Posts Tagged Canon Digital Rebel T2i

Infrared Remote for Canon EOS 550D

I wanted a remote control for my Canon EOS 550D/Digital Rebel T2i – I did not even think about any alternative but bought the original Canon RC-5. (Price €20 in Sweden) That is an infrared remote with just one button – nothing more! Well it has a hole to tie a string or lanyard to. It is powered by a small button cell CR2032 – that lasts several years with “normal” use. It does have a small “arrow” that indicates where the infrared LED is situated – or what direction you should point to the camera. Note! This remote works with a number of Canon DSLR cameras. There is also a newer model for the same price, the RC-6, that allows you to select with or without 2 second delay – so it is a better buy!

Super simple to use! Just set the camera up for self-timer/remote and you are ready to go! You press the button on the remote and the camera responds with lighting up the yellow/amber light near the shutter release button. If you have the beep sound activated it will also emit a series of short beeps. Two seconds after you pressed the button on the remote the camera will take the picture. 

In more detail I also noted that the focus and exposure measurement is done when you press the button and then the camera waits for two seconds before it releases the shutter. That is the camera uses the “one shot”-mode. This is probably the natural way of doing it – but be aware of this as things might change during the two seconds… Good things: If you are in the picture you will have time to hide the remote! 😉 Bad things: Clouds might appear… the sun might set … 😉

One more thing to be aware of is that the camera will only react to the IR-remote as long as it is “On” – quite naturally perhaps!? But it means that you will have to have the Auto Power Off set to a suitable time 30 secs-15 min or “always on”. This also means that the camera will draw power as it waits – I do not know how long it can be left “on” before the battery runs out – probably several hours at least but probably not days! You can lower the power consumption by switching of the display!

The infrared sensor is placed near the top of the grip – just below the shutter release button. The camera will react up to just over 6 meters from the camera – at least indoors in a “cosy” lit room (that is very soft and low light). It also has a very wide sensor angle – amazingly close to 90 degrees(!) to the right of the camera – but then at a max distance of about 2 meters. On the left hand side it depends on how much the lens and other parts of the camera is blocking the view to the sensor. The red area in the illustration marks the rough working area – but it is not to scale.

This is quite a handy little device – very good also for the looong timed night shots – use the remote to avoid camera shake! It is also so small and light that it is easy to carry around with you.

Moreover it can be used to start and stop the movie recording with! Very handy! But then the recording starts immediately – without the two second delay!

Next will be a post about another remote I have – a wireless radio-remote – for the same price as the RC-5.

/Photoman

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Sample Photos High ISO Samsung WB2000

All of these samples are full size and have not been edited in any way – except changing the filenames! I have taken a series of pictures of the same motif with two different cameras: Samsung WB2000 with Canon EOS 550D/Canon Digital Rebel T2i as comparison. I know it is VERY unfair because of sensor size, price … etc but at least there is something that can be used as a sort of “gold” reference. A compact would have to work VERY hard to surpass a decent DSLR as the ISO goes up and the light goes down! Give me sun and the pictures are very good from all cameras! I also threw in two samples from an OLD (4-5 years) Canon Ixus 750 (7 Mpix – that does not go any higher than max ISO 400!).

As all three cameras has different wide angles so I zoomed the Samsung and EOS to roughly the same focal length as the widest angle of the Ixus which was 37 mm. (550D was  used with the kit lens.) The day was cloudy with no visible variation in lighting during the test shots.

All cameras was set similarly: AWB, all other settings to normal. Note that the sharpening on 550D is normally set for “soft” from Canon – I did not change that!

Comparing camera pictures is SOO difficult – all cameras should really be set so that YOU think it gives the best possible result – not just left with what the maker thought was the best… well... Hands up all those that have left the setting at what it was out of the box! 😉 Taking into account that the three cameras all has different resolution is soo tricky – you will have to scale and then the sharpness changes…. but it does all the time that you look att pictures on a screen – very few 18 MPixel screens exist! This is intended to compare the noise increase at higher ISO. Printing the pictures on paper and then comparing them is, I guess, the most fair method…

 ISO 100 – included as base reference

Click on the pictures to see them full size!

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

  

  

 

 

 

Canon Ixus 750 – the old-timer

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 400

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Canon Ixus 750 – the old-timer

This is the last one – the Ixus does not go any higher!

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 800

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 1600

 

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 3200

Canon EOS 550D – The reference 

 

 

 

 

Samsung WB2000

 

 

 

 

 

Below I have added 100% crops of small parts of some of the pictures above. Note that they are all of roughly the same area but they still have different sizes – that is because the cameras have different number of pixels. The Canon have 5184 x 3456 (18 MPix) and the Samsung 3072 x 2304 (10 Mpix).
To make the Canon equal i pixels I would have to reduce the size to 59% or enlarge the Samsung correspondingly. Note also that the Canon sharpness is set to “soft”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 100 Both cameras produce sharp pictures with little noise. Well done I think! Shows what the lenses are capable of! One obvious thing is that the Samsung is much less saturated and that it actually looks sharper then the Canon. As I said above the Canon is set to “soft” but you can still see that the Samsung lens is quite sharp in comparison!

ISO 400 Samsung passes the old Ixus (400 is as high as it will go) with lower noise! (This crop is not shown!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 800 The Samsung starts to show signs of noise in shadows but I think it still is acceptable! Also details are being blurred

ISO 1600 Here the Samsung starts showing noise in the lighter areas as well. This is the decency level I think – still OK but you can not be very picky and remember that one at least still can take a picture with ISO 1600! (This crop is not shown!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISO 3200 In the lighter part of the picture (with the sign) : Here it shows a lot of noise and it might definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea but if it can help you take a picture you would not otherwise be able to take – I think it is OK – but best avoided – if possible! Here you can still improve it a little – increasing the saturation.

In the darker part of the picture (with the plank wall) : Here it shows a lot of noise, most details are lost and is almost colourless – I don’t think there are many out there who likes this! BUT as I said above if it can help you take a picture – I think it is an emergency setting for those MUST have a picture! UFO:s and the like! 😉 Here you can do very little to improve it – there is very little colour so it is hard to increase the saturation!

Conclusion:
One general observation, that I also made earlier, was that the Samsung WB2000 (at least my sample) in the shade and under clouds gives pictures that strike me as a little on colourless and blueish side! And it gets worse as you ups the ISO-value. At least when used as the manufacturer has set it up. I myself would not want them like this out of the camera but would use one of the in-camera ways to add a little more saturation and maybe make the pictures a little warmer. The drawback is if you do this you will block several of the WB2000:s cool features!

/Photoman

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Canon EOS 550D Compatible LP-E8 Battery

Here in Sweden the original batteries LP-E8 for the superb Canon EOS 550D/Canon Digital Rebel T2i are priced quite high at around 600 SEK/€ 60/$80 so I googled after some lower priced alternatives and I came upon Deal Extreme Compatible battery (SKU 35588) for only 10% of the original battery cost (free freight) … and after some consideration I ordered two. After waiting close to two weeks the batteries arrived! In the meantime I had read on several forums about “compatible” batteries and there seemed to be different opinions about whether the batteries were really compatible or not and whether they could actually damage the camera or not

NOTE! This test just shows the results from the two samples that I got and that I give NO GUARANTEE that any batteries bought by you will work as the ones I got! The fact that I got two different capacities might indicate that batches have different properties! Any tests that you make are your own responsibility!

This “make or break” was a worry on my mind and I did not dare to put the batteries in the camera when I got them!  I decided to try to compare them to the original battery. The two batteries I got were stamped with different capacities as you can see in the table below.

The batteries arrived boxed in small red&yellow boxes (above). They were also put in small plastic bags and had on their underside a snap-on cover. All in all they had a trustworthy feel to them. The plastic seemed as sturdy as the original. No text at all on the top. The grey colour were ever so slightly darker grey i colour than the original.

Turning them over they were printed with voltage, capacity and other info. The contacts were also visible and looked very much as the originals except that you could see the “gold-plated” contacts glimmer a little clearer than on the originals.

Now I set about checking weights and sizes. The compatibles weights were 18% and 4% lighter than the original. No visible difference in sizes. Having done this I thought it worth the risk of charging them. Charging them with the original charger posed no problems and after less than an hour they were both fully charged. (I guess they were partially charged from the beginning.) To get comparable results I charged the original battery also.

Not knowing that much about battery science I googled to try to find out what the different specification voltage meant 7.2/7.4 Volts. I found no easy to understand explanation – might depend on different materials for anode/cathode – but it is still a little of a mystery to me what the voltage actually stands for

These were the results I found when measuring the voltages under different loads.

As the no-load voltage of all three batteries were the same with 8.32 Volts I decided I would test them in the camera. Also helped was the fact that the the difference under load was just 1-2%!

I tried them and there was no problem with fitting, all three batteries felt similar in fitting them in the camera so I (with some excitement) turned the camera on – and it worked as usual! 🙂

I have now been using them for a few weeks and I have seen no real difference between the batteries – original or compatibles. I have not really measured or kept a proper eye on capacity – but my feeling is that the batteries last the same time. (If I get curious I might do a proper capacity measurement…) I have read comments by other buyers that the low charge warning does not work so well with the compatibles. I do not know if it is like that – I tend to not notice the battery charge indicator until I see the flashing red low battery indicator – and then I change battery! I will try to keep an eye on that in the future and report back here with an update! With three batteries I tend not to worry too much – when one goes flat I just change to a new one! 🙂

Canon original battery lasted an impressive 827 pictures total – spread out over a rather intense 4 hour photo shoot – checking most pictures on-screen. Of the total about 50 was flash pictures.

UPDATE!

After a few months of rather intense use I can now report the following average capacity figures for the above batteries – both compatible and original. Used by what I would describe as a “keen” photographer (me).

Normal usage, lots of focusing (without taking pictures),  checking the majority of the pictures on-screen for 1-2 secs (no automatic image review), info display switched off, a mixture of lenses used but mostly the 18-55 mm kit lens and just 1-5 flash pictures per charge, camera never switched off. I have taken 300-500 pictures each day so this was much less intense then the above mentioned photo shoot.

Original battery lasted 1000 pictures – with two battery level warnings at 2 bars with 200 and at 1 bar with 100 pictures before empty.
Compatible battery lasted 800 pictures – ONE battery warning at 1 bar with 10 pictures before empty.

It was no surprise that the original battery was the (slightly) better of the two – but at a 10 times higher price …  

The battery level indicator works well with the original battery and there is not really any warning with the compatible – it just goes flat! BUT as I usually – in practice – have the info screen switched off I am as surprised with both batteries when they run flat! Having the info screen on I would definitely have a better chance of picking my moment to change the battery – if I have the original. Either way I would really appreciate a more forceful way of warning for low battery – one that is seen even when the display is switched off!

Till next time…

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How I selected my new digital compact camera

You can go about buying a new camera in a number of diffrent ways – from just picking what the person in the shop shows you or you can try and find out as much as posible beforehand, make lists and then try to make an informed decission. I don´t have any facts showing that the last way gives a more satisfied owner – but I like to find out things and brood on the decission for some time – I actually think it is great fun! This is the story of how I went about it. Maby this can inspire someone else out there to also try something fun!

First I started out by reading lots about the current crop of cameras on the web in places like www.dpreview.com and then I mostly used Google and Bing to find info on lots of different sites.

Then knowing what features the new cameras was offering – this autum – I tried to write down the things that mattered most to me! (Camera wise that is! 😉 ) Buying a recently released camera means that there are few or no reviews to help you with the selection. Many cameras offer very similar features making it difficult to differentiate between them.

The sensor
It would have to have a sensible pixel count. Preferably not much over 10 Mpix. This because I do like to use available light if at all possible. The latest new feature is back illuminated sensors so that would also be a bonus for available light photography – but not really knowing how much of a difference it would have I do not put such a weight on that feature.

The Lens
I like wide angle shots so it would have to be at least 28 mm on the wide side – preferably 24 mm.
I also liked the lens to be reasonably fast having a wide angle f-stop of at at least 2.8 – but better the more light it let through!
I decided that the zoom range was not that important so I settled for a moderate minimum of at least 5 times zoom.
As I like to get really close to things and takes lots of pictures of flowers and other small things the “macro” distance had to be in the order of a few centimeters (an inch or two).

The Flash
Having said that I prefer available light my requirements of the flash is not so high. One thing that matters though is being able to use the flash close to the motive. I did find out that not many cameras can use the flash at their closest focusing distance – a pity I think – but one that I have to accept. Not that easy to find out about this fact for the cameras on my shortlist.

The Shutter
Here I must point out that I think the term “shutter speed” is not such a good word – you are not interested in the speed of the shutter itself (which probably stays the same all the time) – you are more interested in the time which it is open … so I will be using “shutter time”.
The shortest shutter time I decided was almost uninteresting due to the fact that all cameras have 1/1500 – 1/2000 sec. Again my interest in available light affects the requirement. Night photography requires looong shutter times so being at all able to set long times (at least 10-15 sec) was important – and that the camera automatically could handle times of at least 1 second – preferably longer – for convenience.

The ISO
Here I wanted to have automatic ISO-setting (which almost all cameras feature) and a wide range –  from ISO 100 to around ISO 3200. Preferably also some indication what ISO-value the camera chose. Yes I know that ISO over 400 starts to show noise and 3200 has LOTS of noise – especially with a small sensor. Still it is nice to be able to actually take a picture – even if it is very noisy! Beeing able to set the maximum ISO-value would be a bonus!

The Panorama Support
This is a favorite of mine – panorama pictures. How this is implemented is important to me. A lot of the cameras has what is called “sweep panorama” in which you just sweep your camera slowly across the scene and the camera will create the wide (or high) picture automatically. What is bothering me a little is the fact that this does not seem (according to the descriptions I have found) to use the full resolution of the cameras. That would mean that it would be of little use to me. At least now, beforehand, I would say that I prefer to stitch together the fullsize pictures with Microsofts eminent FREE panorama stitch software “ICE” – try it you will like it! Easy to use and produces really GREAT results! Evens out exposure and tries really hard to make the seams invisible. The only drawback I have seen is that if it can not automatically figure out how the pictures should be stitched together you can not help it by selecting similar points in both pictures. (I have used it a lot and only had a handfull of properly taken panorama series that it could not stitch.) It handles hundreds of pictures and Gigapixels!

The Screen
My previous compact camera (and my current DSLR Canon EOS 550D – which has an absolutely gorgeous display) both had/has 3″ displays. I do NOT want a widescreen display that normally would show pictures with space at the sides – wasting a lot of the screen pixels. This requirement might change in the future – I guess – but for now it is still valid for me so the screen will have to be at least 3″ – and filling out the screen with the pictures! Having being spoilt by the Canon EOS 550D display – and actually seeing that it helps in getting better pictures by showing me a lot better the “final” image – I would like to have a screen with quite a bit more than the standard just over 200 000 pixels. I have not yet seen the advantage in touchscreen – I want to be able to adjust the settings with just the fingers on buttons that I have learnt to find and use. But this might also change in the future!

The Movie Mode
Again having being spoilt by the Canon EOS 550D – and its superior full HD 1920×1080 movie mode I don´t really want to go with anything but full HD! I do realize that I can not demand the same quality as the HD movies from the 550D with its big sensor!
Beeing able to zoom and autofocus during filming makes the compact camera double as a (half)decent movie camera so that would be handy – but not absolutely required! Stereo sound would also be a bonus.

Summarizing my compact camera requirements:

  • Sensor – not too much over 10 MPix, back lit
  • Lens – 24 mm, 5x zoom, bigger then f 1:2.8, min focus 5 cm
  • Flash – being able to use it really close
  • Shutter – long times (> 10 sec manually and >1 sec automatically)
  • ISO – wide range 100-3200
  • Panorama support – for full size pictures where all pixels are used
  • Screen – 3″ or bigger – NOT wide screen and > 200 000 pixels
  • Movie Mode – full HD 1920×1080 with autofocus and zoom during filming is a bonus

The MOST SCARY of all of this is that I will not know how well the camera handles and how user friendly it is or how good photos it takes and that I will not be able to figure out just from the specifications…

Tomorrow I will discuss my shortlist of cameras that I considered.

Till then…
/Photoman

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