Mundane News

Given my current finances, I can’t do it all.  If things remain about as they are now, my plan is to concentrate on getting an infrared digital camera from Lifepixel, and a Mac Laptop for the road.

The tower (if one is needed) and the 5D II – will have to wait for another day.

My plan is to send my current 40D in to Lifepixel, to buy another 40D (I don’t want the 50D for various reasons), and use the second 40D as my new regular every-day camera.

Which exact macBook I end up with, I don’t know.  But with this configuration I’ll have enough money to rent a car, pay for motels as needed, and take some short trips.

If I spring for either the 5D II or the Mac Tower – I’m not going to have the finances to travel or to go into the infrared thing again.

Of course, if I fall into money – then that’s another story.   And as things are – I’m still basically working on orders most of the day.  Not as crazy as it was during Christmas – but still hectic enough.  I may raise the print prices again.   That’s tricky — but I may have to do it – because if I’m spending this sort of time doing orders, and I’m still just about getting enough money to pay my taxes, rent, eat and buy a second camera…

Ah – how everything is connected.

And no one knows the answer to the previous extra credit post quiz?  Okay, I’ll give it one more day and then a couple of hints.


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

12 thoughts on “Mundane News”

  1. I read in the news today that MacWorld was a great disappointment. No WOW announcements. That actually may make your choices easier. There is nothing new to contemplate … just the same old stuff to peruse.


  2. Except, to follow up on Brent’s post, Apple did round out and get to the last of their laptops, with updating the 17″ MacBook Pro to go along with the other Apple laptops that had their updates in 2008.

    I don’t know if it will remain true with the new 17″ MacBook, but I had always read, that for some reason, the 15″ was always preferred over the 17″, before they both got their latest update… may have to wait on the reviews… and also the fact that it doesn’t begin shipping until the end of the month

  3. The 40D is now $810 or so at the usual suspects, but the 50D is only around $250 more. Those 15mp are 50% more than the 40D, gaining you 22% more linear resolution. Look:

    This can make a discernable difference in detail (as long as you aren’t shooting beyond f/8 where diffraction sets in).

    Is it worth $250 more? Honestly I do think so, especially with the bigger/better LCD, better weather sealing, lens microadjustment, vignette-correction (for most Canon lenses) and support for big UDMA CF cards.

    Compare that $250 to just 3 days of a Zipcar rental….

    One last thing to consider: The 5D Mark2 is only $2500 at J&R if (a) you take advantage of Microsoft’s 7% cashback on a $2700 body, (b) use J&R’s free shipping, and (c) send it to a friend/relative in NJ to save another $234 in tax. By comparison, buying it at B&H would total $2934.

  4. Elliot – the thing that spooks me about the 50D isn’t the money; it’s the fact that the noise is greater at the same ISO’s than then 40D. So yes, you get your 22% greater resolution, but at the expense of cramming more onto the same sized sensor; and at any rate, it didn’t take much pixel gazing to see the difference (review at dpreview).

    I don’t care about the LCD. I don’t use it much while shooting. I don’t believe the weather sealing is really that much better – though I don’t really know. That could be a plus if it’s true.

    Anyway – it’s the increased noise issue that irked me, considering that I regularly shoot at 1600 with the 40D and can easily see the difference in the comparisions of the RAW files of the 40D and 50D.

    It is a close call though…

  5. I used a 50D for a while and I’m selling it now. It produces too much noise. The high ISO limits of the 50D are somewhat misleading, making you think it’s a low-noise camera. Fact is, the high ISOs are pretty much unusable. At least that’s how I felt about it.

  6. Oliver, here’s the $64,000 question: did you print?

    My understanding is actual tests and comparisons show that on-screen noise is not seen on prints, and that while high-iso noise is slightly increased it is also well-handled with nr plugins.

    You either print at native resolution or re-sample the image for the size print at the DPI you need. The problem comes with how much resampling is needed to hold the available detail and how much available detail is there to begin with. Take a 50D native size image and print it at 16 x 24, you’ll be printing at 198 dpi. That’s 50 dpi additional detail, native. There is more of a visible difference between a 150 dpi print and a 200 dpi print so you can see where an 8-10mp megapixel camera can not resolve at the detail levels of the newer higher megapixel bodies.

    Those extra megapixels not only give you better detail, they give you more control over the noise levels if you need it, while still maintaining superior detail.
    On-screen images do look noisier, but people with 50Ds who share rather than print seem to get better looking files shooting with sRAW.

    Lots of discussions about this, and examples, on the appropriate forums.

    Here’s an interesting comparison — 100% crops scaled (um, the 50D ISO 1600 isn’t scaled) from samples of the 40D and 50D:

    That said, the one thing that does worry me about the 50D is the examples of vertical banding it now delivers at ISO 3200.

  7. “My understanding is actual tests and comparisons show that on-screen noise is not seen on prints…”

    I have done tons of printing with 40D files, and when noise is present, it simply depends on the size you’re printing at (without interpolation) as to whether it is visible or not. It also makes it more difficult to use a program to add extrapolated pixels; and when you are cleaning this stuff up with NR software, you are always losing some of the good stuff (uhm detail).

    The idea of whether “noise” is visible in the print also depends on the amount of noise and the pattern of the noise. In my case, with b&w, I do have some “noisy” prints from the 40D (3200) that are perfectly fine. In other cases it isn’t pleasing at all.

    But yes, the proof is in the pudding (printing). I’d rather have fewer nice clean pixels (to a point), then lots of noisier pixels.

    And of course the 40D for me is simply a totally known quantity. So put another way – if money wasn’t an issue (which it always is for me) I would get the 5D II (which also means that I need one more full frame fast lens since I mostly shoot with the 30mm f1.4 Sigma which is only for cropped sensors).

    Maybe next year – when the 5DII price has dropped – and my memoirs have become a best seller. But for now – it’s a 2nd 40D so that I can get my IR thing going again.


  8. Dave, ‘unknown quantities’ can be tried and returned within 2 weeks at better NYC camera stores. 🙂

    But here is the real issue: reviews finding more noise are looking at 100% screen zooms, comparing 100% of 15mp to 100% of 10mp, without considering what this *means* for prints, and prints are never done in reviews. People who have actually tried or own the 50D say because of the compensation of the higher resolution *apparent* noise in prints and in reproduction should usually be somewhat lower than the 40D.

    Noise results between the 40D and 50D are actually quite close, which is an impressive achievement for a camera with so many more pixels.

    Also look at these results:

    You want to see clean as a whistle *on-screen* iso 3200? Click on the last image in the review, which came from sRAW.

    I don’t own a 50D and don’t intend to, but it’s clear to me that the 50D has gotten a bad rap. Reviews and kibitzers are pixelpeeping and NEVER PRINTING. Now, for many people this is where things have essentially headed, that sharing images online has supplanted printing to a great extent, so paying attention to 100% zoom-crops is more important. But really, if you’re printing you’ll get more and better from the 50D, in a much improved body and UI, for just 250 clams more.

    Since you print, and since you can always return it, why not try the 50D and see for yourself?

  9. I haven’t done any printing, but it’s very interesting to read about it. If anybody needs it, I can provide you with some sample images for test prints.

  10. Now Dave, how many times do I have to warn you about over-sharpening your pixels? Speaking of things that are too sharp, have Buddy’s talons clipped before my next visit…

    Wow this topic has given me quite an adrenalin rush…

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