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Why DSLR? – Camera Sensors

March 20, 2011 3 comments

Friends, lot of us have a doubt why should we go for DSLR. In this post, will try to tell you about one of the basic difference I have learned, that makes DSLR special. Image Sensor Size. Respecting Suresh and Venkat’s comments on my last post, I will try my best to stick-on to lay-man terms.

Digital SLR cameras uses sensors to record image, just a replacement for photo films to capture the image. So, we expect what ever the 35mm films used to record, to be recorded on our camera, isn’t it? But thats not the case. The sensor size make the difference. Look at the below image.

Full frame vs DX - APS Camera

Cropping factor of DSLR cameras

Lets say the rounded frame is what a camera sees through its lens. The larger rectangle is what the SLR(film) camera registers, and so the same is captured by the professional DLSR cameras. And because of that reason, the high-end DSLR cameras are also called “Full Frame DSLR”. Can you see the inner rectangle? this is what semi-professional & few basic DSLR camera (like my D5000) can register.

So, what you get is a cropped image of original. Lets say we have a professional 5Mega pixel DSLR camera & a basic 5 Mega Pixel DSLR camera, and we are taking same object. Though you get same resolution image, you can see a outer portion is cropped, because, the remaining portion is digitally enlarged (digital zooming effect). And as a result chances of getting a noisy image is more.

If so, then whats the status with Point & Shoot and Mobile cameras? Look at the below image, the inner most rectangle is what you got to see in mobile camera & second inner rectangle is what you see in point & shoot camera.

DSLR Vs Point Shoot & Mobile camera sensor recordings

DSLR Vs Point Shoot & Mobile camera sensor recordings

Sensor sizes make a huge difference, between cameras. Now we have discussed one of the reasons why we find many noisy images on our mobile/point & shoot cameras. Suresh & Venket, let me know if you still find too technical.

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Categories: Photography Tags: ,

10X Fooled

March 4, 2011 5 comments

Friends, one of the main parameters we look at when buying a digital camera is the number of “X” optical zooms.  Isn’t it?  I recently learned a hard truth.  We have been FOOLED by the marketing strategy, so far!!!
We all have learned in high school physics that image magnification is based on the focal length of the lens.  Nothing has changed from that.  All the lens have focal length written on the side like 18mm-55mm, or 50mm-80mm etc (even for point & shoot camera).  So, in camera world the X calculation is,

X =  (maximum focal length – minimum focal length) / minimal focal length;

ie., for 18mm-55mm lens,

X = (55 – 18) / 18  = 2 (approx)

Nikon 18mm - 55mm DX lens

If so, for a 600mm-600mm lens, X = 1; isn’t it?  So, does it mean it is not providing any magnification?

Nikon 600mm lens

The camera manufacturers has changed the whole theory and have their own way of representing a attractive “X” values, especially for point and shoot camera.  Are it you curious to know what these guys mean?  For that we have to know focal length equivalence factor.  This number is based on the lens each camera brand uses, and in turn means they define it themselves.

So, Maximum focal length = Magnification factor (X number) * focal length equivalence

Now we have to find the focal length equivalence for the camera.  Many popular brands follow either 28mm or 35mm focal length.  For writing this blog I was going through few point & shoot camera specifications.  Found that Nikon and Canon camera specs have this focal length equivalence number on somewhere easily missable part of their specs within a bracket.  Other brands like Olympus doesn’t care to publish this info on the specs.

Nevertheless, now you know how to find that with X value and Maximum focal length (found on lens side).  Don’t go by just X value.  Next time I will try to come up with some truth about MP (Mega pixel).

Categories: Photography

Photography, The beginning

February 16, 2011 3 comments

Last weekend was one of the best spent in last few months.  Whoever knows me or have read my first blog would have come to conclusion, that I went somewhere for photoshoot. A small change, this time I went for a Digital Photography workshop, by a well known wildlife photographer and ‘India Nature Watch’ co-founder, Kalyan Varma (http://kalyanvarma.net/workshop-intro).  Friends, as per your requests, I am blogging the overview of what happened on those two days.

Saturday, the session started of with a introductory video explaining the political and sensational impact of photography all around the world.  Kalyan has divided the first day session into (a) Science, (b) Art and (c) Equipments.  The morning session (Science) talked about how camera works, whats Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, Exposure, White balance, Tonal ranges, Metering etc.  Does this list gives a feeling that its too technical, and confusing.  Its not.  Thanks to Kalyan Varma’s amazing presentation skills.  I would be able to explain each of these even if you wake me in my mid night sleep.

Next section was totally from different perspective, Art.  What make a photograph look great, Compositions, Rule of third, lines, curves, colors, space, frames, patterns and … so on.  When I recollect, its amazing how these many concepts are still in my mind.  The last session on day one, was about equipments.  Kalyan spoke about the different camera models, lens, accessories and where to buy them etc.  He gave tips about how to maintain camera too.  There are few surprises.  He also provided us with a goodies bag, with a calendar containing Kalyan’s wild life shots, a T-Shirt (his love for linux shows up as penguin), a small booklet with the concepts explained in morning first section and a CD with useful tools.

The second day started with at 7 AM in Lalbaugh, with hands on experience session.  Kalyan gave couple of assignments to shoot.  He & his associate, Ganesh, mentored us during the session.  It was followed by brief session on portraits.  He had some clever trick up his sleeve.  It was 10, when we came back to hotel for post processing session.  The post processing session was about useful tools that can enhance the photograph.  He also covered few debatable post processing tools.  After that we were given time to do some post processing work with the photographs shot in Lalbaugh.

The most useful session of the day was the critics section.  Each of us were asked to provide 4 of our best photographs (2 taken before workshop and 2 during Lalbaugh session).  The comments were unbiased and straight forward.  The comments contained what made it a great photograph or what would have made it a great photograph or why the photograph didn’t make impact.  At last, he spoke about photography for our future; Ways of exploring the photography skills and utilizing the photography for the community.

My mind was full of ambitious thoughts during my return back journey to home.  Guys, watch out for my 2012 calendar.  I am aiming at bring in a brief emotion when you flick the pages every month.  Let me hold the secret about the theme.  But for sure, it will not be butterflies, sunsets nor rain.

Sunday hit the bed with a satisfaction about meaningfully spent Rs.6000.

Categories: Photography

Accidental Photographer

March 21, 2010 1 comment

My brother presented me a costly mobile 4 years ago, which had 2MP camera.  Being the first person to have camera mobile, in my team (office), I became the undeclared official photographer for small birthday parties and get-togethers.  Abiding to the common rule, my friends wished a camera during my return from on-site trip.  Having a digital camera at hand, I started to click on everything I found interesting.  I never bothered about lighting, flash, focus and whatever.

My friend’s marriage; Bride and Bridegroom photo shoot was in progress.  I peeped my nose with a small cam, disturbing the photographer.  Anyone could say, I was just too happy to hold the camera and rather than being a good cameraman.  The photographer on an encouraging note, advised with few tips.  For first time I felt, there was no born talent in me, just the enthusiasm.

On a trip to Yercaud, my friend has brought his digital SLR camera and it was waiting for someone to takeover.  Needless to say, I took it with same enthusiasm.  There were quite some friends waiting to lose his bachelorhood, who became my models.  To my pleasure my friends started to arrange for frequent trips, and someone brought their camera (for me).

On a casual day, found few of my pics something different and uploaded it in flickr.  It was a more of boasting than a workmanship.  Before I could say to any of my friends, some unknown person has left me few encouraging note.  Still not sure, if I could buy a camera and take photography serious.  It takes a lot of concentration and passion to be a good photographer.

Leave your comments in my photostream in http://www.flickr.com/photos/arunvelusamy/

Categories: Photography