How Cheap Are Consumers?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 by Richard

[All prices discussed are in CAD$.]

Today, I did some quick research. Right now, you can get a Canon T1i for $900, and a 50D for $1100. The difference is a paltry $200, but the 50D is a far superior camera. The only “advantage” of the T1i is HD movie recording.

Similarly, you can get a Nikon D5000 for $750, and a D90 for $1000. The difference is a mere $250, but the D90 is a far superior camera. The only “advantage” of the D5000 is an articulating LCD screen.

How cheap are consumers? Would you give up a far superior camera just to save $200 or $250 ??

Would you give up a far superior camera just for the sake of movie mode or swivel LCD ??

Just how stupid are consumers?

One final thought:  right now, you can get a Canon XSi for $600. Would you pay an extra $300 for the T1i, just to get movie mode, VGA screen, and 15 mp ? The T1i’s IQ is no better than the XSi’s, unless you plan to equip it with a very good lens (NOT the kit lens).

Frankly, I wouldn’t pay an extra dollar for movie mode (but I’ll take it for free!). While the VGA screen is nice, it’s certainly not worth $300. So it boils down to whether or not you intend to load up on good glass for your camera…

…in which case, the difference in cost is a lot higher than $300. If you can afford that, you might as well make the extra leap to the Canon 50D !

In other words, if you’re in the market for something like a Canon XSi, there is absolutely no reason to consider the midrange T1i. If you’re swimming in this pond, you are clearly budget-constrained…

And that’s the way it is.


Review: Cameron (Marumi) DRF14 ring flash

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2009 by Richard

I bought the Cameron DRF14 ring flash for my Canon 40D. Here are my impressions…

It’s an all-plastic affair, rather flimsy. I’ll have to exercise care not to drop or bump this thing.

Installing/uninstalling the ring flash on my camera is a very fussy procedure. First, I have to screw the 52mm-to-58mm adapter ring onto the ring flash attachment (this is to accommodate my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens).

Then I screw the ring flash attachment onto the macro lens on my camera. I have to be careful about alignment, making sure the adapter ring fits correctly with the UV filter on the lens.

Finally, I attach the main controlling unit for the ring flash onto the camera hotshoe. I have to tighten the screw wheel sufficiently to ensure proper contact between the controlling unit and the camera.

Uninstalling the ring flash is particularly tricky. When you unscrew the ring flash attachment from the lens, there is a tendency for the adapter ring to stick to the UV filter, thereby removing it as well. Therefore, I prefer not to tighten the adapter ring onto the UV filter, leaving the attachment relatively loose. This is not a problem because there are enough turns available when you screw on the attachment that it won’t come off (at least 2 full turns).

The ring flash is not terribly powerful (about the same as the 40D’s pop-up flash), but it is sufficient for macro photography and it may be usable for fashion shoots, as long as you are fairly close to the subject (about 10 feet).

17-85mm kit lens

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 by Richard

When I first read that my 17-85mm kit lens had a significant drawback, ie, light fall-off at wide angle, I thought “<groan> I have a crummy lens.” But then I found this:

With a (full-frame) Canon 5D and 24-105mm L lens, the light fall-off is twice as bad! So I shouldn’t feel bad about my 17-85mm. Light fall-off is a persistent problem with full-frame bodies and wide-angle lenses, in general.

The Race to High ISO

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 by Richard

As good as the 5D Mark II is, this examination of high ISO noise shows me one thing:  above 3200 ISO, IQ is generally crap, regardless of what body from what manufacturer. Looking at the pictures, the 5D Mark II at 6400 ISO is decent but I wouldn’t be happy with it.

Consider the D700:

Again, at 6400 ISO, it’s decent but I wouldn’t be happy with it.

So in general, this race to high ISO is much like the race to high megapixels:   it’s bogus crap.

An Ode to 40D

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 by Richard

This webpage was obviously intended as Canon marketing, but I can easily attest to the fact that everything it says is true. The slide show elegantly explains *why* I fell in love with this camera the first time I held it in my hands. The 40D is an example of positively brilliant industrial design. It just feels *great*. It has fabulous ergonomics.

And, yes, it takes great pictures, too. Image Quality is important, but we must never forget ergonomics and handling.

Allan Gardens Dry Run

Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2009 by Richard

Previous to the Butterfly Conservatory field trip, I went to Allan Gardens as a dry run. Here are some of the pictures:

I gave my 100mm macro lens a good workout. Man, this is a damn good lens! Well worth the CAD$650.


Posted in Uncategorized on May 22, 2009 by Richard

I just came back from the Butterfly Conservatory at Niagara Falls. This was my first major photographic field trip. Here are the results:

This one was my Moby Dick:

I was constantly trying to capture the blue butterflies, but none of them would land and open their wings. Typically, when they land, they fold up their wings, as in this picture where they’re feeding on oranges:

Luckily, I eventually found one butterfly that was obliging. In fact, I took 18 pictures, getting closer and closer and closer to my target. (“Stealth” photography.)

I used all three of my lenses (100mm macro, 70-300mm telephoto, and finally 17-85mm). The telephoto is not a good lens to use because I can’t get up close — within about 5′, the camera won’t even let me take a picture! Frak!

It was very warm inside the conservatory. That’s because I was wearing a jacket and carrying the backpack.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect summer day.

The drive down to Niagara was long, about 1.5 hrs. I took a wrong turn and got lost momentarily, but my Garmin GPS saved me.

The drive back was harsh. I could hardly stay awake! And I was *tired*. My right leg was aching, operating the gas and brake pedals. I guess I’m getting too old for long drives…