Tech Tips for September 22, 2008

And here I am with yet another episode of Tech Tips from your favorite Canon camera guru! Yes, that’s me, of course. Here are the questions for this week:

How do you test if a lens is back-focusing?

This is a very simple procedure. What you do is you tape a newspaper against a wall somewhere in your house. Make sure you do it somewhere your wife won’t see what you’re doing because if she catches you taping stuff to her wall you’re in for some serious trouble. Next, you attach the lens you want to test to the camera, and stand back about 5 meters away from the newspaper. Put the camera in One Shot focus mode, and set the aperture of the lens wide open (smallest f number). Manually select the center focus point on the camera, aim for the newspaper and press the shutter button half way. You should get a focus confirmation. Now the next step is very critical. While holding the shutter button half pressed, take one big step forward. As soon as you have done this, press the shutter button completely to take the picture. Make sure that before you take the picture, the center focus point still covers the newspaper. You can repeat these steps about 4 times. Maybe 5, depending on how much time you have. When you’re done, download the pictures on your computer, and open them with your image editing program. Make sure that you view the images at 100% on your screen. If the newspaper in your picture is blurry and out of focus, then your lens is backfocusing and you might want to consider sending it in for calibration or using it as a projectile when your neighbor’s dog is eating your lawn again.

one more question, can Canon’s “L” zooms resolve 21 MP? I saw some MTF charts and was wondering if the “L” primes can cut the mustard, so the question is can they? I already own 17-40L, 24-70L, 70-200/2.8IS, 35L and was wondering if I should ditch the zooms and go all primes so I can resolve detail to the 21 MP sensor, why pay for 21 MP if lenses can’t send the information to it…. any thoughts?

I hate to point this out to you, but our current lenses can’t resolve shit. Especially so in the fullframe corners. You have to understand that most of these lenses were designed back in the film days. In those days you couldn’t download the film to your computer and view it at 100% to see how much detail and sharpness you had. One reason for this is that the film roll didn’t have a USB port and cable so it was impossible to interface with the film inside. Most people brought the film to a camera store somewhere to get it developed, and all they ever saw was a small printed picture that looked sharp enough. But as we all know, at that size, even a very crappy out of focus image, like the ones taken by Damien Lovegrove with the 5D Mark II, can look sharp. So nobody knew their pictures were actually blurry as hell and lacked even the slightest bit of detail. And business was good for Canon. But now with digital cameras with enough resolution it is starting to become a problem. Even my mom in law, who is quite retarded, was looking at her pictures taken with her G9 on the computer last week and mentioned that her pictures looked soft and then went on to ask me if her G9 doesn’t have a focus issue. I almost punched her in the face.
I already told the megapixel-crazy idiots at Canon Inc. in Japan to start easing out on the megapixels and concentrate on image quality instead. Nikon has already released two new lenses, the 14-24 and 24-70, that are capable of resolving more detail than our current offerings. Meanwhile, at Canon Japan, they’re trying to give us 38 megapixels of blurry and noisy pixels in the 1Ds Mark IV, with Digic 5 further screwing with the tiny bit of detail that the lens was still able to catch while “reducing noise”, leaving you with a plasticy, smudgy and blurry looking mess of an image. And what’s sad is that it’ll still look better than an image taken with the latest Nikon camera.


Won’t happen, sorry. The reason for this lies with the Japanese engineers at Canon Inc. As you well know, the Japanese have very small hands and holding a Powershot G9 for them is like holding a 1Ds Mark III. Including a grip would give them serious trouble using the camera. I’ve personally spoken to them about another similar issue, namely that my nose keeps poking against the LCD screen on the back of the cameras whenever I want to look through the viewfinder. The LCD screens on my camera always look like a mess because of this. Even worse, when I use the 5D, I always mess up the important shots because my nose presses against the buttons on the side of the LCD screen. I told Japan about this, and they said they couldn’t repro the problem in their labs. But of course, the Japanese have a virtually flat face, so I’m not surprised at all that they couldn’t repro it. They need to design the next cameras for people with a more 3 dimensional face. And finally, is your CAPS lock key broken or something? Your shift key stuck? Your keyboard fucked?

I have one question concerning the secondary function of the 1Ds3.  I have found that filling the camera body with lead fishing weights increases the resolution of the camera.  However, Canon is charging me an arm and a leg for these weights.  So my question is, what is the cheapest way to fill the body of a 1Ds3 with solid lead?

Is this a trick question? And why do I get a feeling that this question is coming from a redneck? Ennyway, whut yo’ does is yo’ hoof it te Wall Mart, yo’ buy yo’seff a double barrel shufgun wif a pack o’ shells, yo’ come back home an’ put th’ wan dee eff mark three outside on th’ fence, load yer shufgun an’ jest fire away. Yo’ repeat thet an’ it’ll fill right up wif lead. Yo’ jest be careful not t’git into an argoomnt wif th’ neighbours.

Thanks for reading Tech Tips. That’s it for now. Remember to email your questions to or leave a comment in this post. See you next week!

14 thoughts on “Tech Tips for September 22, 2008

  1. Admittedly, I’m starting to like you, ‘Chuck’. No, not in that way you sick bastard!

    You’re latest post is hilarious! Between calling your mother-in-law retarded and almost punching her in the face for her G9 focusing comment is just absolutely priceless! I’m going to assume your husband doesn’t even know of this blog? Things could get awfully messy if he did!

    Ken Rockwell doesn’t have anything on you, dude (he may know more about Canons and photography in general, but he isn’t nearly as humorous as you are). Perhaps both of you are indeed geniuses disguised in raw stupidity. Keep up with the smack talk.. boost readership.. Between your writing style and Canon’s slow downwards spiral as of late makes for entertaining reading material!

  2. Hey Fake Chuck,
    I’ve already had a bit of a whinge to you about being shafted with my 1d3 doorstop, was just wondering if Canon have any intention of offering all us 1d3 owners some sort of discount or trade-in incentive to upgrade to the 1d4 when it comes out ?
    I was hoping the new 1 series bodies would be a redifining moment (much like the shooting in candle light stuff you promised for the 5d2) but from your comments above it sounds like we should be expecting more of the same shite. Think it’s time you hop on a plane and sort out Canon Japan FC.

  3. Very nice sense of humor dude. Always make me laugh :). Maybe if we start, lets say million times more discussions like this they will start to listen. Japanese people are having small ears too. They can’t hear shit, nor can they read our alphabet obviously. At least those who work at canon.

  4. Chuck,

    You are absolutely hilarious.

    You have helped me put this whole camera tech race into perspective. The fact that so many people even know who Chuck Westfall is proves there are way too many people caught up in the megapixel race.

    Thanks for the laughs!

  5. Hey Chuck, I would love to wear a white-on-red “Fake Chuck” T-shirt at Photokina and parade in front of Canon booth…

    Do you have some (in focus) pictures of you I may print on a T-shirt?


  6. I laugh till cry…almost got fire :):):) you’re
    Something else…kudos!!!!

    PS: Since 2007 with my 5D always shot on center wait single point = Very Happy!!!

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  8. Thanks for the support everyone, remember, I’m on your side. It’s good to be critical about yourself and the company you work for. That’s how we grow.
    David, I’ll answer that question in the Tech Tips next week, I need to check back with Japan.

  9. Yes Canon lens can’t resolve shit past 12 Megapixels…which is good because my Nikkor lenses can’t either. But Nikon being smart, has chosen wisely to keep the Megapixel count low on our D3 and D700.

    It’ll save us from Canon’s embarrassment. We’d rather Nikon users not go through the shock that their large investments could not handle high resolution cameras.

  10. Hey Nikon Stud..

    Yes, we Nikonians should be greatful of Nikon keeping the megapixels in check (for now). Sad thing is though, I think this megapixel race is going to get out of hand in a hurry. If Nikon does release the fabled 24 MP monster, it seems we are in the same boat as the Canonites in that regard 😦 I really wish everyone would slow down on MP size and instead focus on improving the image quality as well as being more innovative with body features.

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