Tag Archives: Canon

Common Blue Damselfly | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

I don’t do much wildlife photography, let alone macro stuff in the field. However, while photographing various species of heather, calluna, erica and daboecia, I was taken by the antics of several damsel flies. Some were hunting, but one couple were busy working on the next generation.
I was using my Sigma 28–300mm ƒ3.5–5.6 on the Canon EOS 7D for the plant work, and had been pleasantly surprised at the macro capabilities. When my colleague pointed out the damsel fly pair, I was initially sceptical I would get anything worthwhile. I was, after all, working handheld, and I wasn’t really convinced the lens would give me good results on something so small.
I perched on a small stool, rested my arms on my knees, and zoomed right out to 300mm. The camera was set at ISO400, and I’d been working in Aperture Priority mode. The insects were quite small in the frame, and the AF couldn’t quite latch on to them. I should point out I’ve adopted the back-button focus system now, leaving the shutter button for exposure reading and capturing the shot. Once the AF locked on, I took my thumb away from the button and kept shooting.
The shot above was 1/500th at ƒ/11, and I seem to have dialled in a negative third of a stop. Aside from some mild detail and contrast enhancement on import in Aperture, and a crop to home in on the critters, this shot is the best of the bunch. I am amazed at the crisp detail in the wings. Such a relatively cheap lens, and it still surprises me.

The sound of pennies dropping

I shoot a Canon EOS 7D. As well as some Canon lenses, I also own some Sigma lenses. I acquired an ƒ/2.8 70–200mm Sigma a little while ago.

Now, something about using Sigma lenses on Canon bodies bugs me. See if you can spot it in this screenshot from Aperture (bear in mind the image was shot using the 70–200mm):

Screen_shot_2012-03-30_at_15

See the lens model at the bottom? It seems the Canon “brain” sees the Sigma lens, but identifies it as an ƒ/2.8 50–150mm plus a 1.4x extender! Do the maths, and you’ll see this odd combination actually works out as a 70–210mm. It’s not just this lens, either. All my Sigma lenses, both EF and EF-S compatible, are reported incorrectly in the EXIF from the camera. Weird but true.

It would be really nice if there was a way to correct this, either in the camera or within Aperture. I haven’t found a way yet.

New Shiny Announced!

World goes bonkers!

Anyone with even just a passing interest in digital photography can’t have failed to spot the rumour mills and industry monitors grinding into life this past few weeks. New DSLRs are very much in the news, if you care about such things.

Canon announced a new professional flagship model, the EOS-1D X, back in October 2011. Aimed at replacing the current top-flight DSLR models they produce, it’s slated for release sometime in 2012. I won’t bore you with the technical details. If they interest you, they’re on the press release and everywhere else!

Nikon, meanwhile, has just unveiled their D3 series replacement, the FX-format D4. I can’t immediately find official release dates, but again, if you are sufficiently interested in the technical stuff, it’s in the press release and everywhere else!

These press releases are timed to hit the CES 2012 shindig in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. The Consumer & Electronics Show is one of the biggest international gadget-fests going, and everyone who is anyone in the technology world will be there. Except Apple, but there you go. That’s an entirely other story.

So why do I bring you this earth-shattering news? Am I being sucked into the technolust vortex? Will Snaptophobic end up as just another technoblog, regurgitating press releases about every new gadget or software without even pausing to breathe?

No. Not a chance.

If I am completely honest I have never been free of the vortex, but I find the effort needed to get incredibly excited about new gear has waned in proportion with my age and bank balance! Yes, I am interested in it, but only in a peripheral kind of way. Being a Canonista, the new EOS-1D X is interesting, but it’s so far beyond my budget that I can effectively ignore it. It’s a camera that may be of interest to me if I were a professional photographer and it was to be my key tool, but as I am not a professional and I already have a camera that’s more than adequate for my needs, I won’t be letting myself be sucked too deeply into the vortex.

With Nikon’s announcement, there will now be an inevitable increase in the Cankon/Niknon fanbois crowing over features that trump their arch nemesis. This is partly why I haven’t bothered you with the technical features of each new camera, because they are really irrelevant to you and me. The kind of people who will find that sort of information at all of real interest are those who are not—in my opinion, I hasten to add—real photographers. 

So, while the baying over megapixel counts, burst frame rates, astronomical ISO levels, focus points and other geeky stuff begins to inexorably grow in volume, remember this: it’s not about the gear.

The camera is just a tool, a means to an end. Some of my best images were taken using a 35mm film camera that cost £20. Learn to use the tool you have, and make great pictures. If you can afford one of the new shinies, or can justify one for your work, go to it with my blessings. If you just want to leave it in idiot mode, slung round your neck as techo-jewellery … words fail me.

No, really, they do. 

Moving pictures!

I’ve been keen to try out the HD video features of my EOS 7D on a model railway for a while. Yesterday I had the opportunity on a visit to the S7 South East England Area Group’s new venue. For the first time outside an exhibition, the group is able to erect their massive layout Croscombe, and while it is far from complete it makes an impressive sight.

This video was mainly a way to prove to myself the camera can actually do what I want it to do. I think it managed quite well. With some more thought and a better plan, the next session might well produce a better film!