Canon 60D

Canon 60D

Fill-in Flash and the Shutter Speed

Canon, like all other camera manufacturers, has a flash mode to balance the flash with the ambient light, aka the fill-in flash. You need to have the flash in eTTL and the camera in Av mode. When using the flash, the aperture controls the power of the flash and the shutter speed controls the ambient light.

Canon: Cancelling the AE Lock

There are two ways of locking the exposure settings:

  1. Do nothing, it's already done for you if:

    • You are using Evaluative and
    • You are using One-Shot AF

    Whenever you are pressing the shutter half-way in evaluation and one-shot modes, all Canon dSLRs (to date) do an AE Lock. You can see it in action by moving the camera around and you will see that the exposure settings will not change.

Canon 7D: Why is my 1st Photo Fuzzy?

One of the common problem with the Canon 7D, 60D and 1DMk4… is that the first couple of photographs are fuzzy, and all the other photos after that are sharp and crisp.

The 2 major causes are:

  1. The IS/VR, in the Canon lingo: Image Stabilization, in the Nikon lingo: Vibration Reduction in the Nikon world
  2. The focus

Image Stabilization/Vibration Reduction

In Canon and Nikon cameras, the image stabilization (VR in Nikon) is in the lens. The other camera manufacturers followed Olympus' lead when it created the image stabilization directly in the camera body.

The image stabilization/vibration reduction uses some motion sensors and 1 or 2 micro-gyroscopes to shift, either some element of the lens, or the CMOS/CCD sensor. Basically, it introduces another movement to counter-act your movement. You can see it in action if you mount a “not a new generation” IS/VR lens on a tripod with mode 1 enabled with the head slightly loose, then the camera will start to drift.

It takes half a second for the Image Stabilization/Vibration Reduction to kick in. This means that the IS/VR engages half a second after the focus has been engaged. The IS/VR has started, but it hasn't achieved stabilization yet. It can take between another ½ sec to another full second to achieve stabilization. With the new Canon L lenses and the new Nikon VRII lenses, when the IS/VR has been achieved after another second, the IS/VR reaches the Lotus position and achieves “nirvana” to give the full 4 or 5 f/stop of improvement.

Image Stabilization Canon calls it: Image Stabilization, Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction, Sony calls it SteadyShot, Pentax calls it Sensor-shift Image Stabilization, Sigma call it Optical Stabilization and so on.It's very much black magic. It's based on between two to as many as six tiny gyroscopes that track the pitch and the yaw to compensate for the pan and tilt either on the CMOS/CCD sensor or on one element in the lens. They will give you between 2 f/stops to as many as 5 f/stops, it depends on the technology and the circumstances.The secret to using the IS/VR/SS… is keep engaging it, usually by keeping the finger half pressed on the shutter for more than ½ of a second to ¾ of a second and keep it there, then use the continuous shooting. The IS/VR/SS… keeps improving as you keep on shooting, especially if you are steady.Overall, the image stabilization is more effective when it's built-in the lens instead of the camera. When it's in the lens, the image stabilization is done before the focus and this help with the auto-focus. When the image stabilization is done in the camera bodyimage-stabilization.jpg — ©2011 Syv Ritch --

2 photos taken 0.125 sec apart with Image Stabilization on for both photos

This is the equivalent of using a tripod.

Focus mode

Canon 7D: The Dioptre Adjustment

The prism contains a lot of "stuff." It's the top of the camera and houses the flash, the hot shoe for the external flash and inside, it contains the pentaprism which is according to Canon gives a vertical/horizontal coverage of approximately 100% (p253 of the manual). The prism also contains a lot of electronics and sensors like the AF sensors and the exposure control.

The pentaprism is designed so that the eye is 22mm away from the eyepiece.

Canon: Battery Life

Canon created the LP-E6 battery for the Canon 5DMk2. It's an expensive battery, $100+ in Canada. Canon said that it's expensive because it has its own CPU. Many people have speculated that it's a strategy to "kill" the "generic" batteries. Actually it's not just the CPU but also the significant higher capacity. The benefit of the LP-E6 is the much longer battery life. In the "good old" days, it was very common for a battery to last between 300 to 500 photos.

Canon claims that the LP-E6 last approximately 1,000 photos at 23°C/73°F without the popup flash and 900 photos with a 50% popup flash use.

Here's a poor photo of the battery info on my Canon 7D. It had to be, I was in the field, and I had to use somebody's else point and shoot. My other camera had a long tele without any close focus. But it's good enough to see the battery status:

Canon: Camera Error Codes

Before we go into the error codes with the Canon Cameras, you need to realize that all the new digital cameras from the cheapest point and shoot to the most expensive Hasselblad are not cameras but computers with a lens at the front, a screen at the back and various buttons instead of a keyboard. They all have a CPU, a screen, memory and a drive (usually some flash) to store the photos.

Canon like most camera manufacturers have not been very helpful in figuring out what are the problems with the cameras. Here's the list of what I figured out:

Canon: Pressing the Shutter and Evaluative Metering

Everybody knows, by now, that there are two steps to the shutter button:

  1. Pressing the shutter half-way activates the auto-focus, if the focus is still associated to the shutter button, and sets the automatic exposure combination in Av, Tv, or P mode.
  2. Pressing completely the shutter takes the photo.

What most people do not realize is that when you are in Evaluative Metering and Single Shot AF mode, pressing the shutter half way locks the exposure for 4 seconds.

2011 Resetting The Clock to Standard Time

Today is Sunday 6-Nov-2011. In Canada and the US, the first weekend after Halloween is when we go back to the “standard time.” All my computers, cell phones and telephones changed the time by themselves. My home appliances and my car do not reset the time by themselves, I had to change them manually.

But this blog is not about cars or phones… This blog is about photography. There's no camera, that I know of, that changes the clock back and forth automatically for the daylight saving time and the standard time.

Why is it important to have the clock properly set on your camera?

Quick Guide to Accurate EOS Autofocus

Canon has published a PDF: The Quick Guide to Accurate EOS Autofocus. It's a 2 pager that explains how to use the Autofocus on Canon cameras. It's not just the the Canon 7D, but also applies to the 5DMk2, 1D serie… I love how they use the word accurate. But the vast majority of the focusing problems are related to the wrong understanding/usage of the autofocus.

The most surprising was the importance of the Viewfinder Diopter Adjustment.

Canon: White Balance

How do you set the white balance? AWB, the automatic white balance, sunny, cloudy, or flash… The AWB mode will let the computer (oops the camera) do a quick analysis and decide.

The purpose of the white balance is to find the temperature of the light, so what looks white to the eyes will be white in the photo.

Now here's the problem: Do you care? Should you care? “I shoot raw, why should I care?”

My answer is: “That depends!” Talk about waffling, but it's true, that depends.

  1. Raw outdoor: who cares.
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