Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I recently purchased a Canon 70D as a backup camera to my 5D MKII AND for it's advanced auto-focus capabilities--particularly in the video mode. So, when our close friends invited us to go along with them in their four-wheel drive, crew-cab, truck for a day trip to Silver City, we jumped at the chance. Silver City is a well known, almost ghost town, nestled in the Owyhee mountains at 6200 feet, in the middle of nowhere--like most old mining towns. It's a 25-mile drive on a dirt road from the tiny town of Murphy--not a good road for a big RV, fifth-wheel rig or trailer!

One of the tests I planned for the 70D was how well it performed in low light at high ISO's.  So, when we arrived in town I headed for the much talked about, 130-year-old, Idaho Hotel to photograph it's 19th century interior.  When I walked in my eyes had to adjust to authentic 19th century dark rooms lit only by window light--the restaurant was being heated by wood stove--it was GREAT!

The front desk @ 1600 ISO  f4.0 1/20 sec.
The front desk actually had the MOST light of any area--the restaurant was darker--and I still had to use 1/20th sec with my lens wide open!   Good thing my lens ( the Canon 24-105mm L) has stabilization--I didn't bring a tripod.

3200 ISO  f4.5 @ 1/30 SEC.                                                        1600 ISO  F4.5 @ 1/30 SEC.
This great old wood stove--being a dark subject in a dark environment--was a good test for ANY camera!  So, I did it first at 3200 ISO and again at 1600 ISO to compare noise levels.  I don't use 3200 ISO much even with my 5D MKII and it has a full frame sensor unlike the 70D with it's smaller APS-C size sensor--so I was really pushing my new camera to it's limits.

 3200 ISO  f4.5 @ 1/30 sec.

This is inside the old telegraph office--in 1874 it was the first telegraph in the Idaho Territory--which was lit by a small dirty window about ten feet behind me. I had to not only hand hold--now NEEDING 3200 ISO--but I also had to shoot through the barred--off entrance gate.

 400 ISO  f5.6 @ 1/800 sec.                                                                 400 ISO  f11.0 @ 1/1250 sec.
Finally OUTSIDE with lots of light!   Doing some detail images and a basic scenic of their old church on the hill.

400 ISO  f8.0 @ 1/640 sec.

I had read about the old school building that's under restoration but I was surprised how BIG it is!  MY challenge was to find a different view on this much photographed historic building.  So, later in the day after some nice clouds rolled in I spotted this view through two big trees that had grown together creating a nice arch--framing the school house.

 400 ISO  f11.0 @ 1/500 sec. 
This outhouse, with it's dark wood, was a nice contrast to the old white school house, so naturally, I made it B&W!

 400 ISO  f11.0 @ 1/100 sec.
After climbing up the rock hill to the church--only to find it locked--I wandered around behind the church and found this old rusted car. The Photographer's Mother Lode!  This is just one of MANY photos I did of this car.

Overall I am VERY happy with the performance of the Canon 70D.  The low light images are surprising good and I NEVER had any problems with the auto-focus even in the really dark areas inside the hotel. The outside images speak for themselves.

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Certified - http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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