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Messages - sdsr

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Lenses / Re: Where are the new Canon 50mm and 85mm lenses?
« on: January 07, 2015, 05:00:28 PM »
I have the Sigma 35A and it's incredible. I've been eyeing the 50A, but man, I really want lighter, smaller primes.

Then again, maybe I should just buy a small mirrorless system as an alternative for when size/weight matter.

A problem with small, mirrorless systems is that if you want AF and high image quality you can pay quite a lot for the - often considerable - size/weight advantage.  The FF Sony a7 series provides the best image quality, but their two primes, which seem weightless and tiny compared to the Sigma 50A, cost (barring sales etc.) $800 (35mm 2.8) and $1000 (55 1.8); superb lenses, especially the 55mm, but for that price you might expect something faster.  M43 offers a wide range of small, good-to-excellent light primes, but as wsheldon points out the native options aren't cheap (all but three cost >$500) and, aside from a couple of cheap but not-really-fast-enough-for-m43 Sigmas, the third party alternatives are more expensive still (and typically don't provide AF).  Plus, the best EVF on any m43 body resides in the OM-D E-M1, which is almost as big as a small dslr and costs not that much less than an a7II and more than an a7.  So....

On the other hand, if you don't need AF, you can find amazing bargains and often superb performance with old MF lenses (you could buy ten or more excellent 50-55mm 1.8-1.4 lenses for the price of one Sigma A); and mf is far easier with mirrorless cameras (thanks to in-viewfinder focus peaking and magnification) and ergonomically much more pleasant with lenses designed for mf.  But thanks to the crop factor this route isn't much use on m43....

As for the original question, yes, such upgrades would be nice, though I tend to think the flaws of the current EF 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 are exaggerated.  There's obviously some variance in quality control re the 50mm    (AF was pretty bad on my first copy), but my main complaint with that lens is that it's unpleasant and tricky to use for mf (because the focus ring is sloppy).  As for the 85mm, yes, purple fringing can be annoying, but in many situations I don't see it at all even at 1.8 (it's worse on the 85mm L).  Is the much-praised Nikon G significantly better in that regard (if at all)?  But if Canon made a new 85mm 1.8 with IS and no (or much less) purple fringing I would probably buy one.

I don't think it's easy or even possible to answer your question - it suggests that all landscapes are the same sort of thing and/or that one wants to achieve the same sort of effect in all of them.  It makes a difference whether you're at the bottom of a narrow canyon, on a lake surrounded by mountains, in an urban park, in gently undulating terrain, on a flat prairie, etc., and what you want to do with what you see.  Wide angle primes/zooms seem to be the default answer, but for my taste anyway I tend to think they're overused (partly for the reasons given by Sporgon).   

Depending on where you go, you may find a tripod not very helpful (aside from being another annoying thing to carry around) - many sites ban tripods, others ban flash (or both).  Plus, they're a nuisance anywhere crowded.  In such cases, a FF body becomes appealing, for obvious reasons. 

The weight/size/theft risk balance is always tricky - it seems silly to compromise on image quality when traveling, especially if you're not likely to return any time soon, but it also seems silly to drag around bulky, heavy equipment and impair your enjoyment.  When I was in Paris a couple of years ago I used 5DII & 17-40L, 70-200 IS L, 24-105L and a few fast primes - not all at once, but even with a paired down selection often found myself towards the end of the day feeling half inclined to pitch the lot into the Seine.  Nice photos, though. 

Of course, back then there was no small/light alternative that could provide comparable image quality - APS-C wouldn't have helped much, especially inside dark churches.  Things are rather different now, though.  Last month the other half and I spent 10 days in London & Paris; I took the Sony a7r & a7s and each day used one or the other with a little bag that contained an Olympus OM 24mm 2.8, Sony/Zeiss 35mm 2.8, Pentax Super-Tak 50mm 1.4 and Pentax Super-Tak 85mm 1.8 - small, light and, except for the (extremely light) Sony/Zeiss lens and the bodies, cheap.  Somewhat to my surprise, I never missed a longer lens (I brought along a 135mm Olympus OM, but never used it), and probably used the 50mm 80% of the time.  I seldom wanted wider than 24mm, and when I did I could borrow the other half's a6000 + Canon 10-18mm (also light & cheap). The a7s, aside from its slight (?) low light advantages, has the benefit of being completely silent (if you set it up that way) and unobtrusive - you can even take photos in concerts without anyone noticing (disable all sounds, along the monitor). 

So you might want to consider renting a Sony a7s and using your vintage lenses as a third option.  Or you could also consider renting an Olympus M43 with a few fast primes - at least in low light, the combination of fast lenses with less shallow depth of focus and excellent IBIS can go quite a long way in making up for the inferior high ISO performance cf full frame - unless you're trying to freeze action you can keep the ISO down by using slow shutter speeds.

But if you're confined to the two alternatives you mention in your post, I'm not sure what to suggest - I really hated using my M (for reasons that had nothing to do with image quality), but of course that presumably isn't true of you. 

This wasn't very helpful, was it....

EOS Bodies / Re: Speculate: How much noise improvement from 5D3 to 5D4?
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:50:32 AM »
One aspect of this that may matter is the resolution of the 5DIV's sensor and how you view your images.  If you look at your photos at, say, 100%, higher resolution images are more magnified than lower resolution images - and of course that includes any noise.  I mention this because I own both a Sony a7r and the much-touted high ISO king, the Sony a7s.  If you view at 100%, the a7r's images look much noisier than the a7s's, but that's largely because of the difference in magnification between 36MP @ 100% and 12 MP @ 100%.  View them at the same scale and the differences diminish drastically - or so it seems to me (I'm referring to comparisons of RAW files here).  In terms of noise, the differences among those two and the 6D (which I still own) and 5DIII (which I recently sold) strike me as pretty trivial in terms of noise.  You can try this for yourself with the DPreview comparison tools.  (There may be more significant differences among these cameras in terms of color and detail as the ISO gets higher, but those differences seem minor to me too.) 

Of course, I haven't a clue when a 5DIV will appear, or how its sensor will perform in practice.  But I wouldn't be surprised if, assuming it has much higher MP count than the 5DIII, that some/many will buy one, take high ISO images, view them at 100%, and complain about the noise....

Landscape / Re: Flowers and other Flora
« on: January 06, 2015, 11:24:55 AM »
1. Not sure what this is. I saw it growing in Halifax, NS.

It's a rhododendron of some sort.

Landscape / Re: Flowers and other Flora
« on: January 05, 2015, 09:39:38 PM »
Not sure what this is. It looks a bit like a snapdragon, but I don't think it is.

It's (a very nice photo of) a variety of Monkshood (Aconitum) - don't eat the roots! 

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Confirms Development of High Megapixel Camera
« on: December 29, 2014, 11:37:11 AM »

The great mistake of Nikon to launch the 36 megapixel sensor was the short supply of lenses capable of approaching the theoretical sharpness of the sensor.

Why was that a "great mistake"?  Regardless of whether lenses "capable of approaching the theoretical sharpness of the sensor" would make a significant difference, higher resolution sensors are also appealing if other "inferior" lenses perform better on such sensors than they do on lower resolution sensors.  In my experience they do (though obviously I've not used a 50Mp ff sensor, only 12-36 Mp ff sensors), but my experiences are merely anecdotal and thus aren't likely to be of much interest to anyone else.  But Roger Cicala has done some testing that's relevant here, including his conclusion, where among other things he points out that while the Canon 24-70 II outresolves its Tamron equivalent, the difference more-or-less vanishes when you compare Canon 24-70 on 5DIII vs Tamron on D800 (I misdescribed his conclusion in an earlier response to someone else):

The Canon on a higher Canon Mp body would presumably trounce Tamron on a D800.  Of course, whether the performance of "lesser" lenses matters will depend on who you are, how you see, what your standards are, etc., etc.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Confirms Development of High Megapixel Camera
« on: December 28, 2014, 01:41:07 PM »

Despite the fact that many reviewers have stated that there is virtually no difference in practice between a 20Mp and 36 Mp camera and that you can't get the best resolution without a tripod and the best lenses [....]

How much difference there is between 20Mp and 36Mp and whether it matters rather depends on what sort of photos you take and how you look at them - what's virtually none to A may be significant to B. 

As for the rest, I don't understand why there's so much concern in this forum with getting the *ultimate* resolution from a higher MP sensor when Canon releases a camera containing one.  That inquiry is fine if that's what you want, but it's hardly obvious why anyone *should* want that.  I would have thought that what mattered more was the practical question whether any given lens, when you attach it to a higher resolution sensor, can create images that have better resolution and/or otherwise look better than it does on a sensor with lower resolution. 

I currently own 3 FF cameras, Canon 6D (c. 20Mp), Sony a7r (36mp) and Sony a7s (12Mp), and owned until recently a 5DIII, and of the lenses I own I can't think of a single one which can't at least "keep up" on the a7r or which makes photos that look better via the a7s - even a fairly elderly Minolta Rokkor X 50mm f1/4 for which I paid c. $50 at KEH last year (and they all look better on any of these cameras than they do on my Canon SL1 and Sony a6000).  (Cf one of Roger Cicala's blog posts where he notes, among other things, that although the Canon 24-70 II has greater resolving power than the Tamron equivalent, the latter on a Nikon D800 outresolves the former on a 5DIII.)

The same goes for shooting hand-held: I see no more evidence of camera-movement-induced blur on my a7r than I do on my other cameras.  This is all anecdotal, of course, but others seem to have similar experiences; at any rate, warnings about the need to spend a fortune Zeiss Otus lenses and use tripods at all times strike me as a mild form of theory-based scare-mongering. 

Or will a 50Mp sensor create problems along these lines that a 36 Mp sensor doesn't?  I guess we'll find out before long....

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Confirms Development of High Megapixel Camera
« on: December 28, 2014, 01:00:54 PM »

Anyone else share my worry 2014 could be the year that makes or breaks Canon as the DSLR market leader?

Why do you care whether Canon remains "the DSLR market leader"?  I certainly don't - all that matters to me is that it's able to keep producing impressive lenses and cameras, and servicing them efficiently as required.  Concern about whether it's #1 or #2 smacks of sports team nonsense.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Confirms Development of High Megapixel Camera
« on: December 27, 2014, 11:58:33 PM »

You know, if Nikon wanted to kill Canon tomorrow—and I mean completely end them, in all likelihood—all they would have to do is formally license their autofocus protocols to Zeiss.  Canon would suddenly be facing a company with better cameras and better lenses, and they'd have to either compete or die (or both).

Canon dominates the dslr market because (for whatever reasons) it sells more cheap dslr kits than anyone else, so if by "kill" you mean something like "make their camera market share become trivially small", these new Zeiss/Nikon lenses would have to be mass-marketed, dirt cheap and demonstrably superior to those who buy such cameras.  The AF primes Zeiss makes for/with Sony are all expensive ($900-$1000 seems rather a lot for 35mm 2.8 and 55mm 1.8, impressive though they are), and it's not clear why the same wouldn't be true of lenses they made for Nikon.  The high-end expensive stuff that everyone's obsessing over and speculating about here is more interesting, of course, but it's pretty marginal in terms of company survival, isn't it?

As for higher resolution sensors requiring Zeiss Otus, etc., maybe 50MP is different, but I'm more than happy with the performance of many "lesser" lenses on my Sony a7r, such as run-of-the-mill EFs like 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8, not to mention many a cheap, elderly MF lens. It will be interesting to see how this speculation pans out in practice.

I like the a7 series a lot (I have a7r and am currently trying an a7s) for the usual reasons given by those who like them (but perhaps mostly because I very much like using old MF lenses, and they're easier to use with mirrorless cameras than anything else), though I've kept Canon as well (for now, anyway).  You will likely love the image quality and, provided you stick with slow or immobile subjects, find the focus performance just fine (no need for AFMA doesn't hurt).  Colors are a bit different from Canon's, but at least as good - but, I tend to think, this isn't really an issue since you can tweak color easily enough with software.  The two primes are superb, better than the closest Canon equivalents.  I've not used any of the zooms; from what I've read the 16-35 f4 may be even slightly better than the recent Canon, but I doubt that's true of the others.

But my main reason for replying is to question your premise.  We're still dealing with FF cameras here, so the lenses, esp. the zooms, are going to be much the same size as the Canon equivalents you're using.  And if you're using f/2/8 zooms and want to keep doing so, well, there's no sign of such things showing up via Sony itself.  Nor are there any very fast primes yet.  In other words, the main weight saving will be the difference in body weights.  Depending on what lenses you use, that difference may end up being relatively trivial - if you stick with the two primes, yes, it's a nice light compact set-up, but otherwise....  You may end up needing reasons in addition to saving your back to justify the addition/switch (resolution, low ISO noise, IBIS if you get the a7II - maybe a forthcoming a7rII or a9? - ability to attach just about any lens, etc.).

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D vs 7D mark II
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:16:43 PM »
Given the op's camera use, leaving aside the relative merits of 6D vs APS-C, would there be much point in getting a 7DII rather than the less expensive 70D?  I suspect the real world image quality differences are trivial or negligible.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Reviewing Olympus 40-150/2.8
« on: December 10, 2014, 11:54:40 AM »

Yes..the MFT system has developed nicely with very good Panasonic and Olympus primes & zooms. The higher end lenses are coming all the time and you have a lot of other manufacturers joinin the fray like Zeiss and Voigtlander making native mount lenses.  There are a lot of very good choices.  The system has its limitations but you can really squeeze a LOT out of it and walk around with a VERY light kit. It brings a lot of fun and spontaneity back into photography for me.  I really have a lot of freedom and fun while capturing great images.
I just sold a print yesterday to someone from this kit. They did not ask me what camera system I used. They just loved the image!  8)

Yes, it's can be wonderfully light, but when you take depth of focus (and other) equivalence into account, you're paying a lot for the light weight.  There's no equivalent of the cheap f/1.8 "nifty fifty", and someone who likes fast lenses because of the shallow focus you can achieve rather than keeping shutter speeds high has to pay a very high price for the equivalent of even 1.8 - sure, there are lots of interesting f/0.95, 1.2, etc. options from, especially, third parties, but they're very expensive, not that small, and not that light and, often, mf only.  A couple of days ago I saw someone online singing the praises of the newish Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.2, in part because, at $1500 it's a few hundred dollars cheaper (and smaller and lighter) than its equivalent, the Canon 85mm f/1.2.  It's probably a wonderful lens, but of course that's not its equivalent at all, except in terms of shutter speeds for any given ISO.  At which point $1500 no longer looks like any sort of bargain.  The inexpensive m43 lenses tend to be zooms, most of which (of those I've tried, anyway), aren't very good.

You can always go the vintage, MF route via adapters and try to save money there (leaving aside the other attractions of such lenses), but the crop factor makes it hard to find worth while lenses that give you a "normal" angle of view (and impossible to go really wide); and since such lenses are usually metal, they're not light.... 

The same is true for camera bodies.  The OM-D's are great, but a FF Sony a7 right now is smaller than, and costs less than, the top-line OM-D, which in turn costs not that much less than the new Sony a7II.  And during the recent Black Friday sales you could by an APS-C Sony a6000, which is smaller and lighter than most (all) M43 cameras which have an EVF, for $450 from a reputable dealer.

So, cute and convenient, yes, and with near-APS-C quality, but at a price....

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Reviewing Olympus 40-150/2.8
« on: December 10, 2014, 11:20:49 AM »
I had Olympus E-M1 + 40-150 2.8 for a test one weekend and I can say that I'm very impressed by this lens. It feels very well on E-M1, have very useful range and fast AF(even with the new 1.4 TC). Oh, the optic quality? It's fantastic! The only problem could be that the lens is so sharp and flawless that don't make dreamy bokeh. 

I'm sure it's wonderful, as several Olympus lenses are, but the reason why you're not finding "dreamy bokeh" (though it's clear from your photos and others online that the bokeh, as far as it goes, is rather nice) is because of the crop factor - in ff terms you're never getting depth of focus shallower than what, f/5.6?  Many lenses create lovely bokeh at 5.6, but....

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Reviewing Olympus 40-150/2.8
« on: December 10, 2014, 11:14:05 AM »
Reading elsewhere, does the E-M1 have a base ISO of 200?

Yes, with ISO 100 "expansion" - there are discussions about this online, of course.  Pixel-peeping is rewarded by light noise in blue skies, etc., as a result.

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