Canon 5DMK3 Thoughts: Resolution

I had to pause color correcting the seemingly endless amounts of photos I took at PAX East this year to make this post, because I’m just too excited to let it go. I’ve had my Canon 5DMK3 for about two weeks now, and the short story is, I absolutely love it. My plans are a longer video review, but for now here’s a quick thought.

One aspect of this camera that I’ve been blown away by is the resolution. The level of detail produced by this big 22MB sensor is astounding. Here’s a quick example:

1:1 – Here’s the photo fit to the frame

1:2 – Pushing in some more, we can see everything remains pretty sharp, and the text becomes more legible.

2:1 – Now we’re really pushing the boundaries of the resolution, but it’s pretty remarkable that any of that text is legible.

This photo was shot in a less-than-optimal setting, so I’d imagine the detail would be finer in better light. I find myself analyzing lots of shots for tiny detail, just to see the freak show that is this cameras resolution detail. It makes for very liberal crops, and I’m assuming some really nice prints (once I get the funds, this will be my next test).

Anyway, back to corrections—PAX was a blast!

Kata DSLR+Laptop Bag on Sale

I definitely check way too much, but it finally paid off (well, yes and no—their motto “How to go broke saving money” is entirely too accurate). Today I found the holy grail: A product I’ve been looking for, one sale, with free shipping.

This Kata bag is everything I’ve been looking for in a messenger/carry-on type bag. A laptop compartment, a DSLR compartment (bonus points for being removable!), and a mess of other features. It’s on sale today for $30 with free shipping from Adorama. They’re good folks with great customer support, so jump on the deal while you can. I already own a big Kata video bag (more like a chest), and really appreciate their well thought-out designs.

I’ll get a review up as soon as this bad boy arrives!


Filemaker 12 Announced

FileMaker 12 was released today! What’s new? Well, not a whole lot. The previous update to version 11 included some huge new features relevant to usability (Quick Find, Snapshot links, Charts, and more). FileMaker Pro 11 is fantastic! So what could they add that’s new? After checking the press release, I think Filemaker, Inc. is probably asking the same thing.

It only takes a quick glance at the “What’s New” page to realize that this update isn’t much more than design fixes, accompanied by the hard-sell on their mobile product. Speaking of their new features page, I noticed the word “design” was mentioned three times (30% of the updates), along with the blatantly-written-by-a-marketing-team term, “eye-catching.”

The new updates, from the press release:

Eye-catching layout themes – Apply one of 40 stunning new themes to instantly change the look of your database.

More design layout tools – Use new gradients, image slicing, and alignment guides to get the design precision you need.

Re-designed Starter Solutions – Manage projects, content, resources, estimates and much more with all-new, professionally designed solutions.

Enhanced container fields – Drag and drop files into your database, render images faster, and securely store and manage data externally.

Quick Charts – Create and modify charts in a snap with the new integrated set-up window.

iOS design and development tools – Get design tools, themes, scripts and calculation functions to specifically help you quickly build apps for iPad and iPhone.

Window styles – Format a window as a modal dialog or floating “palette-type” window.

Insert from URL – Download content from a URL via scripting.

Execute SQL calculation function – Perform SQL queries against your FileMaker solution.

ESS relinking – Repoint your ESS connection to a different SQL database for development and testing needs.

Although the update seems underwhelming, the changes and “features” they’ve included are very welcome. I think “Window styles” will be most helpful for the databases I create, where “New Window” and a layout change are poor attempts at creating faux-dialog boxes. But I’m also happy to see that they’re trying anything to make their layout-design element something more than hair-tearingly bad. The “image slicing” tool looks very useful for designing automatically-expanding graphics. “Drag and Drop” will be nice to have natively, but third-party companies like Troi have had plugins that do the same thing for quite a while.

The biggest news for this upgrade really has nothing to do with FileMaker Pro at all. Filemaker, Inc. is offering their mobile client FileMaker Go 12 for free (iOS devices only). The old mobile application (Filemaker Go 11) is still available for purchase (and hasn’t been discounted). What I find strange is that both iOS versions—one for the iPad, the other for iPhones/iPods—are still separate. If they’re free, why not combine them into one universal application? It seems like this is just a stunt to push their mobile application. I wouldn’t be surprised if the future iterations switch back to a pay model.

It’s also good to note that while they’ve made the application 64-bit, FileMaker Pro 12 will only open databases created from version 12—old databases need to be converted. It’s not a huge issue, but if you have a situation where it isn’t possible for every client to upgrade, you’ll have to pass on version 12.

To conclude: I find FileMaker Pro to be incredibly useful. I find the new upgrade to look slick. I find no reason to upgrade from FileMaker Pro 11. I also found no word on any improvements made on their FileMaker Pro Advanced software, although it has been upgraded to version 12, and there is this strangely lacking features matrix. Their server software also seems to have an equally underwhelming update.

I’ll give this a more thorough review once I’m able to test out version 12

This is unrelated, but has anyone noticed how much the website is an exact clone of back in the early 2000s? Right down to the chiclet menu items and the rotating news banner. Oh well, I guess they know their audience (oh and Apple does own them…almost forgot about that).

Source: Filemaker press release

5DMK3 Support in Lightroom! And has been a while…

I’ve been pouting ever since I got my new camera that Lightroom 4 didn’t support it yet…well I feel dumb. They’ve had the update out for a week now! Much thanks to Christina Bernales for pointing this out. Can’t wait to finally go back to my non-convoluted workflow…Seriously, Canon’s software is a piece of junk—at least 1/4 of my ‘batch processes’ left me with corrupt files.


Canon Announces EOS 60Da for Astrophotography

I love that Canon does this kind of thing (niche photography markets). They did a similar modification of current hardware a couple of years ago with the Canon 7D Studio version, and with the previous Astrophotography Canon, the 20Da (way back in 2005!). They’re including an AC-Adapter and RA-E3 Remote Controller Adapter (which is necessary for using an intervalometer like Canon’s TC-80N3, though I highly recommend Shuttleboss’ cheaper alternative).

The Canon 60D was announced August of 2010, so the tech certainly isn’t new. I bought my refurb 60D body for about $800 back in October, and the prices have only gone down further, but these accessories that come bundled seem to level out the $1500 price tag. I’m not an Astrophotographer myself, but I like seeing niche cameras. I own the 60D and think it’s a fantastic low-end DSLR (the swivel screen is definitely may favorite feature).

The real change however, is in the sensor’s filter. From the press release:

The improved infrared-blocking filter is a modification suited specifically toward astronomy enthusiasts to achieve a hydrogen-alpha light sensitivity that is approximately three times higher than that of a normal Canon DSLR camera. This produces a 20-percent higher transmittance of Hydrogen Alpha line, or Hα wavelength, allowing astronomers to capture crisp, clear images of reddish, diffuse nebulae.

For a better visual representation, Canon’s official site has some side by side examples, as well as more information. I think the examples are pretty striking—obviously that filter helps out quite a bit!


Sony Makes FS700 Official

Sony has officially announced the FS700!

At first review of the specs, it seems like an interesting camera. My bias is obviously that I own the FS100 (purchased about 4 months ago), which I absolutely love. The chance for higher over cranking ability is really great, but as an FS100 user I can tell you that the higher frame rates are not something I’d use in my everyday work (especially since they’re not at full resolution).

That’s not to dismiss the great features they’ve brought, just not enough to dismay those of us who own an FS100. Another great addition is the 3G-SDI out, which I’d love if only to get away from the consumer-grade HDMI port. HDMI has plagued the low-end professional camera market (that seems like an oxymoron) for too long, and the BNC is tried and true (patented in 1951).  Locking HDMI cables have existed for quite a while, but they aren’t perfect (high price and I wouldn’t trust it like I would the BNC). This, along with the built-in ND (sorely missed in the FS100), are the features that will solidify the FS700’s spot in professional work.

Alongside the 3G-SDI out is what some would consider an even bigger deal: The ability to record 4K. Sony has hinted that it will be available at “sometime,” only through the 3G-SDI output, via an external recorder. I don’t think any such device is available yet, but it’s fantastic that the ability will (eventually) be there. I’m skeptical though, because Sony also promised us FS100 owners that the camera would do 4:4:4 via the HDMI out (even though it’s 8-bit). While it technically does this, the camera simply up-samples from 4:2:2 to display at 4:4:4—no extra information is passed. This is kind of sneaky, in the same way that saying your old tube TV can display HD video (through a conversion box).

The real reason any of this is a big deal is the price tag, which is supposedly anywhere from $8-10,000. That puts the FS100 as the junior Super 35MM, the F3 as the big guy, and the FS700 as an intermediate. It shouldn’t be long until the whole line of cameras is updated to 4K, but is that really what we need right now? Future proof, for sure, but really what is needed from camera manufacturers is better chromo sub-sampling and more efficient codecs (at least for Canon and Sony). Instead, we’re getting the 4K resolution race, which to me is exactly like the megahertz race in PC manufacturers in the late 90s. Yes, it’ll make the product better, but that’s not the only aspect of the technology that makes it a good product.

Read more at Cinema5D

Metabones EF to EMount Adapter for the FS100

Here’s a quick review of the Metabones EOS to E Mount adapter for NEX cameras—specifically the FS100.

The first thing I noticed was how solid and substantial it felt. You can see the connectors that interface with each electronic mount, there’s some sort of I/O for firmware use, and a depth of field preview button.

The release trigger is easy to use, unlike my fotodiox adapter.

The build quality is exceptional (especially for the price).

Here’s a list of lenses that I tested, and all worked:
-Canon 50mm 1.4
-Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro
-Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II (IS worked)
-Canon 28-135 stock 7D lens (IS worked)
-Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Ssometimes switching lenses causes the adapter to not recognize the lens at first. After detaching completely (so the contacts aren’t meeting) and resetting the lens, it can be controlled.

F-stops are shown on the display. It now feels like my EF lenses and the FS100 are finally a complete camera system.

To conclude, this adapter may seem high in price, but it’s the only one in it’s class at the moment, and considering what other companies were asking for a higher price with less features, this pricepoint seems perfectly acceptable.

Link to the product:

Update: Conurus has been kind enough to inform me that the firmware I was using for this review is out of date, and that a newer firmware fixes the IS issue I had.

New Sony Camera: 4K, High FPS—FS100 Successor?

Rumors have started about the new Sony video camera, the FS700. Supposadly 4K, high frame rates, and an $8000-9000 price tag. Could be completely false, but it would certainly be a fantastic move for Sony.

I knew this was coming…but didn’t know it would be here so soon! I’ll wait until we get the full specs from NAB, but I’ll likely hold on to my FS100 for a good while—1080P still has longevity in a lot of places (and 8-9 thousands dollars is still out of my budget).