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Friday, October 26, 2018

Canon CarePAK Plus Is Back And It's Free

Canon USA has reintroduced the CarePAK Plus service. Most recent Canon DSLRs as well as the new EOS R, and 13 lenses are covered. CarePAK offers 13 months free accidental damage protection and up to two Canon Maintenance Services.

Canon CarePAK includes :

  • Protection against Accidental Damage
  • Coverage  from Normal Wear and Tear
  • Free two-way shipping (NEW)
  • $0 Deductible
  • Camera Maintenance and Sensor Cleanings (NEW)
  • Transferable
  • Priority Service

Canon CarePAK is free with every eligible camera purchased between October 21, 2018 and January 5, 2019. Valid only for purchases from Canon USA. More information on Canon USA’s page.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Canon Engineers Explain Their EOS-R Mirrorless Camera Project

EOS-R camera Design Engineering team

My readers know me as The Wildlife Ho-tographer. I have been using Canon gear for over 30 years but will not be buying the EOS-R camera. You can read my post on how I came to this conclusion and follow my travels on Facebook and Twitter, see my equipment bag and works on

When I read parts of the interview below, I had sympathy for the engineering team. They were given an impossible task. Satisfy millions of current Canon DSLR users and attract millions more new mirrorless buyers and innovate. Oh, by the way, you are limited to a much smaller body to work with.

All the EOS-R innovations mentioned below can be applied to current DSLR if the engineers are given the same money and time to work on the present and future models. Considering Canon is the largest photographic company in the world and the last to announce a full frame mirrorless camera, the result is nothing to write home about, especially for serious and professional photographers.

Like I said before, why be a Johnny-come-lately follower, when one can be a real innovator. All the current full frame mirrorless cameras from the Big 3 look alike. They all use a separate line of lenses. There is No technical reason why a full frame mirrorless camera need a new mount different from a full frame DSLR mount. It is a marketing decision to have the new full frame cameras be smaller to appeal to a larger user base. Faced with a new size limitation, all features and functions have to adapt to the new reality. 

The engineering team tasked with developing the EOS-R full frame mirrorless camera system gave an interview to DP Review recently. Below is an excerpt of their discussion.

The launch of Canon's EOS R gave us a chance to talk to a group of the engineers involved in the project. The company put forward an engineer from each of the main parts of the development process: physical design, optical design, UI design and overall product design. They talked of being given more freedom than ever before but also of the need to build on the EOS system's strengths.

A new, short and wide mount

Canon has been consistent across its launch, when it's said that the important announcement isn't the EOS R, specifically, or the fact that there's no mirror, but in what the RF mount allows them to do.

Manabu Kato sums up the freedom they've gained in terms of optical design: "people who've been working on lenses for a really long time have, with this new system, been able to make lenses like the 28-70mm F2 comparably easily, compared to how they had so many challenges in the past."

"By having [more] data being transferred between the camera and can improve the autofocus, metering and image stabilization performance"

As well as allowing more ambitious optical designs, the RF mount also adds data bandwidth, moving from eight communication channels to twelve. "During shooting there's a massive amount of data going between the lens and the camera, so making sure that was smooth was another challenge," says Kato. "By having that huge amount of data being transferred between the camera and lens, you can improve the general performance in relation to autofocus, metering and image stabilization. And you can also add features such as the control rings on the lenses."
"You can also use DLO without any problems," he said. Digital Lens Optimizer - Canon's name for digital lens corrections - previously required that the camera look up the data in a database, meaning that camera firmware needed to be updated to accommodate new lenses. It's now supplied in real time by the lens itself, so there's no need for a look-up step.

Video, as well as stills

This real-time data flow allows the use of Digital Lens Optimizer and distortion correction in video for the first time. And it's clear that, despite the EOS R's comparatively modest specs in that area, Canon has done a lot of thinking about the needs of video shooters.

"Getting rid of [the mode dial] was a big decision that required a lot of consideration"

"In relation to the optical system, we gave consideration to focus breathing*, and also aperture control: you can change the aperture in 1/8th stops," says Kato. "also the Nano USM, it's very quiet and quick: the first time in an L lens."

Difficult decisions

Trying to accommodate the needs of video shooters ended up leading the removal of the camera's mode dial, says Koji Yoshida :

"if you have a mode dial then the [exposure] settings will be the same for both stills and movies."

The decision not to offer a mode dial on the EOS R was not taken lightly.
"We consulted with a lot of different people and talked about this a lot, and decided to have different settings this time," he says. But it's clear this isn't a decision made lightly: "[The mode dial] is a function that's been common in the past, so getting rid of that was a big decision that required a lot of consideration," said Shintaro Oshima.

"There was a lot of internal discussion about this point," concurs Yoshida.

The challenge of legacy

This tension between novelty and legacy is a constant theme of our conversation. "Our aim was to carry on the traditional parts of EOS but then bring in new innovation at the same time," says Hironori Oishi :

"our biggest challenge was making this look like an EOS camera with just a single glance, you can see that it's an EOS camera, based on the traditional styling of the EOS cameras. And also the feeling, when you hold the camera - as soon as you hold it in your hand, you know it's an EOS."

This extended to the user interface, says Yoshida:

"the challenge we faced in terms of the software or the interface was making sure that it's got the same basic controls as an EOS: to carry on that operability that EOS users are used to, then also implementing new elements into that design at the same time."

The answer was to blend features from Canon's existing live view and DSLR experience:, he says :

"We used the mirrorless AF modes but we also also included features from the 5D Mark IV AF, like Expand AF area and large zone AF: this is the first time this has been introduced in a live view camera from Canon."

Opportunity for innovation

The solution to these tensions seems to have been to look for opportunities to innovate while maintaining continuity: something made clear in the challenges of maintaining EF lens compatibility. Despite the EF mount already being fully electronic, Kato says :

"it was difficult ensuring that compatibility. But we think that's a big plus for the system."

Tellingly, the team looked for ways to add new features. "We also achieved the control ring adapter which brings additional value to EOS lens users," says Kato: "The same applies to the drop-in filter adapter: it gives added value to those who already have EF lenses. We wanted to make sure that we looked after our current users of our EF lens system."

"The control ring adapter brings additional value to EOS lens users...the same applies to the drop-in filter adapter"

Oshima stresses that the need for continuity didn't hold the new camera back, though :

"another focus was the low light limit performance. That's a point of evolution from the EOS cameras."

"Another focus was the low light [autofocus] limit performance"

This eye for an opportunity to innovate is perhaps most clearly seen in the way the EOS R, unlike any other mirrorless camera, closes its mechanical shutter when shut down. "we wanted to protect the sensor as much as possible from dust and light hitting the sensor," explains Oshima :

"The light coming through the lens affects the sensor in the long term. The color filter array and microlenses and also the photodiodes can all be damaged by light [if the sensor is always exposed]."

To then protect the shutter blades, the camera stops its lens down and displays a warning not to leave it facing towards the sun, without a lens cap. "The aperture cannot be closed completely, so that message is kind of a safeguard," explains Kato: "We're kind of proud of the fact that with a simple idea, we've been able to increase value for customers."

Just the beginning

As usual, no one was able to discuss future products. When asked whether there was any chance of an APS-C RF-mount camera, Oishi was suitably non-committal: "we're thinking about it, but we can't answer in detail," he says. But the individual engineers did all discuss what they were looking forward to.

"We want to surprise and astonish you, so please expect big things"

"It gives more structural freedom in terms of design, because it doesn't have a pentamirror", says Oishi. "I'm excited about improvements in Digic image processor and functions that create more value and make easier to use," says Yoshida. But it's optics specialist Kato who seems most enthused:

"This is just the start of the system," he says, talking about F2.8 zooms and other possibilities, before settling on a broader-reaching point: "We want to surprise and astonish you, so please expect big things."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

How Does Auto Focus Works In Today's Modern Cameras?

Table of contents for above video discussion :

01:20: Misconception: Everyone Thinks Contrast Detection is Bad
02:04: How Phase Detection Autofocus Works
02:55: How Contrast Detection Autofocus Works
03:50: Ways Contrast Detection Is Better Than Phase Detection
04:45: Ways Phase Detection Is Better Than Contrast Detection
04:54: The Pulsing You See with Contrast Detection
05:43: How Mirrorless Cameras Handle This Differently
06:43: How Camera Makers Decided to Solve These Problems
06:51: Solution #1: Hybrid AF & How It Works
07:30: Solution #2: Dual Pixel CMOS AF & How It’s Different
08:28: Shortcomings of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF
08:47: How the EOS R Addresses These Issues
09:10: Why Dual Pixel Is the Best for Video
09:42: Why the Modern Hybrid AF Systems (Sony) Are My Favourite
10:10: But the Panasonic G9 Is Still Faster because of DFD
10:20: Solution #3: What is Depth from Defocus & How It Works
11:42: The Limitations of Depth from Defocus
12:33: Why Some Lenses Perform Better Than Others
13:00: The Importance of Autofocus Points & Coverage
14:13: Why You Shouldn’t Use Focus & Recompose
15:42: Practical Applications: Which AF System to Use When
17:22: Final Thoughts: Most Autofocus Systems Are Great

Friday, October 12, 2018

Canon Announced Digital Photo Professional Express for Apple iPad

Canon has released Digital Photo Professional Express for Apple's iPad. The software can import and process .CR3 files on any iPad running the iOS operating system. You can download DPP Express at the App Store. It is currently not available for devices running the Andriod system.

“For portable and wireless digital photography workflows, Canon’s Digital Photo Professional Express (DPP Express) brings the powerful features of Canon’s DPP software to your compatible iPad. Working with Canon’s Camera Connect app*, DPP Express streamlines the processing of JPEGs and .CR3 RAW files with an intuitive and powerful interface. View images and adjust settings right on your mobile device, and save files to the cloud, a computer or your camera. With DPP Express, it’s incredibly easy to maintain a wireless RAW workflow on the go."

"To create and compare different versions of the same image, DPP Express enables Multiple Editing Histories. Helpful in differentiating and comparing effects or setting changes on the same image, this feature creates up to four editing histories to view and save. To apply the same set of corrections to different photographs, Edit Histories can even be copied and pasted among images using the DPP Express Copy and Paste adjustment functions.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS III and EF 500mm f/4L IS III Coming Mid Year 2019

Canon recently announced the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III and EF 600mm f/4L IS III on September 5, 2018. The new super telephoto lenses received a weight reduction of about 25% and 20% respectively.

Since the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II and EF 500mm f/4L IS II should be announced by mid 2019. Do not expect the same level of weight reduction, as those two lenses are significantly lighter than their 400mm and 600mm counterparts to begin with. I expect a weight reduction of about 1/3 to a little more than 2/3 of a pound, respectively.

The one lens I am most interested to purchase is the EF 600mm f/4 DO BR. Canon showcased it during the Canon Expo in September of 2015 in New York City. This will be the ideal Super Telephoto lens for wildlife photography for me. My current EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II can be a bit short on occasion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Canon EOS R1 Flagship Camera Coming In 2021?

Canon announced the EOS R system featuring the newly designed RF mount on September 5, 2018. You can download the whitepaper on this new body here. I was invited by Canon to a hands-on demonstration of the production camera on September 9.

My readers know me as The Wildlife Ho-tographer. I have been using Canon gear for over 30 years. You can follow my travels on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, see my equipment bag and works on

As you know Wildlife Photography is very different from other forms of photography. It is tough enough to find and keep up with the wildlife. There is no time to fumble around with camera buttons while trying to keep one's eyes on the action once it is located.

The EOS-R's button layout and functionalities are so different from my bread and butter cameras (EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS-7D Mark II, EOS-5Ds, EOS-5D Mark IV) they require a major effort to familiarize and master. The payoff is not worth the effort for me. I have expressed my feelings on how Canon can make a successful full frame mirrorless camera suitable for professional wildlife and sports photographers.

Sadly, the EOS-R does not do fit any of my requirements except the feel and EVF of the camera is good. As expected, the pro model of the EOS-R will be announced some time in the first half of 2020 to compete with the Sony A9, Nikon Z7, Panasonic S1 R, etc.

My question to Canon is - Why be a Johnny-come-lately follower rather than an industry leader?

There is NO technical reason why Canon cannot make a full frame mirrorless camera that resembles the EOS-1 body and uses the EF native mount. It is totally doable. The compromise is made because the marketing department thinks more photographers will prefer a lighter, smaller camera - one of the main selling points of the mirrorless camera to begin with.

In a recent interview with the French photography site, Lens Numériques, Messrs. Mineo Uchida, Masato Seita and Shingo Hayakawa, (the people in charge of the EOS-R camera development) replied, when asked about IBIS (In Camera Image Stabilisation), one card slot and cropped 4K video :

"Yes, we are aware that mechanical stabilization is an important demand from the users, but considering the positioning of the EOS R, we decided not to integrate the IBIS […] because our priority was compactness. The compactness we wanted to have was not compatible with such a system. But of course, in the future, we will be able to answer them. 

This is our first model. We still have room for improvement. For the memory location, it is a question of compactness and priority for the photographers covered by the EOS R. We believe that one location is enough. And for the video, it’s the same answer. We believe that the intended target will be satisfied with the proposed modes."

Canon knows it is playing catch up to Sony in the high end mirrorless space. I hope they will not be distracted in spending too much time and money on beefing up the EOS-R line and delay some of their DSLR and EF lens upgrade. After all, the big prize - 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is just round the corner. How many pro photographers around the world do you think will be using the EOS-R to capture images of the game?

Over the next couple of years, one will hear all the wonderful new features and performance of the EOS-R and other full frame mirrorless cameras from the paid and 'unpaid' pundits, like superior 4K/near 8K video, in body image stabilization (IBIS), low light performance, unmatched ergonomics and mobility from a lighter body, etc.

The truth is many features and functionalities of high end DSLRs and Mirrorless will converge in the future until there is a almost a difference without a distinction. The real question is, how many photographers are ready to trade in or add another camera/lens combo to their current DSLR/lenses inventory.

The use of an adapter and the small size of the EOS-R prevent the new camera from functioning like the tradition EOS high end models. For those who like good performance and compactness wrapped in a small package, high end mirrorless cameras may be your solution. Personally, I am not willing to make this trade off to gain compactness and a little weight reduction.

Until Canon is prepared to offer a full frame mirrorless version of the EOS-1D X camera, I will continue to trade up to the successor of the EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS-7D Mark III, EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III, etc. as they become available. The EOS-R may find a home with serious landscape, nature and portrait photographers. For the casual mirrorless users, the EOS-M series of cameras will do an adequate job. I doubt many serious and professional sports or wildlife photographers will buy the current EOS R version. I may reconsider my decision when the pro model comes out in 2021.