Aug 022014
 

A special Hasselblad 503CW on E-Bay..beautiful!

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Hey! Hope everyone is having a GREAT Saturday! I am going to head out today and shoot some but had to share this e-bay listing with you guys…it’s gorgeous.

Back when Hasselblad really MADE beautiful and meaningful cameras they also would release special editions, much like Leica. I remember seeing one special edition, limited to 500 pieces worldwide many years ago and I lusted after that camera in a big time way. Just no way I could have afforded it then, and at the prices this piece commands today, it’s the same story.

Since I can not own it, maybe there is someone out there who also lusts after this model, and if so, there is an amazing one on e-bay right now. It is the Hasselblad 503CW limited edition Gold Supreme with 80 2.8 and all accessories, new in box, never used and get this..#500 of 500. This #500 was never sold, but given away back in the day and it was never used. So now it sits in its box waiting for a new owner.

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Sure it is flashy, sure it will even be a bit gaudy to some, but to others…they will see the beauty in it. The 503Cw is a GORGEOUS camera in its black or black/silver versions but this one is over the top. A true collectible that also begs to be used. If I bought it, I would use it on occasion for special portrait sessions. The Hasselblad 503CW is one of those rare cameras that has it all..beauty, build, feel and performance. Yes it is film, but remember..you can even add the new digital back to this guy as well ;) Also know that you can buy a 503CW in its standard configuration for much less, around $2500-$3500 for a kit.

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But this one is a special piece and I knew there would be a few out there who felt the same as me. You can see the listing HERE.  The seller has over 2100 100% feedback.

Aug 012014
 

The Walter Leica Contrast Lens, an invaluable addition to your M?

contrasb

Walter over at Leicawalter.com sent me an email message about his latest item he has created and made available to all Leica M users, and this one appears to be fantastic. It is a contrast lens that goes over your eyepiece and will give you much more contrast when viewing through the viewfinder. This will make it easier to focus, easier to see and give you a more pleasurable experience when using your Leica M or so says Walter himself.

Here is what Walter says about the contrast lens:

In order to get the best focusing possibilities for our clients, we created the WALTER contrast lense.

This amazing eyepiece has a special golden colour coating, which intensifies the light, resulting in better contrast for easier focusing.

The lense is manufactured by hand, utilizing the best optics available and is mounted in solid ‘Gun Kote’ brass.
Multi coated optics to reduce glare.
Contrast-enhancing tint for improved focusing.
Refined and improved dimensions.
Larger optical curved lense for clearer, wider view.
Simply screws into any Leica M camera.
Coating can be used with prescription lenses (WALTER eyepiece), diopter lenses and plano (normal) lenses.
Special launch price: $180.00 (includes postage by registered airmail)
Please enquire about lead time.

contras

Walter tells me that Leica themselves had a similar golden coating on some early M3 cameras, and that they actually used real gold so it became to expensive to implement.

If you would like  to pre-order the Leica Walter Contrast Lense, you can do so directly at walterleica.com HERE. Walter told me there is a 2 week wait time right now on this piece. Keep in mind..as it was not already obvious..that this is NOT a review of the eyepiece. I have not even seen one in person. Just posting about the new product. Walter always creates cool things for Leica and has been around for a while and is well respected by those who buy his products.

Steve

 

Jun 162014
 

New Western Digital, Blacksmith Labs, Cecilia Straps and more!

Hey guys! Just wanted to share a new video I put up on my YouTube channel today (video is above). I had a few things that were sent to me to check out and I wanted to show off some of my faves.

 

passport

Western Digital My Passport Pro 4TB Travel RAID Drive

First of all is the Western Digital My Passport Pro 4TB hard drive, which is a portable drive I will use for my travel needs. This is a double 4TB RAID drive capable of 233 MBPS. It is a Thunderbolt drive and comes in at around $429. It is available at Amazon and I highly recommend it. You can see it in the video above.

blacksmith

Blacksmith Labs iPhone Case

I have had one of the Blacksmith Labs iPhone cases here for a month or two and find that it is a very well made case. Soft supple leather and a great design with easy phone access, it is a nice attractive case. I am not one for belt clip phone cases but if you are, you will want to take a look as the quality is very high. I go over it in the video above so take a look! You can visit Blacksmith Labs HERE.

cecilia

Cecilia Camera Straps

Cecilia Gallery camera straps look like those old school wide strap camera straps and they are pretty much the same but with a couple of exceptions. They are made of full leather and 100% Alpaca Wool. So these are basically a sort of Luxury strap and they have many designs and colors to try out/check out. I have had one for about a month and found the strap to be comfortable and stylish, and different. They range from $90 to $100 and offer beauty, super construction and something unique. You can see more of it in the video above and you can check out the designs and straps direct at Cecilia by clicking HERE.

 

Jun 122014
 

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

A Wildfire Wedding – Story and Images by Josh Newton

See Josh’s website HERE and his blog HERE

Many of you have no doubt seen the very cool Wedding photo shot by Wedding Photographer Josh Newton. They have been aired on TV everywhere as well as gone viral online. If you have NOT seen them I would be surprised! It was an interesting day for Josh, and below he recounts the short but sweet story of how the day went for him, and his clients. One thing is for sure, he ended up getting some very memorable moments for the bride and groom. It is not every day you get married near a raging wildfire that is closing in your wedding celebration. Take a look at the images and story below, which is from Josh Newton’s blog and have been reposted with his permission. You can see many more of his photos at his website!

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April and Michael’s Wildfire Wedding in Bend, OR

By Josh Newton

With the news picking up the wildfire wedding photos, the last week has been a little more exciting than life usually is. On Saturday, April and Michael’s wedding day started off like any other wedding as the two of them anxiously prepared for the ceremony, while friends and family put the finishing touches in place.

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

 

Around 11am, a brush fire nearby turned into the Twin Bulls wildfire, but we had no idea that, later on, we were in for wildfire wedding photos.

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

But unlike other weddings, just as April and her dad were preparing to walk down the aisle, firefighters tending to the Two Bulls wildfire came up with sirens blaring and told them we’d need to evacuate. Seeing that the ceremony was underway, the firefighters changed their minds… as long as we promised to cut it short for the safety of everyone. April was able to walk down the aisle to Michael. After a whirlwind ceremony, the two were happily pronounced man and wife!

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

After the ceremony, while guests scrambled to relocate the reception to Drake Park in Bend, Oregon, I took Michael and April (who were just happy to be married) off to do some photos of the two of them. The results were more incredible than I could have imagined, and I’d never have guessed the quick photo I snapped with my iPhone (see below) would go viral.

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

We caught some incredible moments that afternoon, and I love the way April and Michael grinned at each other, just happy to be married.

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

The news, of course, is all about the wildfire wedding photos, but after 10 years of being a travel wedding photographer, I know the story is in April and Michael’s commitment to each other, and to their unflinching celebration of the life they have ahead.

View More: http://joshnewton.pass.us/aprilandmichael

 Congrats April and Michael!

See Josh’s website HERE and his blog HERE

Jan 222014
 

2013 in just twelve images on different formats 

by Bjarke Ahlstrand

Last year I did a – one year – 2012: 12 months, 12 images, 12 cameras / lenses in total guest report for Steve. It was tough to make, it’s really hard to narrow down a big production to just one image per month, but very rewarding as well.

So I decided to do the same this time around. Those familiar with my work, either here at Steve’s site or my own www.oneofmany.dk will notice that I’ve been drifting slightly towards film and large format recently. The slow process has been healthy for me mentally and photographically speaking. I shoot less images, but work harder for each one, and it’s a thrill to learn new skills — especially ones that aren’t linked to Photoshop.

2013 was a good year for me in many ways, and also challenging. Sometimes I feel I’m balancing between being creative and obsessed, both when it comes to shooting portraits as well as using new cameras and lenses, hehehe. I still treasure my Leica M9-P more than anything else, but the artistic freedom (and limits) the large format view cameras give are very inspiring. Nowadays, whenever I grab a digital camera, I miss the selective focus / shallow depth of field while shooting large format extremely open, but also the tonality and amount of detail that I get from even 100-year-old non-coated lenses. An 8×10″ is approximately 60 times digital full frame, and a Swiss built large format Sinar camera, be it 60 years or 6 years old, is at east 60 times more fun to operate than a modern Canon/Nikon.

Well, here are 12 images, one for each month, all shot on different cameras, formats and lenses.

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FILE: 1 – January – 8×10 – silver shade polaroid

Miss Roxy – Arca Swiss 8×10″ – 305 mm Kodak Portrait Lens (ca. 1930) @ f/4.5 – Silver Shade Polaroid

1 - january - 8x10 - silver shade polaroid

The Impossible Project revived the 8×10″ Polaroid, when they purchased the last production machine from the bankrupt Polaroid plant in Mass, USA, and had it moved to their European headquarters in Holland. The Silver Shade Polaroid, the only one being made in the 8×10″ large format size, isn’t exactly black and white, but still nice to work with, as long as you can live with chemical defects, and manage to get your hands on an antique Polaroid processor which is need to pair the 8×10″ negative with the positive (large format doesn’t work like the old peel-apart Polaroid cameras and film!). Miss Roxy, my assistant posed for this image, which was shot with quite a few tilt and shifts on a 1970s Arca Swiss camera, and the lens mounted on the camera is a wonderful, wonderful 1930s soft focus Kodak Portrait Lens.

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FILE: 2 – February – Hasselblad h3d

Zombieboy – Hasselblad H3D-39 – 150 mm Fujinon HC @ f/5.6

2 - february - hasselblad h3d

When it comes to sharpness, tonality, color and file quality, no digital camera beats the 39 megapixels Hasselblad medium format monster. And yes, I’ve shot the Nikon D800, but it doesn’t even come closer, and neither do the lenses. The Hassy is slow and heavy and really suffers if you go past ISO200, but if you treat it like a film camera, it works excellent, and the resolution it offers is utterly amazing even though it’s a few years old now.

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 FILE: 3 – march – 4×5 – sinar polaroid

Anker – Sinar P2 4×5″ – 240 mm unknown 1860s Petzval lens @ f/3.8 – Expired Fuji Polaroid

3 - march - 4x5 - sinar polaroid

I love the fast lenses! Everyone who’s ever shot a manual f/1 lens, like the Noctilux, Nokton or Sonnetar, knows how difficult it is to achieve a somewhat precise focus. But when you move to the large format, in this case, the 4×5″ film format, things get waaaaay more difficult control — and if your lenses were made in 1860 instead of 1960, you add to the difficulty aspects, but the reward is equally bigger, if you nail it. And even though the output material is an old expired Fuji Polaroid, the depth of field and detail is amazing. It was shot a night-time, using only my Ikea table lamp as the light source — and two small light candles which I place behind him.

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FILE: 4 – april – 5×7 – kodak 2b wetplate collodion berlin

Alex – Kodak 2B 5×7″ – 150 mm Rapid Rectilinear @ f/8 (ca 1890) – wetplate collodion

4 - april - 5x7 - kodak 2b wetplate collodion berlin

Mmmmmhhhh, the smell of ether :-) When I had a chance to join a wetplate collodion seminar in Berlin, held by American David Puntel, I simply had to attend. What a fine (and difficult) process. I’m sure most of you have heard or read about it elsewhere, so I won’t go into the tech/chemical aspects, but just recommend everyone into photography to try the 1850-1851 photography process, which is very rewarding. It sharpens your senses, and you really consider, plan and compose your image, before pressing the shut… ehh, correct that, you don’t use a shutter for this, because the old lenses have none, and you need a lot of (day)light. You just remove the darkslide, take off the lens cap, and let the subject, in this case animation director, Alex Brüel Flagstad, sit absolutely still for 14 seconds. This was a so-called half-plate which is a tiny bit smaller than 4×5″. Notice the silver nitrate on my fingers. It took months before it disappeared.

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FILE: 5 – may – Leica m9-p 35 summicron

Assistant+Artist shot by oldest clone – Leica M9-P – 35 mm Summicron @f/2 (1st version, anno 1964)

5 - may - Leica m9-p 35 summicron

A rare shot of me in action. I am placed one the right with the dark cloth on my head, while planning a 4×5″ Ektachrome dias portrait shoot. My oldest son, Hjalte, shot this behind the scenes photo with the Leica M9-P and an old 35 mm Summicron that I’d just purchased from conflict photographer Jan Grarup, whom I guess is the only real documentary/war professional who actually shoot with Leica for a living. Jan exchanged his old glass in favor for the new Voigtländers, so I got his old 35 mm Summicron. The first version of the classic lens really shines on the M9-P, which is still my all-time favourite digital camera, due to portability and quality (as long as you don’t enter the 640+ iso’s, hehe) and not least lenses, lenses, lenses.

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FILE: 6 – june – leica m typ240 apo-summicron

Katja naturelle – Leica M Typ240 – 50 mm Apo-Summicron Asph @ f/2

6 - june - leica m typ240 apo-summicron

I don’t have a Typ240, I just borrowed one along with the new 50 mm Apo-Summicron Asph for a day. With my love of cameras, I have of course considered the Typ240 many times, but every time I hold one, it just doesn’t feel like my kind of camera. Can’t exactly say why, and I know it beats my older M9-P technically speaking, I just think the CCD sensor of the old Leica renders better/differently (at lower ISOs). The new 50 mm Apo-Summicron, on the other hand, whauuuuh, that one would be a nice addition to my collection of Leica 50′s (Noctilux Asph, Summilux Asph, Sonnetar, Jupiter-3, Summitar, Summar), but the price tag… well, I guess I’d rather buy 10 antique Petzval lenses for my large format cameras… Or a Monochorme. But it sure is nice, resolution wise almost matching the medium format Schneider Kreuznach, Rodenstock and Fujinon HC lenses, just so much smaller. This image is straight out of camera, no adjustments, and wide open @ f/2.

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FILE: 7 – july – 8×10 – Dallmeyer 2A Petzval f4 – Fuji Velvia 50

Katja Nun – Sinar P2 8×10″ – 300 mm Dallmeyer Petzval 2B (ca 1870) @ f/3.8- Fuji Velvia 50

7 - july - 8x10 - Dallmeyer 2A Petzval f4 - Fuji Velvia 50

Same subject as before, my girlfriend Katja, only this time around she was shot on a 140 year old Dallmeyer Petzval lens. The Petzval lenses are famous for their swirliness around the edge and utter sharpness in the center. They’re extremely fast (f/3.8 – f/4 on large format is like f/1 on kleinbild 35 mm in-depth of field terms, and if you tilt-shift the camera it’s even more extreme). I shot this on an old, expired 8×10″ Velvio 50ISO dias in the very last evening light, and she had to sit still for half a second. With the light passing and time it takes to re-focus, load the film holder (which only holds two images, one on each side), removing the darkslide and wait for the camera to stand still, you only have one chance, so you often miss a shot. Especially sharpness wise as the depth of field is extremely small. But not this time around. Of course what you see here is a low resolution file, but the original 8×10″ positive – and scanned file amazes me. If only 8×10″ dias weren’t so tough to come by (and expensive) this would be my preferred medium. But hopefully you get a glimpse of the sharpness and bokeh this old lens produces…

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FILE: 8 – may – 4×5 – Linhof 135 mm

Viking Viggo – Linhof Technika IV 4×5″ – 135 mm Symmar @ f/5.6 – Ilford Delta 100

Picture 211

Now and then it’s nice to go offline. Away from mails, text messages, facebook, hell — even stevehuff.com! Especially if you have kids who are always online, and addicted to it. So this summer, my clones (ages 14 and 9) and I spent one weekend as vikings at a historic “reservation”. The offspring agreed to leave every electronic device at home, as long as I did the same. So I bought my Linhof Technika IV and 5 filmholders, so I would be able to shoot maximum 10 images through out a whole week. It turned out to be somewhat of a challenge, as there were many nice photo opportunities and, for once, I had a lot of time on my hands. But I guess the slow-photography-dogma was therapeutic to me, and when I got home and developed the ten sheets of film, I was thrilled that 7 out of 10 turned out very well. This one is my favorite. I was chopping wood but discovered that Viggo was playing with a kitten behind a tent, so I located the Linhof, guessed the light (1/8th of a second at f/5.6 on a Ilford Delta 100 sheet film), called his name and pressed the shutter. I adore the old school documentary-ish vibe it has to it. This is film when it’s best, and I couldn’t have done something with this tonality had it been a digital camera. Playing viking for a whole week, I sure missed my Leica, but the large format “portable” Linhof proved to be a worthy companion (it was my first time using the German 1960s mechanical metal marvel — the Leica of large format! It’s extremely well-built, like a Leica).

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FILE: 9 – september – leica monochrome 50 mm sonnetar f1

Mrs Madsen On The Roof – Leica Monochrome – 50 mm MS-Optical Sonnetar @ f/1.1

9 - september - leica monochrome 50 mm sonnetar f1

I adore the Monochrome, and I wish I owned one. Every time I borrow one, I love and loathe it at the same time. It’s so extravagantly priced and immensely simple, but it just works — especially with old lenses. Or old lens designs, as is the case with this crazy handmade Japanese lens, the Sonnetar, based on the Sonnar design, but taken to extremes; both size wise and in aperture terms. Wide open its f/1.1, a little hard to handle, but produces dreamy images with out of this world background bokeh (it’s after all made in Japan). I don’t think Steve has had a review or guest report with images taken with this lens, which I bought directly from Japan earlier this year, but if there’s a demand for it, I might do a small review and supply some samples (it handles color images very well as well). It’s very cheap compared to the Noctilux, and performs way, way, way better than the horrible Cosina (Voigtländer) Nokton f/1.1.

FILE: 10 – october – 8×10 – direct_positive_paper

Afghan Princess – Sinar P2 5×7″ – 360 mm Voigtländer Heliar (ca anno 1903) @ f/4.5 – Ilford Direct Positive Paper

10 - october - 5x7 - direct_positive_paper 

I often shoot paper negatives on large format. It’s a cheap way of testing new lenses (paper is way cheaper than negatives), but you always have to either make contact prints in the dark room or scan it and invert it Photoshop. Enter the very nice Ilford Direct Positive Paper, which is sort of a mixture of classic photo paper and polaroid. You shoot it in your 4×5″, 5×7″ or 8×10″ film holder, and when you develop it (in paper chemicals – and under red light) it transforms from a negative to a positive. A bit like wet plate collodion, except this is far easier and less dangerous, chemically speaking. So I’d recommend this to everyone shooting large format, as it’s very pleasing to see the result directly after you’ve shot your image. In this case I did a portrait of an Afghan (refugee) princess with a fantastic 110 year old 36 cm / 360 mm Voigtländer Heliar portrait lens, which even survived a fire some ten years ago and has cement between the elements! Those old Voigtländer lensus unlike the new Cosina-branded ones for Leicas and micro 4/3s are very well made, and perform excellently, even one hundred years are they were made. The Direct Posistive Paper is rated somewhere in between ISO1 and ISO3 and is most suited for pinhole cameras, as it’s very contrasty, but I think it’s nice for portraits as well, as long as you learn to balance your light a bit. For this I used a flash, or was it three ProFoto generators :-?

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FILE: 11 – november – 1913 goecker studio wood camera expired 809 polaroid

Jesper – Goecker Wooden Studio Camera (1913) 8×10″ – Dallmeyer 3B 300 mm Portrait Lens @ f/4 – Expired (1995) 809 Polaroid

11 - november - 1913 goecker studio wood camera expired 809 polaroid

I buy a lot of old gear, and I always appreciate spending time with the old time pros or collectors from whom I get my gear. In this case, I bought some old Linhof cameras (4×5″ and 5×7″) from an old master about to retire. He had been a pro for 45 years (!), and never went digital. In his hay days he developed 2000 5×7″ prints every day! Both color and b&w. He also had an old (dating back to 1913) wooden studio camera in his studio and I immediately fell in love with the old beauty. A 100 year old camera, which still works like a dream. It was equipped with a gigantic Petzval-design portrait lens, the Dallmeyer 3B. Neither camera nor lens had any shutter, which – unless you shoot wetplate or paper negatives – actually can be somewhat of a problem due to the (short) exposure times. But fortunately the old pro found a box of old 8×10″ 809 Polaroid’s, a film I’d never shot before, which expired back in 1995. He doubted I could get anything out of the remaining 4 polaroid’s in the box, but I did. This image was shot only with the light from my living room lamp, using my HAND as a shutter for approximately one second. I absolutely love the final result – what you see here is a plain scan of the image I shot. Notice the text lines next to his face – they come from the “negative condom” or protection sheet that the polaroid’s were wrapped in. Somehow, during the 18 since (since expiration date) some of the text managed to creep unto the negative. Pure light magic.

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FILE: 12 – december – canon 5d mark iii

Teen Clone – Canon EOS 5D Mark II – Canon 24-50 mm II @ f/4

12 - december - canon 5d mark iii 

My oldest clone never wants to be photographed because he’s 1) a teenager 2) thinks his father is embarrassing 3) doesn’t like cameras or photography 4) has braces and pimples all over his face — BUT — he also needed to give his mother, my ex-wife, something for x-mas, so he bought a frame, and asked if I would do a portrait. I did two, actually, an 8×10″ analogue, but then I snapped a test shot with my Canon, and it turned out best. Yes, that’s right. I do digital light metering tests before using precious sheet film / polaroids! I practically never use the Canon camera, as it’s big and has no personality and uses auto focus zoom lenses, hahaha. Well, snobbing aside, its video capabilities talk for them selves, but it is of course the 5D Mark III is a very capable professional tool, very rarely failing in any way. But I still prefer an old Leica, Linhof or an old wooden studio camera :-)

I guess that concludes my 2013 in just twelve images on different formats, cameras and lenses.

Perhaps I should mention, that I’m in the process of my building my own 20×24″ ultra large format camera, so perhaps you’ll see an image from that alongside a Minox next year, hehe.

Best,

Bjarke

www.oneofmany.dk

Jan 092014
 

sony

Sony NEX-7 Mega Package Deal Alert!

Well it had to happen sooner or later! The NEX-7 is being cleared out at B&H Photo at a great price so for those of you who are not interested in going full frame with the new A7 and A7r, here is your chance to snag a great deal on a fantastic camera.

For $999 (A $650 Savings) you get the NEX-7 body, the 18-55 Kit Zoom in black, the 20 2.8 Pancake lens a 16GB Mem Card, a case and a $100 gift card for a future purchase at B&H Photo!

This is a pretty nice deal for someone wanting to jump into an APS-C mirror less. To top it off B&H is offering free basic shipping as well, so total out the door would be $999 for the whole kit and caboodle.  My old NEX-7 Review is HERE.

You can check out the deal here, or purchase at B&H PHOTO!

Dec 232013
 

My Fave Photobook buys of 2013

By Colin Steel – HIs website is HERE.

colin1

Hey everyone, I was just looking at all of the end of year lists that are appearing of the 10 best, movies, songs, photos etc. and of course the many, many versions of the top photo books of the year by various critics. This got me to thinking of the photo books that I have personally bought this year and to be honest its been a bit hit and miss in terms of quality and alignment with the topics and visions that interest me. Having said that I have been lucky enough to acquire what I think are some simply extraordinary pieces of photography and I am personally a huge fan of the photo book as being the ultimate expression of the art. One thing that struck me about the critics that proposed these lists was that they probably hadn’t bought and paid for these books themselves and they all seemed to strive to be unusual or unique in some way. I guess that is the way of journalism and the search for originality. With that in mind I thought it would be a bit of fun to highlight my favourite recent purchases, photo books that I have bought with my own hard-earned. These are not in any order of significance or rating but the idea is simply to perhaps whet your appetites and give some insight into the books and why I personally like them. So settle down with a coffee and packet of your favourite biscuits.

First up then……

Ernesto Bazan

colin2

I am lucky enough to own two personally signed books by Ernesto and they are prized possessions for a number of reasons including the wonderful memories they evoke of working, shooting and learning from Ernesto in Sicily and Brazil. The two books that I have are both from the fourteen year period that Ernesto spent in Cuba during the turbulent period when Russia was moving into Perestroika and economic aid to Cuba was largely cut off. Both books are of course crammed with Ernesto’s beautiful, poetic and lyrical photographs and it is obvious that this depth of work can only be created over a very long period of time by someone with the tenacity and skill to understand and express the people of Cuba and their environment. The books are different in that Al Campo, the study of the Cuban countryside and farmers, is in colour while the first book in the soon to be trilogy (the final book in preparation is very beautiful and shot on an Xpan) Bazan Cuba, is in black and white. Nevertheless the same sensitivity and outright beauty is apparent in both. Despite having a personal preference to shoot B&W I continually find myself returning to the colour Al Campo most and I love the mood, feel and warmth that book generates for me. I particularly like one of the most simple shots in the book of an old lady and some flowers. I find the photograph completely beguiling and timeless.

colin3 

Bazan Cuba on the other hand has a more documentary feel for me and despite the fact that many of the photographs are timeless and insightful, you can’t help but get a feeling of historical significance and I think it is a book that is going to become even more important with the passing of time. Many famous photographers have visited Cuba and tried to interpret it but in my opinion, only Ernesto through his integration (he also married a Cuban) really understood the people and place and for that reason his book is I think the definitive book on Cuba.

colin4

Again, the book is classic Ernesto and filled with beautifully observed and sensitively shot images that combine to create a visually stimulating and thought-provoking document of Cuba.

colin5 

I think Bazan Cuba is coming towards the end of the first edition print run and is getting harder to find and more expensive. If you are looking for an absolutely classic photo book that will interest, inspire and educate you as a photographer then I would highly recommend either Bazan Cuba, or Al Campo, you won’t be disappointed and you will be buying something that will only become rarer and more valuable.

colin6

Daido Moriyama

colin7

Now for a complete change of tone and style and a quick look at a few Daido books. I find that Moriyama polarises photographic opinion and perhaps it’s not so trendy to like his work as it used to be. Personally I don’t care about trends and I find Daido’s work truly inspirational and own a large number of his books, many of which are signed. I wanted to mention three of his books here; the seminal 71 New York, Buenos Aries and Reflections and Refraction. The first two mentioned books are recent reprints and come in a very nice pulp paperback type form. These two books for me have to be looked at in their entirety and I find it pointless and almost meaningless to isolate individual images because the books seem to create a narrative, mood and sensation of walking along these streets beside Daido. They have rightly been likened to beat poems and I always think that is the best way to describe them, I find them vibrant, loose and energetic. I always make a point of re-reading 71 New York if I am setting off to visit a new city, it seems to create that ‘road trip’ feel.

colin8 

I think you are either going to love or hate Moriyama so if you are not familiar with his work have a look around first, there is no shortage of it on the web. If you find you like it then I think 71 New York is a great place to start and it would do no harm to look at where Daido got his inspirations for the book from, Midnight Cowboy, William Klein and James Baldwin.

Nikos Economopoulos

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Again, I consider myself very privileged to own a personally signed copy of Nikos’ classic Balkanlarda which I bought in Istanbul. Nikos, for me is an out-and-out artist, his eye for shape, structure and his bold compositions are a delight and like Ernesto’s books, I find this a highly educational as well as enjoyable piece of art. There are other parallels in that this book was composed over a considerable period with Nikos wandering around the Balkans in his camper van (which he still does incidentally as part of his workshop programme)

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I think any photographer that takes the time to study this book will come to marvel at the innovative framings and structures of Nikos photographs, following my meeting with him and the workshops I attended with him I felt an intense sense of liberation from the cliched concepts that I had previously understood to be required for ‘good’ photography and I can truly say that Nikos set me free to look at things in a more individual way.

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Jason Eskenazi

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Make no mistake, this small, unassuming little book is a thing of very great intelligence and beauty. Jason Eskenazi is not a name that jumps to mind for many photographers and I think that is only because he likes to keep a very low profile and happily just wander around taking the most incredible photographs. I do not exaggerate, there is not a single image in his Wonderland book that you could class as a filler or in any way mediocre, it’s that good. Some of you will be aware of the incredible story that Jason was a security guard at MOMA in New York and travelled many times to Russia to create his ‘fairy tale of the Soviet monolith’ which he structured around the classical folk tales, child gets lost, taken in by guardians who don’t really care about her and so on. I feel that I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment that anyone who reads this book will get by saying too much about it, read it and see for yourself.

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I can think of very few photographers that can compose a frame with the precision and insight that Eskenazi can. As with some of the other books shown here I see this as a paragon of intelligent photography and there is an enormous amount to be learnt not only from the photographs but in looking at the overall structural concept and strict editing that Jason has applied. Like some of the others in this short list, this is becoming harder to find and more expensive so if you see one, don’t hesitate to buy it.

Anders Petersen

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My ownership of this book and introduction to Anders Petersen’s photography was a lovely piece of good luck when a friend in Singapore who acts as the unofficial librarian for the Invisible Photographer Asia community asked if anyone was interested in Petersen’s ‘Soho’ so that we could share shipping. I decided to take a chance and this amazing book showed up a few weeks ago. It’s always so nice when something unexpected works out so well, the book turned out to be really cool and there is so much I like about it even down to the physical choice of materials, cover etc. very understated but high quality – just like the photography. I have bought a few books from Mack who published this book and I always find them to be exceptional in the presentation and quality department.

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Back to the photography and I guess that you could draw similarities in Petersen’s style with other photographers that I like, admire and try to learn from, in particular Moriyama and Sobol. Petersen’s book was a commission to shoot London’s Soho and he has done a damn fine job of capturing the sense of the place and its uniqueness. One thing that particularly struck me in many of the photos was how he captured eyes and to me its this feature of his work that takes the book beyond the ordinary. Personally I think its become very tiresome looking at harsh, flash lit ‘street photography’ but the way that Petersen and Sobol in particular use flash to create stark tones is really masterful and, as opposed to the mainstream approach which tends towards sensationalism, the flash and stark contrast enhances the mood and subject.

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Like Sobol, he also seems to have a knack (and the courage) to find and engage with extremely interesting subjects and it the blending of these fascinating subjects with the quirkiness of the Soho environment that makes the book a winner for me.

Takuma Nakahira

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Nakahira’s For a Language to Come, has been out of print for a while and become pretty expensive and hard to get. However Osiris have now republished this piece of photographic magic and I was lucky to get a copy. Like Moriyama, this book and Nakihira’s style will polarise photographers and I have a few friends who are much better photographers and more credible in this area than me who do not like this at all. That’s the beauty of human diversity, and I am sure there are many people who will not like or agree with other choices in here and that is a fantastic thing and, ultimately for me, one of the sources of creativity.

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I think its important to contextualise Nakahira as someone who was brought up in post war Japan and I think you see his thoughts on that in many of the photographs. Somehow he strikes into deep-rooted sensibilities inside me and I find the photographs universal and disturbing and scary and beautiful all at the same time. As with Moriyama, don’t buy this without having a look first to see if it aligns with your senses and ideas.

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Vanessa Winship

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This is a very, very special book and like some others in here it will easily stand the test of time and become more and more relevant as it ages. As I understand it Winship was the first woman to ever win the Cartier Bresson trust award (how can that be ???) and she used the modest amount of the award to fund some trips to America which she had always wanted to photograph. How easy would it have been to try to update Frank and do some kind of modern road trip work? Not Winship, ‘She Dances on Jackson’ is as original, sensitive and insightful a photography book as you are ever likely to come across. Again, it’s published by Mack and the prints inside are delicious in the way they pull you into the pages. I have no idea how you can create a book of this quality at a reasonable retail price, if you were to have all of these shots printed separately to this level of quality it would easily cost three or four times more than the entire book cost, amazing stuff.

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I read somewhere that she doesn’t like ‘shouty’ photographs and that is very clear in the subtle beauty of this work. The photographs are almost delicate and even the many portraits have that gentle, lyrical but always meaningful, sometimes disturbing look.

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I am convinced that we will be looking back in 10 years time at this book as an out-and-out photographic classic. Winship has in my opinion done something extraordinarily creative in here and it looks like the culmination of all of her years of experience and craft.

Roger Ballen

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I am at a bit of a loss here as to what to say about Ballen’s work that hasn’t been said before. This year however was my introduction to him and, although I own a few of his books ‘Shadow Chamber’ is my favourite. It has a rawness that has now left his more modern work and, like all of his work it is psychological in its nature and can be deeply disturbing and thought-provoking in equal measure. I really like the way Ballen constructs his frames and there is a lot to be learnt from his structuring and arrangement of elements and shapes.

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More than any photographer I can think of Ballen has a unique ability to tap into our deepest recesses and his photographs both disturb and fascinate me. Perhaps an acquired taste but well worth looking into if you want to see some completely original and creative work by an accomplished master.

Todd Hido

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Todd Hido seems to be very much in vogue just now but unlike many trends and styles that come and go I think the substance behind his work is enduring. His latest book is ‘Excerpts from Silver Meadows’ and is structured around his search for the home of his younger days. What sets Hido apart for me is his ability to create universal metaphors and evoke generic memories that most of us have, this is his genius.

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It takes enormous skill to blend different formats and mediums the way Hido does and there are not many photographers that could pull this off. It’s easy to be drawn in by the motel room female shots, and they have their part to play, but I personally find his lovely, through the windscreen landscape shots to be exceptional.

This is a large book and definitely benefits from the sense of scale but from a learning viewpoint its also worth considering his arrangements and sequencing, very powerful but accessible photography.

Peter Turnley

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As many of you will know, Peter is a world-renowned photojournalist and there is almost no major world event of the last twenty or thirty years that he has not shot. Peter and his twin brother David have been very much in the news recently due to the close relationship they shared with Nelson Mandela and they’re documenting of his release from prison and subsequent shaping of modern South Africa. Peter has lived and photographed in Paris for around forty years and this book is, as he says, is his ‘love letter to Paris.’

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I had a deep concern when I first saw this book coming out that it would be a bit twee and while Peter does get dangerously close a few times, I think the over-riding sense of love, sensuality and out-and-out joy in the photographs bring it home for me.

My own favourites in the book are the more subtle and in a way artistic shots as I get a sense that these were Peter’s therapy for the horror, conflict and desperate situations that he routinely photographed in his journalistic work.

In some ways this is a very different book from the others in here but I think that, like me, many people will appreciate how the delicacy of the photographic situations and Peter’s obvious love for Paris and people make this a very worthwhile addition to any photo book library.

Twentyfifteen

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Finally, something a little different and closer to home to finish with. I have been working and living in Singapore for over six years now and find it an exceptional place to live, and, as an added bonus, there is also a thriving photographic community. From that community twenty locally based photographers have gotten together to produce a set of books in commemoration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee in 2015. The books are very innovative and high quality in their concept and design and each photographer seeks to show a unique aspect of Singapore from their perspective. There are currently only four published but their intent is to complete the entire series prior to the Jubilee events. Needless to say the photographers are very different in their style and approach and this is one of the things I enjoy about the series. I know that this is really of most interest to Singaporeans’ but if you are interested in the books have a look here to find out more:

http://twentyfifteen.sg

Also, if photography in Asia interests you there is no better place to find out what’s happening and see very original work than Invisible Photographer Asia

Well that’s it for this year folks, please take this article in the spirit it was intended. This is not a definitive ‘best of’ list, this is simply my favourites from the books that I have personally bought recently and, as such, I am sure there are many, many other great books that I have not yet seen or enjoyed. My intent here was to share, and hopefully some of you will like these choices and enjoy and learn from them in the way that I have.

Colin Steel Portfolio 2013

Colin

Dec 192013
 

Lost Angels

By Lee Jeffries

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I guess “Lost Angels was a “process” that started for me five years ago. I was in London to run the marathon and found myself wandering the streets with my camera the day before the race. I trained my long lens on a young homeless girl huddled in a sleeping bag from across the street. She noticed and began to shout at me in an objective manner. I was obviously very embarrassed and at the time two thoughts went through my head. Turn away and get out of the situation quickly. Or go over and talk to her. I chose the latter. Doing so changed my perception of how I wanted to approach photography. The photographs became of secondary importance. Making contact, stopping to chat and helping out where I could become much more significant. Loneliness goes hand in hand with homelessness and alleviating that for 20 minutes..or an hour…or sometimes for a few days then it’s that reaction, nearly always positive, that I take away from an encounter. The intimacy of my portraits are perhaps a testament to this.

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My images have become more like art. For that reason I never dilute them with “document” or “circumstance” unless it’s absolutely warranted. I try very hard to capture both an emotional element and supplement that with a metaphysical quality that grabs and holds the attention of the viewer. I like to allow all of that emotion to breathe inside the mind of those that “see” and allow them to make their own conclusions on the “reality” of the situation. There is enough packed into any one of my images to take the viewer on a journey. They are an exploration of humanity. It’s as much an exercise in self-examination as it is in photography. They carry a social message, a message of injustice and suffering. They are about faith. Love. Compassion.

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Cheers

Lee

You can check out Lee’s book “Lost Angels” at the link HERE. His 500px is HERE.

Dec 032013
 

 This is NOT a Photograph of Morgan Freeman…

What you see below is NOT a photo of Morgan Freeman. Sound unbelievable? Well, take a look at the video below the image. This was done on an iPad app and is a finger painting that took 200 hours to create by UK Artist Kyle Lambert. He used the app called “Procreate”. Simply jaw dropping amazing! It took Kyle over 285,000 brush strokes to create this lifelike image.

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Nov 252013
 

Prints for the Philippines

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Hey hey! It is Monday and I figured I would start the day with a good cause that can help so many in need. Neil Buchan-Grant, who has contributed to  this site on many occasions has started up a website called “Prints for the Philippines”  in where photographers can offer their prints for sale with 100% of the proceeds going to help the victims of the typhoon. Here is what the site says

“A collaboration of concerned photographers selling photographic prints to help the Typhoon stricken people of the Philippines. All sales go to the DEC Typhoon Appeal. New photographers being added daily. To see the current photographers, their unique offers and our team’s progress, click on “contributors” below”

So go check it out HERE and see if there is any way you could help out! They need people who want to buy prints or submit work to sell to raise money!

Thanks, and more to come today so check back!

 

Oct 022013
 

facebook

Be sure to like my Facebook Page!

Just a heads up to anyone out there who uses Facebook

Me, I have a personal page and a page for this website and that is where I will be posting some very cool things VERY soon. News you will not want to miss. NEWS that will be posted there before it will be posted HERE. I have had the Facebook page for 4 1/2 years and always post photos, tidbits, news and upcoming news on that page. More interaction and info will be posted in 2014 so if you want to get in on this, make sure you go to it and LIKE it! When it hits 20,000 likes I will be giving away something really cool. Not much more to  go as it is well on its way to 19,000 :)

BTW, the last contest finished up last week for the really cool Tenba Mini Messenger bag and the winner was Joseph Timmins from Chicago, IL.

I’m also just about to hit 20,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel HERE. Be sure to subscribe to that because in addition to some really cool news coming soon, there will be a new video that you will not want to miss very soon as well :)

You can LIKE my Facebook Page HERE

You can Subscribe to my YouTube HERE

Thanks!!

PS – BTW, more cool things coming today, so check back!

Oct 012013
 

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Amazing Portraiture of the Homeless from Lee Jeffries

I just today discovered some work by Lee Jeffries that brought me to full attention to my screen. After viewing all of them, I knew I had to share the link to his images. Some of you may know that I have photographed the Homeless many years ago now and when I took on that small project I was attacked and ridiculed by many who had no idea what the intent of my project was. I was also praised by many for the work and for helping these people out. They are just like us, we are all Human Beings living on this earth with one physical life and not all of us have it as easy as others. In my travels I have found that many Homeless were once living a decent life until something catastrophic pushed them over the edge with no way of returning to the life they once had.

Some experienced the death of a spouse or a chile and could not handle the loss. Some lost their jobs of 20+ years and then had nothing. Some were mentally ill and had no family to take care of them. A few were drug abusers who brought it all onto themselves but one thing remained constant, they lost all hope and were just walking the streets, living by dumpsters and waiting for their life to come to an end.

The images I took on 35mm film were raw, basic and honest. I approached these men and women on the street with a helping hand in the form of food, water, cash or clothing/blankets/pillows. I sat down with them and got to know them and why they were in the situation they were in. I spoke with them, laughed with them and even cried with a couple of them. I followed up with a few over a year and some were gone and some were still roaming the streets trying to survive. Some of my photos are HERE but they do not compare to the emotion, rawness and beauty of the images I saw today from Lee Jeffries. I do not know what he used to capture the images and I do not care, it does not matter.

I do not have permission to share his images here nor have I spoken with him (though I did send him a message), but I urge you to take a look at his gallery HERE. Amazing portraits.

Steve

 

Sep 222013
 

Cool Photo Road Trip – “Valley Of Fire” – Nov 15-17 2013

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A couple of friends of mine are doing a cool photo road trip in November. Todd Hatakeyama and Jay Bartlett are looking for adventurous individuals who want to join them for this trip. It will be amazing with so many photo opportunities around every corner. The “Valley of The Fire” trip will take place from November 15th-November 17th 2013 and you can look at all of the details HERE at their site. I will not be at this workshop as I have other plans for that week (my Birthday week) but the last time  they went on this trip they had a great time and brought back many cool shots. How can you not when you are talking about a place like Antelope Canyon?

According to Todd and Jay, “There will be a lot of hiking, photography, arches, caves, and amazing colors. We’ll see as much of the park as we can in 2 days. Possible locations include: Elephant Rock, White Domes, Arch Rock, Fire Wave, Crazy Hill, Pretzel Arch, El Portal Arch, Piano Rock, and more.”

Todd has been on many of my workshops with me from Seattle to Vegas to L.A. (That he hosted) the Cruise in 2012. He knows how to plan a trip so if anyone wants in on this you can click over to their site to register. Cost is $500 for the trip. I wish I could make it!

Cost: $500
Includes: Round trip transportation from Rancho Cucamonga, shared hotel room, breakfast (Sat & Sun), snacks, bottled water, park entrance fees.
* If you are not from Southern California, you can fly or drive to Las Vegas and meet us at our hotel at noon to join the group.

Las Vegas locals $350 (not including hotel or breakfast)

Sep 182013
 

New Olympus E-M1 video from the Launch event!

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Hey guys! Just saw this video on YouTube from Olympus on the new OM-D E-M1 and it’s pretty cool if I do say so myself :)

This is the event I attended with a few other bloggers and photographers where we witnessed 1st hand the launch of the new OM-D E-M1. I even give my quick impressions in this video while shooting with the E-M1 at night, see if you can spot me (not too hard with my bald head)  :)

The E-M1 is proving to be pretty popular and is pre-selling VERY well. I can not wait for release and I will have more from the camera, much more, in the next two weeks because I will be headed to Dublin, Ireland and Castle Leslie for 2-3 days to attend another event where I will be able to use the camera. Can’t wait and of course I will report here with info as soon as I get images, details, and some real use with the camera. As always, I will let you guys know the real deal.

The OM-D E-M1 is Olympus’s flagship that is the top of the heap in Micro 4/3 as well as a replacement for the normal 4/3 E-5. Micro 4/3 has come a long way and continues to impress.

You can pre-order at B&H Photo, Amazon or PopFlash.com

Sep 112013
 

New Camera pre-order! Panasonic GX7, Sony QX10, Olympus E-M1, Leica C

Many new cameras have been announced in the past week or two, and more are on the way before the end of the year..I think :)

Panasonic has the cool and well received new GX7, Sony has announced some cool and different things in the QX10 and QX100 lens/cameras, a DSLR like $399 Alpah 3000 in e-mount and the new NEX-5T and 16-70 Lens.  Leica has announced a rebadged Panasonic LF1 but it is pretty nice looking, and the LF1 is a great little camera as it is. The Leica gives us the style, design and warranty of a Leica for $200 more with some cool accessories available for it as well. Of course, the big one so far is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and 12-40 2.8 Pro Zoom Lens. Below are full links to my recommended dealers for pre-orders of all of these new releases. Many of us love to pre-order because it means we get the cameras 1st. Sometimes these hot cameras end up having long wait times for those who do not get their order in early (Leica M 240, Sony RX1R, Fuji X100s). The best part is you can pre-order from the dealers below yet your card will not be charged until the items ship. You can cancel at any time before that if you change your mind.

UPDATE: The new Sony Alpha 3000 is IN STOCK and at $398 it is the best bang for the buck out there. It seems to me Sony will LOSE money on this one to get people into the E-Mount system. This is a high speed, with EVF, APS-C camera that is SMALL but DSLR shaped that will accept E- Mount Lenses, have great low light performance, FAST AF, live view, HD video and all of the normal things we expect, including an 18-55 Zoom lens. All for $398. Amazing. I will be reviewing this SOON but did get to see it this past weekend. $398 is a steal for someone wanting to get into an APS-C sensor camera coming from a P&S and wanting that DSLR style.

So for those who are interested, I have listed the new releases that are coming VERY soon below along with their pre-order links! Later today I will have a review up of a Canon 6D with Canon 85L 1.2 and Sigma 35 1.4. Check back later!

 

Panasonic GX7:

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Pre-Order the body only at B&H Photo

Pre-Order the body/kit zoom at B&H Photo

Pre-Order the Body only at Amazon

Pre-Order the Body/kit zoom at Amazon

Sony QX10 and QX100:

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Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

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Sony Alpha 3000 with EVF and lens, $398 – BEST bang for buck camera on the market, hands down! 

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Pre-Order at B&H Photo - IN STOCK NOW!!

Pre-Order at Amazon - IN STOCK NOW!!

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Sony NEX-5T – The latest and greatest “5″:

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Pre-Order at Amazon - IN STOCK NOW!

Pre-Order at B&H Photo - IN STOCK NOW!

Leica C – compact with built in EVF:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order through Ken Hansen – email [email protected]

Pre-Order through the Pro Shop

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Cool Leica C Case at PopFlash.com

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Olympus OM-D E-M1:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

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Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom:

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Pre-Order at PopFlash.com

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon

 

 

 

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