One foot in the ………… ?

Thank you for all the kind comments on my 500th post. I appreciate them very much. Sometimes it seems a thankless task, blogging. A few encouraging comments go a long way!

Yesterday I collected The Beast, or my new Canon 1Dx as it is more properly known. I had wrestled with my willpower, conscience and bank balance for over a year but eventually I capitulated. And so I rose at 6am to head off to Long Valley to test The Beast at higher ISOs, just to see how well the camera performs under real conditions.

The 1Dx is not only supposed to be capable of rendering files with minimal noise at ISOs up to 3200 but it should also track far better than the 1D4. Importantly it is weather-sealed. Not waterproof. Less than an hour into its maiden voyage and this was put to the test. I walked along a narrow bund, the edges of which were covered in grass. I put my right foot down and in true Status Quo style, it went down, down, deeper and down….. Up to my knee in fact. I hope it was only mud but who knows? The rest of me keeled over too as I vainly tried to hold the camera aloft whilst completely off-balance. 1 hour into action and the 1Dx is wet, muddy and still working like a dream. A bit of spit and a polish with a handkerchief and it looked as good as not quite new. A pal of mine tells me they can also survive a 5′ fall onto concrete. You get what you pay for. Remarkably I repeated the trick 2 hours later but practice makes perfect and this time the camera was saved a second session of mud-wrestling.

What about the images? Well I shot very few at 800 ISO and most at either 3200 or 6400. You can judge for yourself whether they are useable or not.

Daurian Redstart - female

Daurian Redstart – female

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Olive-backed Pipit

Plain Prinia

Plain Prinia

The very rare Satellite-Dish Shrike, endemic to Long Valley

The very rare Satellite-Dish Shrike, endemic to Long Valley

Stejneger's Stonechat

Stejneger’s Stonechat

White-rumped Munia

White-rumped Munia

All in all I regarded it as successful test, especially the weather-sealing. Clearly I would have failed a breathalyzer walk today and frankly standing upright has never been so difficult. For a teetotaler this is rather worrying. Perhaps the extra weight of the 1Dx was all too much for my ageing body. Nevertheless I will be giving it another go next week. But I may well have to borrow the stabilizers off a child’s bike in the meantime. I am sure Olga Korbut never had problems like this but The Olympics has not yet introduced Camera Carrying as an event. It will have to happen. I am in training…….


27 thoughts on “One foot in the ………… ?

    • I will give it a go, Gerard. I think falling over more should be within my capabilities. I am not too sure about deeper though. Knee deep was quite enough.

  1. There’s not too many people I know that can talk about dousing a camera (ANY camera) with such nonchalance, and considering the cost of THE BEAST, I am very glad to here she passed the test. Certainly looks like it’s working from here!

    • A pal of mine dropped his Leica Monochrom M in the drink in Cambodia. The air was blue for a few seconds but then what can you do? What is done is done. Another pal dropped his 1Dx 5′ onto concrete – it survived without problem. Just a few battle scars. That is what you expect from a camera that costs about the GDP of Greece.

  2. Well that was a waste of money! NOT! 😉 Superb pictures.
    Hopefully it won’t take long for your new camera to become an irrelevance in your photography – insofar that all the controls become second nature.
    (Is that a dust bunny on the sensor or something on the rear of the lens?)

      • doh!
        I’ve taken to cleaning the sensor on my old Canon myself, BUT the sensor is 7 years old (7! jeeps!) and the first time I cleaned it it was a question of sitting down in a darkened room for an hour afterwards, to attempt something like the one on your beauty….. no thanks!

      • Canon have taken it back today and I am awaiting its return. I will clean the sensor of a body that is out of warranty but I am not doing it on a body 36 hours old and in warranty. I missed them initially because most of the frames had them cropped out or the background was not clean. They are in the bottom left hand corner of the sensor but fact is they should not be there.

      • Absolutely!
        I’ve always been amazed at how dust suddenly comes out of nowhere when I start processing images. Where I have large areas of even tone/colour I slide the image about on my monitor and my eye then starts to pick them up.

  3. Oh Gawd! The imagination runs wild with the possible accumulated contents of that muck hole. I hope you fared as well as your new weapon of choice. Maybe you need one of those Cotton Carriers so you can make use of a tight rope walker’s pole.
    As for performance, it seems the combination of Canon and Hardacre has struck a fine balance. These are all excellent, Andrew. It is too bad you must wait until next week to give the 1Dx a little more exercise.

  4. Plumedark Air

    You did good Andrew. Your birds are my favorite birds other than those who fly here around and above the cottage. I admire ‘em from any kit. Wish I could think of something cute and witty to say, but…. Foggy in here behind the eyes; gittin’ foggier.

    So I’ll share something written by Thomas Ignatius M. Forster in in his “Circle of the Seasons and Perpetual Key to the Calendar and Almanack” (1828.) He has an entry for every day of the year. I’ll quote from the entry of Nov. 19. Why? For one, it’s kinda on topic. For two, it hearkens back to your home country. For three, it employs the cool words “fens” and “fenny.” For four, I know you like this kinda stuff. Mr. Forster writes:

    “At this time of year great numbers of birds of various kinds live in flocks, which, being composed chiefly of the numerous young of summer’s broods, are often very large. The great destruction which goes on annually among birds can be no where better proved than by observing the disproportion between the numbers of any species in autumn and those of the following spring. In the fens of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, and in Holland, this is particularly observable. We have been in those flat and fenny districts at this present time of year, and have been astonished at the vast quantity not only of Geese and Ducks, but of Crows, Rooks, Daws, and other common birds, with which in some places the air seems darkened. About the rocky shores of this island still greater numbers of sea birds inhabit, and the poet has justly spoken of the plumedark air in those ornithophorous regions.”

    • What a wonderful passage, Eb. The Fenlands are still full of wildfowl I am happy to say. Some of the most ardent conservationists were once on the wrong side – either egg collectors or in the case of the late Sir Peter Scott, a wildfowler I believe. I have sympathy with hunting for the pot but not with killing for the lust of killing. I love the phrase ‘the plumedark air in those ornithophorous regions’.

  5. Sounds like your story could be an advertisement for the Canon. I never thought of you as being ‘stuck-in-the-mud”.
    I had to look and look to find the dust bunnies Stephen was talking about. I’m only now assuming I have found a couple.
    I am amazed at very fine noise seen on only two of the images – with long lens and very plain backgrounds. I actually like the sense of texture it gives. It will be good to see what happens when you use a lower ISO. Will you do some comparison shots?
    It boggles my mind that a camera body can make such a difference.
    Congratulations on the new acquisition and the great images you already have taken. Looking forward to many many more. I love your dishy satellite comment. At last a good use for those things.

    • Thanks Rod. Yes I will do some comparison shots but the dust bunnies could not be removed so Canon are going to do it for me. Sad that Canon can’t get a new camera costing about US$6,000 right but I am getting used to it. If I did not have so much tied up in their lenses I would switch to Nikon. The satellite dish is actually a tractor seat hence the bad reception.

  6. Best thing I did was buy a weather-proof camera, especially as I’m in Snowdonia a lot. Great set of photographs, Andrew and you really cant tell that you’ve pushed the ISO a bit

  7. Excellent pics from a great photographer……and camera 🙂
    Glad you survived the mud bath, but as other have said, if this is what ending knee deep in mud gets……please continue to tumble 😉

  8. These are stunning, Andrew. If they’re the product of the new camera, then it was probably worth the cost, but I believe that it’s the visionary eye and the steady hand of the photographer that makes the real difference.
    Very nicely done.

    • Well bearing in mind the 1Dx has already gone back to Canon, John, it won’t be much of a shoot out! That said it did track remarkably well and I think the ISO is very useable at 3200. At 6400 it starts to look a bit iffy but I would shoot at 1600 as my base without worrying too much! Doesn’t help if the sensor is filthy though.

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