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Messages - EricPeeg

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1
Pricewatch Deals / Re: LensRentals.com Announces LensAuthority.com
« on: July 24, 2013, 10:00:09 PM »
I purchased two lenses from LR during their Black Friday sales last year - I was pleased with all aspects of the purchase, and the lenses were, as described elsewhere, pretty flawless. I won't hesitate to buy from them again.

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I'm definitely not an expert, and I've never tried to photograph a pinball machine, but in regards to the glare from the glass - have you considered a polarizer? It might help cut the reflection, but you'll have some associated light loss, too, which might be an issue, considering that it's likely the pinball machines won't be in well-lit or outdoor locations...

Good luck!

3
Lenses / Re: Educate me about why 70mm <> 70mm...
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:59:55 AM »
You're right - I haven't done this in the past. I'm thinking, though, that I could really make a pest of myself in the future...

"Hi, I'm Henri Cartier-Bresson."
"OMG, you're Henri Cartier-Bresson! OMG OMG OMG! That picture of the guy, jumping over the puddle? OMG OMG OMG! What lens did you use?!!!"
"Uh. I dunno. 35mm?"
"Oh. Well, that's ok, I guess. Too bad you didn't have that new Shorty Forty. Hack."

Yeah, that could be good fun... or a recipe for being punched. Or worse.   :D

Don't get too wrapped around the axle about this.  When was the last time you looked a great photo and said: "Man, that's pretty good, but it looks like it was shot at 64.2mm.  70 mm would have been awesome!".  Back when 70-200s were 80-200s, I had a friend tell me his 24-70 and 80-200 set did not seem complete.  After all, what if he needed a 75mm?  I punched him.

Zooms tend to cheat more than primes in this area.  Some very technical reviews will tell you the actual measured focal length.

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Lenses / Re: Educate me about why 70mm <> 70mm...
« on: January 06, 2013, 08:37:16 AM »
Oh. And also - the thread about "<>" vs "!=" vs "≠" made me smile. I do a fair bit of SQL coding at work right now, so that's the explanation for the title ...  ;D

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Lenses / Re: Educate me about why 70mm <> 70mm...
« on: January 06, 2013, 08:32:05 AM »
Many thanks to all who posted with thoughts - as I watched the responses roll in, my initial thought was "boy, if you wanted to demonstrate the shortcomings of your photographic knowledge to the world, this was the way to do it..."  :D

Anyhow, I think the primary note I took away from my initial post was that my sample photographs were incomplete in their construction - that I'd failed to control for focus, and hadn't considered the distinction between focusing to infinity, and something closer. I also had never encountered the term "focus breathing"...

Anyhow, this morning I went out and made a new set of awe-inspiring images, trying to make sure I incorporated some of the advice. I've attached them below:

  • Image_4818.jpg is the 24-70 F4 IS, shot at at manual, 70mm, F4, 1/320th, ISO 200
  • Image_4819.jpg is the 70-200 F2.8 mk II IS, shot at manual, 70mm, F4, 1/320th, ISO 200

Both images were made with the camera mounted to the tripod via a baseplate on the tripod mount of the camera (I didn't use the tripod ring of the 70-200, in other words). The tripod and camera didn't move between images, so the focal plane (image sensor) was stationary. Obviously, because of the difference in lens size, the front element of the 70-200 is three inches "closer" to the scene than the 24-70.

The center focus point of the camera was placed, not on the green park sign, but on the trees/house immediately to the left of the green park sign. I visually confirmed that the lenses appeared to be focused all the way to the infinity mark.

The images are uncropped and unretouched, just downsized from the RAW file.

To me, the results continue to be interesting for what they show, even if I can't really explain fully why. To my eye, the 70-200 is slightly narrower (more "tele") in its "70mm" position than the 24-70. I now can't see the more significant depth-of-field distinction that the original (less-carefully-constructed) images of the Christmas lights seemed to show. At 100% in Lightroom, I can see some differences in image quality, but that wasn't what I was testing originally. And most puzzling to me, there seems to be about a 1/3 stop of difference in light gathering - on the second image, the camera reported the scene to be +1/3 EV, while the first image was +0. There are literally only a few seconds between the two images (long enough to do the lens swap), and it's a grey overcast morning - I didn't observe any shift in the ambient light conditions that would have explained the difference. (How's that for scientific? No? Not scientific? Well, fine! So it's anecdotal. Whatever.)

Anyhow, thanks again for everyone who offered knowledge - I appreciate it very much. Now I just have to decide whether I'm keeping the 24-70, or returning it for the 2.8 non-IS version...  ;)

6
Lenses / Educate me about why 70mm <> 70mm...
« on: January 05, 2013, 09:26:05 AM »
Alrighty, I should probably know this, but I guess I've never had the lenses to test this question before.

Yesterday evening, I received a copy of the new Canon 24-70 F4 IS lens. We can talk about why I selected that lens over the F2.8 and why I'm so crazy, but perhaps folks can explain to me something I observed this morning on my morning walkabout where I took the new lens out for a shakedown cruise.

The images below are uncropped and unretouched, other than being exported from Lightroom at smaller dimensions than the original RAW files from my 5d Mk II.

The first image (Img_4708.jpg) is the 24-70 shot at 70mm (at the top of the lens's rotational range) F4, 1/200th, 1000 ISO, -1/3 EV.
The second image (Img_4697.jpg) is the 70-200 Mk II shot at 70mm (at the bottom of the lens's rotational range) F4, 1/160th, 1000 ISO, -1/3 EV

Both images were handheld (left my tripod at home this morning), but I didn't move between switching lenses. Looking at the LCD, I thought "wait, is one of those more zoomed-in than the other?"

At home, thinking perhaps it was how I'd held the camera, I set up the tripod in the kitchen and repeated the test. This time, the tripod definitely didn't move between images.

The first image (Img_4735.jpg) is the 24-70, shot at 70mm, F4, 1/60th, 200 ISO, 0 EV.
The second image (Img_4736.jpg) is the 70-200, shot at 70mm, F4, 1/80th, 200 ISO, 0 EV.

As you can see, in both sets, there's a difference in the angle of view - not necessarily good or bag, but different. So, I can come up with two explanations for what I'm seeing, but I'm hoping someone can shed more light on this.

1. The difference can be explained by the fact that lens manufacturers paint numbers on the lenses which are approximations of the focal length, and two lenses of different design will inevitably have a different length (or angle of view) even at what's nominally the same setting.

or

2. This is the optical result of the difference in physical length between the 24-70 and the 70-200 lenses. At 70mm, the 24-70 is about 3 inches shorter than the 70-200. Because in both tests I tried to keep the focal plane of the image sensor more or less in the same place (roughly in the handheld setting, exactly when it was on the tripod), the front element of the 70-200 was always closer to the subjects, thereby shifting the scene.

My question to the collective wisdom of folks: Are either or both of these explanations accurate, or is there something else at play here? And also, what might explain the approximately 1/3 stop difference that the camera's choosing between shutter speed when it's working with the different lenses? Is this also due to the front element being closer to the subject (that whole "light falling off at the square of its distance" thingy I learned and forgot in my college photography class so long ago?)

Looking forward to learning from others here...

7
I'll "third" the recommendation for Blurb, but I'll also say that it's the only one I've tried. I recently published two books with them and been very pleased with the results.

I will say that Blurb was attractive to me because I've had some history in publishing - I wanted to be able to use my previous experience with Adobe InDesign to lay out my books, so their ability to accept a PDF was a deciding factor for me. I downloaded their InDesign plugin (which really only automates the initial document layout by providing dimensions and a non-printing set of guides which help define bleed lines and trim lines and such), as well as their ICC profile for Photoshop.

You didn't ask, and you may have this information already, but here's what I did to try to ensure a quality outcome. Your mileage may vary, and I'm open to suggestions from others about improvements...

1. Because this was my beginning foray into publishing, I bought a new monitor (Asus ProArt monitor) and a Spyder colorimeter (Spyder Pro 3, I think). Spyder's got some great tutorial videos on how to calibrate monitors, and I've been really pleased with the simplicity of the tool.

2. I do my initial image processing in Lightroom, primarily again because of the simplicity. I've found I get most images about 95-98% of the way to where I want them in Lightroom. I export the finished files from Lightroom as RGB TIFFS, cropped, but unresized from the original RAW resolution.

3. I bring the TIFFS into Photoshop and do any additional processing (specific alterations, adjustment layers and such). Soft proof the images using the Blurb ICC profile. Resize the images to final dimensions and DPI (Blurb wants the files at 240 dpi, iirc). Then permanently apply the Blurb ICC profile (this converts the image to CMYK) and save as TIFF.

4. Import the images into InDesign as part of the book layout process. At the conclusion of this phase, I used the Blurb presets (this is part of the downloadable addon for InDesign) to export the PDF, and then shipped it to Blurb. A few days later, presto, books appeared. My experience was that they always arrived a day or two before the website suggested they'd arrive, which was nice.

A couple of additional notes:

  • You can purchase a swatch kit of papers from Blurb for their "pro" papers. It's $7, and it gets refunded on your first order. I did this, and was pleased - it helped me pick the paper I wanted. Initially I'd intended to use their heaviest, most expensive paper, but found that I didn't care for it quite as much as I expected - the "2nd best" paper actually appealed to me more, and in my books, that judgement held up.

  • I only printed hard cover books with slipcovers, so can't speak to the other options. My impression is that the slipcover printing is a bit more variable than the interior printing. On one project I did two sizes (8x10 and 11x14) - the slipcover on the 11x14 was spot-on, but the 8x10 were a little less so, but the interior work seemed to be of the same consistency. My understanding is that Blurb actually has a number of publishing houses working behind the scenes on their website, so it may be that I just was seeing the difference between one house and another (because of how I ordered, the 11x14 came out of an East Coast location, while the 8x10s came from a Seattle location).
  • If you're printing a lot of copies of a book, the only way to get a proof copy is to buy one book first, evaluate it, then make corrections and upload new PDFs, if necessary. On one project, I did this - my proof suggested that I needed to correct 3 images (out of about 90), and when I reuploaded and got the "final" order, I was pleased to see that those new 3 images had improved, while the other images had stayed as I'd expected. This made me trust my workflow, and Blurb's consistency. It's a little difficult to swallow that there's no other way to make proofs other than to buy one full-price copy, but at least in my case, it was worth it.
  • Lastly, if you're producing solely B&W material, Blurb's system may not be the solution for you. Blurb can only accept color (CMYK) TIFFS because their digital presses are a six-color process, so even if you're working with black and white images, the files still have to be color. Only because I've had some experience with offset presses where can run true half-tone images, there were several B&W images in my books where I felt I could see a slight greenish color-cast to the blacks that wouldn't be seen using other printing methods. The color shift was so slight that I chalked it up to me being super-picky - it didn't prevent me from using the final product.
  • You can pay to have Blurb remove their logo from a last page they automatically add to your PDF. I didn't. It was understated enough that I wasn't bothered by it. YMMV.

Good luck with your project. I'll admit, my foray into the new (to me) world of one-off or short-run digital printing has been really quite eye-opening. A few years ago I dreamed of printing books with an equivalent quality to some of the Ansel Adams books that were in my dad's library. I don't think Blurb's quality is quite there yet (see my comments about the B&W images), but it's pretty damn close. It's a really remarkable world we're living in, where that level of quality is available to the dabblers and advanced-amateurs like us (or me, at least...)

:)

8
Contests / Re: Gura Gear Giveaway!
« on: December 06, 2012, 09:27:19 PM »
Win? Heck with winning! I want to burn your walls, pillage your farmers' markets, and then salt the earth. Then ride elephants over the Dolomites, or the Alps, or whatever. And then I want to take your Gura Gear. That's when I'd say I was #winning....

9
Lenses / Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« on: October 21, 2012, 12:52:38 PM »
I will say that I'm increasingly convinced by the 70-200/teleconverter suggestion instead of the 70-200/100-400 combo...
Although I recommended the 70-200 + 100-400, I think the 70-200 + extenders makes sense.  I forgot that your wife already has a 70-300.  If your wife is like mine, she may take over your 70-200 too.  :)

You mean, perhaps, like how I have to beg to use the 100 Macro? Like that? (Yeah, I'm prepared for it. I'm betting, however, that she's going to say "it's TOO HEAVY..." and I'm going to encourage that response!  :o )

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Lenses / Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« on: October 21, 2012, 08:53:21 AM »
I laughed at Natureshot's last post :) I do, in fact, spend too much time at work and too little time with the cameras! As for the "flaming"... well, I've enjoyed the give and take. And given that some of my other internet diversions include lurking (and I do mean LURKING) in some political websites, the discourse here seems positively cordial.... (well, mostly...)

I will say that I'm increasingly convinced by the 70-200/teleconverter suggestion instead of the 70-200/100-400 combo, partially because of cost savings, and partially because of how my current photographic habits play themselves out. As part of fitness resolutions, my wife and I have become disciplined about taking daily walks through our Boston neighborhoods, and so we tend to travel relatively lightly - I carry a camera/lens, and a belt pouch with several smaller lenses, and my wife carries a camera/lens. A second large lens would probably get left at home: a TC might not... (Obviously, when I go out to do more extensive and intentional landscape or architectural work, I've got a tripod and backpack with everything and the bathroom sink.)

Last thought (and not to incite an additional flame war), but Kernuak suggests I should consider filters as part of this. I'm intrigued to hear more on this, Kernuak, if you read this - what filters are you using. I have, in the past, used some graduated ND filters, and when I was a student using Tri-X and Pan-X, some red and yellow filters for the Ansel Adams-like B&W landscape effects. That said, I've also seen considerable passion expended on the "don't put any crappy filters in front of our very expensive glass" position. What filters are you using, and how do you integrate them into your work, instead of digital post-processing?

Again, many thanks to all who've commented. Oh, and feel better soon, Natureshots...

11
Lenses / Re: Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« on: October 20, 2012, 10:07:58 AM »
I'm extremely gratified by the responses - many, many thanks to all of you.

Some thoughts as I read the responses:

1. I think I'm leaning toward buying glass, rather than the Mark III, primarily because the Mark II has consistently given me images that I was happy with, not just satisfied with. I have been annoyed by the AF on the Mark II from time to time, but I've made do... I don't know that I'd necessarily be thinking of myself as waiting for the rumored "big MP" machine, but probably waiting either for the fall in the Mark III price, OR the "big MP" machine. Lord knows, however, that the camera lust is strong...  :)

2. Neuroanatomist, I appreciated the suggestion to consider my use of the 17-40 when thinking about the TS lenses. Considering that, I'm comfortable in saying that the 24 is the better choice for me - I rarely work all the way down into the 17 end on my current zoom.

3. PackLight, your discussion of the two macros was extremely helpful. Given your description, I think I'll deprioritize the 180, mostly because my wife and I have mostly used the 100 in handheld settings. I don't have a macro rail, haven't ever experimented with one - I'll have to take a look.

3. Based on the feedback and my own considerations, my current list looks like (I think):

  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000 - (I'm very interested in learning to correct perspective in my architecture work)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300 - (This is a range I work in a lot. I'm appreciative of DuncS's suggestion of the 24-105. I'm unsure what to do here... there seems to be general acclaim for this lens's IQ)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - $2130 - (I do work through this range as well - not too often needing 2.8, but I'm swayed by the general praise for the 2.8 lens's IQ)
  • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS - $1530 - (This is my least certain choice. I think I'd go for it because my wife likes chasing birds, more than I do, and of the lenses we're working with right now, I like her 75-300 the least... but whether she'll take to the push-pull isn't clear to me.)

There's another week or so before the bonus is completed, so I guess I'll spend some more time in the delicious torture of anticipation and uncertainty... ;D

12
Lenses / Help me spend a one-time windfall!
« on: October 19, 2012, 04:51:50 PM »
So, I'm a long-time lurker here on the forums. This is my first post, because I need the collective wisdom of the folks here. Here's the scenario:

A year ago, I returned to photography after several years away from it (long story), and decided it was time to make the move from film to digital. I sold all of my Pentax 645N gear and lenses, and picked up a 5D Mk II and several lenses. I knew at the time that I wasn't buying my "final" gear, but then, when is that ever true...   :D Anyhow, in the past year, I've returned to the field to find an old passion rekindled - primarily in landscape/outdoor/architecture sorts of area. Obviously this means some low light/golden light photography; however, I do have a tripod and know how to use it, so 2.8 glass isn't perhaps required, even if I lust for it. I don't do any wedding photography, relatively little wildlife/birds, only the occasional portrait, and once in a while, a sporting event.

Now, I have an opportunity to spend a bonus. I've been very busy at work of late (it's non photographic), taking on several massive projects, working long hours etc. In what is a very flattering offer, my boss has asked me what I might like as a bonus, and we've settled on a solution - the company is prepared to buy me $8000 in photographic equipment, of my choosing. I don't expect I'll ever have this opportunity again, so I'd like to do this right the first time - hence, I come here for advice.

Here's what I have

  • 5d Mark II
  • 100 2.8 macro, non-IS
  • 17-40mm f/4L Lens
  • 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • 35 f2 (left over from a former career as a journalist)
  • 200 f/2.8L (also from journalism, not the newest version - the version with the built-in hood

My wife allows me to use her 70-300 4.5-5.6 IS  when I need a longer lens.

Now, here's the equipment I'm lusting after (Prices are B&H):
  • 5D Mark III - $3460
  • 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - $2130
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS - $1200
  • 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS - $1400
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300
  • 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS - $1530
  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000
  • 180mm f/3.5L Macro - $1430

Here’s what I’m leaning toward:

  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift - $2000
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II - $2300
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS - $1200
  • 5D Mark III - $3460

I’d dispose of:

  • 5d Mark II
  • EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM 
  • EF 35 f2)
  • EF 200mm f/2.8L

And would end up with:

  • 5d Mark IIi
  • 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift
  • EF 100 2.8 macro
  • EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens 
  • 24-70mm f/2.8L II
  • 70-200mm f/4L IS

So, here are my questions:

1.   Should I spend half my funds on the upgrade to the Mark III? The images from the Mark II are lovely, and focusing speed or extreme low light hasn’t been my issue. I do find my images at 1600 ISO seem fairly noisy, but I don’t know whether the Mark III would be substantively better, often enough.
2.   What’s the best mix of overlapping zooms? The 75-300 that my wife and I have been sharing is convenient, so in some ways just replacing that with L glass seems like a good choice – in others, I wonder about a 70-200 and 100-400 combo. Or maybe a 70-200 and a 1.4x converter...)
3.   How much use will the Tilt/Shift get, really? (I know, that’s hard to quantify an answer)
4.   If I keep the 100 Macro, which I love, will I really need the 180 macro?

Thanks for reading what got much longer than I intended, and for advice and comments!

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