September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Canon Fires Out the 7D Mark II, G7X and New Lenses

 

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Canon has introduced several new cameras at Photokina 2014, including the EOS 7D Mark II, as well as three new lenses.

The 7D Mark II brings several firsts to the EOS line largely focused, if you will, around the camera’s autofocus system. It will be the first to run dual DIGIC 6 processors with a 10 frames per second (fps) burst mode that has an expanded buffer of up to 31 RAW images or 1,900 JPEGs (the older 7D topped out at 130 JPEGs).  It employs a new 65 cross-type AF system for better low light focusing as well as an improved version of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF that uses sensors on the CMOS display for phase detection autofocus, improving accuracy during video recording. More firsts for the EOS line include a bulb timer and intervalometer for time lapse and long exposure photography as well as distortion correction for EF and EF-S lenses.

The 20-megapixel 7D Mark II uses a newly developed APS-C-sized sensor with an ISO range of 100-16000 (expandable to 51600). It will feature a new AF Area Selection lever around the multi-controller on the back of the camera to toggle between the camera’s seven AF selection modes without taking your eye off the scene. The AI Servo AF III algorithm on the 7D  Mark II will be similar to the one found on the 1D-Xand will allow tracking parameters such as tracking sensitivity and AF auto point switching can be customized.

Canon also improved the scene detection sensor, giving it a 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with 252 zones. Enhancements to the auto exposure were also incorporated to help the 7D Mark II photograph under flickering light sources like sodium vapor lamps.

New Video Tricks

The 7D Mark II incorporates several changes to Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology  to improve video performance. First, the 7D Mark II will offer adjustable movie servo AF speeds in five stop adjustments as well as the ability to adjust AF tracking sensitivity on a sliding scale. The area of coverage is unchanged from the 7D at 80 percent of the frame.

You won’t find 4K recording on the 7D Mark II however. Canon stuck with 1080/60p. You can output an uncompressed HD signal via HDMI to an external recorder. On the audio front, there is a stereo mic jack and a headphone jack with a silent control feature for adjusting audio levels during recording.

Canon also said that overall focusing speed, face detection performance and low light performance with low contrast subjects has also been improved.

You’ll find a 3-inch display plus a viewfinder with 100 percent field of view that can overlay data such as an electronic level display or grid. Built-in GPS is also on hand for geotagging images.

The 7D Mark II’s magnesium alloy body offers four times the moisture and dust resistance of the original 7D.

You can pick up the 7D Mark II in November for $1,799 (body) or in a kit with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $2,149.

HR_G7X_3Q_CLThe G7X

Canon also trotted out a new advanced compact camera. The Powershot G7X will offer a 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 6 processor. Canon tweaked the image processing algorithms for this compact to mimic the highlight and shadow detail rendering in its more advanced EOS line.

The G7X, which is situated just beneath Canon’s G1x Mark II, offers an ISO range of 125 to 12800, Wi-Fi for wireless image transfers and NFC. There’s also a 3-inch, 1-million dot touch screen LCD display which can be tilted out from the camera body.

For fast action, the G7X can burst at 6.5fps at full resolution and records 1920 x 1080 video at 60fps.

A control ring on the lens offers the ability to change exposure settings (shutter speed, aperture and ISO) and a manual focus ring can be turned even during AF. The lens itself offers a focal length of 24-100mm with an aperture range of f/1.8-2.8 and a curved diaphragm for creating bokeh.

The G7X ships in October for $699.

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New Glass

Last, but by no means least, Canon has three new lenses in the EF family.

First up is the new EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM, which Canon is styling as a portable telephoto, weighing in at 4.6 pounds or about half the weight of the f/2.8 version of the lens. The lens will feature a new gapless dual-layered diffractive optical element to reduce flare around backlit subjects. There are aspherical and UD elements on hand to combat optical aberrations and the front and back of the lens are coated with flourine to repel dust.

The 400mm will offer optical image stabilization good for up to four shutter speed steps of correction. Image stabilization can be used in three modes: standard, panning and exposure only. There are four programmable buttons on the lens and the lens can be manually focused in AF mode.

The EF 400mm f/4 lens ships in November for $6,899.

HR_EFS24_28_STM_3Q_CLAlso due in November is the new EF- S 24mm f/2.8 STM, the slimmest and lightest EF-S lens ever to roll out of Canon’s factory. This pancake lens features a seven bladed aperture and an electromagnetic drive aperture mechanism for quieter adjustment during video shooting.  The EF-S 24mm will sell for $149.

Finally, Canon announced the EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, its first for the EF series to use a screw-type stepping motor for quiet AF during video filming.

It offers optical image stabilization good for up to four shutter speed steps of correction. The seven optical elements are arranged in a new grouping and use a new AF algorithm for faster focusing, Canon said. The 24-150mm features a seven bladed aperture, two aspheric elements and a UD lens element.

Look for the 24-105mm in December. It will retail for $599.

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June 8th, 2014

Fake Chuck Westfall Unmasked!: Photographer Behind Controversial Canon Blog Reveals Why He’s Calling It Quits

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The real Chuck Westfall, a Technical Advisor at Canon USA for pro imaging products

If you follow the photo industry and, in particular, the world of Canon photography products, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Fake Chuck Westfall blog.

A direct descendent of the Fake Steve Jobs persona that humorously parodied Apple’s leading luminary on The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog, Fake Chuck Westfall has been spoofing Canon’s main camera guru and the photo industry in general since 2008.

Fake Steve Jobs turned out to be writer Dan Lyons but Fake Chuck Westfall has remained anonymous…until now.

After tweeting on the FCW Twitter account last week that he was planning to pull the plug on Fake Chuck Westfall, the man behind the controversial blog agreed to be interviewed by PDN to explain who he is, why he created FCW, and why he’s putting an end to it. (And no, it’s not because Canon is threatening legal action, as it did back in 2009, which turned Fake Chuck Westfall into a photo industry Internet celebrity and caused the blog’s traffic to skyrocket.)

So, without further ado, meet photographer Karel Donk, aka Fake Chuck Westfall. Donk will give a more in depth account of the entire Fake Chuck Westfall saga in a post on his blog on Monday morning. (UPDATE: Here’s Donk’s FCW farewell post.)

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February 11th, 2014

Canon Intros G1 X Mark II Advanced Compact Camera, Rebel T5 Consumer DSLR, and Macro Ring Light

HR_G1X_MARKII_BLACK_3QBACKLCD_CLCanon took the wraps off a batch of new photo gear tonight, including the Powershot G1 X Mark II, which is a top-of-the-line compact camera; the Rebel T5 consumer DSLR; and a new Macro Ring Light for close-up photography. The new camera products from Canon comes just days before the start of the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan.

Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II
The G1 X Mark II is follow-up to the G1 X, which we reviewed positively (with some quibbles) back in 2012.. Like its predecessor, the G1 X Mark II boasts a 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm) CMOS imaging chip that’s a tiny bit smaller than APS-C sensors in many DSLRs and some “mirrorless” interchangeable lens camera.

But the 12.8-megapixel sensor in the G1 X Mark II is an entirely new chip, that actually has slightly less resolution than the previous camera, which used a 14.3MP CMOS imager. According to Chuck Westfall, a Technical Advisor for Canon, the drop in resolution is designed to accommodate the G1 X II’s new aspect ratio, which is now 3:2.

Westfall, who we interviewed during an NDA meeting about the new gear before tonight’s launch, said the new aspect ratio for the G1 X II is meant to make it more like a Canon EOS DSLR camera. Photographers can also switch to a 4:3 ratio on the G1 X II, without impacting the field of view.

“It’s a substantially improved product,” Westfall said about the new G1 X Mark II. “Physically, it’s in the same range [as the previous model] but there’s lots of changes and improvements throughout.”

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Like its predecessor, the G1 X II will debut at a price of $799, which puts it in line with some higher-end, entry-level DSLRs. Calling this camera a compact is also a bit of a stretch: Canon lists the dimensions of the G1 X II at 116.3 x 74.0 x 66.2 mm, which makes it too big to fit into your pocket. It weighs 18.2 ounces (without the battery), which is almost an ounce more than the previous model.

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January 6th, 2014

CES 2014: Canon Announces New PowerShot Compact Cameras

Canon announced three new PowerShot compact cameras in Las Vegas Canon-PowerShot_N100_White_02this morning as part of this week’s Consumer Electronic Shows (CES).  The point-and-shoot cameras include these models: the PowerShot N100, PowerShot SX600 HS and ELPH 340 HS.

The PowerShot N100 will go on sale in May 2014 in white or black for $350. The PowerShot SX600 HS will go on sale at the end of February 2014 in red, white or black fro $250. The PowerShot ELPH 340 HS will ship in March 2014 in purple, silver, or black for $200. More details on these three point-and-shoot cameras in the press releases after the jump.

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September 12th, 2013

SanDisk Intros High Performance CFast 2.0 and VPG-65 CompactFlash Cards

Advances in still and video technology, particularly 4K video, demand higher performance cards and storage, and this morning SanDisk announced two new CompactFlash cards and a speed increase across its Extreme Pro CF cards.

CFast_Front_120GB_HRSanDisk’s Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 card is the first to utilize the CFast 2.0 standard, which is designed to meet the intensive needs of high-end and next-generation motion and still photography cameras. Available in 60GB and 120GB capacities, the card’s capabilities range from blazingly fast read speeds of up to 450MB/s (3000X) and write speeds of up to 350MB/s (2333X). The CFast 2.0 card was designed in collaboration with the CompactFlash Association, Canon and ARRI. Initially, the card–with a CODEX Capture Drive to CFast 2.0 adapter for ARRI cameras–will be sold directly to ARRI and will be available at ARRI specialty retailers and other photo specialty stores.

In the past, splits in card formats were generally relegated to consumer-level cameras (xD vs. SD, among others). Now, professionals may have to assess the specifications and availability of cards formats–CFast 2.0 vs. XQD–when selecting a camera. The XQD card, which was introduced along with the Nikon D4–to date, the only DSLR to use the XQD format. Sony was the first to produce XQD cards (the new Sony 4K Handycam, the FDR-AX1 is also XQD-compatible, for example) and Lexar started shipping its XQD cards earlier this year. So far, though, SanDisk’s CFast 2.0 card’s read and write speeds exceeds those of the XQD.

 

 

SanDiskExtremePro_CF_160MBs_UDMA7_VPG65_Front_256GB_LRAlso a world’s first, SanDisk also introduced the massive, 256GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash card with the VPG-65 (Video Performance Guarantee) specification. The 256GB CF card offers transfers up to 160MB/s and  write speeds of up to 140MB/s. At the same time, SanDisk has pumped up the speed across its Extreme Pro line, with CompactFlash receiving a boost by about 50 percent to read and write speeds of up to 160MB/s and 150MB/s, respectively. SD card users will be happy to hear that SanDisk’s Extreme line of SD cards will also receive a speed increase of up to 80MB/s (read) and up to 60MB/s (write).

www.SanDisk.com

Price:

CFast 2.0: 60GB; 120GB: TBD

Extreme Pro CompactFlash cards:

16GB-256GB priced from $220-$1,810

 

 

August 22nd, 2013

Canon’s New PowerShot G16–Now With WiFi

CANON 20130822_loRes_g16_3qflashCanon announced a handful of PowerShot compact cameras today, including the new G16. The update to the advanced compact PowerShot G15 now features wi-fi–the first G-series model to offer wireless connectivity, in addition to the manual controls of its predecessor. Like other Canon wi-fi-enabled cameras, the G16 provides sharing options for iOS and Android devices with its free Canon Camera Window app. Uploads are made via the Canon Image Gateway to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr; email sharing is also available.

The camera is built around a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and utilizes Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor resulting in improved performance, including continuous shooting up to 9.3 frames per second. Canon also promises faster AF and shorter lag times. The G16 is equipped with a fast, 28-140mm, f/1.8-f/2.8 lens, a built-in stereo microphone, built-in flash and HDMI out to view images and video (the G16 can capture up to 1080p/60p full HD) on HDTVs.

While it’s a little too late for this month’s Perseid meteor showers, the G16 offers new shooting modes including Star Nightscape, Start Trails and Start Time Lapse Movie for those interested in night and astral photography. For those who are more HDR-minded, you can choose from several options in the HDR scene mode depending on your esthetics. These include: Natural, Art Bold, Art Embossed, Art Standard and Art Vivid.

At $550, the G16 is $100 more than its predecessor, so you’ll pay extra for the wi-fi and improved performance. The PowerShot G16 is scheduled to ship in October.

–Theano Nikitas

July 2nd, 2013

Canon Announces 70D DSLR

HR_70D_EFS18-135_IS_STM_3Q_CLCanon today announced the successor to their 60D DSLR, named the Canon 70D. Featuring a very interesting new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system that promises “instant and precise focusing of video as well as still images,” the EOS 70D also has a completely new 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor and uses Canon’s  DIGIC 5+ Image Processor. The 70D is wi-fi connected, has a 19-point AF sensor (including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point), , a 63-zone Dual Layer IFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color & Luminance) AE metering system, an ISO range of 100 to 12800 (expandable to 25,600), and a vari-angle touchscreen LCD (allowing a “touch to focus” feature).

While the improved low-light performance, wi-fi and touchscreen LCD will grab some attention, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is the crowning feature of the 70D. Essentially, Canon has figured out how to have each pixel on the sensor perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. This is achieved by each pixel on the CMOS sensor having two independent photodiodes sending independant signals that can be used for both imaging and AF. It also allows continuous phase detection AF during movie recording. Eliminating slow or jumpy AF due to contrast detection or hybrid systems will be a big deal for a lot of photographers who shoot video with their DSLRs.

For more on the EOS 70D, including availability, pricing and more, see our full news story on PDNOnline.

www.usa.canon.com/eos

 

May 1st, 2013

New Canon 5D Mark III Firmware For Uncompressed HDMI & F/8 Autofocus

Canon 5D Mark IIICanon has released version 1.2.1 of the firmware for its 5D Mark III DSLR. This update brings two useful features to the popular camera, one benefiting still photographers and the other those who shoot video with the 5D.

Firmware 1.2.1 gives filmmakers the ability to capture uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 video. This uncompressed footage will be output through the camera’s HDMI connection at the same time it is recorded to the memory cards and displayed on the 5D’s LCD.

The new firmware also allows the center cross-type AF point to work with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/8.

PDN’s  full story, including a link where you can download the free upload, is now on the Gear news page of PDNOnline.com.

March 1st, 2012

Canon Launches 22.3MP 5D Mark III DSLR (Hands-On Preview with Photos)

Hold onto your hats, folks! Canon has officially unveiled its long-awaited EOS 5D Mark III, the 22.3-megapixel, full-frame, HD-shooting successor to one of the company’s most popular pro DSLRs of all time.

We got to spend some hands-on shooting time (see further down in this story) with a prototype of the Canon 5D Mark III this week, and as successors go, this camera is fairly loaded; even if its image sensor is only a tick higher in resolution that the 21.1MP 5D Mark II from 2008. (In contrast, the Canon 5D Mark III’s direct competitor, the Nikon D800, uses a 36.3MP full-frame chip.)

But let’s get the important stuff out of the way first: the 1080p-shooting Canon 5D Mark III is slated to go on sale at the end of March for $3,499 (body only) and as a kit with the 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens for $4,299.

While that’s nearly $1,000 more than the 5D Mark II initially sold for, Canon argues that the amount of new tech in the 5D Mark III justifies the bump up in price.

“The feature set on this thing is so far superior to the 5D Mark II, it’s worth it,” Chuck Westfall, Canon USA’s Technical Advisor in the Professional Engineering & Solutions Division told us during a hands-on preview with the new camera on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Canon 5D Mark II will remain in the line and its price will drop next week. Westfall wouldn’t say how much the price will be lowered on the 5D II but at least one site predicts it will go down by $300, starting this Sunday.

“The 5D Mark II will remain in the line for at least the next six months. It might go longer than that but it depends,” Westfall said. “There are people who will say I can get by with less so the 5D Mark II is there for them.”

Read more of this story and see additional photos by clicking here.

February 1st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Winter In Hell

Winter in Hell from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

Enrique Pacheco’s short film “Winter In Hell” (not a reference to the regular severe weather warnings afflicting areas of the United States this season), was created from footage shot in Iceland over the course of a year. It tells the story of a peaceful arctic winter interrupted by the explosion of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

The photographer and filmmaker used the Canon 7D and 5D Mark II, and Canon and Carl Zeiss lenses to shoot the footage. We recommend utilizing the full screen mode.