Andre's Blog
Perfection is when there is nothing left to take away
Choosing a new camera

It would be great if there was a pocket-size camera that could capture any possible scene in any possible light, but, just as there is no one type of a car that is equally good for off-road driving and Formula One racing, cameras come in a variety of types and shapes and sometimes it is quite daunting to pick one off the wall of cameras. This post offers some thoughts on how different types of cameras work out for various types of photography and, hopefully, will be useful for someone who took occasional pictures with a randomly-picked camera and would like to take photography to the next level either by learning more about the existing camera or getting a new one.

Cameras range from a cell phone camera, which is always with you, but is quite limiting in its capabilities, to a DSLR that can capture just about anything, but requires some skill to operate and some upper body strength to carry around. The rest of this post describes almost everything in this range and how each choice works for specific types of photography.

Airline Security Theater

I recently visited Newfoundland for a few days and traveled to Elliston, which is famous for their puffin viewing site and root cellars. One of the information signs next to a group of root cellars described how people of Elliston harvested partridge berry in the past and, inspired by this story, I bought a couple of jars of partridge berry jam at Nanny's Root Cellar Kitchen, as small a present for my friends back in Ontario.

When I was leaving Newfoundland, I didn't want to put glass jars in the checked-in baggage and took them with me to the cabin instead, without a smallest thought that a couple of jars of jam could present any trouble at the airport. How wrong I was.

Storage tale

When I just started taking digital pictures, I thought a 320GB hard drive coupled with an occasional backup will last me for years, which worked quite well for the first 5-10 MP digital cameras I owned, but as soon as I upgraded to an 18 MP DSLR and started shooting RAW images at a high frame rate, I quickly realized that I need to find a better storage solution.

Just as many others, I first set my eyes on a hardware RAID device and bought the Addonics RTM435R5 four-bay enclosure. I set it up as a RAID1 mirror with four 2TB drives, which gave me 4TB of mirrored storage for me and my family. I honestly thought that this is the last time I bought storage, but once again things didn't quite work out as well as I hoped.

Tamron 18-270 f6.3 PZD - impressions of a daily shooter

After going through two Sigma 18-250 lenses in two years, I decided to give a Tamron 18-270 f6.3 Di II VC PZD a try. Tamron promised improved AF performance with a new ultrasonic AF drive and offered a five year warranty, which was definitely something I could use after spending over $800 on a Sigma 18-250 designed to last only 50K shots. The new lens was also much smaller and lighter, which made it easier to carry it around, given that sometimes I spend hours with a camera in my hand.

Power Struggle with Samsung Galaxy S3

Right after I got a Samsung Galaxy S3, I came to a realization that I'm practically tethered to a USB cable - a freshly-charged battery would last at most 10-12 hours. I bought an external battery, just for my own peace of mind and as well to convince myself that I actually do have a mobile phone. However, the external battery and cables turned out to be a lot bulkier than I thought and I decided to figure out what's wrong with the phone.

M vs. Av and Tv

Manual exposure mode (M) is often perceived as a mode that only most advanced photographers can use. While it is true that manual mode will immediately highlight any exposure errors, which is why it is also often used in photography schools to teach how exposure works, manual mode also provides some advantages when compared to aperture priority (Av) and shutter priority (Tv) modes. Let's take a closer look.

Sigma 18-250mm f/6.3 - enjoy while it lasts

In October of 2009 I picked up a Sigma 18-250 f/6.3 for my 7D for walk-arounds, so I could shoot any scene without having to switch lenses. My choice was between Sigma 18-250 f/6.3 and Tamron 18-270 f/6.3. The latter didn't have an ultrasonic motor at the time and wasn't focusing as fast as I wanted, so I bought the Sigma 18-250 for about $800 CAD.

SSW, subway edition

It has been over a year since I released the last version of Stone Steps Webalizer. The main reason being total lack of time - the other projects I'm involved in keep me busy day-to-day. However, I was not just about to give up on SSW, so a about a month ago I started looking for ways to continue the development. After some thinking, it dawned on me that every day I'm wasting about 40 minutes on the subway and I began looking for a netbook.

Cross type AF points in EOS 7D

My good old film EOS SII has just a single auto-focus (AF) point and can only focus on vertical or diagonal lines because its AF point had only one bar of photosensitive elements. New SLR cameras have cross type AF points that have two lines of photosensitive elements forming a cross, which allows such cameras to focus on vertical or horizontal lines.

MSN Messenger crashes on Windows 7 x64

A couple of weeks ago MSN Messenger started to crash on start-up on my Windows 7 x64 box. The message indicated an invalid memory access violation in WLDcore.dll. After a bit of searching on the Internet, I found a couple of pages that pointed to this registry value being the problem (the number at the end will be your passport ID):