supermoon, dslr, magic lantern

Canon DSLR Magic Lantern feature: 3X Crop

on August 19, 2014

“The best camera is the camera you have with you.”

We’ve heard it time and again, and because of this, iPhone pphotos have taken over poopular media. I have an instagram account, but I will admit that I dont use it that often. That comes as a surprise to man of my friends. “But you’re a photographer!” they always say.
That’s probably why I don’t post nearly as often as my pool-party inclined brethren. On the occasions where I am drawn to take a photo, if I don’t have my camera, I take out my iPhone.
And then something happens- I might take the picture, I might not. Recently I have been forcing myself to justtake the shot anyway and upload it onto social media. Taking pictures is a good muscle to exercise. But the reason I hesitatae is because I am often underwhelmed by the image. I’ve trained my eye to anticipate the DSLR- and when i pull out the iPhone- meh. The colors are too limited. the DOF isn’t right. focus and exposure are never quite right.
And it’s not the phones fault. The sensors in phones have gotten significantly better- so much so that they have all but eroded the point & shoot market. Some will say that they help push hobbyist photographers into DSLRs instead of p&s because of the diminishing middle market. It’s a great camera for that size.
For that size.
And there it is- the qualifier that never makes anything better.
The solution, of course, is to take the bigger camera around with me. But anyone who lives in a city knows that carrying a DSLR around with you makes you a target- not to mention it’s a burden that weighs down on you. “Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain,” is an old military motto.
So i got a Canon Eos-M and hacked it with Magic Lantern. I just gott he pancake kit lens- there weren’t many options at the time. The Eos-m has a slightly modified mount that needs an adapter to ise EF lenses, and that was important because I have already invested in the Canon mount system. But once you put on the adapter, and the EF lens, this is no longer the compact mirroless camera you were looking for.
SO the 22mm kit lens lives on it while it’s in my bag, and that works fine on the APS-C sensor. It makes it a 35mm equivalentm and is a great focal length for walking around and street photography. My preferred length on a crop sensor is 50mm which translates to about 80mm, so this was an adjustnebt.
Everyone’s eye has a native focal length. Wes Anderson is obviously 24mm. Terry Gilliam loves the 12mm. Cartier-Bresson is a 35mm man. Being confined to this 22mm focal length has been an exercise for me, and I haveto admit, it hasn’t been going well.

The Supermoon happened. As if often the case, forces of nature make us behave in ways we shouldn’t. I had several cameras going at differentfocal lengths, trying to capture the Supermoon and also the Perseid Meteor showers simultaneously- each requiring very different settings. That’s when I had a 400mm lens on the camera, and I still wasn’t getting as close as I wanted.

That’s when I remembered it.
The 3x Crop.

I turned it on, and suddenly, the beauty of this moon just shone through. I had never seen the moon so close and in such detail. It was so close in on the moon, you could actually SEE THE MOON CROSS THE FRAME OF THE CAMERA., and I wanted to capture it on video.
And for all you doubters out there, I actually saw the lunar module and the US flag. Even the detail in the footsteps.

OK, I made up the part about the lunar lander, but the rest of it was incredible.
The 3x crop is a phenomena feature because it works differently from an optical zoom, which all good photographers have eschewed for years.
It actually uses the cropped part of the SENSOR, so that you are still getting all the pixels of the HD frame, but it only uses the part of the sensor necessary to create that image and translates that into the video.
Often we forget that the images that a still photographer gets to work with are far higher in resolution and pixels that we get to manuipulate while editing. This will change, very quickly, I believe. Soon, we will have still cameras that will be able to take 14 frames per second at full resolution for stills, and when that happens- the game changes. The schism between photographer and videographer will have disappeared. We will be able to get screen grabs that are all the resolution of a still image.

SInce that night, I find myself leaving the Eos-M in 3x crop mode more frequently. Although I do want to “understand” the 22mm focal length, I am drawn to images in that closer crop factor. Using the 3x crop gives me two lenses for the price of on.
I can walk around with my tiny camera and have that street photography style when i want to, and then turn it into a more focused shooting camera when there is some footage that moves me. It makes all of your lenses that much more verstaile, and keeps your kit that much lighter.
It’s also a good way to make the camera that I have with me, if not my best camera, at least a better one.