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Topics - John Thomas

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Hi all,

We started a new site with some unique photos at

It is for the first time when such photos are online and, hence, we want your constructive feedback. Feel free to dig the site.

All the best

Lenses / New patents for Canon fast primes
« on: April 03, 2013, 01:49:44 AM »
It seems that some high quality fast prime lenses (50mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.4 - there is also an 45mm f/1.6 and a 60mm f/1.8) are in the pipeline at Canon. I am not sure though (from translation) that they are EF lenses. See at

The original source:

Canon General / Will you pay $125,000 for Canon's Mixed Reality headset?
« on: February 22, 2013, 03:03:43 AM »
Look with what Canon fills their minds & hearts while we're expecting a better sensor, new firmware, better lenses... ...and better prices of course:

"Canon first introduced us to the concept of a Mixed Reality headset at its Expo in 2010. Now, the technology is going to be released for a whopping $125,000. The Canon Mixed Reality System—also known as MReal—will be available for big spenders on March 1st. On top of the device’s outrageous price, users will have to pay an additional $25,000 annual fee for maintenance.

The MReal is obviously not aimed at the average consumer. Instead, Canon is marketing it towards companies who want to create virtual prototypes to test user experience. Unveiled at an event at Manhattan's Classic Car Club, the MReal uses two cameras to send a video feed of the wearer’s surroundings to a pair of small monitors. This, combined with computer-generated graphics, creates a Mixed Reality experience.

The folks at Engadget have a hands-on with the MReal on their website. "


And now I'm thinking... they really realize what's going on in camera market?

Software & Accessories / Extreme angles photography. Which tools to use?
« on: January 03, 2013, 11:25:54 AM »
Hi all,

We do enough extreme angle photos and I mean here by "extreme angle" the low angle shots (significantly lower than the eye level) and the high angle shots where the photog needs to keep the camera above of his head.

Unfortunately, as you know, 5D3 has a fixed rear screen, so we are forced to use a "trial-and-error" technique to do our shoots.

However we did some research and we found till now that there are several gadgets to help here. I will list them in the following lines with my observations, their pros and cons, (according with my (humble) opinion of course) inviting you to add / modify / delete the list. Let the ball roll:

- Right Angle Finders. Something like this one:

Cheap, good raport price / value. However these things are 90 degrees only. Also they cannot extend. It would be very nice if there would be a product which will have an extensible arm (or should I say... leg?) which optionally would change its angle at, let's say 45 degrees, in order to give more flexibility in camera positioning.

A plus is that the thing is optical, hence fast low-light AF, no batteries, small in size, lightweight etc.

As an aside note, "360 degrees rotation" from the product's spec means for me that it rotates in the parallel plane with the camera rear not on the perpendicular one.

- Field Monitors. Something like this:

Way bigger and heavier than the previous option (the above is an 7" monitor). Perhaps a 5" one would be a better choice. Also, perhaps it would be a fragile option for a photojournalist. Needs battery (ok, I can cope with that). Also, it uses the HDMI output which means that it will use the LiveView engine hence the AF will be slower (even if I use the Quick more) and the camera's battery will drain faster.

Any thoughts here?

- Mirror. A simple mirror. See discussion here:

I think it is a very good idea however I think that the camera won't be so steady since one of the hands will keep the mirror. No, I cannot use always a tripod.

Any comments? Thoughts? Better options? Better products?

TIA for your feedback


In 5DMk3's manual (see pages 78-84), Canon divides the lenses in 9 groups based on how many Dual Cross-Type (if any), Cross-Type and Horizontal AF points a lens can exploit from the total of 61 AF points available.

The charts there are very nice, also the VIewfinder's blinking feature for the Horizontal AF points is ok, but how do I know in which group a lens belongs to, and I mean especially a lens which I do not own yet, a lens which I intend to purchase?

Of course, I mean lenses which aren't mentioned in the tables from the manual, either because are not from Canon either because are newer.

(For the nit-pickers: the aperture isn't sufficient to determine the group. For example there are f/2.8 lenses in groups A, B, C, D, E)


Hi all,

Ok, I know that I’m quite crazy these days actually shooting with 5D Mk3. Perhaps I should discuss over and over again about DxO, D800, pixel-peeping etc. Yes, D800 is the elephant in the room and now it is obvious that the only thing which is left to improve the situation is to improve the firmware. Anyway, Canon is working on a new version, isn’t it? :-)

But since there were many more or less good opinions and tests done without being very much in the battlefield with the camera, I chose to lay down my impression AFTER actually using it in rather harsh conditions for a photo reporter – I was in the Holy Mount Athos with the occasion of the Holy Week and the Orthodox Easter and all the celebrations tied with these events.

In technical terms, this means a very broad range of light from the normal daylight till the light of a single candle (yep, I have enough keepers at 25k ISO), a very broad range of movement from fast-paced moments to an endless peace and serenity (very good to find the God, very bad for a moving photographer with a “clack” dSLR). As an aside: IMHO the silent mode of 5DMk3 is definitely a must-have for almost any photo reporter - everyone loses his natural way of being when hears the mirror's sound.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions bellow are just thoughts of a photographer from the battlefield which shoot almost 10000 (ten thousand) photos in two weeks – nothing absolute, nothing dogmatic. I know that Canon is preparing a new firmware and I just want to be constructive.

Canon has a big problem now with D800 PR wise and I think that in the situation at hand the most effective way to improve it now is to improve the firmware.

Here we go:

1.   5D Mk3 screen: 418 Images on 16 GB card. Really?

Guys IMHO Canon is way off on this one. My workhorses are two 16 GB cards (one Lexar CF and one Trancend SD). EOS 5D3 says that I can shoot only 418 photos in RAW. However the camera writes on the cards somewhere between 530 – 570 files while shooting RAW mainly in 3200 – 12800 ISO range. And if I shoot in daylight (ie. low ISO) a 16GB card can hold till 590 RAW files.
Proposed solution: There are several variants but I think that the best ones are based on the (moving) average of file sizes actually shoot by the photographer. More details on request.

2.   What means “Auto” Min. Shutter Speed on ISO Speed Settings?

Well, I thought that it means that the camera adjusts the ISO and the aperture in order to meet a Shutter Speed equal with the lens’ Focal Length. But it seems that isn’t always the case, and hence there are shoots which are blurred because of this. For ex. having a 50mm lens the camera sets the exposure at 1/40 secs, having lens raked out at 135mm gives us a shutter speed of 1/122 aso. More examples on request.
Proposed solution: Add an option in “ISO Speed Settings” called ‘Enforce Shutter Speed > F. Length’ which when it is set to ‘Enabled’ will ensure (at the cost of a higher ISO) the right shutter speed (iow bigger than the F. Length).

3.   Manual AF Pt. Selec. Pattern - …half job

The “Manual AF Point Selection Pattern” (AF5 in camera’s menu) if it is in “Continuous” mode it wraps at the opposite edge. Except if the AF engine is in Zone AF mode. Why? The behavior of this feature isn’t consistent. And it is too bad. One must remember this when the things are happening quickly in front of him. Very frustrating.

4.   Super Safety Shift (Fix This!)

Guys, Safety Shift is a nice idea. However I think that it can be dramatically improved. Besides the values already there you can add other 3 values: “C1”, “C1,C2”, “C1,C2,C3” which will work in P, Tv and Av modes. “C1” means that when a correct exposure cannot be obtained with the current settings the camera will switch automatically and temporarily (only for the current shot) to the “C1” custom shooting mode. “C1,C2” means the same as above but if C1 fails also, the camera will try the C2 shooting mode. “C1,C2,C3” means that in order to obtain the correct exposure camera will try all the custom shooting modes in the specified order. Of course, beware of infinite recursion because Safety Shift is also recorded in custom shooting modes. Or perhaps is better to introduce an entirely new menu called “Fallback Shooting Modes” or similar?

5.   Not-So-Direct AF Selection with the Joystick

There is a customization called “AF point direct selection” which, during metering, allows the user to choose the AF point with the joystick. Nice feature indeed. But in order to be perfect, I think that it should have an option called “Auto-repeat” with the possible values of “Enabled / Disabled”. In order to change the AF point we must press one for each change. It would be much more convenient to keep the joystick pressed in order to move more quickly the AF point.

HTH & Best regards,


PS: Does someone know how to forward this text to Canon in order to be really effective and see some firmware improvements based on this?

Lenses / Canon 1DX: The AF problem may be bigger that we think?
« on: November 05, 2011, 11:56:25 AM »
Hi all,

Seeking the lens market AND the related info WRT Canon 1D X, I found some things which seems concerning:

1st, a note from Canon's Chuck Westerfall (it was quoted also here in some threads) saying:

“AF is unavailable on the EOS-1D X if the maximum aperture reported to the camera through the electronic lens mount is smaller than f/5.6. This is a lower specification than previous EOS-1 series DSLRs. [...]"

Having in mind the above, this means that Canon 1D X cannot focus on the longer (telephoto) lenses which have an aperture smaller than f/5.6, say 6.3?

This includes (at least) the following lenses:

From Sigma:

50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG HSM
150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro

From Tamron:

28-300mm VC F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
28-300mm VC F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
SP 200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD [IF], by buying Canon 1D X and having at least one of the above lenses and raking out the glass, one cannot use the AF anymore?

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