Seemingly out of nowhere, Canon Japan has officially announced the Canon EOS M2, a followup to the original EOS M. The new model will have only minor external tweaks, but Canon is already promising a much improved autofocus system — the chief complain about the original.
It seems the Canon M2 will have a hybrid CMOS AF II system, which we saw previously in the Canon SL1. This should result in 2.3x faster AF according to Canon, as well as having phase detection pixels across 80% of the frame. Unfortunately, Canon hasn’t ported its excellent Live View AF system from the Canon 70D to the M2, which would seem a natural fit.
The new camera is also 8% smaller than its predecessor, with built-in Wi-Fi, and a redesigned mode dial.
It’s expected to go on sale in Japan in mid-way through the month, with an asking price of ¥64800 ($630) for just the body. It will also be sold in a kit with the 18-55mm lens and Speedlite 90EX for ¥84800 ($826), with both the 18-55mm and 22mm lenses, the flash, and an EF mount adapter for ¥104800 ($1020), or with all of the above as well as a 11-22mm lens for ¥134800 ($1313).
There has been no indication of additional lenses or accessories for the M2.
We haven’t heard anything about when, or even if, this model is coming to the USA.
Sometimes great things happen by accident Our affinity for animals and action cameras is well-documented and this eagle camera is a great example of why. The camera had reportedly been set up to capture crocodiles as they went about their busines…
The unique wildlife of Japan is heaven for nature photographers
While snow monkeys may be the main event for visiting photographers, they are only one of the fascinating variety of species to be found in Japan. I saved these marvelous primates (technically, Japanese macaques) for the last shoot on my recent trip, and began this time on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Mother and Baby, Japanese Macaques, Nagano:Cornforth used a handheld Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 70–200mm f/2.8L Canon EF IS II to make the shot at 1/500 sec at f/4, ISO 320.
Winter is the ideal time to photograph Japan’s wildlife. All of the bird species, including the iconic red-crowned cranes, eagles, and swans, migrate from Asia south to Japan during the winter and gather in a number of accessible locations. The snow monkeys come down from the hills and congregate around the hot springs during colder weather. Wildlife images can also be more dramatic with the stark beauty of fresh snow on the landscape.
This island nation has a population of about 125 million, so photographing Japan’s wildlife is not like visiting remote locations in Alaska or Antarctica, where you can have subjects all to yourself.
Most international airlines offer daily flights from major cities to Tokyo’s Narita international airport. Narita is more than an hour away by train from the city center, but there are many departures that will efficiently transport you to wherever you need to go. I took a train to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport; from there, I took a regional flight to Kushiro, a city on Hokkaido’s east coast. Finally, I rented a van and drove to the town of Tsurui to begin the tour.
Magical Cranes This first stop would focus on the endangered red-crowned cranes that winter near Tsurui. There are several observation centers nearby; farmers feed them, so the cranes are easy to photograph. (Note that some centers charge a small fee for entry.) Groups of 50 to 100 cranes are not uncommon, and they will often approach quite near. I brought every possible piece of equipment, but found that I most often used my 500mm f/4 IS lens with teleconverters on my tripod, or my 70–200mm f/2.8 IS lens, handheld.
Red-Crowned Cranes, Tsurui:Using the same rig as above but on a tripod, Cornforth captured these cranes “dancing” on a fresh snowfall. Exposure 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 320.
Typical photos here will be isolated cranes and full-frame portraits. But you’ll get more dramatic photos with the cranes in flight, so keep an eye out for takeoffs and landings. Watch for the cranes “dancing” during a fresh snowfall (and cross your fingers for wintry conditions). Other birds such as whooper swans, black kites, and white-tailed eagles are often encountered. No matter what the light is doing, shoot at at least 1/2000 sec to capture birds in flight.
Soaring Eagles After a few days in Tsurui, I drove along meandering country roads to my next destination, Rausu. Each bend in the road revealed a beautiful landscape of snow-covered fields backed by forested, rolling hills. I even encountered a fox during one of my detours to search for owls along the fence lines.
Rausu, a quaint fishing village located on Hokkaido’s northeast coast, is the gateway to Shiretoko National Park. During the winter, pack ice from the Sea of Okhotsk drifts south and is often just offshore. Several boats depart the harbor well before sunrise to take adventurous visitors out to photograph the eagles.
Steller’s Sea Eagles, Rausu:Cornforth handheld a 500mm f/4L Canon EF lens on a Canon EOS 7D (an equivalent full-frame focal length of 800mm). Exposure: 1/500 at f/4, ISO 640.
I’ve spent a lot of time photographing bald eagles in Alaska, but it did not prepare me for the nonstop action of shooting white-tailed and Steller’s sea eagles. Once at the ice edge, the fisherman proceed to throw fish onto the ice, attracting an incredible number of birds. It is truly cold, especially when the wind is blowing, so make sure that you dress for warmth.
Try to find an open spot near the bow of the boat so that you can shoot eagles flying in from either side. If the sky is clear, find a good place to photograph silhouetted eagles perched on icebergs or flying across the rising sun.
White-tailed Eagle, Rausu: Cornforth used an EOS 7D and 500mm EF lens handheld to grab the shot at 1/2500 sec at f/4, ISO 320.
The boat will probably be somewhat crowded, so forget about using a tripod (or even a monopod) for your big lens. I’m fit enough that I can handhold my 500mm lens for short stints, but it’s never easy. So consider using a 300mm f2.8 lens with a teleconverter on a smaller-sensor camera body to maximize your comparable focal length. (A 300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter on, say, a Canon APS-C body gives you an equivalent full-frame focal length of 960mm.) Either way, the best way to track a flying eagle is to handhold your camera. Use a wide-open aperture with a fast shutter speed, and vary your ISO based on the light level.
Swan Lake After a week on Hokkaido, I set out for Lake Kussharo, about 35 miles inland of Rausu. This picturesque location is a volcanic caldera, with a large lake surrounded by the crater rim. During the winter, most of the lake will be frozen, except along the south shore, which is where whooper (pronounced “hooper”) swans congregate.
Whooper Swans, Lake Kussharo: Cornforth used a 28mm f/2 Carl Zeiss ZE Distagon T* lens for a wide-angle perspective. The 5D Mark III caught the moment at 1/320 sec at f/11, ISO 640.
Expect to see more swans than you can imagine. Though I do not advocate feeding wildlife, many people buy popcorn inside the small restaurant and store to feed to the swans. (This will certainly bring them in close and keep them interested.) I did not need a big lens; a medium telephoto was perfect for photographing patterns in groups of swans. Break out a wide-angle lens to take advantage of the approachable wildlife and channel your inner landscape photographer; just remember that you will have moving subjects in your foreground.
Finally, Monkeys After a week on Hokkaido, I flew south to Haneda airport to begin the final leg of my tour. After arriving in Tokyo, I departed for the several-hour train ride to Nagano, where I spent the night.The ultimate goal: spend the last few days at the Jigokudani Monkey Park.
Most visitors to Jigokudani stay in town and walk up the mile-long trail for a short visit. But I stayed at the Kourakukan guesthouse, only 5 minutes from the hot springs—and the monkeys. You can take a bus from Nagano to the trailhead, but better yet, hire a taxi to drop you off in the parking lot nearer to the guesthouse, especially if you have lots of camera gear and other baggage. Then get up early enough each morning to have the monkeys all to yourself for a few hours before the first tour groups arrive.
As I climbed the short hill and strolled into the park, the reality of being among a mass of adorable, squawking primates began to sink in. The ground and the hillsides in the narrow canyon were covered with monkeys, especially as I approached the main hot springs where they congregate.
Like all the other wildlife locations that I had visited during my Japan trip, the animals were fed several times each day. Since they don’t have any fear of humans, they will come very close. I left my 500mm lens behind and used mostly my 70–200mm and 300mm focal lengths. When I stood at the edge of the pools with monkeys only a foot away, I made ample use of my wide-angle zoom lens.
I was also hoping for some fresh snow during my visit, but instead was treated to warm and sunny spring-like conditions. If it had been colder, there would have been more monkeys in the hot springs. The unseasonably clear weather also made lighting conditions difficult. My solution was to photograph in the shade or wait for a cloud to pass overhead to reduce the extreme contrast range in the canyon.
Conversely, the steam coming off of the hot springs could also soften my photos to the point of ruining them, but with some careful composition, it could enhance images with an ethereal quality.
So stay flexible. Bring lots of memory cards to Jigokudani—and eat a big breakfast! You’ll want to stay all day to photograph, but eating in front of the monkeys is a no-go. Attempting a snack on an energy bar, I suddenly found a macaque with in arm’s reach, ready to pounce. I’ve never experienced a gaze that was so focused and menacing. At that moment, I decided that I should probably go hungry—and go back to shooting.
A Winter Wildlife Tour in Japan:Jon Cornforth began his photo trek capturing images of red-crowned cranes near the village of Tsurui (A). He motored to Rausu (B) to photograph sea eagles from a boat off the coast of Hokkaido. Then it was on to Lake Kussharo (C) to catch the action of the whooper swans. After a regional flight into Tokyo on the main island, he made a road trip to Nagano (D), for a noisy encounter with the snow monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park.
Seattle-based Jon Cornforth specializes in wildlife and underwater images. He leads small photography tours each year to exotic locations; learn more at cornforthimages.com.
This video of a photographer attempting to show his one-handed lens mounting technique has gone viral over the weekend. As the unnamed star of the shoot attaches and then takes off his new Canon 24-70 L lens repeatedly, the inevitable happens for a viral video — he screws it up, and the $2,300 lens goes tumbling to the ground with a heart-rending sound.
We realize it’s entirely possible this is some kind of viral marketing thing. Maybe it’s the fact that the photographer keeps going on about how important expensive gear is, and how to change lenses “like a pro” — which is more than a little unprofessional. Or maybe it’s the fact that for a pro, the video is really bad quality. Or even the fact that if you were trying to set up a series of professional geared tips and tricks, why would you upload such an obvious failure of a video? Or that it’s the only video on this user’s account.
The fact that he’s actually mounting it on and off suggests that it’s a real lens (rather than, say, a mug), but it could just have easily been an already broken one used just for this effect. Or maybe it’s a real one, and you’ve just witnessed the spawning of a new viral marketing account.
Regardless, fake or not, the video will likely still make you cringe. That brief second after the lens goes flying is enough to make any photographer’s heart leap out their chest.
The holidays are a great time to take pictures — and they’re a great time to get a camera for yourself or for a loved one. With more than 50 cameras going through the hands of the DPReview team over the year, we’ve seen it all (or…
Maybe you just pulled the wrapping paper from a shiny new DSLR. Or perhaps you used that holiday bonus money to get an interchangeable-lens compact. Or hey, maybe it’s summer and you just found this article through Google. Regardless, you just upped your camera gear game and for that, we’d like to congratulate you. But, before you can make the most of your new set-up, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow.
Go out and shoot a little bit
I’m a gadget nerd too, so I understand how strong the call of a new piece of gear is. First and foremost, make sure the battery is charged all the way, snap it on in along with a memory card and go fire off some frames. Once that’s out of your system, you’ll have a much easier time fighting distraction when you follow the rest of the steps.
Read — or at least skim — the manual
OK, now it’s time to buckle down for a bit. Your camera’s manual has most of the answers to the technical questions you’d often end up wondering about later. Don’t know the difference between One-shot AF and AI Servo AF? Wondering how to make sure the in-camera noise-reduction is set to your liking? Wish the thing would stop beeping everytime you get something in focus? The manual can help to straighten you out on all of that. Even if you already know your way around a camera, it never hurts to flip through the manual a couple times. Some people even suggest you keep it in the bathroom in order to promote, you know, actually reading it. Do this, and you just might find out something about your camera that you never knew.
Enable RAW image capture
You don’t need to shoot RAW. In fact, you might try and it decide that JPEG is the way to go, but you owe it to yourself to try it. Not only will it give you uncompressed files, but it’ll also give you a lot more flexibility when you’re processing the images.
RAW processing is more complex than it is with JPEGs, so if you’re totally new to the concept, it’s best to set your camera to capture both in RAW + JPEG mode. That way, you’ll have final JPEGs to share and RAW files to work with during the learning process. This will take up more space on your cards and your hard drive, but the payoff is worth it.
You may very well decide that the storage space or the extra processing work isn’t for you and that’s totally understandable. But, you owe it to yourself to give RAW a try and make that decision on your own rather than trusting blog posts. Feel free to totally ignore the RAW files until you’re ready to start learning the workflow.
Switch off of auto mode
DSLRs are smart. So smart, in fact, that it’s possible to get lazy and let it do almost everything for you. Switching over to creative exposure modes like Aperture priority, shutter priority, or even full manual will accomplish a few things. First, it’ll get you thinking about the actual process of taking a photo. If you were shooting with a compact (or even your phone) before, there’s a good chance you weren’t setting your aperture and shutter speed. Using manual exposure will bring that to the front of your brain and hopefully keep it there.
Secondly, it’ll help you learn the feel of your new camera. If you’re in full-manual mode, you’re going to have to be quick on the dials and buttons to get the proper settings for each shot. The more you use that stuff, the easier it’ll be, so put the work in.
The one helper you can keep around is autofocus. You can switch over to manual if you want, but the AF systems in most DSLRs are complex enough that they have a learning curve of their own. AF is a very useful tool and being able to use it effectively can make a big difference in your photography.
If you find yourself getting frustrated, it’s certainly OK to switch over to a more automatic mode. The last thing we want is for you to actually put the camera down. If that’s the case, be sure to take advantage of the exposure compensation functions.
Learn the limitations of your camera
When stepping up to a DSLR or even an ILC from a compact or a phone, it’s easy to set expectations a little too high. Yes, it’ll be much better in low light and it’ll focus a lot faster, but there are still limitations. Find a setting and take a shot at each ISO setting. Then find a situation with a different lighting arrangement and do the same thing. When you go back and look at the images on your computer, you’ll have an idea of how it performs and which ISO settings work best for you.
It’s also worth it to see how the autofocus handles very low-light situations. Get a feel for how high-speed the high-speed burst mode really is. Knowing about the little things will help you be better prepared for when it really counts.
Establish a photo filing system
If you were shooting a lot of photos before, you might already have this in place. In that case, well done. But for those who don’t have their proverbial ducks in a row, things can get messy fast. Pick a central location to store your photos and a standardized naming convention for the folders and the images. Whatever software you’re using to import your images should be able to help with this, even if you’re using something free like Google’s Picasa or Apple’s iPhoto. Tag your images with useful info as you import them so they’re easy to find later. Trust us. A new camera often means a huge increase in picture output and you don’t want to have to go hunting through hundreds of photos for that one keeper.
Go shooting again
Once you know your way around the camera, all that’s left to do is get back out there and shoot. A lot. But, don’t be too frivolous with your frames. Yes, digital is “free” compared to film, but the shutter in your camera will only fire a certain number of times before it breaks. Most cameras have shutters rated for anywhere between 50,000 and 400,000. And while that sounds like a lot, if you keep it in high-speed burst mode, you’ll be surprised how quickly they add up.
UPDATE: Reddit user, ascottmccauley points out that you should definitely write down your camera’s serial number and save it somewhere as soon as possible. You should also go through the process of registering your new camera to make things a lot easier on yourself in case it gets stolen or needs to be serviced.
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