Friday, December 31, 2010

Mysteries of the world

On the last night of the year 2010 I will diverge a bit from the barrage of camera-talk in favour of something completely different.

Despite having seen people around me get together and break up countless times, I still can not understand the specifics of how two people end up "dating". I keep imagining eomtional scenes from teen movies or Japanese drama-series where one character reveals their true feelings while walking home, sharing an umbrella, even though I know it probably isn't anywhere like that in real life. At what point do people decide to get together? What is the chain of events that usually precede it? These are things I have yet to discover, since it is something that I guess must be experienced personally.

Reality check.

But I guess that in the end, it doesn't really matter. Even though it is the source of most of my daily worries, it amount to such an insignificant sum on the scale of wordly troubles. I have my family, I have my health, I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and lots of toys to play with. But even knowing this, I still can't help but worry about things that in the end won't matter.

It seems like people have a certain amount of worries that they need to allocate in their lives. If it's not the large stuff, cancer, death, homelessness, it's the small stuff, like which brand-name handbag to buy or which camera has the better high-ISO performance.

For 2011, I would wish for myself to let that which does not matter, truly slide.

No fear. No distractions.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

40D

It occurred to me that I have barely spoken about one of the biggest purchases I've made, even though I used it in the Trigun photoshoot, namely the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM.

First impression was that it was large. I had only used the plastic 18-55 before, and the difference in size and weight was substantial. It felt like a serious piece of gear. Of course I also looked at Canon's equivalent offering, the 17-55 f/2.8, but decided to pass on it because of price and size. For the money saved I could buy other gear (which I eventually ended up doing), and I was also more attracted to the shorter and thicker size of the Sigma.

Initial tests were good, and I was very satisfied with the image quality I got from the photoshoot, but I did notice a couple of issues, mostly dealing with low-light auto-focus (the trouble of most cameras) and wide-angle focus. Using it on the 1000D I would often find I'd get better results if I first zoomed in to focus, then zoomed out to wide-angle for the shot. A workaround, but not anything that would fly in the long run. Not really sure if the problem was the lens or the body, I prepared myself mentally to send the lens back.

On my way back from work the other day I decided to stop by the camera-store, since they get in used stuff sometimes that they sell on. Asking what they had, they guy brought out a 40D, same model I had looked at earlier but missed, as someone else got it before me. After some deliberation I went back today and got it.

And I must say the Sigma feels like a completely new lens when mounted on the 40D. On the 1000D it would often hunt for focus, and was just about on par with the 18-55 for speed, but on the 40D it feels a lot faster and more accurate. (Perhaps the Sigma is made with f/2.8 cross-type sensors in mind rather than the slower f/5.6 of the 1000D.)

And beyond the improved AF of the 40D there is also the possibility of exchanging the focus screen to get more accurate manual focus, thereby eliminating the dependance on automatic focus!

Update: just tried the Sigma on a friend's 450D, focus was good. Could it be that it doesn't work well with the 1000D AF sensor?