Ronno Tramper Photography

14 January 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer

Have you ever tried writing CSS and HTML-code for a webpage that is supposed to look exactly the same in all the major internetbrowsers: Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), IE7, IE8, Firefox and Safari. Why does it always work the way it is supposed to work in Safari and Firefox the first time. And why does it never work the first time in IE6, IE7 and (to a much lesser extent) IE8? Microsoft is driving me nuts. They do not seem to know the meaning of words like "standards" and "consistency". Every other year they make something new that is guaranteed not to be compatible with previous generations of their own software and does not stick to the W3C standards. In fact I am so fed up with it that I have decided that I will no longer guarantee that this site works in IE6. For those of you who still use it, perhaps it is time to upgrade to IE8 or (even better) Firefox.

14 January 2010, Some more images from Schiermonnikoog (Canon S90)

I have been using the Canon S90 for some time now. Here's what I like about that camera and what I like less about it.

What I like

What I like less

The bottom line is that this is a very good camera but that it (necessarily I would almost say) has its limitations. It is not a Nikon D200, but it can deliver images of similar quality if you keep in mind those limitations. You have to decide for yourself, considering the type of photographs that you make, if this is a good camera for you. A Panasonic Lumix GF1 and a Lumix f4/7-14mm wide angle zoom will no doubt get you wide angle landscapes of a much higher quality (sharper corners, more resolution, less distortion). But then again, try to stuff that lens and camera combination in your pants pocket ... Do you need the extra quality if you shoot for yourself and not for a client?

The images below are all from Schiermonnikoog Island and taken with the S90. Settings: A(perture priority), ISO 80, raw + jpeg, IS continuous; raw files converted in Bibble5 (exif is in the files)

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/1000 sec. at f4, handheld, IS-continuous
High Dynamic Range image made by combining two different raw conversions

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 15mm (70mm), 1/320 sec. at f4, handheld, IS-continuous
At this focal length there is virtually no distortion; no correction applied

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/1000 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous

Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/100 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous

Crab, Northern Beach, Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/250 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous, macro mode

Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1 sec. at f4
IS-continuous (camera resting on the table), macro mode

6 January 2010, Canon Powershot S90

I have spent most of the Christmas Holidays on the nearby Schiermonnikoog Island. Usually it's a quiet place in the Wadden Sea. The Island is a national park and the area as a whole is on the Unesco World Heritage List. During the Christmas holidays, however, it can become quite crowded. For the first time in many years we are experiencing a real winter here with frost and lots of snow, so there were many photo opportunities. I brought the Panasonic Lumix G1 and the recently bought Canon Powershot S90. The Nikon D300 stayed at home. You cannot take your car to the island, so the amount of luggage is limited to what you can carry on your back and in your hands.

Overseeing the photos that I made, the conclusion must be that from a photographers point of view I made the best shots with the Canon S90. A simple camera, less than 200 grams and the size of the palm of my hand, with a limited choice of focal lengths. Consequently there was nothing to worry about but the images themselves. Photographers often carry around a lot of excess luggage (not just literally) that tends to get in the way of making pictures.

The S90 has ten megapixels on a small 5 x 7mm sensor, an f2(!)-f4.9/6-22.5mm lens (the equivalent of a 28-105mm on full frame) and at its base ISO of 80 offers the image quality of a Nikon D200 (I am not kidding). ISO 80 may not seem a lot to you but you have to remember that a 6 mm lens on such a small sensor has an almost unlimited depth of field, even at its widest aperture of f2. At apertures between f2 and f4 you ought to get fast shutterspeeds under all but the worst circumstances. And even if they are a bit slower the optical stabilizer (IS) turns out to be quite reliable. Canon is clearly targetting the market of serious photographers with this camera. It has raw capability and although it may look like a plastic toy on the pictures that you see on the internet and in brochures, it has a surprisingly solid "metal" feel to it once you've got it in your hand (it IS mostly metal). It was made to last for a long time even under intensive use.

I have done a little experiment for you with one of the raw files. I shot raw + jpeg. The first shot below is the uncorrected raw file. The distortion is incredibly high, as you can see. It's hard to imagine images taken with this camera that could do without correction of the distortion. The second image is the jpg from the camera. The Digic 4 chip in the camera has corrected the distortion almost completely, cutting off a large part of the image in the process. The camera jpeg has a magenta-red color cast, probably caused by the setting sun, that I find hard to correct. But perhaps the colorcast is not much of a problem on uncalibrated LCD screens that are usually a lot colder (bluish). Of course the jpeg result will also depend a lot on the "my color" setting that you choose in the menu. You would have to experiment with that. In this case it was simply set to "off". The third photo is the raw image converted and corrected for distortion in Bibble5. The red area indicates the angle of view that you gain compared to the camera jpeg by shooting raw (nothing dramatic). But compared to the uncorrected raw image both lose a lot on the edges (focal length/angle of view may differ as much as 2 mm).

Follow this link for a larger version.

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/250 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous
uncorrected raw file, converted to jpeg in Bibble5

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/250 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous
camera jpeg

Northern Beach (Badstrand) on Schiermonnikoog Island
Canon Powershot S90, 6mm (28mm), 1/250 sec. at f3.2, handheld, IS-continuous
corrected raw file, converted to jpeg in Bibble5