Review: GoPro Hero 11 Black

If you line up a GoPro 9, 10 and 11 side by side, I challenge anyone to see an immediate difference, because as far as I can tell, there isn’t one.

Resolution and Other Techie Stuff

But under the bonnet, things are very different. The biggest single change is the new sensor which has grown in size to 1/1.9 inches and now has available an 8:7 aspect ratio for shooting, and ups the ante for resolution increasing to 27.13MP up from 23MP.

Now of course this aspect ratio means you can shoot almost square still images in high resolution, but there is another bigger benefit if you are a TikTok’er YouTube’er or Instagram’er. If you shoot video at 8:7, you have the option to crop in editing to 1:1, 4:3, 16:9 or even 9:16 for these platforms. If you use the GoPro Quik app, these presets are already there (assuming you don’t mind smartphone editing of course). It also means you can shoot stabilised 4:3 video with a Superview (GoPro’s widest lens setting).

Another change is you can now shoot 5.3K and 4K at 120Mbps bit rate, an increase of 20% over the Hero 10.

And with the Hero 11, GoPro has opted to go the 10bit colour rate for the very first time. If that is pure gobbledygook to you it simply relates to the number of colours the camera can record, in this case it is 1billion, up from the 16.7 million of the Hero 10.

This means that in shots of the sky with a brilliant sunset say, the gradient between the colours will be considerably smoother and colour definition overall much better.


Also scoring a makeover is GoPro’s already impressive stabilisation I mentioned earlier. There is a new mode they call AutoBoost which basically means the camera has ‘smarts’ and can detect any shake automatically and switch on the Hypersmooth system.

Shot on GoPro Hero 11 Black in  Supervidei 2.7K Handheld

In conjunction with the stabilisation, like the Hero 10, the Hero 11 has a horizon lock system which basically means as the camera is taken off the horizontal plane (tilted) it will keep the horizon straight in the image. The Hero 10 allowed this up to 27° but the 11 covers a full 360° which means there is a hell of a lot of image processing going on in that sensor which is very impressive indeed.

The other big difference here is that the Hero 11 does all this out of the box whereas the Hero 10 needs the Max Lens Mod.

There is a minor limitation though, in that the maximum frame rate / aspect ratio pair when running at 5.3K is 30fps and 16:9. If you need a faster frame rate, you need to drop the resolution to 4K.

Showing the Horizon Lock

New Imaging Modes

There are three new imaging modes built in: Light Painting, Vehicle Light Trails and Star Trails.

An example of Light Painting is being in a dark room and waving a torch about. The camera shutter will stay open, and the Hero 11 creates a short video clip giving the impression of electronic brush strokes created by the light. Vehicle Lights Trails are similar but used to create the same thing from the lights of moving vehicles. Finally, Star Trails creates star lines caused by an open shutter and the rotation of the Earth.


Sometime back GoPro launched the Enduro battery as an option, but now it ships with the Hero 11. This is said to give you up to 80 minutes of shooting time. GoPro says the Enduro is more efficient when the camera is in “idle” mode.

The Enduro battery is also said to be more efficient in extreme cold.


If you are one of those that just want the minimum off fuss to get your stills or video, the Hero 11 now has two modes, Easy Mode and Pro Mode.

Easy Mode simply gives you less options to choose from, letting you basically point and shoot. If you switch to Pro Mode, you get access to all functions and settings of the camera to tweak and experiment to your heart’s content.

The Downside

All these new features are of course very welcome, but there a few things most users wish GoPro would address. The biggest of these by reading through various Facebook Groups is an overheating issue which many say has been a curse since the GoPro Hero 8. I have an 8, 9 and 10 and have never had this issue personally. A number of observers have suggested a lot of people have every function turned in the camera – many of them superfluous to the current operation – and this will not only cause overheating but also minimise battery life, so this is worth checking.

Another solution, and one I often employ, is to remove the battery altogether and use a PowerBank connected via the USB-C. The drawback to this is of course you’ll lose the full portability, but if you have a GoPro mounted on a car, boat, trailbike etc it is a worthwhile option. You need to remove the battery door, sure, but GoPro do also sell a “pass through” door for this very purpose.

The second gripe is the low light usability. There was hope the larger sensor might have knocked this issue on the head but sadly not. Again of course GoPro do make an add on option, the Light Mod, but this needs a shoe to sit in. The easiest way to get this is via the Media Mod (which I have on my 9 and 10 permanently). Why? Because I prefer to have external audio from a Sennheiser MKE200 as against the on-board mics or the mic in the m Media Mod.

I can also use the Hollyland Lark C1 if the situation calls for wireless mic capability.


The GoPro Hero 11 retails at $549.98, but much to many dealer’s chagrin I’d venture, you can buy through the GoPro online store with a “subscription” and save $200.

The subscription model offers a few extras, the most notable being automatic Unlimited Cloud Storage. Also included is the GoPro Quik app getting some extra features such as the Speed Tool for slo-mo effects, filters for snow and water and some themes and original music to add to your videos.

You also get offered discounts on GoPro accessories purchased from the site.


The GoPro is without question the de-facto “standard” in action cameras. I wrote a few years back that many others – Nikon, Canon, Sony included – tried to muscle in on the market but none really took off (despite the Sony offerings being very, very good).

DJI is still hanging in there of course, although with the Action 2, I feel they went slightly off the rails and thus brought out the Action 3 which is more conformist, and is in some ways, I think, superior to the GoPro.

But if it’s an action camera you want, then the Hero 11 has all the things you need with the caveat of the low light and potential overheating issues.

But I have to say at this point, a GoPro is not designed as a “Swiss Knife” camera. There are some things it is just not designed for. I have seen users ask questions about using the GoPro for wedding photography for example …

I suggest a good maxim is the one used by a popular outdoor store. The GoPro is for “BCF-ing fun!”

You can get more information from the GoPro website at

Review: Canon PowerShot Pick

The Canon PowerShot Pick is an interesting beast. I’m not quite sure if I know what it is exactly, and I think it may have a bit of an identity crisis too.

Is it a webcam? Or is it a security camera? Or is it a security camera masquerading as a webcam. Or indeed, vice versa.

Let me try and explain.

The PowerShot Pick is one of the new breeds of what are PTZ cameras. This means instead of having a fixed lens, the lens mechanism in these units can pan, tilt and zoom which gives a hell of a lot more flexibility as you can imagine. This is why they are in demand as security cameras.

But they are also infiltrating into the broadcast space. It is much easier for a director with a console operator running say, 6 PTZ cameras to get the action at a large music concert for example, than having to direct 6 separate cameras on dollies or booms etc.

(I bet the director of the PULSE concert by Pink Floyd in the 90s that I posted last week would have killed to get some PTZs back then).

So, why not combine these tow uses – security and broadcast – and scale it down a bit, and you have a pretty funky, albeit at almost $500 a pretty expensive – webcam?

Throw a few party tricks in such as voice control and wi-fi connectivity to your PC (via a dedicated app) to make the PowerShot Pick act as a webcam and on the surface, you have a versatile little beast yes?.

On the technical side, it also has automatic tracking complete with image stabilization to keep you in the frame. It uses auto-subject searching based on face recognition and is even smart enough to adjust the composition automatically. If the PowerShot Pick is connected to your smartphone (yep, another app) you can use touch tracking too.


The PowerShot Pick is about the size of a small pepper pot, and the one I received was black, but you can apparently get it in white as well. I reckon Canon would make some extra sales if they brought out a Dalek version with skins you could change.

The ports are covered by waterproof seals and there is one for USB-C for charging / data transfer and a second for the mini-SD card. Two buttons are also on the body, one being power on / off and the other wireless on / off.

The top half of the body is the rotating lens mechanism.

Technical Stuff

The image sensor in the PowerShot Pick is a 1 /2.3” CMOS type with 11.7 effective megapixels. The aperture can vary between f/2.8 to f/5.0.

In the PTZ area, the PowerShot Pick can Pan through 340°, Tilt 110° (from -20° to +90° and Zoom optically zoom at 3x and digitally to 4x.

Recording is to 1920 x 1080 HD at a choice of 23.98, 29.97 or 59.94 fps in 16:9 resolution.

The focal length (in 35mm equivalent) is 19 – 57mm.

There is a built-in stereo microphone, as mentioned, both wi-fi and Bluetooth is supported.

Finally, the PowerShot Pick weighs in at 170g and dimensionally is 56.4 x 81.9mm.

In The Real World

The first thing you need to do out of the box is charge the PowerShot Pick. This had me tricked for a minute as surely no, Canon would not make something without an indicator light? It turns out there is one, but it is easily hidden by the rubber waterproof flap when you open the port. While charging it flashed orange and is on constantly when full.

Next, I downloaded the app for my Samsung smartphone. Pairing is via Bluetooth and on the surface should be a simple operation; power on the camera (it gives little R2D2 whistles and beeps when you do – very un-Dalek like) and then you press the Bluetooth pairing button.

In the perfect world, this should then pair within a few seconds, ask for confirmation, and then away you go. In my case though, this camera had been used before and needed to be un-paired from the previous camera.

Thankfully, although it took a few attempts, it is not a hard process, and not like it would be if this was a real security camera where that has to be manufactured instigated in most cases.

Once you are paired, you can page through a few screens on the smartphone where you are told about some of the party tricks of the PowerShot Pick such as the auto detect and voice commands, remote shooting and viewing and auto registering people.

Then you are ready set the PowerShot Pick up to your requirements.

The Smartphone App

The first option of the smartphone app is Camera and from here you can choose whether you want to capture a still or a video. A single camera icon triggers the camera to shoot.

 Additionally by using the on-screen controls you can pan, zoom and use the tracking option. By using your finger on the image, you can also control the lens direction.  At top left is a small icon for aperture control letting choose the exposure.  This is more akin to using an ISO control I found, with the image getting visibly brighter or darker as you wind the value up or down.

The next screen is for playback. Thumbnails of images shot are displayed and touching one will open it up for viewing (still) or playback (video). You can download any video or still from the camera to the smartphone with a single button press, with the option of choosing which folder to save to.

You can also tag images with a star icon to mark importance or whatever you want the tag to act as I guess. Deleing files is an option from here too.

The next page is the Settings page where a whole bunch of options awaits. These range from Shooting modes to Basic Camera Settings, Network Settings, Webcam Settings and a list of allowed Voice Commands which in reality are a little limited if you compare for example to a GoPro or DJI Action Camera, restricted to Snap A Picture, Record a Video, Auto Off or Find Others.

I did lose the Bluetooth connection a few times even though the phone was right next to the camera, and when this happens, the app locks up for a few seconds which is a bit disconcerting, before doing a search and reconnecting.

I also noticed that using the app to pan, tilt and zoom had the occasional lag, especially if it had been left alone for a while. Once the camera it “realised” it was under manual control however, it was very responsive.

Registering People

You can register up to 12 people to the camera. More on this in a second.

At this point I heartily recommend downloading the PDF manual from On its website, Canon has a walkthrough of the features and functions of the PowerShot Pick with ‘how to’s’ on each, but for me, it was a little disjointed, not letting me quickly cross reference subjects.

For example, until I got the PDF, the functionality of registering people had me a little confused.

Basically registering a person makes the PowerShot Pick shoot them when they come in range. You can set a priority level so they will be shot more often. For example, if you have a person 21st birthday party out of all the people you have registered (family, friends) you might select the birthday boy / girl as the highest priority so that during the party there are more shots of them.

You can use this function in either still or video mode. And example of using it, combined with auto tracking might be when shooting a team-based sporting function. The camera can track an individual in the field of play and shoot accordingly.


I like the concept of the PowerShot Pick. I can see lots of opportunities where it would be useful. But not in its present form and at the current price.

Sure this is Pick 1.0 and there always has to be a 1.0 version of everything so it can at least get out in the field and have the waters tested, see what people like and dislike, what suggestions they make and what things they absolutely hate.

The things that need improving in Pick 1.0 include low light capability, the response time, battery life and the AI needs tweaking to make it more responsive and reliable.

A few reviews I have read allude to the design as being ‘creepy’ and looking too much like a security camera as I mentioned.

I personally don’t see this as a problem. We have become very used to these devices and they are appearing in more and more homes now as well – and with very good reason. See my story on that very subject here.

At present, the PowerShot {ick is a little too much gimmick value and not enough actual camera. Canon is a camera company first and foremost and I am sure they know this.

So I am interested in Pick 2.0 very much and see what sorts of improvements and new things the boffins can add.

You can get more information from Canon here.






Review: Canon EOS R3. Simply brilliant.

My, how it has evolved. In 1989 Canon released the venerable – some would say landmark – EOS 1, a 35mm single lens reflex camera. Then in 2001, everything changed and the 1 became the 1D, a digital version of the EOS 1, and it was still a benchmark.

In my particular field, motorsport, 1Ds were everywhere, and anyone who was a published rev head snapper would own at least one. Certainly with my Canon XL1 camcorder, I was the odd one out!

But now we have the Canon EOS R3. So, as a replacement – sort of – for the 1D, how does it shape up?


The first thing you notice is that despite a magnesium alloy frame and rubberized body, this camera is weighty. My test model came with a 50mm lens, and that combo weighed almost as much as my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro WITH a Smallrig cage AND an Aputure AL-M9 light attached!

Have no fear though, as the ergonomic wizards, realising this, put not one but two hand grips on the R3 so that no matter you are holding it horizontally or vertically, there is sufficient holding power.

Of course, the heart of any digital camera is its sensor (some argue and say it’s the glass baby, the glass, but that’s another story). The EOS R3 has a full frame CMOS sensor with 24.1 resolution. The image ratio is standard 3:2 35mm and naturally, all this is held together by the tried-and-true Canon DIGIC X processor.

As you’d expect from a camera of this stature and pedigree, image stabilisation is built into the body with, depending on the lens used, up to 8 stops of shake.

Moving right along, we now look at the autofocus options, and the word that springs to mind is “impressive”. The Canon engineers have really stepped up to the plate here as along with all the other “normal” AF functionality you’d expect, the R3 sports an updated version of a unique Canon piece of magic called “Eye Control AF Technology” which is a fancy pants way of saying that camera will focus where you are looking.

It was in the EOS 1D Mk3, but from a mate (Ross Gibb from Ross Gibb Photography) who has both an 1D Mk3 and on the R3 he says it is vastly improved.

The immediate scenario that springs to mind for me harks back again to my motorsport shooting. In that game, you learn the ability to have one eye on the viewfinder and the other looking out – along with the tell-tale sound of tortured tyres – for some mishap or other. With this new technology, theoretically, you can simply swing the camera toward the source of the sound and never have to refocus manually.

But in practice, Ross says in the field, it is not yet totally reliable – and besides it would make it all too easy!

You can use the 3.2” LCD touch screen for focus too. It’s a vari-angle screen meaning it swivels and lifts allowing viewing from many angles.

The rear of the body is amply populated by buttons and dials for the various control options, as is the top of the camera, and the ergonomics are superb. Even with my currently somewhat gammy right wrist, I could reach all controls easily without stress, and despite the weight of the R3, it actually doesn’t FEEL heavy in operation.

The Canon EOS R3 also doubles up as an impressive communications device. Built in is 802.11ac Wi-fi, Bluetooth 5, USB C, ethernet and even a GPS. Ross Gibb tells me that in a real situation, using the app (Android, iPhone or iPad) is all you need to get the images off the CFAST / SD cards (there are two slots).

You can shoot in either JPG, HEIF or RAW at up to 12 fps mechanical and 30 fps electronic, with ISO speeds from 100 to 102,400 and you have 24.1 megapixels to play with allowing up to 6000 x 4000 pixel images in RAW mode.

If you are into the video side, there is also HDMI and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. Shooting is possible in 6K at 60p, 4K at 120p and full HS at 120p.

Canon says battery life should be good for up to 800 shots which is certainly impressive in itself. In video mode, this would very much depend on the shooting mode used of course.

Image Quality

In a word, brilliant. Cannot fault it. That is all there is to say about that. And that’s why, if you are a pro, you’d buy this camera. Because make no bones, unless you are an amateur with a lazy $8.5K hanging around, that is who this camera is aimed at. The person that doesn’t look at the price per se, but at the whole package of image quality, reliability, functionality and ergonomics.


Whilst I was not there (sadly) I can think of no better test of a camera of this calibre than in its natural habitat; the conditions at the Bathurst 1000 last weekend were brutal, with rain, mud and everything else you can think off thrown at the photographers. And yet Ross Gibbs’ EOS R3 (he uses L series lenses with an adaptor) he says, performed without missing a beat.

That is testament in itself methinks.

Mini Review: Fujifilm X-S10 Compact Mirrorless

I have managed to have a bit of a play with the Fujifilm X-S10 over the last few weeks which has been fun. I was originally sent the camera as I works with the DJI Ronin RS3 and of course my Canon 5DS does not.

There have been some issues there we are trying to address (which are not either of Fujifilm or DJI’s fault, just some logistical things we are trying to iron out) hence the field review of the RS3 has happened yet, so in the interim, I thought I’d just do a quick review of the X-S10.

I suspect Fujifilm are aiming this particular model fairly and squarely at the mid-priced cameras from the likes of Canon, Sony, Nikon etc who have held a strangle hold on this lucrative compact mirrorless market.

So, if you are looking at a new camera in that spectrum, should you also have a look at the X-S10?

Absolutely as there are some very nice features giving good reason to go down the Fujifilm path. Not the least of course is the simply brilliant Fujifilm lenses.

Even though this is classified as medium level camera, the body is full magnesium alloy and not plastic which is very welcome and something you usually only really get in higher end cameras. This will add to its durability for sure but bear in mind there is no weather sealing.

A major selling point is that this camera gets full In-Body Image Stabilisation (called IBIS by the boffins) and allegedly, those same boffins at Fujifilm developed this version especially for this model to miniaturise the full standard version to make it fit.

The IBIS will work with all the available lenses and gives up to 6 stops of stabilisation which is not too shabby indeed.

For framing up and playback, you get a fully articulated 3” touchscreen LED and an OLED viewfinder, and if you use the LCD, Fujifilm says you’ll get over 300 shots per battery charge. You can charge the battery via USB meaning if you carry a Powerbank and a spare battery, you should be able to shoot for quite extended periods of time.

One thing I don’t like (and not just here, in ANY camera) is that the single SD card slot is in the battery compartment on the base of the camera.

When shooting, you’ll get 30fps burst shooting with crop and 20fps without crop, and you can shoot 4K video at 30p complete with F-Log support.

Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are supported and there are headphone and external mic ports as well as a micro-HDMI and of course, USB-C port. A dongle comes supplied so that you use that for headphone monitoring if needed.

Ergonomically, I do like the extended grip area, it makes holding the camera feel more secure (Canon has done the same thing on the R10) and the majority of controls fall nicely to the fingers of the right hand. The exceptions are the drive, delete and playback buttons which are in the top left corner on the rear of the X-S10.

The top of the camera has the usual mode and Fn (function) dials and on the front of the hand grip thumbwheel command dial. All in all pretty straightforward fare meaning you don’t have to learn a whole new ergonomic control system to get up and running.

Sadly though, unlike on many Fujifilm cameras there is no front mounted Manual / Single Shot / Continuous button. This has to be selected from a menu on X-S10. As this was a fast way of clicking between Auto and Manual focus, this is a bit of a pain and I have no idea why Fujifilm took this route with this camera.

This is not intended to be an in-depth review as I have only been using this camera to date for a specific purpose as mentioned. If time permits, I will expand on this, however.

Suffice to say, if you are looking at a mirrorless camera in this range, the Fujifilm X-S10 more than holds it own again the more fancied competition and is definitely worth a look and a play in the shop if you can.

I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The body alone sells for approx. AUD$1600 and it can be bought with a variety of lenses included from AUD$1700 (prices taken from this website)

If you want all the technical specs for the Fujifilm X-S10 you can get them here.

Review: Canon EOS R10. A great intro to the EOS R world for those jumping to it.

My mate Rossco Gibb from Ross Gibb Photography is one of the best motor sport snappers in the country in my opinion. For years he has been supplying me images for use in Australian Videocamera, and every so often we do manage to get together.

Until recently he, like many pro photographers, has been welded to his Canon 1D through all its different Mark X iterations, but I learned recently he had switched to the new Canon R series.

My own weapon of choice is a Canon 5DS with a 70-200 lens or a standard nifty 50 nailed to it. In a recent email conversation with Ross, he waxed lyrical about the R series he had just invested in, so when Canon sent me a EOS R10 the day I was interested to see how this new series has changed things.

I received the “kit” version that comes with the body and a Canon 18-45 lens in the box and this costs between AUD$1469 and $1600 depending on where you go.

First Impression

My first impression is how light and small it is! Sure, I only have the benchmark of the 5DS to compare it to (from the Canon stable anyway) but nonetheless, I did expect a bit more heft in the hand but hey, a combination of durable plastics and magnesium alloy help the cause along.

It feels nice and balanced, and the right hand has plenty of grip on the body due to the shape. As you can see from the photos, the control layout is logical and straightforward, and all controls are easily available without too much wrist movement.

A couple of nice touches I appreciated; one is the MF/AF control on the front of the body that falls very nicely under the 3rd finger of the right hand and the other is the angled shutter release button that just seems to me to be a more comfortable arrangement as against the 5DS which is more steeply raked.

The 3” LCD screen flips out and twists giving lots of leeway but in bright sunlight it did suffer a bit. You could see it but seeing any detail to focus I found difficult and had to resort to the OLED EVF on which there is no tilt sadly.

The LCD is touch screen enabled and also lets you tap to set the point of focus when shooting and also trigger the shutter release. A quick menu can be popped up too allowing access to metering and focus modes as well as changing video mode and other options. You’ll need to mesmerise the options via their icons though. There’s a lot of ‘em!

All the standard ports are under rubberised flaps on the left of the camera – USB, mini-HDMI, 3.5mm mic and 2.5mm wired remote ports. Note though despite the seals, the R10 is not rated as weather resistant.

A single SDXC slot is available for storage.

You also get Wi-fi and Bluetooth as is the norm these days and you can use the Canon Camera Connect app for both Android and iOS devices for remote connectivity.

Finally, tucked away – I didn’t notice it initially – is a flip up flash unit over the top of the EVF.

Subject Recognition

Showing that things have come a long, long way, the R10 has bult in subject recognition; when a subject is recognised it draws the focus box around them. DougieTheDoggie was instantly picked up as was EmuTheChook, and apparently, but not tested, the aforementioned Mr Gibb might be happy that motorsport recognition is also available.

Ah, no, in hindsight, probably not …

In fact, the whole subject focus thing is fascinating to explore including allowing you to select what parts of the area being viewed can have the function applied such as Whole Area and progressively getting narrower.

The focus speed is too shabby either, locking on very quickly when a subject is picked out.

I didn’t have the chance to check this out against any other cameras, but a quick read around my peers’ reviews suggest that Canon has this right functionality spot on and its implementation is better than anything else on the market right now.


The still imaging overall I thought was up there too except when you cranked up the ISO a bit (sometimes regrettably necessary with a lens with a max aperture of 4.5) then some grain started to sneak in.

As you’d expect, in the video area, 4K is supported and Canon says the camera down samples a 6K image down to the 4K when shooting in 24 or 30fps and this gives excellent clarity.

The one drawback of this camera in video mode though is a lack of in body stabilisation, instead using a mixture of lens and digital cropping. This made handheld shooting a little jumpy in my opinion. My Zhiyun Weebill 3 is not compatible with the Canon R10 unfortunately, and nor is any other Zhiyun model at this point a check of their website tells me. You’ll need to get a DJI RS3 if you want a decent gimbal to counter this.


As mentioned, my review unit came with an 18-45mm lens as part of the kit, but you can get the R10 as body only and then choose your own les(es) from the RF range of which there is a number. Alternatively, if you already own a bunch of EF lenses, Canon has made available an EF to RF adaptor that’ll set you back around $170. Again shop that around.


All in all, I enjoyed the Canon EOS R10. As an entry level into the R series, it does an admirable job, is easy to learn and use, and the ergonomics I liked a lot. If there is one thing I did not like and never will is the way the SD card slot is next the battery and only accessible from the bottom the camera. Pleas, please mount it on the side somehow!

Personally, I would not get the kit lens model, probably instead opting to go for the RF 50mm F1.8 STM  along with a RF 100-400mm if I was being serious, but of course, this varies depending on exactly what you intend to shoot.

The stabilisation issue in video mode may be a problem for some. Battery life was also not that stellar in my usage, so I’d recommend having a couple of spares on hand and perhaps a power bank as well.

If you are jumping from a smartphone say to your first “real” camera, then the Canon EOS R10 is a very good choice. Canon build is legendary, you have a good range of lenses augmented by the EF-RF adaptor and the price is reasonable. If you are a Vlogger, it will work there too, but may be a slight overkill if that is all your thinking of doing.

There is more information complete with all the technical specifications right here.

Testimonial (sort of): Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro.

I’ve had my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro for a little while now and got it down (mostly) off pat for the general everyday run-of-the-mill shooting I do. I am still learning of course and experimenting as I go. You never stop learning as they say.

But knowing there is a lot more to this camera than the surface indicates and I knew already, I wanted to know more about it than I could simply find in the manual.

Don’t get me wrong, as I have stated my times over the years I LOVE manuals, and highly recommend everyone read all that they can from all their relevant documentation whether it be cameras, drones, editing software, motion graphics package or even your smartphone, smartwatch, TV or microwave.

But sometimes it’s also good to get a third party’s view on something, so I did some hunting around for a walkthrough of all the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro features along with interpretations of how best to use them, make changes to them and generally use the camera in the real world beyond my own.

I found one on YouTube – no surprise there of course – and it is over 2 ½ hours long and very in-depth indeed.

It is fair to say after watching it, I am even more gobsmacked at the engineering, electronics and software design that has gone into this camera. Full credit and more to Grant Petty and the team at BMD.

For the price, I do not think you will find any other camera even comes close to the functionality and flexibility it offers. And of course with the EF lens mount, you have access to a huge range of lenses.

You can see this video below if you are interested. I highly recommend it if you are thinking of moving up to a camera of the ilk of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro or similar.


Review: Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K and DZOFilm Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Cine lens (Updated)

Reviewed by Dr David Smith, Imaginaction


At the bottom of this page is a 17 minute video review. A review of the lens starts at approx 7:46

Blackmagic Design have really pushed the limits in producing the latest version of the Ursa Mini Pro with a whopping 12,288 x 6480 pixel (80 megapixels) Super 35 sensor. If you plan to use the full 12K resolution, be prepared for everything to be huge. The camera, with large V-lock battery, handgrip and DZO Pictor 20-55mm cine lens weighed in at 6.55kg. The files, encoded with new, highly efficient proprietary codecs, will also be huge, as will the data transfer rates required to record these large images at up to 60 frames per second, but the results will blow you away.

All data are recorded solely in Blackmagic Design’s proprietary BRAW format. This requires editing in Da Vinci Resolve Studio, although Vegas Pro 19 and above will also natively handle BRAW files.1 There are several ways to record the RAW data, either at constant quality or constant bitrate. Four compression levels are available with constant bitrate recording, ranging from 578MB/s at 5:1 down to 160MB/s at 18:1 compression.

Choose variable bitrate, and your data rates will lie in the range 289 – 1,156 MB/s at Q0 quality, down to 97 – 413MB/s at Q5 quality.

The Blackmagic RAW codec is designed to work with various performance modes, so if you decide to shoot 12K and edit and finish in an 8K timeline or 4K timeline then the performance will be much faster and you may not necessarily need a high performance graphics card.

All of this data can be recorded internally on two CFast 2.0 cards or on two UHS-II SD cards, with the useful option of hot-swapping out cards as they fill up.  Alternatively, data can be recorded externally via the rear-mounted USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Super Speed powered expansion port, recording to external media such as a high performance SSD drive. For this review a Samsung 1TB T7 SSD was used 2

It is important to use the cable supplied with the SSD drive, not an after-market version. I encountered numerous data interruptions, signalled by an exclamation mark in the red record button on the LCD screen, until I swapped to the Samsung USB cable that came with the T7. Once formatted, you can test the disk’s performance using the BMD Speed Test. On a PC, you’ll need to download the free BMD Desktop Video app which includes the Speed Test app. This will check that the read and write speeds of your SSD drive and your computer’s drives are adequate to handle the load imposed by the Ursa 12K.

Controls and connectors

Having satisfied yourself that the recording media are up to the task, the fun really begins. The Ursa Mini Pro 12K has been thoughtfully designed, drawing on the expertise of experienced cinematographers to ensure that everything you need is close to hand and easily accessed during a shoot. This care and attention to detail really pays off.

ISO/Gain, Shutter and White Balance levers are placed at the front of the side panel and status indicators are clearly visible in the LCD screen on the left hand side. This LCD panel opens to reveal the microphone selectors and phantom 48V power switches. Beside these are the four slots for memory media as well as a USB-C port for software updates. This port should not be used for data recording, which is handled by the high-speed USB port at the base of the rear panel. At the bottom of the side panel are record, playback and menu buttons. All very self-explanatory and easy to read with crisp white lettering on black buttons.

The inside of the side panel door features a large, colour LCD touch screen. This is where the very clear menu options can be displayed. The menu system is logical and well laid out and the screen itself is a very crisp monitor. The touch screen functions very well and the virtual on-screen buttons are large enough to be easily selected even under field conditions.

There is a large viewfinder which has its own menu system with buttons on top covering zoom, display and peak functions. Key functions include colour or monochrome, zebra, display overlays, display LUT, peaking, false colour, zoom and meters. The viewfinder zoom function is invaluable in getting precise focus which with pro-grade optics and an 80 megapixel sensor is critically important. 

The various inputs and outputs comprise three SDI jacks (one IN, two OUT) and two XLR audio input jacks with optional phantom power. These upward-facing jacks are protected when not in use by a sturdy rubber flap.  In addition to these mic inputs there are two inbuilt mics at the top front of the body, providing stereo audio input. Audio levels are controlled by two volume wheels on the door.

A four-position ND wheel is positioned at the front beside the lens mount. Below this are various controls which only apply when a servo-assisted lens is fitted.

Beneath the sturdy upper carrying handle, which has three ¼” 20 threaded sockets, are the mesh covered outlets for the ventilation system. I have always been concerned that upward facing vents may be vulnerable to dust, sand or rain although I’m sure the Blackmagic people have ensured that the risk of such entry is minimal.

I found the camera really good to use, provided you mount it on a sturdy tripod. There is a shoulder mount accessory that screws onto the base of the camera and that works well, especially with servo lenses having their own dedicated hand grip.

So what do 12K videos look like and how difficult are they to shoot?

Two decades ago I worked as Associate Producer on a large format (IMAX) feature film called Australia, Land Beyond Time. This was shot on an IMAX film camera, using 70mm film passing horizontally through a revolving gate. The film is therefore 70mm high by 15 perforations wide, hence the name 1570 film. Apart from the immense difficulties of trying to film wildlife with a very large, very noisy film camera, perhaps the most critical issue was focus. The depth of field was tiny so focus was critically important and difficult to achieve using a viewfinder basically similar to that on a Bolex 16mm camera. This is why the zoom function on the Ursa viewfinder is such a boon.

IMAX film purportedly has a resolution of up to 16K although direct comparisons with the pixel count in a digital film are not straightforward. Projected from a film projector, the image can fill a screen such as the one in the Melbourne IMAX cinema which is 32 metres wide by 23 metres high. The Melbourne cinema also features a 3D laser digital projection system with a resolution of 4K (2 x 2K projectors) and superior brightness and evenness on the huge screen.

IMAX certified cameras

Arri Alexa


Sony Venice range


Arri Alexa 65 IMAX camera


Panavision Millennium DXL2


RED Ranger Monstro



As of August 2022, the Ursa Mini Pro 12K has yet to be certified by IMAX. Its specifications make it eminently suitable for that role, although the aspect ratio would need to be adjusted to match that of an IMAX screen, namely 1.43:1.

The reason I’ve made this digression into the world of IMAX is that IMAX 1570 film cameras are huge, extremely expensive, heavy and noisy. Recording dialogue is not feasible so in a drama actors must resort to ADR to successfully record dialogue. An IMAX 3D camera has two film magazines and weighs in at around 120kg. They also typically have a limit of around five minutes of shooting per magazine, with significant wastage as the film takes some time to accelerate up to speed and to slow down after you button off. In the IMAX film world cost is a major consideration. Film stock and processing are extremely expensive and the camera itself cannot be purchased, instead being rented at around $15,000 per week, with bookings being required up to two years in advance.

By comparison, the Ursa Mini Pro 12K weighs in at around 7kg, is silent and has essentially unlimited shot duration, depending only on the storage media. It also records sound. The total cost of the rig I have reviewed here is around $25,000 and the media, while not cheap, are readily available and re-usable. Especially in the case of live action and also wildlife film making, the Ursa Mini Pro 12K is an extremely attractive package.


There is no point having a camera of this quality with such a superb sensor without providing the finest quality lenses. The lens reviewed here is the DZOFILM Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Super 35 zoom  lens, supplied by Videoguys in Melbourne. It is a compact lens with all-metal internals and a moderately fast aperture of T2.8 throughout the zoom range. It is also a parfocal lens which means that focus is retained throughout the zoom range as well. I tested this by filming a calibration chart. With peaking switched on,  the chart glowed red as the peaks verified focus at 55mm. Then, zooming out to 20mm, the red peaks clearly indicated that focus was retained.

This Pictor cine lens retails for around AUD$3,999 which is an almost unbelievably low price. Videoguys are marketing a pair of Pictor lenses, 20-55mm and 50-125mm both T2.8 for AUD$8,299. At that price you would be very well set up for shooting a variety of projects with high quality results.

The description on the box promises ‘Gentle Sharpness and Moderate Contrast, Fine Details Capturing and an Organic Look and Cinematic Feeling’. Which is quite a promise. Given that a well regarded Japanese lens such as the FujiFilm XK 20-120 T3.5 retails for $24,000, how would the Pictor lens, at one fifth the cost, compare? The answer, based on my brief two weeks with the lens, is that the Pictor performs surprisingly well.

The lens is very well made, both physically and optically. With all-metal internal workings and an ultra-compact size it is an ideal lens, particularly for a film maker making the leap into cinema quality production. It is not servo controlled, which helps decrease both the weight and price.

The focus, zoom, and aperture rings move smoothly and with just the right degree of resistance. All three are equipped with standard 0.8 MOD/32-pitch gears to suit a variety of servo and focus-pulling options. The focus ring moves through a full 270 degrees which greatly aids focus-pulling.

Focus breathing, whereby a lens appears to slightly change focal length when focusing, is virtually absent in this lens. This feature, together with its parfocal property, is very unusual in such a relatively inexpensive lens and makes it an attractive option for someone moving into cine-style shooting.

The lens features a 16-blade iris which produces what DZOFILM describe as ‘Dreamatic Bokeh and Esthetic Transition’. This is marketing speak for producing pretty coloured dots in the soft focus background, and it’s a look commonly sought after in artsy feature films. This lens will make Bokeh-craving directors very happy.

The graduations for focus, zoom and iris are very clear, with large, bright yellow numbers on the black background. The focus ring has two sets of numbers, with distance in feet being read from the left, and meters from the right. Simple and sensible.

The Pictor lens has a Super 35 PL mount and comes with an EF adapter kit supplied. Also supplied is a set of shims that are required to adjust the back focus when using the EF mount. A lens support bracket is also provided.


The Mini Pro 12K is a delightful camera to use. I used it exclusively on a heavy Miller tripod both for security and stability. Although the weather was pretty much against me, with strong winds and overcast skies, I filmed a variety of shots around the Portarlington ferry terminal, including some shots of the Melbourne-to-Portarlington ferry coming into port and docking Fig. 13.

I also filmed some sunsets which included some very fine details, with birds flying through frame, a man fishing on a breakwater, silhouetted against a shaft of sunlight across the water, and a tiny speedboat tracking across the bay. I wanted to demonstrate the exceptional resolution that can be achieved with this camera and lens combination.

This still was taken from the timeline at sunset, filming at 12K resolution. In the camera’s viewfinder the detail was stunningly crisp. Even in this still the detail is very clear and in the close-up of the same image you can even see the fisherman’s fishing rod.  

The colour and detail in these views of a yacht in the harbour are impressive.

Initially I encountered some problems with dropped frames when filming at maximum quality 12K. I received very prompt, helpful advice from New Magic’s Technical Support Manager, Warwick Morris. It turned out that the problem was very simple: I was not using the USB cable supplied with the Samsung T7 SSD drive. However I did notice that when filming at 5:1 compression in 12K, the camera would stop recording after something like 30 to 40 seconds. I did several tests and found that dropping down to 12:1 or even 18:1 compression allowed recording to continue uninterrupted indefinitely. Also if special interest was that the files recorded at 18:1 were just about indistinguishable from those recorded at the highest quality, basically due to the power of the 80 megapixel Super 35 sensor and the DZOFILM Cine lens.

Overall I was extremely impressed with the quality of the footage I obtained, even despite the less than optimal weather I encountered. The colour is rich and deep and the fine detail is stunning.

The Ursa Mini Pro 12K will perform brilliantly at its highest settings, provided your recording media and computer system can cope with the load. For example, I recorded about one hour of 12K footage which resulted in almost a terabyte of BRAW files. Similarly Warwick from New Magic stressed that the absolute minimum specs for a graphics card should include at least 20GB of video RAM. That will be an expensive card. For example an MSI card with 24GB VRAM retails for around AUD$2,400 while a PNY card sporting 32GB tops out at just on AUD$13,000.

My primary video editing software is Vegas Pro which I have used and praised for two decades. My system comprises a Ryzen 7 2700X CPU running at 3.7GHz, 32GB RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card with 6GB DDR5 video RAM. This system handles 4K video perfectly well without the need for proxies but I was prepared for it to seriously struggle with 12K RAW video clips from the Ursa. That was certainly the case.

However, this camera is far more versatile than that. Given that most of us regard 4K as very high resolution, you could set up with 4K and minimum compression, and film documentaries, corporate and educational videos that would place minimal strain on any reasonable computer and look fantastic. And then if someone came along with a big pot of money, you could throw your hat in the ring and film your IMAX-quality masterpiece with the very same camera. What a lovely position to be in.

Da Vinci Resolve Studio

The Ursa Mini Pro 12K produces video files in just one format, Blackmagic Design RAW, or BRAW. In order to edit these files the best option is to use Blackmagic Design’s Da Vinci Resolve Studio. Resolve is an immensely powerful suite of apps and it is absolutely free. It is definitely not a ‘basic’ version and is actually testament to the philosophy of Blackmagic Design’s CEO Grant Petty, whose respect for film makers is legendary. Grant writes: With DaVinci Resolve, you get a complete set of editing, advanced color correction, professional Fairlight audio post production tools and Fusion visual effects combined in one application so you can edit, compose, grade, mix and master deliverables from start to finish, all in a single tool! And I say once more – it’s free.

Resolve includes Fusion, comprehensive colour grading and effects and even the full Fairlight audio suite. The free version is limited to 4K resolution video files, so for this 12K project I was provided with Resolve Studio. I’m not reviewing Resolve Studio here but simply commenting on how I fared as a new user.

I had to step onto the Resolve learning curve which, with a couple of exceptions, proved pretty straightforward. My main difficulty initially was finding where my projects were stored in Resolve. Under the File tab there is no ‘Projects’ option. I searched online and learned that the project files are located deep in the C drive, but that you have to open them from within resolve. I sent a distress call to David Hague and the ever-patient Warwick Morris at New Media and learned that there’s a little house icon at the bottom right of the main screen which opens the Project Manager. Double click on a thumbnail and that project opens. I only mention that here as a service to readers who might try exploring Resolve and face the same ‘lost projects’ dilemma. They’re not lost, just hiding in a different place.

Most of the files I recorded here were at 12K, 5:1 compression and they wouldn’t play back on either Resolve or Vegas Pro. There is an option in Resolve to build proxy files on the fly during playback. This helped a little but the solution that worked best was to take the time to build proper proxy files. These played back perfectly on my system. I also built proxies in Vegas Pro 19 and playback was perfect there as well.

Grabbing stills from the timeline is simple. Move the cursor to the frame you want, switch to the Color tab at the bottom and open the Gallery. Right click on the preview pane and select ‘grab frame’. The image will appear in the gallery. Right click on it and choose the format you’d like to save it in. I chose TIFF.

Coming to Resolve as an absolute beginner, I was impressed. It was fast and responsive and produced very high quality H.265 mp4 renders. I found most tasks intuitive and easy to get my head around. Resolve made use of twin monitors automatically as required and my Shuttle Pro 2 worked immediately. No setting up required. Bear in mind that Resolve is an immensely powerful and fully featured suite of apps and you can reasonably expect to spend some time learning your way around all the features on offer. It will be well worth your while because Resolve may well become your NLE of choice.


Blackmagic Design have produced a real winner with the Ursa Mini Pro 12K. It is a remarkable camera that is really well designed and built. It is also incredibly good value at its list price of around AUD$10,000 as reviewed. It really is several cameras in one, being able to record superb 4K video that has small file sizes and great editing performance, but can then be extended right up to the full 12K for movies that will be perfectly at home in the cinema or on giant home TVs.

As Grant Petty writes in the Mini Pro 12K user manual, We hope you use your URSA Mini or URSA Mini Pro to produce some of the world’s most exciting films and television programming, music videos and commercials! Amen to that!

 The DZOFILM Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Cine lens is also excellent value. It is compact, well built and has all the features you will need for professional cinematic shooting. Given it’s a truly parfocal lens with virtually zero breathing, it represents unusual value at the price of around AUD$4,500.

Bringing it all together is the brilliantly fully featured software suite Da Vinci Resolve Studio. For those working on video projects up to 4K, the free version is obviously unbeatable. For projects  at higher resolution, Resolve Studio is also excellent value at AUD$479.

Thanks to these great products I really enjoyed my foray into the cinematic world of 12K. The only downside was that I had to give all this beautiful gear back at the end of the review.


1 Blackmagic RAW can be handled natively by Davinci Resolve, Silverstack by Pomfort, On-Set Dailies by Colorfront, EditReady by Divergent Media (now Hedge), Scratch by Assimilate, Baselight by FilmLight, ShotPut Pro by Imagine Products, ProVu by Imagine Products, PrimeTranscoder by Imagine Products, Lightworks by Editshare, BRAW Studio by Autokroma, Edius by Grass Valley, Screen by Video Village, Kyno by Lesspain Software, SynthEyes by Andersson Technologies LLC, Mistika by SGO, Flare by Autodesk, Flame by Autodesk, Flame Assist by Autodesk, Lustre by Autodesk, Nuke Studio/Hiero by The Foundry, NeoFinder 8 by Norbert M. Doerner

2 The Samsung T7 is not on the Blackmagic Certified List. For a complete list of SD, CF and SSD  certified media click here

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro 12K

RRP body only, as tested AUD$10,095

Supplied by New Magic






DZOFILM Pictor 20-55mm T2.8 Cine lens


Supplied by Videoguys Australia

Da Vinci Resolve Studio available from Blackmagic Design



Review: Fujifilm GFX 50SII

Holden and Ford. Mac and Windows. Big Mac and the Whopper.

The world is full of products where there are camps on two sides of a fence. And so it is with cameras.

Nikon and Canon.

But thankfully as I have discovered, that is not where the story ends at all, as sitting in the wings and more than able of slugging out with these two is Fujifilm. And in this particular case, the Fujifilm GFX50SII.

And having had a play for a few weeks, I am impressed and suggest that anyone looking for a large format camera also put this on the “must have a look” list alongside the probable Nikons / Canons you intend to take a gander at.

So what do you get?

Well for starters, it has a 51 megapixel 44 x 33mm CMOS sensor that has a “pixel shift” hi-res mode to give 205 megapixel images. This means you can stack 16 images together and each has had a fractional shift of the sensor.

And to keep things nice and steady there is 5 axis in-camera stabilisation, although I think I’d be using a tripod when trying this.

For film makers, you get full HD 1920 x 1080 at 29.97/25/24/23.98 and 50fps of up to 120 minutes (depending on the size of the SD card of course.). Fujitsu also says this recording time is dictated by ambient conditions however.

Almost mandatory for filmmakers, there are separate headphone and mic sockets.

Note though, there is no 4K.

I won’t bore you with a detail of all the specifications – of which there is a lot – as they can be seen here.


Instead, I am more interested in the physical characteristics of the GFX 50SII.

The body is fitted with a Fujitsu G mount which means you have access to a decent range of lenses. My review unit came with a 35-70mm which I had intended to use with the MSM star tracker, but as luck would NOT have it, for the period of the loan all we got was either cloudy skies or ones filled with smoke from bushfire burn off!

In the hand the GFX 50SII is solid without being too heavy. And with the 35-70 lens is nicely balanced I feel.

There is only a single rotary dial that is dedicated to exposure mode thus freeing up space on the top of the body of the camera for a large sub-LCD. Other controls include a thumb wheel on the rear and a selection of buttons for tasks such as the Main Menu, drive selection, AEL, AF and display. And of course the GFX 50SII has the famed Fujifilm Q setting for customisation of controls.

The large touch screen LCD on the rear of the camera extends out as well as being dual tiltable and is very clear and crisp. The viewfinder is fixed however, and I would have liked it to also have a tilt capability.

Ancillary port access (USB, mini-HDMI, audio, charging etc) is via flaps on the left and the twin SD card slots are similarly accessed on the right. The battery is covered by a bottom access hatch and a hot shoe is mounted on top of the viewfinder. All port covers are rubber flanged for weather sealing.

In use, I found the GFX50SII to be a user-friendly camera; the menu system was intuitive and flexible, all controls were accessible and importantly of course, the imagery – both still and video – was excellent as I’d expect from Fujifilm equipment. Battery life is good for around 440 shots according to the manufacturer.

One thing I did note, and I see other reviewers also found this, the auto focus seemed to be a tad on the slow side.

The only other drawback I see is the lack of 4K capability which in this day and age I do find somewhat odd.


The body alone for the GFX 50SII retails for around AUD$6399 and with the 35-70 lens as supplied to me for an additional AUD$800 in a package deal.

I accept at this level of camera, it is never going to be an impulse buy, and yes, Canon and Nikon users do tend to be rusted on to their brand. But if you are thinking of taking the step up to a large format camera from, say a 4/3rds model or similar from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Olympus etc, then you owe it to yourself to at least have a look at the GFX 50SII.

I feel Fujifilm cameras tend to be a well-kept secret; maybe I am wrong, but the brand does seem to get a little lost in the noise and that is a huge shame. The models that come out of the Fujifilm factory are really very, very good and the GFX 50SII is no exception.

As I say, the only disappointments are the lack of 4K and the fixed EVF. In all other aspects it compares more than favourably with the Canon EOS R5 or Nikon Z7 in my opinion.

First Look: Canon XF605 Camcorder

For a time shorter than I would have liked, I managed to get my hands on a Canon XF605 last week.

Sadly it got purloined by Canon for an Urgent Job so I could not really give it a full test, but here is what I found.

The first thing that struck me was how heavy it was. According to the specifications, total weight is 2Kg (by way of comparison my Panasonic PV100 was 1.5Kg and the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is 1.2Kg sans lens)

Canon says it is an ideal camera for media, sports and broadcast journalism, and even push the mobility angle, but I am sure for me at least, I’d want access to a tripod as much as possible.

Or maybe I am just getting old and feeble. It just felt heavier than simply ½ a kg more than the PV100.

But in truth, having reviewed just about every XF model since they the ranges’ inception, that is the only negative I could find during its short stay here.

So what do you get for you’re a-little-under-$7k?

Specifications and Goodies

I’ll get to the specs in a minute; one of the major selling pints of the XF605 is connectivity. For example, vi an App called – wait for it – the Canon Content Transfer Mobile App (whew, snappy naming huh?), you can transfer recorded data either wirelessly or via a cable to iOS devices and then transfer to ftp servers back at base.

I couldn’t find any mention of Android so perhaps that is down the track.

You also get ethernet connectivity, SDI, USB, HDMI and recording is to twin SD cards. Speaking of which you can simultaneously record to both cards and in different formats. For example, card A might contain XF-AFC whilst card is in MP4, or card A is 4K and card b is 2K. You can even just record audio to one card and video to the other.

The imagery is captured to a 1 inch CMOS sensor and processed by Canon’s trusty DIGIC DV7 engine. This allows the capture of 4K/60p / 4:2:2 10 bit HDR video, or alternatively, 120fps full HD.

In front of all this of course is the glass, and Canon has opted for a lens giving 15x optical zoom (25.5 to 382.5mm) and a focal length between F/2.8 and 4.5.

There is a switchable built in 3 density ND system and image stabilisation is optical. For control you get 3 rings.

Autofocus is something that Canon also trumpets about with the XF605 with touch focus and face detection AF being built in as is a “dual pixel” system to tell the user if the focus is at the front or back.

There is a swag of custom picture settings too as you can see from the table.


Canon has been making the XF series for a while now. I think our first review was back in around 2008 and there was a model or two before that off memory. As such, they have the ergo-thing pretty much down pat.

All the controls are where controls should be, ditto connectivity points etc etc. So really nothing to see here we haven’t covered before. Just that weight thing as mentioned, but as also said, that might just be me.

I’ve always felt the XF series was built a bit like the Hi-Lux ute. It’s been designed to do a job and do it efficiently and without any fuss.

You can pick one up and within a few moments have worked out how to best use its capabilities and just, well get on with it, knowing the results will always be there.

So, as always, well done Canon. I reckon the rental places will be buying these in droves.

Go and have a test drive.

All the fine details on specifications etc can be found here.


Review: Canon EOS RP (with an MSM Star Tracker)

It seems like forever since I did a proper camera review, but here we are. In the past I have mainly concentrated on camcorders and video cameras and so-called “action cams” or looked more at the video capabilities of mirrorless and 4/3rds models, but over the “COVID Break” and due to popular request (and responses from surveys), I have decided to branch out and look at cameras such as the Canon RP we have here.

But rather than just as a still camera, in this case (and another camera I’ll be reviewing very soon), I am putting it through its paces in special circumstances; using it with a wide and fast lens to capture images of deep space.

The Camera

Let’s look at the physical aspects of the camera first.

The Canon EOS RP is a lightweight (440g body only), full frame mirrorless unit that shoots up to 26 megapixels. It supports 4K video and natively has a RF lens mount.

In my case, I requested and got and EF-EOSR mount adaptor in order to run the 16mm – 35mm f/2.8 lens I wanted for the star shoots.

On the rear is a swing out, rotating 3 inch monitor with 1.04 million dots, and this is supplemented by a 0.39 inch EVF with 2.36 million dots.

The RP sports a combination stabilisation system and the auto focussing has over 4500 possible positions. Wi-fi and Bluetooth are both supported.

The ergonomic layout is pretty much Canon standard with a rotary dial on the left along with the shutter release, lock, movie shoot button, main dial thumb wheel, mode wheel, and multi-function button. On the left is the on/off switch next to the hot shoe.

The rear of the body has a menu button at top left, and the right hand side an AF and AE lock button, a multi-purpose magnify/ reduce/ AF point button, info button and a navigation button / arrow combination. Beneath that are playback and delete buttons.

Access to the battery is via the bottom of the body of the Canon EOS RP and this also holds the single SD card slot.

On the left-hand side underneath rubberised flaps are a 3.5mm mic port, a remote terminal plus mini HDMI and USB ports.

As I said, pretty much standard fare.

By the way, for the star shooting, a remote terminal and controller is almost mandatory due to the long shutter times used.

The lens I am using is, as mentioned, a 15-35mm f/28 USM which required an EF to EOSR mount adaptor. Once this was installed and the lens attached to the camera, all that was needed was to attach it to the MSM mount setup on my Manfrotto tripod.

MSM Mount

I have had the MSM mount kit for a few weeks now and still coming to grips with the best way to set it up as there are a number of possibnilities. The major problem is we are in the Southern Hemisphere, and the mount has to be calibrated to a pole star to work properly ie: to follow the rotation of the Earth at the correct speed and inclination.

In the Northern Hemisphere they have the Pole Star, but here we don’t have such a thing. This is where the PhotoPills app comes in. This shows a “virtual” sky on your smartphone or tablet letting you align the camera to the south pole. This then allows the mount to track successfully and stop getting any star trails (unless that’s what you want of course).

The second part of the problem is that due to our location and the direction of the rotation of the Earth, the mount and camera can have a nasty habit of unscrewing themselves over time. Subsequently, whilst in the Northern Hemisphere taking long duration shots over a 10 or more hour period is not unheard of, I have no intention of trying that here and having a loan EOS RP end up on the ground (or my Canon 5DS for that matter!)

So I am waiting for a clear night when I can get a series of 1 minute shots – about 30 of them, maybe more – I can stack and then with the magic of the stacking software, Deep Sky Stacker to start with, hopefully get images similar to this.

The MSM mount itself is made up of a series of components as you can see. The main rotator has two points where it can be mounted. One on the large side (which I am using here) but it can also be tipped at 90 degrees.

This is sitting on a Wedge mount attached to the tripod letting you change the inclination of the camera when attached.

On top of the MSM rotator is a ball mount and the camera is attached to this.

On the rear is a bracket to mount a smartphone so you can use the PhotoPills app in situ to set the orientation to the south pole correctly. You also get in the MSM kit a green laser, but here that is pretty useless for the reasons mentioned. In the Northern Hemisphere you would use this to align to the Pole Star.


Due to the nature of the MSM Rotator and its accessories, there are a number of ways you can mount your gear. Some people use an optional Z mount as against the wedge, but after much chopping and changing over the weeks, this method seems to be the best for what I want.

The Canon EOS RP and 16-35mm lens sit perfectly and are well balanced for the task at hand. Now we wait for some clear night(s).

Thankfully here in the West (I am 200km south of Perth) we have mainly had these so I am hopeful over the next 24 – 36 hours we can put the Canon EOS RP to work.

Stay tuned!