Photography

Pictures

Here you can find an overview of the pictures I have taken recently.

Don't miss the technical advice section below if your are intereseted in background information regarding Canon DSLR

2018

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2007


Background

I'm using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Have a look at my link collection and check the discussion forums on the net.

Flash photography

The most important things I learned from all these sources are about flash photography. The EOS 5D does behave very differently depending on the program and the ambient light. In "P" mode it will use the flash as the main light source if the ambient light is weak. In "Av" and "Tv" mode it uses the flash as "fill in" (it lightens up the foreground only) and sets the aperture or shutter speed to a value for the background to be properly exposed. The flash will however receive a little more light when the ambient light is really dark. Have a look at these links: Flash Photography and Traumflieger Blitzreport

When you plan to take a lot of indoor pictures with more than just a hand full of people, an external flash might come in handy. It will save your rechargeable battery as well since it uses its own power source. The Canon 430EX is a perfect choice, since it's not too expensive, but has enough power, a display, can be used even with shutter speeds above 1/200 and can be remote controlled (by the 580EX or a special transmitter ST-E2 and finally also with the internal falsh of the 5D). The 580EX is more powerful and can be used to remote control other flashes, but it's more expensive. The EX series use advanced TTL with a test flash fired just before the picture is taken to measure the light reflected.
A pocket bouncer will soften the light but also reduce the range of the flash. If you take pictures indoors with regular light bulbs or fluorescent light, you better mount a filter on the flash. If you do not, the people will look pale while the background looks ok, this is due to the different color temperature (the camera can just compensate either for flash or for light bulbs but not both at the same time). You can get filter from FFL (just get an example booklet, it contains filters just large enough to mount on the flash).

Partial metering

Another weird thing is the selective metering. When using automatic or integral metering, half pressing the shutter will store the exposure settings, but not with selective metering. It will continuously meter and change the setting (even when the shutter is kept half pressed). If you want to change the composition, you need to press the * button to store the settings and then recompose and press the shutter.

Lenses

If you want to get opinions about lenses suited for the EOS 5D, check out Objektiv Entscheidungswege, Offener Objektivtest and Photozone
Personally I recommend not to be too stingy, good lenses cost a lot and are usually heavy. Carefully think about what you want: a small light weighted lens which will not be the best choice when he ambient light is weak or a heavier lens which will give good results even indoors? Another advantage of fast lenses (which let pass more light) is that the image seen through the view finder is clearer.
There are also companies renting lenses, usually the more expensive ones, so you can also use lenses which you use very seldom or have a first look at a lens before buying it.
Also check out other manufacturers which build compatible lenses (like Tamron or Sigma). I have the Sigma 18-200mm DC OS (see below), the autofocus is not too fast, but better than a similar Tamron, quality is quite good for that zoom range. If you are looking for a good prize you might find something there.
A good lens for taking pictures of people and landscapes is the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM L it is a fast lens (good for weak ambient light), has an image stabilizer (good for shooting pictures without a tripod), a fast and reliable auto focus and it is not too heavy. Well the only real disadvantage is its prize. This lens can only be used with the EOS 300D, 350D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 50D, 40D and 30D, 7D, but not with 5D and up, because it is EF-S and not EF (as long as you do not plan to upgrade to 5D or above soon, this is no drawback however).
When you do not need wide angle I recomend having a look at the EF 24-105mm f/4 S USM, it has a stabilizer and is quite fast with the f/4. Since it is a L modell it is protected against dust and light rain.
There exists a wide angle lens 10-22mm which you probably won't need when you have the 17-55mm. If you want to take pictures of landscapes and animals for example, you might need a tele zoom e.g. the EF 70-300mm (the DO version is compact but delivers somwhat blured / unsharp images). A really great choice is the 70-200mm 4.0 L IS USM, it's not cheap but really worth it, since it delivers great sharp pictures. Keep in mind that compared to regular film cameras the focal length of a lens used on a APS-C camera (like the EOS 7D) is multiplied by 1.6 since its sensor is smaller than regular film or a full format sensor like the one of the EOS 5D. This has some drawbacks but the advantage that when using lenses from the EF range, that only the center part is used which usually delivers sharper details than the edge.
Although I originally did not want to buy any "travel-lens" I recently bought a Sigma 18-200mm DC OS. When it is not possible to change lenses (time, dusty environment, weight) it is really a good alternative and delivers a quality which is far better than I expected for such a large zoom range.

Batteries and flashcards

A very important thing is: get another rechargeable battery to always have a replacement and get a big Flash card.
It does not need to be Sandisc Extreme IV, Ultra II will do fine if you do not take more than 20 pictures in a row. If you want to use RAW or even RAW and JPEG you need at least 8 GB. On a holiday trip you have the option of using a big card (16 GB for example) or at least have several smaller ones, an external hard drive with a flash card reader, using some local lab's service of burning flashcards data to CD or taking a laptop with you.

 


 
 

I started taking pictures about 1990 with a Minolta "XG-1" where almost everything had to be done manually. I later bought a compact automatic model which was more suitable for traveling, but I kept using the much more intuitive SLR. I then switched to APS with the Minolta "Vectis S-1", a compact SLR with the advantage of mid roll film exchange. It was a good compromise between the previous two models, but it was missing some features.

My start into the digital world was the Minolta DiMAGE "F200" which was very slow and had the common problems of compact cameras. The worst was that the battery was empty after about 50 shots... However digital SLR cameras were not affordable then.
I was a little disappointed but I learned to like the advantages of the digital photography.

The next step was SLR again, but since Minolta was no more and I was disappointed by the DiMAGE anyway, I completely switched over to Canon getting the EOS 400D. Well they say it is a consumer entry level DSLR... It's the best camera I had and in my opinion fairly good enough for advanced amateur photographers. It had all the features I needed and it delivers a very good quality at a very fast speed.
It features a sensor cleaning system and a large display which displays the settings too. The parameters can be set easily and have not to be confirmed, e.g. you can select ISO and just press the shutter without saying "yes I really want to change that". The battery lasts long enough: for about 200 - 300 shots.
Well the only two things I'm missing (and never had) is a second wheel for adjusting exposure compensation or for manual and a spot metering (the 400D only has selective metering which can replace spot metering in most circumstances).
The view finder is not made of a penta prism like in the more expensive models, but is a roof mirror. This makes the camera body lighter but the image seen a little darker.

When the 7D was announced, I knew that this was the modell I was waiting for. It has a 100% bright view finder, a very fast autofocus with 19 cross sensors, can take pictures at ISO settings wheere I wouldn't dream of taking pictures with the 400D, the second wheel I missed, a better grip (can hold it better although is quite a bit heavier), a lot of custom settings including custom modes, live view (nice when taking pictures at strange angles) and it can take full HD movies (however the auto focus will not work well there). Finally you can do what Minolta could ages ago: use the internal flash to controll a Speedlite remotely.
Some years later I decided to change from APS-C to full format and sold my EOS 7D and bought the 5D Mark III wich has similar features like the 7D reagarding autofocus and speed, but uses a larger sensor and thus having less visual noise when shooting in low light conditions.