Christmas is coming and hopefully I'm still on your "Nice" list. With that dangerous assumption, and since it has been a few years since my last What I Want From Canon for Christmas List, I present my Christmas wish list for this year (with a few repeats that were somehow missed). As I know you might need a little more time to develop some of my requests, I'll give you 2014 to complete my wish list. :)
I Want a Sharp Mode
I'll start my list with my biggest and most-complicated wish first. I want a new camera mode. Your marketing wizards will likely think of a good name for it, but I'll get you started: It can be called "Sharp Mode", "Pro Action" Mode, "Stop-the-Action Mode", "Bryan's Mode", etc.
Via this mode selection, I want to tell the camera to automatically select the slowest shutter speed that will deliver no subject or camera motion blur in my image. The camera will utilize the viewfinder imaging sensor to determine a subject's rate of motion across the frame (caused by either camera shake or subject motion). Based on this intelligence, the camera can instantaneously determine the slowest shutter speed necessary to capture a sharp image.
By using the slowest shutter speed necessary, the lowest ISO setting possible can be used – resulting in the lowest noise possible in an image. And of course, there would be no motion blur in the result.
I will always want to set the aperture manually in this mode. For overall image brightness, there should be manual and auto exposure options. In manual mode, the image brightness will remain as I set it. The ISO will always be Auto and the camera will use the lowest ISO setting possible to deliver proper image brightness. In auto mode, the camera will determine how bright the image should be (with exposure compensation available). In manual mode, the camera will maintain the brightness I set (with offsetting adjustments to brightness parameters). Once ISO 100 is reached in any mode, the shutter speed should not be further shortened – a too fast shutter speed is rarely an issue when stopping all motion is a priority.
This mode will work with or without image stabilization enabled. A menu option will allow me to adjust the sensitivity of the camera's motion detection – to tune the setting as desired.
A significant benefit from this mode will be the assurance of sharp results at the lowest ISO setting possible. Reduced noise will be the benefit of not having to shoot at insurance-level, faster than necessary shutter speeds.
Here is an example of how I would use this mode:
I am shooting a soccer match on a very cloudy day. I am shooting with a wide open aperture (say f/4) and using a 1/1600 shutter speed to insure that most action is stopped. This exposure requires an ISO setting of 3200 for correct brightness – high enough that noise is very noticeable in the images. But, not every shot captured at this match needs a 1/1600 sec exposure to stop the action. A ball carrier that has momentarily stopped, a portrait captured immediately after a big play, the keeper on the ground with the ball safely in his/her hands. These shots can safely be captured at far longer exposures with lower ISO settings that deliver higher image quality.
With Sharp mode selected, the camera can instantly and automatically shift-down the ISO setting to give me a higher quality, but still sharp, image. Some shots such as a hard kick captured at a close distance might need an even faster shutter speed than my 1/1600 and this mode would instantly adjust for this.
I am high up on a mountain shooting handheld. It is mid-day under a partly cloudy sky and I am shooting landscapes with a circular polarizer filter installed. Since parts of the scenery are always under a full sun, I know the exposure I need. And I want an f/11 aperture.The big differentiator in determining the shutter speed necessary for sharp images is the strong gusting wind. Sharp mode can determine how much camera shake is showing in the viewfinder, even with the image stabilized lens I'm using, and can determine the shutter speed necessary to stop that shake – the instant the picture is taken. When the wind stops, I can possibly shoot at 1/10 sec or longer, but during gusts, I might need 1/80 or even higher. The camera can simply boost the ISO setting to give me always-sharp images.
Adding this capability (even to the fully-auto green square+ mode) would be a huge benefit – especially for beginners. This would be a game-changing feature that would sell a huge number of cameras.
I discussed Sharp mode with Chuck Westfall (Canon USA) at the PhotoPlus Expo this fall. I don't expect to see a firmware update bringing this feature to us, but I do hope that Canon will include this feature in new DSLR camera models.
Exposure Compensation in M mode with Auto ISO
I've been asking for exposure compensation in Manual mode with Auto ISO for a long time (including directly to Chuck Westfall). This wish has been partially granted in the announced firmware update for the EOS 1D X, but I have some other cameras that desperately need it. This feature should be an easy firmware implementation for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and other EOS models.
Viewfinder Electronic Level that Remains Available During AF
Focus, frame, use the electronic viewfinder level and shoot before the camera goes out of level. That's how it should work. Instead, with most current Canon electronic viewfinder level implementations, I focus, turn off AF, frame, enable the electronic viewfinder level, shoot and hopefully remember to turn AF back on.
The Canon EOS 70D, with its dedicated viewfinder LCD level, gets the job done right. While I'm not expecting the viewfinder in my other Canon DSLRs to be updated, I think a firmware tweak could make the level indication remain visible during AF.
Tv Settings Longer than 30 Seconds
Why is 30 seconds the longest exposure allowed in-camera? There are plenty of uses for longer exposures and I am not aware of any limitation to today's cameras taking exposures much longer than this. I want Tv settings up to (at least) 5 minutes to be available in 1/3 stop settings in-camera. Allow a menu option for limits to be set shorter than this (those who do not need anything close to 30 seconds will also be accommodated).
The camera is a computer and an intervalometer is a very basic function for a computer to accomplish. Why is an interval timer not available in-camera?
Ultra-High Resolution Canon EOS-1Ds X DSLR
Simply take the current Canon EOS-1D X (or the Canon EOS 5D Mark III) and drop a 40MP (or similar) sensor into it. I'd rather give nothing up to gain this resolution, but ... you can take 1 fps if you need to. :)
Ultra-High Resolution Via Multiple Shots
Taking the ultra-high resolution DSLR camera wish one step further, I want Canon to utilize multiple images to composite a much higher resolution image and/or higher quality image. There are multiple ways to accomplish this goal, but adding a very tiny imaging sensor shift in the X and Y axis between each shot is a possible method. Limitations would be similar to those encountered with HDR photography including motionless subjects needed. I made this request to Chuck in person, so he is at least thinking about this one.
Effective ISO 7.25, 12.5 and 25
I no longer want to buy or carry neutral density filters in multiple densities and multiple thread sizes. Please figure out how to give me lower ISO settings with no loss of dynamic range. Throw away some photons or something.
And while you are working on this request, can you give me digital graduated ND filter capabilities in-camera? Allow me to use the touch-enabled LCD to show the camera the area of the frame that is to be made darker. Allow me to set the gradient shape, size, softness and density.
Can you also give me a built-in circular polarizer filter?
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens
Canon has recently given us a pair of great 24-70 L lenses, but I still would like an f/2.8 IS version. Basically, add a 4-stop image stabilizer to the current Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens and I would be a very happy camper. In addition to giving us an awesome lens, Canon would give those of us trying to decide between (or trying help others decide between) the 24-70 L II and the 24-70 f/4L IS or 24-105 f/4L IS a huge time savings. I asked for this lens a long time ago - and will keep asking until I get it or something better. If Tamron can make this product, I'm certain that Canon can.
Canon EF 16-50mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens
Landscape photography is extremely popular – how about a landscape-specific lens? Landscape photography often requires deep depth of field – which often translates to narrow apertures and wide angles of view. I'll give up the wide apertures for lighter weight and any other benefits I can have in place of them. IS will let me shoot handheld in many situations – even in strong winds with a circular polarizer in place. I of course need razor sharp images right into the full frame sensor corners, no distortion, no flare, no CA and no vignetting even with a standard CP filter installed. Standard threaded front filters must be supported and weather sealing is necessary.
Canon EF 500mm f/5.6L IS USM Lens
I would like to see a great bird and wildlife photography lens that is both smaller and much more affordable than the current supertelephoto lenses, but I am of course not willing to accept less than perfection from the image quality. The gap between the 100-400 L & 400mm f/5.6L lenses and the big white guns leaves a room for such a lens.
Canon Lens Hoods for All
I want the proper lens hood to come with all Canon lenses I purchase – not just L lenses. I don't need "flocking" – matt plastic inside the hood will be fine (and easier to clean).
I know, I don't ask for much. But filling my wishlist will make me happy, happy, happy!