steveTQP

steveTQP

Lives in United States Boulder, CO, United States
Works as a QA Analyst/Landscape Stock Photographer
Joined on Dec 23, 2003
About me:

Check out www.totalqualityphoto.com for SHARP
stock photography...Thank you!

Comments

Total: 68, showing: 1 – 20
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On article In-depth tripod review: ProMediaGear Pro-Stix TR344 (105 comments in total)
In reply to:

Distorted_Light: High end tripod is no longer any top precision equipment in which only advanced countries can produced. Look at the rise of those major Chinese brands like Sirui, Benro, Leofoto and the like. Their qualities are now mostly on par with those major brands traditionally, though most of them undoubtedly began their rise by copying others’ designs.
Now that you can, with sufficient researches, find top tier tripods with far less price if you are not too brand sensitive. Buying traditional brand tripods is now more of a moral choice of not rewarding the copycat players with maybe a little better after sales services.

Greetings! Though I certainly agree that, in general, as it applies to tripods, "you get what you pay for", several years back, with pockets not quite deep enough for the premium Gitzo, RRS, FLM, PMG, etc., I decided to try the Leofoto brand, specifically, the LN-254CT. While I can't speak to their customer service, or lack thereof, the tripod includes a great ball head with one feature that I've not found INCLUDED on most ball heads...namely, a panoramic head, enabling it to function as a pano head and a "poor man's " gimbal head! (Max payload = 22 lbs.) Also, another feature of this tripod/head combo, is that the knobs/controls on the ball head each have a different shape and texture (ALL metal, CNC aluminum). In any case, this Leofoto LN-254CT Tripod is solid...10X carbon fiber legs, metal spikes (with rubber gaskets), handy carabiner allen tool, and a very nice carrying case. Well worth $380, IMHO, IF you aren't using a Pro DSLR with an 800mm telephoto.…Thanks, and Be Safe!

Link | Posted on Sep 14, 2021 at 18:56 UTC
On article Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S sample gallery (84 comments in total)
In reply to:

Camillo: Get better IQ from old 105 2.8 just mt thoughts but to each its own

Hi Camillo. "Better IQ" in what way? I have read that all of the Nikkor S lenses outperform the Nikkor F equivalents, so was surprised by this comment. Thank you.

Link | Posted on Aug 12, 2021 at 15:01 UTC
In reply to:

User8865614854: Ridiculous price. I have a Manfrotto BeFree GT Carbon (496 head) which costs less than 30% of the RRS, is not much heavier (3.4 vs. 3.2 lbs.) and is rated to handle a load of 22 lbs.

While I can see that the RRS is a quality tripod, I too, found a much less expensive Chinese brand called Leofoto, that makes an Amazing travel tripod (both Aluminum and Carbon Fiber versions) AND it includes a fantastic ball head with one feature that I've not found INCLUDED on any other ball head...namely, a panoramic head! This allows the single ball head to function as a pano head, plus, if you swing it into the notch, turns the pano head into a "poor man's " gimbal head! (Max payload = 22 lbs.) Also, another feature of this tripod/head combo, is that the knobs/controls on the ball head each have a different shape and texture (ALL metal, CNC aluminum)! Simply ingenious design, because it eliminates the possibility of inadvertently loosening the wrong knob!! In any case, the Leofoto LN-254CT Tripod is awesome...10X carbon fiber legs, included quality metal spikes (with rubber gaskets), included handy carabiner allen tool, and a very nice carrying case. Well worth $380, IMHO.

Link | Posted on Aug 11, 2021 at 20:30 UTC
In reply to:

nunatak: "So what does the additional $850 over the Peak Design carbon-fiber travel tripod buy you? In a word - stability."

this is, IMO, a 'bold claim' considering the author of the article has presented no photos which demonstrate these apparent virtues. there are a variety of 'techniques' available to enhance stability which might level the playing field with any of these tripod legs — depending on the subject matter.

don't get me wrong. a high degree of measured and proven stability can be critical for some applications, but if it's demonstrable, a demonstration needs to be forthcoming. otherwise it's just loosey-goosey opinion. just like my comment. :)

While I certainly admire PD for high-quality on their products, and own a few, i.e., shoulder and wrist straps, I always wondered why, if I'm not mistaken, this PD tripod head has no provision for a level horizontal pan. Thank you,

Link | Posted on Aug 11, 2021 at 19:56 UTC
In reply to:

Jose E. Hernandez: Travel tripods are becoming like drones, I find more places not allowing them such as national parks, museums and other public places with excuses that if you use a tripod you must be a professional and pay a fee, or that they obstruct traffic of other visitors causing a hazard. Newer lenses/ cameras with built-in stabilization I have found the need for tripods in general not necessary except for night photography. In recent trip used one of those smaller ones about 6 inches that work well except with large telephoto lenses. These one I can carry in a pocket and not so noticeable and able to use them without arising notice. Above issues also apply to the large professional tripods that I use in isolated areas away from the tourists centers.

Hi Jose. While I agree with your comment about restrictions on tripod use, may I add another reason for them...focus stacking (or, in Nikon's parlance, Focus Shift Shooting). Though I do this technique more often with small product photography, there have been times when it's employed in landscape photography as well. And just FYI, I use the awesome Leofoto LN-254CT tripod, which has an included panoramic head. Also, I think that comparing this RRS to the Peak Design tripod is a bit misplaced, as unless I'm mistaken, the PD cannot do a level horizontal pan!! That in itself would be a deal-breaker for me, as well as the questionable stability issue when all legs are extended. Also, when in a "tripod-restricted" area, I find that the iFOOTAGE Cobra II monopod is an excellent choice! Thanks again.

Link | Posted on Aug 11, 2021 at 19:37 UTC
On article In-depth tripod review: FLM CP34-L4 II (66 comments in total)
In reply to:

steveTQP: Greetings. Regarding the comment about a center column introducing a "huge stability disadvantage", may I state that this only applies when a center column is raised SUBSTANTIALLY. when I use a center column for, as Jeremygreen stated, "fine tuning", I get absolutely zero impact on stability or image sharpness. (I'm talking about a less than 2 inch height adjustment.) If appropriately locked down, any tripod worth its salt should permit such a fine adjustment with no impact on stability. Thank you.

Points taken, @sirhawkeye64. Since I don't generally "use" the center column anyway, as my tripods do come to the correct (usable) height without any center column extension, perhaps I will investigate models without the column in the future...especially if I happen to need images in a more "windy" or unpredictable environment. I guess my point was that for in-studio work, a tripod with an unextended (and fully locked down) center column does the job. Thanks!

Link | Posted on Aug 9, 2021 at 16:29 UTC
On article In-depth tripod review: FLM CP34-L4 II (66 comments in total)
In reply to:

steveTQP: Greetings. Regarding the comment about a center column introducing a "huge stability disadvantage", may I state that this only applies when a center column is raised SUBSTANTIALLY. when I use a center column for, as Jeremygreen stated, "fine tuning", I get absolutely zero impact on stability or image sharpness. (I'm talking about a less than 2 inch height adjustment.) If appropriately locked down, any tripod worth its salt should permit such a fine adjustment with no impact on stability. Thank you.

@lokatz and @sirhawkeye64, I understand your points about the center column adding one "moving part" to the mix. Maybe I'm just lucky with the particular tripods I've used over the years, (Gitzo, Manfrotto, and currently a Leofoto LN-254CT), but when I fully lock the center column down, and place either a DSLR or mirrorless (currently a Nikon Z7 with wide or even moderate telephoto zoom), and use the exposure delay and timer to trip the shutter, I obtain extremely sharp images with very fine detail. Granted, I'd love to compare these results to a setup with no center column, as I'd definitely convert to that system if I could discern a difference in sharpness obtained without a center column! (Also, as I shoot mainly in studio or outdoors with little/no wind, I really don't do "strenuous" testing of the system. Thanks for the insights!

Link | Posted on Aug 6, 2021 at 15:28 UTC
On article In-depth tripod review: FLM CP34-L4 II (66 comments in total)
In reply to:

jeremygreen: I don’t understand tripods with no center column. Fine tuning camera height with a center column is quick and easy. Without it it’s a 3-leg adjustment. If they add that feature it will be a great tripod.

HI Lokatz. Yes, I agree about those tests showing vibration and sharpness effects of raising the center column, however I think that many of them show the column raised to (or near) FULL height. Common sense would dictate that no tripod center column should EVER be used in that manner, if one is concerned about vibration and its negative impact on sharpness. Thank you.

Link | Posted on Aug 5, 2021 at 18:01 UTC
On article In-depth tripod review: FLM CP34-L4 II (66 comments in total)

Greetings. Regarding the comment about a center column introducing a "huge stability disadvantage", may I state that this only applies when a center column is raised SUBSTANTIALLY. when I use a center column for, as Jeremygreen stated, "fine tuning", I get absolutely zero impact on stability or image sharpness. (I'm talking about a less than 2 inch height adjustment.) If appropriately locked down, any tripod worth its salt should permit such a fine adjustment with no impact on stability. Thank you.

Link | Posted on Aug 5, 2021 at 16:52 UTC as 7th comment | 5 replies
On article Zeiss ZX1 review (823 comments in total)

Being Zeiss, I have no doubt that the image quality obtained is excellent, but IMHO the ergonomics and features leave much to be desired. Zeiss, stick with what you know best…Lenses!!

Link | Posted on Jul 24, 2021 at 14:49 UTC as 43rd comment
On article Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S sample gallery (84 comments in total)
In reply to:

Borami: Looks sharp but not blown away. Maybe I was expecting more. Guess it's par for the course for the Z system.

Hi Borami. I too, agree that one cannot tell how truly sharp this lens is, based on these random images. Please refer to my earlier post. As for the Z System in general though, I’ve been most impressed with the detail I’m seeing from the Z7 and the 50 f/1.8 Nikkor S lens, as well as the Laowa 100 f/2.8 Ultra-Macro! Both are razor sharp, using a solid tripod and good technique. The Laowa is MF only, so can’t use the Focus Shift Shooting mode for stacked images, hence my great interest in this new Nikkor S macro lens. I expect it to be even sharper than the Laowa, but only controlled testing will reveal that. Thanks.

Link | Posted on Jun 23, 2021 at 12:25 UTC
On article Nikon NIKKOR Z MC 105mm F2.8 VR S sample gallery (84 comments in total)

IMHO, what would more clearly demonstrate the sharpness of this lens would be a side-by-side controlled image comparison between it and the known sharpest macros, I.e., the Sony GM 105, Tamron 90, and Laowa 100 f/2.8 Ultra-Macro. Same subject, exposure, lighting, rather than random images. This is the best way to evaluate how sharp this new Nikkor S optic truly is!!

Link | Posted on Jun 23, 2021 at 12:16 UTC as 10th comment | 4 replies
On article Hands-on with new Nikon Z 105mm and 50mm macro lenses (223 comments in total)
In reply to:

Shaun_Nyc: Only 1:1 ? :-(

Hi Shaun. You want a macro that goes to 2:1? Aside from the short focus throw, and all MF, I can recommend checking out the Laowa 100 f/2.8 CA-Dreamer Ultra-Macro lens for the Nikon Z Mount. When you nail focus, it’s Ultra-sharp! That said, I anxiously await testing of the new Z Nikkor S 105!

Link | Posted on Jun 14, 2021 at 11:19 UTC

Nice comparison, and really no surprise on the conclusion, as the Fujifilm X-System is their main "focus", and their equally superb MF GFX System is also expanding, and recognized as a superior alternative to the likes of Hasselblad, Pentax and Mamiya. Having had the Fuji X=T3 with some superb Fujinon XF optics, I agree that it's a stellar system. In fact, had I not gone with the Nikon Z7 (and some stellar Nikkor S lenses) for printing very large, I would be an X-T4 user today. Regarding your test categories, personally, the Image Quality is by far most critical, and battery life and video are least important. Thanks for the comparison!

Link | Posted on Jun 14, 2021 at 04:38 UTC as 22nd comment | 2 replies
On article Hands-on with new Nikon Z 105mm and 50mm macro lenses (223 comments in total)
In reply to:

Sylverphoto: I don't like the 50mm. It looks cheaply made to me

Hi Sylverphoto. Not sure about that new 50, but I have the Z Nikkor S 50 f/1.8, and not only does it seem very well-built, but it's the sharpest dang lens I've ever used in 45 years of photography! IMHO, the Z-System lenses (especially the "S versions) are optically superb.

Link | Posted on Jun 14, 2021 at 02:12 UTC
On article Hands-on with new Nikon Z 105mm and 50mm macro lenses (223 comments in total)
In reply to:

thx1138: Would seriously consider the 50mm if it were f/2 and even only 0.5:1.

As a user of the Laowa 100 f/2.8 Ultra Macro with a Nikon Z7, while it has proven to be indeed, ULTRA-sharp, I find that the Focus "throw" is quite short, making it a bit time-consuming to achieve critical focus at the exact desired focus point, hence my great interest in this new Nikkor lens. So, do you feel that this lens has a very wide/ample focus throw (as other Micro-Nikkor have had), AND do you think that this lens will be sharper at 1:1 than the extremely sharp Laowa Ultra-Micro? Also, why did Nikon abandon the “Micro-Nikkor” designation for the “MC” designation? Thank you!

Link | Posted on Jun 13, 2021 at 18:43 UTC
On article Hands-on with new Nikon Z 105mm and 50mm macro lenses (223 comments in total)
In reply to:

stefferber: Looks like a excellent lens. BUT
What a disappointment not going beyond 1:1.
This was OK in 2006 but not with all the advances in macro photography over the last 5 years Nikon is well behind competition. Just look at the other macro options:
1) Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5:1 (though EF and no AF)
2) Canon 180mm f3.5 (EF with AF)
3) Venus Laowa 100mm f2.8 2:1: no AF but with lens connectors in EF version: EXIF + aperture control
as the Canon EF->R adaptor is much better.

Though I am with Nikon Z7 literally from "day one" using Nikon PB-6, Nikkor 105mm micro, Laowa 25mm, I am considering to switch to Canon R5.

Ah yes, I too, have the Laowa 100 f/2.8 CA-Dreamer Ultra-Macro lens on a Z7. While that combination is indeed Ultra-sharp, I find that the Laowa lens is a bit hard to achieve critical focus where you want it, because of its extremely short focus “throw”! I just hope that the new Z Nikkor S 105 MC is at least as sharp as the Laowa! Plus, being AF, it will permit use of the Z7’s Focus Shift Shooting mode.

Link | Posted on Jun 11, 2021 at 09:38 UTC
In reply to:

JayPhizzt: The 105mm macro really makes me want to switch to Nikon Z. The image quality seems absolutely fantastic. Both the sharpness and contrast are incredible. The bokeh looks really soft and creamy as well.
I'm also pleasantly surprised by the relatively low weight and price.

Nice comments, Jay and awy. As for the Laowa 100 f/2.8 CA Dreamer Ultra-Macro, yes, it get you 2x ratio, and is ultra-sharp too. However, it’s a MF lens with an irritatingly short focus throw, meaning that one must rotate the focus ring VERY precisely in order to achieve critical focus where you want it! I hope that this new MC Nikkor Z 105 is AT LEAST as sharp as the Laowa, and undoubtedly has a much longer focus throw.

Link | Posted on Jun 3, 2021 at 11:16 UTC
In reply to:

aerorail: the point of the article is? if the lens fits why would it make any difference? probably better glass back in the day

Hi Shelly. Your comments about modern lenses giving "less sharpness" may indeed be true for some lenses, however in my experience over 45 years in photography, three of the sharpest lenses I've ever used are the Fujinon XF90 f/2, the 50 f/1.8 Nikkor S, and the Laowa 100 f/2.8 Ultra-Macro, the oldest of which (the Fuji) was released in 2015. None of these lenses I'd consider "really expensive". Thank you.

Link | Posted on Feb 10, 2021 at 21:46 UTC

Carey, a very well done and interesting review! First, I was surprised to hear that you ALSO had the "stuck aperture blades" issue with this lens!! I too, had the problem, which obviously made the lens useless for macro ("micro") work. That you got it repaired has given me a similar idea, and to test it on the Z7 as well. However, for macro and product work, I am using the Laowa 100 f/2.8 Ultra-Macro lens, which, while it is extremely sharp, the focus throw is very short, meaning that, if you had trouble manually focusing with the old 55 Micro-Nikkor with its' excellent and long focus throw, you'll find it next to impossible to focus precisely with the Laowa...unless you have an abundance of patience. :-) Anyway, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the 105 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor S lens, which should, IMHO, if the image quality of the current Nikkor S lenses are any indication, be the sharpest Macro ("Micro") lens out there! Time, and testing will tell.

Link | Posted on Feb 10, 2021 at 21:37 UTC as 44th comment | 1 reply
Total: 68, showing: 1 – 20
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