Saturday, 17 October 2009

Five Years of Digital : Canon 300D

It was five years ago to the day that I got my first digital SLR camera. The Canon 300D had been launched in 2003 as the first sub £1000 digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera and by 2004 I'd been getting increasingly frustrated with the scanning of slides from the film cameras I was using at the time.

So in Oct 2004 I bought the Canon 300D DLSR and switched to digital and haven't looked back. Although the  website had been running for some time, the company was established later on that year and the rest as they say is history!

The quality of the images from the Canon 300D was excellent and some are still in use on this website today. The shots of Rebecca Sarah were mainly shot on the Canon 300D. My previous foray into digital had been with a small compact the Nikon 775. I could see the potential for the format but also the restrictions of a 2Mp compact camera sensor and the associated noisy images beyond base ISO.

I kept the Canon 300D for about 6 months before upgrading to the Canon 20D in early 2005. The image quality for studio images was very little different but the Canon 20D had better low light performance and improved build quality. The pair of Canon 20Ds provided sterling service until replaced by the stunning Canon 5D when it was released.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Royal Mail Postal Strike - Delivery of Orders

We would like to reassure customers that our suppliers have alternative plans in place to ensure delivery of prints and albums during the proposed strikes by postal workers. Our album supplier Loxley Colour are using both City Link and Parcel Force for deliveries which will be unaffected by the industrial action.

For local customers delivery of photo CDs for image selection will be done personally to ensure that the CD or DVD arrives safely.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

New Nikon D3s Camera with incredible low light capability

Nikon have today announced a new camera, the D3s which has an incredible low light capability. Using expansion settings the camera can be used at an ISO setting of 102,400 which would have been unheard of back in the days of film. The highest rated film that was generally available was ISO 3200 and even that gave quite grainy images.

The current crop of cameras from Canon and Nikon have the ability to use ISO settings up to 25600. The Nikon D3s is the first one to increase the low light capability by another 2 stops. The camera also has the ability shoot HD video but at 720p rather than the 1080p that the Canon 5D Mark2 can shoot.

It will be interesting to see the results from the camera but based on previous results it is likely the image quality will surpass the results from film at ISO 3200.

It appears that while Canon have been concentrating on increasing the pixel count of their cameras Nikon have instead been working on the light sensitivity and ensuring that their cameras can work in exceptionally low light conditions.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Canon 5D Mark 2 (mk II) Video Editing Workflow

I've been asked a few times about the workflow that I use for editing the video footage from the Canon 5D Mark2 DSLR camera. Since I discovered the Neoscene Cineform software a couple of months ago the workflow has been very simple! All my work is carried out on my PC running Windows Vista64, the workflow on a Mac may be simpler still.

Firstly all video is copied from the Compact Flash card onto a dedicated 1Tb video storage drive (internal SATA drive). The original video from the Canon 5D Mark2 (and also the Canon 7D and 500D) is stored as Quicktime MOV using H.264 codec but this is almost impossible to edit natively on a PC so needs to be converted to AVI format.

Launch Neoscene and convert all 5D video clips from MOV to AVI. For simple projects the only editing tool I use is ..... Microsoft Movie Maker!! Its very straightforward and quick for small projects but the limitations show for more complex editing tasks.

Once the video is edited I normally save using the 720p HD template for uploading to the web or the normal 1080p for keeping on the PC. If the 720p option isn't used then the aspect ratio of the video tends to be wrong which compresses the image to 4:3 rather than 16:9

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Canon 5D Firmware

As you will see from this blog I have the Canon 5D and 5DII cameras. In order to make best use of the 5D2 video capability I use 16Gb compact flash cards for video shoots. I came to copy the files onto my PC today and noticed that the card was only reading 8Gb despite being full.

On further investigation it appeared that this was due to using the card in my Canon 5D mark1 camera which does not support large CF cards beyond 8Gb. Despite the card being shown as 16Gb in the camera it was only formatted to 8Gb. There is a firmware fix for the problem released some time ago - but as I'd never encountered the problem I hadn't installed it before.

Now installed and cards beyond 8Gb can be read in the original Canon 5D without any problems. There was never an issue with the Canon 5DII as it supported large cards from day 1.