27 January 2012

World in a drop

World in a drop by Wojciech Toman (WojciechToman)) on 500px.com
This time one of my just a few macro shots.

EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 400D
Lens: 18-55 mm kit lens
Focal length: 55 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure time: 1/40 s
ISO: 400
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod used: yes
Filters used: macro +10 diopters filter
Software: Gimp

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23 January 2012

Friendship and Canon 5D MK II

Friendship by Wojciech Toman (WojciechToman)) on 500px.com



I had enough waiting for Canon 5D MK III. Will it arrive this year? What sensor will it have etc. I needed camera right now so I bought MK II and I'm really happy with it so far. Its low-light capabilities are tremendous. Noise is acceptable on ISO 6400. I had even some successes using ISO 12800 and 25600 although the last setting required quite heavy denoising (sometimes however it can be a life-saver). Image quality and depth of field are much better than on any other camera I used so far. I'm also happy with auto-focus, even though some reviews claimed it's quite poor. I haven't noticed that even when trying to focus in pretty difficult lightning conditions.

So yes, I'm very satisfied with this camera so far.

Also I upload a photo I took in the rain (although it's winter so snow would be more natural) yesterday. Click it to see it in large.

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13 January 2012

Canon 70-300L lens review

Tiger in Warsaw Zoo

I'm a lucky owner of Canon 70-300L f/4 - f/5.6 IS USM tele-zoom lens for some time now. And here is my short review of this lens.

Parameters

I will start with a few technical information:
Aperturesf/4 - 5.6
Field of view34.3 - 8.2 degree
Minimum focusing distance1.5m
Filter thread67 mm
Dimensions14.3 cm × 8.90 cm
Weight1050 g
Number of aperture blades8
Auto-focusYES
USMYES
Image-stabilizationYES (4 stops)
Price$1,599.00

Review

What really amazes me in this lens is image quality produced by it.  For me image quality is the most important factor and it was actually the main reason why I decided to get this lens.

Canon 70-300L produces images with great sharpness (really!), very nice contrast and colours. If you're not convinced after such short statement I would like to mention that some of images taken with this lens didn't require any sharpening in post-processing. No sharpening at all!
Canon 70-300 L lens review
The new Image Stabilization system (same as in excellent 70-200 f/2.8 L II) offers about 4 stops of stabilization. And it really rocks and works as advertised (in some tests it proved to be even better). On my Canon 50D camera I'm able to hand-hold shots at 300mm and 1/15s exposure time without big problems. On 5D MK III I can hand-hold even longer times due to it having full-frame sensor. I was also successful even with longer exposures but the success rate was lower in these cases of course.

Focus is fast, accurate and silent due to ultrasonic engine.

Another interesting thing is that this lens is pretty compact. Most of the white long tele-zooms from Canon and other vendors are huge and heavy. 70-300 L is just slightly longer that 24-105L lens. If you're familiar with that lens this tele-zoom will be really easy to handle. It's also lighter than most of the Canon tele-zooms (still weighs 1 kg) but looks and feels as solid as all other white L lenses.

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11 January 2012

Colours of spring and Lightroom 4 Beta

I'm not good at macro/close-up photography but this photo I took last spring turned out to be quite good. I especially like the focusing, bokeh and vivid colours here. It was taken with Canon 24-105L lens at 105, with f/4 and 1/200s exposure. I set ISO to 160. Probably shallower depth of field would work even better here but I didn't have my 50 mm f/1.8 with me that day.

On the other topic, Adobe have just released beta of Lightroom 4. To be honest I'm not a great fan of Lightroom as I prefer to manage my photos in Bridge and post-process them in Photoshop CS5 (with actions and good workflow it isn't much slower in my opinion) but I decided to give it a try (BETA is available for everyone for free and expires on 31st March 2012) and I must admit I quite liked it.

There are numerous changes of course - many in the basic panel. There is no Fill Light and Recovery Sliders - instead Whites,  Highlights, Blacks and Shadows are used. What's more moving Blacks/Whites doesn't affect midtones anymore! So it gives much better control over the result. Clarity slider behaviour has been greatly improved and you know what - it rocks! Even on its maximum setting it doesn't produce any halo artifacts! Fantastic! Brilliant! There are other useful improvements like local noise reduction adjustments or local white balance control (that's pretty cool tool too!). There is much more of course but I don't really care about book creation and similar stuff ;)

I was a bit disappointed with the time it took to export all the developed files (during export Lightroom consumed quite a lot of resources so I couldn't do much more on my PC) but to be honest my computer isn't really powerful so it might be its fault :)

So will I use Lightroom 4 once it is released? That's hard to say. Probably most of the interesting changes for me will make it to Adobe Camera Raw as well. But I plan to play a little longer with it to give it a chance.

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3 January 2012

Dark Sunset


In the last few days everyone is mad about photos from the New Years Eve. As I haven't had a chance to go through mine photos from that evening yet here is a completely different shot - taken during sunset in summer. This photo was post-processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1. I used 3 bracketed shots taken at -2; 0; +2.

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