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Old 15th of July 2001 (Sun)   #1
Teffy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 25
Default My Gear: Pros and Cons

Here are impressions of my photography equipment after a few months of use. I am a rank beginner.

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CAMERA
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Canon Powershot Pro90 IS
I love this camera. It can take some stunning pictures.

Pros:

- 10x optical zoom. I don't know how anyone lives without it.

- Swivel/tilt LCD makes for much easier composition of shots where it is difficult or impossible to get the camera and one's head in the right place relative to the subject. Before I bought the camera, I thought this feature might be useful 5-10% of the time. I have found that it is actually useful about 90% of the time (I have been mostly shooting plants and animals outside).

- Loads of ability to adjust/override automatic settings. I was surprised to find how often I use these features!

- The Image Stabilization - wonderful when you are in the mood for handheld shots (or when there's no time for the tripod).

- The camera looks way cool.

- 10x optical zoom.

- 10x optical zoom - oh yes.

Cons:

- Startup is slow.

- Autofocus can be slow.

- Manual focus is a pain since the adjustment in large-ish increments rather than continuous, and are no numbers displayed to indicate distance. That is why I added a Macro Rail for use with my close-up lens.

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TRIPOD LEGS
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Gitzo Explorer (aluminum)
Totally awesome. There is a picture of it at http://www.bogenphoto.com/feature/rightscreen.php3

Pros:
- The slight twist required to loosen or tighten the legs for extension is wonderful. No sore fingers here.

- The ability to lock the legs at any angle between 0 and 90 degrees is wonderful, especially on uneven terrain. And the leg angle locks are very easy to work.

- The center post can tilt from vertical to horizontal (and points in between). All this adjustability makes it possible and even easy to get at shots that would otherwise be a real pain.

- The aluminum version is about $200 - well worth the price.

Cons:

- The price of all that adjustability is weight. The aluminum version is about 5 lb., and the carbon fiber versions aren't much less.

-------------------
TRIPOD HEAD
-------------------
Giotto MH 1001Medium Ball Head
Overall, fast and easy to use.

Pros:

* So far, it operates smoothly - I was afraid it might not after reading how so many people think that Arca-Swiss is the only way to go. I've never seen and Arca-Swiss, and I am not sure that I want to, given its large price tag and weight.

* The separate pan control is nice.

* The tension control actually works, although a slight rotation of the knob causes a large change in tension or resistance to motion.

* The price is right.

Cons:

The farther the ball head position is from vertical, the more tendency there is to drift a bit after tightening knobs. I'm not sure if the ball is slipping, or if the whole support system is deflecting a bit under the load. Anyway, it is fairly easy to account for the drift by overshooting the position a bit and then letting it drift into place.

----------------------------------------------------------
MICRO POSITIONING PLATE a.k.a. Focusing Rail or Macro Rail
----------------------------------------------------------
Bogen 3419
Works great.

Pros:

- Smooth motion, either fine or fast positioning available

Cons:

- It takes up its fair share of space (and weight) in my beltpack, but I don't see any way around that.

--------------------
QUICK RELEASES (QR)
--------------------
Bogen 3299 Adapters (female part) with 3266 Plates (male part)
My support system is stacked up like this (in this order):

1) Camera with QR plate
2) Macro Rail with QR plate on bottom and QR adapter on top (so that I can easily swap the macro rail in or out of the stack)
3) Ballhead with QR adapter on top
4) Tripod legs

Pros:
- The plates are smaller than many I have seen.
- Fast
- Secure (at least until the spring-loading part breaks)
- Inexpensive
Cons:
- They still seem heavy relative to the other gear.

-----------------------
FILTERS/LENSES
-----------------------

Canon 500 D Close-up lens --> AWESOME
Heliopan circular polarizer --> very nice
Hoya UV filter to protect the Pro90 lens

-----------------------
BAG
-----------------------
LowePro Orion AW Beltpack
Wonderful!

Pros:
- You can really "load up" and still be comfortable. Having the lid open away from you means easy access and a nice work surface for switching lenses, etc.

- A lot of thoughtful and useful details.

Cons:

- I wish it had a second set of hip adjustment straps like my MountainSmith lumbar pack does to help prevent "flopping" when you walk.

-------------------
MISC.
-------------------

- AC Delco 511 replacement battery and charger --> no panic when the camera displays the low battery symbol
- Hama Zoom Lens Hood --> really nice. It collapses for use at wide angles


-------------------
COMING ADDITIONS
-------------------

- Flash (420EX or 550EX or )
- External storage like the Minds@Work Digital Wallet, Iomega FotoShow, Nixvue Digital Album, Sima Image Bank, Sanyo DMA-100 Digital Photo Album or

I would appreciate input to help me choose a flash and/or storage.

Teffy
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Old 31st of August 2001 (Fri)   #2
Simon McCaffrey
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1
Default Re: My Gear: Pros and Cons

Dear Teffy,
I have only just discovered this forum and in browsing the messages came across you asking for ideas on storage. For what it's worth, I have recently got a Pro IS 90 as my Ricoh RDC6000 was great for macro photography but limited otherwise. Like yourself I love the 10x zoom and am absolutely delighted with the camera as a whole. I have no idea when it comes to flash, I tried a Metz but found no matter how much I fiddled I couldn't better the results with the built in flash. I should stress this could well be due to my shortcomings as a novice (trying to get better) photographer rather than the Metz. On the storage front I use an IBM microdrive which allows me to take 411 pictures in Large Fine mode. Once downloaded to the PC I write all my images to CD. I have a rewriteable reserved for my pictures and when its full I copy to a plain writeable, reformat and go again. CD writers and discs are now extremely cheap so its a perfect solution. I hope this is of help and if you have any advice for someone trying to improve in terms of gear or technique I would be very grateful.
Regards
Simon McCaffrey
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Old 1st of September 2001 (Sat)   #3
Teffy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 25
Default Re: My Gear: Pros and Cons

Dear Simon McCaffrey,

Since my original post, I bought a Sima Image Bank sans disk and put in my own 20G disk. I really like it for almost unlimited storage while away from the PC. 8)

Your post reminds me that I need to be more disciplined about backing up to CD - you never know when a hard disk is gonna crash :O

From what I have read on forums, I'll bet your problems with the Metz were not your fault. It seems that Canon doesn't want you to use any flash but one of theirs, and even then you may not be able to use all of its functions

Teffy
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Old 24th of September 2001 (Mon)   #4
DonC
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2
Default Re: My Gear: Pros and Cons

Quote:
teffy wrote:
-------------------
COMING ADDITIONS
-------------------

- Flash (420EX or 550EX or )
- External storage like the Minds@Work Digital Wallet, Iomega FotoShow, Nixvue Digital Album, Sima Image Bank, Sanyo DMA-100 Digital Photo Album or

I would appreciate input to help me choose a flash and/or storage.

Teffy
I have the 420EX ($185) and it's great. Blows the internal flash away. Bounce flash is now my indespensable mode : )

I also have the FotoShow. It's good if you don't need a battery operated device. It's not small (10x5x2) and heavy but it quickly down load CF or SM cards. It's also relatively cheap. I got it for around $150.
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Old 26th of September 2001 (Wed)   #5
deeps
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 9
Default Re: My Gear: Pros and Cons

Quick question about Fotoshow: can you download directly from the camera? or an IBM MicroDrive? In other words can I just take this and a bunch of Zip drives instead of my laptop on long trips? The IOmega webpage doesn't mention connecting to the camera.

thanks
deeps
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Old 26th of September 2001 (Wed)   #6
DonC
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 2
Default Re: Re: My Gear: Pros and Cons

Quote:
deeps wrote:
Quick question about Fotoshow: can you download directly from the camera? or an IBM MicroDrive? In other words can I just take this and a bunch of Zip drives instead of my laptop on long trips? The IOmega webpage doesn't mention connecting to the camera.

thanks
deeps

Not directly from the camera. The FotoShow has built in card readers for CF and SM. Just insert the card and away it goes. Downloads the images and creates thumbnails and indexes so you can browse/view/delete your pix.
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