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Messages - FTb-n

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 03, 2013, 12:54:52 AM »
I've used a T2i and a 60D for figure skating.  Both can handle the higher ISO, but both will have theire fair share of OOF shots do to relatively slow focus tracking.  The T2i has a very slow burst mode and buffer.   The buffer on the 60D is better for JPEGs, but RAW will fill up if you're not careful.

Consider Canon's refurb store.  I saved a bunch last year with my 7D from there.

Of the crop bodies currently available, I think your choice will narrow down to two options.

1. T4i -- With Digic 5, has the best high ISO noise reduction for JPEGs.  RAW images should be very similar.  Also offers auto-focus for video.  However, this is NOT a high action body.  Only 5fps and a RAW buffer of only 6 shots.  You can get excited about the action on the ice, fire lots of shots in a hurry (not all in burst), only to have a full buffer when the puck enters the net.  But, the price is good.  (The new T5i is essentually the same camera with minor updates.)

2. 7D -- The best sports crop Canon makes.  Compared to the T-series and the xxD, it's focus system is amazing and a great match for the 70-200.  I bought my 70-200 when I had a 60D and was frustrated with roughly 20% OOF of figure skating shots.  20% doesn't sound bad, but if your key moments are among the 20%, it's terrible.  For me, the 60D held me back from the full potentual of the 70-200.  As for the buffer -- nothing to worry about (I use use Transcend 600x cards).  8fps is a nice bonus.  Slower burst rates are often useless after the second shot.  For figure skating, I prefer shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/800 at f2.8.  I routinely shoot at ISO 1600- 3200.  You will get noise, but Lightroom 4 does a great job at cleaning it up.

Lenses / Re: Prime vs zoom
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:22:53 AM »
"Standard" kit for me was a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8 and a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8L II.  For a while, I used a 35 f2 for low light, but I had better success with the 17-55 even with slower shutter speeds (down to 1/30).  Now I've added the 40 for those times when I want to travel light(er).

With a recent acquisition of a 5D3/24-105 f4, I'll be shuffling lenses between this body and the 7D more often, but still relying on zooms.  But, I can see myself using the 5D3 with the 40 for short work in lower light.

Lenses / Re: Re-kitting on FF
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:48 AM »
I just added the 5D3 + 24-105 f4.0L IS to my collection.  (The 24-105 with IS will be more useful for me than the 24-70 without.)  The 60D is relegated to the kids along with an 18-135.  But, I'm keeping he 7D for sports/second body with the 70-200 f2.8 II. 

I most often shoot with two bodies (I hate changing lenses).  For outdoor sports, I still anticipate using the 7D with the 70-200.  For indoor sports, I expect to use the 5D3.  I love the 70-200 for indoor candids at events, even though it is sometimes a little long for crop.  But, I expect it to be even more useful on the 5D3.

In the short time that I've had the 5D3, it is easy to see that I will favor this body over the 7D most of the time.  I may still end up switching lenses more than I did with two crop bodies just to keep the most desirable lens on the 5D3 for the given situation.   

I hate to say this already, but I can easily see myself wanting a second 5D3 down the road and limiting myself to three lenses for most events -- 24-105, 70-200, and the 40.

Bottom line, it's way too early for me to give up on the reach (not to mention buffer and FPS) of the 7D for sports.  Time will tell.


Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: April 01, 2013, 12:39:17 AM »
I know what you mean.  I got my 35 before my sister in-law's wedding and it proved to be my best lens for that event.  (I wasn't the wedding photog.)  I had a new found fondness for this classic.  Even after purchasing the 17-55, I still thought highly of the 35 as my low light, travel-light lens.  Granted, I didn't like is as well as the 17-55 when I needed it in low light.  But, it was still my travel-light lens.  I put off the 40 for some time because I already had the 35, and it was faster.  I thought the 40 was neat, but unnecessary.  But, when the winter rebate hit and the price fell to $150, I gave in and ordered it.  No offense to my 35 (or my 50), but I think this 40 is the new classic short prime.  It will make you forget about the nostalgia for the 35.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:50:42 PM »
When using the 40 pancake, I grip the camera like an old rangefinder.  I hold the lens with my thumb an forefinger.  The other three fingers are folded into my palm with the body resting on these fingers.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:05:04 AM »
Just finished playing with various lenses on both the 5D3 and the 7D in a poorly lit basement.  I repeatedly focused on stationary subjects a few feet away, about 8 feet away and about 12 feet away.  Granted, this is highly unscientific.

On the 7D, exposures with the 35 were at 1/30, f2.0, ISO 6400.  The 17-55 seemed a tad quicker than the 40, but both were locking on without hunting for the 8' and 12' objects.  There was more hunting at the shortest object.  I switched lenses quite a bit.  There were times when the 35 seemed as quick as the 40 and there were times were it clearly lagged behind when focusing on the 8' object.  Each of these three lenses handled the 12' object without hunting.  I also tried my 50 1.8 and found it hunting on just about every attempt to lock on each object.

On the 5D3, exposures with the 35 were at 1/80, f2.0, ISO 12800.  The 24-105 f4.0 was the quickest to focus when set to 24mm and the slowest when at 105mm.  When set to 35mm, it was about even with the 40 and the 35.  I do think focusing the 35 on the 5D3 was constantly quicker than on the 7D.  But, the 50 1.8 brought up the rear and had similar hunting issues as with the 7D.

My take-aways:

- the zoom lenses focus quickest when zoomed out and set the bar for comparing the primes.
- the 40 f2.8 was consistent and kept up with the zooms.
- the 35 f2.0 was more inconsistent on the 7D.  It sometimes rivaled the 40 and sometimes did noticeably worse.
- the 35 f2.0 was more consistent on the 5D3 and rivaled the focusing performance of the 40.
- the 50 f1.8 likes to hunt -- a lot.

For me, the real test will be backstage at this upcoming ice show.  I'll leave the 50 home, but will be playing with both the 40 and the 35 on the 5D3.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 30, 2013, 04:49:29 PM »
First, the 50 1. 8) to which I referred was supposed to be a 50 1.8.

The 5D3 is less than a week old.  I'm still in the mode where I'm comparing various lenses and ISO settings on the 5D3 versus the 7D.  Today, it's a head-to-head comparison between the 5D3 24-105 vs. 7D 17-55.  I know what the results will be.  But I still want to see it for myself.

Haven't gotten to the 35 on the 5D3 yet.  I'll play with that more tonight as the sun falls.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 30, 2013, 02:48:52 PM »
I had the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS for the crop bodies before purchasing the 40 2.8.  Optically, the 40 didn't offer anything that the 17-55 already gave me -- except it's compact size.  I do feel less conspicuous with the 40 and for me, the difference between the 40 and the 35 in focal length is negligible.

It really comes down to that extra stop.

I shoot a lot of figure skating events.  The most challenging are ice shows where I'm contending with spotlights for performance shots and flashlights for backstage photos.  Two years ago I rediscovered my old 50 1.8 for backstage photos with a borrowed T2i.  At the time, my main lenses were the 3.5-5.6 zooms.  The 50 made these backstage photos possible.

I then upgraded by adding the 60D, 35 f2, 70-200 f2.8, 17-55 f2.8, and 7D (in that order) before last year's ice show.  I expected to be using the 35 extensively for behind the scenes shots at ISO 6400.  I actually found the 17-55 more useful do the IS and quicker focusing.

More recently, I shot a school event at a bowling alley with "cosmic bowling" (as in very little light).  All I took was the 7D and the 35 2.0.  My keeper rate was very low and I attribute this to problems locking in on focus with the 35.  I had better success at a similar event with my 60D and the 17-55 f2.8 IS.

My conclusion is that the 35 on crop when shooting ISO 6400, f2.0, and shutter speed slower than 1/100 is a hit-or-miss thing.  I'm better off with the 17-55.  But, if there's enough light to shoot at 1/200 of faster, the 35 may give you an edge in stopping action.

My solution to the low light backstage challenge was to add the 5D3 to my kit.  There's another ice show in a few weeks and I plan on using the 35 on the 5D3 for that extra stop and comparing this to the 40 (and likely the 50 1.8).

As for overall value, my 40 is used a lot more than the 35.  Candidly, I'm still debating the real value that the 35 offers.  For very low light on crop, it has been of little benefit over the 17-55.  I have higher expectations with the 5D3.  But then, the 5D3 is so much better in low light, I may still prefer the 40 for its sharp corner-to-corner performance.  I'm not adding any more lenses until I get more experience in low light with the 5D3, but FWIW, if I didn't have the old 35, I'd rather put that $300 toward the new 35 2.0 IS (or the 35 1.4).

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.

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