If you have been wanting to try out some new gear, now is the time. We are giving $25 off all orders of $200 or more arriving next week. Place your order to arrive anytime between May 23-27 and use code MDAY16.
As has become my routine, I recorded my initial Canon EOS 1D X Mark II configuration process upon receiving the camera.
Following are the 42 steps I took to make the out-of-the-box Canon EOS 1D X Mark II ready for my use.
I know, 42 is a big number.
But, this camera is extremely configurable.
Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged Canon LP-E19 (or LP-E4N) battery available, you can continue to the battery-required steps without a wait.
While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box. For me, this is primarily the camera, the eye cup, the neck strap and the Canon Solution Disk (still included in this box).
I always take a moment to grip the camera, taking in the new-camera grippyness that is right up there with new car smell.
Find the Canon EOS Solution Disk software (included on a DVD) and install it on your computer. Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility and Lens Registration Utility are the options
I manually include in the install.
Attach the neck strap (unless I am planning to use very large lenses)
Record the camera's serial number and ensure that proper insurance coverage is in place.
Important: Turn the vertical grip on (switch near top of vertical grip – why is this off by default?).
Insert the battery (ideally, after charging completes).
Power the camera on.
The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and the Set button to update this information.
Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness Strength set to "1"
(Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that most-accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows –
I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
Shooting Menu, Tab 1: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses - all can be applied in DPP)
Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Img type/size: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "-"
Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed Settings: ISO Speed range: L(50)-H3(409600), Auto ISO Speed range: 100-512000
Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
Shooting Menu, Tab 2: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Image review: 4 sec.
Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Beep: Disable
Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Release without card: Disable/off (I highly recommend this setting change – it should be Canon's default)
Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Grid display: 3x3
AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus +2 (same reason)
AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (enable the "blinkies", flash portions of image that are overexposed during image review)
Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked details)
Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): 1X
Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the always-largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Enable, Show/hide in viewfinder: Flicker! only
Tools Menu, Tab 2: Info button display options: Electronic level only
My Menu: Add the first tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Anti-flicker shoot, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring what time it is), Sensor cleaning
I of course make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
To copy this configuration would mean that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot - including shooting in RAW-only format.
While my setup works great for me, your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup.
If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a good idea.
Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state (unless you request otherwise).
Your list will insure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
TOKYO, May 16, 2016—Canon Inc. announced that the Company has gone live today with a renewed global website employing a web address that departs from the traditional location-specific “www.canon.com” to the new “global.canon” proprietary domain name. The launch marks Canon’s first use of the “.canon” top-level domain (TLD) since acquiring it in February 2015.
Because “.canon” can only be used by Canon Group companies and services, visitors to sites that use the new TLD can easily confirm their authenticity and be assured that the information they contain is reliable. Additionally, by leveraging the simplicity of the TLD, which is easy to remember and easy to understand, Canon aims to enhance the Company’s global brand value.
Canon begins using new “.canon” top-level domain The TLD “.canon,” which makes use of Canon’s company name in the right-most side of the web address, is based on the new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Program. With the launch today of the “global.canon” website, Canon is providing information to a global audience with a new online presence.
Canon renews global website Canon conducts business activities around the world, providing information and services over the Internet to not only the Company’s customers, business partners and shareholders, but to all stakeholders in countries and regions across the globe. In addition to the English-language version of the “global.canon” website launched today, Canon will introduce other languages to the site in the future to share brand messages and other information globally.
A wedding can be a nerve-wracking event, not only for the bride and groom, but also for the photographer. If you've shot a wedding in the past 5 years, you've probably lost more than a couple of great shots because of snap-happy smartphone photographers.
When the clouds become turquoise, you are probably in a great place.
The day started out with no clouds in the sky. After having photographed for 6 days straight prior with good results, I was looking for more than what a clear sky would deliver, so some scouting was the task at hand. The selected location for the day was Wild Cow Run, at the end of Middle Caicos. From my base location in Whitby Beach, North Caicos, this meant a drive through most of North Caicos, across the causeway and through most of Middle Caicos. Then, at the end of the road, a 4x4 road was traversed until going further becomes impossible.
I know, an underwater housing does not make sense for capturing an above-water image of beach, water and clouds, but ... you may have noted the "swam" part when returning to the vehicle. I had to swim (fins, snorkel and mask) through a channel with a swift tidal current to reach the island with the beach I was targeting. I was not using the camera underwater, but the housing was perfect for the water transportation to the scene.
Once across the water, I removed the camera from the housing, stowed the housing (and snorkel gear) high on shore and hiked over sand and shallow water to reach the desired location. The huge expanse of sand and shallow water had my greatest attention. I was looking for angles and heights that would work best while keeping the clouds in pleasing locations within the frame. The clouds were moving in rapidly and I was shooting quickly, monitoring mostly my manually-set exposures from time to time, keeping the brightest parts of the clouds nearly blown.
What I wasn't noticing was that, as the clouds came closer, they began reflecting the amazing fluorescent turquoise colored water behind the reef, which was located a distant 1.4 mi (2.25 km) from shore at this location. Upon uploading my images for the day, I realized that the clouds, as they came in closer than the reef, had picked up a very strong color reflection from the water below. The result was something I had not captured before, turquoise-colored clouds.
Photography (usually) rewards effort – effort pays off. It was definitely worth the effort of a round trip to the vehicle to add this (and many other similar) images to the collection. I'll leave the "foresight to take the camera with me the first time" topic for another day.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
While scrolling through Google's app recommendations a while back, one app in particular – ISS onLive – caught my eye. After playing around with it for about a month, I think it's a worthwhile download/install for anyone with even a moderate interest in NASA and the International Space Station.
The app allows you to view two different live video streams from the ISS, as well as watch the official NASA TV channel. As I write this, the NASA TV channel is airing a live interview with the ISS crew (it's pretty cool). And with Chromecast, you can even watch the live feeds on your TV. The app also features a map so that you can see exactly where the space station is at any one time, and it can be set to display up to 5 orbit paths.
Another nice feature about the app is its ability to warn you whenever the ISS will be flying overhead. By turning on the alarm feature, the app will tell you when the ISS is scheduled to make its next pass near your location and will alert you 5 minutes ahead of time. And while the ISS far above you traveling at 17,150 mph, you can use the app to take a full-screen snapshot of the live feed looking down at your home.
Here's another look at the app (screenshot taken this morning):
And with the next-pass information at hand, you can also use the app to help you plan a photo capturing the ISS streaking across the night sky.
On the downside, the live video feeds are not always available. The app description even warns, "Sometimes video is not available by transmission problems. Be patient, in few minutes (sometimes hours) the transmission will return." But when the ISS's feed is working, and it's on the daylight side of the planet, you'll be treated to a view of Earth that you can't get anywhere else.