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Messages - FTb-n

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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,, 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...

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.

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.)

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Boo Amazon!!!
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:45:19 PM »
Get used to internet sales tax?

Or, you can vote for politicians who aren't addicted to spending other people's money.  Just saying...

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: If you plan to upgrade your camera, read
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:40:44 PM »
It all depends upon what you shoot.  I did upgrade from a 60D to a 7D and saw a huge increase in my keeper rate for sports shots.  If shooting sports and a 5D3 is too expensive, I would certainly recommend a 70D as an upgrade to a 60D.

Pricewatch Deals / Re: Boo Amazon!!!
« on: September 06, 2013, 10:05:52 PM »
Those products just arrive in your mailbox by magic? They don't travel over the highways or land at an airport? They don't get delivered by someone driving on your street?

And, it's not just for infrastructure. That sales tax pays for the fire trucks that come to your house if it catches on fire. It pays for the police officer who patrols your neighborhood so no one steals that new lens you bought.
There are ample taxes on fuel paid by carriers to cover the costs of roadways.  Unfortunately, in Minnesota, by law, no more than 60% of said taxes can actually be applied to such infrastructure.  In practice, significantly less actually goes toward roads.  The rest fuels non-infrastructure related political pet-projects.

As for protecting my home from fire and theft, I pay property taxes for those purposes.  But, like gas taxes, only a small percentage of what I pay actually goes to police and fire departments.

Sales tax, while difficult to digest, makes sense:
It brings the local stores to a level field of play.

Sorry.  This sounds too much like an interstate tariff, which violates the commerce clause of the Constitution.

In Minnesota, the sales tax has been raised to pay for, arguably, "pet projects" of political interest groups that go well beyond covering infrastructure related costs of doing business in this state.   

There is an implication here that Internet sales represents a black market of sorts because it avoids local sales tax.  If it's true that avoiding local sales tax is a motive for buying online, this should be a clear indication that local sales tax is too high.  Remember, online purchasers often have the added cost of shipping which often offsets the "no sales tax motive". 

Some big chains in Minnesota tried using the "level playing field" argument to promote an Internet sales tax.  Truth be told, if these stores were more competitive on the high dollar items (TV's and DSLRs), more people would buy from them.  Speaking for myself, I buy photo equipment online because the initial cost is much cheaper than local merchants.  (And, no, I don't "showroom" at local merchants than buy online.)

I would also argue that the "use tax" is unconstitutional because it goes beyond collecting outstate sales taxes.  It essentially taxes the ownership of property which infringes upon the right to own property.  The right to own property is not protected if such ownership can be "ransomed" by the state.  But, I digress (sorry, mods).

Canon General / Re: Camera skin for 5D MK III
« on: September 05, 2013, 02:57:04 PM »
I use GGS optical glass protectors from  The 5DIII version includes a protector for the info LCD.

PowerShot / Re: Compact Camera suggestions?
« on: August 28, 2013, 08:24:00 PM »
The Canon S100 is a great little camera and surprisingly clean at 1600 for a P&S.  But, if action is the priority, then DSLT is the only answer.  I'd look at a refurbished T4i, T3i, or T2i through Canon's refubish store.

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