Canon 50D RAW support from Adobe

Well – you’ve got to love the internet. I had recalled that the 4.6 RAW release candidate from Adobe supported several new cameras completely and thought it covered the 450D – after a bit of googling, I found that 4.6 does have "preliminary" RAW support for new camera models including both the 450D and the 50D.  I already had the 4.6 update and PhotoShop CS3 happily opened up the 50D files… You can find info about it here:

labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php?title=Camera_Raw_4.6

UPDATED:
Well – the Adobe RAW 4.6 release candidate has become an official release with full support for the 50D (the release candidate only had . Rather than post links to all the different flavors – (Win, Mac, Win + DNG, Mac + DNG), you can see them all here:

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/new.jsp

As for Lightroom support – it turns out it too is out there. Lightroom 2.1 ‘release candidate’ (their name for final beta) has the same camera support as the 4.6 update, so you can read about it and get the download here:

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2008/09/

It is now downloaded and installed on my computer – and a quick test (as I need to be focusing on "work" right now) came out just fine.

More ISO tests to be blogged about this evening…

Thanks for reading!

Canon 50D – High ISO – JPGs

High ISO examination.

Seems simple enough, no?

No… actually it isn’t…

If it were just a smaller shift in resolutoin like the change from the 30D to the 40D – it would have been easier; just shoot matching sets of shots and review… easy.

With the increase to 15.1 MP, (a jump of 50% in sensor resolution) there enters a larger degree of difficulty. Some sites have up-converted 40D images to the 50D size then cropped… This doesn’t make sense to me as you will now distort the 40D image. Others have down-converted the 50D image down to the 40D resolution and then they crop, but again – you may lose detail and hide (or magnify) issues w/ the 50D issue…

For this first pass (and, the more I think about it, the other passes too) I’m going to leave the images posted at their orig resolution, so the 50D images (consistently on the bottom of the paired images) will appear slightly magnified. Just seemed this was the best route.

Okay – that aside – the setup I used was to put a random selection of itmes onto a wooden trivet propped up on my kitchen counter. I put a cap to the left and matched the angle of the trivet to match the angle of the front of the cap so there would be little DoF issues between focus on the cap stitching and the coins/trivet.  I setup my tripod and camera to shoot as square as I could to this, zoomed in to 105mm on my EF 24-105 f4L IS lens, and set both cameras at Manual, f5.6, and then adjusted ISO and shutter speed per image. I left my battery grip w/ L-bracket mounted in the tripod and swapped out bodies and lenses. A "photodisc" was used to set custom white balance for both cameras and I used live view (w/ manual focus) to focus, and a remote trigger to avoid camera shake. The cameras were set to save both .jpg and RAW files. This post only shows the JPGs. Picture style was set to "Standard" (essentially neutral w/ 3 for sharpening) on both cameras, and all noise reduction were set to off (not the default – this had me turn off the 50D default of "standard" in the "High ISO speed noise reduction" setting). To avoid unwanted tweaking – I avoided Lightroom and stuck with PhotoShop, and all images are saved out as JPG at 100 quality.

Here is an image of the setup:

Setup

Different items for dark texture (the cap and the piece of charcoal colored cardboard), fine detail (the grain in the wood), and shiny metal as that seems to be difficult to get.  I had thought to show examples from many areas, but practicality drove me to find one area that seemed to have a bit of each so I settled on this: (40D at top – 50D below):

Compare100

With that as a benchmark, here are the comparison images between matching ISOs. So 1600 and 3200 are no big deal – each is a valid setting on both cameras (tho you are really pushing the ISO on the 40D to get 3200 – thus the (H) in the LCD when you use it), but with 6400 and 12,800 (H1 and H2 on the 50D) there is no similar setting. Since those don’t exist, I’ve left the 3200 ISO image in for comparison:

Compare1600 

Compare3200

Compare6400

Compare12800

If figured that you may also want to see each camera’s test images next to each other:

40D 1600 and 3200(H):

40dhighiso

50D 1600 – 12,800 (H2):

50dhighiso

This brings a close to the jpg portion of our program… More postings as I’ve the chance to get the RAW files through DPP.

Thanks for reading!

Canon 50D vs. 40D – Screen

Okay – so one of the most obvious features – well – perhaps other than the extra 50% boost to image resolution – is the upgrade to the LCD monitor on the back of the camera.  The diagonal measurement remains the same – 3" – but there has been a bump from 230,000 pixels to 920,000 pixels.

In short – WOW. The main thing you see is a more continuous tone to the image, and when you zoom in, you can get a much better idea as to if your shot is sharp or not.

Again, you will need to pardon my louse P&S photography skills (or lack thereof) for these photos, but I’ll admit it – I was lazy and didn’t want to use the SLRs to shoot each other’s screens… the Casio P&S in Macro mode seemed to do the trick pretty well.  The one thing it did have problems with was showing the color in the screens. They both do show pretty accurate color – the images of the screens just don’t show it – again – chalk that up to me.

This first pair of photos is of the same jpg (from a 50D) shown on both screens. The differences in tonal display and most notably the shadows along the top and overall contrast was not as different. You should look more at the sharpness of the images – the detail on the front of the cap, and the coin detail as well. The top images is from the 40D – the lower image is from the 50D:

Screen1

Screen2

The display is just overall sharper and clearer – even before you zoom in.

The next pair of images are from my ISO tests (yes – they will be posted soon), showing the same image from both cameras – EF 24-105 f4L IS @ f5.6 for 1/2 second at 100 iso. The cameras both had their image enhancements turned off or to a basic setting. Picture style of "standard" on both, high ISO speed noise reduction off, and I had the Auto Lighting Optimizer turned off on the 50D. I had thought about using the same exact image for both tests for zoom in, but figured that the 40D can’t shoot a 15.1 MP jpg, to view a 15.1 MP jpg may exaggerate the 40D’s screen a bit. I decided I should use an image shot by the 40D to be more accurate.  Here I’ve zoomed in to look at both detail on the coin as well as the grain in the wood – again 40D on top, then the 50D below:

Screen03

Screen04

Again – just much sharper. The grain detail focus is very visible on the 50D while the 40D could either be in (as it was) or just a touch soft. You really can get close to pixel peeping – in fact, I was able to see the "hot" pixels on my sensor on the screen, once I knew to look for them. I’ll see if I can get a photo of that test .jpg off the screen when I post about the sensor reset I did.

So that was all well and good for .jpg files, but I don’t shoot .jpgs… I shoot pretty much exclusively in RAW – (gee – sounds like another post for the future).  The .jpg file is full res when saved to the card, while the RAW file has (I believe) a pair of embedded jpg images for use for preview (a thumbnail, and a higher res version). Would the camera be able to render out enough detail for this screen to show the same high level of resolution w/ a RAW file?

Again I went to the high ISO files and came back with the same spec – EF 24-105 f4L IS @ f5.6 for 1/2 second at 100 iso – but this time, the RAW file was the only version on the card (I shot the tests RAW+JPG). The 40D on top and the 50D below:

Screenr2   

Screenr1

Again – hands down – the 50D was much sharper and much more usable. You can also see how the anti reflective coating on the 50D screen kept the reflection of the casio from appearing, while you can see (in the left side of the upper image) the silver face of the casio reflecting in the image.

This new screen is definitely a huge upgrade from the 40D’s version, and makes the camera much more capable of checking for focus, and is much more usable during a shoot – it was much easier to see images in the varying lighting conditions out at the velodrome (the only shoot I’ve used the 50D on so far).

Thanks for reading!

Canon 50D and the Really Right Stuff 40D L-Bracket

Okay – I’ve a night of shooting photos at the velodrome now (tho – since I can’t use Lightroom to post process since the RAW utility by Adobe doesn’t support the 50D yet – it’ll take me longer in DPP – just haven’t been in there in so long – those’ll be posted in a few days).  Today I got out on the bike and hit the trails rather than stay in on a great day and geek with my camera.  Before heading out later, I figured I’d take care of the L-Bracket question.

For those not sure of what an L-Bracket is, the folks at Really Right Stuff (RRS) have summed it up pretty well here. Suffice to say – it makes working on a tripod much easier – especially if you need to switch between portrait and landscape during your shoot. With the digital cameras having all sorts of connections for data (USB), remote triggers, video out (regular and HDMI on the 50D) and so on, the bracket can get in the way of these connections. RRS did a great job w/ the 40D L-Bracket (with battery grip) and they left an opening big enough to open the rubber covers that keep dirt and moisture out of these connections. Here are some (yes – bad – from a P&S) pics of the setup on my 40D:

40d1

and showing how the remote shutter release cable connects:

40d2

** Point of clarification – this blog entry discusses the fit of the RRS 40D with battery grip L-Bracket on the 50D – this is NOT the RRS 50D specific L-Bracket – they have not produced one yet **

With the longer openings on the 50D, I was wondering if the opening on the bracket would be large enough to allow (like it does on the 40D) to open the covers with the plate in place. Unfortunately, it does not, as seen here, the covers extend under the aluminum and the edges are tucked under and can’t be opened:

50d1

The bracket connects to the battery grip (or camera body) with a hex bolt… easy to snug up when attaching, but you’ve got to have the hex wrench handy to take it off or put it on. With the bracket on the battery grip, you can use the thumbscrew that mounts the BG to the body to remove the BG and bracket together… if you just start the process of removing the body, you can open the panels and replace the BG – yielding this:

50d2

which allows for the shutter release connection to be made:

50d4 

Pic00041_2So I was back in business and ready to shoot the high ISO tests that should (hopefully) be posted on Sunday. I had emailed RRS on Friday, and they noted (very quickly – I might add – great customer support) that this L-Bracket’s mount has a slot setup, you can mount this a bit off-center, leaving a gap between the left side of the camera body and the bracket (picture courtesy Really Right Stuff). This should allow room for the doors to be opened and closed. This should work, but I’d rather keep it snugged into the "correct" position, it keeps the mark on the bracket – indicating center line of the lens – in the proper position.

The last question is if there will be room to connect a HDMI cable with the bracket in place. I don’t have any small format HDMI cables – so I’ve not been able to check. I’m guessing that it may also depend on how thick the plastic is around the connector that is used – so some may fit while others may not. Here is a photo showing the connections in the opening with the covers held back:

50d3

RRS may be able to modify the 40D bracket by squaring off the opening – allowing the HDMI connector to be used; but they may need bit more of a re-work if they want to allow for easy access for the connector openings. The hole you can see below the opening for the connectors is threaded, for mounting the bracket to wider more adjustable plates, etc.  Below that you can see another opening in the bracket, before the "L" bend. It may be there to support use for the wireless transmitter grip (Canon WFT-E3A – can see it here) I know that grip does have an Ethernet port on the end, so there may not be too much leeway to shift this threaded hole further away from the cable opening for the camera itself.  I guess we’ll see what the RRS folks come up with. But until then – I’m in like Flynn!

Thanks for reading!

The 50D has arrived!

Well – after minimal waiting (it did arrive a week earlier than expected avialability) my Canon EOS 50D has arrived.  It was difficult to not just tear into the box, throw a charged battery and CF card in, plunk a lens on the front, and start shooting. But knowing I had a pile of work to do at the office, I showed some restraint and only brought in my battery grip with the Really Right Stuff L bracket for the 40D still mounted… figured I could get the first answer I wanted answered out of the way early (would I need to get a new L bracket or not). At the same time, I’d not be distracted by the shiny new object in my office and thereby neglect the work I was getting paid to do whilst in the office…

The quick answer was what I expected – yes it fits, but no – the longer openings on the side of the 50D for the HDMI output are not accessible via the opening in the L-bracket for the 40D.  In the short term, tis easy enough to unscrew the battery grip, move the rubber seal back, and then re-mount the battery grip… much easier than finding the hex wrench to remove the L-bracket from the grip…

I’m a touch short on time, so more initial impressions will have to wait, but I did run into hot pixels (fixed), fun w/ high iso testing, and fiddlin’ with the AF Microadjustment for specific lenses…

Good stuff ahead.

Thanks for reading!