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Friday, May 31, 2013

Canon EOS-1D X and EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x Lens

Humpback whale calf breaching in Maui, Hawaii

Dueling Canines - Polar Bears sizing each other up on the frozen tundra in Canada

I took delivery of the Canon EOS-1D X camera in August and have been using it as my main body for about 10 months now. Since then, the camera has accompanied me to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and all over Europe. It has operated in temperatures from about -25 to over 100 Fahrenheit and under all kinds of harsh field conditions. It is still impressing me every time I go out to take photos. You can read my original review here. 

Canon released their eagerly awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens (read my review) on May 14. I have taken delivery of this lens now. This is my photography dream to mate this lens with the EOS-1D X and EOS-1D Mk IV cameras. Both cameras have the latest firmwares installed and ready to go. Now is a good time to revisit these cameras and see how remarkable these machines can be.

You can take a look at my equipment bag and see what I bring on my photo shoots. My readers know by now I like to travel light and handhold my camera as much as possible. It gives me maximum flexibility and mobility but handholding the EOS-1D with the EF 200-400mm lens for anything longer than a very short period of time will be a challenge. I plan to use a super light, carbon fiber monopod or tripod and ball head.

I am not a big fan of using pods with wildlife photography because I like to get close to the action but will make an exception for this camera/lens combination. My first photo shoot will be in Svalbard (the high Arctic) for the Polar Bears. It will be interesting to see how the zoom capability of this new Super Telephoto lens comes into play on a bouncy zodiac. First, I plan to go out in the next few weeks and perfect my techniques with the new combo before going on any wildlife shoots. Then, I will write a few detailed reviews on the new lens and how it works with the EOS-1D X and Mk IV cameras. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Canon EOS-7D vs. EOS C100 Video Comparison

How does a $6,499 Canon EOS C100 Cinema Video camera compare with the $1,499 EOS-7D DSLR camera? They are very different machines with unique sensors. The above videos were captured using identical lens - Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM.

You decide for yourself but my money is with the EOS-7D. In fact, I have picked the 7D as the best value in digital photography three years in a row. You can read my review of the camera here. Canon is expected to release the EOS-7D Mk II some time this year. You can read my earlier post on this topic.

Canon EOS C300 Shoots Maserati Commercial

For Spanish photographer and filmmaker Mikel Prieto, a commission from Maserati to produce a two-minute film and a set of still images for its new GranCabrio Sport and GranCabrio MC cars was to put him and his Cinema EOS C300 to the ultimate test. CPN writer Pablo Carballo finds out more . . . .

Mikel Prieto had heard a lot about the EOS C300 but had never actually used one before the Maserati shoot. “When we got the job with Maserati the C300 hadn’t been out long, so we were eager to work with it, to check its quality, to find out more about the much-talked gamma curve and so on,” he recalls. Its performance left him more than happy. “The resulting quality was stunning,” he reveals . . . .

Click here to read the entire article from Canon Professional Network Europe.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Canon EOS-5D Mk III RAW Video Tests

A couple of weeks ago, I reported the guys from Magic Lantern was able to record RAW video using the Canon EOS-5D Mk III camera. You can read the earlier article here. Now another video test from Dustin Tolman. The result speaks for itself.

Eventually, if Magic Lantern is able to crack the entire Canon firmware and offer a usable version, some will be tempted to download the unauthorized software on their EOS-5D Mk III camera. Interesting to see how Canon will react to this and how the pricing of the EOS-1D C camera with its 4K capability may be affected.

DxOMark Tests Canon EF 500mm f/4L II and EF 600mm f/4L II lens

DxOMark has tested and published the results on the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II and EF 600mm f/4L IS II lenses and found them to be very good. Although the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II are 'sharper' on paper, suffice to say the Series II lenses are great but the burning question for the current Series I owners - is the incremental improvement worth the expensive upgrade? You can read the DxO article on their website.

For anyone thinking of owning the latest Super Telephoto lens and has the money, it is a no-brainer but for those with limited funds, a well maintained Series I version is a tempting alternative. I am waiting for my EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens to arrive. Although a very expensive lens, its unique zoom and built-in extender makes it worthwhile for me. I will put it through a series of wildlife photo shoots as soon as possible and write a review on it. In the meantime, you can read my preview of the lens here.

Canon EOS Rebel T5i and SL1 Technical Reports

Canon Camera Museum has published a technical report on the EOS Rebel T5i and EOS SL1 cameras. These cameras are known as EOS Kiss X7i and X7 respectively in Japan. You can read the article on Canon's website. Although I am not a big fan of either camera, they give rather interesting background material to the development of the two models. For my money, I would buy the Rebel T4i and save some money instead.

Canon EOS-1D X Firmware Update Version 1.2.4

Canon has released a new Firmware for the EOS-1D X camera. You can download the software from Canon's website. The newest Version 1.2.4 incorporates the following functional improvements and fixes :

  • Improves the speed of the camera’s acquisition of focus when using a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
  • Reduces the time it takes to display the metering result on the LCD or Viewfinder when the meter has been activated.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which a “Caution 02” message is unnecessarily recorded in the camera status log.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which continuous shooting pauses when using a Canon Speedlite.
  • Fixes a phenomenon, when the Canon GP-E1 is attached, in which the GPS device settings are reset to default settings when the camera has been powered off.

Note :

  • This phenomenon occurs only with firmware Ver. 1.2.1.
  • After changing the GPS device settings, please be sure to power off the camera before removing the battery. This will ensure that the camera’s GPS device settings will be saved.

Firmware Version 1.2.4 is for cameras with firmware version 1.2.1 or earlier. If your camera’s firmware is already Version 1.2.4, it is not necessary to update the firmware. When updating your camera’s firmware, please review the instructions thoroughly before you update the firmware. The firmware update takes approximately seven minutes.

There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk IV camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Canon EOS-1D C Firmware Update 1.2.0

Canon Europe has released some information concerning the long expected firmware update for the EOS-1D C camera. The new Firmware will be known as Version 1.2.0 and is available now. Customers will be required to send their cameras to the Canon Service Center for the upgrade. The turnaround time should be about one week. This fuels the rumors again that the EOS-1D C ($11,999) is essentially the EOS-1D X ($6,799) with additional software. Well, actually it is not that simple but Canon is anxious to protect their software in light of Magic Lantern's recent crack of their EOS-5D Mk III camera firmware (earlier post). Click here to access the Canon Europe website and get more information.

Firmware version 1.2.0 incorporates the following improvements and fixes: 

  • Provides support for 25.00p (fps) video recording frame rate (PAL settings) at the camera’s maximum 4K resolution.
  • A function to disable the image size selection button has been added.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which a difference in exposure appears on every other shot when shooting continuously and the auto-lighting optimizer is turned on (on weak, standard or strong).
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which video recorded onto an external recorder sometimes becomes two-layered if it has been recorded through HDMI output.
  • The video frame rate now displays two additional decimal places, e.g. 24p -> 23.98p (fps).
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the on-screen guidance cannot be fully displayed when setting the maximum limit value for the “Auto ISO Range” option.
  • Corrects errors in the Portuguese language menu.

Canon EOS-1D Mk III Firmware Update Version 1.3.1

Canon EOS-1D Mk III camera

Canon has released a new Firmware update, Version 1.3.1 for the EOS-1D Mk III camera. Click here to get the download from their website. The new software does the following :

  • Enables the center AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with the EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x lens and an Extender, whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.

There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk IV camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D X camera as well. Click here for the post.

Canon EOS-1D Mk IV Firmware Update Version 1.1.3

Canon EOS-1D Mk IV camera

Canon has released a new Firmware update, Version 1.1.3 for the EOS-1D Mk IV camera. Click here to get the download from their website. The new software does the following :

  • Enables the center AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with the EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x lens and an Extender, whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which abnormal images may result when continuous shooting mode is enabled and the image size is set to “RAW” or “RAW+JPEG.

There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D X camera as well. Click here for the post.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III Firmware Update Version 1.2.2

Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III camera

Canon has released a new Firmware update, Version 1.2.2 for the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera. Click here to get the download from their website. The new software does the following :

  • Enables the center AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with the EF 200-400mm f/4L USM Extender 1.4x lens and an Extender, whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.

There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk IV camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D Mk III camera as well. Click here for the post.
There is a new Firmware for the EOS-1D X camera as well. Click here for the post.

Canon Celebrates Production Of 90 Million EF Lenses

MELVILLE, N.Y., May 29, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced its parent company, Canon Inc., has reached a new lens-manufacturing milestone with the production of its 90-millionth EF-series interchangeable lens for EOS cameras. Canon turned out its 90-millionth lens, an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM (released in September 2012), on May 23, 2013.

The production of interchangeable EF lenses for Canon EOS-series AF (autofocus) single-lens reflex film cameras began in 1987 at the Company's Utsunomiya Plant. Since that time, supported by a wide range of users, demand has steadily increased and production has expanded. Today, Canon produces EF lenses at four of the Company's manufacturing bases, including Canon Inc., Taiwan; Canon Opto (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.; and Oita Canon Inc. in southern Japan.

EF lens production surpassed the 10-million-unit mark in 1995, doubled to 20 million lenses in 2001, and went on to reach 30 million units in 2006 and 40 million units in 2008. Afterward, due to the rapid spread of EOS digital SLR cameras, production of EF lenses gained further momentum, crossing the 50-million-unit threshold in 2009, reaching 60 million units in January 2011, and hitting the 70-million-unit mark in October of the same year. In August 2012, lens production reached 80 million units and now, a little over nine months later, the company commemorates its latest manufacturing milestone of 90 million lenses.

Canon's proprietary EF lenses, launched in March 1987 along with the EOS SLR camera system, have continued to evolve since their introduction, leading the industry through the incorporation of a wide range of innovative technologies, including the Ultrasonic Motor (USM), Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, a multi-layered diffractive optical (DO) element, and Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) anti-reflection technology.

With the introduction in May this year of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x, super-telephoto zoom lens with a built-in 1.4x extender that makes possible a 200-560 mm focal length range, along with EF Cinema Lenses for digital cinematography, Canon's extensive EF lens-series lineup now comprises a total of 84 models.

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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Canon Patents New SuperZoom Lens

The Japanese Photography Blog, Egami has discovered two new Canon patents for super zoom lens. One lens, the 18-200mm is for APS-C cropped frame and the other, 28-200mm is for full frame cameras.

As usual, Canon has many designs and lenses in development all the time and these two may not come to fruition but a lighter 'L' lens with a 7 to 10x magnification would be welcome. The EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS lens is nice but too heavy for handholding over a long period of time. You can read the original article in Japanese here.

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x Has Arrived

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM extender 1.4x lens

My Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x lens has arrived. Click here to see the review. 

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens has arrived in North America. The Canon warehouse should start sending the lens out to the dealers who have placed their pre-orders in early. My equipment supplier has informed me they will be shipping the lens by early next week. You can read my preview of the lens here.

Canon EOS-50D Camera Shoots RAW Video

Remember the Canon EOS-50D from a few years ago and the guys from Magic Lantern who have been regularly 'hacking' into the firmwares of Canon cameras?

Please see my earlier post on this topic. This is not the first time these programmers have managed to gain access to Canon's firmwares. They have now done it for the EOS-50D and shot RAW videos with this 'ancient' camera. You can see the video below :

The programmers at Magic Lantern continue to tinker with Canon's firmwares so I wondered why they have not tried their hands on Canon's top-of-the-line EOS-1D series of cameras.

Apparently, Canon has made it clear and in no uncertain terms, they will bring legal action to the fullest extent of the law to enforce their legal rights if anyone attempts to manipulate the firmware of the EOS-1 cameras. However, loading third party software on your Canon camera may void the warranty. See my earlier post on this topic.

Below are the obtainable results with the current software on the EOS-50D camera :

Resolution and Performance at 24 fps

  • 1592×1062 – frame skipping after about 50 frames (67.7MB/s)
  • 1592×840 – frame skipping after about 480 frames (53.5MB/s)
  • 1592×720 – no frame skipping (44.3MB/s)
  • 1320×1062 – frame skipping after about 300 frames (56.1MB/s)
  • 1320×960 – frame skipping after about 1200 frames (50.7MB/s)
  • 1320×840 – no frame skipping (44.3MB/s)
  • 1280×1062 – frame skipping after about 250 frames (54.4 MB/s)
  • 1280×960 – no frame skipping (49.2MB/s)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Photography With Google Glass

Photography Can Be Hard Work

Weight Training for the 2016 Olympic Games

Mark Wallace from AdoramaTV presents 10 things one should know when working in a studio environment. Please watch the entire video because it has some humorous outtakes.

Does Canon Warranty Covers Third Party Firmware?

Recently, I reported the guys at Magic Lantern managed to 'crack' the Canon firmware code of the EOS-5D Mk III and recorded much higher resolution videos. Please see my earlier post on this topic. This is not the first time these programmers have done this. They have also done it for the EOS-50D and shot RAW videos with this 'ancient' camera. You can see the video below :

The programmers at Magic Lantern continue to tinker with Canon's firmwares so I wondered why they have not tried their hands on Canon's top-of-the-line EOS-1D series of cameras.

Apparently, Canon has made it clear and in no uncertain terms, they will bring legal action to the fullest extent of the law to enforce their legal rights if anyone attempts to manipulate the firmware of the EOS-1 cameras. The people at DIYPhotography wondered if a camera's warranty is voided when a third party firmware has been installed independently by the owner. According to DIY, the following reply came from Canon's Customer Service Department :

"We appreciate your continued correspondence regarding your EOS 5D Mark II.

There is no such thing as "voiding" the Canon warranty, there are simply repairs that are covered, and those that are not.

For instance, the repairs for a failure of the buttons on the back of the camera within the warranty period, on a camera that does not show any evidence of mishandling or misuse, would likely be covered. Repairs for a camera that is "bricked" or otherwise having issues directly related to using a third party firmware would not be covered.

Even if a camera had to have the main board replaced due to it being "bricked" by a third party firmware, and then at some point later (but still within the warranty period) the buttons malfunctioned, the same rules still apply. The prior repair would not disqualify the camera from future warranty repairs. If a problem happens within the first year of ownership, is due to the materials or workmanship in the camera, and our service center technicians determine that it is not due to abuse, misuse, modification, or other outside causes, it is covered by the warranty.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your questions about Canon cameras. Thank you for choosing Canon."

My advice is simple. Proceed at your own risk. Keep taking good photos and leave the firmware to programmers.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Canon Rebates On Selected Camera Kits

The new Canon discounts on the EOS-5D Mk III, EOS-6D and EOS-7D cameras plus kits will last through June 22. The savings are as follows :

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III body - discount $200 - $3,299 
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens - discount $200 - $3,899
  • Canon EOS 7D body - discount $200 - $1,299 
  • Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135mm IS lens - discount $200 - $1,599 
  • Canon EOS 7D with EF 28-135mm IS lens - discount $200 - $1,499 
  • Canon EOS 6D body $1899 - discount $100 - $1,899 
  • Canon EOS 6D with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens - discount $200 - $2,399 

 Read reviews on the following cameras - EOS-5D Mk III ; EOS-6D ; EOS-7D

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Canon AF Technology Coming In July?

The Canon EOS-70D camera is still expected to be announced some time in July. See my earlier post on this topic and remember the surprise that Canon may have installed for us in July, as reported by another one of my earlier post?

The word is this surprise maybe some sort of new advancement in Auto Focus technology, scheduled to appear in the EOS-70D camera. If true, this makes a whole lot of sense since the 70D is expected to be powered by the DIGIC 5 processor and have some sort of WiFi capability, similar to the one found in the EOS-6D. So there is really little to excite the photography world unless there is a 'surprise'. The recent release of the EOS Rebel T5i camera was a real sleeper because it is essentially a EOS Rebel T4i with a higher price tag.

To make the EOS-70D a real success, Canon must rely on something more than just marketing hype and come out with some meaningful new technology. Canon has a 'strange' method of introducing their new technologies. They put them into lower end cameras first before installing them on their top end products. For example, the recently released Canon PowerShot SX280 has the DIGIC 6 processor. Keeping checking back for the latest information. Hope to get more soon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

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

My Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x lens has arrived. Click here to read the review. 

My equipment supplier has informed me the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens should arrive in the next week or so. This is excellent news because I placed my pre-order as soon as it was available. In fact, it was after midnight, in the early morning of May 14, 2013.

Looks like I have caught the initial run and will be getting one of the earliest batches coming to North America. Just in time for me to get used to the lens before I go on a few overseas photo shoots starting July. For those who have placed their pre-orders very early, like myself, you should be getting your lens by late May or early June. Good luck. You can read my review of the lens here.

Canon USA Launches Pixma Comix On Facebook

MELVILLE, N.Y., May 23, 2013 - Starring in a comic strip isn't just for superheroes anymore. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the launch of Canon PIXMA Comix, an interactive new application found on the Canon U.S.A. Facebook page, that empowers fans to create fun, personalized photo comic strips to print and share with friends or share socially. Highlighting the Full HD Movie Print technology found in My Image Garden software, this application brings users' adventures to life.

Whether it is video of a friend surfing a giant wave, photos of a baby's first steps, or photos and video from the annual summer BBQ, Canon PIXMA Comix allows users to utilize up to six images to create a personalized comic strip. The images can be uploaded from photo albums or as stills pulled from an uploaded video stored on your computer or Facebook page. With creative options including comic strip templates, photo filters including fish-eye, toy camera and poster effects, various font styles, and the ability to select comic-style speech and sound effect bubbles where text can be added, the application provides the platform to create unique, personalized comics. After creating a comic, users will have the opportunity to print the final product to display and enjoy, or post and share within their social network.

"The Canon PIXMA Comix application enables photo and video enthusiasts to easily apply comic book styling to their images, and share their story," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. "We always strive to enhance the Canon consumer experience, and with this application, it's easy to get creative with a home printer by printing personalized comic strips to enjoy for years to come."

Canon's Full HD Movie Print technology allows users to select and print individual frames of a video, so every special moment - captured via camcorder or digital camera - can be enjoyed as an individual image.

For those who opt to print their comic through the application, Canon is offering a special promotion, which will be available through the Canon Direct Store.

To create a personalized comic strip, visit Canon PIXMA Comix at To learn more about the full line of Canon PIXMA printers, please visit

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Canon Patent For 3 Layer Foveon Sensor

Canon has received a patent for their 3 layer Foveon sensor technology. They have been working on it since 2011. Up to now, there was little movement or news about this new sensor but looks like they are still trying to make something out of it, eventually. You can read the original article from Egami here.

Patent description (Google translation) :

Patent Publication No. 2013-93553
  • Publication date 2013.5.16
  • Filing date 2011.10.4

Imaging element of three-layer structure
  • Photodiode deep layer (hereinafter, PD) in the charge is diffused into the substrate
  • Thus sensitivity is poor red

Canon patent
  • I as a photonic crystal of irregular shape, the boundary surface of the PD of red or green,
  • In the periodic structure of uneven spacing, less than twice the 1/4 times or more the wavelength of light, or I shall be two times or less 1/2 times or more
  • Irregular shape has the properties to be spatially-localized or resonant light
  • The incident light is diffracted, it combines with the light of the boundary plane, the resonant
  • Prolonged exists than normal, the light becomes easy to be absorbed by the PD Thus

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Canon EOS-70D Camera Coming In July?

The Canon EOS-70D camera has been spotted out on location with the Explorers of Light. These are a group of about 50 photographers Canon picked to be their ambassadors to showoff their products to enthusiasts and the photography public at large through seminars and exhibitions.

The price of the Canon EOS-60D cameras have been coming down and there is a move to reduce inventory worldwide. Marketing brochures and commercials are being prepared to make a big splash when the EOS-70D debuts, most probably in early summer, perhaps the month of July. You can read my earlier post on this topic.

Canon Rebel T5i vs. Nikon D5200

Canon EOS Cameras - The Sound Of Music

A video of burst shutter sounds from Canon EOS cameras. The 14 fps of the Canon EOS-1D X camera is a real hit and always a head-turner when used in a crowd. For those who can still remember film cameras and their motor drives, these shutter sounds are truly music to their ears. It is like listening to compact discs vs. vinyl records.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Flickr Launches New Design - 1 TB Free Storage

Yahoo announced today the company is acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 billion. On the same day, Flickr introduced a brand new redesign of its website. The photo sharing site has been upgraded in many ways. It is in desperate need of a new look and it has finally arrived.

To begin with, all users will now be offered one terabyte of free storage space. The previous limit for free accounts were 300MB of photos per month. The limit is off and users can upload as many photos and videos as long as they have space left, including long videos and very high resolution photos. For users who want to use Flickr free of ads, it will cost $50 a year and $500 a year buys an additional one terabyte of storage.

The brand new design Flickr has introduced puts photography at the heart of the user experience. It feels more like a portal for discovering new content. Friends’ latest uploads and photographs from other users are easily accessible. Photographs appear much larger on a new seamless layout. There is now space for a cover photo and a high resolution profile picture.

The remake is perhaps the result of Marissa Mayer, who was VP at Google for eleven years and now the CEO of Yahoo, the parent company of Flickr. The new look reminds one of Google+.
Below is a comparison of the old and new Flickr photostream pages :

Photo sets are now much larger, and there is room to add short comment and stories to the photo collections.There is also a new slideshow mode that features new transitions and face detection technology to highlight key elements of photographs in front of the viewers.

Flickr's recent iOS app upgrade was well received among photographers, and the company is investing a tremendous amount of engineering talent in making its mobile apps second to none. In a post on its blog announcing the new features, Flickr wrote the following :

"In the beginning, Flickr innovated the way people share and discover photos. Today, we are shifting the photo-sharing landscape again. We’re releasing a Flickr that’s more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere. A better Flickr is here. And not a moment too soon. With all of the power that you love, Flickr is now in it’s most beautiful form, and available to everyone."

Go check out the new Flickr look. I like it a bit but not entirely. You can visit my Flickr page and website as well to see many wildlife photos.

Your Brain Develops The Negative

Instructions :

  • Stare at the red dot on the woman’s nose for 30 seconds.
  • Look quickly at a plain surface, like a ceiling or blank wall.
  • Blink repeatedly and quickly.

Click here for the explanation. It is quite cool and you thought digital photography has taken over.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L Lens Review

The revolutionary Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Super Telephoto lens

My Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x lens has arrived. Click here to see the review. 

Canon announced the development of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens over two years ago. Ever since then, I have been longing for the release of this lens. When the official announcement finally came right after the midnight hour of May 13, 2013, I immediately placed my order even though the weight and price are higher than I have expected - 7.98 pounds and $11,799. My equipment supplier informed me I am in the top 5 of the waiting list and as soon as the first shipment arrives, the lens will be shipped out to me without delay.

I am a wildlife photographer and have been using Canon equipment for almost twenty five years. My subjects range from tiny Hummingbirds to Blue Whales, the largest animal on Planet Earth, ever. Over the decades, I have used and owned many 'L' series prime, zoom and Super Telephoto lenses. When the Series II versions of the Super Telephoto lenses came out in 2011, I refrained from upgrading until I have a chance to use the EF 200-400mm lens. Generally I am not overly excited by any new piece of Canon equipment, the EOS-1D X camera (see my review) was the last exception but this new lens carries all the promise of a zoom lens with a built-in extender, all packed into a Super Telephoto lens barrel. I cannot emphasis the advantages of having a top quality super telephoto zoom lens. For years, I have suffered through missed opportunity when using prime telephoto lens on wildlife. Once the animals come too close, there is a mad scramble to back up or try and grab another camera with a shorter focal length. Inevitably, I would end up missing crucial shots.

The EF 200-400mm is a large but manageable lens. It measures 5 inch in diameter and 14.4 inch in length without the lens hood. The front and rear lens elements are fluorine-coated to repel water, dust and dirt. When used with the Canon EOS-1D X camera, it will make cleaning much easier out in the field. It has a built-in 1.4x extender (see bulge in photo below) specifically designed for the lens and three IS modes, like all the other Series II Super Telephoto lenses. Mode 1 is for stationary subjects. Mode 2 is for panning subjects, like bird in flight. Mode 3 is available only on Series II super telephoto lenses. In Mode 3, IS sound can be detected when the shutter release is half-pressed, but the image is not stabilized until the precise moment when the shot is taken. When I use an IS equipped lens, I always leave the IS on and set to Mode 1. To be honest, most of the time, I find there is a difference without a distinction between Mode 1 and 2. After panning for so many fast moving wildlife shots over the years, I have developed a rather good technique for myself already.

Up to now, no Canon Super Telephoto lens comes in a zoom. Adding a built-in 1.4x extender and a fixed f/4 aperture over the entire zoom range is a game changer for me. By the way, the minimum focusing distance over the entire zoom range is only 6.6 feet. Although this lens is revolutionary for a 'L' design, Canon actually experimented with the  FDn 1200mm f/5.6 lens with a built-in 1.4x extender back in 1984 during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

To say the EF 200-400mm lens' zoom range is flexible is an understatement. In addition to the built-in 1.4x extender, the lens also accepts the EF 1.4x and 2.0x III extenders. This means it can have a possible zoom range of 200mm to 1,792mm, when used with a combination of full frame, APS-H and APS-C cameras. EOS-5D Mk III and the EOS-1 bodies will allow AF down to f/8. Auto-focusing with apertures smaller than f/8 is not possible but this lens is well designed for that with FTM (full time manual) focusing built-in. This immense focal length range encourages creativity and open up many possibilities for long lens photography.  

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my EF 200-400mm lens and have a few wildlife photo shoots coming up this summer, including Svalbard, Alaska and Africa. It should deliver photos with excellent image quality providing I have good luck with the wildlife sightings. You can follow my travels on FacebookTwitter, and Flickr and visit my website to see wildlife photos from my previous shoots around the world. Keep checking back for the hands-on review of this production lens once I have given it a good workout in the field.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Canon Patents - 500mm f/4, f/5.6 ; 600mm f/4 ; 800mm f/5.6

The Japanese photography blog, Egami has uncovered more Canon patents. This time they involve a 500mm f/4 and f/5.6 lens plus a 600mm f/4 and 800mm f/5.6 Diffractive Optics (DO) lens design. The patents seem to suggest an emphasis on weight reduction by rearranging the lens group inside the barrel. I have the Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS lens and it is one of my favorite lenses for wildlife photography. You can read the original article by visiting Egami's website.

Canon files thousands of patents a year. Many do not end up in a marketable product. They are the results of a massive research and development effort. The patents protect Canon's intellectual properties and prevent competitors from utilizing the same technology.

Patent Publication No. 2013-92575 

  • Publication date 2013.5.16
  • Filing date 2011.10.24

How to reduce the size of the large-aperture super telephoto lens (translated)

  • Effective diameter of the first group with the largest
  • I reduce the number of the first group
  • It is necessary to reduce aberration by increasing the number
  • Can not reduce the aberration and reduce the number
  • I increase a refractive power of the first group
  • The thickness of the lens increases, the effect of weight reduction is canceled
  • Impact of manufacturing error is large high refractive index

Canon Patent

  • The aspherical in the first group
  • Performing a variance of sensitivity was composed of opposite sign component of the first group, and also, prevent an increase in thickness
  • DOE is provided to correct chromatic aberration with a small number of lenses
  • Inner focus
  • Anti-shake

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Canon EOS-M new Camera and Lens coming

Canon EOS-M camera with 22mm f/2 STM lens

Remember the Canon EOS-M line of mirrorless cameras? Although this camera is not as successful as the Canon Rebel, EOS-5D and EOS-6D line of full frame cameras, Canon has not given up hope yet. Management realized the weakness of the EOS-M and is trying to remedy the situation, revive the entire line and give it another go.

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 to turn up some time in the summer, 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 couple of STM lenses, including a 18-135mm compact and a longer zoom. There is a chance a prime lens may also be introduced. Canon knows it is getting a lot of competition from the 4/3 and NEX cameras on the market and is trying to give the EOS-M a fighting chance to succeed.

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

Now that the eagerly awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens has been officially released, attention has again turned to Canon's other venerable lens, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS. This is one of my favorite zoom in Canon's  'L' lens lineup. You can read my review of this lens here.

Unfortunately, the lens is showing its age. Released in 1998, it quickly became a staple in my photography bag for wildlife photo shoots. The lens is perfect for mobility and handholding. Although not a fast lens, its versatility and great zoom range more than offset the other shortcomings. The replacement lens has been spotted out in field tests and may be slightly faster (f/4) on the short end (100mm). The current lens is one of Canon's best selling zooms and there may be plenty of inventory around the world. Some are suggesting Canon may be holding off the announcement to see how well the recently released EF 200-400mm sells or rather people may be holding off in hope of the new EF 100-400mm II.

I find that not to be a plausible scenario. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is an expensive ($11,799) niche lens. Not too many photographers will opt to buy this lens unless they have a specific need for it and have the funds to do so. I have placed an order for one because owning a Super Telephoto zoom lens with a built-in extender has always been a goal of mine. The EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens is also on my list because the two lenses serve very different purpose.

As my readers know, I prefer to travel light and handhold my equipment while on photo shoots. The EF 200-400mm lens will be on the tripod or monopod most of the time while the EF 100-400mm II lens will offer me unmatched mobility and versatility. Cannot wait to get my hands on this replacement lens. Nikon recently announced their 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S zoom lens to great excitement. Hopefully, Canon will respond and announce the EF 100-400mm II in the second half of this year. I expect the list price will be below $3,000, similar to the current EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS lens. The push/pull design will be replaced by a zoom ring. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Canon EOS-70D and EOS-7D Mk II cameras

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

Now that Canon has finally released the long awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4 lens, the attention has again turned to the upcoming APS-C cameras. The 70D is currently expected to be announced (see earlier post) some time in June or early July, 2013 followed by the 7D Mk II camera coming before the end of the year, although some rumors suggest it may be pushed back into early 2014. Read the earlier post here.

The EOS-7D Mk II camera has been spotted in test trials and the current model is over three years old. I have picked this camera to be the best value in DSLR photography three years in a row. You can read my review here. Some say Canon may be planning on a 'surprise' announcement in July. Since the EOS-70D is expected the be the next DSLR to be announced, any surprise should mean the EOS-7D Mk II. I cannot wait to try out the Mk II body with the new EF 200-400mm lens. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canon EOS-5D Mk III vs. BlackMagic Camera Video Comparison

A few days ago, I reported the programmers at Magic Lantern succeeded in recording 2K RAW video with the Canon EOS-5D Mk III. See my earlier post on this topic. The software in progress is not sanctioned by Canon but take a look at this video below and see how much better future videos from the 5D Mk III camera may become.

Canon C100 Cinema Camera Overview

Canon C100 Cinema Camera

The Canon EOS C100 Digital Video Camera is the latest addition to the Cinema EOS family in a smaller and lighter body. The camera sports the Super 35mm Canon CMOS Sensor and DIGIC DV III Image Processor of the more expensive C300 and records at 24Mbps using an AVCHD codec for easy integration in existing production workflows. Pair the powerful and portable EOS C100 with the full range of Canon EF, EF-S and EF Cinema lenses, from fish-eye to macro to super telephoto.

This Cinema Camera is extremely versatile and affordable. Take a look at this concise video highlighting all the features of the Canon C100. 

Canon Creates Video Camera X-series Look Picture Style

London, UK, 14 May 2013 – Canon today announces the release of a new in-camera Picture Style pre-set for its range of EOS DSLRs. Created following direct feedback from video enthusiasts, the new Picture Style, called Video Camera X–series-look, enables users to capture EOS Movie footage with lower contrast levels, allowing for easier colour grading during post production processes.

Similar to that available in Canon’s range of X-series camcorders, the new Picture Style works by lowering colour saturation levels and contrast during filming. This makes it ideal for videographers during post production grading processes, especially if complementing with pre-existing footage shot with Canon’s X-series models, or alternatively for those who instantly want to add atmosphere to Full HD movies. In addition, the new Picture Style can also be applied to still images captured in RAW or JPEG formats.

The new Picture Style software can be downloaded from Canon Europe's website.

Monday, May 13, 2013

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

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Super Telephoto Lens

My Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x lens has arrived. Click here to see the review. 

The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Super Telephoto Lens is finally here, after over two years in development and being spotted around the world on numerous field tests, including the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This is an amazingly versatile and flexible wildlife lens and I am very excited by this announcement. You can read about the technical details and see a preview of the lens. Pre-order is available now and I have placed one for myself already. Very limited quantities will be available before the end of June. The production version of this lens will be put through a few of my upcoming, vigorous wildlife photo shoots and I will write a detailed review on it as soon as possible.

London, UK, 14 May 2013 – Canon today adds a new category to its range of high-performance super-telephoto lenses, with the introduction of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x to Canon’s acclaimed L-series. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x features a flexible 200-400mm focal range with a fixed f/4 aperture, 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer and for the first time in a commercially available lens, a built-in 1.4x extender. These features combine to provide an outstandingly versatile lens for professional sports or wildlife photographers. A robust magnesium alloy design, environmental protection and specialised lens coatings also make it ideal for mobile use, combining with the finest quality optics to deliver exceptional results, even in the harshest conditions.

Get closer to the action with superior image quality

The reach of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x is boosted by its internal 1.4x extender, which is engaged or disengaged at the flick of a lever to provide an extended focal length of 280mm to 560mm – allowing photographers to get even closer to distant action. Ensuring the highest image performance, the optical design includes both fluorite and Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens elements, which help minimise chromatic aberration and eliminate colour blurring. Advanced anti-reflection SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Super Spectra Coating also reduce ghosting and flare. Thanks to the use of the latest optical technologies, image performance is unaffected when the integrated extender is used.

With a constant f/4 aperture the use of high shutter speeds to capture fast-paced action or a low-light scene is possible. A newly designed optical Image Stabilizer, which provides users with a four stop advantage, while IS ‘Mode 3’ applies image stabilisation only at the time of exposure – ensuring that photographers can pan with fast-paced action without IS overcompensating for movement. This feature is ideal for sports photographers, who typically have only a split-second to capture a subject in front of them.

Powerful, flexible focusing

The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X features Canon’s pioneering ring-type Ultrasonic Motor providing fast, silent autofocusing. For those who prefer to fine-tune focus themselves, full-time manual override allows photographers to manually focus at any moment when using AF. The Power Focus (PF) mode also increases versatility during movie shooting with the EOS-1D C or EOS-1D X, enabling photographers to achieve an accurate pull-focus effect at one of two speeds, simply by twisting the focus recall ring and stopping at a pre-set distance.

High-performance design for professional demands

Designed to answer professional demands for superior image quality and versatile zoom range, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x a boasts a premium-quality design befitting Canon’s industry-renowned L-series lenses.

The tough magnesium alloy chassis ensures that, despite the inclusion of the 1.4x extender, the lens is a similar weight to lenses of comparable focal length. Fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens elements also reduce the ability of dirt to cling to the lens surface, while a dust and water-resistant construction allows photographers to shoot in challenging weather conditions. The combination of outstanding optical performance, versatility, weight and tough construction will make it an essential part of any professional sports or wildlife photographer’s kitbag.

EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X key features :
  • Fixed f/4 aperture.
  • Built-in 1.4x extender.
  • Fluorite lens elements to correct chromatic aberrations, enabling high resolution and high contrast images.
  • SWC coating reduces ghosting caused by light bouncing back from the sensor.
  • Fluorine coating on lens surfaces to prevent dirt sticking to lens elements.
  • Four-stop Image Stabilizer for handheld shooting at slower shutter speeds; supports the use of the built-in extender.
  • IS Mode 3 suited to sports and action photography.
  • Ring-type USM with high-speed CPU for silent, high-speed AF.
  • 9-blade circular aperture for beautiful out of focus highlights (bokeh).
  • Full-time manual focusing.
  • 6.6 feet minimum focusing distance throughout zoom range.
  • Power Focus mode to increase versatility during movie shooting.
  • Durable and rugged lens construction, with magnesium alloy to reduce weight.
  • Highly resistant to dust and water for use in harsh conditions.
  • Security lock socket on tripod collar for wire-type security lock.
  • Dimension and weight - 5 inch x 14.4 inch ; 7.97 pounds
  • List Price - $11,799

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Announcement Imminent?

David Parry, Canon UK - Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X

My Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x lens has arrived. Click here to see the review. 

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. See a video on the lens and read my earlier post on this topic.

There are SO many speculation on this lens' official release date that I have stopped counting. Now rumors are coming again the lens may be officially announced before the the second half of the year. Frankly, I wish Canon will just come out and give an update on the progress of their development and provide some guidance on the expected future introduction. This is no way to manage and generate 'excitement' for an eagerly anticipated product.

How To Buy And Sell Photographic Equipment

Canon EF and EF-S line of primes, zooms and super telephoto lenses

An article on the Internet caught my eye recently, it says there is a new camera exchange website going up in Australia 'dedicated' to buying and selling used photographic equipment. I stopped and thought for a moment, is that what the world is lacking and needs, another online auction, eBay wannabe site?

The dirty truth is there is no dearth of websites offering new and used camera equipment for sale. In the old days, one would just go down to the local camera store and look at their inventory. Then there is usually a lower shelf, somewhere on the side of the display counter that holds the camera equipment that are used or on consignment. One can spend as much time as needed to get acquainted with new equipment or check the condition of used gear before buying. If it is new gear, the camera manufacturer will honor the warranty. If it it used equipment, they are generally sold as is but one can examine the offering and do one's due diligence on the spot.

Hard to believe the world of Consumer Digital Photography is only about 23 years old when the first camera was offered for sale by Dycam as the Logitech Fotoman in 1990. Canon announced its own digital camera, the D30 back in 2000. I still have my treasured Canon EOS-1 V film camera. Once in a while, I will take it out on a nice day and bring a few rolls of slide film to do some photography the old fashion way.  The photography industry is so technology driven now one can mistake it for the Computer or Smart Phone market these days. It seems every few months there is something 'faster and better' coming out to tempt consumers to trade up.

Now with the help of the Internet, one has access to a world wide inventory of new and used equipment but there is no way to check the merchandise. If one is buying new equipment, it is a rather straight forward deal, just make sure you find a reputable seller with the lowest price. In general, Canon prices have kept up with inflation but their high end cameras and lenses retain their value well so there is a robust market for used equipment. For those who want to trade up but not spend too much money chasing the latest technology, the refurbished and used equipment market is a good place to start.

However, when it comes to buying and selling used camera equipment, it is much more complicated. The danger here is buying from someone you don't know is a big risk on something that may not have an obvious flaw until you take the equipment out for a photo session. Is the seller providing a warranty? The original Canon EF lens warranty indicates that it is non-transferable. However, Canon's practice has been to honor an EF lens warranty if they are provided with a valid receipt from a Canon authorized dealer. So, you just may get warranty coverage on a Canon EF lens you purchase used if you have a valid receipt. Some commercial retailers provide their own used equipment warranty.

Is there a return policy if you are not satisfied with your purchase? Most commercial retailers do not allow returns on used Canon lenses if you changed your mind, but transactions with an individual depends on whatever is negotiated. And even then, a guarantee is only as good as the party honoring it. If one is the seller, all these questions will be posed to you from prospective buyers.

Over the years, I have sold and purchased used equipment. Personally, I buy new, top of the line gear as needed and take real good care of them. I am a Canon user and have sold Super Telephoto lenses, EOS-1 cameras and other gear to buyers in the US, Europe and the Middle East. I have also bought high end, lightly used equipment from individuals, but they are in my local area and I can examine the gear carefully before purchase.

Camera stores rarely have the used equipment I was looking for at a good price but surprisingly I found the answer right under my nose.  As it turns out, Canon USA runs a thriving Refurbished Equipment Store. These are cameras and lenses that retailers return to them with minor 'problems' or open box items.  They are generally indistinguishable from new equipment, carries a one year warranty from Canon and ships in factory packaging to the consumers.

The only drawback is their refurbished inventory is mostly consumer items. Once in a while, they do have professional equipment for sale but they get snapped up quickly. I have bought a few pieces of equipment from them over the years, including an EOS-1 camera that I used as backup equipment. They look just like new gear and performed flawlessly for me.  If there is any problem, Canon USA stands behind it with either an exchange or repair, whichever the customer prefers.

There are stores that sell refurbished Canon equipment as well but their prices are generally higher and they do not carry the factory warranty. I am not endorsing Canon's Refurbished Stores or any other company, just sharing my experience with selling and buying used and refurbished Canon equipment and saving some money while doing it. I have been a wildlife photographer for over a quarter of a century 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 , Facebook and Instagram.