November 23, 2014, 07:30:15 PM

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Topics - ahsanford

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Hey gang,

Next month I'm off on a road trip.  Though I'll be bringing my camera bag inside to hotels each night, I didn't know if there was any harm in leaving my tripod and ball head stashed in the car.  Threat of theft is not an issue, but temps will be as low as 10-15 F overnight.

Tripod = carbon fiber = Gitzo 1542T
Ball head = Arca Z1 DP

Any concerns with that gear getting down to that temp?

- A


next month I'm off for a vacation road trip with my girlfriend through Arizona to Santa Fe, NM and I'd love some gear and sightseeing advice. 

  • Unlike past trips where I could carve out some solo photography time and shoot some landscapes or macro work, we'll be together for almost all of the trip.  So the big GuraGear bag is staying at home and I'm planning on bringing a more modest kit.
  • On vaca, I shoot a little bit of everything -- walkabout, street, hiking, landscapes and macro.  95% of the time, I'm an available light shooter. 
  • The full gamut of temperature we'll see could run from 15F to 60F.  So there will be plenty of large temp transitions where my gear will jump into and out of the cold.
  • We'll be staying in hotels -- no need to plan for overnights outdoors.

I have two burning questions:

1) If you've been to or live near the Flagstaff - Albuquerque - Santa Fe neck of the woods, what are the must-sees or must-dos?  I don't just mean great vistas for photography -- what's fun to see, do, or experience out there?  If it helps, we are in our 30s and we're into food, beer, hiking (medium level, day-hikes only), art, film, music, history, local culture, and odd places. 

2) Of all my gear (listed below) -- and considering the four bullet points up top -- what would you bring and why?  My gut (just off the cuff) is on bringing the bold items below.

  • 5D3
  • 28 f/2.8 IS
  • 40 f/2.8
  • 50 f/1.4
  • 100 f/2.8L IS
  • 16-35 f/4L IS
  • 24-70 f/4L IS
  • 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
  • 90EX Speedlite (tiny emergency flash if the need arises, works fine on the 5D3 with standard FLs)
  • 600EX-RT Speedlite
  • Tripod, ball head, cable release, sand bag, etc. (Small Gitzo traveler (1542T) and an Arca head (z1/dp)
  • Standard filters - UV, CPL, etc.
  • Landscape filters - Lee 100 system, ND grads, Big Stopper, 105 CPL, etc.
  • Ziplocks and desiccant for coming from the cold
  • Batteries, chargers, yadda yadda
  • Rain covers
  • Monopod

So?  Thoughts? 

As always, I appreciate the advice -- you folks have been gold on prior trips.

- A

Hey all,

I caught this story doing the rounds on PetaPixel and SLR lounge:

Watch the video.  Besides being a wretched sales pitch (zero details on filter size or reasons why this is better than anything else), this idea appears to be an alternative for the Lee SW150 holder, which is made for non-front-threaded lenses like the Nikon 14-24.  It has the added upside of automagically not needing any threading or assembly -- it's a pretty simple one-piece push-on usage.

Commenters on the stories are calling BS over a $265 asking price for just the holder, but upon further review, the Lee SW150 holder is a solid $400 in comparison (I had no idea!).

I'm a happy Lee 100mm (standard/foundation) user and am invested in that setup.  So this new product certainly isn't for me.  But I was curious what I'm missing with this idea -- what (besides the push-on use, which I am not convinced is a net positive thing) is the point of this system, and what might it offer over the Lee SW150 or Wonderpana setups?

- A

Reviews / Solid DPReview video (20+ min) with a wildlife photographer
« on: November 10, 2014, 05:48:17 PM »
DPReview just put out a very nicely produced 7d2 hands on with a wildlife photographer, using the 16-35 f/4L IS, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, and ever-so-affordable 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x.  Mountain lions, wolves and landscapes were shot, as well as some intervalometer and video work (note: the pro in question is a wildlife stills shooter and not a video pro).

A very nice watch if you have 22 minutes to spare:

I want to see more 'big picture' reviews like this in the field after a week filled with minutiae and lab tests.  Nicely done, DPReview. 

- A

Lenses / Is the new 100-400L II going to be a push/pull after all?
« on: November 10, 2014, 04:43:08 PM »
Just saw this at photo rumors:

Of note:  "New “push-pull” zoom"

The article was then pulled from the site in question.  Is there anything to this?  Any chance that push/pull might live on?

- A

EOS Bodies / Canon 7D Mark II - DXO, Tony Northrup, and You
« on: November 10, 2014, 11:21:25 AM »
Our favorite long video gear talker  ::) has chimed in on the DXO ratings for the 7D II.

Where's my popcorn, dammit...

- A

EOS Bodies / Canon 7D Mark II AF tracking through the viewinder (VIDEO)
« on: November 07, 2014, 01:06:06 PM »
Worth a watch:

Shot with the 18-135 IS STM lens.  Impressive, I'd say, but I don't shoot action like this often.  Others may be less impressed.

- A

Lenses / More chatter on an EF 11-24 F/4L coming soon
« on: October 02, 2014, 05:55:03 PM »
I don't put too much stock into CanonWatch, but they are claiming to have a source saying that an EF 11-24 F/4L lens is happening:

Some of you in a recent poll implied that this forum community's desire for a Nikon 14-24 F/2.8 clone was less based on that lens's spectacular sharpness and more based on the opportunity the 14mm wide end on that zoom might offer.  So I'd imagine -- were this rumor true -- some folks would be super duper happy about this.

But even if this picture was not a fake, no front filterability (without a comically large aftermarket outrigger) would be DOA for me.  I'll happily enjoy my 16-35 F/4L IS and call my UWA needs sated. 

- A


Only Sigma has the stones to find a way to turn a fixed lens point and shoot into a medium format ergonomic footprint...

Quattros have always been an odd, odd duck.  They have amazing detail in the sensor, yet such poor low light performance that a review I saw of this little thing was largely done on a tripod (!).  The science fiction ergonomics, the fixed lens, all of it -- is wacky and "why?"-inducing. 

But that viewfinder, good gravy that viewfinder...  [Does the bon appetit hand to mouth kiss of perfection.]

Stick with lenses, guys.  Stick with lenses. 

- A

Nikon just put out their D750 announcement:

Nikon has, of course, gone a little crazy with all the FF offerings.  But the D750 is not a weird sidebar project (like the D800E), a retro/style play (Df), a quality fix (like the D610) or a refresh/update (like the D810).  This is a new segment at first glance.

I thought the FF market had settled into:

Entry:         6D / D6-something (2 models 1 model  ::))
Pro:           5D3 / D8-something (3 models)
Flagship:   1DX / D4-something (2 models)

It looks like (and I haven't scrutinized this terribly long) this D750 camera is a mish-mosh of:

* D6-something sensor (entry)
* D8-something AF system (pro)
* D8-something video (pro)
* D810 and D4s image processor (pro/flagship)
* 6.5 FPS burst (pro* is not quite this fast, but 6.5 is nowhere near their flagship level)
* D6-something fastest shutter speed (entry)

And everything -- features and price -- seems to line up with a new mid-level FF price point.

Is this tenable as a business model?
Can Nikon sustain four price points of FF shooters and not:

  • Leave one price point unattended for long periods with new offerings?
  • Frustratingly blur the lines between the segments and have new offerings muddle things further?

As a consumer, I love all the options, but surely this is a tough road for Nikon to take, isn't it?  Would Canon ever try to stretch out and subdivide the FF market in this fashion?

- A

EOS Bodies / How does the reveal of the final 7D2 specs make you feel?
« on: September 11, 2014, 11:40:58 AM »
We've finally seen what are believed to be the final 7D2 specs:

So there it is.  It's Christmas morning, and you finally got to open your present after ages of speculating.  How are you feeling?

- A

Lenses / "Confirmed" -- Zeiss Otus 85mm F/1.4 at Photokina
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:51:13 AM »
Photo Rumors: new Zeiss 85 Otus is "confirmed" for Photokina:

(These guys usually have pictures when they confirm things.  Not this time, though.)

- A

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Shooting an event soon -- could use some advice
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:20:52 PM »
Hey gang,

I wasn't sure where to put this, sorry.

I am volunteering at a kids event this weekend and when they heard I was a photographer (full disclosure: natural light enthusiast only), they asked me to bring my rig and shoot the event.  I only have sketchy details, but here's what I know:

  • It will be a mixture of indoor and outdoor shooting.  Outdoors will be violently bright and indoors will be cavelike darkness (it's actually an aquarium).
  • There will be thousands of people there over the course of the event, so it will be some form of organized chaos in a walkaround 'capture what I can' sort of scenario.
  • The event will last 4-6 hours and I need to carry all my gear over that time -- no 100% safe bases of operations are available, and my car will be too far away.

So here's what I was planning on bringing:

  • 5D3
  • 600EX-RT with a Sto-Fen Omni Bounce
  • 16-35 F/4L IS
  • 24-70 F/4L IS
  • 70-200 F/2.8L IS II
  • Filters: CPL for outdoor shooting and UV for indoor shooting and handsy kid fingerprint insurance  :P.  The CPL might also be useful to shoot the exhibits through the glass if need be.
  • I may also bring some rain covers in case they need me to shoot near an open water habitat -- I'm waiting to hear back on that.


1) Did I miss anything obvious?  (Note that I lack any (even basic) off-camera lighting tools like a bracket or ETTL cable.  So I'm hotshoe-ing the 600EX-RT or bust.)

2) I need to be able to carry everything around with me, so I don't want to go too heavy.  The 70-200 is heavy and likely will be overkill given how many people will be packed into this place.  Should I leave it out altogether to save weight, or would you bring it?

3) Should I even bother with a gray card to back out the interior lighting?  I think I'll be moving around to so many different spots that I won't have the time to use it.

Any advice is appreciated.

- A


Take this rumor with a grain of salt, but that would make a heck of a splash...

- A

Pricewatch Deals / 70D refurbs now available *and* on sale
« on: August 20, 2014, 12:16:52 PM »

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