Showing posts with label Canon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canon. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NOTE TO SELF: Full Frame Sensor Prices


We need to do a post on Full Frame Sensor Prices.  Specifically as they relate to DSLR pricing.  Seems like the Canon 5D Mark III is way too late and not much has changed in this technology according to Moore's law in the last three years.  Given the drop in storage pricing, big sensor pricing ought not to be far behind.  Hmmm.

But still...APS-C ought to go the way of the flood - ASAP.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

HOT SHOE Innovation - Part 2

Picking up from the last post, we were getting ready to modify the Cheap Strobe Mini-stands so they will allow a secure mounting to a location Speed Ring for a softbox, such as the Chimera shown.  The Hot shoe mount that came with the Speed Ring is awful and practically BEGS the strobe to fall off unless extreme care is taken to exactly align the strobe.  The distractions and thinking on your feet of working on location do not allow for that.

Here is the end product goal.  A SECURELY mounted strobe with the sensor available to an optical transmitter like the Canon ST-E2  Line of sight is not necessary with a Wireless radio transmitter.  For simplicity, the Softbox is NOT SHOWN.

Looking at the Cheap Mini-Stands from the previous post, here is our goal:  Use a hacksaw or Electric Jig-Saw to easily trim the edges of the plastic ministand to fit on to the Speedring Flash arm.  This is why modifying the metal Canon ministand is not recommended.  This is the top view.

Bottom view.  You want to make the cuts as close as possible with out ruining the INTEGRITY of the tripod mount or show itself.  Here is the bottom view.  I used the close-in plastic rails as my guide to keep them intact.  They call it a hacksaw for a reason.

Voila, the Secure Hot shoe is attached to the flash arm of the Speed Ring and is ready for the Strobe to be mounted securely.  Note the angle can be changed to the left or right depending on the location of the Master Strobe or Transmitter.

My preferred location strobe is the Canon 580 EX.

HOT SHOE Innovation - Part 1

Mounting an external flash (like a Canon Speelight 580 EX) on a light stand is not as simple a proposition as it might first appear.  There are standards that Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax use.  This is ISO standard ISO 518:2006.  Click here for the Wikipedia reference.

After suffering a strobe nose dive and subsequent repair, I noticed that various light stand and hot shoe fixtures that are widely marketed are absolutely SUB STANDARD. The following do not have registration holes for the strobe shoe locking pin and will easily allow the strobe to fall out of the shoe.

The following have a 1/4 inch mounting screw on the bottom and DO follow the ISO 518 standard with registration holes.  The Stand on the left is the Canon Mini Stand that comes standard with the strobe and is made of Metal.  The stand on the right is a Chinese knockoff from E-BAY and is cheap plastic.  BUT in this case, that is good.  So these are good for having spares.

The plastic stands can be found on E-BAY for $2.29!

Here an ISO Compliant stand replaces the non-compliant hot shoe on a small ball swivel I use on a background light stand.

Now here is the bonus:  the plastic stands can be EASILY MODIFIED with a HACKSAW to fit on a SPEEDRING.  That is coming up in PART 2.

Check out my portrait gallery to see the lights and stands in action.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CANON LENSES: Gaps in the line

This is a major failing of the Canon Marketing team in my opinion.  Looking over the Fall 2010 EOS System catalog, the most glaring need is in the area of the Canon 15-85mm 3.5-5.6 IS USM.  Canon needs to make a slightly wider version of this maybe 12-85mm.  However, this would be IDEAL as an "L" Series 2.8 Lens to satisfy those of us using APS-C sensor cameras.

The Existing lineup of L Series lenses has only a 16-35mm 2.8L USM and new fisheye 8-15mm.  These are hardly good for portraits.  The L-Series lenses that are made are the 24-70 2.8L and the 24-105 4.0L.  Nice, but not wide enough as was outlined in the chart of my previous post.

The Canon solution is for me to sell all my APS-C cameras and get a couple of FULL FRAME Cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IIs, and that is considerably more painful than buying one lens.

If you feel the same way, please provide feedback to Canon at:
carecenter@CITS.CANON.COM   copy me too at

and Canon Rumors at:

Monday, November 29, 2010

CANON Error 99

Error 99 is a common error with Canon D-SLR cameras that reminds me of the "Check Engine" light on your car's dashboard.  Its meaning is cryptic and literally could have MULTIPLE causes.

We got hit with it while traveling in Greece.  Cameras never fail in the closet you know.  Turns out the culprit was a Sigma 35-200mm lens whose electronics had given up the ghost.

The error appears intermittently which is maddening since it make diagnosis difficult.  Sometimes it was "cured" for a moment by shutting off the camera and turning it back on.  Other times this was a fools errand and didn't work.

I tried the lens on another body and sure enough, it produced the error, so back to Sigma went the lens.  It cost around $100 to fix, so be prepared for that.  Other web posts had said that the repairs were pro-bono, but that was not my case.

Check out this site for additional causes.

Shot with my Sigma 18-200mm in Santorini Greece. Shot in Fira looking toward Oia.  I was literally sick as a dog but had to get the shot.  Click here to see more of Greece.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This is a follow up to a previous post on the same subject.  I love Canon Products.  I am a part of Canon Professional Services (CPS).  They don't favor their APS-C shooters.  I think much of the lens line is redundant and the third party manufacturers like SIGMA are taking a similar stance.  We need innovation beyond the 18-200mm do-it-all & nothing f/5.6 travel lens.

Here is the case.  I shoot a variety of subjects.  Some on land, some underwater.  Some WIDE and some needing TELEPHOTO and MACRO.  On land, I find it easy to carry two cameras to cover a wide range of subjects but the current Canon lineup of lenses isn't wide enough to fill the bill.  I was weaned with a Vivitar 20mm lens in my hand on my old screw-mount Pentax Spotmatic.  That is about a 90 degree field of view.

90 degree wide allows an extra measure of perspectivie and creativity without fisheye distortion.  For APS-C, taking into account the 1.5 magnification factor, that means lenses in the 12- 13 mm range.  1.5 x 13 = 19.5mm which is about 20mm.  EVERY MILIMETER COUNTS. However, for APS-C, Canon only has the 10-22 EF-S.  ALL THE REST start are woefully inadequate like the closest Canon 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM.  15mm =  22.5 in APS-C terms.  But it isn't enough.

I want L (Flourite) glass that Canon produces for full frame sensors.  I want a 2.8 Lens, not 5.6. The popular 24-70 mm 2.8 L USM is the laughable equivalent of a 36mm in APS-C terms. The widest L Zoom is 16 - 35.  16mm full frame = 24mm for an APS-C or about 70 degrees at the widest.  Not good enough.  Subjects occur between 35mm and 70mm.  THREE milimeters of Focal length cuts off 20 degrees of capability / creativity for APS-C users.  Nobody has noticed.  If you have, you need get vocal to Canon.

A lens from 13mm - 70mm EF-S 2.8 L would be the perfect solution to accompany a 70 - 200 EF 2.8 L.  Subjects occur between 35mm and 70mm.  Encourage the rumor.  I invite your comments.  Part 3 will talk about the huge gap in Canon telephoto lenses.

Shot with my really sharp Tokina 10-18 Fisheye.  Stock photo available for sale at ALAMY.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CREATIVITY - Point & Shoot Limitations

This venue doesn't spend a lot of space on equipment because ultimately, the camera make or model really matters little.  Whether I have a Nikon, Canon , Olympus, Pentax or SONY is largely immaterial.

What matters much more is the question "is the tool capable of doing what you want?"  If I want to shoot birds or nature, this pretty much rules out a Point & Shoot (P&S).  Sure you can force a long zoom Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) into play, but it will still suffer from shutter lag / delay.  You will be frustrated until you start using the larger and heavier SLR.

Surprisingly, you will also be frustrated with shooting kids and cats!  Both are fast moving subjects with fleeting expressions.  However, the SLR with its industrial strength image processor & sensor are capable of RESPONDING quickly.  An SLR with long lens is the only style of instrument than can deliver the goods in this case of the capturing the geese below reliably.  The Windmills are just north of Atlantic City, NJ. The geese are at Forsythe National Park.

See more bird pictures in my Bird Gallery.

However, it you are shooting casually, and perhaps still scenes, you creativity may not be crimped at all.  If you are likely to leave the big camera at home a P&S will be your best bet for having something in your pocket.  My Canon G9 has produced very nice low light shots in New Zealand.  Due to its medium size, I use the G9 in a compact case on my belt.   Below, the Sky Tower in Aukland was not going anywhere fast.  And it also makes a nice enlargement up to 13 x19.

License this image at Alamy


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Thanks to digital, Photography is no longer a Joy.  Seriously.  Press the shutter release, take the picture... err,  no,,, um...wait a minute..scene gone...  PERFECTLY EXPOSED TECHNOLOGICALLY MEANINGLESS LATE SHOT, DEVOID OF MEANING OR INTENT.

OK with the "serious" Prosumer and above D-SLRs, The "time parallax" or shutter delay has finally been fixed. Not in the under $500 P&S category.  I had the opportunity to give a Canon S90 a workout yesterday.

On/off button.  Can't even Canon be consistent with the simple on/off thing?  Geeze!  My Canon G9 is in a very different place from the S90.   Get out the engineering baseball bat!  Talk to each other Canon guys!  Don't be creative here with every new model folks!  Don't be like the separate Adobe and Lightroom and Photoshop teams not talking to each other!

Here is the list items that needs some standardization:

On / Off  - same place  (Keeps changing)
Zoom  - same place
Take the Picture - Same Place
Chimping playback  - same place  (keeps changing)
Flash on off  same place - (inconsistent behavior - needs three modes all the time( Yes / No / Camera program choice)}
Macro - Same place

All else is subject of "improvement and modification."  Keep all the rest the same for the sake of restaurant waters and brand users.

The Leica sized cameras have not been fixed in the under $500 category in my opinion.  I own and love my Canon G9 for what it can do.  However, neither can hold a candle to an old technology Leica 35mm in response time.  Either in focus time or shutter release.  Slavishness to the "god of Automation" now make compact point and shoots still "toys."  Not even close to a professional or enthusiast tool for "casual" use.  Capturing the "the Decisive Moment" is not for these cameras.

Interior and dim light party setting.  Perfect for this kind of test.  Good "stand and get the group shots" on P-Program.  Not good for upward shooting in face mode where it couldn't find the lone face.  It kept searching - forever.

Like the G9, Canon still haven't fixed the flash choices.  You can choose between Flash on AUTO (it decides when it feels like firing) or No flash.  You cannot choose YES, I CHOOSE FLASH ON.  Canon wants you to believe the S90 Knows better than you do.  Many shots were taken with no flash when I knew it needed it.  No way to deliberately turn it on using a button.  You may need the INSTRUCTION manual to go three menu choices deep to discover this "feature."

So a lukewarm recommendation for the S90.

 Where is my new responsive digital Leica for under $500?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Resuming the discussion from yesterday, clearly the camera manufacturers, the printer manufacturers and the ancillary frame manufacturers and art world never break bread at the same table.  In the sophisticated age of 2010, looking at the absolute chaos and mishmash of formats and Aspect Ratios, the physical photo landscape looks like:
  • Software printing preset sizes (Photoshop, Lightroom, et al.)
  • Printer Paper sizes
  • Frame sizes, 
  • Chip sensor sizes 
  • Backing material sizes and 
  • Mounting Adhesive sizes
were all designed in a Vacuum.   This may all be moot as hanging a photo on the wall becomes a quaint memory.  

MY vote is that 4 x 6, 6 x 9 and 8 x 12 OUGHT to be the 21st century standards of 1.5 to 1 ratio.  There is a 2 inch increase as you go up the scale of the proportions: 4, 6, 8.  These represent 80% of the worlds cameras see below from Wikipedia. The sizes of 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 need to go away forever.

Wikipedia entry:
As of 2008, DSLR sales are dominated by Canon's and Nikon's offerings. For 2007, Canon edged out Nikon with 41% of worldwide sales to the latter's 40%, followed by Sony and Olympus each with approximately 6% market share.[27] In the Japanese domestic market, Nikon captured 43.3% to Canon's 39.9%, with Pentax a distant third at 6.3%.[28]


Full Frame 35mm & APS-C   =  1.5 x 1 = 4 x 6 print =  8 x 12 print = 6 x 9 print   Most Canon & Nikon D-SLRs

APS-H   =  1.81 x 1  (a few high-end, very high speed Canon models)
4/3 rds  =  1.33 x 1   Olympus / Pentax

4 x 6 Print   3:2 = 1.5 x 1 (See above)
5 x 7 Print  = 1.4 x 1
6 x 9 Print - 1.5 x1 
8 x 10 Print  = 1.25 X 1
8.5 x 11 Print  = 1.29 x 1
8 x 12 Print = 1.5 x 1

4/3 rds = 1.33 x 1 = Standard TV
16 x 9 = HDTV

1:1 = Square

Speaking of format, I highly recommend the book: Photographic Composition by Grill & Scanlon.
Photographic Composition

For an offbeat look at format, Panoramic breaks all the rules.  Click here for an example.


Friday, April 30, 2010


Go check out Canon Rumors on the upcoming 60D.  A real teaser.  The Canon 50D has seen some recent price drops.