August 01, 2014, 12:54:19 PM

Author Topic: Almost 10000 photos shoot with 5D Mk3 – Thoughts, Odds, Problems, Firmware Fixes  (Read 8030 times)

John Thomas

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Hi all,

Ok, I know that I’m quite crazy these days actually shooting with 5D Mk3. Perhaps I should discuss over and over again about DxO, D800, pixel-peeping etc. Yes, D800 is the elephant in the room and now it is obvious that the only thing which is left to improve the situation is to improve the firmware. Anyway, Canon is working on a new version, isn’t it? :-)

But since there were many more or less good opinions and tests done without being very much in the battlefield with the camera, I chose to lay down my impression AFTER actually using it in rather harsh conditions for a photo reporter – I was in the Holy Mount Athos with the occasion of the Holy Week and the Orthodox Easter and all the celebrations tied with these events.

In technical terms, this means a very broad range of light from the normal daylight till the light of a single candle (yep, I have enough keepers at 25k ISO), a very broad range of movement from fast-paced moments to an endless peace and serenity (very good to find the God, very bad for a moving photographer with a “clack” dSLR). As an aside: IMHO the silent mode of 5DMk3 is definitely a must-have for almost any photo reporter - everyone loses his natural way of being when hears the mirror's sound.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions bellow are just thoughts of a photographer from the battlefield which shoot almost 10000 (ten thousand) photos in two weeks – nothing absolute, nothing dogmatic. I know that Canon is preparing a new firmware and I just want to be constructive.

Canon has a big problem now with D800 PR wise and I think that in the situation at hand the most effective way to improve it now is to improve the firmware.

Here we go:

1.   5D Mk3 screen: 418 Images on 16 GB card. Really?

Guys IMHO Canon is way off on this one. My workhorses are two 16 GB cards (one Lexar CF and one Trancend SD). EOS 5D3 says that I can shoot only 418 photos in RAW. However the camera writes on the cards somewhere between 530 – 570 files while shooting RAW mainly in 3200 – 12800 ISO range. And if I shoot in daylight (ie. low ISO) a 16GB card can hold till 590 RAW files.
Proposed solution: There are several variants but I think that the best ones are based on the (moving) average of file sizes actually shoot by the photographer. More details on request.

2.   What means “Auto” Min. Shutter Speed on ISO Speed Settings?

Well, I thought that it means that the camera adjusts the ISO and the aperture in order to meet a Shutter Speed equal with the lens’ Focal Length. But it seems that isn’t always the case, and hence there are shoots which are blurred because of this. For ex. having a 50mm lens the camera sets the exposure at 1/40 secs, having lens raked out at 135mm gives us a shutter speed of 1/122 aso. More examples on request.
Proposed solution: Add an option in “ISO Speed Settings” called ‘Enforce Shutter Speed > F. Length’ which when it is set to ‘Enabled’ will ensure (at the cost of a higher ISO) the right shutter speed (iow bigger than the F. Length).

3.   Manual AF Pt. Selec. Pattern - …half job

The “Manual AF Point Selection Pattern” (AF5 in camera’s menu) if it is in “Continuous” mode it wraps at the opposite edge. Except if the AF engine is in Zone AF mode. Why? The behavior of this feature isn’t consistent. And it is too bad. One must remember this when the things are happening quickly in front of him. Very frustrating.

4.   Super Safety Shift (Fix This!)

Guys, Safety Shift is a nice idea. However I think that it can be dramatically improved. Besides the values already there you can add other 3 values: “C1”, “C1,C2”, “C1,C2,C3” which will work in P, Tv and Av modes. “C1” means that when a correct exposure cannot be obtained with the current settings the camera will switch automatically and temporarily (only for the current shot) to the “C1” custom shooting mode. “C1,C2” means the same as above but if C1 fails also, the camera will try the C2 shooting mode. “C1,C2,C3” means that in order to obtain the correct exposure camera will try all the custom shooting modes in the specified order. Of course, beware of infinite recursion because Safety Shift is also recorded in custom shooting modes. Or perhaps is better to introduce an entirely new menu called “Fallback Shooting Modes” or similar?

5.   Not-So-Direct AF Selection with the Joystick

There is a customization called “AF point direct selection” which, during metering, allows the user to choose the AF point with the joystick. Nice feature indeed. But in order to be perfect, I think that it should have an option called “Auto-repeat” with the possible values of “Enabled / Disabled”. In order to change the AF point we must press one for each change. It would be much more convenient to keep the joystick pressed in order to move more quickly the AF point.

HTH & Best regards,

JT.

PS: Does someone know how to forward this text to Canon in order to be really effective and see some firmware improvements based on this?

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JR

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on item 2, did you try shooting auto ISO in manual mode?  You can also set the minimum shutter speed when in auto iso and aperture mode, did you find the same problem there?  For example even with your 50mm, you could set min speed to 1/200 in aperture mode!

I did not have any issue when i tried it for the auto iso portion.

Also, no comments on your post regarding image quality, sharpness of your 10,000 shots.  any thoughts there?
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swampler

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For item 2, did you reach max ISO? The camera will lower shutter speed for proper exposure once the max ISO is reached.

sanyasi

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After a thousand photographs, this it?  Canon misrepresented the number of photographs a card can hold--they underestimated, and a few other minor issues.  Were the photographs any good?  Did they please you?  Or doesn't that matter?

Sorry to pick on you, but the same question could be asked of many of the posters to this website.  I was dissatisfied with my first batch of photographs.  They didn't pop, so to speak.  In reviewing them, I realized I should have filled with flash.  Then they would have been great.  My fault.  Not back focusing, or front focusing, or lack of sharpness, or this sensor, or what some stupid DXO test said, or whether my "glass" was an L or image stabilized or a third party's.  You folks need to comment on the photographer a lot more and on the camera a lot less.

spinworkxroy

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For item 2, did you reach max ISO? The camera will lower shutter speed for proper exposure once the max ISO is reached.

This is precisely the problem the TS is mentioning.. what's the point of having a min shutter speed when the camera will still slow it down if the min can't be met? I know having a shot is better than not having one but in this case having a blur shot is as good as not having a shot to begin with..
i personally too wished that when you set a min shutter speed, it should enforce that speed regardless of what the exposure is and if it's not able to take..then just blink and not let you take…that's what the TS wanted also..to "enforce" this speed..or at least have a range of preferred speed and fallback speed

swampler

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Well, he could raise his max allowed auto ISO.

I wish Canon would let you set the min as high as 1/2000, then I could use Av for sports and be a lot more useful than simply 1/250 as the max. Instead, I've been using M mode with auto ISO for this condition, but you can't use EC in M mode with auto ISO.

John Thomas

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Trying to respond to all of you, starting chronologically. The first one was this:

on item 2, did you try shooting auto ISO in manual mode?  You can also set the minimum shutter speed when in auto iso and aperture mode, did you find the same problem there?  For example even with your 50mm, you could set min speed to 1/200 in aperture mode!

I did not have any issue when i tried it for the auto iso portion.

Also, no comments on your post regarding image quality, sharpness of your 10,000 shots.  any thoughts there?

About the item 2:

My camera has the following ISO speed settings:
  • ISO speed: Auto
    ISO speed range: 50-25600
    Auto ISO range: 100-12800
    Min.shutter spd.: Auto

Also, my camera is set up to underexpose with 1/3 stop. Ie Exposure Compensation is -1/3 EV.

With the above settings some EXIF examples from my photos (only relevant info included):
1.

  • Shooting Mode: Program AE
    Focal Length: 50mm
    Tv: 1/40
    Av: 1.8
    ISO Speed: 1600
    Auto ISO Speed: ON
    Exposure Compensation: 0
...

2.

  • Shooting Mode: Program AE
    Focal Length: 85mm
    Tv: 1/80
    Av: 5.6
    ISO Speed: 4000
    Auto ISO Speed: ON
    Exposure Compensation: 0
...

3.

  • Shooting Mode: Program AE
    Focal Length: 135mm
    Tv: 1/125
    Av: 5.6
    ISO Speed: 125
    Auto ISO Speed: ON
    Exposure Compensation: -1/3
...

Aso.

As you see I'm far for reaching the maximum Auto ISO set in my camera.

No, I don't use the manual mode. I use P and in rare occasions Av mode. I use also Tv mode but isn't relevant to our discussion.

Regarding setting the lowest shutter speed: I did some tests, it seems to work ok, but don't quote me on that. Also swampler is right: personally I don't need it badly but I think that the Auto ISO should have faster shutter speeds in the menu.

Re. to image quality I'll prepare another post. Hold on.

HTH

J. Th.

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John Thomas

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After a thousand photographs, this it?  Canon misrepresented the number of photographs a card can hold--they underestimated, and a few other minor issues.  Were the photographs any good?  Did they please you?  Or doesn't that matter?

Sorry to pick on you, but the same question could be asked of many of the posters to this website.  I was dissatisfied with my first batch of photographs.  They didn't pop, so to speak.  In reviewing them, I realized I should have filled with flash.  Then they would have been great.  My fault.  Not back focusing, or front focusing, or lack of sharpness, or this sensor, or what some stupid DXO test said, or whether my "glass" was an L or image stabilized or a third party's.  You folks need to comment on the photographer a lot more and on the camera a lot less.

Before jumping on my opinions about photo quality, IMHO some of them (especially 2 and 4) are not minor issues. Again, IMHO. When one is an event photographer and everything is changing quickly around him it is critical to get the job done by keeping the pace with minimal fuss and having your mind focused on what you have to do and not on how to do it or how to overcome some firmware limitations.

Also, being programmer from approx. 20 years, including low-level programming, I would dare to say that I have a bare knowledge on what could be accomplished via firmware. IMHO, it is very important to have in difficult situations a "Plan B" for exposures. Consider this: With an UWA lens raked at 16mm the "Auto" ISO means 1/16 which is much to slow to catch a ton of human movements ranging from sports to the priest incensing the crowd. Hence you will set the Minimum Shutter Speed at (let's say) 1/60 or even faster: 1/100, 1/250 and more (if we'll have the possibility). But suddenly our subject (the footballer, the priest, the athlete etc.) enters in a dark area and the camera hits the max ISO. Believe me, you simply cannot dig in the menus to change that in the time you have at disposition. The camera should do a Safety Shift (see the point 4 in my OP) because even with 1/16 you can get a good shoot if you're lucky enough. But of course, it is a drama to have 1/16 as the only option.

Another case: We know that there are enough lenses which their quality decreases at wide open apertures. For ex. for 50mm F/1.8 lens the best aperture is somewhere @ 2.2. For F/2.8 lenses is @F/4 etc. So, we'll have in the main program set the Av at the max quality aperture and in the fallback program / safety shift program have the worst-case-scenario: allow the wide-open aperture, highest ISO etc. When the event you need to photograph is rolling you even don't have the time to think about the fact that the camera needs new adjustments. Especially if it's an event of unknown nature for you.

I'm not upset that you're "picking on me"  :) , but I want to make the things clear. Also, speaking about image quality will bring small value for me, Canon and for the community as a whole. But a firmware improvement (especially now when they have these problems) will make a difference.

The next post will be about my human impressions (quality etc.). I promise.  :)

my0.02c++ & HTH,

John Th.

Lance James

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Thanks for sharing your first impressions. It can only get better as Canon gets this feedback. We are all beta testers at this phase. Just like buying the first of a new model car. There are always bugs to be worked out. My 5D III gets here on monday. Can't wait to get started learning.

John Thomas

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Also, no comments on your post regarding image quality, sharpness of your 10,000 shots.  any thoughts there?

Guys, this a GREAT camera! The best event camera which I ever seen (or it could be) - my IMHO of course. I saw, Canon 350D, EOS 1Ds Mk II, 1Ds Mk III, 1D Mk IV,  60D, 5D, 5D Mk II, Nikon D70, D5000, D3s, D700, D7000 and some Sony Alphas (the last one A-500).

I humbly think that I'm not very biased. The hurdles from my OP, the enthusiasm around D800 which in part I understand and the "softness" of my first photos (more on this later) keeps me more or less with the feet on the ground.

The first problem with my first shoots were the "softness" of the first photos. One of the main causes was/is the lack of AF MicroAdjustment. It seems that some lens needed it. Another cause is the new AF subsystem which is a gorgeous type of work but one needs to learn how to use it. Another thing is the problem from the point 2 in my OP (the shutter speed is slower than the lens' focal distance).

Another thing is that it seems that Canon did many things for Noise Reduction sometimes sacrificing detail. That's why, from my experience, shoot in RAW and stop around 12800 ISO. ISO 25600 is definitely workable and useful but personally I won't let the camera to go by itself there. Nobody should have problems with ISO till 1600 or even 3200 in real world situations. (Guys shooting with lens caps on is not a real world situation).

A game changer is the new metering engine. The photos look sometimes darker and sometimes do not "pop" so much. But there is enough headroom in the histogram to work with. Also you must learn from experience what really means "Evaluative Metering" now.

AF system. This alone should account for an upgrade. But you must learn it. The full-automatic AF in which camera chooses can be dangerous sometimes (can be somewhat slow, or to choose another AF point that you don't want) but it is better than in past iterations. The other modes are much better. Also, this is IMHO the first reliable AI Servo which I use. It can catch the priest clothes when he moves incensing in the low light of a church. Very impressive. But you must learn a little how to do it. Isn't very hard but you need to exercise it. Also, wery good thing about the AF system is that it is/it can be linked to the camera's orientation. So you have 2 settings for the AF engine.

(Near) Silent shooting. A must have. Only from experience one can say what a big difference is to be unnoticed being at several meters from your subject and immortalizing him as he really is.

Another good surprise is battery life: @ 2000 shots. The manual says 950. I cannot explain why. Perhaps because I turned off the Auto Review (but I do manually review the photos from time to time) and the Focus Confirmation Beep.

DR: Very Good for me. I need better high ISO. Yes, I would like to have the D800's DR but NOT sacrificing the high ISO performance. It is more important for me the ability to have high fps which are focused and with reasonable noise in low light.

WB: Very very good. And I'm speaking about very difficult lightning: candles, tungsten, incandescent, small lamps, smoke from fire, candles, censer etc. - a whole mix of them. The camera is/was always on AWB. Leave it as is.

HDR & Multiple Exposure mode: I've played a little with HDR. Technically good thing, useful, if you don't have moving things in your photo but I'm thinking now that too much DR makes your photos too unnatural. Ok, sometimes it works but not in too many cases. IMHO.

Ergonomics: Hallelujah! Very very good. Many things go natural, even if you need to customize the camera. It seems that the Canon was quite prudent in some areas. Sometimes more than it should and this drags you down. See the points 3 and 5 from my OP.

Generally speaking I'm pleased with the purchase - looking at D800 samples I don't think that it would serve me better. Ok, I would like to have less noise at high ISO but this is tech now. IMHO there is an exaggerated pixel-peeping nowadays around these cameras. Go and shoot. It will help you.


PS: What I would expect from Canon is to be next to us and improve the things in order to show that they do care. It can be a game changer for them.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 01:52:00 PM by John Thomas »

candyman

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Excellent constructive feedback of reallife experience.


Thanks you  :)
5DIII w/grip  |  6D  |  16-35L IS  |  24-70VC  |  24-105L  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  35 f/2 IS  |  50A  |  135L

VirtualRain

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Some of my own thoughts...

#1... Good idea... What happens when the counter gets to zero and there is still room left on the card?  Does it say card full or can you continue shooting until the card is actually full?  And just a note... The counter will report the lesser of the shots remaining on the CF or SD card... So beware of this if shooting different image types/sizes to the two different cards. It's not clear which card is the limiting one, so another suggestion is to put an indicator or offer a firmware option to select which card to monitor. 

#2. This option is  designed for shooting in AV mode in low light  - and is a welcome addition - just the way it is (but having more shutter speed choices wouldn't hurt). If you need strict enforcement of shutter speed you should be using Tv or Manual.  Also, attempting to set a shutter speed of approx. 1/focal is the default camera exposure programming in Av... We don't need a firmware option for it.

#3. Strange. I don't use wrap around, but I could see how this is annoying if you do.

#4. I don't find this to be an issue, but why not?  I only use the 41 cross points which helps reduce the number of joystick operations required to move the AF point from one side to the other.
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briansquibb

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Guys, this a GREAT camera! The best event camera which I ever seen (or it could be) - my IMHO of course. I saw, Canon 350D, EOS 1Ds Mk II, 1Ds Mk III, 1D Mk IV,  60D, 5D, 5D Mk II, Nikon D70, D5000, D3s, D700, D7000 and some Sony Alphas (the last one A-500).


The 1D4 has a feature that fixes your issue #2

It effectively gives you manual control of shutter speed and aperture with auto iso plus exposure compensation

To me that is a major hurdle along with the non AF point metering that stops it being top for sports events

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John Thomas

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Some of my own thoughts...

#1... Good idea... What happens when the counter gets to zero and there is still room left on the card?  Does it say card full or can you continue shooting until the card is actually full?  And just a note... The counter will report the lesser of the shots remaining on the CF or SD card... So beware of this if shooting different image types/sizes to the two different cards. It's not clear which card is the limiting one, so another suggestion is to put an indicator or offer a firmware option to select which card to monitor. 

#2. This option is  designed for shooting in AV mode in low light  - and is a welcome addition - just the way it is (but having more shutter speed choices wouldn't hurt). If you need strict enforcement of shutter speed you should be using Tv or Manual.  Also, attempting to set a shutter speed of approx. 1/focal is the default camera exposure programming in Av... We don't need a firmware option for it.

#3. Strange. I don't use wrap around, but I could see how this is annoying if you do.

#4. I don't find this to be an issue, but why not?  I only use the 41 cross points which helps reduce the number of joystick operations required to move the AF point from one side to the other.

#1 - I have the camera set on "Auto Switch Card' and the screen shows the shoots left on the current card. I don't have time to look at the counter when the things go wild but I think / it seems that there is no negative number - the counter "improves" itself when it gets close to the limit. Most probably the algorithm is CounterNo = FreeSpace / FixedFileSize. The problem is that the FixedFileSize constant is a.) way off and b.) is not a constant, it is a variable (the cr2 & jpegs have compression). That's why a much better estimation is something based on global average (ie. TotalSizeShoot/TotalFilesShoot - and this number to be kept for each resolution / ISO) or much better on a moving average (the above number calculated only on the last 50-100 files).

#2
- Hello brother!  ;D A typical programmer response. ("This is not a bug, it is a feature") Sorry, but I don't think that 'broken by design' is a solution. :) See, we don't want to enforce a certain FIXED shutter speed. If I have a zoom, let's say 70-200 F/2.8, I simply cannot use Tv to set the shutter speed to... what? 1/200?? It is way to high in ever-changing light conditions. Remember we're talking here about an event handheld camera not a studio one. Yes, I know, IS. But I cannot think to Image Stabilization as a kludge for firmware shortcomings.

Another usage case: I have an UWA on the camera - let's say Tokina 16-28 F/2.8. Where to set the FIXED shutter speed? Based on common knowledge (and my tests confirm that) the lens deliver ultra sharp images even at Tv 1/16 handheld. But I cannot set it there because my subjects (men) are moving and hence, if the light permits, I want to have the shutter speed raised automatically and when they'll go again in the dark to lower the speed.

I use the Av mode but there is the same problem: the "approx" gives the blur of the image. We don't want the "approx" because this can be sometimes very "approximative". We need (imho) 'equal-or-greater'. And mind you, I found this issue by looking at blurred photos, not by nitpicking EXIFs.

Also, even if Av it would work I think that P mode is superior because it tries to get out the camera/exposure from the "dangerous zones" (slow shutter speeds AND open apertures) leaving you to concentrate on what to shoot / composition etc.

Because of all the above reasons, I humbly think that we need a firmware fix for it. Especially because it seems that it is a simple fix (they should change the test from something like "nearest value" to "equal and bigger ( >= )" if an option is set).

#4
- Thanks to validating me, but in fact it seems that you responded here at #5 :D . The #4 is a very powerful feature which would provide multistage fallback exposure programs. Let me give you an example based on what I said above:

Reiterating the UWA case: In studio, the above lens (Tokina 16-28 F/2.8 ) deliver sharp images at 1/F and it has the best quality aperture @3.5-8. However in the battlefield, having a 1/16 speed usually produces blurry hands, legs etc. but even so you can catch a very expressive shot.

So, roughly speaking, I would have like this:

  • Camera main settings: Av mode with F/4 - Auto ISO 100 - 6400, Min Shutter Speed: 1/60 (this is the best-case scenario which will cover 75% from cases)
  • C1: P mode - Auto ISO 100 - 12800, Min Shutter Speed: 1/60 (here I still try to freeze the men)
  • C2: P mode - Auto ISO 100 - 12800, Min Shutter Speed: Auto (the worst-case scenario: catch what you can)

...and in Super Safety Shift I would have set "C1,C2" - so if the camera cannot obtain the correct exposure with the main settings then it will try the C1 and after that the C2.

I hope that is clearer now,

J. Th.

John Thomas

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Guys, this a GREAT camera! The best event camera which I ever seen (or it could be) - my IMHO of course. I saw, Canon 350D, EOS 1Ds Mk II, 1Ds Mk III, 1D Mk IV,  60D, 5D, 5D Mk II, Nikon D70, D5000, D3s, D700, D7000 and some Sony Alphas (the last one A-500).


The 1D4 has a feature that fixes your issue #2

It effectively gives you manual control of shutter speed and aperture with auto iso plus exposure compensation

To me that is a major hurdle along with the non AF point metering that stops it being top for sports events

Re. 1D4 to 5DMkIII: Well, sometimes I'm thinking that the mankind didn't came from apes but are heading to them. 8)

...but you know: Even if it is UNDOCUMENTED, 5DMk3 does have AF point metering.   :P

Try the following experiment:

1. Put your camera in Evaluative Metering Mode

2. Set the camera in Single AF Point Mode (if isn't already)

3. Choose a scene with big differences in light areas. For example I aim the camera to my office (or a table, it is similar) with the lamp in the ceiling open and having the edge of the office / table in the middle of the viewfinder. Perhaps a portrait orientation of the camera would help. Anyway, the net result is that you have a very bright zone (the top of the table / office) and a very dark zone (the space which is under the table - if you catch also your dark pants in the frame so far so good. We need to be dark in there).

4. Move the AF point to the bright zone and press AF-ON to start metering. What gives it to you? :) Mine says 40Tv, F/3.5, 800 ISO (my AF point is on my white keyboard from which I write this).

5. Now move the AF point to the dark zone (take care to not move camera in order to change the global amount the light from the frame) and press AF-ON to start metering. What it says now? :) Mine says 40Tv, F/3.5, 3200 ISO (my AF point is somewhere on the dark floor).

Voila!  :D

On Evaluative Metering the AF point is "somewhat" linked with the metering. I also shoot some samples: in the shoot from the step 4 the keyboard looks pretty ok while underneath is a dark, murky area. In the shoot from the step 5 the keyboard is almost burned while on the floor I clearly see the network cables and the texture there.

HTH,

j.th.

PS: I leave as homework for you to experiment the other metering modes and report back. :)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 04:16:31 AM by John Thomas »

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