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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Kit

With a little over 3 months into the sport and still exploring, I can boast of the following in my Kit:
Canon EOS 500D : 15.1 Megapixels
Kit Lens : Canon 18-55 mm IS (Image Stabilizer) lens (standard kit lens)
• Tamron 70-300 mm Telephoto lens with 1:2 Macro capabilities between 180-300 mm
• Hoya 58 mm UV Pro-1 filter for my 18-55
• Slik F630 Tripod support

Canon EOS 500D + Canon 18-55 mm IS Lens
An upper-entry-level camera featuring a 15.1 MP APS-C CMOS sensor with 1080p HD video recording at 20fps. It also offers a 3.0 inch LCD with 920,000 dot resolution and an ISO sensitivity range expandable up to 12800 equivalents. It includes a faster Digic 4 processor offering better noise reduction at higher ISO's and continuous shooting speeds of up to 3.4 fps delivering 170 large JPEG images in a single burst.
Key Features:

  1. 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor : The new EOS 500D features a 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor – ideal for large detailed prints or enormous cropping possibilities. For shooting in near-dark conditions, the EOS 500D offers a high ISO sensitivity up to 3200 which is expandable to 12800, giving photographers the power to shoot in the dimmest light conditions.

  2. Full HD : The EOS 500D heralds a new way for photography enthusiasts to capture their world. It pairs outstanding still image capture with Full HD 1080P video recording.

  3. Every detail revealed : Exacting image preview and review is provided by a 3.0” Clear View LCD screen featuring a 920,000 dot count – for ultra-detailed image review, accurate focus checks, and clear access to the EOS menu system. As well as aiding shooting from awkward angles, Live View mode includes contrast based and Face Detection AF options. Ideal for newcomers to digital SLR photography, these allow compact-camera style auto focus, with a real-time image displayed on the LCD.

  4. Fast processing, fast focusing : Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor drives continuous shooting speeds of up to 3.4 fps in bursts of up to 170 JPEG images. Using Canon’s wide area AF system – which features 9 individual sensors, including a central cross type point with a high precision sensor for f/2.8 or faster lenses– makes capturing split-second action sequences possible.

  5. DIGIC 4 works in conjunction with the CMOS sensor to deliver exceptional noise reduction and 14-bit image processing for smooth gradation of tones and natural-looking colors. DIGIC 4 also enables the ultra-fast start-up times and near-instant image review after shooting that photographers demand.

  6. A world-class shooting experience : Compact, lightweight, Large & bright viewfinder, Intuitive EOS menu system

  7. The EOS Integrated Cleaning System reduces, repels and removes unwanted dust from the sensor. Stubborn particles can be easily removed in post-production by using Dust Delete Data – which can be added to the image in-camera – and Canon’s included Digital Photo Professional software.

  8. Compatibility : with the full range of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites
Features at a glance
1. 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
2. Full HD movie recording with HDMI connection for viewing and playback on an HDTV
3. ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 12800)
4. 3.4 frames per second continuous shooting
5. Max. 170 large JPEG images in a single burst
6. 3.0” ClearView LCD with Live View mode
7. 9-point wide area AF with cross type centre point
8. High speed DIGIC 4 performance and superb image quality
9. EOS Integrated Cleaning System
10. Full compatibility with Canon EF and EF-S lenses and EX-series Speedlites

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

Equipped with an Image Stabilizer, the Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens makes it easy to capture the far-off action of fast-paced sports or zoom in for an intimate portrait with a blurred background. The lens offer such features as fluorite and Super UD-glass elements that largely eliminate secondary spectrum; a floating system that ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths; two Image Stabilizer modes; and compatibility with extenders 1.4x II and 2x II. The lens carries a 2-year warranty.

• Focal length: 100-400mm

• Maximum aperture: 1:4.5-5.6

• Lens construction: 17 elements in 14 groups

• Diagonal angle of view: 24 to 6 degrees

• Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM

• Closest focusing distance: 5.9 feet

• Zoom system: Linear extension type

• Filter size: 77mm

• Dimensions: 3.6 inches in diameter, 7.4 inches long

• Weight: 1.38 KGs

Reviews of this lens on the web are mixed with some showing soft results, particularly at 400mm. This is likely due to wide variations in sample lenses. I decided to take a chance and seem to have gotten lucky. My copy (from Canon, Delhi) produces fantastically crisp and contrasty images on my D500 at ALL focal lengths from 100 to 400. It's almost magical. Even wide-open at 400mm this lens is quite sharp. The focus is swift and true and the IS on this lens really works (and does not hum like that on the 70-200 f2.8IS) allowing handheld shots at 1/100 sec at 400mm. It may be that Canon has quietly improved this lens since recent reviews seem to be much more positive than those from a few years ago. Some folks don't like the push-pull zoom but it works great for me and allows very fast composition of scenes. The lens is about the same size as the 70-200 f2.8 IS but seems lighter and better balanced. Given the razor sharpness of its images and 100-400mm range, this seems like the perfect single lens solution for nature and bird photography. However, it is big and white so it may not be the best for candid people photography.

Tamron 70-300 mm Telephoto lens with 1:2 Macro capabilities between 180-300 mm

Got this lens 3 weeks back & I think this is the most affordable 70-300 telephoto lens you can get! There are many reviews and tests for its sigma equivalent, but I found Tamron’s features and its reviews most promising. Well, this is my first telephoto reaching 300 mm and I will be giving it my best shot. Most of the recent images posted are through the Tamron.

My Observations on the Tamron

Image quality:

I found that the images are quite acceptable at f5.6 at 300mm! When you stop the lens down to f8 and more, images are quite sharp, even at 300mm. The images that were un-sharp were actually because of the camera shake – This lens does not have a IS feature.

Now, there is an appalling CA (Chromatic Aberration) at high contrast below f8. But when you stop the lens down, CA goes away. And again, the CA shows only in the high contrast edges, so I feel it's really not such a big problem.

Macro mode:

Operating the macro switch could be tricky initially, but not if you read the lens markers & the manual carefully.

It's simple - You can switch to the Macro mode only when the lens is in the zoom range from 180 to 300mm. This range is clearly marked on the zoom ring (in golden). Also, while switching it back to normal mode, the focusing ring must be set beyond the macro focusing range, again clearly marked in golden.


The focusing is slightly noisy and relatively slow compared to the Canon. But I was able to get the right focus in a relatively low light. In good sunlight / lighting locking focus is no problem.


It's a remarkable great lens for the price especially for beginners & photography enthusiasts (like me). Really good value for money and I am extremely pleased with its performance, handling and image results. The lens needs good light and if you use the rule of thumb for the shutter speed, I think it gives very good results.

Slik F630 Tripod support

The SLIK F630 tripod is one of the most economical and lightweight tripods offered under the F series by SLIK for the casual photographer.
Capable of holding lightweight digital SLR camera the F630 has a smooth 3-way moving pan head that gives as good performance when recording video as it does holding the a camera for still shots.
The F630 has a lockable mid-level spreader to keep all legs even at the same angle.


• Compact and lightweight, just 22 in. long when closed
• 3-way pan head with long panhandle for sure camera control
• Rack and pinion geared center column with handle for controlled elevation of the camera
• Easy to attach quick release plate makes for easy mounting and dismounting of the camera

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