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Old Oct 17, 2003, 4:30 PM   #11
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Larry,

Bring an air blower to clean your image sensor, if needed. See this thread for a discussion of a good one to use:

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...?p=71375#71375

Barthold
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 11:47 PM   #12
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Man Alive, it's a challenge to keep up with all your responses. Let's see where did I leave off? Oh yes, the issue of using a tripod versus hand held camera shake. If you've ever been in Notre Dame, then you know it's very dim, even on bright days, while St. Peter's is brighter, but still dim in a lot of places, the Louvre fairly bright and easy to take pictures, and so on. In these places, there is a lot of foot traffic, lots of people everywhere and getting a tripod set up where you want given the people traffic is a challenge because you have 8 other people trying to take a similar picture and everyone else is walking by and in some of them, the security fokes aren't going to let you use a tripod. The reality of the matter is that you've got to take what you can on a hand held basis for most of the shots, either pumping up the ISO or forcing an under exposure and cranking it up in PhotoShop. A monopod might actually work pretty well as long as you're not talking about more than a half to one scond exposure which I believe to be the case. And the reality here is that whether you make it a tripod or monopod, its got to be light weight, I mean really light weight - I can't see carrying a 3 pound tripod around all day along with everything else. A table top pod isn't going to work either because there aren't tables and benches in convenient places for picture taking and the floor is too low an angle. I liked the suggestion about the folding pod that NHL made and I'll check that out at a couple of the local stores.

BTW, I have learned to shoot and process in the RAW most of the time (so to speak) and intend to do it on this trip. I have three 1GB CF cards and that should do the trick.

I don't mean to run off at the mouth here on this subject, but I'm just trying to figure out what other peoples experience has been. The A1 antishake method seemed a possibility too, but expensive in file space at 8MB per shot. I suppose you can tell the really bad ones and delete them. Anyhow, I'm done for tonight - talk at you tomorrow.

Cheers,

Larry
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Old Oct 18, 2003, 6:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
The A1 antishake method seemed a possibility too, but expensive in file space at 8MB per shot.
Actually the A1 is specs'd for 1/25s @ 200mm, but 1/10s have been tried handheld successfully without resorting to thoses tricks. It's compact with it's built-in 28-200mm and weight less than the 300D body alone! A good 2nd camera I guess or for travelling light


Quote:
If you've ever been in Notre Dame, then you know it's very dim, even on bright days, while St. Peter's is brighter, but still dim in a lot of places, the Louvre fairly bright and easy to take pictures, and so on. In these places, there is a lot of foot traffic, lots of people everywhere and getting a tripod set up where you want given the people traffic is a challenge because you have 8 other people trying to take a similar picture and everyone else is walking by and in some of them, the security fokes aren't going to let you use a tripod.
I've been to thoses places (actually I live there for a while) and if I recall they do have a lot of columns inside and St. Peter's security is quite slack... You can brace the foldable tripod against theses unmoveable structures (vertically)! As far as foot traffic try to get there early or @ closing time... I do this all the time for my landscape to avoid the vacation crowd.
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Old Oct 18, 2003, 8:44 PM   #14
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There are already many good advices in this thread. Here is maybe another one, choose a camera bag on not so camera bag looking, an ordinary waterproof bag with a box inside may be better than a flashy here comes another E1700.- bag. It may give you much peace of mind while walking in Paris and talking US chat.
(I'm from Europe, believe me we are nice but some are not as nice as us).

And then the "to tripod or not to tripod " question. Been there done that it worked. What I did was indeed leave any luxury extra weight out of my bag. When in need of a tripod use walls or chair backrest to stabilize. To lift camera up; put a finger underneath and push the top of camera down (until almost ouch) pressing the shutter next will result in less friction movement.

Next the lens the 28-135 f3.5 IS may be all you need. Remember the 28mm x 1.6 is still a more wide field than your vision. A nice trick to compensate lack of wide angle; If you cannot shoot it in 1 frame take it in multiple frames.

Hopefully I saved another pound of lugage for more joy in Europe.
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Old Oct 19, 2003, 1:31 AM   #15
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As for the tripod or no tripod. How tall is your wife? Can you use her head or shoulder, or is that going to result in a divorce? :-)

Barthold
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Old Nov 14, 2003, 1:14 PM   #16
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Hey Everyone, I want to thank you for all your suggestions for my trip. So how did it turn out and what worked and didnít work? Let me warn you, I kinda run off at the mouth here, so apologies in advance.

The trip was great. We just went to Paris for 5 days and will make Italy in the Spring. The weather was cold 40F to 50F (4C to 10C) during the day and near or below freezing at night. Only had one really bad day with heavy overcast, wind blowing and a top temperature of 40F. The rest were mostly sunny with very little wind.

What I took and how I packed it Ė Camera was a Canon 10D with a 17-40 f/4L, a 24-85 f/3.5-4.5, a 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS, a 420EX flash, a pocket size digital elph, a mini tripod and filters. I carried all the equipment on the plane using my regular TravelPro bag. Itís a nice rolling 22Ē bag, no sections and built for clothes, not cameras. Packed most of the equipment in bubble wrap. It worked fine since it was packed fairly tight. We checked our clothes. A camera specific case may work better for others, but this worked and also allowed us to pack a few extras like a change of clothes. As it turns out, we never used the 24-85 lens or the external flash unit.

Carrying it around Ė One of the big problems you face on a trip like this is carrying your equipment around. You donít want to leave anything you might need behind, but you also donít want to be a pack horse and it would be nice to not look so touristy. I used a LowePro TopLoader Zoom bag and attached it to a waist belt. The bag held the camera and its attached lens, polarizing filters for two lenses (I keep UVs on them all the time), two additional CF cards and a spare battery pack. Turns out I took anywhere from 75 to 200 pictures a day and never came close to draining the battery. Even so, I believe it would be a mistake to go out without a spare battery. Even though its relatively small, the bag is still a pretty big bulge on your hip (I did not find it comfortable to wear it in front or in the back). Even with an all weather coat covering it, the bulge stands out, so its not going to take a rocket scientist to figure out that itís a camera bag (so much for not looking touristy). BTW, carrying it on the hip made it really easy to take the camera in and out of the bag. There were extended time periods that I walked around with the camera out (around my neck Ė A Number One Tourist), just because you get tired of taking it out and putting it back in.

Because it was so cold, I wore an all weather top coat which allowed me to carry my second lens and the mini tripod around in the pockets. The lens was kept in one layer of bubble wrap and in a lens pouch designed for the 17-40 lens (its pretty roomy). If it had been hot, Iím not sure how I would have carried the lens and tripod other than having another bag attached to the belt. Iíll figure this out soon.

My wife carried the Elph and used it Ė it is actually a pretty darn good camera.

What I actually used Ė Approximately 65% of the pictures were taken with the 17-40 lens (effectively a 27-64 lens). There were only a few situations I could have used a slightly wider angle, but even so Iím not sure I really missed any great shots. For the rest of the shots I used the 28-135 (effectively a 45-216 lens) and really liked having the extra reach. Certainly for convenience and weight wise I could have used the 24-85 (effectively a 38-136 lens) and no other lens, but it really isnít wide enough. A tele-extender would help the reach, but I felt like I was giving up too much with just this one lens. I did not take the flash unit because most places do not allow flash to be used and it adds bulk (the weight was not that bad).

Contrast & Low Light Ė This is the biggest problem you face because in a lot of the churches and museums you have very low light levels and where the sun does shines in, it creates a very high contrast situation. A good example is Sainte-Chapelle, Louis IXís private chapel. It has some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world, but because of lighting angles you wind up with some of it way over exposed and the remainder under exposed. Even in these extreme lighting conditions at ISO 400, you are looking at exposures of ľ to 1/8 sec at f5.6 (under exposing by one or two stops allows you to get to f/8 which I highly recommend for DOF). The mini-tripod was of no help because you canít lean against the pillars or walls (not allowed) and even though we got there very early, there were many people present so you couldnít set up on the floor either. Thus, you are somewhat limited in what you can take (eg. Specific panels of glass). I did get some really good pictures there, but it took a lot of effort and multiple exposures. Probably the most valuable thing I learned was to use the auto-timer. Using the auto-timer, I found I can successfully hand hold exposures of Ĺ second. Try it some time and you will be surprised what you can hand hold without having to press the shutter. Iíll post some examples when I figure out how to do it. Overall I was successful in getting what I wanted, but primarily because of using the auto-timer. Notre Dame was another challenge and actually has lower light levels than Sainte-Chapelle.

So my recommendations (IMHO) on shooting inside at these sites are 1) Use the auto-timer (a shutter release doesnít work well if youíre hand holding the camera); 2) Most shots are best if underexpose by at least one f-stop; 3) I liked shooting aperture preferred mode to control depth of field issues Ė statues, altars and art work donít need a lot, stained glass and long range shots do; 4) a monopod is of more value than a mini-pod at these two places; 5) With the 10D, ISO 400 still gets great images with low noise; 6) for the south and north rose windows at Notre Dame you need an under exposure of 1.5 stops or the bottom stained glass washes out - for the rose window at Sainte-Chapelle, I didnít need to under expose at all; 7) Check your exposures on the LCD and zoom in to make sure its sharp; 8) Time of day changes some of the contrast situations Ė its best to shoot the altar area of Sainte-Chapelle in the late afternoon, so you may want to come back twice to the same place.

ISO Levels and Noise Ė I have been amazed at the quality of the shots taken at ISO 400 and the very low noise level. Iíve printed a couple taken with ISO 400 at 13x19 and they are very sharp. The main problem Iíve had with noise is with blue sky. I canít be 100% certain, but I believe this occurs when using a circular polarizing filter (happens with all my lenses and they each have a different size polarizing filter). In these cases where it really turns the sky a darker or deep blue, I get noise in the sky portion of the image. It is also seems to be independent of the ISO setting. I am going to make some tests with and without the filters and at different ISO levels to see if I canít isolate the issue. Anyhow, have any of you heard of or experienced this issue?

Auto-Focus Issues Ė Generally, this is an area to which I have to pay close attention. You have to be aware of the focus points and your aperture or you may find that the 10D has a different subject in mind. It usually does a pretty good job, but you need to check your images in the LCD and zoom in to make sure that not only is it exposed correctly, but to also make sure your subject is focused correctly. There were a few, primarily people shots, that were not focused correctly. A couple of them I caught with the help of the LCD and a few I didnít discover until we got back to the hotel.

RAW Mode and Metering Ė I shot almost everything in RAW Mode. It really is the only way to go, but itís a lot of work to get to your final images using Canonís File Viewer. I am looking forward to getting PhotoShop CS with its RAW processing capabilities built in. As far as metering goes, I used evaluative the entire time and just plain forgot about the other options. It may have helped in some of the high contrast situations to have center-weighted metering, but alas I wasnít smart enough to try it (or was I just too dumb to remember). Oh well!

Mini-Tripod Ė The mini tripod did come in handy for a few sunset shots and night shots of the Eifel Tower, but you still have to hold the camera because it cannot support the 10D with one of its zooms attached. In general, a mono-pod would have been better. Iím going to do some more testing in this area to see what works best for me between a mini-tripod, a monopod and a very lightweight full height tripod (I just worry about it getting knocked over or some one tripping over it.

Once again I want to thank you all for your comments and help. I especially want to thank Eric S for volunteering him and his girlfriend to carry our stuff around for us. As we get older we may just take you up on that.

Cheers,

Larry
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Old Nov 15, 2003, 1:30 AM   #17
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Hey Larry,

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

As for looking like a tourist, besides the camera what clothes did you wear? My experience is that vendors are pretty darn good at guessing what area of the world you're from. Americans usually are a a dead give away because they wear sneakers under dress slacks or jeans :-)

Barthold
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Old Nov 15, 2003, 2:47 AM   #18
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I just thought I would give you some practical advices if you're not already left.

The vatican and Notre Dame- don't expect to be allow to photograph in there (vatican). A tripod will proberly not be allowed. Flash is out of the question also. The restrictions seems tough, but after all it is churches.
Do like NHL said - shoot RAW and crank up the ISO. Use noisereduction software back home.
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Old Nov 15, 2003, 9:34 AM   #19
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Barthold,

Didn't wear sneakers. You're right, there are a lot of sloppy looking Americans over there and they are very easy to pick out. We always dress nice (IMHO and our choice). However, with the big camera attached, you still look like a tourist - maybe we look European, but still a tourist.

Cheers,

Larry
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Old Nov 15, 2003, 5:51 PM   #20
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LWIM, good to hear you enjoyed the trip and thanks for after report.

Being recognized as a foreigner should be no problem, it may also bring pleasant encounters. It is the flashing of expensive equipment + being in a strange city, distracted by all its beauty, what makes tourist an easy target for less respectible persons.

In my home town I hardly ever dress mediocre and walk sometimes with my big Canon slung over my shoulder (tourists wear it in front). Yes people look, but I know when and were to put it away in a bag and best of all I understand what is said behind my back.

On hollidays I also prefer to dress less flashy and keep camera mostly out of sight. My style taste will have to take a serious punch if I ever travel to the States (sneakers under a casual midclass pants looks yechh, sorry I hope I did not offend anyone)
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