Fucked, for the foreseeable Future

I guess by now most of you have already seen the supposedly leaked Nikon roadmap. Let me tell you that if even half of that is true, we’re fucked here at Canon at least up until 2014. Already we’re having a hard time trying to top the D300, D700 and D3(x) Nikon camera models. Based on where things stand right now, I’m projecting our products in the same categories to catch up to those models sometime in 2011. The problem is that all of those Nikon models will be updated in 2010 already, setting us back to catch up at least until 2014. This is quite depressing to say the least.

I’ve been coming home drunk at night for the last few days because of this, and I’m seriously thinking about a career switch. I’m still hopeful that the 1D Mark 4 will do something for us, but the 60D is not going to come anywhere close to the D300s Nikon is going to release soon from what I see. And as far as I’m concerned, we can just stop manufacturing the 5D Mark II when the D700x gets released by the end of this year. It simply won’t stand a chance. Hell, the 5D Mark II is having a difficult time right now already. You can’t even begin to imagine the support nightmare it is causing us at Canon USA. But more on this later.

As if all this is not enough, the marketing morons at Canon Inc. have been busy again trying to improve public opinion of the 1D Mark III autofocus (AF). The last time they tried this was with the 1D Mark III autofocus manual website, where they also enlightened photographers worldwide about the “Autofocus Philosophy” (Autofocus Joke is more like it) at Canon Inc. The 1D Mark III, as we all know, has been a complete fiasco for us ever since Galbraith sold out to Nikon and showed everyone how crappy its autofocus system really is. Canon Inc. has tried to fix the AF issues a few times, without much luck, according to Galbraith. We’re now up to Silver dots on the 1D Mark III boxes. Who knows how many more colored dots it will need to finally deliver a working AF system with the 1D Mark III. They may have to go beyond the color spectrum of visible light with those dots. I for one have stopped keeping track.

But anyway, now those marketing morons at Canon Inc. somehow managed to get funding for another one of their boneheaded marketing ideas. They went out and interviewed photographer Takahito Mizutani so he could tell all of you how good the 1D3 autofocus really is. Now when I saw this, the first thing that went through my mind was who the fuck is Takahito Mizutani and why should people care about what he says? Seriously?

af1

Does it, really?

If you watch the interview with Mizutani, he mentions the “excellent AF” of the 1D3 so many times it becomes very obvious what the purpose of the whole interview really is. Heck, the interview begins with Mizutani claiming the “excellent AF” is the biggest advantage of the 1D3. You simply can’t be more obvious than that. Even if this wasn’t a problem, there’s still the issue of why people should listen to some Japanese guy named Takahito Mizutani who likely got paid (or possibly threatened) to do the interview. I mean for Christ’s sake, couldn’t they find someone better? At Nikon they have Ashton Kutcher! The guy probably never actually uses a Nikon camera longer than 2 minutes a month, and that’s when he’s able to figure out how to turn it on. But when he tells people he’s using a Nikon DSLR, millions of people who know and like him listen. And that’s marketing. But at Canon Inc.? There they have the great Mr. Mizutani. Couldn’t they pay someone better to talk about the 1D3? How about Arnold Schwarzenegger? Nikon has Ashton Kutcher, why can’t we have Schwarzenegger? Can you imagine Arnold dressed like the T-800 on his Harley looking very serious, pulling out a 1D3 and going “I require excellent AF.” That clip would have moved some serious inventory. Instead, we have this:

Not sure about the excellent part...

One would sure like to hope so...

Bradley Cooper and Chase Jarvis - Seperated at birth?

Bradley Cooper and Chase Jarvis - Separated at birth?

This is not the first time I complained about our marketing efforts. A while ago Nikon released the D90 and had photographer Chase Jarvis talk about it on his blog which created a lot of publicity. I’m willing to bet that a crapload more people know who Chase Jarvis is compared to Mr. Mizutani. And this is another thing, you see. Why is it that almost all the cool, fun, edgy and vocal photographers on the Internet use Nikon gear? These guys have entire communities of fans and followers, unlike Mr. Mizutani. So you know when they talk about the gear they’re using, people are going to notice. Take Chase Jarvis for example. He’s been hit by a car, hosed down, fell from a bridge and exploded into flames. And he’s using Nikon gear. How cool is that? Then you have people like Joe McNally who get attacked by midgets on tricycles, also a Nikon user. I can’t imagine Canon Inc. funding such a project for me. I’m stuck answering technical questions on the Internet in my Tech Tips columns in such a boring way. I can barely keep myself awake when I read my own Tech Tips. Can you imagine me in such a video, getting hit by a midget on a moped in the middle of explaining custom function settings for the 1D3? One can always dream. At least I have this blog, right? And then you have even more people using Nikon gear with entire communities, like the Lord of the Speedlights, showing thousands of people on the Internet how he lights stuff with his preciouses. Even Scott Kelby uses Nikon gear. But at Canon Inc.:

Okay then!

If you keep repeating something, people start to believe you.

To be fair, I have to admit that we did have our moment at Canon USA when Vincent Laforet, God bless his soul, created the short movie Reverie with the 5D Mark II. But that was entirely his initiative and thank God we were able to give him a 5D2 for a few days to do it. And you’d think the morons at Canon Inc. would have noticed the success and try to do more of this, but instead they’re doing crap like interviewing Mr. Mizutani. This is what I can’t stand about Canon Inc., their sheer arrogance. Nikon appears to be listening to photographers worldwide, contacting them and asking them what they need, actively participating in the community in various ways. Canon Inc. doesn’t appear to be interested in what anyone thinks. Years of feedback I’ve been sending them keeps getting ignored. They keep kissing eachother’s asses in upper management and pretend all is well. You can’t imagine how frustrated and tired I am of this.

The result of all this are the mediocre products we’re releasing lately, compared to the competition. For example, Nikon is far ahead with their flash system compared to ours. It didn’t surprise me one bit when one frustrated user wrote down his complaints about our flash system this week and published it on the Internet. Now everyone knows how much we suck. The only thing that seems to be missing in his list is the addition of a small beep sound to the flash head so you can hear if the flash went off or not without having to look at it and blind yourself in the process. I’ve been sending a lot of the feedback in that list to Canon Inc. for years now, and they keep ignoring it. One reason is their absurd mentality of just refusing to release certain features for ‘marketing’ reasons, and another is their lazy engineering attitude. The EOS 50D is still crippled with a laughable 9 point AF system while Nikon’s D300 has a whopping 51-point AF system. Our 5D Mark II has a pathetic 9-point AF system that’s inferior even to the 50D, while Nikon’s D700 has an asskicking 51-point professional level AF system. In the case of the 5D2, the pathetic AF system has practically ruined what could have been a great product.

Let me give you an example of what I call lazy-ass engineering at Canon Inc. in Japan: The viewfinder closing ‘mechanism.’ First, let us observe the Nikon solution:

The viewfinder on the Nikon camera can be opened and closed by simply turning a knob.

The viewfinder on the Nikon camera can be opened and closed internally by simply turning a switch (pointed to by the red arrow).

That’s a simple and elegant solution, right? Now let us look at the solution the schmart engineers at Canon Inc. in Japan came up with:

First you have to remove the rubber eyepiece cup from the camera.

First you have to remove the rubber eyecup from the camera by pressing the sides and lifting up.

  

The your camera will look like crap.

Then your camera will look like crap.

 

Then, you take the rubber eyepiece cover attached to the strap of your camera, and you place it over the eyepiece.

Then, you take the rubber eyepiece cover attached to the strap of your camera, and you place it over the eyepiece.

 

And finally, the eyepiece is closed, holding part of the strap against the back of the camera and making it fucking difficult and annoying to work with it and access certain buttons.

And finally, the eyepiece is closed, holding part of the strap against the back of the camera and making it fucking difficult and annoying to work with it and access certain buttons. And ofcourse, to open the eyepiece again, you go through the entire process again in reverse.

See that? Now that is some state of the art engineering if I ever saw it! You look at this and you start to wonder if maybe somehow they managed to recover a crashed UFO disc in Japan, reverse engineered the advanced Alien technology and used it to create this marvelous piece of engineering. I mean, this is high tech. Future generations are going to look back at us and mention how we were so ahead of our time with this technology.

I look at this and I wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier for Canon to just supply users with a roll of black electrical tape so they could use it to cover the eyepiece.

This example clearly illustrates the problem with Canon Inc. Lazy and mediocre engineering. That’s why our DSLR bodies are beginning to look pre-historic and seriously lacking features compared to the competition. So is our flash system, and soon even our lenses.

This is the attitude that crippled the 5D Mark II, and is now causing me to get loads of emails every week from people complaining about the autofocus system on the camera. Now can you understand how the 5D2 ended up with a pathetic 9 point AF system that is struggling to do the job? Remember, Canon Inc. had 3 whole years after the release of the first 5D to come up with a better AF system for the 5D Mark II. And yet, they had the nerve to release the 5D2 with what they claim to be the same AF system of the 3-year old 5D. The 5D Mark II bodies might be flying off of the shelves, but they’re flying into our service centers just as fast. Just look at some of the comments on this website:

http://www.jenniferphotography.com/
I was glad I stumbled on this post. I have been having some major focus issues lately and starting googling it, and found this. Describes exactly what I have been experiencing at recent portrait shoots and my last wedding, which forced me to focus all of my lenses manually not to miss any shots. The problem is that I do not have perfect eyes and while the diopter compensates, it is not perfect either, and it can still be very difficult in low light, such as the reception, to tell what it actually in focus. Im going through this wedding now and am very disappointed by missing several shots due to the focus issue! Many are just very soft or off the mark. The focus just hunts and hunts, even in GREAT light and had a hard time deciding between the brides white dress or the grooms black tux, thus taking way to long to focus.

Even in a couple shots where I had time to play with the live view zoom, in an effort to zero in on a specific part of the image and know exactly where the tack sharp point should be, some of the images still came out soft, despite what appeared on the LCD.

I’m sending it in to Canon to see what they can do to fix or replace, but for a $3000 camera and as a wedding photographer where I cannot miss moments, I find this unacceptable.

http://www.photographybysara.com/
WOW!!! I am glad I finally discovered what has been going on with my new 5D MII!!!!! I’ve only had it for about a month and have become VERY unhappy with the focusing issues. At first I thought it was me….. but I have been a professional photographer for over 24 years, so to question my skills at this stage of the game, really gave me cause to scratch my head.

I am missing key moments. I am primarily a wedding photographer and when you miss things like the bride coming down the aisle, Daddy giving her away, the final kiss, or mom wiping away tears as she dances with her son on the dance floor….. this is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!

This past weekend, I even had moments where the camera would not focus at all! I had to reach up and throw it into manual focus just to get them cutting the cake. And then go back to Auto-focus when the moment was over. Not to mention…low light situations with weddings is pretty standard. I enjoy the high ISO’s and they rock….. when you can get it to focus.

What is the point in having the new high ISO’s, if the damn thing won’t focus in low light??? Not to mention I had to do a little “Creative Financing” just to be able to afford the price tag in this economy.

http://bentography.com/
Well, all I can start off the say is, it’s a great video camera but I cant get that thing to focus properly for the life of me. I have done everything I can to make sure it is not me. I have owned 10D, 20D, 30D and the 40D. My 40D can kick my 5D’s butt any day of the week when it comes the image being in focus. I had two big projects that went down last month and I had to reshoot everything practically and still couldn’t get a super sharp shot. So two days ago I went to the local camera shop and told them my story- I have a new camera coming no questions asked.

http://www.fscottkennedy.com/
DO NOT PURCHASE A CANON 5D MkII!

I am a full time photographer and I have sent my 5d mark II back 2 times! Canon acts like I am crazy when I tell them I am getting soft images! What the hell! They said that they can not find anything wrong with my camera. I guess their testing does not include taking pictures because this thing is bad. And to top it all off my shutter locked up and I had to have them replace the mirror and the shutter. Wish that would have helped the soft images! Did a shoot yesterday, took 140 images and only (your gona love this) 6 were in sharp focus!

Purchased a 50D last year as a back up, shot with it for a week to test it out and sold it the next, very soft images and the ISO’s were worse than the 40D. My old 5D has been a camp, giving me great images all the time but it is getting old, wish there was a Canon camera I could purchase to replace it.

Canon must be forking out major money for all these reviews to be so good on most media outlets.

I have been using Canon for 14 years and the only thing they can do is act like it is a user problem! Well, that was the last straw, I have contacted my local camera store and I am changing all my equipment out to Nikon before the end of the year. It sucks that I have to change out all this equipment and spend all this money ($20,000.00 to replace all my lens, bodies, etc…) for something as fundamental as focus on a camera!

F. Scott Kennedy

And these are just the last 4 comments, there’s plenty more where that came from. And the noise and banding in dark tones at low ISO on the 5D2 are just plain ugly. If you look at my blog’s homepage on the right side, you’ll see the post titled “Banding and Pattern Noise – EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D” as the top post. If you wonder why, it’s all thanks to Google. People are seeing these problems on the camera and searching for solutions on Google. They sure as hell aren’t going to find it at Canon. Looking at the search keyword statistics of my blog, every day there are quite some people looking for solutions to the noise, banding and autofocus issues with the 5D2. Really, just look at the top posts on my homepage, it says it all. I don’t know anymore what to say to people that are emailing me about this either. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Anyway, I’m going to get me a nice cup of Irish coffee right now and try to relax.

Tech Tips, Twitter, and Stuff

Man what a weekend! Been having a lot of fun with the 1D Mark 4. Can’t stop playing with it. The new 35L is fantastic too. The rear element fell out when I tried to mount it on the 1D4 the first time though, but nothing a little superglue and a hammer couldn’t fix. Works great. I just thought I’d take some time for a quick update before I go play with my new toys again.

My June Tech Tips have been posted at the Digital Journalist. Check it out. And when you do, take note of how I answered the question about the crap 5D2 autofocus. Hell, let me just include it right here:

Chuck, thanks so much for your time and insight. I have a question about the 5D Mark II AF system. I love shooting with the camera in most situations, but have difficulty getting focused shots when shooting sports. In fact, the AF system seems inferior to the 40D I’ve used. If I’m reading correctly the 40/50D have high-precision cross-type AF points at all 9 AF points while the 5D Mark II has cross-type only at the 1 center point. If this is true I can’t understand why the 5D Mark II would have an inferior AF system to the lower end 40/50D cameras. Any insight?

All three of these models have 9 selectable AF points, but only the EOS 5D Mark II has an additional 6 Assist AF points surrounding the center focusing point. So, although it is true that the 8 outer points on the 40D and 50D are cross-type whereas the 8 outer points on the 5D Mark II are single-axis, it is also true that the center point on the 5D Mark II has extra capabilities for tracking moving subjects that the EOS 40D and 50D do not. And incidentally, the 8 outer points on the 40D and 50D are standard precision cross-type. Only the center point on those cameras is a high-precision type because of its longer baselength. For additional information on these cameras including a comparison of their AF systems, please check out Canon’s EOS 50D & 5D Mark II White Paper document on the Canon Digital Learning Center Web site.

See that? THAT’S why they made ME the technical spokesperson here at Canon USA. You have to appreciate my skill at answering the question without actually answering it at all. In the end, I actually sent the poor guy to read some white papers and compare AF systems, like that is going to help him to get focused shots with his 5D2 during sports. AHAHAHAHAHAHA… oh God…

Here’s a recent Twitter update by Zack Arias (regarding his 5D Mark II):

Effing Canon AF. Effing sucks. Ya hear Canon? You make great cameras but your AF sucks sucks sucks sucks. Zone focusing tonight.

We hear ya Zack. I just hope we’re listening too.

While on the topic of Tech Tips, I got a question via email which I’ll answer here before it starts piling up again.

Good day Fake Chuck,
Can I use a Nikon SB900 Speedlight with my Canon EOS 50D without losing any kind of function?
Warm regards,
kenn

How about losing all kinds of functions, Kenn? Do not even try that if you know what’s good for you. This is what happened the last time an engineer tried a Nikon flash on a Canon SLR in one of our labs in Japan:

Someone set us up the bomb.
Someone set us up the bomb.

You want none of that, Kenn, trust me. Just go out and buy one of our 580 EX II’s instead.

Matthew wrote in to point out that Lloyd Chambers is calling our 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens a “Spreading rash from unknown nasty (probable Lyme/tick).” It looks like Lloyd forgot how to use the Copy-Paste function properly on his Mac Pro. Here’s a screenshot just in case he updates the page:
24mm Rash?

24mm Rash? (Click for larger image)

Lloyd Chambers is the second photographer in a week now, after Joe Mc Nally, to have caught Lyme disease. Something might be up. If you’re a photographer, you should probably start making your time.
Meanwhile I’ve been Twittering away, as you all know from a previous post. I must admit I had high expectations when I started last week. I was hoping to come close to Nikon’s Ashton Kutcher with the amount of followers (he has 2,106,469 as of this writing), but now I’m thinking that’s a little too ambitious. So instead I’ve set a new target: John Harrington with 198 followers right now. With your help, I’m pretty sure I can reach 200 followers! So start following me, everyone!
Plus, I pimped my Twitter homepage too. Check it out. Here’s part of it below in case you can’t view it all (Buy a 23″ Cinema Display):
Recent conversation at Canon Inc. in Japan

Recent conversation at Canon Inc. in Japan

The cast, in order of appearance: Masaya Maeda (Director and Chief Executive of Image Communication Products Operations) – yes, the guy who said the 5D2 body was too small to house a better AF system (Riiiight…), Haruo Murase (President of Canon Marketing Japan Inc.), Tsuneji Uchida (President of Canon Inc.).
Anyway that’s it for now. My 1D4 is feeling lonely.

EOS 5D Mark II Manual Exposure Control in Video, and Stuff

Today was one of the happiest days I’ve had in the last 3 years of working at Canon USA. For the first time in almost 3 years, I was able to answer the phone and check my email and hear only praise and compliments from happy and excited customers. At the end of the day I sat behind my desk, my eyes filled with tears, and I actually felt that all the hard work we’ve all been doing here is starting to pay off. Those crazy bastards in Japan are finally starting to listen to us! I’m writing this with tears rolling down my cheeks. I’m sorry to get all emotional here on my blog, but most of you know what I’ve been through for the last couple of months, how depressed I’ve been, and now I’m finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. And the reason?

Now, if only they could also release a working autofocus system for the 5D Mark II by popular demand.

Now, if only they could also release an autofocus system worthy of the 21st century for the 5D Mark II, by popular demand, then we'd be all set.

It started with all those fuckup notices being released by Canon all of a sudden, even for the 3 year old and obsolete EOS 5D. It looked like they realized in Japan that they had a lot to make up to all of us. And now, they’ve actually listened and are going to release a new firmware update for the 5D Mark II which will enable manual exposure control in video mode – a feature that many of our customers have been asking for ever since the release of the camera last year. This move surprised everyone and has gotten everyone very excited. Not only because of the actual feature that’s going to be released in the new firmware, but also because of the goodwill that Canon is displaying by doing this. This is the Canon I have always known, the Canon I joined and have worked for for all those years.

We’ve managed to piss so many people off in the last few years, it’s just unbelievable. That’s why we have people like my pal Thomas Hawk walking around with their Canon gear with all the Canon logos covered with black tape. Like he explains on his website, he got so pissed at us recently over the 5D Mark II that he decided he’s not going to walk around advertising our products anymore. And who can blame the guy? It’s still difficult to get a 5D Mark II today! Even the goddamn battery for it is not available anywhere. We’ve recently launched two new tilt-shift lenses as well, but guess what? You can’t actually find one anywhere.

So there is still a lot to be done, still a huge mess to clean up, and a lot to fix, believe me. And even though I’m more hopeful now than I’ve been for a long time, we’re in a time right now when the competition is becoming more and more frightening to us. And I think that this is one of the reasons why the old farts at Canon Inc. are starting to do something about all the issues we’ve been having.

They’ve still not managed to stabilize the situation at Canon Inc. in Japan, which I reported about earlier. After my update, Pentax announced the K7 camera, sending Maeda into intensive care, and we learned that Sony is now in the final stages of preparations for the launch of an A500 and/or A550 camera. And so is Nikon for their D400, which according to the information I have, is going to cast a very big and dark shadow over our release of the 60D later this year. But until that happens, I’m going to enjoy these precious moments we’re having right now.

Finally I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Bryan Carnathan of the-Digital-Picture.com with his daughter getting published on the cover at the age of… 10. She was using a Canon Powershot S400. And that’s a pretty good picture too. Now, when you see this, you undoubtedly start to think. We had a discussion in the comments of the previous post about soccer moms now being able to take better pictures at an event with cheaper gear compared to pros with heavy and expensive gear, and I think the fact that today a kid at the age of 10 can take a picture using a relatively cheap point and shoot camera, that is worthy of a front cover, is something to start worrying about if you’re a pro photographer. Yeah, you’re probably laughing right now, but you won’t be laughing when you start to hear about Jeff Ascough losing a wedding to a 12 year old. And that will be roughly at the same time when John Harrington will publish an article on his blog, specifically targeting those kids, explaining to them the concept of “bad karma” and how it relates to photography. Meanwhile Ken Rockwell will update his website telling them why they should be shooting film instead. And when Dan Heller, shortly after that, publishes a 50 page essay on the subject on his blog, is when you’ll know it’s time to start applying for that job at Mc Donalds.

Tech Tips and Stuff

Man I feel exhausted. I just finished the Tech Tips for May which are now posted at The Digital Journalist. That’s a very long list of questions and answers, and this is ofcourse the result of skipping a month. But things are getting a little hectic around here with the upcoming field tests and introduction of the 1D Mark 4.

As you can no doubt imagine, my D3 and D3x are now collecting dust in my office, and I’m playing with a sample 1D4 almost all day. This camera frickin’ rocks. We’re going to be back in the game by the end of this year from what I see. But like I said before, it’s only going to happen if Japan doesn’t screw up again. Quality control is very important, apparently, and it’s something that they seem to hate at Canon Inc. In fact, a colleague of mine was telling me the other day how he mentioned “quality control” during a meeting with Japanese executives in Japan recently, and they all jumped up, kicked the table to the side and went into Karate ready stance while yelling and screaming and threatening to attack. He’s lucky to be alive.

But that’s the reason why I’ve got wise guys emailing me and telling me they heard that the 1D4 will be ready this year, but that the AF system won’t be finished until the second half of 2010, and asking if this is true. I forwarded the question to Maeda and have yet to receive a response. It’s been 3 weeks so far.

I came across an interesting noise test on Flickr comparing images from the 5D Mark II. Basically confirms what we already know. It seems Japan is still in denial on this issue. And speaking of the 5D Mark II, I am also getting a lot of emails asking why there’s still a huge shortage of LP-E6 batteries. I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve heard something about the battery for the 5D Mark II being a last minute design change. Engineers at Canon Inc. were actually finished with the 5D Mark II design, when someone sitting way in the back asked with a soft voice if it was supposed to actually turn on and what would power it. A bigger AF system got swapped with a much smaller/older one to make room for a battery compartment. Production on batteries started very late as a result, hence the shortage. But things should get normal soon. We’ll need plenty of them when the 60D gets released.

Some hotshot Danish stock photographer, Yuri Arcurs, posted his comparison of the D3x and 1Ds3, and perhaps you might find it an interesting read. I know I did.

Aaaand it’s back to work for me.

5D Mark II Cold Weather Tests

Okay now for something a little different. I received the information below from Sven Jonson, one of our reasearch engineers in Minnesota. I had never heard of Mr. Jonson before, so I decided to do some research internally to find out who he is, and it turns out Mr. Jonson was actually laid off a while ago, but due to some glitches, was never notified of this and is still being sent equipment for testing purposes. Apparently it’s the same kind of situation that one guy from the movie “Office Space” was in. And judging by the end of his report, it seems at least the payroll department fixed the problem on our end.

Anyway, I thought you might like his report below, and thanks to Randy Ruttger for sending it in:

____________

Good Morning to you, Fake Chuck,
 
I am Sven Jonson at Cold Weather Testin Facility in Minnesota.
 
Let me tell ya, It is a little nippy here in de hinterland today, de thermometer is stuck at -38 degrees, an de pipes they are frozen.  Lena says hi too. She vas yust putin de vood in de stove an maken de coffee.
 
I have been reading all da tings ya been saying about de Canon company and I have to say I agree mit ya von hunred percent!
Lena and I have been testing and using dose Canon Camera from Japan for long time. We too tink Company going to hell in handbag. Must be bad tings going on dare.
 
I taught ya vood like ta see my latest report dat i send to boss man in Japan. (see it below, it is copy for you read right below dis)

____________

Hello nice Canon people in Japan,
 
Today ve got your box from da UPS man mit de fancy new 5D Mark 2 camera. 
 
Ve ran de tests you ask for us to run in de cold. Very cold here.
 
De first test vas to try out de new Auto Lighting Optimizer system. Like D-Lighting on our competitors cameras.
 
De first photo shows de snowy scene yust outside de facility here in hinterland of nortern Minnesota.
It so cold my tung stuck to camera ven I clean off de screen on de back.
 
Test # 1
In dis shot, de new Auto Lighting Optimizer system is turned in de off position and disabled. 
You can clearly see how de snow is bright white and de trees are dark green.

5D2 Cold Weather Test

In de next shot de Auto Lighting Optimizer system is turned into de Low position. De snow is bright white and de trees are dark green.

5D2 Cold Weather Test

In de number tre shot ve turned de Auto Lighting Optimizer system to de mid position, Standard. You can clearly see dat de snow is bright white and de trees are dark green.
Yes I know vat you tink, but dis IS a differnt photo. And ve did turn de switch to de new setting!

5D2 Cold Weather Test

In de final test shot of de Auto Lighting Optimizer system ve cranked de system all de vay up to strong. Blow my socks off. As you can clearly see, de snow is now bright white and de trees are dark green.

5D2 Cold Weather Test

Ve concluded dat de test vas great success. Our competitors vill be so happy mit us. It proves to de vorld dat de engeeneers at Canon really know dare stuff. Dat last shot is fantastical how she brings out de details in de dark green trees. I bet dos Nikon bastards are shivering in deir boots ven day see how schmart our engeneers at Canon factory are.

Maybe you should check see if maybe Kyokoshiro on de assembly line forgot to hook up de vire to Auto Lighting Optimizer system switch. But de system sure works A.OK. as far as ve can see. You people must be very schmart!

(Fake Chuck: I suspect Kyokoshiro probably also isn’t hooking up the AF system properly)
 
Test # 2
For de next test ve tried out de Highlight Tone Priority System. Dis system is so tricky even de guys at Nikon don’t have it yet on de new cameras day have made.
In de first test photo ve have de Highlight Tone Priority System turned in de off position, disabled, off. Now see how pretty and white de snow looks. Don’t you vant to yust yump into it?

5D2 Cold Weather Test

In de second shot ve turned on venerable, top secret Highlight Tone Priority System dat even schmart guys at Nikon have not discovered yet. Any fool can see how much more better de snow looks. Now you really vant to take your cloths off an yump into it, right?

5D2 Cold Weather Test

Ve concluded dat dis test vas roaring success too. Maybe schmart Canon engeeneers should get pay raise.
 
You should check see if Kyokoshiro has gotten into emergency sake ration on assembly line again. Are you sure he is hooking up all dos vires on de circuit board?
 
Dis concludes our cold weather test of de new Canon D5 mark 2 Camera.
She is vone swell machine. Yust let us know if you need for us to do more tests in de cold.
 
Sincerely
Sven,
Arctic Testin Faciliy
Rural Route 2
Nortern Minnesota, USA

5D2 Cold Weather Test

P.S. ve have still not got de last check from you guys. De man from de power company says he vill turn de lights in faciliy off if ve can not pay bill ve owe him. Lena, she is cutting vood to keep hot de stove so pipes do not freeze. De man from de gas company froze to death in snow behind facility and dey turned gas off two months ago. I know sales are down because of bad economy, but please send check soon. Does Nikon have different economy? I hear dey selling cameras faster dan dey can make dem.

Banding and Pattern Noise – EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D

You know, I don’t know what’s going on with us recently. Not only do our latest products have some rather serious issues, but competitors like Nikon are kicking our asses with their latest products. That new Nikon D5000 is going to make short work of our 1000D and even the 500D/Rebel T1i/Kiss X3 (AKA the EOS Whatever). And if my sources are correct, the Nikon D400 is going to really give us problems. I don’t even want to think about the D800.

You’ll note that I’m late with this month’s Tech Tips at the Digital Journalist, and the reason for that is just that I am not very motivated these days when I look at our current state here at Canon. I sat down last week to think about why this is happening to us. We used to kick so much ass just 2 years ago. And I’ve speculated in the past that perhaps karma was catching up with us now. This is what I said back then:

Later tonight when I head for home, I’m going to stop by the local church first and take a little time for myself, maybe pray for guidance and help in these tough times. It just seems like there’s some kind of curse on Canon right now. I have no other explanation for it. How else can you explain all of these events happening so close to eachother? It’s just not natural. And now, we can’t even seem to be able to do the very thing everyone has come to expect from us: Deliver great image quality. The 50D failed, the G10 failed, and now, our flagship body for image quality is failing. Maybe it’s just Karma. Maybe we’re getting paid for delivering all those backfocusing lenses to people, or the bodies (even the overpriced 1Ds) and L lenses that won’t work out of the box, or for screwing people out of their warranty, or for letting them send in their equipment to service centers countless times without fixing anything and wasting their time. Sigh… I don’t know.

And more and more I’m getting convinced that this is what’s happening to us now. Karma is catching up with us. And the thing is, we’re still going on with misleading people. The latest example is the video feature on the 5D Mark II which I briefly discussed in the previous post. I mentioned a discussion thread there, and really, if you read that whole thread it becomes so obvious how we’ve set ourselves up with all this bad karma as a company over the years, and are now continuing to do so. Have we learned nothing? Are we that blind as a company? Even I get dragged into the whole mess and see myself lying about things trying to bend reality to our advantage. I gotta admit this, because frankly it doesn’t make me sleep at night. Many of our users and customers, fellow photographers, are out there who admire me for all I’ve done for them in the past, and I feel like I am letting them down now. Just look at the following comment:

Chuck, your explanation about the lack of aperture control on the 5D Mk II is total BS and you know it. You might fool a few amateurs with this explanation but everyone else is starting to lose all respect for you. I can understand that in your official capacity you have to make use of lies and deception to avoid a class action lawsuit, but I don’t expect to see it on this blog.

So please just tell us, how did this fuckup happen? Was aperture control originally included? Was it a last minute decision to remove it and you then forgot to update the white paper? Who’s idea was it to cripple the camera even more (beyond what you already did with the outdated AF system)? Please don’t tell me it was Maeda again…

Oh, and your apology for being insulting, is insulting.

Barnett

This comment alone caused me to isolate myself in my office for 3 days last week so I could think things over. I don’t think I ate much during those days either. But after those 3 days, I knew I had to change the way I handle these problems. The way I’ve been doing it is just making matters worse and setting Canon and even myself up for a lot of bad karma. And the consequences are going to be a lot worse in the future if we don’t do something about it.

So yes, we’ve been putting out a lot of bullshit regarding the lack of aperture control on the 5D Mark II in video mode. I know the white papers also make you reasonably believe this control is there on the camera. We’ve been hyping up the video feature so much it just went out of control. Badly out of control. We should have waited with introducing video and have spent more time improving the sensor in the 5D2 and the AF system. I believe that would have given us a better return on investment, not just financially, but also in terms of customer satisfaction and related areas.

Emails keep pouring in about the pattern noise and banding issues on the 5D Mark II and even the 50D. We’ve just released a new firmware update for the 50D that’s supposed to fix the banding problem there, and are still looking into the problem on the 5D Mark II. This is another area where we’ve failed to deliver. The sensor in the 5D Mark II was supposed to be even better than the one in the 1Ds Mark III according to our marketing, but instead it is failing to deliver with some serious noise even at ISO 50 and ISO 100. Just look at what Lloyd Chambers is saying here:

These examples are from ISO 50, but results are similar at ISO 100/200/400 and beyond. Crops are shown downsampled to Nikon D3 (not D3x) resolution, actual pixels results are even more obvious, but harder to compare directly.

A striking difference in noise is evident in the very dark areas: the 5D Mark II is noisy even at ISO 50. Wedding photographers take note: noise is not an issue in a bride’s white gown, but a groom’s black tuxedo will be much easier to manage with the D3x.

And you just have to see the difference in image quality with the D3x:

5D Mark II Pattern Noise and Banding

5D Mark II Pattern Noise and Banding

Details and more images can be seen on Lloyd Chamber’s site. To be honest, that’s just very bad. I would expect to see this starting at ISO 400 maybe, but ISO 100 should essentially be as clean as on the D3x, as you would reasonably expect. There’s also a thread on DPReview discussing this problem right now.

In addition, it appears the black dot problem on the 5D Mark II isn’t really fixed. I’ve gotten some emails from people claiming that the black dots reappear in the images taken with the 5D Mark II when making HDR images and when stacking images.

I don’t know what they’re doing in Japan, but things have really gotten bad for us when it comes to sensor design. We used to be lightyears ahead of the competition. Now Nikon is beating us where we were the unbeatable champions. I can only explain this as one of the consequences of bad karma which we have accumulated over the years. I know I’m beginning to sound like John Harrington, but I can’t help it. Soon I might even start writing about Getty on this blog.

The thing is, those arrogant fucks in Japan really don’t like to listen. When I give them good feedback to consider and other advice, they end up doing what they want anyway. I told them recently to just put the 1D3 AF system in the 60D, and instead they’re developing a new 11 point AF system. I can’t stand their mentality of holding back features like this. This is one of the reasons why Nikon bodies are so much more advanced compared to ours right now. Nikon put their pro level AF system in lower camera models, so why can’t we do that? Had we put the 1Ds Mark III AF system in the 5D Mark II, instead of lying about why we didn’t, we wouldn’t be having all the shitfuckery with AF issues and soft images on the 5D Mark II right now! Now people are getting 21 megapixels of blur, in addition to the pattern noise. Fucken A.

When I look at the specs of the next 1D camera that we’re going to launch in a few months, I have every reason to be excited. Internally we’re calling this camera “The Terminator.” Those of you who have recently signed our NDA’s know what I’m talking about. But when I look at all the issues we’ve been having, I just can’t be very optimistic. Many of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning know how excited I was when the 5D Mark II was launched. Then the issues started and I got disappointed badly. So now I’m just going have a different approach to things and try to be more realistic.

Anyway, I’m off to work on my tech tips for April.

I’m sorry to hear that the truth insults you

Whatever

Whatever

Aaaaaand I’m back. Thanks to everyone who wrote in asking where I was. I appreciate it a lot. I was just so busy with stuff here at the office. As you know, we’ve recently launched the EOS 500D or EOS Rebel T1i or Kiss X3 Digital or whatever the hell you want to call it. I don’t know what marketing is doing in Tokyo, but this is kindof crazy if you ask me. As if we don’t have enough issues with our products, we insist on launching a product with some kind of identity crisis right from the start. Not to mention the confusion it causes for everyone. Can you imagine the following conference call:

Me: Okay is everyone in the call? As you know we’re launching the EOS 500D today and…

Random Coworker 1: uh.. excuse me Chuck, but aren’t we supposed to launch the EOS T1i today?

Me: Yeah that’s what I’m saying…

Random Coworker 1: No you said EOS 500D. So we’re launching 2 camera’s?

Me: No they’re the same product and…

Random Coworker 2: Hold on for a sec… guys, I was just told we’re actually launching the EOS Kiss X3 today.

Random Coworker 1: The what? But I only prepared for the EOS T1i, howcome nobody briefed me on the other 2 camera’s?

Me: They’re all the same for God’s sake!

Random Coworker 1: Like.. the same specs? Or what?

Random Coworker 2: That doesn’t make much sense, Chuck, are you sure this is correct? Why would we launch 3 cameras with exactly the same specs?

Me: I just said they’re all the same camera, aren’t you listening?

Random Coworker 1: Chuck, I have a sample sitting on my desk right here, and I’m pretty sure it says T1i on the label, not 500D. I think you’re talking about something else.

Random Coworker 2: Yeah mine says Kiss X3 in front. So we’re launching 3 cameras then, Chuck? Can you confirm this?

Random Coworker 1:  Yeah, Chuck, can ya?

Random Coworker 2:  Chuck?

Random Coworker 1: I think we lost him.

You’re damn right you lost me. I’d rather punch myself in the face repeatedly than continue this conversation.

As if this is not enough, you have that guy from Digital Camera Resource writing in to complain about the fact that we did not share any information with him in advance, causing him lose traffic to other sites. Well, Jeff, now you know why. Many people here at Canon USA simply didn’t have a clue about what the hell we were about to launch.

And since I’m on the topic, look, I have some influence on the specs of the camera during the design process, but please understand, I’m not the one who came up with the 1080p video mode in 20fps. Really, and stop emailing me about it please, I know it’s stupid, and yes I told the morons in Japan it wasn’t of much use, but I think you know by now those arrogant bastards don’t always listen. At Canon Inc. in Japan  they seem to like HD quality jerky video where everyone moves like they’re some kind of early Cyborg prototype. You could probably slap any electronic rock song from the 80s on those video files and it would look great. Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto! Thank you very much for this wonderful feature.

I also got interviewed by that Shankland guy from CNET. Kept bugging me so I decided to do it just to get him to stop asking me about it. Had to be careful about answering some questions though, especially the ones about the video feature on the 5D Mark II. People still seem to be pissed about the lack of control and functionality in video mode on that camera. It can get pretty serious at times.

For example, some guy named Lee Wilson kept harassing us at Canon USA for weeks about the lack of aperture control in video mode on the 5D Mark II while posting about it on this forum at the same time. You just have to read the whole thread to be able to comprehend how seriously fucked up it got. If you ever needed an example of cyber terrorism, this is it. I mean, look, I love to listen to customer feedback and even to honest complaints, but if you’re going to go all Bin Laden on me and start pissing me off, then I’m going to treat you differently too. And that goes for all of the people in that thread who emailed me. It’s difficult enough for me to maneuver myself through the mess Japan created for us, and not give people reasons to start a class action lawsuit against us, and so if you continue to push me into a corner, then yeah, I’m going to say stuff like “I’m sorry to hear that the truth insults you” while I remain in denial. So what if the white papers lead you to believe or expect something? It sure as fuck is not on the camera, so quit whining!

I swear to God, some people just have way too much time on their hands.

I also mention Nikon and Sony in the CNET interview. I sound pretty confident there, but trust me, we’re very afraid. If the next 1D and 60D don’t deliver, we’re going to be fucked. But let me also say that if everything goes as planned for the next 1D, and we don’t screw up, we’re going to have an amazing product on our hands. You think we have autofocus problems now, just wait until you see the next 1D camera. The autofocus module alone is going to make Skynet look like a small pocket calculator in comparison. It’ll have locked focus on the subject even before you realize what you want to focus on. I kid you not, it’ll be that good. Theoretically, ofcourse. I pray to God Japan doesn’t screw this one up again.

Anyway that’s it for now. I need to get back to work.

EOS 5D Mark II a risky investment?

God damnit, how many times do I have to tell you people not to bother me anymore with autofocus problems? Seriously, I told you there’s nothing I can do, and there’s nothing more I can say to you. Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, for the sake of my sanity, stop emailing me and calling me. Do you know how I feel when I get calls from frustrated customers and I can’t really comment about the issues they’re having? Let’s just say I’m not really proud to be the technical spokesperson right now at Canon USA when I have to be promoting and standing behind our latest DSLRs. I really want to rave about the products, but it’s fucking embarrassing when people start pointing out the obviously serious issues like the autofocus problems.

And I know I said in the past that the 5D Mark II has better autofocus than the 1D Mark III, but apparently that’s still not good enough. The following comment caught my attention, among many others, mostly because of the person making it, Derek Doublin:

I am experiencing similar issues with my Canon 5D MKII. I am a photographer, a cinematographer, and a director for Jimmy Kimmel Live. I use top of the line L glass and have been having a very difficult time achieving focus. At first I thought it was me until I came across this post.

Recently I tried to process some HDR images and the result was quite astonishing. Despite the new firmware update I believe the black dot issue is still present and can clearly be seen when merging 3 images into an HDR tiff. If the black dots exist in at least two of the images they become extremely evident in an HDR image.

I am very sad to say that this camera needs work. If the video feature wasn’t so crippled I may consider having Canon attempt to repair it under warranty. But since the video feature is so limited, I am now seriously considering moving to a D700 or possibly waiting to see Nikon’s answer to the 5D MKII. Since Nikon does not have a video department to compete with, the Nikon D800 (or whatever it will be called) might just be the game changer. We’ll have to wait and see.

As for now, in my opinion the Canon 5D MKII is a risky investment.

Now you tell me, if you were the Technical Advisor at Canon USA, what the hell do you say to something like this, especially when you know you’re getting emails with such complaints almost daily? How can I honestly tell anyone to buy a 5D Mark II or a 1D/Ds Mark III with such problems? Now do you understand why I get embarrassed?

Look at what Lloyd Chambers is saying:

Canon has announced yet another fix for an AF problem, this time with the 21MP 1Ds Mark III as well as the 1D Mark III.

Kudos to Canon for stepping forward to fix the problem. I like Canon products and I’m not about to give up on them.

But wouldn’t it be better for Canon to test their products a little longer, rather than try to beat Nikon to the market? I already suffered through a previous “recall” with my Canon 1D Mark III last year. Now the 1Ds Mark III too? We’re on the 2nd or 3rd firmware update as well. As I postulated previously, Canon does it first, Nikon does it right. I was serious, but didn’t know I was prescient.

This latest AF issue follows on the heels of a Live View exposure problem with the Canon 5D Mark II. I think it’s fair so say that with 3 professional camera models with issues, this firmly establishes Canon as having a track record of not testing products adequately. And at the cost of customer time, hassle, and perhaps money.

I own a 1Ds Mark III, and will sell it at some point. Any potential buyer will want to know if my camera has “the problem” (not to my knowledge). So I have little choice but to send the camera into Canon for service to test for and/or fix the issue, or at least to get a statement that it’s A-OK. Even so, buyer FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) effectively reduces the value of my 1Ds Mark III, which is why I think Canon needs to do more for customers than a check/repair— an extra year of warranty would be one reasonable approach.

And the thing is, it’s not just the autofocus issues. Depending on the product, it can be many things at the same time, often overwhelming. In the case of the 5D Mark II, I also keep getting reports about the noise and banding in images, even at ISO 100, especially in dark parts of pictures. This thread on DPReview mentions a similar issue. Looking at the sample images, it is quite bad. And this is supposed to be the camera with very low noise? I told the morons in Tokyo last week during a conference call that I want to do my job as best as I can, I really do, but I can’t lie.

What is even more depressing, is that now our competitors are jumping on top of this opportunity to say what I have been telling the morons at Canon Inc. for the last few years now, without them listening. I’m talking about Olympus. Just look at this:

LAS VEGAS–Olympus has declared an end to the megapixel race.

“Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need,” said Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging’s SLR planning department, in an interview here at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA). “We have no intention to compete in the megapixel wars for E-System,” Olympus’ line of SLR cameras, he said.

Instead, Olympus will focus on other characteristics such as dynamic range, color reproduction, and a better ISO range for low-light shooting, he said.

See that? Now Olympus gets to be the hero, the innovator, when I and many others here at Canon have been saying the same thing all along. But did the old farts in upper management listen? Nope. And now they’re getting what’s coming to them.

If you read the article above, pay attention to what Watanabe is saying about the contrast-detect autofocus technology. We’re not very concerned about Olympus here at Canon, but Sony has been scaring the hell out of us for a while now, to be honest. More so than Nikon, and for a lot of reasons. They’ve got their hands on a lot of good technology now, and we’re very concerned about their next wave of DSLRs. If you can recall their DSC-R1 camera from a few years ago, it had a CMOS sensor and really great and reasonably fast contrast-detect autofocus functionality. You could even use the small joystick to move the focus point *anywhere* on the screen and focus *exactly* where you wanted to, even the edges. This was a few years ago. If this makes its way into their DSLRs, with today’s faster processing technology, we’re going to be fucked. We know they have the sensor technology (D3x) with IS, they have the lenses, it’s just a matter of the right software, the pro features and tuning it all to work together. Since they have the financial capabilities, it’s only a matter of time.

I know I sound depressed today, but I can’t help it. I know we have a lot of potential at Canon, but it saddens me to see that we don’t seem to be able to realize it these days, while competitors are moving ahead of us. Let me leave you now with my tech tips for March, while I go lie down for a bit.

EOS 1D Mark III Autofocus Fix – For real this time. Seriously.

This morning I was  sitting behind my desk, going over some new information Tokyo sent me last night about the new EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens, when all of a sudden all phones inside my office, including my cellphone started ringing simultaneously. While I was initially looking around, trying to understand what the hell was going on, my computer started going “You’ve got mail, you’ve got mail, you’ve got mail, you’ve got mail” continuously while emails kept arriving every second. At this point I jumped up and quickly closed the door to my office, pulled out the phone cables, turned off my cellphone and disconnected the computer from the corporate network. A quick look at some of the email messages made clear what was going on.

We’ve just released some new firmware updates for the EOS 1D/Ds Mark III cameras as Galbraith is reporting here. And completely in line with our recent release of the service update for the 5D mirror falling off, after 3 years, we’ve also released two new service updates for the EOS 1D/Ds Mark III cameras, this time after 2 years (we’re making progress it seems), regarding the autofocus issues and ERR99 messages many users have been reporting. Check them out here and here.

So I just want to use this opportunity to tell everyone to please stop calling me and emailing me about this. I have nothing to add to what you can read there for yourself. After what happened the last time, I am staying as far away from this as possible. Let Canon Inc. handle it themselves, it’s their mess after all. Suffice to say that I really hope that this new autofocus fix for the 1D Mark III is going to solve your problems.  If not, expect another service release sometime in 2011. Judging from the frequency of the latest service releases, and after performing some quick statistical analysis, I’m expecting the service release for the 5D Mark II autofocus issues to arrive sometime in 2010. Please be patient until then.

Canon Inc. seems to be putting a lot of effort into trying to improve the image people have of the EOS 1D/Ds Mark III autofocus system. They’ve recently launched a new website where they’re trying to show everyone why they think it’s very good. Especially the “Canon’s AF Philosophy” section is quite entertaining good. Apparently this AF Philosophy at Canon Inc. doesn’t include other cameras like the 5D Mark II and 40D/50D.

In one of the sections you read stuff like this:

The most common request was that of greater freedom of composition. What they said was, “We want the AF points increased and spread out to the edges of the screen.”

I guess that doesn’t apply to the 5D Mark II. It seems Canon Inc. thinks 5D users don’t need freedom of composition and more AF points, even though I know for a fact that the feedback I’ve been sending them the last few years has been saying the opposite.

I hope they start to understand soon in Tokyo that all this marketing bullshit is not going to make the products somehow work better. Only the actual release of good working products is going to do that. And once they do that, my work is going to be a lot easier.

Doggy Strikes Again

Doggy Strikes Again

In other news, I haven’t yet heard anything from Doggy, our promotions specialist from Lube & Lube. Seems like he’s laying low for a while planning his next strike. It kind of reminds me of that Stephen King movie “Cujo.” I feel like I’m trapped in the car, after an initial attack from Doggy, and it’s all quiet now, it almost seems like he’s given up and went away. And I’m sitting up, looking around out of the windows of the car, trying to see of he’s really gone, when **WHAM!!** Doggy suddenly bangs his head against the window, pressing his big bloody teeth against it while growling like some kind of monster. It’s scary as hell. I mean, you know he’s out there, but you just can’t tell when he’ll strike again.

I’m gonna go make me a nice cappuccino now and try to take my mind off of these scary thoughts.

To Canon and Loeb & Loeb: Thanks for the traffic!

Note: I’ve added a third update now at the bottom.

Traffic to my blog increased after Loeb & Loeb implemented their online marketing plan for my blog.

Traffic to my blog increased after Loeb & Loeb implemented their online marketing plan for my blog.

First let me take a moment to welcome all the new readers of my blog, I hope you’ll enjoy the existing content like many others have done in the past, and will stay long enough to enjoy future content. Due to my very busy work schedule at Canon USA I’m not always able to update the blog very frequently, but I do try to do so at least once a week. Also note that the content here is specifically geared towards serious photo geeks, photographers and others in the photography industry.

As many of you know, we’ve been quite arrogant in the past here at Canon, and still are. Communicating with our customers really isn’t one of our strongest points as a company. For example, just recently we finally released a service notice, after knowing about this problem for almost 3 years now and many users suffering the consequences, for the original 5D mirror falling off. If you think this is just an isolated incident, think again. The timing of the service release is ofcourse related to the 5D Mark II being “available” now, and since the 5D is going to be discontinued soon anyway, there’s no danger in admitting to the issues. In the same way, if Galbraith wasn’t so persistent after we kept denying, most of the world would never have known about the 1D Mark III focus issues. And we still haven’t said anything about the EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM focus problems that many are experiencing. As of right now, we’re still not saying much about the focus issues with the new 5D Mark II, let alone the vignetting problem. And lots more. That’s why I’ve been here at Canon USA working my ass off trying to participate online as much as possible, answering questions from customers through email, etc. etc., while trying not to get fired by my shortsighted superiors at Canon Inc. Having been in the business myself as a photographer in the past before I joined Canon USA, I feel for all of you. So last year I finally decided to start this blog as the first step of improving our communications with customers and allowing me to be a lot more open and frank about various issues.

Since the launch of this blog back in September 2008 I haven’t done much to promote the blog and get the word out about it. But apparently I was able to convince Canon to finally do something about promoting my blog and make some company funds available for it. So we hired the marketing experts at Loeb & Loeb, and they came up with a brilliant plan to promote the blog online. You can read all about that here. And as you can see from the image above, after the implementation of their plan, traffic to my blog increased exponentionally. After Thomas Hawk blogged about it, it got on Slashdot and the rest, as they say, is history. Needless to say, I would highly recommend our pals at Loeb & Loeb if you are looking to give your website more exposure online.

I have to tell you, sometimes I do wonder myself if I am working for a camera manufacturing company or the mafia. Seeing as how Canon likes to approach things sometimes, I can get confused. Last year one of my superiors in Japan actually wanted to send a ninja to DPReview’s Phil Askey “for handle him,” after DPReview posted a negative review of the EOS 50D. So it is no surprise that the good people at Canon Rumours are afraid to say anything about the shut down notice. They’ve had their own issues with Canon last year. A thread on the DPReview forums, discussing Canon’s shut down notice also seems to have vanished. From my website statistics logs, I can see that the thread existed at the following URL: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=31008091. I visited that thread yesterday and today, and know for a fact that it existed. This morning the thread was already up to 4 pages before it got taken down. Another thread discussing the issue still appears to be up: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=31018366. One can only speculate about what exactly happened to the missing thread. This is the first time I’ve experienced censorship on DPreview myself, but I have heard about it in the past.

Anyway I have to sign off now to take care of some work and then leave the office early today to go home and be err….bang.. err, I mean… be with my family. I expect to be tired and unavailable for the rest of the day. Thanks for your understanding.

Update:

I received some screenshots of the thread on DPReview which was deleted:

Deleted thread on DPReview Forums

Deleted thread on DPReview Forums

 

Deleted thread on DPReview Forums

Deleted thread on DPReview Forums

Now I know I wasn’t hallucinating when I saw that thread.

Barnett points out in the comments below that our pal Douglas “Doggy” E. Mirell from Loeb & Loeb is indeed a promotions specialist. Looks like we got the right man for the job. He took the blog mainstream like only he could: Doggy style.

Update 2:

Looks like DPReview is at it again. I received a screenshot of yet another thread that got deleted. The thread existed at http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=31037898. Click on the image for larger view.

DPReview Deleted Thread

DPReview Deleted Thread

 Update 3:

Fake Chuck Westfall threads are dropping like flies over at the DPReview forums. Received another screenshot of a thread which existed at: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=31042825. Click on the image for larger view.

Deleted Thread on DPReview

Deleted Thread on DPReview

Viva la revolucion, indeed, LOL.