Archive for the ‘Canon’ Category

Friday, March 26th 2010

The Most Underrated Camera Accessory of All Time

The Canon E1 hand strap. A very simple yet extremely practical accessory for your camera.

Canon E1 hand strap on the 30D with BG-E2 battery grip.

It fastens on to the top of the camera and the bottom of the battery grip. (If you don’t have a battery grip I believe there are other hand straps that might work.)

A regular neck strap will work fine as long as your camera and lens both are fairly light. But as soon as you get into heavier stuff it will be very uncomfortable to carry it all with your neck.

The camera bounces off your tummy for every step you take. Which is especially uncomfortable if you have a heavy lens on the camera that makes the camera tilt forward. Also, the total weight of the camera and lens will give you a vulture’s neck before the day is over. Alternatively you hang your camera diagonally from shoulder to hip, making it quite a hassle to get it up to eye-level for shooting.

The E1 hand strap is a much better solution. It lets you carry your camera in your hand, with almost zero effort. The natural curving of your fingers combined with the hand strap makes it pretty much impossible to drop the camera, even if you relax your hand completely. And that’s with almost two kilograms of camera and lens!

It also means you always have the camera in your hand, ready to shoot whenever you like. An added bonus is that the leather has a very horsy scent and makes your hand smell like you just came back from the stable. 🙂

It seems to me the hand strap is still quite rare considering how useful it is. Definitely not one of the first things you’ll have heard about from your camera friends after you bought your camera.

Friday, January 22nd 2010

Sharpness test: Sigma 17-70mm vs Canon 17-55mm

After having bought my second hand EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 I sold my Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. But before I sent it off to the buyer, I took some test shots for a little comparison of the two lenses.

I set my camera up on my tripod and took shots of our bookcases from roughly 2.5 meters away, at a right angle. I took photos at 17mm, 35mm and 55mm with both lenses, and at each focal length I took photos at f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6 and f/8.0. (Obviously, the Sigma doesn’t do f/2.8 at 35mm and 55mm.)

One thing I did notice fairly soon was that the Sigma’s autofocus was much less reliable than the Canon’s. For some of the shots I ended up having to manually hunt for the optimum focus distance. The Canon got it right every time.

From each test shot I have cropped out sections from the centre, mid and edge areas. All in all, 66 squares of 300×300 pixels, which I have ordered in (hopefully) pretty tables below.

As you can see in the overview photos, the sections are taken from different places for the different focal lenghts. (To use the areas of the bookcases with most detail in them.)

I’ve put my own conclusion in words at the end, after all the tables.

Overview of sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

17mm – Centre
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
17mm – Mid
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
17mm – Edge
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

Overview of sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

35mm – Centre
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
35mm – Mid
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
35mm – Edge
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

Overview of sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

55mm – Centre
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
55mm – Mid
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
55mm – Edge
Aperture Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/2.8 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/4.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/5.6 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
f/8.0 Sharpness test of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sharpness test of Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS

Conclusions

On the whole, in almost all of the little squares, the Canon is running circles round the Sigma. No pun intended actually.

Surprisingly though, the Sigma looks sharper than the Canon in the centre and mid areas of the frame when using f/2.8 at 17mm. The Canon seems to suffer from some kind of fringing here. (At the edges though, the Canon is better.)

To summarize, it was much as I had hoped and expected. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed with the Canon’s performance at 17mm. At the same time I don’t think that fringing will be very visible with most subjects. It would take a lot of fringing to out-weigh the benefits of having image stabilization.

Wednesday, January 20th 2010

My Canon EOS 60D Predictions

Photoshop mock-up of the Canon EOS 60D

It seems Canon are about to release their 60D fairly soon. Just for fun I thought I would put together a prediction of what I think the feature list will look like.

Here’s a quick summary, then I’ll discuss each point in more detail:

  • 18 megapixels
  • 6 frames per second
  • 1080p @ 30fps + 720p @ 60fps video
  • 19 point autofocus
  • 95% viewfinder
  • New 640×480 screen from 7D
  • Electronic Level: No
  • Wireless Flash Control: Yes
  • Weather sealing: Same as 50D
  • LCD Focusing Screen: No

Sensor resolution

I think they will use the 18 MP sensor from the 7D. I doubt they would save any money on using the 15 MP sensor from the 50D. Instead they will turn the heat up as much as possible on Nikon and use the 18 MP sensor.

Frame rate

To keep the 60D from getting too close to the 7D it must be no faster than 6 frames per second. At the same time they can’t make it any worse than the 50D, so it must 6 fps, no more, no less.

Video

HD Video to the same specs as the 7D. That’s to say 1080p @ 30fps and 720p @ 60fps. Also, the new Live View/Video button should make its first appearance in the XXD series. They probably won’t include manual controls though, to save some goodies for the 7D.

Autofocus

The more I think about it the more I think Canon will include the full 19 sensor AF of the 7D. There is no logical way of removing sensors from the 19 point pattern (see it here) and Canon need all the sensors to keep new camera buyers from choosing Nikon. They might make the possible configurations more limited though.

I would be surprised though if they just stay with the current 50D autofocus, which has basically been around since the 20D. Canon really need to work hard (and seem to be doing so) to stay ahead of Nikon.

Viewfinder

Sadly, we’re not likely to see the nice viewfinder from the 7D, which has 100% coverage. Instead we’ll probably just see the 50D’s 95% viewfinder.

Screen

I think Canon will re-use the improved 640×480 screen from the 7D, which is more compact than that on the 50D, and works better in daylight. I think they’ll move the buttons back to the left hand side too. (BTW, why don’t dpreview.com specify sensor resolution in the above way? They seem to be reasonably bright people.)

Electronic Level

This is tricky … hmm. I don’t really think this is the kind of feature that will make professionals choose the 7D above the 60D. But Canon probably think so. And as far as I know, Nikon don’t have this feature. So Canon will probably feel safe in keeping this as a 7D exclusive feature.

Wireless Flash Control

Yes, this is a must. Now that Canon has developed the software for this (in the 7D), it would be stupid to not include it. The D90 has had this since August 2008 …

Weather sealing

… won’t be significantly better than the 50D.

LCD Focusing Screen

I don’t think we’ll see the nice LCD viewfinder overlay from the 7D. It will probably be one of the features used to differentiate the two models.

So …

What do you think? Leave a comment!

Thursday, January 14th 2010

First Impressions of the Canon 17-55mm IS

I haven’t done any serious sharpness testing of this lens yet, but so far I’m really liking it. The f/2.8 aperture through the zoom range, the quiet auto focus and the image stabilization are all fantastic.

Or what about this shot through our bedroom window? 17mm, which normally needs 1/30th of a second to be sharp hand-held. Here I got away with 1/3rd of a second, leaning my hand against the window frame.

26288 - 2010-01-12 kl 08.05

That one third of a second feels like an eternity when you’re holding the camera and hear the click … … click.

BTW, if you can explain why the frost is on only one side of the tree branches I’d be very grateful. (It is frost, not snow. And the wind these last few days has been basically non-existant.)

I was also able to shoot a perfectly sharp photo of my wife pulling a silly face in our bedroom, lit by nothing but her computer screen and a 40 Watt light-bulb. Admittedly at ISO 800, but it would have had to be ISO 6400 with my old lens. And my camera only goes to 3200 …

Summary: Looking forward to using this lens for a long time to come!

Sunday, January 10th 2010

Camera bag: Meet Lens

I’ve been saving up for a while, and with some money I was given for Xmas I had enough to get a second hand Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

It took many late nights of on-line research to decide which lens would be the best choice. I’ve been considering the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC (Vibration Compensation) and the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.0 OS (Optical Stabilization). But in the end I decided to hunt down a second hand Canon 17-55mm f/2.8.

Initial reviews of the two other lenses have been so-so. And the Canon has both the constant maximum aperture of the Tamron and the quiet auto-focus of the Sigma.

I’ve managed to get my hands on a two year old copy of the EF-S 17-55mm which doesn’t seem to have been used very much. It really is in perfect condition, and I only paid two thirds of the price of a new one.

I’ll probably post a little comparison between the EF-S 17-55mm and my current standard zoom, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. If nothing else to cure my own curiosity.

By the way, if you live in Sweden and want to buy my Sigma, I’m selling it here.

As always in camera-land, one piece of new equipment will lead to another.

The EF-S is good in many ways, but it definitely isn’t compact. This means that I can’t really fit all my lenses in my current camera bag and the guy who sold me the 17-55 showed me his beautiful Lowepro Slingshot 350 AW. Beautiful as in extremely well designed.

The Lowepro 350 has a smaller sibling, the 300 (which lacks a laptop compartment) which will most likely be the subject for my next saving-up project.

Tuesday, September 1st 2009

So Close Canon

The Canon EOS 7D is extremely close to being the perfect camera. Canon seem to have worked really hard to make it on par with the Nikon D300s.

They came so far, and still they left out the feature which perhaps would have been the very easiest to implement: Bracketing of 7 or 9 shots.

Well, for me it makes things easier because it stops me wanting it.

Saturday, August 29th 2009

Canon 7D – Now We're Talking

It seems like the Canon EOS 7D is pretty close to matching every item on my next camera wishlist.

  • 100% Viewfinder coverage – yes.
  • Dust reduction – I should hope so!
  • Front/back focus correction – well, the 50D had this already.
  • High resolution screen – yes.
  • Well-developed live view – hmm, we’ll have to see about that one.
  • HDMI out – of course it has this.
  • 7 or 9 shot bracketing – one of few questionmarks.
  • Auto ISO – this is a given nowadays.
  • RAW in Auto mode – the 50 D has this so …
  • sRAW at around 10-12 MP – probably?
  • Automatic correction of vignetting and chromatic aberration – we don’t know yet.
  • Built in wireless flash control – yes, according to the rumour.

Sadly (but not surprisingly) it will be quite expensive. Even if it is less than SEK 20 000 or $2000 it will still take me a while to save up my pocket money …

Friday, February 20th 2009

Future Camera Wishlist

I bought my Canon EOS 30D in the spring 2006 and the shutter still has about 80% of its expected lifetime left, so don’t get me wrong, I really don’t have any plans on upgrading any time soon.

My thinking is that spending $1200 on a new camera won’t get me significantly better pictures. Challenging myself and setting up more difficult photo projects might. And that’s more or less free.

Canon EOS ?0D, X0D

Anyway, when my 30D finally does give in, I will be well prepared. Pretty soon after I got my 30D I started jotting down stuff I thought would be nice for my next camera. Just so I don’t forget anything when the time comes.

So here is my list of stuff that I will try to get on my next camera:

  1. Dust reduction. Not sure how effective the current systems are, but most cameras on the market already have this to some degree.
  2. Front/back focus adjustment. Again, Canon has already added this to the 50D. Could be useful if the camera auto focus is slightly off.
  3. High resolution screen. Three inch, 640×480 screens already seem to be the default so this shouldn’t be a problem.
  4. 100% viewfinder coverage. It is so annoying when you think you’ve nailed the composition only to find a twig or some other distraction sticking into the edge of the frame. Remains to be seen if Canon will add this to the cameras in the x0D series. The Nikon D300 already has this so if Canon want to stay in the game they should.
  5. Live view with good AF. The current live view systems are so-so. Having to lift the mirror (and black out the live view) to engage the auto-focus is not good enough.
  6. HDMI output. Another feature which seems to have become a standard thing.
  7. Multiple shot bracketing. For HDR photography, I want to be able to set the camera to bracket at least 5 or 7 shots. The Nikon D300 can do up to 9, and since this is only a software thing there really is no reason for Canon’s cameras not to have this.
  8. Auto ISO. My 30D has this in green square fully automatic mode. I want to be able to use Auto ISO in aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode. The idea being that the camera chooses an ISO setting which will make the shutter speed short enough to avoid camera shake. Thankfully, the 50D can do this. (The 40D had this feature too, but it doesn’t work as it should.)
  9. RAW in full auto mode. When my wife uses my camera she sets it to full auto mode. This means photos will be saved as JPEGs and not RAWs, which is stupid. I want to be able to adjust white balance and stuff just as much for the photos she takes as I want for my own shots. And again, this is something the 50D now has.
  10. 9-10 megapixel small RAW size. The megapixel race doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. This means huge RAW files every time you want to take a photo. And more noise per pixel. Which in turn increases the file size since it won’t compress as well. So instead of the reasonable ~7 MB per photo that my 30D produces, the 50D for instance produces ~20 MB RAW files. So if Canon wants to keep increasing the resolution, fine, but give us a more reasonable small RAW setting. The 50D offers a 7 megapixel option, but that’s a bit on the small side. Around 10 should be about right.
  11. Video mode. I want video recording with good, fast AF and the option of 1080p or 720p.

Then I have a few maybes:

  1. DNG raw files. It would be nice if Canon and Nikon adopted Adobe’s DNG standard for raw files, to make them more future proof. I don’t want to end up with raw files that I can’t open just because the latest version of Windows doesn’t support the software that came with my camera.
  2. Wireless flash control. I’d love to have built in support for Canon’s IR wireless flash system.
  3. Automatic CA and vignetting correction. Nikon’s D300 analyses the photo and automatically corrects chromatic aberrations. The Canon 50D knows how different (Canon) lenses cause vignetting and can correct this by increasing the brightness of the edges. Both these features would be nice to have in the camera, but most of all I’d like to have them in Lightroom. Does anyone know of any Lightroom plug-ins that can do these things?

Since I have four lenses that are only compatible with Canon I’m hoping that there will be a Canon camera sometime in the future with all these features. Maybe it will be the 60D, 70D or 80D? Or maybe they will have started some whole new naming scheme before all these features end up in one camera. Switching to Nikon isn’t really an option anyway.

Well, I’m in no rush at all to shell out loads and loads of cash. I have all the time in the world. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy my 30D while I marvel at the many features the camera makers think of in the coming years.

Friday, October 31st 2008

Too Many Pixels, Canon

Dpreview.com just posted their full review of the Canon EOS 50D. The interesting part is when they look at the noise performance.

Canon EOS 50D

According to the review, Canon have claimed that the 50D will perform better than the 40D even though it has 50 percent more pixels. If you scroll down the test page you can clearly see that this is not the case at all.

Also, the pixel density of a 15 MP APS-C sized sensor is more than even the best lenses can cope with.

So what you get is this: Unnecessarily large files with more noise (which in turn increases the file size even more).

Canon, please understand that SLR buyers aren’t as gullible as compact buyers when it comes to megapixels. That said, the 50D has many other nice features: A huge, high-res screen, HDMI output, front/back focus adjustment per lens, to name a few.

All those are features I want on my next camera. Just not the oversized, noisy images.

So. Dear Canon. Please release an update to the 30/40/50D series with the nice gadgets of the 50D, but with a more reasonable sensor resolution. 10 MP is about right I’d say.

Monday, September 29th 2008

Transcend 16 GB Compact Flash Failure

In the spring I bought a 16 GB Transcend Compact Flash card for my camera. I had some problems getting it formatted. But after I did manage to format it, it seemed to be working fine.

David Naylor and Jenny-Lyn Jacobson

Until our wedding day. I had lent my camera to Silvana who was doing most of the photography. Everything was working fine until after the ceremony. Suddenly the camera said Data Corrupted. The camera hung when you tried to view certain photos. She came over to me and we switched to one of my old memory cards.

I thought it was just one or two photos that were lost. As it turned out, I couldn’t get any photos off the card at all.

Viewing the card through Windows Explorer there were loads of files with seemingly random 09f2¤!”%-style filenames. The card size was suddenly claimed to be 248 GB (beat that Pretec). I could see many of the raw image files, but none of them were readable.

After doing a bit of hunting around I found Ahlberg Data in Stockholm. The website claimed that data almost always can be saved from hard drives and flash memory. So, hopeful, I sent them my card.

It turns out there’s a little processor in the card that deals with the communication between the flash memory units and and the camera/computer. This processor had probably been fried to quote the technician I spoke to. Which means that any data you get off the card will be complete gobbledygook.

So they couldn’t either get anything usable off the card.

You would have to open the card and read directly from the memory units. This would involve manual labour (don’t we all hate it!) and would be very expensive. Also, it would have to be done by a company called IBAS in Norway since Ahlberg Data themselves don’t have the right equipment.

But, he claimed, the Russians are building a machine that will be able to read directly from the memory units, bypassing the processor. (With less manual work required, if I got it right.) He said they are planning to buy one of these when they become available — possibly during the autumn.

Anyway, they were very kind and sent the card back without charging anything for the analysis (or postage). So now I have the unreadable card here, hoping that one day I will be able to salvage the photos from our wedding …

Let this be a lesson to anyone thinking of buying a cheap, large memory card. Please leave a comment if you have had similar problems, I’d be very interested to hear about them.

Wednesday, September 17th 2008

The crazy megapixel race is definitely on

A while back, it seemed as if the megapixel race between camera makers was cooling down and showing some sign of sense. Canon today announced the EOS 5D Mark II, with 21 megapixels.

I’d like to know, do any of the current lenses even come close to providing that kind of detail? I’d much prefer a 12 or 15 MP fullframe camera with super-low noise.

Wednesday, July 30th 2008

Lightroom 2

Adobe Lightroom 2 is out. It seems pretty neat with lots of nice new features! What really got me going was reading about the Camera profiles which are meant to reproduce the colours you get straight out of your camera.

I tried the camera profile for the EOS 30D with the Faithful picture style. It’s pretty close, but it still renders colours slightly differently. It should be said, this profile is labelled a beta so it might improve for the final release, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

ps. I’m now a married man so don’t waste your time on sending love e-mails.

Edit: After a few more quick tests, it seems that they have fixed one of my love-to-hate bugs in Lightroom 1: When exporting a JPEG, with all the develop settings at default (0), Lightroom 1.x would still change the colours of the picture slightly. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case with Lightroom 2.

Thursday, April 17th 2008

What can I make out of these?

Red chili pepper and lime

Yesterday I was in a shooting mood and bought some interesting vegetables and fruit to shoot when I was at Hemköp.

I set up a provisional studio on one of my chairs. I just used a large sheet of white paper that I happened to find in a photo frame. For lighting I used my desk light and a second smaller light.

Red onion

I hunted down the correct exposure to make the paper only just overexpose in the brightest corner, and then shot in manual mode.

Radicchio

I used my Sigma 17-70mm, Canon 50mm and Canon 70-300mm lenses. I liked the results best from the 50mm, so I ended up sticking with that lens most of the time. (Except for the real close-ups where I used the 70-300mm + a close-up lens.) And most of the time I had the 50mm set at f/2.8 which seems to be this lenses sweet spot.

Green and yellow peppers

If you want to see more of the shots I’ve put my favourites in a set at Flickr.

Wednesday, April 9th 2008

Problem and solution: 16GB Compact Flash in EOS 30D

Transcend 16GB Compact Flash

Today I got the 16GB Compact Flash card that I ordered a few days ago. I just wrote about the crazy weather but this is almost even more insane: 16GB now cost me less than half of what my two 2GB cards cost me two years ago. And back then I had a serious discount since I bought them at the shop I worked at, Allradio. That means that the price per GB is now less than a tenth of what it was two years ago!

Eager to try it out (why? don’t know) I put my 16GB card in my camera, formatted it and … Oh! It now only had 8GB of space.

It turns out, the Canon EOS 30D doesn’t cope with (formatting) cards larger than 8GB. And when the card had been formatted down to 8GB it couldn’t be reformatted to 16GB. Not in the camera, not in Windows.

After hunting around for a while, giving up, and then hunting around some more, I found a solution: A small program called USB_Format. Just unzip it and run it, and it should let you reformat your memory card in your card reader to it’s proper size.

Now I just have to remember not to format the card in the camera. But that shouldn’t be so hard. I don’t usually format, I tend to Delete all instead.

Saturday, April 5th 2008

Saturday Photo Excursion

I was bored this morning and felt like some photography, but I just couldn’t think of anything to shoot, especially since it was around 10 and the light was very bright and sharp.

So I decided to do some location scouting instead. I packed my camera bag and went for a slow bike ride, more or less randomly around Eskilstuna. Tried to go where I had never gone before.

First I came across Eskilstuna Art Museum. Although I had read about it at work I hadn’t really understood where it was.

At the entrance there was this cool piece of art1:

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

It is made out of sheets of glass stacked on top of each other, and I’m guessing that the naked girl visible in the block is cut out of all the sheets.

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Glass monument outside Eskilstuna Art Museum

Later on I found a train yard with loads of old rusty engines and wagons. But I didn’t bother taking any pics in the harsh light. Instead I’ll go back some evening.

Then I found this fellar (?) fluttering about. He was unusually patient when he finally settled down though.

Small Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis urticae

Well, it wasn’t that much, but at least I got some fresh air… 🙂

1) I don’t take to art very easily so this should be considered quite the compliment.

Saturday, June 2nd 2007

New toy: Sigma 10-20mm or Wide angle is fun

I’ve sort-of been wanting a really wide angle lens for a while. You can do so many cool things with them, and they’re actually quite useful as well. For instance, you can easily make really goofy portraits:

Wide angle portrait Sigma 10-20mm

The widest lens I’ve had before was 17 mm, so going down to 10 mm makes quite a difference. Especially in tight spaces and for landscapes. So, having had what felt like my first ever real pay check a few days ago, I ordered a Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 (and a UV filter to go in front of it). It arrived yesterday. Included was a great carrying pouch and a lens hood.

Contents Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 DC HSM lens hood carrying bag pouch

[@Tommy: Den finns med Nikonfattning också.]

After work and dinner I went out and played with it for four hours 🙂 in town.

First I headed for the historic parts of the town. Basically a large collection of 17th century smithies, now functioning as a tourist attraction with restaurants, etc.

Rademachersmedjorna Eskilstuna Sigma 10-20mm

Rademachersmedjorna Eskilstuna Sigma 10-20mm Tullgatan Rademachergatan

Rademachersmedjorna Eskilstuna Sigma 10-20mm Rademachergatan

This bell tower worked quite well from below I thought. Sadly you can’t actually make out the bell here:

Rademachersmedjorna Eskilstuna klocktorn bell tower Sigma 10-20mm

Close to the old smithies I found what looked like a half deserted factory building.

deserted factory övergiven fabrik Eskilstuna

rusty pipes plumbing rostiga rör

soprum

blue grafitti orange wall

Just as I was going to leave, I saw this bracelet haning on a hinge on the fence:

lonely heart bracelet hanging

The last three photos were taken with my old 75-300mm lens.

Then I headed back home, but got stuck at the church which looked pretty good against the blue sky.

Klosters kyrka church Eskilstuna

There were plenty of cool cars rolling around, so I had a go at improving my panning skills. Not sure what the first one is though… some kind of Chevy perhaps?

panning shot photo car

panning shot photo car rover mini

By now it was so dark I decided to go back into town to have a shot at some lit-up fountains that I pass every day going to work.

Going there, the view of the river was pleasing to the eye. I was lucky enough to get a horde of jackdaws in the shot.

wide angle shot Eskilstuna river jackdaws Sigma 10-20mm

Canon 75-300mm IS fountains lights lit up Eskilstuna fontän fontäner

Sigma 10-20mm fountains lights lit up Eskilstuna fontän fontäner

Sigma 10-20mm fountains lights lit up Eskilstuna fontän fontäner

Sigma 10-20mm fountains lights lit up Eskilstuna fontän fontäner

And a last shot of the church from across the river before I went home. This time I actually did go home.

Sigma 10-20mm Klosters kyrka church Eskilstuna across river Eskilstunaån

I’m getting close to 10,000 photos now. My camera has made 9949 exposures, and out of those I’ve kept 3604, or 36%. Sadly I haven’t printed very many, but I’m planning on making a few enlargements soon to put up on my bare walls.

Sunday, February 18th 2007

Vertical Grip BG-E2 is Great

A couple of weeks ago I got myself a vertical (battery) grip for my Canon EOS 30D. It’s wonderful!

It stops you from having to flap your elbow around when shooting vertical shots, and since the normal grip is made longer you can use your whole hand to support the camera.

Especially when I’m using an external flash or my EF 70-300mm IS it feels so much better to hold.

I can agree with those who say that it feels plasticky. It does feel less solid than the camera itself, but I would still recommend it to anyone who uses an external flash or a heavy lens (or both).

Monday, January 22nd 2007

Photography Tip of the Day: Warmer Flash Photos

I often think flash photos look unnatural. Flat and cold. Having an external flash which you can swivel to bounce the light off a ceiling or wall gets rid of the flat light, but you may still find the light looks unnaturally cold. This tip will give flash photos the feeling of being shot in ambient light.

The solution lies in adjusting the white balance setting of your camera. The trick is to manually set your white balance to 7000 K. (Or even higher – experiment!) By doing this your flash photos will end up a shade warmer than if you set the white balance to flash. When the camera is set to 7000 K it will interpret the light from the flash as slightly warm/yellow, since it has a colour temperature of 6000 K.

Hover the photo below to see the (slight!) difference this makes.

Differently coloured smarties

I know this is possible on the Canon EOS 30D, Canon EOS 5D, Nikon D200, Nikon D80 and the more expensive SLRs, but it may also be possible on some serious compacts. Fiddle around with your menus and settings and see what you find!

Edit: Here are some good articles on white balance and colour temperature:

Monday, January 15th 2007

Quick Sharpness Test of the Canon EF 50mm 1:1.4 USM

In response to this thread over at photo.net I decided to test my copy of the Canon EF 50mm 1:1.4 USM at various apertures.

The question posted in the thread is basically Can the Ef 50mm be used at f/1.4, or is it only sharp at f/2.8?.

Since it is late at night here, my test subject is rather boring. It’s a Volvo brochure laid out flat on my floor:

However, the tiny text is good for showing lens sharpness.

I shot test pictures at f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6 and f/8. Here are the obligatory 100% crops. I should add that the images where shot with sharpness set to 3 (out of 7) and contrast at -4 in my 30D.

F/1.4

As you can see, at f/1.4 the edges are slightly soft. The edges are sharper at f/2.0, and even sharper at f/2.8:

F/2.0

F/2.8

From f/2.8 and up, the results are pretty similar:

F/4.0

F/5.6

F/8

So, to answer the question: The Canon EF 50mm 1:1.4 USM is not as sharp at f/1.4 and f/2.0 as it is at f/2.8 and above, but I’d say it is definitely usable.

Saturday, December 30th 2006

Canon/Photography Tip of the Day

Here’s a tip for those of you who have one of Canon’s digital EOS cameras (30D, 5D, 1D Mark II, 400D) and possibly others too:

Turn the contrast down to -4.

This may sound strange. Won’t that make my pictures grey and boring?! you might think.

No, it won’t. But it will bring out more detail in highlights and shadows. It gives the impression of increasing the dynamic range in the photos, even though – technically – it doesn’t.

Below are two example photos. The shown image is at contrast 0. Hover the image to see contrast -4.

Vaksala Church (kyrka)

Vaksala Church (kyrka)

So … the last few days or so I’ve been re-developing all my (~2200) raw image files with the contrast set to -4.

🙂