Saturday, May 21, 2016

The "BIG SIX"!

It happens so rarely that I don't have a label category for "new Gear"! For the first time since this blog started, I've got a new camera - the Canon 6D! I've mentioned before back in January that I was saving up pocket change for the upgrade, and with the Grand Canyon Star Party coming up, it was time to get it and practice before some good opportunities to image came along. What isn't to like - a sensor that is twice the size of my APS-sized Canon XSi. In addition, there are about 3 generations of improvement in noise reduction (Digic 5+ compared to Digic III), and an associated increase in sensitivity from max ISO of 1600 to 25600. Not that the XSi is no slouch - obtained just before our wedding 8 years ago, it has everything I've ever wanted, and likely some features I've never used. I'll still continue to use it as my primary spare, but 8 years of constant use and it was time for an upgrade.

I decided to have it shipped to St Charles and it arrived yesterday. It is a hefty camera, a good 8 ounces more than the 1 pound XSi - likely as there is more metal construction over the polycarbonate plastic of the XSi. The 24-105mm kit lens is hefty too at F/4, but in initial tests seems a great kit lens for the new camera. There is a huge learning curve in little things like zooming in on an image you've just taken. There are no doubt features I'll be learning about for months - but for now, I've got a couple dozen pictures taken without opening the manual and like what I see. As illustrated above, the sensor size is about twice that of the XSi. Since most of my lenses will work with the new one, that extends the field of view, with very little loss in resolution as the pixel sizes are pretty comparable (6.5 microns for the 6D, 5.2 for the XSi). So nearly twice the number of pixels provide much more freedom to crop and compose an image once taken... Take the images of the flowers on the bush - the full frame shown at left. Of course, since the blog only accepts a max of 1600 pixels, a LOT of data is lost in reducing sampling for the blog. The image at right is a crop of the same frame, showing full resolution with the same number of pixels as at left.

One thing I'm not enthused about is the lack of an on-camera flash... I use the flash on the XSi A LOT! From night-time time-lapses of flowers and sphinx moths to even daytime macro, the on-camera flash is pretty useful, so that will likely be about the first accessory to invest in... That being said, with the high ISOs the 6D has, it should almost work hand-held in the dark! We were visiting sister-in-law Maj this afternoon and I took the image at left of Melinda by the light of the 40 watt bulb adjacent to her. I've got to admit it worked pretty well at 6400 ISO and a 25th of a second.

The same goes for other low-light level shooting - at right is a shot of some ferns in front of our house when we got home about sunset. Resolution is pretty good even as dark as it was getting with the hand-held shot.

So with the first couple dozen images behind me, I'm thinking I'm a happy camper! I'll likely even be happier when I open the manual and figure out basic stuff I used to know on my other cameras, like zooming in on exposures and using live view. I recall some issues on basic stuff like that when using Ken's 6D for some LBT shooting a year ago. I'm sure it is just a matter of training the operator! And if you think that you would get away without an anaglyph of the ferns out front, you would be wrong! At right is a 3D shot of a fern, hand-held at about sunset, assembled in Photoshop. Not bad, say I!

1 comment:

etendue said...

Hi Dean, Congrats on the new camera. Now is a great time to discover off-camera flash and radio controllers :) Steve