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Pros & Cons: Quick-Draw Straps

With the continuous growth of the digital SLR market, camera accessories have been quick to piggyback on it. One particular product type that has seen much innovation is the basic camera strap. Recently, there has been an interest in what could be classified as quick–draw straps, with BlackRapid’s R–Strap and Luma Labs’ Luma Loop coming into prominence.

The main benefit of these straps is that they allow to quickly raise your camera to eye level without the strap’s material sticking to your clothes. Their design allows the camera to simply slide along the length of the strap, thus eliminating the need for a “moving strap”.

I’ve personally a similar system recently, and though I agree how it helps you get from resting to shooting stance much faster, I cannot live with the side effect of having an expensive camera moving around as you walk fast (or run) as you move locations. This problem becomes clear when you’re carrying other gear with your left and right hand, leaving the camera to move dangerously with the motion. It has a negative psychological effect, making you feel that your camera is somehow less safer.

There are also some online threads you might want to consider regarding their reliability:

And regarding the “quick–draw” advantage: if you’re fairly experienced in the type of photography you practice, 90% of the time you’d probably know when to raise your camera and when you can just let it rest on your side, or below your neck. Additionally, both straps require you to “wear” the camera in an across–the–body fashion; you can’t wear it in the traditional “like–a–necklace” style.

I’m sure there’s a market for these quick–draw straps, but their advantages are somehow overhyped. And that’s if you can live with it’s quirks.

Firmware Firmware Updates Site News

Canon EOS-5D Mark II Firmware 2.0.3 released

In case you missed it, the upgraded firmware for the Canon EOS–5D Mark II that was announced recently was made available yesterday. Version 2.0.3 of the firmware has been in development for a few months now and adds a 24p (24 frames per second) option for a more film–like output. The 30fps version has been tweaked to conform to industry standards, which is actually 29.97fps.

Audio recording is now at 48KHz, up from 44.1KHz, along with the option to manually adjust the recording level.

Here’s the download page for firmware v2.0.3, but be sure to check the upgrade instructions (PDF) beforehand.

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Perya: An Awesome Canon EOS–7D Sample Video

Wondering how good the new Canon EOS–7D will do with HD video? A bunch of awesome Filipino videographers shows us:

Beautiful, wasn’t it? These guys use the 5D Mark II for their wedding work regularly, but comparing their everyday output with this, something’s telling me the Canon 7D might just steal some money from the full–frame 5d Mark II.

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Canon PowerShot S90

Canon PowerShot S90

Most likely sharing a lot with the recently announced Canon PowerShot G11, the Canon PowerShot S90 marks the return of Canon’s S-series compact cameras. Here are the highlights of the S90, many of which are also in the G11:

  • 10 megapixel high sensitivity CCD sensor
  • Dual Anti–Noise System
  • DIGIC 4
  • f/2.0 wide aperture lens (@ widest 28mm setting)
  • Lens Control Ring
  • Up to ISO 3200 and 12800 using the 2.5MP Low Light mode
  • Discrete zoom stops at 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm

It is quite obvious that the S90 is positioned to compete with serious amateur compacts like the Lumix LX3 and Ricoh GR Digital III. The introduction of f/2.0 at the wide end is very much like the LX3, though the focal length is a tad narrower at 28mm. The discrete zoom stops is a feature from Ricoh’s GX–series like the GX200, making the S90 an obvious contender in this market. Note that the 10 megapixel sensor is a downgrade from Canon’s recent models that already hit 14 megapixel a generation ago. I’m almost sure this change is more of an image quality consideration.

At 429 USD it is not that far from the G11’s price range and I’m sure these two models will somehow take away sales from each other. Collectively, it would be interesting to know if they can actually compare to what is presently available and upcoming in this growing advanced enthusiast market.

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Canon PowerShot G11

Canon PowerShot G11

It’s now officially unveiled: the Canon PowerShot G11. Though you may think that this is simply just an update to Canon top–of–the–line for compact digital cameras, the G11 is said to improve on the G10 in many ways. One curious note though: the G11 has only 10 megapixels.

Not that megapixel count has mattered for the past year or so. The Canon PowerShot G11 utilizes a high-sensitivity CCD sensor that goes up to ISO 3200. Paired with the enhanced DIGIC 4 as well as other new technologies like i–Contrast, this camera should produce images as good or better than the G10 and its competitors. It should, or Canon loses that chunk of the market as its competitors have gained ground in this field. Then again, maybe there’s really no point to the G–series cameras now that it can hardly cope up with MFT compacts like the Olympus E–P1 and the Panasonic Lumix GF1?

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Lens cap mod for the Lumix LX3/D-Lux 4


Shooting with the Lumix LX3 for the past few days has been really fun, though one thing I noticed is that the traditionally–styled lens cap limits your quick draw speed for street shooting. Unlike other compact point and shoots, the Lumix LX3 and D-Lux 4 use lens caps that you manually remove instead of automated little metal slits that retract by themselves. But there’s a solution: you can use the Roch LC-1 lens cap! WIth a bit of clever hacking, it can be your quick–draw lens cap.

And by now, if you’re very much into this Lumix LX3/D-Lux 4 craze, you might to consider this: the Titanium D-Lux 4! But at the rumored 1,400 USD, I think they’re pushing it.


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Full-frame Nikon D700 Launched

Nikon D700

The recent release of the full–frame Nikon D700 has got the DSLR market talking again. Just like how proshooters responded when Nikon surprised us with their top–of–the–line D3, the D700 appears to raise even more interest and should sell more once it starts shipping.

The Nikon D700 is positioned to sell for 3000 USD, right in the range of the aging Canon EOS–5D. Though the camera is not a direct competitor to Canon’s offerings, it sends a strong message to the market that Nikon is back in the game indeed. With two full–frame FX–sensor cameras in just a year, it makes Canon and other digital SLR manufacturers appear lagging behind in terms of product development.

Here are the main features of the Nikon D700:

  • 12.1 megapixel full-frame sensor (8.45┬Ám pixel pitch)
  • Image Sensor Cleaning (vibration)
  • ISO 200 – 6400 (with boost up to ISO 25600 and down to ISO 100)
  • Also supports DX lenses, viewfinder automatically masks (5.1 megapixels with DX lens)
  • 14-bit A/D conversion, 12 channel readout
  • Same ultra-fast startup and shutter lag as D3
  • Nikon EXPEED image processor (Capture NX processing and NR algorithms, lower power)
  • New Kevlar / carbon fibre composite shutter with 150,000 exposure durability *
  • Multi-CAM3500FX Auto Focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage)
  • Auto-focus tracking by color (using information from 1005-pixel AE sensor)
  • 95% coverage, 0.72x magnification viewfinder
  • Auto-focus calibration (fine-tuning), fixed body or up to 20 separate lens settings
  • Scene Recognition System (uses AE sensor, AF sensor)
  • Picture Control image parameter presets
  • 5 frames per second continuous with auto-focus tracking
  • Optional MB-D10 Battery Pack (same as D300), increases burst rate to 8 fps
  • UDMA compatible single CF card slot
  • 3.0″ 922,000 pixel LCD monitor
  • Live View with either phase detect (mirror up/down) or contrast detect Auto Focus
  • Virtual horizon indicates if camera is level (like an aircraft cockpit display)
  • HDMI HD video output
  • ‘Active D-Lighting’ (adjusts metering as well as applying D-Lighting curve)
  • Detailed ‘Control Panel’ type display on LCD monitor, changes color in darkness
  • Magnesium alloy body with connections and buttons sealed against moisture
  • Improved Info display on main screen

With the look of things, I think we have a market–changing camera in the Nikon D700. This should get Canon evaluating their product development plans as the market clamors for more value in their cameras. I truly believe the Nikon D700 will be one of the most used cameras in recent times.

Here’s more coverage on the Nikon D700 from Michael Reichmann and Rob Galbraith.

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Digital Photographer

Digital Photographer is a new weblog dedicated to the digital shooter, with information on equipment, technique, business, and everything else that comes with this passion. Keep yourself tuned!