Just a quick message here to let you know that I do have some fairly incredible photos of the Mars Volta (from the Mars Volta gig) to post when I get a chance. I also should have some more Neil young ones too… I just have to get around to tweaking them slightly (in the case of Neil Young) and uploading them (in the case of TMV). In the latter case I used my old Kodak P&S cam to get some pictures without looking like press/carrying around a bulky camera, so as a result the pics probably did suffer loads.
I did however did just suddenly realise how amazing RAW is for shooting images in potentially crap conditions. It’s probably just as excellent in normal more optimal conditions, but I find it really does excel when the light’s pretty low and faces are washed out with flashes and bright lights. It’s probably prettty silly admitting this now – considering I’ve had the camera for 2 and a bit years and it’s never really occured to me to try RAW. The huge file size and slower relative speed probably hindered me trying it. But now that I’ve got a 8gb fast card (from only the best CF Card manufacturer – Lexar) I pushed the boat out and gave it a go! It takes longer to write to the card (read: the red button lights up for longer) but it didn’t seem to hinder my photo taking pace too much (large (enough) buffer size?), which really shows how excellently well made my EOS 350d is. You can read all about how amazing RAW is on various places on the internet, so I won’t be going in to them now – I’ll only mention that some photos that I would have normally discarded due to the overly white light flooding the faces of the subjects were ‘repaired’ to fix this issue almost entirely. Believe me, I was surprised when playing about with the RAW sliders in Aperture when the pic actually began to look good!
This also brings me onto a few finer points about the Canon 350d that I have. While rather old (almost 3 years since released) in a quickly aging digital camera market, it performs excellently. It has had numerous revisions (350d -> 400d -> 450d) which has improved upon/changed one aspect or another of its design/features, but they haven’t necessarily been that great. One issue that I maybe slightly have is that the LCD screen is too small at only 1.8?. While it is entirely practical still for reviewing photos – it would be nice if it was larger (only if it consumed the same or less battery life). There is the LCD status screen (backlit too) which is excellent for sorting out shutter speeds and settings etc. which has been removed from the revisions in place of a larger single LCD that displays the info (albeit not all the time and using more battery life?). I haven’t used the current single lcd system, so I’m really unsure as to it’s advantages at the mo, then again I’m happy with what I have. Another quibble is the APS-C sensor size (or whatever it’s called) where there happens to be a 1.6x crop/zoom on the FoV. This is sorted in larger more expensive lines – but currently it annoys me when using a 17mm fisheye!
The new models also have a feature where the sensor can be cleaned/dust shaken off? – whether this is completely necessary and useful I’m not sure, but it sure sounds fancy! Then again if you do go for one of the newer revisions, then you’d have more meagapixels thus a larger pixel density on the same size CMOS sensor, thus possibly increasing noise in the image (but also allowing larger images to be printed). I saw a rather good argument about it somewhere, but basically it stated that more pixels doesn’t necessarily equal better quality! So in a sense, I think that 8 MP is probably good enough for the camera I have and the photos that I take.
Another small thing to point out – I just noticed this and it well, made me happy, is that when the card is still writing to the camera and you switch the camera off (whether accidental or not) the images continue to be written to the card. This is probably (like RAW) a standard feature of DSLRs, but I just realised how great it is! Other small things continue to amaze me – and I’ll try and point them out in due course! On a sad note unfortunately, I lost the rubber eyepiece hood thingummy while away in Europe and while it doesn’t really make any difference to the functionality of the camera, it looks a bit silly and costs too much to warrant replacing!