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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Canon EOS-6D Camera Takes 18,000 Photos Of London

Paul Richardson put together an impressive motion time-lapse tour of London — capturing the pulse of one of the world’s most beloved and busiest cities. The project took him eight days and 200 miles of biking (while carrying 48 lbs of camera equipment) to capture 18,000 photos for the first rough cut. 

He used a Canon EOS-6D full frame camera plus the EF 17-40mm f/4, EF 50mm f/1.8, and the EF 70-200mm f/4 lenses. Motion sequences were shot using a home-built dolly and an Emotimo TB3. As he explains in his video, Restless Nights is about capturing “The true 24/7 nature of bustling London. It really is a place that never sleeps."  

'The man who is tired of London, is tired of life."  You can see many travel photos of England on my website -

Canon EOS-6D vs. Nikon D600 High ISO Comparison

The King of high ISO performance is the EOS-1D X camera. You can read my article here. For those who may not need or cannot afford a professional camera, the EOS-6D can be a good choice.

David Kingham has been a devoted Nikon shooter for a long time. He used the Nikon D600 for a few months this summer and was quite pleased with it shooting night photos. Since he makes a living from night photography, he made the bold move of switching to Canon and purchased the EOS-6D. He was pleased with his decision. Below is an excerpt from his article :

"The high ISO capabilities of the Canon 6D are remarkable. I can see myself regularly shooting at ISO 12,800 when needed. With this body it is plausible to shoot with an f/4 lens! I wouldn't recommend that necessarily, but if you already have f/4 lenses and are looking to get into night photography for a very affordable price...this is your answer. The colors produced by the 6D are consistently better to my eye. If you're devoted to Nikon, the D600 is no slouch. You likely shouldn't trade away all your gear to switch.

This test is intended to compare the high ISO capabilities of these cameras specifically for dark sky night photography. The Nikon D600 has been superseded by the D610. The sensor is the same, they just fixed the oil spot problem.

All images were taken with a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8. I used a Novoflex adapter on the Canon to attach the Nikon mount lens. You will see the stars are slightly softer on the Canon, this is likely due to the adapter changing the focus slightly, but has no bearing on this test. Pay attention to noise and colors.

I started at ISO 6400. The images have no adjustments applied, except white balance (I used my unique method of setting white balance). Below you can see the D600 has a bit more of a green cast in the sky than the 6D, if I go too far to the magenta side on tint the sky becomes too purple and unnatural. Of course this can be fixed with a bit of work, but I prefer spending less time in post myself. You can also see how the little bit of light pollution on the horizon is enhanced in the Nikon, I prefer the more balanced sky the Canon provides."

"Below is a 100% crop of the Andromeda galaxy. Here you can clearly see less noise on the 6D, as expected they are not significantly different. But the 6D does have the clear advantage."

"Next we look at the shadow areas, to me this is the most important for night landscapes. The foreground is extremely underexposed, causing significant noise. Again, the 6D has a significant advantage."

"In the next image I pushed the Shadows adjustment to +100 in Lightroom to see what detail could be pulled from the shadows, which I often do myself. Now the 6D starts walking away from the D600. But wait, the dynamic range on the D600 is supposed to be light years ahead of the 6D? An important thing to keep in mind when looking at dynamic range numbers is that they test at ISO 100, this has no translation to ISO 6400. So yes, the D600 will be better at ISO's up to 400 or so, but after that the 6D is king.

Time to push these cameras a bit farther, ISO 12,800 now. This is considered out of spec on the Nikon and is called H1. The image out of the D600 is getting questionable, it may be usable in some situations, but I would avoid using this ISO. The 6D is still looking quite clean though."

"Now up to ISO 25,600. This is the highest in spec ISO for the 6D and the highest you can possibly go on the D600 (H2). The D600's image is unusable at this point. But the 6D is looking similar to what the D600 was at 12,800, potentially usable still."

"In the last image I took a shot from D600 at ISO 6400 and a shot from the 6D at 25,600 and dropped the exposure of the 6D's image by 2 stops to see how much better the 6D really is. As you can see the images are very close. I would say the 6D has about a 1.5 stop advantage over the D600."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Useful Tips For Using Canon EOS-5D Mk III Camera

Canon released a major upgrade, Firmware Version 1.2.1 to the EOS-5D Mk III camera back in April 2013. The Mk III has been my pick for the best value, full frame camera ever since its introduction and the Mk IV will be coming out next year. The following are a few tips to get the most out of the current model loaded with the new software.

Using the Rate button

The Mk III features a Rate button on the left of the rear LCD screen that has been designed to make it easier to find images when editing. In general, when shooting, you know when you have taken a good frame. However, if it is in a sequence of similar images, finding it again while editing can take a little time. By using the Rate button on the EOS 5D Mark III, you can add a 1-5 star EXIF compatible rating so that when you come to sorting your pictures out later, your best images are easier to find. Those you have tagged will be at the top, and while you don’t want to miss the action looking at the back of the camera rating images, a single press of the Rate button in playback gives a star rating that can be easily done in the downtime between the action.

Using Multiple Exposures

If you plan on using the in-camera multiple exposure capability in cameras such as the EOS 5D Mk III, you need to remember where exactly the image elements are in relation to each other. For example: overlaying the moon on a landscape. To make this easier, use the viewfinder grid and the focus points to provide a visual reference of where subjects are from previous images, relative to the current image you are creating.

Using Compression Settings

With the EOS 5D Mk III, Canon introduced compression settings in the Movie shooting settings to go along with the resolution and frame rate selection. The two options are IPB and ALL-I. Essentially, IPB is a compressed setting, a lot like the files from an EOS 5D Mark II, whereas ALL-I is an intra-frame codec where every frame is treated as a key frame and uncompressed. ALL-I footage will be around three times larger than IPB. Which you choose will depend on your needs. If you need to keep file sizes down, then IPB is the best choice. However, for almost all other uses, ALL-I is the best choice because the resulting footage is easier to edit on lower powered computers and produces better image quality by allowing you to edit more accurately on a frame-by-frame basis.

Using HDR

If you want to create HDR images using an EOS 5D Mark III, this can be done in-camera. Within the camera settings for HDR, there are options for shooting with 1, 2 or 3 stops of exposure bracketing. While all three settings can work well, if you plan on using one of the “Art” settings for combining images, you will find the best results are obtained by keeping the exposure bracketing range to 1 or 2-stops rather than the full 3 stops, though it is worth experimenting to see what suits your taste.

Using Multi Function Lock

If you find yourself regularly changing settings on the camera accidentally while moving around, then making use of the multi-function lock can avoid issues when you come to shoot in a fast-paced environment. The lock switch below the quick command dial can be used to lock the main dial, the multi-controller or the quick control dial – simply select which you would like to lock through the custom function in Group 2 Disp./Operation. When you come to change a setting, you may see L displayed in the viewfinder and on the top LCD panel. If this happens, you will be unable to change the setting because the multi-function lock is set. Simply flick the switch and the camera will return to normal.

Using C Modes

Using the C Modes on the EOS 5D Mark III makes it very easy to set up three different camera settings ready for instant recall – for example, C1 might be for movie shooting with the appropriate shutter speed set for the frame rate you record at while C2 might be an instant switch to Tv mode with a fast shutter speed set ready to capture action at a moment’s notice. However, since you may have three different shooting modes set (one in each C Mode) it can be difficult to remember exactly what is where. If you need to find out quickly, then pressing the INFO button to display the camera settings will show you which shooting mode is registered on each of the C Modes.

Using Menu Navigation

The menu structure of the EOS 5D Mark III offers quick navigation by grouping settings into tabs and sub-tabs. However, with the sub-tabs, moving from one major group to the next can require several clicks of the dial or nudges on the multi-controller. If you need to move between major tabs quicker, you can make use of the Q Button. Located just above the quick command dial on the back of the camera, pressing this will jump you from one major tab to the next, thus speeding your movements through the menu system.

Using The Lock Switch

When shooting HD Movies with a DSLR, the general rule is to set your shutter speed based on your frame rate and then don’t change it during filming. By default, the shutter speed settings are made using the main command dial behind the shutter button, though it is possible to switch it to the quick command dial using the Custom Controls if that suits you better. Either way, to avoid the shutter speed being changed accidentally, it is advisable to make use of the Multi function lock switch. In C.Fn2 there is an option to choose which control the switch locks - set this to lock whichever of the dials you use for setting the shutter speed and you can then be sure you won’t accidentally knock your settings.

Checking Battery Life

When checking the battery life of an LP-E6 battery in the EOS 5D Mark III menu, you may see a message saying “Use this battery?”. If this happens, it usually indicates an issue with the battery or the communication between the battery and the camera. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue using the battery. If you select ‘OK’ you will be able to keep on shooting, but you may not be able to see the battery info screen and if you can, you need to be careful in relying on what it reports as it could be wrong. The best option, if you see this message, is to ensure you have a spare battery with you in case it runs out suddenly.

Canon Professional Network 5 Parts Guide To Adobe Lightroom 5

With Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 5 photo editing software now bundled, via a DVD in the box, with two of Canon’s EOS DSLR cameras - the EOS 6D and the EOS 5D Mark III - Canon Professional Network, Europe is taking a closer look at the capabilities of this software. Throughout a five-part series of articles and video tutorials, Richard Curtis (a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK) will examine the key features of Lightroom 5 to give you a solid grounding and a good understanding of how to get the most out of working with the software.

In Part 2 of this series, Richard Curtis explains the ranking and selecting of images in Lightroom and, in a special video, he reveals how to select and rank your pictures for editing later on. Please visit CPN's website to see all the five parts and view the video to get some tips and tricks on the latest Lightroom 5.

When Canon Sneezes, Nikon Catches A Cold

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. 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 recently, 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 a few 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. Nikon’s stock is down dramatically, almost 24% year-to-date and is the worst underperformer in the Nikkei stock index this year, while the benchmark has rallied nearly 49%. The stock market capitalization of Canon Inc. is over 6 times that of Nikon Inc.

Canon 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 and offer fluffy technology like mirrorless, full frame cameras and retro styling. 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.

Canon EOS-M2 Camera Coming 1st Half Of 2014

Canon EOS-M camera with custom grip

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 lines, Canon has not given up hope yet. Management realized the weakness of the EOS-M and has tried 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.

On June 27, 2013, Canon released Firmware 2.0 to dramatically increase the AF speed and capability of the camera. The next EOS-M camera apparently will be called the EOS-M2. There may be two models. One is a basic model and the other one is a higher end product, complete with a viewfinder and new AF system. Both models will feature the DIGIC 6 processor and may share the same 20MP APS-C sensor as the recently introduced EOS-70D camera.

Canon may also announce a few new STM lenses, including a 55-200mm and 18-135mm zoom, and maybe a prime lens as well. For some unexplained reason, Canon is not releasing their recently introduced EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 lens in the United States. Look for Canon to make a splash with the relaunch of the new EOS-M models and try to re-energize this line of cameras.

In the meantime, for those who are happy with their current EOS-M camera, but perhaps find it too small for their hands, there is a custom grip available from Japan. Click on the previous link to visit the site.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Canon EOS-1D and EOS-5D Mk IV Cameras In 2014

More signs Canon is coming out of its funk, regrouping in 2014 and starting the New Year with exciting product announcements. A recent 'high level' dealer presentation in Tokyo suggests there will be at least two new full frame DSLR cameras coming next year, in addition to other cameras and EF Lenses.

The 2014 Winter Olympics and World Cup are two big sporting events that will highlight Canon's technological prowess in state of the art photography and the EOS-1D Mega Pixel Camera will be the premier announcement event for them. This camera is the replacement to the retired EOS-1Ds Mk III and may be announced after the sporting events (the second half of 2014, but expect to see prototypes at the games) with delivery commencing early 2015.

The second full frame camera will be the EOS-5D Mk IV. The current Mk III model is highly successful and Canon plans to make it even better but I hope they will not make the same mistake and underprice the new Mk IV. The new mega pixel EOS-1D camera will probably retail for about the same price ($8000) as the old EOS-1Ds Mk III.

In addition, the EOS-7D Mk II is also coming out next year, plus an assortment of PowerShot and Rebel replacements. It will be an exciting year and I am beginning to feel a revival of a 'sleeping giant.' I have been a Travel and Wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years and you can see my works on Keep checking back for the latest rumors and news.

Canon EOS C300 Cinema Camera Firmware Now Available

Canon suspended download services for the EOS C300, Firmware Version that was posted on November 12, 2013 due to a discrepancy in color balance. The new Firmware Version corrects this color balance discrepancy. Any cameras that are running Firmware version should be updated to Firmware version  Instruction Manual for the EOS C300 can be downloaded here.

Firmware Version incorporates all the functions and modifications listed below :

  • EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera & EOS C300 PL Cinema EOS Camera
  • Fixes a phenomenon where the previous firmware version offered incorrect color balance.
  • Ability to move the magnification viewing area around the LCD using the MAGN Function has been added.
  • Support for a 1440×1080/35Mbps recording mode has been added.
  • ISO up to 80,000 has been added.
  • Functionality to support the optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E1 has been added.
  • A Key Lock menu setting has been added which now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the START/STOP button.
  • Using the optional Canon WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter, the camera’s remote-control application allows two users to access the same unit via a Wi-Fi link providing simultaneous camera operation and control and metadata input.
  • [Lens Exchange] and [ND+]/[ND-] have been added as functions that can be allocated to any assignable button.
  • A new Wide DR Gamma setting provides an expanded dynamic range of 800%.
  • Flicker Reduction has been improved.

EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera only

  • Provides Push Auto Iris and One-Shot AF operation.
  • A new AE Shift function and the selection of various light-metering modes are now available when used with some Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and Canon EF Lenses.
  • Ability to assign the two control dials to operate either Iris or ISO sensitivity independently has been added.
  • Peripheral Illumination Correction Data has been added for seven (7) Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and fifteen (15) Canon EF Lenses.
  • A function has been added to enable continuous focus and iris setting on a subject in the middle of the screen when one of the two EF STM lenses** is attached.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DxO Optics Pro Adds 384 New Lens/Camera Combinations

348 new lens / camera combinations have been added to the DxO Optics Modules library, providing support for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Pentax, Samyang, Sigma, Sony, Tamron and Zeiss lenses for Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung and Sony cameras. To see supported and planned combinations, click on the link provided to visit DxOMark's website. Supported or planned combinations

Canon EF 50mm, 85mm, 135mm coming with IS in 2014

I lamented on Canon's current lack of direction and decisiveness in their new product strategy on my recent posts and suspect they are mired in a mode of 'lethargy and funk'. Now, apparently they have decided to stick to their core competency and concentrate on new DSLR bodies and EF lenses, unlike other camera manufacturers, who like to dabble in new technologies like mirrorless full frame sensor and retro looking bodies.

Canon has called it a day for 2013 on new product announcement. The EOS-7D Mk IIEOS-M2 are two cameras that will come out in the first half of 2014. In addition, there will be about 6 new EF lenses making their debut next year. There may be a wide angle zoom coming, perhaps around  EF 17-50mm f/4L with IS and the 35mm f/1.4L II may also be on the list.

The EF 50mm f/1.4 IS II and the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II are two lenses I am most interested in. In addition, there is word Canon will upgrade most of their non "L" lens and add IS to them. This may include the EF 85mm and EF 135mm as well. Keep checking back for more information. 2013 is a year of disappointment for Canon and I think they are happy it is coming to an end soon. 

DxOMark For Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Lens

DxOMark has tested the Zeiss otus 55mm f/1.4 lens on the Canon EOS-5D Mk III and found it to be one of the sharpest lens around. The following excerpt is from their test results :

"The Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1,4/55 is the first of a new series of high-grade lenses from the maker optimized for the next generation of high-resolution DSLRs. This fast standard adopts the firm’s retrofocus Distagon type optical construction, a design previously only found on wide-angle models. 

It has a complex construction consisting of 12 elements in 10 groups, and features no less than six elements made from anomalous partial dispersion glass and one lens made with an aspherical surface. Although a manual focus design it has a ‘floating elements’ for close range correction and a minimum focus distance of 0.5m.

While the Canon mount (ZE) version lacks an aperture collar like that found on the Nikon (ZF.2) it has CPU contacts for data exchange and electronic aperture control. The result is a slightly longer (144mm vs 141mm) and heavier model (1030g vs 970g) than the Nikon mount version, although it measures the same 83mm at its widest point and retains the 77mm filter thread. The new 1,4/55 Otus is available for pre-order at $3,999 in Nikon and Canon mount only."

The Other White Canon DSLR Camera

Remember a couple of weeks ago, Canon introduced the EOS Rebel SL1/Kiss X7 camera in white ? Well, maybe they should have a bit more imagination and come up with something like the camera above.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X Lens Review

Canon started the development of the EF 200-400mm f/4L lens over two years ago. When the Canon EF 200-400m f/4L IS official announcement came on May 14, 2013, I immediately put my order in even though the weight and price are higher than I have expected. The lens finally arrived and this hands-on review will not have charts, graphs and technical details. You can read that in Canon's announcement above. It assumes the reader already has a familiarity with Canon cameras and super telephoto lenses. All opinions and observations are my own and from the standpoint of a wildlife photographer out in the field.

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 f/4L lens. Generally I am not overly excited by any new piece of Canon equipment, the Canon EOS-1D X 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.

The debate between prime and zoom lens is over for me long time ago. The image quality of the current generation 'L' zoom lens are comparable to their prime cousins. I cannot emphasis the flexibility of having a top quality super telephoto zoom lens. For years, I have suffered through missed opportunity when using prime super telephoto lens on wildlife. Once the animal comes too close, there is a mad scramble to back up or try and grab another camera with a shorter focal length. Invariably, I would end up missing crucial shots.

The most annoying thing about Canon's Super Telephoto lenses is their factory lens cap and the EF 200-400mm is no exception. I immediately substituted it with the Don Zeck lens cap. The DZ caps are on all my Super Telephoto lenses. My first impression of the EF 200-400mm is a rock solid, semi-large and heavy (7.98 pounds) but manageable lens. It measures 5 inch in diameter and 14.4 inch in length without the lens hood. The lens hood is interchangeable with the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS lens. Most of the controls are located at the rear of the lens - extender control lever, IS modes, focus modes, focus limiter and focus preset control. The lens takes 52mm drop-in filters, which are inserted in the rear of the lens via the included drop-in filter holder. Rubberized zoom and focus rings are on the lens barrel, the textured playback ring, and the front-most grip ring that incorporates four AF Stop Buttons. I have examined in detail the area where the extender control lever is located because this is a place where dirt may accumulate and moisture can seep into the lens out in the field. However, after having taken the lens to Africa and the high Arctic (hot and cold), I am comfortable the lever will stand up to field use provided regular cleaning is maintained.

The front and rear lenses elements are fluorine-coated to repel water, dust and dirt. When used with the Canon EOS-1D X and Mk IV cameras, the package is weather-sealed and make cleaning easier on photo shoots. The built-in 1.4x extender is specifically designed for the lens and there are 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 only available 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 a Canon 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, 2 and 3. After handholding and 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. This means I can get closeup to the wildlife action. 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 the lens 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. I am not a big fan of the 2.0x extender but the 1.4x is another matter. With the EOS-1D X or Mk IV cameras plus the EF 1.4x extender mounted on the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS, my focal length starts out at 280mm and ends at a little over 1,000mm. This immense focal length range encourages creativity and open up endless possibilities for my long lens photography.

When the EF 1.4x extender is attached and the EF 200-400mm internal extender set to 1x, any AF points can be selected with the joystick. When the internal extender is set to 1.4x, only the center AF point works. When the EF 2.0x extender is attached and the internal extender is set to 1x, AF slows down and only the center AF point works. If the internal extender is set to 1.4x, manual focusing will be required. This works well for me since I like to add the 1.4x extender sometimes and work mostly with the center AF point anyway. AF is lighting fast, even with the addition of an external 1.4x extender. It took me a little while to get used to the fact I can actually zoom in and out with this Super Telephoto lens and finding the extender lever by touch without having to take my eye off the viewfinder. After that, it was rather instinctual in changing the zoom range, landscape to portrait mode, AF points, ISO setting and exposure control, all in quick succession, without ever taking my eye off the subject.

Hand-holding my camera and traveling light on photo shoots are my preference. Despite the weight of this lens and the EOS-1 camera (about 11 pounds), I am able to hand-hold (with proper technique) the combo for a short while even though I am of average height and build. When I do use support, my pick is the SLIK PRO 824 CF carbon fiber tripod and the SLIK SBH 550 ball head. SLIK equipment is the best value in my opinion and highly underrated. The combination weighs about 5 pounds and can support the EF 200-400mm f/4L lens plus the EOS-1 camera with ease. Visit my Equipment Bag page on my website to see all the gear I use on photo shoots.

So far, I have taken the lens to Alaska, the sub and high Arctic and Africa to photograph Polar bears, Brown bears, the Big Five and other wildlife. The lens is rather cumbersome in bouncing zodiacs, small boats and jeeps but on a stable platform, it works flawlessly. Will be taking the lens to more locations worldwide in the next few months and putting it through further testing. You can see many more wildlife photos taken with the EF 200-400mm lens on my website and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with my travels and subscribe to my Blog for the latest news and development in photography.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Canon To Harness Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology

Canon has apparently struck a home run with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, most recently introduced in the EOS-70D camera, which has garnered raved reviews and wide spread acceptance.

The EOS Cinema C100 camera will be the next camera to get this ground-breaking technology. Next, Canon is expected to introduced the Dual Pixel AF Technology to the rest of its EOS Cinema line and perhaps, even on the large sensor DSLR models as well.  Before they can do that, the cameras will have to be supported by powerful processors, like a Dual DIGIC 6+, or perhaps the successor, the DIGIC 7.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Canon PowerShot Cameras For CES 2014

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) starts January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas. Canon will be announcing new PowerShot cameras for the show as usual.

Canon may be coming out of its funk and start the New Year by announcing two new cameras, the PowerShot SX60 HS, their big zoom range compact and the successor to the highly acclaimed PowerShot G1 X. The new G1 X may be equipped with an APS-C sensor and indicates a new direction for Canon's top-of-the-line PowerShot model.

In the past, Canon has used CES as a platform to announce and showcase their new PowerShot models but no professional equipment introduction is expected although they are planning more EF lenses and DSLRs announcement later in 2014.

Canon Canada Launches Student CPS Program

Canon’s Student CPS Program is designed to offer an unrivaled level of sales and service support for studying Photographers, Videographers, and New Media Artists. By becoming a member of Student CPS, you will be eligible for a host of real world benefits designed to help and assist post-secondary Visual Arts, Fine Arts, and Applied Arts students in mastering their craft and achieving their career aspirations. I have been a member of CPS for many years and found them to be very informative and useful.

Membership benefits include :

  • Access to student-specific pricing discounts on a selection of professional products - view list in Program Details.
  • Membership-exclusive promotions, discounts and contests.
  • Subsidized incoming overnight shipping charges ($10) on eligible product. These charges will be added to the repair service charge. Return shipping is free for warranty repairs and a flat $10 fee will be charged for return shipping of out of warranty service.
  • Expedited service turnaround target of 6 days.
  • 20% discount for repair parts and labor for eligible products.

Learn more by visiting Canon's Program Details Page and then apply for membership via the Application link.

Friday, November 22, 2013

More On The EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II Lens

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia starts in February. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II prototype lens may make an appearance there. Now that the eagerly awaited EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens has been officially released, attention has turned to Canon's other venerable 400mm lens. This is one of my favorite zooms 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 Canon 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 this lens and you can read my review on it. The EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II lens serves a 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 may be replaced by a zoom ring. Keep checking back for the latest information.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM Lens

Canon makes some of the best and most unique lenses in the photography world. The EF 50mm f/1.0L, EF 1200mm f/5.6L and the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS come to mind. The first two lenses have long been discontinued and their prices have soared in the after market. 2014 will be a year for more great Canon Lenses coming. 

Canon EF 50mm f/1.0L USM

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Canon Factory vs. Third Party Battery Test

Dave Dugdale from Learning DSLR Video tested a factory Canon LP-E6 against a Watson LP-E6 after market battery. He found that the Watson may have a chip built in since his EOS-5D Mk III can register it and track the performance. Unlike the Canon manual, stating the battery can be recharged anytime, the Watson instructions says to recharge only when the battery is dead. This indicates the Watson battery has less charging cycles.

In his tests a new Watson LP-E6 lasted 1 hour and 9 minutes while an one year old Canon LP-E6 battery lasted 1 hour and 28 minutes. One has to be careful when buying third party batteries and parts. Canon has a consumer page on their website discussing counterfeit accessories.

Personally, I have bought third party batteries for my non EOS-1 camera bodies but I stick to very reputable companies. However, in the last few years, I have bought all Canon factory batteries because as a professional wildlife photographer going on frequent foreign trips, batteries and memory cards are so critical to a successful shoot. Extremely cold weather can affect the performance of batteries. When I was in the Arctic photographing wildlife in -20 degrees Fahrenheit temperature, I discovered the LP-E4N battery in my Canon EOS-1D X came through with flying colors.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Canon EOS-1 Mega Pixel Camera Coming In 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics and the World Cup start in February and June respectively. This will give Canon a perfect platform to introduce their next flagship DSLR, the EOS-1 Mega Pixel Camera, sometime in the first half of 2014. Expect the prototype cameras to be spotted in these sporting events.

Ever since the retirement of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III camera about two years ago, Canon has lost the mega pixel boasting rights to Nikon and the D4X is expected to come out some time in the first half of 2014. Canon is mindful of their misstep last time when they announced their EOS-1D X, only to be eclipsed by Nikon's D4 and D800 because they cannot get their shipments into stores until way after the Nikon cameras went on sale.

New Technology Coming To Canon EOS Cinema Cameras

Dan Chung, NewsShooter's Editor interviewed Mr. Yoshinari Onda, the Canon Cinema EOS global product manager at the Inter BEE 2013 gathering recently. Mr. Onda is in charge of the Canon Cinema EOS line since the beginning. In the video, he gives some insights into the development of the EOS C100, EOS C300, EOS C500, and EOS-1D C cameras.

The take away one gets from the interview is Canon may be moving towards a full frame EOS Cinema camera and the next generation gear may take advantage of the lighting fast speed (up to 350 MB/s) of the Sandisk CFast 2.0 CF memory card, introduced a few years ago.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More On Canon EF Lenses Coming In 2014

In my last few posts on Canon's current 'lethargy' and 'funk', I commented on their lack of direction and decisiveness in their new product strategy. Now it seems they have decided to stick to their core competency and concentrate on new DSLR bodies and EF lenses, unlike other camera manufacturers, who like to dabble in new technologies like mirrorless full frame sensor and retro looking bodies.

Canon has apparently called it a day for 2013 on new product announcement. The EOS-7D Mk II, EOS-M2 are two cameras that will come out in the first half of 2014. In addition, there will be about 6 new EF lenses making their debut next year. There may be a wide angle zoom coming, perhaps around 17-50mm f/4L with IS and the 35mm f/1.4L II may also be on the list.

The EF 50mm f/1.4 IS II and the EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L IS II are two lenses I am most interested in. There is little revelation right now except the general expectation but keep checking back for more information. 2013 is a year of disappointment for Canon and I think they are happy it is coming to an end soon. 

Canon EOS C100 Dual Pixel CMOS AF Test Video

Dan Chung, Newsshooter's Editor interviewed Mr. Yoshinari Onda, the Canon Cinema EOS global product manager at the Inter BEE 2013 gathering recently. Mr. Onda is in charge of the Canon Cinema EOS line since the beginning, in the video he gives some insights about the development of the EOS C100, EOS C300, EOS C500, and EOS-1D C cameras.

The video below shows how the Dual Pixel CMOS AF works on the EOS C100. Canon is offering a paid upgrade for the EOS C100 in order to have the ground-breaking Dual Pixel AF on board. The video below shows how the Dual Pixel AF performs on the C100. If the Dual Pixel AF on the C100 is beyond your reach, the Canon EOS 70D camera offers the same innovative auto-focus technology.

Canon Instant Rebates On EOS Rebels, Lenses, Speedlites

Visit your favorite camera store or websites to take advantage of these deals. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Canon U.S.A. Earns Prestigious 2013 Center Of Excellence Certification


 MELVILLE, N.Y., November 14, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to announce that for the fifth consecutive year it has earned the Center of Excellence certification by BenchmarkPortal, placing its customer support center in the top 10 percent for efficiency and effectiveness. The Center of Excellence distinction is based on objective comparison to key performance indicators from the world’s largest database of contact center metrics that is audited and validated by researchers from BenchmarkPortal.

“Earning the Center of Excellence award is a major achievement,” said Bruce Belfiore, CEO and senior research executive, BenchmarkPortal. “Earning it for five years in a row is rare, and reflects special dedication to continuous improvement and excellent customer care. It does not happen by accident; it is the result of a lot of hard work and focus. My hat is off to the Canon team for reaching this very special milestone. They deserve to be very proud.”

“The Canon Technical Support Center continuously strives to go above and beyond, and deliver 100 percent U.S.-based customer service by optimizing the support of our staff, processes and technology,” said Leroy Farrell, vice president and general manager, Engineering Services and Solutions Division, Canon U.S.A. “Earning this certification for the fifth year in a row truly demonstrates our commitment to providing a high level of customer service to our valued customers.

The Technical Support Center provides advanced support services to the Company’s vast network of direct and non-direct sales channels covering a wide range of products and solutions, including the Company’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE, imagePROGRAF, VarioPrint and imagePRESS product lines.

About BenchmarkPortal

BenchmarkPortal’s founders pioneered the first contact center benchmarking study in 1995. Now custodian of the largest database of contact center metrics in the world, BenchmarkPortal is a leader in certification, training, consulting and research for the customer contact industry. Its team of professionals has gained international recognition for expertise and innovation in best practices. BenchmarkPortal’s mission is to help management optimize the performance of their center in terms of both cost and quality, encourage customer loyalty and build enterprise value. For more information on BenchmarkPortal, call 1-800-214-8929 or visit

Friday, November 15, 2013

Canon Suspends Downloading Of New C300 Firmware

The new Firmware is now available for download

Attention : Canon EOS C300 and C300PL Cinema EOS Camera owners.

We have suspended download services for Firmware Version that was posted Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 8PM EST, because it has been determined that discrepancies in color balance can occur with footage captured by the EOS C300 and EOS C300PL running Firmware Version

We are currently preparing new firmware with a fix for this issue and will release it as soon as it is available.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but we ask for your patience during this time.


We are preparing new firmware with a fix for this issue. If you have updated your EOS C300 or EOS C300PL firmware to version, Canon will restore the camera’s firmware version to for any EOS C300 or EOS C300PL camera running firmware version Please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region for further details.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Canon EOS-1D C Firmware Version 1.3.4 Available

Firmware update, Version 1.3.4 is available. As with previous firmware releases for the EOS-1D C, it cannot be downloaded and installed on your own. Instead, you have to send in your EOS-1D C to an authorized Canon service center.

Firmware Version 1.3.4 incorporates the following improvements :

1. Peripheral Illumination and Lens Aberration Correction data has been added for Canon EF-mount Cinema lenses. *1) *2)

*1) EOS Utility Version 2.13.25 (or later) is required to upload the correction data to the camera. The latest update for this software can be downloaded from our web site.

*2) Does not apply to Canon EF Cinema zoom lenses CN-E 14.5-60mm T2.6 L S and CN-E 30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L S.

2. A line-level audio input accepting a mini 3.5mm connector has been added.


Canon EOS-1D C Cinema EOS Camera with Firmware Version 1.2.0 or earlier.


Canon USA will perform Factory Updates on the EOS-1D C free of charge. Shipping and handling charges may apply. Please contact the Canon Customer Support Center for details.

This information is for residents of the United States and Puerto Rico only. If you do not reside in the USA or Puerto Rico, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center in your region.

If you have not already done so, please register your Canon EOS-1D C Cinema EOS Camera. By registering, we will be able to notify you via email about future announcements.

Contact Information for Inquiries
Canon Customer Support Center
Phone: 1-855-CINE-EOS (toll free)
TDD: 1-866-251-3752
For additional support options :

Canon EOS Rebel SL1/Kiss X7 In White

Canon has released a white version of the EOS Kiss X7 camera in Japan, available on November 28, 2013. It is essentially the same camera as the Rebel SL1/EOS 100D camera in the rest of the world.

I suppose if Apple finally released iPhones in all different colors, why should Canon not follow the leader in consumer marketing? I am glad 2013 is coming to a close and looking forward to a renewed Canon in 2014.

The following is the official, translated Canon release for the camera :

"In recent years, the need for smaller and lighter to entry for digital single-lens reflex camera is growing even more. To respond to this, Canon was launched in April 2013 while maintaining a high level of basic performance, realized the body of the world's smallest and lightest "EOS Kiss X7". Compact and lightweight body of "EOS Kiss X7" [size: Approximately 116.8 (W) × 90.7 (height) × 69.4 (depth) mm, Weight: about 370g (body only)] is to carry easily, athletic meet and travel I get a favorable reception from wide range of customers to be able to enjoy a full-fledged shooting in a variety of scenes such as.

This time, I will release "(white) EOS Kiss X7" white body for the first time as a digital single-lens reflex camera of Canon. By the body compact, lightweight "EOS Kiss X7", is subjected to a white paint high quality with reduced luster, while maintaining a sense of quality suitable for single-lens reflex camera, I finish the design light feeling becomes more attractive and more.

"EOS Kiss X7 (White)" and "F3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S18-55mm" standard zoom lens, I finished in the same color as the body single focus lens "EF40mm F2.8 STM (White)" is, of I will sell ? 2 in the commodity composition of double lens kit. I realize the design with a sense of unity and a feeling of size with excellent mobility and more by the combination of the EF lens series thinnest and lightest and body "EF40mm F2.8 STM (white)"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Canon EOS C100 and C300 Firmware Download Available

Read my latest post on the EOS C300 firmware download

Canon EOS C100  -  Download Firmware here

  • Ability to move the magnification viewing area around the LCD using the MAGN Function has been added.
  • ISO up to 80,000 has been added.
  • A Key Lock menu setting has been added which now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the START/STOP button.
  • Peripheral Illumination Correction Data has been added for seven (7) Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and eleven (11) Canon EF Lenses.
  • Internal camera menus are now controllable from buttons on the camera body. Previously, they were only controllable from the joystick grip unit.
  • In addition to the EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, the function to enable continuous focusing and correct aperture on a subject in the middle of the screen when one of the two EF STM lenses is attached, has been extended to include the EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

Canon EOS C300 EF and PL

  • Ability to move the magnification viewing area around the LCD using the MAGN Function has been added.
  • Support for a 1440×1080/35Mbps recording mode.
  • ISO up to 80,000 has been added.
  • Added functionality to support the optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E1.
  • A Key Lock menu setting has been added which now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the START/STOP button.
  • Using the optional Canon WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter, the camera’s remote-control application allows two users to access the same unit via a Wi-Fi® link providing simultaneous camera operation and control and metadata input.
  • [Lens Exchange] and [ND+/ND-] have been added as functions that can be allocated to any assignable button.
  • A new Wide DR Gamma setting provides an expanded dynamic range of 800%*.
  • Flicker Reduction has been improved.

EOS C300 Cinema EF Camera only  -  Download Firmware here

  • Provides Push Auto Iris and One-Shot AF operation has been added.
  • A new AE Shift function and the selection of various light-metering modes are now available when used with some Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and Canon EF Lenses.
  • Ability to assign the two control dials to operate either Iris or ISO sensitivity independently.
  • Peripheral Illumination Correction Data has been added for seven (7) Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and fifteen (15) Canon EF Lenses.

Wildlife Photography - Reflections on Polar Bears in Husdon Bay

* * * PBI and Google Street View highlight Polar Bears' plight in Hudson Bay * * *

I am back from my Polar Bear photo shoot in Hudson Bay. The Polar bear is the largest living land carnivore, with adult males growing up to over 8 feet in length and some weighing close to one ton. The largest bear ever recorded weighed in at 2,300 pounds. Females are about half the size of males, although a pregnant female with stored fat can exceed 1,000 pounds in weight. Polar bear cubs weigh about 2 lbs at birth. They look similar in appearance to adults, though they have much thinner fur.

There are five nations where Polar bears are found - United States, Canada, Norway (Svalbard), Denmark (Greenland) and Russia. The furthest south Polar Bears are found year round is James Bay in Canada, which is about the same latitude as London. During the winter, when the ice extends further south, Polar bears move as far south as Newfoundland and into the northern Bering Sea. The US has the fewest Polar Bears and Canada has the most. The best global estimate of their population is about 20,000 to 25,000. They are the most endangered bear species due to the warming of the Arctic region, especially during the summer.

Although their numbers are declining, the US, Canada and Greenland still hunt Polar Bears 'legally' while illegal poaching exists in Russia and Norway. The 'legal' hunting is 'regulated' by quotas given to indigenous people but they can also sell their quotas to big game hunters for $30,000+ per bear. The quotas is almost certain to be exceeded due to the high profit and remote locations of many indigenous towns and enforcement is next to impossible.

The most vulnerable Polar Bear population resides in southern Hudson Bay. The ice has been melting earlier and forming later for quite a few years now. This compresses the Polar Bear feeding season into about 6 months. Without solid ice, the bears cannot hunt seals and they will not be able to survive and rear their young. A breeding female can raise about 7 to 8 cubs to adulthood in her lifetime if conditions are favorable. Human/bear encounters are also on the rise in southern Hudson Bay. This often leads to fatality for the bears and their population is already on a declining rate.    

This is one of my more memorable trips to Hudson Bay and I have encountered more mothers with cubs this time. I also came across a seal kill as well. The Polar Bears' condition look alright from my observation but I am not a wildlife biologist. Their fast is ending very soon because the ice is forming rapidly by the bay. Soon they will be able to go on the ice and start feeding but the environment is still under threat and their future is by no means secure. Visit my website to see many more photos from my previous photo shoots.

For more posts on photographing other wildlife, you will find ElephantsHummingbirdsBengal tigersKiller whales and Blue whales adventures here. I have been a wildlife photographer for 25 years using Canon gear. You can read my FAQs on wildlife photography, see my equipment bag and my works on You can also follow my travels on my blog, TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Canon EOS-7D Mk II Camera Coming In 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 :

  • 20 MP APS-C Sensor ( Most probably the same as EOS-70D)
  • 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 )
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology similar to EOS-70D model
  • 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.