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Tuesday, 18 October 2011


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There are many reasons why I read this blog, whether it's on- or off-topic. But among the top ones is the writing. Which sometimes brings tears to my eyes. Like now.

"Which sometimes brings tears to my eyes."

In a good way, I hope. :-)


Not only will you be on Canon's send list, they might even send you a thank you gift, perhaps an original S100.

Is the new S100 a film camera? I suspect so. The "S" must stand for stop bath...

The Cayman is better looking than both the 911 and the S100.

Mike: standing in front of the mirror and slapping one's face indicates a serious malevolent nature within the slapper.
Obviously though you don't have a problem.

Keep in mind the fault(s) lie with items not of nature. And as with anything of nature, once a subversive letter (or numeral) is brought into play, it is darn difficult to removed one's self from the indicated error.

So "D" is for digital, eh? How about F for
(sorry that's been used), or maybe models could start as numeral with five zeros to the
right of the dot and then numeral whatever they want to all the device.

As for the S90, 95 and tah-dah S100 all over again;
ingenuity on name parameters just doesn't seem to be part of a designers reality.

I do wish Canon would put the wireless flash transmitter goodies in it, much like they have in their more recent DSLRs.

In my humble opinion a small digicam and external flash (I like Canon's 430EX-II)) returns a rather superior utility/gram ratio than a DSLR and flash.

Currently I'm still using my G10, which does have a hot-shoe. But the S100 is so much more compact...

I've never heard you complain about nikon using "F" for film in front of all their film based cameras.


I'm curious. On what evidence do you consider the S100 as #1.

Thanks for a good laugh, Mike. I'm sure the new D(igital) 1 is a great camera and whatever.

I think a better analogy would be to the American truck market. Ford, Chevy, Dodge... who can really tell the difference (other than the driver, who would never be seen driving anything else)? Nothing had really changed regarding the form factor until someone decided that a pro camera needs two hand grips and every truck needs four doors.

There are many working professionals who need payload capacity and 12fps, but many people will purchase them for the look.

The older S100 was my first digital camera, back in 2001. Quite a revelation and originally just a companion to my FM2, much like my phone camera is a companion to my DSLR today.

Wow. The new S100 should really not come in silver. It looks like a dumpy, overly large digicam. When it's anything but. Oof.

I love Harrison Ford's explanation of the color. Spot on. American Graffiti is one of my dad's favorite movies along with On the Waterfront. Why could George Lucas not do anything good after American Graffiti? Sure, I loved the first Star Wars movies as a kid but the later ones were atrocious and that's being kind. Lucas seemed to forget you need good writing and acting to make a good movie not loads of cheesy special effects. And I can't spend 5 minutes watching Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back now. Sorry, I got in a critical mood after reading your very funny, critical write up.

Someone at the dpreview Canon forum was looking at the Japanese Canon site and mistook the 2000 EOS-1v film camera for a digital EOS-1D Mark V.

So the D800 is going to have twice the pixel count of the new top-end Canon, at 4/6.8 the price? That's going to set the cat among the pigeons!

Me personally, I'm glad Canon held the pixel count down, and regret that it appears the Nikon D700 line will be a dead end. But who knows? 99% at nikonrumors.com is far from certainty, and even if they're right about the D700, that doesn't mean there won't be a d750 or something. However, I need the price to DROP, not climb; I couldn't afford the D700 last time, and I don't have another 58/1.2 NOCT to sell.

The naming conventions by camera companies is truly horrible and not a little pathetic.
I say that as an owner of a Nikon D1x.

I suspect that the main problem with the IXUS S100 will be that it's not a cell phone..


Keeping a safe distance.

Was the capital "F" in the top model of yore for "film?"

Just wondering.

"I've never heard you complain about nikon using "F" for film in front of all their film based cameras."

That's because it doesn't stand for film. It stands for "Flex," as in reflex. (Yes, the English word.) Besides, I was only two when the F came out, and it took me a number of decades to train to be a curmudgeon.


The new Canon 1-series looks nice, but I stand a much better chance of ending up with the S100 ! The S95 is a camera I like a lot (but don't own)...

I love the snarkiness! Really one of the reasons why I'm one of your faithful readers. Another one is the way you casually drop words that I've not encountered previously - in this case, I had to look up whether "perseverate" was an actual word =)

I like the snarky Mike.
Although his taste in cars ... Well, Porkers are to real car porn as the US Congress is to real porn.

For real car porn, see Aston Martin website.

(Oh, the Canons? Like both, want neither.)

>>And the shutter is tested to 400,000 actuations, which must be a record for durability.

If I remember correctly Leica claimed a life of 400,000 actuations for the cloth curtain shutter in the M series film-based cameras.

No 54 megapixels, I see. :)

"If I remember correctly Leica claimed a life of 400,000 actuations for the cloth curtain shutter in the M series film-based cameras."

You're absolutely correct. I completely forgot.


Well, I suppose there's lots of letters left in the alphabet... And I'm supposing they are working backwards!


I bought a first generation ipad 64gig 3GS in sep, long after the iPad 2 came out. Bought it brand new from the store and saved myself £250 over the iPad 2 equivalent. No video, no camera no need.

I own a 1ds mk lll and will use it until the day it dies, or I die, which ever comes first. It is a big beast and as a a digital camera without video I guess it's a bit of a dinosaur

Ah, yes, the school of thinking that a pro camera is a working person's portable power tool, and therefore has to weigh as much as a circular saw.

Good God! eergh, Good Darwin! Aston Martin makes a "consumer" city car named Cygnet and it is only 37.000 EUR! Porsche can`t beat it in this category :)
Must get that one, hope it can take the weight of the new Canon 1Dwhatever.
Maybe Canon decided to throw away the "D" alltogether but Nikon played the trick with their "1". And some "creative" at Canon marketing came up with the X (probably an X files enthusiast, or maybe a Final Cut pro X enthusiast).
Can`t care less about the video and the increasingly number of centrally positioned AF sensors (61!!!) - who needs that many focusing points?
I must say that my feeling is with You Mike, the innovation in naming their cameras at canon and Nikon is only second to their innovation in the actual products :)

FWIW the S100 was also the name used by JVC for the first Saticon tubed video camera in the early 80s. It was a significant, eagerly awaited improvement on the G71 Vidicon consumer camera and cost about £1K if I recall correctly. The Saticon was a big improvement however interior shooting with domestic cameras still required four 800w redheads and ideally a couple of 2k Blonds...

"If I remember correctly Leica claimed a life of 400,000 actuations for the cloth curtain shutter in the M series film-based cameras."

But I will bet my M3 that no Leica M shooter can push through those 400000 actuations in a mere 8 hours...

Oh wow look, it looks just exactly like the one the made in the last millennium! Just like the interior of a cheap #@!$% Ford Taurus did in 1997!

Bleh. Who's supposed to lust after that?

Oh, and is it just me, or does the old S100 look more modern than the new one?

Interesting that Canon has their flagship at 18 megapixels, that probably means the 12 megapixel APS-C chip is probably about right. Who's going to bring out the first 1000 dollar full frame DSLR? I thought I heard rumors that someone was supposed to be offering that this OCT-NOV intro season...maybe it was just a dream...along with world peace and a three thousand dollar digital back for my Hasselblad V system....

What's the "F" in Nikon's pro film cameras for, then?

This is doubtless a great new pro camera for people who earn their living taking pictures. The 2 stop enhanced ISO sensitivity, while moving to a full frame sensor, improved autofocus, video (I guess) all are major improvements. But I can't help thinking this camera makes the Leica M9 look even better. Not that I could afford either one.

Almost sure I read somewhere recently that it's perfectly feasible to build a (virtual, ie software) shutter right into the sensor? If that's the case I'd imagine it would just about halve the size and weight of a "pro" SLR- all those expensive, fragile mechanics unnecessary. So why the continued head in the sand/thinking firmly inside the box over at the big two?

There probably will still be a high res version of the 1Dx, with double the pixels and half the high iso. (Let's call it 1Dxs, or 1D Excess)
Just like there will be a D4 and a D4x.

I'm just hoping they won't do that to the new 5D, 21 Mp is more than enough for me.

The S100 is a bit of a mixed bag. The better noise performance and full HD video is nice, but I'm not really happy they made it into a 24mm wide angle instead of 28mm.
24mm is just too wide for general purpose. Now you might say, you can zoom in, but let's face it, the way you usually use a snapshot cam is you turn it on and take a picture.

Sheesh, if I buy another camera Mrs will shoot me in the head. I should tell her I'm taking up golfing instead, except I used that one the last time. I know; I'll tell her I'm thinking of taking up smoking.

Sigh. What Canon giveth with one hand, they taketh away with the other. Not that I'm in any position to get a 1D X (not in this lifetime), but I still can't help feeling that the change in MSRP from $5k (1D4) to $6.8k (1DX) is a step in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, the S100 has a nicely improved range (basically that magical 24mm on the wide-end) and the sensor has always been among the better ones, but why it the long end of the lens now f/5.9? Wasn't f/4.9 slow enough?

Oh wow, 1D X: I just 'upgraded' to the original 1Ds this year! Talk about being behind the curve (poverty ain't easy). Oh, I still can't find any explanation why I prefer the pictures out of the old 1Ds compared to the 5D Mk II (which I sold).

I guess Canon realizes that adding more pixels is not going to help when one considers the capability of their lenses.
18 megapixels is enough anyway. Leica seems to be doing well with that number. But even Leica would benefit from a slight camera size reduction. Canon's 1D series is way too big for this day and age. Maybe they should consider dumping some garbage out of it... like the lead weights they must have inserted to give the camera that impression of substance.

The Canon 1Dx is rated at 400k actuations.. which can be burned through in 7.9 hours if one really tried.. That's $856/hr or 1.7 cents/frame(!)

Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing cameras being compared by the cost/frame metric.

Canon already reused another name only a few years ago with the Rebel XS. I'm sure it'll cause confusion on ebay when someone orders what they think is a digital Rebel XS and instead they get a Rebel X S film camera. I'm glad someone else got snarky about these names, because I'm tired of being the only one. 1D D1 60D D60 Mark MCMLX.


...you are a funny, funny, man, and yes, I want to know that figure for all cameras now too...

I couldn't care less about the Canons but I will agree with you on the cars - I used to own a Porsche 914 - that mid-engined '70s collaboration between VW and Porsche. A bit of an odd-looking car, but you could pretty easily bolt in a 911 engine and front suspension and have a car that would handle better, stop harder, and accelerate faster than the 911 that the engine came out of. I would be happy to see the Cayman and Boxster replace the 911 entirely, but that's not bloody likely!

"I would be happy to see the Cayman and Boxster replace the 911 entirely, but that's not bloody likely!"

Yes, something about killing gooses that lay golden eggs....


Mike said "I was only two when the F came out, and it took me a number of decades to train to be a curmudgeon."

Harumph! A real curmudgeon doesn't need training!


MM, thank you for the metric 'pixels per duck'. I will add it to my lexicon which includes 'furlongs per fortnight' (used in a slug racing), and the milliHelen (the amount of beauty required to launch 1 ship.)


One thing that strikes me about comments that the Canon (or for that matter, equivalent Nikon) pro models look like their 10 year old antecedents ignores that the form represents the respective makers' thoughts on optimal ergonomics, and hence change should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Consistency is a key marketing point, not a millstone (in my theory). I compare this to how much a Thinkpad today looks like the original from the early '90s. Compare that to Apple (really, the only other iconic line of notebooks) and you see every few years they throw out the piece of paper and come up with a sleeker machine, but not always benefiting the ergonomic aspects. The worst aspect was a few years ago when the entire line went to the flat-top island/chicklet keys. Please don't make this out to be a Mac/PC argument. It isn't. It is only to illustrate the evolution premise in design.

I think if CaNikon want to make a new pro line, the way to do it is to just make another model line that addresses Pro needs (whichever type of pro you please) and make it compelling from an ergonomic/performance standpoint. Don't call it their pro series and produce it in parallel, and pros will migrate when the value proposition makes sense. There is a business-speak cliche that says 'Sacred Cows make the best steaks'. Do I think CaNikon will do this? Not an ice cube's chance.


"In a good way, I hope. :)"

In a very good way. I even went and read the "How Canon picks names", for a second helping :)

On the S100 comment: "the way you usually use a snapshot cam is you turn it on and take a picture"

And if I do that on my S95 it remembers what my last zoom setting was. Turn it off at 50mm it comes back at 50mm. Nice feature. Even better the C setting will always remember your favorite setup including power up zoom setting.

This usability (along with their compactness) is one of the strengths of the S95/S100 series cameras: lots of little details that help photography that are left out of a "P&S". They're also features that don't seem to make it "big" in reviews. The ring control on the front is a big win too.

It's a real camera in tiny form even if you do have a "large" small sensor :-)

Though I do agree that I don't like the 24mm wide as much as it pushes the aperture down at longer focal lengths (i.e. the 28mm on the S100 is not f/2 anymore). That seems to be marketing spec "turned up to 11" to compete with the LX5.

The Eos-1Dx with its fabulous frame rate and low light performance will undoubtedly serve most photographers better than something with more megapixels. But for me it's a big disappointment. I regard video as a pointless distraction, and better autofocus is irrelevant to landscape photography. 18 really good megapixels can certainly be up-rezzed massively with 'low frequency' subjects like portraits or fashion. But 'high frequency' landscapes (i.e., trees) actually benefit from more megapixels.

Guess I'll have to start saving for a Pentax 645D. Which I'll be able to afford about 2015. With one lens. If I sell a kidney.

I think harping on the letter D is probably pointless. After a while, the original meaning of names becomes lost, it is just the name. It would be like saying - "what's up with the "new" in New York? It's no longer new, shouldn't it be called Old York?" (sounds like it could be a bad comedy skit on Seinfeld)

To be fair, camera naming has always been a shaky area. I own a Canon New F-1 (though you won't see "New" written anywhere on it). That's the 1981 iteration which has all different accessories (designated "FN") as compared to the Canon F-1 and Canon F-1n.


I must admit to feeling rather liberated from all of this, I mean a real sense of "meh, whatever" about these new cameras and all the talk and rumor surrounding them. Haven't been keeping up with all the new models like I used to and haven't missed doing so. I guess it's possible to be content with the camera you have, if you find the right one and stick with it.

"I've never heard you complain about nikon using "F" for film in front of all their film based cameras."

Nikons consumer film cameras jumped between F and N depending where you bought them.

I wonder if this latest 'flagship' will turn out to be Canon's first battleship,...ie., too big, too complicated, too expensive, too heavy and too obsolete......

At the risk of the jeers likely to ensue from the majority of regular TOP readers (and it is my first web stop every morning), I will admit to being a wedding/portrait photographer. While the weight of the proposed 1Dx makes me wince, the ability to shoot in the near-darkness of many churches and most reception halls at ISO 100K if need be is cause for celebration. And if you have ever tried to get portraits of small children at the beach or park you will recognize the virtue of 12 fps. Dual CF cards so that one can either back up on the fly or double the image capacity--fantastic. And video is a necessary part of many professional's lives now, like it or not. Might as well do it well, with one camera instead of two or three.

Canon specifies the 1D series as a professional camera for a reason. It's not intended to be a fashion statement, it is meant to do what it is supposed to do, over and over, for years, despite all the serious knocking around it will inevitably get. I say bravo and can't wait to make the investment. My 1DMkII, with it's superb 8mp photosites, is getting ready for retirement.

Mike is correct on the origin of "F" and the Nikon F. (Never mind where Canon got it when they brought out their competing F system later.) I never would have guessed that, and did not.


Scroll down to paragraph "4", from this Nikon's own history site. The F in flex actually comes from "reflection," the middle of the word. Curious.

"Mike is correct on the origin of "F" and the Nikon F."

But kudos to you for not taking my word for it and doing your own research. We can't follow up on everything we hear, but every now and then it's valuable to follow up on something....


Xing, I don't want to get in the way of a joke, but replacing that shutter is pretty easy, and wont set you back more than a couple of hundred dollars. Ofcourse if you are like most other people out there today, you'd throw it in a dumpster and buy a new camera. After all that's the way of consumer electronics.

My explanation for the merge of the two 1D lines simply is that we now have reached a technical level where it is no problem anymore to realize a higher pixel count full frame camera in a much smaller body. But from a marketing perspective one would never accompany a big 1Dx with a much smaller 1Dwhatever.

For what it's worth, I got an LX5 and my dad has an S90 (which he got immediately when I told him about it). I found the S90 to be really competent, but i wound up pulling the trigger on the LX5 instead of an S95 because it gives me 24mm-e.

Given the choice now, I'd definitely go S100, and it's for one feature that they don't talk about much on review websites. It's legitimately pants-pocketable, while the my LX-5 isn't.

You can tell that many (if not most or all) of the readers are not long lens photographers by the comments about 1 series cameras being too big and heavy.

Sure, if you never picked one up and used it with a 500mm+ lens you might be tempted to believe that less weight and size would be a plus when attached to such a monster. And I also realize that most are not even considering using the camera with anything longer than a 135 or perhaps the 70-200.

The thing is that a big brick of a camera balances beautifully on a super telephoto - like nothing else does. We even have cool gimbal heads to take advantage of this balance that handle smoother than anything you can imagine.

What's the point? Horses for courses.......

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