Exploring the world of Canon EOS photography

Exploring the world of Canon EOS photography
Exploring the world of Canon EOS photography
January-March 2013
Family portraits
A masterclass with Tamara Lackey
Metering modes
How your EOS helps with exposure
Adding radio control to your Speedlites
New lenses
EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
EF 35mm f2 IS USM
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
Publisher & Editor Robert Scott
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So, the world did not end on Friday 21
December 2012. This was good news,
because our EOS 6D arrived that morning. It
would have been annoying to see the camera
vapourised before we had a chance to charge
the battery. We have also been using the
EOS M, which arrived a few weeks earlier.
Both cameras have the ability to surprise
and delight. The EOS 6D is only a little larger
than the EOS 650D which has been my constant companion for the last
few months. The GPS feature of the new camera really appeals and
I will be getting to grips with this during the coming months. We are
planning an article on the GPS later in the year and will be looking at
alternative positioning devices for cameras without this feature built-in.
We will also report on the usefulness of built-in Wi-Fi – can it replace
the need for CF and SD media cards by storing image files directly to
the ‘cloud’?
The EOS M is very compact and really does slip into a pocket
(though the 18-55mm lens needs another pocket). Focusing is slower
than the EOS 650D, but there is little or no hunting. Working without an
eye-level viewfinder quickly becomes second nature.
As far as I am concerned, the EOS M is not a replacement for singlelens reflex models, but an excellent alternative for occasions when the
EOS 6D or 650D would be too conspicuous or inconvenient.
It is interesting to see that internet reviews and comments for both
models are becoming much more positive now that people are actually
using the cameras.
We don’t deal in rumours at EOS magazine, but it does look as if
there will be some significant new EOS products during the coming
year. If you are in the market for a new camera and none of the current
models appeal, it will be worth waiting to see what 2013 has to offer.
If you can’t afford a new camera in these recessionary times, don’t
despair. A couple of excellent images in this issue, taken from our
picture library, were shot with the EOS 20D. This camera, introduced in
2004, might lack a few of the bells and whistles of current models, but
is still capable of turning out good photographs.
Talking of older cameras, this year sees the tenth anniversary of the
EOS 10D, 300D and EF-S lens mount. The 300D was the first
fully-featured digital SLR to sell for under £1000 and the first with the
new mount. It all seems a long time ago.
And it is farewell to the EOS 5D Mark II – the camera that launched
video in EOS SLR cameras (see page 6). There are still many EOS
photographers who have not yet come to terms with movie mode in a
still image camera, but it is an inexpensive way to create high-quality
movie output.
Best wishes for the new year – especially to those who started a 365
project (at least one photo every day) on 1 January.
Robert Scott, Editor
[email protected]
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
Cover story
World of EOS
Farewell to 5D Mark II
Out with the old – in with the new
for 2013. Plus winter cashback.
Firmware and software updates
Firmware updates for the EOS-1D X and 6D.
DPP, EOS Utility and Picture Style Editor.
See page 28
Cover photograph by Tamara Lackey. This young boy
is outnumbered by his three rambunctious sisters,
but is doing his best to keep up. The photo was shot
in an graffitied alleyway. The light grey pavement
provided a great bounce of light for subjects close to
the ground. To achieve the low viewpoint, Tamara is
crouching down on one knee, positioned behind the
silver side of a 42 inch rectangular reflector.
EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 35mm f1.4L USM lens,
1/400 second at f4.5, ISO 1000.
Walking on water
Kos Evans demands exceptional performance in
extreme circumstances.
Wildlife photographer
The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer
of the Year 2012 competition.
China’s many faces
Patrick Wack captures the diversity of modern
Chinese people and their culture.
Subscription details
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New products
Other features
Freelance diary
Miles Willis gives up a safe, secure job to become
a freelance photographer.
EOS magazine picture library
Many of the images in EOS magazine are selected
from our picture library. Find out how to submit your
images – and our current requirements – at
Two new lenses
Canon has released two new lenses, the
EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM and EF 35mm f2 IS USM.
Experience seminars
Forthcoming EOS photographic courses.
A review of EOS magazine forum activity.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Metering modes
Perfect exposure is the holy grail of photography.
Your approach is as important as your kit when
photographing children, advises Tamara Lackey.
Northern lights
David Clapp photographs the northern lights
with stunning results even at high ISO.
File formats
Sorting the raw and JPEG facts from the myths.
Digital zoom
Cropping can get you closer if you don’t have a
super-zoom, but at what impact on photo quality?
How was it shot?
Andy Fox experiments with speakers and paint.
Focus tuning
How to sharpen up your images with a moiré
screen and AF Microadjustment.
Select and sort
Exploring the cataloguing features of Canon’s
DPP software.
Flying success
Neil Hutchinson tests the image quality and
autofocusing accuracy of the EOS-1D X.
Radio flash
Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT and other units that
offer radio communication for flash photography.
Protect & recover
How to recover and protect your image files.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
Out with the old – in with the new for 2013
End of line for 5D Mark II
Canon has quietly discontinued the EOS 5D Mark II. The
camera was moved to the ‘Old products’ archive on a
Canon Japan website at the end of December 2012. Canon
UK has confirmed the news. The camera will continue to be
available at stores until supplies are exhausted – but don’t
leave it too late if you have been thinking of buying.
The EOS 5D Mark II, introduced in 2008, was the first
EOS digital SLR with movie mode. This initially received a
lukewarm response from EOS enthusiasts, but was quickly
taken on board by professional movie-makers. One of the
attractions of the camera is the depth-of-field, which can be
much narrower than that of dedicated movie cameras.
Cost was also a factor. Cameraman Mark Moreve made
one of the first feature length films shot entirely using the
EOS 5D Mark II and Canon lenses. “You can buy an EOS
5D Mark II for the same price it costs to hire an HD movie
camera for a week,” he said, “so using the Mark II cut our
costs by a fortune.”
The Season Six finale of ‘House’ (the television medical
drama starring Hugh Laurie) was shot using only the EOS
5D Mark II camera, plus a range of fast EF lenses. The
shallow depth-of-field and low-light capabilities of the
camera were the main attractions for the director and
cameraman. (The episode was first aired on 16 May 2010).
The BBC, although initially doubtful that an SLR could
produce broadcast quality video, soon relented and
allowed use of the EOS 5D Mark II for programme making.
The demise of the camera is not unexpected. The EOS
5D Mark III was introduced last April. Although this did not
immediately replace the earlier model, it was only a matter
of time before sales of the EOS 5D Mark II camera were
Then, late in 2012, came the EOS 6D (see right) – Canon’s
new entry-level full-frame digital camera.
Now available
The EOS M (above left) is now available at a range of
retailers across the UK. It has an RRP of £769.99 including
the EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens and Speedlite
90EX flash gun.
The EOS 6D is also available across the UK with an RRP
of £1799.99 (body only), £1959.99 with EF 40mm f2.8 STM
lens or £2519.99 with EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens.
Two new image stabiliser lenses
Canon has launched two new EF
lenses designed for enthusiast
and professional photographers
– the EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
and the EF 35mm f2 IS USM.
Boasting Canon’s leading optical
technologies in highly compact
designs, the new lenses are
perfect for a range of creative
purposes, including reportage,
landscape, portrait and travel
Both include aspherical lenses
and Super Spectra Coatings
optimised for each individual
element, Canon’s image
stabiliser (IS) technology and
ultrasonic motors for superfast
The EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM is the latest lens to feature
Hybrid IS, delivering shake-free shots at any distance,
including macro focal lengths.
The lenses also come with the newly-designed Mark II
lens caps, which feature a centre-pinch mechanism.
In September 2012, Canon launched the EOS 6D – the
first full-frame DSLR aimed at non-professionals. The
lightweight, compact EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM lens will
team up nicely with the EOS 6D, which does not have the
weight and bulk of the other full-frame bodies.
Both new lenses are available now. The EF 24-70mm f4L
IS USM costs £1499.99 (RRP) while the EF 35mm f2 IS USM
is £799.99 (RRP).
For detailed information and specifications about these
lenses, turn to pages 20 and 21.
For the latest news visit our newsblog at http://www.eos-magazine-news.blogspot.co.uk
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Winter cashback
Canon sponsorship deals
Celebrate the New Year with up to £160 cashback on
selected Canon purchases made between 18 October 2012
and 24 January 2013. Canon’s Winter Cashback offer can
save you money across a wide range of Canon’s compact
cameras, DSLRs, camcorders, printers and more. And if
you purchase two Canon products included in the offer
you’ll receive an extra £25 cashback bonus.
To take part and to see the entire range included in the
offer, visit www.canon.co.uk/wintercashback
Claim the cashback offer by downloading and
completing a claim form and returning it to Canon along
with the original receipt by 28 February 2013.
Canon will be an Official Partner of the IAAF World Athletics
Series from 2013 to 2016. Canon’s sponsorship will include
two IAAF World Championships – the first in Moscow in 2013,
the second in Beijing in 2015.
Canon has also signed a three-year renewal of its
worldwide partnership with the World Press Photo
Foundation. The new contract marks the 20th anniversary
for the two organisations working together to empower
photojournalists. For more details about World Press Photo
and to view galleries, visit www.worldpressphoto.org
January sale!
Canon is offering photographers a chance to complement
their new DSLR with a range of accessories for half price. If
you have bought (or been given) a new EOS 7D, EOS 60D
or EOS 60Da you will be able to get 50% off accessories,
including the battery grip, AC adapter, remote switch,
additional batteries and remote control from a range of
The offer is designed to help users to be more creative
and take their photography to the next level.
The promotion covers all purchases from 1 November
2012 until 27 January 2013. For a list of participating
retailers and further details of the offer please visit
Canon wins Emmy Award
The year has started well for Canon with a Technology
& Engineering Emmy Award from the National Academy
of Television Arts & Sciences. The award is for work on
improvements to large-format CMOS imagers for use in HD
broadcast video cameras. The awards honour development
and innovation in broadcast technology and recognise
organisations and individuals for breakthroughs in technology
that have a significant effect on television engineering.
Canon debuted its award-winning large format CMOS
image sensor in its EOS C300 digital cinema camera in
November 2011. By exploring alternatives to the established
Bayer colour filter array algorithms, Canon was able to
achieve an overall image quality capture through its CMOS
sensor that has helped to bring digital cinema closer to the
superb aesthetics associated with 35mm motion picture film.
Travel Photographer of the Year 2012
Professional and amateur photographers
from 22 countries scooped individual Travel
Photographer of the Year 2012 awards or
special mentions this year. Many of the prizewinning entries, two of which are shown here,
were shot using Canon EOS cameras. The
images showcase the beauty and diversity of
travel imagery and offer fascinating glimpses
of different cultures.
Andrew Newey (UK) won Best Single Image
in the ‘Portfolio – Journeys’ category with his
image of Mentawai Shaman resting against
the roots of a tree in Siberut Island, Indonesia.
The New Talent award went to Alessandra
Meniconzi (Switzerland) with her series of
images capturing life for Siberia’s Nenets, a
nomadic people whose life is based around
the reindeer herds. Alessandra is a graphic
designer and teacher, and a self-taught
Below left Mentawai
Shaman, Siberut Island,
Indonesia. EOS 5D Mark II,
1/2656 second at f1.8, ISO
320, EF 50mm f1.8 II lens.
Below Young Nenets girl in
the snow, Siberia. EOS 1Ds
Mark III, 1/200 second at f8,
ISO 100, EF 16-35mm f2.8L
USM lens.
“I pedal, walk and move alone with my
equipment for months on end in the most
remote locations of the world. Photography
is another way to express my personality.
Pressing the shutter release of the camera
materializes my feelings, my sensibilities, my
character, and the way I see the world.“
To view the complete gallery of winning
images, visit www.tpoty.com
Do you have any EOS-related news or photo stories? E-mail: [email protected]
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
Firmware and software updates for your camera and computer
The latest updates for EOS digital cameras are available
by following the ‘Firmware Updates’ link on the EOS
magazine home page at www.eos-magazine.com
For further information on updating your firmware, see
EOS magazine October-December 2012, pages 70 to 74.
Firmware version 1.1.1 offers new functionality and
improved performance. Developed in response to
photographer feedback, Firmware version 1.1.1 improves
the scope and performance of the AF function and
introduces minor fixes to offer professional photographers
the ability to capture stunning images more easily in all
During AI Servo AF shooting in low light, viewfinder
information is now illuminated, with the AF points blinking
intermittently in red, allowing them to be easily confirmed
while shooting, without affecting the metering.
Getting closer to the action is also even easier, with the
firmware update allowing photographers to use Extenders
to increase the focal length of their super-telephoto
lenses, while maintaining the use of AF to capture a crisp,
clear shot. The centre AF point (one cross-type with four
supporting points) can now be used to autofocus at a
maximum aperture of f8.
Canon Extender EF 1.4x increases the effective focal
length by 1.4x, so a 400mm lens becomes equivalent to
a 560mm lens. There is loss of light equivalent to 1 stop,
so a lens with a maximum aperture of f5.6 becomes the
equivalent of an f8 lens – and will still offer autofocus with
the EOS-1D X with firmware version 1.1.1 installed.
Canon Extender EF 2x increases the effective focal
length by 2x, so a 400mm lens becomes equivalent to a
800mm lens. There is loss of light equivalent to 2 stops,
so a lens with a maximum aperture of f4 becomes the
equivalent of an f8 lens – and will still offer autofocus with
the EOS-1D X with firmware version 1.1.1 installed.
New features
Servo AF mode.
AE sensor becomes abnormal, affecting the final image
during AEB shooting
lenses cannot be updated normally
VË ‰™ÁËWÁÁjW͉™ÄË͝ËÁ?M‰W˔j™Ö
firmware. This phenomenon does
not occur with a camera whose
firmware has been updated by a
user or by a Canon service centre.
Cameras with 4 or 5 as the
sixth digit from the left in the
serial number are affected. Even if
the sixth digit from the left in the
serial number is 4 or 5, cameras
with a white dot in the battery
compartment are not affected
To overwrite the installed
firmware and activate the autofocusing at f8, simply re-install
firmware version 1.1.1. There is no
change to the firmware version, as
this is not an issue with the firmware itself.
Firmware update resolves EOS 6D video issue
Firmware Version 1.1.2 for the EOS 6D fixes a phenomenon
which prevents movie files shot using EOS 6D cameras from
being played back on YouTube.
However, firmware version 1.1.2 may present some Video
Snapshot limitations, as follows:
1 EOS 6D running Firmware Version 1.0.9 If a video
snapshot captured when the camera was running firmware
1.0.9 is combined with a video snapshot created by a camera
which was running firmware 1.1.2, the resulting video
snapshot album will be corrupted.
2 EOS 6D running Firmware Version 1.1.2 If you try to add a
video snapshot from a camera running firmware 1.1.2 to the
video snapshot album created when the camera was running
firmware 1.0.9, a warning message ‘Cannot select this movie’
will appear and the video snapshot cannot be added.
The following workaround addresses the two scenarios
described above:
1 Shoot a video snapshot and create a video snapshot
2 Import the captured video snapshot album to your
3 Start ImageBrowser EX (bundled with the EOS 6D).
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the movie snapshot.
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April 2013 update for EOS 5D Mark III
EOS-1D X and the f8 issue
Autofocusing may not function at f8 on some EOS-1D X
cameras with firmware version 1.1.1. This version enabled
the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is
used with lens/Extender combinations whose combined
maximum aperture is f8 or wider.
On some of the cameras with firmware version 1.1.1,
auto-focusing does not function at f8. This is not an issue
with the firmware itself, but with its installation at the
factory. The problem can be overcome by overwriting the
EOS magazine January-March 2013
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will add features for both still and video shooting. The new
firmware offers improved AF performance and enhanced
When the camera is fitted with a lens and Extender
resulting in a maximum f8 aperture, the new firmware enables
the camera to use the central dual cross-type focal points,
currently only available up to an f5.6 aperture. The new
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video editing and monitoring procedures.
Software updates
EOSmag social networking
Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
DPP version 3.12.52 includes the following
1 Supports images taken with EOS 6D.
2 Supports new lens EF 24-70mm f4L IS
3 Supports read-in of Picture Style files
(.pf3) created in Picture Style Editor 1.12.2
and later.
4 Corrects shooting date error in other
manufacturer`s image files when sent to
Easy-PhotoPrintEX from Digital Photo
Professional via plug-in print.
5 Corrects cases of software freeze
caused by handling folders containing
2000 images in Mac OS X v10.8.
EOS magazine is continuing to
build its lively online community
with a Facebook presence. Join our
growing number of fans and get the
latest EOS news, views and feedback at
We recently passed 2000 ‘Likes’. If you find our
page interesting, please reward us with a like.
EOS Utility
WFT-E7 B recall
EOS Utility version 2.12.3 includes the
following changes:
1 Supports EOS 6D.
2 Supports read-in of Picture Style files
(.pf3) created in Picture Style Editor 1.12.2
and later.
The rubber used on the top surface of some
Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7 B units
produced may change colour (turn white) after a
short period of time. There is a risk of an allergic
skin reaction, though we are not aware of any
that have been reported.
Only a limited number of the Wireless File
Transmitter WFT-E7 B units that were produced
between 9 April and 13 July 2012 are affected by
this phenomenon. Full details are at
Picture Style Editor
Picture Style Editor version 1.12.2 includes
the following changes:
1 Supports EOS 6D and EOS M.
2 Applied Noise Reduction processing
when displaying images.
3 Added support for the new Picture Style
file (.pf3).
4 Changed the user interface of the Tool
5 Added the Tone curve (RGB) function.
6 Added the Six Color-Axes adjustment
You can download these Canon software
updates for your camera and computer
operating system at:
Canon brand boost
Canon has increased its
brand value over the past
12 months, rising three
places to 30th position
in Interbrand’s 100 Best
Global Brands 2012
ranking. The annual 100
Best Global Brands ranking
report from Interbrand
ranks companies that
have sustained strong
global brand performance.
The report looks at the
ongoing investment and
management of brands as
business assets.
Canon’s brand value
has risen 3% to $12,029
million, compared to 2011.
The report highlights
Canon’s commitment
to R&D, technology and
James Leipnik, Chief
of Communication, Canon
Europe, Middle East and
Africa said: “Our passion
for the power of image lies
at the heart of everything
we do at Canon. This
year’s improvement in
our Interbrand global
ranking shows that our
passion continues to
strengthen the Canon
brand as we focus on
delivering innovative
imaging solutions for our
customers worldwide.”
National Historic Ships UK
Ian Kippax from Ely won the National Historic Ships UK’s 2012 photography
competition with his image, Scorpio (below). Commenting on the winning
image, judge Geoff Holt said, “I was extremely impressed with the quality
of this year’s entries – it made our job as judges very tough indeed! Despite
the many wonderful images we had to choose from, the winning picture
stood out from the start. It is a very powerful, almost haunting photograph,
which captured the interest of all the judges.”
Ian used an EOS 5D with an EF 17-40mm f4L USM lens, 1/100 second at
f8, ISO 400. For further details on National Historic Ships UK and the 2012
photography competition, visit www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk
Apple software updates
Apple Digital Camera RAW Compatibility
Update 4.01 supports the EOS M for
Aperture 3 and iPhoto ‘11. System
requirements are Mac OS 10.7.5 or later or
10.8.2 or later. Go to http://support.apple.
Apple Digital Camera RAW
Compatibility Update 4.03 adds raw
support for the EOS 6D to Aperture 3 and
iPhoto ‘11.
You can find the update in the Mac App
Store or directly at http://support.apple.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
Experience Seminars DVDs
Leading Canon seminar providers, Experience
Seminars have released two new DVDs:
The Essential Guide to Lowlight
and Interior Photography
This DVD looks at topics that
you need to understand to get
great images of low-light and
interior subjects. It also looks
at how to cope with extreme
contrasts in lighting, plus
the use of Canon’s DPP
software using HDR with
raw images for extreme
The Essential Guide to
Choosing and Using
Canon Lenses
Canon makes over 70
lenses in its extensive EOS
system. Choosing the right
one for your photography
can be confusing and getting the
wrong one can be an expensive mistake. This
DVD explains what the different types of lenses
do and when they are used. It illustrates how
the choice of lens will impact on the images
you take and how they can be used to shoot
more creatively.
Both DVDs cost £15.99 when bought from
the EOS magazine shop at
photographers wanted
The Guild of Motoring
Writers is keen
to recruit more
professional motorsport
photographers. As the
world’s oldest and largest
organisation for motoring
journalists, photographers
and broadcasters, the
Guild is always ready to
welcome new members
and particularly keen to
recruit more professional
Any photographer
who earns more than
50% of their income from
motoring or motorsport
photography is eligible
for full membership
status, which comes
with numerous benefi ts
including Press ID card,
free AA membership,
access to the BRDC
Clubhouse at Silverstone
and a wide range of
discounts on products and
For further information,
visit www.gomw.co.uk
Those photographers who
qualify should contact
Chris Adamson via
[email protected]
New eBook
Andrew Gibson, a
regular contributor
to EOS magazine,
has just completed
another in his
series of eBooks.
‘Slow’ takes
you through
the creative
possibilities of
using slow shutter speeds,
from blurring motion with a shutter
speed of 1/30 second all the way to long
exposure techniques using exposure times
of five minutes or longer. Techniques such
as panning, slow-sync flash, intentional
camera movement and long exposure
photography using neutral density filters
are all covered.
‘Slow’ also showcases the work of two
talented photographers, Doug Chinnery and
Joel Tjintjelaar, who use intentional camera
movement and long exposure techniques to
create beautiful, expressive images.
You can buy ‘Slow’ for $5 through EOS
magazine at:
‘Azerbaijan Through the Lens’ photography competition
The ‘Azerbaijan Through
the Lens’ photography
competition, organised by
The European Azerbaijan
Society (TEAS), attracted a
large number of entries from
amateur and professional
photographers based in
Azerbaijan and across
the world. The images
encompassed all elements
of contemporary Azerbaijani
life – people, culture, nature
and architecture. Etibar
Jafarov won second place
with his image of Bibi Heybat
Mosque in Baku, which he
photographed using an EOS
5D Mark II and EF 17-40mm
f4L lens. Sabina Rakcheyeva,
Cultural Advisor to TEAS,
said: “This competition was
a new initiative for TEAS. We
hope that ‘Azerbaijan Through
the Lens’ inspires those who
have not previously visited the
country to do so.”
EOS magazine January-March 2013
6 Kings Court, Newcomen Way, Severalls Business Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 9RA
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OF 33
33 ‘L’
Starts 09/11/2012 Ends 31/01/2013
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EF 24-70mm f2.8L
EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
EF 24mm f2.8
f2.8 IS
EF 28mm f2.8
f2.8 IS
35mm f2
f2 IS
EF 35mm
18-55mm IS
22mm f2
f2 STM
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
Walking on Water
Kos Evans demands exceptional performance in extreme circumstances.
From shooting Maxi yachts for a Rolex advertising campaign
to chasing a boat through London for an action sequence in a
Bond movie, Kos Evans – together with her EOS cameras –
has been at the forefront of marine photography for 30 years.
extreme conditions – similarly the HDR facility. File size gives
a longevity (we hope) to the quality of the image. Where
will we be in 100 years from now? The fact that lenses are
becoming lighter helps in my game too.
What are your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge photographically, unlike most
photographers, is the conditions in which I work. Unlike
shooting on land, working on the sea means you are dealing
with an environment that doesn’t suit cameras. The salt
is extremely corrosive, the vibration from working on fast
powerboats shakes camera screws loose and the lenses get
bashed and also covered in seawater at times. Plus you are
working from a moving platform shooting a moving subject.
To protect my equipment as much as possible I use a large
cool box as my camera bag – the cameras and lenses remain
much drier and protected even if the boat is awash with water.
It’s essential to know how to direct the driver of the
powerboat to go where I need to go so we don’t get in the way
of the event, but position me to get a great picture.
I don’t have a fear of heights so I can shoot from a helicopter
dangling out of the open door standing on the skids. The same
goes for shooting from the masthead of a yacht. I can change
lenses up there, or use a zoom to crop into events on deck, as
well as shooting wide for an overview.
Which are your favourite lenses, and why?
My favourite lenses tend to be zooms. Working on wet boats
I don’t want to change lenses too often as there is a risk of
getting a wave over my camera at the same time.
How have advances in camera technology (e.g. faster lenses,
increased frame rate, file size, etc) affected your photography?
The improvements in technology have been so amazing it gives
the photographer the freedom to shoot anything at any time.
The increased ISO range gives the ability to shoot in more
EOS magazine January-March 2013
How effective is the waterproofing on the EOS 1Ds Mark III
and what precautions do you take?
I love my EOS 1Ds Mark III. It’s a really balanced camera when
working with long lenses and I have never had a problem with
corrosion – the contacts are well sealed. The camera is like
a tank – almost bombproof. I am careful, however, to always
clean my equipment after each shoot with surgical spirit. This
takes off the salt without leaving any moisture.
What special camera settings or lenses do you use when
shooting from a helicopter?
I like to work in Av mode and shoot at no less than 1/1000
second as there is usually vibration from the rotor blades.
Explain the importance of the helicopter pilot for achieving
some of your iconic shots.
When working with a new helicopter pilot, I first find out if he
had military training as these guys are usually the very best –
you can push them harder to do what you want them to do. I
usually map out a storyboard of the shots I need to get. I try
to always brief them fully before take off. Sometimes they
don’t speak very good English. They know the aeronautical
terms, but can struggle when it comes to shooting directions.
Sometimes this has to be just hand signals.
What do you think will be your next photographic purchase?
I’m looking at purchasing the EOS 5D Mark III. Clients are
requiring more videography as well as stills, which is slightly
frustrating as the two mediums have to be treated quite
differently and a lot of clients don’t understand this. So I
have to go back to my roots – the London College of Printing
where I studied television and feature film making, as well
as photography. Videography is about the editing and how
the piece is cut together, but the versatility of the latest EOS
cameras makes everything possible.
Which water sport do you most enjoy photographing?
Shooting superyacht regattas is truly amazing. The size of the
yachts these days is ridiculous and just gets more impressive,
as designers are given the freedom to push the envelope of
design to James Bond levels. To shoot these yachts crashing
around a racecourse makes for impressive imagery. The
crew appear like ants as they clamber around the deck. The
sculptural designs, reflective glass and metallic paint make
futuristic imagery.
How do you ensure you stay at the top of your profession?
I have a passion for photography that drives me to find
new ways to shoot and hopefully create evocative images.
I am lucky that clients find this attractive and keep me at
the forefront. I also have a very good understanding of
what is either art and/or what is a great commercial image
– this almost crosses into marketing knowledge rather than
photography. In the commercial world, there’s no point taking
a picture that no one either values or can use.
I pinch myself everyday to think I get paid to do a job I
adore, and that other people find pleasure in my work.
For more of Kos’ images visit www.kospictures.com
Kos’ kit includes:
Win a signed copy
2x EOS-1Ds Mark III
EF 300mm f2.8L USM
EF 14mm f2.8L II USM
EF 100mm f2.8L IS Macro
EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM
EF 28-70mm f2.8L USM
Extender EF 1.4x
EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM
We have a signed copy of Kos’ new
book, ‘Walking on Water – The Daredevil
Acrobatics of a Pioneering Photographer’
to give away. (Adlard Coles Nautical, hardback, £30). The book encapsulates Kos’
most dramatic photographs and offers
thrilling anecdotes of her life.
To enter, simply send an e-mail with
‘Walking on Water’ in the subject box to
[email protected]
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 competition
Paul Nicklen won the Veolia Environnement Wildlife
Photographer of the Year 2012 competition with his
underwater shot of bubble-jetting emperor penguins (right).
You can see the winning entries on display at the Natural
History Museum, London, until 3 March 2013. To book
tickets to see the exhibition, find out when it is on tour near
you, view the winning images online, or for information
about how to enter this year’s competition (closing date 22
February 2013) visit www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto.
Each of the 100 spectacular prize-winning photographs
are presented in a new book, Wildlife Photographer of the
Year Portfolio 22, priced £25, which is also available from the
website. The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer
of the Year competition is owned by the Natural History
Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Heinrich van den Berg (South Africa) was Commended in
The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species (below)
Verreaux’s sifakas are found only in southern and southwestern Madagascar. They are not as endangered as many of
the island’s lemurs, but when Heinrich found a group feeding
in trees in the Nahampoana Reserve what impressed him was
the extraordinary way they leap from one tree to another.
“They spring off their back legs, then twist in the air to land
perfectly on the next trunk,” says Heinrich. The photographic
conditions were ideal – the sifakas in shadow and a bright
background behind – enabling him to use a slow shutter
speed for the background effect of movement and a flash to
freeze the leap.
EOS 5D Mark II with an EF 16-35mm f1.4L USM lens at 27mm,
1/12 second at f9, ISO 100; two Quantum flashes.
Paul Nicklen (Canada) was judged overall 2012 Veolia
Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year (above).
This was the image Paul had been hoping to get: a sunlit mass
of emperor penguins, leaving bubble trails in their wake. The
location was near the emperor colony on the frozen area of
the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Paul lowered himself into the only
likely exit hole, then waited for the return of the penguins,
with crops full of icefish for their chicks. Then it came: a blast
of birds from the depths. They were so fast that, with frozen
fingers, framing and focus had to be instinctive. “It was a
fantastic sight,” says Paul, “as hundreds launched themselves
out of the water and onto the ice above me – a moment that I
felt fortunate to witness and one I’ll never forget.”
EOS-1D Mark IV with an EF 8-15mm f4L USM lens, 1/1000
second at f7.1, ISO 500, Seacam housing.
Jordi Chias (Spain) was Commended in the Underwater
Worlds category (right).
Armeñime, a small cove off the south coast of Tenerife, is
a hotspot for green sea turtles. They forage there on the
plentiful seagrass and are accustomed to divers. Jordi cruised
in the company of this one in the shallow, gin-clear water
over black volcanic sand. “The dazzling colours, symmetry
and textured patterns were mesmerising,” says Jordi, “and I
was able to compose a picture to show just how beautiful this
marine treasure is.” Like the other seven species of sea turtles,
the green sea turtle is endangered, with populations declining
worldwide. The many threats include habitat degradation,
building development on their breeding beaches, ingestion of
rubbish such as plastics and entanglement in fishing gear.
EOS 7D with a Tokina 10-17mm lens at 10mm, 1/80 second at
f11; ISO 160; custom-made housing; two Inon flashes.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
All the latest new products - at Low Prices!
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
many faces
Patrick Wack captures the diversity of modern Chinese people and their culture
When Patrick Wack first arrived in China in 2006 he knew
almost nothing about using professional SLR cameras or
post-production, nor what China was about as a country,
and certainly not how to speak Mandarin. His photographic
experience was limited to using his father’s old film camera
back in Europe. Just three years later Patrick was already
gaining confidence as a professional photographer.
I started by experimenting with my EOS 5D Mark II and offcamera flash. I liked how this created documentary images
with a particular edge. I was – and still am – particularly
interested in portrait photography.
The city of Shanghai hosted the World Expo in 2010 –
the first time a developing country had hosted the event
– and major construction work began in 2009. I had been
commissioned by Innovation Norway, a state-owned
company, to document the building of its national pavilion.
Thanks to this assignment, I had been awarded a much sought
after Expo pass.
As a side-project to my commercial work on the site, I
decided to pursue a personal series of Expo worker portraits
in the fashion of old Chinese propaganda posters. I loved how
the mobility of my Speedlites allowed me to shoot portraits
on the spot in a stylised way, without having to rely on an
assistant. That first series was published several times and
prints were sold through my gallery in Shanghai:
In the autumn of 2010, the CEO of Adidas China was
looking to modernise the company’s representation of who
modern Chinese consumers are. My body of work shot at the
Shanghai Expo caught his eye and I was commissioned to
EOS magazine January-March 2013
travel through China shooting the same style of portraits. This
is how the ‘Kingdoms’ project was born, and it would grow
into a much bigger body of work than was originally intended.
The plan was to shoot for four periods of 15 days in three
major cities – Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing – and across
the south-western province of Yunnan. Here we would travel
by road from the tropical south to Tibet at the foot of the
Himalayas in the north. My brief was to gather an extensive
portrait collection of urban and rural, young and old, rich
and poor, male and female, Han and non-Han Chinese. All
of them posing, but still snapped in their daily environment
with spontaneity, allowing the images to speak about who
they really are. The province of Yunnan, with its diversity
of landscapes and minority populations, was the perfect
At the start of the project I was undecided as to what type
of lighting to use. Until then I had worked with a set-up of
one to three 580EX Speedlites, using one as a key light
within a small softbox and two bare Speedlites as kicks
for rim light, all of them triggered by a set of wireless
Phottix Atlas radio triggers. I then bought a Broncolor
Mobilite 2 pack with two heads, thinking that its superior
power would allow more control when shooting in full
daylight. I was, of course, right in that part, but the nature
of the project showed that the best compromise for me
remained with the Speedlites, which provided a perfect
mix of mobility, power and quick tuning. Almost the entire
collection of images was shot with this lighting set-up.
destination for the rural Chinese aspect.
As well as myself, the team included a photo assistant
and a fixer, plus a driver and producer for the Yunnan part of
the project. All the people photographed were found while
we were walking or driving along; my interest was triggered
either by a face, a background, a ray of light or just the feeling
that something would soon happen there. I would typically try
to engage the subjects in conversation by myself and then call
the fixer to help if more explanation was necessary to G
Opposite Rice farmers, Yunnan province.
Top Opera actor, Chongqing.
Centre Practising tai chi, Shanghai.
Above left Many middle-aged and older Chinese swim on a regular basis
in the Yangtze River in Chongqing, known for its polluted state.
Right Chinese hipster selling vintage clothing at a music festival, Beijing.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
World of EOS photography
4convince him or her to allow me to photograph them.
We had to shoot fast, executing the entire process within five
to fifteen minutes – including explanations, set-up, shooting
and model release. The experience gained from my Expo
portraits project and two years of shooting Chinese street
fashion meant I was already accustomed to shooting portraits
on the go. Fortunately, the response we got from the locals
along this journey was positive. We did encounter some
situations when, heartbreakingly, we had to give up on some
opportunities due to people declining to participate, but
overall most agreed and afforded me a generous amount of
their time, especially in the rural areas.
One of the high points of the project was shooting in
Chongqing, a city that still to this day fascinates and frightens
me equally. Wandering its streets felt like entering another
dimension and, albeit a fast growing Chinese metropolis, it
gave me a permanent feeling of near apocalypse. Chongqing
matched my imagination as to what a post-nuclear war
Chinese metropolis might look like after a century of
unbridled urban development, its impenetrable smog and
humongous, dark river bringing such a vision to life. And in
the middle of this dirty, concrete jungle were people fishing
happily, swimming and walking around as if they lived in any
normal city.
Creating a montage
The portraits were initially envisioned as single images, but
after a first round of shoots the client wanted more of a story
to be told about each character. I therefore decided to shoot
one montage of five images for each portrait, starting with
EOS magazine January-March 2013
two wide landscape shots (to inform about the subject’s
environment) and three portrait shots, from full-body to
close-up or physical detail. Even though the montage form
was originally a gimmick to satisfy the client, it did render the
project visually original. However, I would have preferred to
spend my allocated time on one image as opposed to having
to go through five. Still, it was an interesting challenge, both
technically and creatively.
As the project gained momentum the technical aspect
became less of an issue. We had learned how best to work
around each other. What was more, the style of lighting we
wanted had been permanently defined. What emerged as
the main challenge was to capture the best combinations
of subject and environment – as both played an important
part in the montage, each had to be present to achieve an
overall appeal. Ambient light and perspective also played
My kit includes:
EOS 5D Mark II
EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM
TS-E 24mm f3.5L
EF 50mm f1.2L USM
EF 85mm f1.2L USM
EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM
Speedlite 580EX (3x)
Phottix Atlas radiowave remote triggers (4x)
80 x 80cm softbox for key light (held by assistant)
Small Jinbei stands for kick light (2x)
an important role. I used three Canon L-series lenses to
help accomplish what I was aiming for – the EF 16-35mm
f2.8L USM, the EF 50mm f1.2L USM and the EF 85mm f1.2L
USM. These are still my favourite lenses. They all feature the
incredible sharpness and detail necessary for my large format
fine art prints, and using prime lenses for the portraits gave
me control of the visual homogeneity of the entire series.
Even though my favourite focal length remains 50mm,
the EF 85mm f1.2 is the most outstanding lens due to its
autofocus accuracy and sharpness even wide-open. This lens
trio is also my set-up when shooting for editorial reportage
or commercial events. Many photographers on these types
of assignments would use zoom lenses for practical reasons,
but I find that if you are quick enough at switching lenses you
can gain amazing control and style with the wide apertures of
prime lenses.
I particularly like the full body portraits such as the ones
of Dai farmers and the Chongqing swimmers, but also some
landscape group shots or even a shot of women dwarfed by
heavy architecture. In the context of this project, I remember
them as moments when all the elements came into place. The
light was right, the people, the environment and the framing
all aligned quickly enough at that one spot for the photograph
to be made within a moment of time. B
For more of Patrick’s images visit www.patrick-wack.com
Opposite top Tibetan farmer, Yunnan province.
Opposite bottom Retired Tibetan farmer, Yunnan province.
Top Yangtze River swimmer, Chongqing.
Centre Graffiti artist, Beijing.
Right Women selling cosmetics in the streets of downtown Chongqing.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
New products EF 24-70mm and EF 35mm lenses
EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
EF 35mm f2 IS USM
Canon EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM
Pricing and availability
Available shortly
HEF 24-70mm f4L IS USM – £1499.99 (RRP, inc. VAT)
HEF 35mm f2 IS USM – £799.99 (RRP, inc. VAT)
HLens hood EW-83L – £49.99 (RRP, inc. VAT)
HLens hood EW-72 – £49.99 (RRP, inc. VAT)
New lens cap with hook mechanism
Both lenses come with newly-designed Mark II lens
caps. These incorporate a hook mechanism in the centre
of the cover, as opposed to the sides. Simply pinching
the hook allows you to remove and replace caps quickly
mid-shoot, especially when using lens hoods. The
re-designed lens caps will start to be rolled out across
Canon’s entire EF lens range from the beginning of
January 2013 and will also be available to buy separately
for previous lenses.
EF 24-70mm f4L
EF 35mm f2 IS USM
(horizontal; vertical; diagonal)
74° to 29°; 53° to
19°30’; 84° to 34°
63°; 38°; 54°
Lens construction (elements/groups)
Number of diaphragm blades
Minimum aperture
Closest focusing distance
0.38 metres (Macro)
0.24 metres
Maximum magnification
0.7x (at macro)
Distance information
Image stabilizer
Hybrid four-stops
AF actuator
Ring USM (with full time manual focus)
Dust/moisture resistance*
Filter diameter
Maximum diameter x length
83.4 x 93mm
77.9 x 62.6mm
Lens cap
E-77 II
E-67 II
Lens hood
Lens case/pouch
Magnification with Extension Tube
EF 12 II
0.44 to 0.18x
0.60 to 0.36x
Magnification with Extension Tube
EF 25 II
0.72 to 0.40x
1.04 to 0.79x
EF Extenders
Not compatible
* Lenses with dust/moisture resistance are fitted with a rubber ring on the lens mount
which may cause slight abrasion of the camera mount. This does not affect the lens or
camera performance.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
High image quality 24-70mm zoom
Lightweight design
Four-stop hybrid image stabiliser
Macro function
Dust/moisture resistant
The EF 24-70mm f4L
IS USM is a great
standard lens for fullframe and APS-C EOS
cameras, featuring
wide-angle, standard
and telephoto focal
lengths, plus a f4
maximum aperture
that doesn’t change
as the lens is zoomed
from wide to tele.
H A separate macro position on the zoom
ring enables close focusing down to just 0.38
metres at any zoom position, with a maximum
reproduction ratio of 0.7x.
H Shoot handheld in low-light conditions using
shutter speeds that are up to four stops slower
than usually recommended. Image stabiliser (IS)
technology automatically detects when you are
panning to follow moving objects and switches
off stablisation in this direction. Hybrid IS
detects both angular and shift movements when
in macro mode (see opposite page).
H Two types of aspherical lens element are
used in combination with ultra-low dispersive
(UD) elements to effectively eliminate optical
aberrations. Super Spectra Coatings (SSC)
minimise glare and maximise contrast.
H Enjoy fast, near-silent autofocus with the
ring-type ultrasonic motor. Stay in control with
full-time manual focus override.
H The lens is sealed against dust and moisture
and the use of fluoride coatings ensures lens
elements are easy to clean.
H A circular, nine-blade aperture diaphragm
helps generate smooth out-of-focus bokeh,
helping foreground
subjects stand
out against the
Right Petal-shaped lens
hood EW-83L.
Designed for use with all EOS digital cameras, including the new EOS 6D, both lenses
utilise the latest Canon technologies to deliver excellent results. Both include aspherical
lenses, plus Super Spectra Coatings optimised for each individual element. They also
feature Canon’s in-lens image stabiliser (IS) technology, plus ultrasonic motors (USM) for
superfast autofocus (AF). The EF 24-70mm f4L IS USM is the latest lens to feature Hybrid
IS, delivering shake-free shots at any distance, while the EF 35mm f2 IS USM is Canon’s
first 35mm prime with image stabilisation.
Canon EF 35mm f2 IS USM
Prime 35mm wide angle lens
Four-stop image stabiliser
Fast f2 maximum aperture
Compact size and design
Circular aperture
Offers a natural
perspective and a
wide angle-of-view
on EOS full-frame
cameras. The EF
35mm f2 IS USM is
also a good alternative
standard lens when
used on an EOS
camera with an APS-C sensor, where it gives an
field-of-view similar to a 56mm lens on a fullframe camera.
H The lens is Canon’s first 35mm prime to
feature optical image stabiliser technology.
This offers a four-stop light advantage, allowing
the capture of blur-free images in low-light
conditions when shooting handheld. Intelligent
detection of panning motion is supported, with
the Panning IS mode automatically engaging
when required.
H A bright, fixed f2 aperture allows creative
photographers to use a shallow depth-of-field.
This draws attention to the subject by throwing
backgrounds or foregrounds well out-of-focus.
The wide aperture also provides a bright
viewfinder image and allows the use of relatively
fast shutter speeds even in dim conditions.
H The EF 35mm f2 IS USM features an
aspherical glass-moulded (GMo) element
positioned at the rear of the optical path to
correct aberrations for the entire optical system.
Additionally, each individual element features
optimised Super Spectra Coatings to reduce
ghosting and flare, ensuring excellent colour
balance with minimal need for post processing.
H A combination of a ring-type USM and high
performance CPU provides rapid, near-silent AF
performance, with fulltime manual focus also
available for maximum
user control.
Right Petal-shaped lens
hood EW-72.
A brief history of the image stabiliser
Few photographers can hold a
camera completely steady in their
hands. Unfortunately, moving the
camera during the exposure –
known as ‘camera shake’ – shifts
the position of the image on the
digital sensor and creates blur.
Even slight movement of the
camera can blur the image.
Canon began researching
methods to compensate for
camera shake in the 1980s. In
1995 the EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS
USM was launched, the world’s
first interchangeable SLR camera
lens to feature a mechanism that
compensates for camera shake.
In an image stabilisation (IS)
lens, two gyro sensors detect
camera movement. This data
is passed to a microcomputer
which instructs a special group
of elements inside the lens to
move at right angles to the lens
axis. The amount and direction
of this movement is just enough
to counteract the amount
and direction of the camera
movement. The result is that
the image remains fixed in one
position on the sensor, despite
the camera movement.
shake (linear).
Sudden changes in camera
angle can cause significant blur
in images taken during standard
shooting, whereas blur caused
by shift-based shaking, when
a camera moves parallel to the
subject, is more pronounced
in macro and other close-up
photography. The EF 100mm f2.8L
Macro IS USM was the first lens
with Hybrid IS.
Angular velocity sensor
Hybrid IS technology incorporates
the angular velocity sensor found
in previous IS mechanisms. This
detects the extent of angular
camera shake. In addition, there
is a new acceleration sensor that
determines the amount of shiftbased camera shake.
Hybrid IS also employs a
newly developed algorithm that
combines the output of the two
sensors and moves the lens
elements to compensate for both
types of movement. Hybrid IS
dramatically enhances the effects
of image stabilisation, especially
during macro shooting, which is
difficult for conventional image
stabilisation technologies.
Hybrid IS technology
In 2009, Canon introduced Hybrid
IS technology. This compensates
for angular camera shake
(rotational) and shift camera
Above Shift camera shake
Above The EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS
USM was the first with hybrid IS. The EF
24-70mm f4L IS USM (opposite page) is
the latest to use this technology.
Above Angular camera shake
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Metering modes
Metering modes
Perfect exposure is the holy grail of photography. It can make the difference between
a good photo and an excellent image. Your EOS camera has many features to help in
your quest. Here is an introduction to the metering modes and how they work.
The digital sensor inside your EOS camera
needs light to form an image. The light falls on
photo-sensitive cells (pixels). These generate
tiny electrical currents which are processed by
the camera to create an image file.
The sensor needs just the right amount of
light. Too much and all the pixels generate the
same maximum signal. This means that there
is no detail in the image. Too little light and the
pixels do not generate enough signal to form a
detailed image.
The amount of light reaching the sensor is
controlled by two camera features. The shutter
speed regulates the length of time light is
allowed to reach the sensor. The lens aperture
adjusts the brightness of this light. Together,
they determine the amount of exposure the
sensor receives.
The sensitivity of the sensor to light – the
ISO value – can also be adjusted and needs
to be taken into account when choosing the
shutter speed and aperture for the exposure.
A metering sensor inside the camera helps
you to achieve correct exposure.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above This photograph
was taken using the EOS
evaluative metering mode.
If you don’t know which
mode to use, this is the
one to set. It gives good
results with most subjects.
EOS 20D, EF 400mm f5.6L
lens, 1/1600 second at f5.6,
ISO 400.
Right The metering sensor
inside your EOS camera
is surprisingly small. It is
located in the viewfinder,
close the eyepiece. From
here, it surveys the image
formed by the lens on
the focusing screen just
below the pentaprism.
The readings from this
sensor can be processed in
different ways to meter all
or part of the image.
Do you need perfect exposure?
Some photographers feel that correct
exposure is a target, rather than a goal. After
all, there is a mountain of computer software
designed to correct the things you did not get
right in the camera. Well, yes, up to a point.
But software cannot replace the highlight or
shadow detail you did not capture with the
exposure. Correct exposure will give you the
better photograph.
Glass pentaprism
Metering sensor
Eyepiece lenses
Focusing screen
Transmissive LCD
The problems with exposure metering
A light meter, as the name suggests, measures
the brightness of light. This reading is converted
into a shutter speed and aperture combination
which will give a good exposure to the digital
sensor. The ISO setting is factored in – the
shutter speed and/or aperture will change if you
adjust the ISO value.
One of the best ways to determine the
exposure needed is by measuring the light just
before it falls on the subject. This is called an
‘incident light’ reading. You can take this by
standing at the subject position and aiming a
light meter back towards the camera.
Incident light readings are also possible from
the camera position, but only if the camera is
receiving the same light as the subject and only
by aiming the meter back towards the source of
light (usually the sun).
The problem with incident light readings
is that they are inconvenient. In an age when
some EOS cameras can shoot 8 or 10 exposures
per second, do we really want to stop, take
a light meter reading and then transfer the
recommended shutter speed and aperture to the
camera? Probably not.
What is correct exposure?
Above Evaluative
metering has captured the
full range of tones in this
image – the exposure is
EOS 5D Mark II, TS-E
17mm f4L lens, 1/50
second at f10, ISO 200.
We usually say that a photograph is wellexposed when we can see detail across the
range of tones from deep shadows to bright
highlights. However, you can sometimes over
or underexpose to good effect. Silhouettes are
almost always created by underexposing the
subject and overexposing the background.
Above An incident light reading is taken before the light
reaches the subject (above left). It takes no account of the
tones of the subject. A reflected light reading measures
the light after it has been reflected from the subject (above
right). The tone of the subject will affect the reading.
Left Taking the meter
reading from the sky
has underexposed the
foreground subject,
creating an effective
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70200mm f4L USM lens, 1/20
second at f,. ISO 400.
In-camera exposure meter
The alternative to an incident light meter is the
in-camera exposure meter. This is convenient,
not just because it is one less item to carry,
but because it can be fully integrated with the
camera. If program shooting mode is selected,
the shutter speed and aperture are automatically
set within a fraction of a second of the meter
reading being made. If shutter-priority (Tv) mode
is selected, the camera will automatically set
the aperture to suit the shutter speed you have
chosen. And so on.
Unfortunately, placing the exposure meter
in the camera creates problems. Light and
dark-toned subjects in a scene require a similar
exposure. An incident light meter will provide
this as it is not affected by the tone of the
subject. A meter in the camera, however, will
give different readings for different tones, as it
is basing the exposure on the light reflected by
these tones.
Canon goes to a lot of trouble to overcome
the problems of the in-camera meter. There are
four different metering modes, plus a number of
functions to check the exposure at every stage.
Below All EOS cameras offer evaluative metering. Most offer partial and centreweighted average metering. Many offer spot metering. The screens below are from the
EOS 650D. They show a brief description of the mode and the symbol used to identify it.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Metering modes
Centre-weighted average metering
across the image – but not entirely. ‘Centreweighted’ means that greater emphasis is placed
on light from the centre of the image.
This works well with the average landscape,
as the metering takes less notice of the sky area,
avoiding the underexposure which can occur if
readings include the bright sky.
Many subjects have the important area of
the subject in the centre, so centre-weighted
average metering is a good general metering
mode – once you get the hang of it.
Good for compensation
Many of the subjects you photograph will have a
wide range of tones, from very light to very dark.
Rather than taking meter readings from several
different areas and averaging the results, it is
easier to merge all the light together and take a
single reading.
This is rather like holding a sheet of
greaseproof paper in front of a scene. All you
will see is a grey area, but the brightness of the
grey gives an indication of the brightness of the
The average scene
One of the things discovered in the early days of
exposure metering was that the tones of most
daylight scenes merge to the same average midgrey tone.
This is the principle behind the photographic
grey card. Placing the card in the scene and
moving in close to take a meter reading from the
grey surface often gave more accurate results
than a reading from the subject. (The card was
removed from the scene before the exposure
was made.)
Grey cards were popular with film
photographers, but the instant review feature of
digital cameras means that you can check the
exposure within seconds of shooting and grey
cards have become an accessory of the past.
However, the average-grey principle lives on
in the different metering modes of your EOS
digital camera.
From before the dawn of EOS
Centre-weighted average metering is, like grey
cards, almost a thing of the past. It was the main
metering mode of pre-EOS cameras such as the
Canon F-1 and A-1. Legend has it that the mode
was only included in EOS cameras to help ease
established photographers into the new system.
However, it remains a feature of most EOS
cameras and gives excellent results with many
As the name suggests, this is a metering
system which averages the light values from
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above Centre-weighted
average metering is
good for landscape
photography, but works
well with many other
subjects. It is a useful
alternative to evaluative
metering. Centre-weighted
average metering was
the main metering mode
of Canon SLR cameras
before the EOS range was
EOS 20D, EF 70-200mm f4L
USM lens at 70mm, 1/20
second at f16, ISO 100.
One advantage of centre-weighted average
metering is that you know – more or less – how
the camera has calculated the exposure. This
makes it relatively easy to apply exposure
compensation. If the subject is, for example, a
snow or beach scene you can apply +1 or +2
stops. If the subject contains mostly dark tones,
apply –1 or –2 stops.
Exposure compensation is less easy with
evaluative metering (see opposite page).
Above Centre-weighted
average metering reads
from most of the image
area, but gives greater
weight (emphasis) to the
central area.
Above The average of
merged tones is often
referred to as 18% grey,
though many exposure
meters are calibrated to
12% or 13% grey.
Left and above Correct
exposure is shown by the
histogram lines spread
across the graph (left).
If the lines appear to fall
off the edge of the graph
(above) they indicate
under or over exposure.
Checking the histogram
After you have taken a photograph, the image will appear in the LCD on
the back of the camera (unless you have switched off ‘Image review’
in the menu). Press the ‘Info’ button on the back of the camera until
the histogram graph (circled above) appears. The graph is actually 256
vertical lines, each one showing the distribution of tones across the
images from black (far left) to white (far right). The ideal exposure for
a normal subject will show the lines spread across the graph with few
tones hitting the left or right edges.
Lines bunched to the left of the graph indicate underexposure; lines
bunched to the right show overexposure. You can apply exposure
compensation to overcome this.
Evaluative metering
When EOS cameras were introduced in 1987,
Canon also introduced a new form of exposure
metering – evaluative.
Instead of merging rays of light from different
parts of the image area and taking a single
reading, evaluative metering takes individual
readings from different parts of the image.
These readings are assessed – or evaluated – to
give a final reading.
Evaluative metering divides the image frame
into zones. The first camera – the EOS 650 – had
6 zones. One of the current digital models – the
EOS M – has 315 zones. See the table on page 27
to find the number of evaluative metering zones
in your EOS.
Multiple readings
When you partially depress the camera shutter
button, the camera takes a reading from each
metering zone. This information is passed to the
DIGIC processor, where it is analysed.
It is not just a matter of analysing these
readings. The camera evaluates not only the
brightness of the light in each zone, but also the
position of the zone in the image.
For example, if zones at the edges of the
image give brighter readings than the zones in
the centre, the camera will assume that your
main subject is backlit, or has been shot against
a white background.
Of course, your camera cannot think, but
it is very good at following instructions called
‘algorithms’. Canon has analysed the data from
thousands of images and used this information
to create exposure algorithms.
With the large number of zones in current
models, the camera is able to determine not only
the type of scene (normal, dark or light, dark or
light subject, backlit, etc.), but also the relative
size of the subject. This allows the camera to
apply exposure compensation, if needed.
Evaluative metering is remarkably accurate
in a wide range of different lighting situations.
Many photographers use it all the time and never
feel the need for anything else.
Above Evaluative
metering is surprising
good at dealing with
subjects which are
not average in tone or
brightness. Exposure
compensation would be
needed in other metering
EOS 5D, ISO 100.
Sunny 16 rule
In the early days of
photography, cameras did
not have built-in exposure
meters. The shutter speed
and aperture were set by
what has become known
as the ‘Sunny 16’ rule.
The rule, devised for film
cameras, tells you to set
the shutter speed to the
reciprocal of the ISO. So if
you were using a film with
an equivalent ISO of 125,
you would set a shutter
speed of 1/125 second.
In bright sunny conditions
(strong shadows), the rule
recommends an aperture
of f16 (which is were the
rule gets its name).
In other conditions,
different apertures were
recommended, but
with the shutter speed
unchanged. Here is a
complete guide:
f16 Bright sunshine
(distinct shadows)
f11 Bright but cloudy
(soft shadows)
Overcast (shadows
barely visible)
f5.6 Very overcast (no
Open shade (no
The rule is simple, but
surprisingly effective in
daylight with average
subjects. Give it a try next
time you are out shooting
with your camera.
Focusing and exposure
Early EOS models have a single focusing point
positioned in the centre of the focusing screen.
As you press the shutter button, the camera not
only focuses on the area of subject in the middle
of the screen, but also activates and locks the
exposure. This exposure is biased towards the
subject in the centre of the screen.
Later cameras, including all current models,
have multiple focusing (AF) points. Distance
readings are taken using every point and the
camera activates the point (or points), which
return the shortest distance. This means that
the camera is programmed to focus on the area
of subject closest to the camera, which might
not be in the centre of the frame. If you want to
focus on a different area of the subject you can
activate any focus point manually.
The camera is also programmed to base the
evaluative exposure on the area around the
active focus point. The exposure follows the
focus. This avoids the problem of focusing on
an off-centre subject and taking an exposure
reading from the background in the centre of the
Right Evaluative metering
on the EOS 550D. Three
of the nine focus points
are active (red) and the
metering zones at these
points provide the primary
metering data. Readings
are also taken from
surrounding zones (yellow) to see if there is a difference in
brightness between the subject and the background. Other
zones (green) are also reviewed, but are given a lower
Evaluative compensation
Although evaluative metering works well
most of the time, it does have a weakness.
The camera, in effect, applies any
exposure compensation needed for unusual
or difficult lighting situations. This makes
it difficult for you to make any further
adjustments before the exposure. Do you
need to apply +1 stop compensation when
shooting on a beach, or will that lead to
overexposure? Will the camera cope with a
scene which has lots of dark tones, or will a
manual adjustment be needed?
The best option is to take the picture and
review the image on the back of the camera
using the histogram (see opposite page). If
the exposure does not seem right, you can
use the camera exposure compensation
function to adjust this.
Left The exposure
compensation menu
screen of the EOS 7D.
Use compensation if
you need to adjust the
evaluative exposure after
viewing the image.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Metering modes
Partial and spot metering
4 Evaluative metering (see previous page) works
by analysing a number of different readings.
Wouldn’t it be better to take just a single
reading from a mid-tone area of the subject.
Yes, it would, but you need a certain amount or
experience and skill in locating the mid-tone. Get
it wrong and your image will be under or overexposed.
All EOS digital cameras offer a partial
metering mode. As the name suggests, this
takes a meter reading from a small area of the
focusing screen – usually around 10% of the
total image area (coverage varies with camera –
see table on opposite page).
Partial metering is good when you want
to omit the outer area of the image from the
meter reading. For example, if you have a
landscape with a lot of sky in the frame, partial
metering allows you to meter from just the
foreground, omitting all the sky. And if you are
photographing a backlit subject, you can meter
from the centre of the subject, ignoring the rim
Partial metering is especially useful when
photographing people – a face will probably
fill at least 10% of the image frame, so partial
metering will concentrate on skin tones.
However, remember that the meter is calibrated
for mid-tones. If you photograph a person
with very pale skin you might need to apply
exposure compensation of up to +1 stop. If you
photograph a person with dark skin you might
need to apply exposure compensation of up to -1
Some EOS cameras offer a fourth mode
– spot metering. As the name suggests, this
meters from a small area of the image frame
than partial metering. Spot metering is good
when you want to take a reading from a specific
small area of the scene. It is the most difficult
mode to use as you need to meter from a
mid-tone area – or apply appropriate exposure
compensation if you meter from a light or a
dark area. Do not expect to master the mode
immediately – practice, practice, practice.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above Partial metering
is good for portraits – it
ignores the background.
Partial metering is based
around the centre AF
point. If the subject is offcentre, move the camera
to bring the subject to the
centre of the frame and
use exposure lock to hold
the reading while you
recompose the image.
EOS 60D, EF 50mm f1.8
lens, 1/160 second at f2.5,
ISO 200.
Exposure lock
Partial and spot metering read from the centre of
the image (except 1D/1Ds series – see opposite).
This is fine if your subject is at the centre of the
frame. If not, you need to use exposure lock.
First, move the camera so that the main
subject, or a mid-tone area, is centred in the
frame. Then press the AE Lock (*) button at
the top right of the camera back. This locks the
exposure. You can now recompose the image so
that the metered area is no longer in the centre
of the frame.
When the exposure is locked, a green star (*)
appears in the viewfinder display. The exposure
remains locked for as long as the star remains. If
you remove your finger from all the buttons, this
will be about six seconds (until the viewfinder
display automatically turns off). You can keep
the exposure locked, and the display lit, either by
continuing to press the star button on the back
of the camera, or by applying partial pressure to
the shutter while the green star is visible.
If you are shooting in One-shot AF mode, you
can momentarily remove your finger from the
shutter button and then reapply partial pressure
to refocus at any time. Alternatively, shoot in AI
Servo AF mode so that the lens refocuses on a
moving subject while you apply partial pressure
to the shutter button.
This all might sound complicated, but get
your camera out an experiment with these
settings and it will all become clear.
Left The AE Lock (*)
button on the back of the
EOS 7D. Press this button
to lock the exposure when
taking an off-centre partial
or spot meter reading.
A green star appears in
the viewfinder display
when the meter reading is
Multi-spot metering
Above Partial metering
takes in a larger area of the
focusing screen (top) than
spot metering (above).
On cameras with spot
metering, the black circle
in the centre of the screen
covers the spot metering
area. If a circle is shown
on a camera without spot
metering, it covers the
partial metering area.
A few EOS models (see table opposite) offer
multi-spot metering. After setting the multispot mode, pressing the appropriate button
(see table) takes a reading. You can move the
camera to take readings from different areas
of the scene. Up to eight readings can be
taken and these are averaged to give the final
This is useful of you are not sure of a
mid-grey area – you can take readings from
several grey areas to obtain an average
reading. Alternatively, you can take a reading
from the darkest area in the scene and the
lightest to obtain a result similar to taking a
single reading from a mid-grey area.
Multi-spot metering – in the right hands
– can be very effective. For the rest of us,
evaluative metering should give similar
Setting the metering mode
EOS-1D Mark II
EOS-1D Mark II N
EOS-1D Mark IV
EOS-1Ds Mark II
EOS-1Ds Mark III
EOS 5D Mark II
EOS 300D
EOS 350D
EOS 400D
EOS 450D
EOS 500D
EOS 550D
EOS 600D
EOS 650D
EOS 1000D
EOS 1100D
EOS-1D Mark IV
EOS-1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark III,
1D Mark IV, 1D X, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, 1Ds Mark III
Press and hold the metering mode button on the top left of
the camera. Turn the main dial until the required metering
mode symbol appears in the LCD panel on top of the
EOS 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III,
Press and hold the metering mode button on the top
right of the camera. Turn the main dial until the required
metering mode symbol appears in the LCD panel on top of
the camera.
Spot metering on EOS
1D/1Ds series cameras
can be linked to the centre
AF point or the active
AF point (selection by a
custom function on older
models or a menu item on
more recent models). On
non-professional models
spot metering is with
the centre AF point only.
However, you can move
the camera to take a spot
meter reading from any
part of the subject and
then use exposure lock (*
button on the back of the
camera) to recompose the
image without changing
the exposure reading.
EOS 6D, 7D, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D,
D30, D60
Press and hold the metering mode button on the top
right of the camera. Turn the main dial until the required
metering mode symbol appears in the LCD panel on top of
the camera. Evaluative metering is set automatically in the
Basic Zone shooting modes.
EOS 300D
The metering mode is set automatically by the camera.
Evaluative metering is standard for most exposures.
Partial metering is set during AE Lock in the creative zone
modes (P, Tv, Av). Centre-weighted average metering is set
in the manual shooting mode.
EOS 350D, 400D
In a creative zone mode, press the metering mode
selection button (left cross key on back of camera). The
metering mode menu will appear on the LCD monitor.
Press the top or bottom cross key to select the metering
mode required. Then press the ‘SET’ button in the centre
of the cross keys. Evaluative metering is set automatically
in Basic Zone shooting modes.
EOS 450D, 1000D
In a creative zone mode, press the metering mode
selection button (top cross key on back of camera). The
metering mode menu will appear on the LCD monitor.
Press the top or bottom cross key to select the metering
mode required. Then press the ‘SET’ button in the centre
of the cross keys. Evaluative metering is set automatically
in Basic Zone shooting modes.
EOS 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 1100D, M
In a creative zone mode, press the menu button and select
the second menu from the left (third menu from left for
EOS M). Select ‘Metering mode’ and press ‘SET’. Select
the required metering mode and press ‘SET’. Evaluative
metering is set automatically in Basic Zone modes.
Above Selecting the metering mode on the EOS 650D.
Multi-spot metering in
the above table shows
the button used to take
multiple readings (FEL or
M-Fn). Up to eight multispot readings can be taken
for each exposure.
Above FEL button (for multi-spot metering) on EOS-1D X.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Masterclass Children and families
Family portraits
with Tamara Lackey
Although I’ve always loved photographing
children, I didn’t used to feel the same way
about family photography. I could connect to
the kids, no problem – but shooting sessions
with families just seemed like, well, a job. My
perception stayed that way until something
changed – and that something was me. The
experience of growing my own family helped
me to see better the significance of truly
meaningful family photography. And when my
eyes opened up to what family photography
could be, my approach changed dramatically. I
now love photographing a group of people who
all belong to each other.
Right On a clear autumn
morning, this little girl
and I wandered into
the heather for a photo
session. I positioned her
with the bright sun behind
her. Using my EF 50mm
f1.2 lens, I crouched across
from her and used the
muslin side of a 42-inch
square reflector to bounce
a soft light back across her
front. EOS 5D Mark III with
an EF 50mm f1.2L USM
lens, 1/1250 second at f2.5,
ISO 200.
Left In an open field at
a public park, I shot this
image with my EF 85mm
f1.2 from a low angle,
having my little subject
sashay towards me and
then stop. Shooting behind
the silver side of a 32-inch
round reflector, I was able
to achieve the catchlights
I wanted, even from a
distance. EOS 5D Mark
III with an EF 85mm f1.2L
USM lens, 1/160 second at
f2.5, ISO 320.
Tamara has released a number of books and
DVDs including, ‘Envisioning Family’ and,
new out, ‘The Posing Playbook – For Kids
Who Don’t Do Posing’, as well as a unique
book, video and iphone app set, ‘Tamara
Lackey’s Capturing Life Through (Better)
Photography’. For more of Tamara’s images
and further details of her books and DVDs
visit www.tamaralackey.com
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Far right As the sun
dropped on a stretch
of open beach, we
were closing the family
shoot and the parents
congratulated their sons
on doing a great job. This
turned into an impromptu
family shoot. Using an
EF 24-70mm f2.8 lens I
shifted my position and
angle so that I could catch
a strip of flare from the
sun wrapping around their
legs. EOS 1D Mark II with
an EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM
lens, 1/250 second at f3.2,
ISO 125.
Primary considerations
If you are shooting child and family photography,
you first need to ask yourself a few important
questions. Do I possess patience? Playfulness? A
sense of humour? An ability to keep it all flowing
while doing much ‘behind the scenes’ to capture
it all technically well? If the answer is ‘yes’, you
are in the right genre of photography!
I carefully plan every shoot. First and
foremost, I consider the best location. For
some shoots the location can have a significant
impact, especially if you’re choosing a location
that is meaningful for your subjects. I’ve done
shoots in the home of a family who were
moving away after 24 years, on the beach where
mum and dad were married a decade before
and in a newborn’s bedroom. These locations
were wonderful conduits for bringing more
significance to the photographs.
If I’m not shooting in a location that is
28 |29
particularly meaningful for the family, I then take
into account factors about the child that may
affect the shoot. If I’m photographing in a quiet
studio, will that location relax them or make
them feel trapped? If I’m shooting at a bustling
urban location, will they feed off the energy or
wilt from it? It’s important to get a sense of their
personality before choosing a location.
Then there are the more practical matters.
Are they in the middle of potty training? If so,
would taking them to a remote field be a bad
idea? If all things are equal, I’ll simply take them
somewhere I know will be good. Avoid choosing
a location that you have to work against when
you can find one that you can benefit from.
I also consider the best time of day – not only
for the lighting, but also the parents’ schedule in
terms of what is the least stressful time for the
shoot. Also how close we are to nap times or
meals times if babies or toddlers are involved. G
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Masterclass Children and families
Achieving a natural pose
G At its core, portrait photography consists of
reaching a place with your subjects where they
are no longer aware there is a lens being stuck
in their faces and you are, together, simply
exchanging communications in a meaningful
and authentic way. I try to reach that place with
my subjects as quickly as possible, so their
expressions look natural. After that, I tackle the
actual posing.
When I put a family together for a portrait, I
pay attention to how they relate to each other
non-verbally and their proximity to each other
in the frame. How do their heads line up? Are
they all in a row – a sharp, harsh line – or do they
follow a natural curve? Is there a flow to how
they are positioned together? Breaks in physical
closeness show up more dramatically in a
photograph than they do in everyday life.
Grouping families
The crucial element of grouping families is
to show how they belong to each other, to
show them as a ‘one’. There is something
beautiful in showcasing how a group of
individuals can come together to form a
union. Even though family groupings can
be more interesting when you arrange them
artfully, it’s important to not make them too
perfect. The quirks of each family – like a
sister teasing her brother – can get lost with
over-posing. And those quirks show more
about a family than a perfect composition.
Below For this bird’s eye view composition, I layered
the pose by starting with dad, then mum, then child
by child, then climbed on top of a bench to shoot the
image. EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 24-70mm f2.8L
USM lens, 1/60 second at f4, ISO 500.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above This was a large,
high-energy family and I
wanted to showcase their
constant movement in a
spirited way. I shot some
images as pure silhouettes
and others properly
exposed. This in-between
image was my favourite. I
lay on the ground and told
them to just get out all their
energy while remaining in
one spot. EOS 5D Mark III
with an EF 24-70mm f2.8L
USM lens, 1/500 second at
f3.5, ISO 100.
Below I was actually
photographing this boy’s
sisters when I saw him
fiddling with the button
on his shirt. I realised that
by simply adjusting his
expression we’d have a
classic shot, so I turned the
lens on him, re-positioned
my reflector and playfully
called out to him. EOS 5D
Mark III with an EF 70200mm f2.8L IS USM lens,
1/500 sec at f2.8, ISO 1000.
After these considerations, I then practice
what I have coined ‘organic directive posing’,
which is simply combining the posing
techniques of traditional portraiture with the
free-form, expressive feel of contemporary
I start by putting a group together in an
attractive pose, but then fully expect that
they will shift and move based on what is
comfortable for them and I encourage them
to do so. I’ll remind them of how to position
themselves more attractively as they shift,
but my belief is that it is my responsibility to
get to where I need to be to better showcase
my subjects, as opposed to forcing them to
reposition themselves (and thus look more
forced into a pose).
Taking that responsibility upon myself also
means not inadvertently breaking the flow of
whatever magic is happening by not forcing a
certain look out of them. So I’ll often be jumping
up on chairs or large rocks, and moving from left
to right or swapping lenses and repositioning
lights – whatever it takes to shoot them as
authentically as possible.
Understanding your subject
In order to shoot a portrait that truly reflects
your subject – that really captures the full
spirit of your subject – it’s helpful to get a
sense of who your subject is. Even though
each individual is unique, you can determine
the personality type of an individual in a
short amount of time. Personality typing is an
impressive technique to use with children and
it will help you to read your subjects quickly.
In my experience, most children fall into the
following categories:
VË0†jË+jÁwÁ”jÁËA high-energy, smiley child who
is a lot of fun to photograph, but who can also
slip into performing for you. They will often do
anything you ask, and will ask you to photograph
their own poses and ideas too. The trick is to
wear them down a bit, so they stop performing
and you can really show who they are when
they’re putting on a show.
†‰a A child who loves the
give and take of exchange. They often know a lot
of facts and figures and love to share information
and hear your interesting trivia. They typically
are more intense in terms of direct eye contact,
and showcasing their constant curiosity is a
fantastic way to capture who they are.
VË0†jË#™jË8†ËÖÄÍË!jjaÄË0Ë8?Á”Ë2¬ This
child presents initially as shy and reserved, but
usually just needs to warm up a bit before you
see their real personality, which is often the
performer or the interactive child. You can tell
the child is going to warm up by non-verbal hints
– a quick shy smile before hiding behind mum’s
legs, for instance. Just respect the amount of
time they need to get used to you so you don’t
end the shoot before it even begins.
VË0†jË.†ßË#™j This child truly is very shy. They
may warm up slightly during the course of the
shoot, but you’re unlikely to get uproarious
laughter and high-energy interactions. It’s
important to change your tone and energy with
the shy child; speak more softly and in calming
tones and you’ll be rewarded with less dramatic
hiding from the lens.
Right I used simple
window light for this
portrait, directing my
subject to tilt her face just
enough into the light. A 42inch reflector, positioned
to her left, filled in the
shadows on the left side
of her face. EOS 5D Mark
III with an EF 85mm f1.2L
USM lens, 1/400 second at
f2.8, ISO 400.
Below These sisters are
sitting on the bough of a
tree and giving each other
Eskimo kisses. They are
backlit and the muslin side
of the 42-inch reflector
provides soft fill light on
their front. EOS 5D Mark III
with an EF 24-70mm f2.8L
USM lens, 1/320 second at
f3.2, ISO 640.
Bottom This boy is
standing directly in front of
a field of flowers as the sun
is setting. He is positioned
with just enough rotation
to catch light in both eyes
from a swath of light from
the dropping sun. EOS
5D Mark III with an EF
70-200mm f2.8L IS USM
lens, 1/1000 second at f3.2,
ISO 250.
†‰a This child often presents
as difficult, quickly moody or easily irritated. The
truth, of course, is that they just feel things more
– they are more sensitive, more determined,
more energetic. As long as you tell them about
location changes and limit outfit/shoe changes
you’ll be able to photograph all kinds of emotion.
This is rarely a dispassionate subject.
ËÁË.W† This
subject will tell you outright that they do not
want to be there and can think of all kinds of
other things to do with their time. Although
seemingly highly-resistant, you can engage this
subject by acknowledging their opinion and
asking what they would enjoy, while letting them
know how well they’re doing despite their lack of
interest. Although it appears this subject would
be indifferent to appreciation they are typically
anything but – they just won’t tell you that.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Masterclass Children and families
G Indoors versus outdoors
I strongly prefer shooting outdoors. I live in
North Carolina, USA, and we are blessed with
easy outdoor shooting nearly all year round. So
even though I have an entire studio set up with
multiple backgrounds and a full lighting kit, I
nearly always prefer to shoot outside. I enjoy the
constant change of backgrounds, the shift in the
energy of my subjects and the room to play.
Indoors, window light can be absolutely
gorgeous, but just like a standalone softbox
it is directional light and thus needs a
complementing fill light, such as flash or a
reflector, to manage the shadows. My advice
when shooting indoors is to create the optimum
environment for your preferred shooting style.
Above You can’t rely
on the weather to be
ideal on the day of a
shoot, but props like this
pink umbrella, which
complements the young
girl’s outfit, can help to
brighten up an overcast,
autumnal day. EOS 5D
Mark III with an EF 35mm
f1.4L USM lens, 1/160
second at f3.2, ISO 250.
For me, that means multiple backdrops (four on
an electronic roller system) and wide spaces
(12ft backdrops instead of the standard 9ft
backdrops). In addition, I’ve created a space for
movement in the studio. I light my entire scene
widely with continuous lighting, which allows
freedom for my subjects to move about. I shoot
this way because I think keeping your subjects
limited to one spot and discouraging a natural
flow of activity can lead to a stiff look and feel –
which is exactly the opposite of what I’m going
for. I’m looking for life, for authenticity, for spirit,
for emotion – for a sense of who this subject
really is when a camera is not present. It’s
difficult to achieve that when you’re constantly
re-positioning your subject to stay in one spot.
Being in the right mood
One of the most important considerations is
when is the best time of day for everyone’s
collective moods? This varies from family to
family, so it’s worth asking your subjects.
I also consider the impact of clothing.
Coordinating clothing can really add to the
cohesive look of a group. I don’t mind varying
colours and patterns, as long as they all blend
together. What I do mind, for instance, is
everyone showing up in black except for one
individual, who is wearing bright red. That
person will look like they don’t belong.
Left Co-ordinating clothing is critical for a cohesive
group portrait. EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 35mm f1.4L
USM lens, 1/200 second at f4, ISO 125.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
32 |33
My favourite lens that I use on all shoots is
my EF 85mm f1.2L USM, which I think is an
extraordinary lens. The images come out crisp,
clear and with fantastic depth-of-field.
I also use the EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM quite
frequently – it’s a workhorse lens, mostly
because it can be used in so many different
situations. The advantage of this lens is that
you can immediately shift from an up-close,
wide-angle view to a distance portrait view
with relatively little effort. It is also fast and
the easiest lens to shoot with when I’m literally
running with children. All that being said, it does
not produce nearly as crisp and clean a shot as
I’d achieve with my prime lenses. And it tends to
drift to back-focusing over time, so it’s important
to keep it well-maintained.
I also love the EF 35mm f1.4L USM. This lens
is a thing of beauty and it works well for me
because my shooting style is often up close. It
is the perfect mid-point between the EF 24mm
f1.4L USM and the EF 50mm f1.2L USM. I love
the crispness of the images it delivers and the
fact that it stays dependably sharp on the edges,
which is not a feature you find on every lens.
Right This young girl is
sitting on the carpeted
stairs in her house. There
is a window behind her,
over the stairs, and I am
using the white side of a
32-inch reflector to bounce
that light back into her
eyes. I simply waited for
her to zone out a bit before
photographing this image.
EOS 5D Mark III with an
EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM
lens, 1/100 second at f3.2,
ISO 400.
Below Often, in the
midst of a shoot, I stop
photographing. That is, I
stop directing and just wait
to see what my subjects
will do. This child was
racing around with her
brother and I panned with
her, capturing this image
with no additional lighting.
This shot looks to me like
how it feels to watch your
children grow. EOS 5D
Mark III with an EF 35mm
f1.4L USM lens, 1/400
second at f3.2, ISO 800.
I love using reflectors and use them on
every shoot. This form of fill light is almost a
requirement when it comes to shooting backlit
subjects more powerfully, creating catch lights,
or just filling in the shadows of whatever is
lighting my subject. I can also use them as
seating, as a fan, or – for fun – as a frisbee.
File format
I shoot primarily in raw format because my
clients ask me for ever larger prints. I also shoot
editorial and commercial work and while I used
to shoot mostly JPEG for these clients (which
is great for learning to nail your exposure), they
also started requiring larger image files. So now
I just shoot everything in raw.
Warming up
When a child is not yet ready to be
photographed – the type who just needs to
warm up – one of the best ways to use that
time is to step back and shoot with a long
lens. A favourite technique of mine is to lean
back against the studio wall and snap away
here and there, creeping closer and closer as
the subject is ‘coming around’. That is how I
achieved this cover shot of my first book, ‘The
Art of Children’s Portrait Photography’.
Right Shot on white seamless paper with a TD5
Spiderlite main light (front), a TD3 Spiderlite Hair Light
(behind, left) and a 4x8 foamcore reflector (right). EOS
5D Mark III with an EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM lens, 1/250
second at f2.8, ISO 500.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Masterclass Children and families
I convert images to black-and-white when
it makes the image more powerful, or when
I need to manage patterns or jarring colour
combinations. Images from a typical portrait
session comprise about 70% colour and
30% black-and-white. I do love the timeless,
elegant look of mono, but with some warmth
and toning added to the image. I never deliver
a grayscale black-and-white image – they are
all RGB files.
Left I joke that I like my subjects to be engaged. This
boy is all about engagement. I was letting him chase
me, turning to photograph him at the last second when
he caught up with me. EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 35mm
f1.4L USM lens, 1/500 second at f4, ISO 800.
G Knowing your camera
Getting to know your camera and the way you
make the basics (exposure, blur, colour, etc)
work for you will help you create your own style.
It is important that you know how to use all the
customisable functions on your camera as they
will help you to shoot closely to the look you
have defined as your style.
Mastering the technical details of
photography has been the least appealing aspect
for me, but it has enabled me to express my
precise vision when photographing families.
I like to shoot with two cameras for two
reasons – for security (I have had a camera lock
up on me) and the ease with which I can switch
back and forth between two lenses when they
are mounted on separate cameras. When I am
photographing fast-moving families I need to be
able to shave off any seconds I can. If the best
lens for what’s in front of me is in my camera
bag I’ll most likely have missed the moment.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Below This beautiful girl
is standing in front of a
field and I am shooting
from 200 metres away
with my EF 70-200mm
f2.8 lens, creating some
gorgeous bokeh in the
background, but keeping
her expression nice and
sharp. An assistant holds
a 42-inch reflector with the
soft muslin side bouncing
back in her direction.
EOS 5D Mark III with an
EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM
lens, 1/320 second at f2.8,
ISO 200.
Controlling the image through powerful
composition can determine how viewers
experience the image. There is a monumental
difference between snapping a picture and
crafting an image that expresses something
emotional, authentic or arresting.
With composition, I first consider my intended
result. Do I want to show a subject in a pleasing,
comfortable and intriguing way, using the rule
of thirds as a simple guide, or do I want to
showcase a subject smack in the middle of a
frame to emphasize a particular quality or point
of interest? With groups, following the rule of
odds, or the triangular composition, can quickly
eliminate an overly-symmetrical grouping that
may appear a bit harsh. Consider how the viewer
experiences the image. Where do their eyes
enter? What do they see first? What line do their
eyes travel along once they’re in the frame – and
how do they finally exit?
Making a connection
With all the details you have to consider – gear,
lighting equipment, location, post-processing
and so on – perhaps the greatest consideration
is how can you go about better connecting with
your subjects?
Understanding how to read people and
connect with them will do wonders for your
portrait photography. Truly. It’s not the next
lens or the next generation of camera that will
up your game. Being able to emphasize with
another’s experience doesn’t improve with pixel
count. If you can zero in on getting to a mutually
satisfying point with everyone you photograph,
you will have already won much of the battle –
and I don’t use the word ‘battle’ lightly. A portrait
session can be seemless and flowing, and fun,
but it can also be a significant amount of work. It
may consist of a concentrated effort to connect
with individuals in a brief amount of time, which
pays off handsomely in terms of meaningful
captures, but is nonetheless a lot of effort.
In the end, it’s about seeing and sharing.
Showing people who they truly are, and what
they mean to each other, is one of the most
compelling things we can give to them.
Above This little family is
sitting on the stoop in front
of the garden near the
front of their house. Since
they are low to the ground,
they are getting a great
bounce of fill light from the
light grey sidewalk ahead
of them. I am sitting on a
small bench across from
them, leaning low to shoot
straight-on. EOS 5D Mark
III with an EF 85mm f1.2L
USM lens, 1/250 second at
f3.2, ISO 160.
Left Playing on the beach
in the morning light, I
wanted to try a series
of images with this girl
where the shutter speed
was higher and lower, to
play with crisp capture
and blurred hair. Doing a
semi-pan I grabbed this inbetween shot, which I like
best. The EF 24-70mm f2.8
lens was quick in grabbing
the exact expression I
wanted. EOS 1D Mark II
with an EF 24-70mm f2.8L
USM lens, 1/160 second at
f3.5, ISO 100.
Kit list
2 x EOS 5D Mark II (back up)
EF 16-35mm f2.8L USM
EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM
EF 35mm f1.4L USM
EF 50mm f1.2L USM
EF 85mm f1.2L USM
EF 85mm f1.8 USM
EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM
Westcott Spiderlite TD6, TD5 and TD3
Lowel id light, dimmable video light
Torchlight LED, dimmable video light
Speedlite 580EX II
Metz 54 MZ-4 and 58 AF-2
Westcott 42-inch Bruce Dorn natural muslin/
silver collapsible disc reflector
Flashpoint 32-inch, 42-inch and 52-inch
circular collapsible disc reflectors
Creating silhouettes during family sessions are
a fantastic way to mix up the look and feel of
the images you’re delivering to your clients.
It’s good to shoot straight images of what
everybody looks like, but after that it’s more
powerful to mix up the way you capture their
personalities. Silhouettes can be captured
during many times of day, depending on the
angle from which you’re shooting, but they are
most striking in early morning and evening.
Left Shooting belly to the ground (and spitting out
sand!) I captured this silhouette of a mum with her two
daughters with my EF 35mm f1.4 lens. I exposed for the
sun, ensured they were separate from each other and
let the wind do the styling. EOS 5D Mark III with an EF
35mm f1.4L USM lens, 1/6400 second at f3.2, ISO 100.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Digital zoom
£9000 lens
Digital zoom
Are you finding it difficult to justify the eye-watering price of a super-telephoto lens?
Here is a simple technique which can give you similar results at a fraction of the cost.
Digital zoom is a feature of some compact cameras. Why not apply it to your EOS?
One of the cameras which attracted our
attention at the photokina imaging show last
September was the PowerShot SX50 HS. This
features a powerful 50x ultra-zoom.
The actual focal length range of the lens
is 4.3-215mm. However, because the digital
sensor is so small (see right), the equivalent
focal lengths needed to give the same fieldof-view on a full-frame EOS camera would
be 24-1200mm. Not content with that, the
camera also offers a 4x digital zoom, taking the
equivalent focal length range on a full-frame
EOS from 24mm to 4800mm.
Digital zoom works by taking the image from
just a central area of the sensor and saving
this as the image file. You see the enlarged
image on the LCD screen and in the electronic
Which got us thinking. If the SX50 HS, with
its diminutive 12.1 megapixel digital sensor,
is capable of digital zoom, why not your
EOS camera, with its larger sensor and more
megapixels? Well, it can, of course. It is called
‘cropping’ and we have been doing it for years.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Image quality
Enlarging just the central portion of a digital
image will lead to a loss of image resolution –
fewer pixels are being used to create the image.
However, the reduction in quality is probably
less than you might imagine.
On the plus side, you are only using the
image created by the central area of the lens, so
chromatic and spherical lens aberrations, which
normally affect the edges of the image, will be
less obvious.
Below left The Powershot
SX50 HS has a 50x optical
zoom, increased to 200x
with its digital zoom
options. All this from a tiny
digital sensor.
Below Here is the 6.16 x
4.62mm sensor size of the
SX50 HS (centre rectangle)
compared with the 22.3
x 14.9 APS-C sensor
size (middle rectangle
and the full-frame 36 x
24mm sensor size (outer
rectangle). All three sensor
formats are shown actual
size. The SX50 sensor
really is that small.
Above and right These leisurely lions
stayed in place long enough for the
photographer to shoot them with two
different lenses. The picture on the
opposite page was taken with the nowdiscontinued EF 500mm f4L IS USM lens.
This is the full-frame image from an EOS
1D Mark II. The replacement EF 500mm f4L
IS II USM costs £8999.00 (RRP).
The image to the right was taken with the
same camera and an EF 70-200mm f2.8L
USM lens at 180mm (£1539.99 RRP). We
have enlarged the centre portion of this
image (above) to match the field-of-view
£1500 lens
of the 500mm lens. Not surprisingly there
is some loss of image quality, but also
an increase in depth-of-field. We have
effectively produced two images from the
same exposure – one setting the scene
(right) while the cropped version gives a
closer view (above). We are not suggesting
that you leave your 500mm lens at home
when going on safari – simply that you
can get good images if you do not have a
500mm lens. Cropping images in this way
is nothing new. We did it all the time with
film, but in those distant days it was called
‘selective enlargement’.
Digital zoom and APS-C
and 550D. It is even less than the 15.1 megapixel
sensors of the EOS 50D and 500D.
However, it is generally reckoned that you
can obtain good A3 prints from 10 megapixels.
Sensors with more megapixels are giving you
the capacity for digital zooming.
So will an APS-C sensor give a better quality
image than a cropped full-frame sensor?
Perhaps, but packing more pixels into a smaller
space can increase ‘noise’ levels, and factors
such as in-camera processing come into play, so
the answer is not clear cut.
Below left and right
An EF lens creates
the same image for
full-frame and APS-C
cameras. However, the
smaller APS-C sensor
only captures the central
area of the image (red
rectangle). When the
APS-C image is enlarged,
it appears to show a
telephoto effect, but it is
a digital enlargement, not
Many photographers still cling to the belief that
APS-C cameras give extra ‘reach’ over fullframe models. They don’t – although it is easy
to see how this myth evolved.
EF lenses create exactly the same image
whether they are used on a full-frame camera,
or with the smaller sensor of the APS-C series.
It’s just that the smaller sensor sees less of the
image – it only records the central area.
This, in effect, is automatic digital zooming.
However, you could obtain the same result
from a full-frame camera by cropping the
image, so the APS-C camera is not giving you
any special advantage. Or is it?
The full-frame EOS 5D Mark II has a 21.1
megapixel sensor. If you crop an EOS 5D Mark
II image to the same area captured by the
smaller APS-C sensor, you will only be using
12.66 megapixels from the full-frame sensor.
This is less than the 18 megapixels of the
APS-C sensors of the EOS 7D, 60D, 650D, 600D
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Digital zoom
Shoot your own digital zoom test images
EF 70-300mm at 300mm
EF 24-105mm at 105mm
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Pros and cons of digital zooming
Left top Taken with the
EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS
USM lens at 300mm. The
main picture is the full
image area from a EOS 5D
Mark III. The inset image
of the weather vane is
an enlargement from the
same image file.
Left bottom The inset
image is the full frame
image shot with an EF 24105mm f4L IS USM lens at
105mm. The main picture
is the centre of the image
enlarged to match the
image given by the 300mm
Conclusion We were
very impressed with these
results. Both images are
from L-series lenses, but
even so the quality from
the enlarged EF 24-105mm
image file is very good.
If you are travelling light,
you could leave the EF 70300mm lens at home and
shoot everything with the
EF 24-105mm lens.
Opposite page If you
want to see how far you
can push the digital zoom
effect, shoot your own
tests. If you have more
than one lens, take a
picture with each one
set to their longest focal
length (if they are zooms),
otherwise shoot at the
prime focal length. Shoot
with the camera on a
tripod. Do not move the
camera between lenses.
Position a subject with lots
of detail in the centre of
the frame.
We are not suggesting that digital zooming
can replace a good telephoto or macro lens,
but it could be a solution in some situations.
Here are some of the things to consider before
H When photographing wildlife, it is not always
possible to get close to your subject. Some
wildlife is dangerous, some is timid. And the
light is not always great. That’s why dedicated
wildlife photographers favour wide aperture
super-telephoto lenses with focal lengths of
400mm or 500mm. Unfortunately, these start
at around £8000 (RRP). If you are happy with a
little digital zooming (cropping), you can get the
EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 III USM for £349.99 (RRP).
Or if you are looking for L-series performance,
consider the EF 300mm f4L IS USM at £1739.99
(RRP). If you want a wider aperture and are
happy with increasing the digital zoom, look at
the EF 200mm f2.8L II USM at £959.99 (RRP).
H In an ideal world, we’d all shoot with the
camera on a tripod and take ten minutes lining
up an image with perfect composition. In the
real world, few of us take that amount of trouble.
Often, we are under pressure to take the picture
quickly – at a wedding, for example. The result
is a composition that could be improved, if only
to remove a distracting object in the corner of
the frame we did not notice at the time. A little
careful cropping will resolve the problem.
H The main problem with digital zooming, or
cropping, is the reduction in image quality. You
are using fewer pixels to create the image. If
picture quality is more important to you than
content, don’t crop. However, our experience is
Top and above The top image is good, but spoilt by the
bars of the bench showing on either side of the group.
Spotting this when shooting under pressure is difficult. A
small amount of post-exposure cropping (above) improves
the picture with minimal reduction in image quality.
that judicious cropping does not have a major
effect on quality, while digital zooming can
improve the picture. It’s all a question of balance.
H Digital zooming can make you lazy and
complacent. It encourages you not to worry
about framing as you can improve the image on
your computer. Where possible, move closer
to the subject, or use an optical zoom, to fill the
frame. Check the corners and sides of the image
before shooting. Try to get it right before you
press the shutter button.
Below and right Watersnakes, we are assured, are
not poisonous. Nevertheless, they can give a nasty bite
if provoked, so it is a good idea to keep your distance.
This photograph was taken with a lens focal length of
135mm. We have enlarged the central portion to show
what could have been done with a super-telephoto or
a macro lens. The result is a little ‘noisy’ because the
image was shot with the 8.2 megapixel sensor of an
EOS 20D. If we have the maths correct, the enlarged
image is from the central 1 megapixels of the sensor.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Radio-controlled flash
Radio control
Last year, Canon launched the Speedlite 600EX-RT – its first flashgun with wireless
radio communication, rather than the infrared communication of previous models. Is
it possible to add radio communication to earlier models? Gerard Maas investigates.
With the introduction of the Speedlite 600EXRT and the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT,
Canon combines the flexibility and accuracy
of the E-TTL II flash exposure system with
the reliability and performance of radio
Previous Speedlites with a wireless option
use infrared pulses to control and fire slave
units. This means the slave unit must be in lineof-sight of the master unit. This optical infrared
system works over a distance of only about 15
metres between master and slave and there can
be communication problems in bright sunlight.
With the new RT system, two-way radio
communication between the master unit
and slave units is used to transmit settings
and trigger the flash exposure. Radio
communication increases the working range
to about 30 metres, improves reliability when
working in sunny conditions and does not
require line-of-sight between the master and
slave units.
The radio control operation of the Speedlite
600EX-RT is only fully compatible with EOS
cameras introduced in 2012 – these include the
EOS-1D X, 5D Mark III, 6D and 650D. We assume
that later models will also be fully compatible.
One documented limitation for older bodies is
that the flash synchronisation speed is reduced
by one stop. For example, the EOS 5D Mark II
has a normal synchronisation speed of 1/200
second. However, the maximum shutter speed
with the RT system is 1/100 second. The master
unit (Speedlite 600EX-RT or ST-E3-RT) will show
a warning icon if the shutter speed is too fast.
The new five-group control mode (Gr), where
each group can be given an independent control
mode (E-TTL, Ext.A, Manual) or turned on/off, is
only available on the latest cameras. If you try
to use this mode with older camera models, the
master unit will revert to basic E-TTL the first
time the shutter is released.
The documentation also mentions that highspeed synchronisation (HSS) is only available
for the latest cameras. However, models like the
EOS 5D Mark II and 600D seem to work fine in
HSS mode. Older models, like the EOS 400D,
show a black band at the bottom of the frame.
More important, of course, is that the radio
control system of the Speedlite 600EX-RT is not
compatible with any previous Speedlite. The
600EX-RT can be switched to wireless infrared
operation so that it works with other Speedlites,
but that loses the benefits of radio control. This
article looks at some of the accessories which
help you get round this limitation.
Above and right Radio
control flash makes
location photography easy.
The radio communication
ensures a reliable
triggering even when the
off-camera Speedlite is
not facing the transmitter.
This portrait was taken
in an open field, against
the setting sun. The Tuff
TTL radio trigger (see
page 43) preserves
the full E-TTL exposure
calculation, creating a welllit image with the same
simplicity as when the
Speedlite is on-camera,
but with the added quality
of an off-camera light
Wireless and radio have different meanings in photography
Two heads are often better than
one in flash photography. However,
getting both units to fire at the
same time and with the right power
required cables and adapters in the early days
of Speedlite photography.
It was in 1998 that Canon introduced its
first wireless flashgun – the Speedlite 550EX.
However, the term ‘wireless’ can be a little
confusing. In the UK, ‘wireless’ is an old name
for a radio set which receives broadcast
programs from the likes of the BBC and
commercial stations.
In photography, wireless also means
communication without wires, but not
EOS magazine January-March 2013
necessarily by radio waves.
This is the case with the Speedlite 550EX.
The wireless communication is by optical
transmissions – pulses of infrared radiation. It is
a one-way communication, from the master unit
to the slave.
The Speedlite 600EX-RT, introduced last
year, was the first Canon flashgun with radio
communication. This is two-way – the master
and the slave units can exchange information
with each other.
Canon registered a patent for radio flash in
2010. It has taken so long to arrive because of
restrictions on frequencies which are acceptable
in different parts of the world.
Above The Speedlite
600EX-RT. It uses the 2.4
GHz radio band which
is accepted in most
countries. However, the
Speedlite 600EX – without
radio communication – is
available for countries
where the 600EX-RT
cannot be licenced.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Radio-controlled flash
Speedlite 600EX-RT system
Left The Speedlite 600EX-RT is fully compatible in radio
control mode with the EOS-1D X, 5D Mark III and 650D.
It can also be used in radio mode with most other EOS
cameras, though with a slightly reduced feature list.
Also available is the Speedlite 600EX, which is a similar
flashgun, but without the radio control mode.
Below The Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT offers radio
control only; it is not compatible with earlier Speedlites.
If you are thinking of buying a new Speedlite,
we’d recommend the 600EX-RT unit – even if it
is your only Speedlite, or you have one or more
earlier models. On its own, you will not be able
to make use of the radio control option – or the
wireless infrared, for that matter – but you will
be ready for future developments. There are
likely to be more radio control units in the future.
In the meantime, you could consider adding
the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. This is a
master unit normally used in the hotshoe of the
camera and it can control up to 15 Speedlites
with radio transmission. However, it is just as
good controlling a single off-camera Speedlite
600EX-RT. Put this Speedlite into a large
reflector or softbox and you have an excellent
portable light source which can be used indoors
or out.
If you have a Speedlite with infrared wireless
control – or no wireless option at all – take a look
at the flash accessories on the following pages.
They give you the option of upgrading your
existing Speedlite to radio control.
Price guide Speedlite 600EX-RT: £679.99.
Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT: £309.99.
Master unit
A Speedlite or other
device which can
control the firing and
power output of other
flashguns by infrared or
radio signals. A
Speedlite transmitter
offers all the master
controls without an
integral flashgun. The
built-in flash of some
recent EOS cameras can
act as a master unit.
Slave unit
A Speedlite which can
be controlled remotely
by a master unit. Some
Speedlites can be
used as a master or
slave unit; some only
offer a slave function;
some cannot be used
as part of a Speedlite
wireless system, but
can be used remotely
with one or more of the
accessories featured
on the following pages.
It is usually possible
to have multiple slave
units controlled by one
master unit.
High speed sync in sunlight
With the infrared (IR) communication system
used by previous Speedlites it was very difficult
to work in bright light outdoors. Sunlight
contains a lot of infrared radiation. This is seen
as ‘noise’ by the IR receptors, making it difficult
for transmissions from the master unit to be
read accurately by the slave units. The radio
communication of the RT system eliminates this
problem, providing reliable E-TTL II exposure
even under the harsh sun of the Mediterranean
Left An assistant can
be more useful than a
lighting stand, moving
the light around at your
Left To create the smooth highlights in the water, this
image was shot with the EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM lens
at maximum aperture, which gave a shutter speed of
1/4000. In High Speed Sync (HSS) mode, the faster the
shutter speed, the shorter the effective flash range. The
key to a successful photo in this situation was to bring
the flash as close as possible to the subject (above).
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Hähnel Tuff TTL wireless flash trigger
camera. The working range is over 200 metres.
If you add an optional Tuff Studio Light Cable
you can also use the system to trigger studio
flash units – though without the advantage of
TTL flash exposure metering.
Above A Tuff TTL receiver
unit – this attaches to
the base of a Speedlite.
Several receivers can be
used in multi-flash setups.
Left The design of the Tuff
TTL transmitter is focused
on ease of use. There are
three controls – on/off,
test and a button to select
high speed sync (HSS)
or second curtain flash
The Hähnel Tuff TTL is a wireless TTL flash
trigger that operates with radio signals.
The transmitter is attached to the camera
hotshoe. The receiver is attached to the foot
of the Speedlite. When you press the camera
shutter button, radio signals are sent from the
transmitter to the receiver. The result is an offcamera flash with the same features and ease
of use as if the Speedlite were attached to the
camera. On-camera flash-related features, such
as flash exposure compensation (FEC) and flash
exposure lock (FEL) continue to work, letting you
adjust the operation of the remote flash from the
Additional remote Speedlites
Tuff TTL supports any number of additional
Speedlites in one setup. Each Speedlite requires
a receiver unit (available as optional extras).
When multiple E-TTL or E-TTL II units are
used, they will all fire at the same power. In this
case, all flashes should be pointing towards the
subject for the best effect. This can be useful in
cases when one unit does not have sufficient
An interesting use of two or more Tuff
receivers is to set secondary Speedlites in
manual power mode. This technique can
be used to light backgrounds or other static
subjects for which the exposure does not vary
from one frame to the next. Use the manual
mode (M) on the Speedlite after connecting it to
the trigger and use the Speedlite controls to set
the required output.
Price guide Hähnel Tuff TTL transmitter
and receiver sells for around £95. Additional
receivers are around £50 (see www.eosmagazine.com/shop).
Speedlite menu
When using the camera
‘External Speedlite
Control’ menu there are
certain limitations to
the options that can be
used when the Tuff TTL
transmitter is attached
to the hotshoe.
Working normally
H Flash exposure
H Flash exposure
H E-TTL II metering
H Flash firing [enable/
Can be set but does
not do anything
H Zoom setting (needs
to be set manually on
the Speedlite)
Does not work
H E-TTL mode (leave in
E-TTL II mode)
H Shutter sync.
(select on the Tuff TTL
transmitter unit)
H Wireless settings
(the Tuff TTL units use
their own wireless
communication system)
Speedlite at ground level
Using a Speedlite off-camera outdoors poses a
new set of challenges. The way light falls on a
subject has a logic and a reason. To achieve the
best results when using off-camera flash, try to
position it so that the light mimics the position
and qualities of the sun at a particular time of
day – for example, low and golden evening light.
Left When using a
Speedlite off-camera,
make sure no direct
light reaches the lens.
This will create flare and
probably fool the camera
into underexposing
the subject. Here, an
attachment has been
used to shield the lens
from the flash.
Left The leaves on the ground give away the autumn
season. This is a time of the year where the sun is low
in the sky, producing warmer directional light. On an
overcast day, you could reproduce that golden autumn
sunlight by adding a CTO filter (tungsten white balance
correction) to the Speedlite and placing it at ground level
towards the side. This creates vibrancy in the colour of
the fallen leaves and creates a warm side light on the
dog. The result resembles the mood of a late autumn
afternoon with the sun going down towards the horizon.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Radio-controlled flash
Hähnel Viper wireless group flash trigger
Far left Hähnel Viper
Transmitter. A Speedlite or
Tuff TTL can be fixed to the
pass-through hotshoe on
top of the transmitter.
Left The Viper receiver
with hotshoe for a
4 The Hähnel Tuff TTL (previous page) allows you
to fire more than one Speedlite, but all at the
same power. The Hähnel Viper takes this one
stage further. Full manual settings of up to three
groups (A, B, C) of Speedlites allow you to take
creative control of the light in the scene. Each
group can contain one or more Speedlites.
The Viper radio communication facilitates
this control by centralising all the settings in
the transmitter attached to the hotshoe of your
EOS camera. From this unit you can individually
change the power of each group. All the
Speedlites belonging to a group will then fire
at the given power setting. One of the groups
can be studio flash units if you want to combine
Speedlites and studio flash. (The studio flash
power must be set on the studio flash units.)
The Viper sender unit has a full pass-through
E-TTL contact. Using this feature, you can attach
a Viper transmitter to the camera hotshoe and a
Speedite on top of it. The pass-through feature
means that the Speedlite will operate as if it
were attached directly to the camera hotshoe.
In the meantime, remote Speedlites fitted with
Viper receivers are controlled by the Viper
transmitter at distances over 100 metres. An
unlimited number of receivers will work with one
You can attach a Tuff TTL transmitter to the
Viper transmitter to combine the benefits of both
systems – TTL triggering plus group control. This
could provide an economical alternative if you
want to continue using your existing Speedlites
while saving for a move to radio control with
multiple Speedlite 600EX-RT units.
Price guide Hähnel Viper transmitter and
receiver sells for £159.99. Additional receivers
are £59.99 (see www.eos-magazine.com/shop).
The Viper system is
compatible with all
recent Speedlites.
H 600EX-RT
H 580EX II
H 430 EX II
H 220EX
Older Speedlites can
still be used with ‘M’
(manual) mode on
the transmitter and
manually setting the
power on the Speedlite.
In this case, the Viper
acts as a remote trigger.
The Viper transmitter
and receivers each run
from two AA batteries
with a working life of
around 120 hours. The
Viper transmitter has
a mini USB socket for
software upgrades or
an external 5 volt power
The LCD on the Viper
transmitter is backlit,
indicating groups A, B
and C on/off, together
with flash power output
Speedlites in groups
The Hähnel Viper is not a TTL device – it
gives you radio control over three groups of
flashguns using the power dial on the Viper
transmitter to adjust the flash power output
level of the Speedlites in each group. A
flashgun manual override enables you to set
the Viper to manual, allowing the Speedlites
to determine the power. Digital Channel
Matching eliminates the risk of interference
from other wireless products within range.
Left and below Here three Speedlites arew set on
Viper receivers, operated by a Viper transmitter on the
camera hotshoe. One Speedlite, attached to a Lastolite
Ezybox, was set to group A at 1/4 power setting. The
other two were both set to group B to fire at 1/8 power
and were fitted with a blue filter for a night effect.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
44 |45
PocketWizard’s MiniTT1, FlexTT5 and AC3
Above Speedlite attached
to a Flex TT5 with extender
Above PocketWizard
MiniTTL transmitter which
attaches to the camera’s
PocketWizards have a long tradition of
manufacturing excellent radio triggers for
the professional photographer and advanced
enthusiast needing the highest level of control.
The PocketWizard’s E-TTL compatible system,
called ControlTL (Control the Light), consists of
the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units.
The MiniTT1 is a lightweight transmitter that
takes the E-TTL signal from the camera hotshoe
and converts it to radio signals that are sent to
the receiver.
The FlexTT5 is the receiving side of the
system. It features a hotshoe to attach a
Speedlite. FlexTT5 units can also act as both a
transmitter and a receiver (called a transceiver).
As with the other E-TTL enabled radio
systems, once the transmitter-receiver
communication is established, the camera
‘thinks’ that it has a flash connected to the
hotshoe and most E-TTL features are fully
Third party radio trigger systems use this
communication to trigger all remote units,
making them participate in the pre-flash stage
of the E-TTL flash exposure evaluation. The
evaluative through-the-lens (E-TTL) system of
EOS cameras makes this possible because it
calculates the flash exposure based on the actual
amount of light contributed by the pre-flash of all
AC3 ZoneController
The PocketWizard
TTL system offers
a third unit, the AC3
This connects to the
on-camera MiniTT1
Transmitter or
FlexTT5 Transceiver
and enables the independent power and mode
setting of up to three groups of Speedlites.
For each group, the AC3 provides a switch
that can set the group to E-TTL or Manual mode,
or turn it off completely. A responsive analog
wheel lets you set the dial to the desired power
setting for the corresponding group.
The power of a group firing in E-TTL
mode can be controlled using flash exposure
compensation of -3 to +3 stops in 1/3 stop
increments. The exposure compensation is
calculated based on the theoretical ‘correct’
exposure provided by the E-TTL algorithm in the
camera. When a group is set to manual mode,
the -3 to +3 stop scale becomes the absolute
power values for the Speedlite.
Price guide PocketWizard MiniTT1
transmitter sells for around £150. The FlexTT5
transceiver also sells for around £150. The AC3
ZoneController sells for around £62.
Multiple flash
There is a feeling among many photographers
that you need more than one Speedlite to
take good portraits. While not strictly true, it
certainly helps to have at least a main light
and a background light for indoor portraits.
When working with multiple Speedlites it is
best to start with a single light and then add
the second or additional units, one Speedlite
at a time. The AC3 controller makes this easier
by providing an on/off mode for each channel.
With a flip of your finger you can switch each
light on independently and tune its power by
making an exposure and checking the results
on the camera’s LCD.
Left Here a metallic wall
made a nice reflective
corner. Colour gels
were placed on two
Speedlites, positioned
on the ground, pointing
towards the corner.
A third Speedlite was
placed inside a Lastolite
Ezybox to create a small
pool of light that would
fall on the model’s face,
but not wash out the
background. All the
Speedlites were in E-TTL
mode and had a FlexTT5
EOS magazine January-March 2013
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Northern lights
Northern lights
If you are thinking of a visit to a colder country in the name of photographic art this
winter, then shooting the northern lights is one of the most rewarding and beautiful
photographic experiences that you can undertake. David Clapp has the details.
For the first time in camera history the
technology is becoming so advanced that the
northern lights can be photographed not only
with artistic beauty, but also with quality.
Manufacturers have us up at all times of the
night taking photographs that we wouldn’t
have believed possible as they push the
boundaries higher and higher. The potential
that lies within seems virtually unlimited, but
is shivering and freezing in the name of art,
chasing after aurora in the Arctic, really worth
all the bother and the money? Yes! With the
current cycle of solar activity forecast to reach
its peak in 2013-14, if you have ever considered
photographing the aurora, now is most
definitely the time to follow your dream.
How the northern lights are formed
Imagine a sun more violent and explosive
than it has been in the last five years. A grim
almost science-fiction nightmare of an energy
blackout hits the Earth, causing damage to
satellites, communications and other electrical
Doomsday? It all seems a little far fetched
for the average photographer, but it’s a huge
threat that goes on unseen hundreds of miles
above our heads. How does all of this activity
translate into the beautiful spectacle that is the
aurora borealis (northern lights)?
The aurora is caused by charged particles
entering the magnetic north and south poles.
On the surface of the sun there are sunspots
continually ejecting energy, known as solar
winds, out into the universe. Although these
are often low-level activity spots, sometimes
there can be huge eruptions blasting intense
EOS magazine January-March 2013
energy into space. If the earth collides with this
energy, the particles are pulled into the north
and south poles by the earth’s magnetic field.
They excite oxygen and nitrogen within the
earth’s atmosphere and the resulting energy
is released as light. Huge bands of electrical
charges create the waves of colour high above
the Earth, often in beautiful patterns and
A very large explosion, one that gets solar
scientists and astrophysicists very excited,
is a solar flare. These can create some of the
most remarkable aurora displays as the earth
is bombarded with very high energy levels.
But let’s not just think in green! Aurora can
be multi-coloured. Oxygen creates the green
waves of light, which are the most common,
but nitrogen can create red and other colours
like purple, blue and even white.
Above Taken at Kattfjord,
Tromsø, Norway on 6
December 2011 at around
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24mm
f1.4L II USM, 30 seconds at
f2, ISO 1600.
Right Taken in Kiruna,
the northern-most city in
Sweden, situated in the
province of Lapland, on
9 October 2011 at around
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24mm
f1.4L II USM, 30 seconds at
f1.8, ISO 1600.
A sign from God
The northern lights
are also known as
the ‘aurora borealis’,
named after the Roman
goddess of the dawn
(Aurora) and the Greek
name for a north wind
(boreas). The southern
lights are a similar
phenomenon which
occur on the other side
of the world. Here, they
are also known as the
‘aurora australis’. In the
Middle Ages the auroras
were often seen as a
sign from God.
48 |49
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Northern lights
Above Taken in the small
community of Vittangi in
the north of Sweden on 27
February 2012 at around
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24mm
f1.4L II USM, 6 seconds at
f2, ISO 1600.
Right Taken at Uttakleiv
on the Vestvågøy island on
the Lofoten, Norway, on
13 October 2012 at around
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 24mm
f1.4L II USM, 30 seconds at
f2.8, ISO 1600.
Great heights
Let’s not confuse aurora
with clouds. The aurora
is active at altitudes far
greater than any cloud
will be. Lower altitude
activity starts at around
35 miles above the
surface of the earth,
but this can extend to
great heights of over
500 miles or more. The
red coloured aurora
in particular is at far
higher altitudes. So the
same aurora displays
can be seen in different
countries, with displays
in Iceland and Norway
often photographed on
the same night showing
the same colours,
shapes and lines.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Where and when can you shoot the northern lights?
The farther north the
better, but anywhere
apart from the southernmost areas (above a
latitude of 60°) is good.
Good almost anywhere,
but higher ground is better
The northern lights can be
seen from most areas, but
the south of the country
gives the best views.
Patchy and often weak.
Probably not worth a trip
just for the northern lights,
but keep your camera
handy if you live there or
are visiting.
Excellent in the north.
Tromsø (Norway) is
a popular place for
photographers – expect
lots of company. In
Finland, aim for Lapland
and combine your trip with
a visit to see Santa Claus.
The northwest is the
best, but the northern
lights have been seen as
far south as the USA.
Northern lights can
be seen from almost
anywhere in the north,
but access can be a
problem – and it is
bitterly cold. Murmansk
is worth considering
if you want to visit the
largest city north of the
Arctic Circle. We’d give
Siberia a miss.
Not the greatest place
to see the southern
lights, but the island of
Tasmania is worth a try.
The southern lights are
visible from Antarctica,
but there are few people
around to see them. A
few cruise ships venture
into the area and these
make excellent viewing
Stewart Island off the
southern tip of South
Island gives a good view
when the southern lights
are strong.
North and south
Shoot at night in the winter months
With most of the regular aurora sightings being
in northern Europe and the Arctic Circle, it is
very likely that you will assume this is where the
phenomena is strongest. In fact, north or south
makes no difference in terms of energy.
The biggest problem with seeing aurora
australis – the southern hemisphere effect – is
that there are no big landmasses other than
Antarctica close to the magnetic south pole,
and no comfortable hotels. Although there are
regular sightings in New Zealand, the activity
levels have to be very high for these to be
dramatic. Australia is situated too far north from
the more common areas of activity.
The northern Scandinavian countries, Alaska,
Canada, Russia and other high latitude countries
are generally more accessible – but only just.
The biggest problem is flying into these
countries. It is this alone that makes places like
Tromsø in Norway the aurora capitals of the
world. With access from a multitude of airports
around the world, it is easy to photograph the
northern lights without having to visit the more
inhospitable and unreachable parts of the world.
When can the aurora be photographed? Solar
winds are reaching the earth at all times of the
day and night, but can only be seen under night
At higher geographical latitudes, the night sky
is never fully dark during the summer months,
which makes aurora photography primarily
a winter sport. Aurora season in the Arctic is
usually between September and March, which
can make the whole photographic experience a
rather cold one. Make sure you have adequate
cold weather clothing.
At the end of the season, as the summer
months approach, twilight extends for up to
three hours or more, meaning that the sky is
only fully dark for just a few hours. Move into
May and the sky is never dark enough to see
any activity. However, during the winter months,
when the sun barely rises above the horizon, it is
possible to photograph the aurora at all times of
the day.
Auroras are natural
phenomena and are
difficult to predict.
There is no guarantee
that an expensive trip to
a good viewing area will
produce great results
while you are there.
Scotland and England
It may surprise you to know that the northern
lights can be seen from places south of the often
quoted latitude of 60°.
The phenomena is regularly sighted and
photographed from Scottish islands like the
Shetlands, Orkney, and the Outer Hebrides as
well as mainland Scotland, Northumberland, and
even Northern Ireland.
Sightings are sometimes reported from the
Lake District and when activity levels have been
very high, the northern lights have even been
seen along the south coast of England.
Short term worldwide
forecasts are available
at: www.gi.alaska.edu/
Although solar activity
is on the rise and will
reach a peak in 2013-14,
it will not be as strong as
the 2002-03 peak. Still,
unless you are prepared
to wait for the next peak
in 11 years, now is the
time to capture your
aurora images.
Typical camera exposures
Exposure time depends greatly upon the energy level of the activity.
When there are low-level bands of aurora in the sky, a far longer shutter
speed (30 seconds) is required to give a good exposure. As the activity
levels increase, the aurora becomes brighter. This means the shutter
speed can be as short as 1 second or less.
The key to capturing the aurora is the ability to monitor the shutter
speed of the camera and react spontaneously to the sky around you.
Trying to predict what will happen as the activity levels build is where
the true art of aurora photography lies.
Setting the correct white balance is also crucial to the success of
a good aurora image. Using a warm white balance can create strange
looking skies with washed out colours. I recommend setting a white
balance of 4000 K as a starting point. This can be altered if you shoot
raw format and the image file is opened in Digital Photo Professional.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Northern lights
Cameras, lenses, batteries and freezing temperatures
In 2002/2003, the last period when the sun was
at its most active, digital cameras were very
much in their infancy.
As cameras improved and higher ISO values
became available, solar activity was at its
However, over the last few years camera
technology and image quality have advanced
significantly. With solar activity back at the peak
of its cycle, all current EOS professional and
consumer cameras are now capable of creating
stunning images of the aurora.
Looking at lenses
A fast prime lens will give an advantage over
most zoom lenses, as photographing the
northern lights is all about the ability to gather
as much light as possible. However, as ISO
technology advances a fast lens is becoming
less of a necessity.
Let’s consider the following shooting settings
as an aurora ‘rule of thumb’ – 8 seconds at f2.8
and ISO 1600. It’s easy to see that if we change a
few variables, based on the quality of our lenses
and camera, the outcome is still the same. If your
EOS camera responds well at ISO 3200, as does
the 5D Mark III, then the exposure time can be
reduced to 4 seconds or aperture adjusted to f4.
Using cameras like the EOS-1D X, 1D Mark III,
5D Mark II, 5D Mark III and 650D, it is possible
to shoot at ISO 12800 without moving into the
expanded ISO range. This will allow an exposure
Left EF 8-15mm f4 L USM
and EF 17-40mm f4L USM
lenses are two wide-angle
zooms which can give
good results for aurora
of 4 seconds at f5.6. The smaller aperture
will give an increased depth-of-field to make
foreground subjects appear sharper.
It will also allow shooting with less expensive
wide-angle zooms (such as the EF 17-40mm f4L
USM) at less than maximum aperture to improve
sharpness at the edges of the image.
Rather surprisingly, the Canon tilt-and-shift
lenses are very good for photographing aurora.
The TS-E 17mm f4L and TS-E 24mm f3.5L II are
remarkable optics, with such a large image circle
that they are very sharp at maximum aperture.
They do not offer autofocus, but this is not
needed – just focus on infinity.
Established prime lenses like the EF 20mm
f2.8 USM and EF 28mm f2.8 can also be used
with great success.
And let’s not forget the EF 15mm f2.8 and
EF 8-15mm f4L USM Fisheye lenses, which can
produce some of the most remarkable images,
pulling in 180° of the night sky.
Shooting in cold conditions
Very cold conditions
EOS cameras will stand up to the rigours of
minus temperatures, even when exposed to
them for long periods.
The biggest problem that the aurora
photographer faces is ice on the front of the
lens. When temperatures plummet to as low
as -10°C, ice can begin to form on the front
element if there is any condensation.
Condensation occurs when a cold item is
brought into a warm environment. The layer of
warm air which comes into contact with a cold
surface cools rapidly. It can no longer hold
as much water vapour as the warm air and
deposits a thin coating of water on the cold
This layer of condensation will evaporate
as the item warms up, but it can take several
minutes. If the item, such as a camera and
lens, is taken back into freezing conditions
before the water evaporates, ice will form.
If you return to a warm vehicle for a
break, leave your camera and lens outside,
providing it is safe to do so (you will probably
be able to keep it in sight). If you need to
bring the camera with you – perhaps to drive
to a different location – make sure all the
condensation has evaporated before going
outside again.
If temperatures fall as low as -30°C, ice can
become a big problem, and not only for your
fingers and toes! Ice can build up all over
the camera body, including the buttons and
In temperatures as low as -40°C, it is vital
that the body cap is not left off the camera,
as the mirror will freeze to the metal inside.
Tripods will also seize up very quickly – extend
the tripod legs to a comfortable height at the
start as you’ll find that within just 10 minutes
you cannot make further adjustments.
Batteries offer a lot less power when
exposed to such cold temperatures. As aurora
photography uses extended shutter speeds,
the battery will take an immense pounding,
draining power far more quickly than usual. It
is recommended to have at least two batteries,
with one kept warm in a pocket close to your
body. As soon as the battery in the camera
starts to lose power, swap them over. The cold
battery will regain power as it starts to warm
up in your pocket.
Warm clothing is essential. In some areas
you can rent Arctic jackets and clothes, but
check before you travel. Skiwear is adequate
for short periods outdoors. Wear several
layers, including mitts over thinner gloves.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Colour vision
Aurora photography
represents a challenge
for the photographer
and the technology
combined. We are
shooting on the verge of
a world unseen, a world
revealed by the ability of
the camera to shoot in
low light, so the results
are always going to be
open to speculation and
some artistic licence.
A question that is often
asked is whether our
eyes see aurora in full
colour, or whether the
camera pulls more
colour into the image.
Our eyes are not good
at seeing colour in very
low light, but they can
easily see the greens
within the aurora. As the
energy levels increase,
so the colour intensity
increases, and in a good
display it is possible to
see reds, purples and
other colours with the
naked eye.
Star trails
It’s important to
remember that the
longer the focal length,
the more likely you
are to get star trails.
These occur when the
exposure time or image
magnification are great
enough for the apparent
movement of the stars
across the sky to make
a star point to appear as
a short line. Although
this may not sound like
a large problem, images
look best if the stars are
sharp, so try to keep
the focal length below
The frozen camera of Alessandro Della Bella
Alessandro Della Bella was not photographing
the northern lights when his EOS-1Ds Mark III
frosted over, but his images show the perils of
shooting at high altitudes in cold temperatures.
Alessandro was shooting a time-lapse video
with his EOS 1Ds Mark III as part of the ‘One Day
on Earth’ project (see www.onedayonearth.org).
His location was the Corvatsch – at 3451 metres
this is the highest mountain in the Bernina Range
in Switzerland. The video was shot at night in
temperatures as low as –25°C. You can see the
result at
Colliding with clouds
So can you expect a frost-covered camera
when shooting in these conditions? Actually,
no. Cold air at high altitudes usually has a very
low humidity. The effect was caused by a few
small clouds which drifted across the equipment
during the video session. Water condensed onto
the camera and immediately froze.
The camera continued to work without any
problem. However, the lens froze up. Alessandro
is used to this in cold conditions, even when
there is no coating of frost, and he takes extra
lenses along. The frozen lens is defrosted, after
which it works perfectly again.
As always, the batteries are the weakest
link. The battery does not actually drain – the
chemical reaction which produces the energy
slows down at low temperatures. Warm the
battery up and the power returns. H
Above and right
Exposure to small humid
clouds at high altitudes
and low temperatures
coats the camera and
lens in moisture which
immediately freezes.
Below A view from the
Corvatsch mountain,
Switzerland, where
Alessandro Della Bella
shot one of his time lapse
sequences. EOS-1D X, EF
16-35mm f2.8L II USM
lens, 1/250 second at f8,
ISO 200.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique File format facts
File format facts
Your EOS camera saves image files in one of two formats – raw or JPEG. Or
sometimes both. There is a lot of inaccurate or misleading information around about
these formats. Robert Scott sorts the wheat from the chaff.
One of the first things you need to set on
your EOS camera before shooting is the file
format – or ‘Quality’ as it is shown on the menu
screen. This determines what is saved to your
CompactFlash (CF) or SecureDigital (SD) media
card and ends up on your computer hard drive.
There is a range of Quality settings. Some
cameras offer a wider choice than others. But it
all comes down to whether you want to shoot
raw or JPEG files (see ‘Name check’ opposite).
Well, actually, it doesn’t. Whatever you
choose, the camera will go ahead and shoot
a raw file, using all the pixels on the sensor.
There is nothing you can do to change this.
The Quality setting comes into play as the
image data collected by the sensor is saved.
The data is processed by minicomputers
inside the camera – the DIGIC processors.
These gather information from various camera
settings – white balance, Picture Style, noise
reductions and others, in addition to the
Quality. All this is taken into account as the raw
data is turned into a data file.
Above The Quality setting is usually the first item on the
first menu of your EOS camera. It is here that you choose
whether to save a raw or JPEG image – or both – to your
CF or SD media card.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above A digital image is a
well-ordered mosaic of tiny
squares – millions of them.
Each square represents a
single pixel on the sensor.
The sensor measures the
brightness of the light in
that tiny section of the
image and a clever array
of colour filters and digital
deception adds colour
tone and saturation. Seen
up close (above left), the
pixels appear to be nothing
more than an abstract
pattern. However, when
you pull back to see the
complete picture (above
right), a realistic image
of the original subject
becomes visible.
‘Real photography’
Some EOS owners believe
that ‘real’ photographers
only ever use the raw
setting. This is nonsense.
Real photographers
understand their camera
and use the tools at their
disposal to take pictures
which best suit the subject
and their situation. Raw
files and JPEG files each
have their place and good
photographers will switch
between them to make the
most of their camera.
Comparing film and digital
Some photographers shoot raw files because
they don’t want the camera taking over and
creating the JPEG file. But that’s not the way it
works. You set the metering mode, exposure
compensation, white balance and auto lighting
optimiser. You also set the Picture Style, which
in turn lets you set the image sharpness,
contrast, saturation and colour tone. All of these
settings are used when the JPEG file is created.
So where, exactly, is the camera taking over?
Digital negative
A raw file is often described as a ‘digital
negative’. Like a film negative, it remains
unchanged, however many prints are made.
With a film negative, each print can be
different by changing the grade of photo paper
and by ‘burning’ and ‘dodging’ to hold back
highlight areas and bring out shadow detail.
When you open a raw file in software such as
Digital Photo Professional (DPP) or Photoshop
you can also alter contrast and dynamic range,
together with characteristics that are difficult to
control when printing a film negative.
Digital slide
A JPEG file could be described as a ‘digital slide’.
Like a film slide, you need to get everything right
in the camera before making the exposure.
With a film slide, there is no second chance
– if it is not perfect, there is little you can do.
A JPEG file can be enhanced a little in DPP or
Photoshop, but not to the extent of a raw file.
How digital image files are created
Waiting game
When Canon introduces a new EOS camera,
there are often small changes to the format
of the raw file. This can mean that the new
file will not open in earlier imaging software
This is not a problem if you use Canon’s
Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software. Not
surprisingly, Canon updates this software right
away and the updated version is provided on
the CD supplied with the camera. Updates are
also made available to download from the Canon
Download Centre at
For example, updates for DPP, EOS Utility and
Picture Style Editor all became available on the
11 December 2012 to support the EOS 6D.
On the download page (see below), choose
the ‘For you’ option, enter your country on the
first drop down menu, then choose ‘Cameras’
as the product on the second menu. In the third
drop down menu, select your camera model.
The list is long – you will need to scroll down for
EOS cameras. Then click ‘Go’.
This will take you to the page for your camera.
Click the ‘Software’ button, wait for the screen to
change and then give details of your computer
operating system and the language you want to
view. Finally, click ‘Search’. You will then see a
list of the latest software compatible with your
camera. Note that you must search by camera
– there is no option to go straight to the latest
version of the software.
If you use other makes of software, support
for new cameras can be fairly quick, but at other
times you might be waiting weeks before an
update allows you to process a file from your
new EOS camera.
The digital sensor inside your EOS camera is
made up of tiny photo sensors. Each sensor
is called a pixel (short for picture element)
and there are millions of them arranged in a
grid. The EOS 60D, for example, has nearly
18 million pixels (or megapixels) in 5184
rows and 3456 columns.
Each pixel generates a small electric
current when it receives light. The amount
of current is directly proportional to
the brightness of the light. The value is
measured and converted into a binary code
which can be read by a computer. The
binary value of all the pixels is saved as an
image file. The computer can then read this
file and recreate the image in terms of light
and dark pixels.
Creating colour
One problem is that pixels are colour blind.
They can measure brightness, but not hue.
This is overcome by covering each pixel
with a filter – red, green or blue. If red light
falls on a red filter, the pixel underneath
gives a strong signal. But if red light falls on
a blue or green filter, little light gets through
and the underlying filter barely reacts.
Each pixel is only responding to one
colour of light, reducing the effectiveness
of the sensor by two-thirds. However, when
the file is processed, the data from one pixel
is merged with data from adjacent pixels.
A pixel covered by a red filter, for example,
acquires colour data for blue and green from
neighbouring pixels. Each pixel is now able
to provide full colour data for the image.
All this data is recorded and saved as an
image file.
Unsharp images
Above The Canon Download Centre is your source not
only for software updates, but also new firmware versions
for your camera. It is camera-based, so you know that
the software shown is suitable for your EOS model. In
addition, it is here that you will find product advisories,
telling you of any issues relating to your camera and what
to do about them. You will find the centre at:
Using several pixels to provide data for
one pixel solves the problem of colour, but
introduces another. All digital images start
life with a certain softness, caused by this
sharing of data across several pixels.
This softness can be overcome by using
what is confusingly called an ‘unsharp mask’
(see next page).
You sometimes hear people say that their
partner gets better results from an IXUS
camera than they do from a top-of-the-line
EOS. This is because Canon applies a strong
unsharp mask to images from compact
digital cameras on the basis that the user is
unlikely to do this for themselves.
It is assumed that EOS owners are
more likely to use a computer to create a
final image, though it is possible increase
sharpness within the camera by adjusting
the Picture Style parameters.
The EOS models which leave you with
the softest images out of the camera are the
professional models, giving you the greatest
control over the final result.
Bayer filter
A CMOS sensor sees
in black-and-white. The
photosites on the sensor
only measure the quantity
of light, not the colour.
Canon gives the camera
the ability to take colour
images by placing a ‘Bayer’
array over the sensor. A
Bayer array is a series of
coloured filters (above).
Each photosite is covered
by either a red, green
or blue filter. Half of the
photosites are covered
by green filters to match
human vision, which is
more sensitive to green
Name check
Where do the names ‘raw’
and ‘JPEG’ originate?
A dictionary definition
of raw, as applied to
information, says “not
analysed, evaluated or
processed for use”. That is
a perfect description of the
first of the two file formats
– data which has not yet
been processed.
Raw is just an ordinary
word. It does not need to
be capitalised unless, as
at the start of the previous
sentence, it is the first
word of a sentence. And
there is no justification for
RAW, unless you wish to
imply that you are shouting
(please don’t).
JPEG, on the other hand,
is an abbreviation for Joint
Photographic Experts
Group and should be
capitalised. The first JPEG
standard was introduced
in 1992 and defines how
image data is compressed
and decompressed. JPEG
is often further abbreviated
to JPG, because computer
geeks love TLAs (threeletter acronyms). The
extension to a JPEG file
name is nearly always
.jpg, matching the .doc
(document), .txt (text),
.mp3 (audio file) and .CR2
(Canon raw version 2)
JPEG and JPG are both
pronounced the same –
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique File format facts
Sharpening your image
4 Digital cameras do not take sharp images. This
is nothing to do with the focusing. It is caused
by the interpolation of colour data. Each pixel
is only able to record a single colour – red,
green or blue. To record the information for the
missing colours, it takes the data from adjacent
pixels which are sensitive to these colours. But
as the colour data is increased, so the sharpness
Fortunately, it is relatively simple process
to increase the apparent sharpness of these
images. It is not the actual sharpness which
is increased, but the contrast at the borders
between light and dark tones.
The sharpening can be done at various
stages, either in the camera or on a computer.
Most digital cameras aimed at the consumer
market do the sharpening in camera. This is
why an image from a Canon IXUS or PowerShot
camera looks so sharp and vivid when you come
to print it. Canon assumes that images from a
digital compact camera will normally be viewed
on a computer screen or go to an ink-jet printer,
so in-camera processing optimises them for this.
Professional cameras
The situation is different with EOS enthusiast
and professional cameras. Here, the final
destination of an image might be a web site, an
ink-jet print, a newspaper or a magazine – or any
combination of these. Each needs a different set
of parameters applied to the image file for the
best results. This means that it is necessary to
keep in-camera image processing to a minimum.
Digital cameras capture RGB images – that
is, an image composed from different ratios of
red, green and blue light. If the image is to be
published in a magazine, it must be converted
to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). For
the best print quality, any sharpening should be
applied after the CMYK conversion. Sharpening
done in the camera cannot be removed at a
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above These images show the effect of sharpening a
JPEG image in Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software.
A JPEG image is handled within the ‘RGB’ tab of the tool
palette (above). There is a single ‘Sharpness’ slider at the
bottom of the palette. Moving this to the right increases
the apparent sharpness of the image. The image top
right shows an enlarged section of the tawny eagle’s eye
without any sharpening. The image above right shows the
eye with near-maximum sharpening.
later stage, so it is best to apply little or no
sharpening until after the file is converted to
CMYK. The images from your camera will look a
little soft when you first see them on a computer.
However, if your images are not destined
for publication, you might want to boost the
sharpness with the in-camera processing. This
is easy to do. Simply go to Picture Style on
the camera menu and increase the sharpness
setting. On earlier EOS models, sharpness is
found in the Parameters menu.
Unsharp mask
Most digital sharpening is done using the
confusingly-named ‘unsharp mask’. This dates
back to the days of film and the photographic
darkroom. The effect has been carried over into
digital photography.
An unsharp mask is available in imaging
software, including Canon’s Digital Photo
Professional (DPP).
Pixel size
Even after sharpening,
images from more recent
EOS digital cameras can
still look softer than those
from earlier models. This
is because recent models
have more pixels, which
means that pixel size is
smaller. Smaller pixels
are more sensitive to
camera shake, as a smaller
movement will cause the
image to move across
more pixels. You need to
hold the camera steadier –
ideally on a tripod.
For the same reason,
sports photographers
also need to re-think their
shutter speeds, as blur
will be more apparent on
cameras with more pixels.
Where possible, consider
increasing the shutter
speed, even if this requires
an increase in ISO speed.
You will need to do some
tests to see whether the
trade off of slightly less
blur is worth the possible
slight increase in noise.
Left A raw image is
processed using the ‘RAW’
tab of the tool palette.
This provides an ‘Unsharp
mask’ option with sliders
for Strength, Fineness
and Threshold. You can
experiment with these
settings for the best effect.
Getting to grips with bits
8, 12, 14 and 16-bits
Introducing TIFF
Your EOS camera shoots either 12-bit or 14-bit
raw files. What are these bits and do two more
of them make much of a difference?
We mentioned earlier that the pixels on your
digital sensor respond to light by generating an
electric current which varies with the intensity of
the light. This current is measured and saved to
the raw file in a digital format, essentially a series
of the digits ‘0’ and ‘1’.
If the camera had 1-bit processing, it would
only be able to save the data as ‘0’ or ‘1’. ‘0’
would be the low intensities of light, which
would all be recorded as black. ‘1’ would be the
higher intensities, which would all be recorded
as white.
2-bit processing allows four gradations to be
recorded – ‘00’, ‘01’, ‘10’ and ‘11’. Light grey and
dark grey would be added to black and white.
By the time we reach 8-bit processing,
256 gradations can be recorded. The average
human eye can distinguish between about 100
gradations of a single colour, so 8-bit processing
gives a good safety net.
All JPEG files are saved at 8-bit depth. Most
inkjet colour printers also work at this level.
We said earlier that a raw file is not really an
image file. You have to convert it to an image in
raw converter software, such as Canon’s Digital
Photo Professional (DPP).
Once you have edited the file in DPP, you then
save it as an image file – usually JPEG. But there
is an alternative – the tagged image file format,
or TIFF.
JPEG is an 8-bit format, so saving an image
from a 12-bit or 14-bit camera discards some of
the data. If you want a file which can be edited
later and retains all the data, you can save as a
TIFF 16-bit file (this is one of the save options in
TIFF is a compressed file, but unlike JPEG it
uses a lossless method. And, to be honest, you
will not see any compression at 16-bits. When
we saved a 26MB raw file to TIFF 16-bit, the file
size mushroomed to 133MB.
Ideally, you would save the file as a TIFF
12-bit or TIFF 14-bit, to suit the camera output.
Unfortunately, these file formats do not exist, so
you end up with 12-bits or 14-bits rattling around
inside a very large 16-bit file.
TIFF files are useful if you need to keep going
back to an image to do additional editing. You
can open, edit and close a TIFF file without the
loss of image quality that you might eventually
experience with a JPEG file (see right). Once
you have finished editing a TIFF file, you might
convert it to a JPEG file simply to obtain a
manageable file size. The quality of the viewed
or printed image will be similar.
We do not create TIFF images at EOS
magazine. Additional editing can be done
by going back to the raw file in DPP (editing
changes can be saved with the file). We
use JPEG files for the images printed in the
12-bit depth
By the time you get to 12-bit depth you are
looking at 4096 gradations, or would be if your
eyes could handle this. They can’t, but your
computer can.
A 12-bit image might have more data than you
can see, but this is useful when you are working
on the image. You might be able to bring out
more detail in the shadows or hold back some of
the data in the highlights.
The result is a final image with better detail
and finer gradations, even after it is saved as an
8-bit JPEG image.
14-bit depth
Each time you add a bit, you double the number
of gradations that can be recorded. This means
that 14-bits is four times 12-bit, or 16348
gradations. Is this a significant increase?
Well, if your original image is well-exposed,
with good detail in the highlights and shadows,
14-bits probably offers few benefits. However,
there might be an advantage in low-light, or
if the image is underexposed. You might also
notice a slight increase in the smoothness of
colour gradients.
12-bit cameras
EOS 1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark II N, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II,
EOS 5D, 10D, 20D, 30D, 300D, 350D, 400D, 1000D,
EOS D30, D60
14-bit cameras
EOS 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1D X, 1Ds Mark III
EOS 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 6D, 7D, 40D, 50D, 60D
EOS 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 1100D, M
Internet myth
The internet is full of
misinformation. The
person posting might
believe what they are
saying, but they have got
it wrong. A good example
of this is the myth about
JPEG files deteriorating
every time you open and
close them. That does not
happen. However, if you
open a JPEG file, edit the
image and then save it,
there will be a very slight
loss of image quality. This
loss will be insignificant,
even if you open, edit
and save the file several
times. Eventually, though,
this process, repeated
enough times, will begin
to affect the image. Is this
a problem? Not in our
experience. You might
open a JPEG file to remove
a dust mark from the
image, or to make some
other minor change. It is
possible that you might
open, edit and save it a
second time. But we have
never come across anyone
who has edited a JPEG file
so many times that it has
affected the image quality.
.crw and .cr2 files
When the EOS D30 was introduced back in October 2000, it produced
raw files with the .crw extension. This was a camera image file format
(CIFF). Each .crw file had what is often called a ‘buddy file’. The
extension of the second file was .thm – short for thumbnail. It provided
a low resolution processed image from the raw file for display on the
camera back. The file also contained shooting information – what we
now know as EXIF data.
The problem with buddy files is that they can get separated from the
main file as you move, copy and duplicate the image. The .crw file type
only lasted for a few cameras – EOS D30, D60, 10D and 300D.
Later models use the .cr2 file. This is based on the tagged image
file format (TIFF). The advantage is that all the information, including
thumbnail image and EXIF data, is contained in a single file.
The odd camera out is the EOS 1D. This creates raw files with a .tif
extension – a forerunner of the .cr2 file.
So are there problems if you are using an early EOS model which
creates .crw files? Not really. Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
software will open these files, along with the .tif file of the EOS 1D and
the .cr2 files of all later models. Just remember to update your software
if you change to one of the latest models (see ‘Waiting game’).
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique File format facts
File compression and resizing
4 All the digital data from your camera sensor
takes up a lot of space on a media card or your
computer hard drive.
To help reduce the amount of storage needed,
the files are compressed. This means that a
file which has an uncompressed size of, say,
20 megabytes (MB) can be reduced so that it
only needs 10MB of storage. However, when
you reopen the file it expands to its original
uncompressed size.
There are two main types of compression.
Lossless compression
If you want to retain all the data in a file, lossless
compression is the way to go. This means that
the file is compressed for storage, but opens up
to its full file size without any loss of data.
This is possible because digital data is saved
as strings of numbers. Here is an example:
Can this be written in a shorter form? Yes.
Wherever there is a sequence of the same
number it can be written as:
This is a very simplified and hopelessly
inadequate example of what actually happens,
but it shows the idea.
You often read that a raw file is the
uncompressed data saved from the digital
sensor. Not so. Raw files might be unprocessed,
but they are compressed.
Take the raw file from an EOS 60D as an
example. This has 17.9 million pixels and ought
to give a file size of about 31MB. In fact, it is
saved as a file size of around 24.5MB. This might
not appear to be a major saving, but it means
you can fit more images onto a media card. And
each of those images will open without any loss
of data.
TIFF files (see previous page) are also saved
with lossless compression.
Lossy compression
JPEG files, on the other hand, are compressed.
The camera takes account of all the image
settings during the processing and discards all
the data not needed to create the file. This data
is gone. You can’t get it back. This means that
there are only limited changes you can make to
the image if corrections are required.
One advantage of a JPEG file is its size. A
RAW file from the EOS 60D is around 24.5MB.
The maximum JPEG file size from the same
camera is about 6.5MB – and it can be a lot
smaller with more aggressive compression.
When setting the file type with the Quality
menu you need to weigh the pros and cons of
each. One option is to select raw on the camera,
then convert and save as a TIFF file on the
computer. You can then go back and work on
the image at leisure, opening and closing the file
without any loss of quality. -When you are happy
with the result, you can save the finished work as
a JPEG file to save space when storing it.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above The top image is
from a JPEG file which
expands to 47.8MB
when uncompressed. An
enlarged area from this
image file is shown above
left. We then made a copy
of the file and used the
DPP ‘Convert and save’
option to reduce the file
size down to a tiny 157KB.
An enlarged area from
this is shown above right.
However, a small image
(below) from this tiny file
still looks good.
Resizing in Digital Photo Professional
If you shoot Large/Fine JPEG images (see next page), you are not
committed to the large file size forever. Open the image in Digital Photo
Professional (DPP), then select ‘Convert and save’ from the ‘File’ menu.
This will give the window shown above.
The output resolution of 350 dpi shown here is for images that will be
printed in magazines and books. If the image is only going to be displayed
on a computer or tablet, 72 dpi will be adequate.
The ‘Image quality’ slider can be used to alter the file size, but you have
more control if you click the ‘Resize’ box. Here you can enter smaller pixel
values to create a smaller file size – though with loss of image quality. Make
sure you check the ‘Lock aspect ratio’ box to keep the proportions of the
image the same.
58 |59
Large, medium and small
You do not have to save the data from every
pixel on your sensor. Omitting the data from
intermediate pixels reduces the file size – though
it also reduces the image quality.
If you are setting the JPEG quality on your
camera, ‘L’ (for large) uses all the available pixels
and gives the best quality.
Large has two settings – fine and normal.
These refer to the levels of compression applied
to the file. Normal applies more compression
than fine. Increased compression can degrade
the quality of the image, so you will get the
maximum possible JPEG quality by using the
Large/Fine setting.
Most EOS models also offer medium and
small quality. These use data from fewer pixels
to create the image, so the quality is lower. Fine
and Normal compression may also be available,
adding to your choices.
Why would you choose a lower quality image
file? It all comes down to file size. If you are only
shooting images for display on a computer –
perhaps in a blog or a web page – then a 6MB
JPEG file is way too much. Some web images
are only 20KB in size (there are 1024KB in a MB,
or 6144KB in 6MB).
One option is to shoot a Large/Fine JPEG
and then convert it to a small file. Most imaging
software will do this, including DPP (see
opposite page). Another option is to shoot a
small file in the first place.
Here at EOS magazine, we tend to go for the
Large/Fine JPEG option and only duplicate and
resize if we need a smaller file. That’s because
we might want to publish the image in the
magazine. Smaller file sizes were introduced
when CF and SD media cards were expensive
and had small capacities. Today there is less
incentive to capture small files. H
EOS-1D Mark II
Above and below Most
EOS cameras let you
capture a raw file and a
JPEG file at the same time
for the same image. This is
useful if you need a JPEG
file immediately to print or
e-mail and a better quality
file to work on later.
In addition to various JPEG
sizes, some EOS models
also offer up to three raw
file sizes. These are obtain
by omitting intermediate
pixel data, rather than by
file compression.
RAW + any JPEG
EOS-1D Mark II N
RAW + any JPEG
any RAW + any JPEG
EOS-1D Mark IV
any RAW + any JPEG
EOS-1Ds Mark II
RAW + any JPEG
EOS-1Ds Mark III
any RAW + any JPEG
RAW + any JPEG
EOS 5D Mark II
RAW , S RAW 1, S RAW 2
any RAW + any JPEG
S1 /
S1/ S2/ S3
S1 /
S1/ S2/ S3
any RAW + any JPEG
RAW + any JPEG
any RAW + any JPEG
any RAW + any JPEG
any RAW + any JPEG
RAW + any JPEG
RAW + any JPEG
RAW + any JPEG
any RAW + any JPEG
RAW , S RAW 1, S RAW 2
any RAW + any JPEG
EOS 300D
see note below
EOS 350D
EOS 400D
S1 /
S1/ S2/ S3
any RAW + any JPEG
EOS 450D
EOS 500D
EOS 550D
EOS 600D
S1/ S2/ S3
EOS 650D
S1/ S2/ S3
EOS 1000D
EOS 1100D
EOS 300D automatically shoots RAW +
S1 /
S1 /
S1 /
S1 /
S1/ S2/ S3
S1/ S2/ S3
M JPEG – it is not possible to shoot just a raw file
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Behind the image
How was it shot?
Andy Fox saw an eye-catching advert for a Canon printer where paint appeared
to be jumping into the air. Inspired, he set out to try to reproduce what he had
seen and, after some trial and error, he is pleased with the results.
I was inspired to try my hand at photographing
paint ‘dancing’ on speakers by an image used to
advertise a Canon Pixma printer. After acquiring
an old 15 inch speaker from a friend who was
throwing it out, my next consideration was how
I was going to light the set-up. Realising that the
process was going to be very messy, I decided
to shoot outdoors. The sky can provide perfect
lighting on overcast days – it is like having a
massive softbox.
I set up my EOS 5D Mark II with an EF
70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens (at 200mm) at
f8 on a tripod. I slipped a Speedlite 580EX II
onto the camera’s hotshoe and set the flash
compensation to about half power.
Next I glued latex rubber onto the speaker,
which I then placed in front of a backdrop made
from a piece of black material. I wired it to an
amplifier and plugged in my smartphone. I
poured some water-based craft paint into the
middle of the speaker and played some music.
The results were disappointing. It looked a
complete mess. This was going to be harder
than I thought. No disrespect to the musicians
playing on the tracks I had selected, but I needed
a predictable, constant tone. So I downloaded an
app called TrueTone for my smartphone. It was
perfect – it created a more structured tone.
I washed off the speaker, loaded it with fresh
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above EOS 5D Mark II
with an EF 70-200mm f2.8L
IS USM lens, 1/400 second
at f6.3, ISO 160.
Opposite top left Paint
in place, waiting for the
sound to be turned on.
The resulting vibrations
will cause it to jump off the
speakers. EOS 5D Mark II
with an EF 70-200mm f2.8L
IS USM lens, 1/800 second
at f6.3, ISO 200.
Opposite top right
The very next frame in
the sequence shows the
paint taking off, reaching
a height of 15 to 20cm.
EOS 5D Mark II with an EF
70-200mm f2.8L IS USM
lens, 1/800 second at f6.3,
ISO 200.
Right EOS 5D Mark II with
an EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS
USM lens, 1/500 second at
f7.1, ISO 200.
For more of Andy’s
images visit
paint and turned on the sound. This time the
paint shot into the air much better than before.
By experimenting with the frequency (around
17-30Hz) with the sound at half volume, the paint
now reached heights of around 15-20cm.
I set the camera to continuous shooting and
kept the sound on for about 6 to 8 frames. From
these I selected the best images, though I was
pleasantly surprised at how many were worth
keeping. Most of the shots had interesting
shapes, but the best were those that captured
the paint just as it lifted off the speaker. I found
that if I left the tone on for too long (around
10 seconds) the paints combined into a dull
mixture. I soon discovered that short bursts of
about 2 to 5 seconds produced the best results.
Once I had got the paint to behave, I
concentrated on perfecting the lighting. I placed
reflectors either side of the speaker to help
focus the light onto the paint. I found that if I was
shooting in strong sunlight I was able to increase
the exposure to around 1/500 second at f8, ISO
100. I used my Speedlite on-camera, at half
power, to lighten the front part of the set up.
I next experimented with the paint colours.
The best colours to use are strong, contrasting
colours like red, yellow and blue, which stand
out well on a black background. I also tried using
different backgrounds, but black was best. H
Andy’s kit
EOS 5D Mark II
EF 70-200mm f2.8L
IS USM lens
Aputure AP-TR3C
Timer Remote Cable
055XPROB pro
Induro BH2 tripod
Remote trigger
15 inch speaker
Latex rubber
Android phone and
True Tone app
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique AF microadjustment
Focus tuning
Above Obtaining precise focus
on the eye is important. AF
Microadjustment can help.
If your images are not coming out as sharp as you would like, there may be
something you can do about it. With a little help from his friends, Tom Sheppard
braved the warnings in the EOS user manuals.
Just over five years ago, Canon introduced
a new feature to the EOS 1D Mark III. ‘AF
Microadjustment’ lets you fine tune your lenses
so that the point you focus on is perfectly sharp
in your image.
Isn’t this what all EOS cameras are supposed
to do? Well, yes, but sometimes the lens back
focuses, putting the sharpest plane of focus
slightly behind the focused subject. And
sometimes you will encounter front focusing,
where the plane of focus is just in front.
Most of the time you will not notice this.
In a landscape shot, for example, the plane of
focus is usually lost in the wide depth-of-field.
However, if you shoot a portrait at maximum
lens aperture and focus on the eye, any slight
shift of focus will be more apparent.
So AF Microadjustment, which is now
available on a number of EOS models (see
table on opposite page), is a welcome feature
for photographers who want perfect focus.
The idea is that you can adjust the focusing to
overcome any back or front focusing. You can
make individual adjustments for each lens you
own, or set the same adjustment for every lens.
Using a moiré image (see
right) to focus on gives
you a very precise starting
point for your adjustments,
but the technique
described on these pages
can be used with any fine,
high contrast subject.
Indeed, as described
on page 64, you’ll
probably have to resort to
a Weetabix packet or street
sign to set up your longer
lenses. The main thing
to remember is that you
are comparing the most
precise manual focusing
available – magnified
Live View – with what the
autofocusing is delivering.
Indeed the owner’s manual
even suggests this can
be carried out during any
photographic project
for individual pictures in
the field – provided your
subject will stay still for
long enough!
AF Microadjustment modifies the camera, not the lens
AF Microadjustment does
not modify the lens – it is
the data from the camera
to the lens AF motor
which changes. This
means that you can use
the same lens on different
cameras with different AF
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Doubts about the accuracy of my camera’s
autofocus led to fervent hours photographing
tape measures to be sure that it was, for
example, the 200cm mark that was sharp when
I asked the camera to autofocus on a subject at
that distance.
I was not encouraged by the warnings in the
EOS instruction manual (below). I was perhaps
unlucky in having a pair of EOS 5D Mark II bodies
that each needed attention and incurred two
expensive visits to Canon.
Then I came across a technique mention by
Keith Cooper at www.northlight-images.co.uk
Keith picked up on an Open Photography Forums
posting a few years
ago from an unsung
genius in Germany
called Bart van der
Wolf. Any focuschecking procedure is
dependent on use of a
crisp target and keen
eye on the part of the
checker. Addressing
this, Bart thought
out a brilliantly elegant application of the moiré
phenomenon (see right). And it did away with
the need for sloping rulers and tape measures.
Above The warning in the EOS instruction manual might
make you nervous. Ignore it. Play around with the settings
to see if there is an improvement. Any AF Microadjustment
changes you make can be adjusted or cancelled.
Cameras with AF microadjustment
C.Fn III-7
EOS-1D Mark IV
C.Fn III-7
AF Menu 5
C.Fn III-7
EOS-1Ds Mark III
EOS 5D Mark II
C.Fn III-8
AF Menu 5
AF Menu 5
C.Fn III-5
C.Fn III-7
Access tells you the custom function or menu which
features AF Microadjustment.
Lenses indicates the number of lenses which can be
registered by the camera. If the maximum number of
lenses has been registered, you can add another lens by
overwriting or deleting an existing lens registration.
*W/T/S The camera will allow adjustment of zoom
lenses at the wide and telephoto settings and also stores
the serial number of the lens. Different models of the
same lens can be registered – useful for professional
photographers who share a pool of lenses.
Moiré phenomenon
Why did my original EOS 5D
perform so well straight out of the
box and yet the EOS 5D Mark II
was having focus problems? It is all
down to tolerances.
I hate to be the one to break this
to you, but precision equipment
is not precise. If a part is specified
to have a diameter of 5mm,
the designers might well have
determined that it will work just as
well with a diameter between 4.9
and 5.1mm. That ±0.1mm is the
tolerance for the part and anything
within this range will be accepted
by the quality control process.
How does this affect cameras
and lenses? First, let me say
that I don’t have any design or
manufacturing data from Canon,
so the following are hypothetical
examples – the tolerances
mentioned are figments of my
imagination and are used only to
make the explanation easier.
Two separate elements come
together with single-lens reflex
(SLR) shooting – the camera body
Focal plane
index mark
Depth-of-focus (not to scale)
Telephoto technique
Using the moiré process, or any other – at 50x
the lens focal length – is less easy with telephoto
lenses unless you have a Hogwarts-sized living
room. But since the depth-of-field at maximum
aperture on long lenses is very much smaller,
the inability to use a computer screen for critical
focusing is less of a disadvantage. You can check
these lenses outdoors and press into service
the world’s prototype focus-checking chart
– a box of breakfast cereal! Northlight has a
downloadable lens calibration chart if you prefer
the more formal approach. G
and the lens. Each is manufactured
to narrow tolerances. For
simplicity, let’s say that the
tolerance range for the camera
is ±0.5mm (that’s actually a
meaningless figure for an item
made of many parts, but it serves
our purpose).
Let’s assume that the tolerance
range for the lens is also ±0.5mm.
If you are lucky enough to have
a camera and lens which both sit in
the middle of the tolerance range –
that is, no variation from the ideal
– focusing should be perfect.
What if the camera sits at
one end of the tolerance range
(+0.5mm, for example), and the
lens sits at the other end (–0.5mm,
for example)? Well, there is a good
chance that the two variations will
cancel each other and focusing will
also be good.
Problems arise if both camera
and lens sit at the same end of the
tolerance range, both +0.5mm, for
example, or both –0.5mm. Here,
the two variations will reinforce
each other and that’s where you
might see a focusing problem.
Balancing out
The what phenomenon? Moiré is the oftenmoving interference patterns set up when one
fine pattern is viewed through the medium
of another on the viewing device – the TV
interviewee with a herringbone jacket, the descreening necessary when scanning a printed
image made up of many fine dots. And here, the
shooting of a finely pixelated image (on an LCD
computer screen) using, in effect, a pixelated
sensor on a digital camera.
The amazing Herr van der Wolf devised –
and the generous Keith Cooper passed on with
invaluable comments – a method of using this
to check focus. The nub of it is that rather than
using a simple lens calibration chart, deadly
accurate focus can be achieved by turning the
focus ring manually until, viewing the computer
image through magnified Live View, the moiré
pattern jumps out at you.
Moiré patterns are a will-o’-the-wisp law unto
themselves and by the time this article is printed
– having gone through a number of scanning
and plate-making processes – the various little
circles and patterns on page 64 may have long
since disappeared. Don’t fret. It will all work
when you do it!
Why is AF adjustment needed?
As far as focusing is concerned, the distance between
the lens mount and the front of the digital sensor is very
important. On EOS cameras which accept EF lenses this
distance is 44mm (one of the few figures here I have
been able to verify). The front of the sensor is at the focal
plane of the camera – the position at which a perfect lens
focuses the image. The focal plane is indicated on every
EOS camera by a circle (or ellipse) with a horizontal line
through it ( 0 )
Ideally, the front of the sensor needs to be exactly
44mm from the lens mount, but there is a little leeway.
This is down to something called ‘depth-of-focus’. You
are probably familiar with depth-of-field – an area in
front of and behind the point of focus which still appears
sharp in the image.
Depth-of-focus is the same concept, but refers to
how far the sensor can be in front of or behind the focal
plane while still capturing a sharp image. In effect,
depth-of focus describes the tolerance the designers
and manufacturers have in the positioning the sensor –
or in the focusing of the lens.
Focusing optics configuration
Main mirror
Field lens
Reflective mirror
Secondary mirror
AF sensor
Secondary image-forming lens
lens focuses using
data from the camera.
This illustration shows
the complex path light
from the lens travels to
reach the autofocusing
sensor. If any one of
these components is
not precisely placed, it
can lead to the lens not
focusing accurately on
the sensor.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique AF microadjustment
Testing your autofocus accuracy
Download the moiré GIF image at:
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_ pages/cameras/1ds3_
af_micoadjustment.html or http://bit.ly/VtNzJ0
The download link is in the ‘How to check focus accuracy’ section near the
top of the page. The image will download as a compressed file. Open this
on your computer. (Moiré images reproduced courtesy of
Switch off Live View. Then, still at full aperture, look
closely (from above the camera) at the focusing
scale in the window on the top of the lens barrel. You’ll
be looking for movement of this scale. Switch to AF and,
while looking at the distance scale, half-press the shutter
button. If the focusing scale does not move, the AF
autofocusing system is accurate – the lack of movement
indicates it agrees with the very precise focus you set up
manually with Live View. If the focusing scale moves when
you half-press the shutter button there is an error which
needs to be corrected. At 40mm (shown above) there was
no movement so no adjustment was needed. At 17mm
the scale moved about 1mm to the left. So the AF system
is focusing slightly beyond the computer screen – a back
focus situation.
Set up the 1000 pixel square van der Wolf/Northlight
Moiré GIF image on a large LCD computer screen.
Don’t enlarge it, convert it or print it. The image must
be viewed, as is, at 72dpi on an LCD screen. Set up the
camera facing the screen square-on, so that the centre of
the square appears in the centre of the camera screen in
Live View mode. The camera must be mounted on a tripod
at a distance not less than 50 times the focal length of the
lens being tested. For example, when checking the EF
24-105mm lens at 24mm, the camera should be at least 1.2
metres from the image on the computer screen.
Above Almost every EF
and EF-S lens has a manual
focus switch. Move from
‘AF’ (autofocus) to ‘MF”
(manual focus)
Above The technique
described on these pages
only works if the lens has a
focus distance scale.
Set MF (manual focus) on the lens. Select Live View
on the camera. Magnify the Live View image to fill the
camera monitor (use the magnifying glass button on the
back of the camera). Focus manually on the moiré image
until secondary circle images appear surrounding the
centre circle. The appearance of the subsidiary circles is
an indication of exact focus. The image is now precisely
focused. Do not touch the focus ring.
H We recommend that you adjust all your lenses
individually – select ‘Adjust by lens’ rather than ‘All by the
same amount’. The existing status of the attached lens is
indicated by the figures to the right of these options (see
displays with caption 2 on opposite page). These figures
will change as you make adjustments. You can clear all the
adjustments by pressing the trash (wastebin) button on
the back of the camera while this screen is displayed.
H The adjustment scales offer ± 20 unit. How many
units should you move the index mark? This is a matter of
trial-and-error, but about three units is in the right area for
a 1mm movement of the lens distance scale (see above).
Once you have made an adjustment, start over with the
test from item 3 on this page. Keep making adjustments
until there is no movement of the lens distance scale at
item 4 (above). This might appear to be a little tedious, but
an hour (or two) of adjustment is well worthwhile if it gives
you sharper images in the future.
H With older lenses you will need to dial-in the serial
number of the lens (see opposite page, bottom right).
More recent lenses will be recognised by the camera
software and the serial number entered automatically.
H If you have two cameras with the AF microadjustment
feature, you will need to repeat the procedure with each
of your lenses on each of the cameras. As mentioned
earlier, AF microadjustment does not make any changes to
the lens – it is only the focusing data transferred from the
camera to the lens which is affected.
Using the universal cereal chart for testing lenses with longer focal lengths
With longer telephoto lenses you will probably find it
difficult to use a 50x focal length indoors in front of
a computer screen (a 200mm lens requires a lens-tocomputer distance of 10,000mm, which is 10 metres, or
over 30 feet). Instead of the moiré image, you can use a
lens calibration chart or cereal packet. Telephoto lenses
at full aperture have very shallow depth-of-field so the
manual Live View focusing at the start of the procedure
will be equally precise. The two images here were just
confirmation shots taken with the EF 24-105 f4L at about 15
metres to prove that the AF adjustment had worked. It had!
EOS magazine January-March 2013
C.Fn screens
AF menu screens
1 If AF Microadjustment is a custom
function on your camera (see table on
page 63), select the appropriate function
group. Press the SET button.
1 If AF Microadjustment is on the AF
menu of your camera (see table on page
63), select the appropriate menu and
item. Press the SET button.
5 The telephoto scale will be selected.
Press the SET button.
6 Set the lens to the maximum telephoto
position. Rotate the dial on the back of the
camera anti-clockwise (to correct front
focusing) or clockwise (to correct backfocusing). Press the SET button, then the
MENU button.
2 Press SET again and rotate the dial on
the back of the camera to select ‘Adjust by
lens’. With the lens on the camera, press
the ‘INFO’ button.
2 Press SET again and rotate the dial on
the back of the camera to select ‘Adjust by
lens’. With the lens on the camera, press
the ‘INFO’ button.
3 The AF microadjustment scale will be
3 If a zoom lens is attached to the camera,
scales will appear for both wide and
telephoto settings. Set the lens to the wide
zoom position. Press the SET button.
7 The plus or minus lens adjustments
for the wide and telephoto positions of
attached lens will be shown.
4 Rotate the dial on the back of the
camera anti-clockwise (to correct front
focusing) or clockwise (to correct backfocusing). Press the SET button.
8 If a non-zoom lens is attached to the
camera, a single scale will appear. Rotate
the dial on the back of the camera to make
an adjustment.
4 Rotate the dial on the back of the
camera anti-clockwise (to correct front
focusing) or clockwise (to correct backfocusing). Press the SET button.
5 The plus or minus lens adjustment for
the attached lens will be shown.
The latest cameras (see table on page
63) allow you to enter the lens serial
number. Press INFO when you return
to the ‘Adjust by lens’ display. Press
SET and turn the dial on the back of the
camera to enter the first digit. Press SET
and turn the dial to select the next digit.
Press SET again and enter the second
digit. Repeat until the full serial number
has been added. The serial number is
entered automatically by some lenses.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Digital Photo Professional
Select and sort
Digital Photo Professional is not just a raw converter. You can also use it to view,
organise and select photos. Andrew Gibson explores the cataloguing features of
this software that is supplied on a CD with every EOS camera.
Above DPP lets you select and sort images into a
‘Collection’ (see opposite page). This is just one of many
features which are not obvious when you first open DPP,
but which make the program more than just a raw file
You might be accustomed to thinking of Digital
Photo Professional (DPP) as a raw file editing
program and not much more. But look a little
closer and you will find that it can also help you
to organise and sort your photos.
Organising photos has always been a bit
of a problem for photographers, especially if
your output tends to be on the prolific side.
Whereas once this often meant finding a way of
organising shoeboxes (or filing cabinets) full of
negatives and slides, for most photographers it
now means keeping track of digital files.
In the days of film, shooting a couple of
cassettes (72 exposures) at an event was
considered extravagant. Today, with shooting
costs measured in pence rather than pounds,
it’s not unusual to come home with hundreds of
images from a day out.
A little effort now will help you keep track of
your photos as your collection grows. DPP can
help you do this.
Don’t get me wrong – the software is
not designed to be a fully-fledged image
management tool. It is not as sophisticated as
specialist programs such as Apple Aperture,
Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Bridge. But since it
comes free with your camera (updates are also
free) it is a good place to begin if you are also
just getting started with an EOS camera. You
can always upgrade in the future if you outgrow
DPP’s capabilities.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Organising folders and files
The key to organising your photos starts with the way you store them.
My system is very simple, and I share it here so you can use it or adapt
it to your needs.
I shoot exclusively with the raw format and store my files on an
external hard drive. This means they don’t use valuable space on my
computer’s internal drive. It also makes it easy for me to back them up.
All I have to do is copy the folder containing my raw files (the ‘Images’
folder below) to another hard drive.
My files are organised by year, month and day. Within each day
folder every shoot is individually labelled. I can find any photo I need
right away, just by navigating through the chronological chain.
A benefit of this system is that it is easy to extend. As each year
passes I just add more folders. Earlier folders remain untouched.
Backup is easy. I only need to copy over new folders to my backup drive
– earlier folders remain unchanged.
This system does not provide the keyword and tag options of more
sophisticated programs, but it works for me.
Right Images are stored
in nested folders by
year, month and date. As
long as you know when
you shot the images,
you can find them.
Unlike some specialist
image management
programs, DPP does not
save images within the
application. You simply
navigate to a folder on
your hard drive (which
can be an external drive)
containing the image or
images you want to view.
Finding your photos in DPP
One of the first things you will want to do when
you open DPP is find your photos and look at
them. If you predominantly use the raw format,
this is a convenient way to look at, organise and
select your favourite images before going on to
convert and edit them in DPP.
If you predominantly shoot JPEG files, you
can use DPP to view and organise your files, but
you will find the image editing side limited.
You can also view any TIFF files that you have
on your computer, although again, image editing
capability is limited.
The Main Window
When you open DPP you will see something
like the layout illustrated top right (depending
on how your preferences are set up – more on
those in a moment). You are in the Main Window.
On the left, click on the Folder tab (circled) to see
the contents of your computer’s hard drive plus
any connected external drives.
Thumbnail with information
Viewing photos
To view photos, click on one of the folders
displayed under the Folder tab. If there is a grey
arrow located next to the folder name, that
indicates there are more folders inside. Click on
the arrow to reveal the internal folders. When
you reach a folder containing images, DPP
displays thumbnails of the photos on the right
hand side of the Main window.
Above The thumbnail
view is selected in the
View menu.
Large thumbnails
Thumbnail size
You can change the size of the thumbnails
displayed on the screen by going to the View
menu (above right) and selecting the Large
thumbnail (above far right) Medium thumbnail
(right) or Small thumbnail (far right) options.
A useful alternative is the Thumbnail with
information option. It displays a large thumbnail
along with a luminance histogram and the main
camera settings used to take the photo (above
top). This is handy when you want to evaluate
exposure or verify the settings used when you
shot the images.
Medium thumbnail
Small thumbnails
Above One of the attractions of DPP is its range of view options. You can use the medium
or small thumbnails to home in on the image you want, and then switch to a large view
to rate and check mark the image (see next page). It is a simple system, but has some
powerful features.
Creating a collection
Above Create a
collection with the ‘Add
to collection’ menu
item.’Remove from
collection’ and ‘Clear
collection’ options are
also available.
The Folder view system works well, especially if
your image folders are well organised. However,
there are times when you may wish to group
images together that are stored across two or
more folders. The Collection is an easy way to
do so.
To add an image to the Collection, select
the thumbnail in the Main window, then go to
the File menu and select the ‘Add to collection’
option. Do the same with other images from
any folder. When you are ready, click on the
Collection tab to view the images. From here
you can use the Quick check window to look at
them full size or go to the Edit image window to
process raw files.
Above It is only possible to have one Collection at a
time, but DPP remembers the Collection if you close the
program down, then reopen it. Think of the Collection as
a ‘lightbox’ for making a shortlist from all your images.
You can add and remove images as you increase or
narrow down your search.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Digital Photo Professional
and Check
It’s up to you how you
use the Ratings and
Check marks. There is
no set way of doing it.
Some photographers
rate their images on
scale of one to fi ve,
with fi ve being the
best. Others may use
a simpler system,
and work on the
basis that an image is
either good enough
to process or it isn’t.
If you prefer to work
this way you can
assign a Check mark
to images you intend
to work on, and leave
others alone.
Here’s a system that
works for me. I assign
a Check mark to any
image that I feel is
worth processing –
that weeds out the
weaker images. Then
I sort the images
according to the
Check mark and look
through the selected
images again. I give
the strongest images
– the ones that I
definitely want to
process – a rating of
one star. Then I sort
by rating, and look at
the strongest images
together. I remove
the rating from any
images that I change
my mind about
The Quick Check window
4 The Quick Check window is where DPP really
comes into its own as a piece of software
for viewing and sorting your photos. So far,
we’ve just looked at different ways to display
thumbnails. This is useful, but to really evaluate
your images you need to see them at full size on
your computer screen. The Quick Check window
helps you to do this.
Start by selecting the image or images you
want to view (use the Select all button to view all
the images in the folder) and clicking the Quick
check button at the top of the Main window.
DPP displays the entire image on the screen.
You can navigate through the selected images
using the Previous and Next buttons. This lets
you look through the selected images and add
Check marks or Ratings, if you wish, to help sort
them. Use the Rotate left or Rotate left buttons
if you need to change the orientation of the
displayed image.
If you want to see the image in more detail,
click the 50% view button. You can now examine
the image for critical factors such as focus,
sharpness and detail. If you need to, you can
also click the Full screen button to make full use
of your monitor’s screen space. Come out of the
full screen view by pressing the Escape key on
your keyboard and the 50% view by clicking the
50% view button again.
AF point
Another useful feature is revealed when you
tick the AF point box. A map of your camera’s
autofocus points is displayed on the photo,
with the active autofocus point (or points)
coloured red. This indicates which autofocus
point (or points) you used when the photo was
taken. However, if you used autofocus lock
and recomposed, it doesn’t indicate where the
camera focused.
Sorting images
Click ‘Image information’ to see the same EXIF
window that comes up when you press the ‘Info’
button in the Main window.
The Quick Check window gives you two ways to
organise your images. The first is to assign the
image a Check mark. You can choose from five
Check marks (values one to five) or press the
Clear button to remove one.
The other option is assign a Rating to the
image. There are five Ratings to choose from
(values one to five). Alternatively, if you don’t
like an image (perhaps it is out of focus or the
exposure is completely wrong) you can press
the Reject button.
If you assigned a Rating to your images when
you played them back on your camera, DPP
will recognise that and display the rating – just
one of the ways in which the camera and the
software work together.
The Rating and Check mark (or the word
Reject) are displayed around the thumbnail
when you return to the Main window. You can
also change the Check mark or Rating within the
Main window – they are displayed above the
Above When you select an image in ‘Folder View’ and
then select the ‘Quick Check’ button, this window appears.
Click on ‘Check mark’ and ‘Rating’ icons – the results will
appear in the top left of the image. Click the ‘AF Point’
check box to see the active point in red over the image.
Above Clicking the ‘50% view’ button enlarges the image
in the frame (it is 50% of the full screen view, not 50% of
the current view). The full screen view fills the computer
monitor – press ‘ESC’ to get back to the normal view.
These larger views are good for checking the focus.
Image information
The idea behind
editing is to narrow
your images down
from the ones you
took to the ones that
are worth processing.
The end figure
depends exactly
on what you were
shooting and how
many good images
you took on the
day, but my aim is
to narrow the initial
selection down to the
best. I use the Rating
and Check mark
system to help me.
There are many other
uses for the marks –
perhaps to indicate
images that have
been published or
those that are weak,
but you want to keep.
The marks are there
to use as you wish.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
There is a sort option
which works with
image data. Go to
the ‘View’ menu and
select ‘Sort’. You can
sort by:
Rating ascending or
descending order
File name
alphabetical order
Shooting date/time
Useful if there are
photos from more
than one camera in
a single folder as the
images from each
camera will have
different file numbers
and the order won’t
match the shooting
Raw priority
Displays raw files first
if there are also JPEG
or TIFF files in the
Check Mark
Displays photos with
a specific Check mark
first. Other Check
marked images are
then displayed in
numerical order,
followed by images
without Check marks.
DPP image preferences
Like many programs, you can modify the
settings so that DPP works in a way that suits
you. You do this by opening the Preferences
window (Tools > Preferences on a PC or Digital
Photo Professional > Preferences on a Mac).
There are two tabs in the Preferences window
that are useful to us when it comes to viewing
Settings for viewing raw files
It can take DPP a while to render an image
generated from a raw file on the screen. This
is more noticeable if you have a camera with
a large megapixel count or if you are using an
older computer.
To speed up DPP go to the Viewing and
When you look at photos in the Main window
you will see a set of buttons along the top of
the screen.
Folder view Click this button to hide the folder
and collection lists from the main window.
This gives you more space to view thumbnails,
maximising the use of screen space.
Info Brings up a window containing shooting
data and metadata for the selected image.
Useful for checking camera settings. The
shooting information is very detailed and
gives you details that you won’t find in nonCanon raw processing software such as
Picture Style, dust delete data and autofocus
microadjustment settings.
Select all and Clear all Press these buttons
to select all the images within a folder or
collection, or to clear the selection.
Rotate left and Rotate right Lets you rotate
a selected image or images.
saving raw images setting. If running speed isn’t
an issue, select High quality and uncheck the
View images at high speed box. This will give
you the best possible quality screen image.
You can speed up DPP a bit by ticking the
View images at high speed box. This speeds up
DPP and for most images you won’t notice any
difference in image quality.
If DPP is still running slowly you can choose
the High speed option. But you should only do
this if it’s really necessary as it prevents you
from using the noise reduction tool in the Edit
image window.
Settings for viewing JPEG files
You have the option of ticking the Remove block
noise and mosquito noise box to view JPEG
images with some of the noise reduced. This
may come in useful if you intend to save the
JPEG file under a new name. In this case, the
noise reduction will be applied to the new file. If
you don’t want this to happen, or just want DPP
to run as quickly as possible when viewing JPEG
files, leave this box unchecked.
View settings
Above EXIF data in DPP
is comprehensive.
There are a couple of options here that may be
useful. Under raw and JPEG you can tick the
Display only CR2 images for CR2 and JPEG files
of the same name box if you only wish to see the
raw file displayed when you have both raw and
JPEG versions of each photo saved in the same
folder. This happens if you have selected one of
the RAW+JPEG settings in the camera menu.
The other useful option is the Retain sort
order box under Sort order in main window. It’s
a good idea to check this box so that the order in
which photos are displayed in the Main window
are retained when you leave the folder (or close
down DPP) and then return to it. If the box is
unchecked the sort order returns to the default
of sorting by file name. H
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique EOS-1D X on test
Flying success
As soon as Neil Hutchinson bought his EOS-1D X he took it along to his local model
aircraft flying field. The small, fast moving subjects proved to be the ideal subjects
for testing the image quality and autofocusing accuracy.
I purchased my EOS-1D X from Jessops,
Birmingham, at the end of July 2012. Previously
I was using the EOS-1D Mark IV. The feel of the
1D X was similar and very natural. Someone
who has been using an EOS 7D, however, will
find the 1D X quite heavy initially.
The basic switches and buttons of the EOS1D X are similar to those of the 1D Mark IV, so
I did not have much manual reading to do. The
1D X menu has changed quite significantly from
the 1D IV, but many of the 1D IV features are
still there. I managed to transfer many of the 1D
IV features that I like into the 1D X, so I was not
starting from scratch. I think someone starting
from the very beginning will have to do quite
a lot of reading to get the very best out of this
Autofocus options
The biggest hurdle to jump with the 1D X is
which AF function to use and how best to fine
tune it.
Aviation is my first love and I also like to
photograph large model aircraft. I write articles
for one of the top UK model magazines, covering
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Shows for 2013
Here are a few of the
model aircraft shows
scheduled for 2013.
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Air Show (south
11, 12 May
Vː?WMÖĆjË ajË‰ÁË
Show (near Camberley),
18 May
VË8jÄ͝™Ë+?ÁË ajË
Airshow (Shropshire),
14, 15, 16 June
VË.Ö͆jÁ™Ë ajË
Airshow, Headcorn
Aerodrome, near
14, 15 September
For further information
enter the show name
into an internet search
engine. Shows subject to
change or cancellation.
model air shows put on by the Large Model
Association (LMA).
Model aircraft are quite hard to photograph
and get really sharp pictures because, unlike full
size aircraft, their flight is a little more erratic and
in terms of scale speed they are moving a lot
When I got the EOS-1D IV I went over to my
local model flying field and practised on those
models. I would fine tune the 1D IV after each
session until I got the best balance and had the
optimum performance. However, it still took
several shows before I was completely happy
with the camera.
I did not have this luxury with the EOS-1D X.
The next LMA show was on 11 August 2012. I
intended the 1D X to be my backup camera, just
using it for static shots. The Saturday morning
started off dull and grey, not very interesting for
pictures of flying aircraft. I had nothing to lose
by taking some practice pictures with the 1D X.
When I reviewed the first few pictures I could
not believe how good the clarity and sharpness
was. I was astounded and continued to use the
1D X for the whole of the weekend.
When I photograph a model aircraft
show over a whole weekend I expect to take
somewhere in the region of 1500+ frames
depending on how many models are being flown
and the prevailing weather conditions. This
gives me plenty allowance for chopping bits of
models off (my poor framing) and pictures that
suffer from a bit of soft focus. I would estimate
that a good 10% of pictures are immediate throw
aways. However, I found the EOS-1D X autofocus
was so fast and accurate that I did not need to
take an excessive number of pictures. I shot 1079
frames of which only eight pictures were slightly
soft focus.
Above If you are familiar wth the EOS-1D Mark IV (above left), you will quickly get to
grips with the similar layout of controls on the EOS-1D X (above right).
Autofocus menu
In the AF config menu I opted for Case 4 (for
subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly). I
made some minor adjustments – all very easy to
do – and that was about it.
I wasn’t until I got home and downloaded
the pictures that I realised just how good the
EOS 1D X is. The colours look fantastic and the
sharpness of the pictures is superb. I thought the
1D IV was good, but the 1D X leaves it standing!
I found I can crop pictures (such as the Red
Bull image below) which previously I would not
have bothered with because they would have
lost a degree of sharpness. This is not the case
with the 1D X – the AF is very accurate.
Above AF Case 4 (left) suited the movement of model aircraft. Info screens (right) help
you to set the camera without constant reference to the instruction manual.
I would say anyone upgrading from an EOS 1D
IV to a 1D X will have a reasonably easy time
getting it set up because the two cameras are
similar in many ways.
Even photographers new to the 1D X will
find it fairly straightforward because there is
a help option within the camera – carrying the
instruction manual around is not a necessity. H
Opposite page EOS-1D X, EF 300mm f2.8L IS USM with
Extender EF 1.4x, 1/1250 second at f9, ISO 400,
Above EOS-1D X, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM at
400mm ,1/1250 second at f10, ISO 400.
Above top EOS-1D X, EF 300mm f2.8L IS USM with
Extender EF 1.4x,1/1250 second at f6.3, ISO 400.
Above EOS-1D X, EF 300mm f2.8L IS USM with Extender
EF 1.4x, 1/1250 second at f9, ISO 400.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Card protection and image recovery
Protect & recover
Memory cards are portable, fast and reliable, says Tracy Hallett. Unfortunately
human error and physical damage can occasionally cause them to lose valuable
data. Thankfully, there are ways to protect and recover your precious files.
They might look like disposable pieces of
plastic, but memory cards have been helping us
to store and manage digital data for almost two
These lightweight devices come in
many forms, but EOS cameras use either
CompactFlash (CF) or Secure Digital (SD) cards.
Some models accept both.
The success of these cards can be attributed
to three main factors – portability, speed and
The average CF card weighs just 10g and
measures 43mm on the longest edge; the
average SD card weighs 2g and measures
32mm on the longest edge, making them truly
CF and SD cards can transfer data at
breakneck speeds (in 2011 SanDisk unveiled the
128GB Extreme Pro, a CF card offering a write
speed of 100MB per second).
Finally, CF and SD cards are non-volatile –
they need an electrical current to read and write
data, but they don’t require a power supply
to store this information. We have read that a
CF or SD card stored at room temperature will
maintain images for at least 10 years – though
we have not been able to test this! Here at EOS
magazine we do not recommend using the
cards for long-term storage – once the images
have been transferred to a computer we format
and reuse the cards.
These attributes make flash memory cards
sound like the ultimate image capture solution.
They should serve you well, providing you take
a few simple precautions in use.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Above The EOS 5D Mark
III accepts a CF card and
an SD card. Each image
you shoot can be saved to
the card of your choice, or
to both cards at the same
time (see screen below),
giving an immediate
backup. Other cameras
with dual CF/SD card slots
are the:
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VË#.ˆ¤ÄË ?ÁË±Ë
The EOS-1D X has dual CF
card slots.
When digital data becomes unreadable it
is usually due to one (or a combination) of
three things: human error, hardware failure or
software issues.
With memory card capacities rising all of
the time (in 2012 Lexar introduced an SD card
offering 256GB of storage) it is tempting to buy
the largest capacity card you can afford. This
increases the number of images you can save
before the card is full.
However, putting all your eggs in one basket
might be a risky strategy. Some photographers
prefer using two 4GB cards rather than one 8GB
card, or two 8GB cards in place of one 16GB
card, reasoning that it is better to spread images
across two cards and only lose half the images if
a card fails, rather than having all the images on
one card that fails.
Other photographers argue that the greatest
risk to a card is when you remove it from and
insert back into the camera – using one large
capacity card reduces the number of times you
need to insert it into the camera (or card reader).
On this basis, it might be better to leave the
card in the camera all the time and download
images to your computer via the USB cable.
In practice, the best method is the one that
suits you. The average card should handle
around 10,000 camera inserts before wear and
tear takes its toll. This is equivalent to inserting
the same card into your camera or card reader
twice a day, every day for almost 14 years. By
which time, cameras will probably have followed
the EOS 6D lead and be able to save all images
direct to cloud-based storage.
Card protection
Write cycles and wear-levelling
Write-protect tabs
Most SD cards feature a write-protect tab
(above), which prevents data from being
transferred to the card and overwriting
information currently stored on it.
If you fill a card with images and replace it
with an empty card, it is good practice to lock
the full card until you have an opportunity to
transfer all the images to a computer. This is
very useful if you take a number of cards on
holiday. If you accidentally insert a locked card
into the camera, you will not lose any images.
You can still read images from a locked card on
your camera, or download them to a computer.
Protecting CF cards
CF cards do not have a write-protect tab, so
you need an efficient system to make sure that
cards full with images are not put back into
the camera. At EOS
magazine we use the
Gepe ExtremeCard
Safe (£15.95 from the
EOS magazine Shop).
This protects up to
four CF or SD memory
cards against dust,
humidity, shock and
electrostatic charge.
It is also crushproof and waterproof, plus it will
float if dropped into water.
More importantly for us, it comes in four
different colours. We start off with the cards
in a black safe and, as they are used they are
transferred to the yellow safe. Once we get
back to a computer, images from the cards in
the yellow safe are downloaded. It’s a fail-safe
system – so far!
Above If you insert a
locked SD card (left) into
your camera and try to
take a picture a message
will appear on the camera
screen and the shutter will
not fire.
Above CF and SD cards
have different methods of
connecting to the camera.
The CF card uses 50
connectors arranged in
two rows of 25. Matching
pins are in the camera. As
the card is inserted, the
pins mate with miniature
sockets on the end of
the card. There is a risk
if the card is not inserted
square and excessive
pressure is used of one or
more pins in the camera
becoming misaligned. It
has happened once to an
EOS magazine camera.
We realigned the pin using
a pair of tweezers and
everything has been fine
Above SD cards have nine
metal contacts which mate
with matching contacts
inside the card slot of the
camera. The only risk here
is of the card contacts
getting dirty and it is easy
to clean these with a soft,
dry cloth.
How many times can you write data to a CF or
SD card? Much depends on the card and its
design, but for cards aimed at professional and
enthusiast photographers it could be as high as
100,000 write cycles.
However, this is a lot more than it sounds. A
write cycle refers to the number of times you can
write to each sector of the card. A sector is the
smallest addressable unit of storage. If you fill a
card with several hundred images, you will only
be writing to each sector once. So you should
be able to write millions of images to the card
during its working life.
All this is made possible by a technique called
‘wear-levelling’. If the first images saved to a
newly-formatted card were always saved to
the early sectors, the life of the card would be
reduced. Instead, images are saved to different
sectors each time so that each sector receives a
fair share of the work. The wear to each sector is
levelled out so that no sector is over-used.
More than
average use
Average use
Less than
average use
Above The storage area of a CF or SD card is made up of
a large number of addressable sectors (many more than
the 64 sectors illustrated here). If the sectors were always
filled from top left to bottom right, the sectors in the
top left would wear out before those in the bottom right
(above left). Wear-levelling spreads the load so that each
sector is addressed by the same amount (above right).
In practice, it is unlikely that you will ever
wear a card out. Even if we take a low estimate
of a working life of 2.5 million images for a card,
you will need to shoot almost 350 images a day,
every day, for 20 years to come close.
Incidentally, reading data from a CF or SD
card causes no wear whatsoever.
Of course, this does not mean that a card will
never give problems. The storage sectors in the
card can corrupt, or electrical connections come
apart. However, given the number of cards sold,
the level of failure is very low. A CF or SD card
is one of the most reliable parts of the digital
photographic process.
Surviving fire, water, X-rays and almost everything else life throws at them
A couple of years ago we featured the
story of an EOS 7D reduced to a charred
lump in a car fire (left). The SD card
inside the camera survived intact and the
image files were downloaded without
any problems (EOS magazine, OctoberDecember 2010, page 10).
There are many stories on the internet
of cards left in the pockets of shirts or
jeans and surviving several wash cycles in
a washing machine.
SD and CF cards are not affected by
X-ray security devices at airports. You can
drop a card from a high building and it will
usually escape unharmed. A few years ago
we ran over a card with the wheel of a car –
the card continued to function.
The cards are not totally indestructible
– drop them into a furnace or a beaker of
sulphuric acid and you can wave goodbye
to the images. But you can use them in
temperatures from -25°C to +85°C. It is this
durability which allows manufacturers to
offer generous warranties (see next page).
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Card protection and image recovery
Your EOS instruction
manual says that you
should switch the
camera off before
removing or inserting
a CF or SD card. This
is excellent advice –
which we rarely follow
at EOS magazine.
There is a microswitch
in the card cover.
Above A microswitch in
Opening the cover
the card compartment
switches the camera
cover turns the camera off
off just as efficiently
as it is opened.
as turning the camera
off with the main power switch.
The same is true of the battery compartment
cover – opening this also turns the camera off
before you remove the battery.
Above Switching the camera off or removing the CD or SD card while the access light is
blinking can damage the image file or even corrupt the entire card.
Access lamp
One of the things you must never do is switch the camera off or try to
remove the CF or SD card while the access lamp is flashing red. This lamp
is in the bottom right of the camera back, close to the card compartment
cover. When the access lamp is lit or flashing, images are being written to
or read from the card, or they are being erased.
Card formatting
Lifetime limited warranties
Many manufacturers offer a ‘lifetime limited
warranty’ on their CF and SD cards. This
is a nonsense phrase – an oxymoron. The
warranty either lasts a lifetime or it is limited –
it can’t be both at the same time.
Even the term ‘lifetime warranty’ can be
disingenuous, since it refers to the lifetime of
the product rather than that of the purchaser.
Is the product lifetime open-ended, a fixed
period, or so many years after the product has
been discontinued? It is rarely made clear.
Fortunately, some countries – Germany
and Canada, for example – ban the use of
these terms and force the manufacturers to
specify a fixed term warranty. Even this is not
straightforward. SanDisk, for example, offer a
5-year warranty on their least expensive cards
in Germany, but a 30-year warranty on their
top-of-the range cards.
Despite these criticisms of the marketing
terms the warranties themselves are generous.
Some other products come with a 5-year
warranty, but we can’t think of any other
product which offers a 30-year warranty.
5-year warranty
30-year warranty
Above Different cards, different warranty periods. The
warranties themselves are generous, but the length
of the warranty period is not always made clear. The
warranties quoted here are for Germany and Canada,
which do not allow the terms ‘lifetime warranty’ or
‘limited lifetime warranty’.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
Some photographers fill a CF or SD card with
images and then buy a new card and start all
over again. Even if the images are transferred
to a computer, the cards are left untouched
as a backup. It is not a method we would
recommend, but it suits some people.
Generally, once you have transferred all the
images it is time to format the card so that you
can use it to capture a new set of images.
Although you can insert the card into a
reader and format it using a computer, we don’t
recommend this either. Any CF or SD card is
best formatted in the camera where it will be
used. This avoids compatibility issues.
Standard formatting appears to delete all
the images from the card, leaving you with an
empty card for your next session. However,
appearances are deceptive. Standard formatting
only wipes a directory – the file management
system – so that the camera cannot see the
images on the card. The images are still there,
but are overwritten as you make new exposures.
Most of the time, standard formatting is all
you need – and is all that is available on some
EOS models. However, sometimes the directory
does not clear correctly, or the write speed
of the card slows down, or the card becomes
corrupted. Rather than throwing the card away,
you can try a ‘low-level’ format, if available on
your camera.
Low in this context means deep. It wipes not
only the directory but also the images, returning
the card to the state it was in when new. Cards
which appear corrupted and unusable will
sometimes return to life after a low-level format.
If you are passing a card on to a friend, a
low level format is a good idea, if available,
especially if the card contains images you do not
want others to see.
If you are throwing a card away (perhaps a
low capacity card you no longer use) and do
not have a camera with low level formatting, a
hammer and chisel can be just as effective.
Above ‘Format card’ is
a Set-up (spanner) menu
option. Press the SET
button to go to the next
Above This screen shows
the used space on the
card. If you click OK, all
images will be lost (see
next page). Not all cameras
offer Low level formatting.
Above To do a Low level
format, press the trash can
button on the camera. This
will give a check mark next
to the Low level format
line. Select OK and press
SET to proceed.
EOS cameras with
low-level formatting
EOS 1D Mark II N,
1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV (but
not EOS-1D X)
EOS 1Ds Mark III
EOS 6D, 5D Mark III, 60D
EOS 450D, 500D, 550D,
600D, 650D
EOS 1000D, 1100D, M
Image recovery
Whether you have accidentally deleted data, or
suffered a card malfunction, it’s tempting to take
a few shots just to see if the card is still working.
Stop right there. If you save more images to
the card you might overwrite the original data,
seriously hindering the recovery process.
At this point, there’s no need to panic. Most
CF and SD cards use a File Allocation Table (FAT)
to help them determine where the files begin and
end. When you delete an image (or format a card
using the standard option) what you’re actually
doing is removing the marker for the file, not
the data it contains – effectively your pictures
are still on the card, just temporarily lost. If you
resist the urge to carry on shooting or format the
card the files should be relatively easy to restore
using simple data recovery software.
There are plenty of data recovery tools on the
market, but before you make a selection there
are a number of precautions you should take.
First, make sure that your spyware and virus
protection software is up-to-date – downloading
any program to a computer involves a small
element of risk, so this will help to minimise any
potential threat.
Second, where possible, copy the contents of
the damaged memory card onto your desktop
using an external card reader – this will allow
you to experiment with data recovery options
while still preserving the original data.
Recovery software
When it comes to choosing suitable data
recovery software, consider the severity of your
situation. If you’ve simply pressed the Erase
button, then a free recovery package may be
enough to restore order. But if the card has been
physically damaged (or formatted using the Low
level option) you may require more advanced
Before you commit yourself, see if there is a
free demo available – a trial version should allow
you to preview the files that will be recovered if
you go ahead with the purchase (the images will
usually have a banner across them to prevent
you from downloading them without paying).
Finally, make sure that the program meets all
of your technical needs. Some recovery tools
restore JPEG, TIFF and raw files, but are unable
to rescue .MOV (movie) files – make a note of
which file types are on your card.
Check whether the package works on a PC or
a Mac and which version of the operating system
it requires to run efficiently.
Finally, check the small print to see how much
space you will need to save the files to your
computer (if you double the capacity of your
memory card it will give you a fair idea).
Most of us will lose digital data at some
point, whether through hardware or software
malfunction, overzealous formatting or simple
human error. Caring for your memory cards and
camera equipment will help to reduce the risk of
data and image loss. H
Above SanDisk and Lexar each produce their own file recovery software. We received
a one-year subscription to RescuePro when we bought a Sandisk Extreme Pro CF card.
A wide range of other file recovery software is available, some of it free. Run an internet
search for ‘CF SD file recovery software’ to find some of these packages.
Above and right The Image Rescue 4 package scans the card and then displays
thumbnails of what it finds in the Image Recovery Window. Previously we had formatted
the card, taken three photographs and formatted the card again. The software found the
three images, plus another 75 we had deleted from the card weeks earlier.
BOne of the best ways to
preserve data is to follow
the advice issued by
your computer or camera
manufacturer. Always
eject from a card reader
using the ‘Safely Remove
Hardware’ feature on a
PC, or the ‘Eject’ feature
on a Mac, for example.
In addition, ensure the
card slot (or external card
reader) is empty before
you start up or shut down
your machine.
BIf you’re away from
home, copy important
files onto a portable
storage device, burn
them onto a CD, or
use an online backup
service while keeping
the original files on the
cards. Store used cards in
different places, or post
them home in separate
packages. Hardware
(and software) is under
constant development,
so make sure that your
current storage media is
up-to-date. In addition,
camera manufacturers
occasionally issue
firmware updates that
affect the way your EOS
interacts with storage
devices, so check that
you have the most recent
firmware installed.
Digital data loss
One of the greatest causes of digital
data loss occurs when human error
and technology collide. Modern life has
encouraged us to rush through tasks
– we skim read newspapers and text
while queuing at the supermarket. As a
consequence, when we fill up a memory
card we hurry to remove it from the camera,
sometimes pulling it out while data is still
being written to the media.
Similarly, when we download files to
a computer we sometimes pull out the
card reader (or card) before the transfer of
information is complete. This haste can lead
to file corruption and irreparable data loss.
Naturally some problems are outside
of our control – a power cut may cause
our computer to shut down unexpectedly,
for example – but most of the difficulties
can be overcome by slowing down and
concentrating on the task in hand.
Our desire to get a job done quickly can
also lead us to delete files accidentally, either
individually, or in bulk. Thankfully, images
and video clips erased in this way can usually
be restored using recovery software.
Our experience of recovery software is
quite limited, simply because data loss and
card corruption does not happen very often
– at least, not at EOS magazine. However,
when needed, the software is invaluable.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
A. J. Johnstone & Co Ltd
Authorised Canon Service Centre
395-399 Central Chambers
93 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 6LD
Camera Repair Technicians based in Glasgow, Scotland,
providing a Specialist Repair Service throughout the UK.
Welcome to one of the UK’s leading Photographic Equipment
Repair Specialists, Established over Forty Years and offering
to service your needs not only in Scotland but Nationwide
throughout the UK
Hours of business:
Mon-Fri 9am-5.15pm
Thurs 9am-7pm
Sat 10am-12pm
Tel: 0141 221 2106
Fax: 0141 221 9166
Email: [email protected]
EOS magazine
Free classified advert service
exclusive to EOS magazine subscribers
EOS magazine January-March 2013
The east of England’s
Pro Centre
Get the full Canon EOS experience in-store now
– more kit to try
– full workflow solutions
"! 6 Silver St, Lincoln
Telephone: 01522 514131
e-mail: [email protected]
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EOS magazine January-March 2013
Technique Photographer at work
Freelance diary
Last year, Miles Willis embarked on a career as a freelance photographer. Here he
explains how he began to build his business and his approach to working for clients.
The images are from some of his recent assignments.
When you embark on a freelance career,
it is important to get your name known. I
contacted everyone I knew both personally and
professionally and started blogging weekly.
I realised the importance of old industry
contacts. I had meetings and met people for
drinks. Not everyone could help, but all offered
sound advice. I asked my friends to think of ways
they could find me work and I got the chance to
pitch for a job taking business portraits (which I
didn’t get) and got leads for potential work.
I started to build my networking skills. I called
everyone who was suggested to me and when
an opportunity arose, asked for the chance to
pitch for work. The charity I had been working
for previously took advantage of the fact I was
more available.
Planning and communication
On the quiet days, of which there were many, I
planned the operations of my business. I thought
where I might find new contacts, how I would
present myself on the phone and by e-mail and
worked out how I would deliver the images.
To me, communication is the most important
EOS magazine January-March 2013
thing – being clear and realistic about what
I can offer based on limitations, ability, time
or budget. I take the planning of a shoot very
seriously and always visualise what I want from
the end result. I take pride in being professional,
communicating clearly and answering my phone
and e-mails quickly.
I show my clients enthusiasm, that I love what
I am doing and that I want to produce the best
possible imagery for their company. I don’t have
to try hard at this, because it’s true.
A part of what I do is educate clients about
the process. I work with people who haven’t
used a freelance photographer before and I
never assume prior knowledge. I aim for total
clarity, what I will do, when and in what way.
I try to push myself photographically with
every job, no matter how small. I aim to give
clients exactly what they expect and something
a little extra. For example, on a recent job where
the client requested interiors of a community
centre, I shot portraits of the staff as well.
I sometimes shoot speculatively if a client
hasn’t got a budget at that time. I find out what
they might need, shoot it and more times than
Above I shot this portrait
on assignment for
Invision, the new photo
agency from Associated
Press. The celebrity is
Laura Marano, a Disney
Channel presenter, and I
photographed her in the
Soho Hotel on a press
day. I was given about
30 minutes to think up
the idea, setup, test and
prepare for the shoot,
so I kept it pretty simple.
The room décor made
for a striking backdrop
and it was by happy
coincidence that her jacket
and personality matched
the setup perfectly. The
scene was lit with a single
Speedlite 580EX II in a
54mm Lastolite Easybox
set slightly to the right of
the shooting position.
EOS 5D Mark III, 1/125
second at f4, ISO 800mm,
EF 24-105mm f4L II USM
at 32mm.
not, they will buy the photos from me. I try to
seek future opportunities with the same contact
and find ways for that contact to become a
repeat client. As a result, I’m witnessing a
dramatic improvement in both my photographic
ability and my operation from job to job.
An average week for me is to shoot 20% of
the time. The rest of my time is spent doing
administration, chasing quotes and payments,
calling existing and new contacts, blogging and
coming up with new ideas.
I have designed watertight processes for
image delivery, quoting, invoicing and for noting
down conversations I have had. I have a written
photographic workflow for each job to note
down the settings at shoots, the editing process,
back-up procedure and delivery. This makes
me feel in control of what I am doing, is more
efficient and means I can provide a consistent
standard to my clients.
Meet the client, visit the location
Before a shoot, I get as much information from
the client as I can. I don’t make assumptions and
I ask basic questions. I try to meet with the client
and/or subjects beforehand and if possible visit
the location at the time of day I will be shooting it
to assess the environment and lighting situation.
I visualise the key images that I will be
taking and decide what equipment I need to
achieve that. I work out what additional images
I could provide on the day, if the time is there.
How can I over-deliver and exceed the client’s
expectations? But my objective to deliver more
must never affect the priority to fulfil the brief.
The day before, I check all my equipment,
charge all my batteries, check the memory cards
are formatted and pack my bag. I then plan my
route to the location, check the weather, make
sure I know what time I need to be there and
have the name and phone number of the client
to hand. I aim to arrive early, fully prepared and
calm with a clear understanding of what I want
to achieve from the day.
Every minute I am on a shoot is valuable time
I can spend engaging and learning about the
client or about the people I am photographing. If
working with or photographing people I make an
effort to have constant dialogue, I describe what
I am shooting, why I am shooting from a certain
angle or why I am using a particular lens. People
who are at ease are easier to work with and this
has a direct effect on the pictures.
What works for me is to take lots of pictures,
Things can and do go wrong, people can blink,
the weather can change, your flash can misfire. I
always fill the card – the more frames I take, the
more likely it is that I will get a great picture.
I will be honest and tell a client if I have
missed a key shot and I keep a close eye on the
time, it’s not good to over-run or finish with time
to spare – it shows bad planning. Once a brief
has been fulfilled, I use the remaining time to
try new things, go through the ideas I had prior
to the shoot to give the client more – something
they didn’t ask for. Once I’m done, I always thank
the client for giving me the job and remind them
that I’m available for more work!
Wedding in a Moroccan Villa
This wedding portrait was taken just
outside Essouirra in Morocco. On
walking through the front door for the
first time I was presented with this
stunning arched corridor leading out to
an infinity pool and the Atlantic Ocean.
The advantage to seeing this shot so
early was that I had plenty of time to
work out the elements and make it the
best it could be. The greatest threat to
getting this shot wrong was the timing,
I probably had about half-an-hour after
sunset when this shot was possible.
Too early and the sky outside would
have been without the beautiful post
sunset blue I was after and too late
there would have been not enough
ambient light to balance with the flash.
Working fast I exposed for the sky and
dialed in the corresponding exposure on
two Speedlite 580EX II flashguns. These
were set on their stands either side of
the arch pointed upwards to bounce the
light off the wall and onto the subjects.
The walls were painted a cream colour
and worked well as large, warm bounce
reflectors. I shot this image in raw to allow
for some exposure adjustments. I also did
a small amount of retouching to this shot,
removing some unsightly reflections and
moving one of the pots in the foreground
to maintain the symmetry of the shots.
EOS 5D Mark III, EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM
at 50mm, 1/200 second at f/5.6, ISO 1600.
Shooting travel pictures in the early morning
This image was also taken in Morocco,
this time in Essaouira itself. I was on the
lookout for interesting travel pictures.
I am a contributor to the Getty Images
creative Flickr collection so whenever
the opportunity arises I do my best to
capture saleable travel images. Often
the best landscape images occur when
the sun is low in the sky and this means
getting up very early in the morning.
Shortly after sunrise I spotted this
fisherman sitting on a rock. The sun
was coming up over the horizon and
lighting the strip of rocks he was on.
The toughest part to getting this image
was clambering over rock pools and a
rocky beach covered with the discarded
fish remains. However, small details can
mean the difference between a good shot
and a great one and I wanted to shoot the
fisherman in the clean sky area between
the dark rocks. I knew this would make
the subject stand out better in the frame
and make the picture more striking. Once
in position, rather precariously balanced
with one foot in a rock pool and with halfan-eye on the incoming tide, it was just a
matter of waiting for a few gulls to come
through the frame to add that additional
EOS 5D Mark III, EF 70-200 f2.8L II IS USM
at 120mm, 1/640 second at f8, ISO 200.
See more work from Miles at www.mileswillis.co.uk
January-March 2013
EOS courses
EOS magazine works in association with Experience Seminars to bring you a range
of training courses covering all aspects of EOS photography. The seminars are run at
hotel locations around the UK and also at a fully equipped in-house training centre near
Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. Telephone 01487 772804 for the latest brochure and
further information or e-mail: [email protected]
Introduction to your digital EOS
– practical workshop
Making the most of your digital
EOS Part 2 – advanced overrides
Taking control of your digital
EOS – practical workshop
This course combines a small amount of
theory with a larger amount of practical
Mon 25 Feb PI 130044 London Zoo
Tue 5 Mar
PI 130081 Paignton Zoo
Fri 8 Mar
PI 130095 Marwell Zoo
Mon 11 Mar PI 130093 Dudley Zoo
Thu 4 Apr
PI 130086 Lacock
Thu 18 Apr PI 130066 London Zoo
We make sense of all the individual
settings, explain what they do and which
ones are specifically relevant. We also
look in detail at the camera’s focusing and
metering systems.
Sun 20 Jan EX 130010 London
Sun 27 Jan EX 130012 Manchester
Wed 6 Feb
HS 130015 Huntingdon
Sun 17 Feb EX 130019 London
Sun 24 Feb HS 130022 Huntingdon
Sun 24 Feb EX 130023 Bristol
Wed 13 Mar HS 130025 Huntingdon
Sun 24 Mar EX 130030 London
Sun 14 Apr EX 130091 Eastbourne
This day is split into two, with half spent on
theory and half on practical.
Tues 26 Feb PP 130045 London Zoo
Tues 12 Mar PP 130084 Blists Hill Town
Mon 8 Apr
PP 130058 London
(Syon House)
Fri 12 Apr
PP 130085 Lacock
Tue 2 May
PP130096 London Zoo
Getting started with your
digital EOS
To get the very best images from your
EOS camera you need to understand the
fundamentals of how they work and how
to utilise the different settings. We look at
all the main features of the cameras and
teach you how to avoid basic errors.
Sat 19 Jan
HS 130008 Huntingdon
Sat 19 Jan
EX 130009 Manchester
Mon 4 Feb
HS 130013 Huntingdon
Sat 9 Feb
EX 130042 London
Sat 16 Feb
EX 130017 Bristol
Sat 2 Mar
HS 130046 Huntingdon
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EX 130089 Eastbourne
Thu 7 Mar
EX 130083 Exeter
Sat 9 Mar
EX 130049 London
Sat 16 Mar
EX 130027 York
Sat 16 Mar
EX 130050 Maidstone
Sat 23 Mar
EX 130054 Coventry
Sun 14 Apr EX 130063 Manchester
Tue 16 Apr
HS 130064 Huntingdon
Making the most of your
EOS flash system
Canon external flashguns can bring
a whole new dimension to your
photography. Learn how to make the most
of this valuable accessory.
Tue 22 Jan
HS 130032 Huntingdon
Sat 9 Feb
EX 130043 London
Mon 25 Mar HS 130035 Huntingdon
Making the most of your
Canon EOS software
We look at the software supplied with
the camera that can be used to speed up
and simplify image download, storage,
back-up, processing and printing. We also
take a look at RAW image processing using
Digital Photo Professional (DPP) and why
it will produce superior results for the
majority of users.
Thu 14 Mar HS 130031 Huntingdon
Tue 7 May
HS 130105 Huntingdon
Making the most of your digital
EOS Part 1 – essential overrides
This course is designed to give you a good
familiarity with the camera’s modes and
key overrides.
Sat 19 Jan
EX 130007 London
Sat 26 Jan
EX 130011 Manchester
Tue 5 Feb
HS 130014 Huntingdon
Sat 16 Feb
EX 130018 London
Sat 23 Feb
HS 130020 Huntingdon
Sat 23 Feb
EX 130021 Bristol
Tue 12 Mar
HS 130024 Huntingdon
Sun 17 Mar EX 130051 York
Sun 17 Mar EX 130052 Maidstone
Sat 23 Mar
EX 130029 London
Sat 13 Apr
EX 130090 Eastbourne
Wedding photography with EOS
Flash – practical workshop
A day especially designed for
photographers who either shoot or want
to shoot weddings, but are struggling to
get the results that they want when using
Wed 20 Feb HS 130033 Huntingdon
Tue 26 Mar HS 130036 Huntingdon
Wed 1 May HS 130101 Huntingdon
Making the most of your EOS 7D
This course is designed for photographers
who have just upgraded to the EOS 7D,
which incorporates new technology and
many new features.
Tue 19 Feb
HS 130094 Huntingdon
How to shoot movies with your
digital EOS
We look at how to shoot movies and
handle results. We also show how a short
movie is put together, including editing,
using just the free software supplied with
the camera.
Tue 29 Jan
HS 130039 Huntingdon
Sun 12 May HS 130111 Huntingdon
Understanding Photoshop – 1
Getting started with the program. We look
at effective but simple methods that will
make good images stunning, and fixes for
basic shooting errors.
Tue 12 Feb
HS 130040 Huntingdon
Sat 13 April HS 130061 Huntingdon
Understanding Photoshop – 2
We look at the main controls within the
program for colour, density, saturation and
sharpening adjustments.
Wed 13 Feb HS 130041 Huntingdon
Sun 14 Apr HS 130062 Huntingdon
Need advice on which course
you should start with? Call
Experience Seminars on
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Seminar fees are from £100 per delegate, which includes lunch, refreshments and detailed handouts.
There is a maximum of 20 delegates on our in-house courses and regional events.
Experience Seminars
Experience Seminars is the UK’s number one EOS training provider, and is recommended by EOS magazine and Canon UK. The
company’s offices and in-house training facilities are at Units 1-3, Hill Farm, Wennington, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28 2LU.
In addition to dedicated EOS seminars, Experience Seminars also runs courses covering Photoshop and colour management, as
well as a wide range of practical photography events. For details of all events, call for the latest catalogue or check the website.
EOS magazine January-March 2013
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EOS magazine October-December 2012
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the camera and this is attracted to the sensor.
Again, at EOS magazine we change lenses
with camera switched on and have not suffered
any bad consequences. Mostly, though, we are
changing lenses in areas which are relatively free
of dust. We would be more careful outdoors in
windy conditions.
Another point thrown up by this thread is
that some photographers turn their cameras off
between exposures. This is not necessary and
could lead to missed shots as the camera takes
time to start up again when switched on.
We try to remember to switch the camera off
when it is put away, but that does not happen
every time either.
However, there is no need to change habits
of a lifetime just because another photographer
does things differently. If what you do works for
you, carry on.
Photo thief
Switched on?
There is a thread running on the forum which
asks if it is necessary to switch your EOS camera
off before changing the CF or SD card, battery
or lens. Here at EOS magazine we hardly ever
do. That’s because we long ago discovered that
the camera powers down the moment you open
the card or battery cover. Canon has added
microswitches to the covers to stop people like
us doing damage by forgetting to switch the
camera off at the main switch.
The important rule to follow is never open the
card or battery covers while the red access lamp
is flashing. This lamp, situated near the card
cover, tells you that data is being written to or
transferred from the card. Interrupting this flow
can corrupt one or more image files. This is a
bad thing.
However, the access lamp mostly flashes
for a second or less after you press the shutter
button. For the rest of the time it is dark, so the
risk of corruption is slight.
Changing the lens is a different matter. There
is a school of thought which says that there is a
static charge on the sensor when the camera is
switched on. Removing the lens allows dust into
Above Forum members
have been running an
‘End of Year Showcase
2012’. This has been ably
organised by one of the
members. Voting is now
closed, but you can still
see entries for a short
while at:
The image above is
one of the entries in the
‘Landscape’ category.
Andy Leslie shot it from
one of his favourite
viewpoints – the Pillow
Mounds overlooking
Carreg Cennen Castle, a
few miles from his home
in Llandybie, South West
Wales. The November
sunlight was fading as the
autumnal sun sank into the
west and he caught this
shot, with his favourite
combination, an EOS 7D
and EF 70-200mm f4L USM
zoom with an Extender
EF 1.4x attached. The
exposure was 1/1000
second at f5.6, ISO 160.
Forum statistics
Top poster:
Most replied to thread:
Most viewed thread:
Most popular category:
1 October 2012
colinC with 5702 posts
Family portraits
Sigma v. Tamron lenses
Landscape photography
EOS magazine January-March 2013
4 January 2013
colinC with 6324 posts
Family portraits
Sigma v. Tamron lenses
Landscape photography
One forum member reported that an image he
had posted on Flickr is now appearing all over
the web without any credit or acknowledgement.
Sadly, this is not uncommon. Some people
appear to think that because a photograph is
on the internet it is in the public domain and
can be freely copied and used. Wrong. Laws of
copyright apply equally to the web as elsewhere.
The problem is that tracking down the culprits
is much more difficult. And even if you get your
pirated image removed from one site, it will
probably reappear on several more.
What can you do? One answer is never post
online. If you sell your photos, check the security
of a site before you post (can you download
images from other photographers)? Never e-mail
an image to a friend if you think they might post
it on Facebook. Otherwise, treat piracy as a
compliment – someone likes your work!
Club directory
The forum is a great place to chat to fellow EOS
enthusiasts online, but it can be even better to
meet up from time to time. Forum members
organise occasional events, but camera clubs
are also a great place to get together.
EOS magazine is looking for clubs which have
a good number of experienced EOS owners
among their membership who would will willing
to share their knowledge with new EOS owners.
If your camera club or society qualifies, send
details to [email protected] and we
will add you to the camera clubs page which will
shortly be published on our website.
Many years ago we supported local groups
run by readers. These were less formal than
camera clubs, often meeting at a local pub or
organising local photo shoots. If you would like
to start a local EOS group, let us know (same
e-mail address as above) and we will be in touch
with further details.
F/2.8 STM
EF 24-70MM
MPEG-2, 50MBPS, 4:2:2
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