Monday, September 25, 2006

Field day with the Canon 400D

I loaded up the 400D into the Crumpler today and went for an outing with the family. Originally, we planned on going somewhere more ambitious but sadly, the day turned out to be a rainy, overcast one. In the end, we compromised by going out just locally and save the more ambitious destination for another day.

I'm finally able to do a somewhat macro picture, yipee :)
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Part 1: Using the Crumpler
The Crumpler worked as advertised. I loaded the Crumpler with the 400D, and a few other knick-knacks (but I removed the laptop). The Crumpler was really comfortable to carry around especially with the nicely padded wide shoulder slings. The slight rain meant I was able to demonstrate to PMS the waterproof characteristics of the bag. The camera compartment was easy enough to access, although it did mean I had to stop walking to open the compartment. I also think the camera should be secure enough.

Overall - very happy with the Crumpler. PMS said it looks good too.

Part 2: Moving to a DSLR
Migrating from using a point-and-shoot to a DSLR, to me, is quite a headache inducing process. One of the first things I noted about a DSLR is that -- argggh, there are just SO MANY buttons and functions! One button for white balance, one button for ISO, one button for selecting where to focus, one button for flash, one for depth-of-field preview and of course - one for releasing the shutter. There are dials as well, one dial for making the selections, and one dial to choose modes. And then, there are like 10 different modes of shooting pictures! One for every situation you could possibly imagine (<- note: exaggeration).

I hope by now you could imply that using a DSLR is EXTREMELY technical. It reminded me of my first few days trying Linux. Despite having read the manual (yup, I've RTFM) I was overwhelmed and was even lost in all the different buttons and dials.

Another thing is for someone who is used to a point-and-shoot like me is, the camera is so much bulkier than the much more pocketable Sony Cybershot.

Having said that, using a DSLR compared to a point-and-shoot is such a pleasure. The camera feels solid in my hand, and it is just SO responsive. Zooming was achieved with just a few wrist flicks and using a viewfinder is such an improvement over the tunnel vision that was using a 1.5 inch LCD viewfinder screen. Being able to burst photos at a rate of around 3 frames per second is also very convenient to finally capture the ever locomotive Sarah.


Part 3: The Pictures
To me, this is the make-or-break part: the picture quality.

Truth be told, I was actually underwhelmed by the pictures. All the pictures I took today does not even compare by a tiny fraction of the picture quality I've seen on Flickr (using the same camera) and some of the talented people on borakphoto. Not even close. Perhaps it was the dull weather, and most likely it's my poor technique but I was so hoping to see a major change from pictures taken with the previous camera.

Infact, I am so ashamed of the pictures that I am reluctant to show them in this post. Maybe once I get more familiar with the 400D beast, and when my pictures improve I'll post more.

Not to disappoint though, above are some sample pictures taken with the 400D.

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A few things I was flabbergasted about today:
  1. Urgh, how come I cannot use the viewfinder to preview the picture???
  2. How to capture video with this camera, huh?
(LOL, I hope you got the joke)
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Related links:
  1. Review of the Canon 400D on DPreview
  2. Review on Cameralabs.com
  3. Review on PCW
  4. Review on The Digital Picture
PS
I am still trying to get over the irony of shrinking a stupendous 10 MEGApixel picture to a 400x400 pixel (i.e less than VGA resolution you could get with your mobile phone) in order to display it on this blog.

19 comments:

Uncle De said...

Wah....britain's next top model

mynn said...

Finally, tak payah GIMP! muahaha.

pycnogenol said...

Agak nya ini lah pantun PMS, Amar, Sarah dan lain-lain yang di pinggirkan:

Kusangka nanas di tengah padang
Rupanya pandan yang berduri
Kusangka dapat ku senyum hingga ke petang
Rupanya DSLR tiba di pagi hari...

Ikelah said...

;) welcome to the world of dslr, you will appreciate it even more later. it seems the lens is very sharp with the details of the subject that could be seen. jerawat pun nampak. ;)

uncle de and pycno bila pula?

pycnogenol said...

Bila lagi, tanya Ikelah:

Biji saga nampak lah merah
Bawa segenggam pergi ke kota
Hati kecewa amat lah parah
Tidur bertilam si air mata...

OK said...

THe thing about the DSLR with that amount of megapixel is the detail level, even after you have resized it the details are still clear.

If you look at Sarah's jacket closely the details are there, including her home made beads hehe..

Now it's just a matter of composition and getting the right light.. For example, Sarah's face would have benefitted from a fill flash to remove some of the shadows (can be done in photoshop I know) Her hair highlights are okay but the background is... a background...

As for the flower picture... hmm did not know that flowers could be soo hairy.. hehe <-- get the joke

For PMS nyer gambar maybe should have experimented with depth of field, satu yang blurry background like the pne taken and the other nampak background.... then can compare the two pictures.. The shallow depth of field is more often used for potraits.

Regards

Ikelah said...

i tried hard to see the hair on the flower but unsuccessful. the only hair is on the huge stalk or branch.

"THe thing about the DSLR with that amount of megapixel is the detail level, even after you have resized it the details are still clear." <-- sorry, i cannot agree with this. the details depend most on the lens quaity, lighting and stability of the hairy stalk. when you blow up the image, then it depends on the pixels.

its easy to produce nice images, just set to programme mode or just set manually with high contrast, high saturation, high sharpness or at the auto mode. ;) aother thing, the lower the ISO, the less grainy it will be but the 'speed' will be reduced thus needing more light.

As for me, everything is set at Normal and I shoot at RAW. i'll adjust the contrast before converting to JPEG and sharpness at the last setp in editing. <-- Lain orang lain cara, tak ada masalah.

pulau pandan jauh ke tengah,
gunung daik bercabang tiga,
Ku lihat Pycno termengah-mengah,
Dari kedai ke kedai mencari kamera.

moby said...

Mynn!!!! You're making me jealous, man! Thanks to your brilliant writing, I feel like my PowershotS3 is a tiny ant to the giant of a camera you have now. Grrr .... !! Thanks! I will now lie down and fantasize about a DSLR in my hands.

dith said...

Look Mynn, what Canon 400d can do to you!

1) Nisak has even allowed large pics of her here (UK next top photo model? echoing Uncle De's comment)

2) Pycno and iKelah dah berbalas pantun!

And I wont even begin to write what it has done to you!

hiyoshi said...

DITH

Let's see what other miracles the 400d will conjure up. Perhaps a blog of its own?

mynn

Congratulations on the camera. Needless to say, the pictues taken have an aura of their own; certainly not similar to that of a common 3MP Cybershot *wink*

mama sarah

You look...like a model (to echo BOTH Uncle De and DITH)

kenakelayan said...

Hehehe nice pics, and nice models. Re: bulu in flower pic, methinks belongs to the hand, not the flower... hehehehe.

mynn said...

Hiyoshi
a blog of its own? hehehe i'll teach the 400D to type on the keyboard today. dont get me wrong hiyoshi, i love(d?) the 3MP cybershot and the cybershot has really taken important pictures of our lives (sarah's birth, amar's birth etc2) but, it probably is time to move on.

dith
what has it done to me? makan pun tidak, tidur pun tidak eh? like falling in love again...

((kelakar eh si pycno & ikelah berbalas2 pantun today?))

moby
PMS & I were just discussing about what camera you're currently using. we enjoy looking at pictures of syaheed & ajab on your blog and in all honesty, i thought you WERE using a DSLR! seriously.

Pycno
Sebalik jendela ku lihat sarah,
Amar pula di sebalik pintu,
Dapat DSLR sangatlah parah,
Makan minum jadi tak menentu :)

Pergi ke pasar mencari kuini,
beli juga kurma seguni,
Entah kenapa pycno hari ni,
Berpantun-mantun di sana sini?

Haaa!! - sejam nak fikir pantun tu! (LOL)

O-K
huu, dah try depth of field lah tu dude, sebab tu background belakang mama sarah blur sikit... tapi tak blur enough no?

ikelah
pagi tadi puan mama sarah tanya -- eh mana nampak jerawat, mana jerawat? habis ditelitinya gambar tu for her jerawat...

i havent started experimenting with RAW yet, but i'm starting to see it's benefits. kalau guna JPEG then whatever settings we do white balance, contrast, sharpness are all "locked" into the picture. kalau RAW the picture is still pure & untouched - so boleh adjust all those properties on a (fast) PC. i heard that you need quite a fast PC to process RAW? satu lagi, kalau shoot RAW could you still preview the picture on the camera?

O-K
LOL hairy stalk tu. okay lah i should have included sarah's arm in that picture tapi that's the difficulties of shooting pictures with little children - they run, they touch everything, they clamber.

mynn said...

KKL
after taking that picture of mama sarah, i've just realised how amar looks so much like her!

moby said...

You thought I was using a DSLR? Haha! So that proves it - it's the man, not the machine that takes great pictures. ;)

moby said...

P.S: A good camera would make a good photographer a better one, no? More pictures, Mynn!! :D

Ikelah said...

hahaha... jerawat tu saja je. usually when we joke around how sharp a lens is, sehingga jerawat baru naik pun nampak. anyway why dont you blowup the potrait of mama sarah to 100%, tengok apa nampak(not the one in the blog-the original file). mungkin tahi lalat.

i have no problem processing RAW on my notebook, a cheap AMD sempron microchip, onboard everything but 1GB to compensate the other weaknesses. once you tried RAW, you will never want to go back to JPEG.

Yang shoot JPEG sebab malas/no time nak edit, setting pun pada 'vivid mode' , macam guna auto setting. paling lekehlah untuk pro wil be TIFF tapi tak boleh nak tweak macam RAW. the only advantage is no loss of detail.

dyanna said...

Hehehe.. kelakarlah pantun korang.

Though you said you're 'underwhelmed' by the pictures, I personally think the DSLR has shared its magic with the viewers.. it's cool that we're able to see th effect of DOF. Lepas seminggu lagi terer laa.. ni baru 1-2 hari.

I'm now itching to get one for my own... argh! Then there are othr things in my list: iPod video and a crumpler bag (haha.. ni pasal your entry dulu la ni).

Naja said...

Dah jadi pesta pantun pula kat sini ye?

Pycno mmg bijak menyusun kate2nye,
Ikelah pulak tak kurang hebatnye,
Mynn pun apalagi nak jugak tunjuk belangnye,
Saye pon nak join sekali la nampak gayanye :D

P/s Cun sungguh model kite kali ni. Boleh berkenalan ;)

mynn said...

moby
seriously man, it is the person not the tools. i was photography chatting with a member of borakphoto who takes excellent pictures but (a) doesnt even know what filters are for (b) has only a basic kit lens and (c) use photoshop by just "pressing random buttons". GASP!!!

ikelah
as always, thanks for the pointers regarding shooting RAW. kalau AMD notebook pun boleh i hope my trusty AMD desktop pun tak semput.

kesian puan mama sarah! she was looking at her picture in detail to see the rogue jerawat!

dyanna
**holding laughter**
this blog was not named Scratch that Itch for nothing.... now you know its hypnotic qualities :p

only joking --- sorry to be such a bad influence. but i blame O-K and Ikelah.

Naja
hahaha!

mula mulanya melihat kera
petah benar meminta gula
asal asalnya bercerita kamera
entah kenapa berpantunlah pula