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DSLR Cameras to Creative Writing

Canon EOS M10 Review thumbnailToday I’m going to give you my opinion of the Canon EOS M10 mirrorless camera.

You probably know, in every DSLR camera there is a mirror that reflects what the lens is seeing directly into the view-finder. This means the camera has to be fairly thick to allow the mirror to move out of the way when you take a picture. This is why DSLR cameras are bulky compared to a point-and-shoots.

A DSLR camera however has a larger sensor, so you get high quality images. Camera manufactures know that some people want high quality from a small camera, so they developed what is known as a mirrorless camera, which has a large sensor and interchangeable lenses, and no bulky mirror.

The Canon EOS M10 is the latest offering to the Canon lineup. It came out last fall. Canon’s original mirrorless camera was the EOS M, followed by the M2 in some countries. The EOS M was their entry level and Canon needed to create a suitable replacement. They did come out with the EOS M3 which is a bit more sophisticated and a bit pricier – currently around $100 more.
OK, so what does the M10 have?

It is an 18 megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor. (smaller than the 24 megapix that the M3 uses), but still large enough to provide plenty of image detail giving you great pictures. This is assisted by the fact this camera has a 49 auto-focus points to grab a focal reference from.

The EOS M10 I looked at came with a 15-45mm lens which is a great starter lens ranging from a wide angle view to the acceptable width of what the human eye sees.

If you’re new to the interchangeable lens world then you are in for a treat, because this is the great bonus of these cameras, with the aid of Canon’s EF-M lens mount you can attach various other Canon lens. As your photography and videography expand you’ll have other options to choose from. Of course, new lenses do hit the pocket book but there’s no rush in acquiring them.
The M10 has popup flash for convenience, but no hot shoe – which would allow for a more powerful add-on flash – but hey- this is Canon’s entry level model. At least this one has the built-in flash whereas the original EOS-M did not.

The EOS M10 has a 3” touch screen monitor on the back. External controls are very minimal. Many of the settings are adjusted thru the monitor. Because most people are on their phones all day, everyone is very accustom to using touch-screens, so I found this a really comfortable feature compared to dials.

Canon has also provided the monitor with a hinge so that it came flip up to allow you to see yourself for any selfies you need to take.

From a video capture point of view, this camera shoots HD video in both 720 and 1080. Only the 720 mode allows capture at 60 frames per second, which is useful if you’re shooting quick moving action like sports or animals.

As someone who shoots a lot of video professionally the only downside I found in this camera was the absence of an external mic input. You can only use the built-in stereo mic. If I’m interviewing someone on camera I like an external microphone to be as close as possible to my subject. If you’re not one to do a lot of on-camera interviews then this shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

If you’re new to the world of using a larger sensor, interchangeable lens camera I think you would be very pleased with using this camera. Canon makes a good product and they try to create something for every type of user. I think the EOS M10 fills this niche nicely for them.

 


Underwater Videography with a DSLR CameraIn today’s video I want to talk about underwater videography. With modern DSLR cameras shooting photos and video underwater has never been easier.

If you do any diving at all, or even just snorkeling when at a resort, you know how exciting and exotic that underwater world is. Amazing sights are everywhere and if you are also a keen photographer the thought of bringing back images from this other world is enough to get the adrenalin pumping. The good news is that shooting video underwater and converting your DSLR into an underwater camera is as easy as putting it into a suitable housing.

We have already talked about choosing a DSLR camera for shooting video, so let’s say you have already invested in a suitable camera. Fortunately most of the popular models have suitable housings available, so there is a good chance you will be able to find one for your existing camera from major suppliers like Nauticam, Subal, Ikelite, or Aquatica, to name some big players. Prices for housings begin around $2,000 and move up from there.

If underwater photography is on your mind, it may even be better if you haven’t yet made that choice, since not all DSLR cameras have matching underwater housings available for them, so in a perfect world your first choice will be the housing, which will then guide your actual camera purchase.

One of the major limitations in shooting photos underwater is lighting. Strobe lights are available to for your underwater camera and the best lights use the slave TTL mode, which synchronizes the strobe to your camera’s built-in strobe to give automatic strobe exposure.

Adding on the cost of lighting equipment may not be necessary however, since with higher speed on many DSLR cameras today, perfect shots can be made with available light, especially in shallower water.

ISO is the camera setting that allows you to maximize the light you can use. Today’s better cameras can produce top-quality images even with ISO settings of 6,400. When you recall that 400 was a high rating with roll film, things have come a long way! As you increase the setting digital noise and blurring can become problems, but manufacturers have come a long way in increasing sensitivity without sacrificing clarity.

When shooting videos underwater higher-end cameras have several advantages. A full-frame camera like the Nikon D610 will allow you to shoot all the way up to ISO 6,400 as well as offering 24.3 megapixels and full 1080p at 30 frames a second video recording for underwater videography. Going up a step the Nikon D810 may be worth the extra money for its outstanding 36.3 megapixels and a top noise-free ISO of 12,800 making lights underwater basically redundant.

In Canon the 6D is considered to work better in low light because of its higher maximum ISO, but the loss of quality at very high settings makes the upper ranges unusable for practical purposes. At the higher end the Canon 5D Mark III will go head-to-head with the Nikon D810, so the choice is yours.

If you enjoy both diving and photography, shooting video under water is not just a logical next-step; it will open new worlds of enjoyment to you. With modern equipment the underwater photography you take will be of professional quality and with your underwater camera in your hand you will soon be producing videos that you would never have thought possible.

I hope you found this video helpful. Please let me know if you’ve ever done any underwater photography and if so which brand of housing you’ve tried.

 


 

Shallow Depth of Field thumbnailHi, this is Rick again with some photography tips on how to control shallow depth of field and turn it from a problem into a great technique for taking creative photographs.

If you have ever taken a picture of someone and found out their hands are in focus but their hands are blurry, you know what shallow depth of field is, even if you never knew what to call it. With simple point-and-shoot cameras you don’t have much if any control over it, but with a Canon or Olympus DSLR camera you can turn it into a feature of your photography repertoire.

When you take a picture through a lens in theory only one point is in focus. In practical terms a certain distance in front and behind that point is also in acceptable focus. Now that distance is called the depth of field. It really means that in front of, behind and around the subject of your picture everything is in focus but further behind or in front things are not.

Normally the further away from your camera the subject is, the greater the depth of field. So when taking landscapes or buildings you may not notice it, but when you move in to take a close-up of a face or a flower, you may find things around it come out blurry and if you haven’t focused carefully on your subject you won’t get a good picture at all.

The other thing that affects depth of field is the lens aperture. This is the size of the opening for light created by the diaphragm inside the camera. Photographers call the different settings the ‘f-stop’. If you look at your DSLR camera aperture settings you will see numbers like f/2.8, f/5.6, f/11or f/22. The smaller the number, the bigger the opening in the diaphragm and the smaller the depth of field will be. It’s pretty easy to remember –“smaller aperture number equals smaller depth of field”. When your DSLR camera is set for ‘auto’ and the light levels are low it will choose a smaller aperture number to let in more light so the shutter-speed can be high enough to prevent blurring. This can cause problems for you with close-ups in low-light, or in higher light give your picture a deep depth of field when a shallow one could be visually more exciting.
To control depth of field, you use the ‘aperture priority mode’ setting on your DSLR camera. Canon calls it ‘Av’ while Olympus and other cameras call it ‘A’. Now you can choose the f-stop and the camera will automatically set the shutter speed to give the correct exposure.

By choosing a smaller aperture number you can put a shallow depth of field into a portrait, making the face stand out more, or a person walking down the street show against a blurry background.
For close-up photography choose a larger aperture number and a greater depth of field, to get as much as possible of your subject in focus. The only problem you may encounter is blurring from the resulting slow shutter-speed, which is when a tripod can really come in handy.

If you have live-view capability on your DSLR camera you can see how the final picture will look by pressing the DoF Preview button. The LCD screen shows the final depth of field of your picture.
Try some different f-stop settings for the same picture and you’ll see how shallow depth of field can give you better pictures and creative, professional photographs.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you use shallow depth of field as a creative tool or do you find it too gimmicky?