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The new Canon EOS 400D

Canon EOS 400D.

News just broke out at the forums pointing to a thread in a Chinese photography forum revealing what will likely be tomorrow’s announcement of Canon’s newest products. Of significant importance is the supposed replacement for the entry–level 350D, the Canon EOS 400D. This new body will also be known as the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTI for selected markets like North America.

This new Canon body boasts of several improvements over the recent Digital Rebel. Among them, most notable are:

  • A brand–new 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, producing a maximum image dimension of 3,888 x 2,592 pixels.
  • Dust Removal System. A first for Canon SLR bodies, this aims to take away some of the supposed advantages of other entry–level DSLRs like the Sony Alpha A100.
  • 9-point wide area autofocus system inherited from the Canon EOS 30D. Yes, this body shares the same high performance AF system from its more expensive sibling, one that is even better than the 20D.
  • 2.5 inch wide angle of view LCD which is now almost standard among cameras released this year, though this one is said to be brighter by as much as 40% over that of the #0D and the 5D.
  • Just like recent Canon bodies, the EOS 400D will have “Picture Styles,” adding more creative options that allows for mimicking various “photographic looks” that we’re made famous during the days of film SLRs.

Many shooters from the forum were speculating that this camera would eat into the 30D sales, though from a consumer’s point of view, that could only be a very good thing. If this camera retails below the 1000 USD range, and it should, Canon probably has another winner in their hands. Looking at the success of the 350D and Canon’s aggressive price reductions the past weeks, the EOS 400D should be fairly affordable and appears destined to be another bestseller.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Sigma APO 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM

Sigma APO 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM

Sigma has just announced a new zoom lens for APS-C DSLRs like the Canon EOS 30D and the Nikon D200, the Sigma APO 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC HSM. This tele zoom mimics the range of traditional 70-200 zooms that are widely used in full–frame digital and film SLRs. In addition, it has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout its entire zoom range, making it the APS-C counterpart of the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 as well as the famous offerings from Canon, boasting the same max aperture.

This lens produces an effective field of view of 75 to 225 mm on the recently announced Nikon D80, and 80 to 240 mm on the Canon 1.6x crop bodies. This lens is relatively light for its zoom range and aperture, perhaps a good selling point for potential buyers. It is also equipped with Sigma’s HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) which is their answer to Canon’s USM (Ultrasonic Motor) technology, providing fast and silent AF performance. HSM also allows for full–time manual focus override, negating the need for toggling the manual focus switch in cases where you need manual focus.

The creative possibities with this lens is abundant since it is compatible with Sigma’s 1.4x EX DG APO and 2x EX DG APO Tele Converters, further extending the zoom range to the photographer’s advantage. An important note: the addition of a 1.4x teleconverter makes it a 70-210 f/4 zoom, very much like Canon’s popular 70-200 f/4L. Technical details are available from’s coverage, with some insights from users.

If the performance of this lens equals or surpasses that of the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro, and it should considering the EX designation, this lens will be another best seller for Sigma being a welcome addition to the advanced amateur’s photography arsenal. I just hope that this lens slots in nicely in the 400 to 600 USD range, since any higher than that and the Canon 70-200 f/4L will appear a better value, for EOS shooters at least.

Links News Reviews

HardwareZone Review: Nikon D80

HardwareZone scoops all photography sites by posting the first online review of the recently announced Nikon D80. has a preview of Nikon’s latest DSLR, but contains no sample images. In contrast, HWC’s review has complete details, though their review format/methodology is catered towards prosumers, not typical DSLR shooters or advanced amateurs.

For in–depth technical details on the Nikon D80, go with’s preview of the Nikon body, but get your review fix from HWC’s review. Expectedly, since the new Nikon D80 is almost a Nikon D200, their conclusion is right on the spot.

Bodies News Product Announcements

The new Nikon D80

Nikon D80 (Photo courtesy of

Nikon UK has just officially announced the new Nikon D80, the latest addition to Nikon’s digital SLR lineup. This camera handily slots in between the D70s and the recently new D200, and should provide good competition in the DSLR market.

Highlights of this new Nikon body includes:

  • New 10.2 effective megapixel Nikon DX Format CCD image sensor delivering images at 3,872 x 2,592 maximum dimensions.
  • Refined 11–area AF system inherited from the top of the line D2 series.
  • Auto ISO which works very much like aperture and shutter priority, varying the sensor’s sensitivity as needed. The effective ISO range is 100-1600, with extended settings labeled as HI-0.3, HI-0.7 and HI-1. ISO is adjustable in 1/3 EV steps, and several levels of noise reduction can be cofigured.
  • Startup time of 0.18 seconds is a direct attack on Canon’s 0.2 or 0.15 value, all of which passable as “instant startup.”
  • Creative in–camera effects like “D-Lighting” which is expected to mimic Picasa’s “I’m feeling lucky” mode, or “auto contrast” and “auto levels” in Adobe Photoshop terms. Also available is red eye reduction and several filter effects.
  • A first for DSLRs is multiple exposures merged in one image file, another creative effect available only to the D80.
  • Like every new camera these days, a 2.5–inch rear LCD monitor offering a better view of everything. Examining sharpness and details through the LCD is now more plausible.

More details on this release is available from, and they have a detailed hands–on preview as well.

Nikon D80

Bodies News Product Announcements Rumors

The new Canon EOS 3D

Canon EOS 3D

Pictured above is said to be Canon’s upcoming EOS 3D, but really, is it? The same picture has circled the various photography sites and forums, and many have already ignored it as a hoax. However, a recent thread on the Fref Miranda forums appears to contain convincingly genuine details regarding a “Canon EOS 3D“, said to be launched in around three weeks.

Rumored features appear very exciting and if true, this camera will indeed be a worthy competitor to the Nikon D200. Some of the highlights:

  • High performance AF system with 27 AF points, 11 of which are cross–type sensors up to f/4, with the center point cross–type up to f/5.6 and capable of AF up to f11. This performance is comparable or even better than the 1D series.
  • ECF: Eye–controlled focus. A unique feature carried over from the Elan 7NE.
  • 13.3 megapixel APS-H (1.3x) sensor with DIGIC III, capable of ISO 50 and 3200 plus ISO 25 and 6400 as expanded options.
  • 6 frames per second continuous shooting speed, up to 40 JPGs or 18 RAW files.

If this rumoured camera is indeed real, this should push down the prices of other models significantly. Maybe we can have a full–frame Canon EOS 5D breaking the 2000 dollar barrier along with a Canon EOS 30D for less than a grand. Good times are coming if this is true.

The text of the “supposedly leaked” Canon document is provided below:

Introducing the revolutionary EOS 3D.

Built from the ground up to represent the new face of digital imaging the EOS 3D will represent a breakthrough in high performance yet affordable photography. Featuring an elegant yet supremely functional design it takes the best of Canon’s previous designs and enhances the experience even further. A high performance AF system featuring 27pt of which 11 are x-type down to f/4 while and the centre point is cross-type to f/5.6 and allows AF down to f/11. The AI servo performance has been significantly improved too, exceeding that of the 1D Mk II.

Also Canon proudly brings ECF to the digital era and is greatly enhanced in performance over that found in the Elan 7NE.

However, the true revolution lies in the heart of the camera. Packing an amazing 13.3MP into an APS-H sized sensor the images are processed by a new DIGIC III engine. The next generation DIGIC III Image Processor builds on the legendary abilities of the digic II with double the processing power necessary to deliver unprecedented levels of resolution, speed and dynamic range. Despite the EOS 3D having smaller pixels than the EOS 5D, the DIGIC III provides even greater DR, more accurate colour rendition improved WB and lower noise. ISO 50 and 3200 are now part of the standard ISO settings and ISO 25 and 6400 are now included as an expanded option. Also it further reduces power consumption allowing class leading battery performance.

Thanks to DIGIC III the EOS 3D also boasts an impressive burst rate of 6fps for 18 shots in RAW and 40 in jpg.

In addition the body adds several sealing gaskets to the all magnesium shell allowing for operation in more extreme environments. A new evaluative algorithm allows more accurate metering in extreme lighting and can even correctly expose subjects like snow. Also a 2.4% spot meter allows for precise metering of any part of the scene. The viewfinder shows an impressive 98% of the scene both horizontally and vertically. Also for the first time Canon will be employing 2.75″ OLED display screen, offering superior resolution, brightness and power consumption to LCD screens and having markedly better performance in bright daylight.

Visit this site for more updates on this new product.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Sigma Macro 70mm F2.8 EX DG

Sigma Macro 70mm F2.8 EX DG

A few weeks ago, Sigma announced the Sigma Macro 70mm F2.8 EX DG, a dedicated macro lens suited for digital and film SLR bodies. Though announced for both digital and film, it is strategically placed as a replacement for 105mm macro lenses. When used with the latest Canon EOS 30D or the Nikon D200, the effective focal length is in the 105mm range, a commonly used focal length for macro photography.

This lens is designated as a Sigma EX, a label of quality reserved only for their best lenses. Contrast this with the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro, which isn’t marketed as such though performs just as good as the EX-designated Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC, with extra range to boot.

A unique feature of this lens is a “Focus Limiter Switch” which is used to limit the focusing range, improving AF speed and accuracy.

This new entry from Sigma is interesting in that it addresses specific needs that many longtime film shooters have gotten used to. They now have lenses providing digital equivalents of the 28-70, the 16-35, and now the 70mm macro. I’m left thinking, will they be producing a 70-200 f/2.8 equivalent for digital SLRs? And will the 70mm f/2.8 macro be good enough for macro photography enthusiasts?

Bodies Links News Product Announcements

Nikon D2Xs

Nikon D2Xs

Nikon’s flagship digital SLR, the D2X, has been updated and now named the D2Xs. The new camera uses the 12.21 megapixel sensor from the previous model, delivering 5 frames per second of continuous shooting. New for this model is the “viewfinder masking” when shooting in Hi–Speed Crop mode, allowing the shooter to easily distinguish the smaller frame captured.

Rob Galbraith has an article covering the new camera which will surely be talk of the Nikon world in the coming months. Though some would contend that this will spark new rounds Nikon versus Canon debates, I refuse to agree. But I sure do hope that Canon picks a few innovations from the Nikon camp and makes it available to their loyal users. Certainly, advancements no matter how small or significant continue to enhance the state of digital photography for everyone concerned.

Lenses Photo Samples Reviews

Weddings with a Sigma 17-70


I’ve been talking a lot about the Sigma 17-70 since day one on this blog, praising its abilities especially for such a relatively cheap walkaround lens. But can this thing be used for specialized situations? Below are some sample photos from a wedding I covered entirely with this lens, from start to finish! Certainly, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro is one capable piece of glass.



Commentary Links Techniques Tips

How to take good photos with a flash

Flash photography has been looked down by some proclaimed “experts” as a lower form of photography. In fact, these same people instruct beginners to always shoot without the flash, if possible.

In the case of point–and–shoot compact digitals, shooting without the flash can give you better results, but not all the time. Backlit scenes are almost always better shot with a flash. For indoor shooting, it boils down to choosing between blurred no–flash photos, or bad flash photos. Using a flash can make or break a photo.

SLR shooters on the other hand have the luxury of using hotshoe flashes for creative lighting. However, you really have to understand your flash system to make the most out of it. Canon users would benefit much from this article on the EOS flash system.

After learning the technical aspects of flash photography, improve on your skills by learning its practical applications, including the technique involved. To get an idea how certain lighting effects are achieved through the use of a flash, dg28’s technique page should get you running. For more on flash photography and creative lighting, the Strobist blog is a worthwhile regular read.

Links News Photo Samples Product Announcements

Sony Alpha DSLR-A100

 Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 (Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

I’m sure you’ve heard about the latest newcomer in the digital SLR market: Sony. Yes, the Japanese consumer electronics giant is entering the digital SLR market via its partnership with Konica–Minolta. We reported on this news before and now it’s finally here, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100.

The camera was previewed by popular photography site DP Review almost a month ago and they even have sample photos from the promising newcomer.

Commentary Links News

The Jill Greenberg-Thomas Hawk Controversy

Most of us photography enthusiasts prefer to take photos rather than partake in gossip, but this just one I just had to write about. This is about Jill Greenberg’s work featuring children in a state of distress, emotionally provoked to tears.

Thomas Hawk took offense, criticizing her work and method to achieve such photos, no matter what the true objective is. Going through his weblog entry entitled ” Jill Greenberg is a Sick Woman Who Should Be Arrested and Charged With Child Abuse”, I can feel that Thomas was very disturbed by Jill’s work. In many ways, he had every right to. Any person wouldn’t be comfortable knowing how the photos were staged and captured — they handed lollipops to the children then took them away, intentionally provoking them to cry or be angry. All in the name of art, or is this a sick mind using art as an excuse?

Emotions were very high for those involved and even Jill’s husband stepped in. An online fight like this wouldn’t be uncommon, but Jill took matters to a different level when she responded through the magazine “American Photo” without much regard for Thomas’s statements, twisting them to her benefit and not addressing the issues in question. To make matters worse, the popular national publication did not bother to give fair coverage, much less ask for Thomas’s side.

What makes this even more intriguing is Jill Greenberg’s recent actions, as told by Thomas Hawk. According to the entry, Jill pressured Thomas’s employer and even called his boss to get them to intervene in these matters. Threats of legal action were also made by the controversial photographer.

Scrutinizing these events, I feel that Thomas Hawk may have offended Jill Greenberg for writing about his opinions and strong objection regarding the work mentioned above. However, being upset does not give her the right to skirt the issues and attack the other party personally. Threats of legal action shouldn’t have been made. Thomas’s opinion were protected by his constitutionally guaranteed rights, no matter how different it may be as Jill would’ve preferred. In fact, other people have also written on their disapproval of Ms. Greenberg’s work. Personally, I take strong offense as well.

Now what would happen to the parties involved in the coming days? I sure will be following this one. And I just hope Jill Greenberg learns to respect the opinion of other people, especially considering her stature and position, being a well–known artist at that. Before it’s too late to make amends.

Links Techniques Tutorials

Concert Photography


Just like most concert photographers would tell you, shooting concerts is hard. It’s one of the rare photo opps wherein you’re lucky if you get even just a few good photos, and you’re likely to throw away most of the shots you captured.

Many articles on this topic provide the same basic tips: avoid flash, use fast lenses, don’t be a distraction, enjoy the show. You may think that these things would come natural when you’re shooting, but you’d be surprised to find yourself breaking these rules once you’re actually there.



However, just like most photographic rules, there are some you just have to break, at the right time. The photo above was taken around four years ago with my point and shoot Fuji Finepix 2600 with an off-cam optical slave flash on my other hand. Yes, I used flash. Unlike most high profile events, many small–town or college concerts are shot in poorly–lit venues where you have no choice but to use flash. Luckily for me, I was part of the organizing committee allowing me to shoot exactly the way I wanted, and produce a few keepers. :)

For more on concert photography, read these good articles from Photocritic and

Links Product Announcements

Underwater cameras

Every year, everyone yearns for summertime when we get to bask in sea and sand all day long with friends and family. A trip to the beach is highly anticipated especially by the young and the young at heart, and photography is a favorite activity, probably next only to swimming.

With the rise of digital cameras, people thought twice before shooting with a digicam near the water. I know I rarely did, since water and electronics have never been known to like each other.

Olympus Stylus 720SW

Fortunately for us, there are now several digital cameras made to get wet. The Olympus 720 SW is a good example of this, capable of shooting up to ten feet underwater! This camera is a good performer that even Dynamism has it on their list of great gadgets. Aside from its love for water, it can also withstand a 5 foot drop and it has digital image stablization along with a 2.5–inch LCD screen. A great camera for 399 dollars.

Pentax Optio W10

Another alternative for water lovers is the Pentax Optio W10 which I found sold at Mayer’s Quiapo for 15,000 pesos. In the US, this underwater camera should be available for less 300 dollars on the street. This one is rated for underwater use up to 1.5 meters.

Links Software Techniques

RAW Shooting

Popular web designer Dave Shea discusses the virtues of shooting with RAW instead of JPG. He highlights the flexibility of the RAW format and the wealth of post processing that can be done on the rich data available, especially when compared to JPG.

We’ve covered the JPG versus RAW debate in a previous entry, and I still recommend knowing the advantages of both formats and using whatever is appropriate for specific situations.

Lenses Links Product Announcements

Tokina 50-135/2.8 DX


The recently announced Tokina 50-135/2.8 DX is probably the first of its class, an APS-C lens that intends to fill the 70-200mm equivalent for cropped frame DSLRs. Interestingly, the constant F/2.8 across the range should make this a premium lens, hopefully comparable to the full frame counterparts it is trying to emulate.

Expected later this year, I find this the most interesting among Tokina’s upcoming lenses, considering the specific range it is trying to fill. A 70-200mm F/2.8 equivalent will likely be a welcome entry in the DSLR lens market. This one will probably outsell the Tokina 16-50/2.8 DX and the Tokina 10-17/3.5-4.5 DX as well as the Tokina 17-135/3.5-5.6 DX.

Lenses News Product Announcements

Tokina 17-135/3.5-5.6 DX


The Tokina 17-135/3.5-5.6 DX is a conventional lens with a great zoom range, translating to 28-200mm in 35mm terms. Clearly, this one is destined to fight the walkaround lens market. Hopefully, this can put up a good fight against Sigma’s 18-125, a sharp lens I’ve been shooting with since last year. Just like most walkaround, this lens is on the slow with the maximum aperture at both ends hardly something to brag about.

For their expected price though, lenses of this type are bang for the buck performers that can very well serve the needs of the casual enthusiast and even those of serious amateurs.

Since this lens is more than a year younger compared to Sigma’s offering, Tokina should’ve made this better in many respects and addressed the shortcomings of its competitors. Hopefully, we have another viable walkaround alternative in the next few months.

Lenses Product Announcements

Tokina 10-17/3.5-4.5 DX


One of the most expected upcoming lenses is the Tokina 10-17/3.5-4.5 DX, a wide–angle lens for cropped frame sensor cameras like the EOS 30D and the Nikon D200. This lens is rumored to be based on Pentax’s similar lens, and rightfully so, since Tokina and Pentax are now collaborating for an extra to their products in the digital photography market.

This lens is part of an extensive roadmap from the lensmaker who plans to release several lenses designed specifically for APS-C type digital SLRs.

Curiously, this lens may put a good fight against Canon’s 10-22 offering, as well as Sigma’s budget standout, the 10-20 DC. Surely in the next few months, the good competition will be very beneficial for the consumers as it will surely lead to reasonable prices and better quality.

Links Techniques Tutorials

Fake Model Photography

If you’re a flickr regular, you have probably noticed this very interesting photo style: fake model photography. It is a relatively new and unique way of altering photos that renders images like they’re from miniature scale model worlds.

This tutorial by Christopher Phin should get you producing the similar look in just a few steps. He has several contributions to the flickr ’tilt-shift miniature fakes’ group which now happens to have more than a thousand members!

Lenses Photo Samples

My Sigma 17-70

I really couldn’t help it, I was too intrigued with the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro that I just to get one for myself. The samples were quite good for this new lens I had to test it for myself.

These are just a few samples. I’ve had this lens for around a week now, and in the next few days I’ll be sharing more of my shots with this lens, as well as a brief review. :)

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Tokina 16-50/2.8 DX

Tokina 16-50/2.8 DX

The Tokina 16-50/2.8 DX is an APS-C lens for designed for DSLRs with a 1.5x/1.6x sensor crop like the Canon EOS 30D and the Nikon D70s. The zoom translates to a 28-80mm range for traditional film cameras, a range widely used in almost all types of photography.

This lens from Tokina is expected to compete against the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, the Tamron SP AF17-50MM F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF, and the Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC.

It would be a long shot to expect this lens to be better than the Canon and Tamron offerings; comparably this should be at par with the popular Sigma zoom. But let’s hope Tokina proves us otherwise.