Tag Archives: digital SLR

Low light action photography Part 1

Even at a shutter speed of 1/800 sec, Indonesian badminton player Taufik Hidayat's racquet registers as a blur. Badminton, the fastest racquet sport, is one of the toughest to shoot because no flash is allowed and the gyms are usually not very bright. I used a Canon 40D, a 85mm 1.2 L lens, ISO 1600 at the U.S. Open 2 years ago.

Now that DSLRs are in the hands of more and more 1st-time camera owners, I’ve noticed this question come up a lot.

I’ve tried to photograph my son’s basketball games, but all my pictures are blurry. How do I get better pictures with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel?

Continue reading Low light action photography Part 1

Xmas gift ideas for photographers

Xmas--time to give the photographer in your life something special

A while back Randy Habicht, one of my students, asked me to compile a wish list for him.

It wasn’t that long ago, I was in those shoes–a newbie.

I had more money than smarts when it came to gear.

Though still cameras have undergone so much transformation, so much is still the same.

The allure of seductive ads touting better, more responsive, higher megapixel, lower noise and all the other superlatives are still there.

And yes they are still as mouth-watering and tempting as the first time I laid eyes on that glossy ad for that Canon F-1 with motorized 6-frames-a-second body, powered by Hi power Nicad battery etc.
Continue reading Xmas gift ideas for photographers

Canon 5D Mark 2 for a steal

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a bargain.

When one of my former students Michael Lambert emailed me about Canon’s Customer Loyalty program, I was skeptical but I had to look into it.

Did I need a newer camera body? Not really, but I had been looking for a DSLR with video capability for quite some time.

If you follow this blog, you might have read my trusty Powershot G3 headed to its happy-picture-hunting ground recently.

Even though it was a Point-and-shoot camera, it had video recording capability.

So does its replacement, the Powershot G11 which I bought recently.

So how long was I expected to do without video on my DSLR?

I love my workhorse 40D,  but it is almost 3 years old and doesn’t have video capability.

If I wasn’t teaching, I would be alright with just stills.

After all, I have to justify every purchase I make, if not to myself,  then surely to the general or the Chief Financial Officer of the house.

Here’s the step-by-step if you’re interested in following this fool jumpstart the economy

  1. Visit Canon’s refurbished camera page to check the DSLR you want is in stock. If it is, get the serial number of your trade in Powershot camera ready.
  2. Call 1-866-443-8002 (At prompt choose Option 2)
  3. Tell them you’re interested in upgrading and buying one of the refurbished cameras (subject to stock in hand)
  4. Canon will require you to give them the serial number of your trade-in camera
  5. Provide your credit card number, address and other details, complete the purchase
  6. When your upgraded camera (in my case 5DMark2 ) arrives, you ship your trade in camera (my dead powershot G3) in the supplied box, shipping paid by Canon.

My Trade-in Camera

I paid close to $500 for my Powershot G3 when it was new.

I was ready to chuck it into the electronic junk heap. Imagine my delight when I saw not only was the refurbished 5DMark 2 a good deal at $2,099, by sending them my dead G3, I was getting $419.80  back !

It’s almost too good to be true, isn’t it? The final damage?  $1934.88 for the body  and a spare battery.

The first time I called Canon to look into this, the best DSLR they had was a refurbished Canon 50D–not an improvement over my 40D, so asked if I could be placed on a waiting list.

The lady on the other end said, all I can do is call back and check or bookmark the following page to see their stock of refurbished cameras.


So what you are guys especially those here in the US waiting for?

Canon 5DMark 2 on the way!

My Canon 5D Mark 2 supposedly shipped and should be here on Wednesday. By the way, I also ordered a spare battery because what else? “Without batteries, all you’ve got is a ugly ……

Now I’ll have to pinch my pennies and buy 16GB compact flash cards as well. I’ll probably need at least 4 of these bad boys. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Photogear I shouldn’t have bought

Every so often when I clean out my closet, I’ll come across an item which is still in pristine condition just the way it was after I broke the clear shrink-wrap.

It starts me wondering, “What the heck was I thinking?”

You are bound to disagree with me, but before you post your comments, which I encourage you to, remember this:

The tools any artist finds indispensable is dependent on usage. And usage is dictated most by the types of subjects we point our lenses at. So with that in mind…

400mm telephoto f4.5

When I was in college in Ohio, I owned a 400 mm f4.5 telephoto lens. MInd you, this was in the old days of film and manual focus. In the Midwest where I went to school, that lens was only used in the best of lighting conditions. The aperture of f4.5 was way too slow for anything but outdoor sports which happen in good light. Those of you reading this have to realize even in today’s high ISO capability DSLRs, trying to get a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec is asking a lot.

Flash diffusers

Over the years I’ve bought some doozies. I once bought a diffuser which you inflate by blowing up like a beach ball.

I even had one that was a miniature umbrella that attached to the flash.

Diffusers for flash units or Speedlights/Speedlites are often not the problem. It’s the placement of the flash, being on camera.

Now I’m wondering as I write this if I’ll ever be seen with Gary Fong’s Lightsphere. Continue reading Photogear I shouldn’t have bought