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Messages - CharlieB

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Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
« on: September 12, 2013, 10:25:22 PM »
I've been through three of the 50/1.4's.  Bought my first one in the early 1990's.

The glass isn't bad, but none of the one's I've got gives any focusing consistancy whatsoever.  All of the drift from the inner edge to the far edge of what the DOF would be at about f/2 - which means you lose it at f/1.4.   Canon says to me... thats all you can expect.

Shooting longer distances, shooting stopped down.. . great results.  But why get a 1.4 lens when you have to close it to 2.8 to get consistant focusing results?

There's a thread on the forum regarding Leica glass - using a .095 /50mm on the EOS-M with adapter.   I cringe.  I'm a Leica M shooter since the 1970's.   You get better focusing with the Leica M than any EOS camera.  Its just the way it is.  Sure, you have to do it yourself, and its not as fast.  But if you take your time with a Leica M, you will nail the focus every time.   No matter what you do with the EF50/1.4 you're gonna get inconsistant and toss-away images in 20-30 percent of the wide open shots.

Lighting / Re: I need some flash advice...
« on: September 08, 2013, 09:18:28 PM »
I'll take a picture of the set up, once the flash comes in.

First attempt at shooting digitally... not up to snuff.   However, we get something looking decent at Biketoberfest, they'll be on my photobucket account.

Lighting / Re: I need some flash advice...
« on: September 08, 2013, 01:10:36 PM »
After a bit of pondering, I went ahead and got the YN568EX-ii.

This will not be the end all of my flash needs, but here's the thought process (and I'm still open to other suggestions).

Thoughts went like this.   I would really like a batter pack to help with the flash's power supply.  I shoot enough at one time, in one setting, that it would be a great help.   I want to test and see how my softbox setup will work with TTL flash.   I could have cheaped out and gotten a YN565 model.....and a pack.    That would have been a short term solution to an upcoming problem - maybe.  I say maybe, because it might not work like I want, and I'm back looking at a Quantum unit.  On the other hand, the YN568 has a few more features that I might actually use without the softbox - high speed synch being one of 'em.   So , I opted for a battery change fest, and more features that might come in handly later.

Guess we'll see how it goes.  I guess simplicity matters too.   Still looking for that elegant solution.... what I've done now is a stop-gap at best.

Lighting / Re: I need some flash advice...
« on: September 07, 2013, 10:51:09 AM »
Experience yah... and jeeze the costumes (or lack there of!).  Its mostly biker events - a jillion variations on the same costume.  How many different ways can you wear a vest, black tee, dirty jeans and boots?   But I keep shooting.....

Fixed distance is not something I get the luxury of.   The box is on the camera.   I'm using a Stroboframe ... forget the number... something 66 as I think of it.  The box is effectively over the lens - folks think its some sort of movie/vid screen!

Distance varies quite a lot actually.  I may do a group of 10-12 Imperial Stormtroopers, then do a close up of some Manga-gal.  So, it varies a lot.  Mostly... its couples and threesomes.

I like the looks of that Einstein unit, but its weighty.  The power is nice, but I think I can do with one of those Alien Bee things - a lot less weight.  IF I was to go that route.  I've got five of ultras... the older ones, built like tanks.

Damn near pulled the trigger on a Quantum.  I still may.  They have the basic unit, TTL with pack for under $1000.  I'd need a remote cord for that... from camera to box, I guess.

And the thing holding me back, is the whole TTL with the box scenario.  Dunno why I feel that I need to get my feet wet a little, and test the waters before dunking in for a grand's worth.

Still open to suggestion!

Lighting / Re: Thinking of buying a Light Meter
« on: September 07, 2013, 10:39:09 AM »
Light meters.... lots to choose from.

I've used almost every kind of meter there is.  Minolta, Pentax, Sekonic, even old Weston meters.

Here's what I've found most useful in an all-round meter.

Forget all the averaging and storage and multi-exposure nonesense.  Its nonsense!

Get a meter with a big dome, not a little pinky sized dome.  Incident readings do half your ambient light work, and 99 percent of your flash work.  Big domes just work better.   Make sure your meter can do flash and ambient light and that it has a standard synch connection.   All the rest is icing on the cake.

Minolta meters have been bulletproof for me.  Only used now, but fetching higher prices used, as they are super rugged and are consistent.   I'm using a 4F Minolta right now, and it... works.  Does not have 1/3 stop only 1/2 stop settings.  Big deal.  Also ISO goes to 4000 I think.   Doesn't bother me, as most of my metering is for studio flash.

And thats that.  Big dome, flash with synch.  Sekonic, Minolta (or Konica or the folks that took over production for them), or Gossen.   Used, in good shape (with return privs) is a good way to go.   B&H or other good retailers always have meters in stock used, and have good return policies (and good vetting of used equipment... I've never had a problem with B&H's grading).

Lighting / I need some flash advice...
« on: September 05, 2013, 09:53:07 PM »
I do mostly "event" photography - just did DragonCon in Atlanta, and I do Daytona Bikeweek and Biketoberfest, Leesburg Bikefest, Sturgis, Laconia, maybe a few other 'Cons if folks ask me.  I only do DragonCon regularly.

In the past, I've shot a lot film at these events, shooting Hasselblad 500c/m and Leica M's.  Hasselblad sort of dropped by the wayside, as set-up posed shooting was becoming less of what I did, and candids were more the norm.  So, I kept plugging away with my trusy M4's and M6's

Flash equipment - I'd keep one M4 set up with a flash rig - basically two 283's in 16x24 Chimera box on a frame.  That was the vast part of my shooting, and yes, changing film became damn near performance art in itself.

This year, I said, hey, what the heck, I wont like the quality of the light, but lets shoot with the 7D and a 28/1.8, and I'd augment that with a trusty M

Not happy at all....

So here's where my thinking goes -

I can get a Quantum light for the Canon EOS's - but that will run me about $1300 or so, or a bit more.  It will go well in the Chimera rig though.  Plus side there is the use of a parabolic reflector and bare bulb.   Bare bulb is fantastic for some conditions.  I've shot entire weddings with bare bulb and HP-5 film (in the old days...) and it was just fantastic with a 1940's look to the result. 

Or, I can maybe just begin to get my feet wet with a Yongnuo YN565ex, or even two of those.  My thoughts there are I can also use those in the Chimera rig, and... later on they can be radio slaves.   I'd rather do the 565 since I really need a battery pack - screwin' with batteries is one thing I'd rather not have to deal with while shooting, and the quick recycle is a plus.

Or, I can just use the two low voltage shoe 283's in the rig as they are, shoot manually and forget E-TTL.  Cheap option, but... I always shoot color negative film, and of course that is forgiving with exposure.  I'd generally tend to slightly over expose on purpose when shooting negative film.   I can see a lot of testing, and fewer keepers going with the present flash rig.

Gimme some thoughts, shoot me down... I'm up for it so long as I can get pointed in some logical direction.  I've got an arsenal of 283's, all low voltage...all been re-capped and adjusted.  They work well too with Quantum batteries.   Got two of those Chimera rigs - the otheris a box I had cut square on special order so its 18x18 (I think?).  Doesn't matter, you can use it on square or 1:1.5 aspect ratio, same great results.

I'm really stuck on carring the box... I just love the effect of a soft broad fill.  Its very forgiving when mixed with ambient light, even strong and contrasty ambient light. 

And finally, maybe there's options I've missed.   Not too fond of Canon lights, seems there are better bang for the buck out there.

The Yongnuo's ... I wonder how they'll hold up.  You hear about infant mortality with those, but seemingly if they last past a month or so, they're good to go?  Dunno.   Last weekend, I shot 50 rolls of Ektar with the M4 and oh... 5000 shots with the 7D.   So I'd need something that will hold together ok.  I'm actually surprised that the 7D's tiny flash held up actually.

So, thats my story (and I'm stickin' to it!)

Lenses / Re: This is what happens when you buy a Canon lens in China :))
« on: August 28, 2013, 09:12:24 PM »
You folks obviously have zero... and I mean ZERO street smarts.

The vendor was doing the customer a HUGE favor, discretely packing the item in a Nikon bag, so that the Canon lens would be absolutely unlikely to be stolen.

Sports / Re: Horses / Horseriding etc
« on: August 24, 2013, 09:54:47 AM »
I'm not into horse photography.   But, I was a good friend of Elizabeth "Betty" Bell in her latter years while she was in Florida, and she was one of the foremost equine oil-on-canvas (or acrylic too I guess) artists of her time.

All the shots here made me reflect upon her friendship, and I think she would have approved.  BTW, she used Canon cameras to photograph her subjects - for their details, then put them into scenes and poses of her own creation.  I know - because I sold her the cameras, and thats how our friendship developed.

Lenses / Re: AF dead on my EF 200 2.8L - thoughts?
« on: August 13, 2013, 11:31:56 PM »
could also be that its something simple as a ribbon cable came out of its retainer

Lenses / Re: What lenses would you bring for this travel-trip?
« on: August 13, 2013, 11:29:58 PM »
I'd be perfectly happy with a 5d3 and 24-105/4

I'd be happy with a 5d2 and 24-105/4 --- which is what I've got!

If I'm really going on an expedition... I bring one digital SLR, and its been a few Rebels and the 18-55 in the past (last expedition was in 2006).  I bring a small flash that runs on 2 AA cells.  And I bring a Leica M4 or M6 and 35/2.0 and a half brick of monochrome film.

Keep in mind, when I get out of town, and into a new locale, I don't really see the sights as much as try to mingle and meet the locals and share share stories with them as I click away.  Your own needs are probably much different than mine......

Should also add, it all fits in a F1x Domke, along with about half my clothes and personal items, the rest being taken along in literally... saddlebags.

So I bought a 5Dii as a back up camera for weddings but I've never shot with it as I don't trust the ISO performance.

I don't mean to be smarmy here... but you're shooting professionally, for money, providing services and products for clients.

You bought it, you've not shot with it.   Let me give you a bit of a hint: Why don't you go test it yourself and it see if it performs to your liking?

What you said is true about the 35mm focal length.  For 95 percent... its all you need.  After that, if I was shooting in 2.4x3.6 format, I think you could worse than the 24-105 zoom.  I have little need for anything much wider than 35mm, but the occasional longer lengh comes in handy for a few shots.

And.... broken record that I am... I'll say again, that controlling the lighting is the photographers job.  Never let the light control you.

Technical Support / Re: My 5D Mark III most likely have cancer
« on: July 23, 2013, 09:54:06 PM »
My 7D that I got last year had a similar problem - and several others.  Turns out it was the CF slot - which canon replaced (or the contact block at its end... not sure how its constructed). 

They also replaced the shutter release switch and at least part of the AF mechanism which was really malfunctioning badly.

End result - AF works perfectly, CF works perfectly, and the shutter release is working perfectly.   

I'm saying this in order to encourage you - my camera would not AF past about 7 meters or under about 2 meters, the CF card would show up "missing" even when in the slot... with four different cards of different types tried, and the shutter would go full auto on single shot - and I don't mean an occasional double shot, I mean twenty frames or more shot ... even when no finger was on the release.  I still get the occasional double... gotta be my fat finger.

Canon came through 100 percent.... and the 7D is my go-to for AF performance (beats the 5Dii in that regard, hands down!)

Lenses / Re: Patent: Canon EF 50 f/1.8 IS
« on: July 23, 2013, 09:45:57 PM »
Just what we eight hundred dollar 50mm f/1.8 lens.  Oh boy!

Lighting / Re: Looking for C Stands in the UK
« on: July 21, 2013, 08:17:45 PM »
Forgot to say... call them in California, ask how to get in touch with their UK distributor.   You'll find you may need to deal with a motion picture supplier, but most (at least in the USA) will gladly accomodate.  I deal with Stage Equipment and Lighting, and am very small potatos for them...but they handle my requests with a smile.

Lighting / Re: Looking for C Stands in the UK
« on: July 21, 2013, 08:14:58 PM »
Personally.... I don't know why folks just don't go with the best, the originator of the C stand - MSE

The others are not as nice... I know, I've used em!

Matthews Studio Equipment - their number (not ironically) 1-800-CE-STAND

After using C stands, which are handy, I outfitted with a bunch of Matthews Beefy Baby and Jr stands.  Just great stuff.  And parts are always available (or they'll rebuild 'em for you).

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