Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shifting Gear

Alpena: Field of Daisies
Originally uploaded by Apocaplops
Some of you may know, I am a user of the Pentax digital SLR range, or was until recently. I bought a K100D brand new a couple years ago, and it served me beautifully while I had it. Shots were crisp and the body was totally reliable, and the in-camera shake reduction and backwards lens compatibility were handy features I found myself using more often than I would have believed before buying the camera. A great introduction to digital photography.

So why then, do I find myself with a Canon Rebel XT, a body that is older and arguably "worse" than the K100D that I started out with? Well, I found a great deal on one at the right time for starters, but to be totally truthful, I found the Pentax didn't always do exactly what I wanted it to, every time.

When it comes to a dSLR, I have found that a body that produces predictable results is worth its weight in gold. The Pentax had white balance issues under many different light sources, its exposures seemed to be consistently underexposed, especially when using older manual focus lenses, RAW mode was unsupported by my older copy of photoshop, and perhaps most frustratingly, its NiMH AA batteries seemed to leak a charge and die before I picked up the camera to shoot, requiring me to keep a fresh set on the charger at all times.

Worst of all, in order to get decent results from JPG mode, I felt I had to set the camera to a flat tone and sharpness curve and adjust in post, almost processing each JPG image as if it were a RAW file. When processed, these files looked great - sharp, beautiful, rich, and contrasty. But it was the time that it took me to process even the quickest of snapshots that frustrated me.

With the Canon, I have found great shots that come right out of the camera, spot-on white balance and exposure nearly every time, and a great supply of new and used accessories and lenses that are, quite oddly, less expensive than their Pentax equivalents. So I'm a happy camper.

Not that I'm totally happy with the Canon - its tiny LCD is just about useless for critical things like checking focus, the viewfinder is at best no better than the Pentax, and I don't find its controls quite as intuitive. Plus, the body is that "sparkly silver" color that just screams amateur. But hey, I am an amateur right now, and it gets the job done. I saved a bundle on the body, so I have decided I will spend the cash on a decent set of lenses, where it counts. I started with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, which I love so far.

More as it comes...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th Lansing

Originally uploaded by Apocaplops
Went down to the festivities on the fourth, and only really saw one other guy with an interest in shooting the fireworks. Riverfront Park is quite photogenic though, and I found a bit to inspire me while we waited for the show to start. Also, Lansing Community College is simply gorgeous in the summer. The landscaping and gardens are quite easy on the eyes, and the Japanese garden, with the huge Koi pond, seems like it's straight out of a fairytale.

I bet it would make a great photowalk location - you could hit all the historic buildings including the Capitol, the LCC campus, and take some photos of people enjoying the riverwalk and nearby farmer's market, maybe even a quick trip up to Old Town.