Posted by: Mike P. | June 9, 2010

Keep Your Ears Clean

Silly Stuff

My daughter must always keep her ears clean because she never knows when her crazy dad will post a picture of one on the internet. Just because he has a new camera and wants to play with macro photography.

Unprotected Ear

Unprotected Ear

Yeah, it sucks to be her. Guess who has an Olympus with a nice 10x optical zoom? I am five times her age, and finally have a digital SLR. Without a 10x optical zoom. The Olympus she uses is interesting because the eye piece display is actually video. This is the only point and shoot style camera I have seen where accurate framing can be done via the eye piece. A great asset to have in bright sunlight. The eye piece display is black and white, but still quite good.

My new camera is a Canon T1i and the lens an 18-135mm f3.5-5.6. It’s decent at shooting HD video, too. The main problem with video is the good autofocus and autoexposure electronics work via the mirror. The mirror is up when shooting video, of course, so I believe the focus and exposure is derived from what the image sensor is reading. The fancy high-speed sensors in the head can not be used. But, the video shot is still made through that awesome lens.

I have not finished reading the manual, so there may be a better way around it.

Unfortunately, manual focus is not going to work for me because my close up vision is limited and blurry. In other words, I can’t read the LCD unless it is arms length away from my eyes. And I am not getting bifocals. Yet.

Update: it is so good to read the manual. There is a zoom button you can hit which brings the image up to 10x. Focusing that is not too bad. Need to play with it and learn more. Also, there is a focus mode called Live Quick or something. Right before starting to record video, press the auto-exposure/auto-focus button, the mirror will go up, and the main sensors used. Much faster and more accurate than the image sensor focusing that happens when the mirror is down. There is also a way to select which sensor is actually used and a host of other options.

Update 2: OK, the main sensors may not be in the top prism area. But, wherever they are, the main mirror needs to be down in order for them to be used. Also, the auto-exposure update was set to 16 seconds, but can be changed to 4 seconds. This causes the camera to react to changing light conditions much faster.

In some respects, this camera will never shoot video as well as a dedicated video camera. On the other hand, I was never going to buy a dedicated video camera with the quality of glass I shoot through with this one. Additionally, there is a great L series long lens that I will probably buy at some point which should add even more options that I would never get through any dedicated video camcorder I would have purchased.


  1. Of note: I’m pretty sure you have the capability to hook your T1i up to the computer and re-program some of the buttons to have the functions you use most. Saves an awful lot of fumbling when using the camera for video (or one-chance shots).

    • I’ll look into this. At least I now have the defaults how I like them, and I am careful to return the camera to what I consider my default state when done for a session. For instance, I always keep ISO set to auto so I can get off quick shots. Actually, this morning I wanted to get some shots of my daughter getting on the elementary school bus for one of the last times, and I didn’t even get the camera to my eye. Shot from the hip. Not bad considering 🙂

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