My photography – Part 2: My camera and what interests me

My camera and what interests me

My current (and only DSLR) is a Canon EOS 500D. It is a 15MP, 1.6x “mid entry level” camera. It shipped with the venerable Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. So, with the mind-set that all was good in the world and that I needed no other equipment, I waltzed off into the sunset to follow my hobby. How cruel the world was. I soon figured that the 18-55mm lens was a fantastic lens to learn with *IF * all you wanted to shoot were flowers up close and the kids playing in the garden.

My photographic world eventually came crashing down whilst holidaying on the Southern Coast of South Africa and I tried to shoot some dolphins. As I was the one who took the pictures, I was able to identify the insignificant grey dots as dolphins. No one else could. I needed a longer lens. But more about that later.

What do I like and dislike about my camera?

Well, having had it for 3 odd years now, I have pretty much learned the limits of what the camera can and cannot do.

It has a 15.1 MP APS-C sensor. This gives it an effective 1.6x focal length (a 100mm lens is equivalent to 160mm on a full frame). This works to my advantage especially when shooting with my subject at a distance.

It has an average for the class 3.7fps. I have found this this be an issue especially when shooting my children at their various sporting events and also shooting one of the lesser spotted SAAF BAE Hawk trainers earlier this year when it was flying over our area. The AF is typical Canon. Brilliant.

Another major shortcoming is in its low light performance. It is average for its class, but the lack of performance was evident when I went on a night shoot with my friend and neighbour who took his brand new EOS 5D Mk3 along. OK, comparing an xxxD to an xD camera is unfair, but it was disappointing to say the least. 800 ISO is the absolute maximum before noise becomes really evident.

I have recently installed Magic Lantern 2.3 on the 500D. It makes one heck of a difference to the functionality. Time-lapse, HDR (up to 11 shots manually or goodness knows how many in auto, motion and exposure detection, zebra and crop markings to name but a few).

Other than that, it suits my needs for a camera to learn on. It has above average build quality, is slightly larger in size than the norm for the price, which suits my larger hands just fine. I have a BG-E5 battery grip fitted which makes it even more comfortable to use. (It also makes the camera look a lot more “pro” J ).

What types of photography do I enjoy? Well, I am still trying to find my “niche”.  I have done a little wildlife photography which was enjoyable. I really do enjoy HDR. My neighbour introduced me to HDT a while ago. Night HDR is also fun although as mentioned before, the low light performance of the 500D is not really conducive to decent night photographs.

I enjoy shooting vehicles of any type and of course, my kids.

Well, that’s all for now. Next time, I hope to explain a little more about my HDR photography and also a little about some of my accessories.

Below are a couple of examples of my photos.

smile for the camera. these little critters live on the banks of the brook behind the house.
little statues. My first shot at taking close up pictures with a pro f/1.4 50mm.
BAE Hawk trainer of the SAAF.
my first half decent HDR.
 I just took it to see if my lens was clean after I had wiped it.
Erin getting some “air” in an inter school netball game. (aged 8)
Joshua’s first race (aged 2 3/4)
Joshua’s first 1st place.

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