by Tim Fok | 12th May 2015
Canon has announcement a new entry-level lens. The sub $150 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM gets the new stepping motor auto focus system compatible with dual pixel auto focus, as well as an improved aperture diaphragm for better out of focus detail. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 II was previously Canons cheapest lens available. It has shockingly good value for money, despite the build quality being a little rough around the edges. Image quality at certain apertures would challenge its bigger, 10x more expensive brothers. The new Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM continues to shake things up at entry level, now featuring Canons new STM stepping motor auto focus. This system is both great and annoying for video users. It’s annoying in the fact that turning the focus ring activates a motor and doesn’t physically connect with adjustment like a USM (ultrasonic) lens, therefore losing some control with manual focussing. But it’s great in the fact that it’s more compatible with Canons Dual Pixel Autofocus. Autofocus is often a scoffed at term in the professional filmmaking industry. But as fast as we saw shallow depth of field come about, we’ve been introduced into many new and amazing ways to move your camera through scenes with use of stabilizers and drones, all of which reduce the physical contact you have with your camera. For the one-man band, or smaller crew setups this is where autofocus really excels. There are now legitimate reasons to use auto focus in many small to mid sized professional outfits. I use autofocus on my C100/Movi M5 setup a lot, the Dual Pixel AF upgrade works fantastic in many situations. Whilst Dual Pixel Autofocus works well with USM lenses, newer systems like the one found in the C100 mark II benefit from a STM lens as they can activate additional features such as face tracking (USM lenses can only operate autofocus using a small window in the centre of the screen). Check out one of our older articles here to see this feature in action. Back to the lens, Canon has addressed one of the caveats of the previous ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm by improving the aperture diaphragm. The previous Canon 50mm f2.8 II had a 5-bladed aperture diaphragm where as the new 50mm f/1.8 STM sports seven rounded blades. Keen filmmakers could instantly tell the use of the cheaper lens by out of focus detail. Here is an unrelated example of 5 blade versus an 8 blade diaphragm. Having rounded blades means even smoother out of focus areas further disguising individual blades. Further specifications of the lens are very similar to its predecessor. Built up of 6 elements in 5 groups, same max aperture and viewing angle, slightly decreased mini focus distance of 14″ (35.56 cm) therefore increased max magnification ratio at 0.21x. The filter thread diameter is slightly decreased at 49mm. I can only assume by judging the pictures and first hand experience with other new entry level Canon primes that the build quality has slightly improved, so you can forgive the extra ounce in weight the 50mm f/1.8 STM has gained. The Focus ring still remains quite far forward, but slightly less recessed than the previous 50mm f1.8 II therefore hopefully much easier to mount filters without too much bother (a fault of the previous model). I’m sure this lens just like the last nifty fifty will sell very well. Despite it being on the longer end for gimbal and drone use, I can see it being a popular purchase for use with autofocus for video. I just hope canon start to release a professional line of STM equipped lenses for the same purpose.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 15th June 2012
The just recently announced Canon EOS 650D will hit the shelves pretty soon. We just received a beta version of the camera and I went out to take some video samples to see how the sensor performs. This was all handheld with the $200 Canon 55-250mm IS lens and there was no color correction applied. The beta firmware version had some limitations like I couldn’t adjust the white balance or had wrong exposure at times. This should be resolved in the final version. The handling of the camera was nice, although I didn’t find the button layout perfect for video (having to reach with the wrong hand to the wrong side of the camera). I didn’t test audio or autofocus with the dedicated STM lenses (see announcement: LINK). Thanks to themusicbed.com for providing wonderful music. Check out their licensing database, it’s a great website. The song used here is called “Arrows Fly” by “Afterlife Parade”: LINK There is a kit version with Canon’s new Video-AF lens the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM for $1199. Europeans get the Canon 650D here [UPDATE:] Noise Test This is a comparison between the noise on Canon EOS 7D and a beta Canon EOS 650D. All internal noise reduction was switched off, same picture profile.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 8th June 2012
Now we’re talking! Whoever said Canon HDSLR’s were too expensive. We were desperate for an affordable alternative to the 5D mark III and Canon delivered. The T4i is $849. Not only that, there are several interesting additions that make this camera seem more HDSLR than any HDSLR before it. Canon talks about “Stunning stereo sound” via a built-in stereo-mic, silent-fast autofocus and a touch-screen flip-out LCD. The T4i press release screams video more than stills. Fascinating. A new Autofocus mode? Yes, we (I) want autofocus. What we’ve seen so far on large sensor cameras was mostly catastrophic and unusably noisy, slow or inaccurate. The fact that Canon emphasizes the Canon T4i’s Autofocus mode so much is a good sign: “The new AF system includes a nine-point all cross-type sensor array, and new Hybrid CMOS AF which achieves fast focus when shooting stills or video in Live View mode. Much to the pleasure of aspiring student filmmakers and parents everywhere, the Rebel T4i features Canon’s new Movie Servo AF providing a quiet, continuous AF during HD video recording when using one of Canon’s newly introduced Stepping Motor (STM) lenses. The silent continuous autofocus when shooting HD video helps ensure the camera only captures the sounds of the scene being recorded. ” That sounds promising. You need a lens like the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM or new pancake EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. Limitations? There is no direct mention of less moiré or aliasing – a Canon HDSLR problem the 5D mark III could finally solve. However the press release talks about “Stunningly Crisp Video“. I guess we’ll have to wait and see for first tests to prove that. There is manual audio! But there’s no word of 5D mk3’s improved All-I codec. Availability The EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR camera will be available at the end of June. Pricing The Canon Rebel T4i / 650D is $849 at B&H: There is a kit version with Canon’s new Video-AF lens the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM for $1199. Visit our new Canon T4i / 650D subforum:Read more
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