Posts Tagged ‘lens’

A lot of people get longer lenses just because they can get closer to their subject. I don’t argue with them but they don’t realize with zooming in the perspective changes also. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just check this video.

Moody Images

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Blog
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You can take a look at a picture and fall in love with it without any special reason. After a while you’ll start thinking what made me fall in love with it? There isn’t anything extra special so is it’s composition? Subject? Anything else? Sometimes it is a mood in the image. You can feel it but it is hard to describe. Of course it isn’t always there but you can create it using light or even post processing. But believe me, not every time it works perfectly.

Canon, Inc. is a huge company as almost everybody know. They host an event called Canon Zoom (in Czech republic) and during it the best of Canon’s gear travels between three big and nice zoos. For the last few years we’ve visited Zlín, Brno and Prague. Here is a small video from 2011 in Czech language so if you aren’t familiar with it, maybe in 2013 we’ll make a English version of it also.

Anyway this event is huge and fantastic. Everybody can try new gear and we had a ton of it. Several 5D Mark IIIs, 1D Mark IV, 1Dx (awesome camera, felt in love with it and I’m shooting with it a lot), 7Ds, 60Ds, 300 f/2.8, 200 f/2 and on. If someone needs help there are people to help them with it be it a decision of purchase, or some technical help. Of course I was part of this event, couldn’t miss it.

 

Photos of the booth were taken by Oldřich Drnec.

It’s absolutely amazing, how close you can get with 300 f/2.8 + 2x extender and 1D Mark IV …

Testing Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens

Posted: November 24, 2011 in Blog
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As I wrote in my last article, I’m thinking about buying a new lens, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM. As a canon guy, their rep and photographer I know what it has and hasn’t also how it performs. But there isn’t anything better to try it out on your own. And so I decided to borrow this lens from my boss, had it for two days and here is my review. Just had a small issue with front-focus but it didn’t affect 98% of my images.

Saints

Build quality

When you’re buying an L-series lens you expect nothing less than great quality and performance. Lens itself is very light, weight is just around 500 g, and it makes it ideal to carry around. Also it isn’t so big. Just a bit bigger than my 85mm f/1.8. Of course it has metal mount, big front element, weather sealing and resistance, barrel build from metal. Only front side isn’t sealed but you can fix it by putting on a UV filter. If you want to do it, just be sure to put a SLIM type otherwise you’ll get some vignetting. Maybe not so big on APS-C but I’m sure you’ll notice it on a full-frame body. Fits great in hands and easy to handle.

Image quality

If I had to use just one word I’d say “superb”! Because a bad weather here in Czech republic during whole testing and my limited camera I had to shoot wide open @f/4 and use high ISO, most of the time somewhere around 800 or 1600 which is maximal limit for my Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi). Noise was problem but that wasn’t caused by lens but by my camera. Images were very sharp with enough depth of field (I didn’t sharpen any of photos I took). Most of the time everything was in focus, you had to get really close to get blurred background. What about chromatic aberation? Well … there were few of them in corners where was a big contrast difference. To be honest, this made me thinking how this lens will perform on a full-frame body because my APS-C sensor is using just the middle part of lens’s optic which is the best. Sharpness in corners is more than OK. I didn’t get any other optical issues.

Vignetting sample

Typical problems for wide-angle lenses

As a Canon rep I get question “Does it have barrel distortion?” a lot. Yes, images are distorted a bit in wider focal lengths. But this is typical for any wide-angle lens and if you don’t want it, get that special Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM. It is corrected for distortion. Anyway you can notice some distortion but you won’t care about it too much.

Distortion

Paladium Gate

I’m more irritated by depth of field. If you get super close to something, you’ll get nice bokeh. Otherwise everything will be in focus. I love shallow DOF and having that foreground and background in focus at the same time makes the image look a bit weird for me. But also this is common for all wide-angles.

4M Management - 3 watching, 1 working

Is it a lens for me?

A hard question I’ve been thinking about since I made the first picture. As a people/nature/landscape photographer it is a must to have good wide lens. Also as someone who is shooting HDR I need good quality because if I get any optical issues like flare or glare it will multiply by the number of images used for merging into final HDR image. When I’m out with my 28-70mm I’m shooting most of HDRs in Prague up to 40mm of focal length so I could use this lens for it.

What drives me nuts? No DOF! Why do I love my 70-200? Why do I love my 85? Because the sharpness? Yes! Because the construction? Yes! But most of it because shallow DOF and with it I can isolate my subject from background, foreground or anything! Here? Well if you can get close enough, you can get some isolation. So is it good for street shooting? I suppose it wouldn’t be my first choice … on the other hand it’s so light and small …

Caught in a Fence

I thought I’ll know by Friday if I buy one of those or not. But now I’m just a Canon guy with some photos and messy brain. Don’t know how much time it will take, maybe I’ll just buy a new laptop or go somewhere on holiday and make few awesome images.

And here is one of my favorite images from last two days.

Caffe Restaurant

Thinking About Buying a New Lens

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Blog
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You might find yourself in a situation where you don’t just want to have sharper images, but also less things to do with your image in post-processing be it in Lightroom or Photoshop. What do I mean by this? Imagine you have some low-end/old lens and during a shoot your image is ruined thanks to bad optics of the lens. How does it look? Something like this.

On both sides you can see purple artifacts caused by bad optics and light passing through it. This image is a waste, because it took me a lot of time in PS to get it at least to this stage. I used saturation, color balance and other adjustments layers but it didn’t help too much. Of course, I desaturated the image a bit, but not much I could do if I wanted to keep a original texture in wood.

I found myself shooting most HDR images to focal length of 40 mm. And I need some walk around lens. I’m thinking about buying a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM which could solve my issues. It’s a great lens and because I don’t need f/2.8 aperture, I can save 1/2 a price of 16-35 f/2.8. That is cool. With this lens I can do almost everything, how I said before, great walk around lens. All Canon’s APS-C cameras have extension coeficient 1,6x, so the lens itself will behave as a 23-64 mm. Pretty close to Canon’s 24-70. It also fits on a full-frame bodies like 5D (which I’d also like to buy) and that means I’ll have a awesome wide-angle zoom. I just hope my boss will allow me to borrow it for a few days to really test if it’s the one lens I need …

BTW you can check out a review of this lens done by DigitalRev crew right here.

You Have to Know, How to Use It

Posted: November 12, 2011 in Blog
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There are many thoughts that amateurs and not involved people share about photography. One of them is “Better and more expensive equipment you have, better and more stunning photos you make”. If you have this thought you’re in for a treat. If you are a chef, does it really matter what brand and pans you use to cook a meal or is it your skill that matters? Does buying better pots and pans make you a better chef?

Let’s pretend you are a people photographer and making portraits. And to be a little bit more specific, you are using 85mm lens for this purpose. Canon itself produces two types of these lenses. The first one is smaller, lighter, cheaper f/1.8 and the second one is a mighty beast with f/1.2 aperture. Of course, Nikon makes also 85 mm f/1.8 and f/1.4 (which is a awesome lens btw) but I’m a Canon Rep so I’ll be using the ones from Canon.

This is for the ones who care just about technical side of photography so you can check sharpness and color fringing. If you are one of these guys, check this link. If you are not, then lets talk about photography finally. It doesn’t matter what camera or lens you have. Better bodies and lenses just make your job easier. You have to know, how to use it! Owning that f/1.2 beast doesn’t make stunning portraits. I own f/1.8 version and it is great. I absolutely love it.

So stop thinking about buying that f/1.2 lens to make your portraits better but start thinking how to enhance your photography and using that f/1.8 lens more efficiently!

Shot in full manual mode with Canon Rebel XSi (450D), Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @1/500s, f/1.8, ISO 200. Processed only with Lightroom. Only thing I changed was Camera Calibration profile was changed to Landscape.

Some time ago I bought RC Concepcion’s The HDR Book and was playing with a bit. I’ll try to post a review not just on my blog but also on Amazon.com, where I ordered it from. I watched and took several HDR classes from different instructors. The best classes were from Matt Kloskowski, RC and Trey Ratcliff. Processing many images from all these three guys was interesting and following their techniques increased my skills. When family friends bought an old house we went there on a visit and a beautiful old stairway caught my attention.

I knew it could look great in HDR and getting permission to shoot there won’t be a problem. And so it happened. I had only one possibility for lens selection and that was kit 18-55 lens. And I figured during shooting, I’ll have photos with a lot of trouble because of optical quality. If I had chance to shoot with some L glass like 16-35 or 17-40, even 17-55 these problems wouldn’t matter, they’ll be minimalized thanks to quality of these lenses. And what were some issues? Sharpness, noise (yes, it created extra noise in patterns), flare, glare, chromatic aberations, color fringing. It was really bad and I wasn’t able to remove it completely even after 2 hours of work in Photoshop. If I use clone tool, I overwrite details that I don’t want to. Color correction was helpful but didn’t do the job perfectly. After this “incident” I know that this lens is banned for my use.

Conclusion

If you want high quality images, pay some extra cash on your lenses 😉

BTW it was created from 10 different images merged together in Photomatix and processed with Photoshop.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Blog
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So today I finished and printed out my bachelor paper. I’m really excited about it and as a gift for my work I bought this fenomenal lens. Tested it out yesterday in the shop and bought today. What should I say?

Well the build quality isn’t as good as the L-series glass, but I knew it. Lens it self has good weight, the sealing isn’t the best and body isn’t made from metal. But what!? The most important part is glass and I can tell you I haven’t ever seen a better aperture (I didn’t shoot with f/1.2 version).

Canon 85mm f/1.8 Test

This lens is more than you pay for. The cost is quite low on lens with this quality. I can shoot all day long wide open at f/1.8 and images will be tack sharp and perfect. After all you can check it out on the samples.

Focus is nice, quick and snappy. With USM I can autofocus and than fine-tune it using aperture ring without switching from auto tu manual focusing. And check that superb BOKEH! I gonna love this lens 🙂

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Bokeh

Canon vs. Nikon Battle

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Blog
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This Monday there was this battle on The Grid show with Scott Kelby and Terry White. Really interesting stuff was there but I cannot agree more with them. Camera is just a tool and the only thing that matters is final result. It is mostly about the photographer, his vision, talent, skill etc.

Let me tell it this way. Imagine your budget is unlimited and you can buy what you want. If I had this option, I’d get a Nikon D3s, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, Nikon 50 f/1.4, Nikon 85 f/1.4 and finally Nikon 200 f/2. Yes, I’m crazy about Nikon stuff and it doesn’t change a thing that I’m shooting and working for Canon. But here is the tricky part. Will the new Nikon D3s with 50mm glass make me a better photographer? Will it make better photos? From technical stand point it will. But my skills won’t be boosted or anything like that in comparison with my Canon XSi.

In previous paragraph I wrote “Will it take better photos” but camera doesn’t take or make photos, you do! When you realize that, you can grab any camera and make photos. It doesn’t dippend if it’s Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma, Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, Holga, PhaseOne and other. It is just about you and your skills.

If you need someone’s blessing and someone needs to tell you “yes, you made your best decision with buying Nikon”, than you’re not interested in photography. You don’t need camera so much in this situation but some baby sitter to tell you your decisions were great.

Just think about it and don’t forget, it is just a tool. End result is the thing that matters the most.

Nikon F100

Nikon F100 - Photo by Rik Goldman

We can define it very easily, it is the amount of angle that lens can capture. How I said, very simple. But how to use it and how it can help you? With wider lenses you can get a lot of stuff in the photo. These lenses are great for landscapes, journalists etc. Sometimes you have to narrow the angle of view to get less objects in photo.  Here is a short video done by Mark Wallace and Adorama TV.

There is another reason why you should know something more about the angle of view. Using wide and ultra-wide lenses you can pick one subject in the foreground and make him stand out in comparison with background. Cameras don’t see in 3D space, so closer objects are bigger and objects furhter away are smaller. This proportion is increased when you use wide lenses.

On oposite site, sometimes you need that flat look and using wide lens won’t work. A perfect example for this are portraits. You can break the rule, it isn’t carved in stone, but you have to know how to use it otherwise you won’t have good results.

Here are some examples of using the angle of view. First I was wide and wanted to capture the whole scene. But after some time I’ve realized, the top isn’t so good. I just zoomed in and excluded it from the picture.

Rock in River

Rock in River

Rock in River Processed