How To Install Canon E1 Hand Strap

This is for those who are curious as to how to install the Canon E1 hand strap onto their Canon EOS 1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark IIn, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, 1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III, 5D with BG-E4 grip, 20D/30D/40D/50D with battery grip.

e1_hand_strap

Canon EOS 1D Review

Joe Schmo: Hey that’s a very professional looking camera there!
Me: Thank you, yes it is.
Joe Schmo: How many megapixels is it?
Me: 4.
Joe Schmo: Wow 40?!
Me: No, 4 megapixels total.
Joe Schmo: That doesn’t sound very professional at all. My little point and shoot has 12 megapixels! I think you overpaid for that thing. Continue reading Canon EOS 1D Review

My Dream Comes True At 8.5 frames per second

I was able to realize one of my long held photography dreams on Saturday. It has been something I have long had my eyes on but no justification to purchase, but that’s now things have changed. As you can probably surmise from the picture, what I’m talking about is a camera. But it’s not just any camera, it is the Camera. Many amateur and pro photographers dream of owning a fine tool such as this, and as of Saturday, I join the ranks of 1D owners. That’s right folks, I am now a proud new owner of a Canon EOS 1D Mark II.

I know some of you may be wondering, why not a Canon 1D Mark III or Mark IIn for that matter? Well, it’s simple, it’s still hard at the moment to justify the cost of the Canon 1D Mark III (~$4,000) and for the price I paid for the Mark II versus what I would have had to pay for the Mark IIn, it was was simply too good a deal to pass up. Especially since the Mark II and Mark IIn are virtually identical except for a few key differences ( it’s like the difference between the Canon EOS 20D versus the Canon EOS 30D), they are one and the same.

Initial test shots and some light use with the Canon EOS 1D Mark II, all I have to say is that it is absolutely amazing. You don’t know how nice it is to have 45 AF points versus 9 on my Canon XTi. Even though this camera is about 4 years old now (first announced in February 2004), it still performs better than a majority of cameras currently out on the market. How many other cameras can do 8.5 frames per second or faster? To my knowledge, only 3 other cameras: Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn, Canon EOS 1D Mark III, and the Nikon D3. I did like my dad’s Canon EOS 5D to a certain extent, but I’m loving the 1D much more.

In case anyone is wonder, yes, I am still keeping my Canon EOS Rebel XTi, it’s still a very handy and versatile tool. And, yes, there is a very specific reason I purchased the 1D, which I’ll be announcing very shortly. As I get a chance to play with the 1D Mark II more and get more acclimated, I’ll post a review.

Canon EOS 5D Digital SLR

Introduction

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 005The Canon EOS 5D is pretty much about as professional of an digital SLR as you can get. It is one of the few full-frame sensor digital SLRs on the market. It feels very well built and handles like a charm. Plus a CMOS sensor of 12.8 megapixels definitely make for a lot of pixel details, so on paper it sounds quite promising, so how does it shape up in the field and in reality?

First, I must say I’m a bit biased against full-frame SLRs. I know there are a number of people who relish the fact that there are now a couple SLRs (both Canon) that are full-frame sensors similar to the ones found on film cameras. So what are the advantages of a full-frame sensor?

Advantages

  1. The focal length of the lens attached to a full-frame slr, such as the Canon EOS 5D, is precise versus the same lens being attached on a smaller sensor that results in a crop factor. So if I was to attach a 24mm focal length lens on a full-frame slr, it is precisely 24mm. But if I was to take that same 24mm focal length lens and attach it to, say an Canon EOS Rebel XTi/400D, the 24mm focal length becomes ~38.4mm because of the 1.6x crop factor.
  2. Bigger sensor will resolve higher quality because there is more surface area to gather more light. And in relation to how closely or loosely packed the pixels are on a given sensor, there will be less noise on a full-frame slr versus a non full-frame slr given the same amount of megapixels.
  3. Lower noise. This relates to #2, with a bigger sensor that can gather more light because of its larger surface area, less amplification is needed to boost signal thereby producing lower pixel noise.

Disadvantages

  1. Cost is considerably higher. More raw materials are needed to produce a larger sensor and a larger body is necessary to house a larger sensor.
  2. The weaknesses in cheaper and poorly produced lenses are much more apparent and blaring.
  3. Similar issues with the full-frame film sensors: vignetting and softness in the corners.

So what are my thoughts after using the Canon EOS 5D for two weeks so far (which I must warn is no where near enough time to get an accurate feel)?

Weight and Dimension

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 007The Canon EOS 5D is definitely not a light digital SLR. It weighs 810g (892g with the battery), which is about 1.78 pounds. It is quite large in your hands, not quite as large as the Canon EOS 1D line, but definitely bigger than the Canon EOS 20D/30D and hugely bigger than the Canon EOS Digital Rebel line. The exact dimensions are 6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 inches. Because of the huge grip, it is comfortable to hold and use.

Construction

Much like its younger brothers, the Canon EOS 20D/30D, the entire body is made up of magnesium alloy right down to the EF mount. It is not weather sealed, unlike its bigger brother, the 1D line.

In the tradition of professional level SLR, there is no built on pop-up flash (partly due to the huge viewfinder), so an external flash unit would have to be used. The buttons are slightly different than the Canon EOS 20D/30D. The four buttons (Menu, Info, Jump, and Preview) that are left of the 2.5″ LCD is slightly raised higher than on the Canon EOS 30D. The On/Off switch is also more pronounced. The two buttons on the back upper right hand side is also different than the 30D. The Auto Exposure Lock/Zoom Out button is larger than the Zoom in button whereas on the 30D, it is the reverse being that the Auto Exposure Lock/Zoom Out button is larger and the other is smaller. And the final major difference is the jog dial doesn’t have the Picture Style selection that the 30D has.

Field Test

It’s definitely wild to be able to have a wide angle lens really be a wide angle lens. My walk around lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is amazingly wide allowing me to capture more than I was able to capture before. The catch-22 to having no a full-frame sensor is that while my lenses are all now wider like it should be, I don’t have the same focal crop I had before. At times I am finding the 70mm focal length on my walk around lens to be lacking that extra little field of view I used to have with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D. I find myself switching lenses back and forth more often with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM.

2006-09-17 - Canon 5D - 001I also do find that both my lenses are better counter-balanced on the Canon EOS 5D because of its weight than when the two lenses were mounted on my XTi. I don’t find my trigger finger and hand to be as sore because I’m not having to support all the lens weight through the smaller grip. I do find myself garnering more attention these days because everything looks so big now. Before the lens was intimidating for people, but with the 5D now, everyone is just surprised by the sheer size.

Having the extra megapixelage is quite nice. It allows for some amazing crops that I could never have achieved with my Nikon D100. While the Canon EOS 5D only has a 2.8 megapixel advantage over the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D, the differences in the pictures is quite evident. This also further proves that megapixels do not mean everything. I would have personally preferred a faster burst rate (3 frames-per-second), but it has the highest buffer of all the other Canon dSLRs, except for the Canon 1D Mark III, with 60 JPEGs. The XTi could only manage 27 JPEGs at best before slowing down to 1 frame-per-second. The 3fps is quite adequate for most and many occasions, but having an additional 2fps would be great for sports photography.

The ISO noise suppression on the 5D is amazing. When I have to use ISO 800, there is less noise in the pictures than my Canon EOS Rebel XTi/400D at the same ISO level. ISO 800 on the Canon EOS 5D looks equivalent to the XTi/400D’s ISO 400.

Final Thoughts

The Canon EOS 5D is very, very nice, but I wouldn’t buy it. It is three times as much as my XTi/400D and double the price of the Canon EOS 30D, but doesn’t offer enough over the 30D and the XTi/400D to be worth it. But then again the 5D is a very specific niche dslr. It has a full-frame CMOS sensor at about a third the cost of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II with a few less megapixels also. I would rather spend the extra $200 and purchase the Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn or Mark III over the 5D. But if you need full-frame and top notch ISO noise control, then the Canon EOS 5D is your choice. Full-frame is nice, especially when you need wide angle, but I personally need more reach than I need wide and the 1.3x crop factor of the 1D is a good compromise between full-frame and 1.6x crop factor.

[rating:4]

Photo Equipment Wish List

Introduction

This is a wish list and hopefully a long term road map of where I would like to build my photographic equipment to. The Want Factor Rating is merely my ranking of importance to me in terms of what I would want first versus another.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn

eos-1d mark ii n ef 50mm angleWant Factor [rating:5]

This has always been my dream digital SLR (dSLR) to own. With lightning fast 8.5 frames per second (FPS), you couldn’t possible miss a shot. Also with the weather sealed body and the body being made entirely of magnesium alloy, this is truly a professional grade dSLR that can handle the rough elements. The 1.3x crop factor allows for more elements to be the frame versus the 1.6x crop factor of the Canon EOS XTi/400D/10/20D/30D. With its amazing 45 point auto focus sensor, it almost guarantees a precise lock on any object anywhere in the frame. This dSLR is a favorite amongst sports photographer and photo journalist. Now with the release of the new Canon EOS 1D Mark III, the prices should fall on these models making them a more attractive deal.

APRIL 28, 2008 UPDATE: After having acquired a Canon EOS 1D Mark II, I no longer need the Mark IIn version. For my second body, I would rather acquire a Canon EOS 1D Mark III or Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II.

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Want Factor [rating:5]

Canon has released their next generation 1Ds model, the Mark III, coming in at a whopping 21MP. Fortunately this has brought the prices of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II down to somewhat more *affordable*. Originally I was contempt with just the 1D line, I’ve increasingly found many reasons to why I would want a full frame sensor, the main one being is full advantage of wide angle lenses. Also 16.7MP is still a very respectable MP size allowing for very large quality images.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

eos1dmarkiii picWant Factor [rating:4.5]

It was only a matter of time before Canon would release a followup to their highly successful Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn. They up the standards, once again, with the first dSLR capable of 10 FPS! Also with a bigger LCD, 3 inches versus 2.5 inches, viewing images are now much easier. Also with Canon’s new technology, Live Preview, allows for use of the LCD to take pictures without the need for use of the eye viewer making it easier to take product images and image duplications. Also improved is a new 10 mega pixel sensor (versus 8.2 mega pixel on the Mark IIn), quality is further upped. With the addition of the Dust Sensor Cleaner, it will definitely cut down on dust spots in pictures. Very pricey, ~$4,000, I would love to have this dSLR (if money was no object), but I think the Mark IIn is more than adequate, especially for what it’ll be selling for when the Mark III begins shipping.

Canon EF 300mm f/4L USM IS

canon400mmf4Want Factor: [rating:4.5]

Despite being a f/4 lens, this is still a very usable lens for landscape, bird photography, and some sports shooting. Having Image Stabilization is also a big plus especially at this focal length.

Being a prime lens makes its auto focus fast and accurate. I’ve seen quite a number of excellent pictures produced by this lens.

There have been times that I have found my Canon EF 70-200mm needs just a little more reach. The price is still relatively affordable, not that more expensive than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, compared to its bigger f/2.8 brother’s $4,000 cost.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM IS

ef 24-105 angleWant Factor [rating:4]

If my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM had image stabilization (IS), it would have been a perfect lens, but unfortunately it doesn’t. This guy has IS though and also better reach (the additional 35mm can make quite a difference). The major drawback I don’t like about this lens is the slow aperture of f/4. While IS will make a difference for that in low light hand held shots, it unfortunately can not stop action like a f/2.8 lens can. But this lens would still have various uses such as portrait photography, a general walk around lens, and so on. It is lighter and smaller than my 24-70mm f/2.8L, making it easier to use and carry, especially on a small dSLR such as the XTi.

It’s sharpness is right on par with the 24-70mm f/2.8, so there isn’t much sacrifice other than for the faster aperture. And also because it is a stop slower, getting bokeh shots will be slightly more difficult. I definitely would like to add this to my current gear list for many reasons.

Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS

efs 17-55mm slant with capWant Factor [rating:0]

Having a bit more wide angle would be really nice. My most widest lens is my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, while is wide, there are times where it just isn’t quite wide enough to get everything I want. The major things that is nice about this lens are: 1) Image Stabilization (IS), much needed for those slower shots, 2) nice wide angle, 17mm makes a big difference, 3) f/2.8 and 4) pro level lens means it is very sharp. The draw backs on this lens for me is: 1) No “L” designation meaning no magnesium alloy body, just high impact polycarbonate (i.e. plastic), 2) expensive for not being an “L” lens, but it does contain all elements of being an “L” except for the polycarbonate body and 3) It’s an EF-S mount lens, meaning it won’t work on full frame SLRs (i.e. Canon 1D/1Ds lines and the Canon 5D).

Never the less, this lens will still be invaluable for indoor shooting with no flash. It’s about the same size as the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM IS.

APRIL 28, 2008 UPDATE: Because I’m slowly moving out of the 1.6x crop factor SLRs, this EF-S lens would be useless to me.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L USM IS

1bWant Factor [rating:3.5]

This has a great focal length that allows for that extra reach without breaking the bank. While the 100-200 focal length is already covered by my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, I have no lens that goes beyond the 200mm, that is where this “little” lens steps in. But because of its slow aperture, it unfortunately isn’t an ideal sports lens. It can do great bird shots and even some action shots where adequate lighting is available. Also as an “L” lens, it has the sharpness and build quality. One other great feature also is the IS that is built in on this lens making it easier to get sharp pictures.

Overall size is not that much bigger than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. The pictures are plenty sharp, not as sharp as the prime lenses and also not as sharp as the 70-200, but for having a 100-400mm focal length readily available, it is plenty sharp. This is a lens I would pack with me to air shows, zoos, and such.