Category Archives: photo equipment

Iphone SE camera compared to equivalent Megapixel camera

I almost have a digital camera every where I go, but it really necessary? Are phone cameras getting good enough to replace standard point and shoot cameras? My comparison includes a Canon GX9. This is an older camera but it was the Cadillac of point and shoot cameras when it was first released. 

The Gx9 sports a 7-44 zoom lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8. It’s capable of shooting raw files. Best of all, the megapixel count is identical to the Iphone SE. Both are 12 megapixels. The Iphone SE has the same camera as the Iphone  6s. I prefer the smaller Iphone SE because it fits in a pocket better.

Images taken with the iphone were shot at ISO 25 at f 2.2. The Gx9 was set at ISO 100 at f/4. Shutter speeds were selected by the cameras and varied slightly but were high shutter speeds.

I shot similar photos with each camera, As the reader I want you to guess which is which. All files were captured as JPG’s with no modification. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Of course there are limitations when using a phone camera. They will not function as well in lower light and you don’t have zoom capability on many phones. However point and shoot cameras are also limited in low light. The GX9 can probably outdo the Iphone SE because of its raw file capability which allows more leeway in post processing. Of course the newest Iphone 7 also has raw file capability.

Lets see if you guessed right:

images A,F,Q,and X are from the Iphone SE.

Converting a camera to infrared

Last year I had a Fuji s3 converted to infrared. is the site that I visited and decided to utilize their services. I paid $275 for the conversion. Turn around was reasonably quick. It took about 10 days. There are a number of filter options available for conversion, If I remember correctly I went with a standard filter. I probably wouldn’t recommend using the Fuji S3 for conversion because its limited in doing a color balance once converted. The Fuji S2 cannot be converted due to the way the sensor is designed. You cannot use the original raw files to get the color effects wanted, unless you convert them to DNG files. Then by using Adobe’s DNG profile editor you can establish a profile for the Fuji camera and utilize the profile in camera raw. Results are good but the DNG file is not as large as the original raw file so you will be limited on how large you could print an image. The DNG files are around 17 mb when opened in Photoshop, Below are some sample photos taken this year.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

In general my best results were on days with cumulus clouds and locations that included water. Water is cool and doesn’t reflect much infrared. Therefore it appears darker in the photos. Chlorophyll reflects a lot of infrared so trees and grass will appear light in black and white infrared photos and will appear in false colors when shooting images in color. Colors can be manipulated by adjusting hue and saturation. Infrared photos really need to include something which reflects infrared or the images will be very bland. You can include people in the photos but there colors will not be natural.

Comparing Lumix g7 100-300mm lens to Canon 100-400 lens

My Canon 100-400 mm has always been my go to lens for wildlife photography, Unfortunately it is big  and bulky and can really wear you out if you drag it around all day. I recently purchased a used 100-300 mm Panasonic Lumix lens for my g7 which is a mirrorless camera. The Canon 10–400 weighs 55,4 ounces and a Canon body, the 50d weighs 1.8 lbs. The lens and camera body together total out at 5.3 lbs. The lumix g7 weighs 12.7 ounces and the 100-300 lens weighs  1.14 lbs . The lens and camera body total out under two pounds. If you are traveling. and on foot a lot,  the convenience of a lighter camera- lens combination is a major consideration.

If I were intending to make large prints I would definitely use the 100-400 Canon lens. On the other hand if am taking travel pics I’ll chose the lighter combination.

I opted to use the 50d with the Canon 100-400 because of a similar pixel count,  15.1 megapixels for the 50d versus the 16 megapixel count of the g7.

Below are comparisons of the 2 lenses. All images were raw and converted to jpg with no sharpening added. All photos were handheld and all images were taken at 800 ISO in order to get fast shutter speeds and f/stops with some depth of field. I took the photos handheld because that is the most likely way I will use both lenses.

The two images above were shot at maximum focal length. The 50d has a 1.6 crop factor making a 400 mm a 35 mm equivalent of 640 mm and the g7 has a crop factor of 2 making its 35 mm equivalence 600 mm. You will need to click on the photos to enlarge them in order to get a better idea how the lenses compare. On this image there was some atmospheric distortion due to the ground heating up from a warm sun.

The above two images are cropped to the actual pixels. Atmospheric distortion is obvious. The Canon 100-400 seems to hold up better.

Birds in flight are captured using continuous firing. The first image is full frame the second actual pixels, The image holds up better at a shorter focal length.

As you compare the canon lens you can see its a little sharper.

The canon works better for moving birds because you can track them better. With the mirrorless g7 an image appears in the viewfinder right after you shoot, blocking a live view.

Again comparing the canon and g7 the canon 100-400 has an edge.

I also did some tests using the g7 on continuous focus and continuous fire and I was relatively happy with the results.  The second picture is the actual pixel crop. Again, I reiterate the ability to follow a moving target with a mirrorless camera can be quite a challenge.

In conclusion I would recommend the g7 for travel and especially for photos that didn’t require tracking a moving object. The Canon 100-400 wins out but the cost is significantly different.

I paid under $400 (used) for the Panasonic lens and $1400 for the Canon lens which was new when I bought it.


Dogs of Wehrspan I

During the last 30 days I’ve taken some photos of the dogs that frequent the dog run at Lake Wehrspann near Chalco Hills. These are quick snapshots taken with a Canon SL1. The dogs are there to run and have fun so you can imagine that they probably don’t stay still for portraits. The pictures are a record and not meant to be fancy photos. A good portrait of a dog needs to be taken in a studio where light control and the dogs position can be manipulated. It’s much easier to get a photo with the ears up when the canine has fewer distractions.


This dog is deaf

This dog is deaf

This dog is under one year old and responds well to hand signals. The dog vest with “deaf dog” is there in case the dog gets away from the owners.

13.5 year old Springer Spaniel

13.5 year old Springer Spaniel

This is Cosmo. He is a 13 1/2 year old Springer Spaniel. He has an arthritic shoulder and limps because of it. He still enjoys his walks

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The Brittany in this photo belongs to me. He is the “Forrest Gump” of Wehrspann since he get into lots of the photos. He feels compelled to greet every dog at the park and ends up in many of the photos.

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Some people run their dogs on the dam. They are required to leash those animals. The dog run allows the dogs to run free.

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This little guy is one of the most photogenic at the park and he is a real regular at the park.

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Tbone is a Brittany. This breed needs a minimum of one hour of good exercise a day. He gets a morning walk and another one in the afternoon.IMG_2301 IMG_2302 IMG_2304b IMG_2307 Untitled-1bb

This big guy is really laid back and a little easier to get a photo of. I used a Canon SL1 at the park with a Tamron 18-270 lens. This is a handy lens to photograph dogs. The autofocus is a little slow for fast moving animals however. I chose the camera because it is very light and I have a lens with a broad zoom range that fits on it. To get truly sharp photos with fast moving dogs one would probably need a pro body or at least a Canon 5d mark III combined with a stabilized Canon L glass lens such as a 70-200. Such a combo is quite heavy compared to the SL1 and would be tiring to carry around.

This is group one of the dogs I photographed. There will be more to come in future posts.

I brushed off the old Speed Graphic camera and exposed some 4×5 b&w film

IMG_8054I bought this Speed Graphic camera at least 35 years ago and seldom used it so I bought some Arista EDU 4×5 100 ISO film and took a few pictures in the Omaha area.

Speed grapic with owner

Speed grapic with owner

You might as well see the photographer. Having been a professional for 30 plus years its nice to pick up a camera and do what ever you want and not be concerned whether it will turn you a dollar or not. The speed graphic is relatively quick to use compared to a view camera. I usually use the rangefinder and camera viewfinder and handhold my shots rather than drag out a tripod. 4×5 film holders take up a fair amount of room so I usually only take a few with and stay close enough to my car if I need more.

Omaha Skyline

Omaha Skyline

This image was taken with Arista EDU 4×5 100 ISO film. Freestyle Photography out of California sells this sheet film and it is reasonably priced compared to Kodak or Ilford films. I process this film in Ilfosol 3 developer at 68 degrees for 6.5 minutes using film developing tubes and constant agitation. Dust is a constant problem when drying film especially in winter. I use a humidifier in the room that I dry the film. All chemicals are mixed with distilled water.

Bob Kerry Walking Bridge in Omaha

Bob Kerry Walking Bridge in Omaha

The 4×5 negatives are scanned with an Epson v700 scanner which can handle 4×5 negatives and transparencies. Software provided with the scanner is relatively easy to use allowing you to adjust curves, levels, and color. I usually scan at 4800 dpi and touch up the image file which will have some dust and scratches. The file size is close to 100 mb. I scale the image down to send to local printers. The Omaha walking bridge is a popular spot near downtown Omaha and is very popular with photographers.

Joselyn Art Museum

Joselyn Art Museum

Omaha is not over run with interesting architecture but I’ve always admired the Joselyn Art Museum. This is a popular spot for wedding photography shots. I believe it is necessary to get permission from the museum to us it as a background prop in your wedding shots,

Holy Shrine on Interstate 80 west of Omaha

Holy Shrine on Interstate 80 west of Omaha

The first time I saw this shrine from interstate 80 I thought it was an oversized corn crib. In order to get close to the shrine you have to take the exit going to Gretna, south of the interstate about a mile and there will be a sign indicating the shrine is west on gravel. This picture was taken form that location.

Joslyn Museum Omaha

Joslyn Museum Omaha