The 1D Mark Huh?

Canon 1D Mark IV

Canon 1D Mark IV

You knew it was gonna happen.  A new camera body has hit the market from Canon.  It was only a matter of  time.  The latest?  The Canon 1D Mark IV!  (That’s four in Roman numerals…)  What’s it got going for it?  Lots of features and functions.  Everything is being discussed ad infinitum from Megapixels to frame rates, to video, to shutter speeds to ISO’s, and everything in between.  In the end, I’ve come to one conclusion:  the camera market is always changing, always advancing, and new gear is coming out all the time – from all the vendors.  Want some proof?  The Canon line-up of Digital SLR’s in its entirety is little more than 2 years old – with the oldest being the 1D Mark III which was introduced in early 2007.  Take a look at the current active line-up of Canon DSLR’s and their dates of introduction (from Wikipedia):

  • EOS 1Ds mark III – Mid 2007
  • EOS 1D Mark IV – Two days ago
  • EOS 1D Mark III – Early 2007
  • EOS 5D Mark II – Mid 2008
  • EOS 7D – 2009
  • EOS 50D – Mid 2008
  • EOS Rebel T1i – 2009
  • EOS Rebel XSi – 2008
  • EOS Rebel XS – 2008

That’s a lot of cameras!  And that’s only their active lineup!  Others that have been “deprecated” (taken out of production) include the 40D, 30D, 20D, 10D, Rebel XT and probably more.  It’s funny actually that the two SLR’s I have owned are the XT and the 40D – neither of which is in production anymore.  And both of these cameras were absolute cutting edge on their release roughly 2 years ago and 5 years ago respectively.  The XT marked a new era of consumer grade SLR’s and the 40D marked a significant advancement to the 20D which was the most popular camera for serious enthusiast shooters for many years.  (Apparently, the 30D was only an incremental upgrade…)

A lot of people have been asking me:  “Are you going to upgrade?” What does the new MP count mean?  What about the video?  Do we need to be concerned about this?  Is it priced fairly?  What about this?  What about that?”  Lots of techno-babble is going around, and to be honest, I can’t keep up anymore.  For me it’s about one thing and one thing only:  Does it take good pictures?  In both the active and the deprecated line-up, the answer is a solid yes!

For what it’s worth, for me, I will continue to use my current camera until one of two things happens:

  1. It breaks
  2. My needs exceed its ability

Having said that, I am always interested in hearing what others think about the latest developments in the camera and photography industry.  It’s always fun to talk gear talk, and prognosticate, and “oooh” and “ahhh” over the latest gagedtry.  If I had a million bucks, then sure, I might look at all the stuff and buy every time a new one comes out, but until then…the above criteria fit the bill for me just fine.  What about everyone else though?  Does this make sense?  Am I being curmudgeonly?  Am I burying my head in the sand?  Is there something I am missing?  What are your thoughts on the “latest and greatest” in the camera world?  I’d love to hear, so sound off in the comments and via email – who knows, you may get your name featured on a podcast!  LOL

In the meantime, as always, Happy Shooting! 🙂  (We’ll see you back here on Friday with hopefully the latest podcast and some weekend nuggets (like a winner for the Flickr Monthly Giveaway!)

Thursday Thoughts v2.0

As I jump back in the saddle of topical discussions, I am going to actually share an experience I had with the readership today.  You’ll notice the title of the post today includes a v2.0 – why is that?  Well, because there are many versions of many things out there, and as photographers one of the things that is easy to lose sight of is the versioning of our firmware.

See, cameras, like any other device in todays technologically advanced world, can have flaws that are discovered after it is released to the public.  Most of the time the bigger players like Canon and Nikon keep these to a minimum, but nevertheless, things can happen.  Here is what happened to me.

Thus far my lens collection has consisted of glass that does not have built in image stabilization(or Vibration Reduction if you are a Nikon shooter).  So, when I had a shoot for work this last Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to go rent some glass and give it a whirl – to see if I could benefit from it.  Well, the oddest thing happened…whenever I was using the IS lens, I would hear a funny sound in camera.  It’s very hard to describe, but when I swapped lenses out, I didn’t hear the sound anymore.  I stopped using the lens and did the rest of the evening with my kit 18-55 lens.  When I returned the lens to the rental store, the guy told me that there have been reported problems with my particular body (the 40D), and I should check my firmware.

Sure enough, the firmware was at 1.5 or something, and Canon’s website verified that a newer release had been issuedto correct this very problem.  So, I downloaded the firmware and will be updating that for a tutorial next week.  (Make sure you tune in for that, because it’s not like I’ll have a chance to practice for it, and if I mess up, that will make for a funny tutorial!)  The moral here though is that cameras need maintenance too.

As we think about our work flow, we make sure our software is up to date, our operatig system is patched and secured, and hotfixes or system updates are applied…after all, we’re talking about all our work captured and saved on those precious hard disks.

Since Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, and the rest all have ways to automate our updates, that side of things can become rather ubiquitous.  We’ve set things up, and we know it will update itself when it needs to, so we don’t even think about it anymore.  it falls off our radar.  Cameras though, do not have a way of “auto-updating”.  Thus, we can’t let things things fall off our radar.  Letting things slide like that will only result in what happened to me on Tuesday – equipment failure or problems due to lack of current firmware.

As sort of a PSA, I am including here indications of what the latest firmware is for all the EOS cameras that are active in Canon’s line.  Check your firmware in camera and if it matches, you’re good to go.  If not, follow the link to get the latest firmware direct from Canon.  Mac is listed first, Windows is listed second:

Canon 1Ds Mark III – at version 1.1.2, dated 4/30/08

Canon ID Mark III – at version 1.2.3, dated 4/30/08

Canon 5D – at version 1.1.1, dated 3/18/08

Canon 50D – brand new, no version updates available yet

Canon 40D – at version 1.0.8, dated 4/7/08

Canon 30D – at version 1.0.6, dated 3/18/08

Canon XSi – no firmware updates are available for the XSi – but software updates can be obtained too

Canon XTi – at version 1.1.1 dated 12/7/07

Canon XS – no updates are available for this camera on a current platform, but legacy WIn2K has some installers

Canon XT – at version 1.0.3, dated 12/1/07

So, there’s the complete list of all EOS cameras.  Hope you take a moment to check your firmware today.  Happy shooting and watch those apertures (and firmware).  We’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Canon in the News – XSi body to be released

Well, since I am an admitted Canonite, and the blog name has Canon as part of the identity, I guess I should also chime in with a report on the announcement that Canon is adding a new body to it’s SLR lineup. The XSi was announced last Thursday by Canon, and this is apparently an incremental upgrade to the XTi that now serves as the baseline consumer grade SLR. Designed to compete with the Nikon D40, it offers a slightly larger pixel count, and makes the transition from CF cards to SD cards. I’m not sure if existing Canon shooters would be compelled to go out and purchase this, as I own the XT, and cannot see a need to own this. The camera instead seems as an attempt by Canon to recapture the lead market share for entry level SLR cameras from Nikon.

The reason I call this an incremental upgrade is because not much changes. The only things to change really are pixel count and screen size. I did a quick comparison chart of the bodies in the same range, so you can see where the “upgrades” are. Really, it seems more like they took this part of one body, that part of another body, and left other parts unchanged across the board (shutter speed, fps, ISO, etc…) Kind of a non-news item for me, but for those interested in entering the market, I can see where it’d be a decent option. Anyway, here’s my comparison chart to other Canon bodies:


For those interested in it’s specs, here’s a link to Canon’s official page for the new XSi.