aka 'Canon Corner'

Sigma Sample Images

As promised, I took the Sigma along on my vacation strapped to the Canon 5D. It was a very 'usable' lens for holiday photos with the focal length being useful for landscape, wildlife and action shots. No surprise, the lens doesn't feel as robust and smooth as my Canon 'L' lenses but doesn't claim to be and isn't priced as such. Interestingly, the Canon 5D / Aperture 3.1.3 combination didn't recognise the lens correctly in the EXIF data. Overall, I enjoyed this lens very much and without much effort (or thinking) I managed to get a few decent hand held shots.

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I like the tones in this picture. Darker foreground and pastel layers as the image progresses towards & beyond Mt Coolum.

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This little guy did a superb job of posing as we went for a beach side walk one day. Lace monitors are common apparently on the coast.

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One afternoon I wandered down to the beach and tried a few surfing shots. This was probably the best action shot of the set.

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Not a great technical picture, but the surf and the flag conjures up a real Queensland vibe.

The net result is that I am very happy with my purchase and the image quality matches my skill level perfectly. For once, I haven't over invested...

Sigma 70-300mm f4 -5.6 DG OS

One of the good things about your partner taking up photography is that there is added incentive to take more pictures, a challenge to keep your nose in front, and generally find more reasons to get out and about as your next great shot may be only minutes away!

The downside is they 'steal' your gear. Robin has grabbed the Canon 5D and the 24-105 zoom lens, leaving me with a 50mm and 200mm prime(s). As good as they are, my skills need something with a little more reach and flexibility. For everyday use, at some point I will get a 24-70 f2.8 Canon lens...

Even so, something we can perhaps 'share' with a little extra range would be welcome, hence this week's arrival of the Sigma 70-300mm DG OS tele-zoom lens below.

Sigma Zoom

For a modest financial outlay, it is light weight, has a reasonable aperture and with image stabilisation it will fill a void I hope.

This is my first Sigma (and in fact non-Canon) lens but I have friends who are happy with them, so I am optimistic.

The new Sigma is already packed in the backpack for our annual Queensland holiday so I sincerely hope I can bore everyone senseless with some great images from the Sunshine Coast upon our return in a couple of weeks!

Leica D-Lux 5 (Updated)

My little point & shoot Canon developed a fault in the sensor so I needed to replace it with something new. After some research (and guessing) I punted on a Leica D-Lux 5, which is essentially a re-badged Panasonic LX-5.

Why the Leica? I like the classy look of the camera, the reports of great image quality, an ability to take HD video, the solid (mostly) metal body, the two year warranty, and it ships with a copy of Adobe Lightroom 3.

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Photo courtesy Leica Website

I haven't had a chance to take many shots yet given some lousy weather here in Melbourne recently but I am looking forward to trying it out very seriously shortly. One observation so far is that images taken and processed as Black & White in Lightroom look absolutely fantastic.

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Always good to get the owner in front of the new camera! - 2011

Update : My initial impressions of the camera were favourable with respect to image quality, but not so much from an ergonomic / usability perspective. After some research, it appeared that two Leica options would help alleviate these concerns significantly. One is the Electronic Viewfinder which removes the issue of trying to frame the shots in he screen in bright light; and secondly a handgrip, making the tasteful but smooth / slippery body much easier to hold. I fully realise that these additions make an expensive point & shoot now very expensive, but in my view the camera is a keeper and these additions will only add to my enjoyment.

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Will post more usage comments as they come to hand.

Copyright & Tripod Heads

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the copyright label coming up on some of my recently exported photos. Just trying to get the visual identification piece right just in case I have something awesome to protect! Also it is part of my Apple Aperture program training as I learn to use this powerful piece of software more effectively.

I have also changed the head on my tripod to a pistol-grip ball type, also from Manfrotto. I am looking to make my tripod usage as simple as possible so that I use it more to take better and crisper photos in a wider range of conditions.

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Manfrotto 322RC2 Heavy Duty Grip Ball Head
The National
The National Golf Club - 2011

Baby steps...

I have had the Canon and the iPhone out and about recently on either serious photography attempts or just for fun. Still plenty of happy snap 'rubbish' but there is intermittent evidence that I am thinking more about composition and light. At last!

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The Boxster in a Hunter Valley Autumn - 2011

I am thinking more and shooting slightly less, but multiple shots of 'good' subjects to try to get the 'best' shot at the right time.

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Bedroom window rose - 2011

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Old Shed, Wollombi, NSW - 2011

Also, I have to say for the first time in a long time I am not thinking about equipment, but thinking about the shot. Robin 'stole' my 24-105 zoom, so I need another zoom lens of some sort, but I now just want to use what I have better, and smarter. It takes some of the complexity of learning new gear out of the equation, you can just shoot with what you have / what you know. Obvious to many I am sure...

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Rowers on Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra - 2011

Canon 200mm f2.8 L - My 'new' lens

With the 70 - 200mm f4 L lens gone to a friend, my search for a replacement led me to the 2.8 IS version. As magnificent as that lens is, I, probably, am not. And it is really heavy limiting how many times I might drag it around and actually take it out. And given the price, that would lead to buyers remorse and guilt pretty quickly.

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Tyson in reflective mood... - March 2011

So, thanks to the guys at the Peninsula Camera store who spent an hour or more with me over a couple of visits, discussing various Canon / third party options, tele zoom or prime etc, I finally lucked onto a used Canon 200mm f2.8 L lens they had in store. It is the original version, with a sliding lens hood, rather than the more modern screw-on style. Works just fine and makes access to the lens cap much easier.

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Canon 70 - 20mm f2.8 L w/Canon 1D body - Photo by EOS Magazine Forum

Relatively light, with the aperture and focal length I needed for Robin's indoor riding events and a modest cash outlay made it a wise choice. Even if it is not strapped to the camera all day every day, I won't feel that I have over-capitalised on this piece of equipment.

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Japanese Windflowers (but you all knew that already...) - March 2011

After one evening's shooting, I don't have much that is too exciting to share yet (a couple of samples above), but I am very happy so far and for the future.

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Melbourne early autumn Skyline - April 2011

New lens dreaming

I recently sold my Canon f4 zoom lens and am thinking about buying the newly released 2,8 version, particularly to shoot Robin's indoor riding competitions. I went to my local camera store recently to ask about the range of suitable Canon lenses and of course the one I need / want is the biggest & best (therefore most expensive) that Canon make in the 70 - 200 mm range. Aarrgghh. They also stock third party lenses (Tamron, Sigma etc) but I am a Canon kinda guy.

The 2.8 sounds great but could I make it work for me to justify the purchase? So the following week, I went back to the store with my 1D MK3 body and tried the lens on for size. Wow, is it heavy or what! I tried a few hand held shots in store and was shocked by the brightness and clarity indoors, hand held with no flash. See my sample image below.

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And now here is the clincher. This week I accompanied Robin to one of her events with my 24 - 105 f4 lens and tried to photograph the 'Hunter' event indoors at the Werribee Equestrian Centre.

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Overall, the results were just awful. This image and the one on the home page were the best of a very ordinary lot. Not enough zoom and not enough light. Bumped the ISO to 800 and the results were grainy & poor. I felt sorry I couldn't get some better shots for her. I think I see the 2.8 in my future!

Plenty of effort but...

I have taken the camera(s) with me on road trips, wandered the property with great intent, pointed at interesting things but nothing much came of it. Either the camera didn't get out of the bag or the resultant shots shouldn't have left the memory card. As usual it was triumph of hope. My planning and approach was wrong. Again.

What I have to show for some recent effort is a whole bunch of bird & animal pictures. For example:
Exhibit A - This silly chicken and....

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Exhibit B ... a ferocious Porsche-protecting cat!

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Exhibit C... The ever photogenic Suzie

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Exhibit D... The lovely 'Miss Della'...

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