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Messages - veraphoto

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Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
« on: May 02, 2013, 12:09:30 PM »
Hats off to Neuro for "Watercolors". Awesome image.

Lighting / Re: 600ex-rt vs PocketWizard Flex TT5 Setup
« on: April 24, 2013, 10:09:51 PM »

As it was mentioned by Neuro, The PW setup is it only worth keeping if you are going to use studio lights and want to control the power level on the strobes from the camera. If that doesn't happen in your case, sell all of the PW gear asap.

As far as using 600 ex-rt's, specially for events, I strongly recommend it. Canon has hit a homerun with its radio system. It is super reliable and fairly simple to use, once you get used to the key buttons on the flash (or directly on the camera, since you have a 5D3). We have been using the 600's for almost a year and it has been one of our best investments. We have 4 600s and 1 STE3 now.

My only additional suggestion, would be to consider using another 600 instead of the STE3 as the master. Since you do events, the AF assist light on the 600 is a savior for low light situations, plus the obvious fact that with the 600 you have a flash on top of your camera, giving you another option, beside the slave 600s. In my opinion, the STE3 is useful in more controlled enviroments (which is where we use it), but during a dimmly lit event, you need the AF to work as fast as possible.

By the way, looking forward to the 1.2.1 firmware for the 5D3. The AF when used with the assist light can really use more speed and that is supposed to come with this version.

Lighting / Re: ST-E3-RT and 600EX-RT to trigger 580EXii ?
« on: March 12, 2013, 06:35:47 PM »
Hello All,

As always, great forum. Everything that has been mentioned about 580EXII being optical only, STE3 being radio only, and the 600 being both radio/optical is correct. I would only add to this, there can be more than 1 Master. We tried this, this past weekend at a wedding ceremony, at the beach and at night, so it was a real nightmare as far as lighting goes. We clamped 2 600s on the sides of the huppah (1 on each side) and acting a slaves. My wife was covering the ceremony with 2 5D3s, one with a 24-70 and the other with a 70-200, each camera with a 600 acting as master.

This worked flawlessly, she would switch from one camera to the other, and the slaves would fire without issues. This is properly documented on page 60 of the manual, if you don't exceed the limit of 16 units in total (slaves+masters).

Canon's radio system works great and it is super dependable. In my experience, it works 1000 better than pocketwizard, which was my previous solution. And the fact that the Master lets you know that all the slaves are ready is awesome.

I am selling my remaining 580s to replace them with 600s.

Happy shooting to all.

Great Video. Thanks so much for posting this!!!. I have been looking for something like this for a while.

To summariza your point: You would prefer using fixed ND filters in a studio enviroment because of the effect of the variable ND has on the light?. What is the negative effect?


Great topic. I've had an ND filter in sight for a couple of months now. I am looking to be able to use a wide open aperture 1.2 to 1.8 (super narrow depth of field) in studio portraits and my Elinchrom lights don't go low enough, so my solution is to use an ND filter. Most people use the ND filters for long exposures in landscape photography, but there is little to none references to studio usage of an ND filter.

So I would ask:
1) Would you propose a better (cheaper) solution to dimming the flash in the studio?.
2) Variable ND filters from Singh-Ray?. This is what McNally and other photographers recommend as the rolls royce of ND filters. Opinions?
3) Any references that you could think of this usage of ND filters in studio?

Thanks in advance,


Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: ST-E3-RT mini review
« on: October 18, 2012, 08:22:37 PM »
The Canon radio gear is super reliable. We tested the water initially with just two 600s, and we were so happy with it, that we are at 4 600s and the ST-E3.

At this point we have more than 3 months of extensive experience with the system and the verdict is clear: Absolutely recommended.

Pros/Cons of the Canon Radio Setup:

1) Super Reliable. Compared with previous radio option: Pocketwizards (MiniTT1/FlexTT5) controlling 580EXIIs. The interference problem on the 580 seems to be gone on the 600.
2) Controlled directly from the camera. Canon doesn't advertise this as much as it should, since this is a killer feature (External Speedlite Control Menu).
3) Allows for 5 different groups, with up to 16 flashes overall. This allows for complex lighting setups. I believe Nikon only goes up to four groups (if you use the master as the first group, from the mcnally sketching the light book)
4) No line of sight requirement: As with every radio solution, of course.
5) Compatible with previous Canon flashes, using optical transmission. Optical works OK indoors, but is very tricky outdoors, specially if the sun is hitting hard.
6) Good Range: Canon's range estimate is very conservative. You can get more range.
7) You end up carrying less gear and weight around. For events, this is critical.

1) Expensive?. Typically, this is the first complain (it was mine complain at first), but compared with the previous option, a 580 plus a pocketwizard, is about the same. I guess, the Canon marketing guys did their math right.
2) Still, you end up spending thousands of $, when you purchase multiple flashes (For events, is indispensable to have at least 3 600s to rotate them as they overheat)
3) Not compatible with other lighting equipment. I don't know of a way to control and fire other lighting gear (strobes) with the canon system. (If anyone knows of a creative way, please let everybody know)
4) Overheating: When pushed hard, I see very similar behavior as the 580s. Not sure if the way the 600s handle heat is a major improvement over the 580s
5) Can't think of other cons.

Please feel free to add pros and cons to this list.

I would love to read opinions from neuro, spokane and all of the excellent participants of this forum, the real value of this forum.

I Strongly recommend this book. It is a very good resource and spends a few pages on precisely what you are requesting, technical interpretation of pictures. (I did a on week training session with Syl at Maine Media this summer and it was such a good expenditure of time and money, well worth it)

Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Using Flash and Natural Light for Portrait, Still Life, Action, and Product Photography)

Amazon Link:

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 1DX or 85mm 1.2?
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:23:37 AM »
Hi Jaayres20,

Since people here have already given you some really good information about the 1Dx, 85mm 1.2, 5D3, etc. and how all that might work together, let me offer you a different suggestion that nobody has suggested yet.  What about the possibility of not getting anything new at all at this point?  I'm not trying to be smug or mean spirited, but rather trying to give what I feel is really good advice given your current setup.  Even you admit you have plenty of gear to make amazing pictures.

I think sometimes when we have too much gear we tend to lose focus of why we have them in the first place and how we might grow to better use them.  I hear you, it is totally tempting to try out and want to use all the cool new things out there, but in truth if your end goal is to make compelling and thoughtful images for your client and yourself none of us really need as much gear as most of us probably already have.

If you don't have much money and this would put a burden on you that will in the long run diminish your enjoyment of the craft as you will constantly worry about what you sacrificed to attain all of that gear.  And even if you do have the money to keep buying whatever you want, I still argue that constantly chasing after new pieces of gear can ultimately hurt your ability to focus on making great use of the gear you already own.  Because when we get new pieces of gear, we often do tons of tests and wonder why it does this or why it does that or why it doesn't do this right or as well as that other piece of gear, or why some people seem to be having great success with it and others get the point right?  Stuff, (not just photography gear) has a tendency of complicating our lives and we often end up being obsessed (as you rightly observed) with the things themselves rather than the more important stories that we were meant to create with them.

One of the most famous current wedding photographer by the name of Jeff Ascough ( had once said in an interview that he shoots about 95% of all his wedding on a 24mm 1.4 and a 50mm 1.2.  His wedding work is inspired to be sure.  Even the great HCB used mainly a 35mm or 50mm lens his entire career and he is considered by many in our field as one of the greatest human photographer of all time.

I'm not trying to preach to you---lord knows I feel the same impulse as you, but nobody was giving you the advice that I think would best benefit you as a photographer---and that is to learn to use the gear you already have so expertly that you will eventually forget the gear all together and instead focus on the craft and narrative of our subjects and ourselves---after all isn't that really our goal as photographers?

Just my two cents.  All the best to you and I hope you create wonderful images with the fantastic setup you already have.

I am a wedding photographer and have two 5D mark IIIs, a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, a 50mm 1.2L, a 24mm 1.4L, a 100mm f/2.8L IS and three 600ex-rt flashes.  I have more than what I need to take amazing pictures in almost any situation but I after I buy something I find myself looking to the next thing to buy.  I don't know what is wrong with me it is like a disease.  I know I am crazy and should just be content with what I have.  So if you were in my situation and you were going to buy something new would you sell one of the 5D3s and get a 1DX or would you buy the 85mm 1.2?  I am a little afraid the 85mm 1.2 will be a little slow focusing at receptions similar to the 50mm 1.2.  I just don't understand that my 70-200 and 24mm are able to focus really well in almost no light but the 50mm is very slow and unreliable.  If the 85mm is anything like the 50mm in that regard it may change my decision.  I would love to use it for portraits and almost always shoot at very large apertures.  As a matter of fact I love a shallow DOF so much that I usually shoot two or three Brenizer method images each wedding to get the effect of f/0.5 or f/0.6.   

This is an excellent post. It is so easy to get bitten by the gear virus. I am also totally obsessed with new gear and reading this forces me to lean back and relax a little.

Regarding your specific question, the 5D3 is super capable for weddings, the only advantage of the 1DX that I can see is the 2/3 stop better performance in low light, but it has to be very dark for this to be an issue. A 1DX is not worth double of a 5D3 for a wedding photographer in my opinion. Sports and photojournalism is a complete different ballgame.

Regarding Lenses, you have an awesome setup. If you must get new gear, go for additional lenses

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