Canon transforms 7D – why can’t Sony do the same?

Version 2 firmware for the Canon EOS 7D released today so much transforms and upgrades that camera that it makes the lack a replacement – at least until after photokina – no concern for owners. Indeed, owners will be thanking Canon for giving them what amounts to a new camera free of charge.

Whether or not Canon’s approach to firmware coding is very different, and gives them much better access to tapping new functions, we do not know. But this is not some small tweak. It adds the one vital thing which could make the Alpha 77, 65, 55 (etc) and NEX-7 attractive to video makes – manual control of audio/mic input gain.

That single improvement answers many Canon owners’ demands, as lesser models within the Canon range, introduced after the 7D, have had a full two-channel level adjustment display.

The upgrade goes further and adds in-camera RAW editing, which surely must have required a processor capable of this from the start, and JPEG resizing plus image rating (these two functions when combined allow preparation and selection of images for transmission to client, newsdesk or printer hosts).

Here is the full info:

Canon today announces that the EOS 7D firmware v2 is now available, adding a range of new benefits and functionality for enthusiasts looking to explore the creative boundaries of their photography. Following direct user feedback from photographers around the world, the new firmware further extends to the camera’s advanced image quality, high speed shooting and creative functionality.

Firmware v2 now offers greater control of image settings and functionality, including a higher maximum RAW burst rate, now up to 25 RAW files or 130 JPEGs. Giving photographers greater control over images directly after capture, a new range of in-camera editing functions includes processing of RAW files, as well as the ability to easily adjust white balance, sharpness and Picture Style.  Enhanced control over Auto ISO levels during both still and movie shooting now allows users to limit ISO speeds to within the native ISO 400-6,400 range, perfect for manipulating exposure in different situations.

During movie shooting, amateur videographers will also benefit from new manual control of audio levels, with the ability to choose from 64 different sound levels. New compatibility with Canon’s high-performance GPS unit, the GP-E2, enables photographers to track the locations of their images using longitude, latitude and altitude geo-tagging.

Firmware v2 is available to download now from: http://software.canon-europe.com/

Canon EOS 7D firmware v2 – new features:

·         Improved maximum burst for RAW images (up to 25)

·         In-camera RAW image editing

·         In-camera Image Rating

·         In-camera JPEG resizing

·         Maximum Auto ISO setting (ISO 400-6400)

·         Manual audio level adjustment in movie recording

·         GPS compatibility

·         File name customisation

·         Time zone settings

·         Faster scrolling of magnified images

·         Quick control screen during playback

(end of Canon copy)

Now Sony – can you step up to the mark, show that you have spent just a few dollars of the money acquired from the sale of Alpha and NEX system on human resources aka software and firmware programmers, and reward the loyalty of your owners with an audio fix on all camera, max/min auto ISO where missing, in-camera RAW processing…

Firmware update for NEX-5 and 3

Sony has introduced a firmware update, allowing consumers to shoot in 3D on the a NEX-5/NEX-3 interchangeable lens cameras.

The free download from the Sony Europe support site (http://support.sony-europe.com/dime/DSLR/DSLR.aspx) adds several performance enhancements including 3D Sweep Panorama. This exciting new technology means it is now possible for consumers to capture dramatic panoramic images in 3D, all with an extra-wide field of view.

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Lightroom 3 Beta 2 – the high ISO wunderkind

I’m not going to bore you with countless 100% clips. Just open this one file. It is a 100% screen shot of a tiled view of the same raw file from a Canon EOS 550D (aka Rebel T2i), taken at ISO 6400.

On the left, you see what Adobe Camera Raw 5.6 does with this file using no sharpening, 25 Luminance NR, 50 colour NR. On the right, you see what LR 3 Beta 2 does using the same settings (LR noise reduction has some further options – these are not adjusted).

When exporting the LR image to Photoshop, a dialog box appears saying you may need to install Adobe Camera Raw version 5.7! At the time of writing, version 5.7 is not yet available. But LR3 Beta 2 knows it exists… I used LR Rendering for this sample.

Click the image, open the full size screen shot. Or view it at
http://www.pbase.com/davidkilpatrick/image/123036282

The 12,800 shot is by no means bad either. You could compare it with ISO 1600 shots from the first 10 megapixel CCDs.

Trust me, the LR 3 Beta2 result is superior both to the Canon in-camera JPEG and the Canon DPP processed result. Had I the time I’d post examples of every ISO from 100 to 12,800 and you would see something very special – the increase in size of ‘grain’ with each speed step, but nothing more. NOTHING more than a proprotional increase in grain size, just like film  used to be.

No oatmeal. No porridge. No hot pixels, no smeary watercolours. No colour blurring and luminance smoothing. Just neat, tight, virginal grain. Hmm. I should not have said that. Even so…

And another things – it works on everything. It works on old files, new files. RAW files from before the Ark got stuck on Ararat. Night shots taken when night shots could only make 7 x 5 inch prints. Nikon, Canon, Sony, old Minolta, Pentax, Olympus – download this beta, and you just discovered great pictures in the stuff you thought was rubbish because you accidentally used ISO 800 when that meant shaking the pepperpot over your soup!

Go download! http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/

Tip: to use Lightroom use a front end, just set Photoshop as your editor, and after adjusting the pic hit Command-E – same as hitting the Open button in Adobe Camera Raw. Go straight to Photoshop, Do Not Pass Go, and do not (yet!) spend £200!

– DK

Lightroom Beta 3 v2 available now

Adobe today released an update to its Photoshop Lightroom 3 beta software, available immediately through Adobe Labs. Building on the success of the first Lightroom 3 beta, which was downloaded by more than 350,000 photographers, Lightroom 3 beta 2 incorporates feedback from the first iteration of the beta while offering users several new features and greatly improved performance throughout the application.

Though new camera support is not listed, we can confirm that Beta v2 will process Canon EOS 550D (Ti2) raw files.

New features in this release include tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon cameras, the ability to import and manage video files from DSLR cameras for a streamlined workflow and additional behind-the-scenes architecture enhancements for faster importing and loading of images. The addition of luminance noise reduction to the color noise reduction options already available in the beta helps photographers achieve overall exceptional image quality from high ISO images. The import experience and watermarking functionality have also been modified to reflect feedback received from the Lightroom community during the first beta period.

The input from the photography community has been extremely valuable and Adobe would like to thank everyone who has participated in the beta program. Adobe encourages photographers to test this new selection of features and provide the product team with feedback so they can produce the highest quality final product.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is the essential digital photography workflow solution, helping serious amateur and professional photographers quickly import, manage, perfect and showcase all their images in one intuitive application.

Pricing and Availability
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 beta 2 is available as a free download to anyone on a Macintosh or Windows platform and is available in 12 languages. Visit http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/ to learn more and download the second beta. Feedback can be submitted on the Lightroom forums: http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/lightroom3/.

Reach out to us on the Lightroom Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/lightroom or on Twitter www.twitter.com/lightroom.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Beta 3 version 2

Adobe today released an update to its Photoshop Lightroom 3 beta software, available immediately through Adobe Labs. Building on the success of the first Lightroom 3 beta, which was downloaded by more than 350,000 photographers, Lightroom 3 beta 2 incorporates feedback from the first iteration of the beta while offering users several new features and greatly improved performance throughout the application.
New features in this release include tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon cameras, the ability to import and manage video files from DSLR cameras for a streamlined workflow and additional behind-the-scenes architecture enhancements for faster importing and loading of images. The addition of luminance noise reduction to the color noise reduction options already available in the beta helps photographers achieve overall exceptional image quality from high ISO images. The import experience and watermarking functionality have also been modified to reflect feedback received from the Lightroom community during the first beta period.
The input from the photography community has been extremely valuable and Adobe would like to thank everyone who has participated in the beta program. Adobe encourages photographers to test this new selection of features and provide the product team with feedback so they can produce the highest quality final product.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is the essential digital photography workflow solution, helping serious amateur and professional photographers quickly import, manage, perfect and showcase all their images in one intuitive application.
Pricing and Availability
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 beta 2 is available as a free download to anyone on a Macintosh or Windows platform and is available in 12 languages. Visit http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/ to learn more and download the second beta. Feedback can be submitted on the Lightroom forums: http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/lightroom3/.
Reach out to us on the Lightroom Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/lightroom or on Twitter www.twitter.com/lightroom.