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Canon’s new fast shooter

Still, at slightly faster than half cinema speed, your excuses for missing shots are going to start looking rather sparse. Like previous EOS-1D models, when it’s at full chat it sounds like a pack of cards flying uncontrollably out of a shuffling machine.

The Register, “Hands on with Canon’s EOS-1D X full-frame DSLR

Button genocide

In the article, “The Touchscreen DSLR is Upon Us,” Gizmodo reports,

So, this finally happened: Canon, or possibly a four-year-old with a mild passion for drawing, has filed for a patent on a touchscreen DSLR, which transfers common controls to the camera’s LCD screen. The button genocide is real, people.

The comment about the four-year-old was clearly spawned by the graphic included in the patent:

My favourite part is what appear to be dirt marks in the image. It looks like it was scanned, but the drawing was clearly done on a computer. You’d think that Canon, with all those cameras and scanners, might do better.

But I digress.

I have no doubt that these touch-screen DSLRs are on the way. Despite the cost of the touch screen itself, I bet they’ll be cheaper to make. I also suspect they’ll appear on entry-level models only. Why?

When you’re in a rush, a button is faster than a touch screen. When you’re operating purely by feel, a button works while a touch screen is useless.

More than a few times, I’ve been waiting for an event to occur with my eye on the viewfinder. I’ve changed the aperture and shutter speed with a flick of my thumb or forefinger, respectively. I’ve changed the ISO by pressing the middle of three buttons on the camera’s top panel and then rotating the thumb-wheel to set the desired value. I can change the focus point by pressing the thumb-stick in the desired direction. This list goes on and on. All of these changes can be made simply and easily with your eye to the viewfinder. Moving to a touch screen will entirely remove this ability because you’d have to take the camera away from your face to make any changes. Whoops, your sexy touch screen caused you to miss the moment, so sorry.

It may come to midrange and higher end DSLRs eventually, but not with the touch screens we have now. A complete lack of tactile feedback and placing the screen where it can’t be manipulated when you’re using the camera makes the idea a non-starter.

Hat tip: Gizmodo.

The Pen, reincarnated

Olympus has revealed their E‑P1 Micro Four Thirds digital camera. Feast your eyes:

I’ve never taken the Four Thirds system very seriously. The sensor is smaller (2× crop) resulting in poor high-ISO performance. They’ve touted this as an advantage because it means they can design a smaller camera. The problem was the Four Thirds cameras weren’t significantly smaller at all. And because the system was completely new, the lens selection was limited.

But this E‑P1 does change things. It can’t even be called a DSLR because there’s no mirror or pentaprism. Because there’s no mirror box, the body is significantly smaller than an SLR. It looks like a rangefinder, but it features a TTL viewfinder, albeit electronic.

I still think it’s more a curiosity than anything, but it does feature some very interesting design elements. I have no doubt that this is the direction at least some mid- to high-end digital cameras will take.

And isn’t it deliciously retro?!

Image from Akihabaranews.

For all your dirty photo needs

Nikon is proud to announce their new S60 camera:

Even before you read the small print, it’d obvious that the image is touting the camera’s ability to recognize up to a dozen faces, right? What? Faces? There are faces?

As misguided as it is, I think the photo is a riot. Especially the guy on the extreme right, hiding behind the curtain. But then again, maybe it’s not misguided. I’ve seen at least three sites with the image, so word certainly is spreading. Not about the camera directly, but no press is bad press, right? Especially when it’s free.

Gizmodo has the funniest comment:

If you’re ever lucky enough score two chicks at the same time, make sure to not only grab shots with your Nikon camera, but to open those blinds wide so the whole neighborhood takes shots, too.

As for me, I think this face recognition technology can work against you getting a good photo. The sample photo is a good example. Do you really want the faces of the people in the next building to be in sharp focus? I’d suggest not. A nice blurred background would keep the viewers’ attention on the subjects. And what’s with the flat and under-saturated colours? That’s no way to sell a point-and-shoot camera.

Photo ©2008 Nikon Corporation

Take-off above the soccer field

IMG_6320.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2000, f/5.6, 400 ISO

IMG_6320.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2000, f/5.6, 400 ISO

This Boeing 737 – 7CT belongs to WestJet and is shown gaining altitude over Barrhaven, just after takeoff from runway 07 of Ottawa’s MacDonald-Cartier International Airport. Doesn’t it look all shiny and new? It ought to, WestJet took possession of this newest version of the 737 – 700 just a day short of a month ago.

Permit me to rave about the lens used to take this photo. Canon’s EF 400mm f/5.6 lens is a peach. It doesn’t have image stabilization, and suffers from a slow f5.6 maximum aperture, but it makes up for these shortcomings by having outstanding image quality even at maximum aperture, and especially by setting you back less than $1300 if you shop carefully in Canada.

Granted $1300 isn’t exactly pocket change to most of us, but consider that the EF 400mm f4.0 DO IS USM lens costs $6000 and the EF 400mm f2.8L IS USM lens costs $7500. A mere $1300 for comparable image quality is starting to look pretty good, isn’t it? Yea, of course it is! It’s just the f5.6, especially with no IS, that could be a problem. With those prices, I’ll manage.

Here’s a 100% crop of the same image with no processing other than RAW conversion and cropping. No sharpening has been applied:

IMG_6320.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2000, f/5.6, 400 ISO, 100% crop

IMG_6320.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2000, f/5.6, 400 ISO, 100% crop

Note the engine detail and the model number visible toward the rear.

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