DSLR conundrum: Canon 6D or Nikon D600 or ???

People's Champ ,
Nov 10, 2012 Nov 10, 2012

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I want the best, least compressed, 1080p HD video available from a DSLR camera at the under $3000 price point (including one lens).

How do I get it? Is Canon the best way to get HD video, or the Nikon even better?

Or is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Mirrorless worth waiting for?

I am so confused. There are too many choices and I am tired of reading camera specs when what I really want to know is which one produces the highest quality HD video? I can't seem to find that comparison. Are they all storing at about the same compressed rate, or is the advertising about 72Mb/s and/or I-Frame only what I should be looking at?

Is it important to have a high number of focus points like the Nikon? It sounds like it to my untrained brain.

Comparing the three leads me to the Nikon except for the videography notes on the Canon make it seem like I can store less compressed video. But even totally uncompressed video is useless if the focus isn't perfect. Right?

http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=canon_eos6d&products=nikon_d600&produ...

I want really, really nice video. Otherwise it isn't worth buying any of these.  I can stick with HDV for a while longer if I must.

Perhaps if I spell out what I want to do with it you might be able to provide better answers. I want to shoot pictures in a hurry at Disney World, in Hawaii, in Mexico and all the other places we go on vacation. I want to take video in those same places. Generally with a tripod or a Monopod, but sometimes not. I want to focus automatically, and quickly. But I want to be able to easily set up a rack focus when I feel like it.  I want to eventually buy a lens that will allow me to shoot extreme closeups of snails, and bugs and icky crawly things in motion as well as at the full frame size of a still. And I eventually want the biggest baddest telephoto lens I can get past my wife. I am going to want to do some greenscreen work and product shots in a lightbox.

I want a flash if I am not giving up higher quality, I don't think I need a built in GPS but it couldn't hurt. Wireless? Really? OK, I guess that could be handy. HDMI output is nice. I might be inclined to shoot 720p now and then if it means twice the frames to use for slow motion in post. A headphone jack is not always necessary but it could be important now and then. I would give it up for higher quality video if I really had to. Good in low light would be nice too.

Mono or not, I would like a decent microphone built in. My old Canon ZR-10 has a much better internal mic than my much more expensive Sony HDR-FX1. Carrying external mics on vacation isn't always something I want to do.

Am I missing a brand that makes more sense for me? 

I learned a lot from the last thread I opened about DSLR cameras in general and have researched the different lenses enough to know what kind of trouble I am walking into. But all is for nothing if I can't shoot some truly stunning video given the right lighting and subject.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , Nov 10, 2012 Nov 10, 2012
I want the best, least compressed, 1080p HD video available from a DSLR camera at the under $3000 price point (including one lens).
Hands down, no question, the Panasonic GH2 using the Cluster v7 'Apocalypse Now - DREWnet' 12/15 GOP Soft hack.  Bitrates go up to 90 Mb/s and artifacts are non-existent even with the most difficult to encode material.If you can hold off, then yes the GH3 would be worth waiting for.  If you can't wait, the GH2 will serve you very well.https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gh2+vs&oq=gh2+vs&gs_l=youtube.3..0l10.1325.2932.0.3457.13.7.0.0.0.3.73.427.7.7.0...0.0...1ac.1.Mw_5ozLMgL4

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People's Champ ,
Dec 21, 2012 Dec 21, 2012

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I just chatted with an agent at B&H.

It doesn't look like I will have a camera in time for my New Year's shoot. I may just see what is available to rent locally. Perhaps a little practice with a GH2 couldn't hurt for when I get the GH3.  I don't know. It might do more harm than good if I get used to the buttons being in the wrong place, or learn a menu that won't be the same.

On the other hand, practice with different lenses might be useful. The question is, is it worth the money to rent while I wait?

I just don't want to dig out the old HDV camcorder and drag it around. Better to just enjoy the time and festivities without a camera at all.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 21, 2012 Dec 21, 2012

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I assume the lenses at least are in stock.  If you want to rent, you might have those sent ahead of the camera.  Switching from a video camera to a DSLR form factor and work flow will be the bigger challenge than switching from a GH2 to a GH3.

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People's Champ ,
Dec 21, 2012 Dec 21, 2012

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Much to my great surprise, when I went looking for a camera to rent, thinking I would rent one for just the few days I needed it and a day or two more for practice time before the shoot, I found that http://www.borrowlenses.com actually had the GH3 in stock. Not the GH2 I would have settled for. The GH3 that B&H can't get me in time.

Now, that surprised me to say the least. So I picked up a phone and called them to verify that they really did have it. I got a fellow named Kevin on the line who must have been put there by Santa Claus himself. Not only did they have the GH3, but if I wanted to rent it for ten days (I really need it that long if I want it in time to practice a bit) I could have an extra week - for FREE - and I should feel free to drop by their office TODAY to get it to avoid courier charges (they are only 25 miles away but they could have brought it over to within 10 miles for a small fee).

Unfortunately I didn't get in touch with B&H in time to attempt to get my lenses and accessories shipped today. However, I believe that they should be able to ship it all on Monday and get it to me before next weekend.

So, in order to practice a bit this weekend, and into next week, I decided to rent a 14-140 lens - the same model I am buying - so I can practice with the actual model of lens I will have on the shoot. I won't spend the money but I wish I could rent the other two as well, but justifying the cost could be tough. If I really feel like I have enough practice time in with the 14-140, I suppose I could rent one of the others for a few days too. But I don't think I will. I am pretty certain that I will have my hands full with the 14-140 until the others arrive.

If the other lenses arrive on Wednesday or Thursday, then one day with the Macro and the telephoto should be enough to try a few different settings before I take it out to shoot on Saturday.

Poor Kevin. I kept telling him how pleased I was and how he really made my day. I must have sounded a little crazy. But it is hard to explain that the anticipation has been killing me.

I guess I will have to post a bunch of pictures and videos from my experiments this weekend. if anyone has any ideas as to tests I could perform, let me know ASAP!

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People's Champ ,
Dec 22, 2012 Dec 22, 2012

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Holy Cow!

This thing has as many buttons as those Delta Airline jets that Jeff flies!!!!!

Not really, but it sure seems like it at the moment.

I give up. I am going to cheat. Step one is to learn to use the wireless app because the font on my phone will be bigger than the font on the camera screen, and I am going to get out a pair of reading glasses.

Actually, the first step is going to be to learn how to set everything, and I mean everything to "Auto". That way I can start with that and then modify one thing at a time. Now that I have rented the camera and the 14-140 lens, it is time to really pour over every tutorial available.

The weather this morning and much of the weekend is supposed to be terrible. Gloomy, overcast, raining now and then. So I think it will be the perfect weekend to work on learning every button and setting and performing some indoor tests. If it does get sunny, the Oakland Zoo is only one exit down the freeway.

I had a bit of a panic yesterday when trying to figure out which memory card to buy. I got a bit confused. You see, the camera can store video at 72Mb/s and the memory cards show the read/write times in MB/s. Well, that means that if I have a Class 10 memory card that stores at 10MB/s it can handle 80Mb/s. Which is enough for the top end of the camera (unhacked). But as you can guess by now, I got confused and started looking at the very top end cards that can handle 90MB/s write times. Talk about expensive. And a waste of money of course.

I bought a couple of Class 10 UHS-1 64GB cards instead of a 128GB. I think having two is better than one big one. Just in case something bad happens. I can always buy another, bigger, card if the need arises.  The write speed of 35MB/s should just handle twice the 140Mb/s that Jim mentioned in post #50.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 24, 2012 Dec 24, 2012

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the first step is going to be to learn how to set everything, and I mean everything to "Auto".

Turn the mode dial to P.

trying to figure out which memory card to buy.

I'd recommend this and only this.  It is by far the most stable card for high bitrate usage.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171592

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People's Champ ,
Dec 24, 2012 Dec 24, 2012

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I suppose if I have trouble with the memory cards I bought, I will have to consider the upgrade. However, I was able to get two 64GB cards for just under $100. I would hate to pay more than I need to pay, but then again, I don't want to go cheap and lose anything. We'll see how my cheap ones do first.

Besides the P on the dial, I have an "iA" which says it is intelligent auto.  Seems OK. Lots of interesting point and shoot settings on this camera. I suppose I could probably be happy with them, except that i know I need to learn to shoot with manual settings so I don't want to get too lazy right away.

Getting the DOF I want is proving to be harder than I expected. Also, I am a bit dissapointed that the 14-140 does not zoom nearly as much as I expected. Which means that the 100-300 will be probably be dissapointing as well. There is no way I will be able to afford the lens I really want, I guess. Oh well, they are available to rent not too far from here.

Oh, and I can't seem to figure out the tele conv setting. It doesn't zoom to double like I expected. I must be doing something wrong.

And I thought that the camera would know what lens was attached so that it could tell me the mm setting. Instead I have to look at markings on the lens, and there are not enough numbers. For example, I was between 70 and 100, but that is a pretty wide range. Is there some secret to figuring out the exact setting that I am missing?

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People's Champ ,
Dec 26, 2012 Dec 26, 2012

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I got my lenses and misc stuff from B&H today but I am still waiting for the GH3 camera body itself and the extended battery holder/grip. No problem, the GH3 I rented is working out quite nicely.

I just realized I didn't get a UV filter for my 62mm lens (the 14-140)  so I will pick that up right away. I do have a circular polarizer for it, so possible damage to the lens won't be an issue. I have seen a lot of videos that say that to shoot pictures of the moon, I should not have the UV filter on, and yet that is the protective lens I was going to always leave on. So I guess a clear filter for my 100-300 lens is on the shopping list too.

I am going to the local camera shop tomorrow to look at the gradient filters designed for landscape shots. I also need a different tripod connection, I think. I know I need to start thinking about a better tripod with a fluid head. $$$

I am beginning to wonder just which lens I will want to use for certain types of shots. I think that I am going to be doing a lot of experimenting next week. Will I go wider - perhaps the 14 end of the 14-140 or will I spend a lot of time at the extreme end of the 100-300 lens?

I have heard that I should avoid the extreme ends of any of the lenses to avoid softness. I will certainly be testing that next week.

With any luck at all, I will take at least a few good shots and a couple of great ones next week.  I look forward to being able to put them online for you to take a look at. Or, I will learn a lot about what not to do. Either way, it will be useful.

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People's Champ ,
Dec 26, 2012 Dec 26, 2012

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I just got my first taste of an extremely narrow DOF using my 45mm Macro lens.

I have had a bit of a cough for a while now, so I always keep a thermos of hot tea with lemon and honey nearby. And since I am getting fairly old, I also have a bottle of Fish Oil capsules handy to control cholesterol.

I put the pill bottle right in front of the thermos (touching), set the camera for Intelligent Auto mode, tapped the screen on the thermos label and took the shot as is. Then, I merely tapped the screen in a different spot and got the top of the pill bottle in focus. The primary lighting is from a lamp I use while on my PC, high and to my left. There is a little light coming from lower and to my right. These are basically set up to make it easy to see my keyboard, but they did a nice enough job, I think, when I pushed the keyboard off to the side and took my shots.

I find it interesting that because the thermos is round, you can see that the edge on the left is out of focus. And of course the pill bottle label, the center of which is less than two inches from the center of the Thermos label, is completely out of whack. Just like in the tutorials. Cool.

When focused in on the pill bottle, you can see that only the center of the label, just the top of the word "Nature's" is in focus. The DOF is so narrow the entire word does not fit into the focus area.

I have been looking forward to see that. Finally got it. Of course, more practice will be needed to widen the DOF enough to get the entire label, or to get both labels. That's for another day. Time for bed.

closeup-on-pill-bottle.pngcloseup-on-thermos.png

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LEGEND ,
Dec 27, 2012 Dec 27, 2012

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Sounds like you're having fun playing with your new toy.

I did as well.

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People's Champ ,
Dec 27, 2012 Dec 27, 2012

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I am afraid I am not going to get any practice landscape shots in before I have to shoot for real. I still don't know how I am going to deal with that.

And yes, it is rather fun. And just think, the rental is insured so if something reallt bad happens, I will still have my brand new camera when B&H finally ships it.

I heard one thing in the many tutorials I have seen that really struck me as being a pearl of wisdom.

Treat the zoom lens like it was a box full of Primes. Figure out the focal length you want to use and then use your feet to frame the shot. Move closer, farther away, whatever. Don't just stand there and zoom.

It sounds right to me. Instinctively.  But that means I need to practice a lot more with my three lenses to get used to what the focal length does for me.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 28, 2012 Dec 28, 2012

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That little pearl is likely coming from a very limiting perspective.  When you shoot events like I do (or hell, even just family fun shots), you don't always have the luxury of moving the camera, so a good zoom lens is a MUST for my line of work.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 27, 2012 Nov 27, 2012

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With the 100-300 lens and applying ETC (see post 9) how much of a diving Osprey can I frame at 100 yards?

Corollary:  What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

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People's Champ ,
Nov 27, 2012 Nov 27, 2012

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I think I can figure this out. Stan's question, not Jim's.

I kept trying to do it the hard way, which is to use the 4/3 frame size in the calculator and then divide by 2.6 when it is probably better to just use the 35mm full frame and divide by 5.2 - better because it will be easier to use the calculator on my Smartphone since it doesn't have the 4/3 setting anyway.

Therefore, a two foot tall bird in a 4:3 frame, would mean that the width of the frame when the bird is standing up needs to be about 2.666 feet. The calculator doesn't mind decimals, so putting in 300 feet with a subject size of 2.666 feet comes up with a full size 35mm value of 3879mm. Take that number and divide by 5.2 and you get 746mm. I am only planning on going out to 300 for the time being unless I rent a lens so that means that I would need to be about 121 feet away in order to get the bird to fill up the frame.

It just so happens that I was hoping to get footage of the flock of Red-Footed Boobies across the way from the Lighthouse on Kauai, but they are certainly more than 121 feet away.

On the other hand, if I am shooting at 1920X1080 and I really want to focus the viewer's attention on the birds, I can edit my HD footage in a 640X480 frame which will easily make up the difference between the 300mm I will own and the 746mm I would need if the birds were 300 feet away.

Speaking of wildlife...

The caption for this one could be "So there I was, checking the calculator, putting on the right lens and filter, then getting just the right focus with the right bokeh and ......"

kangaroo_punch_woman_Good_reasons_why_you_shouldnt_mess_with_nature-s450x500-37734-580.jpg

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People's Champ ,
Dec 11, 2012 Dec 11, 2012

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Just a quick update for some of you who might be playing along at home.

I got an email from B&H today that said:

One or more items from this purchase are still out of stock as we haven't yet received the merchandise from our supplier. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We will keep you posted periodically.

We appreciate your patience and patronage. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments about this order.

I have found blog postings saying that the camera is shipping from Panasonic, and others that say that it ships on the 13th. Either way, my goal is to have it in time for Christmas. So if that happens, I am a happy guy. I have to hope that B&H gets some sort of priority on the shipping, as would Amazon I imagine, among others.

I am looking forward to testing the camera thoroughly before my next vacation. I was at Disney World last week, totally without a real camera. I just had my Smartphone, and it is now painfully obvious that the shutter is way too slow on that thing. Lots and lots of fuzzy shots. And the auto focus is pretty bad.

But I saw an awful lot of really nice looking cameras in the hands of people who looked like they knew what they were doing. In fact, I saw a guy and his wife on the Animal Kingdom Safari and they both had expensive Canon DSLRs with amazing looking lenses. I never saw a lens that focused like a trombone slide. I think of focusing as turning the barrel, not pulling it out and pushing it in.  Very interesting lens.

Out of my price range, but I was amazed when I saw him use it. I may have drooled a bit. Not sure. Pricing the beast took care of those fantasies.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 12, 2012 Dec 12, 2012

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"Trombone" style zomms and focusing are definitely inferior makes, a way for lens makers to save money on design.  Internal focusing and zooming are superior and the norm for video, but are more rare for DSLR.

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People's Champ ,
Dec 12, 2012 Dec 12, 2012

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Good to know. It seemed like a fast way to get almost to where you want it. I had just never seen anything like it.

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People's Champ ,
Jan 01, 2013 Jan 01, 2013

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I have now taken a few shots using ETC, My inclination is to allways shoot RAW plus JPEG at the maximum size possible but when shooting pictures of the moon, which are going to get cropped anyway, it is nice to have something to play on the big screen TV in the hotel room while on vacation. ETC makes the moon look twice the size,

It makes it a little easier to focus also since things appear larger.

For video, of course, it is great to have the additional zoom capability without loss (unlike digital zoom).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 01, 2013 Jan 01, 2013

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I have now taken a few shots using ETC,

It sounds like a nice option, made possible when shooting with cameras that have these huge sensors - plenty to spare!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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I am thinking of a GH3, but I have some lovely Nikon lenses such as a 60mm macro lens.

Can you stick that on the GH3. If so what will happen to the auto focus.

If there is no auto focus is there something like peaking or auto push.

I have a hard time setting things in focus manually, something with the eyes.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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You can put just about any lens on a GH camera with an adapter, but you do lose all auto functions.

Currently, the GH3 does not offer focus peaking.  A LOT of people want that, and Panasonic has indicated it might be possible with a future firmware update.  In the meantime, you would either need an external monitor that offers focus peaking, or a m4/3 lens that has auto focus.

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Guide ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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======

I have a hard time setting things in focus manually, something with the eyes.

======

me too. one eye nearsighted the other one farsighted. weird. plus from reading etc mostly over stressed most of time... blurry etc.

anyway, magnifying glass... if its a screen you look at...if you have to focus on the fly, its just guessing while pulling focus anyway ( guessing ft from subject as you work...and pulling focus...is always tricky ) stop down one and hope DOF covers it.

there's stuff for eye piece focus for everything ( to adjust to your own eyeball correction ).. if its a viewfinder you use.

something like this for adapter?

http://www.amazon.com/RAINBOWIMAGING-cameras-adapter-aperture-Panasonic/dp/B003TROEBM

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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Thanks Jim and Rod.

In that case I am sticking to Nikon.

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People's Champ ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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I really thought it would take longer for me to go from full auto to full manual. It only took a few dozen shots ruined the first morning before I realized I needed to set everything myself. Then it was only a few shots later that I figured out that I needed to focus manually also. It really came as a surprise. I am very glad that the timeshare had an HDTV with a HDMI interface. The laptop I had with me could not really be used to determine the sharpness of a shot.

I wasted a lot of otherwise really nice shots only to find out that they were not as crisp as I thought they should have been. My biggest problem was focusing on really dark objects that I planned on using a really long shutter to compensate for. It wasn't until I realized that if I opened the flash, the camera would let me focus on dark objects. So I focused manually, and then closed the flash. In the future, I will carry a really bright flashlight to get the focus right.

My other problem was getting a deep enough DOF using my 45mm Prime (Macro) without enough light. I really needed a bright subject in order to stop down enough to get a deep DOF. It is certainly fun getting that close but as far as focusing, here is an example of something I thought was totally in focus, and it turned out not to be. I just couldn't stop it down anymore than I did since it was in the shade. And since it is a prime, I could not just back up farther. Well, I could have and then cropped, but that would not have been the same thing.

not in focus.jpg

I shot mostly RAW plus fine JPEG.  I am glad I did. I took some shots of the moon that really benefit from being adjusted in Photoshop. I haven't figured out just how much I should adjust it. When I get my site back up I think I will put a few samples on a page and get some opinions about which ones people like better.

The first image is the JPEG from the camera. The second is from the RAW (unadjusted) file - as shot. The third is the RAW file with one parameter changed. I set the "Clarity" to 75%. I like it but I may not be the best judge of what looks the best. I have seen too many of these shots while figuring this stuff out.

moon-jpg.jpg

moon-raw-as-shot.jpg

moon-raw-adjusted-clarity-75.jpg

Capture.JPG

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Guide ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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wow, that stuff looks cool... the moon thing reminds me of telescope family had when I was kid...spent a lot of time looking at moon and 'naming' the craters etc with a book and flashlight.. hehe... saturn was cool to see too...cause of the rings... I wonder if you could find that and shoot it ??

Flowers are hard to do cause they move in the wind..not always enough light..plus you get so close half the time you end up blocking what light there IS ...lol...

I did similar to what you're doing now when I first got my mamiya rb67. I wanted to run film through it and find out about the camera and the film backs and the extension tubs, bellows factor, all sorts of 'stuff' ...and the easiest thing to shoot was my mom's garden near where I lived... so I would shoot stuff there and in the end made a really BIG poster... I scanned the film with a film scanner I bought that could do 6 x 7 size..

Unfortunately the scanner was kinda touchy color wise and I had to adjust in PSD a bit..pain in neck..but anyway...here's poster and also a sample of one that's IN the poster but larger full frame size so you can see it better...

I used small bead board bounce cards and sometimes silver or gold showcard bounces on some of this stuff... I just needed all the light I could GET sometimes and bouncing from sun was often the best way to do it with the stuff I had at my disposal...

I lost stops with the extension tube and bellows...so needed LIGHT...even to get near wide open on lens..you know the story...

flowers.jpg

lily-white.jpg

ps.. I used Quark Xpress to make the poster.. that way you make picture boxes in your document and can move pics, scale etc inside the individual pic boxes... and the entire POSTER doesnt become a giant IMAGE FILE like it would in other programs ( like psd for example ).. keeps the file size down a bit.. and what you see in computer is a TIF preview of the pics... google quark xpress for info about it...it's a very cool program especially for offset press printing ( cmyk ).

pps.. poster is 48" x 36 "

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People's Champ ,
Jan 06, 2013 Jan 06, 2013

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Cool poster. I imagine that your mom liked it a lot.

I was all set with bounce cards, but as you pointed out, when the sun was out the wind was a problem, and the flowers in the shade that didn't move were too dark.

I had more light for this series, but still couldn't stop it down enough to get it to where I wanted it. I started with way too narrow, so I backed off on the distance and stopped down about one too far for the light, finally getting what I wanted for bokeh but not for light. I should have compensated some other way, but instead I opened the aperture and as you can see, back to a DOF that was too narrow.

But hey, that is what experimenting is all about.

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

By the way, the carrot muffins at Keoki's in Poipu on the island of Kauai are excellent!

artofzootography.com

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