Canon EOS M for Travel

When EOS M was first released, I was a bit skeptical about Canon’s plan. The following EOS 100D somewhat confirmed my hypothesis. Canon certainly doesn’t want EOS M to hurt its own financially succesful EOS xxxD (or Rebel/Kiss) series. On the other hand, mirrorless systems from other firms had pushed Canon hard into developing it’s own mirrorless system.

Due to the reason above, on paper the late to party EOS M is not as exciting as some of the other firms’ offerings. However, choosing APS-C size sensor, excellent EF M lenses and seamless integration with Canon’s DSLR system, EOS M has always be on my radar.

For casual snap, I’m happy with my HTC One XL. And my Canon EOS 40D DSLR still serves me right after five years. There was no strong attraction for me to adding a mirrorless system. It wasn’t until the following two events happened, i decided to take a serious look at EOS M again.

1. I planned for a travel to Perth, west Australia. And I wanted a more relax trip. DSLR togather with the lenses are just a bit bulky.

(Don’t be fooled by anyone who told you that a bit more exercises and a little more time in the gym would make your DSLR system lighter. Try yourself and judge. I finished seven full marathons in past years and could lift 100KGs weight. I don’t find DSLR with lenses light by any mean when on travel)

2. The week before I bought the EOS M, I learned the news a new firmware which would significantly improve the AF was soon to be released for EOS M. What’s more, a new EF M 11-22 would reach the market right before I headed out to the desert in Perth.

The following weekend I purchased the system with EOS M + EF M 18-55 + EF M 22 + adaptor + 90EX + leather jacket (you need it to improve the poor grip) for just a little more than S$800 (after selling a free gift EFS 55-250). This is cheaper than what I paid for some of my DSLR lenses. I don’t think any other mirrorless systems can compete at this price or even higher. If minus the price for lenses, adaptor and flash (all these keep much of their value after years), the EOS M body only cost me about S$50. Even my home affair minister was supportive of the purchase plan…

The EF M lenses:

By now, I have all the three lenses available. They are all nicely built both mechanically and optical wise. Each of them seems to be among the best of the class. All three lenses are very affordable too compard to other firm or Canon’s own DSLR lense with same quality. I sold my Sigma 10-20 before I got my EF M 11-22.

The fact is, all three lens performs better than the EF S counter parts probably due to the flange distance and focal length. My future plan is to use EF M for ultrawide, wide zoom and prime. My DSLR would deal with the >=40mm primes and tele zoom.

Before getting my hands on the EOS M, I thought I would be using the 18-55 for most of casual shoot. I was wrong. The lovely EF M 22/F2 was almost full time attached to the M. It was only during the Perth trip, 18-55 started to take the main role. I only used the EF M 22/F2 indoor and at night during the trip.

Here are some of the photos I took during the trip

The pinnacles

PerthDay3006

Vineyard in Swan Valley

PerthDay4004

PerthDay4002

Perth city view from Swan river

PerthDay4005

Here are some of the TIPS that may help cover M’s weakness compared to a DSLR during your trip:

1. Get THREE batteries. One major complain about EOS M or mirrorless cameras in general is the battery life. 3 batteries should serve most people right. I usually end up using 1.5 batteries during a day. 3 is on my safe side, and I don’t need to charge every battery every night.

2. Get a cap (for yourself), it helps block out some sun light while you shoot outdoor.

3. Setting up the EOS M while you’re on the tour bus or you asked your wife/partner to handle the camera while you were driving: This is what I did, Tv mode 1/1000, ISO auto up to 3200, AF multi-zone autofocus, always shoot in raw.

4. If you shoot in Av mode, you can trust the metering system on EOS M when you can’t really use the LCD as a reference for exposure. Of course, you still have to adjust the exposure compensation according to the scene.

[Update] 5. Secure your Sunglasses while composing outdoor in strong sunshine. I lost a pair of mine during one of my travels..

Conclusion

EOS M is far from perfect. but remember I told you it costs only $50. If you’re not happy with a $50 mirrorless, there are other options from Sony or Olympus or Panasonic, or you can also wait for the EOS M mark II.

[Update] EOS M mark II was released. Knowing the Canon way, I thing Mark IV sounds a better upgrade..

I would say it is great for travel and daily use. For more serious tasks, just pull out your DSLR or whatever you’re happy with.

Canon’s interesting answer to mirrorless

Canon has just introduced two more DSLRs into the line-up, 700D and 100D.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/03/21/canon-eos-100d-rebel-sl1-hands-on-preview

The 700D is a typical “every year must update” model. While the 100D is a slight more interesting one. I feel 100D is Canon’s compromised solution to buy some time for developing the 2nd generation EOS-M. Let’s see how it works out in the market.

Too bad, both the 700D and 100D would most likely carry the vintage 18mp CMOS sensor debuted years ago.

70D is still missing, I’m crossing my finger it would come out with a better CMOS and improved AF system. Yes, Nikon D7100 is really what I want for a DSLR. But I’m OK with my Canon 40D. And since in the future I’d like to have a mirrorless backup that can take my current EOS lenses. Jump ship to Nikon is not a option, if the EOS-M from Canon is not a satisfying performer, the V1 J1 mirrorless from Nikon are both real jokes.

If you don’t need certain DSLR feature/performance, and don’t already own some DSLR lense, Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a great mirrorless, just grab this with the 12-50. Sony NEX series can be another option as well.

Why you shouldn’t buy another P&S camera

Image

Concert

Taken using my HTC One XL. Stock camera app, default setting, -1 exposure, no post processing, not even cropped. Note: In case you wonder, photograph is not allowed during most concerts, However, this one was taken after. Click on the photo to check in full res.

I’ve given my Canon A610 P&S backup camera to my parents as their backup.

Update: facebook compresses photo badly, too see the real thing, go to the wordpress link instead.

My photos appear in CD booklet

Glad to see my photos up in re:mix’s debut CD recording booklet!

Re:mix is an interesting and unique ensemble in Singapore’s classical music scene.

You can visit their website www.remix.com.sg

For more info about their debut live recording CD, please visit http://www.remix.com.sg/#/cd/4564045536
You can support them by purchasing the CD from:
All Gramophone outlets in Singapore
at Synwin Marina Square
at SSO Concerts (Singapore Symphony Orchestra)
at Tong Ming Xi allery   One Commonwealth1   Commonwealth Lane #08-28   S149544

Canon EOS 40Dx

自打我第一台数码相机Canon A610开始,就对翻转屏对构图的帮助大有体会。

偶然发现 flipxbac http://flipbac.com/,立刻买下,算是给用了3年多的40D升级一下。

佳能70D要是敢采用650D/7D那块陈年CMOS,那我就准备继续坚守 40Dx

Update:
转轴没用多久就出现了松动。而且正常使用状况下每次需要翻开flipxbac才能看到屏幕。使用起来和真正反转屏还是有很大差异。综合以上,不建议购买。

CPU benchmark for Digital Photography Professional

Recently took quite a number of photos of my little princess. Haven’t yet processed all,  not to say upload. I was wondering whether new CPUs dramatically reduce the processing time for DPP. Search on internet didn’t  fetch me such benchmark. The close I can get is Photoshop test,  which I’m lazy to launch. So I decided to run such a test myself. This benchmark would give you a basic idea of how Core2 Quad, Duo  and I7 perform in DPP.
The benchmark was run on two desktops,
my home one with Intel Core2 Quad Q9400, 2.66GHz 8G Ram, Win 7 64 bit.
The second machine is based on Intel  I7-2600, 3.4GHz, among the fastest quad cores, also 8G ram,  win 7 64 bit.
DPP latest version, I run a test of conversion 20 raw to jpg, 10megapix each.

Here are the results.
Core2 Quad  Q9400 54 seconds
Core I7-2600 35 seconds.

54/35 = 1.54. Considering 3.4GHz/2.66GHz = 1.28, besides the clock advantage, I7 core has 20% advantage from the new architecture.

Update: Second run, add one more CPU, Intel Core2 Duo P8600 2.4 GHz, 4G ram, Win vista 32bit,

14 raw to jpg, 10 megapix each. DPP processing settings: Neutral, Click white balance, Noise Reduction Lumi 2, Chroma 10, Sharpness 3 and some adjustment on the curve

Core2 Duo P8600 87 seconds

Core2 Quad Q9400 53 seconds

Core I7-2600  32 seconds

My three years old quad core machine is still quite OK. DPP prefers more cores than higher clock. My next upgrade would be adding a new graphic card for GPGPU. Hope DPP would support it soon.

Update: The test sessions were all run with single instance of DPP. If you manually split your photos into group and launch more than one DPP to process then the Quad core would be even faster than the Duo core CPUs.