COBA Second Meeting

The second meeting of the Canon Owners of the Bay Area (COBA) user group was held Thursday evening at the Mountain View City Hall Council Chambers conference room. At the first meeting, we had 32 people show up for the meeting. Tonight, COBA increased its membership by over 20 people when 53 people showed up! As they say, “I think we need a bigger room.”

We started off the meeting with a round of introductions. It took some time to get through 53 introductions, but I feel that it’s important to know what background everyone is coming from and what they are expecting out of the group. The range of people was much broader at this meeting than the last. Professional photographers were mixed in with individuals interested who are investigating digital SLRs. While discussing this with Eric after the meeting, I’ve realized the group can’t sustain itself in its current form. As a result, future meetings will likely be organized around breakout sessions focusing on divers subjects such as sports photography, underwater photography, workflow and printing issues, and general photography instruction.

Members will be able to attend those sessions that interest them, in lieu of having to sit through presentations that might be boring and uninteresting. Leveraging the collective interests of the group means will hopefully make the meetings self-sufficient, no longer dependent on the time and energy of one person (i.e. me!). One of the ideas that gained some traction was having organized photography excursions around the Bay Area. That’s a great way to meet other photographers and to learn the trade.

Following the introductions, we jumped into a recap of the PMA Conference held in Orlando, Florida. Although no one in the crowd went to PMA, almost everyone knew what was announced and previewed, thanks to news web sites such as Digital Photography Review and Steve’s Digicams. We dispelled some of the rumors of products that were “supposed to be announced” at PMA, such as the mythical EOS-1Ds, the 24-105/2.8L IS lens, and various DO lenses. Remember, don’t believe everything that you read or hear on the Net!

2002 is shaping up to be a great time to jump into the digital SLR bandwagon. In addition to the Canon EOS-D60, we have the Nikon D100, the Fuji S2, and the Sigma SD9 digital SLRs entering the marketplace. Uwe Steinmueller of Digital Outback Photo also mentioned the announcement of the untethered Kodak Medium Format Digital Back. Things are changing faster in the digital camera landscape than a EOS-1D can shoot 8 frames per second! We also discussed the Foveon X3 sensor, featured in the Sigma SD9. There’s an online presentation of Foveon’s X3 technology on Stanford’s EE380 forum web site. Check it out if you want to learn more behind this potentially revolutionary technology.

Jim Rose from Canon USA was on hand to demonstrate the new EOS-D60. Much has been written and said about the D60, but for many people, the meeting was their first opportunity to try out the camera. Jim’s D60 was a production unit, so everyone happily swapped in their CompactFlash cards and shot away.

In announcing the second meeting, I encouraged people to print out the COBA Test Sample Image on their printers. I think we learned from seeing everyone’s prints that we need to have a breakout session on color calibration, management, and printing! Mark Liebman from Pictopia brought along a print he had made from his company’s Lightjet printers that were absolutely beautiful. Okay, I’m a believer in the power of Lightjets and Fuji’s Crystal Archive matte paper!

The next COBA meeting will likely be held on either on April 16, 17, or 18th. I’m trying to find a new location that will accomodate the changing nature of COBA and its growing size. There are a number of possibilities and directions for the group to go in. It’s going to be a fun ride! See you at the next meeting!

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