Monday, 4 October 2010

The Life of a Photo Journalist

Dawn, Sydney, Canon EOS 5D MkII, HDR.
The life of a journalist is one of total hardship. Always.

Canon recently announced the release of three cameras: the Canon EOS 60D, the Canon Powershot SX30IS and the Canon Ixus 1000HS. To promote the launch of these products, Canon invited a bunch of technology journalists to Sydney to join in the celebration.

Here's Peter Gilmore at Quay Restaurant giving us poor old journos a quick demo on how to create his signature snow egg. (EOS 5DMkII).
And of course we were then all forced to try one. Terrible experience! (EOS 5D MkII).
OK, OK, we were hosted for nearly two days, eating superb food, zooming about town in stretch Hummers, whizzing about the harbour in a jetboat (very wet and painful) and whirring through the skies in a helicopter (really great fun). A hard life indeed.

Shot using the new EOS 60D - which has a set of cool special effects filters. This one is called 'Toy Camera' that can be added to the image (as a copy) after the photo is recorded.
Oh, and of course we simply had to try out these three new cameras, divided into teams, competing against each other in a series of challenges designed to give us a lot of fun and give the gear a good old workout.
Powershot SX30. 'Straight' shot from the top of the Harbour Bridge pylon. 24mm lens setting.
Powershot SX30. Same view, using the 840mm telephoto lens. Canon claim that the newly-designed image stabilisation built into this camera gives an effective 4.5 stops of stabilisation. It would seriously need to - to produce clear results. Effectively you'd need to be shooting in bright light to get optimum results. But hey, this looks pretty good to me. More tests to follow.
Powershot SX30. Same view, 840mm lens extension + full digital zoom on top of everything! OK, image is not 100% sharp (not surprisingly, this is at x4 digital zoom) but it came out a lot better than I had expected.
For me the landmark product has to be the Powershot SX30IS - I mean only two days before this event I'd finished writing in an article that "the largest ultra-zoom on the market was a 26x lens", and now Canon launches a 35x zoom lens. I checked, it's NOT a typo, it has an 28-840mm zoom range. Insane considering digital started with a 3x zoom as 'standard'. It eventually climbed to 10x and 12x (400mm equivalent) which is impressive. Now it stands at three times that in terms of real life optical magnification. Simply outstanding. 
But is it any good? The camera itself is quite slow in terms of operation - but to extend a lens THAT much requires a lot of movement through the cams, not to mention power, so I'm not surprised that it's a bit on the slow side. Ironically, although the sound of a hand-held 28-840mm optical zoom sounds distinctly attractive, you might get the best results on a tripod for most of that extended zoom range.

Canon's Cathie Hattersley 'blinging it up' in a stretch Hummer (Blue team came second).
Harbour view from the Bridge pylon. Canon EOS 60D in Miniature effect mode.

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