Archive for September, 2008


primes and walking-zoom

Just read an article by Mike J about his affection for 40mm lenses.

Nothing wrong with that article, it just got me thinking. I don’t get that affection some people have for that one prime lens. Well, that’s not entirely true, I do get that affection, what I don’t get is how people who don’t really share that affection, but wish they were, are arguing for it. I’m not saying Mike J is one of them, again, his article just spurred my thought. It usually takes the form of; “My hero uses that lens (or that film format, or whatever…), so that must be good. I don’t really know why he/she think that’s good, so I come up with something myself. ”

Back to the heading of this post, and my second thought of the day on this topic.

I have had my fair share of primes, and I still own a 50mm and a 100mm macro that I only use for special purposes. The 50mm when I want something small, and the 100mm for, well you know, macro. The thing is, I’m not that fond of the primes. It is always a limiting factor when it comes to the crop I want. A prime advocate would then just say, you just step back (or forward), and then you get both a zoom and exercise. Can’t argue against the exercise part, but the zoom part I strongly disagree with. I love my zoom. With them I can first pick my viewing point, and thus select the right perspective. Then I zoom in and out until I get the right crop. If I had to move back or fore, the perspective would change, and I would have made a different image. With a prime, I would have to select. Either settle with the crop I happen to get, selecting the perspective, or select the crop and settle with whatever perspective I happen to get. 

This is my take at walking vs. zooming.

  • Your feet:  A perspective changing device. Excellent for changing the relationship between objects in front of you.
  • Zoom. A cropping device.
Two very different, but complementing tools.

Just give it some love…

My 5D had a little downer here the other day. It happened to read my blog post, and even if I concluded that it was still holding up, it got upset about my lack of trust. So to make thing better, I took it out for a walk this morning. I went out just when the fog was clearing and did a reshoot of the location in the last post. This time I had.


  1. a tripod (not just IS)
  2. f/16  (not f/4)
  3. ISO 100 (not 3200)
  4. better light (not pitch dark)
I also think I got the composition better this time.
Both me and my old trusty felt much better.
You might have noticed I’m  bit sparse on writing. Busy at work. Well not that busy, but I’m writing so darn much now, so when I get home, all my words are spend.
I’m still working shots from my good old forest though. I’ve been browsing through a lot of old shots, and I’m amazed how many I have done that more or less fit into the series. Well, there is a massive amount that _could_ have been suited, but fell through. Obviously I have been working this ever since I moved here without thinking too much about it.

So, how is my old 5D doing

Since a new version of the 5D was just announced, I was a bit curious whether my old camera still held up. After all, according to countless forums around the web, the curse of digital cameras is that you have to buy a new one every year or two.

So this morning I told my camera that it was outdated, and a much cooler model was released. I expected that a full day of pondering over this fact would have reduced my camera into a crappy little mobile phone snap-o-matic, but no. When I took it out tonight, it still did all the tricks it did so well as a young and aspiring camera, not showing its age at all. Could it be that my camera would continue to perform just the same, even if a new model was released. I could hardly believe it.

So I can keep my old camera after all, and still get exactly the same image quality that I got last week.

I just reviewed a calculation I made some time ago on film vs digital (here). For fun, I just made the same calculation for my own little 5D vs what I would have used if I had owned a film camera instead. the cost pr shot is maybe a third to a fourth compared to film, even if I count in only half the shots made on film than what I do on digital. In my previous calculation I assume that I wouldn’t need a computer and software if I owned a film camera, but in fact I would have needed the same computer and software plus a good film scanner and software for that as well. So, compared to film I could just as well have bought a 1DsIII and it would have evened out in little more than a year. Digital photography is truly inexpensive, even if the initial cost is high.


Shot hand held with IS, 55mm, ISO3200, 1/2sec. Not tack sharp, but pretty darn good.


The Canon 5D mkII

No surprise that Canon announced this camera now since the replacement was long overdue. just a few thoughts on this new camera.

The name: 5D mkII

I think thsi was the right choice for Canon. If they had gone for 6D or 3D or something, they would soon run out of names, and it would be confusing for the customers to place the different models in the lineup. Now everyone knows that the most recent 5D is the model just below the most recent 1D

The sensor:

Everything indicates that they have used the exact same sensor as the 1Ds mkIII, at least if you look at resolution. And why not, Nikon just matched they top model sensor in the D700 so it would be stupid of Canon to not do the same. Now both brands offer top notch IQ in a smaller and more affordable package. Also this is a good thing for Canon as they now have a much larger market for their 21MP sensor, which eventually will drive the price down as the production is ramped up.

Weather sealing:

This is a no brainer these days, even at the mid range models thanks to the competition.

HD Video:

What is this?? Buy yourself a video camera for christ sakes. Again, thanks to competition… ??

Mirror lock up:

Canon still think direct print is more important.

Do I want one: Yes! I just have to rob a bank first.

Will I buy one: No! Not worth going to jail for, and my old 5D still produces excellent pictures.


not photography, but cool anyway

I am happy to admit being a bit geeky from time to time, and I’m sure my wife agrees as well. Today, just as a mean to run Windoze XP so I could view my web page in IE, I installed a free virtual machine called VirtualBox 2 from Sun. It is open source and free, and it works on all Windows, Linux, Mac and Solaris. So I downloaded and within 5 minutes I was installing Windows XP SP1 from my old CD. This one is useless with bootcamp which requires SP2, and I don’t want to reboot the computer anyway. I also made a virtual machine for Ubuntu Linux as well, just for fun, and it all worked so smooth. 

I haven’t used any other VM, so I can’t compare, but the way this worked was awesome. By installing a couple of drivers that came with the installation, I could put the VM into something they called “Seamless mode”. Instead of running Windows in its own window, it looks like it runs directly in OSX, much the same as Wine runs the applications on Linux. The Internet Explorer windows can by resized and moved freely around the OSX desktop, but the window frame is Windows XP style. Also, the windows taskbar is just placed down at the bottom of the screen.

And what did I discover about my web page? Well, IE did not render the galleries right (no surprise). I changed them to some java based greybox gallery template instead and the problem was solved. Unless you hate java scripts, but then I would suggest therapy. Java scripts are here to stay whether you like it or not.


that poor little remote trigger

Not that this matter all that much, but I’m just wondering.

Now and then I read about people complaining about the simple little device called a remote trigger. In its simplest form, this is a cord with at proprietary plug in one end, and a more or less ergonomically two level electrical switch in the other end. The switch usually also have a locking mechanism for long exposures. Ok, agree with those complaining about the price. the Canon type I’m using is listed at USD50 at B&H, but is probably worth around half, which is what I paid for mine after some searching.

The thing that puzzles me is all the complaints about the thing getting broken all the time. I have stepped on mine several times. I lose it all the times on rock, asphalt, concrete, wooden flooe, in mud, water  …. you name it. When I carry my camera on the tripod, the trigger remains attached banging around. And still it works. I’ll admit that I have to pick it apart to dry it out when it has been submerged, but that is just a matter of loosening two screws and let it rest above the heater.

To get to the point here, what level of abuse are we talking about to destroy that little bugger. I’m apparently not brutal enough. How do you guys manage to keep your cameras and lenses in working order?

Just something that popped into my mind when I should have been working.


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