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Old Jul 8, 2004, 9:24 PM   #31
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That's fine Geoff, don't put me on a higher level than any of you please. Its just a question of equipment and the work behindof understanding more about photography and post-processing.

So you I've seen you chose the the FZ xxx ? Sorry I'm not too good about camera models from all those manufacturer.

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Old Jul 8, 2004, 9:28 PM   #32
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Don't worry, I don't put anyone on a pedestal. But, as a factual matter of knowledge I am not yet up to speed. But I will be...

I had been thinking of the FZ10 as an interim solution for getting more zoom until I could afford the 10D. But, I am starting to second guess myself and reevaluating my financial resources. I might just jump for the Canon DRebel and sink some money into some decent lenses. So many choices!
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Old Jul 8, 2004, 9:39 PM   #33
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Understand Geoff, my view about it is. Eventually you'll have to invest in Canon equipment and lens. So if you choose a FZ10, you'll be in the same position as now. Which is sell it with a loss. Now if you go with a DRebel, then at least you'll start to invest in lens. Dont be fooled about the 1.6x crop factor making magically a 300mm lens into a 480mm lens, simply untrue. What it does though is the fov of that 300mm lens will be like a 480mm lens on a 35mm film body. Also the DOF will also be much shallower (as I've explained on this thread). But there's no "magnification" gain. That 300mm lens is stilll 300mm. I understand the budget is not limitless. So the choise of your 1st zoom will be important. Eric, Norm and I understood that 300mm is simply not enough for birding. Even 500mm is not enough but a 12 lbs lens like Eric is not something you can carry like you want. The Bigma is fairly big lens, but its still portable. Comes with a neat little nylon casing if you wanna bring on bicycle trip.



I personally carry my stuff in a larger LowePro bag, but when I go for a walk, I basically transport the lens attached on the tripod with the camera attached to the lens. Unless I go for hiking in rocky area. Then I wouldn't take that chance to fall with that expensive equipment hanging on the tripod like this.

Think about it, the loss of money going with an intermediate camera that you'll need to sell again.

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Old Jul 8, 2004, 9:43 PM   #34
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Eric, I appreciate your advice. Just to be fair to Eric S, I don't want to hijack his thread and redirect it to a discussion about advice on my future equipment. So, if you don't mind, I'll send you a private message.
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Old Jul 9, 2004, 1:16 AM   #35
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I don't mind if you bring up equipment. I've got some advice to give in that area as well.

I fully agree with Eric CAN. 300mm isn't enough, unless it's a 300 f2.8 (which means you can put either a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter on it and still retain AF on the 10D & DRebel.) But realize that that lens is over $3000 (from memory), and it isn't light so you still pay the piper there.

That is why I started with the Canon 100-400L. Not great optically (I discovered) but a decent amount of reach and has IS. I still recommend the lens, but plan to move up. It's extremely portable and is "only" $1300 or so. Another good choice is the Canon 400 f5.6. Light and small, but no IS and still f5.6. But optically better than the 100-400. Many like it, I've never tried it... but I thought about it before going with the 600.

We got hit with thunder storms here which kept me from turning on the computer once I stopped for dinner. Work gets in the way so much... I had enough time to do a focus test after lunch, but not enough to edit it up. I've got one more to go and then I'll post it. It's 2:14am, but I want to post it before I go to bed.

So you should see the focus test soon. It's a big picture 'cause I can't reduce it. But we all expected that, right?

Eric
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Old Jul 9, 2004, 1:35 AM   #36
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Ok, Eric S, if you don't mind equipment discussions (particularly oriented towards geoffs's needs) in your thread, I'll continue. I will say this - no matter what the hobby (I'm into astronomy also), there are as many opinions about what is best as there are individuals giving those opinions. And everyone is "correct" in their own way. What it all adds up to is one large headache (a good sort of headache you understand, not the bad kind) for myself. So many choices, what to do...

I think I am understanding a bit more of what my goals are for the equipment I want to get:

1. A long lens for the bird/other wildlife I want to take pictures of.
2. Other lens(es) that can be mounted on the body, left there, and function as my general purpose lens for things like family photos, landscapes/scenery, macros? This lens should not be too heavy as it's the one that would be on the camera for all situations other than for wildlife.

I don't particularly care for changing out lenses all the time, so it would be best if I could just find a wide zoom that will meet my needs. IS would be nice, but at the cost it adds to the lens do I really need it?

Desire #1 above can be satisfied with the Bigma. I am leaning towards that.

How does one of these sound as a solution for #2 above:

Tamron 24-135

Sigma 28-135

Canon 28-135 IS- yeah, I know it has IS and no macro capability, but...

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Old Jul 9, 2004, 2:13 AM   #37
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Ok, here we go. I did a focus test this afternoon and found something interesting but not earth shattering. First off, my methodology.

I put a cereal box on a filing cabinet and measured out 30 feet. After seeing exactly how long 30 feet is, I think the heron was a bit further away (maybe memories of the length of my parent's house are warped by my small size when I lived there?) It wasn't a heck of a lot further, though. Either way, that is what I used for this test.

I then propped a tape measure, at an angle, across the top of the cereal box. Doing this was fun. I would have used a ruler or yard stick… but I don't think I own one. So getting a floppy metal tape measure to balance on top of the cereal box was entertaining. I'll have to take a picture of it to get a laugh. :-)

I then put every portable light I could reasonably think of to try to get even remotely good light on the subject. I should probably have just broken down and used my 400 watt torchier lamp, but that thing can start fires so I didn't. I think all told, I had 6 light sources on it. Really, I should take a picture of it.

I then focused on the side of the cereal box, while still having the tape measure in the view. The 16" mark is exactly on the edge of the cereal box, above where I focused.

I started using 100 ISO, but couldn't really get a good shutter speed (1/180). So I took few and then bumped it to 200 ISO. The pictures are reasonably sharp, so I'm happy. I took them using my normal technique. So I did not use mirror lock up or a timer. Technically, you should for really good long lens shots, but for most birds that rarely works.

Each shot was taken in continuous shooting mode (probably shouldn't have done that) but the shutter was fully released between each shot. This caused the camera to recheck focus each time (this could be done better too.)

I then did a straight RAW conversion in photoshop. I created a new document, and then cut out just the relevant part of the tape measure and pasted them into the new document. Each time I copied one over I labeled it to reduce the chance of doing the same one twice. I did not resize the picture in any way (I did resize the canvas once, but that is different) nor did I sharpen or do any other manipulation. I did use free transform to reposition the images, but I only moved them (by grabbing the region off center and dragging it to where I wanted it.) This is an exact match between pixels in the image and pixels on your screen (assuming your web browser doesn't resize images that are larger than your screen.)

I then saved 4 copies of the image. 3 include all the test images. The last test image is the worst ruler of the bunch. That I have included in this post separately:


To my eye, this is on the very edge of being back focused. Looking at it again, I think that it is (assuming that isn't motion blur.) To me, the 15" number looks a tad sharper than the 16.

Here are the other files:
http://www.marx7.org/~esmith/web_pos...s_test_big.jpg
http://www.marx7.org/~esmith/web_pos...est_medium.jpg
http://www.marx7.org/~esmith/web_pos...test_small.jpg

Note the big one is 2MB, the medium is 227K and the small is 122K. Personally, I had to jpg compress the small one so much it probably isn't really useful. But I felt I couldn't just post a really big version and leave it at that.

Comments on the different shots. Note I'm doing this from the bottom up, because that is basically the order of bad to good:
4028 looks to be back focused to me. Or it's on the very edge of being in focus.
4029, 4030,4031 all have good sharp numbers on both sides of the 16.
4032 has, I think, shifted focus slightly forward but still is great. I think the 18 is just slightly more in focus. It's so little I would have thought it could be motion blur, but the 17 doesn't show motion blur.
4033 is also clearly in focus, but notice how the point of focus is not in the same places in the DOF as the previous 3? The 14 & 15 are in better focus than on in the other pictures and the 18 & 19 are worse. Focus shifted backwards.

Some things to note:
1) The 10D only claims that the AF point will be within the Depth of Field. It doesn't say where (unlike the 1D & 1D Mark 2, which do claim to put the AF point within something like the middle 2/3… but only somewhere within the middle 2/3. I think its 2/3… its more to the center than with the 10D) That is why all but 4028 are legal, correct shots. This is a big reason why I take several shots of the same thing, and let the camera refocus every now and then. To raise the chance that the DOF will be placed correctly.

2) I really should have done it in single shot mode. And I should have defocused the picture each time and made the camera reacquire focus each time. That would have been a much better test and I hope to do that one tomorrow. Unfortunately, I expect work to be crazy (carry over from today) so we'll see. I already have to slip out to pick up some prints.

3) Don't use the 16" point for the point of focus. Its different font makes it difficult to use as a comparison to the other numbers. Next time, I'll center it on a number with solid black letters.

Now it's past 3am, so I gotta get to bed. I hope this all makes sense, and I look forward to your comments.

Eric
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Old Jul 9, 2004, 2:14 AM   #38
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Double post.
Removed

Must get to sleep... sleep....
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Old Jul 9, 2004, 2:29 AM   #39
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Your problem is two fold. The 1.6x crop makes things that seem wide angle not. 28 is really over 40mm (can't to math, its too late) so if you really want to do landscapes you'll need something wider than even 24. My solution to that was the 17-40 f4. No IS, but a great lens. The only downside is that it's expensive ($600+ I think.) But you get something good. Those other lenses you list are much cheaper (and not as good.)

I have the 28-135 IS. For casual stuff it fits the bill very nicely. Not the sharpest lens on the planet, but for what I use it for it doesn't need to be. It's fairly light, not too big and with IS you can do good stuff without a tripod (so can really good steady hands and technique... i.e. the old fashion way.) But is it wide enough? That is something only you can say. When I wanted to take pictures of the fall foliage, I found it wasn't and got the other lens.

And as you pointed out, it fails for macro work. I know nothing about the other lenses, so I can't say how well they will work. An odd sounding solution is a close focusing dioptic lens. It attaches to the front and can give you macro capabilities without a macro lens. They are a bit expensive (at least canon's are) but they do work well. I've borrowed them for shooting butterflies and it worked. The 180 Macro lens worked better, but cost many times more money.

If you haven't done any macro work, do realize that a tripod is really required. Your DOF becomes so small that you need f11 and up to get something workable (and f22 and higher is even better.) But you loose so much light with that small an apature you need your own lights and you need something absolutely rock steady. That means a tripod and a still subject.

The big mama is a good lens. Its only downside is that it's f6.3 at 500mm. As you've seen from the posts here, with good light that isn't a problem and you're all set. If you don't have the light you need to provide it or use higher ISO. There is no other choice. I often shoot at sunset so when my max fstop was f5.6 I fought it all the time. Now I'm at f4 I hope that improves things (I haven't been doing much sunset stuff lately, I don't know why.)

Eric
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Old Jul 9, 2004, 9:24 AM   #40
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eric s wrote:
Quote:
Ok, here we go. I did a focus test this afternoon and found something interesting but not earth shattering. First off, my methodology.
Eric, it sure sounds like you were having a fun time doing your focusing and DOF test. To my eyes, the differences among the different photos you posted are very subtle indeed. I'm not sure I can trust the results yet as there seems to be many influencing factors and it would be better if you could setup the test to control as many as possible to eliminate as much confusion as possible. Here's two things I noticed in your setup that could (I think) confuse the results:

1. Ruler - the metal tape measure is bowed or curved and, however slight the effect might be, probably introduces some measure (haha - no pun intended) of uncertainty into the result. Probably better to use a straightedge (do you own a T-Square?).

2. Lighting - When looking at the pictures, it seemed like the jury-rigged (I enjoyed reading of how you setup your lighting) illumination was casting uneven lighting along the tape measure in the area you were using to evaluate results. An even lighting would seem important here. Couldn't uneven lighting also cause the camera to subtly change AF from shot to shot?

My two cents for the moment...


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