Monday, December 19, 2016

Revisiting A Path Not Taken

It's not often that we get to have another chance at something, let alone experience the same thing at a different perspective. I got to chance to relive a not so old era of digital photography.  

For a day, I get to play with this beauty.

Last week, December 16th, felt like having a dose of nostalgia from an alternate universe. I got to experience digital photography with 2009 technology... Except that it's not with a model that I'm familiar with and know to use even when half awake. The curve ball here is, it's a Canon.

She's Japanese. Locally we know her as EOS 500D, following the EU market name.
EOS is marketed in Japan as "Kiss" and "Rebel" in the USA. 

Chicken Inasal for lunch!

Good detail courtesy of the awesome sensor.

For the Christmas party event we had at the office, a coworker (Thank you a million, Wilson!) was generous enough to lend me a DSLR to use. Our deal was simple:

"I'll bring the camera. You figure out how to use it and use it for the event."

Needless to say, I kept my end of the deal and had a blast while I was at it. This EOS 500D was a joy to use. It's like going back through time and going back to the days when I was just starting photography, but in an alternate universe where I was using a Canon instead of a Nikon. Don't get me wrong, I had some prior experience with Canon, but before today it was merely just holding it for a few minutes and returning to the owner because I wasn't fond of how it felt on my hand. But today it was different. I had the whole thing to myself.

Chopsuey. Hand not included.

So what was it like to use it full time for a day?

First off, the differences in ergonomics took some getting used to for me. The dominant finger I had when using a camera was my right thumb. I may have gained that habit by using entry level Nikon DSLRs. It may seem trivial for some but for me it was a bit of a challenge. I lost count how many times my thumb was gasping for a scroll wheel that wasn't there. Canon put their dial on top beside the shutter button making it accessible to my index finger and out of reach for my thumb. Apart from that the power switch was a lever along the side of the mode dial. In the Nikon it's along the shutter button.

Our Karaoke machine is a stripped PC.

Food Has Arrived.

The menu arrangement appears different as well. Picture styles was a nice touch that let me change the look of the image easily. This was something that took a few presses in the Nikon. This Canon had  a dedicated button for it. If I wanted to fine tune stuff though, I'd still need to delve into the menu. A big plus for EOS users over the Nikon though, EOS users can download picture styles from the internet and load it to the camera. Comparable Nikon models of the time don't have that kind of option.

Image quality appears to be finer. But I'd attribute it to the way higher megapixel count (18Million!) compared to my old D40. It also had live view, which was awesome btw, and Full HD recording. 

In practice, and in the dark though, it wasn't as easy to use. The button assignments change when LiveView is used, and it adds to more "which button does what again?" moment when in use. The video focusing took some getting used to as well. One had to hold a button (labelled as *) for it to keep focusing. At some point I opted to focus manually instead which proved more effective. 

I also had renewed appreciation for my current setup. Namely for the articulating screen. This model doesn't have it. I can shoot easily and effectively when using the viewfinder, but the viewfinder sin't as easy to use when trying to catch candid moments that that require to be shot at hip level. I can only shoot slouching and bending my knees for so many times. Due to that I had more shots from a higher spot looking downwards than I prefer to have. 

At some point I had to resort to black and white. The darker environment compelled me to use a higher ISO, and this resulted on some noisy images. Removing the color made it look like fine grain. I tweaked it a bit, it even looked more dramatic. 

Long Stretch

Empty Bottles

Aim For The Corner Pocket

Of course it didn't get in the way of the fun. I managed shoot a couple hundred or so pictures that day at least.

It has been refreshing. Maybe in another life I may have opted to use a Canon, I feel I would've had plenty of fun using it. It was a learning experience to have a glimpse of 2009 DSLR tech from the rival manufacturer.

After the event I had to return the camera to the owner. Hopefully soon Wilson will share the pictures. When I get my hands on those I just might share them here. (Update: I've included them here.)

Working During Pleasure

Room Number 8 anyone who took a peek would've found us here.

By now the technology may have vastly improved. But I'm not in a rush to get the latest and greatest. For me, Photography is an itch to scratch - the gratification goes only to me, and it's not something that I charge money for, Involving money may defeat the purpose of it as a respite from the daily grind. Hence, I'd settle for what's already there in my hand, which is usually an older tech.

Some song performances can just be too much, and can make you cover your ear.

But being an older tech isn't necessarily a bad thing. My Olympus E-PL5 still works well for me. Not bad for some 2012 technology when these days everyone's screaming "Mirrorless Revolution" with their APS-C mirrorless cameras. It doesn't have the best image quality pixel by pixel, but it has plenty to offer, enough to not justify buying a new camera. For my itch, it's more than enough to scratch without breaking the bank. Why spend more?

Until then, don't let the fear of getting lost deter you from going out to wander. :)

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