October 22, 2014, 05:45:37 PM

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Messages - ahsanford

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Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 F/4L IS -- Reviews are trickling in...
« on: September 10, 2014, 12:46:21 PM »
...and the last of the major reviews is in:



Adding stabilization in a lens like this is targeting videographers more than stills photographers, where the wide field of view and steadying effect can be put to good use, but it’s a welcome addition all the same. The imaging performance is good, very good in fact, but it’s not without some shortcomings, particularly at the longer end where field curvature provides some unexpected results. Once those are understood and either avoided or worked around, the lens can be a very satisfying performer and at $1,199 this new model doesn’t seem over priced.

But to DXO, we're still on the overall 'poor' end of the scale.  If the sensor only had more pixels, this lens would score higher...  Ridiculous.

Those same jokers gave the new 85mm Otus a score of 38 for Canon and a score of 49 for Nikon based solely on the D800/800E/810's higher resolving power.  Rubbish.

- A

Lenses / Re: DXOMark Reviews Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4
« on: September 10, 2014, 12:40:27 PM »

Everyone seems to have missed the really fun DXO comparison.  The CR guy posted all the Canon mount lenses on Canon body data, but look at the side by side with the Otus on a Nikon body. 

Effectively, the lens goes from a score of 38 to 49 solely based on the increased resolving power of the Nikon.  See attached.

Further:  "It’s also rather large and bulky (although it’s remarkably well balanced on the D800 models)"  Because the 5D3 (by exclusion) is some sort of ergonomic train wreck, right?    >:(

Title of Nikon + Otus review = "Outstanding performance"

Title of Canon + Otus review = "Sharpness limited by sensor"

Though the second statement is potentially fairly made point -- that the lens can outresolve the Canon sensor -- the tone of the words is damning.  Nice work, DXO, you have again failed to earn any respect as a neutral review source.

- A

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Zeiss Otus 1.4/85: The New World-Class Lens
« on: September 08, 2014, 04:28:32 PM »
Apparently Zeiss (unlike Canon or Sigma [cough]) has had the vision to get early copies of this new lens out to neutral photographers for review.  Two links worth checking out:



Spoiler -- TDP hasn't had a review yet, but clearly Bryan Carnathan has had the lens in his possession long enough to drum up these comparison shots.  I look forward to his review... even if I'll never buy a manual focus lens.  :D

- A

FYI, this is the primary reason I got the 135L. If I need a longer lens (and in situations like this I do), and the 70-200 is a bit much to carry, the 135L is the perfect substitute if not better in certain situations.

Yeah, I have the 100L instead for similar reasons (also for macro).  It's a great substitute for portraiture. 

But again, I'm a little leery to slap in a prime and miss something happening, esp. in a crowded place where the old prime lens 'move your feet' axiom becomes harder to pull off.

- A

Which is why I still use my 28 f/1.8 prime quite a bit for campfire shots, etc.  In your case, maybe that 40mm f/2.8 pancake will suffice.  (Didn't I see that in your list?)

I have some quicker primes, like a 50/1.4 and the 100L macro, but I'm leery to sign up for a fixed FL in such a dynamic environment. 

- A

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: SIGMA 150-600!!
« on: September 05, 2014, 03:44:21 PM »
As for wanting constant f/5.6, I don't see that as important or even useful. Remember, the camera body tells the lens what aperture to use and the lens has to figure out how to do it.

Actually, it is a big deal, isn't it?  Wouldn't a constant F/5.6 max aperture still allow autofocusing with a 1.4x teleconverter on the right Canon bodies?

(Forgive me if I'm off here -- I never shoot with long lenses like these.)

- A

Cameras & Lenses: Always two bodies.... .... Speedlight 600ex-rt on each camera

Two cameras with speedlights attached hanging from straps, in a crowd of kids/parents?

That sounds like a good way to get equipment busted.   One bad bump and one of those speedlights can snap off. I think that is a bit over-kill for this type of shoot. Especially for someone doing this type of shoot for the first time.

Agreed - I'd keep one on the 5DIII and the other in a bag/pocket as a spare or for off-camera shots.  Two mounted flashes are too easy to bump into each other, crowd or not.

I don't even own two speedlites.  #naturallightshooter

- A

Awesome feedback everyone.  Please understand I'm not frantic at all about this event --  That's just how I ask questions and learn.   I'm a 'hyper-questioner' who nibbles at a bigger question with many little ones.  Your feedback is stellar.  (I'm actually quite calm about the event, believe it or not.)

Individual responses:

Rusty -- yes, getting close to the kids in interactive moments with games/displays on the 16mm end seemed a natural choice.  16mm is as wide as I go, so that will have to do.  100% agreement on the sto-fen indoor/outdoor positions.  I'm still on the fence with two cameras as the T1i will be fairly useless for ambient light indoors (even ISO 1600 is a challenge on that rig).  I'm leaning towards just the 5D3 with the 24-70 and the 16-35 as option #2 as needed. 

Wickidwombat -- I presume your +/- rule on bright/dark backgrounds for FEC is tied to Evaluative Metering?  I assume that switching to Spot Metering would limit how often I need to compensate, right?  (Side question -- at events, for those that use Av or Tv, what metering modes do you use?)

Many folks who recommended the 70-200 -- I love the isolation that lens gives me, and I appreciate the value it has for candids, but I'm not sure I'll have the room to use it in the venue (which, other than a long and narrow atrium, is quite cramped).  I feel like the 16-35 will get much more use, and not bringing the 70-200 will do my back a favor over the course of the day.

- A

general rules for dialling in Flash exposure compensation in ETTL

if the background is brighter than the subject dial in + EC the amount depends on how much brighter the background is so you need a bit of trial and error start at +1 and work from that.
this is out doors bright sun etc

if the background is darker than the subject dial in - EC same as about the amount depends on how much darker the back ground is again start at -1
this is indoors in shade at night etc

don't leave the flash just in ETTL it will rarely balance correctly you need to practice balancing the ambient exposure with the flash exposure.

another general rule is expose for the background and use the flash EC to correct the exposure of the subject

hope that helps a bit

It does, but I have a jillion flash questions.

Without a flash, I am predominantly an aperture priority guy.  With a flash, I keep hearing two schools of thought on flash settings when you don't have time to dial everything in:

  • Rookie mode:  Stick with whatever mode you usually use without a flash, use your knowledge of that mode to nail the ambient and heavily rely on tweaking FEC as you go.

  • Let's get braver mode:  Switch to M, guess/practice at average starting settings (before the shoot), say ISO 200, F/6.3, Shutter 1/80s, and then tweak as needed throughout the event, using the rule that shutter affects ambient exposure and aperture affects flash exposure.  If either aperture or shutter are getting forced into values you that are problematic (shutter too slow to hold, shutter too fast for sync, or an aperture that is composition unfriendly to keep shutter where you want it, etc.), tweak your ISO to bring you back into settings that give you elbow room either way for flash and ambient exposure.

  • Jedi Event Master Flash mode:  Bend the spoon with your mind.  Just instinctively know what to do.

The concern with events is uneven lighting, which makes locking in 'you're good, just shoot' settings next to impossible.  Can someone give me a simple algorithm for managing this?

Also, I understand the hit to power by using HSS, but sometimes you have to use it, right?

- A

EOS Bodies / Re: A Rundown of Canon at Photokina
« on: September 04, 2014, 10:46:43 PM »
Here's hoping these are not the actual specs for the 7DII I was hoping to put this body in my bag as a second camera.

I'll be interested if it turns out to be a mini 1Dx

That's been the $64,000 question for the last year.  Is this going to be a $1500-1700 camera many expect it to be or is it going to be some crop pro beast for wildlife and birding for north of $2k?  Is Canon going to make a top of the line 'reach camera'?

The sensor, the focusing system, the burst rate / buffer size and build quality will determine that.  If you believe the current CR specs, the burst rate and AF system, F/8 on the center, etc. would imply this will be a very high end rig.  But a pop-up flash does not scream 'built for the tundra'.  And we know next to nothing about the sensor.

So the jury is still out in my book.

- A

Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 04, 2014, 07:19:00 PM »
For the OP:

Some folks (like me) have a lot of faith in the BR threaded knob that comes on their straps.  So I comfortably trust that threaded knob to stay well fixed on my 5D3 threaded hole with the 70-200 attached.

Others want added security, and have opted to leave a tripod plate on their camera at all times.  They then epoxy that BR threaded knob directly to a clamp that locks on to the tripod plate.  This guy runs through what that looks like:


This is nice if you worry about unthreading and/or if you prefer to leave a tripod plate on your camera.

But I trust the knob without all that fuss.  Keep in mind that my biggest lens is that 70-200 and I am not a photojournalist jumping out of a humvee with the army in Afghanistan.  Bigger lenses or more rough handling of your camera could conceivably unthread that BR threaded knob, so use your best judgment on how much extra security you need.

- 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

Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 04, 2014, 01:16:12 AM »
I just got it yesterday.  It's a beast!  Right after I unboxed it, it drop kicked one of my cats and ate the other!   :-\

Kidding aside, I really am scared of it.  It's so unbelievably heavy for its size.  Can my 5D3 handle that kind of weight?  I'm supporting it with one hand while shooting (obviously while not on a tripod), but when I let the neck strap support the camera and lens while I need both hands free I worry about it bending the lens mount or breaking the lens mount.

How strong is the mount on my camera?  Can it handle this heavy lens?
you'll be amazed with the performance of this combo ( I have it!). Get a BlackRapid or similar strap with a tripod socket mount. I have another brand strap by customzied using a tripod quick plate with blackrapid connector. If you use the standard camera strap hang the camera on one shoulder, not around the neck.

+1 on the BR strap with the 70-200.  That's my longest and heaviest lens and I have no concerns about the BR threaded knob backing out. 

Many thread the BR knob into the 70-200 tripod collar, but I usually pull the collar so that the lens slides into a 'normal' 77mm hole in my tenba insert + satchel bag combo.  If you load a collared 70-200 into a satchel vertically, the collar always fights with the insert and you end up having to rearrange your dividers.  So unless I am doing tripod/monopod work, I lose the collar and just thread the BR threaded knob into my 5D3's threaded hole.  It's not quite as well balanced as if you thread into the tripod collar, but it's still worlds more comfortable to carry than a traditional camera strap.

An added benefit of the BR strap (and many other tripod mount attached straps) is that it gets completely out of the way in a jiffy when you need to move to a tripod.  I always hated how traditional straps (fed through the camera body's eyelets) would always get in the way of my tripod setup and shutter release cable.  Now it's 1) unthread the BR strap, 2) screw in my RRS L-plate, and 3) I'm in business.

- A

My advice is to bring the 5D3 with the 24-70 f4 and the 70-200 f2.8 -- and that's it.  You have to decide if the venue will be suitable for the 70-200 -- will you have room to roam a bit or will you always be close to the group?

I don't have a schedule of activities yet, but I presume it will be a balance of some scripted/scheduled activities and some meander-y walkabout time.

- A

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