Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Chai

A chai with steamed milk. Taken at Pastiche, in Providence, RI. As with every image exported in AdobeRGB, this one doesn't display well in Google Chrome or Picasa. The reds are all desaturated.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nikon Says Something Good

Nikon has come out and said something that I appreciate enormously. Basically, they see video and photo converging, with many pros doing both. They have now said what I inferred, that their philosophy is one of growth and advancement, while Canon's philosophy is one of stagnation.
“We make cameras for photographers – but also for videographers because this sector is growing and the two are merging.” - Jeremy Gilbert, Nikon Marketing UK
I'm so happy to hear this. I still don't think that it is enough, the Nikon 1-series showed Nikon to be depressingly conservative in many ways, but it's more than market-leader Canon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Reviews Of The X Pro 1 Pour In

The Fuji X Pro 1 appear to be marching toward the same unenviable state as the X100 did, namely, it's amazing in some ways and laughably bad in others. Much like the X100, I imagine that when DPReview posts its review, they will write a special page near the end, listing all of the odd quirks and problems with the camera. To my knowledge, the X100 is still the only camera to ever deserve this "honor."

Luminous Landscape continues their rolling review with Part Deux, and the two big points in this review are that, not only does the autofocus suck, but there are tons of bizarre aspects to the camera that defy all logic. For example, you cannot change your focus point. What? This isn't a Canon EOS from 1988. Fuji's implementation of Auto ISO is incomprehensible, as well. Without going into detail, it is rendered useless.

The other point is that disappointment with the 18mm continues unabated. After the first few shots from the lens seemed to show something exceptionally good, it has been revealed to be rather sub-par. Its sharpness is similar to some kit-zooms, and for a prime lens, that is a shocking indictment. The 60mm and 35mm are sharp as hell, but, yet again, their autofocus is terrible. And without any form of focus peaking, I cannot bring myself to use manual focus lenses for any sort of demanding application.

The reviewer focuses, so to speak, on the 35mm and picks it out for exceptional performance. He compares it to his Leica, because, duh, he owns Leica gear. This gives the X cameras their go-to lens. The 60mm is a bit too long and slow to be that. With an effective focal-length that makes the camera Fuji's "fast fifty," it's the lens everyone will buy. It also appears to make it the sharpest fast-fifty lens on the market. Because, lord knows, the fifties from Canon and Nikon are soft as hell when wide-open.

Finally, as we are starting to get accustomed to hearing, they can't sing the praises of the sensor enough. I hope Fuji patches up the issues with the camera, soon, because I'm starting to drool.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

EOS HD Compares the new D800 with the 5D Mark III

I said that the new Nikon cameras revealed a philosophy that is better and less likely to collapse than Canon's super-conservative direction. EOS HD, a well-known videography website, just had this to say about the comparison of the D800 with the 5D Mark III.
"Right now it feels like things are turning upside down and I will end up being a Nikon user! Canon must respond with the 4K EOS or even a 5D X if they are to not completely fall behind the competition."
They also compare the new Nikon very favorably to the Panasonic GH2, which, when hacked, is still world-class in its performance/price ratio. Panasonic should be very happy with its GH2, since it is the only thing keeping me in the Micro 4/3 fold. The E-M5 may prove exciting, but not until I see a test that controls for ISO variation vis-a-vis noise performance.

As it stands, I have never been more tempted to really lay down the cash and buy Full Format like I am with the D800. I'm definitely waiting, though, because I want to see what Sony has.

Friday, March 23, 2012

One Camera To Rule Them All

I'm not happy with Canon. They are being depressing conservative in everything they are doing, only advancing as far as the market absolutely demands. Nikon isn't doing much better, but they are at least doing better. And holy crap on a cracker, the new Nikon D800 appears ready to knock some socks off.

DxOMark has posted its review of the new Sony-sensored, 36Mp supercamera, and it does amazingly. It scores a 95(!) on DxO's normalized scoring system, putting it within spitting distance of the top cameras. Its pixel quality is noticeably below the newly released D4, but that would be expected with over twice the resolution. Canon has quite a rift to fill with the upcoming EOS 1DX and 5D Mark III. And considering that both cameras are significantly more expensive than this camera, I think that Nikon will make inroads with those in the market for a new system.

Again, I'm not much happy with either Nikon or Canon and am not tempted to buy this camera. What has me excited is that the sensor is a Sony-made Exmor sensor, which means that it will very likely find its way into a future Sony camera. That camera has me very excited. Although, truth be told, my recent chance to play with the 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikon lens is making me want a Nikon. It is a mind-blowing lens.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sony Working on 1:1 Sensor

Larger than the A900?
I told Olympus to do it, but it appears that Sony might beat them to it. I'm not surprised. Again, Sony has shown a desire to innovate, Olympus and Panasonic have not. Is it any surprise that one of the boldest yet most obvious ideas comes out of the House That Walkman Built.

Why is a 1:1 sensor so cool, you may ask? Because with it, framing becomes a non-issue. No matter which way you are holding the camera, it can be portrait or landscape. It is a stunningly liberating experience to be able to use the full scope of a sensor and crop the image however you please.

Importantly, in the digital age, sensor size correlates with noise performance. The larger the sensor, the better the noise. There is simply more light hitting the sensor. So you can understand why I wanted Micro 4/3 to adopt this; their primary disadvantage is noise. A square sensor does not extend outside of the image circle produced by the lens, meaning that systems remains compatible. And since I am not a psycho purist, I don't care about post-production and I love to crop!

I don't understand Panasonic most of all. The GH1 and GH2 have the multi-aspect sensor which was legitimately innovative. Why on God's green Earth they failed to capitalize on that and innovate further is beyond me.

I'm not the biggest fan of the SLT technology. I actually prefer a good, old-fashioned mirror and prism setup, and really dislike the slight drop in sharpness and noise performance caused by the light loss of the ST mirror. Still, if Sony produced a 1:1 camera... I don't know. That's the kind of thing for which you toss caution to the wind.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fuji X-Mount Lenses Get Reviewed

The 35mm f/1.4. Sharp as a tack.
ePhotozine has posted reviews of the three Fuji X-mount lenses and assumptions from the most recent test photos have been borne out in the lab.

All three lenses perform very well. Center sharpness in the 35mm is incredible, shooting well off the top of their charts. The 60mm actually performs a bit worse than I expected, but that's to say it performs well as opposed to amazingly well. The evenness across the frame on the macro is excellent, but macro lenses are frequently like that. So what I'm saying is, there are no surprises with it.

The 18mm and 35mm both perform similarly, with the center of frame much sharper than the edges. With the 35mm, that's not much of an issue since the edges are still very good, but on the 18mm, the edges are a bit disappointing. It only achieves a "good" rating on ePhotozine's charts at f/5.6 and doesn't go much further than that. If this test is confirmed by other tests, I don't think the 18mm is worth the premium.

This is disappointing, I was impressed with early test images of the 18mm, and as more and more images came out, the less impressive the lens became. Ah well. The other two lenses are very good and an excellent start for Fuji's nascent system.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fuji X Pro 1 Review Reveals Fantastic Sensor

TechRadar has posted a review of the X Pro 1 with excellent data. The charts based on RAW data reveal the sensor inside of the new Fuji to be an absolute champ. Signal-to-Noise measurements put it in the same class as last-gen Full-Frame cameras like the EOS 5D Mark II. Obviously, the upcoming next-gen cameras will widen the gap again, but this is still huge.

As with many of the reviews, they punt on the autofocus issue, calling it adequate. I hate limp-dicked reviews, and while this review is otherwise fine, autofocus problems in a $1700 camera are not something that are left alone. That is bad and should be stated that way.

That said, the performance of the images is amazing. Resolving power remains the same up to ISO-6400, putting the camera squarely in FF-land. Obviously, it drops off where the FF gear does not, but the benefits of the new sensor as regards dynamic range are immense.

The autofocus issues are big, but it is apparent that getting this level of quality in this small a package is going to be interesting to serious enthusiasts. I think that pros need not apply, but for the camera-lover with some coin to spend, this Fuji should be strongly considered.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Olympus E-M5 Studio Tests

DPReview has finally posted some goodies from their Olympus OM-D/ E-M5 and they are impressive. Indeed, the camera outperforms the Panasonic GX1, G3, and GH2. The noise levels are apparent, with the Oly outperforming its Panny cousins by about half-a-stop, and in areas like contrast, saturation, and greys, the new Olympus really shines. It's much better than the GX1.

Unfortunately, the tests don't tell everything on their face. The Olympus was recently tested, revealing that its ISO settings were incorrect. ISO-200 was actually ISO-120, and all further ISO settings were similarly inaccurate. This means that when the new Olympus performs as well as the Sony NEX-5n at ISO 3200, it's actually performing that well at closer to ISO-2000. This is pretty bad ISO inaccuracy, certainly the worst that I've seen recently, and is either a gross accident or it was done purposely by Olympus to game comparisons.

But to say that the new E-M5 underperforms the APS-C as regards noise is a "duh" statement. The sensor is smaller.  What I'm curious about is color depth and and dynamic range. It's for this reason that I await the DxOMark tests, which generally align to what I experience when manipulating RAW files. Moreover, even with the ISO inaccuracy taken into account, the new Oly outperforms its direct competition from Panasonic, while being about even with the Canon G1X.

Still, none of this jibes with Focus Numerique's comparison where the E-M5 noticeably underperformed the NEX-5n, 7, and the Canon G1X. That test was ISO-to-ISO, meaning that the ISO of that E-M5 was probably accurate. If you check the EXIF data on the photos from FN, you'll find that they are all f/5.6 with a shutter of 1/125 for the ISO-3200 test. This is a better comparison than the DPReview tests, since those tests assume that the ISO levels are generally accurate.

I await the DxOMark score, because it will tell us whether this sensor is indeed the same one as found in the G3/GX1, which I suspect. Here's hoping that dynamic range gets a boost, because I can deal with the noise as long as the range of sensor is increased.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Photography Blog Posts First Fuji X Pro 1 Review

Well, the first review of the X Pro 1 from a major source has surfaced. Unfortunately, it's Photography Blog. I had never found much use for their reviews before this point, and that criticism remains. They are woefully easy on products that come across their desk, and considering that other people who have handled the camera have referred to its autofocus as "terrible," PB's usage of the term "ponderous" does nothing but annoy me.

The review hits all of the points that we expect of a review and nothing else. Conclusion? They love the camera, but don't like the price. Considering the ISO performance of the camera, though, I think that the final price is not entirely insane. I don't think that it's good business sense, but it's not insane.

That ISO performance is really the shining star. Photos are completely usable up to 25,600. No other APS-C camera comes close. This is an even bigger leap than the new generation of Sony sensors seen in the Pentax K5 and Nikon D7000. Truly impressive. I wounder if Fuji will sell that sensor to other companies, because I can think of about a dozen cell phone makers that would line up to get their hands on it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Another Negative View On the Fuji X Pro 1

EOS HD, a website primarily aimed at filmmakers using SLR cameras, has posted what could be called a review of the Fuji X Pro 1. It... is not good.

Before I comment, this review is admittedly coming from a video enthusiast. But he makes the entirely correct point that there is no technical reason why Fuji's video recording features needed to be so sub-par. It is a feature that should be there, simply by virtue of the hardware, yet isn't. Still, I don't shoot a lot of video, so I can write this off.

Beyond that, though, his criticism applies just as well to photography as it does videography. Namely, he thinks that the focus scheme is so terrible as to ruin the camera. He dislikes the hybrid viewfinder, he dislikes the lenses, and he dislikes much of the interface. On a positive note, he thinks that the camera is overall a snappier experience than the X100, which shows that Fuji is indeed finding their feet in this race.

When coming from the perspective of someone who is steeped in the most up-to-date technology that the imaging world is able to produce, the "retro" bits that many photographers covet seem positively absurd. He says that almost every comparison with Sony NEX-7 comes out in Sony's favor, and the focus issue even hands a win to the cheaper Micro 4/3 crew. While I still want this camera, this autofocus problem is becoming increasingly salient.

I have said it before, I will sacrifice usability for image quality, and the reviewer admits that the Fuji likely wins that race. Still, I could buy a Panasonic GH2 and Leica 25mm/1.4 for the same price as the body, or the NEX-7 and Zeiss 24mm/1.8mm for only a bit more. I hope that the X Pro 1 shows us its better side as more reviews start to come in, because this is a pretty big disappointment for me.

Importantly, though, and what stops me from simply saying "fuck it" and forgetting about Fuji, is what this camera reveals about the philosophy at corporate Fuji. They are interested in innovating. They are trying to push the industry forward. They want to do things differently. Canon? Nikon? What are they doing differently? Nothing, that's what. So even if Fuji doesn't nail the target with this camera, they will inevitably get closer as time goes on, and while they likely won't get my money with this iteration, if they stay the course, they will inevitably get some English gold from my English pocket.

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Bee Of The Year

I've mentioned that I have a slight obsession with photographing bees. I don't know what it is about them. As far as bugs go, I just consider them to be, ahem, the bee's knees. I love their color, their form, their industriousness. They're like fuzzy little Doozers with stingers.

From fō-tō-gră-fē Photographs

ePhotozine Posts Fuji X-Pro 1 Review

ePhotozine has posted a review of the new X Pro 1. None of their reviews are terribly comprehensive, and their image tests are minimal, but a review is a review.

One interesting thing is the new list of shots that I've uploaded. My initially positive impressions of the 18mm lens are somewhat lessened. In fact, judging from the shots that they have uploaded, I would call the 18mm downright disappointing, with significant softness at the edges and corners. The 60mm is sharp, as is the 35mm, but that 18mm is a big let-down after earlier shots seemed to make it impressive.

As for price, I still think that the entire package is a bit too high. The 60mm macro is over $200 more expensive than Canon's APS-C 60mm macro, and the performance is comparable. I'd say that the 35mm is fairly priced, but it is a difficult call. Canon again makes the 50mm f/1.4 for over $200 less, and the performance again seems very similar, although the edge does appear to go to the Fuji.

Aside from the 18mm, I remain excited. Prices are a bit high, but build-quality is definitely a cut above. I wouldn't buy into a system this early in its life, but I have to admit, I'm tempted. And that's saying something.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The First Flower of Spring

The first tulips of our shockingly early spring.

Love And Respect For Canon

Eight years and going strong.
I realized that I have been doing a lot of Canon bashing on this website, and while most of it is well-founded, it does not tell the whole story.

I have three cameras: A Panasonic GF1, a Canon EOS 20D, and a 5D Mark II to which I have off-and-on access. While I love the GF1 and think that mirrorless developments are the only thing that have fomented real innovation in the camera world, the power of the SLR model is undeniable. Whenever I enter a truly demanding environment, I carry along my EOS cameras.

Yes, they weigh a lot. Yes, they aren't quite inconspicuous. But when getting a shot really matters, my GF1 stays home.

For example, I was just outside trying to photograph some bees that have come out of hibernation early because winter never happened in New England, this year. Yeah, I have an obsession with bees. Bees are not exactly slow-moving. For their size, they never stop, and they move like the dickens. If I tried doing this with my GF1, nearly every outing would be a failure.

Yes, mirrorless is advancing quickly, and implementing one in a demanding environment is becoming feasible, but they weren't before, and really aren't quite there even now. For that, even though I lambast Canon, I use their cameras. And when I come out of a difficult situation with multiple good shots, I, if sometimes briefly, love them.

The romance is out of them, but I think that is because they have become tools as opposed to something romantic. That's why so many pro photogs like Leica so much, because there is romance in the cameras. They have their Nikons and Canons, but those may as well be Craftsman. They are tools for creating photos. With romance, just as with Leica, it's not about the photo, it's about how you got there.

I've never had much respect for that philosophy, but I can at least understand it. I sometimes lose perspective in the drive for ever-newer cameras and technology. I sometimes forget that the camera that has been serving me well for nearly eight years is still the thing that I instinctually grab when I worry about the environment that I might be entering.

I sometimes forget that the sorrow of a failed photo counteracts whatever pleasure I get from holding a camera. I sometimes forget, in my frustration with the company, that the tools that they made have produced most of the photos that, when I look back upon them, elicit the smile of a memory relived. I sometimes forget that while the camera, seemingly so tactile and real, breaks, fades, and is eventually forgotten, the photos, in all their ephemeral humanity, are forevermore.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fuji X Pro 1 Rolling Review on Luminous Landscape

Luminous Landscape, a terribly designed website staffed by some of the best and most well-known photogs online, has posted part one of a rolling review of the new Fuji X Pro 1. Aside from DPReview, their rolling review of the Sony NEX-7 was easily the most detailed, comprehensive coverage of the camera available online. If you have never read anything by them, I suggest that you start.

Not much to be said yet, but they do address some of the early impressions of the X Pro where reviewers called the camera flimsy and sporting a poor build quality. It assuages my fears with LumiLand saying that these guys are completely off base. The camera is indeed as well built as it appears in photos.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Shows Noticeable Improvements

Focus Numerique has posted ISO samples of the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III and they show a lighter AA filter, resulting in slightly sharper images overall, and cleaner high-ISO images.

In general, the difference is not large. I would say less than half a stop. But that only tells half the story. The Mark II appears better at extracting high-ISO detail in textures, shadow noise is much lower, and roll off into highlights is better. If the camera cost the same as the old Mark II, I'd call it a resounding success. At a price much more than the Mark II's launch, I still think that it is a worthy camera, but offers little to justify its enormous premium over its older sibling.

Obviously, I'll wait to see what the DxOMark is, because as with Sony's sensors, major advances in dynamic range and color are not always apparent in the final product. The Mark III may yet end up being a fantastic successor to the Mark II.

Early X Pro 1 Comments Are Not Sounding Good

And haven't quite caught it, yet.
43Rumors has an overview on a few hands-on reports from photogs around the world concerning both the E-M5 and the Fuji X Pro 1, two cameras in which I am more than a little interested. None of the reports are good.

Truly, the general consensus on the X Pro 1 is that the autofocus is terrible, which we knew, but that it is also cheaply made. One reviewer mentions that he felt that the X100 was cheaply made, which I disagree with. If it hadn't been for the awful usability issues, I would have loved the tactile feeling provided by the X100. Still, while one opinion does not a consensus make, a few do. And we have a few. This is a huge disappointment for me. I was on the verge of ordering the camera , since I am the kind of photog who will sacrifice ergonomics and usability for image quality.

The E-M5 also disappoints. One reviewer says that the ergonomics are such that getting "the shot" in a particular environment was impossible. This is both disappointing and puzzling since the ergonomics are very good on the G3 and GH2. Another reviewer says that the E-M5 comes alive after having the battery grip installed, but that it is also cheaply made, especially considering its high price.

That said, the Oly doesn't disappoint as hard as the X Pro 1. In fact, there are quite a few good reviews of the camera. My surprise may be because my expectations of the camera had dropped to near-zero after Olympus' refusing to talk about the sensor and the disappointing high-ISO samples. I look forward to the later reviews, but considering the NEX series that is out there, it's a really tough sell for Oly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fuji X Pro 1 Lens Test Photos

EPhotozine has posted test shots (here, here, and here) of the new Fuji X Pro 1 lenses and they are quite good.

UPDATE: PhotographyBlog has also posted test images of the lenses. They do a better job of showing off the specific characteristics of each lens. Their focal numbers are 35mm equivalent, so the 18mm becomes 27mm, 35mm becomes 53mm, and the 60mm becomes 90mm. All three lenses impress. The macro is tack-sharp. This one, in particular, shows off the 18mm.

The 35mm f/1.4 is unfortunately soft even in the center at f/1.4. That aperture is not an easy thing to engineer, though, and considering that the lens sharpens up well at f/2.0, we'll give Fuji a pass on what is arguably a small problem. Considering that many other companies produce similar lenses for wildly more money, kudos is due to Fuji.

The wider 18mm f/2.0 is much sharper wide open, but that's not surprising. This lens impresses me more than the 35mm with excellent evenness across the frame. Ideally, having it slightly faster would have been nice for what is the equivalent of a 28mm lens, but f/2.0 is still excellent.

The 60mm macro, which must compete with Canon's excellent EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro, is excellent. It appears to degrade near the edges more the Canon, but vignetting is better controlled. Wide open on Canon's lens produces a loss of over an EV by the corners, whereas the Fuji shows much less than an EV. The test photos also appear to show some flaring from f/8.0 and up. I hope that Fuji includes a hood.

All things considered, the three launch lenses are more than competitive. They are fast, sharp, and well-made. Combined with the X Pro 1 itself, I think that Fuji just hit the big time. If only their camera was cheaper... and had autofocus that didn't suck.

Finally, A Real E-M5 ISO Comparison

Focus Numerique, an excellent if minor photography publication online, has posted an ISO comparison of the new Olympus E-M5, and sure enough, its performance is nearly identical to the Panasonic G3. Aside from much stronger default contrast and sharpening, the images are close to identical. The odd gap between the G3 and the Canon G1X at least appears to have been mostly closed with Olympus' superior processing pipeline.

But, and it's a big but, noise, when even measured on a per-pixel level, appears significantly lower on the Sony NEX-7. That is a twenty-four megapixel camera. That is the key problem that these increasingly crappy Panasonic sensors have: the quality of the photosites themselves is far behind the competition. The NEX-5n is nearly a full stop better. That is unacceptable at the price that Olympus wants. Considering the recent results of the new Fuji X Pro 1, with ISO performance that leaves all other APS-C cameras wanting, Olympus needs to move their pricing downmarket, STAT.

As I have reiterated, the weather sealing is a real killer feature for me. As for many people who carry cameras with them at nearly all times, when the rain starts to fall, you either pack it up or enact some ghetto-rig around your camera like wrapping it in a Zip-Loc bag with only the lens peaking out. Less than elegant, to be sure.

Again, I want the E-M5... a lot. It is attractive, elegant, weather sealed, and finally aimed at enthusiasts. If it had been the first camera that Olympus had released, I would be singing a different tune. It would have been a revelation three years ago. But now, it goes up against the soon-to-be-announced Nikon D8000, The Sony NEX series, and Canon doing their own sensor format better than them.

I am begging Olympus to cut ties with Panasonic. Either go whole-hog and actually design their own sensors or buy off-the-shelf units from Sony. Panasonic is giving you its leftovers. This is not real competition. I want this body with a Sony sensor. I want a camera that doesn't require concessions.

P.S. I also want a camera that doesn't have a base ISO of freaking 200.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fuji X Pro 1 Autofocus Test

An autofocus test has shown up on YouTube, and Cnet's statement that it was sub-par was, sadly, accurate. The tests show it to be among the slowest AF that I've seen, and it is easily the slowest performance of any camera in the price range that Fuji is targeting. While I'm sure that Fuji will hit its targets, I think that their sales could be much better if they dropped the price of the camera by $200 and include a kit with a big discount on the lens. Because at this price, pros won't accept this problem, and enthusiasts have many options.

Still, I can't help but want this camera. I hope that a few months on the market will give them a chance to fix some of the problems. It still won't be worth it, but it will be almost worth it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

First Fuji X Pro 1 Review

Cnet Asia has posted the first major review of the Fuji X Pro 1 and the ISO tests are incredibly impressive.

As we all know, the Sony NEX 5n has an amazing sensor as regards noise levels. It's not the absolute best APS-C camera on the market, though. That honor goes to the Pentax K5. But even then, it compares very favorably to even full-frame cameras. The X Pro 1 blows the NEX 5n out of the water. It's in a different league.

As with the X100, though, not all is well in Fujiland. The autofocus, again as with the X100, is disappointing. They don't specify, but they didn't mention the AF speed on the NEX 5n's review, and I thought that its AF was rather poor. So for them to mention the AF leads me to believe that the speed is noticeably poor.

Unfortunately, there are precious few details that we can glean from this review. Cnet, for all its size, produces some of the worst, most useless reviews on the internet. I cannot wait for DPReview and DxOMark.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The 5D Mark III Confuses Me

Canon announced the 5D Mark III today, and while it doesn't scream "arrogantly clueless" like their abandonment of the mirrorless market and the ridiculous price on the G1X, it certainly doesn't assuage my fears about Canon.

What puzzles me is the price, which comes it at one thousand dollars more expensive than the 5D Mark II when  it launched, and fifteen-hundred more than its current price. Canon has tried to explain this away by saying that the camera is not a replacement for the MkII, but is instead meant to sit between it and the 1DX.

Combined with the revelation that there will be no replacement for the 7D, the 60D replacement will move upmarket, and the 1DX being called a "replacement" for the 1D and 1DS even though we know that a high-resolution studio camera is in the offing, it all gives me the impression of a company that has no idea in what direction it wants to go.

Further compounding this impression is their release of an entirely new system for video, which will have new lenses, yet another SLR-styled camera, and more hyper-expensive accessories. Obviously, Canon does not believe in the maxim that less is more. They believe that more is more, and even more is a lot more.

It's hard for me to totally mock Canon just yet. They are being annoyingly cagey with details about their cameras. We've seen only a smattering of demo photos, and no serious hands-on have taken place. But considering the different philosophies and market strategies exemplified by The D4 and the 1DX, I do not hold out much hope for serious innovation and change.

Compare this to Sony, who has pushed the APS-C market into entirely new territories with the NEX-7 and A77, and their incredible innovation appears primed to continue into the full-frame market. Sony is manufacturing the sensors in all of the best cameras currently on the market. Length-to-length, Sony's system is cheaper than either Nikon or Canon (granted, the recent increase in lens prices goes some way to eliminating this). Truly, Sony is going that one bit farther in every respect.

Canon could have brought it. They could have unified the concepts of the new Canon C-Series with their standard line. But no. They instead chose to further fragment their line-up. That behavior annoys the hell out of me, because it stems from a company that knows that they have their professional market by the balls, and this market will be much more willing to plunk down cash since investment in a competing system would cost more and be more problematic. In economics terms, people who are invested in Canon's system have turned Canon products into inflexible goods.

And because of this, instead of bold steps, we get incremental upgrades, features that should have existed in their previous generation of cameras, and a system designed to milk money from customers, all for a lot more money than last year.

Man, what a deal.