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Friday, August 31, 2012

Canon EOS C100 detailed analysis

Canon Cinema EOS C100 video camera

The recently announced Canon EOS C100 entry level, professional video camera has created a lot of buzz and excitement. The expected price will be $8,000 and delivery is for November 2012. Canon has produced a detailed webpage explaining the camera's key features, specifications and technologies. Click on the Canon Link here to read about this new product.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Canon Europe offers two year warranty on Professional EOS cameras

Canon Europe offers two-year warranties for EOS pro camera bodies.

Canon is reinforcing its commitment to high levels of service with the announcement of an additional one-year warranty for its EOS-1D X, EOS-1D C, EOS C100, EOS C300, EOS C300 PL, EOS C500 and EOS C500 PL camera bodies, providing photographers and filmmakers with two years of warranty coverage in total, free of charge.

The offer consists of a one-year extension on top of the one-year Standard European Warranty System (EWS), under identical terms and conditions, for a total warranty period of two years from the date of purchase (a proof of purchase and the one-year Standard European Warranty System will be required).

The two-year warranty is valid on products originally distributed by Canon within the EU countries plus Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. To be able to claim the additional year of warranty you must have purchased the product in one of these countries.

For full details and terms and conditions, you can download the Warranty Leaflet

Canon announces new EF Cinema Zoom and Prime lenses

Canon CN-E 30-105mm Cinema Zoom lens

Canon 14mm and 135mm Cinema Prime lenses

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 29, 2012 – As the production of motion pictures, episodic television shows, commercials, documentaries, and other program content increasingly transitions to digital, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, continues to provide innovative Cinema EOS products designed to enable the most discerning filmmakers and producers to capture their unique creative visions.

The latest of these Canon products, two new compact and lightweight cinema zoom lenses available in both EF- and PL-mount versions, were first announced at NAB 2012 and have now been officially added to the Canon Cinema EOS product line. Designated as the CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L S/SP wide-angle cinema zoom lens and the CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L S/SP telephoto cinema zoom lens, both are engineered to deliver exceptional optical performance for the latest large-format single-sensor 4K and 2K digital cinematography cameras. Both lenses feature a compact, lightweight design to facilitate handheld and SteadicamTM shooting while also covering a wide range of focal lengths.

Further contributing to the evolution of the motion picture industry, Canon has also announced the development of two new cinema prime lenses, the 14mm T3.1 cinema prime lens and 135mm T2.2 cinema prime lens, adding to the Cinema EOS lineup consisted of 11 EF Cinema Lenses.

Both the 14mm T3.1 and 135mm T2.2 cinema prime lenses will be engineered for exceptional optical performance for Canon's latest large-format single-sensor 4K and 2K digital cinematography cameras. As part of the Cinema EOS System, the lenses will be compatible with standard sensor sizes including Super 35mm, the standard format in the motion picture industry, as well as HD-compatible EOS Digital SLR cameras using 35mm full frame, APS-H and APS-C image sensors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Canon announces EOS C100 and C500 Professional Video cameras

Canon EOS C100 Video camera

Canon EOS C500 professional video camera

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, continues its commitment to the advancement of tools for visual expression and expand its contribution to cinematic culture with the introduction of the new EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera and the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera.

The C500 will take its place as the flagship camera model in Canon's Cinema EOS System while the C100 provides another option for beginning filmmakers working on a budget. The C500 is Canon's high-end professional 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) cinema camera capable of originating uncompressed RAW output for external recording to meet the demands of premium cinematic productions and other top-quality production markets.

The C100 digital video camera is a compact, affordable entry-level model delivering full 1920x1080 HD video and integrating the popular AVCHD codec for universal compatibility with laptop and desktop editing systems. The C500 will be available in both EF- and PL-mount versions; while the C100 will be offered in EF mount only and will be compatible with the more than 70 zoom and prime lenses in Canon's EF, EF-S and EF Cinema lens lineups.

All products in the Canon Cinema EOS line are engineered to provide exceptional image creation capabilities for professionals in the motion picture, television, and other diverse high-resolution digital production industries.

Pricing and Availability

The Canon EOS C500 and C500 PL 4K Digital Cinema Cameras are scheduled to be available in October for an estimated list price of $30,000. The Canon EOS C100 Digital Video Camera is scheduled to be available in November 2012 for an estimated list price of $7,999.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Killer Whales

Orca, also known as Killer Whale, is the largest member of the dolphin family and is a favorite animal for whale watching groups all around the world. The Killer Whale’s strikingly marked black and white body is unmistakable, being black on the upperparts, sometimes with a light grey ‘saddle patch’ behind the dorsal fin, and white on the underparts, lower jaw and undersides of the tail. White lobes extend up the sides of the body behind the dorsal fin, and there is a white, oval patch behind each eye. In newborn Killer Whales, the white areas of the body have an orange hue.

Both the male and female Killer Whales have a broad, rounded head and snout, an enlarged forehead, large, paddle-shaped pectoral fins and a large dorsal fin. However, males grow larger than females, and on reaching maturity become stockier and develop disproportionately larger fins, with adult males easily recognized by the tall, erect dorsal fin, which is the largest of any cetacean, growing to an impressive 6 feet in height. The female Orca, by contrast, has a more backward-curving dorsal fin , which grows to about 3 feet in height. An Orca’s dorsal fin and saddle patch are unique to each individual.

A number of different forms of Killer Whale have been identified, which specialize in different types of prey, differ in appearance, behavior and habitat use, do not associate with each other and are not known to interbreed. Studies have also revealed genetic differences between the different forms, and the Orca may therefore be split into a number of different subspecies or even distinct species in the near future.

Male Killer whales reach sexual maturity at around 15 years, but do not become physically mature until about 21, while females reach sexual maturity in their early teens. Breeding can occur at any time of year, although in the northern hemisphere births usually peak between Autumn and Spring. The female Orca gestation period is around 15 to 18 months and a single calf is born after that. The calf is usually weaned after a couple of years. Their life span may reach up to 90 years, and a female Orca generally produces a calf once every few years, up to the age of about 40. After that, the female ceases to reproduce, but may instead take on a role as a ‘grandmother’, passing on important experience to younger members of the pod.

The Orca is a very sociable animal. It communicates by using a variety of screams, clicks and whistles, as well as through physical behaviors such as breaching, tail slapping and spyhopping. They use a form of sonar to detect their prey and find their way around dark, murky waters. Click-like sounds are also used for echolocation. An Orca pod can consist of up to 40 or 50 individuals, although larger numbers may gather when several groups temporarily join together.

Killer Whales have a complex group structure. In a pod of ‘resident’ Orcas, the basic social unit is a matriline, consisting of a mature female, her adult offspring, and her daughters’ offspring, with individuals in this group having very strong bonds and staying in the group for life, although they mate outside of it. Groups of related matrilines which are frequently seen together and share a unique call repertoire are known as a pod, while above this are ‘clans’, which include a number of pods with similar vocal ‘dialects’. The social organization of ‘transient’ Orcas is less well known; the basic social unit is still a matriline, but offspring may disperse from the group they were born into, and so groups tend to be smaller and more dynamic than in resident Orcas.

Visit my website to see many more Orca photos and other wildlife from around the world and read my article on whale photography tips.

Canon EOS-1D X Firmware 1.0.6

Firmware Version 1.0.6 incorporates the following fixes.

  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF Microadjustment cannot be correctly carried out.
  • Fixes a phenomenon such that when using the camera with combinations of certain lens (EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II and EF 200mm f/2 IS) and Series III extenders, the images captured become back-focused.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, when the camera is powered on in very dark environments (including instances when the lens cap or the body cap is attached), Error 80 appears on the camera.
  • Fixes the following phenomenon: if two CF cards are inserted into the camera and the “Standard” or “Auto switch card” settings is selected for the recording method for [Record func+card/folder sel.], and then one of the CF cards is removed and then reinserted into the card slot, the card selected for recording and playing back images may be switched to the other CF Card.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF microadjustment value is not correctly displayed in the EXIF information of the images captured.
  • Displays a “O” or “X” result to indicate whether images have been successfully transferred through the FTP protocol when using the FTP protocol when using the WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter.   

Click here to download Firmware 1.0.6  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X vs. Nikon D4 comparison

Found this YouTube video on the Canon EOS-1D X vs. Nikon D4 comparison. It is kind of a tongue-and-cheek short clip but I thought it is fun to inject some levity on a Monday morning. Click here to view the video.  You can read my review on the EOS-1D X here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Canon Inc. Group Executive discussing the EOS system

A Canon Inc. delegation from Japan including Ken-ichi Shimbori (Advisory Director, Group Executive, Photo Products Group) and Kazuyuki Suzuki (General Manager, Lens Products Marketing Management Division, Lens Products Group) visited Europe recently – Canon Professional Network, Editor-in-Chief Steve Fairclough met up with them to talk about the current EOS System. You can read about the interview by clicking here.

I am happy Canon is taking a lot of suggestions and comments from professional photographers to heart because as good as the EOS-1D X camera is (so far), there are plenty of room for improvement. Take a look at my review of the camera here.

Canon EOS-1D C camera

Canon announced the EOS-1D C cinema camera a few months ago. This camera is the first Canon hybrid DSLR to offer onboard 4K motion imaging and Full HD motion imaging on CF cards, in a rugged, ultra-compact form factor. Coupled with Canon's compact EF-mount lenses, the EOS-1D C facilitates 4K image origination in the tightest and most challenging environments, opening up fresh cinematic opportunities along the way.

Features & Specs of Canon EOS-1D C :

  • 24 frames per second to 60p at Full HD
  • 18MP full-frame sensor
  • HD recording
  • Aspect ratio of 16:9
  • Real time audio monitoring
  • 8-bit 4:2:2 Motion JPEG 4K
  • HDMI port facility
  • Dual CF slots
  • ISO sensitivity of 25,600

Canon has been very aggressively courting the motion picture industry and catering to the needs of movie and video producers and cameramen. They have even opened up a Canon Professional Service repair facility next door to the historic Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood. I understand there are pre-production models of the EOS-1D C out there for a few selected producers and cameramen to try their hands on this state-of-the-art equipment.  The expected delivery date should be late 2012 to early 2013 with a list price of $15,000.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Canon USA Rebates ending September 1, 2012

Canon EF series of lenses

The Canon USA rebates are ending September 1, 2012 unless extended. There is still about one week left to get that piece of gear you want. The Summer Rebate program are on many of their equipment, including Prime, Zoom, Macro and Tilt-shift lenses, Speedlites and Teleconverters. You can get a complete list of rebate equipment from this Canon webpage.

If you want to save even more money, consider purchasing factory refurbished equipment. Take a look at my Blog post here. Either way, now is a good time to take advantage of some savings and expect a few more interesting equipment announcements to come before the end of the year. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Canon announces the production of 80 million EF lenses

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 21, 2012 – Canon Inc. today announced the achievement of a new EF lens-manufacturing milestone with the production of the company’s 80-millionth EF lens on August 3, 2012. Production of EF lenses surpassed the 10-million mark in 1995, doubling to 20 million units in 2001. After reaching the 30 million unit milestone in 2006, Canon celebrated the production of its 40-millionth lens in 2008. Owing to the rapid spread of the EOS Digital series of SLR cameras, production for Canon’s EF lenses then gained momentum to reach the 50 million unit milestone in 2009, followed by the 60 million mark in January 2011 and the 70 million mark in October of the same year. Now, just over nine months later, the EF lens series has reached the 80 million mark on August 3, 2012, adding a distinguished achievement to the 25th anniversary of the launch of Canon’s EOS system.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Firmware update

Canon USA has announced a Firmware update for the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. Click here to get the download.

Canon announces the PowerShot SX160 IS and SX500 IS cameras

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., August 21, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced two new additions to the Canon PowerShot digital camera lineup designed for the on-the-go photographer looking for large extended zoom in compact easy-to-use cameras. For all those times when the action is just out of reach, Canon offers two new super-zoom solutions, the new PowerShot SX500 IS and PowerShot SX160 IS digital cameras featuring an impressive 30x and 16x optical zoom, respectively. Both cameras are equipped with Canon’s latest advancements in auto focus (AF) technology enhancing AF speeds over previous SX-series cameras to capture the excitement in brilliant clarity and quality. The extremely responsive high-speed AF lets you capture great shots as they happen, with significantly reduced lag time. With incredible zoom capabilities, fast responsive AF, stunning resolution and easy-to-use features, both cameras are stylish and compact to take along for any occasion to help you get a good shot from the back of a school theatre or the sidelines of a game.

Borrowing from Canon’s optics expertise, these new models include long-reaching zoom and Canon’s Intelligent Image Stabilization technology which analyzes the scene being shot and compensates for camera movement for steady images and video even while panning or walking. In addition to the great optical features, both of these new cameras are also equipped with Canon’s Smart AUTO mode – which will automatically apply optimum image settings for 32 different shooting scenarios. In this mode, the camera automatically identifies the ideal setting, making high-quality images easy for anyone to capture.

“In photography, there is no substitution for great optical zoom and while our customers may not always be close to the action, these cameras are designed to help bring their photos and videos in close, with great image resolution and quality as if they were standing right there,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.

PowerShot SX500 IS

With a 24mm wide angle lens and an incredible 30x optical zoom (up to 720mm) packed into a compact design, the PowerShot SX500 IS enables users to pull subjects in close and capture stunning, high-quality images with a 16.0 megapixel sensor and powerful DIGIC 4 image processer. With such incredible zoom capabilities, the camera is also equipped with Canon’s Intelligent IS system for rock-steady images and HD video even at full-telephoto zoom. A 3.0-inch LCD screen makes operation easy and intuitive, and displays the scene with brilliant clarity. In addition, the camera is equipped with a Zoom Framing Assist feature – a Canon technology that makes zooming-in and framing subjects quick and effortless. This feature is a tremendous benefit for those times when you lose sight of your subject after zooming in. By simply pressing the Zoom Framing Assist button located on the lower front left of the camera, the lens will quickly zoom out to help you re-locate and frame your subject. A frame box appears on the LCD as a guide to place your subject in and releasing the button quickly brings the camera back to the initial “zoomed-in” range. The lens retraction and extension is faster using the Zoom Framing Assist button than the zoom lever, and allows the photographer to keep the camera more stable for the shot, this is particularly helpful for those trying to zoom in and shoot pictures of animals or moving subjects.

PowerShot SX160 IS

With its compact design and powerful 16x optical zoom, the PowerShot SX160 IS is a versatile camera with a dynamic optical zoom range from 28mm wide up to 448mm, perfect for everyday use. This model also features a 16.0-megapixel sensor, DIGIC 4 image processor and Canon’s Intelligent IS system – providing ultimate functionality in a compact, easy-to-carry design. The camera is always ready to shoot video with its dedicated movie button to start and stop recording HD video instantly and uses the full range of optical zoom when recording, without sacrificing HD resolution. The camera’s large 3.0-inch LCD provides a beautiful display when shooing and recording video or simply scrolling through menu options. Powered by AA batteries, the PowerShot SX160 IS is ideal for easy and convenient shooting on-the-go even when charging a battery may not be an option. The PowerShot SX160 IS digital camera will be available in red or black.

Both the new PowerShot SX500 IS and PowerShot SX160 IS digital cameras are expected to be available in September 2012 for an estimated retail price of $329.99, and $229.99, respectively.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Canon EOS-1D MK IV vs. EOS 7D camera comparison

Often, I have been asked by photo enthusiasts, whether the Canon 1D MK IV or the 7D is a better camera and which body do I prefer. This is not an easy question to answer. First, a little background would be in order. I have been using Canon equipment for about 25 years. I started out with the Canon 10 and the EOS-1 in 1989.  When Canon first introduced their D30 digital camera in 2000, I bite the bullet and bought the body. It was SO expensive but I wanted to experiment with the new technology.  Since then I have used every DSLR Canon has introduced, leading up to the 1D MK IV and 7D bodies, which I currently own.

First, let us get the major specs out of the way. The 1D MK IV has a 45-point AF system including 39 cross-type points, a new AI Servo II AF focus tracking system with improved algorithm combined with 10 fps continuous shooting. It has an APS-H sized 16.1 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors, an ISO range of 100 - 12800 (up to 102400 in H3 mode).

The 7D has an APS-C size 18 megapixel CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors, with ISO range from 100 - 12800 and speeds of up to 8 fps. It comes with the new, all cross-type 19-point AF system with improved AI Servo II AF subject tracking and user-selectable AF area selection modes. It also has an Intelligent Viewfinder, an entirely new technology, provides approximately 100% coverage and displays user-selected AF modes as well as a spot metering circle and on demand grid lines.

Both set of specs look impressive but how do they perform in real world environment? I add the Canon BG-E7 grip to the 7D to give it a 1D like feel and have taken both cameras out on many photo shoots under harsh environments. A few things stand out in my mind concerning the EOS 1D Mk IV :

#1 - MK IV beats the 7D hands down under harsh weather conditions because of its all weather sealing. I was soaked from head to toe inside a zodiac in the Sea of Cortez, in rough seas, a few years ago but the 1D MK IV with the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II kept working without any fuss.

#2 - The MK IV's superior AF focusing and lock gives it the advantage, especially under poor lighting and focusing on moving objects.  This can make the difference between getting the shot or a better shot vs. not getting it at all.

#3 -  MK IV's high ISO nosie reduction is superior to the 7D, although I would not go over 3,200 and 2,000 respectively for either camera when photographing moving subjects. Can't wait for my 1D-X to arrive so I can put it through more real world tests to confirm Canon's claims for the new camera. This will be the subject of another blog once I get the camera in June, hopefully.

The APS-C sensor does have an advantage over the APS-H because of its additional reach. Normally I avoid using extenders unless it is absolutely necessary. This is why I reach for the 7D first when the subject is far away and I cannot get any closer.

Now comes the other specs. Although the 1D MK IV is no longer produced, it was listed for $5,000 while the 7D is listed as $1,700. This means the first camera costs almost 3 times more than the second one, does it take a photo 3 times better?  The answer is of course, no, but this is the wrong way to compare two different bodies. First, there are so many factors that enter into the equation to capture a good photo. Both cameras can produce excellent images but in my opinion, the 7D is the best value in a cropped-frame DSLR on the market today and is an easy choice for those with limited money to spend. If you photograph a lot of wildlife and can afford it, I would get both cameras because combined with the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II and 400mm DO lenses plus extenders, you can get an almost infinite number of focal lengths, ranging from about 90mm to over 1,000mm, while handholding the package for maximum mobility. Visit my Equipment page to see how I deploy these gear on photo shoots.

Above are 4 photos taken with both cameras.  Can you identify which photo was taken by which body?  Write me a comment and see how you do?  Visit my website to see many more wildlife photos taken by different Canon equipment and follow my travels on Facebook 


A footnote to this post. I have now received my EOS-1D X camera and have put it through a vigorous photo shoot in Alaska and Canada. Take a look at my review of the camera here. I have a feeling the 1D X will become one of my favorite cameras along side the EOS-1V, EOS-1D MK IV and the EOS 7D.

Canon EOS 7D MK II camera coming soon?

Canon EOS-7D MK II camera ?

Please read the latest post on the Canon EOS-7D Mk II as well

The recently concluded 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London was an important testing ground for pre-production Canon equipment. Among one of the cameras being tested was a megapixel model, perhaps with a sensor of around 40 MP. Canon, like Toyota, are leaders in their respective industry but they are conservative companies. On the other hand, Nikon, like Nissan are smaller and more nimble. They are willing to take more 'risk' and introduce new products ahead of their larger competitors.

The Nikon D800 with its 36 MP sensor will force Canon to introduce their own megapixel model soon. Personally, I think the megapixel arms race is getting ridiculous but the marketing department keep on demanding those outrageous MP numbers to put on their sales literature. Canon is a much larger company than Nikon and with a bigger R&D budget. They have technologies in their labs and testing grounds just waiting to be released. It seems to me, for the time being, Canon is happy to have the EOS-1D X lead the pack as their premier DSLR. The EOS-5D will be the flagship for the full frame, professional / semi-professional market. The EOS-7D will be the flagship of its APS-C line of cameras and that leaves room for an 'entry level' megapixel camera to compete with the Nikon D800.  I expect the price to be aggressive, perhaps in the low to mid $2,000 and it may be introduced before or after the Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany in September.

Canon recently released the Firmware 2.0 update to their highly successful EOS-7D camera. Many people think this means the MK II model will not come out for a while. I disagree with that assessment. If you look at the new features of Firmware 2.0, nothing was done to improve the sensor, processor, AF and ISO noise reduction. The EOS 7D is three years old and is the only 'flagship' camera in production still using the old Digic 4 processor. I expect the MK II version to have a new processor and a sensor in the 20 MP range. More robust AF system patterned after the EOS-5D MK III, improved HD video capabilities and weather sealing and most important of all, improved high ISO performance. The mediocre high ISO performance of the current 7D is its Achilles' heel and will be addressed by the next version.  

I expect either the megapixel camera or the EOS-7D MK II to be announced either before or after the Photokina Show with delivery expected early 2013. The price of the EOS 7D MK II should be around $2,000. Recently, I took the EOS-1D X on a grueling wildlife photo shoot to Alaska and Canada.  The camera came through with flying colors but I have found room for improvement in their menu setup and made it known to Canon USA. Visit my  to see the photos and read my review of the camera.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS zoom lens

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens test trials in Africa

Now that the London 2012 Olympics is behind us, many sports photographers are going through their photos and chatting about the pre-production gear and equipment they used during the games. One of the most talked about lens is the soon-to-be-released, Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS + 1.4X extender.

I have talked to my friend who was part of the press pool covering the Olympics. Unfortunately, he was not able to borrow a copy of the lens from Canon but he managed to get his hands on one from his fellow photographer during one of the events. His impression is if you are a big enough guy to handhold the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II right now, you'll have no problem with the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS. The lens is surprisingly agile and simple to use and the instant switch over to the 1.4X extender is a big hit. However, for the average sized guy, a monopod is recommended for a good support if one is going on a half or full day photo shoot. The size and weight should be similar to the new EF 500mm f/4L II lens, perhaps a little bit heavier and I expect the price to be about the same as well, perhaps between $10,000 - $11,000.

Canon is expected to replace a few of their venerable EF white lenses this year now that they have successfully launched and produced in sufficient numbers the Series II, EF 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm lenses. The EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens is another one of my favorite lenses waiting to be officially released.  There is also a possibility the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L IS will be announced before or after the Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany, later on in September, 2012. This will be an expensive year for me to upgrade my equipment and the EOS-1D X is just the beginning. Take a look at my review of the camera here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X camera available at

EOS-1D X with the EF 24-105mm f/4 lens

It seems the availability of the Canon EOS-1D X camera is picking up with beginning to fill their back orders. Thankfully, I have received my camera a few weeks ago and have put it through a thorough wildlife photo shoot in Alaska and Canada.  It is a very sophisticated piece of equipment and I like it so far but with some suggestions and criticism.

Canon is a progressive company and values their users' feedback and I have made my experience known to them. If enough users let Canon know what their feelings are towards the new camera, they will incorporate some of the improvements in the MK II version.

You can read my review on the camera and visit my website to see wildlife pics taken with the EOS-1D X on my photo shoot and follow my travels on Facebook 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canon Rebel T4i DSLR camera limited recall

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Announces Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR Recall
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall on the Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR.

This is once again regarding the rubber grip - and is a proactive move by Canon:

"Incidents/Injuries: Canon U.S.A., Inc. has received one report of a consumer who developed a minor rash after contact with a surface where the camera had been."

Here is the full CPSC release:


August 14, 2012

Release #12-246
Firm's Recall Hotline: (855) 902-3277
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

Canon Recalls for Repair EOS Rebel T4i Digital Cameras Due to Risk of Allergic Reaction

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Cameras

Units: About 68,200

Importer: Canon U.S.A., Inc., of Lake Success, N.Y.

Hazard: A chemical used in the camera's rubber grips can result in a reaction that changes the grips from black to white and poses a risk of skin irritation to the consumer.

Incidents/Injuries: Canon U.S.A., Inc. has received one report of a consumer who developed a minor rash after contact with a surface where the camera had been.

Description: This recall involves EOS Rebel T4i digital SLR cameras with a 12-digit serial number that contain a second digit that is a "3" or "4" and a sixth digit that is a "1." Serial numbers are printed on the bottom of the camera. The Canon logo and the model name are printed on the front of the camera.

Sold at: B&H Photo, Best Buy and camera and mass merchandise stores nationwide and and other online retailers between June 2012 and July 2012 for between $850 and $1,200.

Manufactured in: Japan

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cameras and contact Canon U.S.A. to have replacement rubber grips installed free of charge.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact the firm toll-free at (855) 902-3277 between 8 a.m. to midnight ET Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Saturday, or visit the firm's website at

Canon EOS-7D tour after the Firmware 2.0 upgrade

Canon CPN Europe has put out an interesting educational and technical article on the EOS-7D camera after applying the Firmware 2.0 upgrade. As my readers know, in my opinion, the 7D is the best value in DSLR today. It is by no means the best DSLR camera but its performance and functionality are hard to beat when price is taken into consideration.

Click here to read the Canon article and visit my website to see wildlife photos taken with the EOS-7D camera.

Canon Powershot SX160 IS and SX500 IS

Canon PowerShot SX160 IS

Canon PowerShot SX500 IS

Canon is expected is to announce two new cameras under their PowerShot series. They are the PowerShot SX160 and SX500. Both come with IS and optical super zoom of 16X and 30X respectively. Availability will be soon after the official introduction.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Canon DSLR camera shutter actuation count software

Canon EOS-5D MK III shutter mechanism

All digital cameras have shutters with limited lives. In the case of Canon DSLR cameras, the consumer models, like the EOS Rebel T4i, generally has about 100,000 cycles and the professional models, like the EOS-1D X is rated for 400,000 cycles. That means after the number of actuations are close to, or have reached the rated number of cycles, there is a good chance the shutter will fail and need replacement. This is important to know especially for those who want to buy a used camera. But Canon does not provide an actuation count on their cameras, except on their latest, top of the line, EOS-1D X.

Fortunately, there are some free utilities that can find the actuation counts and make life a little easy for those who want to know more about their cameras. Click on this Link to read an interesting article on the subject and download the free software. Also read my more recent post on how to obtain accurate actuation counts on your latest Canon cameras.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Canon USA August Rebates

Canon USA has announced their Summer Rebate program on many of their equipment, including Prime, Zoom, Macro and Tilt-shift lenses, Speedlites and Teleconverters. Unfortunately, the Canon EOS-1D X camera is not part of the program. Visit your favorite camera store's website to see their product availability.

However, I have finally received my EOS-1D X camera and have put it through a rigorous photo shoot to test their claims. My initial impression is favorable but with some criticism. Click on the Link to read the article and review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens - Product Advisory

From Canon USA :

To Users of the EF40mm f/2.8 STM Interchangeable Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras. Thank you for using Canon products. It has been confirmed that the autofocusing function of the EF40mm f/2.8 STM lens, which was released in June 2012, may not operate correctly.

The details of this phenomenon are described below :

If pressure is applied to the lens barrel while the lens is mounted to the camera (pressure can be applied even while attaching the lens cap or while carrying the camera with the lens attached in a bag), the autofocusing function of the lens may stop working. This phenomenon does not occur during normal shooting. This phenomenon does not result in a malfunction of the lens.


When the above phenomenon occurs, detach and reattach the lens, or remove and reinsert the camera battery to restore the operations.

Market Support

The firmware to address this phenomenon will be available for download in late August, 2012. Once this firmware is ready, we will make an announcement on our Web site.

Customer Support

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X camera review

Double the Humpback, Double the Fun

Another Big Fish Story 
Killer Whale spyhopping in BC waters

Polar Bear sow with cubs

Great News! Canon has finally released a new software to address the concern of photographers like myself. I have downloaded the new Firmware 1.1.1 for the EOS-1D X camera and put it through a few tests. So far I am impressed. It does exactly what Canon claims it will do. Very happy Canon is listening to its customers and responding to their suggestions and 'complaints'. They have also included a detailed guide to the new software update to explain the enhancement further. You can view it here on Canon's website. Click here to download Firmware from the Canon website.


Ever since the introduction of the Canon EOS-1 series camera in 1989, I have made this body my main piece of equipment and have upgraded to almost every new model through the decades. I am not the type who craves the 'latest and greatest' gear but once in a while, a new camera introduction can fill a gap in my equipment lineup. So when the EOS-1D X was announced, it seems to be the camera I am looking for so I placed my order and anxiously waited for the delivery. It's finally here and I have put it through some real world, wildlife photo shoots in Alaska and Canada using the Lexar 1000X UDMA 7 memory cards to take full advantage of the 12-14 fps burst rate. My review will not have charts and graphs and this article will not cover all the camera's features, just the major new improvements, and assumes the reader is already familiar with the functionality of the current 1D cameras. It is intended to help those trying to decide whether to upgrade their present 1D bodies by sharing my impression of the new camera from the stand point of a wildlife and travel photographer out in the field. I will be using the 1D MK IV as a reference point. Below are the major features and functionalities of the new camera.

Canon EOS-1D X Features :
  • Full Frame 18-megapixel CMOS image sensor
  • New mechanical shutter rated up to 400,000 cycles thanks to carbon fiber blades and new drive motor
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ imaging processors
  • 2nd Gen EOS Integrated Cleaning System
  • Third DIGIC 4 processor for RGB Metering
  • 100,000 Pixel RGB metering sensor
  • Sensitivity settings from ISO 100 - 51,200; expansion available with Low (50), Hi 1 (102,400) and Hi 2 (204,800)
  • Advanced new 61-point High Density Reticular Phase Detection AF system with 21 cross-type focusing points in the center of the frame; 5 of which are diagonal cross-type sensors for smaller apertures
  • New intelligent EOS iTR AF Tracking and Recognition options
  • Burst shooting at 12fps with AF (JPEG and RAW), or up to 14fps with no AF (JPEG only)
  • Full 1080p HD video with new ALL-I and IPB compression format options
  • Automatic video file splitting when 4GB is reached; video keeps rolling, while new files is created
  • 3.2-inch wide LCD with 1,040,000 dots
  • Subject Recognition system (AF, Exposure, Auto Lighting Control, AUto Picture Style)
  • Optical Correction functions for peripheral illumination, Distortion correction, and CA correction
  • Enhanced intelligent OVF with 100% frame coverage, .76x magnification, 20mm eye-point, and expanded ISO indicator; now 5 digits
  • Built-in USB 3.0 and gigabit Ethernet ports
  • New WFT-E6 Wi-Fi unit (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • New GP-E1 GPS unit
  • Dual CF (Compact Flash) card slots
  • Li-ion battery pack

In line with previous EOS-1 series cameras, the 1D-X is designed for use in harsh environments. The camera is slightly taller, the egornomics is the same and retains the dust and drip-proof construction of the Mark IV, using a total of 76 seals around buttons and body joints to help keep water and dust out. When combined with Canon L-series EF lenses, the entire package is sealed and weather resistant. The Magnesium alloy body shell stands up to heavy-duty professional use. There is a new charger (LC-E4N) and more powerful battery (LP-E4N) but the LP-E4 battery of the MK IV and the new battery are forward and backward compatible but the chargers are not. The 1D-X has a rear LCD screen that is slightly larger and crisper than the MK IV and features a built-in RJ-45 connector for cabling directly to a LAN network. This is similar to the connector found on the Mark IV, but it is a Gigabit Ethernet port, allowing faster data transfer. The shutter durability is now rated at 400,000 cycles. There is an internal error log, which tracks all camera errors, including the number of shutter release cycles.

One of my primary concerns when I go on a photo shoot is weight and focal length. There is a direct correlation between the two. The longer the lens, the heavier the equipment. I am a wildlife and travel photographer and normally prefer to travel light, with 2 or 3 camera bodies - 1Ds MK III, 1D MK IV and 7D. With the 1D-X and 1D MK IV plus the Series III extenders, I can now get full and cropped frame shots with a focal length of 16-1000mm using the 400mm f/4L DO lens.  Together with the 16-35mm f/2.8L II and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II or the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS or the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lenses, most wildlife and travel shots can be tackled plus the entire professional package fits in my medium sized Tamrac bag and I can carry it all day without breaking my back. However, when the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 + 1.4X extender lens comes out later this year, I will have to carry the larger and heavier Tamrac Expedition 8X bag in order to accommodate the new lens.

After using so many Canon camera models, I am not enamored of technical and marketing hype. The first thing I wanted to test is Canon's claim that the 1D-X's increased processing power, combined with the improvements in sensor design, has permitted an increase in high ISO performance with a gain of two stops over the Mark IV in the normal range (ISO 100 to 51,200) before ISO expansion. And with the dual Digic 5+ processors, unlike the  Mark IV, setting High ISO noise reduction to ‘Strong' will not reduce the number of continuous shots that can be captured in a burst, up to 14fps and 10fps with ISO 32,000 or higher. For most action photographers, the realistic number is really 12 fps since the 14 fps requires the mirror lockup.
This is important because when I photograph speeding Hummingbirds and breaching Whales in poor light, shooting with the MK IV at ISO 3200+ and a f/2.8 lens produces images with unacceptable nosie level to me. If the 1D-X can shoot at high ISO settings without a fast lens and still produces photos with respectable noise level, then the upgrade will be worthwhile for me.

The second claim I want to verify is the newly designed 61 point AF system has the ability to detect extreme defocus and correct accordingly. With this increase in AF sensitivity, the 1D-X can now focus in even lower light levels than the Mark IV. Using a single central AF point with a f/2.8 lens, the 1D-X is able to focus in EV -2, equivalent to shooting under the light of the full moon. For easier menu navigation, all AF settings and Custom Functions on the 1D-X are now grouped into one menu tab, offering 6 different cases to choose from. I find some of the options 'redundant' and offer a difference without a distinction.

The new camera is a very complex piece of gear and I have not mastered it yet but I have made use of the ability to change from one set of settings to another at the push of a button. With wildlife you never quite know when the action is going to happen, so you may be shooting with a slow shutter speed when you suddenly need a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. By using the custom settings I can push one button and immediately switch to a different set of settings, with a fast shutter speed and higher ISO. It’s perfect for subjects that are static, but may start moving suddenly, and saves me having to look down at the camera to change settings.

My first impression of the 1D X's AF system is very good. The viewfinder is bright and AF is lighting fast even under very low light conditions. I tried to AF on many different situations and the camera locked on with little fuss. The high ISO performance is also quite impressive, much better than the MK IV. Noise at ISO 3200 is excellent, ISO 6400 and 12800 are very well under controlled. Even ISO 25600 is not too bad but I'll use ISO 51200 only in an emergency. The burst rate of 12 fps is simply music to my ears. One cannot over-emphasize the difference of 2 additional fps can make. I have gotten shots with the EOS-1D MK IV (10 fps) that I missed with the EOS-7D (8 fps). As with image quality, there is nothing like shooting with the latest EOS-1 camera equipped with the most advanced, full frame sensor.    

On the annoying side of things, all previous Canon cameras I have used, come with the blue - and + buttons to view multiple images during playback. With the 1D X, what used to take 2 steps on the MK IV to view multiple images (four) now requires 7 steps. If you want to jump from looking at 4 images to 9 images at one time, you don't even want to know how many steps are involved. If you are listening Canon, please bring back the blue - and + button on the EOS-1D X MK II. In addition, the EOS-1D X cannot AF beyond f/5.6 aperture.  This is the first EOS-1 professional camera that has this limitation. I sincerely hope Canon will find a way to remedy this in a future Firmware update.

I am still feeling my way through the EOS-1D X. As a general rule, I never use the Owner's manual with any new camera. Want to see how well a piece of equipment has been engineered and how intuitive it can be from the stand point of the user. This new camera will take me a little bit longer to get used to but I am rather impressed by it so far. I am not into shooting videos so I have no opinion on that part of the camera but judging from my 7D and 1D MK IV's video performance, it should be very good indeed. Will be going out on more photo shoots and posting more updates in the near future. Visit my website to see many more wildlife photos taken with the camera.

Just returned from an European Travel and Canadian Polar Bear Wildlife photo shoots with the EOS-1D X and wrote another review of the camera's amazing high ISO performance. Click here to see the newer post.

Canon EOS-7D Firmware 2.0 available for download

Canon USA has released the latest version 2.0 Firmware update for the EOS-7D camera. All the features and functions of the new software can be found by clicking Here

Download the Canon EOS-7D Firmware 2.0

Monday, August 6, 2012

Canon Medium Format and Big Megapixel cameras coming soon?

With the coming of the Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany next month, the talk of Canon introducing a medium format camera plus a big megapixel model to replace the EOS-1 Ds MK III is heating up again.

There is nothing new about this speculation, ever since Nikon has eclipsed Canon in the megapixel arms race with their D800 camera and Hasssebled introduced their H system cameras a while back. However, there are some formidable challenges to Canon in introducing a medium format camera. Their current EF line of lenses, which is their crown jewel, will not fit properly on a medium format sensor and any redesign may involve unacceptable compromises.  Most probably, a big megapixel camera will be announced just before the Photokina Show. With the advancement of sensor technology, a big megapixel sensor is of limited use, in my opinion, but Canon has to to cognizant of how sexy a BIG megapixel claim has on the general public when it comes to sales and marketing gimmickry. My guess is they will introduce the new camera under the banner of the EOS-5D body instead of the EOS-1D series and the sales price will be aggressive.

I have recently returned from my wildlife photo shoot in Alaska and Canada. Visit my website to see the latest photos taken with the new Canon EOS-1D X and EOS-1D MK IV cameras.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Canon USA announces new Firmware update for EF 300, 400, 500 and 600mm Series II lenses

Canon USA Announces EF 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm L IS II Lens Firmware Version 1.1.1

This just in from Canon USA:

To the Users of the EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM Interchangeable Lenses for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Thank you for using Canon products.

Canon has released a firmware update for EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm F2.8L IS II USM, EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lenses. This firmware update will be performed by Canon Service Centers. Please contact us using the contact information listed at the bottom of this page.

Firmware changes:

Firmware Version 1.1.1 incorporates the following enhancement:

1. Changes the control algorithm of the focus drive, and enhances the drive’s responsiveness for more precise focus and adjustments. In particular, the new firmware enhances the AI servo AF capability of the lenses to track objects that move irregularly in sports events, such as soccer or rugby.

Affected Products:

Firmware Version 1.1.1 is for lenses with Firmware Version 1.0.0. If the lens’ firmware is already Version 1.1.1, it is not necessary to update the firmware. The serial numbers (10 digits) of the lenses equipped with Firmware Version 1.0.0 are as follows:

EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM:

The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx, xx1xxxxxxx, xx2xxxxxxx, xx3xxxxxxx).

EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM:

The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx, xx1xxxxxxx, xx2xxxxxxx, xx3xxxxxxx).

EF500mm f/4L IS II USM

The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).

EF600mm f/4L IS II USM

The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).

Lenses with serial numbers other than those listed above are equipped with Firmware Version 1.1.1 or later.


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 EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF500mm f/4L IS II USM or EF600mm f/4L IS II USM. By registering, we will be able to notify you via email when future firmware updates become available.

Thank you,
Customer Support Operations
Canon U.S.A., Inc

Contact Information for Inquiries
Canon Customer Support Center
Phone: 1-800-OK-CANON 1-800-652-2666
TDD: 1-866-251-3752
For additional support options:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Alaskan / Canadian Photo Safari - Day Fifteen

Majestic Male Orca of the resident A36 pod

Twin Peaks

You forgot the chips, Dear 

Finally found the resident Orca pods in the Johnstone Strait.  This year, the Orca number is smaller for some inexplicable reason. The salmon run looks good, plenty of jumping fish but the Killer whales are not here in big numbers. And when we do come across them, they look lethargic and devoid of play.

I have been photographing two resident pods, the A11 and A36. The photo (Twin Peaks) are the two big male Orcas of the A36 pod. They are brothers and are about mid thirties in age. Their six foot dorsal fins have very unique patches of gray mixed into the black color. A11 has at least 3 females and 1 calf but the remainder of the pods are no where to be found. Heard from the other boat captains the transient Orcas did come into the BC waters but I have missed seeing them so far. Also came across the odd Humpbacks now and then. I am told the Humpbacks are making their presence known more often and that is a good sign of the richness of the seas here.

The Bald Eagles are present in small numbers but they do make themselves known by their white heads against the background of the green trees. This part of British Columbia has very similar landscape to SE Alaska with many small islands and mountains topped with verdant trees. Unfortunately, logging is much more active here than in SE Alaska and bare spots are seen in almost every island and it really spoils the otherwise superb scenery. Weather is getting to be very nice. Sunny mild days with blue and intermittent cloudy skies. Will be going out again to find more Orcas and wildlife.