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Olympic notebook: Canon, Nikon get in the picture

The camera makers are at the Games to make sure that professional phtoographers get that perfect shot, cleaning sensors and lending out gear.

Japan bobsled
A Japanese bobsled heads through a turn. Ina Fried/CNET

WHISTLER, B.C.--With snow backdrops and with subjects moving at upwards of 80 miles an hour, Canon figured that the Olympic would be a perfect testing ground for one of its new lenses.

The lens, an updated version of its 70-200mm L-series lens, is slated to ship in a few weeks. But Canon made about 300 just for the games to get some feedback and make any last minute tweaks, if necessary.

Both Canon and rival Nikon are at the Games, helping photographers with demo lenses and cameras.

I took advantage of that, borrowing a lens from Canon to shoot Friday's bobsled images. The lens was a huge help, but my first few shots still captured more track than sled. Eventually, though, I got the hang of it and am looking forward to photographing Day 2's action, which will get under way shortly.

Canon is also letting professional shutterbugs try out its EOS 1D Mark IV camera, which can shoot 10 still frames per second, as well as shoot full HD video at 30 frames per second. One of its most popular features here is doing a better job of not autofocusing on snow rather than the action--a traditional problem for autofocus.

Hockey at Whistler
After covering bobsled all day, I decided to catch some of the Canada-Slovakia game in Whistler before heading back to Vancouver for the night. To watch the first period I headed to the Longhorn Saloon--which was the namesake for the "Longhorn" version of Windows that later became Vista. (Windows XP was code-named Whistler.)

The bar was packed with people even with a $10 cover charge and the atmosphere was tense as the game began, with cowbells ringing and loud cheers.

After watching the first period, and grabbing dinner, I decided to move on for the second period, venturing outside to Whistler's Village Square, where the action was being shown on two huge screens and a significant crowd had gathered.

"Let's go Canada," was the refrain for minutes at a time, chanted by those in the plaza as well as those outdoors at a nearby cafe.

For the third period I made the ultimately poor choice of deciding to take an early shuttle back to Vancouver and relying on Twitter to follow the game. Basically, Twitter just helped me know I was missing a good game. Slovakia came back to score twice in the third period and give Canada a pretty good run. The final score: Canada 3, Slovakia 2.