Friday, 29 June 2007

17-55mm f2.8 in low light

I almost forgot! One final post of Joshua's birthday, taken to highlight the 17-55mm f2.8 IS low-light capabilities.

Took this at ISO 100, 1/15th sec at f2.8 hand-held. The IS gives amazing results at these shutter speeds - what little blur there is comes from subject movement, and NOT camera shake. I was very pleased with this result from only about my 6th shot out of the 30D - can't wait to use this in a church.

BUT... having said all that, over the course of this last week I have been a 'little' freaked out about some postings I've read about this lens on the Canon forums. Many wedding pros have posted comments about their 17-55's dying on them half way through a Wedding - after only 4 or 5 weddings!

Others also mention a dust problem, although the feeling with this may be that it gets sucked in from the front element and if you use a U.V. filter from day one the dust problem is minimised or even eliminated?

But it's the lens dying half way through a wedding that has me worried the most! Maybe I should have sprung for a 17-40 f4L or 24-105 f4L instead? But in every other respect the 17-55mm has it over the other two 'L' lenses. Faster aperture with IS, sharpness to kill for, excellent focal length coverage, and great balance on the 30D. The lens I've always wanted. Now if it can just make it through the next few wedding seasons...?

Equipment update

Camera gear is coming in thick and fast now, and my new 'kit' is almost complete.

The 430EX flash arrived soon after the camera and lens, and a day later the BG-E2 Vertical Grip turned up. Boy, I thought the 30D was hefty on its own - attach the grip with flash all batteried up and you know you're carrying some gear around! I used a Nikon D2H for a few months last year, and I would say that the weight is comparable.

Unfortunately, since it's begun arriving the weather has packed in and it's been bucketing down for days. I'll get out eventually, but the wait may just about kill me!

A 'very' cool Canon gadget bag turned up today that I won on an internet auction. The original image that went with the auction wasn't all that clear, so I purchased it on faith and a whim. Now that it's actually here I'm very chuffed. Heaps of compartments, very comfortable to wear, nicely padded, and oh yeah, super cool. It's got 'Canon Pro Team' stitched on it and everything! Will definitely be using it for Weddings. ;-)

My other purchase off the internet which hasn't arrived yet, is a 'new' Canon EF-S 60mm f2.8 Macro. Should be here tomorrow (Saturday), not that it will do me any good with the aforementioned cats and dogs falling outside. Still, I've wanted a macro lens forever, and never got one with my Nikon gear - although I did get to review the Nikkor 105mm VR Macro - a 'very' nice lens. Don't expect that the 60mm Canon will be quite in the same league, but the reviews from users on the net have been 'very' positive.

That (both you and my wife will be pleased to hear), will be it for a while. All the major purchases have been made, and now comes the fun part - actually getting to use the gear!

I'll save my pennies for a bit, look at getting a second body before the wedding season starts in Nov/Dec, and then - depending on how my tax return goes this year - I'll consider my next lens purchase. Not sure at this stage whether that will be the EF-S 10-22mm f3.4/4.5, or maybe a 70-200mm f4'L'. Maybe the lure of my first 'L' will be too strong, or maybe the need for going 'wide' on the 1.6 crop will win out? We'll have to wait and see...


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Joshua's Birthday

I got the 30D a day before my sons birthday, so here are a couple of the very first images that I took with the 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM. I was a little bit 'iffy' about getting this lens to be honest (I really wanted an 'L' lens), but after only half a dozen photos... WOW, I'm glad I did.

Time for a Rest
Available light - ISO 100 - f2.8, 1/125th sec

Guitar Man
Available light - ISO 100 - f2.8, 1/30th sec

Am I initially impressed? Yes I am. I'm also quite surprised at the weight of the camera and lens combination (surprised in a good way that is). Very quick and responsive auto focus, and I really like the 'new' joystick button that handles the auto focus activation points. After having used Nikon for the past two years I wouldn't exactly call my handling with the 30D 'intuitive' just yet. But with a bit more time, and a lot more images, I'm sure it will soon become second nature.

More soon.


Thursday, 21 June 2007

30D Arrived!

Well, right on schedule (and in spite of pretty wild, wet and windy weather) my new 30D arrived this morning together with an EF-S 17-55mm f2.8.

There's nothing quite like a nice shiny new camera and lens! I love the whole 'boys and their toys' aspect to photography, and find a nicely made camera very sexy! Yeah, I know it's sad, but trust me - camera's aren't the 'only' things I find sexy, so there is hope for me yet (much to my wife's relief).

First (very early) impressions of the 30D are very positive. Good weight and heft thanks to the alloy chassis, solid construction, nice placement of functions, and a great big 2.5" screen that I'm looking forward to using.

Add the 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM to the 30D and it becomes even more solid. So solid, in fact that it will certainly benefit from the Vertical grip available for the 30D (my next purchase along with a 430EX Speedlite).

I will finish setting it up tonight, and then actually start taking some images with it. Yes, even I know that a camera is actually meant to be 'used'. And I hate the statement often made by people who like my images and then say "Wow, you must have a great camera"!

Well yes, I have. But it IS just a tool, albeit a very sexy one (sorry). I am also very excited about the images I will make with this camera and lens combination over the next few years. I'll post some here on my blog, and let you know how the camera and lens(es) are shaping up.

More soon.


Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Welcome to My Photog Blog!

Hello everyone, and welcome to my nzdigital blog. I must be up front and say that this isn't my first blog, and if any of you are returning (good on you) to nzdigital you will notice a 'slight' change.

My previous nzdigital blog also covered digital photography - but from a Nikon perspective. My 'new' blog, however, has obviously switched allegiances (or moved over to the dark side, depending on how you look at it) to Canon.

Maybe that makes me a hypocrite, maybe a confused individual, or maybe even edgy and provocative? But I intend to post here with as much zeal about Canon gear as I did about Nikon gear - heck, maybe even more!

Anyway, I'm pretty pumped about my new purchase - the Canon 30D, with a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM? NICE!!!

I'll go into the whys and wherefore's in later posts, but for now I'll simply say that coming 'back' to Canon Digital is like coming back home to my 'roots'. It's where I started out in photography about twenty years ago (with a Canon T70), and it feels good to be back.

Moving to Nikon with the D70 when digital hit was, for me, the right thing to do at the time. And make no mistake, Nikon make some very nice kit. The Canon equivalent (the 350D) wasn't a patch on the Nikon - and I've said so very vocally in publications and several photography forums). But, times they are a changing... and with the winter upon us here (Downunder) and a few months to prepare for the next Wedding Season, I felt the time was right to re-evaluate my previous decision. Canon has a strong line-up in the mid-ranges now with the (firstly) 20D and then 30D - and rumours of the 40D coming out in the third quarter. My move away from Canon wasn't as clear cut anymore.

So - long story short - my 30D is coming... Should be here tomorrow in fact, which is good timing, because tomorrow also happens to be my sons birthday (6yrs old). So I'm thinking that the first images I take with the camera will be of him on his birthday. Very fitting indeed.

I'll post first impressions when the gear starts to arrive, but for now - so long and thanks for visiting.