Formula Drift Finals 2008 @ Toyota Speedway

I’m using the “blog this” function again from Flickr. Its actually quite useful and easy to use. But I wanted to post this photo because I’m still surprised at how well it came out.

This was shot with my Canon EOS 40D and Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS lens. The manual exposure was set at 1/125, f2.8 and ISO1600. I cleaned up the noise using Noiseware Pro. Pureists will say that the pictute has a plastic look to it.. to which I would say STFU 🙂

Click on the picture to see my Flickr album of some of my shots from the 2008 Formula Drift Finals at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA.

Its Official! Canon EOS 5D Mark II!

Well, after months of speculation and (IMHO) a successful web campaign, the cat is out of the bag.. the long awaited successor to the 3-year old Canon EOS 5D is the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

http://www.canon.com/moon/en/index.html

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$2,699 MSRP!!
21 Megapixel Full-Frame 36x24mm Sensor
Integrated Cleaning System
DIGIC IV Image Processor
14 bit A/D Conversion
New sRAW1 AND sRAW2
9-point AF with 6 assist
All focus points cross-type for lenses f5.6 or faster!
AF MICRO ADJUSTMENT!!! WOO HOO!
ISO 50-25,600 Expanded
150,000 shot shutter life expectancy
1/200 flash sync (?!?!)
3″ LCD 920,000 pixels (finally!)
1920×1080 full 1080P H.264 38.6Mbit/s video capture up to 12 minutes!!
3.9 frames per second continuous (I could live with that)

Thats about it, folks.. I think this seals the deal.. this will be my next camera..

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CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOURS AT AMAZON!

Surprise: Canon EOS 50D and Canon EF-S 18-200mm IS

I wasnt planning on upgrading to another 1.6x crop body.. I figured I’d just keep my 40D as my 1.6x and get a full frame later on down the line. Even then, I didnt expect Canon to update the 40D so soon. Odd that when consumers demanded the 30D be upgraded, Canon stuck to an 18 month lifecycle back then. You can definitely give Nikon the credit for pushing Canon to update the XXD body so soon.

I think Canon is ready to play ball.. and what makes me say that? 15.1 megapixels. We’ve long known that megapixels is all for show (marketing).. but hey, thats what sells. With Nikon’s D90 coming in at 12+ megapixels, I think its a rather strong statement from Canon to “skip” that game altogether and move right on up to 15.1 megapixels. Think about that. Its 50% more pixels than the 40D. The largest jump in pixels ever, I’d guess. Also with the 50D comes the new Digic 4. That means the Digic 3 was rather short lived. Hell, the Digic 3 is in their 2 flagship models, the 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III. So its a pretty huge step to introduce the Digic 4 so soon. Also take a page from Nikon’s playbook, Canon will be stuffing a 3″ 920k pixel screen in the 50D.. its about freakin time. ISO 12,800 (also from Nikon’s playbook) is mostly marketing hype, but its the hype the sells.

I’ll admit I gave some thought to dumping my 40D.. I cant help it. But I dont think it’ll happen this time. Unless the 50D has MUCH better AF tracking, I dont think I need it.. thats mainly what I’d want at this point.

Another surprise is Canon has FINALLY made the 18-200mm lens. It’ll be an EF-S, but thats probably where its needed the most anyhow. I was actually looking at the Sigma version of this range as a “Disneyworld” lens (as much as I’d like to pack my 24-70 and 70-200, its just not worth it). At $699 MSRP, I’m not so sure I’d bite. But if Canon’s last few offerings are any indication, the 18-200 EF-S will probably sell for around $500 (or less) on the street. That might be do-able.

In the meantime, here’s what B&H had to say about the 50D:

Canon’s newest entry into the fall season Olympics is the EOS 50D, which sports an impressive 15.1-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor that takes full advantage of Canon’s new DIGIC 4 image processor.

The EOS 50D can knock out up to 90 Large/Fine JPEGS or 16 RAW images at burst-rates of up to 6.3 f/p/s. If you often find yourself shooting under low-light conditions, the new camera can be set for ISO ratings up to 12800, which means you can not only photograph people standing in near darkness, you can also photograph what they’re thinking about. (Just joking folks… don’t get alarmed)

To keep noise under control and maintain optimum image quality at higher ISO ratings the EOS 50D allows you to choose from four levels of noise reduction – Standard, Weak, Strong, and None. The camera’s DIGIC 4 image processor also features in-camera peripheral illumination correction, which can automatically smooth-over uneven blue skies and other large areas within an image that can benefit from smoother tonality. This feature, along with other image enhancing tools such as Auto Lighting Optimizer can also be performed post-exposure using Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DDP) software, which is included with every camera.

Image viewing has also been improved via a greatly enhanced 3″ LCD that employs 920,000 pixels for breathtaking clarity. Canon also tweaked the Live View function by incorporating a ‘Quick Mode AF’, ‘Live Mode AF’, and ‘Face Detection Live Mode AF’ that can detect up to 35 individual faces within the camera’s frame.

Other features of the Canon EOS 50D include an Integrated Cleaning System for preventing dust and other forms of airborne schmutz from gathering on the sensor’s low-pass filter and a choice of two smaller RAW formats (sRAW1 and sRAW2) in addition to the 50D’s standard RAW mode.

The Canon EOS 50D will be available in October as a body only, or in kit form with a Canon EF 28-135/3.5~5.6 IS USM zoom lens, which covers the field of view of a 44.8-216mm lens on a full-frame 35mm camera.

Check out some Canon 50D sample pics here

Latest Round of Canon EOS 3D, 5D Mark II, 6D, 7D, etc Rumors!

Its been a while since I followed the “scene”. Thats probably because I went ahead and bought a Canon 40D even though I said I wouldnt. After reading all the anecdotal evidence about the increase in AF performance, I figured I should go for it. That, plus I sold my Canon 30D for $600 to a friend, so it was a short jump to the 40D.

But enough about me.. lets get on with the rumors.. the reason why you’re really here. I think we, me plus most of the photography gear rumor whores, are pretty confident there will be a Canon EOS 5D Mark II come Photokina in August 2008. What is unknown still are the specs. Although as we get closer to August, there’s no doubt that the rumors will get closer and closer to the truth. Here’s the latest rumor I’ve heard:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II (or possibly Canon EOS 3D? baby brother to the 1D?)
Resolution: 20 megapixel, full-frame sensor
FPS: 5fps
LCD: 3″ 640×480
AF: 19 point
ISO: 50-6400
Memory Card/Storage: CF & SD
Sealing: 1D-style, true weather sealing
Price: $2999 USD

The resolution seems somewhat high to me. With the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III being 21, I really doubt the successor to the Canon EOS 5D is going to be 20. I’m still thinking 16-18 megapixels (as I’ve said mentioned earlier). I’m a little mixed about the frame-rate. On one hand, 5fps is kind of the “minimum” for a pro-level or prosumer-level body, especially considering the Canon 40D is at 6.5fps and the Canon 450D/XSi is at 3.5fps. So in that sense, 5fps is believable. But the Canon 1Ds Mark III is also 5 fps. But I suspect the successor to the Canon 5D will come in at 5fps based on the first reason. They’re not going to let the 5D Mark II encroach on the 1D Mark III territory (or even anywhere near 8.5fps since that has long been Canon’s standard for sports photography, Canon 1D, 1D Mk II, 1D MkIIn). The LCD screen is a no brainer since Nikon has brought that into the game. Take a quick peek at DP Review or POTN and you’ll see daily posts complaining about Canon LCDs being crappy. Can’t say I disagree. The 19 point AF, I’ve heard before also. I think this would really help push the 5D Mark II (3D) into its rightful place in the Canon line-up (and the competitive landscape, even). ISO 50-6400 was introduced in the Mark IIIs (1D and 1Ds), so it wouldnt be unreasonable to believe they’re going to include this, especially considering ISO 50 was present in the 5D. Although Canon could skimp and just make it ISO 50-3200 and still make it an “upgrade” (over the 5D). So don’t be surprised if that does indeed happen.. somewhere.. read on 🙂 . Weather sealing would be nice and would really make it more of a pro-body. Left up to Canon, I’m positive they would’ve left this out. However, since Nikon has made it a “standard” feature in their lower bodies, Canon can’t ignore this one, not for the #3 camera in their lineup. The price is also what I would suspect. The Canon 5D MSRP’ed at $2,599 when it was introduced. This price, $2999 USD, would represent the upgrade to the existing Canon 5D. Recall that when the 30D was released, the MSRP was slightly below the 20D. When the 40D was announced, it was slightly below that of the 30D. So I’d almost be willing to bet on the $2,999 USD MSRP of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II considering its an upgrade. So what would fill the gap between $2999 and the 40D at $1000??? Read on.. 😎

Now, whats more interesting is, the rumor of a more inexpensive “5D successor” has once again surfaced. I’ve mentioned this in the past.. and I really do believe this is the best bet for Canon. But here are the rumored specs of the Canon EOS “7D” (or 6D, but a higher number than the 5D, for sure):

Canon EOS 7D (or possibly Canon EOS 6D? baby brother to the 3D?)
Resolution: 14 megapixel, full-frame sensor
FPS: 3fps
LCD: 3″ (rez?)
AF: 9 point
ISO: 100-3200
Memory Card/Storage: CF & SD
Sealing: 40D-style, wanna-be weather sealing
Price: $1999 USD

This camera would basically be the “30D” of the 5D line.. basically, an incremental upgrade and an incremental price increase (over street prices in this case). With a small bump to 14 megapixels, the full-frame sensor could very well be the cousin to the existing 5D sensor with some tweaking to give it 2 more megapixels (just like how the Canon 20D to 30D gained 2 megapixels). FPS would basically be the small upgrade from the 5D’s current 2.5fps. I think the screen would still be a 3″ 640×480 (aka Nikon style) screen. Nikon is basically playing out the screen so if Canon doesnt follow suit, they’d just look like they’re skimping here. AF would probably be borrowed from the 40D, although I would think it could just use the existing 5D focusing system (9 point with 6 points for assist). At $1,999 USD, it would be the prosumer full-frame body.

So Canon’s line up would look like this:

EOS Rebel XS/1000D (~$500)
EOS Rebel XSi/450D(~$600)
EOS 40D (~$1000)
EOS 6D/7D (~$2000)
EOS 3D/5D Mark II (~$3000)
EOS 1D Mark III (~$4000)
EOS 1Ds Mark III (~$8000)

This would basically allow Canon to compete with Nikon at different levels. I’ve said this before, but why would a company want to compete with another company.. if they don’t have to? Anyone that believes a company likes competition is an idiot. So think about this.. where does the Nikon D300 fall in against Canon’s line up at $1800? Way above the Canon 40D (which people erroneously believe competes with the D300) or slightly below a 14 megapixel full-frame Canon body with decent specs. Is the D300 faster? Hell yeah. Does it have more bells and whistles? Hell yeah. But if I want comparable speed and features, I’d be looking at the 40D for $800 less (MSRP). But hell, for $200 more, I have MORE MEGAPIXELS (probably the biggest selling point in retail) and its full-framed (something that would appeal to people who know what they are looking for).

I’ve said it before, Canon can’t ignore that gaping hole in their line up (currently being ~$1300 for a 40D, MSRP, up to the Canon 5D’s MSRP for $3299). Its a gap no one has been able to fill.

So with all that crap I just wrote above. I’m gonna have to say I’m kind of believing these rumors. Some are a little wacky, but in general, I think these are going to be pretty close to the real deal.

So with that said, I’ll say it again.. my next body will be the Canon EOS 3D/5D Mark II..

Keeping score?

Canon 3D, 5D Mark II, 6D, 7D Rumors from December 2007
Canon 3D, 5D Mark II, 6D, 7D Rumors from February 2008

Latest Canon EOS 3D, 5D Mark II and 7D Rumors

Latest Rumors: 06/13/2008 Click here to read more

Well, I, as well as most of the internet were wrong in predicting an update to the Canon EOS 5D (either a Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Canon EOS 7D).

After PMA came and went, I heard that Canon representatives were telling customers that Canon’s consumer lines were on 18 month product cycles, something everyone who follows Canon should know by know. However, note that the representatives mention “consumer” line specifically. Something that never really crossed my mind was that the Canon EOS 5D is not a consumer camera. That’s not to say I never saw the Canon EOS 5D as a professional camera, but I think being a new model, you don’t see it on the same level as a Canon EOS 1Ds or 1D. Additionally, being relatively cheaper (by half, even) than the 1Ds and 1D, I think its natural to just group it into the same realm as the 40D/30D/20D/10D. But anyway, back to the rumor.. so the rep said 18 months for consumer cameras.. and 3 years for professional cameras. That means we won’t see a Canon EOS 5D replacement for another year, most likely February 2009 at PMA. But rumors are saying 12.8 megapixel, availability of ISO 3200 (vs. ISO 1600 with the current 5D), improved auto-focus, blah blah.. nothing else worth noting.. but if these rumors are true, then the Canon EOS 5D Mark II may be what the Canon EOS 30D was to the Canon EOS 20D.. in other words, not much.

This may be true if Canon wants to place the 5D Mark II at a price point that is low enough to entice Canon prosumer camera owners to make the leap to full-frame. But again, if they introduce a Canon EOS 7D, that would probably be its job.

As for the Canon EOS 3D, I’ve always believed there was a spot in Canon’s line up for this “type” of camera.. something to fill in the gap between the Canon EOS 1D Mark III (MSRP $4,500) and the Canon EOS 5D (MSRP $3,299, although it can be found in the low $2,000 range now).. or Canon EOS 5D Mark II or whatever it may be. So if we go by the MSRPs, we’d be looking at a camera, presumably the Canon EOS 3D, in the mid-high $3,000 range, call it $3,799 or $3,899. But what I’ve heard recently is:

    – 15.1 megapixel
    – 14-bit color processing (no brainer considering all the latest Canons have this)
    – 3″ LCD screen (hopefully high resolution)
    – Available ISO 6400, possibly extendable to ISO 12800 (possible for marketing reasons vs. the Nikons)

For the Canon EOS 7D.. I’m not hearing much that is worth mentioning. I’ve seen a few rumors of a Canon EOS 7D that sound a lot like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. In my opinion, if Canon is going to release a 7D, its going to have to be around 12 megapixels. However, where would that leave the Canon 5D Mark II? With the Canon 3D being a rumored 15 megapixels, there’s not much room for a Canon 5D Mark II and 7D. If the Canon 7D were what the Canon 5D is today, that may be a possibility if they wedge it into the high $1,000 range.. like $1,899 or $1,799.

Stay tuned..