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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DSLRs To Shoot Like Ansel Adams

The great master of nature photography didn’t shoot with a digital camera, but if Ansel Adams was alive today, we’re pretty certain he would. Here, we look at some of the latest cameras and at the features in which Adams might have been most interested.

Labels: CamerasD-SLRsGear

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The Tools

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. Canon’s newest DSLR is a master-of-all-trades. It offers 16.1-megapixel resolution with decent-sized pixels for finely detailed landscapes and can shoot high-res images at 10 fps with an entirely new AF system to handle any wildlife action you might encounter while afield.

The Mark IV incorporates Canon’s latest technology, with an all-new, Canon-produced CMOS image sensor, dual DIGIC 4 processors, the latest noise-reduction algorithms, 14-bit A/D conversion, automatic lens peripheral illumination (vignetting) correction, Live View shooting with its 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor and more. Normal ISO range is 100-12,800, with a top expanded setting of 102,400. The Mark IV is the first 1-series Canon DSLR to provide video capability, and it can shoot 1080p full HD video at ISOs up to 102,400. Video gives the landscape photographer a new way to present the landscape by panning slowly across a wide expanse of horizon (especially effective at sunrise or sunset) or including the motion of a waterfall or wildlife moving through a picturesque scene.

The one drawback to the Mark IV as a landscape camera applies only to those who specialize in ultrawide-angle work. The Mark IV won’t accept the EF-S lenses designed for the APS-C-sensor cameras (EOS 7D, 50D, Rebels, etc.), and its APS-H sensor’s 1.3x “crop” factor turns Canon’s widest non-EF-S lens, the EF 14mm ƒ/2.8L, into an 18.2mm. Thus, the full-frame Canon DSLRs can provide a widest focal length of 14mm, the APS-C models, a widest equivalent focal length of 16mm (10-22mm EF-S zoom, 1.6x crop factor), and the EOS-1D Mark IV, a widest equivalent focal length of 18.2mm (14mm, 1.3x crop factor). Of course, if 18mm is wide enough for your work, this isn’t a factor.

Canon EOS 7D. Canon’s top APS-C format (1.6x crop) DSLR, the 18-megapixel EOS 7D has plenty of pixels for detailed landscapes. Placing more pixels on a smaller sensor, the 7D doesn’t match the high-ISO capability of the EOS-1D Mark IV, but it delivers superb detail at lower ISOs, where most landscape images are shot. And it delivers good quality even at higher ISO settings.

If you want to grab some wildlife action in the midst of your landscape shoot, the 7D can do full-res images at 8 fps and features a new AF system that’s the most sophisticated ever in a non-pro EOS DSLR. Live View with the 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor makes composing and examining shots easy. Like the Mark IV, the 7D offers 1080p full HD video capability at all ISO settings (normal range is 100-6400, with expansion to 12,800).

With its APS-C-format image sensor, the 7D can use all EF and EF-S lenses. The widest is the EF-S 10-22mm zoom, which provides a 35mm-camera-equivalent focal length range of 16-35mm. Canon’s TS-E tilt-shift lenses provide view-camera-like control over perspective and depth of field.

Also Consider: Of course, Canon’s two full-frame, 21.1-megapixel models are terrific landscape cameras. The EOS-1Ds Mark III is an all-out pro model, ruggedly built and sealed against the elements, with excellent AF capability. The newer EOS 5D Mark II produces even better image quality, adds 1080p full HD video (although a more limited version than in the Mark IV and 7D), and costs some $4,000 less.


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