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Money spending advice time.
So I've got some cash saved up and I'm in a quandary as to what to spend it upon. I've a few options and each option is worth the investment (at least in my mind) and comes with its own bonuses.
1) Cognisys Stopshot. Likely the most expensive setup (even after currency conversion) although also the most exotic. I'd aim for the crossbeams, and external shutter primarily to allow for a custom setup for photographic insects in flight. Although that setup could also be adapted to other situations which would benefit from laser based trips. They also have their new IR kit for a more reliable animal trigger and chances are I'd also pick up a small trip to do some waterdrop photography (Because everyone loves that ).
Downside is that it is all somewhat exotic and expensive and big - it could well get used and then gather dust for a while during the wrong season or just without the right motivation to get it all out.
2) Stackshot (from same company as above); automated focusing rail for stacked photography; a bit more limited in what it can do, but very rewarding in being able to reliably automate a very tricky shooting setup. Even with a very stable setup doing stacked shots manually and not missing a frame or overshooting on the distance can be very tricky.
The downside is that its doesn't really let me do anything new; although it greatly enhances by ability to do focus stacks both in the field and indoors.
3) Tripod + tripod head - not 100% sure on the exact options I'd opt for, but with the rough budget amount I could certainly replace my 055 manfrotto legs with gitzo legs; I've always wanted to move away from the horizontal central column to a central mount of the tripod head on the legs for low down shooting - I also could use another tripod head as at present I only really use my geared head (which is useless for anything not static like landscape or macro). This would likely be the best setup for my options other than macro photography.
4) Tilt shift lens - whilst I've not a massive interest in landscape to justify it and don't really do any architecture at all, I do have a macro (addiction) interest and the option to use one of the tilt shift lenses with extension tubes to allow for close focusing and the ability to shift the focal plane itself would be very powerful for macro work.
5) Flash - currently I've only my 580EX2 and the canon twinflash and I've often wanted to move into using one or two more flash units alongside larger diffuser setups for some photos. I've also had my eye on the high end 2 flash ultra small head setups with batteries - giving the features of a studio flash, but with the portability and size of a speedlite (portability being important to me and why I'd opt for one of these setups over regular studio flash units). An example of this would be the Elinchrom Lead Ranger Q Hybrid Kit with me likely adding a second flash head at a latter date - there is also the Safari Li-on Portable which has a good stat rating against the Elinchrom and is somewhat cheaper as well.
So those are the options in my mind at present, sadly I don't have a specific project or goal that would really help whittle it down into something more specific; they are all items that I can see a use for and have had an interest in for a good long while. However I might have missed some additional things that I could consider and others here might also have user input on the above options which could broaden my understanding and concept of their use. I'd welcome any input people have.
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Quote: 4) Tilt shift lens - whilst I've not a massive interest in landscape to justify it and don't really do any architecture at all, I do have a macro (addiction) interest and the option to use one of the tilt shift lenses with extension tubes to allow for close focusing and the ability to shift the focal plane itself would be very powerful for macro work
Some of the lensbabys can be fun used for macro, especially the 3g or control freak
I've never seriously looked at the lensbabies, but don't they do other effects alongside their shifting of the focus plane?
Yes the other effects are like plastic lomo type, pin hole, creative apertures and a whole lot more, but they still all have that creative soft focus when bending.
I still use the original lensbabys, the 2.0 now replaced by the muse, and the 3g now replaced by the control freak,
The new lenses have an optic swap system for quickly changing the inner lenses, they also make an optic swap macro lens.
I`ve found the 3G(or control freak) are best for creative macro and video, you have more control.
I find them fun for video
I can see the appeal, but I'm not sure if the rendering of the out of focus and the whole sweetspot design is really what I'm after in a lens.
A lot will depend on what aperture is used.
Why not use Photoshop to reproduce the lensbaby effect?
For the circle of blur that could be done Puertouk - but when it comes to the tilt shift ability (in a proper tilt shift lens or the lensbaby option) it allows you to shift the plane of focus.
In macro where you can't get front to back depth of field on most shots without focus stacking (or using a very small aperture and suffering a lot of diffraction softening and detail loss) the ability to shift the plane is very powerful as you can have it sit right over the subject far more so than normally (since not all subjects will be easy to photograph with their best side flat plane to the front of the lens.)
How about a tilt shift adapter Alex, cheaper and more versatile than a tilt shift lens.
This one`s made by lensbaby but there also made by other manufacturers as well, the good thing is you can select your own choice of lenses to use.
This ones for Canon using Canon lenses.
Paul the tilt transformer looks like a very interesting idea, however it seems that it was only made for a limited number of lens mounts (not Canon) and that lensbaby discontinued it as while back as well. The Canon one that you've found appears to be a fixed amount of tilt that one can rotate around the mount.
The idea of an adaptor is interesting and I seem to recall bellows tilt setups as well which could potentially be used for the same effect. Of course the biggest thing is not losing the aperture control (at present I know that Novaflex make an adaptor that lets one retain aperture control whilst adding a non-aperture transmitting attachment - the downside is that it is adding more extension to the whole setup and thus increasing magnification and reducing working distance).
Lol hang on I was looking at a bellows tilt tranformer, I`ll try and finf it
Found it, looks expensive though.
Its very odd, I`m finding loads of adapters for medium format, Olympus, Pentax, and Nikon but nothing for Canon.
I might be tempted by one of these
Quote: the downside is that it is adding more extension to the whole setup and thus increasing magnification and reducing working distance
Or pick up a cheap legacy lens, Canon FD, Nikon etc.
Or one of these with the right adapters
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