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Messages - FTb-n

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Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 30, 2013, 12:59:13 PM »
I bought mine in September 2011 for use on crop bodies.  I think it's sharper than my 50 1.8 II and better built.  It's just as noisy as the 50.  It was focusing short, but Canon corrected this under warranty.

This has been my primary low light lens and pseudo macro.  I don't have much need for a macro, but this thing focuses very close and is handy for the occasional close-up small item shots.

The 35 f2.0 has a reputation for being soft in the corners on full frame.  For some subjects, this may not be a problem.  But, it's nice on crop bodies that stay within it's sweet spot.  You can compare it with other lenses on

I've since added the 40 f2.8 pancake to my kit which has replaced the 35 as my "travel light" lens.  The 35 sharpens nicely at 2.8, but the corners remain soft.  The 40 is sharp corner-to-corner wide open -- and it's quiet.

The 35 can be nice when you need the extra stop, which is why I'm keeping mine.  But, I'd recommend the 40 instead.  With rebates, it's twice the lens for half the price.

EOS Bodies / Re: Favorite or Preferred Film body?
« on: March 29, 2013, 07:38:37 PM »
My favorite is the FTb-n, the F-1's little brother.  Partially for sentimental reasons, I learned the craft with this camera.  Great micro-prism focus and 12% center spot meter.  Fully manual and no dependency upon batteries for the shutter.

I've done more with AE-1 bodies, but only using manual exposure shooting.  The electronic bodies are great for shutter speed accuracy and the FTb-n may need more maintenance to keep the shutter speed accurate.

However, if I were in the market for an FD film body, the F-1n would be my first choice.  It has everything I like about the FTb-n and it's built like a tank.

+1 on the Canon QL-17 for something a tad smaller and lot quieter.

Canon General / Re: Monopod VS IS (Image stabilization)
« on: March 27, 2013, 04:02:14 AM »
I'm a strong believer the anything one can do to minimize camera shake will help sharpen the image.  I use monopods when feasible.  They work great at figure skating events where your vantage point is often limiting and you can't readily move around to get a better angle.  But, all to often, I find monopods more restrictive when trying to get the shot.  For example, at grade school basketball games, I'm able to shoot courtside, but I need to be able to move quickly to stay out of the way or to dodge a player who's blocking my shoot.

In both of these examples, I'm typically shooting faster than 1/400 with a 70-200 f2.8L II on a 7D.  Conventional wisdom suggests that higher shutter speeds eliminate the need for added camera shake prevention -- such as IS or a monopod.  But, a 200mm lens on a crop body is like a 320 on full frame.  The reciprocal rule suggests the 1/320 is the minimum safe hand held speed for this lens.  1/400-1/500 isn't that much faster.  IS and/or a monopod will definitely help.

When it comes to candids, such as wedding receptions or event photography, you have to be quick to get the shot.  Physical supports like a monopod will likely get in the way.

On paper, it may make sense to save money and use monopods instead of spending extra for IS.  In practice, I think you'll lose more shots quickly tire of carrying the monopod everywhere.  You may find some situations where a monopod is an acceptable alternative to IS for a given some lens.  But, if IS is available for the given focal length and aperture, it will give you greater flexibility than the monopod.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: March 21, 2013, 08:23:02 PM »
Thanks for all the feedback. 

A 5d3 with the 24-105 is on its way.  For my use I think this lens will be more versatile than the 24-70 (I or II) (and cheaper).  I've got the 35 f2, 50 f1.8, and 40 f2.8 for the more light challenging events.  I need to see what I can do with these lenses before considering faster zooms or primes.  (But, an 85 f1.8 or a 100 f2 could be tempting down the road.)

Noise Ninja was my primary NR software until I learned how clean up noise with Lightroom 4.  I now use Lightroom 4 exclusively.  Note that I'm shooting grade school sports and figure skating with a 7D and ISO typically between 2000 and 4000, sometimes 6400.

I've been very satisfied with Lightroom 4 and, in particular, it's ease of use.  I particularly like that Lightroom 4 offers noise reduction when converting from RAW to JPEG.  Noise Ninja won't work directly from RAW images.

To be fair to Noise Ninja, there is a lot to the software that I have yet to learn.  It could have offer more to offer than Lightroom, but I'm not past the learning curve yet.

SpareImp, the YN460 is strickly manual.  Note that it only has the single contact on its foot.  It lacks the "intelligence" to be controlled from the camera.

As for failure rate vs. more expensive flashes, I've owned two expensive Canon's -- a 380EX and a 430EX.  Neither saw a lot of use, but 380EX died during a party.  I replaced it with the 430EX.  Anectdotally, that's a 50% failure rate.  Frankly, this is why I lean more on the Yongnuo's.  A failed $45 flash is easire to absorb than a failed $270 flash. 

Still, I do expect the Canon flashes to be more reliable.  It is still my first choice for single flash, on-the-go occasions when I want the camera to control it.

By using several YN460's for staged shoots, spares are built in to the equation.  But, this is for non-professional use.  If wedding or portrait photography was a money-making venture, I think it would be easier to afford (and write off) several Canon flashes.  From my perspective, spares are needed regardless the brand.

Over the past few years I've collected six YN-460ii flashes.  These are essentually the YN-560 without the zoom head.  You can typically find them for under $50 at (but the price sometimes spikes above $60).  I prefer the cheaper YN-460ii because I don't need the zoom when using umbrellas.

I don't shoot professionally, but I do dabble with portraits of the kids several times a year and volunteer my services at the church and school.  These have never failed me.

I prefer using two (sometimes three) per umbrella to keep the recycle time down.  I never shoot them at full power, always half or less.  I'm also using Powerex 2700 NiMH batteries.  Recycle time is very quick.  (For triggers, I use CowboyStudio NPT-04.)

There are two areas where Yongnuo could improve these:

1. The battery door is a little tricky to close which could be because the Powerex batteries are slightly bigger than alkalines.  With practice, it get easier.

2. I'd prefer a slide button for power.  With the press-n-hold buttons, I've retrieved the flash from the bag to find it was accidently turned on.  So, I generally don't store these with batteries in place.

One poster noted complaints about using rechargeable batteries.  I've never used anything but the Powerex 2700's and never had an issue.  Recycle time is very quick and they last.  (Of course, your mileage may vary.)

I also have a Canon 430EX which is a great flash for on the go.  This flash primarily lives in a Photoflex 12x16 softbox mounted to a stick for holding off camera.  But, it works nicely as an off camera key with the 60D or 7D pop-up triggering it or even as a fill.

Still, I paid roughly the same for the six YN-460ii's as I did for one 430EX.  My Yongnuo's are my primary flash and get the most use.  I don't know how they would hold up to professional use, but I find them well worth the money and the only reason I can afford to explore multi-light studio setups.  I highly recommend them.

Portrait / Re: First paid photo shoot - DATE: 23 March 2013
« on: March 06, 2013, 11:48:35 PM »
1.) Google wedding photo tips, there's a lot out there.  You will get ideas that will come in handy.  There are a lot of things to shoot at a wedding that seems obvious ... after it's over and too late.  So look for ideas before the event, such as the rings alone, hand-in-hand with rings, the program (if any), the invitation, the table with name tags (if any), etc...

2.) Look for candid opportunity with the kids, especially if they try to hide from you.

3.) SHOOT RAW.  Skip RAW+JPG, just RAW.

4.) Experiment.  Bracket for exposure and for focus point, especially on the important shots.  If shooting a group and you can't stop down for greater DOF, focus on first row, then second row, then third.  When bracketing for exposure, don't limit yourself to shutter speed and fStop, bracket with ISO as well.

5.) For the important staged shots where you (hopefully) have some control over lighting, you will want to shoot at ISO 800 or below.  But, don't be afraid to shoot at 3200 or even 6400.  With candid reception photos, it's more about the moment than a clean image.  Noise will be more acceptable as long as the image is sharp and free of subject blur.

6.) When shooting high ISO, it's better to over-expose than to under expose.  You fix the exposure in post.  An over exposed shot will have less noise than an under exposed shot.  With the 60D, I often find the meter over-exposes 1/3 to 2/3 stops -- so trust it.  If it looks a little bright on the LCD, good.

7.) Get Lightroom 4 and learn how to reduce noise with it.  (Goggle for help)  Lightroom 4 does wonders for ISO 3200-6400.

8.) Practice these techiques before hand, especially the high ISO and over-exposure tip so you know what works with your camera and what a good exposure looks like on the LCD.

9.) If planning any outdoor shots, bring some sort of white reflector.  A 5-in-1 works great, but a 30" white foam core will work as well.  Find an assistand to help with it to lighten any shadows on the Bride and Groom.

10.) Shoot center point focus.

11.) Look into back-button focussing.  If you like the idea, practice it first.  It will give you greater control over picking your subject of focus and locking your exposure (if shooting AV, TV, or P).

12.) Have fun with the shoot and report back to us.

Lighting / Re: Starter off-camera flash gear
« on: February 18, 2013, 11:46:20 PM »
Portrait work has been strictly a hobby for me.  I've built and purchased quite a bit of gear over the years, but this is my basic kit:

4) Yongnuo YN-460ii, generally under $50 each at Amazon.

16) Powerex AA 2700mAh NiMH  batteries for above

2) Cowboy Studio NPT-04 wireless hot shoe trigger (transmitter and receiver) for $23 per set at Amazon.  These are so cheap, I bought a second set for backup, but sometime use it with a backdrop flash that might be hidden from the key or fill lights.

3) SP and Photoflex umbrella multi-brackets at $18-30 each.

2) Interfit Tri Shoe adapter ($13 each at

3) 7' stands by Photoflex and Bogen, but I'd recommend looking at cheaper options, maybe Wescott.

2) Photoflex 45" white satin umbrella (model RUD45) at $23 each.  I have collected many 45" Photoflex umbrellas including white with black backing and silver with black backing, but I like these white satin the best.  I can shoot through them or bounce off them and don't worry about not having a black backing.

2) Photoflex 60" white w/removable black backing umbrella (model PHU60C) at $45 each.  I generally use just one for a key flash, but like the flexibility of having two.

1) Impact 5' x 7' collapsible white/black background at $70.  This is a recent purchase and has been great to work with for 1-2 people shots (mostly 1).  I generally make my own backdrops by tie-dying muslin or king size flat bed sheets and making the stand out of 1 1/2" ABS pipe.  But, impulsive shots of my kids or portraits on the go, this has worked out great.

I have also made a few 39"x72" PVC stands for white/black Photoflex fabric to be used as reflectors.  But, I save these for more indulgent acts of creativity.

Technical Support / Re: How do you store and archive your images?
« on: February 17, 2013, 01:22:39 AM »
First, thanks for the feedback.  It's a tremendous help.

For those who burn BluRay, what brand media do you like?  I'm using an ASUS external drive and recently went through a 25pk of Verbatim BD-R 25GB 6x discs.  Of the 25, 8 were unusable, the drive simply rejected them.

Lenses / Re: Are you using a filter on your 40mm
« on: February 17, 2013, 12:57:58 AM »
I had an old rubber hood that was peeling of the metal thread ring.  I peeled it completely off and use just the thread ring on the lens (same concept as using a 52mm step up ring).  It isn't much, but I think it will help deflect the front element from most things that the camera might bump into.

I'm leery of a filter on this lens.  I had a good filter on my 35 f2.0 until I discovered strange flares from candles and Christmas lights.  It would seem that these light sources were reflecting off the front element onto the back of the filter causing the flare.  I think this is more likely to happen on lenses with smaller, more deeply recessed front elements like the 35 f2.0 and maybe the 40.

Technical Support / How do you store and archive your images?
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:55:29 AM »
With my XT and various PowerShots, my backup strategy involved a 500 GB external drive and burning DVD's.  With a 60D and 7D, I've had to up the capacity quite a bit.  Now it's two 1.5 TB external drives and burning BluRays (25 GB per disc). 

On the external drives, which I manually mirror, I keep straight-out-of-the camera images in one directory tree and post processed images in another.  I can shoot anywhere from 500-2,000 images per event.  Admittedly, when lighting is reliably even (particularly in color), I shoot JPG.  But, as things get moe challenging light-wise, more likely to need post work, or more important, I'll shoot RAW.  25 MB RAW images add up in a hurry.  Those 1.5 TB drives have nearly 1 TB of photos.

So, as I contemplate another set of 1-2 TB drives, how do you store and archive your images?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:35:48 AM »
Thank you all for the feedback.  The first-hand experience from those with both cameras is quite valuable.

I must say that I'm giving the 6D some more thought due to the feedback from this thread.  The price is certainly more attractive.  But, my primary subject matter is figure skating and middle-school level sports with the 70-200 f2.8L II.  Most of the time, I can shoot 1/500 or faster at ISO 1600-3200.  But, there are times when I need 6400.  I'd like any FF body that I get be able to handle the action and the 6D concerns me on this front.

My OOF rate with my 60D is much higher than with my 7D.  I attribute this to the 7D's focusing system and it's superior ability to track subjects.  The 7D seems much better at predictive focusing with AI Servo, especially when skaters don't always move in a straight line.  My fear is that that the 6D will have a similarly high OOF rate as my 60D has.

Another concern is burst mode.  I don't rely on it as a crutch for timing the shot, but I do use it and the buffer on the 60D will fill up on me.  The 7D has no problem keeping up.  Based on Canon's published max burst rates, the 6D looks very similar to the 60D.  (By the way, I think their published rates are higher than true rates when using AI Servo.)

I don't expect the 6D to track moving objects as well as the 7D, but can it do so better than the 60D?  Does its tracking ability fall between the 60D and 7D, if so where in between?

Technical Support / Re: at what shutter speed you turn IS off?
« on: February 16, 2013, 01:56:57 AM »
As stated earlier in this thread (see page 2) IS does not slow the AF system and will likely help it.  Look for the Chuck Westfall quote (HT. privatebydesign).  This makes sense, particularly for moving objects.  The steadier the image, the easier to focus.

Mine is on at all times for all IS lenses in my sig line below.  It is curious though that experiences with IS, particularly with battery drain, must be dependant upon the lens.  I think my biggest power hungry lens would be my 70-200 f2.8L Mk2 and I don't think there's a noticeable drain using IS on this lens.  But, maybe there is with the really big boys.

[Edit: Just realized that I only have two IS lenses in my sig line.  Others include the 18-135 (non-STM), 17-85, 70-300 (non-L).]

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: February 13, 2013, 01:47:23 AM »
in reallity i have found that the amount of noise reduction the 18MP crop sensor takes at iso 1600 is about equal to the amount iso 16,000 takes on the 5Dmk3

I understand that the 5D3's Digic 5+ is better at noise reduction than the 7D's Digic 4.  But, isn't this only for the JPG's out of the camera?  When working with RAW images from both camera's, it was my understanding that the noise levels are much closer giving the 5D3 a mere 1.3 stop advantage.  Not true?

also 1/30 sec without flash?
gonna struggle with subject blur there

Sometime, yes.  Obviously, I prefer faster when light and subject allow it, but 1/30 second works for many candid moments that don't involve physical activity -- as long as camera movement is controlled with IS or other means.

DoF is gonna be a wash between the f2.8 crop and the F4 full frame

I like my 17-55, but the fact that DOF is slightly smaller with the 24-105 on a full frame body is one of the things that intrigues me about this lens -- it's wider, longer, cheaper, and real 'L' lens.

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