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Steve Huff

Apr 272017
 

The Sony A9 Images! Action shots from a 1st time sports shooter (ME)!

IT’S THURSDAY! This means I can share my images from the Sony A9 from the one day I shot it. But instead of just posting images, I also want  to share a video with more thoughts, and the images are there as well. So see the video below, and then view the images here taken with the new Sony A9.

I am sure a slew of websites have already posted their images from the day Sony did a full on track and field event for us to test the blazing AF tracking speed of the new camera. Sony had some balls to do this, as many, like me, never shot sports before so putting us in this scenario with a new camera meant that they had uber confidence in this new camera. The A9 is one hell of a machine. There is nothing much it can not do (besides using Slog for video) and no situation it can not shoot in with ease. The Af speed is improved greatly from the A7 series, the feel is enhanced yet again, the battery life is much improved, and the EVF is beautiful.

MY VIDEO ON THE A9 IMAGE EXPERIENCE


The fact that I was able to get ANY shots in focus was amazing, as I have NO experience in this type of event. My 1st time and I walked away with a small handful of images that I like. If you need speed, look no further than the A9.My full review will be up after I get a review unit and at least 2 weeks with the camera. At that time I will post street images, low light music club shots, portraits, and everything besides speed to see how it handles the situations I normally shoot in. I look forward to it!Below are some of the fast action shots I managed to capture in my 1st ever fast action sports shooting experience of my life ; )

YOU MUST CLICK ON THEM TO SEE THEM CORRECTLY!

AND A FEW NON ACTION SHOTS

You can pre order the A9 below…

B&H Photo Sony A9 Page

Amazon Sony A9 Page

Apr 272017
 

FIRST LOOK: The Myer Optik NOCTURNUS II 50 0.95. Stunning!

In stock at B&H Photo HERE.

My hands on video overview of the Nocturnus II!

The Meyer Optic NOCTURNUS II has shown up, and what a beauty this lens is. In fact, it exceeded my expectations as I was expecting it to be like the Mitakon 50 0.95 but this lens is not the same (country to rumors, I clarify in the video below). With 15 aperture blades (vs 9 of the Mitakon) and a built quality that is much more Leica than anything, this lens is fantastic. It weighs less than the Mitakon, is sharper wide open, has a warm rich OOC color and nice contrast. The size is just about PERFECT for the A7RII I am testing it on, and while this is only my 1st hands on look, not my review! My full review will be coming soon but I have a feeling this will become a fave of mine. Much of the $11k Leica Noctilux but at $3000. Made in Germany. The build is astonishing in feel and finish. The design is unique and attractive. The focus and aperture rings are precision..smooth and silky and silent.

All three OOC color, with #2 in B&W. Click on them for much sharper versions to see how sharp the subject is at 0.95. Shot with the A7RII. 

This is not one of those off color, low contrast cheaper 50 0.95’s. This one is premo and I love what I am seeing from Meyer Optik. They also sent me their 100 f/2.8 Trioplan for Leica M mount, and I will be testing it on my Sony and a Leica. Stay tuned for that. But take a look at what they offer in regards to lenses. Beautiful!!!

In the video below I go over my thoughts after my 1st use, show some samples and explain why this is not the Mitakon in disguise as some rumors suggested ; ) FULL REVIEW SOON!!!!

Steve

In stock at B&H Photo HERE.

Apr 242017
 

Using my X Pro 2 over a DSLR for a Job

by Stephen Swain – His website is HERE

Dear Steve,

As you have been showing some great images from Fuji X-Mount system cameras on your site I thought I would try to add something to the list!

After lugging my rucksack full of DSLR bodies and lenses up to the third floor of a natural light studio in East London (63 Sun Studio) I thought I would nip back downstairs and get my X-Pro 2 and a couple of lenses from the car (23mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2) I bought these along for a few fun shots…behind the scenes etc. The outline brief for the shoot (children’s night-ware) was for the images not to be too “twee” and I thought I may be able to grab a couple of candid images more discreetly with the Fuji.

The thing is, once I started using the X-Pro I did not stop, and shot the whole job with it. I used the electronic viewfinder, and really found the “what you see is what you get” facility ideal. I shot RAW and Jpeg, and the Jpegs were good enough for the client to walk away with for layout purposes. The RAW files were processed in Adobe ACR with minimal work carried out on them.

The 56mm lens is gorgeous, it can be used wide open and remains razor sharp, and the same goes for the 23mm. The auto focus on the camera is very fast, and the toggle on the rear of the body for focusing is very useful. The camera did get warm, but not alarmingly hot as it did before the firmware upgrade a few months ago. I was on my third battery at the end of the four hour shoot, and had shot around 1000 pictures in total.

The biggest advantage of the X-Pro over the DSLR’s of course is the weight thing. I had no back or neck ache at the end of the shoot, and I am sure the small camera body was not at all intimidating to the children, which may have helped towards me getting such relaxed images..

This is the third commission I have recently shot where the DSLR’s were left in the bag…I do still use them as they are my “work horses”,  but times are changing!

Best wishes,

Stephen

Want to submit your own user report? Here is how. 

Apr 232017
 

LET’S TALK: My Sony A9 Shooting Experience and why it is not just a sports camera! (Video)

Hey guys! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! The Sony A9 fever is still in effect, though it has died down a bit from last week. Pre orders are now open at Amazon (HERE) or B&H Photo (HERE). Only a month until it ships and so many are excited to get their camera. Since I have shot with it for a full day, I wanted to make a follow-up video to my last one with my thoughts on shooting it, the speed, the quality and all things about this new A9. I can not share any images until later in the week, but at that time I will show a few shots from the 1st time ever in life I shot any sports or really fast action. So while my images are “meh”, the camera was flat out amazing. But watch the video below for my detailed thoughts on using this new Sony beast.

I also get into why this is so much more than a sports camera. I did not call it my “Desert Island Camera” for its sports abilities! Enjoy your Sunday and I will have more during the week. Also, a note. I am traveling from AZ to IL to OH and through PA for 10 days or so via road trip with Debby in about a week. So during that time the updates will be slower here, but I will have fun updates from the road at my YouTube HERE. I have some new stuff I am testing that is top-secret, and will be putting it all to the test on my trip!

And now, the video…

You can pre order the A9 below at my recommended Sony dealers whose I trust:

B&H Photo A9 Page

Amazon A9 Page

Apr 212017
 

Pre Order the new Sony A9 NOW! Links here..

PRE ORDER BELOW:

Pre Order the Sony A9 at B&H Photo HERE

Pre Order the Sony A9 and Half Grip at B&H Photo HERE

Order the Sony A9 at Amazon

YES! It’s time, the new Sony A9 is ready for pre order and will start shipping on MAY 25th!! (Links below to my preferred Sony Dealers). If you have interest in this camera I HIGHLY SUGGEST you pre order ASAP.  Why do I always pre order? For a few reasons, but when a camera is super hot like this Sony model is, orders go in FAST, and then a wait list starts. When you preorder early, you are guaranteed to be one of the 1st to get the camera. If you wait until the day of release, it will be out of stock and you will go onto a wait list at most dealers. 

I always pre order a camera or lens I know I want, so I do not have to wait forever to get it. The cool part is, if I change my mind before the ship date, my card does not get charged and I can cancel without risk.

I had the chance to shoot the A9 all day yesterday in fast action sporting events. Sony set up a full on track and field event and we were able to test the flat out amazing AF speed and AF tracking, and I could not believe the abilities of the camera. I am no action shooter, but I was able to track fast moving action without any problem or skill level. The camera locked on, and stayed on the subjects and when shooting at 20 FPS with no blackout, what you see is what you get.

The Sony A9 is a new breed of camera and unlike any I have ever used or reviewed. I am not allowed to post images from it until next week (no one is), but those images will be from the track & field event. What I am waiting for is a review unit so I can really dig into the camera and shoot it in my style as it is much more than a sports camera, that is just the tip of the iceberg. For me, this will indeed be added to my arsenal next to my well loved A7RII. As for the A9, this will end up being one of my “Mega” reviews by the time I am done. So a full review, and video review will be coming soon.

If you missed my 1st hands on thoughts on the A9 fresh after testing it out, here. ya go! 

 

Any photos I post next week (I can share more thoughts and some photos next Thursday) will still be part of my hands on first look. Then 2-3 weeks later I will have a full review unit to evaluate as deeply as I care to. Exciting times lay ahead for digital imaging and the A9 is a camera for pros, amateurs, enthusiasts and those who just want amazing tech..a camera that can handle about anything thrown at it. Wait until everyone experiences the no blackout EVF and LCD…as I said, nothing else exists like this today.

I will say this, and what I say mirrors what many other reviewers and journalists are saying. This Sony A9 is a GAME CHANGER. There is nothing like it and Sony came through with the speed, the technology and answered all of our needs and wants. As they said a coupe of years ago, Sony is in this for the long haul and dedicated to advancing digital imaging as far as they can take it. With the A9, they are proving that they are indeed delivering on that promise. Now that they passing up Nikon, they have their eye on the big C. Should be an interesting year..and my gut tells me this is only the beginning ; )

BTW, I shot almost 2000 images at the event yesterday and my battery was at 42% when done. So yea, the battery life is MUCH better here. Also, after using it more I can proclaim the EVF beats the Leica SL EVF here. It’s smooth as silk, ZERO lag, ZERO blackout (when using the Electronic Shutter) and the color and contrast is like an HD TV. It’s large and no way anyone would or could prefer an OVF to this. This is the future. I may sound excited but I have reason to be. There is nothing like the A9.

*Over the A7II  we gain the better battery system, the new EVF (best in the world at this time), new controls up top for setting focus and FPS modes, 20FPS shooting with no blackout of the EVF or LCD, Amazing AF tracking that locks and sticks to your subjects, even when they are fast moving, MUCH faster start up time over the A7, much more responsive feel, The new Q&S selection on the top dial to shoot 120FPS slo mo or 4FPS fast motion quickly and easily, slight ergo changes that improve upon the A7 series, a latched closing SD card door that now houses TWO SD slots, and we still keep gorgeous 4K video (no SLOG as the is ones built for the photographers, not documentary makers), an all new sensor with the latest tech, 5 Axis IS, and some little new additions I will go over in my review. The big ones for me are the EVF, no blackout, FPS (though I would rarely use it) and AF speed and tracking/accuracy. Hey, Sony even made the A9 logo in Gold lettering ; ) THIS IS their flagship.

PRE ORDER BELOW:

Pre Order the Sony A9 at B&H Photo HERE

Pre Order the Sony A9 and Half Grip at B&H Photo HERE

Order the Sony A9 at Amazon

The one negative I found was the fact that Sony seems to be aiming this at sports shooters and did not implement full weather sealing. (Even though I see the A9 as more like a massively upgraded A7II) It can be used for Portraits, Street, Studio, Everyday Life, Landscape, and sports. It is the one camera that exists that has no real weakness when it comes to performance. None. But Sony did not incorporate full weather sealing. While weather “resistant” some do not like that it is not a full on seal. I am sure Sony has reasons of this, though not sure what they are. I can say that I have been shooting my A7rII since it was launched and have had it in rain, a downpour or two, snow, sleet and in 115 degree temps and very cold temps. I have run it through a color run, which is torture for any camera. My A7RII has never had a hiccup or problem. Still works as good as new. So maybe the weather resistance is good enough, and Sony knows this or maybe their are other reasons.

Sony had pro OLYMPIC shooters test the A9, and they all sang the praises of it and now want to shoot with the A9. For me, that is pretty high praise for sports shooters. As for Lenses, the new 100-400 G master is gorgeous but I had VERY little time with it. From what I had seen, it was fast, and delivered the G Master IQ traits of nice contrast, color and detail. That’s about all I can say about that lens for now as I will have to wait until I have more time with it. I do know the lens does not ship until Late July 2017.

To wrap this up you may have noticed I called this A9 “The most advanced camera in the world”. This is a true statement. There is nothing made by Fuji, Canon, Nikon, Leica or anyone else that has the abilities of this Sony A9. I feel Canon and Nikon may be scrambling now to figure out how to combat this move from Sony, and I am sure they will..eventually. But for now, no one else has these kind of specs for a full frame camera.

Apr 202017
 

SITE UPDATE: New Server…some glitches..fixed soon

Hey guys, I switched the site over to a new faster server a couple of days ago and have discovered some glitches within the comments (some not being able to) and my contact form (I have taken down the form and replaced with my email for now). I will be working on getting this all fixed this weekend, so if you have any glitches anywhere on the site today, feel free to  let me know.

I will be doing a redesign as well soon, so some cool things to come here to the site. Out testing the new Sony A9 today and am excited to do so even if it is raining and cold here in NYC today!

Enjoy your day all!!

Steve

LINKS: My Facebook, My Youtube (new videos every week these days)

Apr 192017
 

My Hands on 1st Thoughts on the Sony A9! (Video)

NOTE: I switched this site to a new server last night, and comments may or may not be working. If you have an issue posting comments here, email me at [email protected]

Wow, what a day! I posted something earlier about the A9 right as it was announced and that page has all the specs of this new powerhouse camera. But for now, I wanted to record all of my thoughts of this new A9 while they were fresh in my head.

But MAN OH MAN what a camera. Yes, Sony has created my Desert Island camera…see the video below to hear WHY:

PRE ORDERS START ON FRIDAY!!
I WILL HAVE A FIRST LOOK REPORT WITH IMAGES AND MORE THOUGHTS THIS WEEK! CHECK BACK ALL WEEK FOR MORE A9 COVERAGE!

Apr 192017
 

Finally! The new Sony A9 is here and so far, from what I have been hearing at the live event (streamed it live in my Facebook HERE) it is a beast. The awesome news is I get to shoot with it this week while in New York so I will have a first hands on look and video this week. Photo samples, thoughts and demos of its speed and abilities. This is the camera I have been waiting for, many have been waiting for.

If I were a. betting man, I would say this will be the most exciting camera release of the year. A game changer and I am pretty excited about it.

From what I am hearing the EVF is picture window like, the AF speed is incredible and the best Sony has ever offered. Sony says this camera IS THE BEST digital they have ever created, and it has to be!

Fully pro specs, full frame, blazing speed, and an all new sensor. New battery system with double the battery life of previous cameras, Dual SD card slots, silent vibration free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000s.

Pre Orders start FRIDAY, and the price is around $4500 US. Just about what I had expected and hoped for. Stay tuned for much more on this new camera.

Quick Specs: 

World’s First1 full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2 MP2 resolution
• Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting3 at up to 20fps4 for up to 241 RAW5/ 362 JPEG6 images
• Silent7, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec8
• 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second
• Extensive professional features including Ethernet port for file transfer, Dual SD card slots and extended battery life
• 5-Axis in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage

Sony has also announced the new G Master 100-400 lens today, and that also looks like a beauty. I am still at the event, but will update soon!!!

FULL PRESS RELEASE:

NEW YORK, Apr. 19, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced their new revolutionary digital camera, the α9 (model ILCE-9).

The most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that Sony has ever created, the new α9 offers a level of imaging performance that is simply unmatched by any camera ever created – mirrorless, SLR or otherwise.

The new camera offers many impressive capabilities that are simply not possible with a modern digital SLR camera including high-speed, blackout-free continuous shooting3 at up to 20fps4, 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second 10, a maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32,000 second8 and much more. These are made possible thanks to its 35mm full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS sensor – the world’s first of its kind – which enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras11. This unique sensor is paired with a brand new, upgraded BIONZ X processing engine and front end LSI that maximizes overall performance.

This industry-leading speed and innovative silent shooting7 is combined with a focusing system that features an incredible 693 phase detection AF points. Covering approximately 93% of the frame, the focusing system ensures that even the fasting moving subjects are reliably captured and tracked across the frame.

The new α9 also features a vibration free, fully electronic, completely silent anti-distortion shutter7 with absolutely no mechanical mirror or shutter noise, making it an extremely powerful photographic tool for any shooting situation that demands quiet operation. To ensure maximum usability and reliability, the camera features a new Z battery with approximately 2.2x the capacity of W batteries, as well as dual SD media card slots, including one that supports UHS-II cards. An Ethernet port (wired LAN terminal) is available as well, and there is a wide variety of new settings, controls and customizability options that are essential for working pros.

“This camera breaks through all barriers and limitations of today’s professional digital cameras, with an overall feature set that simply cannot be matched considering the restrictions of mechanical SLR cameras” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “But what excites us most about the α9 – more than its extensive product specs – is that it allows professionals to see, follow and capture the action in ways that were never before possible, unlocking an endless amount of new creative potential.”

A New Standard of Speed and Focusing Accuracy

Critical to the record-breaking speed of the new α9 is the combination of the new stacked 24.2 MP2 Exmor RS image sensor, new BIONZ X processor and front end LSI.

The immense processing power from these new components allows for faster AF/AE calculation while also reducing EVF display latency. The processor and front end LSI are also responsible for the larger continuous shooting buffer, enabling photographers to shoot at a blazing 20 fps4 with continuous AF/AE tracking for up to 362 JPEG6 or 241 RAW5 images.

The camera’s innovative AF system tracks complex, erratic motion with higher accuracy than ever before, with the ability to calculate AF/AE at up to 60 times per second10, regardless of shutter release and frame capture. Further, when the shutter is released while shooting stills, the electronic viewfinder functions with absolutely no blackout, giving the user a seamless live view of their subject at all times 12. This feature truly combines all of the benefits of an electronic viewfinder with the immediacy and “in the moment” advantages that not even the finest optical viewfinders can match, and is available in all still image modes including high speed 20 fps4 continuous shooting.

With 693 focal plane phase detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the frame, the camera ensures improved precision and unfailing focus in scenes where focus might otherwise be difficult to achieve. The Fast Hybrid AF system – pairing the speed and excellent tracking performance of phase detection AF with the precision of contrast AF – achieves approximately 25% faster performance when compared with α7R II, ensuring all fast-moving subjects are captured.

Professional Capabilities in a Compact Body

Sony’s new full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of enhanced capabilities that give it a true professional operational style.

The α9 features an all-new, high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots for extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The new Tru-Finder, which is the highest resolution viewfinder ever for a Sony α camera, incorporates an optical design that includes a double-sided aspherical element, helping it to achieve 0.78x magnification and a level of corner to corner sharpness that is simply outstanding. The EVF also utilizes a ZEISS® T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt.

This all adds up to a luminance that is 2x higher than the XGA OLED Tru-Finder from the α7R II, creating a viewfinder image with a brightness level that is nearly identical to the actual scene being framed, ensuring the most natural shooting experience. The frame rate of the Tru-Finder is even customizable, with options to set it for 60 fps or 120 fps13 to best match the action.

The α9 is equipped with an innovative 5-axis image stabilization system that provides a shutter speed advantage of 5.0 steps 9, ensuring the full resolving power of the new sensor can be realized, even in challenging lighting. Also, with a simple half press of the shutter button, the effect of the image stabilization can be monitored in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen, allowing framing and focus to be accurately checked and continually monitored.

The α9 also offers an Ethernet port (wired LAN terminal), allowing convenient transfer of still image files to a specified FTP server at high-speed, making it an ideal choice for studio photography, high-profile news and sporting events and more. There is a sync terminal as well, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync.

New Features for Fast Operation

Sony’s new α9 has several new and updated focus functions that support faster, easier focusing in a variety of situations. The camera features a multi-selector joystick on the back of the camera, allowing shooters to easily shift focus point within the frame by pressing the multi-selector in any direction up, down, left or right when shooting in Zone, Flexible Spot or Expanded Flexible Spot focus area modes. The new model also offers touch focusing on the rear LCD screen for easily selecting of and shifting focus towards a desired focus point or subject.

New for Sony E-mount cameras, the α9 includes the addition of separate drive mode and focus mode dials, plus a new “AF ON” button that can be pressed to activate autofocus directly when shooting still images or movies.

Additional new capabilities include the “AF Area Registration”, which allows frequently used focus area to be memorized and recalled via custom button assignments. There is also the ability to assign specific settings (exposure, shutter speed, drive mode, etc) to a custom button to be instantly recalled when needed. The camera can memorize and automatically recall the last focus point used in a vertical or horizontal orientation as well, instantly switching back to it when that specific orientation is used again.
For enhanced customization, a “My Menu” feature is available, allowing up to 30 menu items to be registered in a custom menu for instant recall when needed.

Double Battery Life, Double Memory

The innovative α9 camera features an all-new Sony battery (model NP-FZ100) with 2.2x the capacity of previous Sony full-frame models, allowing for much longer shooting performance.

Also, based on extensive customer feedback, the new camera offers two separate media card slots, including one for UHS-II media. The same data can simultaneously be recorded to both cards, or the user can choose to separate RAW / JPEG or still images / movies. Movies can also simultaneously be recorded to two cards for backup and more efficient data management.

High Sensitivity and Wide Dynamic Range

The unique design of the α9 image sensor represents the pinnacle of Sony device technology. The 24.2 MP 2 full-frame stacked CMOS sensor is back-illuminated, allowing to capture maximum light and produce outstanding, true-to-life image quality. The sensor also enables the diverse ISO range of 100 – 51200, expandable to 50 – 20480014, ensuring optimum image quality with minimum noise at all settings.
The enhanced BIONZ X processor plays a large part in image quality as well, as it helps to minimize noise in the higher sensitivity range while also reducing the need to limit ISO sensitivity in situations where the highest quality image is required.

The new α9 also supports uncompressed 14-bit RAW, ensuring users can get the most out of the wide dynamic range of the sensor.

4K Video Capture

The new α9 is very capable as a video camera as well, as it offers 4K (3840x2160p) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor 15, 16. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Recording is also available in the popular Super 35mm size.
Additionally, the camera can record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking 17.

New Accessories

Sony has released a variety of new accessories to compliment the new α9 camera, including:

NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Battery – high-capacity battery with approximately 2.2x the capacity of the NP-FW50 W-series battery. It also supports InfoLITHIUM® technology, making it possible to view the remaining battery power as both a percentage display and five step icon on the camera’s LCD screen.

VG-C3EM Vertical Grip – provides same operation, handling and design as theα9 camera, doubles battery life and allows USB battery-charging via the camera body.

NPA-MQZ1K Multi-Battery Adaptor Kit – External multi-battery adaptor kit capable of functioning as an external power supply for four Z series batteries and as a quick charger. Kit comes with two packs of NP-FZ100 rechargeable batteries.

GP-X1EM Grip Extension – Grip extender with same look, feel and design as α9 body. Enables more solid hold on camera.

FDA-EP18 Eyepiece Cup –eye piece cup with locking mechanism

BC-QZ1 Battery Charger –quick-charging battery charger. Charges one new Z series battery in approximately 2.5 hours.

PCK-LG1 Screen Protect Glass Sheet – hard, shatterproof glass screen protector with anti-stain coating to prevent fingerprints. Compatible with touch operation and tilting LCD screen

Pricing and Availability

The Sony α9 Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship this May for about $4,500 US and $6,000 CA. It will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

Apr 182017
 

A Look the Tenba Cineluxe 21 Cinema Film Making Camera Bag! (Video)

By Steve Huff

Hello to all and good morning! I will be traveling this week, and the next from AZ. to NYC to Illinois then Ohio, but wanted to get this post in before I left. I will have some updates this week from the road and possibly some big news ; ) Until then, check out this new bag from Tenba.com. It is in the new Cineluxe line that feature bags made for cinema cameras. Cameras like the Sony FS5, FS7, Canon C100 MKII, and even Blackmagic and RED systems. To those who own and use cinema cameras, I am sure there are loads of bag options out there but Tenba has really hit one out of the park here for protection capability, usability and functionality. With the huge doctor bag style opening up top to the custom aluminum lined dividers, to the pouches and padding they offer as well as the aluminum braced bag itself, I was happy to see this bag come in at under $220. I have reviewed a ton of camera bags, but never have I owned one like this.

Video Overview. Sorry, I accidentally overexposed this a bit…

I own a cinema camera, nothing crazy like a RED or fancy high end system, but the C100 MKII by Canon and I love it. With my upcoming travel I wanted a bag that was tough, would protect my gear very well, and would allow me to carry it all from the body, to the handle to my external shotgun mic to the batteries and charger system, the lenses and everything else. The Cinelux 21 does this perfectly, and with loads of room inside. Nothing is cramped either, it all fits so well with the custom made dividers that can literally be bent into shape.

I made a video overview on the bag above so check it out if you have been looking for a great, well made, and very well thought out Cinema Camera Bag that leaves nothing. to be desired, at least for me.

You can check out the entire Cineluxe line at TENBA.COM 

Apr 172017
 

Using the Leica M, Nikon D810 and Olympus EM5

by Tamer Erden

Dear Steve,

First of all, I’d like to thank you for this enthusiastic web site hosting those either amateur or professional photographers’ creations. As you might remember, I submitted a user report regarding the M43 system before (http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/04/18/the-olympus-e-m5-using-dramatic-tone-by-tamer-erdem/).

After that I had used Nikon D810 for more than one year. Actually I’m really satisfied with the results. Mainly I had used it with Sigma 50mm 1.4 art and 180mm 2.8 lenses. Since I am dealing with the aesthetic and plastic surgery, shooting the portraits of people is my main subject of interest in photography. And now I’ve been shooting with a Leica M (Typ 240) and Zeiss 35mm ZM 1.4 Distagon for last three months. It cannot compete with the Nikon’s better dynamic range and super-detailed images, but it creates very filmic images that I really love, also known as Leica look.  I’d like to add some portraits taken by aforementioned cameras. Thanks for your feedbacks and inputs.

 

Figures 1-13 Leica M (Typ 240) and Zeiss 35mm 1.4 ZM Distagon, wide open.

Figures 14-18 D810, Sigma 50mm art, wide open

Figures 19-21 E-M5 75mm 1.8, wide open

Tamer Erdem

 

Interested in sending in a guest review, post or article? See HERE for instructions. 

Apr 142017
 

Sony Gaining Steam. Takes #2 Spot for the FULL FRAME Market

Whoa! Sony is doing it, and just as I predicted long ago. They are creeping up in the full frame market, and now sit at the #2 spot for all out sales in the interchangeable lens segment (for full frame). Thanks to the A7 series, Sony has kept full frame alive basically and they show no signs of slowing. I feel if this new model comes sometime this year, (rumored A9 pro) they may jump to #1 by next year. Sony is KILLING it and for good reason. If you want to know why I think they are going to be #1 soon, be sure to see this.  But who is #1? I would think Canon holds that spot with their 5D series being so popular for photo and video duties but does that mean Nikon slipped to #3?

BTW, SONY ALWAYS WINS, lol. 

PRESS RELEASE BELOW FROM SONY

SAN DIEGO, April 14, 2017 – Sony Electronics – a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has announced today that their continued growth has vaulted them into the #2 overall position in the U.S. full-frame interchangeable lens camera market. (see footnote 1)

Sony’s interchangeable lens cameras and lenses have seen record sales in 2017, in particular within the U.S. full-frame camera market, where they have experienced double-digit growth (+23%) (see footnote 2) compared to the same period last year. The popularity of key models including α7R II and α7S II has been paramount to this success.

Additionally, Sony’s rapid growth has helped to drive growth of the overall full-frame interchangeable lens camera market compared to the same period last year. Without Sony’s contributions, the full-frame market would be facing a slight decline. (see footnote 3)

“Our commitment to the industry is stronger than ever,” said Neal Manowitz, VP of Digital Imaging at Sony North America. “We are always listening to our customers, combining their feedback with our intense passion for innovation to deliver products, services and support like no other.”

(1) The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Detachable Lens Camera, Full Frame, Based on Dollars, Jan- Feb 2017

(2) The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Detachable Lens Camera, Full Frame, Based on Dollars, Jan/Feb 2016- Jan/Feb 2017

(3) The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Detachable Lens Camera, Full Frame, Based on Dollars, Jan/Feb 2016- Jan/Feb 2017

Apr 132017
 

CRASH N BURN – The Hover Passport Camera Review (Video)

Something different and something short today! A FLYING CAMERA review, or, well…a first… A Negative Review from me, Steve Huff! I usually only review items I love or like a lot. But this time, I had to write this and do the short video as this is a $500 product that works as good as a $80 product.

BUT Ahhh!!! Technology. I love it. When I first saw this Hover Camera I wanted it. For a year or two I have been looking for a small, VERY SMALL, drone to do follow shots for video projects. I have a large project coming up and needed something small, portable, simple. Something that was no muss and fuss. This appeared to be what I needed and even though the video quality is below average I figured it would be good for my needs, and at $500 it is not exactly cheap, so I assumed it would be rock solid and work well. (I have a Mavic Pro already but that is not designed for what I was wanting).

My video review in 5 Minutes

 

So here it is! The latest version of the HOVER PASSPORT FLYING CAMERA. I have been eyeballing this thing for a while now and yesterday it launched at all Apple Store locations, as they are to be the official retailer of this Hover Camera. The Hover has new firmware that added ‘Owner Mode” and when you take this guy out of the box you will marvel at the small, light beautiful device. Then you will wonder “Will this work good”?

This flying camera is one that has the ability (or so they say) to track and follow you (Owner mode). To give you a sky high camera angle while you do whatever it is you want to record yourself doing. No tripod, no camera..just push a button, twice..and let it go. The Hover will indeed hover in front of you and look for the owners face via its camera. It will find you, sometimes.

Fold it up and hook up via USB via a special USB cable to unload footage. (it does not take SD or even come with the special USB cable needed)

Now, when I opened up my Hover I dowloaded the latest firmware as I was instructed I needed to. Once that was done I registered my face following the instructions in the app and it then registered me as the OWNER of this Hover Camera. From this point on, Hover states you can just turn it on, let it go and it will follow you/track you. Since it tracks the face, you have to look at it for it to keep tracking you. But even that does not work as my Hover, over four attempts followed my face for a moment and then it would spin, and sometimes spin out of control and crash into my ceiling if indoors or go wild if outdoors.

First test in the house went bad (see video above). I then took it out in my backyard. After finding me, it tracked me for 10 seconds and flew over my pool and started lowering itself! I was able to get it before it took a dive but when I recharged the battery I took it out front where I had more space. After finding me and following my slow as molasses movement it turned around, and flew at its top speed across the street, low flying, and into my neighbors house.

That was it even though I did try to fly it with the app controls. It did OK with that but it is like a $80 drone toy in this mode. It’s wobbly, it is loud, the camera is average, there is no REAL stabilization like a gimbal and you can not even insert a memory card into it. To get your footage off you have to hook it up to your computer via a special USB cable that is not included (or use the app to wirelessly download your footage to your phone, but for me it never worked). The Hover comes with two batteries that should last you 10 minutes. My 1st one lasted 6 minutes and took about an hour to charge on the included dual charger. It does come with TWO batteries and a decent dual charger but overall this Hover Camera is a toy at best IMO. While the design is amazing, it does not do what it advertises that it does. It’s unstable, and in Owner Mode it just has a mind of its own. I just do not have time for this, and I consider my Hover experience 3 hours wasted from my life ; )

See the video above..it says it all.

They advertise tracking, it should work. It does not.

They advertise 10 min battery life, truth is expect 6-7 – They need to get it to 15 usable at least IMO. 

It does not come with the USB cable needed to download 4K video from the device, and it is not a normal USB cable. I mean, this would cost Hover around $2 to add. 

No case, just a cloth bag to carry it in (which I liked actually, kept it small for travel)

The app is bare bones, and minimal. I mean MINIMAL.

No spare props are included. Just two batteries, charger and the Hover with cloth bag.

When I picked it up after its crash it was still going full speed on the ground and even when lifting it as they tell me to the blades did scrape my finger as the plastic guards bends when you pick it up. 

For $500 more one could buy a Mavic Pro which is 1000X the flying camera this is. One could go for a Go Pro Karma Drone, the new fixed version and get a Go Pro 5 for $600 more, Handheld gimbal, drone, remote with LCD screen and a backpack case! One could buy a parrot bebop 2 FPV kit with goggles and controller for $600, which is a better drone and experience all the way around. 

No, these three drones are nothing like the Hover (they are real drones) but they are so much better, so much more tech there and abilities. I feel the Hover would be OK at $99 or even $199. Let’s say $199. At $499 for me, it is a no go.

The good news is when it crashed into my neighbors house it did not break or even create any damage. This was good as I knew as soon as it did that it was going back, as it could have caused some issues. If a car was driving in my street at that moment? Iy would have flown right into the car, which could have caused an accident.

The Hover LOOKS cool, and it is a great concept but it seemed to me like a Beta product. Surprised Apple took this one on. Anyone else here have a HOVER? What do you think of the new Owner Mode? Did I get a lemon?

If you still have interest in this you can buy one at your local Apple Store or buy it from Apple online. I will try again when they release the Hover II ; ) 

If you want a real drone, I have tried and used the following and highly recommend any of them over this guy:

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

GoPro Karma Drone

Parrot BeBop 2 FPV Kit

 

Apr 132017
 

Images of New Zealand

by Christian Delbert – See his Zenfolio Site HERE

Hi Steve,

Most “photographers” are always striving to get the very latest cameras and best lenses possible. The fact is, they never even get close to utilizing the potential of the equipment they have. Poor Edward Weston had to deal with “crappy” lenses ( he couldn’t afford good ones ) and leaking bellows cameras. Yet look at the amount of great images he created.
Anyways, I just got back from a 3 weeks trip to New Zealand and shot everything with basically an old camera ( Olympus EM5 ) and cheap lenses ( 12-50 & 40-150 ). I want to share with your readers exactly what can be done with what might be considered “outdated” equipment. No f/2.8 lenses here!

Christian Delbert
Apr 122017
 

The COSYSPEED Streetomatic Plus Holster Camera Bag Review

Here I am again with another bag review, but this bag comes in at $129, is super functional, and you do not even feel it while wearing it! This is the Cosyspeed Streetomatic PLUS and it fits around your waist instead of your shoulder, though you can still wear it over your body.

VIDEO REVIEW RIGHT HERE!

This bag is unique, looks great, is made very well and allows us to carry a larger mirrorless or smaller DSLR with one lens, or a smaller mirrorless with 2-3 lenses. The bag arrives with a raincoat, and a strap extender which you would add if you wanted to wear it over the body. When using this bag, it’s a cinch to open it up and take out the camera. Fast, easy and it protects the gear. Sure, one could just wear a camera strap and bring the camera and lens without a bag but this PLUS version of the Streetomatic allows you to also carry accessories in the side pockets. Memory cards, lens cloth, cables, batteries, or even a charger. When you wear this bag around the waist, you soon forget that you are carrying a bag, or a camera. I like it just as I liked the original.

 

While not for everyone, what this bag offers street shooters or those who bring minimal gear is space savings, weight savings and a fast way of gaining access to your camera. Compared to the NON PLUS version, this one looks nicer with its faux leather flap, has a nicer new open and close mechanism that is easier to use, and is larger for those who have a smaller DSLR and lens to carry. As you can see in the video above one can also carry a camera like the Hasselblad X1D WITH a lens attached.

The bag will keep your gear protected from the elements to a point but if it gets really wet be sure to use the protective raincoat included with the bag.

At $129 for this PLUS version and as low as $49 for the non plus version, CosySpeed is offering us a great bag at a great price. I can highly recommend this bag to anyone looking for a holster style bag that will not read the bank, or anyone who carries one camera and lens or a small setup. It truly is much nicer to carry than a traditional bag. Bravo to Thomas from CosySpeed for this one. It is FANTASTIC.

You can buy this bag from B&H Photo HERE. 

Apr 112017
 

Cuba with 2 Small Cameras. Sony and Ricoh.

by Massimo Cristaldi – See more of his work HERE

Cuba. A photographer’s dream. One of the most iconic and photographed places on earth. I was thinking to all this while buying the tickets, for me, my wife and Vittorio (our 4 years old toddler) to spend 3 weeks of december in La Isla Bonita. But I also knew that this could not have been a photographic trip only: I needed to experience the culture, the people and enjoy some holiday with my family.

The plan: start in Habana and then move around the country without any booking or reservation but just with a generic itinerary in mind. Sleeping in Casa Particulares, using taxis, staying with cubans.

So when it came the moment of defining what to carry, from the “photographer” perspective, the choices where already defined by the previous rules: travel light, be there and live the place: photographs will just be a mere consequence of the whole experience.

Traveling Light

Traveling light means for me having a primary and a backup camera. One single lens and focal lenght. To enjoy the trip I really don’t want to bother about anything else. The choices where quite straightforward: Sony RX1R II as main camera (35mm) and my trusty RICOH GR (28mm) as backup camera.

But then all the “side stuff”: 6 batteries in total for the Sony (who runs for circa 200 shots on a charge), 4 batteries for the RICOH. 6 SD cards in various size, from 256Gb down to 32. A Western Digital MyPassport Wireless drive for backing up SD cards while on the go. USB chargers and cables. A powerbank that was never used. And then the bags. A main Think Tank Retrospective 30 to put all the stuff inside and use when commuting from place-to-place. And a Cosyspeed Streetomatic, holding the two cameras, to be used when on location. The bags combination was perfect. You always need a “main bag” that contains all the accessories and something more, such as document, travelling stuff etc. But then, with so small cameras, you just need a small cosy bag. The Streetomatic turned out to be a great companion. Easy to use, light, durable and, even when filled up with a bunch of things, always light since you carry it at waist level.

My Sony is “kitted” with the Fotodiox Grip that I find absolutely useful to hold the camera better. A wrist strap by the nice people at TIE HER UP. The finger holder by Cosyspeed on the second camera hook. The Fotodiox Lens shade. That’s all. The RICOH is always “naked”, I think it doent’ need any further tool to be used at its best.

The Itinerary: 

Havana

4 nights at the nice casa particular of Funny Acosta. Great guest, clean house, super location to see the whole city. Do the typical tour: Havana Veja, Centro Habana, Malecon, but don’t miss to get into the houses, make friendship. If you have your kid with you it will be nearly an advantage as cubans love childrens and they’re really doors opener. Of course, do not expect to take “original” photographs here. This city has been photographed in all possible ways. So sit back, relax and enjoy what you see.

Where: Calle Colon 164, 3° Piso (no elevator, but they’ll help you with your luggage), Entre Prado Y Consulado, Phone: +53-3580-44797.

Vinales

2 nights at the casa particular Idisbel y Kirenia. Vinales is pretty much a “sort of” gipsy town in the middle of a fantastic valley. Take the horse excursion. Go to Cajo Jutias. For nature lovers this is the most amazing valley I’ve seen in Cuba. Vegetation is magnificent. Follow the guides and stay by Casa Idisbel y Kirenia, Street Primera # 13 / 2nd & 4th Neighborhood La Colchoneria, Vinales. Phone(s): +53 48 695601 Mobile +53 53429209. Kirenia makes fantastic breakfasts.

Cienfuegos

1 night at Casa Mabe 56 St. #4115 La Gloria, Cienfuegos – http://www.casamabehostal.com/#contact Cienfuegos is really worth a visit. It’s a bit far from Vinales (you need to get back to havana first) but the city is clean, well maintained: one of the most good kept place in Cuba. And it has an interesting geography with a nice relationship with the Ocean. I really recommend it.

Trinidad

4 nights by Casa Jean Ariel – Street Julio Antonio Mella #263-A (Guasima) | Camilo Cienfuegos (Santo-Domingo) & Lino Perez (San-Procopio), Trinidad 62600 – Trinidad is … Trinidad. Nice, old, time is suspended here more then elsewhere in Cuba. Plenty of things to do, in the town and in the surroundings. Our Guest, Andrea, italian as we are, suggested us the best places to eat in the town and we had the best meal since in Cuba: San Jose. Worth a visit the beach Maria Aguilar, not far from the most known Playa Ancon but with a better water quality.

Cajo Las Bruchas

4 nights at Hotel Las Bruchas – We spent four night in the less touristic hotels in the Cuban Cayos: Villa Las Bruchas, run by cubans, just 24 bungalow on the ocean, no night animation, one single restaurant and a long beautiful beach. Just plain relax, no 900+ rooms resort filled up with drunk tourists. Big rooms, a bit demodè, needing some restoration but who cares: this is Cuba, after all. The staff was very kind expecially our now-friend Junier. Ask about him at the reception.
Remedios

1 night at Hostal La Margarita, Maceo #60 e/ Fe del Valle Y General Carrillo – This is a fashinating small town, similar to Trinidad but smaller and cozy. Every december there is the famous “Parrandas” here, but not in 2016: silence and respect for Fidel death. We stayed in this nice hostal, quite and well positioned. Good breakfast as well and nice owners: Alfredo speaks german.

Havana

2 nights by Casa Mayda y Alberto, Calle 3ra, A #2406 apto 6 e/24 y 26, Phone +5372022003, Mobile +53 05 2840823. If you had enought of the old Habana this is a great location in Miramar. Very nice apartment, the best we had the pleasure to stay in Cuba. Mayda is a fantastics guest and, grabbing for 1 CUC a taxi collectivo you’re in the city center after 10-15 minutes. A great location to visit a less-known part of Habana, where all embassyes are located and some nice playas nearby as well.

The Results

As foreseen Cuba is magic. People are very friendly and you feel safe. A four years old toddler with you helps establishing relationships as people are child lovers. On the streets you’ll find all photographic stimuli you may ever dream of. But, of course, you’ll be collecting plenty of cliche images, and it’s very hard to be original. The smaller the camera the better is as you don’t look intimidating. Landscapes are gorgeous, but not something I enjoy shooting so I can just say that being in a tropical zone you’ll find great vegetation and vibrant colours. As you may see I took photographs of women. Architecture is decadent, and it’s interesting to observe it mixed with people. There is an essay on that here.

But what strokes me most was a simple observation: the nearly total absence of street advertising. This is, obviously, the norm in a Communist country where competition doesn’t exist. There are no commercial banners on the roads, with the only exception being sporadic billboards exalting the values of the “Revolucion”, generally reporting famous phrases by Fidel, Chè, Marti, Cienfuegos or other fathers of the nation. At the entrance of most towns a billboard displays the town name and it’s role at the end of the 50’s.
The rhetoric of the regime, with all its powerful iconological apparatus, is solidly planted in the ground, so as to make a static counterpoint to everything that is in transit: from people walking to improvised sellers, bicycles, cars, horses and carts.
So, I mostly observed Cuba from speeding cars, portraying people in transit as I was, on an island, which, almost sixty years after the revolution of 1959 and just one month since Fidel Castro died, is still moving at a different pace than the rest of the world. “Sic Transit Cuba”. The result is a series of 11 11 Diptychs taken from speeding cars.

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