Engadget: Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update cures ‘black dot’ ailment

Excellent news! (And one of the reasons I’m glad I got off the early-adopter bandwagon…)

Those equipped with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II might’ve noticed a few continuity errors between their shots and real life, such as light from a building window missing its right side. The company has released firmware update 1.0.7 to eradicate this “black dot” phenomenon — which can affect any point light source — as well as fix a problem with vertical banding noise that appears when recording in sRAW1 format. Hit up the read link for patch instructions. You can go now resume your regularly-scheduled Mark II lovefest.

via Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update cures ‘black dot’ ailment – Engadget.

From the Canon site that has the firmware:

What has changed in Firmware Version 1.0.7?

It improves and mitigates the following image quality phenomena.

  1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
  2. When shooting night scenes, the right side of point light sources (such as lights from building windows) may become black. The phenomenon may become visible if the images are enlarged to 100% or greater on a monitor or if extremely large prints of the images are made. This firmware improves and mitigates this phenomenon.

  3. Vertical banding noise

    If the recording format is set to sRAW1, vertical banding noise may become visible depending on the camera settings, subject, and background. The firmware improves and mitigates this phenomenon.

And, if you’re not yet familiar with the issues that this firmware fixes:

  1. Black Dots from Hell: Is the 5D Mark II Fucked?
  2. 5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?

Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM



  • Lens construction: 13 elements in 10 groups
  • (protective glass and drop-in filter included)
  • Diagonal angle of view: 2°-5°
  • Focus adjustment: Inner focusing system with USM
  • Closest focusing distance: 14m / 46ft
  • Filter size: 48mm rear drop in

Canon’s most powerful supertelephoto lens

The world’s largest interchangeable SLR AF lens, in terms of both focal length and maximum aperture. Two large fluorite elements eliminate secondary spectrum, resulting in extremely sharp, high-quality images. With Extender EF 1.4x or 2x. a whopping focal length of 1700mm f/8 or 2400mm f/11 can be obtained respectively.


Almost as impressive as this bad boy:

Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras

Pretty cool little guide from CameraHacker.com

Ever since I started learning about photography, I have been fascinated with the art of pinhole photography. I always thought that the possibility of creating an image using the tiniest hole is amazing. If you are unfamiliar with pin-hole photography, see my related links section; I have added some links about pinhole photography for your wandering minds.

Despite my fascination, I have never involved myself with pinhole photography. I read about how to make a pinhole camera out of a 35mm film container. Although the process of making the camera is easy, loading and processing the film is extremely cumbersome. In fact, to use it, one frame of film has to be loaded in the dark, exposure has to be calculated, picture has to be exposed by uncovering the pinhole, pinhole has to be covered, and film has to be unloaded in the dark. All that work for a single exposed frame. But that is not the end, because the frame will have to be processed a personal darkroom, since it is extremely hard to find a place to process 35mm films one frame at a time.

I have always thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole camera that has built-in exposure meter, uses 35mm film roll, and comes with auto film winder?” Then I can concentrate on creating pinhole art, instead of concentrating on the processing of creating pinhole art. After a few years (yes I am a tad slow) I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole lens on my EOS camera that has auto-exposure, uses standard 35mm film, and has automatic film winder.” Wow!

via Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras.

(You can pick up the whole book at Amazon here)

JSTN – Please, Canon

He’s got an excellent point – I’d love if I could set up my camera the way he’s described…

Please, Canon

Let me set my own lower limit for shutter speed with auto ISO.

I want to shoot wide open, but 1-divided-by-focal-length is just too slow for me most the time. At 24mm it frustratingly picks 1/20th even with several usable ISO stops that could go towards a faster shutter speed.

Shutter priority mode does me no good; I can’t rely on it to choose the maximum aperture (in fact, it rarely does).

Manual mode doesn’t support auto ISO. If you have it selected and you switch to manual it forces the ISO to 400. Instead, I wish it let me lock a shutter speed and aperture and then float the ISO as needed. Hitting the floor would cause the shutter speed to drop, but not before.

Actually, what I really want is a modeless UI that lets me set any two of the three (shutter, aperture, ISO) and institute my own graceful degradation.

Camera interface designs up until now have relied on the assumption that you’re only making two exposure decisions per shot (shutter speed and aperture, ISO being decided beforehand when you load the film). Digital suddenly adds a third thing to think about and the interfaces haven’t caught up yet.

via JSTN – Please, Canon.

Canon Dial 35 – Camerapedia.org

Fascinating camera from the 1960’s…

The Canon Dial 35 was an unconventional half-frame 35mm camera with clockwork automatic film advance. It was made in Japan by Canon from November 1963. The Dial 35 was also sold as the Bell & Howell Dial 35.

The body had an unusual “portrait” format rectangular shape, with a short, wide-diameter lens barrel containing the CdS meter photocells window around the 28mm lens. Rotating the lens barrel set the speed of the Seikosha shutter; the aperture was set automatically. A button below the viewfinder could be pulled out to give manual aperture control, for manual exposure settings or flash. Film speed was set on a scale around the meter window.

Focus was set on a lever around the top of the lens barrel, with a display inside the viewfinder.

There was a cylindrical handle at the bottom, which also wound the clockwork mechanism. On the (users) left is an accessory shoe. The film ran vertically, from the cassette at the top to the take-up spool at the bottom, giving a landscape-format 24x18mm frame when the camera is upright.

Dial 35-2

The 35-2 has a black nameplate at the top in place of the engraved name and a longer-lasting clockwork motor. Speed range is increased to 1000ASA, the meter uses a different battery and a hot shoe is added.

via Canon Dial 35 – Camerapedia.org.

More info here: http://web.comhem.se/~u87754955/canon-dial-35.html

(If you’re in search of the original manual, you can find it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2570932/Canon-Dial-352-manual)

E18 Error Fixed! (Canon PowerShot SD450)

Huzzah! I finally fixed the E18 error I’ve been experiencing on my Canon PowerShot SD450, which prevented my lens from extending when the power was turned on, and the fix wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had expected. I’ve even snapped some shots of the process so that you can follow along at home, and fix your own camera if you are experiencing the same problem that I was.

Canon_Ixus_II_with_E18_errorIf you’re not yet familiar with the E18 error, check out this information on the topic from Wikipedia:

The E18 error is an error message on Canon digital cameras. The E18 error occurs when anything prevents the zoom lens from properly extending or retracting.[1] The error has become notorious in the Canon user community as it can completely disable the camera, requiring expensive repairs.


This is a fairly prevalent problem with the PowerShot cameras, and a class action lawsuit was filed (but dismissed) against Canon:

A Chicago law firm, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, has already filed a class action,[4] while the law firm of Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP are investigating this camera flaw and may issue a class-action lawsuit against Canon.[5] There is at least one other.[6] Although the suit was dismissed in a court of law, the plaintiffs are appealing.

Fortunately, at least in my case, the fix did not require returning the camera to a Canon repair facility or having to take unreasonably complex steps.

My solution for the PowerShot SD450/IXUS 55 follows:
(You’ll need a very small Philips head screwdriver, #00, to remove the screws)

  1. There are six screws holding the metal frame of the camera body together, two on each side, and two on the bottom. Remove all screws, pop the strap-hook plate (sorry, probably not the most technical term there), then gently lift the front plate off by pulling up from the bottom, and remove the back plate in the same fashion. These should come off relatively easily. This is what the camera should look like as you remove the plates:
  2. Now, looking from the top of the camera, you should see a small motor on the left side, as shown below (it’s beneath the cable with a “22” written on it):
  3. Take your screwdriver (or another small instrument) and gently try to rotate the plastic piece attached to the motor on the left side, as shown below:
  4. At this point, try placing the battery back in the camera (if you have removed it), turn the camera to one of the capture modes, and press the power button. If all went well, your lens should now be able to extend and retract properly.

Further information (and other repair tutorials) are available at the following locations:

Unforunately, the site that had the most comprehensive information about this issue, e18error.com, seems to be down for the time being. Here’s a quote from their site that I saved in another blog post before the site was taken down:

Canon E18 error happens when the lens gets stuck while trying to extend. The camera will beep a few times and the LCD will display a little E18 in the lower-left corner. The lens gets stuck in the extended position, and refuses to move either to focus the lens or to retract when powered off.

Apparently, people who posted about this incident on forums say they had to send the camera for repair and that Canon has horrible customer support and response time.

Here is how the E18 error looks like. You just get a black screen with small “E18″ sign in the lower-left corner:

The problem usually happens because dirt or sand get into the lens mechanism. But it seems that more and more people are showing, who took great care of their camera, and still started receiving E18 errors.


Please share your experiences with this fix, or the E18 error in general, in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Canon 5D Mark II Released!

Wow! These specs are even better than I’d hoped for!


According to digital Photography School:

Here’s what Canon DSLR fans have been waiting for – the new Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR.

This 21 megapixel DSLR (CMOS full frame sensor) has an ISO range of 50 to 25600, HD movie recording (seems to be the way we’re going), Live View framing of images on it’s 3.0 inch LCD (920,000 pixels), burst mode of up to 3.9 frames per second, DIGIC IV processor and sensor dust reduction.

This beauty will set you back $2699 USD when it hits stores in November this year.

I’ve included the news release from Canon announcing the Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR below.

PS: also announced today by Canon is a new Canon 24mm f/1.4 II USM lens. Fast, wide angle which has gone through an update from its previous version.

(dPS: Canon EOS 5D Mark II)

And, from the Canon site itself:


The newly designed sensor is ultra-sensitive, too, empowering you to explore creative opportunities in challenging environments thanks to a wide ISO range of 100 to 6400 at the standard setting. ISO expansion extends coverage from ISO 50 to an astounding ISO 25600. Shooting with auto ISO is also nicely responsive with a comfortable ISO range of 100 to 3200. Whether shooting outdoor scenes at night or charmingly lit interiors, you can now capture all the subtle nuances of natural lighting through the unencumbered joy of hand-held, flash-free shooting.


Awesome. Just awesome. I was aware of most of the specs from the pre-release buzz, but the HD movie mode is new to me. What do you think?


My previous posts: