Tag Archives: Canon

Gear Acquisition Syndrome – always needing the next best camera or lens

Fascinating first hand story:

I used to be a real photography gear head, I bought and sold cameras right and left, I was left broke and miserable, here’s what you can learn from my ordeal

Source: Confessions of an ex-gear addict

When I stopped at a beach overlook recently, I was surprised at how many very expensive cameras and lenses I saw being carried along the trails. Then I saw a photo, shared on Facebook, of a crowd of people in Yosemite, with very expensive cameras, sometimes several of them, all taking the exact same photo of the annual Horsetail Falls orange-lit “fire fall”. The last time I was in Zion National Park, I saw a long line of tripods and expensive cameras and long lenses set up to take the same photo of the sunset. Same thing in Yellowstone – and worse, where individuals were carrying professional video gear, including RED cameras.

What struck me was just how much money so many people have (or had!) that they can afford to spend tens of thousands of $s on cameras and lenses. Sure, some are professional photographers, some are semi-pro (a hobby that sometimes makes money), then serious amateurs and then those who just buy really expensive gear.

The linked article is well worth reading – its a self confession by one photographer who suffered badly from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, buying and selling one or more cameras, lights, reflectors, after another, after another.

The greatest fear for camera makers is that at some point, a whole lot of people decide to downsize their camera and lens arsenal!

Macro Mondays? Time to ramp up close up 3D photography

Yesterday, on a whim, I shot some 3D close ups using my Canon SX1 IS macro wide angle lens feature. One of the examples I posted yesterday, and repeat again in this blog post.

It occurred to me that we do not, exactly, see good 3D with our binocular vision on extremely close up subjects. In fact, when looking at things really close, it may be easier to shut one eye and focus only with the one eye.

Our eyes are too far apart to see good 3D on very tiny objects at very close range. But a camera can take images just millimeters apart, creating beautiful 3D rendering.

Perhaps we should start a new online meme of “#3DMacroMondays” or similar! If you use Google+ and follow any photographers, you know what I mean – there are days for landscapes, portraits and what not.

I know that I am going to start shooting a lot more 3D close ups. Its easy to carry a single camera while hiking and there are plenty of miniature subjects to choose from!

If you do not have a macro capable lens, you could always pick up some inexpensive extension tubes. For example, here are some micro-four-thirds macro extension tubes – I plan to eventually get these for my m43 camera: Macro Extension Tube Set for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

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3d photos taken with a single camera

While hiking I took several 3D photos using a single Canon SX1 IS camera. This works by taking a photo and then sliding the camera a couple of inches to the right and taking the same photo again. The left and right images are then combined with Stereo Photo Maker to create a 3D image.

Obviously, when handheld, camera pointing is not perfectly aligned in the left and right images. Much of the alignment can be cleaned up in Stereo Photo Maker but there will be little artifacts, like lens barrel distortion, still present. But still, this is an interesting way of easily photographing 3D photos of stationary subjects.

(Click on any image for full size – all are in red/cyan stereo anaglyph format)

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My 3D Camera Mounts

The photos below do not show all the mounts I have built but you get the general idea. For example, several mounts are just pieces of drilled out steel or aluminum mounted to a tripod adapter.

One problem with putting cameras side by side on a length of aluminum is that you need to put a hole and fastening nut for the tripod mount, in between the cameras, which means 3/4 to 1 inch extra gap between the cameras, spacing the lens wider than necessary.

That led to this bracket which puts the cameras on the top level and the tripod mount on the bottom level. These metal brackets are steel straps sold at a local hardware store, then drilled out for the desired spacing.

1/4-20 screws attached to knobs (available at a hardware store) are used to connect cameras on top of the top rail. I also have a version of this that has 3 levels – the middle level, like above, holds the cameras. A third level above the cameras holds mounts for shot gun mics. I’ll have to post a photo of that some day!

A seldom used mount is this very wide angle setup, which is made from two oversized calipers, used in drafting. The two camera mounts are adjustable to provide lens spacing of up to about 2 feet. But keep in mind there are very few situations (big landscape shots mostly) where you will ever need something this big.

I recently purchased this milled piece of aluminum bar which provides an adjustable camera mount. The center contains both a 1/4-20 and a 3/8 tripod threaded mounting hole.

After this photo was taken, I modified the bar slightly so I could mount it in the earlier 3D mount, above. With the adjustable rail, I can get the two Canon HF M301 video cameras down to a 2 3/4″ lens separation (center to center), plus where needed, I can also spread the cameras apart.

 

 

The rough rule of thumb is that the main object in 3D space should be at least 30x the lens spacing away from the cameras. At 6″ camera spacing, the minimum subject distance should be 15 feet (6″ x 30 = 15 feet). At 2 3/4″ we can cut that distance in half. And that is really a minimum – I find better results when the subject distance is kept beyond the minimum.

But there are other considerations when setting the camera spacing. For some situations moving the lenses further apart helps to emphasize the depth effect. For example, when I was shooting Hoopfest at 3″ spacing, the depth effect disappeared around 150 feet (or so) from the camera. But when I set the lens spacing to about 6″, the depth effect was nicely visible down the whole city block.

 

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How many clicks will your camera shutter last?

How many shutter clicks can your camera handle before the shutter stops working correctly? Well, it depends on the camera, whether it uses electronic or mechanical shutter, and whether it is a consumer or pro camera.

This is an issue especially now that many photographers are shooting time lapse videos using their DSLR. A 100 second video clip might use 3,000 clicks of the shutter!

There is actual data that can estimate how many clicks you’ll get before needing to replace the shutter.

Professional cameras may make it to the low millions of clicks, but the lower end cameras may wear out before 100k clicks. Page down to see the estimated shutter life.

http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/canon_eos5dmkii.htm
http://www.olegkikin.com/shutterlife/canon_eos450d.htm

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DSLRs and rolling shutter

Rolling shutter” is a video image distortion that commonly appears when using modern CMOS-based DSLRs – and also CMOS-based consumer camcorders. It manifests as a wobbly or skewed image. In the simple case, a fast pan left or right causes vertical lines to become slanted and bent. In a more typical case, portions of the image can appear wobbly if the camera – or the subject – are moving left or right.

I’ve elevated the following to its own blog post; it first appeared within the following post about the new Canon SX40IS. I also wrote about rolling shutter before.

I’ve been discovering some issues with rolling shutter on my Lumix GH-2 when using long telephoto settings that are, for me, more problematic than fast pans. Specifically, if I use the 45-200mm zoom at the 200mm setting (think 400mm full frame equivalent lens), and then switch into the ETC extended digital teleconverter mode where it isolates just 1920×1080 pixels (multiply by 2.6 times) giving a 1040mm (full frame) effective lens, the very slightest motion produces skew and wobble in the image.

Last week I shot a scene using this feature – since a 1040mm equivalent lens is compressing a huge amount of atmosphere, the thermal refraction occurring in the image made the image wobble. And sure enough, that resulted in rolling shutter issues even though the camera was locked down securely on a tripod!

Some day … an electronic global shutter will be added to CMOS sensors, I suppose. Until then, for long range video shooting, I prefer CCD imagers.

Is rolling shutter a problem? Some claim its not if you merely plan your images in advance. For those who can plan their images, this strategy may work fine.

But I shoot a lot of live events that I do not control and or which there can be only minimal planning. I am finding that DSLRs are great for shooting video:

  • For wide angle views, including handheld shots
  • For producing narrow depth of field
  • For convenience and small size (relative to a prosumer camcorder like the XH A1 or HMC-150)
  • Where you do not need real time audio monitoring and audio controls
  • Where you do not need a motor controlled zoom
  • For excellent low noise video images (especially at low ISOs)

For long telephoto shots, I find myself fighting rolling shutter far too often. I cannot control the wind. I cannot control the air temperature that causes thermals and refractions, making the image move around. As you can see in the linked articles, below, some people like all the wobbliness! I don’t!

Real video cameras have the following advantages:

  • CCD imaging (hopefully!) and no rolling shutter
  • Audio controls without adding on extras (I use a Beachtek audio mixer and external mics with my Lumix GH-2)
  • Motorized zoom control
  • Better auto focus. The GH-2 tends to hunt when shooting video so I end up using manual focus.

DSLRs (although not the GH-2) tend to suffer from false image artifacts created by aliasing and moire patterns in the images

On a typical modest screen HDTV (mine is 42 inches) it is very difficult to tell the difference between GH-2 video and XH A1 (once the A1’s noise issues are addressed – I’ll add that item to another post).

DSLRs are a fantastic tool for video, but they are not yet the be-all solution for video. But they are a wonderful additional tool to have for video shooting.

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Are video capable DSLRs really smaller and lighter “run and gun”?

Numerical Reflex Digital Camera
Image via Wikipedia

vDSLRs are not smaller & lighter, nor cheaper. « I E B A Tech Thoughts.

The picture at the link says it all 🙂

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