It was five years ago (time really flies!) when I got my previous Canon SLR, EOS 350D. The photos from the very first session should still be here. The body is still working fine, there are only a couple of dust particles inside, but the feature standard and user experience of today’s top cameras is completely different from 350D. I have now placed an order for Canon EOS 550D (with the kit IS zoom lens), and the key features are worlds away from the 2005 situation:
- 18 million pixels
- Full HD video (1080p)
- DIGIC 4 processor
- sensitivity range ISO100-12800 (extended, 6400 native)
- 3 inch LCD display, 1040k pixels (live view — the quality of in-camera image display has grown more and more important during the years)
The manual for this thing is 260 pages (there is some reading and learning waiting for me) and can be downloaded from here. There are also a few extras that my setup will include:
- Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card (provides automatic uploads when within Wi-Fi range, plus automatic geo-tagging, but only with Wi-Fi triangulation)
- RØDE VideoMic (useful for the HD video shooting, even while the automatic gain control, AGC, is an issue in the audio side)
- Battery grip BG-E8 (the old BG-E3 from EOS 350D is of course incompatible), plus an extra LP-E8 lithium-ion battery
For those who are interested in dealers, I ordered the camera plus lens kit from Stockmann through a “regular clients’ deal”; Eye-Fi card from Amazon.com; Röde mic, battery and grip from Maitolaituri.tv. Lets see how the deliveries will finally work out.
One of the interesting developments is this trend towards shooting hi-def videos using SLR cameras — taking the artistic potentials, lens quality etc. of course something that holds great potential, yet these cameras are built for still photography originally, and e.g. focusing and handling are not similar to pro-level digital video cameras. But then again, neither is the price. There are few nice movies to look at for samples:
- ‘Venice’s People’ by Philip Bloom, shot using Canon 7D and the Röde videomic: http://vimeo.com/7412515 (edited with Magic Bullet Looks)
- House season finale, shot all with Canon 5D Mk II, Youtube teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAaZZQhuyMo
It will be particularly interesting to see how the Eye-Fi card handles the huge Full HD video files. On still shots, I could see myself even using software hotspot from my Nokia N900, shared to camera with JoikuSpot software, but that data bandwidth is way too narrow for any video clips.
More: Canon EOS 550D brochure (3 MB PDF file) — originally intended for the Asian market, as you can see from the visual style.