Canon Announces New Digital SLR: EOS 7D

imageAs promised, Canon have formally announced the new 7D DSLR camera body today. Rumors of a new model called the “7D” have been floating around for a couple of years, with the specs mostly indicating a significant upgrade from Canon’s 5D model. Well, Canon replaced the 5D with the 5D mark II model in late 2008, which left open to speculation the status of a model labeled the 7D for a future release. Surprisingly, at least some online discussions during recent days have been very accurate with regard to the camera specs as released.

This model is equipped with an APS-C sized sensor, which is the “crop sensor” size used in the 10D thru 50D series. To some of us, it seems strange that the model designation of the 7D, which seems more at home in the 5D area of the line, was used for a camera other than a full-frame sensor equipped body. Marketing often defies logic. It’s obvious that Canon wants to position this model above the 50D-type models and below the Series 1 models, placing it into the “mid-level” camp of the 5D/5D mkII. To some, the 7D is designed as a retort to Nikon’s D700 and D300s cameras, so the 7D moniker is thought to offer more thrust. It will be interesting to see what Canon decide to do as the 5D mkII model continues to mature. Will it be called the 6D? Or will it be called the “8D”? Time will tell.

The 7D is an 18 mega pixel camera. I know I’m not alone when I say that I would have preferred the body to be fitted with a sensor of lower pixel density. Many feel (myself included) that the high mega pixel densities on smaller sensors give up something in terms of image quality under certain circumstances, but it’s obvious that marketing wars play a role in design. Sensor size, pixel density, anti-alias filter, and software all play an important role in image quality. We’ll have to wait and see the results to know if Canon have found an appropriate balance in their design.

Significantly, Canon have equipped the 7D with new auto-focus (AF) and metering systems. The newly designed AF system features a 19-point cross-type system which should offer greater accuracy in achieving critical focus. And the new metering system is described as having 63 zones for better metering accuracy. Both are welcome additions if they perform as described.

Specifications are available here, and a hands-on preview is offered here at

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2009 in Gear • (1) Comments

Kseniya Simonova – Amazing Sand Animation

This is an amazing performance by Kseniya Simonova of Ukraine. It's artistic, emotional and fascinating. Wow.

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz?

New York Magazine has published a long article on Annie Leibovitz which seems to clarify some of the details of Annie’s unfortunate difficulties over the past couple of years, as well as some more insight into the famed artist’s life. There have been many articles and blog posts published on Lebovitz’s woes, some of which have seemed accusatory or taken some other assumptive position. The New York Magazine article linked here seems to be a bit more fair, which is likely due in part to the fact that time has passed allowing information to be vetted a bit more. And of course, the sheer length of the article provides more opportunity for additional details.

People spoke of a fabled “contract for life” from Condé Nast, thought to bring her as much as $5 million annually.”

It’s not particularly rare for us to see celebrity-status artists experience financial difficulties, with blame going to the thought that financial management skills don’t often accompany artistic skills and talent. Whether or not that theory applies in the case of Annie Lebovitz is not clear, but it has been rumored that at least part of her investments were affected by the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. If this is true, I think that some of the accusations or judgement of her bad money handling ought to be tempered a bit.

As it turns out, Annie Lebovitz is not the only high-profile photographer suffering financial difficulties. The celebrity photographer team of Markus Klinko and Indrani have apparently filed for bankrupcy. The Wall Street Journal has also posted a piece regarding the Klinko and Indrani Chapter 11 filing.

Attitudes towards this type of news varies, depending on one’s perception of the facts (or non-facts) as they’re published. I always assume that I don’t know all of the details and am better off not judging (or at least trying not to judge), but hope the best for them and those affected by such drastic financial problems. Those who have provided goods or services to the ones in trouble often suffer greatly from the losses as well. That can really hurt a small company or individual who is waiting for payment.

Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

Is Canon Rethinking the Megapixel Race?

imageDigital Photography Review has posted details of a press release in which the specs for the new Canon G11 are offered. The G11 is the latest in the series of upper-end compacts cameras. The previous model (the G10) was a bit of a disappointment to many people who wanted this type of camera as a compact addition to their DSLR kit because Canon had opted to cram 15 megapixels on to its tiny sensor. While the high pixel counts can be effective for marketing, it’s widely known among enthusiasts and pros alike, that the megapixel race has been a detriment to image quality in certain situations – especially those requiring high ISO due to low-light conditions. I’m pleased to see that Canon is fitting this model with a 10 megapixel sensor, and hope that this is an indication of a new trend to concentrate on output quality and not marketing hype (I’m not holding my breath). 

I have sort of fluctuating interest in compacts, and in fact still have an ancient (and very rarely used) G3 model from this series. It will be interesting to see how the images look from the new model. The new Power Shot S90 looks like it could be a fun pocket camera too.

[via Richard Wanderman]

Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 in Gear • (0) Comments

Can You Get More from Your RAW File?

Mark Segal authored a good, basic tutorial (and by “basic” I mean it doesn’t require a lot of layers or complicated techniques, etc.) for getting more out of a challenging RAW file, using Lightroom 2.x (or Camera RAW 5) and Photoshop, on The Luminous Landscape website. If one has the options available, Capture One or RAW Developer (Mac Only) would likely get more details out of a troublesome file, but with Lightroom’s large user base it makes sense to do such a tutorial using it. Notice Mark’s cautionary note:

Because of how powerful some of these Lightroom and Photoshop adjustments can be, unless one is seeking some unusual artistic effect, a really important aspect of doing this work is to delicately adjust tonal values in relation to each other, such that the end result is believable.”

I might prefer even less “impact” in the final image in this example. In fact, I’m reprocessing some of my images as I have time, to correct the effects of a slightly heavy hand used in the past. I’m not suggesting that Mark Segal has over-processed the image (and of course I didn’t see the original scene), just emphasizing that I agree with his suggestion of restraint.

Mark Segal’s Article on the Luminous Landscape

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2009 in Technique • (0) Comments

Sometimes a Point & Shoot Camera is Enough


I’ll be the first to admit that I love camera gear, including high-end glass, the newest digital backs that I can’t afford, and all the high-end goodies. But sometimes a point-and-shoot pocket camera can be the best tool. For one thing, the big gear with their intimidating lens hoods and heavy-duty gadgets can startle some subjects – and not just children. One will often find people in remote parts of the world (and not so remote) who are quite camera shy when it comes to big DSLRs and the like.  And of course there’s the matter of having the opportunity to grab the shot before the scene changes. Some of my most treasured images were captured with a pocket camera, and while I won’t be making large prints from the files, I do enjoy the images every time I look at them.

The image above was taken in Burma (now Myanmar) in a restricted area, several hours by vehicle from Mandalay. These young girls were sitting at their father’s road-side fruit stand while he was working inside their house. I bought some tasty oranges from them once their father came out to greet us. The camera used was a compact Canon Digital Elph S300, which is only a 3 megapixel camera. Still enough for an enlarged print of 8x10” (A4) or so. Many of the wonderful people in Burma were shy to the camera and a compact camera really helped to put them at ease. After seeing their image on the LCD many became more comfortable, adults included, and seemed to enjoy having their photos captured and shared.

One drawback (among others) is that the small sensors used in P&S cameras render a very deep depth of field. This can make it very difficult (if not impossible) to blur the background (to isolate the subject) in most shots. Still, scaring young or shy subjects with high-end gear suitable for controlling depth of field will not likely get the results either. 

Posted on Monday, August 10, 2009 in Gear • (6) Comments

Maiden Post

Welcome to my new website and blog. The old site was growing moss around the edges, as other projects kept me from updating it. This new site is built using the ExpressionEngine framework and will hopefully be more inviting than my previous website. This post marks the beginning of the blog, and I hope we’ll find many topics surrounding the subject of photography (among others) to share here.

As of the date of this post, many images have not been uploaded to the new site. Stay tuned, I’m uploading images to the Portfolio Sets as I have time. Check the Portfolios section often for new images.

Thank you for stopping by.

Posted on Monday, August 10, 2009 in Ramblings • (2) Comments