April 19, 2014, 03:36:18 AM

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Messages - johnf3f

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Lenses / Re: Ordered 300mm 2.8 II; tips/suggestions
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:36:03 PM »
Unlike the others I am a big fan of Lens Coat type covers - though I do use a different brand:

I find they protect the lens from scratches and subdue the Canon white! I am a wildlife photographer so this can be an issue, in your case I don't think the cars will be scared off!
Make certain you get the Canon Mk3 extenders as these are specifically designed for your Mk2 lens.
You will be VERY happy with this lens, it is a little better than my Mk1 version - which is stunning - so get out and enjoy it!

Software & Accessories / Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« on: March 26, 2014, 07:21:24 PM »
Thanks johnf3f.  Does the Sirui head allow for 90 degrees rotation without having to use a special tool, like the MH-02 does?  That's the feature I'm really looking for.
Looking at your original post I assume you are thinking of the different orientation of QR plates on your cameras and larger lenses. If you do the same as me - I align my QR plates along the center-line of my long lenses (equipped with lens feet) and at 90 degrees on the cameras. If this is the case then - no the Sirui does not accommodate this without the use of tools.
If the above is not the case then I may well have got your post wrong

Software & Accessories / Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« on: March 25, 2014, 05:19:05 PM »
I use the Gitzo GM2541 and can thoroughly recommend it. It is very light and exceptionally strong. Incidentally, forget Gitzo weight ratings as they are meaningless. They will actually support something like 5 to 10 times what they say.
My only criticism of the GM2541 is that it looks too spindly when supporting lenses like a 600 F4 or 800 F5.6, though it is fully up to the job!
I have a Sirui L10 tilt head which is pretty good (not as good as the RRS or Kirk ones) but they seem to have doubled in price here in the UK. At it's current UK price I don't think the Sirui is good value but it is OK with  lenses up to a 300 F2.8 Max.

So I've never owned a camera I felt confident enough to trust in AI Servo until I started shooting with the 1Dx. Old habits die hard though, and I'd still been toggling between one shot and AI-Servo based on subject matter.  I've always held this pre-conceived, personally unfounded notion that One Shot would be more accurate than AI Servo on stationary subjects.    Given how amazing I found AF accuracy to be on the 1Dx, I decided to test my theory by exclusively using Servo mode for all non moving subjects.

In the past month I've shot mostly portraits, some landscape, and quite a bit of macro.  At the pixel level, I can't tell any difference in regards to focus accuracy between shots taken using One Shot vs. AI-Servo based on my real world use.  Granted, I have my shutter release priority biased towards focus as opposed to release.  I don't see myself using One Shot ever again as far as I'm concerned, and I appreciate not having to press a button or switch modes to engage Servo if something does start to happen unexpectedly. 

Can anyone think of any cons to using AI servo fulltime and ditching One Shot if I I'm able to achieve the same level of accuracy?   (ok yes, as a concession I'm taxing the battery, but battery life has become a total non issue for me having moved to a 1D body)

Thanks in advance!

I am starting 5th month of owning my 1DX and haven't even tried out the one shot AF! I simply duplicated the settings I used for wildlife photography on my 1D4 and have not yet found a reason to change anything. Although this camera offers a myriad of options, once I got my setup sorted, it is  a point and shoot. Yes I will adjust aperture and shutter speed according to the subject, but aside from that I point, I point then shoot and it delivers the goods - in spades. Well done Canon!
P.S. my point and shoot camera does mt head in! The 1DX is so much simpler!

United Kingdom & Ireland / Re: Hello...Anyone else from the UK?
« on: March 15, 2014, 05:32:21 PM »
Hello from South Wales!
I am mainly into wildlife photography but dabble in most things.

Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod: Suggestions
« on: March 09, 2014, 07:15:41 PM »

i cant recommend highly enough stuff from WLT, i have the frank model http://www.3leggedthing.com/frankblue.html the stuff is expensive but most of the tripods doublle up as a monopod so there is extra value there.


You are right they are expensive - checked the link and that is more than I paid for my Gitzo 3530LS which will/has supported me at 105+ Kilos! The 3LT tripods are very innovative and adaptable but are too short for most uses unless you extend the center column - then stability goes.
To the OP have a nose around for a used Gitzo, buy quality once = save money.

Lenses / Re: Canon 600mm f4 IS II Vs Canon 200-400mm w/1.4x TC
« on: March 09, 2014, 06:59:15 PM »
ok, enough of this now. Next topic: What's the better lens: The EF 2.8 14 L or the EF 5.6 800 L?

The 800 F5.6. Bought my 1DX in November 2013 and have hardly used any other lens on it, in fact I have yet to even mount a lens shorter than 300mm on it - hope they will fit!

Lenses / Re: Question about Canon 300mm f/4 L IS
« on: March 07, 2014, 06:03:33 PM »
As I mentioned in a previous post the hood on my 300 F4 L IS does not creep under any circumstances that I have yet encountered, nor does a friends (much more heavily used) one. I haven't heard of this from the numerous local 400 F5.6 users either.
Is it the Welsh climate???

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: March 07, 2014, 05:46:02 PM »
I have a question for the 500+ guys - how many of you shoot bare glass (i.e. with no extenders?).  I was reviewing Art Morris' blog posts the other day and noticed that he almost always has an extender (usually the 2x!) on his 600mm.  I realize he has a style that requires close shots, but it mirrored my experience with the 800mm.  It just didn't seem long enough - or should I say it was too long for stuff that was close to mid-distance but not long enough for nesting eagles and such.

With my 300 F2.8 - 40% bare lens
                               60% 2 x extender
With my 800 F5.6 - 95% bare lens
                               1.4 Extender for emergencies only.           
I have not yet found much use for my 1.4 extender on my 300 mm lenses - I seem to need the bare lens or all the reach I can get!             

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: March 06, 2014, 02:52:28 PM »
The 600 Mk I is a beast and I can't imagine carrying it around or using it without a gimbal, but I found that a monopod and the 800mm were a perfect match.  As Jack says, the length is probably what we find more limiting than even the weight on the big(ger) whites.

I caught a friend of mine doing some woodland landscape shots hand held with his (used to be mine) 600 F4 IS Mk1 - but then he is an idiot! Just a fairly strong one.

The 500 F4 Mk2 has been mentioned. I have only had a brief play with one of these and like it very much. The owner regularly walks 5 to 8 miles with it with a 1.4 extender and 1D4 attached. He doesn't normally bother with support as this lens balances beautifully for hand holding. Having tried it the 500 mk2 +1.4 extender is very easy to hand hold and even more so than my 300 F2.8 IS Mk1 with a 2 x extender and same body. Yes it is a bit heavier but, to me, it balances better and feels lighter in my hands.
I am really fancying one of these lenses!

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: March 02, 2014, 08:54:28 PM »
I rented the 800 and took it to Svalbard..shared the expense with another photographer.  We both had the 500 that we took with us as well.  The 800 was very good without an extender, even the version III extender made the image soft.  After the new 600 came out I sold my 500 and purchased the 600 II....when I combine it with the 1.4 III extender the quality of my pictures are SHARPER than the 800 was without an extender....so I now get 840 reach, with a lighter lense and a superior quality picture...and if I don't need the extender I have a little more flexibility with the 600 than the 800 provided....combined with my 1Dx and my recently purchased 200-400 I think that I have all of the bases covered, telephoto wise.....I am keeping both of these lenses.....you never know when you need the 840 reach when you are shooting wildlife....but can't handhold the 600, not and still get quality shots all of the time.....

I have the Canon 1.4 Mk2 extender and find that it works reasonably well with my 800 F5.6 though there is some IQ loss. The Canon 800 is not the best lens for use with extenders.
When I was buying I picked up my, used but near mint, Canon 800 F5.6 for abut 45% of the cost of a new Canon 600 F4 Mk2. I would prefer the 600 Mk2 but the price is simply out of the question!
Pity  - I quite fancy one.

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: March 02, 2014, 05:16:33 PM »
I cant imaging carrying an 800 would be easier but I guess there is more to sling over your shoulder to reduce the "pinch" points.  I often carry the 600L with my 300 2.8L but often the weight it unbearable, especially if you have to hike a good distance to get to your subject.  I find that whatever lens is used it never has enough reach.  It's nice to have extenders but nothing is better than using a big prime without an extender where possible.  The biggest issue I find with reach is that you usually succumb to distortions caused by air disturbances.

600mm F4L IS, 1.4xiii, 7D, post processed from RAW in DxO

The Canon 800 F5.6 is easier to carry than the Canon 600 F40L IS (Mk1) because it is smaller and lighter. According to Canon the 800 is 5mm longer, 5mm thinner (much thinner nearer the camera end) and 860 grams lighter - that makes a surprising difference if you are carrying the 300 F2.8 as well!

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: March 01, 2014, 05:58:46 PM »
@johnf3f - you are a brave soul to carry all that gear.   the 800 is one fine lens so a congrats back to you as well!  I think with shooter larger birds, the 600 was too much reach as I've cut off wings and other body parts on birds like Pelicans.  it is as you as portray a top notch lens for smaller birds.  if you have a link on flickr would like to see your work.

I managed to get my Canon 800 F5.6 pretty cheap and find it easier to carry than the 600 F4 I used to have. As you say it is a fine lens, though I do find F5.6 a little limiting the IQ, reach and lighter weight more than make up for this. As you say it is a great lens for smaller birds, attached is a Bittern I spotted this morning - it is unedited just JPEGed and scaled for web.
You are right that the very long lenses are not ideal for birds in flight. At the ranges where you can fit in a large bird then the image is degraded by the distance between you and the birds. More importantly I find it very difficult to get the bird in the viewfinder at all! For this sort of thing I use a Canon 300 F2.8 L IS, which is why I often carry both!
I actually have a Flikr account but am having trouble accessing it so no images up yet.

Lenses / Re: Birding 11 Days with the 600mm
« on: February 26, 2014, 05:13:18 PM »
Congratulations on the 500 Mk2! I have had the opportunity to try one and was very impressed, especially as it is only a little heavier than my 300 F2.8 IS Mk1.
I shoot mainly the smaller bird species so the 800 is more appropriate for my needs but the 500 Mk2 is a fine lens and it won't break your back! My normal Birding load is the 800 F5.6 IS, the 300 F2.8 IS + a 1 series body - not too bad for weight. However when you add on the necessary extras like a tripod, head, spare battery, backpack, flask of tea (essential - I am British!) etc etc... it is around 50 lbs so I am not going too far with that lot!
The 500 Mk2 makes seriously long lenses very portable - you will be happy!

Software & Accessories / Re: Ball head for a travel tripod
« on: February 26, 2014, 04:52:19 PM »
If you want a single lever ball head I would suggest you have a look at the Triopo RS range. There are 3 models the RS1,2 and 3 - I have the RS3. It is small, light, cheap, very smooth operating and easily holds any lens Canon currently make. Almost certainly overkill for what you want but it is seriously cheap and seriously light. If you live in the US they are sold under a different brand (I don't know what it is - sorry) but are available on E Bay.
I have not tried the smaller models (RS1 and RS2) but I would expect the smallest to be happy with unbalanced loads of 4 Kilos or so. You will need to budget for a QR clamp, I would suggest that it is Arca compatible (Triopo's own one is pretty good).
Attached are poor quality images of my RS3 - yes that is a Canon 600 F4 L IS + 1D Mk4 on top, yes it will easily support it at any available angle and yes it does show up the flex in a Gitzo systematic tripod!

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