Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Simple Gear Lust?

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

(I have added a temporary gallery for some
test shots that I will leave up for a few weeks
while I am posting a few test shots.)

For the last couple of months, I have bounced from one new undertaking to another without any real lulls. Nothing much has changed. To add to the list of commitments, I had found myself thinking more and more, lately about buying a 50D. Since I am doing more action photography (and more often in low light) with my 40D, I couldn’t stop thinking about the advantages of the latest in that line of Canon cameras. I was sorely tempted by the 5D and wish I had money for both, but the frames per second is a big issue for the action stuff, so that settled the issue. Yesterday afternoon, the brand new 50D arrived.

Because I am not a champion pixel peeper (nor do I aspire to be one), I had qualms about posting the test shot and my comments. Phil Askew or Ken Rockwell I am not. I am just an enthusiastic newcomer to photography offering my personal opinion on a piece of equipment. I would love to hear feedback, but please remember that I never claimed to be an expert.

Perhaps I am too easily pleased, but my cursory testing squeezed into the few minutes that I could devote to it so far, left me feeling extremely optimistic about my purchase. It appears that this will be an enormous help in keeping that shutter speed where I need it, even when shooting wildlife mostly seen in the evening. Almost as a bonus, I had been reading that the new LCD monitor is a major improvement, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much better it is.

The photo above was taken in my closet with no overhead light and with only what light filtered in from the bathroom window. My settings were f/4, 1/20 and ISO 2000. I did only a little noise reduction in ACR and basics such as tweaking settings for white and black points, then basic sharpening of mid-tones in Photoshop, but not much more than that. The handling of noise seems to be quite an improvement over the 40D.

Why even take this weird shot? Well, a lady never knows when she might need to take pictures in her closet, right? Actually, I was just a little eager to start testing and was a desperate for subjects in a dark area with unbroken surfaces such as that wall to more fairly test the noise issue. As I said, maybe I am too easily pleased, but I like the difference I see, so far. The nasty noise that is there could be cleaned up quite a bit more and in a large open space it is even less tricky to work on noise. While I am not planning to use ISO 2000 on a regular basis, this gives me hope that 1000 and even 1200 may be usable.


  1. Well, congratulations on your new gear. Equipment lust must be satisfied sometimes! :-) Regarding those high ISO settings, you probably won't use them much, but they do come in handy when needed! Then, you won't think twice about it. As for the improved displays on the back of the camera, I was shocked at the improvement between the D2x and the D300. It was amazing!

    Enjoy that new toy. I'm sure that you probably have some 'intentions' to use the 40D, but something tells me that it has seen the end of its days. :-)

  2. Paul - That's my thinking about the high ISO settings. Besides, now I think I will now feel quite comfortable with 800. I really thought most of the talk about the display was hype. Wrong!

    I will enjoy it, thanks. Actually, the 20D still gets used a bit. It always has some lens on it that comes in handy in a rush situation, and sits ready for those times when there just isn't time to change lenses. Also, sometimes when The Husband and I are out for a walk, he uses the 20D. Those roles will now go to the 40D.

  3. Wow, does your closet shelf always look that neat, or is that a special feature of the new camera? ~grin~ If you looked in any of my closets you'd be lucky to see any part of the back wall.

    Congratulations! I hope you'll share your impressions after you've some time with it. I always like hearing about new gear. Enjoy!

  4. I like the way the industry is constantly improving low light capabilities. For me it really expands my opportunities.

  5. Earl - Pretty versatile camera, huh? I don't know why it didn't do the floor. Believe me that photo creates a false impression.

    I probably will talk about it a bit as I get to know it, thanks.

  6. Bob - I will be interested in seeing if my initial impression holds up. We know that those deer, for example are most often seen rather late in the day. The low light capabilities should make a difference.

  7. Oh... These new cameras really push the limits regarding high ISO performance. This picture looks fantastic too me. Nice roll-off into the deep shadows and lots of details in the feathers. ISO 800 would probably work very well as default. I hope this new camera of yours will help you nail even more of your already extraordinary shots, I'm most certain it will.

  8. Ove - It is pretty amazing isn't it, the speed at which these developments are rolled out?

    Your response to the test shot is reassuring to me. I kept hoping that I wasn't just head over heels in love. I also am thinking that now I will have no fear of ISO 800. That's a good feeling.

    Thank you so much for your generous kind words.


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