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                   Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - 2:28PM

Canon 12.2mp vs Fujifilm 7.1mp; and new lens

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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It's a good thing I went out shooting yesterday, because the sky conditions have gone to total junk around here for the next week or so (rainy and overcast). Consequently I won't be doing much outdoor shooting unless the off chance happens that we get some lightning (which I doubt at this point). One comparison test I wanted to do with my old and new cameras was with distant summer foliage. Here is a wide shot out of my living room window with my old point-and-shoot, the 7.1mp FujiFilm s700:

Not too bad, aside from the glaring chromatic abberation in the trees on the sides. But looking at the image at full resolution is where things don't look so good. This camera has had problems on the fine scale, particularly in detail-intense scenes like this. The distant foliage is rendered in an impressionist painting-like manner - with a good bit of fine detail lost. Here is a full-rez crop:

Same scene with the XSi, wide at 18mm:

Full-rez crop:

I realized yesterday in my day of test shooting that I wasn't going to be able to do without a telephoto lens of some sort, and was going to have to buy one sooner than later. So, I stopped in at Merrill's this morning to try out the Canon EF 75-300. I mainly wanted to see if I could manage handheld shots at 300mm without image stabilization (The IS 70-300 lens is about $650 new, while the non-IS EF is $179). The nice thing about camera shops, again, is that you can test drive before you buy. I went outside on Hale Street and took a few shots at the lens' full 300mm zoom length:

Satisfied with the non-IS results, I went ahead and picked it up (I wouldn't have been able to afford nor justify the IS 70-300 anyway). So the DSLR package is pretty complete now - I don't expect I'll need any more than this for a long time.

Since the weather outside is dull for the forseeable future, I may fire up the Van de Graaff generator tonight for some indoor lightning photography. I wouldn't consider doing this without the zoom lens where I can set the camera up across the room, out of the danger zone. Stay tuned for the results...

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