Trying a Canon DSLR

Intrepid cyclist and technology guru Geoff has lent me his ‘spare’ Canon EOS550D camera while he is away dodging people with iron bars trying to mug him in Vietnam. As my latest distraction I have been bidding on mid range DSLRs on Ebay and luckily being unsuccessful. I’ve also got out my old Pentax ME Super that I bought duty free in Singapore on my way to my first visit to Australia in 1983 and have been shooting B&W film. In the meantime I’ve borrowed a Canon zoom (18-55mm) for Geoff’s camera and been trying to work out how good the photos are that these cheapish DSLRs take, comparing it with H’s Sony Alpha that seems to live permanently in a drawer here where its battery seems to go flat without so much as a click of the shutter (as one reviewer has noted).

The Sony is cute alongside a conventional DSLR but it is actually rather weird to hold and use as the lens is so heavy compared to the body and, of course, you end up holding it away from yourself to compose pictures on the back screen.


the quality of the pictures that both produce are very similar. The Canon tends to give more exposure. Its on the left at the top but on the right in the photographs of the studio here:

exposure-canon left


Both lenses show colour fringing, which I think looks tacky. On the Canon it is orange and on the Sony, purple as below:

Colour fringing

and both show some barrel distortion when on the most wide angle setting. Canon is on the right. The two pictures were composed identically and the Canon viewfinder shows less than 100% of what the camera takes:

barrel distortion

Finally, both have some distortion with detail. These shots are taken at the lenses’ longest focal length.
detail-canon left

Overall, I expected better from this £500-600 price range.

Actually, the Canon is better than expected at low light. The first shot has only one 60w bulb lighting the kitchen, the exposure is 1/4 second:

Here all the lights apart from the light in the oven hood are off and the exposure is 2.5 seconds, hand held, obviously.

A lighter adventure motorcycle

Sometimes I think how good it would be to be riding a really light bike. The BMW Sertao caught my imagination when I borrowed it last year. How good a long-distance traveller would it be?

Here’s someone who smeared his in Araldite then rode it through a Touratech showroom. You’ve got to wonder how that little single cylinder engine copes with all this stuff.

More slow speed riding

Not really feeling like doing much at the moment, I couldn’t let a dry and sunny day go by without taking Bertha out. Being in the garage for three weeks, with no way of keeping the battery on charge she just about started. It was great to get out on the road – in the sunshine.

Slow speed work, Ely at EveryTrail

Did I ride round and round some fields? No, Google maps still haven’t updated the Park and Ride at Milton.