TWiP #178 – Airport Insecurity

On this episode of TWiP, is taking photos of the security lines in airports a good idea? Canon offers to modify your camera, and a follow-up on Topaz Labs InFocus software.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Derrick Story, Nicole Young


Traveler Detained for Photographing Airport Security Checkpoint
Traveler Robert Graham was detained by TSA agents after taking some photographs of the new X-ray scanners while waiting to go through security screening even though TSA policy clearly states that photography is allowed at security checkpoints. He blogged about the situation on his website which added more fuel to the fire over the recent increased security and pat-down measures put into effect for those passengers who opt of of going through the new body scanners at airports throughout the country. Derrick prefers to take a low profile approach when going through security and just tries to get through it so that he can get to where he needs to go. Nicole doesn't feel comfortable with the new scanners and pat down measures but as far as photography goes she thinks that we'd need to have more information about the circumstances surrounding this event before we go blaming the TSA. Frederick wonders how far the TSA measures will go as they have evolved over the past few years.

Canon Offers Service to Add a Locking Mode Dial to 5D Mark II and 7D Cameras
Owners of the Canon 5D Mark II or 7D cameras can now pay $100 to send their cameras into Canon and have their mode dial replaced with a new locking mode dial which will prevent it from moving unless you depress a button in the center of the dial. Nicole has the 60D which has the lock and the 7D which doesn't but doesn't really see it being a big issue for her as she's never run into an issue with accidentally changing it. Derrick also has the 60D and isn't a big fan of the locking mode dial as he often finds it gets in the way when trying to quickly switch to video.

Follow-up on Topaz Adjust InFocus
On TWiP #176, Frederick mentioned a new product from TopazLabs called InFocus which appeared to be able to bring out-of-focus images back into focus. The examples on their website made it appear to be a magical solution to fix out-of-focus images however Frederick did his own field testing and posted a video of his test results on TWiP and was not impressed with the results. In defense of Topaz Labs, many of their other products including DeNoise work great.

During the discussions, Derrick also mentioned a recent article he posted that talks about how he's using his old Apple TV as a media server to view photos and watch movies.


Every week our producers scour the TWiP forums to find the best questions for us to answer on the show. Here are this week's questions:

Question #1: Blair from Auckland, New Zealand writes: I am doing a series of time-lapse around my city, as were heading into Summer in New Zealand. I have a new Canon 60D and after 3 successful shoots I have decided to stop doing time lapse and shoot HD video instead and speed that up. My reason is I am worried about shortening the life of my shutter as after 3 sessions I have 8000 images already. At this rate I will hit 100,000 within 2 months of owning the camera. So my question is Will the shutter last past 100,000 if not what is the cost involved in replacing the shutter. Apart from huge files & lots more pixels whats the negative side of shooting HD footage a speeding it up over shooting a frame every second?

Nicole: I haven't spoken to too many photographers who have actually worn out their shutters but if you do have to replace it then you're probably looking at a few hundred dollars. If you can afford it, you could have one camera to use as just your time lapse camera. I shot a lot of time lapse with my old Nikon camera and still use it for time lapse photography.

Derrick: I shoot a lot to and have yet to wear out a shutter. I typically replace my body or do other damage to the camera before that happens.

Question #2: Kyle Stay from Wisconsin: I am looking for a higher end point and shoot for this Christmas. I specifically been eying the Canon PowerShot S-95, Panasonic DMC-LX5, and Panasonic DMC-LX3. I like these cameras because of their better low light performance, HD video, and Wide Angle lenses. Which of the three would you choose? Obviously cheaper is better, but what added features do you get for the extra cash and are they worth it. Also, am I missing some models that I should be looking at?

Derrick: I think for the high-end shooter, these are the two cameras that I like. I think the LX5 would be a better choice than the LX3 which is now a few years old. It is a bit bigger than the S-95 and has a wider lens. I lean a bit more towards the S-95 because it's a bit smaller. Try them both, see which one feels better, and go from there.

Nicole really likes the S95 because when she's played with it in the store she's found it to be a really fun camera with some fun features.

Question #3: Bill Dreitlein writes: I own a Nikon D50 and have been happy shooting with it for the past 5 years or so, but I think I am ready to upgrade my gear. In the past year I upgraded my lenses with a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and a Nikon 18 – 70mm f.3.5-4.5 – I chose them for the metal mount which I like because I've busted a few plastic mounts in the past. My question is, at what point should I consider upgrading the camera body? Would it make sense to step up to the next level of lenses if I'm still using an older DSLR like the D50, or would that be like putting high performance tires on a Yugo? Thinking about the new D7000 (Frederick were you happy with your trial?) or grabbing a D90 while they are still available.

Frederick: As we've said for years on the show, it's not about the gear. You can do a lot of great things with older bodies. If you have the money and want to play around with the latest and greatest then go for it.  If you want that durability then upgrade for that purpose but not for the purpose of thinking your photography will be better. Frederick really liked the D7000 and how easy it was to shoot video with it.

Derrick thinks the D7000 is a terrific camera and would be a fairly significant upgrade from the D50 and could get him more excited about going out and shooting. Personally he would go with both but thinks that some of the newer cameras actually show some of the imperfections in the lenses more so than the older bodies.

Nicole does think that you will eventually get to a point where you've outgrown a camera as they are changing so fast and adding great features compared to years ago when film cameras didn't change as rapidly. She also thinks that you can never go wrong with buying good glass.



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Producer: Suzanne Llewellyn

Show notes by Bruce Clarke at or

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  1. You guys have made my frequent road trips between Colorado and California much more enjoyable. You put on a fun podcast!

    I just listened to your story on the $100 control dial modification for Canons. You guys totally missed the mark on that one. It is a great relief that they are fixing such a design flaw. Aside from the pretty weak focusing, the control dial on the 5DmkII is one of my biggest gripes on that camera. I have problems when I’m shooting weddings and its pretty run-and-gun. The switch from horizontal to vertical grip position bumps that dial and before I get a chance to look at my last sequence, I’ve fired off a whole series of over or underexposed images because the dial got moved to C2 setting. Thank you, thank you THANK YOU Canon for offering this modification. And even though you guys didn’t know what you we’re talking about ;), I’m stoked that I heard about this on your show. Keep up the good work and I’ll be listening on my next trip back to the coast.


  2. Frederick, you want to stream your content from your iMac to your iPhone and iPad? You might want to check out Plex at
    it has a media center application that you install on your computer and point to your media folders and a universal iOS app, that costs five bucks, if I’m not mistaken and lets you stream everything from mediacenter to your iOS device over WiFi and even 3G, if you set that up… I found it works really well, it even transcodes HD video on the fly and sends it to your iPhone or iPad. The only gripe I have with it, is that plex/nine, the media player that runs on the mac is way inferior to boxee, which is my media-center/front row replacement of choice, but which does not stream content to iOS devices.

    But if you are looking for a solution to stream everything to your iPad and iPhone, I think plex is an excellent choice, almost free and not so restricted in terms of file formats, as iTunes/Apple TV…

    keep up the great work with your podcast!

  3. I agree with Chris about the mode dial on the 5DMkII. I’ve had it move “on its own” so that when I hit the shutter, it’s doing weird things. Oh – it moved! This seems to happen to me due to the strap rubbing against the dial in certain cases. Not often, but it’s disorienting when it happens, as you can imagine. Never had this problem with the original 5D. I think the dial placement is slightly moved or maybe it’s not quite as stiff. In any case, it does happen – apparently to enough folks that Canon made the change.

    Now, I have to decide if it’s enough of a problem to give up my camera for a week!

  4. Pity to hear such crazy Orwellian things are happening to the US.

    For hilarious/sad airport security photos, check out the

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