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"Danger, Will Robinson; danger, Will Robinson!" You look down at your camera and see Err 01 on the LCD. What does that mean? Why isn't it taking pictures?

Thanks to Rudy Winston over at the Canon Digital Learning Center, you can now have some clue as to what is going on. His article, Canon EOS Error Messages: An explanation and understanding, provides lots of insights about activity under the hood, and what many of those error messages actually mean.

If you shoot Canon, you'll definitely want to store this article on your mobile device.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


What a great month for Compact System Cameras (CSC). First, Sony announces its lens roadmap for the NEX series that includes some tantalizing glass. Sony promises 15 lenses for the system by the end of 2013. Then Olympus reintroduces the beloved OM series, but this time in digital form with the OM-D E-M5. And it's a beauty: 16 MP sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, 9 fps burst mode, and a built-in electronic viewfinder to augment the 3" tilting LCD. Panasonic just received a solid thumbs up on its latest, the GX1. Meanwhile, Samsung continues to push the envelope with its entries in the race. This week I take another look at this exciting category of cameras, with special attention given to the new Olympus OM-D series.

Listen to the Podcast

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You can also download the podcast here (36 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Rule of Thirds is the Feb. 2012 Photo Assignment. Entries must be adhere to a Rule of Thirds composition. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Feb. 29, 2012.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- The $7.99 Sample Kit is back! And with free shipping.

You might also want to check out my article, Artistic Gifts You Can Make in an Hour.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to saven 20% at check out.




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When trying to decide which Compact System Camera (CSC) is the best for you, one to consider is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1,our current favorite of the Panasonic offerings. And DP Review seems to like it too, giving it a "Strong Silver" award in their recent review of the GX1.

Features such as the 16 MP sensor, compact form quality, and robust build construction impressed reviewer Amadou Diallo. It's a handsome little guy too. Our own Ed Shields published his field test of the GX1 citing, "It feels great in the hand, has lots of external controls, an intuitive menu system, and excellent RAW image quality."

As you survey the world of CSCs, certainly this one is worth consideration.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Epson iPrint for iPad - Mobile Fine Art

I've talked a great deal about how much I like the Epson R2000 13" fine art printer. Now, thanks to their mobile app, Epson iPrint, I can send jobs directly from my iPad to the R2000 over a WiFi network. (The R2000 has built-in WiFi.)

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And unlike some other free printing apps I've tried, iPrint gives me a variety options including paper size up to 11" x 17", quality setting, color vs monochrome, brightness, contrast, and saturation.

If you have an R2000, or any number of other WiFi enabled Epson printers, take a look at this free app.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Slight Delay with Nikon D4

Imaging-Resource reports that the Nikon D4 delivery to the US will slip about a month. Originally scheduled for February, they are now estimating sometime in March.

Nikon D4 at CES

I saw this latest top-of-the-line DSLR from Nikon at the CES event in Las Vegas last month. And I can say, for those who need it (and want it), it should be worth the wait.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Want to have fun making a Valentine's Day card and delight the recipient at the same time? Take a look at Card Shop for the iPad. I've been playing with this 99-cent app, and have created some great looking greeting cards with it.

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Once you've designed your masterpiece (which is a lot of fun, I have to admit), you can share it electronically or send to an AirPrint printer. If you don't have AirPrint, then move it to your computer and print traditionally. (We recommend using Red River Paper for the stock.)

So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, get out your iPad, and design a few cards right now. That way, you'll be ready when Valentine's Day gets here.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Olympus OM-D Movie Fest

Earlier this week, I wrote about the debut of the Olympus OM-D line. Since then, I've discovered a handful of informative movies about this pro caliber micro four thirds system. Here are a few that I thought you might like.

This first one is a good intro movie produced by Olympus with some terrific graphics. It finishes with the OM-D firing off in burst mode at 9 fps.



Here's a more in-depth piece by photographyREVIEW that covers the major features of the camera. It's about 8 minutes, but there is a lot to discuss.



And finally, here's a concise overview published by c-net.



Once the this camera ships, I'll cover how it performs.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


We have two terrific hands-on workshops scheduled for this Spring, and an addition to the Summer line up. On April 21-22, we're conducting the "Close-Up" event at TDS Headquarters. Then on June 2-3, we're heading out to Infineon Raceway for our Action Photography workshop. I've also added the Wine Country Big-Q Workshop on July 13-15. All of these can be reviewed and reserved on the TDS Workshops page.

Flower Open

Close Up Photography - April 21-22

Learn and practice how to get up close and personal with your subjects. You'll see how to set up your own "close up" studio, including lighting options, backgrounds, and more. We'll also venture outdoors (weather permitting) for nature photography using our macro gear. You'll come away with plenty of beautiful shots and new ideas that will energize your photography. Lots of hands-on shooting, sharing with other photographers, and of course, great tips and techniques to improve your images.

Action Photography at Infineon Raceway - June 2-3

Want to improve your sports photography? Or maybe learn how to use techniques such as panning? In this workshop we'll cover the important techniques for action photography, then go out on location and practice "getting the shot." Our big event for this workshop will be The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County. Admission to the event is included in your workshop fees.

Event Photography at Wine Country Big-Q - July 13-15

Learn how to prepare, photograph, and publish coverage for a big event. You'll actually be a working photographer for the Big-Q, shooting behind the scenes, editing content, and contributing to the online event coverage. Plus, you will enjoy some of the most amazing BBQ on the planet. Live music, micro brewery beer, and Sonoma County wine are all included in your workshop fees.

Sign Up Now!

Reservation forms are available now for the Close-Up Workshop. If you're interesting in the Action or Event workshops you can get on the Reserve List. Either way, use the Send Me Info box on the TDS Workshops page.

Hope to see you at one of these events!


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Corel AfterShot Pro Review

I was impressed with Corel's ambition in its 1.0 release of AfterShot Pro. And for the most part, the execution wasn't bad either. I provide a complete rundown of my impressions in the Macworld Magazine review, Corel AfterShot Pro photo manager plays well in the big leagues.

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Pros

  • Fast decoding of raw files, even on a laptop
  • Excellent raw file support across camera brands
  • Completely non-destructive workflow
  • Easy to use Layers implementation
  • Decode or edit images on the fly without a catalog
  • Perfectly Clear and lens correction tools included
  • Plug-in support for a variety of tools

Cons

  • Can't export slide shows for outside display
  • Library management less refined than competition
  • Mediocre sharpening tools
  • Lack of importing tool for those who want it
  • File output limited to TIFF and JPEG
  • Dialog boxes don't feel Mac-like

Since the review, I've been using AfterShot for quick turnaround jobs. It won't replace Lightroom or Aperture (at least not yet). But it has taken over the jobs I used to use Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge for. You might want to try the 30-day free trial. Full price is $99. But Corel does offer the "competitive upgrade" deal for $79.


The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!


Your investment in micro four thirds gear is about to pay off. And if you haven't made the leap yet, this might tempt you to do so. Olympus announced the OM-D E-M5 body that brings pro capabilities to the compact system camera world.

Olympus OMD Front

Basic Features

  • Rugged dust proof and splash proof body
  • 5-axis image stabilization that works with all micro 4/3 lenses (including those by Panasonic)
  • Fast autofocusing system (Olympus claims "fastest")
  • 9 frames per second burst mode
  • Redesigned 16.1 MP image sensor
  • High ISO performance: 200 - 25600
  • Full HD recording using .mov format (MPEG-4AVC/H.264) and AVI (Motion JPEG)
  • Built-in electronic viewfinder with 120-fps refresh rate
  • Tilting back viewfinder (3.0-inch touch screen OLED, 610k dots)
  • Wireless flash functionality
  • Art filters for both stills and movies
  • Stereo audio recording
  • Compact body that measures only 4.8 inch (W) x 3.5 inch (H) x 1.7 inch (D)

OM-D Back with Tilting LCD

Pro Accessories Too

The HLD-6 Power Battery Grip in the same dust and splash proof construction as the Olympus OM-D body, is an adaptable, two-part grip that can be used either as a landscape grip for easier handling or as a portrait grip with an additional shutter release. The portrait grip accommodates an extra lithium-ion battery to supplement the one in the camera body.

The FL-600R electronic flash (GN 50 at ISO 200 or GN 36 at ISO 100) offers improved recharge time and enhanced flexibility and operability for movie recording, and with a wireless control option. Equipped with a built-in LED, the FL-600R can be used to light movies and as a brighter AF auxiliary light.

The MMF-3 Four Thirds mount adapter is designed for mounting a Four Thirds Standard-compliant lens on the OM-D body. The MMF-3 also features dust and splash proof construction.

OM-D with New Grip

US Pricing

The Olympus OM-D will be available in April 2012 and will ship in the following configurations:

  • $999.99 (Body only, available in Black and Silver)
  • $1,299.99 (Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens)
  • $1,099.99 (Black body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens)

I think the best deal is the OM-D with the 12-50 mm zoom for $1,299. Currently, the 12-50mm zoom lists for $499.

The Bottom Line

The OM-D body elevates micro four thirds to a new level. This rugged all-weather camera should provide the performance most serious photographers want while taking up less room in the camera bag. The pricing is reasonable, especially considering the specification. And for those of us who already have a collection of four thirds and micro four thirds lenses, the investment in the OM-D body seems like a wise one.