Sunday, April 15, 2007

Moving on up...

My recent purchase of a Canon 30D has re-sparked my interest in and passion for photography. Now this doesn't mean I haven't been actively capturing the world around me. It means I hadn't been considering the technical characteristics of my photographs. First a little history.

When I made the switch to digital in 2002, I dove in with a Kodak DC4800 (http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=593 and http://www.steves-digicams.com/dc4800.html) - although I wasn't completely sold on digital photography and wasn't ready to part with my Canon AE-1. I soon discovered my trusty Kodak was extremely more flexible than my Canon AE-1 due to it's size and weight. Unlike my Canon AE-1 with its complement of lens that I felt compelled to bring with me when I was "shooting" I accepted the limits of the Kodak and began carrying it with me more frequently. This lead to thousands of photos as I began photographing my life. While snapping these photos, I forgot about aperture and shutter speeds (even though the Kodak DC4800 has manual settings) and let the camera take over (with a few manual exceptions as I played with White Balance and Metering). My parents don't use the Internet and so I wasn't able to share online photo albums with them. I needed to reduce my thousands of photos to a few hundred or so that could be included in a physical photo album. As I went through the exercise of creating these albums I started viewing the information stored for each image. I began experimenting with aperture and shutter speeds and more extreme photo settings (shooting action in low-light, macro shots with a limited depth of field, etc.). I started reaching the limits of my Kodak and grew restless for a more versatile digital camera.

In February 2005, I decided after careful consideration to purchase a Canon 20D. I read that the Canon 30D scheduled for release, so pre-ordered the 30D (the 30D unlike the 20D had spot-metering which I'd gotten used to with my Kodak and used regularly). Unfortunately before the 30D came in, I was laid off. I decided to wait and to experiment more with my Kodak. This February I grew frustrated with the limits of my Kodak and purchased the 30D (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0602/06022114canoneos30d.asp). After shooting a dynamic band in low-light conditions with the 30D with an ISO of 1600 and no flash (a situation I'd shot just a few months earlier with my Kodak with an ISO of 400 and Flash), I realized I'd grown sloppy with exposure. So off I went to the bookstore. I discovered the art of raw conversion. Unfortunately, I discovered that raw conversion was extremely dependent on quality images to start with. This lead to the re-sparked passion for photography. I signed up for two classes - Introduction to Photographic Expression and Introduction to Photoshop at Foothill College. The first class would help me finetune the images I was shooting on the front-end. The second class would help me refine the images I shot.

Specifications of the Kodak DC4800:

  • CCD Resolution: 3.3 megapixels
  • Image Resolution: 3.1 (2160 x 1440), 2.2 (1800 x 1200), 1.6 (1536 x 1024), .8 (1080 x 720) MP
  • Image Quality Modes: 3.1 MP (uncompressed) 3.1 MP3.1 MP (highly compressed) 2.2 MP 1.6 MP 0.8 MP Custom resolution
  • Viewfinder: 1.8" LCD, Optical real image viewfinder with AF frame
  • Field of View: 90%
  • Diopter Adjustment: -1 2 diopter
  • Finder Eyepiece:
    Exit pupil: 5 mm diameter
    Eye point: 12 mm (from top of eyepiece frame)
    Semi-Field-Angle: 10.5 degree (diagonal)
  • Lens: 3X optical zoom capability, 28-84 mm f/2.8-4.5 (35 mm film equiv.), 2X digital zoom, power zoom with two driving speeds, mechanical shutter and apertures Accepts accessory lenses and filters (43 mm thread size, requires adapter)
  • Digital Enhancement: 2x digital zoom
  • Auto Focusing: TTL Video-AF
  • Auto Focus Modes: Multi spot, Center spot, Center weight 0.5m-Infinity (standard distance mode), 0.2-0.5m (near distance macro mode), less than 1.5 sec. to focus lock, @ <>
  • Focus Distance: Wide/Telephoto: 1.6 ft (0.5m)-Infinity Close-Up: 0.7 ft-2.3 ft (0.2 - 0.7m)
  • Exposure: Auto, or manual override (2 EV in 0.5-EV increments), automatic white balance and exposure lock
  • Exposure Control:
    Full Range: EV-1-16AE
    Range: EV6-16
    Program AE: (Automatic)
    Aperture Priority AE: (f/2.8, f/5.6, f/8)
    Manual: (1/1000s-1/2)
    Long time exposure mode: (0.7 - 16 sec.)
  • Exposure Compensation: 2EV with 1/2 EV step
  • White Balance: Auto, Daylight (5500k), Tungsten (semi auto), FL (semi auto), Manual (one push hold) and selectable color temperature (2500-10,000 Kelvin)
  • Shutter Speed: 16s . 1/1000s
  • Aperture Range: Wide (28 mm): f/2.8, f/5.6, f/8 Tele (84 mm): f/4.5, f/9, f/13* Effective f/stop varies through the zoom from wide to tele.
  • ISO Equivalent: 100, 200, and 400 (Auto/User-selectable)
  • Self Timer: 10 seconds
  • Flash: Strobe flash to 3.2 meters wide, 2 meters at tele (10 feet) (auto, red-eye reduction, fill, off)
  • File Format: TIFF/JPEG, EXIF 2.1
  • Special Effects: B/W yellow filter, B/W red filter, B/W, sepia mode, neutral mode, saturated mode, burst
  • Click to Click: Maximum 5 pictures with 2.0 sec interval (target: 5 pictures)
  • Burst Frame Rate: Between 2 and 5 fps
  • Burst capture: Max number of pictures (at different resolutions) 4 pictures at highest, 16 at lowest
  • Preview Frame Rate: 15-30 fps
  • Dimensions:
    WxDxH (mm) 120x65x69
    Weight: Without batteries (ounces): 11.45; Without batteries (grams): 320

Specifications of the Canon 30D:

  • Body material: Magnesium alloy
  • Sensor
    • 22.5 x 15.0 mm CMOS sensor
    • RGB Color Filter Array
    • Built-in fixed low-pass filter
    • 8.5 million total pixels
    • 8.2 million effective pixels
    • 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Image processor: DIGIC II
  • Image sizes
    • 3504 x 2336 (8.2 MP)
    • 2544 x 1696 (4.3 MP)
    • 1728 x 1152 (2.0 MP)
  • File formats
    • RAW (.CR2)
    • JPEG (EXIF 2.21) - Fine / Normal • RAW + JPEG (separate files)
  • Lenses
    • Canon EF / EF-S lens mount
    • 1.6x field of view crop
  • Focusing
    • 9-point TTL
    • CMOS sensor
    • AF working range: -0.5 - 18 EV (at 20°C, ISO 100)
  • Focus modes
    • AI Focus AF
    • One shot AF
    • AI Servo AF
    • Manual focus
  • AF point selection
    • Auto
    • Manual
    • Home position
  • AF assist
    • Stroboscopic flash
    • 4.0 m range (at center)
  • Metering
    • TTL 35 zone SPC
    • Metering range: EV 1.0 - 20 EV (at 20°C, ISO 100, 50 mm F1.4)
  • Metering modes
    • Evaluative 35 zone
    • Partial (9% at center)
    • Spot metering (approx. 3.5% at center) *
    • Center-weighted average
    • Metering range: 1 - 20 EV (at 20°C, ISO 100)
  • AE lock
    • Auto: One Shot AF with evaluative metering
    • Manual: AE lock button
  • AE bracketing
    • +/- 2.0 EV• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
  • Exposure compen.
    • +/-2.0 EV• 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
  • Sensitivity (1/3 EV steps) *
    • Auto (100 to 400)
    • ISO 100
    • ISO 125
    • ISO 160
    • ISO 200
    • ISO 250
    • ISO 320
    • ISO 400
    • ISO 500
    • ISO 640
    • ISO 800
    • ISO 1000
    • ISO 1250
    • ISO 1600
    • ISO 3200 (Enhanced H)
  • Shutter
    • Focal-plane shutter
    • 30 - 1/8000 sec
    • 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
    • Flash X-Sync: 1/250 sec
    • Soft touch electromagnetic release *
    • Bulb
  • Aperture values
    • F1.0 - F91
    • 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
    • Actual aperture range depends on lens used
  • White balance
    • Auto (3000 - 7000 K)
    • Daylight (5200 K)
    • Shade (7000 K)
    • Cloudy (6000 K)
    • Tungsten (3200 K)
    • Fluorescent (4000 K)
    • Flash (6000 K)
    • Custom (2000 - 10000 K)
    • Kelvin (2800 - 10000 K in 100 K steps)
  • WB bracketing
    • +/-3 levels
    • 3 images
    • blue/amber or magenta/green bias
  • WB shift
    • Blue (-9) To Amber (+9)
    • Magenta (-9) to Green (+9)
  • Color space
    • sRGB
    • Adobe RGB
  • Picture style *
    • Standard
    • Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Neutral
    • Faithful
    • Monochrome
    • User 1
    • User 2
    • User 3
  • Custom image parameters *
    • Sharpness: 0 to 7
    • Contrast: -4 to +4
    • Saturation: -4 to +4
    • Color tone: -4 to +4
    • B&W filter: N, Ye, Or, R, G
    • B&W tone: N, S, B, P, G
  • Viewfinder
    • Eye-level pentaprism
    • 95% frame coverage
    • Magnification: 0.9x (-1 diopter with 50 mm lens at infinity)
    • Eyepoint: 20 mm
    • Dioptric adjustment: -3.0 to +1.0 diopter
    • Precision matte screen
  • Viewfinder info
    • AF points
    • Focus confirmation light
    • Shutter speed
    • Aperture
    • Manual exposure
    • AE Lock
    • Exposure compensation amount
    • AEB level
    • Partial metering area
    • Flash ready
    • Red-eye reduction lamp on
    • High-speed sync
    • FE Lock
    • Flash compensation amount
    • Warnings
    • Maximum burst for continuous shooting
    • Buffer space
  • LCD monitor *
    • 2.5 " TFT LCD
    • 230,000 pixels
    • 5 brightness levels
    • 10x zoom playback
  • Record review
    • Off
    • On (histogram via INFO button)
    • 2 / 4 / 8 sec / Hold
  • Flash
    • Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash
    • FOV coverage up to 17 mm (27 mm equiv.)
    • Guide number approx 13
    • Flash compensation +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV increments
    • X-Sync: 1/250 sec
  • External flash
    • E-TTL II auto flash with EX-series Speedlites
    • Wireless multi-flash support
    • PC Sync
  • Shooting modes
    • Auto
    • Program AE (P)
    • Shutter priority AE (Tv)
    • Aperture priority AE (Av)
    • Manual (M)
    • Auto depth-of-field
    • Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Close-up
    • Sports
    • Night portrait
    • Flash off
  • Drive modes
    • Single
    • Continuous: 5 fps (CH) up to 30 frames or 3 fps (CL) *
    • Self-timer: 10 secs (or 3 sec with mirror lock-up)
  • Dimensions
    144 x 106 x 74 mm (5.6 x 4.2 x 2.9 in) *
    Weight (no batt) 700 g (1.5 lb) *

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