John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Canon T7i review

If you’ve been following, my T6i bit the dust, bought a SL2, returned it, and bought this T7i to go along with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II len.

Physically the T6i and T7i are physically very similar, the buttons and mode selector, and screen are identical other than the addition of a wireless button that was missing on the T6i, the SL2 had smaller harder to use buttons. The T7i has added bluetooth that allows for MUCH easier WIFI connection to transfer photos off to your smartphone, BUT sadly, it doesn’t do GPS duties like it did on the SL2. A shame, I really liked how well this was done, and appears to be just software. There was a firmware update which I did but it was just a vulnerability and bug fix. I can only hope at some point they will add this feature, but I won’t hold my breath. Canon, to my experience don’t do a lot of firware updates, let alone feature updates.

The micro SD slot is on the side where it belongs, as it did on the T6i, the SL2 moved it to the bottom, which gets in the way if the camera is on a tripod mount

Physically the T7i is 532g 131x100x76 mm vs 555g 132x101x78 mm for the T6i and 453g 122.4×92.6×69.8mm for the SL2. The SL2 really was quite noticeably smaller/lighter in the hand.

The T7i has an updated 24MP sensor (from the T6I), and DIGIC 7 image processor vs a DIGIC 6. The T7i has a 45-point AF system plus Dual Pixel auto focus while the T6i had only 19, and the SL2 a mere 9. This leads to faster, more accurate auto focus. This is especially noticeable when it comes to sports mode, taking pictures of things like birds in flight. The T7i is much closer to the T6i (and probably better) but head and shoulders above the SL2. The T7i, is in a lot of ways, an updated T6i.

The T7i can do ISO 100 – 25600 Vs T6i ISO 100 – 12800, so a little better than the T6i but identical on the SL2. The T7i can do 6 FPS shooting while the T6i and Sl2 are only 5. All three cameras use the same battery (LP-E17), the T7i gets 600 shots vs 440 on the T6i and 650 for the SL2.

The T7i adds in body video stabilization which neither the SL2 or the T6i had. Stabilization for images is done in the lens. All three have a microphone jack for videos.

None of these cameras is environmentally sealed, I mean not even a little waterproof …

All in all, outside of the retro auto focus of the SL2, these cameras are quite similar, evolution rather than revolution. This same retro auto focus is carried over into the SL3, so it isn’t a camera that would meet my needs either. The T7i is the best choice for me!

When buying a camera you have lots of choices. Depending on what your using you camera for, it might be worth considering an extended warranty, and these are not made equal. I bought the lens from Henry’s but there extended warranty has a LOT of caveats and accidental damage payout is quite low, like 20%. BestBuy’s is WAY better, WAY more expensive too …

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canon SL2 camera mini review

I last bought a Canon T6i and I love it. Crisp, fast shooting, great in low light, good in the hand, good weight, little to complain about. Coupled with Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens it’s been great for wildlife photography. The lens is so much better than my older lens. Sadly, my T6i met an untimely premature death requiring me to replace it. My first thought was to just buy another T6i, but it’s not available so I came to an even better thought … use this as an excuse to upgrade! So I started looking into options … I considered the T7, T7i, SL2 and Sl3, all Canons. I’m a Canon guy. I ruled out the T7 last time, it’s actually a downgrade from the T6i, so I ruled it out again. The T7i and Sl3 are more money than I could get my head around so I focused in, pun intended, on the SL2. In pretty much every category it’s either on par, or better than the T6i (or so I thought, read on…). Let’s look at specs:

From Steve’s digicams
Here are the primary similarities between the Canon SL2 and the Canon T6i.
Image Resolution: 24.2 megapixels of resolution.
Image Sensor: APS-C image sensor that has 332 square millimeters of coverage area.
LCD Screen: Touch and tilt/swivel display screen
Lens Mount: EF/EFS lens mounts.
Microphone Jack: Yes
Popup Flash: Yes

Here are the primary differences between the Canon SL2 and the Canon T6i.

AF Points: The T6i has 19 autofocus points, all of which are cross-type, while the SL2 has just nine AF points, only one of which is a cross-type AF point.
Battery Life: The newer SL2’s battery can record roughly 50% more photos per battery charge than the T6i using the SAME battery.
Burst Mode: Canon’s Rebel T6i has an unlimited memory buffer for shooting JPEG photos in burst mode, while the SL2’s memory buffer can only handle 20-25 JPEG photos at a time.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF: The Canon SL2 features the company’s newer, more accurate phase-detection AF system anytime you engage Live View (use the LCD screen rather than the optical viewfinder). Meaning, if you’re vlogging or shooting stills with the SL2, the AF system is going to do a much better job tracking subjects than the T6i’s older Hybrid CMOS AF system.
Image Processor: The Canon SL2 has a newer image processor (DIGIC 7) than the Canon T6i (DIGIC 6), which leads to faster performance levels.
ISO Range: The Rebel SL2 has a slightly better maximum native ISO setting (25,600) than the T6i (12,800).
Movies: Although both cameras have a maximum video recording resolution of full HD (1920×1080), the SL2 does offer a faster frame rate. The Canon SL2 records full HD video at frame rates of 60p, 30p, and 24p, while the Rebel T6i records full HD video at 30p and 24p frame rates. Both record in the MP4 format.
Size: The SL2 is smaller and weighs less than the T6i. The Rebel T6i’s physical size is about 10% larger than the SL2, and the T6i weighs about 22% more than the SL2.
Connectivity: The SL2 has Bluetooth allowing it to use the phone as it’s GPS for Geotagging photos WITHOUT consuming battery power of the camera to run a GPS. The SL2 also has a dedicated WIFI button allowing turning on/off WIFI MUCH faster. Bluetooth also makes connecting to the camera’s WIFI so much less clumsy. It is night and day better!

The auto focus system on the SL2 is VERY different than on the T6i, and frankly, it reminds me more of my 15 year old Rebel XS. It has 9 points that it can choose to focus from in auto mode, or you can choose your focus point. For wildlife, I find the ability to choose the focus points essential. On first take on taking wild life I found this a massively degraded auto focus system to the T6i, and immiedately decided to return the camera. It’s particularly bad in taking action shots like birds in flight.

The buttons, and camera mode knob are VERY small. I don’t have large hands and it was VERY hard to manage and control. This was a REAL step backwards.

Canon have massively updated the menus to give them more of a fluffy guided feel. They are definitely nice.

So this review got cut short, when I found how much of step backwards the camera was to the t6i. I have to say, I am disappointed that Canon would make customers go through this process. Canon do NOT help customers choose the right camera, I have to say.

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Action camera data metrix overlay from a Fenix

Back in 2017 I bought a cheap action camera and quickly found out that, without some form of context, it’s impossible to get perspective just how fast, how much of a grade your on etc in action sports like mountain biking. Of course this cheap camera doesn’t have a GPS so this became a challenge. I had read a post on DC Rainmaker talking about using Garmin VIRB edit to add the metrics by importing a GPS track. Try as I may, I could never make this work. And then, a light went on, gee I wonder if changing from GPS sampling rate automatic to every second might just be the fix? Spoiler alert … it did!

Ok, let’s start with the steps. First change the sampling rate on your Fenix by going into Settings, System, Data recording. This only needs to be done once, unless you change it. By the way, this takes about 25% more battery power dropping you watch down from 36 hours on GPS to around 27.

On the action camera, it’s VERY important it have the exact time. Garmin VIRB Edit will use the time sync to align with the GPS track. My XDV came with an app on the phone that talks to the camera and can be used to sync the time. You should do this before recording a track you are going to add metrics to. For me, this involved turning on WIFI on the camera, connecting to that WIFI on the phone, starting the XDV app and then go to settings time sync.

Ok, your ready to go … So record a video, and record a GPS track, and upload it. You are then ready to download the video, and export the GPX from Garmin connect. Install Garmin VIRB Edit. Click create video, select your video, click G Metrix, then data, and import the GPX you downloaded from Garmin connect. You can now go wild overlaying whatever you want from the GPS onto your video clips! An action cam on the cheap WITH data metrix overlays!

June 21, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Garmin Fenix 6 watch bands

Garmin moved to what it calls a Quickfit watch band, a unique to Garmin design. Sadly, the number of bands available are limited, and expensive. So I wondered if it might be possible to use a 22mm watch band from something like a Samsung S3. These bands use a quick release mechanism. Physically speaking the width is right and it does indeed fit in the Fenix 6. It won’t work with the Fenix 5 or 5 Plus because they use a hex bolt/nut based pin. Ah but as always the devil is in the details, the spring pin Garmin use is MUCH beefier than a standard watch pin, and the lugs have been made specifically to mate with. Here’s an image of the end of the two pins:

Here’s just the pins:

In fact, once installed the pin wiggles around significantly. It really does not in the least feel secure. I highly don’t recommend this option.

Another option would be to buy a converter that accepts standard 20mm watch bands, it’s a quick fit adapter.

The you could use a Gear S2 band, but be careful, you loose the distance of the converter so make sure it can still go small enough to fit your wrist.

June 12, 2020 Posted by | Fenix | Leave a comment