Mar 082011
 

I’ve been busy organizing and packing!


Lots of you have asked me to list what I am packing for the Seal tour this week so I decided to post my list! I will be out for three weeks with one goal in mind..kick ass photography with my Leica gear! Well, I am actually packing a medium sized kit (by photographers standards) believe it or not. Besides one huge suitcase with 3 weeks worth of t-shirts, clothes, and hygiene necessities I am taking along a few cameras.

First off, I am bringing my Pelican bag to hold all cameras for the plane ride. This bag is pretty nice and has been with me for years now. It will hold TWO Leica M9′s, a few lenses, and my X1 along with all cables, chargers, and accessories. It’s so cool to be heading out and shooting this tour and packing so light (well, not really that light). No need for a DSLR and huge lenses. Nope, give me an M and a 35, 50, or 90 any day!

I want to thank Leica Camera for sending me some equipment to use for the tour, also Ken Hansen who came through for me last minute and Dale Photo who also helped me out for this trip! It is so cool to be associated with such great people! Of course, thanks to Seal for having me shoot this tour and B&H Photo for shipping my new Macbook Pro out so quickly. I think I am ready to rock…

Here is my UPDATED checklist of what I am getting together and bringing with me to South America!

  • Big Suitcase to hold my clothes and hygiene necessities. :)
  • This Pelican camera and laptop bag to hold all cameras, lenses, and my laptop/cables/chargers and snacks. I have had this bag for three years and it always does its job well. It holds SO much!
  • This Macbook Pro 13″ – Latest model which is awesome! It will be nestled inside its cool green leather sleeve. I just bought this laptop it to replace my 4-5 year old Macbook Pro. I always buy my Apple computers from B&H. Cheaper and no tax!

I always get my Apple computers through B&H Photo. You save quite a bit as they sell cheaper and you do not pay tax. They also offer free shipping! This is the latest 13″ model…

  • Two Leica M9′s – Thanks to Ken Hansen and Leica Camera! One is mine, one is a loaner backup courtesy of Leica.
  • Leica 28 Elmarit, 35 Summicron and 90 Summarit (Thanks to David at Dale Photo for hooking me up)
  • I will also be shooting with the Leica Noctilux f/0.95 once I meet up with Seal.
  • Four Sandisk Ultra 16GB SDHC SD Cards
  • External Hard Drive for backup!
  • Jawbone JAMBOX for my hotel stay music listening and movie watching.
  • Snacks for the long plane rides..have to eat! Hmmm…nuts, jerky, granola…all sounds good.
  • My passport of course.
  • My Iphone 4 and Mophie Juice Pack Plus.
  • This cool photo vest to hold all of my goodies while shooting! Well, maybe the vest is a bit geeky but will come in handy when shooting.
  • This BEEP, and M9 screen protector from Popflash Photo to help out my grey M9.
  • and Cash – Oops, I am all out!

So, have I forgotten anything?

Check out the tour schedule and if you are going to these shows be sure to look for me or even e-mail me and let me know which show you will be at. Would be great to meet some of you if I can! I will be updating the site as often as I can with tour updates and of course loads of great photos. Three weeks of shooting a tour, awesome. Am I dreaming or what?!?!? If you missed my report on the week I spent with the tour last year you can read about it HERE at the official Leica Blog.

 

Mar 052011
 

Seal South American Tour 2011

Woohoo! Looks like I will be heading out on tour with Seal at the end of next week to join him on his three week tour of South America. I will be shooting the shows and updating the site from the hotels every chance I get. Last year I was with him for one week during his European tour and had a great time doing what I love to do most. This time I am in higher spirits and very excited to not only hang with a great friend but also to be the “tour photographer” and having a blast documenting the tour! Like last time I will be shooting an M9 with a Noctilux but also may expiriment with the Leica 135 as well. I’ll also have  the little X1 on hand AND the CM and some film for some snapshots and behind the scenes stuff.

I also have to pack up my Macbook Pro, some SD cards, and three weeks worth of clothes. How is the weather in South America this time of year? I love adventure :)

I did contact Fuji to see if they would send me an X100 so I could review it on the road/tour and they kindly declined my offer saying they don’t  have any to ship out yet to reviewers. Hmmm. Would have been great promotion for them and the X100 if it performed well. Anyway, I leave on March 10th so maybe one will show up via Fed Ex before then? Ha ha.

To see the show schedule you can click HERE. It all starts on March 12th in Buenos Aires Argentina. I can’t wait! Updates to the site may be on and off, depending on where I can get internet connection but when I can get online I will! Just wanted to announce the news and if any of you will be attending the shows, let me know! Updates from the road will start as soon as I leave!

Mar 042011
 

First Impressions of the Finepix X100 from a rangefinder shooter.

By Pieter Franken

Hi Steve – first of all thank you for inviting me to share my first impressions on the Fujifilm Finepix X100. It went on sale here in Tokyo on Thursday and I was lucky to get one on day-one.

First a bit about myself – My name is Pieter Franken.  I’m from Holland and live in Tokyo. I love taking pictures and for the past 3 years have been hooked on the Leica M8 and now M9. I do love shooting with various gear, and have gravitated over time towards portable, high performance cameras to fit my shooting style. When the X100 was announced it got my strong interest as a ‘sidekick’ camera to carry around with the M9 to do snapshots, macro shots and just for fun shooting.

So here it is! I have been using the camera exactly one day, and these are my first, quick (and biased) impressions.

Overall impression The X100 is extremely well built, feels good and is the right size for manual focus handling. Especially the optical hybrid view finder is wonderful – its clarity is breath taking and allows for easy composition. It is easy to use and delivers good quality pictures, especially high ISO is impressive. The auto focus mechanism is not always easy to use, but when setup properly it delivers and allows for rangefinder style shooting. It is great fun to shoot with the X100. And of-course the X100 looks are great!

Lens – the f2 focal lens begs comparison with Leica glass. When compared to a modern 35mm summicron (ASPH or late non ASPH), the performance of the Fuji lens lags a bit – Wide open it is a bit softer, less sharp. Some people may actually like this over the razor sharpness of the Summicron ASPH. From f2.8 onwards, it is crisper and clean. The lens can be stepped in full stops only – it would have been nice to have half stops. As the lens uses an in lens focal plane shutter, there are some limitations to the maximum shutter speed. When shooting wide open, the maximum is 1/1000 – to counter this limitation there’s a built in ND filter that can be enabled and offer 3 stops extra. This is very neat and works very well. I ended up using it a lot when shooting outside to get nice bokeh in full sunlight.  This also removes the need to carry around any ND filters.

Shutter – one of the great properties of the X100 is the silent shutter. The menu offers an option to put the camera in ‘silent mode’ and when once set there’s almost no sound. The shutter button feels nice and gives good mechanical feedback, so it is easy to know when you have taken a shot. The shutter sound is much less then the Leica M9 (or MP) and is a great for discrete shooting. When shooting in manual focus mode (highly recommended) the shutter response is immediate and you can take pictures in quick succession. The shutter button can take a release cord.

High ISO – I was really surprised when shooting in high ISO. Performance is in the same class as my D700. Pictures taken at ISO6400 have nice grain and color information is not lost or smeared. Detail is for all practical purposes acceptable. Nice!

Auto focus – The most critical component of the X100 is the hybrid view finder and focusing mechanism. The flawless switch between optical and electronic view finder is truly awesome – especially in bright sunlight the view finder excels. For focussing, Fuji has broken the focus range into two ranges – normal and macro. The camera needs to be put in macro mode when shooting objects closer than 80cm, though under some conditions I was able to focus up to 50cm without switching to macro. It helps when setting the focal area ‘square’ to the smallest size possible for precise pin-point auto focus.  In practice the AF range is a bit of inconvenient and I end up switching al lot between macro and normal. The speed of focus is not the fastest out there – it lags behind the Lumix GF1 with 20mm in terms of speed. Some improvement here from Fuji would help!

Manual focusrangefinder style shooting. The key is to shoot the X100 in manual focus mode. Once setup, you can compose with the optical viewfinder, and with one button switch to the electronic view finder to enlarge the focal point for precise focussing. The X100 has a control button that once pressed will auto-focus the lens, so you don’t have to spin the focal ring to much. You can then do micro focussing with the focus ring. The focus ring it self is very slow, which is great for precise focusing, but not good if you need to dial in the focal point fast. Some software accelerator would have been nice. This is not a real problem, as you can use the aforementioned control button to do a global focus and work from there. Once focussed, you can pretty much shoot in zone mode and have immediate shutter release without any lag due to AF. I ended up shooting most of the pictures with manual focus and found it easy to use.

Frame lines - as you shoot near or far, the frame lines in the optical vew finder change accordingly to ensure precise composition. Especially when shooting macro this is very handy. The frame lines are adjusted after setting focus, so you need to compose near shots after getting the focus right. When shooting manual focus, this works best. The frame-lines are conservative, and you always get a bit more then shown.

JPG output - JPG output is pretty good. What is nice here is that Fuji offers 3 color modes labelled Provia, Velvia and Astia after their positive film range. For B&W, it offer various modes with Yellow, Red and Green filters – this is much easier then most B&W in camera options I have used so far. I ended up using the Provia for most shots as I wanted to have neutral output for post-editing in LR. Another nice touch is that it has a RAW converter built into the camera, so you can create your own conversion settings without need for post editing.

RAW output – Unfortunately the X100 has no support for RAW handling in LR yet. It comes with Silkypix (windows and mac) for RAW conversion to JPG and TIFF, but not DNG. I’m not a big fan of Silkypix as it is very slow to use and not intuitive. TIFF files when converted are a whopping 36MB. Lets hope Adobe LR comes out with RAW support soon!

Compared to the Leica M9 – well Steve… don’t sell or give away your M9!  The X100 is not a rangefinder camera and is not an alternate for the M9. Comparison with the Leica X1 or other high-end compacts would be more meaningful. The image quality,  performance and rangefinder handling of the M9 are well beyond the X100. This is not a surprise and was also not my reason for getting the X100. What the X100 does well over the M9 though is close-ups, useable high ISO output, good auto white balance, clean JPG output, silent shutter and pocketable size. And, lots of fun!

I will be shooting the X100 next to the M9 over the coming days and hope to report more of my impressions after having spent some more ‘serious’ time.

For first snap shots please visit my Flickr page. All samples are available if full resolution, JPG camera output.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nokton/

Sample Pictures:
- X100 versus M3 (taken with a Lumix GH2 with 20mm ‘magic’ pancake lens)

 

- High ISO sample at ISO 6400 (Marantz 8B amplifier)

- B&W conversion sample (vintage car)

- Close-up – (Japanese old pump)

- Street shot at f8

- Street shot at f2 with ND filter

 

 

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Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Mar 042011
 

The Friday Film: A Look Back at a Classic! The Leica CM Zoom.

By Steve Huff

Yea! The Friday film is back for today, March 4th 2011! It’s been a while since  I shot film and I have to say I missed it! A few months ago I had some extreme financial issues and had to sell off my MP, M9, and almost everything I owned. All I was left with photography related was a fridge with about 12 rolls of film in it. Ugg. The good news is that in the past few months I have been concentrating on this website more and more as well as getting things back that I lost. I once again own an X1, soon to own an M9 again, and even a Fuji X100. But what was really unexpected was having the chance to own this little Leica CM red leather zoom camera. A camera that I have eyeballed for YEARS but never jumped on. To be honest, back in 2003 I wanted THIS Leica CM with the 40mm f2.4 lens and even had it in my cart at B&H Photo a few times. I never did pull the trigger though!

So here I am in 2011 and I still think of the CM from time to time. It just so happened a reader of the site was selling off some VERY cool film point and shoot style cameras and gave me first dibs on any or all of them. He offered to send them ALL to me for a week to review but I knew there was no way I could shoot enough film in one week to review all four of them. Instead I asked if he could send me the CM zoom and if I liked it I would just send him payment for it. So two days later it arrived to my mailbox via USPS Express. WOW, that was fast. I heard great things about the Zoom from a dear friend of mine who owns one and his advice was to “BUY IT!”. Like I needed a push…yea right!

As soon as I opened it and pulled it out of its leather case I knew I would want to keep it. Red leather, a red gordy strap, and a brown Leica brand leather case all included for a GREAT price. He even sent along three rolls of film! I immediately loaded it with some C-41 Kodak BW400 and the camera loaded it up perfectly! All I had to do was open the back, place the roll of film in its place and pull the film across and close the door. The camera started loading it all up and it was ready to go in a matter of seconds.

The CM Zoom has a Leica Elmar Zoom lens Lens, more specifically a Leica Vario-Elmar 35-70mm f/3.5-6.5. It is a slow lens indeed so no fast F1.4 or F2 or F2.5 apertures here but my guess was that this was going to be a gorgeous lens anyway as the Elmar lenses usually are.

To turn on the camera all I had to do was twist the zoom lens out and the camera powered on. I laughed as I did a test snap because the camera focused quicker than my Leica X1, lol.

The viewfinder is TINY though but hey, it is what it is… a Leica point and shoot. The cool thing is that it is a made in Germany Leica and it feels and looks the part. The camera is small, stout, solid and feels great in the hand. In reality , there are plenty of cameras that feel great in the hand but for some reason when I hold a Leica I just feel like I am home. The camera that came before this one, the Miniulx, was smaller and did not look as nice IMO. It was also made in Japan. Not that this is a bad thing, but it seems very un-Leica like. The CM and CM Zoom is a true Leica through and  through.

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There is even an electronic display on the back so you can change flash settings, set the date on or off, exposure compensation and more. It is not on in the photo (sorry about that)

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This is the official Leica CM Leather case which I believe sold for $150 or so. There is also a Gordys Strap attached to the camera :)

Looks wise, the camera is simply gorgeous. It’s fatter than the X1 but almost the same size.

Here is as shot of the X1 next to the CM Zoom for those interested in the size of the CM, both pretty sexy looking I must say…

 

Yea, as usual with most things Leica I fell for it so I think I am buying it for sure. Before posting this review I e-mailed the generous reader who let me try it before buying and told him I will most likely buy it. I really can not afford yet another camera but these do not come around every day with Red leather and case so what the hell, right? You only live once. Besides, I no longer own a film M so for 1/10th the price of a new MP I can still own a beautiful film Leica. It’s nothing like an MP, but it is a fun to use little camera.

The camera is easy to operate and use and I did not need a manual to use it. Loading the film was a breeze and the camera itself is in fantastic condition. What else can I say about this little guy that has not been said over the years?

Since I have been yapping about how great this little guy is how about stating a few of the negs…

NEGATIVE #1 – The lens is SLOW! Yep, it’s an Elmarit. At its widest end of 35mm it is f 3.5. SLOW when you are shooting Leica. This will not be a low light camera unless you don’t mind using the flash (which I have used and it did great). My 1st roll with the little CM was with some Kodak BW400 which is a C-41 print B&W film. No it’s not a Tri-X or Neopan but it’s easy to have processed for quick evaluation :)

NEGATIVE #2 – Max shutter speed is 1/500. I guess this is not really a negative, but just the limitation of the camera. I had some ISO 160 film loaded and even at f/5.6 the LED’s were binking “HI” which meant it would be overexposed if I took the shot due to the shutter speed maxing out at 1/500s. But to be fair, most point and shoot film cameras maxed out at 1/500 so it is what it is :)

NEGATIVE #3 – Distortion/Vignetting/Flaring. I found at the wide end of 35mm the lens distorts a bit. You can see this clearly in the following image when looking at the walls and mirror:

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There is also vignetting when shot at 35mm and wide open at f3.5. I don’t mind it at all though, I like vignetting in my photos from time to time.

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Lens flare anyone?

Other than these few niggles, which are usually expected in a cheaper P&S, I found no issues with the CM Zoom. The Viewfinder is tiny but this is a point & shoot camera, not an MP.

Speed wise, the camera if pretty fast to focus and shoot and seems faster than my X1. Solid construction, beefy feel and cute looks. IQ wise, it seems like the lens is capable of good results but just be aware of the three things above and you will be fine.

I have seen these sell for anywhere between $550 and $800 depending on if it comes with a box, case, manual, etc. If you are looking for a great little stylish film camera that won’t break the bank you have a few options. Cameras like the Nikon 35Ti, the Contax T2, Contax TVS III are also great choices but for some, only a Leica will do. These are not that easy to find but can sometimes be found through Leica dealer Ken Hansen (email: [email protected]) or possibly dealers like Dale Photo may get one in from time to time. The Zoom version seems easier to find than the 40mm version though.

Someone asked me why I would buy one of these when I could buy a Voigtlander Bessa which sells without a lens for about $669. Add a lens and you are well over $1k. The reason I would buy a CM over a bessa is due to NOT having a film P&S in my camera stable. Cameras like the CM can be fun, they are small and quick to operate. Totally different type of camera that I would probably shot with 3-4 X a year. Plus, it’s a Leica and I’m a fan of what  they do and what they stand for. Lastly at 10X less than an MP (without a lens) this little camera is actually a pretty good deal when bought used. These are not meant to be compared to a rangefinder so I didn’t do so. It’s more like an analogue X1 which right there makes it just cool to own. It comes down to price though. At around $500 it was hard to pass up!

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The quick snapshot samples

Here are a few samples from the roll of Kodak C41 BW400, processed and scanned by my local Walgreens drug store (this means crappy low resolution scans). Just basic snapshots as I had nothing going on this past week.

The CM Zoom caught this running dog in mid air!

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Even the built in flash did a pretty decent job here…

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Wide open at 3.5…

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Bokeh at 3.5 looks good to me…also remember these are cheap, low res Walgreens drug store scans.

I now have a roll of Kodak Portra 160 NC in the camera and hope to shoot some cool stuff this weekend with it. I’ll post the results in a future “Friday Film”. Yea, I’m digging the film again!

BTW, if anyone out there has a red or cognac Leica CM (not the Zoom) in the box, in great condition and you want to sell it send me an e-mail HERE. Heck, even a black one if it is mint, in box. Thanks!

For those who asked, here is a  shot with the lens exposed :)

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HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT”S EASY TO HELP OUT!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Mar 012011
 

THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN IN THE LEICA M9 CONTEST!

Heidi Klum and Rankin have looked over the top 15 that I e-mailed to them and picked not only the grand prize winner of the M9 but the 2nd place winner of the Leica V-Lux 20. They also picked a third place winner and Seal donated yet another prize for a third place bonus prize!

*1ST PLACE – GRAND PRIZE WINNER*

Brian Wytcherley, Shuangliu, Chengdu China - “Shortage of rural doctors in China’s Yunnan province”

Congrats to Brian for his amazing story portrayed in the two images above. You are the winner of the Leica M9!!

Rankin and Heidi looked over all images and this was the #1 pick.

Here is what Rankin had to say about this set:

“I love the photographer’s ability to capture the sense of loss and the raw emotion that comes with losing someone. It would be impossible to look as this and not be touched by the boy’s feelings of immense grief.”

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*2ND PLACE – RUNNER UP*

Jonathan Cook - “Guy Jones - My Arm Was My Pillow”

Congratulations Jonathan! You are the winner of the Leica V-Lux 2! Thanks to Leica Camera for donating this awesome prize!

Here is what Rankin had to say about this set:

“When I look at this image, I want to know more about the subject. His face and hands are bursting with emotion, and these images could tell a thousand stories”

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*3RD PLACE – BONUS PRIZE!*

Helene Marie Pambrun – “Some scars can’t be hidden”

Congrats to Helene! Heidi liked your image so much that we decided to add a third place bonus prize as a cool surprise. Seal has donated a new Luigi case for a Leica M9. This case comes with strap, and SD card holder. This is a top of the line case for a digital M and even if you do not own an M9 now, save the case for when you do!

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Coming next week – A brand new contest with a pretty high in demand prize donated by ~6.  Thanks to Seal, Heidi, Rankin and PicorTwo.com! I want to personally congratulate all of the 15 finalists as you were all FANTASTIC. The decision on the top two was not an easy one. Anyone could have won this one!

Feb 262011
 

I know, I know…another X1 post! With all of the excitement of the upcoming Fuji X100 I am preparing for the showdown between it and the camera it is taking aim at, the Leica X1.  I have high hopes for the Fuji X100 but as I sit here looking at the samples posted online so far I am not 100% convinced that the file quality will have the same “snap” as that of the X1. I have been shooting the X1 again for the past few days and while it is still painfully slow at times, the IQ just can not be denied. I’ve been taking the little black X1 with me almost everywhere, even though I have not shot anything really worthwhile in the past week. Even so, the snapshots I have taken all have a brilliance and “shine” to them and when viewed at 100% the detail is pretty damn good for the size of this camera. This is all due to the sensor and the way Leica designed the X1 around it.

If Leica can speed up the AF (Auto Focus) to compete with even the slowest of the Micro 4/3 cameras then the X1 will be a force to be reckoned with, even with the X100 hot on it’s heels! How cool would it be if Leica released the new X1 firmware just before the X100 hit the shelves and the AF speed equaled  the X100? Doubtful, but you never can tell. It does seem that if Leica could have improved the AF speed of the X1 they would have done it already so even I am starting to have doubts.

Even with its slow and sluggish AF the lure of the Leica pulls me back in again and again.

Here are some quick snaps I shot today with 100% crops included. Be sure to click on the image for a closer look. One thing they all have in common is the crispness, detail and brilliance that I have not seen in ANY other compact to date. I am not saying other compact/big sensor cameras are no good, just that none have equaled the flat out IQ of the X1. I wonder of the X100 will be able to provide this level of quality out of the camera?

All of the images below include 100% crops embedded in the image.

You must click on the image to see it in larger size for the full 100% crop.

Also, ALL of these were converted from RAW in ACR and everything you see is out of camera in regards to color, etc.

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So the question is this: Can the Fuji X100 beat or equal the file/image quality of the Leica X1? It just might, and if so the Fuji will be a slam dunk winner. If the image quality is not as good as the X1 we all know it will be a faster camera. We will have to ask ourselves if it is better to pay less for a faster, slightly larger camera, or better to have the ultimate IQ, even if it is dog slow. Also, the Fuji is coming in at $800 LESS than the X1 with a built in VF so even if it does not match the Leica IQ it will still be a fantastic camera IMO.

I’ve said it again and again…Leica, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, get the AF to where it should be with the X1. If you can not, and eventually release an X2 then give it a manual lens with aperture dial, fast AF, and a built in viewfinder.

Personally, I adore the quality of the X1. I adore the body for its style, it’s feel, it’s size and light weight. I think the X1 looks better than the X100 and if the X1 had the speed it could be my only camera if need be. Hopefully I will have an X100 in my hands within 2 weeks as I am buying one blind. If it lives up to the hype I think Fuji will sell LOADS and LOADS of the X100. Hell, I think they will sell loads and loads of them regardless. Classic design, classic feel, Fuji colors, Hybrid VF, F2 lens…so far so good.

I’m starting to get excited for its release….can you feel it?

The black X1 is gorgeous though and it feels SO good when strapped around you with the included Leather strap. It seems to fit flush against my body and I hardly notice it is even there :) I bought my black X1 from Ken Hansen. He has one or two more in stock if anyone is interested. Even with the X100 nearing, If the new X1 firmware comes out and speeds up the AF to a decent level I have a feeling the X1 will start selling out again! It is a Leica after all and for some of us, that red dot is hard to pass by.

More from the X1…just snaps…

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This next one was shot back in 2009 when I first reviewed the X1. It says a lot that here I am in 2011 and I just bought myself the X1 even with all of these new cameras available.

This one was at ISO 1000, f/2.8, handheld inside a church with very low light. Look at the brilliance and look of the image when you click for a larger view. This is the X1 quality that I do not see in other small body cameras.

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HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT”S EASY TO HELP OUT!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Feb 242011
 

LOOKS LIKE IT WAS SOLD WITHIN 30 MINUTES! WOW!

BUT THEY NOW HAVE ONE AT $4994! This one must be used or marked. Best to call them at 1-800-956-9132 to ask about it 1st!

Looks like they sold the 2nd one within 5 minutes! WOWZERS!

Was browsing the Leica M body section at Collectible Camera website this morning as I usually check it once a week for anything cool and I noticed that they have a Demo Leica M9 for $6295. The Demo is basically a refurb from Leica and they come with warranty and all. You can see it HERE or call them at 1-800-956-9132! – IT WAS SOLD!

Feb 242011
 

I’m a sucker for apps on the Iphone that turn your cel phone photos into funky, lo-fi classic images. I downloaded them all and while they are usually fun for a while they seem to grow old really quick. Maybe it is due to being a phone app or maybe it is because it’s just a gimmick but there is always something that draws me back in…ahh, such is life for a photo and camera AND software nut!

So here I am in that funky “lo-fi” mood again so I discovered and downloaded some interesting software onto my Imac that turns any photo on your computer into fun, freaky, or beautiful works of art using oddball presets to mimic old film, diana and holga cameras, and all of the coolness that is LO-FI!

In fact, it is called LO-FI and is from a company called “Wingnut”. What is cool is that it is the consumer division of Alien Skin, the makers of Exposure 3 (that I use ALL of the time)  and you can download a free demo trial HERE for Windows or Max OSX. Here is a video that explains the software.

This is a “FUN” piece of software and is actually called an “APP”. $29 gets you a cool and fun interface that looks like the back of a digital camera. All you have to do is drag the image into the LCD screen and  then you can choose your film stock, your “look” and your frame. Very easy. You can also do the random thing by pushing a button and having the app pick a trio of looks for you.

When you find the look you like for a particular photo you can save it or send it to facebook or Flickr with one click. Lo-Fi only works with JPEGs but this is an app that is all about fun and fun it is. Will it last? Well, the fun will probably die down after a couple of days but I will come back to this one again there is no doubt. I’m always finding a photo that could use a little bit of that “Lo-Fi” goodness!

I’ve tried a couple of desktop apps that do the same thing as this one but never wrote about them as I did not really enjoy them all too much. Lo-Fi makes it easy, fun and smooth.

Below are some samples all done using the “random” button in the app! You never know what you will get. This is available for Windows as well as Mac. It is NOT a plug in but a stand alone “app”. If it looks like fun, you can download the FREE demo here. If you end up liking it then be prepared to shell out $29 smackers for it. Not bad for so much fun. :) All samples below were taken today on my new Leica X1 (well, 90% of them..two were from months ago with a different X1, and one is from the NEX-5). Yep, I caved and bought a new X1 this week, this time in black W/Viewfinder from Ken Hansen. Besides, I will need one when I do my “Shootout in Tombstone, AZ” with the X1 and X100! Enjoy!

As always, click any image for a larger, crisper and better view!

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Feb 232011
 

Are you guys ready to see who the winner is in the M9 contest? I know at least 15 of you are ready for the announcement! Ha ha…

ALL 15 of the top entrants are being looked over THIS week by Heidi Klum and Rankin. The winner could come at any time but no later than March 1st, so check back daily to see if I have posted it!

I also wanted to clear something up for those that thought this was a documentary or reportage contest. I though the rules were clear that it was about telling a story..a narrative. I’m still getting e-mails about how some of the finalists appear to be “set-up”. Of course some of them are! They are telling a story! There was no rule stating the story had to be real or any kind of HCB kind of story. I welcomed “set-up” shots and the 15 that you see on the top 15 page are the best of what was submitted. If there were any “real” stories that were submitted that were better than what you see posted they would have been in the top 15. Just wanted to make sure everyone realized that “set-up” photo narratives were allowed.

To see some of the other entries be sure and check out the official contest Flickr stream where those who entered can post their submissions for all to see. Many GREAT photos there so be sure to check it out or even post your entry!

To the top 15…I wish you ALL good luck. Sure, I have my faves but I am not judging this time!

Finally, let us thank Seal once again for donating his personal Leica M9 for this contest. Be sure to check out his official site HERE (tour starts soon!) and also see him on picortwo.com where you can follow his daily activities through his photos. Heidi and Rankin are also on picortwo so you can also follow them!

So…are you guys ready for another contest?

Feb 222011
 

Lately I have been having fun with my posts and reviews by shooting the little fun cameras like the Micro 4/3 bodies, the Sony NEX-5, and little Ricoh GRDIII. All this time I have not been giving my true love in the camera world, Leica, as much attention as I used to. One camera that is in the same category as all of these small body/big sensor bodies is the Leica X1, which I have not shot in quite a while..AND I now have the “itch” to do just that. (my review of the X1 can be seen here)

Problem is, I no longer own an X1 so I can’t but I did spend about three hours last night looking over some X1 photos that I shot during the time when I did own the camera. What I saw with the X1 pictures put those that I shot with the NEX and M4/3 bodies to shame. Really. The X1 is really the KING of these types of cameras, though it has its limitations that we all know about.

The Leica X1 is hands down the winner for overall Image Quality and beauty in a compact camera body. The crispness of the files, the colors, the high ISO performance are all beautiful. Where the X1 falls is in the auto focus department which is VERY slow when compared to todays compact cameras. The X1 is the most expensive of the small body/big sensor cams but if you want a camera that has the beauty, feel, and prestige that IS Leica, along with the best IQ you can get in a compact, the X1 is THE one to get. Keep in mind I am talking about small body/big sensor cameras here. If you want the REAL KING of digital 35mm, and have the cash then you want THIS.

As for the X1, It doesn’t matter that it has a fixed lens, for me at least. Heck, when I shoot the NEX-5 I always use the 16mm prime lens. When I shoot the Olympus E-P2 it seems I always use the Panasonic 20 1.7 or Oly 17. I’m a prime kind of guy so the fact that the X1 has a fixed 24 Elmarit, giving it a classic 35mm equivalent is actually a bonus. I am NOT a fan of zoom lenses. Period. Give me a prime ANY DAY of the week. If I need to zoom, I will use my feet :) Prime lenses are just sharper and give better color and contrast.

Check out this out of camera JPEG from the X1. This was not from RAW but an OOC (out of camera) JPEG! Click on the image to see the real 100% crop and look at the detail the Leica lens pumps out…

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How about a nice full size  out of camera file? Click on the image for the FULL size and check out the X1 detail

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How about HIGH ISO? Even at ISO 3200 the files remain CRISP and detailed.

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ISO 1600 is super crisp if exposed properly…

 

Damn, I’m tempted to sell off a camera or two to buy the X1 again. Really! I do know the AF speed is being improved in the upcoming firmware, but how much improvement there will be, I DO NOT know. The Fuji X100 is coming VERY soon and is poised to take on the Leica X1 by throwing in a viewfinder, faster AF, and also giving us that classic look that most Leica lovers LOVE! I guess I will wait for the X100 before I decide but something tells me it may not beat the X1 in the IQ department. I have yet to really see a small camera that can. This is where the X1 shines. It simply offers the best IQ in a small package that can go anywhere you go. C’mon Leica…let’s get this firmware released. If you can boost the AF speed I think there will be renewed interest in the X1!

The Leica X1 may not have video. It may have a low res LCD. The X1 also is no speed demon in any way. It’s not a sports camera, it’s not an action camera, yet it costs $1995.00.

What I like to call the X1 is a “Life Camera”. The one thing it does extremely well is record your life. Your memories. The images I have captured with the X1 seem to give me more smiles than those captured with the other small compact cameras. Hmmm. Maybe Leica DOES have some sort of magic going on in their factory :)

Here are some random shots from the Leica X1 that I may or may have not posted before. Either way I think they stand above the Micro 4/3 and NEX images I have posted recently. Enjoy! BTW, the Leica X1 is usually in stock at B&H Photo in ALL Black and the classic Grey. Dale Photo also has them in stock HERE. Of course Ken Hansen also has them and he can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]. Looks like Leica shipped out a bunch to their dealers recently!

The Ricoh GXR. Since posting this article a few hours ago I have had a few ask me about the Ricoh GXR that I really enjoyed (and purchased after testing) in comparison to the Leica X1. Well, this is a tough one. The GXR is up there with the best of the small body cameras with big sensors, meaning…it is just as good as the X1 in many ways, better in others but also worse in some ways! It has the same size APS-C sensor as the X1 and for the price of the X1 you can get the GXR body, the 28 f/2.5 module and the 50 f/2.5 module.

The main niggle I have with the GXR is the limited shutter speed in daylight. It maxes out at 1/1000s when you are shooting the lenses wide open. This makes shooting in daylight with shallow DOF problematic. Other than that, I did compare the two cameras HERE. I love them both and explain why in that article.

You know…I have also heard from a couple of sources this past week that Leica also has an ALL NEW camera they have been working on AND supposedly there are some prototypes floating around out there somewhere. I did some digging and rumor sites are claiming it is a full frame – rangefinder-less M9 style camera to be priced well under the M9. No rangefinder, more like an EVIL M. Hmmmm. Could be all BS and hot air but thought it was worth mentioning. You never know!

Enjoy and as always, click on any of the images below for a larger and much better view :)

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UPDATE 2/23/11! I bought a Black X1 for myself…had to sell of some M4/3 gear but could not resist the charm and lure of the X1, plus I was able to get a deal from Ken Hansen. He has 1-2 more in stock if interested. Also bought the OVF for the X1 which is fantastic.

HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT”S EASY TO HELP OUT!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Feb 182011
 

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UPDATE: SOLD WITHIN ONE HOUR OF ME POSTING THIS. WOW!

Ok guys and gals…B&H Photo has ONE and ONLY ONE Leica M9 Titanium Special Edition IN STOCK NOW! (SOLD!) CLICK HERE to get it. LOTS of you have been looking for and waiting for this to pop up. Let’s see how long it will last! If only I were rich because this is one body that WILL be worth quite a bit more in the future. Once they are all gone, they are all gone and there are probably a handful that remain… if that! This is a limited edition set that comes with the new 35 Summilux ASPH 1.4 II in Titanium. if you have seen one in person you know that this camera is a thing of pure beauty. Besides, it’s only money, right? Ha ha…

Leica must have shipped them a bunch of stuff today as it looks like they also have stock of BLACK and GREY standard M9′s as well! The black Leica X1 is also showing as IN STOCK as is the 21 Summilux lens.

Feb 172011
 

A mish-mosh of coolness

How cool is this?

Check this out! I recently found out that the little RICOH OVF (Optical View Funder), the GV-2, will work wonderfully on the E-P2 or E-Pl2 with the 14mm lens. The OVF is a 28mm VF so it is a perfect match and looks Sexy as can be! You can buy the little OVF at popflash.com and it runs under $170 so it is not exactly cheap but it is much smaller than the Oly EVF. The build and quality is superb. Amazon also sells it and Amazon ships it. They seem to charge a little more for it though.

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Here is a little press release from a new site by Jorge Torralba

RangeFinderImages.com goes live! I am pleased to announce that RangeFinderImages.com (RFI) has gone live. The original designer and creator of rangefinderforum has taken the concept to the next level by creating one of the most advanced galleries catering to rangefinder photographers. There are a million and one photography forums but there is only one RFI. The photos search capabilities of the site are unmatched by any other except for their sister sites. The many years of interacting with other photographers on the net in forums and galleries has resulted in a custom developed software package to meet the requirements of most enthusiasts out there. Feel free to give them a try and begin sharing your work. Did I mention that it’s 100% free?

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More Fuji X100 tests, but not by me…YET.

photo courtesy of quesabesde.com

Seems to be some testing going on in the Fuji X100 world. I’ve contacted Fuji and they told me I can’t get a hold of one until the final firmware so hopefully in the next 2-3 weeks. Until then, enjoy this little preview (although it is in Spanish).

X100 Preview with Samples!

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THERE IS STILL ONE MORE LEICA M9 SPECIAL EDITION/35 SUMMICRON SET LEFT!

Looks like lensrentals.com still has the M9 special edition set that comes with the chrome 35 Summicron ASPH. Brown Ostrich Leather covering, chrome body, ostrich leather strap, sapphire glass LCD screen and only 500 sets made WORLDWIDE. Gorgeous limited edition set that is actually a deal in the world of Leica special editions. I’d buy it if I had the cash. But I wouldn’t be afraid to use it. If you want it, act fast! The last time I linked to the ones at B&H they sold both within hours! Check out the one left at lensrentals.com HERE.

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Odd but interesting. A Telephoto for your Iphone?


Seems like photojojo has created a telephoto lens for your Iphone. Hmmm, seeems to me it would be hard to keep your phone in your pocket. I can see it now…”Is that an Iphone tele lens in your pocket or are you just happy to see me”? Check it out here!

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The Leica X1 Firmware…where is it?

One of the site sponsors, Dale Photo has a shiny new Black X1 in stock but where is the new firmware Leica promised us months ago? I was told 1st quarter of 2011 so I expect it anytime in the next 2-3 weeks. Leica is always so slow with the updates but let’s hope they did improve the AF like they said they did. From what I have heard, it will be much faster. I am guessing they are doing this to answer to the newer cameras like the Fuji X100. That is one cool thing about Leica. They only release new models every 3-3 1/2 years for their major cameras. I do not expect an X2 until late 2012. Same goes for an M10. I am excited to see what the new firmware update will bring.

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MORE CONTESTS AND GREAT PRIZES?

Was having a chat the other day with ~6, who kindly donated his M9 for the GREAT LEICA M9 CONTEST (winner announced March 1st 2011) and it appears we will be having more contests with some VERY cool prizes. Maybe not as cool as a signed M9 but I am talking some GREAT prizes. We are still talking about things so when I find out more I will announce it. We may have one starting right after the M9 winner is announced! Stay tuned!

Also, if you “like” my new facebook page for this website you are automatically entered to win one prize every month! Starting March 1st I will pick one facebook “fan” at random to win a small photo prize! The winner selection will be totally random and all you have to do is LIKE THIS PAGE to enter. You will be entered for every monthly give-away which will take place on the 1st of each month!

Be sure and LIKE the page by clicking here, then clicking LIKE if you want to enter :)

Feb 142011
 

NOTE: This is not a review of the two lenses but instead a “just for fun” article about one day shooting with them both. The reviews will come in the next week or two. All photos here have been processed with Alien Skin Exposure 3 using a custom preset, which means the color/yellow cast, the sharpness, and the imperfections were all ADDED to the photos. THIS IS NOT a review! As always, click on any image for a larger and better version. Enjoy!

Wow! What a week last week! The Leica M9 contest really kept me busy so a couple of the photo/review projects I had planned for last week have been pushed to this week. That’s OK though, I will be working on all of the new stuff this week. Today I wanted to write a fun article because it seems like I have not done this in quite a while, so I wanted to write a little bit about HAVING FUN with photography.

It seems that these days so many people take their photography hobby seriously. That is good as it helps us to focus and become better at it. The only problem is that sometimes we can get to caught up with the gear, the tech specs, wether or not our camera has a crisp LCD or performs well at ISO 6400 and up. I have come to learn that even if I am shooting a camera like the incredible Nikon D3s I really do not use anything higher than ISO 5000 anyway! I searched through 30,000 of my photos to see what ISO I shot at and 98% of them were ISO 200 or lower. This tells me I really do not need a high ISO camera. I’d rather have a fast lens :)

I was out this weekend at the Renaissance Festival in Phoenix AZ for fun, food, drink and what else? Photography!

Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic 14mm 2.5 lens – Alien Skin Exposure 3 – Custom Settings

I brought along some cash, a Leica M9 and 90 Summarit lens, an Olympus E-P2 with Panasonic 14 2.5 lens and also the SLR Magic Toy lens (though that one never came out of the bag). It was a warm and sunny 81 degrees and the sun was a bit harsh. I knew I would probably have some issues with blown highlights but hey, it was all in fun anyway. I wanted to see the shots I would get with both cameras and lenses. BTW, Ken Hansen, my good friend and superb Leica dealer sent me the 90 Summarit to try out as he noticed I never reviewed it!

I also processed all of the images here using Alien Skin Exposure and a custom made preset. I was in a vintage kind of mood last night when looking over the photos. In case you missed it above…  this is not a review of these lenses! Those will come at a later date. Sometimes I feel it’s nice just to write about the “fun” in photography and not stress about detail, sharpness, contrast or perfection. Besides, it’s Valentines Day and I have a date in a few hours so I am in a fun kind of mood. LOL.

The Leica M9 and 90 Summarit – Alien Skin Exposure 3

As I walked the festival and shelled out $10 here, $10 there, and ate a frozen Banana I tried to spot opportunities for photos but for some reason, it seemed a bit dull this year. I had the M9 and 90 slung around my body to the left, and the E-P2 and 14 slung around to the right. After four hours of walking I can easily say the E-P2 was the lightest load to carry but again, the M9 is just made for this kind of photography. I only shoot with a 90mm for about 3% of my shots total. IN other words, I rarely use that focal length on an M camera but when I do I am always happy with the results.

My 1st impressions with the little Leica 90 Summarit lens was very positive. It really doesn’t give up much to the older and more classic 90 Elmarit in the image quality department and it is also a faster lens with a maximum f/2.5 aperture (this equals even more creamy bokeh). I only shot around 20 frames with this combo and all were spot on focused and I had ZERO complaints! The lens is built nice and just so happens to be Leicas most affordable 90mm lens.

Leica M9 and 90 Summarit at f/2.5 – Wide open! Added the vintage treatment, scratches and all with Alien Skin Exposure 3.

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Olympus E-P2 and 14mm – No complaints and a very fun combo to shoot with. This gives you a 28 2.5 equivalent for your M4/3 camera.

Just two hours after we arrived my cash was dwindling. Just to get in was $22 for each person, then the food, the snacks and the occasional “Dad, can I have $10″  but it was fun to just relax, hang out with those you love, and witness all of the cool costumes and shops. I admit though, I did miss having a 35 or 50mm equivalent lens on the M9 as I am just so not used to shooting with a 90! The little E-P2 with the Olympus viewfinder did great. if anyone owns the E-P2, E-PL1 or E-PL2 I HIGHLY recommend the EVF as it’s still the best on the market in the EVF dept. (IMO).

The next THREE images were all shot with the Olympus E-P2 and 14mm

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I remember that while I walked around I wast thinking that I wasn’t getting many good shots. It seemed like it was  going  to be one of those days but I didn’t even care! I was  there to have fun and that is exactly what I did. I think that when you lift the stress of trying to get out there and find shots to take they seem to start  to find YOU. Funny how that works huh?

The next three shots were all taken with the M9 and 90 Summarit wide open at 2.5. It’s easy to isolate your subject with the 90 :)

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So which camera/lens combo did I enjoy the most? BOTH! I loved the Olympus combo for its light weight, small size and sleek styling. One guy asked me if the Olympus was an old camera and I always think that is pretty cool. The E-P2 is a classic in the design department and I hope Olympus keeps up with the same design in the rumored “Pro” E-P3. It IS the best looking Micro 4/3 camera, PERIOD!

The M9..what else can I say that hasn’t been said? It is simply the ULTIMATE digital camera. If you have the cash then get one! You only live once but it really is not for everyone. It is the ultimate documentary machine and has the ability to capture feelings, emotion and do it with finesse and style like no other camera I have used. Then again, maybe it is just MY attitude when I use it. It always inspires :)

I easily recommend the M9, E-P2 and both the Leica 90 Summarit and Panasonic 14mm 2.5 lens. These days, it is hard for a camera company to make a bad camera or lens it seems but having a 28mm 2.5 lens for your Micro 4/3 for under $400 is fantastic! (at the time of this writing the 14mm is $373 at B&H Photo). The Leica 90 Summarit is the least expensive 90mm you can get for your M9 if you want Leica made glass. It holds up the Leica tradition as does ALL of the Summarit lenses.

You can buy the 14mm lens at B&H here and Ken Hansen has stock of the 90 Summarit at the best price going. He may also have one of those Limited Edition M9 sets in stock as well (The $12,950 chrome/brown ostrich ones with the 35 Summicron). You can e-mail Ken HERE.

Hope you have enjoyed my “just for fun: article today…kind of nice after last weeks over the top excitement! Happy valentines day to all!

Just a few more shots from the day :)

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I NEED YOUR HELP! YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT THIS SITE TO KEEP IT GOING AND GROWING!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!

Feb 112011
 

VOTING IS CLOSED!

The last three finalists are Helene Marie Pambrun, Jonathan Cook, and Jacques L. Gudé! Congrats!

Ok guys, here it is. So far I have revealed 12 of the 15 finalists in the Leica M9 give away contest.

To make it even more fun, exciting and suspenseful  I decided to put up 10 more of my favorite selections here for YOU to vote on. Starting now you can vote for your ONE favorite. On Monday Feb 14th at 9am Phoenix, AZ time I will stop the poll and the top 3 vote getters will go in to the finals with the 12 already selected. THEN, those 15 will go to Heidi Klum and Rankin for a final vote for the winner and 2nd place winner.

This contest has been intense, fun, exciting and suspenseful. As with ANY photo contest there will be those of you who disagree with my choices but hey, all of these are worthy of the top spot IMO. So great job to all! I did my best to choose the 15 that spoke to me and told a clear story but it is hard when you have 50-60 great entries to go through. Believe me!

Ok, no more blabbing…the time has come! On to the final step. The 10 below, to me, are equally as good as the ones in the top 12 already so your help is greatly appreciated! Review them and vote in the poll at the bottom of the page.

As for the poll, it will only count ONE vote per person, per IP address. The poll uses IP address as well as other methods to avoid cheating. Sure you can keep voting, but only one will count. Again…There is no way someone can sit there and click away all day as the vote will only register once so make sure you vote for your top pick, only one vote counts!

Good luck to all 10 but only THREE will make the cut! The official top 15 page is HERE!

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CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO VIEW THEM IN MUCH BETTER QUALITY!

#1 – Jonathan Cook – “Guy Jones - My Arm Was My Pillow”

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#2 – Juha Saransalmi – “Finding the power of music”

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#3 – Matthew Miller - “Operation Mend”

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#4 – Eric Poe Miller - “Gaby Reaching for the Finish Line”

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#5 – Stefan Viehbacher – “The Journey Of A Goose”

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#6 – Steven Caddy – “Too Early For Goodbye”

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#7 – Aaron Hardin - “First Snow Penance”

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#8 – Dan Moruzan – “Pig & Pork”

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#9 – Helene Marie Pambrun – “Some scars can’t be hidden”

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#10 – Jacques L. Gudé – “Dreaming”

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