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Thread: Canon Ramblings

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    Member darylcheshire's Avatar
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    Canon Ramblings

    Just want to share with you my Canon choices.

    A few years ago I got the Canon 5D and it is a lovely camera, full frame yeah. My first lens was a 50mm f/1.4

    I'm interested in railway photography and wide angle is the best there where you can take photos on railway platforms and things are cramped. So I got the 24-70mm f/2.8L after perusing the Fred Miranda forums. I did consider the 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L but decided that it was too heavy. (and expensive)

    For the 24-70mm f/2.8L I bought the Tamrac 5629 bag which enables me to carry the camera with lens attached for my train trips. I call it the snoot bag.

    After a a while I began to photograph other than railway stuff so I got the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS. Therefore I'd cover the 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L range with two lenses. (how does the cost compare?) I'm unlikely to need both on the one day. Took it to the Melbourne Showgrounds and took photos of the stunt motorbikes. Was wonderful stuff. It also fitted in the snoot bag.

    After some thought and excitement at the start of 2009, I bought the 5D Mk II. The reasons were the Highlight Tone Priority and the self cleaning feature. There are numerous other improvements which I won't go into here.

    I do like the auto ISO.

    I don't know about the highlight tone priority feature. It's benefits are subtle. It prevents blowouts. One of my problems is photographing railway stations in bright daylight and I lose detail under the platform verandah. If I over expose by 1.5 f-stops, it may be over exposed. I haven't actually experimented with this feature. What I can also do is bracket them and HDR merge in Photoshop.

    I didn't buy it for the live view or the movie feature. It is icing on the cake though.

    I didn't get rid of the old 5D as it would have only got me $300 with the leasing arrangement I had. (leasing arrangements cost too much, don't do it unless you are a pro)

    So I now have 2 5Ds, with full frame. Therefore there is no crop factor with all my lenses.

    I still use the old 5D, sometimes I take it to work and use it after work, when I go on tram rides or train trips during daylight saving.

    I pondered getting the 50mm f/1.2. The FM forums give it a mixed reviews but I think some of them don't understand that it has a very narrow DoF and AF doesn't work very well in low light and they blame the lens for back focus and related issues.
    I also have two lenses which cover 50mm and I wonder if I would notice the difference in the photo later? One review I read said that there is a difference between the 50mm 1.4 and the 1.2. Not sure if he difference is discernible to me.
    I do notice that when I'm photographing station buildings and old towns etc with the 28-70, I find myself at 50mm for more than half of the time. I marked it as low priority and eventually bought a 400mm 5.6L.

    The 400mm 5.6L finally arrived last week after waiting two weeks. It was in Sydney but it took two weeks, I don't know what logistic issues they had?

    I'm doing some bird photography with the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS at the 300mm end and the birds come out well with the cropping.
    The 400mm 5.6 is said to be the best in birding as it can be hand held, best for birds in flight and has a good price and weight compared to the 400mm f/2.8 and the DO.

    Still, I don't know how I'll go with the bird stuff as I'm just photographing anything that flies including aircraft near the park. I wonder if it's just an excuse to buy a telephoto lens, time will tell.

    I'm also walking around for hours which is only good for a fat bastard like me.

    The 400mm f/5.6 got good reviews in the FM forums and also in the bird photo forums.
    Although I found a US bird forum where people buy 500mm or 400 2.8 and end up using the 400mm 5.6 or they bandy 400mms, 500mms and 600s as if money was no object.
    Fascinating stuff.

    Anyway, I'm quite happy with the bird photos so far but have been pondering things.
    After last week's effort with the 300mm on auto settings, I decided to up the shutter speed to 1/1000s on the 400mm however this bumps up the ISO from 1600 to 2000 when photographing birds in foliage, this makes the photos look grainy when I enlarge to actual size. I like to freeze wing motion although some people prefer some artistic blur. My efforts last week had birds fly with no wings due to motion blur. Also birds against the sky are silhouettes. The 5DMkII has some custom positions on it's dial where 1.5 f-stop exposure compensation can be stored. However this setting will blow out foliage shots. I'm learning reflexes to capture birds in flight. The birding forums call this BIF.

    The bokeh is nice with bright coloured lorikeets showing up in focus the middle of out of focus foliage. I'm happy, but I don't think it will win any awards. I'm just starting out. Seeing examples in the bird forums is interesting. Also interesting to note that I have mostly the same gear they have so I have no excuse. Great to see what's possible.

    Anyway thanks for reading this wall of text, since I got my cameras I'm trying to photograph something every weekend and it gets me out and walking around (fat bastard). So I'm photographing railway interests, old towns scenery and more recently birds.

    Daryl.

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    Well Daryl that was a very interesting read, and you should go very well with that 400mm lens for birding, and having two 5D's is good.
    I will look forward to seeing what you post after your weekend shootings

    I would love to own the 24-70mm f/2.8L but I know it will be too heavy for me as I cannot hand hold my 300mm very long.
    I walk down to the local lagoon most mornings I don't walk for hours.
    Though I manage to clock up around 4 kms every day yes I bought a pedometer.
    I take the 70-200mm lens with me then, other wise I would never get back home
    I am interested in the 5D also and this week I have to make my mind up either that or the 7D
    As the 5D means a couple of more L series lens down the track.
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about your two 5D's.

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Thanks Mary Anne,

    The 24-70mm is not bad weightwise but sometimes I feel self concious on public transport as it is too noticeable and sometimes I take the 50mm instead. On special tours it's a different story as everybody has a camera.
    Also these days I can't hang out of train doors or windows on the modern trains and photos through the glass is not satisfactory.

    I would have thought the 5D and the 7D would be a toss-up between the full frame and the 2 DIGIC processors. However my initial perceptions were wrong on the 5DMkII and the 7D will have it's own appeal.
    I'd love to have a 7D but it would be like owning 3 watches, you can only wear one at a time.
    Unless you're a pro with one body for each lens.

    Thanks for your feedback. I do rabbit on a bit though.

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    Canon Ramblings

    Interesting....

    I would rather the 5D2 unless I needed 8fps. The 5D2 is a spectacular camera with amazing image quality. I always found the cropped sensors too small, especially the 1.6 crop, and you need incredibly wide lenses for them. I must say though, I think the 16-35mm lens is too wide for full frame camera (probably contrary to what others may say), maybe I'm just not used to it, but I think the 24-70mm is perfect for most purposes.

    I think the image from the 5d2 also slightly oversaturated but nicely so, and I like the size of the files...; they are huge, but detail is amazing...
    I'm not sure, but I think you will find the noise on the 7D more than the 5D2 as well because of the pixel size. I don't have much experience with the 5D2 either, but one of the only downsides I can see so far is that it only has 9 AF points, I wish Canon had upgraded this; the other down side is the 3.9fps, but with such massive file sizes to process, I can understand why. You can't have everything I guess....

    Most bird photographers would use the 600mm/4, with a Wembly head for birds in flight. I have heard of the prowess of the 400/5.6 lens as well, so probably very useful to have in your bag, but the problem comes if you want to use a 2x or a 1.4x TC... The 2x would make it f/11 so you would then need to use 2 stops higher ISO...noise...

    Are you local around Melb?

    Barry...

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    Yes I'm from around Melbourne.
    The 600mm f/4 is a massive lens and I'm just starting with the 400mm f/5.6. It's a lens I can walk around with and move quickly. I'm not real good at spotting birds yet, I go by the noise they make. I can't imagine stumbling around with a Wimberley borne 600mm and tripod would be efficient. Where I go, there's joggers and walkers and I'd soon attract a crowd.
    I have thought that if/when I get more experienced about bird photography that I might know where I can pick vantage spots. Then I might consider a larger lens.
    The other factor is that the 600mm costs nearly $13K which is nearly 3 times the cost of my car. Still I haven't ruled it out. Perhaps I can hire one for the weekend from Michael's Camera? It's around $350 or so, plus a deposit of $2.5K.

    With the 400mm f/5.6, I'm learning to take photos of crows harassing eagles directly overhead without falling over.
    This morning I got into my car with the 400mm attached to the camera on a strap around my neck and the lens poked the horn button <beep>. I wouldn't be able to get into the car with the 600mm. Lucky I had slid back the lens hood and put the lenscap on. (I feel like Mr. Bean).

    The 600mm would be lovely at the Avalon airshow, but I go on my own and it would need to be a two man show as I go to the toilet or buy overpriced public venue food and wouldn't want to leave the lens there nor pack it up every time I get thirsty.

    Daryl.

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    Canon Ramblings

    Yes Daryl, I hear you; the cost of the 600 is almost prohibitive, to say the least.... We can dream I suppose.
    Well, trains, planes, automobiles, the next time you need a shooting buddy, give me a call... Problem is I just moved out of town to Drouin, and there are a few dams around the place with an abundance of bird life I'd like to explore.... So if you're keen.,..
    Barry

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    How about showing us some of your bird, railway and other photos?
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
    My Photography

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    Thanks,

    I made one of my photos small enough to post but I haven't yet figured out how to upload to the forum. Also I couldn't log into Photobucket as I forgot my login and I asked for it to be emailed to me but it hasn't come yet and it's not in my junk mail folder.

    Drouin eh? On the weekend I'm planning to go to Raymond Island to photograph koalas and any birds which may be around, so I'll be passing by Drouin early Saturday.

    Daryl

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Raymond Island is a bad move Daryl, the koalas spot you coming from a mile away and report you to the swans who are actually asio agents in disguise, they then promptly halt all ferry sevices off the island whilst waiting for the air force to send out a couple of blackhawks from Sale RAAF base with those big gatling guns that automatically lock on to any big white lenses because we know that terrorists use that sort of stuff to plan raids on all the local beauty spots that East Gippsland has to offer.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    Further to my wall of text I'd like to comment on my early perceptions of bird photography and railway photography.

    For years I photographed trains and mouldy railway stations with my Canon A1 film camera and my FD 50mm f/1.4 or the FD 28mm (f/2.8?). One memorable one was of Mitiamo Station on the Swan Hill line a week after it closed. The train passed through at 100kph and I hung out the window and took 5 frames with my motor drive and when I got the photos developed, someone had written "farewell Miti" on the door. Nowadays train windows are sealed shut and the doors locked.

    On the whole railway photography is mainly static and stations just sit there. The only problem is that the platform verandah is in deep shade and detail is lost. Overexposing the shot helps somewhat. Nowadays I can play around with HDR or the 5DMkII's features.

    Skill is needed to photograph black steam locos with enough details so they don't resemble a black blob. Station photos give me a reason to visit derelict old stations on closed lines which I did a lot of during the early '80s when a lot of lines were closed in Vic and NSW. One stage I crawled on my stomach under a fence to photograph a siding (Coreinbob) on the Tumbarumba line. Most of these are gone nowadays.

    With railway photography, I didn't desire a telephoto lens as wide angles are more useful. Say 28mm on a 35mm film. I used a 28mm prime for years. Some railfans used a telephoto on approaching trains which gives it a bunched up effect. Sometimes it's a good effect as long as it's not overdone. Since you are using public transport it's not something you want to carry.

    Also steam specials attract "motorcaders" those who follow the train in their cars and stake out vantage points on bridges etc. Some passesngers are annoyed at motorcaders because they are exploiting the train movement which the passengers have paid for. Some motorcaders pay a token $5 to the tour organiser who gives them an S circular or STN (Special Train Notice) of the train's movement during the day. Some motorcaders get booked by the police for speeding. One fellow tried to chase an R-class mainline express loco to Wycheproof and couldn't keep up.

    Some people on steam specials don't take photos but record the sound only. One fellow was mocked by the conductor for trying to sound record an L-class which is an electric loco. Might have been trying to record the distinctive horn.

    Now to bird photography. Now I have a decent lens as I said earlier a 400mm f/5.6. Photographing birds seems to require more skill than photographing trains or old railway stations.

    The birds I have found so far are some sort of lorikeet, green back, peach coloured chest and red beak. yellow/green in tail and lower parts. At this stage, birds have no names and are good on toast.

    I know from other forums that people try and capture birds in flight or BIF in their jargon. I realised that my early efforts with the 300mm got some motion blur, so with the 400mm I tried at Tv at 1/1000s and being a 5D MkII the ISO would rise too. This was a sunny day and the wings would be frozen, well exposed but a little grainy looking at 2000 ISO (or ASA in the old days).
    My better photos were at 1600 ISO (selected automatically).

    So, I'm now balancing shutter speed, aperture and variable ISO. I wondered if the 5D MkII could be set manually and just have the ISO go up or down but it doesn't. manual is manual, you set everything.
    Program mode tends to set the shutter speed too low. I know you can adjust the ratio but it only lasts as long as the button is depressed. A bit fiddly with a big lens. Haven't really explored it actually.
    Also I do know that some people prefer some motion blur anyway so I might get away with using 1/800s.
    Perhaps I can photograph bigger birds which don't flap their wings as much and would be easier to BIF.
    No doubt different areas would require different combinations. But the actual thinking that goes into bird photos is definitely more stimulating than railway photography. Probably because I've done it for years. And I haven't started about the walking kilometres with a big lens and SLR, train travel is a sedentary pastime my mother said.

    Anyway another wall of text. If you want I can tell you about my fun with time lapse photography in my car and comparing it with a movie I made over the same journey on the following weekend. I was using the old 5D so I didn't wear out the shutter and mirror mechanism, but recently discovered that using the 5D MkII with Live View locked the mirror up and is quieter but at the expense of battery power as the LCD is on the whole time.
    Anyway bye for now.

    Daryl

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Raymond Island is a bad move Daryl, the koalas spot you coming from a mile away and report you to the swans who are actually asio agents in disguise, they then promptly halt all ferry sevices off the island whilst waiting for the air force to send out a couple of blackhawks from Sale RAAF base with those big gatling guns that automatically lock on to any big white lenses because we know that terrorists use that sort of stuff to plan raids on all the local beauty spots that East Gippsland has to offer.
    Maybe I can put boot polish on my face and my lens.

    I was wondering about that military establishment on the southern tip of the island which nobody talks about in case they are taken by the black helicopters.

    If I wear my tin foil hat and cover the lens with tin foil the special koalas won't see me.

    Maybe I can make like Marlin Perkins and impersonate an ostrich? (lens sticking out of chest)

    Speaking of swans, I remember the ASIS fiasco at a Melbourne hotel, ASIS train on Swan Island off Queenscliff next to the golf course. Coincidentally, the Mayor of Queenscliff at the time was Max Smart. (would you believe it?)

    Daryl

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    Quote Originally Posted by darylcheshire View Post
    The birds I have found so far are some sort of lorikeet, green back, peach coloured chest and red beak. yellow/green in tail and lower parts. At this stage, birds have no names and are good on toast.
    Apparently they are Rainbow Lorikeets. Interestingly they are regarded as a pest in Perth.

    http://nrpg.org.au/page/Newsletters.aspx
    Last edited by darylcheshire; 18-05-2010 at 10:09pm.

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
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    [QUOTE=darylcheshire;584368]Apparently they are Rainbow Lorikeets. Interestingly they are regarded as a pest in Perth.

    You would find that Perthites are extremely parochial, if its not "local" then its a pest ! Bless em ;-)

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    Canon Ramblings

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcheshire
    Drouin eh? On the weekend I'm planning to go to Raymond Island to photograph koalas and any birds which may be around, so I'll be passing by Drouin early Saturday.

    Daryl
    Well, if you're going past, stop in for a coffee and a chat, sadly can't go shooting, just moved house last weekend and still a bit upside down. I've never heard of Raymond Island, could be interesting.., anyway, once I have settled a bit will be out shooting again...
    Barry

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    Raymond Island is off Paynesville, you can transfer your car on the ferry, the channel is about 100m so the ferry takes about 3 mins.

    I'm reviewing the weather, the forecast is a shower or two, I'd rather pick a sunny day, so I'll see if the weather improves closer to the day.

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    Bird and railway photos. mmm

    How's these?

    Quickly selected and resized.

    Daryl
    Attached Images Attached Images

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