You may have noticed that camera technology has developed rather quickly over the past ten years, and not always for the better (the Canon 1D MkIII fiasco). Like vehicle technology that’s developed in Formula One cars finding its way into our everyday people carriers. So better sensors, autofocus and light metering systems filter down from the high-end cameras to the small compact cameras, which can only be a great thing for everyone.
After 20 years of shooting with film, I began the digital journey in 2005 with my diminutive Canon 20D. The photograph of the African Wild Cat below would simply not have been possible back then. At 10 000 ISO, the noise alone would have destroyed the photo, never mind the autofocus issues (if I recall the 20d could only get to 3200 ISO anyway).
African Wild Cat
The photo was taken about two kilometres north of the Letaba Rest Camp during my extended trip to the Kruger National Park. The camp gates opened at 6 am, and this was taken at 6:31 am which in the South African winter months (July) meant it was still dark. I always try to be the first car to leave the camp because it increases your chance for good sightings, albeit in really poor light.
Driving out the camp with a coffee flask in my hand and the car’s brights lighting up the road ahead, I dreamt of a lion kill. I briefly saw a creature ghost across the tarred road about 100 meters ahead of me, so I marked the spot and slowly edged closer. It looked like a smallish cat but had no idea which one it was.
It took me a minute or two to find this lovely little guy while he sat calmly and watched me. I spat out coffee when I saw him and prayed for him to stay put. He obliged for about five minutes until another vehicle came along and then he simply turned around and left.
Camera: Canon 1Dx
Lens: 500mm + 1.4x converter (at 700mm)
ISO: 10 000
Exposure: Aperture Priority – f/5.6 at 1/200secs
Bean bag on the doorframe.
Everyone who enjoys photography knows that you don’t need a great camera to take a great photo. That is the simple fact of our trade, cameras don’t take photographs just as ovens don’t cook good meals. High-end cameras, however, will allow you to take photographs that you wouldn’t be able to take with a lower spec prosumer camera. Gotta love changing camera technology
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