Hard choices and definate plans for this year

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Overread, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well I have been thinking and come to a rather sad (sort of) conclusion for the shorter term choices

    I won't be getting a 300mm f2.8 IS

    Reason - well firstly its very expensive, not unaffordable but definatly it would take a long time to save up for and there is a lot of kit under its price that I "need" or desire.
    Further there is the use of such a lens, whilst it is very versatile and a fantastic bit of glass I did a bit of looking at what I shot in the last year, and noticed that when I was out in the field I was shooting macro and not wildilfe = that was mostly being shot in enclosures like zoos where I have my 70-200mm which performs very well with a 1.4TC.
    So what was I shooting when out and about - macro, and I enjoy it too - a lot -- hence I have come to the conclusion that this next year (At least) will be a macro year for me. A year in which I will try to improve my macro work and increase my kit in this area. This is also influenced by my current free time and locations - I am just no in a single area long enough (and with enough free time) to properly start hunting for wildlife with a wildlife lens (bare in mind I have no fieldcraft skills so I have to build on that as well at the same time); whilst with macro finding subjects is not so hard (once the weather warms up a bit ;)) though of course finding specific ones can be just as hard - but its more suited to shorter trips and walks.

    So without further ado here is what I intend to be getting (not all at once of course)

    B+W circular pol Käsemann 72mm
    B+W circular pol Käsemann 58mm
    Cullmann mini ball head
    MPE 65mm macro
    Canon twin flash light
    kenko extension tubes - canon fit
    raynox DCR 250
    canon ringflash adaptor for 72mm (twinflash on the 150mm sigma)
    canon off camera flash hot shoe and cord
    screw fit lens hood for 150mm

    The lens and flash are pretty self explanitory in aims and intentions, though by far the most difficult component to learn to master - and I have no illusions that I am any halfway decent with my current macro lens - but all those super closeups have me very jealous!

    The extension tubes and raynox macro filter are for playing around - mostly with the 150mm macro, but the tubes will also see use on my 70-200mm in the quest for hunting flying dragons and butterflies.

    The mini ball head and and off camera hotshoe and flash cord are for adapting my use of my 580M2 - firstly I intend to try it mounted on the tripod collar of my 150mm via the use of the ball head and a screw thread to hold the 2 together. That way I can position my flash from different angles and get it closer to the bug in question whilst still allowing me to handhold my kit.

    The filters and screw thread lens hood are for working with flash and countering the light refections that are often a result of flash macro photography. The screw thread lens hood lets me keep the hood on the camer whilst being able to alter the polarizer with ease - rather than having to stick my fingers in the hood or having to shoot without hood.

    Well that is my list of purchases and experiments so far - I really should add a manfrotto junior geard head to the list as well, but I think that then its getting a bit too much and my general macro work is done handheld, mostly as I tend to shoot after dawn when insects are more active and I need to retain mobility to get shots - tripod shooting is more suited to dawn when insects are still warming up - and I am a late riser most of the time ;)
    So anyone else got any ideas of things to add to the list or things to change/alter? I also intend to keep playing on the settings side of things and not just limit myself to playing with new gear and I have several ideas for shots that I would like to compose if I can find willing subjects

    Worst part is a quick pricing takes me to over half the cost of a 300mm f2.8 - but after that cost I don't think I will have enough left for train fares and zoo tickets ;)

    ps - if you want you can try to talk me out of the plan as well - but it might be a lost cause ;)
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    *lost cause returns - even more lost possibly*

    Well I have the first part of this years new experiments setup - a sort of off camera flash setup that I outlined above.
    here:

    [​IMG]

    I can now position the flash in any position around the lens by just turning the tripod collar - and I can angle the light using the ballhead. So far I have a few early testshots of a coin which have shown that its more favourable to have the flash pointing forwards rather than actually at the subject for a good exposure - however I think more experimentation with exposure compensation and some actual insects might show different results. I hope to get some test shots into here tomorrow at some time.

    So far hand holding the setup has not proved to be too tricky, though the weight is now a but further forward than before when the flash is in the above position (where it is likley to be most often). To the sides its a bit more ticky to hold, but nothing too demanding. Understandably positioning the flash on the left side of the lens is harder to hand hold since the hand and lens come into conflict. The same is also true when it is in a low position on the underside of the lens - though I can change my grip on the lens to an overhand one to counter that problem.

    So far so good - still waiting the cirpol in the post and then a hood (which will take a few weeks or so the website says) and that will be the first setup for testing this year.
     
  3. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    11,770
    Likes Received:
    109
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Get the Canon bits as soon as you can because on the 12th Canon have a massive price increase (10-20%) across the range

    and I know of a shop that can get cheap B+W & Kenko bits ;-)
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Messages:
    7,997
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Slapamonkey, New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well, I do understand that there are other things you want but, perhaps instead of the 300mm you might want to look into the EF 200mm f/1.8 L (well maybe not it is not much cheaper than the 300 but) or a EF 200mm f/2.8L II. The 2.8 runs around $700 (currently) and it would be a definate upgrade from the 70-200 and you still have the TC if you need it.
     
  5. matt-l

    matt-l TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Newfoundland..Due East
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Shops here have already gone up!
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yah I heard about the price raise - sadly I still have to save up for those more expensive components. All I can hope is that the RRP gose up but shop price manages to stay down - or at least not jump quite so high.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    True and I have seen some very impressive work with the lens and teleconverters - the thing is whilst I use the 200mm range as part of a zoom I just don't think I would get the use out of a 200mm prime that I would out of a 300mm prime - I think I would end up with the prime married to the teleconverters (my zoom almost is) which is just telling me to go a bit longer
     
  8. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    11,770
    Likes Received:
    109
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I know where there is a cheap used 200 1.8 going ;-)
    That lens was £5499.99 when new and its way heavier than the 300 2.8. would love to 'borrow it' one weekend but my 300 2.8 wouldn't talk to me anymore if I did that
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    sigh - why must good glass be so heavy!
    Its forcing me to do exercise and I had a policy (before this photo thing started up) of avoiding it. Still at least there are no evil sports teachers in this - though sometimes I get the impression that the wildlife mocks me!
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,099
    Likes Received:
    3,765
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well I did some quick and dirty tests with the flash in different vertial positions.
    I shot handheld at a coin balanced on its edge and angled the camera downwards. I shot like this because its the closest to how I shoot in the field - a tripod and fixed angle (along with a coin that does not fall over) would be the ideal, but I wanted to see how it was for me shooting as normal. To change the angle of the flash I adjusted the ball head only.
    I tested 3 different positions -note that I remained in the vertical for these tests (again the most common position the flash is likley to be in)

    1) The flash was angled almost all the way forward so that it is very close to the lens and the subject.

    [​IMG]

    2) Flash angled at a roughly midpoint between points 1 and 3 - so aimed more at the subject directly.

    [​IMG]

    3) the flash positioned as in the example shot in the posts above - angled to the vertical as if camera mounted

    [​IMG]

    4) control shot flash in the hotshoe as normal without the new setup

    [​IMG]


    Opinion - firstly the biggest difference between the angles when shooting is not shown clearly in these shots, but its that that further forward the flash the more shadow it creats itself, especially if the shot is taken from an above position. When angled all the way forward its very difficult to frame the shot due to the lack of light.
    Reflection wise the flash appears to be fairly standard at each of the positions - although the middle one shows more blown highlights I belive this is more due to the fact that I was metering the flash on the darker areas of the coin rather than the brighter - thus leading to the overexposure.
    Its also clear that when in the fully vertial position the light from the flash is not striking the subject with the same degree of power - too much light is directed away from the subject which is a waste. When camera mounted the flash is lower down than it is on the collar setup and also positioned further back - so more light reaches the subject.
    On the new setup - when shooting with flash from above - I think the best position is the middle selection - that being the one which gives the most light whilst also not inhibiting the focusing and framing of the shot.
    Very quick tests with the flash in other postions around the lens (either side and below) show that the flash can be positioned closer in these cases because of the lack of a shadowing effect.
     
  11. clarinetJWD

    clarinetJWD The Naked Spammer Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,787
    Likes Received:
    97
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Why would you buy two polarizers? the bigger one with a set of step up rings would do just the same thing...

    The other stuff, though, I'm jealous of!
     
  12. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    11,770
    Likes Received:
    109
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Alex!!! Clean you sensor at once! it's a bloody disgrace
     

Share This Page