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Messages - unfocused

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Not the answer you are looking for, but I send them out. I've used ScanDigital and DigMyPics.

The investment in a high quality scanner, plus the heavy investment in time and effort to scan in hundreds of negatives makes it more cost-effective to have someone else do this. Now, understand, I'm talking about old negatives, as I don't shoot anything but digital today.

Scan Digital will scan specific negatives on a 35mm strip, which is great savings and convenience. They also occasionally offer Groupons. However, all scanning services take a couple of months to complete the work, so it's of no use if you are in a hurry.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Canon 7D: 'I need a Must Have's List'
« on: December 14, 2012, 02:10:54 PM »
I'm not real clear what you are asking, but if you are asking for ideas on what to do to "trick out" the 7D there are an almost infinite number of options.

Lenses: better all-around lens – I prefer the 15-85, other prefer the 17-55 2.8. Both excellent lenses. You have to decide which is more important, speed or reach. 15-85 if most of your shooting is in good light. 17-55 2.8 if you are mostly an available light indoors kind of guy.

Wide angle: With the 15-85mm you are at the edge of the "normal" wide-angle range. (24mm equivalent). If you want to go wider, you can go with Canon, Sigma or Tokina. All have very good super wide angle lenses. I preferred the speed of the 11-16 Tokina 2.8, but the Canon is a good lens as well.

Telephoto: I'm very high on the 70-300mm L. But, its pretty darn expensive. If not in your budget, the Tamron 70-300mm or even the Canon 55-250 mm EF-S are the best alternatives. Both are better than Canon's 70-300 consumer lenses. The 55-250 feels super cheap, but it is very sharp.

Flash: Everyone needs a real strobe. The ability to use the IR controls on the 7D to fire off-camera flash open up a whole world of possibilities. Start with IR control and then grow from there. Once you get a flash, you'll have no trouble finding ways to spend money on light modifiers (umbrellas, soft boxes, etc. etc.) and more and more flashes, not to mention radio-control.

Battery Grip: Okay, I'm a sucker for these things. It's a personal decision. I like them, but I'm hard-pressed to give any real practical advantage for having one. Okay, there are a few: two batteries means you will almost never run out of power, they do offer some protection if you take a fall (Happened to me. The grip absorbed the fall, broke a battery door, but the 7D was unharmed) and some people actually use the controls on the side of the grip to operate the camera (me, I'm so used to holding the camera in the opposite direction that those extra buttons are kind of useless to me.) Mostly, I put grips in the category of "they look cool" and admit they are largely an affectation.

Camera Bags: I'm still waiting for the Tardis bag (bigger on the inside than the outside). In the meantime, no single bag ever works for all situations. Like flashes and lighting modifiers, collecting bags seems to come with the territory when it comes to photography.

It's hard to believe there's a sensor problem, but it's not hard to believe there's a marketing problem.  With a product line with four offerings between $800-1800, why compound the problem.   If you assume the Rebel line will be the $800 entry point and that the 6D at $2000 beings a new classification - full frame - it would appear that a single offering in the middle at the $1400 price point would be an adequate answer. ...

Sorry, I don't really agree.

First, there is currently only one offering between $800-$1,800 now – the 7D. All of the other models now have a street price below $800 in the U.S. (body only). I agree that Canon has a crowding and differentiation problem at the bottom end of its line, but some of that is due to the aging-out of certain models, coupled with the need to offer mass retailers a variety of packages at a variety of low-end price points.

Rather than offer a single model at the $1,400 price point, Canon and Nikon's original pricing strategy seems sound (and from what I can glean from available information, it has worked very well). Offering an enthusiast model in the $1,000-$1,200 range and a flagship crop in the $1,600-$2,000 targets two very different audiences. Too many people assume that the the target audience for the 60D and the 7D are identical. Given that both models have sold very well, that does not appear to be the case.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5D III - Camera of the year 2012
« on: December 11, 2012, 04:44:36 PM »
Yes, this was actually a very good article summarizing the advantages/disadvantages of the major releases and explaining their rationale.

A very brief take-away: Canon, Nikon and Sony all released excellent cameras. 5DIII got the edge largely because of the range of improvements, including focus and because its excellent low-light performance was deemed more useful and significant than the high resolution of the D800: "...we felt strongly that the Canon produced the best balance across all imaging factors, with Low or better noise up to ISO 12,800, and still acceptable noise at ISO 25,600."

I found this assessment of the D800 very interesting: "Noise is Low or better only to ISO 800, and Unacceptable at ISO 12,800."

From everything I've read and heard about the 5DIII this sounds like a well-deserved honor.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Only 1 lens
« on: December 11, 2012, 12:56:21 PM »
One more opinion:

I think this depends on how serious your financial concerns are. If you are in a situation where you really have to liquidate everything, I'd look at a high-end powershot (G1-X?) as a substitute. But, I agree with Neuro and others in that you are likely to take a bath on your current camera.

I'd suggest a refurbished 24-105 and sell your other two lenses, keeping the 580EX, the 5DII and the 50 1.8. This is the minimum compromise option. You'll be able to do 90% of what you were doing before, but net a little cash.

Option 3 (between the Powershot and keeping the 5DII) would be a T3i, a refurbished 15-85 EF-S and keep the 580EX and the 50 1.8. This is essentially the same "kit" as above except in an APS-C version. Would cost you about $1,100.

Option 3A: T3i kit with the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-250 zoom. Available for under $800. (The 55-250 is a very sharp lens. I'm not so sure about the 18-55, although I have heard that the current IS version is much improved over previous versions -- I don't own this lens).

With careful composition, holding the ISO to around 400 and keeping print sizes under 30" at the largest end, no one but you will ever know the shots were made on a crop camera instead of the 5DII.

Just curious: do you have other strobes or a way to remotely fire the 600EX-RT? You'll need the ST-E3-RT if you want to fire the 600 off-camera with radio control. You can fire it using IR if you have a 7D, 60D or one of the new Rebels, otherwise you'll need an ST-E2 for IR control.

Not familiar with either of these books. I'm sure they are great. But, honestly, today's strobes are so foolproof they don't require a lot of reading to do the basics. Maybe it's just me, but I have to try out different setups myself and see what the light does in order to learn. I've picked up Joe McNally's book, some Strobist guides and another basic lighting book -- all handy for some ideas, but lighting, IMO is something you have to just try. Fortunately, with today's digital, you can get instant feedback and adjust on the fly.

Canon General / Re: Recommended photography books
« on: December 07, 2012, 12:56:03 PM »
This is great, I was just thinking I wanted to make up a reading list made up of good Photography books. Thanks!

Unfocused - just bookmarked your blog, will be checking it out in detail over the winter break!

Thanks. Now I feel bad that I haven't been keeping the blog up lately. I have probably about a dozen books I want to write about. Between full-time job, hobby photography and life, it's hard to set aside the time, but this will encourage me.

I would only add that photography books without text " help you further your understanding of photography"!
I go through Martin Parr's books over and over.

Great point. I was going to suggest to the OP that he look at portfolio books by some of the great photographers. (or go online to Masters of Photography.) Martin Paar is great. Too many photographers start and stop with Ansel Adams and never get beyond that. I think every serious photographer needs to have a working knowledge of Weston, Arbus, Frank, Winogrand, Strand, Cartier-Bresson, Uelsmann, well the list just goes on and on.

Brilliant advice in here. Looking forward to reading those. I am guessing that Barthes books are quite dense. I have read a few of him, and they are heavy. His book on rhetorics is the toughest I have ever read, and I have read quite a few :)

Actually, Barthes' Camera Lucida is a pretty easy read. Although 1) you'll wonder about halfway through what the "f" does this have to do with photography?; 2) it's addictive and you can read it over and over and still get something out of it each time.

Finally, one additional pitch for Robert Adams. Adams was an English Literature teacher before he became a photographer and his writing on photography is some of the most beautiful and poetic you will ever read.

Lenses / Re: 70-300L for Outdoors?
« on: December 07, 2012, 12:38:39 PM »
I just want to comment on the IS of this lens. It is fantastic.

A few months ago, I needed to shoot a presentation in a very very poorly lit school library. I found that by bracing myself carefully and waiting for the speakers to pause, I could get usable shots even going down to about 1/8th to 1/15th of a second.

More and more, when I'm packing to go shoot outdoors, I'll put the 15-85 on my 7D, pack this lens in my bag and leave everything else at home.

Canon General / Re: Recommended photography books
« on: December 06, 2012, 11:29:41 PM »
If you're studying Szarkowski's The Photographer's Eye, you are already demonstrating more discernment than most.

The Nature of Photographs, by Stephen Shore, is almost a companion or sequel to Szarkowski. Two books by Robert Adams will inspire you: Beauty in Photography and Why People Photograph. Try Szarkowski's Looking at Photographs as well. Then, if you want to challenge yourself, pick up Susan Sontag's On Photography and Roland Barthe's Camera Lucida.

All of these books are short, but contain lifetimes of lessons. Each can be read over and over again and each time you will learn something new. And, not a single one talks about f-stops, ISO, noise, bokeh, crop factor, or any of the other drivel that bogs people down. They are all about vision and understanding this fascinating and addictive craft.

Lighting / Re: Help with choosing a soft box
« on: December 06, 2012, 05:53:44 PM »
Check used items on eBay. Many people seem to buy softboxes, use them for awhile and then sell them.


This might not be the right thread but I didn't see one that was way better. I'm still on the "optical" only system and was looking at moving to radio.  My question (that I can't find an answer on by Googling) is can two photographer radio sync with the same flash units?  I.e. with optical, during a wedding reception you could "four corner the room" and have all the flashes "usually" fire no matter which on of two or three people was shooting.  With the radio system, can you do the same setup?  Two-way sync to multiple masters?

I would think that would work if both of you set your transmitter to the same channel.

Lighting / Re: Help with lighting setups for portraits...
« on: December 06, 2012, 03:08:52 PM »
The B&H kit is a constant lighting kit. Basically, 100 watt lightbulbs that stay on all the time. Good for helping you see the light, but hot for your subjects and may not be bright enough to overcome ambient light. It includes items like the green screen that you don't need.

The price doesn't seem all that great.

I agree with others, I would build on your existing kit.

First, you need a way to trigger your 430EXII off-camera. Cheapest ways are with third-party radio transmitter/receivers (as previously mentioned) or third-party infrared triggers. The Yongnuo ST-E2 is less than half the price of the Canon and actually has more features if you go the infrared route. The advantage is that it will work with ETTL, unlike the cheapest radio systems. Infrared can be spotty outdoors, although I've never had a problem with it. Indoors it is very reliable. It's a personal and financial choice (radio systems require a receiver for every strobe, infrared only requires one transmitter with the 430 or 580s.) Even if you eventually go the radio route, having an infrared transmitter can be handy as a backup in case a transmitter or receiver dies on you.

You can do a lot with just the 430EX and an umbrella off-camera. Adding another strobe will give you some more options. Umbrellas are easy to use, almost foolproof for nice, soft flattering light. They build confidence quickly.

Start small and add to your kit. If you think collecting lenses is addictive, wait until you get into lighting. You only need one 70-200mm 2.8 zoom, but you can never have enough strobes and light modifiers.

Lighting / Re: 580ex II advice
« on: December 06, 2012, 11:18:51 AM »
Hey there Gang.  Question... I have a speedlite 430 ex ii which has been great for me and for Christmas to myself I got a NEW 580 EX ii to use on my 60D.  question should I have just spent the extra $ for the 600 or did I do ok just going to the 580?
I know there is a NEW 430 replacement coming in 2013.  Just having post purchase 2nd thoughts..

Bury the buyer's remorse. What's done is done.

With your 60D you can remotely control both the 430EXII and 580EXII off camera without any additional purchases, using the camera's infrared controller. With the 600EX-RT, you could do the same thing, but you'd be paying extra money for radio control that you can't use at all with your 430EXII and can't use with the 60D without buying the $300 transmitter from Canon.

Infrared has a shorter range and must be line-of-sight, but I've found in real world use that is almost never a problem (just be sure you point the strobe's IR sensor in the general direction of the camera).

You'll be amazed at how much you can do and learn with two strobes off-camera. Now you can start collecting light modifiers (umbrellas, soft boxes, etc. etc.). If and when you reach the point where you really need radio control, you can either sell the 580 and 430 or invest in a third-party trigger.

Well it's about time. I'm just getting into speedlites and am not interested in:

1.) Spending $1,200+ for a two light kit, or
2.) Buying a bunch of optical-only flashes and being restricted to line of sight.

A 4XX RT flash, if miracles exist, will be priced at or below $399 and I'll be able to afford two for the price of one 600RT.

The 4XX RT flash, when it is released, will almost certainly not have a transmitter. Add in another $300 for that.

Canon General / Re: Is it worth it...for me?
« on: December 04, 2012, 08:00:00 PM »
One more opinion to muddy the water.

You seem to like portraits (based on your photo stream). The good news then, is that you can invest in lenses that will work on either full frame or crop without having to decide between the two just yet.

There is nothing in your pictures that will be improved by going full frame, but a lot that will be improved by getting a longer lens. Choices would be: 85mm; 100mm, 135mm or 70-200mm. All will give you a little more reach which will flatter your subjects and create greater separation between them and the background. Even on a crop sensor, all of these lenses are very usable for portraits.

Also, consider investing in a strobe. With the T3i you can remotely fire an off-camera flash. You'd be amazed at how much you can do and learn with a single off-camera flash and an umbrella.

Cameras are short-term investments, lenses are long-term investments. Invest in a lens or two now, and when you feel you've outgrown the camera, then start shopping. 

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