Rusted Rail's Ramblings

Thanks for stopping by my blog. 

I plan on using it share my images and also what is going on in my life. 

There will also be some pipe smoking content and tobacco reviews from time to time.

The Canon G1X : Updated Review

April 25, 2013  •  5 Comments


The Canon G1X is the newest professional level compact camera from Canon. The G1X offers many features normally found on the larger DSLR's in a much smaller package. The G1X however is probably not the best choice for the photography beginner due to its complexity and price point.

I decided to update my review of the G1X to incorporate what I've learned about it over the last 10 months.  This was originally written when I had stepped up from a G12 and before the G15 (which is closer to a G12) was introduced later.

The Canon G1X had an original retail price of $799 placing it closer to the price tags of the entry level DSLRs than to your normal point-and-shoot camera.  Amazon currently is running it for $549 and it has been as low as $499 on sale.  Used models can be picked up usually starting at around $450.

Canon has a great video on their website which describes the G1X in detail and also the mindset of the engineers and designers responsible for it.

1) The lens is a lot nicer and it basically replicates a EF 28-115mm dSLR (no you can't change the lens) with full-time (turn-off able) power IS which works in video or still mode.

The CMOS sensor size means the lens is really a 15.1mm to 60.4mm with a 1.9x crop-factor (compared to a 1.6x on the 7D) or a 4.6x on the G12 with it's 6.1mm lens. This is a big improvement.

There is an adapter available to use 58mm standard filters. However, you cannot use the filters and the optional screw on "tulip-style" lenshood at the same time. Later I bought a lenscover that retracts similar to the G12/G15. However, using this precludes using the 58mm filters. A CP filter comes in handy.

2) Max aperature is up to F/22 from F/8 on the G12 due to that bigger lens.

Minimum is a variable F2.8 to 5.8 which makes it the same as a stock lens. I wish they could get the minimum down more, but it is decent in low light.

3) The camera feels "better built" meaning it feels solid. it is not a typical point and shoot that you will be putting in a normal pocket though. It is quite bulky

4) There is a hot shoe and it is compatible Speedlites 270EX and higher. With a 430EX mounted it is very top heavy. However, you can use a ETTL cord for off-camera flash. They also offer a flash bracket to move the flash position to the left of the camera. It does not have full ETTL functionality.

5) The in-camera flash now pops up (from behind the Canon logo) and when it is retracted is off.

6) The ISO dial is gone from the top of the camera (it is now up arrow on the back) and the exposure compensation dial is now under the settings. The exposure compensation dial now goes -3 to 3 and you can immediately see the impact on the LCD.

ISO range is 100-12,100. Auto ISO is adjustable but the max auto is 1600 (I turn mine down to 800 usually). It is not very strong at higher ISO ratings. Of course, I am spoiled to the low light capabilities of the 5D Mark III now. But it is also not a professional level DSLR.

7) It shoots RAW (one of the reasons for getting a G-series in the first place) and you can shoot jpeg+RAW and change aspect ratios on the jpeg shots such as my favorite 1:1 "Photosquared" shots.

8) 14.3MP is nice and allows you to easily crop in on shots and still have good detail.

9) I do not do much video yet, but you can start filming with the push of a button from any mode on the camera instead of having to go to film mode. Built in stereo microphones (and wind filter function) but no way to hook in an external mic (that is a shame)

10) Max exposure time is 1 minute but there is still no "bulb" setting for night-time shooting.

Here is also a link to the full specifications on the G1X

The G1X fits a niche for DSLR owners looking for something smaller to carry with them as a day-to-day or travel camera. While it does not replace the flexibility of the DSLR with their inter-changable lenses and L-series glass, it is a great "back-up" camera and/or everyday camera.

Many of the shots that I share on Google+ and Facebook are taken with the G1X.

Here are a couple of my sample G1X shots:

Ferris Wheel


Dogging Steinbeck Review - The Hard Truth

April 23, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

It's not always easy to learn the "truth". Accepting the "truth" can even be harder sometimes. However, when good evidence is given that your belief is wrong, you have to.

I ran across Dogging Steinbeck: How I went in search of John Steinbeck's America, found my own America, and exposed the truth about 'Travels With Charley' by Bill Steigerwald quite by accident when I was searching Amazon for another Steinbeck book.

I read the description from Amazon and decided to give it a read as I am a big Travels with Charley in Search of America and road trip fan from way back.


Bill Steigerwald basically decided to recreate the trip from Travels exactly 50 years later in 2010 to discover how America had changed and also to as accurately as possible follow in Steinbeck's tire tracks. If you have read Travel you know that Steinbeck met a cast of characters, and traveled across America in a truck with a camper shell with his French Poodle Charley. I've read the book several times, listened to it on audible, and basically considered it a road-trip classic along the lines of Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon.

Honestly, what I never really thought about was how accurate a description of the trip was it.  

As Steigerwald mentions, the book has always been sold as "Non-Fiction" so I basically assumed it was telling "the truth".  Of course, I realize in many travel or other non-fiction books things are changed to protect identities, or to even make the story move along better.  This occurs in any book and is accepted.

So how much of Travels is real?

I suggest you pick up a copy of Steigerwald's book and find out for yourself.  The author has done the research (including seeing the first draft of the Travels book in NYC) and then driven the miles in a RAV4 to prove it out. 

I know I'll never look at "Non-Fiction" travel writing the same way again.

Be sure to check out Steigerwald's great blog at

Over the top

March 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Over the topOver the top


Some times we all just go over the top.


Look at something today from a new angle. Put that circle (or part of a circle) INSIDE the box of your own creating. 


Waterwheel Sunrise

March 20, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Waterwheel Sunrise


The waterwheel served as a power source driven by the movement of water over it. However, the water was controlled to harness the power.


What is controlling the water over your wheel?


years of fading

March 16, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Store Detail


the sign has seen many coats of paint over its years, but it still does the job quite well.


Happy Birthday Ansel Adams

February 20, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Ansel Adams was the first photographer I knew by name. Growing up in California, I fell in love with his images of the great parks and the West.

Source: National Archives:

As I got back into photography, I learned more about the man behind the camera and the true diversity of his career and the images he produced over the years.

I highly recommend that any photographer take the chance to learn more about Adams and his influence on photography through some of the many resources available in print and on-line.

Here are a few places to start:

The National Archives has some of his work which he produced for the US Government:

Ansel Adams at 100: San Francisco Museum of Art

Ansel Adams Books


A few books I recommend include:

Ansel Adams in Color : Proof that he did a lot more than Black & White

Ansel Adams: 400 photographs : A great survey of his career in 400 photos

Examples: The Making of 40 photographs : Learn from Adams himself


Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Terminal

February 01, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The most famous of all United States Railroad stations is celebrating 100 years of service today.

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) in New York City has been serving travelers for a century now.  

Originally owned by the New York Central Railroad, trains such as the 20th Century Limited departed daily from its underground tracks.

The US Post Office did a special Express Mail Stamp to commemorate the occasion. 

A beloved New York City landmark turns one hundred years old in 2013, and the U.S. Postal Service is celebrating with the Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp. The train station officially opened on February 2, 1913, and was soon recognized as one of the most majestic public spaces in the world.

The stamp art captures the grandeur of this architectural masterpiece with an illustration of the main concourse. Early morning sunlight streams through the 60-foot-tall windows, illuminating the people below. In the foreground, travelers gather near the round information booth topped with its famous four-sided clock. The concourse's sky ceiling stretches overhead, decorated with a mural of constellations and figures of the Zodiac.

The graphic illustration was created by artist Dan Cosgrove, working with art director Phil Jordan. 

The Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp is being issued in self-adhesive sheets of 10 at the $19.95 rate, or $199.50 per sheet.

Grand Central TerminalSo Happy 100th Birthday Grand Central Terminal and here's to another century of servicea

Learn More About Grand Central Terminal

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