Canon 5d II Firmware & Patrons

Wow.  That was a fast response from Canon.  I can’t even find the camera for sale…

Important information for EOS 5D Mark II users.

We have learned that some users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera (with firmware version 1.0.6) have identified two types of image quality phenomena that appear under certain shooting conditions.

  1. “Black dot” phenomenon (the right side of point light sources becomes black)
  2. Vertical banding noise

They have a firmware download…  for anyone out there that actually has the camera.

Warning, here comes the digression…

View from empty apartment, 243 e. 83rd street
View from empty apartment, 243 e. 83rd street

It’s true.   I still keep up with what’s going on with my cameras-of-interest.   I wish I had a patron, like in the olden days.  A pope who would pay me to photograph the ceiling of Trump Towers (there must be some Trump Tower somewhere that needs photographs on the ceiling).

Oh, that’s right, I did do one condo in Trump Towers on the west side.  But I’d need a slew of patronal condos to put enough dough in the pockets for the B&H visit.

In my younger years, that sort of expenditure would’ve have been a piece of cake.  Just work as a programmer.  Nowadays I don’t even think I could get that sort of gig anymore, even if I wanted to, being a) out of circulation for so long and b) having circulation problems in my feet (just kidding, but that won’t be far away).

In other words – the programming world is a young man’s world (and yes, they are mostly men); and I would have to give up the pleasures of packaging and shipping prints all day (though I did recently raise prices to see if I could get a bit more freedom).

But that was the irony of irony.  When I was vastly unhappy, but making an excellent living, I could sneak down the backway and look at all the new models in the photography store across the way; and I could go to B&H every weekend and afford to buy – such crap as you can’t imagine.

I think the biggest POS I ever invested in was a titanium Contax S2.  I think that was the model.  It was a manual SLR film camera that was supposed to be reliable in the way the old Contax cameras were so well made.  Great weather-resistance and great price for what it was.

Now this is no story, but the camera almost fell apart in my hands.  I was in my v.p. office with the door locked; and was unwrapping the camera when something fell off into the box.  It was a tiny screw from the bottom that hadn’t been screwed all the way in.

I found the tiny screw and fixed that, and then put some film in.  The back door didn’t seat properly.  This was insane for a what – $2500 manual body?  So I brought it back.  Long story short – the next camera had problems as well.  And so I never did use the manual titanium Contax.

Point of story is that I could spend $2500 in those days on a whim.  These days, when I am actually “living the dream,” those sort of decisions are mulled over for months and months.

So – for all of you out there who still have your full-time salaries and go out to shoot with the latest and greatest – do keep that in mind.   I know the grass is always greener, but in this case, let’s just call it middle-gray.

Irony #2:  The number of “keepers” and by that I just mean images that are put up for sale; that has remained the same, whether I was working full-time, or hardly working.  I think that the Gods put a set quota on the number of good images any one photographer can take in a set time period and they enforce this quota.  If you do have a few years where you are esp. productive, they are sure to be followed by dry years.

Word for the Day: Rubric

I don’t fully understand this rubric but it has something to do with the saying: pride goeth before a fall; or the bigger they are the harder they fall.  Or as I was saying in part two of my memoir series, when something great happens to you, something equally terrible also will happen.  This idea of some sort of finite justice in the world, goes back to the beginning of time.  It goes back to sayings like, “break a leg” before an actor goes on stage.

And it goes along with the idea (there was a Seinfeld where this equal idea was featured) that you don’t get something for nothing.  If you want to live the artist’s life, then you must sacrifice something, usually a lot.  But the same is true for the non-artists life.  If you have it in you – and you give it up for financial security (is there much of that these days?) – then you also are sacrificing something important – doing what you were meant to do in life.

Less regrets, but as I say – unless you find a patron – purchases aren’t made on a whim and a prayer.


Ahem.  Those artists didn’t exactly have it easy either with their religious / royal patrons.  In fact, it could be outright dangerous to go down the wrong religious avenue in your work; or to displease the king / queen.

Part of the progress that was made in the arts is due to the disappearance of the royal / religious patron.  (How can I make such an outlandish statement?  I cannot prove this idea, but I’m sure that there have been doctorates and books on the subject of the relationship between patrons and the arts.  But I haven’t read any of them.  So I just say it’s a hunch and leave it at that, and I don’t expect it will get as many comments as if I were to say that such-and-such camera is bad.  That is the modern equivalent of dissing the patron.)

But these days, you (well maybe not exactly you) but you as a group out there, you are the global patron of the arts.   Both directly, and indirectly through advertising and general entertainment.  When you buy a product that has been advertised somewhere, you are indirectly voting for the artistan that created that art.

And the same when you buy a print or a painting, though that is more direct.  My personal belief is that when you as an artist go out and try to please the audience (rather than yourself) you’ll run into trouble.  Maybe some artists can do it, but I honestly haven’t seen that – though maybe someone like Warhol steps over that line…  But he was on to something with those soupcans.

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) have prob. commissioned more artwork that all the popes combined.


8 thoughts on “Canon 5d II Firmware & Patrons

  1. A “rubric” in modern usage is defined as an authoritative rule of conduct or procedure. It is derived from the Latin word for “red” because directions for conduct during church services were written in red in the prayer book.

    Today rubrics are used in education for the purpose of assessing essays. The grade given to an essay is derived by judging it against a rubric, or checklist of what a good essay should have, ie. organization, supporting details, clarity, completeness, etc.

    One of the unintended consequences of having students write essays according to a rubric is that almost all creativity is stifled. Writing that is formulaic and uninspired gets rewarded as long as it fits the given rubric, while daring and imaginative writing is penalized if it doesn’t fit the mold.

    The trite aphorisms you refer to are rules for living so they are in a sense rubrics. “Rubric” is one of those words whose modern meanings seem to be in flux. Pretty soon we’ll see in the subway lists of positive behavior for strap hangers (Give up your seat to the handicapped, Allow passengers to exit, etc.) headed by the title: “Rubric for Subway Usage.”

  2. In my day, teachers wanted to make sure that you could write an essay with the proper form, not too many words spelled wrong, and with some idea of grammar and not too many run-on sentences like I think this one is going to be very soon.

    However, what I can say is that if you got the basics right, points were not taken away for creativity. In my entire public school experience, I had two teachers that were innovative.

    One taught French. The other taught physics.

    I’m not going to put all the blame on my poor showing on the teachers, but in both of those classes with what I would call creative teachers, I did well.

    In fact, after failing the French regents (I believe I got 64 on the test); the following year after I had the better teacher, I scored something like 95. This caused the school to look at my test again to see if I had cheated.

    It turned out that everyone in this guy’s class did well in French. Amazing. I don’t remember much about his technique, but I do know that he took us outside the classroom; that he only spoke in French from day one; and that he gave us fascinating French stories to read. I think he even took us to a French restaurant at the end of the year and we could get whatever we could pronounce, or something like that.

  3. I think the general rule regarding patronage throughout history is that those individuals or institutions that control most of the resources in a given society become the patrons of the arts. In our society corporations rein, so they have become the most important sponsors.

    Before corporations sell a product or service, they pay big bucks for market research to find out what attracts consumers. Then they hire the “artists” who create in accordance to the results of the research. You may consider this a sell-out, the creative act as prostititution, or just the modern version of patronage.

    When an artist sells an object of art as art and not as a means of selling a product, he is selling his personal vision, his unique, insightful, or inspiring way of looking at the world. Individual patrons who recognize great art and have the means to support the ground-breaking artists are relatively rare in modern times. These sort of patrons can afford to be high-risk investors, taking the chance that their patronage might one day bring lucrative returns.
    With your distinctive body of work and widespread internet reach, you have given yourself a good chance of getting your work recognized in those circles.

    The eerie infrared photo under “Ghosts in the Park” in the previous entry is another Beckerman classic. As usual, one of your best photos gets no comments. Hopefully your future patron will not be rendered as speechless.

  4. Richo – I thought of you when I took that picture. It reminds me of many of your shots. It isn’t the same exact layout as my apartment – since it looks to the front of the street. My apartment has one window and looks out onto an alleyway. But it reminded me of how my apartment looked a decade ago before I filled it with all this stuff.

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