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Lighting / Re: Portrait Lighting - Newbie
« on: July 27, 2012, 12:31:57 PM »
Lessons I've learned playing with lighting setups (and still trying to learn):

You can do a lot worse than beginning with a single umbrella and stand. Soft, pleasing light.

You will need some way to fire your 580EXII off-camera. You can go with a full-fledged radio control system, an ST-E2 or a Chinese knock-off of the ST-E2 from eBay for about half the cost. I went for the knock-off, but I have a 7D so I can use it's on-camera infrared controller as a back-up. (Why did I buy the knock-off, when the 7D has a built-in controller?  Because the 7D relies on the on-camera flash which overheats after a 10 shots and then you are screwed until it cools off.) Since I don't do this for a living and don't have anything but personal pride at risk if there are problems, I haven't had the need to invest in a radio-controlled system. I've never had a problem with the infrared working, even in bright daylight.

Buy the Manfrotto/Bogen swivel umbrella adaptors. They cost twice as much as the $15-$17 plastic ones, but they are all metal and will actually hold your umbrella or softbox in place. http://www.adorama.com/BG2905.html Read the Strobist column on how to use these, so you don't put them on upside down (easier than you think).

Buy some of these http://www.adorama.com/BG2932.html They are plastic. Maybe I am paranoid but I don't like to put my strobes on metal shoes. Afraid of a short.

Shop eBay for additional lighting goodies like softboxes. Many people buy these for a specific project and then don't need them anymore and sell them. I got a couple of very nice Photoflex softboxes that way.

Read the Strobist columns and also sign up for the Photoflex enewsletter, which is actually a monthly lesson in lighting.

The choice between added 580EXIIs and 430 EXIIs comes down to whether or not you need the extra boost of the battery packs (which are only available for the 580EXIIs). I ended up buying battery packs because they speed up the recycle time and reduce the need to switch out batteries in the middle of shooting.

Don't bother trying to buy strobes off eBay, people pay ridiculous prices for used strobes, often more than what a refurbished model will go for. I don't get it. Better to buy refurbished either directly from Canon or watch for refurbs from B&H or Adorama.

The "Strobies" kits are kind of fun and when you have some extra cash, they are worth buying to got a bunch of stuff to experiment with.

I like plain backgrounds so I eventually bought one of these: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/303035-REG/Botero_C03757_037_Collapsible_Reversible_Background.html If you get one, practice folding it up at home, so you don't look like an idiot out in public. (Well, okay, I still look like an idiot, but it's really embarrassing when you can't get your backdrop folded back up and have to drag it back to your car and stuff the whole thing in your backseat)

Order a roll of gaffer's tape from Adorama or B&H when you are ordering something else. You will need it.

Consider getting one of these. http://www.adorama.com/BG175F.html They are way cool and can be a lifesaver.

Go to Lowes or Home Depot and pick up a bag of plastic clamps or you can get the same thing from B&H or Adorama for about three times the price.

I don't have any experience with the lighting equipment others have mentioned. Frankly, by the time you invest in some 580s and battery packs, you've spent as much as you would on some of these other options. But, most of the items I've mentioned here are things you will want or need regardless of your lighting setup.

As with most things photographic, you can drop hundreds or even thousands of dollars very easily. Or you can go the quick route, which is just to buy yourself a knife and open up a vein.

Canon General / Re: "Time for a Change at Canon?" -Barons
« on: July 26, 2012, 05:07:33 PM »
In fact it isn't even a case of the company earning less profit. It's a case of increasing profits by less than they had anticipated.

In the world of finance, growing by less than anticipated is still very bad.  Look at Apple - despite selling 28% more iPhones and 84% more iPads (year-over-year) and a 23% increase in revenue which beat Apple's own predictions, those gains still fell short of analysts' expectations of the most recent quarterly report, and their stock has dropped 6.4% over the past week.  That translates to a market cap loss of more than $35 billion dollars (which is nearly equal in size to the entire Canon, Inc. valuation!).

Yes, I understand that. But, there is a difference between under-performance due to management weaknesses and under-performance due to external market conditions. The Barron's columnist is trying to make the case that the current management is at fault, while other analysts are looking at Canon's numbers and viewing them as indicative of what is happening in the entire sector. They are basically saying: "if Canon is having problems, it is going to be worse for other companies in the same sector."

The Barron's columnist would replace the top executive at Canon because Americans and Europeans have screwed up their respective economies. That's a non-sequitur.

Canon General / Re: "Time for a Change at Canon?" -Barons
« on: July 26, 2012, 02:35:17 PM »
For those interested in what is actually happening, instead of just making drive-by comments, here a couple of stories that are much better than the Barron's report.



DSLR sales are strong but point and shoots are losing to cell phones (no surprise there). Canon is being hurt by the general contraction in office equipment sales that are also affecting their competitors in that segment. HP is a big customer and HP's sales are hurting as well. The Yen is strong, the dollar is weak and the Euro is a disaster. In short, in the midst of a worldwide business crisis, a company that relies heavily on selling equipment to businesses is suffering. Duh!

As a result of these market forces, Canon is expecting its profits to improve over last year by less than they originally predicted. As others have pointed out, this isn't a case of the company losing money. In fact it isn't even a case of the company earning less profit. It's a case of increasing profits by less than they had anticipated.

Clearly the Barron's columnist had an ax to grind. To suggest that a management change is needed at a company that is growing its profits in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis seems a bit over-the-top.

EOS Bodies / Re: New, cheaper, Canon FF DSLR... 70D?
« on: July 26, 2012, 10:39:56 AM »
I think everyone has this "upgrade path" thing wrong.

Obviously, for Canon the ideal upgrade path ends at a couple of 1Dx bodies. But they know that isn't going to happen for a majority of consumers.

Instead they are trying to offer multiple choices to take people as far up the path as possible. But, it's not necessarily a simple progression from Rebel to 60D to 7D to 5D to 1D. With a lower cost full frame, it's more likely to be from one DSLR body to two DSLR bodies. Two 7Ds, Two 5Ds, One 7D and one entry level full frame, One 5D and one 70 D...etc. etc.

Give the consumer as many choices as possible and convince people you have to have at least one each full frame and APS-C. That's the ideal "upgrade path" for Canon.

Lenses / Re: Advice before buying used 15-85 EF-S
« on: July 26, 2012, 10:13:57 AM »
I've had this lens for almost three years. It is my standard, walk around lens on a 7D. Robust build, very sharp. There is no real comparison between this lens and the cheap kit lenses. The extra 2-3mm at the wide angle are very significant. If it were a constant f 4 it would be the perfect lens, but even with the variable aperture, it's quite good.

Only question I have is the price. I'm not a big fan of used lenses, but that's just me. I'd rather pay a slight premium for the warranty and security. (Actually my preferred option is to buy from the Canon refurbished store, but that's probably not an option for you) For U.S. the price seems a bit high for a used lens, but it may be reasonable in your market.

Canon General / Re: "Time for a Change at Canon?" -Barons
« on: July 25, 2012, 11:34:51 PM »
Two things jumped out at me.

1) Earlier this year, in its conference call to investors, Canon outlined how seriously in trouble its office machines division is. They readily acknowledged that profits from the camera division were being used to offset losses in office equipment. Copier sales were down, in part because of the worldwide recession, causing businesses to delay and/or reduce purchases of office copiers and other equipment. This article confirms that the problem is in office equipment sales. People on this forum think it's all about cameras and about new photography gizmos. But, that's not where the problem has been for Canon.

2) What investors are looking for is seldom what customers are looking for. It's pretty clear from this article that investors want someone to come in and cut costs and maximize profits. Chairman Mitarai sounds like an old-fashioned sort of business executive who believes that producing a quality product and outperforming your competitors is the best formula for long-term success. Frankly, I much prefer that approach to the short-term, quick-profit, reduce investment approach so popular among large corporations today.
As a consumer of Canon products, Chairman Mitarai sounds like exactly the kind of executive I want in charge of the company.

If I were a short-term investor interested in making a quick profit on the stock, and with no real investment in the product line itself, I might agree with Mr. Martin of Barrons. But, as a consumer, I cringe at the thought of what would happen to Canon products if they brought in a team of young hotshots as proposed by Barrons.

EOS Bodies / Re: New, cheaper, Canon FF DSLR... 70D?
« on: July 25, 2012, 03:15:28 PM »

Great Post. Probably because I agree with almost everything you said and you said it very well.

Lately I've been trying to figure out how Canon might handle the 70D and 7D upgrades, given that the newly announced 7D firmware upgrade probably means we won't see a new 7D until 2013.

I wonder if Canon feels they might be able to get away without a major new sensor in the 70D. Add the video focusing features of the M-Series and T4i but keep the sensor at 18 mp with no major improvements in ISO, dynamic range, etc.

 I know that would be highly unusual for Canon to keep essentially the same sensor across two generations of a camera, but they may feel that putting most of the 7D features, plus a touch-screen control and live-view focusing for video, will offer sufficient improvements to justify an upgrade. They can still market it as a "new" sensor since it has on the new on-sensor auto-focusing. This would buy them six months or so to implement a new sensor for the 7DII and avoid having the 70D leapfrog over the 7D in sensor technology.

Admittedly, this is unlikely and would be controversial, but not outside the realm of possibility.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« on: July 24, 2012, 05:45:26 PM »
Great insights as usual distant.star.

Your comments fit very nicely into something I read a year or so ago about computer users. The conventional wisdom is to divide the world into persons who are comfortable with computer technology and those who are not. But this particular study found a huge variation among those who use computers. In fact, they found about five or six distinct categories of users.

I don't remember all the details, but I remember that many of us aging baby-boomers fell into a category that relied very heavily on "anchored" computers. We like our programs and like working on computers doing things like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Word, Excel, etc. Many younger users fell into a category that used computers a lot in their daily life, but mostly for communicating and social purposes. They like mobile phones, tablets, etc., and consider them just a tool or a means to an end. They consider it a waste of time to sit down at a desktop and spend hours working on a project and they actually have less knowledge about actual computer programs than many people older than they are.

I think that is one of the main differences between the mirrorless generation and the traditional DSLR users. (And, if you look at Canon's marketing videos for the new M camera, it's pretty clear it ain't aimed at my generation.)

So, what's my point? Hell if I know. I guess just that I agree things are changing and frankly, about all I care about is getting another generation or two of DSLR's out of Canon before they go the way of film cameras.

EOS Bodies / Re: No Full Frame EOS-M EVER?
« on: July 24, 2012, 10:57:59 AM »
Be careful what you wish for.

A full frame mirrorless camera won't be released by Canon or Nikon until the SLR form factor is dead. Personally, I'm not looking forward to that.

It will be rather a 5-10 years lasting transition. They will not stand up and say: "ok, here you have the FF mirrorless from Canon. Oh, and BTW, there are no more DSLRs planned in the future". The Iphone generation will kill 'em all, so I think DSLRs are dead in such a form we know them today no earlier than in a few years. But when will/did it start? :)

No disagreement here. Of course it won't happen overnight. My point is simply that those who dream of a full frame Canon version of a Leica are delusional. We won't get a full frame Canon mirrorless until the DSLR form factor is on its deathbed. Whether it takes five, 10 or 20 years for that to happen, who knows?

EOS Bodies / Re: New, cheaper, Canon FF DSLR... 70D?
« on: July 24, 2012, 10:27:06 AM »
I don't think there's room in the lineup for the 7D AND an entry-level FF DSLR AND the 70D.  There's too much overlap between those markets.

When people write this stuff I always wonder what inside information they have. Because the only justification for saying this is if you know what the break-even point is for manufacturing any particular model of DSLR. Do they need to sell 10,000 units? 100,000 units? 1 million units? I don't know.

What I do know though is that reducing consumer options means leaving buyers on the table for competitors to pick up and no manufacturer wants to do that. Without access to actual manufacturing and development costs, as well as proprietary market research, it is simply impossible to know what constitutes "too much overlap" in any market.

EOS Bodies / Re: No Full Frame EOS-M EVER?
« on: July 24, 2012, 10:14:42 AM »
Be careful what you wish for.

A full frame mirrorless camera won't be released by Canon or Nikon until the SLR form factor is dead. Personally, I'm not looking forward to that.

EOS Bodies / Re: New, cheaper, Canon FF DSLR... 70D?
« on: July 23, 2012, 11:31:52 PM »
I tend to agree with everything you say excepts for this:

XXD is used only by one camera. There is no XXD "series" it's just a single camera

There are 6 cameras in this series last I checked! Even considering the fact that the 60D was somewhat of a repositioning of the line, the xxD series is and always has been the next tier up from the rebel series.

Either way I don't think the XXD series will ever become FF.

Just semantics. I meant that Canon has only used the designation for a single current model. Triple-digits and single-digits have been used to designate multiple models concurrently available. Not a big deal, though.

EOS Bodies / Re: New, cheaper, Canon FF DSLR... 70D?
« on: July 23, 2012, 12:39:20 PM »
Quit obsessing over digits. They are meaningless.

XXXD isn't even a universal designation. Rebel and Kiss are used in some of the largest markets.

XXD is used only by one camera. There is no XXD "series" it's just a single camera

XD has been used for full frame digital SLRs and since 2009, for the flagship APS-C DSLR.

So, worrying about what Canon may call a particular model or trying to "fix" their numbering system is a waste of time.

Look instead at what Canon is actually doing. It's pretty clear.

Rebels/Kiss/XXXDs are the "gateway drugs." Seem innocent and inexpensive until you are hooked. The "M" is designed for a younger generation, who don't see the point in a viewfinder. New design, but same purpose: get them hooked on a lifelong lens buying habit.

XXD: If a full frame entry level model is introduced, it will mirror the APS-C body. The 70D and the new "entry level" full framer will share the same basic features and construction. The 70D will continue to be the "step-up" camera for those who prefer the APS-C sensor, but want a more feature-rich camera than the Rebels. It will inherit the 7D autofocus and many other 7D features, but not the build quality. The new full-frame camera will have the same or similar features to the 70D, but with a larger sensor.  Expect to pay about $700-$800 more for the full frame version.

7D II & 5D III: These will also mirror each other. Same build quality, similar autofocus, similar in all other respects, except for the sensors. APS-C in the 7D and full frame in the 5D. 7D will continue to have a faster frame rate while 5D will have better ISO performance due to the sensor differences. Expect to pay a $1,500-$1,700 premium for the full frame sensor.

If Canon feels they are losing ground on the high megapixel front, they'll introduce a 5D HD, which will be identical to the 5DIII in price and build, but with a higher megapixel sensor swapped in. They may simply use an upscaled APS-C sensor to score 46 mp, making it a D800 killer. Let the consumers pick their poison: high ISO performance or high megapixel count.

It is not a "zero-sum" game. Introducing a full-frame camera in one segment doesn't require eliminating an APS-C body.  Adding the previous generation of 7D features to the 60D replacement doesn't mean there won't be a new generation of features for the 7DII.

EOS Bodies / Re: Hands-on Video of the Canon EOS M (Italy)
« on: July 22, 2012, 11:20:45 PM »
I'm Italian, nothing important! Specs are confirmed, capacitive LCD you can focus and shoot a photo touching it, 14bit files, the adapter let the user mount every lens of the EOS system, the sensor is the same of the one on the 650D, it's possible to connect an external mic and the little flash shown can be used as master (nice). The woman ask about a possible viewfinder model and he answer that for now there is no need, we are and he is "a dslr user and he knows there is smth magic about looking into a viewfinder but nowadays people look at their LCDs to took photos, because they wanna look what happens around them" so it's not a camera aimed to pros! And he says that maybe in the future there will be -.-" he talks a lot about the difference between contrast and phase AF! That's it!

Thanks. I thought I heard something about a master flash. Interesting.

EOS Bodies / Re: Hands-on Video of the Canon EOS M (Italy)
« on: July 22, 2012, 10:46:56 PM »
Tastino0 where are you when we need you!

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