Just posted: Canon EOS R3 Review
So, this review has been live for a while now, but it has been a work in process. That process is not likely complete, but at some point I have to call it done to mark a psychological milestone.
The Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens is an ideal lens choice when compact, light, and wide angles are on the requirements list, and such a lens is a perfect choice for hiking the canyons at Ricketts Glen State Park. The 14-35mm range proved perfect for the photo opportunities available on this hike.
This image was captured below Oneida falls, one of my favorite locations in this park.
At this specific location (and many others), the entire 14-35mm range of focal lengths can create nice images. At 14mm, the foreground falls become prominent, with the background falls appearing diminished in size. At 35mm, the background falls are emphasized, appearing significantly larger in relation to the foreground falls.
In the end, I chose an image captured at 23mm as my favorite.
The usual recipe for waterfall photography was utilized for this image. On a cloudy day, use a Breakthrough circular polarizer filter with a tripod-mounted camera to capture an exposure-bracketed set of f/11 images, including some extras to capture the constantly changing water flow. Additionally, options captured at higher ISO settings provided different amounts of water flow blur to select from.
As usual, the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L was the perfect option for carrying the gear, food, water, layers of clothes, etc. for this day hike.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Today is the day that those of us residing in the USA are celebrating our "Thanksgiving" holiday. As you probably guessed from the name, we set aside this day to give thanks for our abundant blessings (and eat lots of food, often including turkery). While thanksgiving should be a perpetual state of mind, this day can give that spirit a significant boost.
Near the top of my thankful list is you. The support you have provided over the years has made developing this site possible and for that, I'm very grateful.
My family and I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!
When cost, time, and effort are invested into a photography trip, generally only the best-available gear (or something new being reviewed) makes the pack. Milky way and aurora nightscape photography opportunities were on the potential list for a recent trip, and my three favorite night sky lenses were packed specifically for these subjects.
When the milky way is visible, the scene is extremely dark. While the milky way exposures are long, the earth is rotating, creating a form of action photography.
The aurora has varying intensities and can be pulsing and dancing around the frame. If the exposure is too long, the dancing and pulsing aurora turns into a big smear of color. Thus, aurora photography also involves action, an action that is often moving considerably faster than the earth's rotation.
Wide apertures are a big advantage for stopping action, and each of the lenses included in the above list is the widest available at its respective focal length. Just because a lens has a wide aperture does not mean that you want to use that aperture, as many wide aperture lenses are not sharp wide open, becoming considerably sharper as they are stopped down. However, those in the above list are outstanding performers wide open.
While the f/1.4 aperture is a clear advantage held by the FE 24 over the other two lenses, f/1.8 is still very wide. Motion blur is caused when subject details cross over pixel wells on the imaging sensor. Because the 24mm focal length magnifies subject details more than the 14mm and 20mm options, a slightly faster shutter speed is required to photograph the same subject at the same distance with an equivalent amount of motion blur. This shutter speed difference offsets some of the aperture difference.
Mostly, I selected between these three prime lenses based on the angle of view they provide.
The day started with a 5:30 AM alarm and a long search for moose. Upon returning late morning, we learned that the northern lights forecast was favorable. However, the weather did not appear to be favorable, with heavy cloud cover promising to block all higher altitude subjects. Still, the National Weather Service hourly forecast showed the skies expected to clear at 2:00 AM at our desired viewing location. That time coincided with the moon setting, yielding darker skies.
After a short nap, a 2-hour drive ensued, heading north for darker skies and a favorable viewing location. Intermittently checking the skies, the clearing began right on schedule. Unfortunately, the aurora was not yet apparent to the eye. Dim northern lights are considerably easier to see in a long exposure image, so cameras were mounted to tripods and put into action. Test images showed a small vertical column forming over Denali, the mountain in the bottom of this image.
Initially, the northern lights were small, muted, and stationary. The 24mm lens made the little show larger in the frame than the other two lens options, and also accentuated Denali in the foreground.
The show progressed, significantly increasing in intensity and motion, with this image requiring only a 4-second exposure at f/1.4 and ISO 2500. Eventually, the 20mm angle of view (sample here) was needed to take it all in, and the 14mm angle of view (sample here) became optimal not long afterward.
We pulled into the driveway at 6:30 AM. Aside from a short nap and a few eyes-closed rests, it was a 25-hour day. As is usually the case, I struggle to remember the details of the exhaustion, but the memory of the dancing northern lights is still clear, and the images will last a lifetime, keeping the memory alive.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
The whitetail buck were not cooperating this afternoon, the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM Lens and Really Right Stuff Ascend Tripod needed a workout, some clouds were in the sky as sunset approached, and one of my favorite sunset locations was not far away. I did not pause to implement the plan revealed to me, and the show as and after the sun set was superb.
The Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM Lens produced very nice image quality — remarkable for the size, weight, and price of the lens.
This image is a slight pano (to add some foreground rock) and HDR processed.
As suggested, a Really Right Stuff Ascend Long Tripod with Integrated Head provided the support for this capture.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Subjects that move are prime candidates for the use of servo AF, continuous focusing vs. the focus distance locked for one shot. Using servo AF requires a focus point or area continuously positioned on the desired point of focus.
Aside from vehicles, moving subjects usually have eyes, and usually that means the focus point or area must be on the subject's eye, with the subject looking into the frame. Maintaining the focus point or area over the eye of a moving subject while maintaining the ideal composition is often a huge challenge, especially for wildlife photography. An animal turning its head the other direction historically required a significant amount of joystick pressing when using a camera with an adequate number of AF points to competently accomplish the goal, and by the time the focus point was in position at the other side of the frame, the animal would turn its head in the other direction (one of Bryan's Laws of Photography). Add thick gloves, and this challenge increases significantly.
In addition to the joystick, the R3 has a pair of Smart Controllers for positioning the AF point or area. The AF-ON buttons have been enlarged, and a touchpad is built into them. Simply slide a thumb across the button to rapidly position the AF point or area.
With a conventional joystick and AF-ON button design, two thumbs are required to make focus point or area position adjustments while pressing an AF-ON button. In servo mode, the R3's Smart Controllers are functional while the AF-ON button is pressed, and this feature works even with thick gloves on.
In addition to having the ability to focus nearly anywhere in the composition, the latest mirrorless cameras have the ability to identify and track a subject, and more specifically, subject eye detection and tracking have been game-changing. When the eye is identified, the camera tenaciously tracks the eye throughout the entire frame, freeing the photographer to concentrate on composition and image capture timing. Thick gloves are not an issue.
The Canon EOS R3 adds vehicle subjects to its detection capabilities, filling in much of the remaining active subject identification needs.
Additionally, the R3 has body detection that takes over when the eye disappears. That feature was at times a hinderance with the whitetail buck as I wanted a looking away deer's antlers or head to be in focus vs. the deer's backside. However, the body is sometimes the next-best focus option, such as when an ice skaters spins.
The R3 brings us a very intriguing new method of AF point positioning. What if you could simply look at the subject you wanted to focus on? The R3's Eye Control AF allows the photographer to position the AF point or area at the speed of look. Look at the subject and the AF point is there, with no buttons to press or slide across.
Eye Control AF requires calibration for each user, and the calibrated performance can be individually different. Calibration is fast and easy. Select a menu option, and follow the prompts in the viewfinder that guide the eye to look at a dot in the center of a small circle sequentially positioned in the center and 4 sides of the viewfinder, with the M-Fn button press recording the look for each.
Canon recommends using the calibration process numerous times, including in different lighting and multiple camera orientations, to refine the data the camera has available. The lens in not involved in this process as the Infrared LEDs in the EVF (notice the enlarged viewfinder size surrounding the viewing area) track the eye position without eyeglasses, and a second set of infrared LEDs track eye position with eyeglasses. Separate calibration profiles are accepted, and useful for with and without eyeglasses and contact lenses and for multiple camera users. Profile data can be saved to a memory card for use on other R3 bodies.
Once calibrated, a small target consisting of two concentric circles (by default, configurable) moves around the viewfinder with your gaze. Look at the subject, and that is where the camera will position the indicator, and that is where the camera will focus or initiate subject tracking.
While the Eye Control graphic is needed, it is obvious and a bit annoying to always have over what you are directly looking at. This graphic, in addition to the focus area and subject tracking indicators, starts to create a busy viewfinder.
Using Eye Control involves a short learning curve as focus should be initiated before or after looking around the frame to study the composition.
My first experience with Eye Control was not stellar. After creating many refinements, I found the R3's calibration inaccurate for my eyes. Most of the time, the indicator did not position directly on the subject I was looking at. The experience was disheartening, but Canon shared that this feature would not work optimally for everyone.
On a whim, I deleted the calibration data and started over. The new calibration, even with only a few refinements delivered significantly improved accuracy.
Packing up the R3 along with many lenses in the review queue, I headed to Shenandoah National Park for five days of wildlife (and some landscape) photography. More specifically, the whitetail buck in rut were the primary targeted subject.
This shoot started with the R3 set to servo AF, animal eye detection selected, subject tracking on, and Eye Control AF enabled (by default, pressing the Set button quickly enables or disables this feature). Accurate focusing on the deer meant looking at the deer's eye and half-press the shutter release to initiate focusing. The R3 usually detected the eye and immediately locked tracking on it, tracking it throughout the frame while providing visual feedback in the viewfinder. While Eye Control AF is not always perfect, I was still using this strategy when I packed the camera for the trip home. The R3's AF performance with Eye Control outperformed any focus method I've used prior.
If Eye Control is found not performing well, immediately creating a calibration refinement can improve accuracy. Not too long into the shoot, I realized that the vertical calibration refinement was not yet created. In seconds, calibration refinement was created, and I was back in the game vertically.
When photographing with large telephoto lenses in strong winds, up to 40 MPH / 64 KPH on this trip, keeping even a motionless subject in the frame can be challenging, and keeping a manually selected focus point on the subject's eye becomes extremely challenging. With the R3, I could simply look at the deer's eye, half-press the shutter release, and then concentrate on fully pressing the shutter release when the framing looked right. This strategy works just as well with heavy gloves on (temperatures were as low as the mid-20s / -3 C).
AS mentioned, the R3's subject detection recognizes bodies, and it recognized deer bodies quite well. However, when the buck were facing away (I sometimes like images of animals facing away, looking into their environments), the head or antlers needed to be in focus vs. the closest body area. With the R3, simply looking at the antlers while initiating subject tracking worked very well.
The 10pt whitetail buck shared in this post came in fast and close, offering only seconds to grab the shot. A glance at the eye followed immediately by pressing the shutter release down made the quick capture easy.
Want an R3? Use one of the links on the site (supports us) to order it. As I write this, prepare to wait in line. This outstanding camera will be difficult to find in stock for a long time.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Create some comparisons!
Firmware Version 03 incorporates the following fixes and enhancements:
I think that you will like the image quality results. Create some comparisons.
From Vitec Imaging Solutions:
Vitec has agreed to acquire Savage Universal, a global market leader in backgrounds for the growing professional studio photographic market
Vitec Imaging Solutions, a Division of The Vitec Group plc (“Vitec”), the international provider of premium branded hardware products and software solutions to the growing content creation market, is pleased to announce that on 16th November 2021 it agreed to acquire Savage Universal Corp and its affiliates, with the deal expected to close by the end of November 2021.
Savage is a global market leader in backgrounds for the professional studio photographic market, based in Phoenix, US. Trusted by creative professionals since 1937, Savage manufactures an extensive range of high quality, specialist, seamless paper backgrounds, or backdrops, ensuring the essential flat, crease-free background surface.
Backgrounds are the largest consumable products in the commercial photography market. An essential tool in every professional studio, they’re quick and easy to set up, and enable photographers to dramatically reduce post-production time, by achieving the desired look directly from camera. For more than 80 years, Savage has led this category offering an extensive range which covers all possible applications and colours.
In the post-pandemic digital era, professional studio photography has dramatically expanded, led by the growth of e-commerce sales; 90% of online buyers report that image quality is the most important factor in the decision-making process.
Savage directly serves this fast-growing market segment, as well as fulfilling the demand from vloggers and influencers for easy-to-set-up backgrounds for their TikTok or YouTube videos.
Marco Pezzana, Divisional CEO of Vitec Imaging Solutions commented: “Savage backgrounds complement Vitec’s existing portfolio of accessories for professional image creators. This acquisition brings together the world’s leading supports and imaging accessories provider with the world’s leading backgrounds manufacturer, serving professional photographers, creators and vloggers with the best in class studio equipment.”
Hayward Richard Pressman, Chairman of the Board of Savage Universal Corp commented: “We have had a long and successful relationship with Vitec and know them very well. They share our business values and, as we have, always made the customer the focus of their business. The Savage tradition of offering innovative and quality accessory products supplied promptly and complete will continue. Our Company recently celebrated its 84th year in business. I must express my gratitude to all who have taken this journey with us and thank you for being our partner and bringing us to this point.”
A snapshot of The Vitec Group plc
Vitec is a leading global provider of premium branded hardware products and software solutions to the growing content creation market. Vitec's customers include broadcasters, film studios, production and rental companies, photographers, independent content creators, gamers and enterprises. Our product portfolio includes camera supports, video transmission systems and monitors, live streaming solutions, smartphone accessories, robotic camera systems, prompters, LED lighting, mobile power, bags and motion control, audio capture and noise reduction equipment. We employ around 1,800 people across the world in 11 different countries and are organised in three Divisions: Imaging Solutions, Production Solutions and Creative Solutions. The Vitec Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
More information can be found at: www.vitecgroup.com
Vitec Imaging Solutions
Vitec Imaging Solutions is a division of the Vitec Group, an international group principally serving customers in the broadcast and photographic markets. Vitec Imaging Solutions designs, manufactures and distributes premium branded photographic and video equipment such as tripods, bags, filters and lights for professional and hobbyist photographers, and content creators. The portfolio includes nine premium brands - Manfrotto, Gitzo, JOBY, Colorama, Savage, Avenger, Lowepro, Syrp and Rycote - that positions Vitec Imaging Solutions as the leading global provider of accessories within the fast-growing imaging market. Thanks to Vitec Imaging Distribution, all the products are directly distributed in 11 markets across the world and in many others thanks to a qualified network of retail partners.
From its beginning in 1937 as a manufacturer of quality board and paper products, Savage has provided photographers the essential elements for success. Family-run from the start, Savage has a commitment to quality and innovation that defined the company in the beginning and continues to define it today. Products such as photographic backgrounds continue to be a key focus of Savage’s manufacturing efforts, but there’s much more to the Savage story. The company continues to develop innovative products, especially in the digital arena, to meet the needs of today’s more diverse photography community – professionals and semi-professionals alike. All paper is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and 100% recyclable and Savage’s main paper mill supplier is net zero on electricity, having its own hydroelectric dam which covers all of its electricity requirements. In 2019, Savage acquired Superior Specialties Inc., which continues to trade under the name of Superior Paper Specialties, LLC.
More information can be found at: www.savageuniversal.com and www.superspec.com
Sony Electronics Becomes Camera Provider for USA TODAY NETWORK
Gannett to equip Journalists from USA TODAY and more than 250 additional outlets with Sony Imaging products
November 17, 2021 – SAN DIEGO, CA - Sony Electronics Inc. a global imaging leader, and Gannett Co, Inc., operator of USA TODAY NETWORK spanning more than 250 national and local media outlets including USA TODAY, have today announced that Sony will become the imaging products provider for Gannett’s photographers and video journalists.
The award-winning news organization will provide its team access to a wide variety of Sony’s imaging products highlighted by the Sony Alpha 1and FX Cinema Line cameras and G Master™ line of interchangeable lenses. The rollout of Sony imaging kits for Gannett will begin immediately in select markets.
Gannett’s Pulitzer-Prize winning content touches the lives of more than 150 million people each day. Their photo and video journalism team features more than 500 professionals covering more than 10,000 events annually, producing nearly two million edited images and thousands of original videos each year.
“Storytelling through images has been a large part of our organization throughout national and local coverage, and through our sports content,” said Bruce Odle, President of Imagn, Gannett’s in-house photo agency and sports image wire service. “We are excited to bring Sony’s innovative equipment to our journalists to allow them to capture the moments and emotions in new ways to complement the compelling stories of the USA TODAY NETWORK.”
In addition to product delivery, Sony will be supporting Gannett with extensive product service offerings, while also providing direct, on-site support for photo and video journalists at many key industry events.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to collaborate with Gannett, one of the world’s largest news organizations with an unparalleled commitment to delivering multimedia news and creating digital content,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “Gannett’s USA TODAY NETWORK is an innovative and venerable news brand, preserving local journalism and reinventing national news. We are honored that they have chosen to equip their talented visual journalists with Sony imaging products, and are confident it will allow them to capture, communicate and share stories in ways they never have before.”
From Canon Europe:
Canon brings the precision and simplicity of the EOS R3 to its range of professional cameras
London, UK, 16th November 2021 – Canon Europe today announces firmware updates for the EOS R5 (firmware v1.50), EOS R6 (firmware v1.50) and EOS-1D X Mark III (firmware v1.60). Following the recent launch of the EOS R3, a powerhouse for sport and reportage photography, Canon bolsters its professional range of cameras with enhanced detection, seamless file transfer and optimized support for lenses.
Building on user feedback and the success of the EOS R3, Canon’s latest firmware levels up the EOS R5, EOS R6 and EOS-1D X Mark III
Unrivalled detection for subject tracking
Across both the EOS R5 and EOS R6, this update delivers enhanced recognition of subjects. Users of these cameras are now able to select “vehicles” as the main subject. Inheriting this abilty from the EOS R3, the cameras can track racing cars and bikes. The update also enhances the overall AF tracking of people, with improved eye and face detection even when the subject is wearing a mask, as well as adding body detection. Strengthening detection within the EOS-1D X Mark III for winter sports, the firmware provides improved head detection for subjects wearing goggles and helmets.
Simplified operation for streamlined workflows
For professional photographers, their camera needs to operate as an extension of them, with seamless and intuitive functionality to help them capture the shot. This upgrade gives EOS R5 and EOS R6 owners the ability to set a custom white balance in Live View, streamlining manual white balance control. Across all models, the firmware ensures that photographers aren’t able to mistakenly transfer files by pressing the multi-controller when "Transfer with SET" is set for FTP transfer. Previously, the EOS-1D X Mark III employed separate buttons for voice memo and image rating, but with newly added settings users can use one button to do both functions simultaneously.
Enhanced support for lenses
As the RF lens range continues to grow, photographers are able to unlock new possibilities with their cameras. Thanks to this latest update, the EOS R5 is now compatible with Canon’s EOS VR SYSTEM and the RF 5.2mm F2.8L DUAL FISHEYE lens, enabling content creators to easily capture immersive footage for virtual reality. The update also offers full-time manual support for the RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM, even if AF is selected.
The EOS R5, EOS R6 and EOS-1D X Mark III firmware updates will be available to download from 2nd December 2021 from local online support centres: www.canon-europe.com/support/
Canon JP (translated) has updated the list of supply-constrained cameras, lenses, and accessories. Interesting is that some products have been removed from the list, including the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens.
Apology and guidance regarding product supply status
Thank you for your continued patronage of Canon products.
Currently, regarding the supply of each of the following products, we have received more orders than expected, and due to the influence of the worldwide supply of parts, we are causing a great deal of inconvenience to our customers. In particular, the camera body EOS R3 and RF lens RF14-35mm F4 L IS USM announced this year are expected to take a lot of time. Even if you are considering purchasing the following products, it may take longer than usual to deliver.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers who are looking forward to our products. We will continue to take measures to ensure a stable supply of products so that we can deliver our products as soon as possible. Thank you kindly look forward for your understanding.
Supply chain constraints continue to cause problems in the industry. If a camera or lens you want is currently in stock, don't wait to buy it. If the camera or lens is out of stock, order it ASAP to get in the wait line.
Create some comparisons.
Aside from the distortion, the image quality results appear stellar. Make some comparisons.
The weather forecast indicated partly cloudy skies at sunset and a clear sky afterward, with low wind speed throughout the duration. That is a perfect recipe for an evening of landscape and nightscape photography over a mountain lake, and our workshop group headed to one of my favorite Rocky Mountain National Park locations. The plan was to photograph the sunset reflecting in the water and then the milky way doing the same after dark.
Which lenses to take? The best nightscape lenses are usually outstanding landscape lenses, and the Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Lens is an excellent choice for night sky photography. It made the small set in the pack this evening.
Post processing of this image involved a manual HDR process.
It's all about the scents. He's not physically stuck, but the desire to leave his scent was holding him against the tree.
Rocky Mountain National Park has areas of straight-trunked pines that call me to photograph them. Add an animal, and I'm all in for that image.
The lines in nature running in primarily horizontal and vertical directions result in a uniqueness to this image. Of course, it is hard to make a bad image when a 6x6 bull elk is in the frame.
In this case, the focal length range provided by the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens permitted getting the ideal subject framing while moving in front of obstructions — other pine tree trunks. A high percentage of my favorite images are currently being captured with this lens.
The Canon EOS R3 arrived and needed set up for use. Following are the steps I took to make an out-of-the-box R3 ready for use (subject to change as I acclimate to the camera).
I make additional menu and other setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
To copy this configuration means you intend to shoot as I do - including in RAW-only format. While this setup works great for me, you should adjust your setup as needed.
If you can't remember your menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a great idea. Anytime your camera is reset to factory state for some reason, such as when being serviced or when acquiring an additonal camera, you will be ready to create your setup quickly while ensuring that an important setting is not omitted. If you purchase another same or similar camera, you will be able to set it up quickly. Consider saving the camera settings to a card (Tools menu, tab 5, Save/load cam settings on card) for an easy restore.
As predicted by Tamron's MTF charts, this G2 lens is an outstanding performer.
Is this the sharpest Sony E-Mount general-purpose zoom lens? Here are some comparisons to get started with that answer:
The wide aperture and exceptional portrait focal length range has garnered this lens a lot of attention.
Comparisons make evaluating a camera's performance much easier. To get started, check out the comparison against the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. Right, the lenses are different, but both produce outstanding image quality and are essentially distortion free at the tested focal lengths. In this comparison, the two cameras show similar image quality with the R3 having slightly more resolution, as expected.
Another interesting comparison is against the EOS R6. What I notice most here are the R3's cleaner details, including less false color, at the pixel level.
The comparison against the R5 shows the R5's strong resolution advantage.
Again, the Canon EOS R3 review is actively being updated, with discussion of the image quality now added.
"Better Sensor, Dual-Camera System, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, Smarter Flight Modes, and Longer Flight Times Make DJI Mavic 3 Drone the Ultimate Tool for Capturing the World from Above"
The Canon EOS R3 Advanced User Guide is now available for download.
The review is actively being updated, and I'll add a discussion of the results to the image quality section very soon.
Just posted: Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM Lens Review
As I said before, the light weight, compact size, long focal lengths, and affordable price tag assure this lens high popularity.