Pop Photo’s Best Camera of 2012: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L lens, RRS L-Bracket

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L-series lens, Really Right Stuff L-Bracket

According to Popular Photography magazine, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is “the best low-light DSLR we have yet tested. A near perfect tool for the still shooter, it can double as a top gun for the videographer” (Jan 2013 issue, p. 58). Pop Photo‘s top three cameras for 2012, all full frame digital SLRs, are the Canon 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800, and the Sony Alpha 99. So why did they pick the 5D MkIII as the best of the best?

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The Best of the Best: Photography Recommendations For The Best Photo Gear, Books, Software, and Online Photo Labs

The best of the best cameras, accessories, photo books and more.

The best of the best cameras, accessories, photo books and more.

This time each year I put together a collection of articles recommending the best photo gear, books, DVDs, software, calendars, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. The articles are revised every year, some of them extensively. Here’s the list of linked articles.

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iPhone 5 Camera vs iPhone 4S Camera

They are different, and the iPhone 5 camera is definitely faster, but is the image quality better? That may depend on how you like your low light images to look. Do you prefer sharp and noisy, or a smoother with image detailed blurred? Read this review.

Digital Cameras and the “Field of View” Crop

Caribou, image circle, sensor sizes

Caribou, image circle, sensor sizes

What is a “field of view” crop on a digital camera? What difference does it make if your  camera is full frame, or has a field of view crop? It makes a BIG difference, so I just updated my illustrated article on the digital field of view crop. It will help you understand how to work with your lenses and how to chose lenses that will work best with your camera (and a warning about lenses that won’t work with, or could even damage some cameras).

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The New Canon 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III isn’t just an upgrade to the 5D Mark II, it’s a big jump forward in quality and technology.  It combines some of the best features from the Canon 7D and the new, top of the line Canon 1D X.  It’s been a long time since the 5D Mark II came out in 2008, and if you have been waiting for the upgrade, the wait has been worth it. You can pre-order the 5D Mark III using the link at the end of this article.

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Best Digital Cameras – 2011 (includes 2009-2010)

Sony Alpha NEX-5N

Sony Alpha NEX-5N

Updated Dec. 26, 2011.

It’s that time of year with the holiday season approaching and I am already getting questions about which digital cameras I recommend. The camera lists below will point you to the highest rated models, along with information and advice. The lists will be updated throughout the holiday season as new, highly rated cameras become available.

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New Canon EOS 1D X

The new Canon EOS-1D X

Canon introduced the new EOS 1D X today, the new flagship, pro level camera that replaces both the EOS 1Ds Mark III and the EOS 1D Mark 4.  It is an 18.1 Megapixel, full-frame DSLR with a high-precision 61-point AF system, an ISO range that’s expandable up to ISO 204,800, and a top shooting speed of 14 frames per second (fps).  Details are here.

Amazing, Small, Inexpensive, HD Video Camera

Looking for a small, mountable, “ideal for sports and action”, inexpensive ($179 – $299) high definition video camera with a waterproof housing and image quality that Lucasfilm (the Star Wars people) calls “amazing”? Take a look at this amazing video footage (with skiing, snow boarding, surfing, cliff diving, motocross, auto racing, jet piloting, base jumping, and parasailing). Then keep reading! This camera will go anywhere and mount just about anywhere.

For several months on various “outdoor” TV networks (National Geographic, Discovery Chanel, Animal Planet and others) I’ve watched some remarkable video footage from a very small, mountable HD video camera. I didn’t recognize the brand or model so I’ve been searching for the camera and finally located it. It is the GoPro HD HERO which can be mounted on helmets, cars, motorcycles, surfboards, and about anything else you can imagine. Imagine mounting it on a pole with some bait to record the bite of a shark from inside the sharks mouth ( it was the “inside the shark’s mouth” video sequence that got my attention and started me on my search for this camera).

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Choosing Photo Gear For Airline Travel

Basic camera gear.

Traveling by plane severely limits the amount of camera equipment you can take with you. As lots of photographers will attest, take everything with you as carry-on gear, NOT in your checked luggage. The airlines will NOT reimburse you for lost or damaged photographic equipment (see my comments toward the end of this article). If your checked luggage goes astray, everything you need should be with you in your carry-on luggage. And you need a backup plan in case something quits working.

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Q&A: Canon T2i vs T1i

Canon EOS Rebel T2i (550D, Kiss X4)

Every once in a while, I post my answer to a question that I receive by email. This one has to do with choosing between two camera bodies: the Canon T1i and T2i. When I am thinking about buying a camera, the first thing I do is to check out some trusted online sources. These are sites that do this kind of comparative thing all the time. I checked two of my favorite sources before answering the question below. Although the question is about choosing one camera or the other, I also cover the issue of upgrading from the T1i to the T2i.

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iPHONE 3G PHOTOS

The Mackinac Bridge. Michigan.  Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

Can you take nice photos with an iPhone? Yes. Does it have its limits? Of course.

I have been experimenting with the photo capabilities of an iPhone 3G. The files are small, 600×800 pixels, but the image quality can be quite good under certain circumstances. This is a switch for me since I usually take photos with a full frame digital SLR. But I have been having fun with the iPhone and learning what it can and can’t do.

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BEST DIGITAL SLRs – 2009

You can’t go far wrong buying a recent model Digital SLR.  They are all good cameras and most of them are great cameras.

Over the last twelve months, the following DSLRs received a “Highly Recommended” rating from DP Review, their highest rating (with sensor size in megapixles – mp):

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 21 mp
Canon EOS 7D, 18 mp
Canon Digital Rebel T1i, 15.1 mp
Nikon D3X, 24.5 mp
Nikon D300S, 12.3 megapixels
Nikon D5000, 12.3 mp
Olympus E-620, 12.3 mp
Olympus E-30, 12.3 mp
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1, 12.1 mp
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, 12.1 mp
Pentax K-7, 14.6 mp

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BEST POINT AND SHOOT DIGITAL CAMERAS – 2009

2009 SHORT LIST (Top rated cameras listed by name, sensor size in megapixels – mp, and the zoom range of the lens):

Best point and shoot “transitional cameras” (point and shoot cameras that take interchangeable lenses):

Olympus Pen E-P1, 12.3 megapixels, interchangeable lenses
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, 12.1 megapixels, interchangeable lenses

Best point and shoot cameras:

Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, 10 mp, 4x zoom
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, 9 mp, 10x zoom
Canon PowerShot SX10IS, 10 mp, 20x zoom lens
Fujifilm FinePix F100fd, 12 mp, 5x zoom
Fujifilm FinePix F200 EXR, 12 mp, 4.4x zoom
Panasonic Lumix FZ28, 10.1, 18x zoom
Panasonic Lumix LX3, 10.1, 2.5x zoom
Panasonic Lumix TZ5, 9.1 mp, 10x zoom
Panasonic Lumix ZS1, 10.1 mp, 12x zoom
Panasonic Lumix ZS3, 10.1 mp, 12x zoom

Best underwater point and shoot cameras:

Canon Powershot D10, 12.1 mp, 3x zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1, 12.1 mp, 4.6x zoom

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HOW GOOD IS THE VIDEO WITH A CANON 5D MARK II?

Pretty amazing! Check out the Vincent Laforet video at the end of this article. This video is causing a lot of buzz among videographers.

The new Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the first Digital SLR to include 1080 high definition video. What is exciting about this is the size of the sensor and what it makes possible in terms of lenses choices and depth of field. It can do things that are impossible with video cameras.

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CANON 5D MARK II “BLACK DOT” AND BANDING PROBLEMS

In my September 17 post when the Canon 5D Mark II camera was announced, I wrote:

“As always, I recommend that you wait to buy any new model of camera until a few months after the camera hits the shelves. That will give Canon time to work out the “new model bugs” that so often happen. The 5D Mark II should be “bug free” a few months after its release.”

I wasn’t picking on just Canon since cameras from lot of manufacturers are released with some bugs in the first cameras released to the public.

This time around, it is the Canon 5D which has “black dot” and banding problems. A Google search for Canon 5D black dot will turn up lots of articles. A good place top start is Rob Galbraith’s article. And example of the black dots next to white lights is here. Canon has posted a service notice which is reproduced below after the break.

If you haven’t bought the new 5D Mark II and intend to, I would suggest, as I did in September, that you wait until the bugs are worked out.

If you already have the 5D Mark II, you will need to wait for a firmware update and be aware of situations when the problem might show up. Details are in the service notice.

Official Canon Service Notice . . .

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THE BEST DIGITAL CAMERA SENSORS COMPARED

top 4 cameras sensors overall
The Top 4 Digital Camera Sensors in Overall Image Quality – DxO Labs

How good is your digital camera sensor? How does it compare to other camera sensors in terms of color depth, dynamic range, and low-light high ISO quality? Is there a reliable source where you can find this information?

The good new is yes, there is a great, reliable source for this kind of information – DxO Labs.
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IT’S OFFICIAL: The New CANON 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark II

It is now official. After posting teasers on their web sites for the last week, at midnight last night, Canon officially announced the much awaited Canon 5D Mark II.

So what’s new and improved?

*The sensor jumps from 12.8 megapixels on the current model to 21.1 megapixels on the new model. So long as the quality remains good, more megapixels means bigger enlargements.

*High ISO sensitivity jumps from 3200 to 6400 but it can be expanded to ISO 25,600. This is huge news if the quality is still good at the higher ISOs.  This should mean better pictures at much lower light levels and faster shutter speeds at lower ambient light levels.

*Now for the really surprising, good news (at least so far as I am concerned). For a long time I have wondered why Canon didn’t put a movie mode in a digital SLR.  This is a basic feature of many point and shoot digital cameras and it is one of the reasons I run around with a digital point and shoot (the Canon Powershot S3 IS).  I like to capture short video clips. Canon finally did it. The Canon 5D Mark II incorporates full HD (1920×1080) video at 30 fps. Finally!!  This is the first and only (as of Sept 17) D-SLR to provide a High Definition movie mode.  You can play high resolution movies from the new Canon 5D on your HD TV.

*The 5D Mk II has Auto ISO in all modes except manual. If the shutter speed drops below a certain point due to a drop in light levels, the camera jumps the ISO to maintain the desired shutter speed.

More additions and upgrades to the 5D Mark II:

*The dust reduction feature that is part of several other Canon D-SLRs.

*Digic IV image processing.

*A still photo continuous capture rate of 3.9 frames per second.

*“Live View” mode with many options.

*A 3 inch high resolution (VGA) LCD screen.

There is a lot more to this camera but the feature above interest me the most. You can read an excellent preview at DPReview.com.

The specs sound very good. How good is this camera really?  I will let you know when reliable test reports begin to appear.

As always, I recommend that you wait to buy any new model of camera until a few months after the camera hits the shelves. That will give Canon time to work out the “new model bugs” that so often happen. The 5D Mark II should be “bug free” a few months after its release. (I know you can hardly resist if you have been waiting for this model.) The cost is expected to be around $2700 USD.

Canon’s 5D Mark II promo page.

Canon has posted a couple of downloadable, full-sized jpeg images here.