Planet 7D

A hangout for Canon EOS 7D photographers and videoshooters

New Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Canon has a announced a new midrange flash to replace 430 EX II. The new Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT adds support for radio-based wireless control and is faster, smaller, and lighter than its predecessor. Using the traditional optical/infrared system the 430 EX III-RT, like it's predecessors, can only work as a slave unit, but when using radio wireless flash control, the new flash can work both as a master or slave unit. The guide number remains at 43 (43m at ISO 100).

The 430EX III-RT will be available in mid-September for an expected retail price of $299 in US, £249 in UK or €349 in EU (Linked prices may vary).

Firmware 1.0.4 for Canon EOS 7D II - and a new "nifty fifty" with STM...

A few Canon updates from the week. Specific for owners of Canon EOS 7D Mark II, there's a new firmware version 1.0.4 out. It should fix a few not so common issues:

  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera's AF function may not operate properly at a focal length of approximately 100mm when used with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in rare instances, the reduction of the flicker effect cannot be achieved when in AI servo AF mode, despite the "Anti-flicker shoot" function being set to "Enable".
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the Picture Style settings may not be applied to the captured image when the camera is set to custom shooting mode C1, C2 or C3.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in very rare cases, the first still image captured in live view mode may not record the correct date and time.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, in very rare cases, image noise may appear in JPEG images when brightness or contrast is corrected by the Auto Lighting Optimizer function.

Firmware updates can be downloaded from Canon US, Canon Europe, Canon Asia or your local Canon site. And while you are at it, you might check the latest software updates from Canon too. Canon has new versions out of Digital Photo Professional, EOS Utility and the Picture Style Editor.

The week also gave us an announcement of a new Canon lens. An update of the cheap but classic EF 50mm/1.8, commonly known as the "nifty fifty". The new version has been given STM AF-motor for better AF-performance, a 7-blade aperture (up from 5) for better bokeh quality and the minimum focusing distance for the lens has been shortened to 0.35m (from 0.45m). Also looks like build quality of Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM has been improved from its predecessor. The lens should be available by the end of May for a very fair price.

Missing print-version of the full Instruction Manual?

Your 7DII comes with a handy little 180p print-version of the Basic Instruction Manual, but the in-deep 550p full Instruction Manual is only included in pdf on the supplied CDROM. If you like me like to have your advanced manual in print too, EOS Magazine offers printed manuals for various cameras including a two volumes spiral bound A5 print of the full Instruction Manual for EOS 7D Mark II. It's not "camerabag compatible" like the little compact Basic Instruction Manual that came with your camera, but it's nice enough for a little home-studying...

If on the other hand you don't mind ebooks, but miss some more popular type of introduction to your new advanced EOS 7D Mark II, Canon 7D Mark II Experience looks like an interesting choice. Canon 7D Mark II Experience by Douglas Klostermann is available in Kindle format om Amazon, or in pdf or epub format from authors homepage. The book currently doesn't seem to be available in a print-version.

Choosing the best memorycard for your 7D Mark II

No memory card is fast enough to keep the 7DII's 10 fps rate constant when shooting in full resolution RAW format. The camera has a buffer ensuring that the maximum framerate can be held for some (short) time, no matter how fast a memory card is used, but how long the framerate can be held and how low the framerate goes when buffer is full, greatly depends on how fast the camera can write the buffercontent to the used memorycard.

The top-5 fastest cards in Camera Memory Speed's test with Canon EOS 7D Mark II

At cameramemoryspeed.com they have benchmarked a number of CompactFlash and SD-cards with the 7DII. Do you want the fastest possible card, or are you looking for a "best-value" choice? Take a look at Camera Memory Speed's measurements of flashcards with 7DII.

At Camera Memory Speed they have used a 30 MB big RAW file for their testing. Canon's RAW files vary in size (using lossless compression), and most 7DII RAW files are probably a bit smaller than the one used for this testing. So your practical output might be a bit better than these results, however no doubt that the chosen memory card is very important for the practical framerate you can get.

Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 70D was announced yesterday with expected availability sometime in September. Specifications include:

  • 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Faster AF in live view and video mode)
  • 19 point -0.5 EV cross-type AF System (AF-module from 7D but with simpler configurations)
  • 7 fps, up to 65 JPEG or 16 RAW images in a single burst (UHS-I card required for maximum burst duration)
  • ISO 12800 (H:25600)
  • 30-1/8000s shutter speed + bulp, flash sync 1/250s
  • 63-zone iFCL metering system
  • Intelligent pentaprism viewfinder (98%, 0.95x)
  • Vari-angle 1.040.000 dots 7.7cm ClearView II TFT LCD touch screen
  • Wi-Fi with Instant sharing and Remote control (including remote and live view via smartphone apps)
  • Full-HD movies with stereo sound

Technically, the most interesting thing with 70D, is probably the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor. In video and live-view mode, this new technology should drastically increase autofocus performance, however for conventional slr use, it will not have any effect on AF-performance. Since the sensor, as I understand, technically can be described as having 40.4 megapixel "inside", a really interesting question is if this technology might have a negative impact on image quality parameters like dynamic range and noise level?... According to Imaging Resource, Canon says JPEG shooters should see a "huge improvement" in image quality, and RAW shooters should see noise levels that are roughly on pay with the lower-res 60D.

When Canon made the 50D to 60D upgrade, some features where lost from the product line. Most controversial was maybe the omitted AF micro-adjustment, but in 70D some of the lost features returns, including AFMA. Something that however doesn't return are multiple Custom modes on the dial. And that's even though Canon has collapsed all the scenery modes to one SCN selection on the 70D's dial, and made it a lot less dense dial. What hides behind the single C(ustom) selection on the dial, I don't know for sure. It could of course be a "bank" with potentially an endless numbers of custom configurations saved, but haven't heard about anything like that. It's most likely still only one Custom setting.

On a personal note, I want to upgrade my 50D to a new APS-C that gives me more dynamic range and better low light performance when shooting RAW. While we haven't seen any reviews yet that can tell if 70D is the answer to that, it sounds like it probably ain't. However a lot of other technologies introduced by Canon the later years (60D is 3 years old), could make this an interesting camera for a lot of people. And especially if video and live view shooting is an important parameter, 70D sounds like a very interesting camera for the advanced amateur.

I would expect a 7DII to be announced within the next half year. If there's a price in image quality for the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, it will be interesting to see if Canon prefers a more "conventional" sensor in the 7DII - or if they just do what they are used to do, use basically same sensor technology in the XXXD, XXD and 7D product lines.

One place where I do expect to see a new camera with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology introduced very soon, is in Canons mirrorless line. The Canon EOS M, introduced last year, got a lot of bad press for its slow AF-performance. A new mirror-less camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology should fix this with style...

No new lenses, flashes or other accessories was announced together with the EOS 70D. I would also expect/hope to see a replacement or supplement for Speedlite 430EX II before too long, adding support for the wireless radio control system introduced with 600EX-RT.

Canon camera, lens and flash announcements

For DSLR users, Canon today announced two new cameras, two new flashes, three new (two previously pre-announced) lenses and a new lens in development:

Precisely how the "built-in extender" works in the 200-400mm zoom is a bit of a mystery to me. I mean, if it's really built-in, how does it technically "disappear" when turned off? Update: Okay, looking at above photo it seems there's room for a set of lenses to "flip out" on the side of the lens close to the rear. So the extender really physically seems to be taken out of the effective line of light when not in use. Sounds like a dream lens, but probably big, heavy and extremely expensive :-)

I addition to above, a number of new Canon compact cameras was also announced today.

Software updates and delayed new Canon lenses

Canon recently updated their camera software Digital Photo Professional, EOS Utility, Picture Style Editor, ZoomBrowser and ImageBrowser.

Changes with Digital Photo Professional 3.9.2

  • Added camera Support: EOS 60D,PowerShot G12,PowerShot S95,PowerShot G9 support now added.
  • Unsharp Mask function added.
  • Improved Image classification functions (check-mark function expanded and new rating function added.)
  • Changes made to the screen layout accompanied by an improvement in the image classification function.
  • EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM supported added in lens aberration correction.
  • Lens aberration correction function adds support for Extender EF1.4 x III and Extender EF2 x III when mounted on a supported lens.

Download Canon software for your camera at http://software.canon-europe.com/.

Adobe has also released updates to their RAW-software, though so far only as release candidates of Adobe Camera Raw 6.3 and Adobe Lightroom 3.3. Adobe release candidates can be downloaded from Adobe Labs and besides bugfixes changes includes support for Powershot S95 and G12 and a number of added or updated lens profiles. More details can be found on the Lightroom Journal.

Three previously annonced lenses from Canon has been delayed. The EF 300mm and 400mm F2.8L IS II lenses was originally scheduled to be released in December, and the EF 8-15mm F4L USM fisheye zoom in January. But they are now all delayed until March due to some adjustments in the manufacturing process.

EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM sample movie

Canon has released a sample movie shot with the upcoming 8-15mm fisheye zoom. A surprising and interesting new addition to the Canon lens line-up which probably will be very popular among underwater photographers and video makers. Underwater shooting is one of the themes of the Canon sample movie, but it also features footage from a remote chopper. The movie was shot with EOS 5DII and EOS 7D cameras.

Continue to Canon to watch the movie.

The expected availability of the lens is not until January. More lens info at Canon Digital Learning Center.

Camera Raw 3.2 and Adobe Lightroom 3.2 released

Camera Raw 3.2 for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom 3.2 has been released today with lots of new lens profiles for Canon users - and a surprisingly quick support for Canon EOS 60D which hasn't even reached the shops yet.

There's a list of the new lens profiles plus a few updated ones at The Lightroom Journal:

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2010/08/lightroom-3-2-and-camera-raw-6-2-now-available.html

You can use the built-in update mechanisms of Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3 to update.

New EOS 7D kit with barcode reader support

Apparently Canon has begun shipping a special 7D kit which includes support for barcode scanners and ability to embed barcode data in picture's metadata. I guess it's not a feature everybody has been missing and asking about, but some might find it useful? The kit including a 7D body, Wireless File Transmitter and special modified firmware, is currently being sold in the US for US$2799.99. If you want to know more, Rob Galbraith has a few more details.