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Author Topic: Looking For More Canon Quality  (Read 2933 times)
LeonD
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« on: February 27, 2013, 01:13:53 PM »
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While I can be a "gear head" with other passions, I tend to be pretty satisfied with my photography equipment.  That said, I'm feeling the urge/desire/need to invest in some new equipment.

I do photography as a passion as opposed to a profession.  Ninety percent of the pictures I take would be considered landscape.  I currently use a Canon 5D with the 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L lenses.  My method of operation tends to be camera on a tripod, remote release, ISO at 100, either autofocus with the central point or manual focus, raw image processed in Lightroom 4/Photoshop 6 and printed 13x19 on an Epson Stylus Photo R3000.

What I'm considering is possibly a new body (Canon 5D Mark III or Canon 6D) or new lenses (most likely primes; either Canon or Zeiss in the 85mm, 35mm and 24mm range).  My one caveat is that I'd like the improvement in quality to be noticeable.  And by noticeable, I don't mean on charts/graphs or by other photographers.  An improvement where a non photographer looking at one of my prints would be able to see the difference.

Any thoughts?
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jgbowerman
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 01:30:24 PM »
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Consider a Canon or third-party Tilt/Shift lens... they are both challenging and fun to operate.
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k bennett
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 01:55:26 PM »
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I dunno, you have a pretty good kit for what you are doing -- a very good camera + low ISO values + smallish prints = good quality. The 5D was and is a remarkable camera, and you really aren't testing its limits. The newer cameras will give you a couple of things:

Live View. This is pretty handy for nailing the focus. Using an LVD magnifier like the Hoodman loupe and zooming in with the LCD zoom (not your lens) results in very accurate manual focus direct from the sensor itself.

Better high ISO quality. But you don't really need that (although you might discover a penchant for hand held dusk photography with a 35mm f/1.4 lens. That sort of thing is a lot of fun.)

Bigger prints or more cropping room. But again, unless you want to buy a 17 or 24 inch printer, this isn't a huge advantage.

And none of these things are likely to improve your images so much that a non-photographer would be able to see the improvement in 13x19 inch prints. In 16x24, yes, and in 24x36, definitely.

The lenses are another story, and something like the Canon 24mm TSE lens is just so superb that it's likely to make you happy even if your friends don't see a huge difference. (And then you'll want the live view option for critical focusing, since that lens is manual focus only.) The Zeiss lenses appear to be the same way, online tests show very significant improvements in edge sharpness in particular. Not sure how visible it would be in a 13x19 print, however. Others will likely weigh in here.

One of my students just brought in her new 6D for me to check out. It's a very nice little camera...
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
MrSmith
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 02:38:31 PM »
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90mm t-SE, 24mm ts-e,  100mm 2.8 IS macro, Zeiss 50mmf2 macro
There's other lenses out there that will give you the same 'pop' they are a world away from the 17-40 that you have been using.
The 70-200 is still a good usable lens though.
These and a new body/sensor will give you quite a leap in image quality. Do your research on lenses though there are some real gems out there but also a few stinkers.
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 03:41:28 PM »
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Or go for a 5dm2 and a Zeiss 21mm and the new samyang ts when it becomes available....... for me the Zeiss 21mm was a very noticeable improvement, and easy to see when scanning through the thumbnails. Rent some lenses and try them out and see what you like and don't like.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 01:14:15 AM »
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I would recommend renting if possible before buying.

I went the ZE way with my 5D3 and have no regrets. And there is more to the good lenses than just sharpness.

However some photographers don't see a great difference than with the Canon equiv. So again rent or try before you buy.

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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 04:39:12 AM »
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I can perfectly understand the urge/desire to acquire new gear, but for the situation you describe and your intended purposes, neither you or people looking at your prints would be able to see a difference. If you can not describe why you need new gear, other then by "urge or desire", if you can not state very objectively the reasons, you would be just wasting money.

The kit you already have is already top quality. Sure, a prime lens will be slightly sharper in the edges of the frame, compared to the 17-40, but are the gains noticeable for you?
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tjbates
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 04:32:23 PM »
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Stay with what you've got and throw some money into travelling to some spectacular places or attending a workshop - you'll get more inspiration out of that than new kit and I bet you everyone will notice the difference.
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 08:52:23 PM »
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Consider a Canon or third-party Tilt/Shift lens... they are both challenging and fun to operate.

And overall, imo they are the best TS lenses available.  I won't rule out Nikon, as they reportedly have at least one good one, but every review I've seen of the other brands has not impressed me at all.

I spent a lot of time researching before I acquired my 24TSE Mark II.  When using Tilt on a flat landscape, I quite often shoot wide open (f/3.5).  Check the Photozone tests for the Zeiss 21 and Canon 24 TSE II:

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/603-canon24f35tse2?start=2

http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/470-zeiss_zf_21_28_5d?start=1

I always chuckle a bit when the vaunted Zeiss is held up to be the "best" lens (the Canon lens will "hold its own" against the Zeiss).

Glenn

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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 02:47:21 AM »
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My one caveat is that I'd like the improvement in quality to be noticeable.  And by noticeable, I don't mean on charts/graphs or by other photographers.  An improvement where a non photographer looking at one of my prints would be able to see the difference.

Hi,

Have you considered stitching? That can add loads of resolution, and liberate you from a fixed aspect ratio. And since you shoot from a tripod anyway, all you need is a few components (good ones will still cost considerable money, so invest wisely).

As others have suggested, there are several T/S lenses worth considereing as well, because they can help to overcome certain DOF situations without having to use such narrow apertures that they reduce overall quality due to diffraction.  They also offer a way (shift) to influence apparent perspective. You can also use the T/S lenses in combination with stitching.

Cheers,
Bart
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 02:49:54 AM »
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I think that you are looking at this from the wrong angle.

With the equipment you have and the type of prints you produce, you are already capable of producing very high quality results. Upgrade to better (or at least more recent) camera and better lenses and the best prints you can produce will not be noticeably better that the best you already produce. What you will be able to do is produce that "best" quality in more extreme or difficult conditions.

Give you an example (from a Nikon perspective). When I used D300 (crop sensor, 12Mp, three generations old) I could produce great A3+ prints if I used most of the frame and the camera had been able to cope with the lighting conditions at reasonably low ISO. Now, with my D800E, I cannot produce an A3 print that is noticeably better than my best D300 prints - but I can achieve that quality from maybe 10% of the frame and in much more difficult light and at far higher ISO. Also some things are "easier" due to improved AF, more accurate metering, etc., etc.

So what am I saying? That upgrading your kit will not, by itself, lead to any enhancement of the quality of the sort of prints you are producing - but it might enable you to produce your best quality much more easily.
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jgbowerman
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 08:53:55 AM »
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And overall, imo they are the best TS lenses available.  I won't rule out Nikon, as they reportedly have at least one good one, but every review I've seen of the other brands has not impressed me at all.

Glenn

With the exception of Price/Performance, this lineup of TS lenses outperforms Nikon and Canon from what I've read: Hartblei 40/80/120 TS
Originally constructed for a 6x6 format, the made-in-Germany Zeiss glass (most all other Zeiss glass is made in Japan these days) includes the option of having an integrated rotating Tripod/Lens-mount providing parallax-free stitching. The mechanical quality is equally impeccable, far better than what Nikon has to offer.

Greg
 
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AFairley
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 09:04:13 AM »
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So what am I saying? That upgrading your kit will not, by itself, lead to any enhancement of the quality of the sort of prints you are producing - but it might enable you to produce your best quality much more easily.

+1
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 09:38:19 AM »
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The only tests I could find on the Hartblei are on Photozone for the 80 mm, and it was tested on an APS-C body (the Canon TSE24 was tested on a FF):

http://www.photozone.de/reviews/205-hartblei-super-rotator-80mm-f28-mc-test-report--review?start=1

At 800 grams, it's even porkier than my TS24, (and it seems to be made in Ukraine).

Admittedly I'm comparing a Canon 24mm to the Hartblei 90mm, but the MTF results don't seem to be quite on a par with Canon.  Wink  The worst MTF50 values on the Canon TSE24 are better than the best on the Hartblei.

Glenn
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jgbowerman
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2013, 10:23:59 AM »
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The only tests I could find on the Hartblei are on Photozone for the 80 mm, and it was tested on an APS-C body (the Canon TSE24 was tested on a FF):

http://www.photozone.de/reviews/205-hartblei-super-rotator-80mm-f28-mc-test-report--review?start=1

At 800 grams, it's even porkier than my TS24, (and it seems to be made in Ukraine).

Admittedly I'm comparing a Canon 24mm to the Hartblei 90mm, but the MTF results don't seem to be quite on a par with Canon.  Wink  The worst MTF50 values on the Canon TSE24 are better than the best on the Hartblei.

Glenn

Hi Glenn,

Your post highlights a very confusing issue regarding Hartblei lenses. The Photozone review you refer to is not reviewing the Harblei lens to which I am refering. This is a frustrating issue for this lens, there are two Hartblei super-rotator manufacturers and one has NOTHING to do with the other. The existence of this "Ukrainian" version of the Hartblei super-rotator is extremely misleading. The Ukrainian version is located at this website:

http://www.hartblei.com/lenses/lens_80mm.htm

The "German version" is located at this website:

http://www.hartblei.de/en/sr80pl.htm

To add to the confusion, the German version is assembled in Kiev where the mechanics are also manufactured, but the glass in the German version is completely made and adjusted by Carl Zeiss and a good part of why these lenses are so expensive. Here are a few links further detailing the German version:

http://diglloyd.com/articles/Hartblei-pub/Main.html
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/hartblei_120_4_pc_n10/
http://www.avhub.com.au/index.php/Product-Reviews/ProPhoto/hartblei-superrotator-40mm-f40-if-tiltshift/Page-1.html

For a little more information on the German version: http://hartblei.de/en/about.htm

It took me over a year to figure all of this out! Cheers, Greg

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maxgruzen
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2013, 09:14:03 PM »
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If you really want something that will be a big " o my god " step up from your Canon for landscapes try the Sigma DP merrill cameras. The first time you see a merrill file you'll start laughing and put your Canon gear up for sale.
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BarbaraArmstrong
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2013, 09:32:46 PM »
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+1  And especially if you stitch two or more together!  --Barbara
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Graham Clark
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2013, 10:30:12 PM »
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While I can be a "gear head" with other passions, I tend to be pretty satisfied with my photography equipment.  That said, I'm feeling the urge/desire/need to invest in some new equipment.

I do photography as a passion as opposed to a profession.  Ninety percent of the pictures I take would be considered landscape.  I currently use a Canon 5D with the 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L lenses.  My method of operation tends to be camera on a tripod, remote release, ISO at 100, either autofocus with the central point or manual focus, raw image processed in Lightroom 4/Photoshop 6 and printed 13x19 on an Epson Stylus Photo R3000.

What I'm considering is possibly a new body (Canon 5D Mark III or Canon 6D) or new lenses (most likely primes; either Canon or Zeiss in the 85mm, 35mm and 24mm range).  My one caveat is that I'd like the improvement in quality to be noticeable.  And by noticeable, I don't mean on charts/graphs or by other photographers.  An improvement where a non photographer looking at one of my prints would be able to see the difference.

Any thoughts?

A 40x60 printed from an original Canon EOS5D/6D or Nikon D800E all look identical. Image quality is a myth. Perhaps a different focal range that you've never shot with before will do it for you.

Graham

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KevinA
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 04:00:28 AM »
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I think large print quality from something like a D800 compared with a 5DIII will be better until a certain point, wether it's that much better the general public will notice or care is another matter. When you start to go really big I bet the difference gets smaller as the computer interpolation takes over.
I've had 30x40inch prints made from 14mp and 21mp they all look good quality. If there is a difference the lens used is a bigger factor than the mp count.
I have lots of MF film negs I've scanned on a Coolscan, on screen the resolution looks less than my digital, printed I much prefer the look of the film images, so what exactly is quality measured in? the blades of grass you can count or the feel of the picture?
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2013, 09:30:52 AM »
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Hi Glenn,

Your post highlights a very confusing issue regarding Hartblei lenses. The Photozone review you refer to is not reviewing the Harblei lens to which I am refering. This is a frustrating issue for this lens, there are two Hartblei super-rotator manufacturers and one has NOTHING to do with the other. The existence of this "Ukrainian" version of the Hartblei super-rotator is extremely misleading. The Ukrainian version is located at this website:

http://www.hartblei.com/lenses/lens_80mm.htm

The "German version" is located at this website:

http://www.hartblei.de/en/sr80pl.htm

To add to the confusion, the German version is assembled in Kiev where the mechanics are also manufactured, but the glass in the German version is completely made and adjusted by Carl Zeiss and a good part of why these lenses are so expensive. Here are a few links further detailing the German version:

http://diglloyd.com/articles/Hartblei-pub/Main.html
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/hartblei_120_4_pc_n10/
http://www.avhub.com.au/index.php/Product-Reviews/ProPhoto/hartblei-superrotator-40mm-f40-if-tiltshift/Page-1.html

For a little more information on the German version: http://hartblei.de/en/about.htm

It took me over a year to figure all of this out! Cheers, Greg



Greg:

Thanks for the clarification on this confusing and completely muddy issue.  I wonder if the guys at Photozone even know about this.

Glenn
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