Saturday, January 17, 2009

Introspection: a DSLR does not a Photographer Make

As most of you know, I am an Olympus user. I love the format, the colors, and the cameras that I've been lucky enough to have had the pleasure of using. That being said, I don't believe that I am what I am only because of the camera that I use.

Despite what I previously believed, and what I sometimes may feel because of equipment-envy, a Photographer is not his / her camera. When it comes to photography and the art of capturing the moment, one does not have to have the top of the line, full-frame, DSLR. What I've learned, after 10 plus years of taking photos, is that the sky is the limit when it comes to what a photographer can do with the equipment he / she has. Skill, art with the instrument is what will differentiate a photographer from a camera owner, however high tech his / her gear is. While everyone, given the correct financial breaks and availability of funds, can own the best camera on the market, not everyone who might own said camera will be able to utilize it quite so well, not at first anyway, not without practice. In short, do whatever you can with the gear you've got right now, and if you feel you've reached your boundaries and are ready to breach them, by all means, upgrade!

When it comes to getting the right camera, I don't think I'm an expert, though several friends and acquaintances often treat me like one. As far as I can tell, the best camera for you is something that fulfills the following requirements:

1. You can afford it. Very important factor. :) Why force something you can't afford?
2. You can see yourself using it. If you can't imagine yourself using the camera for what you need it to perform for, then maybe it may not be for you. Check it out at a shop, try it around the store. If it feels comfortable in your hands and fulfills your needs, then by all means consider it as a contender.
3. It will fit your needs. With the availability cheaper, high powered cameras and DSLRs now in the market, it's easy to fall prey to the Mighty Megapixel come-on. Unless you intend to display your photos on the billboards along EdSA, you may not always need a camera with the highest megapixel count, nor a camera with exchangeable lenses. If you are the type who wants a camera for its portability and for the purpose of capturing those precious moments, snap-shots if your everyday life, the type who likes taking nice photos and digital video besides, a lot of good point and shoot, prosumer cameras do just that.
4. The camera will allow you to grow as a photographer. This only makes sense if you imagine yourself doing more though. A lot of high-end point and shoot cameras allow you to fiddle around with the settings, from controling the shutter speed, changing the opening / aperture, as well as film speed. If you're fed-up with point and shoot short-comings though, DSLRs are the way to go. You might decide to read a few books, take a few classes or workshops to help you harness its full capabilities but they will be well worth it.

Just some thoughts. :) Don't take me too seriously on this. Try things out for yourselves. Read camera reviews, borrow from friends' cameras. Invest in it emotionally and rationally before you do so financially. And when you have it, don't ever stop taking pictures.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Prosumer Techlust: Olympus E-30

I recently stumbled upon this, Olympus' newest DSLR on my favorite source for photo info but found it uncharacteristically lacking. Search engine results and preliminary reviews almost make me want to take back what I said about the E-3. Almost... I'd probably still go for the E-3, however, I'm sure I'd also jump at the chance to hold / own / use the Olympus E-30.

Announced November of last year, one wonders where the E-30 fit in Olympus' scheme of things. Well, supposedly it is positioning itself between the rugged Professional E-3 and the less than pro E-520. It's not as rugged, nor weather sealed as the E-3 (which used magnesium alloy, versus the E-30's structural plastic), and weighs in just midway between the two models. Dimensions-wise however it shares the E-3's girth, if only to be slightly shorter by 10mm. Additionally a newly designed viewfinder [penta]prism makes it lighter than the pro, but at the same time gives it a better view than the 520.

The newest camera from Oly also bosts 12.3 megapixels of resolutional goodness. While this may potentially mean more noise, as more pixels would be crammed into the same size sensor space, Olympus promises that noise levels will be more like the previous generation of sensors thanks to better microlens and photo diode design.

Like the E-3, the E-30 possesses a rotating LCD display, however Olympus decided to give it a larger 2.7 inch screen. Like the E-30, it also uses an 11 point AF sysetm but throws in the Face Detection feature found in the E-520.

Aside from the above mentioned features, the E-30 posseses a digital leveling feature, which lets you know how much roll / pitch you've to fix to help level your camera. Helpful for people who'd like to get their horizons perfectly straight, but otherwise also perfectly superfluous, in my opinion anyway. :)

For a more complete review, do check out imaging resource.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Photo of the night... First post of the New Year

Tonight is supposedly the night of the fullest and brightest moon of the year. Tonight or last night. Was only able to take photos of the moon tonight though.

Shot using Olympus E410, film speed 200-400, f5.6, shutter speed variable, using full 150mm.