Monday, November 17, 2008

Did Canon Forget Macro?

Dear Canon,
In the race to see who could cram more pixels onto a sensor did you forget about macro and closeup shooters? Not all of us can afford your “D” series bodies that have bigger sensors, so here we sit with cameras that don’t perform as well as we’d want them to at high ISO. In fact I seriously doubt you’ll see too many of us move to the 50D since the high ISO noise performance is worse than the 40D. If you’re interested, if you still think that armature closeup photography is important to you, then here’s what I’d like to see:

1: A camera in the XXD class with a 1.3 crop factor sensor that has no more than 12MP and large micro lenses. I’d like to think that you could build a decent 1.6 crop factor sensor, but even you can’t defy the laws of physics. A sensor that has a diffraction limit of F16 would go a long way…

2: ISO 1600 performance that’s as good, if not better, than the 40D at ISO 200.

3: A big, bright view finder to make focusing at high magnification with the MPE-65mm macro lens easier.

I’ve also got a cool idea for your next macro flash –one that’s so simple I’m stunned that no one else has thought of it. Since all of the weight in a 580EX II is in the lower section where the electronics and batteries are, and the flash capacitor is in the hinge in the flash head all you have to do is separate the two with a coiled cable –one that’s about the same length as the cables you currently use for the MT-24EX. Supply a lens mount for the flash head and give it the same type of tilt swivel base that you use for the MT-24EX’s flash heads and you’re done. Macro shooters will love you since they’ll have a powerful flash mounted at the end of the lens close to the subject to help keep flash durations low and to make diffusing the flash easier. All of the weight will be centered and back toward the photographer on the camera’s hot shoe so hand holding the rig will be easy –one of the main reasons why I shoot with the MT-24EX is because I shoot nearly all of my macro hand held and I need a balanced camera. Separating the flash head from the base controller with a cord would give me that balance. Do not make it wireless! Adding batteries to the flash head section would just make it heavy. Event shooters would also benefit from a “corded flash” since they could mount the head on a bracket and have a rig with better balance –all the weight would be on the hot shoe.

In the megapixel race the only losers are closeup and macro shooters Canon –bigger numbers don’t impress us. Image quality does, and I’m finding the 1.6x crop factor sensors lacking…

It would also be cool if you would fix the problem in the 40D that seems to cause it to use Average E-TTL metering with the MT-24EX even if Evaluative E-TTL is set in the camera -or the metering system is just horribly broken since it's not even remotely consistent. Two letters to Mr. Chuck Westfall and still no response…
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