The Mirrorless Wars

Things looks to be taking a turn for the surreal. For those of you who have been following the announcements from Nikon and Canon regarding Full Frame (FF) mirrorless cameras, you will be aware that Nikon is about to formerly unveil two new mirrorless cameras next week.

My initial thought is why? And then the thinking started and one of the first questions was would a FF mirrorless camera bring enough to the table for Pro Photographers to consider swapping their kits for a new camera setup. Thats one very big and expensive jump to make. I cant help but wonder why manufactures haven’t, especially in Nikon’s case at least offered an APSC version first to gauge interest, and test technologies before heading into the flagship area of their offerings. Sony has shown that a well made FF mirrorless offering can be very well received but they are not without a few niggles along the way.

Tony & Chelsea Northrup’s video ( see below) is a very interesting look at the possibilities of mirrorless eventually phasing out DSLR’s, which has alarm bell ringing in some DSLR quarters. The video is well worth the time to view and can produce a few chuckles as well.

Canon 650D

My new toy has arrived.

The EOS 650D has arrived, or more properly I went and fetched it from its previous owner. After much deliberation I decided to stay with a DSLR.  One of the overriding reasons for doing so is ergonomics, and in this respect I mean the ability to grip and hold the camera without difficulty.  One of my major complaints with the XA2 was the lack of grip, prompting me to buy an add on grip and thumb rest, necessitating extra cost.

Another of the major considerations was price.  In keeping with the whole “Frugal Photographer” ethos I needed something relatively inexpensive.  Trademe  had plenty of cameras to choose from but I have focused on Canon because of the large user base and the large pre-owned offerings on Trademe.

It therefore became a matter of  deciding what the major features were that I felt I couldn’t do without.  In the end it came down to having a flip out and swivel LCD of at least 920k dots, at least an 18 megapixel sensor and the capability of doing good 1080 video.  Although I dont shoot much in the way of video I wanted a little future proofing for those times when I do.  Secondary considerations were improved AF & AF points, faster FPS for stills, and preferably it should also have a lens attached.

This narrowed things down to the 600D,650D and the 700D. It quickly became apparent that the average price for the 700D was going to be too high, therefore the focus became the 600 & 650D. It was apparent almost immediately that the 650D was going to be harder to come by than the earlier model  600D. Prices did vary greatly, with some 600D bodies going for $400 NZD or more.  My preference was for the 650D which meant I had to be patient.  Eventually a unit came up for sale and I was able to purchase a very lightly used EOS 650D for $365.00 NZD with a bag and a EF-S 18-55 IS II lens. Shutter count was low 6500’s so lots of life left in the camera. The previous owner had treated the camera extremely well and it looked like it was brand new.

So how does this stack up with our conservatively capped budget?  As I mentioned here I had to date spent $286.34 NZD as my initial outlay. I had outlayed in that costing $30.00 for a new battery but I have been able to procure a new battery for each of the Canons for $30 NZD total. Add to this a further $365.00 for the new camera and another $17 for a new SD card and we have a two camera setup for the sum total of  $669.00 NZD or $440.00 USD. Anyway you look at it its a pretty good starting point for a two camera system. What the 1000D lacks is covered by the 650D. Both are young cameras having seen little service. This gives me the options of two tele zooms as well as the standard kit lens for each camera.

IMG_3707-2nd crop
Image from my 1000D, cropped 65% of original. Processed in RawTherapee.

My wife enjoys the 1000d and it suits here needs and as we have seen in previous posts its capable of very nice photos and while it doesn’t have video or a sensor suited to astrophotography ( thats where the 650D comes in ) it still performs well in low-light. Considerably better than my Fuji HS20 or my Fuji XA2 which suffered from under performing contrast detect AF in low light. The 650D is a reasonably recent offering from Canon and the XA2 is almost the same vintage as the 650D.

Of our original $1000.00 NZD budget we still have $300 available. For the time being there is little else I need as I have a very good tripod and a very good monopod. I will invest in two or three lens-hoods either rubber or plastic, all of which are very cheap so no major expenditure there and at least one more quality gear bag will be required, other than that its a case of deciding on what prime lens best suits what I do with a big focus being a lens for astrophotgraphy.

For now this will be sufficient to meet most if not all my photographic needs equipment wise for a long while, or at least until I get another severe dose of G.A.S. Till then “Happy Snappin”

Canon 650D and the Southern Cross

One of the reasons for purchasing the new ( to me) Canon EOS 650d was for astrophotography. The 1000d while a good basic camera had a sensor that was too noisy to really give a good astro image. No so the 650D with its 18 mp sensor. We had a good moon free night last night with the centre of the Milky way over head and the Southern Cross lowering over the old cowshed at the back of the house.

Looking into the centre of the galaxy in the constellation of Scorpios. One Processed RAW image. Completed image will be a stack of 10 individual images. Right click & Select view in a new tab to view the image full size, its a 24 Mp image.
IMG_7281-dark redduced
This image was taken on the following night from the one above. Conditions were very good. This is a single frame processed using Darktable and Neat Image for noise removal. Darktable has done considerably better dealing with the chromatic aberration in the mark II lens. The original Mark I lens is on the 1000D, I may need to revisit that lens as it didnt seem to have the same aberrations that the newer lens has. Note the more reserved processing using Darktable. I’m not sure which processing I prefer at this point.

Looking southwest, the constellation Carina lies on its site above the power-pole and the coal sack region and Magellanic clouds are visible. Stacked image comprised of four frames. Note the light trail left by a passing flight heading for Auckland.

Right click & Select view in a new tab to view the image full size

First light with a new camera.

Over the weekend I purchased another Canon DSLR. The Canon 650D. I will go into more detail later, but just to pique your interest heres a 4 image stack of the Southern Cross and Coal Sack. The Pointer stars are the two bright stars above the dark area. I will detail this image in more depth in a coming post.

Shot in RAW and converted to B&W in Raw Therapee. Stacked using Siril