Monday, 25 January 2010

Starcross Steamer 24 Jan 10

The Starcross Steamer is an annual pursuit race held on the River Exe, organised by Starcross YC. I was shooting from a RIB with 2 cameras - the Pentax K-7/50-200 DA f4-5.6 and a Canon 40D/400mm f5.6L. Most shots were of approaching boats - hit them with the Canon/400mm first then with the Pentax as they get closer and sweep past. So lots of swapping cameras. It was very cold so I was wearing sailing gloves - thin neoprene with rubberised grip.

The biggest problem with the Pentax was constant, inadvertent operation of the rear dial, putting the EV compensation all over the place. Sometimes it was from the camera brushing my clothing, more often from the end of my gloved thumb. A batch of shots where EV was +2 stops was totally lost, some were not quite so extreme and retrievable (with some loss of quality). I am going to look at the manual again and see if there's a custom setting which isn't so vulnerable to mis-setting.

Not all bad news, though. I got some respectable shots with the Pentax - they can be seen on the Fotoboat website. Look for the 'C' or 'P' in the filename to tell which camera was used.

Where the Pentax scored physically over the Canon combination was its much lighter weight, though not really a fair comparison against a camera with a 400mm lens! My jury is still out over the effectiveness of the in-camera image stabilisation. I reckon if I can get acceptable shots hand-holding the Canon/400 combination in a moving boat, then using the much lighter (and shorter f/l) Pentax under the same lighting conditions isn't exactly going to test the Pentax's IS. I will have to work out a more objective test and report back.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

A gig at last!

It's been unusually quiet so far this winter on the Fotoboating front. I didn't get my usual trip to Queen Mary SC as (a) the weather threatened to make the trip from Devon somewhat difficult and (b) David Gates lives much nearer! David took some great pics which can be seen on the Fotoboat site.

Tomorrow I am going to the Starcross Steamer pursuit race at Starcross YC on the Exe. I will be using the K-7 alongside my Canon gear, so look out for some results and comment soon.