Tag Archives: photography

Canon PowerShot S100

My trust old Canon SD-500 is not good enough to take baby photos. I desperately need a new pocket size camera. A large DSLR is not very convenient to carry around while you have to take care of a baby. I have been waiting for the price drop of Canon S100, which was its flag-ship pocket size camera. It has large 2.0 aperture at 2.0, high ISO 16000 and fast focusing and shutter speed, which is important to capture the moment in all lighting conditions.

The new S110 came out and the S100 drops to $330. The S110 is a newer model, but the image capturing hardware is identical to S100, same aperture size, same sensor, same image processor. The only difference is S110 comes with new useless feature such as wi-fi and touch screen and takes out old useless feature in S100 such as GPS.

The initial batch of S100 has lens retraction problem that the lens may stuck in cold weather due to poor QC. The problem is fixed in newer S100, so I am not too worry about this problem. Although it had affected my friend’s S100 and it’s a pretty bad experience.

The control is pretty much the same canon standard camera pocket size controls. It has two extra ring control that makes selection faster. The most important of all is it can take decent picture without using flash in normal indoor lighting condition at night. The fast focus and shutter response time works almost as well as my big DSLR camera. Perfect to capture the interesting moment of the baby. As usual, there are tons of useless capture mode and filters built-in to the camera, like color shift, fish eye effects, winkle to shoot etc. However there is a few features that I actually found useful, such as high dynamic range, auto facial detection. It also support taking HD video, which is good enough to replace a standalone video camera.

In general, the S100 is a very good camera. Highly recommended. S110 is newer and may have more useless features, but it is also $100 more expensive. Although S100 is no longer the flag-ship pocket camera from Canon, but it definitely gives the best value for the money.

Photography

I am pretty late to join the DSLR bandwagon. I just bought my first DSLR two months ago. In fact, it’s not even my camera, it’s the birthday present for my wife. When I first got it, I took some snapshot to make sure it works fine. Then camera hide itself behind the boxes when I moved and I just rediscover it this week. So I took some serious photos to explore the function of the new camera.

I am not new to photography, I had a have a film SLR camera lens in high school. I was the photographer with the best camera for the school year book, even better than the teacher adviser’s of the photo club. I was not that interest in photography back then. I got into photography because my best friends got a SLR and taking portrait is a cool excuse to ask the girls out. I didn’t touch the SLR since I got my very first digital camera in university. I always boast to my friends who get into DSLR in recent years that I was using SLR long before them. I know the use of shutter, aperture, ISO and filters and how they can affect the photo. However, it quite a shame that I never truly understand theory of photography.

This time when I pick up the DSLR again, I decide to have a complete understanding of photography. I bought a beginner photography book, read it from cover to cover, but still couldn’t get a very clear understanding. I still get the same fuzzy concept I know since my high school days. At last, I decide to learn it hard way. I log on the internet and read how DSLR works. I get to the root of the problem, understand the physics and optics of a SLR. Vola! Suddenly all the pieces fit together and I can link up all the photography knowledge I already know to form a big picture. The technical part of taking a perfect picture is simple. There is only two things you need to care about: exposure and color.

Exposure is controlled by three parameters, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Shutter speed is the easier to understanding, it’s how long the shutter stays open. In film camera, ISO is the photo sensitivity of the film. In a digital camera, ISO becomes the signal to noise ratio amplifier. Aperture controls how much light arrive the sensor. Choose the right value of the three parameters allow the the senors collects the right amount of photons, so the image will not be too bright or too dark. The histogram is a handy tool to examine the exposure of your photo. The trade off between these three parameters is the artistic part and each one has its pro and con. The higher the ISO, the nosier the image. The slower the shutter speed, the more ghost in the image. The effect of aperture is the hardest to understand. Knowing how depth of field (DoF) works is some real hard physics. It took me almost two hours to completely grasp how the human eye’s field of confusion (FoC) determine the DoF of a given aperture. Color is not a pure optics effect, it is how the thermo-properties of light source affects the sensor. In a film camera, we use color filter correct the color, so a white object will show up being white in the image or we use the temperature of color to introduce mood to the image. In a digital camera, we can simply tweak the RGB algorithm in the sensor to correct the color of the image.

I found one advantage of DSLR over SLR. It is much easier to learn photography using a DSLR. The camera setting is saved with the photo and the image are ready to review instantly. I can take many pictures with different setting and compare the effects side by side. Most important, take photos is virtually free, so I can practice as much as I like. Unlike in the film camera days, buying film is expensive and you have to wait patiently for the film to develop. No wonder we have so many armature photography these days. DSLR really lower the learn curve to become a decent photographer.

Graphistudio

Graphistudio

I just received my Graphistudio sample album today.  The leather binded wedding album comes in a elegant black suit case with a matching parent book set.  The sample album includes photos printed in different samples papers including, semi-gross paper in offset printing, gross paper with lamination and metallic prints.  It is very easy to order an album.  You just have to upload the pictures with to their FTP server, then submit an order form specifying the layout for each picture.  Graphistudio is probably the most high-end wedding album printing service I have seen.  The whole album is printed and binded in Italy.  It definitely beats the quality of your local print shop.  Don’t even mention to the crappy album come with the photo package from HK wedding studio.  It is like compare a Ferrari to a Hyundai, they are in two different league.  Highly recommended to couples who are planning their wedding.  Wedding album is the only thing, maybe except the video, in your wedding that you will often look back in 40 years.  It is a good investment to capture your finest moment in the best wedding album that you can afford.