Tag Archives: canon

Canon 5DS: Why I think it’s crazy

Fifty megapixels! Fifty! On a measly 35mm sensor!

Let me be very blunt about this. It’s a stupid idea.

How much resolution do you really need? Here’s a hint: how close do you have to sit in front of your 60″ full HD TV before you start noticing the individual dots? Have you EVER printed any of your shots as big as a 60″ screen? Do you know that a full HD TV is only 2Mp? And if you are not satisfied with full HD, how about a 60″ 4K TV with an effective resolution of only 8Mp?

Let me ask you, have you ever been to a drive-in movie? They are projecting standard definition movie into a very very big screen and yet we do not really notice the pixelation. That’s basically an image that is smaller than 2Mp “printed” as wide as an entire street block! I have never heard of anyone complaining about drive-in movie resolution.

What does 50Mp imply? It means that you will need more storage and more computer processing power. It also means that you can no longer just shoot without a tripod at the usual shutter speeds because even very minor movements become very obvious in your photos. Not only that. It also means that you need to be shooting with premium lenses. At 50Mp, you need a lens that peaks at f/5.6 at the minimum. In case you are unaware, you also need to shoot at f/5.6 or wider to fully utilise the entire 50Mp because shooting narrower than that results in a massive drop in effective resolution. So, if you can’t shoot at f/8 and beyond then the 5DS is really not meant for landscape photography. Some say that the 5DS is meant for studio work where you shoot portraiture and fashion. Who prints their portrait shots that big? If you do want to print at billboard sizes then you only need 2Mp (as in our drive-in movie example). 

It seems to me that manufacturers struggle to improve sensor performance so that they can increase the megapixel count. In the case of Canon, why don’t they concentrate on improving their mediocre sensors instead of engaging in the megapixel slugfest? 

It doesn’t make any sense but I’m sure somebody will find some good use for such massive images. Go ahead and buy the 5DS if it scratches your itch.

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It Has Never Been the Camera

The deeper I become involved in photography, the more I realize that equipment does not matter at all. Case in point, I have more fun photos captured with my iPhone than any of my other cameras combined.

Well actually gear does matter but not like most “photographers” would make you believe. The most important thing about equipment is that it should never get in the way of your creative vision. Also consider the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect tool. There will always be something that would tick you off and knowing the limitations is the first step in making the equipment work for you.

I would like to discuss a particular photograph wherein both the equipment and the photographer (me) were severely limited. The photograph I would like to talk about is this:


A bit of background on this shot: This photo was taken about a month after I started in photography, around May of 2009. My camera back then was a “heavy” Nikon D60 with a 18-55mm kit lens. I wish I brought that camera with me when I took this photo but instead I had my “pocket” Canon G10. Now the G10 is known for very poor low light performance because some moron in Canon engineering thought they could get away with cramming 14 megapixels into such a tiny sensor. At ISO 400 the output is so noisy that you are better off not taking the shot at all. But I did. Because I didn’t know any better. I looked at the EXIF data and it said I shot in auto mode, ISO 400, f2.8 at 1/8s. I am now very familiar with the G10 and I would say that, at that time, the camera was pushing real hard to capture the image as best as it could. It’s at its widest aperture of f2.8 and just enough shutter speed (1/8s) for the real focal length of about 6mm (28mm full frame equiv). If I remember correctly, I didn’t have a tripod. If I did then there’s no reason why I would not have used ISO 100 and get away with half a second exposure. I was a n00b but not completely dumb you know :-p

I don’t remember how I processed the photograph but there must have been some, if not too much, noise reduction applied. I probably didn’t bother correcting the white balance. After all, winter in Canberra is characterized by strong magenta tint in the sky during sunset and I have always wanted to capture that.

I would like to critic my composition as well. I used a combination of strong lead-in lines, rule of thirds in the vertical while using symmetry in the horizontal to capture the reflection. I think I framed it a bit too much to the left thus making the bridge feel like it wants to leave the view. That building visible on the left is nicely framed by the bridge and the shadows on the water. A bit underexposed for my taste but just enough so as not to blow up the highlights coming from the bridge lights that emphasize the lines leading towards the parliament house (that pointed structure at the end of the bridge). I really would like to brighten up the bridge and the building by just a few notches and tone down the bluish color cast. A touch of fill light should also improve the overall exposure without destroying the mood.

After all of that, the question remains: Why discuss this particular rookie shot? Because this rookie shot sold for $852!

So again, it’s never the gear. My expensive DLSRs have not made any significant sales yet but two of my point-and-shoot cameras have already paid up for themselves. Amazing! Granting that photo sales are subject to a huge amount of luck, people or corporations are willing to pay if they think that the photograph is worth it.

They say that the best camera is the one that’s with you. I say, the best camera is the one you can never afford. So make do with what you already have and resist the temptation to buy more gear. A lot of amateurs are getting crazy over the latest and greatest equipment and spend more time in rumours than actual photography. Stop that already.