Right I’ve been dodging raindrops and trying to find enough sun to shoot in to give this Canon a bit of a trial. So far I’ve shot a total of 25 pictures with it, roughly the equivalent of a roll of 35mm film. There’s a reason for that, as my main intent for this DSLR is to be my “pseudo-film” camera. So here’s what I’ve learned so far.
The automatic functions on this thing are excellent. The controls are fairly intuitive and easy to use also. I like the idea that the knob on top turns it on/off and selects shooting mode. That way you don’t forget you left it in ‘manual’ and go firing off a dozen shots when you thought it was in ‘program’ mode. The little dial for adjusting shutter speed/aperture being right handy to the index finger helps too. I just wish you could switch between the two while in ‘manual’ without having to hold a button down to get aperture.
Okay, some stuff is buried in menus, like ISO. Mostly it’s stuff you won’t be using often. I certainly won’t anyway. Like I said, I’m after the film experience without the film expense so once the ISO is set (‘AUTO’ is cheating here) the rest is at the fingertips: P, S, A, and M are all I need. Especially M (if that lens adapter ever shows up).
Before we get to the results let’s look at the provided lens. No complaints. It’s sharp as a tack, the auto focus is wickedly quick and accurate (faster than my Nikon P610), and I like zooming with a ring instead of a motor. Okay, it does not zoom 60X like the Nikon, but I knew that going in. The range does seem a little shy of what would be ideal, though: to get a ‘normal lens set range’ it’d have to be equal to 28mm to 135mm on a 35mm camera (about 18 to 84 if I did the calculations right) and this only goes to 88mm equivalent. Still pretty good, but I notice it as I do a lot of long-distance shooting. Under some circumstances some ‘digital zoom’ can be used because you’ve got 18 MP to work with. Here’s the first demo pics, then:
That’s not zooming, that’s cropping: the first pic is at 55mm and the second is the tractor cropped out of the center, and then both reduced to 640 on the long side (the pics do not reduce to exactly 640 x 480 either, as the sensor is closer to 1:1.5 so you get 640 x 427 – technically more like a 35mm negative ratio). The resolution is good enough that so long as you don’t really need a full frame of the subject you can play ‘digital zoom’ afterward. Otherwise get out the long lens (don’t have one yet; another $200) or use the Nikon.
Now for the next experimental series I’ve shot a basic (dull) scene four ways to see how the different exposure systems work. Here we have ISO fixed at 100, and then the scene in Program, Shutter preferred (1/125), Aperture preferred (f8), and Manual (1/125 @ f8):
The first three you’d be hard-pressed to tell any difference between them. The fourth one (Manual) exposure was determined by the ol’ rule-of-thumb, no-meter system and is only about 1/2 stop overexposed. Still not bad for guesswork. I note from these that the Canon’s contrast is a bit lower than the Nikon and the colour not as saturated. In other words it’s more like a really good professional film. It does seem to have the same leaning toward blue-green and reluctance for red displayed by both the Nikon and the Kodak (see: Side by Side ).
Skipping over the many shots I took just to get familiar with the controls (they’re not bad, just not interesting and don’t demonstrate anything) I could not resist trying out the macro focusing:
What we have here is mainly a failure of my eyesight: the Canon’s pentaprism finder is brighter and clearer than the Nikon’s EVF, but I still can’t see it well enough to tell if everything is in focus. Here I had the aperture cranked to f22 to maximize depth of field, but couldn’t tell where the focus point was to get it centered on the middle of the model car. This is the photographer’s fault, and should get better if I think about it a while and practice some. I’m sure I can come up with a way around this, such as using the big display instead of the eyepiece finder. Oh that would be cheating a bit but …
And for the last picture … well, I had to try a little playing around. It’s one thing to shoot straight shots and let them go, it’s another to use them as a starting point and see how far you can get. So here’s Kaiser the bison:
I could do that better too I’m sure, but this is “one roll of film”. I’m going to shoot a few more metaphorical rolls and try some other features/functions, as well as a few shots done in the styles I tend to shoot (there’s no abstract or documentation image here, for example, and nothing very artistic either).
I’m still waiting for the lens adapter, by the way. Although they have said it’s been shipped and may arrive in another week. Well if it goes back to raining I’ll just have to get out the new waterproof Nikon W100 and see what I can do with that, right?