Saturday, July 07, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Sale

I recently acquired a video production business and have upgraded some of my own equipment, and now I need to get rid of some of the stuff that is clogging up my studio. Here's the list (which may change at any time). Please contact me if you are interested in seeing these things. I am planning to only sell locally, and I don't usually fall for Nigerian scams (in case you're tempted, Nigerian scammers).

On the other hand, if you're local, and you think something is priced too high but you are interested, make an offer. I need to make space in my studio so I'm motivated to get this stuff moving. PLEASE MAKE AN OFFER IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ANYTHING!

Canon 5D Mkii (body) with Loupe $1800 SOLD

Alien Bees B800 $250
Alien Bees B400 $200
2xCyberSync Units $75

Computer 1 (Former ZKPro Computer) $400 SOLD

Comptuer 2 (Former PeterRoise Photography Computer) $200 PRICE REDUCED

  • AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz Quad Core
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 1 TB HD (WD Black Caviar)
  • DVD Burner
  • Video Card
  • Windows Vista Home 64bit
  • ZT Case with glitchy card reader but some room for expansion

Computer 3 (Current PeterRoise Photography Notebook) $425
  • HP Pavilion DV4 1160us
  • Core i5 Processor
  • 500GB Hard Drive
  • 14in Monitor
  • Chicklet-style Keyboard
  • Windows 7
  • Finger-print reader

Kindle Fire $170

Monitors $100-$150 each.  I have up to 3 monitors that are 23inch LCD flat-screen monitors.  I’ll keep either 2-4 of the 5 monitors I own now, so I’m somewhat flexible on making deals with these. There are two Samsung monitors (matched but with a minor image issue) two Acers (very alike, but not matched) and an Envision which is old but actually pretty nice.

Miscelanous Gear:

  • Small-medium sized light-weight tripod $15 SOLD
  • Teleprompter $30
  • External 7inch Monitor (VariZoom) (SD) $50
  • Polycom ViewStation SOLD

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Super-zoom Love: Canon sx40hs

My first digital camera with manual controls was a Panasonic Lumix FZ20, and I loved it.  It had a 35mm-430mm F2.8 (35mm equivalent) lens with image stabilization and all that glass was "Leica" glass, YEAH!  Ok, so it probably wasn't the same as a Leica Vario Elmarit it was named after but it was sharp edge to edge, and it was fast, and it was a pretty awesome little camera. I used it a lot, and when I upgraded to a DSLR I missed many things about it, I really did. Which brings me to the point of this post.  This is my mini-review (with a subjective emphasis on why super-zooms are super-great) of my new Canon sx40hs.

So why do I want a super-zoom?  After all, I have a Canon 5DMkii, the dream of every photographer, and a Canon 60D the latest addition to the Canon Prosumer DSLR lineup.  I've also got an Android phone with a decent little camera in it.  What do I need a super-zoom camera for?  Here are the reasons that I wanted a superzoom:

1. The swiss army knife lens: all the focal lengths, small, light, and no lens changing.  This is the difference between getting the shot and not getting the shot in some cases. 
2. The huge depth of field: there are times when you don't want your band of focus to be a couple of millimeters thick.  How-to photos and videos benefit from having everything, or most everything in focus.  DSLR video is bokehlicious, but sometimes seeing stuff in context is better.  The bottom line on depth of field (focus) is that compact digital cameras and super-zooms in particular are different than DSLRs,  and their lens is just another and different tool for exploring the world.  Sometimes it is definitely not the right tool, other times it is the right tool.  This doesn't replace the DSLR it just augments it.
3. Video autofocus: right along with the depth of field above is the ability to auto-focus and zoom smoothly in video.  This helps you follow a story, or capture action, that can be a big challenge for a DSLR, especially without a full-blown shoulder rig. 
4. Mechanical shutter for high speed sync with flashes: the shutters in compact cameras are different than the curtain shutters used in DSLRs.  The DSLR curtain shutter has a limitation when synchronizing with strobes that the mechanical shutter doesn't.  My DSLR's sync up to about 1/200th of a second.  My new Canon sx40hs syncs up to 1250th of a second even when fired by radio remote.
5. Size matters: I have five kids and travelling light is a definite advantage in many circumstances.  The super-zoom is not small compared to pocket cameras, but it is very small compared to a DSLR kit with similar focal length lenses. 

So that's why I "needed" a super-zoom.   Now lets take a look at my new Canon sx40hs.  The sx40 is a really just an updated sx30.  Key features are a 35x optical zoom with a 35mm focal length equivalent of 24-840mm (just, wow), with image stabilization, of course.  It does that by having a tiny a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor.  The sensor in the sx40 is the new "backlit" sensor with the circuitry moved to the back of the sensor to make the sensor cleaner and more efficient. It has a tilty-flippy screen (thank you, digitalrev tv), a rather tiny EVF (electronic view finder), and a pretty decent set of controls.  This camera also has an outstanding video mode which, while lacking manual controls, does a great job auto-focusing, auto-exposing, and zooming in and out during video recording.  Canon's control systems are consistently good but not quite perfect, and this camera fits well into their general trend.  Let's look at some sample images to show what this camera is about.

Zoom Range
I wanted to show the zoom range inside.  Most example show you how your zoom range brings distant objects nearer, but zoom also has more compositional function of either giving context or isolating objects.  That is what I find most compelling about the zoom range of super zooms.



Why this matters, really:
The ability to compose images exactly the way you want without any focal length friction.  The chances are you have the focal length to do what you want to, with the flick of a zoom lever.

Wide angle for context:

Zoom to isolate and compose:

New Sensor and Image Stabilization
The sx40hs has the new CMOS sensor, and I think the high ISO performance is really quite good on this camera.  It is not a Canon DSLR, however, it does remind me quite a lot of the Lumix LX3 I used to own, and even a bit of the the Olympus EPL-1 I had for a while (that is in sensor performance, not senor size: Bokeh is much harder to get with the sx40 than the Olympus).

I am not presenting the super scientific review here so I combined my ISO and my Image Stabilization tests. All photos are hand-held. The 100% crops are listed below. The focal length on this about 300mm equivalent and is close to the minimum focus distance.  The image stabilization on this camera is about what I've seen in other image stabilization systems, and that is remarkable because of the increased focal length in this camera and the sx30.  And the image stabilization in video is really good as well--usable hand-held video at 840mm equivalent is real, and quite amazing.

ISO 100 at 1/5 second shutter

ISO 200 at 1/6 second shutter

ISO 400 at 1/20th second shutter

ISO 800 at 1/30th second shutter

ISO 1600 at 1/80th second shutter

ISO 3200 at 1/160th second shutter

White balance and color transitions:
I have not fully explored the white balance and the color controls in the sx40.  I'm used to working with RAW files where white balance is something I figure out afterwards.  The two images below show the difference between auto white balance and the custom white balance.

Compared to the 5D MKii
5D Mkii image using the AWB to compare to the sx40 image above (minimal RAW editing)

5D Mkii Portrait edited in ACR

These are the proofs from Missy Johnson's senior photo shoot.

sx40hs Portrait edited in ACR

The Canon sx40hs has everything necessary to renew my Super-zoom Love. A super-zoom is just another kind of camera, a different tool.  It is not a DSLR, and it isn't supposed to be.  The comparison photos are put in not to show how the sx40 can replace my 5D, but how it contrasts with my 5D, and why I really want to have both cameras, and want to shoot pictures with both cameras.

The contrasts are really the reasons I gave at the beginning for why I like super-zooms.  There are some weaknesses of the camera such as the data depth/tonal behaviors (especially in skin) and of course things like the lack of bokeh at most focal lengths is both a feature and a fault depending on what you are doing.  Like so many things, at the end of the day, you need to basically understand what you are going to do with this tool, and whether it fits your needs and your desires.

The bottom line is that these tools are really quite remarkable and I think that sometimes they get a bad rap as being merely cameras for "birding" enthusiasts.  They are certainly good for "birding" but the are for a lot more than that.  For proof I definitely commend much of the fine photographic work of Phil Douglis also in my "Resources" links at the side.

As far as I can tell the Canon sx40hs is the best camera in this category. And I definitely recommend it, and this category overall.  Give the super-zoom a try.  They are very fun little cameras, and really can do things that only "Supers" can.

Sample Images

Personal Video Samples

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Palouse Harvest

Just finished my favorite assignment so far this year.  The complete set of proofs are here:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Underwater (Rush 1)

This is a rather quick edit with a first take audio track, but overall I'm really quite happy with the result.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In the Surf

Got a DiCAPac WPS10 Waterproof Case

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photoshop Class 2011

Hey, Folks.

Joel Penney (fine art printer) and Peter Roise (photographer/me) are offering an intensive summer Photoshop class. There will be 6x2hour classes. The following is our general plan for now, but it may be subject to changes:

1. Tues July 5: Intro to Adobe Photoshop and family (Bridge and Camera Raw)
2. Thurs July 7: Basic tasks, basic concepts, and workflow
3. Tues July 12: Masking and masking techniques
4. Thurs July 14: Filters, selections, and brush tools
5. Tues July 19: Special functions (photomerge, HDR, video, etc.)
6. Thurs July 21 Cool stuff and miscellaneous extras

The class will cost $150 per student if you register before June 22nd and $200 after June 22nd. We do have limited spaces in the class. Also, it is strongly recommended that students have access to Photoshop; and it's even better if they have it on a laptop computer so we can do hands-on training in class. Classes will probably be held in our studio space in downtown Moscow, and probably from 7:30-10:30 pm.

If you have questions please call or email:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Test Post/What is this.

Can you tell what this is?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Photoshelter's Favorite Blog Posts of 2010:

Some real gems in the mix. Haven't had a chance to check them all out myself yet.