Taking over for the original T-Mobile Shadow, the updated version, which was manufactured by HTC, sports a fresh look with curved edges, a shinier face, and comes in two new color combinations: black with burgundy and white with mint. The other major additions are a faster processor (260MHz) and UMA support, so you can now make calls over Wi-Fi using T-Mobile's HotSpot service.… Read more
Updated at 8:25 p.m. PST with preliminary test results, and at 10:36 p.m. PST with another photographer's results.
Canon on Wednesday released new firmware for its EOS 5D Mark II camera that the company said "improves and mitigates" the "black dot" problem that marred some images from the high-profile, high-end SLR.
Version 1.0.7 of the 5D Mark II firmware software is downloadable from Canon's Web site. (I encountered some dead ends on the site, but eventually found the 9MB download on the U.S. site at this address.)
I've just run some tests. My preliminary opinion is that there's grounds for optimism that the firmware indeed seems to have taken care of the problem. See the shots below taken at ISO 800 and 3,200, magnified to three times regular size. … Read more
Professional displays can sometimes cost thousands of dollars. Particular consumers usually don't mind paying this premium, however, as the display usually provides an accurate image that some pro users consider a necessity.
NEC continues its support of such displays with two new large-screen monitors. This week, NEC is introducing the 26-inch MultiSync LCD2690W2-BK-SV and the 30-inch LCD3090W-BK-SV. The company is also introducing a new SpectraView Kit, the aptly named SprectraViewII.
The Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 2.4 also supports Canon's high-end compact, the PowerShot G10, and the Pentax K2000/K-m (presumably the white version, too), according to Apple. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or Mac OS X 10.5.3 or later.
Also supported is Leaf's higher-end digital photography hardware, the AFi-II 6, AFi-II 7, Aptus-II 6, and … Read more
Updated 9:27 and 9:45 a.m. PST with further details from Canon USA announcement.
Canon has acknowledged the "black dot" problem that mars some shots taken with its new 5D Mark II camera and is preparing "correction firmware" designed to deal with the problem, the company said.
"We are currently investigating ways to improve and/or mitigate these phenomena. An announcement will be made on the Canon Web site when measures to address these phenomena have been decided," according to a statement dated December 17 that appeared on Canon's Australian support and service Web site.
A later Canon USA service announcement was largely identical, but also said Canon is "examining measures to reduce or eliminate these phenomena by providing correction firmware."
Canon described the problem the same way many who've complained about it have: "When shooting night scenes, the right side of point light sources (such as lights from building windows) may become black. The phenomenon may become visible if the images are enlarged to 100 percent or above on a monitor or if large prints of the images are made." For some examples, check farther down this post.
The company also said it's looking into vertical banding noise that can show when shooting files in the sRAW1 mode, which produces a smaller file size than regular raw images.… Read more
Adobe Systems released Lightroom 2.2 on Monday night, catching up the photography software's support for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and several other newer cameras, building in the camera profiles feature, and mashing a number of bugs.
The update (downloads available for Mac OS X and Windows) is the second half of Adobe's one-two punch for supporting the "raw" image files produced by several higher-end cameras. The first half came in late November when Adobe updated Photoshop's raw-conversion software.
Raw files provide more editing flexibility than camera-produced JPEGs, but they also require manual processing. Software such as Lightroom and Apple's Aperture can handle this processing, along with cataloging, labeling, and printing. With the constant parade of new cameras, the software must be frequently updated.
Another change in version 2.2 is built-in camera profiles, which give photographers various options for tone and color for their images. I've been strongly recommending them since their release on Adobe Labs; I apply the "camera faithful" profile when importing my images to give what I feel is a more natural look. However, Lightroom profiles aren't available for all cameras.
Since Canon started shipping the 5D Mark II in late November, photographers have been avidly blogging about the arrival of their new $2,700, 21-megapixel, full-frame SLRs--or not-so-avidly about them being backordered. One refrain notes the absence of Lightroom support; Adobe and Apple write their own raw conversion software, which must be updated for each new camera's proprietary raw file format. … Read more
Some photographers have been frustrated with Canon's silence on the "black dot" issue that's afflicting its new EOS 5D Mark II camera, but the company plans to speak soon.
"Watch for an official Canon comment on this issue in the very near future," said Canon USA technical adviser Chuck Westfall in a Wednesday response to a question posted on his monthly question-and-answer column at The Digital Journalist.
The black spots appear to the right of very bright spots in some occasions, and many are wondering whether the issue is an unavoidable consequence of the sensor or something that can be altered with the camera's more mutable firmware. … Read more
The black-spot issue notwithstanding, Canon's new full-frame SLR came in at fourth place with a score of 79.0, bumping Sony's 78.9-scoring Alpha A900 down a peg but still trailing Canon's top-end EOS-1Ds Mark III at 80.3. Nikon's D700, the closest rival to the 5D Mark II, is a notch ahead at 80.5.
More relevant for the potential upgrade market, new Canon SLR's score is significantly better from that of its predecessor, the 5D, whose score is 70.9. On a pixel-by-pixel basis, the 12.8-megapixel 5D's sensor actually has a lower signal-to-noise ratio, but when measured over an entire 8x10 print, the 5D Mark II's higher 21.1-megapixel resolution wins on that measurement.
The DxOMark Sensor test measures how well a camera's sensor fares when it comes to dynamic range, color depth, and low-light performance. The test doesn't measure any number of other camera issues such as autofocus, value, or image processing. But it's still useful given DxO Labs' engineering rigor and the central role a sensor plays in the abilities of a camera.
Pixel-peepers have been devouring DxO's new statistics; the curious can try this link to a comparison of the 5D Mark II, Nikon D700, and Sony A900. However, it should be noted, DxO Labs considers that scores must be at least of 5 points apart to be significant.
There's been much discussion about whether the $2,700 5D Mark II performs better than the $6,500 1Ds Mark III, which has the same resolution. The DxOMark tests give the edge to the top-end model based on its better color and dynamic range--the ability to capture both bright and dark regions--but the 5D Mark II wins out in low-light performance. Digging deeper into the charts, though, the 5D Mark II fares better in dynamic range at higher ISOs.
All these cameras perform better than the common herd by virtue of full-frame sensors measuring 36x24mm, the size of a full frame of 35mm film. Most digital SLRs have a smaller sensor that can't capture as much information overall, but those models are vastly more affordable. … Read more
Some users have reported that photos taken with Canon's new $2,700 EOS 5D Mark II camera can be blemished with dark spots near areas with very bright highlights.
I first heard about the issue on the DP Review forums on Friday, but now one pixel-peeping user has come up with a fix spotlighted by Photography Bay: Disable for highlight tone priority, lighting optimizer, and noise reduction, according to commenter f_stops.
"No black dots," the photographer and new 5D Mark II owner reported on the posting, supplying before-and-after shots as proof.
Canon is checking into the issue. &… Read more
The photography world is beginning to adapt to a new phase in the marriage of cameras and computing technology: the arrival of SLRs that can shoot not just still images, but video too.
The change began with the arrival of image sensors, the light-sensitive microchips that replaced film. Now, two new SLRs--Nikon's D90 and Canon's EOS 5D Mark II--are taking another step away from the film paradigm, following in the footsteps of point-and-shoot cameras by recording continuous video and not just still images. Doubtless video will gradually spread to other SLR models and makers.
"This camera is the ultimate 'equalizer'--you no longer need half-million dollars' worth of high-definition video cameras and lenses delivered by a truck with its own driver to shoot a high-definition film in low light--you just need a $2,700 camera and a few lenses," gushed professional photographer and Canon adviser Vincent Laforet in a blog post about a 5D Mark II prototype.
But not everything will be simple for Laforet wannabes excited by the new possibilities. Hardware, software, Web sites, and perhaps most of all, technique all must catch up to the new technology.
Though how-to book authors have yet to weigh in, there are signs the adaptation has begun. Take the case of video hosting. … Read more