Canon R3 — First Look

Canon R3

After a long wait I finally got my Canon R3. I’ve used the Canon R5 and R6 for the past two years. Use the “search” feature here to read my reviews of those cameras.

The Canon R3 was advertised as a mirrorless equivalent to the Canon D1X. The D1 line and particularly the D1X have been my preferred camera for over 15 years.

This first review of the Canon R3 is with minimal set-up. I took the camera out of the box and set the following menu items: (1) date and time, (2) copyright, (3) Raw, (4) animal eye focus, (5) AF Servo AF Case 2, and (5) High speed release. That’s it! The bare minimum for this first test run.

There’s a northern mockingbird in this bush. The Canon R3 locked onto the eye and held focus despite all the tangle of brush in front of the bird. No coaxing on my part. The camera did all the work.
Ruby-crowned kinglet is a hyper-active little bird that never sits still. The Canon R3 found the eye and stayed with the bird as long as I could keep the bird in the frame.
Uncropped image of a white-throated sparrow in the brush. The Canon R3 found the eye and stayed with the bird. This is an easy one because the sparrow wasn’t very active. The Canon R3 didn’t get distracted by any of the round leaves nearby as we’ve seen with the R5 or R6.
There weren’t a lot of flying birds during my test run. The wind was blowing hard and erratic. A few black vultures flew across, though. I raised the Canon R3 and the camera immediately found the bird. No hunting or hesitation. The Canon R3 stayed with the bird as long as I could keep it in the frame.

The Canon R3 works like the Canon D1X! I feel that I finally have a D1X back in my hands but with all the bells-and-whistles of a mirrorless camera.

The Canon R3 is a big camera so it has a different feel in the hand. I’ll write about that in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

I’ve been asked to compare noise between the R5 and R3. I’ll do that comparison in another post. Keep watch for that one.

The Canon R3 has Eye Control. This is a new feature where the camera uses my eye to determine where to focus in the frame. Can’t wait to explore that feature!

INITIAL IMPRESSION:

  • The Canon R3 looks and feels like a D1X
  • Minimal set-up is needed to get this camera up and running. Yea!!
  • Precise auto focus that allows us to photograph birds deep in the brush with Animal Eye activated.
  • Birds in flight are tracked on par with the D1X.
  • Exposure Simulation allows us to over or under exposure to get the picture right in the camera. This is expected in today’s mirrorless cameras.

Stay tuned as I work with the Canon R3.

Ask questions below or suggest items that you’d like to see tested. Thanks for reading!

Why Am I Playing With Lights?

Illustration of Additive Color

We learn when we play. We know that from childhood. Kids play and figure out new things. Kids play a game of kickball in the street and learn management skills, communication skills, dexterity, and lots more.

So as a nature photographer, why would I play with colored lights? It’s fun and I might learn something.

There’s this thing in the world called Additive Color. When you shine a colored light on something, the color of the object is altered. You’ve seen this in a stadium watching our favorite band. The different colored spotlights coming from different directions create interesting effects. You’ve seen the same thing at a stage play or opera. Gels are put on the spots to change a scene from dawn to sunset.

We’re taught in grade school that when all the colors are added together we get white. Well, I tried coloring with all the crayons and never got white. That’s because crayons or paint have pigments and subtractive color happens. Mix a lot of colors of paint together and you eventually get black or maybe “yulk.” Pigment doesn’t work the same as light.

Project a blue beam of light over a red beam of light and we get magenta where there’s overlap. Project green beam of light over a red beam of light and we get yellow where there’s overlap. Project that same green beam of light over blue and we get cyan.

Notice that my example uses Red, Green, and Blue. That’s RGB color — one of the choices of a photograph’s color space. You know RGB color from your computer or the back of your camera.

Additive Color is used in portrait photography but not often in nature photography.

Background (Skip ahead if you’re not interested)– I’m a “mentor” to a photography group with some really advanced photographers. There are four “mentors” and we give the photographers assignments at the beginning of the year. That’s 12 total assignments for the year. My January 2022 assignment was “Additive Color.” I didn’t give any explanation or help. Just two words. One of the photographers, James Woody, created a photograph for the assignment of red, green, and blue lights pointing at a crystal ball. You might know that I love crystal ball photography so I had to try my hand at recreating James’s photo.

This is the photo James Woody created.
My photo of a crystal ball with
red light from the left, green light in the middle, and blue light on the right.
Just the blue and green lights.
Notice the flaw from the crystal ball in the left shadow.
Different camera angle.
Another camera angle.

Thanks to James Woody for the inspiration for these photos. Visit James’ website to get some inspiration of your own. www.jrwoodyphotography.com

Camera Equipment Insurance

In Costa Rica, I think you mentioned something about “camera insurance”. Can you please let me know if I should and where I should get insurance for my camera gear?

Darla

I’m a member of North American Nature Photography Association.  That organization offers equipment insurance through Rand Insurance.  The people at Rand are super easy to work with.  I’ve really liked my dealings with them.  I filed a claim once and had my replacement money in a couple of days.  The folks at Rand knew exactly what lens I was talking about and no need to explain its value. 

NANPA also offers travel insurance and health insurance. Lots of other member benefits including vendor discounts, field trips, webinars, online meetings, and much more. Being part of the organization is well worth your investment.

Photographing Birds with Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM

One of my participants, Mark Doing, on the November photo tour to Costa Rica asked if I’d like to use his Canon RF 800mm f/11 lens. This is a relatively new lens in the Canon RF line-up so I jumped at the chance.

Baltimore oriole photographed with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Uncropped

Above shows an image taken with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.

Above is a comparison of an image photographed at the same time with the higher priced Canon RF 100-500mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.

Canon advertises this lens as its “first compact and lightweight 800mm super telephoto lens in the RF lineup.” The lens has image stabilization that provides up “to 4 stops of shake correction” for nice hand-held images. The lens also takes the RF 1.4x teleconverter. That would be 1120mm!

The lens does not focus close like the RF 100-500mm. It only focuses to 19.69ft, which is pretty far away.

The lens is 13.85-inches long with the lens hood. Yet, it only weighs 2.77-pounds. Cost $899.

As a comparison, the RF 100-500mm lens focuses to 3.94-feet, extends to 11.71-inches, and weighs 3-pounds. Cost $2799.

I’d love to work with this lens for a longer time. My short experience with it, though, tells me that this is a quality lens. The price is nice, too.

Bokeh between the Canon RF 800mm and the Canon RF 100-500mm? Look below. Pretty sweet with both lenses.

Have you used the Canon RF 800mm? Opinion and comments below would be nice. Thanks for reading.

Firmware Updates: Easy but Tricky

Years ago I remember my friend Nolan Braud telling me that updating the camera’s firmware was not as easy as it seemed. Nolan wrote instructions and it still wasn’t easy.

Today I updated my firmware and remembered Nolan’s words. Yep! It’s still not easy. Here are some instructions that might help.

Go to your camera’s website and navigate to the firmware page. Canon lists firmware on the page for each piece of equipment. Click “download” when you find the firmware. Then open your computer’s download site and double-click on the firmware package to open it.

On our computer, double-click on the firmware download and you get two files like you see above. The RF029110.afu is the firmware update for my lens. The “update-procedure-pdf” folder contains instructions in various languages.
Plug a card reader into your computer. Put a SD card into the card reader. Copy that .afu file to the SD card. Eject the card reader and put the card in your camera.

Glitch #1 — I found the .afu file would not copy to a CFExpress card. The .afu file copies without any problem to a SD card.

Glitch #2 — the card needs to be formatted for your camera. It doesn’t matter if there are pictures on the card. The card doesn’t need to be empty.

Put the card containing the firmware into your camera. Navigate to the Firmware screen. Click OK or Set or tap to open that menu item.
If all is going well, you’ll see the firmware files on the card. Select the one you want to use.
The camera shows that 1.0.8 is currently in use and we’re moving to 1.1.0. Click OK. (FYI, I’m updating the lens firmware in the photo above.)
Then you get a screen showing that the firmware is updating. Don’t push any buttons at this point. Let the camera do its work.
Be patient. Let the camera work.
Be patient. The process takes four or five minutes at max.
You see this screen when the process is finished.

Instructions from Canon say to update firmware for the camera with no lens on the camera body. I put a body cap on the camera body during this process.

Instructions from Canon say to update the firmware for the LENS with the lens attached. That’s what’s showing in the illustrations for this post.

Was it easy to update your firmware? Problems or tricky situations with other camera brands? Post below. I’d love to hear from you.

This is a screen capture to illustrate Mark’s comment below. Mark wrote that the download file “mounted like a drive” when double-clicked. You’ll see in the photo (above) that the file does look like a mounted hard drive. Slightly different icon on my Mac but similar to the G external drive below in the photo.

Adobe 2022 Updates for Lightroom and Photoshop Users

October 2022 gave us the annual grande-sized upgrade to our Adobe products. When I logged on to my Adobe Cloud and clicked the Update tab on the left, I saw that my Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, and Lightroom all had updates.

The annual updates are historically big. Adobe sends the little stuff throughout the year and then WHAM! we get hit with the big stuff in October.

Warning! Update when you have time to review the changes. I wouldn’t suggest you push the Update tab when you have a big photo deadline looming. Things you use everyday might get moved, renamed, or combined. Yet, we also get some great new tools.

Here are the big things I really like in the 2022 Update

Bridge has a Workflow tab at the top. You can save workflows that you do on a regular basis. For example, your camera club wants monthly submissions at a specific ppi and size on the longest side of the photo. You can now do that workflow once and save it as a preset. Learn how to build a workflow by clicking the Learn More tab at the bottom of the Workflow screen. Or click this Workflow Builder tutorial from Adobe.

Bridge users who’ve attended my classes might notice that Bridge looks a bit different the first time you open it. Don’t freak out! Click the “Workspace 1” tab at the top. That’s the workspace I helped you build and it’s still there.

Adobe Camera Raw has changes too! Double-click a RAW file in Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw opens automatically. (Readers learned how to do this in my classes and via my YouTube videos.)

Lightroom’s Develop Module and Adobe Camera Raw do the same things so I’ll introduce all the new features together.

Masking has combined the old adjustment brush, radial filter, and graduated filter.

The tools behind this tab are HUGE! You can now click Select Subject and the software creates a mask around the subject. It does a pretty good job, too. Hover your cursor over the subject and you’ll see sliders on the right. Now you can process just for the subject.

Click Select Sky and the sky is selected. Hover your cursor over the sky and sliders appear. Now you can process just the sky.

Play around and you’ll see that you can enlarge, shrink, or fine-tune the mask.

Luminance Range allows you to only select a luminance range. Color Range allows you to select just certain colors. Then you can adjust that color only. Anyone for a bit more yellow in autumn leaves? A bit more turquoise in a cormorant’s eye?

Want to only adjust the shadows to change their tone? Here’s your way to do it.

Lightroom Users! This is a game changer for you. You now have layers.

Layers Resisters! This is a way for you to start using layers without having to really know all the technicals of Photoshop layers.

Adobe offers a great tutorial when you click on the Masking icon the first time. Read the instructions — they are super simple — and learn how to use this great new too.

Photoshop has some great new tools, too.

The toolbar now has Object Selection Tool. Click the icon and then watch the little circular arrows at the top. When the arrows stop turning, you know the software has selected an object. Nudge the software along if nothing happens by clicking on one of the subjects in the photo.

Once an object is selected, click the Adjustments palette on the right. Choose one type of Adjustment and a layer mask appears. (If you don’t see either of these, click Windows and be sure Layer is checked.) Those of you who know layers will find yourself right at home at this stage.

Another new thing is called Harmonization. Sometimes when we work with different photos in layers, we get colors that don’t really go together. This is especially true when we’re working with Textures.

This is a good example of two photos stacked into a layer that aren’t exactly in color harmony.

Harmonization to the Rescue!

Click Filters>Neural Filters>Harmonization. A new pop-out panel will appear. (Click the download button to download the filter the first time.)

Wait, wait, wait!!! The process bar at the bottom of the photo shows you the software is working.

Notice the tiny blue bar under the big photo. The software is still working so be patient.

Once Harmonization is finished working, you can use the sliders to fine tune the color harmony. Click OK and a new layer is created in your layer stack. Now you can go in the layer masks, use black or white brushes, and clean-up the image.

Landscape Mixer is another interesting Neural Filter. Open a landscape photo in Photoshop. Click Filter>Neural Filters>Landscape Mixer. The Landscape Mixer shows up. (Click the Download button to get the filter the first time.)

Open an image in Photoshop, click Filter>Neural Filters>Landscape Mixer to get this screen.

Notice you have sliders for Sunset, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. I’ll move the Winter slider almost all the way to the right. Wait, wait, wait and watch the blue bar move slowly along its path.

The end product is Casa Grande in Big Bend National Park in the snow at twilight! The trees are green but that’s a minor problem. Notice that there are other option to choose from. I’ve given an extreme example but I can see how this tool might be useful to some photographers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview. Adobe has given us some nice new tools. The tutorials provided by Adobe are simple and easy to understand. Update your software when you have some time to play. We’ve got a lot of new toys tools.

Comments? Did I miss any new features that you like? Post below.

Canon R5 Menu Settings

Several readers have recently bought a Canon R5. Here are my menu settings:

Camera 1

  • Image quality RAW
  • Dual Pixel RAW disable
  • Cropping/aspect ratio FULL

Camera 2

  • Expo.Comp in the middle
  • ISO speed settings100-102400
  • HDR PQ settings OFF
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer Standard
  • Highlight tone priority OFF
  • Anti-flicker shoot Disabled
  • External Speedlight control – I don’t mess with this one

Camera 3

  • White balance AWB
  • Custom White Balance – I don’t mess with this one
  • WB Shift – I don’t mess with this one
  • Color Space – Adobe RGB
  • Picture Style – Standard with a bit of saturation added
  • Clarity – 0
  • Lens aberration correction
    • Peripheral illum corr ON
    • Distortion correction OFF
    • Digital Lens Optimizer – Standard

Camera 4

  • Long exp. Noise reduction OFF
  • High ISO speed NR – Standard
  • Dust Delete Data – haven’t used

Camera 5

  • Multiple exposure – Disabled until I need it
  • HDR Mode OFF – until I need it
  • Focus Bracketing – Disabled until I need it

Camera 6

  • Interval timer – disable
  • Blub timer – Disabled
  • Shutter mode – Elec 1st curtain
  • Release shutter without card – OFF

Camera 7

  • Touch Shutter – Enable
  • Image Review – 2 sec
  • High Speed Display — OFF
  • Metering timer – 8 sec
  • Expo simulation – Enable
  • Shotting info dis – set what I like

Camera 8

  • Viewfinder Display – Display 1
  • Disp Performance – Smooth

Auto Focus 1

  • AF operation – Serve AF
  • AF method – this changes with how you have the focus method set
  • Subject to detect – Animals
  • Eye detection – Enabled
    • Only shows if AF method is set to Eye Detect
  • Continuous AF – Disable
  • Movie Servo AF – Enable
  • Touch & drag AF settings

Auto Focus 2

  • MF peaking settings
    • Peaking ON (When you’re in MF there’s a little guide to help)
    • Level HIGH
    • Color RED
  • Focus guide – off
  • AF-assist beam firing — off

Auto Focus 3

  • Case 1 – Versatile multi purpose
  • Case 2 – Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles.
  • Case 3 – Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points
    • Canon Professional Services suggests Case 3 or 4 for moving objects or birds in flight
  • Case 4 – For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly

Auto Focus 4

  • Lens electronic MF – Off
  • One-shot AF release prior. – set at Focus
  • Switching Tracked Subjects – 0 or initial priority
  • Lens drive when AF impossible – On
  • Limit AF methods – all mine are active
  • AF method selection control – main dial
  • Orientation linked AF point – Same for both vert/horiz

Auto Focus 5

  • Initial Servo AF pt for – AF pt set for AF point
  • Focus ring rotation – no change
  • RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity – no change
  • Sensitivity AF pt select – 0
  • Electronic full-time MF — Off

Export with Resize in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw

My photography students and photo friends frequently ask me how to resize a photograph. It’s super easy in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw.

Why would you need to resize a photograph?

  • A teacher like me asks that you submit homework at a particular size and ppi. (PPI is pixels per inch).
  • A photo contest needs the images to be a particular size.
  • Your camera clubs asks that photo be submitted a certain size.
  • You want to email a photo to someone but the photo out of the camera is too big.
  • You’re building a Powerpoint or Keynote program and a lot of images to be resized so they project well.
  • Photos on your website need to be a particular size.

From Lightroom Library, right click on the image or images, and select Export.

Step #1 select the destination folder, Step #2 select jpeg or tiff, Step #3 select Image Sizing, Step #4 select Export. (Continue reading for tips on Image Sizing.)

In Bridge, select the photo or photos to export (or save), right-click to open in Adobe Camera Raw. Once in Adobe Camera Raw, select the image(s) and select the tiny “save” icon. You’ll see that when you hover your mouse over one photo.

Step #1 select the destination folder, Step #2 select jpeg or tiff, Step #3 select Image Sizing, Step #4 select Save.
This is the tiny Save icon

What size photo do you need?

  • Powerpoint or Keynote images look best when resized to 1280 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch resolution in jpg
  • Facebook same
  • Email same
  • Instagram likes 500 pixels square at 96 pixels/inch in jpg
  • Printing? Use the sizes recommended by your printer or printing company. You might need a tiff so do some research.
  • Webpage photos vary but jpgs at 800 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch show well and don’t take too long to load

Short lesson that I hope answers some of your questions. Comments welcome below.

Stealing a Photo: Texas Supreme Court Says It’s Okay

It was just a small article in the June 18th Houston Chronicle. Texas Supreme Court ruled that it was okay for The University of Houston to use Jim Olive‘s photograph of downtown Houston without permission.

Read Gabrielee Banks article for yourself.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the University of Houston is protected by “sovereign immunity.” This well-respected university that is charged with teaching our young people is allowed to use something without permission due to “sovereign immunity.”

I’ve followed Jim Olive‘s case since it began back in 2014. It’s made my blood boil and my heart race since day one. As photographers we do everything we can to protect our photos from unauthorized use. We embed metadata, we disable right clicks on our websites, we even pay companies to troll the internet looking for unauthorized use.

Yet, a person or persons affiliated with “Houston’s Public Tier One University” really did right click or screen capture one of Jim’s photos. Then they used it to advertise the Bauer College of Business where “together, we rise together, we soar”.

I suspect those student at Bauer have to take a class in ethics. Years ago I taught an ethics class to freshmen business students at Lone Star College. One of my favorite chapters introduced the concept that something might be legal but its not RIGHT.

Let me give you two examples: In the 1800s slavery was legal in the US but slavery wasn’t right. Before the 1970s, women in the US could be fired from their job because they were pregnant.

It’s Legal but it Ain’t Right published by The University of Michigan Press

Well, It’s Not Illegal! published by the University of Central Florida News

Olive sent the University of Houston a cease-and-desist letter when he found out his photo was being used without his authorization. The university took his photo down from their site. Olive invoiced them for the use . . . and the university essentially said “sue me” versus acknowledging their error and making it RIGHT.

It boils my blood even more that the University of Houston was willing to pay a team of lawyers to defend their stand versus admit they were wrong and pay Jim invoice. I wonder how much the UofH has spent to fight Jim’s claim?

Fellow Photographers: We should all be outraged! Our work is our work. That applies if we are a high-level professional like Jim Olive or a beginning photographer posting our photos on Facebook. Our photos are our property.

Please spread the word about this issue. Share it on social media, at your camera clubs, and in your newsletters. As photographer we should be outraged.

Write a letter to the University of Houston and let them know you disapprove.

Let Dr. Khator and Dr. Pavlou know your thoughts on this issue. I’ve written both to let them know my disapproval.

Maybe you’d like to let the Board of Regents of the University of Houston know your thoughts as well. (Notice they have their Code of Ethics posted on that website.).

I’ve been a professional photographer for the past 26 years. Client pay to use my photos in magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, and websites. Professional editors, graphic designers, book publishers and creatives all know that you have to get permission to use a photograph and there will be a fee involved. That’s the way the business works. Except if you’re the University of Houston.

Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting me in this issue. Jim Olive needs to know the photography community is behind him and his cause.

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