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Messages - Famateur

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EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 26, 2014, 08:14:20 PM »
...I will hold off on upgrading until Canon gets a clue, or make the switch to Panasonic, perhaps Sony, (who do appear to have a clue).

A clue about your specific needs, that is.  I wonder if Panasonic or Sony have a clue about how to make products that appeal to the majority.

The popularity of a camera like the 70D (not to mention the 5D3 when ML came out) suggests that your "majority" is very likely a minority. Most buyers will be looking for integrated imaging devices, not specialized stills or video cameras. And since 4K is the future, while HD is the past, that is what is going to drive those buyers, especially when they start to buy 4K TVs and see the difference in quality. People who buy 4K TV sets (in other words, high end buyers - the same folk who buy most high end DSLRs) are not going to be interested in shooting HD afterwards, they will want 4K. So who will they turn to? Apparently that isn't going to be Canon.

Something tells me that by the time 4K displays go mainstream, Canon will have cameras for the mainstream to go with them* -- if success in the DSLR market requires it. While those who adopt 4K TVs early might be the same slice of the market that buys high-end DSLRs, I don't think they comprise a majority of the market Canon depends on for its bread and butter. I don't have a source (so someone feel free to correct/corroborate), but I believe Rebels and 70Ds make up a far greater market for Canon than pro gear.

We have to remember that this is about business . A tit-for-tat strategy on feature set vs. feature set with the competition does not necessarily mean good business. Only Canon decision-makers have the inside information to support their strategy, and the proof will be in market performance and shareholder value.

*Imagine how awesome 4K with DPAF will be!

EOS Bodies / Re: Do Sensors Make the Camera?
« on: August 26, 2014, 07:59:32 PM »
I agree that Canon is behind in sensor tech, but like many others already stated it is the camera SYSTEM that is most important. 

If you said, "Canon is behind in sensor dynamic range and low ISO noise," I think I'd agree. With a general term like "sensor tech", well, that leaves it open to which tech you're referring to. Dual-Pixel Auto-Focus is sensor tech, and, as far as I know, Sony/Nikon sensor tech is nowhere close in this regard.

I fully agree with your second, point. While I'd love more dynamic range and better ISO performance, for most things that I shoot, I'd rather "get the shot" and have to do some tweaking in post than have extra dynamic range and editing latitude for a missed shot. Obviously, that wouldn't apply much to landscape shooters...

Of course, the whole dynamic range debate all depends on each photographer's needs, so it's kinda pointless to argue. I doubt Canon decision-makers argue around the board room table about whether dynamic range is important or not (maybe they do). My guess is that they plunk down a fair amount of market research dollars (yen?) to settle that matter and move forward. Not that they conclude dynamic range is unimportant -- just that other things (like DPAF) take priority in the development release pipeline.

I'm in the system-over-sensor* camp -- not because I'm "right", but because that's what works best for me.

*Let me qualify this by specifying current sensors. I'm not suggesting that a really crappy sensor in a good system is a good choice.  :P I also don't consider Canon's current sensors to be crappy.  :-X

« on: August 26, 2014, 07:43:27 PM »

When a DSLR auto-focuses it does so with the aperture wide open, regardless of the aperture to be used for the photo capture.  Once focus is achieved, it stops down the aperture to the desired size and takes the picture.

This is probably the answer you were looking for.

For example, if you had an F2.8 lens and set the aperture for the photo to F16, the camera would auto-focus with the aperture at its maximum of F2.8, then close down to F16 for the shutter release. If the max aperture of the lens (or effective max aperture, if used in combination with teleconverters) is F8 or smaller, it will not auto-focus (except on some pro bodies and, hopefully, the 7DII).

This is my understanding, anyway. Take anonymous internet info for what it's worth!  :P

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 26, 2014, 04:26:33 PM »
Famateur, good balanced comments!  It's easy to talk big when it's not one's own pocket book. ;)


Thanks, Jack. It's easy to get carried away (nearly 50 pages now!  :o).

One thing is for sure -- the successor to the 7D is a big deal to a lot of people, people that Canon probably knows a lot more about than I do.  :P I predict a hot seller...

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 26, 2014, 12:48:45 PM »
@Don Haines: I've always appreciated your even keel and efforts to temper threads that escalate. Thank you! Maybe everyone should have a good canoe and beautiful country to paddle through. Might do us all some good...

Some general thoughts after reading the rumored specs and subsequent posts:

Looking at the product positioning of 60D to 7D, I would expect a similar relationship between 70D and 7DX/II. Same sensor, but very different build, frame rates and AF system. If such is the case with the successor to the 7D, I'll be a little disappointed, but not surprised. It'll still be a fantastic camera and I imagine will sell brilliantly.


There seems to be a lot of assuming going on about what Canon does behind the scenes based on what's released to market (or rumored to be released). I agree with Neuro's point about business strategy, R&D opportunity cost and market research. Developing DPAF was NOT an evolutionary or iterative enhancement to old sensor technology. It was revolutionary. It was also chosen as the development priority at the opportunity cost of things like on-sensor ADC, et cetera. That decision was most likely driven by market research (which is just as vital to a business as technology research). It doesn't mean Canon chose to ignore dynamic range or ISO performance -- it just means that DPAF came first in the development release pipeline.

From a business perspective, it seems clear that Canon does not need increased dynamic range (right now) to succeed in the market. Making the leap from that to "Canon is clueless" seems a little naive. In a still weak global economy, it makes sense for a company to remain as conservative as possible while still retaining market share and shareholder value. Companies like Sony, who appear to be boldly innovating, are compelled to do so by their market performance -- but while exciting to consumers, such a strategy is coupled with high risk. Canon does not have the market pressure (yet) to take on excess risk.

None of us actually have any clue what Canon's sensor development program is in the lab, what's coming, or the strategy for when to release it. Assumptions that Canon doesn't innovate or is ignoring dynamic range are simply that -- assumptions. Assumptions exclude Canon's market knowledge or even factors such as issues with mass production of a new technology that cause delays, et cetera.

I think the takeaway, is that it's not that Canon doesn't value dynamic range and ISO performance -- it just means Canon values AF performance more at this time. We might also keep in mind that the lab is busy developing now what will be released down the road. That could very well be groundbreaking new sensor technology that adds a couple of more stops of editing latitude. Who knows -- and that's the point. Assumptions just stir bickering...


I appreciate jrista's desire to see Canon employ technologies for which it already has patents. I'd welcome all the dynamic range and ISO performance I can get, though it's not critical to what I tend to shoot. That said, I tend to believe that Canon is working on that -- it's just that AF performance, including DPAF, were the higher priority -- even after several years of similar sensor performance.


@jrista: Spending hours in post sounds downright painful. If high dynamic range landscapes were my bread and butter, but my loyalty was to Canon, I'd be frustrated, too. Perhaps a good ND grad filter might be preferable to hours of post between now and when you either pick up a D800/810 or Canon unveils a comparable alternative?

Also, on the sunflowers -- one thing I've always loved about them at sunset is how because the petals aren't opaque, they glow when back-lit. Just my taste, but I would probably leave them in shadow enough that the petals that glow have contrast to those that are in shadow. That might give more overall contrast to the scene and help it feel more realistic. Just a thought. Glad to see you're out shooting...


Finally, I'm looking forward to whatever gets announced next month!

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 06:18:28 PM »
@Famateur: Because of the fact that the sky was overcast, that dispersed a lot of the light, resulting a higher diffuse ambient level. The dynamic range of the scene was within the dynamic range of the sensor. A scene that was directly lit by the sun would actually have had higher dynamic range, and actually posed a greater problem for lifting the shadows.

Given the unprocessed version of your image, I would offer that you could have underexposed slightly more, and avoided the pinkish/purple toning that occurred when you recovered the highlights in the clouds. You might have had slightly more noise in the foreground, but I think that would ultimately be preferable to the color grading issues in the clouds.

Agreed on both points. :)

The first thing I noticed when I opened the file was that, despite the underexposure, I still managed to burn some of the sky. Hard to see on an LCD outside, but what can you do. With wife and kids anxious to move on, no time to fiddle with enabling highlight alert. I'll see if I can desaturate that patch of pinkish clouds with a local brush...

EOS Bodies / Re: Are These The EOS 7D Mark II Specifications?
« on: August 24, 2014, 06:00:36 PM »
To a certain extent photography as an art form is defined by its limitations.

I like the spirit of this observation. Knowing that the average shmoe isn't going to bracket/blend a high dynamic range scene means there's still something special when one does it, and does it well.

Thankfully, the soul of a photograph is its composition, lighting, feel -- things that technology will likely never replace...

While digesting all these pages of discussion on dynamic range, I've decided to share my own two cents (if even worth that much):

I recently returned from a short family vacation to Arches National Park. Being a vacation first and photo-op second, I wasn't able to be at Landscape Arch for the light I wanted, but since I was there, I still wanted to get some decent photos with my 70D.

The sky was mostly full of heavy black rain clouds and some sprinkling, but there was a hole in those clouds nearly over the sun, so despite the cloud cover, it was bright -- right behind the arch. I quickly set my camera to a three-shot bracket and fired away, planning to blend them in post. I used the same strategy the night before as the sun set behind us up at Delicate Arch.

Back home with the RAW files in Lightroom, I started to do a little touching-up of the three shots before blending them, starting with the under-exposed shot first. Just for the hay of it, I decided to fiddle with the file as if I didn't have two other exposures to blend. The result? I actually skipped the other two exposures! Sure I might go ahead and take the time to blend them to see if I can get a better result, but I was amazed at what I was able to pull out of the one dark file with only modest noise reduction (Luminance NR at 26).

Here's a before and after (keep in mind I'm not a pro -- just a family guy with a 70D):

Landscape Arch Before-And-After (from underexposed file of three-shot bracket)

Anyway, for this non-pro, I was pleasantly surprised with what I could do, even if Canon is "behind" in dynamic range, latitude, whatever... Had I only shot JPEG, yeah, it would have been a throw-away, but isn't this why we shoot RAW to begin with?

PS: What looks like a halo along the top of the arch is some chromatic aberration (nearly silhouetted arch against bright clouds) "removed" by Lightroom. The color is gone, but I'm not sure how to eliminate the halo effect without resorting to some tedious Photoshopping.

Canon General / Re: A Rundown of EOS 7D Mark II Information
« on: August 15, 2014, 01:00:25 PM »
I'm anxious for the 7DX (my guess at the title, because I like hoe Canon named the compact G1X). I'm hoping this means that all their flagship models in each of the three main lines will carry that X brand. Compact. APS-C. Full Frame.  So Canon 7DX is my guess.

That makes sense. Calling it 7DX is my guess, too -- especially with all the comparisons to 1D (top plate, build quality, etc.).

Price points at over 3k?!  Suicide. Abject suicide. Who is going to buy a crop priced the same a 5D3?  The crop factor itself is useful, sure, but the market would be so small Canon would almost certainly lose money long term.  I think we will see a $2200 7DX street price.  I can see a top level crop competing with an "entry" Full Frame (6D) but no way an upper level one.  Canon needs to knock this out the park and in 2015 bring out the 1DX II at $6500 again.

Agreed. Everyone was bracing themselves for a 70D price that was high, but we were all pleasantly surprised when it was released with MSRP of $1,199. I picked mine up for $1,049 just a couple months later. The price even dropped to around $949-999 during the holidays. My guess for the 7DX is $2,199. That's a huge leap over the 70D but not so much that it would compete with the 5DIII.

Oh, and I'm anxious to find out about the new sensor!

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Photo Paper advice
« on: August 15, 2014, 12:11:41 PM »
Everyone that prints enough of their own photos these days will eventually discover Red River Paper.

I'm responsible for the care & feeding of an Epson 4900 and I'm not at all shy about spending money on quality supplies. I print a lot and these guys offer top-notch quality and the best customer service in the business. Period.
+1 on Red River - I always found it to be an excellent match for my Epson printers.  I ditched the photo printer for many years (waiting for color profiling to catch up) but bit on the Pixma Pro 100 deal as well a year or so ago for my personal printing.

The best paper I've found for the Pixma is the Canon Pro Platinum paper.  I'm more of a matte paper guy, but I have to say that the Pro Platinum produces some amazing glossy prints and comes close to the metallic prints in terms of depth & color saturation.  Keep an eye on Canon USA's store for deals - last year I purchased several packs of the Pro Platinum 8x10 paper in a buy one, get four free deal with free shipping and extra paper (4x6 packs) for spending over $50.  I spent $67 and got nearly $600 in free paper.  Really.  I have enough paper to last me many, many years now!

Now if they'd just do the same thing with the ink, I'd be all set, but I think there's some kind of conspiracy going on here ;D

Ditto here. I didn't even have a printer yet (but I knew I'd be looking), and when that paper deal came along, I stocked up. Then I got the Pixma Pro-100 with the rebate and paper deal from Adorama in June. The rebate just arrived this week, so when all was said and done, I ended up with 250 sheets of Canon Pro Luster 8x10 paper (~ $175), 50 sheets of 13x19 Canon Semi-Gloss (~ $35) and the Printer (~ $389), a combined value of about $600, for a grand total of about $70.

So far, I'm loving the prints. Took some figuring to get the color management right between the printer driver and Lightroom, but I think I have it figured out now. Holding up a portrait of my daughter to my calibrated IPS display, I was giddy at the result. :)

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Laptop Editing - Best Setup
« on: August 15, 2014, 11:49:40 AM »
I see a lot of talk about CPU's, ram, double disk drives, and 17 inch screens. None of that matters if the LCD screen is crap. And trust me when I say all TN panels are just that. It doesn't matter what the resolution is, the upgrade path, whatever. It's still like looking through muddy water, and when you turn your head an inch you're getting different colors and contrast.

Agreed! With current technology, it's IPS or nothing for photo editing.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Laptop Editing - Best Setup
« on: August 15, 2014, 11:48:00 AM »
It might be helpful to know that the Dell XPS 15 is the "consumer" version of the Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation from their "business" line. Not sure if that means it will last any longer.

I use Dell Precision, and it is difficult to fault them. Built like tanks and they are among the most powerful laptops you can buy (hence the size). For video editing and high res photo editing I would say go with a Dell Precision. You just need to decide the size, specs and model you want.

Very reassuring -- thank you! I'm excited for mine to arrive...

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Laptop Editing - Best Setup
« on: August 14, 2014, 04:59:30 PM »
I went out looking at laptops last week, I looked at 50 or more.  None impressed mt as suitable for a primary photo editing tool.  Displays were mostly horrible, and all seemed to have one drawback or another.

Amen. It's so hard to find the right combination of power, size and display quality -- oh, and price. :)

Some of the Lenovo machines tempted me, but I just can't get past the Fn key being swapped with the Ctrl key. I'm sure I'd get used to it if it was my only keyboard, but I'd rather keep the "manual of arms", as it were, identical with all my other keyboards. Maybe these two keys can be programmed to be swapped back to "normal"?

Another thing that bugs me is port layout on most machines. First, putting display and power ports on the side is just silly, but nearly all of them do these days. Second, they almost always put the two close together on the same side, leading to EMI that can make the external display look like it's had one too many Red Bulls (that's right -- unplug your power cord, and suddenly the dancing lines disappear). Power and display adapters should be on opposite ends...of the BACK of the machine. Maybe I just haven't found a display cable with decent enough EMI shielding... :P

I'll know in a couple of weeks if the Dell Precision M3800 I ordered is worth it...

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Laptop Editing - Best Setup
« on: August 14, 2014, 04:31:39 PM »
It might be helpful to know that the Dell XPS 15 is the "consumer" version of the Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation from their "business" line. Not sure if that means it will last any longer.

My only experience between equivalent "consumer" and "business" laptops is with HP. I got a business laptop, and my boss got essentially the same machine from their "consumer" line to save money. Seven years later, he's on his third "consumer" laptop (getting ready for a fourth), and my trusty HP is still going strong and has never let me down. I'm only moving to the Dell because a 7-year-old laptop just can't keep up with all of today's demands, and the current stable of HP mobile workstations just can't compete for the combination of price, performance and size -- not to mention the Ultrasharp display. If the Dell disappoints, I'll go back to HP.

For $1,700, you get:

  • Intel i7 4712HQ 2.3 - 3.3GHz (Haswell)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 500GB Hybrid Drive (with available second bay)
  • 1920x1080 IPS Ultrasharp touch display
  • 18MM (.71") thin
  • 4.15lbs

Edited to add: For another $75 on Amazon or NewEgg, I can double the RAM. Another $90, and I can add a 120GB Samsung SSD for system and programs and use the hybrid drive for storage.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D or 7D mkII?
« on: August 14, 2014, 01:42:26 PM »
Seems like good advice so far. Here are a few more thoughts to consider...

This is really a decision between full frame and crop for your needs, especially when we don't know what a 7DII will have, if released.

If you choose the 6D, you'll need a new lens (the EF-S 15-18 will not work). This brings the cost of switching to full frame up more than just the cost of the 6D body. Selling the 450D and 15-85 would offset that, if you don't plan to keep them. Also, you can occasionally find the 6D and 24-105L kit for about $2k. I think I've seen kit-separated 24-105L lenses go for around $650, so that makes the 6D around $1,350 new if you sell the 24-105L.

The sensor in the 6D is considered by some to be Canon's best. I would be surprised if the 7DII sensor produced better image quality. At high ISO values, it's reasonable to assume it won't touch the 6D (although I'd love to be surprised!). This makes it a matter of reach and AF performance versus superior image quality. You'll have to decide which you value more. If doing mostly landscape, I would say 6D. If doing mostly wildlife, I would say that whatever Canon's next top crop camera will be will have the reach and AF performance to "get the shot" and good enough image quality at lower ISO values to make beautiful prints at the sizes you desire.

If you don't need a wildlife powerhouse (super-high frame rates, weather sealing, powerful AF tracking), then the 70D would probably do fine (it's no slouch) for the safari's where you need reach and reasonably good AF. Depending on your lens choice (and Canon's pricing for its next top crop), you might be able to do 6D and 70D together for the price of the 7DII.

Good luck! With hope of announcements from Canon just around the corner, it's a fun time to be shopping for a camera...

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / Re: Laptop Editing - Best Setup
« on: August 13, 2014, 10:09:03 PM »
I would not choose a gaming laptop for both reasons already mentioned:

1. Gaming systems usually employ a TN+Film panel for fastest response time, but colors shift significantly with viewing angle. Even viewing straight on and not moving your head, the screen is large enough that the colors will shift from one part of the screen to the other. When it comes to photo editing, I would say IPS is your best bet.

2. With a gaming system, a lot of the cost is in the graphics chip, and that is largely wasted for photo editing. Better to put that money into more RAM (Lightroom can never have too much!) and a solid state hard drive for your system drive. A second drive bay could be used for a high-capacity traditional hard drive.


I'm going to pick up a Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation shortly. It has a 1920x1080 Ultrasharp display (IPS), 8GB of RAM and a decent processor. I'll probably add another 8GB of RAM for a total of 16GB (cheaper for me to do it than Dell). There's also an optional 3200x1800 IGZO Ultrasharp display (IPS), but you then have to "configure" your laptop, which adds another $60, then the screen upgrade is like $79, so to have the high-res display adds about $139 (and I'd rather add RAM). Most of my editing is done on an external monitor, but it's nice to have an Ultrasharp on the lappy.

One downside is that because it's a touch display, it's glossy. Not a fan of glossy displays. Other than that, for price, performance and size (.71" thick, 4.15lbs), it beats anything else I've looked at -- even the HP Z-Books.

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