Monday, July 12, 2010

Wide-angle lens

In wrote in a previous posting on how to select lens for the Canon 7D and published a chart to help with choose the lens that could best serve the needs of a photographer. At that time I was contemplating the possibility of acquiring the ultra wide lens EF-S 10-22 mm 1:3.5-4.5 USM, which I did!

I have been using this lens for sometime and it is one of my favorite lens for both landscapes and urban photos. My general purpose lens continues to be the EF 24-105 mm 1:4 L IS USM, but I now carry the EF-S 10-22mm 1:3.5-4.5 all the time!

It controls very well flare and has good sharpness. The focus speed is fast at it is very quite because of the ultrasonic feature.

Click here to see some photos produce by this lens.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Canon 7D: Working with .MOV files

Click here to see final solution to use .MOV files from the Canon 7D

The Canon 7D video files are in the .MOV format. The .MOV file format is a MPEG 4 video format first released in 1998 and is used in Apple's Quicktime program, which is a media player similar to Windows Media Player. Like WMV (Windows Media Video) the .MOV format is only connected with QuickTime. The MOV file extension normally represents a QuickTime multimedia file. QuickTime is a movie/video/multimedia format developed by Apple and is often used in websites, mostly for streaming audio or video.

Deciding what software you are going to use for post processing of your video files from the Canon 7D is not an easy proposition. There are several options, let's explore a few for Windows users:

1. Basic & Intermediate level: Use Adobe Premier Elements or Sony Vegas Studio HD ($39.95) and Pinnacle Studio 14 HD

These options have also hardware considerations; to have the software perform adequately an i5 or i7 processor is the ideal choice.

I have tested all of the above and I must say that I am still struggling with a recommendation after all the testing. The pro versions are expensive and complex, the basic and intermediate level ones not always reliable or user friendly. Once you have worked with "Final Cut Express 4" or "Final Cut Pro" nothing quite compares to it and must say!

If you want a basic/intermediate solution the the Sony Vegas Studio HD seems to be the best value for the money. 

Alternatively you can also purchase a QuickTime Pro license Key for $29.95 for the QuickTime Player. The Pro key unlocks additional features of the QuickTime Player application on Mac OS X or Windows. Use of the Pro key does not entail any additional downloads.

Features enabled by the Pro license include, but are not limited to: Editing clips through the Cut, Copy and Paste functions, merging separate audio and video tracks, and freely placing the video tracks on a virtual canvas with the options of cropping and rotation. Saving and exporting to any of the Video codec supported by QuickTime.

If video editing is going to be a really important matter for you, you want want to consider a mac instead and use the Final Cut Express 4 of Final Cut Pro, you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Choosing Lens: Canon 7D

The EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM is my choice for a general purpose lens. The EF 24-105mm in the 7D body will have a smaller field of view at the wide angle (equivalent to a 38mm in a full frame body), but on the other end it gives a larger view at the telephoto zoom which I like, it is a fast lens with an constant f/4 stop, the quality of this lens is superb. 

I do miss a wide angle for landscapes, for now the camera kit lens (EF-S 18-135) which has a nice IS will allow me to do a landscape at 18mm f/3.5 of good quality, I am going to stay with this lens for my wide angle needs before I look into a truly wide or ultra-wide lens like the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 UMS.

The EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM is my choice for a general purpose lens!

Click to enlarge

Monday, March 15, 2010

Canon 7D Auto Focus Issues

Learning how to use the new AF system of the Canon 7D is critical to take good photos, in the beginning many of my photos were out of focus, after a couple of weeks I thought that there was something wrong with my camera or my lens. Here are some tips to take the full advantage of the 19 point AF system of the Canon 7D:

1. Read the Canon Instruction Manual. Don't just glance through it read it!
2. Watch the Training Videos developed by Canon
3. Set you AF Mode to AI Focus
4. Set your Metering Mode to center-weighted average metering
5. Practice several shots with still subjects until you get good shots 

Once you have reach the point of satisfaction with the focus quality of your photos, you can move on to other AF modes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM

I wanted a general propose lens that could cover most of my basic needs of photography. The L series of canon lens are first class lens and the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM (in the 7D the focus range will be 39-168mm) is no exception, weather sealed, very fast and silent. Another that will be a great general propose lens is the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, this lens is designed only for a camera body like the 7D and it will give an advantage in terms of the wide angle.

Just to recap some definitions about lens:

EF = Name of the canon mount
24-105mm = Focus range of the lens
f/4 = Largest apperture of the lens.
L = A special series of Canon quality lens
IS = Image Stabilized
USM = Utrasonic Motor (fast and quite focus)

This lens has for me the ideal focus range for almost every thing. It is "L series", meaning quality and with image stabilization, for now I have all I need to begin to enjoy the 7D.

From a G9 to a 7D

For a couple of years I used a Canon G9, I just love this camera, with it I gained the desire to take greater control of the artistic side of photography, bit by bit I began to use the manual controls of this camera, of course soon I wanted to have better quality and aditional features that the Canon G9 could not offer.

I knew if I was going to move to another level I needed another camera, but DSLR's look so bulky, I could see myself going around with with such a big camera, than four-thirds came along and in particular the Panasonic GF1, I explored every feature of this camera and for sometime I thought it would be my solution. The price tag and some missing features (like image stabilization) kept me away from a purchase.

The 7D was a big step upwards from the G9 and it was a bulky camera. I study every review online, I looked at costs not only of the body but also of lens, I checked customer satisfaction reports, etc. Video was very important to me in a camera and the 7D could provide quite an improvement in that area.

In the end I decided to keep my G9 as a pocket camera and the 7D for the quality I was looking for! I do not regret the decision.