The New Canon 5D MkIV – The Perfect Balance

We always say the latest camera is “the best and the hottest” and other such hyperboles. From what I’ve seen so far (been playing with it for awhile and more to come on that…) the newly announced Canon 5D MkIV may be one of the very best all around cameras ever made.






When you consider performance vs weight and size and the PACKED features such as HDR video and stills, excellent low light performance, dual pixel (think Lytro and focusing in post or adjusting bokeh slightly), 4K video (with effectively super 35mm crop so you can use cine lenses…), amazing AF with 61 sensors and works with face detection and touch screen both in stills and video, anti flicker for video, very smooth ramping of focus and exposure in video in auto modes.

It’s definitely the best combination of Still + Video camera I’ve used to date.

GPS, WIFI (can link multiple cameras to identical atomic clock), NFC, wonderful touchscreen that accesses pretty much every single feature with a tap of a finger, easy connection to smartphones from camera, and yes! Even a built in intervalometer 😉

Basically: pretty much everything you’d want in a body that size and for this market and the perfect BALANCE if you will of megapixels and low light performance as well… The Canon 5Ds was my default go to still camera … Now it’s going to be a tough call as this camera definitely adds 1-2 stops (haven’t done scientific testing but have shot side by side and its visibly improved to the naked eye) in low light and sees much more into the shadows when side by side. By nature higher MP and density sensors will always perform slightly less than lower MP sensors as the individual pixels are smaller and capture less light – pretty much a hard and fast rule across the board.

I love my 50MP cameras … But my computers still have a hard time churning on all of that data… 30 MP is kinda perfect for most out there!

As mentioned low light is impressive on this camera. The Canon 1DX MKII is a BEAST but overkill for most non-sports/nature/extreme photogs in terms of weight and size and I prefer a 30MP body personally.

All of these news sensors from Canon are crazy, crazy sharp and have a superbly impressive resolving power in stills! A pleasure to look at in LR on Apple Retina displays …

The Dynamic Range is just silly. This camera also has an impressive HDR mode (both still + video) as well as multi exposure HDR with automatic alignment of multi-exposures built in (so you can do multi exposure HDR handheld.)

You can apply looks (and change existing after you shoot then), crops and reprocess images IN camera and rate images on the back with a RATE button or easily by using the touch screen and you can pinch to zoom and flick left or right like on your smartphones … GPS will log your paths and moves and of course embed in EXIF.

You can also customize the display of information in your viewfinders, pretty much every button although I’m guessing you’ll find yourself using mostly the touch screen from now on … And has a sleek option to turn on a grid in the prism/viewfinder as well as a leveler for roll and tilt. This camera is also impressively weather-sealed and uses the same LP-E6 batteries (yay!) we’ve all been using for years.

There are actually so many functions that the manual is 600 pages and yes, I had to read it to figure out what all these bells and whistles do!

My how far we’ve come since the initial 5D & for many of us the 5DMKII!

The size and weight of this camera and 30 MP will find its way to be the perfect companion to many out there! It lives just perfectly between the 1DX MKII and 5DS/R … A little BEAST!

Check out the new Canon 5D MkIV at B&H for more price info and to pre-order information.


It’s here – my thoughts on the new Canon 1DX MkII

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet


For the past week or so I’ve been lucky to get a chance to shoot Canon’s new flagship camera – the EOS 1DX MKII.

As many of you know, I used the previous version of this camera extensively on the AIR project in conjunction with the Canon 5Ds.     I came to call the 1DX the “king of the night” for it’s incredible low light performance.   It seems Canon has continued to push the envelope with this camera in that area and added quite a few significant features.

The big question these days with any camera it seems is:   is this a still camera or a video camera – given the wild moves towards motion that the industry has taken over the last several years.

I’d say the 1DX MKII lives comfortably in both worlds right now.

First, with 14 frames a second and C-Fast 2.0 cards, this thing is a monster in terms of still camera capabilities.   As you’ll see on this sequence of surfer Tom Dosland wiping out and falling from the lip of a 40-foot-wave at JAWS in Maui, this camera produces quite a sequence of frames on peak action.

Frankly you almost feel like you’re shooting a film with a mechanical camera at this point – and good luck trying to fill the buffer with the new speedy cards.   In this case I was using the Sandisk 128GB Sandisk C-Fast 2.0 cards which were literally hot to the touch when I ejected them from the camera.

This sequence was shot with the Canon 800mm 5.6 and the AF didn’t miss a lick.   My only regret is not having shot a little looser on what were what some describe as the waves of the decade at JAWS.

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo by Vincent Laforet

Tom Dosland at JAWS. Photo sequence by Vincent Laforet


I shot two days at Jaws and nearly 8,000 frames (I was trying to demonstrate the sequence potential of the camera for Canon so I shot unusually heavily) and of the approximately 9 hours of shooting, the AF only veered off momentarily for one sequence out of nearly a hundred.   Quite impressive.

Here are a couple of additional images I shot of a diver off of South Point on the Big Island yesterday.   The resolving power of this camera is incredible (looks like a groundbreaking sensor)  and quite visible on the face of the rocks…




Other than the built-in GPS functionality which allows you to track your path, and of course to collect GPS data while you shoot and embed them in each still frame, the biggest surprise were 3 new video functionalities.

First, the camera has built in AF with face recognition for video and a touch screen display.   And it works pretty solidly.   Although surfing isn’t quite a torture test for an AF system (although it does have to be quite precise) I can’t recall a single sequence where it failed me.   It just worked…

The comes the 4K video which results in nearly crystal clear video on an Apple MacBook Retina display.   I’d love to see a Canon Log feature added to this camera at some point, as the dynamic range of the video is quite impressive.   I’m not going to claim that it rivals that of RAW format high end cinema cameras, but for an SLR it’s quite excellent.

The two big surprises for me were that the camera shoots 60 fps at 4K (around an APS-H sensor focal length equivalent for 4K), and 120 fps at 1080p.     And that’s a significant bump in frame rates – notably for a DSLR.


I expect to come back and post some video samples from Hawaii and JAWS in the coming week, but the clips are so large that I’m going to have to wait to get back to the mainland and faster internet speeds to upload them at this point.

Overall I’m extremely impressed with this camera.     It’s as with all Canon 1D series bodies built like a tank and ready to be exposed to almost any series of conditions you throw it at.

The AF performance, the frame rate both still and in motion are quite impressive.   And the GPS, touch screen AF, live view and customizability of functions are welcome additions to what was already the very definition of a “workhorse.”

And lastly a nice surprise was the battery performance.   As is often the case with prototypes, I was only able to get one battery.   With live view, constant AF on a 200-400mm, and a combination of still + mostly video shooting on the second day, the camera was able to last nearly 4 hours of use (with period shut downs to conserve battery.)   That’s impressive.   As a still camera I think it’s safe to assume this camera would survive heavy use for an entire day if not more – but I haven’t been able to do a formal “scientific” test.

Lastly – with the high ISO performance come exceptional results in the “middle” ISO area.   During daytime and normal levels of sunlight, I found myself shooting a 800-1250 ISO and 1/4000th of a frame and f/8 on the 800mm f5.6.   This is the first camera to let you shoot past f 5.6 with all AF sensors from Canon and achieve excellent AF results – but most importantly the quality of the frames at that high ISO is exceptional: they look no different to my eye to what I would have expected at 200 ISO just a few years back.

Incredibly impressive low light performance too – here’s a 50mm f1.2 at 1.6 with a  10 second exposure at 6400 ISO –  shot at 12,500 feet elevation!




Below is detailed list of specs for the new Canon 1Dx MKII camera:



  • 20.2MP CMOS Sensor
  • Dual pixel CMOS AF in Live View
  • Dual DIGIC6 + processor
  • ISO100-51200 (extendable to ISO range 50 to 409,600)
  • Continuous shooting 14 frames / sec.
  • Live View mode at 16 frames / sec – high-speed continuous shooting new mirror drive system to allow the (at 16 frames / sec.)
  • Continuous shooting possible number is 170 frames in RAW and Unlimited in JPEG
  • 61-point AF system, which range is expanded. 41-point cross-type
  • AF is -3EV correspondence
  • AI AF accuracy and motion tracking was improved Servo AF III + – 360000 dot metering sensor.
  • Video at 4K up to 60fps.
  • Full HD (1080p) up to 120fps.
  • 4K video can be recorded to internal CFast2.0 Media
  • Movie Servo AF – LCD monitor 3.2 inches, 1.62 million dot. Touch panel for AF point for video shooting.
  • Camera digital lens Optimizer (DLO).
  • Lens aberration correction.
  • Diffraction correction
  • CFast2.0 and Compact Flash dual card slot
  • GPS built-in – 2-axis electronic level
  • USB3.0 terminal, HDMI terminal
  • Size of 158mm x 167.6mm x 82.6 mm
  • Weight 1340g



Open Invitation To The Opening of “AIR” at the Fahey Klein Gallery, December 10th in LA

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.03.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 11.04.04 PMThis has been and continues to be a HUGE few days for me and for AIR. We’ve just shipped the first 1600 signed books (all pre-orders were signed, see below for what kind of daunting task that was – there are only about 800 in the picture below!).  And all current orders have shipped as of today.   If you order a book as of now, it will ship on the same day.


This week is the launch of my first solo gallery show at the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles – this Thursday actually.

In the very earliest days of conceiving what Project AIR was going to be about, I wanted to offer up the chance for those who were interested to see prints from the project. A month or so after our second series of flights, we came up with this idea for a gallery show at the end of the project and put this in our project proposal document. Little did I know, less than a year later, this would actually be a full blown reality.

As photographers and visual artists, for many of us, it remains something of an (increasingly) elusive dream to have our work displayed on a gallery wall somewhere.   While I’ve sold fine art prints for years independently, this is something different entirely – it’s a HUGE honor to have the AIR images represented by the Fahey Klein Gallery in LA.

Fahey Klein is hugely respected in the field of photographers in it’s roster, including some of my photographic heroes, like Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Neil Leifer, Annie Leibowitz and Irving Penn to name just a few. It’s incredible and humbling to be represented amongst such greats, and to be shown on the same walls as some of these masters of the craft. While the prints are still being hung and arranged, you can get a sense of the space from a past exhibition below.


The exhibition opening night runs on December 10th, from 7-9pm and if you’re in the area please come join me at the gallery. Feel free to come down and bring your friends, we’ll have large AIR prints up on the wall and would be great if you could stop in and say hi.

If you can’t make the opening, the prints will be up all through January 2016, so do try and stop in and let me know what you think – seeing the images in the book, a lithograph or online is one thing, but seeing them printed and hung on the wall is another world entirely!

For those that can make it, the details are:

Fahey Klein Gallery, 148 North La Brea, between First Street and Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA 90036

The press release with the full details is below:

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