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Thread: Canon 5d mark II for the casual photographer

  1. #1

    Canon 5d mark II for the casual photographer

    Any thoughts on the Canon 5D Mark II? With Canon phasing out this model in favor of the Mark III I am considering the earlier version to upgrade from my 40D. Unlike many others on this site, my photography skills are..., average, and my motivation to upgrade is based on the full frame feature of the Mark II as well as its video capabilities.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  2. #2
    It's a superb camera with a really good sensor in it, and is more that enough to do anything you could ask of it. The step up to the Mklll wasn't that great either, so you are really not missing out on anything. Your DX lenses will fit, but won't give you full frame coverage, so I'd suggest get it with the 24-105 from B&H Photo for $2399.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Thank you Andrew for your guidance!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  4. #4
    Z8Mania
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    Sounds like a really nice piece of kit as they would say. Ed, please share some photos

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    Sounds like a really nice piece of kit as they would say. Ed, please share some photos
    Will do! I'm looking forward to the upgrade.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  6. #6
    The 5D2 arrived yesterday, and WOW! I went for the body only at this time with a friend who owns this camera too offering me the opportunity to test some of his lenses. Once I sort out the lenses that work for me, I'll update my collection to compliment this full frame sensor camera.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  7. #7
    Z8Mania
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    Cool!!!

  8. #8

    Initial shots

    Here's a few pictures taken last week at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Name:  FB MBA2.jpg
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    And of course one of my favorite subjects.
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    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  9. #9
    Z8Mania
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    Very nice Ed. Its tricky to take pictures through the aquarium glass. The car looks great!

  10. #10
    Looks awesome, very nice!!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  11. #11
    Thank you both for the positive feedback! This is a lot of camera for this weekend photographer. I picked up the Apple camera connection kit, so picture and movie transfers to the iPad is a snap. For a portrait lens I'm dropping hints to my wife for a 50 mm f1.4. Stay tuned...
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  12. #12
    inspired by the capabilities of the 5D2 and my own desire to have a creative outlet, I'm starting photography classes next week! Stay tuned for the new and improved EDEZ8 photos in the near future ( I hope!).
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  13. #13
    Awesome, with a black car you have a great subject to challenge your new found skills, bringing black to life is all about seeing and using reflections.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  14. #14
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    And time of day. It's almost impossible to get good shots of a black car in midday light, no?

  15. #15
    It's very hard in the midday light, unless you are near or up against something that gives great reflections, as you know just after the sun has set with a low, clean horizon gives the best light for a black car.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  16. #16
    Z8Mania
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    I agree- but I think you can get great shots by using a polarizer. Just be careful to not eliminate all the reflections, then you end up with a very dull looking subject. I took this around mid day.
     

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Awesome, with a black car you have a great subject to challenge your new found skills, bringing black to life is all about seeing and using reflections.
    The instructor wrote a book called Writing with Light, so I may be up to the task of taking pictures of the black Z8 in six short weeks. In addition to lighting, I've learned the hard way over the last two years to consider reflections in the mirror like surface of a black car.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  18. #18
    Z8Mania
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    Absolutely. I think lighting is the single most critical element to a photograph- unless your composition is so far off that your subject is out of the frame.

  19. #19
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Nice shot in the mid day sun, but not quite art... No insult intended, just the realities of shooting a black car.

  20. #20
    I'm so not a fan of HDR.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  21. #21
    Z8Mania
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    Neither am I. That shot isnt HDR though. Just a polarizer.

  22. #22
    That's funny, it has that HDR vibe. The shadows appear unrealistically open for such a high sun pic, but then again I haven't used a polarizer since the dawn of digital because of all the banding in the sky issues they used to generate, so I'm not really used to seeing them so much anymore.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  23. #23
    Z8Mania
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    What do you mean by open? I just shot it raw and the flare on the haunch was natural. I did some work with the settings in PS when processing the raw and I did edit the sky to be a drop bluer for extra drama. Otherwise it's just the polarizer. Looks like about 2pm sun in the late summer from my memory. To me cars are a vivid experience so I like to show that.

  24. #24
    I'd love to see the raw file to see what it looked like, maybe it really is an effect of the polarizer that I'm just not used to.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  25. #25
    Z8Mania
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    I will see if I can create a new thread later and Ill include the raw file and the edit metadata. When it comes to shooting shiny objects like cars, I like a polarizer- because it helps make the image pop more. I've become more and more a fan of generating images that give you the emotion of being there as much as the simple photorealism of being there.

  26. #26
    I'd love to see - I haven't even got a polarizer anymore because they used to cause so many problems with the earlier generations of sensors. If I like what you show me it might just inspire me to get one again. :-)
    Andrew Macpherson

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  27. #27
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    During our Galapagos trip, I showed some of the other travelers how to use their polarized glasses with their P&S cameras to get the glare off the water to take photos of turtles and penguins swimming. Surprisingly effective

  28. #28
    Sport Button On - DSC Off raka's Avatar
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    in the days before digital, polarizers were great for a bit of extra pop. nowadays easy to replicate some of the effects in post-processing (bluer skies), but they can still come in handy for reflections, both obvious (as mentioned above), and subtle (like on foliage/ leaves), for a more saturated look. but as Andrew mentioned, care should be taken, esp. with wide angle lenses with a lot of sky in them to avoid banding and/ or unnatural look.

    one nasty side effect of polarized sunglasses i find: turns some of my camera LCDs black, so have to remove sunglasses, or view screen at 90 degrees

  29. #29

    Class Delayed

    With only four other students, my introduction to digital photography class was cancelled. I'll enroll again for the Summer session starting in June. Until then, I'll continue exploring the capabilities of the 5D2 camera and the 600 EX RT flash I recently received.

    Great discussion on polarizing filters and black car photography!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  30. #30
    Maybe I should start doing classes, how much did this chap want to charge?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  31. #31
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Great idea Andrew! Photography tours... And it's all a write-off including the car!

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Maybe I should start doing classes, how much did this chap want to charge?
    Given your accomplishments as a photographer it isn't a fair comparison, but the fees for the digital photography basics class were $150 for 8 sessions and an additional $40 for lab fees.

    I learned from watching you perform your artistry and from the coaching you provided to others during our Napa tour in 2012. You seem like a natural teacher if that is of interest to you. I like Norcal's suggestion of car-tour themed photography classes.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  33. #33
    Yes, I do too, but I'd want a lot more than $150 :-)
    Andrew Macpherson

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  34. #34
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    People would pay a lot for an amazing tour with photo stops and lessons... I think?

  35. #35
    I like the idea, we can brainstorm in Carmel. Ed, are you going to pop down for a meal or a drive while we're there?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  36. #36
    I will be able to confirm my availability for Carmel later this week. I had a great time meeting folks in Napa last Fall, so I would love to drive down for another visit. I'll keep you posted as I finalize my business travel plans.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  37. #37
    After receiving a strong recommendation from a friend, I enrolled in another introduction to digital photography workshop. I'll provide feedback later this month.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  38. #38

    Updates

    My journey as a weekend photographer continues. I had the good fortune to sit next to Andrew over lunch during the Z8ers tour of Monterey/Carmel. In addition to the good company, he was able to provide me a few pointers in a way that even I could understand! As I stated in my last post, an afternoon workshop near San Jose CA built on the concepts Andrew spoke about over lunch as well. Over the last five weeks, I have been spending my Tuesday evenings further refining my skills. Stay tuned for better pictures in the future.

    PS: No regrets in purchasing the 5D2, and I'm exploring lenses through a place that rents them out near my home including Canon's amazing 24-70mm f2.8.

    Night shoot
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    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  39. #39
    Looking good, bravo!

    Honestly the 24-70 isn't that good, it let me down plenty. The constuction is poor, and it comes apart internally easily, which you don't realize till you're back home looking at the shots! It also has quite a bit of distortion. Overall I'd recommend the Sigma 35mm f1.4, I think you learn a lot more with the discipline of a fixed lens, and it isn't that expensive.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  40. #40
    Z8Mania
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    Very nice shots Ed!

  41. #41
    Thank you Jerry for the encouragement. Thank you too Andrew for the input on lenses. Was the 24-70 mm that failed the new or the older version? I've read some good reviews on Tamron's version of this lens, and I will rent that one for a week too. I haven't experienced a fix lens yet, and its good to read that Sigma also produces some glass that should be considered. Let the journey continue!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  42. #42
    Sigma have been blowing all the big names out of the water recently. They were always a cheap alternative, but now they're stealing a march on the biggest names in the business, their 35mm is currently the sharpest on the market, and they've also done wonders with several of their other new lenses. They are releasing a 24-70 f2 zoom that could be a must have if they get the quality as good as all their other current offerings. That DXO website I linked above is the got to place to check lens quality.

    My Canon 24-70 must have been the previous version as the new one didn't come out till I'd jumped back to Nikon.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  43. #43
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    The 24-70/2 news that's been circling is pretty amazing. I'm hoping it's not too huge, but should be stellar.
    thegunguy

  44. #44
    Just completed my 8-week photography class and now realize how little I really know! Finished the program with processing pictures in Adobe Elements 11 and then learned about mounting the finished product for display. I have a much greater appreciation of the end-to-end process and I appreciate the input of Andrew, Jerry and others on the board as I continue on this journey.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  45. #45
    Z8Mania
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    Congratulations Ed. Keep learning and enjoying it. Its a wonderful hobby. And I think you definitely have an eye for it.

  46. #46
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Photography is much like performance driving. Much focus is placed on the gear, but the biggest gains are in education, training, skill development, etc.

    That being said, I love to talk gear!
    thegunguy

  47. #47
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    So true. That applies for many things. I've been improving my tennis game. I havent bought a new racquet in years. My improvements are not from the new strings I just put on.

    That said, gear talk also makes it fun.

  48. #48

    Follow-up

    I recently purchased the Canon 24-70 f2.8 II as a walk around lens, and included a polarizing filter as recommended by Jerry. Here's a couple of shots taken yesterday at Crissy Field in SF using both of these components on the 5D2.

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    Mark de Suvero exhibit
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    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  49. #49
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    Very nice shots Ed. You'll find that some shots react better to the polarizer and some are better without it.

  50. #50
    Looks like you're having some gorgeous weather for photography up there!

    As a rule of thumb I find the polarizer most effective when the sun is above 45, it's benefits tend to decline as the sun sinks towards the horizon. Because of Jerry's cheerleading I'd dipped my toe back in the water of polarization lately, but honestly after a couple of frames I've removed it again as I haven't found a shot that it has added to. However as Jerry's shots well demonstrate, it works a treat on shiny cars in high sun.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  51. #51
    That's great feedback on the polarizing filter. In addition to reducing glare I like how this filter makes the sky a little more blue. I'm taking a class next month in post processing images using PS Elements, so that may help too in achieving the same end result. I still feel like I'm just scratching the surface of producing decent images, but enjoying every creative moment of it!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  52. #52
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I too ditched the polarizer with the flexibility of the digital age. Plus, the price to get a super skinny one that wouldn't vignette too much on wider lenses could easily get over $100. Then there's the price of the stops you lose.

    I do like Jerry's suggestion of keeping one around for the black car photographer. Other than that, I'd rather just leave it at home.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have friends that absolutely love the 5d2. It's an amazing body that really started a revolution in video. Glad you're enjoying yours, Ed.
    thegunguy

  53. #53
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I heard a great tip today. Set a maximum number of shots that you can take on a given day/mission. Force yourself to think about each shot like we did with film. Use a 1GB or smaller card?

    It's actually a really cool idea.
    thegunguy

  54. #54
    Thats giving up one of the greatest freedoms digital gives you. I say don't limit your shots, but take a good long moment studying each one in the screen to see how to improve it, then do so and study again until the result really is as good as you can get it.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  55. #55
    Interesting idea of forcing discipline with each shot by limiting the number of pictures taken. The primary parameters that I alter between shots are aperture and lighting (repositioning myself or the subject and by adjusting exposure comp/AEB). Once I have the images downloaded I use PSE to crop the image to my liking and to fine tune the lighting for the desired feel.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  56. #56
    You should really crop the pictures in camera, not afterwards, and only shoot what is lit right. Don't rely on post to do anything but fine tuning what you got right in camera.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  57. #57
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Thats giving up one of the greatest freedoms digital gives you. I say don't limit your shots, but take a good long moment studying each one in the screen to see how to improve it, then do so and study again until the result really is as good as you can get it.
    Absolutely! I've watched you study so many shots over the years. Thankfully, screens have matured so far.
    thegunguy

  58. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    You should really crop the pictures in camera, not afterwards, and only shoot what is lit right. Don't rely on post to do anything but fine tuning what you got right in camera.
    Thank you for the feedback! I've seen improvement in my shot taking over the last six months because I am performing less post processing enhancements on my images. Having said that, I'm still "dialing in" my skills.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  59. #59
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Photography is a great lifelong endeavor where the learning never ends. I learn new stuff all the time, often from mistakes, but it's also great to learn by studying others. I learn lots just from looking at Andrew's shots and thinking about his composition, etc. I often look at his early Z8 shots and compare them to recent stuff, and I can even see him improving. Same for my own shots.

    Ed, while your new 24-70 is an amazing lens, sticking with a prime lens (actually my preferred) is often a great idea. It limits your options, and it teaches you to "see". Plus, they're generally cheaper and lighter, not to mention better image quality if you're splitting hairs. If you don't have one already, a 50mm or 35mm or both are must haves. I could live on a 35 alone, which I use 95% of the time. My others are a 50 and a 75. I don't have a regular need for anything longer.
    thegunguy

  60. #60
    That's what makes the RX1 such a favorite for me, it has a world beating 35mm fixed lens, and honestly that's all I want for most of my own 'postcards of life'. However it is really nice to explore what all the other focal lengths can bring you as you're getting into it.

    In terms of good value Sigma have a world beating 35 f1.4 and an 85 f1.4 that could be good to look at, but honestly that zoom you have is about all you need for now. I'd also caution against buying any more Canon gear because they are falling so far behind these days. Sony are stealing the top slot in the still world with their Zeiss glass and incredible sensors, so my advice is not to buy anything else for a year, spend your spare cash on going places to take more pictures!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  61. #61
    Z8Mania
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Thats giving up one of the greatest freedoms digital gives you. I say don't limit your shots, but take a good long moment studying each one in the screen to see how to improve it, then do so and study again until the result really is as good as you can get it.
    Absolutely!! Memory is cheap. You might regret missing the right shot. I say take lots and lots of pictures- but yes- if you can, learn from them. I like to look at others work and wonder "hey, how'd they do that".

    My take on the whole in camera vs post thing is it really depends. It's all tools for the job. It depends on what you are going for. To me the most important thing for me is visualization: imagining what I want and then going and doing it.

    On the other advice, I agree with you all and would add that photography is as much about philosophy as anything else. We should strive to keep learning. To quote Steve Jobs who was quoting the Whole Earth Catalog: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

  62. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    My advice is not to buy anything else for a year, spend your spare cash on going places to take more pictures!
    Cheers to that!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  63. #63
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    And share the pictures here!!

  64. #64
    It has been nearly a year and as Andrew suggested I have not bought more lenses. One reoccurring anomaly in my images is lens flare. Any feedback on how to minimize this artifact? I took this picture last week in Basel, and generally like the composition. On further examination I noticed the lens flare just left of the light.

    Thanks in advance!

     
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  65. #65
    There is no real way around it when the source of the light is within the image area, except possibly by buying better glass. I find I get it a lot as I shoot into the light a lot, but I also don't really mind it, as I've come to see it as part of the signature of photography.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  66. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    I also don't really mind it, as I've come to see it as part of the signature of photography.
    Thanks Andrew! I especially like the quote above from your response.
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  67. #67

    Stitched images

    A panoramic picture of the bay with San Francisco on the left. It's fun to be able to create such an image from scoping out the site, taking the images and processing in PSE.
     
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  68. #68
    Looks great, well done!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  69. #69

  70. #70
    Playing around tonight with a Tamron 150-600 mm telephoto lens.

     
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  71. #71
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Very cool Ed, nice job!

  72. #72
    Great shots!!!
    Skip Hammerman

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