Archive for May, 2010

Friday, May 28th 2010

10,000 photos in 7 minutes

On Saturday I will have had my 30D for exactly four years. In those four years the camera has done 27,773 exposures, or 19 clicks a day on average.

Canon EOS 30D.

Out of those 27,773 exposures I have …

  • Kept 10,668 original raws and jpegs, which means I did 2.6 clicks for each kept photo.
  • Taken 2,724 (25,5%) vertical shots and 7,944 (74,5%) horizontal shots.
  • Made 27 panoramas.
  • Made 131 HDR’s.

Someone asked me, at the photography course last week, what I usually photograph. I’m always stumped by that question and never have a good answer. But now I do.

I’ve put all the 10,668 photos together into a stop motion video, or a 25 frame per second slide-show if you wish. This is probably not interesting to anyone but myself, but I guess it may inspire some other crazy (creative?) person to do the same with their photos. It does make your eyes rather sore after a few minutes though …

Here’s a table showing which lenses I’ve used the most:

Lens Number of kept photos
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 4,864
Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 1,967
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 1,495
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS 1,433
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 519
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS 384
Canon EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 4
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro 2

My workhorse has obviously been the Sigma 17-70mm, and it has served me well. In January I got a second hand Canon 17-55mm IS and sold the Sigma. The last two lenses in the table belong to a friend, I just tried them once.

The longest exposure I’ve taken was 28 minutes 25 seconds:

Star trails 2

Tomorrow (Friday) there’s a guy coming over who is interested in buying the 30D. This camera has a lot of life left in it, so whoever gets it I’m sure they’ll have plenty of fun with it.

Monday, May 24th 2010

Ölandsbron

Last week I took a photography course in Kalmar, led by Göran Segeholm, a well known Swedish photographer/writer. Our first assignment was to write down a word describing how we felt about the course, and then go out and take a photo that illustrated that word. I wrote down hope.

I decided to try and get the sunrise in a shot together with the bridge from Kalmar to Öland (Ölandsbron). I chose the last of these six shots to illustrate hope, but sadly it didn’t evoke that word from the other people on the course when they reviewed it. Anyway, it was great getting up at 3.45 am and to see the sun rise over the horizon.

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Sunday, May 23rd 2010

First impressions: 50D vs 30D

Last Friday I picked my new Canon EOS 50D up at the post office. (Quotes because post offices don’t exist any more in Sweden, you pick your parcels up at the nearest shop.)

A27759

I started by going through all the settings, changing everything to the way I want it. For instance, I don’t want the camera to rotate vertical images on the screen, I prefer to rotate the camera myself to make use of the whole screen width. Also, I set the camera to only use the main (full step) ISO speeds. 100, 200, 400, etc. And about a million other things. I customized My menu to include the following:

  • Beep on/off
  • Erase images
  • Sensor cleaning
  • Camera user setting – lets you change the C1/C2 modes.
  • Exposure compensation/AEB

Judging from experience, once I’ve got everything set up I will rarely change any settings other than those.

I’ve also set the Func button to access exposure bracketing. On the 30D I would have had to use the menu to get at this.

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First impressions

Here are some things I noticed about the 50D.

  • It feels faster and more responsive than the 30D. Mainly the viewfinder blackout (when the mirror flips up during the exposure) feels much quicker/shorter. According to The Digital Picture, the difference is only 100ms vs 110 ms. I could have sworn it felt like a much larger difference. (I hadn’t checked the specs when I felt the difference the first time.)

    Perhaps the slightly shorter shutter lag time (59ms vs 65ms) adds to the feeling of speed. Even so, that makes a total of only 16ms less time (from full press to open viewfinder again) and I didn’t know it was humanly possible to detect those kinds of minimal time values.

  • As someone put it in a forum thread somewhere, if the 30D feels like a brick, the 50D feels slightly like a hollow brick. It stil feels very well built, but just slightly more plasticky and electronic and less metal and camera. Which is strange considering it is slightly heavier, 740 grams vs 700 grams.

  • The 50D has a coarse, grainy finish while the 30D’s body is smooth. This felt weird at first, but its obviously just a matter of me being used to the 30D.

  • The shutter sound of the 50D is quite different from the sound of the 30D’s shutter. It is hard to describe in words, but I’d say it sounds quicker and more electronic somehow. And it is definitely quieter.

  • The shoulders on the 50D are higher and straighter than those on the 30D. This makes the grip slightly (5mm) taller, which is definitely a good thing. The 50D also has a notch which fits the middle finger perfectly. No big deal, but nice.

  • The functions of the three buttons on top of the camera have been moved around. The new arrangement is more logical, but will take some time for my fingers to learn.

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  • I thought the smaller play/delete/info buttons would be harder to press than on the 30D. Actually, I’d say they’re almost easier. The buttons on the 30D are very soft and need to be pushed in quite far. The 50D’s buttons have a more noticeable click and don’t go as far in.

  • The improved screen is very nice. The fact that the preview JPEGs that are included in the RAW files now are full size means that you actually can determine sharpness/focus in-camera. On the 30D a photo could look sharp on the screen, zoomed in. But on the computer there was more detail which showed you a slightly blurry photo.

  • At first I thought my Seagull angle finder didn’t seem to fit the viewfinder on the 50D. But it turned out it was just a bit tight. (In the end I’m not sure it’s any tighter than on the 30D.) I keep the small plastic adapter that sits between the viewfinder and the angle finder on all the time. It protects my glasses from scratches, but doesn’t get them greasy like the standard rubber eye-piece tends to do.

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All in all, I’m very happy with the 50D. After a week I already feel at home with the very slightly different controls. Today I put my ad up for the 30D [swe].

Side note: Sometimes I get the question why I put my camera down sideways. Simply because it puts the least strain on the front of the lens that way (when the battery grip is mounted).

Thursday, May 13th 2010

Before Breakfast

Getting up at 5 am can have its benefits, even if its hard to see the benefits just as the alarm goes off.

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Wednesday, May 12th 2010

My 50D on its way

I almost forgot! Last Sunday (the 9th) I bought a Canon EOS 50D on Tradera, the Swedish version of Ebay. I got it for the equivalent of $120 less than the currently lowest price in Sweden – less than I had dared hope! The previous 50D’s sold by the same guy went for 6,750-7,200 SEK. Now the bidding ended at 6,100 SEK, or $786 by today’s conversion rate.

Canon EOS 50D

The seller claims it is new too, but I will check the number of clicks it has done with EOSInfo when I get it. Since the Tradera/Ebay system is based on ratings I seriously doubt the seller would lie about stuff like that though. And this seller has 187 positive ratings.

Right now the camera is somewhere in the hands of the Swedish postal service.

This copy supposedly has a European warranty, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to use that here in Sweden. I’m not too worried though, these things very rarely break.

I just realized, I bought this camera without ever holding one in my hands. I haven’t even actually looked at one (recently at least) in a shop. I bought it entirely based on online reviews and videos. Back when I bought the 30D, that would have been unthinkable. Stupid perhaps, but I’m pretty confident I won’t be disappointed.

I’ll be selling my 30D, but I think I’ll wait until I have the 50D here so I can get some good-looking product shots for the ad.

Wednesday, May 12th 2010

Firefox 4 beta not far off

It was very interesting to read and see what Mike Beltzner has in store for us in Firefox 4. But I’m guessing you have to be pretty nerdy (like me!) to watch the full one hour video …

Apparently, the Firefox team are aiming to release the first beta of version 4 in June. Sounds pretty optimistic to me, but I’d be all the happier if they can do it!

If the plans materialize, Firefox 4 should be the biggest upgrade so far.

Friday, May 7th 2010

Saving up for a Canon EOS 50D

Edit: This post was previously published in Swedish. At the time I was thinking of blogging more in Swedish. I’ve now decided to stick to English, so for the sake of continuity I translated this post.

When I bought my 30D I was convinced that I would use it until it disintegrated in my hands. Now I’m not at all as sure.

Canon’s 50D has become very very cheap. You can get it new for 6,999 SEK, compared to the at least 12,000 SEK it cost when it was released in 2008. At the same time, I believe I should be able to get at least 2,500 SEK for my 30D if I sell it now.

Canon EOS 50D

And there are quite a few nice improvements on the 50D compared to the 30D:

  • Auto-ISO. The camera automatically chooses the ISO for you. One thing less to think about.
  • Live view. Use the screen to frame your photos. Should be great for macros, landscapes on tripod and shooting over a crowd.
  • Better screen. 640×480 pixels instead of 320×240.
  • Higher resolution sensor. 15 megapixels catches the details far better than 8. Have a look at this well-done comparison of prints.
  • Better auto focus. I seldom shoot things that move particularly quickly, but it can’t hurt to have nine cross-type sensors instead of one.
  • C1/C2 modes. Lets you save two complete sets of all the camera’s settings for quick access in particular situations. I will probably have one setup for continuous AF and 6 fps, the other for single shot AF and single frame burst. Mirror lock-up can also be saved to one of the C modes.
  • ISO in the viewfinder. Nice to always see what ISO speed the camera is set to (or which ISO speed the camera wants to use in auto-ISO) without taking your eye from the viewfinder.
  • Slightly larger viewfinder. The magnification in the 50D’s viewfinder is 0,95x compared to 0,90x in the 30D’s.
  • Raw in full auto mode. If my wife uses my camera she sets it to the Green Square™. With the 50D I will still be able to get her photos as raws and easily adjust white balance, etc. (The 30D is limited to JPEG in full auto.)

This list is more than enough for me to whole-heartedly save all of my pocket money. (We have decided that we have 500 SEK each to spend on hobbies/entertainment each month.)

At the same time I’m trying to sell some old camera accessories that I don’t use. So I hope it won’t take too long before I’ve saved up for the price difference between my second hand 30D and a new 50D.

By the way, if anyone reading this owns a 50D I wonder if you could check something for me. Does auto-ISO work respect custom function I-2? I.e. does it stick to the full step increments in ISO speed?

Wednesday, May 5th 2010

Anemone Nemorosa

Driving home from Enköping after looking at a flat for rent I caught site of these Wood Anomones by the road side. (Vitsippor in Swedish.) Found a spot where I could actually stop.

There was a rather worrying sign, Danger of tics, where I turned off. Which obviously made it feel like stuff was crawling all over my skin even though there wasn’t actually anything there.

I used my 50mm and my 70-300mm lenses, the latter with the close-up lens 500D attached for a few shots.

Wood Anemones - Anemone nemorosaWood Anemones - Anemone nemorosaWood Anemones - Anemone nemorosaWood Anemones - Anemone nemorosaWood Anemones - Anemone nemorosaWood Anemones - Anemone nemorosa

Here’s what I did to the photos in Lightroom:

  • Overexposed them by 1/3 stop.
  • Set Blacks to 18.
  • Set Saturation to -42
  • Set Tone Curve to linear.
  • Applied lens correction vignetting. Amount +100, midpoint 17.