What I like about the Canon EOS 70D

EOS 70D FSL w EF-S 18-135mm IS STM

You may have noticed from my recent blog posts that I have switched (back) to using a Canon EOS 70D, it took a lot of guts to admit that the Fuji X system that I had invested in was not right for me and would limit my progression in the two areas that I wanted to venture in:

  • Wildlife/Nature photography
  • Portrait/Product photography

The first of these two areas is where the DSLR and its eco-system is still king and not many people will disagree with me on this one – although this could change in the future. The second one is an area where any camera that can remotely fire one or more off camera flashes will do; unless you are using the existing ambient light.

Wildlife Photography
Wildlife by its typical nature is not usually very close to you, most animals’ instincts tell them to be very wary of the human species as we are (or could be) a predator. A lot of wildlife can also move very fast too. These two elements means that you need certain features that the gear I had did not help with:

    Camera:
    The choice of camera is particularly important when it comes to wildlife photography, unless you fully believe the “Its the Photographer not the camera” BS. Here the choice of tool does make a difference. I am not disputing that there is a specific skill-set required that separates the good photographers form the mundane but these photographers also have the tools. The following camera features are the things that I are important to me for wildlife photography:
    • Good fast continuous AF performance – probably the biggest Achilles heel of the X-T1.
    • Good frame continuous shot frame rate – at least 5 fps, the X-T1 had no problems here.
    • Good Buffer – a high fps is useless if you have a small buffer, again the X-T1 had no issues here either.
    • Quick change of controls whilst you are using the EVF – oh oh, here is where the X-T1 with its direct controls was not the best choice.
    • Video – all of the Fuji cameras suck quite badly here, although the quality was OK for me it wasn’t great either and the lack of any real controls caused problems too.
    • Rear Screen – the fully articulated screen of the 70D is superior to the tilt only screen of the X-T1.
    • Cost – the X-T1 body costs more than the EOS70D body even when you factor “kit-lenses” into the costs; yeah I know that the Fujinon XF8-55 lens is not your average kit lens but neither is the Canon 18-135 STM IS either.

    Lenses:
    Simply the more focal length you have the better. Both cameras use APS-C sized sensors so this is an advantage here; I did consider a 6D but the cost and the fact that I will be taking more wildlife photographs nixed this idea – maybe a second-hand one as a second body later?

    The Canon has a small advantage over the Fuji here as its sensor is slightly smaller and therefore has a 1.6 FOV multiplier over the 1.5 multiplier of the Fuji.

    Although Fuji have a super telephoto zoom on their road map it won’t be available until the end of NEXT year and until that time we have to rely on the two zooms the XF55-200mm and XC50-230mm. On the Canon I have a 400mm lens already and can rent greater focal lengths if I need. However, short of winning the lottery I don’t see me purchasing any of the fast aperture Canon Telephoto prime lenses.

    Canon EF 400mm f5.6L USM

    There is a problem with Telephoto prime lenses for all of the mirror-less camera/lens manufacturers that I should point out here. Although Canon, Nikon, Sony and Sigma all make these lenses they don’t sell many this is part of the reason why they cost so much. They sell enough to make a profit and produce a ROI (return on Investment) for them. The market for the various mirror-less markets is much smaller and therefore the owners who require these telephoto prime lenses is therefore really small. Can they release these types of lenses and make a ROI never mind a profit – I’m not so sure unless there is a major switch to mirror-less models. Panasonic have already cancelled one of their higher focal lengths for the MFT market as they don’t think they will be able to sell enough for a ROI.

    Other Features:
    uring Wildlife and Nature photography I like to geocode my pictures and having access to a GPS device that input GPS coordinates directly into the EXINF data of each photo makes my life easy. The Canon GPS device I use (the GP-E2) plugs into the hot-shoe of my 70D, there are no cables and once switched on geocodes the photos as they are created.
    Canon GP-E2
    If I need to use the hot-shoe for a flash device I can then revert to cable that plugs into the USB port of the 70D.

Portrait/Product photography
I am always being asked to take pictures of friends and Family as well as many of the craft products that my mother makes. Until now I have always declined. After reading two great books by Syl Arena I feel more confident that I could at least try, this will be on the understanding that nothing critical or paid will be taken on after all I have a lot to learn.

Taking natural lighting to one side for now you need to consider the lighting equipment and this was always a problem with the Fuji X –system. The Fujifilm flash guns are quite old fashioned and basic and there are no 3rd party options available today although Nissan have announced a TTL compatible “compact” flash unit. I know that there are a myriad of third party manual flashes around an many of these have radio wireless remote control and firing facilities. However support in the UK is lacking and after trying to source a complete set-up I gave up as I didn’t fancy importing the gear or liaising with the European supplier that isn’t UK based.

After I switched I have noticed that Damien Love grove has set himself up as a UK supplier of the Cactus V6 units and flashguns but these are manual only too and he sold out of his initial stock very quickly.

Moving to Canon has opened up a whole world of options to me from TTL to Manual Speedlitte flash and to larger units that are also TTL compatible with Canon cameras too. It may seem that I am obsessed with TTL (automatic) flash and to a certain degree I am. The choice between manual and automatic flash mainly comes down to how variable the flash to subject distance is as, as this varies the amount of flash power needed (the inverse square law is a bitch) and when it is varying constantly you are best using an automatic flash method (i.e. TTL). If you have complete control of the distance then going manual is better.
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
But what the Canon system also gives me is complete control of remote flashes from the ST-E3-RT unit on the camera or from the camera itself if I am using radio communication. If I switch to optical which will be needed if I want to add my old Canon 550EX Speedlite flash to the overall set-up or I can use the built-in flash on my 70D as the transmitter and control the units from my camera’s rear screen or viewfinder.

The RT canon Speedlite/transmitters also support a new group mode (as long as you have an EOS camera released in 2012 or later) that allows different groups to be in difference flash modes (i.e. Manual, TTL, Multi).

I could go on about these benefits nut I have written a 4 part blog post that will be released over the next few days that will go into greater detail.

OOC JPG image, resized and cropped for blog

OOC JPG image, resized and cropped for blog

I finish this post on Sunday evening (27th July) and on this day I did some Wildlife and family photography in the morning and then some portrait photography of my nephew this evening and the EOS 70D performed flawlessly.

FujiFilm to Canon

Following on from many articles that wax lyrical about the virtues of the Fujifilm X system I thought that I would write a post that shows that there is still some way to go before it could be considered a comprehensive system. I have been using the X system for almost half a year now and although there are many great things about it there are still some areas that need more work and some of these are becoming issues for where I want to go photographically. Whilst it is certainly possible (and probably cheaper) to persevere with the X-system it will be much easier to go to another system that has what I need today and not at some point in the future.

So in no particular order the areas I will discuss are as follows:

Lenses
Thanks to their lens road map we know that the lens line-up is improving but I also hope that Fujifilm will look at releasing some of the more “exotic” lenses in 2015. I would like to see some telephoto primes as well as more specialised lenses (such as fisheyes, tilt-shifts and better macro lenses) on next year’s lens road map.

Canon EF 400mm f5.6L USM

Today Fujifilm UK released an updated lens road map and the lens that I was really interested in, the super telephoto zoom has been pushed back to the end of 2015. This is a show stopper for me as it was probably going to be somewhere in the 120-400mm focal range.

Batteries
Although I like the fact that Fujifilm have standardised on a single battery (the WF-120) for or all of their interchangeable lens cameras, it really needs to be updated. The number one criticism of mirror-less cameras in general is their short battery life and Fujifilm cameras are among the worst. Many pro photographers who use Fujifilm ILCs take a large number of batteries on their shoots so that they don’t run out of power – a far cry from the days where a DSLR (especially with a portrait/battery grip) would last all day on a single battery.

Fuji NP-W126 Battery

At some point (when Fujifilm releases one of their new cameras) I expect to see a new battery and unfortunately there is a strong likelihood that this won’t be compatible with the current generation of cameras. Batteries are rarely backwards compatible; however, Fujifilm could surprise us?

Any new battery needs to provide more accurate charge and health information to the cameras that support them. The current information is unreliable and means that you should consider replacing the battery as soon as your camera shows battery life as anything other than full charge as you will only have a few shots left. Almost everyone else has moved to these “intelligent batteries”: Canon, Nikon and Sony for example.

Full TTL Flash System
Fujifilm need a more comprehensive TTL-based flash system. The re-badged Sunpacks are not good enough in this day and age. Whilst you can use Manual flash systems when you have total control of the flash to subject distance, these are no good when this distance is variable.

ef-x20_2

Although the EFXF-20 compact flashgun is a good albeit small flash we need bigger versions with better guide numbers in the same build quality. They need to support all of the various flash modes from second-curtain sync to high-speed sync and have a good wireless system too. I am looking at Radio as well as Optical; this is the way that Canon, Yongnuo and Cactus are going

How about a full TTL Macro flash gun too? Something between Nikon’s R1C1 and Canon’s new MR14 EX II ring flash would be great; add a few TTL cords and you have a fantastic system. I am not the only photographer who would like such a system, we all see this a hole in their otherwise excellent line-up.
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (9)

Off-camera-flash
One of the only things I was missing from my previous Canon set-up is the comprehensive flash system that the EOS based cameras have; this is also shared by a number of their other models such as the EOS M and some of the higher end Power shot models too (i.e. the G1 X).

SPEEDLITE 600EX-RT FSL w STAND

Canon have upped the ante by building in Radio technology to their flagship Flash gun (the £470 Speedlite 600EX-RT) and they have also released a companion flash trigger the ST-E3-RT (now around £240). The “RT” in the model names denote the Radio Technology. Canon’s flash system also supports control of the flash from the camera on most of their models over the last few years; the most recent EOS cameras also support full group modes whereby different groups can be in different modes too. The flash system naturally provides full TTL support (latest version is ETTL-II), second-curtain sync and High Speed sync as well. They have a number of models and two macro-based flash guns with an optical trigger complete their system.

What does Fuji offer in this area?

There are some third party manual only options by these are difficult to source in the UK, they nearly all seem to come from China.

Other missing accessories
When I am taking nature/wildlife pictures I like to have my pictures geocoded and there is simply no Fuji or third party accessory to do this. Both Nikon and Canon have GPS accessories that will inject the coordinates directly into the EXIF of the pictures as they are taken.

There is a very good iOS program called “GPS4Cam” that can perform the same function in a very logical manner. You have to remember to start the application as you commence your photo shoot then take a picture of a QR Code on the phone at the end. The final step is use the Mac/Windows companion software to add the geocode to the EXIF files automatically before importing them to your RAW editor. I wrote a review of the software which goes into greater detail here.

Canon GP-E2

I must admit I prefer the GPS device, of the two out there Canon have the better system as there is no cable required, the transmission of the GPS data is via the hot-shoe.

File Size and RAW conversions
After reviewing some of my RAW files there was something that I didn’t realise until today and that is that the X-Trans II Sensor (X-T1 and X-E2) RAW files are much bigger than the files that I took with the Canon EOS 70D.

  • The Canon EOS 70D RAW files were between 20 and 22 MB
  • The Fuji X-T1/E2 files were between 31MB and 33MB

I also noticed another phenomena, the X Trans sensors in the X-E1 and the X-Pro1 always produced a RAW file that is exactly 24.9MB

The number one RAW conversion software in use today is Adobe Lightroom. And although the software’s interpretation of X-TRANS has improved they still haven’t got the RAW conversion quite right yet; it is debatable if they ever will. Personally I haven’t noticed most of the problems that other people talk about for the pictures that I take; however, this thought will always be in the back of my mind. We don’t seem to have as many problems with DSLR files (well Canon ones anyway), no doubt someone will correct me on this.

Conclusion
So there you have a few reasons why for now the Fujifilm X-system isn’t as mature as some of the DSLR systems out there. Maybe this isn’t fair as they DSLR manufacturers have developed their current systems over many more years. However the reason for the switch is that maturity that they offer today. I would also add that the DSLR companies have squandered some of the time advantage they have had as there are some holes in their systems too; when they realise that the world doesn’t only revolve around full-frame DSLR cameras and lenses we will see these holes close.

The many advantages of the system are now outweighed by the disadvantages (for me anyway) and I will be going back to a more bulky Canon DSLR system that to be frank isn’t that much more bulky. This will allow me to experience their fantastic flash system, add a GPS accessory to my hot-shoe and bring back a vari-angle touch-screen display. Sure, some of the full-frame lenses will be big and heavy but I won’t have many and I will only bring them when I want to use them (EF 400mm L f5.6 lens for example).

EOS 70D FSL w EF-S 18-135mm IS STM

The final point that I would like to make here is that I have tried the X-system twice before and the reasons for leaving then are quite difference to the reasons today. This shows that Fujifilm HAVE progressed much more quickly than many of their competitors and I won’t be surprised if I try the Fuji again – but as a companion and not a replacement camera system. This is unless Canon can figure out what photographers want in a mirror-less system or large sensor compact camera – they may even do this accidentally :).

Fuji update their Lens Road Map

On Thursday 24th July Fujifilm published a slightly updated version of their lens road map as follows:

Fuji July 2014 Road Map UK

The press release for the publicaton can be found on Fujifilm’s website here.

So what’s new and what’s changed? If you compare the above road-map with the previous version:

  • The “High speed Wide Angle Lens” has been confirmed as the XF16mm F1.4 R and instead of its 2014 release date will now be released in mid 2015
  • A new lens, the XF90mm F2 R has been added and will be released in mid 2015
  • According to the roadmap the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS WR lens is now available. I haven’t seen my voucher or the lens yet and we are almost at the end of July, the voucher is only valid to the end of August!
  • The release of the two f2.8 zoom lenses has reversed, now the XF50-140mm F2.8 R OIS WR lens will be released first at the end of this year, the XF15-55mm F2.8 R OIS WR lens will be released in Spring 2015.
  • The “Super Telephoto Zoom Lens” has still not been identified (although the rumors state that this will be 120 to 400mm) and its release has been pushed back to “Winter 2015″. This means December 2015 at the earliest and I won’t be surprised to see this slip into early 2016
  • The Zeiss lenses are all shown as released and I can now find all 3 from most online web stores

Frankly, I’m a little bit disappointed. The lens I was looking forward to (the 120 to 400mm) has been pushed back to the end of NEXT year instead of the end of THIS year. The XF-18-135mm lens is missing in action.

Switching the release of the two f2.8 zooms makes sense to me but why have nearly all of the lenses had their release dates pushed back?

Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II

Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (9)

Back in February this year (12-Feb-2014) Canon released an updated version of their ring-flash; it was called the “Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX”. The new version is the “Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II”, they must have been up all night to come up with that name :).

Canon states the following:

Canon today expands the EOS System with the launch of a new flash, the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II. Designed for specialist DSLR shooters who are passionate about macro photography, it provides incredible flexibility to light and shoot a diverse range of subjects, and features a range of new updates including independent flash head operation, increased responsiveness and enhanced custom functions.

You can read the entire press release here if you wish.

Like the new Canon Speedlite flashguns the new version has the metal foot and is also weather sealed, here it is on a Canon 5D Mark III:
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (15)

As you can see, they have moved the cable coming out of the controller to the opposite side, it was on the right and is now on the left (when viewed from the photographer side of the camera); this stops the LCD, shutter-release and buttons of the camera being obscured by the cable:
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (18)

The flash works with all of the EOS range and is equally at home on an APS-C based camera such as the EOS 70D:
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (20)

Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II key features:

  • Ring-flash design for versatile lighting
  • Independently variable dual flash tubes
  • Powerful performance – guide number 14 (ISO 100)
  • Trigger other flashes wirelessly
  • LED modelling lamps improve low-light focusing
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Fast, silent recycling

Although the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II can be used as an optical wireless master in a multi-flash lighting set-up, it cannot trigger (or be triggered by) radio signals such as from the 600EX-RT or the ST-E3-RT which is surprising as I thought they would be adding this to all of their flash devices now.

The flash can be customised in various ways. Such as changing the back light from green:
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (5)

To orange:
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II (7)

On the subject of the display, it (like the 600EX-RT and the ST-E3-RT) is now a dot-matrix LCD so is more intuitive, it also has a host of new features from the hot-shoe contact cleaning system to the fact that it can be controlled from the camera.

Pricing and availability
Although it was meant be available from April it has only been ready to purchased in the last few weeks; the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II has a SRP of £599.99 which is about £150 more expensive than the mark 1 version.

Why do Nikon and Canon not get Mirror-less?

This is a question that many photographers ask and no-one but Canon and Nikon can truly answer for; however, I have a few views in this so I would like to add my two-pennyworth on this topic.

There are mainly two markets for the potential owners of a mirror-less camera, I am also including fixed lens large sensor cameras in this area too. The first (which Canon and Nikon seem to be at least aware of) is the user who is “upgrading” from a compact camera and/or smartphone and the other is the DSLR or pro user who requires a smaller/lighter model to augment their system.

The first market has a few large holes that need to be sorted out in that the camera manufacturers need to consider that most of the potential buyers are coming from a smart phone. The types and implementation of features on the phone are simply not available on the cameras in today’s market. The answer is not “shoe-horning” an OS like Android onto a camera, they instead need to focus on the best ways that the camera can work with the user’s existing smartphone and now more importantly the cloud where the pictures ultimately need to go to.

However, this post is mostly about the second market – the photographer who wants to augment their existing DSLR kit OR is looking for a smaller and lighter system, which is happening more and more. At the moment (apart from the photographers who must stay “in brand”) photographers just go and buy a Fujifilm X-T1 and a few lenses, the Fujifilm X100s is also another favourite.

Fuji-X-T1 Body+Lens

The second brand they typically choose is Sony with their A7 models and the Alpha-thousand models (i.e. A6000) which used to be called NEX.

The problem here is that these are not made by Nikon or Canon. What exacerbates the problem further is that once these systems are tried the photographer decides to ditch the DSLR kit and go completely mirror-less. Fujifilm now have an almost complete lens line-up and if they sort out the Speed Light (flash) problem and continue with the progress they are making there is less and less reason to keep the DSLR. There are certain areas where the DSLR is still the best choice but if the pace of progress continues as is this might not always be the case; it hasn’t taken Fujifilm that long to create their “X” system.

If the photographer is trying their hand at video the mirror-less cameras are better, the best (consumer?) camera on the market for video today is the Panasonic GH4 – again no Canon or Nikon badge.

I understand that both Canon and Nikon want to protect their DSLR market (which is shrinking anyway) but this doesn’t excuse their efforts that they have produced so far, they are simply not cutting it.

I will make it simple for them – people want a mirror less version of the manufacturers’ DSLR in a small form factor mirror-less camera with a built-in EVF. For Canon this would be a mirror-less EOS and for Nikon a mirror-less D series camera.

Canon
Canon already have the EOS-M which has had abysmal support and the creation of the lenses has been lethargic at best and frankly the line-up is mostly consumer slow zooms – contrast this with Fuji which has a fantastic range of fast glass or Olympus/Panasonic with their comprehensive ranges.

Canon EOS M

Canon’s mirror-less system is based on their APS-C (1.6 crop factor) sensor. Take the sensor from the EOS 70D and stick this in the mirror-less body, give us the mode dial back add two control wheels and then an EVF and voila here is the true EOS-XM (next gen stuff usually has an “X” in there somewhere). Add a few fast EF lenses and the two f2.8 zooms users want and you have the system that the pro’s would want to use.

Canon EOS 70D with 18-55mm lens

You could even produce one that is more based on the rebels without an EF but you can add the EVF you created for the PowerShot G1X Mark II.

Powershot G1 X II

On the subject of the PowerShot G1X, the next version should be essentially the EOS-XM but with a fixed zoom – the sensor would obviously be the same size of the existing G1X.

Also ensure that all three models retain their Canon hot-shoe and continue something that the EOS-M is doing right – keep the full Speedlite flash control in place too. Whilst we are at it provide the capability to use the add-on GPS device too. Naturally all of them will have Wi-Fi with a full remote control capability – something like we have for the EOS 6D and 70D but much better!

Nikon
Nikon have a fairly decent range of glass and only a few additions would be necessary, their waterproof mirror-less models are also good.

Nikon V2 Black

However the Nikon “V”range has to go under the “what where they thinking?” question box. There is no coherency here and every model has been completely different to the prior models. I just cannot fathom what possessed them to go from the nice form factor of the V1 to the ugliness of the V2 to the sheer foolishness of removing the EVF from the V3. The V3 is now actually much larger than before and much more expensive than the Nikon D7100 (and this includes the fact that the D7100 comes with a much better lens)!

Nikon V3

Nikon – go back to the V1 design; change the mode wheel for one from the D7100. In fact base the V1 (we’ll also use an X here and call it the VX1) on the D7100. Upgrade the EVF to a newer version, the body will have to be slightly bigger. Resist bunging everything in menus, gives us a touch screen that is either tillable screen (like the Sony models) or a vari-screen (like the Canon 70D). Base the menu system on the one of you DSLRs too.

Nikon D7100 Top nolens

Like Canon Nikon also have some high-end fixed lens models (Coolpix A and P7800), these should also be based on the VX1 but with a fixed lens, they should also be cheaper too.

Coolpix A (front)

Cost and final Points
Finally, regardless of who makes what, the new mirror-less models cannot cost more that the nearest comparable DLSR in the same range. If they cost more, most of the potential customers will either buy the DSLR instead or go somewhere else. The photographer who wants to augment their existing kit might be more willing if they haven’t already got bored and gone somewhere else.

Canon and Nikon – you need to wake up and understand that the DSLR market is shrinking and that the mirror-less model cameras are going to be used more and more. If you want those mirror-less models to have your badges on them, now is the time to do something about it or risk either not being the top two or possibly oblivion!

Buttons and Dials

If there is one constant in the world today it is that every camera on the market has at least one of these. Some of them such as the EOS-M or the Leica-T don’t have many of them as they rely on a touch-screen interface to control many of their settings; however this is the exception and not the rule for ILC’s – Interchangeable Lens Cameras.

Fuji-XE2-V2-FW-Pic2

One of the latest phenomena at the moment is that a large number of cameras, particularly the mirror-less models are going “retro” in that they are returning to the older control methods of the earlier film cameras. For example the return of the shutter speed dial, aperture rings (on the lens) and in some cases even an ISO dial. The best, and most extreme example of this is the Fujifilm X-T1:

Fuji X-T1 top-plate (no lens)

Most of the Fujinon lenses have aperture dials too; the only exception here are the cheaper XC lenses and the XF 27mm f2.8 which is too narrow to have one:

XF27mm

Even Panasonic which has until now followed the more usual D-SLR route of using “context sensitive” control dials to change settings has added an aperture ring to their expensive 42.5mm f1.2 Leica prime lens:

Panasonic 42.5mm-f1.2

Although Olympus follow the older SLR “style” for their models, they are still using DSLR style controls for their models.

One of the more unusual cameras out there is the Nikon Df; Nikon states that the “F” is for Fusion”, but other says it is for “Fail”, you make the choice. Here they which tried to produce a digital 35mm full-frame model with retro-style controls and in the end showed how not to do this. The main issue is that depending on which mode you are in and/or options chosen, the values on the dials may or may not be in effect. It also doesn’t help that they removed the aperture dials from nearly all of their current lens line up (the lenses with “G” in the model number) so you cannot use this method to change the aperture; Fujifilm were very smart here as nearly all of their lenses have an aperture dial.

Nikon Df with 50mm f1.8 lens

The second issue is that this does not do video; for some reason Nikon decided to disable this, I think that this is something about maintaining the “retro” feel. The entire market of the mirror-less model cameras (retro style, retro control or otherwise) have the ability to record video. The big shame of it all is that the Df has the D4 sensor in it which produces gorgeous files; if only they had put this into the D800 body.

Is there a point?
My feelings towards the retro style controls is no secret (I am not a big fan); the main advantage is that you can see what the camera is set to been if switched off. The big disadvantage is that they cannot be set as part of a custom setting and there is always the chance that various buttons need to be pressed to change their settings. You are also limited to what you can do remotely if a hard-coded dial is used. Fuji however seem to have overcome this problem as their remote control software ignores the dials but you are locked-out of the camera when in this mode.

I prefer the DSLR “context-sensitive” style controls and find that the Canon EOS models present the best way of selecting any changes to modes as there are very few hard-coded control dials. The Panasonic and Sony (to a certain extent) don’t have them either. Nikon is probably the worst for this as they even on their flagship cameras have too many specific dials for the drive mode and metering mode, until recently they still had a wheel on the front of the camera to select the different focusing models (Continuous AF, Single AF and Manual AF); however to select MF you still need to turn a specific dial.

EOS 7D Top Plate

EOS 7D Top Plate

Canon puts the main settings next to the LCD adjacent to the main control dial although their last two iterations of their “XD” line-up (the 60D and the 70D) have reduced the settings available meaning that the White Balance and the Flash exposure compensation settings are now buried in menus.

EOS 70D Top Plate

EOS 70D Top Plate

Contrast this to Nikon’s current pro APS-C camera the D7100 (as well as the D7000 before it and the lower models) which have decided that the ISO button should be on the back of the camera to the left of the LCD. At least the higher models (as well as the now discontinued D300/D300s) have this select-able on the top of the camera although I’m not sure if the left side of the pentaprism is much better.

So although I have a preference for how I wouldl ike to control the settings on my camera I am not everybody and everybody is different; if we weren’t the world would be a very boring place.

New firmware updates available for multiple Fujifilm camera models

Kaizen

A few weeks ago Fujifilm released a large number of updates for nearly all of the X-Series cameras as follows:

  • X-Pro1
  • X-E1
  • X-E2
  • X-T1
  • X-A1
  • X-M1
  • XQ1

The only X Series cameras missing fom the list (i.e. didn’t get an update) are the X-100, X-100s, X-10, X-20 and the XQ1′s predecessor the XF1. Most of the updates wouldn’t apply to all of them, however there are a few weird omissions.

Full details of the updates provided by the updates can be found on Fujifilm’s website here.

To help I have created a table that compares the options for the main interchangeable lens X-Series cameras as follows:

Camera: X-Pro1 X-E1 X-E2 X-T1
Feature:
Firmware Version 3.30 2.30 2.10 1.10
XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Compatibility Yes Yes Yes Yes
Improvement of “Exposure compensation / exposure indicator” in EVF No No No Yes
Improvement of Movie Record Button No No No Yes
Fix for Interval Timer Setting No No No Yes
Change of Aperture Display for Zoom Lenses Yes Yes Yes No
Direct print capability with SP-1 Printer No No No No

Note: XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Compatibility also applies to the X-A1 and the X-M1, the capability to directly print to the SP-1 printer is provided to these cameras as well as the XQ1 compact camera. I’m not sure why this hasn’t been provided to any of the other WiFi capable X-Series cameras at this time.

I always recommend waiting a few days before installing firmware updates in case there are any bugs. However, in this instance there has been no reports (that I have heard) of any issues with these updates.

Full details of the update are as follows (taken from Fujifilm’s website here):

X-T1

Version number : 1.10 (current 1.00)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Improvement of “Exposure compensation/exposure indicator” in EVF
    Values are added to the scales of the indicator for better visibility
  • Improvement of Movie-record button operability
  • The phenomenon is fixed that images are not recorded with the set interval when “INTERVAL” in “INTERVAL TIMER SHOOTING” is set to 5 sec or less. In this case, the setting of “IMAGE DISP.” in “SCREEN SET-UP” will change to “OFF” automatically.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-T1 camera

X-Pro1

Version number : 3.30 (current 3.20)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Change of aperture display for zoom lenses
    Display of aperture value when zooming with the shutter button pressed halfway will become same as the display when zooming without the shutter button pressed.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-Pro1 camera

X-E1

Version number : 2.30 (current 2.20)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Change of aperture display for zoom lenses
    Display of aperture value when zooming with the shutter button pressed halfway will become same as the display when zooming without the shutter button pressed.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-E1 camera

X-E2

Version number : 2.10 (current 2.00)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Change of aperture display for zoom lenses
    Display of aperture value when zooming with the shutter button pressed halfway will become same as the display when zooming without the shutter button pressed.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-E2 camera

X-M1

Version number : 1.20 (current 1.10)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “instax SHARE SP-1″
    Images can be directly transferred to the “SP-1″ from a camera and then printed.
  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Change of aperture display for zoom lenses
    Display of aperture value when zooming with the shutter button pressed halfway will become same as the display when zooming without the shutter button pressed.
  • Sound quality of while shooting movie is improved.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-M1 camera

X-A1

Version number : 1.20 (current 1.10)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “instax SHARE SP-1″
    Images can be directly transferred to the “SP-1″ from a camera and then printed.
  • Addition of compatibility with “XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6R OIS WR”
  • Change of aperture display for zoom lenses
    Display of aperture value when zooming with the shutter button pressed halfway will become same as the display when zooming without the shutter button pressed.
  • Sound quality of while shooting movie is improved.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your X-A1 camera

XQ1

Version number : 1.20 (current 1.10)

Details of changes:

  • Addition of compatibility with “instax SHARE SP-1″
    Images can be directly transferred to the “SP-1″ from a camera and then printed.
  • Fixes an issue where, in rare cases, a camera could stop working during image transfer when starting “PC AutoSave” function by pressing the Wi-Fi button.

Further details and instructions on how to update the firmware in your XQ1 camera