April 19, 2014, 09:19:38 AM

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Topics - ahsanford

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Bryan Carnathan's most excellent TDP website has posted a very nice head to head of IQ of the Sigma 50 Art against 7 similar focal length primes, including the Canon L, Canon 50 1.4 and the Zeiss Otus:


His IQ comparisons are fun if you haven't used them before.  You mouseover the sample shot and the arrow indicator flips to show what image is being shown.  You can change the aperture and see what changes, and he'll eventually even run the same test on crop body (note: he only has FF data on the new Sigma 50 right now). 

By my eyes on these sample shots, the new Sigma Art thoroughly trounces the Canon 50L (as expected) and the Canon 50 F/1.4 (though it's pretty similar after F/4 or so).  The Zeiss, to me, looks sharper wide open, esp. in the corners.  Maybe that's what +$3k buys for you.  :P

Of course, this is not the end-all be-all for a lens review.  I'm sure Bryan will write quite an opus on this one in the next week or two.

But it's looking good.  Have at it and see for yourself!

- A


with all the great Canon Store refurb deals doing on of late, I thought about picking up the 135 F/2L.  With the sale, it would be $696 including shipping, which is a terrific deal.

That lens has a stellar reputation:  this forum and the tests/reviews I've read agree that this lens is an impressive performer.

My only pause in snatching one up is that I already own the stellar 70-200 F/2.8L IS II, and I have to wonder.  Is being one stop quicker really that valuable?  Is the bokeh that magical?  Is it that extra-bit sharper over one of the sharpest zooms made?

Thoughts?  Knowing that I have the 70-200, if I picked the 135 up, would it just sit in my bag for dedicated portraiture work?

If it helps with your answer: 
  • Besides the 70-200, I use a 5D3 with a 24-70 F/4 IS, 28 F/2.8 IS, 40 F/2.8, 50 F/1.4, 100 F/2.8L IS and a 2x T/C.
  • Enthusiast only -- not a pro.

I appreciate the guidance!

- A

Lenses / Poll: How good do you think the Sigma 50 F/1.4 Art will be?
« on: March 21, 2014, 09:23:05 PM »

Odd ranking categories to be fair, but they were the best I could run out quickly.  Given the hype & Sigma's recent track record, I've not offered the possibility that the lens is a dud.

Take 'performance' to mean whatever you choose.  I realize that comparing AF and MF lenses together is impossible given that some folks *must* have AF, but indulge me.

Curious to see how this comes out.  Thanks for voting.

- A

Lenses / Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art price to be announced on April 11th...
« on: March 21, 2014, 05:53:59 PM »

It's sad, but all I have to look forward to is a future date for a price announcement for a lens that isn't even available yet:


- A

Lenses / Hands-On Video with the new Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art
« on: February 21, 2014, 01:41:27 PM »

Just spotted this hands-on video with the new Sigma 50 at CP+ here:

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | ART Small | Large

Not too much going on, but he has a host of side-by-side comparisons for diameter and length.

No news on pricing.   ::)

- A

PowerShot / Underwater Compact that shoots RAW?
« on: February 13, 2014, 12:53:56 PM »

Hello all,

I'm off to do some snorkeling soon, and was considering how I might take pics underwater.  I've considered both a sealed-up housing for either my iPhone or my 5D3 and I didn't want to risk either.  I've decided that I want to rent a waterproof compact camera instead. 

LensRentals offers the Powershot D20, but as you can see, the shots it takes are okay but not so hot:

Given that these shots scream for post-processing (color cast, lack of contrast, etc.), I was wondering if any underwater compacts actually shoot in RAW. 

Are you guys aware of any?

- A

Lenses / Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Price leaked
« on: February 06, 2014, 03:10:24 PM »

Saw this at photorumors.com re: Sigma's new 50 Art:



- A

Software & Accessories / ND Grad filters question
« on: January 17, 2014, 01:01:27 PM »
Hey gang,

I currently have the Lee filter setup and have the Big Stopper, and a 2 stop hard and 3 stop hard ND grads in my bag.  If I was to add just one soft ND grad to my bag, what would you recommend? 

I am waffling between the 2 and 3 stop versions, and was wondering what your experience has been on that front.  For those who have both, which do you use more?


- A

Software & Accessories / Shade for 5D3 LCD?
« on: January 16, 2014, 12:40:37 PM »


I'll be doing some landscape work soon, and I was wondering everyone's take on shading the LCD for LiveView work.

I've seen all kinds of gadgets -- as simple as a three-sided square hood and as complicated as a Hoodman / Zacuto / etc.

I am looking for something that will:
  • Shade my 5D3's LCD from bright sunlight, specifically during LV landscape work.
  • Should be able to stay on the camera without holding it
  • Come on/off easily without requiring significant hardware or any adhesive
  • Not require the bottom or side of the camera / not interrupt my Arca plate
  • As I don't shoot landscape too often, it would be nice (but not mandatory) to be able to see the camera buttons and the LV screen at the same time (for more realtime confirmation of button-press = result), see my ND grad filters and the screen at the same time, etc.

I realize the last requirement effectively kills off the viewfinder-like attachments, but sell me on those if you truly think they are a winner.

I do not shoot video.  Please completely disregard that need with this request.

All said, what do you recommend?  I am game for a product, a jury-rigged contraption, or even a simple best practice.  What's the way to go?


Software & Accessories / Use a CPL with an ND Grad setup?
« on: January 13, 2014, 05:15:57 PM »


A rudimentary ND grad question here.  I'm off to shoot some beach landscapes for vacation soon.  I'm keen to use my infrequently used Lee ND grad filters (I have the 100mm outrigger which takes the 4"x6" ND grads), but I also shoot my handheld (i.e. touristy) landscapes with a CPL to manage the sky.

Is it really just a case of using the CPL or the ND Grads?  Is it possible to use both simultaneously?

1) Mechanically can you use both?  It would seem that a lens-directly-mounted CPL would be pain to adjust as it would also turn the adaptor ring (and therefore the filter) for the Lee system.

2) Compositionally, is there value in using both simultaneously?  Surely the ND grads will solve the sky contrast problem, but a CPL could then be used solely to tame glare and reflections.  But how often does that come up?

I ask b/c the lens in question will likely be a rental with a filter diameter that I do not presently own.  So I am asking if I should be renting a CPL to go with that diameter knowing that ND grads will be used for certain? 

Thanks for your advice!

- A

Lenses / Headed to Hawaii -- let's talk gear / locations
« on: January 03, 2014, 02:35:04 AM »

Looks like I'm off to Hawaii before too long.  It's looking like I'll only be on Oahu for the trip.

I was planning on taking a couple days to shoot the area.  Besides the obvious landscape opportunity, I will be doing some hiking as well.  Landscape work will be the kitchen-sink approach with tripod, filters, etc., but the hiking will just be the body and a standard zoom.

I'm generally not a landscape shooter (and when I do I'm certainly not a serious landscaper), though I have slowly started acquiring the tools to do that job.

I am planning on bringing the following:

  • 5D3
  • 24-70 F/4 IS + hood
  • 70-200 F/2.8 IS II + hood + tripod collar
  • Tripod / Ball head / mounting plate / shutter release
  • Lens filters -- UV and CPL
  • Lee filter kit + ND grads + Big Stopper (I almost never use these filters, but this got to be the perfect place for them, right?)
  • 'Photo trip stuff' -- air blower, cleaning kit, filter wrenches, etc.
  • Batteries / charger / backup cards / yadda yadda

I was not planning on bringing the following:

  • My standard primes (28 2.8 IS, 40 2.8, 50 1.4, 100L macro) -- I'm not shooting street and this is tourism central, so I see little need for discreet walkaround gear.  It's Hawaii, right?
  • Flash -- I usually take natural light with landscapes and don't try to fill the foreground (...but I could, I guess.  I'm trying to not take up too much bag space with the unnecessaries.)

All that said, my questions are as follows:

1)  Did I make the right calls on what to bring / not bring?  What would you do differently?

2)  Do I need an ultrawide lens, specifically a filter-able ultrawide lens, say the 16-35 II or a Zeiss 18?  I could certainly rent one of those.

3)  What great Oahu locations do you recommend for the tripod setup?  What about for hiking?

As always, I appreciate this forum's great advice.

- A


I've recently picked up one of the new retina display iPads, and despite the large capacity, Apple still has maintained the silly Photostream rules -- so images pushed to my phone and iPad from my desktop are limited to 2048x1536.  But I now have a terrific tablet display with a fairly quick processor, so I'd like to show full-resolution shots on it.  I sync'd an entire album in full res (yeah, with a cable) as a test and, as expected, it looks so much better than the default Photostream resolution.
Everything I have is in the Apple ecosystem, and iPhoto is still my primary repository for shots.  So I have the option to sync whole albums, but that's a cable/manual/micromanage-y job.  My ideal preferred 'push' workflow would be...

1) Shoot pictures

2) Process / store photos on the home computer

3) Selectively push my best rated shots in full resolution to [my Photostream] -- right now I just grab everything over a certain rating (at the time of processsing) and drag them into Photostream and that's that

4) Automatically pull them down on other iOS devices in full resolution -- this is what I can't do now

I used the "[my Photostream]" above as it doesn't have to be Photostream.  I'd consider another tool like photostream if it was as simple as listed above and could net me full-resolution shots.

So I am looking for options, hopefully yielding a slick solution that doesn't need great babysitting.  Bonus points if I can keep everything (on the desktop side) in iPhoto -- I really don't want to leave that world for a host of reasons.


- A

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