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Messages - Act444

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Canon General / Re: Suggestions on new Canon DSLR -- thinking 60D
« on: May 18, 2012, 11:04:15 AM »

First of all, welcome!

Two and a half years ago, I was in the same exact position you were, just starting out with a DSLR, frustrated with the awful, red-eye-laden shots my P&S was taking in indoor, low-light situations. There was definitely a learning curve once I did get my DSLR (I started out with a Rebel T2i)- my initial shots weren't much better than my P&S shots, kept getting blurry/OOF shots and wasn't really sure why it was happening. Long story short, to take full advantage of the new features and additional control I now had, I had to read up all on the basics of photography, talk to people, and practice- learn through trial and error. You'll find out that things as small as the way you hold the camera, your stance, etc. can affect the quality of pictures you get. Until good technique is achieved, it really doesn't matter what lens you start out with- the photos will likely look the same.

What I did was I got my T2i/kit lens combo, used that to get comfortable with the camera, learn it, etc. As soon as I was ready to do some serious work with it though, I immediately ditched the kit lens and went for something better (the 24-105 f4). You can go ahead and start out with the 60D and 18-135 if you want- but I think you'll find that as you improve, you'll want a better quality lens. The T3i/60D/7D/5DIII are truly high-megapixel beasts that demand high-quality lenses if you ever want to see their full potential. If you want to jump right in, you might want to think about a cheaper body (a Rebel series) and use the money saved to get something like the 15-85mm lens (praised highly by many people here). When it comes to picture quality, the lens is really what's most important. You'll get higher quality shots with a Rebel and a 15-85 or 50mm than you would with a 60D or 7D with 18-135 or 18-200.

Kind of long, but hope this helps.

Lenses / Re: 70-200: 2.8L vs 4L IS?
« on: May 18, 2012, 12:46:25 AM »
I had the f4 IS. I since traded it in for the 2.8 IS II (since I was really pushing the ISO limit indoors with f4) and absolutely love it. Since you mentioned you don't do sports, you probably don't need the extra stop of the 2.8- instead, IS will come in handy (and would probably be much more useful than the extra stop to you). I think the IS version has better image quality, too.

Lenses / Re: 24-105mm f/4 L IS on a crop camera
« on: May 17, 2012, 11:44:42 AM »
I use 24-105 as a walkaround on the 60D. Great range, but most importantly, it's constant aperture (I don't like variable aperture general zoom lenses) and it has weather sealing, also unlike the consumer zooms. Not to mention I think it's a better long-term investment as well. I don't think the 15-85 was out yet at the time I got mine, but if I had to choose between the two I would get the 24-105 again because of the above mentioned benefits. I find I use the long end much more frequently than the wide end, anyway- and the only time I find 24mm too long is in crowded indoor spaces. But I have the 17-55 for that.

I guess it depends on one's needs though. Photographers who do more landscape work may prefer the wide 15mm end of the 15-85. I happen to prefer the extra reach I get on the 85-105mm end and it's not often I wish I had something wider while walking about, but that's just my personal style.

Lenses / Re: EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 HELP
« on: May 15, 2012, 08:54:11 PM »
I got this lens last year after using a Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC. It's THE social event lens- wide enough for those group shots, and 2.8 lets in enough light indoors if it's bright enough. IS works WONDERS in dark events since you can handhold posed shots down to 1/15s! The only caveat is that 55mm isn't always enough reach to snap candids since once you get close enough, you're noticed.

Great lens, only wish it were weather sealed so it wouldn't be prone to dust and other stuff getting in it. Good performance throughout the range, sharp at 2.8 and actually doesn't improve that much upon stopping it down. This was unlike the Tamron which was INCREDIBLY soft (almost useless) at 2.8, but boy, once you hit 5.6- if you got a well-focused shot, WOW.

Last year when I shot a similar event, I used my 60D and the 17-55 2.8 (and 580ex II flash). That was all I needed...

From your setup, seems like the 24-105 and flash should be sufficient. Event photography is not that easy as I found out! Lighting is the most important issue to try to nail down.

The difference between 200mm and 300mm seemed rather trivial when I first experimented at the camera store (seriously, it's like the equivalent of taking a small step forward)...but out in the field, it actually CAN make a difference. And the farther away your subject is, of course, the more difference you will notice.

I chose the 70-300L over the 100-400 due to its higher image quality and lighter weight (win-win for me). I assumed I could possibly even crop the 300mm image to approximate 400mm and still get equivalent quality to what I would have gotten with the 100-400 at 400.

But YMMV. I would try both and see. Basically, your choice will be between extra reach (100-400) and lighter weight (70-300). Also, remember the wide end as well. 70 vs 100 is quite a difference if you need to pull back.

Are you shooting 1.6x or full-frame? When maximum reach is needed, it is REALLY nice to have the 1.6x factor that an APS-C camera gives you.

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 09, 2012, 02:33:55 PM »
Yeah...I guess I can see how since I've always used a "crop" camera. Have no desire of going FF any time soon since I prefer the extra reach I get with the 1.6x camera, particularly with a telephoto like the 70-300 where 300 gives you pretty good reach in a compact package.

I try to avoid changing lenses "in the field", so I usually determine what it is I wish to shoot, then pick the appropriate lens before I go out. This means I usually pick zoom lenses since it means more flexibility, but fixed focals do have their advantages too, as I'm finding out.

Depends...and it has varied over the years :)

Now, I use mostly Av mode to have control over DOF (especially with fast lenses), or when shooting sports, Custom mode (which I configure for manual exposure, auto ISO, AI servo and * to focus). Occasionally I will use Tv mode when using the 70-200 indoors so I can take full advantage of the IS function to handhold slower shutter speeds.

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 07, 2012, 11:45:14 PM »
Interesting. Good to know!

  It did seem that on my t2i the 100 2.0 would once in a while be just a smidgen front- focusing as I sometimes would get a little sharper on large aperture shots using Live View focusing.

I used to have a T2i before I "upgraded" to the 60D which I now love. I think that camera had a serious front-focusing problem- it seemed any fast lens I used/tried with it seemed to be off a bit- very inconsistent as it would front-focus in one shot, be fine the next, then exhibit slight backfocus in the 3rd. Maybe it was just my camera rather than the T2i model, but I find the 60D to be notably better in terms of focus accuracy (not perfect though).

I couldn't tell for sure, but I thought there may have been a SLIGHT back-focus with the 100 2 with the camera I tested it on at the store (also a 60D).

The 24-105 kit lens that came with the 5D Mk 3, however was off at the long end.  Even with AFMA  applied to that lens, at 100 it has nowhere near the IQ as the two 100 primes.

I have the 24-105 as well, and it definitely appears that the 100L can resolve more detail off buildings than the 24-105L can at 100 (I have not done a side-by-side comparison, but I was amazed at the quality from the former lens). But the 24-105 has been a fine lens for me. Maybe I have a good "copy" (or whatnot), but I have been pleased with it. For me, it is a great walk-around "compromise" lens. Good range, decent reach at 105 (too short for animal photos however), constant f4 aperture beats the 3.5-5.6 you typically get from consumer all-purpose zoom lenses, good IQ that you don't get from the 18-55 kit lens, and most importantly, it has IS. If I know what I'm going to shoot I usually go for a more specific lens, but hard-pressed to find a better all-around than this one.

The 100 2.0 is faster to focus than the 100 2.8L macro, probably due to the lesser total focus range.  It is also very quiet focusing.    I think you may have hit on a possible explanation for your initial impression of the lens' sharpness - using a pretty high shutter speed (1/250 or more) is what I found I needed to be sure to 'take the shake out' using handheld, which is more than the rule of thumb would say you needed for this lens; ie 1/160th  on a crop sensor camera.

Ah, that makes sense. I went back and looked at the EXIF info from my test shots with that lens. Most were taken at 1/160s (which I would think would be fast enough, but apparently not). For sports I'd likely be going much higher than that anyway. Occasional meet & greets should they come up, though- might have an issue getting a steady image. I suppose flash + high ISO would be needed to compensate.

The 100L does have a switch on it to limit its focus range should you need to use it for general photo shooting (such as a portrait session, perhaps)...tested this out today and the focus is much faster, much more responsive like this. Left on "full", sometimes it can hunt through the entire range and slow down the process dramatically.

Again, thanks for your feedback, greatly appreciated!

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 07, 2012, 10:18:26 PM »
If you are still considering the EF 100 2.0 lens, I have both it and the 100L.   I bought the 100 2.0 a couple years ago as my first baby step up from EF-S lenses to use at the time on my t2i.  I got it for the fast aperture and the good image quality that most of the reviewers noted.  I have been extremely pleased with the image quality of the lens, it is virtually as sharp as the 100 2.8 L Macro and given the bigger aperture can even give you a better bokeh effect in some cases.   I have seen some purple fringing on the edges of a few shots near wide open in high contrast areas but LR or DPP effectively removes that.  One semi-drawback of the 100 2.0 is it's relatively long minimum focus distance (2.8'), but prior to getting the 100L Macro, I found using a set of Kenko extension tubes gave me a pretty good proxy for a macro lens, just no IS.  After getting the 100 L Macro with it's great image stabilization system, I hadn't been using the 100 2.0 as much in mediocre lighting conditions due to my desire to keep the ISO lower on the t2i  to minimize noise.     As you can tell from my handle, I do a lot of flower photography and absent a tripod when in shady light, I didn't have quite steady enough hands to use the 100 2.0 at the stopped down apertures needed to get entire flowers in focus. In good light or with a tripod, however,  I got some great shots with the 100 2.0, both semi-closeups and distant landscape shots.    Now that I have a 5D Mark III, with its much much lower noise at higher ISO's , I find I am using the 2.0 in all lighting.  The full format sensor is also providing even better bokeh on large aperture shots compared to what I got with the crop sensor t2i.

Awesome, thanks for sharing your experience. Interesting to hear you mention that both 100s have similar sharpness levels- that's not what I saw when I tried them out a week ago...then again, the 100 2.0 lacks IS so perhaps that was part of the reason. Do/did you find the focus on the 100 2 relatively accurate/quick?

My primary use of the 100 2.0, like I mentioned, would be sports & fast-paced events where it would be impractical to take the 70-200 2.8 (or I REALLY need the extra stop). The 100L now fills the flower/macro/occasional portrait need. Since I'm using a 60D, 100mm would provide just enough reach provided I'm in the front/second row. I find it a bit long indoors, however. Got a 35mm and a 17-55 for that.

I just received the 100L today (as mentioned above) and tried it out. Seems to work great, although I probably should try again on a slightly calmer/sunnier day. Here's one shot I managed to get:

(EXIF: EOS 60D, 100L Macro, f11, 1/160s, ISO 2000)

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 07, 2012, 05:41:45 PM »
My lens showed up today! Took some shots with it- seems to be a great lens but there is certainly a learning curve to macro photography, particularly when it's windy outside!  :o

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 05, 2012, 01:47:19 PM »
L-disease. lol. Possibly, but I definitely know better than to simply trust the red ring- it's the shots that come out of it that count the most! (Example: the 17-55 2.8 IS delivers similar quality to my 24-105mm L...and I used to have the 85 1.8 which gave many L zooms a run for their money in terms of sharpness)

I did try the 135L. Great lens. However, price aside, I'm really looking for something more inconspicuous. I don't want something so big/obvious that I may not be able to get into a venue with it, for example. The 100 2 is smaller, lighter, just as fast...not to mention half the price too. I'm normally willing to pay more for image quality, but I think this might be a situation where I have to compromise.

I'd love to hear from someone who does have the 100 2- or perhaps even the 135L to hear impressions.

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 05, 2012, 01:24:41 PM »
Had time to play around with the 100L more extensively yesterday, took it out on a shoot. All I can say is wow. This is the lens that turns out I needed, but didn't know about. Have to thank you guys for making me aware of this! I have to say the sharpness is insane too. Definitely up there with 70-200, 35L...

I've ordered my own copy, should be here early next week!

Also looking at the 100 f2 for back-up sports use (70-200 will ALWAYS be first choice, but of course it's not always practical/possible)- has an extra stop, so that could be useful too.

Lenses / Re: Canon 70-200 2.8 MkI vs MkII
« on: May 05, 2012, 01:19:23 PM »
I never had the original, but the current one is amazing. Sharp ACROSS THE RANGE unlike your typical zoom lens which tends to have a "sweet spot" and another area where it's not so great.

If your budget allows, it's highly recommended.

Lenses / Re: Seeking lens in the 85-100mm range
« on: May 03, 2012, 08:55:48 PM »
Hey all,

So I went back to the camera store today to try the two lenses recommended by folks here- the Sigma 85mm 1.4 and the Canon 100mm macro lens. The Sigma lens feels great; focusing seemed a tad inconsistent but more or less averaged the right distance. Not sure I want to go through the whole 3rd-party focus thing again, though, so I'm going to rule that one out at this point.

The Canon 100mm macro, OTOH, I thought was great. It's a little larger than I'd like, but the macro capability does open up a whole new realm of possibilities (NONE of the lenses I currently have can focus close). It's also weather-sealed, unlike the 85s so at least crud won't get in it so easily (already a long piece of hair(?) from goodness-knows-where found its way behind the rear element of my 35 1.4 after just one outdoor session, grr)...the one drawback I did see of the 100L was that one does have to manage the focus range of the lens (it can be quite slow if left on "full" the whole time) depending on what it's used for, but I do like it. Thanks for letting me know about this one, folks.

As I was walking back from the store, it struck me that I could actually get BOTH 100mm lenses (the macro L and the cheaper f2) and still spend less money than I would on the 85 1.2 alone. The macro 100mm is still too "obvious" of a lens when I don't want to draw attention in general shooting, wish to use in certain venues, etc. The 100 2 is small, fast, yet has decent reach. And the f2 opens up the option for shooting sports in darker environments. For the one I tried, the image quality didn't seem to match the other L primes, but it's a tradeoff that I'm willing to take. I think I'd actually have unique uses for both...something to think about, I guess.

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