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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bear Safari, Day 10

Dueling Canines

Happy Halloween. The only trick here is the cold. The treat is the Polar bears, as you can see from my postings. Visit my website to see more images from my toher photo shoots.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bear Safari, Day 9

The Monday Morning Blues

I feel like that after I come back from a long day of photo shoot. The weather is still very cold but if the wind dies down, it is 'survivable' for a guy like me who comes from sunny California. Visit my website to see more wildlife photos from my other safaris.

By the way, rumor has it there is a version of the Canon EF 24-70mm L lens out there that has a f/4 aperture with IS waiting to be announced some time in early 2013?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bear Safari, Day 7

It is VERY cold here but the action is getting better. The snow is falling and the ice is beginning to form and the Polar Bears are restless. Came across this mother with her one year old cubs. This is an unexpected surprise and it made my day.

Visit my website to see more wildlife photos from my other photo shoots.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bear Safari, Day 4

Roll Over Beethoven. Dig these Polar Bear moves

I barely slept a wink last night but the wildlife action was not bad today. Came across foxes, Acrtic hares and a few sub adult Polar bears. The weather was cold but the wind chill made it unbearable. I guess the temperature was about -20 Centigrade, -4 Fahrenheit. The wind was SO biting, I had a brain freeze. After a couple of minutes of this bone chilling wind, I had to turn my back and let my face unfreeze, but it hurts so good. Just beginning to look at the photos. Will post more later.

Visit my website to see many more wildlife images from my other wildlife photo shoots.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Canon USA press release for PhotoPlus Expo 2012

Canon USA to showcase 'What It Takes To Image' at the PhotoPlus Expo Show in New York City, October 25-27, 2012. You can read their press release here.

Canon EOS-5D MK III Firmware adds HDMI and AF @ f/8

Canon made the following announcement on the EOS-5D MK III camera. The camera will soon be able to AF @ f/8, just like the pro EOS-1 series, In my opinion, the EOS-5D MK III is already the best value in full framed DSLR camera on the market. This new Firmware will make it an even better value. They are giving the store away considering the Mk III can be bought for less than $3,000.

LAKE SUCCENEW FIRMWARE UPDATE FOR CANON EOS 5D MARK III DIGITAL SLR CAMERA PROVIDES SS, N.Y., October 23, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced a new firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera that significantly improves the camera’s performance and usability. In response to requests from professionals working in the fields of cinema and television production, the firmware update enables the use of uncompressed HDMI Output support, making possible more efficient video editing and monitoring procedures. Additionally, the upgrade supports the advanced needs of photographers through improved AF performance when capturing still images.

Uncompressed HDMI Output Support
When shooting video, HDMI Output makes possible the recording of high-definition uncompressed video data (YCbCr 4:2:2, 8 bit) from the EOS 5D Mark III to an external recorder via the camera’s HDMI terminal. This, in turn, facilitates the editing of video data with minimal image degradation for greater on-site workflow efficiency during motion picture and video productions. Additionally, video being captured can be displayed on an external monitor, enabling real-time, on-site monitoring of high-definition video during shooting.

Improved AF Functionality
Even when the EOS 5D Mark III is equipped with an extender and lens making possible a maximum aperture of f/8, the firmware update supports AF employing the camera’s central cross-type points (currently compatible with maximum apertures up to f/5.6). Accordingly, the update will allow users to take advantage of AF when shooting distant subjects, benefitting sports and nature photographers, particularly when using telephoto lenses.

The new firmware update will be available, at no charge, in April 2013 from the Canon U.S.A. website and can be downloaded by end users or through Canon Factory Service Centers.

There is a great sale on the EOS-5D MK III just before Christmas. Click here to see the latest deals.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A new Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS II ?

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS

The PhotoPlus Expo starts this week in New York City on October 24. Canon has been very tight-lipped on their announcement. Although it has been rumored Canon is waiting to announce a few more new lenses, like the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS + 1.4X, the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II and the EF 400mm f/5.6L IS, word is they are not too happy with recent leaks, like the purported EOS-3D camera in development with the megapixel sensor. There has been 'sightings' of experimental Canon megapixel cameras out in the field popping up in Asia and Europe. Some are rumored to have 50 MP sensors. We should see, at the very least, the announcement of the development of a super megapixel camera later this year or early 2013. The photographers Canon picked to test their equipment are bound by non-disclosure agreements. When they expire, we will get more rumors and leaks coming soon.

Also rumored is the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens may be in for a remake. The recent release of the Series II super telephoto lenses is a big hit, especially with the weight reduction. Canon may be trying to take advantage of this lighter weight technology and come out with a Series II model of their 800mm lens, currently the heavy weight champion, coming in at 10 pounds.

I am off to the Canadian tundra this morning on a Wildlife photo shoot. Bringing my EOS-1D X to test it out in very cold weather and try and photograph Polar bears and the Aurora Borealis. The camera is working out well for me, especially now that it has the newest Firmware 1.1.1 update. Canon USA has finally released a new Firmware update to the EOS-1D X to address the 'flaws' photographers like myself have been clamoring for. Read my review of this excellent camera. The official Canon download is available here. Will try and stay in touch if I can find WiFi signals.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II now in stock

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens is finally trickling into camera stores. Please act fast if you want to get one. I have used the Series I version of this lens for many years and it is one of the sharpest zoom around. It is a great walk around lens for Travel photography.

For those who are thinking of upgrading to the Series II lens, it will cost $2,299, not a small sum of money but if you make a living off Wedding and Landscape photography, this is a must have lens in one's inventory. Visit my website and see landscape and travel photos taken with this lens. I will write a review on the Series II lens once I have time and put this lens through some photo shoots. Off to the Canadian tundra tomorrow for some Wildlife photography - Polar bears.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Canon EOS-5D MK III vs. Nikon D800 comparison


Nikon D800

In my opinion, the Canon EOS-5D MK III is the best value in a full frame, DSLR camera on the market today. It is not the best overall camera but considering the price to performance ratio, this camera is hard to beat. For those who need or desire more megapixels, they may be tempted to look at the Nikon D800, with 36.3 vs. 22.3 megapixels for the Canon EOS-5D MK III.

I have used the EOS-5D series of camera ever since Canon introduced it in 2005. The first one was impressive, the MK II is just a marginal improvement but the MK III is the best yet. Came across this comparison between the two rival cameras. Take a look at the review and decide for yourself.

Off to the Canadian tundra next week to photograph wildlife and test the Canon EOS-1D X under harsh conditions again. Read my review of the camera here and see the photos on my website

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bear Safari

Sweet Dreams
I will be going to the Canadian tundra next week to photograph Polar bears and other wildlife. Will be spending Halloween and first part of November there. Some may feel it is scary enough to be on the tundra this time of the year but certainly it will be cold for all. I am hoping for a lot of treats (Polar bears, the Aurora Borealis, etc.) and few tricks.

The Polar ice cap is melting at an unprecedented rate during the summer months. The ice sheet are forming later almost every year. This presents a clear danger to Polar bears because they need the solid ice to hunt on. Unlike this insouciant Polar bear enjoying its nice nap, most bears will face a more uncertain future.

My trusted Canon EOS-1D X camera will be accompanying me and I will be putting it through rigorous photo shoots under very cold conditions. My camera has already gone through Wildlife and Travel photo shoots in the last three months. Take a look at my review from the previous trips and visit my website to see all the photos taken with the camera. A couple of days ago, Canon released a new Firmware 1.1.1 update to the EOS-1D X. It fixed a major 'annoyance' of the camera and allowed it to AF down to f/8, like all the other EOS-1 series cameras.  Take a look at my Blog on that upgrade and download the software if you have not already done so.

The PhotoPlus Expo Show will start in New York City on October 24, 2012. I will try and keep up with the announcements and post any interesting news on my Blog, provided I can find WiFi signals.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thoughts on Canon EOS-1D X Firmware 1.1.1

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.

It opens up a lot of possibilities now that the camera can AF down to f/8. Some even tried to mount the 1.4X extender on the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS lens. I have tried it and would not suggest this combination. Use the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens instead. By the way, don't look for Canon to offer a Firmware to give the EOS-5D MK III the same capability any time soon.  They are already underpricing the competition and giving away the store with this feature-packed camera. If you want AF @ f/8, you'll have to shell out more money and get the EOS-1 series of cameras. 

I will be taking the camera to the Canadian tundra next week to photograph Polar bears and the Aurora Borealis. It should be interesting to see how it comes through under these harsh conditions. You can read my current review of the EOS-1D X camera here. I will write another review after I return from my photo shoot. Click here to download Firmware from the Canon website.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X Firmware 1.1.1

Canon USA has finally released a new Firmware update to the EOS-1D X to address the 'flaws' photographers like myself have been clamoring for. Read my review of this excellent camera. The official Canon download is available here. The following is the official Canon announcement.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., October 17, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced a new firmware update in response to user requests which further enhances the capabilities of Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. The EOS-1D X will now be capable of AF point illumination during AI Servo AF and cross-type AF for maximum apertures as small as f/8. The new firmware update is available now at no charge from the Canon U.S.A. website and can be downloaded by end users or through Canon Factory Service Centers.

AF Point Illumination During AI Servo AF
To support the needs of wedding, portrait, sports, wildlife, and theatrical performance photographers working in low light, the new firmware allows AF points in the EOS-1D X’s viewfinder to be illuminated in red when the shutter button is pressed halfway during AI Servo AF, for easy viewing of the selected point. This valuable feature will enhance the photographers’ ability to aim the camera accurately in low-light conditions, and when photographing dark subjects. To preserve exposure-metering accuracy, illumination is intermittent, not continuous. Three choices will be selectable from the menu system – Non-illuminated, Illuminated (Normal) and Illuminated (Brighter).

Cross-Type AF Support at f/8
The EOS-1D X is equipped with an innovative 61-point High Density Reticular AF System featuring up to 41 cross-type AF points, depending on the lens in use. The cross-type AF points recognize a wide variety of subject matter, making them highly desirable for maximum autofocus performance. Until now, cross-type AF on the EOS-1D X has been limited to EF lenses and lens/extender combinations with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. The new firmware allows cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point even when the maximum aperture of a Canon EF lens/extender combination becomes as small as f/8. Ideal for wildlife photographers and others who often use EF super-telephoto lenses with extenders, this new feature greatly expands the range of EF lens/extender combinations that support autofocus when used with the EOS-1D X.

If AF point expansion is selected with an f/8 maximum aperture lens/extender combination, the four AF points surrounding the center point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that are small in the frame and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the center will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.

Canon Announcement next week

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 on African safari
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 in 2012 Olympics

Next week is the PhotoPlus Expo show in New York City. It goes from October 24 - 27, 2012. Canon has been doing a great job keeping the lid on any leaks about what they will be announcing before the show.  The most logical and long awaited announcement will be the official unveiling of the EF 200-400mm f/4 + 1.4X lens. This lens has been in development for almost 18 months and thoroughly tested in Africa and during the 2012 London Olympics, among other venues all over the world.

The announcement of the development of a new megapixel, full frame DSLR with a 'game changing' sensor may be pushed into early 2013. Canon is still being dogged by some manufacturing problems, compounded by their supply chain worries in Asia, especially China.

We should expect some confirmation of the Canon EOS-1D C being shipped by the end of the year. Canon has put a lot of effort and energy into wooing the video and movie production business and this camera and the two new video lenses they have introduced recently will go a long way to cement their commitment to the industry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Canon EOS-6D preliminary hands-on review

Canon EOS-6D with 24-105mm lens

The Canon EOS-6D light weight, full frame camera was introduced a few weeks ago. It has a list price of $2,099 and should be available by the end of 2012.

Canon EOS 6D key specifications :

  • 20.2MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102800 expanded
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 'Silent' shutter mode
  • 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
  • 11 point AF system, center point cross-type and sensitive to -3 EV
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 97% viewfinder coverage; interchangeable screens (including Eg-D grid and Eg-S fine-focus)
  • 1040k dot 3:2 3" ClearView LCD (fixed)
  • Single SD card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Single-axis electronic level

The folks at DPReview has obtained a pre-production model of the EOS-6D and gave it a 'test drive' and wrote a preliminary review of the camera. You can read the post here. I plan to get a hold of the camera and put it through some photo shoots once it is available through the Canon Professional Network. In the meantime, you can take a look at my previous post comparing the EOS-6D to the Nikon D600.

Canon Product Advisory - WFT-E7B wireless file transmitter

Canon WFT-E7B wireless file transmitter

Canon Japan has issued a Product Advisory on their WFT-E7B wireless file transmitter. It seems the rubber on some of the transmitters is losing its color. Appears to be a minor annoyance and only selected batches are affected.

Click here to view the product advisory on Canon USA's website.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Canon EOS 60D vs EOS Rebel T4i comparison

Canon EOS 60D with 18-135mm lens

Canon EOS Rebel T4i with 18-135mm lens

For those thinking of upgrading from a Canon PowerShot point-n-shoot camera to a traditional DSLR, there are a couple of choices that immediately present itself. The EOS-60D and EOS Rebel T4i/D650 are similar cameras with comparable features and capabilities. A quick look at shows their respective sale prices, without lens, at $865 and $792.

I came across this video reviewing and comparing the two cameras. Take a look and decide for yourself.  It is a bit long but very thorough and it may be worth your while to look at it before spending hundreds of dollars buying either camera.

Canon EOS-M shipping today in North America

Canon EOS-M with 18-55mm STM lens

The long awaited Canon EOS-M camera will start shipping today in North America, although some stores may ship their cameras towards the end of October.  It has been available in Asia for a couple of weeks now. You can read my earlier post on this camera with a preliminary review from my friend in Asia.

There are no earth shattering performance on this camera but the performance is generally quite good except the AF speed is not very fast. If you already own a PowerShot camera, the difference will be not be noticeable but coming from a traditional DSLR, you may experience a slight 'delay'.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your camera doesn't matter

Canon EOS-1D X full frame DSLR camera

"Your equipment doesn't matter. If you can shoot well, you can do it with a disposable camera."

How many times have you heard that comment before and they usually come from people who already have pretty good equipment to begin with. That's like saying to a Formula 1 race driver or a F22 fighter pilot that their machines don't matter, they can just rely on their training and skills. Fact of the matter is, there are many factors that contribute to a great photograph - skill and experience, luck and yes, equipment. When things are roughly equal, superior equipment will generally give one the edge.

Of course, buying the most expensive photographic equipment will not help a blind person take better photographs but most people, after having sufficient knowledge and experience, can get improved photos with superior equipment over ordinary gear. 

My current main piece of equipment is the Canon EOS-1D X and you can read my review on this camera. As far as I can recall, my first camera was the Kodak Instamatic. Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about photography but if I still use the Kodak equipment today, what kind of photos will I be able to take? You can visit my website and decide for yourself which camera takes better photos.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Canon EOS-7D Magic Lantern Alpha available


The Magic Lantern team has done it again and came out with a Alpha version of the software for the Canon EOS-7D camera.

Here's what the ML team said, " It was primarily tested on one 7D, and a few days on three other 7Ds. During those tests we took 1000 photos and gigabytes of videos. There were no crashes or strange behaviors during our tests. This release will not alter any data in your camera’s permanent memory. This release will not directly alter any so-called "properties" (persistent camera settings). This means, some functions like HDR photos, HDR videos, bulb ramping etc will not work yet. It is not a firmware upgrade, despite the camera saying "Firmware update program". We have disabled all features that are not yet working perfectly. Please don’t beg for adding feature XYZ, it will be added as soon as it works without issues."

You can go to the Magic Lantern site and download the software and play with it to decide for yourself.


Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT vs. 580 EX II comparison

Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT

The Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT has been out for a few months now but many photographers still have the previous model, the 580 EX II and have not upgraded to the latest and greatest yet. I am not a big flash user and was able to sell my 580 EX II for a good price so I upgraded to the 600 EX-RT.

It is a great flash, perhaps a tad better than the 580 EX II and has a retail price of $630 in the United States. Came across this article comparing the two Speedlite flash. You can read it and decide for yourself.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Canon adds EOS-M support to DPP and EOS Utility

Canon EOS-M and Rebel T4i cameras

In anticipation of the official release of the EOS-M in North America on October 15, 2012, Canon USA has officially release new version of their DPP and EOS Utility software to support the new camera. Click on the Canon website, select your operating system and download the new software.

By the way, for those who have lost their Canon DPP CD or don't have one because they bought a used Canon camera from someone and did not receive all the necessary accessories, you can go to this website for some tips on how to deal with this situation.

Click here to see the newest post on the EOS-M camera. Exciting things are coming to the EOS-M lineup. You can see the latest post on the continuous development of upcoming EOS-M firmware and hardware.

Canon EOS-6D camera detailed analysis

Canon EOS-6D light weight DSLR

Canon USA announced the EOS-6D, a small, light weight, full frame DSLR a few weeks ago. The camera will be available in December, 2012 at a list price of $2,099. Now Canon Professional Network in Europe has put out a detailed analysis of the EOS-6D. Take a look at the new camera on their website and decide if it is for you or not. I will put this camera through some photo shoots once it is available and write a review on it.

Canon EOS-1D X 14 fps burst rate video

Canon EOS-1D X camera

The Canon EOS-1D X has been out for about 3 months now and many photographers have put the camera through exciting tests to see how well it performs.  You can read my review of the EOS-1D X here. As you know, Canon also introduced the 4K EOS-1D C, the most advanced DSLR camera ever for shooting movies as well as photographs. The camera will be available in December, 2012 with a list price of $15,000.

However, Michael Hession of Gizmodo has done something rather unique to take advantage of the burst rate of the EOS-1D X. He used the lighting fast speed of the camera to piece together a short video at 14 fps. The image quality and dynamic range of the video is not bad, approaching the quality of still photographs.  Of course, no one will use the EOS-1D X as a video camera but as a creative experiment, this exercise is rather good and interesting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X DXoMark Sensor Scores

I have been using the Canon EOS-1D X for about 3 months now and have taken it out on Wildlife and Travel photo shoots. So far my experience is positive and you can read my review of the camera here.

The DXoMark sensor scores for the Canon EOS-1D X is out. The results are ....  Well, you should read the review and comparisons and decide for yourself.  I think the only way to judge a camera's performance is by taking it out in the field and put it through some real world shoots.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Canon EOS-M camera review

Canon EOS-M  camera with the 22mm lens

As reported in my earlier Blog post, the Canon EOS-M is already selling in Asia and will be released here in North America starting October 15, 2012. My friends in Asia have already given it a thumbs-up but here is another point of view from a Japanese website. You can read the translated review here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Canon EOS-5D MK III body for $2,899


The Canon EOS-5D MK III camera is selling for $2,899 on eBay.  This is an excellent deal and in my opinion, the best camera value in full frame DSLR today. I paid $8,000 over four years ago for a new Canon EOS-1Ds MK III camera and now this EOS-5D MK III can do everything the 1Ds does and much more.

Take a look at my previous Blog post comparing the two cameras. Looks like Canon is paving the way for the announcement of the development of its megapixel camera. The EOS-5D MK II's inventory is almost depleted and was listed at $1,549 on eBay. Now the MK III will be going fast as well with this great price.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Canon EOS-7D MK II rumors

Canon EOS-7D MK II coming soon?

My sources in Asia tell me Canon Inc. still has not nailed down the full impact of the anti-Japanese unrest in China on their supply chains yet. In fact, the spat may get worse before it gets better.  Canon has numerous suppliers scattered all over China and the rest of Asia. They have contributed to Canon's successes by providing them with just in time inventory at a competitive price since the Japanese Yen is so overpriced compared to other major currencies.

There is word that Canon will announce the development of their new megapixel, full frame DSLR soon. Much like what they did with the announcement of the development of the EF 200-400mm f/4 + 1.4X lens over a year ago. Take a look at this post from a couple of days ago. Canon may also be ready to announce the EOS-7D MK II by the end of the year.  It is rumored to have a 20 MP sensor and 10 fps burst rate.  The 60D may be the last of the xxD line and the new camera will replace it.  

Canon EOS Rebel T4i/D650 DxOMark results

The Canon EOS Rebel T4i/D650's sensor has been rated by DxO Labs. It did not get the highest grade. In fact, it received a grade lower than the EOS Rebel T3i. The Overall Sensor Score is based on all characteristics of a camera sensor, independent of the camera lens, and for a general purpose use case.

The Use Case Scores take into account the sensor performance for three typical photographic use cases: the Portrait Score, based on Color Depth; the Landscape Score, based on Dynamic Range; and the Sports Score, based on Low-Light ISO. I am not a big fan of charts and graphs type engineering measurement but you can look at the entire review here and make your own conclusion.

My own view is take the camera out for a series of real world photo shoots and draw your own conclusion that way.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Canon EOS-1S camera?

The new Canon EOS-1S megapixel camera?

Ever since Canon discontinued the EOS-1Ds MK III camera and after the introduction of the Nikon D800, rumors and speculations have been flying around about Canon working on a replacement to its venerable 1Ds line of cameras.  All indications are the new camera will have be a megapixel sensor, perhaps over 40 MP.

There is also ample speculation about the new designation. In line with the latest naming convention, Canon may call the new camera EOS-1S. It is supposed to start a new path for megapixel sensor technology for the next few years and have superior high ISO performance. This is hard to fathom since the EOS-1D X camera already has probably the best high ISO performance right now, in my opinion.  Take a look at my  Blog post here on that subject.

Canon EOS-6D vs. Nikon D600 comparison

The soon-to-be available Canon EOS-6D full frame DSLR camera is meant to be a direct competitor to the Nikon D600. For those who have missed the officially Canon USA announcement of the new camera, please see my Blog post here. While both cameras are priced the same - $2099, there seems to be divergence in philosophy between Canon and Nikon when it comes to designing their respective cameras.

The Nikon D600 is meant to be a little brother to its well-received D800 camera while the Canon EOS-6D will play its corresponding role to the equally superb EOS-5D MK III. However, this is where the similarity between the two ends.

In my opinion, the EOS-6D is clearly aimed at APS-C users planning to upgrade to a full frame DSLR for the least amount of money. However, Canon has created another problem for itself since owners of APS-C cameras have EF-S lenses that are not interchangeable with the EOS-6D because of its full frame format. Photographers with a good collection of APS-C lenses will have to buy new lenses to use with their new camera. The additional cost will negate the advantage of the 'lower' price of entry into the world of full frame DSLR. At this point, the barrier to switching systems becomes lower, and the temptation to look at competing brands, like the Nikon D600 becomes stronger. Canon's EF lens lineup is indeed impressive and for those who like their Canon experience so far may not mind adding some of the reasonably priced prime EF lenses and the superb "L" series zooms to their collection.

On paper, the Nikon D600 seems to offer more 'impressive' specs. It has a 39-point AF system (including 9 cross-type), 100% viewfinder, 2016 pixel color-sensitive metering, faster 5.5 fps shooting, dual card slots and excellent movie spec (including such things as clean HDMI output and a headphone socket for sound monitoring). To some, the EOS-6D seems to offer less by comparison. Of course, those who are not impressed with merely comparing specs on a sheet of paper, will ask the question like - how often do I really use and need the additional features of the D600, like the ability to record images on two different memory cards. The real test comes when one puts both cameras through rigorous real world tests and see how robust each of their respective specs hold up to scrutiny.

My initial reaction to the new Canon EOS-6D camera is a slight yawn. To me, Canon may have underpriced the EOS-5D MK III by giving it too many features. That camera is worth more than the current asking price. In creating the EOS-6D, Canon has reduced too many of the functionalities of the MK III in order to come up with the price of the new camera. Nikon seems to have taken the opposite approach when creating the D600. They have removed as few features from the D800 camera as possible while trying to hold the price down at the same time. This type of miscalculation seems to be creeping into Canon's recent pricing strategies. The EOS-6D may prove to be an excellent value (like the 5D MK III) once it is available for a complete review but there is little room for error since their competition is so good as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Canon EOS-M production model review

Canon EOS-M with 18-55mm STM lens

The Canon EOS-M will be officially released in North America starting October 15, 2012. The camera and kits are already shipping in Japan, Hong Kong and other countries in Asia. My friend in Hong Kong has obtained a production model and put it through a few tests and gave it a provisional thumbs-up. The camera is designed to be more 'sophisticated' than the usual point-n-shoot cameras but with the added advantage of interchangeable EF lenses. It was not designed for dedicated DSLR users so strict comparison to models like the EOS Rebel T4/D650 is futile even though they both share many parts and features, including the sensor and touchscreen technology.

The newly released line of Canon mirrorless cameras have less than ideal AF capabilities. They are 'slow', to be blunt. Other than that known 'flaw', the EOS-M seems to perform well in other areas like low light performance, dynamic range and IQ is very good for a camera in this category. For an expected list price of $799, Canon does not want the EOS-M to cannibalize too much on its bread-n-butter EOS Rebel line so if one is doing a lot of photography, perhaps the traditionally styled DSLR is more appropriate. If one wants a small compact camera to carry around but still retains the capability of interchangeable lens, then the EOS-M may be your ticket.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Canon EOS-1D X high ISO performance

The Eiffel Tower, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Jane Fuller's Christmas Arctic Express Show

Great News! Canon USA has finally released a new Firmware 1.1.1 update to the EOS-1D X to address the 'flaws' photographers like myself have been clamoring for. Read my review of this excellent camera and the official Canon download is available here.


I have used the Canon EOS-1D X camera for about 3 months now. As my readers know, I am impressed by the new camera's performance even though I have some reservations about its menu setup. In August, I took the camera to Alaska and Canada and gave it a rigorous workout on my wildlife photo shoot. I have been using the EOS-1 series of cameras since 1989 and this latest 1D X is the best one yet. Click here to see my review of the camera's performance when photographing wildlife action shots.

Now I have just come back from an European Travel Photo Shoot and the EOS-1D X continues to dazzle me. In particular, I was impressed by its high ISO performance. This is where I find the EOS-1D MK IV to come up 'short'. Any photo taken with ISO higher than 3200 shows an unacceptable noise level before post processing.  One night, I was out with the EOS-1D X in Paris and found myself on top of this tall building, overlooking the famous landmarks, from over one mile away. I decided to put the camera's high ISO claims to test by taking photos handheld with ISO 6400 and an aperture of f/4.

The above photos from France were heavily cropped and I used the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. The Arctic Express Show was in a pitch black auditorium and only the spotlight was on the performer. I used the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens and ISO 6400 to take this photo, handheld with no flash. The original copies show sharp images with very acceptable noise levels even before additional processing.

Visit my website to see many more photos taken with the EOS-1D X body. If you are thinking of upgrading to this camera, I have little reservation in recommending it.

Canon EOS-3D outed by B&H Photo

Someone 'found' a Canon EOS-3D camera listed on B&H Photo's website and made an image of the screenshot.  There are ample signs Canon is developing a full framed, megapixel camera to fill the void left by the venerable EOS-1Ds MK III camera. No one knows the final designation of the new camera or when it will be announced because of supply chain disruption fears by Canon from the current unrest in China toward Japanese companies, which I have reported in my earlier posts.

The 'posting' on B&H's site invites ridicule but it opens up an even larger question. Is B&H's site secure enough to prevent this kind of postings in the future?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Canon EF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM in development

Canon is rumored to be developing a replacement to the less than stellar EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. The new lens will have the same STM motor as the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and EF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lenses. Anytime a lens has a ratio of more than 1:10 zoom, there will be a compromise between versatility and peak performance.  The EF 28-300mm L IS lens is a prime example. One either loves it for its great focal lengths or loathes it for its monstrous weight and less than ideal IQ.  The new EF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens may be available some time in the middle of 2013.

Canon EOS-M begins shipping

The versatile Canon EOS-M camera

My sources in Asia have informed me the Canon EOS-M is now shipping and available for sale in a few countries. This mean the official release of the EOS-M in North America on October 15, 2012 should be on time. Preliminary reviews seem positive. Will be looking out for a more definitive one for you.