Well, on Friday I talked about how I had to upgrade my Canon EOS R mirrorless’ firmware (which is an upgrade to the software inside your hardware to fix problems mostly, but also sometimes to add new features). Today, we’re looking at how to do that (in this case, for Canon cameras, but most cameras use a similar method to what I’m going to show you).
STEP ONE: Pop a memory card into your camera and Format that card. Remember, this is going to erase any images you have on that card, so make sure whatever you had on that card is backed up somewhere. Once it’s formatted, go ahead and pop that memory card out of your camera.
STEP TWO: Go to the Website of the company that makes the piece of equipment you’re updating (In my case, it was Canon), and download the free firmware update right on to your computer. In this case, Canon even has a big red “Firmware Update Now Available” badge right there next to a picture of the camera, so they must really want you to update it, right? Click the gray “Drivers & Downloads” to download the firmware to your computer.
STEP THREE: Connect a memory card reader to your computer, and pop that memory card you just formatted (back in step one), into the reader so it mounts on your desktop. Now take the firmware file your downloaded to your computer (see above left), and drag it onto the memory card. Don’t put it inside a folder on your memory card. Don’t drag the whole folder over there, either. Just take that one file (in this case, the file with .FIR as it’s file extension) and drag JUST THAT ONE FILE over onto your memory card. It should be right on the root level, so don’t drag it inside anything — just leave it out there on its own. I’m over-explaining this because this is the step where people seem to mess up. “Should I drag it inside that folder?” No! Just leave it right there at the root level.
STEP FOUR: Now that your firmware update file is on the memory card, go ahead and eject it from your card reader, and pop it back in your camera again. Go to the Settings menu and find the Firmware menu (shown here, where it’s under that “wrench” menu (for lack of a better term); in the 6th set of menus (seen above).
STEP FIVE: The last step is to click on the Firmware menu and that takes you to another screen asking if you want to update the firmware, and then finally it shows you the firmware it sees on your memory card (as shown above). Choose your new firmware update from the menu; click the OK button, and in just a minute or two your firmware update will be complete. That’s it. :)
Hope you found that helpful. :)
Coming Next Month…The “Outdoor Photography Conference”
We’re less than a month away from our two-day, two track, online event for outdoor photographers, and we want you to be a part of it.
We have an absolutely incredible list of instructors, and it’s going to a very special educational event. Here’s the link for details (if you sign up early, you save a bundle!). Hope you can make it.
Here’s to a great week! A happy, healthy, and creative one at that! :)
OK, I’m still dealing with the error problem I’m getting on my new Canon EOS R6, but I think I may have a found a solution, or a culprit, or some way of moving forward (here’s the link for more on this “Err 70” problem I’m having which shuts my camera down during my shoot).
1. Could it be a compatibility issue with my new Tamron lens?
There was a compatibility issue early on with the EOS R6 camera body and certain Tamron lenses (including my new SP 150-600mm G2 lens). So, I contacted Tamron and they checked my lens’ serial number and were able to confirm it already has the firmware update that makes it compatible with the Canon EOS R6, so it’s not that. They did offer to have me send in the lens and they would inspect all the connections and such (no charge), but I don’t think that’s the issue, so unless I hit a road block and that’s the only possible solution, I won’t need to be shipping the lens to them. High-five to Tamron for the awesome customer service either way.
2. What about my Canon EOS R6’s firmware?
This is what I think the most likely culprit is. I checked my new R6’s firmware version and even though I just got the camera recently, it was still on the original 1.0 firmware. It’s now up to firmware version 1.3.1 and I found an article where it mentions the err 70 issue, and that this addresses it. I also heard from a reader who said his err 70 issue went away after he updated his firmware, so yesterday I updated the camera’s firmware to the latest (1.3.1), and I’m hoping it fixes the issue. More on this as I keep shooting with it, but I’m hopeful.
3. Another scary possibility
I also heard from a repair tech who used to work full-time as a Canon tech guy, and he said,
“ …the error you experience (error 70) is almost always due to a defective main board in the camera. The camera may work on and off but the problem will always return, often the problem correlates to a defective memory buffer or issues within the mainboard related to power (think EOS Rebel 70D). The only way to get rid of it is to send to Canon for service.”
I hope that’s not the case, but at least since he said that, I’m mentally prepared to send the unit back if need be, but I’m hoping my updating the firmware to 1.3.1 will have done the trick. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t.
Thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions and tried to help me figure this out. There’s not many photographers out there experiencing this issue, so while it’s not widespread, it certainly is frustrating, but I will get it figured out and get back to enjoying the R6. Outside of “Err 70” it is, hands-down, the best camera I’ve ever used by far, and I am super digging it. All the more reason why I want to get it working right. :)
Have a great weekend, everybody! Wishing you good heath and happiness. :)
PROGRAMMING UPDATE: That TV show called “The Great Create” where I compete against another photographer, is now live. You can catch it right here.
On Friday, I gave you my initial field report on the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens, which I bought specifically for shooting airshows. After shooting more with it this weekend (as one of the official photographers for the Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo airshow), I like it even more. Super sharp, responsive, feels great, not too heavy — I’m loving it.
However, the same issue cropped up with the AutoFocus button turning off on the lens again, but outside of that minor nuisance, the lens is just an incredible bargain for the money (here’s the link to my post on it from Friday).
Today I’m sharing my field test on my new camera body, the Canon EOS R6, and I’m going to cut right to what it does for aviation photography (and this would also work for wildlife photography); that just absolutely blew me away. Check this out:
Your point your lens in the general direction of where you see the jet in the sky (as seen here, where the jet is still WAY far away).
2. It recognizes the moving object, snaps focus, and locks right on to it (as seen here where five focus points all hit right on it), and it now tracks along with the jet as it moves. Come on — that is crazy!!! It locks on pretty darn fast, too!
NOTE: That shot above is not a keeper — the jet is too tiny in the frame, and I don’t want to have to crop in that far to get the jet larger. It’s not going to have the sharpness we’re all looking for if you crop in that much). This is just an example of how far away the jets are when I first start trying to lock focus onto one. Once the focus is locked on and tracking with the jet, then I pan along with the jet as it gets closer and closer. When the jet gets nice and big in the viewfinder, I’m already locked on, and all I have to do is hit the shutter button to start taking shots.
Above: This is an un-cropped shot and where I’m trying to get to as far as filling the frame with the jet. Now, this shot actually does need cropping but not to make it bigger. The front of the jet is too close to the edge of the frame, so trimming the back in some would help it look more balanced). But to get to here and have the jet in razor sharp focus, I start focusing and locking on while the jet is still far away and small in the frame like you saw previously. When it starts getting closer and much larger in the frame — that’s when I start shooting.
Also, to give you those two viewfinder examples above, I had to create those viewfinders myself and put my shots inside them (thank you, Photoshop), so you could get a good idea of what it looks like while you’re actually shooting with it. Otherwise, I’d have to shoot with my iPhone’s camera stuck up to the R6’s viewfinder, and well, that all sounds like a lot more work than I’m willing to do. LOL!
The biggest thing for me was…
…I got the most number of in-focus shots I’ve ever gotten at any airshow, period! It almost felt like cheating. Not enough for me to turn these auto tracking features off, mind you, but still. I showed some other guys from the team how well the tracking worked, and they were as amazed as I was (I probably sold two or three units while I was there. Canon should give me a commission).
This miracle of focus is a simple combination of just four settings on the camera:
(1) High speed continuous shooting mode (burst mode)
(2) Switching from Single Shot focus (for non-moving objects) to Servo AF mode (which is the Continuous Auto Focus Mode)
(3) Using the Large Zone AF Horizontal Auto Focus mode (great for tracking objects that move horizontally across the frame).
(4) Using the “Case 2” Focus mode, which is for tracking moving objects while ignoring obstacles that might get in the way (like another jet passing by).
Note:Tip of the hat to my wonderful techie/nerdy friends Larry Grace (President of the ISAP – International Society of Aviation Photography, and one of the top aviation shootesr out there) and my Grid co-host and serious techie wonderland Erik Kuna, as they helped me with some of my settings on this new set-up, and for aviation photography in general, so a big shoutout to them both.
I will say, when you first start shooting aviation with an Electronic Viewfinder, it’s a little weird because as you crank off a rapid series of shots, each one appears for a moment on screen inside your viewfinder. This is both a blessing and a curse (more on the blessing part in a moment), but it does take a little getting used to, as it feels almost like it’s stuttering, while you’re tracking the jets, but when you stop and review your shots, you’ll see it’s clearly not. Definitely a different experience from shooting with a DSLR, but you get used it quickly.
Something Else I Loved
Another great feature of the R6 (and the blessing I mentioned above) is that you don’t need to pull the camera away from your eye and bring up the images on the screen on the back of your camera. Your images, as you take them, appear right on your viewfinder, and you go back and review your images (basically, you can “chimp”) through your viewfinder, and the images look large and bright and crisp even if it’s incredibly bright and sunny out. You try this a little bit, and you’ll find yourself looking at the back of your camera less and less. It’s really a huge advantage for anybody shooting outdoors in daylight.
I did run into a problem
So I’m up on this 1-story platform out near the taxiway they had set up for the official airshow photographers, and I’m warming up doing some slow shutter speed panning because we’re shooting prop planes, and I’m excited because I haven’t really had a chance to shoot my favorite WW-II prop driven fighter/bomber, the P-51 Mustang, and it’s coming up next. Then this happens:
This is not what you want to see during your shoot, but I quickly followed the instructions because now the P-51 is taking off, and I don’t want to miss it. I missed it. Turning it on/off didn’t do the trick. I reinstalled the battery numerous times — that didn’t do it. There go two or three more passes of the P-51, and I’m still futzing around trying to get the camera to come on. All I get is this screen or a completely black screen (as if the camera is off). While I’m doing this, Erik pulls out his photo and looks up what an Error 70 is, and it says it’s a “data error,” so I pop out each of the memory cards, one by one, using the process of elimination. Finally, it fires up, and I think it’s fixed. I’m wrong. It goes right back out again. I switched cards again. No luck. Finally, I popped in a completely different new fresh battery, and that did the trick. Of course, I completely missed the entire P-51 routine and photo pass and everything, but at least my camera was working again.
It happened the next day again. It happened again on Sunday during the Warbirds demo. It happened just now as I’m writing this article (I had to double-check something in the viewfinder). I popped a different battery in, and now for whatever reason, it’s working again.
So, at this point, I feel like either:
a) Something is wrong with a number of my Canon-brand batteries (these weren’t knock-offs, except for one Erik gave me Friday afternoon but that one worked fine), or
b) There’s something wrong with my R6.
Either way, the last thing you want is your camera going down in the middle of the shoot, and just putting “Error 70” on the back of the camera, and not at least saying what the issue might be, is just this side of useless. It wouldn’t haven’t cost Canon anything extra to put “Error 70: Data Error,” or “Battery error” so at least I could also check my memory cards or battery issue, which they could have said on screen as well. That’s just straight-up lousy User Interface design.
Anyway, I’ll be spending some time this week trying to figure this Error 70 problem out. I’ll search for Firmware updates and the such, but that was pretty aggravating, to say the least, and obviously, I’m still dealing with this issue. After searching online, I see a few other people have had this same error, but not a ton of folks, so the quick answer isn’t easily found out there.
Back to Good Stuff
I used both super-fast UHS-II SD Lexar memory cards in the R6 and some of my older slower Lexar cards as well (not crazy slow, but not nearly as fast as those newer UHS-II cards), and I never “filled the buffer” or got any stuttering, which was great. I felt I could fire as long as I wanted without hiccuping, and I was shooting in Raw the whole time. Maybe I just didn’t hold the shutter button down long enough (LOL!), but I never had a single buffer issue the entire two days I was there.
There are lots of other great features about the Canon R6 (dual card slots, built-in focus stacking, super incredible high ISO performance, in-body stabilization, etc.), but for what I was doing (shooting jets and prop planes streaking across the sky), I only used a minimal amount of what the R6 can do. I never even swiveled out the LCD screen, for goodness sake (my single favorite feature for shooting landscape and travel and automotive). So, this wasn’t’t a full review of the camera and all its features — by now you’ve probably read and memorized all the specs — but I wanted to give you a real-world look at what it’s like shooting aviation with it out in the field.
More to come on this new rig as I get a chance to shoot with it a bit more with different genres and shooting situations. Still, I can tell you, at this point, I am absolutely in love with the combination of that Tamron 150-600mm paired with the Canon EOS R6 for aviation photography. For the killer prices of the two, their smaller sizes and weights, it’s a tough combo to beat. I’ve just got to get that Error 70 issue addressed (and I will, one way or another).
The Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo Rocks!
The Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo is one of America’s largest airshows, and it’s so well run from top to bottom and just so much fun for everybody. If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trip down (and there’s LOTS of on-site camping right in the middle of it all).
A special thanks to the awesome folks at Sun n’ Fun for having me on their official photography team this year, with a special thanks to the wonderful Joe Caccioppo and the great crew he put together. Such a great guy and team leader. So organized and helpful (he really knows this stuff inside and out). Also, the folks at Sun n’ Fun fly-in set up the photographers for success, providing a fantastic home base and lots of ways to make great shots, and I can tell you, all the show photographers sure appreciated it big time. It was a treat!
Anyway, I hope you found that field report, helpful. If you have any questions, you can hit me up here on the comments, or bop over to my Facebook page where I’ll be answering questions over there as well. Here’s to a great week — hope yours is a safe and happy one!
Yesterday was warm-up day for the great Sun-n-Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Florida (it’s one of the premier airshows in the country), and Erik Kuna and I are among the crew of official airshow photographers, and this was a perfect opportunity to try out the very lens I bought for aviation photography — the Tamron 150-600mm Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens (shown below). I’m sharing some shots here from yesterday’s shoot.
I had sold my Canon 200-400mm f/4 a few months ago (the one I used for shooting NFL day games), and I was looking for something lighter and more importantly for aviation, longer. Earlier this year Erik and I shot the Alliance Airshow over in Sanford, Florida (the Thunderbirds were there), and I shot with a 100-400mm it was just not long enough. You need at least a 500mm (like a 100-500mm), which I was going to get until a friend turned me on to the 150-600mm, which is a great range for shooting at airshows where so much of the action happens quite a ways from you.
Another thing I wanted was something less expensive (the Canon is around $12,000, but the Tamron is only around $1,200 — so the Canon costs literally 10x more). Although I loved every Tamron lens I’ve owned, I was concerned how well it would do, tracking along with the incredibly fast jets, but this particular lens was suggested to me by other aviation photographers, so I figured they would be bragging on it if it wasn’t worth using at airshows.
It looks like a fairly long lens when you’re out shooting it, but a lot of that is (thankfully) the lens hood. The lens weighs less than 4.5 lbs, and using it all day at the airshow was never an issue for me. I had the Canon 200-400mm with me back in 2019 at the Houston airshow and I was careful only to lift it right before I was going to shoot it, because it was a beast. Not a problem when you’re shooting football with it on a monopod, but honestly it’s too heavy to use handheld, although you’ll occasionally see somebody doing it (like me back in 2019).
This afternoon I’m back out shooting with it again on the first big day of the airshow, and unless something unexpected happens with the lens (like happened with my new Canon R6 — more on that on Monday), this lens is a champ!!! It hit the five things I was looking for in an aviation lens:
It had length and flexibility with that 150-600mm range. On the money, and I was all over that range during the day. When they’re flying in formation, it’s great to be able to back out to 150mm, but then you can start tracking the jets so far out, and fill the frame when otherwise the jets would look tiny.
It’s nice and sharp. I was pleasantly surprised with the sharpness. It hard to judge the sharpness on the edges, but all I have on the edges of my images are sky or clouds, but the jets were very sharp, so that’s big.
The focusing performance was very good all the way, and I was able to grab the jets and lock on quickly without feeling any real lag, which is important.
It’s not lightweight, but yet it’s not too heavy, and I can fit it in my smallest think thank photo rolling bag (it’s kind of a half-height bag) because the lens tucks back in to the body, and extends out when you zoom in.
The price post is just crazy for the value.
By the way — I’m using this lens on my Canon EOS R6 mirrorless, using the Canon lens adapter. No issues there whatsoever. Works like a champ.
This might sound kind of weird, and maybe it’s just me, but a number of times during the day, the switches on the side of the lens got changed. I’d lift the camera and try to shoot, and everything is out of focus. Why? The auto focus button was somehow switched off to Manual focus. This happened a number of times. Also, the Focus Limiter button would be switched to different settings. Again, this happened a few different times during the day — I have no idea why. The fix is, of course, to switch them back, which isn’t a big deal the first time or two. Anyway, that’s about it thus far.
The Bottom line
Overall, I felt the performance was really solid; the lens felt snappy all day, and I can’t wait to shoot again with it today at the show. Overall, I’m pretty thrilled with it so far. Again, if anything changes I’ll let you know.
Hope you get some great shots this weekend (if you see me at the airshow, be sure to say hi), and I hope to catch you back here on Monday. :)
P.S. After the Blue Angels were done with their afternoon session, and they were taxiing down the runaway in a single file row, we got a surprise flyover by the US Air Force Thunderbirds flying in formation on their way to an airshow on Cocoa Beach, Florida. It’s rare to see both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds in the same place at the same time. What a treat!
On Friday, here on the blog, I made known something personally risky, and I was holding my breath to see the fallout I would experience on social from admitting that “I like Olive Garden. Well, my friends, I was absolutely delighted to learn that in this, I am not alone.
As it turns out, I have many “OG Brothers” who love that mountain of breadsticks and gargantuan bowl of salad as much as I do and weren’t afraid to admit it. People from all over, from different walks of life, all coming together to say, “Yes, Scott, I like Olive Garden, too!”, and well, it still brings a tear to my eye.
Thank you for accepting me, and my “casual dining but I know it’s not ‘real’ Italian'” occasional food craving place where we get takeout and enough breadsticks to feed a Texas high school varsity squad.
Five “hot picks” for food you wouldn’t think of ordering at places you go to for something entirely different.
While we’re taking a brief respite from all this non-stop photography and Photoshop stuff, today I want to share five surprisingly awesome dishes you might not think to try, but if you do try them, you will thank me (and your Cardiologist will curse me). Here goes:
1. The hot dog at Steak n’ Shake
Nobody thinks to go to Steak n’ Shake for a hot dog, which is a shame because they’re shockingly yummy. In fact, they’re so good they’re not even called “hot dogs” at Steak n’ Shake. They’re called “Steak Franks” thank you very much, and each one is made with love (well, they taste like that anyway). You can get them with their famous chili on top, and/or cheese and onions, and getting a hot dog at a burger place like this will make you rethink everything and change your worldview forever. True story. Ask anybody.
2.The Double Cheeseburger at Dairy Queen
Nobody thinks to go to Dairy Queen for a cheeseburger, which is a shame because theirs is literally one of the best around. Way better than Wendys, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc., and you can get a Blizzard for dessert (try the Heath Bar Blizzard), which is just off-the-chain good. It comes with a set of defibrillators just in case, but you probably won’t have to use them, which is a good thing because that Blizzard tends to get a bit drippy by the time you’re done with that cheeseburger, and drippy ice cream and electricity don’t mix all that well. I’ve been told (I’m asking for a friend).
3.The Homemade Potato Chips at Zaxby’s
Nobody thinks to go to Zaxby’s for homemade potato chips, because you’re hopefully there for their new Signature Chicken Sandwich, which (and this has been confirmed in recent real-world tests), is right up there with Popeyes. In my eyes it has officially won the “chicken sandwich war of 2021” (or at the very least, they have signed a truce with Popeyes and are now against the Russians). They give you crinkly fries when you order it as a “meal,” but you can request the chips instead, and they’ll swap ’em out for you. It’ll take an extra minute or two because they have to make the chips up fresh, but you know what? That means they’re fresh! Get the Ranch or Teriyaki dipping sauce because it activates the chips.
4.The North Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich at Culver’s
Nobody thinks to go to Culver’s a fish sandwich. However, if you like fish sandwiches, and have endured either McDonalds or Wendy’s fish sandwich (I’m not entirely sure either is actually made from fish, and if proven to be somehow fish-based, it’s probably made of Nordik Angler, which tastes similar to a dirty sock you might find inside a discarded washing machine at a landfill), then you’re ready to step up to this sea swept beauty. It’s crunchy and yet very light. The breading is more like fish lovingly snuggled in tempura, lightly killed, and then gently laid upon some fresh bread from a French bakery, but the kind of French bakery that would actually be in the kitchen at a Culver’s which is probably not French at all. This, despite the fact Culver’s serves French fries, which I’m sure the French might have a word or two to say about that, but anyway, if fish is your dish, this one is probably the best around.
5. The Buffalo Chicken Wrap at Jersey Mikes
Well, probably somebody goes to Jersey Mikes for a wrap, but I have to wonder about that person (what I’m saying here is: I have to wonder about me because I go to Jersey Mikes just for this wrap). Now, I like their Italian sub a lot (I get it “Mike’s Way”), but once I tried their Buffalo Chicken Wrap, I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on that I-sub anymore. It’s big. It’s chickeny — it’s big and chickeny. Give this one a try, and you’ll be astonished and perhaps a bit frightened at how good it is. Heads up though: the whole time you’re eating it, you’ll be thinking, “Man, this would go perfect with some Olive Garden salad and breadsticks!” Well, that’s what I was thinking.
There you have it. Five “hot picks” for food you wouldn’t think of ordering at places you go to for something entirely different.
Here’s to a great week, and don’t forget, you could try one of these hot picks every day for lunch and then hit the OG on Friday night. Awwww, yeah. One more thing: remember, you after your order arrives you can stop for a sec and make some great food photos! Make sure you ask to sit outside (under an umbrella or overhang), or indoor by a window (actually, don’t sit indoors — COVID). See how I just neatly tied this all together and made it relevant to photography right at the very last second? It’s a gift. I’m blessed. ;-)
I realize that the first thing I’m about to reveal is controversial enough that I will probably lose readers. People will unsubscribe, and tell me how disappointed and disillusioned they are with me, but it’s something I came to terms with this last week and I feel like I need to just say, get it out there, and be done with it.
So, what is this revelation I had this week? Well, it’s more like an admission than a revelation, but since I just really came to grips with it this week, well, here we go:
There. I said it. “I like Olive Garden. ” I do
I really like their salad and their breadsticks (especially if you get a dipping sauce with them), and I like some of their entrees, like their “Tour of Italy” and their Lasagna, and I like their Chicken & Gnocchi Soup and their Zuppa Toscana soup, too.
Look, I’m not saying it’s my not favorite Italian restaurant, but I must admit, I do like it, and I’m looking forward to my next Olive Garden takeout. When you do their curbside takeout, for some reason they give you like 71 breadsticks for every dinner you order. So, if you’re a family of four you can expect around 284 breadsticks and at least two 55-gallon drums of salad, which will last you until summer. Well, it does me, anyway.
Then there’s my other revelation
I don’t know if you caught my post on Monday called “Don’t be that guy” but it got a LOT of reaction over on my Facebook page with over 150 comments. Most everyone pretty much felt the same way I did, which is just don’t be that guy when someone simply shares something nice that happened to them, but here’s my other revelation:
Human nature being what it is, it didn’t take long before, sure enough, a guy showed up and not only became “that guy,” but he became “Super that guy.” He wrote that he agreed with me and that everybody should use whatever tool works for them and you shouldn’t worry what other people use. But then (wait for it…wait for it…) he went into a whole thing about how PCs are better than Macs, and that they’re over priced and more stuff like that.
You realize, my buddy never mentioned PCs. He didn’t compare his new computer to anyone else’s. He didn’t say you should get one. He didn’t recommend them. He just said, “Can’t wait to get some native apps and start playing,” but this guy couldn’t leave it alone.
Of course, people starting calling him out on it, saying, “Dude! You’re being “That guy” and even I commented, “Do you not realize what you just did?” but that did not deter him. What’s “That guy” do when people point out he’s being “That guy?” Why of course, he doubles down on being that guy. Then he triples down. He just could not see, no matter how many people pointed it out, and tried to help him understand what he was doing with his whole PCs are better line of attack. He’s so “That guy” that even “those guys” where like “Dude, back off. You’re giving other “That Guys'” a bad name.”
Well, it just got uglier from there, because “say it with me” – “That guy” never realizes he’s “That Guy” no matter how obvious it is to everyone else. Ugh.
You know I bet would help “That Guy?” Some nice salad and breadsticks. Just ‘sayin’. ;-)