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Introduction

Canon announced the new 1D MkIV on the 20th October 2009. We all waited with great anticipation for this new body to arrive in December 2009. It didn’t, I got mine on the 11th January 2010. I was very excited to test the new body, especially after the debacle with the focusing of the 1D Mk III.

So, before I get to the results, and I must add preliminary results, as I have not had too much time to test the body, let’s look at what is new or better according to Canon. Once again, I am not going to comment on the video capabilities.

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Canon announced the new 5D MkIII on the 2nd March 2012. This document is to see how well the camera performed in the field and with our inhouse tests.

TEST RESULTS

We looked at the camera’s AF system, how well it tracks and focuses. The ISO, we compared it against the 5D MkII, 7D and 1D MkIV, and lastly the resolution. So let’s look first at the AF system.

AF FOCUS

Canon has had some bad press about their AF systems in the 1D MkIII, improved with the 7D and 1D MkIV but did not win to many critics over. They really stepped up their game with the 5D MkIII. When you look at the new specification they increased the dual cross AF sensors, they increased the cross type AF points and spread them further out towards the end focusing points and increased the total AF to 61. Now what is important to note here is that the dual cross AF sensors only work with lenses with a maximum aperture of f2.8 and faster. The 41cross type AF sensors work with lenses with a maximum aperture of f4 and faster. If you use a lens with a maximum aperture of f5.6 then you have 21 cross type AF point all grouped in the centre.

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Canon announced the new 1DX on the 2nd March 2012. After a very long period we received one of the first ones that came into South Africa. This document is to see how well the camera performed in the field and with our in-house tests.

 

TEST RESULTS

We looked at the camera’s AF system and how well it tracks and focuses. The ISO, we compared it against the 5D MkIII, 1D MkIV, Nikon D800 and D4; and lastly the resolution. So let’s look first at the AF system.

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First Impressions:

This is the second time I have had the privilege to shoot with this lens, and every time I pick it up I get excited!! The lens comes in the same rugged hard case, as all the “L” white fixed focal length lenses. Inside the case, over and above the lens is an additional foot to support the lens's use on a monopod, two straps, one for the lens and one for the case, a lens hood and the lens caps.

When you pick up the lens you can’t help but be impressed by the build quality. One thing that will surprise you is the size and weight of the lens. The lens weighs 3620g, just lighter than the EF 400 f2.8L IS II USM (3850g), but slightly heavier than the EF 500 f4L IS II USM (3190g). But, it is on par with the AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED lens at 3275g without a built-in extender. The EF 200-400 f4.0L IS USM 1.4x Extender diameter is 128 mm and the length without the hood 366mm, making it shorter and thinner than the EF 500 f4L IS USM lens (146mm x 383mm) but slightly longer and much slimmer than the EF 400 f4L IS II USM lens (163mm x 343mm). What is very nice about the size of the lens is that it fits easily in any carry-on case, and the days of fighting with the airlines about carry-on luggage is over!

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The purpose of creating a droplet in Lightroom is to run Photoshop actions after you have exported your image out of Lightroom. This is very handy if you want to create any custom actions, like watermarking your images if you do not like Lightroom’s watermark or adding a frame around your image. In this article I will show you how to create a small 4 pixel frame around your image.

First we need to write the action in Photoshop, so open an image that is correctly sized for what you want to do, in this case I opened an image that is resized to 1020 pixels x 680 pixels (the height was the default size).  The reason I selected 1020 pixels is because I am going to add another 4 pixels for my frame bringing the total width to 1024 pixels. See image below:

lightroom droplet

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I always hear comments like "I don't use my 1.4x and 2.0 converters because they make my images soft". That is true that both the converters will make a photo "softer" if you compare it to an image not shot with a converter, BUT the image does not become unusable!! Two factors that will influence the sharpness, one is technique and the second is the sweet spot of a lens.

Technique

When you add converters you are increasing your focal length, it sounds very obvious but most people forget about the impact of that. Longer focal lengths increase the chance of camera shake. Remember the rule to prevent camera shake, shutter speed should be equal to the inverse of your focal length. What does that mean; well if you are photographing with a 400mm lens and you add a 1.4x converter on then your focal length changes to 560mm. The inverse of 560 is 1/560 so you need a shutter speed of 1/750 sec and faster to prevent camera shake, and even faster if you add a 2.0x converter on. With a 2.0x converter your focal length becomes 800mm so you will need a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec or faster to prevent camera shake. Yes, IS (Image Stabilizer) does help and you can get away with slower shutter speeds. All I am saying here is check your shutter speed to make sure that you are preventing camera shake!!

Sweet spot of a lens. Lenses are usually designed to give the best resolution at 2 stops from maximum aperture. This means if the lens has a maximum aperture of f4, it will perform best at f8. This rule applies with using converters as well, so when you use a lens with a maximum aperture of f4 and you add a 1.4x converter the maximum aperture becomes f5.6 and therefore the lens will perform best at f11.
To summarize, if you use a 400 f4 lens and add a 1.4x converter then the lens becomes a 560mm f5.6 lens. To capture a sharp image you would like to photograph at 1/750 sec at f8 or f11.

 

IMPORTANT: CONVERTERS ONLY WORK WITH LENSES WITH MAXIMUM APERTURE OF F4 AND FASTER!!

Both images below are shot with the new 5D MkIII:

shooting with converter

converter pictures

I had the privilege of shooting with a pre-production Canon 5Ds the last few days. What a camera!! Below is a brief review of that new camera Canon 5Ds, I will post a full review in the next few weeks on my website.

Canon 5Ds - New Features:

Take the 5D MkIII’s body, install a 50 Million pixel full frame sensor into it and add some of the 7D MkII’s feature plus some brand new features never seen before and you have a 5DS. The 5DS inherited the following features from the 7D MkII: Interval Timer, Bulb Timer, Anti Flickering and as well as the Viewfinder display settings where you can see the Electronic Level, and shooting function information in the viewfinder.

The all new features are, and I will talk about them in detail below:

Cropping feature with masked viewfinder display, Customizable “Q” screen, New Picture Style called Fine Detail, New Auto White Balance called AWB White Priority, new settings under Mirror Lockup and the ability to shoot Time Lapse Movies under the Movie menu. In the camera is an all-new damping mechanism for the mirror, same AF system as the 5D MkIII but with added and improved iTR system that comes from the 7D MkII. Same 150,000 pixel metering sensor as the 7D MkII, plus the ability to set over/under exposure compensation in Manual mode when using Auto ISO. Let’s look closer at the some of these new features.

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Before I give the tips, let’s just define Macro Photography. Macro photography is not only photographing subjects up close, but it is also achieving a 1:1 or larger magnification. Any subject photographed less than 1:1 magnification is called close-up photography, and not macro photography. What does 1:1 magnification mean? Well it means that the subject you are taking will be displayed exactly the same size on the sensor as what it is in real life. Below is a very basic illustration of this, if you take a full frame sensor (sensor size 36mm by 24mm) camera like the Canon 5D MkII and you photograph a tape measure, for the tape measure to display 1:1 on the sensor, the measurement should read 36mm.

macro photography

If 18mm was displayed then the magnification is 2:1 (the subject displayed on the sensor is double the size than real life), and on the other hand, if the measurement was 72mm, the magnification will be 1:2 (the subject displayed on the sensor is half the size than in real life, which is not macro photography but close-up photography). Well with all that technical stuff out of the way let’s start with the tips:

macro photography tips

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