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Green Mountain Camera Blog

  • Webinar Alert: Take Control of Off-Camera Flash Studio Portrait Lighting featuring the new PocketWizard® Plus® III

    PocketWizard Plus III Webinar on Portrait Lighting

    When? 3/20/2012 1:00pm EDT
    Where? Here (PocketWizard's Website)
    What?

    Join host Joe Brady for this live video seminar on controlling studio portrait lighting with the new PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver. Learn the benefits of shooting with your flashes on full manual power. During the live shoot, he'll use both speedlights and studio monolights. But more important than just discussing photography gear, he's going to explore how and why to use this equipment to capture the image you’re after.

    Photographers know that photography is about light. The new PocketWizard Plus IIIs he'll put to use will allow him to put the light where it is needed and make it easy to control – right from the top of the camera.

    He's going to take full control of the lights for studio shoots. That means full manual control – no TTL flash. No more guessing, no constant exposure adjustments, no hours in front of the computer fixing your images. If you are after consistent, professional results in controlled settings, learn how manual control is the way to go!

    Please note:

    There is NO pre-registration. Simply go to the link provided above (next to "Where?") on March 20th at 1PM EDT and enter your E-Mail address, Postal Code and Country in the designated form, and the live streaming video will begin!

  • Mark Byland and Astrophotography: "My God, it's full of stars!"

    Andromeda Galaxy & M32, M110 Satellite Galaxies

    Andromeda Galaxy & M32, M110 Satellite Galaxies

    When I see images like the one above, I am immediately stopped in my tracks. It is hard for me to comprehend the surreal reality conveyed by such an image, and yet I find it so beautiful. Questions like, "How can this exist out there, beyond the sky?", "What is this?", and, ultimately, "How was this taken?", all start to fill my head. I always assume a massive telescope planted in an observatory on top of a mountain with a team of scientists must have captured an image like this one. The truth behind how this image was taken is very different, however. If Mark Byland, the individual who captured this image, never started working for us several months ago, I probably would still assume capturing this image was only possible by a dedicated, professional team. Don't get me wrong, dedication is absolutely required (as you will see in how long it takes to capture and compose an image like this one), but obtaining images like the ones Mark captures of the night sky are closer within reach than I, and I assume many others, would think.

    The Pleiades

    The Pleiades

    Astrophotography, or AP, as this type of photography is called, is a serious hobby for Mark. Yet, when you talk to him about his AP passion, he is very humble about the whole experience. He has an "anyone can do this" attitude and is happy and eager to talk about AP with anyone.

    Mark started his journey into Astrophotography with an interest in Astronomy as a kid by a common interest with his father. It wasn't until 2009, however, that his interest in non-Earth objects propelled him into Astrophotography. He recalls:

    I managed to photograph the Lunar Eclipse in February of 2009 with a cell phone camera held up to the eyepiece of a 76mm reflector telescope. The feeling that overcame me having just captured my first ever pictures of a distant non Earth-based object has been the same feeling that compels me to do what I do every time.

    Lunar Eclipse

    Lunar Eclipse Captured by Mark in 2009

    Now Mark uses a setup that is a bit more advanced than a cell phone held up to a telescope. As he explains:

    I use a simple setup consisting of a two telescope "piggyback" rig on top of an automated, electronic mount that tracks the sky as it passes overhead (or as we move underneath it to be more technically proper). One telescope is sending information to a laptop via a CCD camera tracking a chosen star, which guides the electronic mount. The other telescope sits on top and has a camera hooked up to it for making the images.

    I use a modified Canon EOS Rebel XT digital SLR camera. The IR/UV filter has been removed from the camera to enable the capture of a fuller spectrum of light frequencies. A Baader Type II clear glass filter has been re-installed to keep the autofocus working, just in case I want to use the camera for every day shooting, which requires a Custom White Balance. I shoot unfiltered on the scope, but there is an image style called 'narrow band' that refers to using a set of filters to isolate certain light frequencies and create more accurate LRGB images. For what I'm doing, and the level that I am currently at, my setup suits me well and I do my best to push it to it's maximum capability.

    Telescope Imaging Rig

    Mark's Rig

    This setup wasn't acquired as a "ready-to-go" rig for the images Mark captures. It has taken him a lot of time and trial with different equipment and hardware to get it to where it is now. Still, Mark is humble about the image capture of distant objects:

    Image capture is the easy part after you get to know the setup process and understand the equipment capabilities. Most of the time, it's literally 'set-it-and-forget-it', just maybe check on things every hour or so to make sure nothing has gone wrong.

    And, check on things he does. Mark was telling me the other day that he was up until 4:30 in the morning working on some image captures the night before.

    Many people may think that the images Mark creates are a single capture. In fact, they aren't, and are actually a composite of many captures stacked and edited into one image. And, this is the part of Astrophotography that is perhaps the most difficult, and artistic.

    "In Astrophotography, it's the processing that will challenge any individual through most of their early years."

    The Horsehead Nebula & NGC2024

    The Horsehead Nebula & NGC2024

    Mark explains the process involved in creating the above image:

    This Horsehead Nebula image is from just a few weeks ago. When looking out at the night sky on a clear night, this time of year, the Orion constellation is very visible high in the sky during most evening hours. If you take a look at Orion's 'Belt', the far left star is called Alnitak. That's the brightest star in this image. The red glow you see is actually gas, mainly consisting of Hydrogen Alpha or Ha, for short. It shows up mainly red in images and this is what my modified came is geared to capture now that the factory IR/UV filter has been removed. The exposure consists of about 3 total hours of exposure at 3 minutes per frame, so there are actually many images captured of this scene. The captures were stacked and calibrated for noise in a program called Deep Sky Stacker. I then did output stretching and color level editing in Photoshop CS4 to come up with this final image. Total time to produce this one image was 4 hours for imaging and 4 hours for editing, for a total of 8 hours. I'm conservatively estimating the edit time, and that's for one single image. On a night where you may get 2-3 good images captured, you can spend the next week in edit mode stacking and tweaking to get things just right. Needless to say, I find it fun and much more a learning experience in gathering information about what I shoot.

    Mark encourages everyone to get in to Astrophotography and capture the night sky:

    It's really as easy as taking the camera outside on a tripod on a really clear night. Compose a shot with the sky, set the Camera to manual mode, set a 20-30 second exposure, ISO 800-1600, and stop the lens down to f/8-10 and see what the sensor brings in. For all of it's meaning, that's Astrophotography.  Some of my favorite shots consist of no more than doing this type of AP. It's easy to get cool results to load up on the computer screen. With a little practice you can compose some really cool shots like star trails, or time lapse movies using still frames, etc..

    If you have any questions for Mark, please feel free to contact him at mbyland@gmcamera.com. Also, Mark will continually post AP photos and updates in the category on the right labeled "Mark's AP Corner".

    All of the images in this article were taken by Mark Byland and are his property. Please do not copy or distribute these images without his sole permission.

  • New Sony SLT-A57 Digital SLR Camera -- High-Speed 12 FPS Shooting for Less

    Sony A57 Advanced Feature Set Includes 12 fps Shooting, Full HD (60p) Video Capture, New Auto Portrait Framing and more

    Sony A57 Digital SLR Camera

    The Sony Alpha SLT-A57 can be purchased from our website here.

    A wider palette of creative options is now accessible to more shooters with the α57 camera, the newest addition to Sony’s popular line of A-mount cameras employing Translucent Mirror Technology.

    The innovative Translucent Mirror design directs incoming light to the CMOS image sensor and the AF sensor at the same time, allowing full-time continuous AF during both still and video shooting.  Users can also frame, focus and preview shots in real-time on the high-resolution Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder, which offers a wide viewing angle and 100% field of view. This allows photographers to capture exactly what they see on the screen.

    A natural successor to Sony’s acclaimed α55 camera, the α57 is positioned for a wide audience of DSLR users. It can shoot still images at up to 12 frames per second, capture full HD video at 60p, 60i or 24p frame rates and has a variety of creative modes including Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology

    “Today’s DSLR consumer is looking for a higher level of control and flexibility in their camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. “With the introduction of the new α57, we’re bringing blazing fast response rates, enhanced artistic capabilities and other advanced features to the mainstream DSLR marketplace, offering professional-grade performance at affordable prices.”

    With the α57 camera, shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second are achieved in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure with fixed aperture. Magnifying the central portion of the sensor’s image by 1.4x, it’s perfect for capturing split-second action close-ups with a burst of sharply focused images, even when the subject is moving. In this shooting mode, aperture is fixed at either f/3.5 or the maximum aperture of lens in use (whichever is smaller) and image size of photos is about 8.4 megapixels.

    Additionally, the α57 camera lets people create powerfully expressive Full HD movies. Responsive full-time continuous phase detection AF ensures that moving subjects stay sharply focused, just like with still shooting. Support for the AVCHD™ Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured with 60p frame rate: ideal for capturing smooth, blur-free action. Shooting in 24p is also available to give footage a rich, cinematic look. Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes for virtually limitless creative expression.

    The α57 model shares the α65’s 15-point AF system with three cross sensors delivering fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if a target is obscured momentarily by another passing object.

    Even the novice photographers can now easily create pro-style portraits with the α57 thanks to new Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology. Using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds,’ the camera identifies a subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly framed, professional-looking pictures in portrait or landscape orientation while maintaining a copy of the original image. Saving both the original photo plus the adjusted version allows for easy comparison between the two images, offering photographers inspiration to refine their portrait skills.

    To get closer to the subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom digital zoom technology doubles the effective magnification of your lens and is a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens. The camera uses Sony’s “By Pixel Super Resolution Technology” to ensure that cropped and zoomed images retain full pixel resolution.

    Additionally, the model’s range of popular in-camera Picture Effect modes includes 11 different effects and 15 total variations – offering a generous palette of ‘PC-free’ artistic treatments, including Pop Color, HDR Painting, Miniature Mode and much more. Results can be previewed directly in live view mode on the LCD screen or in the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder while shooting either Full HD video or stills.

    Still and video shooting, framing, focusing and real-time preview of exposure adjustments are a pleasure with the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. With ultra-detailed 1440k dot resolution and a 100% field of view, it rivals quality optical viewfinders. There’s a choice of selectable high-resolution information displays with a wide viewing-angle to help consumers shoot with confidence, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either directly in the viewfinder or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-type) Xtra Fine LCD™ display.

    Ensuring detail-packed images, the 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor is teamed with a latest-generation BIONZ® engine. Refined by Sony during the development of its flagship α77 and high-end α65 cameras, this powerful processor effortlessly handles large amounts of image data for flawless, low-noise images and Full HD video.

    Thanks to the BIONZ processor, creative shooting opportunities are boosted by an outstanding sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000. Users will experience consistently natural, low-noise images – whether shooting at fast shutter speeds to freeze dynamic action or handheld without flash in low light.

    Pricing and Availability

    The new α57 interchangeable lens camera will be available this April with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for $800 (model SLT-A57K).  It will also be offered as body-only for about $700 (model SLT-A57).

    Sony will also be introducing a new battery-powered LED video light, model HVL-LE1, which broadens options for recording video indoors or in low light. This new accessory will be available this month for about $250.

    SLT-A57 / A57K Quick Facts:

    • Translucent Mirror Technology accelerates AF performance
    • Up to 12 fps w/ Continuous AF in Tele-zoom High Speed mode
    • Up to 10 fps at full 16.1 MP with Sony’s Exmor® HD APS sensor
    • Clear Image Zoom extends the reach of any lens
    • Get professional portrait composition with Auto Portrait Framing
    • 1080/60p/24p Full AVCHD™ or 1080/30p MP4 movies
    • Tru-finder™ Electronic Viewfinder: big and bright
    • Tilt/swivel 3.0" LCD , 921K dots, TruBlack™ screen
    • Auto HDR captures more contrast than one exposure can
    • SteadyShot INSIDE™ image stabilization built into body
    • Accurate 15-point Auto Focus system; 3 cross sensors
    • Image layering: Multi-Frame NR & Hand-held Twilight shot
    • Sweep Panorama™ Mode captures landscapes beautifully
    • 3D Sweep Panorama™ Mode: incredible views to enjoy on 3DTV
  • Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    Sony SLT-A77 and Nikon D3X Side-by-Side

    Sony A77 and Nikon D3X

    You might be wondering why we would want to compare the Sony A77 and Nikon D3X in terms of ISO performance. A better match might be to compare the Sony A900 to the Nikon D3X. After all, it is rumored the D3X uses a sensor manufactured by Sony. Considering that, and both the A900 and the D3X are 24 megapixel (plus some change) full-frame cameras, one might conclude those are the two cameras to compare. And, especially when you realize the A900 retails for $2700 and the D3X retails for $8000. So, you are probably still wondering, why the A77 and D3X?

    Well, the Sony A77, like the D3X for Nikon when it first came out, is the first camera of its kind. It has a 24 megapixel (plus some change) APS-C sized (1.5x crop) sensor. A lot of people are weary of packing more pixels into a sensor without increasing the sensor size at the same time. The idea is that if each pixel, or photosite, is smaller it will likely get bombarded with more photons of light than a larger photosite in a given amount of time. Oppositely, the smaller photosite is like a "net" and, being a smaller net, it is less likely to capture as many photons in a given instance. So, if you have a lot of light the smaller photosites will get saturated and turn white, and if you don't have much light the photosites will stay dark. Either way, you will have a loss of detail: blown out highlights, and blocked shadows. This may also translate into a noisier or "grainier" image at higher ISOs.

    Our fascination and the reason for comparing these two cameras is to see how the APS-C 24 megapixel sensor of the $1400 Sony A77 compares to the full-frame 24 megapixel sensor of the $8000 D3X. The full-frame size of the 24 megapixel D3X means each individual pixel is physically larger than the pixels of the A77. This means the D3X may likely have greater dynamic range in capturing scenes with more contrast than the A77, but that kind of comparison is not our goal here. We wanted to strictly take a look at the noise levels/sharpness of each.

    Please see the following comparison shots below. We set up a quick scene and shot both cameras with similar settings, changing only the ISO in between each shot. As we used Aperture Priority mode, the exposure evaluation was up to each individual camera. In addition, we shot both cameras at their highest-level JPG setting. How these cameras handle JPG processing may be very different, and seeing the RAW images from these cameras may be a lot different than what you see here. We have included 100% crops, side-by-side. We won't tell you which one was shot by the Sony A77 and which was shot by the Nikon D3x, until you get to the bottom. Which do you think are the A77 images, and which do you think are the D3X?

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 400

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 800

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 1600

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 3200

    Nikon D3X vs. Sony A77 ISO Comparison

    ISO 6400

    OK, so you are probably wondering which is which? Or, maybe you've already figured it out. The left side of each image is from the Nikon D3X, and the right side of each image is from the Sony A77. We noticed the D3X tends to look sharper (at least in the brush), but at the expense of more noise or "grain". The A77 images look less noisy/grainy at higher ISOs, but it looks like you can't pick out as many bristles in the brush. What do you notice? Which one do you think looks better overall?

  • First Look at the Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens (SEL50F18)

    We recently discussed Sony's plans for expanding the E-mount lineup of lenses for Sony's NEX camera system. At the time of this discussion the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS (Optical SteadyShot Stabilization) lens had already been announced. Now, at that time, although the 50mm f/1.8 had been announced, it had not yet been released and shipped. We just received our first shipment of the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens a few days ago, and were curious how it performed. We decided to slap it on a Sony NEX-7 and take the 50mm f/1.8 for a stroll.

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens on Sony NEX-7 Digital Camera

    Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 mounted on Sony NEX-7

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 Build and Construction

    The Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens construction feels solid, and the design is minimal and elegant. The lens has a good weight in the hand, and it feels like Sony used a good amount of metal in the construction. Although this lens is more expensive than 50mm f/1.8 lenses from other manufacturers, the construction feels nicer than some of those other lenses. Where other manufacturers are building lenses with plastic lens mounts to cut costs, Sony's 50mm f/1.8 has a metal bayonet mount. This is nice to see as many of our customers's lens repairs involve broken plastic bayonet lens mounts. The focus ring is set flush in the lens barrel, but still gnarled with a good feel for accurate manual focusing.

    The first thing that struck us was the size of the lens. This 50mm f/1.8 lens is larger than similar lenses from other manufacturers. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is approximately the same size as the Sony E-mount 18-55mm zoom lens.

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 and 18-55mm zoom lenses side-by-side

    50mm f/1.8 and 18-55mm lenses side-by-side

    The size of the lens is a little perplexing considering that it is designed for the Sony NEX camera system, which are small cameras by design.

    Nikon 50mm f/1.8 compared to Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8

    Compared to Nikon 50mm f/1.8

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 Image Samples

    The Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 lens and the Sony NEX-7 make for a great pair. Except for a slow, hunt-and-peck autofocus in low-light or dark subjects, the image quality is superb. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is able to take advantage of the high, 24 megapixel count of the NEX-7. Take a look at the image of Charlie below:

    Sample of Charlie taken with the Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens and NEX-7

    If you zoom in on the eye and take a look at the image at 100% , the detail is all there:

    Cropped image sample of Sony 50mm f/1.8 and NEX-7

    100% crop of eye

    Sony NEX camera users have been waiting for an affordable, fast-aperture lens. The Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 was the first to come out, but at $1000 is a little out of reach for most users. In addition, the Zeiss 24mm is a wide-angle lens, and, although good for low-light, does not make a good lens for portraits. The Sony 50mm f/1.8 is effectively a 75mm lens on the current NEX cameras, and, therefore, makes for a better portrait lens. The fast F1.8 aperture creates nice, soft out-of-focus backgrounds:

    Sony 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Image Sample with out-of-focus background

    Although the 50mm f/1.8 has a fairly close focus of 1.28 feet, it is not a macro lens. The above image was cropped from its original composition to make this image look like a macro shot. The 24 megapixel NEX-7 sensor provides plenty of resolution to be able to crop images, even this close.

    The Optical SteadyShot Stabilization in conjunction with the fast F1.8 aperture allows for hand-held, low-light shooting:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample

    Even in low-light and hand-held, the Sony 50mm f/1.8 is able to produce sharp images with the NEX-7:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS low-light image sample detail

    Here are some other images taken with the Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens on the Sony NEX-7:

    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample
    Sony E-Mount 50mm f/1.8 OSS image sample

  • New Lower Pricing on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full-Frame Digital SLR Camera

    Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full-Frame Digital SLR Camera

    Canon EOS 5D Mark II

    It was only a few days ago that we reported on the price decrease of Nikon's D700 full-frame digital SLR camera. We also announced the release of Canon's newest 5D, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. As the title of this post suggests, Canon has followed Nikon's lead with the D700 and has decided to keep the 5D Mark II in its line-up and has decreased the price of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The new price of the Canon 5D Mark II is a very attractive $2,199.99. Click this link to purchase, or call our retail store at (802) 244-0883.

  • Its Official! - The Canon EOS 5D Mark III - PLUS New Accessories!

    This morning it was finally time for the long awaited announcement from Canon. See the press release below:

    Canon EOS 5D Mark IIICanon EOS 5D Mark III

    London, UK, 2nd March 2012 – Canon today announces the latest addition to its worldfamous EOS range with the launch of the new EOS 5D Mark III. The EOS 5D Mark IIIbuilds on the performance of the legendary EOS 5D Mark II, offering improved speed,greater resolution, enhanced processing power and extended creative options for bothstills and Full HD movies – providing unparalleled artistic freedom for the most demanding photographers.

    Incorporating feedback from photographers worldwide, the EOS 5D Mark III offers improved performance in virtually every area. A new 22.3 Megapixel (MP) full-frame sensor offers the ideal balance of resolution for stills and HD movies and up to 6 frames per second (fps) shooting, whilst a 61-point AF system and 63-zone metering provide greater speed, flexibility and accuracy. Powered by the latest DIGIC 5+ processing technology, the EOS 5D Mark III also features enhanced video functions, offeringimproved image quality alongside greater audio control – redefining creative possibilities for photographers and amateur videographers alike. “The EOS 5D Mark III represents a big step forward for the EOS 5D series” said Kieran Magee, Marketing Director, Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. “The EOS 5D Mark II is an exceptional camera and we’ve listened carefully to feedback from its passionate community of users to improve performance in every area. This camera has been designed to meet virtually any creative challenge – it’s faster, more responsive and features the tools to adapt to everything from studio photography to creative videography, while producing results of the highest quality.”

    Enhanced performance
    With its comprehensively upgraded specification, the EOS 5D Mark III is the ideal toolfor the growing number of photographers shooting both stills and movies. It incorporates a number of the features launched with Canon’s revolutionary EOS-1D X,providing vastly improved performance, flexibility, handling and durability. The camera’s newly-developed 22.3MP full-frame sensor provides increased resolution and finer detail, enabling the capture of a wide range of scenes, from sweeping landscapes to beautiful portraits. Higher speed continuous shooting also offers expanded creative possibilities. With an increased 8-channel read out, the camera comfortably handles a maximum full resolution speed of up to 6fps in bursts of 18 RAW images or over 16,000 JPEGs1, without the need for additional accessories. Additionally, the sensor’s advanced architecture offers a huge native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 102,400, making it possible to capture clean, high quality pictures, even in extreme low-light conditions.

    The EOS 5D Mark III utilises the same 61-point wide-area AF system as the flagship EOS-1D X, providing exceptional sensitivity, precision and speed. One of the most advanced AF systems currently available, it features an impressive 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points, providing unsurpassed accuracy across the frame. The customisable AF pre-sets introduced in the EOS-1D X are also available, helping the capture of traditionally challenging subjects, and providing additional reliability in ituations where subject movement can be unpredictable. Highly accurate exposures are provided by Canon’s acclaimed iFCL metering system, which incorporates a 63-zone Dual-Layer sensor linked to each point of the AF system. Focus information gathered from the AF system is analysed alongside colour and luminance signals measured by the metering sensor itself, enabling the EOS 5D Mark III to deliver consistently accurate skin tones and excellent results in a wide range of shooting situations.

    Creative performance without compromise
    The EOS 5D Mark III features Canon’s latest DIGIC 5+ image processor, which powers a range of new functions without affecting the camera’s performance. 14-bit A/D conversion provides smoother tonal gradation and transitions between colours, while in-camera HDR shooting combines three different exposures and allows one of five preset tone maps to be applied, enabling photographers to capture all the detail in high contrast scenes. With in-camera RAW processing and editing capability, photographers also have the option to immediately begin post-processing their images while still on a shoot. The increased power of DIGIC 5+ also enables a range of tools which contribute to higher image quality. Lens peripheral illumination correction, Lens chromatic aberration correction (lateral and axial) and high ISO noise reduction are all performed in-camera without affecting performance, allowing photographers to continue shooting without any camera lag. Additionally, in-camera image rating via a dedicated button makes it easy for photographers to organise images ahead of post-production. The EOS 5D Mark III features a new Creative Photo button, which enables users to quickly select Picture Styles and capture multiple exposures, as well as offering direct access to the HDR shooting mode. In playback, pressing the Creative Photo button displays a new comparative playback function, displaying two images side-by-side to allow photographers to view, magnify and compare the quality of different exposures mid-shoot. For situations where photographers want to avoid being noticed, such as weddings, the EOS 5D Mark III also features a new silent shooting mode that dramatically reduces the sound of the shutter and mirror, ensuring they can work quietly in the background. A continuous silent mode is also available, enabling photographers to capture fastermoving subjects without attracting attention.

    Next generation EOS Movies
    The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artefacts. The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged. Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps, and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.

    Professional build, easy operation
    The EOS 5D Mark III has been built to offer photographers easy-handling and robust build quality. Its lightweight, high-grade magnesium body offers advanced weather proofing for protection against the elements, while the construction of the shutter has also been reinforced, with 150,000-cycle durability making it ideal for repeated, everyday use. An enhanced version of the Intelligent Viewfinder featured in the EOS 7D offers approximately 100% coverage, as well as an on-demand grid display via the builtin transparent LCD. The same reinforced 8.11cm (3.2″) Clear View II LCD screen as used by the EOS-1D X provides high quality framing and playback in all conditions. 1,040k-pixels provide the resolution to accurately check image sharpness and focus, while the gapless structure design introduced with the EOS-1D Mark IV prevents reflections and protects against dust or scratches. A headphone socket and locking mode dial have been included, while the inclusion of a UDMA 7-compatible CF card slot plus an SD card2 slot enables shooting to both cards simultaneously, auto switching when the one in use becomes full and the option to copy images from one card to the other in-camera.

    Digital Lens Optimizer – new in Digital Photo Professional v3.11
    The EOS 5D Mark III comes complete with the most advanced version of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) yet – Canon’s free, in-box software enabling high-speed, high quality processing of RAW images. New in DPP v3.11 is Digital Lens Optimizer – a revolutionary new tool designed to drastically improve image resolution. Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) precisely imitates lens performance, with a series of complex mathematical functions replicating each stage of the journey of light through the optical path. Using this information DLO can correct a range of typical optical aberrations and loss of resolution caused by a camera’s low pass filter, by applying an inverse function to each shot to take the image nearer to how the scene appears to the naked eye. This creates exceptionally detailed, high-quality images with highly manageable file sizes, providing photographers with maximum image quality and greater flexibility.

    EOS System compatibility
    As part of the EOS System, the EOS 5D Mark III is immediately compatible with over 60 EF Lenses, including the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – the new, essential wide-angle zoom lens from Canon’s famous L-series. The camera is also compatible with a newlyannounced range of accessories designed to offer extended creativity, including the Speedlite 600EX-RT – a high performance TTL flash with wireless radio connectivity. Additionally, the new Battery Grip BG-E11 offers greater handling flexibility alongside the ability to double the camera’s battery life.

    Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Key features:

    • 22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor
    • 61-point autofocus
    • Up to 6fps continuous shooting
    • Native ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity
    • Full HD video with manual control
    • 14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
    • Enhanced Weather sealing
    • 8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
    • HDR mode with presets

    Below is the press release for the new Canon accessories:

    Canon Wireless Transmitter WFT-E7

    Canon Wireless Transmitter WFT-E7

    Canon GPS Transmitter GP-E2

    Canon GPS Transmitter GP-E2

    Canon Radio Flash Trigger STE-3RT

    Canon Radio Flash Trigger STE-3RT

    Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

    Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

    LONDON, UK (March 2, 2012) – Canon today extends its range of acclaimed accessories, unveiling a number of new models designed to offer enhanced flexibility and new creative control to its professional and mid-range EOS Digital SLRs.

    Sitting at the top of Canon’s range, the Speedlite 600EX-RT is Canon’s first flash unit to feature inbuilt wireless radio connectivity and replaces the advanced Speedlite 580EX II. Partnering with the new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT , this new model offers enhanced opportunities for photographers wishing to explore creative lighting techniques. In addition, Canon is also launching the BG-E11 battery grip, Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 and GPS Receiver GP-E2, which complement the newly-announced EOS 5D Mark III – offering increased versatility across a range of shooting situations – from studio portraits to field-based shoots – with a compact lightweight and affordable configuration.

    Speedlite 600EX-RT: Taking creative flash further
    The Speedlite 600EX-RT is a high-performance TTL flash unit designed to meet the expanding creative needs of modern professionals. Integrated radio frequency triggering, in addition to standard infra-red wireless flash control, allows photographers to achieve exciting results with complex on-and-off-camera lighting set- ups. Using one master 600EX-RT or the new ST-E3-RT radio-frequency wireless Speedlite transmitter, up to 15x 600EX-RT flash units, positioned up to 30m away, can be remotely triggered – offering great potential to experiment with more creative lighting techniques and effects. EOS cameras with a connected Speedlite 600EX-RT can also be triggered remotely by either model, allowing photographers to explore more extreme shooting angles to produce surprising and inspiring creative results.

    Subjects over a wide range of distances can be lit creatively or evenly exposed, thanks to an increased guide number of 60m*1 and wide lens coverage of 20 – 200m. For wide- angle shots, a diffuser adapter can also reduce the focal length to 14mm and the bounce-and-swivel flash head creates more flattering, shadowless effects. Ideal for shooting portraits, a catch-light panel produces natural catch-lights in the eyes of a subject when shooting with bounce flash. Additionally, custom flash coverage options provide more creative scope by using guide number priority to light the subject, while creating slightly darker edges to the frame.

    Like its predecessor, the Speedlite 600EX-RT communicates white balance settings to the camera through the hot shoe connection. However, to further balance flash and ambient light, a new colour filter adapter and two supplied colour gels can be fitted to balance the temperature of the flash and create a more natural effect when shooting around tungsten or mercury lighting. When shooting in dark conditions, photographers can also employ the AF-assist beam for accurate autofocus with lenses of 28mm or longer, ensuring the subject remains in focus when the flash fires.

    Designed for professionals, the Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT feature a robust, weatherproof design matching that of the EOS-1D X, with a clear LCD display making it easy to select settings and switch between normal flash mode and wireless modes. Powered by four AA/LR6 batteries for added convenience, the Speedlite 600EX-RT offers fast, silent recycle times, allowing photographers to keep shooting and exploring creative lighting effects in all conditions.

    WFT-E7: High-speed wireless control
    The WFT-E7 is a new wireless file transmitter for a wide range of EOS models. For those who need to transfer their images quickly and easily, for example, photojournalists or sports photographers, the new WFT-E7 provides enhanced versatility through high- speed Wi-Fi and support for wired connectivity over Gigabit Ethernet. Featuring 802.11a/b/g/n support for file transfer speeds of up to 150mbps, and Bluetooth for linking to external GPS units, the WFT-E7 offers super-fast image transfer direct to an FTP server or even to a DLNA*2-enabled HDTV.

    When creative shoots or harsh conditions require the photographer to control the camera from a distance, the WFT Server function of the WFT-E7 allows the camera settings and the scene framed in the viewfinder to be accessed and controlled through a web page on any internet-enabled device, such as smartphones, tablets or laptops. Camera settings can also be changed remotely via EOS Utility, allowing photographers to control and trigger the camera over a wired or wireless LAN connection.

    The WFT-E7 has a lightweight design and can be attached to the bottom of the camera, to the new bracket AB-E1 or even to the strap. For added versatility, it also supports Linked shooting with up to ten other cameras, with Wireless Time syncing ensuring that the time across all slave devices is aligned with the master camera in order to maintain consistency across multiple units. During Linked shooting, the WFT server function can also be activated to allow easy remote access to the master and slave cameras for even greater creative control of lighting effects during multi-camera shoots.

    GP-E2: Geo-tag your images with compact, lightweight GPS
    Also launching today is the GPS receiver GP-E2 – a new compact, lightweight, high- performance hot shoe GPS unit which makes it easy for photographers to geo-tag their images. Compatible with the EOS-1D X, EOS 7D*3 and new EOS 5D Mark III, the GP-E2 tags photos with longitude, latitude and altitude data as well as the direction in which the shot was taken, adding information to the EXIF file of the image.

    A GPS Logger function also allows photographers to track their route by downloading GPS data at regular intervals, whether the unit is attached to the camera body or stored in its case. Once back in the studio, photographers can tag their images with the GPS data stored in the log files and their route can be displayed using Google Maps or the bundled Map Utility software.

    For improved accuracy and precision when recording the time of image capture, photographers can also synchronise the clocks of their cameras with the global atomic clock via UTC information downloaded from the satellite. This is particularly useful for professional photographers shooting with multiple EOS 5D Mark III bodies, who may wish to process all the images together and sort them according to the time each was recorded.

    BG-E11: Improved handling for the EOS 5D Mark III

    For photographers who want to shoot for longer with the EOS 5D Mark III, the new ergonomic battery grip BG-E11, doubles the battery life with two additional LP-E6 batteries, with the added flexibility of using AA batteries as an emergency back-up. For those who frequently shoot vertically, such as sports or portrait photographers, duplicate AF start, Focus point and AE-lock controls in addition to a second

    Multi Controller and Control Dial make shooting vertically more comfortable and intuitive.
    In keeping with the premium design of the EOS 5D Mark III, the BG-E11 is made of durable magnesium alloy and offers the same high standard of weather-proofing – ideal for harsher shooting environments.

    Speedlite 600EX-RT Key features

    • Guide number 60 (m, ISO 100, at 200mm)

    • Radio triggering with 30m range

    • Use up to 15 units together

    • Infra-red wireless functionality

    • Remote camera triggering

    • Bounce-and-swivel head with zoom control

    • White-balance correction filters

    • Fast, quiet recycling

    Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT Key features

    • Radio frequency remote flash trigger.

    • Fire selected Speedlites from 30m away.

    • Controls up to 15 flashguns.

    • Remote camera triggering.

    • Weather sealed against dust and moisture.

    Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 Key features

    • Supports IEEE 802.11n

    • Built in Bluetooth

    • Versatile design

    • Easy Wi-Fi protected Setup

    • FTP server transfer

    • Remote control functions

    • DLNA media server compatible

    • Linked shooting

    GPS Receiver GP-E2 Key features

    • Hotshoe-mounted GPS unit for compatible EOS cameras.

    • Embeds location and altitude data into each file’s metadata.

    • Digital compass records heading information.

    • Data logging mode.

    • Portable design, powered by 1xAA battery.

    • Accurately set camera’s time using UTC time.

    BG-E11 Key features

    • Improved handling for EOS 5D Mark III

    • Duplicate controls for vertical shooting.

    • Larger grip for bigger hands.

    • Use two LP-E6 batteries, or four AA/LR6 cells as an alternative.

  • Thinking about the Nikon D800E? Think About It Some Moire

    Nikon D800E FX Digital SLR Camera

    Nikon D800E

    Our Nikon representative sent us a very interesting article last night. In an email to us he talked about the role of the D800E in digital photography, and for whom the camera might be appropriate for. If you are thinking about purchasing the D800E, that's great! But, please make sure it is appropriate for you. I have copied some of the email our rep sent us, and am providing the link to the article he suggested. If you are interested in the D800E, it is worth checking out.

    "The reality of a DSLR without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) (the D800E) is for only very specialized usage. I'm cautioning you to really counsel your customers who may think they want a D800E. Unless they have had the experience of shooting medium format digital cameras (they also do not have OLPF) and know that they will need to be in control of many aspects of the shoot. Not always practical for the general, all round photographer. We want you to avoid unhappy photographers who may not understand the control and special attention that would be needed to be used with the D800E, always. There are several discussion groups going on regarding this, even Scott Kelby, PhotoShop expert, said if he had to choose between an OLPF or the FEAR of Moire, he would choose the OLPF."

    Please note that the issue of Moire and Fasle Color are not present in the D800 like they are with the D800E.

    Nikon Article: Moire and False Color

  • New Lower Pricing on the Nikon D700 FX Digital SLR Camera

    It's been over 3 years since the Nikon D700 full-frame digital SLR debuted. Fast forward three years from the summer of 2008 and the D700's image quality still stands at the forefront of today's imaging. The low-light performance of the Nikon D700 is still considered a benchmark from which other cameras are compared.

    Nikon D700 FX Digital SLR Camera

    Nikon D700 with optional lens

     

    There's no doubt the new Nikon D800 is pushing the barriers of imaging again with the highest megapixel count image sensor Nikon has ever produced in a digital SLR. There is a lot of anticipation building as we wait for the first D800s to arrive, and a lot of photographers have already assumed the D800 is a direct replacement of  the D700.

    Nikon D800 FX Digital SLR Camera

    Nikon D800 with optional lens

    We've talked to Nikon about the issue of the D800 being a replacement of the D700, and they have assured us the D700 isn't going anywhere. In fact, Nikon is committed to D700 sales, and, as a result, Nikon is reducing the price of the Nikon D700 by $500. The new price of the D700 (body only) is a very attractive $2,199.95. Click this link to purchase, or call our retail store at (802) 244-0883.

  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Unboxing and Sample Images

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Digital Camera

    Canon PowerShot G1 X

    We recently received our first shipment of the Canon PowerShot G1 X digital camera. Since Canon first made the announcement of the G1 X back at the beginning of January we have been pretty excited to get our hands on one. Now that we have finally received the Canon G1 X, we've created a short unboxing video so everyone can share in our delight of seeing the G1 X for the first time (scroll down for video). In the video you will see the G12. We were curious to see the size difference of the two. The G1 X is certainly larger, but, surprisingly, not by too much. We have also included sample images taken with the G1 X at different ISO levels. Scroll down below the video to see those sample images taken with the G1 X.

    The Canon PowerShot G1 X sells for $799 and is available at our website here.

     

    Here are the sample images taken with the G1 X at different ISO levels. The first image is a picture of the overall scene. We then provide crops of the image at increasing ISO levels. The image holds up incredibly well through ISO 3200, but starts to fall apart at 6400. The difference between 6400 and 12800 doesn't appear as great as the difference between 3200 and 6400.

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Images

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 400 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 400

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 800 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 800

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 1600 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 1600

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 3200 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 3200

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 6400 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 6400

    Canon PowerShot G1 X Sample Image at 12800 ISO

    Detail of Image at ISO 12800

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