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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Canon Announced New Indoor/Outdoor Network Cameras

MELVILLE, N.Y., March 30, 2016 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today unveiled five new network cameras with advanced capabilities designed to effectively meet the needs of indoor and outdoor applications in a wide range of markets. All five cameras share several core technologies and features including a Genuine Canon Lens for capturing high-clarity, virtually distortion-free video, a 2.1 Megapixel (1920 x 1080) resolution high sensitivity CMOS sensor, and Canon’s powerful DIGIC DV III Image Processor which helps to provide images with remarkable color accuracy even in low-light environments.

“The importance of security and surveillance continues to increase for all types of markets and sectors,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “With the announcement of these new high-performance indoor and outdoor models, Canon is once again demonstrating its strong commitment to developing network cameras that meet the ever-changing needs of these varied industries.”

Outdoor/Indoor Speed Dome Network Cameras

Canon’s new Speed Dome Network Cameras, the VB-R12VE (outdoor) and VB-R13 (indoor), both offer seamless PTZ control provided by 360 degrees endless panning capability. In addition to 30x optical zoom for crisp images even from long distances, these cameras also share an Enhanced Digital Zoom function that can offer up to an equivalent 120x optical zoom when streaming at lower resolutions. Adding to their user-friendliness and ease of PTZ control is the ability to create up to 256 preset positions and up to five tour routes. Canon optical encoders, micro-stepping motors, and a timing belt enable these models to provide fast (up to 450 degrees per second), precise panning and tilting.

With a robust weather- and vandal-resistant housing and built-in heater, the VB-R12VE camera is outdoor ready and able to withstand a variety of challenging environments. This model is also available with audio and external I/O support as the VB-R13VE.

VB-H651V Vandal Resistant Indoor Fixed Dome Network Camera

The VB-H651V is Canon’s newest Indoor Fixed Dome Network Camera to feature the company’s unique Remote PTRZ Adjustment function for easy post-installation changes to the camera’s pan, tilt, zoom and rotation positions. A vandal-resistant enclosure helps facilitate this camera’s safety from impact and tampering. The VB-H651V camera’s ability to deliver high-quality video is supported by an Auto Focus function for clear focusing on subjects both near and far away. This camera comes with a mounting plate to enable fast and simple installation, and it has multiple power options for installation flexibility, including 24 V AC, 12 V DC and PoE.

VB-H652LVE Infrared Vandal Resistant Outdoor Fixed Dome Network Camera

Canon also introduced the VB-H652LVE, its new infrared outdoor-ready Fixed Dome Network Camera which has a vandal-resistant, water-tight housing and optional heater unit making it suitable for installation in many climates. It is equipped with four built-in IR illuminators that enable video to be captured in little to no visible light, and an Auto Focus function for clear focusing on subjects both near and far away. It offers analog video output and installation controls for simple camera positioning during installation, and multiple power options including 24 V AC, 12 V DC, PoE and PoE+ provide further installation flexibility.

Convenience and Versatility

For added versatility, all of these new Canon network cameras have the ability to stream in both 16:9 and 4:3 resolutions, and also offer Custom Video Settings for optimal image exposure according to time of day and conditions (includes shutter speed, iris, gain, white balance, and noise reduction). Two available features, Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction and Area-Specific Data Size Reduction (ADSR), are both designed to help reduce data size while also helping to improve the image quality of areas of interest. These cameras are suitable for installation in areas with frequent vibrations – such as on top of a pole or near heavy machinery – as an Image Stabilization feature enables them to deliver clear video with minimal motion blurring.

The simple setup and use offered by these new Network Cameras is furthered by a Camera Viewer and a Mobile Viewer that provide easy access to the camera’s features and functionality from a variety of different compatible devices including PCs, mobile phones and tablets. All of these cameras are ONVIF Profile S and Profile G Conformant to help facilitate maximum interoperability with third-party recorders, and all also include a Canon Camera Management Tool (CCMT) that allows for centralized management of all current Canon Network Cameras (camera discovery, configuration, back-ups and restores, firmware upgrades, etc.).

Canon EOS-7D Mark II Camera Studio Version

Canon announced a one-off, Studio Version of its EOS 7D camera in 2010. It enabled embedding of barcode details in the EXIF information of images taken with the camera via a specially modified WFT-E5A Wireless File Transmitter.

Apparently, Canon has also developed a Studio Version of the EOS 7D Mark II. The video below talks about its capabilities when paired with a WFT-E7A. Canon USA Technical Advisor Mike Gurley talks about the overview of the EOS 7D Mark II SV Studio Version with a barcode solution. He goes over key camera features and discusses how the camera can be used for different workflows in event photography. Mike also shows how to set up the camera to sync with a compatible barcode scanner. As you can see, the Studio Version has a identification label on the battery door.

My readers know I have picked the Canon EOS-7D as the best APS-C camera for wildlife photography four years in a row. The EOS-7D Mark II has been my favorite cropped frame body for wildlife photo shoots for over two years now and is an excellent value. I expect Canon to release a major firmware (perhaps late 2016) to counter the recently released Nikon D500 camera.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Canon Announces 4 Free iOS Photo Apps for UK and Ireland

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 30th March – Canon Marketing Japan Inc. today announces the release of four free iOS applications*¹ in the UK and Ireland – BestShutter, Photo Log Map, TakeMyPic, and Easy Photo Sorter. These apps are designed to make taking photos more enjoyable and convenient.

BestShutter helps you capture your children and pet’s cutest moments

BestShutter app is designed to help take photos of children and pets who usually don’t pay attention to the camera. The app uses fun sounds to capture children or pet’s attention to help photograph their wonderful expressions and get great shots of your children during their cutest moments!

Plus if you are shooting movies you can select the best scenes and clip as still images, so you won’t miss any key moments.

Photo Log Map makes it easier to record your location information and shooting records 

Photo Log Map app is designed to meets the needs of people who want to record location information together with shooting records during various situations such as traveling, or mountain climbing.

Using data from your images, and a smartphone’s information service, it creates a shooting record maps. Even with data from photos shot on digital cameras not equipped with GPS, you can create a shooting record map linked to the smartphone’s GPS log. In addition to photos on the map, you can also add text memos and sound memos that record the location’s conditions. By writing the recorded log to a GPX file*², you can use the information in other apps.

TakeMyPic lets include yourself in a shot you envisage 

Have you ever asked a passer-by to take your picture, only to find it’s not the way you wanted it to look? TakeMyPic is a helpful app that lets you compose your shot before giving to someone else to take. The app lets you insert a human shape in your desire position, making it easier to show the person taking your photo how you would like the shot to look. The app helps you avoid mistakes when it comes to capturing those important commemorative photos on your travels.

Easy Photo Sorter makes it possible to easily organize the photo data on your smartphone 

Many smartphones end up having large amounts of photos saved on them and Easy Photo Sorter is an app to help organise them. By combining information such as date, time and day of the week, and setting your desired criteria to organise, you can create folders in your iPhone or iPad photo albums and automatically categorise photos based on this criteria when the app launches.

Last year, Canon Marketing Japan Inc. released PERSTEXT, a photo processing application that provides users with a new way of having fun with their photos by enabling the creation of images combined with text that convey messages with a touch of flare. In order to make photos even more enjoyable, the free iOS applications being released this time can be used in a variety of situations such as shooting, processing, viewing, showing, and organizing. These applications will provide even more opportunities to enjoy photos with digital cameras and smartphones.

How To Photograph Very Fast Moving Objects

Keel-billed Toucan 'frozen in mid air' in Costa Rican rainforest

Alright, I know the videos put out by DigitalRev are more entertaining than enlightening but once in a while one must have some levity in life. If you want to try some of the tricks with your camera, it helps to use the Nikon D5 or Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, which can shoot 4K videos and still shots at 12 fps and 14 fps speeds respectively to capture almost anything in motion. You can see my works on

Canon EOS HD Video Production Tutorials

Canon Digital Learning Center put out the following videos to help aspiring videographers to make better videos and films. The Cinema EOS C500 Mark II camera should be announced at NAB 2016 together with perhaps a mention of the upcoming 4K equipped EOS-5D Mark IV.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Nikon D5 Camera - 'Hands On' First Impression

Nikon announced the D5 camera in January. The 'silly' video below from DigitalRev showing off the D5 is just a step above a commercial and shed little light on the performance of the new body.

You can read my post on the comparison between the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 and see how the D5 'shoots at ISO 3280000'. I am expecting delivery of my Canon EOS-1D X Mark II in late April. Will be taking it on a few real world wildlife photo shoots around the globe and writing a comprehensive review soon. I have little doubt it will be a worthy successor to the venerable EOS-1D X camera.

Canon Patent - 3D Lens Style Camera For Smartphone

Sony DSC QX100 attachable lens style camera

Egami discovered a new Canon patent for an add on camera to smartphones. Sony announced the attachable lens-style camera, DSC-QX100 last year. The new Canon camera can apparently shoot 3D images.

Frankly, I think this is really much ado about nothing. The camera on the newer top-of-the-line smartphones like the Apple iPhone 6 or Samsung S6 and S7 are just fine. If a person wants to take more serious photos, then bring along a DSLR. How many people will lug around a small camera to attach to a smartphone when they want to 'take better photos'? It is so cumbersome. See my post on Smartphones vs DSLR cameras.

Patent Publication No. 2016-10133

  • Published 2016.1.18
  • Filing date 2014.6.26

Canon patent

  • The first device having a camera function (101 smartphone of)
  • The second device having a camera function (102 lens-style camera)
  • The second unit (102 lens-style camera) is provided with a retractable mechanism
  • Equipped with a marker that represents the collapsed position
  • The first device (101 Smartphone of) is to shoot so as to include a marker
  • Depending on the tip position of the collapsed, to get the mounting position to the first device of the second unit (102 lens-style camera) (101 smartphone of)

Canon Super Zoom Lens Coming in 2017

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II zoom lens

Late last year, I reported Canon has filed a patent for the EF 200-600mm f/4.5-5.6 IS super zoom lens. Word is Canon may now be ready to release this lens to compete with the Sigma and Tamron 150-600mm models on the market.

Unless, the new lens comes in the professional 'L' grade model, the price point (presumably just slightly higher than or equal to the competing third party models) will not make economical sense for Canon to make the lens a great weather-sealed performer. I am not impressed by the current 'super zoom' models on the market. Adding the Canon name to another consumer model will not make it any better, albeit perhaps a solid performer for its price. There may even be a custom extender as an option to add on the new glass.

The current EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II is a great performer. Even with a 1.4x extender added, the image is still quite acceptable. I hope Canon will release the EF 200-600mm in the 'L' grade and the EF 600mm f/4 DO BR some time this year. I will be a buyer of both glass. You can see my equipment bag and works on 

Canon #1 In DSLR and Compact Camera Sales 13 Years Straight

TOKYO, March 29, 2016 - Canon Inc. announced today that the Company’s interchangeable-lens digital cameras (digital SLR and compact-system cameras) have maintained the No. 1 share of the global market for 13 consecutive years from 2003 to 2015.

Canon, which develops the key components featured in its interchangeable-lens cameras - the CMOS image sensors, image processors and interchangeable lenses - employs these cutting-edge technologies across its entire product lineup, from entry-level models to professional-use flagship cameras. Through its robust product lineup that effectively responds to the needs of a wide range of users, Canon has continuously secured the top global share within the industry.

In 2003, the dawn of digital SLR cameras, Canon introduced its breakthrough EOS Kiss Digital (EOS Digital Rebel or EOS 300D Digital in other regions). This groundbreaking camera, which was competitively priced and featured a compact, lightweight design, captured the top share of the global market and set the stage for growth in the digital SLR market. Since that time, Canon has continued to launch a range of epoch-making products, including the professional-model EOS-1D series and the EOS 5D series which, equipped with a 35 mm full-frame sensor, paved the way for digital SLR video recording.

During 2015, Canon introduced an impressive lineup of new interchangeable-lens camera products that supported the Company’s achievement of a 13th consecutive year at the top of the global market. In June, the Company released the EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R digital SLR cameras, which realize the world’s highest pixel count with approximately 50.6-megapixel resolution; while in April the EOS 8000D (EOS Rebel T6s or EOS 760D) and EOS Kiss X8i (EOS Rebel T6i or EOS 750D) digital SLR cameras were released. Also, in March, Canon launched the EOS M3 compact-system camera.

Additionally, further bolstering Canon’s product lineup designed to meet the specific needs of a diverse user base, the Company announced in February this year the introduction of the EOS-1D X Mark II, capable of high-speed 14 frame-per-second continuous shooting, and the EOS 80D, which combines full-fledged still image-capture performance with exceptional movie-shooting operability. Also, the extensive EF lens-series lineup, production of which surpassed the 110 million unit mark in June 2015, currently comprises a total of 98 models and represents one of Canon’s biggest strengths, supporting the EOS series by enabling a wide array of shooting possibilities and rich expressive capabilities.

Through the further refining of its diverse imaging technologies, based on the Company’s core optical technologies, Canon will continue striving to create attractive and reliable products aimed at contributing to expanding the culture of photographic and video imaging.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Nikon Professional Services Offers Tips on D5 Camera

Nikon D5 full frame camera

Nikon Professional Services released a Technical Solutions Guide with tips for the recently announced D5 camera. For a comparison of the Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, click here.

Topics Include :

Canon Spring 2016 Instant Savings and Rebates

There is a new rebate program from Canon for lens and camera purchases. To qualify for the additional rebate savings, make a purchase for one of the following :

Two eligible lenses or One eligible EOS DSLR camera plus One eligible lens

Eligible Canon DSLRs include :

Canon Rebel T6i
Canon Rebel T6s
Canon EOS-70D
Canon EOS-80D
Canon EOS-7D Mark II
Canon EOS-6D
Canon EOS-5D Mark III
Canon EOS-5DS R
Canon EOS-5DS
Canon EOS-1D X
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

You can click on the “Conditional Rebates” link on any qualifying lens or camera to get a copy of the mail-in rebate form and following the rebate instructions. My readers know I am The Wildlife Ho-tographer. Over the decades, I have used all the cameras and lens listed above and below, some more than others, in many photography and global wildlife photo shoots. You can see my equipment bag, read my Canon lens and camera recommendation, plus see my works on

New Sigma Patent For 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS Art Lens

Egami discovered a new Sigma patent for the 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art lens. This is hardly surprising since Sigma has been on a roll in the last few years and is steadily marching towards a well rounded line of high quality, Art lens for both Canon and Nikon mounts. We may see this lens announced late in 2016.

Patent Publication No. 2016-38502 (Google Translated)

  • Published 2016.3.22
  • Filing date 2014.8.8
  • Zoom ratio 2.74
  • Wide-angle intermediate telephoto
  • Focal length 24.85 50.00 68.00
  • F-number 2.92 2.92 2.93
  • Full angle of view 2? 83.71 45.71 34.33  
  • The image height Y 21.63 21.63 21.63
  • The total lens length 150.73 167.12 178.30

An Interview With Kazuto Yamaki of Sigma Corporation

Mr. Kazuto Yamaki, CEO of Sigma Corporation

Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki was recently interviewed by Dave Etchells at the CP+ 2016 show in Yokohama, Japan. My readers know I am rather impressed by the lens offering from this company, especially the Art line and the recently announced 50-100mm f/1.8 lens. I have been a user of Sigma's lens for many years now but not a big buyer of their glass because I am waiting for Canon to release new models before deciding on new, niche purchase for my equipment bag.

Below is an excerpt form the interview : 

Dave Etchells : We’re really surprised and excited by your new mirrorless cameras. That was a big surprise. We had no idea you were working on them, and they’ve generated a lot of interest and debate with our readers. Can you give us some background on why you decided to get into the mirrorless market?

Kazuto Yamaki : I was also surprised at the response from the customers. Actually, it was quite a natural decision for us, because when we started the project we discussed what the camera for the next generation should be. And we discussed what is the advantage of [our cameras]. And of course, it’s the Foveon X3 sensor. It’s a very sharp image, and very crisp per-pixel. A small focus error in the image would be very visible, though, because the sharpness per pixel is quite high for our camera. So there are many advantages [for a mirrorless camera over a DSLR]. The [lower] focus accuracy and mirror shock [of a DSLR], does not exist in the mirrorless system. So we decided to go to mirrorless.

DE: And with the sd Quattro H, we haven't seen a camera with an APS-H sensor for a long while, since the Canon 1D Mark IV. Why was it that you went that route, rather than a full-frame sensor? Is it still difficult to scale Foveon all the way to full-frame, or...?

KY: We thought that if we go to full-frame, the file size would be huge and the processing speed would be very slow. So we thought that APS-H is a good size for the customers.

DE: A good compromise, yeah. You make APS-C and full-frame lenses. Will your APS-C lenses actually have enough image circle to also cover APS-H?

KY: Basically, you cannot use the same lens for APS-C to APS-H. There might be some exceptions, but our official statement is that we cannot.

The Sigma sd Quattro H is the first camera we've seen in years to feature an APS-H sized sensor.
DE: So it’s really full-frame lenses only. Can we discuss the tradeoffs in going with the existing SA lens mount, versus one with a flange-back distance that's been optimized for mirrorless cameras? I mean, we realize that a new Sigma camera needs to be natively compatible with Sigma's SA lenses, but would an adapter approach have allowed you to develop smaller lenses for the system in the future, that would still be compatible? Or is it more that the oblique angle required by the short flange-back distance isn't compatible with a stacked sensor design like the Foveon technology? If you have a three-dimensional structure on the chip and you have a very short flange-back distance, unless the lens has been designed to be telecentric, you can end up with shading or color problems, or whatever. What can you say generally about the decision to go with the SA-mount?

KY: We simply wanted to support our existing customers. They use SA lenses, so we needed to develop a camera that an existing customer can use as-is.

DE: Ah. How does the flange distance on the SA-mount compare to other mounts like Canon or Nikon?

KY: Very similar.

DE: So maybe there's not room to put in an adapter to run, say, a Nikon lens on it? I'm thinking in terms of the adapters, like Canon's EF-mount has a fairly shallow flange distance, so you can put an adapter on it and then use a Nikon lens. I was wondering if the SA-mount is shallow enough that there's room for an adapter?

KY: Yes. Physically, it's possible.

The Sigma SA-mount has a flange distance of 44 millimeters, identical to that of Canon's EF-mount.
DE: Ah, OK, good to know. High ISO sensitivity has always been a challenge for Foveon sensors in the past. Is that an area that these new sd Quattro cameras address, with the bigger sensor being better for you? Does the larger sensor do better on low-light and high ISO shooting? Or you did you give it more pixels, so it has the same pixel size?

KY: It has the same pixel size, so it is the same. But for the sd Quattro we changed some algorithms in the image processing, so we could improve the high ISO performance, by maybe about one stop.

DE: Ah, about one stop - and that's as a result of processing, as opposed to sensor design.

KY: Yeah.

DE: Turning to lenses, one comment about your f/1.8 zooms: The 18-35mm was amazing, and now the new 50-100mm is a very exciting lens for us as well. We're eager to see that, and I was briefed on its design yesterday by some of your lens designers. [Ed. Note: We'll hopefully have an overview of the presentation Sigma's lens designers shared with me, if I can just find enough time between business trips and running the company :-/] It was very fascinating. Can we share any information on a potential roadmap for more f/1.8 Art lenses? Are we going to be seeing some longer focal lengths, or some other types of zooms in there? I know you can't talk about specifics...

The Sigma 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art lens aims to pair the image quality of a prime-lens with the versatility of a zoom-lens.
KY: Yes. But I know some customers like our f/1.8 zoom series, including some videographers. Because most of the videos use the small crop sensor, a format they call "Super 35", which is similar to APS-C.

DE: Yes, "Super 35" is very close to APS-C.

KY: So we'd like to expand this series, but it's quite challenging, so we are not sure if we can develop another lens.

DE: They're difficult designs to execute.

KY: Yes, yes.

DE: Very complex.

KY: Actually, it's a matter of the mechanical construction. If there was more flexibility in terms of mechanical construction, we could probably make any kind of lens, but if we make a lens for a system camera, there's a mechanical limitation for the diameter of the mount, and many other limitations. So this makes it difficult to develop f/1.8 zoom lenses.

DE: Ah; it's a lot about your restrictions for the mount and that sort of thing. I know in the case of the 50-100mm, talking to the engineer who designed it, that with the floating focus elements, the requirements for the actuating cam were very, very constrained. It has to be extremely precise in its motion, so that was a challenge for him.

KY: Right, yes.

In the quest for image quality, Sigma's 20mm F1.4 DG HSM | A lens relies on two FLD, five SLD and two aspheric elements, including a huge 59mm double aspheric.
DE: And also, those lenses use a lot of very sophisticated glass. For instance, the 20mm uses lots of aspherics and lots of FLD and SLD glass, and then in the teles, there are no aspherics, but even more SLD and FLD. So do you see with the f/1.8's going to longer focal lengths, isn't that where the demand is?

KY: It's quite challenging, because the lens gets so big.

DE: Yes, I can see that. Actually, I'm surprised that the 50-100mm isn't bigger than it is. I mean, you said it was about the same size as a 70-200mm f/2.8, give or take. It's actually a little bit smaller, I think.

KY: Yes, because we wanted to achieve very high image quality. We applied the same concept as for the 18-35mm f/1.8.

DE: Yes.

KY: The zoom range is very short, only about two times. The concept is that each focal length has optical performance equivalent to prime lenses. That's the concept.

DE: Right.

KY: So that's the first priority of the concept of the product, so that makes it bulkier and heavier.

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM is the world's first f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens.
DE: Yeah, that came out in the presentations. Some people might look at a zoom lens with such a short ratio and say, "Well, why bother?" But really it's giving you a 50mm f/1.8, a 75mm f/1.8, an 85mm f/1.8, and a 100mm f/1.8, so all of the standard medium focal-length primes are covered by just one lens.

KY: Right.

DE: Also, they showed me an MTF chart that compared it to an 85mm f/1.4, I think it was, and it was just amazing. I mean, OK, it's a little bit smaller aperture, but it was so much sharper up to the edges.

KY: Yeah.

DE: I'm really eager to get that into our lab to test! For what it is, it seems like it's pretty affordable, too. It's something like $1,100 in the US? Although I said to the gentleman who was translating in the discussion with the lens designer that I thought it was a pretty good price and he said "Oh, good!" because you were wondering how to set the price on it when it came out. :-)

KY: Actually, I wanted to price a bit higher because the manufacturing cost is so high.

DE: Ah.

KY: But those whom still use the APS-C sized camera, they have a limited budget, because the price of the camera body is low compared to full-frame, so the lens should be close to that.

Sigma's sd Quattro-series cameras debut a new hybrid autofocus system pairing both phase and contrast detection. Both nine-point and free-move focus modes are available.
DE: Yes. So you really would've been happier if it'd been $1,300 instead of $1,100 or something, but... Yeah. I'm sure it'll make a lot of photographers happy at that price point. (You've just got to make sure you stay in business to keep making more lenses!)

Let's see, so the new sd Quattros have a hybrid AF system, which we presume was developed with attention to performance with lenses that weren't optimized for contrast-detect AF. Do you have any sense of what kind of AF performance we can expect? Will it be comparable to existing mirrorless cameras from companies like Sony, Olympus or Panasonic? And will older HSM lenses still autofocus well, or do you recommend newer models with current focusing-motor technology?

That's a very long question there; I guess the short version is, you have a hybrid autofocus system now. Is that primarily to assist with older-design lenses that aren't suited for contrast-detect?

KY: The camera has to support the lenses which were developed for the DSLR, so if we only have a contrast AF, the focus speed will be very slow. So we needed to have phase-detection, yes.

DE: Yes. And does the phase-detect go all the way to final focus, or is it that it gets close, and then contrast-detect adjusts...

KY: Yes.

DE: It's the latter, it uses both all the time?

KY: Yes, yes.

DE: We're curious about the hybrid AF system and a bit more detail on it. For example, there are nine selectable AF points, but then there's also a free-movement AF point. Does that mean that there are many more phase-detect pixels on the sensor than just nine sites?

KY: I think we have more.

DE: You have more, so, yeah. Because it seems like -- and I haven't had a chance to look at it myself yet -- but it seems like you can move this other focus point around. So you probably have a wide array of them that you can just pick some.

KY: Sorry, I don't know.

DE: Maybe a question for the engineers...

KY: Yeah, yeah. Sorry.

DE: Another related question for the engineers: If there are additional phase-detect pixels that aren't part of the normal points, do some of those get used during continuous autofocus, if it's tracking a subject or not? Or is it just always those fixed points?

KY: Yeah, we don't have many phase-detection pixels, because they cannot capture the image. [Ed. Note: As we've learned in other recent technical interviews, the difference in "phase" means you can't use the phase-detect focus pixels on an image sensor to help form the final image. It's only when the subject for that particular pixel is in focus that you can just make a simple brightness adjustment to compensate for the shading that makes them phase-detect pixels.] So we have a very limited number of phase-detection pixels. But in order to improve that kind of functionality, we need to develop an algorithm to support it. But this is the first camera for us with that...

DE: Yes, the first camera for you that has on-chip phase-detect. Were there any specific factors that you needed to take into consideration, to do phase-detect on a Foveon sensor, as opposed to conventional CMOS? Was there anything different about how you had to implement it?

KY: It's basically the same.

DE: And so this is really a completely new sensor for you. The APS-C sensor in the dp Quattro series did not have any phase-detect at all.

KY: No.

DE: So it's not that they were they there before but just weren't used. Overall, though, it sounds like that the basic sensor architecture is the same, that the change in ISO is just the processing, so your unit cell in the chip is pretty much the same.

KY: The pixel architecture is the same.

DE: I guess if you had any, you would have said so, but do you have any estimates on pricing or availability for your mirrorless camera yet?

KY: I have not decided yet.

DE: Do you have any sense of when it might hit the market, or is that...

KY: The sd Quattro will be probably sometime in the early summer. The Quattro H will maybe be in the autumn time-frame.

DE: Ah, OK. Do you have any idea what the battery life might be? Because you have a battery grip that adds two batteries, so with three batteries do you think the battery life would be comparable to a DSLR...

Sigma's PG-41 Power Grip accessory for the sd Quattro-series cameras will triple battery life, thanks to its provision for not one but two extra batteries beyond that in the camera itself.
KY: Compared to the other companies' battery life, probably [it will] be shorter [per pack], but we're still working on the firmware, so we still don't know.

DE: As, so you may be able to reduce the power consumption. And would the sd Quattro with the three batteries be similar to an SLR with just one?

KY: Probably, yeah.

DE: Well, that'd be good, because you'd be able to have a reasonable shooting time...

KY: Yes.

DE: I haven't actually had a chance to handle the cameras out on the booth yet, but there was a question about why the EVF was placed where it was, centrally as opposed to on one side. Because some people like the viewfinder on the side, so their nose doesn't hit the screen.

KY: Oh, yeah, yeah.

DE: But then maybe other people are used to having them in the middle on SLRs. Did you give some thought to where the viewfinder would go, and was there a discussion over it, or was it just kind of "We'll put it in the middle like the SLRs"?

KY: We discussed it a lot, and we concluded that location [was the best]. After we release the product we'd like to listen to the customers' opinions...

DE: Ah, and see what actual customers have to say. Separately, it was nice to see the introduction of a new mirrorless lens, the 30mm f/1.4 DN, especially for a Micro Four Thirds mount. You'd mentioned in a past interview that it probably wouldn't be cost-effective for you to produce lenses just for Micro Four Thirds. The 30mm f/1.4 seems to follow your idea, sharing the same lens construction for APS-C and Micro Four Thirds...

KY: Yeah.

Sigma's 30mm f/1.4 DN lens is the first f/1.4 optic designed for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount cameras.
DE: And so will we be likely to see more of that, where you'll take, you know, an APS-C design and give it a Micro Four Thirds mount?

KY: Yeah.

DE: That makes a lot of sense.

KY: Yeah. If we can increase the sales volume, we can reduce the cost, and we can provide the products which the customers want.

DE: Yeah, so if you had to design one just for Micro Four Thirds, the volume would be too low, so it would get too expensive.

KY: Yeah.

DE: That makes perfect sense. What was the reason behind offering the new sd Quattro with two different sensor sizes, rather than only selling the larger one? And a follow-on question to that is which model do you expect to sell more of eventually?

KY: Ah, I'm still not sure, but the APS-H version, the file size is huge, and the processing speed [comparatively] slow, so we still believe that the normal APS-C size will be a kind of standard model.

DE: Yeah.

KY: Those who really like the...

DE: That really want the maximum resolution...

KY: Yeah, at the cost of the processing speed or file size, they should choose APS-H. But we feel we cannot recommend the APS-H camera to [just] anybody.

DE: ...because of those reasons, that it's slower and the file size is so big. And if that were your only model, people would be saying "Oh, it's so slow", or "the files are too big"

KY: Yeah.

The Sigma sd Quattro-series cameras have an unusual side-by-side monitor arrangement with both a 3.0-inch main display and a secondary LCD info display to its right.
DE: The follow-up question is how production will be allocated between the two models. I imagine the answer is "We don't know yet, because we don't know what demand will be." The sd Quattro H has a very interesting dual-monitor arrangement. Was the dual monitor feature something intended for the sd Quattro series from the beginning, or was that added later in the development?"

KY: When we're working on the body design, we decided [to implement that feature].

DE: You decided at that point, yeah.

KY: Probably at a very early stage.

DE: And then there's, as always, the standard question about video... As with other recent Sigmas, the sd Quattros do not record video. Is that as a result of the Foveon X3 sensors? Are there technical limitations that do not allow these cameras to record video? And moving forward, do you think that at some point there will be a video capability? I'm guessing the main thing with the video is that it's so complicated to do the processing for the color separation, right? You've got to try to do that on the fly?

KY: No, mainly the issue is the data output speed.

DE: Oh, readout from the sensor.

KY: Readout, yes, because we have the three-layer stack, so the data size is about two times or three times [as much as a traditional sensor].

DE: OK, so it takes two or three times longer to read out.
[Ed. Note: This is an interesting point, that hadn't occurred to me. The Foveon chips really do have three separate color layers in each pixel, so there's three times as much data to read out as a conventional sensor with the same number of pixels.]

KY: We could make super-fast readout performance, but in this case we'd have to sacrifice other features, like [having a lower] pixel count or something.

DE: Yeah.

KY: So we set our target customer as the still photographer. We cannot implement many things, because we have to develop our own sensor, and we have to develop the processor, so we have to carefully select the target customers, and implement the features which will be most useful to them.

DE: Yes, you have to pick your shots. If you tried to do video, then other areas would suffer, so you chose to focus on still photography.

DE: Changing topics again, the 50-100mm is shipping in... April, is it?

KY: April.

DE: April, so coming up soon. And the 20mm f/1.4 has been shipping for a while?

KY: Yeah, it's available in the market.

DE: And how is that selling, is that being well-received?

KY: So-so.

DE: It's a little more of a special-case kind of lens than something like a 30mm, the 30mm is a more accessible focal length for people.

KY: Right, yeah.

DE: Yes, when you get to a certain point with wide-angle, it really changes how you compose images. 35mm is easy, 30mm takes a little more thought, but really wide angles take a very different approach. I know, I've done very little wide-angle shooting and I just have to think completely differently to compose well with a super-wide lens.

KY: Yeah.

DE: Well, I think that covered all the questions I had for you. Thanks again for your time, you're always a very interesting interview subject, for myself and our readers as well, I think!

KY: Thank you.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Sample Photos

I have just returned from my wildlife photo tour in Costa Rica. Trying to take care of the day to day business before having to leave for another tour in India next week. This will leave me little time to process the photos from Costa Rica or write my blog.

Just a quick note to let my readers know the demand for the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is phenomenal. It is really not a surprise since the camera is a big improvement over the original EOS-1D X and sells for $900 less. Canon is filling the orders from their ambassadors and photographers who were involved in their pre-production test trials first. The demand for professional Canon cameras in Asia is also doing well. The camera shipping schedule may slip about one week in the United States due to the heavy demand but should commence around late April or very early May. Hope you have put in your pre-order in February? 

Here are some full sized sample images from the EOS-1D X Mark II. After I take delivery of the camera in April/May, I will be embarking on a few wildlife photography shoots from the high Arctic to the southern tip of Africa and places in between. Very anxious to test the new camera under real world conditions and write a review on it. You can see my works on

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wildlife Photography - Costa Rica Photo Tour, Day 5

Luck is beginning to turn for me on my Costa Rican Photo Tour, as well as the weather. Less rain and humidity in the last few days. Little time to write my blog but a quick note to let you know my sources informed me Canon may announce a replacement to their EF 50mm lens soon, perhaps before the end of Q2.

Although I do not use the 50mm lens much and own the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, it sorely needs an upgrade and the EF 50mm f/1.2L is not much of a performer either. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens has an edge over the Canon 'L' lens in sharpness.

A few more photos processed in a hurry on my laptop for quick perusal. Keep checking back for more images and see more of my works on

Have you seen my Blackberry?

Green Hermit Hummingbird

Pura Vida

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Canon EOS-5D Mark IV Camera Update

As reported earlier, the Canon EOS-5D Mark IV camera will most probably get a mention at the NAB 2016 show coming up next month but my latest info indicates the camera is designed to really wow videographers and filmmakers (at least the ones who do not want to buy the Cinema C300 or C500 camcorders) .

The video performance is apparently designed to exceed the EOS-1D X Mark II, which already has a very good 4K video capability. I am still on mu Costa Rican photo tour. The weather is extremely humid and wet. Below are a few photos from CR. Don't have much time everyday after the shoots because I am so tired from the heat and dampness. Visit to see more of my works from previous wildlife photo shoots around the globe.  

Blue Jean Poison-Dart frog

Two-toed Sloth

Red-eyed Tree frog

Sunbittern spreading its beautiful wings

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.5 and Lightroom 6.5 Download Available

Lightroom CC 2015.5 and Lightroom 6.5 are now available on Our focus with this release was to add support for new cameras and lenses, and also fix many bugs that existed in previous versions of Lightroom. Adobe Camera Raw 9.5 is also available for download as well.

Bugs Fixed in Lightroom CC 2015.5 / 6.5

Bug fixes related to Panorama Merge

  • Scared that pesky sensor dust spots will ruin your perfect pano? No problem, remove spots in 1 image and then merge to pano. Lightroom takes care of the rest.
  • Boundary Warp gets better as we fixed a bunch of bugs
  • Removed the ‘auto’ projection option. Turns out, it always picked the same projection mode.

Other Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a ton of sync errors. Faster sync to the Lightroom iOS and Android apps.
  • Scrolling through images in Loupe view with your mouse is back! (sorry that it went away in the first place).
  • Slideshows are back in high-resolution. Fixed a bug that caused them to appear much lower res than expected.
  • Books are made for browsing. We’ve reinstated scroll bars so that you can browse faster in the Book module

New Camera Support in Lightroom CC 2015.5 / 6.5

  • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • Canon EOS 1300D (Rebel T6, Kiss X80)
  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon D500
  • Olympus PEN-F
  • Olympus SH-3
  • Panasonic DMC-CM10
  • Panasonic DMC-GF8
  • Panasonic DMC-ZS100 (DMC-ZS110, DMC-TZ100, DMC-TZ101, DMC-TZ110, DMC-TX1)
  • Samsung NX3300
  • Sony Alpha a6300 (ILCE-6300)
  • Yuneec CGO4

Installation Instructions

Select Help > Updates to use the update mechanism in the Creative Cloud app.

Direct download links : Windows | Mac

Canon PowerShot G3X II Coming With Super Wide Angle Lens?

Egami, the Japanese photography blog has discovered a new Canon patent for a 9-240mm f/2.8-5.6 lens. Among other uses, the new lens may be designed for the eventual replacement of the PowerShot G3X camera, announced last July 2015.

Patent Publication No. 2016-31419

  • Published 2016.3.7
  • Filing date 2014.7.28


  • Zoom ratio 25.58
  • Wide-angle intermediate telephoto
  • Focal length 9.35 31.90 239.12
  • F-number 2.88 4.93 5.76
  • Half angle of view (degrees) 35.66 13.89 1.89
  • The image height 6.71 7.89 7.89
  • Overall length of the lens 94.81 119.61 197.21
  • BF 2.97 19.89 29.86

Wildlife Photography - Costa Rica Photo Tour

Off to Costa Rica for some wildlife photography. Will be staying in one particular region of the rain forest almost in the middle of the country. Costa Rica is a small democratic country in Central America with breath taking sceneries and abundant wildlife in the many national parks and reserves around the nation.  

I will be concentrating on HummingbirdsToucans and Amphibians. Hummingbirds are found only in the Western Hemisphere, from southeastern Alaska to southern Chile. Many species live in tropical Central America. There are more than 300 species of Hummingbirds and Costa Rica has over 50 species within its borders. For those interested in Hummers, take a look at my article on how and where to photograph them.

My readers know after much deliberation, I have finally replaced my venerable Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with the full frame, 61-point AF, 50 megapixel Canon EOS-5Ds 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.

Accompanying me on this trip will be the EOS-1D X, EOS-5Ds, EOS-7D Mk IIEF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x Extender and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens. My big regret is the recently announced EOS-1D X Mark II camera will not be delivered in time for my next two photo shoots. The conditions I will be facing are perfect to test the new AF system, high ISO performance and 14 fps burst rate.

In the meantime, you can see my equipment bag and works on Wish me luck on this photo shoot. I will not have much time going through my photos after this trip because a week after Costa Rica, I am going on a Tiger photo shoot in India. Last year was not a good trip for me due to the poor tiger sightings. I need a break to get some spectacular encounters this year.   

It may not be easy for me to keep in touch because of my traveling schedule and sporadic Internet access but I will do my best. Have to wait till I return in late March to reconnect and write my blog again.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Delivery Has Begun

My sources in Asia informed me the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera has been delivered to priority customers. These are Canon ambassadors and people who have signed Non Disclosure Agreements and participated in the trials of the pre-production cameras.

I am excited because there are a few wildlife photography trips coming up that this new camera will be put to my usual real world tests and see if it is a worthy successor to the venerable EOS-1D X. You can download the camera's Instruction Manual here and see all the new features and functions

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sony Mirrorless Cameras vs Canon and Nikon DSLRs

On paper, Sony cameras offer a lot of bells and whistles. Their mirrorless cameras look especially 'impressive'. Once you brush aside the specs and features and dig a little deeper, you won't find too many photographers making a living using Sony cameras full time. There is a good reason for that. Just go to any major sporting events or take a wildlife photography photo shoot around the globe and you will see what I mean.

Many people don't realize committing to a camera brand is just the beginning of a major decision for those who are serious about photography. When I travel around the globe for wildlife photo shoots, a good camera company must be able to stand behind its products with responsive maintenance and repair service worldwide. This is where the major brands like Canon and Nikon stand out among the others. You can see my equipment bag and works on

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera Instruction Manual Available For Download

Canon announced the EOS-1D X's replacement, the Mark II camera on February 1. The camera will start delivery some time next month. Below is a 4K video from Canon shot with the new body. You can also see the high dynamic range test with the camera here.

Instruction Manuals for the EOS-1D X Mark II camera and the Wired-LAN Transmitter are here. Click on the links above to download them. They are interesting to peruse.

I am very anxious to take delivery of this new DSLR next month because I have a few real world wildlife photography shoots around the globe coming up. You can see my works on

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Camera 4K Video Movie

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with EF 50mm f/1.4 lens

Canon announced the EOS-1D X's replacement, the Mark II camera on February 1. The camera will start delivery some time next month. Below is a 4K video from Canon shot with the new camera. You can also see the high dynamic range test with the camera here.

I am very anxious to take delivery of this body and take it on real world wildlife photography shoots around the globe. You can see my works on

Canon Prosumer Mirrorless Camera With 4K Video Coming

I have been reporting for some time now Canon's plans to finally get serious about their mirrorless camera line. It is no secret that Sony is ahead of Canon in this field but may not be for too much longer. Even Leica has introduced a full frame mirrorless camera last year, ahead of Canon.

My sources told me Canon will announce the EOS-M4 camera first and then the higher end, full frame mirrorless camera with 4K video some time in the second half of 2016, perhaps around the big Photokina Show in Cologne, Germany in August. This should not be a surprise to most people since Canon has been quite 'vocal' about their ambition since last year.