April 24, 2012

Attempting Excellence

I have been working with some of long exposure shots with the 7D.

I am not impressed.

I am still tweaking the settings to achieve the highest quality image. It is difficult to get clean, low-noise images when exposed over a long period of time. Especially with 30 minutes plus.

I am trying out shots that are 60-90 min+.

Because of a sad anomaly in my 10-22 lens I am using an aperture of f/9 or more.(More on this situation later) My ISO is never higher than 800.

Still pretty sketchy. Lots of noise. I have yet to analyze the RAW images. They may have been kinder to the information. but for now I will leave you with this image I took a few nights ago.

I napped for an hour and a half in the cold and wet wilderness as my camera took the exposure. Interestingly after the shutter was closed it took the camera over two hours to finalize or write the data to the card(266x Kingston). I am not sure exactly how long it took as I went to bed and it was still writing 2+ hours later.

ISO 640
5458 seconds

April 16, 2012

Gearness 2

External Pop-up flash. Great Idea. Not radio controlled. Light controlled.

This means that it has to be pretty much line-of-sight. Not 100%, but close. If I could get internal radio control in my Canon gear I would pretty pleased.

That said I like the pop-up flash feature on the 7D.

First usable picture does not fit the usual style of this blog. But it shows the effect well.

The pop-up did double duty as both trigger and fill.

Canon 7D
100mm Macro F/2.8@2.8
ISO 400
1/200 sec

April 13, 2012


All week I have used the 7D. I have not spared it in anyway. I took it on my annual wild hawthorn photo-shoot. Which meant this year that the 7D was drenched. I eventually found cover from the pouring rain but everything was soaked through.

Ok, I have admitted before that I get my money's-worth as far as weather sealing. What about the other stuff? Video? Blah. End processing takes too long. Eventually I might try it out. Autofocus is vastly better than the 50D. Which wasn't too bad. It feels like I have a better lenses. Especially the 70-200. Hand-in-glove. Nice.

Ergonomics? no opinion yet. It is different but not in a bad way.

Favorite feature? I like the 100% viewfinder. I like the grids in the viewfinder. I like alot about this camera. But so far, and this is subject to change, the best is the Jpeg/Raw dedicated button. This is an amazing and innovative feature. For those not aware of this function, it turns on, for one shot, a simultaneous Raw and Jpeg record. It is my favorite feature.

A close runner up would be the pop-up flash. Normally I hate pop-up flash. I think I wrote on this blog about actually removing the pop-up on my Rebel. The 50D got its pop-up flash jammed or glued. But the 7D uses this pop-up flash to control speed-lights. Very cool. I messed around with it and found it quite useful. But I have yet to test it in a practical real application. Stay tuned.


April 9, 2012

A Salt and Battery

Last Friday I was kidnapped.

I was taken by my lovely family to the coast. And we just stayed.

And stayed.

I was somewhat wistful thinking of the 7D that still sat at home waiting for batteries.
But I had my faithful 50D. Or at least sometimes faithful. The shutter jammed time after time. I would restart the camera and keep shooting. I stayed remarkably calm. And patient.

I explored the local mud flats across from the Coquille River Lighthouse. The tide was very low and I was able to get some shots across the flats and river. My camera was sitting in the mud/tidewater slush(as was Yours Truly). Of course being weather sealed it cleaned off just fine.

Friday continued and it became clear that we would not get home before late. Very late.

The sun set.

Pizza was decided upon for dinner. After which I insisted on being dropped off once again at the mud flats which were now cloaked in darkness. With me was my intrepid assistant who is always prepared(my brother) and who had happily brought a flashlight.

Having little time in between a rapidly rising moon, which threatened to mess up my exposure, and the rapidly rising tide, I compromised length and went with a mere 15 minutes.

I would have preferred a 30+ minute shot.

But it was late enough. As it was we did not get home til early Saturday morning. 

Sunday came bringing Easter with it. I was commissioned to cover a Easter Service. Actually parts of three. Still no batteries for the luckless 7D. The 50D only froze 3 or 4 times. After Easter dinner I found a Canon 300D(original Rebel!) in my hands and was instructed to conduct a photo session. Ah me.

Monday found the mail carrier running very late. Noon past. The USPS jeep finally crested the hill. Delightful.

First impression is that the 7D AF system is aggressive and precise.

To be continued.


April 4, 2012

A sad 7D Saga

I have always maintained that a competent photog focuses on his lens collection (pun intended). Camera bodies are great but are behind the lens in importance(pun again intended). As far as cost goes lenses are a way better investment and in the long run help us to get the pics we want.

My camera body evolution has thus been slow. And driven by need. I would rather spend the bucks on glass. Like the venerable 100-400L I've been eyeing.

In fact I was saving for the 1-4. Until my 50D's shutter started seizing. In all fairness it was only occasional. At first. Also the shutter actuations were approaching 95% of Canon's estimate (In comparison my faithful Rebel XTI/400D is still going strong at over 200% of Canon's estimate!). I still can use the 50D but the shutter had an uncanny ability to sense important moments. And seize. On my recent trip to Mexico I constantly missed shots. It was, to put it mildly, frustrating.

Enter the 7D. After much deliberating(Months of careful analysis and research) I settled on buying a 7D. I realize that it is relatively old having been intro'd in 2009. I also realize Canon is probably ready to intro  the 7D Mk II.

But I would have probably been happy with my 50D for years. I am easily pleased. Except at failure. So I got the 7D. Refurbished. On sale.

I get pretty excited when I'm waiting for new gear. This was no exception. It came yesterday. I savored the experience. I examined all the contents carefully. I lifted the 7D out. It was remarkably solid feeling. It was also very similar in size and look to my 50D.

I inserted the battery. Or at least started to. The battery was too small. It was a LP-E5. The 7D needs the LP-E6. I was crushed.

Actually I just started troubleshooting. As of today the company is shipping me the correct battery and charger. And I have another two and another charger shipping from Amazon.

I am waiting patiently. So is the 7D.