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Messages - FTb-n

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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.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: February 12, 2013, 11:44:02 PM »
All the discussion in this forum about the 5D3 in low light has me intrigued.  I'm particularly interested in a 5D3 w/24-105 f4L IS as an upgrade path for a 7D w/17-55 f2.8 IS.  (For low light candids, I'm often shooting at 1/30 second and find IS to be a must.)

I know that the 5D3 offers greater color depth and that full frame is typically sharper than crop.  I also understand that the 5D3 offers about a 1.3 stop advantage in noise over the 7D.  But, I'm comparing a crop body with a 2.8 lens to the full frame with a 4.0 lens and this noise advantage drops to about 1/3 of a stop.

Now the question.  A 2.8 lens lets in more light than a 4.0, which is more light for the AF system to lock in.  So which system can lock in on focus at lower light -- the 5D3 w/24-105 f4L IS or the 7D w/17-55 f2.8L IS?

Technical Support / Re: at what shutter speed you turn IS off?
« on: January 26, 2013, 12:28:44 AM »
Don't worry about IS draining your battery.  I recently shot a 90 minute figure skating event with 70-200 f2.8L II on a 7D using just the stock battery (no grip).  2,000 images later, and my thumb parked on the back focus button for most of the 90 minutes, the battery was at 76% after the shoot.

Technical Support / Re: at what shutter speed you turn IS off?
« on: January 25, 2013, 11:26:56 PM »
With older versions of IS, you may need to turn it off when on a tripod to avoid feedback issues.  But with more current versions, there's no need to turn it off.  Further, i fail to see a benefit in turning IS off...unless there is something to the suggestion that IS slows AF performance.

Hey Neuro, can you weigh in on the IS affects on AF?

FTb-n was my first Canon which I bought in 1974 and carried almost every day in high school for three years as a yearbook photog.  Not very creative, but it's a sentimental favorite camera.

Lenses / Re: Your favorite lens is?
« on: January 14, 2013, 12:45:05 PM »
Favorite: 70-200 f2.8L Mark II on a 7D. 
Runner-up: 40 f2.8 pancake, even though the 17-55 f2.8 is my workhorse "short" lens. 

I've been using Transcend UDMA 32 GB 400x cards in my 7D for the past year.  The card keeps up with my burst rates.  I have gone through about 16,000 images on my main card without any problems.  They are currently selling for $45 on Amazon (down from $65).

Lenses / Re: Need quick advice Please and thanks! Choir photoshoot!
« on: December 23, 2012, 03:42:21 PM »
Thanks for sharing the results, they look great.  I love the composition and will remembers these when I need ideas for my next group shot.

What lighting did you end up using for the indoor shots?

Lenses / Re: Lens choice advice please??
« on: December 23, 2012, 02:20:10 PM »
Both the 50 1.8 and the 35 2.0 have 5 bladed diaphragms which can (but not always) lead to pentagon looking bokeh.  The 40 2.8 has 7 rounded blades that many consider more appealing in the bokeh department.  Reality is sometimes different than head-to-head specs suggest.

I bought my 35 because I needed a low light lens wider than my 50 for a wedding and I wasn't ready to invest in the 17-55 f2.8 IS.  (I wasn't the wedding photographer, I was the brother-in-law who couldn't leave the camera home.)

My subject matter is mostly people in less than ideal lighting situations so I often shoot wide open or close to it.  I do find the larger aperture bokeh on the 35 to be quite appealing.  Below is a shot from that wedding.

I love the 40 2.8.  It's fantastically sharp, freakishly small, and focuses down to 12 inches.  However, I  won't part with my 35.  There are times when I want the extra stop and it focuses down to 9.6 inches.  I don't have much need for macro, but every once in while I find this quite handy.

Admittedly, part of the appeal to the 40 is it's size.  The 35 and the 50 are twice as deep, but still rather small.  Of the three, I do believe that the 35 2.0 is the most versatile.  It offers the extra stop over the 40 and extra reach.  Another minor consideration, wider non-IS lenses are easier to hand-hold at slower speeds.

My 50 is stored in the "mostly retired, but can't quite part with it" camera bin in the basement.  Both my 35 and 40 are kept handy.

One note to be aware of.  None of these lenses are USM.  The 50 and the 35 each have noticeable motor noise when focusing from far to near and vice-versa.  In practice, this isn't a big issue.  Once you pre-focus, the little adjustments needed to track your subject is much less noticeable.  But, the whir from quick grab shot of child or a pet could alert the subject.  The 40 uses the new STM system which is almost as quiet as the USM.

As for third-party, I won't say don't buy, just know what your getting.  I've read good things about Sigma, including the 30 1.4 (which compares to a 48mm on full frame).   Frankly, a 30 1.4 is quite attractive on a crop body.

Check out for lens reviews, both Canon and third-party.  Also check out the head-to-head test tools such as the link below.  Just be aware of which body is used in the test.

Photo taken with Canon 60D/35 f2.0, ISO 3200, 1/30 sec at f2.0 (roughly 50% crop to get under 4 MB upload max and show bokeh in window):

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