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Friday, January 30, 2015

Canon EOS-5Ds and EOS-5Ds R Specs

Canon EOS-5DS full frame DSLR camera

As I have reported before I left on my wildlife photo shoot in the Southern Oceans a couple of weeks ago, the Canon EOS-5D Mk III will be split into three models in 2015. The EOS-5Ds and EOS-5Ds R cameras will be announced on February 6, 2015 and the EOS-5D Mk IV may be coming the second half of 2015.

The EOS-5Ds will have a list price of 3,499 Euros, the EOS-5Ds R (no low-pass filter) lists for 3,699 Euros and the EF 11-24mm f/4L lens' price will be 2,999 Euros. The prices in North America, especially in the U.S. are generally lower.

I am still on my photo shoot, returning next week and back to postings on my blog.

EOS-5DS Possible Specifications

  • Sensor effective pixels 50.6MP. 53MP CMOS
  • 5DS R comes without low-pass filter
  • RAW (50MP), M-RAW (28MP), S-RAW (12.4MP)
  • Media CF (UDMA7), SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I)
  • Dual DIGIC 6
  • Crop 1.3x and 1.6x
  • Finder penta prism, 100% field of view, magnification 0.71 times, the eye point 21mm
  • Electronic Level
  • Grid display
  • AF 61 points (41 points cross type). EV-2 support.
  • ITR AF
  • Anti-flicker
  • Time-lapse movie
  • Bulb timer
  • Live View, the contrast AF (face recognition)
  • 150,000 pixel RGB-TR metering sensor. 252 zone TTL metering
  • EOS iSA system
  • ISO100-6400 (extended with ISO50 and ISO12800)
  • The shutter speed is 30 seconds -1/8000 seconds. Synchro is 1/200 sec
  • Burst rate 5 fps
  • Video 1920×1080 30fps (ALL-I or IPB)
  • LCD monitor 3.2 inches 1.04 million dot
  • Mini HDMI output terminal. External microphone terminal
  • Battery LP-E6N / LP-E6
  • The size 152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm
  • Weight 930g (CIPA guidelines). 845g (body only)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wildlife Photography in the Southern Oceans - Day 11

Still on my photo shoot down in the Southern Oceans. Weather and sea conditions are quite nice but wildlife sightings are so so. Saw quite a few whale blows and even a breach about one hundred feet from the bow of the ship but not able to photograph any cetaceans so far.

The bird sightings are a bit better with decent Albatross, Arctic terns and Penguin action. The Canon EOS-7D Mk II, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II gear I brought along to test are working just fine but I have little time to really go through the photos. Here's a few just to give you an idea of the trip so far.  Visit to see more photos.

The King and I

The wandering Albatross

Magellanic penguin chick begging for food

Rockhopper penguin on a mission

Adventures in babysitting

Two heads are better than one. You reckon?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wildlife Photography In The Southern Oceans

I am off to the Southern Oceans for a wildlife photo shoot of mostly penguins, pelagic birds, seals and whales. As you can see form the map, the Penguin breeding ranges are quite huge, spanning a large swathe of the southern part of South America, mostly in the countries of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. South Georgia is off my itinerary on this trip.

The species I hope to encounter and photograph are the Magellanic, Macaroni, Southern RockHopper and maybe King penguins. The Cetacean sightings may include Orcas, Humpback, Southern Right and Minke whales plus dolphins. Pelagic birds may include a few species of Albatrosses, Petrels, Seagulls, Ducks, etc.

There are 3 pieces of new Canon gear I plan to test extensively - EOS-7D Mk II , EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lenses.  In addition, I will be bringing the old favorites - EOS-1D X , EOS-1D Mk IV and EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x Extender lens. I may have sporadic access to the Internet so it will be difficult to stay in touch. Wish me luck and in the meantime, you can see my works from past photo shoots on

Canon Product Advisory On PowerShot Cameras

Canon USA issued a Product Advisory for PowerShot cameras. The purpose of this announcement is to inform our customers of the details of the phenomenon described below, as well as of the actions Canon is taking to address this phenomenon. Because we value the trust our customers have placed in us, we are dedicated to delivering industry-leading service and support for our products. We offer our sincerest apologies to any customer who may be inconvenienced.


In rare instances, it is possible that units of the Potentially Affected Products listed below may exhibit the following operation errors, depending on usage conditions, due to insufficient contact between the camera’s battery terminal and the battery, even when the battery has sufficient power remaining.

  •     The message “Charge the battery” appears immediately.
  •     The power sometimes does not turn on.
  •     The power turns off during use.

Click here to visit the official Canon site and see which models are involved.

Nikon D750 Camera Quietly 'Recalled'

Nikon is apparently conducting a quiet recall of the D750 camera because of the flare/reflection 'problem' acknowledged by the company. The cameras are 'disappearing' from most retailers, starting from the big to the small.

Canon Rebel T6i and EF 11-24mm f/4L Coming

Canon EOS Rebel T6i camera

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L super wide angle zoom lens

                          * * *  Canon EOS Rebel T6i and T6s officially announced  * * *

The camera that was leaked last week in the Canon Connect Station announcement is indeed the EOS Rebel T6i as reported. It should be announced around the CP+ Photo and Imaging Show in Japan starting on February 12.

The EF 11-24mm f/4L super wide angle lens reported earlier will also be coming some time in 1Q of 2015. This is Canon first 'L' entry into the super wide angle zoom lens and the price will be commensurate with its IQ and build, in the neighborhood of around $3,000. Keep checking back for more details on both.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wildlife Photography - My Equipment Bag

For over a quarter of a century, my passion for the environment and conservation has centered on my love of travel and wildlife photography. Many animal and plant species are going extinct at an alarming rate. We live in a time when nature finds itself in a fragile state. There are less habitat and more people, fauna and flora are under severe pressure.

Wildlife Photography can be a powerful tool for conservation. My mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world's biodiversity and the need for its preservation, through the lens of wildlife imagery. Powerful wildlife and nature images are effective and emotive tools in building public awareness and education in combating this worrisome decline.

My readers know me as The Wildlife Ho-tographer, using Canon equipment for over 30 years. My subjects range from small Hummingbirds to gigantic Blue whales, the largest animal on Planet Earth, ever. Every year, I go on multiple photo shoots around the globe and meet photographers and wildlife enthusiasts who want to know what equipment I use and how much camera gear I bring along on my trips. My philosophy is to keep things simple and my equipment bag as light as possible. I usually bring no more than 2 bodies and 3 lenses.

You can follow my travels on FacebookTwitterFlickrInstagram and this blog. My blog and website do not accept advertising, have no tracking cookies and commissioned links of any kind and I do not receive compensation from any camera dealer or equipment manufacturer, including Canon.

A combination of the following gear is what I usually bring along but I have access to other lenses, cameras and gear when I have a need for them and still own cameras like the original EOS-1, EOS-1 V and EOS-5D. You can read my wildlife articles and see my works on

My Equipment Bag :

EOS 1D X Mark II - With a maximum speed of up to 16 fps, new 20 megapixel sensor and 61-point AF system, this body is the successor to the venerable EOS-1D X, and an ideal wildlife camera. The superior native ISO performance and lighting fast frame rate makes photographing moving wildlife in dim light easier and when combined with the EOS-5Ds body, will provide me with unmatched flexibility on photo shoots. The EOS-1D X Mark II combined with the new EF 200-400mm f/4L IS lens, with the 1.4X built in extender, make an awesome combo for wildlife photography. See my review of this awesome camera.

I have used all the EOS-1D bodies since its inception in 1989 and still prefer the 1.3X APS-H sensor of the MK IV for the extra reach. When I upgraded to the 1D MK III, MK IV and 1D X, it was a small incremental improvement each time, but the EOS-1D X Mark II is a much improved DSLR. I owned the EOS 1D X camera for four years and picked it as the best body for wildlife photo shoots around the world. Click here to read my review of the older camera.

EOS 1D Mark IV - 10 fps, 16 megapixel and 45-point AF system make this rugged camera an ideal wildlife choice for me. The 1.3X APS-H sensor brings me a little closer to the action. The noise level is good when photographing moving wildlife in dim light with ISO up to 3200. I have used all the 1D bodies through the decades and this is my one of my favorite cameras to date and trusted workhorse for wildlife shoots. The Mk IV has doubled up for me as a travel and landscape camera when combined with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II and the 24-105mm f/4L lenses. The MK IV will serve me well as the other 1D body I turn to when I want a little extra reach. Read my comparison between the EOS-1D X and EOS-1D Mk IV.

EOS 5D Mark IV - 7 fps, 30 megapixel, 61-point AF system and Dual Pixel CMOS technology make this 4th generation 5D camera my choice as a second camera when I am on tour. The EOS-1D Mark IV can feel a bit dated at times but this full frame body with built-in WiFi and GPS is an ideal camera for wildlife photography when the action is not too fast. The noise level is good when photographing moving wildlife in dim light with ISO up to 3200. It is becoming another trusted workhorse on my wildlife shoots.

EOS 5Ds - After much deliberation, I have finally replaced my venerable EOS-1Ds Mark III with this full frame, 61-point AF, 50 megapixel camera. The 5Ds will be used primarily for nature and travel photography but occasionally for wildlife that don't move too much. The resolution of its impressive sensor,  the ability to crop the image (on the camera) to 1.3x and 1.6x are great advantages for me when it comes to wildlife photography, offsetting its main disadvantage - the slow 5 fps burst rate. I will be taking this camera on many real world photo shoots and writing a comprehensive review on it in the next few months.

EOS 7D Mark II - In my opinion, this is the best value in cropped frame DSLR today. The 1.6X APS-C sensor, 10 fps, 20 megapixel and 61-point AF system make this body ideal for wildlife and bird photography. This new camera has the Dual Pixel CMOS technology built-in, can autofocus down to f/8 and has much improved ISO performance over the original 7D. With good light, the camera's performance is exceptional. I like the added reach of the 7D and put the Canon BG-E16 grip on the body to give it a 1D like feel. I am not completely without reservation on this body. You can read my review on the camera here.

EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II - A superb 'handholdable' Super Telephoto wildlife lens. If speed is not paramount, I will use the EF 300mm f/4L IS but it gives up a small difference in sharpness at about half the weight and a fraction of the price. Excellent image quality with 1.4x or 2.0x extender mounted. The lens is tack sharp and works well with 1D, 5D and 7D bodies and the image quality is unparalleled.

EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II - This is my favorite Canon Super Telephoto lens for wildlife photography. This brand new lens was announced on September 15, 2014. Its weight, speed and performance combination is hard to beat for a full day's photo shoot without a tripod. I have taken many of my bird-in-flight shots with the Series I model of this lens. The lens performs well with the 1.4x and 2.0x extenders. When used with the EOS-7D Mk II and EOS-1D MK IV, I can shoot at 1200+mm and 1000+mm focal length handholding the combo. This gives me unmatched mobility and reach. You can read my review of the Series II version. This is my favorite Super Telephoto wildlife lens when I travel light.

EF 400mm f/5.6L
- This is another one of my favorite Canon lens for wildlife photography. First introduced in 1993, it lacks Image Stabilization found in most EF lenses these days but it is one of the sharpest lens in Canon's lineup. The relative light weight and performance combination is hard to beat for a full day's photo shoot without a tripod. I have taken many of my bird-in-flight shots with this amazingly under-rated lens as well. The lens performs well with the 1.4X extenders. When used with the EOS-1D bodies, it can autofocus down to f/8. This gives me unmatched mobility and reach. An upgrade of this venerable lens with an IS system would be great.

EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x - My ideal lens combo for wildlife photography is the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and the 200-400mm f/4L IS with the built in 1.4X extender. This way I can travel 'light' and still have the highest quality glass covering a wide range of focal lengths. Canon has reduced the price of this lens recently, down from the original price of $11,799. It is a great buy for those who don't mind the weight of this glass. Click here to read my extensive review of this revolutionary lens. I have put this amazing glass through many vigorous wildlife photo shoots around the globe and it continues to surprise me by its performance.

EF 500mm f/4L IS II - One of my favorite Super telephoto lens in Canon's lineup. I have the Series II version and this is one of their sharpest and a great wildlife lens. When I use a full sized tripod, this glass is my choice and sometimes I handhold this lens for a short period of time. The Series I lens has been discontinued but one can still buy it from dealers with left over inventory. The new lens comes with superior optics and coatings, is incrementally better in every way and reduces the weight by 1 1/2 pound.

The improvement comes at a much higher price but it was recently reduced to $9,499. If you already have the Series I lens, I am not recommending an upgrade unless reducing weight is your primary concern. Personally, I find the marginal improvement not to be a great value but since I sold my Series I lens for a good price, buying the Series II is a no-brainer. For those with less funds to spend, try and purchase a lightly used or factory reconditioned Series I lens and save.

Together with the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x, EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II and EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II, these lenses form the backbone of my Super Telephoto lens inventory. Click here to see how the EF 500mm f/4L lens is made.

EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS - My ideal lens combo for wildlife photography is the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and the 200-400mm f/4L IS with the built in 1.4X extender. However, there are situations when I am restricted to just one lens or it's impractical to change lens, then I reach for the EF 28-300mm. This versatile 10X+ zoom lens has very good optical performance and can focus down to less than two and a half feet over the entire focal length. This is a great wildlife lens especially in Hawaii. I call this my 'Maui lens' because the Humpback whales can come just a few feet from my zodiac and this lens will capture the image with little problem, even on APS-C cameras.

EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - Super sharp and fast lens for close up wildlife action, providing up to 4 stops of correction at all focal lengths. I have used this lens for years and the latest version is the best yet. An excellent lens for closeup, lowlight travel and wildlife photography and works well with both the 1.4X and 2.0X extenders.

EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS - I held off buying this lens for a while because the 70-300mm DO was such a disappointment for me. The extra reach and lighter weight ( compared to the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II ) of this lens comes in handy when I am photographing larger wildlife in decent light. Excellent 4 stop IS compensation. Another great lens for cetacean and wildlife photo shoots. The drawbacks are extenders cannot be used on this lens and it does not come with a zoom ring.

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II - This brand new lens is a 'light weight', all round wildlife lens with excellent build. It uses a zoom ring design to get from 100mm to 400mm. Excellent for wildlife and whale photography. Image quality is great even with the 1.4X extender on EOS-1D and EOS-7D Mk II bodies. You can read my review on the Series II version. I will write an extended review of this lens once I have taken it out on more photo shoots.

EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro - Superb macro lens that can be used with extenders. Excellent build with medium fast speed. A must own lens for serious macro photography. I have used it to photograph Hummingbirds closeup when the lighting conditions are good.

EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II - A great, all round lens for travel and landscape photography. This lens will be on my EOS-1D X Mark II or EOS-5Ds when I take travel photos or closeup wildlife shots. The focal lengths and speed are ideal for indoor and outdoor shooting conditions and the IS offers a 4 stop advantage. It comes with the latest coatings and fluorite technology.

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III - This lens is great for wide angle landscape shots on the EOS-1D X and a versatile travel lens on the EOS-1D MK IV as well. Very sharp and fast. Can be used indoors when flash photography is prohibited. Canon has announced the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS and EF 11-24mm f/4L glass. These lenses may find a home in my equipment bag in the future.

EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye - This lens is for landscape and wildlife photographers who want the look and feel only possible with extreme wide angle and fisheye photography. With its unique focal length range, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM is the world's widest fisheye zoom lens. It delivers 180° diagonal angle of view images for all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C, and provides 180° circular fisheye images for full-frame EOS models. I use this lens to photograph whales and other marine animals when I am in the water. To do it professionally, I use my EOS-1D Mk IV camera with the EF 8-15mm lens and the AquaTech underwater housing, topped with a dome lens port for maximum angle of view. On land, this super wide angle lens will capture stunning nature photos and stimulate creativity.

EF 50mm f/1.4 USM - This walk around lens is a solid performer and great value. I am not a portrait photographer and seldom use a 50mm lens so there is little need to own a better performing glass. An upgrade to Mark II of this lens is needed to take advantage of the advancement in optics and coatings since its first introduction in 1993.

Extender EF 1.4X and 2.0X III - Series III extenders offer a 40% or 100% boost to the focal length of the lens with a corresponding loss of 1 to 2 stops in aperture setting. Although they focus faster, I find no noticable IQ improvement in the latest extenders over the Series II versions under real world conditions and use them only sparingly. The Series III extenders are supposed to mate especially well with the Series II Super Telephoto lens but I cannot find any evidence to that claim. I am not a big fan of extenders and will use my legs first to close the distance between me and my subjects.

Speedlite 600EX II RT - I am not a big user of flash but sold my 580 EX II for a good price and upgraded to the 600EX II RT. Professional quality and build makes this flash perfect for the 1D bodies. It offers an expanded zoom range and a higher guide number, plus a number of improvements over its predecessor in both operation and feel. With the added wireless two-way radio communication, it allows additional creativity.

Kirk BH-3 Ball Head - This compact, light weight ball head is perfect for photographer like myself who prefers to travel light and do not want to over pay for any gear. It weighs a mere 1.2 pounds and is rated for a 15 pound load. I can mount the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens and the Canon 1D X camera with extender on it with no problem. It is professional grade, solidly built in the United States and comes with a very reasonable price. For heavier loads, I mount the Kirk BH-1 on my tripod.

Gitzo GT2542LS - This premium carbon fiber tripod is when I have room and weight to spare in my equipment bag and want to pack the heaviest load for my tour. It is longer than the SLIK tripods I have and weighs just below 4 pounds, comes with no center column, rated for about 55 pound load and extends to almost 5 feet tall. Gitzo tripods are extremely well built and rugged but sell for a premium price and may not be a good value for all photographers.

SLIK PRO 824 CF - This light weight, full sized carbon fiber tripod weighs only 3.5 pounds but can support over 17 pounds of equipment. That's enough for a top of the line ball head, Canon 1D body and up to the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. It is almost 5 inch shorter than the Gitzo GT 2542LS. I use this tripod when the job calls for a shorter, full sized tripod than can handle a big load. SLIK is one of the best kept secret in carbon fiber tripods today. The technology and quality are first rate and the prices are reasonable.

Gitzo GM 2542 - This compact carbon fiber monopod is an ideal tool for me when it is not practical to deploy a tripod. It weighs a mere 1.1 pounds and is rated for about 66 pound load. I mount the Kirk BH-1 ball head and Canon 1D X Mark II or 1D Mark IV with 400mm DO IS II lens on it with ease.

Tamrac Expedition 8X Backpack - Sadly, Tamrac has been bought out by GuruGear but this is the pack I use to carry larger equipment when I go 'heavy'. The main compartment is completely foam padded with numerous adjustable dividers to protect multiple pro-size digital SLRs, a full range of lenses (up to the EF 800mm f/5.6L), flashes and a laptop. The best thing is it's 'small' enough to be carried on planes.

Tamrac Adventure 9 Backpack - I use this Backpack when I travel 'light'. This pack is divided into upper and lower padded compartments. The lower compartment can accommodate 2 pro-size bodies and 2 lenses. The upper compartment can accommodate additional equipment including the Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens and there is room for a laptop. The pack is small enough for me to take on planes in addition to a carryon suitcase.

Canon Explains Focus Preset On Super Telephoto Lenses

Canon Digital Learning Center put out a short article on how to use the Focus Preset function on their Super Telephoto lens. I never found a need for and therefore do not use this feature.

"Most Canon super telephoto lenses have a cool feature called Focus Preset, which allows for quick focusing to a predetermined distance. It is an ideal tool when shooting sports or wildlife, where you might be rapidly changing focus from two vastly different distances. At a basketball game, for example, you can preset the focus on a basketball rim. Then, follow-focus the action using AI Servo AF mode via either the shutter button or the back button. When the action shifts to under or around the rim you’ve preset focus on, a slight twist of the serrated Focus Preset Ring brings that preset distance immediately into focus. The ring, located just in front of the manual focus ring, falls readily to my hand, whether I am hand-holding the lens or shooting from a monopod.

The Focus Preset Ring, is a thin, serrated metal ring, located just in front of the manual focus ring. When turned slightly in either direction, the lens’s Ultrasonic focus motor instantly moves the lens to a memorized focus distance. The ring is spring-loaded, and returns by itself to its original position as soon as the photographer lets go of it.

The process for programming the focus distance into the camera/lens memory is simple. Three controls on a side panel of the lens are used. They are the Preset switch, the Set button and the Focus Preset ring. The Preset switch has three settings: Off ( O ), On ( I ), and On with sound (sound icon). Focus Preset controls are on the switch panel of select Canon super-telephoto lenses. The Set button and sliding Off–On–On with sound switch are visible in the first image.

To use, turn the switch to On or On with sound. Focus the lens to the distance you want, then press the Set button on the lens to save the currently focused distance into the lens’ memory (I like to test the memorized distance before making an exposure, to ensure I don’t miss something cool. A slight twist of the Focus Preset Ring ensures it is focusing to the correct distance desired). Then you can return to normal AF operation, whether you are using the shutter button or the back button, and quickly revert to the preset focus distance at any time by simply twisting the Focus Preset Ring. (Manual focus prior to using the Focus Preset ring is fine, too.)

As of early 2015, Canon lenses with the Focus Preset feature include :

Canon Tops Japanese Companies In U.S. Patents

TOKYO, January 13, 2015—Canon Inc. again ranked first among Japanese companies (10 years in a row)  and third overall for the number of U.S. patents awarded in 2014, according to the latest ranking of preliminary patent results issued by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services on January 12, 2015.

Canon actively promotes the globalization of its business and places great value on obtaining patents overseas, carefully adhering to a patent-filing strategy that pursues patents in essential countries and regions while taking into consideration the business strategies and technology and product trends unique to each location. Among these, the United States, with its many high-tech companies and large market scale, represents a particularly important region in terms of business expansion and technology alliances.

Canon U.S. patent ranking among Japanese companies

  • Year Ranking* # of patents
  • 2014 1st (3rd)            4,055
  • 2013 1st (3rd)            3,817
  • 2012 1st (3rd)            3,173
  • 2011 1st (3rd)            2,818
  • 2010 1st (4th)            2,551
  • 2009 1st (4th)            2,200
  • 2008 1st (3rd)            2,107
  • 2007 1st (3rd)             1,983
  • 2006 1st (3rd)            2,367
  • 2005 1st (2nd)           1,828

* Number in parenthesis represents Canon's ranking among all companies

Note : Number of patents for 2014 based on preliminary figures released by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. Figures for 2005 to 2013 tabulated by Canon based on information issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nikon Phase Fresnel (PF) 300mm f/4 Lens

Nikon Phase Fresnel (PF) 300mm f/4 lens

Nikon announced the Phase Fresnel (PF) 300mm f/4 lens a few days ago. Weighing approximately 1.66 pounds (755 grams), the new lens is a light weight, full frame, prime lens featuring the company’s new Phase Fresnel (PF) technology.

Fresnel lenses were originally developed by the French physicist, Augustin-Jean Fresnel for use in lighthouses. Unfortunately for Nikon, they have been surpassed by Canon since 2001, when the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS lens came out. Utilizing Diffractive Optics technology, the Canon glass is much lighter than other prime lens with the same focal length and speed.

I have owned this lens for over a decade and although it is not the sharpest in Canon's EF lens line up, the speed and versatility outweigh the disadvantage. Thankfully, Canon released the Series II version of this lens - EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II a few months ago. I have taken delivery and it is a big improvement over the original model. This is my favorite Super Telephoto lens for handheld wildlife photography. By the way, Canon has already patented more DO lenses for future developments.

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens

The Nikon lens utilizes fewer lens elements and is 1.5 pounds lighter and 30% shorter than its predecessor. The diagram below illustrates the new 300mm glass (the green element is the Phase Fresnel lens) :

"The PF (Phase Fresnel) lens, developed by Nikon, effectively compensates chromatic aberration utilizing the photo diffraction phenomenon*. It provides superior chromatic aberration compensation performance when combined with a normal glass lens. Compared to many general camera lenses that employ an optical system using the photorefractive phenomenon, a remarkably compact and lightweight body can be attained with less number of lens elements.

A general interchangeable lens forms an image on an imaging plane, using the photorefractive phenomenon. The degree of light refraction differs depending on the color (wavelength), and image formation is performed in the order of blue (B), green (G), and red (R) starting with the portion near the lens (see the diagram below). The color deviation referred to as chromatic aberration induces color bleeding, resulting in a deterioration of observed or captured images.

With PF (Phase Fresnel) lenses, on the other hand, image formation is performed in the order of red (R), green (G), and blue (B) starting with the portion near the lens (see the diagram below). By combining the PF (Phase Fresnel) lens with a refractive lens, chromatic aberration can be effectively compensated. "

Canon Patent : CN-E 35-260mm f/2.8 Soft Focus Lens

The Japanese photography blog, Egami, has discovered a new Canon patent for a zoom Cinema lens with a soft focus. This brings back memory of the 1980s when I owned the Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens. It was not an expensive lens and also not a top performer but it did the trick and produced images with a soft, slightly blurry look to it, the kind you see in Boudoir photography.

If this design ever gets into production, I anticipate it to be an expensive lens. Canon is placing a lot of emphasis and high hopes on the Cinema EOS line of cameras and lenses. They expect it to be a very successful line for them in the years to come.

Patent Publication No. 2014-235203 (Google Translated)

  •     Published 2014.12.15
  •     Filing date 2013.5.31

Example 3

  •     Zoom ratio 7.50
  •     The focal length f = 34.00-68.00-102.00-136.00-254.99mm
  •     Fno. 2.70
  •     Half angle ? = 24.58-12.88-8.67-6.52-3.49 °
  •     Image height Y = 15.55mm
  •     Overall length of the lens 441.54mm
  •     BF 51.02mm

Canon patent

  •     4-group zoom of positive and negative negative-positive
  •     Spherical aberration adjustment group (soft focus)
  •     Not shift the focus position can be switched to soft focus

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Canon Announced 'Inside EOS Utility 3'

From the Canon Professional Network :

"The release of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional 4 software in mid-2014 was accompanied by an updated version of its EOS Utility software – version 3. EOS Utility 3 acts in tandem with DPP 4 and enables you to download images from a camera’s memory card to your computer, remotely control the camera to capture new images or edit camera settings, such as the image owner’s name.

You can then organize and process the imported images in Digital Photo Professional 4. EOS Utility 3 features improvements to form and function and the increased integration between Canon’s two free apps helps to streamline the shooting, importing and editing process. Indeed, you can now launch EOS Utility 3’s Live View window and remote camera shooting panel from within the Digital Photo Professional workspace, which allows the two packages to work together as a tighter team. CPN writer George Cairns takes a closer look at the capabilities of EOS Utility 3 and how it works alongside DPP 4..."

Canon EOS Utility 3.x is available from Canon USA. Enter a compatible camera model to download the software.

EOS Utility 3.x compatible with the following cameras : 

  •     EOS-1D X
  •     EOS-1D C
  •     EOS-5D Mk III
  •     EOS-6D
  •     EOS-7D Mk II

Check out CPN's Inside EOS Utility 3 for detailed information about the software.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Canon Brings Production Home To Japan

The Japanese Yen has been depreciating in the last year or so against major currencies like the Euro and US Dollar. This is by design of Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime Minster and his government, to stimulate the economy by giving exporters a more competitive environment to sell their products abroad. The Bank of Japan eased monetary policy in October to weaken the Yen and support the government's policy of re-inflating the Japanese economy.

The drop in the Japanese currency is a double edge sword. It has raised costs for firms with manufacturing facilities overseas and those dependent of raw material imports for their operations.

Canon will be slowly bring back overseas production capacity from other parts of Asia to Japan. Mr. Masaya Maeda, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Image Communication Products Operations at Canon, has pointed out that Canon is the only company where digital cameras are assembled 100% in-house : sensors, software, image processors, and lenses. This will be joined by bringing home some components and assemblies currently being manufactured in other parts of Asia.

Canon is planning to increase domestic production to 60 percent of overall output in three years, up from the current 40 percent. Canon spokesman, Hirotomo Fujimori announced, "From now on, new copier, camera and printer products will be built at domestic factories and as they replace older products, the volume of goods made overseas will fall."

More Canon EOS-7D Mk II Tips And Tricks

Canon EOS-7D Mk II APS-C DSLR camera

Canon announced the EOS-7D Mk II on September 15, 2014. I have owned it now for about two months and have taken the camera on real world photo shoots to the sub Arctic under extremely harsh environment. You can read my review and see many more photos on

I have chosen the EOS-7D as the best APS-C camera 4 years in a row and have high hopes for the Series II successor. Canon has issued some quick tips and tricks below and tutorial videos on how to get the most out of this new camera. Take a look because it will be worth your while.

HDMI output mirroring

When recording HD movies over the HDMI output to an external recording device, if you are outputting the data with no information overlay (in other words a clean HDMI signal out), then you should be careful when selecting Mirroring or No Mirroring. If you have No Mirroring set, then any camera warnings (for example remaining card capacity, battery capacity or internal temperature warning) will not be shown on the external device or on the camera’s rear LCD display. If you wish to see the warnings, then make sure you select Mirroring so the warnings are shown on the camera’s LCD display.

HDMI output and stills

Like several other cameras in the EOS range, the EOS 7D Mark II can output a clean HDMI signal allowing external recording of movies. If you are shooting movies and recording to an external device, you should avoid capturing a still image during video recording. If you do, you may find the timecode or audio is no longer synchronised with the video. Instead, you should stop video recording, capture the still and then go back to recording video.

Shutter button function in movies

When shooting movies on the EOS 7D Mark II, you can adjust the function of the shutter button both when pressed halfway or fully during movie recording. If you set the shutter button to start or stop movie recording, then you will be unable to take a still photo during movie shooting. If you have made any changes to the function of the shutter button through the Custom Controls, then the ‘Movie Shooting’ setting will override them while you are shooting movies.

Movie Servo AF area modes

When shooting movies with the EOS 7D Mark II, you can select from three different AF area modes: Face Tracking, Flexizone-Multi and Flexizone-Single. If you move between then for different situations, while making use of the Movie Servo AF tracking sensitivity setting within the menu, you should remember that unless you use Flexizone-Single, whatever setting you make in the tracking sensitivity, will function as if it is set to 0, ie: a balanced setting between locked on (-2) and responsive (+2).

Movie Servo AF tracking sensitivity

Within the EOS 7D Mark II menu system you can adjust the AF tracking sensitivity for movie shooting AF. This allows you to tailor the AF function so that it is either more stable in tracking a subject – for example less likely to jump to a new subject if an obstacle passes between you and the main subject – or more responsive so it will focus faster on any subject passing through the AF point. There are a range of five settings, from -2 to +2. To make use of this function properly, you should ensure the AF function is set to FlexiZone-Single.

Movie Servo AF speed and lenses

The EOS 7D Mark II features the ability to adjust the AF Servo speed for tracking focus in Movie shooting. If you have made changes to this setting but find there is no difference in the Servo speed, check the lens you are using; this function is only enabled when using USM lenses marketed in 2009 or later, or when using the STM range of lenses. If you are not using a lens in one of these categories, the AF speed will be the same as the Standard setting.

Movie Servo AF speed

The EOS 7D Mark II features a menu setting to adjust the Movie Servo AF speed in one of five levels from Standard speed to Slow speed. This will adjust the transition speed between points of focus so you can tailor the AF response for a natural result. When using this setting you may find that the AF speed seems no different to normal even though you have adjusted the speed. If this is the case, check the AF Method you are using as the AF speed adjustment will only take effect when using the ‘FlexiZone – Single’ setting. In Face Tracking or ‘FlexiZone – Multi’, the AF speed will be the same as the Standard speed setting.

Movie Servo AF setting

When using the Movie Servo AF setting on the EOS 7D Mark II to track a moving subject, you may notice a change in the magnification of the movie when you play it back. This can be caused by one of two reasons: either the camera was panned or tilted quickly, or a subject moved towards the camera or away from the camera quickly. If this happens, the video may momentarily expand or contract as the focus changes to compensate. To avoid this, switch off Movie Servo AF when you intend to pan or tilt the camera quickly.

Timecode and Free Run option

The EOS 7D Mark II features a timecode setting like several other cameras within the EOS range. One of these options is Free Run, where the timecode will continue to count up whether you are shooting a movie or not. Because the Free Run timecode setting is controlled by the camera’s time setting, if you change the time, time zone or daylight saving time setting, the Free Run timecode will change too. If you are working with several cameras, either change all of them or none of them, otherwise you’ll find your timecodes do not match up.

Timecode function

Like other cameras in the EOS range, the EOS 7D Mark II features a timecode function that makes it easier to match up clips when shooting with several cameras. If you make use of the timecode setting and then take a still picture during movie recording, you will find that the timecode and the actual time no longer match up, making it hard to sync up clips. If you are planning to use the timecode function, then try to avoid shooting stills during movie recording.

Headphone audio level

When shooting HD movies with an EOS 7D Mark II, you may use the headphone jack on the camera to allow you to live monitor the audio being captured. When using headphones there might be times when you need to adjust the volume coming into them to make it easier to hear the audio. If so, press the Q button and hold down the rate button while toggling the multi-controller up or down to increase or decrease the volume. Note that this only adjusts the headphone level, not the audio recording level.

Audio in A+ mode

When shooting HD movies with the EOS 7D Mark II, you can make use of the A+ mode to control the camera settings for you. In this mode, audio recording can be set to On or Off. If set to On, then the audio recording level will also be set automatically depending on the audio level in the scene. This may work well on occasion, but if you are filming in a windy environment, you will need to switch out of A+ mode so you can manually adjust the audio level and, crucially, make use of the Wind Cut filter.

Audio noise reduction

When shooting movies on the EOS 7D Mark II, you can use the Noise Reduction setting for the internal microphone to help reduce wind noise and distortion. If you are also using the headphone port to allow you to monitor the audio you are recording, you may find the audio sounds like there is wind noise or distortion. This is normal as the camera does not apply the noise reduction to the headphone port audio so what you hear will be a little different from what is recorded on the camera.

Matching frame rates at 24.00P

The EOS 7D Mark II allows you to set a recording frame rate of 24.00fps so you can match footage from other cameras shot at this frame rate. When using this setting, you will find that the HDMI frame rate option cannot be set. This is because the camera locks it to 24.00p to match the footage being recorded. If you need to output over HDMI at a different frame rate, you will need to select a different recording frame rate too.

24.00P shooting mode

The EOS 7D Mark II features a menu option to record movies at 24.00fps. While this may seem very similar to the 23.976fps (aka 24p) also available, they are for separate uses. In general use, you should select the 23.976fps option. The 24.00p setting is only for movies where you must shoot at precisely 24.00p to match your footage to other footage shot at 24.00p on film cameras. If this is not what you are doing, then stick to the 23.976fps option.

Using f/8 autofocus

While some EOS DSLRs can focus with lenses or lens and extender combinations that give a maximum aperture of f/8, others cannot. If you really need to try and use autofocus at f/8 then provided your subject is not moving, you may find switching to Live View and focusing with the Live Mode AF may work. While it still requires a reasonable amount of light to be able to detect sufficient contrast to focus, it can help you when otherwise you’d be forced to focus manually.

Capturing stills in Movie mode

Usually when shooting Movies on an EOS camera, it is possible to capture a still image at the same time simply by pressing the shutter button. This causes the movie to pause for about a second and then continue. If you find you can’t capture a still image while shooting movies on the EOS 7D Mark II, it is most likely due to your frame rate settings. If you are shooting at 59.94fps or 50fps, the camera is unable to capture a still and so the shutter will not be released. If you need to capture a still, change the frame rate to one of the other settings.

Frame rate options

The EOS 7D Mark II offers a range of frame rate options when shooting Full HD movies, including 59.94fps and 50fps for slow-motion effects. When setting either 59.94 or 50fps in Full HD Movie shooting, you will find that the Movie Servo AF using the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system no longer functions and the camera makes use of contrast detection AF instead. This may result in either jumpy or slow AF in Movie mode. To avoid unnatural AF switch instead to using manual focus at those frame rates.

Movie recording formats

When shooting HD movies on the EOS 7D Mark II, there are two options for recording format – either MOV or MP4. Previous EOS cameras produce MOV based movie files and these are the best option if you want to edit your footage afterwards and produce the highest video quality. If you want to share your videos with a wider range of devices, the MP4 format is a better choice, as it is a more widely accepted format on devices like mobile phones, tablets and smart televisions.

iTR AF and focus point selection

The EOS iTR AF system in the EOS 7D Mark II allows the camera to track moving subjects more accurately by using data from the metering sensor to track both faces and colours. With the EOS iTR AF setting enabled, you may find the camera is not picking up faces or colours to track. This is most likely due to your AF point selection method. To ensure the EOS iTR AF functions, the camera needs to be set to Zone AF, Large Zone AF or 65-point auto selection. In any of the other focus point selection modes, the EOS iTR AF will not function regardless of the menu setting.


Like the flagship EOS-1D X, the EOS 7D Mark II features EOS iTR AF, which improves autofocus tracking by recognising faces and subject colours in addition to looking for subject contrast. When shooting with the EOS iTR AF function enabled, you may find the AF is actually slightly slower and the maximum shooting speed in continuous high speed AF is slower than expected. This is especially likely in low-light shooting and is due to the extra data being processed from the metering system before a subject can be tracked. If you need the fastest AF possible and want to achieve the maximum frame rate and do not need to make use of the colour and face tracking, switch the EOS iTR AF setting to ‘disable’.

AF point orientation

Using the AF point orientation function allows you to switch quickly and easily from portrait to landscape shooting and vice versa and have the camera automatically change the focus point and even focus point selection method for you. If you’ve set up different settings for landscape and portrait shooting but find that the camera is not switching the AF points or modes for you as you turn the camera, it may be because you have attached a lens from ‘Group G’ – these are lens and extender combinations where the maximum aperture drops to f/8 or lower. Using one of these may clear the orientation linked AF point setting. If you use one of these lenses, remember to re-check your linked orientation point settings prior to shooting again.

AF point selection settings

The EOS 7D Mark II features a large number of AF modes to allow you to choose exactly the right AF points for the subject you are photographing. Within the camera menu you can select exactly which AF modes are selectable based on your personal preferences. If you are shooting and find you are unable to select Zone, Surround Expansion or Auto Select AF points, check your lens. Lenses that belong to Group G can only be used with single point Spot AF, Manual AF point selection and the first of the AF area expansion settings. The Group G lenses are those that when an EF2x Extender is used, it causes the maximum aperture to drop to f/8 or smaller. If in doubt, you check the manual for the camera where a complete list can be found.

AF Tracking sensitivity

If you move to an EOS 7D Mark II from either an EOS 7D or EOS-1D Mark III/IV or EOS-1Ds Mark III, you will find the AF feature for AI Servo tracking sensitivity is no longer there. In the EOS 7D Mark II, the setting has been renamed as simply “Tracking Sensitivity”. Beyond the name change though, the setting has exactly the same function as in the previous models.

Viewfinder information

The viewfinder of the EOS 7D Mark II is able to display a variety of shooting information such as shooting mode, white balance, drive mode and image quality among others. By default, only the flicker detection setting will be displayed. Should you wish to see the extra information, to help you keep on top of the camera settings without taking your eye from the viewfinder, the settings can be enabled from the “Viewfinder display” option in the second yellow menu tab. Even if you leave the displays turned off, when pressing the WB/Metering mode or Drive/AF buttons, or when you change the position of the AF switch on the lens, this information will still be shown in the viewfinder so you can see what is being altered.

Anti-flicker shooting

When shooting with the EOS 7D Mark II in continuous shooting, you may find the frame rate does not sound as fast as you expect it to be. Assuming that the shutter speed is fast enough to enable you to shoot at 10fps, you should check the anti-flicker shooting setting. When anti-flicker shooting is enabled, you may find the frame rate drops slightly as it tries to avoid flicker. If you are not shooting under lighting that flickers, such as a fluorescent tube, simply disable the anti-flicker mode and you will maximise the speed of continuous shooting.

Canon EF Lens Technology - Diffractive Optics

Canon announced the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens on September 11. This is one of my favorite Canon lenses and I placed my order right after the announcement and have received the new model. This glass is about 13 years in the making. The original model was introduced in 2001 and it had one of the earlier version of Image Stabilization with a 2 stop advantage. 

You can read my review of the new lens. I will be taking it out very soon on a real world overseas photo shoot for an extensive test. The Canon video below explains the Diffractive Optics technology, Fluorite Elements and more.

Canon EOS-5D Mk III Replacement Talk

Additional EOS-5D Mk III camera replacement rumors have surfaced. Some are indicating the EOS-5D model may split into 2 branches - EOS-5D MK IV and EOS-5DS, not unlike the EOS-1 Series a few years ago.

The EOS-5Ds may have a 50+MP sensor and perhaps, with the addition of an AA filter, not unlike the Nikon D810 and D750, announced last year. The EOS-5D Mk IV will get a slightly higher MP sensor and presumably a faster burst rate as well, and should appeal to photographers desiring a high megapixel, full frame frame camera with a burst rate faster than the current 6 fps, but nowhere approaching the speed of the EOS-1D X (up to 14 fps).

There is probably an even chance this might happen and I am not too enamored of the idea. Personally, I think Nikon is launching too many full frame camera models and diluting their impact. Canon should not follow in that pursuit. A split of the EOS-5D line into two will inevitably go down the same path as Nikon.

In my opinion, in the next few months, Canon should launch the EOS-1D X Mk II with a higher pixel sensor in the low 20+MP range and retain the burst rate of at least 12 fps. This will give wildlife photographers like myself more pixels to work with when I crop the images since the EOS-1D X is a full frame camera with a sensor of  'only' 18MP. This is one of the few 'criticism' I have of the camera.

In addition, bring out the EOS-5D Mk IV with the megapixel sensor of 50+MP and stuff it with high end features and build quality approaching the EOS-1 series and price it below $5,000 . This will give photographers who craved the successor of the retired EOS-1Ds Mk III something to look forward and upgrade to. Then, perhaps towards the last part of 2015 or early 2016, an additional model with the filter option can be offered, depending on user requirement. This will give photographers time to digest the impact of the new models and not be overwhelmed by the myriad choices confronting them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Canon 'Accidentally' Revealed A New DSLR

While showing a photo of the recently announced Canon Connect Station, Canon may have accidentally revealed their new, upcoming DSLR camera. It looks to me like the EOS Rebel T6i and it should be announced shortly, perhaps around the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Japan on February 12, 2015.

Canon Connect Station with EOS Rebel T6i camera?

Canon EOS Rebel T6i camera?

The Man Who Invented Digital Photography

Eastman Kodak engineer, Steven Sasson, invented the digital camera in 1975. Within 25 years the technology would overtake analog film materials and dominate the photographic industry and practice. This video below, presented by George Eastman House, features a timeline of digital camera technology starting with Steven Sasson’s first completely digital camera prototype and takes us all the way to the smart phones of today.

The first commercially successful digital camera, the EOS-D30, was introduced by Canon in 2000. Has digital photography finally replaced the film camera for good? Find out

Who And When Was Photography Invented?

The first commercially successful photographic process was announced in 1839, the result of over a decade of experimentation by Louis Daguerre and Nicéphore Niépce. Unfortunately, Niépce died before the daguerreotype process was realized, and is best known for his invention of the heliograph, the process by which the “first photograph” was made in 1826. 

Daguerreotypes are sharply defined, highly reflective, one-of-a-kind photographs on silver-coated copper plates, usually packaged behind glass and kept in protective cases. The daguerreotype process is demonstrated in the video below from the George Eastman House. Who invented digital photography anyway?

Canon Videos - Consumer Electronics Show 2015

Follow all the action and announcements on Canon by visiting their community website.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Did Digital Photography Eliminate Film Cameras

Did the advent of consumer digital photography eliminate the film camera, especially in light of Eastman Kodak's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2012. Only a very limited number of companies still manufacture film for analog photography.

In my book and in the video below from the Financial Times, the answer is a definitive NO. The analog photography market has shrank dramatically with the successful introduction of Canon's first digital camera, the EOS-D30 in 2000, but the film photography market is making a small comeback, not unlike the vinyl record industry, after the launch of Compact Discs.

I am a wildlife photographer and although my main camera now is the EOS-1D X, I still have my old faithful, the EOS-1V film camera and my first professional camera was the EOS-1 when it came out in 1989. The film camera is alive and well for those who can still remember the good old days. We just have to pay quite a bit more now to buy high quality film.