Photography


Canon has launched the 500D/T1i, this fits in between the entry level 1000D and the professional series 50D. This also have video capabilities which all the SLRs are now adding.

Key Features

  • 15 Mega Pixel. Same sensor as the 50D, which is a good thing but does megapixel  matter any more? Perhaps for some.
  • High Definition Video (1080p) recording.This is at 20fps, while you can get 30fps if you shoot in 720p.
  • Extendible ISO up to 12800
  • Live view with Face Detection
  • HDMI output
  • 9 Point autofocus
  • SD/SDHC Card
  • 524g weight

Main advantage over 450D

  • Video capabilities
  • 15MP vs. 12
  • Higher ISO vs 1600
  • HDMI connectivity

If these are not important to you, then you could get a 450D at a bargain.

Advantage over Olympus E620

  • Video as the 620 doesn’t have video.

Advantage of Olympus E620 over Canon 500D

  • Image stabilisation in the Body

FujiFilm has launched a 3D camera which has two lenses and two sensors. One captures the foreground and the other the background.

To actually get a 3D picture, you need to send the photo to a special lab to process and send the photos back to you.

Looks innovative, initial pricing seems to be high, expect it to get more competitive.

Read More.

Olympus just released its Micro Four Thirds camera the Olympus E-P1. It was Panasonic which introduced this concept by doing away with the Prism, thereby reducing the size of the camera and now Olympus is following suit.

Enough of technology, what does all this mean?

This means that you can have a small camera with inter-changeable lenses.

Whats I like about this camera:

  • 12 MP Camera
  • 3 inches LCD screen
  • High Definition video recording with stereo sound
  • Built in Image Stabilisation
  • HDMI port
  • Support for SD Memory, makes it easy to swap memory with other consumer devices. Thank god the xD format is gone :)
  • Adaptor for four third and older Olympus lenses, so you can use your existing lenses
  • Support upto 30 min exposure for those long exposures
  • Metalic Body
  • Good quality lenses
  • Dust reduction system
  • Audio recording to have your notes narrations
  • Art Filter for more creativity
  • Better compatibility with other 4/3rd lenses.

What I don’t like:

No Viewfinder? Come on Olympus, you know photographers better than anyone else. I like using the LCD but in certain conditions, such as when there is too much light, the LCD can’t be seen and thats when the viewfinder comes to your rescue.

However there is an optional viewfinder available if you must.

No Built In Flash. Which means you can’t use it for indoor evening parties. You do have optional flashes at additional costs. However you can’t use flash and optical finder at same time, as they both sit into the same slot.

Comparison with Panasonic GH1

Olympus Advantage

  • Image Stabilisation
  • Metalic Body

Panasonic Advantage

  • Electronic View Finder
  • Built in Flash
  • Faster Auto Focus
  • Vari-angle LCD, which means the LCD can be moved around to take the difficult shots.
  • 1080p video recording vs 720p of Olympus

Here is more stuff from DPReview.

43rumors was the first to report this camera, and has lots of more information.

Canon has launched two Cameras: The PowerShot SX10 IS and PowerShot SX1 IS. Both are good choices for people wanting more than a point and shoot but don’t want the complexity of an SLR. Also note, that with features come weight, both these models are around 550gms which is as heavy as an SLR.

What’s common between the two:

  • 10 Megapixel
  • 20X optical zoom, yes 20!!
  • Wide angle
  • Image Stabilisation
  • Takes standard SD/MMC/MMC Plus Memory
  • CMOS based, which means better picture quality.
  • Vari-Angle LCD screen that can be moved around, giving you flexibility.
  • Face Detection: Camera automatically detects faces in a photo and focuses.
  • Video recording.
  • Standard AA/NiMH batteries

The SX1 is just being launched as we speak and has a few extras overs SX10.

  • High Definition Video
  • HDMI Port
  • and 2.8″ LCD while the SX10 has 2.5″ LCD

Only if the High Definition video is important for you, go for the SX1. As right now the SX1 is significantly more expensive.

Read more at DPReview.

Digital Camera Resource Page (DCRP) has a review of the Panasonic Lumix G1.

I had blogged about this earlier, when it was launched. Very interesting camera is you are looking to buy an SLR.

High Dynamic Range or HDR photography is the latest craze in Digital Photography.

How often do you have photos, where parts of the photos were over exposed, while others were underexposed?

With HDR you take the same photos at different exposure levels, combine them to get very perfectly exposed photos.

See some nice examples of HDR Photography.

There are also two nice Open Source software to do this too.

Qtpfsgui and Cinepaint

Qtpfsqui is a newer one, more actively developed and also has a Windows version.

Here is a nice Tutorial which explains how to do it.

I am off to create my first HDR photo :)

The Valley of Butterflies is situated at Rhodes Island in Greece. A popular tourist attraction, which was once full of butterflies. Now its hard to find any butterflies there. And it not just global warming, its also because of increase in number of people visiting the place.

I managed to spot one butterfly and a nice Lilly too.

Butterfly at the Valley of Butterflies

Water Lilly at the valley of butterflies

Hyperdrive has the fastest photo backup solution. Just remove the memory card from your camera, pop it in and it will copy your photos to the hard drive inside.

In short its a portable hardrive with a built-in memory card reader. You can even view your photos on the LCD screen.

Read more.

Panasonic announced the Lumix G1 at Photokina. I had the opportunity to have a look and it looks very promising.

What Panasonic has done, is redesigned an SLR and removed the Prism, the image falls directly on the sensor, like a point and shoot.

Some key advantages:

  • Reduces the complexity and therefore should give better results.
  • This is like an SLR, which means you can change Lenses.
  • Its much smaller in size and also reduces the weight.
  • The LCD and the Electronic view finder are very good.
  • Face detection.
  • 12 Megapixel. Not very important, but if you are still in the Megapixel race :) it helps.
  • The LCD can swirl out, so you can more flexibility when taking pictures from difficult angles.
  • This has also introduced a new standard called the Micro 4/3 Mount. This is smaller than the 4/3rd Mount but you can use existing 4/3rd lenses using an adapter. The important bit is that it confirms to a standard and if successful, expect to see more lenses. Olympus has already announced a few lenses for this.
  • The continuous auto focus works well, I did try this out and was impressed.
  • Built in Image stabilisation.
  • Choice of Colors: Black, Blue, Red. Better than the boring blacks.
  • 23 Focal points.

Disadvantages:

Limited lenses for now, but you can use the adapter to increase your options.

No video yet, although Panasonic is going to launch something that supports HD in 2009.

Read preview at DPreview.

Read the official press release.

If you haven’t already seen this, and are looking for an SLR, check the Canon 450D.

Here is whats new.

  • 12 Mega Pixel.
  • Live View (what you see is what you get). Olympus was the first to have this but finally Canon has caught up.
  • SD Card Support (Earlier Canon SLRs were CF, this is the first SLR with SD/SDHC support.
  • Big 3″ LCD.
  • Higher capacity Lithium Ion battery means more shots with a single charge. But note live-view will drain more power.

One advantage the Olympus E510/520 still has over the Canon is it has in-body Image Stabilisation.  Image Stabilisation in the Lens obviously works better but in-body Image Stabilisation means you don’t need to spend more money on every lens to get Image Stabilisation.

Overall a good buy.


Saw this interesting product at Computex 2008: PhotoTrack

This is a GPS device that stores location information. You just carry it with when you travel and then use the software which add the location information to your photos. It does this based on time syncronisation.

It works with Flickr and works with all digital cameras.

It also has a mapping software that maps out your trip.

Excellent product, too bad the software is Windows only.

At some point of time, camera manufacturers will add a GPS device within the camera, until then use PhotoTrack

More information: www.wonderproud.com

If you are using low cost point-and-shoot Canon digital camera. You can turn on all sorts of features usually reserved for more expensive SLRs. That includes live histograms, depth-of-field calculation, under and overexposure highlighting, and hold your breath… shooting your pictures in RAW too.

Read this article for more information. This technique uses the freeware firmware CHDK.

Carnegie Mellon University has announced a $300 robot designed to easily enable people to create super-high-resolution panoramic pictures.

See some sample photos.

Pentax has announced an upgrade to it popular K100D, the K100D Super. This is a good feature rich, inexpensive SLR.

Apart from the usual bells and whistles of the K100D, it also has:

  • ISO sensitivity up to 3200
  • SDM (Supersonic Drive Motor) lens support
  • Dust Removal system borrowed from the K10D

Read more at DPReview.

Expected Price US$600

Nice article

Also read related post earlier.

Do megapixels count?

Taking photos at Night without a tripod is usually tricky.

Here is a nice article:

How to take AWESOME night photos WITHOUT a tripod

As per Photo Marketing Association survey of digital camera owners:

The average U.S. household has almost 1,000 digital photos stored on CDs, DVDs, Web sites and hard drives.

With almost every cellphone having a camera these days, this is only going to keep increasing.

Most digital cameras especially SLRs are now using RAW file format which retains all the details unlike jpg file formats which is a lossy compression.

Now Linux users can also use RAW. You can use the UFRaw, which can also be used as a plugin for gimp.

Pentax K100D is an interesting Digital SLR Camera.

Pros:

  • Has good reviews about the photo quality.
  • Built-in Anti-Shake, so you don’t need to spend extra for anti-shake when you buy an extra lens. This is a great feature cause if you buy other brands, you have to pay almost twice for the lens with Anti-Shake.
  • Takes AA batteries (Alkaline, Ni-MH) as well as Lithium-Ion.
  • Accepts SD Memory, which is getting more common now in consumer devices such as MP3 players, Phones. So if you run out of memory on your camera, you can plug out a mini-SD from your cellphone, plug it in the SD adaptor and use in your camera.
  • Supports both JPEG and RAW format.
  • Value for Money (around US$500).
  • Accepts all the Pentax lenses ever made. Yes Pentax claims that you can use any of the Pentax lenses ever made, the latest ones can fit on directly and the older ones need an adaptor.

Cons:

Not much really of an issue, seems like a good buy but may of concern to people.

  • 6 megapixel may be limiting for some: 6 MP is good enough to print A3 size prints, but may be issues if someone wants to use your photos for printing larger than A3 posters.
  • Weight: slightly heavier than Olympus/Canon in the same category.
  • Pentax not being the most popular SLR in some countries, getting choice of lens may be difficult.

Note: There is a cheaper K110D is also available which is identical to the K100D except it doesn’t have anti-shake. Anti-Shake is highly recommended so its worth paying the extra.

Read the review at DP Review, they have listed this camera under Highly Recommended.

See my photo album.

There was a time when people would buy their computer based on the gigahertz. After the gigahertz race, now people are running after megapixels. What are you going to do with all those extra pixels?  Is the megapixel the most important criteria to selecting a digital camera?

Not necessary. If you can print an A3 size print from a 6MP (megapixel) do you need bigger than that?

From this article:

Digital camera makers continue to squeeze ever more megapixels into their products. But does that make for better pictures?

Some experts say no. Image quality isn’t improving, they say, and some fear it may actually be degrading as the megapixel race escalates.

Also consider the fact, that higher megapixel, mean bigger image sizes, which require more memory costs.

So unless you are into professional photography, your buying decision shouldn’t only be based on megapixel. Especially when you are starting with your first point-and-shoot camera. You could also save a 100 dollars by just selecting one model older with lower megapixel.

Related article: 25 things you must know before buying digital camera

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