Printer and digital camera maker Canon today posted consolidated results for the second quarter and first half ended June 30, 2011, and blamed the March 11 earthquake and tsunami for its drop in profits. Net profits sank nearly 20 percent year-over-year, while operating profit for the quarter dropped 31 percent from one year ago. Canon reported numbers down almost across the board, including 14 percent less revenue than the same quarter in 2010.
The 60D also comes with an 18 megapixel sensor, Full HD video recording with manual overrides, and more control over in-camera image processing than in previous EOS models.
"The EOS 60D has been designed to offer the image-capture and the Full HD video features customers are looking for as they continue to expand their photographic skills. The exciting new features of the EOS 60D make using a DSLR camera more attractive and easier than ever before. We want everyone to experience the great image quality a Canon DSLR can offer with features and functions that they will appreciate and use," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.
For the first time in an EOS camera, Canon also crammed a handful of creative image filters allowing for various photo effects. Each one can be applied to a captured still image in-camera to create a second filtered JPEG version, leaving the original RAW or JPEG file untouched.
The EOS 60D will ship at the end of September and carry a price tag of around $1,100 for the body only, or $1,400 with a kit lens.
In terms of potential storage capacity, Canon's new VIXIA HF M32 Dual Flash camcorder is about as future proof as you can get. The company's latest camcorder comes with 64GB of internal Flash memory embedded inside, which is already enough to record up to 24 hours of HD video. But should that not be enough, it also sports an SD memory card slot compatible with SDXC cards for up to 2TB of additional storage capacity. Folks, that's a lot of storage.
Canon says the HF M32 also works with Eye-Fi SD memory cards, a piece of technology we've doted on before. For those of you new to the whole Eye-Fi scene, these awesome little cards allow you to wirelessly transfer videos and photos to a PC or content sharing site without having to tether the camera to a computer.
Other features include optical image stabilization, HD-to-SD downconversion, relay recording (continues recording a scene when switching from one memory source to the other), touch panel LCD, 15X/18X300X Optical/Advanced/Digital zoom, and, well, a whole bunch of other stuff (see spec sheet here).
Look for the VIXIA HF M32 to ship this September for $1000.
Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) ships with every Canon DSLR. It’s a simple, straightforward editing tool that pretty much supports just the basics: adjusting color temperature, batch conversions to other file formats, and simple noise reduction. It lacks the sophistication of its competitors, but since it comes free with every Canon DSLR, it’s tough to be too harsh.
The main interface is simple and uncluttered—arguably too uncluttered, as DDP hides much of its functionality under the menus. Want to crop? Pull down the tool menu and launch the trimming tool. Need spot repairs to remove dust specks? Fire up the stamp tool. Once in a tool, you can’t do anything else until you finish, then close the tool.
The main photographic touch-up capabilities are available when you begin editing an image. You can easily adjust white balance, brightness, contrast saturation, and tone curves in a tabbed panel alongside the image being edited. It’s easy to pop up a window that compares the original to the edited image, so you don’t have to always eyeball the changes from memory.
There’s a camera show right around the corner, PMA 2010, and while Canon isn’t going be attending, that’s not stopping them from participating in the ritual release of pre-show product announcements. For the end of February, Canon’s planning on releasing four new point-and-shoot PowerShots: the SX210 IS, SD3500 IS, SD1400 IS, and SD1300 IS.
Three of the four are updates to existing models, with the SD3500 the only new entrant. All of the cameras will have 14 megapixel resolution and HD (720p) video, except the SD1300 which will have 12 megapixels and VGA video. LCD viewfinders range in size from 2.7-inches (SD1300) to 3.5 inches (SD3500), with the SD3500 and SD1400 having touchscreens. (None of the cameras will have an optical viewfinder.) All are powered by a lithium ion rechargeable battery and support SD/SDHC memory cards.
An interesting addition to the SX210 and SD3500 is support for Eye-Fi, which packages storage and Wi-Fi. With Eye-Fi a user can upload images straight from camera to a computer or the Internet with a wireless connection. It also allows for WPS geotagging of images.
Prices range from $200 for the SD1300, up to $350 for the SX210.
If you’re going to print your photos yourself, you might as well print them really big. After all, you can always show your photos to friends and family on your laptop or mobile phone, but there’s nothing quite like a framed 13x19-inch print to really show off your skills as a photographer.
Canon’s Pixma Pro9000 II is the low-end model in the company’s large-format printer line, but with prices ranging from $370 to $460 online, it’s hardly a frivolous investment. Plus, you need to factor in the cost of ink—$12 per cartridge or $86 for a full eight-pack. The Pro9000 II uses eight different ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, green, red, and black, plus photo cyan and photo magenta.
The combination of eight inks and 6,144 nozzles allows for fast printing, even in high-quality mode. In our testing, a 5x7 test print took 34 seconds, an 8x10 took 71 seconds, and an 11x17 on fine-art paper took 4 minutes, 15 seconds. Black-and-white prints, however, took considerably longer; an 11x17 black-and-white print took a little more than 19 minutes.
RAW mode, a feature of virtually all digital SLR cameras and an increasing number of high-end point-and-shoot cameras, enables your camera to capture all of the image data in your photographs in full quality without distortion caused by JPEG data compression. RAW files enable you to repair white balance and color temperature problems, solve exposure problems, and adjust color intensity and other settings far better than you can with JPEG files. Unfortunately, you must use software that supports RAW files to optimize your picture and export it to a format you can use for other purposes, such as JPEG or TIFF.
Thankfully, you don't need to spend a fortune on software to edit RAW images. Or be a hardcore digital photography buff, either.
On the very day that Canon introduces the EOS-1D Mark IV camera, filmmaker Vincent Laforet releases the first movie produced on the camera: Nocturne. What’s amazing about Laforet’s short movie is that it was shot at night, in an urban setting, making use only of available light. On his blog Laforet writes: “Here is the main point that I hope you take into account: the short film you are about to watch was shot in pretty much the very worst light that I could possibly find in an evening urban landscape. I did not chose “pretty lighting” in a mall or under neon signs. That would have been cheating in my book.” The result is impressive.
But then so to is the EOS-1D Mark IV. It comes with an Advanced Photo System High Definition (APS-H) sized 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, dual DIGIC 4 image processors, and--wait for it--ISO speeds from 100 to 12,800. The ability of the camera, which is primarily for taking still pictures, to handle low-light situations and provide high quality noise reduction is evident from Laforet’s film. (Although Laforet does confess to cleaning it up a bit with Stu's Magic Bullet Colorista software.) The EOS-1D’s video ability includes HD movies with manual exposure control, shooting between 1080 at 30 frames per second, down to 480 at 60 frames per second.
Equally impressive is the EOS-1D’s price-tag. Canon’s suggested retail price is $4,999, and that’s only for the camera body. I’m thinking my hidden Scorsese is going to have to remain hidden a bit longer. In the meantime a 1080p version of Nocturne can be found at SmugMug.
Canon’s original Digital Rebel 300D lit the fuse that started the sub-$1,000 digital-SLR war. With the “DRebel” now in its fifth iteration, it’s hard to believe just how far this camera has come.
The original DRebel sported a dust-sensitive 6.3MP CMOS sensor and a pathetic four-shot JPEG buffer. The new EOS Rebel T1i 500D ups the megapixels to 15.1 and features a massive 170-shot JPEG buffer at 3.4fps. Dust cleaning, once rare in DSLRs, is featured, as is Live View, or the ability to use the LCD screen to focus and frame a shot. The three-inch screen is a gorgeous 920K pixels and makes smaller and lower-res screens seem antiquated.
The real eyebrow-raising feature of the Rebel T1i, though, is its support for 720p and 1080p video modes. While we once believed that DSLRs would never do video, it’s now the top checkbox on newer models. The T1i supports 720p at 30fps, but at 1080p resolution the frame rate drops to a nearly unbearable 20fps. Video is compressed using H.264 and is stored in a QuickTime .MOV container.
To the surprise of few, Microsoft is gearing up to dominate the airwaves with Windows 7 ads in preparation for their October 22nd launch. And, while there hasn’t been a lot of time to shoot the concepts for said adverts, the bar has been set quite high.