Category Archives: Cameras

DSLR, video cameras, etc

Are Point and Shoot Cameras Coming To An End?

A decade ago, a point and shoot digital camera would have been the perfect gift to someone that’s into gadgets and technology. Unfortunately, the era of point and shoot cameras is coming to an end. Today, a smartphone replaces your average point and shoot and you don’t have to carry an extra device. Progress has spoken but is there a still a place for the old point and shoot? Continue reading Are Point and Shoot Cameras Coming To An End?

Best Portable Audio Recording? Zoom H1 Review

The Techshift team and I are slowly progressing into the world of video making for YouTube. (More of that come of course!) During this journey we have noticed that our sound equipment, none besides the onboard mic of our dslr, just was not cutting it. Upon doing some research I originally sought to buy the Zoom H4N. It ended up out of my price range. Needless to say from there I searched for a budget, but quality, mic and what I found was the Zoom h1. What was advertised as your perfect walk around audio recorder, came to be the perfectВ supplementВ to aВ DSLR. The purchase came out to be about 100 bucks. Yeah! were not rich yet! В While some people would not even consider an external microphone, the Techhift team and I feel as though sound is just as important, if not more, than the video. В So let us get right down to it! Here is the full review of the Zoom H1.

 

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Build

Before actually owning the zoom h1, I did do my own research on the product. Everyone’s conclusion was that it felt like a cheap toy. However, I feel as though, while it is all plastic, it still feels sturdy.  I have dropped this mic before and it has yet to crack. (I hope it doesn’t of course!)  And upside to it being all plastic is that it is very light. The build itself is a very small mic intended for on the go usage. It might just be me, but there is something satisfying when you can buy an a product for use, and not have to worry about it getting scuffed up. Coming in an all plastic and cheap form actually makes me want to bring it around more. I toss it into my bag and go. And I think thats a very important factor when considering this type of product to buy. Just dont expect a tank when your buying this product. Keep in mind the satisfying buying price of it and you wont have any complaints.

 

Sound

To be blunt the sound is fantastic.  With an onboard mic that you get with your typical DSLR, you’ll notice the sound levels are not equal. Every now and then I would record a conversation with two people, and while they are at the same exact distance from the camera, every now and then one voice would be extremely high while the other would be low. Not with the zoom h1. If I aim the mic correctly, the audio is not only equal, but it is also accurate.Another problem that I had before using the Zoom h1 was the fact that my onboard mic picked up a certain humming noise in the background. The h1, as im sure many if not all external mics, fix this problem.  The Zoom h1 mic also removed the audio echo that I received with many other cameras. (Especially webcams)

As far as the amount of audio you want to capture goes, you can easily control it. You can set it so you are capturing sounds closer to you, or sounds further away with the input level. Ive been testing the extent of the mic and I once pointed the mic towards my kitchen, while being 2 rooms away, and I swear I heard the conversation my mother and father were having! While we are on the subject of direction. I have noticed that if you move this mic a little off of your subject, the audio that you pick up will be loads different. And no, that does not mean the zoom h1 will not pick up audio, or will have bad audio if you don’t have it directly on the subject. It just sounds much more crisp when you have it directly on your subject oposed to 3 inches off.  So definetly keep in mind, if you are recording something importatnt to have someone overhearing it it through headphones. Once you adjust the input level correct and youve aimed the mic correctly, your 100 dollar equipment surely pays off.

I do not have a wind filter, as it does not come with one, but I have noticed, to no surprised, that in semi-windy condition, without a wind filter, it does pick up a lot of wind noise.  A LOT. Not a negative thing, that’s typical, but don’t be put off by it and buy a wind filter. (If you intend to work in windy conditions)

 

KEEP IN MIND

The Zoom H1 does cannot be directly connected into your camera. You must manually sync you audio. It could be a major pain, and it is something you definitely want to consider. I believe in the new Final Cut Pro X there is a way to automatically sync the audio, but even then, I would of course rather just have the audio recorded right into our DSLR. If this is a problem, you might want to consider the Zoom H1s big brother: the Zoom H4n.

 

Controls

It is a very simple microphone that one can just pick up and use.  Right on the front of the mic is a large record button. Ergonoimically speaking, this mic feels perfect for an on the go use. To the left of the mic you have your volume up and down button which controls both the volume of the speaker and the amount of sound you are capturing.  You have your on and off switch. Trash button to delete any files. Your play/ pause botton along with rewinding and fast forwarding. I found these buttons to be a little unresponsive. Time to time I will try to listen to my audio through the mic and I will fastforward or rewind.  While holding onto the button to rewind or fastforward the button will become unresponsive and it’ll consider my press a single click thus having it skip to the next track. I’ve tried this many times with a firm grip of course haha.  You have your line in and out. Your volume control and finally your input level to adjust the amount of sound your mic picks up. It also has a little screen to view your tracks. Nothing too fancy here. Just the basics, which again, is why I love this mic. The simplicity to use it quickly on the go!

 

Other

The zoom consumes only one AA battery, but I still wish it had a charging feature. В It also does haveВ  tripod screw in so if you have an extra tripod you can mount it equally to your camera.

As a walk around mic, it’s perfect. I mainly bought it to compliment my dslr. But I have had times where I brought out this mic to record commentary or record audio as a joke. And with the size and simplicity it gets the job done right for that.

 

All in all

For a budget mic, I think it is a great product. В I do envy the Zoom H4n, but considering the price this product it is going for, I cant complain much. Its a mic, that I use to supplement everything, my DSLR, my webcam, and sometimes even my phone. The only downside I would have to say is, again, you have to manually sync the audio in post production. So do I recommend this mic? Yes, yes I do!

 

Zoom H1

The Zoom H1, your portable audio recorder now the perfect supplement to any DSLR or video recording device. Small and affordable, but what does all of that sacrifice?

Rating by Len Thou: 4.0 stars

How Are Canons FD Lenses On An EF-S Mount?

Lets face it, owning the top of the line DSLR would be pointless if you didnt intend to invest in some quality glass. However, you might be surprised to find out that many FD lenses are those quality glass I speak of. I own the Canon 60d, and while I do want to invest in an L series gem, I just cant afford to. So, I checked my budget and before I knew it I was in the market for a nice EF-S lens. В It was a little discouraging spending hours on Amazon, Adorama and B&H only to see all of the EF-S lenses that I wanted were way over my budget. I could have bought some cheaper prime lenses but I decided to hold off on them. В However in good timing, my sisters boyfriend came over and showed me the gear he has for his 60d. And there I saw it. Two FD lens that, at first, made no impressions to me. В However, after some tampering and questioning, I now have a completely renewed thought on the entire topic.

 

 

 

Cost

Call me a newb, but I had no idea just how cheap you can find them. В I asked my sisters boyfriend how much did he invest in his FD 135mm and 50mm primes. And, while he did buy them used, all he told me was, Check out the sticker on top. My eyes lit up when I read $10.00 and $20.00. В You do also have to spend around 20 more bucks (Depending on your bargaining skills!) on theВ adapter (FD mount) but in my opinion thatВ adapterВ is a one time buy and after that you wont ever have to worry about it. So, 20 dollars is a steal! В Finally, if you just type in Canon FD lens into Ebays search bar youll find plenty of them for aВ relativelyВ cheap price. (Keep in mind, they are old lenses so they may only be sold used.)

 

What You Will Need

You will have to purchase an EF-S to FDВ adapter. My sisters boyfriend bought the first one he saw for 20 dollars so you may even be able to find it cheaper. В And you can find it at almost any camera store or online vendors.ItsВ essentiallyВ a little flat mount that you put in between the cameras EF-S mount and your soon to be bought FD lens.

 

 

Build

I will go as far to say that these FD lenses have a better build than some EF-S ones. They just have a sturdy metal feel to them. Their zoom and focus rings also feel very smooth. They have a nice heft to them. And I may be a little bias considering Ive only handled few EF and EF-s lenses but I feel as though the overall built feels very plastic like (Not just talking about the 50mm 1.8) and their zoom and focus rings arent always as smooth. For example, while Im recording videos with the 18-135mm kit lens, I can at times hear the rings turning. I havent had a problem with testing the FD lenses in a very quiet room.

FD lens Focus Ring

 

Photos A Downside..

It may be a tadВ disappointingВ to find out that the FD lens on an EF-S body will not auto focus. Yes, you will have to manually focus your images with the focus ring. В At first, I considered this to be a huge deal breaker. However, the actual image quality you can produce with these lenses are quite crisp. I was shown some amazing images taken with the 50mm 1.8 FD lens. I figured that buying a camera would mean investing in many lenses. So, why not toss an FD lens into the mix? Its nice, cheap and you can still get great results. It does not mean youre entitled to only buying FD lenses. I intend to pick up a few cheap prime FD lenses and save up for some better EF-S lenses in the future. (Maybe even an L!)

 

Video

To no surprise, this is where these lenses shine. The FD lenses worked perfectly to my likings because on any lens that I use, while recording movies with my 60d, I have my lens on manual focus. And as mentioned before, I feel as though the zoom and focus rings are that much quieter than some of the EF-S lenses out there. The actual video quality to me was amazing. I couldnt tell the difference between the 50mm1.8 FD vs the 50mm 1.8 EF. Yes, I only used two FD lenses but I did not expect that crisp of a video from that bargain of a lens.В So, it basically worked with no compromise here.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Im sure there are plenty of EF-S or EF lenses out there that will triumph the image quality from the FD lenses. However, that doesnt take anything away from just how great and handy an FD lens can be. Unless you cant stand manually focusing your image, IВ recommendedВ adding a few FD lenses to your collection. IВ definitelyВ intend to. If youre tight on cash and would like to experiment with some new lenses then Id say this would be the way to go. Youll find it on your mount very often while using movie mode. And, while you cantВ auto focusВ your images, yourВ manuallyВ focused ones will turn out great. Good luck on the purchase!

 

 

 

Should You Buy A Canon 60D Only For Its Video Features?

With DSLR’s becoming the new trend in videography it’s hard to choose what camera will suit your needs. And now with the Canon 60d offering a swivel screen, the choice has become that much harder. There is no doubt that the 60ds video quality, when used with the right lens, can better your standard HD camcorder. However, even with that in mind, DSLR’s like the 60d still may not be your best buy. There are two completely different types of people who record videos in this world: People who shoot and edit projects and people who just want to record memorable events. If you consider yourself in both categories, you may want to consider getting two different types of cameras.  I bought the 60d mainly for photography but I also had cinematography on the agenda.  I did own a Sony HD CX500v before the Canon 60d, (Check out that review here) so why did I opt to get the 60d for video when I already owned an HD camcorder?

 

 

Customization

The 60d is a great camera and there is nothing wrong with getting it solemnly for its video features. (Many are!)  It shoots up to 1080p and even records 720p at 60fps for that nice Slow-Mo effect that we all love.  You can change its ISO, white balance, shutter speed etc.; all important features for those who want to dive into making a masterpiece.  While you have the option to change all of these settings, you can also just leave it on auto exposure where it’ll choose the “best” settings. So for those who don’t intend to change any settings, don’t let its option for customization scare you off, yet….

 

 

Depth of Field

The main reason that made the 60d an extremely attractive camera in comparison to my CX500v or many other standard HD camcorders is that the 60d, and other DSLR’s with video, gives you the ability to manually adjust your focus ring to give you a nice depth of field. Great when you’re recording a movie and you want to emphasize your subject.

 

However the average person should consider.

 

Size

Your average HD camcorder comes in a tight package nowadays which in comparison makes the 60d seem extremely bulky.  A lot of people don’t want to go around and lug a DSLR with 5 different lenses.

 

Convenience and Cash

While the standard HD camcorder isn’t the best at a certain thing, it is good at many. I notice with my 60d, if I want to record in low light situations, the kit lens is just not going to work. I need a nice lens with a high F stop. (Aperture) While, the Sony I had owned did really well. Not as good as the 60d with a 50mm 1.8 lenses but again that is why I say it does many things only “good.”

You don’t need to lug around an extra lens and swap it. With the HD camcorder just turns it on and record. It’s very convenient for family and friend gets together. The 60d can definitely better the HD camcorder in almost all video aspects, but it just takes that much more gear, space, and money.

60d Swivel Screen

 

Jelly Effect and stabilization

This is a huge reason why one may want to consider getting a HD camcorder instead of a 60d or any video DSLR. While, I personally believe the jelly effect is over exaggerated, it is still there.  If you don’t know what the jelly effect is it is essentially when you pan your camera really quick and you video looks wobbly. (Like jello I guess. Haha)

And as far as stabilization goes; Yes, you can always buy a steady cam, but for some people, they just want to record, walk around without the extra gear. When moving around a lot with the 60d you’ll notice how much shaking effects your video.

 

 

ContinuousВ Auto focus

The 60d lacks this feature so if you’re walking around you’ll have to constantly press the focus button. If you have it in manual mode, well that speaks for itself, you will have to manually focus the ring when you want to focus on something else.

I know some of Nikons Camera has full time auto focus. I have seen many test videos of it and while I applaud Nikon for adding the feature, I still believe that it’s still not done right. You can hear the focusing; it’s very loud. And it takes a few seconds until the camera actually realizes that it has a new subject to focus on.

With my portable Sony I just pressed record and I had nothing to worry about.

Personally, I LOVE my 60d but I understand that the 60d is more a work camera rather than a camera to just bring around to record some memories. Not that you can’t with it of course.

 

 

To summarize

The 60d and your average HD camcorder are two completely different buys. If you just want a camera to record events or just want something that works without having to spend any extra money or having that extra bulk than I would say stay away from the 60d.

But if you’re looking to take your video work a little more seriously and don’t mind the jelly effect, the size, the fact that you may end up spending a lot more money for gear, or even if you just intend to do most of your work on a tripod.) Then the 60d will be a great choice. It has a lot of settings you can change that makes this camera a great one for those looking to get serious into video work.

 

The Ultimate Photo And Video Camera: Canon 60D Review

AMAZING! Thats what this camera is. With a lot of chatter of the 60d being a downgrade from the last or it being an over hyped camera, I was stuck clueless of what camera I would get. Having debated between the 60d, the t3i and the 7d I ended up purchasing the 60d for a few reasons. (If you’re interested read why I chose the 60d instead of the t3i and 7d read here) While I understand the 60d is not a huge evolution from what the t2i/550d was, I don’t believe a lot of people understand what canon packed into the t2i. Having said that, anything a step up from that little rebel only means a beast of a camera. Im pretty sure with the right lens you can produce exceptionally well images with any of the rebel cameras. So the 60d is definitely nothing to be babied. I needed a camera that would meet my photography needs but at the same time something that would replace Sony HD camcorder. The 60D met those requirements and Ive been using it for a while now; I must say Im impressed. So let’s get down to the review!

 

 

 

Build Quality

The 60D is somewhat weather proof, but not at the level of the 7d. While it is not a magnesium alloy build like its older brother the 50d, the 60d still has a great polycarbonate body. Personally I would say that this camera has the right weight and feel to it.

I understand the disappointment from many that the 60d is a step down from the 50d however; I still think that people should give the 60d a hold before they judge it.В  The 7d (Or 5d if you have the money) might be the right route to take if the magnesium alloy enclosure is extremely important to you.

 

 

Ergonomics

Canon 60d Top LCDEvery video review I’ve watched and every review I’ve read all suggest that the 60D has horrible ergonomics. My first opinions of owning the camera was that the reviews were right. But they still were better than what the canon Rebel series offered. However after using it for a few months I realize that it’s not bad at all. Actually it’s great! Okay, so the button layout on the back of the cameras isn’t the quickest to navigate through. But I’d say anyone planning to get a 60D or anyone who already own it will end up using the quick view LCD on top. I have no problems switching the settings on top.

The lock on the top dial for changing your creative shooting modes is a tad bit annoying. I have never changed shooting modes accidently so I thought it was pretty pointless. But honestly, I don’t find myself switching the modes so often enough to say it’s a deal breaker. I shoot on manual mode for the most part and every now and then I switch it up to take more convenient shots or to just record movies. I would be happier without it, but it’s such a small price to pay to own this camera.  And hey, I’ve read many who do enjoy the lock so another plus!

 

 

 

Image Quality

Don’t be surprised if you bought the 60d with the kit lens and you’re a tad disappointed. (Our kit lens review here) While it has an 18 megapixel CMOS sensor, your image quality will more or less dependent on the glass you actually put on it. This said, you can pretty much get the same image quality on a t1i that you can on this 60d.

So with the right lens, you can get professional shots. I’ve only used a few lenses such as the 50mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.8, and my the kit 18-135mm but I must say I’m overall impressed with the image quality. My brother in law has the 60d and he shoots with the 70-200mm 2.8; the image quality that it produces: Amazing…….

I personally don’t raise the ISO too high but you have the option to bump up your ISO to a HIGH 128,600. I’ve only shot it at that ISO to test it. It’s pretty much unusable with all the noise.

You also have the option of shooting with the creative filter like toy and miniature effect. If you’re interested in that kind of photography, the 60d offers it!

 

 

 

Video Mode

I wrote an article that explained whether you should get the 60D solemnly for video or not here. But to review once again, the 60d video is great for certain people. It still suffers from the jelly effect that plagues all DSLR’s. But if you intend to do a lot of tripod work or plan to buy a Steadicam the 60d is a great combination.

I love the fact that this camera has many different settings to tamper with from being able to shoot at 1080p video all the way to shooting at 720p at 60fps for a nice slow motion effect.

After using this camera for a while I can see why a lot of video enthusiasts are going to DSLR’s. The option to switch lenses and change of the settings such as ISO, shutter speed and white balance makes this full video camera!

Be sure to buy a fast SD card when using it on the 60D; if it’s not fast enough your card will only record a few seconds of 1080p. I didn’t realize this at first and I thought I had a defective model.

 

Canon 60d Swivel Screen

 

The swivel screen

Don’t underestimate the swivel screen! I know a lot of photo enthusiast aren’t too happy about the screen and are hoping canon do no implement this into the future of the 7d or 5d but I must say that for video work the swivel screen comes in handy.  You don’t need to record at ground level to see how useful the screen actually is. I notice even on a tripod the screen makes my work much easier. Instead of having to bend down a little to have my eye at level with the screen the screen on the 60d pretty much adjust to my liking.

Canon 60d Swivel Screen

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

If you can’t tell I really do love this camera. If you’re looking to do professional work with both video and photography then the 60d is right up your ally. Keep in mind that you’re going to need some nice lens to reach this cameras full potential. If money is an issue then you might want to consider the t3i and a nice lens with that.  If video isn’t important, I would still suggest this camera. Its build quality is great in comparison to canon rebel series.  And keeping in mind that you can produce the same image quality on the 60d than what you can on the 7d, unless you are shooting sports photography, I would recommend checking out the 60d. Good luck on choosing the right camera. Remember the right camera for me may not be the right for you. Find the right camera and you will use it!