All 8 entries tagged Photography

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April 06, 2008

April Snow

Most unusual!

snowy branch

Regardless of what it might have been like in elsewhere, here in Leamington it proved pretty good for snowmen/snowballs too, once the air had warmed up a bit. All gone now though… :-(

January 05, 2008

Camera Aggravation

Slightly over a year ago, I got a new digital camera; a Sony DSC H2 . I’ve been very happy with it, in particular the combination of a reasonably compact size (it will go into a coat pocket at a squeeze) with a big-ish sensor and long, stabilized zoom (12* optical). I was sufficiently happy with it to shell out another £100-and-something for a 1.7x teleconverter, allowing me to get an equivalent focal length of about 700mm – great for shots of far-away wildlife, like this little fellow:

Fluffed-up Reed Bunting

But, all good things must, it seem, come to an end. A couple of weeks after the 12 month warranty expired, the shutter button stopped working properly; although it still takes photos fine when you press it all the way down, it doesn’t focus when you half-depress the button, meaning that there’s a long lag between pressing the button and taking the shot, and also that it’s pretty much pot luck what the camera will choose to focus on. As you can imagine, this kind of sucks.

So, of I went to the Sony shop to see if it could be fixed. “Certainly” they said, “but there’s a fixed minimum rate for repairs of £130”. Since a new H2 can now be gotten for £140 on Amazon, this didn’t strike me as a great investment. It’s particularly galling, because (a) a trawl of the internet reveals this to be a common problem, and (b) the replacement part would only be about £20, and it can’t be that hard to fit…

So, I now have a series of aggravating choices:

1) Try and find somewhere that will undertake the repair themselves, rather than sending it to Sony. This would be my favourite option, if such a place exists, and if they can do it for significantly less than the cost of a new camera (I’d be happy to pay £50-£60 or so).

2) Buy a new H2, and stick the old one on ebay, or keep it for spares/emergencies/whatever – Probably the next cheapest alternative, and I can keep on using the teleconverter, but given that lots of people seem to experience this issue, would I just end up back in the same position in another 13 months? Plus it galls me to be sending more money Sony’s way after their blatant profiteering on the service charges.

3) Buy one of the 18x ultra zooms that are around these days – the Olympus 560-UZ, Panasonic FZ18, or the Fuji S8000fd. This gives me almost as much zoom as the H2 + tele, the benefits of a newer camera (higher ISO sensitvities are a particular bonus; the H2 only goes up to 800 whereas the Olympus will do an admittedly noisy 6400 at a push). But I’d be spending upwards of £200 or so, which is slightly galling when I shelled out £300 only a year ago. I have other hobbies which have more pressing demands on my bank account… Maybe I could recoup £50 or so of that by ebaying the teleconverter though.

Hmm. None of these are particularly promising. Option 1 seems optimistic (at least, that was the view of the 2 camera shops in Leamington I tried, but maybe I just need to look harder). Option 2 seems like thowing good money after bad, and option 3 is just a bit more than I want to spend right now (As is the undocumented option of “Get a DSLR and a proper long lens” – which would be great if I had £1500 or so to spend, but I don’t). Sigh…

March 03, 2007

Lunar eclipse

Writing about web page

The moon is doing funny things just now…

more of the same

February 10, 2007

Inflatable birds

So, I got a teleconverter for my birthday, and today I finally got to try it out…

The snow may be melting, but it seems that the birds are still in full-on cold weather fluffed-up mode;


(Reed Bunting)

more on flickr

February 03, 2007

Winter's here

For one weekend only; frost!

(click for more)

8am-ish this morning, on the hill between Radford Semele and the Fosse Way.
Sony DSC H2; 1/250s at f/4, ISO 80

January 20, 2007

HDR Sunset

hdr sunset

HDR is a way of compensating for the relatively low dynamic range ((in a nutshell, the inability to have lots of very dark detail and very light detail in the same picture) of most digital cameras. Basically, you take a series of exposure-bracketted shots of the same scene, and then some clever software composites them together, using the over-exposed shots to provide the dark detail, and the under-exposed to provide the light detail.

Done well, the results can be absolutely stunning, though I fear I need to practice a bit more before I get there.

details-wise: Sony DSC-H2; 3 shots, taken at f/8, ISO 80, for 1/24, 1/39 and 1/60 of a second. Composited using hdrgen . Cropped, darkened a bit, and contrast tweaked up slightly (possibly too much; the top of the sky is awfully blue, but if I turn it down then the detail of the light on the clouds starts to fade).

edit. Here’s a version with a bit less contrast and a tighter crop to remove some of the worst of the over-blue sky:

hdr sunset 2

January 08, 2007

This morning's sunrise

Writing about web page

7:45am, today, in Leamington. Lasted for about 5-10 minutes, which by pure fluke coincided with me wandering out to get my bike from the garage, before it faded away.

Sony DSC H2: 1/15s at f/6.3, ISO 80

January 06, 2006

It's behind you!

The trick with photographing ephemeral things, it would seem, is to get someone else with a much better camera to take a picture in the opposite direction, thus fooling the scenery into thinking that it's safe to come out now…

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