August 29, 2014, 02:24:22 PM

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Messages - johnf3f

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16
I would be wary of using a wax based product as this may affect the leg locks. I could be wrong but I would hate to be right!
I have 3 carbon Gitzos - all are consistently fed a diet of almost complete neglect and they thrive on it!

17
Yup it looks like I am a fair weather shooter!
To be out and about at dawn here I would be getting up just after I went to bed!

18
John, that is a lot of shots, but it's not hard to do with the 1D X.  I find myself constantly trying not to take too many photos with that camera - otherwise editing them down is a real chore.

As for the IS, I know we've discussed this before and at 1/2000s IS is pointless for sure, but most of my shots are in very dim light where I'm getting 1/30-1/60s at ISO6400, so IS is the difference between getting the shot or not.  The Mk II IS is rated to 4 stops, and I've gotten that even with the 2x III extender attached.  The new IS Mode 3, where IS kicks in when the shutter closes is great for birds in flight because it doesn't mess with focus or the viewfinder image.

I loved the 800mm, particularly on a monopod with IS, and I almost gave into the purchase during the last refurb sale, but unfortunately my wife knows how much it costs and an irate wife isn't a pretty thing ;)

You are quite correct I did go a bit silly - but then I don't often get to airshows!
When shooting wildlife, these days, I find that I am taking far fewer shots and being much more selective. As a result I have dramatically reduced my workflow and am ending up with better "Keepers".
Perhaps I am a Fair weather shooter or just not very good at post processing! But if the light isn't decent then I tend not to shoot. One of the reasons that I am so enamored of the 1DX is that what I used to consider as poor light is now good with this camera - though even the 1DX has it's limitations!

19
You know you want one - just do it!
The only question is which one. To me there are only two choices, either the 800mm or 600mm, I suppose you could include the 500mm for mobility.
Many people go on about lenses being too long - this is the opposite of my experience, in fact on only 2 occasions has my 800mm proved too long normally it's too short!

I most definitely would go for the 300 f/2.8 IS II because it's not too heavy of a monster and you have the option of extending its range using tele converters. Such a lens would have to get a lot of use from me, and I usually don't have a need for 400mm plus.

I have the 300 F2.8 but, unfortunately, it get far less use than my 800 F5.6 L. The 300 is a great lens and very portable, plus it works well with extenders. The 800 is just better for my uses.
John, I saw your post in another thread about the 800 even being too short for you many times. I did a CPS loan of the 800 a couple of years ago and found that to be the case, too, even on a 7D.  I thought the 800 would solve all of my problems by getting me close, but that's when I realized I really need a 2000mm to get those shots!  And as such, that's when I decided to change my approach (literally) to wildlife and work on getting closer to them for the shot.  The 300mm (with or without extenders) turned out to be the perfect lens for that purpose because of it's small size & weight, and the IS in the Mk II is so good, I have stopped using a monopod, let alone a tripod for most things.  Some other members on the forum and Canon Explorer of Light Art Morris (see his related blog posts here) is also finding this lens + extenders combination to be well suited for his work, so I'm not alone in my opinion.  Obviously it's not for everyone, but if you can live without 601mm+ or the convenience of the 200-400 1.4x, it's a nice set up for everything from sports to wildlife, especially with the 1D X and 5DIII.

The 300 F2.8 (Mk1 or Mk2) is a superb lens and really does well with extenders. I am more than happy with the performance of my 300 F2.8 IS Mk1 with my 2 x Mk3 extender. A few weeks ago I took 2400+ shots at an Air Display (sorry I got a bit carried away!) - my 300 F2.8 both with and without the 2 x extender, on my 1DX, did not miss focus on a single shot! IQ was excellent also.
However for my main pastime (small birds) the 800 F5.6 gives me better results and faster AF. As to getting closer I am normally shooting between  20 and 40 feet. I have to admit though the 300mm wins hands down if I need mobility!
I am interested in your comment on the Mk2 IS. My 300 has 2 stop IS and the 800 4 stop IS however I nearly always have it turned off as it improves the AF performance and, with the 1DX, shutter speed is rarely an issue. In fact the only time I have used my IS (on any lens) this year was once when hand holding my 800mm and then it was only to steady the image in the viewfinder! Shutter speed was 1/2000 sec so IS wouldn't help the image but it did help me get the focus point where I wanted!

20
Just my 2p!
Personally I am not convinced by the latest Gitzo Systematics. I do like the new clamping method that eliminates the need to carry a wrench. However, aside from that I am not impressed with the larger bulk and increase in both weight and price. Whilst the 2542 is definitely an advance over any previous 2 series it weighs the same (I checked) as my Gitzo 3530LS which I feel is a better tripod and was much less expensive.
The new safety system (to stop the top plate coming off) is of no relevance to me as I keep top plates attached to the heads that I use on my systematics - the older model Top Plates can be found pretty cheaply. This means that they are tightened every time they are used so cannot work loose over time.
I am not knocking the new Gitzo Systematics - they are superb, I just don't find them much of an advance over the previous range.

21
Canon General / Re: What's Would You Keep? [The anti-G.A.S. thread]
« on: July 11, 2014, 02:14:22 PM »
If I really HAD to get rid of almost everything then I would keep my 1DX and 800 F5.6 L, if I was allowed I would also keep my 24-105 (which I use occasionally) - the 1DX is virtually glued to the 800!

Dam...bird shooter  ;D

Not just birds! Any wildlife really + landscapes (24-105).
A friend of mine is currently doing a very interesting landscape series with his 600 F4 and 1D4 - I might copy his idea! These very long lenses give a distinctly different perspective for landscapes but are not very portable - unfortunately so subjects have to be chosen carefully!

22
You know you want one - just do it!
The only question is which one. To me there are only two choices, either the 800mm or 600mm, I suppose you could include the 500mm for mobility.
Many people go on about lenses being too long - this is the opposite of my experience, in fact on only 2 occasions has my 800mm proved too long normally it's too short!

I most definitely would go for the 300 f/2.8 IS II because it's not too heavy of a monster and you have the option of extending its range using tele converters. Such a lens would have to get a lot of use from me, and I usually don't have a need for 400mm plus.

I have the 300 F2.8 but, unfortunately, it get far less use than my 800 F5.6 L. The 300 is a great lens and very portable, plus it works well with extenders. The 800 is just better for my uses.

23
Canon General / Re: Servicing Canon Bodies?
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:37:28 PM »
Given you location have a chat with Canon at Elstree Studios or Colchester Cameras:
http://camera-repair.co.uk/

Canon will probably say to go to them anyway!
You could also contact Canon HQ in Reigate

24
You know you want one - just do it!
The only question is which one. To me there are only two choices, either the 800mm or 600mm, I suppose you could include the 500mm for mobility.
Many people go on about lenses being too long - this is the opposite of my experience, in fact on only 2 occasions has my 800mm proved too long normally it's too short!

25
Canon General / Re: What's Would You Keep? [The anti-G.A.S. thread]
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:28:09 PM »
If I really HAD to get rid of almost everything then I would keep my 1DX and 800 F5.6 L, if I was allowed I would also keep my 24-105 (which I use occasionally) - the 1DX is virtually glued to the 800!

26
Software & Accessories / Re: Canon BG-E13 Flimsy Tripod Mount
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:11:05 PM »
You are not alone! I use tripods quite a bit and this is precisely what put me off Battery Grips. The only one that I have tried that I was happy with was the PB-E2 (for my EOS 3) - they don't make then like that anymore!

27
I use Gitzo Systematic and Mountaineer (with center column) in both 2 and 3 series and love them!
I would suggest that you have a look at a 2 series if you are using lenses of 300mm or less. They are lighter and good enough for my 300 F2.8 - with or without extenders.
For my long lens I use a 3 series Systematic (3530LS) . Whilst Gitzo do not recommend it for lenses like my Canon 800 F5.6, I find it more than adequate. I have tried both a used 5 series (5541) and new 4 series Systematics and could find no significant advantage in them. Yes they are more rigid, but even at 800mm, the difference was not enough to justify the extra weight let alone the price!
My personal recommendation would be to look at the GT3530 LS, 3540, 3531 and 3541 models, I am not so keen on the latest models as they offer little or no advantage to me and they weigh more - let alone their higher cost!
If you add the accessory center column (handy for landscape work) + a couple of top plates then you have all the tripod you will ever need for any (current) Canon production EOS lens. I recently picked up a mint center column from E Bay for 35Gbp ($59) and the top plates for 15Gbp ($25).

28
Canon General / Re: Should we tell them?
« on: July 07, 2014, 06:21:13 PM »
I am happy to offer advice but only if they seem  to be struggling and I know what the solution is! I am always careful to make sure that I don't make them look like an idiot and also that I don't make myself look like one!

29
Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« on: July 07, 2014, 05:56:39 PM »

You would not believe how often i have had to repair my Gitzo GT3541LS. I've replaced all the main screws and the lower legs several times. These tripods don't do salt water very well and if you use spikes, the end pieces have a habit of falling out. They are only push fitted in and even if one glues them in...they weirdly fall out. Every year, i've had around £110 UKP's worth of spare parts needed. I'm seriously thinking of going over to Really right Stuff in the hope their pods are more resiliant.
Ok, I know I shoot in some of the most harsh conditions...but come on! These Gitzo pods are actually quite fragile.

[/quote]

What are you doing to your poor Gitzo?
I have 3 for over 5 years and 1 (older model) for about 4 years - I haven't repaired anything! I do use/abuse them quite extensively and have had zero issues. They are used as walking sticks (crossing rivers) supports for me when my knees pack in, occasional light brush busting and I put cameras on them as well. The only maintenance I have done was to clean the leg locks of my 3320BS - but then it was almost buried in sand! In salt water environments I normally us my old (secondhand) G1329 Mk2 as the leg locks are easier to clean - but they haven't got dirty yet - still I have only had it about 4 years.

For the OP I am happy with or without center columns on tripods though for long lens (300mm +) work I find a center column to be a significant disadvantage.

30
Software & Accessories / Re: Tripod centre column - yes or no
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:21:11 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or feedback with this model?
"Sirui R-4203L 3-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod"  From what I've seen, it looks pretty darn good for the price but I'm not familiar with the brand.. at 70" it seems that may be a good height for me, I'm 5'10". 

Anyway, please give me your thoughts or comments.  Thanks!   :D

I don't have that tripod but I do have a few Sirui products and find them to be very good. I currently use the P424 Mono pod (similar leg thickness to the 4203 tripod) and  can confirm that Sirui carbon legs are close to Gitzo in performance and I love the Sirui leg locks!
My problem is that I wonder whether you need a monster like the 4203? Yes it is a cracking tripod but what lenses are you going to use it for? If you are looking at a 600 F4 or an 800 F5.6 then the 4203 would make you very happy. However if you are thinking of shorter lenses then have a look at the Sirui R3203. This would be more than enough to do the job with quite large lenses and quite tall enough. I am 5ft 9inches tall and use tripods of 140cm tall quite happily - this one is quoted at 150 cm so it's plenty high enough.
As a footnote I would add that if I hadn't got my Gitzo tripods so cheap the Siruis are what I would have bought.

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