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Messages - JVLphoto

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46
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 25, 2013, 08:01:52 AM »
Justin,

I honestly meant no offense.  Everything I wrote is an effort at constructive criticism.  You can be sarcastic to my criticisms if that helps you.  Regarding your followup images:  It is not a matter of whether or not your images are "good enough" for me, it is a matter of whether or not they convey some of the capabilities of this lens.  If this is the wrong time of year for you to be able to review this equipment, maybe waiting until springtime when you have more photographic opportunities would be appropriate (maybe this is a reason why your review feels rushed).

I will point out again that you have a wonderful opportunity to do something great here with your equipment reviews.  You have a captive audience of thousands of viewers.  What you do with this opportunity it is totally up to you.

I was serious too! Thank you - honestly - I appreciate the feedback and have been thinking about it since. and yes, being half-sarcastic does help me take my medicine...

47
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 24, 2013, 11:33:16 AM »
Justin,

No offense, but there is really not much in this review that would make me consider it a "resource" when researching this lens.  You more or less just restate what canons website declares and then confirm that you thought it was accurate information and a quality lens.

Where are the efforts to put this lens through it's paces?  I recognize that you may not be a sports or wildlife photographer, but when you review a lens that is geared towards this audience you might consider making an attempt to produce some images that show how well this lens can perform (for that target audience).  You don't need to go on a safari but perhaps shoot a soccer game, or seagulls flying at the beach.  Something where you can draw a conclusion on how well this lens really does perform.  No one will use this lens to shoot a flower pot.  Even if you had shot a teddy bear and then shown full crops of the fur to showcase the sharp detail the lens was capable of (or not) would be more helpful.

Also, I know you have never used a 400, 500 or 600....   How can you give a critical review of a lens without comparing it to the other lenses in a lineup that a potential buyer would be interested in.

Maybe you don't want to spend the money on renting, or can't get your  hands on loaners, but if you want to take this equipment review gig seriously then you have to actually review equipment including comparables.  This includes actually using equipment and shooting with a plan (subjects, location, varying lighting conditions (front and back), subjects static and dynamic, etc.... Just mounting a lens on your camera and going for a short walk-about around your neighborhood hardly counts. 

I apologize if I am sounding too harsh, but this review comes across as rushed and in my opinion was poorly done.  Your images were poorly composed and exposure off, and subjects not well thought out.  (Can this lens help a camera body produce a nice image?)

I would applaud a follow-up review where you actually dig in and put this lens through it's paces.  Make these reviews a valuable resource!  You have a HUGE opportunity here with perhaps the largest canon audience on the web at your disposal.

"No offense" - Rarely is the follow-up to this good.

"but there is really not much in this review that would make me consider it a "resource" when researching this lens.  You more or less just restate what canons website declares and then confirm that you thought it was accurate information and a quality lens." - Never read Canon's website, but then yes, you're right, I can confirm that.

"Where are the efforts to put this lens through it's paces?" - 1 month with it and the review, as best I could anyway.

"I recognize that you may not be a sports or wildlife photographer, but when you review a lens that is geared towards this audience you might consider making an attempt to produce some images that show how well this lens can perform (for that target audience)." - I agree.

"You don't need to go on a safari but perhaps shoot a soccer game, or seagulls flying at the beach.  Something where you can draw a conclusion on how well this lens really does perform.  No one will use this lens to shoot a flower pot.  Even if you had shot a teddy bear and then shown full crops of the fur to showcase the sharp detail the lens was capable of (or not) would be more helpful." - Sorry you don't like my flower pot example, it was more about the exposure difference than anything else, I'll find some teddy bears next time. Watch for it!

"Also, I know you have never used a 400, 500 or 600....   How can you give a critical review of a lens without comparing it to the other lenses in a lineup that a potential buyer would be interested in." - I can and I can't... I can because I did (sort of) but you're right, how can I review a 200-400 without using lenses in that range. How can I review lenses in that range without trying other lenses in that range? A bit of a chicken vs. egg scenario here. We all have to start somewhere, the 300mm was my first step into super-telephoto and that wasn't particularly well received either. It's a steep learning curve for a guy who mostly works indoors and in editorial.

"Maybe you don't want to spend the money on renting, or can't get your  hands on loaners..."  - Want and have are different things when it comes to financial resources, but loaners are accessible to me, though if I was send a 400, 500, 600 and a 200-400 at the same time I'd likely be overwhelmed and explode with lens envy/confusion of what to shoot.

"...but if you want to take this equipment review gig seriously then you have to actually review equipment including comparables.  This includes actually using equipment and shooting with a plan (subjects, location, varying lighting conditions (front and back), subjects static and dynamic, etc.... Just mounting a lens on your camera and going for a short walk-about around your neighborhood hardly counts." - You seem to have this review thing down. As always, I welcome your own input from use of this and other lenses here... the forum is an incredible place for everyone to flesh out the reviews *especially* in areas I lack. Seriously, I suck at lots of things, help us out! (and it was a very long walk)

"I apologize if I am sounding too harsh, but this review comes across as rushed and in my opinion was poorly done. " - No, I've had worse and at least you're articulating where I fell short, that gives me specific areas to improve - so thanks!

"Your images were poorly composed and exposure off, and subjects not well thought out.  (Can this lens help a camera body produce a nice image?)" - Okay that was a little offensive.

"I would applaud a follow-up review where you actually dig in and put this lens through it's paces.  Make these reviews a valuable resource!  You have a HUGE opportunity here with perhaps the largest canon audience on the web at your disposal." - I'd honestly love to, I'd love to be able to line-up some sporting events or kayakers, or motor sports. Access is certainly a problem and very few people seem to be willing to help me get it just because I have a "nice lens" to write about. It's also winter, and you *really* don't want me to find wildlife (I'll be as good as dead). I want to make them worthwhile, I think *some* people find they are, but you're right about one thing, it's hard to write for the $13,000 lens demographic when you're not in it yourself. I wouldn't be the person to review a Ferrari either, though I can appreciate it's a top-quality and beautiful automobile... but I'll never own one.

Keep an eye on this forum, undoubtedly others will add to it as they use their lens and hopefully be able to answer some of your more pressing questions. And who knows, maybe CRguy will feel like sending it to me again out of sheer generosity. Thanks for taking the time to read the post and, more importantly, express how you felt about it! Beats silently being angry at me like my wife.

Also, here are some other images I took, they may not meet any of your needs but I enjoy them just the same :)

48
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 22, 2013, 08:38:28 AM »
Justin, I hate to pick on you again, but your review is kind of all over the place.  (Don't fly off the handle on me, hear me out.)  I wanted to get more of a feel of how you specifically felt using the lens in specific situations...you know, take me there and let the reader feel like they are experiencing the lens.  Instead, it's just awkward to read, and feels more like it's just you stating random facts about the lens, rather than your impression of it.  Most important to me would be the autofocus performance and speed, as others who have bought this lens have discussed on here already, months ago.  The IS performance would also interest me, and how it compares to the other lenses you mention like the 600mm f/4, or 400mm f/4 DO, or any of the other superteles, even the f/2.8's.

I probably missed it, but did you use anything other than a 7D with the lens?  Just curious. 

However, I have to admit the result you got of the floats and slide, with the 1.4 TC III attached, while also I assume having the internal 1.4x switched in...It looks nice and contrasty, and is very likely quite sharp.  Nice job on that!  That is full frame equivalent of an 18MP camera at what, 1254mm?  That vastly beats the heck out of the results I got with a rented generation-1 500 f/4 with the 1.4x III attached to my 50D back in 2011 (and that was manual focus on a tripod with mirror lock in very bright Florida sun...since it refused to ever AF accurately no matter where I dialed the AFMA).  Think about it...you're going through two teleconverters in series there...and the lens is a zoom to boot.  Impressive stuff!
No flying, I promise!

Sorry I didn't hit the mark on this one for you, I definitely tried to do better after all the valid criticism of my 300mm review. That said, I've never used a 600, 400 or any other tele other than the 300 so I'm currently unable to make such comparisons, the funny thing is as I move forward, in these "reviews" I have more experience than the last one.

I tested IS a bit on my kids (not a sports guy) and it was responsive and accurate, though it didn't feel as fast as the 300. I'm assuming some of this has to do with the sheer weight of glass it has to move.  My general impression, and usage, was also a lot more than the 300, despite it being heavier and larger, the versatility of the zoom gave me confidence to take it out more and try different situations.

Most of my shots were with the 5DIII, I only did the 7D + 1.4 (yes with the internal 1.4 activated) as a fun test... how far can we take the "zoom" and yeah, not bad considering all the glass we're going through on a crop sensor. I don't know the copy variance of the 1.4 teleconverter III, but I have had incredible results on it with the 200-400 and my 70-200.

Hope that helps!

Sure thing, these comments were better than much of your review, haha, thank you!  Interesting that you're saying the IS reacts slower than the 300 f/2.8 ii (perhaps you also meant the AF was slower?).  Also interesting that you felt more confident taking it out because of the zoom versatility.  I know exactly what you mean there!  As for the 1.4x iii, I wasn't implying the problem was with it.  The problem was the lens it was attached to, despite what fanboys of that lens seem to think (and despite LR testing it and saying nothing was wrong).  Sure the camera's AF was less than fully capable, but that doesn't explain the problem when focused manually, with mirror lock.  Bottom line, that particular sample of that lens, was simply not sharp.  The TC just served to highlight the problem further.  They delayed the shuttle launch anyway so I didn't even get to try to shoot what I went to shoot...I saw it on the pad from 13 miles away...the top half of it anyway.  That wasn't even worth trying to shoot, either, especially into a 40 mph wind.  So I left the camera and lens in the car and just tried to look with binoculars, haha.

Sorry, yeah, I meant AF... must be drinking again ;)

49
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
« on: November 21, 2013, 08:46:38 AM »
I read the review, and think the lens sounds like the right choice for me. Then I came in here and found 90% dissatisfied reviews!

I think paired with my 35L on my 5D3 that a stopped down UWA would be a nice pairing - don't really need the 2.8, as it would be predominately used for enviro/editorial portraits.

I am wondering, how does the 17-40 go on a 5D3 in event work? Paired with a 600-EX perhaps?

Hey, I only just saw this question. I used to use the 17-40 exclusively at events, but that was with a crop body. I find it just a touch too wide on a 5D3. That said, I still use it with a 600EX & a sto-fen diffuser on top. Unless you're getting really nice wall bounce, light will trail off at the lower end of the frame compared to the top (since it's so wide) but shooting in the range is fairly versatile. I just find my 24-70 more than adequate for events.

50
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 21, 2013, 08:43:51 AM »
Justin, I hate to pick on you again, but your review is kind of all over the place.  (Don't fly off the handle on me, hear me out.)  I wanted to get more of a feel of how you specifically felt using the lens in specific situations...you know, take me there and let the reader feel like they are experiencing the lens.  Instead, it's just awkward to read, and feels more like it's just you stating random facts about the lens, rather than your impression of it.  Most important to me would be the autofocus performance and speed, as others who have bought this lens have discussed on here already, months ago.  The IS performance would also interest me, and how it compares to the other lenses you mention like the 600mm f/4, or 400mm f/4 DO, or any of the other superteles, even the f/2.8's.

I probably missed it, but did you use anything other than a 7D with the lens?  Just curious. 

However, I have to admit the result you got of the floats and slide, with the 1.4 TC III attached, while also I assume having the internal 1.4x switched in...It looks nice and contrasty, and is very likely quite sharp.  Nice job on that!  That is full frame equivalent of an 18MP camera at what, 1254mm?  That vastly beats the heck out of the results I got with a rented generation-1 500 f/4 with the 1.4x III attached to my 50D back in 2011 (and that was manual focus on a tripod with mirror lock in very bright Florida sun...since it refused to ever AF accurately no matter where I dialed the AFMA).  Think about it...you're going through two teleconverters in series there...and the lens is a zoom to boot.  Impressive stuff!
No flying, I promise!

Sorry I didn't hit the mark on this one for you, I definitely tried to do better after all the valid criticism of my 300mm review. That said, I've never used a 600, 400 or any other tele other than the 300 so I'm currently unable to make such comparisons, the funny thing is as I move forward, in these "reviews" I have more experience than the last one.

I tested AF a bit on my kids (not a sports guy) and it was responsive and accurate, though it didn't feel as fast as the 300. I'm assuming some of this has to do with the sheer weight of glass it has to move.  My general impression, and usage, was also a lot more than the 300, despite it being heavier and larger, the versatility of the zoom gave me confidence to take it out more and try different situations.

Most of my shots were with the 5DIII, I only did the 7D + 1.4 (yes with the internal 1.4 activated) as a fun test... how far can we take the "zoom" and yeah, not bad considering all the glass we're going through on a crop sensor. I don't know the copy variance of the 1.4 teleconverter III, but I have had incredible results on it with the 200-400 and my 70-200.

Hope that helps!

51
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 16, 2013, 09:01:49 AM »
I enjoyed the review, thanks! I've got this lens on order and am pretty excited to use it.

A direct comparison is really hard to do, given so many variables. It can't really even be compared straight across to the primes, in that they're used so differently. Having said that though, the mention of it replacing several focal lengths and the associated cost savings neglects the fact too, that in order to have the use of more than one focal length you would also need to own (and carry!) at least one other body. To go from switching bodies to twisting the zoom, at these focal lengths...such luxury. With the price to match, unfortunately.

But I think it will be absolutely perfect for my main uses: air shows, outdoor sports, and large wildlife. And I can't wait for the horse racing season here in Dubai!

And I'm looking forward to seeing your photos!

52
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 14, 2013, 12:08:42 PM »
Or .... ND filter and add more flash power? Not ideal but certainly a cheaper solution to the sync speed conundrum.

I mean really? Medium format just to get faster sync?  :o

Just buy a fuji x100s and be done with it.

I'm over-complicating, am I? Again.

Would love to have the Fuji and not just for that reason.

I'll go the Medium format leaf shutter any day... if money grew on trees and I had a forest.

53
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 40 f/2.8 STM
« on: November 14, 2013, 10:58:40 AM »
why make the review when you obviously dont like the making of the lens?? this is agreat tool for 5D and 7D alike, IQ and the size makes a good travel lens!
Stein, Norway

I happen to agree with you. I had a 70D for a few weeks and the 40mm rarely left it.

54
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 14, 2013, 10:57:24 AM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?

It has a lot to do with the transmission lag from the remotes to the camera and flashes and, more importantly, the speed at which the Canon shutter closes to capture the light. Too fast and the shutter closes before all the light from the flash "registers" in the image. First party flashes (like the Canon 430EXII or 600EX-RT) are built to work specifically with their brand bodies.

Pocket Wizard developed something called "Hypersync" that offsets the flash trigger to try and account for this, it works better with some cameras than others, but I've been able to get an extra stop (at least) out of my 5D3 using this. As always, mileage varies.


Hm. I see what you're saying but there is still something here I don't get.

Let's leave out the "Hypersync" versions of the PWs. That would be basically their version of HSS with ETTL. I think that doesn't apply for their "dumb" triggers such as the Plus III and X.

So if those are rated for up to 1/250 and the MarkII and III can go to 1/200, why would there be an issue at that speed? The flash pop will be much much faster than that during that time and should illuminate the entire frame. If that's not the case then I can only think of two explanations (neither of which should happen really):

1. The cameras are rated at the max sync speed of 1/200 which (if I understand it right) is the fastest speed where the shutter curtains are at one point NOT covering the sensor. Every speed faster than that will be a smaller slit sliding across the frame and result in dark bands when the short flash pop occurs during that pass through. So this would mean that the cameras really don't have that sync speed and that the curtains are ever so slightly closed at that speed already. This seems unlikely since it clearly works with the Canon system at that speed.

2. A mismatch or delay in trigger time of the actual trigger. That would mean the PWs reach the flash delayed and they only pop after the curtains are already closing again. Or maybe the reverse where it's too early because of some shutter delay. Don't remember which direction the horizontal shutters move. The dark bar seems to be at the bottom. I've seen the same thing happening on my $25 China triggers at times. Not consistently though.

Why make a big deal? I think it matters. 1/200 is pretty slow already if you like shooting with wider apertures while trying to control ambient light. I know, that's what HSS and Hypersync is for. And that's why I'm still on the fence about all this. No good solution is cheap. None is 100% flexible. Or 100% reliable it seems.
I think my next investment is really going to be a medium format film camera for that kind of stuff. Leaf shutters and all. Anyone seen the Gregory Heisler book? Delicious. That's the kind of stuff I want to do more.

Meeeeh, I just know what happens in reality. I don't get much better than 1/160th. This has been the same with my skyports too. Someone smarter than me can answer the "why".

And I just ordered the Heisler book yesterday - looking forward to it!  ;D

55
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 06:39:02 PM »
Can anyone explain his issues with the sync speed at 1/200 with the markii/iii?

I'm confused by that. I know that this is an expected result from cheap china triggers. But with PW also? I don't get any of that on my mark II when using the canon optical system. And even my cheap triggers work at 1/200 most of the time 

Any thoughts why this is?

It has a lot to do with the transmission lag from the remotes to the camera and flashes and, more importantly, the speed at which the Canon shutter closes to capture the light. Too fast and the shutter closes before all the light from the flash "registers" in the image. First party flashes (like the Canon 430EXII or 600EX-RT) are built to work specifically with their brand bodies.

Pocket Wizard developed something called "Hypersync" that offsets the flash trigger to try and account for this, it works better with some cameras than others, but I've been able to get an extra stop (at least) out of my 5D3 using this. As always, mileage varies.

56
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 02:16:47 PM »
I'm still on the fence if I should pick up a set of PW plus III or maybe some of these. I'd actually prefer the other brands for their functionality (mainly to be able to control manual settings from the camera display, not so much actual TTL) - but PW are and seem to remain the industry standard.

And with a few potential shoots lined up at a rented studio facility I might as well have a pair of PW that are compatible with what's on set. And they are compatible with some light meters.


For proper manual control of your photos I can not recommend the 600EX-RT's enough: http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt/

That said, if you're in studio and a bit more budget conscious you can grab the Plus X for under $100 right now (there's a rebate on). The Plus III's have a lot more channels, and a long-range mode that works, but how often do you shoot more than 500ft?

57
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 13, 2013, 01:26:57 PM »
I agree with Justin's comment about not everything having to be an up-tight on the nose shot and there are times when my 500 is too big. But on the other hand, the MTF chart doesn't compare to the 400 2.8 II.

Totally, but comparing a prime to a zoom rarely works in the favour of the zoom does it?  ;)

58
Reviews / Re: Review - Canon EF 200-400 f/4L IS 1.4x
« on: November 13, 2013, 01:25:15 PM »
The link is broken, I think.

Try this one:
http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-ef-200-400-f4l-is-1-4x/

I found it to be another interesting review, sort of like the one he did for the 300mm.  Obviously Justin isn't the core user of this type of lens, so that gives his review a different angle than one from a sports or wildlife shooter.


True story, and thanks, I did find more use for this since I had my experience with the 300 and when it comes to certain quantitative needs, anyone who can *afford* a $13,000 lens just kind of needs to know if it will get the job done well. A resounding hell yeah.

59
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 11:51:23 AM »
I'm not sure what he meant by "relay mode". To my understanding you can trigger the camera shutter and flash at the same time via a third transceiver?? Yes?

Well, OK but I'm pretty sure my $20 YN-603C triggers can do that too! (actually I know they can because I used it in a shoot recently). And that's twenty bucks a pair! (Trigger cable is included in the box too).

Okay, yes, that's a same (or similar) function. Relay triggers things in sequence though, since you want the camera to essentially trigger the flash. If your one trigger does both you can potentially lose some of your sync time. But if what you have already works well then great! I'm also a big fan of PW's warranty, not sure what YN offers there.

60
Reviews / Re: Review - PocketWizard PlusX
« on: November 13, 2013, 11:26:22 AM »
if im looking for a cheap solution is this it?

It's not the *cheapest* solution out there, other people here can speak to what else can work. I err on the side of paranoid when it comes to my work, I don't want to fuss with potential areas of failure, so I tend to buy gear that I know will work. PocketWizard has been that for me, and at $100 a pair that's the cheapest PW on the market.  So let's say this is the low of the high end in radio transceivers.

And yes, any transmitter/receiver combo will do what you need to do. What you might want to check for is what kind of ports does your speedlight have to accept a trigger: some flashes only have a PC port, some have a miniphone port, some have both, and some have neither. If neither, you'll need a special adapter or a specific kind of transceiver that mounts on the foot of the flash.

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