if i need to get anything done it has to be done today. my new camera arrives tomorrow and i'll be stuck at home because it requires a signature.
i'm pretty excited: it's taken me more than 6 years to finally upgrade my camera1. normally i bring my camera everywhere so this new one will be with me all the time so i better learn to love it! the past few days i've been psyching myself up by reading online reviews about the 60D and 18-200mm lens. i also downloaded the manuals so i'll be familiar with their functions the moment it gets here. i'm curious to know how much better a pentaprism is compared to a pentamirror? how much bigger is this new camera? will it fit in my normal camera bag? and how much heavier? (almost half a pound more than my 350D, 0.47lb. or 7.58oz.) will 18 megapixels be overkill? (fortunately there's an option to step down to 8 megapixels, which is what i normally shoot at).
some things i'm excited about: pentaprism viewfinder (i can finally manual focus with clarity); 5.3 frames per second (2.8 fps on my 350D); higher ISO values up to 6400 (350D only went up to 1600 but anything higher than 400 had too much noise); articulated LCD screen (good for ground level macros or above head crowd shots); ability to shoot HD videos (no such option on the 350D); being able to shoot wide angle to telephoto without having to switch lenses (it'd be nice to not have to carry so many lenses with me everyday); self-cleaning CCD sensor (something that's now standard on all canon dSLR but i don't have on my early model 350D so i get a lot of dust issues). anything else is just gravy.
a part of me wonders if i shouldn't have gone with the T3i (600D) or the T4i (650D). those 2 cameras share similar guts with the 60D: 18 megapixels, DIGIC 4 (or higher), articulated LCD screen, 6400+ ISO, and video shooting. the only thing lacking is a slower fps speed (although the T4i at 5 fps is just a hair shy of 5.3 fps) and no pentaprism. what i do like about these compact SLR (versus the mid-size SLR of the 60D) is they're lighter and they're less expensive. a canon-refurbished T3i with 18-55mm IS kit lens can be had for $450 (currently out of stock); that's half the price of what i paid for my 60D (although with a different lens). who knows; maybe when i finally get my hands on the 60D the extra weight won't be an issue.
there are some additional costs with getting a new camera, besides simply learning how to use it. first, no canon cameras come with memory, so i had to buy some. most canon cameras don't use compact flash anymore, which is what i used for my 350D, so i had to get a SDHC card ($18.99 32gb class 10). the camera only comes with a single battery, but i like to have backups in case i run out so i purchased 2 additional batteries ($29.99 wasabi power 2600 mAh LP-E6 with an additional charger). then there's the lens. some photographers don't like shooting with filters because they want to maximize their light intake. i however like a filter because at the very minimum it protects the glass from scratches. all my lenses have polarizing filters, which i find indispensable in cutting through the glare. the 18-200mm has a 72mm thread, which unfortunately none of my other cameras do so i had to get a brand new filter for it. the least expensive circular polarizer i could find that wasn't totally cheap was a tiffen ($34.89). so i ended up spending an additional $84 in essential accessories.
it felt a little strange, this first day without the motorcycle. not that i miss riding it; no, it felt unusual in that i didn't have to worry about it. without a vehicle parked outside, suddenly my life becomes a little more stress-free. when it snows or rain, i don't have to worry about covering up the bike. if there's a loud crash outside, no need to panic that somebody might've hit my motorcycle. and when i hear the beep-beeps of the street sweepers, i don't have to agonize as to whether or not i parked on the safe side of the street.
despite my decree as to everything has to be done today, the weather was the limiting factor. it would've been nice if it was snowing, but the temperature just wasn't cold enough so everything fell as freezing rain. it wasn't too bad in the morning (when i should've gone out), but by afternoon, the precipitation picked up and i was confined to the house.
i did however walk down to the local liquor store to buy a powerball ticket. with a jackpot of half a billion dollars at this point, a $2 investment seems like a small price for some large gain. i have pretty awful luck though when it comes to the lottery. the most numbers i've ever matched is probably 2, but usually it's zero.
everything was quiet until the late afternoon, when a whole bunch of packages began to arrive. first was a large box that contained a bunch of toys and clocks frances had ordered. then a shipment containing my spare camera batteries and a microsd memory card (ordered it friday afternoon, got it on tuesday, not bad amazon!). finally, one more package from amazon.com. i was confused when i opened the box because it was definitely something i wanted but i didn't remember ordering. i thought maybe i got it accidentally until i saw the packaging slip and saw it was a present from fredrik. thank you very much!
i spent the rest of the day playing with the zyxel IPC3605N wireless camera. it was easy to set up once i figured out my pc laptop wasn't connected to the network that's why i couldn't see the camera. once that was done, the setup wizard made me sign up for an isecurityplus.com account, a flash-based online commercial site that allowed me to access the camera from any browser and save videos onto their server for a fee. the idea of having my private webcam feed being managed by a 3rd party website seemed a little invasive. what zyxel didn't tell me but i found out through reading the pdf manual is i can also set up the camera manually, by pinging the local ip number.
so here's what i like about the IPC3605N: 720p resolution; ability to record videos onto a microSD card; powerful night vision; ability to hear and send audio; easy to set up.
here's what i don't like about the IPC3605N: the whole isecurity+ third-party cloud-based monitoring service seems invasive and unnecessary; isecurity+ is flash-based, so it doesn't work on ipads and iphones; there is also about a 1 second delay in video feed through isecurity+; accessing the video through isecurity+ will also reset the settings on the camera; direct viewing of the video through "liveview" currently only seems to work on MSIE for the PC. i tried PC chrome and firefox and got a VLC plugin not detected error; video liveview doesn't work on any OSX browsers; what will work is the 2nd alternate video stream for cell phones. unfortunately the video size is set to 320x240px; there is no 720p mode. setting the video to 1280x720 presents a cropped version of the video and drops the frame rate to 15fps; the camera will automatically switch into night mode when it detects low light conditions. unfortunately this isn't something you can turn off so at night or in a dimly lit room the video is always in B&W.
there's been rumors of a firmware update since this past spring, but it's almost winter and i haven't found any updates yet. i'll play with it for a few more days, but i may decide to return it to amazon and get the foscam FI8910W instead.
the LP-E6 battery packs for the canon 60D are huge; no wonder they can take so many photos! i charged up both batteries in anticipation for tomorrow. as for the memory card, i can believe how tiny 32GB of memory can be on a microSD.
drew came home close to 7:30. with still a light drizzle outside, i volunteered to bike down to davis square and get some wings. i ordered from the store, then spent the next 15 minutes wandering around rainy davis square. i can't believe how active the place is, with restaurants packed with people.
i ordered a 10 piece 50/50 split between garlic-parmesan and spicy barbecue for drew, while i got a 10 piece rochester for myself. we ate while watching a rerun of house before catching up with 2 hours worth of ink master. they cut mark matthews in the first episode, then clint cummings in the next one.
1 my laptop is due for an upgrade as well; it was also purchased in 2006. although this 2.16 GHz intel core 2 duo machine still has some life in it.