Category Archives: Equipment Reviews

Pensive Anhinga

An Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) on the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park, Florida. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

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Lightroom 5

Is it just me or should the “Clarity” control be renamed “HDR”?

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It Should Be Possible to Save Your Personalized Camera-Settings to a Memory Card

Reading this post and the responding comments, it’s clear that the Olympus OM-D camera’s menu system is sufficiently complicated that someone who doesn’t already use Olympus products might reasonably hesitate to buy into an Olympus system.

A point that nobody mentions is that once you get the complicated settings on your camera configured for your needs, there’s no way to back up those settings so that you can easily restore them if you inadvertently change something or if you send your camera in for repair. It should be possible to save your camera’s configuration to a memory card as it’s possible to save the configuration settings for your computer’s desktop. I recently sent my Canon S95 in for repair, and of course when I got it back my personalized settings had been wiped and factory defaults restored. Happily, I had written down my settings, but it would have been easier to restore them by importing them from a memory card. And the hassle would be worse for a DSLR with its many more levels of settings.

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Brief Canon Lens Reviews

What follows is more a list of impressions than formal reviews and, perhaps, can provide some helpful perspective for prospective buyers. (Note that I link to outside discussions and reviews when I think this may be helpful to do.)

I prefer lenses that 1) are portable and 2) can serve multiple purposes adequately as opposed to being ideal for one purpose but markedly less suitable for others. I also greatly prefer lenses with built-in stabilizers (“IS” in Canon’s nomenclature). My sense is that online photo-equipment reviewers as a group skew toward gear-headedness and sometimes overemphasize technical perfection in one or another lens feature at the expense of versatility. In particular, I think that automatic focus is worth a lot even if some lenses that are optically superior don’t have it, and if you can get IS in a macro lens it’s a no-brainer because despite conventional wisdom you might want to use your macro without a tripod if you are, say, walking around outdoors.

Note that these particular lenses will fit any Canon SLR or DSLR camera made after 1986 and that my comments are based on my use on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Their optical qualities will be at least as good if you use them on a camera with a smaller image sensor, because in that case your camera will be using only the center of the image as it comes out of the lens, and with most lenses the center of the image field is the sharpest part of the image.

Note also that I earn affiliate fees if you buy these products (or anything else) via the B&H or Amazon links on this blog.

Note also that there is sample variation between lenses. It’s possible to get a bad one, and if you want the best quality it may make sense to buy multiple samples of the lens that you want and then keep only the best one, as a reviewer I link to below suggests. For these reasons I recommend buying from B&H as they have a generous return policy.

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Canon PowerShot S95 Camera Review

The Canon PowerShot S95 is a higher-end small point-and-shoot type camera. Its electronics are supposed to be similar to those in the Canon PowerShot G12. I haven’t used the G12 but my sense is that the main tradeoff between the two cameras is that the G12 is larger and easier to use with better controls and an optical viewfinder, while the S95 is very small. Indeed you can easily carry the S95 in a shirt pocket or trouser pocket (in the latter case I keep my camera in a Ziploc bag to minimize dust intrusion). For me the camera’s small size and reputedly high image quality were the reasons to get it. And it has turned out to be OK for my purposes despite some flaws. (The S95 is currently being supplanted by the similar S100. Most of my comments should apply to both cameras.)

Details follow.

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