And now, to unveil the secret of yesterday's mystery box!
Friends, I have purchased a new camera -- or rather, a new-to-me camera, because this camera dates from the photographic Dark Ages of 2005. It's a Canon Digital Rebel XT 8 MP (that's megapixels) and I purchased it on eBay for about $200.
That's low for a camera like this (with lens included), but it was missing a few basics (lens cover, battery recharger) you can pick up cheap online. I do most of my research on Amazon, and this camera received -- and continues to receive -- great reviews from owners. Needless to say, the sky's the limit when it comes to camera equipment.
Here's a test shot of Michael in his funky new eyeglass frames, focused manually (click pics to see larger).
Having had it less than a day, I think what I notice most is the depth of field as well as a richness my other cameras lack(ed) -- this despite using the rather low-end Canon zoom lens the camera came with originally and which many owners upgrade almost immediately.
I'd been thinking about getting a DSLR (that's short for Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera for a long time. Till now, every camera I've owned has been a point-and-shoot, my most recent being a Canon S90, which I love (though Michael finds it slow). I've had it for roughly two years and I will continue to use it. It's extremely lightweight and fits into a jacket pocket.
Before the S90 I used a Canon SD1000 that had many fewer features -- which some may prefer -- and is a great buy today if you're in the market for a starter digital camera (less than $100). The more I've read about megapixels, the more I've come to realize that for my purposes -- posting photos online -- you don't need more than 5-6 megapixels, if that. The quality of the lens and the skill of the photographer are much more important.
What is nice about having more megapixels is that you can crop a photo to, say, 1/3 the original size and still retain a sharp image. My new Canon Digital Rebel XT has 8 mp, the S90 has 10 mp, and the SD1000, 7.1. Camera companies tout ever-higher megapixel numbers primarily to sell more cameras. Remember: the more megapixels per photo, the more room each image takes up on your computer. This can add up very rapidly.
Both the S90 and the SD1000 can take video; the Digital Rebel XT cannot.
I appreciate good photography, though I know relatively little about it. When it comes to blogs, I will admit that I'm sometimes very impressed -- and intimidated -- by the high quality of the photography (Casey comes to mind) and this has definitely inspired me to up my game.
Photography isn't everyone's strong point, obviously, and learning how to take a good picture can take time. It's easy to fall into the habit of snapping all your sewing photos against the same bedroom wall. We nosy readers want to see your whole house!
I won't do extensive photo editing. My photos go through my old iPhoto program (Version 6.0.6) that came with my laptop five years ago. I can't stand the new iPhoto on my new iMac -- I think it's Version 10; I find it overly complex. Most of the photo editing I do is cropping and minor color correction -- nothing fancy -- and I don't want to spend a lot of time doing it. I post photos nearly every day and I need something fast with a minimum of steps.
Whenever possible, I use natural light, though artificial light can be effective too, especially in sequins.
My old Canon SD1000 had a wonderful Macro setting for close, close, close-ups that I think is superior to the one on my S90, actually. If you've never used your camera's Macro setting, give it a try -- it's fun!
Anyway, being a very visual person, I love to see lots of photos on blogs and sometimes lose patience if there's too much text without an image. I grew up on pop-up books.
A brief description of my process: I take a shot -- I never use the flash, btw; it's turned off -- download it into iPhoto, and do whatever editing is necessary, if any. I then open Picasa for Mac on my computer, and from there, upload the photo into my online Picasa file (I generally start a new file for every new project). You can explore my public files here.
This takes about a minute and the reason I use Picasa is that it allows me to upload directly into Picasa online. (Before I had a Mac, I used Picasa for everything -- editing and uploading.) Now that I have cable Internet, the uploading is super-fast and I'm more inclined to upload larger files (you choose the size of the file when you're in upload mode).
From my online Picasa file, I can embed images into my blog, using the smaller of the two medium sizes (400 px) offered. I do it so often that it's second nature and very, very fast.
In closing, readers, how about you? If you have a sewing blog, do you post a lot of photos? Do you find the process of taking the shot, downloading it, editing it, uploading to a host website, etc., very time-consuming?
Do you use a point-and-shoot or a DSLR camera? Anything you particularly like or don't like about your camera or the photo editing software you use?
I hope this post was helpful. If you have any photography-related questions just ask -- Casey. Seriously, if I can answer them, I will.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!