Archive for April, 2006

Tuesday, April 25th 2006

Great Review Of The Canon EOS 30D

I found a very detailed and interesting review of the Canon EOS 30D, which highlights things I haven’t heard about in previous reviews.

Canon EOS 30D on a transparent background.

Here are some of the interesting facts I didn’t know until reading this review:

While still able to shoot at a fast 5 fps rate, the Canon EOS 30D is also switchable to a low-speed 3 fps continuous shooting rate. The 30D can also shoot at rated speed with non-USM (Ultrasonic Motor) lenses while the 20D fell back to 3.5 fps when using these.

The emphasis there was mine. Then they compare the shutter sound of the 30D and the 20D:

Those shooting in quiet venues such as weddings will like the Canon EOS 30D’s quieter shutter sound. The 20D shutter has a “CLACK” sound to it whereas the 30D has a more subtle sound.

However, having used the 30D previously, and having listened to the provided sound files (20D, 30D), I don’t find the difference to be so huge. They both are fairly loud, but the 30D perhaps has a slightly softer, muffled flock, as opposed to the 20D’s sharp clack. Anyway, until now I thought they had identical shutters. It’s also nice to know that the 30D shutter is rated at 100,000 shots, while the 20D was only rated at 50,000. That should let you fire away whithout worrying about the shutter waring out 🙂

The following was also news to me… (Quoted, I think, from a Canon press release.)

Shapes around the flash head and lens mount have been changed subtly to suggest Canon’s upper-range models. The mode dial now has a metallic finish. The grip below the shutter button has been extended for better purchase with the middle fingers and improved overall handling. A new groove where the middle finger falls improves comfort and security.

And, the reviewer concludes:

The first thing I noticed when picking up the 30D was the grippier surface on the rubber grip. The reshaped grip is nice, but just slightly different than the 20D.

Sounds good. Only a small improvement, but hey, don’t fix what ain’t broken.

I also found some interesting info in the official 30D white-paper. Specifically, they explained the Picture Styles very well:

Style 1 – Standard is for users who do not intend to do any post-processing of their images. Right out of the camera, the pictures look crisp and vibrant, with the sharpness set to 3 and the color tone and saturation set to obtain vivid colors. Excellent prints will eventuate without any further adjustment. It is equivalent to parameter 1 on the EOS 20D.

Style 2 – Portrait has color tone and saturation settings that yield natural skin tones. The sharpness is set one step weaker than the Standard setting so that skin and hair look softer.

Style 3 – Landscape has color tone and saturation settings that give vivid blues and greens for skies and greenery. The sharpness is set one step stronger than the Standard setting so that the outlines of mountains, trees, and buildings look more crisp.

Style 4 – Neutral yields natural color reproduction, and no sharpness is applied. This setting is ideal for post-processing and is the same as the EOS-1D Series defaults.

Style 5 – Faithful is intended to match the original as closely as possible. It is the same
as Faithful in Digital Photo Professional. When the subject is photographed in 5,200K
light, the color is adjusted colorimetrically to match the subject’s color. No sharpness is applied. This setting, too, is designed for workflow that includes post-processing.

Style 6 – Monochrome with filter effects and color tones, is the same as the EOS 20D’s monochrome setting.

I also downloaded the full 30D manual and read about the custom functions. Some which I found particularly interesting were…

  • SET-button options (no. 1). You can link it to recording quality or Picture Style selection. I would definately set it to the latter, since it would be very useful to have quickly available when shooting.
  • AF-assist beam options (no. 5). Allows you to disable the AF-assist beam when you haven’t got an external flash unit. I’ll probably do this since I find the stroboscope style AF-assist of the built-in flash really annoying.
  • Mirror lock-up (no. 12), to reduce shake when shooting long exposures at long focal lengths on a tripod.
  • Quick focus point selection with mini joystick (no. 13). The default setting requires you to press the AF point selection button first. With this custom function enabled you can use the mini joystick directly.
  • Second curtain flash sync (no. 15)

Getting more and more tempted for each day… Just need to wait until I get my next pay. A whole month! I guess the price might go down in that time… (Nothing wrong in hoping, right?)

Here’s what I’m hoping to get:

  • EOS 30D body, no kit lens. (Read about the kit lenses here.)
  • Sigma AF 17-70mm 2.8-4.5 DC macro. (Sharper, cheaper and faster than the kit lenses.)
  • 2 GB CF card (Or 4 GB? For travelling you want plenty…)

I plan on selling my EOS 300 with the 28-90mm lens, but I’ll hang on to my 75-300mm for now. Hopefully I’ll get the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM sometime in the future. (Which is sharper than my current lens, and has 3-stop image stabilizing.) I already have the 420EX flash, which will work great with the 30D.

I’ll let you know when I buckle under and order it.

Tuesday, April 18th 2006

Great Firefox Flicks Out Today

A whole bunch of new Firefox Flicks released today. Here are my favourites so far:

Just love the look on his face… 🙂

Professional, serious, usable.

Best touch, visual style. Has a subtle twist.

Kind-of funny, well-made and usable.

Tuesday, April 18th 2006

Really Wanting the EOS 30D + Sigma 17-70mm

Can’t stop thinking about it. The Canon EOS 30D. I got to play around with it last week-end, and ever since, I can’t think of anything else.

I’ve been wondering whether I should get a second hand 20D instead, but I’d really like to have the spot metering of the 30D, as well as the larger screen. The 20D’s 1.8 inch screen feels tiny when you’ve tried the 30D. Also, the direct access to the ISO setting is very useful, so I don’t think I’ll be getting a 350D since you have to use a menu to change the ISO there.

I’ve also read up on the lens tests over at Photozone. I’m a bit skeptical about Canon’s EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 USM IS, since it seems to fair rather poorly. It has serious chromatic aberation, vignetting and barrel distortion. The
Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC macro is a much better buy, costing around 3500 SEK (€ 370) compared to the Canon’s roughly 6000 SEK (€ 670). It is sharper (higher resolution) and suffers less from distortion and chromatic aberration. The vignetting is only slightly less pronounced in the Sigma. It doesn’t have the Image Stabilizing that the Canon lens has, but instead it has a larger maximum aperture, by nearly a full stop. (2.8 vs. 4.0.)

Well, we’ll see if this ever becomes more than just a dream… Extremely tempted right now anyway.