Category Archives: Photography

Comparing the output of digital cameras

I wanted to do a simple experiment to compare the output of my different digital cameras.

I took approximately the same scene at about the same time on the same day. With the cameras set to approximately the same settings and similar focal length.

The images are unedited and only converted to JPG for the purposes of uploading them to this site.

So do mega-pixels count? And has camera technology changed between 2004 (EOS20D) and 2019 (Apple iPhone XR)

Canon EOS20D 8.3MP
Canon 100D 18MP
Nikon D300 12MP
iPhone Xr 12MP
Canon Powershot SX120IS 10MP

Using what you already have….

We seem to go through life hankering for the latest thing, the newest phone, a better car or what ever your interests might be.

As a keen amateur photographer the trend in camera gear seems to be to bring out new ‘better’ cameras every few years. Fine if you have the disposable income to replace your gear that frequently.

Last year I inherited an old Nikon D300 camera, in terms of current camera technology it’s considered to be ‘vintage’ ! It came out in the late 2000’s. It’s all of 12 MP and I was fortunate to get the manual and a lot of accessories with the camera.

For several years I’ve used Canon cameras, starting with a Canon EOS30 film camera, then the EOS20D 8MP digital SLR. More recently in 2015 I got the small EOS100D, which is the perfect light weight travel camera.

Picking up the Nikon last year, it is quite a hefty thing, in a way something I missed from using my 20D. Those two make the 100D look like a toy camera! It might seem odd, but the weight and balance helps you hold the camera steadily.

I still have the EOS30, the 20D, they were just not getting used so much.

This last year or so I’ve been looking at the new cameras that have come out wondering what I should buy. Prior to getting the Nikon D300, it would most probably have been another Canon, but having used the Nikon for the last year it has somewhat confused the decision.

However, should I even be considering buying another camera? Would I gain anything by having a new camera?

Looking around on YouTube for videos about the Nikon D300 I came across ‘One Month Two Cameras‘ a channel that specialises in using older ‘Vintage’ cameras. The channel got featured on Fstoppers yesterday as well in their article: Are Vintage Digital Cameras the Biggest New Photography Trend?

I find it funny that in the scope of digital cameras, vintage seems to be anything that came out pre-2010. In the world of Filofax vintage tends to be the early 1980’s or before, but that’s a whole new discussion!

Having watched several of the videos I started to realise that older cameras can still produce very acceptable images. Even my old Canon EOS20D with only 8MP is still very usable if you take a few precautions. Shooting in RAW, and keeping the ISO speed low. Memory card size isn’t so much of an issue these days, so don’t you have to worry about the file size so much. The Nikon D300 can take a 16 or 32 GB CF card, that gives me plenty of capacity for a weeks worth of photography easily.

With care you can extract some very good quality images from these old cameras. As long as you aren’t zooming in too far on the images or cropping them too much you will still have a very good quality image to use or print.

If you consider what we use our images on these days, Facebook and Instagram or any other social media platform they all tend to be fairly low resolution.

  • Facebook – 1,080 x 1,350 pixels
  • Instagram – 1,350 x 1,080 pixels or 1,080 x 1,080 pixels

If you need a higher mega pixel image then there are lots of software options these days that can boost the image resolution using artificial intelligence to fix issues with picture noise etc.

I tend not to edit my images that much though. I might correct the image for any tilt and may be crop out any distractions. But I don’t spend hours in Lightroom… I don’t even have it! I only use the Photos app built in to the MacOS it is good enough for what I need.

On a similar theme to using old cameras I’m still using a couple of old camera bags too. My Lowepro Orion AW shoulder bag/backpack and an even older Lowepro Mini Treker. The elastic parts have been replaced in recent years, but other than that both bags are still giving great service.

Will I be investing in a new camera any time soon…. at the moment it looks unlikely!

Afternoon walk – Photo challenge

I went for my/our usual afternoon walk, in fact I did it twice although not intentionally, but that is another story.

Today I was on my own and decided to take my old DSLR camera a Canon EOS20D, it’s about 11 years old, but it still all works.

Although I replaced it with a much more modern (and lighter) Canon EOS 100D at the beginning of this year, I still love the way I can find my way around the simplicity of the 20D without having to look at it really.

The 20D has been superseded many times over by the 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D and 70D and I suspect the 80D is just around the corner, quite what they are going to do when they get to 100 I don’t know… my current camera takes up that slot!

So why use the 20D when I have a much lighter and higher spec 100D in my other camera bag? Good question, I came across this blog post a few weeks ago.

I liked the idea behind it of using your digital camera like a film camera. I still have a Canon film SLR but I rarely use it because of the cost of film processing. So this digital equivalent appealed to me.

So the basic rules:

  1. Limit the number of photos to 12, 26 or 36 exposures, the same as the popular 35 mm format.
  2. Lock your ISO speed to one speed and don’t change it.
  3. Turn off the LCD so you can’t review your pictures afterwards, it’s so small on the 20D anyway!
  4. Wait 3 days before you download the pictures off your memory card.

So why use the 20D… well in amongst my collection of Compact Flash cards (CF) that the 20D uses I discovered some quite small sizes, 128 MB, 256 MB, as well as my usual 2GB and 8GB cards. In the highest resolution the 128 MB CF card would let me take 26 pictures or about 12 in RAW format… perfect for this challenge! Also with it’s limited specification (8 Megapixels, lower high ISO performance) the 20D is closer I feel to my film camera than anything else, oh and the weight.. about 1.5 kg with the zoom lens!

So suitably equipped and with the batteries charged I set off on our usual circuit of along and down in to the small hamlet of Fertevault, then along beside the river Thouet to the hamlet of Chambre, then back up the hill to Croix de Chambre. It’s about 3.2 km and normally takes me about 40 minutes. We generally do this same walk either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

I took some photographs and just enjoyed the scenery as always. The photos are nothing exceptional, I’ve taken similar shots before but it is nice to go around with a camera to hand and look for something different to photograph in this familiar landscape.

And here are the photos.

I will do this challenge from time to time, I quite enjoyed it. It was also nice to get familiar again with my old camera.

And why did I do the walk twice… somewhere on my walk I lost my reading glasses, so I went around again, I didn’t find them although, we will look out of them next time around, in the mean time I’m using an old pair!

Film photography

Things you don’t often hear these days…

I have just got to finish off this film…

I am waiting for the photographs to come back from the developers…

eos_30_tcm13-26634Well yesterday I was ‘just finishing off a film’ I still have my Canon EOS30 film SLR camera, I can’t remember when I bought it, a long time ago, but it was one of the few cameras I have bought new.

I love using it, it has eye control focusing, so with the camera to your eye you look at the focusing point, half press the shutter and the camera uses that focusing point. I have never understood why Canon never incorporated this feature in to their digital SLR cameras.

After using digital for over ten years now going back to film is quite testing. There is no instant feedback in a screen on the back or with my iPad attached to the camera to see the results!

I don’t use my film camera much these days, but I won’t get rid of it!

My month in pictures

I was reminded today that I don’t really share many of my photographs on line these days.

In the past I have been an active contributor to DeviantArt and a few other sites, but I have never really found a site I have got on well with for one reason or another.

So I have decided to do a post on here each month of a selection of my pictures from the last month with some text explaining the background to them.

Be warned though some months I do take lots of photos of either houses for LTPS or photos of Filofax organisers for Philofaxy!

I hope you enjoy this new regular feature.

Digital SLR simulator

So you have bought a new digital SLR and you want to get the most out of it. But to do this you have to understand all about the various settings. So how about this simulator I came across on the web.

There’s a useful explanation on the website and there are also apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad, very handy…

I have been blogging around the world!

As well as my normal activities on Philofaxy, I’ve been taking part in the Philofaxy All Stars Tour, which is about a team of blogging doing guest posts on a variety of blogs, connected to readers of Philofaxy. The tour is going very well. Here are some of my contributions:

 

Choosing a digital camera

Choosing a camera these days is quite a difficult task, not because your choice is restricted, but because the number of models for sale is very extensive, terms of price and quality. These days even mobile phones have cameras of quite reasonable specification compared to the first digital consumer cameras of say 10-12 years ago. Over the years specifications have improved and the prices have come down.

When choosing a camera we will all have a price band in mind, what ever that price band is there will be quite a range of cameras to choose from.

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