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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Canon EOS-6D Mark II & Rebel SL2 Cameras Officially Announced

Canon EOS-6D Mark II with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II lens

As reported, Canon officially announced the EOS-6D Mark II and Rebel SL2 cameras. The EOS-6D is quite a nice body. I may consider buying one as a backup camera when the price comes down.

You will not find any pre-order links on my Blog because I do not accept commissioned links from any camera stores. My review, analysis and recommendation are completely unbiased. You can easily Google your favorite store's website and place your order with them.

MELVILLE, N.Y., June 29, 2017 – In celebration of the innovation behind today’s generation of high-quality digital SLR cameras on National Camera Day, Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is excited to announce the new EOS 6D Mark II and EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR cameras designed for advanced-amateur and entry-level photographers, respectively.

The EOS 6D Mark II camera is ideal for budding photographers looking to take their creative DSLR photography skills to the next level by shooting with a Full-frame CMOS sensor DSLR camera to capture beautiful high-quality portraits and striking landscapes, even in low-light situations. The EOS Rebel SL2 is a small, light, and compact camera with high-performance capability that allows users to get creative when capturing their special family moments or travel experiences.

“It seems fitting that today, a day set aside to commemorate the invention of a tool that forever changed how we view the world, we introduce two new DSLR cameras to the Canon family,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A. “In an industry where choices are abundant, providing consumers with the photographic tools that match their developing skill levels as they continue to embrace their passion for photography is a long-standing goal of Canon and stands at the core of our research and development.

The new EOS 6D Mark II and EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR cameras are the result of Canon’s dedication to providing a wide range of camera choices for photographers of all skill levels, whether it’s someone taking their first picture or video with a DSLR camera or those looking to make the jump to a Full-Frame sensor camera.”

“After just one day in Yellowstone National Park with the EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera, it was clear that the camera is greatly improved over its predecessor,” said acclaimed nature photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Adam Jones. “ Landscape and nature photographers will be very happy. The new and improved autofocus is way ahead of the previous generation and performed extremely well, even in very low-light situations.”

EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera

Designed with enthusiast photographers in mind, Canon’s popular and versatile EOS 6D DSLR camera historically served to bridge the gap between Canon’s higher-end APS-C DLSRs and Full-Frame DSLR cameras. The EOS 6D Mark II DSLR camera features several enhancements over its predecessor model, and its benefits include:

  • 26.2 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor
  • Optical Viewfinder with a 45-point All Cross-type AF System1
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Phase-detection & Full HD 60p
  • DIGIC 7 Image Processor, ISO 100-40000
  • Vari-angle Touch Screen, 3.0-inch LCD
  • Built-in Wi-Fi®2, NFC3, Bluetooth®4 and GPS technology
  • High-speed Continuous Shooting at up to 6.5 fps
  • Dust and Water-resistant

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 APS-C camera

EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera

Stepping up from a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera for photography can be intimidating. With the introduction of the new EOS Rebel SL2, a powerful, small, and lightweight DSLR camera, Canon hopes to alleviate some of those concerns for first-time DSLR users.

This small yet powerful camera features the world’s fastest AF speed* at 0.03 seconds, allowing for quick focusing on subjects in the frame. When designing the new EOS Rebel SL2 camera, Canon took into consideration feedback from entry-level photographers who expressed interest in learning how to go beyond a camera’s program mode.

The result was the creation of a convenient new user interface called Feature Assistant. With the EOS Rebel SL2 camera, users will be able to see on the camera’s Vari-angle Touch Screen how switching modes on the mode dial or tweaking camera settings like aperture and exposure compensation can alter the image they are about to capture, thus guiding photographers on their way to capturing more compelling images, such as ones with a shallow depth-of-field or being able to give moving subjects a frozen or flowing look.

The EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera features several other enhancements over its predecessor model, the EOS Rebel SL1, including:

  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) Sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD Touch-Screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi®2, NFC3 and Bluetooth®4 Technology
  • Full HD 60p & External Microphone Input
  • DIGIC 7 Image Processor, ISO 100-25600
  • Optical Viewfinder with a 9-point AF System
  • Feature Assistant
  • Small and Lightweight Body

Pricing and Availability

The EOS 6D Mark II DSLR camera is scheduled to be available in late July 2017 for an estimated retail price of $1,999.00 for body only, $3,099.00 with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM II lens and $2,599.00 with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens**.

In addition the EOS Rebel SL2 is scheduled to be available in late July 2017 for a retail price of $549.99 for body only and $699.99 with the Canon EF-S 18-55m f/4-5.6 IS STM lens**. For more information please visit

Canon Gear Announcement on June 29, 2017

Below are the Canon cameras and kits being announced tomorrow. Be sure to place your pre-order early for the EOS-6D Mark II if you want one. It will be a big seller.

You will not find any pre-order links on my Blog because I do not accept commissioned links from any camera stores. My review, analysis and recommendation are completely unbiased. You can easily Google your favorite store's website and place your order with them.

Canon EOS-6D Mark II full frame camera

  • Shipping in early August 2017
  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II Body
  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II with EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II with EF 24-70mm f/4L IS
  • Price : $300 Battery Grip BG-E21
  • Price : $1,999 Body only
  • Price : $2,599 Body with EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Price : $3,099 Body with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D APS-C camera

  • Shipping in late July 2017
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / EOS 200D / Kiss X9 Body
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL2 with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL2 with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM & EF-S 55-250mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Pricing : $549 Body only.  $699 with EF-S 18-55mm lens

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disappointing Results From Sony A9 Camera Test With Canon Super Telephoto Lens

My readers know me as The Wildlife Ho-tographer and I am not a fan of mirrorless cameras. Some photographers are sold on Sony's line of full frame mirrorless cameras, like the A7 and A9 series. They claim it will drive 'dinosaurs' like the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5 cameras into extinction soon.

I pay no attention to such claims but I do know the recent release of the Sony A9 has kicked Canon's plans into higher gear and they are contemplating the release of their high end, full frame mirrorless camera with EF mount some time in 2018.  When that happens, I will evaluate the Canon camera carefully and if it meets my needs, I will then buy my first mirrorless body.

When a serious photographer commits to a camera brand, it's more than just owning the camera body or bodies. There's the full complement of lenses, a professional worldwide sales, maintenance and customer support network to back the equipment and assist the photographer.

Below is a video showing how the Sony A9 camera is not ready for professional prime time sports or wildlife photography, despite all the 'jaw-dropping' specs on paper. You can follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter. See my equipment bag and works on

Micron Technology Discontinuing Lexar Media Storage Business

Well, I suppose nothing lasts forever. I have been using Lexar memory cards for over a decade. On the bright side of things, the stores with lots of Lexar inventory may now have to sell them quickly, perhaps even at a discount.

Micron Technology today announced that it is discontinuing its Lexar® retail removable media storage business. The decision was made as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to focus on its increasing opportunities in higher value markets and channels.

The Lexar portfolio includes memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives for retail and OEM customers.

Micron is exploring opportunities to sell all or part of the Lexar business.

The company will continue to provide support to existing customers through this transition period. Customers should contact their Lexar sales representative to discuss specific requirements.

I’d like to thank our team members and partners for their contributions to the Lexar business. As difficult as this decision is, the company is making this adjustment in its business to ensure it continues to be well-positioned for the future.

Monday, June 26, 2017

DIRE Studio Latest Shutter Counter Software Supports Latest Canon Cameras

Dire Studios have updated ShutterCount to version 3.0. The new version can read the latest Canon cameras' shutter actuations, including live view and video shots.

From Dire Studios :

"Most Canon cameras released since 2015 (such as the 1D X Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 5DS R, 80D) provide more details on shutter usage: photos taken using the viewfinder and via live view are counted separately, as do live view sessions (the latter includes live view activations for movie recording)."

Personally, I find this Shutter Count fascination to be nothing more than an academic curiosity. For professional grade cameras like the EOS-1D Mark IV or EOS-1D X (Mark I and II)  cameras, their shutters are rated conservatively at 300,000 and 400,000 actuation, respectively.

Many photographers, including myself, have multiple bodies anyway and the chance of any one of the pro bodies racking up 300 to 400K actuations is small because I would have upgraded to a newer model anyway. However, I know a friend who owns the EOS-1D Mark IV and is still using the original shutter after raking up half a million actuations. Besides, getting a new shutter is not that expensive anyway.

For the EOS-5D and EOS-7D series, they are rated at 150,000 actuations but I expect them to last well over 250,000 with proper maintenance and care.

ShutterCount is certified to work with all of the cameras listed below, using their latest firmware revision. It is available in both Windows and macOS version.

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV*
  • Canon EOS-1D C*
  • Canon EOS-1D X*
  • Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 5DS (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 5DS R (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon EOS 7D*
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 40D*
  • Canon EOS 50D*
  • Canon EOS 60D*
  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EOS 77D / 9000D (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 80D (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1 / Kiss X7
  • Canon EOS 450D / Rebel XSi / Kiss X2*
  • Canon EOS 500D / Rebel T1i / Kiss X3*
  • Canon EOS 550D / Rebel T2i / Kiss X4*
  • Canon EOS 600D / Rebel T3i / Kiss X5*
  • Canon EOS 650D / Rebel T4i / Kiss X6i*
  • Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i / Kiss X7i*
  • Canon EOS 750D / Rebel T6i / Kiss X8i (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 760D / Rebel T6s / 8000D (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 800D / Rebel T7i / Kiss X9i (macOS only)
  • Canon EOS 1000D / Rebel XS / Kiss F*
  • Canon EOS 1100D / Rebel T3 / Kiss X50*
  • Canon EOS 1200D / Rebel T5 / Kiss X70
  • Canon EOS 1300D / Rebel T6 / Kiss X80*

* Live view actuation counters are NOT available in the Live View Pack for these cameras.

Friday, June 23, 2017

First Images & Final Specs of Canon EOS-6D Mark II Camera

Canon EOS-6D Mark II camera front view

Canon EOS-6D Mark II camera back view

Canon EOS-6D Mark II camera top view

Your patience will be rewarded soon. The Canon's EOS-6D Mark II full frame camera is expected to be announced June 29, 2017. There is no precise shipping date but it should commence some time in early August. Keep checking back for the latest news and specs as I receive them.

Final specs for Canon EOS-6D Mark II camera
  • All new 26MP sensor
  • 45 AF points, all cross-type
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Single SD slots
  • ISO 100 - 40000. Extended to 102400
  • 3 inch variable angle, reversible LCD 
  • Touch screen display
  • Larger and more vivid viewfinder (almost 100%)
  • Single DIGIC 7 processor
  • New camera grip BG-E21
  • Burst rate, 6.5 fps
  • 5 axis electronic image stabilization 
  • HD video @ 1080P 60p
  • HDR and Time Lapse Movie
  • WiFi, NFC & Bluetooth
  • Built-in GPS
  • Body slightly taller and deeper than previous model
  • Size : 144.0 x 110.5 x 74.8 mm
  • Weight : 765 g
  • Suggested list price of body - $1,999 in the U.S.
  • Ship with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II lens kit
  • Ship with EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit
  • Announcement date - June 29. Shipment date - August 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 Camera Announcement Date

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D APS-C camera

Next week, Canon will announce a few cameras. The most anticipated one is of course the full frame EOS-6D Mark II. Read this earlier post to see what the camera looks like and find all all the final specs of this affordable full frame DSLR.

Then, perhaps a day before the EOS-6D Mark II announcement, Canon may announce the EOS Rebel SL2/200D.  It is also possible Canon may decided to announce the Rebel SL2 together with the EOS-6D Mark II on June 29, 2017.

Final specs of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 camera :

  • 24 MP sensor
  • 3″ vari-angle and touchscreen display
  • HD Video 1080p/60 fps
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • WiFi and NFC
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Burst rate 5 fps. 3.5 fps in Live Mode
  • 19 points AF
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • ISO 100 - 51200 extended
  • Touch Panel
  • Battery : LP-E 17
  • Approximately 840 shots per battery charge using the viewfinder
  • Media : SD / SDHC / SDXC card (UHS-I card compatible)
  • Size : 122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8 mm
  • Weight : 453 g
  • Available in Black, White or Silver color
  • Slightly larger than SL1 but still the world’s smallest DSLR

In addition, Canon will also announce a low end EOS-M mirrorless camera. It will be a replacement to the current EOS-M10.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Super Zoom Lens

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-5.6 Di II VC HLD Super Zoom lens

Tamron Announces 18-400mm All-In-One™ Zoom

We are pleased to announce the latest addition to the all-in-one™ zoom line-up :

18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD all-in-one zoom lens (model B028) in Canon and Nikon mounts
The 18-400mm is a new exciting flagship lens that adds to our current line-up and exemplifies Tamron’s all-in-one expertise and the options these great lenses afford photographers of all levels.

This new unprecedented all-in-one is positioned as a compact ultra-tele zoom with all-in-one, wide-angle versatility for APS-C cameras. It will target enthusiasts who desire even greater ultra-tele capability for sports, wildlife and more, but also enjoy the versatility of the all-in-one lens for various photographic opportunities. Think of a 100-400mm with portrait, 1:2.9 macro, and wide angle capability for added convenience.

The 16-300mm will remain in the line for the enthusiast customer also looking for great range and versatility, but from a more compact, all-in-one lens prioritizing wide angle for travel and full range for every-day shooting and more.

These two lenses, while similar in many ways, offer different choices for the customer from the pioneer and leader of the all-in-one zoom lens category.


The power of ultra-telephoto. The versatility of all-in-one. Powerful performance that exceeds your imagination. Introducing the world’s first ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom with a 22.2X zoom range. Now you can shoot everything from vast landscapes to details of a bird with a single lens.

The latest optical design includes a complex series of elements including LD (Low Dispersion) glass and an aspherical lens. Problems like chromatic aberration and distortion are controlled throughout the entire zoom range, resulting in sharp, superior images-whether you’re shooting at wide-angle or telephoto. Capture thrilling close-up action in a snap.

  • World’s first 22.2x ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens
  • 620mm full-frame equivalent telephoto reach
  • VC for confident telephoto shooting
  • HLD means quick, accurate and quiet autofocus
  • 1:2.9 Max. Mag. Ratio for versatile close-up capability
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Compatible with TAMRON TAP-in Console™, an optional accessory product

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Refurbished Camera $4,799 With Warranty

The Canon Refurbished Store has the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X Mark II camera for $4,799 including free shipping and a one year factory warranty. Hurry, it won't last. This is a very good deal. I bought this camera when it first came out and have taken it on many global photo tours.

Read my comprehensive review of this amazing DSLR. For those who are interested in comparing the EOS-1DX2 to the Nikon D5, read my earlier post. You can follow my travels on Facebook  Twitter , see my equipment bag and works on

You will not find a link to this item because I am not receiving any compensation from Canon. I do not accept any ad or commissioned link on my blog or website. You can easily find the item by Googling it yourself. I am completely unbiased in my recommendation and have no conflict of interest. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tamron Super Zoom 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 VC HLD Lens Coming Soon

Tamron Super Zoom 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 VC HLD lens

Tamrom will be announcing their Super Zoom 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 VC HLD for APS-C cameras and 24-70mm f/2.8 VC G2 lenses this week.

Canon also has plans to announce their Super Zoom lens some time in 2018. Currently the Super Zoom market is dominated by Sigma, Tamron and Nikon with their offering ranging from 150mm to 600mm.

I have the Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS lens and like it a lot for wildlife photography when the action is not too far. This lens is very versatile and has gone with me on global photo tours many times. You can follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter. See my equipment bag and works on

Friday, June 16, 2017

Canon Announced Firmware V 1.1.1 for EOS-5Ds and EOS-5Ds R Cameras

Canon announced new Firmware Version 1.1.1 for the EOS-5Ds and EOS-5Ds R cameras. The new firmware incorporates the following fixes :

  • Corrects a phenomenon in which shooting may not be completed while using HDR (High Dynamic Range) Mode, when certain combinations of settings are selected.
  • Corrects the phenomenon of Err70 which occurs with certain combinations of settings.
  • Corrects the level display when the camera is held in the vertical orientation with the hand grip pointing downward.
  • Corrects a phenomenon in which, when using certain CF cards, it may take approximately five seconds for the camera to power on depending on when the camera's power switch was turned ON.

Download the firmware from Canon here :

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Apple iOS 11 Photo and Video Formats May Cut Storage Use In Half

For heavy iPhone and iPad users who are frustrated with dwindling storage space, Apple’s soon-to-be-released iOS 11 operating system will come with very efficient compression technology.

In the recent WWDC 2017 Conference, Apple announced two new file formats will be introduced with the new iOS11 - High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) for photos, and HEVC (H.265) for both videos and images, and HEIF file format for images. Apple claims these new formats can reduce photo and video file size (presumably to save on memory) without losing quality.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) codec is not new. It has been used by Netflix, Amazon and Apple. The former used it for non-mobile devices while Apple used it for Facetime since 2015 to save on bandwidth.

9to5Mac's Greg Barbosa had access to a beta version of iOS 11 and did some tests on the quality of the image files taken with the new format :

"In testing I went out at night and took a photo and video of the New York City skyline. The outputted JPG image weighed in at 2 MB, while the HEIC image came in at 1.2 MB. Similarly, the h.264 encoded video was 61.2 MB, while the h.265 (HEVC) video was 33 MB."

Below is a photo from Greg to illustrate the new file format :

The iOS 11 beta is currently available for developers. It is scheduled to be released to the public through Apple’s Beta Software Program later this month and will be installed on the new iPhones and iPads later this Autumn.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Professional vs Amateur. Photographer vs Gear. What's More Important?

My readers know me as The Wildlife Ho-tographer. I have used Canon gear for over a quarter of a century and have embarked on global wildlife photography tours for years. You can follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter. See my equipment bag and works on

Throughout my travels, I have encountered many people who assume a photographer carrying 'impressive' camera and lens gear must take good photos. Labels like professional and amateur mean little to me. I have seen amateur work from 'professional' people and gear and vice versa.

Mass market digital photography has been around for about twenty years, depending on how one counts the affordability and availability of the early cameras. Nowadays, anyone who has the basic understanding of lighting and aperture, plus ample amount of experimentation and practice, can produce quality digital photos. Once armed with the basics of photography, one can improve with better equipment and experience over time.  

In my opinion, the three most important components in a good photo are : Opportunity, Skill and Equipment, in that order. When all three come together at the same time, an excellent photo is usually achieved. The video below kind of make the same point. 

Photography Basics - Understanding Light, Aperture and the F-Stop Scale

It helps to refresh oneself with the basics of photography now and then. Light and aperture are two of the most important things to master in any type of photography.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Canon Patent - 18-105mm f/4-5.6 Lens With Built-in Converter

Canon has patented a new design. It is a 18-105mm f/4-5.6 lens with a built-in teleconverter. However, when engaged, it makes the lens wider. At 18mm, the lens is f/4, but when the converter is engaged, it becomes a 15mm lens with an aperture of f/3.3.

This is an interesting lens concept but Canon has been experimenting with many new camera and lens designs in their laboratories for decades including one design with two built-in extenders. They have been awarded more patents than any other Japanese companies.

Normal use

  • Focal length 18.40 37.44 104.0
  • Aperture 4.00 4.64 5.89
  • Half angle of view ω (degree) 36.59 20.04 7.48
  • Image height 13.66 13.66 13.66 (APS-C)
  • Lens total length 149.30 165.77 191.31

Wide-angle TC added

  • Focal length 15.40
  • Aperture 3.35
  • Half angle of view ω (degree) 41.57
  • Image height 13.66
  • Lens total length 149.30

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Canon EOS-6D Mark II and Rebel SL2 Cameras Coming on June 29

Canon EOS-6D Mark II full frame DSLR camera

As reported earlier, Canon is expected to announce the EOS-6D Mark II and Rebel SL2 cameras at the same time. The debut date will be June 29, 2017.

The Rebel SL2 will ship as a body only or a kit with the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens in either black or white color. I will work and nail down the exact date for you. Stay tuned.

Final specs for Canon EOS-6D Mark II camera
  • All new 26MP sensor
  • 45 AF points, all cross-type
  • 7560 pixels RGB + IR metering sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Media: SD / SDHC / SDXC card (UHS-I card compatible)
  • ISO 100 - 40000. Extended to 102400
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000 to 30 seconds
  • 3 inch variable angle, reversible LCD 
  • Touch screen display
  • Viewfinder Coverage (98%)
  • Viewfinder Magnification  0.71x
  • Single DIGIC 7 processor
  • Burst rate, 6.5 fps. 4 fps in Live Mode
  • 5 axis electronic image stabilization 
  • HD video @ 1080P 60p
  • HDR and Time Lapse Movie with 4K output
  • WiFi, NFC & Bluetooth
  • Anti Flicker
  • Built-in GPS
  • Battery : LP-E6N
  • New camera grip BG-E21 
  • Body slightly taller and deeper than previous model
  • Size : 144.0 x 110.5 x 74.8 mm
  • Weight : 765 g
  • Suggested list price of body - $1,999 in the U.S.
  • Ship with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II lens kit
  • Ship with EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens kit
  • Announcement date - June 29. Shipment date - August 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Canon Digital Learning Center Presents 'Being Safe Using Solar Filters'

Canon has dedicated a website to the upcoming Solar Eclipse Photography. Below is an excerpt from CDLC on how to use Solar filters safely.

So far in our eclipse series we’ve discussed camera bodies and lenses that can be used to photograph the upcoming total solar eclipse. This article covers solar filters, the most important consideration for solar photography and direct viewing of the solar eclipse.




Now that we’ve made our camera and lens decisions, we’re going to be actively involved with looking at and photographing the eclipse. We need to pay close attention to the use of the solar filter.

We can’t stress the importance of safety for your eyes and your camera gear enough. Beware of solar filters being marketed on the Internet as “safe.” Our emails are full of questions from readers asking about these filters. Just because they claim to be safe doesn’t mean they are. A truly safe filter for viewing and photography should have a CE or ISO certification.

There is a difference between solar filters used by the public for viewing the solar eclipse and photographers photographing the solar eclipse.

Some marketers are saying that ND filters that restrict 14 – 16.5 stops of light are ‘safe.’ These may be safe for photography use only but definitely not for direct viewing. Restricting the light being passed through a filter is only part of the story. A safe filter for photography and viewing also restricts infrared and ultraviolet light beyond 800nm. Neutral density filters don’t do this. In some cases, you may feel the warmth in your eye but in most you won’t. At that point the damage is done to your eye.

All partial phases of the eclipse absolutely need a solar filter. About five seconds before totality, there are still a few tiny rays of sunlight peeking between the valleys of the craters on the moon. This creates what has been named “Baily’s beads,” after English astronomer Francis Baily.

Partial Eclipse

As soon as the “beads” disappear, you can remove the solar filter for about 2-1/2 minutes (varies depending on your location in the path of totality) until Baily’s beads reappear again. When they reappear, that’s the end of totality. Then, immediately replace the solar filter on the front of your lens. Do not remove it again until you’re finished photographing the sun. Always use your LCD screen to position the sun. Don’t use your camera’s viewfinder.

Never look at the sun without accredited and approved solar filtration over your eyes. There are special solar viewing frames that can be used over your eyeglasses or solar viewing glasses for those that don’t wear glasses. Permanent, irreversible eye damage and/or blindness can result in seconds and you won’t even know it.

Never point your camera into the sun without a special solar filter. All camera lenses need an accredited and approved solar filter mounted on the front of the lens. Not using a solar filter at eclipse magnifications can ruin your camera in seconds!

Intense light passing through your lens at eclipse magnifications, without a solar filter, can fry your image stabilization and aperture mechanisms, damage your sensor and shutter, and cause permanent eye damage. Eclipse magnification is a lot different than what landscape photographers do when they have the sun peeking through a tree canopy with their wide angle lens stopped down to f/22 to create a starburst effect. In that case the sun is so tiny and the exposure is so brief, there isn’t any damage.

Never improvise, modify or use general photography neutral density (ND) filters regardless of density even up to 16 stops. They are totally insufficient to provide the protection your eyes, and your equipment, need. Neutral density filters, regardless of density, transmit high levels of invisible infrared and ultraviolet radiation which can cause a thermal retinal burn. You won’t feel anything, but the damage is done. Stacked neutral density filters don’t do anything more than reduce the intensity of the visible spectrum either. And, as photographers, we know that shooting through multiple filters dramatically reduces sharpness too. Buy an approved solar filter. They’re relatively inexpensive and are designed for the task. Don’t risk your eyes or your sensor!

Types of Solar Filters

Solar filters can transmit or restrict different wavelengths of light such as “white” light and Hydrogen-Alpha light. The most common solar filters used by amateur photographers transmit “white” light – which refers to the visible spectrum and not necessarily the color of the sun disk it produces.

Scientists and advanced photographers may want to see details such as prominences and solar flares on the surface. In this case, you’ll need a special filter known as a hydrogen-alpha (or H-alpha) filter. This type of solar filter can be expensive and is available from professional solar filter companies such as Astronimik, Baader, or Thousand Oaks.

For most of the rest of us, there are many “white” light solar filters on the market. There are round non-silvered glass filters, round silvered glass filters, thin metalized Mylar sheets and special silver/black polymer solar film filters.

There are filters meant for photography and filters meant for observing. The first decision you need to make is whether or not you want a “photographic only” solar filter to protect your camera’s sensor, or a filter safe for visual observing (or while looking through your eyepiece if your camera doesn’t have Live View on your LCD screen) to protect your eyes.

The next consideration you need to make is the color of the sun that the filter will produce. Non-silvered glass and metalized Mylar produce a blueish-white sun disk while professional silver/black polymer solar film produces a yellow sun disk.

Threaded Small Lens Solar Filters

Most glass filters are not silvered on the front and are good for photography only, but read the instructions that come packaged with your filter.

The Hoya Pro ND100000 (5.0) filter is the most commonly available filter and produces a blueish-white solar disk. Most camera retailers have this filter available in traditional threaded filter sizes up to 82mm. The Canon EF 100-400mm zoom, the EF 300mm f/4, and the EF 400 f/5.6 telephotos use a 77mm filter thread. The popular Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L zoom uses a 67mm filter thread.

The Hoya Pro ND100000 (5.0), or similar filters, are designed for photography only and will do the job, but isn’t recommended for visual viewing such as looking through your camera’s eyepiece or holding it up to your eye for solar viewing. Read the instructions. Use your LCD screen only to safely view the eclipse if you’re using this type filter.

Large Lens Solar Filters

As photographers, we’re used to using glass filters such as polarizers and neutral density filters that thread into the front of our lenses. Since the beginning of digital photography, many advanced photographers have become used to using large square or rectangular resin (plastic looking) filters that are of very high optical quality. They are used in special holders mounted onto the front of the lens.

With large front-mounted filters in mind, there are different types of solar filtration available for large diameter Canon L-series, big white telephoto lenses. In this case, you’ll use large filters that mount over the front of the lens – often referred to as full aperture filters.

There are two ways to mount these filters. You can buy them in sheets and fashion your own frame large enough to cover the front of your lens or buy the filter already mounted into a round aluminum housing that slips over the front of the lens.

Just as in the mounting, there are two types of solar material used in these type filters: Metalized Mylar foil and Silver/black polymer film.

Thin, metalized Mylar is an inexpensive foil type filter that will do the job and is available all over the Internet. Be careful as to the source some of these Internet resources use. It is difficult sometimes to determine the actual manufacturer of this material because, in some cases, this material is also used in the food packaging industry and is repurposed as a solar filter. This Mylar material is prone to pinholes. This is usually sold in sheets that can be cut to fit various homemade mounting devices.

Being silvered on both sides, this material is highly reflective and has the possibility of creating reflections off the front of your glass, onto the back of the silvered Mylar filter and then back into your lens. Check the photo below (sent in by a reader) that shows this ghost-like halo. This type filter produces a blueish/white sun disk.

Silver/black polymer film has the optical quality of glass and is flat compared to the wrinkle prone metalized Mylar foil material. The advantage of this type filter is that the silvered front surface restricts the transmission of the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum making it safe for direct viewing or photography. And, the black reverse side of the filter eliminates the “ghosting” reflection off the back of the filter. This type of filter produces a yellow-orange colored sun disk and is relatively inexpensive.

These filters are completely safe for viewing as well as photography. They block the harmful Infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.

A popular source for large-lens slip-on filters, solar viewing glasses and solar viewing frames is Thousand Oaks Optical. Their filters are used by scientists, astronomers and most observatories all over the world. They’re also approved by NASA and CE and ISO certified. Check their website for the filter size for your telephoto or super telephoto lens.

Don’t Use the Rear Filter Tray

Most of the large Canon L-series lenses have a rear mounted slip-in filter tray. NEVER use a solar filter in this tray. This filter mounting system is designed for terrestrial photography using traditional photography filters. It is not designed to house a filter to be directed celestially into the sun. At these magnifications, you will destroy the filter -- similar to taking a magnifying glass to a leaf and put your lens, sensor and your eyes in danger. The intense light and heat could fry aperture and image stabilization mechanisms, damage the autofocus sensor and, if the mirror is locked up ruin your sensor. Buy the correct front-mounted solar filter. They’re relatively inexpensive and completely safe.

Solar Eclipse – Direct Viewing

If you’re part of a solar viewing group, or just want to enjoy viewing the solar eclipse without a camera, there are safe options as well. You can use special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held, cardboard mounted solar viewers.

For this kind of viewing, there are many sources for cardboard mounted solar filters such as, and (Thousand Oaks also has a large rectangular “viewer” for people that wear eyeglasses; you simply hold it in front of your eyeglasses).


If you have questions you'd like Dave and Ken to address in an upcoming article, email them at :

Monday, June 5, 2017

Canon USA Announces Two "See Impossible" Videos

MELVILLE, N.Y., June 5, 2017 – Expanding viewers’ horizons through technology, Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is pushing its creative boundaries with two new “Canon See Impossible” videos that celebrate Canon’s commitment to making the seemingly impossible possible. Available for viewing now on the Canon, these two new videos – “See Beyond Darkness” and “See the Light” – showcase the capabilities of Canon imaging technology which enables researchers, professional photographers, cinematographers and enthusiasts to shoot impactful clear and crisp imagery, even when masked in darkness due to extremely low-light conditions.

“See Beyond Darkness”

In “See Beyond Darkness,” the impossible assignment for Director of Photography Andy Casagrande was to record images of a rare biofluorescent turtle found only in the remote, unspoiled reefs of the Solomon Islands. The low-light capabilities of Canon’s ME20F-SH Multipurpose Camera and EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR camera enabled researchers to capture vivid images without disturbing the natural environment.

“To have Canon step in and facilitate an expedition like “See Beyond Darkness” is incredible. It’s the perfect marriage of cinema and science,” said Casagrande. “When you pair those two together, the opportunities are endless. You can inspire the world to care about the planet.”

“This technology allows us to see things that are beyond human perception. We’re seeing creatures and coral and turtles that we never knew existed,” said Klaus Obermeyer, Director of “See Beyond Darkness.” “We always knew the underwater world is something mysterious, but when you’re taking a camera in that can see in the dark, it’s truly, truly a rare opportunity.”

“See The Light”

In “See the Light,” Canon’s technology captured the beauty of bioluminescent creatures under the sea, the grandeur of the extremely difficult-to-photograph Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), and the wonder of the earth from far above it.

Each video cinematically illustrates Canon’s dedication to developing leading-edge technology that can provide creative thinkers the tools needed to teach, show, and capture for the world some of its most unexplored locations. The technology used by Canon to create these videos takes viewers to seemingly impossible dark places that were previously beyond what the human eye could see and technology could perceive. Specifically, the remarkable advancement in low-light technology found in the Canon ME20F-SH Multi-Purpose camera plays a feature role in the two new videos. Furthermore, Canon’s EOS C300 Mark II, ME20F-SH, and EOS C500 were used to capture all of the imagery in “See The Light.”

“Canon is proud to create products and technologies that support its customers in pushing the limits of what’s possible,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “It is our responsibility to our customers and our planet to look beyond today and imagine a better tomorrow.”

“See Beyond Darkness”

“See The Light”

Learn more about Canon DSLRs and lenses here.

WWDC 2017 - Apple announced HomePod speaker, iOS 11, iMac Pro & 10.7-inch iPad Pro

Apple’s announced new iMacs and iMac Pro with enhanced processors and memory power. In addition, a new iMac Pro with a 5K screen and a price of $4,999 debuted. The entry level 4K iMac and MacBook Pro are now both priced at $1,299.

For many iPhone users, the preview of iOS 11 is most anticipated, with its many innovative features for mobile photography. Artificial Intelligence is the central theme of the many improvements in the Photos and Camera apps. The new operating system, iOS 11 adds interesting effects like long exposure blur, intelligent loops, and bounce sequences.

In addition to the added functions, the Photos app’s Memories section will also play videos in portrait and landscapes modes by recognizing your subject and focusing on them. Photos will also be categorized into more sections under Memories, thanks to the advanced AI features. As expected, the new iPhone 7S Plus will come with Image Stabilization, True Tone flash, HDR option and 'bokeh' effect on some shots.

Two new file formats will be introduced with the new iOS11 - High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF) for photos, and HEVC (H.265) for videos. Apple claims these new formats can reduce photo and video file size (presumably to save on memory) without losing quality. The new iOS 11 will debut this Autumn with the new iPhones.

HomePod speaker 

Apple's latest sound product, the 7-inch high speaker called the HomePod, is designed to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. 

It is powered by the A8 chip that tailors the sound based on the shape and size of the room and responds to commands via Siri. 

10.5-inch iPad Pro

A 10.5-inch iPad Pro is joining the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions. The new operating system, iOS 11 will make the tablet work more like an Apple computer. 

watchOS 4 and TV OS 

Apple has announced macOS High Sierra for its computers. The new software comes with a refined, faster Safari that blocks videos from playing automatically and stops websites from tracking users. It is compatible with virtual reality for the first time and features tweaks to Mail, Photos and file storage.

It has also unveiled new software for the Watch called watchOS 4, which includes a Siri face that can offer personalized advice through the day. Amazon Prime Video will be featured on Apple TV later this year. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Canon EOS-7D Mark II Firmware V 1.1.2 Available For Download

Canon EOS-7D Mark II APS-C camera

Firmware Version 1.1.2 incorporates the following fix :

  • Corrects the phenomenon in which remote shooting with the Camera Connect App is not possible after connecting the EOS 7D Mark II to a smartphone via the Wi-Fi Adapter W-E1.
  • This phenomenon only occurs when the firmware was updated from Version 1.0.5 or earlier to Version 1.1.1.
  • There is no need to update the firmware if the firmware was updated from Version 1.1.0 to Version 1.1.1, or if the EOS 7D Mark II was equipped with Firmware Version 1.1.1 at the time of purchase.

Download Firmware V 1.1.2 for the EOS 7D Mark II

Latest CIPA Report Shows Small Jump In Interchangeable Lens Camera Shipment

CIPA published the April 2017 results for camera and lens shipments. Participating companies include Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma, Olympus, Casio, Panasonic Fujifilm, Ricoh, Tamron, Kenko, Tokina, Zeiss and Xacti.

As you can see, there is some improvements this year so far and Canon even forecasted an uptick in their 2017 profits. The industry is not out of the woods yet. Some smaller players may not survive but the bigger companies like Canon and Sony are on the mend.