Saturday, July 28, 2007

Checking out the Bells and Whistles

Saturday dawned bright, so I hit the trails above my house to try out the new Canon on some old subjects.

All the shots here were taken at maximum resolution, about 3264 x 2448 (giving 575 shots on a 2 gig card). Most I cut down to 750 x 562 in ACDSee, and saved at 75% compression. I didn't process any for brightness or color, but most of them have been cropped. For those of you interested in an in-depth look at the Canon Powershot S5 IS, there's a good review at Steve's Digicams, a great source for digital camera reviews.

I shot her from several angles. I'm still getting the hang of using the macro and super macro functions.

After all these years of having them in my backyard, sensitive plants still thrill me.

Plenty of people on the trails on a Saturday morning.

Note to self: get sun hood. Unfortunately you have to purchase needed accessories, like a case, sun hood, and other lenses, separately.

She turned out to be retired college english instructor, and walked with me mmuch of the way, chatting in English.

Like many Taiwan trails, this one follows a stream all the way up.

Taichung. The Canon does a good job with the white balance, handling the brighter parts of the picture well.

A bamboo shoot farmer pauses for a rest.

Steps. I hate steps.

This bug is about 2 - 2.5 meters from me. I shot it with 12X telephoto racked all the way out.

On the weekend trail 7 is a veritable thoroughfare in the morning.

Also done with the telephoto.

This sequence really shows the superiority of the next generation technology. I'm photographing a large spider in the center of the image (red circle). Although it is hard to find, the spider was actually picked up by the camera. The Olympus I owned could never find the spider against such a complex, multicolored background.

Here's a closeup of that same image. See the spider? It's 3 or 4 meters in front of the tree.

The camera easily finds the spider when I tinker with the settings. I was shooting through the viewfinder.

In this shot the spider has disappeared again, showing up as a slight blur against the tree (faint red circle, center). The Canon isn't perfect, but it is light-years ahead of the Olympus. One reason my spider shooting dropped off was that the Olympus could never find spiders in the forest.

Different angle, same spider. The Canon has no trouble seeing it.

Selling bamboo shoots by the side of the path.

A farmer sells produce by the side of the trail.

This is a closeup from a frame shot with the telephoto from at least 1.5- 2 meters away.

Original image from above.

A close-up of buildings in northern Taichung.

I set the camera on this uber-cool panorama function.

As you can see, it allows you to line up the panorama right in the camera. You can then use the stitching program provided by Canon to produce beautiful panoramas like the one below. Can't wait to learn how to fully exploit this function.

Here is a compression of the resulting panorama, not very clear. You can download the original, all 7.9 MB of it.

Even on weekdays there are always people around, especially retirees.

Vendors set up on weekends.

Sterotyped, but the camera does an excellent job.

No matter how I tricked out the Olympus, it could never skillfully manage these shots that offer a mix of light and dark areas.

Yodeling at the karaoke stand is just the ticket after a hard day of hiking.

The area is studded with lychee and longan orchards, all of whom have their own private apiaries for pollination. Here one of the orchard owners removes bee larva from racks he removed from the hives.

His hand was moving so fast I could barely see it.

The road goes ever on.

Another cool feature of this camera is the fold out, adjustable, LCD. This means no more awkward bending to get bugs -- just lower the camera and shoot.

This gorgeous picture was taken while the bug was actually swaying dramatically in the breeze. The camera had no trouble nailing it, and I had no trouble holding the camera still. It is easy to find a comfortable position when you can adjust the LCD instead of your body.

The one-touch macro means you can nail the bugs before they fly away.

Finally, he and I are homeward bound.

I'm no professional, so my own personal requirements for a digital prosumer camera were (1) at least a 35-400+mm telephoto macro lens; (2) up to 15 second manual shutter delay for night shooting; (3) fold out LCD; (4) great macro capability for bug shots; (5) strong white balance capabilities; (6) feels like a camera in your hand; and (7) standard ni-cad AA batteries instead of proprietary batteries. This camera satisfies all of these and then some. For those of you interesting in comparisons, Flickr has a very cool function that allows you to check out photographs by different cameras. Flickr also has a group for Canon S5 pics.


Anonymous said...

I know you are, but I'm enjoying your new camera too. The colors look great.

FarAway said...

I think Canon ought to offer you commission - your post makes me ready to go out and buy one myself!

Anonymous said...

I like that it has a shoe for a flash unit. It's a camera I'll consider, anyways.

Because right now, whenever I ask someone to take my picture with my point-and-shoot digital, I'm the ONLY guy in the shot with red-eye. (Providing shocking evidence to all and sundry that my demonic soul anxiously seeks escape from its mortal prison. LOL.)

On the other hand, whenever I hand somebody my film SLR, there's no red eye - but I never know what kind of crazy composition I'm going to wind up with.

Anyways, great shots, "Spider-man."

cfimages said...

I thought you had a DSLR.

Anyway, nice shots. Can the S5 shoot in RAW or only JPG?

MJ Klein said...

Michael, looks like you picked the right camera to suit your requirements perfectly. i know i speak for everyone when i say that we are looking forward to more interesting creature photos!

back in 2000, i recommended the Canon Powershot G2 (or G3, don't remember) to the company where i was consulting. that model also had the panarama setting which was useful as well as creative. these days i am using Nikon panorama software which works very well. you live in an area that is just begging to be panned!

Anonymous said...

You say you aren't a professional, but those are some great shots you took!

channing said...

The SX-IS series is an excellent mid-budget camera. You may enjoy the movie mode very much, too, as it records stereo sound from two microphones.

VGA resolution (probably even higher now) at 30fps makes this camera an excellent camcorder substitute.

somimi said...

What beautiful pictures! And the insect macro shots are just lovely. Oh I envy the macro!

I, too, echo previous comments of now wanting one of those Canon Powershots, and looking forward to more beautiful photos.

Michael Turton said...

cfimages: AFAIK it only shoots in JPEG but you have some control over the compression.

Thanks for all the great comments!