wider than 85mm are being snobs. It's as if they are saying, "My technique is such that I would derive no benefit from it and if you feel the need for it, well you just suck."  OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.

90
Well, there's around a 13 month separation between the game-changing release of the 35A and the equally game-changing release of the 50A (relevancy?). So which lens is slated for next year? I'm hoping for the 85, though I suspect it will be a 24. 135 f/2 anyone?

Who would have thought just a few short years ago, that Sigma would become the preeminent AF lens manufacturer? Certainly not me...

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