Canon 7d

Canon 7d

by Michael
(London, UK)

I want to sing the praises of the Canon 7D. I feel that I am qualified to do this.

I used to be a professional photographer in the 1970s. Yes, film and all that. I used a Nikon F in those days with Tri-X film – great combo.

Canon-7D-06 logo

But the Canon 7D is light years better. This is an awesome camera for two major reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, the Canon 7D delivers. It gets the photograph. It improves on what you see. If you are photographing under difficult conditions, as we frequently are, this camera gets the best it can get out of the available light and then improves on it. It is an extremely competent camera.

Landscape Oklahoma USALandscape, OK, USA – early hours – by Michael

The landscape above was outside the front door of the guest house at A1 Savannahs. I got up early and popped of the shot. The pic below was also taken at A1 Savannahs.

F1 Savannah Cat FOCUS
FOCUS, F1 Savannah Kitten – by Michael

You have heard of WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get, which applies to computer programs – well the Canon 7D does, WYSISB – what you see I see better!

It is a highly efficient camera. It gets the pic and that, bottom line, is all photographers want.

This efficiency, is backed up with extremely intuitive controls. Controls on modern DSLR cameras can look daunting, especially for newcomers.

But the Canon D7 controls are very intuitive. You almost don’t need the manual, although I recommend you read it to get the most out of the camera.

OK, so the greatest plus for this camera is that is produces beautiful results (but not necessarily beautiful photographs as that is down to us).

The Canon 7D also produces high quality video. Actually it is almost too high as it takes longer to render video and longer upload to YouTube as the files are heavier. It is 1080p HD, the highest available currently as far as I am aware from camcorders made for consumers.

The video quality is so high you can freeze frame and take stills from the video that are very acceptable. This is useful as you can capture photographs that you would otherwise not have captured.

Here is an example. This is a serval called Serena:


Still from video – Angry serval – photo copyright Michael

Here is another blurred still from the same video about a second or two later:


Still from video – Angry serval – photo copyright Michael

I am using the EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens with a high quality UV filter and the Canon EW-78E lens hood.

This is not a technical report by people running tech websites reviewing cameras. I am reviewing the Canon 7D purely from a user point of view. On that basis this is an awesome camera.

And it will do much more than produce the photo that you visualized. Have a look and see.

It is expensive in the UK – everything is! All in all (plus lens, flash card etc.) it cost me approaching £2,000 in total but it is a truly great camera and it feels as solid as you would want it to feel. And the shutter sounds like it means business.

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Aug 12, 2010 Lee Mann 4
by: Sylvia Ann

He glances at the photographs thumbtacked to the walls of his office: the fields of lupine, the vaporous spindrift and sun-gilded peaks that inspire him. “When my critics call my work irrelevant,” he says, “that’s just a fancy way of saying they have no personal interest in it.”

Lucky for Lee, the subjects he likes have worldwide appeal.

“I hope they have,” he says with an optimistic twinkle, “because I’m ruined for anything else. If I had to give this up, there’d be nothing left for me but the breadline.”


Aug 12, 2010 Lee Mann 3
by: Sylvia Ann

“A tripod can be the kiss of death with this kind of camera,” he says. If I want a crystal-clear, staidcomposition, sure – I’ll use a tripod. But not with this. A hand-held 35 mm is the most anthropologically designed camera in existence, and I value its spontaneity too much to ruin it by using a tripod. A view camera gives you a finished oil painting, and a 35 mm gives you a fantastic watercolor, if you let it.”

Lee shoots 80 percent of his photos with his Asahi Pentax 5 x 7, a camera that looks well worn from use. It gives him, however, spectacular color and clarity.

He uses a 4 x 5 for the rest of his work, an equally inexpensive view camera that he describes as being “sometimes cranky and obnoxious,” but light enough to backpack into high country.

Despite the state-of-the-art equipment in his darkroom. Lee likes to poke fun at the mystique surrounding technology, and blames the allure of big-name cameras on a passive desire to escape boredom.

“It’s as if people were programmed,” he comments. We river-raft because it’s the thing to do. We eat at all the new restaurants, buy ourselves speedboats and trendy ski-gear. And we squander our money on prestige cameras. How come? Because our leisure’s defined for us by somebody else.”

Convinced by experience that an economy camera and good photography can go together, Lee attributes the “must-have” compulsion to a widespread insistence on seeing photography as a “chance venture.”

He rejects the idea that one or two acceptable shots on a roll of film are a fair batting average, and claims he can use 95 percent of his own, provided his subject isn’t moving.

To take a good photo, he believes it’s necessary to achieve an asymmetrical balance in the composition and to see the finished picture before you shoot it.

“You should be able to visualize how much you’re going to enlarge the scene you’re looking at,” says Lee narrowing his eyes and stretching out his hands to form a rectangle in space. “You also want to know how you’ll manipulate the tonalities in the darkroom, and even what kind of frame will suit the photo. You preconceive to the finest details before you release the shutter.”

Lee’s love affair with the Cascades has kept him generally close to home, although he says there are scenes worth photographing anywhere, “once you become sensitized to them and learn to see the nuances of light.” He’s packed his camera into the Canadian Rockies, and has taken his students to Africa, a continent whose grandeur and immensity deeply impressed him. In Africa, man isn’t apart from nature, as he is in this country,” he remarks. “He’s a part of it.”


Aug 12, 2010 Lee Mann 2
by: Sylvia Ann

Today, Lee’s Mann’s photographs are sought in nearly every country of the world “except maybe Tibet,” he notes with self-deprecatory humor. He has frequent shows in the Northwest, a permanent exhibit in the Space Needle, and his nature articles and photography published in national magazines.

Lee lives in a rustic home amid rolling hills that look like a painting by Grandma Moses. For all its isolation, his Sedro Woolley studio is a mecca for admirers who come in droves to his wilderness retreat. “All kinds of people,” he says, “from exchange students to Russian scientists.”

His telephone rings constantly. Someone wants to borrow his slides for a discussion group. Someone else calls to confirm Lee’s promise to join a group of students meeting at Mt. Baker. Cars crunch up his gravel driveway, visitors spill out and, grinning broadly, walk up to him to introduce themselves.

Between phone calls and visits, Lee sits on a wooden bench outside his studio to relax in the sunshine for a few minutes. It’s not the kind of morning to spend indoors. Wisps of fog wreathe the hilltops, and the October sun has the fragile warmth that makes crocuses bloom in April.

“I like what I’m doing,” says Lee, beaming with exuberance. “I’m highly motivated, and enjoy working to my limit. But people with a paycheck think this kind of life’s idyllic. And it’s not. It’s like having a herd of cows! The work never ends. And sometimes I wonder how I’m going to buy my supplies and meet the payrolls of the people I have helping me with my work.”

His fretful lapses notwithstanding, he says he wouldn’t trade place with most salaried employees who, he suspects, “grit their teeth on Monday mornings.”

Lee’s eyes, as russet as his hair, sparkle with amusement when you suggest that he must have an impressive collection of Swedish- and German-made cameras.

“Everybody wants to know what kinds of cameras I use. C’mon in and we’ll take a look at them,” he says.

He leads the way into a cool, tree-shaded room filled with photography supplies and books on wildlife.

“Here’s a great little 35mm I wouldn’t be without. Paid $150.00 for it,” he declares triumphantly, holding up an object to scandalize the pride of any self-respecting camera buff. Lee says he takes about 20 percent of his photos with this battered relic, using a 50mm macro, a 20mm wide-angle and a telephoto lens for most of his shots. He winces at the mere mention of a tripod.


Aug 12, 2010 HOT DAWG!
by: Sylvia Ann

This sounds likes a ‘36 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic of a camera! It takes purse-lipped resentment to dream up the notion that ‘material possessions don’t bring happiness.’ Hah! Acts of kindness – together with beautiful things – are immensely life-enriching.

The good news for the poverty stricken is that low-end cameras also take great photos. Years ago I was privileged to write about the Northwest photographer, Lee Mann. However fine his present-day cameras, three decades ago he praised to the skies his tin-lizzy 35mm – and with good reason. The photos he shot with this eyesore sold like hotcakes worldwide. Those who’d like to see his work can find his gallery on the Internet.
_______________________________________________

You needn’t visit the Space Needle Gallery to see Lee Mann’s photos. You’ll spot them on the card racks of any stationery store.

Their limpid atmospheres and misty crags, their glowing greens and golden haze that suggest the smell of woods in the rain and mountain meadows in Indian summer make them uniquely his.

Sophisticates sniff and deny they’re relevant. People less clearly aware of what is, are bewitched by Lee’s vibrant, jewel-toned landscapes.

Ignored or adored, all seem the work of a lifelong photographer.

The hypothesis tickles Lee’s funny-bone. “Not true” he protests. “I was nearly 30 before I could stand to set eyes on a camera.”

The way he tells it, he was one credit short of his degree in education at Western Washington State University when he enrolled in a photography class “because I didn’t know what else to choose.”

That class turned him off with a monkey wrench.

“It totally stifled what little interest I’d had in photography,” he says, shuddering. “A few weeks later I was climbing Mt. Rainier and a couple of screws dropped out of my camera. I was bent over in the snow groping around for the darned things. Suddenly I knew I’d had it with f-stops and tripods, so I pitched the camera into a crevasse.”

Since the memory of that class haunted him for the next five years, no one was more surprised than Lee when he picked up a camera one day and started shooting photos to illustrate a series of lectures for his junior-high students. “I’d always loved the outdoors” he explains, “and I was involved in environmental education. So I began photographing the Skagit Valley – subjects such as how trees are logged, what a volcanic crater looks like inside – and my collection of slides evolved into a television documentary.”

The turning point came when Lee entered a photo contest at age 28. “I shot a picture of a barefoot water skier and won first prize,” he recalls.

The next thing he knew he tossed away his teaching career as he’d tossed his camera years ago, and made up his mind to become a photographer.


Aug 10, 2010 H Joyce
by: Michael

The battery is very good. I don’t know how many pics you get from one charge but it must be thousands or a very large number.

As you say expensive cameras don’t take good photos – we do, but this camera deals with challenging light so effortlessly that it makes getting the photo that much easier.

It helps the photographer get the photograph, which is what I find so pleasing.


Aug 09, 2010 While we’re on the subject
by: Joyce Sammons

Thank you Michael. I know I want that as my next camera. I have an Olympus C2500L I love. Is uses SmartMedia and CF cards. I love the quality but it’s too slow. I got it on EBay for $120 and its a $1300 camera when it was new. But it’s too slow. Both in recharge time and in shutter reaction.

My favorite I use almost 100% of the time is a Fugi FinePix S602Zoom. It ran me $42 on Ebay and works great in low light. I think it sold new for around $600. Funny how more expensive doesn’t mean better. It also has a good video camera on it. Not the best but good enough for me.

The only problem with both is battery drain. I would be better off with an AC adaptor. But I know I’d end up tripping over it.

I’d rather hear user reviews than technical any day. The guy I bought the Fugi from even called me and warned me about the battry drain before he shipped the camera. How is the battery life on your camera?



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