December 18, 2014, 03:15:51 PM

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Messages - TWI by Dustin Abbott

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196
Animal Kingdom / Re: Portrait of your "Best friend"
« on: May 01, 2014, 01:14:59 PM »
King Charles Cavalier Spaniel - she's about 4 1/2 months old.

Nice! Shot using one of your vintage lenses, no doubt?

That's actually the Tamron 70-200 VC lens.  It actually has a really, really nice OOF rendering.  It has its limitations, but is actually an amazingly competent lens. 

197
Animal Kingdom / Re: Portrait of your "Best friend"
« on: May 01, 2014, 11:00:52 AM »
Puppy on a Rainy Day by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel - she's about 4 1/2 months old.

198
Some great looking images.  I'm impressed.  Good examples...and good photography!

199
Testing the new Samyang SFH-14 filter holder that was recently published.
The holder comes with double slideways so i used two filters (Cokin 154 ND8 + Cokin 121M ND4) to take this photo.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/samppav/14031576673/

Great shot.  It renewed my interest in getting the filter holder and filters.  I work with the North American supplier, and they checked and were informed that they aren't bringing it into North America.  Ebay?

200
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 28, 2014, 02:07:57 PM »
I find it weird that there is only 1 shop in Norway that have the lens in stock. When I preordered they said they will begin shipping next month.. Maybe this afternoon I will receive the lens, if the norwegian postal doesn't screw up with its delivery. They're notoriously known for their long delivery times.

Ordered from FotoVideo on Saturday and still haven't received tracking number and confirmation that it has been sent yet, so combine that with the slowness of "Posten" and we're looking at Friday instead of Tuesday.
Got mine from Japanphoto (Norwegian mail order) today :) No time to try it before the weekend though.

Let us know how you like it Eldar ;)
I can assure you that it will be plenty of comparison shots with the Otus. I need to know what the extra $3k is worth  :P

I am also crossing my fingers for the AF system. I don´t want to get the same will-it-focus-properly-worry I have with the 35A.

I would love to see you actually start a new thread with comparison photos and anecdotes.  I will have a copy for review soon, but will probably never have the Otus in hand for comparison purposes!

201
Reviews / Re: 35/2 IS Review by Dustin Abbott
« on: April 27, 2014, 12:49:18 PM »
By the way, Canon direct has the 35mm f/2 IS refurbished (with 1 year warranty) for $409 right now. That was enough to get me to finally jump. 3 copies left!!

That's a great value at that price.

202
Reviews / Re: 35/2 IS Review by Dustin Abbott
« on: April 27, 2014, 12:48:56 PM »
OK Dustin,
One more question as I'm probably going to pull the trigger on my next lens in the next few weeks. The Canon's price drop pushed you to seriously consider the 35/2. So my question is, if the Canon stayed at its original price or was the same price as the Sigma today, and you had to make the decision, all over, which would you choose? I understand there were many factors governing your choice and that price was only one them. Just curious how much of an impact price was.

I probably wouldn't have bought either of them.  I don't think the Canon is worth $849, even though it is my choice of the two.  I'd have stuck with my Tamron 24-70 VC and looked in a different direction.  I suspect I'll be having a similar debate regarding the Sigma 50 vs. a new Canon IS prime before long.

203
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 22, 2014, 01:21:20 PM »
I don't disagree with what you are saying at all, but I understand the conundrum as a reviewer.  These days it seems like most reviews are published before retail copies are technically available.  Waiting until the lens launches to the public means that you lose the early momentum/hits that are so important to building a brand and a website.

Thus the suggestion to test additional lens(es) purchased through normal retail channels, once they become available.

I do appreciate the quandary, but I'd argue that merely adds another potential source of bias (and please note the use of the word potential).  If delivering an early review to gain momentum/hits is that important (and I'm sure it is), what if the review is negative?  It seems possible that a negative review would result in the reviewer not getting an advance copy of the next lens from that manufacturer, and thus losing out on the momentum/hits for the next round.

The full text of the review indicates a 40% AF miss rate in formal testing, and includes statements like, "...the longer I focus tested this lens, the less sure I was about its focus accuracy," and, "Sometimes, most images are properly focused and when my shots counted, this lens delivered. But sometimes, more images are out of focus than I am comfortable with."  To me, that does not equate to, "...occasional AF inconsistency."  Which of those statements made it into the concluding paragraph of the review, which is the part most likely to be picked up and quoted, as it was in this post by CRguy?

Your points about the potential on a negative review are very solid.  It seems that most lenses these days are pretty decent, although I try to be equally transparent about what I perceive as weaknesses in them.  I've never had any issues with the people I deal with, but I'm also small potatoes. 

204
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 22, 2014, 12:14:42 PM »
Quote from: Bryan @ TDP
Below I share ten 100% crops from one of the more-formal focus tests I performed. The subject is a large book properly aligned with the camera at a relatively close focus distance. Starting with a slightly defocused lens, each shot was autofocused using the center AF point that was very comfortably and completely covered by the book. The first 5 and last 5 images from this particular test are presented below and are representative of the larger test group. … The camera was a tripod-mounted EOS 5D Mark III with mirror lockup and the 2-sec self-timer in use.

Of those 10 shots, 4 are sufficiently OOF as to be unusable (3, 4, 6, 10).  A 60% hit rate with a static subject and a tripod-mounted camera, particularly one with an excellent AF system, does not inspire confidence. 


Also, this is a departure from the norm for Bryan's lens tests (and one, frankly, with which I'm not too pleased):

Quote from: Bryan @ TDP
My evaluation lens was a short term loan from Sigma, as they offered the production-grade lens before it was commercially available.

Any time a manufacturer supplies a product to a well-known reviewer, a big unanswered question is whether the provided copy is truly representative of units purchased retail.  Clearly, it would be in Sigma's best interest to pre-test a batch of them and pick the best copy they can find for review (in fact, they are supposed to generate measured MTFs for every lens they produce, so they have the data already).

I've always felt that one of the strengths of Bryan's reviews (in addition to their thoroughness and readability) is that he purchases review copies through standard retail channels (B&H may put him near the top of the preorder queue, but that's fine), and therefore avoids the potential confound of bias introduced by testing a 'hand-picked' lens from the manufacturer.  I hope Bryan chooses to test one or more copies of the lens purchased retail to see if the results align with the copy provided by Sigma.

I don't disagree with what you are saying at all, but I understand the conundrum as a reviewer.  These days it seems like most reviews are published before retail copies are technically available.  Waiting until the lens launches to the public means that you lose the early momentum/hits that are so important to building a brand and a website.

I don't have an "in" with Sigma, so I am waiting for a copy to be provided to me from a retailer for review right now...and it's taking a while.

P.S.  Your point about the AF is very well and clearly stated.  That's a problem...and not a small one, particularly if one intends to use this lens commercially.  You could by with it doing portraiture, but certainly not event work.

205
Lenses / Re: Review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
« on: April 22, 2014, 11:19:12 AM »
The review was great to read, and I really liked the look of the headshot of Brianna.  The AF inconsistency is a bit of concern, though.  Always enjoy Bryan's reviews.

206
Photography Technique / How (and Why) I Took the Shot #3: Inferno
« on: April 22, 2014, 10:43:09 AM »
Here's a third article from this series that mixes some light tutorials on both capture and post-processing.  Hopefully this will help to provide a little inspiration for those of you looking that are looking for it.

Inferno by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

"...I arose early on Good Friday morning, took a quick look out the window, and knew that I wouldn’t be going back to bed. You only have so many days with a fabulous dawn. After dressing and preparing my gear in haste, I traveled to a spot where I knew roughly what I would have to work with to enhance the great sky.

This is one of the keys to being a successful landscape photographer – scouting. Amazing skies don’t automatically produce amazing photos. I have seen some shots of fabulous skies that were completely ruined by the entirely uninteresting nature of the foreground.

Foreground matters.

This is doubly true if you use a wide angle lens and compose in a portrait orientation as I have done here. My 14mm lens has an incredibly wide angle of view, and composing like this means that the foreground is somewhat exaggerated. That exaggeration produces very visually compelling images…if the photographer does a good job of composing the shot. It also means that some serious thought needs to be put into the foreground and to visualize how the final shot will appear
."
to read more, click through here: http://dustinabbott.net/2014/04/how-and-why-i-took-the-shot-3-inferno/

207
Here's a new Helios shot from this week:

Old Growth, New Growth by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

208
The Helios is such a great old lens that it hardly seems fair to post shots from it, but since I paid about $25 shipped from Russia, it definitely qualifies as old and cheap!

Old Growth, New Growth by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

209
Reviews / Re: 35/2 IS Review by Dustin Abbott
« on: April 18, 2014, 10:29:23 AM »
For the record, I disagree with the "Sigma is clinical" assessment. I've seen a lot of images that look wonderful from that lens. I lean towards the Canon mostly because they both look great and the price difference is significant.

From some of the images that I have seen posted on the web the out of focus or 'bokeh' of the Sigma has, on first impression, looked really good. However I think that the transition from in and out of focus is quite abrupt, at least when compared with the 35L. That lens has a proper ground glass aspherical element, and I do find that on lenses when this is used there is a more 'glassy' or 'liquid' quality to the out of focus area. I'm guessing that the Sigma is pretty highly corrected for chromatic aberration to get the sharpness, and I'm sure it doesn't use a ground glass aspherical element, and the out of focus is a little more 'plasticy'. ( I'm being really scientific here).

I wonder if this is what Dustin is relating to ?

The EF 35 IS will use a moulded element, but as with the other Canon mid range primes the bokeh transition is good. Pretty clever stuff for such a sharp lens.

You've expressed it better than what I could have.  The Sigma is unquestionably one of the finest lenses produced thus far in terms of absolute sharpness.  I personally would trade a little of that sharpness for a smoother transition into defocus, but that is a matter of preference.  I find the 35IS does this very nicely, and so it was my choice.

210
Reviews / Re: 35/2 IS Review by Dustin Abbott
« on: April 17, 2014, 03:44:48 PM »
Reading your review for the third time. Seriously considering this lens. On my third read, you are starting to sound like a pirate  ;)

"The Sigma is incredibly sharp, but to me eye it seems like there is an imbalance between sharpness and “creaminess” in the defocused region."

Ayyyy, ye caught me, matey...

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