Monday, January 29, 2007

Adsense and a few tips for increasing revenues

This post is going to be totally non-photographical, but still very useful to many of the visitors of my blog. As you can see, I've already put google ads on my blog, which are already bringing me revenue. I like adsense, because it's so easy to use. Once you've signed up and copy/pasted the code, all you have to do is wait for the commercial ads to work (at first public service ads will be displayed, for which you will not receive earnings), this may take up to 48 hours (it took less then 12 hours in my case). From then all you'll have to do, is to make your site interesting enough to get a lot of visitors and to keep them coming back.

A few tips that will increase revenues:
1. match every aspect of your AdSense ads to the theme of your website. What you want to do is remove the borders from your AdSense ads and match the background color of the ad to your website. Additionally, you want to match the color of the AdSense links to the rest of the links on your website plus choose an ad format that makes the ads look seamless
2. ad placement:
-the closer to the top of the page the better
-the closer the left of the page the better

Ofcourse there are many more tips floating on the web, I've written down just the most important ones. Besides that I'm pretty new to adsense and I'm still looking for ways to improve ad revenue myself.

Here's a link to the official Google adsense help center where you can get more detailed info o how to get started, everything about earnings, improving performance etc.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 bowling party threw a party for it's 4th anniversary party tonight. We split into 3 teams of five players. A few of us was ofcourse busy taking photos between the rounds (after all it's a photo site anniversary). I wont bore you with text this time (besides that a bunch of people are waiting for the photos to be posted), let's get straight to the photos.

The only gal at the party

He really likes me:)

Again the only girl at the party, this time a bit more naughty:P

Doin' his thang

And another got in front of him

Finally someone took a photo of me:)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Canon 17-55 2.8 IS USM vs Canon 50 1.8 side to side comparison

As I promised in the previous post, I'm going to post the comparison. As you can see 17-55 is sharper in most cases, especially when you take a look at the second set of comparison samples. There's a huge difference in the sharpness in the center. In the 1st set of samples 17-55 is a bit sharper in the third, where IS was turned on, 17-55 is sharper at f2.8 (center and border), but 50 1.8 is sharper at f5.6 (again center and border).

17-55 is always on the left side of the comparison photos. IS was turned off unless noticed otherwise.

Taken with 17-55 2.8, vignetting is visible

F2,8, 1/2000, 50 MM, ISO 100

F4, 1/1000, 50 MM, ISO 100

F5,6, 1/500, 50 MM, ISO 100

F8, 1/250, 50 MM, ISO 100

F2,8, 1/125, 50 MM, ISO 100

F4, 1/250, 50 MM, ISO 100

F5,6, 1/500, 50 MM, ISO 100

F8, 1/1000, 50 MM, ISO 100

IS turned on. I didn't have enough time to do a more detailed test on IS affect on sharpness (I had this lens for a week). But it seems it doesn't soften the image, if it does, the difference is minimal.

F2,8, 1/3200, 50 MM, ISO 100

F5,6, 1/800, 50 MM, ISO 100

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

Canon introduced this lens on PMA 2006 and from then on, Canon APS-C sized camera users con choose one more standard zoom lens. Last year has been full of introductions of standard zoom lenses. Besides this one, Tamron introduced 17-50 2.8, Sigma 17-70 2.8-4 Macro (I've posted a review of this one in December) and 18-50 2.8 and Tokina 16-50 2.8 which is not on the shelves yet. But Canon 17-55 2.8 IS USM has at least two advantages already on paper. Image stabilisation and USM (ultra silent motor), which ensures very fast and near silent focusing and has a manual focus override. I don't know how it compares regarding image quality, but I seriously doubt any of the 3rd party lenses can really compete with it - but ofcourse I'm not saying this as a fact, because I haven't compared them side to side, I've really only tested Sigma 17-70 which really can't compare with the Canon's although it's a fine lens (but a completely different class anyway). Image quality (of 17-55) not only amazed me, but shocked me! After the first day of testing I got home and started viewing the photos that I took and I couldn't believe a standard zoom lens could be so sharp. It was damn sharp! Sharp across the aperture range (f2.8-8) I really couldn't tell the difference between f2.8 and f8 in the center (throughout the zoom range). And that is great, finally a zoom lens that is sharp wide open. On the borders the difference between f2.8 and f8 is visible, but after all it's a reduced image circle sized lens, made for APS-C only. so border to border sharpness at wide open aperture setting can't be expected. I think this lens is visibly sharper then its bigger EF WA brothers 16-35 2.8L and 17-40 f4L. Especially wide open, there's a big difference. I think it's a bit sharper then 24-70 2.8, but I should really compare them side by side to be sure of that. But I did compare it with 50 1.8 (which is a sharp lens in the f2.8-8 range). You'll be able to read more about that comparison in one of the next posts - there are just too many photos to post them all at once. One more thing that I noticed: sharpness is not that good at close distances (portraits etc). You'll be able to check that on your own from the samples I posted below.
Vignetting is visible at f2.8 (photos of the sky etc), otherwise it's well controlled. Bokeh is also good (for this focal range and aperture size) as well as contrast and colours.
As I mentioned before it has a very fast and almost silent USM drive (ring type), including full-time manual focusing (FTM). Front element does not rotate during focusing (it has internal focusing), so polarising filter can be used easily. Filter size is 77 mm.
By using IS you can gain 3 f stops (at cost of slower shutter speeds) it works for static objects. I managed to gain 4 stops, but this is very relative since it depends on many factors - the way you hold the camera, if you have shaky hands it doesn't help and at the end the proper breathing technique can help you achieve slower shutter speed (greater f stop gain). It has no 2nd mode for panning. There's no need for shutting down IS when the camera is on a tripod (it detects the lack of motion).

Built quality is good, but for the price you pay it could be better. Since it's not an L class lens it doesn't have magnesium alloy body and it's not protected against dust and humidity. It doesn't even come with a hood lens. I really think Canon do better for the price you pay.

Here are the samples, all the images are taken with Canon 350D, except for the last one, which is taken with 400D. The next post that is going to be posted by the end of this week (17-55 vs 50 1.8) all the images were captured with Canon 400D. IS was turned off, unless written otherwise.

17 mm, f2.8-8, center and border crops

f2.8, 1/1000, 17 mm, ISO 100

f4, 1/500, 17 mm, ISO 100

f5.6, 1/250, 17 mm, ISO 100

f8, 1/125, 17 mm, ISO 100

28 mm, f2.8-8, center and border crops

f2.8, 1/100, 28 mm, ISO 100

f4, 1/500, 28 mm, ISO 100

f5.6, 1/320, 28 mm, ISO 100

f8, 1/160, 28 mm, ISO 100

55 mm, f2.8-8, center and border crops

f2.8, 1/1000, 55 mm, ISO 100

f4, 1/640, 55 mm, ISO 100

f5.6, 1/320, 55 mm, ISO 100

f8, 1/125, 55 mm, ISO 100

IS test: f11, 1/8, 55 mm, ISO 100

Bokeh: f2.8, 1/800, 55 mm,ISO 100

Below are a few portraits, you can check the shaprness on the crops. It's not as good as on longer distances, but still adequate. You can check bokeh on this shots as well.

f2.8, 1/200, 52 mm,ISO 100, IS on

f2.8, 1/200, 52 mm,ISO 100, IS on

f2.8, 1/60, 51 mm, ISO 200, IS on, flash bounced of the ceiling

f3.5, 1/200, 53 mm, ISO 200, IS on

f2.8, 1/60, 55 mm, ISO 800, IS on, postprocessed

-sharpness throughout the focal and aperture range
-very fast and almost silent AF
-IS performance

-built quality could be better regarding the high price tag
-vignetting at f2.8