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Messages - ahsanford

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61
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 01, 2014, 05:00:02 PM »
ahsanford: do you have a blanket ban on using photoshop or flash?  I don't normally carry a flash for the stuff I do but I made an effort to learn how to use it and it comes in very handy sometimes.  When I'm shooting with my Fuji XE1 (for which I have only one lens - the 35 1.4) I usually shoot jpeg because I don't generally feel I need to process the shots much but I certainly shoot RAW 100% with my 1D4 for birds and RAW+jpeg for sports.  The point is, putting arbitrary limits on the tools available doesn't make sense if the goal is good photos.  Shooting with my XE1 is limiting because of the single prime lens and because I usually only shoot jpeg but I'm not married to those limitations.  I'll crop shots if it makes them look better and I'll process them if it makes them look better.  I just cannot fathom why anyone would look at a shot and say "I know this would be better if I did this and that but I'm not going to abandon ~*my principles*~"

No hard ban on either.

I'm not a huge fan of hard rules either, but I do like natural light for my aforementioned list of reasons.  That said, I finally picked up a flash last year because friends were more and more asking me to take portraits or mill about at large family events, and I lost my pop-up flash when I migrated to FF.  I'm also fooling around with touristy 'landscape portraiture' and backlit subjects are a mess without some help from a flash.

I use Photoshop principally to bring in my RAW shots through ACR and save them as JPEGs.  I only do this for my 3-5% of best/keeper shots, and I do not spend more than 3 minutes editing a shot.  I almost never perform surgery with masks and curves in PS.  I recognize getting better at PS help me make a good shot great, but I rarely have the patience for it and I almost never print my work.  (Note:  I am not a professional photographer.)

Agree with your comment against dogmatic 'I would never...' rules on photography.  I am hard-pressed to think of my personal 'I would never' photography rules, but if you twisted my arm, they would be...

  • I would never shoot street photography of homeless/indigent folks, nor will I capture scenes of outright suffering.  I'd sooner put the camera down and help those folks.  (Goodness knows, there are enough photojournalists cataloging the world's difficulties these days, anyway.)
  • I would never use a flash for concert photography, because I'd like to shoot another concert someday.  :P
  • I would never shoot macro of arachnids. (In fairness, that's not dogma -- that's phobia.)

- A

62
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 01, 2014, 03:17:20 PM »
There's this weird trend in online photography discussion groups where mediocre photographers embrace some sort of artificial limitation regime like "no cropping" or "primes only" because of the belief that it's purer photography or something. 

Ouch, I missed the word in red above.  Your point is well made (and I welcome the discussion that follows your comment re: purists vs. pragmatists), but there's no need for that kind of tone or implication.   This is a respectful place.  People who don't have the same sensibilities as you are not sub-par human beings -- they are just people with different sensibilities.

Further, I think if you went to that person's website (www.mrsfotografie.nl), you'd see far from mediocre work on display.

- A

63
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: August 01, 2014, 03:07:49 PM »
A case in point. I took this shot yesterday. Equipment used: Sony NEX-6, Metabones NEX-FD Speed booster, Sigma FDn 70-210mm 3.5-4.5 APO. Manual everything (save the white balance). And no cropping.

That is a good example - you clipped the front of the car.  If you had shot wider you could have got all of the car and then cropped for better composition in post.

I can understand how you could shoot motorsports with the "no cropping" limitation, I just don't understand why you would.  Cropping is one of the major tools of photography.  Not using it is like a finish carpenter not using a chisel or planer and justifying it by saying he gets his cuts right the first time (but throws away a lot of good wood). 

There's this weird trend in online photography discussion groups where mediocre photographers embrace some sort of artificial limitation regime like "no cropping" or "primes only" because of the belief that it's purer photography or something.  Like, I get that sometimes it might be a good idea to set a temporary artificial limit in order to break a bad habit but making those limits SOP is nonsense, imo.  Knowing how to appropriately use all of the tools available to you is what makes you a better photographer, not arbitrarily throwing out some of the tools from the bag.  See also "I don't use photoshop/shoot RAW, I get it right in camera" or "I don't need a flash, I prefer natural light"

This is a tangled knuckleball of sensibilities and issues you are throwing to us.  (But it's a fun pitch to swing at, I admit.   :D)

For me, natural light vs. flash is about (a) how much effort and how many variables do I want to control, (b) how much gear I want to carry, and (c) how deliberate vs. spontaneous I want the shot to be.  My answers to those three questions are (a) little effort / keep it simple, (b) less gear, and (c) usually spontaneous.  So natural light shooting is what I strongly prefer.

For getting it right in-camera vs. cropping, that's a question of whether you enjoy working within the limitations of your gear (the guy who brings one lens and moves his feet) or if you see limitations as unacceptable constraints that will be eliminated with more lenses, more post-processing, etc.  Crudely, and likely unfairly, I think the first group wants to puff up their chest and show how competent they are at thinking on their feet and netting difficult shots under tough constraints, and the second group giggles at that and either changes lenses or just crops the shot.   One viewpoint is proud and determined and the other is pragmatic and efficient.  Neither are right and neither are wrong.  :P 

As for post-processing, I think it strongly depends on what you shoot and how much time you want to spend shining up your work rather than collecting more images.  With controlled lighting, consistent sort of subjects, etc. getting it right in-camera is a small matter of dialing it in.  But I don't go to 'shoots' where my environment is scripted.  I happen to shoot my life around me, and my subjects are moving, impatient, and inconsistently lit.  So I shoot JPEG + RAW, and I screen with JPEGs and process the 3-5% best RAW shots individually.  That lets my photographic reality be tamed to the point where I get the most out of my shots at a fraction of the work needed to process them all.

- A


64
I am by no means an expert.  I have used other NDs more than the Big Stopper, but the principles are pretty much the same.  I concur with you and have only a few additional thoughts.

I use M mode almost all the time (except, for example, from a moving train), because that is what I am getting used to (makes much more sense to me than exposure compensation, for example).  I suppose Av would also work, but that seems to me to be an extra step, once the aperture is set in M anyway.  Concur on RAW (if using LR, I don't see the need to shoot anything else).  I use back button focus.  Then, if I remember not to push the back button after focusing, however I have focused (that is, using either camera mode or tweaking with the focus ring in Live View), I am set with focus and don't need to switch back and forth to manual focus.

I do use 100 ISO unless I am using other NDs than the Big Stopper, for example 2 stops plus 3 stops, and need another stop slower.  Then I use 50 ISO.  I haven't thought of or tried your idea of pushing ISO and adjusting exposure time.

I tend to use an app to check depth of field because my eyesight isn't great.  I do use live view and 10X magnification when possible (i.e., when there isn't a glare problem I can't overcome).

I don't follow you on the shutter speed being 1024 times whatever the camera said without the Big Stopper (at set ISO and aperture).  I find either the Big Stopper card or a phone app. will give the answer.

I'm not sure what you mean by inputting the ISO and aperture.  Aren't those already in the camera?  Don't you just adjust the shutter speed by the 10 stops (or so, depending on your Big Stopper)?

I've been just counting out the seconds when I need to go to bulb, but the EXIF data generally tells me I got it wrong (I didn't give it as much time as I thought I did), so I like your idea of using the cell phone timer.  Or investing in a cable release with timer (so many gadgets, so little money).

DPP

Great stuff, thanks.

A few responses:

  • I always forget about back button AF.  I'm too stubborn to switch, but yes, that would cleverly solve the shutter button refocus problem I referred to.

  • ND 3.0 = 10 stops, right?  That's 2^10 (i.e. 1,024) times less light getting through, so that's your shutter speed multiplier, isn't it?  My phone app says 1000x for a 3.0 ND, and the Lee card would seem to corroborate that:  http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/Portals/1/product/images/prd8e36ed5a-8cf0-430f-a76c-22bcdd6e3154.jpg

  • "Inputting ISO and aperture" means that I leave M or Av mode (whatever mode I framed the shot in) and go to Bulb.  Switching settings (especially away from Av) often moves things back to what I last shot manually, which usually means I lose my settings.  I have to do to bulb usually b/c my exposures are often longer than 30 seconds and all modes other than Bulb caps at 30s, I thought.  Bulb mode is basically M without a shutter speed input, so all you need is ISO and aperture -- that's where the statement came from.

- A

65
Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 F/4L IS -- Reviews are trickling in...
« on: July 31, 2014, 05:13:39 PM »

Roger at LR carved up one for all to see:

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/07/of-course-we-took-one-apart

- A

66
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: July 31, 2014, 01:37:36 PM »
Canon made revolution  few years ago. Currently it is a stagnant company, which still focuses significant aattention to dying P&S market. Product cycle for semi-pro and pro products is very long and shows that Canon does not sufficiently invest in R&D as other companies. Canon started loosing in the following areas:

1) Mirrorless market - they loose to Fuji, Olympus, Sony;
2) Sensor technology - loosing to Sony;
3) Lenses - starting to loose to Sigma and Tamron as these 2 companies started producing high quality lenses, which match or in some cases exceed qulity of Canon lenses (e.g. Sigma 50 mm 1.4 Art, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC) for affordable price.

Losing is a tough way to put it.  Being #1 means you have many mouths to feed -- not just enthusiasts and pros in a forum.  I'm truly curious to see what chunk of Canon's business folks like us in this forum (and like-minded shooters not in this forum) actually represent to them.  5%?  10%?

Also, advances in one small segment of the photography world does not make Fuji, Olympus, Sony, Sigma and Tamron the 'team to beat'.  It means that they have had success in one small segment of the photography world.  That's all.

And lest we forget, the company arguably most revered (of late) for its innovation and 'firsts in the industry' -- Sony -- can't seem to understand photographers well enough to produce a top-to-bottom well thought out camera that is free of non-trivial flaws.  They seem predisposed to come up with something cool and useful (that I might want!), shoot it out to the market half-cocked, and under-deliver.  What's worse is that they don't seem to learn from this, and they just shoot out another version in record time with similarly iffy results. 

So it's more than who is on a roll or has the best team or most innovative pipeline -- I want the company that most consistently satisfies its customers.  Bleeding edge innovation isn't my driver.  Saying I have one more stop of dynamic range than my friend with a Nikon isn't my driver.  Believing I have the best camera that has ever been made isn't my driver.  I want a camera/system that does exactly what I want it to do.  Canon may be slow, but they have never let me down with what they have delivered.

- A



67
sorry for stupid question but if i put a 10stop nd filter and a CPL i cant see anything what do you do to find out how much to turn the CPL for example to remove reflections in water?

You need to do is rotate your CPL until you achieve the desired result, then put your 10 stop ND filter in.  A 10 stop ND filter is always last to go in after you have set up your composition and adjusted any needed filters as you can't see anything after it is in front of your lens.

That's correct.  My approach (noting I've only used mine about 5 times) is below, and any comments/feedback would be welcomed:

1) I scout the shot handheld and then set up.  Tripod, cable release, Lee ring & holder, etc.

2) Switch to M, Av, Tv mode -- whatever you prefer.  ISO 100*.  Always shoot RAW with the Big Stopper -- many have a color shift that you need to back out in post, and RAW gives you a greater ability to do that.  For a host of reasons, I switch to manual focus before doing anything.  (Forgetting to do this later can burn you when the Big Stopper is in place.)  I never remember to do this, but this is where I should cover the optical viewfinder for the odd risk of light leak.

3) In LiveView, I frame up everything the way I want it.  Everything but the Big Stopper should be in place (CPL, ND Grad perhaps, etc.) and rotated / located the way I want it.  I won't get into composition as I'm a rookie on that front, but on the technical side of things, I usually opt to manually focus at 10x zoom 1/3 of the way into the frame as many landscapers recommend.

4) If LiveView is showing me what I want to see in the shot (minus the long exposure the Big Stopper will give me), I write down or remember my aperture and ISO settings.

5) I put my Big Stopper in.  My new shutter speed will be whatever I had before times 2^10 = 1024.  (Note this is a rough number and that your specific Big Stopper may vary a bit -- you'll learn this as you shoot with it.)  You can do the math yourself, read the card that came with your Big Stopper, or just get an ND filter app for your phone.

6) I usually just switch to Bulb mode, but you technically don't have to if the computed time is under 30 seconds -- you can use M mode then.  I input the ISO and aperture from LiveView, and I take the shot with a cable release (in the locked position) and a timer on my phone.  I haven't invested in an cable release with a built-in timer, but that is an option as well.

*I'd imagine that you don't always want 1,024x slowdown and buttery blending.  But if you don't have standalone ND filters that are less strong than the Big Stopper, could you cheat and push ISO up to speed up the shot in Step 4, and by extension, take a much shorter final exposure, right? I know jacking up ISO is heresy for a landscape shooter, but it is possible, right?

Feedback appreciated if there is an easier/better way to use the Big Stopper, thanks!

- A

68
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: July 30, 2014, 02:33:35 PM »
I'm always lost with crop-mode on Nikon FX to DX.  Unless you want to shave your RAW file size (cough D800 cough), why crop in-camera like that?  Why not crop in post?

- A

Did you not note that D800 goes from 4fps FF to 6fps crop mode??? Less pixels to push equals the same CPUs and all can drive more fps. And as well, did you notice how much less storage space an APS-C cropped D800 RAW takes than a FF D800 file? If you are shooting distant wildlife and such why do you need to store all that dumb wasted boundary pixel stuff?? It stuffs up HDs, makes backing up take longer, fills up CF cards faster, clogs up the camera's buffer more quickly and makes it flush less quickly.

So:
saves you money and time and clutter of having more HD around
gives you better camera buffer performance
potentially gives you more fps

they all sound like excellent and legit reasons to me

Great answer, thanks.  I didn't think about buffer/framerate.

- A

69
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: July 30, 2014, 02:11:32 PM »
Does Canon usually announce entry-level products at Photokina?  I'm curious if they will be bringing out a more competitive Rebel to counter the recent entry-level Nikon refreshes. 

I am excited about hearing what a new 7D II would bring.

I am excited too i want to see what they do with the 7D II and hopefully it is something revolutionary and gets pushed to the FF cameras like the 5d4.

Yes, but this doesn't preclude EF lenses being 'cropped'. Would be nice as a type of digital TC. However knowing Canon's marketing policies, it's almost definitely not going to happen.

I'm always lost with crop-mode on Nikon FX to DX.  Unless you want to shave your RAW file size (cough D800 cough), why crop in-camera like that?  Why not crop in post?

- A

70
EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Make a Big Splash at Photokina? [CR2]
« on: July 30, 2014, 12:08:19 PM »
The single most interesting thing is going to be the sensor in the new camera.  I want to know if Canon is going to compete with Sony or keep putting lipstick on  their current sensor technology.  This will help me decide where my  future camera dollars are going to be spent.

I hear you brother.  No new sensor and I buy a Sony A7R

Post of the day right there.  So good.  Thank you.

I love this forum.

- A

71
Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 F/4L IS -- Reviews are trickling in...
« on: July 30, 2014, 11:51:46 AM »
I'm looking forward to the 16-35 f/2.8 III and/or the 1x-24. 

The reasonably high probability of a Canon 12/14-24L in the relatively near future is yet another reason I'll likely put the proceeds of selling my 16-35/2.8 II toward the TS-E 17/4L, rather than getting the 16-35/4L IS.

I forgot how useful it was to have AF in the ultrawide range for a walk-around lens until I swapped the 16-35 f/2.8 II for the f/4 IS.  Now, I look for reasons to use it.  I use the 24-35mm range on it for about 1/3 of the shots I keep.  It may not be as good as the 24-70 II, but it is still excellent and saves on a lot of lens changes and renders in a similarly pleasing way.  I'd rather have the f/2.8 over the IS, but for now, I like the 16-35 f/4 IS a lot.

The 12/14-24 will likely not accept screw in filters, but the thing I'd miss most from it is the range up to 35mm for shots with people in them.  Given the life stage (young kids), I'm more likely to use a 16-35 than a 12/14-24, although I'd look at the 12/14-24 as a replacement for my 14.

+1 on 16-35 over 14-24 for the ability to front filter.  2mm wider is admittedly non-trivial on the UWA end of things, but bulbous front elements are a non-starter for me.

(And yes: that's a +1 for the 16-35 vs. something that we have no credible evidence that it exists.  Such is the allure of the mythical 14-24, sheesh.)

- A

72
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Review: Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
« on: July 30, 2014, 11:45:56 AM »
Well, if they must have the best, they ought to pitch their autofocusing 70-200 F/2.8 IS II lenses as well:

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/04/first-look-zeiss-cz-2-70-200mm-t2-9

Dustin, perhaps this is your next review?  ;D

- A

The director of Zeiss for the Americas specifically mentioned the Otus 85 next along with a "few other lenses available after Photokina" in an email to me.  This is likely one of them.
It used to be that video people had to suffer through using our still lenses.  Oh, how things have changed...

- A

73
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Review: Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO Sonnar T*
« on: July 30, 2014, 09:55:09 AM »
:o. I think you have convinced me that I must own this lens!

:o. I think you have convinced me that I must own this lens!

+1 -- Double  :o

Two that must have the best. I guess the review was for you :)
Well, if they must have the best, they ought to pitch their autofocusing 70-200 F/2.8 IS II lenses as well:

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/04/first-look-zeiss-cz-2-70-200mm-t2-9

Dustin, perhaps this is your next review?  ;D

- A

74
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Fun Arias rant on APS-C vs. FF
« on: July 29, 2014, 07:18:57 PM »
if I'm honest with myself I'd be hard pressed to think of an image that I've shot with my 5DIII that I couldn't have shot a year ago with the 7D.
I have issues with your comparison.7D iso over 6400 anyone? I don't get that noise until I hit 25k on the 5D3. to each their own but my 5D3 and 7D images are night and day.

I think that's unfocused's point -- the 5D3 may be better, but maybe not for what he shoots or how he shoots it.  What if he doesn't need ISO 6400, for instance? 

Arias' only argument in that video that I'll back him up on: the limiting factor is usually our ability, camera know-how, composition skills, etc. and not our hardware. 

That said, I do need ISO 6400 and I love my 5D3 for it.   ;)

- A

75
Lenses / Re: New Canon L Primes, but Not Until 2015 [CR2)
« on: July 29, 2014, 02:33:24 PM »
That's the reason why I like the 40mm STM. It's just f2.8 which is sad for separating objects, but those f2.8 are just awesome and useable. A good lense is a lense you're willing to carry with you.

Agree in principle, but the 40mm pancake's much-slower-than-USM focusing speed is a dealbreaker for me.  That lens sits in the cabinet while I shoot with the venerable Canon 50 f/1.4.  Even with the 50 F/1.4's occasionally hunting AF, I miss fewer shots with that one than I do with the pancake.

Now, for a walkaround lens shooting non-moving subjects, the 40mm pancake is a peach of a lens.  Sharp right out of the gate at max aperture, and you can't beat the size and weight.

- A

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