What Do All Those Numbers and Letters Mean?
Each time I teach a class, I’m reminded that photography, like most disciplines, has its own strange jargon, acronyms and codes. This article hopes to be the “secret decoder ring” for Canon lenses.
Let’s take a typical Canon lens like the venerable EF28-135/3.5-5.6IS USM. EF stands for Electro-Focus, Canon’s trademarked term for an electronically controlled lens focusing system. The EF is usually left off unless it it the EF-S, a version designed specifically for Canon’s crop sensor line of entry level to mid-range digital cameras (all Digital Rebel variations and xxD series and 7D). EF-S lenses cannot be used on the 1D, 1Ds or 5D. Nikon uses DX to identify its lenses for crop-sensor digital bodies.
Next, the numbers 28-135 indicate the focal length range of the lens ON A FULL FRAME BODY. On a crop frame bodies such as all Digital Rebels and xxD/7D series, these numbers are multiplied by 1.6 to get the true field of view. Therefore, on a Canon Digital Rebel T1i or 7D, the actual field of view range is 28×1.6=44.8mm to 135×1.6=216mm. In 35mm photography, a 50mm lens is considered “normal” in that it closely matches the field of view of a human eye. So, the 28-135 ranges from just about normal to nearly 5x normal. For Nikon crop frame bodies, use 1.5 as the crop factor.
Sending High Quality Small Photos
Last time, we covered resizing & compressing photos using Windows Photo Viewer, an easy, free tool for Windows users. That’s fine if you just intend to sent a photo to someone who’s not all that critical. However, sometimes, you want to send a higher quality image at a size and/or compression ratio that’s not available in WPV. Or, you might already be in Photoshop Elements and want to send the photo you just edited.
As in all things PSE, there are several ways to do this quickly and easily. The photos below show where several of these tools hide and how to use them
The Lust in My Heart Has Been Fulfilled
To paraphrase Jimmy Carter, “I’ve looked on a lot of camera bodies with lust. I’ve committed camera adultery in my heart many times….” Ever since I learned about Nikon’s Commander Mode for wireless remote flash control, I’ve had flashes of lust and envy. I wanted the same in my Canon bodies without paying an extra $250 for a single purpose Canon ST-E2 Transmitter (below left & middle). The Canon Off-Camera Shoe Cord (OCSC, below right) was a limited option, especially when trying to handhold at slow shutter speed while holding the flash in the left hand.
When the Canon 7D was announced, that was the one feature that jumped off the spec sheet at me. The 7D had a wireless remote control mode. Being cheap, I waited until 7D prices came down and initial reports from early adopters were in. Well, I can honestly say, Canon’s integrated wireless remote is a wonderful technology that puts my camera lust under control for the moment. The advanced AF system also helps.
Macro On the Cheap
The annual Desert Spring Wildflower and San Diego Wild Animal Park Butterfly Workshops are over for 2010 and, as always, many students were fascinated by the world of macro photography. So much so that some wanted to rush out and buy a new macro lens. Before you spend a lot of money on a dedicated macro lens, here are some alternatives as well as the pros and cons of each.
Each photo above was taken with a different macro configuration. Click to read more
Precisely Identify Neutral Gray When Adjusting Color
A number of people who attended the free Photoshop Elements webinar a few weeks ago asked me to explain in more detail how I identified an area of neutral gray when adjusting levels. I posted a video a few days ago but then realized it might be of general interest. I first learned this tip at Photoshop World. If you’re thinking of attending, it will be worth your while. I try to attend every other year.
To recap, when adjusting levels and color balance, it’s important to identify the white, black and gray points in a photo. White and black are simple (if you forgot, see my YouTube video) but 50% gray (neutral gray) is a bit trickier. This technique isn’t something you use on every photo but, when it’s important to get it right, this will usually do the trick. I say usually because you might run across a photo that doesn’t have a neutral gray area.
Of course, the easiest way to set neutral gray is to include a Gretag-Macbeth Color Checker or a gray card in the scene but that’s not always practical. Can you imagine a soccer mom running onto the field yelling, “Time out! I need my kid to hold this gray card!” On second thought, skip that, I can imagine it happening.
I used the color checker in this shot to be sure I got the color of her blouse as well as her skin tone correct in post processing.