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EOS Bodies / AFMA – Easy or Not
« on: March 22, 2013, 04:29:02 PM »
Okay, another thread had degenerated into like 10 pages of arguments over why Rebels need to have micro-adjust settings. (Actually "degenerated" is a relative term since the thread was pretty much at the bottom of the barrel to begin with, but that's another issue)

Anyway, at least one individual says doing a micro adjustment is easy and can be done on the fly while shooting, simply using any clearly delineated object (crack on a wall, blade of grass). That seems surprising to me, as I read numerous other threads here on the "best" system for adjusting lenses and most seem to require a pretty extensive set up with resolution charts, very bright lighting, rock-solid tripod, etc. etc. There is even a software program that has been promoted by many on this site as an aid to doing micro-adjustments.

Full disclosure here: I've never felt compelled to do any adjustment on my 7D. Maybe I'm just lucky with lenses. Maybe because I usually stop down. Maybe because I'm usually shooting with my 15-85, or my 70-300 L or 100-400 L and the depth of field compensates for any small differences in focusing plane. Maybe because the smaller sensor offers better apparent depth of field. Maybe because I've gotten pretty good at using Photoshop to increase apparent sharpness. Or maybe I'm just damn good.

So, which is it? Easy to do on the fly or four hours of my life I'll never get back setting up lights, tripod, camera, charts? 

EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 70D, DIGIC 6 & 18mp Sensors
« on: March 20, 2013, 07:01:18 PM »
A new sensor! Oh no. What will people whine about now?

No worry, for some folks nothing Canon will ever do will be enough.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS Rebel T5i Leaks
« on: March 20, 2013, 02:55:57 PM »
I suspect everyone is fixated on it for two reasons.  First, in general, it's easy to measure sensor performance and plot the data or reduce the data to a single 'score'.  Second, in particular on CR forums, it's an area where Canon is not leading, and some people like to create a stir by beating on that horse (we sometimes call them trolls...).

You are correct as usual – EXCEPT – is it really "an area where Canon is not leading?" Or is this troll-fueled internet forum conventional wisdom?

How is Canon behind in its full frame sensors? Canon has taken a different path in that Canon has decided to go for high ISO performance instead of higher megapixels (which, by the way is what the conventional internet forum wisdom was clamoring for prior to the release of the 5DIII). But, a different path isn't falling behind, it's a different path and one, frankly, that I prefer. Truth is, I don't really need either a lot more megapixels or a lot higher ISO, but if I'm going to get one, I'll take higher ISO.

As for APS-C, Canon's flagship camera still uses a sensor that is better and newer than Nikon's flagship APS-C, so how is that falling behind? Nikon has put some interesting higher resolution sensors in their consumer models and maybe Canon is dragging their feet a bit in releasing their own versions, but it's hardly the end of the world. The higher megapixels do nothing for me and frankly the high ISO performance of the sensors Nikon is using is unimpressive, especially when you consider they are competing against Canon's nearly four-year-old sensor.

But, even if one believes the competitors have moved ahead slightly, how is that bad? Products only improve when competitors offer something better or different. Canon wants my money and when they release the next product I want, they will get it. In the meantime, I'm not going to take it personally and act like the sky is falling.

Canon General / Re: website concept:
« on: March 20, 2013, 02:08:04 PM »
The nice thing about the internet is that all sites are a work in progress. The bad thing about the internet is that all sites are a work in progress.

Basically, what I mean is that the cost of entry is cheap and it is easier to modify your product to adapt to the demand than it is in traditional print media. The downside is that it is so easy and cheap to launch a website that people often fail to recognize how much time and effort must be invested in making a site a success.

If you really have a base of photographers who have the time to write reviews, are engaging writers and don't ask for any financial return at the outset, then you don't really have much to lose other than your own time and a few hundred dollars for hosting and url registration.

Monetizing the site could be another matter, but you won't know until you try. Be prepared, however, to
1) make accommodations to advertisers if you do want to make the site self-supporting. It's nice to say "No banner ads" when no one wants to advertise on your site anyway. But, it won't be so easy if the site is a success and you will be turning away revenue;

2) Devote yourself to the site instead of your photography. It's not that you can't do both, but make a generous estimate of the amount of time you think the site will require and then multiply it by about 10x. Can you devote 2-3 hours a day to the site, every day, seven days a week?

A site with news content of any sort is not like a portfolio site. You have to feed the monster and that means every day. The ever-changing content on the forum and the interactivity among forum participants keep people coming to CR during the long stretches between any actual "news." If you aren't offering daily content, even if you get viewers, you won't keep them.

So, sure, give it a try if you have the resources to do it. But be realistic about things. Expect it to take a few years and thousands of hours of dedicated effort to get off the ground.

On the plus side though, the cost of failure is also low. Try it for six months and if you haven't found the right niche or conclude you will never find the right niche, you can always kill it off. Think of the millions of blogs out there that never get updated.

Lenses / Future of STM and USM
« on: March 19, 2013, 09:51:09 PM »
While there is a lot of chatter over the new Canon bodies, I'm kind of surprised there isn't much discussion of the new 18-55 STM lens.

Not this particular model, but the fact that Canon has introduced their third STM lens. From what I understand, STM is targeted to video (smoother focusing) while USM is best for still photos. Anyone disagree with that? Is STM the wave of the future or will we eventually see USM and STM models of all lenses?

If you are in the U.S., I'd suggest renting for a week or so. Both of these lenses are inexpensive to rent from Maybe offer one of your past customers a free photo shoot, then take the lenses out and try them to judge for yourself.

The 70-200 L, in both IS and non-IS versions, shows up quite a bit on the Canon Refurbished site (again, assuming you are in the U.S.) Unfortunately, it seems like whenever they have one of the 15% off sales the lenses disappear, but if you act quickly, you may score one.

I'd also suggest you take a look through "Roger's Takes" on the site for various lenses. His opinions are short and to the point. I'm not personally familiar with either of these lenses, but from what I have read the 70-300 non "L" is not as sharp as either the Canon 55-250 EF-S or the Tamron 70-300 VC, both of which are cheaper. I did own the Tamron, and had no complaints about it, but found myself lusting after the 70-300 L and ended up buying that one on a special sale about a year ago. It's obviously a much better lens, but then it's about three times as expensive too.

I can't seem to put my fingers on it right now, but I recall a story by a photographer who took part in a workshop with Gary Winogrand, one of the greatest street photographers of all time.

Basically, if I recall, whenever a subject noticed Winogrand (which was hard not to have happen as he was not a small guy) he made a point of smiling at his subjects. The effect was disarming and he was obviously very successful in capturing the poetry of the street. Cartier Bresson took somewhat the opposite approach, sizing up the situation carefully, figuring out what he wanted to shoot then quickly moving the camera to has eye and getting the shot. He was small and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Occasionally, we are all going to run into the goofball who takes it upon himself to lecture or harass you. If it's just an individual, just walk away, maybe with a "sorry, didn't mean any harm." If it's a police officer (and you are in the U.S., Canada or Europe) just tell them you are a hobbyist taking pictures. Be polite, but don't feel you have to surrender your ground or your equipment. You aren't doing anything wrong.

Streets are public places. There is no need to ask permission. There is no "right" to privacy in a public place. It gets a little dicier on private property. Most shopping malls, etc., won't let you photograph on their property. I've even seen security guards run off news teams from television stations. It's kind of a grey area, since they are inviting the public in and once you invite the public in, there is a case that can be made that the property is no longer private. Again, just apologize and move on.

Black & White / Re: street please!
« on: March 17, 2013, 05:41:00 PM »
Some photographers love to talk about "seeing in black and white." Most of the time it's total b.s. What matters is the final product. Doesn't matter if you originally "saw" it in black and white or if you only saw it that way during processing. Use whatever works for the image.

I shot in black and white almost all my life. I grew up in the era when "serious" photographers never shot color. Now I love color. Too many photographers use black and white as an affectation to make mediocre pictures seem serious.

However, that's not the case with these images by Ivan. They are wonderful in black and white and work much better than they did in color. Fantastic images.

Your pics are good but too busy.
Try being more specific on which subject catches your eye and frame that as your main focus.

As a fellow photographer and friend of mine used to say: some people's taste is all in their mouth. There is a difference between an image that is "busy" and an image that has a lot going on in it. These images are not "busy" but they certainly have a lot going on in them.

Lenses / Re: best NON L long lens
« on: March 15, 2013, 05:15:53 PM »
Okay I own or have owned the 55-250 EF-S (not relevant since you want full frame) the Tamron 70-300 VC, the 70-300 L and the 100-400 L. I have also rented the 300 L  f4 and the 400 L f5.6.

My opinion:
The 55-250 EF-S, the 100-400 L and the Tamron 70-300 VC are all very good lenses and generally quite sharp.

The 70-300 L is sharper, weather sealed and generally a better lens overall, but we are talking margins here. Is it worth the price? Probably not. But I wanted it badly and bought it anyway. I don't regret it. I use it along with my 15-85 as a two-lens kit that covers almost every situation.

The 300 L was sharp, nice and a stop faster so it took a 1.4x converter. But, it was shorter than I wanted and not as flexible without the zoom.

The 400 5.6 L is light and sharp but doesn't have IS and since it isn't a zoom it also isn't as flexible and it takes up a lot of space due to its length.

While the 100-400 L is not quite as sharp as the 70-300 L, it is sharp enough and the extra 100mm is pretty critical for shooting critters.

The 70-300 Tamron is as sharp as the 100-400 and the 55-250, which means it is sharp. It does have a tendency to hunt a little on autofocus sometimes. Not sure what the problem was and it may have just been an anomaly. A minor nuisance, not a deal breaker.

Since the 55-250 doesn't work for your needs (full frame) I would say the lowest cost solution is the Tamron VC. Is it as good as the Canon L? Obviously not, but it's almost $1,000 cheaper. If you don't need a zoom, then maybe the 300 f4 or the 400 f5.6 would work for you, but for the marginal difference in price, I went with the zooms.

I got my 100-400 L as a refurbished. They haven't had it in stock for awhile, but there have been some good prices lately, still, it is also about $1,000 more than the Tamron. 

All in all, I'd say the Tamron is the best value 70-300 lens out there next to the 55-250 (which you can't use.) If you need longer length, you are going to pay for it.

I thought the opinion of someone who actually has owned or rented these lenses might help.

I'm kind of in the jrista camp on this.

If I'm shooting a wide angle it's usually because I want the wide angle "look." If I were shooting interiors for clients like privatebydesign, it would be a different story.

I do use the vignetting, but usually to make it worse not better. And I do try to correct for chromatic aberration, but usually find the custom corrections work better than the lens profiles.

Sports / Re: Trying to get noticed...
« on: March 15, 2013, 12:56:50 PM »
"Trying to get noticed..." is probably an unfortunate choice of subject title, as the comments indicate.

There are lots of way to try to get noticed. If you are serious about it, do them all. I'm generally not all that enthusiastic about "how to" books and books on marketing are pretty much all the same (perhaps because I've spent a lifetime in marketing in one way or another) but a pretty good primer is David DuChemin's Vision Mongers.

My personal advice sounds trite, but I still think it is the best path: follow your passion and strive to be the best. Worry about getting noticed after you've built up a body of work.

Your pictures are great. Spend another thousand hours shooting the same subject and they'll be even better. Another couple thousand after that, and on and on. You have a leg up on most others since you don't expect to be able to earn a living at this. After you've done it for a few years and built up a reputation you may find that the work finds you.

EOS Bodies / Re: Zoo Photos with 5D MIII
« on: March 15, 2013, 12:37:42 PM »
I really like that lioness shot with the kid's reflection!

Yeah that's a great one. It's one of those shots that you can clean up with at the right photo contests. Good eye.

Very nicely done. Terrific images. Great video. Music very nice.

Not meant as a criticism, but my reaction was: what's the story?

iPhone   :o

Yes, I noticed that was conspicuously absent from the list, although I'm pretty sure it is the best selling camera in the world.

It's a phone that takes pictures, is it not?  ;)

More of a camera that makes phone calls.

iPhone   :o

Yes, I noticed that was conspicuously absent from the list, although I'm pretty sure it is the best selling camera in the world.

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