My first digicam was the S30. I chose the Canon brand after playing with a Canon EOS SLR camera (belonging to a faculty member in the department). What amazed me about that camera was that Canon developed technology that tracked your eye and focused the lens wherever you looked (ECF, eye-controlled focusing). My most recent camera was the Canon S60, which is in need repair.

Photos of my 50D and Camera Bag

photos

Sun Feb 01 14:21:34 2009

It was a nice sunny morning, so after breakfast I decided to shoot some photos for my 50D review; I needed a photograph of my camera bag, with the camera inside it, and one of the 50D itself. I decided to include the S60 in the shot just to compare the relative sizes of the two cameras. Including the setup time, the entire shoot took about 15 minutes and I took 17 photos.

This is the Canon branded Tamrac bag I got with my camera. I wear it with the logo against my body and the flap opening outwards. The bottom of the middle section where the camera body sits, is raised with padding. To the left of the camera is the battery charger wrapped in bubble-wrap as a filler; without the bubble-wrap, the camera shifts around in the bag when it's carried. The bag originally came with the padded section in the far left where the charger is. It was clearly meant for the 50D with the longer kit lens. (Photographed with my Canon S30) [3 of 5]

Update Mon Feb 02 18:37:56 2009 <tazle> sent along a couple of photos of his bag configuration and kindly allowed me to post them. I always wondered whether the camera could be mounted vertically for speedier deployment— and it seems it can. His bag is also a Tamrac bag but it seems to have internal padding accessories different than mine.

 

 

 

Sat Mar 28 11:34:26 2009: I have reconfigured my bag since buying the 24-105mm lens; the camera lies lens-down.

<diffract> i like your seamless paper
—#photogeeks

The 50D alongside the Canon S60. The second photograph is a behind-the-scenes (BTS) look at my "studio setup". (Photographed with my Canon S30)[2 of 12]

My studio setup involved some newsprint paper which was used as filler for a package I received recently. I taped one end of it to my dining room chair and set-up the chair next to the patio window. Yes, I know it's disgraceful, given how I'm always going on about proper lighting.

Canon Wants More Babies

philosophy

Mon Feb 02 12:46:01 2009

In a country where 12-hour workdays are common, [Canon] has taken to letting its employees leave early twice a week for a rather unusual reason: to encourage them to have more babies.
At 1.34, the birthrate is well below the 2.0 needed to maintain Japan's population, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
—CNN.com, "Workers urged: Go home and multiply"

Update Tue Feb 03 04:53:25 2009: The conspiracy theorist in me thinks this is a great way to sell more cameras. After all, the first thing expectant parents do before the birth of their child is to buy a new camera...

Track 5 to Union

photos

Tue Feb 03 15:06:26 2009

Some pictures from the last car on yesterday's GO train pulling into Union station.

I brought my camera out on Monday as it was warm and sunny. There was absolutely no comment on these pics from #photogeeks (dead silence). The next picture I posted, however, was much commented upon...

Canon 50D Masterclass

tutorial video

Tue Feb 03 17:35:00 2009

The Canon 50D Masterclass video (Flash required) is available online on Canon's Professional Network website. There is also a new 5DMkII video.

Both videos seem to have a slight sales-pitch tone to them and the presenter seems uncomfortable with his delivery. Compare this with the 1D video which is very low-key. It also doesn't help that there are two droids in the background, pretending to set-up a photo shoot.

Mimico Creek

photo

Wed Feb 04 00:00:28 2009

Mimico Creek taken from a moving train. Converted to B&W and post-processed in Photoshop Elements, adjusting brightness, contrast, shadows and hilights. [ 1 of 6]

One of a series of photos taken in low-speed continuous mode as the GO train crossed the bridge over Mimico Creek. This photo (looking south) had positive comments from #photogeeks (other than comments about the bluriness). This was the best of six, so you can imagine how much blurrier the others were. I am having problems taking sharp f/8 "landscape" photographs with my 50mm/1.4. I'm going to have to do a study to investigate what I'm doing wrong.

Update Wed Feb 04 23:04:29 2009: David wrote in to suggest:

Why don't you turn the dial to Tv (Time value) and define the shutter speed?

Since you're outdoors, there should be plenty of light, and you don't care about bokeh for a shot like this, so you shouldn't bother defining the aperture. Shake is your concern, not quantity of light / blur.

It's a reasonable suggestion; worth a try.

Battery Grip

hardware

Wed Feb 04 22:33:43 2009

I just finished attaching the battery grip to my camera. I had to reconfigure my camera bag to accommodate the added height. I moved the camera off to the left side of the bag. The inside of the bag is covered with material that the velcro attaches to, I am worried that the material may scratch the rear LCD as I pull the camera in and out of the bag. I may re-configure it to lie lens-down.

Update Thu Feb 05 18:43:53 2009: Today, I did some photography in -17C (wind chill) weather with the grip attached and my first impression is that I like the feel and balance of the camera with the grip attached— it's certainly more comfortable shooting portraits with the grip which has a shutter button, a scroll wheel and zoom-in and zoom-out buttons which double as exposure-lock (*) and paging size controller. The grip also has a mount for the neck-strap so the camera can hang vertically.

Update Thu Feb 12 23:08:36 2009: The "AF-ON" button is noticeably absent (when using Live View) from the grip.

Antartic Shoot Report

Fri Feb 06 18:58:04 2009

Luminous Landscapes has posted a report on the recent Antarctic photoshoot. Interesting things to note— the breakdown of Canon (70%) and Nikon (30%) owners (no surprises there) and the camera/lense failure report (many surprises there).

As a personal note, I don't even take my camera with me (protected as it is in my camera bag) if the forecast calls for rain or snow.

"The Dark Knight" Canon

cinema

Sat Feb 07 19:24:44 2009

Canon is featured prominently in two scenes in The Dark Knight.


The first instance is in the opening aerial shot of the the scene when Lucius travels to Hong Kong— the Canon logo on top of a building appears in the bottom left of the screen and briefly after the helicopter lands.


The second instance is the press conference where Batman is going to be "unmasked". The EOS logo is clearly visible on the neck-strap of the photographer (standing behind Bruce Wayne) with a Canon camera.

There is a scene where a Nikon neck strap is seen, but I'll leave it for you to find.

Canon Lens Date-codes

hardware

Sat Feb 07 20:57:32 2009

Canon lenses leaving the factory are tagged with a code indicating location and date of manufacture, so you can tell how long the lens you just bought has been sitting on the store shelf.

My Menu: Set Date and Time

customization

Sun Feb 08 09:09:41 2009

I added Set Date and Time to My Menu. I sometimes leave early for work so I can get some shooting done in the neighbourhood and it's easy to lose track of time (I don't wear a watch) and miss my train.

I usually use the timestamp on the last photograph to check the time but sometime I have to hunt through the menus to find the Set Date And Time menu item if it's been a while since the last photo. It was only on Friday that I realized that I should have added it to My Menu.

File Management on the CF Card

technique

Sun Feb 08 22:28:42 2009

On a newly formatted CF card, the default naming scheme is to create folders beginning with 100CANON (###XXXXX, where ### are three digits and XXXXX are 5 alpha-numerics, including underscore) and creating files beginning with IMG_0001.JPG continuously till IMG_9999.JPG. After 9,999 files are saved in a folder, a new folder is created by incrementing the previous number by 1.

I find that more than 9,000 photos in a single folder is a lot of files to thumbnail when the folder is accessed via the Finder. To alleviate the delay, I have decided to create my own naming scheme on the CF card by adding an underscore followed by the two-digit year and month, after the required 3-digit folder number. (It should be noted that 100CANON and 100NIKON are identical from the camera's point of view. The 100NIKON folder will be ignored when 100CANON fills up— the first three digits of the folder must be unique.)

Since there were already three folders on the card, 100CANON to 103CANON, containing photos taken up till today, I had to begin the folder naming with with 104_0901. I moved all the photos shot in January 2009 into it. Then I created 105_0902 for February 2009 and move this month's photos into it. I then told the camera to use this folder via the Select Folder menu item (which I've added to My Menu) to store subsequent photos I take this month. I also created 106_0903 for March 2009.

Mar 1, 2009: I am now creating a new folder every week rather than every month; they are named ###MMMDD, where MMM is the three-letter month abbreviation and DD is a two-digit number representing the sunday beginning the week.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM

lens

Wed Feb 11 07:14:48 2009

If you've been following along, you're likely surprised to read that I ordered the 24-105/4 L lens last night, online from Vistek. I know I've been going on about prime lenses. The turning point in this current saga, happened last Thursday, when I realized that I was standing in the middle of Church street (during lulls in traffic) trying to properly frame and photograph an architectural detail. If I had been unfortunate enough to have been hit by a car, I would probably have received last rites from the Archbishop, His Excellency Tom Collins himself, as I was just opposite his residence.

Before deciding on the 24-105/4, I debated getting the EF 17-40/4L, and the EF-S 17-55/2.8. After some discussion with the photogeeks, I decided on an outdoor lens exclusively (that meant I didn't have to consider any lenses with an f-stop less than 4). My primary requirement was that it be sharp and all the reviews I read for the 24-105 agreed on this aspect. The second requirement was that it be relatively light-weight (which meant it had to be lighter than the 24-70L, which I consider the heavyweight champion of the Canon world). The EF-S lens, would have limited use on crop-bodies only and the lenses seem prone to collecting dust inside the body.

I still adhered to my sanity check that, at this stage, I didn't want to buy a lens that cost (CAD$1,300) more than my body ($1440). I also was dissuaded from buying a UV filter which completes the weather sealing on the L— weather sealing is a moot point for me as I don't even take my camera with me on rainy days never mind taking it out of the bag. I can always by the filter later.

I should also note why I chose Vistek over Henrys.

Update Thu Feb 12 19:05:04 2009: It was already dark when the lens arrived. First impressions: I already miss f-stops below 2.8 for night photography. Even handheld, 2000 ISO at f/4 isn't enough to give shutter speeds more than 1/8s (I didn't try 3200). On the other hand, 24mm (equivalent) is pleasure. I can fit the 50mm just below and to the right of the 24-105 in my bag (after moving the body from the middle, to the rear of the case.) Also, my right hand and arm get sore a lot faster than before.

Canon Patents Faster AF in Live View

technology

Wed Feb 11 18:31:24 2009

Canon was granted a patent on an improved method for fast autofocus in Live View.

U.K. Photographers Protest New Law

Thu Feb 12 12:30:39 2009

The National Union of Journalists, in association with BJP, has called for photographers to make their voices heard at a media event on 16 February as a new law is introduced that allows for the arrest - and imprisonment - of anyone who takes pictures of police officers 'likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism'.
British Journal of Photography

Two hundred photographers are expected to gather in front of the New Scotlad Yard building.

Portfolio: Itou Kouichi

photographer

Thu Feb 12 12:36:15 2009

Itou Kouichi is one of the rare photographers on Flickr who takes amazing pictures. He uses a Zeiss Distagon mounted on a Canon 5DMk2 body (which he got in December).

Henrys vs. Vistek

philosophy

Thu Feb 12 14:22:15 2009

Early last spring, I damaged my Canon S60 camera (my messenger bag tipped over and the camera dropped out and fell abut 2 feet, knocking loose the IR filter). Since I had bought it at Henrys, with an extended warranty, I took it back to see if it could be repaired. Unfortunately the extended warranty had expired and the clerk suggested I get a new camera rather than repair it. I asked if he could suggest a Canon replacement model; he looked through his computer database and suggested a model (which I don't recall now). When I researched that model, I remember thinking that it wasn't in the same category (prosumer) as the S60. I thought that perhaps Canon had stopped making prosumer model cameras as the model the clerk recommended wasn't in the Powershot line— the S70 (2004), or the S80 (2005).

When I bought my 50D camera, the clerk asked me if I wanted an UV filter for my lens, and when my boss' resuggested that I should, the clerk picked one for me (it cost about $50). Later, I learned that cheap filters are not worth it because, "it's like photographing through a dirty window" and that I should have either picked a B+W filter or a Hoya filter for around $100.

A few weeks after I bought my camera, I went back to Henrys to claim the difference in price of my 50D when the price dropped (by $50). As I waited while the clerk processed my claim, a gentleman (silver hair, pony tail) came to the counter with some 8x10 photographs of a garden, that were developed by Henrys and showed them to a clerk and pointed out that the colours were "off" because one of the inks (it was either cyan or magenta) was missing from all the prints. Another clerk came over to check and he agreed that indeed one of the colours was missing (he chuckled to himself) from the prints. By that time my claim had been processed and I left.

A few days ago, I was talking to a professional photographer on #photogeeks, who works in Toronto, who said that pros buy from Vistek and rent from Headshots. At that very moment, I realized why these incidents at Henrys kept bugging me— the staff at Henrys were not paying attention to detail.

Attention to detail is one, if not the most, important skill a good photographer has. In the first incident, the recommended camera should have been the next model up from the prosumer line. In the second incident, I should have been at least been offered a series of filters and asked to choose (the wrong choice would have been my fault). In the third incident, the person developing the photos should have noticed that the colour was missing. It was obvious why professionals didn't go to Henrys any more.

So I bought the 24-105/4 lens at Vistek. And I wasn't surprised when at the bottom of the shopping cart, one of the suggested accessories was a B+W filter that cost $94.

Squad 313

photo

Thu Feb 12 22:55:17 2009

All the noise and the hurry
—Downtown

Squad 313 from the Toronto Fire Department responding to a call, photographed at Dundas and Yonge on Feb 5th. [1 of 4]

I practiced my panning by shooting streetcars from the train and while standing on the street; I was doing some street photography when the engine drove by. Since I didn't have the camera set to AI Servo, only the first two photos had the engine in focus and as the engine passed, people waiting to cross were in subsequent pair of shots. The second photograph is also good— it shows half the engine, and the fireman sitting in the back, staring at me.

A Fashion Shooter Returns his 5DMk2

Fri Feb 13 09:13:13 2009

Citing inconsistent results with the Canon 5DMk2, Ron Purdy returned it and went back to his original Canon 5D and 1D.

I sometimes get out-of-focus shots with my 50D and 50/1.4 (even though I'm sure the camera achieved focus) in broad daylight, and I wonder if it's me, the camera, the lens or the camera's setting.

It's common for beginners to blame the equipment. In programming, beginners tend to blame the compiler or the OS when their program segfaults or doesn't compile. So, I am wary of blaming the equipment.

Update Fri Feb 13 17:55:25 2009 David responds:

In the case of Canon's autofocus system, it's not completely unwarranted as they've been having some issues lately, even in their highest-end stuff (that was written in 2007, and not much has changed AFAIK).

CN Tower 24-105

photos

Fri Feb 13 15:03:33 2009

The CN Tower shot from Bay and Front, left at 24mm (38 actual) and right at 105mm (168mm actual). Landscape preset.

I took the 25-105/4L out today and shot in either Landscape preset or Program mode and let the camera do everything. I just wanted to see the field-of-view I could get. I have to say I'm quite happy with the results.

St. Valentine's Day

swimsuit

Sat Feb 14 12:17:19 2009

St. Valentine's day is the day all single, male photographers look forward to every year— it heralds the release of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. This year, the covergirl is an Israeli model, Bar Refaeli, who is rather average looking.

Size Matters

pinhole cameras technique

Sat Feb 14 14:12:51 2009

Largest mobile pinhole camera (the photo literally comes out the back of a truck after a half-hour exposure) and largest pinhole camera (three stories high, eleven stories long) evar.

Composition

technique

Sat Feb 14 15:05:23 2009

I was looking at the thumbnail of the wide CN tower photograph (see above) and I noticed something sticking out perpendicularily from the base of the tower. I wondered what it was— was it a JPEG artifact when I thumbnailed the original? No; it was a street-light. I didn't even notice it when I was photographing the tower. I didn't even notice it when I was reviewing the photo on the computer monitor (I also hadn't reviewed it on-camera after taking it).

The street-light doesn't bother me very much because first, I was just testing out the field-of-view of the new lens; I wasn't really concentrating on composition and second, I can always re-take that photograph from a different location, any time I want (and anytime it's sunny). However, it's unlikely the interesting cloud pattern will be identical.

So, it's quite appropriate that Ken Rockwell's latest how-to deals with composition:

...the most important parts of every image are the things that are visible even as a tiny thumbnail. These are the overall organization, weight and balance of every image. If you can't get an image to look good as a thumbnail, it's not a strong image.

Pan Exercise No. 4

photos

Sun Feb 15 21:21:19 2009

This combined sequence of four photos shows another panning exercise with a blurred background. AI Servo focus; Low-speed Continuous; shutter speed 1/60s, 28-105 @28, f/4.

At least this time, I got the backgound blurred. The first photo is pretty much in focus; the focus tracked the subject pretty well, but not sharply enough in the subsequent shots. I think it was due to the low lighting, the f/4 lens and 100 ISO setting (I was taking some Toronto skyline shots moments earlier). The tips I've read suggest the camera should be in Shutter Priority at about 1/30s or less (or 1/focalLength seconds).

Photographer's Blog: Rod Mar

photos

Mon Feb 16 09:52:40 2009

Rod Mar started his own blog after leaving the Seattle Post Intelligencer. He is a sports photographer shooting Nikon. In his blog he discusses camera equipment, gives BTS info about his shoot and notes the technical details for the photographs he showcases.

Pixel Peeping the 24-105

photos

Mon Feb 16 23:27:59 2009

Lens at 24mm, focus point midway up the building

100% crop of 24mm photo near the edge of the photo.

Lens at 105mm, focus on the pair of women at the base.

100% crop of 105mm photo at focus point.

All the shots are at f/4 so the bluriness at the edge is expected. What is notable is how sharp the lens is at the center (you can see the furrows in the woman's brow). I want to reshoot at f/8 and f/11 to see differences in sharpness at the edges. Note that both women are wearing identical coats.

Hardware and Software Noise

technology

Tue Feb 17 09:25:10 2009

Keith Cooper confirms that the 1DsMk3 implements full stop ISO noise settings in hardware and the intermediate settings are done in software— which ends up introducing more noise.

New Stuff From Canon

cameras software

Wed Feb 18 12:41:04 2009

Canon announced new cameras in their Powershot line. The most interesting one is the D10, "an all-around waterproof, freeze proof and shockproof camera". Both my Canon S30 (it worked for a few days after being dropped but then it stoppped working and you could hear that there was something loose inside the camera) and S60 cameras (the IR filter is loose and causes a thin band of purple to appear along the top of photos and in the top-half any video) became inoperational after being accidently dropped a few feet.

I'm currently in the market for a pocket camera/ compact video camera that shoots HD (720p for now is fine). The SX1, also announced yesterday, shoots 1080p video, but I don't considered it compact.

Also announced was Studio Solution, software to help photographers manage their studio workflow all the way to printing an invoice when the final print is made.

Tin Toys

photo

Wed Feb 18 15:45:18 2009

Tin toy store display. 1/2000s, 50mm f/1.4, ISO 200. I should have used a smaller aperture.

I only noticed the toy photographer while reviewing the photos at home. The toys are of Czechoslovakian origin. Photographed Jan. 25, 2009.

More Winter Fashions

photos

Thu Feb 19 17:43:26 2009

The first three photos were taken with the 50mm f/1.4 lens. The last two were taken with the 24-105mm at 28. The third and fourth were one of four taken while panning. The vivid colours of the last photo are due to the Landscape preset.

Yesterday, Eric pointed me to The Sartorialist (looks like a Canon to my eyes)— really great street fashion photography. So, today, inspired by those photographs, I attempted to duplicate that style...

Lens at max zoom, f/5.6 (I should have been in Aperture priority set to f/4).

The second photograph has a bit better bokeh and the amused pair of women in the background makes it interesting. From the angle of the photographs, it seems that The Sartorialist is composing the photographs from a crouched position.

Portfolio: Art Streiber

photographer

Sat Feb 21 08:19:53 2009

Art Streiber (note: pop-up window with Flash photo album) does portrait photography that most will recognize. He is also the official BTS photographer of The Oscars.

RAW Leopard

raw os x

Sat Feb 21 13:41:00 2009

It would seem that Preview in Leopard (10.5.6) cannot read RAW (.CR2) files that the Canon 50D generates. Yesterday, I enabled both RAW+JPEG and took some photographs to do some tests, which will now have to wait until I install Canon's DPP software that shipped with the camera.

I didn't bother trying iPhoto as I'm still running iPhoto '05 that came with Panther (which I kept when I installed Leopard via the Archive and Install method.)

Update Sat Feb 21 16:47:38 2009: There is an update for Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.01+ that adds Camera RAW and DNG (Digital Negative) support.

Tools of the Trade

essay equipment photos

Sun Feb 22 13:28:14 2009

There was a photo session in the Atrium on Thursday (probably for the alumni magazine). The photographer is on the left, his assistant is on the right. The second photo shows a closeup of the equipment used.

The Elinchrom Ranger RX 1100W Power Pack retails for about USD$2000. The Nikon D3 body is $4000. Then there is the cost of the stand, the umbrella, the flash, the lens, the equipment cases and the Pocket Wizard Plus II transmitter/slave ($150x2). The assistant also had a light meter. So in total, the equipment cost of that shoot could easily have exceeded $10k. The shoot took about 4 hours.

Until recently, my boss liked to argue that the proliferation of professional equipment (or near-professional class equipment) at affordable prices was upsetting many of the processional photographers, by making it more difficult for them to earn a living because they were being undercut by amateurs who could afford the same equipment and charge less.

To some degree I think amateurs have undercut professionals, especially for stock photography and product catalog photography. However, wedding photography and glamour fashion photography still demands equipment (softboxes, and personnel to do the model's hair and makeup) that is still out of reach of most amateurs. Amateur wedding photographs are obvious when f/4 and f/5 lenses are used indoors supplemented by flash and the fashion photography just looks bad due to lack of post processing in Photoshop, etc.

Shooting RAW is also expensive because of extra storage, and compute needed for this workflow. (My Canon S60 could shoot RAW, but I never once enabled it.)

There is one important aspect of photography that the amateur is responsible for, however— the lowering of equipment cost and the advancement of the technology. Simply because there are more amateurs than professionals, the camera equipment companies can afford to invest in R&D knowing that amateur photographers will buy the latest equipment. In his article, Toys or Tools?, Doug Murdoch notes:

Its important for pros to understand though that the market is actually fueled by sales to the serious photographers and amateurs, and without those sales, the incredible DSLRs that are being offered now would simply not exist. The sales of cameras to pros are an incredible small fraction compared to sales to non-pros.

If most professional photographers had their way, I think they would be happy photographing using vintage 1920s camera technology and not sharing their craft with amateurs.

24-105 Bokeh

photo

Wed Feb 25 23:22:02 2009

A test of the 24-105mm lens bokeh by manually focusing the lens on the window pane and aiming at lights outside. [1 of 6]

The out-of-focus elements are nice and round. This image has been modified from the original portrait photo by rotating 90° right and spot-healing in about 4 spots because of the dirt on the window.

I've selected this photo for my wallpaper rotation; there is a space on the right is for the dock and temporary documents on my desktop.

Flightpath

photo

Thu Feb 26 14:33:02 2009

Original photograph, 105mm, plane is 2km away.

100% crop. Lufthansa flight LH470 from Frankfurt.

Depending on the wind direction, the jets landing at Pearson airport fly by my window, at a distance of about 2 km. Last Friday, I spent an hour photographing them (one plane every three minutes) and then later I used Flightstats.com to figure out which flight it was. About one in three planes was Air Canada.

I was able to photograph and identify all of the following flights:

YOW Ottawa     AC 7037 Air Canada      4:00 PM 4:41 PM T-1 Landed 41 min late
YQM Moncton    QK 7855 Air Canada Jazz 4:01 PM 4:05 PM Landed On-time 
PUJ Punta Cana TS 283  Air Transat     4:02 PM 4:32 PM T-3 Landed 30 min late
FRA Frankfurt  LH 470  Lufthansa       4:20 PM 4:52 PM T-1 En Route 32 min delay
ORD Chicago    MQ 4111 American Eagle  4:55 PM 4:57 PM T-3B11 En Route On-time ER4

Photo.net & NYIP

technique

Fri Feb 27 17:39:58 2009

I typed "photography" into Google, and started reading. Photo.net is first with articles, galleries and forums; they also have some elite members. Then I found New York Institute of Photography which also has articles about photography; some better than others. I did learn about the "sunny 16" rule from the "old days" in the article about shooting eclipses.

Update: Fri Feb 27 20:05:37 2009: It would be interesting to compare both the results and the settings of the camera in automatic mode to those of the "sunny 16" settings in manual mode.

Hyperfocal Distance

technique

Fri Feb 27 20:54:01 2009

I finally found a good explanation on getting the optimal depth-of-field by focusing at the hyperfocal distance; it helps if the lens has the DOF markings. The 50/1.4 has the marks for f/22, see the photo in Ken Rockwell's review; note the two "22"s on either side of the vertical marker. As shown in the photo, the lens is focused at the hyperfocal distance for f/22 (the right-hand-side 22 is aligned with "infinity").

Canon EOS Utilities

software

Sat Feb 28 16:24:59 2009

I installed Canon's EOS Utilities v. 19 on Thursday. I tried them out yesterday and by today the software began to annoy me to the point that I wanted to delete them.

Rather than install all the utilities, I chose to do a custom installation and selected only Digital Photo Professional and the Remote Shooting Utility. It did not help that I was required to reboot my Powerbook after installing.

In the Release Notes, it's noted that certain utilities do not work on Intel based Macs. This will spare me the indignities of installing on my Mac Mini at work.

Like nearly all of Canon's software I've used in the past, DPP lacks the native look and feel of the host OS. I had to read the Help files to understand how to do things. It would have helped if the software copied the keyboard shortcuts of either Preview of Photoshop/Elements.

I connected the camera via USB and set the copyright message in the camera's firmware so all the photo I take will have it embeded in the metadata. I also played around with remotely setting and shooting from the Mac; there was slight lag in displaying the Live View display on the screen.

I shut off the camera and shutdown the software but DPP was still running when I put the laptop to sleep. I later woke up the laptop and inserted a DVD to watch and the laptop froze with DPP being the foreground app. I had to power cycle the laptop.

Today, when I inserted a USB into the laptop, an application called Camera Window ran and popped-up a "No camera found." dialog, which I have to acknowledge with an OK. At this point I became very annoyed— of course there's no camera, it's a freakin' USB key! So, I used Spotlight to find the Camera Window folder in /Applications/Canon Utilites and I renamed both the folder and the App. Now, there's just an error message in the Console when I insert an USB key and the USB key mounts.

I am considering restoring the Powerbook to an earlier state, before I installed this software abomination. I don't know how to tell TimeMachine to just restore the system files and "registry" and not the user data/files.

Portfolio: Richard Avedon

photographer

Sat Feb 28 16:36:20 2009

There are a couple of photographs where you can see the lighting rig reflected in the subject's eyes; one of them is Maria Callas.

The photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is an example. They look ravaged and sad. Mr. Avedon said that when he started to photograph them, they put on their royal faces, beaming and cooing. He was desperate. So he told them a lie. He said his taxi had just run over a dog. Their faces fell. "Because they loved dogs— a lot more than they loved Jews," Mr. Avedon added.
NY Times

Some portraits are surprising— Henry Moore's hands and Salvador Dali, for example; Katherine Hepburn's portrait is aptly terrifying.

luis fernandes / elf@ee.ryerson.ca / Canon 50D February 2009 Journal / Main Journal Page