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Topics - V8Beast

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Landscape / Landscape paradise: Colorado vs. Pacific Northwest
« on: January 09, 2015, 01:20:41 AM »
Simple question: What's the more scenic destination, Colorado or the Pacific Northwest? I need proof ;D

I ask for selfish reasons, as I'm debating on where to take take the family on vacation this spring or summer.

Lighting / Profoto B1 vs. Phottix Indra
« on: November 20, 2014, 10:56:20 PM »
Does anyone here own a set of Profoto B1 lights? How do you like them? How well does the built-in diffuser work? How long does the battery last? I'm debating between the B1s and the Phottix Indras. The players:



I know there is a huge price difference between the two, but the convenience of having the battery packs, wireless triggers, and reflectors built into the heads on the Profoto lights is very appealing, especially for shoots that involve changing locations several times, which means setting up the lights several times. The Indras have a separate battery pack and reflectors, so that's more setup time and cords to trip over. One advantage of the Indras is that they have HSS, which the B1s do not, but I don't see that being too useful for my needs.

My primary objective is trimming down on the amount of gear I have to lug around in the field, as well as cutting down on the setup time. I'm currently using three White Lightning heads triggered by a Phottix Odin/Strato combo. Between the lights, cords, battery packs, reflectors, and triggers I need a big ass Pelican case to fit it all in. In contrast, two B1 lights will fit in a small backpack. I can see myself using the B1s in situations and locations where I would have never bothered with the White Lightnings due to their size and the hassle of setting then up, choosing instead to limp around with Speedlites. Not having to attach the battery packs,  power cords, reflectors, and triggers will save me 15 minutes in setup time and 15 minutes in pack-up time each and every time.

Sports / USGP 2014!
« on: November 02, 2014, 12:18:02 AM »
Damn I love F1 ;D How come it can only come to town once a year? These are from Saturday's practice and qualifying. I need me some more reach, so I'm keenly awaiting the new 100-400L :D

Software & Accessories / Bottleneck when opening images of CF card?
« on: November 04, 2013, 05:07:46 PM »
I'm planning out my next custom PC build, and want to narrow down potential bottlenecks. More specifically, when reading images directly off the CF card using a card reader, I'd like them to open up as quickly as possible. I'd imagine that this is determined by the read speed of the CF card itself, and the transfer rate of the USB interface. Opening up 200 or so RAW files at once seriously slows down my current system, so I'd like to cut down the wait time as much as possible.

Dumb question #1: Does the amount of RAM factor into this equation at all?

Dumb question #2: Since the images aren't being copied into the hard drive in this scenario, does the HDD write speed matter for this specific issue? My guess would be no.

I'm debating whether or not it's worth it to go with solid state drives for storage, or go with a standard HDD in a RAID 0 configuration to boost read/write speed. A 1 TB solid state drive still costs $600, and while they're blazing fast, that's still a lot of money.   

EOS Bodies - For Stills / 5D3 LCD brightness: Auto or manual?
« on: May 17, 2013, 12:13:08 PM »
Greetings fellow 5D3 users. What are you impressions of the auto LCD brightness function? Can it effectively compensate for large changes in ambient light, or is it gimmicky feature?

For the past year, I've been trying to figure out the characteristics of the light meter, so I've left the LCD brightness in manual. However, since a typical shoot for me starts in bright sunlight, and doesn't conclude until it's pitch black outside, I find myself fiddling with the screen brightness as the ambient light changes. I image most wedding photogs can probably relate.

That said, I'm contemplating giving the Auto screen brightness feature a go again, but am hesitant to experiment with this on a commissioned gig.

Lighting / Phottix Odins, monolights, and HSS
« on: March 23, 2013, 07:26:28 PM »
Maybe I'm on crack, but I thought people have successfully used the Odins to high-speed sync monolights? I tried HSS with the Alien Bees today but no workie :( Am I doing something wrong?

The way I understand it, in HSS mode the Odins are supposed to trigger the monolights to fire right before the shutter opens. All I got was a black exposure.

Lighting / Phottix Odin: Inaccuate high-ISO metering problem
« on: October 25, 2012, 11:17:25 PM »
I've been proudly pimpin' my ancient 550EXs for quite some time now, and decided to step up from infrared to a set of Phottix Odins. With my 5D3 in Av mode, I've noticed that the flash exposure is pretty accurate and consistent up to ISO 400, but drop off a table after that. From ISO 800 and up, it seems like the Odin's don't "meter down" the flash exposure enough, and the result is way too much light output. Either that, or the Odins don't recognize that the ISO has been increased.

Here are some sample shots with the flashes set to the left and right of the subject. To keep the ambient light levels consistent, the aperture was kept at f/4, but the shutter speed varied from 1 second to 1/125 second.

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

Interestingly, the ETTL flash metering is much more accurate with the camera in manual mode. To make sure the ambient light in the room didn't affect the exposure, these shots were taken at f/8 and a 1/90 shutter speed.

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

Do the Odins just not like working in Av mode, or maybe it's just a compatibility issue with the 550EX's?

Software & Accessories / Video card advice, please!
« on: October 04, 2012, 02:51:04 PM »
The good: I just picked up a Dell U2711 monitor.

The bad: It's a 2560x1440 monitor, but my antiquated video card only supports 1920x1080.

I suppose I should come out of the closet as a PC guy ;D That said, what video card would you fine folks recommend? Even after calibrating the monitor with my Spyder, the colors and brightness are WAY off. I'm hoping the video card has something to do with it.

Weird issue, which is more of a pleasant surprise. I ordered up one of these with my 5D3 a few months back, and it lets me fire off 13 frames in RAW before the buffer fills up and slows the camera down:


I purchased the exact same card, this time from Amazon, and this one lets me fire off 23 frames in RAW before the buffer fills up. I checked both boxes, and they are identical with the identical part number.

Interestingly, the box that the new card came in states that it's UDMA 6, but the card is labeled UDMA 7. That is the only difference in physical appearance between the two cards.

I'm not complaining that the new card is much faster than expected, but I'm just trying to figure out what's going on. To my understanding, UDMA 6 has a max transfer rate of 133 mb/s while UDMA 7 has a max transfer rate of 167 mb/s. Since the card maxes at out 90 mb/s, why should that even matter or impact writing speed?

This isn't meant to be an poll where the full-frame elitists and APS-C users stricken with an inferiority complex to duke it out. Whether someone is a hobbyists or pro is entirely irrelevant to this poll as well. It just seems like people either really love their 5D3, or are calling bloody murder about the price. I've noticed many of the people that love it were already shooting full-frame, while those discontent about the price are often current APS-C users. My observations could be completely out of line, which is why I'm posting this poll out of curiosity.

Personally, as the owner of a 5D3 that came out of the very first batch, I obviously felt it was worth the price. However, if I were an APS-C user, I completely understand why some people are upset about the price. If that were the case, I'd probably just buy a 5D2, or if I couldn't bear the thought of dealing with such a pathetic AF system and lethargic frame rate, I'd pick up a D600 if it does indeed materialize at the rumored specs and price.

EOS Bodies / Some high ISO 5D3 samples from last weekend
« on: May 22, 2012, 01:59:13 AM »
This is the hardest I've had to push the ISO on the 5D3 so far, and I'm pleasantly impressed. This isn't meant to inspire pixel peeping (sorry, no 100% crops :) ), but rather to show what's possible with clean ISO 3200-6400 images. I know that's not that high by today's standards, but suffice it to say that I would have never attempted shots like this prior to picking up a 5D3. I f'd up and underexposed the images by 1/2 to 1 stops, but the images cleaned up nicely in Lightroom, and noise wise, are plenty nice enough for a two-page magazine spread.

ISO 3200, exposure pulled 1 stop

ISO 6400, exposure pulled 1/2 stop. Not enough motion blur in this one for my liking. I really didn't notice much difference in noise between ISO 3200 and 6400.

ISO 3200, exposure pulled 1/2 stop. Good sense of motion, but too soft to run large in print. Oh well, maybe next time.

A few notes:

1) The AF system is a beast. It was very dark, and the AF locked on effortlessly in AI Servo. On the other hand, the the black AF points are invisible at night when locked onto a black subject. I had to keep hitting the AF selection button to turn the points red in order to ensure they were positioned on the subject correctly. 

2) For this set, the in-camera jpeg processing was quite lacking. I shot both raw and jpeg, and the jpegs yielded more noise and less detail than the raws. That's no surprise, but it becomes very evident at 3200-plus ISO. In better-lit scenes, IMHO, the jpegs render adequate detail and quality for my needs up to 3200. For stuff like this, it's raw all the way.

EOS Bodies / How are dynamic range and sensor size related?
« on: May 07, 2012, 03:05:35 PM »
First off, let's not turn this into a D800 vs. 5D3, or Canon vs. Nikon debate :) Instead, the I have a very simple question regarding dynamic range, since it's such a hot topic lately.

More specifically, lots of people say they prefer shooting full-frame because of the improved dynamic range over crop bodies. The common argument is that the larger photo sites collect more light, thus translating to improved DR. According to DxO sensor tests, however, this simply isn't true:

5D3 = 11.7 stops of DR
7D   = 11.7 stops of DR
G12 = 11.2 stops of DR

So, a 1.6:1 sensor 7D matches a full-frame 5D3 in DR, and the tiny sensor of the G12 point-and-shoot is only half a stop behind either of the SLRs.

I'm not the most tech savvy person out there, so I'm just curious how DR and sensor size are related, if at all, and why. Thanks :)

In light of all the doom-and-gloom regarding the POS known as the 5DIII, let's try to lighten the mood, shall we :)? Since some people seem convinced that it's impossible to create art with only 11.7 stops of DR, and the 5DIII's pathetic hardware specs are limiting their creative execution, I propose posting your best images captured with less-than-stellar gear. It can really be anything, whether it's a point-and-shoot, xxD, Rebel, or just something that used to be a fine tool, but is too old to capture great images anymore (ie 1DII, 1DsII). As we all know, cameras that used to be cutting edge suddenly stop taking great images once a newer model comes out. Images from current crop bodies are very welcome, since everyone knows you can't take a decent image with a crop :o

Some of these have already been posted before, so I apologize in advance. These are far from the best shots in the world and some are far from great, but hey, they aren't out-of-focus snap shots of overweight felines taken with $3,000 bodies, either :) I know this might be better placed in the Images and Videos gallery, but since this forum has the highest concentration of whiners, I hope we can keep it here :) Let's see what those POS Canon sensors can do ;D

G7 in harsh middle-of-the-day light. Planning involved stepping out of car, pointing, and shooting.

G7 with window light diffused through a sheet

20D with an embarrassingly slow 70-200 f/4

20D with a junk 28-135 kit lens under cave-like stadium lights

20D somehow managing a lot of DR

20D, reflector, a couple Vivitar 285s, and cheap Hong Kong radio triggers

1DII with only 1 cross-type sensor. Ack!!!!

.....will that change people's anti-Canon sentiment? When I'm out shooting with my 5DIII, I marvel at its vastly improved AF, burst rate, handling, user interface, LCD screen, responsiveness, and low light performance far more often than I lament about its DR, which is more than sufficient for 98% of my shots. That said, some people can't get over its DR handicap compared to the D800. The DR disadvantage is real, so there's no sense in arguing about anymore.

Since DR and sensor ratings seem to be the most important factors for the internet crowd, what if the 1Dx shows a marked improvement in DR over the 1DIV and 1DsIII? Will people still be going poo-poo on Canon and telling them to "try harder?" I wouldn't expect Sony Exmor performance, but what if the 1Dx can match the D4 in DR?

With the 5DIII, Canon addressed the 5DII's most glaring weakness (AF, FPS, build qaulity), whereas with the 5DII, Canon didn't hold back on the sensor tech but crippled everything else (AF, FPS, build quality) to distinguish it from the 1DsIII. Is it possible that Canon's strategy this time around is to reserve its best sensor technology for its flagship body as a means of distinguishing it from the 5DIII?

Only time will tell. Personally, I really don't care because I was never in the market for a 1Dx, and I don't see the point in rejoicing or lamenting over the performance of a product I never considered purchasing. I merely pose this question out of curiosity, since many people seem intent of formulating their opinion of an entire company's reputation based on one metric of sensor performance, DR. 

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Great tutorials on 5DIII and 1Dx AF system
« on: April 07, 2012, 02:24:21 PM »
Canon's own Rudy Winston has posted some very helpful tutorials on how to maximize the AF systems found on the 5DIII and 1Dx. I found them much more helpful than the instruction manual, and wish I had read them before taking the 5DIII on my first shoot. There's a great explanation of cross-point AF sensors, too. The new AF system is probably an easy transition for 7D users, but for people stepping up from 5DC/II's and xxD's, there's much to learn. I'm not sure if these have been posted yet, but here goes:

Menu system

Multiple AF points

AF Configuration tool

Cross-type sensors

AF points and area selection

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