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Is the Canon EOS M for You?

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At last the other shoe has dropped and now Canon has their entry into the mirrorless camera derby. And it's a good one.

The Canon EOS M is a sophisticated CSC aimed at transition photographers and movie makers. Where other manufacturers included HD movie capture on their still cameras, Canon emphasized it.

With its 18.0-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and full HD movie mode with movie servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects, the EOS M is targeted directly at those for whom video is a priority. It even has an external mic jack.

In October, the body with kit EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens will be available for $799. Canon will also have a EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $299 and an adapter for EF-S and EF lenses. For photographers already in the Canon DSLR camp, the adapter is a no-brainer.

Will I place my order for the new EOS M? Probably not. I'm going to wait and see what's released up the road. For the time being, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a better fit for me. I shoot stills first and video second. And the OM-D is a fantastic still photography camera.

But don't underestimate what Canon has done here. They have studied the market and targeted a solid camera right at the generation ready to move from point and shoot to something more sophisticated. It's going to be fun to watch how this plays out.


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You can stream from iPhoto on your iPad to your HDTV via Apple TV. The trick is to reveal the hidden AirPlay button while working in iPhoto.

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First, make sure that "mirroring" is enabled in iPhoto for iOS. You can check by going to the Albums page, clicking on the gear menu in the upper right corner, and sliding the "ON" button for "Mirror on TV."

Then double-tap the home button to reveal all the apps that are currently active in the Dock. If you swipe the dock to the right, it will reveal your media controls, as shown in the illustration above. Tap the AirPlay button, choose "Apple TV," double-tap the Home button again, and iPhoto for iOS will be mirrored on your HDTV.

Now you can share images with friends and play slideshows on your HDTV directly from iPhoto. And since Apple TV is so portable, you can easily pack it in the suitcase when traveling on vacation.


You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


When Apple released the new MacBook Pro with retina display, they also updated Aperture and a handful of other applications to take full advantage of the dense pixel LED monitor. No doubt about it. Aperture looks fantastic on the new MBP.

But what about Lightroom 4.1? I've seen comments on the Internet ranging from "My images now look horrible" to "Lightoom looks gorgeous on the new MacBook Pro." Obviously Adobe will update Lightroom for the retina display. But in the meantime? Well, let's take a quick look.

lightroom4_mbp_retina.jpg Lightroom 4.1 on a MacBook Pro retina display. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

Lightroom's interface and rendering of images look absolutely fine on the new MacBook Pro retina display. The type is clean and the rendering of the images is accurate. The interface icons will have to be updated with more resolution for the next version, but if I didn't point that out, you probably would have never given it a second thought.

By comparison, here is a screenshot of the Aperture 3.3.1 interface on the retina display.

aperture3_3-mbp-retina.jpg Aperture 3.3.1 on a MacBook Pro with retina display. Click on image for larger size.

As you can see, Aperture 3.3.1 looks really good on the new MacBook Pro. Image has wonderful detail, icons and typography are very crisp.

My favorite way to compare these screenshots is to download them, open both in Preview, then toggle back and forth between the images. That will help you see the subtle differences. And keep in mind, the monitor you're viewing these images on will influence your perception of them.

Bottom Line

If you're a Lightroom 4 user, I would not delay getting a new MacBook Pro with retina display. This MBP is the best laptop I've ever used, for photography and otherwise. Lightroom looks great now, and will probably get only better with version 4.2.

And if you're an Aperture user... well, the upgrade is a no-brainer.


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Have an older flash that you really like, but it just doesn't fit with your new camera gear? For less than $25 you can use that light again with the Cowboy Studio Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger/Receiverkit. It brings wireless flash photography to just about any flash/camera combination.

cowboy_studio_trigger.jpg The NPT-04 Cowboy Studio kit (Canon flash not included!)

In my case, I have a cool little Canon Speedlite 270EX that isn't much bigger than a deck of cards. I hadn't been using it because it doesn't have the wireless capability of the newer Canon Speedlite 270EX IIflash. So in a drawer it sat.

Thanks to the Cowboy Studio radio trigger set, however, I'm now carrying the 270 EX in my "bum around" backpack and using it with the new Olympus OM-D E-M5camera. This rig also works with my Canon 5D Mark II, which doesn't have a flash or a flash trigger built in to the body.

The Cowboy Studio trigger operates on a 433 MHZ radio frequency and has four different channels. You can use shutter speeds up to 1/250th of a second with the kit. The receiver uses 2 AAA batteries and the transmitter includes a 23A, 12V battery. The kit is light and compact. And it works great. There's even a PC socket on the receiver.

What you don't get is ETTL capability. In other words, no dedicated flash. For some, this may be a deal breaker. But I've been using manual flash most of the time anyway. With digital cameras, where you can check your results immediately on the LCD, it really isn't a problem.

For indoor shoots, I usually start with these settings:

  • ISO 400 or 800
  • Manual exposure mode, 1/30th at f/5.6
  • If the subject is too bright, I stop down to f/8 or more
  • If the subject is too dark, I open up to f/4 or more

I'm having a blast with the Cowboy Studio Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger/Receiverkit. It's great knowing that I have off-camera flash capability with just about any camera/flash combination in my bag.


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Answer to Macro Question

The answer to yesterday's Can You Guess This Shot? is: a spider web with dew.

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I noticed this potential shot outside the front door to my studio the other morning. So I put my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lenson the 60D, and composed as tightly as possible. The closer I got, the more abstract the composition became.

Macro When you get very close, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what the subject is. Click on the image for a larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...


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Can You Guess This Shot?

One of fun things about macro photography, is how it can abstract your subject. I captured this shot with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lenson a Canon 60D.

So the question is, "Can you guess the subject of this photo?" If you think you know, post your answer in the comment space below.

Macro What is this? Click on the image for a larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

I'll post the answer in tomorrow's TDS blog post, plus a little info on how I captured it.


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Nikon officially announces their 800mm f/5.6 super telephoto. It's the longest focal length of any Nikkor autofocus lens. Then, in the second story, I try not to get my hopes up about the latest Canon rumor for an entry-level full-frame DSLR with some tantalizing (rumored) specs. I also cover how to put some pizazz in your group shots, and the value (and use of) a shot list for event photography. All of this and more on this week's podcast episode.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (31 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Hot is the July 2012 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is July 31, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography. Get a 20% discount during July by adding "TDS" in the comment field of your order.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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The Effects panel from iPhoto has found its way into Aperture's Adjustments tab. It's a bit like the new roommate who brings his HDTV along with the move in to the apartment. He'll also bring a few things that you're not crazy about too.

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Edge Blur is one of new iPhoto tools that I like. Plus, in Aperture, it's easier to use. I like to apply Edge Blur to throw the background out of focus to direct the viewer's eye to the main subject. When used with restraint, it can be very effective.

Other bonus effects that I like include the Antique filter and the Fade slider. For this image captured at the U.S. Open in San Francisco, I played with Antique and Edge Blur.

I'm not as wild about some of the other iPhoto Effects, such as Matte and Vignette. We already have more elegant versions of them in Aperture. But like the roommate with the HDTV, you get the cool along with the unnecessary.

You can enable iPhoto Effects via the Add Adjustment popup menu in Aperture's Adjustments tab. Once you do, they'll appear as a new adjustment brick, as in the screenshot above. Some of them are fun. Take a look!

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture 3, check out my Aperture 3 Essential Training on Lynda.com. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

My next open Aperture Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 2012, in Santa Rosa, CA. You can get on the pre-registration list, plus learn about all the other photography workshops offered this season by visiting the TDS Workshops page.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


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World class BBQ has arrived in Sonoma County. The proof was in the mouth watering ribs, pork, and brisket served at the second annual Wine Country Big Q competition on Saturday July 14, 2012 in Santa Rosa, CA.

Competitors from all over the US converged on spacious infield at Sonoma Academy to compete in 6 categories. And the beneficiaries were the lucky attendees who sampled those masterpieces until they could sample no more.

If you love BBQ, and you weren't at the Big Q, be sure to circle your calendar for next July. You don't want to miss this again.


BBQ entry ready for judging. Photo by Brad Parrett


After an entree or two, you could then wash down the delicious BBQ with ice cold micro brewery beer or from a wide selection of Sonoma County wines. Music filled the air from two excellent bands: local here Pete Stringfellow and Paulies Garage. They really got the crowd going.

Enjoying the event.
Photo by Derrick Story. Click on images for larger versions.

Local businesses were behind the Big Q too with support from G&G Supermarkets, Johnson Pool & Spa, Niman Ranch, American Lamb, CA Pork Producers, Froggy 92.9, The River 97.7, Stella Artois, KSRO 1350, City of Santa Rosa, and Manly Auto.

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Photo by Mike Kallenbaugh

But the real stars of the event were the cooks who prepared amazing BBQ for all to enjoy. They began setting up on Friday afternoon and slow cooked their prize winning entries all through the night.

Lamb with wine for the judges!
Photo by Jim Pletcher

Photography coverage was provided by a team of six shooters from The Digital Story. Photographers on site were Brad Parrett, Mike Kallenbaugh, Jim Pletcher, Ernesto Pono, Grace Cheung Schulman, and Derrick Story. You can see their gallery of images from the 2012 Wine County Big Q online.

R&R Barbeque
Photo by Grace Cheung Schulman

As for me... I'm already wishing I had a few of those tender ribs stashed in my refrigerator. I guess I'm just going to have to wait for next year's competition.

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"The Night Before." Photo by Ernesto Pono.

Canon's latest EOS Rebel T4i may look similar to its predecessor, but inside it represents Canon's effort to keep up with today's generation of photographers.

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The reviewers over at Photography Talk really summed it up well in their post, Canon EOS 650D/T4i Camera Review:

"The EOS 650D is a successful attempt to blend the experience of the best point-and-shoot features with the creative freedom allowed through traditional DSLR technology. Canon has decided to use improvements in live view, focusing and video shooting to meet these new goals. The improvements made to the Rebel series with the 650D/T4i say a lot about Canon's goals for the future of consumer-level cameras."

A great example is the new touchscreen on the 4Ti. It is similar to what we used to on our smart phones in the sense that it's sensitive to contact, not pressure. This more responsive experience will feel natural for those making the transition from an iPhone to their first DSLR.

Another example is subject tracking and continuous autofocus in movie mode. It's what "we want" the camera to do while recording video, and therefore the device feels more natural to use.

I'm not saying that you should sell you 5D Mark III and buy a 4Ti. But for less than a $1,000, photographers can purchase a camera that is truly state of the art, and represents a path that many will be traveling as photography continues to evolve.


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