Dec 242014

My Favorite Camera Shops & Dealers. Ever.

There are so many camera shops, store, internet sites and dealers out there ready to take our cash and send us a new fresh box of happiness. If you are like me, receiving a new package from the Fed Ex or UPS man brings  not only a smile, but a rush of energy, happiness and joy.

I love my cameras and over the last 20 years I have learned WHERE To buy from to get the most hassle free and enjoyable experience, as well as the best deals sometimes.

I always get e-mails asking me “where should I buy XXX camera”? Well, here you go. These shops are also site sponsors because I accepted them as sponsors (I turn down many every year). 

Over the years I have recommended the same dealers here. Those that I have worked with and bought from on many occasions. I have shopped from a few other sources but sometimes have had a negative experience so this is why I only recommend those who I trust and those who have really went above and beyond. I only allow advertisers and sponsors whom I trust and support back and know would never rip anyone off.

Look what the USPS man drug from Ken Hansen. The Leica Monochrom in silver chrome and the new M-P in black. 


Below is a list of whom I buy from, who I have had great experiences with and all of those that I trust and put my name behind when it comes to camera dealers and shops!

1. Ken Hansen – This guy is everything LEICA. He has been a Leica dealer forever and used to own a store in NY. He now works from his home as he is semi-retired but his Leica business is still going strong with many Leica shooters praising his name every day. Ken has become a legend..legendary. I have never in my life experienced anything like Ken from ANY shop, dealer or store, ever. He goes above and beyond and the funny thing is he does not even have a web site, a Facebook or twitter ;) He runs it all from his home via phone or e-mail. He has been with me since day one and you may have seen his ad in the sidebar before. It will be there for the life of the site because if it not for Ken (and a couple of other friends) this site may not have made it!

Ken has new Leica and often times has used items and unique items as well. Just call him at 212-879-3263 or send him an e-mail at [email protected] and let him know what you want, need or are looking for. Most likely, he will have it. Plus, mention my name and you may get a bit of a deal..maybe. I stand 100% behind Ken Hansen.

2. B&H PhotoThese guys are the king of Retail and Online sales. They do MASSIVE volume. I mean MASSIVE. I have been to the store and it is a sight to see. Hundreds of customers at any given time, long lines to check out (but they go fast) and conveyer belts that travel through the store to deliver your goods when you exit. Amazing. They have the best online experience I have encountered. First, if an item is in stock and ready to ship, it says so clearly. If it is not, it clearly states this. No guessing games. They ship same day as well if you order before a certain cut off time. So technically you could order a lens on a Monday morning and have it arrive Tuesday. They also are top notch on their returns, undo nay to Amazon. It is an online automated process, never needing to email someone or call someone for an RA number. B&H Is the king of camera retailers. You can see their site here and they sell all kinds of goodies, not just photo related. They are sort of a giant electronics megastore. I give them a 100%!

3. Amazon- Who does not shop from Amazon? Myself and everyone I know shop at Amazon and they are doing amazing things..amazing. Amazon is the future of internet shopping, food shopping and everything in between. I believe in 10 years Amazon will have the most amazing services. You can get anything and everything from Amazon. I have certain household items get delivered every month using their subscribe and save feature and I also buy tons of music (LP’s) and camera accessories such as Gariz cases, caps, batteries, lights, etc. They have anything and everything. Click here for a link to Amazon and see for yourself. Never an issue with them, ever! The return policy and process is painless and simple. You even get a label to print for easy return. My score = 100%!

4. - PopFlash has been around for a long long time and Tony Rose is the man who owns and runs it. He is well-known among Leica shooters but he also sells Fuji, Olympus, Zeiss and many other brands at his online shop. I have purchased Leica lenses, cameras and Artisan and Artist bags and cases from PopFlash and Tony always comes through. They have some superb prices as well and when you see the “used/mint” pricing on some Leica items you may be super tempted to go for it. Check out the site at! 100%


5. The Pro Shop - These guys are great and know their stuff. They have years of experience and sell Leica, Nikon, and even the Hasselblad Stellar and Lunar line. They have so much to choose from so here is where I would go for not only the best camera brands but for some of the best advice and experience. 100% for these guys as well! You can call them for info at 561-253-2606 or see their website HERE.


6. CAMERAQUEST - Run by Stephen Gandy this long time Voigtlander dealer has just about anything you could ever want from the brand. There are a few Voigtlander lenses that stick out to me and some I like better than Leica glass! The 35 1.2 II, the 15 4.5, the 50 1.5 Nokton, all superb and all a fraction of the cost of a Leica lens. If you want a great buy and fast shipping on Voigtlander lenses then you must check out CAMERAQUEST! 100%! Check out the shopping site HERE!


7. Leica Store Miami – These guys are in actuality Dale Photo in Florida, but this site is much improved and all about LEICA. This shop has it all from cameras, lenses, cases, accessories and even used Leica cameras and lenses. I bought my fancy Leica case from them and my shipment arrived in one day. You must check them out! I give them an easy 100%. Never an issue. Never a problem. You can see their site HERE. 

As you can see, all six shops/dealers get a full 100% from me because I would not recommend anyone who I did not shop with, buy from or feel 100% about. If I was 90% I would not recommend them! If you buy from ANY of the above dealers you will not be disappointed. With Amazon, if you have an issue the return policy is so good you can just return it. No questions asked. Just be sure to buy from Amazon and not a third-party (or prime). Same with B&H and some of the others. For me it should be about customer satisfaction and all of these do it very well.

So there you go, my fave dealers and vendors. When you want to buy a camera or lens or accessory or ANYTHING, check them out! They are what help to keep this site running!

May 222014


The Wotancraft Ryker Camera Bag Review

This is mainly a video review of the beautiful Wotancraft Ryker bag. I will add some words after the video below:

Not everyone is a camera bag kind of person. Many just prefer to take their camera and one lens out on the street with them and roll. Others like to have choices and bring a bag with a lens or two just in case they want to change it up while they are out. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bags manufactured in the camera world. Some are cheap but functional, some are mid priced and functional and some are high priced and built more for fashion then actual use. I have seen them all from Domke to Crumpler to Fogg to Billingham to Artisan and Artist. I have probably had 60 bags through my house in the past 5 years as many get sent to me for review. Many times they do not even get reviewed (if they stink) and they get thrown to the side and sent back.

Occasionally a bag comes along that I really like. For example, there have been bags from Tenba, Artisan & Artist, Think Tank, Fogg and Ona that I adored. I even enjoyed the Camslinger bag and still do from time to time. But never has a bag come through that spoke to me in the way this Wotancraft Ryker does. In fact, it is the most beautiful, well made, useful and overall nice bag I have ever come across in my life. I prefer it to the Fogg bag that I owned (that was more expensive), I prefer it to the ONA bags I have had (and still own) and I prefer it to just about ANY bag, ever. Why? Well, there are many reasons and I go over them in the video above. What it boils down to is that this is just about as perfect as a camera bag can get for those who want a nice looking, well made leather bag. It is stylish, it is durable and it is comfortable. It holds a Leica and 2-3 lenses as well as an iPad mini and accessories. It feels good across the shoulder and the inside is well padded and protective as well as being pretty snazzy with the purple microfiber lining. The leather is soft and pliable not hard and stiff.

Wotancraft has a reputation for making super high quality hand crafted bags and leather goods. They are not a cheap fly by night operation and this bag is my perfect bag, end of story. I even use it for a video rig I carry around sometimes with a digital recorder and other items. Makes me want a undone in brown, one for my camera and one for my video setup.


The leather is durable but soft as you can tell just by looking at the image above. The protective zipper leather flap protects your goods inside in the event of rain or snow. I have had this bag all over with me and even took it to New Orleans for the last Olympus media trip I went on. The bag still looks brand new. It has so far survived rain, water splashes and being set down on concrete several times. It looks and feels brand new. There was even one point when a beer was spilled on the bag (about 1/4 of a beer). No cloth to stain, no worry of water getting inside, no worry of your camera getting scratched up while inside. There really has not been anything left behind. The iPad pocket is inside and is nice and protected as well with a pocket and all.

The price of the Wotancraft quality does not come cheap. At $379 it is an expensive bag, but one that will last you a lifetime. Again, for me, it surpasses any bag I have owned or come across in quality, design, usefulness, size, weight, materials, and style. Some will say it looks purse (or murse) like, but so do 90% of camera bags. When on and walking around it looks like a shoulder bag. A nice shoulder bag.


At $379 US it is well worth the cost, especially when a Fogg bag will set you back $600+ these days. This bag is perfect for a Leica system or Mirrorless system from Sony, Olympus or Fuji. All will be great for this bag. I have had compliments on it already while traveling. What people have liked is the soft luxurious feel of the bag and the features such as the purple lining and leather flap that protects the inside.

You can order the Wotancraft Ryker HERE.

It was out of stock for over a year and most thought it would not return. It is back, but I have no idea for how long. A brown one should be coming soon as well, but not sure how long away that is. This bag is in the Urban Classic line.



Hello to all! For the past 5 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple. 

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

One other way to help is by donation. If you want to donate to this site, any amount you choose, even $5, you can do so using the paypal link HERE and enter in your donation amount. All donations help to keep this site going and growing! I do not charge any member fees so your donations go a long way to keeping this site loaded with useful content. Thank you!


Feb 172014


My favorite ND filter for fast Leica lenses!

Finally! I found THE ND filter to own for my fast Leica glass (Thanks Ken Hansen)! Yes my friends, in the past I have owned many ND filters and I always had to figure out which one I would get. When shooting a Summilux lens or Noctilux lens an ND filter is MANDATORY if you want to shoot your ones wide open where they were designed and optimized to be shot. Over the last few years I have had MANY e-mails come in asking me “which ND filter should I get”..and I am happy to say that the one I own now is hands down my #1 favorite that I have ever owned/used.

It is a made in Germany Heliopan Variable ND filter that gives you a range to work with..from 0.3 all the way up to 1.8 or from 1 to 6 stops. This means you can use this single one ND filter for all of your ND filter needs. From slight brightness to brutal harsh light (like I shot the images in below), this ND filter will give you what you need with a smooth twist of the front ring. When Ken Hansen told me about it I had to give it a shot.


If you are not familiar with the purpose of an ND filter I will break it down for you very quickly.

Let’s say you love shooting your Leica and Noctilux but you love shooting that lens wide open at f/0.95. If it is sunny outside or the light is bright you will not be able to shoot wide open because the shutter speed in your 9 or M 240 only goes to 1/4000s. This means that without an ND filter you will have to stop down the lens to f/4 or f/5.6 or in some situations even f/8.

With an ND filter in place you can shoot that lens wide open as the filter blocks some of the light. With this particular filter you can adjust how much light gets let in and it is marked from 1-10. I tested this filter in the super harsh mid day sun of Phoenix AZ and my filter was usually between #3 and #6 with the Zeiss 50 Sonnar at f/1.5.


Using this filter it allowed me to shoot wide open to retain that classic Zeiss Sonnar look that disappears once the lens is stopped down. I shot the SLR Magic Hyperprime 0.95 M lens a couple of years ago with an ND filter as well, and all of the images shot in that report were with a Leica M9, the images below were shot with an M 240 and the Zeiss.

You can also use an ND filter if you want to shoot at longer shutter speeds, for example, a running waterfall. The ND will block the light to your sensor and allow you to drag out that shutter for as long as you need.

Anyway, this is an amazing ND filter and is the only one you will need for ANY situation. No need for 2-4 ND’s, just one. The build is superb and of very high quality, the ring to adjust the strength of the filter is smooth as silk and this filter is available from Ken Hansen in the two sizes any Leica shooter would need. 46mm (35 Summilux, 50 Summilux) or 60mm (Noctilux 0.95). These filters are NOT cheap but no good ND filter is. I believe this one goes for $260 but I found it to be a very worthwhile investment because it is the last ND I will ever need and will fit any 46mm lens I attach to my camera.


I tested it with the Zeiss 50 ZM Sonnar which also has a 46mm filter thread and the filter presented no issues or problems at all. The Zeiss ZM Sonnar is a very unique lens and when shot wide open at f/1.5 it almost resembles a Noctilux in its rendering. Not quite, but close. The best part is that the Sonnar comes in at around $1100. B&H is back-ordered but Tony at PopFlash has one or two in stock right now (in silver) for anyone looking for this now legendary classic lens.

You can e-mail Ken Hansen here if you want one or have a question. ([email protected]) Not sure how many he has but he did tell me he had a “few” available in 46mm and 60mm filter thread sizes and I recommend this filter 100% for ANY users of these filter size fast lenses (Leica). 

Below are the images I shot with the ND attached, all with the Zeiss Sonnar 50mm ZM and all wide open at f/1.5 at the local Ren Fair here in AZ. BTW, it was almost 90 degrees in mid Feb and the sun was HARSH. AZ mid day sun sucks for taking photos, but I purposely took these at the worst time to test this filter, which did fantastic. 




















Jan 272014

The new Fuji X-T1 has landed, pre-order now!


Expected Ship Date – March 07th, 2014

Pre-order the Fuji X-T1 Body only HERE at B&H Photo – $1299

Pre-order the Fuji X-T1 body and 18-55 kit lens combo HERE at B&H Photo – $1699

PRE-ORDER THE SWEET Fuji 56 1.2 Lens (as seen on the camera above) – $999

You can also pre-order this Fuji at


You can pre-order the X-T1 BODY ONLY at Amazon HERE 

You can order the X-T1 KIT LENS COMBO at Amazon HERE

So here it is! The rumored Fuji X-T1 is 100% true and ready to pre-order now at B&H Photo. From the looks, the design, the specs..this may just be the best Fuji X body to date. The design brings me direct to the Olympus E-M1 and Sony A7. I guess Fuji did not want to be left out of the EVF hump party but that hump means a much nicer EVF, so I welcome it. The manual controls on top remind me of the E-M1 and Nikon Df a bit and yes, this is also a good thing. All around this will be the best performing Fuji X body to date. $1299 for the Body only and $1699 for the Body and Kit Lens. I will be reviewing this as soon as I get my hands on one!


AS MANY OF YOU HERE KNOW…if you WANT this camera then pre-ordering is the way to go. Why? A: You do not get charged until it ships so if you change your mind between now and when it ships you can cancel with no penalty. If you decided you do want it 100%, just keep your pre-order in and you will be one of the 1st to get the camera. This is how I buy all of my new pre-ordering. B: If it arrives and you do not like it or it has issues, yes, it is returnable and NO the stores do not resell it as new, they sell it as an open box discount. But the bottom line is pre-ordering is smart if you know that you do want the camera. If undecided then you just wait to read reviews.

I have a feeling this one will be a big seller for Fuji. Some will call it ugly, some will call it beautiful. Some will say it reminds them of old school design and others will say it is going the way of Olympus and Sony. Either way technology moves on my friends and those of us with severe G.A.S. will unfortunately want to try  this out, especially fans of the Fuji rendering style. The Fuji and Mirrorless rumor sites have been buzzing non stop about this one and hyping it to now end. I hope it can live up to the hype!

I am excited to get a hold of this for stay tuned!




16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor

A large 16.3MP APS-C CMOS image sensor is integrated into the X-T1 to provide high image quality and detail. Using Fujifilm’s unique X-Trans bespoke pixel array, the sensor is designed with a randomized pixel pattern to eliminate the need of an optical low-pass filter for reducing moiré and aliasing. By removing this filter from the design, higher image sharpness is possible. Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) factors are also taken into account using the EXR Processor II, which helps to automatically compensate for aberrations and diffraction blur in order to produce images with the utmost inherent sharpness.

The X-Trans sensor also works to provide highly effective noise reduction and a clean signal-to-noise ratio. This enables smoother-looking imagery that becomes especially apparent when photographing in low-light situations with an expanded sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200. Additionally, a top continuous shooting rate of 8 fps is possible, for up to 47 consecutive frames, to benefit working with moving subject matter.

EXR Processor II

Aside from benefitting low-light performance, the EXR Processor II also provides quick performance throughout the entire camera system. The camera start-up time is about 0.5 seconds, shutter lag is about 0.05 seconds, and the shooting interval time is about 0.5 seconds. A fast autofocus performance speed of 0.08 seconds is also enabled using the advanced Intelligent Hybrid AF system using both contrast- and phase-detection focusing methods.

Intelligent Hybrid AF and Enhanced Manual Focus

Intelligent Hybrid AF is a quick, responsive autofocus system that employs both contrast- and phase-detection methods to acquire focus quickly in a wide variety of lighting conditions and shooting situations. Clear focus can quickly be attained to aid in catching fast-paced movement more easily. Three focus modes are available (AF-S, AF-C, and M) for greater control over how the X-T1 achieves sharp focus. When working with autofocus, the AF area is divided into a 49-point matrix in order to gain clear focus of any type of subject matter. Additionally, a built-in AF assist lamp is available for aiding the focus system when photographing in low-light situations.

When working with manual focus, two additional features can be employed for enhanced critical focusing in a more controllable manner. By using the phase-detection pixels located on the imaging sensor, Digital Split Image technology is able to assist in acquiring precise focus through the implementation of four striped focusing aids; akin to a rangefinder focusing method, once these stripes have been lined up, sharp focus can be ensured. Also contributing to manual focus accuracy, Focus Peak Highlight has been integrated and enables a more objective system of focusing by way of highlighting sharp edges and lines of contrast, using one of three colors, once they are in focus.

Multi Mode Real Time Viewfinder

An advanced electronic viewfinder has been incorporated into the X-T1’s design to support clear eye-level monitoring along with a host of unique viewing features to better support a more efficient overall workflow. The Real Time Viewfinder is comprised of a 2,360k-dot OLED display and features an exceptionally high magnification of 0.77x, along with a 31° angle of view. This perspective is further complemented by the 0.005 sec. lag time, which smoothly and seamlessly renders scenes and moving subjects.

Beyond the technical aspects of the viewfinder, an adaptable graphical user interface has also been designed to increase efficiency during shooting. Four different viewing modes are available:

FULL: This mode takes advantage of the high magnification ratio of the viewfinder and produces an image that fills the majority of the viewfinder in an unobstructed manner. Shooting information is presented at the top and bottom edges and does not interfere with the image frame itself.

NORMAL: This mode enables you to focus on the composition at hand while still having an in-depth understanding of camera settings and shooting conditions.

VERTICAL: When the camera is held in a vertical orientation, the information display automatically rotates so it is facing upright for easier reading of camera settings. When working in this mode, images can also be reviewed in the vertical orientation.

DUAL: Serving to benefit those working with manual focus, this mode presents a split screen view of the scene where you see both a regular view as well as the Focus Assist View (Focus Highlight Peaking and Digital Split Image) at the same time, allowing you to concentrate on the image composition as well as critical focus accuracy.

In addition to the four viewing modes, the shooting information displayed within the viewfinder can also be customized to suit one’s needs. 19 different settings can be toggled on or off depending on preference.

Classic Camera Design

Featuring a body design reminiscent of SLR film cameras, the X-T1 exhibits a meshing of both analog exposure controls along with intelligent automated technologies. The clean and functional body design incorporates physical shutter speed, ISO, drive mode, AF mode, and +/- 3 EV exposure compensation double-deck precision-milled aluminum alloy dials that pair well with the manual aperture rings found on many of the XF lenses for intuitive exposure setting selection. Depending on individual needs, six customizable buttons, dual command dials, and an easily-accessible Q Menu provide an efficient solution for modifying some of the most frequently used camera settings, such as ISO, white balance, and file settings. For more extensive menu navigation, as well as live view monitoring and image review, a 3.0″ 1,040k-dot LCD monitor is available and features a tilting design to better support working from high and low angles.

Furthermore, the magnesium alloy body also features approximately 80 points of weather sealing to protect itself from dust and moisture, as well as temperatures as low as 14°F, for confident use in trying conditions.

Full HD Movie Recording

Full HD 1080p video recording is supported up to 60 fps, with other frame rates and formats also available. Full-time AF tracking is available during recording with subject tracking capabilities for ensured sharpness when either the subject is moving or if the camera is moving, panning, or zooming. +/- 2 EV exposure compensation is available during recording as well as the use of Film Simulation settings.

An HDMI port enables high definition playback of movies to an HDTV and the inclusion of a 2.5mm input supports the use of an optional external microphone for enhanced sound quality.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity

Wireless connectivity is built into the camera and allows for instant sharing of images directly to an Android or iOS mobile device. The Fujifilm Camera Remote app allows you to browse the image contents of your camera from your mobile device and transfer both videos and photos, and the entire sharing process is further expedited by simply pressing and holding the dedicated Wi-Fi button to begin transferring immediately. Remote camera control and monitoring is also supported through the use of the app, which enables Touch AF, shutter release, exposure settings adjustment, Film Simulation modes, white balance modes, macro, timer, and flash controls to all be adjusted from the linked mobile device. Location data can also be embedded into image file’s metadata for geotagging.

Film Simulation Mode and Advanced Filters

Taking advantage of Fujifilm’s vast history in traditional film-based photography, the X-T1 integrates several Film Simulation modes to mimic the look and feel of some Fujifilm’s classic film types. Pulling from their line of transparency films, PROVIA offers natural-looking tones for everyday shooting, VELVIA produces a more dramatic and rich tonality with deeper color saturation, and ASTIA gives less contrast for a softer depiction of skin tones. Mimicking their negative films, PRO Neg. Std. gives smooth image tones that are suitable for accurate color renditions, while PRO Neg. Hi produces a more dramatic feel with the ability to draw color out of a variety of lighting conditions. In addition to the colorful benefits of these Film Simulation modes, there are also monochrome modes that simulate the look of traditional yellow, green, and red black and white contrast filters. A sepia mode is also available for producing an inherently nostalgic look.

Eight Advanced Filters are also available to creatively enhance the look of imagery, and include: High Key, Low Key, Soft Focus, Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, Dynamic Tone, and Partial Color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple).

Other Camera Features

An in-camera RAW converter lets you record your images in 14-bit RAW and process them prior to computer-based editing procedures. This process enables you to modify the exposure, white balance, and other controls directly through the menu interface. Additionally, for more thorough processing of files, RAW File Converter software is included for RAW image processing on your computer.

Interval shooting is possible with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours for up to 999 frames.

Compatible with UHS-II memory cards for fast transfer speeds during shooting.

Multiple exposure mode gives you the ability to overlay imagery in-camera. When working in this mode, subsequent exposures can be paired and the final appearance can be previewed on the LCD or in the EVF before making the final exposure.

Motion panorama mode allows you to record expansive views up to 360° wide in a seamless, sweeping manner.

The included EF-X8 shoe-mount flash has a guide number of 26.2′ at ISO 100 and provides additional illumination to imagery for photographing in dark conditions. A sync terminal is also available for use of additional optional external flashes.

Four different auto bracketing modes are available: Dynamic Range, Film Simulation, AE, and ISO Sensitivity.

The included NP-W126 battery enables approximately 350 frames to be recorded per charge.

Jan 062014

New Fuji 56 1.2 Lens. An 84mm fast portrait prime!


I have to hand it to Fuji..they sure do know what lenses we want and with the release of their recent 23 1.4 and now upcoming 56 1.2 it is making Fuji even more and more tempting. I am just waiting for the perfect X body before I ever commit to Fuji though they have gotten much better since the original X-Pro 1 was released. Now we have the faster X-E2 and with these new lenses the possibilities are delicious. In my opinion, Fuji has changed the game with their new lens offering, specifically the already mentioned 23 1.4 which will give a 35mm 1.4 equivalent and the new 56. Add in the existing 35 1.4 and you have a perfect set of 35, 50 and 85  – all fast primes that will deliver sharpness, shallow DOF and nice Bokeh.

Now c’mon Fuji..release an X-Pro 2 with a build and responsiveness that it deserves :) 

You can now pre-order the new 56 1.2 lens at B&H Photo HERE at $999. They also sell the 23 1.4 AT $899. sells Fuji now and the 23 1.4 is in stock HERE and the 56 1.2 pre-order is HERE as is the 10-24 pre-order.

PS – I will be doing a full review of the X-E2 and 23 1.4 soon and will review the 56 1.2 as soon as it is released. 

Nov 142013

SOLD! A RARE Leica Mount lens. The 35 1.8 W-Nikkor LTM 


This has now been sold! 

This is a lens that you NEVER see  go up for sale, and when you do they go I guess I should not have said ‘Never” as they do come up from time to time. The last time I saw one for sale was from at $1700..then just over $1500 when the price was lowered. I bought that lens, reviewed it HERE and HERE and then had offers from a few readers to buy it. So I sold it. (how many 35’s does one man need)? Many times I buy things just to write about them, and then I sell them.

It is a fantastic lens. A 35 1.8 that is about the size of a 35 Cron but with a classic look and feel. A 100% unique lens. Works fantastic on the Leica M or the MM. It will also rock out on the Sony A7 and A7r :)

The last one I sold for $1600 without case. This one has the original old school case with it, an M adapter already on it and a Leica rear cap. No front cap but one can be found to fit it easily. You can see it above on my Chrome M. A beauty and with the mix of chrome and black, it fits the camera perfectly.





This lens is clean as a whistle, just as clean as the last one but the focus is spot on with this one. My last one was a teeny bit off.

So with the case, spot on focus and being ultra clean…you would think I would ask $1900. Nope. $1600 takes it.

So if there is anyone out there looking for this lens, it is a beauty and maybe 1-2 come up a year for sale. Very rare, very well made, very small, and a LEGEND!

I can accept credit cards, wire transfer or check (check takes a few days to clear). Ready to ship and ready to mount on your M!


A couple of quick snaps in my yard to show how it renders on the M 240.




Also for sale:

SOLD! A Voigtlander 25 0.95 Nokton Micro 4/3 Mount lens, as new in the box. Used 3 times. $700 firm.

SOLD! Olympus 45 1.8 New in box for Micro 4/3. Unused. Black – $270. Firm. SOLD!

E-mail me HERE if interested in any of it! Last time I posted things for sale they sold within 30 minutes :)

Also, did you guys see these new Leica T shirts? These are the official designs and from Leica. Check them out!


Sep 172013

Cool Stuff for Sale by Me! Bags, Camera, Lenses OH MY! 

As you may or may not know I have a 100% FREE buy and sell forum here on this website and new ads are placed each and every day. Items like Leica M bodies and lenses, classic lenses, film bodies, Micro 4/3, Sony NEX and RX and all kinds of goodies such as bags and accessories. It is a place that has boomed in popularity in the last 2-3 months and many are buying and selling each and every day, right here :)

I have a few things for sale myself and instead of just posting in the Buy and Sell, I figured I would make a full post of it and at the same time remind everyone of the Buy and Sell!

So to check out the buy and sell forum, CLICK HERE

As for what I have for sale..well, I have a few bags that I pulled out of my closet, a rare Nikkor 8.5cm f.2 lens for Leica, and even a NIkon V1 body in black and my original Olympus E-Pl1 from years ago! Take a look below and if anyone is interested in ANY of it, just send me an email HERE. I can accept credit cards/debit cards through Google Wallet and would email you an invoice. If you are interested in any of this email me at [email protected] – 1st come, 1st pay, 1st serve.

So here we go!

UPDATE: All items are GONE!


Think Tank Airport Airstream (2011 Model) – $120 plus $20 ship. Sells for $339 new HERE


I traveled with this bag when I did the Seal tours.  It held all of my gear which was two Leica M9’s, a Noctilux, Summilux, 35 cron, chargers, laptop and much more. This is a bag that can be carried on to flight and stowed in the compartments. It is made for airline travel. It has wheels and is easily rolled through the airport or where you need to go. Massive storage. You can read more about it HERE. At $200 off of the new price you will be getting a like new bag, Pics below of the actual bag. If you want it, 1st one to email me at [email protected] and pays the invoice with a credit or debit card gets it!






Artisan and Artist ACAM-7000 – My travel bag for the last 2-3 years – $150


This bag sells for $349 at dealers such as and Dale Photo. I have used this bag and it has traveled the world with me over the past 2-3 years. It is well used and worn in. Very “comfy”. I have since moved in to a new bag (ONA) and am retiring this one. I feel $200 off is a good buy for an A&A bag, especially one with some Mojo :) It’s not perfect, it’s not new but all is as it should be. Red interior with three sections. Zipper front. Fits my laptop, iPad, and accessories and cameras.lenses.

1st one to email me and say you want it gets it at $150 plus $10 shipping for USPS Priority Mail. EMail me here if interested. My review is HERE




Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 10 and 20

These are new, unused. $30 for either bag plus $10 shipping. Both for $50. Email me HERE if you want them. You can read more about them in my review.





Nikkor 8.5cm f/2 (85mm f.2) all metal and heavy Screw Mount lens (with Leica M adapter included) – $450 plus $15 ship. Review HERE where you can see what it looks like.


This is a vintage and yet LEGENDARY lens. Not so easy to find and when you do, they are usually $600. This is an 85mm f/2 lens for your Leica and I will even include an adapter to use on an M as this is a screw mount lens. Yes, you can use the rangefinder to focus and yes it is a beautiful lens. It is HEAVY as it feels like it is crafted from a solid block of metal. Below are a couple of shots I took with this lens on the M 240.

if you want it, email me at [email protected] :) I am only selling because it is just too heavy so going to a lighter alternative, probably a classic Canon 100. This does NOT come with hood, box, caps or case!




Nikon 1 18-5 1.8 in Silver – $100


This is a killer lens for Nikon 1. I have one in Silver for sale, like new. I am 99% sure I have the box. $100 plus $10 ship! E-MAIL ME IF YOU WANT IT! [email protected]. There is a review by Craig Litten on this site HERE.


and a shot with this exact lens on a V1



Nikon 1 30-110 Zoom – $115 plus $10 ship. 

This is the basic kit zoom for the Nikon 1. This one is new, never used and came in one of the kits. WIll sell for $115 plus $10 ship. The lens is BLACK. No box. This sells new for $249.





Nikon V1 – Black – as new


I have two, one in white, one in black. Selling off one as I am getting to have too many cameras around here (and new ones on the way for long-term review). So am selling  this Nikon V1 which has had maybe 300 shots taken, as new in box, for $240 plus $15 ship. My old review is HERE and the V1 gallery is HERE. E-mail me if you want it! [email protected]



Olympus E-Pl1

The original and the one I used in my original review HERE. It has been in my cabinet all of this time! I tested it and it worked great! NO issues! Black and silver.

Comes with 14-42 Kit zoom. 

$150 plus $10 ship! Email me at [email protected] if interested! NO BOX just camera, battery, charger and lens.  EMail me at [email protected] if interested.





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:


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:


Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon


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


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

Pre-Order at Amazon – IN STOCK NOW!!


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


Pre-Order at Amazon – IN STOCK NOW!

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

Leica C – compact with built in EVF:


Pre-Order at

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


Olympus OM-D E-M1:


Pre-Order at

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon


Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom:


Pre-Order at

Pre-Order at B&H Photo

Pre-Order at Amazon




Sep 092013


The new Leica C (Type 112) Compact Camera 

Beautiful compact design!

Leica got it RIGHT with this one folks (for a rebadged Panasonic)! A spiffy and attractive compact pocket camera with a 28-200 zoom that looks amazing and has a built-in EVF. Based on the Panasonic Lumix LF1 but with much more style, the new Leica C looks more like an old Leica CM than anything, and that is a good thing. It will be shipping in October and will come in at $699 which is $200 more than the Panasonic version but this is a Leica with an all new design and as usual will have the Leica warranty and come with software. I think the new colors here are very very nice with a black/dark red top and white with a Champaign colored top. Very elegant if I do say so myself.


You can pre-order at dealers like Ken Hansen ([email protected]) or the Pro Shop (561-253-2606) if you want yours at launch next month. :)

This new C Type 112 is a point and shoot style with a small 1/1.7″ 12 MP sensor and a 28-200 f/2-f/5.9 equivalent lens. Full HD video and WiFi/NFC.  Based on the Panasonic LF1 BUT this Leica is much nicer looking and designed by Audi Design. A slew of accessories is slated to hit by December.

I LIKE THIS one just for the design and the fact that it has a built-in EVF. Can’t wait to give it a spin. To be fair, the LF1 is the same but with a matte black finish. I played with one at B&H Photo today and it was actually quite nice. Also played with a Hasselblad Stellar at another store. That was very interesting :)

To those who feel this is you really think LEICA would release its hot rodded customized looking LF1 for the same price as Panasonic? NO. $200 upcharge is quite good for Leica as in the past it has been as high as $500, so $200 is not so bad for the premium for the Leica design and name and warranty.


Below the Panasonic LF1 which comes in at $498




LEICA C – the new line of Leica digital compact cameras

With the Leica C, Leica presents the first model of a new line of Leica digital compact cameras. Featuring a high-performance Leica DC Vario-Summicron 6–42.8 mm f/2–5.9 ASPH. zoom lens and an exceptionally large sensor with a resolution of 12 megapixels, the Leica C guarantees images that are particularly rich in details. Together with this, the fast zoom lens is ideal for an almost infinite number of photographic situations and delivers outstanding imaging performance even in unfavourable light. The Leica C is the first Leica compact camera to feature an integrated Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) module for the wireless transmission of image data to smartphones and tablet PCs. It also offers a wide range of camera functions, various settings, in-camera processing options and an intuitively simple handling concept for flexible and spontaneous photography. All this, plus its particularly stylish and elegant compact design, makes the Leica C an ideal companion for all occasions where photos are a must.

Its technical features are certainly impressive, but the eye-catching beauty of the Leica C is above all characterised by its slim and stylish form. The elegant looks of this camera are the work of Audi Design, who were also commissioned with the development of the unique range of camera accessories. An unusual colour concept – the Leica C is available in two finishes, light gold and dark red and is complemented by a range of accessories in premium materials that highlight the unique looks of the new Leica compact camera line.

Its Leica DC Vario-Summicron 6–42.8 mm f/2–5.9 ASPH. 7× zoom lens, with a range equivalent to 28 to 200 mm in 35 mm format, is extremely versatile and ideal for every kind of photography from portraits to wide-coverage shots and capturing the beauty of landscapes. Even more creative freedom is provided by a freely programmable ring on its lens. The combination of high-precision optics and a large sensor guarantees outstanding imaging performance and pin-sharp pictures with brilliant, natural colours, clarity and contrast. Thanks to its extremely fast autofocus and a continuous-shooting mode with up to ten frames per second, it captures even the tiniest details.

The Leica C is the first Leica camera to feature an integrated Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Connection) module. This allows the wireless transfer of still pictures and video data to smartphones and tablet PCs via a WLAN connection. To enable this function, all users have to do is download the Leica C Image Shuttle app and install it on their iOS or Android end device. The photographer can then dial into a WLAN connection and the data transfer can begin. Another highlight: WLAN and the app enable remote control of the Leica C from a smartphone or tablet PC – particularly practical for remote-release photography and shooting with the self-timer.

The camera’s full-HD video function opens up even more creative opportunities. The 3″ camera monitor offers photographers complete control during exposure and recording. The camera’s integrated viewfinder is an additional aid to composition and assessment of scenes in brightly lit situations. Videos and still pictures alike can be creatively processed either in the camera or with the Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® professional imaging software supplied with the camera.

Concurrent with the launch of the Leica C, Leica is also extending its service portfolio. This provides particular benefits for Leica C customers, as they can take advantage of a secure image-archiving package as an exclusive starting offer. More details will be announced in the near future.

As the perfect complement to the Leica C’s elegant and stylish looks, Leica now offers a range of specially designed, perfectly finished, premium matching accessories. The range currently features five different models. Every single one of these bags and cases is a unique and fashionable accessory – for example, the Leica C-Clutch, an elegant clutch handbag with carrying strap. In light gold or dark red Alcantara with a sandblasted metal closer, it offers two separate compartments with ample space for the camera and other personal belongings. The Leica C-Twist wrap-around bag is also new. Also in Alcantara and in a choice of two colours, this bag is attached to the tripod bush on the base of the camera and then simply wrapped around the Leica C and elegantly closed with a magnetic clasp. Available in light gold and dark red, the Leica C-Snap and its materials mix of hard plastic and elastic silicone provides optimum protection against scratches and inadvertent knocks. A unique design lends this unusual accessory for the compact camera an eye-catching and personalised look. The Leica C-Pouch is an elegant pouch with a fascinating wrap-around design in black lambskin nappa. The Leica C-Case, an elegant case in black leather with lighter contrast stitching, also offers excellent protection for the Leica C. Thanks to its magnetic clasp, the case can be opened and closed quickly and ensures that the camera is always ready for action within seconds. This case is supplied complete with a matching carrying strap in black leather with lighter contrast stitching. The C-Hand Straps in soft and supple Alcantara in a choice of light gold or dark red complement the collection of premium accessories for the Leica C and guarantee optimum carrying comfort.

The Leica C will be available from authorised Leica dealers starting in October 2013. The Leica C-Pouch and C-Snap accessories will be available from December.

Jun 122013


Canon 0.95 Dream Lens for sale, two of them :)

UPDATE – My lens has been sold just awaiting confirmation of wire transfer.

Since writing my Canon 50 0.95 “Dream Lens” review I had a slew of e-mails asking me if I was selling it. Well, I did in fact purchase it and I am also selling this rare, unique and beautiful lens for anyone who is interested. First off, if you did not see my review of the lens, click here to see it. I also posted a video that shows this exact lens so you can see the quality of this 50 year old optic. It is free from fungus and haze and is the nicest one I have come across in M mount. This lens has been modified for M mount and is even 6-Bit coded, which was all done by DAG.

The images show what this lens can do, and what it does no other lens can do, not even a Leica Noctilux f/1 or 0.95. This is not a high contrast lens at 0.95, in fact, the files could use contrast enhance in the RAW processing if you want more bite. Color is fantastic with my M 240 as is B&W. The lens is massive but again, this is an f/0.95 lens. A few samples below:





This is a gorgeous lens and does not come up often in the M mount and 6-Bit coded often, especially one that has spot on focus as this one does (on my M 240 and MM, which are both spot on with their RF). They sometimes pop up on e-bay and I saw one there recently for $3800. It all depends on condition. This one is clean and the aperture and focus is smooth, and as I said, spot on. There is no fungus or any kind of damage. It may not be perfect as no 50 year old lens is but this is the best I have seen and it is tough to get a good focusing copy.

If you are interested, send me an e-mail HERE. I am only selling due to finances and other items coming in that I had to buy to review as well as the fact that I would only use this lens a few times per year due to the uniqueness of it. I have two other 50’s coming in the next few days. I know many have emailed me offers for this one, but I deleted those as I was not expecting to sell the lens. This is a chance for someone to get a unique lens. I can accept Check, Money order, Wire or Credit Card through Google wallet with a 2.5% fee. Shipping would be Express next day for $75 (yes, it costs this much to ship Fed Ex next day). E-Mail me for pricing HERE. I expect it to go quickly so 1st come  – 1st to pay – 1st serve.


A reader also has one of these for sale!

A reader who I have bought old lenses from in the past also has one of these for sale at $2500 in M mount but the lens has a crack in it (corner) that he says does not affect IQ. I have not seen images from his copy so not sure about focusing accuracy, etc. If you want you can e-mail him HERE and I am sure he can tell you details and send you images of his lens.

Jun 102013


The Leica X Vario has arrived, slow zoom and all!

I have now heard from 4 official sources with full specs and images on the new Leica. Yes, four different sources who are 100% legit have spilled the beans about what is coming from Leica with full details. Two of them actually sent me PDF files with the details. Now, I am sure Leica would hate me for spilling the beans early but it happens all of the time and since I have no contract and no connection with Leica on this, as in, I have no embargo, no signed statement, nothing at all then why not? My obligation is only to my readers and sponsors and this is info the Leica world wants to know, even if it is coming in 12 hours anyway.

So I sit here with this info thinking…hmmm, what should I do? Post it and let everyone know it is indeed what we thought it was, or wait until tomorrow at 9am Eastern for the official word when I have no obligation to do so? Wait for the rumor sites to post it early or do it myself?

Since I am not spilling anything new here, as in, this was really announced when it leaked, I feel I should just let it out. Of course if Leica had given me the info and told me to hold off, it would have been held off. But as I said, I have no agreements with anyone and the information was sent to me freely by several legit here we go!

The new Leica X Vario hits, and starts shipping WEDNESDAY.

You have read the rumors, find out the TRUTH now, and the truth is exactly the same as the rumors, slow zoom and all. Yep my Leica friends, this is a Leica X2 with a slow zoom added for $2,850 US. THIS IS NOT A MINI M. We also get HD video now as well, which is good to have. I have already stated my opinion on this one in the past week and if I were spending $2,850 I would take the Sony RX1 over the X Vario any day of the week. Now, of course I have not tried this camera yet but the idea of an X2  and a big fat f/3.5-f/6.4 Zoom does not entice me to part with nearly $3000. In fact, I would take an OM-D E-M5 with a 12, 45 ad 75mm lenses (and that would come in at less than the cost of the X Vario) over the X Vario to cover my 24-150mm range at f/1.8 to f/2. Bit If you really want a real Leica with beautiful design and IQ, go for the X2 at $2000. The X2 and X Vario are made in Germany, not by Panasonic.


*I did notice they said it was a newly designed 16MP sensor, so it may not be the X2 sensor which means possibly better in low light, which it will need with that slow aperture zoom.

BTW, there is no IS (image stabilization) so shooting video with this is not gonna fly :) It has an 18-46mm lens, starting at f/3.5 and ending up at f/6.4 by the time you hit 46mm. Due to the APS-C sensor crop, you will of course have an equivalent of 28-70 but with the depth of field of an 18-46mm lens. Throw in that slow aperture and what you have is a “large DOF machine” probably really nice for landscape work. Then again, a Fuji X with nice lens is also nice for landscape work. To me, this release does not make sense. I predict SLOW as molasses sales with the X Vario. If Leica thought the X2 was selling slow due to it not having a zoom, they may be in for a shocker. Those who buy Leica as a status symbol are always there but that customer base is not nearly enough to keep those big profits flowing at Leica, of course, they are in the Leica bubble and do not know that this is who this camera is aimed at.

But, while I am not so thrilled with this release, some or many of you may be. I expect decent IQ because with a zoom lens of this speed, there is no way you will get un-sharp images. I expect decent AF Speed but not as fast as current/modern cameras. Even the design with the big protruding lens is bordering on the Ugly side. The X1 and X2 were beautiful designs..this one looks like a beast and once you add-on that EVF, forget it, it’s all over. Might as well spend the extra for the M 240, which I feel is Leica’s masterpiece :)

What I do like from the looks of it is the back has the M 240 thumb grip and control dial. It “looks” like a mini M 240 body though it is fitted with a lens that can not come off and an APS-C sensor. With a lens mated to the sensor we will get great results. If it had a built in EVF it would have been a much better offering IMO.


Here is what Leica says:

“The Leica Vario-Elmar 28-70 mm f/3.5 – 6.4 ASPH (35 mm equivalent) and the APS-C CMOS sensor ensures images of unsurpassed brilliance. The size and quality of the sensor means low image noise, high dynamic range and accurate color reproduction. The wide-angle to telephoto zoom range of the Leica X Vario offers photographers the options for many more creative compositions: indoor scenes, impressive landscapes or intimate portraits. The Leica X Vario allows users to change focal length easily and quickly to spontaneously capture the perfect moment giving the user the feel of classic Leica controls. In addition, the autofocus is fast and extremely precise while the switch from autofocus to manual focusing is intuitive – simply move the focusing ring on the lens from MF to AF mode”

“The design and finish of the Leica X Vario reflects the ultimate art of engineering with attention to detail and the use of the finest materials. When you first see the Leica X Vario, the Leica DNA will be obvious. A few minutes of handling the Leica X Vario and design characteristics of the Leica M will be apparent including compactness and construction. The top plate is machined from solid aluminum, the process identical to that used for the Leica M. The magnesium and aluminum body feels solid while the soft leather trim provides a comfortable but firm and reassuring grip. The Leica X Vario provides the user with a unique,one of a kind visual and tactile experience which is synonymous with a Leica made in Germany.”


Oh, If you want a hood, be prepared to pay $140 extra. EVF? $500. Hand grip? $160. Case? $240. A full pimped out X Vario will set you back about $4000. For an APS-C crop sensor with a slow zoom. Ouch. 


You can order tomorrow and have one by Thursday with no wait!

Dealers will have these ready to ship on Wednesday the 12th and you can buy from Ken Hansen ([email protected]),,, The Pro Shop, and Dale Photo. They will all have stock. While there is a 9-12 month wait for an M240, this guy will be available everywhere tomorrow.

If anyone here gets one let me know how you like it and feel free to post some samples in the brand new untouched Leica X forum that you can access RIGHT HERE. You can also go there to discuss this new release or of course, by leaving comments here. I am testing the new forum so be sure to check it out.


So there ya go! This was Leica’s release and the one where they posted “you have read the rumors, get the truth on June 11th”. Well, we have the truth and like I said, it is the same as the rumor. For those who have been hoping for an X2 with a Zoom, your camera has arrived :) I was hoping for an RX1 competitor but I guess Leica considers their M to fill that slot. If they did come out with a full frame 35 f/2 camera it seems it would be in the $7-8k range, so in any case, Sony wins. Funny how so many were moaning about the cost of the Sony RX1 at $2700. It is a bargain if you really think of what you are getting with it. This one, not so much but it will serve a purpose for those who have wished for an X2 with a Zoom. Just wish it was more compact.


Here are the details of the new X Vario:


Leica Vario-Elmar 1:3.5-6.4 (28-70 mm equivalent), 8 lenses in 6 groups, 1 aspherical lens

Focal Length

18-46 mm (28-70 mm film equivalent)


3.5 to 16 (at 28 mm) / 6.4 to 16 (at 70 mm) in 1?3 EV increments

Focusing range

30 cm – infinity

Focusing options

1 point, 11 points, spot, face detection

Image sensor

16.5 MP, APS-C, CMOS image sensor (effective 16.1 MP)


JPEG format, 16 M – 4928 x 3272 pixels, 12.2 M – 4288 x 2856 pixels, 7 M – 3264 x 2160 pixels, 3 M – 2144 x 1424 pixels, 1.8 M – 1632 x 1080 pixels, DNG: 4944 x 3272 pixels

Image data file format

JPEG super fine, JPEG fine, DNG + JPEF super fine, DNG + JPEG fine

Exposure Control

Exposure modes

Automatic program (P), program shift, aperture priority (A), shutter speed priority (T) and manual setting (M)

Exposure compensation

Gradation: 3EV in 1/3 EV increments

Automatic exposure bracketing

3 pictures in graduations up to 3 EV, adjustable in 1/3 EV increments

Metering modes

Smart multi-segment metering, center-weighted metering, selective (spot) metering

White balance

Automatic, presets for daylight, cloud, halogen lighting, shade, electronic flash, 2 manual settings, manual color temperature setting, fine adjustment option for all settings


Automatic, optionally with limits for shutter speed and sensitivity, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200, ISO 6400, ISO 12500

Shutter speeds

30s to 1/2000s, with normal flash modes from 1/30s, with flash modes with slower shutter speeds from 30s

Continuous shooting

3 fps of 5 fps, max. 8 consecutive exposures with constant shooting speed in DNG + JPED fine quality

Color settings

Standard, Vivid, Natural, B&W Natural, B&W High Contrast

Flash modes

Auto, flash exposure correction, red-eye correction, fill-in flash, slow sync, studio, 1st / 2nd curtain sync

Hot shoe

Compatible with Leica SF 24D, Leica SF 58 flash units


3” TFT LCD, approx. 920,000 pixels, wide-angle field of ives: 100 %

Internal memory

Approx. 110 MB

Memory card



HDMI out, USB (USB 2.0 high speed), Leica EVF socket

Battery (lithium-ion)

Capacity: approx 450 exposures


Approx. 133 x 73 x 95 mm or


Approx. 650 / 680 g or 22.9 / 24 oz (without / with battery)

Product includes

Battery (Leica BP-DC8), battery charger (Leica BP-DC8), battery case, leather carrying strap, USB cable, lens cap, user manual


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (free download option after camera registration)

May 152013


The Classic Nikkor 8.5cm f/2 LTM lens review

click on any image in this review for a larger size image

Ahhh yes. Classic solid brass and chrome lenses from the 1950’s certainly have a charm about them. When you find one, hold one and use one you will indeed say to yourself “they do not make them like this anymore”. While Leica still makes damn finely built lenses today, the prices are so high that I see many shooters priced out of the market. I have friends who save for an entire year just so they can buy one 50 Summilux ASPH. Well, I am here to tell you that if you shoot a Leica M, digital or film, there are some special lenses out there that you can buy for much less than a modern Leica lens and in some cases you may even prefer the output.

While many of these old lenses have poor performance and tons of “glow” (which is another word for “flaws”), many of us love those old flaws and imperfections. Those of us  who use and get to know these old jewel like lenses realize that once you master them they can be quite beautiful, even by 2013 standards. Some of these old lenses are in the rough so to speak. Many were used by press shooters in the 50’s and many of those swore by this exact lens, the Nikkor 8.5cm f/2. I was lucky enough to find one in LTM mount in quite amazing shape for a screaming deal, chump change for most Leica lens buyers, and I am glad I did.


I found one!

The Nikkor 8.5 f/2 Lens is considered a legend by many shooters in the know and I have been keeping an eye out for a Leica screw mount version for a few weeks without any luck. Suddenly I happened to stumble upon a rare version of this lens at a local Scottsdale, AZ shop called . They had received a “MIOJ” Tokyo version of this lens which is not the oldest version but it is one of those that is harder to find, even more so with a hood, front cap and original rear metal cap. This one had it all, even the matching case for the lens. Score!

When I saw it on their website I bought it and chose to pick up in person and pay in cash. I then picked it up a week and a half later as it was out getting a cleaning and adjust.




When I held the lens I was struck by the beauty of it. The heft. The smoothness of the focus barrel and the great condition it was in for being a 1950’s rangefinder lens. I was put off by the fact that it is a clickless aperture lens and that the aperture dial moves with the focus ring but even so, after firing off a few test shots and seeing how sharp it was wide open as well as the buttery bokeh, I knew had to have it. Whipped out my debit card and made the purchase final. Those are some great guys at collectible and they have loads of old classic gear. You can see their website HERE. You never know, you may find something you like. They also buy and trade old gear.

Shooting the lens at f/2 will give you sharp details at your focus point with a beautiful buttery fall off into melty goo goo land  :)



Indoor at high ISO works as well..


This lens is an all out steal at the prices you can get them for, and the shop where I bought this one even made a goof on the price on this specific lens as they did not realize it was the more rare collectible version. If I did not know any better I would think it was 10 years old, not 60. It is in that nice of condition. The lens competes with lenses like the 75 Lux 1.4 at 1/20th the price. While not as “perfect” as a Leica 75 Lux which is not known for its unique Noctilux type of rendering, the Nikkor has loads of charm and in case I have not said it enough, lovely Bokeh in 90% of situations. This could be called Nikon’s original “Cream Machine”. This is a Sonnar design and it has a great smooth signature with biting sharpness if you indeed nail focus. Best of both worlds in one lens.

Wide open at ISO 6400 on the Leica MM



A portrait classic, 85mm. But the M does not have 85mm framelines!

True! The Leica M cameras do not have 85mm framelines, but it is not so hard to guess when using the 75mm framelines. Once you snap a few shots you will get the hang of what is happening. By using an adapter like THIS ONE you can screw it on the bottom of the lens, snap it to your Leica M and have the 75 lines show up. I took the portrait below and while not framed perfectly, it came out OK for a test shot. It was taken at f/2 wide open. Here you can see the Bokeh in the background is a little “busy”. With foliage it can do that but this is a challenge for any lens.

As for the adapter I have tried quite a few from the $10 cheapies to the $25 mid range to the $50 Voigtlander models. If I were buying from scratch I would go with the Voigtlander adapter. It is the best of the lot. I tried the Kippon adapters and they just do not fit right and are made sort of rough. The $10 cheapies are OK and work but also not up to the quality of the Voigtlander adapters. I have 7-8 adapters here and for this lens I have the Voigtlander attached without any issues.

So yes, you can use this lens effectively on a Leica M camera. It may not have the perfection of the modern lenses, and if shooting professionally I would use modern glass but for those times when you want a little bit of a classic injection, these lenses simply rock.




Think about it, for the cost of one modern Leica lens, say a 35 Lux ASPH FLE you could buy 8-10 classic lenses in all focal lengths and give them a spin, and then sell what you do not want or need without losing anything. You can even do so by using my own buy/sell forum here on this site.

When shooting these old lenses in black & white they can be phenomenal as they were made in the B&W is what they were made for. Usually single coated you will get less contrast and a bit of glow/coma/flare as well. These things can indeed add to the charm of your photos. After all, back in the 50’s there were some astonishing photos made and what lenses were used? Lenses like this one right here.


I Found a 2nd One!

During the 3 days of compiling and writing this review I acquired a 2nd Nikkor 8.5cm Lens from a trade deal I made and it is a later version. A teeny bit smaller, the aperture dial has clicks and goes to f/32 instead of f/16. Optics seem the same in my tests. Since I have acquired a 2nd copy, although without caps, hood or case I am selling the rarer and nicer “MIOJ” version which was responsible for every image in this review. I will keep the 2nd copy as my user. (UPDATE – the “MIOJ” has sold already, minutes after the ad was posted in the buy/sell.)


Fun with the Classics

It is pretty fun to mess around with these old classic lenses. They look great, feel fabulous, are easier on the pocketbook than modern glass and would be easy to resell without losing money after you try them out. After trying several classic lenses I have found 3 that I am thrilled with. One of them is this 85 f/2 Nikkor. While I am not an 85mm or 90 guy, it will get used a few times per year and by spending a few hundred compared to a few thousand it is much easier to justify. :) Dont forget to check out Ashwin Rao’s article where he shared some images from this lens as well.

If you want some of that classic fun with your rangefinder check out lenses like this 85 f/2 or the 35 1.8 or the Canon 50 1.8, Leica 50 Summitar or the Leica 50 Summarit 1.5 (review soon). All fantastic but that is just the tip of the iceberg and each one has their own unique flavor or fingerprint that you just may fall in love with. There are TONS of these beauties out there to unearth :)

But these old classics are not for everyone. For those who want perfection I’d suggest grabbing some of the best Leica M glass made today. The 35 Lux ASPH, the 50 Lux ASPH and the 90 Cron APO just to name a few. Ken Hansen ([email protected]), PopFlash and Pro Shop has all of those in stock now :)

if you want more info on this lens, check out this wealth of information on it.






May 142013

Wow! Premium 32 1.2 (85mm) for Nikon 1 Series arrives…

Nikon has upped the ante, finally with this new lenses for the Nikon 1 series! A high quality super fast 1.2 aperture 85mm equivalent is ready to be pre-ordered and it looks very nice. While it costs about triple of the Nikon V1 closeout price of $299 at about $900, I bet this will be an amazing portrait lens for the Nikon 1.


This lens will feature a metal construction, Nano coatings and a floating element along with a big manual focus ring for super fine focusing. It will arrive in Black or Silver and you can pre-order it now at B&H Photo. I can not wait to get a hold of one to test as it can take the little impressive 1 series to the next level with some real shallow DOF possibilities and a pro grade construction.


Also looks like Nikon reduced the price of the V2 body, now at $696. A perfect companion to the new 32 1.2. Still, a Nikon V2 and 32 1.2 lens will set you back about $1600, more expensive than an  Olympus E-P5 or OM-D E-M5 with a 25 1.4 or 45 1.8 which will get you more shallow DOF if you wanted it. Still, for those Nikon 1 fans, and there are quite a few out there now including my Son who made the V1 and 18.5 his #1 camera, this lens is VERY welcome.

May 082013


The new Think Tank Mirrorless Mover Bags – Video Review

You can buy these great affordable bags direct from Think Tank Photo HERE

Take a look at the video review below of the entire line of Mirrorless Mover bags. These include the 5, 10, 20 and 30i. 

Hello to all and Happy Wednesday! It is mid-week and flying by as usual, especially for me as I always have new gear flying in and out of my house, lol. Today I have the brand new set of camera bags from Think Tank Photo, the Mirrorless Mover series. This series consists of four different size bags for your mirrorless or even Leica camera system. They are specially made for the small size/high quality camera market and these bags are all high quality in construction, have loads of features and are some of the most well thought out bags I have seen. They look great, feel great, have metal hardware and quality zippers. A magnetic folding front flap and most models have an iPhone/Smartphone holder as well as SD card pockets. They all feature a “raincoat” in case you get in a wet situation and the best part is they are pretty much dirt cheap in cost for what you get. Priced from $35 to $70 you get quite a bit for your money here and these are highly recommended by me. In fact, these now get my “Best Buy” pick for your mirrorless camera bag needs. Nothing beats them for the price, nothing. While not “Luxury Bags” with leather trim and fancy looks, these bags are much more functional in design and use, which is where it matters.

The 30i, the largest and most functional of all the bags, under $70!


When I did the video review at the top of this page I had no idea how much these were going to sell for as they were not launched yet. I assumed the largest and most functional 30i bag would be $149. It is under $70! This bag will even hold your iPad safely and snugly inside along with your camera, 3-4 lenses, charger, batteries, cards and phone. It is also the choice for Leica users as the 30i is “Leica Size” and easily holds your M and a few lenses with accessories. All in a good-looking and super functional design for under $70.

You can see more info or buy these great affordable bags direct from Think Tank Photo HERE

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