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Messages - wsheldon

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: HUMIDITY ALERT!
« on: July 18, 2014, 08:35:49 AM »
I've lived in humid climates for years (S. Florida and Georgia), and it is a challenge if I have to store gear in non-humidity-controlled spaces. Desiccants in air-tight containers are ideal, as neuro describes, but I've personally had more problem keeping bags mold-free than camera gear and lenses. Any bags (or straps) with natural fibers or polyurethane foam padding mold very fast in high humidity, and then you might as well throw them away. I stick with weather-resistant backpacks and bags from F-stop and Timbuktu or use hard cases, which fare better. Good luck!

EOS-M / Re: Arca Swiss plate for EOS M
« on: July 15, 2014, 08:42:21 AM »
I read in another thread elsewhere that the Kirk PZ130 works well too and it does not interfere with opening the battery door either.


I use that plate on an Olympus PEN and agree that is probably a good bet. It has a low back lip to prevent twisting and the screw can be moved between 3 slots to accommodate different tripod socket positions, so it's quite generic for P&S and small mirrorless cameras.

Software & Accessories / Re: Rain protection for 5D3 and lens
« on: July 14, 2014, 01:29:45 PM »
Like a camera, the best rain bag is the one that you have with you when you need it.

I always keep a couple of these in my bag. They are inexpensive and don't take up hardly any space. Sure, they are not the best, and are essentially disposable,  but they work well in a pinch. They come two to a pack.



Work well, and really cheap, practical insurance.


I have a question, what about the tripod mount ring... Just noticed that it doesn't come with the F4?

How crucial is it for tripod stability? I don't notice that it's prone to leaning more than any other lens I've used, perhaps 85mm is the exception?

Canon is asking 145$ for Canon Tripod Mount Ring A II??? That is crazy!

You can probably find a more affordable third party mount ring ;)

I bought the Opteka tripod ring for ~$25, and it didn't prove to be worth keeping on the lens. The fit was loose (I couldn't tighten it down to maintain position without wobbling and rotating) and it appears to be made of some pot metal that is rough and not nearly as nice as the OEM rings on my 100-400 and 180 macro. The interior of the ring was lined with very thin paper-like felt that rubbed off immediately. So I never really used it because I was nervous about it breaking with the camera/lens attached and didn't think it held the lens tightly enough to minimize vibration when on the tripod, defeating the point.

Like others here I concluded that the lens is light enough to use hanging off the camera body when a tripod is needed, so I shouldn't have bothered.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 16-35 F/4L IS -- Reviews are trickling in...
« on: July 02, 2014, 02:36:50 PM »
Either way, lens testing is road to madness.  I say rent before you buy and you'll never be upset.

- A

Even that isn't a guarantee, given sample-to-sample variation in lenses and lens-body interactions. Check the LensRentals blog for some large sample-size comparisons of popular lenses to see how scattered they are in IQ and focus accuracy, e.g. http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/09/there-is-no-perfect-lens

Bottom line is that imaging perfection is a unicorn chase, requiring lots of free time and money. Not to say that I'll stop reading these tests and lusting too ;)

Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« on: July 01, 2014, 11:34:16 AM »
For those of you with the 055 series tripods from Manfrotto, there is a fairly cheap "short center column" you can get for them that saves weight and allows the tripod to go much lower, yet still gives you a extra 6 inches or so if you ever need it.  I highly recommend it.

I actually have one of these that I forgot to sell along with my 055-MF3 tripod several years ago (see http://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-055XCCSB-Black-Centre-Column/dp/B001VEJOXI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404228674&sr=8-1&keywords=manfrotto+short+center+column).

It's free for the postage if anyone wants it.

Photography Technique / Re: The definition of insanity
« on: June 25, 2014, 01:57:07 PM »
For me, like you, it is a constant battle (mostly with myself).  My wife and I are trying to work it out.  I pretty much ruined our honeymoon in Paris (2008) taking photos of the Eiffel Tower (and everything else I saw).  Now, if I am out or traveling on vacation with my wife, I take the M, with perhaps the zoom or 22.  And try not to get carried away.  But, my wife does encourage me to go off on my own when we travel, so I take my regular kit as well.  I just don't try to use it when with my wife.  We recently spent 3 weeks on Maui.  My wife had purchased a four day workshop for me.  She stayed at the condo, I went on the workshop.  And, my wife encouraged me to go out at other times alone.  It works if your wife is understanding of your hobby and independent enough to send you out to do your thing.  That makes it much easier to use a little camera and limit yourself to quick snaps (or nothing at all) during the time you spend with her.

Congrats - sounds like a lesson learned (honeymoon) and recipe for a successful marriage. Good advice as well.

Photography Technique / Re: Need advice: 60D + 100-400L
« on: June 24, 2014, 07:54:05 AM »
And here's a 100% crop of that sandpiper above for reference.

I searched some earlier photos and found this, possibly the best-quality I have.  The first is the full-frame scaled down; the second is a 100%crop.  I'm fairly sure this was hand-held, and I couldn't find IS info in the metadata, but I assume it was on.

1/1250, ISO320, f/6.3

I think the two key factors here are: f/6.3 and the lack of any false targets for the AF.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on what made this work when others didn't.


That's nice, and more in line with what you should expect of that lens and camera under good conditions. If you keep your shutter speed at 1/250-1/500 or better at 400mm with IS on or use a good tripod with IS off, keep ISO <800, nail focus on your subject, and exposure properly you should be able to achieve this quality with other subjects. You're shooting at an effective focal length of 640mm and technique is really critical and makes or breaks an image. It definitely takes practice.

Photography Technique / Re: Need advice: 60D + 100-400L
« on: June 24, 2014, 07:44:40 AM »
Most lenses are better stopped down a bit, but the 100-400 is quite good at 5.6, particularly in the center. If your f5.6 shots are noticeably soft then I'd look at focus accuracy (front/back focus), DOF limitations or long lens technique before concluding the lens is soft. Here's a shot at 400mm, f5.6, ISO100, 1/650, hand held on a 50D:

The DOF is so shallow near MFD that the entire dragonfly isn't in focus, but at the plane of focus in the middle of the rear wing the image is very sharp and lines are well resolved.

Photography Technique / Re: Need advice: 60D + 100-400L
« on: June 23, 2014, 11:30:31 AM »
And here's a 100% crop of that sandpiper above for reference.

EOS-M / Re: Which batteries do you use on Speedlite Flash 90ex?
« on: June 23, 2014, 11:18:14 AM »
I just bought one to use on my G1 X at Amazon for $61, and found it controlled my 580 EX II on the G1 X and my 5D MK III.
Pretty cool little flash.  I use one on my 6D to control 430EXII's remotely.  I still rather have an in camera flash like the 7D for that purpose.

Same here - picked one up for fun on whitebox special at Amazon (~$45)  even though I have an ST-E3. I use it to control 430EX and 270EX2 flashes for small macro setups when the 600's are too big. And ditto about the Eneloops - they work well.

Photography Technique / Re: Need advice: 60D + 100-400L
« on: June 23, 2014, 11:08:56 AM »
That's frustrating, but as others have pointed out you can get great images with an APS-C camera and that lens if you get a good copy, achieve focus, and optimize ISO and shutter speed.

Here's a recent shot of a sandpiper at the shoreline taken with a 50D and 100-400L at 400mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/400th under good early evening light from a similar distance to what you describe (slight crop):

Lots of good feather detail there.

Of course when you *can* get really close there's way more detail you can achieve, like this (50D, 400mm, ISO 200, 1/400, f6.3):

The new MeFOTO tripods by Benro (http://www.mefoto.com/) are becoming very popular, and for good reason. They're well designed, available in 3 useful sizes, and include a very decent Arca-Swiss-compatible ballhead with plate for a reasonable price. The 2 larger models (RoadTrip and GlobeTrotter) come in aluminum and CF depending on your tastes and budget, but the lightest (Backpacker) is aluminum only.

I picked up an aluminum RoadTrip (max 17lbs) for $180 to complement my great-but-huge RRS 34L for hiking with lighter equipment and I'm thrilled with the quality of both the legs and head. The GlobeTrotter would be a very good all-around tripod that should compete well against the bigger Manfrottos and even Gitzos. Worth a look, and there are lots of glowing reviews showing up on the web. They also convert to a monopod without tools, which can be useful on a trip when heading into gardens or museums that don't allow full tripods.

Software & Accessories / Re: RRS or Markins?
« on: June 14, 2014, 12:54:04 PM »
Okay, that won't elicit a short answer.  But I'll share what I know and have heard.

Markins generally is thought of as not playing well with other gear.  For me that's critical because no one manufacturer has everything I need.  It's amazing how important a millimeter or the cant of a dovetail is to getting pieces to mate easily, and Arca-Swiss did not produce universal standards.  I've heard folks grouse about several Markins ball heads.  The only Markins head I've heard recommended is the Q20, but you might still have trouble making that work smoothly with other gear.  The ball head is the most important component of a support system.  There are better places (eg: lens and body plates, clamps, flash brackets, macro rails...) where one can save money.  I recommend investing in a top ball head, then saving elsewhere.

I've owned a Q10 for several years and researched it heavily beforehand, and this is the first I've heard of those incompatibility criticisms. I use a mix of Markins, RRS, and Kirk camera and lens plates and all of them mount easily and tightly on the Q10 with the screw clamp. Lever clamp bases are always tricky to mix/match plates on, so perhaps that's what the fit comments you report are based on. However, Markins answered that by making their lever clamp tension adjustable, unlike RRS which I have heard is very picky about fit with other AS plates.

The *only* consistent negative people report is difficulty really locking down the pan base, particularly people who tote their gear mounted over the shoulder. I haven't had major problems with that issue, but I it does take a pretty good twist to get the pan base tight so I can see how that happens.

That aside, I think the Markins Q10 is a top-notch ballhead that operates very smoothly with no sag except under extreme conditions. It's much easier to find and set the sweet spot than any ballhead I've ever tried. I only experience sag once, and that was with a 180mm macro plus 1.4x extender way off axis on a set of RRS macro rails and with a 430ex flash mounted way out above the lens. It held great, despite all that torque, I just had to deal with minor sag when tightening. This is much, much better performance than the Kirk head I upgraded from.

No experience with the BH55, but there is a major increase in weight and a bit more $$ with that head, so I've stuck with my Q10 even when upgrading the 3-series RRS legs. I'm a big RRS fan, though, so I may end up there some day.

Lenses / Re: Does the Sigma USB dock work with multiple cameras?
« on: June 13, 2014, 04:51:25 PM »
The dock lets you program AFMA values directly into the lens with the added benefit of setting corrections for multiple distances, unlike the AFMA settings in the body. So if your Sigma is good at minimum focus distance but is off at longer distances you can program in multiple AFMA corrections, unlike body-based AFMA where you have to split the difference or just optimize at one extreme or the other. If you use the dock to perform AFMA you would typically disable in-camera AFMA for that lens (set it to 0).

The big down-side is that you can't currently set AFMA corrections for different bodies (addressing the OP's question), so you would either need to use body-only AFMA or a combination of lens and body AFMA in that scenario.

The other annoyance is that to use the dock for AFMA you have to shoot, unmount the lens, attach the dock, make adustments, remount the lens, re-shoot, and repeat. Pretty fiddly compared to using tethered shooting with the EOS Utility or Focal.

That said, the dock also allows you to update the firmware in the lens to correct performance or compatibility issues that are identified after shipping. For example, there was a firmware update for the 35 Art last year to improve AF reliability and noise. That feature of the dock could be important long-term if Canon tweaks their EF communication specs in future cameras, since 3rd-party companies have to reverse engineer those specs and things could break. I bought the dock for my 35A even though it doesn't need AFMA on my 6D, and it's been nice for the firmware updates alone and as an insurance policy. It's not expensive, but it would be a great item to share around with friends or a photography club since it generally sits unused after you tweak your lenses.

Hope that helps. I have the dock and software, so let me know if you need any specifics and I'll check tonight.

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