In what seems to be a first, Canon has announced an industrial camera sporting a 15 megapixel monochrome sensor and, most peculiar (well, at first sight at least) a Nikon F-mount. The camera is aimed at the manufacturing industry, where Canon reckons it’ll be used for quality control applications that the human eye isn’t sensitive enough for. To that end, the monochrome sensor provides low noise, high sensitivity, and great dynamic range to be able to capture the slightest imperfections in a product.
In their own words, Canon “entered the industrial camera market as a new business to capture these market trends,” which means they want a piece of the industrial camera market cake. And there’s the answer as to why they put a Nikon F-mount on the M15P-CL: in industrial applications, the F-mount is very prominent, and Canon would probably have a hard time selling their new camera would it mean that potential end-users had to buy new Canon EF lenses for it, instead of being able to use the F-mount lenses they already have.
Judging from the description, the sensor inside the M15P-CL is something that black-and-white enthusiasts would love to see in a Canon DSLR. As Leica demonstrated with the M Monochrom, a sensor that comes without a color filter is not only more sensitive to light, but can also capture much greater tonality, which is very important to serious black-and-white photographers. It is, however, highly unlikely that Canon will ever put this sensor in a consumer product, as the market for monochrome cameras is pretty small.
Via Canon Watch
DxOMark has analyzed the sensor of the new Nikon D4s, and the results aren’t really surprising. Since the camera is more of an update to the D4 rather than a full-fledged successor, we didn’t really expect the D4s to outperform the D4 by any significant margin. And indeed, this is what DxOMark’s measurements confirm. While the D4s has slightly better overall performance at ISOs 3200 and up, the D4 performs just as well if not a slight notch better at lower ISOs when it comes to dynamic range, tonal range and color sensitivity. The same is true for the Nikon Df.
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Since the very beginning of digital photography, high contrast situations have always been a problem. When the brightness contrast between shadows and highlights exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, either shadow information or highlight information will be sacrificed. Various attempts have been made at working around this problem, the most notable technique being HDR (‘high dynamic range’) photography. Other attempts were hardware-based, such as Fujifilm’s Super CCD sensors that featured dual photosites at each pixel location for shadow and highlight sensitivity respectively.
The latest patent describing a solution for high contrast situations comes from Olympus, and it describes a technique that would allow for different areas of an image to be captured at different exposures. In theory, this would allow for very bright areas in an image to be deliberately underexposed, while darker areas would be deliberately overexposed at the same time. This way, the final image would retain detail in both the highlights and the shadows, without the necessity of taking multiple exposures for a later HDR merging.
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Canon Rumors reports about what could become a new trend in customizing your camera: hardware hacks. In past years, we saw a lot of third-party firmwares that promised to improve image quality and performance of your camera–most notably Magic Lantern, which greatly improved video performance in Canon DSLRs. But Canon compacts weren’t left out, either, and Nikon DSLRs had their own Magic Lantern counterpart. But let’s face it, every trend becomes a fad at some point, and in 2014, software hacks just don’t cut it anymore.
The next big thing coming to a camera near you could be hardware hacks, which, as the name suggests, involve swapping out hardware parts of the camera. It’s not uncommon that photographers tinker with their camera, for example when converting them to infrared or multi-spectrum sensitivity by adding and/or removing filters on top of the sensor. It’s another thing altogether, though to swap the camera’s entire logic bord. Which is exactly what Canon Rumors suggests will soon be offered for Canon DSLRs.
The site has received word that “a certain company” will soon come out with a hardware hack for the EOS 5D Mk III, which will replace the camera’s mainboard with a customized one. The benefit of the operation that will cost around US-$ 1000 will be increased dynamic range as well as better sharpness and performance when recording video. In that regard, the hardware hack promises roughly the same results as Magic Lantern’s custom firmware.
At this point, we have no idea who is doing this, when it’ll be available, how much of an improvement it will yield, and whether other camera models will also receive hardware hacks–though CR is positive the 5D3 won’t stay the only model that can be customized. Firmware hacking is already a risky thing to do, because it can potentially make your camera inoperative, or contain malignant code. But at least it’s free. Would you pay someone a whopping $1000 to tinker with the internals of your DSLR, though?
Pro Tip: We recommend that you communicate with the person that you’re photographing first to get insight as to what they want. Some headshots are more corporate oriented while others are for comp cards, actor profiles, and dating websites.
All the technical mavens that have nothing more to do than critique other folks’ photos and not go out creating great work themselves will tell you not to backlight an image. But we’re going to tell you something different–backlight as much as you want. But in the end, create a captivating photo. And though even we may tell you that it’s best to create your own light (and in many situations it really is) we don’t believe in limiting yourself just because you might not have a flash. So to create a better portrait in natural light, you can either wait for the golden/blue hour and give yourself maybe around 15 minutes or so of shooting time or you can go shooting at any time of the day–just as long as you can make the light do what you want it to.
And for that, backlighting is a very viable option.
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Magic Lantern has done some incredible things with the 5D MK III. First off, they found a CineDNG RAW video codec in the camera. Then they figured out a way to capture it and record it. Then they added other improvements. But according to the latest from Planet 5D, the team recently figured out how to increase the dynamic range of the sensor. For the moment, we only know that the Mk III is going to get the sensor upgrade–and we’re still not sure about the Mk II or any other cameras. At the moment, preliminary tests are showing 15 stops of dynamic range. Previous reports stated 14 stops.
How is this possible? Well, believe it or not, sometimes the dynamic range of a sensor can be improved via firmware. For what it’s worth, years and years ago Nikon has a camera called the D200: the predecessor to the D300 and D300s. Fujifilm basically created the same camera, but called their version the S5 Pro.
From what my old co-workers at B&H Photo used to tell me, the cameras were the exact same. But the reason why the dynamic range and sensor output of the Fujifilm version was so much better is because of the firmware. EDIT: the S5 Pro also had a Super CCD SR sensor, on top of the firmware.
Now here’s the big reminder: while this is cool, it’s not always practical. You still need to learn to meter correctly in the first place. However, it’s nice that a videographer can nerf the highlights or boost the shadows a tad more. But at the same time, it takes a skilled videographer to figure out the right exposure to begin with.