Gear Talk: EF 50mm f/1.8

I had lent my cheapshit EF 50mm f/1.8 to a coworker for a few weeks and, suprisingly, I did come to miss it. Just got it back last week and I spent the afternoon fooling around with it (and only it) on the camera.

Having a variable zoom range is handy, but zoom lenses just can't beat prime lenses when it comes to smooth bokeh.

This shot was achieved by using custom aperture. Said aperture was made using state of the art materials and equipment, namely...

a box cutter, an index card, and a black marker pen.

Another new accessory that I had crafted for this lens is a lens hood.

Without lens hood

With lens hood

Of course, the lens isn't designed to be mounted in the reverse position, so it's not really surprising that this configuration is prone to glare, which kills the image contrast. Surprisingly, a cardboard tube from a roll of tissue paper did improve the image quality somewhat.

Other shots for the day, all taken with the 50mm.

2 of 3 resident felines

A bath towel 

Window screen 

Microfiber cloth for cleaning lenses 

Tip of a dart 

A spray nozzle

The afternoon sun


Minor rant about Canon's slogan

I consider myself a photography enthusiast, and I am grateful to Canon for creating products which allow me to share what I've seen. I'm quite attached to my SLR, and I like the fact that the Canon EOS (Electro-Optical System) shares the same name as the Greek Titan goddess of the dawn.

In addition to this, I am quite fond of the company's name. It's a homophone of "cannon", a instrument which also involves shooting ("I'm a Canon shooter", and all the innuendo one can also pull out of similarly worded puns). Intentionally or not, the word "canon"  in the English language also has a number of meanings, many of which could be thought of as very fitting for tools of any art.

However, no amount of brand loyalty will sway me from saying this:

Their current slogan is pathetic.

Yes, I know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Canon has no doubt been a leader in the field of imaging, but that doesn't change the fact that their slogan "Delighting you always" is a poor choice of words for 3 specific reasons.

1. It's ambiguous.
The slogan's literal wording gives us no idea about their actual products or services. Are we talking about cameras, ice cream, amusement parks, or clowns for hire?

A few might think that the presence of the word "light" in "delighting" is a subtle brag about the company's expertise in optics. That is, of course, until you realize the the prefix "de-" could imply negation (as in "degenerate" and "degrade"). Not a very bright idea, Canon.

2. It lacks impact.
"Delight" is a word that I cannot take seriously. In terms of blandness, it's only a notch below generic words such as "good", "pretty", and "happy".

3. It's assuming too much.
Pay attention to the verb tense. It is asserting that the company is already delighting you regardless of whether or not you have actually paid attention to any image made by their products. If I were a potential customer who has yet to buy any of their products, I would have found this downright arrogant. It's not even a promise; it's just a statement.

Compare this to Nikon's "At the heart of the image", Sony's "make.believe", or Olympus's "Your Vision, Our Future". Although not as bad as Pentax's "Be interesting", "Delighting you always" is still hardly professional-sounding. In a few spare hours (at home, not at work), I've thought of a few more palatable alternatives.

Generic imaging:
  • Seeing beyond
  • Imag(in)e everything
  • Sharing your vision
  • Envision the future
  • The world is your canvas
  • Let the image speak for itself
  • Perfection worth a thousand words
Print and display-specific:
  • Bringing colors to life
  • Witness life. Shoot to immortalize.
  • Canon. Go shoot yourselves.

Seriously, Canon, I know that imaging is your forte, but words are important too. There's nothing to lose in exercising both precision engineering and precision of language.


Black Hole Sun

"Black hole sun,
Won't you come
And wash away the rain?"

Second attempt at time lapse.

The past 24 hours has had a couple in interesting phenomena, both meteorological and astronomical. Sun showers, dark halos surrounding clouds, and, just this morning, a setting moon coinciding with a rising sun. Also the first time in weeks that I've seen several hours of clear sky. It really does give one the impression of a restless sky father messing around with the heavens.

Good Friday's been good


Sun showers and freezing rain

Something I've wanted to do for quite a while now: shoot rain at 1/1000 to 1/2000 of a second to "stop" the raindrops in mid-air. Yeah, that Neo vs. Smith fight in the rain (The Matrix Revolutions) made quite an impression on me.

Lighting had always been the primary constraint since rain typically came with rainclouds (i.e. less light meant slower shutter speed for correct exposure, which meant that raindrops would appear as streaks instead of distinct droplets in the the captured photograph).

I've been thinking that the shot would have required a cumbersome artificial lighting setup to allow fast shutter speeds, but we were fortunate enough to witness a rare instance of light sunshower this afternoon.


Pic of the day (2012/04/02)

I climbed up the 30-foot-high water tower again for another round of astrophotography (for time lapse this time). As usual, the weather wasn't cooperative for long, so I thought, "Screw this, let's just do a pic for that competition."

Having only one dSLR and no volunteers to rely on, I had to make do with a point and shoot on a tripod. Currently hoping that the composition and deliberate ambiguity would make up for the lack of manual controls, noise reduction, and resolving power on the IXUS 105. Also, the pic's cropped a bit since 3:4 aspect ratio doesn't work too well for portraits.

Incidentally, that's the 600D in my hands. I was planning to use the Lensbaby fisheye for the timelapse, but that wasn't very visible so I slapped on the EF-S 18-135 instead.

I suppose that the astrophotography sessions could also count as a workout of sorts since that typically involves ascending and descending this structure 5-10 times as the hours pass.