Hi welcome to RideToNirvana. Some things that life has given me and I am so greatful to share them with others. There are somethings that make us diffrent from others and give us our identity ,Then we find people with similar notes and it becomes music. Most of it is dedicated to Himachal , The Himalyas, Rock Music and other things that matter.


Friday, May 11, 2007

My new Toy Canon 400D(Rebel XTi)

I was using a P2S Sony till now. Then I decided to pamper myself a bit so bought a bigger Canon 400d . Being one of the best entry level SLR camera its very powerful yet very convenient. Deciding the camera these days is not an easy task that too if you are running on a limited budget like mine and need the most out of your money. Upgrading later is a long story and not very convenient as SLR cameras are expensive and one expects to use it at least for a couple of years before buying a new one.

The factors I considered before deciding were:

1.PRICE !!!!! - When I started looking for the best in my budget I had different sourcing options like
a> ask some friend /relative to get one for me from the US or Singapore. That was not very convenient as international warranties are not valid in India hence I would get the camera without a warranty and will need to ask somebody for a favor.
b>Another option was to buy it from a website and get it delivered. Though this looks like a good option but I was not very comfortable paying through my CC to foreign website and again International Currier rates are high.
c>Buy it from an Indian website. I found only 2 websites http://www.ebay.in/ that i never rely on and http://www.jjmehta.com/ jjmehta looked like a good option though the prices were on the higher side. For some products even higher that the dealer price. Local dealers-- after searching for a SLR in the local market and wasting one complete afternoon it was clear that only photography shops keep SLR cameras. Well after visiting the major stores in Delhi mainly in CP I was shore of one thing that buying a camera from a authorized shop was waste of money as the prices were 30-40% higher that foreign or gray market prices.

Finally I bought my Canon 400D XTi from one of the recommended local dealers in Chandni Chok and he gave me a real good bargain. Though there is no warranty I’m shore the repair cost in 2 years is not going to be more than the extra $$ I would have paid for the warranty and bill. The worst part is that the warranty dose not cover breakage and damage due to water, heat or moisture.

Mega Pixel : The Canon400D has a 10.1 MP sensor. and is capable of processing images in both RAW "CR2"and jpg format.

Standard Lens: The camera comes with a 18-55 MM standard-----canon lens the lens cannot be bought without the camera. The lens though not very powerful but is good enough as a primary lens and is capable of capturing good landscapes at 18MM to anything as small as an Ladybird at 55MM. The F/stop is also great, especially since it is low (f/3.5 – f/5.3). Also extra lenses for canon are better priced than Nikon and option of getting 3rd party lenses is more. Here is a review about the lens: http://photo.net/equipment/canon/efs18-55/review/

The main features of the EOS 400D are :

• 10.1 effective Megapixels

• APS-C size 22.2 x 14.8 mm CMOS image sensor.

• Focal length of 1.6x.

• Dust removal system.

• 3 frames per second - maximum of 27 JPEG or 10 RAW.

• 9-point auto focus system.

• 2.5-inc LCD monitor.

Apart from the camera I bought a SanDisk CompactFlash 2 GB Extreme III memory card as each click with the 400d costs around 20-30 MB in raw format.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Photography - F/8 and Be There

A professional photographer once gave me an advise, he said if you have a camera, you are experimental and innovative with experience you will become a good photographer.

Well I'm still an armature and here is what I have learnt gathering information from the Internet and practice.

I'm not going into details about types of cameras etc .My focus is on Digital cameras. Digital cameras have changed the way the world looks at photography.
There are two basic types of cameras
1. Point and shoot camera- Most people today use point and shoot digital cameras. Though the quality of these cameras has improved with time but they have very few manual functions to play around with.
2. SLR or Single Lens Reflector cameras use the same lens to view an object and capture it so what you see is what you capture. SLR cameras have full manual functions and give more flexibility and creativity.

It may be it a film camera of a Digital SLR camera the basics of photography remain same.
There are some simple things that can change the was you look through your camera.

1. Light.
2. Shutter Speed.
3. Aperture.
4. Focal Length.

Light is the most crucial factor in a photograph. one will always need enough light to capture the subject but the volume and direction of light is critical.

2. Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the time for which the shutter window will remain open and expose the film or the digital sensor to outside light. (Remember the dark room where photographs ware processed in dim light. )

When neither the camera or the subject are moving the shutter speed is not very important. But when either one is moving shutter speed becomes relevant. If you are trying to capture a fast moving sports car you will need a fast shutter like 1/4000 (4000'th part of 1 second. Modern day cameras are capable of doing 1/8000 to even 1/16000) if you use a slower speed say 1/2 seconds you will find fading of Motion Blur . Again motion blur is not always a bad thing it is really interesting to give pictures a motion blur. In this photograph the rider looks still and the back ground is blur. Though I was standing on the side of the road and my friend was riding fast I was able to capture him and the bike you can see the motion blur on the bike as it looks shaky. The background is also blur focusing on the rider that is another trick using a wide aperture.

3. Aperture and DOF (Depth of Field)
Aperture is how the lens controls the light going through it.
Aperture is calculated in terms of "f" value. There is a mathematical formula for aperture that i have never been able to understand of remember. Simple thumb rule is more the shutter opens lower is the "f" value or aperture.

Looking at the figure
at f/2.8 the shutter opens wide and lets a lot of light inside the camera on to the sensor. The amount of light reduces as the increase in f/value

at f/22 the shutter opens very less hence very less light gets in.

Why do we need to change aperture ?
The answer to the question is DOF or Depth Of Field precisely the focus of the photograph.

Here is an example

The yellow flower and The Yellow Field

The difference between the two is that in the first picture the yellow flower is sharp and focused where as in the second picture the background is clear and the flower is blur.

How did I do this ? Aperture is the answer. For the first picture i used a lower aperture value of f/2.8 for a shallow DOF in the second picture I used f/8.0 hence a deeper DOF and the flower near to the camera got blur.

The first image of my friend riding his bike is a good example as I used a small "f" value f/2.8 hence the background in that picture is blur but because of fast shutter speed the bike and the rider are clear and sharper.

Hence photography is all about Shutter speed aperture and focal length.

4. Focal Length
I used the term Focal Length or 35MM camera. It means that the lens used on the camera is 35MM wide. Here is a very good link to understand focal length.


Below is a landscape that has been shot from the same camera using different lenses .




Very simply, it is the distance from the lens to the film/sensor, when focused on a subject at infinity. In other words, focal length equals image distance for a far subject. To focus on something closer than infinity, the lens is moved farther away from the film. This is why most lenses get longer when you turn the focusing ring. The distances follow this formula:


This means a 400mm lens should be 400mm long. If you get out your ruler and measure it, you will find it is less than 400mm. That is because a camera lens really has many individual glass lenses inside, and this makes it behave as if it is longer than it really is. This is called "telephoto."
Aperture ,focal length and shutter speed combined give really good results.

To get a shallow DOF one can use a longer lens like 200mm . Photographers who use long lenses are able to get the shallow affect with blur background easily with larger aperture like f/1.8. Specially portraits and fashion photographers use longer lenses with large aperture size. On the other hand nature and landscape photographers also use long lenses as long as 800mm but with smaller apertures like f/16 to f/32 so that the complete photograph is sharp and clear.

If you change one component (such as aperture), another component (such as shutter speed) needs to be adjusted while the third component (ISO, in this case) stays constant.

Tip: Use a Fast Enough Shutter SpeedThe general rule is to choose a shutter speed with a fraction denominator that's larger than the focal length of the lens. For example, a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. would be ideal if you're using a 50mm lens or a shutter speed of 1/300 sec. if you're using a 300mm telephoto lens.


What if you don't want sharp results? Good question. One very popular and fun technique - called panning - allows you to capture a relatively sharp subject against a super blurred background.

If you try this, keep three things in mind.
Be prepared to take a lot of pictures. This takes a lot of trial and error to get winning results. It helps to team up with a friend who is willing to ride by you again and again while you master the panning technique. Don't worry if your subject is not perfectly sharp. As long as your main subject is relatively sharp - that is the main goal. Try to frame your subject so that it is moving into the scene instead of out of the scene. In other words, if the subject is moving from left to right, it should be slightly to the left.

Small f number = small depth of field