Landscape Photography – G10 Summer Morning

G10

I was playing around with the Canon Powershot G10 last weekend and wanted to see what this camera was really capable of. I’d been reading all the online reviews of this little gems for the past several weeks and these three posts by photographer Bill Lockhart really hit home for me.

  • Canon Powershot G10, First Impressions
  • Canon Powershot G10 Review
  • Canon Powershot G10 Review (Summary)

The G10 is an amazing little camera for almost anyone from amateur to professional. The shot below was taken last weekend from atop the bluff at the Monument Hill State Historic Site in La Grange, Texas. As you can see from the larger version, the detail capable of being recorded by this little camera is incredible and the noise levels at ISO 80 are virtually nonexistent.

I’d recommend this point & shoot for anyone that needs a great little take everywhere camera!

Summer Morning (G10)

G10 Summer Morning
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon G10 set on aperture priority (Av). The exposure was taken at 28mm (eq), f/6.3 for 1/320th of a second at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon Powershot G10, Landscape Photography, Photography, Texas Landscapes

Comparing the Canon G10 and G11

G10

G11

As most of you know by now, Canon has introduced a new “G” series model, the PowerShot G11 to replace their flagship model the G10. In the coming days there will be reviews galore posted on the various industry watching blogs with in depth discussions of this new model’s features and benefits. Folks that recently purchased the G10 will start to feel “buyers remorse” and “upgraders envy” over the perceived differences between their G10 and the new G11. The amount of forum traffic on DPReview.com will jump as folks begin to post their rants and raves about this new camera.

To help cut through some of the rhetoric I thought I’d post a quick and dirty comparison of the G10 and G11 cameras based upon the information currently available. Right off the bat let me state that this comparison is from a still photographer’s perspective only. The video capabilities of both cameras are cool but not my cup of tea.

Sensor:
According to Canon, the “i-Contrast” system in the PowerShot G10 has been enhanced in the G11 to deliver better coverage from low light shadow details to highlights with minimized blow out. This sounds very similar to their “highlight tone priority” setting found in Canon’s DSLR line. Canon also claims that the DIGIC 4 processor carries out image processing in-camera and in combination with the high-sensitivity 10.0 Megapixel sensor to deliver exceptional performance in all lighting conditions up to ISO 3200. They state that they have “improved the signal-to-noise ratio by around two stops when compared to the G10 camera”.

ISO:
G10 – AUTO, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
G11 – AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

Pixels:
G10 – 14.7 MP
G11 – 10.0 MP

Processor: Same (DIGIC 4)
Lens: Same
Focusing: Same
Exposure Control: Same
Shutter: Same
White Balance: Same
Viewfinder: Same

LCD:
G10 – 3.0 PureColor LCD II, 461,000 dots
G11 – 2.8 Vari-Angle LCD II, 461,000 dots

Image Size:
G10 – 4416 x 3312
G11 – 3648 x 2736

Interface:
G10 – A/V Out
G11 – HDMI, A/V Out

Flash Sync:
G10 – 1/500th
G11 – 1/2000th

Continuous Shooting:
G10 – Approx. 1.3 shots/second
G11 – Approx. 1.1 shots/second

Sound memo:
G10 – Up to 60 sec per image
G11 – Missing ???

Conclusions:
If all this preliminary information is correct then there are really two primary differences between these two excellent cameras; the low light / high ISO performance and the articulating LCD screen. I certainly hope the low light / high ISO performance (lower noise) of the new G11 is better than the G10 which is really poor. Especially since this improved performance comes at the expense of image resolution (which I really like for landscape and nature photography).

To be honest, I’m having trouble understanding the benefits of an articulating LCD screen, especially in outdoor conditions. Will this screen be easier to see in bright sunlight if it’s tilted somehow? Does this feature make composition easier? Is this feature aimed at videographers using the G11? Personally I’d have preferred a higher resolution 3 LCD like that found on the new EOS 50D and 5D Mark II, which is much easier to see outdoors.

Some Final Thoughts:
I think the G9/G10/G11 are superb cameras capable of delivering exception results under the right conditions. I do think that Canon has done the right thing in concentrating on improving the sensor in these cameras, rather than on just adding more megapixels with each new model. As a nature and landscape photographer I think the G10 fits my needs very well and I personally have no use for the G11 s articulating LCD, especially since it’s smaller that the LCD on the G10. I just don’t see many G10 owners rushing out to buy a G11 but for new owners its a pretty impressive point & shoot camera.

Here’s another good review from photographer Bill Lockhart: Canon Announces Powershot G11

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon Powershot G10, Canon Powershot G11

Shooting Waterfalls with Canon’s G10

One incredibly useful feature often overlooked in Canon’s G10 and G11 cameras is the built-in 3-stop neutral density filter. Landscape photographers know the creative potential a neutral density filter can offer when shooting flowing water and now that creative potential can be found in a point & shoot camera.

I took this shot last Saturday evening just before sunset with my G10 mounted on a light-weight Gitzo tripod. Using an aperture of f/8 and the internal neutral density filter allowed me to capture this image at 1/3rd of a second, which was just slow enough to create a wonderful smoothing effect in the flowing water. At ISO 80, the G10 s 14.7 MP sensor offers very acceptable noise which Nik Software’s Dfine had no trouble eliminating in post.

As a backup to my Canon 5D Mark II, the Powershot G10 continues to amaze me with it’s image quality, versatility and ease of use. Not bad for less than $500 (USD). I can’t wait to get my hands on the new G11 to test!

Flow

Flow – Pedernales Falls near Johnson City, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) and tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 30mm, f/8 for 1/3rd of a second using the built-in neutral density filter at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon Powershot G10, Canon Powershot G11, Landscape Photography, Photography

Running Water Shot with Canon’s G10

Here’s another abstract landscape shot with Canon’s Powershot G10 using its built-in 3-stop neutral density filter. Landscape photographers have long known the creative potential a neutral density filter can offer when shooting flowing water using a long exposure. Being able to take advantage of this in a point & shoot camera is somewhat unique and really sets the Canon G9, G10 & G11 apart from the competition.

Swirl - Guadalupe River, Texas

Swirl – Guadalupe River State Park, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) and tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 30mm, f/8 for 1/2 second using the built-in neutral density filter at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon Powershot G10, Canon Powershot G11, Canon Powershot G9, Landscape Photography, Photography

Outfitting Your Canon G10 for Landscape Photography

A few months ago a friend of mine asked me to help outfit his Canon Powershot G10 for landscape photography without spending a fortune on accessories. He wasn’t really sure what he needed but he could see the difference in the shots I’d taken and those he’d taken and wanted to know what the “secret” was.

The first thing on my list was adding a circular polarizer to the G10 to help reduce glare and add some saturation to his images. Luckily, the folks at Lensmate in Seattle make a line of precision machined aluminum lens adapters for the Canon G10 / G11 that allow you to add a polarizing filter to the camera without creating a vignetting problem. Lensmate also sells the 72mm low profile Kenko Pro1 Digital CP filter that their adapters are designed to work with.

$ 24.95 – Lensmate G10 / G11 Adapter (Part A)
$ 22.95 – Lensmate G10 / G11 Adapter (Part B)
$ 74.95 – Kenko Pro1 Digital Circular Polarizer (low profile 72mm)

G10 Setup for Landscape Photography

Canon Powershot G10 with Lensmate Adapters & CP Filter

The next accessory I recommended was a light-weight tripod and ball-head like the Gitzo GT-1541T Traveller and the Really Right Stuff BH-30LR. I explained that there’s nothing more important to landscape photographer than the camera support system. Once he got over the sticker shock I also recommended picking up the RRS BG-10L L-Plate designed specifically to mount the G10 in a RRS quick-release clamp as shown below.

$88.00 – Really Right Stuff BG10-L: L-Plate for Canon G10

G10 with L-Plate and Tripod

Canon Powershot G10 with Really Right Stuff L-Plate

Finally, I recommended he buy a hand-strap like the Camdapter Camstrap from Jim Garavuso. Jim is an engineer and avid photographer with keen eye for good design. I’ve used his high quality leather hand-straps on all my cameras.

The custom hand-strap seen in the image above I created by modifying the neck strap that comes with the G10 and mounting it under the RRS L-Plate. Not the best solution but it works in a pinch.

$30.00 – Camdapter Camstrap

As you can see, with a few basic accessories the Canon Powershot G10 and G11 can be outfitted for serious landscape photography at about 1/3rd the weight of a DSLR and lens. Not too bad for a “Point & Shoot” camera!

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon Powershot G10, Landscape Photography, Photography

More Canon G10 Landscape Photography

A few weeks ago I wrote a short post entitled Outfitting Your Canon G10 for Landscape Photography which drew a lot of interest from amateur landscape photographers interested in finding an alternative to carrying around their somewhat bulky DSLR rig.

A few folks even emailed me to ask if a camera this small could really provide results comparable to their DSLRs. I could point to the incredible G10 images shot by Bill Lockhart to answer this question but I thought I’d try to provide some direct comparisons during my waterfall shoot this weekend.

Lower McKinney Falls G10

Lower McKinney Falls (G10) – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on full manual mode and tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 25mm, f/7.1 for 2 seconds using the built-in neutral density filter at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Lower McKinney Falls 5D2

Lower McKinney Falls (5D2) – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on full manual using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/13 for 13 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Both images were taken from the same tripod location only a few seconds apart and the differences in composition are due to the zoom range of each camera’s lens. Both images were processes using the same basic develop settings in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta and adjusted to match each other as closely as possible.

I was very impressed that the Canon G10 could provide comparable results to the 5D2 in this situation (click on each image for a larger version and compare for yourself) and would not hesitate to shoot with the G10 for my landscape work. In fact, several of the images published in my new book Hill Country Landscapes, were taken with the G10. Not too bad for a sensor the size of a dime!

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon Powershot G10, Landscape Photography, Photography

A Tale of Two Images

I posted these two landscape images in the dpreview.com’s Canon SLR Lens Talk forum as I usually do each week and had an interesting comment come back. I had labelled my images with “Just a quick comparison to show that even a ‘point & shoot’ can take nice landscape images” and got a response back stating “it mostly demonstrates the post-processing work done. these sort of ‘comparison’ pictures should not be post-processed otherwise its not really a ‘fair’ test.”

Actually both of these images were taken only minutes apart under the same lighting conditions from the same tripod location. I intentionally chose to process them in Adobe Lightroom using the same “settings” so I could compare the results.

Well, that comment got me thinking about some of the misconceptions folks have about how digital photography really works and I decided to write up a short post that I hope clarifies some of these issues.

Lower McKinney Falls G10

Lower McKinney Falls (G10) – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on full manual mode and tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 25mm, f/7.1 for 2 seconds using the built-in neutral density filter at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Lower McKinney Falls 5D2

Lower McKinney Falls (5D2) – Austin, Texas
Copyright 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on full manual using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/13 for 13 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray Vari-ND-Duo neutral density and warming polarizer filter. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Analog vs. Digital
We use our sense of sight to perceive the world in which we live in an “analog” fashion. In the “old days” SLR cameras recorded this analog impression on film to create a negative. Today, our DSLR cameras do the same thing by converting this analog impression (photons hitting a CMOS sensor) to a digital “RAW” format. This file format is then stored on your DSLR’s CF or SDHC memory card.

The Digital Negative
Just as a film negative is not the final printed image, a “RAW” file is not a viewable or printable format like a JPEG or TIFF image is. The term “RAW” means that this file stores information directly coming from the sensor, almost without processing. The RAW file contains all the information about the image including each primary color (Red, Green or Blue) recorded in 14bit, lossless compression. It’s a lot of information, but it’s not the photograph.

The Camera’s LCD
When you review an image on your camera’s rear LCD, you are NOT looking at the RAW file. You are looking at a JPEG image created by your camera’s internal processor from the RAW data using a predetermined set of processing choices.

Post-Capture RAW Processing
The same is true when you import your RAW files into Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. The previews are JPEG images created by the software for you to review “prior” to making your explicit processing decisions. That’s why these initial previews look so “flat” and “lifeless”. That’s also why the previews from Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom will look so different from the previews presented by Canon’s own Digital Photo Professional. Each piece of software “interprets” the RAW information a little differently when creating the initial preview.

Let me be very clear on this; you can’t “see” or “print” a RAW file. You can only “see” or “print” a RAW file that has been “processed” into a JPEG or TIFF image. The choices on how you process your RAW files are purely subjective and the final image does not and can not accurately represent what you saw with your own eyes. No camera made can capture the same resolution or tonal gradations that the human eye can. And no software program today can convert that information captured into a static image which accurately represents what you “saw”.

The Bottom Line
All we can do as photographers is to attempt to process our RAW files into JPEG or TIFF images that capture a tiny bit of the emotions we felt when we took the shot. The post-capture processing decisions we make on exposure, contrast, black-point, hue, saturation, luminance, sharpening and noise reduction are our personal choices used to create what we hope will be a compelling image. So the next time someone says “Nice shot but show me the RAW file” just smile politely and tell them to go to hell under your breath.

BTW – If you really want to know what a Canon RAW file contains, checkout this link: http://lclevy.free.fr/cr2/

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon Powershot G10, CR2 RAW Format