How To Choose The Right Photo Camera?

Choosing a camera is a very difficult mission, I can see that at those who are on their way to buy one. The difficulty is due to several reasons such as the diversity of products on the market, marketing techniques, the advice of friends who have a specific camera, the multitude of camera features and other things.

Cameras types can be split into three categories:

– Compact (point and shoot)
– SLR-Like (they mimic the characteristics of D-SLR cameras)
– D-SLR (digital cameras with interchangeable lenses)

Compact devices are small, easy to carry, and their price is between $50-$300 USD

SLR-Likes are sized between compact and DSLR cameras an their price is between $300-$600 USD.

D-SLR’s are mostly large cameras, their price starts from around $500 USD and can go up to $3000 USD or even more, and this without counting the lenses.

choosing the right photo camera

Each of the three categories of cameras have advantages and disadvantages depending on needs. It is almost impossible to say that you have a camera that can cover all requirements. Professional photographers have 2-3 cameras and a variety of lenses, flashes and other accessories. Some argue that the camera that you possess is the best, which is a little exaggerated, because you can’t shoot with a compact, an animal that moves on, seen from your cabin window.

When buying a camera, you have to aim for the following characteristics:

Frames per second: the more frames per second your camera has, the more frames you can do, that means you can shoot in a short time, several images without losing that essential moment.

ISO: represents the sensor’s sensitivity to light. If the value of the camera has a higher ISO, this allows you to take bright pictures in dark places. The downside would be very high image noise in some cases, depending of the quality of the camera sensor and lens (colored dots covering the details). In bright light, the smallest ISO settings can be used, this way will result in photos with the highest detail.

Image stabilizer: as the name says, it will stabilize the image, and this will reduce the blur created by moving your hand (especially in low light conditions). Also, the image stabilizers are either digital or mechanical, obviously the mechanical one is way better.

Lens aperture: is a mechanism, generally of circular shape and having iris blades, which allows light to enter the device, and impress the sensor. It works exactly like the eye pupil. If your device camera aperture is small (F1.8, F2.0, F2.8) this will allow you to make great photos in low light conditions, and you can make those shots with a shallow depth of field, with the main subject in clear while having a blur background.
Lens zoom: can be digital or optical . The optical zoom brings better quality. Zoom will allow you to shoot subjects in the distance.

About mega-pixels. You need to know that they are not as important as the adverts says, if their number is at least 7 then in most cases it will be fine. For example, if your camera has 5 mega-pixels, this is enough to print on A4 photo paper (provided that the image does not contain excessive noise) or to view the picture in full screen on the computer display. You need lots of mega-pixels if you’re going to print large posters. Do not be guided by the number of mega-pixels when making your decision, focus on the advanced photo features listed above. Which do you prefer? To have a lot of huge images which occupy unnecessary space on your hard drive or continuous shooting that allows you to capture that important moments?

Most of the time price is the criterion by which people purchase a camera. The price says something about the quality of the camera and hence the photos. As the camera is more expensive, the pictures will have more details and dynamic range, but until a point. On the other hand, if you possess an expensive professional camera that does not identify you as a photographer, nor it will make your pictures look better..

In recent years technology has advanced at a great speed, as a result, this allowed the introduction of quality small cameras into phones. For some time I have seen very successful pictures taken with a smartphone. If you want to go in that direction, you can choose a modern phone camera instead of a compact camera. The Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 or Lenovo k900 are some right choices at the moment. The advantages: (besides the fact that you will use the phone) takes up very little room in your pocket or purse when you go somewhere, and more than that, you’ll always have the camera with you! If you still prefer a compact camera, my advice is to choose between a Canon or a Nikon. It’s just a personal opinion, of course many can find their ideal device between brands like Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, Fujitsu, etc, which are also great cameras too.

For those who want a SLR-like camera they can turn to a mirror-less camera: they are almost as small as compacts but instead provides greater freedom of settings and functions. You can choose between the Nikon 1 V1 , Nikon 1 V2, Nikon 1 J2 , Sony NEX-C3, etc. I think such a device is suitable for an amateur, at least at the beginning.

D-SLR cameras can be divided into three categories: low-end , entry-level and professional. At the low-end or entry-level, the Nikon D3100 or the D7100 can make of a good choice. Professionals are using professional D-SLR’s but that’s because they’re also making money out of their photos. These cameras are of the highest quality, both in terms of body construction and image quality, they are water and dust proof sealed, shock proof, GPS function and what not.

Last but not least, you have to think what you were going to use the camera for, and you have to choose according to your own requirements. If you are fond of sports or theatre scenes and want to catch moments in these fields, then surely you will want a device with a big zoom lens, that can capture photos in low light quality, and of, at least, acceptable quality. If you are passionate about travel and want to capture mostly static nature scenes, and usually during daylight, most cameras will have no problems with that, but if you want to capture an wider open field scene, then you must opt for a wide lens for your camera.

 

Romanian Water Photos

These images are made mostly in the mountain areas. The gallery include mountain rivers, mountain lakes, waterfalls and other close up shots of fresh natural water. Some of the water scenes in this gallery are created using a long exposure technique, so the water will give a flowing feeling in the picture.

Cascade flowing waterCascade - MountainFlowing river waterLeafs in waterMountain river cascadeMountain riverMountain river stonesSmall mountain springFresh mountain spring water

 

Tips For Using Your Camera In Cold Weather

Shooting outdoors in cold weather can be very tricky for your camera, some functions can be blocked and your batteries may last very short. To prevent damaging your equipment and be able to take the pictures you want in very cold weather, I aligned below the most useful advices that can help you a lot.

Tips for using your camera in cold weather

Advices For Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are predisposed to more problems when used in cold weather than the film cameras, however, here are some workarounds and precautions that can help you to use your camera in subzero conditions.

Battery

Every digital camera is relying on its battery to operate properly, very low temperatures will drain the battery power very quickly, and you will start wondering why you took only six pictures with your fully charged battery.

A solution for this problem is to use a special battery pack to keep the camera battery inside, and place it in your pocket or under your coat as closest as possible to the skin, where the battery can stay warm. A thick wire will make the connection between the battery pack and camera.

Another solution is to have a second fully charged battery in your pocket and when the main one shows empty, rotate them, keeping the cold one in your warm pocket will make the battery available again for shooting.

Li-ion batteries are known to be more freezing resistant than other battery types and can provide more power in these circumstances. However, there are also special batteries that you can buy for this purpose.

Using the camera

Avoid touching metal parts of your camera or tripod with your bare hands, the metal will freeze your hand. You can use thermal proof gloves to protect you.

If you have really big gloves, and you can’t press the shutter button of the camera, you can use a release cable for firing the shutter. Be sure to select a low temperature resistant one.

Be careful not to breathe into your viewfinder or camera lens during focusing and composing, this will freeze the glass and will make impossible taking images, at least for a while.

If it’s snowing or raining and your camera isn’t waterproof, you can use a cloth camera cover, or you can wear a big hat, like the Mexicans.

If you want to check if your camera can shoot at temperatures below zero, you can make a simple test: place your camera in a zip lock bag and put the bag in the fridge at the desired temperature, if the camera works fine after this freezing test, then you may rely on it at similar temperatures. (Please note that this test may also damage your equipment)

Lens lubrication

Most lens lubrications will freeze at very low temperatures. To avoid having your lens focus or zoom blocked and unusable, you can send the lens to a professional lab for re-lubing it with winterized oils / lubricants. These solutions can handle -40 Celsius temperatures.

Prevent condensation

Condensation can occur when you bring the equipment from cold to warm, like returning home. This is due to the temperature differences between camera and air. Condensation may form ice or transpiration on the camera exterior but also in the interior, thus, any electrical system may be damaged.

To prevent condensation, be sure to pack your equipment in sealed plastic bags (zip lock) before entering home. You can safely unpack the equipment after 3-4 hours when the equipment temperature gets similar with the interior.

Have a back-up camera

Electronics are very sensible at very low temperatures, and you shall not rely on a single camera. When going to important (like one in a lifetime) destinations where temperatures are very low, be sure to carry with you a secondary back-up camera, just in case.

Advices For Film Cameras

Film cameras are the preferred photography tools for many cold weather shooters, and that’s because their bad experience in using electronic cameras in cold weather conditions, when everything can fail.

Full mechanically film cameras are most immune to low temperatures because their lack of electronic systems. The only three things that you must be aware of, are camera and lens lubrication, film manipulation and correct exposure.

You can also read the advices for using the camera, and prevent condensation noted above for digital cameras, lens lubrication advice is also there.

Film manipulation

At very low temperatures the photographic film will become brittle, thus, making the film very sensible and therefore easy to break when advancing it to the next position.

The only way to prevent this is to wind manually and very slow, you must be very carefully also when re-winding the film. Another good thing is to use short roll films because they are easier to manipulate than the long ones.

Some photographic films are more immune to low temperatures than others, be sure to read film specifications, if you don’t know any film for use in cold weather, let me recommend you the Kodachrome series from Kodak, you’ll not be disappointed.

Be aware when using cameras with automated film advance, at temperatures under -25 Celsius is very likely that will break the film. Try to set the camera to advance slowly, or if you have a manual lever, advance slowly by yourself.

Changing film may also raise difficulties because the film brittleness, be very careful and work slowly.

Exposing correctly in cold weather

There are two possibilities: your camera has a built-in meter or doesn’t, in both cases I recommend to have a separate light meter with you. The more experienced can eye-appreciate the correct exposure and set his camera accordingly. But for most of us, is safer to rely on an exact meter reading to expose our pictures correctly.

The majority of light meters use batteries to function. Because batteries are very stressed by cold weather you must ensure good charged batteries for the meter to function properly. Since meter batteries are generally very little, you can carry some more in your pocket. Selenium cell meters work better in cold weather.

Camera meters are designed to read everything as 18 % gray. All that white snow in winters will cause the meter to underexpose a bit, so you may manually overexpose with one or two more stops to ensure a good exposure.

 

Helios 58mm F2 Lens Fungus Cleaning

While browsing through my older photos, I came across some pics taken while I was cleaning the fungus of a Russian Helios prime lens. I thought that these pics may be of use to someone wanting to clean the fungus of a lens, either if it’s an older or modern one (and out of warranty of course).

The pictures below shows the fungus on the MC – HELIOS 44K – 4 prime lens. A 58mm F2 lens that, with a proper adapter, can get stunning pictures on modern D-SLR’s – like the example here at Photoshumi

I got this lens for a very low price, around $15, having the issue from above – one fungus spot on the interior. So one day I decided it is time to clean that lens, the pictures below shows all the steps I did to remove the spot, and also the tools I used. I think the pictures are self-explanatory, but if any of you are having a hard time opening a lens (any kind) you can contact me and I’ll try to help.

 

You can see in the pictures above, I cleaned the lens element affected by fungus with a glasses cleaning optical solution. After cleaning it, I reassembled the lens back, and now it is ready to use.

This is not a complicated operation to do at home, you must pay attention to not scratch the glass; to not break the little screws; and to assemble the lens back in its original position – like the focusing ring position. However, if you decide to do this, its on your sole risk.

 

Dudley’s Picks – Page 2

A series of photos that probably was used as slide presentations to tourists in the park. Marked by Dudley.

PtarmiganRoiling surfSchooner coveSea anemonesSea anemones under waterSea weed under waterSnowberry wintergreen (gaultheria hispidula)StarfishStarfish and sea anemonesStorm over Sunset pointSunset point and Leonard lighthouseTakakkaw falls

 

Sea anemones are a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria. They are named for the anemone, a terrestrial flower. A sea anemone is a polyp attached at the bottom to the surface beneath it by an adhesive foot, called a basal disc, with a column shaped body ending in an oral disc. Most are from 1.8 to 3 centimeters in diameter, but anemones as small as 4 millimeters or as large as nearly 2 meters are known. They can have anywhere from a few tens to a few hundred tentacles.

Starfish, or sea stars are echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. The names “starfish” and “sea star” essentially refer to members of this class. About 1,500 living species of starfish occur on the seabed in all the world’s oceans, from the tropics to subzero polar waters. They are found from the intertidal zone down to abyssal depths, 6,000 m below the surface. Starfish are among the most familiar of marine invertebrates. They typically have a central disc and five arms, though some species have more than this. The aboral or upper surface may be smooth, granular or spiny, and is covered with overlapping plates. Many species are brightly colored in various shades of red or orange, while others are blue, grey or brown.

Tide running up a gullyTriongularisUpper Narao lake and Mount BosworthVicia amaricanoWaves at Sunset pointWhite flowersWillow and cathix salixarticaWindswept sitka spruce

 

Vicia americana is a species of legume in the vetch genus known by the common names American vetch and purple vetch. It is a climbing perennial forb that grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. American vetch is widespread across North America. It is a common understory plant in many types of forest and other habitats and it provides forage for wild and domesticated animals.

Dudley & Hilary Foskett

The photos from Canada in the public domain section are collected from 35mm film slides that Dudley and Hilary left behind.

Dudley Foskett was a Park Naturalist (BA & MA in Biology)
Hilary Bastin Foskett was a Botanist (BSc in Botany)

Most of their work was in the Western Canadian National Parks. All west of the Manitoba/Ontario provincial border.

As for taking photos, they both had identical Pentax cameras. All aerial photos and a small number of the other photos are made by Dudley. The rest of the photos (larger part), especially flowers and plants, are made by Hilary.

Dudley & Hilary Foskett

 

Various Images – Page 2

This gallery contains photos that does not fit in any other category from the Canadian public domain photos series. There are some interesting images and subjects here. Enjoy.

Abandoned home in the CaribooAvalanche snow shed on highwayBridge over the Columbia riverBuffalo stoneClear lake view from the promenade, Riding mountain - national park ManitobaCowboys and cowsDeep lakeKettle river bridge, Rock creekMoravian church with stone, Bell towerOil pump  and cattle herd in adjoining fields in AlbertaOil pumpOut for an evening row

 

Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved from large trees, mostly Western Red Cedar, by cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Totem poles are typically carved from the trunks of Thuja plicata trees (popularly called “giant cedar” or “western red cedar”), which decay eventually in the rainforest environment of the Northwest Coast.

Thus, few examples of poles carved before 1900 exist. Noteworthy examples include those at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, dating as far back as 1880. While 18th-century accounts of European explorers along the coast indicate that poles existed prior to 1800, they were smaller and fewer in number than in subsequent decades.

Skating on frozen lake astotinSmall rural farmStone Bell Arch, AlbertaSugar maple tree in autumnThunderbird park, VictoriaTotem closeupTotem pole and long house, VictoriaVictoria totems in the cityWaterworn rocksWinter at lake O'Hara, 2 aunts in picture

 

The meanings of the designs on totem poles are as varied as the cultures that make them. Totem poles may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. Some poles celebrate cultural beliefs, but others are mostly artistic. Certain types of totem poles are part of mortuary structures, and incorporate grave boxes with carved supporting poles, or recessed backs for grave boxes. Poles illustrate stories that commemorate historic persons, represent shamanic powers, or provide objects of public ridicule.

Poles used for public ridicule are usually called “shame poles”, and were created to shame individuals or groups for unpaid debts. They are often placed in prominent locations. Shame poles are rarely discussed today, and their meanings have been forgotten in many places. They formed an important subset of poles carved throughout the 19th century.

 

Various Images – Page 1

This gallery contains photos that does not fit in any other category from the Canadian public domain photos series. There are some interesting images and subjects here. Enjoy.

A welcoming totemBarkerville, a gold rush townBatoche church, a national monumentBison skullChurch of St Saviors, Barkerville circa 1869Colourful lichensCooking lake, AlbertaDangers of mountain roadsDeerlodge cabin historyFirst peoples killer whale totemFishing for brailing herringFishing in Cottonwood river

 

The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was a migration by an estimated 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899. Gold was discovered here on August 16, 1896 and, when news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a “stampede” of would-be prospectors.

The journey proved too hard to many and only between 30,000 and 40,000 managed to arrive. Some became wealthy; however, the majority went in vain and only around 4,000 struck gold. The Klondike Gold Rush ended in 1899, after gold was discovered in Nome, prompting an exodus from the Klondike. It has been immortalized by photographs, books and films.

Freight train in the mountainsHighway and railway bridgesHippies on wreck bayHomemade wharf on a prairie pondIce crystals on a pondNative dogout canoe on Owikeno lakeLogging spar treeNative handiwork in VictoriaOil rig near Didsbury, AlbertaOld chinese house in BarkervilleOld cornish water pump used during the gold rushOld house built with squared logs

 

Canada has one of the world’s most valuable commercial fishing industries, worth more than CAD $5 billion a year and providing more than 120,000 jobs to Canadians. It is the economic mainstay of approximately 1,500 communities in rural and coastal Canada.

The Manitoba commercial fishing industry that comprises over 3,600 fishers who produce 25 percent of Canada’s freshwater catch. Lake Winnipeg is the biggest contributor of commercially landed fish species. Of the 13 fish species commercially harvested, pickerel (walleye), Sauger, lake whitefish, northern pike, and yellow perch are the most highly valued species.

Old steam train in the mountainsOn the farmPark ranger saddling up to ride the trailsRiver ferrySculptured rocks done by Kicking Horse riverSilver like rocksSpiders web across trailStraw bales on the prairieSummit of Rogers passTakakkaw falls with explanationThe Columbia icefieldsThe making of a totem

 

¬†Rogers Pass (elevation 1,330 m or 4,360 ft) is a high mountain pass through the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia used by the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans-Canada Highway. The pass is a shortcut across the “Big Bend” of the Columbia River from Revelstoke on the west to Donald, near Golden, on the east. The pass was discovered on May 29, 1881, by Major Albert Bowman Rogers, a surveyor working for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Rogers Pass is in the heart of Glacier National Park, in the midst of mountains popular for ski mountaineering, camping, hiking and mountain climbing ever since the region became accessible in 1886. The location has tourist services including the Rogers Pass Discovery Center, a hotel and National Park services. Rogers Pass is commemorated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

 

Fauna – Page 3

Canada has multiple ecosystems, ranging from lush forests of British Columbia, the prairies of Western Canada, to the tundra of the Northern Canada. With a large land mass, and small population density, the wildlands of Canada provide important habitat for many animals, both endangered and not. Canada is home to approximately 70.000 known species of plants and animals – and perhaps many more that have yet to be discovered.

More than 400 species are listed as being at risk of extinction in Canada. The regions with the most endangered or threatened species are those in which humans have had the greatest impact on the environment.

Bighorn ram 2Bighorn ramsBlack bear on the run - Prince Albert national parkBuffalo with calvesBuffalo with very new calf, Riding mountain - national park ManitobaBull elk bugling in Assinaboine parkGround squirrel 1Pippets nest with hatching chicksPredatory bird 3Rocky mountain bighorn sheepSea gulls follow the fish boatSea gulls near the fish boat

 

The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest species of the Cervidae or deer family in the world, and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. Elk range in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark. Some cultures revere the elk as a spiritual force. In parts of Asia, antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are hunted as a game species; the meat is leaner and higher in protein than beef or chicken.

There are numerous subspecies of elk described, with six from North America and four from Asia, although some taxonomists consider them different ecotypes or races of the same species (adapted to local environments through minor changes in appearance and behavior). Populations vary as to antler shape and size, body size, coloration and mating behavior.

Small herd of elk cowsSpawning capelin fish 2Spawning capelin fishSquirrel in a tree - Banff national parkSwans in beacon hill parkThe buffalo paddock, Elk island - national park AlbertaThe retireesWater pippit on Lake O'HaraWhiskey jack in a treeWild bronze turkeyWolf in the woodsYellowheaded blackbird 2Young franklins ground squirrels

 

The Bronze is a breed of domestic turkey. The name refers to its plumage, which bears an iridescent bronze-like sheen. The Bronze had been the most popular turkey throughout most of American history, but waned in popularity beginning in the mid-20th century. Bronze turkeys are the product of crossing domestic turkeys brought from Europe by colonists (which had been exported to Europe years before) with the Wild Turkey. Today, both the Standard and Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys are listed on the ALBC’s conservation priority list.