My first Canon EXPO (Canon EXPO 2010 in New York) was quite the treat. Was it the best event I've ever been to in regard to products? No. But that's really only because much of what was being shown and demonstrated isn't available to buy right now. Most events (like NAB) have tons of vendors and lots of products that are usually available on the market or coming soon. At this Canon EXPO, you couldn't walk out and buy much of anything that was there and that in itself makes the EXPO hard to compare to other events. But I did see lots of interesting potential products as well as lots of interesting people!
It was very nice to see the new Canon EOS 60D and the whole new line of lenses (which i never made the time to blog about but i assume most of you found out about them and we'll certainly have more info coming out when the lenses are shipping). The gut reaction from most people is the 60D is more solid feeling than expected. The Canon EOS 60D is of good build quality and tho not the same level as the 7D and 5D2, i was pleased to see how it looked and felt in the hand. It is a bit small for my big hands but they're also coming out with a dedicated grip so if you like the bigger feel, the grip might help out. I asked about the weather sealing of the 60D and was told it is between the T2i and the 7D and certainly not to the level of the 5D2 and 1D. I also recommended to Canon reps that they consider publishing this weather resistance info for the lower cameras because it is a common question. We'll see how soon we get that . One other thing of note was the battery performance. Quite good was what i was told by the guys on the floor. The 60Ds were running the entire day and most still hadn't had a battery swapped out for fresh… great performance from the same battery as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews).
I wanted to put a CF card into the bodies where the new lenses were being shown (and it turns out i know someone who did get some images – maybe we'll get to see some), but the watchdogs wouldn't allow that – because the lenses being shown were still not production copies. Everyone was excited about the new fisheye and from the look of it there on the floor, folks will be impressed with the results. They had the sample mounted on a 5D2 and zooming in on photos i took on their card showed the edges were very sharp and i couldn't find any chromatic aberration (and Chuck Westfall claimed that we would find the production units to be very similar). We'll be exited to get our hands on it.
Testing current cameras and lenses
Canon also had a setup where you could try out a bunch of different bodies and lenses while shooting some professional models side by side with another Explorer of Light (there were plenty there!). And after using the camera/lens combo and shooting the heck out of the models, you got to take the CF card out and take it home with you! Of course, several of us did it several times. I didn't need the cards, but i was looking to have some hands on time with lenses i haven't used before. I've posted some of the images on the planet5D forums for you to see. But here's one of my favorites shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM (reviews):
As i mentioned the other day from the floor, we had a nice long chat with Chuck Westfall as well as a good lunch where i met Tyler Stableford. And as many of you already know, Chuck is like the wikipedia of Canon – he knows more details about all the cameras and lenses thru out Canon history. I was talking to Len Musmeci (Canon PR) who told us a story about how the TV show “Jeopardy” called and wanted to know if the letters in EOS stood for the Goddess of the Dawn from Greek mythology (it also means Electronic Optical System). Len looked around the web and contacted a bunch of folks inside Canon and nobody knew the answer. Chuck was out of the country at the time and they finally decided to call and find out if he knew the answer. And it turns out he did and indeed Canon did also mean that EOS was for the Goddess. We were able to sit down with Chuck and we're still editing the 15+ minute video.
I got to spend time talking with many folks at the show as well. The planet5D shirt is a dead give away and people were constantly coming up to me to introduce themselves and to say how much they're enjoying the blog as well as how much help it has been to them. To all of those folks as well as to those of you who couldn't be there – i say thanks! I am blessed to be able to help so many people around the world! I also met many of the Canon Explorers of Light and several have agreed to do planet5D Live interviews – so keep an eye out!
Canon 4k monitors – 4mp and 8mp
One of the most amazing things from the show (at least to me) were the 4 and 8 megapixel monitors. They are simply stunning and i would love to spend the day working in front of one of the 8 megapixel monitors! They were showing 4k video and stills on them both and with the 4mp monitor, you could see the pixels if you get up close… but on the 8mp monitor, it is like looking at a photograph up close. Only when i took a very close up image with my 5D2 could i see any of the pixels. I took a couple of closeups on the monitors with my 5D2 and when I got home, I shot my Sony XBR-9 TV at about the same distance (granted I don't have the same image so the TV was just showing some text – but you'll see the difference – and I realize the TV is a 52″ and the monitors are 30″ so that impacts the images as well… but I think you'll still see how detailed the Canon monitors are). This image is of the images blown up to 100% in Aperture on my iMac. You can see quite the difference! Click the image to see a much larger image.
There were plenty of other Canon technologies on display – some of them i didn't really care about (can you say copiers and medical equipment?). There was however an entire room with some of the way far out technologies. Remember the video of the prototype “wonder camera” from the Chinese EXPO (see this post)? Well, it was there!
There was also a display of 3D technology and there was a new display that included a new Redrock Micro 3D rig that had it's first public viewing. I didn't spend any time there at the 3D display other than to talk with Brian Valente several times.
The 4k video concept camera
Of course, you've already seen the Canon 4k multipurpose camera display from the Philip Bloom post i'm sure. It surprisingly wasn't as prominently shown as i expected – it was next to the 3D display area which had more space. But there were 4 of these concept cameras there and they indeed were displaying 4k output on the 8mp monitor and of course it looked amazing. The only thing it was showing tho was the static display (tho some pieces were moving so maybe i shouldn't call it static LOL). You could play with the focus and zoom, but you couldn't pick it up and hold it. I was also told (and i don't think i've seen anyone else report it) that the circular plate on the left side indeed holds a fan (tho it wasn't running during the show) due to the high temperatures found in running the 4k chip. We'll have to see how well Canon can cool these new chips in the future. Overheating sure isn't a good option as we've seen already.
There was also a special room showing off the 120 megapixel sensor that made the news the week before the expo. In this room, they were showing a large double video monitor with images taken on this huge sensor. They needed two monitors to show them off. And, the image is so large you can zoom into sections of about 1/60th of the whole image and still end up with 4k or even 8k hunks to display video. One would think that there are maybe some special instances where this kind of major size in a sensor might be needed, but i wouldn't think that any of our pro DSLRs would need anything close to this size. There was also a 50mp sensor nearby and they were showing the results on a group of 5-6 monitors and there was a trackball attached so you could move around in the image.
Single-Shot Multi-Band Camera
Chuck also showed me their new technology employed in the Single-Shot Multi-Band Camera – which uses 6 different color filters with the sensor instead of just the current 3 we use in RGB technologies. There's a good sample on gizmodo. They're using this new imaging technique to capture colors that aren't currently seen in today's color spaces and even more than the human eye. This is being used right now to document art in Japan. I asked Chuck if this was something like making a 5 bladed razor when the 1 or 3 bladed razor is just fine (meaning it seems to me like these new 5 blade razors they're trying to sell us on in the US is just plain overkill), but Chuck said that in this case, it isn't just technology for technology's sake. This indeed is producing higher levels of image color than has ever been captured before and eventually it will make it into new products. And of course, it will also mean we'll need new monitors, computer software and editing software to handle this – but the images should be well worth it.
Prototype 8k TV lens
Stuck over in the corner of the video concepts room was this hidden gem… an 8k prototype lens! I'll let the photos speak for themselves (yes they're in B&W).
summary of the wrap up
So, in summary, i completely enjoyed my first Canon EXPO and can't wait to see some of the changes that come in the next 5 years. I'm also looking forward to my next EXPO 5 years from now.
I know some people were disappointed because there weren't any new products announced at the show (like a 5D3 or another new camera) but i didn't really expect anything since the Canon EOS 60D had been announced the week before the EXPO. But in my mind, it was exciting to get a glimpse of what Canon is thinking about and to give them feedback on what i saw at the show.
Keep an eye out for our interview with Chuck Westfall coming up in just a bit!
(Photo credit: snap from planetMitch)