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Keeping up with Nikon, Canon announces the Canon 1DX Mark II pro DSLR sports camera

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Last week I blogged a short post on Nikon’s new flagship pro sports dSLR, the Nikon D5.

Pro sports/wildlife shooting is now one of the few reasons to buy a dSLR over a mirrorless camera, the other main reason is high resolution, image quality with more shallow DOF capabilities but Sony have addressed this with their Sony A7R II, and pros wanting to segregate themselves from the dSLR crowd in terms of image quality bragging rights will buy medium format cameras for this work.

Today Canon has announced its update to their flagship dSLR, the Canon 1DX Mark II which will cost around $US5999 and then if you want to use its 4K or 120fps HD video or burst rate for 170 RAW images (12secs),  you will need to shell out for some of the new CFast CF 2.0 memory cards at around $1000 each for 256Gb.

Although I own the Canon 1D Mark III pro sports dSLR and a number of pro Canon lenses, I will not be shelling out this amount of money as I am not a pro sports or wildlife photographer who can justify this – personally I am waiting for Canon to bring out a full frame mirrorless with sensor based IS and fast CDAF plus PDAF similar to the Sony A7R models, but at a reasonable price and full compatibility with the Canon system such as their flashes.

Canon 1DX Mark II specs:

  • overall design has changed little from previous 1D models which allows pros to migrate without handling issues
  • rugged, heavy (1.5kg). fully weather-sealed camera with large battery (but if use older LP-E4N battery, the burst rate drops to 12fps) with improved grip
  • shutter rated at 400,000 cycles
  • 20.2mp dual-pixel (for Live View AF) full frame sensor
  • two Dual DIGIC 6+ processors to capture 4K video and shoot continuously at up to 16 fps
  • burst rate: 14 fps with AF, and 16fps with mirror lock up  and locked focus and exposure (not sure why you would do this to get minimal extra burst rate though!)
  • native ISO of 100-51200, expandable to 409600
  • new 61-point AF system has 41 cross-type sensors and 24% larger frame coverage than the 1DX and f/8 capability on all points
  • AF sensitivity in low light has been doubled from EV -2 to EV -3 at the center AF point when the camera is set to One-Shot AF
  • improved AI Servo III+ predictive AF algorithm for better accuracy
  • optical viewfinder now has continuous red illumination of all AF points within the camera’s Intelligent Viewfinder II
  • updated metering system to 360k-pixel RGB+IR sensor which improves face detection (for metering and AF point selection) and subtract tracking
  • it seems iTR face detection in OVF mode now better detects the eye or cheek as prior models tended to focus on noses which was useless, and it better detects partly obscured faces – it is still erratic in AI-Servo mode for tracking a face but that is to be expected as it is early days in this technology
  • improved fixed LCD to 3.2″ Clear View II LCD with 1.62 million dots and now touch enabled but only for AF point selection in Live View
  • video:
    • 4K video at 60p, 30p, 25p, 24p, or 23.98p  using the M-JPEG codec (requires CF2.0 card for more than a few seconds footage)
    • 1080HD at 120p, 60p, 50p, 25p, 24p, or 23.98p
    • dual pixel sensor allows C-AF in video while touch LCD allows focus point changes
    • no native focus peaking or zebra patterns
    • no Log Gamma option
    • ‘clean’ signal out via HDMI port for 1080 only (not 4K)
    • mono mic
    • headphone jack
    • mic jack
  • new built-in GPS (with an e-compass)
  • new Digital Lens Optimizer to help correct aberrations in-camera
  • improved post-shot in-camera Raw processing
  • radio TTL remote flash as with 1DXx
  • USB 3.0 or Ethernet ports (increased from 100Mbps to 330Mbps)
  • CFast card slot (NOT compatible with CF cards!)
  • CF card slot
  • new LP-E19 lithium-ion battery CIPA rating 1210 shots
  • 1530 g (3.37 lb / 53.97 oz)
  • 158 x 168 x 83 mm (6.22 x 6.61 x 3.27″)
  • optional WiFi via Canon’s $600 WFT-E8 wireless file transmitter

A few issues:

  • longest timed shutter speed still only 30secs (like Nikon) unlike Olympus which allows 60secs which is more useful for astro work
  • flash sync only 1/250th sec (like Nikon) while Olympus has 1/320th sec
  • no electronic shutter 20fps mode like Olympus and others
  • exposure compensation dial does not work in Manual exposure mode with autoISO – need to go to menu systems!
  • Auto ISO and exposure compensation in manual mode is NOT possible in movie mode
  • still no sensor based image stabilisation
  • still no closest eye detect AF (although metering system can detect eyes and put AF point on them, but perhaps one day the Live View mode may get it)
  • Dual Pixel AF isn’t available for continuous AF in stills shooting in Live View mode but is for movies!
  • high risk of putting a memory card into the wrong slot causing damage to card or the camera
  • 4K mode is 4096 x 2160 pixels wider than 16:9 DCI 4K aspect ratio and only captures in less efficient Motion JPEG format, but perhaps this is used to allow 8.8mp frame grabs
  • continuous silent drive mode is not all that silent

 Compared to the Nikon D5:

  • faster burst rate of 14fps not 12fps
  • dual pixel sensor for improved Live View AF
  • better video
  • much less AF points – 61pts with 41 cross compared with Nikon’s 153pts including 99 cross type
  • subject tracking may not be as good as Nikon’s 3D tracking – have to wait for more tests
  • only 6 WB presets vs 12 on the Nikon (probably not important for most)
  • LCD screen not as good – 1.6m dots vs 2.4m dots and limited touch utility
  • battery life much worse – 1210 shots vs Nikon’s 3780 shots
  • heavier at 1530g vs Nikon D5′s 1415g
  • built-in GPS instead of optional add on with Nikon’s GP-1A GPS unit

Nikon introduces new full frame pro sports dSLR – the Nikon D5

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Nikon recently announced a new pro dSLR for their sports and wildlife photographers who have $US6500 to upgrade from their aging Nikon 4DS, and it adds some nice new features to get them excited.

Specs of the new Nikon D5 dSLR:

  • 20.8 mp full frame sensor
  • native ISO 100-102,400
  • 12fps burst rate
  • all-new autofocus module with 153 points, 99 of which are cross-type
  • EXPEED 5 processor
  • 4K video but this is very limited
  • touchscreen LCD
  • support for Nikon’s new radio remote TTL flash functionality (requires a radio TTL compatible flash)
  • $US6500

On paper, seems like a great camera for Nikon’s sports and wildlife photographers who will get much improved high ISO performance, better AF, some 4K video capability as well as remote radio TTL flash.

 Why carry all this weight and pay $US25,000 for a telephoto kit?

In my last post, I blogged about the wonderful new super telephoto lenses for Micro Four Thirds – the Olympus 300mm f/4 and the Panasonic 100-400mm.

You could use a Panasonic GH-4 mirrorless camera with the 100-400mm zoom and gain not only wonderful hand held telephoto reach up to 800mm in full frame terms but better 4K video quality, and this for well under $US4000 and perhaps a quarter of the weight and size as a Nikon 600mm full frame telephoto with less reach.

Alternatively, you could use an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 300mm f/4 lens and gain unprecedented image stabilisation capability with superb optics in a much more compact size and weight than the Nikon kit and again coming in at under $US4000.

So why then buy the Nikon outfit?

The answer is primarily, the improved capability of shooting moving subjects in very low light – a scenario where image stabilisation is of very limited utility as you need sufficiently fast shutter speed to adequately stop the moving subject – and here is where image quality at high ISO becomes a prime consideration.

The Micro Four Thirds cameras will get you to ISO 3200 with good image quality but it can be expected that the Nikon will give you at least 1, maybe 2 more stops of higher ISO for similar image quality, although we will have to await tests to see how good the Nikon really is.

The Micro Four Thirds options will be just as good and perhaps even better for many situations such as studio work, macro work, static wildlife/sports subjects and for moving subjects in good light (although the Nikon’s AF may be better, and the optical viewfinder will have advantages in this situation) and allow for far more versatility and maneuverability thanks to not being stuck with a large heavy tripod and having to carry large lenses.

 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 vs full frame dSLR 30″x40″ print quality – not easy to pick the difference!!!

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Last weekend I attended the Digital Show in Melbourne where Olympus had a very prominent stand showing off their fantastic new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera.

To prove a point they invited pro photographers along to shoot a model in studio conditions with their full frame dSLR and processed these RAW shots and printed to 30″ x 40″ prints.

These prints were compared with 30″ x 40″ prints shot at the same time from the E-M5 out of camera jpegs using the 12-50mm lens.

I must say, I really hard a very hard time telling which was the full frame dSLR shots, the prints were that close in quality!

And this is comparing prints from RAW files shot with Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D700 with pro lenses to the E-M5 with a consumer kit lens!

Of course, these conditions were not showing off the main advantage of full frame dSLRs over the E-M5 such as ultra shallow depth of field but it was a very surprising comparison nevertheless!

I just wish I took a few shots of the side-by-side print comparisons!

See a quick video on the contest hosted at cnet.com.

Shallow depth of field in photography – a double edged sword

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Back in the old film days, many photographers were plagued by the problem of not getting enough depth of field for the light on their subject and the slow film speeds of the day and no image stabilisation to allow longer shutter speeds.

Depth of field issues is one of the reasons expensive tilt-shift lenses were designed so that landscape photographers even with their cameras mounted on tripods so they could use f/16 apertures could get their whole image acceptably sharp and detailed from foreground to background.

An out of focus foreground or background in a documentary landscape can be extremely annoying for the viewer.

On the other hand if your subject is not the scenery but a discrete subject, then shallow depth of field can be used brilliantly to separate your subject from the otherwise distracting background and make them “pop” – a favorite technique of the romanticists out there.

The excitement over the great image quality and versatility of the awesome new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera has yet again ignited debate that as great as it is, it can’t ever achieve the shallow DOF of a full frame dSLR even though for many other purposes most people would not be able to tell the difference between a 30″ x 40″ print from either camera.

I decided to post this blog based on some recent experiences which demonstrate the double edged sword of shallow DOF – as much as I love it as a tool, it can easily work against you.

First, let’s address the technical issue of DOF.

A full frame dSLR sensor size will always give you more control over depth of field than a smaller sensor camera
in that one can choose to go deep DOF by closing aperture down further than a small sensor camera before diffraction limitations start destroying your image resolution, and one can usually go shallower DOF by choosing a wider aperture lens for a given field of view.

The advantages of full frame dSLR for shallow DOF are particularly the case for subjects taken at a distance of more than 1-2m with a wide to standard field of view lens.

For macrophotography, close up photography and telephoto photography, Micro Four Thirds will generally be able to deliver you as shallow a DOF as you need as long as you have a reasonable aperture lens.

To get the same DOF and field of view on a Micro Four Thirds camera as a full frame dSLR you need to use a lens of focal length AND aperture half that used on a full frame dSLR.

So a 24mm f/1.4 lens of a full frame camera would require a 12mm f/0.7 lens on Micro Four Thirds and that is not going to happen any time soon although there is a 17mm f/0.95 lens.

Likewise a 50mm f/1.2 lens on a full frame would require a 25mm f/0.6 and the closest we will get is a f/0.95, while most of us will settle for the lovely Panasonic 25mm f/1.4.

The Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens on a full frame would require a 43mm f/0.6 lens and again, the closest we can expect is a f/0.95 lens around that field of view range.

The 135mm f/2.0 lens on a full frame lens would require a 67mm f/1.0 lens to match it.

The 200mm f/2.8 lens on a full frame would require a 100mm f/1.4 lens and the closest we will have is the 85mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.4, or if you need AF, the 75mm f/1.8.

So you get the picture if you place a super expensive wide aperture lens on a full frame dSLR you will nearly always be able to get more DOF control than when using a cropped sensor camera – that’s just the way it is.

BUT, this capability has it’s downsides.

1. you now have to think about your subject very carefully and decide how much DOF you need to capture it well, and thus exactly which aperture for the given lens and subject distance.

2. if you are forced to use wide aperture such as hand held shots at night, or wide aperture sports shots at fast shutter speeds, you may be plagued with the age old problem of not enough DOF and most viewers hate a blurry subject!

Let me demonstrate each of these from my own recent experience.

1st a couple of potentially stuffed up shots.

A wedding shot with a pro dSLR (almost full frame Canon 1D Mark III 1.3x crop sensor) combined with my favorite lens for this camera, the 135mm f/2.0 L lens.

Now as I have mentioned before, using the amazingly cheap Rokinon/Samyang 85mm f/1.4 on a Micro Four Thirds camera yields almost identical imagery (field of view, DOF and bokeh) as this combination at a quarter the weight, size and price, but that is another story – see here for related posts of this lens:

I generally shoot half body shots with this lens at f/2.5-f/2.8 to get sufficient DOF for my subject, so for this couple shot, I lazily just closed the aperture down a bit more to f/3.2 to give me a touch more DOF without making the background too distracting.

Unfortunately, I failed to chimp the image after the shot was taken to carefully check my DOF (it didn’t help that the Canon did not have an EVF to do this and my reading glasses were left in the car!).

Needless to say, the bride looks beautiful and sharp, but the groom is well out of focus, and I had to salvage it a bit by turning it into a romantic looking shot – luckily I was not the official photographer!


Canon example

Ah, yes, what a crappy photographer I can be sometimes! But surely I can’t get too shallow a DOF using the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera with its cropped sensor…

oh yes I can…..this is the 1st shot I took using the Olympus mZD 45mm f/1.8 lens playing around with the fun touch the screen on the subject and almost instant AF and shutter release:


E-M5 example

OK, it is a lovely candid shot of my mischievous kitten but closer inspection will reveal that her eyes are incredibly sharp even with this lens at f/1.8, but her nose is well out of focus – a big mistake in portrait photography – always aim to get tip of nose to ear in focus unless you are aiming for special effects like with my tilt-shift lens where one can change the plane of focus such as in the glamour portrait below:


tilt-shift example

 In summary, a cropped sensor camera will not replace the capability of ultra shallow DOF of a full frame dSLR, but a camera such as the Olympus E-M5 when teamed up with wide aperture lenses opens up new avenues for hand held low light photography whilst still maintaining an adequate DOF for your subject.

For most of us the Micro Four Thirds system when teamed with its lovely wide aperture lenses such as the 12mm f/2.0, 25mm f/1.4, 45mm f/1.8 and 75mm f/1.8 will address our shallow DOF as much as we need and for those who want to explore more shallow DOF, then they can enjoy the manual focus f/0.95 lenses, or even use the Canon 85mm f/1.2 and have them all image stabilised.

 

 

Finally, Nikon produce a hi resolution semi-pro full frame dSLR, the Nikon D800, to compete with the aging but highly successful Canon 5D Mark II – time for a Canon 5D Mark III

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Nikon has just announced an upgrade to their excellent but aging 12 megapixel Nikon D700 full frame dSLR.

After several years of not challenging the 20 megapixel Canon 5D Mark II on resolution and price, they have finally produced a comparable camera, the Nikon D800, with a class leading 36 megapixels.

Brief over view of the Nikon D800:

  • 36 megapixels full frame sensor
  • 15mp DX 1.5x crop mode when using DX lenses
  • 1.2x crop mode
  • 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III System
  • Advanced Scene Recognition System
  • improved 51-point AF system (15 cross-type AF sensors, 9 of which are active with lenses up to f/8) with face detection in OVF mode
  • EXPEED 3™ image processing engine
  • native ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50-25,600
  • in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture
  • access to Picture Control presets via a dedicated button on the back of the body
  • weathersealed, USB 3.0, CF and SD card slots, intervalometer, optional GPS, 900g
  • 921,000-dot, 3.2-inch fixed LCD monitor without touch
  • flash sync 1/250th sec
  • shutter speed 30sec – 1/8000th sec
  • popup flash GN 12m at ISO 100
  • AE bracketing only up to 1EV steps which could be limiting for the HDR types out there.
  • 4 frames per second (fps) in FX mode at full resolution; 6 fps in DX mode using the optional MB-D12 Battery Pack;
  • 1080 30/24p and 720 60/30p HD video with full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output (8 bit, 4:2:2), B-frame compression H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, mono mic, dedicated headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Audio output levels can be adjusted with 30 steps for precise audio adjustment and monitoring. Stereo mic jack can also be adjusted with up to 20 steps of sensitivity. Video recording can be set to be activated through the shutter button, opening a world of remote applications through the 10-pin accessory terminal.
  • RRP $2995

There is also a Nikon D800E with identical features but without an anti-alias filter which comes in at $300 more.

There is much to like about the Nikon D800E, and studio/landscape photographers are likely to love it, but 36mp may be too much for most enthusiasts.

Now let’s see what Canon do with their soon to be announced Canon 5D Mark III.

Canon announces their new flagship pro dSLR – the full frame 12fps 18mp Canon 1D X

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Dpreview.com reports the announcement and as was expected by many, Canon has merged their 2 pro dSLR formats into 1 pro dSLR.

Up until now, Canon had their 1.3x crop APS-H sensor format sports dSLR with fast burst rates up to 10fps – the 1D series, and a full frame higher megapixel dSLR with average burst rates of 5fps – the 1Ds series.

With the improvement in computing speeds and technology, Canon have been able to combine these two approaches to give the best of both worlds albeit at a minor reduction in pixel count.

This will simplify their product line and perhaps please most professionals as one camera can do all, plus, potentially offer the most versatile video dSLR in the industry to boot. They may not be happy with Canon moving their controls around yet again, nor the fact that Sony dSLRs will sport significantly higher pixel counts, but then pixel counts are not really important any more.

Sports shooters may be upset that they will have less telephoto reach compared to the 1D Mark IV, and perhaps worse, it seems they lose an f/8 capable autofocus point which means they will no longer be able to AF with a 2x teleconverter on an f/4 lens.

The main headline features of the new Canon EOS 1D X include:

  • 18mp full frame sensor with larger photosites than in either the 1D Mark IV or the 5D Mark II
  • 12fps burst rate (14fps with mirror lock up in jpeg only mode)
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors capable of delivering approximately 17 times more processing speed than DIGIC 4
  • dedicated DIGIC 4 processor for metering and AF
  • face detection for metering and phase detect AF (all previous face detect AF used contrast-detect AF in LiveView mode only)
  • 100,000 pixel metering sensor in 252 general zones or 35 low light zones
  • new EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF
  • new 61-Point High Density Reticular AF with centre 5 being diagonal cross type for lenses f/2.8 or wider, the others have horizontal only detection for lenses f/5.6 or wider
  • the complexities of AF settings is now assisted with an inbuilt Feature Guide which suggests which AF settings for each subject type
  • new generation sensor cleaning system
  • lower image noise and higher ISO capability (ISO 100-51,200 in standard and up to 204,800 in H2)
  • 1080 HD video in 24/25/30p and 720HD video in 50/60p, with options for either intraframe (ALL-i ) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data compression.
  • two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run
  • manual audio level control at last
  • internal mono mic or external stereo mic port
  • continuous video recording up to 29min 59sec with automatic creation of 4Gb files which can be later stitched.
  • dual CF card slots
  • 400,000 cycle shutter
  • electronic first curtain shutter to reduce vibrations – a new feature for the 1D cameras
  • built-in LAN connection
  • optional WiFi and GPS modules
  • RRP $US6800 body only expected to be available in March 2012

Of course, this does not mean we won’t see a 28+ mpixel 1Ds full frame in 2012 to replace the aging 1Ds Mark III.

Canon have detailed article on the new features – see here.

New Nikon D5000 entry level dSLR with flip out LCD and video functionality

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Nikon has just announced a new entry level dSLR – the D5000.

It’s a cut down version of the very good D90 whilst adding delayed mirror drop down quiet mode, a flip out LCD which will be handy for video work but curiously, its self-portrait position is BELOW the camera and hidden behind your tripod!

Nikon and Canon have both started released dSLRs with video mode capability – but unless I am mistaken, these are quite crippled video modes, particularly when compared to a cheap digital video camera – no AF or AWB once recording has started, limited duration (5min on the D5000), mono audio with no wind cut and no facility for external stereo microphone. With the D5000, the video mode is a modest 1280×720 pixels at 24fps.

Compare this with the Panasonic GH-1 which allows full AF capability throughout movie mode including face detection AF, and wind cut noise reduction, and stereo audio, and external stereo microphone capability and ability to take full control of shutter speed during movie and movies at full 1920×1080x24fps or 1280×720x60fps AND it still operates as a 12mp digital camera with super quiet (no mirror bouncing around) still photography in a much more compact and light kit with 2 small lenses covering 14-280mm focal length range in 35mm terms.

Well let’s get back to the Nikon D5000 as a dSLR camera and see what its missing:

  • compared to its more expensive D90 sibling
    • crippled flash technology – no FP High Speed Sync and no remote flash capability
    • smaller viewfinder view – 0.78x magnification pentamirror vs 0.94x pentaprism
    • no in-body focus motor thus non-AF-S autofocus Nikkor lenses will not AF
    • no depth of field preview button
    • no multipower battery grip
    • 4fps burst rate not 4.5fps
    • LCD screen 233,000-dot instead of 920,000 as in D90
  • compared to the Olympus E620
    • crippled flash technology – no FP High Speed Sync and no remote flash capability
    • no depth of field preview button
    • no built-in image stabiliser
    • flip out LCD does not come out sideways for self portraits on a tripod as on the E620
    • limited creative “art” image editing options although there is a soft filter
    • only 1 cross-type AF sensor (E-620 has 7 cross-type), but the D5000 does have 11 in total

But if the sensor is as good as the Nikon D90, then image quality should be excellent, and if you are not shooting moving subjects then the video mode may come in handy for some things – although the whole point of movies is to shoot moving subjects!

And perhaps only the more enthusiastic amateurs who want to use off-camera flash or flash fill-in outdoors in the sunlight would miss the flash features.

Thus if you are a dedicated Nikon fan but can’t afford the D90 or don’t want its weight or bulk, then the D5000 may fit the bill.

For those keen on a real video experience with a still camera, then I would go for the GH-1 (it’s right up there on my list to buy next).

And if you really like doing self-portraits on a tripod – the Olympus E-620 or E-30 with its swivelling LCD might be the better choice.

Olympus announces a new dSLR – the E-620

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

dpreview.com has a preview of the newly announced Olympus E620 dSLR which has some of the features of the E-30 in the size nearer the E420 and with optional vertical grip and underwater housing.

Features include:

  • 12.3mp sensor, 4.0 fps, swivel LCD, image stabiliser
  • 7pt AF including 5 cross-type (not 11pts as with E-30 but better than 3 pts in E420/520 and better than only 1 cross-type as in the Canon 450D/500D)
  • three mode live view AF as with E-30 including face recognition
  • no top panel LCD, 1/4000th sec (not 1/8000th as with E-30), x-sync 1/180th (not 1/250th as with E-30), 95% field of view (not 98% as with E-30)
  • 6 art filters as with E-30 but no electronic spirit level
  • multiexposure mode allows 2 frames (not 4 frames as with E-30)
  • 4 aspect ratios (not 9 as with the E-30)
  • 521g incl. battery (E-30 is 768g, whilst E-520 is 552g)
  • lower capacity battery (BLS-1 instead of the BLM-1)
  • no PC sync socket or DC-in socket
  • still no movie mode as with Nikon D90 or Canon 500D – perhaps Olympus is reserving that for a Four Thirds Micro body which should do movie mode much better with its improved contrast detect live AF capability

Sounds like it will kill off the E420 and E-520 pending price competitiveness, as it combines the advantages of each of these and then adds features of the E-30.

How does it match with the Canon 450D?

  • 450D has 9 pt AF but only 1 is a cross point and requires f/2.8 or brighter for cross point to work – and most EF-S lenses do not have a f/2.8 or brighter aperture
  • no built-in image stabiliser in the 450D – a big advantage to the E620
  • 450D has 3.5fps whilst E-620 has 4.0fps
  • 450D max. timed exposure only 30sec while it E620 offers 30sec and 60sec
  • 450D allows only +/- 2 stops exposure compensation, while E620 offers +/- 5 stops
  • many other features lacking on the 450D such as swivel LCD, art filters, multiexposure mode, face recognition live view AF
  • MUCH better lenses designed for cropped sensor dSLRs available for the E620
  • 450D is approx. same weight as the E-620
  • How does it match with the new Canon 500D?

    • the 500D is much the same as the 450D BUT:
      • 15mp sensor, 3″ 920,000dot LCD
      • HD video at 20fps BUT as with Canon 5DMII and Nikon D90, no AF during video capture
      • HDMI out
      • ISO 100-1600 (expandable to 12800)
      • face detection AF in live view as with E-620
      • so nothing really innovative, and still no in-built image stabiliser or swivel LCD!

    The UK Photo Safari Group have prepared a pdf report on the E-620 you can download here

    Lens AF micro-adjustment – curing back-focus and front-focus

    Saturday, December 13th, 2008

    I suspect the concept that your camera and lens requires AF adjustment is a rather foreign concept to most Olympus users, and indeed, if they have a problem, its a job for service centre to fix, up until the new Olympus E-30 arrives which allows one to correct back-focus and front-focus AF errors.

    Perhaps Olympus has so far been able to avoid such issues as they have good quality control and better tolerances, or perhaps the wider depth of field can disguise it better, nevertheless, the issue has been a problem with Canon and Nikon users.

    My Canon 1DMIII required significant adjustments to a couple of lenses and my friend’s Canon 5DMII required even larger adjustments.

    I checked the AF accuracy of my Olympus E510 with ZD 50-200mm SWD and it was spot on – which I guess is fortunate otherwise its a trip back to Olympus.

    Now how does one go about doing micro-adjustments?

    There are several methods – all taking a minute or two to do per lens:

    Keith Cooper’s blog with downloadable AF target to assist accurate focus assessment on camera LCD screen.

    LensAlign product reviewed on Luminous-Landscape.com

    You can use either of these to check ANY camera but obviously, only those cameras with AF microadjustment will allow you to adjust it yourself, at present, this includes:

    • Canon 1D MKIII, 1Ds MKIII, 5DII, 50D
    • Nikon D3, D3x, D300, D700
    • Sony A900
    • Pentax K20
    • Olympus E-30

    Canon 5D MII announced at long last

    Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

    Canon has finally announced specs for the long awaited upgrade to its entry level full frame dSLR camera, the 5D.

    see dpreview.com’s preview

    Essentially its a 21mp full frame (thus similar to the pro 1DsMIII) with some weather sealing, sensor dust removal, 3.9fps, live preview with contrast AF, quick AF, AF face detection and silent modes, as well as 1080p HD or VGA movies up to 4Gb, and a 3″ 920,000 dot LCD, auto-ISO selection mode at a list price of $US2699 for the body only.

    It matches most of the features of the Nikon D700 full frame while upping the resolution ante to 21mp.

    It gives comparable resolution to the new Sony A900 (25mp) full frame but with more features, and of course a broader range of accessories, in particular, lenses such as telephotos and tilt-shift.

    And to top it off, it seems Canon is addressing some of its weaknesses by announcing a new EF 24mm f/1.4 lens which hopefully will go to some way to addressing its relative optical quality issues when compared to Nikon in the wide angle range of lenses.

    Of course, unlike the Nikon D700, you cannot use lenses designed for cropped sensors (in the case of Canon, the EF-S lenses), but this should not be much of a loss anyway.

    On paper, it seems like a winner, if you need a 21mp full frame dSLR.