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  • Bwahnt, bwahnt, bwaaaaaa (that’s a sad trombone sound, for a screwed up camera)

    2011 - 08.02

    So it turns out that the camera I got off eBay had a little issue.  Kind of crazy, but an issue that I only noticed when I tried doing time lapse astrophotography.  In the resultant movie, there were dots hanging in the sky which didn’t move as the rest of the stars did.  I tried cleaning the sensor both automatically and (carefully!) manually.  One or two spots went away, most did not.  I found this hidden function buried in the canon menu called “dust delete data” which I thought might help.  Nope.  Finally I got clever and took a 20 second exposure with the lens cap on.  I thought Ah-ha!  I can use this as a reference of the noise, and use a difference layer in photoshop to remove it.  Hmm, that almost worked, but some of the dots aren’t quite lined up for some reason… Okay, how about if I repeat this process five times with an action file.  Okay, now the spots are gone but the ISO noise is out of control.  Alright… know what, forget this.  Time for a BRAND NEW camera.

    Pffft.

    I’m a big believer in buying pre-owned stuff.  I like to get a good deal, I like to see things get used to the maximum and fully worn out before they get discarded, I like the idea that the things around me have some other secret story of their own before they arrived here that I’ll never really know.  But man, a DSLR camera body is a large, long term investment.  This thing has got to be ready for all the kinds of action I want to use it for.  And in this case, astrophotography would be tedious to fix, over and over and over in the years I’ll be using it.

    So yeah.  eBay camera got sent back to New Jersey and there’s a brand new T3i in the mail set to arrive on Thursday from B&H in NYC.

    A few wacky things worth mentioning:

    • the spots were red, blue, and white, meaning potentially sensor flaws and not just dust which should be dark spots
    • these spots only showed up in multi-second long exposures.  At any normal shutter speeds, they didn’t appear at all.  I took a series of test shots and knew exactly where to look.  They were definitely not there.  They didn’t show up in video either (makes sense, short shutter speeds).  Only long exposures.  Hmph.
    • it’s weird–there’s no way I would have caught this unless I was doing astrophotography.  And if I took single shots only, I probably still would not have noticed it.  But since I did time lapse astrophotography, where the stars moved, only then did I catch this.  Since this is an activity I want to get into, I can’t be havin’ those spots.  My night sky time lapse ought to be crystal clear, for the cash that these camera cost.
    • before I bought the T2i I sort of scoffed at the articulating screen, thinking it was not really necessary and just added to the price.  Having played with the T2i and made a few videos, I figured out how the articulating screen does have value.  It’d be useful for filming yourself.  And for low shots where the camera is almost on the ground.  And, ironically, for astrophotography, where the camera is pointed straight up at the sky.  The only way to see the T2i screen was to awkwardly get underneath the tripod.  So, having almost a week with the T2i, I was sold on the utility of an articulating screen.  T3i to the rescue.
    And the waiting game is well underway, AGAIN!

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