Thursday, October 09, 2008

Seeing in the Dark

The other night as we walked home after the festival I lifted the camera and made a few shots just outside our house.
I love the colors of the light sources as they overlap and splash on the cars and houses.

The camera was set at ISO 1600 but even at that high ISO the shots were still at f1.4 at about 1/40 of a second so I have no depth of field and I hate to admit it but my hand isn't as steady as it use to be. They are a little blurry. Use a flash, you say? No, no, no! The mood would be gone. Use a tripod, you say? Yes, I could use a tripod and get more depth of field and sharpness but I'd have to carry that tripod around. What if I could use a higher ISO? That might just get me where I'd like to be.
And where I'd like to be just became possible. Canon has announced the Canon 5D Mark II. Twenty-one megapixels....about 8 more megapixels than I have now. And the 'normal' ISO range is 100 to 6400 ISO....4 times more than I have now. I've looked at samples of the 6400 ISO image and it is amazing. There are some other features that are attractive as well. A self-cleaning feature and of course newer technology innovation on several fronts over the older brother the 5D which is the one I bought three years ago. It is even $600 less than what I paid three years ago. That is the positive side.

The negative side is that the expensive camera I bought three years ago is now 'outdated.' The negative side is that the new body weighs almost 1/2 pound more than my 5D. May not seem like much but that camera body plus a zoom lens can get pretty heavy after you have been carrying it all day. And even though it costs less than what I paid three years ago, it is still pricey. We are in a recession and we don't have any idea how deep or long it is going to be. Now isn't the time to spend at our house.

I'll just have to sacrifice and carry that tripod at night if I want to 'see' in the dark.


glorv1 said...

My how you analyzed everything to come to the conclusion that you did. How fitting. Just keep an eye out for sales and you might get lucky. I like the way you think. Great pictures.

Steve Cotton said...

These photographs are marvelous. I have tried several night shots with varying results. Last December in La Manzanilla a street light was casting the shadow of a palm tree on a patterned concrete wall. I tried several shots with my digital, but they all came out too dark. Even with manipulation, they did not convey what I hoped they would. I may post one as an example of what does not work.

You are correct. $2700 is quite a bit for a camera.

Billie said...

Steve, I don't know which camera you are using but night photography is difficult. Most shots require long exposures. You might want to check out this link
From here I think you'll find more links and tutorials about night shooting.
Yes, it is an expensive camera still have to buy lenses. I'll pass on it for now. I'm just not sure that it is going to do that much for my photography. At some point, I'm sure I'll get another camera. Although the one I have may not be all I want, it is still meeting my NEEDS. And I'm trying to live more simply and recognize a 'want' from a 'need.' Mmm...that could be a blog entry.

Tommy Williams said...

I've been on the pre-order list at my local camera store since the morning of the announcement of the 5D MkII. I have wanted to move to full frame for a long time but couldn't afford to move from the 20D--and by the time I could, the rumors of the 5D MkII were flying.

About the weight: where do you get that information? DPReview lists them both as 810g without the battery and I have confirmed this on both the Canon USA and Canon Japan sites (some of the Canon USA information was not correct when the camera was first announced).

The LP-E6 battery (new with the 5D MkII) weighs 80g and the BP-511A (that shipped with the 5D) weighs 82g. So, based on Canon's specifications, the 5D MkII with battery is 2 grams lighter. :)

Billie said...

Tommy, Thanks for bringing the info about the weight of the camera to my attention. I'm sure I went to the Canon USA site when I first heard about the camera and one of the issues that I definitely wanted to check out was the weight of the camera. So that had to be where I got the mis-information.

I think you are really going to see a huge difference between the 20D and the new 5D MarkII. More pixels for the details and the improved technology since the 20D will make you a very happy man. The smoother high ISO's are a real temptation for me. Keep me posted on your experience with the new camera. My friend Frank also is in line for it. I'm afraid that between the two of you, I might be able to move from 'want the camera' to 'need the camera.' hahaha.

billow said...

Billie, I love the photos you take in low light and hope you won't stop.

Bill O.

pitchertaker said...

I wish me a Merry Christmas,
I wish me a Merry Christmas,
and a New Canon 5D MK II !

P'taker (a.k.a Frank)

Alfredo said...

¡Dios mío! How beautiful you see in the dark. I can't see very well I guess or maybe I should blame my camera. Si, si, es mi cámara. ¡Me encantan!

Rooster said...

Great night shots. You are right, the light is great and you captured it beautifully in two difficult shots!