Category Archives: Photography

Photography and Toys… or is it Toys and Photography??!

Advice dispensed at the Camera Rental place

So I was at the place I rent lenses to experiment with – picking up a Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 DI VC USD for the weekend.

There was this young chap renting some equipment, apparently going to shoot for a wedding. He was asking the customer service guy if this or that lens was appropriate. The guy behind the counter was trying to explain to him that each photographer is different, with different styles and preferences – so the choice of lens was the shooter’s to make.

Young chap then asked about the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II. Since I had some experience with that piece of glass, I decided to chime in a little. This is my side of the conversation.

That lens focuses like a sloth… I think its a great portrait lens, if your subjects will hold a pose for you. If you’re going for candids, you may miss a lot. At minimum focus distance of about 1m, your DOF is about 1cm – so if your focus is on the nose, then the eyes are out of focus… Oh yeah no question – the bokeh is excellent! But if you miss focus, then EVERYTHING is bokeh!…

I hope I helped… I left before he made his final decision.

More camera adventures

Haven’t posted in about a month… this is what’s been going on…

Thoughts: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Lens

This is my 2nd rental from the Camera Rental Centre. This copy shows some signs of aging. The rubber coat on the lens body never does well in our humidity; the hood is gaffer’d, and there seems to be some dust inside the lens.

This piece of glass is impressive! HUGE front element, and by far the heaviest lens I’ve ever mounted on my camera.

f1.2 produces beautiful bokeh. But this can be quite tricky. At 95cm (minimum focus distance of this lens), the DOF is just 8.1mm. This doesn’t give much margin for error, handheld or otherwise.

As a result, not many of the shots I took while shooting wide open came in well focused. This is exacerbated by the horribly slow focus speed.

Lastly, the raw images exhibit quite a lot of CA. Most of the lenses I’ve played with did have some CA. Mostly correctable in Lightroom – just check the “Remove Cromatic Aberation” checkbox. This is the first lens that I have actually had to muck around with the slider to get it right.

Some pics…

What I liked:

  • This is a GREAT portrait lens. If you have a cooperative subject. Sleeping babies are cooperative.
  • Sharp! If you get it right. Expect soft images if you’re just millimeters off.
  • Creamy, thick bokeh

What I didn’t:

  • Heavy!
  • Focus is slower than a drunk sloth. Great if your subject isn’t moving at a zillion mph.
  • I’m used to much closer minimum focus distances. 0.95m is far away in close quarters.
  • Too much bokeh wide open? If you stare long enough at it… it kinda sucks you in and makes you wanna throw up.
  • The amount of bokeh can make you forget where, or how the picture was taken. You’re left with an expression on a face. As I said, GREAT portrait lens.

Thoughts: Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye Lens

Rented this lens over the weekend from Camera Rental Centre. I wouldn’t call this a review… since I’ve only had one weekend playing with this… I am neither a pro nor qualified to discuss lens performance, etc.

I definitely had fun with this. Shot close to 600 frames over 2 days. Focus on this thing is amazing – pretty much anything anywhere is in focus. Outtakes are the ones with an inadvertent limb in it… mine… most of the time wifey’s.

Glad I had a chance to play with this one. This is a great lens that I wouldn’t ordinarily have as part of my kit… for the kind of stuff I shoot. I mean, there’s only so many of the funny enlarged nose portraits I could have in my collection.

Overall I would say that this was a fantastic opportunity to get to play with something new without the costs associated with it, and to get out of my comfort zone.

First Photo Assignment

Let’s call it an assignment. It wasn’t a “job” cuz I wasn’t paid to do it.

It started off as a friend wanting advice on what camera they should buy. It was a Sony NEX camera they were asking about, and I had no idea… It turned out that they wanted to buy one to produce some shots for their wedding invitation. So I probed a little bit more. How are the 2 of you gonna get this done? Put the camera on a ledge or on a tripod, set it up, timer it, run over, pose and wait for it to go off? Yeap, came the reply. No way… You’re both gonna be pissed after 2 shots!

I said I’d help them choose a camera, but why don’t I come out and take some shots with them. It’d give me a chance to practice my composition and settings, and to play with my equipment. And if I royally screwed it up. Hey, they could buy a camera and try their way anyway. Or hire a professional.

We chose 2 Saturdays, just in case we had a wet day. I figured out the bride wanted/liked bokeh, and she was slightly camera shy. We chose the Hort Park / Henderson Waves area because there was a good mix of greenery and built-up areas.

Our Saturday started at 7am. The 1st lens of the day was the 100mm f2.8. It was still a little dark, and the long focal length meant I could keep my distance and give them some space. Also, the f2.8 makes for some good bokeh!

After an hour or so as the couple warmed up to me, I changed up to a 24-105mm f4 lens. That allowed me some nice wide angles on the Henderson Waves bridge.

We were done in 2.5 hours. I shot under 300 frames. Spent about 4 hours editing and delivered 7 shots I thought they could use in their invite.

My first happy “clients”. Not sure if they want their faces on here, so this is one of the outtakes.

Update Mar 2013

They asked me to do the actual day shoot too. I had to decline – it would be horrible to screw up an actual day shoot. And I didn’t have the flash or know-how for the low light stuff (even if it were a lunch event). Anyway they’ve done it and I got a comment from the guy they hired!

She: you know what.. the photographer whom i told u took our wedding day photos, he said the photos u took were very good for a non-pro photographer that does not photograph for a living. He used to own a studio, he does wedding shoots n stuff

Me: i will take that as a compliment!