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EOS Bodies / Canon Road Map Becoming More Clear
« on: July 22, 2012, 06:21:13 PM »
With the rumored specifications for an entry-level full frame DSLR, coupled with the announcements of the past year, it seems to me that Canon's product road map for the near future is coming into focus.

My guess is that the rapid pace of advancements in DSLR technology during the first decade of this century made it difficult to plan new product releases with any consistency. As the market and technology matures, I think we will see a more consistent approach from both Canon and Nikon.

I'm more familiar with Canon, so I'll use their products, but I think the same will essentially apply to Nikon.

Entry-level DSLRs: Canon has consistently offered several choices in the Rebel line, from a very low cost budget model up to a fully tricked-out version. The aim was to make sure they leave no potential customers on the table due to budget constraints, while at the same time having sufficient models to allow retailers to up-sell customers. With the T4i, I don't see that changing. The only change is that the bar keeps getting raised.

Step-up/enthusiasts DSLRs: Canon and Nikon currently have only one model each in this category. For Canon it is the 60D. While many 40D users were surprised when Canon seemed to "downgrade" this model, it is quite clear from their sales that they knew what they were doing. It appears that this line will soon split in two. An APS-C version and a full-frame version. Aside from the sensor, expect that these two cameras will be essentially the same – composite body, flip-screen, touch-screen, same or similar autofocus, etc. Given the differences in sensor size, the APS-C version will have a faster frame rate, while the full-frame version will have better high ISO performance. I will be surprised if either one offers micro-focus adjustment. (I think Canon feels the hassle of dealing with customers who screw up their lens' focusing isn't worth the effort. I know people on this forum consider it an important feature, but this forum is not typical of the customer base.)

Professional/pro-sumer DSLRs: This category has been filled by the 7D and the 5D. The problem in the past though, was that the pace of change was so fast that in the year between the 5D and 7D releases, the technology and market changed enough that Canon ended up with a 5DII that lacked many of the features found in the 7D. Just as the 60D and the "entry-level" full frame will likely mirror each other, I expect the 7DII and the 5DIII to mirror each other in features as well, with the size of the sensor being the main differentiating factor. The 7D, with its APS-C sensor, will likely have a higher frame rate, while the 5DIII will have a one-to-two stop advantage in ISO performance. But, other than those differences, necessitated by the sensor sizes, expect the two to share almost all other features.

Finally, of course, both Nikon and Canon have their flagship DSLRs. We've seen their offerings there and I don't expect it to change.

The wild card, of course, is the rumored high resolution DSLR from Canon. If it materializes, I expect it to be the same body as the 5DIII, but with a slower frame rate and lower maximum ISO. I expect the pricing to be identical to the 5DIII. Buyers can pick their poison – the 5DIII with superior low-light performance or the 5D HD with up to 46mp resolution.

This all seems logical and consistent with both Canon's and Nikon's actions of the past year.

Landscape / Shamless Self-Promotion
« on: July 06, 2012, 05:53:15 PM »
Article from the Springfield (IL) Journal-Register website.

Germany / Photoshop Training (French)
« on: June 21, 2012, 11:25:07 PM »
I guess I'll post this on the German board, since there isn't one for France.

Groupon offering some sort of discount on Adobe training for Photoshop or Dreamweaver. Signed up for Groupon before I went to France last year and still getting their e-mails. I don't speak French, but it looks like its 89 Euro for the training.

Speedlites, Printers, Accessories / 580 EXII Discontinued
« on: June 21, 2012, 03:28:08 PM »
That's what Photo Rumors guy is reporting. Any confirmation Canon Rumors Guy?

Not a big surprise I suppose.

EOS Bodies / Is the 5DIII the New 50D?
« on: June 14, 2012, 12:45:22 PM »
Okay, I know this is sure to be controversial, but what the heck.

The differences between the 5DIII and the D800 have been the subject of endless debate on this forum. Now, Nikon seems poised to release a well-equipped D600 at a remarkably low price point if the rumors are true.

The 5DIII reminds me a bit of the 50D. The 50D was a great camera, but kind of a sales flop. It came out just as video was being introduced into DSLRs, but it had no video. Most 40D owners did not choose to update (instead waiting for a 60D that turned out to be the 7D...well I won't get into all that again).

Anyway the point being that there was nothing wrong with the 50D, but that a series of missteps, bad luck and poor timing combined to hurt the camera's sales.

I wonder if something similar is happening with the 5DIII. By all accounts, it is a great camera and seems to be very popular among its target audience: wedding and event photographers. But, will Canon be able to sustain 5DIII sales over the next three to four years? Is it $500 better than the D800? Or, is the D800 actually a slightly better camera at a lower price point? And, will sales fall if Nikon releases an entry-level full frame camera and Canon is forced to respond.

Now, before the Canon lovers and the Canon haters all go ballistic, keep in mind I'm not suggesting this means Canon is stupid or getting any part of its anatomy kicked or anything of the sort. In fact, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes are what makes a great company great. I'm just talking about one model in an entire lineup and suggesting that when we look back four or five years from now, I wonder if the 5DIII will be viewed as great camera that suffered from a series of unfortunate events.

Third Party Manufacturers / New Sony Doubles Focal Lengths
« on: May 18, 2012, 12:04:22 PM »
This is interesting (From Sony Press Release)

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also used for the “Clear Image Zoom” feature, which digitally doubles the effective magnification of any lens attached to the camera.

Reads as though it is an in-camera up-scaling of images. Apparently interpolates added pixels, to retain the same megapixels after cropping, similar to Photoshop or other software programs.

If (and it's a big "If") it works decently, it could be very interesting. Imagine a 400mm lens on a crop having an effective focal length of 1200mm?

Wave of the future?

Software & Accessories / Adobe Upgrade and Discount Offers
« on: April 12, 2012, 10:51:02 AM »
Adobe is offering a free upgrade to its Creative Suite 6 products when they are released if you buy the 5.5 version now. In addition there is a 10% discount on orders of $375 or more. Code is Spring10 for the discount.

I did some checking of my own records and it looks like upgrading to 5.5 (CS 5.5 Design Premium) is about $200 less than my last upgrade.  There is also a bundle offer of $99 to add Lightroom, if you don't already own it as well.

EOS Bodies / Canon smarter than we think
« on: March 29, 2012, 11:07:06 AM »
As the new 5DIII starts to appear in the real world I think I'm starting to get a better feel for Canon's strategy and, I must say, it seems pretty brilliant.

When Canon announced the 5DIII they placed a lot of emphasis in their announcement on the camera being the result of feedback from professional photographers. But, of course, "professional" is a very broad term that can cover a lot of very disparate specialties.

Now that we are seeing some examples of what the camera can do, it seems like they focused on one particular, but very large segment of the professional market – wedding and special event photographers.

Early examples seem to show a camera that performs very, very well at higher ISOs. Not necessarily in the stratosphere, but rather significant improvements in the 1600 to 6400 range. A range that I suspect many wedding photographers find themselves needing. The autofocus improvements, of course, benefit everyone, but event and wedding photographers don't get the chance to refocus their shots, so improved autofocus would certainly be beneficial.

At the same time, the camera is very well-equipped for ordinary studio work under controlled lighting situations. So, no compromises for studio work but more flexibility in the field. Not to mention some improvements in video for those who need to use it for that purpose as well.

Now, of course, the camera is great for other purposes as well, but it does seem to have some significant improvements that will benefit a large and very competitive segment of the professional photography market.

In short, what I am saying is that it seems as though Canon really did study their market closely and may have produced a camera that is intended to sell, rather than a camera that is intended to be popular on forum and testing sites.

Third Party Manufacturers / How About This Canon?
« on: March 27, 2012, 01:17:38 PM »
This is a camera I'd love to see Canon make. (Well not at $6,000 obviously)

Seriously, a digital panoramic would be terrific. Fuji has a panoramic option for in-camera stitching with the X-10 which is the second best thing. I'd much rather have a panoramic option than the "double-exposure" thingy that Canon has been adding.

What do others think?

Site Information / Bring Back Karma – NOW!
« on: March 27, 2012, 01:07:29 PM »
I just spotted this on another thread:

Gee I miss the karma system... some of the comments are just getting out of hand -_-

I too have noticed the amazingly rapid degeneration on this site since Karma was dropped. People suddenly feel the urge to insult one another, use negative stereotypes and call each other names. I'll bet if you did a word search on "fanboy" in the last week you'd find the frequency about 10 times what it used to be.

In less than two weeks this site has gone from one of the most civil and helpful forums on the web to sinking down there with so many other sites on the web, where drive-by comments, name-calling and denigrating other users is the order of the day.

Time to admit the experiment was a failure and bring back the Karma. Whatever its flaws. It worked.

Technical Support / Dynamic Range War
« on: March 09, 2012, 10:53:00 AM »
Okay, I've noticed a lot of discussion (to put it politely) in other threads about the "dynamic range" of the new 5D III sensor. I'm hoping someone can enlighten me a bit and explain why or if I should care.

I'm not clear what exactly people mean by dynamic range. It seems like at least two definitions are possible.

1) Are you referring to the ability of the sensor to record detail in a scene that has a wide range of light. For example, are we talking about the ability to capture detail in a brightly lit canyon, where the light ranges from near total sunlight to near black. So that, a sensor that has a dynamic range of say "9" would be able to record detail for up to four stops from the midpoint in either direction?

2) Or, are you referring to the ability of the sensor to record discernible differences in light. For example, a range of "9" would mean that on a scale from black to white, there would be nine clear steps visible?

It's been many years since I read the Zone System (and frankly, I found the books excruciatingly boring), but as I recall Adams' basic premise was that film was capable of recording far greater dynamic range than could be reproduced by photographic paper (much less commercial printing). By manipulating exposure and development of the film, he sought to compress the dynamic range recorded by the film, so that it could be aligned with what the final print could reproduce. The general concept, as I recall, was to expose to retain some detail in the shadows and then develop to retain detail in the highlights.

My understanding is that photographic prints even today have less possible range than sensors and computer monitors less than prints. (Although the back lighting of monitors gives the appearance of greater saturation and richness in colors)

So, if I am wrong about this, can someone explain it in understandable terms. And, if I am right, then why should I care at all about dynamic range so long as the final medium is always going to be more limited than the medium used to capture the image in the first place?

EOS Bodies / Refurbished 5D for $1,759
« on: March 05, 2012, 10:20:52 AM »
Just checked the Canon USA Refurbished Store. They have dropped the price of the refurbished 5D II to $1,759.20.

EOS Bodies / Buy the 5D III or wait for the 5D IV?
« on: March 02, 2012, 12:52:32 PM »
Hey...somebody had to be first. Why not me. :)

Seriously though, and only marginally related to the thread's title (That's called marketing by the way), the new specs of the 5DIII got me thinking about the future of DSLRs.

I know that whenever a new model of anything comes out, we convince ourselves that it is exactly what we have to have and if we just have that we will be happy forever...until the next model comes out. But, if the 5DIII actually performs anywhere close to what Canon is claiming, I am hard-pressed to think of what other features I might ever want in a DSLR.

Full disclosure here: I am not in the market for a full frame DSLR and don't anticipate I will be anytime in the foreseeable future (I am too addicted to the advantages of a 1.6 crop factor).

But, I look at the others specs of the 5DIII and realize that the promised ISO, noise and dynamic range would more than meet my needs. The autofocus would be more than sufficient for anything I am likely to shoot. I might have some small interest in a little faster frame rate, but probably not really. The resolution is more than adequate (I find the 18 mp of the 7D just fine and usually end up throwing away megapixels anyway. I've done prints up to apprx. 2 x 3 feet with no problem at 18 mp, so 22 is more than adequate for virtually anything I will ever do.

The point I'm trying to make is that for a full frame camera, this doesn't seem to me to be a camera on a two-three year replacement cycle. Rather, I could imagine this camera still being very viable for a decade. I know that's a risky statement since no one knows what the future will hold, and, of course Canon is in the business of creating "must have" features in order to keep selling new product. Yet, I do have a hard time imagining what those features might be.

I'm not saying this is the same for everyone, but I am suggesting that we may be turning a corner in the DSLR market where, as the technology matures, the old two-three year cycles won't be applicable in the future.

In my own individual case, I am a big fan of my 7D. It is the best camera I have ever owned and I am a former F1 owner. But, I do see that there are things Canon could improve on for the 7DII. If they follow the path they've set out with the 1Dx and now the 5DIII, I can well imagine a 7D that would also have an extended life cycle.

So, I'm just throwing this out there for others to pick apart. Are we reaching a point with DSLR technology where the viable life-cycle of cameras will grow far beyond the two-three year cycle we've seen in recent history and return to the more traditional five to 10 year cycles that characterized film cameras?

EOS Bodies / The (un)official I'm switching to Nikon thread
« on: February 29, 2012, 01:00:41 PM »
I figured I'd save everybody some time and valuable internet space by going ahead and opening up this thread.

Beginning tomorrow night all those who are disappointed because Canon did not create a 5DIII to their personal specifications and offer it at $1,500 can lodge their complaints here, on one handy thread, instead of having to start their own personal complaint thread.

By opening this thread now, it will also allow persons to begin the whining before the Mark III is officially announced.

On Saturday, this can be followed by the "Should I buy the Mark III or Wait for the Mark IV?" thread.

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