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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday's Link

There's something to be said about the simplicity of film. You took a photo and after doing the same thing 36 times you took a little cassette out of the back of your camera and handed it over to the processing lab where they took care of everything for you. If you were shooting print film you could ask for adjustments to the colours but if you were shooting slide film you were out of luck. What you saw was what you got. So you chose your slide film according to the colours you wanted. Maybe a Fuji Velvia for bright, saturated landscapes. Maybe a Provia for natural looking colours for documentary work.

Then slide scanners came along and suddenly we had the ability to change the colours in our pictures. How wonderful. Suddenly Photoshop and the computer gave us the ability that the black and white folks had had for a hundred years or so.

But it was a double edged sword. How did we know that the colour we saw on our monitors were the same as our clients saw? Why did our pictures published in magazines sometimes look nothing like the digital file we saw on our own screens. We were thrust headlong into the world of colour management.

Then digital cameras came along and changed things even more. Now we had a choice of colour spaces (whatever they were!) - sRGB vs Adobe RGB. We were suddenly told we needed to calibrate our monitors and our printers and to get proper colours we needed to say a few Hail Marys at the same time.

Joking aside, colour management is really important in ensuring that what you see on your monitor looks like what you get in your prints. I found a great little site which has an introductory primer to colour management and you can find it here. There's a few pages to read but I'm sure it will help you if you're finding it all a bit hard to understand.


The Camera Fanatic said...

Outstanding blog. My personal favorite camera is the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. I wrote a review for it, please let me know what you think:

UPDATE: This camera is currently on sale at Amazon. You can find the link here:


If you need a solid, reliable, and stylish point-and-shoot ultracompact digital camera that produces high-quality images, then the new Canon PowerShot SD1100IS may be right for you.

I am an advanced amateur photographer and own 2 Canon digital cameras (G2 and 20D). Both have served me well over the years but recently I have found myself needing a decent ultracompact camera that I can easily carry with me at all times for unexpected photo-ops.

Other current Canon models that I also researched before my purchase of the "bohemian brown" SD1100IS included the SD950IS and the SD1000.

Here is my take on the SD1100IS:

- 8MP CCD sensor with DigicIII processor (excellent resolution images with good dynamic range)
- Solid construction (most of body made of anodized aluminum)
- Feels sturdy and well-balanced in the hands
- Easy to use (logical user-interface) with minimal need to consult owner's manual for basic operation
- Multiple shooting modes to fit variety of situations (action/sports mode is a glaring omission but read section below to see possibly why)
- Advanced metering system with accurately exposed pics in even "tricky" situations (great balance of highlights and shadows)
- Tack-sharp images (much more so with sufficient lighting and use of built-in flash)
- Macro mode can result in stunning close-ups with outstanding level of detail
- Optical IS feature helpful when shooting in either low-light conditions with flash off or at telephoto lengths
- Fast start-up with acceptable shutter-lag (when not using flash)
- Bright 2.5" LCD monitor (100% coverage, 230k pixels) made of polycrystalline silicon; fairly scratch-resistant (can't vouch if this applies to keys and coins)
- Optical viewfinder (though only a tiny peephole, it is essential when LCD glare and washout become an issue shooting in bright sunlight or when LCD cannot be used as battery power is nearly depleted)
- Camera made in Japan (at least those from the 1st shipment; this easily may be subject to change)

- Lack of manual control over aperture, shutter speed, and focusing (for the obssessive control-freaks)
- Noise is noticeable beginning at ISO 400 (ISO 800 still useable but probably for only 4x6 images; ISO 1600 mostly unuseable)
- Fastest shutter speed is 1/1500 sec (not fast enough to stop action for some sporting activities)
- Auto-focus speed inadequate to follow fast-moving subjects
- Shutter-lag accentuated with flash on (precious Canon moments lost while waiting for flash to recharge)
- Cannot adjust focus or optical zoom while shooting in movie mode (focus is fixed for distance selected at first frame, and digital zoom is permitted instead, resulting in significant image quality deterioration)
- Battery/memory card cover and hinge made of plastic (no safety latch that needs to be de-activated first before sliding cover out, in order to prevent accidental opening)
- Minor vignetting and chromatic aberration (albeit, difficult not to expect from compact p&s)
- Pincushion and barrel distortion at the extremes of the focal lengths
- No RAW shooting mode

Battery power in camera mode with LCD monitor on is mostly as advertised, allowing for approximately 240 images. If your budget permits, I recommend investing in a few spare batteries as backups and replacing the supplied 32MB memory card with a pair of 4GB SDHC memory cards--vital purchases if you plan to use the movie mode frequently.

Overall Impression:
Even with some serious limitations inherent to virtually all digital cameras in this class, I am recommending the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. It does what it's supposed to do. This camera allows one to take beautiful photographs in an ultracompact, reliable, and elegant device that is both easy and fun to use.


Paul Dymond said...

Hi there camera fanatic,

I'm not too sure what this has to do with colour management but am happy you like your new camera. Compacts are certainly getting better and better and many produce outstanding results.