Hello again. And yes, A Fashion Shooter is back. Sort of. I am sorry for my absence, but I was busy doing things like moving to California, getting engaged, married, and having a baby! Oh, and flying back and forth between LA and NY for photo assignments.
Here’s the boy.
(I was trying to get off of this testing phase on this blog. and back to lighting, but I am still testing…)
In trying a third Canon 5D Mark II body today, it focuses better with the outer AF points, but they are still no good for full figure shots where the target is far off. Lots of out of focus ones.
On a positive note, the outer AF points seem to work ok for waist-up shots. And the color on this one is FAR better than my other 5D2 bodies.
(If the skin tones look a little funny, that’s because they are. The model is going to Japan tomorrow, where they insist that the models be as pale as possible. So she’s been hiding from the sun And thus, copius amounts of spray-on tan were applied.)
Still, if I were shooting something critical and could not be tethered to a computer to check focus, I would not use this camera! The auto focus is just too dodgy on far away objects, even using the center point. Tis a pity.
p.s. Dear Canon: Isn’t the one-shot AF mode supposed to only take the shot when it’s achieved focus at the selected AF point? IF so, maybe part of this problem could be resolved with a firmare fix: make it so that in one-shot AF mode the camera actually does not take the shot if the image is out of focus. Would this work, or can the camera just not tell that the image is not in focus?
**notes on the lighting setup for the above shots will follow shortly**
I shot a story in a restaurant in Los Angeles yesterday – not with my usual full-frame cameras, but instead with the 1.6 crop Canon Rebel T2i / 550d. Why? In part to see how successful I could be in getting the background blur I want and need for tabletop photography in a busy room. Also, because I travel a lot, and having a small, light and usable camera is important at times. Knowing that the dynamic range of the newer crop-chip cameras is on par with the 5D2/1Ds3 cameras, it seemed feasible that this camera could do a stellar job. As I travel a lot, the 550d acts as a backup for my full-frame cameras when on the road – because it is small, light, and has an on-camera flash, which comes in handy now and then!)
I also used inexpensive consumer leneses: Canon 50mm 1.8, the kit zoom lens 18-55 IS, and the 24-85 3.5-4.5) These cheaper lenses are sharp enough most of the the time. But when pointed down, the focus and zoom tend to drift due to gravity, which means a LOT more work and constant refocusing and re-compositing. When working with time constraints, this is a big problem. The more expensive lenses which I use most of the time (70-200 2.8 L, 100mm macro, 50mm 1.4 etc. are much better in this regard. They stay where you put them. And the tripod collars on the 70-200 and macro are real time savers.)
A few issues with the T2i:
Viewfinder is not great for precise manual focus when using narrow depth-of-field! After using the full-frame cameras with their optional precision focusing screens, the T2i’s manual focusing is vague. Stopped down it is no problem, but using a 50mm or 85mm near wide open, you really can not tell precisely where you are focused until after the shot is taken and you can view it on an LCD screen.
I somehow thought I could use my Canon remote cable release for this camera, but no! I ended up using the 2 second timer instead, which is not nearly as convenient or fast as a remote release.
What worked well:
The image quality on this camera is really very good. No one I know of in the publishing world is going to complain about the files coming out of this camera. And these are going to Gourmet Magazine.
Tethered transfer times to the computer are good (I was shooting RAW connected with Canon’s Digital Photo Pro software. )
Battery life is very good. After the shoot the battery still showed just about full-power. The older cameras (including the 5D Classic, T1i…) would chew through batteries much faster, especially when shooting tethered.
In conclusion: The T2i/550d worked very well in this commercial application. Files look great, and everyone is happy. However, I do not recommend the cheaper consumer lenses for table top photography. While the IQ was fine, their mechanical characteristics made for some frustrating focusing and compositional issues.
While the T2i has been replaced with the T3i, the T2i can be had for good prices now. I bought this one as kit with the 18-55 IS as a refurb directly from Canon for under $500. IMO it makes a great small and light travel camera, and it also makes a good backup for the full frame bodies.
Thoughts on the Canon T1i/T2i
It seems like every month I am asked about which camera to buy – usually by some friends who are about to have a baby. I have recommended Nikon and Canon entry level DSLRs, and I have gotten raves about just how much better the results are. And it is true – a lot of the time one can get far superior results with a decent DSLR than with a point and shoot. And the control over depth of field can give the images a professional-looking touch.
With cameras like the recently announced Canon T2i (rebel 550) at $900 with a lens, there are many choices which are simply out of reach for many new parents.
And the cameras I am used to using for my fashion and food work (1Ds mark III, 5D Mark II…) are WAY out of price range, and far too heavy for most casual users anyway.
So I set about to get relatively inexpensive SLR and put it through it’s paces on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard.
I got a minty T1i body and a minty 18-55 IS kit lens off of Craigslist in Los Angeles for a total of $500. (The T1i kit sells for $700 new today.) This is a saving of close to $400 over the aforementioned T2i kit with tax.
Well, first things first – the kit performed remarkably well. Metering was spot on using evaluative and partial modes, even when shooting JPEGS. I had read that this camera can be prone to overexposure in bright conditions, but I experienced no such thing. If anything, it underexposed 1/3 to ½ stop, which is perfect in my opinion – so as not to risk blown highlights.
Using the built-in flash at a party worked very well too – and again the exposures and skin tones were dead accurate. What a surprise! (It’s easy to get used to the Pro bodies and to assume that the consumer cameras are going to be lacking in many obvious ways, but that it not what I found with this camera + lens combo.)
Overall I feel it is a great backup camera for someone who as a full-frame camera such as a 5D. IQ is so good that I cannot see any difference in terms of image quality in the applications I have used them for (moderately sized prints for advertising, portfolios and web.)
I would not hesitate to use it as a primary camera, unless absolute control of depth of field is a priority – in which case the larger the sensor the better, and the 5D/1Ds3 would be the better choice.
The T1i and T2i represent amazing value, and have superb image quality and ease of use. Everyone I have recommended them to has been thrilled with the results!
Ok, just so you all know I am not a one-trick pony, i thought I’d post some of my ‘other’ work. And it’s good. Most of these were recently shot with Laurent Lanneau, who was the chef for the French Ambassador for the United Nations in NY at the time.
In New York it is very difficult to be taken seriously in fashion if you admit to shooting anything other than fashion. If so, people think you must be scatter brained, unfocused, unsure. For the most part NY is a very specialized photography market – people expect you to do one thing only. But I am fearless, so here goes
The second workshop went well. Here is one of the resulting images. More to come…(Canon 5D Mark II, 50mm lens, daylight, handheld)
Hello! Christine Be will be the Creative Director for the upcoming workshops, and I thought you might like to see some of her work. Her clients have included Donna Karan, Tiffany & Co., Tom Ford, Estee Lauder, and many more. (*the photos in this post were shot by Mikael Jansson, one of my favorite photographers. And Christine worked on the design*)
She’s just launched her personal web site, and here it is:
And a few highlights from her site:
It really makes a huge difference in terms of the usability of the video function of this camera. Cheers!
Here are some of the details:
Firmware Version 1.1.0 incorporates the following improvements and fixes.
- Includes a function to enable the manual exposure setting when shooting movies.
- Disables the function of the depth-of-field preview button when images are played back or when the menu screen is displayed on the LCD panel.
- Fixes a phenomenon where the peripheral illumination of images cannot be properly corrected, even if the images were captured with the lens peripheral illumination correction function set to Enable.
- Fixes the algorithms of the Auto Lighting Optimizer function when Custom Function C.Fn II-3 Highlight tone priority is enabled.
- Fixes incorrect indications on the Arabic, Romanian, Spanish, and Ukrainian menu screens.
- Changes the battery information displayed on the camera when using the optional Battery Grip BG-E6.
*For details on how to use this function, please download the PDF files from the bottom of this page.
*Digital Photo Professional software version 3.6.1 or later (for Windows and Macintosh) can be used to automatically correct the peripheral illumination of RAW and JPEG images that were captured in the Peripheral illumination correction setting with cameras that have Firmware Version 1.0.7 or earlier.
Firmware Version 1.1.0 is for cameras with firmware up to version 1.0.7. If the camera’s firmware is already version 1.1.0, it is not necessary to update the firmware.
Here are a few of the tear sheets from the Met Bldg’s promo materials:
And here are a few of my advertising images from the Metropolitan Bldg:
So here’s the plan:
There will be a maximim of 5 participants. The format will be fairly loose. I want you to get as much out of it as possible – and to that extent we will be doing what you all want to do the most. The space is huge so we will have plenty of space to spread out. I’ll be concentrating on using daylight and mixing it with strobes, bounce cards, gels, etc. Also discussed will be the pluses and minuses of front lighting, back lighting, side lighting, strobe, tungsten, modeling lights, and such.