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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Canon EOS-5D Mk III Firmware 1.2.1 Available For Download

The new Firmware 1.2.1 for the EOS-5D Mk III is available for download at Canon's website. You can read more about the new software by clicking on the link above. I am most impressed by the AF at f/8 feature. Up to now, only the professional EOS-1D bodies have this capability. Canon should add this feature to the upcoming EOS-7D Mk II camera as well.

The following improvements are in the Firmware version 1.2.1 :
  • Uncompressed HDMI output is now enabled.
  • Enables the center AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with Canon EF lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.
  • Improves the speed of the camera’s acquisition of focus when using a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the LCD monitor may freeze and display Err 70 or Err 80 when a still photo is taken during Live View or in movie shooting mode.
  • Fixes a phenomenon that may occur when the continuous shooting priority setting is enabled for multiple exposures, such that, after the sixth image is taken, there is a slight pause before the remainder of the sequence is completed.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the viewfinder display shows incorrect information during AEB shooting.
  • Communication with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter has been improved.
  • When images have been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol, an “O” will be displayed. When images have not been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol, an “X” will be displayed.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera may not function properly when an Eye-Fi card is used.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the focal length value listed in the Exif information is not displayed correctly for images shot with the EF 24-70mm F4L IS USM lens.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the lens firmware cannot be updated properly.
  • Corrects errors in the Arabic language menu.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera changes the AF microadjustment value to -8.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the on-screen guidance cannot be fully displayed when setting the maximum limit value for the “Setting the ISO Speed Range for Auto ISO” option.

Please Note :
  • Once the EOS 5D Mark III camera is updated to version 1.2.1, it cannot be restored to a previous firmware version (Version 1.0.7 through 1.1.3).
  • It is recommended that the latest application software*1 be used, once the EOS 5D Mark III is updated to the new firmware version 1.2.1 from older firmware (versions 1.0.7 through 1.1.3). Certain previous versions of these applications do not support functions which are added by the new firmware.
  • In order to use EOS Utility software with the updated EOS 5D Mark III, the EOS Utility software must be updated to the latest version.

When cameras, or images taken with cameras that have been updated to the new Firmware Version 1.2.1 (or 1.2.0), and are used with the old version application software, the following phenomena will occur.

EOS Utility
  • The "HDMI output" function, "HDMI output setting" or "HDMI output frame rate setting" cannot be registered to My Menu of the camera.
  • The lens aberration compensation data cannot be registered to the camera.

Digital Photo Professional

If the Lens Aberration Correction Window is chosen when working with a RAW image taken with a camera running Firmware Version 1.2.1 or 1.2.0, the adjustment window will automatically shut down and the adjustment (correction) cannot be made. Due to the differences in the camera firmware versions, the following phenomena will occur.

  • RAW images taken with a Firmware Version 1.2.1 (or 1.2.0) camera cannot be processed on cameras with Firmware Version 1.1.3 or before.
  • When images taken with a camera running Firmware Version 1.2.1 (or 1.2.0), are read by a camera running Firmware Version 1.1.3 or older, Direct print is not possible.

RAW images taken with a Firmware Version 1.2.1 (or 1.2.0) camera cannot be processed on cameras with Firmware Version 1.1.3 or before.
When images taken with a camera running Firmware Version 1.2.1 (or 1.2.0), are read by a camera running Firmware Version 1.1.3 or older, Direct print is not possible.

  • Accompanying the enhancements to the functions, the instruction manual has also been revised. Users are asked to download both the latest firmware and the instruction manual. You can download the latest instruction manual from Canon's website.

Monday, April 29, 2013

UK Passes Controversial Law On Copyright

Have you ever come across a photo on the Internet and wanted to use it in a Facebook post or something but do not know who may own the rights to the image?

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act - which was put forth by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) - attempts to address this thorny problem of ‘orphan works,’ but it has created great controversy and started a whirlwind of protest across the globe. The United Kingdom bill has become the law of the land despite fierce opposition from writers, graphic artists and photographers worldwide.

An orphan work is copyrighted material whose owner cannot be located. In most parts of the world, acts such as the Copyright Act of 1976, combined with international agreements such as the Berne Convention, make copyright automatic. Thus, any use of orphan work that is not considered fair use is copyright infringement and subject to fines and compensation. The new law gives a certain degree of protection to users of orphan works and removes fines for displaying works whose copyright is unknown. The new law has the backing of libraries and archivists.

Any images located online without identifying information may be classified under one of these licensing schemes and used, even commercially, without the proper owner being able to demand full compensation once the infringement has been discovered. All the infringing party has to prove is they have performed a 'diligent search in good faith.'

For photographers in the United Kingdom or the United States, registering one's images with the PLUS registry or the US Copyright Office may be the only way to protect oneself completely from the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act. The other alternative is never post the images on the Internet in the first place.

In 2008, the United States Senate attempted an Orphan Works Bill of its own but it went no where due to vague language in the proposed legislation. You can find out more on this UK bill by reading the article in The Register.

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS II lens

Once Canon releases the long awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X lens some time in the second half of 2013, they are expected to turn their attention to the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS replacement. Although the lens is only about 5 years old, the recent release of the Series II Super telephoto lenses is a big hit, especially with the weight reduction.

Canon may be ready to take advantage of the lighter weight technology and come out with a Series II model of their current 800mm lens, which is the heavy weight champion right now, coming in at almost 10 pounds. The EF 800mm works well with the 1.4X and 2.0X extenders so no built-in extender is expected on the new lens, unlike the EF 200-400mm. Besides, it will add weight and cost to an already expensive lens.

This lens is on a limited production run so inventory stocks around the world should not be a problem even though it was released only a 'short' time ago, by Super telephoto lens' standard.  At the very least, Canon may announce the development of a replacement just to generate buzz and attention.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens

Canon is expected to be busy the second half of 2013 announcing a few new lenses and perhaps a couple of DSLR bodies as well. One of the long-rumored lenses expected to be released is the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS L II. The current lens has been around since 1998 and showing its age, although it is still a top performer for me and one of my favorite wildlife lenses. Read my earlier post on Canon lens recommendation.

Nikon recently released their 80-400mm VR AF-S lens and now Canon may be ready to response, perhaps some time in mid summer by announcing the EF 100-400mm replacement. The new lens is expected to be slightly faster (f/4) on the short end and tops out at f/5.6 on the long end. Prototypes have been sighted in Asia on field tests and no specifications have been leaked but the weight and price are expected to higher, perhaps around 3.5 pounds and roughly the same list price as the EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS, at $2,689.

The Japanese Yen has weakened dramatically in the last few months, a strategy engineered by the new government in Tokyo. Canon has forecasted a big increase in their net profit for the fiscal year of 2013, not from increased sales but from the depreciated Yen.  Once Canon has finalized their design and manufacturing processes, they should be able to move to capitalize on the 'cheap' Yen and start releasing more new products.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Canon Announces "Project Imaginat10n" Film Contest

Canon U.S.A., Ron Howard And Bryce Dallas Howard Announce "Project Imaginat10n" Film Contest Where Five Consumer-Directed Films Will Premiere At The "Project Imaginat10n" Film Festival In the Autumn of 2013. Now the Public Can Select 10 of the Winning Photos from Project Imaginat10n to Inspire Short Films, the same Creative Exercise as Eva Longoria, Jamie Foxx, James Murphy, Georgina Chapman and Biz Stone.

MELVILLE, N.Y., April 24, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today the "Project Imaginat10n" Film Contest, which will provide the public with a unique opportunity to showcase their creativity and storytelling abilities by taking a seat in the director's chair.

Helmed by Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard, filmmakers of all skill levels will each have the chance to embark on the same creative exercise as five celebrity directors - Eva Longoria (film and TV actress), Jamie Foxx (Academy Award(r) winner), Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter), Georgina Chapman (designer and co-founder of Marchesa) and James Murphy (founder of LCD SOUNDSYSTEM) - all of whom are directing short films inspired from ten Project Imaginat10n winning photographs.

Selecting from the same pool of 91 winning photos, the challenge is to create a short film inspired by ten crowdsourced photos and based on ten storytelling themes: Character, Mood, Goal, Backstory, Setting, Obstacle, Relationship, The Unknown, Time and Discovery. The Discovery photo will be the same in each film, "Discovering limits," as selected by Ron Howard as a thematic tie. All 91 photos can be seen at

In 2011, Bryce Dallas Howard took part in a similar creative endeavor, "Project Imagin8ion," where she was mentored by her father, Ron Howard, to create a short film inspired by photographs. After selecting eight winning photos, Bryce directed "when you find me," an award-winning film about two sisters whose childhood bond is tested by a tragedy they are too young to understand.

As the first "graduating" director of the Project Imagin8ion experiment, Bryce will utilize her experience from "when you find me," to act as a mentor for other filmmakers - speaking at select film schools and revealing her tips in an online webisode series, "Bryce's Project Imaginat10n Film Contest Tutorial."

"Directing 'when you find me' was one of the most creatively rewarding endeavors of my career. In addition to the amazing experience of being mentored by my dad, the chance to collaborate with such a vast community of artists and photographers was game changing and challenged the very paradigm of the filmmaking I had grown accustomed to," said Bryce Dallas Howard. "My hope for the Project Imaginat10n film contest is that aspiring filmmakers will feel empowered to showcase their work and explore their own creativity. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to engage with the filmmakers and support them as they embark on this powerful odyssey into creativity and collaboration."

Submissions will begin on June 4, 2013 at (see Official Rules for details). A panel of judges will select twenty finalist films based on overall technical quality, originality, use of imagination and impression. Bryce Dallas Howard and Ron Howard will then select the final five winning films and package them with the five celebrity-directed films as "A Ron Howard Presentation." All ten films will be showcased at Canon's Project Imaginat10n Film Festival in the Autumn of 2013.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Canon EOS-5D Mk III 2K Video From Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern team is hard at work cracking the Canon camera code again.  This time their latest discovery is a RAW DNG output in live view on the EOS-5D MK II and Mk III cameras. In the future, there is a possibility 5D users may be able to record crystal clear 2K RAW video that easily surpass H.264 output.

The team's work is a long way from completion or have a usable piece of software to download but if they succeed in capturing RAW DNG snaps without any shutter actuations, the 150,000 cycle rate of the EOS-5D may be extended quite a bit, especially for those who shoot time-lapse photography often.

It appears both the Mk III and Mk II cameras are able to record a 2040 x 1428 DNG stream to the buffer in live view. The initial tests are primitive, presently one can record 10-14 frames per second for less than 30 frames before rebuffering, but tests conducted at Neumann Films appears to show numerous potential uses in the future.

The hope is eventually Magic Lantern may increase the rate to 24 fps, and capture the data on memory cards in the camera. You can see a video on how the preliminary test were conducted and see the difference in the images between 2K RAW and H.264

Canon EOS-70D Announcement in June, 2013

* * * Canon EOS-70D Announcement on July 2, 2013. Read the latest post here. * * * 

Canon has delayed the announcement of the EOS-70D camera until June, 2013. The reason may be because they have yet to finalize which sensor to put in the new camera. Originally, we were led to believe the new EOS-70D will share the same sensor as the recently introduced EOS Rebel SL1, the world's smallest DSLR camera. Now it seems Canon is trying to decide whether the 70D should share the same sensor as the upcoming and long awaited EOS-7D Mk II.

Since the EOS-60D is powered by the DIGIC 4 processor, the EOS-70D will most probably be powered by the DIGIC 5. Canon likes to introduce their newest processors on the Rebel line of cameras first, so I would expect DIGIC 6 to come out on the next Rebel camera. For the record, Canon had introduced the DIGIC 6 processor in the PowerShot SX280 camera recently. There may be a new EF lens accompanying the 70D's introduction. Once the official announcement is made, delivery should commence in about one month. Check back for more updated information as they become available.

EOS-70D expected major specifications :

  • 18 MP or 21 MP sensor, similar to EOS Rebel SL1 or EOS-7D Mk II
  • All-cross type 19-points AF system
  • 6 - 7 fps burst rate
  • Single SD card slot
  • 3.2 inch LCD screen
  • ISO 100 - 25600 expanded
  • Powered by the DIGIC 5 processor
  • 1080p HD video capture
  • Capacity touch screen, similar to the EOS Rebel T5i and SL1
  • Creative filters with Live Preview
  • Some WiFi capability, similar to EOS-6D
  • Magnesium alloy body with some weather sealing 
  • US list price - $1,199 body only

Friday, April 26, 2013

Toshiba announces EXCERIA PRO 1066x CF card

Toshiba introduces the world's fastest class of CF memory cards with latest Video Performance Guarantee Profile 2 (VPG-65) for high-end DSLR cameras.

TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE) -Toshiba Corporation today announced that its new line of high performance CompactFlash® (CF) memory cards1, the EXCERIA PRO™ series2, will go on sale from April 27th in the Japanese market. Sales will also follow in Asia, Europe and North America. The initial line-up of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB cards offers the world's highest level read and write speeds3 and complies with the new Video Performance Guarantee Profile 2 (VPG-65) standard.

The EXCERIA PRO™ CF cards integrate Toshiba's high performance NAND flash memory and specially developed dedicated firmware. They achieve a read speed of 160MB/s and write speed of 150MB/s4, the highest level yet reported.

The new cards are compliant with the CompactFlash Association (CFA) standard CompactFlash® Specification Revision 6.1 and compatible with the UDMA7 high speed interface, ensuring they can support high performance DSLRs to the full. The cards are also compatible with the latest "Video Performance Guarantee Profile 2" standard, VPG-65. VPG-65 secures Full HD video capture streams at a minimum write speed of 65MB/s for compatible host devices and recording media. VPG-65 enables 4K resolution (a digital movie file format with horizontal resolution of approx. 4,000 pixels and vertical resolution of approx. 2,000 pixels) movie shooting and high quality Full HD video capture at high frame rates with no dropped frames.

The market for DSLR is expected to grow by some 50% from 2012 to 2015 and demand for CF cards will grow with it. Toshiba will be developing high performance memory cards to meet those needs of the market.

The Future Of Canon's EOS-M Cameras

Remember the Canon EOS-M line of mirrorless cameras? Word is the planned firmware update to the EOS-M may not be enough to calm all the grumblings about the Achilles's heel of the camera, namely its slow AF speed, especially in low light, high contrast situations and dearth of useful lenses. Suspicion has also been raised about Canon not fully committed to the mirrorless camera technology.

Although the mirrorless camera market is doing quite well in Asia, especially in Japan where it is very popular with women, Canon is paying the price of playing catch up with their competitors in this segment. Being the only major manufacturer without a mirrorless camera, they rushed out a product last year to fill the gap and now realized the limitations of their hardware design. The next generation of EOS-M, expected some time later this year, apparently will fix the problem once and for all, but at a higher price point. The new camera will be introduced as a higher end product, complete with a viewfinder and new AF system plus a few STM lenses, including a fast prime and telephoto glass, as reported in my earlier post.  

The EOS-M is not as successful as Canon's Rebel, EOS-5D and EOS-6D line of full frame cameras. Management realized the weakness of the EOS-M and is trying to remedy the situation, revive the entire line and give Canon a leg up on the competition like the 4/3 and NEX cameras on the market.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Canon Camera Museum - PowerShot N Technical Report

The Canon Camera Museum has published a technical report on the PowerShot N camera. I quite like this little point-n-shoot camera. The design is new and interesting.

Canon USA Spring Rebates Extended

The current Canon Spring Rebates for the USA were scheduled to last through April 27 but Canon is expected to extend them through the end of  May 11 for DSLR cameras and the lens rebates are scheduled to end on June 1, 2013. You can read my earlier post and see what model cameras and lenses are on the rebate list. 

Wildlife Photography - Photographing Birds In Flight

Belted Kingfisher rocketing into the orbit 

Allen's Hummingbird feeding on nectar

Bald Eagle taking off in Alaska

Male Hooded Merganser coming in for a water landing

One of the many joys of watching wildlife is to see birds in flight. An even greater excitement is to capture them on a photograph while they are in the air. I use Canon equipment and handhold my camera when I photograph birds in flight. It gives one maximum mobility and flexibility provided one knows which technique and equipment to use, when and where to use them.

There are three Canon bodies in my bird photography bag : EOS-1D X, EOS-1D Mk IV and EOS-7D. The lenses I use varies with the particular situation but most of the time, I use the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, EF 400 f/4 DO IS and EF 400mm f/5.6L. If the light is really bad and I am close enough to the birds, I will employ the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II. Only occasionally will I add an extender to the lens because I prefer to position myself closer to the action if possible.

All three cameras work well depending on the action, distance and speed of the birds. As my readers know by now, I have picked the EOS-7D as the best overall camera value three years running and the EOS-1D X as the best wildlife camera on the market today. You can read my review here.

Like almost everything in wildlife photography, three things matter the most - skill, equipment and luck, not in any particular order. Take a look at my post on equipment recommendation and wildlife photography tips to get more information. You can also visit my bird photography page on my website to see many more birds from all over the world.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Canon EOS Rebel T5i vs. EOS Rebel T4i

In my earlier post, I questioned the wisdom of Canon introducing a 'new' Rebel camera almost every year. The above chart speaks volumes about the Rebel T5i and the Rebel T4i cameras. You can judge for yourself.

Like I said before, the recent Canon new cameras are at best sleepers. It is better to have no new products than to over promise and under deliver on new introductions. Slick marketing brochures and glib sales chatter can only go so far. Bring out the new Canon EOS-70D and EOS-7D Mk II cameras and tell the photography world when the megapixel successor to the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X lens and a few other 'L' lenses being field tested, will come out. That would be news worth having instead of releasing a really small DSLR or another 'new' Rebel for 2014.  

Sigma Announces Pricing for 120-300mm Lens

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS zoom lens

Sigma Corp. has been announcing new and exciting lenses this year. Read my latest post on this topic here. When will Canon step up to the plate and start announcing some of their long awaited new lenses?

RONKONKOMA, N.Y.,  April 24, 2013 - Sigma Corporation of America, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the pricing and availability of the Sigma USB dock and the company’s newly redesigned 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM from the Global Vision Sport lens category.

The updated 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM lens will be available in early May for the street price of $3,599 in Sigma and Canon mounts. The USB dock, which is compatible with lenses from Sigma’s new Global Vision lineup, will also be available in early May for the street price of $59.

“As the first lens of our Sports lineup to become available, we’re glad to continue the next round of our Global Vision lenses with the 120-300mm f/2.8,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “Our USB dock is the first in the industry of its kind, and we’re confident that it will be a ground-breaking product in helping photographers as they work.”

With redesigned mechanics and performance, this Sports lens is an update from its predecessor released in February 2011. With a maximum focal length of 300mm and a wide-open aperture of f/2.8, this lens eases difficult shooting conditions. It is dust and moisture resistant, and allows users to switch between two custom settings created via the USB dock. The 120-300mm lens has been redesigned and quality-control tested with Sigma’s proprietary modulation transfer function (MTF) “A1” measuring system as part of Sigma’s new Global Vision category restructuring. Under the new Sports category, the lens also has the manufacturing year stamped on the barrel. You can read more about the lens here.

The Sigma USB dock, an industry first, works in conjunction with Sigma Optimization Pro (SOP) software to connect a photographer’s lens to their personal computer and the internet to update firmware and other parameters. The AF speed, focus limiter and OS function are also customizable for Sports lenses, such as the 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM. Upon arrival of the products, SOP will be available via a downloadable copy online here. A video demonstration of SOP software is available here.

DxO Optics Pro Adds 118 Lens/Camera Combinations

DxO Optics has added 118 new lens / camera combinations to their Modules library, providing support for Canon, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron and Tokina lenses for Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.

To see supported and planned combinations, click on the DxO link to access their website.

Photographer and Photojournalist - Best and Worst Jobs

It's not easy being a photographer

CareerCast's annual list of the best and worst jobs are out again and they show one of the worst paying jobs belongs to photographers. The 200 best and worst jobs in the U.S. in 2010 was calculated based on five criteria - environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress.

One can debate on the merits of the methodology used but hard, cold salary numbers do not lie. The photographer jobs listed are staff positions and do not include freelance photographers working for themselves. You can read the entire article here and see the rankings for yourself. Below is an excerpt of the rankings :

#65 Publication Editor (just above forklift operator)
  • Starting salary: $28,000
  • Midlevel salary: $50,000
  • Top salary: $95,000

#126 Photographer (just below Waiter but still above undertaker)
  • Starting salary: $17,000
  • Midlevel salary: $29,000
  • Top salary: $62,000

#189 Photojournalist (even below Nuclear Plant Decontamination Technician)
  • Starting salary: $16,000
  • Midlevel salary: $28,000
  • Top salary: $60,000

Personally, I have exchanged my job as a banker for a life of travel and wildlife photography two decades ago and find it most rewarding and stimulating. One must believe in and enjoy what one does and that is the greatest reward of one's work.

Canon EOS Tutorial - Time Lapse Photography

Canon Digital Learning Center has put out a series of four tutorial videos. Explorer of Light, Mr.Vincent Laforet explains the basics of time lapse photography in this beautiful series. Travel with him from the rugged canyons of Utah to the Las Vegas Strip, and learn how to make your own unique time lapse movies. You can view the videos by clicking on the Canon website here.

Topics covered in this series include :
  • Suggested camera equipment and accessories needed to shoot time lapse, including how to use the Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3.
  • How to optimize your EOS camera settings and features for capturing time lapse images.
  • Calculating minimum frames needed and  accurate interval settings to ensure smooth movement for projects of any length.
  • Creative considerations for lensing, movement, and composition.
  • Understanding the benefit of shooting time lapse with RAW files, and processing your images with Digital Photo Professional for dynamic results.
  • How to manage time lapse workflow, and assemble and export your finished time lapse movie with Apple QuickTime Pro.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

10X Telephoto Lens for Apple iPad

For your amusement, there is a telephoto lens available for the Apple iPad and iPad Mini. The lens offers a 10X optical zoom when attached to an iPad 3 or iPad 4, and a 12X zoom when mounted on an iPad Mini. It has a manual focus ring for adjusting the focus, but it helps when using it on a bigger tablet screen. The cost is $25 or less, depending on where you buy the product.

The image quality is mediocre at best but the lens is designed more for casual and fun snapshots rather than professional-quality photos. There is noticeable vignetting at the edges. The mounting mechanism between the lens and your iPad consists of a hard plastic connector that snaps onto the tablet. The lens can be unscrewed from the mount for storage when not in use.

Canon EOS C500 Camera Menu Simulator

Canon U.S.A. has launched the Cinema EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera Menu Simulator. Developed by the Canon Digital Learning Center (CDLC), the EOS C500 Menu Simulator is a fully interactive platform that allows users to familiarize themselves with the camera’s Main Menu and Custom Picture Menu.

With this innovative training tool, prospective users of the EOS C500 can navigate the simulated menu system with a mouse, keyboard arrow keys or their fingers (when using a touch screen device). Ideal for cinematographers, camera operators, camera assistants, producers, and directors, the Menu Simulator provides a platform to research camera behavior and features.

For added convenience, the EOS C500 Menu Simulator has been optimized for use on personal computers and tablet devices so it can be used at home, on set, or on-the-go. To access this simulator feature, visit this link on the Canon website.

FX Photo Studio 5.0 - Free iPad/iPhone Download

FX Photo Studio HD for the iPad and iPhone is being offered without charge (download from Apple here) for a limited time. This is an interesting App and is quite useful for on-the-go mobile photography.

Photo Studio HD 5.0 Description :

194 High Quality Effects, Filters, Overlays and Frames 

Hands down, the best variety and one of the largest collections on App Store, including Lo-Fi, art, frames, vintage, graffiti, tilt-shift, blurs, grunge, textures, black&white, sketches, pixelate and more.

All Effects 100% Customizable

You can customize each effect and tune it the way you like. Plus you can apply as many effects on one image as you like, creating new unique photo filters.

Color Splash 

FX Photo Studio brings you the most powerful color splash tool available for iOS. You get a fully customizable brush, powerful zoom to work with details, possibility to preview masking and more. You don’t need any other app to create photos with selective colors.

Painting With Every Effect

You can apply effects to the whole image or just a part of it. With over 190 photo effects and masking tool, your creativity is truly unlimited.

Many Ways To Share Your Photos 

You can upload images from iTunes, Camera roll or even your Facebook albums. You can share creations via most popular social networks, including Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and Tumblr.


You will be amazed how intuitive FX Photo Studio is. You do not need any special knowledge to make amazing photos – everything is made with just a tap or two.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Availability

Canon announced the development of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X super telephoto lens over two years ago. Since then, this lens has been around the world on many field tests and spotted on all continents, perhaps except Antarctica.

All the basic features about the lens have been well known. It has a built-in 1.4X extender and can be turned on with just a flip of a switch. On the left side of the lens, one finds the switch panels. The stabilization button is the same as the current Series II super telephoto lens : the classic mode 1, mode 2 for panning and the new mode 3 that works only during the exposure. The minimum focusing distance is about 6 feet and the image stabilizer is very effective, relatively sharp photos can be obtained even with 1/40 to 1/60 of a second shots.

The lens also accepts external extenders. Mounting the Canon EF 2.0X will give you the equivalent of a EF 400-800mm lens. Although not completely finalized, the dimensions of the lens are similar to the current EF 500mm f/4L IS II, approximately 5.7 x 15.1 inches but the weight is expected to be slightly heavier, perhaps weighing around 8 pounds.

Canon will not permit any photos taken with the test versions of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X lens to be published but there is no reason to believe it will not deliver stunning images, just like the current Series II lens. All the previews of the lens are positive. You can see a video and hands-on preview of the lens in my earlier post here.

So the burning question is, 'When will this lens be officially released for sale?' I am hoping it will be some time in the latter half of 2013 but of course it can slip into 2014. Canon should issue some progress report on this lens. The saga continues on the most tested, spotted but still unavailable lens in history. The world is waiting impatiently.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Canon Tops in DSLR Cameras 10 Years Running

TOKYO, April 22, 2013 - Canon Inc. today announced that the company's interchangeable-lens digital cameras (digital SLR and compact-system cameras) have consistently maintained the No. 1 share worldwide in terms of volume within the interchangeable-lens digital camera market for the 10-year period from 2003 to 2012.

In addition to the interchangeable lenses, Canon also develops its own key components—the CMOS image sensors and image processors—employed in the company's interchangeable-lens cameras, incorporating the most advanced of these technologies in its flagship EOS-1D series. By applying these technologies to other models as well, Canon has successfully created a powerful product lineup that effectively responds to the needs of a wide range of users, from professionals to entry-level users, which has enabled the company to maintain the top global share.

In 2003, the dawn of digital SLR cameras, Canon introduced its breakthrough EOS Kiss Digital (EOS Digital Rebel or EOS 300D Digital in other regions), a compact and lightweight user-friendly camera that set the stage for growth in the digital SLR market while, at the same time, captured the top share of the global market. Since that time, Canon, in the company's ongoing pursuit of high image quality, has launched a number of models targeting advanced-amateur users that offer among the highest levels of performance for their class, including the EOS 5D series, which paved the way for digital SLR video recording.

In 2012, Canon celebrated the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the EOS system and marked its 10th consecutive year as the market's world leader. During the year, Canon launched the compact-system EOS M, aimed at expanding the company's entry-level user base, along with the EOS 6D, the world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera equipped with a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, which contributed to the growth of the advanced-amateur user segment.

This year, Canon introduced the EOS Kiss X7 (EOS Rebel SL1 or EOS 100D in other regions), the world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera equipped with an APS-C-size sensor, bolstering its product lineup with a model befitting the industry's top brand while targeting its 11th straight year as the world's market leader.

With a history of producing cameras that dates back to the company's founding in 1937, Canon will continue refining its diverse imaging technologies based on its core optical technologies, striving to produce exceptional and reliable lenses and cameras that cater to the varying needs of photographers—from first-time users to advanced amateurs and professionals—while contributing to expanding the photographic and video imaging culture.

New Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG OS ART Lens

Sigma has recently announced their 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens. This is the world’s first lens that offers a fixed f/1.8 aperture throughout its zoom range. The fixed f/1.8 aperture breaks new ground in the camera lens industry, as the zoom lenses of Canon and Nikon top out at f/2.8. This Sigma lens offers more than a stop of extra light. Read the Sigma official announcement on their website and see sample images here.

It seems Sigma has embarked on an aggressive new lens program for 2013. The next ART lens to be announced may be the 135mm f/1.8 DG OS, together with the 24mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.4 plus an additional lens. They are also working on a fast ART lens for full frame cameras.  As you probably know, Sigma currently has the most powerful zoom lens on the market, the 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG. Sigma is getting to be a very innovative company and not afraid to break new grounds. Canon needs to hurry up and release a few of their new lenses in 2013.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Canon Launches Big Consumer Campaign

In the biggest single marketing campaign in the company’s history, Canon yesterday launched the consumer-focused ’No One Sees It Like You,’ in Australia aimed at encouraging people to do more with their photographs. The $13 million campaign will roll out across TV, movie, print, online, and outdoor advertising as well as in-store merchandising.

Director of Consumer Imaging, Canon Australia, Mr. Jason McLean says consumer centric marketing and sales activities of the last five years in Australia has allowed Canon to develop campaigns that have contributed to tremendous growth. “With our platform in place, we will be releasing additional content and functionality later in the year and look forward to seeing people do more with their images as they overcome their current frustrations in the imaging category,” he says.

“We are confident that there will be significant growth to come from helping consumers take the next step in their imaging journey.” Canon will continue to add new content to the campaign throughout the year and perhaps expand to more campaigns across Asia. Frankly, I think the best campaign is to put out ground breaking technologies and products and get them on the market on time. The word of mouth from satisfied consumers and professionals are the best marketing tool for any company.

The world is waiting for the Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera and the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Super Telephoto lens. Their prompt announcement will generate more buzz than any single marketing campaign can deliver.

Canon EOS-5D Mk III Firmware 1.2.1 Available

My sources informed me the expected Firmware 1.2.1 for the Canon EOS-5D Mk III is already being loaded on cameras coming into Canon Service Centers before being shipped back to customers.

The official release date from Canon is on April 30, 2013. You can read my earlier post on this topic and watch a video from NAB 2013 on how the new Firmware works here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Canon EOS-7D Mk II and EF 200-400mm f/4

Rumor has surfaced that the long awaited Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X super telephoto lens may be introduced together in one grand event with the equally, eagerly awaited EOS-7D Mk II camera.

I am not surprised Canon may be planning an announcement to 'wow' the Photography press because frankly, the last few events have been real sleepers. Supposedly, Canon has been taking pre-orders on this lens. I doubt that, otherwise I would have done it long time ago. Canon is a conservative company and management will not start pre-selling something as 'revolutionary' as the EF 200-400mm lens until they have completely nailed down the design and manufacturing process. They are very close to doing that now but it will be probably be at least a couple of months away.

Read the latest post on the camera and the latest post on the lens here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Canon EOS-7D Mk II New 21 MP Sensor

As the announcement of the Canon EOS-70D and EOS-7D approaches, more rumors are coming out. My own personal opinion is the EOS-70D will probably share the same sensor as the recently introduced Rebel SL1 camera but the EOS-7D Mk II will have a brand new sensor, probably around 21 MP. You can read my latest post on the upcoming EOS-70D camera here.

The Canon EOS-70D and EOS-7D Mk II prototype cameras were apparently spotted out in the field. The following is my expectation of the specifications of the EOS-7D Mk II :

  • 21 MP APS-C sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600 (L : 50, H1 : 51200, H2 : 102400)
  • 10 fps burst rate
  • Video mode 30 / 60 fps
  • Full HD video with manual control
  • Dual Card Slots
  • 20 - 30+ AF points, some all-cross type
  • On chip phase detect pixels for liveview and AF tracking
  • 100% Viewfinder
  • LCD viewfinder with 1.04 million dots
  • 3.2″ LCD screen
  • Some form of WiFi, perhaps similar to EOS-6D
  • Heavier alloy body with improved weather sealing

If it turns out to be mostly accurate, it is not far from my earlier post on the upcoming EOS-7D Mk II specs. I hope the camera will come with 2 memory card slots and the GPS and WiFi will not be part of the features, especially in light of the vulnerability of WiFi enabled cameras. See my post on this subject. It is not unusual for Canon to have different prototype models for field testing. More rumors and information should leak out as the launch date for the much anticipated replacement to the EOS-7D camera approaches.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Zoom Lens

Sigma has announced their 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM lens today. This is the world’s first lens that offers a fixed f/1.8 aperture throughout its zoom range. The fixed f/1.8 aperture breaks new ground in the camera lens industry, as the zoom lenses of Canon and Nikon top out at f/2.8. This Sigma lens offers more than a stop of extra light. Read the Sigma official announcement on their website, see sample images here and read a review of the lens here.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Key Specifications :

  • 18 - 35mm, 29 - 56mm equivalent on Canon APS-C cameras
  • Constant f/1.8 aperture – f/16 minimum
  • 9 rounded diaphragm blades
  • 17 elements in 12 groups
  • Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass
  • A – Art series lens
  • 72mm filter thread
  • Internal focusing and zooming
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • AF/MF switch on side
  • 28cm closest focus distance
  • 1:4.3 maximum magnification ratio
  • Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • 78x121mm (diameter x length)
  • 810g or 28.6 ounces

Canon EOS-5D Mk III Firmware on April 30, 2013

New Firmware Update For Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera is coming on April 30, 2013 and provides uncompressed HDMI output support and improved AF performance

LAKE SUCCESS, 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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Canon EOS-5D, EOS-6D, EF 24-105mm f/4 Deals

Three great deals can be found on eBay now. Two full frame DSLR cameras, the Canon EOS-5D Mk III and the EOS-6D can be purchased for $2,812 and $1,700 respectively, from the same top-rated seller. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens is selling for $740. All deals include free shipping within the United States.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Canon EOS-1D X factory refurbished $5,439

The Canon EOS-1D X camera, my pick for the best DSLR camera on the market is a bit more affordable today. Canon is selling refurbished models for $5,439. The list price is $6,799. Hurry, I can guarantee you the supply WILL NOT last.

You can read my review of the camera here and read my post on buying factory refurbished equipment. Visit my website to see photos taken from recent photo shoots with this amazing camera.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X in Autumn

The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X is finally here! Read my latest post on the official announcement.

The recently concluded NAB Show in Las Vegas, Nevada shed a bit of light on new Canon products and announcements coming up later this year. Chuck Westfall from Canon was doing video interviews and talking 'freely' about Canon and features on their new cameras and video products.

The long awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Super Telephoto lens also made an appearance. Apparently Canon has concluded their design on this lens and the finalized test versions are being manufactured right now before mass production begins. The expected launch date is late Summer to early Autumn of 2013.

This is a big and rather heavy lens and the list price is expected to be over US $10,000. Read my earlier post and see the hands-on review of this pre-production lens in action.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Canon EOS-70D Expected Specifications

Canon is expected to announce the EOS-70D camera on April 23, 2013. It may be powered by the DIGIC 6 processor, although I would not be shocked if it turns out to be the DIGIC 5 instead. There may be a new EF lens accompanying the camera's introduction. Check back for more updated information as they become available.

EOS-70D expected major specifications :

  • 18 MP sensor, similar to the one in EOS Rebel SL1
  • All-cross type 19-points AF system
  • 6 - 7 fps burst rate
  • Single SD card slot
  • 3.2 inch LCD screen
  • ISO 100 - 25600 expanded
  • Powered by the DIGIC 5 or 6 processor
  • 1080p HD video capture
  • Capacity touch screen, similar to the EOS Rebel T5i and SL1
  • Creative filters with Live Preview
  • Some WiFi capability, similar to EOS-6D
  • Magnesium alloy body with added weather sealing 
  • US list price - $1,199 body only

Canon EOS Rebel T5i/700D camera is here

Canon EOS Rebel T5i/700D with EF 18-55mm IS STM lens

Canon announced the new EOS Rebel T5i/700D camera last month and now they are in stock and available for immediate shipment. You can read my earlier post on whether it is worth the upgrade from the EOS Rebel T3i or T4i. See my other post and download the Instruction Manual here.

Canon EOS-7D DSLR camera for $999

Canon EOS-7D camera with EF line of lenses

For a very limited time, the Canon EOS-7D camera is available from an online merchant located in Hong Kong for US $999. This is an excellent camera and has been my pick as the best camera value for the last three years. You can read my review of the camera here. I have no reservation in recommending this DSLR body. Visit my website to see many travel and wildlife photos taken with this camera all over the world.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D Comparison

The world's smallest DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel SL1/100D is compared to two mirrorless cameras, the Olympus OM-D E-45 and the Panasonic DMC-GH2 by the Korean website DICAHUB. The tests also involved high ISO performance.

The Canon camera used was a pre-production model. You can see the images and read the translated article here. The Rebel SL1/100D is available for pre-order at your favorite camera store or online merchant now. The Instruction Manual is available for download and delivery should commence before the end of April, 2013.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Canon Patent - EF 400mm f/4L DO IS II Lens

Egami, the Japanese Photography Blog has discovered a new Canon patent on the EF 400mm DO lens. This is one of my favorite glass in Canon's EF lens lineup. You can read the original article in Japanese here. Check out my earlier post on Canon Lens Recommendation and visit my website to see many photos taken with the fantastic EF 400mm f/4L DO IS lens.

Patent Publication No. 2013-64858
  • 2013.4.11 Release Date
  • Filing date 2011.9.16

Example 1
  • Focal length f = 392.12mm
  • Fno. 4.12
  • Half angle of ω = 3.16 °
  • Image height Y = 21.64mm
  • 262.14mm length lens
  • BF 69.97mm
  • Two fluorite

Materials and anomalous partial dispersion DOE to use, reduce the chromatic aberration

Refractive power of the diffractive surface
  • Strong, but can reduce the chromatic aberration of the element itself, flare increases
  • The weaker, other optical element DOE play a role

Refractive optical unit
  • DOE anomalous partial dispersion and bonding materials
  • DOE aspherical surface on the opposite side of the

Vibration control

Inner Focus

Wildlife Photography - How to photograph Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds belong to the family of birds known as Trochilidae. They are among the smallest avians, most species measure about 3 to 5 inches in length and generally weigh between one to two tenth of an ounce. The smallest Hummer is the Bee Hummingbird and the largest is the South American Giant Hummingbird, which can weigh about an ounce. All Hummers can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings approximately 10 to 80 times per second, depending on the species, and they can fly between 20 to 30 mph, reaching over 60 mph in a dive. Hummingbirds have one of the fastest heart beats in the animal kingdom, with one species (Blue-throated) clocked at well over 1,000 beats per minute. They are also the only group of birds able to fly backwards. No one really knows how long Hummingbirds live in the wild but most experts agree the average life span is between 3 to 4 years. However, in captivity they can live well over 10 years.

There are over 300 different species of Hummingbirds. They are found only in The Americas, from southern Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, including the Caribbean. Their habitat range from the lowlands all the way up to the snow line at 16,000 feet in Ecuador. The area containing the most species is the subtropical zone of Central America, down to Columbia and Ecuador. 133 species can be found in Columbia alone and the United States has about 18 species. Like most birds, Hummers have virtually no sense of smell, they are attracted to their food source mostly by sight. Shrubs, vines and flowers like Coral Honeysuckle, Fuchsia, Texas Sage and Columbine are good sources of food for these voracious feeders. In addition to their intake of nectar, Hummers also feed on small insects to supplement their diet with protein.

Hummingbirds are known for their rainbow colors and the brilliant, iridescent plumage of the males make photographing them especially enjoyable and challenging. Many hotels, resorts and restaurants in Central America put out feeders to attract these birds and one can photograph them with little difficulty. Generally, I do not like to photograph Hummers on a feeder, except during migration season, when feeders are put out to give them extra food and replenishment. Staging elaborate props and multiple flashes to photograph Hummers never appeal to me. I like the challenge of finding and photographing them naturally.  Locating Hummers in the wild can be quite a challenge. They can easily camouflage themselves in trees and foliage. I follow my two 'Hummer rules' - Listen and Freeze. Most Hummers make sharp, chirping sounds. Train your ears to focus on these sounds and you can locate the general area. Then remain perfectly still. When you are motionless, small movements of the Hummingbird bobbing in and out of flowers and foliage will reveal its exact position. I am rather punctilious when it comes to Hummer photography. Only certain shots appeal to me, like freezing their wings in a fully swept back or forward position.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II , EOS-1D Mk IV and EOS-7D Mk II cameras plus the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II and EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lenses are the equipment for my work. Read my FAQs on camera and lens recommendation and see my equipment bag here. I photograph in the Aperture (AV) mode and set my camera to 1 stop above the maximum and an ISO speed of between 400 to 800, if the light is good. Generally, a shutter speed of at least 1/1250 second is required to obtain sharp, stop action shots.

The Drive Mode is set to maximum continuous burst, the faster the better. If the light is poor or fading, I will open the lens up to its maximum aperture and go all the way up to ISO 3200, in that order, if necessary. My AF points are set to the center if the bird is feeding in thick foliage and surrounding assist points turned on as well when the foliage is sparse. Focusing Priority takes precedent over shutter release or frame rates.  No point in getting blurry shots unless the subject is clearly in focus. Depending on where the majority of light is coming from, in relation to the bird, I would also adjust my Exposure Compensation to account for the reflection from the bright colorful gorgets. With the combination of bodies and lenses I bring, it affords me a good range of focal lengths, ranging from approximately 70mm to 900mm. Occasionally, I will use the 1.4X extender and extension tubes.

Usually I do not use a tripod because most Hummers in the wild tend not to stay in one place too long. When I do use one, the light weight, carbon fiber Slik Pro 634 CF and 824 CF work well for me. Freezing a Hummingbird in midair with its wings completely stretched out, in all its resplendent colors, is one of the most exhilarating photographic experiences. There are many birding tours offering to take photographers on a journey of their life time. Stick to one or two areas and do plenty of research before you go. National parks and official tourism sites of the countries you plan to visit offer many valuable information and tips for free.

Photographing Hummingbirds require a lot of patience, practice and luck. Click here to view some Hummingbirds photographs I have taken over the years. For more posts on photographing other wildlife, you will find African elephantsPolar bearsBengal tigersKiller whales and Blue whales adventures here. I have been The Wildlife Ho-tographer for 25 years using Canon gear. You can read my FAQs on equipment and see more of my work on You can also follow my travels on my Blog, Twitter , Instagram and Facebook.