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Friday, January 31, 2014

Canon EOS-5D Mk III For $2,550 On eBay


Canon EOS-5D Mk III camera

The  Canon EOS-5D Mk III is a fine camera and my pick for the best value in full frame DSLR body. I came across a good deal on eBay for those who are interested. The price is $2,550. I am not affiliated with and receive no compensation from any company. Click on this link to see the offer.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon : A Detailed Look On AF Microadjustment




Canon Digital Learning Center put out a helpful article for AF Microadjustment. I have to confess this is not something I do often. When I send my lenses in for cleaning and service, they are adjusted and calibrated. That is usually enough for it to work on my camera bodies. You can see my equipment bag and works on my website MichaelDanielHo.com

The following is an excerpt from Canon Digital Learning Center :

AF Microadjustment is a feature seen in most recent mid-range and high-end Canon EOS digital SLRs. Introduced in 2007, it allows the photographer to shift the camera's plane of sharpest focus if he or she feels that the camera is consistently putting focus in front of or behind the intended subject. For example, if a photographer felt the camera was "back-focusing" - that is, putting the sharpest plane of focus consistently behind their actual subject - AF Microadjustment allows in-camera adjustment to move the sharpest plane of focus forward so that it's closer toward the camera.

While focus precision with any EOS camera is extremely high, AF Microadjustment is a tremendous leap forward in fine camera control for the critical photographer. We'll explore how to best utilize it in this document.

What does AF Microadjustment do? 

It allows the user to command the camera to intentionally shift the sharpest focus either in front of or behind where it's factory-set. The extremely precise AF system in a digital SLR is designed to read contrast at the subject, calculate how to drive the lens to focus sharply on the subject, and confirm sharp focus once the lens has stopped. With AF Microadjustment, the user is changing the data coming from the AF system, and asking it to move the lens farther in one direction or the other whenever it has to read and calculate sharp focus.

The adjustments applied using this control are based on the depth-of-field you'd have at a lens's maximum aperture. They are not based on the lens's focal length! When setting the Microadjustment, you'll see a scale on the camera's LCD monitor with up to + or - twenty steps. Each step is a very fine increment, equal to 1/8th of the depth-of-field you'd have with the current lens wide-open. And that 1/8th of the depth of field is only moving forward (toward the camera) or back (toward the background) from the sharpest plane of focus. The main thing to remember here is that these are very fine increments. Don't expect radical shifts in focus with adjustments like plus 3 or minus 5.

The basic procedure :

First step: closely examine real-world images you shoot - ideally, stationary subjects using One-Shot AF mode (more on this in a moment). If most of your images are sharp and only once in a while you see a slight focus shift, STOP. AF Microadjustment will shift focus for each and every picture you take, and you probably don't need it if the AF system is generally producing sharp images, with focus where you expect it to be.

On the other hand, if there's a consistent tendency for the sharpest part of the picture to be either in front of or behind the subject, read on.

Take a series of test shots. We'll detail these in a moment, but the key is taking test shots where you can recognize focus as it shifts forward or backward from your intended subject.

Once you settle on an adjustment, shoot and examine more real-world subjects on your computer screen. AF Microadjustment is a trial-and-error procedure, so it may take a few cycles of adjust > test > evaluate to find your sweet spot.

AF Microadjustment options :

It's possible to use AF Microadjustment in either of two ways :

1. Adjust all by same amount: If you find that upon close inspection, no matter what lens you use, the camera tends to put sharpest focus in front of or behind where you need it to be (not just once in a while, but on a consistent basis), this is the setting to use. Once set, the camera will intentionally move the sharpest plane of focus either forward, toward the camera, or backward (more toward the background).

2. Adjust by lens: This is the setting to use if you find, when looking closely, that pictures taken with one lens seem to consistently be front- or back-focused, but images taken with other lenses on the same camera seem fine. Mount the lens(es) you feel are not working properly with the camera, and take test shots as described below. Up to 20 different lenses can have an adjustment applied for that specific lens model, memorized by the camera, and the camera will automatically apply your adjustments as soon as you attach that particular model of lens. You'll even see the values appear within the camera's AF Microadjustment Custom Function menu screen whenever a lens you've applied an adjustment to is mounted.

A few important points about the Adjust by Lens feature :

     • The camera can distinguish between different models of Canon EF lenses, but it cannot read serial numbers and distinguish between two samples of the exact same lens. In other words, it can tell if you have the 70-200mm f/2.8L or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens attached. However, it cannot distinguish one 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens from another.

     • The camera recognizes an EF lens with a Canon EF tele extender attached as a separate lens. So you could, for example, have one adjustment for your 300mm f/2.8L IS lens, and another focus adjustment for your 300mm f/2.8L IS with the Canon EF 1.4x II tele extender attached. The camera would automatically apply whichever one is needed, based on whether that lens is being used with or without an extender.

     • Operational reliability is guaranteed with Canon EF lenses only. While users are free to try the procedure with third-party lenses, there's no assurance of proper interaction between body and lens. A third-party lens can also be mistaken for a Canon EF lens, if the latter is subsequently attached.

     • Even if you perform the Adjust by Lens procedure, if you attach a different sample of the exact same lens model (example: a newspaper shooter owns a particular lens, but borrows the same model lens from his or her paper's loaner equipment for an event), the AF Microadjustment can be temporarily turned off (but held in memory) by simply selecting "Disable". You can re-apply your settings later when you attach the exact lens you made the adjustments for by re-selecting "Adjust by Lens" within C.Fn III-7.

     • You can always take more test shots in the future, and change any previous AF Microadjustment for a specific lens model. In this case, the previous adjustment amount for that particular lens is cleared completely from the camera's memory.

     • Any AF Microadjustments you apply always stay within the camera body, not with the lens. So if you make adjustments for one particular lens in an EOS 7D, there is no change in the lens's characteristics if that lens is subsequently mounted on (for example) an EOS 5D, or even another EOS 7D body. If you have more than one Canon EOS body which allows AF Microadjustment, you should evaluate each body separately, and not immediately conclude AF Microadjustment values from one body will automatically be what's needed for another.

Setting AF Microadjustment :

The basic procedure: you take a test shot with Microadjustment intentionally shifted, examine it closely on your computer monitor, and repeat until you find an adjustment value that provides the best results. There's no way to tell by just looking at the camera's menu which of the settings on the +20 to -20 scale will work best, without shooting controlled test pictures and evaluating them.

Two keys to getting maximum use out of this feature - proper evaluation of actual image files you've shot with no adjustment applied, and proper test procedures in calculating the amount of AF Microadjustment needed. We strongly urge new EOS camera owners not to start manipulating this feature the moment they first take the camera out of the box. Like changing the ignition timing on your car, it's best to leave the factory settings alone unless and until you find a distinct need to shift them. Shoot full-resolution images as you normally would: RAW or JPEG, of real-life subjects - not on-line test charts. Examine those images on your computer screen at 100% view, and carefully ask yourself if you're consistently seeing soft images - but images with *something* else in the picture, even if it's grass or pavement behind your subject, that's tack-sharp. If this is happening most or all of the time, you may be a candidate for AF Microadjustment.

Remember : for AF Microadjustment to work, there has to be some issue with your AF system's ability to render the intended plane of sharpest focus truly sharp. Whether you use AF or focus manually, sharp focus can only be in one of three places: either right on your intended subject, in front of that subject, or behind it. In other words, if focus is the problem, something in the picture usually looks tack-sharp. Here's the point: if you're seeing images where *nothing* looks critically sharp, you probably need to examine other possible issues. This includes camera or subject movement from too slow a shutter speed, the amount of electronic sharpening being applied to your files, Picture Style settings if you're shooting JPEG images, and so on. AF Microadjustment cannot account for these problems.

The AF Microadjustment scale :

Don't let the scale you see on the AF Microadjustment screen confuse you. The "plus" settings add distance, and are labeled Backward on the scale you see within the camera's Custom Function menu. With "plus" settings, you're telling the camera to shift focus to a plane farther away from where it normally does. Set this way, the camera will tend to focus a bit more toward the background. This would be the direction to choose if the camera tends to continually focus in front of your intended subject(s).

The "minus" settings are labeled Forward on the scale within the AF Microadjustment scale. This moves the plane of focus closer to the camera. If your camera consistently seems to put focus behind your intended subject, start your test shots with settings on the Minus side of the scale. It's called "minus" because you're subtracting a bit from the distance the camera would normally put its sharpest focus upon.

Test shots for AF Microadjustment :

Canon suggests using the procedures below to perform test shots, to see which of the AF Microadjustment settings is best for you. Always remember: you can return to the factory default AF settings in two ways, either by setting AF Microadjustment Custom Function back to option "zero" (this doesn't clear any of your Microadjustments from memory, it just ignores them until you re-activate the "Adjust all by same amount" or "Adjust by lens" options on the C.Fn menu), or alternatively by going into one of these AF Microadjustments, and dialing your setting back to zero on the +/- 20 step scale. This last action will clear your previous settings from the camera's memory.

To change an AF Microadjustment, you need to take test shots of a 3-dimensional subject, where you can precisely check whether focus is exactly where you want, or if it's occurring behind or in front of your subject. Simply shooting squarely into a flat wall won't tell you that; shooting at an angle might. Keep the following points in mind when taking these test shots:

     • Shoot test pictures using the lens(es) you normally use, and at the distances you typically use them. In other words, if you're seeing a consistent focus shift when you shoot group pictures at weddings, don't take test shots of a ruler on your desk with a macro lens.

     • Use Av mode, and always shoot the test shots with the lens aperture wide-open - regardless of whether you normally stop the aperture down or not. You'll be much better able to see any subtle focus changes wide-open, than with the lens stopped down.

     • If you're using a zoom lens, zoom to its maximum telephoto focal length for test pictures. AF Microadjustment can only apply one correction to a zoom lens, so you cannot have one adjustment for the lens's wide-angle setting and another one for the same lens when it's zoomed to telephoto.

     •Even if you're a full-time sports shooter, do not use AI Servo AF mode for these test shots. Shoot a completely stationary subject, with the camera set to One-Shot AF. There are far too many other variables involved in focus-tracking with AI Servo AF to get conclusive results for AF Microadjustment taking test shots this way.

     •If at all possible, use a tripod to keep the camera absolutely positioned on one part of your intended subject, and also eliminate any potential camera movement from entering the mix.

     •Manually select only the Center AF point (regardless of whether this is how you typically use the camera), and be certain that any AF point expansion is completely disabled. Do not, under any circumstances, use Automatic AF point selection mode - this can definitely lead to unpredictable results.

     •Be sure the center AF point is solidly upon part of your subject with sufficient detail, and that there's adequate detail in front of and behind your target to assess whether focus is indeed occurring in front of or behind what the center AF point is seeing.

Since the values for each step on the AF Microadjustment scale are so fine (again, only 1/8th of the forward or backward depth-of-field!), it's best to start your test shots with major adjustments like plus or minus 20, and then work your way back to finer values if necessary. If you feel your camera focuses behind where it should, for example, you might take two initial test shots at minus 20 and minus 10, and see how your test subject appears when closely examined. If you start with very fine increments (such as plus 3 or plus 5, for example), the changes may be so subtle that you'll have trouble detecting them.

When you get test shots that seem to place the focus dead-on, note the adjustment value in place and be sure the camera is set there on the +/- 20-step scale. AF Microadjustment is complete. Go out and shoot some real subjects!

Summary :

This terrific Canon feature will surely be a benefit to very critical users, whose only option if they encountered a tendency for focus error in the past was to send equipment to a service technician for evaluation and adjustment. Especially since AF Microadjustment can be performed for individual lenses if needed, it's a great step forward in allowing users to fine-tune their cameras to their exact needs.

But remember : AF Microadjustment isn't a cure-all for any and all images that simply don't look sharp. It can only cope with shifting your plane of sharpest focus closer to or farther from the camera. And of course, it works within a specific range - if you need even greater range of AF shifting for proper sharp focus, you'll probably have to have your equipment examined by a service technician. However, used appropriately, it's a feature that opens a new range of possibilities for the working pro photographer or serious, dedicated amateur.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Canon First Among Japanese Companies Emission Performance





TOKYO, January 30, 2014 — Canon Inc. announced today that, in a collaborative study on corporate emissions performance conducted by Climate Counts and the Center for Sustainable Organizations, Canon earned a fourth-place ranking, the highest of any Japanese company included in the survey.

The 2013 Climate Counts Science-Based Carbon Study analyzes the operational emissions of 100 global corporations between 2005 and 2012 to determine their performance against science-based targets. The companies included in the study spanned 10 industries, including technology, healthcare, oil & gas, and consumer goods. The study relies on a metric developed by the Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) called the Context-Based Carbon Metric. Embedded in CSO's metric for purposes of the Climate Counts study were science-based emissions targets developed by Tellus Institute, an interdisciplinary not-for-profit research and policy organization.

The study evaluates sustainability performance not only in terms of the environment, but also from social and economic perspectives, assessing and ranking each company's performance based on emissions per dollar of contribution to gross domestic product, as well as the amount that the company contributes to GDP.

According to the study, among the 100 companies surveyed, 49, including Canon, were found to be sustainable, on track to reduce carbon emissions in line with scientific targets designed to avert dangerous climate change. Additionally, among the 49 sustainable companies, 25 successfully achieved revenue growth while reducing their emissions.

Canon strives to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the Canon Group at all stages of the product lifecycle, from materials procurement to disposal and recycling. Recognized for these activities, in December 2012, Canon was the first company to acquire certification under Japan’s Carbon Footprint Program for multifunction office systems. The Company believes that it was such corporate initiatives that led to the high assessment it received in the Climate Counts study.

Targeting the realization of its Action for Green environmental vision, Canon aims to achieve highly functional products with minimal environmental burden while providing users with ways to use products that further reduce their impact on the environment.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Supports Budding Filmmakers At Berlinale Talents 2014




London, UK, 29 January 2014 – Canon is continuing its support for budding filmmakers with the second year of its partnership with Berlinale Talents – a creative networking event for emerging film industry talent that is part of the Berlin International Film Festival. As Principal Partner of Berlinale Talents, Canon will present a number of master classes for over 300 promising talents in the film industry, featuring world-class workshops with cinematographers and the latest Canon equipment.

Taking place from February 8th-13th 2014, a series of workshops presented in partnership with Canon will offer filmmakers and industry professionals invaluable hints and tips that will help them tell their own stories. The workshops – entitled ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ – will also provide insight into the latest developments in camera technology, with hands-on demonstrations that show how Canon products can assist production. Speakers involved in the workshops this year include distinguished cinematographers Franz Lustig (How I Live Now), Stefan Ciupek (Slumdog Millionaire), and Christopher Doyle (In The Mood For Love).

Canon will also be supporting various master classes which will see renowned Directors of Photography, including Agn├Ęs Godard, talk about their experiences and discuss how camera techniques can enhance filmmaking. The ‘Post-Production Studio’, created by Berlinale Talents collaboratively with Canon, will focus on digital workflows, from shooting and editing to colour correction and mastering for the final stages of production. Selected participants will have the opportunity to get hands on with Canon’s latest equipment, including the EOS C300, EOS C500 and EOS 5D Mark III.

For the first time, Canon will also commission a selection of short films from the Talents, to be shot on Canon’s products. The short films will be showcased by Canon, both at industry events throughout Europe and on theCanon Professional Network.

Canon will in addition support a joint initiative between Berlinale Talents and the European Film Market (EFM), which offers filmmakers further insight into the workings of the EFM, as well as allowing them to present themselves to industry professionals and build their individual networks.

“Technology and creativity is only one part of the film-making process, without a suitable network of contacts the task of getting a movie made becomes much harder,” said Kieran Magee, Director of Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. “Berlinale Talents helps filmmakers through every aspect of the process, we are pleased to support this innovative programme.”

As well as a full programme of workshops, acclaimed portrait photographer and Canon Explorer Joerg Kyas will use Canon equipment in his studio set-up to create portraits of each of the 300 Berlinale Talents 2014 participants. Canon equipment will also be used throughout the event to produce promotional reels and trailers.

Berlinale Talents runs over six days during the Berlin International Film Festival, from 8th-13th February, 2014. Eligible attendees include emerging film professionals in the first 10 years of their career, spanning all areas of the industry, including actors, cinematographers, directors, editors, producers, production designers, screen writers, distributors, sound designers and composers.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Canon Patent For Macro Ring Flash




Egami has discovered a Canon patent for apparently, some kind of ring flash for more uniform distribution of light. It may come in handy with a prime and zoom macro lens Canon has on their drawing boards.

Patent Publication No. 2014-13350

  • Publication date 2014.1.23
  • Filing date 2012.7.5

Existing ring strobe

  • Xenon tube
  • Process to bend the arc shaped glass tube cylindrical difficult

Canon patents

  • There are two areas in light of the strobe
  • Light flux from the first region is subject to direct
  • Toward the object light beam from the second zone enters the prism, and then reflected inside
  • Provided with a step stepped on the reflecting surface, by changing the pitch of the step, it is possible to adjust the distance between the emission point

Canon Releases 2013 Financial Results




Canon Inc. has released their financial statement for the fiscal year 2013. This company had sales in excess of $40 billion and multi-billion dollar net income. They are a conglomerate and photography sales are less than half of the company's annual sales. Canon ranks third among companies in U.S. patents granted. Click here to download Canon Inc.'s 2013 financial results in its entirety.

The following is an excerpt from their release :

“Within the Imaging System Business Unit, interchangeable-lens digital cameras maintained their top market share despite the challenging environment, which was marked by a drop in demand in Europe and China due to the economic downturn, although demand in Japan continued to expand. In particular, the EOS 5D Mark III and 70D advanced-amateur-model digital SLR cameras continued to realize healthy growth. Furthermore, in Japan, the new entry-level EOS Digital Rebel SL1 and T5i cameras proved popular. As for digital compact cameras, although total sales volume declined due to the market slowdown and the increasing popularity of smartphones, sales volume increased from the previous year for high-added-value models incorporating features that differentiate them from smartphones, such as large-size image sensors and models like the PowerShot SX50 HS and SX510 HS, which feature high-magnification zoom lenses.”

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon EOS-7D Mk II Camera Coming Q2 Of 2014


Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera coming?


                             * * *  Read the latest post on the EOS-7D Mk II  * * *

                     
The 2014 Winter Olympics is just round the corner. This is an excellent platform for camera manufacurers to try out their latest equipment. Nikon will have their soon to be released D4s camera there. Canon is obviously not being left behind and will have plenty of their latest gear there for testing and demonstrations for their 'special' guests.

All of the photographers testing the prototype equipment will be bound by Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) and I expect very little leaks coming from the event. One of my most anticipated cameras from Canon is the EOS-7D Mk II. The current 7D is an excellent piece of equipment and my pick, four years in a row as the best value in APS-C camera. With the Olympics and the CP+ show both occurring in February, Canon will loathe to see Nikon get all the limelight with 'sightings' of the D4s cameras dominating photography news and may raise their profile a bit during the sporting events.

Canon has not decided to even call the replacement camera, EOS-7D Mk II, but they will have enough prototypes out there during these upcoming games to help them gain all the insights from field testing. There is an even chance Canon may announce the new camera in the second quarter with a delivery date for early third quarter.

Possible Specifications Of The EOS-7D Mk II camera :

  • 24 MP APS-C Sensor ( Too many, if true. I prefer 21 MP )
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ processors ( Excellent for speed processing )
  • 10 fps ( Most welcomed by me ) 
  • Dual Memory Card Slots ( One CF and one SD. I prefer 2 CF slots )
  • 61 AF Points ( Perhaps the same as the EOS-1D X )
  • 3.2″ LCD monitor ( Excellent for reviewing images )
  • Similar build quality as the EOS-5D Mk III with much better weather proofing
  • GPS and WiFi ( Not necessary, in my opinion ) 
  • ISO Performance may equal EOS-5D Mk III ( Most welcomed by me )
  • Latest video features similar to, probably beating the EOS-70D model
  • Selling price between $2,000 to $2,199. Not finalized yet

The features of the new camera has not been firmed up and the feedback from the Olympics are crucial in determining the final specifications. I am very fond of my EOS-7D camera and cannot wait to get the new model. With the EOS-1D Mk IV no longer in production, a semi-professional APS-C body is very appealing to me.

MichaelDanielHo.com

MichaelDanielHo.com Is Thankful For Your Support


For over a quarter of a century, my passion for the environment and conservation has centered on my love of travel and wildlife photography. Many animal and plant species are going extinct at an alarming rate. My mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world's biodiversity and the need for its conservation, through the lens of wildlife imagery. Powerful wildlife and nature images are effective and emotive tools in building public awareness and education in combating this worrisome decline.


Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Bengal Tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, India

As my readers know, I have been a wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for about 25 years now. Through the decades, I have used almost all of Canon's cropped and full frame, film and digital cameras, EF and EF-S lenses. I started my website, MichaelDanielHo.com and Blog a few years ago to share my photos, travel experience and tips with fellow enthusiasts. There are no annoying banner ads, commissioned links to online retailers or even solicitation for donations, on my site. I am not affiliated with any equipment manufacturer or camera retailer and receive no compensation or commission from any company. What you will find are exciting images from my photo shoots, impartial photographic tips, independent reviews and opinions, plus the latest industry rumors and news.


Dueling Canines of Polar bears in Hudson Bay, Canada

Jaguar walking along the bank of Cuiaba River, Pantanal, Brazil

It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for photo shoots around the world. In addition, I have to process thousands of photos from all my travels, plus maintain the website and blog to keep in touch with my readers. On top of that, I lead a hectic, urban lifestyle like most people. If you enjoy seeing stunning wildlife and travel images and value the information I provide on my website and blog, please tell your friends and spread the word on social media. There is no better way for me to re-double my efforts by knowing others are sharing my passion for photography and nature.


Orca mother and calf in Frederick Sound, Alaska

Double Humpback whales breaching in Frederick Sound, Alaska

You can follow me on Facebook , Twitter , Flickr and subscribe to this Blog. Also be sure to visit my website often because new photos are added all the time. I appreciate all your comments and support and look forward to many more years of photography and travel with you. Thanks. 

DxO Labs Tests Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Lens


Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Lens

DxO Labs tested the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS lens on a variety of camera bodies. These are two of the best zoom lenses in 'L' lens lineup for wildlife photography. I use these two lenses regularly on all my wildlife photo shoots and they are a permanent fixture in my equipment inventory. You can read my Canon Travel and Wildlife lens recommendation, check out my equipment bag and see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com 

Canon is expected to release the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens some time this year. The current lens is a great performer but showing its age and can benefit from some of the latest coatings and optical technologies.

The following is an excerpt from the DxOMark's site on the Canon EF 100-400mm lens :

A favorite of wildlife and action photographers, Canon’s EF-100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM is a well-specified and versatile model. However, as it approaches sixteen years in production, is it still capable of competing with more modern offerings? Read on to find out.

Before last year’s introduction of the Canon EF-200-400mm f4L IS USM x1.4 Extender this model was the only telephoto zoom in the range with a focal length over 300mm. Introduced in 1998 this L-series lens was made to a high specification that still stands today. As well as a two-stop image stabilizer the EF-100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM has a fast, quiet ultrasonic AF motor. Like all Canon L-series lenses, it’s made to a high standard but it doesn’t feature environmental sealing – though just how effective that is in zoom is It also has a push-pull zoom mechanism (with a collar for adjusting resistance), which although once common is unusual today.

The optical construction is impressive, consisting of 17 elements arranged in 14 groups and includes fluorite and super low-dispersion glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration. It has a ‘floating’ system for improved image quality and close range, and a minimum focusing distance of 5.9 ft. (1.8m) and a maximum magnification of 1:5. With a 77mm filter attachment thread and measuring 7.4 x 3.6” (189 x 92mm) it’s compact (at least at 100mm), and at 48 oz (1,380g) it’s of reasonable weight (in fact slightly lighter than the firm’s EF-70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM)



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DxO Labs Tests Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens


Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens

DxO Labs tested the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens on a variety of camera bodies. Together with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens, these are two of the best values in 'L' lens lineup. You can read my Canon Travel and Wildlife lens recommendation, check out my equipment bag and see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

The following is an excerpt from the DxOMark's site on the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens :

Although overshadowed by its more glamorous sibling, as a moderately priced, highly portable ultra-wide zoom, the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM is a hugely popular model. Read on to find out how well it performs in our labs.

Introduced in 2003 the EF 17-40 f/4L USM was one of the first of the lightweight pro-level L-series zooms from the firm adopting a constant f4 aperture. Not only does that make the lens relatively small and more portable compared with the f2.8 varients, but it also helps keep it moderately priced. This full-frame lens is also popular with users when mounted on APS-C cameras where it’s the equivalent to a 27-64mm. Like other L-series lenses from the company, the EF 17-40mm f/4L has a high grade optical construction consisting of three aspherical lens elements and even adopts a Super-UD glass element, an expensive glass type usually resevered for more esoteric lenses in the range. The 12-element 9-group construction allows a closer than usual minimum focusing distance of 11.02” (0.28m). It weighes 1.05 lb (475g) and measures 3.81” (96.8mm) in length, and is available now for $839 



Monday, January 27, 2014

Canon Patent For Curved Aperture Lens



Last week I have reported Canon may be looking at their Medium Format ambitions again after the announcement of the Hasselblad 50MP camera. Upon reflection, I would be very surprised if Canon decides to go beyond the usual research and development stage of their project, something they have done in past years.

Canon has designated 2014 as their 'come back' year after a less than stellar 2013. They will be launching new DSLR bodies and lenses this year, like the EOS-7D Mk II camera and a new 400mm lens to replace either the EF 100-400mm or EF 400mm lenses. One of the new DSLR may offer unprecedented video performance, perhaps even 2.5K video.

There is no secret Canon is annoyed by Magic Lantern's hacking into their firmware and producing higher quality videos than the factory models. They have also made it a high priority to increase the performance of the EOS Cinema line. The long awaited replacement to the EOS-1Ds Mk III, aka mega pixel camera, will probably get a development announcement this year as well.

The last thing Canon wants is another big project, like the Medium Format camera to divert attention from their product offerings this year. Egami, the Japanese photography blog has discovered a curved aperture lens patent from Canon that may offer more flexibility in future designs. 2014 will prove to be an interesting year for both Canon and the rest of the photography world.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Canon EOS-1D X Camera Firmware 2.0.3 Explained




* * * Read  the latest post on Canon's Firmware 2.0.3 * * *


Canon released a major firmware upgrade to the EOS-1D X on January 8. My readers know I have picked the Canon EOS-1D X camera as the best full frame DSLR on the market for sports and wildlife photography two years in a row. I have been a Travel and Wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years and you can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

After upgrading to Firmware 2.0.3, I have taken the camera on wildlife photo shoots to Maui and India. The camera works even better with the new software.

The following is an excerpt from the Canon Digital Learning Center on the enhancement of Version 2.0.3 :

What is new in Firmware Version 2.0.3?

There is a lot and some of it is detailed, but the new capabilities this firmware adds fall into five basic categories :

Autofocus : improve low-light focus capability when tracking moving subjects in AI Servo AF

Autofocus : expanded range of Accel./Decel. Tracking settings to improve AI Servo AF stability when focus-tracking subjects moving at a consistent speed.

AF point management : Orientation Linked AF adds a new option to register only AF points rather than AF point plus area; Auto AF point selection in AI Servo can now start from the same AF point used last during Manual AF point selection.

Exposure control : Make Auto ISO even more viable (two important new changes), and a new option to maintain consistent manual exposure, even if aperture changes (such as if a tele extender is removed and shooting immediately begins after it’s removed)

Customization : New “back-button” options to instantly change AF characteristics on-the-fly

Low-light AF performance

The EOS-1D X already has arguably the most powerful AF system developed to date by Canon, but firmware version 2.0 is a crystal-clear indication that Canon engineers have not been resting on their laurels.


Responding to feedback from some of the world’s most demanding professional shooters, this new firmware begins by modifying the AF control sequence so that AI Servo AF tracking during the initial stages of activation, and following the subject, is even more responsive and positive in low-light situations. This is one that requires no input from the photographer, once he or she has set the EOS-1D X for AI Servo AF. The change occurs within the camera as soon as AF is activated and begins to follow a subject.

By itself, this change in AF means that the start of focus-tracking, and the first shot taken, are more likely to be accurate in low-light conditions. But what if you shoot a series of consecutive shots, with continuous advance?

Expanded range of “AI Servo 2nd image priority” settings

We’ll take a moment to refresh readers on what this AF setting — which is present in EOS-1D X cameras, as well as the EOS 5D Mark III — means. It applies if using AI Servo AF to focus-track a moving subject and shooting a continuous sequence of images. Something of a misnomer is that this setting in the AF menu lets the user tailor the camera’s operation for the 2nd and any subsequent images shot in a continuous burst:


Speed priority : The camera is being told to shoot each frame in a sequence at the frames-per-second rate selected by the photographer — even if at times, the AI Servo AF system can’t confirm sharp focus for each individual frame in the sequence

Focus priority : You’re telling the camera to keep shooting continuously, but if necessary, to slow down the framing rate to ensure that AI Servo AF can keep each frame as sharp as possible
Until now, the EOS-1D X has offered one menu setting for each of these. There’s also a standard setting that provides a balance between the two during continuous shooting while focus-tracking a moving subject with AI Servo AF.

With the new version 2.0 firmware upgrade, EOS-1D X users will now see this AF Menu setting has been expanded :

Speed priority now has “-1” and “-2” options, on a horizontal scale on the menu screen
Focus priority now has “+1” and “+2” options
The standard “0” setting remains available

What does this bring to the photographer?

More consistent high-speed continuous shooting at the “-2” option
For news shooters and others who may need to simply ensure the fastest possible shooting and greatest number of frames to select from, setting AI Servo 2nd image priority to the “-2” option adds even more consistency to frames-per-second shooting speed. Need the 12 fps that the EOS-1D X offers, no matter what? This new, expanded setting provides it.

Superior low-light AF during a sequence at the “+2” setting

Picking up where the first item we mentioned in this article leaves off, if you choose the “Focus priority “+2” setting, you’re telling the AF system to allow extra time (if needed) during a high-speed sequence to ensure sharpest possible results for each frame. Low-light AF performance, in particular, is enhanced when the EOS-1D X is set to the “+2” setting, during AI Servo AF shooting.


Smoother, more stable AF with subjects moving at steady speeds

This falls under the “Accel./Decel. Tracking” setting, which can be accessed in the first AF Menu screen (press the PROTECT button, when in any of the six AF Case settings, to go into the detail settings on-screen).


Once again, it’s important to understand the basics of what Accel./Decel. Tracking is really about. This feature, also present on the EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D and EOS 70D, is essentially unique in the digital SLR world, as of early 2014. Until this was introduced on the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X, DSLR camera engineers developing a continuous autofocus system could optimize it for steady, continuous subject movement (think of anything from a jogger to an Formula One race car, moving straight at the camera with the photographer at the end of a long straightaway). Or, they could optimize AF for the rapid changes in subject movement that happen in sports, such as soccer or basketball, or that some wildlife might exhibit while darting around to gather food or evade a predator.

The key is, until Canon developed Accel./Decel. Tracking, the AF system couldn’t be the master of both. That meant that once a camera with an AF system was introduced and when photographers found themselves in situations that the AF wasn’t optimized for, they simply had to make-do with less than optimum results.

Accel./Decel. Tracking was a truly significant development for sports, wildlife and other shooters who photograph moving subjects — and realize that not all subject movement is the same. Until now, the EOS-1D X (along with the EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D and EOS 70D — all of which remain unchanged) allowed three settings for Accel./Decel. Tracking:

Zero : The normal default setting for “Case 1” in the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III and factory-default for the EOS 70D. This presumed a steadily moving subject, with only modest changes in speed likely. Focus-tracking in AI Servo AF is tailored to track this type of movement.

One : AI Servo AF is now being told to expect possible changes in movement and speed, as you might find in many real-life sporting events.

Two : Accel./Decel. Tracking is being told to anticipate significant changes in apparent subject speed – anything from the start-and-stop nature of basketball to tightly composed shots of a nearby sprinter, where the change in distance and subject size from frame-to-frame is most pronounced.

New : even more stable, continuous focusing for steadily moving subjects and…
Firmware upgrade version 2.0 expands the range of possible Accel./Decel. Tracking settings, adding new “minus” settings past the previous “zero” starting point. These two new options give critical shooters the ability to tailor the AF for even more consistent results in situations such as:

More stable AI Servo AF for steadily moving subjects 

New “-1” and “-2” settings in Accel./Decel. Tracking means an even less tendency for the AF system to lose an occasional frame, with subjects ranging from marathon runners to race cars, when the photographer is certain that the subject’s speed — and the shooter’s ability to keep the active AF point(s) steadily upon the subject — will remain continuous during shooting.


More consistent AF for subjects having little movement 

Sometimes, continuous AI Servo AF is used even with subjects that don’t move much, like a speaker at a podium. With the two new “minus” settings, shooters have a way to tailor the EOS-1D X so that continuous AF is even better suited for subjects who may move slightly, but aren’t likely to move much.


More stable AF when slight interference occurs with moving subjects 

The two new “minus” settings for Accel./Decel. Tracking also stabilize AF if you’re focus-tracking a moving subject and there’s a sudden change in what the AF point sees because something near the subject suddenly interferes. What do we mean by this? Examples include a nearby athlete coming into the focus point area. Or, while in a tight shot of a sprinter, his or her hands come up in the running motion and appear in the area sampled for AF. Previously, if such a slight but sudden change to AF occurred, the camera could be thrown off and tries to refocus on this new object or flutter back and forth for a few frames. The “-1” and “-2” options now give critical shooters even more control when this might occur.


An important note : Knowledgeable readers may read the last bullet point and be confused because these cameras also have a different AF setting called “Tracking Sensitivity,” which changes AI Servo AF’s reaction to sudden changes in what the active AF point sees. The difference is that Tracking Sensitivity is tuned to deal with how quickly the camera will react to sudden and major changes in what the camera sees (such as if a referee at a sporting event suddenly steps between the camera and subject or if a shooter is tracking a subject and is suddenly the AF point is now momentarily looking at the bleachers in the distance).

The “-1” and “-2” settings for Accel./Decel. Tracking, on the other hand, adjusts the AF system’s sensitivity to sudden but minor changes in what the active AF point is seeing – that’s the difference. With this firmware update, Tracking Sensitivity on the EOS-1D X remains unchanged and is still an effective tool for wildlife, sports and other shooters to adjust how the camera reacts to major interferences or changes when focusing upon moving subjects.

AF Point management

The 61-point AF system of the EOS-1D X has always offered a terrific array of options to change the size of a manually selected AF point and to move quickly from one part of the large AF area to another. And, of course, users can also have the camera automatically select the AF point, instead of manually choosing a location. Automatic AF point selection works in both One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF modes.


One tremendous Canon feature that carried over with the very first EOS-1D X cameras is Orientation Linked AF. This AF Menu option (it’s not active, by default) lets the user manually register any AF area selection mode and AF point or zone location for horizontal shooting, then rotate the camera and register a different AF area selection mode and AF point or zone location that he or she might like for vertical shots. Now, during shooting, if the camera is simply rotated from horizontal to vertical (or vice-versa), it automatically changes the location of the active AF point and you see this right in the viewfinder.

It’s always been possible to even select different AF Area types for the horizontal and vertical AF points chosen when Orientation Linked AF is active. In other words, if a user wanted a wide, expanded AF Area for his or her horizontal images and Spot AF for their verticals, all they have to do is set this when initially navigating to the respective horizontal or vertical AF points with Orientation Linked AF active in the AF Menu.

New: AF Area for both horizontal & vertical AF points changes, if either one is changed
As previously mentioned, one cool feature of Orientation Linked AF is that it allows not only different points to be used for horizontal and vertical shooting, but even different AF areas. However, some high-end EOS-1D X users have mentioned that they’d like a way to be able to quickly change both, but without having to perform two separate operations in the middle of a shooting situation. In response, Orientation Linked AF (in the AF Menu) now offers the following menu options:

Same for both vertical and horizontal 

Orientation Linked AF is off. If you manually choose an AF point with the camera held either horizontally or vertically, the same point is used for the other orientation. There’s no change here with the new firmware upgrade in the EOS-1D X.


Separate AF points : Area + point

Orientation Linked AF is active. Same operation as previously – separate AF Area types can be set for the two different points; if one is changed, the other remains as it was before.

Separate AF points: Point only (new with firmware version 2.0) 

Orientation Linked AF is active. Separate AF Area types can be set for the two different AF points. What’s new is that if one AF Area type is changed by the user, the other changes as well. The way to remember this in the AF Menu is that in the item directly above, you separate both Area type and AF point location; in this new entry, you separate the point location only.


New : Seamlessly switch from Manual AF point selection to Automatic AF point selection mode
This new option applies only when Automatic AF point selection is used with AI Servo AF. The 61-point AF system in the EOS-1D X has always required users to select one AF point as a starting area for Automatic AF point select mode, if set to AI Servo AF (most previous EOS cameras simply required the user to always begin focus-tracking with the center AF point).

The starting point for Automatic AF point selection that’s dialed-in by the user was always independent from any point used during Manual AF point selection – this could be good or not so good, depending on the situation. By answering feedback from some EOS-1D X users, this new firmware upgrade now offers two options for how to handle the setting of an initial starting point for Automatic AF point selection :

Initial [Auto AF Area icon] AF point selected 

Same operation as previously: when in AI Servo AF and the user moves to Automatic AF point select mode, he or she must manually dial-in a starting point — AF will begin at that point. If the subject then moves away from that point, the system will use other points within the 61-point array (selecting them automatically) to keep the subject in focus. The starting point set by the photographer is completely independent of the last point used during Manual AF point selection.


Manual [different AF Area icons] AF point (new with firmware version 2.0) 

The same AF point last used during Manual AF point selection is used as a starting point when AF Area mode is set to Automatic AF point selection. This means a user can be working with his or her manually selected AF point (center or any off-center AF point) and if they decide to switch to Automatic AF point selection, they initially start focus-tracking with the same point that they were using.


Exposure Control : Enhanced Auto ISO operation

Auto ISO has become an increasingly relied-upon feature for numerous advanced DSLR users. If used in Av or Tv exposure modes, it allows the camera to adjust ISO as lighting in a scene changes, while maintaining fairly consistent apertures and shutter speeds. And, if used in Manual exposure mode, serious shooters have quickly discovered it’s an important ally in maintaining precisely the same shutter speeds and apertures, while allowing users to freely shoot even in changing lighting conditions.


Responding to customer feedback and requests, firmware version 2.0 for the EOS-1D X now adds the following on how Auto ISO is implemented:

New : Set up to 1/8000th second as “minimum speed” before Auto ISO raises the ISO setting
The “minimum shutter speed” menu setting for Auto ISO tells the camera that at any given ISO setting (in the P and Av exposure modes) that if lighting drops and causes shutter speed to drop below a user-defined level, to begin raising ISO automatically to preserve at least that shutter speed. This is intended primarily to ensure safe shutter speeds for hand-holding and so on.

Until now, the range of speeds topped out at 1/250th of a second – sufficiently fast for many uses, but still potentially problematic with long lenses or particularly if shooting moving subjects.

When the EOS-1D X has firmware version 2.0 installed, the Minimum Shutter Speed menu will have an expanded range of choices, up to and including 1/8000th of a second. In other words, as long as the lighting in a scene is sufficiently bright that Auto ISO doesn’t need to exceed the user-set Maximum ISO level (that’s a separate setting, unaffected by this firmware upgrade), the camera can be set to ensure fast shutter speeds.

New : Exposure Compensation now possible in Manual mode with Auto ISO
This is another direct response to user feedback. If a user has locked in his or her choice of shutter speed and lens aperture in the Manual exposure mode and wants to keep these settings, Auto ISO has become a viable way to do this in the face of changing lighting. Same speed, same aperture and the camera can adjust ISO to compensate as scene lighting changes.

But until now, there’s been one problem: no way to intentionally lighten or darken the image. Auto ISO in Manual exposure mode has sought to simply provide one “proper” exposure level. If you change the shutter speed or aperture with Auto ISO, the only response is a newly adjusted ISO to compensate and continue to provide this camera-defined “normal” exposure level.

Firmware version 2.0 for the EOS-1D X changes this. Now, there are two methods of applying deliberate exposure compensation in Manual exposure mode when Auto ISO is active:

Press “Q” button, highlight Exposure Compensation on Quick Control Menu (on rear LCD monitor) and turn Quick Control Dial. ± Compensation appears on the menu screen’s analog scale.
Via Custom Controls menu, assign SET button for Exposure Compensation when pressed. To do this, press SET button, hold it in and turn top Main Dial to apply compensation.
In either case, when Exposure Compensation is applied with Auto ISO and the camera in Manual exposure mode, ISO is further adjusted to apply the compensation that’s dialed-in by the user. The user-set shutter speed and aperture remain constant.

New : same exposure for new lens aperture

It’s happened to many of us: you’re using a lens like the EF 70–200mm f/2.8L USM with aperture wide open in the Manual exposure mode and then stop and attach a 1.4x or 2x tele extender to the lens. You know the lens’ effective maximum aperture drop one or two stops (with the EF 70–200mm f/2.8L USM lens, for example, adding the 1.4x extender means wide open shooting now happens at f/4). In your haste, you immediately begin shooting, only later to realize that since the lens slowed a stop or two, you didn’t compensate your Manual exposure by adjusting your shutter speed or ISO. You’re one or two stops underexposed.


For the first time in the EOS system, an EOS-1D X with firmware version 2.0 now offers an option to correct this. A new line item is added to the 6th Custom Function menu screen — “Same exposure for new aperture.” Disabled by default, you can activate this any time you like. Here are the options:

Disable 

No exposure correction when shooting in Manual exposure mode, if maximum or minimum aperture of a lens changes. This is how EOS cameras have functioned up to this point and it remains the default setting once firmware version 2.0 is installed in an EOS-1D X.


ISO Speed 

If you were working at one group of Manual exposure settings at the maximum (or minimum) aperture of a lens changes and you begin shooting again, the camera will step in and adjust ISO to maintain a constant level of exposure. The shutter speed you set previously would remain constant.


Shutter Speed 

In Manual exposure mode, if the camera detects a change in the lens’ maximum or minimum aperture and you’re set there, it will step in and vary shutter speed so that exposure level remains where it was for the last shot you took. Again, if you were shooting wide open without an extender and then added the 1.4x or 2x extender, the camera will step in and reduce your manually set shutter speed as soon as you start shooting — so that your final exposures remain the same.


Customization : Instantly change camera operation with back-button

The rear AF-ON and AE Lock buttons are a hallmark of custom operations in the EOS system and photographers have been using “back button AF” for more than two decades. The EOS-1D X has always allowed shooters the option of not only activating AF via one of these back buttons, but also (if the user desires) to instantly activate a different memorized AF point for that AF.


With firmware version 2.0, the EOS-1D X now goes even further. Choose the “Metering Start/AF” icon (activating back-button AF) and then press the INFO button (next to the camera’s eyepiece) to access these options. Photographers have the following choices within the Custom Controls for both the AF-ON button and the AE Lock button:

AF Start Point 

Same as in previous versions of the EOS-1D X. The back button AF is active and by pressing the INFO button, the user can also opt to have the camera use the existing AF point or a jump immediately to a “registered” (memorized) AF point (via the “HP” — Home Position — icon on the menu screen).


AI Servo AF characteristics (new with firmware version 2.0) 

Select an entirely different AF “case,” via the same AF Configuration Tool options that are in the AF menu. What this does is let the user tailor one back button for a completely different type of AF operation. The other back button could be used for the action they anticipate will normally occur. In other words, you can have two different types of AF operations, literally at your thumb. This is especially exciting when you consider the new AI Servo AF features that this new firmware brings to the EOS-1D X.


AF Mode (new with firmware version 2.0) 

Dedicate one of the two back buttons to either One-Shot AF or AI Servo AF. A shooter working an event that normally calls for One-Shot AF, for instance, can instantly switch over to AI Servo just by pressing a back button they’ve dedicated for that purpose. Or, of course, you can “maintain current setting” so there’s no change in AF mode.


14 fps Super High Speed (new with firmware version 2.0) 

Instantly switch from the normal maximum of 12 fps, high-speed operation to the EOS 1D X’s special 14 fps, Super High Speed continuous setting by pressing either the AF-ON or AEL buttons. AI Servo AF won’t function during 14 fps shooting, but by assigning this to a back button, you can auto focus and shoot at 12 fps via the shutter button, and then instantly have access to the 14 fps operation by pressing the back button; AF will lock upon the spot where 14 fps started. Two prerequisites for this to operate are : 14 fps continuous drive has to be “enabled” (Custom Functions Menu #3 > Restrict Drive Modes > put check mark at 14 fps icon) and the camera must be set to shoot JPEG images (14 fps Super High Speed operation isn’t possible if the camera is set to shoot RAW files). In addition, 14 fps operation won’t kick in unless the camera has already been set to Continuous-High operation.


Customization II : Instantly switch One Shot AF / AI Servo AF

Previously available only as a Custom Control with buttons like the depth-of-field preview button, firmware version 2.0 now allows the EOS-1D X to use either of the “back buttons” to instantly toggle between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF. No matter which AF setting you’re on, press the appropriate back button and the AF instantly switches to the other while you have your thumb on that back button.


This is slightly different than the option to change AF mode mentioned above. Within the Metering/AF options (described above), it’s possible to have multiple combinations of these settings applied to a single back button. Selecting the One Shot AF/AI Servo AF icon within the Custom Controls for either back button simply dedicates it to toggle between the two AF settings.

Playback : display only “protected” images

This is an addition to the JUMP options during image playback on the camera’s LCD monitor. Press the Playback button, then turn the top Main Dial and only images you’ve previously protected will play back. This can be useful for those who use the “Protect” function (to prevent accidental erasing of images). It’s now possible to show a client only those files you’ve protected, avoiding outtakes and other images you perhaps don’t want to show. This is in addition to the “RATE” function; many shooters will find the Protect function is arguably faster to apply during breaks while on-location.


Summary

Firmware version 2.0 for the EOS-1D X is a comprehensive update, taking what’s already Canon’s most powerful and advanced professional-grade camera and adding features, options and low-light AF performance. Its abilities to let users make instant changes to operation, without having to remove their eye from the viewfinder, is a revelation in certain shooting conditions. Added control over how the AF system performs, especially adding stability with subjects moving at steady speeds, will be welcome for many wildlife, sports, fashion and event shooters. Auto ISO has suddenly become a viable option for many professional users, now that overall exposure can be lightened or darkened even in Manual mode, and that minimum speeds can be set up to 1/8000th of a second. Settings to speed up AF point management, and make on-the-fly switching from manual AF point selection to Automatic AF point selection even faster, once again speaks to making day-to-day operation with this camera even smoother and faster.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Canon Patent For 11-24mm f/4 Lens




Egami, the Japanese Blog has uncovered a Canon patent for a 11-24mm f/4 lens design. Currently, they do not have a lens in this focal range. Nikon has their 14-24mm f/2.8 lens and other third party lenses are also available. Personally, I have little use for such a lens. The closest model I own are the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II and the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye.

Patent Publication No. 2014-10286

  • Publication date 2014.1.20
  • Filing date 2012.6.29

Example 1

  • Zoom ratio 2.06
  • Focal length f = 11.30-18.00-23.30mm
  • Fno. 4.10
  • Half angle ? = 62.42-50.24-42.88mm
  • Image height Y = 21.64mm
  • 172.19-161.28-162.86mm overall length of the lens
  • BF 38.82-52.31-63.15mm


MichaelDanielHo.com

Friday, January 24, 2014

Canon Exploring Medium Format Camera




Hasselblad is ready to launch their 50MP Medium Format camera in March using CMOS sensor technology but PhaseOne beat them to the game by announcing their IQ250, 50MP Digital Back. The camera utilizes the Sony sensor, costs $35,000 and comes with impressive specifications :

50MP, 44x33mm CMOS sensor with 68% more image capture area than full-frame, ISO range 100 - 6400, exposure time between 1/10,000s and 1 hour, 14 stops of dynamic range, 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD, improved LiveView capability, 1.2 fps max shooting speed, built-in WiFi and USB 3.0.

Now that the Medium Format race is heating up, rumor surfaced again that Canon may be seriously considering their own MF ambition, with an eye towards Photokina 2014. Read my earlier post on this topic.  MichaelDanielHo.com


Canon Digital Learning Center Cinema EOS White Papers




The Canon Digital Learning Center has published a new batch of white papers on their EOS Cinema system. Click on the links below to download the documents in PDF format.

Design Strategies
The newer generation of Cinema EOS lenses came from multiple optical design resources within Canon, such as ourEF Lens and Broadcast Lens designs.

Image Sharpness
A design goal with the Cinema zoom lenses was to achieve an overall optical performance that would equate with the best of contemporary prime lenses over their respective focal lengths.

Color Reproduction
The new generation of Canon Cinema lenses paid high attention to optimizing color reproduction of the lens-camera system, such as how it reproduces skin tones of various ethnicities.

Contrast  
Achieving a high contrast ratio is universally sought by cinematographers and is always a central design goal for the optical designers.

The Promise of 4K
The advent of 4K cinema brings about changes to cameras, lenses, post-production and the home viewing experience. Explore each implication in-depth and see what this digital image format offers.

Canon-Log Transfer Characteristic 
Canon-Log is designed to reproduce the entire tonal reproduction range of which the new CMOS image sensor used in the EOS C300 (and future EOS C500 cameras) is capable. This paper will discuss an optoelectronic transfer characteristic developed by Canon that ensures effective management of wide dynamic range HD imagery.

New 35mm CMOS Sensor for Cine Motion Imaging 
Canon's EOS C300 has a totally new CMOS imaging sensor, dedicated to outstanding video image quality. This White Paper takes an extremely detailed look at the technologies that make this happen.

RGB Resolution Considerations in a New CMOS Sensor for Cine Motion Imaging
A highly technical White Paper, examining the RGB video characteristics of the EOS C300 camera, for both progressive and interlaced video formats.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Magic Lantern Increases Canon EOS-5D Mk III Dynamic range




The folks at Magic Lantern has another breakthrough with the Canon EOS-5D Mk III camera's dynamic range. Planet 5D reported the following :

“Tests have been done by ‘Marsu42’, which show numbers of up to 15 stops of DR when using this feature combined with the ‘dual_ISO’ module that Magic Lantern already includes in their nightly builds.”

Marsu42 said :

This means that for example on 5D Mk III, ISO 800 with ML has more dynamic range than iso 100 with Canon :-> … and at high ISO you’re getting 7% more dr which is nothing to sneeze at, esp. since it builds upon Canon‘s advantage vs. Nikon: D800@6400 = ~8.3 & 5D Mk III@6400 = ~9.4 ev. According to sensorgen.info the 6D should add another 2/3 stop (once the code is adapted for it) making good ol’ Canon the superior sensor for low light high contrast shooting.

Since this is a piece of software unsupported by Canon and may void your warranty, anyone using the Magic Lantern software bears all the risks and responsibility. For those who want to push the envelope, this new development may prove to be a boon for both stills and video shooters.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Patents : 85mm f/1.8 IS,100mm f/2 IS, 135mm f/2 IS


Canon EF 135mm f/2L Lens

Egami, the Japanese blog, reported on new Canon patents for three popular telephoto lenses with image stabilization. The three Canon lenses expected to receive IS in their upcoming replacement are the EF 135 f/2, the 85mm f/2 and 100mm f/2.

Patent Publication No. 2014-10283

  • Publication date 2014.1.20
  • Filing date 2012.6.29

Example 1

  • Focal length f = 85.56mm
  • Fno. 1.86
  • Angle of view 2? = 28.4 °
  • Image height Y = 21.635mm

Example 2

  • Focal length f = 102.06mm
  • Fno. 2.00
  • Angle of view 2? = 23.9 °
  • Image height Y = 21.635mm

Example 3

  • Focal length f = 131.00mm
  • Fno. 2.80
  • Angle of view 2? = 18.8 °
  • Image height Y = 21.635mm

Canon patents

  • Positive and negative positive
  • Inner Focus (group 2)
  • (Part of the third group) antivibration

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Travel Photography - Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco


The City by the Bay, San Francisco, California

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, in my book. The bridge is 8,980 feet in length and the longest span is 4,200 feet. The elevation and height are 220 and 746 feet respectively.  The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The strait is approximately three miles long by one-mile wide with currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots. It is generally accepted that the strait was named "Chrysopylae", or Golden Gate, by John C. Fremont, Captain, topographical Engineers of the U.S. Army circa 1846. It reminded him of a harbor in Istanbul named Chrysoceras or Golden Horn.

It took a little over four years to build the Bridge. Construction commenced on January 5, 1933 and the Bridge was open to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937. The dream of spanning the Golden Gate Strait had been around for well over a century before the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic on May 28, 1937. Pedestrian Day was held on May 27, 1937.


Bridge Over Beautiful Water

I fell in love with the Golden Gate Bridge as a child and never grew tired of its beauty and timelessness. The bridge has the ability to present itself from many angles and time of day to give a totally new perspective every time. The next closest man made structure with this photogenic quality is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Visit my website MichaelDanielHo.com to see many more Travel images from around the world.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Canon Patents For New EOS-M Lenses





The Japanese Photography blog, Egami discovered a new patent filed by Canon that may be for new pancake lenses on the EOS-M system : 18-40mm f/3.5-5.6, 18-55mm f/4-8, 10-20mm f/4-5.6, and 9-18mm f/4-5.6.

Patent Publication No. 2014-6275
  • Publication date 2014.1.16
  • Filing date 2012.6.21
Example 1
  • Zoom ratio 2.28
  • Focal length f = 18.10-29.78-41.20mm
  • Fno. 3.60-4.70-5.88
  • Half angle ? = 36.92-24.55-18.27 °
  • Image height Y = 13.60mm
  • 54.22-49.85-51.81mm lens length
  • BF 0.50mm
Example 7
  • Zoom ratio 3.00
  • Focal length f = 18.10-37.01-54.30mm
  • Fno. 4.20-6.20-8.20
  • Half angle ? = 36.92-20.17-14.06 °
  • Image height Y = 13.60mm
  • 64.74-56.63-62.13mm lens length
  • BF 0.50mm
Example 8
  • Zoom ratio 1.91
  • Focal length f = 10.30-15.00-19.70mm
  • Fno. 3.90-4.83-5.76
  • Half angle ? = 52.98-42.31-34.74 °
  • Image height Y = 13.66mm
  • 58.84-53.45-52.25mm lens length
  • BF 0.50mm
Example 10
  • Zoom ratio 1.91
  • Focal length f = 9.27-13.49-17.71mm
  • Fno. 4.12-4.93-5.76
  • Half angle ? = 55.84-45.36-37.65 °
  • Image height Y = 13.66mm
  • 60.98-55.27-53.91mm lens length
  • BF 0.50mm
Canon patents
  • The possible vibration damping by the second lens group
  • Feeding whole, front focus, focusing, rear focusing, etc.

Why Scott Kelby Switched To Canon




Canon is celebrating a a coup when Nikon shooter Scott Kelby switched over to Canon about 6 months ago. He is now using the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III cameras for the reasons of ergonomics, menu system and skin tones.

In the above video, Kelby sits down with Canon Explorer of Light, Rick Sammon to discuss his switch. Canon is making too much out of one person's decision but I have picked the EOS-1D X as the best full frame DSLR two years in a row and the EOS-5D Mk III as the best value in full frame DSLR as well.

I have been a Travel and Wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Canon Sponsors 2014 Sundance Film Festival




PARK CITY, UT, January 17, 2014 – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today the company will return as a Sustaining Sponsor to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival-which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, marking three decades of fostering a vibrant independent film community-will be held in Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance, and Ogden, Utah from January 16-26, 2014.

The Festival’s diverse roster includes nearly 200 films, of which approximately 20 percent were shot using Canon equipment. Blue Ruin, Song One, Memphis, This May Be The Last Time, Cesar’s Last Fast, Happy Valley, Last Days in Vietnam, Life Itself,WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, Mitt, Alive Inside, and Ivory Tower are just a few of the Canon-shot films screening in 2014.

“Over the last 30 years, Sundance Institute has built a festival that is unrivaled; it is inspiring to be surrounded by the mountains of Park City and the artists and community who are at the peak of their craft, pushing the boundaries of film and artistic expression,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “At Canon, we are driven by delivering that same level of passion, innovation and commitment to our craft as the filmmakers and are excited to return as a Sustaining Sponsor.”

At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Canon will host a special slate of programming dedicated to the craft of filmmaking and the artists behind each and every film.

Canon will invite Festival attendees to relax and reboot with fellow cinematographers, directors, and producers at the Canon Craft Services daytime lounge (427 Main Street; open Saturday, January 18th-Monday, January 20th from 11am-5pm), the hub of Canon’s Festival activities.

The lounge will offer filmmakers the opportunity to touch-and-try the latest Canon gear, including the Cinema EOS C100, C300, and C500 cameras, cinema lenses, as well as DSLR cameras and professional products such as the XA25 high definition camcorder.

To inspire discussions about the latest storytelling techniques, technology, and trends, Canon will host craft conversations at its lounge, featuring panels of industry leaders and Festival filmmakers. Each panel will cover a different area of interest, ranging from documentary cinematography, to a focus on optics, to skeleton crew filmmaking. The craft conversation series will culminate in the Canon Spotlight: CNN Original Series screening and panel on Monday, January 20th at the Sundance New Frontier Microcinema (136 Heber Ave; 3pm).

Below is the full schedule of events for Canon’s activities at the Sundance Film Festival. All events take place at Canon Craft Services (427 Main Street) unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, January 18th

11am-5pm

Canon Craft Services
A daily hub with lively craft conversations, a touch-and-try display of Canon equipment, a place to meet, relax, and reboot with industry colleagues, and coffee and snacks for filmmakers to enjoy.

1pm
Craft Conversation | Optics In Focus
David Klein, ASC (Clerks) and James Laxton (Camp X-Ray,Tusk) have two things in common: a director named Kevin Smith and an affinity for Canon Cinema glass. The DPs talk about their optics must-haves and their experience with Canon Cine Zooms – Klein on Homeland and True Blood and Laxton on Smith’s latest Tusk.

3pm
Craft Conversation | Small Crew, Big Movie: Shooting Guerilla-Style with Blue Ruin’s Jeremy Saulnier
Moderated by Dana Harris, Editor-in-Chief of Indiewire
Writer, director, and cinematographer of festival favorite Blue Ruin breaks down his journey from corporate video shooter to auteur filmmaker. Get the inside scoop from Jeremy about shooting with a skeleton crew – he makes no bones about why the Cinema EOS C300 camera was the right tool for him.

5pm-6pm
Media Cocktail Hour
Photographers, videographers, crewmembers, journalists, and other members of the media are invited in to escape the cold, mingle, and get refreshed at the lounge.
Sunday, January 19th

11am-5pm
Canon Craft Services
A daily hub with lively craft conversations, a touch-and-try display of Canon equipment, a place to meet, relax, and reboot with industry colleagues, and coffee and snacks for filmmakers to enjoy.

1pm
Craft Conversation | Truth Be Told: Documentary Filmmaking with the C300
Moderated by David Leitner, Contributing Editor of Filmmaker Magazine and DP of Tree Man
Hear from Jim Chressanthis, ASC (Cesar’s Last Fast), Dana Kupper (Life Itself), and Nick Higgins (The Lion’s Mouth Opens and 2013?s breakout The Crash Reel) about why the Cinema EOS C300 camera is their tool of choice for documentary work.

3pm
Craft Conversation | Song One‘s John Guleserian on Crossing the Bridge from DSLR to Cinema-Style Filmmaking
Moderated by Neil Matsumoto, Editor of HDVideoPro
It’s hard to imagine Guleserian’s first Sundance feature was just three years ago, with Grand Jury Prize-winning tour de force Like Crazy, shot on the EOS 7D camera. The three-time Sundance alum–back again with Song One–breaks down the transition from Canon DSLR camera to cinema-style filmmaking and his experience with the Cinema EOS C300 camera, C500 camera, and everything in between.

5pm-8pm Canon Craft Cocktails Canon’s second-annual celebration toasts the cinematographers of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Monday, January 20th

11am-5pm
Canon Craft Services
A daily hub with lively craft conversations, a touch-and-try display of Canon equipment, a place to meet, relax, and reboot with industry colleagues, and coffee and snacks for filmmakers to enjoy.

1pm
Craft Conversation | Depth of Field: The Canon Cinema EOS C100 Camera
Ben Kasulke (Laggies, Rat Pack Rat) dissects how he used the Cinema EOS C100 camera on an upcoming low-budget indie, while director/cinematographer Sterlin Harjo (This May Be The Last Time) and four-time Sundance alum Ondi Timoner (A Total Disruption) weigh in on the camera’s documentary and web series features.

3pm
Canon Spotlight: CNN Original Series
Location: New Frontier Microcinema (136 Heber Ave)
CNN, the long-standing authority for television news, made a splash in 2013 with their unconventional, personal, and powerful original series. Join the filmmakers behind Morgan Spurlock’s award-winning Inside Man, Alex Gibney’s Death Row Stories, and Robert Redford and BCTV’s Chicagolandfor a discussion about the lengths they go to capture their compelling stories and why they rely on Canon. The 90-minute spotlight and screening will offer a behind-the-scenes look into these CNN shows.

5pm-6pm
Canon Closing Cocktail Hour
Festival attendees are invited back to Canon Craft Services after the Spotlight screening and panel to demo Canon gear.
The daily one hour show Live@Sundance, which will provide the most comprehensive overview of Sundance Film Festival 2014 for the online community, will be shot exclusively on Canon Cinema EOS cameras, with support from YouTube, Weber Shandwick, HP, and Adobe Creative Cloud. This show will be streaming toYouTube.com/SFF at 11am MT from YouTube’s venue on Main Street

To find out more about Canon at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, please visit ourCinema EOS website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo. During the Festival, join the conversation with #Canon #Sundance.

MichaelDanielHo.com