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Friday, February 28, 2014

Dual Pixel Technology Coming to Canon EOS-5D Mk III?


Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology on the EOS-70D camera

Canon launched their EOS-70D camera in August 2013 and received rave reviews, especially on the ground breaking feature, known as the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Earlier this week, Canon announced this new technology will be available on the EOS Cinema C100 and C300 cameras as a Firmware upgrade.

As usual, Canon is releasing their newest technology on their lower level cameras, only to migrate to more expensive models at a later time. Case in point would be the DIGIC 6 processor and STM lenses, all came out on lower end gear first.

With the success of Dual Pixel technology, it may be a matter of time before the EOS-5D Mk III gets the upgrade or the Mk IV model will come standard with it. The highly anticipated EOS-7D Mk II camera and a less expensive version of the EOS-1D C will most likely come with this new technology as well. MichaelDanielHo.com   







Canon EOS-M2 Coming To The U.S. and Europe?


Canon EOS-M2 and EOS-M cameras side by side

Canon announced the EOS-M2 in China and Japan on December 3, 2013. In my earlier post in January, I expected Canon to import the EOS-M2 into North America and Europe some time in the future. The challenge is inventory of the current EOS-M model has already built up and until Canon draws down the current stock, they will be reluctant to bring more cameras in. Now Canon Japan executive, Mr. Go Tokura, in a recent interview, reiterated the company's eventual plans to introduce the EOS-M2 outside of Asia and add additional lenses to the lineup. Currently, there are only 2 lenses available in the U.S. for the EOS-M camera. For those who want to buy the EOS-M2 now, check out my earlier post on where to get one.

The current EOS-M received a Firmware upgrade in June, 2013. It offered a big improvement in the AF speed. The video below demonstrates the difference.  MichaelDanielHo.com


First Test On Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART Lens


Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens

In my earlier post last month, I have mentioned Sigma plans to introduce their 50mm f/1.4 ART lens with the intention of matching the highly acclaimed Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 in image quality, for a 'fraction' of the price and comes equipped with AF. I am interested to see a larger sample of images and Canon is also expected to upgrade their EF 50mm f/1.4 lens this year. MichaelDanielHo.com

Now, Xitek of Japan has come out with some preliminary image tests of the Sigma glass. The following lenses were used for the comparison :

  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art
  • Sony Planar T 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM
  • Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G
  • Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus





Thursday, February 27, 2014

Canon EOS-5D Mk III vs Sony A7 Comparison


The answer is rather plain to me but the video is kind of goofy and funny. You might enjoy the clip. My readers know I have picked the Canon EOS-5D Mk III as the best value in full frame camera two years in a row. I still have my original EOS-5D camera from 2005. You can see photos taken with it on my website MichaelDanielHo.com 


Canon EOS-5D Mk III and Sony A7 cameras


Canon EOS-7D Mk II Launching In Q2 2014


Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera launching in Q2, 2014? 

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

The Canon EOS-7D Mk II is one of the most anticipated cameras this year (including yours truly). It was spotted during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Canon has deployed many of their latest gear there and the testers were covered by Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) so there are no firm specifications leaked about the camera. Canon may not even call its replacement - EOS-7D Mk II, but they will have enough prototypes out there to help them gain all the insights from field testing.

The EOS-1D Mk IV camera with its excellent APS-H 1.3x sensor was discontinued a while back, leaving a void in the cropped frame, professional camera space. I am looking for a semi-pro body with the extra reach since I am not a big fan of extenders. 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.

Nikon announced their top-of-the-line D4s camera this week, to a some what underwhelmed response. Canon will be introducing a couple of Pixma Pro printers next month. There is a chance they may bring forward the release date of the EOS-7D Mk II to March, but most probably it will be the second quarter of 2014, with delivery starting late Q2 or early Q3. The current EOS-7D has the most advanced AF system of all the Canon APS-C bodies. The Achilles heel of the camera is its mediocre high ISO performance.

Possible specifications of the EOS-7D Mk II camera :

  • 20 MP APS-C Sensor ( probably similar to the EOS-70D )
  • 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 will be firmed up very soon 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. You can see my works with the camera on MichaelDanielHo.com. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How To Protect Photo Gear In Cold Environments


Polar bear mom and cub in -30+ C temperature, Hudson Bay

Taking photos in the snow and far away places like the Arctic and Antarctica can be fun and exciting, as long as one knows how to protect one's gear. Equipment have been known to snap under extremely cold temperatures, not to mention frozen photographers' faces and hands. I have been photographing wildlife in the sub and high Arctic regions and learned some valuable lessons through the years.

Having the correct white balance and exposure are also vital in snow photography. My trusted cameras are the Canon EOS-1D X and EOS-1D Mk IV. I use the factory LP-E4N batteries and they hold up very well under Arctic conditions. My favorite lenses are the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x, EF 400mm f/4 DO and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. My advice is keep your equipment under cover until ready to shoot and clean the gear meticulously after use to get rid of moisture. I rarely use fingerless gloves or wear a hood unless the cold is absolutely unbearable. You can see my equipment bag and view my works on MichaelDanielHo.com


The following is an excerpt from Canon Digital Learning Center on how to take care of equipment in cold environment :

"When winter rolls around, many landscapes go through dramatic changes that open up new possibilities for great photos. Snow-laden trees, icicles, frost patterns on foliage and winter sports are just a few of the many options. While many cameras are designed to work flawlessly at even down to 32 ?F (0 ?C), most will operate beyond this with a few simple precautions.

If you take a camera into a cold environment, the first thing you might notice is that battery life begins to drop. By 32 ?F (0 ?C), you might only lose 10% of the battery’s potential, but if it grows colder then it starts to become more noticeable. The first step to combat this is to keep your spare batteries inside your clothing, as close to your body as possible. In moderately cold conditions, this will be more than enough to keep the batteries within a normal operating range. It might be tempting to keep smaller point-and-shoot cameras inside your layers as well, but even in cold temperatures, we sweat when exerting energy like when you’re walking through deep snow or skiing. This sweating will cause condensation on your lens and potentially inside your camera, so it’s best to keep smaller cameras in a backpack or outer pocket.

For prolonged periods in much colder temperatures, oxygen activated hand-warmers are readily available at most grocery stores or pharmacies. Once opened, a chemical reaction gently warms them for up to 12 hours. Because they’re designed to be placed against your skin inside a glove or shoe, they’re safe to place in your pocket and can be attached to batteries to preserve some battery life in more extremely cold environments. From my personal experience shooting in mountains all over the world, I can say that those using Canon 1-Series cameras like the EOS-1D X need not worry about battery issues. Their batteries have such a large capacity that they easily outlast our own abilities to stay out in the cold.

If snow starts to fall, there’s still no reason to pack up and head indoors so long as you’ve got a rain cover for your camera. You’ll want to limit your lens changes, though, as rogue snowflakes in the camera body or lens during the change can add to potential condensation issues later when you bring your gear back inside to the warmth. Keep your lens hood on to try and prevent flakes falling onto the front element during use and carry at least a couple of lens cloths with you to dry the glass before you put it into the bag. Make sure you remove the waterproof cover and store that, along with any wet lens cloths, in a pocket of your camera bag away from your camera body and lenses. Your goal should be to keep as much moisture outside your bag’s main camera compartment as possible. Small packs of silica gel desiccant can also be placed inside any interior mesh pockets of your bag to help absorb any moisture that does become present.

Once it is time to head back indoors, there’s a couple more things to think about. Cold winter air is very dry and it’s almost certain that you’ll be entering a more humid environment when you head inside to warm up. Taking a cold camera straight inside will instantly cause condensation to form all over the lens and the body, just like taking a can of cold soda outside on a hot summer day. One way to tackle this is to place your camera in a sealable plastic bag while you’re still outside and let it slowly come up to room temperature indoors. As long as you place the camera in the bag outside while you’re in the cold air, the condensation will form outside of the bag and not around or in your camera. If you go out regularly, you can keep a couple of bags outside your front door so that they’re cold for your return. This works well for smaller cameras, but it’s not a practical solution if you have a couple of larger DSLR bodies and a bag full of lenses. In my experience, I’ve never seen a sealable plastic bag big enough to fit my EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM Extender 1.4x lens into!

My personal ritual is to bring all of the gear inside and immediately spread it out on a table with the lens caps removed. I then place the camera face down, to prevent dust from falling into the chamber, and I cover everything up with a dry towel. Condensation will often form, as expected, but once the gear has gently warmed to room temperature, this will evaporate and much of it is absorbed straight into the towel.

There’s one more piece of important equipment that needs a little special treatment in the cold weather: you! Keeping yourself warm will allow you to really concentrate on creating the best images. Layer up with moisture-friendly materials and pay special attention to your extremities. Warm winter boots will go a long way for insulating you from a cold environment, but you’ll want to protect your hands as well. I read about a lot of folks who recommend gloves with peel-back fingertips, but I’ve personally always found that they are a compromise on a really cold day and no good at all if the snow is falling. I much prefer to operate the camera using thin glove liners, like something made out of merino wool. Simple liners are thin enough that you can maintain enough dexterity to operate the cameras controls and, between shots, you can slip your hand into a genuinely warmer and thicker winter glove. For those of you using cameras with touchscreen controls, there are several manufacturers who have engineered “touch friendly” liners that feature conductive fingertips.

With these simple precautions and considerations, you’ll be able to enjoy your winter wonderland and concentrate on your photography instead of worrying about your camera gear."

Nikon Will Service D600 Dust/Oil Issue For All


Nikon D600 DSLR camera

Nikon has issued a service advisory for the D600 and will fix all cameras with sensor dust/oil problems, free of charge, regardless of warranty status. This announcement came about apparently as a result of a class action lawsuit threat.

This sensor dust/oil problem has been going on for a while and some frustrated owners have been sending their cameras in multiple times for cleaning, but apparently to no avail. Nikon has indicated they will pick up the shipping charges, plus clean the sensor and replace the shutter assembly, if applicable, as quickly as they can. Translation, it will be a LONG wait if all the owners of the D600 decide to send their cameras in for repair.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon C100 Dual Pixel AF and Firmware Update


Canon Cinema EOS C100 camera with Dual Pixel AF technology

* * *  There is a similar upgrade for the EOS C300 camera as well  * * *


The highly acclaimed Dual Pixel AF technology, which came on with the Canon EOS-70D last year, is now available on the C100 and C300 Cinema EOS cameras. MichaelDanielHo.com

Details

Now available from Canon is a feature upgrade for the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera that will offer an autofocus mode to help ensure sharp focus and smooth focus transitions. The upgrade provides a new Continuous AF (Autofocus) Function for all Canon EF autofocus Lenses, using Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. A new AF Lock setting also lets you change the image framing while holding the desired focus. These critical focusing capabilities are designed to help reduce out of focus video while providing for smooth focus transitions and assist users when operating with small crews. Learn more about the EOS C100 Feature Upgrade by visiting the dedicated webpage on the Canon USA website.

Support

Canon USA will perform Feature Upgrade on the EOS C100 at a cost of $500*, and will require that the EOS C100 cameras be sent to an official Canon Service Center. Please contact the Canon Customer Support Center for details.

*Does not include Shipping and Handling charges or applicable Sales Tax.

This information is for residents of the United States and Puerto Rico only. If you do not reside in the USA or Puerto Rico, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region.  Please register your EOS C100.  By registering, we will be able to notify you via email when future firmware updates become available for download.

Contact Information for Inquiries
Canon Customer Support Center
Phone: 1-855-CINE-EOS (toll free)
          1-855-246-3367
TDD: 1-866-251-3752
Email: CinemaEOS@cits.canon.com
For additional support options: pro.usa.canon.com/support

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

US National Parks Panorama Photos Through 80 Years




The U.S. National Park Services and Gigapan embarked on a photography project to take the viewers through a span of about eight decades, comparing some of America’s best-known landscapes and showing their changes through the years.

Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks photos from the 1930 to late 2000s were used, then overlaid on current images to highlight the changes over about 80 years. The old photos were originally taken to create maps for fire lookout points inside the National Parks. The project grew in size and Lester Moe was the photographer who made most of the old panorama images.

The Park Service strived to take the modern day photos using the same or very similar locations but some of the original lookout towers are no longer in existence. Visit the Park Service website for more info.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Nikon Officially Announced The D4s Camera


Nikon D4s camera

Canon has released a major firmware upgrade to their highly acclaimed EOS-1D X camera in January, in anticipation of the Nikon D4s debut. After putting the new Firmware through a series of exhaustive photo shoots, I am confident the EOS-1D X will be able to hold its own against the D4s until its replacement comes out in 2015. You can see photos taken with the EOS-1D X on my website MichaelDanielHo.com


TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the D4S, its latest flagship FX-format digital SLR camera. Based on the D4, the D4S responds more completely to the demands of professional photographers with revisions to a number of features and functions, including AF performance, image quality, workflow and operation, and movie recording, adopted after running a variety of simulations of the functions required by professional photographers who sometimes find themselves working under quite severe conditions.

D4s Camera Highlights :

  • 16.2MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2 inch LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-Point AF Sensor
  • Native ISO 25600, Extended to ISO 409600
  • 11 fps Shooting for 200 Shots with AE/AF
  • 91k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
  • 14-Bit RAW Files and 12-Bit RAW S Format
  • 1000 Base-T Gigabit Wired LAN Support

Algorithms used by the AF system have been refined for greater accuracy and versatility demanded by professional photographers. Autofocus is initiated faster and is better able to acquire and track the intended subject, whether it enters the frame suddenly or takes up the entire frame for a more powerful composition. In addition to the four time-tested modes available with the D4 (Single-point AF, Dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, and Auto-area AF), the D4S offers a fifth AF-area mode known as Group-area AF (uses 5 focus points: one specified by the user, as well as one each above, below, to the left, and to the right of the selected focus point). This mode enables not only smoother autofocusing, but also a faster workflow with continuous shooting at approximately 11 fps* with AF and AE tracking.

*Measured according to CIPA guidelines. Value with shooting in AF-C autofocus mode, [S] or [M] exposure mode, shutter speed of 1/250 s or faster, all other settings at their default values.

The new EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, a new Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor, and an effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels enable capture of images that exhibit stunning sharpness, enhanced depth, and natural skin tones. A range of standard sensitivities from ISO 100 to ISO 25600 achieves images exhibiting sharper edges and smoother, more beautiful colors. The D4S also supports extended sensitivities as low as the equivalent of ISO 50 and as high as the equivalent of ISO 409600. What's more, the accuracy of auto white balance has been increased for clear color reproduction, even with shooting under difficult artificial lighting.

A number of other improvements have been adopted without compromise in consideration of the advanced demands of professional photographers. Among these are improved viewfinder visibility with a more stable viewfinder image during continuous shooting and a shorter viewfinder blackout time, as well as smoother operation with less stress from a redesigned grip and refined layout of operational buttons and controls. Communication speed has also been increased with 1000BASE-T support for wired LAN communication, making extremely fast image transfer possible. A RAW S Small (12-bit uncompressed RAW) setting has also been added for faster post-capture editing on a computer.

The D4S supports movie recording at a frame size of 1920 x 1080 with a frame rate of 50p or 60p. EXPEED 4 enables rich tone reproduction, with very little noise, throughout the entire range of standard sensitivities (ISO 200-25600). Movies recorded at a 1920 x 1080 crop setting exhibit especially sharp and clear picture quality. Changes in exposure are also better controlled for smoother transition between frames with recording of scenes in which brightness changes greatly, even with time-lapse movies.

Development Background

Nikon's flagship D4 camera, released in February 2012, expanded possibilities for photographic expression for professional photographers primarily in the fields of sports, press, and nature photography. The D4 offered a number of features that not only responded to the demands of professional photographers, but also enabled capture of images of decisive moments that moved those who saw the images. Among these were excellent performance over a broad range of sensitivities for superior image quality under difficult lighting conditions, fast and accurate AF capable of capturing the intended subject, the Advanced Scene Recognition System, which provided more advanced automatic control that allowed photographers to concentrate more fully on shooting itself, and support for the superior rendering characteristics of NIKKOR lenses developed with optical technologies only Nikon can offer. Moreover, the D4 also contributed to cultivating new possibilities for imaging expression with the ability to express shallow depths of field and maximize the characteristics of excellent performance at high sensitivities with movie recording.

Developed as the next-generation flagship successor to the D4, D4S functions, features, and performance were thoroughly examined and analyzed from a variety of angles, resulting in a digital SLR camera that responds more completely to the demands of professional photographers. With this background, the D4S was developed to embody Nikon's response to the demands of professional photographers, upon which we place great importance, with functions and performance that support shooting in even the most difficult environments, and are able to respond to a variety of subjects and situations, as well as various lighting conditions.

D4S Primary Features

Advanced AF performance that responds to the strict demands of professional photographers
High-performance AF that more accurately acquires and tracks the intended subject, even under extreme conditions.

Reflection of ideas from professional photographers and repeated simulation of various advanced techniques they often use has resulted in the very precise subject acquisition and tracking performance that these photographers require, and upon which they can rely, under the most extreme conditions. Very precise adjustment of AF algorithms based on the Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module enables certain acquisition of even erratically moving subjects and those exhibiting little in the way of contrast. D4S autofocus performs even better, keeping the acquired subject in focus, even when it is coming closer, or moving away, at high speed. What's more, the D4S offers better balanced AF control with more precise focusing on the intended subject, and more accurate tracking of that subject, even when photographing team sports, such as soccer and rugby, when action may temporarily obstruct the intended subject.

5 AF-area modes for flexible focusing

In addition to the four time-tested modes built into the D4—Single-point AF, Dynamic-area AF (9-, 21-, 51-point), 3D-tracking, Auto-area AF—the D4S is equipped with a new Group-area AF AF-area mode for more powerful and versatile autofocusing. When Group-area AF is selected, the camera uses one focus point selected by the user and one each above, below, to the right, and to the left of the selected focus point, for a total of five focus points, for focusing. By capturing the subject within the five-point group, even if it is small and moving quickly and erratically as is often the case when photographing athletes and animals, the intended scene can be captured with greater certainty without focus shifting to the background.
In addition, an AF-area mode can be assigned to the AF activation button on super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses. When this is done, the specified AF-area mode is enabled while the AF activation button is held down. This enables strategic switching between the AF-area mode selected with the camera and a different AF-area mode assigned to the AF activation button, allowing users to switch back and forth between vital modes instantly, without ever taking their eye off the subject, when photographing a variety of scenes that change drastically. This allows users to better maximize AF performance between bursts of high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 11 fps* with AF and AE tracking.

*Measured according to CIPA guidelines. Value with shooting in AF-C autofocus mode, [S] or [M] exposure mode, shutter speed of 1/250 s or faster, all other settings at their default values.

Powerful AF with a variety of combinations of NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters
The D4S is equipped with 51 focus points capable of acquiring the intended subject throughout the frame. 15 cross-type focus points at the center of the frame use phase-detection AF to detect the subject horizontally and vertically, and as all 51 focus points support a maximum aperture of f/5.6, the performance of line sensors and cross-type sensors is fully utilized with all AF NIKKOR lenses. In addition, the 15 focus points (9 at the center of the frame, and three each to the left and right of these 9)*1 support maximum apertures faster than f/8, and 11 focus points (9 running horizontally at the center of the frame and 1 each above and below)*2 support maximum apertures of f/8. This results in stress-free focusing, even when using 1.4x or 1.7x teleconverters, and certain autofocusing capability when a 2.0x teleconverter is used with super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses for a combined maximum aperture of f/8.

*19 focus points at the center of the frame function as cross-type sensors; the remaining 6 focus points function as line sensors.
*21 focus point at the center of the frame functions as a cross-type sensor; the remaining 10 focus points function as line sensors.

Superior image quality with stunning sharpness and enhanced depth that responds more completely to the demands of professional photographers and supports the speed press photographers require

Beautiful image quality straight out of the camera

Press photographers working on-site demand not only certain capture of decisive moments, but also the ability to quickly transmit their photos as soon as they are taken. Understanding this need, the D4S captures JPEG images with stunning sharpness, enhanced depth, and natural skin tones that allows use of these images straight out of the camera. Less noise with shooting at high sensitivities and a range of standard sensitivities from ISO 100 to ISO 25600 enables images exhibiting sharper edges and smoother, more beautiful colors throughout the entire range (sensitivity can also be reduced to the equivalent of ISO 50 (Lo 1), or increased up to the equivalent of ISO 409600 (Hi 4) as shooting conditions demand). Images captured with the D4S also exhibit little significant loss in resolution, even when cropped for use in newspapers, magazines, or online. An effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels, and the new EXPEED 4 image-processing engine and Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor, both developed by Nikon with meticulous research and repeated simulations, contribute greatly to these capabilities.

Accurate white balance for healthy skin tones and textures

Auto white balance achieves healthier, more vivid skin tones under a variety of lighting conditions. Adoption of a new image analysis system enables more accurate extraction and identification of white portions within the frame. In addition, as white balance can be fine-tuned in smaller steps than ever before, more precise settings can be specified. The D4S is also equipped with a spot white balance option that allows users to manually measure white balance data beforehand from even a very small white or gray portion of the frame. When the D4S is unable to accurately or satisfactorily measure preset white balance data, simply changing the area from which data is measured as many times as needed eliminates the need for repeating the process from the beginning. This helps to increase shooting efficiency for professional photographers who must work quickly when on-site.

Exclusive Nikon technologies and functions for more convenient and smoother workflow
A high-performance viewfinder with greater visibility achieved with suppression of viewfinder image shake during continuous shooting

Improvements to components such as the mirror bouncer with the D4S suppress shake caused by mirror bound movement for more stable display of the viewfinder image. Viewfinder visibility with continuous shooting has also been improved with a shorter viewfinder blackout time and continuous display of the active focus point, even when the shutter is released.

RAW S Small* (12-bit uncompressed) image size option

A new RAW S Small option that records images using 1/4 the number of pixels used for full-sized RAW images has been added. This makes editing images on a computer after they have been taken faster and more convenient (file size is approximately 1/2 that of 12-bit uncompressed RAW L Large images).

*Editing functions built into the camera and available from the Retouch menu, such as NEF (RAW) Processing and Image Overlay, cannot be applied to images captured at this setting.
1000BASE-T support

The D4S is equipped with an Ethernet connector (compatible with the 1000BASE-T standard) that enables smooth transfer of high-quality image data, regardless of the format in which it was recorded (JPEG, NEF, TIFF), after capture.

LCD monitor with function for customizing colors

The D4S is equipped with a 3.2-inch, approximately 921k-dot wide viewing angle TFT LCD monitor with which the protective glass and LCD panel have been integrated to suppress internal reflections. Display characteristics have been carefully adjusted for more faithful color reproduction. In addition, the camera is equipped with a function that allows users to customize colors to suit their individual preferences.

A form and layout for operational controls that make the camera easier to hold and operate
The shape of the grip has been optimized to make holding the camera more comfortable, even for those with small hands. What's more, thorough examination of the shape of the rear of the camera, and design and materials used for the sub-selector have resulted in a camera that offers a better hold and more reliable operation.

D-Movie function for recording full-HD 1920 x 1080 60p/50p movies

Movies recorded at a frame rate of 60p exhibit smooth subject movement and changes in exposure, even when the brightness of the scene changes greatly. Noise is effectively suppressed throughout the full range of standard sensitivities (ISO 200-25600) for rich expression of tones and stunning sharpness that preserves details. The D4S offers selection from three image area* options that respond to imaging intent—FX-based movie format, DX-based movie format, and 1920 x 1080 crop. With recording at a setting of 1920 x 1080 crop, 1920 x 1080p full-HD movies are generated without resizing for stunningly sharp movies rich in detail.

In addition, uncompressed movies can be recorded directly to an external HDMI device connected to the camera's HDMI connector in movie live view mode. A dedicated HDMI cable clip is supplied with the D4S. When used with the optional HC-E1 HDMI cable, this clip prevents accidental disconnection of the HDMI cable from the camera. In addition, movie recording with the D4S is even more convenient as movies can be recorded to an external HDMI device and a memory card inserted in the camera at the same time.

The D4S responds to demands for movie recording with a variety of other capabilities as well, including the ability to change the image area in movie live view, and to enable Auto ISO Control for automatic adjustment of ISO sensitivity at a fixed shutter speed and aperture value.

The D4S also offers a new exposure smoothing function for time-lapse movie recording. This function smooths exposure between frames for less flicker in resulting movies.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Your Perfect Day - Thoughts On Work/Life Balance


Oia, Santorini. My little piece of heaven on earth

The video below asks, "What is your perfect day and when was the last time you had it?" Nothing too inspirational or philosophical a question and probably many of us have similar thoughts in our heads once in a while. But it pays to stop and reflect on our lives and existence, now and then.

Wedding photographer Jerry Ghionis, gave a presentation at WPPI 2013 show, and asked how many of us are chasing our dreams and paid the ultimate price, without perhaps realizing the dream or even being able to afford the price?

To me, it is how one lives one's life and dreams that defines who we are and family and friends become a big part of our existence, regardless of profession and family status. I have been a travel and wildlife photographer for 25 years but this is my second life. My earlier life was as a banker with Corporate America until one day I asked myself, "isn't there something else you'd rather do for the remainder of your life?"

Now I travel far and wide, work with concerned groups to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world's biodiversity and the need for its conservation, through the lens of wildlife imagery. Please drop me a line to share your answer on "What is your perfect day and how would you spend it?" You can see my works and reach me at MichaelDanielHo.com


Canon May Exit Low Price Compact Camera Market




According to the Japanese blog, Nikkan Kogyo's article, Canon may exit the market for low-priced, point-n-shoot cameras priced below $200. The low end of the camera market is getting very crowded and competitive. Smart phones are getting smarter and the cameras on them, better with every new model introduced.

Canon is planning to make 2014 their 'comeback' year by emerging from their recent 'funk' and introduce genuinely new and exciting upgrade products instead of the tired 'new and improved' merchandise. As a travel and wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years, I have been an observer of the company and made some comments on their strategy last year. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Firmware Upgrades For Cinema EOS Cameras




* * * Dual Pixel AF upgrade also available on EOS Cinema C100 camera * * *

Canon has announced multiple Firmware updates for Cinema EOS Cameras and Camcorders, including an optional Dual Pixel AF upgrade for the C300. In addition, there is a new RC-V100 remote control and Firmware updates for the EOS C100 camera with Peripheral Illumination Correction Support and Continuous Recording. MichaelDanielHo.com

MELVILLE, N.Y., February 24, 2014 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has announced a variety of performance updates for cameras in its Cinema EOS and XF professional camcorder line. Announced today is a new optional feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera which will support Canon’s innovative Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus (AF) technology and enable continuous autofocusing with the entire line of Canon EF lenses and optimized for Canon’s stepping motor (STM) line of lenses when used with the EOS C300 camera. This optional feature upgrade is expected to be available in May 2014 for a cost of $500.00 and will require the EOS C300 camera body to be shipped to an authorized Canon service center for installation.

In addition to the optional feature upgrade for the EOS C300 camera, Canon has also announced the new RC-V100 remote control for Cinema EOS cameras and the XF Series professional HD camcorders; a firmware update that allows for Peripheral Illumination Correction when using the Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F Cinema prime lens or the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens with the EOS C500, EOS C300, or EOS C100 cameras and a Continuous Recording function for the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera to help ensure capture of crucial shots in unpredictable situations, such as wedding/event videography, documentary, news, or wildlife production.

“We continue to strive to demonstrate our support of filmmaking and television production professionals through innovative new updates and equipment upgrades that allow our products to better serve these visual storytellers,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “By listening to our customers and responding to the various ways our equipment is used in the marketplace, we look to continually advance the capabilities and features inherent in our cameras, lenses, and accessories.”

EOS C300 Dual Pixel CMOS AF Feature Upgrade

Originally introduced in the Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR camera, Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is designed to provide continuous autofocus when shooting in single operator, or run-and-gun set-ups like documentaries, weddings, events, or electronic news gathering (ENG). When used in combination with an STM lens, this technology allows for the capture of high quality video without the interruption of noise by the focusing motor.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is an innovative image-plane phase-detection AF technology that employs a CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. Although camera operators can still focus manually, this new optional feature upgrade can enable smooth continuous AF with phase detection, a particularly useful feature when shooting with a small crew or single-operator run-and-gun filming and cinéma vérité style shoots.

The optional Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera supports continuous AF with all compatible Canon EF series lenses when shooting subjects positioned in the center of the imaging area. The technology involves complementary use of a contrast signal to achieve advanced autofocus stability that helps reduce the occurrence of loss of focus on a subject. Also included is an AF Lock which allows users to lock a focus point once AF is achieved and recompose the shot. Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF also nearly doubles the speed of the EOS C300 Cinema camera’s One-Shot AF function, which enables a DP to focus on a subject located at the center of the screen with the push of a button, a feature that is currently supported on 104 Canon EF lens modelsi.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera will be made available to users through an authorized Canon service center. For more information please visit the Canon U.S.A. website athttp://pro.usa.canon.com/EOSC300FeatureUpgrade.

Canon RC-V100 Remote Control

The Canon RC-V100 Remote Control is designed to respond to a diverse array of production needs requiring remote camera operation. The RC-V100 Remote Control enables users to remotely control main camera functions and is compatible with the XF Series professional HD camcorders and Canon’s Cinema EOS C500, Cinema EOS C300 and Cinema EOS C100 cameras. It allows users to remotely control a wide variety of functions built into the cameras, as well as adjust and set various controls, such as exposure and white balance. The RC-V100 Remote Control is expected to be available in June 2014 at a suggested retail price of $2,999.

Peripheral Illumination Correction

This firmware performance update adds two additional Canon lenses to the list of lens models that maintain even illumination across an image plane, and virtually eliminates vignetting when used in combination with the EOS C500 and EOS C300 Cinema cameras, and the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera. This latest update adds the CN-E35mm T1.5 L F Cinema prime lens and the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens to the seven other Canon CN-E Series Cinema Lenses that share this performance advantage, including the CN-E15.5-47mm and CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L S compact Cinema zooms, and the 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm Canon CN-E Cinema prime lenses. Fourteen other Canon EF-Series photographic lenses also deliver Peripheral Illumination Correction in combination with these cameras.

The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens offers high magnification in a compact and lightweight telephoto zoom lens with an Optical Image Stabilizer for up to 3.5* equivalent stops for shake correction. The lens’ ultra-quiet stepping motor and focus mechanism support the Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus optional upgrade for the Cinema EOS C300 and EOS C100 cameras, providing smooth, continuous autofocusing during video shooting on upgraded models.

EOS C100 Camera Continuous Recording Function Firmware Update

Designed for the capture of crucial, unpredictable scenes during wedding/event, documentary, news, or wildlife filming, the Continuous Recording Function firmware update for the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera enables videographers to insert metadata markers identifying crucial scenes and moments in their footage while continuously recording to the memory capacity. These markers — for both “in” and “out” points — can be set with the press of a button without interrupting the recording process. These markers are identified in metadata as separate “shots,” and are simultaneously recorded to both SD card slots of the EOS C100 camera.

A recap and availability timeline of the feature upgrades and firmware updates detailed in this release can be found in the grid below. For more information, please visit the Canon U.S.A. website at http://usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/standard_display/cinema-firmware

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Canon EOS-5D Mk III vs. EOS-6D Comparison


Canon has two full frame DSLR cameras : EOS-5D Mk III and EOS-6D. Which one is right for you? They are both good machines but the list prices are very different, $3,400 vs $1,750 respectively.

The main differences between the two cameras are :

  • Auto Focus : EOS-5D has 61 AF points, 41 cross-type. EOS-6D has 11 AF points, 1 cross-type.   
  • Video : EOS-5D has clean HDMI out and can be used with external recorders. Comes with built-in Moire filter and headphone jack. Not available on EOS-6D.
  • Burst Rate : EOS-5D - 6 fps, EOS-6D - 4.5 fps
  • WiFi GPS : EOS-6D comes with both, none on EOS-5D  
  • Card Slot : EOS-5D - 1 CF and 1 SD.  EOS-6D - 1 SD
  • Sensor and LCD : EOS-5D - 22 MP and 3.2 inch. EOS-6D - 20 MP and 3.0 inch 
  • Weight and Size : EOS-5D - 33.7 oz, slightly bigger. EOS-6D - 26.7 oz. 

I have been a wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years. The EOS-5D's superior AF system, faster burst rate and dual card slots made the difference for me. I have picked the EOS-5D Mk III as the best value in full frame camera, two years in a row. 

For those on a tight budget and like to get into full frame technology, the EOS-6D can be a great start but I will look into a good used or refurbished  EOS-5D Mk III first before buying a new EOS-6D. I own the EOS-1D X and find Canon equipment hold their value quite well, especially in the professional grade gear. Generally, one will get back a higher percentage of the original price paid with more expensive equipment. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com





Saturday, February 22, 2014

Canon and Nikon Posters - Decades Of Camera Evolution



Nikon is expected to announce the top-of-the-line D4s camera next week. Perhaps to increase the excitement, they have released a high resolution poster of their cameras from the last six decades. For some unexplained reason, the cameras stopped at the year 2008. The D4s will go up against the highly acclaimed Canon EOS-1D X camera with its recent Firmware 2.0.3 update, released in January, in anticipation of the upcoming Nikon D4s camera debut.

In the interest of giving both sides the same opportunity, I have included a Canon poster of their cameras since the 1930. MichaelDanielHo.com



Adobe Releases Camera Raw 8.4 CC Software




Photoshop Camera Raw 8.4 has been announced by Adobe as a release candidate. Many new cameras and lens profiles have been added. You can download the software on Adobe Labs' website.

The following equipment are new additions :

  • Canon EOS 1200D (REBEL T5, KISS X70)
  • Canon EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS II
  • Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS for Canon
  • Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 ZE

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens Coming Soon?




The above video was shot at the recent CP+ Show in Yokohama, Japan. Sigma has been on a roll lately. They even boast their upcoming 50mm f/1.4 DS HSM Art lens may equal the performance of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

Third party lens makers are getting to be quite good and Sigma’s recent releases have garnered very good reviews. The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art and 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM are prime examples of their recent success. Little is known about the upcoming 50mm lens except it will be lighter than the Zeiss 50mm, perhaps in the neighborhood of about 800g  / 28 oz. The suggested retail price for the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens may be well over $1,000.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon EOS-7D Mk II Coming In March?




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

The 2014 Winter Olympics is coming to an end. My sources informed me they have seen the EOS-7D Mk II test cameras during the games. Canon has deployed many 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 so far very few leaks are coming from the Olympics. The EOS-7D Mk II is my most anticipated camera from Canon this year. With the retirement of the EOS-1D Mk IV, I am looking for a semi-pro body with the extra reach since I am not a big fan of extenders. 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.

Nikon will be announcing their top-of-the-line D4s camera next week. Canon may loathe to see them get all the limelight and dominate the photography news. There is a chance they may bring forward the release date of the EOS-7D Mk II camera to March, along with a few Pixma Pro printers. Canon may not even call the replacement camera, EOS-7D Mk II, but they will have enough prototypes out there during the Olympics games to help them gain all the insights from field testing.

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 will be firmed up very soon 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 out of production, a semi-professional APS-C body is very appealing to me. Keep checking back for the latest information.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Ambassador and Explorers at UK Photography Show



A brand new photography show for enthusiast photographers is launching next month (from 1-4 March) at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, UK, and Canon will feature strongly both as an exhibitor, showcasing its superb range of imaging equipment, as well as fielding four members of its Ambassadors Programme as special guest speakers.

Adobe’s Richard Curtis will be giving talks on its Lightroom 5 software and how it can improve your workflow. Giving talks throughout the duration of the show will be Canon Ambassador Jeff Ascough as well as Canon Explorers Danny Green, David Noton and Clive Booth.

Adobe’s Richard Curtis (author of the recent CPN Lightroom 5 tutorials), National Geographic photojournalist Steve McCurry (Magnum Photos), fashion and celebrity photographer Rankin and legendary portrait photographer Terry O’Neill will also be there, where they will each give talks about their careers and showcase some stunning images.

Canon on show!

The Canon stand is located at Stand B10, within Halls 11 and 12 of the NEC. There you will have the opportunity to explore its full EOS DSLR product line-up, touch and try lenses at the elevated long lens bar, speak to Canon experts, who will be on hand to answer questions, and watch how Canon’s PIXMA printer demonstrations can enhance your imaging.

Lee Bonniface, Corporate and International Accounts Director, Canon Europe, said: “We’re very excited to work with The Photography Show and be part of the inaugural event. At Canon we aim to inspire and support all those interested in photography to take their next step in imaging and the show will provide a fantastic opportunity to do this. With emphasis on experiences and interactivity we want the visitors to come away excited and empowered, ready to take whatever their next step will be.”

Show organiser Jonny Sullens, Head of Events at Future plc, commented: “We are so pleased that Canon has chosen to exhibit at the debut of The Photography Show. Canon's desire to help those progress to their ‘next step’ in imaging is a great way to help photographers improve and will resonate with the range of visitors we will have from early adopters to full fledged professionals.”
About The Photography Show
Arising from the gap left by the Focus on Imaging trade show, The Photography Show aims to offer visitors a real opportunity to network, interact and try out the very latest in photographic technology.

The Photography Show will bring the imaging industry to life for the UK’s growing audience of amateur photographers, with some of the biggest names in the industry unlocking the secrets of their craft. The show floor itself will be brimming with hundreds of exhibitors, the very latest kit and accessories, and an array of interactive opportunities to get involved in. A studio suite will also be created on-site for visitors to see demonstrations in a professional environment, and themed areas including the IGPOTY Flower Garden, specially created to ensure all subject interests are fully catered for.

Tickets for The Photography Show on sale through the show’s website, priced from :

Advanced Adult £13
Advanced Concession £10
On The Door Adult £15
On The Door Concession £12
Professionals and Trade Free

For more information on the show and the full timetable of events, please visit the show’s official
website here.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Canon Offers White Balance Tips When Photographing In Snow


Arctic fox in bright sunlight and reflecting snow

Polar bear cub in heavily overcast day on snow

* * * Read this post on how to protect photo gear in cold environments * * *

Photographing wildlife and people in snow is always a challenge. I was in Hudson Bay a few months ago on a shoot to photograph Arctic wildlife like Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes. You can visit my website MichaelDanielHo.com to see more shots from my trips in the Arctic and sub Arctic.

Now, Canon Digital Learning Center has come out with an article offering white balance tips when photographing in snow. Below is an excerpt from their site :

"As photographers, our goal is to recreate the scene before us using both light and color. As advanced as digital cameras are these days, they don’t yet match the complexity of the human mind so we have to work with a few technical limitations when trying to record a scene as our eye sees it. Snow covered winter landscapes, in particular, can present some very specific challenges when it comes to getting accurate looking colors.

If you’ve ever looked at one of your winter images and thought that things look a little blue, then you’ve discovered one of the challenges of photographing snow: getting the right white balance or color temperature. White balance is a fundamental camera setting that adjusts color rendition to give a neutral appearance, without any obvious overall color tints or shifts. Cameras come with several White Balance presets (Daylight, Tungsten, Flash, etc.), but difficulties can arise when there are mixed light sources all adding their own color cast. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a direct source either because all reflected light will have a color cast that’s dependent on the color of the object the light just bounced off of. If there are objects in your image (quite likely!) then you’ve got multiple color casts, in some way.

One measure of color in an image is Color Temperature. A simplified, non-technical description for photography purposes is that Color Temperature is a numerical scale, based on Degrees Kelvin, that defines the level of amber or blue in daylight and other light sources. Noontime sunlight is rated at about 5500 degrees Kelvin; warm, amber sources like sunsets or tungsten household bulbs can be 3000K or less; and scenes with excessive blue tonalities (like shaded areas on a clear, sunny day) can be anywhere from 7000K to 10000K. Most Canon EOS cameras offer a "K" white balance option, which can be a very precise way to pre-set white balance when shooting in daylight or tungsten illumination. (Please note that Kelvin WB is not available on EOS Rebel models.)

White balance presets are a good starting point, but they aren’t always perfect – the preset “Sunlight,” for example, sounds as though it would be perfect on a sunny day and it’s been standardized to a temperature of 5500K. But the reality is that sunlight color temperature varies based on time of day, atmospheric conditions, your altitude and many other factors. For my typical sunny snow images, I can end up using a White Balance that’s anywhere between 5000K and 9000K during what I would call “daytime.” If I were to include sunrise and sunset shoots, we’d be stretching the range from about 3000K to well north of 12000K. If you used standard White Balance presets during the “Golden Hour” (the first and last hour of the day’s sunlight), you could end up neutralizing that beautiful light that photographers are always lusting after. Presets should be looked at as a good starting point and an excellent way to learn more about the behavior of different light sources, but they are rarely a perfect answer.

Because most scenes contain a variety of color casts, there’s always going to be some compromise – that means that not all objects will be 100% accurate if we can only set a single temperature. Most of the time, in normal images, this compromise is imperceptible but the problem with winter images is that our brains know that snow it white!

If you look at a snowy scene, it’s likely to contain a lot of shadows caused by mountains and trees, for example. The snow in direct sunlight has a color cast that is one temperature, but the shadow has a vastly different temperature because it’s made up entirely of light that’s been bounced off other surrounding objects, such as the sky or snow itself. The human mind is incredibly powerful and because it knows that snow is white, it corrects our own vision of the scene to compensate for this. To us, snow always looks white. In the camera, though, we can only set one White Balance. Which is it to be?

If you set your camera to Auto White Balance (AWB), then you’re asking the camera to make that decision. In most cases, cameras these days have become good at measuring the variety of temperatures in a scene and creating an average. Every now and again when one cast is more predominant than the other, you’ll get the situation where your snowy images can look too blue. This will usually happen in a snowy image where there is a lot of shadow, but it can also look blue during daylight on a sunny day with blue skies when that color gets reflected in the snow.

How do I solve it? Firstly, I always opt to shoot in RAW because it gives you the option to adjust the White Balance later in your chosen editing software. I try and get it right in-camera when I can, but sometimes rapidly changing light makes it impractical. For example, if I’m hanging out of the side of a helicopter following a skier down a steep line in Alaska, then it’s simply not possible to be simultaneously tweaking White Balance. Another example would be in an uncontrolled situation like a sporting event where there is rapidly changing weather, typically moving clouds. In these situations, I set the camera to Auto White Balance and I use the “Eyedropper” tool in software like Canon’s Digital Photo Professional or Adobe Lightroom. The “Eyedropper” tool measures the temperature of one point in the image and sets the White Balance to that setting. As we know, if there are shadows and sunlight areas in the image, then these will be different temperatures so I usually pick a spot representative of the predominant situation in the scene. If it’s mostly shady, I’ll pick that. If it’s mostly direct sunlight with the odd shadow, I’ll pick the snow that’s in the direct light as long as the subject of the image is also in that predominant sector. It’s important that your subject looks accurately colored.

If the situation is much more controlled, like a commercial shoot where color accuracy of a product is of paramount importance, then I aim to get things right in-camera using a Custom White Balance. Readily available digital Gray Cards can be used for a test shot in your light and then set as the source of a Custom White Balance in-camera. Essentially, you’re telling the camera “this is a neutral color in this light.” Gray Cards, or other products such as the ExpoDisc, are relatively small and lightweight to carry around and can save you a lot of headaches. I’ll sometimes make use of a little product called the SpyderCube from Datacolor, as well. This is like a tiny gray card that you can include in a test shot so that you have an accurate neutral gray to use with the color picker later in your software. This works well for portraits in snow, but for action images, it’s not practical to always be in the spot where your athletes are about to be… I’m sure you can see why in some of these example photos!

In the end, sometimes there are compromises to be made when setting White Balance, just as there are with exposure when you choose where to add detail to the shadows at the expense of clipping your highlights. The best way to deal with it is to understand how it all works and why the images can sometimes look too blue in these tricky winter landscapes. If you don’t want to go so far as to set Custom White Balances but would rather not spend time adjusting them on the computer, then try the presets for “Cloudy” (~6500K) and “Shade” (~7500K). Light in the shade is much bluer, so the preset warms it up. If your winter images are looking blue, then this can be a quick fix to the problem. But be wary of this if you have large patches of snow in direct sunlight, as this will render the brighter patches too warm."

Canon Presents Wedding Films With EOS System


video


Canon Digital Learning Center presents wedding cinematographer, Joe Simon, as he shares his views and techniques for shooting a stylistic wedding video using Canon’s Cinema EOS and HDSLR cameras. Joe also discusses his experiences using the new Dual Pixel AF feature upgrade available for the EOS C100, and how it has improved his shots by opening up the potential for more dynamic camera movement and focus effects.

In this video you will also learn :

  • One-shot AF improvements with the Dual Pixel AF feature upgrade
  • Continuous AF improvements with the Dual Pixel AF feature upgrade
  • AF Lock and unlock functionalities, and how to take advantage of them
  • Joe's approach to camera setup for filming the ceremony and first dance
  • Which camera support systems Joe uses for weddings, and why

Canon Provides Hands-on Access At BVE 2014




London UK, 20th February 2014 – Canon will be demonstrating its imaging solutions for the broadcast industry at BVE 2014. A full cine and broadcast camera range, shooting studio, DSLR bar and EF lens line up will be available at the event, allowing visitors to get a real hands-on experience (Stand G05).

Canon’s shooting studio will feature a kitchen set up, with chefs baking and decorating cakes during six live sessions throughout the day. Nine cameras from the cine and broadcast range will be positioned around the action studio to demonstrate the camera capabilities in a broadcast environment.

At the DSLR bar, visitors will be able to test shooting video using Canon’s range of DSLR cameras, which have already revolutionised the way that professional video is shot. A low light area will also feature on-stand to demonstrate how the EOS range performs when light levels fall.

Canon’s EF lens line up will be available to enable visitors to experiment with Canon’s wide selection of studio, field and portable lenses.

Austin Freshwater, Director – Professional Imaging Group at Canon UK and Ireland, said: “Canon is constantly updating the way it develops and manufactures its products to keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in the broadcast industry. By showcasing our offering at an event like BVE we can show first-hand how we are supporting videographers in capturing the highest quality footage in a huge range of environments.”

Visit Canon at BVE from 25th – 27th February 2014 at Stand G05 at ExCel London.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Shuns Retro Design Movement On Cameras




Canon is hoping 2014 will be the year they come out of the funk and go back to its roots. Their stock price has dropped over 5% this year, adding to last year's lackluster result even as the benchmark Nikki average rallied over 50% last year, due mostly to the weak Yen. Today, Canon announced a multi-billion Yen stock buyback program.

With their recently introduced PowerShot G1 X II camera, Canon released a detailed design brochure and appeared to have ruled out any retro-styled cameras. It emphasized features and functionalities, and will not follow the recent 'trend' of retro design movement from other camera manufacturers.

The brochure is revealing and full of interesting information. It revealed Canon went to great length and experimented with many prototypes before coming out with the final design of the PowerShot G1X II. The new camera has twice the focusing speed and a minimum focusing distance of only 5cm, compared to 20cm on the previous model.

Below is an excerpt from the brochure :

"Currently there is a trend towards designing premium compact cameras like classic cameras. However, Canon has kept its distance from this trend. As a result, the design is not pretentious, and it also does not look like a so-called compact camera, and achieves a great balance between traditional and new."

I have been a Travel and Wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years. Over the decades, I have been a keen observer of the company and made some comments and suggestions on this venerable company last year. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Top Level Domain Names For Photographers



ICANN has released 6 more top level domain names. Frankly, I think this domain name chasing game is vacuous. There may be room for corporations like Canon or Sony to register these new domains but for individuals and photographers, it is much ado about nothing, in my opinion. I am very happy with MichaelDanielHo.com

The following are the new names :
  • .photography
  • .gallery
  • .graphics
  • .equipment
  • .camera
  • .lighting

New Canon DSLR Announcement In March?




Nikon will be announcing their top-of-the-line D4s camera next week. Rumors are running rampant Canon may bring out a high end DSLR in March to counter the challenge.  Personally, I doubt this will happen so soon. The current champion, the Canon EOS-1D X has been out for about two years and received a Firmware upgrade last month in anticipation of the upcoming Nikon D4s. I have just returned from a whale photo shoot in Maui and have put the camera through a vigorous test with the new software and found it to be even better. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

In my earlier posts, I have mentioned 2014 will be the year for Canon to come out of its doldrums. They are expected to announce a few DSLRs and EF lenses. Canon already announced a low end, Rebel T5 camera last week, the much anticipated EOS-7D Mk II has been spotted around the Olympic Games and should be announced before the middle of the year. A high end camera is expected from Canon this year, either in the form of a less expensive EOS-1D C or a 'production' announcement leading up to a super mega pixel camera, but the time frame most probably will not be in March. Keep checking back for the latest development and news.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Canon PowerShot G1 X II Sample Video and Photos


Canon PowerShot G1 X II camera

Canon announced the PowerShot G1 X II last week. Now Canon Europe and Japan have posted sample video and photos taken with this new camera. I am a fan of this camera, the only model I like in the PowerShot series.

MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon and EOS-1D X Dominate World Press Photo 2014




What does the world's press use as their photography equipment? According to the World Press Photo 2014 Awards, Canon equipment was used by 58% of the photographers, followed by Nikon, with 28%.

The Canon EOS-1D X camera, followed by the EOS-5D Mk III are the most popular bodies preferred by the professionals. I have picked the two cameras as the best wildlife camera and best value in full frame cameras on the market, respectively, two years in a row. You can read my Canon recommendation and see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Reviewed by DxOMark


* * * Read the latest post on the Tamron 150-600mm lens * * *

I was in Asia last month and had an opportunity to get a hold of the new Tamron 150-600mm lens for a quick test. Now DxOMark has tested the lens and gave it a 'thumbs up'.  The following is an excerpt from their conclusion :

"If Tamron built this lens to outperform the Sigma offering then they succeeded with full frame cameras. The gain in performance over their rival’s offering is less noticeable on the APS-C cameras. Despite that, the image quality is a slight improvement over the Sigma. Given the longer range and similar price, it’s a pretty impressive achievement.

The Tamron even outperforms the pricier Canon lens on the full frame Canon EOS 5D Mk III though it’s less convincing when compared with the Canon EOS 7D. There’s likely too little in it to switch but for first-time buyers the new Tamron is an attractive proposition."

At first glance, it sounds impressive until one parses the words, "outperforms the pricier Canon lens on the full frame Canon EOS 5D Mk III though it’s less convincing when compared with the Canon EOS 7D. There’s likely too little in it to switch ....

The 'outperformance' is marginal, at best, and especially when one realizes the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens came out in 1998! When comparing lenses, it has to be apples to apples. Everyone knows in the last few years, many new improvements have been made in coatings and optics. It takes 2014 Tamron technology to 'outperform' a 1998 Canon lens?

Below is my analysis of the Tamron lens back in early January 2014 :

"In short, I am not impressed by this lens, even at the low price, although it can be a good value to an occasional wildlife photographer. It will be discounted to under $1,000 once it is widely available in the US. I will not go into further details and spend a lot of time on it since my purpose is just to get a preliminary feel for this lens. In general, I prefer Sigma lens to Tamron and Canon to both. But for those who do not want to or cannot afford a more expensive long zoom lens and is willing to accept the trade off, this lens may offer them a good alternative.    

Read my earlier post on Travel and Wildlife lens recommendation. I will gladly buy the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS or the EF 400mm f/5.6L and add an extender (MF only beyond f/5.6 on non EOS-1 bodies except EOS-5D Mk III) or use the EOS-7D body to get the additional focal length. The best, super Telephoto zoom on the market is the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens."

It appears Tamron is having some production bottle-neck with this lens. They are manufactured outside of Japan and the initial order surge has overwhelmed the first run. It is still not available in the U.S. as of June. Some Asian dealers are taking advantage of this 'shortage' by charging $1,400 for this mediocre glass. Once the production catches up with the preliminary demand, the price will drop below $1,000 in the U.S. Those who pay above the suggested retail price of $1,069 will find their 'investment' a fast depreciating asset soon. By the way, Tamron is a third party manufacturer and the lens is designed for full frame and APS-C 1.5X cropped frame cameras. There is no guarantee it will work flawlessly with Canon or Nikon APS-C cameras now or in the future.

Canon will be announcing the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens some time in August. This is one lens I have been waiting for years to buy. I have just come back from a wildlife photo shoot in India. Took the EF 200-400mm f/4L with me. Visit my website MichaelDanielHo.com to see photos taken with all the other Canon lenses.