Posts Tagged ‘camera’

Monday, March 5th 2012

Ett nytt kamerafynd

För någon vecka sedan fick vi ett ryck och röjde lite i källaren, inför flytten i juni. Jag hittade en gammal kamera som jag tror jag fått/ärvt av farmor och farfar i England. Efter lite forskande så kom jag fram till att det är en Vest Pocket Kodak. (Det stod på den …) Exakt vilken modell det är är svårt att säga, men jag tror att det är en Vest Pocket Kodak Autographic Special. Den modellen började tillverkas år 1916, så den här har nog varit med ett tag.

Tänk om man kunde få se några av de bilder som tagits med den!

Efter att ha läst i manualen som någon duktig människa har skannat in så upptäckte jag att den här kameran har en finess som inte ens min Canon à la 2011 har … 🙂

C06630C06654C06636C06645C06650C06634

Man kan nämligen öppna en lucka på baksidan av kameran och anteckna på det pappersskikt som fanns på filmens baksida. Så då kunde man ge varje bild en titel och anteckna t ex vilka inställningar man använde. Praktiskt! Motsvarande finns säkert på en del digitalkameror, men definitivt inte på Canons systemkameror. (Och för att vara tydlig så menar jag inte att man i så fall skulle öppna en lucka och skriva med blyerts alltså …)

Objektivet har en största bländare på f/7,7 och en brännvidd på 84 mm. Ovanför och under linsen finns två väljare. En för slutartid, en för bländare. När man ska fotografera drar man ut fronten på kameran så att bälgen vecklas ut helt. Bakom fronten finns en vinkelsökare och avtryckaren, vilket syns i en av detaljbilderna här ovanför.

Manualen är väldigt utförlig och ger en massa grundläggande information om hur man fotograferar. Den hävdar också bestämt att man måste fotografera byggnader rakt på, d v s kameran måste stå helt plant.

Vest Pocket Kodak manual excerpt

Tyvärr har jag själv nyligen begått grova brott mot den här regeln, så det är väl bara att jag hyr en skylift och åker och fotar om de här bilderna

Sunday, February 20th 2011

Camera Gear History

I’ve been thinking about summing up my camera gear over the years, and how I’ve switched stuff around. So here goes.

Canon EOS 300 with EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6 and battery grip BP-200.

I’ll skip right over the compacts I had, and start with my first SLR. In 2001 I bought a double lens kit with …

  • Canon EOS 300 (above)
  • Canon EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6
  • Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6

In february 2003 I bought an external flash, the Canon 420EX. I just realized that the flash is the oldest piece of gear that I’m still using.

I stayed out of the digital game until 2006 when the Canon EOS 30D was released. Now I considered the technology had matured enough for me, so I bought a 30D at the shop where I was working back then – with a nice discount of course.

Canon EOS 30D (body only).

At the same time I got a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 as a standard zoom for the 30D. I tried to sell my analog camera and the 28-90mm lens, but didn’t succeed.

Later the same year I expanded my kit with two more lenses …

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6

I sold the 75-300mm and just used the sharper 70-300mm with image stabilization.

The next addition I made was the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, mid 2007.

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6

At this point my camera bag was pretty much complete, with lenses from 10mm to 300mm, an external flash, various filters, a screw-on close-up lens, and various other bits and pieces.

So this is when I started thinking about upgrading various parts of the kit.

The first lens I upgraded was my standard zoom, selling my Sigma 17-70mm and getting Canon’s great EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, in January 2010. I bought the Canon lens second hand in Stockholm, in good condition and for a very decent price.

In May 2010 I got a very good deal on a new Canon EOS 50D and sold my 30D after about 27 800 clicks. You can read my thoughts about the 50D here.

Canon EOS 50D.

My latest upgrade, in January 2011, was switching the Sigma 10-20mm for a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Having the f/2.8 aperture all the way from 11 to 55 mm is great.

And now I’m extremely close to switching my 50D for a 7D. I’ve only had the 50D for nine months so it might seem a little … premature. But thanks to the great deal I got when I bought it I can sell it second hand with a very small loss.

All in all I’ve been through eight different lenses and three camera bodies, moving on to my fourth.

What’s your camera history?

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.

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.

Thursday, March 25th 2010

The Most Overrated Camera Accessory of All Time

Let me introduce you to the diffuser. You may be familiar.

Diffuser / Omnibounce

The diffuser, in this case an Omnibounce, is the white plastic thing photographers like to put on their flashes.

This is undoubtedly the most expensive piece of plastic I ever bought. (It was something like $30 if I remember correctly.) And perhaps the most unnecessary.

Considering it is basically a remolded tupperware box, it does hurt to dwell on what it cost.

The point of it is to soften the light from the flash. The only thing is, there is a much better way to soften the flash and that is to bounce it off the ceiling. Which will cost you exactly $0.

If you try to do both at the same time – point the flash straight up with the Omnibounce mounted – the expensive white plastic will be counterproductive since it will shine light straight at your subject. In doing so it brings back the flat look and harsh shadows you were trying to avoid in the first place. Hover the photo below to see what the Omnibounce does.

Test of the Omnibounce diffuser.

And if you for some reason point your flash straight at the subject – for instance if the ceiling is coloured or non-existent – the Omnibounce will give you just as flat light as you would have got with the flash on its own. The few photons of light that the Omnibounce actually manages to spread out sideways is nowhere near enough to fill in the shadows.

Hover the image below to see what the Omnibounce does in the straight-on situation.

Test of the omnibounce.

In fairness, it does blur the shadow edges very slightly though. Here the Omnibounce gave a warming effect too, but that’s just because some of the light has bounced off our beige wallpaper to the left of the desk. If you’d been in a green room, you would have got a sickening green tint. 😉

As you can probably guess by now, the Omnibounce is not one of the things I carry around in my camera bag. And if you haven’t already wasted $30 on one yourself, I suggest you don’t.

Stay tuned, I’ll soon be presenting the most underrated camera accessory.

Monday, January 25th 2010

Lens Cleaning Tips

Just before I was about to sell my old lens, I searched the web for good ways of cleaning the outsides of a lens.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the weird white stuff that gets stuck between the little grooves on your zoom and focus rings. I guess it’s a mix of salt, grease and dead skin cells. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably haven’t had your DSLR for a full year.

This is what it looks like:

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, dirty.

Anyway, the method that I found is really simple. (And cheap!)

Just find an old toothbrush and fill a cup with warm water. Dip the toothbrush in the water and flick it hard a few times to get most of the water out of it again.

Then you simply brush the mucky areas. Just make sure the toothbrush isn’t leaving pools of water all over your lens – it’ll get into the joins.

Rinse the toothbrush if it gets too dry.

If you don’t drop your lens in the cup of water, you should end up with a lens looking close to new!

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, clean!

(BTW, this is not the lens I sold. The toothbrush method worked so well I went ahead and cleaned all my lenses.)

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!

Monday, December 14th 2009

Nice Lens: Sigma 17-70mm 1:2.8-4 OS HSM

Sigma has just introduced a new and very interesting lens, the Sigma 17-70mm 1:2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM.

Sigma 17-70mm 1:2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

When I got my Canon EOS 30D I decided to go for the Sigma 17-70mm 1:2.8-4.5. It is better than the standard kit lens and optically better than the Canon EF-S 17-85mm even if it lacks stabilization.

Sigma’s new lens offers two great improvements:

  • Ultrasonic auto focus motor (HSM)
  • Optical stabilizing

It also features better glass than the old lens, so in theory it should give even more detail. The old 17-70mm isn’t very sharp at the wide end.

I’ve felt that my 17-70mm 1:2.8-4.5 is the weakest of my lenses when it comes to low light photography. Adding stabilization would make a huge difference. An alternative would perhaps be to get a second hand Canon EF-S 17-55mm 1:2.8 IS.

Really looking forward to reading some tests of the new Sigma.

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.