Last minute thoughts about the gear

I knew that. I knew the choice of the lenses was going to keep me awake at night. And it did happen!

So, after last minute thoughts, this is the gear selected for the trip:

  • Canon 5D III DSLR
  • 17-40mm f4 24-70mm f2.8
  • 50mm f1.4 85mm f1.8
  • 100mm f2.8 macro
  • Spare camera batteries x2 + charger
  • Memory cards
  • Rocket blower
  • Lens cloth
  • Canon G1X
  • External flash YN568EXII
  • YN-622C E-TTL Wireless Flash Trigger x2
  • Spare flash batteries x2 sets
  • Light tripod

..and the first 7 items fit in a relatively small and handy (not very light I’d say) bag.
Ah, my lovely 70-200mm is going to be missed. No, actually not, because the best lens/camera is always the one you have with you.

Well, at least this is what they say. 😉

Almost time to hit the road: to bring or not to bring?

weight gearWell, this supposed to be a blog mainly about photography, right? :) Let’s talk a bit about that for what concerns the trip to Uganda.

When you are more than an amateur photographer, you always have a big problem when packing your bags. You don’t think anything else than what kind of gear to bring with you with one main goal: I need to travel light!

Packing anything else it’s very easy and it does not require much space and weight (at least for me!), but when it comes to camera(s) and lenses.. here you got THE problem.

– Which lenses to choose?
– Am I going to use the 70-200 2.8? Such an heavy lens is worth the weight? (It’s my favorite!)
– Where am I going to store the gear while not using it?
– Am I going to carry 4-10 Kg all the time? (What a pain :-/ )

It’s often the case: on one hand, when you carry a lot of lenses and you don’t use them you regret it for the weight you have constantly on your shoulders. On the other hand when you don’t have a particular lens or camera you wish you had them with you.

It’s also true the best camera you have is the one you got at the moment of shooting and not thinking what you left home.

Recently I got the Canon G1X. A part small issues with the autofocus (hey, when you are used to the 5D Mark III you are going to have some issues using any other lower end camera!), it’s a great camera for traveling: low weight, you don’t need to carry any additional lens; the sensor is huge compared to standard compact, it’s about 80% the size of an APS-C sensor format; great image quality at high ISO.

Anyway in cameras like this you also have to get some compromises: slow autofocus, low macro performance, slow lens.

So, DSLR (and lenses) or not DSLR, that’s the question.

Let’s see it in a practical way. I have 2 options:
A) Canon G1X + external flash + light tripod.
B) Canon 5D Mark III + 17-40 f4 + 50 f1.4 + 100 f2.8 macro + external flash + heavier tripod. (As you can see, I’m excluding all heavier good lenses, what a pain.. SIGH!)

Or both? 😮
I still don’t know what to do. Another sleepless night ahead thinking about that. 😛

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Cameras in Phones Are Now Better Than Compact Cameras from 5 Years Ago

Camera-phones today are evolving quickly and they are used a lot.

Camera equipment rating service DxOMark announced today that it will be expanding its tests to cover the cameras found in mobile devices (e.g. cellphones, smartphones, and tablets). In its initial “first glance” of the industry published today, the service makes an interesting claim: that “mobile image quality is now superior to that of 5-year-old compact cameras” (so we were off by around 5 years).

Here’s what they wrote in a press release sent out today:

Mobile phone cameras have become a key feature for a large number of consumers: in 2011, more than one quarter of all photos were taken with a mobile phone. This trend has accelerated in 2012 – which may end up being the year when mobile photography surpasses traditional amateur compact camera photography.

Mobile phone image quality has also made considerable progress – for example, the image quality of the Nokia 808 PureView, in first place in the DxOMark Mobile rankings for still photos, is superior to that of a 5-year-old compact camera. And as for video, the best mobile tested in this category, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, outperforms the Canon Powershot 100.

As you can see from the chart above, though, cameraphones still have a ways to go before they can match the quality of the latest digital cameras on the market.

(via DxOMark via PetaPixel)

Canon EOS 6D Hands-on Preview

Canon 6DDpreview hands-on preview of Canon’s enthusiast-grade full frame DSLR, the EOS 6D. The 6D features a newly-developed 20.2MP CMOS sensor and a magnesium alloy body. To distinguish it from the more expensive 5D Mark III, the 6D features a simpler, 11-point AF system with a single cross-type focus sensor. It also features a smaller, 97% coverage viewfinder.
It looks a much better option for whom would like to enter the full frame world, the price is great compared to the 5D Mark III.
I’m very happy about the 5D Mark III, but I don’t think it’d worth the price: it should be $500-$800 cheaper. So considering the 6D specifications, I’d go for it. I’m just assuming that from the first overview on the Internet, so let’s wait some serious reviews and real tests before having the final call. :)

You can find more at the Canon EOS 6D Hands-on Preview from dpreview (maybe the greatest site for photo gear reviews, particularly cameras).

How to geo-tag your DSLR photos with an Android or iPhone

Geotagging with the use of GPS and your digital camera is a pretty amazing new way to take travel and location photography to a new level.
Most geotagging GPS units for digital cameras are in the €75-125 range.

But you can invest those money for some other camera accessories, there is a way to use your smartphone instead.

What you need:

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Geoencoding Plugin for Lightroom
  • GPS tracking device (your phone Android or iPhone with a GPS tracking app like My Tracks is great for that)
  • ..and your camera of course :)

A nice video that shows how to proceed:

So with this you can save money in your pocket, you don’t need to buy any additional device. Or you can simply test it to decide if you really need a device like that.

Happy geotagging everyone! 😉

Lytro launches a focus-free camera

Lytro camerasLytro is going to launch a camera that takes pictures instantly and lets you focus anywhere within the frame.
Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space.

You don’t need to focus at all, you can adjust the focus itself to any point in the frame after you actually took the photo and comfortably sitting on your sofa.
Focusing after means no auto-focus motor. No auto-focus motor means no shutter delay (and battery saving).

It Will Cost $399 (and $499 for a more advanced version with 16GB instead of the standard 8GB).
The battery should be great, you should able to fill up the entire camera with pictures on a single charge. So about two weeks of battery time, with regular usage. An entire vacation with no charger.

In the specification you can find “Light Field Resolution”: 11 Megarays: the number of light rays captured by the light field sensor.
The light field is a core concept in imaging science, representing fundamentally more powerful data than in regular photographs. The light field fully defines how a scene appears. It is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space. Conventional cameras cannot record the light field. You can get more details about that on Lytro’s website (Details section) or on Wikipedia.

Go to the Picture Gallery and play with some of the photos. It looks amazing.

This technology inevitably could be implemented in the next future to high end cameras and it would be great particularly for action photography and of course street and reportage photography as well.

A great advantage not having to think about focusing while shooting. On the other hand, there will be something left to do to for the photographer than holding a camera? :)