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Browsing "Camera Equipment"

What’s the Best Camera?

Nov 29, 2012   //   by Kris B   //   Camera Equipment  //  No Comments

West Virginia Mountain Sunrise

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nyone who has ever picked up a camera has probably had someone ask the question:  “What is the best camera to shoot with?” While we could jump into a series of reasons to choose one camera over another, the simplest answer (and the one I consider the most legitimate) is, “The one you have on you when you need it.”

While the modern DSLRs take amazing pictures, there are times that you simply do not have that technology with you. Point and shoot cameras have come a long way, and they are much more compact making them more convenient to carry along when the more cumbersome equipment is inconvenient. But, the most convenient cameras, which have also improved dramatically over the last few years, and are almost always on hand, are a part of cellphones. Many of the newest cellphones have 8 megapixel cameras, and are capable of taking some pretty great shots.

Over the recent Thanksgiving week holiday, I was able to spend some time with my family at our deer camp in central West Virginia. As we were deer hunting, it was not possible to lug my DSLR around to snap pictures as hiked the mountains. However, I did carry my new Samsung Galaxy

The (Not-So) Lone Hunter

S III with me, which has a fantastic camera on board. It was great to be able to snap pictures (a couple of which are linked in this post) as I was out and about. I enjoyed being able to capture some of the great sights I witnessed in the process of covering a lot of ground on the mountains. I also had the opportunity to spend time with family, and capture a couple of candid shots, far from the camp house.

I love my Canon T2i, as I have previously posted about, but it just isn’t going to feasible to have it on hand in

every situation. I have carried a couple of portable cameras with me when I have been fishing, wading mountain streams. But, nothing is more convenient than a cellphone that is always in your pocket. So, while I don’t ever want to give up my Canon, I also don’t want to give up my more convenient cameras. I am convinced that the best camera you can have is the one you have on you when you see something you want to capture. It might be a $5000 DSLR, or it might be a $100 point and shoot.  Then again, it might just be a cellphone, right on your finger tips when the sun pokes through the trees at the top of a mountain pass…

 

 

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My Camera: Canon T2i

Nov 1, 2012   //   by Kris B   //   Camera Equipment  //  No Comments

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few days ago, I wrote a post to tell you about the equipment that Jacob is using. I thought I’d write a bit about the equipment that I am using today. I will not going to put everything in one post, but instead break it up a bit. Today, I will write about the camera body that I am using.

When I decided to upgrade from the camera that Jacob is using, I decided to go with a Canon DSLR. When I was doing research, I found that both the Canon and the Nikon had great reviews, and decided to go with the Canon so that I could share lenses with my brother, who had already purchased a Canon. I narrowed down, due to cost restrictions, my choice to either the T2i, or the T3i models. When I was considering the specs between the two, I discovered that there really wasn’t much difference, except that the t3i had a pop out screen.  To me, that was not worth the extra $100, so I went with the t2i. Since I have purchased my camera, the T4i has been released by Canon. It has some significant upgrades, even though it still uses the same sensor as both the t2i and t3i.  
Disclosure:  Links in this post are affiliate links.  We don’t make much off of these links, but if you purchase through our site you help to support our efforts (and our photography addiction).  Thanks!

If I were going to make the purchase today, I’d go with the T4i, as it comes with some pretty innovative features, especially for an entry level DSLR. It has the ability to process HDR on board, instead of using software, and has an articulating touch screen.  Both of these are significant upgrades from the T2i!

I have been very happy with the Canon T2i. It has provided a great jumping off point for DSLR photography for me. It provides enough features to keep me busy working toward understanding them all, and has the capability of capturing great images. I know, great photographers claim that every camera can take great pictures, and maybe that is true, but I have found the quality of this camera to be far better than any that I have previously owned.

The Canon T2i has enough flexibility to allow a photographer to grow with it. Of course it has a full automatic mode, which functions as a mere point and shoot. However, why would anyone spend several hundred dollars to get a point and shoot that they could get similar exposures for a couple of hundred (or less)?  The T2i also has several program modes that offer a beginner (like me) to start shooting different circumstances and still get good pictures. By watching the settings chosen by the camera in these program modes, a new photographer can begin to see how to change settings on their own.

The camera also has different settings beyond automatic that allow photographers to move closer and closer to full manual mode. We will address these different settings in future blog posts, but suffice to say that it is possible to choose one element (either shutter speed or aperture) and allow the camera to select the other settings. Again, this makes it possible for the photographer to either pass some of the settings over to the camera, so that he does not have to worry about them, or he can watch the settings and see what changes he would need to make in full manual mode. As everything is clearly posted for the photographer, both on the screen, or in the viewfinder, these settings help to speed up the learning curve.

Here are some of the specifics about the Canon T2i, straight off of Canon’s website:

  • 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and DIGIC 4 Image Processor for high image quality and speed.
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 12800) for shooting from bright to dim light.
  • Improved EOS Movie mode with manual exposure control, expanded recording, new Movie Crop recording in 640 x 480 and external microphone IN terminal for access to improved sound quality.
  • Enhanced iFCL 63-zone, Dual-layer metering system; and 9-point AF system utilizing a high-precision, f/2.8 cross-type center point.
  • Wide 3.0-inch (3:2 aspect ratio) Clear View LCD monitor (1.04 million dots) for improved viewing.
  • New Quick Control Screen button for easy access to frequently used settings.
  • Improved layout with dedicated Live View/Movie shooting button.
  • New compatibility with SDXC memory cards, plus new menu status indicator for Eye-Fi* support.
  • 3.7 fps continuous shooting up to approximately 34 JPEGs or approximately 6 RAW.
  • Compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

I have especially enjoyed the burst mode of capturing images. I typically shoot in RAW format, and find that I get about 6 shots per burst, just as the Canon site says.  I have only tried the JPEG burst a couple of times, but found that I get in the neighborhood of 20 pictures before the processor has to stop to write to the card. I have also found the 18 megapixel sensor to be more than adequate. I know that Nikon has some newer models that are quite a bit higher than that, but unless you intend to print posters, there is no real need for a significantly higher number of megapixels. I have enjoyed being able to crop pictures quite significantly and still end up with a nice, printable photo.

Overall, I have loved the Canon T2i. If you are in the market, I’d recommend it immensely. With the newer models coming out, you can probably find a pretty good deal on this model. If cost is not an issue, go with T4i.  On second thought, if cost is not an issue, go with something like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame .  That is my “one day” type of camera!

 

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Jacob’s Camera

Oct 17, 2012   //   by Kris B   //   Camera Equipment  //  1 Comment

T
oday I thought I would begin sharing a bit about the equipment that we use, and maybe set the stage for telling you about some of the equipment we would like to have, our “wishlist” so to speak.

I thought I would start with Jacob’s equipment. When I decided to purchase a new camera, Jacob asked if he could buy my old one, which is a Fujifilm Finepix S6000fd . I purchased this camera several years ago, and had been quite pleased with it. It is not a DSLR, but still has plenty of settings to allow the photographer to have a lot of control over the picture outcome.  This camera has several manual settings, which allow Jacob to learn most of the principles involved in photography.  There is, in fact, even a full manual mode, which will allow him to have control over all aspects of the exposure. There are, of course, limitations that are present with this camera, which will necessitate some cross over to my camera for some of his lessons.
Disclosure:  Links in this post are affiliate links.  We don’t make much off of these links, but if you purchase through our site you help to support our efforts (and our photography addiction).  Thanks!

Jacob has been working to learn how to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to turn out the type of exposure that he is looking for. Unfortunately, one of the shortfalls of the Finepix S6000 is that it will not allow him to set the ISO to automatic when in full manual mode. While I have no doubt he will be able to figure out where he needs to set the ISO as he continues to practice, it would be nice if he could only concentrate on the first two elements of the exposure and allow the camera to handle the ISO. Changing the ISO is also a confusing endeavor on this camera, so at the present time, he usually will have me help him set it to an acceptable speed, and then continue to shoot with it throughout the day. He has done a pretty good job of adjusting the shutter speeds to match what is needed for his other settings.

Because this camera is only 6.3 MP, he is able to take a lot of pictures without completely filling up my hard drive. He is also learning to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Student and Teacher Edition, which he helped to purchase with his own money for this project (instead of purchasing the camera, which we decided to give to him). As side note, Adobe allows homeschoolers to purchase and activate their educational products.  We have purchased both Lightroom 4 and Adobe CS 5.5 Design Suite Student and Teacher.  Of course, now Adobe CS6 Design Standard Student and Teacher Edition is out.  You can save a lot of money by purchasing these versions, and they are the full versions, without limitation. While both have a steep learning curve (which we are obviously still in) it has been quite enjoyable to work with them and try to teach them to Jacob.

Grist MillWhile on our recent field trip to Babcock State Park, and some other West Virginia landmarks, Jacob took about 300 pictures,completely on his own. We have not had a lot of time to edit and upload them, but one of his best was this picture of the Grist Mill at Babcock (click on the pic to see a larger version).  We hope to get more edited soon, and posted to our Facebook page. If you want to keep tabs on them, you can visit this album on the Facebook page.  Be sure to “like” our page while you are there!

Another real problem problem with Jacob’s camera is that the viewfinder is digital, and the screen on the back is not very clear. This creates a problem because looking at the picture on the screen may look like it is coming out well, when in fact it may have quite a bit of blurriness. We are going to have to scrap quite a few of his pics from the field trip, simply because he could not tell that he had his shutter speed too slow, and was getting a lot of camera shake in the photographs. As he gets more familiar with the camera, I am sure he will cut down on these problems.

Overall, I have been pleased with this camera, and Jacob has enjoyed having a higher quality camera that he can use when he wants to. It has enough features for him to learn the principles behind photography, allowing him to leave the concept of “point and shoot” behind.  And best of all, I don’t have to endanger my DSLR in the hands of a 9 year old!