Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, director of engineering: crowdrise, photojournalist, hacker, nerd, geek, human

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Canon 5D MK II Unboxing

I just picked up the Canon 5D MK II which I've been drooling over since it was announced a few months ago. I really want to shoot some photos now, but I have to charge the battery first! In the interim, here are some unboxing photos:

Brand New 5D MK II In Box

5D MK II Box Contents

Brand New 5D MK II

Brand New 5D MK II

Brand New 5D MK II

Click here to see the rest of them.

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L Service Journey Part Two

Ginseng

For the second time in as many months I have sent off my favorite lens (which is possibly going to lose that distinction thanks to my 24-70 f/2.8 L that I just picked up) to the Canon Factory Service Center. My first experience with Canon Factory Service was actually a really good one, as they hastily repaired my shutter mechanism and had the camera back to me within a few weeks.

A few months later I decided to send them my Speedlite 580EX which had a faulty motor in the zoom mechanism which allows the flash to automatically change the size of the flash that is thrown to suit your current lens, zoom level and sensor size. At the same time I sent them my 85 1.2, which was, and still is, having problems focusing.

When I focus on an object that is 10 feet away, I get the focus confirmation light, but then the resulting image is focused a few feet past where it should have been. With nearly any other lens, this would not be a problem at all, but thanks to the razor think depth of field at f/1.2, this problem makes my lens nearly useless at the aperture that it is designed for.

After holding my lens for nearly 2 months, Canon Factor Service returned it to me, with no changes whatsoever, saying that it was restored to factory quality. I am hoping for Canon that the problem was with their tech, and that factory quality does not mean that the focus is off by nearly 20%. I am eagerly awaiting the functional return of one of my favorite lenses.

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Canon EOS 30D

As I mentioned earlier, my 20D's shutter is kaput after about 50,000 exposures over that last 2 years. Today I made my way down to Samy's Camera on Fairfax and picked up a Canon EOS 30D. One of the cool things about Samy's is that, although their website always has lower prices than they advertise in their store, they will always match their website pricing, plus shipping. The 30D ended up costing me $1216.97 plus tax, which is more than I would have paid if I had ordered it from B&H or Adorama, but I would have had to wait a week before it came, and I need it for a shoot I am doing on Friday. Another cool thing about Samy's, and any retail store front for that matter, is that they are willing to work with you on pricing and I got a good deal on a Stratos flash bracket, a Hoodman 2GB 150x CF card, a Stofen Omni Bounce, and an Off Camera Flash Cable.

One of the first things I noticed about the 30D is that the shutter mechanism, which is rated to 100,000 exposures, is much quieter than the one in my 20D. I am not sure if this is because my 20D's shutter mechanism was on its last legs and was starting to die, but it was at least twice as loud as the one in my 30D. Of course the 30D also has spot metering (finally!!!) as well as nice big 2.5" LCD. I am a little bummed that the body shape changed as my Really Right Stuff L Bracket will no longer fit, but that's ok, I really should have one on both of my rigs. I am already very happy with the test shots I took using the flash bracket, having it off camera really makes a big difference.

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Canon EOS 650

pink flowers
For the last 10 years or so I've been taking digital photos. Before my first digital camera I had a 35mm Konica SLR and I took some pretty cool pictures with it, which someday I will have to scan and add to my online galleries. I have been using my Canon EOS 20D almost daily for the last year and I decided I wanted to get a backup SLR that could take the same lenses that I have. I also decided I wanted to shoot film.

Penelope I didn't want to spend very much money because I am saving for a wedding and a honeymoon right now, so I looked on ebay and saw the first ever EOS, the Canon EOS 650 selling for about $15. I bought one (actually I bought 2, but hey they were cheap) and they arrived last week. I ordered a couple batteries and some film: Kodak Ultra Color 100UC, 400UC, Kodak Portrait 160, Kodak T-Max 100, Ilford Delta Pro 100 and Ilford XP-2 Super 400 from Adorama and waited patiently for it to arrive, which it did a couple of days ago.

Today I went to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens to test it out. I took 4 rolls of film (all the C41 stuff) and shot it all, right after I shot the same subject with my 20D. I then took it to Ritz Camera at the Glendale Gallery Mall and had it developed, scanned and put on photocd.

You can see the results here, they are not too bad for my first attempt, but they aren't nearly as good as my digital shots. I am not sure why, but most of them came out overexposed, It may have to do with the camera only supporting TTL instead of the ETTL my MT-24EX can do. It may also have to do with the 650's metering system. Also if you zoom in all the way the photos are somewhat grainy, but to me it doesn't look like film grain and it may be artifacts from the somewhat low resolution scans.

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II

I really love my 85mm 1.2 although it can be slow to focus, but the results the lens gives me are amazing. I just read that Canon is now coming out with an updated lens that focuses much faster. I am not going to go out and sell my lens right now, but I will probably upgrade sooner or later, probably later because I am going to upgrade to a 5D first... oh yeah and there is that wedding and honeymoon to pay for!

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Canon Powershot SD550 Flash Problems

For xmas I bought both my fiance and myself a new point and shoot compact camera. I had previously owned a Sony DSC-T1 and I really liked it, but I really love my Canon EOS 20D so I picked up a pair of the SD550s. The camera takes wonderful photos, but when I take pictures of anything close and the flash fires the photo is totally overexposed. This shouldn't be a problem with a $500 digital camera, it certainly wasn't with the DSC-T1. I hope that Canon will come out with a firmware update to regulate the flash properly.

UPDATE Ok so after talking to a salesperson at Samy's Camera where I bought the camera and some experimentation I got the exposure working ok. I turned on Macro mode (even though I'm shooting from a couple feet away) and that helped and then I tried Manual mode with the metering set to center weighted and that fixed the problem. Also using the redeye reduction flash helps too.

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Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L AKA the Giant Chunk-o-Glass

I have been drooling over the extremely fast and slow focusing Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L lens, and a few days ago, I went to Samy's Camera and bought it. I really love the lens although I'm still getting used to the extremely shallow DOF that the gaping 1.2 f-stop creates. I also going to need to pick up a neutral density filter if I want to take daytime photos with a wide open aperture. Here are the three sets I have uploaded so far. I love this lens!

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Canon 20Da Firmware on a 20D won't work

I was just wondering if the live focus feature in the Canon 20Da is a hardware change like the different IR filter is or if is purely software... you would think it would be software. You can download the 20Da firmware but it appears to be in Japanese.

UPDATE

It won't work because the mirror on the 20Da is semitransparent, allowing simultaneous viewing through the eyepiece and the LCD.

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My New Canon EOS 20D

loading only sign Today I bought myself a big birthday present. I picked up a Canon EOS 20D, with the Canon EF-S 18-75mm USM lens. I also bought the battery grip and a Manfrotto 3021BN with an Arca-Swiss monoball B1 head. Here is one of the first images I shot. I really love this camera and have been planning on buying it for a while. I am really looking forward to taking nature photos this weekend!