D-Noc Photography

Canon EOS 6D mark II to be announced in two weeks

Back in the fall of 2015 I were looking for a replacement for my 60D and were considering my options. I could buy the 6D then and there, keep saving and buy the 5D mark III or wait for the 6D mark II. I ended up buying the 6D and a second hand 24-105 f/4 L and haven't looked back since. I bought it on a hunch that the 6D mark II would not be announced for a while. I were right...

Now, a year and a half later, the rumors seem to indicate that the 6D mark II might get finally be announced in two weeks time.

I look forward to reading the specs for the new camera. It seems to be a decent upgrade to the original 6D, and apparently it will fix the only major flaw of the original: the lack of a flip screen. My 60D had this and I used it a lot. After switching to the 6D it were the only thing I really missed.

It seems like a lot of people complain about the lack of 4K, but I think they misunderstand the 6D and the 6D mark II. They are a photographers camera, not a videographers camera. It is a simple no nonsense camera. To me it is not important at all and I wouldn't care if the 6D mark II didn't have video capabilities at all.

Will I be out buying the 6D mark II as soon as it is released? No, not likely. It's not that I am disappointed, it's more that I already have a nice camera, a camera that I know like the back of my hand, a camera that fits my needs.

I think it is a mistake to switch cameras all the time. I like knowing how my camera acts, how to operate it without thinking about it and its forces and weaknesses. 

Yes, having a 6D mark II would be awesome, but would it improve my pictures? Not likely. Well, except for the flip screen perhaps. Despite the bad reputation of the autofocus system of the 6D, it is very precise and very fast. I think most of the crap talk comes from Internet "experts" who hasn't ever tried the 6D.

I will, at least for a while stick to my 6D. It still has plenty of shots left in it and as the mark II is more an evolution than a revolution, there is now need to upgrade here and now. Maybe in a couple of years, or obviously if anything should happen to my camera. Or maybe I will skip the mark II and wait for the mark III.

Who knows.. maybe Canon will release a mirror less camera the size of a DSLR, with EF mount by that time. That would be interesting too.


Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 ART to be available next month

I am not really the type who gets all excited about new gear, and I think i more or less got my GAS under control, but no rule without exceptions.

According to the rumours all over the Internet, Sigma is finally going to make their promising new 24-70mm f/2.8 ART zoom lens available next week.

I currently use the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L when I need more than just my Canon 35mm f/2, and even though that is a pretty good zoom as well, I sometimes think the aperture of f/4 is a bit too limiting. Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing lens, but when it starts to get dark I would love to have a larger aperture available.

I then obviously considered the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, but it is rather expensive, and the cheaper Tamron 24-70mm does not seem to be as good as the Tamron 17-50mm i used on my 60D.

So, I am excited about this new release, because I hope that the reviews will reveal that the image quality is in the same class as Sigmas other ART lenses. If it is, and the price is not too astronomic, I will be all over this lens.

Hopefully prices will be available soon too, so that I can make a decision...

Step away from Mediocrity

I just heard of this almost magical camera gadget that seems to be the next big thing on Kick-Starter, Arsenal.

It is a gadget that can help you select the optimal camera settings, by analyzing the subject, light etc. and make you get perfect pictures every time.

Although I find the technology behind this gadget fascinating, I can't help thinking that this is yet another attempt to dumb it down.

Photography is, among many other things, a matter of learning a craft. Figuring out what works and what doesn't and to keep striving towards mastering the craft.

Perhaps this thingy can help beginners understand the craft better?
Personally, I would not use it, even if it could make life easier.

But that is just a personal choice. I WANT photography to be challenging. I want to feel stupid when I fail and I want to feel awesome when I succeed.

Using an add-on Superior-Auto Mode does not seem like the best way to challenge yourself.

Micro adjustment made easy

Micro adjustments has always been a bit intimidating to me. The idea is that the lens and the autofocus sensor in the camera does not always result in an exact focus on the actual image sensor. Focus might be a bit in front or behind the point that were focused upon when autofocus were engaged. This happens because of a tiny offset between the distance between Lens/Autofocus sensor and Lens/Image sensor.

To fix this, most Mid-/High range DSLR's allows you to perform micro adjustments per lens. But the procedure included buying advanced focusing gadgetry that had to be set up very precisely, taking photos of the gadget and then trying to determine how far off the focus is.

In short, complicated and with a bit of magic involved.

This weekend I read a bit about a procedure called Dot-Tuning. It is kind of the same procedure as explained above, but much more simple to understand and do. Instead of a complicated setup, you print out a sheet of paper with a high contrast pattern which you then tape to a wall or similar. Next you place your camera on a tripod at a distance of 50x focal length of the lens (e.g. with a 50mm lens the distance would be 50x50mm=2500mm). Position the camera to point directly at the high contrast pattern with the center focus point and enable Live View. Now use the 10x magnification on the Live View to set focus, either manually or with the focus button. Once focus has been acquired, set the lens to manual focus to avoid refocusing.

Next the idea is to microadjust up from 0 to +1, +2 and so on, one step at the time, each time looking in the viewfinder and checking if the camera can acquire focus instantly without any hesitation. Once you reach this point, write down the number of the offset that were the last giving a positive focus dot. Now do the same micro adjusting down from 0 to -1, -2 and so on.

When you have two points, e.g. 6 and -2 you find the middle value, in this case 2. (-2, -1 ,0, 1, [2], 3, 4, 5, 6).

To make this step simpler, the video above links to this calculator.

The idea is that since 2 is dead in the middle of the values giving positive focus confirmation, the auto focus should be much more precise than without the micro adjustment.

I tried it on my 35mm, 50mm and 85mm primes, and so far it is too soon to determine if this were a major difference, but the camera / lens combinations seems to be faster to acquire focus when I try to focus on my fast moving 7 year old daughter or in low light situations. I will still have to test this further before I can say anything with absolute certainty, but at least the Dot-Tuning procedure has made micro adjustment easy to do.

Further details about the method, as well as an ongoing discussion can be found here.

Please note that I did not invent this method, nor am I trying to take credit.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

The summer eye-opener

This summer I went to the two largest cities in Denmark, Copenhagen (our Capitol) and Aarhus with my wife and daughter. In both cases I were there to let my six year old girl experience these big cities and basically just be a tourist.

Because of this I wanted to travel as light as possible. Nothing is worse than having to drag heavy luggage or backpacks around in a hot, crowded city environment. So I had decided to leave my 6D / 24-105mm L kit at home and only bring a Canon Powershot G16.

The G16 were originally bought as "the wife camera" as my wife thinks a DSLR is way to complex to use, but recognizes that a good camera can produce far better pictures than a camera phone can. ..at least yet.

The G16 seemed like a good camera at the time. It has manual mode, can shoot RAW, is solid and can still be pretty straight forward to use.

In most situations she usually forget about the G16 and uses here smartphone instead, which she often regrets when she sees her pictures on a bigger screen. I hardly ever uses it either as I preferred my 6D.

Anyway, getting back to the point, I decided to bring the G16 thinking it would be light to carry around and still better than my phone and I wasn't going to be explicitly looking for pictures that I could share on Flickr or here on this blog. The pictures would mostly be family snapshots and sightseeing shots.

As the days past and I got more and more familiar with the G16, I got more and more impressed with it. It felt nice to be able to have my camera in the pocket of a hoodie and just pull it out whenever I needed it. It were advanced enough to not be frustrating to use and the pictures turned out great. 

When we got home and I imported the pictures into Lightroom, I were amazed. The quality of the pictures we so much better than I had expected. The difference between what I could achieve with my 6D was there of course, but it wasn't as prominent as I had expected. Yes, the quality is not quite as good, especially in dim light, but overall the pictures were more than useful. Two of them actually ended up in my Flickr photostream (also shown in this post).

It has really been an eye-opening experience. My skills as a photographer is beginning to be a heavy factor when taking pictures and because of this the choice of camera becomes less important. And that kind of made me think (or rethink) if I really needed or wanted to keep on dragging that big old DSLR around?

Or would I be better of selling everything to finance a Fuji X-Pro 2 and a couple of good lenses?

I sincerely don't know, and part of me wonders if this is just my G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) trying to lure me into buying new stuff.

For the moment I think I will keep the DSLR, but at some point I think I will allow myself to give in, break all my minimalist believes and buy a more light kit. Maybe that will end up as af deadly blow for my DSLR stuff, but if I can get by with less, without feeling that the gear is holding me down, then who cares about sensor sizes, red rings and all that jazz?

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