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Messages - ITshooter

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EOS Bodies / Re: Canon to Continue Using Canon Sensors in DSLRs
« on: November 07, 2014, 05:34:44 PM »
I spoke with 2 more Canon shooters on the west coast today (5D2 & 5D3) who have both decided to dump their Canon gear and jump over to Nikon D750's. One of them (like myself) had tried a Sony a7R for a while and was also unhappy with all of the compromises that came along with that.

While not a mass exodus of all types of shooters, there is without doubt an exodus from Canon (most commonly to Nikon) because Canon has pretty much stagnated in the Full Frame DSLR space for pretty close to 3 years now. If choosing a competitors sensor would help them to get back in the game, that would not in and of itself be a bad thing.

80% of the photographers I know who 2 years ago were shooting Canon have already given up on Canon and moved on. Every one of these folks were shooting full frame and most with multiple bodies and a huge investment in L Series Glass. They were all ready to move their capabilities forward and Canon simply had nothing to offer and they lost the sense that there was actually anything real on the horizon. These are the type of folks that were pre-ordering things like 5D3 the day it was announced. Canon has lost all of them and they are not coming back any time soon. The longer this exodus continues, the less demand there will be for full-frame Canon gear in the future if they ever do introduce something.

You can come up with scenarios and photographer types with this isn't happening like sports and I'll agree with you. However there is an exodus happening of people who can afford the transition (and some for whom it's a challenge) and it's not going to stop any time soon unless Canon actually releases something that interests these folks.

I think there are some market share losses, but in my experience, I still see way more Canon than anything else. I shoot at a lot of press events for big companies and a lot of trade shows, and Canon easily accounts for two-thirds, if not closer to three-quarters, of the cameras I see overall. It varies by event, of course, but out of dozens in the last couple years, I can't recall any event in which Canons weren't at least half the field.

What's very interesting to me is this-- the video scene at these events is still dominated by Canon. I've noticed a few internal PR teams have switched to Nikon gear, and last year at CES, Black Magic cameras had a small but noticeable presence. As someone who will be fairly outraged if the 5D Mark IV (or some other 2015 $2000 - $4000 Canon DSLR) doesn't have a great 1080p implementation and a decent internal 4K implementation, I find Canon's resilience in this market interesting. I used to see more Sonys (e.g. FS100s) among the people who weren't using Canon DSLRs for video; now, I see more C100 and C300 bodies in this group. That said, most of the Canon bodies I see are at least a few years old-- i.e. lots of 5D Mark IIIs, some C100s, even a few t3is and 60Ds. Not seeing any 70Ds yet and it's still too early to have expected a 7D Mark II sighting-- but the reason I bring up the prevalence of older models is this: When I do see photo/video combos that aren't Canon, they're usually micro four thirds, not Sony. This is all anecdotal, of course-- but since we're talking about demographics in which Canon is retaining users, I thought I'd add another set of observations.

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV To Feature 4K Video?
« on: July 03, 2014, 04:43:18 PM »
This might be disappointing news, as Canon might use 4K to differentiate the 7D replacement from the 5D replacement, meaning the 7D replacement wouldn't get 4K.  That would be the disappointing part.

I can't speak to the features of the 5D III replacement, but the 7D II absolutely 100% will not have 4k video.

Is that an opinion, or do you have information?

If Canon leaves 4K video out of the 7D II (or 5D mk IV), I think it would be a mistake. I know a lot of people in this forum default to the "most consumers don't have 4K TVs" argument, or the "Canon must protect the Cinema-series" argument, but both viewpoints are frankly myopic.

1) The 7D II won't be aimed at "most consumers"; it will be aimed at the sort of people with the disposable income for a $2000 product that entails lots of equally expensive accessories. Perhaps 4K TVs occupy relatively little market share overall, but what is their share among affluent buyers who might make up a greater proportion of the potential 7D II user base? What share will 4K sets have among these buyers next year, when the 7D II will presumably be at full availability?

2) Even if 4K isn't your delivery output, the extra resolution has lots of benefits, from the ability to crop into footage, to the ability to create sharper/ better stabilized 1080p footage, to the ability (with shutter speed and codec limitations) to pull a perfectly usable, print-worthy photo from moving footage. Speaking as a professional journalist (surely a core part of the 7D II's would-be user base), these functions are valuable. They'll be valuable for other professional users, too, to say nothing of enthusiasts. Yes, Canon might prefer that pros and enthusiasts purchase the next-gen C100 or something, but there's a clear demand for convergent photo-video tools, and the competition is already starting to accommodate it. Canon's staved off user loss so far thanks to lock-in from its lens ecosystem, but there's a turning point for everything. How long will Canon customers buy what Canon wants to sell instead of what consumers want? Sometimes Canon reminds me of Microsoft is this regard. Protectionist tactics have historically hit walls. Some argue that Canon sells DSLRs primarily for still features, and that video ones won't make-or-break sales on a large scale. Maybe we'll see.

3) Building on the above point... 4K isn't a necessity today, per se, but the 7D II will probably be replaced on a three-to-four-year cycle. By 2017, will 4K really be so optional? Even if Canon achieves strong early 7D II sales without 4K, what will the long-tail sales look like, as competitors bring worthier models to market? I suppose Canon could always accelerate its release cycle, but not many companies have success with that model when it comes to high-end hardware.

4) TVs and professional use cases are only part of the 4K equation. New computers already offer greater-than-1080p resolution, and over the next few years, monitors of greater and greater pixel density will become more common. Again, if we're looking forward to 2017 or so, and we're thinking of the sort of user who would own a $2000+ camera, what kind of computer gear do you think this user is going to have? There's a recurring rumor that Apple will launch 4K iMacs in the near future. If that happens, it will surely drive demand (again, among influential, affluent buyers) for 4K-capable DSLRs.

5) The "Canon needs to protect the 1DC" argument also shouldn't prevent a 4K-capable 7D II. The 1DC isn't a new camera. It's one thing to protect a product from cannibalization when it's been on the market for less than a year. But today, the 1DC isn't necessarily a better option than the GH4, at least not if you're oriented more toward video than stills but need both, and is surely due for an upgrade of its own. It makes no sense to think about the 7D II cannibalizing the current Cinema-series cameras; it makes sense to think about how 7D II video features might cannibalize the next generation's. This line of thinking offers much more latitude for product segmentation. The 1DC mK II, for example, might record internal 10-bit 4K to CFast, or using some new, efficient H265 codec, etc-- whereas the 7D II could record only internal 8-bit 4:2:0 4K. The 1DC Mk II could offer more frame rate options, or more professional profiles, zebras and focus peaking, and so on. If we're thinking of the 1-DC as a tool for professionals, it's insane to think that bare-bones 4K features in a 7D (or 5D, for that matter) would take away sales.

6) By 2016, I suspect it's going to be hard for Canon to keep 4K out of its Rebel line-- because everyone else will have implemented it by then. Panasonic is putting 4K in everything right now, and more are coming. If Canon doesn't plan to release a 4K-capable 7D II until, say, early 2014, what kind of upgrade path is it offering? Again, I suppose Canon might have a speedier refresh cycle in mind than anyone suspects.

Does this mean Canon will include 4K in any of the upcoming DSLRs besides the 1DC successor? Who knows. But as my above points explained, I see more risk than reward in being conservative, and I see no reason 4K-capable DSLRs have to cannibalize C-series sales, at least not among the core pro users who justify those cameras' high-margin prices to begin with.

EDIT: After thinking for a minute, it occurs to me that if Canon actually has some amazing new sensor that creates meaningfully better stills (per the rumor about the private demos involving a special monitor), then maybe the company has more leverage than I expect. If the images are amazing, or there's some other new tech involved (new AF, etc), maybe the stills guys will flock to the model, regardless of whatever Canon does with video. But still, I think the point remains-- it seems more stubborn than sensible for Canon to leave 4K out of its next-gen pro cameras. And since it doesn't offer the video people anything comparable at the price (or anything close to it), it seems like a needless risk.

Anyone know how NDAs generally work?

Do they usually expire or get lifted before the product is announced, or do companies purposely set the NDA expiration date after their projected announcement date and then lift it once the announcement is made?

I'm guessing the latter. It doesn't seem like they would lift an NDA until they release or announce the product.

So, if the NDAs expire in September, that would be the latest date for a release announcement?

You pretty much want the NDA/Embargo to be lifted coincidentally with if not slightly before the actual announcement. Example: Canon wants to announce something on date X. The NDA/embargo would be lifted at the very latest just before the announcement, but likely a day or more before.

The reason for this is if you want the biggest impact for your announcement, you want everyone who was under the NDA/Embargo - photographers, columnists, reviewers, etc. - to be crowing about your product at the same time as your announcement.

Yeah, as often happens, I don't think I was as clear as I should have been about what I meant. My point really was that if Canon tells those under the NDA/Embargo that "The embargo will expire in September" then it's a near certainty that it will indeed expire in September, because it would be very hard to put the genie back in the bottle and say, "Oh wait, we are now extending the embargo until Oct. 7."

On the other hand, if they tell those under the embargo that it will expire on, say Sept. 15, it is a lot easier to then notify everyone that "we are moving the release date up, so instead of Sept. 15, it will now expire Sept. 7."

I guess what I was clumsily trying to suggest is that if there is a CR3 rumor that the NDAs will expire in September, we can say with some certainty that the announcement will occur no later than September.

I work in the media and deal with NDAs daily.

The NDAs usually expire concurrent to the announcement, sometimes shortly before. Availability is a completely different issue. Canon isn't the only company that announces products months ahead of availability, nor the the only one who misses advertised shipping deadlines. 

While it's not the norm, companies sometimes delay embargoes. I haven't worked specifically with Canon, but I work with a lot of companies that are of similar scale and play in some of the same spaces, as well as some significantly bigger companies. The media gets alerted late in the game; professional photographers, retailers, etc. will get an earlier look. If NDAs can change as far into the game as the media-alert stage, then I am sure they can change during the earlier stuff with pro photogs, etc. I've seen some sloppiness around NDAs from external PR agencies, but internal teams are pretty sharp, and I suspect anyone who knows about the 7D replacement (or whatever) right now is working directly with Canon. If Canon needs to move an NDA, it's not going to fall out of touch with those guys. Likewise, I doubt it will have trouble keeping in line those who were already going to honor the embargo in the first place. When the media gets involved, it's a mess, but at this stage, anyone who's been using the device is in a really select group. The reported retail demonstrations open Canon up to a bit more leak vulnerability, I suppose. Anyhow, leaks often come from someone inside the company, or from someone the person holding the NDA happens to inadvertently or ill-advisedly talk to, but less often (at least in my experience) from the person under NDA him/herself.

EOS Bodies / Re: 1d IV vs. 7D II
« on: April 17, 2014, 04:16:34 PM »
Apparently some don't get why this matters. If physics really does limit how well an APS-C sensor can perform at higher ISOs (and I have no reason to doubt you on that), then the direction Canon decides to go with the 7DII sensor will tell us much about what the company thinks about the future of high-end crop sensor DSLRs.

If Canon were to release a 16mp 7DII, they are saying something quite different than if they release a 22-24 mp 7DII.

You're bringing up a good point, but I think you might be overlooking an important consideration for market differentiation-- video. That could surely influence sensor strategy as well.

I'm going to use short-hand here . . .

In Toronto, Canada, a second-shooter's images 'belong' to the hired photog.  Even if a guest has persuaded the bride and groom to let them 'shoot' the wedding (not my favourite, but it is their day, not mine), the photos of the 'guest second-shooter' 'belong' to the photog as well.

In this case, the images should be turned over to the primary photog for sale and you get to use the photos in you portfolio.
It seems exploitation to me. If the guest has permission from the bride and groom I cannot believe that there is a law that forces him to give his photos to the pro. It isn't as if the pro has hired him.

On the other hand, there is an ethical issue for the specific case as it was presented by the OP.

Agreed. I'm neither a lawyer nor a wedding photographer. I shoot news and sports, so I don't have any specific knowledge. But it seems preposterous to me that a guest of the bride and groom is in any way beholden to the official photographer. I suppose if the photographer somehow got the couple-to-be to sign some kind of exclusivity contract, that might change things-- but is that seriously a standard practice? There are certainly ethical implications involved in taking business away from the official photographer, even as a guest. But I fail to see how something a guest shoots can "belong" to the official photographer.

EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Spec List Surfaces [CR1]
« on: October 27, 2013, 02:50:54 PM »
"Innovative video features"

lol yeah maybe 2 years later with ML hacks.

unless its 4K its DOA.


Maybe. But if it's a pro-oriented camera, I think decent codecs would go farther than some kind of ultra-compressed 4K. If you acquire in 4K with the intent of downsizing to 1080p, you can get some of the advantages a better 1080p codec might have provided, even if the 4K source file isn't ideally compressed-- but you can't fully compensate for the real deal.

Rumors a while back talked about 60fps RAW bursts, which would be "innovative" in a Canon body, and would serve, within limitations, to offer both a 4K+ spec and a RAW video spec, with some slow-motion applications adding to the appeal. That sounds intriguing, but I think both Panasonic and Sony are going to continue to up the ante in the $2000-$5000 range, so hopefully there's more.

If the Cinema EOS line is upgraded at some point in early 2014, that opens the door for a 7D Mark II with relatively fewer artificially crippled functions. The C500 mk ii will probably remain Canon's only RAW option for real 4K and slow-motion recording, but the C300 follow-up could get 4K with a good codec to CF cards, and more frame rate options; and the C100 successor might get 4K with a lesser codec, or maybe 2K output with the original C300's broadcast-ready codec, and 4K available to an external recorder. All of that seems reasonable. It's conservative enough to fit Canon's attitude but aggressive enough to remain broadly competitive with more spec-rich options from RED, Sony and even Black Magic.

That might open up the 7D Mark II to real 1080p recording-- e.g. sample the whole sensor, put it in a 10-bit codec, etc. That would leave 4K to the Cinema cams but provide a C300-level HD image on a DSLR-- something Canon doesn't come close to providing now in the regular pro DSLRS, and that it only comes sort of close to even with the 1D-C. If it included a 60fps RAW burst, 1080p with a great codec and sampling, 1D-series frame rate and AF and a great build... I'd probably pay $2500 even if the still quality is only on par with Canon's other APS-C sensors. If it's actually a stop better, I'd be pumped. Granted, I'm someone who shoots both stills and video, so my video zeal is surely swaying my enthusiasm.

EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Information [CR2]
« on: August 03, 2013, 08:32:11 PM »
I've owned a 7D since shortly after its introduction.  I bought a 6D this past April.  On my recent trip I shot the 6D as my carry-around (still getting to know it) and anytime the light was low.  I used either/or in daylight.  Action (surfers, birds, etc.) in daylight was almost exclusively 7D.  The dynamic range of the 6D beats the 7D hands-down.  7D AF, AF points, frame rate is way above 6D capabilities.  My 7D captures almost double the frames my 6D does in the same amount of time.  I don't regret buying the 6D just for the increased ability to shoot well at night, and for better detail in my landscapes.  The 7D has survived so long because as a new breed it was far superior to the xxD line, and its features pushed the xD line; though it lacked xD DR & ISO capabilities most of these issues could be addressed in ppc.  Marry the best features of the two bodies together for a sure winner in the 7D MkII.

I'm not sure I'd personally have made the same decision, with respect to camera usage, but I can see why you did. When I upgraded my a Rebel to a 60D, the 60D felt substantially more robust and sophisticated. And I got great shots with it that I was able to use in professional capacities. But I've used my 5D Mark III almost exclusively for more than a year, and when I recently picked up the 60D for the first time in months, I was astonished: The camera felt like a toy. I'd always rolled my eyes when people - elitists, I once presumed - said things like that in the past, but I found myself forced to agree. I think the 6D's image quality advantage would make use it over a 7D in a lot of situations, but I can imagine someone sticking with the 7D in all but low light and tripod work, just for the ergonomics and responsiveness.

Maybe that's Canon's plan. The sensors might not be the revelation that was previously rumored, but if the 7D Mark II's build quality and other features are top-notch, maybe the sensor doesn't have to be.

I'd loved to be proved wrong on that front, though. It's interesting that this rumor, which conflicts with many in the past, has been given a CR2. Not sure if that indicates corroboration from several sources, or a single rumor from a known source. But of all the 7D Mark II gossip to come along lately, this one is both the least exciting, and, based on Canon's recent APS-C strategy, the most likely.

EOS Bodies / Re: EOS 7D Mark II Information [CR2]
« on: August 03, 2013, 05:48:26 PM »
Here's a possible differentiation that no one's brought up: video-centric features.

The 70D has the new dual-pixel autofocus during video, and its inherited the All-I recording option found in the current-gen XD full frame cameras. But early sample footage suggests image quality isn't much better than that found in earlier ASP-C Canon models. Lots of artifacts, sub-HD resolution, etc.

That means the 7D II could feature some kind of significant step-up in video features. Maybe it will have a cleaner image, like the 5D Mark III (though I doubt it, if the 7D Mark II shares the 70D's sensor). Or maybe it will be a little sharper, like the 1DX, or even like the 35mm crop mode in the 1D-C. Or maybe Canon will do something really surprising, like implement decent video encoding. The much-ballyhooed All-I recording feature is better than the original implementation, but something that uses 4:2:2 color space would be nice, or that legitimately had a broadcast-ready bit rate.

Other rumors mentioned a 60fps burst mode, which has interesting photographic applications. That could produce 2.5 seconds of RAW 4K slow-mo footage, which opens up a world of applications currently unavailable to any Canon shooter--including the 1D-C crowd.

I think Canon could go this route without harming its other products.

The full frame models will have enough differentiation purely because of their larger sensors. The full frame aesthetic isn't possible on an ASP-C camera, at least not unless Speed Booster-style adaptors become more reliable and widely-adopted. For film people, it could make sense to have both an ASP-C body and a full-frame body, if Canon releases these hypothetical video enhancements. For stills people, meanwhile, if the 7D II shares the 70D's image sensor, full frame cameras are likewise still protected. So these video features present no loss to the XD full frame bodies, excluding losses that Canon is already evidently ready to accept (e.g. the company seems ready to accept some 5D Mark III losses among sports shooters by making the 7D Mark II a faster camera with a comparable autofocus system)

What about the C-series cameras? Well, the 7D II won't have the ergonomics of a C300, and that matters. If it didn't, Canon wouldn't be selling so many of the things. The RED Scarlet isn't much more money, and it produces better image quality in many ways. Still, the C300 still does very well because it allows faster workflows while offering, for most applications, video quality that's close enough to what one gets from RED. Plus there are other factors, such as built-in ND filters, audio ports, etc.

Also, Canon is going to have to move the lower-level C-series cameras to 4K relatively soon. Maybe not in the next year, but if the 7D Mark II is a 2014 camera, I wouldn't be surprised if a C300 mark II and a C100 mark II appeared shortly thereafter. If Black Magic ever gets its manufacturing act together, and if Sony keeps pushing hard on price, Canon's hand might be forced even sooner. So I don't think superior video specs on a 7D Mark II will cause any trouble with C-series bodies.

I constantly hear people talk about backlash when a company releases a superior spec on a downstream product-- i.e. is it possible some 5D Mark III users will be pissed if the 7D Mark II comes along with the video features they actually wanted? Sure, some people will grumble-- but they'd grumble more if Canon keeps relying on the same crappy video codecs.

The video improvements I've described could also help Canon with the Magic Lantern angle. I think Canon likes Magic Lantern in the sense that the hack encourages budget filmmakers to buy Canon DSLRs instead of, say, Nikon DSLRs, or something like the Sony FS100. But Canon also gets a lot of flack over Magic Lantern because the hacks illustrate how much Canon intentionally handicaps hardware. From Canon's perspective, this criticism isn't that big a deal, as it doesn't impact the markets where Canon makes its money-- e.g. consumers buying Rebels. But the markets it DOES annoy are still lucrative, both because there's a growing number of people in them, and because these people tend to buy more accessories than the average consumer. You'll find a million consumers who stick with the kit lens-- but try finding a wannabe filmmaker who hasn't begun investing in some fast primes, or who isn't salivating over something expensive, like the creamy bokeh of the 50L?

This is kind of a rambling post, but the point is this: I see lots of reasons for Canon to differentiate the 7D Mark II's video features in a major way, and not a lot of risk if the company chooses to do so.

Canon General / Re: How much would you pay?
« on: April 29, 2013, 03:56:15 PM »
Why pay money to see a loser, the leader and visionary is gone the fall of apple has begun :'(

Sorry for the rant, but as someone who follows technology closer than most, I'm annoyed that it's suddenly become trendy to hate on Apple. Maybe this is karma, since Cupertino has had the "cool" advantage for quite some time. But even if you take a pretty harsh look at Apple, the facts simply don't support descriptions such as "user."

Apple's profits in the most recent quarter were higher than those of Microsoft and Google combined. The company's stock has taken a beating, but this is driven more by hedge fund managers and the market's generally knee-jerk, reactionary attitude to tech stocks. Don't forget: Wall Street has been routinely stupid when it comes to Apple--e.g. massively and undeniably undervaluing the stock during the recession, despite Cupertino's outstanding results during the same period.

Yes, the company has failed to release a new, groundbreaking product in a while. Yes, Android has gained market share. Yes, there is more competition now from Windows 8, and with the launch of Intel's Haswell and Bay Trail processors, that competition will only grow fiercer, especially in the vital mini-tablet market, which the iPad Mini currently owns.

But no one innovates non-stop, and we have to at least see how Tim Cook handles the company's next big product launch before we declare his tenure a failure.

Look at the competition. Android has basically caught up to iOS in terms of functionality but it hasn't meaningfully surpassed it. Yes, yes, Android fans, I know your preferred platform can do things that iOS can't-- but a lot of this so-called differentiation doesn't matter outside of niche use cases, and Apple's security model is substantially superior. There's a reason that 90% of smartphones in the enterprise are still iPhones.

Apple's been in a period of R&D and quiet acquisitions. If WWDC brings something new on the software front (and that's the rumor), a lot of the naysayers could change their tune. And even if WWDC doesn't bring anything exciting, Apple still isn't sunk. A WWDC flop would mean Cupertino is in for a summer of Wall Street skepticism--but even in this scenario, the Fall will be the true "make or break" moment for Cook's leadership. That's when new products are going to show up. Will they be iterative--e.g. a new iPad Mini with Retina Display? Or will they knock something out of the park--e.g. launch a killer TV or wearable tech product, or a version of Siri that takes voice recognition tech to the next level. Will they finally remember the Mac Pro? Will iOS and OS X continue to merge in useful ways? None of these questions is insignificant to Apple's future.

Android has just leveled the playing field for current tech, but if Apple gets TV, wearable technology, or any of the next-gen stuff right, it could open up new, multi-billion dollar revenue streams on top of the PC, mobile, and software businesses that Apple already owns. And you can bet that any of these next-gen platforms will loop into iOS. Ecosystems are the drivers of the new device landscape, not hardware-- and it's waaaaaay premature to say Apple has lost its footing in this race.

Here's some more evidence: Android's market share is primarily due to low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, a tactic Apple hasn't yet tried, and which it is soon expected to embrace. The rest of Android's success has a lot to do with Samsung, and if you haven't noticed that Samsung layers a lot of proprietary software on top of Google's open-source foundation, take a minute to think about that. Does Samsung have the makings of its own OS? I think so. And Facebook's Android-flavored "Home" product seems like the beginning of an OS too. If any of these Android-friendly companies fragment off of the main Android ecosystem (something Google is discouraging with its recent app update revisions), Android won't be in hot shape.

Could Apple be on the way down? Sure. Would I pay half a million dollars for lunch with Tim Cook? No. For work, I talk to C-level executives from competing companies all the time, and they never get baited into saying anything interesting.

But still-- the Apple backlash that's emerged over the last few months is befuddling. Should the company do something to freshen up iOS? Probably. But saying that the products are a little stagnant is a far cry from writing off the company's leadership and prospects. Maybe Apple is headed the way of Dell, HP and Microsoft-- the first two of which were once tech ultra-players who have since fallen on hard times, and the third of which is somewhat unfairly maligned (still enormously profitable) but poised to lose the de facto monopoly it's enjoyed for the last decade.

But iOS still has a lot of potential, as I described above, and Macs have weathered the downturn in PC sales far better than any Windows machines. That alone puts Apple in decent shape, and with at least two potentially huge revenue streams allegedly in the wings, it's hard to claim the company has reached moribund status.

EOS Bodies / Re: Why not higher resolution video?
« on: April 26, 2013, 03:43:16 PM »
The major point has been made: the hardware/ software demands of pulling 4K footage of a large sensor are pretty high.

That said, there are a couple other angles:

-- Canon clearly has the technology to do 4K-- e.g. the 1D-C. A high-end stills camera such as the 5D Mark III or the 1D-X could have been bestowed with the same powers (or at least smarter compression and downscaling of the 1080p image)-- but Canon chose not to. Why? Well, from their perspective, the real question is "Why should we?" When the 1D-C came out, it was the cheapest option for real, large-sensor 4K. It was also absolutely unique in its form factor and its ability to record 4K to CF cards. Yes, the Scarlet's out there too, but getting that camera in workable shape isn't cheap. It has some features that outclass the 1D-C (frame rates, RAW workflow), but unless you're making money off of these additional capabilities, the 1D-C offered the lowest TCO when it became available. 4K, from Canon's perspective, is something that enthusiasts want but that only professionals really need. As Sony and potentially Nikon and Panasonic get more aggressive in the stills/motion hybrid space, and as competitors such as Black Magic enter the cinema camera space, Canon might be persuaded to change its strategy. But Canon often looks at market transitions and waits until the last minute to make the change. Sometimes they wait too long (e.g. EOS-M) but their strategy is clearly to wait until a disruption is happening at a large scale, not to usher in the disruption themselves. Canon might still hold off on 4K below $10,000 for a while, given how obstinately the company has resisted 60 fps at 1080p-- but I can see where Canon is coming from when it basically says, "You want 4K? Are you a working media professional? No? Then what's the rush?"

2) The "consumers don't have 4K TVs" argument is a little dodgier. On the one hand, yes, it's true, if no one has the equipment to watch 4K content, then it's silly for Canon users (excluding certain professionals) to clamor for the feature. On the other hand, 4K TVs have become semi-affordable (e.g. you merely need to be well-off now, whereas you would have needed to be a top-1% earner to afford one back in January). Computer monitors and laptop/tablet screens are also pushing the resolution limit-- the 2.5K-ish Retina-level monitors are getting more ubiquitous, and all the chipmakers point out that their next-gen processors can handle 4K on multiple monitors. A lot of these computer resolution upgrades have to do with specialized industries--e.g. a stock trader who uses multiple monitors during work. At sub-50 inch screen sizes, the difference between 4K and 1080p can be hard to detect. Nevertheless, as 4K displays become commoditized over the next few years, the "you're a consumer and don't really need 4K" argument (which Canon has made) could become tougher to sustain.

3) Does anyone remember the alleged "30 fps burst mode" in a recent set of rumored 7D Mark II specs? I wonder if that's something similar to what the Nikon mirrorless cameras can do, and that the Panasonic m43 cameras do at reduced resolution. If the rumor is correct, I assume that AF would be disabled while this is going on, and that some sort of global shutter technology is being employed, which could have a few usability implications. Moreover, you certainly couldn't shoot a 4K feature in one-second increments. But still, if the rumor is correct, it would mean RAW 4K+ video, which, for a camera aimed at sports shooters, is pretty cool. It would also suggest nice things about Digic 6, and what it might be capable of. If the camera can manage 18-24MP bursts at high frame rate, then surely it could manage sustained 4K shooting for longer periods. The technical limitations would no longer be an excuse, so Canon's decision to include or withhold advanced video functions would come down to market positioning.

So, long story short, Canon isn't implementing true HD (let alone 4K) because it doesn't think it needs to yet. The technical challenges are undeniable yet nonetheless conquerable, so Canon's decision has been to milk the new tech in high-margin products, rather than to implement it at scale. It'll change that attitude when it thinks it needs to- and then the question will be, did Canon judge the market's dynamics correctly?

mini-rant here...

I don't have a 1D C and am unlikely to own one anytime soon-- but "stability issues"? Given that Canon reps were at one point saying the 5D Mark III hardware couldn't support uncompressed HDMI-out (a demonstrable falsehood at this point), I'm somewhat inclined to be skeptical. And even if the issues are legitimate, I'm sort of astonished that Canon has been so silent about the firmware updates, especially after Black Magic stole all the NAB thunder, and after Sony showed off 4K prototypes aimed squarely at the C line.

I know there's an argument that says Canon knows exactly who its customers are, particularly for a low-volume product such as the 1D C. Maybe high frame rates don't matter to the target audience. The C100 and C300  are certainly built around that philosophy-- that is, they might lose out in absolute image quality to Black Magic, and they might lose out on specs to Sony, but they compensate with ergonomic advantages, workflow simplicity and other variables that working professionals care about.

But man, if Canon's assumptions about its customers are askew, the company could find itself playing from behind in more ways then spec sheets. Canon's sales say that the company is doing fine, but it all reminds me a little bit of Microsoft. Microsoft missed the boat on mobile smart devices and consumerizaton trends, and now it faces a future in which Android will own more devices than any other OS, and in which Apple OSes will have about the same overall market share as Windows. That's the analyst expectation for 2017, anyway, and if they're right, it'll be a big adjustment for a company accustomed to de facto monopolies. Microsoft has a lot of ecosystem advantages that have been mitigated by outside forces. I have no concrete basis for suggesting Canon is similarly vulnerable, but I think there are some parallels.

Blergh... okay, ending rant about products I neither own nor am likely to own.

Canon EF Prime Lenses / Re: Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM "Pancake"
« on: March 25, 2013, 02:41:21 AM »
It's easily my best "bang for your buck" lens. My 70-200mm f4L is probably my sharpest lens, but the 40mm f/2.8 is right there with it. Its auto focus is just fast enough to work with moving subjects. This is my most recent example-- sort of an experiment, and I don't think I'm quite satisfied yet. I was going for some kind of middle ground between photograph and colored pencil sketch. Anyway, it's a really useful, surprisingly versatile focal length for museums and general walk-around use. Wide enough on FF to get context but "normal" enough to closely frame subjects without worry too much about distortion.

Canon EF Zoom Lenses / Re: Canon EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
« on: March 25, 2013, 02:32:35 AM »
I've ended up liking mine more than I'd anticipated. I thought the distortion on the wide end or the relatively narrow aperture would bug me-- and they have, at times. But for the most part, it's been my go-to lens when I shoot events. The 5D Mark III's high ISOs give me just enough shutter speed flexibility to freeze motion with f/4 at dimly lit press events and trade shows, and because the 24-105 range is so versatile, I use the lens at least half the time. I have to pull out primes if I want particularly striking bokeh but I've certainly found its sharpness, which is sometimes maligned, to be more than acceptable. Not as crisp as my 40mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/4, but otherwise as sharp as my other primes (though, to be fair, this is often comparing 24-105 at f/4 to 85 at f/2 and 50 at 4 f/1.6 or f/1.8-- not quite apples to apples).

This shot is my most recent 24-105 picture, nothing special, but I really like how the lens transmits colors, and how the Mark III's files respond to reasonable processing.

Technical Support / Re: A Film Look
« on: March 12, 2013, 03:29:58 PM »
I could be wrong here, but I get the feeling the original poster isn't thinking of this is ontological terms, i.e. the aesthetic and medium of "film" as a distinct from the aesthetic and medium of digital. Rather, I think the poster means "film" as in "cinema." If you look at the flickr profile he linked to, most of the categories refer to "cinematic this" and "cinematographers of that."

In other words, I think he means the pictures are evocative of modern Hollywood cinema, and that he wants to know how to replicate this look.

If I'm right, here are some observations:

The flickr photographer does him/herself some favors by starting with compositions that suggest narratives. If there's action in the shot, for example, he/she often frames it from a semi-wide angle, accentuating leading lines and depth and motion through space. Other shots create a sense of mystery or foreboding by isolating a transitory figure within the environment, again with the help of leading lines and balanced compositions.

That much is done in the camera but a lot of the effect was created in post. The images have been treated to emphasize shades with certain relationships on the color wheel. For example, many of the images push the shadows toward the blues while nudging the mid tones toward the reds. This isolates skin color, making subjects pop, and, by boosting opposed colors, creates greater contrast in the image. Others suggest warmth with green and yellow/red casts. Whatever the combination, it should be noted that this effect can be taken to extremes very easily.

Speaking of contrast, the flickr images look like the blacks have been crushed a bit. Generally, the darker areas are pulled down just enough to retain detail. Highlights are pushed, meanwhile, pretty carefully to increase contrast while still maintaining detail and subtle gradations. There are a number of ways this could be accomplished. If you shoot in a neutral profile, you might get a similar effect by simply applying a typical S-curve. In a standard profile, one might apply a less aggressive curve and then selectively bring back highlight data, etc. Depends a bit on how much you want to mess with colors or make local adjustments, among other things.

A lot of the images are shot in fog or snow, which applies a diffusion effect to the lights. That's something that could be created practically in a studio-style shoot but that's harder to control if you're a street shooter. Red Giant makes a Magic Bullet plug-in for Aperture, Photoshop, etc. that allows for the contrast, color and saturation work I described above, and that also allows you to apply various diffusion effects. It also has tools to make sure you don't overcook the image, such as scopes to make sure skin tones stay where they're supposed to. It contains a number of presets, most of which look overdone unless you shoot in a pretty flat picture profile. But once you learn what kind of acquisition data it needs, the program is pretty much designed to quickly and easily produce the specific look you're pursuing.

EOS Bodies - For Video / Re: 1D X - Clean HDMI out
« on: March 05, 2013, 02:55:20 PM »
Bad news. I bought a 1dx as I'd asked canon directly if it will get the firmware in April. They told me yes. So I then bought the 1dx and called them again to ask when. They sent me a message that they made a mistake. A day later canon called me to apologise. They said the 1dx is too close to the 1dc so they will not release it. If we want hdmi and video features be the 1dc. I complained and told them that this was not good enough. That the 1dx was in fact marketed as a video device. It was the pinnacle of dslr shooting right up to the 1dc came out. So they offered me a full refund. But assured me there will be no firmware update.

I am holding out to hope that research dept don't speak to sales and that we might see the release in April. It would be a real shame not to. However it's low light is simply astounding to the 5d mk 2 and 3 - still a deal breaker for me even with the price hike.

And omg is the stills super crisp Witt the fast burst and af drive...

I'm not yet sold that the clean HDMI out will matter for a lot of applications, but if I owned a 1DX, I'd still be pretty aggravated by this news. That said, Canon reps also swore up and down that the 5D Mark III's hardware was incapable of supporting a clean HDMI output--claims we now know to be hogwash. Thus, if Canon is indeed assuring users there will be no firmware update, I'm suspicious. The 1DX isn't that close to the 1DC in terms of live features, and clean HDMI on the 1DX shouldn't threaten the more expensive option. the 1DX would still lack 4K, Canon log, Super 35mm crop... If a 5d Mark III with clean HDMI out isn't going to cannibalize 1DC sales, I don't see why a firmware-enhanced 1DX would do that trick. Sounds suspect.

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