Thursday, May 9, 2013

The New Camera

As I mentioned last week, I jumped out there and bought a new camera. I didn't really NEED a new one, my old one is working fine and meets most of my needs. However, some time ago, I recognized how nice it would be to shoot emergency scenes with two separate camera/lens set-ups. I also came to  realized what the shortcomings of my 7D were and how far camera technology has progressed in the past three years. I also realized that full-frame sensors have some advantages over crop frame sensors. If I was going to jump, I was going to jump big and go with a full-frame sensor camera.

So, last Thursday, I bought a Canon 5DMkIII. As I had the foresight to buy quality glass over the past couple of years, I really am set as far as lenses go. Thus, the plan is to pair the 7D with a 70-200 2.8 and put my 24-70 2.8 on the 5DMkIII. Having two set-ups will prevent me from having to make lens changes in the field. When the wind is blowing and the ashes are flying, the sky is laden with all sorts of crap. Crap which I would like to keep out of my cameras and my lenses. Not changing lenses in the field will go a long ways to prevent stuff from entering my equipment.

One of the weaknesses of the 7D, is the amount of noise present in low light situations, especially when the ISO setting is rather high. While some of the noise can be processed out, that comes with a price. Sharpness and detail can be processed out along with the noise. I have noticed this on numerous occasions, especially in skin tones in the shaded areas of the image. The new rig has greatly reduced noise, even under high ISO settings.

Fire ground photography is often under awful lighting conditions, I am hoping to reduce the amount of flash needed to capture my beloved RFD in action. Although flash is a great tool, the reflective trim on the apparatus and on our safety gear wreak havoc on my images. The reflective material bounces a huge amount of light back into the camera, overexposing the trim equipped areas while causing the surrounding areas to be underexposed. Some of it can be compensated out with camera settings and some of it can be corrected with processing, but that all comes with a price. Hopefully the new camera will reduce the amount of flash I need to get the image.

Enough of the technical stuff.

The Saint and I went to Coronado Island last weekend, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had a great time and I had the opportunity to take some pics with the new camera.

I don't think that I will notice a huge difference under normal lighting conditions, except if the image will be blown up in a large print. The shot below is of an old Coronado fire station that has been converted into a bar and grill. We spent some time there and enjoyed it immensely.

This Coronado engine drove by, the sun was down low and the back side of the unit. I added some light to the shadowed areas during processing, the noise was considerably reduced over what my old camera would have been. BTW, not a big fan of the Pierce "Quantum" look, I think it's ugly. Hopefully there is a functional use for that stuff bolted on to the front of the cab. I digress.

 The sharpness and detail of the selected lens combo is excellent, I am happy in my choice.

Again, I mainly bought this camera for it's low light performance. Here is a shot of the interior of the above bar and grill. ISO 10000, shutter speed of 1/80. No flash was used, just ambient light. Although some noise is present, it is far, far less than my 7D would have had. The texture of the noise is less coarse when compared to my previous camera, making processing easier. The image has had some processing, a boost in exposure and a reduction in noise.

A night shot of the San Diego skyline. I took a similar image two years ago with the 7D, I'll have to dig it out and compare. I didn't set this up properly, I didn't bring a tripod or use a remote shutter release. I did lock up the mirror though and I set the camera on a railing. I still like the low noise and the sharpness is pretty good considering.

It was a great weekend. I'll leave you with one more shot, one of the poor woman who has been a wonderful wife for thirty years. I am very lucky to have her, hopefully she can tolerate me for at least another thirty. 

Again, no flash. ISO 1600, 1/60. Maybe I'm almost as good at picking out camera equipment as I am as selecting a wife. Maybe I just got lucky at picking a wife.

Thanks for reading,


No comments:

Post a Comment