Olympus 550 UZ Review

Why is everyone so fascinated with this camera? Because it’s got an 18x zoom on it. That’s an equivalent of a 28-504mm zoom on a 35mm camera! To see what all the fuss is about and whether it’s worth shelling out $460 for, head on over to DP Review and check out their in-depth review.

Canon EOS-1D Mark III Video

Here’s a great interview with Chuck Westfall on YouTube provided by The Imaging Resource at PMA 2007:

You really should waste the 7 or minutes that it takes to watch this clip. It’s an excellent overview of the Canon 1D Mark III!

Canon 40D Reviews and Resource Page

Canon 40D

The Canon 40D was announced by Canon on August 20, 2007 as the replacement for the Canon 30D, which can now be had for quite a bargain. The 40D is a 10.1 MP “prosumer” DSLR, slotted between the Canon Rebel XTi (aka 400D) and the Canon 5D. In addition to the sensor upgrade (from 8.2 MP on the 30D), some of the highlighted features of the 40D include:

  • DIGIC III image processor
  • Continuous shooting at 6.5 frames/second
  • Refined AF system now has 9 cross-type AF sensors; center AF point has enhanced sensitivity for f/2.8 and faster lenses
  • 3-inch LCD display with live view feature
  • Larger optical viewfinder
  • Dust reduction system
  • Three spots on mode dial for custom settings
  • Redesigned menu system from the EOS-1D series cameras


Creative Pro

Fortunately, a breakthrough allowed Canon to use a larger area on the sensor for each photosite, and the 40D employs the company’s excellent DIGIC III image processor, which does a much better job of handling noise. The practical upshot is that the 40D does achieve higher resolution without a noise penalty.

Think Camera

Images are crystal clear and beautifully sharp, with excellent detail throughout (the superb 17-40mm f/4 L lens supplied for the test helps). We aren’t particularly convinced that 14-bit files add anything substantive to most RAW photographs, though (perhaps files with greater and greater bit depth will be the new megapixel war). Colour rendition is excellent on the Canon 40D; Canon’s traditionally zingy reds are tamed here – although London buses and fire engines are still vivid – and skin tones are extremely natural.

Popular Photography

Excellent image quality in the lab translates to excellent image quality in the field if a camera’s autofocus, exposure and metering systems, and viewfinder are all top notch. And here, the 40D is hard to beat. Its AF system is among the fastest and most sensitive we’ve tested, capable of extremely high speeds in bright to moderate light, and decent performance down to EV-2.

Steve’s Digicams

The Bottom Line – there’s a lot to like about the 40D. If you’re looking for a 10-megapixel camera that can fire long bursts, is compatible with a mature system of professional accessories, and creates superb images in almost any light, look no further.

Imaging Resource

As is typical of this particular line of Canon digital SLR cameras, images from the Canon 40D are excellent. High ISO images printed at 13×19 inches are usable from ISO 100 to 800, with little noticeable noise, and little evidence of noise suppression. You can see a more gradual degradation as you move up the ladder when viewing onscreen at 100 percent, but it’s hardly noticeable when printed. Impressive.

DC Resource

With a quality lens attached to it, the EOS-40D can produce spectacular results. The camera produces very smooth-looking photos, which some may consider soft—and if so, you can play around with the Picture Styles to find a sharpness setting you like. Colors were spot-on—no complaints there. As for noise, there wasn’t much, and you had to get the ISO pretty high to see any of it. Purple fringing is going to depend a lot on your choice of lens. It did pop up here and there, but it was fairly minor in most cases. My only photo quality complaint is that the the 40D has the tendency to underexpose.

DP Review

From an image quality point of view the combination of the Canon CMOS sensor and DIGIC III processor means equally detailed images at all sensitivities (except maybe ISO 3200), low noise and a complete lack of unnatural artifacts.

DP Expert

This is a fine camera with worthwhile advances on its predecessor. Canon has dominated this segment of the market for DSLRs between $2000 and $3000 [AUD], but now faces stiff competition. The Sony A700, the Nikon D300 and the Olympus E-3 are coming soon, which means four superb cameras to choose from in the price range. Camera shops have already discounted the 40D to around $2600, so expect some serious price cutting.


The Canon 40D is the best digital SLR body for budget-conscious wildlife photographers. Within the Canon system, the 40D makes sense for people who leave the house on a specifically photographic mission and don’t mind carrying the extra weight and bulk in exchange for the ruggedness and two-wheel user interface.

Popular Photography Hands-On

Despite the fact that it shares a lot of its heritage with its EOS stablemates at either end of the cost spectrum, you’d be silly to think of the 40D as either a just an upscale XTi, or down-market Mark III. It’s a rock-solid high-end enthusiast/entry-level pro camera that’s built tough enough for almost anything you can throw at it.

Yes, this camera is for the Rebel XTi owner looking to move up in toughness and burst rate, but it’s also tough enough and fast enough to serve as the backup body for a Mark III-toting journalist. And, of course, it’s just right for the legions of shooters out there who’ve been happily making killer shots with the 20D and 30D for the past several years. All in all, it is a heck of a lot of camera for just about $1300 (street, body only).

The Digital Picture

“The 40D is a camera that will appeal to a vast range of photographers from advanced amateurs to working photojournalists and wedding photographers. All will appreciate its exceptional image quality, ease of operation, speed, modest weight and size, compatibility with the vast Canon system and very reasonable price.” [Canon 40D White Paper] I agree.


For Canon owners looking for an upgrade option, then this is a compelling option, being fast and responsiveness. It hides a few things away rather needlessly and the control systems aren’t the best thought out though. It will be interesting to put the Sony a700 up against it because it offers a similar spec, though not quite as fast. If you’re looking for an upgrade to an entry level DSLR then the 40D will blow your socks off and can be heartily recommended, but if you were saving up for a Nikon D300 then it might not do enough to change your mind . . . .


It only took a few shots to notice the difference in focusing. Focusing is faster and very accurate. I took more than 500 shots that night, some of them in burst mode with 6.5 fps, and the AF system proved to be equal to that of Canon 1-series cameras. The central point worked well even without flash. I can’t think of a single other camera in this class with such a great AF system.

Photography Blog

It’s true that it costs more than other 10-megapixel cameras, but it’s also much more professionally-orientated. Its nearest rival in the semi-pro market would be the newly-announced Nikon D300, but the list price is £1300 for the body only, and for that money you could get an EOS 40D and Canon’s 17-85mm image-stabilised lens and have change to spare. The Canon EOS 40D’s strength doesn’t lie in any great technological breakthrough but in its professional appeal and its sheer value for money.


Great photo quality and excellent continuous-shooting performance are just two of the Canon EOS 40D’s many attractions in the digital camera marketplace.


Overall, the Canon EOS 40D is a more than able update of the 30D and since the introduction of the first Canon prosumer DSLR, the 3.1-megapixel EOS D30 back in 2000, it is light years ahead on that base line. In a nutshell, this is a cracking camera and one marred only by the odd metering performance, otherwise it is quite simply excellent and worth a close inspection for anyone either trading up or for those pros’ that need a back up body that is not a compromise to far.


An intelligent and well executed upgrade to the 30D. It’s well built and fast, with some genuinely useful extras such as Live View LCD and custom modes. A must buy for the keen amateur with a collection of Canon lenses.

Camera Labs

Canon’s EOS 40D features many improvements over its predecessor and finally shows the pesky Nikon D80 who’s boss – albeit one which costs almost half as much again. Canon’s delivered a superb DSLR which handles beautifully, is packed with useful features and delivers great-looking images.

The Live View facility works well, especially when remote-controlled using a PC, and the silent-shooting modes prove it doesn’t have to make a racket either. The anti-dust system whether through luck or design also proved quite effective in our tests, with foreign particles rarely being an issue. And while our studio resolution tests proved some 10 Megapixel DSLRs resolved slightly more, it didn’t make a big difference in real-life. Ultimately the 40D most-impresses out in the field where it’s simply an extremely quick and capable camera which confidently handles almost any situation. Sure, the default settings could do with a slight boost in sharpening to unveil the finest details, but this is easily adjusted if desired.

WyoFoto has a solid side-by-side set of test shots (100% files) that show the image quality of the Canon 40D directly compared to that of the Canon 5D.

The IQ I see in the 40D images from ISO 100-800 is 95% the match of the 5D. At 1600 the shadow noise of the 5D looks to be a tad bit better than the 40D, but not by a large margin. The 40D’s tonality and richness in color gives the 5D a real run for the money. The only area I see the 5D looking better is in low contrast highlight regions. It manages to pull out a tad more detail. The 20D does okay in the shadows, but in the midtones and highlights just can’t match the richness of the 5D or 40D. It’s images while pretty good have a flatter tonal appearance. This subtle richness gives the 5D images the 3D effect people often talk about. (Read *and see* more . . . . )

Bob Atkins

In just about every respect the EOS 40D technically outperforms the EOS 30D and so I think it is a worthwhile upgrade for those who can afford to switch and who can use the new features. I didn’t feel that way about the 30D, which was a good camera but for me didn’t offer enough new features to persuade me to trade in my 20D and upgrade.

Luminous Landscape

My time with the 40D was short, but I found that shooting about a thousand frames over a long weekend was all I needed to be able to draw some preliminary conclusions. These are, in brief, that the image quality of the 40D is excellent, continuing the industry-leading results that Canon has offered for the past 5-6 years. I didn’t see any breakthrough in low noise at the highest ISOs, but as with the EOS 5D ISO 400 is essentially noiseless and can be used as an everyday speed. Noise doesn’t really become an issue until ISO 1600 and even then isn’t that objectionable.

Digital Outback Photo

  • 6.5 fps is a lot for a camera at this price point
  • Shutter sound is much lower than for the 1D Mark III
  • We think the noise level is slightly higher than 1D Mark III. No surprise because the pixels are just quite a bit smaller

The World According to Roland

Personally, I think Canon has done a good job with the 40D and has upgraded and added many new useful features. Image quality wise, I don’t think there is any significant differences between the 40D and 30D/20D. There is little difference in real resolution between a 10MP and 8MP sensor. In my opinion, Canon has managed to maintain the high ISO noise level while increasing the megapixel count.

Amazon Customer Reviews – Amazon customers are starting to post their reviews and opinions on the new 40D now that the camera is shipping. Some of these reviews and impressions are quite thorough and helpful in sizing up the new camera. Here’s a sample quote:

So, what about picture quality?? It’s a 10mp camera so the pictures are big. I have a workhorse MacPro tower and it has no problem working on the 10-12MB pictures that this camera produces (.jpg processing for now). I’m happy to say that the focus is spot on in all of my sample pictures from 4 different lenses (17-40 f/4L, 28-135 IS zoom, 50mm f/1.4, 100mm macro). The DPP software can be used to edit raw files if you choose to use it. It works pretty well and it was very speedy on my MacPro. You also get direct access to picture styles from within the computer software so you don’t have to worry about setting it in camera. The pictures look very nice. The colors are very accurate. at iso100 the pictures are so nice and smooth. My 50 and 100mm lenses make the most buttery out of focus areas on this camera.

Check out this ISO comparison of the 40D, 5D and 20D at ISO 800 to 3200. Some more sample shots are here and here.

Digital Rev has a hands-on review of the new 40D:

Without a doubt, the EOS 40D totally surpasses the 30D and reinforces Canon’s product positioning above the EOS 400D. For enthusiast and semi-pro customers alike, you will find that the 40D will meet your expectations and give you that extra bit of power that you might need in action shots.

DPReview.com has posted a thorough Canon 40D preview and a Canon 40D beta preview gallery of sample images. Wow! These samples at ISO 3200 are very impressive.

Read the press release for more details.

There are a couple of YouTube videos of the 40D floating around as noted here.

Canon 40D Accessories

Canon BG-E2 Battery Grip

Canon BG-E2n Battery Grip

Canon BP511A Rechargeable Battery

Canon 430EX Speedlight

Canon 580EX Speedlight

Opteka Wireless Shutter Trigger

Canon EOS 40D Digital Field Guide

Canon 40D Guide to Digital Photography

Canon 40D Magic Lantern Guide

PhotoBert Cheat Sheet for Canon 40D

Official Canon Resources

Canon’s Official EOS 40D resource page is here. There you’ll find feature highlights, full specs, sample images and more.

The Canon 40D White Paper. (White Papers are comprehensive documents detailing system enhancements — and the technological developments behind them.)

Where to Buy

First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices.

[tags]canon, eos, 40d, is, usm, review[/tags]

Canon Product Availability: WFT-E2A Wireless File Transmitter; 16-35mm f/2.8L II; 580EX II

Amazon is now accepting pre-orders for several of the new products announced at PMA. All products will be released on March 31 and should ship then or shortly thereafter.

The EF 16-35 f/2.8L II is available to pre-order for $1,599.

Pre-order the WFT-E2A Wireless File Transmitter for $799.99.

Finally, the 580EX II can be pre-ordered for $499.99.

No word yet on the Canon 1D Mk III. I’m on email alert and I’ll be sure to let you know when it becomes available.

Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting

Originally uploaded by Kelly Turner.

How about that Sigma f/2.8 200-500? Holy cow! That’s a constant f/2.8 throughout the zoom range! Word is that its 35 lbs and will cost something like $9,000 (US) when released.

You got a monopod for that?

Sony Alpha A10 and More Nikon D3 Rumors

Well, here goes the rumor mill again. Remember the earlier reports about Sony offering a high amateur and pro body? Clearly, Sony gave us some official dirt on that from their PMA release.

Now, we’ve got some unconfirmed details on the specs:

source from SONY at shanghai general office. A10 made in China, will replace the KM A7D, A1 made in Japan(1.0X full frame). the same sensor will sold to Pentax and Nikon soon. Pentax K10D’s upgraded version K10DS or successor K20D may use it…

not 10M not 24M, it is 1.25X, 12M. Anti-shake image sensor.

Found on the Club Snap forums. Take it for what it’s worth. When I dig up more dirt, I’ll pass it along. Also, you can check out another Sony rumor thread over at Dyxum.com that’s been cooking since December 2006.
Also, note that the same poster in the thread suggests a May ’07 release for the Nikon D3 rather than the July 5, 2007 release I noted earlier.

How to Use Your On-Camera Flash

my brand new camera…..flash

Originally uploaded by rougerouge.

I was stumbling around the web today and came upon PlanetNeil. Neil van Neikerk is a pro photographer in NJ. You should really check out his blog and photos. He’s got a creative vision that really shows in his work.

You’re wondering about the whole on-camera flash bit, right? This is where the stumbling comes in. I landed on his FAQ for flash techniques, specifically, the use of on-camera flash. Solid stuff. His FAQ is very well written with nice example photos of what he’s talking about. If your photos just look plain wrong when your shooting with your on-camera flash, head on over now to learn how to do it right. That said, if you think you know how to bounce your flash and you’re still reading this post then you need to read it too – go now.

Thanks for the great article Neil and thanks to rougerogue on flickr for opening blogs on the cool shot above.


Tamron 70-200 f/2.8Looks like Tamron is joining the popular and crowded 70-200 f/2.8 market. If it’s priced in the same range as the Sigma (about $800), this may be another good alternative to the pricey 1st party 70-200 f/2.8 lenses out there. For the details on the new lens, read the press release below.

Mr. Morio Ono, President of Tamron Co., Ltd., has announced the development of the SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO, a lightweight, high-performance and fast tele-zoom lens designed for SLR cameras with full-size image sensors.

The new SP AF70-200mm Di LD (IF) MACRO (Model A001) is an F/2.8 fast tele-zoom designed for full-size format SLR cameras. It inherits the product concept of the award-winning SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di (Model A09) standard zoom lens that is highly acclaimed for its compactness and speed, which lets photographers enjoy a high cost to performance uniqueness.

While overall dimensions are confined to the absolute minimum, the new SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO zoom lens is packed with features that allow stress-free photography: a versatile MFD (minimum focusing distance) of just 0.95m (37.4) over the entire zoom range; an excellent maximum macro magnification ratio of 1:3.1 at f=200mm; and an advantageous internal focusing (IF) system. The new tele-zoom lens enables the user to cover a desirable focal length range of 70mm medium telephoto to 200mm telephoto when mounted on full-size format SLR cameras and a focal length range from 109mm to 310mm equivalent* ultra telephoto (7°59′ angle of view) when mounted on a DSLR camera with an APS-C sized imager.

(*) The ratio Tamron uses to convert from full-size to APS-C focal length is 1.55X.

1. 0.95m (37.4) MFD over the Entire Zoom Range for 1:3.1 Maximum Magnification Ratio
This zoom lens, designed for use with full-size format SLR cameras, boasts a fast maximum aperture of F/2.8, yet it allows close-focusing down to 0.95m (37.4) over the entire zoom range. The maximum magnification ratio is 1:3.1 at the 200mm tele-end. The filter diameter is confined to φ77mm as a result of the use of an advanced optical design pursuing optimum optical power distribution.
2. Soft Out-of-Focus Effect and Sharp Depiction
In order to realize soft out-of-focus effect and sharp depiction performance at the same time, the zoom lens uses three LD (low dispersion) elements. As a result, the optical system effectively compensates for lateral and on-axis chromatic aberrations that are major image-degrading factors in telephoto photography, in order to provide edge-to-edge sharpness and high-contrast image quality with flat-field characteristics over the entire zoom range in various photographic situations.
3. Lightweight, Yet Fast F/2.8 Maximum Aperture
The lens features a fast maximum aperture of F/2.8, yet it weighs a mere 1,112.6 grams (39.2oz.)*, since it uses barrel parts made of engineering plastic materials having excellent dimensional stability and sufficient strength for professional use and even industrial applications.
(*) As of February 2007, based on Tamron’s research of lenses in the same class, excluding the tripod base.
4. Internal Surface Coatings Minimize Ghosting and Flare
Through the use of “Internal Surface Coatings (i.e., multiple-layer coatings on cemented surfaces of plural elements) and multiple-layer coatings to prevent reflections from lens surfaces, ghosting and flare due to reflections that occur when light enters through the front element as well as reflections caused by the imager itself in the mirror box are reduced to the absolute minimum.
5. One-touch AF/MF Switchover mechanisms (for Canon and Nikon only)
The models for Nikon and Canon cameras are equipped with AF/MF switchover mechanisms to allow one-touch switchover from AF mode to MF mode or vice versa electronically and mechanically by simply sliding the button. (Sony and Pentax systems require AF/MF switchover operation on both the camera and lens.)
Since the lens uses an IF (internal focusing) system, the focusing ring does not rotate during focusing, which ensures good holding balance at all times. In the MF mode, focusing is performed as easily and comfortably as with an MF lens. Since the overall length of the lens does not change due to zooming or focusing, it offers excellent operability and holding balance.
6. Detachable Tripod Grip Ring
The lens is supplied with a lightweight and rigid aluminum removable tripod socket.
7. Flower-shaped Lens Hood
A flower-shaped lens hood is included as a standard accessory. The special hood provides optimum shading of superfluous light rays that enter from the rectangular frame outside the image field.


Model Name A001

Focal Length 70-200mm

Maximum Aperture F/2.8

Angle of View 34°3′ – 12°3′

Lens Construction 18 elements /13 groups

Minimum Focus Distance 0.95m (entire zoom range)

Maximum Mag. Ratio 1:3.1 (at f=200mm, MFD=0.95m)

Filter Diameter φ77mm

Overall Length 194.3mm *

Maximum Diameter φ89.5mm

Weight 1112.6g* (without tripod holder)

Diaphragm Blades 9 blades

Minimum Aperture F/32

Standard Accessory Flower-shaped Lens Hood

Compatible Mount Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony


* values given are for Nikon AF-D cameras.

* The cosmetic design and specs are subject to change without notice.