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Messages - FTb-n

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106
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Image Quality - Body vs Lens?
« on: November 14, 2013, 12:50:00 AM »
I shoot a lot of indoor sports and lots of figure skating -- fast, erratic moving subjects in sometimes challenging light.  I went from an XT with a 70-300 f4-5.6 (non-L) to a 60D with a 70-200 f2.8 II.  Somewhere, in between, I borrowed a 70-200 f2.8 Mark I for my XT and saw a huge improvement.  But, noise at 1600 was still noise.  With that one experience, I was sold on the 70-200 L.  But, I also realized that sensors do matter.  It's not like 40 years ago when Kodachrome 64 was just as good in a Canon FTb as it was in the F1.

Since then I upgraded to the 7D and my keeper rate went up significantly due to better focus tracking.  But, I still needed Noise Ninja or Lightroom to clean up the noise.  I often shoot between 1600 and 3200.

Early this year I upgraded to the 5D3 and my image quality increased dramatically.  Rarely do I need to clean up noise.  Images are sharper and with the bigger pixels, color depth is deeper.  For challenging, harsh lighting, I have more flexibility in Lightroom to tone down the highlights and bring out detail in the shadows.

I went through a lot of mind games to convince myself that I would never "need" full frame because I just couldn't see myself spending the money for it.  I thought the 7D was the greatest camera made -- until  my 5D3 arrived.

Granted, for outdoor stuff, I still get some good use out of the 7D.  But, it's a backup body when indoors.

It's easier to invest first in lenses.  They often last longer.  That 100 f2.0 should be great lens on crop or full frame.  (It's still on my wish list.)  But, sometimes there's no escaping the benefit of upgrading sensors (even if the body surrounding it isn't top of the line).

So, body or lens?  Yes.



107
Spent a few minutes playing with back-button focus a couple years ago and never went back -- or front, so to speak.  I find back-button focus to be quite natural and love disconnecting the focus from the shutter button.

108
Lenses / Re: Refurbished Lens From Canon
« on: November 08, 2013, 10:34:15 AM »
I purchased a refurbished 7D and am currently watching prices for refurbished 5DIII's to drop to grab another one.  I'm not, yet, in the market for another lens, but I will definitely look at Canon's refurbished lenses first.

Canon's refurbished products must pass individual inspection before being sold.  I would assume that this includes a focus check for lenses.  New lenses don't get this kind of individual testing before being sold.  Now that refurbished camera's and lenses (through the Canon store) have the same one year warranty as new products, I don't see a down side for buying through Canon's Refurbish store as long as the price is right.  (I have, occasionally, seen some promos on new products beat the pricing of Canon's refurbished pricing.)

109
Lenses / Re: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II vs Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II
« on: November 05, 2013, 10:36:29 AM »
I would echo the suggestion of the 70-200 f2.8L Mark II and the 40 f2.8.  I don't have the 24-70, instead, I have the 24-105 f4.  The 24-105 offers greater range, but I still prefer the 70-200 most of the time. 

This all depends upon what you shoot.  For me, it's most often sports (mostly indoor) and events (people candids) with some portrait stuff.  The 70-200 on a FF body is a great range to isolate you subject.  Note that at events, I also like to stay in the background and out of the way.  It's only for those "establishing" shots and group photos that I go to the shorter zoom or a shorter prime.

For me, the jump from 40mm to 70mm isn't a big deal.  If the 40 is a little too wide I can either move closer or crop.   Granted, it is nice to have all focal lengths covered between 24 and 200, but I don't get too hung up on not having the full range between 40 and 70. 

Just last night I shot grade school musical (basically choirs and school bands) with the 70-200.  I used a 35 2.0 for some establishing shots of the venue and crowd, but everything else was with the 70-200.  I have no problem getting a group of kids in the shot or zeroing in on one or two.  I had my 24-105 with me, but didn't use it because I didn't need anything wider than the 35.

I also find that the 70-200 is great for portraits -- up to 2 in an average living, or larger groups outside.  If individuals are the subject matter, I try to avoid the wider focal lengths which can be less than flattering.

110
Lenses / Re: 17-40 VS 17-55
« on: October 24, 2013, 12:33:25 AM »
Get the 17-55.  I used mine heavily for a year before upgrading to a 5DIII with a 24-105.  Optically, the 17-55 is an L lens.  Put a B+W or a Hoya HD clear filter on front and you don't need to worry about the much talked about dust issue.  Not dust in mine.  Due to the design of the zoom mechanism, the resistance will tighten slightly around 24mm.  When  I fist got my lens, this bothered me.  But, when I shot with it, I forgot all about it -- not an issue.

If using the lens in combat situations, military or press photog, maybe the "build quality" would be a concern.  But, I think this is much overhyped.  Don't worry about it.  The 17-55 is a great crop lens.  You'll love the benefits of 2.8 and IS.

I still have mine and still use it.   (I have kids getting interested in photography now.)

111
Lenses / Re: What lens do recommend?
« on: October 23, 2013, 01:28:38 AM »
I would concur with the 85 f1.8 for crop or FF.  My favorite portrait lens is the 70-200 on crop or FF, so I would agree that the focal length would work well. 

For shorter lenses, I have the old non-IS 35 f2.0.  It is a good lens and relatively sharp on crop.  For closer portrait/candids, the isolation has been quite pleasing.  But, I have essentially replaced this lens with the 40 f2.8 pancake on either crop of FF for those times when I don't want the bigger zoom.

One other note.  For infants, I would recommend a USM or STM lens.  When my daughter was young, my old Tokina 28-200 (on a film Rebel) was so loud in focusing that it often spoiled the moment because my daughter would hear it.  I switched to a short Canon USM zoom and had better success at these moments.   Maybe this won't be a big issue, but the 50 1.8 and the older 35 2.0 just might be loud enough to spoil some moments, especially at close range.

All things considered, I'd grab the 85 f1.8.  Even on crop, I think it will give you enough room to frame portraits in most indoor settings.  It will also give you the isolation that you're looking for and would be great "stealth" lens for candids.  I love my 70-200 f2.8, but the 85 f1.8 and the very similar 100 f2.0 are still on my wish list for this reason. 

Frankly, if people, candids, and portraits are the norm, then the 40 f2.8 and the 85 f1.8 would make a nice combination.

112
Lenses / Re: 17-40mm L or 24-105mm L for crop sensor 20D?
« on: October 19, 2013, 11:47:52 AM »
I strongly recommend the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 USM IS for crop.  The 15-85 may be a good alternative if you don't need the speed.  Granted, for trucks alone, you may want to stop things down a bit for greater depth of field so the 2.8 may not seem to be a big benefit.  But, I found it to be a life saver at events, for candids, for sports, and for more creative control with a smaller DOF.

This lens has two quirks.

1. The zoom resistance isn't even.  It feels a little tighter around 24mm than the rest of the range.  But, for me, this is most noticeable when I'm playing with the lens and wondering if it's an issue.  Frankly, it isn't.  I forget all about it when I'm shooting.

2. There are vents in the front of the lens that can draw in dust when you zoom.  Actually, many lenses have this. The easy fix is a protective filter, which I would recommend anyway.  (I use the Hoya HD clear.)

This lens has "L" quality glass that is tack sharp even wide open.  I've also been very impressed with its focusing speed when matched with a 7D for indoor sports.  Some may criticize the build quality because it doesn't compare to an "L" lens (like the 24-105), but I don't see this issue.  It's one of those things that you don't notice unless you're comparing it directly against an "L" lens.

113
So, all those pros who shot 2 1/4" square format film Hasselblads, never cropped?

I do try to frame things perfectly in the viewfinder, often to my chagrin.  I have to constantly remind myself "what if I want an 8x10?"  Sometimes a nicely framed 2x3 perspective image will crop nicely to a 4x5 perspective.  Sometimes, I have to back out a bit to allow for cropping.

Sports is another are that I often crop.  I always shoot single-point focus and try to bump the focus point around the viewfinder to accommodate my desired framing.  But, there are times when the action is too quick and I resort to the center focus point and crop later.

Real photographers use the tools available to them to get the image that they seek.  Cropping is just another tool.

114
I like to use two YN 460ii's as my main light.  Typically, I'll shoot with each at 1/4 (power level 5 out of 7).  With a 5D3 in normal burst mode (~3 fps), I can get two shots off at 1/4 power before the recycle.  At 1/2 power, if I burst 3 shots, the flash will fire on shots 1 and 3.

115
Lenses / Re: Do you usually shoot your lenses wide open?
« on: September 30, 2013, 07:34:23 PM »
Yep!

Depth of field vs. isolation, stop the action vs. controlled blur, and noise are constant considerations when I shoot.  I stop it down when situation calls for it.  But, I paid higher dollars for faster lenses for a reason.  Most of what I shoot benefits from shooting wide open.   It's actually satisfying in way to discover that I shoot most images wide open.  I can tell myself that I'm getting money's worth after paying extra for the faster lens.

116
Third Party Manufacturers / Re: NEW TOY :)
« on: September 27, 2013, 04:31:02 PM »
Fuji X100S

117
Lighting / Re: Cheap manual flash to use for fill lighting...
« on: September 19, 2013, 06:34:27 PM »
Yongnuo YN 460ii.  I've collect six of these over the years and they work great.  Very simple and quick to adjust power, no menus to navigate.  I most often use two per umbrella (60" Photoflex in shoot-through) for main light.  This way I can avoid using full power and recycle time is very quick.  Easy to add a couple YN 460's on the background to either get rid of shadows or blow white backdrops out.

118
Lighting / Re: Ring Flash
« on: September 19, 2013, 06:25:27 PM »
Great question.  I've been wondering the same thing.  I recently discovered the RoundFlash, http://roundflash.com/, which looks quite promising.  (It's now available from B&H.)

I mostly shoot available light, but when a flash is a must or for mobile portrait photos, the concept of a near soft box size ring flash is intriguing.  But, I'm having trouble accepting any light source that close to the lens for people shots.  I fear the ring flash will still look a bit flat.

So, I'm looking forward to this thread...

119
EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Sports Shooting Options?
« on: September 11, 2013, 11:42:11 PM »
For indoor sports, from figure skating to grade school basketball and volleyball, I was quite happy with my 7D and 70-200 f2.8L II.  But, there were times in some gyms where lighting was a bit challenging and I often shot between ISO 2000 and 3200 to keep the shutter speed at 1/500 or better.

For figure skating, moving from a 60D to the 7D greatly improved my keeper rate because the 7D is much better at AI Servo in tracking moving skaters.  On occasion, the 8 FPS is a nice benefit, but I don't rely on it as a substitute for timing the shot.

Then, I upgraded to the 5D3 and saw a great improvement in image quality at the higher ISO.  With the 7D, I was always using noise reduction in post.  With the 5D3, I rarely need it.

The 7D and 5D3 are similar in focusing performance.  I shoot single-point expansion and do find that the 5D3 has an edge with its extra focus points.  But, the in-focus keeper rate didn't improve like it did moving from the 60D to the 7D.

So, it all depends on the movement of your subjects.  If AI Servo performance is a must and your 6D is having trouble tracking, then the 7D might be an improvement.  I emphasize "might" because I don't know how the two compare in this regard.

If you're happy with the 6D focus performance with sports, then skip the 7D and get the 70-200 f2.8L II.  The Mark II version of this lens is not only sharper, but reportedly focusses quicker than the Mark I version.

Regarding the extra reach of the 7D, it doesn't help indoors for sports.   You will be using higher ISO and need to clean up the noise later.  You will get cleaner images cropping in post with you 6D.

As for FPS, yes, the 8FPS of the 7D can catch shots that I would otherwise miss.  But, more often than not, the first shot in the sequence is the one I want.  But then, I'm not shooting professional athletes who would be faster and more challenging when timing some shots.  You'll have to make the call regarding the value of this feature.  Personally, the high ISO image quality trumps the higher FPS.

120
Lenses / Re: Is There Such Thing As a "Best" Normal Lens for Crop?
« on: September 11, 2013, 12:11:11 AM »
The most versatile "normal" range crop lens is the 17-55.  It's sharp and fast and minimizes the need for a flash.

My favorite "normal" range lens, crop or full frame, is the 40 f2.8 pancake.  Technically, a tad long on crop (like a 64mm on FF), but it's fun to use.  Sometimes, the limited, slightly tighter focal length can be liberating in a way.  No time wasted at zooming for the best framing, you spend more time on you subject and framing with what you have.  (Of course, if it's critical event to cover for someone else, then I use the 17-55 on crop.)

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