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Messages - RC

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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.

Software & Accessories / Re: Starting out: Flickr? Picasa? PBase? Other?
« on: January 13, 2012, 08:05:12 AM »
Lightroom and most other software supports both Smugmug and Flickr for easy uploading.  If your using software, I'd suggest checking to see what it supports.  This isn't essential, just makes things easier.

I too think supporting software is a valid thing to consider when choosing a service.

Here is web resource (which I used) comparing the 3 popular sites.

Smugmug to me was the most impressive service.  However I recently chose flickr since Smugmug is more that I need at this time.  I do see myself upgrading to Smugmug in time.

Landscape / Re: Winter Milky Way Time Lapse - (Canon 5D MK II)
« on: January 12, 2012, 10:21:42 PM »
Oh MY!  That's fantastic !  How about a little Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon next time.  ::)

"Dark Side of the Moon" would make it perfect! 8)

Awesome video!!

I've been meaning to try a time lapse myself but haven't gotten around to it.  I'm assuming (and guessing) you used something like the TC-80N3 timer.  With 5 second intervals, about how many shots did you have to fire per each sequence?

Site Information / Re: Karma
« on: January 06, 2012, 03:18:10 PM »
My take on karma: 

Applaud all posts which provide informative or helpful info--I"m just a humble hobbyist and I really appreciate other's experiences and the time they take to share it.

I'm not into smiting posters unless they're being a real bone heads.

Hmm, this is worth an applaud.   :P

Lenses / Re: Lens Announcement at CES? [CR1]
« on: January 06, 2012, 03:11:25 PM »
Saving up for a 35 II right now.   Come on Canon.  Hope it is available before or when I have the funds.  Just bought 2 other Ls in the last 40 days so I've blown my photo money for now and could not take advantage of the 35's rebate (1 day left) if I wanted to.  Besides, I want/need the weather sealing.  I'll be real bummed if that is part of the upgrade.

I've bought lots of cameras over the years for kids, pre-teens, teens, and elderly.  My emphasis would be on following.   Price would be secondary.

Large LCD
IS (didn't exist on my early P&S)
Size, not to small with easy accessible buttons
Easy playback, kids want immediate results

Street & City / Re: New York - New York
« on: January 02, 2012, 07:48:42 PM »
Awesome shots.  Can't decide which one I like best.  Looking forward getting back to NYC but this time with my DSLR. 

Software & Accessories / Re: ANOTHER tripod topic!
« on: January 02, 2012, 10:09:22 AM »
I know Manfrotto and Gitzo are the big names out there but I went with Vanguard.  Honestly it is not a name I would have given much attention to but when I was in an out of town camera shop (Raleigh, NC), the dealer had a great selection so I was able to put my hands on them and play around.  Seriously I think Vanguard is worth checking out, a good solid HQ product without the excessive priced tag.  My photography allocated money is always limited and I'd rather (at least right now) put it towards L glass.  My main support is rock solid sturdy, but yet not a monster so it's what I carry around unless I'm backpacking or have limited travel space.  The ball heads are solid, smooth and dampened allowing for precise adjustments.

I have the following:

Main Support
Alta Pro 264AB (15.4 lb load cap.)
SBH-100 ball head (22 lb load cap.)
Q3-39 shoe (comes with 2)
Multi-Angle Central Column (for Macro work)

Travel/Back Packing Support
Alta Plus 235AP (6.6 lb load cap.)
PH-22 Pan head (6.6 lb load cap.)
QS-50 shoe(comes with 2)
Total weight w/ head 3.25 lbs

Mono Pod
Tracker AP-284 (18 lb load cap.)
SBH-30 ball head (11 lb load cap.)
Q3-39 shoe (comes with 2)

Often these guys have the best pricing:

Lenses / Re: What is your Micro Adjustment procedure?
« on: January 01, 2012, 09:48:38 AM »
Thanks everyone for all the great info.  I'm going to try a  more scientific approach and see how it compares to my somewhat eccentric method.

I'm studying the pros and cons between the Lens Align and the Spyder Lens Cal--leaning towards LA, was leaning towards SLC.  Ahh, the sighting method, thanks N.   I tried some DIY units but I want something sturdy and less pesky.

Lens Align video tutorial
Lens Align general info

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 / Re: Filters - Help!
« on: December 30, 2011, 10:31:46 AM »
Just be sure you get the right B+W filter... remember they have the low end $20-30 UV filters as well as mid grade and high end....

 Good point, B&W MRC 010M

...I'd recommend a B+W MRC or Nano coat...

Thank N.

Lenses / Re: Filters - Help!
« on: December 30, 2011, 09:10:17 AM »
All my lens have B&W UV filters.  They are always on my lens for simply lens protection (obviously they come off if I'm using a ND or polarizer).  I realize I'm probably in the minority here.  Also, in the case of my 16-35, its to complete the weather sealing.  Whatever you do, don't skimp on filters--a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Lenses / Re: Canon 15-85 for a walk around lens
« on: December 29, 2011, 10:48:03 PM »
I had this lens up until about a month ago and sold it primarily for a weather sealed lens--I went with the 16-35.  Overall I loved the lens and was very happy with it. 

I had two issues which came up on a single trip which led me to selling it.  I was out in a rain/snow mixture and had to abort my shooting (I was on vacation, 2000 miles from home).   >:(   I took a lot of architecture shots (mostly at 15mm).  When viewing them, I was dissapointed with the extreme distortion (now I want a tilt-shift).  I'm a rookie at PP but I don't think they are fixable.  One other thing that I didn't like was the variable aperture.

Assuming these are not issues for you, I highly recommend it for a walk-around lens.

Pros for the 15-85
- Excellent focal range for walk-around lens
- Very sharp lens for its class
- Very good build quality for its class
- IS

- Variable aperture, f/3.5 jumps to f/4 about 17mm and quickly jumps to 5.6 (forget at what focal range)
- Too much distortion (for me) at 15mm
- Smidge of zoom drifting when lens is pointed upward

Software & Accessories / Re: Looking for a good monitor
« on: December 28, 2011, 05:34:05 PM »
Here is a very similar thread I started here on CR a couple of weeks ago.  Some excellent info as always from the CR community.

Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing,2471.0.html

EOS Bodies / Re: No Power after firmware upgrade on Canon 60d
« on: December 28, 2011, 01:11:39 AM »
Yuck!  Two things came to mind as I was reading your post:

1.  It sounds like a condition when a battery dies during the firmware upgrade which I'm sure can't be good.  Have you checked your battery or do you have another one to try? 

2.  Your firmware download is corrupt and choked at the point of failure.  Or along the same line, your CF card is corrupt or needs formatting/replacing.
Assuming you can get power back to your camera, download the firmware again and place onto a different card--might be worth buying a quality card if what you have is questionable.  Ideally the card needs to be formatted with your camera and not your computer if that is possible at this point.

Some other things you have probably looked at but just in case you haven't:

1.  Is it possible there is something in your battery chamber, a shread of paper or something which is blocking one of the contacts?  Just maybe it was coincidentally that you lost battery connection when updating
2.  Is it possible you have a bent or damaged pin in your CF card socket.  Again this would be a coincident but since the card was just pulled and reinserted prior to the failure maybe.
3.  Check your battery with a multimeter. 
4.  Carefully clean your camera's electrical connectors.
4.  By all means call Canon

Please keep us posted on the outcome, we would love to hear the cause and solution.

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