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Messages - FTb-n

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Lighting / Re: Recommendations for lighting system
« on: October 01, 2014, 09:37:03 PM »
I'm primarily an available light shooter.  But, 14 years ago, I started exploring portrait work with the Christmas card of the kids (or kid, back then).  This was my excuse to expand my light system each year.  Now I shoot the group photos at my kids school, portraits for the church and figure skating club, occasional family portraits, and some senior portraits.  But, I'm still learning.

First tip, don't buy on anticipation, buy on need.  Wait until you have identified a need before you buy more gear.

For small items, a light tent works well (as Neuro mentioned).  I have windshield shades made from white Tyvek that I use for a makeshift tent, but I seldom shoot small items.  Checkout Amazon or BHPhoto for tents.  Or, make your own.

Start with two 60" umbrellas.  Learn how to use them and forget about light boxes -- for now.  If most of your need is indoor work, I highly recommend the Photoflex 60" convertible for about $52.  (Use smaller 45" umbrellas outside if there's wind an no assistant.)  These 60" umbrellas are satin white with a removable black cover.  I don't use the cover, but it can be great for controlling the light.  I use shoot thru and bounce with this umbrella.  Incidentally, the black cover is for controlling the spill.  It does nothing to affect bouncing the light off the inside of the umbrella. 

Over the years, I have collected lots of 40-45" umbrellas of different types before discovering the 60".  I always thought 60" was too big.  I wish I had started with the 60".  (To be fair, I still use some of those smaller umbrellas, so it wasn't a total waste.)

Consider 12' heavy duty Cowboy Studio light stands from Amazon.com.  You can get two for $72.  I have 7' stands from Photoflex and Bogen, good stands and more money, but I prefer the Cowboy Studio.  The heft with the 60" umbrella is handy.  Plus, I like the height option.  Frankly, there are lots of good options in stands.  Check out stands at Amazon.com and BHPhoto.com and review the comments.

For brackets, get the Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tight adapter.  They are very sturdy metal brackets.  You can get plastic multi-brackets for half the price, but at some point you will end up with heavier lights and appreciate the heavier bracket.  I wish I had started with these.

I don't have a good recommendation for cold shoes.  Manfrotto makes a plastic one which is fine until the the wind catches the umbrella during an outdoor shoot.

For speedlites, start with two Yonguo YN565EXII speedlites and four Yonguo YN-622C remote transceivers.  (Why four?  They're cheaper two at a time and you will end up with more speedlites down the road.)  These speedlites are about $105 each.  I started out with the Yonguo YN460-II for half the price, but the YN565EXII are almost twice the power.  Plus, when used with the YN-622C transceivers, you can control both the power level and the zoom setting from the menu of you 5D3.  This is VERY handy.  I don't recommend using ETTL with these units, they can be inconsistent.  If ETTL is a must, then you need Canon speedlites.  But, I recommend shooting in manual mode where you have more control over the flash and aren't dependent upon the variants in what the camera's light meter sees.

To recap, for a starter system, consider:

- two Yonguo YN565EXII speedlites at $105 each
- four Yonguo YN-622C remote transcievers at $78 per pair
- two 12' Cowboy Studio stands at two for $80
- two Manfrotto 026 Swivel Lite-Tight brackets at $34 each
- two cold shoes (or use the small stand/shoe that comes with each flash)
- two Photoflex 60" convertable Umberellas (UM-RUT60) at $52 each

Total cost, $618.  One Canon 600EX-RT is $500.  This is my basic system and I find it to be extremely versatile.

I have expanded and often use two speedlites per umbrella using a DIY mount for the Manfrotto bracket.  For people shots, I can dial down the power on each flash to speed up the recycle time.  This allows me to burst 2-3 shots in a row.  Often times, the subject relaxes after the first flash and then gives me a nice smile or look.  I like having the option to capture this moment.

Why speedlites over studio strobes?  Price, portability, recycle time, and great battery life.  Unlike studio strobes, the speedlite will have much quicker duration and can be used to stop the action for specialty shots.

For the record, I have a Canon 430EX Mark I (with the plastic shoe).  This is my portable, travel flash.  If I do want to use ETTL or need a flash for grab shots, this is the one that I use.  For all off camera work, I use the Yonguo's.

Great resource -- www.strobist.com.  David Hobby, The Strobist, knows his stuff (but, he doesn't like Yonguo's).

DIYphotography.net is another great site for making your own light gear.

Last tip.  Practice, practice, practice.  Play with your setup in your house, in your garage, and outside after dark.  Get to know what the pattern of the light looks like when you bounce versus shoot thru.  Experiment with shadows of makeshift subjects.  The more comfortable you are with your gear before a shoot, the better.  You don't want to be in front of a client trying to figure out how to setup the flash or control the remote trigger.

Ok, one more last tip.  Sometimes the best light is the simplest setup.  The Yonguo's come with a little shoe stand.  Set up two speedlites, each with its own remote transceiver and stand.  Then set them on different tables or even on the floor with the head aimed at the ceiling.  Aim one toward a wall if you want a stronger shadow.  Depending on the ceiling color, the proximity to walls, and the wall color, this can do a nice job of flooding the room with light.

Lighting / Re: Speedlites - How many are enough?
« on: October 01, 2014, 06:49:37 PM »
Four Yongnuo YN565EXII speedlites and five Yongnuo YN-622C remotes.  Maybe more.

I typically use two 60" white umbrellas (45" for outdoor shoots) with two speedlites per umbrella.  In most cases, this isn't essential, but the two speedlites allow for dialing down the power to get very short recycle times.  I can shoot a manual burst of 2-3 shoots without delay.

I don't use ETTL with these speedlites.  I prefer the consistency of shooting in full manual and don't always trust what my meter happens to be reading.  Plus, these speedlites are great in manual mode, not so great in ETTL.  If ETTL is high priority, then Canon flash is a must.

The YN-622Cs work quite well with the 5D3.  One could get by with cheaper remotes from Yonguo, but I like using the 5D3 menu to control the power and zoom setting of each flash (or up to three groups of flashes).  This is very handy.  The built-in optical slave is another option, but I use these for fill flash with some outdoor shoots.  It has become easier to simply use one remote per flash and not worry about whether the optical slave flash will see the master flash.

Another option is using 1-3 speedlites on it's little stand-alone foot shoe and place them on tables to bounce off the ceiling.  This all depends upon the room.

If shooting with a backdrop, I also bring two Yonguo YN460-II with two more YN-622C remotes.  I particularly like blowing out white backdrops, so these speedlites work well for this.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: One is the loneliest number...
« on: October 01, 2014, 06:27:06 PM »
I try to carry just what I need.  In most cases, I want a focal range of 24-200 with fast lenses.   So, I carry two bodies and two zooms -- a 5D3 w/24-70 f2.8L II and a 5D3 w/70-200 f2.8L II.  For some sports events, all I really need is the 70-200, so I will just carry the one 5D3, the 70-200, and 40 pancake -- just in case.

I don't like changing lenses.  It often wastes time and risks losing a shot.  Plus, it increases the risk of dust on the sensor.  So, for me, the second body is one half of my system and not just a backup.

I also don't like carrying more than I really need.  I'm not that good at this yet and often grab a third lens when shooting at a new venue.

For those landscape hunts, my impulse would be to carry the same two 5D3's and zooms -- the 24-70 for landscapes and the 70-200 in the hopes of an encounter with wildlife (at a safe distance, of course).  If moving water is part of the hike, then I'd swap out the 24-70 for a 24-105 4.0 with IS.  I prefer the controlled motion blur of the water that the IS allows.  Odds are good, however, that I would leave a 5D3 and the longer zoom behind and stick with the 24-105.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: What is your DSLR favorite use?
« on: September 30, 2014, 04:22:02 PM »
I shoot mostly kids sports and figure skating, then school and church events, some portraits, and outdoor touristy stuff (when we actually do the outdoor touristy stuff).

My primary go-to gear is a 5D3 w/24-70 2.8 II and a 5D3 w/70-200 2.8 II.  The latter gets the most use.  For walk-around and landscapes with moving water, I'll use a 24-105 f4 IS.  When light is a particular challenge, the 35 2.0 IS comes along for the ride.  The 7D still gets used for outdoor sports.

There are many sporting events where all I need is one 5D3 and the 70-200.  I'll grab the 40 2.8 pancake for a backup if I need a group shot.  The 40 is also used for traveling light on either a 5D3 or a 60D, pending the field of view that I'm after.

I've kept the 7D, the 60D, and older lenses for use by other family members who a budding, young, photographers.

When I want to travel really light, it's S100 time.  But, I recently added a G16 for this purpose.

Lenses / Re: 50mm f/1.4 Canon vs. Sigma
« on: September 30, 2014, 03:15:54 AM »
A renewed 50/1.4 may not even be "1.4" but rather "1.8" or "2.0" but with the addition of IS. Unless Canon wants to canabilize sales of the 50/1.2L, a newer 50mm from Canon won't have better IQ than the 50/1.2L and thus will not have better IQ than the Sigma.

I'd love to see Canon refresh the 50 1.4, but I do suspect the next "consumer-grade" 50 with IS will be a 1.8.

Canon did introduce a new 35 2.0 IS that rivals their 35 1.4L (with both at f2.0).  Open up the L version to 1.4 and it softens up a bit around the edges (which is fine since it's still sharp in the center).  I don't use this prime enough to warrant buying the L-version, but I paid $600 for the new 2.0 IS.  The 50 1.2L is in demand for its speed.  I don't see a sharper 50 1.8 IS taking sales away from it.   

Canon upgraded long favorite lenses like the 24-70 and the 70-200 with more expensive and sharper versions. So, why not also upgrade the rather soft 50 1.2L?  This lens is a workhorse for wedding photographers during receptions.  Many of these same photographers use the new 24-70 2.8 II for the rest of the wedding.  This zoom is sharper than the 50 1.2L.  I would think these photographers would jump at the chance to get a super fast 50 with the IQ of the 24-70 II.  The demand has to be there for Canon to fill.  On the flip side, maybe a slightly soft 50 1.2 is okay for people shots at a wedding.

Maybe there's two new Canon 50's in the works??

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Which Canon L Lens for 7D Mark II?
« on: September 30, 2014, 02:26:20 AM »
... for event photography 6D + 24-105L wins, essentially :). ...

I say go FF (6D or 5D3) with the best lens you can afford ;).

+1.44, which is essential the FF equivalent to +0.9  ;)

For shooting crop events with crop bodies, such as the 7D or 7D2, the 17-55 2.8 is tough to beat (unless you go with primes).  But, there's no question that a FF body with the 24-105L edges it out with better low light performance, longer reach, and slightly smaller DOF.  This is exactly why I upgraded from a 7D/17-55 to the 5D3/24-105L.  The OP will essentially enjoy his new 5D3/24-70 2.8II.  :)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Which Canon L Lens for 7D Mark II?
« on: September 28, 2014, 11:29:21 PM »
One of biggest problems with the 7D is that there are no good L zoom lenses for general purpose shooting. There is nothing equivalent to a 24-105L or 24-70L with high build quality and weather sealing.

Technically true.  There isn't an L-glass equivalent to a 24-105L or 24-70L for crop bodies.  But, the 17-55 f2.8 is essentially L-glass without the weather sealing.  True, the build quality of the 24-70 and the 24-105 feels better, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the 17-55 f2.8.  Put a good clear filter and you'll "seal" it from dust.

Lenses / Re: 50mm f/1.4 Canon vs. Sigma
« on: September 28, 2014, 11:08:30 PM »
I, too, am waiting for Canon to refresh the 50 1.4 with IS like they did with the 28 and 35.   Although, its the optical quality improvements that I'm really waiting for.  Canon's latest introductions from the 70-200 Mark II (ok, a few years old now), to the 24-70 Mark II, the 40 2.8 pancake, and the 35 2.0 IS have been impressively sharp wide open.  Canon needs a 50 that's also sharp wide open and they don't have one. 

Since "The Year of The Lens" is passing quickly, my hope is dwindling.  So, for the first time, I've started to consider Sigma.  I'm looking forward to the evolution of this thread.

Photography Technique / Re: Can Recommend Ready made website
« on: September 27, 2014, 04:21:25 PM »
I also use SmugMug.  Based only on a quick look at Zenfolio's plans, SmugMug appears to offer more for each subscription rate. 

Technical Support / Re: Lens hood no longer sung
« on: September 25, 2014, 09:44:41 AM »
For what it's worth, the hood for my 24-105 was loose from day one.  I tried a cheap third-party hood off Amazon and it has a much better fit, snug and never accidentally bumped off.  I know that the flocking on Canon hoods can reduce reflective glare, but I haven't seen an issue with my cheap hood.

Great post.  I admit, new innovations and gadgets fascinate me.  Photography can be a great hobby for those easily fascinated by new advancements in tech gear.

But, I'm also fascinated by the old stuff, from my my FTb-n to my 7D.  Both are still great tools for capturing images.  (Although, I have eventually given up on film.)

Even though my 5D3's dominate my current work, I still find use for the 7D.  It's a great camera and I plan to hang on to it -- partly because I still enjoy using it and partly because it's a good tool for teaching the art to my kids.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Which Canon L Lens for 7D Mark II?
« on: September 23, 2014, 11:35:51 AM »
I'm late to this thread, but you won't regret your 5D3 and 24-70 f2.8L II.

I'm a strong proponent of shooting with two bodies.  First, it's necessary to cover the full frame equivalent of the 24 to 200 mm, wide aperture lens that I believe is most useful for event work, which includes weddings.  (This range is also most useful for indoor sports.)  I don't like to waste time changing lenses or risk introducing dust to my sensors.  Second, the redundancy of the second body is important for any "once in a lifetime" event.

For over a year, I used a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8L II and a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8.  For crop bodies, these two lenses are ideal.  I thought this was THE kit for me.  No need for full frame, this did it all and Noise Ninja or Lightroom 4 (now 5) solved my high ISO noise problems.

However, I found myself shooting at ISO 2000 and up most of the time and realized that post processing to clean up the noise resulted in lots of lost detail.  I finally concluded that full frame was worth a look.  I took the plunge and bought my first 5D3 -- then, several months later, my second 5D3.  Crop bodies are great when there's plenty of light or when you're ok with some noise.  But, when you consider selling your work, you start to demand more from your sensors and clean images are a must (at least for me).  For indoor work, nothing beats FF.

My suggestion is to consider the 70-200 f2.8L II as your next purchase.  Wait for for Canon rebates and watch specifically for Canon's refurbish store rebates.  They sometimes blow these out at 20% off, but they go quick.  (CanonPriceWatch.com is a good source for tracking prices.)

With both crop and FF, my 70-200 is my main lens.  I know that many rave about the 24-70 as their go-to lens, but for me it's the 70-200.  Don't get me wrong, the 24-70 is superb and a must-have range.  But for people shots -- from candids, to bride and groom, to indoor sports, to portraits -- the 70-200 is my first choice.  It may be a little tight on crop, but it is very convenient on FF.  I've recently shot high school senior photos and love this lens for portraits.  The FF sensor offers much tighter DOF to really isolate your subject and blur out the background.

Weddings, mostly wedding receptions, can be a particular challenge with their lack of light -- even for full frame.  F2.8 may not be fast enough.  At some point you'll start looking into faster primes.  I have a 35 f2.0 IS and found it to be quite handy at a friends wedding.  For my work, this 35 has helped when I needed extra speed.  But, I really wish Canon would refresh the 50 1.4.  The current offering is too soft at 1.4 for my liking.  (Someday, I might be tempted with the 50 f1.2L.)

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon 7D II or 6D
« on: September 15, 2014, 10:53:34 PM »
My DSLR upgrade path was XT -> 60D -> 7D -> 5D3 -> and another 5D3.  I've kept them all -- in part due to kids with an interest in photography.  The kids get to use the 60D and 7D.

The 60D is very similar to the 6D in AF specs.  I added the 7D because I shoot mostly indoor sports and found that the 60D had some issues with fast moving erratic subjects, like figure skating.  The 7D was noticeably better at tracking sports.  Does this mean that the 60D can't shoot sports?  No.  But, I shoot enough sports where the higher keeper rate from the 7D is valuable to me. 

This is the decision that you need to make.  Do you shoot enough action where the 6D AF system will hold you back?

Now let's add another dimension to the thought process.  I was thrilled with the 7D/70-200 f2.8L II combo.  Indoor sports was phenomenally better than the XT/70-300 4.0-5.6 that I was using.  Then the kids that I was photographing got better at their sport and I needed faster shutter speeds.  This meant higher ISO -- 3200 and up.  This also meant a lot of post production noise cleanup.

I was definitely in the "crop body is all I need" camp.  I prefer to use two bodies to avoid changing lenses and thought that I had the dream system -- a 60D/17-55 f2.8 and a 7D/70-200 f2.8L II.  I didn't want to believe that FF was really that good.  I didn't want to pay for it.  Then I read more from those who switched (mostly on CR).  Ultimately, I realized that the low-light limits of the 60D and 7D where holding me back and I took the plunge with a 5D3.

Is there much of a difference between FF and crop.  YES.  That's why I added a second 5D3.

Fortunately, the 5D3 has a better AF system than the 7D.  The only downside for me was a slightly slower FPS and buffer rate for burst mode.  But, I use burst sparingly.

To be fair.  The 7D did a great job with adequate light, including portraits.  Curiously, I've seen many mass production portrait photographers, the kind hired by schools, use older crop bodies for their work.  So, it's not fair to say that the 7D or the 7D2 isn't good for portraits. 

But, when you compare a FF body to a crop body, there is a huge difference.  When my 5D3 arrived, I took test shots against the 7D around the house.  The first thing jumped out at me was the greater color depth of the FF body.  Images looked more alive.  Then, of course, the low light performance that I hoped for was better than I imagined.  The 5D3 has been fantastic in low light situations.  The 6D is supposed to be better (if action isn't an issue).

Another big benefit of FF is that the 70-200 is much more useful focal range for indoor events, indoor sports, and portraits.  (I love the 70-200 2.8 on FF for portraits.)  FF is also sharper.  With ISO 800 and up, my quick tests show that a cropped FF 200 mm image is sharper than a full crop body 200 mm image.  However, I still grab the 7D for outdoor sports -- soccer and baseball -- just for the extra reach.

I'm intrigued by the 7D2, mostly with the 10 FPS and the video AF.  Still, if I had to choose between the 6D and the 7D2, the 6D would be my first choice.  The big question is how you value that AF and FPS performance of the 7D2.  In my case, with thousands of indoor action shots, I may struggle with the AF of the 6D.  I would have to rely more on my timing skills to get the shot.  But, I need the shutter speed that this high ISO of the 6D offers.  For indoor available light, the FF sensor holds more value to me than the 7D2's AF system.

Others have been more succinct than I -- 7D2 for outdoor sports and wildlife, 6D for everything else.

I should point out that the 5D3 offers the best of both cameras with little compromise, save for a few hundred extra dollars.  But, deals on 5D3 bodies are becoming more frequent.

Photography Technique / Re: Benefits of IS in fast shutter speeds
« on: September 10, 2014, 04:59:36 PM »
This has been a hotly debated topic.  I shoot lot's of figure skating with the 70-200 f2.8L II at shutter speeds from 1/500 - 1/1000.   I've tried shooting with IS on and with it off on both a 7D and a 5D3 and cannot say that I've seen a difference either way.

Canon has claimed (or one of it's reps claimed) that IS improves the focus tracking in AI Servo.  But, I've also seen interviews with top pro Canon sports shooters who claim the opposite is true.  I'm guessing that this may differ with the lens and/or body.

I still tend to leave it on so it's on when I really need it.  As stated previously in this thread, many times the IS helps me get a better look at my subject by stabilizing the view within the viewfinder so I feel more confident capturing the right moment.

I won't say that leaving IS on all the time will never hurt.  The nice thing about this site is learning from those with different experiences and there are photographers who can see a difference.  It may be unique to their body/lens combo or how they shoot.  But, for me with the 70-200 II on a 7D or 5D3, I see no harm in leaving IS on.

EOS Bodies / Re: 7DII full frame?
« on: September 08, 2014, 09:51:25 AM »
7DII will definitely be full frame.  But, that's not the big surprise.  Canon will introduce not one, but two DSLRs this month with the second being the new 1DXII medium format body.  But, the new line of medium format MEOS lenses won't be available until next fall.   ;)

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