This blog is my attempt to keep track of some of the things I learn along the way, with my Canon 7D, G12 and accessories. All images copyright Brad Calkins, not to be used without permission (or purchase). I do not attempt to monetize my blog, other than to promote my stock photo portfolio on Dreamstime.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Canon Powershot G10 Review

I've written a blog at Dreamstime on the Canon G10, with a bit of a stock photo spin to it:

G10 Review

I've got some more photos approved taken with the G10, and it is turning out to be everything I'd hoped it would be: small enough to take with me and high enough quality to provide 14+ MP stock photo images:

Olympic flags

Calgary skyline in winter


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

40D and G10

I had quite the Christmas! I purchased an updated DSLR, the Canon 40D. In the end I decided the huge files of the 50D just weren't needed. I don't see a significant number of my stock files selling at the maximum resolution with an 8MP camera, so going to 10MP seems like enough. As well, I thought I would like to get the G10, which does have 15MP files. I have sort of reverse logic on this one - with the compact, I elected to go with the 15MP tiny sensor becuase of its amazing ability (jaw dropping according to DPReview) to capture at the base ISO. On the other hand, but sticking to the 40D over the 50D I saved enough to get the G10, plus my RAW files are sticking around 11-12MP each. By not going to the 15MP 50D I figured my low light capture would be better - that seems the be the common complaint at high ISO with tiny pixels.

In the end, though, I was way more swayed by the amazing abilities of the 40D in terms of value than any real strikes against the 50D. If I'd bought a camera 6 months earlier I would have been amazed by the 40D - so I thought that hadn't changed with the introduction of the 50D. Except for the price drop on the 40D!

Hockey Skates

My family went together and got me the G10 for Christmas, and I have been amazed at its ability to capture detail at ISO80. Used at that setting it is a very capable camera, capable of getting approved for stock photos. On the other hand, its low light abilities are more than sufficient for family photos. If the light is low I use flash anyways, or switch to my 40D if I'm at home. I'm looking forward to having a camera in hand in many more situations - the G10 is great for that. I was also happy to see it was easy to use with gloves on - no need to enter menus with dials for common stuff like ISO, mode and exposure compensation.

Here is my first stock photo with the G10:

Winter river

Monday, January 5, 2009

Aspect Ratio

As if there weren't enough things to think about, I recently started thinking about yet another aspect (pun intended) of stock photography: aspect ratio. I got a compact camera this Christmas and discovered that it was 4:3, rather than 3:2 as I'm used to with a DSLR. This has more impact than I would have thought:

1. Taking pictures. I find myself taking a lot more photos in the 'landscape' orientation rather than 'portrait'. When taking photos of people I find the SLR ratio too wide unless you want lots of background (environmental portraits, etc.).

Camera mode dial

2. Cropping. I find that I crop some photos down to a more square format for stock photography. Ellen Boughn pointed out in one of her blogs that a square format optimizes the use of the thumbnail enlargement. You get 100% use of the enlarged view when using a square. This comes at the cost of resolution, though. With the 4:3 ratio you are only losing 1/4 of the resolution, compared to 1/3 with the 3:2 format. This may mean the difference of an extra price category depending on the megapixels of your camera. My shot of the top of a camera below is an example of cropping to fit a square...

3. Space. The more square format seems to leave more room around things compared to the 3:2 format. This probably helps designers as they have a bit more room for copy space or just to crop out to fit a layout.

4. Printing. On a personal level the 4:3 format comes closer to matching a 5x7 or 8x10 print with less cropping. You get more of the original resolution when cropping to fit a standard print format. While that is of course not true in the standard 4x6 print size, that only tends to get used for 4x6" prints - the smallest size which doesn't need any extra resolution.

5. Pet peeve. Why do photo frames always seem to come in a 16:9 ratio? Arg!

It is another thing to consider when purchasing a camera, even at the SLR level (Olympus is 4:3).

Feel free to chime in on your favorite aspect ratio to shoot pictures!