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Messages - nightsky87

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Technical Support / Re: "Ripple" in Image with ND Filter
« on: March 24, 2013, 12:04:34 PM »
Wow. That was quick. :D Thanks Neuro and Spokane!

Technical Support / "Ripple" in Image with ND Filter
« on: March 24, 2013, 08:02:35 AM »
I just got a new Hoya Pro1D 64x ND filter so I decided to take it out on a test run. I picked the Hoya over B+W for the supposed lack of color casting in the image. True enough, there was no apparent color cast in my images.

When I got back home, I was just aiming the camera at random targets and shooting. I noticed then that the images had a ripple-like pattern exactly at the middle of the frame (see attached picture). I swapped out the ND filter for my B+W UV one and the pattern was gone. Going back to the ND resulted to the pattern again. Strangely enough, going to the long end of my lens resulted to a larger ripple (much like a zoomed version). Inspection of the filter showed no dirt except some strange residue on it that is only visible when wet (see second picture).

After rigorously cleaning the filter (enough to maybe even leave some scratches :o), I put it on the camera and the pattern was there. I cleaned it again and the pattern was completely gone this time. I really have no idea what caused this. The residue wasn't at the center so a perfectly centered ripple seems strange.

Anyone have any ideas?

Software & Accessories / Re: Is this support setup good?
« on: March 07, 2013, 08:40:41 AM »
Just an extra thought though... Are any of these systems (Gitzo/RRS) designed to handle tropical weather? Or at least, has anybody tested them under those conditions? I live in a tropical country and there are some design issues that have to be addressed for those. Things like rubber parts hardening and cracking from the heat and humidity, metal joints that degrade from the excess moisture, etc.

If none of them are, then I suppose the investment would have to go to a cheaper set (the one on the original post) to at least partially compensate for the faster degradation. Note that I do not do photography for a living and so these are basically expenses.

Software & Accessories / Re: Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 08:07:10 PM »
Okay... All this positive input on RRS gear has really got me thinking twice about my setup. Given what I already said in the first post, would the TQC-14 be good? It seems to have roughly the same specs as the Gitzo GT2541 but as neuro said, they have conservative ratings.

Also, about the head, which clamp would you recommend for the BH-40? I noticed that the AS type clamps seem to have clearance issues with the vertical notch. I would mostly use this setup in a landscape orientation so I think L-plates aren't necessary yet. I don't think I like the idea of having that much protruding from my camera when I don't mount it on the tripod. :P

EDIT: On another note, would a head like the BH-55 be too large for the TQC-14?

Software & Accessories / Re: Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 11:39:20 AM »
I think you can remove the center column on the Gitzo Mountaineer for a lighter/more stable support. Is that any different from a tripod sold without one to begin with?

Are there any retailers that sell RRS or do you really buy it from them directly?

Depends on the design of the platform, but generally yes - if you remove the center column, the head should attach directly to the platform and that would be the same as a tripod without a center column.  That'll be true for Gitzo and RRS.

That gives some peace of mind.  ;) I think the option of having that center column when needed would be good anyway.

RRS only sells direct, unfortunately.  They've got a 30-day no questions asked return policy, but their gear is really top-notch and I've never needed to send anything back.

That's quite unfortunate. :( I was planning on shipping everything from the US to the country (somewhere in SE Asia). Multiple shipments from different points would be more expensive. And in that case, I usually won't be able to make use of the return policies.

I've got their TQC-14 travel tripod (and the TVC-33), and the leg section diameters of the travel set are similar to the Gitzo 25xx series.  The RRS legs are rated to 25 lbs, but that's very conservative...I've personally swung my 180 lb self from them.

I've tried checking the RRS lineup and they seem to be more expensive than the Gitzo counterparts. Are the differences really that big? Would the Gitzo actual load capacities also be beyond the 26.4 lb rating?

If you really do shoot the night sky a lot, you may want to consider a taller set of legs.  Without the center column, the GT2541 is only a little over 4 feet high, and that will mean a lot of bending over.  The RRS TVC-24L is over a foot taller than the GT2541 without column, and still several inches taller compared to the Gitzo with the colum installed and extended.

With my not-so-good tripod at the moment I have gotten into the habit of lugging around a USB cable for the camera to connect it to my phone. :D I even use tether control through WiFi to my tablet at times. So I suppose bending over wouldn't be much of an issue. Or am I missing something else about the importance of tripod height?  :o

Software & Accessories / Re: Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 09:26:18 AM »
Definitely a good setup, altough I'd consider a tripod without a center column.  IMO, for the best legs choose Really Right Stuff or Gitzo, for the best heads choose Really Right Stuff, Arca-Swiss, Markins, Acratech, or Kirk.  Best clamps/plates are Really Right Stuff, Kirk, or Wimberley.

Sounds great! IIRC, I think you can remove the center column on the Gitzo Mountaineer for a lighter/more stable support. Is that any different from a tripod sold without one to begin with?

You might want to look at the Really Right Stuff TVC-23, -24, or -24L (depending on the height you need) and the BH-40 ballhead.

I'll check those out as well. Thanks! Are there any retailers that sell RRS or do you really buy it from them directly?

Software & Accessories / Is this support setup good?
« on: March 06, 2013, 02:34:00 AM »
I'm currently looking into a complete tripod system that should completely replace the current one. For starters, here is the list of gear I'm working with:

- Canon 5D3 w/ BG-E11 grip
- Canon 50 f/1.4
- Tamron 24-70 VC USD
- Tamron 70-300 VC USD

In terms of sheer weight, the heaviest combination would be that with the 24-70 weighing in at 1.34kg (measured lol). Center of gravity does get worse with the 70-300 though.

Right now I'm using a Manfrotto MKC3-H02 tripod and the ball head definitely can't handle the weight. I've noticed that the rivets holding the legs are starting to bend as well so it might really be time for an upgrade. The thing is, I would rather not go through intermediate upgrades and just go with a good support system that I can use for a very long time even if I invest in more lenses. On this note, the next thing I'm thinking of saving up for is the 70-200 2.8L IS II.

After searching on the web, I've listed what I *think* might be good:
- Gitzo GT2541 Mountaineer Legs (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/567541-REG/Gitzo_GT2541_GT2541_Mountaineer_6X_Carbon.html)
- Arca-Swiss Z1 Head (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/469920-REG/Arca_Swiss_801102_Monoball_Z1_sp_with.html)
- Kirk QRC-3 Arca-type QR base (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/555493-REG/Kirk_QRC_3_0_QRC_3_Quick_Release_Clamp.html)
- Kirk QR Plate for 5D3 with grip (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/880629-REG/Kirk_PZ_149_Arca_Type_QR_Plate.html)

Are these parts any good? Would you recommend other components? Note that I since I don't have a good local source for these (they mostly sell Benro here :o), I would prefer getting them from one retailer as just one order. Thanks in advance for the responses!

Seriously, I really am having doubts about Canon's commitment to EF-S lenses. With the exception of occasional upgraded of existing kit lens, the EF-S seems pretty dead for the past year or two.

While Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma have been coming out with their versions of 18-xxx zooms, Canon's 18-200 has never seen an upgrade since its release. Meanwhile, Nikon has moved from the first 18-200 VR all the way to 300.

My suspicion would be if there's any progress in terms of lens for the APS-C format, it would be for the EF-M mounts...

Again, just my opinion.

I think you may have missed the EF-S 18-135 STM from last year though... ;)

Lighting / Re: Buying Yongnuo Flash
« on: January 24, 2013, 08:59:01 PM »
I don't own any Yongnuo flash but I did consider them at some point. Its just that there were too many stories of flash failure for my taste. This is particularly true for the TTL models (468) I think.

Before anything, how much are you willing to spend on some flash? Maybe there are other viable options - especially since you want to use TTL.

Just curious why you choose 3200 for portraits? That is my preferred setting for my 5D3 and like you will go higher but that is for dark venues while run and gun shooting.

If I set up a couple of lights I shoot at 400. I may have misread what yo mean by portraits.         

Oh, by portrait I generally meant single subjects even if lighting isn't controlled. So that includes dark locations where 3200 might still be needed. If lighting is an option, I agree with 400. Great quality at those ISO levels!

Disregarding the point about image quality, what exactly are you looking for in a "workhorse" lens?

Remember that your focal length can affect the perspective if you move closer or farther from the subject. Your 18mm would be horrible for portraits but acceptable for landscapes. Likewise, the 85-135mm range is usually chosen for flattering portraits. Higher would be good for birding and sports.

The point is, its best to identify specific ranges for what you're shooting. Glass can be designed for specific purposes (i.e. some are designed for the best bokeh) and using a single superzoom won't satisfy all purposes.

No harm switching lenses often (except for the minor inconvenience). I remember taking the 60D while rowing and I was constantly switching between the Canon 15-85 for landscapes and Tamron 70-300 for animal shots. Worked great and the camera works flawlessly to this day.

- I keep my shots at ISO 800 or lower if possible.
- If absolutely necessary I bring it up to ISO 1600
- ISO 3200 is too grainy for my taste

- Normal limit is at ISO 3200 for me
- In dire situations, ISO 12800 is still usable

In your case, the 6D should be better at handling noise so the 5D3 should be a close comparison. The settings also depend on what you shoot and for me, I tend to follow certain settings depending on what I shoot.

- I keep ISO at 3200 or lower to make sure there's enough detail
- Aperture is usually 5.6 or wider for me depending on what I'm trying to get
- If available light isn't enough, consider using external lighting (not always possible)

- This is where I usually have to sacrifice ISO. Just get it as low as possible.
- Aperture usually stays between 2.8-4 (on my 24-70 zoom) for individuals and it can stretch to 5.6 for groups (again, the limits depend on what you're trying to do)
- Consider fill lighting if possible

- LOW ISO! I stay at ISO 100-200 for this one
- Longer exposures + tripod is usually the best solution unless you don't wan't trailing lights at night

That's me of course - and photography is just a really expensive hobby for me. Others might have other preferences.

On your 28mm, it doesn't take much to not have bokeh (assuming you don't shoot your subjects in front of their face ;D). I don't personally own one, but at 24mm, I get less bokeh starting f/4 (or even f/2.8 ) assuming I'm far enough from the subject.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Your best animal shots!
« on: January 12, 2013, 11:38:00 PM »
Chameleon, 60D + Tamron 70-300

Landscape / Re: Beautiful sunsets
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:44:18 PM »
Great shots everyone! Going for a change of pace, here's one taken from the city (Manila, Philippines).

Even with my 60D before, I never really got around to using the vari-angle screen. Instead, I'd take my Google Nexus 7 tablet and hook it up to the camera. With DSLR Controller on the device, you can control the camera from the tablet so you don't have to keep moving the camera to change settings.

All you need would be:
- Tablet (I like the Nexus 7... and its cheap!)
- USB on-the-go (OTG) cable (this connects USB devices to the tablet)
- camera USB cable
- DSLR Controller for Android (cheap software)

Quite a cheap and lightweight solution if you ask me... at least compared to external monitors!

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