The World Photographic Cup (the Olympics of Photography) has just announced it’s country selections for 2022. I am very proud to have been included again in Team Australia. Last year I was fortunate to take out the Silver medal in the Nature category with my photograph of an Emperor Penguin family. For 2022, my photograph of the Snowy Owl titled “Phantom of the Opera” will represent team Australia in the Nature category. This will be my fourth time representing Australia. To date, I have garnered a Bronze and Silver medal. Would love to complete the set….To check out all the entrants across the countries visit the WPC Website.
The photograph of the month for December 2021 comes from my recent workshop in Finland (Read the Trip Report) to photograph Wolves, Bears, and Wolverine. This photograph was made from a ground-level hide in no man’s land between Finland and Russia. I carefully positioned the hide and framed the shot to include the small tree on the left-hand side to help balance the image with the wolf on the right. I was fortunate to not only have the wolf come into frame exactly where I had hoped, but also to have a good smattering of clean and fresh snow, which makes for a wonderful contrast with the fur of the wolf. The Wolf’s growl and expression complete the image. Shot with the Canon EOS 1DX MK3 and Canon 600mm f4L IS MK3.
Not to mince my words, but I have never been a fan of the DXO sensor scores for cameras. They place far too much emphasis on the technical aspects of digital sensor performance and nothing on the aesthetic qualities of an actual photograph. In my world, cameras are for making photographs (seems to me that is what they were designed for). Worrying about whether your camera sensor has half a stop more Dynamic Range is a black hole that is the antithesis of good image-making.
With that caveat out of the way, DXO has just ranked the Canon EOS R3 the best full-frame low light performing camera on the market today. Headlines such as this are usually nothing more than clickbait, but there was one very interesting piece of information buried in their review that corroborates exactly what found in my post here on the EOS R3 Noise performance.
I said “RAW files from the Canon EOS R3 and the Canon EOS 1DXMK3 were compared and analysed at 100%, 200%, 400% and 800% magnification side-by-side in Lightroom. Directly comparing the RAW files shows no discernable or appreciable difference in noise between ISO 50 and ISO 51,200. Side by side, it is impossible to pick one from the other in a blind test. At ISO 102,400 the Canon 1DXMK3 has a very slight advantage in grain structure; although it is likely this difference would never be visible in real world photographs. What this demonstrates is that noise levels have more or less plateaued in digital sensors.”
DXO said “The Canon EOS R3 has a strong response in color sensitivity, particularly at low ISOs compared with the Canon EOS-1DX Mark III. Indeed it outperforms the Canon EOS-1DX Mark III throughout the majority of the sensitivity range with the exception being at the manufacturer’s ISO 51,200 and 102,400 settings, where it drops below that camera by 0.4 and 0.3 bits respectively.”
What I find interesting about DXO’s findings is that we do concur on the 1DXMKIII outperforming the R3 (just) at the extremely high ISO of 51,200 and 102,400 (although personally, I can see no appreciable difference at 51,200). DXO call the R3 the winner between ISO 50 and ISO 25,600; but again, in side-by-side comparisons, I can see no difference, and spotting the difference in print is impossible. What all of this points to is that the differences at the top end of sensor design are now so small that comparisons are pretty much meaningless. Either camera will give you outstanding industry-leading results at pretty much any ISO.
DXO’s final conclusion: “… the Canon EOS R3 is certainly a compelling contender for its intended market. Not only does it have excellent dynamic range at key low, mid and high sensitivities, it has the best low light performance of any full-frame camera in our database. This makes the Canon EOS R3 a very attractive option for Canon EOS-1DX Mark III users transitioning over to Canon’s mirrorless RF system and it’s a solid option for any photographers new to the Canon brand.”
Canon has today updated the firmware for the Pro EOS 1DX MK3. Unfortunately, there is still no animal eye detection in the update; although it does include improved head detection as noted below.
Firmware Version 1.6.0 incorporates the following enhancements and fixes:
1. Improves head detection performance to support helmets or goggles in winter sports.
2. Eliminates the center press operation of the multi-controller to prevent accidentally transferring images during FTP transfer.
3. Adds the ability, when the Rating function is assigned to the Protect/Voice memo button, for voice memos to now be recorded by pressing and holding the button.
4. Adds the ability, when using EOS Utility or Browser Remote for remote shooting with two cards inserted, to set the recording method and to select which card to be recorded to.
5. Changes the default value of [Connection option settings], [FTP transfer settings], and [Power saving] to [Disable].
6. Changes the default value of [FTP server] → [Passive mode] to [Enable].
7. Improves operation stability during FTP transfer.
8. Fixes an issue, in which noise occurs along the edges of bright subjects when using Canon Log for movie recording.
Firmware Version 1.6.0 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.5.0. If the camera’s firmware is already Version 1.6.0, it is not necessary to update the firmware.
I have just published Episode #32 of my Wild Nature Photography Podcast. This podcast episode includes first impressions of the Canon EOS R3 Camera.