Tips on shooting good landscape


The question rose on dpreview a few days ago “How to shoot sunsets?” and resulted in a very interesting thread of 42 posts.

In this article I will try, once more, to summarize this thread while also introducing to it some of my personal knowledge since I’m quite a landscape photography lover.

N.B.: I have changed the title from sunset to landscape since most probably the original poster meant “shooting landscape at sunset”
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Canon EOS 30D or 400D – Summary –

One of the hottest subject currently on DPreview, and probably other photography forums. Whether you already own a Canon DSLR and you want a new one, or you are just about to make the plunge, or even if you just bought the new 30D a few weeks ago you are surely wondering about the all new Canon EOS 400D that was recently announced

After extensive reading of my posts, I am trying to summarize for you the advantages and disadvantages of each of the xxD models and the famous 400D.

Please note that I build the list from various posts that I read on DP-Review and this is not my personal opinion, if you have anything to add to this list please feel free to leave a comment.

Canon EOS 400D
1) More megapixels:
The Canon EOS 400D offers 10 megapixels against 6 for the Canon EOS 10D and 8 for the Canon EOS 20D and 30D. The main advantage of these megapixels is, obviously, more ability to crop and bigger printing size
2) Dust removal:
The Canon EOS 400D is the FIRST Canon digital camera that is armed with the EOS Integrated Cleaning System that can clean the sensor from dust
3) Smaller and Lighter:
This is a highly debatable point, but it seems that for many the fact of the Canon EOS 400D is lighter and smaller makes it an advantage
4) Has the new Canon “standards”:
The Canon EOS 400D inherits the 2.5inch LCD and the RGB histogram from the Canon EOS 30D

1) No PC Sync:
The Canon EOS 400D doesn’t support Canon’s WFT-E1/E1A wired/wireless transmitter
2) New/smaller capacity batteries
The Canon EOS 400D uses the NB-2LH battery pack that, depending on the manual, should take approx. 500 shots flash off
3) No top LCD status screen
4) No Control wheel

Canon EOS xxD
1) Longer shutter life
The shutter life of the 400D is in the 35,000 50,000 actuations range, the 20D is in the 70,000 100,000 actuations range and the 30D is in the 100,000 actuations range
2) Better ergonomics
To be honest, at least for me, it is hard to beat the xxD ergonomics with its control wheel and joystick
3) Better build
Although not weather sealed, the xxD series build quality is excellentalloy where as the Canon EOS400D is plastic build and thus lighter
4) Spot meter
The spot meter, although only found on the Canon EOS 30D is a great advantage for the xxD series over the 400D
5) Better Viewfinder
The Canon EOS xxd Series viewfinder is bigger than the Canon EOS 400D
6) Better noise level
Although fiercly debated, some do think that the noise level at high ISO of the xxD series will still be better than the Canon EOS 400D
7) Faster fps
Both the Canon EOS 20D and the Canon EOS 30D can acheive up to 5 frames per second in continious shooting mode as for the speed of the Canon EOS 400D is limited to 3fps

Really hard to get a conclusion from all that, but my best guess is that if you currently own a Canon EOS 3xxD and happy with itmeaning you don’t feel its limitations or just about to make the jump into the DSLR world as an amateuraren’t we all then probabely the 400D is a great choice for you.

But If you currently own a Canon EOS 10D or 20D I think it might be safer to upgrade to the Canon EOS 30D or just wait for the 40D

Upgrade 10D to 400D | 20D trade for 400D | 10.1mp vs 8.2mp advantage | Luminous landscape

Which Canon EF 70-200 L to buy – The Answer –

Two days ago and after the announcement of the new 70-200 L f/4 IS I was confused and was wondering which of the 4 Canon lenses should I buy.

My question raised a great and very informative thread of DPReview and I think it is a great read for anyone thinking of buying any of the Canon EF 70-200 L lenses.

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Which Canon EF 70-200 L to buy ?

I have been trying to save money for a long time to buy myself this dream lense but now, after the recent announcement at photokina 2006 of the new 70-200 L f/4 IS I’m even more confused…

This lense comes now in 4 different versions
– The Canon EF 70-200 L f/4: At $600 the cheapest of the series and the lightest.
– The Canon EF 70-200 L f/2.8: At $1150 it is one stop brighter than the f/4 but still lacks the IS
– The Canon EF 70-200 L f/2.8 IS: At $1700 this lense was the “obvious” pick for me, more expensive than the above two, but still at 200mm a 2 stops IS is really a good ad-on
– The 70-200 L f/4 IS: Just introduced a couple of days ago, with an expected price of $1250 this lense is here to confuse me 🙁 Lighter than the Canon EF 70-200 L f/2.8 IS and armed with a 4 stops IS (a canon premiere) This lense looks really competitive.
Knowing that f/2.8 is one stop brighter than f/4 and comparing the 3 stops IS of the Canon EF 70-200 L f/2.8 to the new 4 stops IS of the Canon EF 70-200 L f/4 simple calculations shows that the f/4 will still be able to be handheld at the same shutter speeds than the f/2.8 all this saving around $300…

One more question: any idea about the “filter size” of the Canon EF 70-200 L f/4?


If you have any answer/thoughts to this please be kind to drop me a comment

Understanding couples in photography

Even if you are new to photography, I am sure you have already heard words like, exposure, depth of field, aperture, shutter speed, ISO speed or even light meter.

The purpose of this article is to give you an insight about how all of these work combined together.

First of all if you are serious about photography, you should start by forgetting any automatic mode of your camera and stick to the mode on which we have some or full control. On my camera (Canon EOS) they are noted by P Tv Av and M.

Second we should understand that the ISO speed is the sensitivity of the film to light. Which is a CONSTANT for a given ISO number, the smaller the number the more light is needed to give us a correctly exposed picture but the “neater” the picture will be. A higher number means less light is needed but the resultant picture will look “grainy” or “noisy”.

Now it is time to see how our camera works. When we point our camera towards a subject, the light meter that is built-in the camera, will calculate the amount of light reflected by the subject and, depending on the ISO speed of the film/sensor, will set a couple (aperture & shutter speed) to yield a correctly exposed picture.
Let’s say for example that the camera chose a couple of f/5.6 1/125 (with ISO speed set to 100).
The next step is to decide what you want to do with your picture, do you want a sallow DOF or in the contrary you need a deep one. So if you are trying to shoot a landscape you generally want a deep DOF to reach this you need an aperture in the f/16 range. If we go back to our main example the camera readings where f/5.6 1/125s and we need to move for f/5.6 till f/16 from the chart below we notice that we need to loose 3 f-stops that are going to be compensated by a longer exposure of 1/15 seconds instead of 1/125

f/1.0 f/1.4 f/2.0 f/2.8 f/4.0 f/5.6 f/8.0 f/11 f/16 f/22 f/32
1/4000 1/2000 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15 1/8 ¼ ½ 1sec 2 4 8 15 30

What is important to understand from the above example is that since we have changed the couple in a symmetric way the exposure of the picture will remain the same and only the DOF is affected. (Please check the user manual of you camera to understand how to change the couple in P mode)

If the picture we want to take is a portrait and we want a shallow DOF we should move from f/5.6 to f/4.0 or even f/2.8 (if the lens supports it) this will result in a shorter exposure or faster shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/250 respectively.

In the above two stated examples, our main concern was the DOF that’s why we based our decisions on the aperture since wider aperture (small number) would yield a shallow DOF, in such cases, and instead of working in P mode than changing the couple, we can switch the camera to Av or (Aperture Priority). In the mode we fix the aperture and the light meter will decide on the shutter speed depending on the ISO speed and the amount of light.
In other cases shutter speed is our main concern and not DOF, such as shooting a water stream: you might want to give the impression of running water for this you need a slow shutter speed (at least ½ sec) because a high shutter speed will freeze the stream and the picture will lose interest. So let’s assume we pointed to camera to the stream and the readings where f/5.6 1/60, to move from 1/60 to ½ we are losing 5 stops that should be compensated by a 5 f-stops so the aperture should be set to f/32.

Or you need to shoot a horse while jumping over a fence, to freeze the action you need a shutter speed of 1/250 if originally speaking we got the same readings as above (f/5.6 1/60) to move from 1/60 to 1/250 will mean to set an aperture of f/2.8. Now let’s assume that our lens allow us a maximum aperture of f/4 does this mean it is impossible to reach 1/250?? Well we can sill play around with one factor and that is the sensitivity of the film/sensor if in the above example we use a film of sensitivity 200 instead of 100 (i.e. more sensitive to light) this will compensate for the extra stop that I am unable to reach because of my lens limitation. So f/2.8 1/250 ISO 100 is the same exposure than f/4 1/250 ISO 200

In the above two stated examples, our main concern was the shutter speed, in such cases, and instead of working in P mode than changing the couple, we can switch the camera to Tv or (Shutter Priority). In the mode we fix the shutter speed and the light meter will decide on the aperture depending on the ISO speed and the amount of light.

To have more deep understanding of the above, it is important for beginners to read the article more than once and to practice on their own cameras.