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Topics - Steve Todd

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Lenses / Lens Field of View Comparator on Canon DLC Site
« on: March 27, 2014, 09:53:30 AM »
Canon has posted a nifty new lens field of view comparator on their DLC site:


EOS Bodies / AI Servo AF Versus One-Shot AF For Stationary Subjects
« on: March 25, 2014, 11:05:53 AM »
Having read several posts discussing the pros and cons of using AI Servo AF versus One-Shot AF for stationary subjects, I thought I'd ask the one guy who could best address this issue for us. 

He was kind enought to allow me to post his reply to my questions here:

Hi, Steve:

There are no differences in focusing speed, focusing accuracy, or focusing point selection algorithms between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF with EOS DIgital SLR cameras, period.

The basic difference between them is that One-Shot AF locks focus as soon as it is complete, whereas AI Servo AF continues to track focus as long as it is active. This is why One-Shot AF is recommended for stationary subjects, while AI Servo AF is recommended for most types of moving subjects, especially those that move towards or away from the camera as opposed to lateral movement across the frame.

There are other differences between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF that can affect some kinds of photography:

1) AI Servo AF allows photographers to release the shutter at will, regardless of whether focusing has been completed or not. This is intentional, in order to allow the photographer to prioritize capturing the peak moment regardless of focusing status. The trade-off is the fact that there is no guarantee that the focus will be sharp on a stationary subject in AI Servo AF, especially during handheld photography at close range with shallow depth of field. Under these specific conditions (one more time for emphasis, I am saying Stationary Subject, handheld photography at close range with shallow depth of field), One-Shot AF is a more reliable focusing method because it locks focus while AI Servo does not.

2) As light levels diminish, eventually AI Servo AF will cease to function before One-Shot AF does. This is because One-Shot AF allows a longer sampling period for AF measurement in low light than AI Servo does. (The AF measurement sampling period is analogous to a shutter speed for the AF sensor. The longer the sampling period, the greater the sensitivity.) Remember that the AF sensor in the camera has a low light threshold, typically EV -1 or -2 depending on the camera; this figure is quoted specifically for the center AF point with One-Shot AF. It's usually about 2 stops less than than with AI Servo AF, and even lower with off-center focusing points. Therefore, if maximum sensitivity for AF in low light is your priority, we strongly recommend One-Shot AF with the center focusing point.

Going back to point 1, current professional EOS models like the 1D C, 1D X and 5D Mark III give photographers more control over shutter release priority in AI Servo AF than older models. You'll notice that there are menu settings in the AF menu section for 'AI Servo 1st Image Priority' and 'AI Servo 2nd Image Priority.' These settings let you control how long the camera waits before releasing the shutter in AI Servo, which is better than older cameras like the 1D Mark IV or 5D Mark II. But it still lets the camera shoot when it is out of focus in AI Servo AF if you insist. In other words, shutter release in AI Servo AF is always a matter of "when," it is never a matter of "if" the subject is in focus.

The bottom line is simply this: AI Servo AF is *not* equivalent to One-Shot AF for stationary subjects in terms of shutter release priority, especially for handheld shots with shallow depth of field, and we never claimed that it was. That's why we offer both focusing modes.  This doesn't mean that AI Servo *can't* get it right.  It means that One-Shot AF is more reliable under these specific conditions.

Hope that helps.

    Chuck Westfall
Advisor, Technical Information
ITCG Prof Client Relations Division
Canon U.S.A., Inc.
One Canon Park, Melville, NY 11747

EOS Bodies / Interesting Read For 1DX and 5D3 Owners
« on: March 24, 2014, 09:40:31 AM »
Interesting read on the 1DX and 5D3 AF Systems.  You might have already read this, but I thought it was worth posting for those who haven't:


EOS Bodies / EOS-1D X, Dual Back Button AF
« on: March 09, 2014, 12:38:35 PM »
Having used the back button AF method for several years, I thought I would try the dual back button feature made possible by the recent 2.0.3 firmware update.  Until the new firmware update, I separated the AF Start function from the Shutter Button using the normal back button method.  My focusing method was to have the AF-ON button set for AI-Servo AF.  If I wanted to quickly lock the focus, I would simply focus using AI-Servo AF, release my thumb from the button, reframe the subject and shoot.  I could have just switched between the two modes by pressing the AF Drive button on the top deck and use the Main Dial to switch between One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF.  However, that just wasen't quick enough for my shoot style.

Prior to the new firmware update, you could program one of the programable buttons to toggle between AI-Servo AF and One-Shot AF.  However, that required me to press the button set to toggle between the two AF modes (I used the Multi-function 2 button), with my second finger (middle finger) while using my thumb to press the AF-ON button to focus and my index finger (pointing finger) to release the shutter.  That's not good either.  Sure, I could have also left the shutter button to the default setting (AF and Metering Start-Shutter Release), but I still like separating those functions.

With the new firmware update, you can now program the AF-ON button to AI-Servo and the AE lock button to One-Shot AF.  Once set, they are then dedicated to perform those functions when pressed and held in regardless of what is set on the top LCD panel.  Having used this now for a few weeks, I find it the perfect match for my style of shooting.

To program these functions, use page 343 of the updated EOS-1D X Manual (downloadable from the Canon USA website).  Simply use Custon Function 5 (Operation, Custom Controls) To make the programming changes to the buttons. 

BTW, I programed the MF2 button for Spot AF and the DOF button for AE Lock, as I rarely use the DOF button anyway.  I also program the M-Fn button next to the shutter button for the Viewfinder electronic level function.

Using the two back buttons for instant AF selection and activation, together with the Shutter button only used for metering and shutter release, add a great new operational capability to the already wonderful camera.  I just wish I could setup my 1D4 to do the same!

I realize this was a rather lengthy explanation, but I know I like it spelled out fully when someone suggests a new method to me!  Hope this helps!  It is definitely worth trying!

EOS Bodies / New EOS-1D X, 4x5 Flipbook Now Available
« on: February 22, 2014, 11:57:25 AM »
Use this link to download Canon's new 4"x5" flipbook for the 1DX:

Sorry, here's a better link:   The PDF is at the bottom of the page.


New photos and simplified explanation of new features contained in the recent firmware 2.0.3 release.

EOS Bodies / Canon CPS Irvine Experience
« on: February 16, 2014, 11:36:51 AM »
I have read several posts on CR from people that said they had experienced problems with the Canon Factory Service Center in Irvine, CA.  Well, I don't believe it's just me, but I have never been anything but completely satisfied with the folks at Irvine.  I've used them for over 16-years now and they never fail to amaze me with their excellent customer service, and professional product repair/clean & check procedures. 

Although I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I make several trips out to the coast each year.  The Canon Irvine facility is located just 20min. from where my Daughter lives, making it very convenient for me to drop my gear off and get it serviced while I enjoy the great California weather.  Additionally, I save a bunch on shipping and insurance costs this way too!

On my trip out there last week, I needed to have my 1DX and 1D4 bodies cleaned and checked.  The 1D4 also required adjustment, as it took a large amount of MFA (-10 to -16) on most of my telephoto lenses to attain sharp focus!  I had never checked this fully, as I had a second 1D4 that I used almost exclusively and only used wide-angle lenses with this body.  Although the body was obuiously in "as new" condition and the shutter actuation count was exactly 1,000, I was informed that there would be a service fee ($100+) for that body.

Lesson learned, always fully check new bodies thoroughly before the warrantee expires!  Fortunately for me, after reviewing my CPS account and discussing the issue with CPS management, they performed the service at no charge.  Additionally, they completed work on my bodies well ahead of the projected three-day turn around.  They certainly didn't have to do all this for me, but they did!  Just one more example where the Canon Irvine folks went above and beyond for one of their customers.

The following link will take you to the revised 1DX AF Guide Book: 


Lots of good stuff per the firmware 2.0.3 update!  PDF to download the guide is at the bottom of the page.

EOS Bodies / Best Sensor Cleaning Products
« on: February 06, 2014, 11:14:13 AM »
Although I get two cleaning and function checks each year as part of my CPS membership, I find it's just not enough to keep up with the crud that ends up on my camera sensors.  Even using extreme measures (changing lenses in the car or indoors whenever possible) to keep dust out of the bodies, and blow cleaning, just doesen't cut it!  Although Canon does a good job of cleaning, the hastle of getting the bodies out to them every year is not simple or cheap either!

I'd like to master the art of dry and wet sensor cleaning.  I'm a little reluctant to venture into doing that myself, as I have read of people having to send their cameras to a Canon service center for cleaning or repair after trying to clean their sensors themselves. 

However, I believe many of you sucessfully and routenely clean your sensors yourselves and must have recommendations on what wet and dry (more than just using a blower) methods and products work the best, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  BTW, I have reviewed the methods used on the Lens Rental site, but would still like to hear what has worked for you!

EOS Bodies / It's here! Firmware version 2.0.3 for the EOS-1D X
« on: January 08, 2014, 09:07:13 PM »
Canon USA website for the 1DX

"Drivers & Software
We have detected your operating system. You may select a different OS from the drop down menu if you wish. Click on the file name to navigate to download, then click on "I Agree - Begin Download" to start downloading.

Operating System: 

Show All


File Description       Date    Size
  EOS-1D X Firmware Version 2.0.3 [Mac OS X]      01/09/14   33.34 MB"


EOS Bodies / EOS-1D X Firmware Version 2.0
« on: January 08, 2014, 02:25:37 PM »
Looking at the Canon USA web site for the 1DX, one could assume the new firmware version 2.0 is already out there!  Maybe this is an indicator that it might be released at any time?

Here's what's on it:


The choice of professionals in fields ranging from extreme sports to wedding photographers, the EOS-1D X DSLR camera is incomparable in speed, ruggedness and precision. And it only gets better.  Responding to user input, the new Firmware Update Version 2.0 adds enhancements that provide improved AF performance and more control of exposure and customization, helping to ensure EOS-1D X users have an ideal tool to do what they do best: capturing those golden opportunities, wherever and whenever they happen."

Lenses / EF 24-70 f2.8L II Now or Wait and See?
« on: December 27, 2013, 01:59:10 PM »
I have used the EF 24-105 f4, for four years now and have been pretty satisfied with the IQ.  However, after seeing the images shot with the 24-70 f2.8L II, I feel I am missing out on making some great images in those focal lengths.
Having read on this site, that this could be the "year of the lens," I am wondering if I should hold out for a while and see if a new/updated version of the EF 24-105L comes out before purchasing the 24-70.  I doubt that any of the new lenses will include an upgraded version of the 24-105L, let alone an f2.8 version of it, but one can only hope!  I think I would be happy if they came out with a 24-135L f4, if it had great IQ.  Thoughts please!  Happy New Year!

Software & Accessories / Problems with new Image Browser for PCs
« on: December 01, 2013, 07:02:05 PM »
I just downloaded Canon's new replacement for their Zoom Browser program for PCs.  It's called Image Browser, just like their application for Mac products.  After installing, it stalled at the 80 percent complete point.  After a conversation with CPS, they provided a link to fix the condition:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2608523.

Software & Accessories / Colors off on new IPad
« on: November 22, 2013, 10:31:27 AM »
Don't know if this has been discussed before, but I had to return my IPad Air because the colors on the display were way off!  Blues looked purple and most images that had light tones were rendered with a yellowish cast.  After comparing the images with my first generation IPad (colors very accurate) to those on three of the new Air models, it was very obvious they have a definite color accuracy/calibration issue.  The good news, is that I got my money back; the bad news, I am without a new IPad.  Hopefully, enough people have complained to Apple about this and they will develop a fix!  My current IPad still works fine, but I will need one with more storage space pretty soon.  I have read reports from other folks that have experienced this too.  Also, some that have returned their Air and received
a replacement that was just fine? However, I would recommend that anyone looking to purchase the new Air, might consider the color accuracy issue before purchasing one! 

I have not sent my EOS-1D X to Canon yet for the Product Advisory check/repair.  When I called Canon CPS, the Tech on the phone told me to wait to send it in, until I actually experienced problems?  He made it sound like not all of the affected bodies will ever experience problems?  I am curious how many others are waiting to see if they actuall experience problems with their cameras before sending them to Canon.  Also, are there any more horror stories of shipping problems (poor packaging), repair problems (parts form someone else's body), or any other problems associated with the check/repair out there?

I am sure many of you in the USA already have an account with Canon USA and are aware of the benefits of registering your Canon equipment with them.  However, I recently helped a fried to join and register his cameras, lenses, printer, and scanner.  Once he registered his cameras, he immediately received emails listing the latest firmware updates for several of his DSLRs that he didn't know were out yet!  Having this instant notification of firmware and other technical updates, makes having to search the web every so often totally unnecessary!  Additionally, you can select other services, such as receiving their Newsletter, product announcements, etc.  also, you get 10 GB of free image storage on their Image Gateway program.  You also receive discounts through the Canon Store if you take the time to answer all the questionairs for your products.


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