Stay Focused

Like us on Facebook

voi.ci - url shortening

Recent Posts

More Places to Go

Archives

Tags

Canon’s Latest Mirrorless


This past February at the Wedding and Portrait Photography International Conference & Expo, I stopped at the Canon booth to take a look at the company’s new M5 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.


Canon is best known for their full featured DSLR cameras. Although I own several high end DSLRs from both Canon and Nikon, I’ve been a devoted user of mirrorless cameras for at least five years owing to the compact size and electronic viewfinder that I highly value.

Sony has been a leader in the mirrorless realm with Fujifilm, Panasonic and Olympus close behind. Canon has been playing catch up with its M series for a couple of years. I now consider the M5 a strong contender.

The new M5 now uses a 24MP sensor with Dual Pixel AF for faster and more precise autofocus. This is Canon’s first M series with built-in viewfinder. The M5 combines in-camera digital and optical lens stabilization. The tilting LCD has doubles as a touchscreen. And the camera has a built-in flash.


This is the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens.


The tilting LCD also functions as a touchscreen. Touch the screen to activate focus manually.

As you can see the M5 has a convenient, dedicated exposure compensation dial.

The M5 also captures full HD 60p movies in MP4 format. The touchscreen can be used during video operations to affect focus.

The camera includes Wi-fi and NFC capabilities as well as bluetooth to send images to a smartphone.

The suggested price of Canon M5 with 15-45mm EF-M lens is $1099. The suggested price of the Canon M5 with the 18-150mm EF-M lens is $1479.

For more information about the M5, please visit Canon.


 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


 

 

Canon 5DS

23rd March 2015

WOW – 50MP Sensor

The Canon booth at Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo certainly drew a lot of visitors who wanted to view and ask questions about the upcoming Canon 5DS.

The reason for the crowds was Canon’s earlier announcement that this new camera features a sensor with a whopping 50MP! This is a giant leap in resolution compared to existing full-size sensor cameras.

The camera body is remarkably similar to the 5DMkIII, both in size, weight, LCD monitor and controls. But it’s the inside where the action is. The sensor alone has more than twice the MkIII’s 22.3MP resolution. The 5DS uses a pair of the next generation DIGIC 6 processors to handle the additional pixel load.

A new feature lets you crop to either 1.3x or 1.6x to match the lens factors of the EOS 1D and APS-C respectively. In turn, camera blurs the cropped portion of the image in the viewfinder and provides resolutions of 30MP and 19MP. The mirror lock-up has also been improved to minimize camera shake. Canon has also added an intervalometer for time-lapse photography without requiring a remote control.

So while Canon has drastically increased the resolution of the sensor, the tradeoff is in the sensor’s sensitivity. The normal high ISO for the 5DS is 6400 compared to 25,600 for the 5DMkIII. So this is the price you’ll pay for higher resolution.



The 5DS autofocus uses the same 61AF points as the 5DMkIII. The metering is composed of 150,000 pixels RBG+IR found in the 7DMkII and is said to provide better exposures with artificial lighting.

In addition to the 5DS, Canon is also offering the 5DSR. The 5DSR cancels the low-pass filter to provide higher edge sharpness – useful for detailed subjects such as landscapes. Both cameras are scheduled for June release for prices of $3700 and $3900 respectively.

You’ll also notice that one of the photos above shows Canon’s new 11-24mm super wide angle zoom lens. This is not a fisheye, it’s a rectilinear but comes at a hefty $3000 price.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee


Post tags: , , , ,

Getting Personal

03rd December 2013

Camera Brands are like Religion

Not a week goes by without someone asking me what brand of camera they should buy, a Canon or a Nikon.

Most of the time they’re wanting to replace their good quality point-and shoot camera. They’re looking for more advanced equipment along the lines of a DSLR.

Having owned or used literally dozens of cameras, especially in the past five years, I have a definitive answer which I’ll share with you shortly. But what I find interesting is that so many photo enthusiasts also have very definite answers to this question.

Let me back up a bit and explain why I’m writing this.

A Facebook friend wrote that he was looking for a new DLSR. “Should I buy a Canon or a Nikon?”, he posted. I replied “or a Sony?”. The point I was trying to make was that there are more choices than only Canon and Nikon.

A few minutes later there were many more replies on his Facebook status: “Nikon”; “CanonCanonCanon”; “I shoot Nikon”; “I use a Nikon D90”; “Canon definitely”; “I have a Nikon 5000”; etc.

 

 
It’s not surprising that a camera brand is a very personal choice. It is as though each photographer is pleading with my friend to heed only his or her suggestion. Isn’t proselytizing their brand like forcing a person’s religion onto another?

Yet when I think about it I was doing the same. I was suggesting that a Sony NEX camera is similar to DSLR but without the weight and bulk. And since I am very fond of carrying lightweight equipment, I frequently use a Sony NEX camera.

Of course I could have chosen a different way to respond to his initial post by asking a few qualifying questions: will he be taking lots of sports or action; are movies part of his photography repertoire; how much money does he have to spend.

But frankly these qualifying questions don’t matter much.

Here’s my answer to his question: it doesn’t matter if you choose Canon or Nikon. Both have equally capable cameras in the various price ranges. And Sony also has equally capable cameras. One could argue that Pentax and Olympus also offer quality models too.

There’s too many slanted opinions for my friend to make his choice based on all of the Facebook replies. I hope my friend makes his choice based on how the equipment feels in his hands; getting the most features for the price; availability and affordability of additional lenses; past experience with previous purchases.

What do you think? Any comments?

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

 

 


 

 

Earlier this month I visited several of the photo equipment manufacturers at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Of course the two majors are Canon and Nikon. And while sales by other camera makers including Sony, Olympus, Pentax and Fuji trail by a large margin, new features continue to arrive rapidly among all new models by all manufacturers. This year, one feature that was common in many models is the addition of wireless functionality.

Since CES, I’ve acquired and tested two of the new DLSRs with wireless capabilities: the Canon 6D and the Nikon D600.

Here’s a quick report on how wireless works with the Canon 6D.

The 6D is the newest DSLR from Canon. Its full-frame sensor has a resolution of 20MB with good low light performance. Its autofocus system uses 11 focus points. Compared to it’s bigger brother the 5D Mark III, it is smaller in size, lighter in weight and less expensive.

The two “new” built-in features are the GPS receiver and its wireless capability. Having GPS automatically adds location information (latitude, longitude and altitude) to the EXIF data of the images.

My interest in the 6D was to see how its wireless capabilities worked.


The Canon 6D can communicate wirelessly with several types of devices: another camera, a smartphone, a printer, a web service or a DLNA device.

For this review I’ll describe my experience connecting with a smartphone. For wireless, there’s a few preliminaries that have to be performed.

The first is to give the 6D a wireless identifier. This step takes just a few minutes using the menus on the back of the camera. Here I’ve set it up with the identifier “Arnie 6D“.

By completing this step, the 6D is now its own wireless station.


The 6D can be used with either an Android or iPhone smartphone.

You’ll first have to install the free EOS Remote app for your particular smartphone.

In my case, I installed the app onto my iPhone.

Using the Settings menu on the iPhone, you connect to the camera with Wi-Fi. Look for the camera’s identifier – Arnie 6D.

For security, you’ll have to enter the Encryption Key to establish the connection.


After the camera and smartphone are connected, the EOS Remote app is ready to use.

It can perform two different functions.

Firstly, you can view the images that have been captured with the 6D.

Secondly, you can use the smartphone as a remote shutter release.


Viewing Images from camera

Choosing Camera Image Viewing brings us to a screen on the smartphone that looks like this.

By default the thumbnails are ordered by date but this can be changed to order them by rating (1 to 5 stars) or folder (if multiple folders are on the camera’s SD card).

In addition to the thumbnail, the technical data each image is also presented. This is helpful if you plan to evaluate the images while still in the field with the purpose of adjusting the settings.


Tapping one of the thumbnails presents a larger version of the thumbnail. For each image you can:

  • Download – to smartphone (1920 x 1280 jpg)
  • Email – send image with a text message
  • Rate – 1 to 5 stars
  • Delete – removes it from the camera

Capturing Images using the smartphone

Your smartphone can be used as a remote shutter release with extra capabilities.

Here I’ve set the camera on a tripod.

Choosing Remote Shooting activates the 6D Liveview. The smartphone then presents the same view as the camera.

By tapping on the different areas of the smartphone screen, I can change the autofocus.

Depending on the 6D’s mode setting I can also change the ISO, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation using the smartphone.

Another simple tap and the camera shutter is released.


Here’s the image that I took remotely.

And of course, the just captured image is immediately available if I change back to EOS Remote’s Camera Image Viewing.


There’s nothing earth shattering with this wireless capability. Yes, you can easily transfer images from the 6D to your smartphone and send them via email to others. And yes, it allows for backup, however the images are reduced to a smaller 1920 x 1280 jpg size.

I’ll cover more soon in another article about the Canon 6D’s wireless capability with a computer.

Also in the works is an article about the Nikon D600’s wireless capability.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee

 

 

Photoplus Expo

25th November 2012

for both professionals and consumers

When someone asks me where I’m from, I usually volunteer a two part answer: “I grew up in New York but I live in Michigan”. Still after almost 40 years, it’s a treat for me to return to New York to see friends and family.

My most recent visit was in late October to attend the Photoplus Expo that’s held each year at the Javits Convention Center.


I’ve traveled there for the past several years to report on the newest photo products, speak to the equipment vendors and watch several of the live “how-to” seminars.

This year thousands of professionals and enthusiastic consumers also traveled to New York City to get a hands on experience with the latest photographic equipment and accessories.

For this report, I’ll concentrate on several of the new digital cameras as these are the among the most popular.

Nikon D600

I first saw the Nikon 600 a few weeks ago at the huge Photokina Expo in Cologne, Germany. Nikon’s newest DSLR is positioned as a “prosumer” model. Its full-frame sensor, the same size as a 35mm film frame, offers an impressive 24MP resolution with superior light gathering power and less noise than the more common APS-C size sensors found in many consumer targeted DLSRs.

 

The D600 is smaller than the full-frame Nikon D800 which was introduced only a few months ago. Its $2100 price is $900 less expensive than the D800 which has a 36MP sensor.

The autofocus system is switchable between 9, 21 or 39 autofocus points depending on the type of subject. Its high speed image processor can capture up to 5-1/2 frames per second. The large 3.2″ LCD automatically adjusts the brightness to suit the surrounding lighting conditions.

The D600 automatically recognizes when a DX lens is mounted and adjusts the camera resolution to about 10mp. So owners of DX lenses can continue to benefit from their earlier investment.

Other notable features are:

  • built-in flash with versatile wireless control of external units
  • dual SD card slots – you can configure the D600 to record duplicate of images on both SD cards or to record jpg images on one card and RAW images on the other
  • in-camera HDR capability – multiple exposures are combined automatically to capture a wider range of tones
  • Active-D lighting – reduces very contrasty scenes to retain detail in highlights and shadows
  • time-lapse – captures multiple frames at specified intervals
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • uncompressed video output via HDMI cable
  • external stereo input with visual auto level monitor

Users who want to transmit images directly to a smart device can purchase the inexpensive WU-1b wireless adapter. With this they can backup images and/or share images as text messages or online social media sites.

The D600 will prove to be a very capable model for those looking to upgrade from one of Nikon’s DX format cameras to a full-frame body. It’s available now for $2100. The price of the WU-1B wireless transmitter is $60.


 

 
Canon 6D

Pick up the Canon 6D, and you’ll immediately notice how much smaller (less wide) and lighter it is compared to Canon’s previous full frame 5DMkII and 5DMkIII models. The target market for the 6D is the prosumer who wants to upgrade from an APS-C frame size body, similar to what Nikon is doing with its D600 model.

Other features of the 6D are:

  • 20MB full-frame sensor
  • 11-point autofocus system
  • high speed capture at 4.5 frames per second
  • single SD card slot
  • in-camera HDR – combines bracketed exposures to yield images which encompass wide exposure levels
  • multiple exposure – superimposes up to nine separate images onto single frame
  • full 1080p HD video at multiple frame rates
  • built-in WiFi – sends images wirelessly to smart devices (computer,mobile phones) for backup or preview
  • built-in GPS – adds location information to images

 

One feature missing from the 6D is a built-in flash. Normally, this classifies the camera as a professional model. Originally slated for release December 15th, the Canon 6D was already shipping in late November. The price is $2100, same as the Nikon D600.


 

 
Sony NEX-6

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Sony’s line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). The newest member of the NEX series is the NEX-6. The MILCs are all much smaller and lighter than any of the DLSRs, making them very convenient to carry.

This model uses a hybrid autofocus system that addresses a shortcoming of the earlier models. Autofocus is now performed by combining fast phase-detection for coarse focusing with contrast-detection for precise focusing.

Many of the controls on the NEX-6 have been reworked from earlier models to change the settings faster and more conveniently. The high resolution electronic viewfinder lets the user preview the effect of the settings before the shutter is released.

 

Sony has also introduced a new 16-50mm zoom lens for the NEX series.

This lens is the first E-mount lens with a power zooming feature.

The lens ring is used for zooming and manual focusing.

When it’s not being used, the lens retracts to less than 30mm thereby making the camera and lens combination even more compact.

The 3″ LCD display has a 920K dot resolution and tilts 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward for easy viewing in a variety of shooting situations.

Among the innovative shooting features are:

  • in-camera HDR – combines three separate images into a single image with wide tonal range
  • adjustable DRO – dynamic range optimizer helps prevent overly contrast images
  • multiframe NR – captures multiple frames and combines parts to produce single framewith least amount of moise
  • sweep panorama – sweep your camera horizontally to take multiple frames which are stitched together in camera
  • built-in flash
  • built-in WiFi – sends images to mobile device or computer for backup or display
  • full 1080p HD video

The Sony NEX-6 is available now with 16-50mm lens for $1000.


 

Thanks to the vendors from Nikon, Canon and Sony who provided me with much of the technical information that I’ve presented here.

The show management told me that more than 24,000 visitors attended this year’s Photoplus Expo. Based on my conversations, I recently added a new Canon 6D to my large inventory of photo equipment. I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one to have made a purchasing decision after the show.

 

Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 

Traveling Light

05th February 2011

A Vote for the Backpack Camera Case

Here in Michigan, it’s been bitterly cold with plenty of snow. A blizzard earlier this week closed virtually all of the schools and municipal services and curtailed most of the business at retail stores as well. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m looking forward to a few days away from the blustery northern winter to shoot birds in the warmth and sun of the Everglades.

Since most of my expeditions last only four or five days at a time, when flying I travel light. By carefully selecting the appropriate equipment for a given assignment, it all fits snugly into my backpack camera case. This along with my trusty rollerboard suitcase means that I rarely have to check my luggage for an airline flight, saving me the trouble of waiting at the baggage claim.

To photograph the birds, I decided on the Canon 7D. Its excellent autofocus system works well with the long 100-400 telephoto. While it doesn’t have the resolution of the 5D MkII, it’s smaller and lighter and also accepts the 10-22mm lens, one of my favorites. I’ll bring along the 2X TeleExtender in case I need the extra reach.

For a second camera, I’m taking the new Sony Alpha 55. I’ve already put it through six weeks of testing and will use this assignment to complete my review of a very innovative camera. I’m also toting the waterproof Olympus 6020. It may come in handy in Florida’s watery environment.
(more…)

The “Panorama Machine”

29th December 2010

Panoramas Made Easy

Last week Fedex dropped off a small package with another high tech gadget. The shiny box contained a panorama base – a device for easily capturing photographic panoramas.

Let’s back up to last October when I met Howard Chen at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York. An attractive photo in front of his booth caught my attention. He proceeded to show me how the e-Filming PS-30B Digital Drive Panorama Base automates the making of panorama photographs with popular DSLR cameras: mount the camera on the base, press a few buttons on the control panel and press the start button. A few seconds later and you’ve captured a set of high resolution images ready to be combined (stitched together).

In addition to the drive unit, the package contains a vertical bar mount, a remote controller and control cables. A cable connects the device to the remote control socket on your DSLR camera. The six included control cables are usable with most of the popular DSLR cameras.

I spent a few minutes installing the Cool Stitch software from the included CD-ROM and printing the 16-page user’s manual.

The manual describes the five options available from the LCD control panel: shoot, time, speed, function and language. However in practice, I found that I needed to change only the shoot option.

There’s also a short article “How to Shoot Photos for Great Looking Panoramas” that appears when you run the Cool Stitch software. I recommend that you print this document and carefully follow the several helpful tips.

(more…)

Good Photos Can Come Cheap

28th November 2010

I’ve been interested in photography since I was a very young kid; so much so that I wanted to study photography at college. However, I somehow became distracted and ended up studying something completely different. Yet for these past 50 years, photography has remained a professional interest.

I’ve also been involved with computers for my entire working life. In the early 70’s, there was no such thing as a personal computer. When PCs started to appear about 1976, I yearned for a way to marry the computer with photography. But the movement to digital imagery was slower than even molasses. Of course we know that this has all changed in the past ten years or so and now digital is the standard – having all but replaced conventional film photography.
(more…)

Water Fun

04th September 2010

Sadly, summer is quickly drawing to an end in our part of the world. We’ve been blessed with unusually hot and sunny weather which means that water sports have been a vital part of the our recent recreational activities.

For the most part, water and cameras don’t mix well. But by taking a few precautions, you can minimize any danger to your camera at the pool or beach when capturing the fun. And if you’re a serious outdoor fanatic, you can make a waterproof camera part of your photo gear.
(more…)