I recently purchased a 10 megapixel Canon 400D camera for home use. This camera cost less than 1/10th the price of my 11 mp 1Ds body and is just 1/3 the weight of the 1Ds.

I didnt expect too much of it but it has certainly surprised me with its quality, the ease of use and weight means I take it out with me much more often than if I had to lug the 1Ds.

On the way home from the Cromer carnival recently I wanted to capture a shot of the sea and fair in the dim evening light, it meant hand holding at 1600 asa. The resulting image is sharp and detailed. If I had tried to do the same shot with film the quality would have been much worse with a heavy overlay of grain, to acheive the same quality I would have had to use a slow film and tripod with a long exposure, what a pain!

I think digital makes photography fun again.



Canon 1Ds MkIII (updated)



Well it had to happen didn’t it?


Canon have released details of a new flagship camera that can produce a native file size of 60mb with its 21.1mp sensor. The 1Ds MkIII will be available later this year, (read: early next year).


To make your images suitable for submission to Getty from this camera you would have to reduce the image size to conform to the 48-52mb limit. It does however open up the possibility of cropping images slightly and still hitting the required file size.


I’m not expecting a 1Ds MkIV anytime soon after as a 21mp sensor means even the expensive L series lenses are not going to give the detail the sensor could capture. There are not many image samples out at the moment , the only one I could find was a studio portrait shot at f1.8 and can be found here:



The image looks to be a bit noisier than an equivalent medium format shot would be so I think Hasselbad are still safe, though at 1/4 the price of a H3D they will feel the chill from this camera.
It looks like Canon have weakened the AntiAlias filter slightly (notice the moire on the tip of the dress), I wonder if there are no more samples because they show moire and Canon are still working on the camera, there is speculation that the details were released now as a spoiler for the upcomming Nikon D3x….


You can read about the MkIII here:



Drobo, 1 week later

I have added a couple of 500GB drives to the existing pair of 750GB drives in my Drobo and now have 2.2TB of disk space (1.5TB after formatting).

Stability has been excellent with no problems reading and writing to the device. Write speed is approx 14.5mb/sec peak with reads being 18.5mb peak. (speeds reach their maximum when reading or writing large files – like repro sized images).

Obviously these speeds are lower than other USB2 attached drives (up to 50% lower) and I would imagine it is the processing overhead in data protection that is kicking in here. There is no point in wanting a firewire or other faster connection with the Drobo because I suspect its the built in processor that limits the speed.

Having said all that it is still 2x the speed of a consumer Buffalo Terastation with a 1000mbit Ethernet connection so its not too bad. The only other similar option would be a Thecus N5200 which is faster at approx 20-25mb/sec but costs a couple of hundred pounds more.

Im not too worried about transfer speed as my main use at the moment is backing up work via a script at night and even large jobs are backed up before morning. ( I use the Robocopy scripting program from Windows so technically I Robo to my Drobo…)

To put things in perspective here are the approx times to copy 1TB of data:

Bufallo Terastation 46 hours
Drobo 20 hours
Thecus N5200 13 hours
Single external USB2 disk 9.7 hours
Single internal disk 5.8 hours
Internal Raid-0 2.9 hoursOf course the fastest 3 options above would mean that you would lose your data if 1 disk were to fail whereas the other 3 options provide protection.If you currently use single external disks to keep single copies of valuable pictures then cancel anything else you planned today and start copying the files now.I have had too many clients lose images because they were on one external disk that failed.Best practice is to keep valuable images in at least 2 locations (drive + CD/DVD) extra safety comes from RAID5 or similar devices like the Drobo but you still need another physical copy just in case.Would you like my help with your storage requirements? would you like me to setup a series of automatic scripts to protect your day to day work? Get in touch now by emailing me

Data and image storage

I have just taken delivery of a drobo unit from the UK distributors for data robotics inc, you can read more about this unit here:

I need to test the unit thoroughly before I can recommend it to my photographers and photolibraires but early tests are quite positive, the company have developed a product that solves a common problem in data storage – keeping you work safe on disks that will at some random point in the future die.

As you may know I recommend RAID 5 based disks systems as a safe way to keep images long term and popular products include Buffalo terastations and Thecus NAS devices. The drobo is not RAID per se but rather implements its own data redundancy scheme to spread copies over more than one disk. System overhead is similar to RAID 5 with 4x500mb disks offering 1.5TB of space before formatting.

What makes this system interesting compared to NAS devices is its affordability and expansion potential. Another thing in its favour is the ability to hot swap disks in the device (take disks out or put them in while everything is still switched on and being used). This kind of functionality is normally reserved for system costing £10,000+

I will report back on my experiences when I have received a few more disks to populate the device with.


What is NAS?