Archive for the ‘Canon EOS-30D’ Category

It Wasn’t My Eyes!

December 30, 2009

I found out why I could not focus properly on the moon last night. My Canon EOS-30D’s viewfinder was not adjusted properly.

It was obvious when I looked through the viewfinder at a passing helicopter the next day. I must have moved the adjustment wheel inadvertently. I’d forgotten it was there.

Here’s the page from the Canon EOS-30D User Guide:

Canon EOS-30D Dioptric Adjustment

Canon EOS-30D Dioptric Adjustment

Another thing I liked about my old Canon A-1 was that it had a little shutter to close the viewfinder window. It was good for tripod work. Canon have done away with it on their consumer cameras. I think the EOS-1D has one.

A Little Bit Out of Focus

December 29, 2009

Last night I made a second set of test shots of the Thai moon over Bangkok. This time I tried manually focusing on the moon with my Canon 75-300mm lens set at 300mm.

Although the pictures looked all right in the viewfinder and on the LCD display, when I got them into Lightroom they were unacceptably blurred.

Moon Out of Focus

Moon Out of Focus

My first attempts when I let the camera auto-focus were much better. I was surprised that it could focus, but it did and it did a better job than my 53-year-old eyeballs.

I remember my Canon A-1 film SLR camera had two optical devices in the viewfinder to help you focus. (This was the 1980s before auto-focus was available).

The first were micro-prizms. They disappeared when the picture was correctly focused. The second was a split prism. This worked better in low light. You adjusted focus until the top and bottom half of the picture was aligned. This article talks about them and this article explains the optical theory.

I don’t think there’s a technical reason cameras no longer have these aids. They are available on professional cameras like the Canon EOS-1 series. I suppose manufacturers believe that autofocus works 99% of the time so they are no longer necessary for amateurs.

Moon Shots

December 28, 2009

I asked my online mentor, Michael Willems, a question that’s been bothering me for a while:

We’re having some lovely clear nights in Bangkok now it is the cool season. The moon often looks great but I have had limited success photographing it. Do you have any tips for good lunar photography?

He responded here with some useful tips.

The moon wasn’t very interesting tonight and it wasn’t full but I thought I’d try his suggestions.

I set up the Canon EOS-30D on a tripod with a cable release. My longest lens is the Canon 75-300mm F3.5-5.6 so I used that at 300mm.

I set the camera to 100 ASA to get the best quality from the sensor. I set a manual exposure of 1/125 at F11.

The moon was high in the sky so I got a crink in my neck trying to focus manually. It was not very bright so I tried some longer exposures.

I converted them to greyscale in Lightroom – the images looked better that way.

Here’s a single sheet with four pictures, courtesy of Lightroom’s “Print to File” feature:

Moon Shots

Moon Shots

I also put some larger pictures on Flickr:

1. Moon Shots

2. Moon Shots

3. Moon Shots

4. Moon Shots

My reaction? They are okay and better than I have achieved in the past. They don’t have the sharpness I was hoping for. I think that’s a function of my inexpensive consumer-grade lens. The camera is capable of better pictures.

Photographing the Sunset

December 21, 2009

Red Bangkok Sunset
We are getting some beautiful sunsets in the cool season.

I fiddled with the camera settings a lot to persuade it to display what I saw. I don’t have time as the sun sets fast in the tropics and the shades of the sky change quickly. I found 2/3 of a stop under-exposure worked well with a minimum of post-processing in Lightroom.

I put the camera on my monopod to take this shot. I used the Canon EOS-30D’s highest ISO – 1600 and it selected 1/30 second at F3.5. I did not see any point at stopping the lens down to get a better depth-of-field (DOF) as there is not much detail available in this light.

I’d love to see what the Canon EOS-7D would make of this scene with its maximum ISO of 12800. That is three stops extra sensitivity so an equivalent exposure would be 1/125 second.

Thailand Motor Expo 2009

December 4, 2009

As planned, I went to see the Thailand Motor Expo 2009 show on Thursday afternoon. They have a free shuttle bus from Chatuchak Park Subway Station / Mo Chit Skytrain Station. The problem is the small Golden Dragon buses are very cramped and the driver waits until it is full with 19 passengers before departing. This took twenty minutes and the overall journey was the best part of one hour through heavy Northern Bangkok traffic.

IMPACT Link Shuttle Bus

IMPACT Link Shuttle Bus

Then I found that a member of the Thai Royal Family was visiting the show at the same time. Thus the exhibition was surrounded by hundreds of army and police officers. The Thai forces are extremely efficient when members of the Royal Family are involved.

They were not letting any guests into the building so I had to hand around outside. After about 45 minutes a convoy drew up to the main entrance. The police kept us well away from that area. But I was able to photograph the vehicles. After the Royal Person (I don’t know who it was) went into the hall the cars came near me to turn around for a speedy departure.

That group consisted of a cream Mercedes-Benz S-Class, four red BMW 5-Series and two escorting police cars: a slightly older BMW 5-Series and a Toyota Camry.

Royal Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Royal Mercedes-Benz S-Class

A military band played as the Royal Person entered the hall.

It was all very impressive.

When I finally got into the exhibition hall I was running a bit late. I had to pay 80 Baht entrance fee. If I had bought a ticket at the Subway Station I could have got one for 40 Baht but they were out when I asked. Still, 80 Baht is very cheap and it included the return bus to the Subway.

The exhibition was in three halls of the enormous IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Exhibition Centre. It’s the biggest in Thailand and maybe in the region. It’s also a well-known venue for concerts.

I only had time to visit one hall, but it was the one with the major manufacturers’ stands.

I was not disappointed: almost every stand had a team of pretty girls promoting the vehicles.

BMW Pretty

BMW Pretty

There were plenty of photographers around, many with some expensive kit. I took my Canon EOS-30D with the Canon 580EX flash and my widest angle lens. It is, I confess the old “kit lens” from the EOS-300D – the Canon EF-S 18-55mm.

Photographing the Pretties

Photographing the Pretties

I know serious photographers deride this lens, but for my purposes of taking “record” shots for display on the web it was fine and I appreciated the 18mm wide-angle. Of course it was the wrong lens to have when I was photographing the Royal vehicles outside. But I had enough high quality pixels shooting in RAW that I obtained adequate pictures after cropping in Lightroom.

I think the ideal lens for this job would have been my friend’s fast Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM with its high speed and thus shallower depth-of-field. Maybe he’ll allow me to borrow it some day.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM - the ideal lens for the job?

I saw a small but high-quality exhibit of older vehicles including this Jaguar E-Type.

Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar E-Type

The Tata Nano was on the Tata stand. I don’t know if they plan to sell it in Thailand. I think it is too small for the market. Outside Bangkok people haevily favour light trucks like the Isuzu DMax and the Toyota Hilux Vigo – both made in Thailand.

Tata Nano

Tata Nano

The show runs through 13th December. If I have time I’ll go again and take more time to look around. There were some exhibits on the outside of the halls like a 4×4 obstacle course. It was not in use when I went to look. Perhaps it is an evening attraction.

Overall I was impressed with the Motor Expo. It was easily as professional and interesting as those I have been to in England and America.

Here are slide shows from the 2008 and 2009 shows.

Always Something to Photograph in Bangkok

December 1, 2009

Thai Gamer Festival @ MBK
On Sunday I went to the Siam Square area of Bangkok. A friend had posted photos of a motorcycle show and I wanted to get my own pictures.

Unfortunately Saturday must have been the last day. There were no bikers – just cars in the car park outside the Hard Rock Cafe. I wandered randomly down the road and came to MBK Center. There was a Thai Gamer Festival taking place.

No Thai event is worth the name without “pretties” promoting the latest and greatest. And part of their duties include posing prettily for photographers. They are always charming and photogenic.

I posted a few pictures to Flickr here. I thought the young woman above was particularly good. I am not a gamer so I have no idea what she was promoting.

I took my Canon EOS-30D with me with my “Nifty Fifty” 50mm lens. It works well as a general purpose lens despite being “compact macro”. As always after using the sluggish Nikon Coolpix P6000 it was so good to go out with a camera that takes a photograph the moment you press the shutter release – not (seemingly) several seconds later.

Of course I paid a price in weight around my neck – but the 50mm lens is quite light. And I paid a price later as I had to geotag all the pictures manually. But it was worth it for the speed and flexibility of the DSLR design and implementation.

So when I feel low it is good for me to go out with a camera. There is always something interesting happening in Bangkok, even if it isn’t what I expected. And a smile from a beautiful woman is always cheering to the soul.

Thai Gamer Festival

Thai Gamer Festival

The festival is over now, but I bet there’s something equally interesting in its place or close by.

Funny Story

November 17, 2009
Ice Coffee

Ice Coffee

Last week a friend asked me to photograph some wheatgrass healthy drinks for his company. I gave him a CD containing all the pictures.

Yesterday evening he called me to say that one of the pictures was missing. How could this be? I put copies of every picture I took on the CD. Then I realised … his assistant gave me a cup of ice coffee and I did not know it was another photographic subject. So I drank it!

No harm done – I went back this morning and took a picture of another cup. Then I drank it.

Wheatgrass with Collagen

November 13, 2009

Wheatgrass with Collagen

Wheatgrass with Collagen

 

I had a busy day doing another product shoot for a friend in Huay Khwang. He had a range of wheatgrass products and drinks to be staged and photographed.

As before I used the Canon EOS-30D outside on a tripod with a single flash to provide some fill light. We used a simple white web board as a backdrop.

I used my Canon EF 50mm F2.5 Compact Macro Lens set to F8. It’s a nice sharp little lens and I was pleased with the results.

Most of the work was in Photoshop where I had to separate the product from the background and put it in a separate layer. That makes it easy for a designer to incorporate it into an advertisement, brochure or a banner.

I wish I was more adept with the Lightroom pen tool so I could make proper paths. But results using selections were fine on simple shapes.

I saved the pictures for delivery as a layered TIF file with a 50% grey background. I saved a Levels Adjustment Layer for the product so a graphics artist or designer can adjust the picture easily. I also delivered JPEG files for use on the web.

The only embarrassment came when I printed the label for the CD. One of the ink cartridges on my Canon MP610 printer silent ran out of ink so the customer’s logo is discoloured. It’s not vital but I prefer everything to be perfect.

Camera / Lens Test

November 6, 2009

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?

Cyber World Towers, Bangkok

November 6, 2009

CyberWorld Towers
Cyber World Towers is a long running development in the Rachadapisek area of Northern Bangkok. The towers are built on top of a former Tokyu department store.

In January 2008 both towers were heavily damaged by fire in a mysterious blaze in the early hours. They were incomplete at the time and I don’t think anybody was hburt. Some people believe the buildings are jinxed.

Now they look externally complete and there are lights on inside. I’ll have to go and check. There is a web site for the project here.

“Cyber” now sounds a bit dated as a prefix for a building or project name. It used to be all the rage, especially in Asia.

This photo was taken from the 9th floor of my apartment building across the road about 400m distant. I used an image stabilized lens on the Canon EOS-30D. 1/2 second at 800ASA worked reasonably well.

I’d love to see how a new camera like the Canon EOS-&D would do with this shot. I think it has far better High-ISO performance.

Here’s a picture of the towers in July 2008. Repairs are taking place.

Cyber World Towers

I posted another picture of the Towers here in another context.

There’s a news story on the fire here.