Canon Owners of the Bay Area Inaugural Meeting

We had a fantastic turnout for the first meeting of the Canon Owners of the Bay Area (COBA) user group! 32 photographers from around the San Francisco Bay Area showed up to talk shop about Canon Digital SLR’s. Thanks to everyone who came, including: Peter C., Rick K., Robert B., Rick S., Con P., Mark K., Dennis H., Doug R., Doug C., Cuong n., Artie S., Ziv E., Phil W., Peter E., Danny E., Chuong H., Kwan L., John C., Stavros., Eugene H., John L., James W., Silva D., Marie H., Chung C., Mike D., Mark B., Jim R., Patrick T., David H., and Stefanie H. for showing up! If I’ve missed anyone, please let me know.

Everyone started filing into the Council Chambers room shortly after 7:30 pm. Jim Rose, the Canon Rep for the Bay Area, was on hand to demonstrate the new Canon EOS-1D, along with the new 16-35mm f/2.8L and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lenses. Jim also passed around a magnesium 1D skeleton. I found it interesting that the memory card door was also made of magnesium; I didn’t think of it being part of the inner chassis of the camera. I’m not going to test it with my 1D, but I wonder if it would burst into flames if I stuck a bunsen burner to it (a little thermite to go with your 50mm f/1.4???).

The vast majority of people in the room were Canon EOS-D30 owners. In addition to Jim, Patrick, Marie and I were the only 1D owners. A handful of people had the 1D on order, but supplies have been constrained. There are about 500-600 in North America, if I recall what Jim said correctly. A lot of them are being used by large news organizations and for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

After everyone introduced themselves, we had a quick discussion about what we’d like to see in future COBA meetings:

  • Monthly meetings
  • Weeknights were best
  • Outside speakers, with topics ranging from:
    • Color management
    • Equipment reviews and presentations
    • Lighting
    • Printing representatives (Epson, Canon, etc.)
    • Slide shows and critiques
    • Specialty topics (underwater photography, sports, weddings, etc.)
    • Workflow
  • Web site forum

With a list like that, I think that the next few COBA meetings are going to be quite informative and interesting! There’s a lot of information and knowledge to be gleaned, shared, and learned from people who are using their cameras for fun and profit. I for one am very interested in the color management and printing topics. Jim was passing around some 1D shots taken from the recent football season and the results were absolutely phenomenal. I’ve got to get myself one of those dye-sub printers they used!

Following Jim’s presentation, we jumped into a lengthy question and answer session, where people asked questions about the 1D banding issue, 550EX flash variations with the D30, and what software does everybody use on their Mac/PC. A number of Mac photographers used iView MediaPro, along with Cameraid and EXIFRenamer whereas some PC users were happy with Shoot and Share.

QImagePro (PC) and Portraits and Prints (Mac) were mentioned as good software packages for printing images. There was also a lengthy discussion about the types of printers that people preferred. Half of the audience had various flavors of Epson printers, while the other half used other printers. I envision a future meeting devoted to printing and color management. Perhaps we’ll post a picture on the web site for everyone to download and print at home. We’ll bring the prints to the next meeting to compare the quality of each print. At the end, everyone will know what they’ll need to do to get great looking prints from their 1D and D30 images!

After the meeting, Stefanie, Chuong, John, David, and I went to Pho Hoa for a late night snack. We continued our discussion on the 1D, D30, and the benefits of large format and medium format cameras. The consensus was that it’s still a few years off before digital cameras can match the quality of a 6×7. For long exposures, film has definite benefits over digital, though that gap is closing.

It’s great to see this community come together so quickly. I’m looking forward to the next COBA meeting, which I will try to organize in the beginning of March. The PMA Conference is at the end of February, so if Canon is going to announce something, we’ll be able to talk about it with Jim and the rest of the COBA user group in early March. There are a number of rumors floating about on a supposed D60 or an upgraded 1D. My experience from the hardware and software industry tells me that I shouldn’t believe everything that I hear. There are the occasional leaks (i.e. Palm i705, Handspring Treo), but there are also the occasional blatant lies (i.e. iWalk).

At any rate, we’ll all know in about a month’s time what Canon (including Nikon and all) is up to in the realm of digital photography. Fortunately, whatever they come out with will be for the benefit of all of us taking photographs. Till then, see you at the next meeting!

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