Friday, January 23, 2009

Gear Bag Friday: Matt Is In Town; PhotoProExpo Kicks Off; and How About The Cameras?

Good Morning Everybody,
Today is the day - the day of our PhotoProExpo / MidEast Regional Print Competition/ Kentucky Convention kicking off for the next 5 days. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends, checking out some of the programs, and seeing what new goodies I can find in the trade show.

The convention kicks off with my buddy, Matt Kloskowski, Lightroom and Photoshop guru. A BIG thanks to National Association Of Photoshop Professionals - NAPP - for bringing the Lightroom 2 Tour [link] to the Covington, KY/Metro Cincinnati area and coordinating it with our ProPhotoExpo convention. BIG NEWS - anyone attending the Lightroom 2 program today gets a complimentary trade show pass to the convention! If you're attending one event it's a great opportunity to attend the other!

LaDawn and I had dinner with Matt last night and are stoked to hear his program today! Hey gang, I've got to get scootin', my convention duties are calling. Before I go, let me leave you with another episode of Gear Bag Friday - Enjoy! -David

Gear Bag Friday: How About The Cameras?
In looking back over all the Gear Bag Fridays, it occurred to me that I haven't talked about the cameras in the bag. Sure, it's evident when you look at the images of the day and the accompanying images from the other articles I post, it's probably a Canon camera. Well it is my camera of choice these days – no pokes at Nikons - and most recently the Canon 40D. I do see myself migrating to that Canon 50D soon for two reasons; 1 - the much higher resolution viewfinder, and 2 - the higher usable ISO in the camera. The higher resolution is also a big bonus too.

Up to this point, I would say for the last 18 months, my “hands down” camera of choice has been the 40D. I remember when it hit the market and I was blown away by some of its features. Let me just name the main reasons I was a big fan of the 40D and now most recently the 50D.

Here we go --

1 -- Highlight Tone Priority - this feature alone is what made me switch to the 40D. Sure Nikon has a similar feature called Active D Lighting, but prior to my jump into the Canon camp this was the first time I experienced this feature and it was on a Canon camera. Highlight Tone Priority basically adds a lot of latitude to the image when it comes to over-exposure – actually about one stop. This is particularly useful for a wedding photographer shooting brides in white dresses, often very shiny reflective white dresses, at high noon and late afternoon sun. I loved the added protection this feature allowed me in my shooting routine.

2 -- Also with the introduction of the 40D as with the 50D, was the addition of the 3 custom buttons on the dial. The 30D didn’t have them. The first 5D also had these custom settings which is where I learned to love them. These custom settings, when used correctly, can basically give you three cameras in one. For instance, my 1st custom one button is always set to 1600 ISO 2800K, P for professional, and center spot reading. That means that when I find myself in a tight situation I can simply turn the dial to C1 mode, turn off my on camera flash, and shoot away in the available light of the scene and get some great candid images. The C2 setting on my Canon 40 D is set to 3200 ISO with all the other parameters being the same, 2800 K, P for Professional, and center spot reading, as I mentioned for the C1 setting. The C2 setting isn’t one I use very often but, in a pinch at a wedding reception it may just fit the bill to capture the shot. I reserve the C3 setting for specifics relating to the current job as necessary.

3 -- Another feature I like in the 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D is -- don't laugh now -- the pop-up flash. I can remember when I started shooting my first 20D. The 580EX flash hadn't even been introduced yet. I actually shot a number of jobs for about four weeks with just the pop-up flash as my on camera flash. I know you are still laughing, but remember, I always worked with an assistant with an off-camera flash and also had a room light firing during my wedding reception candids. That little on camera flash still gave me enough light from camera position to fill the shadows if needed and still get the images I desired for my client.

The number one main reason I liked the little pop-up flash is this. At the end of the night after we packed everything up, we've said goodbyes to the bride and groom and their parents, and were walking out the door what invariably happens? Somebody wants one more picture. No problem I don't have to unpack the bag. I don't have to do anything. I know this photograph is going to be a quick grab candid so I simply pop up the flash capture a couple of photographs, wave goodbye, and continue on my way. Mainly I like the little pop-up flash for his convenience at one o'clock in the morning to get that last photograph of whoever, (usually those over indulged with the free alcohol of the evening), feels they need one more picture taken.

4 -- I also like the speed at which the 40D and 50 D shoot. When I tried to use my earlier 5D, I have to say I just didn't like it for reception coverage. It just wasn't fast enough for me. I always switched back to the 30D I was using at the time. The 40D is plenty fast though. It has two speed settings on it – 3fps and 6.3 fps. 3 fps is adequate for most everything that I do. (I have to admit, I like the 5D MkII 3.3 fps just a bit more. 6.3 is just too quick for me in most cases. I've occasionally set it to the faster six frames per second setting but I find that is way too many pictures per second and I really don't need it set to that very often. If you're a fast action event photographer such as a sporting event or race car photographer, then this 6.3 fps setting would be great.

The bottom line is this. I like the 40D the reasons outlined above. I like the new 50D for its higher usable ISOs and much higher resolution viewfinder. I hope that gives you a little insight into why I prefer these cameras and have selected the Canon Family of cameras as my camera choice for shooting my weddings.

I'll fill you in on Monday on some of the convention highlights. So, have a great weekend and I'll see you on the flip-side of the weekend. See you then, -- David


  1. Hey, David!

    Hate that I'm going to miss the Matt and the convention. I thought about driving up from Knoxville for it, but I have a shoot tomorrow, and didn't think I could make both. Can't wait to hear what all goes on.

  2. I totally agree with you on the 40D! I have been thrilled with mine for the past year I've owned it. My only complaint is that the display screen doesn't give the most accurate preview of my images (a problem other 40D owners have shared with me!)... and have not yet discovered a way to adjust the display.

  3. Every technical and reliable review I have come across actually puts the 50D noise performance either worse than the 40D or at most 1/3 stop better.

    I deeply considered them both and found the only appealing features of the 50D to be the higher resolution LCD and the AF micro-adjust. But those didn't justify a $400 price difference for me, so I am loving my 40D.

  4. I love my 40D as well - i just hate one detail, they got all wrong: The placement of the "Play", "Info", ..."Picture-Style"-Buttons. They moved them to the bottom of the camera. Unless you have a battery pack, it's now no longer possible to just have the camera hanging around your shoulder. Your hip will press some of the buttons, which is very annoying.

    Otherwise: Just a great camera.