As from today I'm going to start a Video Diary. Its always something I've wanted to do and is intended for me to shoot more video and get better at it! What's always put me off is having to lug tripods around. Since I have problems carrying heavy gear around this would hardly help my back, but since the Sony A55 is useable hand held I should be able to do this more often.
This first one is from yesterday. It was sub-zero, -2 Celsius, with a strong windchill factor. Very cold and I had trouble getting my hands to work. I shot a few panoramas, of which more later, and a couple of bits of video. The following is a combination of (mainly) stills and video.
Firstly the EOSHD site is a very good one for those interested in DSLR and m4/3 video. The comparison between the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 60D at http://www.eoshd.com/content/459-First-look-Panasonic-GH2-versus-Canon-60D is fascinating. Two bits I particularly enjoyed.
"Sadly, it seems November 2010 is to be the month Canon lose the DSLR video image quality fight to Panasonic."
"It presents a particular dilemma for those recent buyers of the 550D, 7D or 60D and also for me. I don't want to cover only the GH2 on a site branded after the EOS but Canon is making the task a little difficult when their products are now so far behind."
See, its not just me!
PANORAMAS FROM THE SONY A55
I was asked if the sweep panorama function is good enough for "professional" use. The short and simple answer is yes. The stitching and perspective control is excellent and only falls down in the same way that other stitching software does. There is occasionally a need for some tweaking in Photoshop but mostly it does a good job.
The finished panorama result is a jpg. I imagine it would be very difficult if not impossible to produce a raw file from this.
You can choose between a wide setting (called normal) which produces a 43MB file and a super-wide setting (called wide) which produces a 65MB file. Whether you fill these preset shapes depends on how quickly and how far you move the camera. It does take practice and I won't claim to have worked it out fully yet.
It also does some trimming, removing any unused space, so I've found that I have to shoot wider. If I crop in tightly I loose both the top and bottom.
Aperture and shutter speed are automatic, so its advisable to select an ISO setting that will allow a narrow aperture and high shutter speed. In many cases after a first attempt I will make some adjustments, and shoot again.
The exposure is usually spot on. As soon as you press down the shutter button and hold it down the exposure and focus is locked, so its advisable to work out which part of the image has the correct focus and exposure for the whole thing.
Once I get really comfortable with this I will post again with more information.
It is great fun and very addictive! It does save me an awful lot of work. One of the reasons I'm always behind in my editing is the time taken stitching together panoramas. Obviously if I want to produce a very high resolution panorama (100+MB) I would shoot in the conventional way of taking multi-images and using Photomerge in Photoshop or PTGui, but for many panoramic uses, such as websites or top and bottom of page use these A55 panos are fine.
CAMERAS TO KEEP
I always have such good intentions, getting the cameras I own down to reasonable numbers. But then I look at them, and handle them and in the end can't bear to part with them. I had no problem with the Canons, I couldn't wait to get them packed and off to the Post Office, but the E-P2, X1 and GF1 are going to be a little more difficult to get out the door.
There must be a term for this. Cameraholic? Photo Equipment Rationalisation Challenged? I should probably start Camera Junkies Anonymous, where we can all sit around and share how we send our children to school with holes in their shoes because we have to have that f1.2 lens. And how we lie to everyone we know claiming that we really need that new camera, and yes we've sold the others to pay for it, when in reality we've just hidden them. I haven't quite got to the state of having stashes of cameras around the house, that I secretly get out and take a few shots with and then squirrel away again, but as a self-admitted pixelhead (thats the term I'm looking for!) I realise that my attitude to photographic gear and common sense are someway apart.
As yet I don't need to sell my family or their (or my) organs to buy identical sets of silver and black lenses to match my silver and black versions of the same camera so I don't really have a problem.
I can handle it.
Words - D
Images - D & A