It’s been a while and I have a backlog of stuff I want to post about in my head, that’s only growing longer. I hardly know where to start, so I’m going to start with today.
Today I’ve been coming to grips with my new (to me) Canon 7D camera. See, a while back now, this happened on my beloved Canon 550D
Needless to say I tried turning the camera off and on again, and I tried re-installing the battery, and I tried any number of other suggestions found on the internet, but it wasn’t to be. Err 30 turned out to be a terminal shutter error. The shutter was not pining. The shutter had died.
My camera is only about two and a half years old, but long out of warranty, and a reputable (I checked, the internet said so) repairer put the total repair cost up to nearly $400. At that point, I began looking at other options.
My research led me to the Canon 7D. I’ve been thinking about finding a camera the next step up for a while but wasn’t planning to jump yet. Now I’d been pushed. The timing was awkward though; ideally I’d be looking at a full frame, probably the Canon 5D Mark II or III, but most of my lenses won’t fit on a full frame camera, and I wasn’t prepared at that point to spend the time or the money selling them and buying new ones. The 7D is the top of the range APS-C Canon, and is weather-resistent, has 19 autofocus points, fast shutter speeds and generally has a good reputation despite being over three years old (“ahead of its time”, says Canon, and general consensus agrees).
If full-frame versus APS-C is talking goobledegook to you, check out this great explanation. It wasn’t that long ago that it was goobledegook to me too!
Given the age of the 7D and not having worked myself up to the idea of spending a huge amount of money, I hunted ebay and found a 7D with extended warranty and not too many shutter actuations (“you wot?” I would have said a few weeks ago. Shutter actuations are how many times the shutter has been released. In the case of my 550D, I suspect my love of continuous mode while shooting kittens may have led to its somewhat early death). As a bonus, the seller lives one suburb north of me, so I had my new camera in my hot lil hands within days.
And now I’ve hit the 7D learning curve. To say it’s steep is an understatement.
When I first picked it up, I couldn’t even work our how to turn it on. The power button is on the opposite side of the camera to the 550D. The back of the 7D is covered in buttons, and there’s a dial and a joystick. There’s more buttons and two dials and a screen on the top. Oh boy.
So I took the manual out of the box and put it somewhere safe to read later. Can I find it now? Of course not. But I know where the box is.
But like so many new things, picking it up and having a go is usually much more fun than reading some tedious manual. My first night of shots, the focus jumped around, it didn’t seem to want to focus in AI Servo mode and live view kept doing weird things. Still, here is Taala, in her new favourite perch (a blanket hung to dry over the wine rack, of course)
I still haven’t found the manual, but that’s what the internet is for. A couple of interesting threads on the DP Review site (here and here) led me to some great links on the 7D’s autofocusing system (handy summary too) and the many custom functions. I’m still reading both forum threads and I’m sure there’s more to learn besides, but the potential for this camera is quite exciting.