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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bears In Hudson Bay, Day 4

Taking off in a helicopter on the tundra to look for Polar Bears

I am in Hudson Bay now. On the way up, I came across a Bald Eagle struggling to free its talons from a fish that was too heavy for it to lift out of the lake. The water was VERY cold and the poor eagle was struggling for its life trying to release the fish with little success. It may drown because of that and this is one of the biggest reason for BE deaths.

The weather is unseasonably mild right now but it was cold a few days ago. catching up with some friends and heading out to find Polar bears soon. Happy Halloween.

Canon EOS-5D Mk III Firmware 1.2.3 Available

EOS 5D Mark III Firmware Version 1.2.3

Firmware Version 1.2.3 incorporates the following improvements and fixes.

  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the flash may not fire depending on the timing of when the shutter button is pressed.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF microadjustment value may change.*
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the LCD monitor may show a line of false color along boundaries of high contrast.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the histogram of a LiveView image is incorrectly displayed when an HDMI cable is connected.
  • Enables the brightness of the camera’s LCD monitor to be adjusted even when an HDMI cable is connected.
  • * The phenomenon listed in 2 was addressed with Firmware Version 1.2.1, and has been further improved with Firmware Version 1.2.3.

Firmware Version 1.2.3 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.2.1. If the camera’s firmware is already Version 1.2.3, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

When updating the firmware of your camera, please first review the instructions thoroughly before you download the firmware.

Download Firmware here :

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wildlife Photography - Polar Bears In Hudson Bay

I am off to Hudson Bay for a Polar Bear photo shoot. This region of Canada has the most southern population of Polar Bears in the world and they are very vulnerable to climate change. Already the ice in the Bay has been melting earlier and freezing later for a number of years now. This has a detrimental effect on the Bears because they rely on solid ice to hunt seals. When the hunting season is shortened by the rise in temperature, they run the risk of expending more energy and travel much further to find their food.

Hoping to see more Snowy Owls and Gyr Falcons this time. The real icing on the cake will be coming across a nice Aurora Borealis but I am not counting on it. Spending another Halloween on the frozen tundra. Just the thought of 30+ knots winds and bone-chilling temperatures is scary enough for me. Should have intermittent access to the Internet but in the meantime, you can look at some photos from my past trips and I will try and stay in touch. Wish me luck.

Nikon Teaser Video On Upcoming Retro Full-Frame

Sony made quite a splash last week by announcing the mirrorless, full frame A7 and A7R cameras. Read the announcement here. Now there is rumor Nikon may release their retro-styled, hybrid camera to compete with the Sony' A7s. They even put out a teaser promo hinting that the camera will come soon.

The new camera is supposed to share the same sensor as the Nikon D4, 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, pentaprism viewfinder, Expeed 3 processor, 3.2-inch LCD screen, native ISO 100 - 12,800 and 5.5 fps.

The styling is said to resemble the vintage Nikon FM2 and may come with the F-Mount and accompanied by a 50mm f/1.8G lens. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Don't go there, Canon. Avoid the crowd and stick to your roots. I have been a Canon user for 25 years and you can read my recent observation and comment on the company here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Canon Professional Network Presents Inside Lightroom 5, Part 3

Canon Professional Network, Europe has published a three part series on Inside Lightroom 5 on how to Ranking and Select Images. The video is presented by Richard Curtis, a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK. Click on Part One , Part Two and Part 3 to view these videos on the CPN website.

The 15 minute Part Two video covers the following topic and include text :

  • Your Photo Import is complete – what’s next?
  • The Lightroom Filmstrip
  • Auto Advance
  • Two methods for selecting and choosing your pictures
  • Hide the Lightroom panels and hood
  • Full Screen mode
  • The Pick and UnPick method
  • The Star Rating system
  • Change the Filmstrip view to show just the selection
  • Survey mode

Canon EOS-7D Mk II Coming In March 2014?

The long awaited, long overdue, Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera may be announced by the first quarter of 2014. First, a recap. The current EOS-7D is over three years old and has been my pick as the best DSLR camera value on the market for years. You can read my review here but the camera's technology is getting old and its Achilles' heel is the mediocre high ISO performance. Read my earlier post on the EOS-7D Mk II here.

There are different prototypes of the EOS-7D Mk II out there and they have been spotted now and then. This is nothing unusual and Canon may not have finalized on which model to produce, including the exact specifications and the MP of the sensor. The EOS-7D Mk II will be the leader of the pack for Canon's APS-C lineup. It will borrow technologies from the unparalleled EOS-1D X, the EOS-6D and EOS-70D cameras.

Possible Specifications Of The EOS-7D Mk II camera :

  • 24 MP APS-C Sensor ( Too many, if true. I prefer 21 MP )
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ processors ( Excellent for speed processing )
  • 10 fps ( Most welcomed by me ) 
  • Dual Memory Card Slots ( One CF and one SD. I prefer 2 CF slots )
  • 61 AF Points ( Perhaps the same as the EOS-1D X )
  • 3.2″ LCD monitor ( Excellent for reviewing images )
  • Similar build quality as the EOS-5D Mk III with much better weather proofing
  • GPS and WiFi ( Not necessary, in my opinion ) 
  • ISO Performance may equal EOS-5D Mk III ( Most welcomed by me )
  • Plenty of latest video features borrowed from current Canon models
  • Selling price between $2,000 to $2,199. Not finalized yet

The current EOS-7D is my favorite wildlife camera when the action is far away but its modest high ISO performance limits the use to good lighting conditions. When the Mk II model arrives and has similar ISO performance to the EOS-5D Mk III and the EOS-1D X, it will really make me a happy photographer. If the new camera sells in the low $2,000s and comes with all the features mentioned above, it will again prove to be the best value in APS-C DSLR on the market. Visit my website to see many wildlife and travel photos taken with the EOS-7D from around the world. 

Canon Inc. Cuts Profit And Sales Forecasts

I have been a wildlife photographer and Canon user for 25 years and recently made some observations on the firm. The company that started in an apartment in the Tokyo district of Roppongi in 1933, cuts its annual sales target for single single-lens-reflex models to 8 million from 9 million. Canon kept its target for compact cameras at 14 million units.

The world’s largest camera maker is singing the blues again. It predicted the first drop in sales of DSLR models as consumers switch to smartphones to take photos. Smartphones are eating into digital camera sales as companies such as Apple Inc. and Sony Corp. release new handsets with stronger built-in lenses and sensors to lure shoppers. The value of worldwide camera shipments dropped 19 percent in August from a year earlier, a ninth consecutive monthly decline, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo.

Annual net income will probably drop to 240 billion Yen for the year ending December, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday, another drop from its earlier forecast of 260 billion Yen. The company also reduced its estimate for operating profit to 360 billion yen for the year, from 380 billion yen, predicted three months ago. Annual sales will be 3.75 trillion, down from an earlier projection of 3.85 trillion. The impact of lower camera sales is being cushioned partly by cost reductions at Canon and a weaker Japanese Yen. The lower currency boosts the repatriated value of Japanese exporters’ overseas earnings.

On the brighter side of things, Canon is still a very profitable company. It ranks 35th on a global list of 100 best companies. Nikon is not even on the list. The company has definitely come to a fork in the corporate road. They must decide whether to follow the crowd and aim for the 'lowest common denominator' and continue to discount their products. The alternative is adhere to superior technology and design, accompanied by small price adjustments and maintain its profitability. I am a keen follower and observer of this company. Keep checking back for the latest news and information.

Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS Lens Available For Pre-Order

Sigma Announces the 24-105mm f/4 DG OS Lens 

The new lens is priced at $899 and available for pre-order from your camera store. Access the full power of your camera’s image sensor. This new zoom fulfills Sigma’s uncompromising pursuit of high resolution.

The image sensors of digital SLR cameras continue to offer higher and higher resolution, and photographers are looking for high-performance lenses that leverage these sensors’ full power. In the case of zoom lenses as well, which are a dependable go-to in a wide variety of photographic conditions, photographers want convenience combined with exceptional optical performance. The new SIGMA 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM zoom lens more than fulfills these requirements, offering exceptionally stable high resolution from wide-angle to medium telephoto photography.

While featuring a large-aperture 82mm filter size, this lens minimizes optical aberrations and avoids reduced peripheral brightness, an issue that tends to affect lenses with similar specifications. Each lens is checked with Sigma’s proprietary A1 MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system to ensure it offers exceptional quality for the high-megapixel era. Try this new high-performance zoom for yourself, and experience Sigma’s uncompromising pursuit of high resolution.

The full realization of the Art product concept for you to hold in your own hands and appreciate with your own eyes.

Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and tremendous expressive power, our new Art line of lenses delivers top-level image quality. With unsurpassed expressive performance, these lenses reach the high standards demanded by photographers with an artistic, creative inclination. Along with landscapes, portraits, still-life, close-up and casual snaps, they’re perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture, starry skies, underwater shots and many other scenes. Hold it in your own hands and appreciate it with your own eyes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Canon And Ron Howard Launch "Project Imaginat10n" Film Festival

MELVILLE, N.Y., October 24, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, and two-time Academy Award winner Ron Howard, are officially launching the "Project Imaginat10n" Film Festival, which will kick off with the global premiere of ten short films at Lincoln Center in New York City today. Following the premiere, screenings will be held in Los Angeles, CA hosted by Bryce Dallas Howard, the first graduating director of Canon's Project Imagin8ion as well as in Brooklyn, NY hosted by James Murphy, a celebrity director for Project Imaginat10n. Yahoo Screen will continue celebrating the Film Festival from October 25, 2013 through the end of the year where consumers can view each of the 10 films.

Proving Ron Howard's words "we're all creative," five innovative celebrities took to the director's chair - Jamie Foxx (Academy Award winner), Eva Longoria (Golden Globe nominated and SAG Award winning actress), Georgina Chapman (designer and co-founder of Marchesa), James Murphy (founder of LCD SOUNDSYSTEM) and Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter). The project launched with a photo contest, inviting the masses to interpret 10 storytelling themes through photography. After receiving thousands of submissions, 91 winning photos were announced. Then, the directors each chose nine photos, one from each theme, to inspire their films. A 10th photo in the Discovery theme, selected by Ron Howard, was utilized in all films to create a common thread.

Canon gave consumers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their creativity and storytelling abilities by undertaking the same creative exercise-selecting photos from the same pool as the celebrity directors to inspire short films. With hundreds of user generated films submitted, Ron Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard selected five winning films.

"I am so proud to be part of this creative journey with Canon, the impetus to ten inspiring, brave and audacious films that are a testament to the power of the imagination," said Ron Howard.

"From inviting the masses to submit photographs to shape the creative direction of a film to then challenging consumers to direct their own short films, Project Imaginat10n has been a user generated project from start to finish," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. "In an effort to continue our collaboration with the community, we are pleased to take the concept of a film festival to a new level, asking consumers to watch the films side-by-side online."

"A Ron Howard Presentation" consists of 10 films including :

  • Jamie Foxx, Celebrity Director - "...And She Was My Eve"
  • Eva Longoria, Celebrity Director - "Out of the Blue"
  • Georgina Chapman, Celebrity Director - "A Dream of Flying"
  • James Murphy, Celebrity Director - "Little Duck"
  • Biz Stone, Celebrity Director - "Evermore"
  • Arrius Sorbonne, Winning Director - "Dominus"
  • Jared Nelson, Winning Director - "Chucked"
  • Julian Higgins, Winning Director - "Here and Now"
  • Kalman Apple, Winning Director - "A Day in the Country"
  • Ronnie Allman, Winning Director - "Filter"

To take part in Canon's Project Imaginat10n, the first film festival inspired by user-submitted photographs, consumers can visit:

Freestyle Picture Company produced the five celebrity director films as well as Bryce Dallas Howard's short film when you find me as part of Canon's Project Imagin8ion. Francesca Silvestri and Kevin Chinoy of Freestyle have a track record of shepherding first time directors.

Grey New York, Canon's agency partner for over thirty years, developed the creative and digital elements of the multi-phase campaign. Grey Activation and Public Relations managed the talent partnerships as well as the promotional, event and public relations efforts.

For the latest news and announcements related to Project Imaginat10n follow @CanonUSAImaging on Twitter and join the conversation with #CanonPI10.

Image Of Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II?

For heaven's sake, Canon. Hurry up and release the new lens. People are getting desperate
 and mistaking a different lens (top photo) as the possible new model. 

Now that the eagerly awaited  EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 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 own the Super Telephoto zoom lens with a built-in extender now but 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 before the first half of 2014. 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 may be replaced by a zoom ring. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Canon USA At PhotoPlus Expo 2013

MELVILLE, N.Y., October 23, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, will demonstrate its latest digital camera and printer lineup as well as the recently announced firmware upgrade to the Canon EOS-1D X DSLR camera at PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, October 24 – 26, 2013 in Booth #121. Visitors to the Canon booth can learn about the latest upgrades to be available for the EOS-1D X camera via firmware*, which provides professional photographers with more control and speed so rapidly changing action can be captured with greater ease. Attendees can experience first-hand Canon’s Cinema EOS System, the Company’s latest DSLR cameras including the EOS 70D featuring the revolutionary new Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, the full line of EF lenses, professional and consumer camcorders, PowerShot cameras as well as the PIXMA PRO series of professional inkjet printers and the new PIXMA Printing Solutions (PPS) platform.

Canon will also host an in-booth speaker series featuring live appearances by professional photographers and videographers who will discuss and demonstrate their personal expertise during presentations and live photo shoots including a unique demonstration by professional photographer John Huba who will be shooting live with the EOS-1D C camera. This demonstration will showcase both 4K video and still image extraction from a professional fashion shoot. The in-booth speaker series, which is open to all attendees, will take place on the Live Learning Stage throughout the duration of PhotoPlus Expo. In addition to the live speaker series, the booth will feature a gallery of Canon’s Explorer of Light images printed on imagePROGRAF and PIXMA Pro series printers. Also, a set of images from the Canon New York and Chicago City Senses Events will be shown, intended to inspire exploration of the human senses.

Canon Solutions on Display

As part of Canon’s 2013 PhotoPlus Expo exhibit, several interactive demonstrations will take place showing the various connectivity and collaborative solutions made possible through the Company’s latest imaging technologies. Part of the solutions exhibit will be a wireless demonstration showing the social sharing and wireless printing capabilities of the latest Canon consumer products, a cloud demonstration highlighting the PPS platform, as well as a low-light demonstration and DSLR motion capture.

Canon Theater at PhotoPlus Expo

Visitors to the Canon booth will have the opportunity to view select scenes and footage from various works shot on Canon equipment ranging from the popular Cinema EOS line down through Canon’s DSLR and professional camcorder models. In addition to this content, on Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th the theater will also feature select films and behind-the-scenes footage from the Canon’s “Project Imaginat10n” Film Festival. Canon U.S.A., Inc. partnered with two-time Academy Award(r) winner Ron Howard for the “Project Imaginat10n” Film Festival, which will kick off with the global premiere of ten short films at Lincoln Center in New York City on October 24, 2013. For more information visit:

Canon CPS Lounge

Canon Professional Services will once again host the CPS Lounge where Gold and Platinum CPS members who show their CPS membership card can have their Canon equipment (up to two pieces of equipment) cleaned and checked during Expo hours starting Wednesday, October 23rd through Saturday, October 26th in Room 2D02.

CPS Lounge Hours during PhotoPlus Expo 2013 :

10/23 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Pre-show day – Clean and Check only)
10/24 – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
10/25 – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
10/26 – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (equipment pick-up only)

This exclusive lounge area also provides members with a product showcase. Gold and Platinum CPS members can receive a free PIXMA PRO-1 and PIXMA PRO-100 print (limit one print), and a free imagePROGRAF Large Format Print (limit one print). In addition, anyone who signs up, upgrades, or renews for a Gold or Platinum CPS Membership in the CPS Lounge will receive an additional Free Clean & Check coupon to be used at a later date. A registration kiosk will be available in the CPS Lounge for new and existing members throughout the show.

Canon will also feature technicians directly in the Canon booth, performing CPS customer clean and checks. This area will highlight Canon’s new “Support Matters” advertising campaign featuring peer-to-peer testimonials about Canon’s Professional Service & Support from pro photographers and cinematographers. For more information on CPS, visit For more information on the “Support Matters” campaign visit:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Canon Shutter Actuation App For Mac Users

The Mac App Store is selling an App for $1.99 to check the shutter actuations for Canon DSLR cameras. The shutter count is read directly from a USB-connected camera, and provides a more accurate count than the EXIF based methods. Click here to download the App and visit the App Designer's website.

ShutterCount only analyzes the shutter count for still photos – not live views and video clips. The WiFi feature on the EOS-6D and EOS-70D must be turned off first before using the App.

The following cameras are supported :

Canon EOS-1D X
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EOS 6D
Canon EOS 7D
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1
Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5
Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i
Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i
Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50

The New Apple Tablet - iPad Air

Apple has just announced its latest tablet, called the iPad Air. It is 20% thinner, 28% lighter and features the 9.7-inch Retina display with 43% narrower side bezels.

The innards include the Apple-designed 64-bit A7 chip, the M7 motion co-processor, the improved FaceTime HD front camera, the five-megapixel iSight camera on the back, dual microphones for enhanced Siri reception, expanded LTE bands and the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking via two antennas to support MIMO (Multiple-In-Multiple-Out) technology with up to 300 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this new tablet and view my photos on it. You can look at some of my photos on my website -

Canon Rethinks Its Product Strategy - Part II

In the last week or so, Sony has released their A7 and A7R cameras and rumor has it Nikon will respond with their own announcement soon. The last few years, there has been a drive by a few manufacturers to offer retro-looking cameras and other technologies like the mirrorless camera and the micro four-thirds format, to name a few.

Some camera manufacturers have joined in on the game and try to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Canon has made a feeble attempt to join in this new trend and introduced their EOS-M camera last year with lackluster results. As a long time Canon user, I have offered some observations of the company on my Blog recently.

Perhaps, Canon is close to a major decision to go back to its roots and stay mainstream. There are indications the company will not follow the crowd into the retro 'craze' and stick to its core competency, namely making the best DSLR cameras and EF lenses. To that end, they are way behind in their meaningful, new product offerings. The EOS-7D Mk II camera and the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens should be released as soon as possible. The replacement to the EOS-1Ds Mk III camera, which was discontinued over two years ago, should be announced without further delay. It can come in the form of a major product development event or a new product announcement.

With the recent introduction of the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens, Canon is now current on the upgrade of their Super Telephoto Lens lineup. Their highest profit items are the EOS-1 cameras and high end EF lenses. This seems to be where Canon will concentrate their efforts in the foreseeable future. If true, I congratulate them on their belated decision. I have often lamented the technology fluff that has crept into the camera world in the last few years. It is time to get back to basics and make photography a fun and serious endeavor again. I have been a wildlife photographer and Canon user for 25 years. You can see my work here - 

Canon EOS-1D X New Firmware 2.0 Coming

The Canon EOS-1D X is scheduled for a major Firmware upgrade in January 2014. This is the best EOS-1 body to date and my pick as the top DSLR today. It will get even better after the upgrade. You can read my complete review of the camera here.

MELVILLE, N.Y., October 22, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announces improvements in the functionality and convenient operation of the EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera and the EOS-1D C Digital SLR Cinema camera through new firmware scheduled to be available starting in January 2014 and November 2013, respectively. Firmware enhancements for the EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera are designed to provide photographers with greater creative freedom and speed, especially in sectors such as sports, wedding, nature/wildlife, and journalism, which often contain rapidly changing action, sometimes in low-light environments. Service enhancements for the EOS-1D C Digital SLR Cinema camera improve lens performance, lens status display, metadata storage, and audio recording.

“Canon constantly strives to provide our customers with advanced and innovative technology in our products,” noted Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “We understand the daily life of photographers, we listen closely to what they have to say, and we use their feedback in our constant efforts to improve existing products and develop new ones. The latest Canon firmware for the flagship EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera provides better automation to help photographers fine-tune how the camera operates moment-by-moment so users can concentrate on creativity and success. Filmmakers have also requested improved functionality for the EOS-1D C Digital SLR Cinema camera, and its new update delivers.”

Improved Operability for the EOS-1D X

Developed as the ultimate Canon EOS camera, the EOS-1D X Digital SLR is designed with foresight that enables its performance to be periodically improved with new firmware upgrades, helping to ensure maximum long-term value for owners and users of the camera. These improvements are engineered to support and advance the evolving creative needs and business imperatives of professional photographers and committed high-end amateurs. The features provided by firmware version 2 are designed for more efficient automation that takes the task of changing settings away from the “heat of the moment” and enables photographers to concentrate on creativity and obtaining valuable shots. Firmware version 2 upgrades and operability additions include a total of 10 features that are now new or improved:

AF Performance with Moving Subjects – For greater creative control, additional parameters have been added to AI Servo 2nd Image Priority, enabling users to adjust these settings for more accurate AF performance according to the situation at hand. Photographers can fine-tune the balance between prioritizing focus versus the framing rate for the second and subsequent shots in a burst.

Enhanced AI Servo AF Performance in Low Light Conditions – The AI Servo focusing algorithm has been improved to allow more time for light sampling during AF activation prior to shutter release, enhancing AF performance in low-light situations. Additionally, initial AF control is now based on the new “+2 focus priority” setting of AI Servo 2nd Image Priority, which has higher distance measurement capabilities under low-light conditions. Upon full depression of the shutter button, settings from AI Servo 1st Image Priority take over and then settings from AI Servo 2nd Image Priority are applied on any subsequent images in the burst. This increases the probability that the first image in a burst sequence will be as sharp as possible.

Improved Acceleration/Deceleration Tracking Parameters – To improve tracking performance of fast-moving subjects that fill the frame, additional parameters for acceleration/deceleration tracking in AI Servo AF have been added to provide photographers with more precise control when photographing rapidly moving subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly or unexpectedly. In response to feedback from professional photographers, these new settings have been added to handle larger differences in speed (i.e., the rate of change in image magnification) compared to the previous firmware.

Selection of Initial AF Point While Shooting in 61-Point Auto Selection AF – This new option in the AF Menu provides more continuity when switching to 61-Point Auto Selection AF from any other AF Point Selection mode. The option maintains the AF point selected from the previous Selection mode as a starting point for 61-Point Auto Selection AF. It also maintains the ability to change to a pre-programmed AF point when changing the Selection mode. This time-saving option is designed to help eliminate the need to stop and think, and helps photographers to customize their individual shooting style.

AF Point Switching According to Camera Orientation – In addition to programming the EOS-1D X camera to automatically switch to a different AF point and area selection mode based on camera orientation, firmware version 2 adds the option of programming only the AF point according to camera orientation (horizontal, grip up and grip down). This new ability to select up to three different AF points according to camera orientation allows for greater customization of the camera to specific shooting styles.

Expanded Minimum Shutter Speed in Auto ISO – In response to user feedback, this improved functionality in Auto ISO enables photographers to select a minimum shutter speed as high as 1/8000th of a second to freeze moving subjects.

Exposure Compensation in Auto ISO with Manual Mode Set – This new function enables photographers to manually set a desired shutter speed and aperture, use Auto ISO to control the exposure, and use Exposure Compensation to adjust the exposure for challenging lighting conditions (e.g., a very dark or very bright background). This new function can be activated through the Quick Control Dial or by using the Main Dial while pressing the SET button.

Toggling Between Alternate Camera Settings – EOS-1D X camera users can now toggle between three groups of camera settings instantly by pressing the shutter button, AE Lock button [*] or the AF-ON button. Selectable settings that can now be assigned to the AE Lock and AF-ON buttons via Custom Controls include :

  • Currently selected AF point vs. pre-registered AF point
  • AI Servo AF configuration sets (Case 1 through Case 6)
  • One-Shot AF vs. AI Servo AF
  • Currently selected drive mode vs. 14 fps Super High Speed drive mode

With these new options, photographers can reconfigure their EOS-1D X camera on the fly, while keeping their eye on the viewfinder to maintain concentration on the shot they are trying to get. For example, the camera could be set up for One-Shot AF and single shot drive mode on the shutter button, AI Servo AF in Case 1 with high-speed continuous drive mode on the AE Lock button, and AI Servo AF in Case 4 with super-high-speed 14 fps continuous drive mode on the AF-ON button.

Same Exposure for New Aperture in Manual Mode – This new firmware feature provides users with the ability to maintain consistent exposure levels in Manual mode when the aperture changes, for example when a photographer shoots at maximum aperture with a variable-aperture lens (such as the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM telephoto zoom) or when using a lens equipped with built-in extender (such as the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X). The feature gives users the option to have the camera adjust the shutter speed or the ISO to compensate for the aperture change.

Display Protected Images Only – Users can now page through protected images only via an option on the main dial. This feature already exists with rated images, and is an expansion of that capability.

Enhancements for the EOS-1D C

A versatile, self-contained 4K cinema camera as well as a robust still photography camera, the Canon EOS-1D C will also benefit from a new service update that further enhances the performance of this unique imaging device.

EF Lens Communication – The new service update for the EOS-1D C Digital SLR Cinema camera will enable Canon EF-mount Cinema lenses to store lens metadata in the video recorded by the camera. Furthermore, Canon EF-mount Cinema lenses will be supported by Peripheral Illumination and Chromatic Aberration Correction functions, helping to improve overall image quality.

Audio Recording – In response to user requests, audio on the EOS-1D C camera has also been enhanced. Currently audio recording is limited to a MIC input, but the forthcoming service update will permit selection of LINE or MIC input, allowing use of a wider variety of external audio sources.

New Firmware Release Schedules and Installation Procedures

Firmware version 2 for the EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera is scheduled to be posted on the Canon U.S.A. website in January 2014. Users will be able to download and install the new firmware on their own, or have it installed by an authorized Canon Factory Service Center. For more information please visit :

The update for the Canon EOS-1D C Digital SLR Cinema camera is scheduled to be available November 2013, and will be installed at no charge as a service upgrade that requires the camera to be sent to an authorized Canon Factory Service Center. For more information please visit :

Canon Camera Shutter Actuation Counts

Dave Dugdale of Learning DSLR Video has put out a helpful clip on how to find out the actuation counts of your Canon DSLR camera. First, you download the free software from It is only available for Windows based PCs. The following Canon DSLRs are supported : 1000D, 1100D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 7D, 5DMkII, 5DMkIII, 1DMkIV, 1DX.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Canon Patents - 12mm f/1.2, 6.7mm f/1.4, 3.6mm f/1.2

Egami, the Japanese Photography blog has uncovered new Canon patents. They are designed for smaller sensors and apparently use fiber optic plates to work around the curvature of the focal plane. Three focal lengths are identified : 12mm f/1.2 ; 6.7mm f/1.4 and 3.6mm f/1.2

It is important to point out Canon patents thousands of designs every year and the chances of any patent making it to the market is very small. You can read the original article in Japanese here.

Nikon To Announce Rival To Sony A7R Camera?

Sony made quite a splash last week by announcing the mirrorless, full frame A7 and A7R cameras. Read the announcement here. Now there is rumor Nikon may release their retro-styled, hybrid camera to compete with the Sony' A7s. The announcement date may coincide with the PhotoPlus Expo coming up in New York City this week.

The new camera is supposed to share the same sensor as the Nikon D4, 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, pentaprism viewfinder, Expeed 3 processor, 3.2-inch LCD screen, native ISO 100 - 12,800 and 5.5 fps.

The styling is said to resemble the vintage Nikon FM2 and may come with the F-Mount and accompanied by a 50mm f/1.8G lens. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Sigma Brings Safari Experience to PhotoPlus Expo 2013

RONKONKOMA, N.Y., Oct. 21, 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, will kick off the Sigma Safari Experience on Thursday, October 24, the first day of PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Visitors of Sigma’s PPE booth 537 this week will have an opportunity to test Sigma’s cameras and lenses as they photograph professional models who have been dramatically transformed with high-end makeup and styling to resemble safari animals. Sigma Pros Jennifer Rozenbaum, Kevin Ames and Lindsay Adler will be on hand to interact with shooters and teach live sessions from the Sigma Safari Experience area at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET each day of the show, Oct. 24, 25 and 26. These sessions cover lighting, posing and exposure, and will be live streamed to the Sigma website at

In addition to the hands-on testing and live tutorials, Sigma will offer show attendees and home viewers a chance to win several prizes through the event.

“This is our second year of offering a hands-on shooting experience in our booth and we are pleased to say that the models and level of engagement will be even better this year. Our Sigma Pros are eager to share their expertise and we’re really excited to be able to share the experience with audiences at the show and at home,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America.

Here are the schedules of the live streaming SigmaSafari tutorials :

Thursday, Oct. 24

11a.m. ET – Kevin Ames: “Long Lens – Close up!”
1 p.m. ET – Lindsay Adler: “Lighting for Mood”
3 p.m. ET – Jennifer Rozenbaum: “Posing to Flatter Every Woman”

Friday, Oct. 25

11 a.m. ET – Jennifer Rozenbaum: “Posing vs. Editing”
1 p.m. ET – Kevin Ames: “Making Bokeh”
3 p.m. ET – Lindsay Adler: “The One-Two Punch”

Saturday, Oct. 26

11 a.m. ET – Lindsay Adler: “Analyze to Get the Shot!”
1 p.m. ET – Jennifer Rozenbaum: “Posing Flow”
3 p.m. ET – Kevin Ames: “Exposing Exposure”
Win prizes at Sigma’s booth (or online) each day of the show:

SigmaSafari Sweeps : Two lucky Sigma fans – one at the show and one at home – will win a 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens each day of the show! Fans can enter for a chance to win by testing gear at the Sigma Safari Experience shooting station in the Sigma booth and by registering their email address online, during the live broadcasts.

Sigma will have more than 45 products on display at PPE this year. Stop by the booth to see the latest lenses from the Global Vision line, including the recently announced 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM and the 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | ART lenses. Sigma’s new USB Dock will also be available at the booth. To find out more about Sigma’s Safari Experience, please visit

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canon EF 100-400mm vs. EF 400mm Lens Comparison

Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS

Canon 400mm f/5.6L 

Canon makes two of my favorite wildlife lenses that are suited for hand holding as well as tripod mounted photography. As a general rule, I prefer to handhold my camera and lens so I can follow the wildlife action wherever it leads me without the hassle of lugging a tripod. These two lenses are great for handhold, wildlife photography and their built is solid and first class. Sadly, both lenses are showing their age, the 400mm and 100-400mm were introduced in 1993 and 1998 respectively. There are rumors a Series II version with IS may be coming out for the 400mm but my bet is the 100-400mm will receive the upgrade first. Read my latest post on this topic. For the ultimate wildlife lens when used with a tripod, look not further than the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens.

First, let us review the main specifications of these two lenses.

Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS

  • Dimension without hood - 3.6 x 7.4 inch, weighs 48 oz. and uses a 77mm filter.
  • Variable aperture and focal length with a push / pull mechanism, 8-blade aperture.
  • 2 modes of Image Stabilization giving a 2 stop advantage.
  • Minimum focusing distance - 5.9 feet.  
  • Compatible with Canon EF 1.4x and 2.0x extenders.
  • Lens first introduced in 1998. List price is $1,699

Canon 400mm f/5.6L

  • Dimension without hood - 3.5 x 10.1 inch, weighs 44.1 oz. and uses a 77mm filter.
  • Fixed aperture and focal length with built-in lens hood, no IS compensation, 8 blade aperture.
  • Minimum focusing distance - 11.5 feet.
  • Compatible with Canon EF 1.4x and 2.0x extenders.
  • Lens first introduced in 1993. List price is $1,339

When I go on photo shoots, the question I have been asked many times is, which is a better wildlife lens and how do they stack up against each other.  Being a zoom lens, the 100-400mm lens is a tiny bit soft in the middle when used with the aperture wide open and in the shorter focal length. The sharpness improves with the lens extended and aperture stepped down.  The 400mm is an all around sharp lens. Both lenses focus reasonably fast for their aperture and offer decent bokeh. They actually have very similar performance and image quality it is really a toss up. But there are important differences as well.

The 100-400mm is a zoom lens with a MFD of less than 6 feet. This versatility cannot be minimized if one is out in the field chasing wildlife. The 2 stop IS system also comes in handy when photographing in less than ideal lighting conditions.  However, the push / pull mechanism of the 100-400mm zoom lens is cumbersome and the 400mm prime lens excels in focusing and that is not a small thing when photographing birds in flight. Both lenses' design are aging and the 400mm prime lens has no IS but personally, I think Image Stabilization is sometimes over rated. How can the camera really stabilize a moving image, like a BIF or breaching whale?

Both lenses are an integral part of my equipment lineup but if your budget forces you to pick one and you usually photograph wildlife and birds out in the open, pick the EF 400mm f/5.6L. If you travel into forest and jungle, zip around in zodiacs and small boats to photography wildlife, then the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS is a more versatile pick. However, the rumor is Canon may announce the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens with a zoom ring, instead of the push / pull mechanism some time in 2014.   This would be an ideal lens for me and combined with the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS.

Visit my website to see my equipment lineup and many exciting wildlife photos taken around the world with both lenses and subscribe to my Blog to keep up with the latest news and developments and follow my travels on Facebook .

Time Lapse Photography Of The American Wilderness

Last summer, Shane Black and two friends spent two months traveling across America, took some interesting photos and put them together in a time lapse video.  The following gear were used :

Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Canon EOS-5D Mark III
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8
Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS II
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Lee Filters
Manfrotto Tripods

The Nikon 14-24mm seems to be redundant for me and I would add the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye lens to the list. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Canon UK Sponsors Road Shows

CPS Roadshow 2013

The Canon Professional Services Roadshow has been designed to cover the entire Canon workflow from capture to output and all the steps in between.

There will be photo and video seminars, including live subjects to photograph, workshops and demonstrations. EOS, Cinema EOS, PIXMA Pro, Canon Speedlites, Projectors, Large Format printing and Canon software will be all covered and demonstrated.

Whether you are thinking of upgrading to the Cinema EOS range, wanting to get the best from your EOS-1 series camera or want to shoot timelapse or edit with our software, we will have something for you on the day.

The Canon Professional team will be on hand to answer your questions and any technical queries you may have. The roadshow takes place over 8 days at 4 different locations across the UK

Doors will open at 09.30am for tea and coffee. Demonstrations and seminars will commence from 10.00am.
A light sandwich lunch will be provided. Seminar sessions are bookable on the day and will run on a first come first served basis.

CPS Roadshow – Birmingham
For videographers and photographers.

Tuesday 22nd October – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 23rd October  – 10am – 4pm
CVP, Priory Mill
Castle Road
Studley, Warwickshire
B80 7AA

Adobe will be running seminars on Lightroom and Premiere Pro at this event.

CPS Roadshow – Manchester
For videographers and photographers.

Tuesday 29th October – 10am – 4pm
Wednesday 30th October – 10am – 4pm
Hire2 Studios, Blackett St
Manchester, M12 6AE

Adobe will be running seminars on Lightroom at this event.

CPS Roadshow – Glasgow
For videographers and photographers.

Monday 4th November – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 5th November – 10am – 4pm
IET Glasgow: Teacher Building
14 St Enoch Square
Glasgow, G1 4DB

CPS Roadshow – Reigate
For videographers and photographers.

Monday 11th November – 10am – 4pm
Tuesday 12th November – 10am – 4pm
Canon UK Ltd
Cockshot Hill
Reigate, RH2 8BF

Click on the link to Register for Roadshow of your choice.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Getting The Most From Canon EOS Utility Software

The EOS Solutions Disc comes with every Canon DSLR camera and contains a useful suite of tools. CPN writer George Cairns explores the disc’s EOS Utility application that, unlike third party software, is designed to work specifically with your Canon camera. The following is an excerpt from the Canon Professional Network website discussing the features of the software :

The EOS Utility application is fully compatible with all EOS DSLRs, right back to the EOS D30 from 2000. In this article we’ll take a look at how the Utility software can be used to import photographs and movies from your Canon DSLR and even control various camera settings remotely.

Depending on your camera model it will need to be connected to your computer by either USB or Firewire cable, through the camera’s WiFi mode (on the EOS 6D) or via WFT transmitter. If your camera doesn’t talk to your computer then you may need to ensure that the correct setting is selected in the camera’s communication menu; normally this will be set to ‘Normal’ or ‘PC connect’ (it's worth checking your user manual to be sure). Once the correct settings are made, launch the EOS Utility and switch on the camera. You will then be presented with the main window.

Downloading images

Manually downloading images from a memory card can be a slow and tedious process - selecting a location, creating folders, working out a naming scheme... the list goes on. The EOS Utility speeds up the importing and storing process and makes it more efficient. Click ‘Control Camera’ in the EOS Utility’s main window and the program provides two options for downloading files from the camera – it will download everything as a batch, or you can manually select which images or video clips to import. It will then automatically create and name folders for you to then store your imported photos and video clips.

Clicking on the ‘Starts to download images’ button downloads all the images and video clips on the camera’s memory card to your computer. By default, images are saved in your Mac or PC’s Pictures folder and sorted by date into sub folders. By default all JPEG images are opened in Digital Photo Professional after download, but you can set the application’s Linked Software preference to launch DPP after you’ve imported other formats such as .CRW or .CR2 format RAW files. After the batch download has been completed, the images will be displayed in the main window of Digital Photo Professional for you to then edit. You can also set the Linked Software preference menu to make EOS Utility launch alternative Canon applications such as ImageBrowser EX.

Perfect Preferences

The EOS Utility’s Preferences button enables you choose a different Destination Folder (such as one on a portable hard drive). This is useful, as your computer’s Pictures folder will soon get clogged up with high-resolution stills and video clips. You can also refine how an imported shot is labelled – in the drop down menu go to Destination Folder, click Customise and choose labelling criteria such as Shooting Date and Owner’s Name. This is a handy option if several photographers are shooting in the studio and downloading their images to the same computer.

Customise Preferences to name your files in more useful ways, such as including the camera owner’s name.
You can customise the Download Images Preferences to import all images on the card, images that have yet to be downloaded or even images whose print order settings were specified with the camera’s menu settings. You can also use Preferences to fine-tune the way EOS Utility works in Remote Shooting mode, such as getting it to sync with the camera when you start or stop Live View. We’ll talk more about the app’s powerful Remote Shooting options later.

Downloading all the images on the card can be convenient, as you can do other things while they import. You may save editing time – and hard drive storage space – by using the EOS Utility to select and download the best images to your computer (while leaving the unwanted shots on the card). The ‘Lets you select and download images’ button provides thumbnail previews of all the images on the camera’s memory card and allows you to tick boxes to indicate which shots should be downloaded.

A drop down filter menu at the top right of the EOS Utility enables you to fine-tune your import criteria. You can select all protected images from the camera, for example, or choose shots that you rated in-camera instead. Once you’ve selected the desired thumbnails you can choose to show only the selected images in the EOS Utility window.

After you’ve refined your image import selection, click Download. A dialogue box will appear, enabling you set the destination folder and the file naming convention. Click OK. A Quick Preview window will then show you a larger version of each photograph as it is downloaded from the camera into the relevant folder on your hard drive.

EOS cameras have increasingly sophisticated options for setting picture styles, white balance presets and other menu options. While it is possible to set all options in the camera menu, it’s often more convenient to work on the larger computer monitor and make the changes remotely using the EOS Utility. Take the task of assigning copyright details to your shots in-camera. It can be a time-consuming chore to use the camera’s cross keys to select a letter and then press Set to enter it. Even typing a name on an EOS 650D’s touch sensitive screen can be fiddly due to its relatively small size.

Once you’ve connected your camera to your computer, launch the EOS Utility software and go to the Camera Settings/Remote Shooting panel. After clicking the set-up menu icon you can then use your computer’s keyboard to input the Owner’s name and add Copyright details such as your website’s URL. This information will then be stored in the metadata of all the photographs that you capture in-camera.

Save time inputting information using the camera’s fiddly text input method and type into the EOS Utility’s Camera Settings menu using your keyboard. Your EOS DSLR’s Picture Styles feature provides a powerful way to enhance the look of your images. When working with JPEG files, the changes to colour, tone and sharpness are made ‘permanent’, but by shooting in RAW and opening the images in Digital Photo Professional (DPP), the look of the files can be edited. EOS Utility enables you to customise in-camera Picture Styles by clicking on the Shooting menu tab. 

You can then click on the Picture Style label and modify default styles such as Monochrome. This provides a quick and easy way to fine-tune the Monochrome Picture Style’s Contrast and Sharpness sliders, as well as changing filter effects to lighten or darken greyscale tones of specific colours in the original scene. This mimics the traditional technique of placing coloured filters over the lens when shooting in black and white.

EOS DSLRs such as the EOS 650D have a My Menu settings tab that stores your six favourite menu commands. The EOS Utility’s Camera Settings tab enables you to customise your My Menu command with ease, thanks to a handy list of all the menu options available. Don’t forget to hit the Apply to Camera button when you’ve customised My Menu. Other changes that you make to Picture Styles or copyright information will also be uploaded to your camera.

Customise the look of your EOS DSLR’s particular Picture Style from the comfort of the EOS Utility and send it to your camera. Choose your favourite six menu commands from a list of options so that they appear in your Canon’s My Menu settings screen.

Remote capture with Live View

One of the most useful and powerful functions of the EOS Utility is a feature which allows you to remotely control properties such as your camera’s aperture, shutter speed, ISO and shutter button from your computer. This is especially useful if you’re shooting in a studio and want to preview your tethered camera’s composition on a larger screen and control other camera settings from your Mac or PC.

Thanks to EOS DSLRs with Live View, you can click the EOS Utility’s Live View Shoot button and view the video feed in the Remote Live View window on your computer. You can use the Remote Live View window to make the camera focus on a particular object just by clicking on it with your cursor. The Remote Live View window even supports Face Detection and Tracking if your camera has those features. You can also remotely control White Balance settings, turn on a depth-of-field preview and use the Compose window’s tools to overlay a photo from your hard drive into the Live View scene to help with composition. There’s also a selection of aspect ratio overlays available to help you compose your shots, as well as the option to summon a handy Rule of Thirds grid.

You can also jump to Remote Movie Recording mode to record video via remote control and even take control of audio recording features such as sound levels. You can even activate a wind filter when shooting outdoors with your camera tethered to a laptop. When you’re happy with your sound levels, click the red recording button in the Remote Live View window to start EOS Movie recording.

If you want to capture a series of stills taken at precise intervals and then run them together as a timelapse sequence, you could spend money on a programmable remote control timer device. Alternatively, you can tether your camera to a laptop, fire up the free EOS Utility application and click the Remote Shooting label. A little stopwatch icon launches the Timer Shooting window and from here you can set your camera to shoot at regular intervals, from one shot every five seconds to a single shot every 99 minutes and 59 seconds. EOS Utility will record your series of shots straight into your Picture folder, so you don’t need to worry about the camera’s memory card filling up.

Once you’ve decided on a timer interval just click Start and let the application do the rest. You can then stitch the series of stills into a timelapse movie using software such as iMovie.

You can also use the Timer Shooting window to remote control the duration of your EOS DSLR’s Bulb exposure and capture moving lights from passing cars for example, or star trails in the night sky.


The EOS Utility’s Accessories tab enables you to launch other Canon apps such as the Picture Style Editor. This enables you to customise various default Picture Style settings. You can also use Accessories to launch the WFT Utility, which is used to set parameters for Wireless File Transfer. Once the chosen accessory application has been opened, EOS Utility shuts itself down.

Monitor Folder Function

Enhance your in-camera slideshows by copying music tracks to your camera via the EOS Utility.
The EOS Utility’s Monitor Folder option is designed to work with dedicated Canon Wireless Transmitters such as the WFT-E1, WFT-E2 and WFT-E3.

Background Music

If you want to enhance your in-camera slideshows with music, then click on the Register Background Music label in the EOS Utility’s Main Window. By default you’ll find five copyright-free tracks from the EOS Sample Music folder. You can click Add and browse to other audio files on your computer, too – just click on a track and then click the arrow icons to move it up or down in the playlist. When you’ve chosen a playlist, click Register to transfer the files to your connected camera’s memory card. You can then go to your camera’s Slideshow menu and turn Background music to On.

The entire article is located here on Canon's website.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Canon USA partners with Ron Howard on RUSH

MELVILLE, N.Y., October 17, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has expanded its relationship with two-time Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard for his recently released film from Universal Pictures, RUSH, which builds upon the imaginative ways that Canon products are used in Hollywood. RUSH hit theaters in Los Angeles and New York City on September 20, and it arrived across the country on September 27.

As a partner on RUSH, Canon's variety of cameras and lenses were utilized to film the epic action-drama. The Canon brand is also organically integrated throughout the film, which powerfully depicts Formula 1TM racing in the 1970s, when Canon was a sponsor of racetracks and the drivers. A number of Canon cameras were used in filming RUSH, including the Canon Cinema EOS C300 and Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera.

Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) teamed once again with two-time Academy Award-nominated writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) on RUSH, a spectacular big-screen re-creation of the merciless and legendary 1970s Formula 1TM rivalry between gifted English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth of The Avengers, Thor) and his disciplined Austrian opponent, Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl of Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum).

Engaging consumers further, Canon will launch RUSH: The Photo Contest, a two-week photography challenge on Canon's Facebook page, now live. Playing off the speed of the film, the user-generated photo contest asks participants to complete ten various photo-based challenges within specific time parameters (e.g., "You have one hour to shoot for the theme: Dedication. Go. Long Live the Rush.") Each photo challenge winner will win a $250 online store credit to be used at the Canon Online Store, and Ron Howard will select one Grand Prize Winner to receive a Canon EOS 70D EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Camera Kit. Please see for the Official Rules. The contest will live on

"When working on RUSH, it was a natural fit to partner with Canon as they enable creativity among all artists with their advanced camera and lens technology," said Howard.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sony Announces A7 and A7R - Mirrorless Full Frame Camera

Sony has just announced their mirrorless, full frame cameras - the A7 and A7R. I have placed my order for this innovative camera. Will do a complete review on it soon. When are you coming out of your present funk and react, Canon?

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 15, 2013 – Sony’s new A7 and A7R digital cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models 2.  Highly anticipated by professional photographers and imaging enthusiasts alike, the two new cameras offer an unmatched combination of creativity, customizability and portability.

The A7R model features a 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor – the highest resolution sensor in the history of Sony’s A line – with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail.  The A7 model boasts an impressive 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor and an innovative fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera is equipped with advanced imaging features including a powerful new  BIONZ® X processor; fast AF capabilities; a clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder, full HD 60p video recording, Wi-Fi® and NFC connection, dust-and moisture- resistance and more.

“With these new A7 camera systems, Sony has completely redefined the look and feel of a professional-grade digital camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics.  “The A7 and A7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera yet deliver image quality, power and performance that professionals and enthusiasts crave.”

Both cameras feature full customization and control to meet the needs of the most demanding photographers. There are 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial 3.  Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the high-contrast, 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder or the high-resolution tiltable 3” LCD screen.

The new cameras share a powerful new BIONZ X processor that accurately reproduces details in textures in real-time via extra high-speed processing capabilities, and allows for exceptional low noise performance in all types of lighting conditions.  Additionally, the powerful processor combined with the advanced, high resolution sensors allow both cameras to shoot pro-quality Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p @ 60p) with richly detailed colors and ultra-low noise.

Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count.  Other pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a “live” HDMI® output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The new cameras both have on-board Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for instant image sharing and transfer to compatible smartphones and tablets.  The A7R and A7 models can access Sony’s platform of PlayMemories™ Camera Apps, allowing users to add new effects, filters, utilities and more.  This platform includes new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app, which automatically combines sequential exposures into one creative shot, and ‘Smart Remote Control’ 4, which allows for direct control of exposure and shutter speed from a connected smartphone and is particularly useful for self-portraits or group shots 5.  Find out more at .

The new A7 and A7R cameras each have a tough, magnesium alloy build and are dust and moisture resistant for standing up to some of the toughest weather conditions.

A7R Camera

Designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts, the new A7R model is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera2.

It has an impressive 36.4 effective megapixel full frame sensor and no optical low pass filter, ensuring that the extraordinary resolving power is fully realized and resulting in an unprecedented level of detail and clarity in images.

The camera features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology that delivers blazingly quick, accurate autofocus.  Additionally, there are a total of three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.

A7 Camera

Offering an exciting entry into the world of full-frame photography, the A7 camera features an advanced 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with the powerful new BIONZ X processor.

The exciting new camera has an innovative Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus.  It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking, allowing it to keep pace with fast-moving athletes, wildlife or energetic children.

New Sony A Lenses and Accessories

There are a total of 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the powerful imaging capabilities of the A7R and A7 cameras, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T prime lenses and a premium-quality G Lens™ telephoto zoom.  Sony’s growing E-mount interchangeable lens lineup now consists of 21 different lenses including the new full-frame models.

In addition to the new lenses, there are also two new-generation mount adaptors that give photographers the ability to utilize full-frame Sony A-mount optics on the A7 and A7R cameras. The LA-EA3 adapter simply adds compatibility for existing A-mount lenses the new cameras, while the LA-EA4 model adds the ultra-fast focusing and shooting capabilities of Sony’s innovative Translucent Mirror Technology.

There is also a new vertical grip (VG-C1EM) that offers greater comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time.  A new BC-TRW compact external battery charger that quickly charges batteries and is great for travel, and FA-CS1M off camera shoe allows the use of external flashes (HVL-43M, 20M) in off-camera wired applications.   Additionally, the new LCS-ELCA premium soft leather carry case protects the A7 and A7R cameras from scuffs and marks while being carried.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony A7R and A7 full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will be available for purchase this December. The A7R camera will be offered as a body-only for about $2300.

The Sony A7 compact system camera will be offered with a 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens (model SEL2870) for about $2000. It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700.

The versatile new LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters will be available in December for about $200 and $350, respectively. The new VG-C1EM vertical grip and LCS-ELCA premium case will also be available in December for about $300 and $140, respectively.

Magic Lantern's New Web Page and FAQ

Magic Lantern has come out with a new webpage. The Canon cameras supported by a final release of their software (Version 2.3) are :

  • EOS-5D Mark II
  • EOS-50D
  • EOS-60D
  • EOS-500D
  • EOS-550D
  • EOS-600D

Support for other Canon cameras is in the work, you can download nightly builds or alpha releases A beta release for the EOS-M and EOS-70D will be available soon. The following cameras have an alpha release :

  • EOS-5D
  • EOS-5D Mk III
  • EOS-6D
  • EOS-7D
  • EOS-40D
  • EOS-100D
  • EOS-650D
  • EOS-700D
  • EOS-1100D
  • EOS-M

Be very careful if you plan to download these software. They are hacks and not supported by Canon. Use them at your own risk. Click here to access the ML website for more information.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Canon Professional Network Presents Inside Lightroom 5

Canon Professional Network, Europe has published a two part series on Inside Lightroom 5 on how to Ranking and Select Images. The video is presented by Richard Curtis, a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK. Click on Part One and Part Two to view these videos on the CPN website.

The 15 minute Part Two video covers the following topic and include text :

  • Your Photo Import is complete – what’s next?
  • The Lightroom Filmstrip
  • Auto Advance
  • Two methods for selecting and choosing your pictures
  • Hide the Lightroom panels and hood
  • Full Screen mode
  • The Pick and UnPick method
  • The Star Rating system
  • Change the Filmstrip view to show just the selection
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Canon PowerShot Camera - Limited Editions

Canon is testing Limited Edition PowerShot Cameras. Two limited edition Canon PowerShot S120 and PowerShot G16 cameras will be available for the collector. One can choose from 4 different colors (red/gold/silver/black) and engrave an anniversary, name and message with special accessories and packaging.

Advanced orders will begin on October 30, 2013 via the Canon eStore. Pricing for the cameras will be about $560 and $700, with limited quantities of 3,000 and 1,000 available for the S120 and G16 respectively.

Is this really what the photography market is waiting for and another proof Canon is in a funk? Read my earlier post on this topic.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Canon EOS-5D and C300 Cameras In Antarctica

In January 2013, mountaineer and filmmaker Alastair Lee joined a group on a unique mission in Antarctica to climb Ulvetanna’s north east ridge, one of the few significant rock features in the world yet to be surmounted by human beings. Shooting with a pair of Canon EOS C300 and EOS-5D Mk IIIs, he has produced a stunning documentary about the epic adventure called ‘The Last Great Climb’.  The following is an excerpt from the article in the CPN website.

"As a climber in 2013, most of the world has been explored," explains Lee. "So climbers are engaging in more contrived stuff now like speed climbing and base jumping, because the climbing has already been done. Ulvetanna’s north east ridge is one of the finest of all rock ridges at over a mile in length and hadn't ever been climbed until we got there. The stunning ridge is the longest, hardest line, and very appealing for a climber. The film is called 'The Last Great Climb' because its about setting yourself seemingly impossible challenges."

Lee interviewed Sir Chris Bonington, to provide the historical climbing context. "None of the 8000m peaks had been climbed in his day. His generation was lucky," Lee recalls.

A band of brothers

This was the third film Lee had made with the same team of climbers, so he could draw on their history together for the back story, too. "We did not have an idea what the film would be beforehand. The story is about what happened - how these guys climb a mountain," he explains. The documentary follows a fairly traditional route, using interviews to provide a build-up.

"There are lots of interesting things about this particular route to climb this mountain. It was a childhood dream for the guys involved. Ulvetanna is so expensive and difficult to get to, and only first explored in 1994 by a Norwegian expedition. So I went up to Norway to visit the climbers concerned and got some of their stories."

"The film tries to present something that is genuinely epic, but somehow done by a bunch of guys who are quite ordinary," argues Lee. "They're just having a laugh – they are keen amateurs besides Leo Houlding, who is a professional climber. This is one of the film's strengths. I'm always trying to bring specialist stories to a wider audience."

The shoot didn't encounter any particular surprises. "Nothing catastrophic happened and we succeeded. Nobody got frostbite, nothing got broken or left behind." But the subject matter has a huge amount of visual appeal, and this is where the abilities of Canon’s EOS C300 digital cinema camera really scored.

The Cinema EOS advantage

"The C300 was ideal for 'The Last Great Climb' for a couple of reasons," explains Lee. "We had to do stills as well as videos because of the way these things are funded – primarily by our sponsor, Berghaus. It's really valuable for them to have stills that they can use in marketing. It's hard enough shooting a film in a location like the Antarctic, but having a list of still shots to get as well makes it even more complicated! This trip had the best setup we've had - the C300 digital cinema cameras and two EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs - because they share the same lens mount and EF lenses."

Not for the faint hearted, or for vertigo sufferers. Alastair Lee films Leo Houlding on the side of Ulvetanna. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 28mm; the exposure was 1/30sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.
Lee took a selection of lenses for the video and stills cameras, all of which used the EF mount. The primary choice was between an EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and an EF50mm f/1.2L USM. "If I had to use just one lens I'd use the 50mm," explains Lee.

His kit bag also contained an EF14mm f/2.8L II USM and an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, providing a full range of wide angle to telephoto options. But the most unique lens in the arsenal was an EF600mm f/4L IS II USM, although this was exclusively used for distance shots by the second cameraman, Dave Reeves, who remained at ground level.

"The cliff was over a mile in length," explains Lee. "So the cameraman was up to a mile away from the climbers. Yet we still got super-sharp, clear pictures. The C300's sensor is a bit smaller than [full-frame] 35mm so makes the 600mm lens more like 850mm. It was a real asset, and brought a new dimension."

Shooting whilst mountaineering takes considerable dedication, however. "It's difficult climbing with all this kit round your neck!" Lee laughs. "It's very physical. Everything is handheld once you're on the cliff. It's inconvenient; it's very time consuming. But I put myself through that to achieve the end goal."

As well as reducing the number of lenses, the C300 is also smaller than camcorders Lee has used before. "Looking back I'd use the same again, it was brilliant. Miles lighter, great for generally carrying. The picture quality is amazing, no doubt about it. Power consumption is really good. Once you've got a fully charged battery, I was amazed how long it lasted."

The equipment used in the film was brought in by large transport aircraft. Here we see Alastair setting up a ‘crane’ which imparts a type of motion that alters the audience's perception of a subject, in this case the stunning mountain of Ulvetanna. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 16mm; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/2.8, ISO 100.

The extreme temperatures caused fewer problems than might have been expected. "Both the C300s and the EOS 5D Mark IIIs were fine. It's not really an issue now there are no moving parts," Lee argues. He had experimented before the Antarctic trip in Greenland. "It was brutal. We're not polar explorers, not used to extreme cold. I had an EOS 5D Mark II with me, and was really harsh with it to see where the limits were. I left it in a bag outside overnight. But it still turned on and worked straight away." The bigger enemy was moisture rather than cold, as it makes lenses mist up. "It's actually better to leave cameras outside in a bag, to avoid the change in temperature when moving from the warmer tent to frozen outdoors."

Whilst turning cameras on in the cold conditions didn't prove problematic, keeping them powered was. Lee took as many batteries as he could and shot accordingly, with 10 batteries for the C300 and 15 for the EOS 5D Mark IIIs. They did have a solar setup at base camp, which could charge five C300 batteries in five hours. But they couldn't charge them when on the mountain. "We needed to be more disciplined with batteries and memory," explains Lee. "But we actually came back with half the batteries still full, because we were quicker with the climb than we expected."

Light wasn't an issue, either. Although Antarctica was experiencing 24-hour daylight at the time of the shoot, Lee simply set the C300 at ISO 100. "It was so bright, with the snow, but we had really good weather. The C300's built-in neutral density filters were tremendously useful as well."

A logistical challenge

Despite the economy of shared stills and video lenses, bringing all the kit necessary for a shoot that was part of an Antarctic expedition called for some creative thinking. The team for the trip consisted of six people, with four climbers and two production crew, although Alastair had dual roles as climber and filmmaker. Their travel baggage allowance included a golf club bag each, so this was used to bring the jib, tent, and tripod. They had around 1,700kg of food, fuel, and other kit. But they had to bring the main camera kit in hand luggage, as flight cases could not be used.

The sheer scale of Ulvetanna’s challenge is shown very clearly in this image. Mountaineer Leo Houlding makes his ascent up the 2,930m granite peak in eastern Antarctica by its north-east ridge. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 16mm; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/2.8, ISO 100.
"Once the plane lets you off you're on your own for 35 days," explains Lee. "So we had to make absolutely sure we had everything we needed." Aside from the pair of EOS C300s for video and EOS 5D Mark IIIs for stills, Lee also brought an EOS 5D Mark II to capture time lapse sequences.

Two Manfrotto tripods were employed - one carbon fibre and one aluminium - although once on the mountain Lee was only able to shoot handheld. They also brought three consumer-grade handicams for climbers to film themselves as much as possible during the ascent. Some of the most dramatic establishing shots in the film were produced using a 4.5m jib, which Dave Reeves, a professional grip, had built himself. Rocks found at the location were used for counterbalancing.

Audio capturing required some compromises. Although the formal interviews had been captured using lavaliere radio lapel microphones, these weren't viable for shooting in the Antarctic. They would have added another level of complication and point of failure. So, instead, Sennheiser directional microphones with wind protectors were employed. "The microphones had to be pointed whilst climbing to pick out sound, which wasn't easy," explains Lee. "But we were only going to use the best shots visually. If that one doesn't work we will use another one. It was the same with sound."

Working under duress

The workflow needed to remain disciplined, despite the harsh environments. Lee brought eight flash memory cards, and the footage was backed up after each shoot onto a quartet of 2TB portable hard drives, via a laptop. "We would fill a card, log it and label the footage. But there was only two of us, and this would normally be two people's jobs on its own. We could watch footage on the Canon utility on the laptop, but there was no point trying to edit it in the field. Footage looked blue due to the use of Canon Log, but we could see whether it was in focus."

Lee shot all the Antarctic footage in Canon Log mode. "It gave us more scope for grading. We used this the whole time. Despite the blue appearance when we looked at the rushes, we just had to have the confidence it would work out, which it has. We didn't have any trouble recreating the correct colours in post production. In fact, the colours are fantastic."

Alastair Lee frames up a shot on Ulvetanna. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 16mm; the exposure was 1/100sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.
Although Final Cut was used for editing, DaVinci Resolve was called upon for grading. "It's amazing," Lee recalls. "The results are so much better than anything else I've used." Just importing the footage took a long time, as there were around 80 hours of it wade through. "It has been huge process putting the film together. We have spent eight months editing editing the project, and before you can think of the story, there's the mind-numbing task of looking through all the footage."

But it was worth it. "The footage is brilliant," enthuses Lee. "Anyone that could turn a camera on would have got half decent stuff, because this is arguably the most impressive mountain range in the world. But I think we did it justice. Even if you don't like climbing, or the characters, or the filmmaking, you would look and think 'this place is amazing.' I can't believe the BBC didn't go there for The Frozen Planet! It's a really unusual aesthetic - massive granite spires that are 1100m high coming out of pure white pristine snow."

Warm reception

The end results have been so good that Lee would definitely use a Canon EOS Cinema camera for future projects. "I would like to try the EOS C500 because it does the higher frame rate. But 4K is not of interest to me, for where my films end up. The higher frame rate gives more creative possibilities." But even the C300 managed to take Lee's video production to a new level. "The end product looks like a five million quid film, but we are actually on a guerrilla budget. The star of the show is the mountain. It's easy climbing but it's so exposed and so aesthetic. The C300 really helped us bring that beauty out so anyone can relate to it."