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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Canon and Nikon Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras Coming



Things are about to heat up in the mirrorless camera world. For the last few years, Sony has been garnering most of the attention with their mirrorless cameras, especially the A7 series of models.

I have reported earlier Canon is finally getting serious about their mirrorless line and will offer more cameras and lens this year, perhaps including a full frame model to compete with Sony and the Leica SL. Now it seems Nikon is planning to do the same. The game plan seems to differentiate the line between a prosumer and a 'professional' model. Expect late August or early September to be the targeted month for any announcement. This is to tie in with the big Photokina Show taking place in Cologne, Germany on September 20, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 Camera Comparison


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 camera comparison 

I have received my EOS-1D X Mark II and took it on an Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands photo tour, gave the camera a grueling test and will embark on more real world wildlife photo shoots for further testing. You can read my review, see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com. Keep checking back for the latest photos and comments of the new body. More to come.

At the bottom of this post is a video by Tony Northrup comparing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 cameras. Both bodies are exceptionally well made and produce incredible images in the right hands. The choice boils down to personal preference and time and money already invested in one's equipment bag. 

Nikon announced their long awaited D5 camera just in time for the CES 2016. Almost 4 years to the day when they announced the D4 back in CES 2012. Canon released their EOS-1D X Mark II camera on February 1, 2016. Below is a brief comparison of the main specs between the two cameras. The EOS-1D X camera was announced back in October 2011 and my readers know I have picked it as the best DSLR for sports and wildlife photography four years in a row.


Nikon D5 main specifications :
  • Two D5 bodies - D5 XQD and D5 CF
  • New 20.82 MP CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 5.4K processing engine
  • 153 AF points, 99-point cross sensor, f/8 corresponding 15 points
  • Continuous shooting (continuous shooting up to 200 frames in 14bit lossless compression RAW) -12 fps in the AF / AE tracking
  • Continuous shooting speed with mirror lockup, 14 fps (AE / AF fixed)
  • 4K UHD video at 30fps
  • ISO 100-102400. Extended to 3280000
  • 3.2-inch 2.36 million dots LCD touchscreen
  • Memory card slots - dual XQD or CF slots
  • Shutter speed - 30 seconds to 1/8,000 sec
  • Finder coverage - 100% (FX), magnification: 0.72x
  • SuperSpeed - (USB 3.0 Micro-B terminal)
  • Battery - EN-EL18a
  • Weight (battery and cards) - XQD : 1405g. CF : 1415g
  • List price - $6,500 in the U.S.A.
  • Shipping date : Camera is available now




Canon EOS-1D X Mark II specifications :
  • New 20.2 MP Canon sensor 
  • ISO 100-51200. Expanded to 409600 
  • New sensor technology subdividing high and low sensitivity pixels
  • One slot for each card - CFast and CF memory slots 
  • New, 61 point AF system 
  • Dual DIGIC 6+ processors
  • 15 stops of dynamic range
  • Maximum burst rate 16 fps (14 fps w/o mirror lockup)
  • 4K UHD video at 60fps
  • 3.3 inch Super high resolution LCD
  • USB 3.0 Micro-B terminal
  • Finder coverage - 100%, magnification : 0.72x
  • GPS and Intervalometer
  • New LP-E19 battery. Backward compatible.
  • New LC-E19 battery charger. Backward compatible.
  • Unmatched weather sealing and ergonomics
  • List price - $5999
  • Shipping date : Camera is available now 





The Nikon D5 camera specs look good at first glance. The burst rate of 12 fps and 14 fps with mirror lockup and matches the Canon EOS-1D X but the Mark II exceeds with 14 fps and 16 fps respectively. 

Shooting at ISO 3280000 is playing the marketing numbers game but suffice to say the camera does have excellent ISO performance and both cameras are evenly matched at high ISO. Being a wildlife photographer, I hardly ever use ISO higher than 6400 out in the field. The noise level is simply unacceptable beyond that. Check out the the two cameras' ISO performance comparison.  




The Nikon D5's 153 AF points is just another big number designed to grab attention. The dedicated processor for AF is good and the 15 AF points usable @ f/8 is a more meaningful number. All of the EOS-1D X Mark II's 61 AF points are accessible @ f/8.  

Offering a QXD or CF memory card version is a good idea because not many photographers shoot enough 4K video to justify buying a collection of new and expensive memory cards, but the downside is having two separate cameras. Sadly, the Nikon D5's 4K video capability is another marketing also-ran. Canon offers one slot each for CFast and CF memory card in the same camera and its 4K video capabilities are at least worth having.




The Nikon D5's list price of $6,500 is slightly over-priced in today's pricing formula. I still remember paying $8,000 for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III back in 2008 and now the EOS-5D Mark III, with a list price of $2,499, beats the old champ's performance in so many ways. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II's list price of $5,999 is simply a 'bargain'.



Monday, May 30, 2016

Canon and Nikon Logos - Then and Now






My readers know I am The Wildlife Ho-tographer and have been using Canon equipment for over 25 years. Over the decades, I have just about owned or used all of Canon's film and digital camera and lens. You can see my latest equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com.

Canon was founded in 1934 with the original name of Seikikgaku Kenkysho. One of their first products was a prototype camera called the Kwanon. In 1947, the company changed its name to Canon Camera Company and subsequently renamed Canon Inc. in 1969.

Recently, Canon announced their latest, top-of-the-line EOS-1D X Mark II camera and I just came back from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands photo tour field testing the new body. You can read my review of the camera here. Their top-of-the-line APS-C camera - EOS-7D Mark II was announced about 2 years ago.



Nikon was founded in 1917 and the company celebrates its centenary next year. Their name was changed to Nikon around the early 1950s and the current and familiar yellow and black logo appeared in 2003.

In the last few months, Nikon has released their most advanced cameras, the D5 and D500, a top-of-the-line full frame and APS-C camera respectively.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Abode Photoshop CC Coming With New Content-Aware Crop Feature


My readers know I am The Wildlife Ho-tograher and prefer to get most of my settings and framing done properly inside the camera, in the first place. However, there are times a photo needs some post processing help, that's where Photoshop and its related software come in. Adobe has been offering the $9.99 a month, Creative Cloud Photo Plan for a while now but I have not bought into it.

Now Adobe has previewed a new feature in their upcoming release that may make me change my mind. Although straightening the horizon is a basic tool in all Photoshop products, the new features makes it much simpler and a bit more powerful. The video below illustrates the new tool. Pretty cool and time saving, I must say. You can see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Available At Amazon.com


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, top-of-the-line, full frame 20MP camera





The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera is finally available through Amazon. I have taken delivery of this camera at the beginning of the month and recently took it on a grueling photo tour through the Amazonia jungle to the highlands of Peru, testing the new features and functions.

My readers know I have picked the EOS-1D X as the best DSLR for sports and wildlife photography four years in a row. I expect the Mark II to do even better. Click here to see the major differences between Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5. I will write a comprehensive review after testing it on a few more upcoming wildlife photo tours. You can see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens Coming Soon




I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Sigma is expected to wow photographers again during Photokina in Cologne, Germany this September. My sources informed me they are ready to announce the 85mm f/1.4 Art lens, plus other glass, just before the big show.

My readers know Sigma has been one of the more innovative lens manufacturers in the last few years. Their 'standout' lens include the 50mm f/1.8 Art, 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG, 50-100mm f/1.8 DC Art, etc. The 85mm f/1.4 Art is now out for field tests and should be ready in a couple of months.

Canon is also ready to announce more lens and cameras for the remainder of the year. This will be a bumper year for photographers. Keep checking back for the latest news and development. More to come. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nikon D500 APS-C Camera Review






I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Nikon announced the D500, their top-of-the-line APS-C camera in January, 2016. The new body appears to be very impressive on paper. I have no interest in the 4K video or the SnapBridge features. They do little for a wildlife photographer like myself but the new AF system on the D500 looks interesting.

The D500 will give Canon some challenge in the cropped frame camera arena. My readers know I have picked the Canon EOS-7D as the best value APS-C camera in wildlife photography four years in a row. The EOS-7D Mark II was announced over one and a half years ago and I expect Canon to release a major firmware upgrade to the Mark II some time in the second half of 2016 or early 2017 to extend the life of the camera and tuneup the AF system a bit until the Mark III appears some time in late 2017 or early 2018. You can see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Nikon Professional Services has created a Shooting Tips Page for D500 users. It covers useful features and functions for Sports AF and Movie editions. Take a look at the videos below for a review of the camera.





Twitter To Allow Tweets Of More Than 140 Characters



I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Twitter announced a big change yesterday by tweeting they will no longer count photos toward the 140-character limits for Tweets. 'Over the past decade, the Tweet has evolved from a simple 140-character text message to a rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more,' Twitter tweeted.

The change will be coming 'in the next few months,' Product Manager Todd Sherman announced in a blog post. Those who tweet know photos currently take up a portion of the character limit and reduce the number of characters available for text. Attachments such as GIFs, videos, polls, quotes, etc. will also not count towards the character limit.

It is no secret Twitter has not been doing well in the last few years. Its stock price has tanked and the company changed CEO, with the founder returning to try and revive its fortune. Many younger users have abandoned Twitter in favor of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms.

I like Twitter, especially when I am on the road. My readers can travel with me on my photo tours by following me on Twitter.com/MichaelDanielHo   

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Canon Patent - EF-M 9-17mm f/3.5-5 STM Lens


Canon EF-M line of mirrorless lens

I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Last month, I have reported on Canon's latest plans with their mirrorless camera line. Now, Egami has uncovered another new patent for an additional EF-M 9-17mm f/3.5-5 STM lens design. It may be announced before the year is up, perhaps together with the new mirrorless camera(s). It will be a good year for Canon mirrorless camera fans.

Patent Publication No. 2016-85259 (Google translated)

  • Published 2016.5.19
  • A wish day 2014.10.23
  • Zoom ratio 1.79
  • Focus distance 9.27 13.32 16.58
  • F-number 3.60 4.38 5.11
  • AOV 51.83 45.17 38.94
  • Like high 11.79 13.40 13.40
  • Overall length of the lens 85.22 79.65 81.94
  • BF 14.99 16.82 15.41

Canon Patent - EF-M 15-50mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens


Canon EF-M mirrorless lens lineup

I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Last month, I have reported on Canon's latest plans with their mirrorless camera line. Now, Egami has uncovered another new patent for an additional EF-M 15-50mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens design. It may be announced before the year is up, perhaps together with the new mirrorless camera(s).

Patent Publication No. 2016-75742 (Google translated)

  • Published 2016.5.12
  • Filing date 2014.10.3
  • Zoom ratio 2.94
  • Focal length 16.00 27.43 47.04
  • F-number 3.62 4.50 5.82
  • Half angle of view (degrees) 37.55 26.47 16.19
  • Image height 12.30 13.66 13.66
  • Overall length of the lens 78.86 74.05 77.88
  • BF 20.48 27.14 37.06

Monday, May 23, 2016

Canon Patent - EF 28-560mm f/2.8-5.6 Lens


Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS Lens

I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Getting back to my readers on photography news, Egami has uncovered a new Canon patent for another super zoom lens, the EF 28-560mm f/2.8-5.6. I have reported earlier about Canon's plan on releasing the EF 200-600mm lens some time in 2017. This new glass will be a nice addition or replacement to the current EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS super zoom, which is one of my favorite glass for wildlife photography. If Canon does decided to release this lens, it will be rather large and heavy because the current EF 28-300mm glass already weighs almost 3.7 pounds. You can see my equipment bag and see my works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Patent Publication No. 2016-80973 (Google Translated)

  • Published 2016.5.16
  • Filing date 2014.10.21
  • Zoom ratio 18.78
  • Focal length 28.80 139.49 540.91
  • F-number 2.88 4.77 5.88
  • Half angle of view (degrees) 36.91 8.82 2.29
  • Image height 21.64
  • The total lens length 298.13 341.13 398.13
  • BF 44.99 76.94 116.58

Canon EF 70-30mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Lens Coming Soon




I have just returned from my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highlands Photo Tour testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera in hot, steamy jungles and cold, two miles plus high, Andean mountains. Overall, I am quite impressed by the new body but now I have to take some time to get back to the daily routine, process the photos and get ready for my next trip to again test the camera in a whole new part of the world and environment.

Just a quick note to let my readers know Canon is ready to replace its non 'L' EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens with the Series II some time in August. It will be after the announcement of the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III but before the Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany in September. I expect the price of the lens will be slightly higher than the current list price but packs with much better technology and optics. The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II are two of my favorite 'L' lens. You can see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Canon EOS-5D Mark IV / EOS-1D X Mark II Cameras Field Testing


Canon EOS-5D Mark IV camera

Almost heaven - Machu Picchu with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera
I am still in Peru but wrapping up my Upper Amazon/Peruvian Highland photo tour field testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera. The newest EOS-1D works very well, from the steamy Amazonian jungles to the miles high Andes. Heading home soon but more global field tests coming up. Stay tuned and keep checking back for the latest comments and photos.

Just a quick note to let my readers know the highly anticipated Canon EOS-5D Mark IV is out for field testing with selected photographers who have signed NDAs (non disclosure agreements) with Canon. My sources informed me the video capabilities of the Mark IV may exceed the EOS-1D X Mark II slightly (not a surprise) since the latter is designed specially for sports and wildlife photography

It is rumored to have the DIGIC 7 processor, which is quite possible. Canon has traditionally put their newest processor into lower end models first. DIGIC 6 and 7 processors have both been launched with PowerShot cameras, with the latter appearing in the G7X II recently.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wildlife Photography - Upper Amazon Photo Tour, Day 9 - 17


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II full frame camera
Still on my Upper Amazon Photo Tour in Peru, testing the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera. The weather is very hot, extremely humid, rainy, damp and muggy. Wildlife sightings is only marginal. The Mark II is performing quite well.

I have left the Amazon basin and headed up the Peruvian highlands. Came across Hummingbirds at about 12,000 feet. It was an amazing sight. Will fit in some travel photography as well to test landscape images on the new body. Heading to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. I brought the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens. Little time to keep up with photography news but want to let my readers know the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III will be announced next month, with shipping commencing July, 2016. In addition, the EOS-5D Mark IV is out on field testing and should be announced before Photokina in September.

This new lens will come with the latest Canon optics technology and exceeds the performance of the Series II, which is currently my favorite wide angle zoom glass in the EF lens lineup.

Little time to go through the photos. Below are a few I have processed on the laptop. I have another full year of wildlife photography tours planned for 2017. Leaving for my first trip of 2017 to East Africa for a rendezvous with the Big Five in their early summer. You can follow my travels on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, see my equipment bagupcoming wildlife photo tours and works on MichaelDanielHo.com


Andean Emerald Hummingbird

Pink Dolphin in the Upper Amazon River

Blue & Yellow Macaws over the Amazon

Cut Throat Photography - Red-bellied Piranha

Ringed-Kingfisher crossing the Amazon

What, me worry? Owl Monkeys in Amazonian Jungle

Two-toed Sloth dangling on two toes

Diving bombing Chestnut-eared Aracari

A young Guanaco is called Chulengo

Red-bellied Macaws in the Amazon basin

Almost heaven - Machu Picchu

Green Violetear Hummingbird feeding on nectar at 12,000 feet

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

First Impression of Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera

Canon announced the EOS-1D X Mark II camera on February 1. Mine came yesterday but I have little time to get used to it since my photo shoot to the Amazon is just round the corner and there is so much to do to get ready for my trip.

My readers know I have picked the EOS-1D X as the best DSLR for sports and wildlife photography four years in a row. I expect the Mark II to do even better. As you can see, the two cameras are remarkably similar in appearance. The Mark II is slightly taller, in order to accommodate the GPS unit on top. Those who are accustomed to the EOS-1D X, EOS-1D Mark III and IV will feel right at home. The ergonomics are practically identical. The feature I like a lot is the added Start/Stop video button on the back of the camera.

Click here to see the major differences between Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5. I will write a comprehensive review after testing it on a few upcoming wildlife photo tours. You can see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com

There are a number of features on the new camera I want to give a vigorous field test on, under the low light conditions of the Amazonian jungle :

  • AF sensitivity down to EV -3
  • Dual Pixel CMOS enables continuous AF when shooting stills and 4K videos 
  • 14-16 fps burst rate capable of handling 170 full resolution RAW files 
  • DIGIC 6 powered dedicated metering system
  • Expanded ISO range and built-in AD converter. Anything >6400 is too noisy anyway
  • AF system with 61 points, 41 cross-type, 5 dual-type plus all AF points usable @ f/8


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and EOS-1D X cameras


Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (Left) and EOS-1D X cameras

Monday, May 2, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Delivery Beginning






Although the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II has started limited, around the world delivery to Canon Ambassadors and people who were involved in the pre-production camera tests, the mass shipment to the public is just commencing. Those who have placed their pre-order just after the announcement will be getting their cameras first. I will be getting mine tomorrow.

There is an overwhelming demand for this body and I do not expect Canon to catch up on their orders till a few months from now. I will be taking the EOS-1D X Mark II on an Amazon wildlife photo shoot field test in a few days. My readers know I have picked the EOS-1D X as the best DSLR for sports and wildlife photography. I expect the Mark II to do even better and will write a review after returning from a few of my wildlife tours the next few months.

You can see my equipment bag and works on MichaelDanielHo.com

Canon Patent - Cinema EOS CN-E 30-160mm f/2.8 LS Lens




Egami has uncovered another new Canon patent for a Cinema EOS CN-E 30-160mm f/2.8 LS lens, made especially for Super 35 sensors.

Description of the patent literature

  • Patent Publication No. 2015-230449
  • Published 2015.12.21
  • Filing date 2014.6.6
  • Zoom ratio 2.86
  • Focal length 70.00 118.30 200.00
  • F-number 2.80 2.80 2.80
  • Half angle (in degrees) 12.52 7.49 4.45
  • Image height 15.55 15.55 15.55
  • Overall length of the lens 277.01 277.01 277.01
  • BF 44.72 44.72 44.72