Camera / Lens Test

I’m always looking out of my apartment window at the grand view I have of Bangkok. The window faces west and I have a fine view all the way from Rachadapisek Road all the around to the tall office buildings in the Chatuchak District.

Today I noted someone had erected a new billboard on a building about three miles away to the north. I thought I’d see if I could read it from a photograph.

I have two Canon DSLR bodies: a 2004 vintage EOS-300D (the original silver Digital Rebel) and a 2006 EOS-30D.

My longest lens is the Canon EF 75-300mm F4-5.6 zoom (non-IS). It is good for a US$200 lens but of course not up to “L” standards.

I decided to do a test using the same lens on both bodies with the same shooting conditions. Fortunately today was clear in the morning so I had a good view.

I set the cameras up on a tripod with a cable release with these settings:

  • Aperture priority – F8. (I read this is the len’s optimum aperture)
  • ISO 100.
  • RAW
    • 3072 x 2048 for the EOS-300D‘s 6.3MP sensor.
    • 3504 x 2336 for the EOS-30D‘s 8.2MP sensor.
  • Pattern metering mode.
  • Zero exposure compensation.

I took photos at 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm with the same lens on both cameras.

I imported all the pictures into Lightroom 2.4, converting them to DNG and the Pro Photo RGB colour space in the process. I used the Lightroom “Camera Landscape” camera calibration profile (which matches Canon’s Landscape Picture Style). I set the white balance to Daylight (5500K).

Here are the views taken at 75mm:

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

Bangkok Chatuchak District from the Apartment (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

You can examine larger pictures on Flickr by clicking on each picture.

I was interested in the pink billboard at the centre of the pictures.

I used Lightroom to make two crops of the 300 mm pictures’ DNG files to show only the billboard. Here they are:

Billboard (EOS-300D)

EOS-300D

 

Billboard (EOS-30D)

EOS-30D

 

Yes! I could read them.

They are advertising new “Paradise” condominiums on Chaeng Watthana Soi 14. They have an offer of free furniture.

But I was surprised that the picture from the old EOS-300D seemed clearer. I think I applied the same processing parameters in Lightroom. I would have thought that the newer EOS-30D would have delivered a better result.

Maybe the EOS-30D’s sensor is dirty. I don’t have the courage to try to clean it myself.

I have not yet found anywhere in Thailand where I can rent Canon camera equipment. It would be great to rent a L telephoto lens for a few days to compare the results in real use.

Is there anything wrong with my methodology?

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2 Responses to “Camera / Lens Test”

  1. mdee88 Says:

    I too was surprised at the clarity of the 300D. Maybe the 30D is dirty. I would suggest- http://www.giottos.com/CoCo-air.htm for personal cleaning of the sensor. You can probably find this in BKK.
    If you have it at f8 shot on tripod then I don’t think there would be too much of a difference even if L lens was used. I use L lens on event shoots otherwise I just use normal EF lenses for walkabouts. But I rarely pixel peep…

    • BKKPhotographer Says:

      I think I should take the 30D for a professional cleaning. I rarely remove the lens outside the apartment but still I expect some grot (technical term) has got on the sensor. The Canon (Thailand) service centre is conveniently close to Chong Nonsi Skytrain Station. Their labour rates are reasonable.

      I was thinking, maybe the biggest effect on image quality on a picture taken at several miles difference is the atmosphere. Haze, convection currents from the hot pavement etc. You are probably right – the lens is not the biggest factor. Still, I’d love to try an L lens to see for myself.

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