Monday, September 15, 2014
After a long 5 years, the newly announced Canon EOS 7D Mark II replaces the venerable Canon EOS 7D. Considered the semi professional crop sensor workhorse, the original Canon 7D has been in a crowded market place since 2009. Canon finally stepped up the high performance crop sensor segment with the 20 megapixel Dual Digic 6 Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a host of new photo and video features for a MSRP of $1,799 USD.
The major highlights for photographers are AF points and the fast action frames per second. No more 7D 19 AF points, the 7D Mark II has 65 AF points to the likes of sports photographers paired with a fast 10 fps like the Canon 1D Mark IV. All this speed is supported by Dual DIGIC 6 processors to keep up with the faster buffer rate.
Okay, now for the good stuff for all those HD DSLR video fanatics. Headphone jack, uncompressed HDMI out and Dual Pixel CMOS AF during video recording like the Canon EOS 70D briefly touches the amazing video specifications. Full HD video is now with a 60fps frame rate for slow motion applications and with the now commonplace ALL-I and IPB compression rates. I almost forgot, Time Code as well.
Let me mention again, HEADPHONE jack for audio monitoring. Hurray! (Like the more expensive Canon 5D Mark III)
Now for the not so good stuff of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. No swivel touchscreen like the Canon EOS 70D as well as no built in Wi-Fi for remote monitoring and uploading with Canon EOS Remote App. IMHO, quite a strange product marketing move for Canon. The HD DSLR marketplace is very crowded with shrinking sales in a saturated environment nowadays. We will have to wait until a November 2014 product release date to get a hands on review of this long awaited Canon EOS 7D replacement.
In the meantime, the impatient will be appeased by new affordable lenses recently announced as well. The new EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens for $149 will satisfy the compact form factor crowd. We have already seen the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens for full frame but this shorter focal length will be a quick seller at this price point.
The newly announced Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens for $599 USD will gladly replace the aging Canon EF 28-135mm IS kit lens seen with the Canon 5D Mark II and the original Canon EOS 7D. The only kit lens that has impressed me is the current Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS STM for its price point and lens quality.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
The new ultra wide and ultra affordable Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens enables first time DSLR owners wide angle lens opportunities. Landscapes, large group shots of people and other narrow situations where wide and up close is required.
The built in image stabilization is great for low light shots and even better for stable video capture. For less than half the price of the more expensive Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens, the new EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is a great value for the entry level DSLR owner.
A 1080p video shot with the Canon EOS 70D paired with the new ultra wide Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit lens at 29.97fps. Edited with Final Cut Pro 6.0.6. and used Compressor at "Best" quality to export my timeline for a 670mb h264 video file.
A 1080p video shot with the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM ultra wide kit lens paired with the Canon EOS M with EF-M Lens Adapter at 29.97fps. Edited with Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 and used Compressor to export the timeline at "Best" quality for a 1.6gb H264 video file.
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM ultra wide angle budget lens makes a perfect starter kit for the DSLR and mirrorless novice. Wide angle is needed in theme parks such as the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom.
I tried the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster with the tourist friendly Canon EF-S 10-18mm paired with the mirrorless Canon EOS M to evaluate the IS and the field of view from my seat. The results were outstanding considering this ultra wide lens is only $299 and cost less than the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens.
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The Canon EOS 70D with the amazing Dual Pixel CMOS AF for continuous AF servo during video recording hits a homerun for DSLR video capture. My Canon EOS 70D Video Test clearly demonstrates the pin point accuracy of the AF Servo during video recording and the very useful touchscreen controls for critical focus. Other great features include 3x to 10x Digital zoom for 1080p video, choice of ALL-I and IPB video compression, full manual control over video and audio, intuitive touchscreen controls with the articulating LCD screen and the remote features of the built in WiFi control make the Canon EOS 70D truly a winner in the competitive HD DSLR market.
A 1080p video shot with the new Canon EOS 70D at 29.97 fps. Edited with Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 and used the Canon E-1 Movie Plugin 1.5 to transcode to AppleProRes422 from H264. I exported the FCP timeline using Compressor at "Best" quality to yield a 2 GB H264 video file for my Youtube upload.
The Canon EOS 70D was paired with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, EF 300mm f/4L IS w/ EF 1.4x and the EF 35mm f/1.4L lenses. For stability, I used the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid video head with BENRO 3580 tripod legs. For audio capture, I used the Sennheiser MKE400 shotgun microphone with wind muff and the RODE VideoMic GO microphone with RODE wind muff. To control incoming light to shoot wide open aperture, I used the FADER Mark II Variable ND Filter and the GENUS Variable ND Filter as well.
A 1080p video shot with the Canon EOS 70D paired with the Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS lens with Canon EF 1.4x extender at 29.97fps. Edited with Apple iMovie '11 and exported with Quicktime with "Best" quality for a 137mb H264 video file. For support, I used the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid video head paired with BENRO 3580 tripod legs.
To capture the "Blood Moon" Lunar Eclipse, I used the 3x to 10x Digital 1080p video zoom built in the Canon EOS 70D. This yields almost a 6400mm focal length equivalent with crop factor, extender and digital zoom for a great reach into the heavens.
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Filmmakers rejoice! A worthy replacement of the venerable Canon EOS 60D workhorse has arrived. The new Canon EOS 70D will be coming in September 2013 for a retail price of $1199 for body only. For that much coin, you get a 20 megapixel APS-C sized sensor with 19 point AF, 7 fps, touchscreen articulating LCD, built in Wi-Fi and the newly developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF for continuous AF during video recording. Anxious to get your hands on one?
According to Canon, the new Canon EOS 70D coupled with the newly developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a "game changer" in the DSLR industry. Of course, we have heard this before with the 2008 Canon EOS 5D Mark II and certainly, Canon has to fill some big shoes at this point! As everybody knows, DSLR's are not conventional camcorders when it comes to AF during video recording. Canon attempted this feat with the Canon EOS Rebel T4i with much disappointment. Should I be cautiously optimistic with the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF of the Canon EOS 70D? I will not hold my breath for too long but there is always hope...
Let us focus on the positives of the Canon EOS 70D for now. You get a touchscreen LCD like the T4i/T5i, 19 point AF which is an upgrade from 9 points, built in wi-fi like the Canon EOS 6D, a very fast 7 fps shutter rate and plethora of manual video and audio controls for critical filmmaking. Here is an added bonus feature...gone are the days of mode dial rotating every time for video mode, we now have a dedicated movie mode button like the Canon EOS 7D. Hooray! All these goodies make the next couple months until the Canon 70D release in September 2013 give tech addicts the cold sweats!
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Thursday, May 30, 2013
Fuse Academy Award winning animated feature Happy Feet with Disney's Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and you get Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Sea World's newest attraction in Orlando, Florida features a motion simulation ride that journeys through a live habitat of real penguins from the Antarctic. This past Memorial Day weekend grand opening of Sea World's newest exhibit met with large crowds including my family. The icy South Pole meets the hot and humid Orlando, Florida!
The freezing temperatures of the exhibit gave much needed relief from the two hours and twenty minute wait in line for Empire of the Penguins attraction in the Florida heat. To be exact, that is 140 minutes of standing in line for a two minute theme park ride. Patience is definitely a virtue!
The long line just continued around the exhibit like a never ending Department of Motor Vehicles line. As Florida resident season pass holders, we came to Sea World just for the grand opening weekend of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins and we expected the crowds and long wait!
With my smallest and lightest DSLR in the world, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 paired with the Rokinon 8mm T3.8 Fisheye Cine lens, I captured almost the entire 2 minute ride to make a Full HD experience. The fisheye lens gave me a great wide POV perspective without missing any South Pole scenery. BTW, it was really dark and I had to push the ISO setting to 3200 and keep the lens wide open the whole time.
Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin theme park ride is family friendly. My whole family including my two year old daughter could enjoy the icy experience without harm or fear. The only harm came to my sore legs and overheated body from the 2 hour and 20 minute wait in line!
So my Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin verdict? Definitely wait for a couple of months for the crowds to wane, especially with families with young impatient kids. My Empire of the Penguin theme park ride experience adds another decent but not spectacular exhibit to a live animal theme park. Sea World brings the icy South Pole to Orlando, Florida but hold off to any immediate visits until the hoards of people trickle down.
Antarctic penguins are a tough sell to the Disney theme park dominated Orlando, Florida. My family enjoys everything that Sea World has to offer with their educational marine life entertainment. A bit of theme park advice here...enjoy the reduced crowds at the other Sea World exhibits in the meantime. No one was at Shark Encounter for the first time!
You can view more Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins photos and videos shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D in my Sea World's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Gallery.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
My son's first reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is cause for celebration and of course, formal pictures. Along with many Catholic 2nd graders with their excited parents, the hunt for proper attire began with frantic visits to the children section at local department stores. After repeated attempts at multiple locations for the correct garment size, the online heavens parted and blessed us with convenient delivery to our home. This is truly a Blessed Sacrament.
Reconciliation finished. Sacrament of the Altar completed. This communicant is well on his way for his rite of passage until his future confirmation. Assigned seating in the third row gave me an opportune view for this unobstructed perfect shot at ISO 3200 with my trusty Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D. Divine Intervention strikes again!
If you look closely at paintings of the Last Supper in Filipino households, you can see a succulent whole roasted Lechon pig with crispy skin on the table with Jesus and his Apostles. The Lord's Supper and my son's First Communion Reception are not complete without the national dish of suckling swine of the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
Unlike this one, many rites of passage are not a true and straight path. There will be many obstacles sight unseen in your future. Doubt will be cast and certainly authority questioned until you are well past an adult. It will all make sense later.
Your journey will not be alone. This much photographed family will guide you like your gracious unleavened host on this perfect happy day. Like all similes, please don't eat us.
No fancy studio lights and digital cameras here in my First Holy Communion photo shoot, just a Polaroid Instamatic Land Camera with harsh flash bulb lighting. Check out my over sized lapels on my brown leisure suit ! I was "Stylin" in my day !
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D digital camera takes all the "Rebel" goodness and wraps it in a small package. This new entry level 18 megapixel Canon Rebel with an APS-C CMOS sensor is now the lightest and smallest DSLR in the digital market today. This small form factor certainly blurs the line with their existing and not so popular Canon EOS M digital mirrorless compact camera just released in November 2012. The Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D emerges as the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera with a real viewfinder and no silly EF-M Lens Adapter, IMHO.
Does the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D video performance stack up with its Rebel brothers? Yes, it certainly does except for the fact it is missing an articulating screen and a larger capacity battery. Just like the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera, the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is missing the swivel screen and utilizes the same Canon LP-E12 battery pack. The new Canon Rebel SL1/100D also retains the quite useful touchscreen feature of the 3.0 inch LCD screen, the extended video record time of 29 minutes and 29 seconds and the full manual exposure and audio control with an external microphone jack. Enough said! Watch the Youtube video above to see for yourself!
Surprisingly, Canon has managed to fit an optical viewfinder and a built in pop up flash in the Rebel SL1/100D with a form factor similar to the Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera. The familiar Rebel controls like Mode Dial, AE lock and even the ISO button are all in the usual locations on this small Rebel body. Full size features like a 4 fps shutter rate powered by a DIGIC V processor and video resolutions like 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60 fps fill this "baby" Rebel with adorable goodness!
My Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D rig consisted of the new Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid video head for support, the Rode VideoMic shotgun microphone with the Rycote Lyre Suspension System for audio capture and the new Hoodman Custom Finder Kit with the H32 viewfinder loupe to help in critical focus. As for lenses used in my Youtube video, I used the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L prime and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lenses. As expected, the Rode VideoMic with the more durable Rycote shock mount is a dream and can now actually fit comfortably in my camera bag. The new Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head is larger than my Manfrotto 701 HDV head but this new head has tilting spring tension with a new quick release plate. The Hoodman Custom Finder Kit with H32 loupe is still under my pending evaluation for now. Stay tuned for more...
The Hybrid CMOS AF II makes an infamous comeback but in an allegedly improved 2nd version! Canon's attempt at continuous AF during video recording was a blatant disappointment. Just like the Canon EOS Rebel T4i and the Canon EOS M Hybrid AF systems, I did not expect much with the new and improved 2nd version of the Hybrid AF Servo function. Again with the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D, the continuous AF during video recording hunted back and forth like usual and completely missed the boat, IMHO! Manual focus during video is the way to go for great video!
So what is my Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D Video Test Verdict? The Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D emerges as another stellar video performer just like its bigger Rebel brothers but just in a small form factor with no articulating screen. If travel size and weight are your criteria for minimalist filmmaking, the new Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D is your DSLR Phoenix rising from the digital ashes!
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