Lavender Cottage (uses Flash unfortunately)
All handheld, the 100L performed flawlessly.
I shoot M 95% of the times, gotta use that lightmeter whenever I can, you know. But when I shot Av in the last several months, the images were often bit overexposed. I would usually check the histogram and adjust and didn’t think much of it, but it bothered me that the exposure was a bit off if I didn’t change the EV compensation myself.
I was casually shooting at a park last weekend and it dawned on me that I forgot to change the focusing screen settings to Eg-S after I upgraded the firmware. I got the Eg-S for more accurate DOF display, but it’s a much dimmer focusing screen, and it pretty much requires f/2.8 lenses to be bright enough to see. After changing the focusing screen I changed the settings in the camera so it would meter appropriately, but I guess upgrading the firmware must have reset that setting to the default factory focusing screen, so the processor thought the frame was darker than it actually was and bumped up the EV.
Now the setting is back where it should, I find myself shooting at aperture priority a little bit more.
I bought a Hoya Pro1 Digital circular polarizer off eBay a while ago, but didn’t get a chance to try it until today. It rained last night and first half of the day, and then the sun came out. I drove up to Twin Peaks with my camera, tripod, and my 24-70/2.8L with the circular polarizer attached for a few shots. We were lucky enough to catch the rainbow, it was definitely an interesting sight.
Both of the images here were enhanced with the graduate filter in Adobe Camera Raw to bring out a bit more of the buildings, as they were both metering more to the sky. Exposure info can be seen at Flickr (you click on the image to go to its Flickr page, and then click on “more properties” in the EXIF info section). Black and white conversion was done by simply creating a Black & White adjustment layer.
Sherry went to Taipei for Lunar New Year so Bear and I spent 2 weeks at our cabin in Tahoe. I snowboarded most days and it was pretty awesome. Riding Sierra on weekdays means pretty much having the slopes to myself, we got huge amount of pow the first weekend and yesterday it started snowing again so I rode pow on my last day as well. This weekend and next week should be awesome so we will probably go there again.
On my way to the cabin I took a few snaps on 50 around Echo Lake, here’s one:
The mountain closes at 4pm so I had about an hour and a half before sunset, and I ventured out around the lake to take some shots. I didn’t plan to take landscapes there so I left my tripod in SF, these shots were all taken at ISO settings just barely low enough for handheld.
I googled to find photo spots in Tahoe and the top spot was Emerald Bay, I took Bear there and got a decent shot of it:
The following day we went to Zephyr Cove, I think I was at around Zephyr Cove but wasn’t quite there. I went to this private convention center or something like that, had to hike a bit to get to the beach, but the sight was worth it:
After that I drove back to the California side and stopped by Ski Run Blvd by Heavenly:
There was a public beach nearby, the sunset on the beach was spectacular, there were properties with backyards facing the beach. These shots were taken ISO3200, a bit noisy for colors (at least to me so I converted them to duotone:
The next day I went down Luther Pass toward Kirkwood:
Those who follow my Twitter and Flickr photostream probably already know that I got a new camera – the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (Amazon link, B&H link). Before last Friday I had been shooting with a 20D, my first dSLR. I’ve had the 20D pretty much since it was released, and I was really happy with it. I never felt the need to upgrade to a newer 1.6 crop factor bodies, I really wanted to go full frame so I had been waiting for the 5D2 probably for more than 2 years. When Amazon got it in stock I JUMPED on it.
My 2 main lenses work a lot better at full frame, the 70-200/2.8L becomes a lot more useful without the crop factor, now I actually shoot in my studio with it pretty often. The 24-70/2.8L becomes a wide angle lens at the short end. The color rendition of the sensor is amazing, Adobe camera profiles in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom 2 further bring out the colors in the images. I’ve also started to work in the ProPhoto RGB space for even larger gamut.
Noise performance in high ISO is impressive, with ISO expansion turned on it goes from ISO 50 to ISO 25600. I shot in a pitch dark lounge in ISO 12800 and the results look fine after a little bit of NR and B&W conversion in post-processing. I would say, loosely, the ISO 12800 is the ISO 3200 on my 20D.
Pretty much everything works better on the 5D2, going from the 20D is quite an upgrade for me. One thing I would really like to have is a better AF points pattern, but I guess Canon only put that on the 1D and 1Ds series bodies. The 9-point AF pattern on the 5D doesn’t really make much sense to me, especially if you’re shooting portraits and working with relatively shallow depth of field. I always avoid the “focus-and-recompose” technique, as that easily put things out of focus, it’s simple geometry. The camera has enough resolution to crop, but I generally avoid cropping whenever I can. The AF-on button is very useful, I set it up to do AF-stop, so I can use the shutter half-pressed to focus, and then I can press and hold the AF-On button to prevent the camera from focusing again. The 20D didn’t have such feature so I had to move the switch on the lens to MF.
The video capability of the camera is interesting, I am slowly learning how to use Final Cut Pro to edit and process videos. Shooting videos also require manual focus tracking, which is not something I used to do.
I’ve had the camera for 5 days and I’ve done a couple of casual shoots with it already, I’m at over 1200 frames. I’m doing 3 days of catalog shoots next week with it. I also picked up an extra AlienBees B400 and an octobox from Craigslist. I’ll probably have a lot more to write about the camera a week later. Here are some selected shots I’ve done with it so far…
Quick test shot after I unpacked the camera, lit by available light from ceiling only, ISO 1600, with 24-70/2.8L:
That night Sherry modeled for me in my studio to test it out, I shot this with a single AlienBees B800 with a softbox on her right, with a silver reflector from her top left for fill and hair, 70-200/2.8L:
Sherry got me an RS-4 R-Strap, and it got here yesterday, so this afternoon I went for a photowalk to test out the strap, I attached it to the D-Ring of my Manfrotto QR plate, which was screwed into the tripod ring of my 70-200/2.8L, after 4 hours of walking my shoulder felt just fine, but then I am pretty used to carrying heavy photography setup. Some images from the photowalk:
I also shot some video footage and attempted to put it together in Final Cut Pro:
Found this photoset by ttstam from the Flickr 5D Mark II – group. The noise control at high ISOs on the 5D Mark II looks impressive from these images. You really have to go to Flickr and look at the full resolution versions to see the noise performance. He also included reference shots with the 5D and 40D. (not the exact same shots though and they’ve been post-processed and HDR’ed)
Here is the shot at ISO 3200:
ISO 6400, slightly noisy:
ISO 25600, it starts to get noisy even in the downsampled version:
5DM2 is finally here, the price is right, it’s not perfect but it’s close. I think I’m gonna get one.
- 21 megapixel CMOS sensor (very similar to the sensor in the EOS-1Ds Mark III)
- Sensor dust reduction by vibration of filter
- ISO 100 – 6400 calibrated range, ISO 50 – 25600 expansion (1Ds Mark III & 5D max ISO 3200)
- Auto ISO (100 – 3200) in all modes except manual
- 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
- DIGIC 4 processor, new menus / interface as per the EOS 50D
- Image processing features:
- Highlight tone priority
- Auto lighting optimizer (4 levels)
- High ISO noise reduction (4 levels)
- Lens peripheral illumination correction (vignetting correction)
- RAW and SRAW1 (10 MP) / SRAW2 (5 MP)
- RAW / JPEG selection made separately
- Permanent display of ISO on both top plate and viewfinder displays
- AF microadjustment (up to 20 lenses individually)
- Three custom modes on command dial, Creative Auto mode
- Image copyright metadata support
- 98% coverage viewfinder (0.71x magnification)
- 3.0" 920,000 dot LCD monitor with ‘Clear View’ cover / coatings, 170° viewing angle
- Automatic LCD brightness adjustment (ambient light sensor)
- Live view with three mode auto-focus (including face detection)
- No mirror-flip for exposures in Live View if contrast detect AF selected
- Movie recording in live view (1080p H.264 up to 12 minutes, VGA H.264 up to 24 mins per clip)
- Two mode silent shooting (in live view)
- New jump options in play mode
- HDMI and standard composite (AV) video out
- Full audio support: built-in mic and speaker, mic-in socket, audio-out over AV (although not HDMI)
- IrPort (supports IR remote shutter release using optional RC1 / RC5 controllers)
- UDMA CompactFlash support
- New 1800 mAh battery with improved battery information / logging
- New optional WFT-E4 WiFi / LAN / USB vertical grip
- Water resistance: 10 mm rain in 3 minutes