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Messages - AlanF

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The next are at iso 640 and 1/320 s.

The first set of tests were taken in lowish light and somewhat under exposed. These conditions do tend to emphasize the noise, which is useful for comparison.

The first are 70D above, 7D below, both at f/2.8, iso 320 and 1/160s. The 70D is less noisy. The sharpness is pretty similar, but judge for yourself.

My 5DIII is out of action while being repaired and so I have reverted to my old 7D. I am one of those hiker/bird photographers who uses the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III combination at 600mm for its relative lightness. The 7D autofocusses quite quickly with most lenses in general under all conditions. It is a bit slow with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III for well-defined targets and fails for diffuse ones and hunts badly. Out of frustration, I tested a 70D in a shop with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III and it was fine. The 70D is reputed to be less noisy than the 7D and slightly sharper (DxO tests give the figures).  So I bought one.

Here is a brief review.

1. Most importantly, despite being described as having the same AF system as the 7D, the 70D works very well with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III combo and appears to have a more consistent and faster AF. So, the over-riding consideration for me is fulfilled.

2. I prefer the screen and toggle switch of the 7D as I use the camera as a digital telescope in the field for identifying birds. But, the swivel touch screen of the 70D does have advantages.

3. The 70D lacks the spot focus of the 7D - it just has the "open square" in the viewfinder.

4. The weather here has been atrocious so field trials have been difficult. My impressions are that the 70D is indeed sharper than 7D at the extremes of resolution.

As there are so many variables under field conditions, I conducted a test under controlled conditions. I took a very sharp close-up of a kingfisher with my 5DIII in the summer and had a large size print made. So, I used the print as a target. I used the 300mm f/2.8 II without the TC for testing as it is so sharp and will not be the limiting factor in resolution at the distances used indoors. The lens was AFMAd using FoCal on both bodies prior to use.

This target photo had been taken at iso 1250, 1/320s and f/5.6 at 600mm on the 5DIII.

Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 04, 2014, 11:45:52 PM »
While I understand the 300/2.8 II is an excellent lens, I can't understand why this lens is being trumpeted without the 200-400/1.4x also being mentioned.  At 560mm with the built in extender it is just as sharp as the 300/2.8 II + 2x III and at 300mm is very close.  Add in the flexibility to go between 200mm and 560mm and this is a no brainer choice of the 300/2.8 II unless you are photographing sports where you need the bare 2.8.

Personally, I bought this lens over the 600/II.  It was a tough choice but the flexibility makes the lens more valuable.  I would of course like more reach but it does a decent job with a 2x extender.  If I were photographing exclusively birds then the 600/II would have been the better choice but the fact is I photograph a wide variety of things.

Because it is far too heavy for the 300mm + TC fans who are looking for a portable hiking companion and it is too short for the tarzans who want every mm of length with their 600s and TCs and the sharpest combinations.

Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 04, 2014, 04:52:30 PM »
Jack and Mac
I'm with you on this - I miss some long range shots but when hiking there are so many opportunities for photoing birds if you have a camera and lens at the ready, so it's horses for courses.

Here is a possible solution to cover all eventualities. A couple of years ago I received an award in Shanghai and one of my extremely kind hosts made a speech in which he said "behind every great man is a strong woman". Little did he know that I had hurt my back and my wife had been having to lift my luggage into the overhead bins in the 747s. So, what I suggest is that you carry your 300/2.8 + 2xTC and get a strong partner to accompany you carrying a 600/4.

Canon General / Re: Are Metal Mounts Better Than Plastic?
« on: January 04, 2014, 12:17:47 PM »
In the late 70's Canon switched its FD mount from the old design with a coupling ring to the "standard" bayonet. And they made the first "plastic" lenses e.g. the 35...70mm/3.5-4.5. The magazines were full of discussions why this would be the death of Canon and a shame - while Canon said those "plastics" would be more precise and durable than metal...

My 35...70 (bought in 81) still works perfectly (and my other FDs too!) though I didn't really kept an eye to them while shooting outdoors... A full metal Tokina isn't working for a long time now and my "full metal" german Exakta from the late 60's is working but not smoothly...

And the brakes of some super sport cars are also made of "plastics" - or isn't carbon fibre not a kind of "plastic"???? :) :)

The etymology of "brake" is that it comes from Middle Dutch braeke, related to breken to break. Therefore, this is one example where plastics break!

Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 03, 2014, 06:56:12 PM »
I am still getting some superb results from my 7D but the focussing with the 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTCIII can hunt when there is not a contrasty subject. I got sufficiently frustrated yesterday, despite getting some good BIF shots, that in the evening I ordered a 70D and it arrived this morning from WEX. The initial results are looking good, and I'll post a comparison when there is good weather here in a couple of days. DxO tests on its sensor suggest the 70D has significantly better IQ than the 7D.

Software & Accessories / Re: FoCal website not responding
« on: January 03, 2014, 06:46:14 PM »
The licence management came back on again and I quickly calibrated a few lenses. FoCal is the easier than the sloping ruler method!

Software & Accessories / Re: FoCal website not responding
« on: January 03, 2014, 04:42:54 PM »
Thanks Mt!

Software & Accessories / FoCal website not responding
« on: January 03, 2014, 01:58:42 PM »
Order a 70D last night, delivered this morning. My version of FoCal needed updating for the 70D but the management system of the site is not responding. Has anyone else experienced problems with it?

Lenses / Re: Get a 300mm or 600mm? Oh the agony...
« on: January 02, 2014, 04:37:29 PM »
If you are strong and want to sit in a hide (blind) for hours with your gear on a tripod, then go for the 600mm. If you want to walk or hike with a camera at the ready, and also use a hide with a hand held,  go for the 300mm f/2.8 II with a 2xTC III. If you are rich, go for both. It is as simple as that.

Lenses / Re: Quest for the perfect copy?
« on: January 01, 2014, 05:34:19 PM »
I have *terrible* luck with Canon L's....

Some examples with brand new lenses (some issues over multiple copies)...

70-200 II - decentering, broken IS, build quality issues, scratched front element, excessive CA.

35L - USM squealing.

24-70 II - decentered, scratched front element.

16-35 II - USM high pitch squealing.

17-40 - decentering.

I am sure there are more I am forgetting... I almost expect to go through a few to get good a good copy. The 16-35 issue is from yesterday! Waiting for my replacement copy now.

Are you just a lens schlimazel or does it affect your whole life?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: bad senzor on 5D mark III
« on: December 31, 2013, 02:26:25 PM »
Maybe I misunderstood, but I though that the native ISO for this sensor was multiples of 80?

It doesn't matter what the native iso is, the important thing is that the only unmodified iso values that go through from the sensor are multiples of 100, +-1/3ev (125, 160, ...) are digitally modified losing dynamic range - which is nice for movie & jpeg, but if you shoot raw you can do the same thing by over/underexposing 1/3ev.

Here's some more info on this topic:

Thanks for that link.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 5DMkIII AF performance at f/8
« on: December 31, 2013, 12:35:34 PM »
I was really pleased that you and others persuaded me to use DxO. Like you, I also use PS for final cropping, layers etc. DxO prime works brilliantly on the SX50, which really is iso limited.

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