Playin’ with the Canon G12

This weekend I just purchased my new Canon G12. What a delightful camera. It’s robust, effective and just small enough to fit in a pocket (A big pocket)

I’ve been re-inspired to start taking photographs again since I have a good pocket camera again. YAY! I’m also playing around with some different techniques on filtering. Just an attempt at some different styles and ideas that I’ve been staying away from such as B&W and Lomography.

Here be some shots me hardies!

Wal Mart
The Welder's Flare
Down Whitemud Drive from 122St

There we have it folks

Minolta MD Lens test, 200mm Rokkor

A while back I purchased a 200mm f4. Rokkor lens off EBay for pretty cheap, like 40 bucks total. Since then, I haven’t really been taking any photos and thus haven’t been able to get a good feel for the lens. Tonight I decided to brave the cold and take some night shots with the camera, nothing special, just some far away downtown shots with lights incident to the lens.


Sony A300 with 200mm Rokkor lens attached
Sony A300 with 200mm Rokkor lens attached


As for the build of this lens, it’s all metal, including the built-in hood that slides nicely into place with a little satisfying click. The focus is smooth and the mechanics of it are pleasant. Even the grip is nice with its typical waffle pattern bezel. Very nice lens. However, reflections are a true pain on this lens, much like the other Rokkor lenses. I take night shots to test the lenses ever since I discovered the horrible properties of the Star-D 135mm f2.8 lens. This lens is not much different with internal reflection galore. Granted though, I haven’t really put this lens through its paces as yet and these two scant images are hardly a definitive test. Anyways, here are two of the shots I felt could grade the camera decently.

Night Shot with 200mm Rokkor, Level corrected
Night Shot with 200mm Rokkor, Level corrected

Tree shot with 200mm Rokkor Lens
Tree shot with 200mm Rokkor Lens

As you can see with the downtown image, it’s level corrected, the wind was so strong that long exposures tended to make the focus look poor, when in fact it was shaking. The tree image is also level corrected, just to give it more contrast, I did not, however, sharpen the image.

Anyways, these are obviously poor tests but can serve as a bit of a guideline as to what to expect from these lenses. Another issue is the MD adapter, I’m not entirely sure that either adapter that I have access to is appropriate for these lenses. I’ll do more tests later.

Minolta MD, AF prime lens review

Well, after spending a bit of time collecting prime lenses, I’ve decide to give them a brief review of sorts. The only way that can be objectively done is with a photographic test. Not being one for planning things out, I oped to use an old magazine and a couple of gameboy games as the test, this at least will be less a test of my focusing abilities and more a test of the clarity of the optics at a specified distance. So with no further ado, let’s introduce the lenses.

My Five Primes
My Five Primes

All of these lenses were purchased off EBay. Some of them were cheap, the AF’s however were not so cheap. So, Let’s introduce each lens shall we?

Minolta 28mm F2.8 AF Lens:

This lens thus far has been a pretty good lens. It’s dead sharp and it’s nice and stout.  It has a minimum F of 2.8 and maximum of 22.

And here are the shots taken from the lens. Keep in mind that these are directly from the camera and may look a tad dark. Click on the links to see the full size image, usually your browser will allow switching between sizes.

  1. Minolta AF 28mm Lens at F2.8
  2. Minolta AF 28mm Lens at F8
  3. Minolta AF 28mm Lens at F22

Looking at the pictures, they’re pretty sharp. My own personal opinion is that there is some blurring around the text but color rendition is pretty good.

Minolta 50mm F1.7 AF Lens:

This lens is really nice for portraiture and it has nice bokeh. I find that on my camera, auto-focus tends to focus behind the subject at F1.7.

Here are the test images.

  1. Minolta AF 50mm at F1.7
  2. Minolta AF 50mm at F8
  3. Minolta AF 50mm at F22

On this lens it’s pretty obvious that at F8 it becomes pretty clear  but at F1.7 and F22 there is some blur at the edges of the text. Again, the color rendition is pretty good and the clarity is a bit better than the 28mm AF lens. Something to take note of I guess.

Minolta 28mm F2.8 MD Lens

Something to note on all of these MD lenses is the fact that I used an adapter to facilitate mounting them on the camera. Something else to note is that they’re manual focus lenses and the focus is limited by my own vision, which is good, but not perfect. I tried to focus them via trial and error, however, I may not have gotten everything in focus at the lowest F number.

Here is the 28mm Minolta MD lens,. It feels really nice to focus and is of entirely metal build. It feels solid. Looking at it, it is almost entirely the same as the later model AF lens, certainly the majority of the design was retained for the later lens.

Here are the test images, remember, the color/focus may be different due to the adapter.

  1. Minolta MD 28mm at F2.8
  2. Minolta MD 28mm at F8
  3. Minolta MD 28mm at F22

Based on what I can see, there is little difference between the MD and the AF versions of the lenses. I suspect that my focus was folly in the F2.8 test, though I got it as close as I could over several exposures. There was slightly more chromatic aberration in the F22 test in the MD Lens as well. All in all,  a comparitive lens if you like manual focus.

Minolta 50mm Rokkor F1.4 Lens

I have to say, I really like the look of this lens. The overall appearance of it looks as though it’s of high quality. Again, quality may be skewed due to the adapter. It’s also interesting to note that its maximum aperture is F16, lower than the other lenses.

Here are the test images.

  1. Minolta Rokkor 50mm at F1.4
  2. Minolta Rokkor 50mm at F8
  3. Minolta Rokkor 50mm at F16

I have to say, with this lens at F1.4, everything seems washed out to a large degree however at F8 it appears as though it is somewhat sharper than its AF cousin despite the fact that the exposure is a tad darker. Even at F22 Vs. F16, the Rokkor appears a tad bit clearer, again, it could be the lower exposure time.

Star-D 135mm F2.8 Lens

I bought this lens because I wanted to try a manual focus lens and because it was cheap. Frankly, it’s a piece of shit. Taking a picture in any sort of light washed out the colors and any sort of night photography (with lights) results in halos and U.F.O like apparitions all through the image, though it does have the benefit of being fast. Though it is a prime lens that I own and as such, I figured it’d be worth testing.

Here are the test images.

  1. Star-D 135mm at F2.8
  2. Star-D 135mm at F8
  3. Star-D 135mm at F22

Clearly, this lens is inferior to the other lenses. While it is somewhat clear at F8, the contrast is lower than the other lenses. It’s not a bad lens of there is no other option but I’m going to try and find an AF verison.

Conclusion

Well, I can’t really draw too many conclusions from the images provided. I would need to take pictures in the real world and take images of more three dimensional objects in order to get a better idea of their true qualities. Truly, this is nothing more than a cursory test.

Please, if you have a comment to make, please do so

Also, here is the gallery of images used, for reference:

Playing with the Gallery

Well, I’ve been thinking about deleting the gallery that’s been installed since I started this site. So far I haven’t even paid any attention to it since it recieves very little traffic and frankly, I don’t pay any attention to it.

I was thinking about deleting it… Instead, I’ve decided it’d be better to revive it, keep all the images that are on there and use it as a backup for all of my raw images. I’ll keep anything sacred close to the chest but other than that, I’m gonna make it public.

So, http://smackaay.com/gallery/

I’m going to start uploading sets of images, slowly but surely, as to avoid bandwidth charges!

Minolta MD lens test – Star-D 135mm F2.8

I purchased a lens off Ebay to test out. It was fairly cheap, like $25 all told and it looks great and feels great in the hands. I’ve taken a few test shots with the lens and I’ll post them here if anyone is interested in seeing what this older 3rd party lens is/was capable of.

Here’s the lens in question.

135mm F2.8 Star-D Minolta MD lens (click to enlarge)
135mm F2.8 Star-D Minolta MD lens (click to enlarge)

Here are some shots from the lens. I’m not going to edit them in any way. This is how they came off the camera. Sorry ’bout the extra shot of the lens, the gallery doesn’t allow removing images, weird.

So far it’s a really nice feeling lens. The aperature ring opens and closes smoothly and the focus bezel moves like a dream. It’s gonna take some getting used to, but I don’t mind manual focus too much.

Battle of the cameras

Over the past several months, I’ve been dabbling in photography. Over this time I’ve purchased 3 cameras, those being a Nikon P5000, Nikon 40X and a Canon Powershot G9. I figure I have some good experience with these cameras now and I’ve decided to write a quick review. Also in the review will be the HP Photosmart 735 since I took quite a few pictures with this older camera as well.

So, Here’s the review.

HP Photosmart 735

HPPhoto

Max Resolution : 2080 x 1542

Zoom : 38mm to 114mm

Price: Paid $200 in 2003, $20 to $30 on Ebay now.

ISO: 100 – 400 , usually in auto mode.

Pictures Taken: Probably 1800 or so, perhaps more.

This was the first digital camera that Cori and I owned. While, for the time, it seemed adequate, it was a very slow camera and gobbled batteries like nobody’s business. It wouldn’t catch action indoors without a flash and it’s picture to picture time is abysmal (sometimes 5 seconds it seems). I recently tried to give the camera to the boy butthe camera doesn’t work well enough, even for him since the batteries die within a few shots, I suspect this is a problem with the camera as it ages for some reason since this seems to be a common complaint.

For a while I would take it on my bicycle rides with me in order to take pictures of the general area. It seemed to work fine for that.

Good things

  • Decent for it’s time
  • Has pretty good optics
  • Had an OK startup time
  • Good image quality

Bad things

  • Poor write times for images resulting in VERY slow picture to picture times
  • Saturation is always at full, resulting in colorful yet strange looking images
  • LOUSY battery life
  • Very little camera control (which is to be expected for a camera of this type)

Nikon P5000

Nikonp5000

Max Resolution : 3648 x 2736

Zoom : 36mm to 126mm

Price: Paid $380 in July 2007

ISO: 64-1600 (3200 in 5MP mode)

Pictures Taken: 8900.Many were auto-bracketed though.

This was my first camera that I purchased for myself. Seeing it in the store, it didn’t seem that impressive but Cori had told me she really liked this camera, thus I bought it because if she liked it, it was probably pretty good. It was an excellent choice.

This camera has all the features necessary for a budding photographer. The compact shape and profile with some of the power and control of an SLR. This camera rode with me through the city and accompanied me to British Columbia. It has worked reliably in most conditions and is truly a great camera for it’s size and price.

Good things

  • Excellent range of control for ISO
  • Aperature, Shutter, manual and program control
  • Good ranges for ISO, especially the 64 ISO
  • Compact design with great grips
  • Neckstrap style (no yucky wrist strip)
  • Ability to set your own white balance
  • Hotshoe, though it looks silly with a big flash on top of a little camera
  • Auto-bracketing!
  • Battery life is pretty good (about 250 shots)

Bad Things

  • Above 200 in darker areas is really grainy
  • Above 400 in light areas is really grainy
  • Write times can be slow, so picture to picture time can be a hassle
  • Focus can be slow, especially in lower contrast areas.
  • Battery compartment cover is flimsy

Nikon D40X

NikonD40x

Max Resolution : 3872 x 2592
Zoom : SLR, N/A

Price: Paid $899

ISO: 100-1600

Pictures Taken: 5000

After whetting my appetite for photography, I decided to buy a DSLR. Being a cheapskate, I bought the cheapest one available which was the D40X. While I enjoy this camera and it has it’s uses, I find it’s too large and bulky for my ‘style’ of photography. I usually only bring this to places where I know I’ll be taking photos.

All in all, it’s not a bad camera for the price despite the fact that it has no internal focus motor or auto-bracketing.

Good Things

  • Very snappy. Very little noticeable lag time from shot to shot except in continuous shot mode.
  • Light. It’s much lighter than even the D80, probably due to the lack of a focus motor
  • Nice screen. The screen is bright and informative.
  • Controls are well laid out.
  • Good image quality (in comparison to the compacts)
  • RAW mode

Bad Things

  • No top LCD
  • No auto-bracketing 🙁
  • No focus motor, you need to buy specially designed lenses with the motor in the lens.
  • Controls are sparse

Canon Powershot G9

Canon G9

Max Resolution : 4000 x 3000

Zoom : 35mm to 210mm

Price: Paid $600

ISO: 80-1600

Pictures Taken: 1100
This is truly a beautiful camera for those who like compact point & shoots. It’s rugged, it has good zoom and for the short while I’ve been taking photos with it, it’s been great thus far. It’s snappy and a pleasure to use.

Good things

  • Good zoom range
  • Rugged build, metal body
  • Large 3″ Screen
  • Great controls
  • ISO dial on the top
  • Manual focus!
  • hotshoe
  • RAW mode
  • Snappy shooting (in comparison to the P5000)
  • Good optics

Bad Things

  • Noise reduction is poor
  • Can be heavy
  • Lens shank visible through viewfinder
  • Shutter button kind of awkward

There you have it,  a quick review on all of the cameras I’ve used or am using.

Added more pictures to the gallery.

    In a fit of non-laziness I decided to update the gallery. I’ve added a bunch of pictures from our little excursion to Twin Lakes and area. I’ve also enabled comments for the pictures as well as rating. Also, some of the pictures have been re-arranged Hopefully my father will be kind enough to post more of his pictures in the gallery.
Anyways, head over to the gallery if you like.