Posts Tagged ‘Canon’

Canon’s New Digital Rebels: EOS T3i and T3

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Canon EOS 60D Review

Canon EOS 60D
Text and Images by Lynne Eodice
Video by Dennis Eodice

The EOS 60D is Canon’s most recent digital SLR aimed at the enthusiast/serious shooter market, and is the next generation of the EOS 50D. This camera is a good upgrade for photographers seeking to move into more professional territory, beyond, say, the entry-level Canon EOS Rebel T2i. But it’s so user-friendly right out of the box that photo hobbyists can easily go from a point-and-shoot camera to shooting with the 60D.

Overview of Features

The 60D features an APS-C sized 18-megapixel CMOS sensor (as compared to the 50D’s 15MP), and a new DIGIC 4 Image Processor. I was impressed with the quality and color rendition of the images I captured, especially compared to those taken with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel from several years back. The 60D also offers an ISO range from 100 to 6400. This can even be expanded to ISO 12800 to shoot under extremely dimly lit conditions. But for most low-light situations that you’re likely to encounter, ISO 6400 is more than adequate, and ISO 12800 is bound to reveal digital noise.


Canon EOS 60D
click thumbnails to enlarge

The 60D’s mode dial offers the typical standard basic scene zone (including Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports and Night Portrait modes), as well as a basic zone (Full Auto, Flash Off, and Creative Auto), and a creative zone (P, Tv, Av, M and B) for more advanced shooting. What I really appreciated was the addition of the more conveniently located on/off switch right under the mode dial (with my other Canon EOS cameras, this switch is located on the bottom right side on the back of the camera). There’s also a lock button in the center of the dial to prevent accidental operation.


ISO 100, 400, 3200, 6400
click thumbnails to enlarge

Canon has switched from a AF-point-selecting joystick in the EOS 50D to a multi-control dial on the back of the 60D. With this dial, I found it very easy to scroll through images that I had previously photographed and to change the auto-focusing points. You can also correct white balance, move the AF frame or the magnifying frame during Live View shooting.

Articulated LCD

The 60D is also the first EOS DSLR to include a 3-inch Vari-Angle LCD monitor, which flips out from the back of the camera body. It allows you to set menu functions, do Live View shooting, shoot video, and play back images and video. You can also rotate the angle of the LCD monitor, which is a great tool for times when you want to shoot a subject that’s positioned low to the ground (but when you don’t want to get down low yourself), or when you want to shoot over the heads of a crowd and actually see what you’re shooting. I set several menu selections and really enjoyed playing back my images on this screen. The only issue I had was with shooting still images with the Live View screen. I found that auto-focusing operated slower when using Live View than when I used the viewfinder.

Creative Innovations

The Ambience option in the basic scene modes is a new feature in the 60D. For example, you can choose from vivid, soft, warm, intense, cool and brighter settings. Each ambience is a modification of the respective shooting mode’s image characteristics. You can also select the “Lighting or Scene Type,” which is very similar to a list of white balance presets.

Also new are the Creative Filters, which enables you to apply Grainy black-and-white (seen above), Soft Focus, Toy Camera, or Miniature filter effects to an image in-camera and save it as a new file. I had fun with several of these (particularly Grainy BW). The 60D offers a RAW conversion mode too, which allows for a range of camera settings like Auto Light Optimizer, Noise Reduction, White Balance and Picture Style to be applied to a RAW file.

This camera also offers the ability to tag your images, which makes it easy to find and filter your photos, or as a way to organize slide shows. These tags are also accessible through the supplied software or even third-party packages like Adobe Lightroom and Bridge.

Performance

One of the ways you can purchase the 60D is in a kit with an EFS 18–135mm f/3.5-f.6 IS (image stabilizing) lens. I put the camera and this lens through its paces at several local scenic areas. To begin with, I found the camera easy to handle and on the lightweight side (especially compared to my sturdier EOS 5D Mark II). I used some of the basic scene modes (Landscape, Action, and Close-up), as well as the Av and Tv modes. I found that the image stabilizer enabled me to get sharp images without using my tripod, and several times I was shooting indoors in rather low light. I also enjoyed experimenting with a few of the Creative Filters after the shoot.

The D60 is capable of shooting full High Definition (1920×1080) and (1280×720), as well as Standard Definition (640×480) and (Crop 640×480) movies. My videographer husband shot video with this camera, and was impressed by the sharpness he got, even with moving subjects. The camera has several manual controls—shutter, aperture, ISO speed and audio recording—which allow you to customize your videos. Another plus is the camera’s capability to use an external microphone for greater audio quality. The only limitations are the lack of true AF and automatic zoom. The maximum recording time for one movie clip is 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

Overall, I found the Canon EOS 60D to be a great and highly user-friendly camera. The image quality is wonderful, it has great ergonomics, and an awesome feature set.

Canon EOS 60D

  • MSRP:
  • $1,099.00 (body only), $1,399.00 (18-135mm lens kit)
  • Size/Weight:
  • 5.69”W x 4.17”H x 3.09”D; 23.8 oz., body only
  • Image Sensor:
  • 18.0-megapixels, APS-C size CMOS, 22.3 x 14.9mm
  • Maximum Resolution:
  • 5184 x 3456
  • Still Recording Format:
  • RAW, JPG, RAW + JPG simultaneous
  • Video Recording Mode:
  • 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps); 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps); 640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
  • Memory:
  • SD/SDHC/SDHX
  • Display:
  • Wide Screen (3:2) 3-inch TFT color LCD (1040,000 dots), 100% coverage, Live View; Optical Viewfinder (96% frame coverage)
  • Exposure Modes:
  • Program, Sensitivity Priority, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Metered Manual, Video, Custom; Auto, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sport, Night Portrait, Flash off
  • Sensitivity:
  • ISO 100-6400, expand to 12,800 with a custom function
  • Special Features:
  • Auto pop-up E-TTL II auto flash, Live View, Creative Filters
  • Lens Mount:
  • Canon EF mount; Compatible lenses: Canon EF lenses (including EF-S lenses)
    (35mm-equivalent focal length is approx. 1.6x the lens focal length)
  • Provided Accessories:
  • EOS 60D Body, Eyecup Eb, Wide Strap EW-EOS 60D, USB Interface Cable IFC-130U, Stereo AV cable AVC-DC400ST, Battery Pack LP-E6, Battery Charger LC-E6, EOS Digital Solution Disc and Instruction Manuals “Great Photography is Easy” Booklet and “Do More with Macro” Booklet
  • Power Source:
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion LP-E6 battery; Built in battery (date/time backup); Optional AC adapter
  • Contact:
  • usa.canon.com
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Canon Announces New Powershot A-series Digital Cameras

CES hasn’t even officially begun and already the announcements are rolling out. Canon has announced four new, affordable, feature-packed A-series digicams: the PowerShot A3300 IS (image above), A2200, A1200 and A800. Of the new lineup, Canon says, “When capturing irreplaceable moments, it is important to use a camera that inspires artistic expression in a simplistic format,” and that’s essentially what they’ve done here. The new A-series cameras come equipped with Creative Filters, including Toy Camera and Monochrome mode; the PowerShot A3300 IS, A2200 and A1200 each have Live View Control and 32 predefined shooting situations within the advanced Smart AUTO feature; the A1200 has an actual Optical View Finder!—and all three of these cameras will retail for under $180. The $109.99 A1200 features 720p HD video, a 12.1-Megapixel CCD sensor, 4x Optical Zoom, a wide angle 28-112mm equivalent lens and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. The PowerShot A3300 IS, A2200, A1200 and A800 will be available beginning early February and into March for $179.99, $139.99, $109.99 and $89.99, respectively. Read the full press release below.

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Camcorder Comparison: High Definition at Three Price Points

Camcorder Comparison: High Definition at Three Price Points
Text, Images and Video by Tony Gomez

While some new digital cameras and DSLRs now have the ability to capture High Definition video, there are many standalone HD camcorders that can do a better job. I recently tested three such camcorders: two high end models—the Panasonic HDC-TM700 and the JVC GZ-HM1—and the more affordable Canon Vixia HF R10. All three of these camcorders shoot HD video in the AVCHD standard at 1080i (1080 lines, interlace scanned) resolution and have internal memory, plus an additional SDHC memory card slot for expansion. Each camcorder can also shoot JPEG stills, either independently, or while shooting video. All models also have an automatic zoom lens that permits smooth zooms without manual jerkiness—something that current DSLRS don’t have.

Panasonic HDC-TM700

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

The Panasonic HDC-TM-700 ($999.95 MSRP) has pro-style 3-chip (Red/Green/Blue) MOS sensor technology that provides the ultimate in color quality. The TM700 also uses the newest high capacity XDHC memory card—up to 64GB for over 8 hours of recording at 1080i quality.  The 12x Leica zoom lens control is very smooth and quiet (no pickup on the built-in microphone), with a bump to 18x without noticeable degradation. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is active and very useful in either movie or still mode.  The large 3-inch LCD monitor gives a very clear view of images being, recorded or during playback, and has an easy-to-use menu. In extremely bright conditions where the LCD screen can be washed out, the electronic color viewfinder takes over very nicely.

The 1080i playback video quality through an optional HDMI cable to my HD TV was superb, due in large part to the 3-chip sensors. For the ultimate record quality, 1080/60P (1080 lines/60 frames progressively scanned) is also selectable, and viewable on 1080/60p equipped HD TVs.  With the built-in 32GB memory, record times of 2-1/2 hours and 4 hours are possible at the 1080/60P and 1080/60i settings, respectively.  Still JPEG images can be can be captured at up to 13-megapixel max resolution. A built-in Dolby 5.1 channel surround audio microphone, external microphone jack, headphone monitor jack, and an accessory bracket for a video light are just some of the many higher-end features.

The TM700 is a beefy camcorder at one pound, but the layout of the controls and buttons makes it easy to use and select various features.  The extra weight actually makes it easy to get smoother images by reducing handheld shakiness, and OIS reduces that even further. In summary, the Panasonic HDC-TM700 is a real winner, especially if you want the ultimate in color quality in HD video.

Specifications: Video Resolution: 1080/60P HD max, with 4 other 1080i HD quality settings; Still Image Resolution: 13MP max;  Zoom Lens: 12x optical (3.4 mm wide to 41.4mm), 18x/30x/700x digital, OIS; Recording Media: Internal 32GB memory or SDHC/XDHC memory card; Special Features: 3-chip MOS sensor, 1080/60P recording;  Size: 2.6″W x 2.7″H x 5.4″D, 1 lb.

JVC GZ-HM1

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

The JVC HM1 ($1,199.95 MSRP) boasts a unique feature—a sliding blue LED touch bar (Laser Touch) on the LCD screen that lets your finger touch select Video Quality at four settings. It also has JPEG image resolution up to 10MP, and a wide variety of other features.  The internal 64GB memory allows 8 hours of recording at the XP default quality setting, or 6 hours at the highest quality UXP setting.

recording at standard speed, recording at 120 frames per second

Super Low Light video recording is another great feature. The HM1 has a newly designed backlit sensor technology that permits higher quality, more noise-free recording under low light conditions. While 3-chip sensor camcorders (like the Panasonic TM700) have the ultimate color quality, their low light sensitivity isn’t as great as a single chip design. Hi-Speed video recording, with 120 fps, 300 fps, and 600 frames per second (fps) is another exciting feature, albeit in a narrow two or four second window of time. But my personal favorite feature is a real-time audio level meter on the LCD screen.



recording at standard speed, recording at 300 frames per second

Like the Panasonic TM700, the JVC HM1 is a hefty camera at one pound, but well balanced for capturing HD video and stills.  However the HM1 lacks a viewfinder, so you are solely dependent on the LCD monitor for viewing and setup—potentially a washout problem in bright ambient light. The Laser Touch feature is a bit too sensitive for my fingers, but still useable with practice.  I compared the HM1’s low light capability with the Panasonic TM700, and the Canon HF R10. The result: the JVC-HM1 had the edge in producing a brighter image with less video noise. If the HM1’s low light feature is important to you, you should consider it.

Specifications: Single chip CMOS sensor; Video Resolution: 1080i max; Still Image Resolution: 10MP max; Zoom lens 10x optical (6.7mm – 67mm), 16x/64x/200x digital; Recording Media: Internal 64GB memory or SDHC memory card; Special Features: Low noise, Low Light recording, Hi-Speed Video Recording, Record Audio Monitor on LCD; Size/weight: 2.7″W x 2.8″H x 5.4″D, 1 lb.

Canon VIXIA HF R10

click the thumbnails to see full-size images

For a wider consumer budget appeal, the Canon VIXIA HF R10 offers a more affordable 1080i High Definition camcorder ($399.99 MSRP), with a smaller 8GB internal memory and an SDHC expansion memory slot, in a smaller package.

At the default HD Quality setting, you can record about 1-1/2 hours on the internal 8GB memory.  If you need more time, just add an SDHC memory card in the provided slot. Surprisingly, the 20x lens has the longest optical zoom range of the three camcorders tested, and a 3mm wide angle setting that’s the widest of the three.

The smaller and lighter VIXIA HF R10 is easier to hold for longer periods of time, but the decreased weight makes it more prone to handheld shaking. However, built-in Electronic Image Stabilization should help smooth out any extra camera shake. The Canon HF R10 also lacks a viewfinder, which forces dependency on the LCD, a potential problem in bright light. Video playback was very good on my HDTV. However, the 1.7MP still image resolution is fairly low compared with other camcorders.

Specifications: Video resolution: 1080i max; Still image resolution: 1.7MP max; CMOS sensor; Zoom lens: 20X Optical (3mm – 60mm), EIS; Internal 8GB memory with SDHC memory card slot; Size/Weight: 2.4″W x 2.5″H x 4.9″D, 12oz with battery.

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Canon Announces PowerShot G12 and PowerShot SX30 IS

Canon has announced two new leaders in their lineup of professionally-leaning PowerShot compact cameras—the G12 and the SX30 IS. Here at DP, we’re big fans of the PowerShot G-series (G10 reviewed here and G11 reviewed here), so we were excited about the prospect of a new generation. Upgrades to the 10-megapixel G12 include: built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) scene mode, Canon’s Hybrid IS technology, “a new control dial… [on] the front of the camera…for easy adjusting of camera settings similar to how users operate a Canon Digital SLR camera,” and  a 5x optical zoom lens with wide-angle capabilities starting at 28mm. Let’s hope that the viewfinder offers much more coverage this time around because, really, that has been our biggest complaint with the camera’s predecessors. The G12 will be available in early October for $499.99.

The new PowerShot SX30 IS is being hailed as the “perfect companion for photo enthusiasts capturing memorable images or videos at sporting events or special occasions” because of its super telephoto lens (24mm to 840mm) and a “Zoom Framing Assist button to aid in the tracking and capturing of subjects from a great distance away while keeping the lens in focus.” The 14.1-megapixel SX30 IS will be available in late September for $429.99. More images and info from Canon below.

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