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  • Oh very neat I rather like that diffusion setup there! I currently use two plastic cones reversed on my flash, but those heads might prove a little more durable than the sticky tape and cardboard I currently use. I might well check those out!
  • So I've recently started taking photos from my moth trap and found that using the lid to the trap I got a nice flat white base to work with; giving a studio type appearance without having to bring the moths back into the house; nor without having to carry a larger amount of gear out with me.

    One issue though is lighting as at present I've just used the one flash and, because of the nature of this type of photography, the single light source shows far more so than in more natural shots (were shadowing and a single main light source are more common/expected as to simulate the sun).

    I'm thus currently debating different approaches to getting a mobile and more even distribution of light and would welcome anyone's input as to what you've used and what you've found works or what you think is a good idea.

    At present I'm using a single speedlite flash and lumiquest softbox on a set of RAM Mount joints connected to the base of the camera. I thus can get a good diffused light, but only from one angle.

    I'm debating adding a second flash to the setup for the other side, again fired with a softbox. One difficulty is finding a good double ballbase that I can fit to the camera to then run two RAM mounts off, one for each flash. Weight and bulk are also a concern as this creates a much more bulky and heavy setup.

    A simpler angle is to just have a couple of small tripods and to have a proper studio approach with a flash on each tripod. The downside is that whilst it takes the weight issue out of the equation it will slow things up unless I purely go for only one, maybe two angles of shot. Meanwhile being slower to change the setup for another shot means risking the moth flying off.

    Another approach is to use a ringflash; the most expensive option, but keeps things mobile without adding too much bulk. The downside is that ringflashes can't be easily diffused due to their position so I might be losing light quality.

    I do have the Canon twinflash so that is a further, lighter option; though I'd have to still get the arm setup the same and fiddle with a better diffusion setup for the flashheads (I've got one for its use on the MPE which improves things, but is focused on being smaller rather than providing the best softening - due to the flashhead positions being close to the subject and thus not offering as much room).

    So those are my thoughts at present and I'd welcome anyone's input on how might be best to proceed. For reference you can catch one of my latest shots using what I currently have in my gallery here on site.
  • I'm trying to find somewhere that stocks Lumiquest products, specifically their UltraStrap. ebay and Amazon are both turning up either combo deals with softbox or extremely overpriced results (I'm not paying 20!). WEX and Jessops don't even stock the range either so I'm all out of my regular stores that I'd use.
  • It might interest some that a test I saw a long while back had the Canon MPE matched against a 50mm lens with tubes and a close up lens attachment (Raynox brand if I recall right) and the 50mm with tubes and attachment beat the MPE for sharpness/detail.
  • It's also important to realise that some loss of image quality is hard to avoid in any modification of a lens, be it extension tubes, reversing or extension tubes. However many times these adjustments to image quality can be so slight as to be invisible except in side by side testing.

    However with macro most methods used to increase magnification result in a decrease in the effective aperture (smaller apertures). Furthermore with the reduction in depth of field many people will use smaller and smaller apertures. So some might use f16 or even f20 and not realise that diffraction is causing softness in their photos
  • A few thoughts:

    1) Close up lens attachments (also known as macro diopters, macro filters). These fit onto the filter thread (or have a holder that clips onto the filter threads) and reduce the lenses maximum and minimum focusing distances.
    The result is that they can allow you to focus closer and get a macro shot, but will remove infinity focus thus will restrict how far you can shoot from (often very close distances only).
    The diopter value denotes the power of the lens, the higher the diopter value the more magnification you'll get.

    Note that these broadly come in two flavours; very cheap single element optics often sold as part of kits; and multi-element coated optics. The former have significant impact on image quality; whilst the latter have very little to almost no real-world noticeable effect.

    The latter are what I use - a Raynox DCR 150 or 250 would be a nice starting point. Canon also makes the 250D and 500D (yes the 500D is alos a camera brand name as well).

    2) Extension tubes (Kenko 3 set with metal contacts is the most popular for affordability vs quality) work as said earlier by another. Again you lose infinity focus and gain a shorter minimum focusing distance.
    They have no optics inside, however they will have an effect on image quality - however like high-end macro lens attachments above, the effect is so marginal that its often impossible to see in the real world (and outside of test conditions).

    3) Note that focal length also plays a part. The greater the focal length the more magnification a given diopter value for a close up lens attachment gives. Conversely the greater the focal length the less magnification a given length of extension tubes gives.

    Thus fora short focal length lens like the one you own I would recommend extension tubes as you'll get more magnification for your money than you will if you go for the close up lens attachments.

    4) A dedicated macro lens is the best option and those mentioned earlier are all great choices to consider if you can afford them.
  • Shutter releases are dead simple really; it a two stage button of half and full press.

    Why they cost so much when own brand is mostly to generate profit so 3rd parties can very easily undercut in this market sector. Which is why there can be loads of cheap ones. There might be some that are not worth it; if you get them on Amazon check the reviews or just plug the name into google and have a scout around.

    Often as not 3rd party products get rebranded a lot so you might see a good few different brands sharing the same physical look
  • From what I gather don't cokin and lee use the same filter holder sizes - I seem to recall people suggesting that you get Cokin holders and then Lee filters as opposed to Lee kits (due to Lee oft selling out). So even if you want to upgrade later you can keep using the same holders
  • It sounds like there's really no great bonus to using a handheld meter over a DSLR and test shots with the histogram. At least for situations outside of the studio environment and balancing various different flashes.

    The only other bonus mentioned is a spot-meter capable one for landscapes if you're using a short focal length lens; although even then test shots would likely still result in a similar final result.

    I had been wondering if a handheld might be of use in changing light. The other day I was shooting into the evening so the light was steadily changing all the time. Of course a test shot showed that I needed to keep adjusting the settings to compensate; but I wondered if a meter would have helped just keep an eye on the changing light without needing to keep taking and reviewing test shots
  • As the title says, in this day and age of histograms, built in light meters and the LCD on the camera what are the benefits (if any) of having an external light meter.

    I'm aware that an external meter can be of great help in balancing flash units when doing a studio or otherwise flash dominated lighting setup. Being able to fire flashes and read the light and balance so that the final shot works without needing a legion of test shots.

    However outside of that niche area I'm struggling to work out if there are any bonuses or if there's any real gain to using one for other mediums. Is it really a benefit to be able to use an external meter to check lighting when working in the same ambient lighting as the subject.
  • Oh wait I've got the worst thing - stickers on books.

    Seriously they stick stickers onto book covers to show the price or for a discount or something and the stickers often are VERY hard to get off and thus you either have a book with a price sticker forever or one with bits of a sticker or a gummy mess... Sure you can read the book but it kind of loses its appearance...
  • What I really hate are the the stiff plastic kind that not only do you have to cut into* but where they had the great idea to put paperwork/instructions behind the product in the package. That's great except it means you can't actually get into it unless you only cut it on the super tough seam of the plastic - cut anywhere else and you're slicing through the paper bits that come with it.
    Sure this kind of packaging is great for companies and shipping but gods its a nightmare for opening.

    *Often with a knife because so many modern scissors are utterly useless and because if it can't be done with one snip, once you're half way through you run out of space for scissors and your hand at once as the plastic is so rigid)
  • Few thoughts:

    1) Maha/Powerrex make a good series of chargers which let you set the rate at which they charge for each battery and cut off the power once a battery is charged. For multiple flashes I'd go for at least one if not two 8 cell units (they've some good units like their C9000 but with only 4 cells at a time its not enough for more than one flash).

    2) Enloop got there first with smart batteries that would hold their charge for a very prolonged period of time; up to 80% even after a year when fitted into a device. Today most good brands have their own smart batteries; but Enloop oft get recommended as they were the first to have them. Certainly they are a must for flashes since they allow you to grab and go - rather than finding that its drained down whilst being stored (and so too have your spares).

    3) In very general terms the Slower you recharge AA or similar batteries the better. If you fast charge them over an hour or half hour they will show diminished performance over time very quickly. Instead setup so that you'd leave the charging units to charge overnight (hence having at least 8 if not more cells charging at any one time). This way you give them a lot of time to charge (and if you go with point 1 about units that allow custom rates you can set to a good slow rate).
    Many cheap rechargers often boast on their speed but that's detrimental for flash batteries as they will be recycled (drained and filled) very regularly; even up to once or twice a day for some photographers.
  • Mike would you care to elaborate on what you mean by irresponsible behaviour? Might be most of it is things most of us assume already; but there could be some forms of it which do not appear irresponsible.
  • There's no real "Permit" nor "licence" just do as you've been doing and ask the event organisers. In general bigger events won't care so much as smaller events as bigger events will be more used to the public attending and thus people bringing cameras and many horse trials you should be able to get close enough to get a decent shot or three. Angles might be a problem and sometimes the only good angle for a shot is going to be if you're standing out in the arena [ergo beyond the barrier]. Sadly whilst most barriers offer no protection what so ever against a horse (most events its just a bit of rope or tape held up by a few standing poles) the legal and insurance aspects change depending on what side you're on. So events big and small might well discourage or disallow you to be beyond the general public barrier. But depends on the event and situation.

    I've done much the same as yourself - more for showjumping but its a similar affair.
  • Cat

    No dog

    no wait cat

    hold on a sec dog

    Now wait what was the question again?
    *wonders if it should be goldfish*
  • http://www.fujifilmstudentawards.co.uk/thebrief.php

    Interestingly its a "shot from the hip" brief for the shots as opposed to fully composed with the viewfinder - which would explain a bit of the wonky horizon but not the bland totally lifeless content.
  • Just goes to show how badly art is being taught to generations of students Sad
  • I owned both the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L and the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L MKII and I used them with the 2*TC MKII. I would say that with the original lens the combo worked, but only in very good light and wasn't that ideal. The image quality hit was quite significant - although if you're only posting on the web very useable at 1000pixels on the longest side.

    The MKII of the lens is a superior lens and the 2*TC works better with it; still not outstanding but certainly solid performance and image quality more akin to the old 100-400mm (The new version of that lens is superior).

    The MKIII Teleconverters are mostly not that different optically; their big gain is new AF chips which only work with some of the new MKII lenses (specifically the super-telephotos so 300mm f2.8 or longer). You might see some edge improvement on fullframe; but if you're on crop likely little difference in the MKII to MKIII in teleconverters.

    Of course a prime lens of the right focal length will always be superior to this combo; the teleleconverter though can work in a pinch when you need it and have nothing else and - if you've already got the lens (and in my view 70-200mm are great all rounders) then the TC is a marginal cost.
  • I think the greater record is the op still being around after 10 years to reply Tongue

    Have you still got mice?
  • One of my (few) best landscape shots was taken with a 70-200mm near the 200mm mark. Telephoto most certainly works for landscapes and as said lets you move in and pick out a little bit of the landscape to show instead of trying to show it all.

    In general the whole "wide angle for landscape - telephoto for wildlife etc.." are only conventions; sometimes of convenience or nessessity; but only ever conventions and often just a marketing tool. Furthermore they aim to achieve a rough style of result; yo ucan thus certainly use lenses the "wrong" way for different subjects or situations or even use them differently within their own theme.

    It's part of broadening your skills to diversify in different methods and to experiment.
  • Be a really neat idea - if they signed up and used the "critique" section. Could be part of broadening their horizons and getting feedback from more than one source etc... If you made mention of it herei n the forums so people would notice it could be a really neat project for a week or so.
  • Yeah people shouldn't be feeding them; ideally you want a natural population supported by available food not one being artificially boosted. What can happen then is that they put extra pressure on wild resources beyond what they can support; or any sudden stop in the artificial feeding results in a starving/resource stripping period.

    There's even some argument that bird feeders are bad for grain fed species because there are select species that will bully other birds off feeders. Thus some get an edge over others in this niche resource which means that they can boost their numbers whilst some other species are left with dwindling resources.
  • Kites and a lot of other birds of prey suffered partly due to things like changes in habitats - the vast loss of hedgerows and haymeadows after WWII basically decimated our small mammal population - a key food group for a lot of raptors. However many were also hunted by those raising livestock and for pheasant/grouse shoots. Reduced food and increased population decline through hunting/pest control resulted in their populations tanking and even when there was food for them naturally the hunting element kept on reducing their numbers.

    It's why having gamekeepers and farmers on board with conservation has to happen; or at the very least we have to have an effective legal system to prosecute those who kill such species unlawfully.
  • Tablets are totally separate to phones; Samsung is purely manufacturer. Thus it won't need a sim card nor any contract or suchlike; just power it up and go and use it. You ;might need a google account to buy apps on the appstore; but if she's just browsing the net she won't need that.

    As an aside why won't she use a laptop at home? There are some neat tablet/laptop hybrids and one thing I find GREATLY beneficial with a hybrid or laptop is having a proper sized keyboard to type on. Tablets are abit of a pain to type on - doable but not as fast as a keyboard and even the 3rd party attachment keyboards are tiny and fiddly.
  • Gear:

    Amateurs can buy what they like; they don't have to justify the potential revenue increase next to the investment cost.

    Pros can buy what they like; they can offset the tax and also they don't have to worry about spending so much because it will make money for them

    Gear doesn't matter, whatever you've got works

    Gear matters totally; its the only important thing.

    All four are spoken of in the same way that people speak of seeing bigfoot; but in reality not a single one is true.
  • But that's it isn't it- we assume that professional means skilled within ones trade and there is a romantic view that a "pro" is indeed highly skilled; maybe not "the" best but certainly above average.

    The truth is that whilst this holds true for some areas of the market; the artistic sector is open to any and most often its nothing to do with craft skill but marketing and business skill.
  • Honestly I wouldn't even dwell on the matter.

    There were cowboy wedding photographers in the film days and there are cowboys now. It's a market that has opened up a lot more; but I think its also a reaction to a lot of job markets closing down at the same time; rising unemployment means more people pushing into more market areas and photography is an affordable avenue compared to some.

    Furthermore there are no gatekeepers. There is no awarding body; test; degree; licence that allows you to be a pro. You have a camera; you charge - you're a pro.

    So you get all sorts from the skilled to the clueless. A lot of the latter are litlte more than hobby jobs; they last for a while and likely won't make back their investment (esp if done legally with tax) but they'll last for a bit, mostly trading in friends circles and eating up the section of the market that honestly cannot likely afford a good quality professionals wages for a shoot [or if they can they'd have to sacrifice in other areas of the wedding).
    Many will close down; some will have huge meltdowns because they advertise poorly (using shots from a workshop; using the two lucky great shots they did get and nothing else; encountering a situation outside of perfect; etc....)

    A smaller number will hang on; they'll be bad but marketed and run well enough to turn a profit and no one will get killed over it.

    In the end I'd say mind your own and don't worry about it. If you wish you can give friendly advice to those who have clearly not thought things through, but otherwise there's nought else you can do.
  • Few thoughts:

    1) Due to the volume of posts you have to put YOUR effort into getting noticed yes; this is no different to any other large community. You can help your case significantly by:

    a) Posting at a good time; the dead of night (GMT) or at weekends are poor times to post in general; weekdays during the 7am through to around 6pm are a rough good time to post when people are around (basically you're abusing lots of people sneaking off work or just before or after work)

    b) Title your post well; then inside it include information such as your settings; equipment used; any critical thoughts of your own; any things you wanted to happen that didn't'; questions etc..
    The more information you put up the more serious you appear. Not only is that helping you critique and understand your own work ;but it encourages others to come and join in.

    c) Be polite around the site; help others; thank others for helping you; contribute and be around. This increases your chances that people will WANT to take up their free time to help you out in your hobby.

    2) Use the critique gallery; helps to get you noticed and focused on by those eager to critique.

    3) Try not to get too defensive; by all means justify your choices and explain your thought processes; but be humble and don't be offended if others don't like your work - remember to thank them and take their viewpoint into consideration or ask them to elaborate upon their point if you don't quite understand it.
  • Not only greed; some are also so terribly desperate for income that they will try anything to get money they need; especially when the pay-off is huge.

    Plus we are used to most companies using over-seas callers now so a heavily accented person on the end of the line is normal to us. Heck most times I call the bank its overseas or at least heavily accented.

    The "In person" part is also bold for the scammers; most won't show face nor anything so to turn up to collect the payment is a very bold move for them. Granted it might also mean this scam is short lived; but it is another thing that might make some feel more confident as any real scammer would never turn up.

    Plus who hasn't had a "do you have PPI - we an find out and refund you and it won't cost a penny" phone call, both from scammers and legitimate companies.

    Rather like the "this is Microsoft here to fix your computer" scam its also just real enough to be believed. .