Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Canon G11 review

The review of the Canon Powershot G11 is finally up:

It confirms what I suspected: the G11's high ISO quality isn't dramatically better than G10's. The difference is about one stop and it is achieved by more aggressive noise reduction rather than by better sensor quality. If you shoot RAW with both cameras, run the photos through the same noise reduction program and downsize the G10's photos to 10 MP you wouldn't see much difference. However, at low ISOs the G10 has visible resolution advantage. I still think producing a camera with G10-like sensor and articulated screen makes sense. Well, until more micro 4/3 cameras come out and their prices start to drop. Notice how much better the Panasonic GF1 is in terms of image quality! Of course, it HAS TO BE given the 2X price difference, but I'm sure in the next couple of years the m4/3 cameras will kill the G series, unless Canon puts a much larger sensor in it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Camera Chow, Picture Wow!

Kevin Spacey advertises the Olympus PEN to low-tech snobs (video):

Monday, November 9, 2009

Polish Cemetery Part II

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Sigma SD14, 28mm f/1.8

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Random pics from the Polish Cemetery

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Sigma SD14, 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and 28mm f/1.8

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Faux Film

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Here is a pretty cool new video shot by Vincent Laforet with the new Canon 1D Mk IV:

It's a short 3-minute movie (not including the titles) of something like 'David Lynch meets John Carpenter' style shot in 'available darkness'.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Elton John's Boots

Shot at the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. Click to enlarge.

Canon Powershot G10

Got a spam about "electronic cigarettes". I wonder when they invent electronic vodka and electronic women?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Canon G10 vs Medium Format Film

Michael Reichmann of compared picture quality of the Canon Powershot G10 with that of Digital Hasselblad and found them very similar on print. Since I don't have a Digital Hasselblad yet, let me show you a little non-scientific comparison between pictures of my G10 and Mamiya 645 film camera with 80mm f/1.9 lens. The film was Fuji Reala scanned with the Epson V700, resized and cropped to match the G10's images.

Canon 1:

Canon 1

Mamiya 1:

Mamiya 1

Canon 2:

Canon 2

Mamiya 2:

Mamiya 2

Click to see full resolution images on

As you can see both cameras can resolve similar amount of detail. Mamiya's images look overall better, but don't forget: we are comparing an average consumer grade zoom with one of the best manual prime lenses made by Mamiya.

However, the most obvious difference is in dynamic range. The film got more shadow details on the first photo and beautifully captured all subtle gradations of the overcast sky on the second one, while the G10 blew out the sky completely (I added the blue fill later in Photoshop).

Even though top models of compact cameras are getting close to medium format in resolution, they still have a long way to go before they can match the dynamic range of film.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The new Nikon sees in the dark

Nikon announced the new D3S with 12 megapixels and base ISO 12,800 that can be pushed up to astounding 102,400!

Check out the pictures of yak and bear shot at ISO 12,800. They don't look very beautiful but are usable, unlike anything I've seen before shot at this ISO.

The megapixel race is over and the ISO race began? Canon, your move!

Autumn Lake

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Canon Powershot G10


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Canon Powershot G10

Friday, September 25, 2009

Canon G10 with a flip-out screen?

As I have written already, the most significant improvement of the G11 over G10 is the flip-out screen giving a photographer much more creative flexibility. However, not everyone would want to trade it for 4.7 megapixels, especially landscape shooters who appreciate every extra pixel under good light and don't care much about low light performance, which, however good, still sucks in comparison with a DSLR. Not to mention 10 years of "the more megapixels the better" propaganda has taken its effect that cannot be undone overnight.

I think Canon should make something like Powershot G10 Mark II with flip-out screen and the same 14.7MP sensor. No doubt, it would be a great hit!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


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Canon 20D, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

Monday, September 21, 2009

New samples from Canon Powershot S90 has published a gallery of S90's photos:

The pictures don't look exciting to me – noisy, not very sharp and with quite a bit of purple fringing. PF was a plague of my old G5 and I'm happy that G10 almost doesn't have it. It's an unpleasant surprise to see it again.

Of course, it's good that ISO 800 and 1600 are usable now, but at low ISO pixel quality isn't any better than G10's, maybe even worse, and it's 10 MP, not 14.7 Since S90 and G11 share the same sensor and image processor, I expect similar quality from G11. Probably better, because of sharper lens, but not MUCH better.

Of course, those are JPEGs from the camera, not RAW conversions, but Canon's in camera processing is so good that I wouldn't expect much better results from computer RAW conversions. Maybe better and less aggressive noise reduction and little more detail.

So the only actual advantage of the new G11 is flip-out screen, which is very useful, but cannot really justify an upgrade from G10. Soon we will see whether my conclusions are true...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How the Camera Controls Should Be

Look on top of your camera. What do you see? If it is a DSLR or advanced point & shoot you see a shooting mode dial with the letters: P, A (or Av), S (or Tv) and M. You know what it means: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. In Program mode the camera determines the aperture and shutter speed automatically; in Aperture Priority you turn some on camera wheel to set aperture value and the camera determines shutter speed; in Shutter Priority you use the same wheel to set a shutter speed; and in Manual mode you either use two different wheels (as on the Canon 20D-50D) or have to use one wheel and press some obscure button to switch between aperture and shutter adjustments (as on the Sigma SD14). A bit confusing, huh? Especially for beginners. Eventually, every photographer gets the hang of it, but I must say, it's not nearly the best possible layout.

Now look at the new Leica X1:

No mode dial! Just aperture and shutter speed dials. Simple, logical and brilliant! This layout makes the whole concept of shooting modes unnecessary. Set both to A and let the camera control exposure for you, or use all possible combinations to control it yourself. This layout saves you at least one extra movement every time you change settings. You don't need to look into the viewfinder or at the status LCD to see the exposure settings, one quick glance at the camera is enough. You can even adjust it when the camera is off. Just turn it on and shoot!

And finally, the medium format Pentax 645N:

In addition to aperture and shutter speed dials, it has the third dial – exposure compensation, which allows much finer tuning. This is by far the most logical, straightforward and easy control layout I have ever seen. It alone makes me want to buy this camera, even though I don't need it that much :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Faces from Brazil Fest

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Sigma SD14, 70-200mm f/2.8

Leica Needs an Autofocus

I am not a Leica owner and will never be. Even if I had lots of money, I would find a better way of spending it. However, looking at some early sample galleries I can tell that the new full frame Leica M9 is a remarkable achievement not only in expensiveness and coolness but in actual image quality. No kidding. Especially wide and super wide angle shots are stunning. But... some photos are just not sharp enough. It seems to me the new 18-megapixel sensor outresolves... Leica's rangefinder. It was fine for film, but just isn't precise enough for hi-res digital.

Leica needs an autofocus with live view, contrast detect, central magnification and all that stuff – in addition to the rangefinder. Of course, they will have to make a new series of autofocus lenses and dig more money out of rich snobs' pockets.

Wonder if the M10 will be the first autofocus Leica M?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Toronto Harbour Evening

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Sigma SD14, 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5