Canon 5D Mark III Firmware 1.2.3

I just received the following e-mail from Canon USA, regarding a new firmware update for the 5D Mark III: This service notification e-mail contains important information about your EOS 5D Mark III. Please note that product service announcement e-mails contain advisory or informational content that may be critical to the proper operation of your product, including safety, update, and instructional messages. Please carefully review the information in this e-mail as it relates to your Canon product.

Thank you for using Canon products.

Canon has released a firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark III.

Firmware Firmware Version 1.2.3 incorporates the following improvements and fixes:

  1. Fixes a phenomenon in which the flash may not fire depending on the timing of when the shutter button is pressed.
  2. Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF microadjustment value may change.*
  3. Fixes a phenomenon in which the LCD monitor may show a line of false color along boundaries of high contrast.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which the histogram of a LiveView image is incorrectly displayed when an HDMI cable is connected.
  5. Enables the brightness of the camera's LCD monitor to be adjusted even when an HDMI cable is connected.* The phenomenon listed in 2 was addressed with Firmware Version 1.2.1, and has been further improved with Firmware Version 1.2.3.

Firmware Version 1.2.3 is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.2.1. If the camera's firmware is already Version 1.2.3, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

When updating the firmware of your camera, please first review the instructions thoroughly before you download the firmware.

The new Firmware Version 1.2.3 can be downloaded by clicking here.

Eye-Fi X2 Pro 8GB Quick Review

So last night, I decided to try something new. I picked up an [amazon_link id="B002UT42UI" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Eye-Fi X2 Pro (8GB)[/amazon_link] from Best Buy on my way to an arcade/video-game event that my company puts on every week, "Wednesday Night Fights". The intent here was to "live shoot" the event with my 5D Mark III, since the new camera now sports an SD slot. Wireless transfer is nothing new, really, with things like wireless file transmitter grips for cameras having been around for a while (they're expensive, and usually used in-studio for tethered shooting) -- aside from the price, the thing that attracted me to the eye-fi was its integration with social media and all of the major hosting services. Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are a big part of our social media strategy. In this day and age, with social media and photojournalism, expedited shipping (amazon prime, anyone?), people have become accustomed to instant gratification, and so, time-to-market is a huge factor. Uploading photos weeks after an event is often not acceptable and sometimes irrelevant, or not of interest to the viewers anymore.

With the Eye-Fi, I could shoot the event photos directly to our Facebook or Flickr page. I wouldn't be able to process them, but I often don't do much to my event photos, anyhow. So, straight from the camera to the viewer. Nice.

The setup was fairly easy; requiring just some software installation on my MacBook Air. Once I plugged the card in and started up the software and updated the firmware, I just added the wireless network, configured and authorized the card to send my photos to flickr, threw the card in the camera, and off I went. Pretty simple. There _are_ some advanced options, but I have not explored those yet, since I literally purchased the card right before the event. I understand that there are "selective" modes where you can selectively send photos to your sharing services, instead of having _all_ of the photos uploaded. This could be good for longer events, or volume shooters. You can also send the photos directly to your phone (iPhone, Android) or tablet (iPad) in the absence of a wifi network using "Direct Mode" -- essentially an ad-hoc wifi network.

Since the event I was shooting was being live-streamed, I had to take into consideration bandwidth, so i shot "S2" JPEGs (2.5MP image dimensions) to the eye-fi, to save bandwidth and speed up transfer/upload. This worked pretty well, but the network and photo transfers were still pretty slow. I've been reading that people get very fast transfers even when shooting small JEPGs (5.5MP image dimensions) so I'm not sure if this was a result of the network, or the card itself (my laptop and the camera both had a strong wifi signal). I havent done any additional testing yet, so I hope to have an update regarding transfer speed soon.

Overall, the eye-fi card is a pretty cool gadget, and worth the purchase price if it's something you think you might use, or even play with on occasion. At worst, it's an expensive 4GB or 8GB SD card. It's a little slow, rated as a "Class 6" (6MB/s)  card, so don't expect to be shooting video, large files or long sequences with it.

The Basic "4GB X2 Connect" model goes for about $39-49, and the "8GB X2 Pro" model goes for about $99 and adds geotagging and RAW support (though personally, I wouldnt try to shoot RAW files over wifi). The lower-end models are upgradeable to use wifi Geotagging (the same way it works with the "X2 Pro" -- Not that it's not true GPS geotagging. It uses registered Wi-Fi access points to triangulate/guesstimate the location for the photos) for $29 on their website.

Now, on to some photos!


SOLD: PocketWizard Mini TT1 Transmitter (Canon)

Hey guys, I've decided to sell off one of my [amazon_link id="B001TAPOQ0" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]PocketWizard Mini TT1[/amazon_link] transmitters. I'm only selling because this is a second one that I don't necessarily need. I already have 4 TT5's and 4 MC2's for my Einstein strobes. Originally I purchased it because I often shoot events with 2 bodies and did not want to keep switching the transmitter from body to body when shooting. Since I rarely use all of my pocketwizards all at the same time, I've found that I'm fine with just using one of my TT5's (they're transceivers) -- I purchased the second TT1 because I thought the size of the TT5 would be cumbersome, but it's not too bad. If you're unfamiliar with the differences between the TT1 and their other products (MultiMax, PlusII, PlusIII), I suggest you read up on it, but i'll summarize the major points of interest from their site below:

  • ControlTL. The new PocketWizard ControlTL™ System interprets the complex E-TTL II data being sent through the camera’s hot shoe and digitally transmits it in a reliable radio signal. Change the flash compensation dial on the camera, and those commands pass seamlessly through the system to your remote flash.  Adjust your aperture or ISO and the system corrects for those changes. Add the [amazon_link id="B003YFITC4" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]PocketWizard AC3 ZoneController[/amazon_link] to easily adjust up to three zones of light independently, in both E-TTL II or manual, with six stops of power adjustment.
  • HyperSync. HyperSync Automation Technology that allows camera sync well above your standard x-sync limitation with full power flash.   HyperSync Automation automatically adjust the timing of your flash trigger so that faster than X-sync speeds can be achieved.  With certain Canon camera and flash combinations you can achieve sync all the way to 1/8000th of a second.  Just imagine what you can do using flash in bright sun with wide open apertures and fast shutter speeds.  Since HyperSync is a trigger function you can use any PocketWizard Receiver including the FlexTT5, PlusII, PlusIII or MultiMAX.
  •  FP/High-Speed Sync. Shoot at any shutter speed with compatible E-TTLII flashes.  With radio wireless, how you can use this amazing feature in bright daylight automatically.  No buttons to press or settings to change other than your shutter speed will give you flash sync all the way to 1/8000th.

Foll info on the PocketWizard page here.

$150. Less than a year old, I'm the original owner, and it's in great shape. However, I do not have the box, CDs, or manual for it. The manual and software can easily be downloaded and printed off of the PocketWizard site, which I will do for the buyer.



Bryan's Gear-stravaganza Photo Gear Sale!

Out with the "old" and in with the new! So I recently updated/upgraded a ton of my gear, and I'm taking this opportunity to pass it on to you guys at some reasonable prices. Check out all the stuff I'm selling at the moment:

If you're interested in purchasing any of this stuff, shoot me an e-mail at bryan [at] Thanks!

For those interested in local pickup, I'm located in Riverside, CA. Now, on to the items!

Crumpler 8MDH "8 Million Dollar Home" Shoulder Bag - Brown/Orange, Blue insides, comes with all velcro dividers. No stains, tears or rips. Bought around Feb/March last year at the Crumpler store in San Francisco. I have all inserts, bag, dust bag and receipt!

$120 (+ shipping, if you aren't local)


Canon 5D (AKA "5D Mark I" or "5D Classic") 12.8MP Full-Frame DSLR - Comes with 4 batteries, original charger, Canon Original BG-E4 Battery grip, strap, cables (AV and USB) and manuals. I am the second owner. I purchased it from its original owner in May 2011, and had the Mirror box fix and sensor cleaning done by Canon Irvine in July 2011.  The 5D is still a very capable camera; in fact it fares favorably against the much younger (2 generations newer) 7D in High ISO situations (as you'll see in my tests here.) There is some dust or something stuck on the prism (I haven't attempted to clean it yet) -- it has NO effect whatsoever on the photos the camera takes. 5D Tech specs are here: Canon 5D Tech Specs.

The only minor blemish is the small crack on the BG-E4 battery grip (highlighted in the photos below), but this does not at all affect functionality.

WILL TRADE FOR: PCB Einstein640 + cash on your end.

$800 (+ shipping, if you aren't local)

UPDATE, 6/18/2012: Canon 5D SOLD!


more images in a small gallery here:

2x Calumet/Bowens Travelite 750 (750 w/s strobe) - I'm selling my old studio strobes since I'm moving to the PCB Einsteins for location work. I highly recommend these strobes for studio, or even some location work. These things are tanks! The body and housing are completely metal and the swivel bracket/tilt arm are also metal and VERY strong -- it holds up my 80" octabank up without a hitch (You will need to use a C-stand, though!) The strobes are great outdoors and can overpower the sun when needed, but go down low enough to use indoors in your studio. I have only used them on-location 3 times that I can remember. The rest of their use has been in my home studio for portraiture. For those interested in portraiture and worried about color temp shift throughout the power range, you'll be happy to know that the color shift over its 6 f-stop range from 1/32 power all the way up to full power is only ±300K. Also, If you plan on using these on-location, I have used them for the last year or so without issue on a Paul C. Buff Vagabond II.


I just replaced the modeling lamps on all of them (powerful 250w modeling lamps - $30 each from calumet), and the flash tubes were all replaced ($140 each) when I bought these used from their original owner just about 18 months ago, so they're like new and well taken care of. Each unit includes modeling light, flash tube, protective dome for transport, and 3-prong power cord.

These lights use the bowens-mount for accessories/modifiers. Tech specs/manual for these are here: Calumet Travelite 750 Manual.


$260 each (+ shipping, if you aren't local) 

UPDATE, 5/10/2012: I've sold one of the lights. Still have two more available!

UPDATE, 5/24/2012: All 3 Lights, softbox and reflector are SOLD!

More photos in a gallery here:

 Interfit EXD200 400 w/s 2-head strobe kit - These were my first strobes; the kit is just about 2 years old -- These monolights are powerful and light enough for fill flash on-location when your speedlights just aren't enough (though you will need a power pack such as a Paul C. Buff Vagabond or Vagabond Mini Lithium), and they still have plenty of power for use in indoor studio work (easily achieves f/11-f/16 for indoor portraits). Interfits use the elinchrom bayonet-style mount (they're essentially re-branded elinchrom units.) As a result, the performance with regard to color shift across it's 4 f-stop range (adjustable in 1/10th of an f-stop) is only ±200K ! These are a great way to get started with studio lighting. My set comes with 2 light stands, 2 200 w/s Interfit heads, modeling lamps, plastic transport covers, 2 24" softboxes, 1 silver umbrella, and a carrying case. Interfit EXD200 specs here: Interfit EXD200 Tech Specs.

$350 for the whole shebang - local preferred.

More images, in a gallery here:

SOLD! Bowens/Calumet 6" Umbrella Reflector - Because the travelites do not have umbrella holders/mounts on the body itself, if you plan on using an umbrella or something like a Paul C Buff PLM on a Travelite, you'll need one of these! I barely use umbrellas anymore so this actually has never been used.

$25 (+ shipping, if you aren't local)

I think that's about it for now, stay tuned for more stuff!