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Software & Accessories / New Really Right Stuff Website - Locked Out
« on: January 04, 2014, 12:43:01 PM »
I received an email on 1/2/14 from RRS announcing their newly designed website.  The email provided me with a link and temporary password to establish my existing account.  Today (Saturday) is the first chance I've had to reestablish my account.  The problem is all of the links in the email (total of 5) are dead.  When I access their site directly and attempt to log in using my old credentials, I"m not recognized.  Being Saturday, I don't expect to get a hold of anybody over there so I thought I'd throw this out to the CR community and see if you've been successful or have ran into the same issue I have.

Lenses / Protective filter for 24-70 II - standard or thin?
« on: October 15, 2013, 11:52:17 PM »
Getting ready to order my 24-70 f/2.8 II and want to include a protective filter with my order.  I haven't read about any vignetting with this lens using a standard filter but want to make sure I don't need the thin version.  Can someone please confirm if a standard filter works without vignetting?

Looking at either:
- B+W 82mm XS-Pro UV MRC-Nano 010M Filter
- B+W 82mm UV Haze MRC 010M Filter


Software & Accessories / Help me finalize my tripod & ballhead choice
« on: April 15, 2013, 01:21:15 AM »
I’m upgrading my tripod and head.  I have narrowed down my choice of tripods but I am struggling with heads.  I’ve been looking at Manfrotto and Gitzo heads (plus a few others) but after reading reviews (mostly B&H user reviews) I have become more confused and uncertain.  I have also searched CR for a tripods and heads which is an overwhelming task with the 100s of links. 

I don’t have a hard budget but I don’t have an unlimited budget either.   I was hoping to keep it inside $600 but that doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.   Primary use is landscape, must be carbon fiber,  also want to be able to mount a 5D with 70-200 2.8.   

Short list of tripods:
Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 (supports 17.6 lbs) - $400
Gitzo GT-1531 -Series 1 (supports 17.6 lbs) - $620
Gitzo GT-2531- Series 2 (supports 26.4 lbs)- $700

Ball Heads

Manfrotto 468MGRC2 Magnesium Hydrostatic (Supports 22 lbs) - $260

1.   Gitzo has “Centered” and “Off Centered” ballheads.  What are the pros and cons of each? 
2.   In general what are your opinions of Gitzo heads?  Online reviews range from excellent to do not buy.
3.   Right now I’m leaning towards the Gitzo GT-2531 Series 2 tripod.  What would be an appropriate head for that tripod.  In other words I don’t want to put a wimpy head on sturdy set of legs or a rock solid head on flimsy set of legs.

I'm open to all suggestions for tripods and heads. 
Thanks all

Lenses / Worth it to upgrade Extender 1.4 II to a Mk III?
« on: December 31, 2012, 01:37:57 PM »
Been contemplating if it's worth the upgrade, improved IQ and AF,  to upgrade to a 1.4x or 2x Mk III Extender.

With spring training (baseball) just around the corner here in AZ, I want to be ready if I choose to upgrade.  I will be using my 7D with my 70-200 2.8 II for outdoor games and once regular season starts (indoor games), I will use both my 7D and 5D3.  I'm more interested in the 1.4x but am considering the 2.x  Thanks

EOS Bodies / 5D III AFMA for Zooms - Adjust Wide or Telephoto First?
« on: November 11, 2012, 07:35:15 PM »
While AFMA my lens,  it occurred to that I might be making matters worse based on how I was testing zooms. 

Here is my scenario:  I setup and test my 24-105 for the telephoto end first.  I determine that +5 is my ideal focus position at 105mm.  I set the value +5 in the camera.  Now I setup my camera for testing at the wide end.  Common sense tells me I should change the telephoto value back to 0 while I test for the wide end at 24mm.  Then once I determine both values, I enter them in the camera.

So is it best to test one end while the opposite end is set to the new value or to zero?  My guess is zero or maybe it doesn't even matter.  The manual does not specify anything this specific so I though I'd bounce if off the CR community.


Note:  I doubt it matters but I am using the LensAlign Mk II tool, plan to switch to FoCal in the near future.

Edit:  The 5D3 can store 2 AFMA values (wide and tele) for zoom lens.

EOS Bodies / Best FF option
« on: September 21, 2012, 12:55:47 AM »
Mulling over what my best FF option is now that the (pathetic) 6D has been officially announced.  I want to add a FF body for landscape, architecture, portrait, and flash work.  I would like to get it soon, preferably before year's end, but could wait as long as March 2013 if there is a reason to wait.  I consider myself a passionate hobbyist, I do not make any money or plan to from photog.  I’m interested in the CR community’s thoughts and suggestions.

Current Gear

-  7D (with low shutter count)
-  16-35 II (less than a year old)
-  24-105
-  70-200 F4 IS (may sell for 70-200 2.8 II)
-  100L
-  1.4 II
-  600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT (plan to add a couple of 440EX-RTs)
-  Plan to get a 35L or 50L (waiting to see if a 35L II is going to be announced)

I plan to buy new.  I may consider a refurb from Canon but not likely since after shipping and taxes I’m not saving much.

Option 1:
-    Buy a 5D3 (got the money but really don’t feel good about spending that kind of money on a body.  Besides that would delay some of my other intended purchases.  Could wait for a price drop but really don't see it dropping below 3k, don't expect anymore $2750 deals--I'm still suspicious about that.)

Option 2:

-  Buy a 5D3 – and sell some gear to help offset the cost.
-  Sell 7D – Hate to give up reach.  I like to shoot MLB games and have wildlife option.
-  Sell 16-35 II and buy a 17-40 (plan to use this lens for landscape at small apertures so soft edges on 17-40 shouldn’t be a problem.  BTW, how is the distortion on the 17-40  compared to the 16-35II?)

Option 3:
-  Buy  a 5D2 now (had ruled this out but now reconsidering).  If my crystal ball showed that Canon would release firmware for better RT flash support, this would make this option easier but we all know that’s not going to happen.

Option 4:
-  Nothing at this time.  Wait and see if Canon decides to build a FF camera between the 5D3 and 6D that their customers actually want as opposed to reacting to Nikon's D600.

Option 5:
-   Your suggestion

Right now I’m slightly leaning towards option 3.  Thanks as always.

Based on Canon's list price compared with the pre-order priced on Amazon and B&H right now, this is a smoking deal:

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT (5/3/12 - 11:00 PM Pacific)

$470 - list price Canon USA
$328 - Amazon free shipping (sold by Amazon)
$319 - B&H less shipping

Normally I don't pay much attention to the manufactures list prices since it is often higher that the actually sale price but I do know Amazon had this at 4 something a day or two ago.  I'm  pretty sure it was the full list price.  Gonna pre-order one for my 600EX-RT.   ;D

Anyone heard when the 440EX-RT is going to be announced?  I got the impression it was this fall.

Hope this is not too much of a departure from photog topics

The short question is I’m looking for some advice on monitor calibration tools and graphics cards.  I do not want to skimp on these items and of course I don’t want to buy something I don’t need or is an overkill.

Monitor Calibration tools:
Trying to decide between X-Rite and Spyder tools.  I was leaning towards the X-Rite devices but I’m reading about too many software weaknesses.  Now I’m leaning towards Spyder.  Looking for suggestions from those who have experience with these or any other tools. 

Options I’m currently considering:
1.   Datacolor Spyder4Pro S4P100 - $169 (can upgrade software to Elite version below if I need to for $99)
2.   Datacolor Spyder4Elite S4EL100 - $249
3.   X-Rite i1Display 2 - $145
4.   Xrite EODIS3 i1Display Pro - $249

Graphics Card:
Just finished  building a new PC (do this every few years).  Moved from XP 32 bit to Windows 7 64bit.  I have done a fair amount of searching over time for what would be an optimal video card for photo editing and viewing.  There is a lot of video card information out there for gamers but not so much for photo editing.   I’m not a gamer and never will be one (God bless them however since they do push the hardware market).  So what is a good card and what should I be looking for?  Bus, memory, speed, etc.?

Currently I have a GeForce 430 with 1 gig of memory.  (maybe this card is just fine)

My current system is:
- Intel i processor
- Northbridge Z68 Chipset
- 16 gig memory
- Ample SATA storage
- PCIe  x 16 slot for video
- PCI Express power connector available
- Dell Ultrasharp display
- Editors:  Lightroom 4 & DPP

I also run a second display for general computer use so I need dual monitor support, but nothing special on the second port.  One thing that torqued me when I went to Win 7 is I lost the ability to use the nView software which is part of the XP NVIDA driver.  (For those not familiar with nView, this software provided all kinds of functionality and configuration for your graphics card such as hot keys to switch between monitors and to change orientations.)  Evidentially this is not available for the GeForce series with Win7.  I understand it is part of the NVIDA’s Quadro cards so I’m certainly open to that series.

Thanks much in advance!!

My current situation is this:  I currently use LR3 with Windows XP (32 bit).  In order to upgrade to LR4, I need Windows 7.  Upgrading XP to 7 requires a clean install--not an upgrade (I'd do a clean install anyway).

So once I install Windows 7 (64 bit) and then install LR4, I'm looking for any tips or precautions to maintain all my LR settings, presets, keywords, etc.  Didn't find much info on the web, so I'm asking the CR community.

I'm assuming if I import my LR catalog (*.lrcat file), I should be good but I'm not 100% sure if that includes everything.   I also have the "Lightroom Settings" folder with its sub folders (presets, etc.) backed up in case I need them. 

Thanks in advance

Software & Accessories / Before you upgrade to Lightroom 4...
« on: March 06, 2012, 08:41:06 AM »
... check system requirments.   Just about punched in my online order for LR4 when I decided I better check system requirements.  Good thing I did since I'm still running XP and according to sys requirements, Vista w/SP2 or Win 7 w/SP1 is required.  Planning to upgrade to Windows 7 in the near future, so a bit of a delay for me. 

Hopefully this will warn other XP users upgrading to LR4. 

System requirements

Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1
2GB of RAM
1GB of available hard-disk space
1024x768 display
DVD-ROM drive
Internet connection required for Internet-based services*
Mac OS

Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7
2GB of RAM
1GB of available hard-disk space
1024x768 display
DVD-ROM drive
Internet connection required for Internet-based services*

Edit:  This appears to be a 64 bit issue

Software & Accessories / What smartphone photo apps do you use?
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:02:09 AM »
I have several photo calculators and apps on my Android phone.  Most I don’t use much, some I haven’t used at all but they can be very handy when you are out shooting and you need to calculate something.   I’m curious to know what others have and if they actually use them.

First and foremost, the CR app  8)  is on my main screen to help feed my addiction to this site.  This one get used a lot to say the least!

Sundroid (paid version) – not specifically a photo app, but a fantastic app to get sun/moon rise/set times, twilight, moon phase, etc., etc.

CamCalc – Very cool calculator, I especially like the field of view tool which lets you dial in a focal length, distance to subject and see a  representation of your field of view.  Lots of other handy tools and of course you can program in your sensor size so the math is correct.
Shutter Speed – handy tool to calculate equivalent exposure settings—ya you can do it in your head but this makes it a no brainner

Exposure Calculator – another handy tool to calculator equivalent exposure

Photography Assistant – another nifty tool

Photometric – example exposure settings.  Really haven’t used this one

Lighting Studio – not very practical but lets you doodle out a lighting diagram

Photo Tools for Photographers (PHOforPHO) – lots of tools, haven’t used it much

DOF Calculator -  just that

Canon Lens – Nifty little database of all the current Canon lens (I think it is missing a few now) that allows you to sort by type (L, IS, wide, etc.) with review links for each lens.  Nothing you can get off the web but very nice for those boring meetings so you can escape and dream over your next lens purchase.

Lenses / What is your Micro Adjustment procedure?
« on: December 31, 2011, 05:07:18 PM »
I know there are a lot of MA procedures out there so I wanted to share with everyone what I am doing and hoping I can improve on it based on what others learned and experienced. I fiddled with a few procedures several months ago but it wasn’t until now that I had to actually make an adjustment.  My new 24-105 required an adjustment of +9 which seems like an awful lot!  (I bought this lens for Christmas, my first copy had what appeared to be an air bubble in one of the elements, and now my replacement is way off focus.  Seems like Canon QC took a dive this year with all the disasters, but that’s another topic for another time.)

I tried 3  other procedures before I found this one:
Credit goes to Scott Quier, thanks for sharing  Scott if you are out there!

For the most part I follow Scott’s procedure with a couple of adjustments. I use a basketball for the subject on the first pass instead of a tree trunk and I use a chart with lines and text for the final  pass.

I’ll summarize the procedure here:

1.    Manual exposure, RAW, widest f stop, locked down on tripod using RC6 remote.  Level camera with7D’s leveler, lens parallel (square) with target
2.   Take 9 shots beginning with -20 MA in 5 step increments thru +20.  I use a basketball as my subject and focus on specific point.
3.   Remove camera (or flash card) without moving tripod
4.   Download to PC, leave RAW as is, use DPP to export to jpg  (this allows rapid cycling to find sharpest image)
5.   Use ACDSee (cause it is easier) to crop center of images (same crop values for all images)
6.   Using ACDSee, cycle thru images to find sharpest one.
7.   When I find sharpest image, I identify what the MA value is.
8.   Using the value in step 7,  I take 7 more shots adding 3 to each side.  For example if my sharpest image in step 7 was +10, then I will take test shots +7 thru +13 in one step increments.  I use a test chart as my subject
9.   Repeat steps 3 - 7 to find my sharpest image.     

Why a basketball for the first pass?  I focus about 45 degrees off the face of the ball on specific point like the tip of a letter.  This allows me to see any front and back focus.  Also, a  BB has great texture, detail, and lettering making it easy to focus your eyes on the tiniest detail

Why a  flat test chart for the second pass?  Now that I am very close, I don’t want  any curvature to throw me off.   I want to focus on fine lines and text

Questions I have
1. What is the best distance to perform this test?  I did my test at 16’
2. What focal range is best on a zoom lens?  I did my test at 105mm (on crop body BTW).  Is it best to test at mid zoom?
3  Best f stop wide open or the optimum aperture for that lens  +/- f8?

Thanks for the feedback!

Lenses / Smoking deal on 35mm f/1.4 this morning
« on: December 19, 2011, 08:06:33 AM »
Just wanted to pass along that Amazon has the 35mm f/1.4L USM for $1099.00 (US).  I hope this is more evidence that the CR2 for the 35 II is a valid rumor.  B&H has it listed for $1255.00.

I'm still gonna wait for the ver II

Software & Accessories / Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« on: December 16, 2011, 12:45:31 AM »
I've been wanting to upgrade my monitor for a while and I'm now beginning my research.   I'm looking for some advice and suggestions on specs, brands, and size from the CR community .  I want a very good monitor optimized for viewing and editing photos--everything else is secondary (I don't care about watching movies on my PC and I'm not a gamer).  I use LR as my main editor and I think with a widescreen display I could optimize LR's interface better.

I currently have a 19" Viewsonic flat screen VP9506.   It has the standard aspect ratio (non widescreen), DVI and RGB inputs, and refresh rate up to 72 Hz.  My graphics controller is GeForce 9600 GSO with 768 Mbs, and with both RGB and DVI outputs.  Oh and I do run Windows as my only OS.

I'm not committed to, but I prefer to stay away from Viewsonic since I've had a string of horrible customer service and hardware experiences over the last decade--maybe they finally got their act together now.

Thanks in advance!   :)

Software & Accessories / Need some clarification on LowePro lens cases
« on: November 30, 2011, 10:09:43 PM »
I’m putting together a walk-around setup for 1 body and two lens that will be more comfortable than my small Tenba shoulder bag (which does not work very well when walking around for several hours).

My walk-around gear:
16-35 2.8 L
24-105 F4 L (don’t own this yet but 95% sure this will be my next lens)

Been looking at several top loader bags and I like the LowePro Toploader Pro 70 AW for these medium lens.  For those times when I want to carry a second lens (24-105 in addition to the 16-35) I need a good lens case such as the LowePro Lens Case.  My goal is to find a single lens case which will fit each lens (separately of course) without being too loose or too tight.  This should not be a problem since these two lens are almost the same size:

16-35 – measures  88.5mm x 111.6mm
24-104 –measures  83.5mm x 107mm

Using LowePro’s online bag finder, searching by lens model, it recommended the following lens cases:

16-35 – 9x13 cm case
24-104 – 11x11 cm case

I was surprised that LowePro recommended two very different cases so I searched by lens dimension, the results remained the same.  Looking at some online reviews (Amazon), I found some contradiction to what LowePro recommends as opposed to user’s findings.  One more variable is the hood.  Are these cases sized to hold the lens hood with lens?  I could not verify this.  So what seem like a very simple task, run the bag finder tool, pick the case, then order that case  has turned into a bit of  confusion. 

So my question is:   Can anyone out there provide some clarification on these (or other) lens cases for these two lens and whether or not the case will hold the lens hood.

Thank you all!

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