Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

I happen to see this post on Engadget about Nikon outing itself with the new D3x. There’s nothing too shocking from the specs, 24.5 megapixel CMOS sensor in the same body. Sounds like the newly released Sony sensor that they are using in their Sony Alpha A900 will also be in the D3x. Here are some quick specs:

  • 24.5 megapixel in a 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
  • 16-bit EXPEED system
  • 5.0 frames-per-second in it’s full size mode, and 7 frames-per-second in a cropped 10 megapixel mode (I guess they want to encourage people who need the extra 2 frames-per-second to purchase the D3)
  • ISO 50-6400, which I’m guessing means that, like the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III (highest ISO is 3200), this dSLR is not intended for low light situations as with the D3 is. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of any higher ISO range such as 12,800 or 25,600.
  • Same 3 inch 922,000 LCD
  • Live View
  • 12ms startup time with a 41ms shutter lag
  • Dual Compact Flash slots capable of 35MB/second write times

For pictures of the Nikon Pro magazine and how the D3x stacks up against the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, click in to read more. Continue reading Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

COBA: 5D Mark II with Jim Rose, Political Photography Part II: Jared Polis, and What Would You Invent?

Today was a real treat, we were visited by Canon Senior Professional Market Specialist for Field Market Support Jim Rose with the much anticipated Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Let’s answer the big question on everyone’s mind:

This is the best camera Canon has every built. Jim Rose

I got the opportunity to play with the 5D Mark II and photograph with it. Long story short: it is very much worth the wait. It may seem arrogant and perhaps even premature to say, but I do believe the new 5D Mark II will reestablish Canon as the market leader. This couldn’t have come at a better time after the focus issues with the 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III has caused a lot of headache and bad blood between Canon and Canon loyalists, but the 5D Mark II brings some light to what has been a very dark tunnel of despair.

On paper, the 5D Mark II sounds very impressive: 21.1 MP, UDMA support, 1080p HD video, ISO up to 25,600, a 3 inch LCD with 922,000 pixel resolution for about the same price as the 5D Mark I when it was first introduced. In my hands, it is very well constructed and feels quite solid, but not quite the same build quality and durability as the 1D/1Ds series bodies as others have mentioned.

Jim Rose was discussing how low noise is at ISO 6400 and when the staff photographers at San Francisco Chronicle (they have two on order BTW) saw the images at ISO 6400, their jaws dropped. Jim was discussing how even George Lepp (of the famous Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging) was very impressed and said that ISO 6400 on the 5D Mark II is very usable. That’s a very nice seal of approval. At ISO 12,800 things start getting a bit noisy, but not terribly bad. By ISO 25,600, things are quite noticeable noisy, but if this is the only way to get a shot, it is still usable. According to Jim (not Canon’s official stance), ISO 3200 on the 5D Mark II is comparable to ISO 800 on the 5D. I was allowed to fire off some shots on my memory card with the 5D Mark II and the images are very nice with very low noise. Unfortunately, despite being a production camera and not a prototype, I am not able to publicly post the pictures at the time (they are posted but password protected but I’ll remove the password after the 5D Mark II starts shipping).

The 1080p HD video feature of the 5D Mark II is very, very nice. You can record up to 12 minutes of video and take stills while recording. How that works is while you are recording, you just press the shutter button as you would if you were taking a picture and it will pause the recording, take the picture (or pictures) and then resume recording. You lose half a second of video for each photo taken during recording. So if you are recording a video and three minutes into recording, you snap a picture, half a second later the recording will resume resulting in a single file, and not split video files with the thirty second skip where the photograph was taken. Very cool! Also Canon recommends that you prefocus before you start recording although you can auto focus while recording (by pressing the AF-On button), it is very slow because it uses the Live View contrast detection auto focus. Another thing to note is that you can only record videos in Aperture priority mode. You select the aperture, the camera will select a shutter speed and auto set the ISO to maintain a constant consistent shutter speed. You can also dial exposure two stops up or down. You also need a UDMA card to take full advantage of the HD video recording.

The back LCD is stunning and breath taking. At 3.0 inches with 922,000 pixel resolution, checking for sharpness has become so much easier. The images displayed on the LCD are very stunning. Also the viewfinder has been redesigned and is definitely brighter than my Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II viewfinder.

Jim has been with Canon for more than eight years, since the start of megapixels (i.e. Canon D30) and this is the first camera that he is really excited about and believes that it is “going to re-energize Canon”. Jim also speculated on the 1D/1Ds line as it was asked about it’s future considering that Nikon has moved in full frame, which I won’t post as it is all speculation. Jim also mentioned the 5D Mark II should sell very, very well considering how many people want the ultimate in megapixels but couldn’t afford or justify the cost of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III. This is certainly a good thing because I think the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, while is a spectacular SLR, it is not worth $8,000. It’s worth $5,000 and that is where they are selling used for now (and in some cases even less). Once the new Nikon D3x is released and priced around $5,000, I’m sure Canon will no longer be able to justify pricing the 1Ds at $8,000.

So is it worth it? Yes. Am I getting one? No. I’m waiting for the the new Canon EOS 1Ds Mark IV. I love the ruggedness, durability, and auto focus. Adam Tow is thinking of downgrading from his Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II and Canon EOS 1D Mark II to two Canon EOS 5D Mark II because of the size and the HD video options.

Other little tidbits: there are seventy eight Explorers of Light and Printmasters, of which Vincent LaForet, Joe Buissink and George Lepp are members. Jim Rose does in fact read DPReview.com.

I also forgot to mention:

Adobe CS3 DOES NOT support Canon EOS 5D Mark II RAW files. It also appears that there will NOT be an update for CS3 to fix this and you have to either buy CS4 or convert the Canon RAW to DNG.

The shutter on the 5D Mark II is very, very quiet. I was quite shocked, it sounded almost 25% quieter than my 1Ds Mark II.

Political Photography Part II: Jared Polis

Adam and his wife, Rae, went to Colorado to photograph the last week of his high school friend’s campaign for Congressional seat in Colorado District 2 before the elections. Jared Polis is an internet entrepreneur having started Blue Mountain, ProFlowers, and Fuser which he sold all off during the height of the dot com boom making millions. Jared is also founder of the New America Charter Schools. Jared has been campaigning for a year and half for this two year term. Adam spent a week following Jared around as he campaigned at Park-N-Rides, Honk and Waves, Meetings, Halloween and Farmer’s Market, Canvassing, and finally Election Day.

Adam packed his Canon EOS 1D Mark II and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II with the following other items: Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM, Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM, Canon 1.4x Extender, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, Canon Speedlite 550EX, and a Gary Fong Lightsphere. He found he was primarily using the 28-70mm on his 1Ds Mark II and 135mm on his 1D Mark II.

Adam’s daily workflow:

  1. Shoot in the morning
  2. Select, rate, process in Apple Aperture 2 and upload photos to SmugMug
  3. Recharge batteries
  4. Shoot in the evening
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3

Reason Adam does the post processing in the afternoon rather than the evening is he figured he wouldn’t do it in the evening.

Jared Polis won the Congressional District 2 seat with 60% of the vote. To see Adam’s pictures, you can visit his SmugMug here.

Gallery

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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

The Latest Addition To My Photography Gear: The Amazing 1Ds Mark II

For a $4,000 difference between the 1D, the 1Ds' lettering is gold plated.
For a $4,000 difference between the 1D, the 1Ds emblems are gold plated

Sooo, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed my mention of a “new toy”. Well, the wait’s over, my new toy is a camera. Not any camera, but Canon’s top-top of the line, the much sought after and highly desired Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II. Up until August 2007, it had been the highest megapixel camera for a full frame (or even cropped sensors) 35mm digital sensor. Introduced in September 2004, it took the photography world by storm offering the most megapixel at the time in a full frame sensor. The Canon EOS 1Ds (mark I) was the first dSLR to feature a full frame sensor with the Kodak DCN-14n following suite.

All this for only eight thousand dollars ($8,000). So, yea. Quite out of reach even for many professionals photographers. Continue reading The Latest Addition To My Photography Gear: The Amazing 1Ds Mark II

Canon L Series Lenses

This was a free two hour class offered by Canon and Keeble & Shuchat with Jennifer Wu about Canon’s L lenses by Jim Rose and nature photography tips from Jennifer. I originally heard about this from Jim when he came to COBA to discuss about CPS membership. As an added treat, Canon brought twenty four L lenses, including the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, and five bodies (three 1D Mark IIIs, one 1Ds Mark III, one Canon XSi, and a Canon EOS 5D) for everyone to try. Also Jim brought a pre-production Canon EOS 50D with the new Canon EF 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. Continue reading Canon L Series Lenses

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

Canon EOS 1Ds Review

I borrowed my friend’s Canon EOS 1Ds Mark I to try for a little while to see what it was all about. While it is not like it’s newer and better son, the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, it definitely is no slouch either. Let me repeat, the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark I is still a very capable and useful SLR today even though it’s nearly 6 years old. Continue reading Canon EOS 1Ds Review

This Is Just Too Funny Not To Post

I would say that I make about 40-50% of purchases online, not a very high percentage, especially for someone in the IT field, but I’m one of those traditional kind of people (i.e. impulsive buyer…) who likes to actually have the product in my hands and play with it. I understand the convenience of online shopping, but unless you truly know what you want and they have it online for a great deal, then yeah, I’ll buy it that way. But one of the major problems with good deals and online stores is that it offers scammers a more convenient and relatively anonymous way to scam unsuspecting people. Take soniccameras.com for example. They’re website looks decent for a online store, they even have the GoDaddy.com Secure Website badge. Normally you wouldn’t notice anything wrong, in fact you might even be enticed by their great prices on camera, camcorder, and lens. They’re so discounted that you even wonder if they are even making money, until you start noticing some discrepancies. This is the one that struck me as the best one:

Now at first glance, you’re probably thinking, WOW! that’s an awesome deal! Yes it is, especially since the Canon 1Ds Mark III retails for $7000+. Now people who know something about Canon may see the problem instantly. The Canon 18-55mm lens, is a *decent* lens for all intents and purposes. Most amateur photographers will be perfectly happy with it. It’s nice and wide, has a decent focal length, and is light. Nothing wrong with that. The only problem though, the 18-55mm lens is an EF-S mount lens. EF-S mount lens are designed specifically for the digital SLRs that utilize a smaller sensor (i.e. Canon EOS 20D/30D/40D & the Rebel lines) than the full frame sensor. So without extreme modifications, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens cannot be mounted on a 1D series. So, needless to say, I don’t think Soniccamera.com is a reliable vendor to purchase a camera from. If you click on the image above, you can browse the website and if you scroll down and look for “1GB Professional High-Speed CompactFlash Card”, you’ll notice it’s priced a little high… But look at this way, they’ll double the memory for free!

Canon and the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N

When I first heard about the new Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N, I was blown away at what a nice lens it must be. I have yet to see it or handle it in person, but from what I’ve seen in pictures, it’s one bad ass looking glass that I would love to have in my arsenal; especially more so after seeing the test results. The 14-24mm performs phenomenally in the lab and in the field. From what I’ve seen this Nikkor lens has to be the sharpest wide angle of this focal length even compared to similar focal range primes! The Nikkor 14-24mm blows away the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM Mark II, the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM Mark II, and let’s not even talk about Tamron, Sigma, or other third party manufactures. Between this lens and the Nikon D3, I would switch back to Nikon if I had cash to burn. Actually it doesn’t make sense to switch brands just because the competitor has put out a better product. I’m confident in knowing that Canon will accept the challenge and give us Canon users a 1D that can actually auto focus with amazing low light capabilities that the D3 currently has. I’m not so concerned about the cameras, because to me, it’s the lens that makes the bigger difference. I rather invest my money in great quality glass than drop a wad on a camera that will be replaced a year later with something better for the same cost. Continue reading Canon and the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N