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Correct me if I'm wrong: masked area = some part of the sensor that is physically blocked from light but still records brightness values. By definition, this would be the darkest part of any exposure.
Allow me to correct you. Although the OP certainly implies that is the case, the 'masked area' the OP is referring to is not physically blocked from light - lenses project an image circle, and for an EF lens, a FF sensor is the largest 3:2 rectangle than can be inscribed within that circle, such as the red box below:
So, what he's calling the 'side masking area' - the regions to the left and right of the red box - are actually being illuminated by light from the lens. Why, then, are those regions 'black' in the RAW file? Because those regions of the sensor are electronically turned off (technically, set to an arbitrary value). Given that, I remain unconvinced that the method described by the OP is valid.
(and if you look at all the Canon press they kept talking about it being better.... at mid and high isos. I was hoping they just forget to mention improved low iso, but i guess they didn't mention it because they didn't do much there this time. at least the high iso stuff should be better though.)
Why are the RAWs 4-6 mb? My 50d RAWs are 18+/- mb.
I just downloaded a raw... was 24.6 MB...
take some pictures at home and leave them on your cf. Bring the cf to the states (or zurich)
In case they want to see the camera show them pictures you took home on a previous date on the new camera of course .....
You're so wise.