A few pictures using my 30D

Discussion in 'Photography' started by tonggao, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    go all out!!! buy a ton of expensive stuff!! ;)

    It's true, an aluminum would do just as well. For me it's completely a necessity to have a cf tripod, as I am hiking with my tripod all day, either it be through the hills of san francisco, or waimea canyon on Kauai. But I could probably just as easily use an aluminum in all other cases.

    You could just buy an aluminum, then realize you want lighter, and get CF... but if you plan on being pretty mobile with it on your back constantly, just go for the CF, you can't go wrong.

    I have an older Feisol tripod, their second version, still a tad heavy, but their new ones are kick butt. I may be getting the new version soon and selling my current one ;)
     
  2. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Really depends on how comfortable you're with weight, how long you plan on keeping your gear, and what you want.

    For me, a tripod and a decent ballhead is something that I'll keep for awhile and for that, I skipped all the steps and just went with something that I knew I'd be comfortable with in the long run. Also, since I like to hike every once in awhile and use some big lenses (400mm f/2.8 and the 500mm f/4), I wanted something that can hold the weight, but wouldn't break the bank and is light enough to carry around.

    I second Art's recommendation for the Feisol. I've used my Feisol 3401 for a few years now and it compares very well next to the Gitzo 1325 (used both w/D2X and the 500mm f/4 AFS). It's just a tad more expensive than most aluminum, but is more flexible.

    As for the head, also take into consideration the plates that you will need to use with them - either Bogen style or Acratech. Bogen style plates and ballhead are rather inexpensive, but you get what you pay for them. Acratech plates are quite a bit more refined and will hold the weight much better. Bogen style ballheads aren't expensive at all and where they end up at, the Acratech style ballheads come into play.

    I use big lenses so Bogen plates and ballheads were out of the equation. With ballheads, there's a slew of them, ranging from: Kirk, Acratech, Markins, and Really Right Stuff (there's others out there as well, but all of these are proven). Both Kirk and Acratech makes models ranging in the $200-300 range, including the AUB (Acratech Ultimate Ballhead), which is about as lightweight as they come. Markins makes the M-series, which range from the $300-400 range. These are some of the better heads out there and my first ballhead was the M10. This thing is capable of holding even the heaviest lens out there, granted that your legs will hold up. The only thing that I didn't like it was the fact that the panning mechanism didn't lock down all the way (the higher end ballheads all have panning bases built into them). This is kind of scary while hiking w/a camera and lens on the tripod out in the field; I've felt my rig swinging back and forth before. Last but not least is the Really Right Stuff line of ballheads. They're the best out there bar none. They range in price from $200-$600, depending on which model you go with (lightweight: $200; mid weight: 350; full customization: $600). I switched over to the BH-55 after getting rid of my M10, and have never been happier. The panning locks down and the movement on the ballhead is noticeable smoother than the Markins.

    Whichever one you want to go with, it's really dependent on all those factors and how they weigh in your equation.
     
  3. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    "Really depends on how comfortable you're with weight, how long you plan on keeping your gear, and what you want. "

    The above is really the crux of it.

    Buy what you think you will be using in a few years if you think this a hobby that you will continue with in earnest.

    If you remind me I'll bring both of my tripods and you see which one you like best to the swap.
     
  4. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    let's all go shooting on saturday. I had a portrait shoot scheduled but just cancelled it so my day isn't too crazy anymore.
     
  5. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    Sorry this Saturday during the day is a no-go for me.
     
  6. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    oh darn =( ok we'll definitely need to be less spontaneous and put together a real nice photo shoot sometime soon.
     
  7. tonggao

    tonggao Guest

    Thanks a lot Art, Eileen, and Eric for all the great information! I like to buy a reasonable good set since I am planning on using it for a pretty long time (what do I know about my plans?;)), even though I do not want to spend the top dollars for professional gears.

    I think that I will go buy a Feisol. Where can I buy it? The only place I can find is from them directly from Taiwain. What do you think of their ball head? They have a package deal for pretty good price: CT-3401N+Center Column+CB-50HN(ball head)+QP-144750(plate)+bag for $326 ($284 + $42) shipped. The package can be found by clicking special offer from this link: http://www.feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm

    Eric, do you use a macro focusing rail and do you have any suggestions?
     
  8. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    That looks like a great deal to me. You're also correct that you can only get it directly from Taiwan nowadays. They used to be offered at Threshold Concepts but Feisol changed that and are only doing direct orders. I'm not too surprised. When I first got mine, they were also only directly from Feisol. They ship quickly and have excellent customer support, so I wouldn't worry about getting it directly from them.

    I haven't checked out the CB-50HN before, but I think you'll be fine with it. I read somewhere that they just reversed engineered the Kirk BH-1 or BH-2, both of which are good ballheads. For that price, it's really hard to beat since the 3401N alone is $200 shipped. For an extra $126, you're getting quite a bit more. I've heard of others using it w/the D200 + 17-55mm lens w/out any issues, and that's not a light setup (heavier than most macro setups).

    Macro focusing rails are nice, but I don't think they're necessary. I can see it being extremely useful at beyond 2:1 or more, but at less than that a steady tripod is all that's really needed. If you plan on shooting really tiny objects, with something like the MP-65E macro (capable of going 5:1), then I would recommend it.

    Once you're comfortable with fiddling with your camera, you'll find that you can get by with minimal gear. Here is a shot taken at f/11, ISO 100, SS: 1/60 seconds yesterday; handheld.
    [​IMG]


    Some might say that shot could use a bit more DOF, but I wanted to black out the background and at the same time, be able to handhold the camera.

    Additional info: Most lenses are handholdable at 1/focal length. If you go with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro, you're looking at around 1/100 shutter speed to be able to handhold it. If you take a look at the settings used above, to be able to get that type of shutter speed, all that's necessary is to bump ISO up to 200 (your shutter speed will jump to around 1/125 secs). You can even get more depth into the picture by stopping down one stop to f/16. To do so, the final settings would be f/16, ISO 400, 1/125 seconds. I'm able to get away with those settings since there's a lot of light over the tank.
     
  9. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    eric forgot to mention he's also a gold medalist at the eye surgery competition with those stable hands ;)

    but in all seriousness, I agree that you can hand hold, but I find it just a bit more calming to be able to set on a tripod and set the metering on whatever you'd like. In the field when I walk around with a macro lens, I still use a tripod in broad daylight... ESPECIALLY WITH A CARBON FIBER TRIPOD you can carry around everywhere ;)

    It's personal preference, but it's totally doable handheld as well.

    Here's one of the only good results I've ever had going handheld:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    I do believe you have pretty steady hands, but it also is technique as well.

    The one thing my dad taught me in regards to taking photos was to hold your breath as you drepress the shutter button - it helps with the shakes.
     
  11. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    [quote author=Raddogz link=topic=2202.msg22063#msg22063 date=1184953990]
    I do believe you have pretty steady hands, but it also is technique as well.

    The one thing my dad taught me in regards to taking photos was to hold your breath as you drepress the shutter button - it helps with the shakes.
    [/quote]

    kind of like shooting a real gun I'd suppose. for my shots without my nifty nikon VR on, I plant my feet, take a breath, and shoot. especially when you're nearing the 1/focal length shutter speeds =/ I'm just not that good, Eric has some crazy skills ;)

    but the thing is, with a sweet setup, you can do things very easily. It may be harder to try to take a steady handheld shot than to just slap on a macro focusing rail over a carbon fiber tripod, turn a few gears to focus and snap away.

    if you can afford it, i'd say outfit yourself with the gear that can help alleviate some of the problems. if you shoot for a long time it's worth it in my opinion. Even if you're like super steady hands eric, focusing rail on tripod would be nice.
     
  12. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Nah, I don't think focusing rails will ever make their way into the kit. Bellows on the other hand are what I've been looking at instead. ;)

    It's definitely part gear, technique, and lastly post processing.
     
  13. tonggao

    tonggao Guest

    All great suggestions!! So far we talked about gear and some techniques. Any suggestion on post processing? I have CS3, but only use exposure adjustment, fill light, brightness, vivid, and saturation. Any other suggestions to make my pictures a little closer to yours? ;)
     
  14. tonggao

    tonggao Guest

    I just placed my order on the Feisol tripod kit, and can't wait for it to get here. Thanks again for your great advise.

    Talking about steady hands, I used to do target shooting with hand guns, and I used to have pretty steady hands. Somehow, my hands are just not the same as they used to be with the cameras :-[. Must be the age thing ;). My philosophy is just like Art said, if the skills are not there, compensate it with equipments.
     
  15. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Awesome! Equipment is a double edge sword - the better the equipment is, the less you can blame it on them.

    As for processing, it's really dependent on the picture taken. I usually try to process it so that it mimics what I saw. I'll start a thread later on with a before and after shot when I get back in town (in the CV for the weekend).
     
  16. tonggao

    tonggao Guest

    Here it is, ordered on Saturday, and arriving on Thursday!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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  17. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    Nice Tong!
     
  18. tonggao

    tonggao Guest

    I finally sent my micro lens to canon factory service for recalibration, and it got back today. I only snapped one pic with the lens. Not the best pic I know (closer part out of focus), but I am a lot happier with the details and more vivid color now :). Well, I think Canon defintely have some quality control issues as a lot of people are complaining nowadays, and I have to send in two out of my 3 Canon lens for recalibration :(.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Raddogz

    Raddogz Guest

    Dang, that sucks. What was the other lens that had to be sent back?
     
  20. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    omg, that's so much better.

    sorry to hear about the other lenses =((
     

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