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Apr 242017
 

Using my X Pro 2 over a DSLR for a Job

by Stephen Swain – His website is HERE

Dear Steve,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes,

Stephen

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

Apr 232017
 

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

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

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

And now, the video…

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

B&H Photo A9 Page

Amazon A9 Page

Apr 212017
 

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

PRE ORDER BELOW:

Pre Order the Sony A9 at B&H Photo HERE

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

Order the Sony A9 at Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

PRE ORDER BELOW:

Pre Order the Sony A9 at B&H Photo HERE

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

Order the Sony A9 at Amazon

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

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

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

Apr 132017
 

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

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

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

My video review in 5 Minutes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the video above..it says it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

GoPro Karma Drone

Parrot BeBop 2 FPV Kit

 

Apr 102017
 

Making panoramic compositions with a Fuji GX617 and Hasselblad XPan

Dirk Dom

Shooting panoramas is extremely easy nowadays. Either you stitch, or you use a panoramic camera. The images below are made with a Fuij GX617 and with a Hasselblad Xpan.

The big Fuji shoots four 2.2 by 6.6 inch (5.6 by 168mm) images on 120 film. The image ratio is 3/1. I have a 90 and a 180mm lens, which are equivalent horizontally to full frame 20 and 40mm. Shooting it is serious work and needs to be done from a tripod. The images it makes (equivalent to 300 megapixel) can be printed many feet wide, with a crazy resolution.

The Xpan shoots 0.94 by 2.56 inch (24 x 65mm) images on 35mm film, 20 images a roll. Image ratio is 2.7/1. I have a 45 and a 90mm lens. Full frame equivalent, horizontally, is 24 and 50mm. I’ve never yet fired an Xpan shot from a tripod. It’s an extremely playful, spontaneous rangefinder camera with stunning image quality. Motion blur from hand held photographing limits printing to five feet wide.

Panoramas are in principle landscapes with a wide image view. Some examples:

However, one is not limited to landscapes at all. You can use the wide aspect ratio image (let’s say 2/1 and wider) for completely different shots:

 

You’re also not limited to wide angle. Most of the time I use the normal 180 and 90mm lenses. People say I’m out of my mind that I use camera’s like the big Fuji, because digital stitching is so easy and practical.

Yes???

Try these, stitching:

As you can see, exposing a strip of film at once has its advantages. As seen in the fireworks shot, you’re not limited to a horizontal image. If the composition fits the aspect ratio you can get quite beautiful compositions:

I make lots of vertical images. Digital cameras have more than enough pixels to crop to a panoramic image. So do medium format film camera’s. This is a cropped digital image:

 

I think that, digitally, the best way to work is to tape off your viewing screen and use live view to compose your image. Trying to imagine my panoramic composition in a normal viewfinder image doesn’t work for me.

Discovering panoramic compositions.

 You need to fill your image in a beautiful way. Don’t shoot 1.5 to 1 image ratios with a 3/1 camera.

An example. Here I have lots of space left on the sides of the subject:

This is better:

Your viewfinder is your friend to discover compositions. Take plenty of time.

A longer lens allows you to fill the image:

Panoramic composition.

Just as with the square image of 6×6, you need to be able to discover good compositions for the panoramic aspect ratio. It’s possible this is not for you. It’s also quite possible you absolutely hate any vertical wide aspect compositions. Borrow or rent a camera before you take the plunge of buying one to see if it works out.

The rules of composition of course all apply, but my experience is that you have to keep to them more strictly. A panorama has more space and needs more structure, it needs to be sort of calmer. It also takes a longer time to discover the image. Let me give you some rules, of which I’m sure you all know them and some image examples:

Diagonals.

Ideally, from left, up to right, down.

Rule of thirds.

Often, you need to put two subjects in a panorama because the image is too wide:

Repetitions:

Negative space is the part of your shot not occupied by your subject. I like images with lots of room.

Camera view point:

This one is taken with the camera at ground level, 45 degrees up without looking through the viewfinder:

 

Fore- and background:

Symmetry:

Can be extremely powerful in panoramic compositions. Take great care composing.

Clean up your image.

My sincerest apologies to the purists, but I get rid of junk and wires:

Before:

After:

Making vertical and parallel.

Very important with architecture.

Before:

After:

Well, I hope you enjoyed this and it was a bit useful,

Dirk.

Apr 062017
 

10 Reasons why the Sony A7RII has been my most used camera for almost two years

By Steve Huff

90% of the photos here were shot with the A7RII over the last two years. A few are with the A7II and A7S as well. A true testament to just how good this entire system is. I love my Sony A7RII and this is why.

VIDEO OVERVIEW OF MY 10 REASONS

Ever since it was introduced in August of 2015 I have been in love with my A7RII from Sony. Sure, I reviewed, tested and used and adored other cameras over this time. Olympus, Leica, Fuji and others..but the one constant that remains is the Sony A7RII. When I switched to it from my old A7S I was unsure if I would hold out for the A7SII for the lower MP count and better low light performance, but then again, I wanted to give the higher res 42 MP sensor a try. My computer could handle the load of the large files, and why not?Well, fast forward past thousands of memories captured, after almost two years now, and my A7RII is still going strong. Never one issue, one problem, or one hiccup. I have used it in rain, snow, and even used it during a messy color run just a few weeks ago. After a dust off and clean up, it is as good as new though it is showing some use as it should. I have taken thousands of images on this camera and it never ceases to amaze me, even today. I have shot probably over 100 hours of video on this camera as well, and it never lets me down (besides battery life). But the images, even for a guy who shoots anything and everything like me, are of phenomenal quality.

While testing the 70-200 G Master I snapped a kid who had just caught a ball. He was happy to show it off!

Can’t tell but that is Alcatraz in the background. Shot this with the cheap Sony 50 1.8

The cheap 50 1.8 once again…

IN fact, after all this time the only time I Have been frustrated with this camera is with the battery life. To me, this is truly a weakness. I have six spares in my bag at all time as when shooting video, this camera eats through battery life. I am hoping that when Sony follows up this camera with something new it will have a updated battery system, for pro use. In fact, I am still holding out hope that Sony is going to release that PRO A9 that has been rumored for two years now. Their latest sensor tech, bigger battery life, pro build, dual SD slots, blazing AF, huge EVF Ala Leica SL… if they can do this, they will have an almost unbeatable camera in the 35mm world.

A7RII and the 85 G Master. Photo of Chris from the Phoblographer.

But coming from me, a guy who gets new cameras in the mail each month to test out, the fact that the A7rII has been my most used is pretty incredible. I have access to Leica, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, and anything else that is out there. Canon? To be honest, I have lately invested in some Canon L glass as I have been finding their recent offerings to be exceptional and hey, that leads me to reason #1 why the Sony A7RII has become my most used camera.

10 REASONS WHY THE SONY A7RII HAS BEEN MY MOST USED CAMERA

#1: You can use almost any lens on this camera for 35mm. Adapters are everywhere for just about anything you want to mount. Want to mount that Leica M lens? Sure, just grab a cheap adapter (or a good one like this) and away you go. How about Canon? Sure, grab an adapter (like this one) and you can use Canon glass, with full speed AF and IQ. I love the Canon 16-35 2.8 III, the Canon 24 L 1.4 II, and the Canon 50 L 1.2. Since I also own a Canon C100 MKII for video projects, I can now use these lenses on my Sony A series camera. Nikon? Sure. Vintage Leica? Sure. Any full frame lens from almost any manufacturer can be mounted to an A7 series body. To me, that makes it the most versatile camera already.

Using the Voigtlander 35 1.7 – an amazing lens!!

The Canon DREAM LENS! A very cool lens to use on this system. 

The Petzval 58 1.9 on the A7RII

A Jupiter 3 lens. This was an old vintage one, but a new one is now being made…

The 50 Mitakon Speedmaster

The Zeiss Otus 28 1.4

#2: The fact that there are loads of 3rd party manufacturers making glass for the E mount now. Lenses are plentiful for this system and more so than any other system in the 35mm world. Sure, you can use many lenses on Fuji and Olympus via adapters but you are not getting the full character of the full frame lenses. Sony, to my knowledge, is the only full frame digital camera capable of mounting almost any glass, and now that 3rd parties are making glass left and right just for E Mount, there is a limitless number of native lenses for this system. As I said, super versatile in the lens dept. All depends on what your wants and needs are and how much you want to spend.

Loxia Love

#3: Excellent in low light, high ISO. Sure the A7SII is the best in low light and for video in this size of camera, but the A7RII is no slouch. I have been able to shoot in near darkness with video and photo and be pleased with the results. Will it get even better? Sure, it always does but man, if Sony releases that PRO version of these cameras I think that will be the holy grail. I may as well close up shop here and enjoy using it. If they get it right, I see nothing in 35mm beating it, in any way. We shall see soon I hope. So low light, no problem for any of the A7 MKII versions. Versatile. Period.

#4: Set and forget it. The Menus with the Sony cameras of today are not bad at all. In the past they had a horrendous menu system with their NEX line, but now it’s easy and while the choices are plentiful, once you set it up, assign the buttons to your preferences and all of that good stuff, you really never have to go in and mess with the menu. I shoot RAW and JPEG and if I use JPEG it is usually with the Natural preset with some tweaks. So I have set my A7RII long ago, and I rarely go into the menu. All I need is outside by my fingers.

#5: The EVF of the A7RII is starting to show its age but it is still pretty damn nice. Large enough, WYSIWYG and easy to frame or use manual focus. These days I much prefer a EVF over any optical finder. One reason I stick with mirrorless over DSLRs, and the EVF tech is getting better and better all the time. Can’t wait to see what is coming next…

#6: Manual focus? Easy with magnification and focus peaking. I have used many Leica M lenses on my Sony and never have an issue. It would be even easier with a Leica SL style EVF but for now, I can not complain.

#7: SONY IS PROGRESSIVE, FORWARD THINKING..So I know they are committed to their camera systems, especially the A series and the FE mount in general. They have been putting out amazing lenses, bodies and tech for a few years now, and are hell bent on steam rolling on through to lead the full frame mirrorless world. They are doing it as no one else offers a full frame mirrorless solution that is anything near what the Sony is capable of. Most are still using APS-C or smaller sensors, or going to full blown medium format system, which for me are more for landscape guys or fashion/commercial guys. For daily driving, for me, a smaller system is preferred over Medium Format. Just one reason I am not interested in the new Fuji MF System. It would stay at home just like my old DSLRS used to, due to size and weight. While the Sony A7 system is not tiny, it is when compared to a Canon 5DIV or Medium Format rig, and this Sony can do more than a Medium Format setup in low light, for on the go shooting, and daily use.

#8: It is a RELIABLE Memory Maker. For me, this camera has created just as many memories I am fond of as my Leica M cameras have. Sony has truly led the way in digital imaging for those who desire to use full frame sensors and lenses. While they also offer killer APS-C cameras such as the A6500, my love affair will always be with the full frame cameras. To me, they offer a balance of everything. We get superior low light, Depth of Field control going from shallow to deep, better color than smaller sensors (normally) and all we give up is usually some AF speed, but the AF speed here is pretty good and never had any issues for my use. But the camera has proven to be  crazy reliable FOR ME. Never a break down, never had to send it in, and even though a color run, covered in colored powder in every crevice, it survived and is like new after a clean up. I have traveled all over with my A7RII. In bags, luggage, getting examined by TSA and it still performs as it did the day I opened it.

#9: VIDEO! I shoot a lot of video that is not for this website or part of my life. I have shot well over 100 hours of video with my A7RII and besides eating batteries like they were fruit snacks, it has given me all I could want for, for my needs. Focus is slower with video, and I hope this is improved in the next version of the camera but even so, I mostly use MF for video anyway. Sharp, great color and even nice for serious use. I do not shoot 4K so I am still doing normal 1080OP at 24FPS. For this, the A7rII is fantastic. While the Sony A7SII is king of video next to their serious video cameras like the FS5 and FS7, for me, the A7RII is great. While I now own a Canon C100 MKII for most of my video work, I still use the Sony as well.

#10: It’s size and form factor. As I stated, it is not as small as some cameras, nor are some of the pro level lenses which are just as large as most DSLR lenses. But we can create a small and light system here that packs a huge full frame mega punch. Lenses like the 28 f/2, or the 55 1.8 are small, and some are even smaller. So no NEED to go big here, but you can if you want all out performance. This guy packs a serious punch even today in 2017, almost two years after it was announced, and for Sony that is an eternity, lol. I feel with whatever they come up with next…it will be INCREDIBLE. I feel it. I hope I am right as if so, it will be exciting and motivating as well. But the A7RII is here to stay with me regardless. I have bonded with it over the last couple of years after it has created hundreds, if not thousands of memories for me.

So there to go, ten reasons why this A7rII has been my most used camera over the last two years. Many come, many go. Some stay. Some stay for a long time. Since I get to try and test anything I want, the fact that this camera stuck with me says A LOT. I highly recommend this camera even today. Even if a new model comes out that knocks us out, expect it to cost quite a bit more than a A7RII today. One can even pick up a used A7rII today for a great price.  BUT you can get new deals as well, like this one with all kinds of extras and free prime shipping. 

Sony ups the game every year or two, and they have been at it for many years now. I remember the days of the NEX system when everyone moaned about there being no lenses for the Sony system, and they were right! There were minimal, average kind of cheap choices. But today that has changed, and changed dramatically. Today you have access to just about any lens you would like to use when you own a Sony A series camera. THAT IS HUGE. Full frame, low light, good AF, good video, in a semi small package. What could one ask for? Sure, better battery, Pro 4K video specs, newer higher res sensor, improved low light and AF, and a sleeker design. I can not wait to see what Sony brings us next. Hopefully we do not have long to wait.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Steve

Mar 202017
 

Flying Around the World with Fujimfilm X-Pro 2

By Troy Lim

My career with with one of the largest airlines began back in late 2014. I have been shooting wildlife for the last six years and been looking to get a perfect mirrorless camera to lug around with me. Last December, after reading many reviews, I have decided to give the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 camera a try. Street photography has always been an interest of mine because it tells you what is going on in our daily lives. I have only two lenses: 23mm f2 WR and 35mm f2 WR.

It is very true that the Fujifilm is known for its colors and the film simulation. I love how beautiful this new x-tran sensor renders colors. I mostly shoot with Velvia simulation and then converting to B&W using Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2 filter. Combined with the size, silent shutter with the improved AF, it makes this an awesome street photography camera. It will continue to be the camera that travel with me on my trips, capturing all the places that I get to visit for many years to come.

Here are some of the photos I have created since owning this camera. I am looking forward to sharing more with all of you in the near future.

LOS ANGELES

HONG KONG

Troy Lim
http:www.troylimphotography.com
https://www.facebook.com/troylimphotography
https://www.instagram.com/troylimphotography/

Mar 152017
 

The Leica M10: A Tale of Two Cities

by Tomer Vaknin

Dear Steve,

It has been a month and a half since I bought my new Leica, the M10. I flew especially to Berlin to buy it when it was released. I already shared a while ago few pictures from my first experience with this M. Now, after few weeks, I want to present few more pictures taken with the M10.

Borrowing from Dickens, I call this set of pictures “A Tale of Two Cities”. They highlight the differences between Israel’s two biggest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. All the pictures were taken on Friday (although different dates) and they show clearly how each city sees and prepare to the beginning of the the Shabat (Saturday). In one hand, Jerusalem, the most religious city in Israel were everyone are busy in last minute shopping before all the stores close and on the other hand Tel Aviv, the most liberal and secular city where everyone just looking for any reason to celebrate and to party.

I hope you and your reader will enjoy the pictures and I am looking forward to read your feedback.

All Pictures were taken with the Leica M10 and a Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH

This portrait of myself was taken by my friend Shai Ashkenazi a great Leica shooter and a great friend (With Leica SL and Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH) in a Jerusalem market:

For you can follow me at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tomer.vaknin.5
Instagram: itomervaknin
Best regards,
Tomer Vaknin

Mar 132017
 

An Olympus Micro 4/3 Buyers Guide. My faves in the pro line. 

Hey to all! It’s a new week and I have been shooting the new Sony lenses for the last few days, the new 100 f/2.8 GM and the new 85 1.8  as well. Both are amazing lenses, and reviews are being written now and should hit end of week for the 100 GM. Until then, I was also just admiring my Olympus EM1 MKII. I have yet to publish my 2nd part of my review (mainly because the 1st part was pretty thorough as is, just missing a few things) but man, the EM1 MKII is such a good GREAT camera, and that is no hype. It delivers beautiful IQ in a total pro body with speed I have not been seeing in my Sony’s or other cameras. The new line of lenses from Olympus are true stunners, even beating some of my old mega buck faves in the Leica world in some ways. Sure, the DOF issue is still there for some, but I have gotten over that. With lenses like the 25 f/1.2 and even the Panasonic Nocticron we have plenty of shallow DOF available to us if need be IMO. What I have been liking with those new Olympus lenses is the way they render. Sharp yet not analytical. Beautiful color, but never overdone and Smooth bokeh performance. The build on the Old pro lenses is also fantastic, and IMO, these lenses are up there with the best out there.

I currently own a PEN-F and EM1 MKII. I also have the 8mm Fisheye 1.8 the 7-14 2.8, the 25 1.2 and 300 f/2.8. So I am covered from ultra wide to a whopping 600mm. The lens the stays on my cameras are the 7-14 Pro and the 25 1.2. It’s what I use 90% of the time with these cameras. Even so, there are many more lenses out there that rock these cameras, and for less than what these cost. Below are my Olympus Micro 4/3 recommendations if one were to think about starting up with a new Olympus Micro 4/3 system. So let’s get to it! I will 1st go over the PRO lenses I love and recommend, then the lenses that are more affordable that I also love. This post is only about OLYMPUS, for those who want to keep it all OLYMPUS. While here are tons of 3rd party lenses that are amazing, this article will stick with gear made by Olympus, to keep it all zen like ;)

THE OLYMPUS EM1 MKII – MY 2016 CAMERA OF THE YEAR

A True Pro level camera for Pros, Enthusiasts, Hobbyists and anyone who wants a quality camera to last you many years

BUY IT AT B&H PHOTO or AMAZON – $1999

SEE MY REVIEW HERE

The camera that does it all, and does it all very well. It’s only limitations are the super low light scenarios but with this cameras and lens like the new 25 1.2, most of that has been squashed as I can shoot this guy as high as ISO 10K and get usable results if I nail the exposure (shooting RAW helps). With gorgeous speed, color, build, usability, and all kinds of features unique to Olympus like livetime, high res shot and the best 5 Axis IS around, the EM1 MKII is a camera that will not be replaced or updated for many years. It can handle rain, sleet, snow and ice. It can handle extreme temps as I found out when testing it in the frigid air of Iceland. It was pelted by water, sleet, and salt and never faltered even though my fingers were stiff as a board from the cold. The camera kept going. Many say the EM1 will be just as good, but truth be told, this MKII is indeed better than the MKI. The MKI is awesome but this guy is just polished, and delivers an experience that not many cameras can match. Those who own it will know what I mean. It just works. Battery life is great due to the new larger battery, the quick charger is nice as well and comes with the camera. The dual SD slots, improved 5 Axis, a tad better noise performance and wonderful dynamic range and color and it si no wonder it made my camera of the year for last year. So I highly recommend this camera for any enthusiast, pro, hobbyist or gear aficionado.

Two with the EM1 MKII and the 25 1.2 lens. Great detail, color and bokeh. CLICK for best version. 


The 25 f/1.2 Lens – My FAVE lens for Micro 4/3

Gorgeous lens with a fast f/1.2 aperture for low light use and yes, even some beautiful bokeh with M 4/3

BUY IT AT AMAZON or B&H PHOTO – $1199

SEE MY REVIEW HERE

Yep it is larger than most 50mm lenses, but it is a 25mm lens at heart, though it gives us. the FOV of a 50mm. I know of a pro or two who ditched their Leica 50 Summilux and M setup to go Olympus and this new lens. They are not regretting it either. When I put my sensible hat on, I will admit that yes, a camera like the EM1 MKII and the 25 1.2 lens can end toe to toe with Leica. yes, we lose some shallow DOF but the images that come from this lens are gorgeous. I have seen some tear inducing wedding work done with this lens, and in pro hands who know their stuff it will shine. This lens is good for anything..street, portraits, weddings, or everyday life. It’s a perfect lens for the Micro 4/3 system and when you use it and start seeing what it can do, the size will not bother you, at all. The bokeh is smooth, color is gorgeous and it has it’s own unique character, and yes, it has some character. Never ever sterile and never soft. It’s just a wonderful lens that can be used for anything, and for low light the f/1.2 aperture provides light gathering that does the trick. I will soon be taking the EM1 MKII and this lens to shoot some low light clubs/musicians and I will post here on these pages how that turns out but I have no doubts in the abilities of the combo. I highly recommend this lens to  ANYONE who shoots Olympus Micro 4/3.

A FEW MORE WITH THE 25 1.2


THE 7-14 F/2.8 PRO LENS

An ultra wide that delivers the goods. Great for video or photo.

BUY AT B&H PHOTO OR AMAZON  – $1199

SEE MY REVIEW HERE

I LOVE THIS LENS! I have owned it since it was launched and I have used it for mostly VIDEO on my PEN-F and EM1 MKII and it has always delivered great performance. Photos or video, this one in the pro line is perfect for those who maybe liked their Nikon 14-24 or Canon 16-35 but this one, IMO, performs even better as we do not have full frame sensors to worry about. With this lens, the edges are sharp as is the frame. The color, and all of the good stuff is typical Olympus Zuiko Pro. Again, $1199 is pricey but we are getting a  pro level lens here, much like a Canon L or Sony GM. This is the best line Olympus makes so the build, feel and performance is top of the heap. Below are a few images made with the lens over the last year or two. Highly recommended if you want an ultra wide zoom that has no compromise.


The 12-100 f/4 Pro – Oly’s best lens?

THIS LENS IS A STUNNER

BUY AT AMAZONB&H PHOTO

Well well. This lens here is what one Olympus employee told me was Olympus best lens they make, in his opinion. After using it, I may have to agree. While it seems limited at first, being 12-100 and f/4 it is far from it. For the new Cinema 4K video mode on the EM1 MKII, this lens does amazing things together with the IS built into the EM1 MKI body and the lens itself. This lens is perfect corner to corner, across the frame. It delivers stunning color, stunning detail, amazing micro contrast and fast silent Auto Focus. This lens is one that I want to buy as soon as I can afford the extra $1299. This with the 25 1.2 would fill mostly all of my needs. It may even get me to sell my 7-14 but maybe not. IQ wise, this is as good as it gets for Micro 4/3 and for me, it beats competitors on this focal range. It just delivers in all aspects and has no issues with CA, distortion or flare. Things that plague cheaper lenses. If you want beautiful perfection and can deal with an f/4 lens, this is it.

A few images..more to come when I get my own copy ; ) 


The 300mm f/4 Pro – 600mm FOV

$2499 FOR 600MM FOV, HAND HOLDABLE!

BUY AT AMAZON or B&H PHOTO

SEE MY 1st LOOK HERE, and a FULL REVIEW HERE

This lens is crazy, and I am not sure why I own it. Probably because I love well made gear, and gear that lows through expectations. This lens is a whopper. A heavy large beast, meant for pros who want to get in close to the action with fast focus, and a 600mm reach. Yep, this is a 300mm lens but since we get the 2X crop we are at 600mm when used on our beloved Micro 4/3 bodies. So this is one focal length and that will give you a 600mm FOV. WOW. The in lens IS works amazing as well. I was able to hand hold shots in my early tests with this that should not have been possible.

BTW, Here is the wide image of this taken with another lens…so you can see how much 600mm will get you in close..

and a few more with the 300mm

So there it is. My Fave Olympus PRO gear. From the EM1 MKII to my fave pro lenses. Yep I left out the 12-40 and the 40-150 as I have not been huge fans of them. I have always felt the 12-40 was a tad over-rated. In comparison to the 12-100, IMO it falls a tad short in contrast, detail. etc. The 40-150 I just never fell in love with as I would prefer the Nocticron or Olympus 75 1.8 in its place. The lenses and camera above are the Olympus PRO products I either own or soon will (the 12-100). if I buy it, then I must like it ;) I also own the 8mm fisheye which is also gorgeous but I rarely EVER use it. I use it maybe once a year so I am not recommending it unless someone LOVES fisheye. If you do, then the pro 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye is amazing. I will not sell mine, even though I rarely use it. Lovely lens.

Later this week I will feature my fave picks in the Olympus NON PRO lineup. From camera to lenses, for those who do not want to spend the big bucks on the pro gear. Olympus offers greatness at all price points, so no worries. Check back later in the week for that and more new reviews!

Steve

 

Mar 102017
 

Cruising the Caribbean with the Sony RX100 III

by Mike McFaul

Hey Steve,

We’re already 2 full months into the new year, and yet both Fuji and Leica have you busy with your Real World Reviews … keep it up! However, it would be your review on the first generation Sony RX100 all these years ago that had me saying, ‘Absolutely not! There is no way I’d buy that thing. Sony is not a camera company!’

At the time I had (and still do) my always lovable and enjoyable Oly EM5, with my lens collection simply being the Panny 20/1.7 and the Oly 45/1.8. I really got to know the camera, its few quirks and for me, everything just felt right, and had the idea that I’ll never replace this camera. That is, until our family trip to Sedona, AZ back in Christmas of 2015.

It was family trip with my wife, 2 yr old daughter and mother-in-law that I had really high hopes for from a photography standpoint. And while we had a fantastic time as a family, with memories we still talk about from time to time and reminisce about going back, it is the lack of photographic images from that trip that disappointed me.

And to be fair, it really had nothing to do with the Oly EM5 or its performance. Rather, it had to do with my preference and need for a smaller, faster and more convenient camera. As I’m sure many readers on your site with young children can attest to, traveling with a 2 yr old (who at the time was just a month shy of 3 yrs old) is a LOT of work. Work that required me carrying a book bag for the little one’s diapers, wipes, my lenses, food, water, juice, maps, extra clothes, toys, extra battery, lens cleaner, and more…all while trying to keep a watchful eye on an excited and active daughter, and at the same time trying take in the beautiful scenery of Sedona while alongside my wife and mother-in-law. Again, it’s a lot of work.

Fast forward to today and just two weeks removed from another family trip with the family, only this time it’s an 8 day/7 night cruise through the Caribbean, and I couldn’t be happier with my images from the trip via the Sony RX100 III.

Our trip was booked in October of last year, which in turn led me on a 3-4 month journey of never ending research and analysis of just about every point and shoot out there. I was suffering from analysis paralysis down within a deep dark rabbit hole. I couldn’t make a decision.

One week it would be Fuji’s X70 for I absolutely love Fuji’s color signature. Then I’d move on to the Ricoh GR II, and it’s ease of handling and it’s reputation as the perfect street photography camera. Not to mention both being large APS-C sensors! And perfectly capable cameras to boot.

But I would still find myself drawn to Sony’s little pocket rocket…and I hated that I did. I continually found myself on Flickr combing through images produced by the RX100 and continually being amazed by its image quality. ‘It’s a 1” sensor! How can it be!’ It just doesn’t make sense. And for me, it did.

I found the zoom range to be more and more appealing, and I hated zooms! I rented the Oly 12-40/2.8 when it first came out and came away with the realization that I’ll never again use this or zooms in general. Yet I felt, for me and my preferences, the 28mm equivalent on the Fuji and Ricoh a bit too limiting.

Others things I loved about the Sony, certainly its fast aperture, and it’s blazing fast auto-focus, but to be honest, I really enjoyed using its 3 stop ND filter for I love shooting wide open.

I found it’s bokeh to pleasant and for my tastes, perfectly acceptable. And I have to add, the ability to carry (albeit, firmly within my palms) this little thing around with a wrist strap, was a bit liberating and incredibly convenient. Again, for family man/super dad situations, the RX100 was rock solid.

I cannot speak for it’s pop-up EVF or it’s video for I did not use them at all during the trip. And found the back LCD screen useable in all manners of light and situations, and I especially enjoyed using the selfie LCD screen tilt as well. Certainly makes framing the background much easier.

Below are a couple more favorites from the trip. Hope your readers enjoy and more specifically, those moms and dads that are currently planning a family trip with little ones and are debating over the purchase of an RX100. It would be premature of me to say it’s ‘the best travel camera ever’ because I didn’t really get the opportunity to use any competitor camera, but I will say, here I am all these years later after my initial impressions of the RX100 from Steve’s review, and I have no buyers remorse over my purchase.

Also, all images are JPEG, uploaded through Sony’s wifi function to my phone and edited to taste within the Snapseed app.

Mar 062017
 

The Fuji X100F Review. The Fourth Generation of the Fuji is “The One”

By Steve Huff

Order the Fuji X100F at B&H Photo or Amazon.

The X100 series from Fuji has long been dear to my heart. In fact, it is one of the cameras that has taken the ride with me on this journey of life for the last six years or so (see this post from a week or so ago), on and off. It has given me memories of these last six years of my life with some great personal moments (most never published) that quite frankly, no other camera has. As I sat and browsed my thousands of photos taken with the X100, X100S, X100T and now even the X100F I kept saying to myself “wow, I have more personal photos that I love taken with this camera than even my Leica M cameras”. Well, maybe not really but it sure seemed that way as my head got lost in a time machine of memories. Seeing my son younger, and remembering the times we used to have taking all day adventures or even seeing memories from other areas of my life that were important to me. Those moments where I seemed to have a X100 body over anything else.

X100F OOC JPEG using the “CHROME” color preset – Click it for larger

and this one, 10 seconds later – from RAW

I even did this comparison back in the day, an X100 vs Leica M9 and the X100 did very well, if not portraying the images in a somewhat “flatter” way..but at 1/7th the cost, we have to give a little somewhere, right?

Then I sat there and wondered why that was, why I had an X100 body over a Leica or Sony or whatever I was using at the time, but then it hit me. The X100 was easy to carry, always easy to bring with me, always easy to USE. Sure, the 1st one, that original, had some slow focus issues, and some response issues. It was the 1st, and the 1st of anything is usually never perfect. Hell, even the new F is not perfect but it’s still an X100 through and through and for that I am pleased as punch because the X100 to me represents the ultimate take anywhere camera when you just want to capture your life, and with great quality and color to boot. But I took that X100 with me as it was a joy to use and the output of that 1st version (without the Trans sensor) was beautiful.

X100F with the perfect strap I have found for it. The Tie her Up “Snake”  I use the 125mm version as I prefer the strap across my chest. 

Now, of course there are other cameras that do this very well. A Leica M is fantastic for this, and has usually always been my “Go To” for these things. Small, slim, tiny lenses and a joy that comes from manual focus and nailing those shots. For me, lately, my eyesight has been degrading (comes with the territory when you hit mid to late 40’s and I am 47 now) so manual focusing a RF has been tricky lately. When I fell in love HARD for the new M10 I realized it was harder for me to shoot as I never wear my glasses when shooting (though I should). I would now need diopters for using an M reliably. Then I remembered that I never missed a shot with the Leica SL due to its huge picture window EVF. Then I realized…”HEY, I never missed focus with the last two X100’s using the AUTO FOCUS”…lol, even better.

X100F, f/2 – Must click to see larger better version

So with my 47 year old eyes fading and me not liking the whole “shooting with glasses” experience just yet I decided to delve into the new X100F with a thought that this time I may keep this camera instead of selling it. I bought it from Amazon when up for order and had one on the day of release. Sometimes I buy a camera for review, then sell it if I do not feel I want it. To be clear, I have a stable of cameras here and being a camera and lens reviewer allows that. I always keep my faves on hand for comparison sake. Today, in March 2017, I keep the Sony A7rII, An Olympus EM1 MKII and PEN-F, A Leica SL, A Sony A6300 and various lenses. These are the bodies that I enjoy and get the most use from right now, and I doubted if there was a place for the X100F but then I realized there most certainly was. I do not own a Fuji right now, and I need one. The Fuji colors, the newer Acros B&W mode that delivers (IMO) beautiful B&W images out of the camera and the small size mixed with the retro design that always made this series beautiful. I have nothing like that in my stable right now besides the PEN-F and while these two have some similarities, they are quite different. So yea, I will add the X100f to my shelf of favorites, and if that was a spoiler, I apologize :)

I went with the classic Silver and Black model because to me it just give the X100F that vintage look and style, and I already have the normal black SLR style body filled with my other cameras ;)

IF YOU MISSED IT, MY FIRST LOOK VIDEO OF THE X100F


FIRST THINGS FIRST

So first things first. What does this X100F offer than the X100, X100s and X100T did not? Well, as with all of these Fuji releases most improvements have been incremental and each new model brought forth improvements in auto focus speed and capabilities, response time and in the case of the X100F, the new things or improvements over the last model are listed below:

24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor and X-Processor Pro

“Utilizing Fujifilm’s unique, randomized pixel array, the 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor affords a high degree of image quality and sharpness due to the omission of an optical low-pass filter. Versus conventional pixel patterns, the X-Trans design more closely mimics the organic nature of film in order to produce nuanced colors and smooth tonal transitions, while also reducing moiré and aliasing. Additionally, the sensor is paired with the X-Processor Pro image processor to yield smooth, low-noise results, an extended sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200, and quick performance speeds throughout the camera system, including an 8 fps continuous shooting rate, Full HD 1080p video recording at up to 60 fps, an AF speed of 0.08 seconds, 0.2 second shooting interval, 0.5 second startup time, and a 0.01 second shutter release lag.”

My Brussels Griffon, Olive. X100F, Acros Mode in full sun in my yard. 

Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder

“Both optical and electronic viewing means are incorporated into the unique Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder, which provides both the simplicity of an OVF with the technological advancements of an EVF. Switching between both viewing methods is done with the dedicated OVF/EVF switching lever, enabling quick transitioning between both modes. The OVF has its benefits in providing a clear, unadulterated view of the scene you’re photographing and reduces the shutter lag time to a minimum. For fine-tuning of focus, exposure, white balance, and other camera settings, the EVF gives you the ability to monitor all of the applied settings prior to making the exposure.

An enhanced optical viewfinder now incorporates an electronic rangefinder mode, harking to traditional mechanical rangefinder cameras of which this camera gains its appearance from, and permits refined and comparative manual focusing methods. The magnification of the electronic rangefinder can be adjusted to 2.5x or 6x for improved precision, and real-time parallax correction also enables more accurate framing and focusing in manual focus mode.

In contrast, the high-resolution 2.36m-dot EVF provides you with 100% frame coverage along with the ability to utilize electronic focusing aids for precise manual focus control. By using the phase-detection pixels located on the imaging sensor, Digital Split Image is able to assist in acquiring precise focus by showing comparative in and out of focus areas of the image. Also contributing to manual focus accuracy, focus peaking has been integrated and enables a more objective system of focusing by way of highlighting sharp edges and lines of contrast in a clear manner.

When working with the EVF, you can also utilize Shooting Effect Reflection settings in order to preview and utilize selected camera effects, such as Film Simulation modes. When this setting is turned off, the image will revert to a natural view, void of any exposure or camera settings applied, to better suit working in darker conditions and to greatly reduce any display lag.”

May have been Velvia mode, JPEG – X100F

Body Design

*Rear 3.0″ 1.04m-dot LCD monitor for image playback and review, menu navigation, and for live view shooting.
*A physical ISO dial has been incorporated within the shutter speed dial to allow for intuitive, direct switching of sensitivity settings – This is something cool, and in use I like it. I normally keep my ISO on Auto but here I can easily switch ISO (much like the new Leica M10) and it is very easy to lift up and adjust from Auto, to an actual number or a low or high setting. 
*Focus lever has been added to lens to improve manual focus adjustment – A nice touch here. 
*Rear focus lever is available for intuitive selecting and switching of AF points – A welcome addition. I love the joysticks on cameras, and use it all the time on my Leica SL. Here it is now on the Fuji X100F. 
*The physical exposure compensation dial now features a C position to permit an expanded +/- 5 EV range when working with the control dials – This is also new and nice to have. 
*The majority of the camera’s control buttons and dials have been placed on the right-hand side of the body to enable easier one-handed use – In use this works out very well. A nice clean layout and all on the right side. Perfect. 

91-Point Autofocus System

“Utilizing both contrast- and phase-detection methods, the hybrid autofocus system employs 91 total points, which can be divided into 325 total areas for a high degree of focusing accuracy in a variety of lighting conditions. Approximately 40% of the frame is covered by 49 phase-detection points in order to provide fast AF performance to suit working with moving subjects.”

Film Simulation Modes

Now with the new B&W simulation “Acros” which delivers stunning out of camera B&W images.

Two with the Acros B&W film simulation. I love this mode and will use it for all of my B&W images. Click them for larger. 

More Features of the X100F

*Built-in Wi-Fi lets you wirelessly transfer images or remotely control the camera from a linked mobile device.
*Integrated three-stop neutral density filter benefits working in bright light conditions with wider aperture settings or slower shutter speeds.
*An electronic shutter function affords high shutter speeds up to 1/32,000 sec.
*Auto Macro focusing mode lets you focus on subjects as close a 3.9″ away.
*Digital Teleconverter settings let you simulate the look of a 50mm or 70mm lens.
*Advanced Filters: Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High Key, Low Key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, and Partial Color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple).

CLICK FOR LARGER

Shooting with the new X100F vs the old versions…

When the X100F arrived I was excited to use and shoot with the latest version. I was curious as to what Fuji could do to improve upon it from the T or even S. To be honest, I was not a huge fan of the T as I felt it was very similar to the S. Small changes made that really did not affect me at all with it. But this new F, for me is the one that finally surpasses the original for IQ and everything else. To me, this new F is “The One” when it comes to the X100 series. ]

It now uses the same battery as the X-Pro  system so we get better battery life, and the body still stays slim and trim. The body to me feels a tad more beefier in weight though, which is a good thing as I always find Fuji camera too feel hollow and almost too light when compared to other cameras makers. Sony, Olympus or Leica. But this X100F feels great, just as it should. Not too light and not too heavy. It’s fantastic in feel and form.

I basically just took mine out with me wherever I went even though these last two weeks have been filled with personal things I had to get done for life in general, as well as some sickness issues and even losing my passport before a huge out of the country trip and stressing to find it (so far without luck). So while I have been stressed and hectic with life, I managed to evaluate the X100F anyway ;) Truth be told I try not to let myself get stressed out too much, ever, and shooting the X100F seemed to help me forget some of the stress I have been getting thrown at me this week.

Shooting it has been a smooth experience. No lag, no missed Auto Focus shots, no problems with over exposure as I used to get with the older models. Now I seem to be getting a tad but of underexposure which is strange for a Fuji but I usually shoot with a little exposure comp set in to avoid highlights blowing out. Something I became used to with the original Leica monochrome. With the X100F I do not need to do that as it seems to expose the scene perfectly for my worries and the dynamic range is there, as it is with all cameras made today (the good ones).

The EVF is still nice, and how I remember it. Fuji has improved it yet again but in reality, in real use, it is pretty much the same as I remember from the last three. You can shoot full on EVF or use the optical VF that mimics a rangefinder (though not really). So if you like optical, it is here. Like EVF? It’s here as well. I always seem to be drawn to the EVF as I am able to see just what I am getting out of it. If I shoot in Acros mode I can see what the image will look like, and even be exposed like. With the OVF you do not get these luxuries. The EVF is good, but not a “WOW” EVF. For the cost of the camera though ($1299) Fuji has packed in loads of useful features and given us all kinds of goodies. EVF/OVF, the fantastic Fuji Film sim modes, the enhanced AF speed, Better Video (though I still would not use this as a video camera), silent shutter with 1/32,000 speed, they kept the built in ND filter for sunny days when using the mechanical shutter, and an overall package that is just such a joy to use and attractive.

This is a beautiful camera in every way and to be honest, I have fallen for it as it made me remember more than any before it, the good times and memories I made with the original X100 and to some extent the ones that came after it. I have decided that to me, this camera is perfect for making life memories. Even more so than a Leica. It’s cheaper, it’s fast, it’s easy to use yet advanced enough for the geek in us or even a backup for some pros, it has a wonderful sensor as well. Many know I have not been thrilled with the last two Fuji X Trans sensors but this one, I like it. A lot.

No more smudges when using Adobe software, and some of that “flatness” has gone away as well. While not as “deep” as a Leica SL file, what we get for our money here is IMO unmatched in a camera of this type.

X100F, all at f/2 and Acros mode (LOVE this Film Simulation)

The Competition for the X100F?

This camera is a fixed lens 23mm lens camera. This 23mm lens is an f/2 lens and gives us the illusion of being a 35mm lens due to the magnification of the APS-C sensor. This is not a full frame sensor camera and will not give us the huge shallow depth of field we can get from a Sony RX1R system, or even the Leica Q. But those full frame single lens cameras? They run from $3800 to $4300 where this Fuji is $1299.  So with the Fuji we get a similar vibe body for $2500 less money and the X100F actually has more features and things going for it in general over the other two BUT, and this is a huge BUT, the RX1R and Q systems will indeed offer better, richer IQ. The Fuji will offer a tad flatter image, and I still do see some of that “flatness” in this latest X Trans sensor but overall, it is closer than ever.

The Sony will be slower in AF than the Fuji, and the Q is fastest of all. The Sony will offer the best IQ of all three IMO, then the Q, then the X100f. All three are FANTASTIC cameras with the Sony being the smallest form factor in some ways, though not as thin as the Fuji due to the HQ 35mm f/2 Zeiss lens attached. The Q is the largest.

To see my reviews of those cameras, check them out here. Sony RX1RMKII, Leica Q and the older Sony RX1R

To be honest I love all three of those but the Q is priced out of my rage for what I would pay for a camera of this kind. The Sony, I love and adore..but it is not the speed demon that the Q is. That leaves me with the X100f. It’s the cheapest, it’s one of the smallest and it offers quite a bit like the unique OVF/EVF experience and the Fuji color and Fuji cilm simulations that can, in the right hands be delicious ; ) I have not exploited this camera for all it can do just yet. But again, this camera can not compete with the Sony for IQ so if IQ is your all out be all end all, I’d say go with an older Sony RX1R (not the MKII) and you can get one for much less than the MKII and it’s output is gorgeous.

The original Sony RX1R…IMO gives a more smoother cinematic vibe due to the full frame sensor. 

Other cameras, like IC cameras are not really competition for this camera. If one is pondering an X100F, I doubt they are pondering something like a Leica M or Sony A7 or Olympus PEN because all of those are so different from each other. This camera, you can not ever change the lens. So when you buy one, get ready to set into the 35mm state of mind as 35mm is the equiv focal length you will shoot at with this guy. All the time! No 50, no 75, and now 21. Just 35. So if this is scary to you, you should be looking at an interchangeable lens camera.

The Olympus PEN-F on the left with the AMAZING 25 f/1.2 lens. The X100f on the right. 

The closest IC camera to this one is the Olympus PEN-F. It’s look are similar, and the feel is similar and even the PEN-F has a cool Tri X B&W film simulation mode ;) IN fact, since I have both here, let me compare them a bit, B&W mode to B&W mode ;) I will use the 25 1.2 lens on the Olympus (closest I have to the 23mm lens on the Fuji). With the APS-C of the Fuji this brings us a 35mm magnification. With the Olympus and the M 4/3 sensor that doubles and gives us a 50mm effective FOV. I do not have one of the 17mm M 4/3 lenses on hand to do a 35vs 35 thing but either way, the Fuji is a 23mm lens, pure and simple. The Only is a 25mm lens. So they are close and this will be a WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET comparison…

SHOT 1, Fuji X100F vs Olympus PEN-F – Acros vs Tri-X

These are OOC JPEGS from each camera using their own B&W film simulations. The Only does Tri-X (though I turned off grain for sake of comparison) and the Fuji does Acros…let’s see if they differ and how..

Immediately I see the Fuji delivers a softer less contrasty look to the conversion. The Only looks a little more “WOW” but that is due to the higher contrast of Tri-X  so it is going for that look. Also, the lens on the Old delivers a tad more pop due to the f/1.2 aperture. The Fuji was shot at f/2 and the Only at f/1.2. both wide open to show what you get with each camera and respective lens (23mm on the Fuji and 25mm on the Olympus). The Only has a 2X crop so that 25 will look like a 50 where the Fuji is APS-C. The Fuji’s 23 will appear as a 35mm in regards to FOV. CLICK THE IMAGES for larger.

FUJI

OLYMPUS

In the 2nd image I see more DR with Fuji out of the box for these JPEG’s as well as a more even tonality to the B&W look. Again, Acros vs TriX but I see that more grey look much like the original Leica Monochrom. This gives us a more unique B&W look IMO, at least for my eyes. I prefer the Fuji here. While the Only is doing the shallow DOF thing better it appears to look a tad more digital. THOUGH I have to say, I like both and would use both. If I wanted a more harder look like TriX can give, I’d choose the Oly. If I wanted softer beautiful portraits I would choose the Fuji. Of course, each can be edited to taste as well. These are right out of the box. 

FUJI

OLYMPUS

How about color? The Olympus has a Slide film emulation and the Fuji has Velvia..let’s see how they look

The Fuji has more glowing color and here the Old is a but more subdued. Again, both wide open and since they are around the same focal length we get more shallow DOF from the f/1.2 of the Olympus over the f/2 of the Fuji. THIS IS NOT A sharpness or detail comparison, just color and to show what we can expect from each combo wide open. 

FUJI

OLYMPUS

and one more…

FUJI

OLYMPUS

So to me, I slightly prefer the Fuji renderings for the B&W and for the color, I prefer the Olympus color tones (Velvia vs Slide) in these modes but also look at the OOC DR of the Fuji vs Olympus. Interesting. Of course if these were shot in RAW I could have adjusted the Olympus to be just fine but the SLIDE FILM emulation would have left, so these are all what you see is what you get out of camera JPEGS.

HOW ABOUT VS A FULL FRAME? 

Just for fun I pulled out the Leica SL and a 35 Zm f/1.4 Lens to shoot a test image of Debby with each. How would the X100F compare against the big SL which is a $10k combo? Yep, a just for fun $1300 vs $10k combo comparison…heeheehee.

Here the 1st one is from the Leica SL and the 35 f/1.4 Zeiss ZM Lens. A $10k combo, or just under. ($7500 for the SL, $2300 for the lens) – Click for larger to see them correctly!

X100F with Standard color

Now while I feel the SL blows the Fuji away here in all areas, I have to say..this Fuji, especially at 1st glance gives us the impression that it is not far behind the SL with Zeiss lens. Yep, the aging 23mm f.2 on the Fuji vs a true 35mm f/1.4 on the Leica yet the Fuji is  holding its own. While the SL is in another league in build and feel and control, the X100F has the IQ, and for some that is all that matters. I will say the color is closer from the SL than the Fuji (to reality) but both are lovely. This makes a good argument when spending our hard earned money…do we go for what we WANT or what we NEED?

Now, the SL is a pro camera and can be used in all pro situations. It beats the X100f in all areas and you can use any lens you desire on it, almost. Even Canon and Nikon. It’s a versatile beast and it also has amazing video quality. The X100f is a cheaper made smaller take anywhere camera that can slide in any bag, or be grabbed running out the door. No muss, no fuss. Pick your poison and cost : )

MY BOTTOM LINE CONCLUSION ON THE FUJI X100F

Fuji has delivered yet another X100 camera, the fourth one since 2011. That is a new X100 every year and a half on average. This version is absolutely the best of the X100 models and the reason why is because it is fully matured, it feels better than ever, has a good battery system for its size, has a wonderful EVF/OVF hybrid and has beautiful color from the standard presets or the custom film emulations. It has wide dynamic range and the lens, while aging, offers a bit of classic and modern thrown in. Not bitingly sharp but pleasing and beautiful in its character.

Many wanted Fuji to release this with an f/1.4 lens but that would have made it larger, and most likely slower. It has taken Fuji 6 years to get this lens to be pretty quick in AF as it is, adding a new bigger lens with a wider aperture would probably have been clunky and slow, and for me the X100 series is about having a beautiful take anywhere capable camera with one 35mm equivalent lens on it to you anywhere you need to go, while learning how to “see” as well. A 35mm lens (or equivalent as we have here) will teach you more than using a zoom for a year and when using a camera like this, day in and out, you will learn how to get the most from the focal length and this can result in better images through time and getting comfy with the system.

ISO 6400 at night, one small table lamp to my right. ACROS mode. NR was at -3

The X100F is a camera you can bond with and while never perfect, and not for everyone, for the money there is nothing that beats it. That is important to know..FOR THE MONEY. If you want a fixed lens camera this and the two full frame beasts, the Leica Q and Sony RX1R series are the only game in town. This one is much cheaper and if you can deal with less shallow DOF and an escape from the richness of a full frame sensor then you will be ecstatic to save $2500 or so on the Fuji X100F over the other two. For those who want all out IQ and pop and wow, the Sony and Leica would be your best bet but it will cost you. For me, I am very happy with the X100F and have decided to keep this one on my shelf to add with my other cameras that have stood the test of time in my house. A good way to have a take anywhere no muss or fuss camera companion and a great way to have Fuji color when I want it without having to invest in lenses for another system.

A WIN/WIN. 

This is the best Fuji X100 to date, and you can take that to the bank. I recommend setting your noise reduction to -4 though as these cameras (Fuji’s in general) have a tendency to really be aggressive with NR if cranked up.

WHERE TO BUY?

My top recommended dealers are below. You will never get screwed over by them and I have used these shops forever. Class A all the way:

B&H Photo Fuji X100F Info and Order Page

Amazon Fuji X100F info and order page

PopFlash.com Info and Order page

CameraQuest Fuji X100F Page


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Feb 232017
 

A few thoughts about the Fujifilm X100F

By Olaf Sztaba

This is not a review per se. I have been shooting with the X-series cameras for the last six years (starting with the original X100) and I have enjoyed shooting with them tremendously. I have never been paid by Fujifilm, its subsidiaries or other camera manufacturers. The only bias in this short piece is my uncontrolled joy of shooting with the X100/S/T/F cameras but this state of mind is only of my own making. – Olaf

I had the opportunity to shoot with a pre-production X100F for a few weeks and for those interested I would like to share a few selective thoughts, which are important to me as a street and road photographer.

UNIFICATION

If there is one trend common to all recent releases from Fujifilm is an attempt for unification between the X-series cameras. Many professional and amateur photographers shoot with two or more cameras and switching between them should be easy and effortless. A different battery, menu setups or button placement makes it difficult. Therefore, the latest X100F gets an exactly the same battery the X-Pro2 and X-T2 uses. The placement of the buttons and knobs have been moved to the right thus allowing one-handed operations and it is now in unison to other X-series cameras. The focus point selector has been added and it is placed in almost exactly same spot as on the X-Pro2 and the X-T2. The top plate is an exact copy of the X-Pro2. A new ISO shifter has been added. Although I read some complaints about its operations I personally like this solution a lot. One glance at the top place, a simple operation and my ISO is set and confirmed with no fuss.

LENS

Even before the camera came out many people were calling for a new lens. Perhaps some would like to see F1.8 or faster, others are looking for “sharper” glass. Although I understand and fully support the first argument, I have to admit that the whole sharp and sharper debate makes me yawn. (I believe the next frontier for Fujifilm and other lens manufacturers should be to achieve a unique rendering/look/depiction.)

Going back to the X100F and its 23mm F2 lens, yes it appears to be the same lens used in previous versions.

All four X100’s from the original to the newest F

IMAGE QUALITY

I have been shooting with the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, which have the same sensor as the X100F. Although the X-Pro2 and X-T2 were granted a higher megapixel count, the X100T was the only X-series high-end camera that was left at 16. Now, a brand-new 100F has joined its siblings with a 24.3-megapixel APS-C-sized sensor. As of writing, there is no LR support for RAW files so it is difficult to evaluate the sensor’s dynamic range but I fully anticipate it to be at least as good as it is in the X-Pro2. Let’s remember that since the X100F is not an interchangeable camera, placement of the sensor in relation to the lens could be optimized for image quality.

I am not going to go deep into a discussion about the X-Trans vs. Bayer sensor as this issue has been debated to death. I like the look of the files and I respect if you don’t.

Looking at JPEGs (all images in this review), the image quality is excellent and well above what most of us need. Of course, as with the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 there is a range of Fujifilm film simulations to choose from. My personal favourites are ACROS + R + weak grain (street, travel), Classic Chrome (street, travel or even some portraits), Velvia (landscapes) and Provia (family, portrait).

WISH LIST

I really believe that the X100F should have been weather-sealed. For a camera that you always have with you, some rain and snow protection is a must.

Although the X-T2 is clearly aimed at a high-tech crowd who wants to have it all, in my view the X100-line should remain a photographer’s camera. What I mean by that is limiting non-photography-related functions to a minimum or eliminating them altogether. For example, I don’t see the point of video in the X100F or panoramas and filters…you name it. A plain, well-made, easy to use camera is all that’s needed.

I also envision a X100F sibling with a 56mm lens. Then I would own just two small, portable cameras and forget about everything else.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Since the introduction of the X100, each successor has brought changes and improvements that photographers asked for. The 100F is not revolutionary but rather an evolutionary camera and that’s a good thing. With a new sensor, large EVF/OVF, improved and unified (with the rest of the X-series) operations (and battery) and the same, excellent 23mm F2 lens, the X100F is in my view a flagship X-series camera.

ORDER THE X100FAMAZONB&H PHOTOPOPFLASHCAMERAQUEST

 

Feb 222017
 

Save $25 on your 1st Rental at LensRentals.com

Hey to all, happy Wednesday! Today I want to give you $25 credit if you have never tried renting from LensRentals.com. They have been a site sponsor for years here, helping to keep this site alive and going strong and if you have never rented from them, maybe  you should take a look around and see what they have to offer. Over  the years I have rented numerous Leica M lenses, Sony lenses, cameras, and even adapters to try out before I buy them. I have even kept my rental twice now, as they let you buy the item if you like it and they deduct the rental fee and also give a deal as it is a used item.

They rent all brands from Fuji to Leica to Sony to Olympus and beyond.

So for those who have never tried LensRentals.com, click HERE to claim your $25 credit towards a rental ;) 

Have a great day!

BTW, coming soon from ME. Fuji X100F review, and a Zeiss 35 1.4 Zm Distagon Lens review. 

Feb 212017
 

A Look at the Voigtlander Ultra Wides for Sony E Mount…10, 12 and 15!

By Steve Huff

Around two weeks ago Stephen Gandy from Cameraquest.com emailed me and asked me if I wanted to take a look at all three ultra wide angle lenses from Voigtlander made for Sony E Mount. Not being a huge Ultra Wide shooter, I hesitated..and then of course said 100% YES! I used to actually really enjoy the old 15mm M mount when used on my old M9 (even with the magenta issues) and then the version II which was improved, and finally the VIII that seemed to fix the issues of the past with the lens. But let’s be real here…the 15mm has grown to double its size since the original little M mount version but I guess it had to as now in its VIII form it is beautiful with the M mount and yes, the E Mount.

But I always thought that the 15mm was SO wide, so what would a 10mm or even 12mm be like? Also, why is there a 10 and 12? To me, they seem very close when looking at the numbers..10 vs 12? Which one to get? Well, with the lenses on their way to me I was now intrigued. I could use them all, and see which focal length suited me the most of the three.

SLOW APERTURE

These lenses are pretty slow in aperture. The 15 comes in at f/4.5 and the other two the 10 and 12, well their fastest aperture is f/5.6. Not fast by any stretch of the imagination. The last time I tested a lens with a f/5.6 aperture it was THIS ONE, and I ended up really enjoying it (though I did not buy it due to cost).

About the time these lenses were sent to me Debby and I were about to head to Las Vegas for a three day getaway (and we do not ever gamble). We just like to walk, people watch and enjoy a show or two. I decided to bring the Sony A7RII along with the 10, 12 and 15 to see if I could get any use out of them. But I was nervous as I am a 50mm guy, and shooting a 10 or 12 was making me think “what the hell do people shoot with such a wide angle lens’?!?!? Truth be told, I still do not know! Lol.

With the slow aperture lenses I knew it would be a challenge unless I was in full sun, outdoors..or would it be?

The Amazing 15mm Voigtlander on the Sony A7RII (E mount)

Click for larger and crisper version

I will just say it now..I much preferred the 15mm for me and my shooting tastes. To me, that 10 and 12 were just toooo wide and I feel I would use it maybe once per year, if that. But again, take this from a guy who rarely ever shoots wider than 16mm (with my Zeiss 16-35 on my A7RII, one of my most used lenses which I use for video). So shooting at 10mm or 12mm is alien to me. So take that into consideration. What I can say is that I am used to that old 15mm, all versions actually. To me, this E mount is the best of the lot. No issues at all actually. It’s just how I remember it through the years. Crisp, crazy wide, yet with no magenta issues and with great color and contrast.

As for the 10mm, well..it can be cool for selfies but it gives you the long arm syndrome ;)

A selfie with the 10mm on the A7RII

Yep, MANUAL FOCUS!

These are all manual focus lenses but trust me here, it is almost impossible to get an out of focus shot with the 10mm or 12mm, and to some extent with the 15. The depth of field is so so wide, and the largest aperture you have is f/5.6 so getting an out of focus shot would be harder than getting one in focus ;) So using these lenses are simple, and one should not let the fact that these are manual focus bother them. When you look through the EVF and use focus magnification and turn the focus barrel you will see very little focus variance, so you have a huge huge area there to nail it.

But at 10mm, and even 12mm be prepared to see life wider than real life!

10mm

10mm but I cropped this one. With the Sony A7rII cropping is easy due to the super high resolution of the camera. 

But man oh man, what to shoot?

No question these lenses are fantastic when it comes to IQ and capability. All of them. 10, 12 or 15. When shooting though you can get so much in the frame you have to be careful as metering can get tricky. As in the shot above we have the darkness of the restaurant mixed with the big window on the left shining in bright light. So luckily todays cameras have much better DR than the cameras of just a few years ago. BTW, the images here are pretty much all straight from the A7RII. Speaking of the A7rII, it’s still a PHENOMENAL camera. I have shot so many frames in mine, and used it for countless hours of video and it has never failed me, ever. Not once. It’s one hell of a versatile photo taking machine. I still highly recommend it to anyone who wants a super high res 35mm full framer. For what it does, and its versatility, its priced great even at $2900. 

As I said earlier in the write up…what the heck am I going to shoot with these wide angle lenses? You guys know me, I am just a real world passionate type of shooter. A normal guy who enjoys cameras and taking photos. I’m not a landscape pro, portrait pro, studio pro or any pro. I shoot life and what I enjoy doing is capturing memories of my life and I happen to love tech and the gear that lets me do this with the most enjoyment. I usually do these things with a 28, 35 or 50mm lens. So did I find it a challenge to find subjects to fit into these wide angle frames? Well, yes and no.

The least used lens was the 12. I just could not find a place for it. For me, it was either REALLY WIDE or ULTRA WIDE ;) (10 or 15). 

BUT here is one with the 12mm, again click it for better!

Two more with the 10mm which I started to like more and more, and even using it at night was a breeze due to the A7rII ISO capabilities. 

CLICK ‘EM!

The color, contrast and sharpness for me was fantastic on all of these. Sure, you will get some bit of softening at the corners and edges but these are crazy wide my friends and the price point is within reach for the common man. These are not exotic pro Nikon, Canon or Leica lenses. These are Voigtlander who has always been known as a huge bang for the buck brand. But I will say I was thrilled with the performance even though my skill at these focal lengths is lacking. I can still see the lenses are of pretty amazing quality for what they are.

I am superhuman and my power is the power of STRETCHING my arms to take selfies ;) The 10mm…WOW is it wide. 

One more with the 10mm

AT THE END OF THE DAY…

At the end of the day I think I would actually buy the 15 if any..again. I no longer own the 15 as I use the Zeiss 16-35 so much but I think the 15mm is actually better at 15mm than the Sony/Zeiss is at 16mm. IN fact, let me test that…

THE VOIGTLANDER VS SONY FLARE TEST – THESE ARE FULL SIZE OUT OF CAMERA FILES FROM RAW. NO EDITING.

The Sony/Zeiss, which is much more expensive of a lens (though also gives you 16-35 zoom range and has AF) performs much worse here in regards to flare. The Voigtlander 15 is also a tad sharper. It is also smaller ;)

SIZE ON CAMERA

Here are all four of these lenses I have been discussing (The three Voigtlanders and the Sony) on the Sony A7RII..

So as you can see the 10 and 12 are around the same size. They come with metal caps as well. The 15 is the smallest, and has a standard plastic squeeze cap. (the kind you lose easily). But I have to say, these little Voigtlanders are top performers and also small when compared to the usual ultra wide angle zooms on DSLR’s and even Sony’s own E mount. They also feel fantastic in the hand, and feel substansial, and in no way cheap. My fave of course was the 15 but all three perform to a high level and I would not hesitate to recommend all of them. Which one you prefer is up to your tastes? You have to ask yourself “How wide do I want to go”?

PRICE AND WHERE TO BUY?

The Voigtlander 10mm comes in at $1099 at Cameraquest

The Voigtlander 12mm comes in at $999 at Cameraquest

The Voigtlander 15mm comes in at $799 at Camerquest

The Sony 16-35 FE f/4 Can be bought for $1099 AT B&H PHOTO

The Voigtlanders are also available at B&H HERE. 

Here are a few more with the 15mm on the Sony A7rII…

Thank you!


PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREEE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 8 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has a crazy amount of visitors and because of this I need and use superfast dedicated 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 40-60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (At peak times I receive 100-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I could use YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis. 

To help out it is simple, and no, I am not asking you for a penny and I NEVER EVER DO! I do this for free basically, and have for years…but I do get paid when you, the reader makes a purchase (of anything) using my links to my sponsors. That is the only way I make the money to keep this free info flowing.

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you 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. But each month I need HUNDREDS of you to do this in order for this site to continue, and believe me that is not easy.

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, in money and time (250 hours a month, and about $3000 per month).

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 (not the B&H) 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.

Outside of the USA? Use my worldwide Amazon links HERE!

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, 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 nor do I (nor will I ever) charge for reviews, so your donations go a long way to keeping this site loaded with useful content. If you choose to help out, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Feb 182017
 

Rugby with the Leica SL and a 50mm Zeiss Planar

by Cris Rose

Hi Steve,

I discovered your blog back in 2009, I would regularly read your blog and dream about owning a Leica M. When I finally got one, I’d check out all your lens articles which led me to my favourite, the Zeiss 50 Planar. Today I’m an events photographer that only shoots Leica, so I thought I’d send you a short report on my new addition to my gear, the Leica SL. Thanks for all the inspiration over the years.

Getting a new camera is lovely.

All the new buttons to press, the fuctions to discover. But until you go out and actually shoot a location, you’re not really using it.

I was invited to come down to Bury Rugby Football Club and cover their training session and a couple of games, so I packed the new Leica SL along with my M9, a couple of M lenses and made my way down to the rainy pitch.

As always you must click on the images to see them correctly!

While the SL is weather sealed, the Zeiss M mount lenses I was using were not. I’d used them in plenty of drizzle in the past tho so I wasn’t concerned. At first, it was a little odd trying to focus manually. I’d been a long time M users and was used to the little rectangle-aligning game you get with a rangefinder. I’d really built up the muscle memory there and while the focus peaking was something I’d used in the past on a Sony NEX, I’d not warmed to it then. The 50 Planar had the same throw and handling that it always did, so I quickly adjusted.

The viewfinder was quite a pleasing difference, one I didn’t expect as a fan of optical VFs. Huge, detailed and very comfortable. Peaking through the M9’s at a later date felt like a keyhole in comparison. Whether the SL will end up ruining my experiences with the M is still to be seen. Aside from the game itself, there was a huge crowd of fans and support staff to photograph. Rain was never something that would put off a true supporter and even after several hours of it, there was still plenty of smiles to snap.

As it got dark, the SL’s excellent low-light performance was put to the test. Even tho I had the shutter speed locked to 1/125 to capture the movement and the lens I was using was only F2, I was incredibly impressed by the performance.

With auto-ISO set to max out at 6400 (compared to 800 on my M9) the results had incredibly well controlled noise in the darkest areas. The 4.4 megapixel EVF was still very useable in this low light, tho I did find that focus peaking was easier when the JPG settings were on Monochrome to make the red lines really stand out. With the home team victorious, I was able to capture some fantastic images of the mud-covered players and was brought into the post-game huddle for some of the amazing photos below.

I’d shot everything with a single camera (Leica SL) a single lens (Zeiss 50mm f2 Planar) and 2 batteries and ended up with shots I know I’d never have been able to get with my M9. I never once found the need to pull my M9 out or change lens, tho I would have loved to have had a 90 Summicron in my bag at times. If I needed any proof that I’d made the right decision to pair my M9 with an SL instead of an M240, I had it. Congratulations to Bury RUFC and to Leica, both put in champion effort and scored big time.

Disclaimer

All images in this article were shot with my personal Leica SL and Zeiss 50mm f2 Planar.
All black and white images were processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and all colour images were processed with Nik Color Efex Pro 4.
The views an opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not constitute a technical review or product advertisement.
Copyright is maintained on all images and text and may not be used without written permission.
See www.paperhills.co.uk for more details or contact [email protected] or follow @paperhillsphoto on Instagram and Twitter.

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