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Messages - FTb-n

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Technical Support / Re: Lens hood no longer sung
« on: September 25, 2014, 09:44:41 AM »
For what it's worth, the hood for my 24-105 was loose from day one.  I tried a cheap third-party hood off Amazon and it has a much better fit, snug and never accidentally bumped off.  I know that the flocking on Canon hoods can reduce reflective glare, but I haven't seen an issue with my cheap hood.

Great post.  I admit, new innovations and gadgets fascinate me.  Photography can be a great hobby for those easily fascinated by new advancements in tech gear.

But, I'm also fascinated by the old stuff, from my my FTb-n to my 7D.  Both are still great tools for capturing images.  (Although, I have eventually given up on film.)

Even though my 5D3's dominate my current work, I still find use for the 7D.  It's a great camera and I plan to hang on to it -- partly because I still enjoy using it and partly because it's a good tool for teaching the art to my kids.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Which Canon L Lens for 7D Mark II?
« on: September 23, 2014, 11:35:51 AM »
I'm late to this thread, but you won't regret your 5D3 and 24-70 f2.8L II.

I'm a strong proponent of shooting with two bodies.  First, it's necessary to cover the full frame equivalent of the 24 to 200 mm, wide aperture lens that I believe is most useful for event work, which includes weddings.  (This range is also most useful for indoor sports.)  I don't like to waste time changing lenses or risk introducing dust to my sensors.  Second, the redundancy of the second body is important for any "once in a lifetime" event.

For over a year, I used a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8L II and a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8.  For crop bodies, these two lenses are ideal.  I thought this was THE kit for me.  No need for full frame, this did it all and Noise Ninja or Lightroom 4 (now 5) solved my high ISO noise problems.

However, I found myself shooting at ISO 2000 and up most of the time and realized that post processing to clean up the noise resulted in lots of lost detail.  I finally concluded that full frame was worth a look.  I took the plunge and bought my first 5D3 -- then, several months later, my second 5D3.  Crop bodies are great when there's plenty of light or when you're ok with some noise.  But, when you consider selling your work, you start to demand more from your sensors and clean images are a must (at least for me).  For indoor work, nothing beats FF.

My suggestion is to consider the 70-200 f2.8L II as your next purchase.  Wait for for Canon rebates and watch specifically for Canon's refurbish store rebates.  They sometimes blow these out at 20% off, but they go quick.  ( is a good source for tracking prices.)

With both crop and FF, my 70-200 is my main lens.  I know that many rave about the 24-70 as their go-to lens, but for me it's the 70-200.  Don't get me wrong, the 24-70 is superb and a must-have range.  But for people shots -- from candids, to bride and groom, to indoor sports, to portraits -- the 70-200 is my first choice.  It may be a little tight on crop, but it is very convenient on FF.  I've recently shot high school senior photos and love this lens for portraits.  The FF sensor offers much tighter DOF to really isolate your subject and blur out the background.

Weddings, mostly wedding receptions, can be a particular challenge with their lack of light -- even for full frame.  F2.8 may not be fast enough.  At some point you'll start looking into faster primes.  I have a 35 f2.0 IS and found it to be quite handy at a friends wedding.  For my work, this 35 has helped when I needed extra speed.  But, I really wish Canon would refresh the 50 1.4.  The current offering is too soft at 1.4 for my liking.  (Someday, I might be tempted with the 50 f1.2L.)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon 7D II or 6D
« on: September 15, 2014, 10:53:34 PM »
My DSLR upgrade path was XT -> 60D -> 7D -> 5D3 -> and another 5D3.  I've kept them all -- in part due to kids with an interest in photography.  The kids get to use the 60D and 7D.

The 60D is very similar to the 6D in AF specs.  I added the 7D because I shoot mostly indoor sports and found that the 60D had some issues with fast moving erratic subjects, like figure skating.  The 7D was noticeably better at tracking sports.  Does this mean that the 60D can't shoot sports?  No.  But, I shoot enough sports where the higher keeper rate from the 7D is valuable to me. 

This is the decision that you need to make.  Do you shoot enough action where the 6D AF system will hold you back?

Now let's add another dimension to the thought process.  I was thrilled with the 7D/70-200 f2.8L II combo.  Indoor sports was phenomenally better than the XT/70-300 4.0-5.6 that I was using.  Then the kids that I was photographing got better at their sport and I needed faster shutter speeds.  This meant higher ISO -- 3200 and up.  This also meant a lot of post production noise cleanup.

I was definitely in the "crop body is all I need" camp.  I prefer to use two bodies to avoid changing lenses and thought that I had the dream system -- a 60D/17-55 f2.8 and a 7D/70-200 f2.8L II.  I didn't want to believe that FF was really that good.  I didn't want to pay for it.  Then I read more from those who switched (mostly on CR).  Ultimately, I realized that the low-light limits of the 60D and 7D where holding me back and I took the plunge with a 5D3.

Is there much of a difference between FF and crop.  YES.  That's why I added a second 5D3.

Fortunately, the 5D3 has a better AF system than the 7D.  The only downside for me was a slightly slower FPS and buffer rate for burst mode.  But, I use burst sparingly.

To be fair.  The 7D did a great job with adequate light, including portraits.  Curiously, I've seen many mass production portrait photographers, the kind hired by schools, use older crop bodies for their work.  So, it's not fair to say that the 7D or the 7D2 isn't good for portraits. 

But, when you compare a FF body to a crop body, there is a huge difference.  When my 5D3 arrived, I took test shots against the 7D around the house.  The first thing jumped out at me was the greater color depth of the FF body.  Images looked more alive.  Then, of course, the low light performance that I hoped for was better than I imagined.  The 5D3 has been fantastic in low light situations.  The 6D is supposed to be better (if action isn't an issue).

Another big benefit of FF is that the 70-200 is much more useful focal range for indoor events, indoor sports, and portraits.  (I love the 70-200 2.8 on FF for portraits.)  FF is also sharper.  With ISO 800 and up, my quick tests show that a cropped FF 200 mm image is sharper than a full crop body 200 mm image.  However, I still grab the 7D for outdoor sports -- soccer and baseball -- just for the extra reach.

I'm intrigued by the 7D2, mostly with the 10 FPS and the video AF.  Still, if I had to choose between the 6D and the 7D2, the 6D would be my first choice.  The big question is how you value that AF and FPS performance of the 7D2.  In my case, with thousands of indoor action shots, I may struggle with the AF of the 6D.  I would have to rely more on my timing skills to get the shot.  But, I need the shutter speed that this high ISO of the 6D offers.  For indoor available light, the FF sensor holds more value to me than the 7D2's AF system.

Others have been more succinct than I -- 7D2 for outdoor sports and wildlife, 6D for everything else.

I should point out that the 5D3 offers the best of both cameras with little compromise, save for a few hundred extra dollars.  But, deals on 5D3 bodies are becoming more frequent.

Photography Technique / Re: Benefits of IS in fast shutter speeds
« on: September 10, 2014, 04:59:36 PM »
This has been a hotly debated topic.  I shoot lot's of figure skating with the 70-200 f2.8L II at shutter speeds from 1/500 - 1/1000.   I've tried shooting with IS on and with it off on both a 7D and a 5D3 and cannot say that I've seen a difference either way.

Canon has claimed (or one of it's reps claimed) that IS improves the focus tracking in AI Servo.  But, I've also seen interviews with top pro Canon sports shooters who claim the opposite is true.  I'm guessing that this may differ with the lens and/or body.

I still tend to leave it on so it's on when I really need it.  As stated previously in this thread, many times the IS helps me get a better look at my subject by stabilizing the view within the viewfinder so I feel more confident capturing the right moment.

I won't say that leaving IS on all the time will never hurt.  The nice thing about this site is learning from those with different experiences and there are photographers who can see a difference.  It may be unique to their body/lens combo or how they shoot.  But, for me with the 70-200 II on a 7D or 5D3, I see no harm in leaving IS on.

EOS Bodies / Re: 7DII full frame?
« on: September 08, 2014, 09:51:25 AM »
7DII will definitely be full frame.  But, that's not the big surprise.  Canon will introduce not one, but two DSLRs this month with the second being the new 1DXII medium format body.  But, the new line of medium format MEOS lenses won't be available until next fall.   ;)

I shoot a lot of school events and all I carry are two 5D3 bodies, one with a 24-70 f2.8L II, the other with the 70-200 f2.8L II.  (Not long ago, I used the 24-105 f4L before getting the 24-70.) 

For what it's worth, the 70-200 gets the most use.  It all depends upon how you shoot.  I like to stay in the background and get candids of individuals.  The 70-200 is great for this.

Things are going to happen quickly.  Don't expect to be able to change lenses a lot.  For me the two bodies are key to keeping it simple.  I find that it's best to limit the lenses that you carry -- it limits the temptation to spend more time switching lenses than shooting.

As for flash, I'll admit that there are some venues that may be well suited for bouncing the flash off the ceiling or a back wall.  This is something that I should explore more, but I prefer available light shooting.

I do carry grey cleaning cloth and recently got a business sized grey WB card to carry at all times.  It's a good idea if you have the time to grab a shot with a WB grey card in view -- not simply an exposure grey card, but one balanced for color.  Make sure you shoot RAW.  When I don't have the grey card available, I can often color balance in Lightroom using the whites of the eyes of a subject.

On occasion, I will use custom WB with the camera.  But, remember to go back to AWB when the light changes.

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?

Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 03, 2014, 09:16:13 PM »
There was a time when I thought my XT and non-L 70-300 was heavy.  Now I frequently carry two 5D3's, one with a 24-70 2.8 II and the other with the 70-200 2.8 II.  The 70-200 is so much fun to use, I don't think about the weight.

Frankly, it all depends upon how you shoot.  My 70-200 is my most used lens by far.  Consequently, it's most often in my hand, at the ready. 

When I do expect to do more walking than shooting, I carry ThinkTank holsters on a ThinkTank belt.  Most of the time, however, I use a ThinkTank belt with Peak Design Capture Clips.  (Spider holsters are also worth a look.) I like the concept of the BlackRapid, but any long-term should system often leads to headaches for me.  I find that the belt solutions carry the weight with greater ease.  But, again, you mileage will vary.

Incidentally, I do keep homebrew 1" neck straps on both bodies for those times when I need to switch between both cameras quickly.  For me, these are handier than the factory straps and less likely to get in the way when not in use.

Photography Technique / Re: Is RAW worth it?
« on: August 30, 2014, 04:28:32 PM »
You nailed it, JD.  My shutterspeed in gyms is typically 1/500 to 1/1000 and I do see a differences in color temp from one frame to the next.

Photography Technique / Re: Is RAW worth it?
« on: August 30, 2014, 11:24:37 AM »
I've tried shooting JPG to save disk space for sporting events, but often found gyms with challenging lighting and wasn't happy with skin tones, even when I used custom WB.  I gave up and shoot RAW exclusively.  It's a lot easier to tweek color corrections with RAW images.

Photography Technique / Re: Back-button focus?
« on: August 30, 2014, 11:14:30 AM »
To me BBF is the most natural way to use the camera.  It seems most inuitive that focusing and tripping the shutter are two distinct actions that should be done with two distinct buttons.  Since I most often shoot in full manual mode, I like to have focus and exposure set before tripping the shutter and don't want the shutter button changing one of these settings.

The biggest drawback is handing he camera to my wife, who isn't used to it.  But, my kids took to it quickly.

The is, however, one case where I may reassign focus to the shutter buton.  When shooting a 90 minute figure skating exhibition in AI SERVO, it can get tiring to sit on the BBF button for most of the event, even when using a monopod.

Canon General / Re: Gear Realities
« on: August 14, 2014, 04:49:13 PM »
I do marvel at the great sports photos of yesteryear with the seemingly limited F1 body with a 250 exposure back and 3 fps motor drive.  I'm shooting my kids' sports events with a 5D3 and 70-200 f2.8 II in the same high school gym where I shot yearbook photos as a student with an FTb-n loaded with ASA 400 Tri-X.  I constantly wonder what shots I could have captured as a student if I had today's gear.

Best advice that I heard was to wait until your gear is holding you back before upgrading.  For me, I was constantly pushing the ISO limit of my Rebel XT when moved up to the 60D.  Then I pushed the 60D to its focusing limits before moving to the 7D.  I was convinced that this was THE camera for me, but I kept relying on NoiseNinja to cleanup high ISO images until I finally took the plunge with the 5D3.  So far, the 5D3 is handling my needs quite nicely.  There may be a 1Dx in my future, but not any time soon.

Arguably, this may have been a more expensive path from the XT to the 5D3.  But, it proved to be a necessary path to prove to myself that I could actually leverage the benefits of the 5D3 and shoot enough photos to justify the cost.

Decades ago, I sold cameras at Target and learned two things about a buyer's tendencies.  First, it can be quite tempting to be drawn to the fancy gadgetry of the latest and greatest camera.  It's the awe for the technology that inspired these sales.  Second, it is easy for the less experienced photographer to confuse more automated modes with advanced photo gear and be sold on the idea that such automation can fill the void of experience and talent.  These are buyers who look for "cameras that take great pictures" rather than looking at cameras for "photographers who take great photos".

PWP, thanks, the flexibility to "hinge" just below the belt is what I was after.  Even with the 70-200, I can quickly and easily swing the camera if I sit down.  Further, keeping the body in the clip makes changing lenses easy.

I never tried the Spider Pro and have been intrigued with it.  I can see where it would be quicker than the PD Capture Clip.  But, I opted for the Clip for two reasons.  One, I wanted the smallest possible plate on the bottom of the camera body and preferable flat.  Second, I prefer the lens to hang down and with the front element facing the ground.  I like that the Capture Clip keeps it in this position.  From web research alone (and not first-hand experience) the Spider Pro seems to allow for more swing that I might prefer.   Again, can't say for certain since I didn't try it.  The Spider Pro was my second choice, but so far, I've been happy with the Clip.

For what it's worth, I first learned of the Capture Clip from a friend when the Kickstarter campaign was initially launched.  The Clip came a long way since then.  As one who tinkers with mods, I'm enjoying watching the ideas and the growth of this company.

Another vote for Peak Design's Capture Clip.  I use two on a ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt, but I don't mount the brackets directly to the belt.  Check my previous post on this:

I sewed two-inch strap into a simpler version of Peak Design's Pro Pad.  I like that the clip is horizontal and that I can slide the clip around the belt.

I'm now using two 5D3's, one with a 70-200 f2.8 II and the other with a 24-70 f2.8 II.  This works a lot better on my waste than my shoulder -- no more headaches.  If I need an extra lens, I can add one of ThinkTank's lens pouches to the belt.

It's worth noting that I almost always have one camera in hand, so the weight on the belt is typically from a single camera and lens.  Still, I find it comfortable to carry both cameras on the belt.

Another note.  I make my own straps out of 1" military grade tube webbing with the ends sewn to a length of 3/4 old-fashioned camera strap.  If things get moving quickly, I can throw one strap around the neck and the other around a shoulder like the old pros did and switch pretty quickly between the two. 

And, another modification.  Before attaching the strap to the camera, I run it through a hair bungee.  When the strap isn't in use, I wrap it up and keep it in place with the bungee.  When I need the strap, just pull.  See the photo below.  Also, note that the 3/4 strap on the right side is long enough to double as a wrist strap.

Post Processing / Re: My Basic & Practical Back-Up Strategy
« on: August 09, 2014, 01:47:22 AM »
Anyone else remember using a hole punch to make single-sided floppy disks into double-sided floppy disks (back when they were actually big and floppy)?

I do.   I recently found one of those floppy floppies in an old box of stuff.  Too bad I no longer have that fancy dual floppy Columbia PC clone.

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