Considering a new setup – New or Used?

With my impending move to retirement ( sounds dramatic doesn’t it ) I’ve been pondering the camera setup to replace my recently sold Canon 700D & lenses.

Taken with the Fujifilm XA2 & the 16-55 II lens

Do I buy new or go for good quality used and hopefully snag a bargain. The frugal photographer in me says hold out for the bargain, while the gear-head  in me says go for a new camera, something that will give many years of hopefully trouble free service. At this point, buying new has perhaps more merit than it may have had a couple of years ago as retirement is only 5 months away, and in all likelihood I wont have the available funds to change what I use going forward.

What then are the major parameters I need to address in putting together a list of attributes I want in a camera. Theres more to this that you may think and not just from the technological standpoint.

Fuji XA7 Top Plate

A couple of things that at this point in time are absolutely a prerequisite, are size/weight and ergonomics. This needs to be as unobtrusive size and weight wise as possible and maintain an easy to use controls layout. One of the main drivers of the second of these two requirements is the increasing interest my wife has for doing video work. Ease of use will be very important as she suffers from increasingly debilitating arthritis and its associated conditions, plus she’s a novice when it comes to using a dedicated camera for video and stills work.

Fuji XA 7

This then drives home the second major issue, how much size and weight will be dependant upon the style of camera in large part. At this point I have three main contenders and they are all Fuji cameras.

My preference is for Fuji after having used Canon and Pentax cameras. Full frame is definitely not an option and Micro four thirds lacks a little in the sensor stakes as I intend to be doing considerably more astrophotography, an area where the Fuji cameras I had in the past really shine, pardon the pun. Less bulk and weight, film simulations and colour that I prefer over all others, this harks back to my use of Fuji 35mm film stock in days past.

XA7 with Large 16:9 aspect ration LCD and joystick controls.

For me at least the APSC line of cameras is going to be the sweet spot. Generally good value and well supported, at least in the Fuji world. Sony still supports their APSC line but there is a lack of really good glass and personally the Sony line seems somewhat overpriced for what you get. And no I’m not interested in adaptors and using legacy lenses, although I do already own a Fuji/Pentax adaptor so I can use my Pentax lenses with a Fuji camera. Canon is moving away from mirrorless APSC and Nikon has already done so, therefore the choice in Mirrorless APSC cameras is getting pretty limited.

Fuji X-T200 Top Deck A little more advanced than the XA7

After considering size and weight perhaps the next single biggest consideration is image stabilisation. If I want a camera with IBIS ( in body image stabilisation) then The Fuji XS10 is a no brainer. Couple it with the XC 15-45 power-zoom and you have a good entry/mid level video shooter. No matter the choice of image stabilisation be it lens based or body based it is an absolute must. Lately nerve damage in my right arm has made hand holding a camera more difficult than it used to be, especially when shutter speeds start getting down around 100th sec or less. My Fuji HS20 bridge camera has IBIS, rated at about 3.5 stops, and I find that nowadays I’m struggling to get truly crisp shots under 200th of a second and even then higher shutter speeds dont always help. Three or four years ago this wasn’t an issue, but as time has gone buy the damage sustained from past injuries is now catching up.

Both the XA7 and the X-T200 come with a larger than standard 16:9 LCD back panel. Much higher spec than most cameras. The inclusion of a joystick is an excellent feature.

The three Fuji models I’m considering are the XA7, X-T200 and the X-S10.

The inbuilt hand grip of the X-T200 is a very welcome addition in an otherwise plain front face.

All use the PASM format rather than the more retro style controls found on most Fuji models. And while these modes are available on Fuji cameras they are not the primary shooting option. PASM is a layout I’m much more familiar with and comfortable using,  all my DSLR’s and film SLR’s were setup this way. The only cameras that differed from this were my old Pentax K1000 film camera and my even older and long gone Praktica that I bought way back in 1973. People that have only had point and shoot cameras or like my wife a short time with a DSLR will immediately feel more at home with the PASM system than they are likely to be if confronted with a series of analogue dials that bear little resemblance to anything they have encountered  previously.

With the XA7 & X-T200 image stabilisation is lens based OIS ( Optical Image Stabilisation ) and while not as effective as IBIS, when coupled with the inbuilt Electronic Stabilisation the two entry level cameras have a combined IS System thats not far off what you would have with the XS10 using IBIS, something the Sony 6000 series cameras dont match.

FujiFilm XS-10

For astrophotography work I rather prefer the output from the Bayer sensor thats in the X-T200 and the XA7. I found the 16 MP Bayer sensor that was in my XA2 to be a  very good performer with a low noise output, making processing astrophotos considerably easier than those from my Canon cameras.

A more complex top plate can be found on the XS10

In terms of costing the XS10 is not exceedingly expensive, however I could buy two X-T200’s for less than the cost of an XS10 with the XF 18-55 kit lens attached. A more prudent buy may well be to get an XA7 for my wife and an X-T200 for my use and add a couple of extra lenses to the kit for approx the same money as the XS10 kit. Something like the XC 50-230 a lens I’m familiar with and know gives excellent results and the new XC 35 or XF 27 pancake lens for some street photography work. This then would form the basis for a modest and relatively in expensive two camera setup that should cover our needs for quite some time.

With its standard one million dot , three inch display the XS10 has a somewhat bare back panel. The LCD on the XA7 and XT200 are superior both in size and resolution, something to be aware of if considering the XS10

Is it in line with the Frugal Photographer ethos? Not really but this time I’m looking at what will give good service for may years to come without being overly cumbersome to use and provide a good deal of the fun factor that I found missing with my latest DSLR.

As always

Happy Snappin’

The Full Frame Camera Trend

Who are they for?

Over the last couple of years I’ve watched the arrival of ever more Mirrorless Full Frame cameras. Pretty much all the major manufacturers offer at least one full frame mirrorless camera. Notable exceptions are Fuji and Olympus. Olympus sadly may no longer be the brand it once was due to fiscal issues and the sale of the digital imaging arm of the company.

Perhaps one of the bigger surprises ( to me at least ) was the arrival of the Panasonic S1. I really hadn’t thought that Panasonic would move into the larger format given that they had, until recently, said that they were committed to the Micro four thirds format. There are other players in the market but they tend to be highly niche and very expensive and we wont include them in this instance.

So why the push to full frame? The single biggest reason appears to be pressure from the video section of the market. DSLR users who needed Full Frame cameras had top quality Nikon or Canon cameras to choose from. Both brands support a very large range of excellent quality lenses, and although larger and more expensive than the APSC brethren, there was a solid range of APSC cameras and lenses that were the recipients of some very nice technological advances. Auto focus for example was improved through the whole system , in part driven by the need for Pro level photographers to have accurate , fast & reliable AF. The same holds true for improved ISO performance and shutter speeds. All of this technology rolled down to the smaller APSC line of cameras benefiting the more budget challenged of us. All in all these things proceeded in a fairly logical progression.

The arrival of mirrorless cameras sees the next stage of camera development. Eventually I can see this progress to a point where manufactures will perhaps reduce the number of DSLR’s that they produce. Nothing is certain however as Canon has shown with its seeming lack of interest in developing its EOS-M line. This is reminiscent of Nikon’s V series of cameras being abandoned. Its hard to know what direction, if any, Canon is going to take with its APSC sensored mirrorless cameras. At this point I’m pretty well convinced that they will drop the line in favour of an APSC RF mount camera, as has been touted on several Camera Rumour sites.

It is likely however the the DSLR will live on for some time to come. Pentax for example has stated that they are focused on the DSLR line and have ( at this point ) no interest in the mirrorless segment of the market. This could be a smart option or it could be catastrophic. Time will tell. Fuji has stated that they arent going to pursue Full Frame and will continue to concentrate on APSC and Medium format. From my standpoint thats a pretty smart move.

Given the above, who then is the new generation mirrorless Full Frame camera for? Current Full Frame DSLR owners may well decide to go for the newer technology being incorporated in the mirrorless system. Big DSLR’s are heavy and cumbersome, dont always offer the feature set now found in the new generation Mirrorless camera bodies, which tend to be smaller and lighter, and may appeal more to the Pro sports or Pro studio & Wedding photographer.

In our local camera club I’m aware of only one member ( currently, there may be others ) that uses a new Canon R5 Mirrorless Full Frame camera. This individual shoots for real-estate clients and couples the still & video with drone work. I’ve seen the output from this camera and its excellent. Is it better than a top level APSC camera, perhaps although personally I dont believe it is for the average photographer more interested in general photography. Thats not to say that both the images and video weren’t excellent they were but rather that for most of us that level of equipment cost outlay far exceeds our budgets or ability to utilise this type of equipment to its maximum potential.

There will of course be a section of the enthusiast photographer that will be tempted to trade there current gear for what is perceived to be a lighter and more compact system. This is true to a point. Once you move away from the more standard kit lenses offered and move into more of the Prime lens offerings weight and size become just as big an issue as with the full frame DSLR, while the mirrorless bodies tend to be smaller the new generation of lenses can quickly negate the weight reduction gains.

Heres an example:


Canon R5 – body weight – 738 grams
RF 24-105 lens – weight – 395 grams

Canon 5D Mark IV body weight – 800 grams.
EF 24 -105 f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens – weight – 525 grams

Fuji XS10 body weight – 465 grams
XF 16-80 lens – weight – 440 grams
 

As can be seen in the image above the XS10 is easily the smallest and lightest of the cameras, while the R5 sits in the middle. The 5D weighs in at almost 1.5 kg and is almost 50% heavier than the XS10 and is roughly 50% larger as well. In terms of size the R5 is closer to the XS10 but is still 25% bigger and heavier. Once you go to bigger glass these weight and size differences start to generate even larger issues, often needing tripods to support them.

While there are gains in image quality do you really need Full Frame or is it simply a marketing ploy by manufacturers to get people to continue to buy expensive, large & heavy equipment? Personally I dont think its a ploy, but rather manufacturers looking to maximise returns while offering products that marketing suggests is the most profitable direction given today’s current level of technology. Cheap DSLRS are not going to return that great a profit, considering how many units they would need to sell and the already shrinking camera market. New and innovative equipment and design will need to be employed in the future.

For me personally, I wont be buying into the Full Frame market anytime soon. The current pricing, at least here in new Zealand is somewhere between expensive and stratospheric in the full frame market. The 5D above with the EF 24-105 f4 L IS II USM lens similar to that shown above from a reputable dealer is $5980.00 NZD and weighs an even heavier 1.85 KG with the lens currently offered as a kit.

The R5 comes in at $8980.00 NZD with the RF 24-105 lens as a standard kit.

The Fuji XS10 with the lens shown above comes in at a respectable ( comparatively ) $3228.00 NZD.

I purposefully choose the XS10 as its layout is similar to what one would find on a DSLR. It also has the added advantage of having the same basic internals as the XT4 without all the added dials and camera body style. Think a stripped down XT4 and you would be close.

Who are full frame cameras for? A select few I think, mostly people that are already in the full frame world in one form or another, where the work demands the top level technology and the camera enthusiast with deeper pockets than most. For the rest of us mere mortals who in all likelihood could never justify such a large fiscal outlay and dont want to tote around a bag full of bricks, there are more than enough choices from the APSC and micro four thirds world to keep us entertained. Not to mention the continuing rise of the mobile pocket camera, you know the ones, the ones that ring and sometimes you call people with them. Its a brave new world, long may it be so.

Siril ~ astro images update.

Working around some of the issues with image stacking, especially with Siril and Deep Sky Stacker.

Recently I’ve had a number of people comment that they have experienced issues in regards to stacking astro images. Mostly this is using Siril, but the same is true for those using Deep Sky Stacker. I’ve also heard that folks using Sequator have had similar issues.

After stacking the images in one of the above astro image stacking packages, the file is either exported or saved as a tiff or in some cases a PNG file. Typically these files show almost nothing after stacking, maybe just a few stars. Fear not your image is there just waiting for you to draw it out of its hiding place.

To do this you need an image editor that can work with levels and show a histogram. Photoshop, Gimp and others can be used for this. As I’m on a Linux system my tool of choice is Gimp, very similar to Photoshop and a software package I’m starting to use a lot more for astro image post processing. Some of the PP work can also be done in Raw Thereapee but its a lot less flexible compared to PS or Gimp.

48 image stack, unprocessed.
Click to see a full sized version.

You may have heard the term before, but you need to “Stretch” your astro images in post processing to get the most out of them. Below are three images of a stacked photo of the Scorpio/Sagittarius Star cloud area of the night sky. Parts of Scorpio including M6 & M7 is visible along with some of the Nebulae in Sagittarius. The image is comprised of 48 frames of 3 second duration taken at 18 mm – f3.5 and ISO 3200. Total capture is 2.4 minutes. And the image is a failure.

Second edit showing results from image stretch & area to be cropped.

When you look at the processed images you will see what I mean. Either I had a couple of frames that were star-trailed or theres some sort of stacking error, possibly I had something set wrong. I will need to investigate further. The image does however suit our purpose for this demonstration. By shifting the black levels as well as the mid and high points using the sliders in Gimp ( this is found in the colours menu under the heading levels ) the information in the image was able to be brought out.

In the second image you can see a dark band across the bottom of the image, this is caused by the stacking overlap of the horizon at the bottom of the image. I processed this image as a black & white only. I’ve found that some of the Canon Raw files dont convert well in Siril and I have taken to converting them to Tiff files prior to processing and stacking the images. If however I want a single channel B&W image I process directly from the RAW files. I have no idea why Siril does this but the colour images have a much higher success rate after stacking if converted first. This may just be a quirk from within the Linux OS. Currently I’m running Kubuntu 20.04. As time permits I will investigate further.

In the final edited version I have stretched the image both in the shadow levels end as well as mid and highlights. The end result I was aiming for was a high contrast black & white image with an inky black background, very much along the lines of images published during the 1950’s and 1960’s and featured in many books on astronomy and our universe. Had there not been frames or a fault suggesting star trailed images the end result would have been exactly what I wanted, considering the focus and image detail was very good, especially considering it was Canon’s basic STM kit lens.

This shows what would have been the finished image had it not been flawed.

To see how to do image stretching and using very basic imaging equipment check out Nico Carvers – YouTube channel Nebula Photos. I’ve been a subscriber of Nico’s for a couple of years now and he has some of the best tutorials around for astro image processing. Be warned these are long videos, some over 2 hours.

The final link below is to a tutorial Nico has done using nothing more than camera, lens and tripod, exactly the same way as I have done the images above. For those who already have a handle on how to set up your camera for astro imaging these tutorials have well defined points to click on in the progress bar or you can scroll down to the info Nico provides when your click on the show more button in the video description. Note there are other parts to this tutorial for users with Photoshop or Gimp or Pixinsight. Its well worth subscribing to his channel if you are interested in astrophotography.

Happy

Snappin’

Reflections & Resolutions & a New Year

Going forward into 2021 I’ve decided that making grand new years resolutions is a waste of time, for me at least. If 2020 has taught me anything its that the best laid plans can be screwed up at a moments notice. I’d wager that there wasn’t a single person going into 2020 that thought that the year would change so dramatically and drastically, or that we would spend weeks & months enduring lock downs.

It certainly wasnt on my radar.

My forward planning consisted of collecting some good images and looking at replacing my current camera gear with something a little more updated, preferably well in advance of my impending retirement.

Unfortunately I had to settle for a good used Canon 700D setup, and while there was absolutley nothing wrong with the 700D I never really got along with it. It did help my decide that I prefer the all in one solution that the top end bridge cameras provide, and while there are compromises with this type of camera, they arent sufficiently large enough to really be as big a drawback as one may think.

In regards to 2021 and “Akiwiretrospective”, I have for some time been considering whether to continue the blog and if so in what form. For now at least it will continue as it has been. I want to watch where the camera manufacturers go with new technologies and upcoming releases.

I have watched the trend to full frame mirrorless systems from most of the major industry players as well as the demise of Olympus, with no small amount of alarm. While the Full Frame trend may be music to the ears of some within the Pro Photography world and the upmarket enthusiast ranks, given the pricing structure being employed, for most of us on a average budget these cameras are well outside the expenditure level of the average hobbyist.

Take for example the new Canon RP plus the 24-240 mm lens, being sold as a kit. At $3795.00 NZD a pricey bit of kit, or the EOS R body only at $3480.00. The pricing is even worse when it comes to the R5 & R6. Nikons Z5 & Z6 while somewhat better placed pricewise still set the owner back a serious amount of funds. Not as hefty as their Canon counter parts to be sure but just how many of the enthusiast/hobby owners actually need a full frame camera?

Panasonic’s S series full frame mirrorless cameras are in the same price echelon and also need a substansial investment.

At present the major camera makers are still producting lower tier cameras, with the likes of Canons rebel series DSLR’s and the 90D range. Its getting to the point where these differing crop sensors cameras are likely to morph into one main offering and a low specced budget line as an entry level point.

Fujifilm is not immune to the high priced market either with their XT3 & XT4 range of cameras being stratopherically priced and in some instances (depending upon the kit offered ) match or exceed the cost of some Full Frame camera offerings.

In Fuji’s favour they actually have a range of lower tiered products to encompass just about any need, From the XA line, the X-T 100/200, the XE line or the XT 20/30 as well as Xpro theres something for just about everyone. In the new camera sector Fuji still has one of the best quality camera lineups out there. Staying with the crop sensor system has been (IMHO) a very smart move. Given the huge print size available from the likes of the XT4 for pro level use, if you need anything bigger then the GFX medium format range is the next step. A huge step in price too but for a good many Pro Photographers I have no doubt 50 or 100 megapixel medium format cameras are a big attraction, especially if huge print sizes are needed.

I see little to suggest that Olympus will continue in its current product lineup for much longer now that the company has been sold, and Pentax still seem on the verge of oblivion, which I personally would hate to see as I’m a long time fan & user of the Pentax brand.

We are going to see the traditional camera market continue to shrink as the smartphone becomes even more adept at photographic work, as well as producing excellent video quality, providing you dont need a large zoom range. However the telephoto aspect of some of the top tier smartphones is becoming increasingly better as technology is developed to improve this function while allowing for improved image quality. It would no longer be smart to ignore the smartphone world as a good many users are finding that they are getting excellent results without having to tote around a bag of heavy camera gear.

For my wife and myself going forward we will be looking at purchasing a gimbal for our smartphones for both photographic & video work, and I’m almost certain that the Sony RX10 IV will be my next camera for general purpose photography. It brings in one package 95% of all the things I need from a camera. As for the powerzoom rather than manual zoom lens – I will no doubt learn to adapt and adjust my shooting technique. We will just have to see what the new year brings. Until then,

Happy Snappin’

The Future for Akiwiretrospective.

Its been a while since I last posted anything, I’ve been rather busy with other things, mostly work. Its meant very little time behind the camera unfortunately.

This trend is going to continue for a while yet as we run up to the Xmas break. I’m intending to take almost a month off for a well earned break this year. It will be the first time I’ve had a continuous break of this duration in over fifteen years, around the time I started the “retrospective” blog on the BlogSpot platform.

Over that time the blog has expanded a good deal past what I had originally set out to achieve, and looking back I can say that it has been a worthwhile labour of love.

I recently sold all my Canon gear as well as the majority of my Pentax film camera gear as well. No I’m not giving up photography entirely, but I am reassessing what I want to get from it.

At present I have a good smartphone for everyday snaps, something I would not have even entertained 10 years ago, but progress in the mobile camera world has taken huge steps in making the smartphone an invaluable tool for many hobby photographers and no doubt for many serious photographers as well.

I still have my trusty Fujifilm HS20 EXR bridgecamera and one film camera so I still have the means to get a few good images when they present themselves.

Over the past few months including lockdowns I’ve been considering the tools that I use for my photographic endeavours, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the bridgecamera is the best suited to my style of photography. This is especially important going forward, as in a little over six months I retire and have to make the decision to either continue working or have a reduced income. If the latter then a bridgecamera is the tool of choice, there is not likely to be room in the budget to swap lenses or buy others to fulfil a need.

Similarly I am considering continuing this blog in its current form or switching to something a little different, although its not immediately clear as to what that might be. Certainly not Twitter or Instagram, two platforms that are far too chaotic to be of any real use in this endeavour. A dedicated Facebook page is one consideration.

I am open to suggestion from our readership, so if you have an idea, leave a comment.

Thats it for now, I will continue posting the odd photo when I have the chance. In the mean time I hope you all manage to have a relaxed and enjoyable Xmas break, pandemic or no. As always

Happy Snappin’

Taken with Oppo A5 in Panorama mode. Massive streaming cirrus cloud fanning out above Mt. Kakapuke

A day at the mill.

Saturday 10th October saw a number of our members from the Te Awamutu Camera Club venture forth for a trip to Endeans Mill. The mill lies approximately one and a half hours drive from where I live, so not too long a trip although there were times when the GPS in my phone wasn’t sure exactly where I was or where I was going. Nonetheless I arrived on time and in good company.

We preceded to wander around the property which covers a considerable area. The mill is curated as a living museum and as such has been left in a “as it was” state. The image of the memorial stone tells some of the story.

I used the Canon 700D with the 18-55 STM & 55-250 STM standard lenses and shot in aperture priority. I found that P Mode wasn’t giving correct aperture settings for some of the shots, resulting in a number of blown out images.

Getting the images onto the computer I processed all of the following images using Photoscape 3.7, combining different film simulations, filters and some vignette to process these images as they may have looked if they had been left in various places at the mill over the years. Think 1930’s through 1970’s film colorings and processing and how time may have changed the printed images.

After our mill visit we moved further along the road to Blackfern Lodge. A great place to visit and have lunch and wander around with a camera, its a place I will need to come back to as is the mill. There’s simply too much to see to take it all in in a single visit. Below are two images taken with the 700D at the Lodge grounds.

The 700D wasn’t the only camera I had on the day. I was also carrying my Pentax MZ30 with a Tamron 18-300 mm lens attached. Unfortunately the MZ30 developed a problem with the communication between camera and lens and I was only able to take 9 shots. On returning home I put the standard 28-90 Pentax lens on it and the camera works fine. It would seem the earlier generation Pentax didnt like the Tamron. The lens does however work fine with my Pentax MZ6 so thats where that lens will stay.

As a backup to the two main camera I had my Oppo A5 with me for the wider shots I was looking to get. The images are less intensely edited as the files from the phone dont standup too well if cropped or over edited. They do however serve to show just how handy a good smartphone is when wide angles are needed and you dont over process.

This video clip shows the mill and what it looks like if you were to visit today.

Video By: Silverline Pictures (NZ) on YouTube.

Imaging the Winter night sky

Really clear nights with stable atmosphere have been few and far between of late. Add to that the winter rarely grants us too many nights at best and it makes a recent Saturday night a rare event.

With the Southern Cross, Coal Sack, and Eta Carina all very low in the night sky it was a pleasant surprise to see stars right down to the horizon and still maintain clarity. Overhead Scorpio & Sagittarius are passing through the zenith and with Jupiter directly overhead saw me shooting a series of RAW & Jpeg images.

I’ve been slowly processing the images over the past week using a variety of tools. Namely, DeepSky Stacker, Sequator, Siril for image stacking with RawTherapee, Lightroom (trial version), Gimp and Photoscape for various parts of the image editing process. Not being well versed using Gimp produced quite the learning curve, but as I use this application more frequently I’m beginning to come to grips with it. Long time photoshop users will no doubt find Gimp very familiar.

The reason for the amount of differing image tools varies on what the end result  is expected to be. Processing the RAW files takes a different set of tools to get the most from the images and the same can be said for  processing of the Jpegs. I find that some tools are better for each of the different filetypes. There are those who will use the same tools no matter what they are processing and that is fine as well. Using free image processing tools is what we are concentrating on in this series of images and is in keeping with the Frugal Photographer ethos.

If you have access to the paid packages and you are comfortable paying  what in my view is some pretty hefty pricing then go for it, there is no right or wrong method, merely what suits your desired outcome and affordability criteria.

25 x 10 sec f4 @ ISO 1600 Jpeg files Stacked in DSS and processed in Raw therapee & Photoscape.

25 x 10 sec f4 @1600 ISO CR2 Raw files Stacked in Siril and processed with Gimp & Photoscape

 

25 x 10 sec f4 @ ISO 1600. Stacked in Sequator and processed with Gimp & Photoscape.

20 x 10 sec f4 @ ISO 1600 CR2 RAW Files stacked with Siril and processed with Gimp & Photoscape

20 x 10 sec f4 @ ISO 1600 Jpeg Files stacked with Siril and processed with Gimp & Photoscape

One of the most noticeable things when processing these images is just how much data is available in the stacked Jpeg files. The camera does a good job of color correction, distortion correction and overall detail balance in the image. This makes stacking and final processing a good deal faster than processing the RAW files.

I still feel that visually the RAW images are a little more refined but lack the visual impact of the final Jpeg edits. I have no doubt that I could with time and practice match the appearance of the Jpegs if I were to push the RAW file processing somewhat more intensely. However unless you are intending to print these images at A3 or above I have no problem with printing the Jpegs at A4 or A3 without needing to further process the RAW based images.

This is something I noticed markedly with my Fuji XA2 when using it for astrophotography. Stacked Jpeg images from the XA2 were spectacular and lacked nothing for detail, color & contrast. Given how good Fuji Jpeg files are this really comes as no surprise and while RAW files do hold a huge amount of data I suggest you ignore stacked Jpegs at your peril, you may just be missing  an important part of your astrophotography process.

I cannot however say the same when it comes to the images from my 700D. Thats not the cameras fault but rather the 18-55 STM lens while sharp over the center 50% of the lens is woeful around the periphery as can be seen by the elongated star images in the outer portion of the images. Not a good lens for this type of work. It is at best adequate and if you like me haven’t anything better then it does suffice, and in reality I shouldn’t grumble too much.

I only have to step back 30 years to remind myself that I would never have dreamed I could take images such as those above with what is a pretty standard entry level camera and kit lens. We have certainly come a long way in the past few decades.

Happy Snappin’

A visit to a local bird park.

We took the opportunity this morning of visiting  Shaw’s Bird Park.

The park can be found on the southern outskirts of Hamilton and is well worth the time to visit. The public needs to get behind this private venture and help sway the local city council from taking part of this land away for a road to connect a local subdivision.

As always it seems that private individuals have  little recourse in these matters. An online petition has been set up and to date has garnered several thousand signatures, mine included. In the mean time if you have the odd packet of birdseed languishing on a garden shed shelf its likely the Park can  put it to good use.

White Faced Heron

We didnt spend as much time as we would have liked to, we had other places to visit therefore our stay was somewhat shorter than I would have liked, but we will definitely be returning to see some of the other areas we missed today.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was meeting a Tui that has a penchant for licking your fingers. They have an amazingly delicate tongue.

With the advent of Covid-19 and restrictions on movement staying local and supporting our local attractions is a good way to spend some hours.

Apart from the bird life theres a huge array of native trees and flora, and its obvious that spring is on its way with all the new buds and magnolias in flower. This will make a great place to be on a hot summers day with lots of shade and water areas to keep you cool.

All images taken with the Canon 700D and the 55-250 IS STM lens.