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Friday, August 29, 2014

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II Lens Coming?

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS lens

* * *  Canon has reduced prices on many L lens, including Super Telephoto  * * *

* * *  What to expect from Canon at Photokina 2014  * * * 

                            * * *  Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens revealed * * *

                    * * *  Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera specifications finalized  * * *

According to Digicame of Japan, Canon will be announcing the following lens at Photokina 2014 :

The EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM was previously rumored to be an EF lens, instead it will be an EF-S lens. It may come in the form of a pancake lens.

Not an 'L' lens but the EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is aimed at full-frame shooters, who will soon enjoy the benefits of the STM technology for their video shooting.

EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II - This is the biggest surprise of them all, if true. The current EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens is one of my favorite Super Telephoto lens in Canon's line up. I bring this lens on almost all my wildlife photo shoots.

No mention of the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens any more. This will be a great disappointment to me if Canon is not announcing its replacement. Keep checking back for the latest developments. Things are moving very fast.

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L Focal Length Comparison

There are only about 20 copies of the very rare Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM lens in the world. Canon made only a handful of them to test its viability. By the way, this is not the only 1200mm lens Canon had manufactured. They had also experimented with the FDn 1200mm f/5.6 lens, with a built-in extender during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. This was the ancient forerunner to their current EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4X Extender USM lens that went on sale last year. I love this amazing Super Telephoto lens.

The people at MPB Photographic is selling a copy of the EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM lens for 100,000 Pound Sterling or about US $ 166,000. In order to drum up some excitement for the sale, they have decided to shoot some photos in the heart of London, right on the Mall, leading straight to Buckingham Palace. All of the photos below were taken with a Canon EOS-1D X camera. If you have some spare cash lying around, you may be interested in this lens. Don't know if MPB will take credit card for this purchase.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM @ 50mm

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM @ 400mm

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM @1200mm

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM @ 1200mm with 1.4X Series III extender

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM @ 1200mm with 2.0X Series III extender

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When Is Canon PowerShot SX60 HS IS Coming?

Canon was expected to announce the PowerShot SX60 HS camera with a 100X zoom some time in June. Clearly it did not happen and word is Canon may have experience manufacturing problem. This camera will be the replacement to the popular SX50 model and may come with the new DIGIC 6 processor, a 15MP sensor and a 20-2000mm focal length capability.

With the big Photokina Show just around the corner on September 16 and Canon already has big plans for the show, with the EOS-7D Mk II camera and perhaps the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens on their plate, the PowerShot SX60 HS will probably get a different announcement date. I suspect it will be after the two big aforementioned debut. Who knows, Canon may surprise us all and announce it before the show.

Out in the field, I have come across people with the PowerShot SX50. If the lighting conditions are good and the wildlife is not too far and in the open, one can get a fairly decent photo. There are occasions I have missed my shots by the time I got my equipment out and others have already taken the shots with their SX50 cameras. However, I am just a bit curious about the Image Quality of the upcoming SX60, with an equivalent 2000mm lens all in the palm of my hand. I will give the camera a try out once it is available. You can see my work on

Canon Announces Presence In Photokina 2014

Canon display booths at Photokina Show

* * *  Latest specs on Canon EOS-7D Mk II and EF lens at Photokina   * * *

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 28th August 2014 – Canon today announces details of its presence at Photokina 2014, starting September 16 in Cologne, Germany, unveiling its most interactive environment ever at the world’s largest photography and imaging show. Designed around helping photographers immerse themselves in the latest technologies, Canon’s program at the show will offer visitors a digital imaging experience that highlights its industry leading range of products and services.

Canon’s stand at Photokina 2014 will be dedicated to the journey of capturing a moment or memory. Within an open, free-roam environment, visitors will be invited to undertake shooting challenges, with experts on-hand to guide them along the way. The experiential event will go far beyond simple touch and try demonstrations, and instead provide the opportunity to truly experience the Canon range.The stand will also feature live presentation sessions with Canon’s world famous photography ambassadors. Presenters will include landscape and travel photographer David Noton, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Ulla Lohmann, and action shooter Richard Walch, with each providing first-hand accounts of how Canon products help them to realize their individual visions.

Furthermore, Canon Explorer Jörg Kyas will be taking on interactive challenges set by visitors – providing a unique way for enthusiasts to learn about new styles or techniques.In addition, Canon’s custom-designed platform for managing and sharing a world of images, irista, will be demonstrated, highlighting Canon’s dedication to furthering the capabilities of digital services. Visitors will also be able to browse Canon equipment and piece together their own ‘virtual kitbag’ using touchscreen tables placed around the stand.

“Photokina 2014 for us is about immersing customers in a world of exciting imaging possibilities,” said Alessandro Stanzani, Head of Consumer Imaging, Canon Europe. “We’re creating an experiential environment that will challenge visitors to think much more deeply about their photography. Our Photokina presence will demonstrate the very best in product and service innovation as we encourage photography explorers to truly engage with the Canon brand.”To allow attendees the opportunity to retain their experience, Canon Live Pass RFID cards will be supplied to allow visitors to scan in at key points around the stand in order to create a souvenir site which is tailored to their interest areas, and to which they can refer after the show.

Those not attending can keep up to speed via the official Canon Europe YouTube channel, where videos will provide a summary of each day’s events. Alternatively, the action can be followed live on Facebook at or on Twitter at @CanonPhotokina / #CanonPhotokina. A virtual tour of the Canon experience and other Canon photokina content will be available on the dedicated photokina website Canon’s stand at the Photokina Show will be located in Hall 3.2.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Film Ferrania To Start Producing Film Again

A bit of good news for those who still shoot with film. Film Ferrania is going to start producing film again (35mm, 120 still formats, Super 8 and 16mm cine formats). It will be a new company. The new owners bought some of the equipment from the ex-factory of Ferrania Films in Ferrania, Italy. They have a new website an official announcement will be made in time for the Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany on September 16.

For a bit of nostalgia, read my post on the 25th anniversary of the Canon EOS-1 camera and the men behind its development. I still have the Canon EOS-1V film camera and is one of my prized equipment.

Canon EOS-1V film camera

Canon Professional Network Back To School Portrait Tips

Check out Canon Professional Network's helpful hint on back to school portraits. Below is an excerpt from their article :

It’s that time of year again, when millions of children leave the comforts of home to start a new school year. For parents with children going to school for the first time, this is an important milestone they will want to remember for years to come. Even for an older child, documenting them at the start of each year, or when they start new legs of their education (such as entering Junior High, and High School) is a rewarding project.

Luckily, great back-to-school photos are easy to take – with little more than a basic digital SLR (for greater imaging control) and some attention to details.

Here are a few tips that will elevate what may have been just a quick snapshot into a truly meaningful portrait :

TIP #1: Fill the Frame

Any time you’re shooting people, a goal should be to effectively fill the frame with your subjects. Moving or zooming in close to them and excluding unnecessary background details goes a long way toward a strong portrait (that doesn’t mean the background isn’t important – more on that in Tip #3).

Don’t just snap the picture without thinking for a moment what you want the picture to ‘say’ (and show) about your child. For example, if your little boy is dressed in a suit and tie for the first time in his life, you may want to step back, or zoom out to get more of a full-length shot that shows him proudly wearing his new clothes. On the other hand, if your teenager is heading off to school with the same jeans they wore all summer, you may be more inclined to zoom in for a tighter head-and-shoulders portrait that emphasizes the person instead of the clothes.

A fundamental part of good composition is knowing when to shoot vertical pictures. In most cases, vertical composition makes it easier to effectively fill the frame with your child, without distracting clutter visible in the background. Luckily, the high resolution of Canon’s digital SLR cameras allow you to crop and reframe your images for even more creative control.

TIP #2 : Make Room to Zoom

As the famous photojournalist Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

Simply zooming a standard kit lens to its longest telephoto setting (such as setting an 18-55mm lens to the 55mm focal length) gives you a good starting point for filling the frame with one or two people. You don’t need super telephoto power here, but if you happen to own longer telephoto lenses (anywhere from 50mm to perhaps 200mm at the top end), you’ll be even more effective at zooming in and minimizing any distractions in the background.

A pleasing side-effect of using telephoto lenses for portraits is that you have more control over what is in focus – you can easily get sharp (focused) faces and soft/blurred backgrounds, which help the most important part of the frame – your child! – stand out in the photo. The ‘soft background’ effect will be more noticeably blurry when you combine long lenses with wider apertures (more on that in Tip #4). Whenever you shoot, take that extra moment to look out to the corners of your viewfinder and ask yourself if by getting a little closer, you’ll get a more powerful shot.

Remember, you don’t even need a zoom: Often, the best zoom lens is your own two feet.

TIP #3 : Consider the Background

One important difference between casual snapshots and pictures taken by a more serious photographer is how the background in a scene is handled. The key question to ask is this: Will the background ‘say’ more about the subject or will it just be a cluttered distraction? Back to school portraits are a great opportunity to use backgrounds to create a sense of place that tells a story about the moment you are capturing in-camera.

For example, if you drive your child to their school and can photograph him or her with the school in the background, this can actually strongly convey to a viewer, not just that it’s a portrait of your child, but that it’s in the context of his or her school — and possibly the first day of school. In this case, it might actually be useful to have your daughter or son stand a bit to one side and allow the school to show in your background. In fact, wider-angle lens may be helpful here because they will include more background into the frame.

A good portrait technique with a wider lens is to step in fairly close to your subject, focus on them, and the wide-angle lens will often render a sharp person with a slightly blurred (but still recognizable) background. Nothing says portraits can only be taken with a telephoto lens! However, be careful of ‘fisheye’ distortion that very wide lenses may cause with subjects that are too close to the camera.

Other backgrounds you may want to include in this type of portrait: At the bus stop (perhaps as the bus rolls up in the background); inside the classroom (if allowed); or even at home where your child usually do their homework, or heading out the front door – with the right ‘props,’ such as books or a knapsack, this will help create that sense of place.

Alternately, a solid-colored sheet of fabric or photographic backdrop paper can make a simple, inexpensive and clutter-free background.

TIP #4 : Wider Apertures = Softer Backgrounds

In addition to selecting an appropriate background for your portrait, another important part of good portraits is knowing how to control that background so that it doesn't distract form the main subject.

A common, and very pleasing, approach is to have an in-focus subject against a gently blurred background. With an out-of-focus background, the viewer’s attention is riveted to whatever does appear in sharp focus in a photograph.

Digital SLRs makes it easy to blur a background when you focus upon a nearby subject, (especially if you’re zoomed to a telephoto focal length, as mentioned in Tip #2). This effect is achieved, in part, by using wider apertures – these are represented by the lower-value f/stops such as f/1.8, f/2.8, f/3.5, or f/4.

For beginning digital SLR photographers: Set the camera to the Portrait mode (on Canon EOS models with this feature, set the Mode Dial on top of the camera to the icon that looks like a woman’s face).

For more experienced digital SLR users: Set the camera to the Aperture-priority mode (Av mode on Canon EOS digital SLRs), and then set a wide lens aperture. The lower the number, the wider the lens will be open — and the more likely your background is to be intentionally thrown out of focus. With most zoom lenses, this will be a setting such as f/4 or f/5.6. Some more advanced lenses offer even wider possibilities, such as f/2.8 or f/1.8. If your lens offers them, consider using these wide apertures whenever you shoot a portrait and you don’t want or need a sharp background.

TIP #5 : Flash: It's NOT Just for Low-Light

Always remember: Shadows will look harsher and darker in a finished photo than they do to your naked eye when you look through your camera’s viewfinder.

Many new photographers may not realize that one of the best times to use a flash is in bright sunlight: If the sun is shining and you have harsh shadows falling on your child, try popping-up your built-in flash. As long as you’re fairly close to your child (say, within 8 or 10 feet), the flash will be pretty effective in minimizing some of the harshness of shadows. If you’re standing further away (for instance, with a telephoto lens), this is when a larger accessory Speedlite can be quite handy. Either way, remember that in the outdoors, flash photography with EOS cameras is totally automatic. All you have to do is turn the flash on; balancing flash output to the daylight is handled by the flash.

For users shooting with an accessory EOS Speedlite, a good portrait tip is to set the flash to its High Speed Sync mode (indicated by an icon on the flash with a little lightning bolt and the letter “H”). Once this is done, set the camera to a wide lens aperture in the Av mode. With the High Speed Sync mode engaged, you’ll be able to take flash pictures at shutter speeds even higher than the camera’s normal top x-sync speed. This will allow very wide lens openings, even in bright sunlight — with automatic flash fill as well. (Please note that High Speed Sync is not possible with the camera’s built-in flash unit).

For more information, take a look at this more detailed Canon Digital Learning Center Tip on Fill-Flash use with EOS cameras and Speedlites.

TIP #6 : To Pose, or Not to Pose?

Most parents’ instinct for this type of shot is to pose the subject, and have him or her look directly into the camera (and hopefully smile!). If this is the look and feel you want, just keep a few quick points in mind :

  • Even if the subject is a small child, if they stand straight up and face directly into the camera, pictures will tend to make them look bulkier than they truly are. Most pros would suggest having the person turn slightly to one side or the other, moving their feet, hips, and shoulders so they’re turned slightly away from directly facing the camera. Furthermore, a slight turn 'slims' the body and adds a bit more depth than a head-on portrait.
  • Tell them to relax their shoulders, but to keep standing straight (don't 'slouch')
  • Don’t try to force big smiles, especially if the child is a bit nervous. Remember, the first days of school can be challenging for young ones, even if it seems pretty routine to adults
  • Keeping that last point in mind, consider taking the portrait on a stress-free day, such as during the weekend before or after your child’s first day. Your child will probably be more relaxed, more patient, and easier to work with – and so will most parents!
  • Of course, effective portraits do not have to be formal or posed. They don’t need to include a big smile. They don’t even need to have eye contact with the camera.
  • In fact, you may get pictures that say a lot more about your child’s personality, and what they are really feeling in the moment, by stepping back with your telephoto zoom lens and taking unobtrusive candid shots.

Try that approach – maybe at the bus stop waiting your child for the bus, or interacting with friends or family, or when they are trying on new school clothes, or just quietly thinking about the school year ahead. You may be surprised at how a candid portrait can often tell a much more powerful story than a ‘smile for the camera.’

TIP #7 : Sharing is Caring

Think about how you want to share the pictures of your child going off to school. Remember, the potential uses and way to share and enjoy your digital photography is seemingly endless!

One exciting possibility is using multiple pictures in either a slide show or as a sequence to be displayed in a digital picture frame. Numerous other possibilities exist for letting others share your pictures, including posting them on photo-sharing web sites — another reason to consider taking a series of shots rather than just a few quick head-and-shoulder pictures. Various third-party software companies market effective software for taking multiple pictures, combining them with sound or music, and burning them onto a CD or DVD. If you plan effectively and shoot a sequence of pictures, you can quickly produce disks that are easy to mail out to grandparents and other family members and can be viewed either on computers or most DVD players (a quick computer search for slide show software will generate numerous options for Mac and Windows users).

If you shoot these types of pictures at the beginning of each school year, you’ll begin to build an extensive collection of photos of your children as they grow and mature – images that will be treasured by family members, and your children, and their children, as well.

The start of school, or the beginning of a new school year, is great opportunity for parents to take meaningful pictures of their children. With a little bit of time and forethought, it’s easy to go far beyond the typical quality of quick snapshots, and really use the camera’s features to get effective, attention-grabbing portraits.

Some things to consider :

  • When to take a horizontal or a vertical shot?
  • How much of the background and WHAT background do you want to see?
  • Do you want to zoom in for tight framing, or use a wider lens to include more of an important background?
  • Would a flash help control the light?
  • Why settle for a forced or fake smile, when a candid may tell a better story?

Take more than one or two pictures, change your compositions, and move the child a bit as well to avoid a stiffly posed look. Think about ways to share the pictures you take: sending an e-mail with one or two is only scratching the surface of what you can do. Like most pictures you take of family, they’ll come to mean more as time goes on.

Canon EF-M 55-250mm STM Lens Technical Report

Canon STM lenses capture great photos and even better videos. They have a new kind of technology inside, called a Stepping Motor, which enables the lenses to focus smoothly and quietly. STM lens lineup include the following models :

    Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens
    Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
    Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
    Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens

The Canon Camera Museum has added the EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Technical Report to its archives.

    Development objectives
    Feature 1 - High-grade, stylish exterior finish
    Feature 2 - Outstanding image quality from a compact, lightweight form
    Feature 3 - Fast, comfortable autofocusing
    Feature 4 - Image stabilizer

Monday, August 25, 2014

How To Find Out Canon Cameras Shutter Count

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, 5D MkIII, 1D MkIV, 1D X.

There is a competing product from Dire Studio called ShutterCount. It also displays the number of shutter actuations for Canon EOS digital cameras only. The shutter count is read directly from a USB-connected camera, and provides more accurate numbers than with the simple EXIF-based methods.

ShutterCount can display only the shutter count for still photos, not video clips.Only Canon Service Center can provide an accurate mirror movement reading that includes videos. For the best compatibility with your camera, it is recommended to upgrade the camera’s firmware to the latest available version.

The following cameras are supported :

  • Canon EOS-1D C (requires firmware 1.1.3 or later for correct serial number display) 
  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV 
  • Canon EOS-1D X 
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II 
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III (requires firmware 1.2.1 or later for correct serial number display) 
  • Canon EOS 6D 
  • Canon EOS 7D 
  • Canon EOS 50D 
  • Canon EOS 60D 
  • Canon EOS 70D 
  • Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 / Kiss X7 
  • Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i / Kiss X3 
  • Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4 
  • Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5 
  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i 
  • Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i 
  • Canon EOS 1000D / Rebel XS / Kiss F 
  • Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50 
  • Canon EOS 1200D / Rebel T5 / Kiss X70

Mac OS X ($2.99) – Current version is 1.2, Requires OS X 10.6.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Windows ($2.99) – Current version is 1.0, Requires Windows 7 SP1 or later, 32-bit or 64-bit processor

Canon EOS-1D X With 3 Year U.S. Warranty - $5,420

Canon EOS-1D X flagship DSLR camera

There is a top-rated merchant on eBay selling the Canon EOS-1D X camera for $5,420 including a 3 year USA warranty and free shipping. Hurry, it won't last. This is an excellent deal and my pick as the best full frame DSLR camera two years in a row. I have just returned from the Pantanal, Brazil, photographing Jaguars and other wildlife with this camera. You can see the new photos on my website.

You will not find a link to this eBay item because I do not accept any ad or commissioned link on my Blog or website. I am completely unbiased in my recommendation and have no conflict of interest. You can see travel and wildlife photos taken with this camera on my worldwide photo shoots on

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Canon EOS-7D Mk II Camera Final Specifications?

Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera

                                   * * *  Canon EOS-7D Mk II camera announced * * *

The new EOS-7D Mk II camera is expected to be announced some time in the second week of September. This will give Canon and their surrogates time to ramp up the big marketing blitz leading up to the Photokina Show on September 16 in Cologne, Germany. Already, there is a EOS-7D Mk II book scheduled to come out on September 27. The publisher has indicated a list price of 1,650 Yen.

You can see my works with the present camera from worldwide photo shoots on Keep checking back for breaking news and development. The following specs are the latest I have and they look rather solid to me.

Most likely specifications for the EOS-7D Mk II camera :

  • 20 MP APS-C 'Multi Layer' Sensor ( With new, breakthrough technology )
  • Advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology
  • Dual DIGIC 6 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 )
  • 45 - 65 AF points, many cross type ( Perhaps similar to EOS-1D Mk IV and X )
  • AF down to f/8, just like the EOS-1D X and EOS-5D Mk III
  • 3.2″ LCD monitor with no touch screen capability ( Excellent for reviewing images )
  • 100% coverage viewfinder. Magnification 1.15
  • Similar build quality as the EOS-5D Mk III with improved weather proofing
  • With GPS but no WiFi
  • Built-in flash
  • Mic and headphone connectors
  • ISO 100 - 16000, Boost Mode 25600 - 51200 ( Most welcomed by me )
  • Latest video features similar but more advanced than EOS-70D 
  • 1080p / 720p at 60 fps
  • New battery ( LP-E6N ) , new charger ( LC-E6N ) , new grip ( BG-E15?)
  • Selling price between $2,000 and $2,500. Not finalized yet
  • Available with EF 18-135mm and EF 15-85mm lens kit
  • Shipping date - late October

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    New Canon PowerShot and STM Lens Coming Soon?

    Canon may be planning a slew of new announcements leading up to the all important Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany on September 16. In addition to the EOS-7D Mk II camera, they may also announce a new, compact PowerShot model with a 'large' one inch sensor to compete with models from other camera manufacturers.

    In addition, new STM lenses, like the EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, may also be announced and comes as a kit package for the EOS-7D Mk II body. Keep checking back for the latest information and development.

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS II Development Announcement

    Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens

    I have just returned from my photo shoot in the Pantanal, Brazil. Trying to catch up on the last few weeks' photography news. Will be posting my photos and reflection on the trip soon on my Blog and website

    The venerable 'Big Daddy' 800mm lens is showing its age. Canon is working on its successor and may announce its development after Photokina 2014 in September. This is one of Canon's oldest Super Telephoto lenses and can benefit from the latest material and optics improvement already found on Canon's Series II Super Telephoto lens lineup. The current model may have ceased production already and dealers are encouraged to exhaust their inventory on hand. Look for additional news around the autumn time frame.

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Canon Professional Network Interviews The Men Behind EOS-1 Camera

    The original Canon EOS-1 camera, first introduced in 1989

    Canon EOS-1D X, current flagship EOS-1 DSLR camera

    Canon is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the EOS-1 series, the company’s flagship range of SLR cameras, which began with the launch of the EOS-1 film SLR in 1989. CPN recently got the unique opportunity to talk to two of the key men behind the development of the EOS-1 series and EOS System – Tsunemasa Ohara and Yoshiaki Sugiyama of Canon Inc. in Tokyo.

    I have been a wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for 25 years. My first EOS-1 was purchased in 1989 and the latest, EOS-1D X in 2012. You can see my works on

    Below is an excerpt from CPN on the interviews. They reveal the secrets behind the historical development of the EOS-1 SLR cameras.

    Yoshiaki Sugiyama has worked on the design of Canon SLR systems since 1978, including the T90 (1986), the EOS 650/620 (1987) and the EOS-1 (1989) cameras. CPN spoke to him about the history and development of EOS-1 series SLR designs.

    CPN: Many say that the ‘grandfather’ of the current EOS-series design was the Canon T90. Would you agree and, if so, why?

    Yoshiaki Sugiyama (YS): “Considering the following three points, I believe that is a reasonable opinion. First of all, the T90 was the first model to be equipped with the Main Dial. Next, the same ergonomics base as the later EOS series was visually represented. Lastly, the T90 was accepted by many professionals.”
     CPN: How have ergonomics evolved as camera technology has improved?

    YS: “Along with rapid advances in electronic technology with the EOS-1 in 1989, the main construction of the camera transitioned from a number of motors to mecha-electronics controlled by electronic circuits, and the freedom in core construction of traditional mechanisms rapidly increased. Additionally, along with the more compact and dense input/output parts positioned between the camera and photographer, there was more freedom in adjusting the layout of controls; making it possible to create the optimal layout for a person operating a camera.

    As an example, the Quick Control Dial which was implemented on the EOS-1 (1989) that made it possible to instantly apply exposure compensation while looking through the viewfinder, and the control system that allowed identical controls in vertical and horizontal positions on the EOS-1V (2000) continues through to this day as the basic control schemes of the EOS-1 system.

    Although not visible from the outside, another example of controls from the original EOS-1 is the mechanism that enables adjustment of the [shutter] release button stroke. The amount of press until the halfway press, the amount of press from a halfway press to a full press, and how far the release button protrudes can all be customised in service.”

    CPN: When you design a camera, what user criteria do you take into account?

    YS: “The base user for each category differs. The standard for the EOS-1 [series] is the professional photographer. These are people who have mastered functions and can intuitively handle the camera. In line with this, the weight balance is also thoroughly considered, taking into account telephoto lenses. Additionally, because the market in recent years also includes more women and beginners, designers are at the core of development, and we use user needs surveys to collect information that can be used in product development.”

    CPN: Are photographers using cameras differently these days to, say, 20 years ago? Does this affect the way that you look at the design of cameras?

    YS: “What can be clearly stated is that there is a wealth of options for pre-shooting functions. To achieve a good result, photographers must select the optimal option. Also, camera operations that were simple 20 years ago (in the film era) are now vastly different with the availability of functions for checking results after shooting and communication functions. Although the many control buttons and GUI [Graphical User Interface] elements on the current EOS series are necessary for these functions, these are also the cause of making people feel that cameras are now complicated devices. The job of the designer is to optimise the layout of controls while considering possible shooting situations, [to] create simplified and easy to understand information displays and, when necessary, add new control procedures and design styles.”

    CPN: What are the most important considerations/key criteria when you begin the process of designing a camera?

    YS: “To satisfy users in the areas of grip and controls, and to provide a look and feel that does not look like anything but an EOS model.”
     CPN: How have materials – for example, plastic, magnesium alloy and rubber – and their use influenced the way you design a DSLR?

    YS: “As designers, we focus more on functions that will satisfy users rather than materials. The EOS-1 category is heavily focused on functionality. We almost never choose components simply for cosmetic purposes. With regards to plastic and magnesium alloy, which make up the main construction of the camera exterior, recent advances in production methods allow for a virtually difference-free form for both. However, there are vastly more choices for exterior processing when plastic materials are involved.”

    CPN: How much influence do end-users (photographers and filmmakers) have on the way you design an EOS camera?

    YS: “Opinions of professional users are especially important for the EOS-1 category. It’s not all about specs; there is also a large influence on camera design. We endeavour to understand the inclinations of as many users as possible and reflect this in products. However, I believe that with the recent increase in movie functions [in DSLRs], the situation has become more complicated. Even for the same movie, the purpose in shooting makes demands for equipment appear completely opposite. To cope with changes from one new function to the next realistically results in a slight change to controls or additional GUI for function selection. However, just as with the advent of new categories such as the Cinema EOS [system] that comes from DSLRs, there is currently a trend toward advancing to optimal equipment.”

    CPN: Do you design a camera with a particular lens in mind? Or are the designs of EF lenses and EOS cameras always kept separate?

    YS: “Design is not carried out with a specific lens in mind, however, the EOS-1 category must be designed so that controls are comfortable, even when 'non-typical' lenses such as telephoto and TS-E lenses are used with the camera body. However, on the other hand, it is extremely difficult to ensure perfect strength and operation when a lens such as the EF600mm is attached to a low-end [EOS] model that is designed for maximum compactness and a lightweight form. Because lenses and cameras only function when they are combined, although a functional design is imperative, when colour and texture are considered, the body must be designed to match the lens, considering that the basic black camera body is a given.”
     CPN: What has been the most difficult design challenge in the history of the EOS series in terms of making sure all of the aspects of the camera’s specifications/technologies are fitted into a relatively compact body?

    YS: “Many transformations were required during the change from film to digital. It was necessary to add components to traditional cameras that are necessary for digital cameras, such as a large LCD panel and controls, operation procedures for setting and playback, and design for screen displays (GUI). A new field of design became necessary for GUI. Even now in this area, each time new specs are added, it is very difficult to make changes without causing new problems.”

    CPN: One of the design and functionality aspects of EOS cameras that has found favour with many photographers is the ability to customise buttons. Can you explain how this was achieved?

    YS: “The predecessor to button customisation was likely the Custom Function included on the EOS-1 in 1989. This enabled eight different functions to be set individually, and switching of control functions was also included among these. There are various opinions on camera use, even among professional photographers. Our basic stance remains that as long as it is in the realm of technical possibility, we want to continue to adopt as many requests as possible. The Custom Function and button customisations are limited by ideas only. Because current cameras are almost entirely electronically controlled, nearly anything is possible with switches and GUI settings. Therefore, the only problem for designers is how many potential requests from photographers to incorporate.”

    CPN: Is there an optimum size for a camera when it is designed bearing in mind the differing size of peoples’ hands?

    YS: “There is no ‘better too big than too small’ proverb in the camera world. This is my own personal opinion, but I believe that the best results come from people with comparatively small hands designing for people with larger hands. I believe that the optimum size among Canon cameras is the AL-1.”

    CPN: Many photographers comment that EOS DSLRs are comparatively lightweight and easy to use – does the need to keep the weight of a camera as low as possible affect design decisions? If so, in what way?

    YS: “I don’t believe it is necessary to go to extremes so that something has to be sacrificed to keep a camera lightweight, and this does not have a large influence on design. This point is shared perfectly between engineers and designers. A more lightweight form must be achieved by a balance between both the lens and body.”

    CPN: How do you measure or know how to design a control dial, button or menu that is intuitive to use? Is it via user feedback or are the designs of controls driven by the features of the cameras?

    YS: “Because design of controls for new functions does not take user feedback into consideration, design is carried out in consideration of how the camera will be used. When designing a new model we always consider user feedback and incorporate it into the design after it is verified.”

    CPN: Which camera made the biggest leap in terms of changing design from the previous model in the EOS series and why was this design changed so much?

    YS: “I believe the largest conceptual change occurred in the EOS 50E. Up to that point all settings on all models (except for low-end models) were carried out using the function button and Main Dial. From the EOS 50E [onwards] shooting modes, AF, drive and various metering function options could be set on separate dials and levers. This change was implemented from the viewpoint of enabling easier to understand controls for users, and the shooting mode dial has been continued on every [EOS camera] category except for the EOS-1 [series].”
    CPN: How much synergy is there between the designs (and designers) of the EOS DSLRs and the designs of Cinema EOS cameras such as the EOS C500 and EOS C300?

    YS: “Cinema EOS was developed as a movie camera for professional users. Before Cinema EOS, cinematic cameras had large housings and were designed for use by several crew members. However, the design concept behind Cinema EOS was mobility, and the desire for a compact, lightweight, one-man controlled camera in movie production circles. The expertise and knowledge accumulated over many years in the EOS SLR series was put together to make Cinema EOS possible. The Canon logo is found on the upper part of the lens mount, which is rare on cinematic cameras, but expresses the Canon identity.”

    CPN: What do you see as the future for EOS camera design encompassing? For example, can cameras get smaller and even easier to use? If so, how might this be achieved?

    YS: “I previously said that I believe the optimum size among Canon cameras is the AL-1. I believe that the trend towards compact, lightweight equipment is a certainty among categories encompassed by advanced amateurs, and even professional equipment, [so] the entire [EOS] system will move toward a more lightweight form.

    The technical challenges are: lighter, stronger materials; glass materials with a high refractive index and high permeability; improvement in low power consumption design and compact, high-capacity battery; electronic parts with a higher degree of integration.”

    Tsunemasa Ohara has worked on the development of EOS System since 1984, including heading up the ‘EOS Digital Project’, the ‘EOS-1D X Project’ and the ‘EOS Professional Business Project’. CPN spoke to him about the history and development of EOS-1 series SLR technologies.

    CPN: What was the original concept for the first EOS-1 series camera in 1989?

    Tsunemasa Ohara (TO): “The EOS [system] was developed as an SLR camera system that enables fast and comfortable AF [autofocus]. The first EOS product was launched in 1987, and from the beginning of development we had the idea of developing the ‘EOS-1’ as the flagship camera for professionals in the EOS series.

    The concept for the EOS-1 as the EOS flagship model is a camera that provides the ultimate in speed and comfort. The most important aspect of this was to ensure that photographers are able to shoot exactly the photo they have in mind. Because photos are recorded in a single instant, performance that makes it possible to capture that precious moment exactly as a photographer sees it is very important. In addition to pursuing the ultimate in speed and comfort, the central component of performance is high-speed response, and the factors that best represent that are AF and speed.”

    CPN: Has your vision of the EOS-1 series and the EOS System remained true to its original ideas?

    TO: “The original concept of ‘high-speed response’ for the EOS-1 has been carried through to today in the latest model, the EOS-1D X. The advancements made over the 25 years of the EOS-1 series have continued to proceed in the direction of creating the ultimate camera for speed and comfort. The latest model is the EOS-1D X, and its performance has advanced to the point where its 61 AF points use AF tracking in 12 frames each second for continuous shooting.”
     CPN: Of all of the EOS-1 series cameras you have overseen the development of do you have a favourite? If so, which camera is it and why is it your favourite?

    TO: “I feel the same about each and every EOS-1 camera. The latest EOS-1D X is the most advanced model, and because [the] jump in advancement was so large, it is a model that leaves a strong impression.”

    CPN: What, in your view, has been the biggest advance in the EOS-1 series system over the past 25 years?

    TO: “The biggest advancement in the EOS-1 series over 25 years has been the change to digital. The advancement to digital has enabled high sensitivity that was unthinkable during the film era. This has made it possible to shoot in a vastly wider variety of situations. I believe the latest EOS-1D X has achieved the greatest advancements in shooting functions in the series.”

    CPN: How has Canon’s relationship with professional photographers who are working with EOS-1 cameras changed over the course of 25 years?

    TO: “I believe that the EOS-1 was the first AF SLR camera to be evaluated by professional photographers as a camera where AF is actually useful. The EOS-1 system continued to advance over the next 25 years, and many professional photographers around the world have used it in that time. Canon also started the CPS [Canon Professional Services] programme to support professional photographers in countries around the world. This programme does not just offer technical support for camera equipment, but also shooting support as well. This programme has been helpful in gaining the trust of pro photographers and has also been a source of feedback from many pros. Feedback and requests from pro photographers have made it possible for the EOS-1 series to continue advancing.”

    CPN: What requests have professional photographers made which have most influenced design and technology decisions for the EOS-1 series?

    TO: “AF performance. In actual shooting situations, it is necessary to focus on a number of different subjects. For example, in dark shooting situations, shooting fast moving sports, subjects who move all of a sudden, etc. Even in scenes like these, pro photographers always request instant, high-precision focusing performance. Whether focus is high-precision or not has a significant impact on the photo.

    The initial EOS-1 was equipped with a high-precision cross-type AF sensor compatible with [an] f/2.8, AI Servo system for focus tracking of moving subjects, and an AF-dedicated micro-processor for even faster AF operation. Later we received feedback from many pro photographers, which we used to continue to develop AF system technology and advance AF performance for high-precision and high-speed to meet their needs.”
    CPN: Have we now reached the absolute peak of AF performance within the EOS System or what improvements could possibly be made?

    TO: “I believe we’ve achieved an extremely high level of advancement in AF performance with the EOS-1D X. However, AF performance will continue to advance in the future. The ideal AF performance for the EOS is to be able to focus anytime, on anything, exactly the way you imagine it. In other words, the ultimate AF performance would exceed the limits of human eyes. We will continue pursuing this ideal with development of technology from here on.”

    CPN: Looking through the timeline of technologies for the EOS-1 series are there any technologies that didn’t work as well as you’d hoped?

    TO: “In the development of the EOS-1 series, I believe we have used the best technology available at that point in time to create the best possible camera. On the other hand, if we determine that the degree of completion or reliability of that technology is insufficient for the EOS-1, we will not include it on the camera. Technology included on the EOS-1 series products used by professional photographers must be at a high level of completion.

    There are a number of technologies that were not included on past EOS-1 series products because the level of completion at the time of development was insufficient. However, there have been cases where, even when a function was not included on a specific model, development was continued, and after that function was completed it was included on later models.”

    CPN: For the EOS-1 series critical areas of performance have always been AF and speed related. Why is this?

    TO: “Just as I explained in the beginning, AF and speed are important factors in creating a camera that can capture images exactly as the photographer envisions them. No matter how good an image sensor or lens is in terms of image quality, if the focus is 'off', even a little bit for a decisive moment, the sharpness of an image will drop. High-speed, high-precision AF that provides stable focus tracking in various shooting situations is required.”

    CPN: How can sensor and signal processing technology improve in the future?

    TO: “There are significant advances in image sensor and image processor technology. Amazing advances – such as high-sensitivity, low-noise images – that were unthinkable in the film era and beginning of the switch to digital are now possible, and these co-exist with high-speed sequential shooting performance at 12 frames per second. However, this is not the pinnacle, and I believe there is still [some] room for advancement in the future. As long as there is a demand, we will continue to develop technology so that even further high-resolution, low-noise images are possible.”
    CPN: Many of the latest technical advances in digital photography are amazing; which single technology do you think has been most important for the Canon EOS System?

    TO: “I believe the technology that makes excellent image quality and high-speed performance possible is the most important. It’s impossible to separate the two technologies of the CMOS sensor and imaging engine that processes signals to convert into images. Every part of the interior of the CMOS sensor is designed to be closely linked with the imaging processor, making excellent image quality and high-speed performance possible. Because all of these components are developed within Canon, it is possible to create a high-performance product. This technology developed for the latest EOS-1 series is applied to all [of the] EOS series, achieving comfortable, fast, high image quality cameras.”

    CPN: The EOS-1D X has enjoyed a fantastic life at the top as THE pro DSLR of choice. What do you think has contributed most to this?

    TO: “I believe this is due to the EOS-1D X’s AF performance and high-sensitivity image quality. I also believe that the reason such a high level of performance and reliability has been achieved is through the support of professional photographers. Additionally, although the design of the control system has remained unchanged from the original EOS-1 for items such as the electronic dials (Main Dial and Quick Control Dial) that make intuitive controls possible, and the shape of the grip and the release button, I believe this means that the design is easy to use, responds to the demands of photographers as a photographic tool and has received high praise by professional photographers.”

    CPN: What do you think a potential successor to the EOS-1D X will have to deliver in terms of features and improvements? For example, maximum frame rate, ISO, metering and AF performance.

    TO: “Although I can’t talk about which features will be improved for the EOS-1D X successor, we will develop a camera that responds to user needs.”

    CPN: Where do you see the future development of EOS-1 series cameras going?

    TO: “We hope to meet expectations by further advancing the speed, comfort, and high image quality of the EOS-1 for an ideal camera that captures photos exactly the way photographers want.”

    Latest Canon EOS-7D Mk II Camera Specs

    I just got back from my photo shoot in the Pantanal, Brazil. It was hot and mosquitoes were eating me alive. I am done donating blood for this year. It was a good trip but not spectacular. Just trying to get some rest, get back to my normal routine, catch up on some of the latest photography developments while I was away and process some new photos.

    The announcement of the Canon EOS-7D Mk II is fast approaching. I have checked with my sources again upon my return and they have further informal 'chats' with photographers and people in the know willing to talk about the test cameras. Canon is doing an excellent job in enforcing their Non Disclosure Agreements on the replacement camera and shutting down many leaks. The new camera is expected to be announced on the last day of the first week of September. The following specs are the latest I have :

    Possible specifications of the EOS-7D Mk II camera :

    • 20 MP APS-C 'Multi Layer' Sensor ( With new, breakthrough technology )
    • Advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology
    • Dual DIGIC 6 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 )
    • 45 - 65 AF points, many cross type ( Perhaps similar to EOS-1D Mk IV and X )
    • AF down to f/8, just like the EOS-1 and EOS-5D Mk III
    • 3.2″ LCD monitor with no touch screen capability ( Excellent for reviewing images )
    • 100% coverage viewfinder. Magnification 1.15
    • Similar build quality as the EOS-5D Mk III with improved weather proofing
    • With GPS but no WiFi
    • Built-in flash
    • Mic and headphone connectors
    • ISO 100 - 16000, Boost Mode 25600 - 51200 ( Most welcomed by me )
    • Latest video features similar but more advanced than EOS-70D 
    • 1080p / 720p at 60 fps
    • New battery LP-E6N and charger
    • Selling price between $2,000 and $2,500. Not finalized yet
    • Available with EF 18-135mm and EF 15-85mm STM lens kit
    • May be announced with EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens ?

    As reported in my earlier posts, the new camera may look a 'baby' EOS-1. The mode dial found on all non EOS-1 DSLR bodies may be gone, but the top plate apparently still retains a pop-up flash, with a bigger bump than the current EOS-7D and similar to the EOS-1D X.

    The current EOS-7D is an excellent piece of equipment and my pick, four years in a row as the best value in APS-C camera. I am most interested in the Mk II's new sensor and AF system plus high ISO capability. The EOS-7D Mk II will be Canon's most important camera announcement this year and they are pulling out all the stops. The photographers who are using the test cameras at the World's Cup have all signed Non Disclosure Agreements but the expiration date will be the first week of September. This means the people who have tested the camera are not bound by the 'secrecy act' any more and can freely discuss and divulge all they know about the new camera.

    This will give Canon and their surrogates plenty of time to gear up for the big marketing blitz leading up to the Photokina Show on September 16 in Cologne, Germany. You can see my works with the present camera from worldwide photo shoots on Keep checking back for the latest info and development.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Canon 'Used' EOS-5D Mk III Magic Lantern RAW Footage

    The above video apparently contained a few seconds of footage shot with the Magic Lantern hack of the Canon EOS-5D Mk III software to produce video quality much higher than the compressed H.264 files. Does Canon know about this when they released the video or is it just an oversight?

    Wildlife Photography - Jaguars in the Pantanal, Brazil

    * * *  Back from my trip. Visit my Jaguar page to see latest photos  * * *

    I am off on a wildlife photo shoot in the Pantanal, Brazil. Brazil is the largest country in South America and shares a common border with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil comprises almost half the South American continent (47.3%), has a population of over 200 million and is the fifth largest country in the world, after the Russian Federation, Canada, the United States and China. The Equator line crosses Brazil at the Northern region; the Tropic of Capricorn crosses the country at the Southeastern region.

    The Pantanal is located in the Center West region of Brazil. “Pantanal” is a Portuguese word for marshland and is considered the biggest swamp area of the world. It covers an area of between 54,000 to 75,000 square miles, in the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and areas of Paraguay. It is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Area. About 650 different species of birds, 80 of mammals, 260 of fish, and 50 of reptiles live there. This region is similar to the U.S. Florida's Everglades.

    The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is a big cat belonging to the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. It ranks third in size after the tiger and the lion, and the largest cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar's present range extends from Southwestern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a very small population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largely been exterminated from the United States since the early 20th century.

    It is a spotted cat that is often mistaken for a leopard. Jaguars are usually larger and of sturdier build and its behavioral and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the Tiger. While dense rain forest is its preferred habitat, the Jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrains. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and is notable, along with the tiger, as a feline that enjoys swimming.

    The female Jaguar can weigh anywhere up to over 200 pounds while the much larger males have been recorded to weigh as much as 350 pounds. They can range in length up to 6.5 feet, from the nose to the base of the tail and stand about 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall at the shoulder.

    Jaguars are apex predators and largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush hunter.  They have an exceptionally powerful bite, relative to the other big cats. Unlike other big cats that kill by strangulation, Jaguars kill their prey by biting directly through the skull of their victim to deliver a fatal blow. Their diet even include caimans (South American crocodiles).

    The Jaguar is a near threatened species and its numbers are declining. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat. While international trade in Jaguars or their parts is prohibited, the cat is still frequently killed by humans, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America.

    Bringing my trusted duo, Canon EOS-1D X and EOS-1D Mk IV cameras, together with the EF 200-400mm f/4L and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lenses. I will not be able to write this blog till my return. You can visit my website to see images from my worldwide photo shoots and follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    The History Of Canon's EF Lenses

    In April 2014, the cumulative production of Canon’s “EF lenses” broke the 100 million record. How did the new mount system win the trust of photographers with mechanical control completely eliminated from the traditional FD mount? This article tells you more about the history of the evolution and the expectations from different photographers.

    Phase 1 : The Dawn Era – Birth of the Fully Electronic Mount System

    In March 1987, Canon released the “EOS 650”, the first Canon camera that was built in with a professional AF system. This also marked the birth of the EF lenses. I can still recall that prior to the launch of the EOS series, the biggest concern among Canon users was whether Canon would make changes to the existing FD mount standards. Until then, the FD mount adopted by Canon cameras before the EOS series had commanded tremendous support among both professional photographers and advanced amateurs.

    The view of the majority was that developing an AF system was unlikely to necessitate a change in the mount standards. However, contrary to the popular anticipation, Canon chose to break away from the traditional FD mount with the adoption of a brand new EF mount standard for its EOS series. This decision led to distress among users who possessed a large number of FD lenses, some of whom even saw it as an act of “betrayal”. Today, many years after its launch, it is almost impossible to find any user who would disagree that the decision made by Canon then was correct.

    Read the rest of the article on Canon Asia's website.

    Phase 2 : Growth Era – Advent of the Digital Age

    In April 1991, three TS-E lenses (24mm, 45mm, and 90mm) were released, all of which were built in with a shift mechanism in addition to tilt control. The greatest breakthrough, however, was the introduction of an automatic aperture control system on a tilt-shift lens for the first time. For tilt-shift lenses, which allow bending of the optical axis, it was difficult to move the aperture system mechanically from the camera body. Until then, the conventional practice was to set focus at the maximum aperture and perform the necessary tilt-shift adjustments before stopping the aperture down manually to the desired value.

    The TS-E lenses, in contrast, employ an “Electro-magnetic Diaphragm (EMD)”, which is equipped with an actuator on the lens for driving the aperture, thus enabling automatic aperture control even when the lens is tilted or shifted. When manual aperture adjustment was necessary, I often forgot this step during shooting, and ended up with significantly overexposed shots. Such blunders no longer occurred with the automatic aperture control of the TS-E lenses.

    This has been made possible, thanks to the adoption of a fully electronically-controlled mount with mechanical control fully eliminated on the lens mount. While beginners in photography might not be familiar with the TS-E lenses and the tilt-shift function, they are essential items among professional photographers specialising in architectural, interior, or merchandise photography. The effort to include such lenses for the niche market in the EF lineup is one of the reasons why professionals place great trust in Canon’s products.

    Read the rest of the article on Canon Asia's website.

    Canon EF 11-24mm f/2.8L Lens Coming?

    A few months ago I reported Canon is planning to introduce a super wide angle f/2.8 lens some time in the not too distant future. Canon introduced two new wide angle lenses on May 12. The long rumored Canon EF 14-24mm f/2.8L or EF 11-24mm f/2.8L is coming, perhaps by the end of 2014 or early 2015. Nikon already has its AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens on the market and Canon is just playing catch up.

    The schedule for new lens release has slipped into the second half of 2014. Canon is eager to round out the lineup of its wide angle, full frame lenses. The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens is scheduled for release in the first week of September. You can read my FAQs on camera and lens equipment and see my work on

    Canon Cuts Forecast As Camera Demand Slows

    Canon, the world’s largest camera maker, lowered its full-year sales forecast as demand slows amid a consumer shift to smartphones for taking pictures. Late last year, I reported there may be a shakeout coming among mid-tier camera makers due to the challenge of smartphones.

    The current dilemma Canon is facing has a lot to do with their sales practices. They launch too many old and uninteresting low end cameras with new, slick marketing programs. On top of that, their high end cameras are priced too 'cheap' and the price-to-performance differential between prosumer and professional models are dropping, tempting users to buy value, instead of performance.

    The following is an excerpt from Bloomberg News on Canon's forecast of their business :

    Sales are projected to be 3.78 trillion yen ($37 billion) for the current fiscal year, a 2.1 percent cut from the previous forecast. The Tokyo-based company maintained earlier projections for operating profit of 365 billion yen and net income of 240 billion yen.

    Smartphones packed with advanced sensors and lenses are winning customers and cutting demand for cheaper compact cameras. Canon, which posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, is counting on sales of office equipment, including a partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co., as it automates more production to reduce costs and revive earnings.

    “Demand for compact cameras declined sharply because of smartphones,” Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive officer at Myojo Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, said by phone. “Canon was too aggressive with their SLR sales forecast. People who want them have already bought them.”

    Canon rose 0.8 percent to 3,414 yen at the close in Tokyo trading, before the earnings announcement. The stock has added 2.5 percent this year after three straight annual declines.

    Net income in the second quarter rose to 80.8 billion yen, beating the 62.4 billion yen average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Operating profit was 110.5 billion yen.

    “The forecast cut is a reflection of slower than expected economic recovery,” Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka said today. “An increase in sales of high-end color copiers and printers has pushed up profitability.”

    Slumping Demand

    Canon sold 2.3 million compact cameras in the second quarter, a 36 percent decrease from a year earlier, according to Tanaka. Sales of the company’s single-lens reflex cameras dropped to 1.7 million from 2.1 million.

    Industrywide digital camera shipments declined about 35 percent from a year earlier in the first five months of 2014, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association.

    “The company needs to find a new product for growth,” Hisashi Moriyama, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo, said by phone before the earnings were announced. “Single-lens reflex cameras didn’t sell as well as expected.”

    Canon forecast an exchange rate of $1 for 100 yen and 1 euro for 135 yen for the third quarter.

    Canon cut its annual sales forecast for compact digital cameras to 9.5 million units from the previous target of 10.5 million units. The SLR camera sales projection was pared to 7 million units, from an earlier 7.6 million units.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    PocketWizard Compatible With More Canon Cameras

    PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1 radios

    PocketWizard has added more TTL support for Canon cameras using the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios. The PocketWizard Utility also enables you to configure your settings in the ControlTL firmware found on the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios.

    Full compatibility for the Canon 1D X*, 6D*, 70D, T5i / 700D, T4i* / 650D, T5 / 1200D and SL1 / 100D.  * With TTL compatibility.  Download the firmware from PocketWizard here.

    Canon Explores Entry Into Medium Format Photography

    Canon is planning to make a BIG splash at Photokina 2014 on September 12 in Cologne, Germany. The EOS-7D Mk II camera and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens will be announced around the first week of September. Perhaps a couple of EF-S lenses in the 18-300mm zoom range may also be included to compete with the recent Tamron offerings.

    However, rumor has it Nikon is planning to announce a Medium Format camera some time near Photokina 2014, using Sony's 50MP CMOS sensor, to try and steal the thunder from Canon. There is no secret many camera manufacturers are exploring the MF arena as a new possibility to bring some excitement to their product line. Canon is eyeing Medium Format cameras as well and has been sending out feelers to their 'core users' with questions concentrating on image quality, lens and usage requirements.

    As a wildlife photographer using Canon equipment for the last 25 years, I have made some observations and suggestions for my friends in Tokyo last year. Medium Format photography is, at best a niche product and should be left to much smaller companies. Canon should concentrate on their core business and make them even better.