Tag Archives: LCD

Pentax K-01 Headed To Stores

Pentax K-01 Headed To Stores

The uniquely styled camera is now shipping in the USA

The Pentax K-01 made a splash when it was announced due to its unconventional design by Marc Newsom, but packs some decent internal features, too. Now, Pentax has just announced the availability of this camera, and it’s heading out to stores in the USA as we speak.

The K-01 is available in black, white, or signature yellow, and is available in a kit with the PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 XS, which the company is calling “the world’s thinnest interchangeable lens.” It packs a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor, and a sharp 3-inch, 920K dot LCD. The body on its own has an asking price of 49.95 and the lens kit will be 99.95.

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New Gear: Sony a57 Translucent Mirror Camera

New Gear: Sony a57 Translucent Mirror Camera

The a55′s successor is still all about speed

The battle for the most frames-per-second is one of the most hotly contended categories in cameras right now and Sony‘s new A57 translucent mirror camera looks to be a serious contender, even with its mid-level pricing.

Like the a55 before it, the a57 has a 16.1-mepgapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor coupled with the latest iteration of their BIONZ processor. AF is handled by the same 15-point (three cross-type) TTL phase detection system found in the a65. If you’re willing to drop the resolution down to about 8.4-megapixels and lock in your widest aperture, that setup is capable of pulling down 12 fps while maintaining AF and auto-exposure performance.

Things are equally as speedy in the video arena. Sony has tapped AVCHD Ver 2.0 as its preferred codec. That helps give the a57 the ability to grab 1080p video at frame rates as high as 60p. Of course, it can still pull common framerates like 60i, 30p and 24p, but that full 60 fps number is likely very appealing to those shooting a lot of fast action. It’s also something even the higher-end HDSLRs from most other manufacturers can’t (or at least don’t) deliver. On top of all that, the translucent mirror allows for full-time phase detection AF during video capture, which is a boon for those who haven’t mastered manual focusing.

Like the a77, the a57 uses the Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder, which has a 1440k dot resolution and offers a 100% field of view. You can use it to compose and review images, while zooming in on individual areas to check focus. The EVF is complemented by a 3-inch LCD display that rotates for composing shots at awkward angles.

In addition to the hardware updates, Sony has also put together a few interesting features to help differentiate the a57 from its competition. The new Auto Portrait Framing mode actually analyzes your pictures of people and crops them according to traditional rules of composition. It’s not something we’d likely use very much, but it could be an interesting learning tool, especially since the original image is also preserved. With that comes the usual suite of in-camera shooting and processing modes like HDR and miniature mode (which emulates a tilt-shift lens).

On top of that, the maximum ISO has been cranked up to a maximum setting of 16,000, making this a fairly robust update all around. The camera will start hitting shelves in April for 00 on its own or for 00 when combined with the 18-55mm kit zoom lens. We’ve had some hands-on time with an early pre-production model, but we’re eager to get a retail unit in our lab, especially after the A77 managed to thoroughly impress us.

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This is the full press release for the Sony a57 SLT camera:

Sony a57 press release

This is the full press release for the Sony a57 SLT camera:

SAN DIEGO, March 12, 2012 — A wider palette of creative options is now accessible to more shooters with the α57 camera, the newest addition to Sony’s popular line of A-mount cameras employing Translucent Mirror Technology.

The innovative Translucent Mirror design directs incoming light to the CMOS image sensor and the AF sensor at the same time, allowing full-time continuous AF during both still and video shooting. Users can also frame, focus and preview shots in real-time on the high-resolution Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder, which offers a wide viewing angle and 100% field of view. This allows photographers to capture exactly what they see on the screen.

A natural successor to Sony’s acclaimed α55 camera, the α57 is positioned for a wide audience of DSLR users. It can shoot still images at up to 12 frames per second, full HD video at 60p, 60i or 24p frame rates and has a variety of creative modes including Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology

“Today’s DSLR consumer is looking for a higher level of control and flexibility in their camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. “With the introduction of the new α57, we’re bringing blazing fast response rates, enhanced artistic capabilities and other advanced features to the mainstream DSLR marketplace, offering professional-grade performance at affordable prices.”

With the α57 camera, shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second are achieved in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure with fixed aperture. Magnifying the central portion of the sensor’s image by 1.4x, it’s perfect for capturing split-second action close-ups with a burst of sharply focused images, even when the subject is moving. In this shooting mode, aperture is fixed at either f/3.5 or the maximum aperture of lens in use (whichever is smaller) and image size of photos is about 8.4 megapixels.

Additionally, the α57 camera lets people create powerfully expressive Full HD movies. Responsive full-time continuous phase detection AF ensures that moving subjects stay sharply focused, just like with still shooting. Support for the AVCHD™ Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured with 60p frame rate: ideal for capturing smooth, blur-free action. Shooting in 24p is also available to give footage a rich, cinematic look. Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes for virtually limitless creative expression.

The α57 model shares the α65’s 15-point AF system with three cross sensors delivering fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if a target is obscured momentarily by another passing object.

Even the novice photographers can now easily create pro-style portraits with the α57 thanks to new Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology. Using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds,’ the camera identifies a subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly framed, professional-looking pictures in portrait or landscape orientation while maintaining a copy of the original image. Saving both the original photo plus the adjusted version allows for easy comparison between the two images, offering photographers inspiration to refine their portrait skills.

To get closer to the subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom digital zoom technology doubles the effective magnification of your lens and is a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens. The camera uses Sony’s “By Pixel Super Resolution Technology” to ensure that cropped and zoomed images retain full pixel resolution.

Additionally, the model’s range of popular in-camera Picture Effect modes includes 11 different effects and 15 total variations – offering a generous palette of ‘PC-free’ artistic treatments, including Pop Color, HDR Painting, Miniature Mode and much more. Results can be previewed directly in live view mode on the LCD screen or in the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder while shooting either Full HD video or stills.

Still and video shooting, framing, focusing and real-time preview of exposure adjustments are a pleasure with the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. With ultra-detailed 1440k dot resolution and a 100% field of view, it rivals quality optical viewfinders. There’s a choice of selectable high-resolution information displays with a wide viewing-angle to help consumers shoot with confidence, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either directly in the viewfinder or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-type) Xtra Fine LCD™ display.

Ensuring detail-packed images, the 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor is teamed with a latest-generation BIONZ® engine. Refined by Sony during the development of its flagship α77 and high-end α65 cameras, this powerful processor effortlessly handles large amounts of image data for flawless, low-noise images and Full HD video.

Thanks to the BIONZ processor, creative shooting opportunities are boosted by an outstanding sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000. Users will experience consistently natural, low-noise images – whether shooting at fast shutter speeds to freeze dynamic action or handheld without flash in low light.

Pricing and Availability

The new α57 interchangeable lens camera will be available this April with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for 00 (model SLT-A57K). It will also be offered as body-only for about 00 (model SLT-A57).

Sony will also be introducing a new battery-powered LED video light, model HVL-LE1, which broadens options for recording video indoors or in low light. This new accessory will be available this month for about 50.

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Undressing a Sony NEX Camera

Undressing a Sony NEX Camera

I have to say I have one of the better jobs on the planet, at least for a photography gear-head. The part I like best — well, really there’s a lot of parts I like best — but one fun part is that my job description includes: Take things apart. See how they work. Learn how to fix them.
Sometimes taking things apart is disappointing. I just don’t want to know things like “so you hold that together with a piece of Scotch tape, huh?” Some cameras and lenses look really nice on the outside, but inside there’s so much chaos I wonder if someone in the corporation is saying “We have 2 million of these parts left over, put them in something so we don’t have to write them off.”

Every so often, though, I get to see an internal design that is so elegant and efficient I think the engineers should have signed it like a painting. The Sony NEX cameras are that way. Perhaps being so small required efficient engineering, or maybe the team that designed it just was so good. Maybe the fact that there was no legacy technology that was cheap to carry over to the next model let the engineers, rather than the beancounters, make all the decisions. Whatever the reason, the layout is amazing.

I got to take apart an NEX 3 the other day (water in a camera is a bad thing) and thought some of you might like seeing the insides so I took a few pictures along the way.

The Usual Disclaimer Stuff

First things first: if your camera looks like this, then leave it alone. I have it on good authority that the curse of Serenput I (3,500 years later and we still can’t top the Egyptians when it comes to a good curse) is inscribed in the electronic chips of every NEX camera:

Whoever shall enter here and take these offerings: his arm shall be cut off like that of a bull, his neck shall be twisted off like that of a bird, his office shall not exist, the position of his son shall not exist, his house shall not exist in Nubia, his tomb shall not exist in the necropolis, his god shall not accept his white bread, he shall be cooked together with the condemned, his children shall belong to the fire, his corpse shall not be to the ground, I shall be against him as a crocodile on the water, as a serpent on earth, and as an enemy in the necropolis.

We’re semi-trained, semi-professionals with another 20 of these on the shelf. If we screw it up, we’ll only have 19 left, which is probably less critical than if you screw up the only one you have and then need to ‘splain to your wife why you have to buy a new camera.

Now Let’s Get to It!

It’s pretty obvious the 4 screws on the front hold the mount on, just like with every other camera.

And then that the three screws under that hold the mount base, which also lets you remove the lens stop. So far just about like every other camera (although unlike some there are no shims under the mount).

Flipping the camera over and removing 13 screws lets the back come right off. Thank you Sony #1: Notice all 13 screws are exactly the same size, which is a nice thing. A typical SLR uses 4 or 5 different size screws and you have to mark or remember exactly which screw goes where.

Thank you Sony #2: all the back buttons are all mounted on a single flex with one connection: you can remove and replace it in about 30 seconds should the need arise. Just the circular dial button on most cameras has 6 to 9 pieces (which I can assure you can’t be reassembled in less than an hour, 15 minutes of which is for profanity breaks, the other 45 require using a magnifying loupe which leaves you cross-eyed for the rest of the day).

The tilting LCD is surprisingly easy to disassemble – removing a few screws removes the cover and exposes the flexes. Disconnecting those and the LCD comes free.

After the LCD is removed and it’s flexes disconnected, the metal shielding plate is lifted up and the circuit boards are visible. If you haven’t looked at other cameras, you may not appreciate just how clean and well laid out this is. Every flex connector comes onto the main circuit board directly: no long, winding, taped-down cables on this camera. Notice also there is significant electrical shielding over critical cables and circuit boards (I’ve removed the secondary shield over the main board already). What nice, clean design!

After disconnecting the flexes and removing a couple of screws the two circuit boards and the plastic frame under them come out. Another ‘thank you Sony’: the smaller assembly is the memory card circuit. Those break somewhat frequently and on some cameras (yes, I’m talking about you, Canon 5D II) you may end up replacing the entire circuit board when that happens. On the NEX that would never be necessary.

Under that pretty copper shield (another point worth considering: copper is much more expensive than aluminum) is the imaging chip. It’s held in place with 4 screws and no shims. I’m not sure if the mirrorless design with it’s close backfocusing distance means alignment of the imaging chip and lens mount isn’t as critical as on an SLR, or if Sony is able to machine to such close tolerances that shims aren’t necessary. Maybe one of you can enlighten me.

The last few assemblies are the shutter and battery compartment, again easily removed.

Only after they are removed is the top button assembly accesible. So note to self: don’t break the shutter button on this camera. The electronic connections on the lens mount and the metal chassis of the camera are the last pieces out (lower right in the picture below). Even completely disassembled, there are amazingly few parts to this camera.

For those of you who want to ask, no, there was no reason to put the camera back together after water submersion. We wouldn’t trust the electronics to keep working even if they did work for a while. But there are a number of nonelectric parts that are salvageable, which is why we take them apart. OK, really there aren’t a lot of salvageable parts, after water immersion. But taking them apart is fun anyway.

And to give you a bit of perspective: If I wanted to take pictures of all the parts from a disassembled SLR, I would have needed about 4 images the size of the above. I’m generally not a Sony fan, but it’s amazing how much Sony has simplified the design of this camera – not just compared to SLRs, but even to other mirrorless cameras. And props to them for doing a lot of little things that cost money but probably make the camera better and more reliable: heavy electronic shielding, gluing down the flex clamps, using copper shields instead of aluminum, etc.

About the author: Roger Cicala is the founder of LensRentals. This article was originally published here.

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Sony is expected to announce the new Sony a57 SLT camera next week.

For next week: new Sony a57 SLT camera

Sony is expected to announce the new Sony a57 SLT camera next week. This will be the replacement of the already discontinued a55 model. Here are the basic specs:

16.1MP CMOS sensor

ISO range: 100-16000

1920×1080 HD video at 60p/24p/60i

12 fps

15 points AF system with 3 cross sensors

3 in. 921k dot tiltable LCD screen

1440k dot EVF

New portrait mode + HDR, sweep panaroma modes

Price for body only: around 00

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March 02, 2012 at 03:26PM


Canon 5D Mark III Official, Packs Features From the 5D Mark II and 1D X

Canon has officially taken the wraps off its new 5D Mark III DSLR, a followup to the 5D Mark II that offers a feature set that sits somewhere between its predecessor and the soon-to-arrive 1D X. The camera packs a 22.3MP full-frame sensor, the 61-point AF system found in the 1D X, an ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50-102400), 6fps continuous shooting, a 3.2-inch LCD (1.04M dots), and 100% viewfinder coverage (up from 98%).
In the video recording department, the 5D Mark III is able to capture H.264 footage at 1080p24/25/30 or 720p50/60. In addition to a stereo mic input, the camera also features a headphone jack that allows you to monitor audio levels while recording. Another huge plus is the fact that the rear dial becomes touch sensitive during video recording, allowing you to change settings without shaking the camera or introducing clicking noises into your footage.

Here are some more photographs of the camera:

The camera features a number of new buttons, including a rating button for starring photos, a creative photo button, and a dedicated Live View button, and a multi-function button next to the shutter release. The power switch has been moved to the top left next to the locking mode dial, while there’s a new rear dial locking slider on the back.

And now we come to one of the most important details about any new camera: the price. The Canon 5D Mark III will be priced at ,500 for the body only, or ,300 when bundled with the 24-105mm. It’ll hit store shelves near the end of March, but you can already preorder yours over on Amazon.

Canon 5D Mark III [Canon USA]

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March 02, 2012 at 12:32PM


Canon EOS 5D Mark III announcement

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is now official: 22.3MP, 3,2″ LCD screen, DIGIC 5+ processor, 61 AF points, HD 1080/30p and 720/60p. Canon also announced a new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT and a new Speedlite 600EX-RT.

The 5D Mark III is now available for pre-order at B&H for ,499.00. The 600EX-RT priced at 29. Shipping is expected to start at the end of March, 2012.

Press release:

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., March 2, 2012 – On the 25th anniversary of its world-renowned EOS System, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to announce its latest model, the new EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera. Positioned between the extremely popular EOS 5D Mark II and Canon‘s top-of-the-line professional EOS-1D X model, the EOS 5D Mark III delivers superb image quality, thanks to a new 22.3-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, a high-performance DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor, a 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus (AF) System and six frames-per-second (fps) continuous shooting speed. Building upon the trailblazing success of the EOS 5D Mark II, the EOS 5D Mark III also incorporates enhanced video features for professionals in the fields of cinematography, television production and documentary filmmaking, including better noise reduction, longer recording times and a built-in headphone jack for audio monitoring. The EOS 5D Mark III is Canon‘s answer to hundreds of thousands of advanced amateurs and emerging professionals looking for a compact, high-quality camera system to help them achieve their artistic vision, whether it be through still or video imagery. The EOS 5D Mark III introduction coincides with Canon‘s 25th anniversary celebration of the EOS camera system. Canon‘s award-winning EOS system first debuted in March of 1987 with the introduction of the EOS 650 SLR camera and three EF lenses.

“We are extremely excited to announce the highly anticipated follow-up to our EOS 5D Mark II, a camera which has been called a ‘game-changer’ in most professional photography and videography circles. The EOS 5D Mark III will carry on that tradition, delivering better and more advanced features, helping our customers achieve excellent image quality for stills and video,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.

The EOS 5D Mark III inherits many features from Canon‘s recently announced flagship DSLR, the EOS-1D X, including a DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor and a high-performance 61-point High Density Reticular AF array with up to 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points available, depending on the lens in use. The enhanced processing power enables fast continuous shooting of up to six fps, exceeding the speed of the EOS 5D Mark II model by more than 50 percent, and with improved weather resistance the EOS 5D Mark III is a serious option for sports and wildlife photographers.

EOS 5D Mark III Video: The Legacy Continues

The EOS 5D Mark II blazed the trail for EOS cameras and Canon to enter the professional video and cinema markets, paving the way for Canon‘s recent introduction of the Cinema EOS system of cameras and lenses. Now, the EOS 5D Mark III continues Canon‘s commitment to these new markets with new and requested features from cinematographers, television production professionals and independent filmmakers. This new model captures 1080p Full HD video at 24p (23.976), 25p, and 30p (29.97) fps; 720p HD recording at 60 (59.94) and 50 fps; and SD recording at 30 (29.97) and 25 fps, giving cinematographers and videographers more flexibility and options for video capture.

The EOS 5D Mark III includes new H.264 video compression formats to simplify and speed up post-production work: intraframe (ALL-I) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data storage efficiency, giving professionals options to help achieve their ideal workflow. Like the EOS-1D X, the 5D Mark III also includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing video footage from multiple cameras and separate audio recordings to be synced together in post production.

The new full-frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ processor have enhanced the camera’s image processing performance over the 5D Mark II, significantly reducing moir‚ and color artifacts in scenes with horizontal lines. The video footage produced will exhibit less moir‚ than seen in previous DSLR models, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality. Accommodating documentary filmmakers, and event videographers using EOS DSLR cameras, the 5D Mark III includes the ability to record video continuously up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files. Long-form filmmakers will enjoy the camera’s automatic file splitting in combination with the extended memory capacity offered by dual card slots.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III also includes manual audio level control with 64 levels, adjustable both before and during movie recording. There is also an automatic audio level setting, or sound recording can be turned off entirely. A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input. Notably, the EOS 5D Mark III is the first EOS Digital SLR to feature a built-in headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring during video capture.

Newly Developed Canon CMOS Sensor

With its completely new 22.3-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS image sensor, the EOS 5D Mark III becomes the highest resolution Canon Digital SLR released to date. It is eminently suitable for a wide variety of assignments including weddings and portraits, nature and wildlife, travel and landscapes as well as commercial and industrial photography. With a gapless microlens design, a new photodiode structure and improved on-chip noise reduction, the new sensor achieves higher sensitivity and lower noise levels for both RAW image data as well as in-camera JPEGs and EOS Movies compared to the 5D Mark II. The result is outstanding image quality in all shooting conditions, even low light. An eight-channel readout doubles the speed of image data throughput from the sensor to the DIGIC 5+ processor, resulting in better video image quality as well as six fps for still photos.

The low-light capability of the EOS 5D Mark III is evident in its incredible ISO range and image quality in poor lighting conditions. Adjustable from ISO 100 to 25,600 within its standard range, the new model also offers a low ISO 50 setting for studio and landscape photography and two extended ISO settings of 51,200 and 102,400, well suited for law enforcement, government or forensic field applications.

The new 5D Mark III is also equipped with Canon‘s EOS Integrated Cleaning System, featuring a Self Cleaning Sensor Unit with a fluorine coating that repels dust and dirt particles.

Canon-Exclusive DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor

The EOS 5D Mark III’s new DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor is 17 times faster than the DIGIC 4.The EOS 5D Mark III uses that extra speed not only for improved image quality, but also to add no less than nine new features that do not exist on the 5D Mark II. These new features include six fps continuous shooting, HDR and Multiple Exposure modes, in-camera RAW processing, a comparative playback function, Scene Intelligent Auto mode, two forms of movie compression, and support for high-speed UDMA 7 Compact Flash memory cards.

Another extremely valuable feature enhanced by the DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor is the EOS 5D Mark III’s choice of reduced resolution M-RAW (10.5 megapixel) and S-RAW (5.5 megapixel) recording modes. These settings are particularly useful to wedding photographers for candid photos that do not require the EOS 5D Mark III’s 22 megapixel full resolution, because they take up less space on the memory cards and speed up post-processing without losing the critical benefits of RAW image data, such as highlight and shadow control as well as white balance adjustment. M-RAW and S-RAW also preserve the full field of view rather than cropping the image or resorting to JPEG mode to reduce resolution.

High-Performance 61-Point High Density Reticular AF

For still photographers, Canon has included its new 61-point High Density Reticular AF System, originally introduced with the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X professional camera. A significant advancement over previous 5D-series AF systems, the new 61-Point High Density Reticular AF included in the EOS 5D Mark III is the most sophisticated SLR AF system Canon has ever released. All 61 points are manually selectable and sensitive to horizontal contrast with maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/5.6. The camera’s twenty one focusing points in the central area are also standard precision cross-type and effective with maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/5.6. The center five points are ultra-high-precision diagonal cross-type points for maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/2.8. The 20 outer focusing points function as high-precision cross-type points with maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/4.0. Other innovations of the new 61-point High Density Reticular AF include expanded AF coverage area, superior focusing precision and low-light sensitivity to EV -2, and greater low-contrast subject detection capability compared to earlier EOS AF systems. (See image below for AF point configuration)

All AF functions now have their own menu tab for quick and easy access (formerly AF custom functions in previous EOS models). A new AF Configuration Tool allows for customized setting of tracking sensitivity, the acceleration and deceleration of tracking subjects, and AF point auto switching, all of which are easily accessed and adjusted via the new AF menu tab. A built-in Feature Guide advises photographers on which settings to use according to subject matter.

The EOS 5D Mark III uses the same high-performance AI Servo III AF tracking algorithm as the flagship EOS-1D X professional DSLR. This new feature works together with the 61-point High Density Reticular AF system to provide superb tracking performance that blends very well with the new camera’s 6 frames-per-second high-speed continuous shooting capabilities.

Similar to the AF point selection options offered in the EOS 7D and EOS-1D X camera models, the EOS 5D Mark III offers six AF point selection modes: Spot, Single Point, Single Point with surrounding four points, Single Point with surrounding eight points, Zone selection and Automatic AF point selection.

iFCL Metering

Complementing the EOS 5D Mark III camera’s 61-point AF system is Canon‘s 63-zone iFCL dual layer metering system. The ‘FCL’ stands for ‘Focus, Color and Luminance,’ and references the fact that the metering system not only measures color and luminance data, but also analyzes the data provided by each point of the AF system. Canon‘s iFCL metering keeps exposure levels stable from shot to shot, even as the light source changes. The camera’s autofocus information is also used to help determine which area of the scene is of greatest importance in determining exposure.

HDR Mode

The EOS 5D Mark III camera features a built-in HDR mode, merging three images at various exposure levels into a single image, in-camera, for stunning photographs of landscapes and architecture with enhanced tonal gradation beyond the range of the naked eye. The exposure levels in the camera’s HDR mode can be set to cover a range of up to ñ3 stops, in a choice of five settings: Natural, Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Embossed providing unique visual effects. Individual source images can be saved as separate files, and the HDR mode has an optional automatic alignment function that can be useful for hand-held shooting. The EOS 5D Mark III’s standard Auto Exposure Bracketing function has been upgraded to allow for up to seven exposures per sequence, and exposure compensation can now be set for up to +/- 5EV.

Multiple Exposure Mode

The EOS 5D Mark III is the second EOS Digital SLR after the EOS-1D X to feature Multiple Exposure capabilities with the ability to combine up to nine individual images into a single composite image, with no need for post-processing in a computer. Four different compositing methods are provided for maximum creative control, including Additive, Average, Bright and Dark. Compositing results can be viewed in real time on the camera’s LCD monitor, and there is a one-step Undo command that allows photographers to delete an image and try again if desired. The EOS 5D Mark III camera’s Multiple Exposure mode even allows photographers to specify a previously captured RAW image as the starting point for a new Multiple Exposure composite image, or shoot continuously when photographing moving subjects.

Comparative Playback

A new feature seen for the first time in the EOS System on the 5D Mark III is Comparative Playback allowing photographers to display two images side by side on the camera’s 3.2-inch LCD screen. The images can be displayed with a histogram to check exposure levels, or magnified to check for focus or facial expressions.

Durability, Reliability and Other Features

The EOS 5D Mark III features a rugged camera body with magnesium alloy body covers and a stainless steel lens mount. The new camera also has dust- and moisture-resistant design with improved gaskets and seals. Although not quite as weatherproof as an EOS-1D-series camera, the EOS 5D Mark III does feature improved weather resistance over the EOS 5D Mark II model. The EOS 5D Mark III’s newly developed shutter unit has a durability rating of 150,000 exposures, and shutter release lag time has been reduced to 59 milliseconds, making the shutter button very responsive. Canon‘s locking mode dial is standard on the new model and a new custom function allows photographers to shut off other dials to prevent inadvertent operation.

The EOS 5D Mark III uses the same LP-E6 lithium-ion battery pack as other popular EOS cameras like the 5D Mark II, 7D and 60D. Battery life is estimated at 950 exposures at normal temperatures, an improvement of 100 exposures more than the EOS 5D Mark II. The EOS 5D Mark III body weighs approximately 33.5 oz. with a battery installed, and the dimensions are approximately 6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 inches.

The EOS 5D Mark III incorporates Silent shooting modes, available for low-speed continuous shooting as well as single exposures. This feature is ideal when photographing in quiet environments. For better file management especially when working with multiple cameras, the new model also supports custom file names. There is also a new image rating feature that lets photographers rank their photos from 1 to 5 stars for quick editing.

The EOS 5D Mark III features a 3.2-inch Clear View II LCD screen with 1,040,000 dot resolution. This is the same screen that’s used in the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X. The camera’s optical viewfinder has been upgraded to approximately 100 percent coverage, and it features an Intelligent Viewfinder display with an optional grid on demand. The EOS 5D Mark III also has a built-in Dual Axis Electronic Level that can be displayed on both the LCD screen and the optical viewfinder.

The EOS 5D Mark III accepts both Compact Flash Type 1 and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards in a dual card slot configuration. Three recording methods are supported: Record the same data to both cards, record different file sizes or types to each card, or automatically switch to the second card when the first card is full.

Accessories

The EOS 5D Mark III DSLR also has a number of new optional accessories, including the new Canon Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A featuring wireless LAN support for 802.11 a/b/g/n signal protocols for various network environments. The WFT-E7A connects to the camera through its USB port and includes a built-in gigabit Ethernet connection, time syncing for multiple cameras on the same network, FTP mode, EOS Utility mode, WFT Server mode and Media Server mode. With this new WFT model, professionals can synchronize clocks on multiple cameras and use the unit to support linked shooting when utilizing multiple cameras. In addition, Bluetooth-compatible equipment can be easily linked to the device as well.

The EOS 5D Mark III also has an optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2, which can be connected to the camera via the accessory shoe or a USB cable. With a GPS logging function built-in, the GP-E2 will log latitude, longitude, elevation, and the Universal Time Code – and allow viewing of camera movement on a PC after shooting. With its built-in compass, the GP-E2 receiver will also record camera direction when shooting, even when shooting vertically. The Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2 is compatible with the EOS-1D X and EOS 7Di as well as the EOS 5D Mark III.ii

Battery Grip BG-E11 is an optional accessory for the EOS 5D Mark III that accepts one or two LP-E6 lithium-ion battery packs or a set of six AA-size batteries. This new grip has a multicontroller and a multifunction (M.Fn) button together a with a full set of grip controls for easy operation when shooting portraits or other vertical format photos. The BG-E11 is made from sturdy magnesium alloy and has the same degree of weather resistance as the EOS 5D Mark III.

Speedlite 600EX-RT

In addition to the EOS 5D Mark III, Canon is also announcing the first professional Speedlite on the market with a built-in wireless radio transmitter, the new Speedlite 600EX-RT. The new Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT is the flagship model in the Speedlite line, ideal for wedding portrait and photojournalism. Compatible with all EOS Digital SLRs, this new model eliminates the need for accessory radio slave units and their inherent limitations. Speedlite 600EX-RT features Master-Slave two-way transmission, letting the photographer control the Speedlite settings directly from the “Master” camera.

Radio-based Wireless E-TTL can be performed with up to 15 Speedlite 600EX-RT “slave units”, used off-camera up to 98.4 feet (30m) away, and triggered by either a “Master” 600EX-RT on-camera, or the optional new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. Used with the EOS 5D Mark III or EOS-1D X, up to five groups of flashes can be completely controlled, independently, off-camera. And, it remains fully compatible with Canon‘s legacy optical-based Wireless E-TTL technology, for users already committed to existing EOS Speedlites. The Speedlite features enhanced weather-resistant construction – matching that of the EOS-1D X camera body – and a more reliable electrical contact. The flash head zoom range now reaches from 20mm to 200mm.The Speedlite also allows remote shutter release of a single EOS camera, or Linked Shooting (simultaneous firing of up to 15 cameras, when one “Master” camera is fired), and includes gelatin filters and a dedicated filter holder to help photographers match ambient light.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT

Canon is also introducing the new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. Providing full support of Canon‘s new radio-based wireless flash technology, the new ST-E3-RT can control up to five groups of flashes, up to 98.4 feet (30m) from the camera. The remote shutter release capability enables photographers to either fire a single camera remotely (by pressing a button on the ST-E3-RT), or to fire up to 15 EOS cameras with Canon‘s Linked Shooting feature. Making it easy to control and adjust, all of the Speedlite Transmitter features are accessible through the Flash control menu of the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III cameras.

Pricing and Availability

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera is expected to be available at the end of March 2012 and will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of ,499.00. The EOS 5D Mark III will also be available with the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens in a kit for an estimated retail price of ,299.00. The Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A is scheduled to be available by the end of April 2012 at an estimated retail price of 49.99. Availability for GPS Receiver GP-E2 is expected by the end of April 2012, with an estimated retail price of 90.00.Battery Grip BG-E11 is scheduled to be available at the end of April 2012 for an estimated retail price of 90.00. The Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT are also scheduled for end of March 2012 availability at estimated retail prices of 29.99 and 70.00 respectively.

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March 02, 2012 at 12:12PM


New Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The long-awaited follow-up to one of Canon‘s most popular DSLRs ever

When Nikon recently announced its D800 multimedia-machine DSLR, the internet was already abuzz with folks wondering how Canon would fire back. That follow up comes today in the form of the full-frame Canon 5D Mark III.On the photography front, the most notable improvement is the completely redesigned autofocus system. The Mark III offers 61 AF points, 41 of which are crosstype. That’s a huge upgrade from the nine total points offered by the 5D Mark II for which AF performance may have been its biggest detractor. That also bests Nikon’s D800, which has 51 total AF points, 15 of which are crosstype, and five which are double crosstype. The final number of points you have access to with either of those cameras when shooting ultimately depends on the maximum aperture of the lens attached. It also offers six different autofocusing modes, compared to 2 on the Mark II and the AF modes have been made much more prominent in the menus to make navigating them much faster.The Mark III checks in at 22.3-megapixels which is only a modest hop from the Mark II’s 21.1, but the sensor has received a complete overhaul. Gapless micro lenses, similar to those found on the sensor of the Canon 1D X, channel light into the photo diodes much more efficiently. As a result, the new sensor, according to Canon, offers nearly two additional stops of noise reduction in JPEG shooting at higher ISO’s compared to the Mark II. To compound the effect, Canon also incorporated “on chip noise reduction,” into its sensors, killing off potential noise before information even hits the Digic 5+ processor.Canon employs their latest, greatest Digic 5+ chip to handle the Mark III’s image processing, which they claim to be 17x faster than the Digic 4 processor found in the Mark II, and 30% faster than the ordinary Digic 5 processor. This helps bring the Mark III’s burst capabilities up to 6 fps, compared to 3.9 fps on the Mark II. That’s also two better than the 4 FPS max (without the battery grip) offered by Nikon’s D800.Metering is handled by a 63-zone (up from 35 in the Mark II), dual-layer metering system they’ve dubbed iFCL. It stands for Focus, Color, Luminance, and it uses information from the AF points to help provide more accurate and consistent exposures. Canon also shrunk the size of its spotmeter point, which now comprises just 1.5% of the sensor, compared to the 3% meter on the Mark II.The Mark III’s native ISO range of 100 to 25600 is expandable, when shooting stills, all the way up to 102,400 (two stops higher than the D800) and down to 50. When switched over to video mode there’s a hard-stop at 25,600, same as its predecessor.Expanding on the video capabilities, some folks will no doubt be slightly disappointed to see that 1080p capture is still capped at 30 fps rather than the smoother 60 fps frame rate. There are some notable video upgrades though, including an external microphone jack and a headphone jack, which film makers have been craving for years. Maximum clip time has been jacked up to about 30 minutes (up from 12 in the Mark II) and you can now manually control audio levels during video recording.While the video upgrades aren’t exactly monumental, Canon already has a rather large segment of the HDSLR market, so fixing a few long-standing gripes from users might be enough to keep users firmly entrenched in the Canon camp.From a design standpoint, the Mark III takes more than a few pages out of the 7D’s book. In fact, the top of the camera is exactly identical, with the exception of a locking mode dial (first made standard on the 60D). Mark II upgraders will have to get used to the on/off switch moving to directly below the mode dial. The backside of the camera also looks strikingly similar to the 7D. The Liveview button has moved to the top right portion on the back of the camera. Canon also incorporated a “Creative Photo Button,” and a “Photo Rating Button,” which saves on-the-fly star ratings in an image’s metadata. You’ll likely use the latter much more often than the former.Other physical upgrades include a slightly larger 3.2” 1.4 million dot LCD (compared to the 3” LCD found on the Mark II). It’s nice, but we were a bit surprised not to see a Vari-Angle screen on a machine with so much video firepower. Viewfinder coverage has also been nudged up to 100% as it is in the 7D. Canon placed great emphasis on improving weather seals on the Mark III body, and while its not quite as water and dust resistant as the 1D X, its ability to survive the elements definitely surpasses the Mark II.One simple, but crucial inclusion is that of a secondary card slot, giving it one CF and one SD. While most cameras with two slots allow users to split RAW and JPEG files on individual cards, Mark III users can take it even further, splitting two different size JPEG’s or two different size RAW files. Speaking of which, the Mark III offers three different RAW file sizes including RAW (which is 22.1 MP), M-RAW (10.5 MP) and S-RAW (5.5 MP).A newly redesigned shutter cuts lag time down to 59 milliseconds, compared to 75-millisecond lag time on the Mark II. Other new features include a “Silent Continuous Shooting Mode,” which we witnessed in person, and are pretty impressed with. When in this mode, the burst rate is cut down to 3 seconds, however the decrease in shutter noise is very noticeable.Set to ship late March, the 5D Mark III will run you 500 for body only, or 300 for the body and a 24-105 F4L IS lens. That makes it a full 00 more expensive than than the D800, which might make a significant difference. Needless to say, we’re excited to get the new camera in the lab and see just how much improvement Canon has made.

Canon has also released a few new accessories for the 5D Mark III. Here’s a quick rundown:

Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A 49.99

Plug it into the camera’s USB port and it’ll hop onto a WiFi network. From there, you can use it to transfer files and syncrhonize multiples cameras shooting at the same time. It also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity.

GP-E2 GPS Receiver 90

A pretty standard GPS tagging dongle tracks capture locations as well as universal time code. It also tracks camera movement and uses a compass to record the direction the camera is pointing when the shutter is fired.

BG-E11 Battery Grip 90

The 5D Mark III’s battery grip accepts two LP-E6 batteries and has a new multicontroller and M. Fn button in addition to a full set of grip controls. Like the camera body, it’s made from magnesium alloy and shares the same burly weatherproofing.

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March 01, 2012 at 05:12AM


Hands-On With the Lytro Light Field Camera: Impressions and Sample Images

Photo by Dan Bracaglia

An up-close look at an intriguing little camera

With all the hype surrounding the new Lytro light-field camera, you’d think they completely reinvented photography. Some might want to argue that they did. We wouldn’t go that far, but we can say that it’s a major change to the way images are captured.

For those unfamiliar with the light-field (aka plenoptic) concept, here’s a very simplified explanation. By placing a specialized array of micro lenses on top of anotherwise typical image sensor, the Lytro can capture a scene from multiple perspectives. Later, you can go back and change where themain focus point is placed. Eventually, you’ll also be able to change the amount ofthe scene that is in focus (aka the depth of field) and create a 3D image from a single capture.

Like anything, the technology also has some downsides. The main drawback is that the pixel count of the final image is only a fraction of what we’ve come to expect out of more traditional cameras. In the case of Lytro’s current product, you’ll get images that are 1080×1080- pixels– a little over 1MP. It won’t make for a very impressive print, but it’s fine for posting online.

Lytro makes sharing fairly simple. When you plug the camera into your computer for the first time, the computer will prompt you to install the Lytro software. So far, the software only works on MacOS version 10.6.6 or higher, though Lytro plans to release a windows version sometime this year. Once the software is installed, any new images will be downloaded the next time you connect the camera to your computer. There is no card slot, so you’re stuck with the 8GB (99) or 16GB (99) that’s built into the camera. However, at 16MB per picture, you can fit a reasonable amount in the memory. According to Lytro, the 16GB can hold up to 750 pictures, while the 8GB should store up to 350 pictures.

The camera has an 8X optical zoom lens in it with a constant maximum aperture of f/2. The company hasn’t disclosed what the equivalent focal lengths are for the lens, though in our field testing so far, we’ve seen that it’s a convenient range for everyday shooting and provides a longer zoom than we would’ve expected. The camera’s close focusing capabilities are quite impressive. You can practically rest the camera on the subject at an angle and get a usable shot and then refocus to different parts of that super-macro shot.

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Most of the time you see people write about these types of cameras, you get the impression that capturing a good light-field image is as simple as pointing it at something and pressing the shutter button. This is far from the truth. In our field testing to date, we’ve shot over 150 images and came away with about 11 that we liked.

To get a decent light-field image from this iteration of the Lytro camera, you really have to pay attention to placing subjects at varying depths from the camera. Those depths should be clearly definable and exaggerated if you want the refocusing effect to be noticeable on playback. This was easiest when we were shooting extreme close ups, though an image of a squirrel shot with the camera zoomed to 8X had an impressive amount of refocusing capability.

The most frustrating thing about the Lytro is that it doesn’t offer much control at all. There’s a strip of touch sensitive rubber on top of the camera for zooming during playback or capture. Other than that, there’s just the shutter button on top of the camera, power button on the bottom, and the touch screen on back. That touch screen is a small 1.46-inch LCD screen that was challenging, at times, to use. The off- axis viewing is not all that good, so framing a shot when the camera isn’t directly in front of your face can be challenging.

With practice we did get better at shooting with the Lytro, and despite some frustration, it was a fun photo experience overall. When reviewing the images though, the current product package feels a bit like a one trick pony. Lytro has not unlocked any capabilities other than the ability to select what you’ve focused on after the image is shot. They say that they plan, sometime this year, to release 3D capabilities, as well as “infinite” depth of field to maximize the sharp elements in the image. Until they do expand what you can do with the Lytro, it really doesn’t feel worth the high price tag.

That said, people are still excited about this camera. We had one person approach us during our field test to tell us that she is excited to get one even though she doesn’t know how well it works. Others gave puzzled looks and asked us what “that thing” is. If you’ve got the early adopter mindset, and the spare cash, and don’t mind waiting around for features, then you might have fun with this camera. For most people, though, it probably wouldn’t hurt to wait a little.

CLICK THROUGH THE REST OF THE PAGES FOR MORE SAMPLE IMAGES

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February 28, 2012 at 02:55AM


Canon 5D Mark II Photos and Specs Leak Ahead of Impending Launch

We’re on the verge of seeing the successor to the Canon 5D Mark II, and photos and specs are already starting to emerge ahead of the camera’s rumored March 2nd announcement. The camera will reportedly boast a 22MP sensor, 61 autofocus points, 100% viewfinder coverage, a 3.2-inch LCD screen, dual CF/SD slots, and a price tag of around ,500.
Here are a couple more leaked photos:

There are also a few new lenses rumored to be on the horizon: a Canon EF-S 18-125mm II, an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS 1.4x, and an EF 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens.

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